Ideas for Local Initiatives

Your RECON team has defeated some local enemies and now wants to help the local people.  What are they going to do?  They have limited gold and  equipment but they have skills and knowledge .  How do they apply these?  What do they buy or build?

The following is a list that might inspire some ideas for the team’s specialists.

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Cave Rats and the The Delphi Diner

One of the new Encounter Groups in 4th edition is the “Cave Rats” or “Tunnel Rats”; these are the descendants of people who found or built underground shelter before the Wars and Asteroid strikes.  They don’t have a very high technology (early 20th Century) but trade in “recycled technology, information, iron ore”.  This article is an attempt to add a little more detail and suggest how a PD might incorporate them into a campaign.


The “Delphi Diner” is a relic from an earlier time – when America was mobile and the roads were safe.  It is close to the Cave Rat community and is linked by power and phone lines.  Warning: Following the pylons back to “Home” is discouraged.  There are traps and even a few landmines on the route.

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Task Group Michigan – Campaign Notes #0. Before the Module: Briefing the Team – Commander’s Intent

This is a suggested briefing for the Recon Team that will be involved in “Liberation at Riverton”

“OK, people.  Thank you for coming”

“In case you didn’t know, I am the Regional Group Leader for Task Group Michigan.  You’re here today so that you can understand my… and the Project’s…intentions for Reconstruction in Michigan.  You’ll be doing Recon in the lower peninsula, so we’ll concentrate on that”

“First of all, I want you to remember the old Real Estate slogan ‘Location, Location, Location’.  Michigan has a LONG shoreline and access to 4 of the 5 Great Lakes.   This will be of major importance for communication and transport.  So… we will need to know about surviving port facilities and any functioning shipyards”

“Second… we’ll want you to check out the economy and resources. Obviously, Michigan’s most famous for making cars and trucks – but it also produces a lot of timber products.   Incidentally, your equipment will include details on producing Wood Gasifiers.  You may find that this will be useful for areas that don’t have liquid fuel .  ALSO… Michigan’s lower peninsula has several oil and gas fields.  They’re not huge and mostly rely on the “Nodding Donkeys”.  However, we’ll need something that produces fuel and lubricants.  I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that one of the Task Group caches is essentially a drill and small refinery.  We need you to tell us where to operate”

“Third… surviving government.   I’m not optimistic about Detroit’s chances but it might be worth a look in that direction – if only for scrap metal.   Lansing…and the State legislature should also be investigated.  I suspect that it’ll be a target.   But, again, it might be worth looking at  Remember… the Project wants to work with Federal and State government ”

“Fourth…surviving military and security.  Michigan has several military bases.  Some of them are pretty big.  Maybe big enough to survive after being attacked.  Camp Grayling, for instance.  Lots of terrain.  Dozens of armored vehicles and it even has some experimental ‘green’ power generation systems.  Mostly solar, and wind .  Even if the original garrison does not survive… SOMEONE is going to be poking around the place and we’ll need to know about it.  I would also like to know the current condition of the Michigan State Police.  They have a good reputation for dealing with Disasters”

“Fifth…surviving Educational and Scientific assets.   By this I mean everything from people to facilities.  For example, experts in training nurses or  the Michigan University’s cyclotron.”

“OK.  Those are my priorities.  Any questions?”



or, “why the Kentucky Free State does NOT have access to the sea”



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



Dogs in the KFS Military


Despite the Kentucky Free State’s attempts to portray itself as a high-tech nation, it cannot rely entirely on machinery.  It makes extensive use of animals (specifically dogs) for military purposes . Some carry messages, some help in patrolling, some do guard duty, some are trained locate injured personnel , and others are draft animals – tasked with  pulling or carrying supplies.

Dogs Selected

Several types of dogs are used.   Not all dogs selected have to be large or strong – but all must be capable of being trained.   The KFS has been fairly successful in establishing a number of breeds  and the current “Military Dog” is a medium-to-large animal with good natural camouflage and an outstandingly loyal temperament.  However, it is not the only type of dog used and some “Terrier” dogs are considered well-suited for “guard” and “first aid” roles.

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22nd Century Power Station: a Boat Mill

For centuries, the waterwheel was civilization’s most important power source.  It was used to grind grain, extract vegetable oil, power machinery and even generate electricity.  In the world of the Morrow Project,  this technology will be used again.

One variant of the “undershot” waterwheel is the Boat Mill: a waterwheel mounted between 2 barges and anchored in the river.

A simple and inexpemsive/crude wooden  structure, the Boat Mill has a few advantages over a mill built on the banks of a river

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Know your Morrow Project Weapons: Ingram M10 SMG

The Ingram M10 is one of the Morrow Project’s 9mm submachineguns (The UZI is the other) and is included in 6 of the 20 Weapons loadouts: #4, #7, #10, #15 (with the M202a1 FLASH) #17, and #18.

The Ingram M10 has a number of problems. It’s cheaply made, difficult to control on full auto and its rate of fire is VERY high (resultant” barrel climb”. means that it absolutely CANNOT be fired one-handed).  However,  it does have the advantage of being small enough to fit in a holster and its suppressor is very effective

Picture after the fold
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Warriors of Krell & Morrow Project: a contrast in paramilitary cultures

(the following is an extract from an analysis given to KFS military officers.  It is classified as Top Secret)

KFS Secret Police have recently completed an analysis of a recent conflict between a Morrow Project Science Group and a force from the “Warriors of Krell” (Wok).  It should be noted that the MP forces consisted of approximately 80 personnel and the Krell forces were in excess of 1,000

The Krell were defeated.


There are 5 aspects to a paramilitary culture: creativity,  authority, personal initiative,  technical proficiency and group loyalty

1.  Creativity

Morrow Project teams have a certain method of approach:  to state (identify) a problem and then to  make an “appreciation”.  This “appreciation”  will examine all aspects of the problem then provide  potential solutions  for the Team Leader to select from.   In other words, the Morrow Project has found a way to engender creativity.  A way that also applies to armed conflict.

The Warriors of Krell actively discourage creative thinking.   They are indoctrinated to believe that “quantity will always beat quality” and that an individual Warrior does not need to think – only to obey

2.  Authority

The Morrow Project emphasises decentralized authority.   Personnel are encouraged and expected to make command decisions on their own.  Training emphasises that they need not seek authorization from their superiors

In contrast, Krell (when “awake”) personally determines the activities of every unit, handing down his orders via radio to his senior officers, who then relay them, unchanged, to their subordinates.  Officers are neither authorized nor encouraged to make decisions on their own. Rather, if Krell fails to communicate precise orders, they are expected to stop and consult him for further instructions, in person if necessary. As one Warrior put it,  “He communicates commands to us by radio message, regularly. If a week goes by without getting radio messages, then our commanders go to visit Krell”.

Krell makes it clear to his subordinates that he will not accept any deviation from his orders once they have been issued.   If anyone questions the orders, he has them executed, often immediately and in public. For example, when a fresh recruit questioned why the Warriors had been ordered to kill and maim civilians and steal their property,  he was immediately shot. According to one witness of the event, “no one… uttered a word again.”

3. Personal Initiative

The Morrow Project expects and rewards those who exercise personal initative.   Examples are numerous of well-motivated personnel taking appropriate and timely action.

The Warriors of Krell do not emphasize personal initiative. In fact, Krell specifically stifles personal initiative among his subordinates. For instance, as mentioned above, he does not permit subordinates to develop orders on their own, even to the point of requiring them to leave their positions in the field and visit him to obtain new orders.   Consequently, his officers are not likely to feel comfortable launching new operations on their own initiative. Moreover, his propensity to execute anyone who even questions his orders destroys any willingness to show initiative – because the risk associated with displeasing their supreme commander, by deviating from his stated plans, is too great for even the most ambitious and skilled subordinates.  Krell seems to deliberately create “mindless obedience”.

4.  Technical Proficiency

Morrow Project personnel were frequently observed training and retraining with their vehicles and weapons.  It was also noted that – if they encountered any new/unfamiliar technology or weaponry – they would quickly learn how to use it effectively.

Warriors of Krell have very limited technical proficiency.  Although new “recruits” go through an indoctrination process that they call “basic training,” this does not involve encouraging the recruits to learn how to use their weapons effectively.   On the contrary, the process forces recruits to observe and take part in deprivations against civilians, including beatings, rape, mutilations, torture, and murder.

Apparently, the Krell training process is designed to transform recruits into sadistic killers rather than trained soldiers.

5. Group Loyalty

From a KFS viewpoint, the Morrow Project’s internal cohesion appears similar to the esprit de corps of our better Regiments, however it is subtly different.  Personnel of all races – and from many different backgrounds – appear to be genuine friends with each other.   Human nature being what it is, there are examples of “office politics” and personality conflicts – but these are rare and discouraged.  Discipline on and off the battlefield seems to be excellent

In contrast , the WoK do not prize group loyalty.   Warriors are aware of this from the moment they join, since almost all were conscripted against their will during raids on civilian settlements.  During these raids, any potential recruit who offered concerted resistance would be executed in front of the rest to demonstrate that there was no possibility of escape. This also informed the new recruits that their commanders see them as expendable and might murder them on a whim.

Anyone who tries to “desert” from the Warriors is  immediately and publicly executed, without discussion or attempts at reconciliation, as a warning to the others. In addition to these threats, the WoK compels their disloyal personnel to remain by constructing a kind of “social prison”.    For example, many conscripts are forced to kill their own friends and families before being taken away to a Krell base camp.   Also, new recruits are usually tattooed and/or branded –  forever identifying them as Krell.  As one Warrior put it “Anyone seeing the branding will have the right to kill me”

Lifestyles of "The Rich 5" and the Famous

“The Rich Five” are the aristocratic familes of the Kentucky Free State and are renowned for their conspicuous consumption.

The above photo was taken at “Grand Central Station”, in New Manhattan.  It shows a few members of the Carswell family and their “Rolling Thunderbolt” – a private railcar used to travel between New Manhattan and Louisville.   As can be seen,  current fashions take inspiration from the 1940’s and 1950’s

The Rich 5 will often use “Thunderbolts” because road travel is too uncomfortable  and often too slow.  Road travel between New Manhattan and Louisville can often take 4 or 5 hours, but a  “Thunderbolt” is built for speed and luxurious comfort.  Its top speed is in excess of 150 kph – cutting the journey down to just over one hour.   Incidentally, the name is given to this railcar because it  uses the same engine/power plant as the KFS Air Force P-47 replicas.


“Rolling Thunderbolt”
Crew: 3 (Driver and 2 stewards)
Passengers: 10 (could carry 40 in emergency)
Length: 12m
Width: 3m
Height: 3.5m
Max Speed: 150kph