Hell on Earth: After Doomsday
Since the 1920s the suburbs outside Lost Angels have been home to the North
American movie industry. Technology advanced in leaps and bounds since the
start, and around 2020 they stopped using actual film and started using magnetic
digital rods called slugs to record their epics (but they’re still called “films’).
Before the Last War, some cities had the new Sensoround Megaplex Theaters where they wired a customer into the seat so they could feel, smell, and taste the slug as well,
but these never really caught on except in certain “adult” markets.
The place where most of these epics were made was just outside Lost Angels in
a series of massive studio lots. Some were in NorCal, others were just over the Mason-
Dixon Wall in SoCal. Collectively, the lots contained about half a million workers. Most of the workers lived in squalid apartments right on the lots. The rest commuted in
from the surrounding towns. The movie stars lived in deluxe high-rises in Star City, an exclusive, heavily guarded area between the movie lots. When the two countries were at peace, movie stars, directors, crews, and the like were able to pass back and forth fairly easily.
Star City didn’t catch a city buster but it was heavily bombed. All those gorgeous
high-rise condos were turned into piles of gorgeous rubble during the Last War, but
at least living there doesn’t make a waster glow in the dark. When things settled down, a group of surviving filmmakers regrouped in Star City and started making movies again. They’ve rebuilt a few of the smaller buildings on the western outskirts and even elected a mayor—“The Director.”
Movie Town exists by trading slugs and viewers with towns across the West in exchange for food and supplies. Slugs usually cost $500 and are the coin of the realm. Home-size players (monitor included) go for $100 as the filmmakers figure a town with a player has to buy films. You can sell slugs to the town for $100 if they already
own a copy (most folks like to have backup copies), and $500 if they don’t. Salvaged
players sell from $10 to $50, depending on their condition.
The slugs are delivered by private couriers or sold to trade caravans looking
to sell them for a profit elsewhere. Some of the more established towns also show the
films in old theaters for about $10 a seat. Movie Town has a small local theater for
preview screenings of the latest slugs. Most of the old sets are still out there around
the ruins of Star City and vary from a replica of Old Tombstone to a Depressionera
Chicago street to a reproduction of New York’s Times Square to the surface of the moon. Most of them came through the bombing unscathed and only took a little abuse from fallout or ground effects.