Chaotic Transition Could Endanger National Security

We usually tend to avoid modern contentious politics here at ArcanaWiki, but… well… this is an unusual time, and this article addresses a number of issues and developments that are very gameable if transplanted outside this moment.

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November 10, 2020: Article discusses the national security impact of President Donald Trump's actions in the immediate aftermath of the election he lost.

More generally, the article points out that times of transition from one Presidential Administration to the next are moments of vulnerability even under normal circumstances. It lists several events and crisises that have happened during or immediately after transitions of the past, including terrorist attacks, hostage situations, and attempted assassinations. The article says the nation's response to such a crisis is extra complicated by the transition and tends to be slower at such times than it is once the new administration settles in.


Game and Story Use

  • I've put a detailed summary in the collapsible field above, so click on it if you want more information about the specific things Trump has done that are raising security concerns. (I am trying to keep the non-optional parts of the page relatively apolitical.)
  • The current American scenario is pretty tense, so GMs should probably avoid it unless you know for certain that you're entire playgroup is on the same side of the political aisle. Even then, when things are this stressful in the real world, your players might want escapism rather than a game that reflects their fears.
    • Tragedy plus time equals comedy good adventure design. So probably shelve this plotline for now, and break out after we've all had a few months to settle in and calm down.
  • If your scenario involves lots of espionage, terrorism, assassins, organized crime or other purposeful bad behavior, the villain or foreign power responsible may choose to enact their conspiracy during or immediately after the time of transition, in hopes that the targeted nation has trouble coordinating a response.
    • A disaster scenario that coincidentally falls in such a time is also likely to have disaster relief operations bungled.
  • In such cases, it's possible that each of the two administrations might try to shift blame or responsibility. Even if there somehow aren't recriminations and grandstanding, the two groups may trip over each other, or each assume the other has it handled and therefore hesitate to take the reigns.
      • If the incoming administration has allies in one government agency, and the outgoing administration has tight control of a different agency with a similar purview or mandate, they could conceivably and intentionally work at cross-purposes. Either from the mostly-innocent idea of trying to use the resources at hand to deal with the crisis, or in an bad-faith effort to score points with the public and make the other guy look like a fool.
  • For a completely out-of-control mess, imagine what would happen if a huge deadly plot/disaster strikes at the innauguration following a contentious or disputed election. The country was already between governments and mired in chaos, when a Designated Survivor has to take over. Yikes!
  • Within your setting, an embittered outgoing administration with a scorched earth policy could do a lot of damage to their nation and its allies. Depending on the powers of the office in your setting, they may be able to legally do things that are quite awful, with little or no consequences to themselves.
    • Or, if the hypothetical bridge burner does things that actually are illegal, they may use their powers to self-Pardon, or set themselves up with a new home in a country with no extradition treaty. Those options could make for a solid backstory for a powerful big bad evil guy within your setting.
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