The “Liberation at Riverton” module is a very simple black/white set-up: evil Imps are oppressing passive peasants (and have been doing this for 150 years). I suspect that this is due to the time it was written: its style would be interchangeable with a ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ scenario – evil orcs beating up human peasants. It can be a hack-and-slash session, and, if you want to run it like this, then that’s fine. However, there are alternatives…
The Oil Patch
It’s an open secret that “Camp Riverton” is the real-world Camp Grayling. So let’s use the interesting terrain around Grayling
Lieutenant James Patton Kraft of Maxwell’s Millita
James “call me Jim” Kraft is the oldest son of a Maxwell’s Militia Gun Captain – and will one day inherit the responsibility of running the local community and operating his family’s artillery. In the meantime, he spends most of his days hunting. This isn’t laziness. Hunting has given him some useful skills and taught him a great deal about the area, its people and terrain. He’s also earned goodwill by donating meat to poor families and leading hunts against dangerous predators.
“Jim” appears most comfortable when talking about his hunts, his guns, his dogs and his hawks. He’ll talk knowledgeably about the best prey and courteously accept the opinion of other hunters (he prefers jackrabbits, because they’re surprisingly agile and can be hunted at all times)
Kraft appears to be a simple (but generous) wealthy man who enjoys nothing more than a day in the field and an evening with his drinking buddies. Apart from hunting, his only extravagance is a collection of pre-collapse sunglasses. The local community is fond of him – but hopes he has some good advisors when he inherits. However, readers of Machievelli (or Shakespeare) will be unsurprised to learn that this public image is a carefully constructed mask. In reality, “Jim” is inventive, charismatic, willful, and energetic; he has received excellent training in military and political skills.
Jim will be fascinated to meet the Morrow Project and will be happy to assist them. BUT, any attempts to introduce a democratic structure for his community will be gently and subtly subverted. He has no objections to being elected “mayor” but he is not going to give up the power that he’s been promised since birth
This is the first of a new category of article. This category will provide suggestions to the PD on keeping the players interested “after the module” and – perhaps – taking the game beyond the “village level”
An alternative title might be: “OK, so the Imps have been defeated. Liberation at Riverton has been achieved. Now what?”
Perhaps, your players will be interested in a “village-level” storyline? At least for a few sessions? If so, they’ll be helping the local population set up a more civilized society, re-recreating the USA “in miniature” , so to speak. To achieve this goal, the Riverton citizens will need guidance, advice and a few tools. Camp Riverton and its facilities will be extremely useful/valuable.
Which leads to the reactions of groups outside Camp Riverton (aka Camp Grayling).
Traders from the area controlled by the Overlord of Kalkaska will be the first outsiders to be aware of the “Liberation”. They’ll be pleased by the news and very excited if they know about the Imps’ library of books and manuals. They’ll also be intrigued by the Morrow Project and its capabilities.
The Overlord will be equally fascinated by this news. How is he going to react when the Imps are removed? Well, first of all, he’ll want information. Who are these Morrow Project people? Does this mean that his Merchants can now use I-75 without paying tolls to the Imps? If I-75 is “Imp-free” will Truckers now be coming up to Kalkaska? Can he get access to the Imp’s M60 tanks? Above all…..Can Riverton be persuaded to accept his “protection” ?
Another complexity is that players should be able to use the Camp’s “106” radio (which is probably a GRC-106). With skill, this HF radio can achieve a range of 80 km, it can also be used to pick up ordinary AM transmissions. This means that the Team could be in radio communication with the Overlord, Gypsy Truckers AND detect transmissions from Twin Port University
The Overlord will want the Team to think that they are “on their own”. You – as the PD – might want them to form useful alliances with groups like the Truckers or the University. They’ll have to deal with spies, diplomats, feudal hotheads, wily traders, cool (but ambitious) academics/politicians…
Suddenly, it’s not just “village-level” any more
It could be interesting if the Morrow Project discovered that someone else had intended to protect the nation’s Crtical infrastructure. For instance, in the TMP module “Operation Lucifer”, there is mention of a patrol of Maxwell’s Militia stationed in the town of LaCrosse. [They’ve been stationed there for 150 years and out-of-contact for a century]. LaCrosse was considered important by Maxwell’s Militia. It would probably be viewed as important by the Morrow Project.
An interesting aspect is that the Militia were sent to both “hold the town” and “maintain the bridge across the Mississippi.” Actually, there are FOUR bridges at LaCrosse. The Cass Street Bridge, Cameron Avenue Bridge and a rail bridge go through the town and the fourth carries I-90 north of the city (across French Island). To be fair, the Cameron Ave bridge was opened after the module was written – but it seems clear the LaCrosse would be vital to transportation infrastructure. Incidentally, LaCrosse is not just a transportation nexus, it is also an economic, educational and energy hub. It also has a brewery, a power plant (that can use wood or refuse as fuel) and an airport.
“Imagine being inside a steel ball, rolling cross-country – bouncing and twisting. A tank is full of very large, very hard and very heavy machinery, all moving and grinding around. Tanks, even if well-maintained, try to EAT their crews. one false move and you are history. That’s just driving around…”
“Don’t even start thinking about the complications when the main gun is firing and hot brass is dropping down from the TC’s station – or the loader’s gun – and the turret is full of cordite fumes.” – extract from speech given to new cadets at Camp Ripley Academy by Rowan Svenson – Military Governor, Minnesota
Maxwell’s Militia traces its ancestry to “Site R”: the Alternate National Military Command Center (ANMCC)at Raven Rock Mountain, Pennsylvania (on the Pennsylvania/Maryland border). This underground base survived a near miss and the fallout from attacks on the nearby targets of Camp David and Fort Detrick (a bio-weapons facility).
Now indeed thrive the Armourers
The example shown is the “sharpshooter’s” variant – with an antique telescopic sight (Maxwell’s Militia does not manufacture optical sights and has to either trade for them or scavenge in the ruins).
Statistics are as the M21 – but weight is reduced to 4.8kg (empty) and effective range is 600m. The rifle can use the full-size M14/M21 magazines, but MM sharpshooter units usually use 10-round magazines