Sunday, October 7, 2012

Politics in Year of the Phoenix

or 'There Are No Blue States In 2197'

With the U.S. Presidential election a month away, now is an appropriate time to discuss politics in Martin Wixted's Year of the Phoenix role playing game.  The Phoenix boxed set comes with a 17” x 22” 'Map of Amerika' which I don't particularly care for.  So I crafted my own version and the results of my efforts can be seen above.

The “United Provinces of Eastern Russia” consists of eighteen provinces, more or less based on former U.S. States and Canadian provinces.  Connecticut has been renamed New Minsk and Alaska is now Aleyeska (similar to Alyeska).  The mid-Atlantic region south of Pennsylvania is called Tidewater and Richmond (your humble host's stomping grounds) is the administrative center of Eastern Russia.  Lake Geneva is the provincial capital of Wisconsin, Wixted's not-so-subtle dig at TSR.  Each province is run by a Deputy-Governer.  The Deputy-Governers are elected democratically; however, there is only one political party – Communist.

There are five other Zoviet satellites in North Amerika as well as several Free States.  There is much unclaimed wilderness.  Astute observers will note that the Atlantic Ocean is now the Atlantis Ocean.  This is how it appears on the original map.  Although the phrase “Atlantic Ocean” is used in the Adventure Guide, that book contains another map that shows the “Atlantis Ocean.”  I'm assuming this is an intentional renaming by Wixted; I have, however, corrected Artic to Arctic.

Wixted imbues his setting with a tremendous amount of detail; he even has a population/ climate and linguistic maps for North Amerika.  (The linguistic map seems to have an error; nothing in the provided background suggests why Spanish would be prevalent in New England and the Canadian east coast.)  Page 14* consists of an operational unit diagram for the Zoviet occupation forces – the North American Strategic Direction.  ('Nasties' – derived from N.A.S.D. – is “foul language” slang used by Amerikans to refer  to Russians.)

In a 'sidebar' on page 11, Wixted provides the following information:
          The Peoples' Province of Eastern Russia [sic] is in a state of flux.  Until last year, the military had unlimited power over any Deputy.  But that has been steadily changing.  Deputy-governors [sic] and Deputy-Mayors have been challenging the absolute power of the military, and have been somewhat successful in curtailing operations within their own province.
          Characters may be able to exploit this internal unrest.
With regard to the 'Free States,' Wixted supplies details such as how they govern themselves, their view of Zoviet rule, current actions against Zoviets, how strangers are treated, etc.  Here are the nine Free States listed in the Adventure Guide (in alphabetical order):
  • Allouettes:  French Canadiens.  “Currently regrouping.”
  • Creole Country:  “Cajun/Creole inhabitants of the swamps and land around Louisiana, East Texas, Southern Arkansas.  Includes several Indian tribes.”
  • Dixie:  “Simplistically described as a revived Confederacy.”  Dixie is a theocracy in  Year of the Phoenix.  The area of Dixie is quite large considering they only have a population of 1,000.
  • King Country:  “The majority are Black and Oriental holdings.  Most minorities who fled from Zoviet oppression have wound up here.”
  • Maple Leaf Confederation:  “Union of northern New England and Canadian maritime provinces.”  Possibly fluent in Spanish.
  • Mormons:  “Largest passive Free State, located around the Great Salt Lake.  Manufactures most of the Amerikan flags.”
  • Native Amerikan Alliance:  “Indians from numerous reservations in the Pacific Northwest...who avoided much of the cataclysm's effects due to their relative isolation.”  Their view of Zoviet rule is – “Typical treatment by white man.”
  • Nonnewaug Resistance:  “Located on the former Staten Island, they keep the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World safe until the flag of freedom once again shines from sea to shining sea.”  This 'tribe' is featured in one of the introductory scenarios.
  • Star-six Country:  “Remnants of civilian and military population of Aleyeska.  Takes its name from the 6th Light Infantry Division and their star shoulder patch.  Strong martial spirit and traditions help them persevere through the harsh conditions.”

*  All page references in this post refer to the Adventure Guide.

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