or, “why the Kentucky Free State does NOT have access to the sea”
REAL- WORLD BACKGROUND:
The Mississippi River has changed course many times and – for several decades – has been likely to swing to the west (following the course of the Atchafalaya River which is a stteper and shorter distance to the Gulf of Mexico). If it did so, the river would no longer flow past Baton Rouge and New Orleans . Instead of discharging through the Bird’s Foot Delta into deep Gulf of Mexico water (a distance of 315 miles) the longest river in North America would flow into the shallows of Atchafalaya Bay (only 142 miles away).
The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has been given the task of preventing this economic disaster. The Corps built the Old River Control Structure, a billion-dollar marvel of engineering. It is a series of dams built on a quiet, unpopulated stretch of the Mississippi River in Louisiana, a few miles east of the tiny town of Simmesport.
The Old River Control Structure suffered catastrophic failure in the first Spring after Death Day. This was the final blow to all attempts to rebuild.
Colossal amounts of water moved down the Atchafalaya River system , creating ten-storey-deep scour holes that migrated along the riverbed, undermining bridge pilings. The Interstate 10 and the U.S. Highway 190 bridges collapsed.
The gas and oil pipelines built beneath the bed of the River ruptured and spilled what remained of their contents . Floodwaters isolated and then destroyed Houma, Raceland, and Thibodaux. Morgan City was drowned and then buried by silt as floodwaters receded. Rotting bodies were trapped in buildings, snagged in tree branches and beached on high ground when water levels dropped.
At the Old River Control Structure, the Mississippi River’s bed is below sea level. The reduced flow in the Mississippi River downstream from the structure was overcome by the pressure of saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico. Seawater rapidly extended upstream from the Gulf, contaminating water supplies needed for drinking and industry, first in Port Sulphur and then in New Orleans itself.
The Mississippi River channel just south of the Old River Control Structure silted in, cutting off barge traffic and isolating what remained of New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
The outlet of the Atchafalaya River (which allows ship traffic to move in and out of Morgan City) silted in.
Next entry will describe some of the group’s who live in the Marsh
The most common pseudo-military vehicle in the world of the Morrow Project is usually a “Technical” – an open-backed civilian pickup truck or four-wheel drive vehicle mounting some form of heavy weapon: a machine gun, light anti-aircraft gun, recoilless rifle, or other support weapon. Maxwell’s Militia is the most widespread user, but this weapons platform is available to almost any group that has Technology Level C.
There is very little sophistication in the use of “Technicals”.
1. The basic unit is the vehicle and its mounted squad: a group of 4 to 8 fighters with their gear and supplies.
2. the vehicles usually operate in groups of 4 or more
3. There is only one tactical formation: the ‘extended line”
SOP (Standard Operating Procedure)
1. “Maintain an extended line abreast”
2. “Keep your neighbours just in sight, but no closer”
3. “Move to the sound of the guns”
4. “Dismount when you see the enemy”
5. “”When you come under fire, stop and fire back”
How this works in combat
Technicals always move abreast and maintain a distance between them such that each unit can just see the vehicles on either side (obviously, this distance varies dependent on terrain etcetera). The intended result of this movement formation is that the enemy will be easily flanked.
The vehicles that first encounter the enemy will immediately halt and lay down suppressive fire. The momentum of the advance will cause the other vehicles to advance a small distance before they can react and turn towards the firefight – this will result in a flanking position. There is no need for radio communication or formal orders, each unit turns towards the gunfire and (while maintaining formation) automatically positions itself on the flanks or to the rear of the enemy position
Once the fighters can see the enemy, they dismount and form another extended line about 3 or 4 metres in front of their Technical. The unit (dismounted fighters and vehicle) then sweeps forward until they come under fire – at this point the fighters take cover and the vehicle stops while the squad’s heavy weapon is used. Meanwhile the other Technicals (and their fighters) close in on the position (again without formal coordination – just guided by the sound of gunfire).
Note: The squad leader remains with the vehicle (and may be the main gunner). He coordinates his fighters and driver by voice commands. Professional military might consider this less than optimal, assuming that the squad leader should join the dismounted fighters and leave a trusted subordinate to manouver the vehicle. But it must be remembered that the leader usually owes his position to the fact that his family owns the Technical – an immensely valuable and almost irreplaceable asset. He would be foolish to risk losing control. All squad leaders agree that ambitious subordinates should be kept IN FRONT of the machine gun
Using the Napoleon’s Own encounter group can be tricky – but they can (and should) be more than “comic relief”.
Sir Kay is an example. She believes herself to be the reincarnation of one of the Knights of the Round Table. She is not unique: there is a group of Grail Knights (all searching for Arthur and the Holy Grail). However, when the PC’s meet her, she is on a separate quest: looking for the Morrow Project.
Finding and cooperating with other Morrow Project units is the second General Order of the Project. In Project Lucifer, for instance, there is a Science Team trying to link up with the PC team. IMHO, This sort of attempt could be an interesting addition to a campaign (and a way to add new players or replace dead characters). The following is a list of suggested NPC teams. I’ll try and expand the details in later posts
Group: Teaching Hospital
Description: The 43 descendants of a Medical Team that “woke up” 70 years ago. Their original supplies have run out over the decades, but they still have many pieces of equipment. They are good chemists and can produce several antibiotics and anesthetics at a roughly 1950’s level of technology. They operate a (very small) hospital and train a few Emdees.
Assets: EXCELLENT relations with locals, very good medical facilities
Problems: the teaching hospital is not mobile and cannot link up with the PC team
Firepower: minimal, a few sidearms and some shotguns
Vehicles: a couple of “motorbike ambulances”
Found by: A Mailman or Emdee will mention that they recognise the TMP logo worn by the PCs – and reminisce about the “Professors”
Group: Engineering Assessment Team.
Description: This team has only been active for a few days and is relieved to find the PC team. They are a lightly-armed 10-person team with expertise in assessing (and repairing) damaged infrastructure such as roads and bridges. This team has 3 sections: communications, security and assessment.
Assets: Powerful radios, surveying gear and – above all – the skills of the engineers/constructors. One of the team is also a paramedic.
Firepower: moderate – but plenty of explosives. Most personnel have submachine guns. (Weapons Issue #7 . The security section has Weapons Issue #2). All vehicles have the standard vehicle supplies
Vehicles: 3 pickup trucks, 2 trailers with welding gear, power tools and demolition supplies. A possible addition is the semi-portable fusion forge specified in the The Starnaman Incident
Problems: The Team Leader isn’t sure that she should be taking orders from the PCs – but is smart enough to understand that they know more than she does about the post-collapse world. Eventually there may be conflicts about who should be in charge
Found by: Radio communications. The two teams can communicate and arrange when and where to meet up.
Group: Frozen Watch
Description: This “team” consists of 2 survivors from a Frozen Watch bolthole: both are Economics/Commerce Specialists who were expecting to assist a combined Recon/MARS team. They were awakened 2 years ago when their cryotubes malfunctioned. Since then, they’ve been looking for other Project personnel – and fighting a Slaver gang.
Firepower: Sidearms only
Vehicles: one ATV. The weapons normally carried have been traded or given away.
Problems: The Slavers are tracking them – and the constant strain has begun to cause psychological problems
Found by: Intervening in a firefight
This is a widely-distributed item in the KFS military and is worn by aircrew, tank crew and APC crew.
The item consists of
Dual magazine pouch (9mm pistol ammunitionl)
Survival knife and sheath
Multitool and sheath
Waterproof holster and pistol (the KFS copy of the S&W Model 59)
Note 1: most users add another magazine pouch above the holster and use this to carry maps, compasses or additional rations. Packets of caffeinated chewing gum are a popular choice
Note 2: KFS Air Force pilots carry a pocket Survival Kit which includes the following
Personal Locator Beacon
Small first aid kit
Small LED Flashight
Lighter (small “zippo” design)
Spare Batteries (For flashlight and laser)
Major Carswell is commander of RiverHawk Squadron and might be encountered anywhere within 100 kilometres of the KFS border. He was forced into a crash-landing after his P-47 experienced engine failure – and now he’s “walking home”. On his return, he intends to discipline his mechanics and recommend the SERE trainers for commendation.
Personality: Carswell is arrogant and tends to be over-confident. However, he’s not stupid and has good self-discipline. (Unlike many in the KFS Air Force, his rank was achieved on merit; it wasn’t just his family connections). Equipment: Flightsuit, 9mm pistol (only 6 rounds left) KFS “gunfighter” belt (contains maps, compass, etcetera)
Notes: Carswell’s only weapons are a pistol and a survival knife. He won’t resist if faced by superior firepower (and would really appreciate a good meal).
Uses in the game:
Ransom: the KFS Air Force issues “blood chits” for its pilots and promises 10,000 credit reward for their return Prisoner Exchange: “Bullets & Blugrass” could run very differently if there’s a negotiation involved Information: If treated well, Carswell will be happy to chat about the KFS Air Force (he WANTS to impress)