Gaming sillyness and observations about "survivalists"

I got sucked back into the world of RPG gaming with a set of friends. What we have been playing is a game called "The Morrow Project" a Post apocalypse game where you are a frozen team of trained personnel set up to help restore society. So in order to do some research about what kinds of people they would run up against after a nuclear war, giant meteor, or other wipe out the world apocalypse, I started researching the "survivalist" websites. And came to a quick conclusion that they would have no problems at all. 90% of the Survivalist info out there is either bad or flat out wrong. Guys talking endless about how a giant jacked up pickup truck is important, and lits of jibber jabber about useless junk. none of them talk about bringing information with them that will help them survive. They all believe what they need to survive is a lot of ammo and a big pickup truck or SUV. Anyone that has done Any real research into this knows that in order to survive on your own requires to understand hunting, farming, homesteading, and basic skills. The real thing that makes you survive is knowledge.

So drawing a realistic picture of what my team would encounter in the aftermath would not be any survivalists that followed any of the information on the Survivalists websites. Well some of it is good, but not enough to help.

So what would I call a successful Survivalist? Well the ones that my team would encounter that actually survived would be two types. One would live very much like the Amish do today. Well the purist Amish, not the ones that have adopted a lot of modern things. As a society we have a lot of junk, and the end of the world will not eliminate that junk, it will still be everywhere. They will have abandoned cars completely as you will not be able to buy the consumables that a car or truck needs. Yup the big redneck 4X4 with lots of lights and jacked up with 56" tires is 100% worthless because they get 3-6 mpg so they consume gas so fast that it's a useless tool.

The other kind of Survivalist that will succeed is the scavenger/scientist. The guy/gal that spent decades learning about how all things mechanical work, Learns everything about all the sciences, learns basic medicine, I.E. EVERYTHING. He/She spent their time learning, learned how to build a home, how to saw trees into lumber, how to build a ground forge to forge their own metal, everything. This person typically would not have a giant truck but the most COMMON vehicle found. Something that would have parts for it everywhere. Being a scientist and scavenger they would be the type that planted several acres of farmland. they would not have picked a remote and hard to get to "bug out Lodge" but a place where they had enough clear land to feed themselves, cover their needs AND make enough extra to sell to others. A smart survivalist would know how to turn corn or switchgrass into alcohol to run the car. Or more likely the small tractor.. the car/truck is useless as it cant do work, a tractor can. Plus they would not have electricity.. that's a useless luxury. you will not be watching your 52" plasma and your collection of BLuRay disks in the aftermath.. With one exception.. a computer WOULD be a useful thing as it is a compact and dense source of information. a modern laptop can hold more than the entire library of congress. a ipad can hold more than someone would ever need for advanced survival. Problem is a ipad is not serviceable, a laptop is more serviceable but not easily by someone that is not a watch maker. a small desktop computer can be maintained by a non expert and spare parts kept to keep it running for decades. this cache of information would make any survivalist that had it pretty much the king of the area, and that computer would be the most valuable thing around. The computer would not have to run 24/7 but only for a few hours here and there for when learning is needed. so scavenged solar panels and scavenged windmills would be common with someone that had such technology. plastic 55 gallon drums and a couple of car alternators plus other electronics can generate more than enough electricity on a mildly windy day to run a small computer.

Survival is about staying alive and having at least some comfort. and the only way to have any comfort in any society is to be the person making and selling skill, products and services.

everything I found in survivalist websites was silly stuff. wasting a ton of resources on building up your truck, building an arsenal to fight off the horde, stocking up on MRE's to feed yourself for 10 years.... all of which are 100% useless for survival in the long term like these people claim they are all about. These will be the first people to die as they will run out of their food and not know how to get their own food and either starve or resort to robbery and murder to take what they want.

Real survival means education, knowledge, and community. My gamers will experience small towns and villages that have grown up out of existing towns that were untouched, or where people that all could contribute to society came together slowly to form a new community.

Problem is that leaves me without any "bad guys" for them to fight.... I think I'll use the "internet survivalists" that can't fend for them selves so they take what they want as the bad guys!

Overall it's an interesting though experiment that I would love to continue with others. What would the picture of the world be if everything collapsed? no more corporations, no more electricity, no more gasoline or other modern anything. Just the leftovers of the world from today.

how would communities re-form? Who would become the most valuable in society? the skilled hunter? the backyard blacksmith? The farmer? What could you do to preserve knowlege? Books are obvious, but hard to carry 90-200 books needed to complete knowlege... what portable device from today could be kept working that can help speed up or improve survival of a community or even just a family?


  1. Great article I loved it. One thing though about the type of people you would encounter on your journey. No one ever mentions the people who are on SSRIs or anti-psychotics. Someone who knew a little bit about countering the side effects of withdrawal would be great to have in your group of travelers. Basic meds like blood-pressure, insulin, and antibiotics would be a necessity. Another thing no one mentions is how we would all stay clean. A naturalist that knows how to make soap from animal fats/oils and lye would do the trick.


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