Roleplaying In A

What Happened To The Country?

In Setting on February 26, 2010 at 6:00 am

After the complete economic collapse of 2011, the United States limped along for a few more years but as things got progressively worse many states realized that the “business as usual” attitude of politicians on Capitol Hill wasn’t going to pull them out of the hole. Drastic action was needed.

That action first came in 2012 in the form of riots in Atlanta, Detroit and Los Angelos as gangs and militia groups became more organized and tried to take power away from those who had it. Corporations had seen the writing on the street long before and the Supreme court decision of 2010 granting business entities “personhood” meant they’d been building private armies for several years.

The bloodbaths were beyond anything even depicted in film up to that point.

Corporations in California influenced the state government to such a huge degree that California’s subsequent succession from the Union in 2014 was almost completely corp funded. The central government attempted to retake the state but the lack of funds available to civil institutions meant that corporate armies and equipment far outstripped anything government owned or operated by that time.

It wasn’t long at all before other regions followed suit. The North Pacific Union formed in 2016, the Texas Republic in 2017 and the Southern Confederacy in 2020. By 2025, the only area left to the United States was east of the Mississippi and north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

What about the rest of the world?

When the USA proved unwilling to reform it’s financial laws, the countries of Europe banded tighter together and began separating themselves from the US. In 2030, the European Union is one of the richest, most affluent areas in the world.

China is a huge behemoth lumbering on and on and on while the Russian Empire is much like the fragmented United States in culture and attitude even though it kept coherency as a nation much better.

Japan is even worse off than the US financially but Japanese culture means that few outside the country notice the differences.

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  1. Warning, the following is going to sound quite negative, but I feel they are legitimate points and worth discussing to build a coherent ‘future history’.

    While I know it is a cyberpunk stable, I have never bought the ‘fragmented US’ meme. The US has a great amount of both tradition and inertia behind it, breaking away would be expensive at best and what do you gain? Trade embargos, lack of Federal funds, mass emigration, having to establish your own foreign service, the list goes on. The central government grinding to a halt and groupings of states becoming ‘mini-governments’ out of necessity, that I could see. But succession is really off the plate.

    On another track, what benefit do the corporations gain from running a state, especially one as messed up as California? And why were the corporations not crushed as the US, EU, China and Japan broke them apart and seized their assets? Would you let a corporation that fomented armed rebellion exist in your country?

    What is going on in Canada and Mexico? How do they react the collapse of the US?

  2. I’m posting a “basic concepts” article tomorrow. I’ll try to address this there.

    Personally, while I don’t know how realistic it is, I think a broken US makes for a better game 🙂 but part of the genre is to make it as realistic as possible.

  3. OK. Hope I did not sound too hostile, it just is one of the cyberpunk tropes I never could buy into. Oh, I can see the appeal from a game point of view (and I especially love the fractured America of Crimson Skies) but it just does not make much sense to me.

  4. Nope, not a problem at all 🙂 While I won’t get into arguments justifying the validity of the concepts, gaming is about imagining the fantastic after all, your questions helped me flesh some ideas out and I welcomed them 🙂

  5. […] In answer to yesterday’s comment: In my game, the United States breaks up because… well, we’re all Americans playing in my game and that’s our setting but a Game Master should break whatever country he’s setting his game in. The idea is that things have gotten so bad, greed has run away so very unchecked that the central authority can’t back up its voice with concrete power any more. […]

  6. Found a great piece that could be said to ‘predict’ your world of corruption:

  7. So it does! Thanks 🙂

    Personally, I think there are always 2 ways to go and reality usually ends up in the middle of them somewhere. Predicting the worst possibility makes a good game, though 🙂

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