Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

The Rule of Six: California and Los Angeles in Autoduel

Most setting books and boxed sets for role playing games just mystified me back in the day. How on earth do you run those things? They just seemed like all fluff and blah blah blah. Blah. Blah blah blah! The problem here for a novice game master is that the setting is presented as sort of a monolithic blob of information. Someone without years of gaming experience will have just no idea of what he needs to pull out and push in front of the players. Buying more books about specific subregions of the setting never seemed to helped me– that just expanded the problem at a slightly lower level of resolution! What I needed to know back in the day was that I should use the Rule of Six to break things down into workable and comprehensible chunks.

This post will demonstrate just how to do it… with an example taken from everybody’s favorite post-apocalyptic vehicular combat game. For the adventure level, I’d have to drill-down further than what I’ve done here. For a wide ranging campaign, I’d eventually want to go upward and do something similar at the national and world level. Traveler referees would have to go even further and do this at the subsector and sector levels as well! Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about that. Some good, solid local color is all I need for a single game session.

Six things about California in Autoduel:

  1. While California was largely unaffected by the Grain Blight, palm trees were nevertheless completely wiped out by a similar disease. The threat of biological agents is considered serious to this day, however, and it is illegal to transport uninspected fruits and vegetables into the state.
  2. Control of Northern Californias water supply is a divisive political issue. There is a significant amount of sabotage and fighting along the pipeline.
  3. The Mexican Jefes (warlords) frequently raid the state and illegal aliens are a serious problem. Border patrol stations on north bound highways routinely stop vehicles to search for them.
  4. Northern California seceded from the union, but the state national guardsmen were no match for the U.S. army. Tensions between the northern and southern parts of the state remain high. (It wasn’t long ago that refugees from L.A. were kept out of the North at gunpoint.)
  5. California is the birthplace of autodueling. There’s a two year waiting list to get into amateur night events and there is a great deal of road dueling in the state.
  6. On I-5 between San Francisco and L.A. you can expect tolls and lots of traffic. (It’s heavily patrolled by State Troopers.) North of Sacramento it is not as traveled and becomes dangerous. There have been many disappearances on I-80 in Northern California.

Six things about Los Angeles in Autoduel:

  1. The city was subjected to three years of complete anarchy after the earthquake in 2015. When the food ran out, nearby Orange County was burned to the ground.
  2. The city has balkanized into over one hundred distinct Civic Territories. The rich ones are independent fortress towns. The poor ones are rife with drug abuse and almost constant gang battles.
  3. The studios are heavily fortified miniature cities run by bosses that micromanage every aspect of life and office politics inside. See The Firm (1993) for inspiration. Competition between networks is fierce– it is not uncommon to see news helicopters fighting over the chance to cover the best road dueling action.
  4. Los Angeles has four major arenas and numerous minor ones. Roger Burton West’s arena map listing has the city listed as including the Civic Arena, The Hollywood Bowl (ADQ 7-4), The Jet Track (ADQ 5-3), The Muscle Downs, and the Tar Pit.
  5. Los Culebras Feroces and the Cruzados are two major gangs in the city. To join, you must have a vehicle (ideally a low-rider!) and kill a rival gang member. Note that gang violence is actually legal in most of L.A.!
  6. Freeways are safe, but side streets are dangerous. While duels are common, ambushes are rare– fights are usually either avoidable or one-on-one.

So… if you don’t want to get stopped driving northbound in Southern California, then maybe a big van with tinted windows isn’t the brightest idea. And in L.A., they will kill you– but you will at least be awake, facing them, and armed when they do it. Enjoy your trip!

7 responses to “The Rule of Six: California and Los Angeles in Autoduel

  1. Chris Mata November 13, 2012 at 7:42 am

    One of your best posts yet.

  2. Douglas Cole November 13, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Nice post. Love the Malreference.

  3. PeterD November 13, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Great stuff. I should do a “Six Things About Stericksburg” for my players (and readers alike).

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