Riverton, post-Liberation

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

grayling-oil2

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New Confederacy paramilitary units: Mechanized Dragoons

Unlike its predecessor, the New Confederacy is an industrial society (even though its labour force are slaves). Therefore, the NC military does not simply replicate a 19th Century army; it has a slightly different approach to “mounted infantry”.

dragoonbike

The simple bicycle is a very efficient method of transportation and the New Confederacy uses it in both civilian and paramilitary roles.

Adding a small motor is an obvious move and the above picture shows the NC solution: a 1HP engine (burning gasoline or ethanol) and a small 3rd wheel.  This turns the bike into a narrow and asymmetric tricycle which is capable of about 20 miles per hour (30 kph).

The Dragoons are second-line troops, usually part-time militia and most likely to be involved in “Internal Security” patrols, keeping the Displaced Persons (DP’s under control. (see NC History)

Internal Security

DP’s  who are found without passes are returned to their designated workplace (Admistrators/owners). Punishments for runaways are immediate and harsh, but rarely lethal .

All non-whites are subjected to questioning, searches, and other forms of harassment.  For this reason, the Wanderers try to avoid New Confederacy homesteads and are willing to assist runaways.

Militia Weaponry

Bolt-action rifles, shotguns (usually sawn-off double barrel) and revolvers

NPC Rolodex #9: Mister Peter Franklin, Travelling Monk

Into the Woods: Dennis Henschell collected bottles and cans until Whole Foods shut its recycling center. Now, to draw inspiration for music, he says, “I ask the universe, ‘Give me some songs.’”
Mister Franklin with one of his flutes

Some people call him a saint, but Peter Franklin doesn’t see it that way.

What everyone knows

1. Mister Franklin is from “The Library” – a place where people collect knowledge of the World and the Old Times.
2. He is a skilled teacher and has taught many people to read (both text and music)
3.  He makes flutes and other musical instruments
4. He is highly respected in the local communities and has often helped them to settle disputes without bloodshed.

What nobody knows

1.  Mister Franklin was once a high-ranking member of the Breeders (aka The American Renaissance Movement or ARM).
2.  He is attempting to atone for his actions – and the numerous deaths he was responsible for

Background

The Breeders attempt to prevent the spread of mutations and have tried several ways to improve their efficiency.  One of their experiments was inspired by the 20th century Concentration Camps.  It was not an unqualified success.   It killed many mutants, but the Breeders were intrigued to discover that their personnel were often troubled by what they classified as the simplest forms of mental illness: empathy and guilt.   The Camp was closed and attempts were made to rehabilitate the staff.  Approximately 25% were classified as incurable – and designated as “IOD” (Involuntary Organ Donor).

Franklin was one of the Camp Guards – and one of the incurables.  He escaped and eventually encountered “The Library”.   For the last 30 years, Franklin has been trying to atone for what he did.

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.

oracle-diner

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?”

 

First impressions of the 4th edition

I finally decided to purchase the new edition of The Morrow Project and to be more productive on this site

So how does this differ from 3rd edition?

1. SIZE!  This book is big (hardcover and over 300 pages)

2.  The artwork is prettier.

But let’s look at the game rules

3. Percentage-based? Check.   But there’s a clever way of dealing with criticals

4. Blood points and Structure points. Check. Some slight changes in layout and explanation

Background..

5.  TEOTWAWKI occurs in 2017.  A world war is triggered by panic over resources and an incoming asteroid.

6. Bruce Morrow averted the 3rd edition’s 1989 war.  Presumably this could be regarded as something like the ‘Star Trek’ reboot.

Equipment

7. Most of the changes seem to be in weaponry.  Glock pistols, M16 rifles, HK submachine gun and the Barett 50 calibre “sniper rifle”.  However, there are some new vehicles (electric bikes and variants of the HMMWV)

Character creation

8. Very detailed .  It reminded me of the GDW system or perhaps “Millennium’s End”.  Career paths, college degrees and so on

Other Stuff that’s GONE

The Blue Undead are gone.  The huge list of weaponry carried by every vehicle is gone (PD is encouraged to pick a sensible loadout).  The Science One no longer has an amphibious ATV – and the Airscout now runs on liquid fuel.

THINGS I LIKE

The equipment lists include stuff that might have been overlooked (wristwatch in the basic gear, for instance).

The background details are open for customization (size of the Project for instance)

The Encounter Groups have slightly more detail

There is greater detail on the planning

THINGS I DON’T LIKE

These are very minor and easily fixable.  For example, some of the new Encounter Groups seem unnecessary – but your tastes may differ.

Armour and blunt trauma.  The rules on “blunt” damage are unclear.  For example, the examples on page 91 and 100 for blunt trauma give very different results.  Page 93 gives us yet another complexity!  Flexible armour only protects at half its rated value for blunt trauma?   What?  Why not just list it at half?  Personally, I shall assume that the page 100 example is correct and I’ll ignore that “half protection” sentence on page 93

I have never been convinced that the Project needed 3 types of pistol (in 3 calibres) and now there are 4 more handguns and 2 new calibres: 45LC and 410 shot.

DISCLAIMER: my name appears in the list of “additional authors/contributors”

UAV/drone equipment

Or “What are those planes on the cover of 4th edition?’

This is the Skywalker X8: a cheap, easily-assembled and easily-modifoed drone.  It’s marketed for the “FPV”  (First Person View)  hobbyist and is powered by batteries – although some hobbyists have installed jet turbines.

skywalkerx8 – but the

This is a real-world device which can be purchased for about $200.  Cameras, motors, batteries and a remote control system can easily add another 3 or 4 hundred. Or a few thousand if Night Vision capabilities are desired

The X8 is not a Predator Drone – it is best used at distances of less that 10 kilometres.  Looking over the “next hill” is the best use for the vehicle.  However it does have an impressive payload bay and can stay airborne for about an hour.

The Atlantis Project planners like the X8 because it’s perfectly legal to own and operate

THE GREAT SALTMARSH OF LOUISIANA

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.

GAME BACKGROUND

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

 

 

“Technical” Tactics

pickups

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.

Organization

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