> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Survival Scenarios: You Input is Needed



Survival Scenarios: You Input is Needed

Tribe - I wanted to introduce a new series that I am going to start working on. We'll be putting a fictional group of survivalist/prepper types into a CHTF (crap hits the fan) situation, and then following them through the ordeal with a series of "what would you do" scenarios.

How will it work?

I will introduce a problem that our heroes will find themselves presented with--say, they need to find a surgeon to fix up a wounded group member--and then you will get a chance to think through the problem, how you would respond and generally do some armchair quarterbacking.

Based on your comments, I will then write up a short fictional account of the group's actions and the consequences. The scenarios will generally be interconnected, so the choices made in one scenario will lead into the next.

So, a sort of shared story-telling and battle planning.


Training and role playing situations is one of the most effective means of preparing for doing something for real. Any time you hit the firing range, shoot targets and run drills, you're doing that in preparation for really having to shoot a bad guy. Along those lines, practicing thinking through and responding to life-or-death decisions can help you prepare for the real thing.

And, it should be quite a bit of fun, too.

Your Input:
But, before we get stared, I need an apocalyptic, CHTF scenario to throw the group into, and that's where I'm looking for your first input. What should it be? I'm looking for something severe enough to eventually knock out the Federal Government and put our heroes into a months to years long grid-down, chaotic situation. Pandemic? Zombies--if you're not tired of them. Asteroid collision? Economic collapse and civil war? Limited-to-full scale nuclear exchange? Yellowstone eruption? EMP attack or solar flare?

Let me know!


  1. Scenario: North Korea and Pakistan teams up to fight Afghanistan and India
    1. Nuclear fallout Pakistan & India/Afghanistan War
    2. North Korea sets EMP Nuclear Air Burst on West Coast cripples US government.

    Pincer Movement to Hasty L-shaped Ambush

  2. AnonymousMay 27, 2013

    EMP event on a "Light's Out"/"One Second After" level would be a good scenario. That would surely ensure a grid down scenario. It's my number one worst case scenario for TEOTWAWKI.

  3. AnonymousMay 27, 2013

    Zombies are a classic. That or Economic collapse

  4. AnonymousMay 27, 2013

    Martial law due to attacks on american soil (EMP)

  5. AnonymousMay 27, 2013

    I like the economic collapse as well, maybe mixed in with some cyber attacking from North Korea/China that knocks out our communication abilities.

  6. AnonymousMay 27, 2013

    I'd go solar flare.You would have 2-3 days to bug out,and no stupid zombies.Any nuke or super volcano would be almost un survivable.Trying to fix a wound after a nuke would be like sticking your finger in a broken dam.Would an ecomomic collapse end the world??

  7. AnonymousMay 27, 2013

    Long time reader, first time comment. TEOTWAWKI is great stuff and I appreciate everyone's' contributions so I wanted to help If I can. Having a bit of a public health background I can't help but notice most survival stories, although captivating are usually lacking the real basic problems. Protection and stockpiling have their role but most stories never cover the fundamental dirty, unpleasant but real stuff like what it will take to get rid of our waste, or where all the paper plates will go after our emergency Beenie weenies are gone? It may not make for the most entertaining content in a story but will certainly be the most helpful when it comes to just plain sustaining life after the initial emergency phase passes. That being said I say a solar flare type EMP is likely, or an internal nuclear disaster seeing how many reactors are active here in the homeland. A massive power outage to possible maybe even leading to large scale water contamination, like Japan. Be it zombies or civil war, let's consider any long term municipal power/water outage. This is probably a sure bet in almost any real (CHTF) event. To get things rolling I would like to introduce Three major and immediate problems.
    1) No running water- With no way to flush waste through to the non-working sewage treatment plant pipes quickly become clogged and somewhere, probably closer than you know, a major cesspool becomes a big deal. Plumbing becomes useless and then what?

    2)The end of municipal garbage service. As the emergency solo cups and empty M.R.E. pouches pile up how will we use, recycle, dispose of our garbage on a regular basis? Some can be burned or composted but what about the rest?

    3) The inevitable scourge of bugs, rats, and other critters associated all through history with untreated garbage and sewage. Example: Trench fever of WWI and WWII, or the Bubonic plague which was spread by lice on rats.

    All of this compounded by those who are unprepared, ignorant or arrogant and waiting for rescue or just someone else to figure it out. It has been said there are three levels of ignorance:
    Those who don't know the answers.
    Those who don't know the questions.
    And Those who don't even know there are questions.
    I am more afraid of ignorant, panicked people that zombies any day.

    I would definitely like to see these types of situations mulled over so when we do have to face the raiders we aren't riddled with dysentery or Black death.
    Hopefully this helps, I can't wait for the story and possibly more collaboration.

    The Roof Guard-N-R

    1. Get you a shovel or a post hole digger and dig a nice deep hole. Sewage problem solved.
      You can burn all but you metal trash. You metal trash can be saved as containers or storage. You can also use them as dishes. What trash, besides metal trash, cannot be burned.
      Bugs rats and whatnot can all be taken care of with a nice barn cat.
      If you camp much, you learn things like this pretty quick.

    2. AnonymousMay 28, 2013

      Glass doesn't burn, unless it is a real hot fire.

    3. AnonymousMay 28, 2013


      I like the post and ideas. You made great points about the many many many problems that are often unaddressed in many TEOTWAWKI movies and books. Camping, hiking and what not can give you some great experience dealing with SOME of these issues. Sorry ChewLouie, but during a time of regional or national crisis it is highly doubtful that a barn cat and a shovel are going to solve all of these issues. Unless you live alone in the woods of course, and even then a shovel and cat are barely addressing the tip of the iceberg.

      Almost any size group of people living together in close proximity (neighbors coming together in the burbs, 15 person survival team, large family) are going to have to deal with these issues. Kids get head lice in school all the time. People go camping and contract the Hanatavirus virus and die because of their proximity to mice. A man who lives in Oregon helped a stray cat he adopted, which was choking on a half-eaten rodent, was infected with the bubonic plague. All of this happened, while society and infrastructure are in full operation.




      Not that camping does not have its gems to learn from, but when everyone is without clean water, sewage treatment, safe place to dump refuse all of the things discussed becomes a serious and deadly problem. You also better hope your neighbor upstream from you doesn’t set up his human waste dump station where it can affect your water. Just my humble opinion.


    4. Sorry, I forget not every one lives in the woods. Still though, glass could be used as a container, and one cat will soon be five (if your cat is a female)(females are also better micers though). The shovel will solve the problem that I listed that is would solve. THis is how it has, until recently, been done. If you have never seen the effectiveness of one outside cat against indoor mice (lots of indoor mice) you would be surprised at how fast they will disappear. If you don't have rats you can't get the black death. Of course it was fleas, but the fleas like the rats better. I have had head lice once, at the most. I have a lot less contact with large groups of people that also have contact with large groups of people (aka public schools).

    5. Excellent, excellent points that you've brought up.

      There is a great show called Life After People that I'm sure most readers of this site are familiar with, but if you haven't seen it, I cannot recommend it enough. It details what happens when our modern society isn't maintained. It details the failure points of our infrastructure and the largely catastrophic chain of events that follow.

      I'm all in for EMP, and maybe after a few months when things like sewage removal and hospital care are really suffering or even non-existent, we go in for a little pandemic.

      Hmm.. Sounds good.

  8. AnonymousMay 27, 2013

    Gotta go with an EMP event. "One Second After" is one of the scariest books ever written because it's so easy to imagine it happening in real life. Plus, with an EMP event, you can explore many other TEOTWAWKI situations, like rampant disease, martial law, foreign governments operating on US soil, even nuclear scenarios if the lack of power kills our ability to operate nuclear plants.

  9. A terrorist attack on the major political cities of America that would cripple the gov't and economy. Washington DC, Langley Virginia, New York, Dallas/Fort Worth, Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, and many other major cities all over the country. Not a nuclear launch, but bombs detonated within the city. The location of the story could be any location within the general vicinity of a major city. This would involve every problem possible. Dealing with living in a suburban area or rural area and the problems that come with it without power, water, or city services.

    1. That sounds like the series Jerhico.

  10. Milo MindbenderMay 27, 2013

    Either a low orbit, low yeild nuke disguised as a NK sattlelite, or a coronal ejection, resulting in coast to coast blackouts. Both scenarios would achieve a complete breakdown in our social fabric, and give plenty of unrest, shortages, and disruptions to provide fun for all concerned.
    The greatest danger facing "Preppers" will be sticking out as well fed, and too clean after a societal conract rift. Smells like food cooking, and wood burning will carry for miles, along with the sounds of a gennie running with no background noises to conceal them. Stephen King referred to the great die off in the Stand as tertiary causes, and included suicide by stupidity, drug overdoses, accidents, and bad health.

  11. AnonymousMay 27, 2013

    how about iran blocks the straits, war ensues and everything gets incredably expensive. think about it what would life be like with all the available diesel going to the war effert? would people in the food industry show up to work if there were no food on the shelf? same with grocerey stores. and on and on

  12. Tactical DaddyMay 27, 2013

    Hmm, not exactly "end of the world" scenario, but would put great strain on the worlds resources: Asteroid hits the moon and knocks it out of Earth's gravitational pull (away from earth). Major flooding, polar shifts, extreme weather changes, reduction/speed up the earths rotation... A whole plethora of catastrophic events to choose from!

  13. AnonymousMay 27, 2013

    Global Thermonuclear War

    Iran and N Korea acquire Long range ballistic missiles capable of carrying medium warhead.
    As countermeasure to said actions America and Nato teams up, and makes preemptive strike, that leads to
    response from China. Global automated nuclear response systems launch over 300 warheads all over world in 15 minutes from start of the event.

    Radiation and war kills over 90% of population, 6% suffers severe side effects, due to dust collection in upper levels of atmosphere
    climate changes radically and within next 10 years 60% of earth is desert.
    PS: note that in about 25-40 years most of radiation will be gone.

    1. AnonymousMay 27, 2013

      america is part of nato right? right?

    2. AnonymousMay 28, 2013

      hmm... im human and so im part of humanity, however my independent actions do not lead to consequences for whole humanity.

      or something like that, i don't think that in this kind of scenario all members of organization would join action, rather just key members, and that's why i separated said members in though to represent said scenario, based on geographical location.

  14. Qeth.X.39May 27, 2013

    Seismic apocalypse.

    Mega quake along the San Andreas fault in California, knocking out power, water, and most communication. The mega quake is part of a chain seismic activity: the eruption of the 3 super volcanos located in the US. Huckleberry Ridge Tuff in Yellowstone Park, Wyoming; Lava Creek Tuff also in Wyoming; and La Garita Caldera in Colorado all violently erupt, causing earthquakes and throwing ash into the air.

    Half of the United States is in turmoil and in need of government aid. Unfortunately, the government is stalled by its bureaucracy. Special interest groups court politicians, and different factions filibuster to further their own needs in the guise of later aid.

    Tensions rise as the stalled government does nothing, and enraged nearby citizens in DC protest. Initially peaceful, the protests turn ugly as emotions run high. One protester rushes forward, gets pushed back into the crowd by the riot police, but the protester gets shoved back into the crowd. The crowd volleys the protester back, and other in the crowd interpret it as a rush to attack. One, then two, then five, then a dozen rush forward. Riot police get swarmed by bodies and do all they can to push back with their shields.

    A nervous rookie gets slammed hard, and in his panic, he flails his baton as hard as he can; the skull of a 50s something woman. The woman goes down hard and starts to convulse, and the mob goes into a frenzy. The mob tears a swath into the assembled room of the politicians, and do as enraged mobs do. The executive branch in attendance is rushed out by their secret service, but the legislative branch do not have trained warriors to herd them.

    No help from DC.

    Local governments do what they can, but with no word from up top, their help is varied from being able to take in refugees and sending out SAR teams, to being completely useless.

    Suggested characters to follow:

    1) some mid level, local government aide trying to work the logistics of SAR teams and day to day workings, while her boss the mayor/ governor/ you name it is too busy trying to cover up his affair so his wife doesn't divorce him and take half his worth.
    2) business man out on business before/ during the catastrophe. Former boy scout, trying to remember his youth as he tries to get home across the states without air travel.
    3) giddy "I told you so" prepper who slowly loses his/her smugness as he/she sees the real life impact of the quake and volcanos.
    4) pragmatic, weekend warrior/ weekend prepper turned soccer dad on the verge of an early midlife crisis.
    5) spoiled protester, lived on daddy's dime through college and is idealistic and bright eyed. No real hardship through life, until she witnesses firsthand the death of the 50s something woman in the protest.

    1. AnonymousMay 28, 2013

      love it!

      but... how about the spoiled protester has an older brother who got cut off from daddy after college cuz he drank too much. he also was into anti-establishment positions... but now little sis sees that big bro is actually manning up to what they both profess and hes got a nice little cob hut and a garden hidden away from the coming tsumani, literally and figuratively, that is. he used his college degree to light the fire, literally, that warms his wood-fired hot tub.
      a good iconoclast to the mix, not afraid to come back home to get his hands dirty.

  15. AnonymousMay 27, 2013

    I haven't seen this scenario suggested yet so I'll throw it out there:

    National food crisis brought about by changing climate patterns and a collapse of American ecosystems due to incorrect agricultural practices. It lacks the surprise aspect of many of the above mentioned scenarios because this kind of event would most likely hit at a slow pace, but it could be triggered by some catalyst like a major weather event (say a major drought across the midwest and west - they are becoming more and more common, after all) knocking out a lot of one of America's major crops, like corn, wheat or soybeans.

  16. Interesting concept. Here is my idea.
    -Complete financial collapse which leads to conflict abroad with those who hold our debt. Rioting in urban centers after welfare stops (or stops buying anywhere near what it does today) brings the remaining normal commerce and transportation of goods/ services to a halt.

    Simmering conflict overseas boils over as historic enemies (Iran, NK, etc) try to 'kick us while we are down' and other entities (Certainly China maybe Russia) try to take advantage of the situation to make localized gains in power/ territory.

    Local government at the state/ county/ city might be doing their best but could also be incapable of handling the situation or in a worst case looking to carve out a little fiefdom middle ages style.

    So our survivors are left in a chaotic economy without resupply via normal commerce. Fuel is preciously short. The security situation has deteriorated from wherever it was before in their AO. Good goes to OK, OK goes to bad and bad goes to Max Max.

    However vehicles, electronics, radios, etc work if you can provide the appropriate energy.

  17. AnonymousMay 27, 2013

    I would like to suggest an economic stagnation. Economic slup-massive layoffs-riots-lawlessness. Think about Argentina in the early 2000s, combined with the large scale violence of 1990’s Yugoslavia. The government loses control over much of the nation, and cracks down in the areas where it retains influence. I propose the protagonists must go through gang dominated countrysides and into a police-state city in order to get the vaccine necessary to head off an infection in their town. Problems may include vehicle breakdowns/ambushes, sneaking in and out of the city, and bartering with limited goods in order for a high value item.

  18. AnonymousMay 28, 2013

    Maybe take a play from “Contagion“ quick moving medical disaster takes out 1/2 of the world population. Consequences result in America becoming third world country. Basics of living are affected (running black outs/limited power, lack of food, lack of clean water, no sewage or refuse collection, limited government/police/fire, only basic medical. Survivors form groups and attempt to maintain order, others seek to pray off of who is left. Our main characters bunker down and wait it out (numerous scenarios to work off of here while waiting it out). They finally abandon the city for a family cabin in the mountains (many more scenarios here from finding basics for transportation, the road there, what they find when they arrive, etc.). You can spin so much into and out of this and it remains very plausible.

    If we are doing this for training purposes, then we must keep it as realistic as possible. So, no aliens, no mummies, not walking dead, no North Korea (seriously they ONLY exist because of China and could not sustain a protracted war against ANYONE.), etc.

  19. AnonymousMay 28, 2013

    please do not include zombies....thats just stupid

  20. AnonymousMay 28, 2013

    Well considering it was on the morning news today why not a complete cyber shutdown by an enemy like China that is already working toward cyber warfare. If you shut down the computers for long enough, then just about every other scenario will flow from that. Starvation, rioting, immobolization, financial markets collapse, loss of power, water, sewage, and government collapse. All of these things are controlled by computers in some way and all are vulnerable.

    Most of the scenarios sound good though and I really like this idea and will be checking back in a lot for it. I do agree that it should stay away from zombies, asteroids, etc.

  21. goatmama12May 28, 2013

    Here's a crazy idea. I like the earthquake but make it the New Madrid fault that winds up splitting the United States. That would encompass grid down, food supply chain, water supplies, people stranded away from home, loved ones etc., etc. Oh yeah, this would not include zombies (unless you wanted too!) Lots of great scenarios.

  22. AnonymousMay 28, 2013

    Multiple unrelated events: the San Onofre reactor in CA is now leaking and people panic and flee. Severe weather decimates a large swath of the mid USA, impacting not only the people but food production and interstate commerce. Opportunistic hackers began a series of cyber attacks on various targets, financial, utilities, etc. Federal and state government's reaction is slow if nonexistent- help is delayed, uncertain, or nonexistent. The new reality is chaos, looting, survival through preparation or acquisition by any means. Evacuation or bugging out becomes less viable as "other" areas of the US may not be a true safe (or safer) haven.

  23. AnonymousMay 28, 2013

    States bordering California forcibly prevent evacuees from entering. States and localities become territorial as a means of survival ( think Revolution minus the ludicrous plots and subpar acting). Raiders and militia, along with atrocious crimes become commonplace, especially in large cities...

  24. AnonymousMay 28, 2013

    Economic Collapse & EMP attack combo.

  25. I like the more realistic scenarios. Earthquake or grid down. Both would cause major disruption of all kinds of infrastructure mentioned above. Realistic scenarios like this will degrade into all kinds of bad stuff.

  26. Read the US news Brother...The scenario is already there and mounting fast....I'm afraid you are not going to have to make up much...The internal combustion of a country is not going to be pretty....50% of the population on Govt. entitlements, just let the checks stop coming and chaos is the result...

  27. AnonymousMay 29, 2013

    The most probable would be a solar flare leading to an EMP. This would send the Industrial nations back to the stone ages.