Sunday, June 28, 2015

Just rambling

I have mentioned a number of times that on Friday nights I participate in an online Hackmaster game. At least that is our current campaign setting.  This campaign is scheduled to end in a few months and after that we are planning on a cyberpunk scenario.  Tentatively it is going to be set in Billings, MT in the year 2065, and our characters will probably be some sort of Black-ops agents who did something to get exiled to Billings.

That at least is the plan at this point.

Friday night I was looking at the logs from the previous game (I missed it because I managed to poison my self with some sort of kitchen concoction) and I noticed that Chris (the GM) had mentioned that he had been having trouble coming up with ideas for the campaign.  He didn't want to do the standard hackers attacking the evil corporation thing, so I suggested flipping it and have us working for the corporation(s) trying to track down and foil the hackers.  Some discussion ensued and I think that idea was pretty much shot down but it still got me thinking- what is our environment going to be like in this game?

Here is how I basically envision the world of Billings, MT 2065 (Chris may disagree with this totally it's just the vision I have in my head) -

First off the world is still basically recognizable, the United States still exists with a few extra states (Puerto Rico, Guam, and Saipan have voted to become states and the Philippines petitioned for statehood following a Chinese invasion of some of their outlying islands.)

Russia has continued to attempt to reconstitute the USSR.  Mixed success but they are out there and actively working against US interests

China is our main Geopolitical threat.  India is now a favored ally.  Pakistan has been left to the Taliban after we mounted an invasion and stripped them of their nukes and executed most of the ISI and all their nuke scientists following an attack on Tel Aviv by Iran using a bomb purchased from the former A Q Khan network.  Iran basically ceased to exist as a state after months of bombings and targeted raids to capture and kill their leadership.  Think Somalia without the charm.

The worlds oil supply has been greatly diminished.  It turn out that the Saudis had been inflating the size of their reserves for decades.  They are all but depleted.  Same with Valenzuela, Iraq et. al.  The only real substanatial deposits left are the Williston Basin / Bakken Formation, a couple similar basins in Texas and the Alberta tar sands (Alberta Basin).  To encourage development and exploitation the Bakken Economic Zone has been formed.  It covers Eastern Montana and Western North and South Dakota as well as parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan.  It includes both Billings and Calgary.  The zone itself an amalgam of jurisdictions so most of the administration has just devolved downward to the companies.  as long as the oil flows and the rivers don't catch fire everyone is happy.

Because of it's location at the junction of two interstates, the rail lines and the presence of multiple refineries in the area Billings has overtaken Calgary as the largest city in the zone.  It's population estimates range from 3.5 to 4 million. In general the city is prosperous but the population is heavily skewed towards men, who work in a dangerous heavily labor intensive field.  Most of the newer housing is modular, built in camps, and it is left to the companies to police them.  As you can imagine this tends to attract the kind of element that services large population of lonely men.  Bars, Hookers, and Drug Dealers.  There is now a large gang presence in Billings. (displacing the Nava family and the Pitbull Mafia easily).

I base a lot of this vision on what Billings was like in the 70's and early 80's when we were teenagers and the oil boom was going on in Wyoming.  Also what I remember of Gillette when we lived there in the late 60's during their gas boom.

There are a couple places I really want to make it into the game - Center Lanes, it was a bowling alley downtown that had a bar that wasn't really particular about IDs.  We spent a lot time there after school in high school. and the Arcade bar.  The Arcade was easily the roughest bar I have ever been in in my life.  I went there once and probably the only reason I got out alive is that I was known by some of the regulars beacuse they were friends of my uncle.  This rumor was that the bar was burned in a fire in the 60s  and was condemned and the owner just refused to close. (Urban legend - it moved buildings but given the nature of the place it was believable).

Anyway that's how I see the Billings of the future, we will just have to see what kind of world Chris builds and how close I came.

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