Lately I’ve been reading the City State supplement for the Aftermath RPG, and I was struck by how compatible it was with the default America campaign for Twilight 2000.
It was written by the late J. Andrew Keith, and published by Fantasy Games Unlimited in 1987. Like the other supplement books for the Aftermath RPG, City State is stand-alone, and not linked with the other Aftermath modules. Different times after the collapse, different causes, etc.
Chicago’s collapse in City State, along with the rest of America, was due to the petrophage, which had a voracious appetite for petroleum. Without diesel and gasoline, the modern economy and transportation network abruptly collapsed.
The petrophage is much like the catalyst for collapse in two very Twilight 2000-ish short stories.
It’s Iron Angel and The Benefactors in the anthology series There Will Be War. In these linked stories by Don Hawthorne, the world’s petroleum supply is afflicted with the “Gas Bug”. The protagonists conduct their own reverse-Going Home… on a steam train across Russia!
Great post-apoc fiction and T2000 inspiration. The other short stories in the books may interest you as well.
Chicago in Twilight 2000
Official Twilight 2000 supplements never had much to say about the Great Lakes. And even less about the great city of Chicago.
The most we get comes from a paragraph in Howling Wilderness:
“Although Chicago itself was not a target, the oil refineries at Joliet were, and this was enough to panic the population of the city and surrounding suburbs. Food shortages were not severe except in large urban areas, and most deaths were caused by epidemics and rioting. State government vanished in 1998, and the state was under military rule from that time on.”
Nearest government presence is CivGov’s bastion over in Iowa. Chicago and its extensive suburbs have been on their own since the collapse of 1997-8 in T2000.
City State’s campaign takes place in 2025, many years after the Breakdown in 1996-7. Gangs and community defense militias emerged from the initial chaos, and they evolved over the years into quasi-municipal local governments.
Aside from the +25-year time jump, there is little to distinguish the Chicago in the Aftermath module from Chicago in Twilight 2000.
There were no nukes in City State’s Breakdown. But it’s primarily the fuel shortage that cripples America and squashes recovery in Twilight 2000. So the effects are mostly the same.
Pity the city of Joliet. It gets hammered either way.
It got a nuke in Twilight 2000.
In City State:
This sad picture repeats again and again in the region around Chicago. Might makes right after the crash, and gangs often had a head start in organization and aggression over other urban dwellers. The countryside fared better initially, but was swamped by hordes of Chicagoans driven by hunger. And roaming bandits added to the misery.
This state of affairs is exactly what you’d expect from the region in Twilight 2000.
(Curiously enough, the word “marauder” is never used in City State. Always “bandit”.)
City State Chicago and the Illinois River Valley (Campaign Pack C1)
City State is loaded with campaign material for the region. Each city entry has sections for history, political organization, food production, industry, population, armed forces, installations, transport, and more.
There must be at least a couple dozen biographical sketches of notable NPCs throughout City State’s 64-pages, each illustrated by Andrew Keith’s brother, William H. Keith. The Keith brothers were pivotal in the early development of Twilight 2000.
Both Keith brothers were at the genesis of Twilight 2000, as FFE’s Guide to Twilight 2000 notes:
“The breakthrough came on a long drive back from the Origins Game Convention (Dallas, 1983). In an overloaded rental van, Frank Chadwick, Loren Wiseman, Bill Keith, and Andrew Keith talked for hours about a modern military role-playing game which concentrated on equipment and realistic military situations, and by the end of the trip the concept for Twilight: 2000 was far enough along for specific design to begin in earnest.”
The Illinois River communities get a lot of print in City State. River traffic is the most efficient form of trade post-Breakdown, and this whole aspect has a Pirates of the Vistula vibe.
So the biggest hurdle to using City State in your T2000 campaign would seemingly be the “25 years later” setting, but I’m telling you it doesn’t matter much. Little has happened in a couple of decades to change the status quo in City State’s post-apoc world. The steam train lines would need to be devolved back to being somebody’s intention. That’s mostly it.
The political situation in each city and block could be reversed back a bit, adjust the biographies slightly, and the like. Most won’t even need that much, and can run as written.
City State is full of maps. Here are a couple of them.
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