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Old 06-16-2017, 04:35 PM
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HW has been taking up quite a bit of our bandwidth lately. I'm sure we've had a thread, in the past, dedicated to HW, but I can't find it in the forum archives so...

If you'd like to engage in debate regarding the merits of HW, please do so here, and make sure to follow forum guidelines.
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Old 06-16-2017, 04:49 PM
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This was where I discussed how unrealistic the drought was (nearly 50% nationwide effecting nearly all regions when a 17% reductions was the greatest seen in over 120 years of data)

http://forum.juhlin.com/showthread.p...0546#post60546
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Old 06-16-2017, 05:42 PM
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This thread covers the weaknesses of HW's handling of presidential succession.

http://forum.juhlin.com/showthread.p...ght=succession


If you still want a scism you could have a missing member of the line of succession be found after someone further down the line was promoted to president. Milgov following the promoted SecDEF and Civgov following SecState who was missing and presumed dead for a while.

There could even be some intrigue about Military forces knowing the possibility SecState could have been alive but did not provide that intelligence and pushed the promotion of SecDef anyway.
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Old 06-16-2017, 08:37 PM
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I like that idea. Makes everything a bit murkier. No clear cut good guys or bad guys...
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Old 06-16-2017, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by kato13 View Post
This was where I discussed how unrealistic the drought was (nearly 50% nationwide effecting nearly all regions when a 17% reductions was the greatest seen in over 120 years of data)

http://forum.juhlin.com/showthread.p...0546#post60546
Given that the much smaller reductions that occurred in the 1930s were enough to drop Great Plains crop yields by 75%, the higher drought numbers seem unnecessary; a 10-15% drop sustained over a couple of years would cause the crop shortages that are mentioned in HW.
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Old 06-16-2017, 10:56 PM
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This thread covers the weaknesses of HW's handling of presidential succession.

http://forum.juhlin.com/showthread.p...ght=succession


If you still want a scism you could have a missing member of the line of succession be found after someone further down the line was promoted to president. Milgov following the promoted SecDEF and Civgov following SecState who was missing and presumed dead for a while.

There could even be some intrigue about Military forces knowing the possibility SecState could have been alive but did not provide that intelligence and pushed the promotion of SecDef anyway.
I agree with you there Kato - the line of succession would definitely have not broken that easily - especially given that in a time of war once the nukes started flying there would have been successors dispersed all over the country - and the TDM was not the first nuke event - there had been attacks in Europe for weeks preceding that
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Old 06-16-2017, 11:35 PM
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As I posted earlier HW was clearly an overboard attempt to explain the US not being the world's superpower in 2300 - so Loren wrote this to try to explain why the US wasnt as strong as before. However he did so in a way that pushed the bounds of what could be believed to where they broke - especially for those who knew that nuclear attacks on the scale of the war, if anything, would have thrown huge amounts of debris into the air and caused heavier winters and wetter weather and possibly shorter growing seasons.

Also the weather that affects much of the US would not have been affected by the location of the nuclear strikes in NA - you would would need to disrupt the weather patterns in the Pacific and Canada to really affect North American weather - and there werent enough nuke strikes in the right place to do that.

2300 AD doesnt need a destroyed US taking a huge amount of time to recover because a drought combined with nukes kills off 90% of its population to produce a French domination of the globe - all you need is the US deciding to go back to its roots as a regional power and letting the rest of the globe go on its own way to do that - and the events of 1996-2000 (i.e. before HW's uber drought occurred) were more than enough to make that a reality

And its future predictions for the rest of the year frankly have some major holes in them - there is no way MilGov would pull out of the only oil producing area left in CA, resulting in its strongest remaining unit mutinying against orders when the whole rest of the book states MilGov's big drive is to keep the remaining oil producing areas going at all costs

Let alone having its forces in CA go from 5000 men and 24 tanks down to 2800 men and seven tanks in barely eight months - and no effort being made to recruit new men to keep it formations intact - is frankly ridiculous - and of those men only 1600 are actually answering to the Army?

If food is short you arent going to have much trouble getting men to join up to defend that food - especially if wearing the uniform means you and your family are first in line for what food there is.

I can see some desertions - but having the US Army fall apart completely and not able to recruit at all when half the Southwest, Texas and a good piece of Alaska is under enemy occupation? And especially not after they found out what New America was up to - the Army would have been recruiting anyone who could still stand and carry a rifle!

And 43,000 men come home and less than 1400 are actually used as replacements? And those combat veterans with years of experience under their belts get sent to the Ozarks and basically get wiped out by a bunch of New American militia? (Do the math - 85th Infantry - 400 originals +600 combat vets from Europe + 400 from the 194th which was a training unit and thus elite =1400 men and by April only 300 survivors? I read the Ozarks and dont remember the NA being composed of only ex-Green Berets and Rangers).

And many of those units arrived in Bremerhaven intact and fully functional - including the 28th (which was the PA National Guard). The 28th could have formed up and walked home to rebuild PA - and yet they and several other fully functional units that were obeying MilGov higher command and showed up as functioning units in Bremerhaven all somehow just disappeared?

I dont see the US Army saying "nope lets just let them all go home, after all it would be too much trouble to have them form up again". They would have been sent from the docks in Norfolk as functional units to reinforce the 5th in Texas or kick butt in the Ozarks or say kiss it goodbye Charlie to NA in West Virginia. Thats why you bring them home in the first place.

If there is a module that seriously needs to be retconned and rewritten its HW.

Its not just the drought - the module as a whole goes way way out of its way to kill off the US and to make the US military sound very stupid while doing so.
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Old 06-16-2017, 11:57 PM
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Given that the much smaller reductions that occurred in the 1930s were enough to drop Great Plains crop yields by 75%, the higher drought numbers seem unnecessary; a 10-15% drop sustained over a couple of years would cause the crop shortages that are mentioned in HW.
I agree that significant crop losses would occur if we saw an increase over the worst months of 1934 and certainly if it ran into multiple years (HW has it all happening in one year) but even a long term drought would not effect all regions of the US equally hard as HW suggests (excluding the NW). There would probably be some areas with enough rain for stable crops, but that generates it own set of problems between the haves and the have nots.

One note though the US was insanely good at producing food prewar, with inefficient conversion (livestock feed/ethanol/cornsyrup) and exports totaling well over 50%.

A thread lost from our old site (before I was running things and everything gets backed up religiously), had data I spent about a week researching on what the overall calorie generation if we just had 10% of prewar US production (and remember this was with government incentives not to grow).

Counting only the 6 most productive grain crops the generation was 3100 calories per day per person. This excludes all fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, game, etc. I know there would be losses and inefficiency everywhere (which is why i started at 10%), but there also would be expanded victory gardens, growing crops in parkland and similar expansion of agriculture. (Remember this is the 4th summer after the nukes so many issues of the initial food production issues would have been addressed - hybrid seeds for example).

Because of this and the fact that the drought (due to weather physics) cannot be everywhere, I still have a problem with the HW projected starvation rates.

If you want to throw in a blight or two (soviet bioweapons anyone?) you can probably hit the original numbers, but it is something again the I feel should be rethought if someone is looking closely at the details of HW.
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Old 06-17-2017, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by kato13 View Post
This thread covers the weaknesses of HW's handling of presidential succession.

http://forum.juhlin.com/showthread.p...ght=succession


If you still want a scism you could have a missing member of the line of succession be found after someone further down the line was promoted to president. Milgov following the promoted SecDEF and Civgov following SecState who was missing and presumed dead for a while.

There could even be some intrigue about Military forces knowing the possibility SecState could have been alive but did not provide that intelligence and pushed the promotion of SecDef anyway.
I have something along that line in my universe. My universe has (wait for it) the VP is still alive, but in a coma. The warhead aimed at the WH missed, and in the ensuing evacuation the VP's helo went down (a la "By Dawn's Early Light") she was discovered by a search part and taken to the Alternative Military Command Center. She's been in a coma since, which is why my Gen. Cummings refuses to acknowledge Pres Bowman.
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Old 06-18-2017, 09:15 PM
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I agree that significant crop losses would occur if we saw an increase over the worst months of 1934 and certainly if it ran into multiple years (HW has it all happening in one year) but even a long term drought would not effect all regions of the US equally hard as HW suggests (excluding the NW). There would probably be some areas with enough rain for stable crops, but that generates it own set of problems between the haves and the have nots.

One note though the US was insanely good at producing food prewar, with inefficient conversion (livestock feed/ethanol/cornsyrup) and exports totaling well over 50%.

A thread lost from our old site (before I was running things and everything gets backed up religiously), had data I spent about a week researching on what the overall calorie generation if we just had 10% of prewar US production (and remember this was with government incentives not to grow).

Counting only the 6 most productive grain crops the generation was 3100 calories per day per person. This excludes all fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, game, etc. I know there would be losses and inefficiency everywhere (which is why i started at 10%), but there also would be expanded victory gardens, growing crops in parkland and similar expansion of agriculture. (Remember this is the 4th summer after the nukes so many issues of the initial food production issues would have been addressed - hybrid seeds for example).

Because of this and the fact that the drought (due to weather physics) cannot be everywhere, I still have a problem with the HW projected starvation rates.

If you want to throw in a blight or two (soviet bioweapons anyone?) you can probably hit the original numbers, but it is something again the I feel should be rethought if someone is looking closely at the details of HW.
One of the things I've been reading up on recently is the early history of rail transportation. Prior to the development of railroads, there were cases where famine and plenty were separated by only a few dozen miles, because food couldn't be easily transported more than a very short distance unless conditions were just right (being on the same river system, mostly). Using Florida as an example (since I grew up there), the coastal communities should mostly survive; fishing and trade along the coasts will let most of them do OK. Orlando will shrink dramatically; the only port within 50 miles is Sanford, which is 24 miles away and is about 150 miles from the ocean along the St. Johns River, which would become difficult to navigate as the dredged channels silted up. There's no good way of transporting food there without motorized rail or road vehicles.

On a grander scale, the ease of transporting goods in an industrialized society has led to extensive specialization predicated on being able to move goods from where they're concentrated to areas where they're needed. Without that transportation network, it becomes a crippling overspecialization. Corn and animals from the Great Plains can't reach the northeast, citrus and celery and cotton from the South has difficulty reach the Great Lakes, and the Rocky Mountains are basically a wall preventing any significant trade across them. Being able to grow crops isn't enough on its own; they need to be able to be transported where they're needed.
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Old 06-19-2017, 08:32 AM
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In our campaign, we focused more on small scale local farming efforts and stepped away from the need to ship food across country. Smaller towns, victory gardens at EVERY home and keeping populations limited by the areas ability to grow its own food. If you are saying you can support 3-5 people per acre with modern farming practices and thinking about more organic natural systems, limit the population to that number times the number of acres you can put under seed.

If you get creative with your food production, there is NO reason why people have to die from hunger here. Its about priorities, training and dedication.

Today we are all distracted by the shiny things and the fact all I need to do is run down to the store to get some food or go to the local drive thru place. After a nuclear exchange, people will realize the need to be self sufficient.
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Old 06-19-2017, 10:57 AM
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On a grander scale, the ease of transporting goods in an industrialized society has led to extensive specialization predicated on being able to move goods from where they're concentrated to areas where they're needed. Without that transportation network, it becomes a crippling overspecialization. Corn and animals from the Great Plains can't reach the northeast, citrus and celery and cotton from the South has difficulty reach the Great Lakes, and the Rocky Mountains are basically a wall preventing any significant trade across them. Being able to grow crops isn't enough on its own; they need to be able to be transported where they're needed.
Amen. I think that a lot of folks grossly underestimate the impact that the breakdown of our modern transportation system would have on food supplies. Seriously, how many of us would be able to survive if the shelves at the local supermarket were bare?

Those that minimize this impact should read up on the Hongerwinter, 1944-'45. Think about how a regional embargo of food and fuel could affect even a small country like Holland. Now, apply that scenario to a much, much larger country like the U.S.A. The impact would be devastating.

Now I know that a lot of people think that the mega-drought described in HW is terribly unrealistic and, perhaps, they are correct. But even a reprise of the widespread drought that occurred during the early 1930s could have devastating consequences when coupled with a badly disrupted transportation system (major hubs nuked, fuel and automotive/locomotive parts in very short supply).
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Old 06-19-2017, 11:00 AM
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Being able to grow crops isn't enough on its own; they need to be able to be transported where they're needed.
These restrictions while more complicated than an all encompassing (and hard to justify with science) drought, are to me much more interesting and actually allow the players to have an effect.

A 40-60% drought in 40+ continental states, to me, is overkill and doesn't allow for variation in what the players are dealing with. From HWs description the US will by august be dried out dead crops from sea to shining sea.

If you want a dire scenario have a worse than the 1934 drought in 16 major food producing states. Have a flu in a half dozen more. Have a hurricane swamp Florida or the Gulf Coast. Have transportation systems break down providing food to the East coast. Have locusts in the South and forest fires in California.

But have the overall effects be smaller, more localized, and more varied. Let the players mitigate the damage in a small area or simply move on to greener pastures.

I rarely venture from facts and into opinions and I suppose the above is about as much opinion as I ever do, but I feel it is a reasonable one given how unrealistic some aspects of HW are.

The writers of HW had what, a year to think things out, we have a group here that has been thinking about it for 30+ years. A larger group, with more access to information than the original team (mightily talented as they were) could ever dream of. I personally don't want to put any blocks on peoples efforts to find better and more interesting solutions to questions many of us ask about the game.
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Old 06-19-2017, 11:09 AM
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But have the overall effects be smaller, more localized, and more varied. Let the players mitigate the damage in a small area or simply move on to greener pastures.
I like this approach. I don't know what the writers of HW were thinking. I don't know if they were really trying to plot out a future that would dovetail with T2300 or whatever. I suspect that they were trying to create a U.S. in which the players' actions could have a bigger impact but I agree with those who think that they went a bit overboard.

I favor a small solution- something akin to what you outlined- over a major RETCON.

Again, I can see how HW can really bother GM's with a macro-view mindset focused on world-building, but I also agree with those who've pointed out that the players in a single campaign are probably not too worried about the big picture- are they really going to know or care about the TOE of the entire U.S. military c. 2001, or the nationwide death rate? They're probably going to be more concerned about the marauders over the next hill, or the NA cell trying to set up shop near their cantonment, or feeding the small town they call home.
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Old 06-19-2017, 11:26 AM
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Again, I can see how HW can really bother GM's with a macro-view mindset focused on world-building, but I also agree with those who've pointed out that the players in a single campaign are probably not too worried about the big picture- are they really going to know or care about the TOE of the entire U.S. military c. 2001, or the nationwide death rate? They're probably going to be more concerned about the marauders over the next hill, or the NA cell trying to set up shop near their cantonment, or feeding the small town they call home.
I can see both sides but an HW with many smaller problems can be enjoyable to more groups. If everything goes bad you get the current HW, if the players can solve one or two problems in a macro way, you get something just a little bit better in one region. If you have a HUGE macro campaign where you can get traffic moving on the Mississippi, Tamiflu to the great lakes states and petrochemical fertilizers and insecticides from Texas to the South, maybe just maybe a real difference can be made.

Last edited by kato13; 06-19-2017 at 11:32 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:13 PM
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I can see both sides but an HW with many smaller problems can be enjoyable to more groups. If everything goes bad you get the current HW, if the players can solve one or two problems in a macro way, you get something just a little bit better in one region. If you have a HUGE macro campaign where you can get traffic moving on the Mississippi, Tamiflu to the great lakes states and petrochemical fertilizers and insecticides from Texas to the South, maybe just maybe a real difference can be made.
Agreed, Kato. This is what I'm calling the Small Solution- a toned-down version of HW where things are still bad but not that bad.
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:24 PM
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Agreed, Kato. This is what I'm calling the Small Solution- a toned-down version of HW where things are still bad but not that bad.
And agreed here as well Raellus and Kato - never said to get rid of all of HW - there are good things in there - but overall the way its written its so hopeless that players can't really do anything but barely survive

and that is completely different from the previous American modules where players could really make a difference by their actions

as obviously HW was written to show - i.e. NA isnt written saying the kidnapping of NA's leader hadnt happened yet or failed - it very definitely said it had succeeded and NA was disorganized as a result of it
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:39 PM
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Seriously, how many of us would be able to survive if the shelves at the local supermarket were bare?
That really depends on how many guns and bullets you have versus the other fellow with the food, doesn't it?
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Old 06-19-2017, 02:56 PM
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That really depends on how many guns and bullets you have versus the other fellow with the food, doesn't it?
That's a nightmare scenario that doesn't bode well for the future of American civilization. Who needs a mega-drought when your own neighborhood turns on itself?
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:12 PM
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Agreed, Kato. This is what I'm calling the Small Solution- a toned-down version of HW where things are still bad but not that bad.
Now that is an idea
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Old 06-19-2017, 10:22 PM
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That's a nightmare scenario that doesn't bode well for the future of American civilization. Who needs a mega-drought when your own neighborhood turns on itself?
The REAL NIGHTMARE is where you are holding barbeques with the neighbors as the main course!!

I was struck at how dire HW painted and things and remember thinking that very thought during my first reading.
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