We don’t sow

We don’t sow

Welcome to the next installment in our faction lore series. Today we’re going to take a look at our friendly neighborhood raiders. A staple of post-apocalyptic societies, just what is it that makes a man throw away his morality and strap on copious amounts of spiked bondage gear?

In modern societies, people spend a lot of time learning the skills they need to survive within that world. Knowing how to deal with bills, file paperwork or operate electronic devices are all essential to someone living in the digital age. Yet when the infrastructure behind it collapses, such skills quickly become obsolete.

While more outdoorsy types might successfully escape into and survive in the wilderness, a lifetime of office work and television does little to prepare one for the post-apocalypse. Savvy types might adapt quickly and learn to evade roaming mechanoids to etch out a living as scavengers or endear themselves to and join a group of survivalists, but many are not so lucky.

There are those who fail to make it as scavengers. Those who aren’t accepted in any group because of their lack of skill or abrasive behavior. Those who simply hit a streak of bad luck. And of course those who never made it in the old world, criminals and low-lives who never got along with civilized society in the first place.

Faced with starvation, many of these people choose a different path: to take from others what they can’t get for themselves. Maybe they saw a mother and her children stumble upon a cache of food. They’re struggling to feed themselves, they certainly can’t afford to give handouts to a freeloader. But you don’t need to be an experienced fighter when your target is defenseless. A nailbat will do. And a grumbling stomach quickly silences an objecting conscience. Before you know it, you’ve secured your food supply for a good, long while. Or maybe one of your traveling companions has insulted you one too many times and has to pay. Maybe your group found a particularly valuable cache of salvage and you don’t want to share…

Regardless of how they get started on this path, once they’ve taken a life, the violence quickly becomes habit. With each murder, every limb broken, every bit of loot stolen, it becomes easier. They might wander the wasteland alone or join a group of like-minded individuals. Such groups quickly bond over their mutual atrocities and develop into dangerous gangs that are loyal to themselves and hostile to every outsider.

While a roving band of murderers is certainly dangerous, most of them had no real combat training and since they’re going primarily after targets that can’t fight back they lack real experience. Their equipment is a hodge-podge of ragged clothes and makeshift armor, improvised melee weapons and firearms looted from hunting stores and the occasional police armory. They’re always on the lookout for lone scavengers or small caravans to ambush and steer well clear of PDF and mechanoid patrols, though some of the larger gangs have been known to raid established settlements as well.

A player might have opportunities to recruit these unscrupulous drifters into their own faction. Some might be prisoners offering to defect, others might be looking to lay low in the settlement after their gang got wiped out. Being desensitized to violence, they have no qualms about killing and torturing innocents, harvesting their organs or even cannibalizing them. However, such people are almost as violent with each other as they are with their prey and where a more civil survivor might resolve a conflict with words, a raider has no qualms pulling a gun on his ally over an insult. In civil groups they tend to be sowers of discontent and quickly degrade general morale. Players will have to chose whether they want their faction to maintain order and civility or descend into violence and banditry.

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