Map of the Fortnight 289: We the City

We the City

The Challenge

Create a map where, after a global disaster wipes out most nation-states, city-states become the center of political, economic, and cultural life.

The Restrictions
There are no restrictions on when your PoD or map may be set. Fantasy, sci-fi, and future maps are allowed, but blatantly implausible (ASB) maps are not.

If you're not sure whether your idea meets the criteria of this challenge, please feel free to PM me or comment in the main thread.


The entry period for this round will end when the voting thread is posted on Monday the 8th of April.



Any discussion must take place in the main thread. If you post anything other than a map entry (or a description accompanying a map entry) in this thread then you will be asked to delete the post. If you refuse to delete the post, post something that is clearly disruptive or malicious, or post spam then you may be disqualified from entering in this round of MotF and you may be reported to the board's moderators.
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the former United States of America
100 Years After the Rise of the Dead

Basically, my idea for this scenario is the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, where zombies are still very much a threat and force most people to live in well-guarded walled communities. Hence fulfilling the goal of a city-state world after a global disaster. And I decided on the mainland USA because it is a region without a real history of city-states, but that I could envision as having an interesting one to tell.

The question then became - from where would those cities arise? Building them simply from already existing cities is not only somewhat implausible to envision but, worse yet, would be quite boring, essentially making it a copy of the OTL map of the US. So I decided instead to look to military bases, forts and outposts as the centers of this new civilization. It is somewhat sensible, I think, that military bases, already secured and already well-armed, would become, in a zombie apocalypse, more likely to withstand and to maintain themselves going.

So, I went it with. I researched through hundreds of military bases in US soil, and used their active duty personnel as a baseline for their population-in-setting. I listed, researched and placed in the map almost 300 different places. Hard work, but I think it benefited the map. This allowed for an interesting diversity, with some cities becoming quite more predominant than others, and some regions seemingly surviving better than others. And, through working with trade lines (through existing highways, railways and rivers) it created an interesting map, with a lot to explore.

In fact, what I like the most about this map is the lore potential. Imagine the amount of stories that might exist beneath the surface. What is life under a very militarized society, constantly vigilant against the living dead and about the risk of infection? How might relationships between neighbouring cities be? And this society wouldn't be at all static - from the map already it is possible to imagine probable regions bound to be united as regional states in the future, in ways we probably wouldn't foresee looking at a OTL State boundary maps or just from OTL city demographics.

Another interesting question would be - what exists beyond the cities, besides the dead? I can only imagine that there would be countless communities living outside the jurisdiction of these militarized cities. I have come to call them "hillbillies", a term like the Greco-Roman "barbarian" in sense, and I imagine there is a lot to say about their relations with the city dwellers, between trade, raids and whatever else.

Finally, there is how culture would evolve and diverge in this world. How might language evolve? I could imagine the various languages of North America becoming the foundation of their own language families. And of course, there is the question of how religion might deal with both the zombie apocalypse and its aftermath. That Utah exists quite isolated from the rest of the continent, for one, is quite interesting from a religious perspective.

You might be asking: what about Canada? I'm afraid Canada didn't make it :pensive: (Ok, kidding, really my base map didn't include Canadian landmarks and I didn't have the extra time to research it enough)

Anyway, this is my map, I hope you liked it. It was a fun project to make up, even if researching and then proceeding to meticulously write down military bases and their personnel size probably put me on some list.​
The Danube Coalition, 326 S.E.

Civilization almost died. It happened in 2032, after the first case of Chorogenic Spongiform Cerebropathy (CSC, or colloquially, Devil's Dance or Zombie Ballerina Syndrome) spread to humans in a small horse farm in Mexico. This Prion Disease was highly contagious. It spread through airborne particles, and it affected both the lungs and the brain. CSC first targets the Cerebellum in a way that causes the appearance of a rhythmic, repetitive and unending movement in the patient's body, almost like a dance. Symptoms derived from this include extreme dehydration, coughing blood, erosion in joints, bone and muscle breakages, and ultimately, death. It is fatal in all cases. However, about 3.1% of the population is immune to this disease. Most immune are so because of a mutation in the Q-M242 Y chromosome, which modifies the protein that CSC denaturalizes. This translates to all American Indigenous groups, and a few Siberian groups, being much less affected than the rest of civilization. Out of these populations, about 40% of the people were not affected by the disease. Other parts of the world weren't so lucky. Africa, all of Oceania, most of Asia and Europe were devastated by this. One of the most resistant groups, other than people belonging to the Q-M242 haplogroup, were Southern Slavs. About 1.4% of those survived.

The area around the Danube River became the most advanced part of Europe and the Middle East. With time, no more car parts could be scavenged, no more pharmacies could be raided, and no more skyscrapers could fall down. European civilization had almost regressed to a technological level out of Ancient Greece. One thing remained on generation's worth of minds. Electricity. A few batteries, relics of another time, remained full, and alchemists were trying to figure out how they worked. The basic principle was known, but they could not be charged, or used for new devices. In the year 253 of the Second Era, a secret society in Drobeta-Turmu unraveled the mysteries of the batteries, sharing their results downstream the Danube.

When the Iron Gates collapsed two months later, destroying the entirety of the city, it felt like an act of God. But that didn't stop the spread of electricity. Seeing the importance of collaboration in trade, city states across the river united in the Danube Coalition. The city of Zdelizo was founded when the Electric Revolution happened. A collection of alliances, each group provided their own benefit to each other. A creole language slowly emerged, and very slowly, the original city-state identities started to unify. This Coalition survived through the Mountain Slavs raids of the late 3rd century, but, at the entrance of the 5th century, went through a major crisis that dissolved it.

//I guess it takes an apocalypse for the Balkans to be somewhat united.

The rebirth of the Republic of Pirates, 200 years after the Fall
A host of stars fell to earth, and left it barren. With the northern hemisphere, home of the great Empires of that age, left despoiled and cold, a massive push outward occurred: India, the Insulindes, the coasts of Africa, all gained their fame as sanctuaries for history’s greatest migration. And yet, in the Caribbean, with its people layered on top of each other in the land where Old first met New, the consequences of this displacement was not the tyranny of the refugiado or triumphant autochthonous liberation, but an order entirely new.

The old stakeholders of These United States fled en masse to the islands of the South, transforming the old orders of Bermuda, the Antilles, and the Gulf, but it came at a cost; with institutional fracturing occurring as inherited disputes shattered attempts at a transitional government, processes stalled, and ambitious figures, be the black, white, or Creole, would lead the wave of the future. ‘’Managed’’ self-government, enforced by self-interested government figures, led any wider authority remaining in the region into the throes of complete anarchy. The wide scale upheaval, in spite of everything, did lead to the inception of the ‘’modern’’ government of the scattered islands; gathering under the Stripes, the Successor Cities would attempt to rip the problem out at the source.

Building throughout the tumultuous decades of the early 20th century, an ethos of ‘’standing apart, lest we hang together’’ grew through collaborative operations against the worst of the freebooter states, especially the radical slavers of Talahasi and Western Kuba. Cemented by the Kingston Proclamation in 1954, the allied cities designed an open forum for notable grandees to engage in productive trade, regardless of provenance (and utterly discounting the whims of much of the (still unenfranchised) population in the process). For 50 years, this ‘’held’’, but nature abhors a vacuum. Consolidation’s return would be heralded by a flag with a legacy older than civilisation.

As the 21st century dawned, the people of Nassau listened, and, indeed, whispers of renewal were in the air. The gerontocratic rule of the Adams family, of the old New England, had only led to an increasing laxity in customs laws and border defences. A half-century of relative peace had given way to utter stagnation, the people’s simmering frustration only compounded by the aftereffects of the terrifying 1992 hurricane. Seizing what was essentially a perfect opportunity, the northwest Caribbean became a den of piracy unlike any other, with ‘’President’’ Itulbo Adams even wielding vicious bands of pirates in stamping out signs of discontent with these matters.

Factional squabbles erupted between different bands of smugglers, but still, there were clear signs of a united public consciousness, desiring freedom to the people (mostly) and death to Adam’s ‘’corsairs’’. All this would come together under the guidance of one Frederick Stanley, who had allegedly financed his piratical operations by way of the bounty of a ‘’Phantom Ship’’, dating back to the old US continuation government in Havana.
With a discovery straight out of a boy’s-own adventure novel, the ‘’Second Brethren of the Coast’’ accrued power among lower and upper classes alike, facilitating trade among the Successors lanes, sailing into the wild unknown of the Northlands for ever-more exotic produce, and opening new lines of communication with the stranded Coaster communities of Dixie-in-Africa.

Finally, in 2027, the people cried out for an end to Successor separation, and the restitution of a truly equal state. The Brethren of the Coast answered. Storming Nassau in October of 2027, the ‘’Restored Republic of the Pirates’’ was proclaimed, the first agglomerated state since the fall of the last great freebooter’s confederations nearly 70 years before. From that first conquest, the movement would spread across the Bahamas, gaining momentum by virtue of previous connections, the similar complacency in terms of military capacity, and the comparatively revolutionary nature of the populist Pirate’s code.

In a manner of years, the Successors witnessed the falls of Tuttleton and Cocoanut Grove, thereby isolating themselves from northern trade, all amid a massive spate of radio-hijacking events. In Havana and Kingston, the city erupted into protest throughout the summer, demanding an end to the flip-flopping of the delegates and united action against the pirates, all while Stanley’s large and highly advanced host of ships continued to conduct lightning raids throughout the entire Caribbean.
Thus, the remaining Successors, meeting in storied Havana in December 2035, would have much to discuss. Primitive stratellite imaging demonstrated the far-ranging capacities of the ‘’Pirate King’’ and his crew, and worry quickly turned to fear.
Published during the height of the terror, the article demonstrates the reach afforded by his fleets, and wonders where his forces might well strike next…

(A Peshawar Lancers style apocalypse, with a nice dose of retrofuturism to boot.)
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