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Old 12-24-2012, 08:04 PM
John Farson John Farson is offline
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Default Twilight 2000 Nordic Sourcebook: Living conditions in the Nordic countries

Hello, here's a bit from the Finnish Nordic Sourcebook. It's about general post-war conditions in the Nordic countries. Note that the material here is from 1990, so here the war was fought between the US and USSR and is therefore a different timeline from the Finnish T2k sourcebook (which has non-Soviet Russia instead).
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Living conditions in the Nordic countries

In 1995 the Nordic countries were very wealthy and industrialized nations, but everything has changed after five years of warfare. Half the population of the Nordic countries has died because of the food crises and pandemics that have arisen due to the cessation of fertilizer production and the collapse of the public health service. Most people now earn their living through farming, which has returned to medieval methods. Reindeer herding has proved successful in Lapland and fishing is part of everyday life. Food can be traded for other useful goods in trading posts that are protected by soldiers. In cities the only hard currency is gold and silver.

Life is very harsh, and the weak are swept aside by the strong. Outside of cities and villages and the protection of their military contingents are vast areas of wilderness where there is no one to help you. Subsequently forests and fells are the hunting grounds of various raider groups, who hunt game as well as people. The worst-off nation is Sweden, where the ongoing civil war has driven the country into almost complete anarchy. Norway suffered severely in the nuclear exchange, losing 75% of its population. Its largest cities were turned to piles of rubble in the process. Sweden sustained a few strikes against its oil refineries and defense industry but was otherwise spared from further nuclear attack. Finland’s capital Helsinki was attacked with two nuclear warheads, but the damage was limited. Otherwise casualties were few due to an efficient civil defense program. Although the attacks were followed by nuclear autumn instead of nuclear winter, the climate became wetter and rainier, particularly in Finland. In Sweden and Norway the effects of the sea mitigated the cooling of the climate, but agriculture has been severely hit all the same. The collapse of the chemical industry has ended the use of fertilizers, and the oil shortage has done the same with tractors. Horses are used far more in agriculture than before. Army units have also been used in harvesting and the spring planting. Alcohol has become the most important substitute for gasoline, and almost every village has some sort of distillery as a result. In Finland the great distilleries at Rajamäki and Koskenkorva survived the war intact, and as a result they have become the most important fuel producers in the country.

Standard of living

Throughout the Nordic countries life in more or less organized communities is relatively tolerable. Most of the population works for a living and they get paid in essential goods – usually in the form of food and supplies. Most of the populace produces food, weapons, ammunition, alcohol, clothes and other necessities. Production is usually small-scale but sufficient for the local area. Those supplies that can’t be produced are sought through trade as much as possible, via ports and the Baltic Trade (see Baltic Trade). Many have, however, gone into banditry in the hopes of an easier life, but the relatively strong armies in the Nordic lands (in relation to population level) keep things under control, and those living near military units have no great reason to fear.

Most of the population lives in houses built before the war, which have gradually decayed over the years. Apartment buildings have been nearly entirely abandoned for practical reasons (no district heating, no running water), or in rare cases have been transformed into semi-independent fortified communities. Detached houses and row houses in residential areas and rural farms are typical dwelling places. Few have electricity or running water. Though most nuclear power plants can be restored to operational use, the national grids are only distant memories. Plentiful wood reserves are the only heating sources everywhere except in Denmark, where everything possible – from animal waste to old porn magazines – are thrown to the boiler. The water comes from the nearest well, lake or stream and is not a problem.

With regards to house ownership in the Nordic lands, “possession is nine-tenths of the law” usually applies. A relatively low pre-war level of urbanization, limited nuclear destruction and maintenance of public order have ensured that the housing problem has stayed small. There are no large-scale permanent refugee camps. Those who have been rendered homeless after some local catastrophe (raider attack) usually seek out the nearest military unit, after which they are resettled relatively quickly – except in Sweden, where they most likely take up banditry themselves, join the army or die.

Taxation

Farmers in Denmark are expected to produce a required amount of agricultural produce as set by the authorities. This entitles him and his family to receive regular protection from the army as well as essential supplies for farm work. Otherwise the now ex-farmer will be conscripted as a farm hand/maid/tenant farmer in a collective farm maintained by the army. Urban dwellers work in commerce and small-scale industry. They are required to perform corvée duty one day a week (on average) as their civic duty in various reconstruction efforts and during the harvest. A more or less similar system also exists in Norway and Finland. In return, those who comply normally receive ration cards from the authorities that entitle them to free goods and services (agricultural supplies, health services, legal protection etc.) as well as the purchase of rationed supplies.

Little remains of organized society in Sweden. The Royal and Republican armies neglect the civilians and often just take what they want. Those citizens who haven’t yet been (forcefully) recruited into either army see no difference between the soldiers and raiders. Houses and land are owned by those who can best beat the crap out of those who disagree. On the other hand, the Republican Army has lately sought to raise its profile among the people and has even sent soldiers on leave from the front to help civilians with their farm work.

In Iceland, which has largely stayed out of the war, life goes on more or less as usual. Since the beginning of the war there has been a shortage of grain products, but conversely there is more than enough fish and sheep. Hardly any trade exists between Iceland and continental Europe.

Habitation

Humans need a roof over their heads. Even if the character were a Nordic returning from the front to his own country, his old home may be no more than a pile of bricks, or its been given to some other homeless person/s. The population registers have been wiped out everywhere except in Finland, where the Tax Administration’s data is stored in a nuclear and EMP-proof bunker – though it is hardly much help to the person seeking to get his house back (apart from the Tax Administration finding out his identity).

If the character has no dwelling he can search one to rent from the nearest authorities or, in rare cases, private individuals (attic space). The rents charged by the latter can vary wildly, while the “prices” for housing supplied by the authorities has been mentioned in the previous paragraphs. However, the major problem involving this method is that the waiting lines can be quite long.

The last option, especially when one is further away from communities protected by the military, is to seek out an abandoned dwelling. This has its own dangers, such as the building being dangerously dilapidated, not to mention the possibility of surprise raider “visits”.

Currency

Money is no longer used in the Nordic countries, though Baltic Company-backed IOUs (for various supplies and precious metals) are accepted in all Baltic ports where the Company has an office. In addition to this, governments have various equivalent IOUs, but they are only accepted within the borders of their respective countries. Gold and silver are normal priced in population centers.

Baltic Trade

Fishing and ship-based commerce have become the central unifying factors for Baltic communities. Profitable trade has made some enterprising men rich, though many have also lost their entire fortunes at sea. The Baltic sea trade is a triangle trade between Poland, Finland and Sweden. Cottage industry products are exported via Gdansk, Riga and Tallinn to Finland, where Turku and Maarianhamina are highly popular ports due to the low price of alcohol. From Finland the trading vessels go to Sweden, whose extensive agriculture and Gotland fishing industry are important for the whole Baltic Sea region. Denmark, which has somewhat avoided the war, in turn supplies dairy products and eggs from its port in Copenhagen.

A somewhat loose confederation of businessmen has been created using the ancient Hanseatic League as a model. It has tried to set standard prices and joint storage facilities for all its members. Though these attempts have been very meager and have not always been followed, the Baltic Company already has offices in Gdansk, Liepaja, Ventspils, Riga, Maarianhamina, Turku, Hanko, Stockholm, Visby, Karlskrona, Copenhagen and Kiel. In practice the offices are little more than glorified sheds, but they do have the approval of local authorities, and they may well yet play a significant part in the eventual rebuilding and reconstruction of society.

Seafaring and trade on the Baltic is anything but calm sailing from point A to point B, however. Even without piracy, the minefields, floating mines and shipwrecks would make travel hazardous. The Hawks of the Gulf of Finland have especially acquired infamy as the worst gang of cutthroats in the whole Baltic Sea. This highly dangerous group has survived many traps set against them and continues to operate. The coastal raiders of Saaremaa have also made a name for themselves.

Health Care

Medical services in organized areas work somewhat. In population centers the medics of the local military unit and the former civilian doctors under their supervision are responsible for health care. In sparsely populated but otherwise stable areas army medics make the rounds to prevent outbreaks of disease. Doctors are often overworked round the clock.

Elsewhere citizens are forced to rely upon various quacks and Lappish witch doctors, though some of these doctors on the run from malpractice suits actually do know something and their qualifications vary from medical bath attendants to Doctors of Medicine (MD). The fees are usually as much as a desperate person can pay, and all of these “doctors” are hindered by a lack of proper equipment, not to mention operating rooms or anesthetics. A rusty Mora knife usually acts as a scalpel. Finding such a traveling doctor is an AVG:INT task (follow the screams).

Work and Pay

Nordic people work most often in agriculture or small-scale industry. The work is boring and conditions are poor; most work 60+ hours a week. The salary is nowhere near high, and is barely enough to make ends meet – about $500/week. Getting such a job is not a problem. Once a week a character can attempt to find a better paying job that suits his skills more. This is a DIF:INT task. Getting the job is DIF:INT or AVG:INT if the character has prior experience. Such a job usually pays $1,000/week, or less but with humane working hours. Most employers prefer to pay as much as possible of the salary in the form of products made at work (usually at least 50/50).

Specialized workers (mechanics, merchants) are usually entrepreneurs and don’t receive hourly wages. Instead, they charge as much as possible for their services. They are often rich by the standards of Twilight 2000 and may have employees.

In addition there are various tradesmen and soldiers of fortune who take up a job whenever one is available – they are usually paid a large lump sum. The aforementioned private doctors and guards hired by merchants are part of this group.

Prices

Generally speaking, prices are equivalent to those in the rest of Europe. Outside the large, army-supervised population centers prices are about 10% higher due to transportation costs, and this quickly goes up if travel is dangerous or otherwise hazardous. Merchants can join army convoys for a suitable fee (about 5-10% of the price of the merchandise).

Hi-tech military equipment is generally unavailable and the sale of other military equipment is usually a serious crime. Black market operators pay no mind to this, however, but the prices are multifold, and supply is often scarce (R/R).

Weapons

Before the war the Nordic countries had some of the toughest gun laws in the world. Those who had guns held onto them tightly when the war began. In Denmark, southern Norway and southern Finland there are virtually no weapons that have been abandoned by the army or that can be looted from dead soldiers. In these regions guns are rare. If there are firearms, they are many times more expensive than elsewhere. Because most civilian-owned firearms were hunting rifles and double-barreled shotguns (pump-action and automatic shotguns were banned), they are the most available. Museums and collectors’ hordes were looted long ago, and crossbows have once again become popular hunting weapons (lead is reserved for two-legged critters). The only types of ammunition that are commonly available are those of a local manufacture (Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Sweden 7.62N & 5.56N; Finland 7.62WP). Civilians reload their cartridges themselves, as well as they can, and the armies jealously guard the other rare types of ammunition (81mm mortar rounds and hand grenades are still being produced).

In Lapland, and throughout Sweden, things are different with regards to derelict weapons of war, and the situation is generally similar to that of Central Europe.

In Denmark, Norway and Finland each reservist (all men aged 18-60) has in theory their own equipment at home, which in practice means that about one in two families has a military weapon and a few clips of ammunition. There are only enough modern assault rifles for around a quarter, with the rest being saddled with outdated rifles and submachine guns. Carrying military weapons outside your home is still forbidden except for those in active duty.
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Old 12-28-2012, 05:19 PM
Lundgren Lundgren is offline
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Originally Posted by John Farson View Post
The worst-off nation is Sweden, where the ongoing civil war has driven the country into almost complete anarchy.
Did they have some background information giving some reasons for that civil war?
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Old 12-29-2012, 06:59 PM
John Farson John Farson is offline
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Did they have some background information giving some reasons for that civil war?
Yes, as a matter of fact. It's a long story, but in short, it involves a charismatic nationalist demagogue who takes advantage of the chaos after the nuclear exchange to rally a large number of people to his side and takes over pretty much all of Sweden north of Stockholm without almost firing a shot due to the fecklessness of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. I'm working on further translations of the sourcebook which will elaborate on that.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:01 AM
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Tombot Tombot is offline
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Originally Posted by John Farson View Post
I'm working on further translations of the sourcebook which will elaborate on that.
Oh Man, my T2k-Library is getting bigger and bigger. Thanks for the translation-work. You ARE a good man!
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:33 AM
John Farson John Farson is offline
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Oh Man, my T2k-Library is getting bigger and bigger. Thanks for the translation-work. You ARE a good man!
I aim to please.
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