Neutralizing the Artillery

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Neutralizing the Artillery
« on: September 29, 2010, 03:34:14 PM »
So, let's say I want to justify an apocalypse where there are no assault rifles, fighter jets and heavy transport ships. I want to de-militarize the world a bit, so that overwhelming force can only be achieved in numbers and skill, not in tech.

What are the possible explanations for this?
Brainstorm with me?

1.) In Dune, there are personal force-fields that prevent motion above a certain speed. Bullets are rejected, but knives & fists pierce it as long as they are moving slow enough.

2.) The Psychic Maelstrom is expressed through metal. To touch metal is to enter its world. Fighter jets, train tracks, cars & guns are all puppets of the maelstrom. It can control them, but it rarely rarely does so - and when it does, it's to build huge geometric constructs of trash, and so on.

Re: Neutralizing the Artillery
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2010, 03:41:29 PM »
Personally, I only think you need to come up with an explanation for removing firearms.

Things like jets, heavy transport ships, etc. are easy to exclude based on the idea that we just no longer have the resources/expertise/population to maintain them.

Here's a blog post I like that hypothesizes a bit about the minimum population required to maintain our current tech level (and it's not even getting into all the other roadblocks the apocalypse throws up): http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2010/07/insufficient-data.html

Re: Neutralizing the Artillery
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2010, 10:34:30 AM »
Yeah Joe,

All that stuff breaks down really quickly. An F-18 requires 19 hours of specialized maintenance for every hour of flight. A CH-53 helicopter requires 27. Both require carefully refined fuels and lubricants. There will be no aircraft unless you want them in your fantasy apocalypse.

Even people who have the equipment to hand-load modern firearms require manufactured primers and smokeless powder, which will run out quickly. There are a lot of bullets in the world, but fifty years of barbarism will use most of them up. This logic applies to any technology at your discretion.

You don't need psychic magic to make guns expensive, rare and unreliable. Same with cars and ships, if you want.

Re: Neutralizing the Artillery
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2010, 12:03:54 PM »
You could also have the apocalypse seize the world in 1880 or whatever too.

Re: Neutralizing the Artillery
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2010, 03:30:49 PM »
Like the other guys said, it's really easy to exclude anything with electronics. That stuff is pretty fragile. So that leaves purely mechanical devices like old cars and assault rifles. Well, maybe your apocalypse doesn't have enough bullets and gasoline for the chopper! Or, think about what kinds of bullets there are. Probably, all the assault rifle bullets have been used up by now, and there's mostly only 9mm left. Which you can use in an SMG, but wow, 30 bullets just to shoot a guy once? You could shoot 30 guys with that! And where are you going to get more? If a clip of 12 is worth 1-barter (the same as one murder) the full-auto burst of an uzi is 3-barter.

Or: lots of water. A high humidity or just raised sea levels will break down guns and make them useless. AK-47s last longer than other guns, but if your setting is North America, a surplus of AKs isn't much of an issue.

Re: Neutralizing the Artillery
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2010, 03:34:39 PM »
One interesting possibility builds on Chris's idea a bit -- have the apocalypse happening during World War II, so tech stalled in the 1940s, before assault rifles even existed.  Since AW starts 50+ years after, that means that you're now in an alternate reality present!

A couple of wicked ideas there might be that Hitler was doing some gnarly experiments (which I think he was), and pulled out something from hell or whatever, and the spirits and demons and crap are both the maelstrom and the cause of the apocalypse.

Re: Neutralizing the Artillery
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2010, 03:47:20 PM »
In my recent one-shot I replaced the Chopper with the Vedette and just cold left the Driver out. Gangs on horseback, Nathan Bedford Forrest-style.

Re: Neutralizing the Artillery
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2010, 04:00:34 PM »
Cool!

So, specialized vehicles (especially airborne) are easily written out.
High-powered firearms are easily written out.

That leaves combat on a much more human&personal plane, yeah? I mean, a mob of unarmed villagers is a force to be reckoned with, given those conditions above, right?

Re: Neutralizing the Artillery
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2010, 04:37:44 PM »
I can still pull off 3-harm with something like a shotgun, yeah?  So if it's me with my shotgun and 1-armor against an unarmed, medium mob who also have 1-armor, I'm suffering 2-harm from their punches (1 plus 2 for size difference minus 1 for armor), and they're taking 0-harm from my shotgun (3 minus 2 for size difference minus 1 for armor).  You're in trouble against a mob any way you slice it.

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Carl

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Re: Neutralizing the Artillery
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2010, 06:21:31 AM »
have the apocalypse happening during World War II,

I like that idea. So the Trinity A-bomb test did burn off most of the Earth's atmosphere, civilization collapsed, and now it's 50 years later, in 1995. Or an even worse plague than The Great Flu of 1918.

Personally I like low-gun Apocalypses, where a couple of shotgun shells is a serious edge... if they go off. Other's milage may vary.

Re: Neutralizing the Artillery
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2010, 06:56:13 AM »
I'm working on a thing like that now. Except the apocalypse is that the war didn't end. It still hasn't. It probably never will.

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Carl

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Re: Neutralizing the Artillery
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2010, 06:20:25 AM »
On the drive home from Endgame's 9th anniversary party (very fun!) I had an idea for Apocalypse 1969.  The Great War and the Great Flu Pandemic following it in 1919 were much worse than our world, and civilization collapsed. It's 50 years later. Transport is horses or mules or foot or maybe an old 1919 Ford Truck somehow still running, although good luck with the roads.

And there are still chestnut trees in the Ozarks, but sometimes ghosts get tangled in their branches from there being too many dead to all get into heaven, and if you're not careful and burn the wrong firewood you can wind up possessed. And there's no psychic anything, but if you listen too carefully you can hear ghosts whispering to you, and if you talk too carelessly maybe they hear you back.  And if you use the right water from a cave full of ghosts, and charcoal from a haunted tree, you can dissolve spirits in moonshine and make ghost juice, and drink the memories of someone else's life, and forget for a while the way things are waking under the earth, now that there's so few people to keep them sleeping down there.

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DannyK

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Re: Neutralizing the Artillery
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2010, 02:35:42 PM »
On the drive home from Endgame's 9th anniversary party (very fun!) I had an idea for Apocalypse 1969.  The Great War and the Great Flu Pandemic following it in 1919 were much worse than our world, and civilization collapsed. It's 50 years later. Transport is horses or mules or foot or maybe an old 1919 Ford Truck somehow still running, although good luck with the roads.

And there are still chestnut trees in the Ozarks, but sometimes ghosts get tangled in their branches from there being too many dead to all get into heaven, and if you're not careful and burn the wrong firewood you can wind up possessed. And there's no psychic anything, but if you listen too carefully you can hear ghosts whispering to you, and if you talk too carelessly maybe they hear you back.  And if you use the right water from a cave full of ghosts, and charcoal from a haunted tree, you can dissolve spirits in moonshine and make ghost juice, and drink the memories of someone else's life, and forget for a while the way things are waking under the earth, now that there's so few people to keep them sleeping down there.

That's totally sweet.  I want to drop my current game and run that with a bluegrass soundtrack.  I would totally have the ghost of Woodrow Wilson as an NPC.

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Carl

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Re: Neutralizing the Artillery
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2010, 06:24:49 AM »
run that with a bluegrass soundtrack.

Oh man, a bluegrass soundtrack. That would be sweet! There was a giant bluegrass festival going on across the bay from where I was running, but not loud enough to reach us.

I ran this setting for the first time on Sunday, and liked it a lot. The PCs' land train was ambushed by baptist slavers. The 16-year old Angel with the healing hands took NOT TO BE FUCKED WITH so she counts as a small gang in a fight. The Battlebabe went into a fight with a torch and came out with a cannon (speaking of "Neutralizing the Artillery") and unexpected relationship drama.