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Old 07-03-2019, 12:33 AM   #1
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default So What IS ruined after an Apocalypse?

I recently shunted one of my superhero teams for my AEON campaign setting into the dark future of the campaign world. They haven't gone searching for supplies, but that's going to happen. While this is a cinematic game (duh, superheroes), said dark future does take place several decades later. So my question is what CAN survive and what CANNOT survive from the previous world that they could find.

I'd like to break this down like this if possible:

"Foo would realistically not survive after X years, though in a cinematic campaign it might by Y years. If sealed/packaged/not exposed to the elements it might last Z years."

Thanks for all who help!
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Last edited by Christopher R. Rice; 07-03-2019 at 12:48 AM.
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Old 07-03-2019, 12:46 AM   #2
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Default Re: So What IS ruined after an Apocalypse?

Canned goods and ammunition will last more or less indefinitely if they are not damaged. If out in the elements the cans will rust, get a puncture, etc. and ruin. Ammo in water etc. fares less well than ammo sealed in cans.

Soft goods -- fabric, paper, etc., will be gone in a couple of years in the elements. Some of this stuff may last many years of sealed in containers.
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Old 07-03-2019, 12:47 AM   #3
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Default Re: So What IS ruined after an Apocalypse?

One thing I wanted to bring up was batteries - how long would batteries last?
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Old 07-03-2019, 12:57 AM   #4
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Default Re: So What IS ruined after an Apocalypse?

If you are talking normal alkaline AA type batteries then 5-10 years before they lose charge. That’s assuming they aren’t stored in a device, which will drain power slowly even when switched off. It also assumes they don’t get wet or too hot.
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Old 07-03-2019, 01:08 AM   #5
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Default Re: So What IS ruined after an Apocalypse?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boomerang View Post
If you are talking normal alkaline AA type batteries then 5-10 years before they lose charge. Thatís assuming they arenít stored in a device, which will drain power slowly even when switched off. It also assumes they donít get wet or too hot.
Awesome. What about other types of batteries? Car batteries? Li-on and other lithium batteries? Does cold have an actual effect on battery life or is that a myth?
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Old 07-03-2019, 01:24 AM   #6
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Default Re: So What IS ruined after an Apocalypse?

Quote:
Originally Posted by safisher View Post
Canned goods and ammunition will last more or less indefinitely if they are not damaged. If out in the elements the cans will rust, get a puncture, etc. and ruin. Ammo in water etc. fares less well than ammo sealed in cans.

Soft goods -- fabric, paper, etc., will be gone in a couple of years in the elements. Some of this stuff may last many years of sealed in containers.

So ammo that's been sealed away should last a good long while then?
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Old 07-03-2019, 01:33 AM   #7
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Default Re: So What IS ruined after an Apocalypse?

Corpses left exposed in a typical temperate climate will be reduced to skeletons after a year. The skeleton can take another 40-50 years to be reduced to dust. This all assumes insect and microbe life hasn't been removed by the apocalypse. Burial practices, fossilisation processes, and environment can extend these almost indefinitely.

https://www.aftermath.com/content/human-decomposition/
https://www.quora.com/How-long-do-bo...hey-are-buried
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Old 07-03-2019, 01:34 AM   #8
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Default Re: So What IS ruined after an Apocalypse?

Cold reduces the reaction rate of a battery, but not significantly compared to just sitting out in the elements. If you want the PCs to be able to find a few charged batteries when all the other ones are long dead, go with supertech, or at least supercapacitors. There's not a significant enough difference between normal battery chemistries to even exaggerate in a cinematic game.

Electronics in general, if they were protected from the initial EMP or whatever caused the apocalypse, could survive for years provided a dry and reasonably temperate environment. Realistically, they would need cleaning and stable power to use safely, but cinematically, you could get away with just plugging it into a dusted-off solar panel or electricity-themed super.

Solar cells decay over time (the oldest ones around still function at like 60% their nominal capacity), but if they aren't cracked, they will still work for a looong time. Decades, though the inverters and storage systems they're hooked up to will fail much sooner.

Gasoline goes bad within 3 months worst case, but even non-cinematically, a well-sealed and well-blended mix might last for at least a year or two. Cinematically, the gas is always good, even if it's moonshine.

You might rely on cinematic forces to make some post-apocalyptic hazards more severe. Cinematic nuclear fallout -- even in the case of non-nuclear apocalypses, plants and storage areas fail -- becomes an immediately deadly threat, rather than a statistical one involving decades of increased cancer risk.
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Old 07-03-2019, 02:45 AM   #9
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Default Re: So What IS ruined after an Apocalypse?

Most batteries will be less than useful after a decade or so. But lead acid batteries may be salvagable for reconditioning.

Bullets that are stored in conditions that are merely OK but not perfect may have some reliability issues.

Kevlar has a fairly short lifespan but I'm unsure of the details.
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Old 07-03-2019, 04:47 AM   #10
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Default Re: So What IS ruined after an Apocalypse?

What was the nature of the apocalypse? Nuclear war? Total polar ice cap melt? Solar flare?Alien invasion? 40 foot tall mutant-hunting robots?

What kinds of buildings are left standing and what are reduced to rubble?
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