State governments were mostly ignored in classic Twilight 2000 America. With all the talk of Milgov, Civgov, and relations between the competing federal governments in the various adventure modules, it’s easy to forget that in the USA, the Fifty States are powerful entities individually, and an integral part of America’s federal system.

State governments are the primary law enforcement in the country, collect taxes, and maintain their own military forces. Most Americans will have more interaction with their state than the federal government.

Yet in Twilight 2000, the states mostly disappeared unnoticed. Howling Wilderness notes the Utah state government is operating, albeit as a virtual dictatorship. Ohio state government “fell apart in 1998-1999, but by 2001 it is well on its way to recovery”. But these are scant few mentions compared with the spotlight on the federal government(s).

Challenge Magazine 49 has something to add, almost as an afterthought. In Pennsylvania Crude (PDF at DTRPG), the characters escort a fuel convoy seeking to tap crude oil from surviving wells in north Pennsylvania.

It’s noted that the “convoy leaves from Jamestown, New York”. When they return, marauders cease attacking when “the convoy passes the New York border”. The “PCs are paid in western New York notes (called Buffalo hides or Winnies)” And Jamestown is the furthest extent south of the New York State Government. Oh?

Why is Western New York State “Safe”?

Pennsylvania Crude says regarding Western New York:

Even with the fall of New York City and the collapse of Military Region I, the western counties of New York state have managed to maintain some semblance of order since Lieutenant Governor Julia Annesetto took personal charge of the area while the governor tried to handle the eastern region of the state.
Militia forces from Niagara Falls occupied and partially repaired the hydroelectric plant, providing the area with a trickle of semireliable power. The remnants of industries in Utica and Syracuse provided some material goods. The fields of western New York produced enough food to support the reduced population.
The year 2000 saw a decline in the region’s fortune as more refugees sought entrance and then needed to be turned away. Western New York was forced to share the hydroelectric plant with the new Canadian
government, reducing the power available. Due to further pressures on the militia from marauders and from the New America enclave in the north, more militia needed to be armed, stricter measures enforced, and less ground held. Annesetto stopped sending messages, goods, or food to her boss the governor, who was not faring as well. She declared her capital to be Buffalo.
Clearly, the region’s problems will escalate the trouble in 2001, even without the drought of 2001. Still, if Annesetto can manage to control to a small enough area around Buffalo to defend, yet large enough to grow food on, her government may survive the year.

This scenario of a rump state government out of Buffalo makes a lot of sense.

Great Lakes New York is set apart from the very large urban metroplexes, and their inevitable hordes of refugees. (New York City emptied out after the Thanksgiving Day Massacre, smothering the surrounding region in successive waves of the hungry and desperate.)

Two Great Lakes (Erie and Ontario) dominate Western New York. In addition to the hydroelectric power available, the lakes hold immense stocks of fish, and the region gets plentiful precipitation.

If you want to continue the oil recovery operations begun in Pennsylvania Crude, Western New York also has an abundance of oil wells.

Edit: I was reminded on social media that New York State boasts an impressive canal system, which would be useful in recovery.

Western New York is primed for recovery. Maybe your Twilight 2000 group will be based from this safe zone?


Every year, my wife and I celebrate our anniversary with travel. In 2017, we visited Buffalo and the Finger Lakes in Western New York. What a beautiful place.

The area is lush and green. We stayed at Keuka Lake – it’s one of the smaller Finger Lakes. (You can see it on the map above, Y-shaped, to the left and more south than the rest.)

Lake Ontario is better thought of as a freshwater inland sea! It was windy near the shore. In the photo, you can see strange rock? sand? formations.

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