Situated at the crossroads of Highway 93 and Highway 30, right south of Interstate 84, Twin Falls is known for the water falls it is named after and the Snake River winding along north of the town. One of the benefits of running a roleplaying game in a "modern" setting is the wealth of material that can be gleaned from a web search, or even a map. Not to say Twin Falls is a boring, or more boring on average compared to any other city in the US, but for it to make it as a site of exciting adventures in a modern roleplaying setting it needed a bit of fantasy and whimsy thrown in.
Why did I pick Twin Falls? Two weeks before I began running a D20 Modern game a coworker and I drove through Twin Falls on our way back from a meeting in Redmond, Washington. Rather than driving back down through California we set off on a southeast heading to see new sights and bits of the country neither of us had seen before. We were also right on the edge of a major snowstorm. The salt trucks were out in force and an army of snow plows were prepping. As we travelled back to Arizona down Highway 93 we stayed right ahead of the road closings and bad weather. What a better way to begin a new setting?
"Gordon gives Phineas a ride to the Best Western. There they meet Trish Davidson, a hooker working her way to Las Vegas."
Passing by the Best Western I thought about that statement from the game. Of course being July there was no snow or major problems on the road. The Best Western and the rest of Blue Lakes Blvd (Highway 93) looked calm and sedate. There were no abandoned cars or gangs of zombie bikers. Of course this was July 2011 and not March of 1995. But it still felt kind of eerie. When playing a roleplaying game such as Dungeon and Dragons there usually isn't a chance to ride down the main street of the town or visit the scene of the battle where the characters were victorious over their foe.
One of the first areas the characters investigated was the ransacked home of retired Air Force Major Douglas Englebart. The party returns to this house several times looking for clues and trying to fit the story together. They know that Englebart worked at Saylor Creek Air Force Monitoring Site and was fascinated with the topic of "gremlins." Gordon's car is ripped up by unseen opponents and they hitch a ride back into town.
When I passed this house it immediately brought to mind the setting I envisioned for the fictional Majors house. It was a large, not so neatly kept house, on a large tract of property near the Snake River. Walking just fifty or so yards away from the road one found a large canyon some 60 or so feet deep winding its way to towards the Snake River.
A lot of the action centered around Main Street and the businesses found there. The library and police station are just blocks away. Main Street proved to be pleasantly shaded and lined with small businesses and friendly people. No satanic bikes or zombies in sight.
"Valentino talks to the police and gets his truck out of impound."
The Twin Falls police station in reality looks nothing like I thought it should in the game. I pictured a small older looking place with large windows and a traditional old town look to it. Instead it was a modern concrete monster. Didn't really matter though as it did not figure prominetly in the game.
"They go to the library and look up some of the history of Twin Falls and Saylor Creek to see that there have been industrial accidents and unexplained deaths."
The library came in handy in this pre-Internet world as a source of information into local happengs. Later Jesse, a girl rescued from a zombie induced car accident, goes and fixes the computer at the library and uses the modem to hack into a logistics computer at Saylor Creek Air Force Monitoring Station to find out they ordered lots of obscure electronics: high capacity transformers and even 5,000 square feet of deep sea fishing nets.
Here is a view of the Perrin Bridge, Highway 93, crossing the Snake River with just a hint of Twin Falls in the foreground.
I hope you did not find this page looking for something real about Twin Falls for the information here is a fantasy construct of a game using the D20 Modern rules set in a 1995 version of Twin Falls set in a world where zombies walk the earth and there is always the danger of running into gangs of satanic bikers.
Running this game was entertaining and I believe the players enjoyed it initially. Within four sessions though there were the signs of player conflict and some of them just didn't know what to do or how to handle a world too close to reality; or so it seemed to me. One person consistently wanted to continue while the rest wanted to return to the more familiar (?) fantasy grounds of Dungeons and Dragons.
Nothing really happens anymore at Saylor Creek Air Force Range anymore. There was this sign full of bullet holes warning of planes dropping things.
Fortunately we live in a world were China and a non-extinct Soviet Union did not exchange nuclear hits so Saylor Creek never became a research laboratory nestled in the hills west of Twin Falls and full of odd experiments and even odder people. One day, if I ever run a game of D20 Modern again, it will be in this setting once more. Can't spill any secrets or the plots underpinning the game. I can say it is a nice area and the Snake river and the white water and falls are spectacular; go see for yourself if you have the opportunity.