So I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and realistically – which After the End is not – batteries, ammo, etc. would have spoiled a long while back. Batteries will likely last twenty years at most and that’s being optimistic. Gunpowder eventually does go bad. MREs eventually go bad. Everything eventually becomes spoiled or ruined (I’m from the south, so we say “rurnt” but that’s a whole other thing). It’s the inevitability of the universe. It all goes away. So as an optional rule the GM may want to use the following:
Spoilage Optional Rules
When the GM uses the Scavenging rules (GURPS After the End 2: The New World, p. 36) he may decide that the location being looted may have been exposed to the elements, had old stock, etc. so that any items gained are spoiled. To determine if something may be spoiled roll 3d and consult the “Stash” column on the Scavenging Table (The New World, p. 37) to determine the target number. Add the penalty from the Unlooted, Semi-Looted, and Looted column as a bonus. If you roll under this number then 20% of the found items are unusable plus another 20% per point beyond the first. A roll by 5 or more means there is nothing usable. For example, an unlooted warehouse in a commercial distract (a Commercial location) would have spoiled gear on a roll of 6 or less.
If the GM prefers not to have everything be completely unusable he could instead decide that every point by which the Spoilage roll succeeds results in -0.2 CF worth. For example, gear found in that warehouse might be pristine if the roll fails, but if it were to succeed by 2 then it might be Fragile (-1 to HT and 3/4 normal DR) and Hard to Use (-1 on rolls to use it).
Picking Over the bones
I can totally understand why the author decided not to introduce yet another roll to looting, but some gamers might prefer the austerity of such a rule. When I finally get my D-Team Aeon game off the ground I’ll likely be using this just because it adds to how I envision the campaign setting working.