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kalos72 02-15-2009 05:09 PM

So you all know, I am trying to run a 2k campaign in Manhattan where my group sort of sets up shop to take over.

So with that in mind...

My problem is calculating food production numbers...most publications give Manhattan alone a population of over 100k.

I am having some measurable problems with trying to figure the math out to feed 100k people. Or even how they can feed themselves.

Have any of you worked out details on fishing fleets/food production numbers and such?

Webstral 02-15-2009 10:05 PM

I've never done the math. My impression is that 100k people are being fed a) poorly, b) by eating everything in sight, and c) with as much trade to communities elsewhere as possible. I'll be the first to admit that the 100k population figure requires a bit of suspension of disbelief. On the other hand, I'm claiming in "Thunder Empire" that 400,000 can be supported with local resources in Cochise, Santa Cruz, and Pima Counties. I'd be willing to consider almost any plausible explanation--if for no other reason than to support the official history. (I read the canon post)


kato13 02-16-2009 12:22 AM

Agricultural census for 1997

New York Agriculture county breakdown for 1997



Won't help for fishing except to tell you that New York state has a few fish farms, but might help with agricultural production for neighboring counties.

Mohoender 02-16-2009 02:57 AM

If Manhattan was spared so was Long Island. At time, I had done some math and came up with a final figure of about 400k survivors with 100k in Manhattan and the remaining ones in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island.

Long Island can be turned in farmland (actually it still has several farmers I think). Fishing is important of course and I can imagine the people in the area trading with the fishermen of Rhode Island (or fighting with them over fishing areas). Of course, central park had been turned into farmlands.

Feeding would be poor and unequal (especially because of the gangs) but I think that it can work.

What do you think? Actually I have never seen anything on Long Island and I have the feeling it would play a major role.

kato13 02-16-2009 03:11 AM

Queens, Kings (Brooklyn),Nassau and Suffolk counties make up Long Island.

Kings county has 8 farms covering 8 acres.
Nassau county has 55 farms covering 1,390 acres.
Queens county has 2 farms covering 4 acres.
Suffolk county has 606 farms covering 35,858 acres.

Legbreaker 02-16-2009 04:18 AM

They're not farms, they're backyard vegetable plots!

100k seems very excessive to me, but as has been posted, it's possible I think provided the inhabitants aren't picky about what they eat. Rats, dogs, cats, pigeons, you name it would all see duty on the dinner plate.
Anywhere something can grow, somebody is almost certainly trying to grow something. Even in dank, dark cellars! (mushrooms)
Of course we can't forget parks, vacant blocks, rooftops and so on. Hydroponic systems are likely to be fairly widespread and especially useful for the winter months if set up indoors. Indoor (even outdoor) swimming pools could be converted into fish ponds (food, not gold).

So, I don't think food production is likely to be on a large scale, but just about everyone will be involved in it somehow. Yes, fishing the surrounding waters is very likely, but I believe that would represent a very small percentage of the total.

Targan 02-16-2009 04:54 AM

If the T2K population of Manhatten Island includes dements, well we know what they are often happy enough to eat...

Legbreaker 02-16-2009 05:50 AM

In times of short supply, I think many people might resort to that (even if they never admit to it later).

kalos72 02-16-2009 08:19 AM

Long Island will be a major part of the collective AFTER the players secure and organize Manhattan. Three of the 5 players grew up there so they want to "rule" Manhattan as it were. :)

I completely see the suggestions as possible, if not must have, scenarios. Mushrooms, fish farms, pigeon pens, rabbits, rat hunting perhaps farming, are all great ways to supplement food production.

Parks and every flat piece of land will be turned and cultivated of course. But without massive demolition the most free land we could come up with is bout 3000-4000 acres. And by our research the most we might get from that land, considering current conditions, is maybe 4 people fed for every acre we devote to food production. But you might want some of it for raising livestock or fuel production too...

Thats gonna leave alot of mouths to feed, and considering the availability of fishing vessels in the surrounding area, fishing seems the logical choice. The original rules give us something like 80kgs per person per day in open water, taking some things for granted for gameplay. But others have noted that if possible, some of the larger fishing vessels could feed much much more then that.

Does anyone have any numbers or resources they know of to project some actual numbers?

I have never been one for "just believe me" gaming, it has to make sense and have a base in at least a lil reality. :)

Thanks for all the great ideas, keep em coming.

jester 02-16-2009 01:32 PM

Roof tops and gardens can represent a new form of "fields." Especialy in garden pots and tables laid out like a greenhouse.

And also think of vertical gardening. Things like vine plants that grow either up or town the side of a building from one balcony. Which could have a new group of people or kids whose purpose is to scale up say a net that the plants grow on as they scale the side of the buildings harvesting and tending the vines. And also, toss in folks using the windowwashers cart to tend and harvest as well.

These could then become castles in the sky. Where a modern fuedal lord would have several buildings, perhaps having a skywalk or even a zipline with either cablecars or just a zipline allowing his workers and his soldiers to move from building to building protecting their buildings and more importantly their crops.

And then, adding some fantasy to it, they could also have a team of members with paragliders or rectangular parachutes to land and raid their rivals, or even an ultralights or two for scouting, or, a hangglider or two again used to swoop down and attack their enemies as well as scouting.

Also, maybe falconry by the lord and his senior vassals attacking the children of their enemies as they tend the gardens, or the poor wretches who scramble in the ruble to eack out a living for nothing more than sport. Or to damage the enemys pigeon flock. Or even a modern form of cockfighting, except in this case, the birds would fight one another midflight.

And another option is along the rivers and harbor, raisng muscles is very easy! All you need is to place strings in the water and before long they will attatch themselves and grow. I can see pens along the water where these could be grown and jeaously guarded as well. With the harvest smoked or dried.

I can see several scenarios here, the muscle harvesters or waterfront people fighting with the people who farm the few ground based lands, and the people of the skyscrappers thinking they are the higher of people fighting them all, and then we have the poor who sift through the ruble in several groups and then the tunnel dwellers. Toss in those who actively fish who have a relation with the waterfront folk and you have ALOT of groups to battle over scarce resources.

Legbreaker 02-16-2009 08:53 PM

The problem I see with large fishing boats is that of fuel. Where are they going to get it, how much will they have to pay for it, and so on.
The larger boats can potentially catch tonnes of fish in a short period of time, but with food in such a short supply in the city already, little will be available to brew alcohol.

Perhaps it takes several months to brew enough for a two day voyage, maybe they have to be based many miles away and travel, or maybe raiding for fuel is an option (both on land at at sea).

Smaller wind powered boats are likely to be common, however I'm thinking there's likely to be a skill shortage for sailing them and they're not exactly all weather vessels. A decent storm is going to keep them in port and out of production for days.

Fishing in the immediate area is likely to be poor with centries of city development polluting the waterways and overfishing depleting prewar stocks. Three years after the nukes, the chemical pollutants are probably still there with the added radioactive pollution not helping the situation.

Fish stocks may have increased due to less intensive fishing, but you'd have to be hungry to risk chemical and radiation poisioning (but them these people are effectively living next to a couple of nuke craters...)

In my mind, cities are not the place to be post nuke. Fine for a visit and quick scavenge, but you wouldn't want to live there.

Targan 02-16-2009 10:34 PM


Originally Posted by jester
And another option is along the rivers and harbor, raisng muscles is very easy! All you need is to place strings in the water and before long they will attatch themselves and grow.

Mussels and other shellfish can be dangerous to eat if they are grown in areas with pollution such as heavy metals or radioactive fallout.

jester 02-17-2009 05:08 AM

Leg Breaker and Targan;

We must weigh the whole living in a nuked city in a post nuke work and eating muscles that are filter feeders that have been exposed to contaminants. Sorry guys, but I am laughing right now and its not just the bourbon. Kinda like when I was in and the hippie health freaks were protesting Marlboro from giving us free smokes. Yeah smokes can kill you but being in a combat zone where lead is slung your way is alot more unhealthy. Which would you rather go out by?

And another thing to consider, what is the live of a muscle? Most of the ones who would have had a signifigant exposure to the massive polutants and toxins durring the war and immeidatly after would have died at the end of their life cycle falling to the bottom of the river/bay. A newly farmed crop would be less dangerous and you would only have to worry about recent contaminants. Since its best to do it in a bay with tidal activity or river alot of the polutants would have moved on. Not all but most. And the risk would be no more than breathing the air or going outside in the region a few months or years after a strike.

As for a lack of sailing ability.

There are ALOT of weekend sailors who are pretty good. And a good number of sailboats in the 30+ foot class in the area. <Hell they have ALOT for sale on EBAY most of the time, much cheaper than here in Cali> Those would be the ones I would bet would have the lucratrive trade of going fishing I would say 1000 to 1200 25 foot or better who could make it a decent distance to fishing areas. And of course carry enough netting and have enough cargo capacity for a worthwhile catch.

There is something else to consider, in many areas regular fish still have contaminants of mercury and DDT and other pesticides in their systems, it is usualy the predatory fish though. I know in my area they have warning that localy caught fish a person should not eat more than two meals of fish a month if the fish are from local waters. So, how long are people to wait? And if they are starving and there is little other option? Really what does it matter?

Targan 02-17-2009 05:23 AM

I see where you are coming from Jest but shellfish can continue to live and grow while containing toxins which at the same levels would kill a mammal. If heavily contaminated shellfish were a major part of your diet you would have major health problems within a few years, maybe even months. And they would be really nasty, non-reversible health problems too - kidney and liver damage, cancers, stuff like that.

TiggerCCW UK 02-17-2009 05:38 AM


Originally Posted by jester
Sorry guys, but I am laughing right now and its not just the bourbon.

Aren't time zone differences great! You're drinking Bourbon and I've just had breakfast with my daughter! Makes you realise that we really are a global community on here!

kato13 02-17-2009 05:50 AM


Originally Posted by TiggerCCW UK
Aren't time zone differences great! You're drinking Bourbon and I've just had breakfast with my daughter! Makes you realise that we really are a global community on here!

The board on which the sun never sets. :D

jester 02-17-2009 05:58 AM

It is Targ! Truly, I realized that as I was sipping on good Dutch Beer I found at the market and some nice hot French bread with a spinach dip as I posted how great it was on the yahoo forum.

As for the whole cumulative effects of contaminated food. I guess what I was getting at was when a person and his faimily is starving they will ignore long term effects for immeidate satation of hunger. And recently raised as in farmed post war you would only have to deal with lingering contaminants. The plus side, most of the routine contaminants would cease instantly. Which is something we have never seen in history, to have them stop all together.

I do understand about contaminated muscles and such. There are oytsters near my marina where my boat is and where I lived for a time that were as big as a childs head, I sliced the sole of my foot on the lip of one towing my raft along the shore after the engine failed. A huge oyster for sure, but I would not eat that muscle if my life depended on it. At least at present time. If I were on the brink of starvation then I may reconsider. But knowing what is up the river that flows into that little bay, no thank you!

headquarters 02-17-2009 06:14 AM

how many rations / month
I would simplify -and have done in previous sessions -

1. try to deduce number of boats and crew available

2. split into 1 or 2 caregories :ocean /deep sea and the other coastal

3. set a base value of kg fish that they pull in pr workday and multiply with number of boats

4.roll a dice to determine if its a bad or good month and modify total catch acccordingly

5. roll a dice to gleen the number of people eating bad stuff and getting sick

6.new month /week -repeat
7.obviously fishfarms and shell fish breeding grounds will be another matter ,but for simplicity just follow the above procedure and change names ,places and capacity .

GM tip -be stricter rather than lenient to keep your players from creating a surplus that takes the fear of hunger out of them .

As for other means of feeding people ratfarms,hogfarms,rabbitfarms,mushrooms in the dung cellars,every available pot and bucket filled with soil and potatoted ( stacks of old tires can be used to this end as well )
Insects are very protein rich and I guess cockroaches could be cultivated in a sense .

(yeah..I know..but it is after the nuclear holocaust after all )

look up potato farming -it doesnt require the expertise of most agriculture and it demands little in the way of infrastructure.Good dirt,dung and water will do most of it . Ask Graebearde for number of square feet needed pr person with agricultural program.(Look up the farming thread -his stuff is good ).

give each "farm" or "fishery" a monthly or weekly value and add/subtract after the "RESULT " roll is done .

Lack of fuel or foul weather etc will be bad , but PCs managing to conquer a traincar with fertilizers from marauders will be good etc .

Just suggestions of course .

kalos72 02-17-2009 01:45 PM

Some good discussion here guys. Thanks, giving me lost of ideas. :)

HQ - I will definitely simplify it for "maintenance" rolls and such. But my problem now is to try and get a realistic number as a baseline for kg caught per person/day.

I was going to go with something like this:

Fishing from a boat on a large body of water will triple my catch.
Base MoS of 5 as an average - will develop a training cadre to increase the fishermens skill levels.
10hr days

Each fishermen will catch on average 150 "meals" or roughly 350kgs of fish.

This is a "compilation" of both v2.2 and 2013 rules and some assumptions for game "playability".

kalos72 02-17-2009 03:25 PM

Anyone have any feedback on those numbers? Good? Bad? :)

Legbreaker 02-17-2009 04:37 PM

As my previous posts tried to imply, seafood (and other sources) are almost certainly contaminated with something, however, if you're hungry, you'll eat anything.

I've got some numbers at home for food requirements and space necessary to support life in a sealed environment. Not a lot of help with collection, but could be useful working out space necessary for crops, animals, etc.
I'll post the link in about 10-12 hours.

kalos72 02-17-2009 04:41 PM

Thanks Legbreaker, everything might help. :)

As for contamination, I understand your point. But seeing as most of the commercial style fishing happens in open ocean, I dont see that playing any more of a part then it might now.

A mans gotta eat...

Legbreaker 02-17-2009 05:03 PM

Yes, you've got to eat....
With regard to sailing skills, what's to say all the recreational sailors stayed in New York? If they had a boat, I'd imagine they'd have sailed off into the sunset at the first sign of trouble. Those that stayed are likely to have suffered a similar casualty rate as the rest of the populace in the attack and subsequent famines, plagues, riots, etc which would have added to the impulse to get out in any way possible, and a boat ride is a lot better than walking!

Since '97 those few remaining would be exposed to piracy as well as kidnapping, etc (sail for us or else).

kalos72 02-17-2009 05:10 PM

Numbers would be small at first...not everyone can be a commercial fisherman, just watch Deadliest Catch once and you will know. :)

But as I have said, I would form Training Cadres to ever increase the number of available fishermen/sailors. Of course the same for boats of course. I wont simply be able to field 100 boats with 5000 people as crew to feed millions. :P

But the part I am having problems with is the math. Based on the rules, and game experience, does the math I posted a few posts up work for most people?

kato13 02-17-2009 07:12 PM


Originally Posted by kalos72
But the part I am having problems with is the math. Based on the rules, and game experience, does the math I posted a few posts up work for most people?

As someone who is a math nut I have a problem blessing numbers without a little more research. That being said nothing leaps out at me as being ridiculous.

After a few trips to South Korea, I was amazed at how productive their small, labor intensive, personal gardens were. The largest percentage of their agricultural production is based on family rice farms of 3 hectares (7.413 acres) or less. The fact that these farms are primarily located in mountainous terrain makes it even more impressive.

Hard work plus a culture of self sufficiency lead to this country, which is the size of Indiana and has a population of 47 million, be able to remain a net food exporter as recently as 2002. (I know this is in monetary value not calories, so processed food and meat exports might skew the results, but it is nonetheless impressive.)

I also at one point in the past determined that in terms of sheer calories from grain production alone, the United States could feed the T2k canon population 2000 calories a day with something like 11% of prewar production. This excluded all meats/fruits/vegetables/nuts and fields which were purposely left to fallow to keep prices artificially high. It also did not include newly gardened areas. (I really wish RPGhost had not purged that post, as it was A LOT of work. Oh well that wont be an issue if I decide to do it again).

All of this information has radically changed my opinions of how many people can be fed from a small area. I know this makes me one of the more optimistic GMs in terms of food production, but I like my numbers :D.

Mohoender 02-18-2009 04:43 AM


Originally Posted by kato13
All of this information has radically changed my opinions of how many people can be fed from a small area. I know this makes me one of the more optimistic GMs in terms of food production, but I like my numbers :D.

I'm as optimistic as you are but that's only because I already witnessed how much food you can get even from a small garden. What you'll lose the most in a T2K setting will be diversity. What can be a real problem, however, is the weather and planting planning.

A good inspiration for that could be "Reign of Fire". I love the dragons but the community is exactly what I would expect a T2K community to be. The military unit is also great using all kind of equipements.

Legbreaker 02-18-2009 05:21 AM

Don't know how much use it'll be, but that site contains just about all you'd even need to know about life support, food and water requirements in a closed environment (ie spaceship or base).
Stumbled across it while researching for my Aliens game.

kcdusk 02-22-2009 03:40 AM

Agreed, i think 100k people would be underfed. A major population area isnt the place to be.

Most people, civilians, wouldnt know or even think some foods could be contaminated.

Soldeirs, scientists and others who knew there was a chance of food contamination would either move on or do what they gotta do ...

The 'strong" would make sure there food was of a higher quality.

If your into fishing, dont forget grenade fishing.

Jason 02-22-2009 07:45 AM

kalos72, do you have 'Armies of the Night'? It is very useful to anyone running a campaign in NYC. I know you are mostly looking for info and stats on fishing and food consumtion, but I find no information in the module that indicates fishing provides food for the survivors in Manhattan. Here are a few notes from the module.

Many thousands (tens -of-thousands?) of NYC's inhabitants are virtual slaves under the yoke of the Mayor or another gang. These slaves are certainly underfed.

Cockroaches are mentioned; "roaches are an important source of food. As edible as any other arthopod, they are much smaller than lobsters-but far more numerous, and considerably easier to trap."

Pigeons are present in the millions, and use the lower tiers of buildings that had their windows blown out by blast damage or vandals.

Rats are another pest that Manhattan's residents call lunch.

The gang that took over the Seaport Museum uses captured sailing vessels to raid nearby farming communities on the East and Hudson rivers. Food is the primary target of these raids.

Rovers seem very active in searching buildings for lost or forgotten caches of food. During the build-up to the nuclear war many residents stock piled food and water. When the bombs fell on the Thanksgiving holiday, many people were away from the city, and never made it back to thier pre-war stash.

In the street markets of Manhattan T2K a 9mm pistol is worth 35 kg of canned/ domestic food, while an M16 is valued at 120 kg.

Though it is never mentioned, I always imagined that many people fished from shore, bridges, or docks as best as they could manage with improvised poles and throw lines.

I just wanted to give you some of this info. I think it is cool if you want to make fish a major part of the economy in your game. This could lead to all kinds of game hooks like controlling the vibrant fish market(s), communities that specialize in salting/smoking fish for preservation, fishermen who are attacked by pirates etc.

I had a campaign in NYC once years ago where the players tried to set up a supply line to import wheat-flour and bake bread on a large scale. This baked bread would have been distributed among the poor peaceful communities to encourage the locals to support the players. This never really got past the planning stages, although the team did recon several retail and commercial bakeries.

The problem with these types of plans is that NYC is one of the most violent, desperate places on earth, where the strongest gang-members carry multiple firearms and are veterans of the streets. Gun battles among a landscape saturated by hard cover and dangerous terrain is serious business, and my players managed enough bad luck to spend about half the campaign recovering from one serious wound or another. Good times.

Targan 02-22-2009 09:40 AM

In my campaign the PCs caused so much mayhem at the markets they attended in NYC that the frequency of market gatherings sharply decreased and the PC's party were pretty much persona non grata.

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