The third part of my Settlements in the Post Apocalypse will cover some basic thoughts on how I want to display settlements as well as some other useful information.
SETTLEMENTS IN THE POST APOCALYPSE PART I: POST APOCALYPTIC SETTLEMENT RESOURCES
SETTLEMENTS IN THE POST APOCALYPSE PART II: EXISTING SETTLEMENT LAYOUT REVIEWS
SETTLEMENTS IN THE POST APOCALYPSE PART III: NOTES & FINAL LAYOUT
SETTLEMENTS IN THE POST APOCALYPSE PART IV: RANDOM SETTLEMENT TABLES
Settlements will be broken down by type and size as follows.
By Special Type:
Underground settlements, with the exception of Safeholds & Freeholds (my equivalent of Fallout's Vaults or Deathlands' Redoubts), are generally existing underground areas that have been turned into settlements by the survivors of the apocalypse.
- Subways - While most major cities with subway systems were destroyed, there is a fair chance that it's subway system survived.
- Underpasses - Highways and freeways often have large underpasses which can protect squatters from the elements. Combine that with a fair likelihood of many vehicles being stalled, stopped, or wrecked in the area to serve as sources of scavenged resources, and a settlement can spring up.
- Utility/Steam Tunnels - Many larger settlements and large independent facilities like universities or manufacturing plants may have tunnels and rooms large enough to serve as protection for a fledgling settlement.
- Underground Malls - Large, purpose-built underground facilities generally used to facilitate access to subway stations or to provide services protected from inclement weather in urban areas where building up may not be possible.
- Mountain Tunnels - Road or rail tunnels that go through mountainous regions can serve as starting points for fledgling communities, offering protection from weather or raiders.
- Storm Drains - Designed to remove excess water for roads, streets, and urban areas, these largish tunnels are often mistake for sewer lines.
- Caves - Several natural cave systems exist in which apocalyptic survivors could take refuge.
- Mines - Like natural caves, mine systems can serve as protected places for settlements to spring from.
Safeholds & Freeholds
Freeholds are vault-like deliberate underground settlements with active/generational inhabitants.
- Continuity of Government Shelters - The "super-secret" command and control bunkers for a nation's ruling body, these shelters often serve as the starting points for would be rebuilding efforts.
- Fallout Shelters, Bomb Shelters, & Civil Defense Shelters - Small group shelters designed to protect the survivors from whatever caused the apocalypse.
- Bunkers & Blast Shelters - Generally larger than fallout or civil defense shelters, these underground facilities house larger populations of inhabitants.
- Survival Retreats - Not necessarily found underground, these remote facilities are designed so inhabitants can survive and thrive any apocalyptic event.
- Seed Vaults & Banks - While space in these redoubts is often limited for inhabitants, their stores of material provide great resources for reconstructing after the apoclypse.
- Safeholds - Cryogenic suspension vaults where the inhabitants are frozen for a set period of time.
Seasteads are settlements that have developed on or in the oceans, seas, and larger lakes of the wasteland.
- Oil Rigs - Hundreds of oil rigs rise above the sea floor in many places. Many of them still have access to the oil fields they harvested before the apocalypse. These settlements often trade with land-based settlements, exchanging oil for resources they don't have.
- Large Ships - Naval vessels, cargo ships, oil tankers, and cruise liners that have been repurposed as floating settlements.
- Floating Platforms - Flotels, barges, and large raft complexes that serve as small settlements.
- Artificial Islands - Purposely built islands that are either constructed as land reclamation areas or purpose built communities that are lifted above shallow bodies of water (by being constructed on stilts or pillars, etc.).
- Scrap Atolls - Floating atolls of scrap and junk like the one in Waterworld.
- Underwater Bases/Research Stations - Small underwater facilities that could serve as a settlement to a small group of inhabitants.
- Sunken Cities - Typically tall buildings like skyscrapers, where the pre-apocalypse settlement has been thoroughly flooded and now only the top-most floors of these buildings exist above sea level.
- Organic-type Floating Islands - Immense masses of floating aquatic plants, mud, and peat which form islands that drift in the tides and current. Usually only big enough to support small communities, though large sargasso seas and coral reefs may support town or city sized masses.
Settlements where survivors have grouped together at military facilities which provide protection and some degree of self-sufficiency. Major military bases are likely destroyed by the apocalypse.
- Army - Typically inland bases.
- Navy - Found mostly in coastal regions, many may be submerged by changing sea levels.
- Coast Guard - As per Navy, but also found on some larger lakes or major river systems.
- Marine - Generally found in coastal regions, though some can be found inland.
- Air Force - Often found inland.
- Missile Silo - Generally found in remote areas far from pre-apocalypse settlements. Generally support only the smallest settlements.
I don't use Mutant Future's population figures for settlement sizes. They are more fantasy-based and while I feel the majority of post apocalyptic settlements will have small populations compared to contemporary settlements, there will be somewhat larger populations. Small settlements are typically villages, small fortifications, and independent settlements with less than 1000 inhabitants.
- Independent Farms - Usually small, family-oriented settlements rarely larger than 1d4x10 inhabitants.
- Shanty town around a resource - A hodge-podge settlement that may have 1d6x10 inhabitants.
- Small Tribal Village - A smaller than normal tribal village with maybe 3d6x10 inhabitants.
- Fortified Tribal Village - An average tribal village with 5d6x10 inhabitants.
- Large Fortified Village - A large successful village settlement with 1d4x100 inhabitants.
- Survivalist/Militia Communes - A settlement created by pre-apocalypse militia or survialist groups. Since this type of fortified settlement is generally successful they have a population of 1d4+2x100 inhabitants.
- Ideological/Religious/Cult Communes - A settlement founded by some religious leader or ideal, they can vary in size depending on how successful the religion or ideology has been. Small communes will have 10d10 inhabitants, while the largest will have 2d4x100 inhabitants.
- Gas Station Forts - Yeah, been there, done that, probably going to reference it again because several of the sub-tables there can be used for other settlement generation.
Towns & Cities
Towns and cities aren't all that uncommon, but don't exist in as many places as they did before the apocalypse. Figure the number of cities and towns as being 1/10th of what they were before the apocalypse (it is an easy division to use). Towns will have populations of 1000 to 10,000 inhabitants. Cities will have about 10,000 to 60,000 inhabitants. Metropolises (with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants) and Megalopolises (with millions of inhabitants) are essentially non-existent.
- Small town - Generally a pre-apocalypse settlement that was formerly a small town or city that has shrunk in population. There are 1d4x1000 inhabitants.
- Fortified town - By building a wall or other defensive structure, this settlement is often larger than regular small towns. Roll 1d6x1000 for number of inhabitants.
- Pre-apocalypse Castle - Supposedly there are over 100 castles in the United States alone. While some of these are no doubt castles in appearance only, and many no doubt destroyed due to their proximity to major settlements, some would still exist and serve as the focal point of a post apocalyptic community. Roll 2d4x1000 for number of inhabitants.
- Historic Fort - Like castles, there are a few other defensive fortifications that would serve as community focal points. Roll 2d4x1000 for number of inhabitants.
- Fortified City - Generally a pre-apocalypse city that has survived by forting up to protect itself from raids and attacks. Population is typically 1d4x10,000 inhabitants.
- Crashed/Beached Ship Town - Some form of large, ocean-going vessel is stuck here, either because it ran aground during the apocalypse, or because the ocean went away. Because of the vessel's resources, a post apocalyptic settlement sprung up. May include crashed spaceships. Population depends on two factors, how large the vessel is, and how many happen to be stuck in the area. Roll 1d6x1000 per vessel in this community.
- Sprawling City - A pre-apocalypse city that got lucky. Roll 1d6x10,000 for number of inhabitants
- Hypercity - See below.
Hypercities are extremely high technology settlements, usually designed to be self-sufficient and somewhat defensible. Most of those constructed before the apocalypse were destroyed. The will probably be only one surviving hypercity in the campaign region. Most hypercities, despite the size of the community they were constructed in, are generally only sized for 50,000 to 100,000 inhabitants. Roll 2d4x10,000 for number of inhabitants.
- Dome Cities - Classic science fiction cities where a protective dome is built to cover an existing city or city area.
- Arcologies - Another classic of science fiction, these megastructures tend to be designed as self-sufficient pyramids or pyramidal skyscrapers.
- Underwater Cities - The sub-ocean settlements are larger than other submarine settlements and come in two basic types; Underwater dome cities and underwater modular habitat cities.
- Geofronts - An advanced version of the underground mall, these hypercities are usually surface city replications in large underground caverns (often man-made caverns).
- Mobile Cities - Mostly self-contained cities that walk, crawl, roll, or otherwise ambulate over the wasteland. They often move to different resource sites to gather raw materials.
- Floating Cities - Mobile cities that fly or float in the sky.
- Spaceport - Rocket or shuttle launch facilities, space elevator tethers, or space gun facilities where post apocalyptic settlements have formed. Depending on the type and size of the facility, the settlement may be village sized or as large as a sprawling city.
- Seasteads - While the smaller oceanic settlements exist, the term "Seastead" itself is generally reserved for the largest, purpose-built ocean-going floating cities and artificial floating islands.
Discussion on Racial Breakdowns
This is one area where I want to use the K.I.S.S. principle. There will generally be one major race, with two or three other races represented, and possibly several other smaller amounts of mixed races. I have yet to find a simple table to determine racial demographics. For now, I recommend Medieval Demographics: Population Center Demographics Calculator, plug in the races and go (though obviously one would have to substitute their own races in place of the fantasy ones used).
General Racial Breakdown Table
- Sentient Creature
- Clone or Mutant that passes as a Pure Human
- Pure Human
- Mutant Human
- Beastman (Mutant Animal)
- Mutant Plant
- Extraterrestrial Alien
Tech Level Discussion
I tend to use a simple breakdown of technology levels which can be rolled on a 1d6:
Tech Level 1 Stone Age
Tech Level 2 Iron Age
Tech Level 3 Steam Age (up to 1920s)
Tech Level 4 Diesel Age (1930s-1960s)
Tech Level 5 Modern Age (1970s to present)
Tech Level 6 High Tech Age
20 Questions for Post Apocalyptic Settlements
A set of questions I developed based on the various entries I examined in Part II.
- Where in the heck am I?
- How big is this place?
- Who lives here?
- How do the residents feel about my race/outsiders?
- Who run bartertown?
- What is up with that group?
- Is this place safe?
- Will Johnny Law hassle me?
- Where can I buy stuff?
- What can I buy here?
- What things can I sell here?
- Is there a doctor in the house?
- What is the most common source of fuel or power and can I get it?
- What is there to eat around here?
- Can you fix my junk?
- What can I ride and can it be pimped?
- Where is it (relatively) safe to sleep?
- Where can I get entertained?
- What kind of jobs are available?
- What or Who is troubling this place?
---Final Layout ---
Note: There are some optional features here that may or may not be included. I may also play around with some of the category and entry names. I'll probably include more details when I incorporate this material into a one page document.
Population: (with racial demographics/population breakdown)
Languages: (optional; depends on whether I detail setting languages or not)
Armed Forces: (Police/Military)
Resources: (Power Source, Water Source, Food Source, Fuel/Energy Source, Medicine, Communications (optional), & Sanitation (optional))
Shops & Services:
Disposition to Outsiders/Racial Tolerance:
Allies & Enemies: