I’m writing a post-apocalyptic RPG, but I have a problem when dealing with the reconstruction of the society. The apocalypse left alive only the young people up to 21 years of age.
Even though the event that triggered the apocalypse is over, the effects last over time, so the young are affected (that is, all); once they get to 21 years of age, they stop growing. Death is still possible due to unnatural causes (accidents, murders, etc.) or due natural causes (disease). Aging affects only the brain, so, assuming that a guy manages to get to his 71th age, he could die of "old age" for the deterioration of brain cells.
So, imagine a world populated only by children, teens, and young.
In the first years after the apocalypse the number of survivors will lower a lot, but after a reasonable period of time (five, ten years?) they may create complex societies that seek to restore civilization before the apocalypse.
The problem is basically this: how would be these societies structured?
The geographical areas in which I would like to set the game, for now, are Europe, North America, South America and the Far East.
- The year of the disaster is 2045.
- The technology is slightly superior to ours. Electric cars have become the norm, no longer exist pesticides based on oil derivatives, there are implants guided by thought, technologies based on renewable energy are more resistant, and digital libraries are widespread.
- Before 2045 there was the Peak Oil. Gasoline and other derivatives are no longer available.
Given the feedback received from the "magical radiation," I changed the apocalypse: nanomachines! These nanomachines are inside the body of the guys and prevent their growth. But beware: they prevent it by the 21 years of age, so children and teenagers continue to grow up to 21 years and then, their growth will stop.
Most Internet-based databases are permanently destroyed. Some military databases are still functioning, as well as some civilians one, but 80% of the Internet and computer media are gone.:
Ok, let’s try to figure out if I’ve understood the situation.
My disaster is one of the worst that humanity can ever face as relief it is not about a single part of the world to its knees, but the entire globe leaking knowledge and primary authority figures simultaneously. Moreover, the current technology in industrialized countries requires an enormous effort of maintenance and a thorough understanding of how it works. This leads to 2.7 billion of young people between 0 and 21 years of age without any practical knowledge on the operation of its technology, without any useful knowledge and without leading figures.
So at the time of the immediate aftermath power grid, water networks, waste, communication networks both by telephone and computer will fall. Maybe some solar panels connected to an autonomous power grid will continue to function and operate the devices connected to them for a while, but after five years they will probably stop working. The power plants, without maintenance, will shut down in a fraction of the time. At this point, I can choose between two possible routes that humanity can follow.
Disaster strikes so violently and so quickly humanity, that young people do not have time to be prepared. Adults fail to convey the technical knowledge in time for a generational change. Because Western civilization depends very much on a too complicated technology, the collapse will be extremely violent. Supermarkets and other resources of canned food will be looted by scavengers in the first days after the end of the apocalypse, the crops will die, disease and violence will be rampant, and certainly half of the survivors will die in the first year after the apocalypse. They will be terrible years. Hope will disappear, leaving survivors traumatized, stressed and depressed.
The most widespread form of social gathering in the first year will be gangs, groups of agricultural settlers and religious groups. Most of the survivors will live in this "wild state". The conflict for control of the few remaining resources will be frequent, especially those between the gangs and the farming communities, and among the gang themselves. Many areas would become open battlefields, with warlords, militias and values regression. The technology and its recovery would be secondary to the food and survival needs. Gang will be widespread in these territories, since they are the most resilient form of social organization. It will look the end of humanity.
However, civilization won’t disappear. The military campuses throughout the Western world will be the beacons of hope for all those guys who want to flee from poverty and violence. The students in these fields, trained in the use of violence, discipline, and mutual trust, will organize social life around their campus, recruiting geeks and other survivors as a workforce. These camps will create protected areas for the survivors, where they will start the first forms of industrial production. In addition to the geek, will be sought survivors with manual skills, or knowledge of certain technologies. Rather than restore the computer technology, survivors will try to reactivate the machinery capable of producing electricity from renewable energy, and produce a technology similar to that of the steam era. Agriculture will always be the priority, but after a few years that will be stabilized, these campuses will be able to administer the cities where they are located, creating enclaves of civilization in the midst of barbarism.
At this point you can begin the recovery of the lost knowledge. Some geeks and craftsman will certainly have survived, and there are real stories of kids who, without any technical knowledge, just by reading books, have managed to create wind turbines for their villages, so I think you may have a similar effect in this case. Books rather that Internet will provide survivors the needed capabilities to restart the civilizations. Children born in the meantime (because yes, adolescents and young people left free to themselves will have a lot of sex) will be educated and trained to survive.
At this point, all groups of survivors, both inside and outside of the enclaves will close the "tribal" phase of survival, organizing themselves into groups.
Form of mass communication will never be restored, since the internet is gone, and the restored server will be a few, so the maximum political extension that you will ever achieve is that of a region. The world will never recover completely, at least not for the next 1000 years, and there are always two kinds of survival: that tribal, based on gangs, nomad groups and agricultural commune, and the organized one, with factions, cities and enclaves.
So the point of this scenario are
Western society heavily rely on technology. Apocalypse would hit hard.
In the immediate post-apocalypse world collapses. No technology available, all networks collapse. Young people would be politically prepared the event, since they have a slight leadership and work experience ,and they have a more liberal thought, but do not have knowledge gained through experience, and have high rates of technological dependence. Half of the survivors dies for the violence and lowering the quality of life.
Begins the phase of the immediate aftermath. The survivors gather in small groups similar to the gang, plundering and fighting each other for the few remaining resources.
No stable organization , no attempt to revitalize the civilization, the only priority is survival in the short term.
Begins the tribal phase. Farming grows quickly, simultaneously to the scavenging of other groups of children. Stable social organizations are gangs, and agricultural and religious commune. There will be conflicts, small factions, and agricultural production will begin.
Meanwhile, the military campus will attract people, organizing the lives of survivors to increase the chances of survival.
Once resolved the immediate emergency, they will try to restore the technology, starting with the basic things, and dropping the computer technology. Libraries will be important centres of culture, and begin the recovery of lost technologies.
After many years, the world is divided between tribal societies, and small territories administered with the recovered technologies. With the restoring of small power grids, some data centers are restored, and with them the knowledge within.
Adults have the time to organize the generational. The story takes a completely different twist. The technology is slightly worse than ours, but dies only 1/4 of the survivors. There will be power struggles, many enclaves cities will be destroyed by internal and/or external struggles, but eventually the technology will not be lost, and the world will enter a phase of history similar to the Renaissance.
So, do you think that the story, as written here, is realistic, or at least plausible?