This is a work of fiction created for the Twilight 2000 Role Playing Game. Original material © Dave Ross

Greater London

5. Greater London


RGHQ: Kelvedon Hatch, nr Brentwood, Essex (Ceased functioning Jan 98)


Alternate RGHQ: N/A


Counties: Greater London


Nuclear Targets: London (multiple sites)


The UK’s political, economic, and cultural Capital, London was hit by a number of Soviet nuclear devices at the end of 1997, each aimed at a specific target. Approximately four and a half million people perished as a result of the attack, while many more were forced to become refugees. The fires started by the blasts raged out of control for a week afterwards, destroying countless iconic buildings, many of which had stood for Centuries.


A small number of individuals still inhabit central London, either individually or in small groups, and eke out an existence in the ruins of the City. Many of these survivors have lost all vestiges of sanity and any encounters with them will be hazardous at best. Further out from the centre a number of communities exist in the outer suburbs, ranging in size from only a few dozen to several thousand. These groups each have their own designated territory, and several have splintered along racial or religious lines. Food is the greatest problem; those who can farm plots of land wherever they can; former City parks, cricket pitches, and football grounds have all been turned into makeshift farms. Others survive by stealing food from those who raise it, or by taking food as payment for protecting it. The main diet for many consists of rat, pigeons, and wild cats and dogs. With resources scarce, clashes between different groups are commonplace and often deadly. The River Thames flows right through London, effectively cutting the City into northern and southern halves. For those who do wish to cross from one side to the other a handful of bridges remain sufficiently intact to allow individuals to cross on foot, whilst one or two enterprising individuals operate simple rope ferry services, carrying passengers for a fee (although such crossings are hazardous for all concerned, with the ferries being a prime target for the Thames pirates, whilst the risk of robbery and attack from potential passengers means the ferrymen tend to be resourceful individuals who will generally carry a firearm of some sort.


North of the Thames


Much of north east London is under the control of a man named Gabriel Stone, a former Metropolitan Police officer who has claimed the title Mayor of London. Stone has established his base in the Borough of Stratford, occupying the Old Town Hall, from where he rules over the various scavengers and survivors who inhabit much of the eastern Boroughs. He has a force of just over hundred men under his command, who include a number of former police officers, and enforce Stone's rule and collect “taxes”, the punishment for non payment of which is severe. Stone’s men have a number of former police small arms, mostly MP5 submachine guns and Browning and Glock automatic pistols (by the autumn of 1997 most British police officers had started carrying weapons as a matter of routine), however ammunition is in extremely short supply. They are also well armed with melee weapons, and have a range of anti riot equipment, including a small stock of CS gas canisters, gas masks, and protective helmets and shields.


Elsewhere, the western Boroughs of Brent and Harrow are ruled by a large group led by a man known only as Michael, who has established his headquarters in Wembley Stadium. England's premier football stadium before the War, Michael has turned Wembley into farmland which is cultivated by a slave labour force. He tolerates no opposition to his rule, dealing harshly with any challenges and ordering the summary execution of any slave that steps out of line (the condemned are usually publicly hanged). Michael's forces are some three hundred strong and are armed with an assortment of melee weapons supplemented by a small number of military and police issue firearms that they have acquired. They frequently raid the surrounding areas, terrorising the communities and stealing food and water, as well as taking captives to work the farmland. Recently they have clashed with an organised group based in the neighbouring suburb of Ealing which is led by a woman named Paula Sexton. Sexton's group has suffered several attacks by Michael's men over the past two months which they have managed to resist, but she fears that without outside help it is only a matter a of time before her group is over run, with dire consequences for them. For his part, Michael is incensed by their resistance and has vowed to wipe them from the face of the map, offering a reward to anyone who can capture Sexton and bring her to him alive.


So far Michael and Gabriel Stone have not come into direct conflict, but with both eager to increase the areas that they control and secure more land for growing food, at some point in time conflict between the two is inevitable. The outcome of such a clash is uncertain; Stone’s forces are arguably better armed and better equipped, whilst Michael has greater numbers. What is certain is that the losers will be the inhabitants of those communities caught in the crossfire between the two.

The Guardians of the Tower


A historic castle on the north bank of the river Thames founded in 1066,

in modern times the Tower of London was one of England’s most popular

Tourist attractions, The Tower was also home to six ravens, with legend

Claiming that if the ravens ever left the Tower, the Kingdom would fall.

The Tower suffered extensive damage during the nuclear exchanges,

Being virtually burnt to the ground in the firestorms that swept through

London, but recently word has spread though London that ravens have

been sighted in the Tower’s grounds again, meaning the Kingdom will

survive.


The Tower of London was also home to the Crown Jewels. Consisting of

a variety of items, including several Crowns, and generally only used

during the Sovereign’s coronation, the Crown Jewels were removed from

the Tower in August 1997 and taken to a secure site in Derbyshire. In

December 1999 they were retrieved by a detachment from the SAS and

transferred to Winchester.


South of the Thames


The southern part of the City includes the historic central areas of Southwark, Lambeth, Bankside, and Greenwich, which was notable for its maritime history and giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian and Greenwich Mean Time. South London only had  a small section of the London Underground network but had a much more extensive suburban railway system than north London.


South London is a violent and dangerous place that is home to a number of different gangs, many of whom have their origins in pre war street gangs, and numbering anything from several dozen members to over a hundred in the case of the larger gangs. Each gang has its own territory that it controls, and violent clashes between them - and also between the gangs and the few remaining lawful enclaves south of the river - are common, and for those living in gang controlled areas every day represents a struggle for survival, with many survivors now living in conditions of virtual slavery. The gangs do not tolerate any opposition, and any resistance will be dealt with harshly, with beatings and executions regular occurrences. In an attempt to escape the gangs, a number of south Londoners have attempted to flee the city, trying to make for the safety of the territory controlled by HMG south of the M25 motorway. This is a dangerous undertaking however, for reaching HMG’s borders entails crossing a large amount of territory controlled by various gangs, and the consequences are dire for anyone falling into the hands of one or other of these gangs. Nonetheless, some people are still prepared to take the risk.


The largest survivor enclave in south London is located in the Borough of Croydon and is controlled by a gang called the Renegade Street Boyz (RSB), using terror to rule over the poor unfortunates who eke out an existence in an urban jungle of pre War housing estates . Their territory is clearly marked, with the corpses of those that they have murdered on display at its boundaries, nailed to makeshift wooden crosses. Anyone caught trying to flee Croydon will soon find themselves adorning one of those crosses. The RSB are led by a woman known only as Mama; whilst Mama's origins are unclear, it is known that she is extremely cunning, and is greatly feared throughout south London, with rumours of her cruelty rife (these rumours have become embellished as they are spread; the most common one is that Mama is a cannibal). Her  control of Croydon is absolute and her ambition is to extend that domination to all of south London. She is also aware of the power struggle going on north of the river (despite the capital's shattered state news and rumour still have ways of travelling) and has given some thought to the possibility of an alliance with either Gabriel Stone or Michael, although thus far she has not done anything to set such a plane into motion.


Other prominent gangs include the SW9 Posse, which controls much of central Brixton (the gang takes its name from the area's pre war post code) and is led by a man named Dennis Weaver, a thirty year old of West Indian origin who was well known to the Metropolitan police before the War and the Peckham Crew, who dominate the housing estates of North Peckham. Many gang members are armed with illegally acquired firearms (mainly pistols and submachine guns), although supplies of ammunition are limited, so most south London gangs have come to rely on melee weapons. Clashes between the SW9 Posse and Peckham Crew are particularly commonplace as the two gangs' territories border each other. Both groups have also suffered losses from RSB raids, and are well aware of the threat that Mama poses to both of them.


A handful of organised enclaves also exist south of the river. These enclaves have all suffered from regular gang attacks (and, to a lesser extent, other organised enclaves) and most are now heavily fortified, with their inhabitants armed with whatever weapons they have managed to improvise, but increasingly the gangs are becoming dominant, and several lawful enclaves have been overrun in the past few months, with their inhabitants either murdered or enslaved. The largest of the organised enclaves is located in Lewisham and consists of several hundred individuals, who are led by two brothers, Greg and Pete Watson; a skilled mechanic Greg, who is the eldest, owned a garage before the War, whilst Pete was a pub landlord and former paratrooper who was invalided out of the Army after being wounded fighting in the Falklands War in 1982. Armed with a small number of firearms (mainly MP5's and L1A1 SLR's) augmented by melee and improvised weapons that range from bows and arrows to knifes taped to broom handles, the brothers' enclave has successfully resisted several attacks by the Peckham Crew, whose territory is close to Lewisham, although it has cost them much of their supplies of ammunition, and in a recent raid the gang managed to penetrate their perimeter, killing several members of the enclave and abducting two of its women. This has led Pete Watson to argue forcibly that it is time to go on the offensive and attack the Peckham Crew in their own territory, a strategy that his brother thinks is risky.


A much smaller group of survivors inhabits the Borough of Greenwich, to the east of Lewisham. Numbering less than three dozen strong, this group occupy a housing estate close to the long abandoned Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, but live a nocturnal existence, hiding through the day and emerging at night to scavenge and forage.

Subterranean London


Consisting of approximately two hundred and fifty miles of track servicing nearly two hundred and seventy stations at depths of up to thirty two metres below the streets of London, the London Underground rapid transit system, more commonly known as the Tube, offered no shelter on Black Thursday, with the fires that raged out of control above ground sucking in all the available oxygen, condemning most of those in the Underground system at the time to death by asphyxiation (many others were trampled to death as thousands tried to rush into Tube stations across London in a futile attempt to find shelter in the moments after the first nuclear detonation). Large numbers of bodies remain underground, many of them entombed in the Tube trains they were travelling in at the moment the Capital was struck.


Whilst a number of tunnels have suffered from various degrees of flooding, the Tube system currently remains generally navigable, and offers a way to move about London unobserved for those brave enough to venture into the pitch blackness underground. Small groups of survivors have made their home in the labyrinth of tunnels, eking out an existence by occasional forays above ground. For the most part these groups are harmless and will go out of their way to avoid anyone “trespassing” in their territory, although some may be violent, particularly if provoked. It is difficult to spend any time at all in the tunnels without the feeling of being watched.   


It was frequently speculated before the war that other secret underground tunnels existed, connecting various Government departments and even Buckingham Palace. Whilst successive Governments always denied this, rumours persist of secret underground bunkers where all manner of treasures can be found.

The Men in Black


“I’m telling you mate, I was down near Brick Lane when I saw  

them. We were checking out some of the shops, trying to see

if we could find any salvage, when they just appeared out of

nowhere - there was four of them, all dressed in black. We

didn’t hang about, legged it as fast as we could but they got

Susie - shot her with some sort of stun gun. We had to leave

her otherwise they would have got us too. God knows what

they’re doing to her.”


Unidentified scavenger, London, June 2000


In addition to rumours of underground Government bunkers, a

rumour commonly heard among the survivors who inhabit the ruins

of central London is of the existence of armed men wearing black

boiler suits and gas masks who emerge from underground, usually

at night, and roam the streets of London, kidnapping people and

taking them back underground, to be experimented on in a secret

lab run by “the Government”. This rumour is often heard in

conjunction with stories of helicopters flying over the City at night,

using a searchlight to identify groups of survivors. These rumours

are, of course, completely unfounded and there is no secret

Government lab carrying out experiments on survivors.


Or is there?


Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs


A major international business and financial centre before the War, Canary Wharf was built in the late 1980's and early 1990's on the site of the former West India Docks on the Isle of Dogs, an area of East London that was one of the busiest ports in the World during the 19th Century but went into decline after the Second World War, eventually closing completely in 1980. Home to the World or European headquarters of numerous banks and media organisations including Barclays, Citigroup, HSBC, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and Thomson Reuters, and containing many of the UK's tallest buildings (including the tallest, One Canada Square), much of Canary Wharf was destroyed by the firestorms that swept through London in the wake of the 1997 nuclear attacks and is now mostly depopulated. Rumours persist throughout London that Canary Wharf contains a hidden treasure trove of pre war luxuries however, causing small groups of scavengers to frequently venture into the area in the hope of finding items of value. Thus far these expeditions have generally proven futile.


Just south of Canary Wharf a group of waterborne marauders known as the Water Rats have established themselves in the Millwall area of the Isle of Dogs. Though only some forty strong, the Water Rats are led by a former Territorial Army Corporal named Luke Kennedy, and are relatively well armed, with numbers of MP5 submachine guns as well as a few L85A1 assault rifles and even a single GPMG and use several alcohol fuelled small boats to prey on passing water traffic and riverside communities, ranging as far east as Rainham in Essex and as far west as Richmond, stealing food, water, and whatever else takes their eye. The Rats are relatively secure from overland attack - the Isle of Dogs is completely surrounded by the Thames on three sides (east, south, and west), whilst the north is almost entirely bounded by the South Dock, part of the old West India Quay, so overland access is restricted to a thin sliver of land which the Rats have fortified and is always guarded by half a dozen of Kennedy’s men.

The Thames Floor Barrier


The second largest movable flood barrier in the World, the Thames Flood Barrier is located downstream of central London and was designed to protect the Capital from flooding caused by high tides and storm surges moving up from the North Sea. Opened in 1984, and built across a 520 metre stretch of river, the Barrier consists of a number of flood gates which can be closed when required (during the first half of the 1990's the Barrier was closed on twenty two occasions, nine of which occurred in 1993). Whilst not a direct target of the 1997 nuclear attacks, the Barrier suffered significant damage and would require extensive repair work to restore it to full operating condition, leaving London exposed to the risk of potentially serious flooding.




















The Barrier before the War

Heathrow Airport


Located in the West London Borough of Hillingdon, before the War Heathrow Airport was the largest airport in the UK, handling more international traffic that any other airport in the World. The airport was attacked several times by Soviet conventional bombers during the opening months of the War, causing severe damage to its runways. This damage was repaired during the spring of 1997 and Heathrow was able to resume limited operations until November 1997 when one of the Soviet warheads aimed at London detonated in a ground burst several hundred metres from the airport. Today a handful of survivors have occupied what remains of Heathrow, surviving by scavenging the ruins for food. Though armed only with melee weapons, these scavengers will be extremely hostile to anyone encroaching on their territory.