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Subject: Scarper's Post-apoc Dregs and Strays: Damaged Hab Block 23/2
Hey everyone! This is a showcase blog for my campaign setting and Necromunda gangs. I've got some fairly extensive fluff, but I appreciate that a lot of people aren't really interested in that kind of thing, so I've spoilered anything too long, and you can feel free to scan over the pictures. I'd absolutely love to hear what you think, so please fire away.
TL;DR campaign fluff - Caitiff is a planet recently returned to Imperial control. It’s economy boomed on the offworld export of a mineral known as rusinate. As supplies dwindled, unrest developed, and Easthollow hive eventually fell during a civil war, triggering an environmental disaster. An evacuation was planned, but only a miniscule proportion of the planet's population were able to reach evacuation points. The planet now has no system of government and conditions are anarchic outside of several larger settlements. Much of the air on the surface is poisonous, though settlements have sprung up in pockets of clearer air, and hive cities with their own air filtration systems remain. Major factions include Ridgeway's Remnants - a small community originating from civilian and PDF remnants; the Quadring Accord - a group originating from prisons and penal legions; the Hollows – a community of oppressed survivors of Easthollow, many of whom are twisted by the effects of rusinate runoff; and a few others. The two main gangs at the moment are the 21st Jackals (the first gang), affiliated with the Remnants; and a scavenging cell of the QA (the second). Hope you enjoy!
Info on the planet setting: (I reckon this one is pretty important, but spoilered anyway for those who aren't really interested )
Caitiff is a medium-small temperate world on the outer southern fringe of Imperial-controlled space. Its population once stood at around 15bn, with several small hive cities containing the vast majority of the population. Its income and value to the Imperium came from a rich supply of rusinate below its surface, a material essential in the production of, among other things, bolter cartridges, temperature regulation cells and in the refinement of various mineral ores. For several hundred years after its reintegration, Caitiff prospered – a bolstered economy, protection and trade with newly contacted Imperial fleets produced a new upper class of self-made industrialists and traders.
As stocks of rusinate dwindled, however, so too did Caitiff’s value to the Imperium. With a relatively small population and little other minerals of value, the off-world contact and trade that had been the life blood of the new Caitiff slowly ebbed away. The economy suffered, and rising food prices and increasingly squalid living conditions kicked off a process of grumbling unrest among the working classes of Caitiff’s larger cities. The planetary governor at the time, Dyran Lavenne, was a corrupt bureaucrat widely recognised to be in the pocket of various industry moguls, and little to no relief effort occurred. Food riots in Skew Hive and The Point were met with live fire from PDF forces, and an increasingly brutal arbite force enforced draconian ‘austerity laws’, leading to the disappearance of many dissenters. Civil war seemed a certainty. A number of popular resistance groups arose, and a pattern of ‘liberated’ population centres being mercilessly retaken by government forces began to emerge. Civilian casualties numbered in the hundreds of thousands, but it was only when several companies of the PDF defected to the rebel cause that the rebellion became a real and credible threat. Reports of executions and massacres on both sides could not be verified.
The downfall of the government of Caitiff didn’t come through military action, however, but through accident, poor construction and bad luck. The last hive city to spring up on Caitiff was different from the others. Over thousands of years as the previous cities had grown, councils had been elected to ensure adequate ventilation, constant power and water supply, and structural integrity of the spire itself. Most of these councils were hereditary positions, chosen from the educated and wealthy elite. Some were benevolent, some self-interested, but all ensured the safe growth of their cities, both in height and spread. Easthollow, however, was in essence a vertical shantytown, a swaying and ever-expanding structure that sprang up over less than two hundred years. It was composed entirely of the dwellings, both official and makeshift, of workers employed at the hundreds of vast rusinate refineries that made up the hive city’s base, and whilst an Easthollow council did exist, its members were hand-picked by the plant owners. At every turn, the council made concessions in the name of ‘austerity’, pocketing the funds that went unspent. A looming tower of plasteel, corrugated metal and scavenged building materials, housing a workforce of labourers widely considered disposable, run and maintained by a panel of corrupt and uninterested industrialists. It was a miracle that the hive stood as long as it did.
It’s unclear exactly what happened on the day that Easthollow collapsed, and survivor’s accounts are few and far between. It’s known that the ventilation system for one area of the hive was damaged in a wilful act of sabotage by a small rebel cell, though it’s unlikely that they were fully aware of what kind of chain reaction they were setting into motion. As their bomb, fashioned from stolen mining and factory equipment, exploded, Sector 12, location of one of the largest reactors powering the spire, lost both atmosphere and temperature regulation. The fires that started in the sector should have been stopped by auto-regulated flooding systems put in place to protect the lives of the inhabitants in such an emergency, but these never engaged, even as the fires spread into the power plant itself. Immense explosions ripped through the facility, containment domes failing and contingency measures overcome. It is likely that the colossal supporting beams housed in the area collapsed or melted in the intense heat, bringing entire layers of the hive down with them. The sudden and immense pressure on a single quadrant of a structure already weakened by cheap materials and years of poor maintenance proved too much to bear, and in less than an hour, the hive tore itself apart.
Refinement of rusinate is not a clean process. Several of the by-products produced are toxic to both plant and animal life even in miniscule amounts, and many of the radioactive elements have a half-life of thousands of years. Official policy required all waste from the process to be shipped off-world as soon as it was produced, and conveyed to planets designated ‘dead’ for long-term storage. This course of action was, of course, highly expensive, and many unscrupulous plant owners had taken to storing waste on site until such a quantity had been produced for a more efficient round trip. This efficiency measure proved disastrous with the collapse of Easthollow hive, and millions of tons of untreated industrial waste escaped into the atmosphere.
In the weeks following the incident at Easthollow, it became quickly apparent as the death toll rose that there was no containing the environmental pollutants, even if the various warring factions could put aside their differences long enough to enact a plan. Evacuation of ‘loyal citizens’ of the planet was organised by the planetary government, but woefully few evacuation centres were arranged, and rebel blockades, rioting, and bandit roadblocks made travel all but impossible. It is estimated that of the entire population, less than 1 million people were on board when the evacuation ships left for good.
The current story on Caitiff takes place fifteen years after the ‘evacuation’, and the planet is a very different place. The air on the surface itself is in many areas poisonous, though microclimate and uneven spread of the toxins from Easthollow results in wide variation - small pockets of more hospitable land exist, whereas the radiation in some areas would kill a man within hours. The atmosphere has thinned, and water vapour is scarce, resulting in sweltering days and freezing nights. Plant life, too, has been all but extinguished on the surface, and sprawling cities stand empty and abandoned – almost all surviving humans live in the vast hives, where filtration systems ensure relatively clean air to breathe. Humanity still thrives, adapting as it always has, and small, self-governing settlements exist throughout the world. Supply leads to wealth, and the settlements near clean water or functioning manufactorums quickly grew in power. With no central government, though, war and conflict are constant. Manufacture still takes place, though with no off-world interest raw materials are scarce. Scavengers pick through the corpses of the old world for technology that can no longer be reproduced, or simply materials or product that would be useful to surviving communities. This work is lucrative, but dangerous – many a team of fully equipped soldiers has failed to return from relatively simple pick-ups. Hardier creatures still stalk the surface – wiry, venomous nightmares that occasionally find their way into the deeper depths of the towering cities. Outside of the rudimentary justice system of the settlements, anarchy reigns, and gangs of murderous outlaws and bandits control vast swathes of the surface. Dark rumours persist of cannibalistic or mutated sects sweeping the land (always one continent over, or in an uncontactable hive); or of hive cities on the other side of the planet unaffected by the toxins, where crops still grow, the air is clear and clean water flows. The sensible take these stories for what they are. Life is hard on Caitiff, but, for better or worse, humanity prevails.
Area map and some important settlements:
Pinepoint: A large settlement run by Ridgeway's Remnants in the mountains North East of the Skew, Pinepoint used to be a Mechanicus centre for research on hydroponics. It was founded by Lukas Ridgeway, a Captain of the loyalist PDF who had once served in a company defending the facility. Unlike many of the other settlements outside of the hive that unfortunate survivors flocked to for shelter after Easthollow fell, Pinepoint's high altitude kept it mainly clear of toxins, and the air remained relatively safe to breathe. As the air throughout the surface cleared in the months following the crisis and residents of the Skew ventured back onto the surface, Pinepoint rose to be a centre of trade. The mechanicus equipment provided a unique ability to grow various fresh crops and foodstuffs, enough even to sell to outsiders for vital equipment - it was not long before Pinepoint became a waypoint on every travelling merchant caravan's route. Many of the settlers are previous members of the PDF, and a military training program keeps Pinepoint relatively safe from raiders. Leader: Lukas Ridgeway
Quadring: A former penitentiary overtaken by it's denizens in the days shortly before the evac. It's residents were sheltered during the months of toxic air by retreating into a network of underground cells and the extensive mines where the convicts worked. Originally, Quadring survived as a settlement by providing manpower for the construction and protection of the new settlements that sprang up around it, though with changes in leadership the citizens of Quadring have a history of raiding and enslaving the nearby populace. Most residents of Quadring are vilified by the citizens of the local wasteland, and with rumours that their supplies of food are dwindling, many are hoping that the settlement will not stand for much longer. Leader: The Warden
Roth: A settlement found right on the border of The Skew, 3 domes below the surface. A centuries-old leak from high on the spire has run off the outer dome throughout living memory, providing a filter for the poisonous air. With the effluent come spoils from the hive above, and the water erodes deep into the underhive, bringing many treasure hunters to the area. The constant flow of water and sewage has cracked many older domes around Roth, and though the risk of flash floods and hivequakes is high, the lure of archeotech draws many. Surrounded on most sides by water, Roth provides a safe, though expensive route into and out of the Hive, and relative shelter from the foul climate of the surface above. Leader: Rena Crane
The Hulks: Formerly an offshore fuel derrick, attached to the Skew only by a walkway of pipes several miles long. In the days that followed the Easthollow disaster, many ships docked at the derrick, their contact with the anarchic mainland lost. Over time, the crew of the ships began to intermingle, developing their own roles and jobs within the group. Eventually, the vessels were bolted together, and a complex system of walkways, gantries and platforms was formed. Over the years that followed, the settlement of The Hulks grew, with vast structures springing up on the floating city. The water that surrounds them protects the Hulks from both bandits and toxins, and many crave the relative safety of a home there. The residents of the Hulk survive by selling prometheum siphoned from the derrick and food caught from the sea, as well as charging toll for entry to thier boats. Active Hulk wagon trains sell their produce in the hive. Leader: Tharan Locke
Info on Jackal cells:
Among the residents of Pinepoint, service is required for citizenship. Outsiders, paid in credits, alcohol or food, are hired for work, but military service is a requirement to stay within the relatively safe and desirable Remnant settlements. Ridgeway was criticised harshly for the introduction of this system, but he called for realism among his people – there simply were not the resources or room to shelter everyone who came begging. Despite this, he relented, saying that those too weak or ill to serve could also be sheltered provided another within their group would serve double time to take their place.
Newcomers wishing for full citizenship in Pinepoint or one of the smaller Remnant settlements had two options – work with Ridgeway’s Remnants themselves, or service in a Jackal team. The Remnants were a form of defence force and military police. Once given brief training, they would carry out local patrols outside the settlement, settle disputes between citizens, and form the only line of defence should the settlement be attacked. They were reasonably well equipped, with each ‘volunteer’ issued a rifle and armour from the remaining PDF stockpile, to be returned at the end of their service. Whether this equipment was still functional was another question. The minimum service within a Remnant squad is one year, though many stay longer than this. With steady (though meagre) pay, free equipment, and a relatively stable lifestyle, service in the Remnants is seen by many as a great way to live.
For those wishing to finish their service sooner, give something back to the community, or simply the poor misguided souls bored with life in the settlement and seeking adventure, joining a Jackal cell is an alternative option. Usually led by a veteran of the PDF, Jackals receive no training, no equipment and have no official instructions. There is no fixed term on service within a Jackal cell, but the cell is dissolved once it is judged to have acquired a resource of “significant value” to the settlement itself. The Jackal cells are usually a ragtag group with scavenged or homemade weapons and armour, and many have not returned after leaving the safety of Pinepoint. Others have forged trade routes with other settlements, discovered large caches of fuel or medical equipment in the wastes, or travelled to old military bases to pick through the broken equipment left behind. Some have been rumoured to have sacked other settlements for the resources they own. No questions are asked as to how the gain was made, but those proven to have stolen or murdered face the full force of Remnant justice. Any weapons and equipment that a Jackal may come across during their service are theirs to keep. Service with a Jackal cell is seen as a quicker way to gain citizenship in Pinepoint itself, but few are fully aware of the dangers that they face when they sign up.
THE 21st JACKALS
Leader of the 21st Jackal cell. Claims to have been a sergeant in the PDF, but carries a lot of ‘non-standard’ equipment. He has spent many years on the scavenger teams training and living with Jackals, far more than his required service. If asked, he tells people that it’s because he upset a high ranking officer in the Remnant forces themselves, but other stories have been suggested. Some believe that he hates Pinepoint, and will do anything to leave it. Others have suggested that he is fighting to his death, his only means to reunite with a family killed in the rebellion. Others, perhaps more realistically, have wondered if he simply enjoys the work. Whatever the suggestion, put forward to Murdock it results in scorn and hard labour. Often brusque and unfriendly, he will nonetheless go out of his way to protect those under him. Reports of personal trinkets or new equipment discovered in their packs by Jackals who have been struggling to cope have never been linked to Murdock, though many have their suspicions. Murdock recently suffered a serious head wound after a blast knocked him from a window during a skirmish with some local outlaws. He recovered well, but on recent occasions his reactions and instructions have occasionally seemed slower during combat situations.
Medic and plasma gunner. Farrell was found in the wastes a mile outside of Rukob by a different jackal cell. He was bleeding badly from embedded buckshot and a (clumsily stitched) stab wound to the stomach. He was carrying an infant girl, unharmed, but with a strange symmetrical birthmark on her back. Both were carried back to Pinepoint, the largest Remnant settlement. His wounds were infected, and the fever almost killed him as he raved about mutants and monsters. As he recovered, he first asked about the girl, then about other wounded who may have been brought in from the same area. The medical staff became concerned that he may have a bounty on his head. Many of the Remnants don’t trust him, and from his strange arrival to his refusal to explain where he came from, he hasn’t helped himself. The plasma weapon he carried was also a rare find, unusual to see outside the slaver camps to the North. Leaving the girl in the safety of the camp, he joined a Jackal team to pay back the kindness he was given, believing that his skill with medicae, and especially his work with bionics (an especially unusual skill in Skew State) would prove invaluable. Friendly and jovial when spoken to, Farrell was nonetheless rather quiet, with a tendency to stare into space and tune out of conversations. He was most vocal when discussing his frustration at the lack of medical equipment available – there was nothing on the planet, he said, more heartbreaking than knowing exactly what was wrong with a man and being able to do nothing to fix it. He regularly wrote notes in a small book, telling any who asked that it was a diary. Convinced that that he was a spy for the QA, Twitch stole his book and handed it to Murdock. Whilst he did write detailed notes of his own activities, almost the entirety of Farrell’s book was filled with letters to a woman, none of which it appeared had actually been sent. Murdock spoke to him about it, but saw no reason for concern. Farrell went missing following a series of engagements with an offworld private security company, and is presumed dead or captured.
Completely unrelated vox-file:
+++ Case file 6134:49C4 +++
+++ Caitiff Enforcers Automated Service +++
+++ Security-level gamma+++
NOTE: 4235 DAYS HAVE PASSED SINCE VALIDATION OF FILE SYSTEM. PLEASE INITIATE SYSTEM REBOOT TO STABILISE.
begin vox feed
male voice. Slow, laboured
I’m sorry I haven’t sent word in a few weeks now – I wasn’t sure anything was getting through. It’s been tough.
I’m not –
I’m not going to be coming home, Malaena.
It’s all gone to hell. Everything out here, just – I don’t know what happened to the others. Eli, Pirren, Clara. I think they might be dead. I took her with me, the girl. It was stupid. Throne, it was stupid.
But she was so desperate...
pause, heavy breathing
I’ve been missing you, Malaena. I wanted to come back to you. I tried to tell them we should go, that we should have left when the guards did, when he moved in – but... Crucien wouldn’t let us. He said it was humanitarian, but it – it wasn’t humanitarian anymore.
I don’t know how far I can –
Rustling. Subject grunts with pain
I’m going to keep moving. If I leave her here, she’ll die. If she dies, it was for nothing. I’m leaving the transmitter, I- I won’t contact you again. Crucien will look for you. Play him this. He’ll know.
I love you, Malaena. Always will. I’m sorry.
Heavy weapons enthusiast and inventor. Apparently mute, but adept at rigging technology from scrap, Murdock considers Skragg an idiot savant. Many of the others in the team think his silence is not a result of lack of intelligence, but rather a conscious choice. He had a close relationship with a younger Jackal named Scout, who was killed early in the campaign while the pair of them rescued a mercenary from rising floodwaters. Extended fluff story in the spoiler below. Skragg’s hearing has suffered as a result of his fondness for loud weaponry.
Skragg and Scout part 1:
The guy with the...? Oh, you mean Skragg! Big guy, spiked hair, doesn’t talk much, carries a gun that looks like you couldn’t lift it? Yeah, that’ll be him. Don’t take offence or anything, he doesn’t talk to anyone. He’ll smile at you, laughs at jokes and that, but he’s been with us for years and I never heard him say a word. Nothing wrong with his head though - You know he built that gun himself? Parts from two autoguns, a couple of chips and springs out of an old transit cart we found out near Saltash, some rings out of a piston, Throne, I don’t know. Put it all together with that welding gun on his hip. Makes his own bullets, too! Keep an eye on him next time we’re out in the wastes. He stops every now and again, picks stuff up and pockets it. Trash, utter junk. The kind of thing you don’t look twice at, but give it a week and it’s part of a firing mechanism, or he’s fitting an autoloader on your rifle. Murdock reckons he’s some kind of idiot savant, but I’m sure he’s all there. Just keeps himself to himself, y’know? Just cause someone don’t talk, doesn’t mean they don’t know how to.
His story isn’t the happiest though – you sure you want to hear it? Well, take a smoke, it’s kind of an epic. Nah, don’t worry bout it, got packs of them back at camp. Factory uphive was run by some friends of ours from Roth for a while, Coop worked security for them. Perks, y’know?
Right, well I can’t tell you about Skragg without telling you about Scout, the kid we met him through. First time I saw either of em, they were in this drinking pit together in Hole, some kind of sewer water between them. This was maybe two years back, I think. We’d been following these rumours of some kind of tech stash that had been uncovered near Lent (turned out to be bunk, before you get your hopes up), and Murdock had us out hunting for someone who knew the area. We’d had a fair few choices, loud mouths proclaiming themselves the best around, wanting paid upfront. Crow’s a good judge of these kind of things though, wasn’t having any of it. We’d heard mention of Scout from a few different people, this kid who’d been in town for a few years, supposed to be the go-to guy. He wasn’t like the others – he was calm, relaxed. We’d heard his name and he knew that. He was 16, maybe 17, no older. Sitting at the table with Skragg, this giant of a man, just talking away at him. Told us he’d learnt his way around scavenging for tech to sell for as long as he could remember, and if we wanted a guide in the badlands, he said, he knew routes and domes that few others did. He knew where the local gangs holed up, and where the local wildlife hunted and nested. If that sounded useful to us, he said, we could hire him and his associate for a 10% stake of whatever was found. No questions about what we were looking for, who he’d be working with. He was good to his word, too. While he was with us, raids went smoother, we didn’t get ambushed once, not even a cave in.
He was a great guy, too. Generous with what he had, great sense of humour. Laughed at himself – not many men around who’ll do that, a real rare quality. He was always with Skragg though, just talking to him. The guy never replied, of course, but he always listened, and listened intent – had that look, you know what I mean? Complete concentration. Always together, too. They were more than just friends – maybe that way, maybe not. Never felt it was my business to ask.
He told me they’d been partners in the scavenging business since they were kids – they’d been slaves together, working a chem pit in the Northern Wastes. Do you remember Derrick? No? Ah, well, little settlement to the North West, got overrun by the QA maybe 10 years ago. Everyone killed or captured, Scout and Skragg included. Reckoned he was 6 years old at the time. Second night they were in the mines, a friend of his dad’s, a barkeep named Garret, caved in the skull of their guard and made a run for it with four of the neighbourhood kids in tow. You ever met the QA? They’re pretty soulless, even by badlands standards. One of the kids was shot in the head as they ran, and Garret took a bullet to the gut, bled out in a basement a few miles from Hope. Sounded like a real fighter – apparently he didn’t even let on to the kids that he’d been hit ‘til he couldn’t run anymore. That left three of them. Skragg, aged maybe 7, Scout, and an older kid named Relleck. They did what any kids would do in the situation – panic. Scout wanted to go South, keep running until they found another settlement. He’d heard horror stories of what happened to kids who tried to pass through the wastes on their own, but he knew it had to be better than the fate that waited for them in the mines. Relleck wanted to go back, thought that if they returned, hands in the air, they’d let them rejoin the chain gang as if nothing had happened. They’d have been crucified, for sure – the QA don’t forgive the killing of one of their own. Skragg, as always, said nothing. They argued for a few minutes before Relleck pulled the pistol off Garret’s belt and pointed it straight at Scout. For a few minutes, no one did anything. No one knew what to do. Scout cried. He told me that - no bravado, you see? Didn’t take long for Relleck to realise the position he was in. He broke into a smile, and told them to walk. He could at least save himself, he told em, if he bought the escapees back. He'd tell the guards he’d been dragged along, that he’d killed Garret himself, thought he'd be a hero. He told em he wouldn't care if they got boiled alive. Skragg elbowed the kid in the face, put him flat on his back before he could say another word. He broke his wrist and took the pistol, shot him three times before calmly handing it to Scout. Just like that. No simpleton, right? I’m sure he knows what he’s doing.
With just a few bullets and a single pistol, they headed South, into Ruckarnlan
Before finding the Remnants, Crow scavenged the rocky and mountainous wastes North-East of the hive with her brother, who had raised her since they became separated from their parents during the Evac. After serving several months as a construction worker in the compound, Crow volunteered to join a Jackal team to rediscover the adventure and excitement of living rough. She may or may not regret her decision. Agile and sure-footed, Crow tends to stay high above the hive floor, shooting from vantage points wherever possible. She is good humoured and friendly, though with rather a dark sense of humour. She rarely takes off her rebreather, pointing out the very real danger that surface pollutants pose to the lungs. When pressed (or after a little too much wildsnake), she may relate the fate of her brother, who suffered worsening breathing problems on the surface. A few days prior to Crow’s discovery by a Remnant patrol, he left their camp in the middle of the night and shot himself without a word. He had complained over their campfire that his laboured breathing was slowing them both down, and one day waiting for him might get her killed. She had brushed him off, joking about carrying him. To this day, she resents his choice to make the decision without her, forcing her to carry on alone.
Joined the Remnants after being caught attempting to steal food from the Pinepoint stores with her teenage son. Both agreed to serve in Jackal teams and eventually join defensive patrols if it meant access to the compound. Before the evacuation, Ferret worked as a teacher, educating the upper classes in Caitiff history, and the value of their contact with the Imperium. She was forcibly conscripted by the Eurata Separatist Front once the rebellion began, and served several years in a guerrilla unit, fighting hit and run engagements with government forces in Crockfall. Ferret is very fast and a reasonable shot, but has been injured several times whilst in the 21st. Keen to return to base, Ferret rarely socialises, but will scavenge during her own time, hoping to find some archeotech valuable enough to merit a return to Pinepoint, and the peaceful existence that she craves.
Friendly and affable, Riggs was born inside the Remnant compound. Initially charged with farm-work and looking after the animals, he joined a Jackal team as soon as he could, and acts as a friendly second-in-command to Murdock. Despite his affable demeanour, Riggs has a natural gift for negotiation and persuasion, and often accompanies Murdock to trading posts or to form treaties with rival groups. He tends to know a lot of residents in the settlements they regularly visit, and takes care of the team’s dogs, Loki and Cass. Riggs was badly wounded and one of his dogs killed by an unknown animal during a scavenging excursion on the surface. Farrell fitted him with a bionic replacement taken from the remaining PDF supplies.
Coop and RiffRaff
An ex-penal legionnaire with a history of forced service with the QA, and a once-wealthy runaway who served with a trade caravan specialising in electronics. Coop and Riff sold their services as caravan guards together for several years before meeting Murdock with his previous Jackal cell. Tired of life on the roads, they planned to complete their time in the Jackals and acquire citizenship in Pinepoint, where they could live peacefully. RiffRaff knits (badly), and Coop has been known to decorate buildings where the Jackals camp with vast, spray-painted murals. The two were inseparable, and a few fluff stories are under the cut. During the campaign, RiffRaff drowned in an engagement with the QA. Coop continues to serve with the Jackals, acting as a kind of carer to Twitch. He has struggled to cope with the loss of Riff, however, and has developed several self-destructive tendencies. He fights with a jerry-rigged flame-thrower created by Skragg, and tends to throw himself into close quarters fighting whenever the Jackals are engaged by rival groups.
Ah, Riff and Coop. A great pair, those two – funniest bastards I’ve ever met who weren’t trying to get me to buy something. You’ve got to get them started on something, there’s – you won’t have heard nothing like it. No one else gets a word in, once they’re going at it – It’s always a competition. Just got to outdo eachother’s stories, you know? Has Coop told you how he ended up in the Penals yet? Oh, he will. I don’t want to spoil ‘em, but there’s one for every occasion – last I heard he got busted impersonating a Commissar to get at the Amsec rations in his PDF conscription. As to what he actually did? Pshh, who knows. Something small, I’d bet. Can’t imagine him hurting a rat if it wasn’t looking funny at Riff. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t cross him; he wouldn’t think twice if he had to, you know? Just - not one of those men who gets enjoyment from it.
They’re good people, basically. Twitch too, though he’s not right any more. The fact that they stick by him, what with his new mindset and all – kind of thing that says a lot about a character, I’d say. They’ve been through a lot together, and I wouldn’t believe how they tell it neither – the real story’s a lot less cheery. Less bear-wrestling, too.
So RiffRaff first, right? From what I’ve heard, she really did live in Haverbrook, and she did leave of her own accord before the Evac. I know! It’s not the ‘coming of age’, swashbuckling adventurer type exit she likes to spin though; it was a little more sordid; a little more sad. She wasn’t the same girl back then. There was a man involved – I know, I know – but this wasn’t a romantic story. Not through his eyes, anyway. He was some real scum from Skew, some gangbanger from deep in the Underhive. His settlement kicked him out and he found his way to Haverbrook. He was living rough, stealing whatever he could to survive. Got cornered by the enforcers, of course – they didn’t used to put up with the underclasses there. By then, though, he’d met Riff, and Riff’s parents were in the guild – real important people. She wasn’t so smart back then, too trusting, too naive. Typical surfacer. He span her a story about false accusations, an evil associate setting him up to steal his business or some such, saving orphans from landmines, I don’t know. But she bought it, and begged the watchmen who came for him to let his crimes slide, for her. Promised to make him her personal project. Considering how upset her parents would be if their daughter didn’t get her way, they actually listened. You believe that? Bastard probably couldn’t believe his luck either.
The guy kept in touch, of course. Wasn’t going to lose a mark like RiffRaff. Over the course of a few months, he started giving her a taste of underhive life – spun it as a way of thanking her. He had some old contacts who sold him ghost, kalma, spur, whatever they’d scraped out of the chem pits, and she took it all; she’d never seen anything close. Thought she was doing something spiritual, some kind of cultural vibe, and you can guess where it led her. There’s no place for addicts outside of the hive, no tolerance for them. She needed her hits, and he was the only place she could get them. He knew it, too. When her parents began to suspect that she was spending their credits on something other than booze and clothes, he suggested they run away together, live on the road and follow the rebels. He talked her into stealing nearly ten thousand credits from her parents – after all, what had they done for her? They would never understand. If she took what she could, they would have all they needed to live the good life, away from their meddling. The good life for Riff, of course, began with multiple stab wounds in a ditch barely three miles from Haverbrook.
Amazingly, that’s not where her story ended, though no doubt been the end of many other lives these days.
A trade caravan ran from Skew city (that’s the polite name for the sprawling expanse of corrugated plasteel and concrete that surrounds Skew proper) to Easthollow, run by a young guy named McCaughey. They dealt mainly in reconditioned electronics, buying and fixing mining and industrial equipment – junk that others considered beyond repair. The caravan stopped at some of the smaller shanty towns along the way to sell their wares - an old-fashioned way to do business, at the time, but they made good money in the places that the bigger conglomerates didn’t consider quite profitable enough to cater for. McCaughey and his partners made a comfortable living, and Skew state was fairly secure in governmental territory, meaning that the route was also ‘safe’, as far as trade routes went. Course, the rebellion had been underway for a fair bit of time, and bodies turned up on quiet stretches of every highway. No one asked questions anymore; it didn’t matter who they were. Some were dissenters, killed by governmental forces; some were soldiers – men and women who had fought on either side. Some, no doubt, were the poor bastards killed by bandits: desperate men feeding their families in any way they could, or simply those that had come to enjoy the anarchy. It’s hard to judge a man who couldn’t watch his children fade away, you know? Whoever they were, they all carried equipment and goods, and McCaughey quickly realised that a corroded autogun or repainted flak armour could fetch a decent price on the black market. It was in this capacity that one of his men discovered that RiffRaff was still breathing.
McCaughey was a businessman, and mercenary as all get out, but he wasn’t a monster. Riff rode in the back of one of their trucks as their expedition medic, an old PDF dog named Kew, looked her over. He gave her as much medication as they could spare. She had lost a lot of blood, gone septic from the dirt in her wounds, and was going through one hell of a comedown from the drug withdrawal. She would have been raving, seeing things; fighting and lashing out. Wouldn’t have been easy to deal with, even with the ReBound they pumped her full of. They took her anyway. Good people. McCaughey planned to offload her in one of the last few free clinics that the sisters were running once they got to Easthollow – keep her safe, but no longer his problem.
Over the few weeks they travelled, Riff recovered. Physically, at least. Her temperature dropped, the demons left her vision, and though the shakes came back with every missed dose, the gnawing pain in her gut was much more short lived. The pain in her chest, though, was there to stay. She had betrayed her parents, left her home, burdened and attacked strangers, and nearly died, all for the sake of protecting a man who then tried to kill her. She’d thrown away everything – everything she had ever known, you understand? – and she was only realising now how well she’d been played. The man she’d saved had stolen her life, and she would probably never see him again. Riff knew that she would never return to Haverbrook. How could she? She begged McCaughey to take her on for work, anything that he might have going. She had no skills (who the hell does, growing up in a palace?), but was desperate to repay the debt that she felt she owed. McCaughey turned her down though. He wasn’t one to refuse free labour, but the girl was a liability. Since she wouldn’t tell him where she was from, he would leave her in Easthollow, and that was that. Only, they never got that far.
Before the haze, you could see Easthollow for days. A crooked spear jutting into the sky, mottled orange and brown, like rotten wood. There was no getting lost, it was just there – on a clear day, you could almost make it out on the horizon from the Skew. Which is why, despite being a few days travel away, the men and women working for McCaughey saw Easthollow fall.
RiffRaff’s never really told anyone what happened next. Doesn’t like to talk about it, you understand. You ever see someone that’s been burned with rusinate runoff? Nah, I suppose you wouldn’t have. No one goes near the dumping sites anymore – most of ‘em are wired off and signposted by now. But this stuff, the stuff they used to ship off world? It’s – I can’t really properly get across the horror this gak provokes in anyone who survived Easthollow. It’s corrosive, it burns you, right? But that ain’t always what kills you. Sometimes it’s slower, more painful, inevitable. Get contaminated, and it burns you fierce on the contact site, sometimes through to the bone. Some people died then and there – I don’t know if it was the burn, don’t know if their blood carries the poison around their bodies, burns ‘em up from the inside. Just a splash, though, step in something out scavenging, stray too close to a restricted site, that won’t kill you by itself. I’ve got no idea how it works (Farrell’s your man for that, if he’s in a talking mood), but those who die outright are maybe the lucky ones. The survivors - they got the burns, sure, but there’s something else in there too, something that stays in your body once the burning’s stopped. Over a couple of weeks, they just started to swell up. Cancers, tumours, I don’t know. Some kind of growth that just starts out and don’t stop. Didn’t hit them evenly either: might just affect one arm, might be your face; could be your liver, might be in the brain. Some people went crazy – turned violent and aggressive, beat someone to death just for staring. Farrell says it must have been compression – in the skull, you know? Others just went vacant, staring into space or just walking into gunfire. A lot of people killed themselves. Barely looked human anymore, guess they didn’t feel it either.
You’ll still see them around, sometimes. You probably have, just wouldn’t recognise them. People don’t take too kindly to those who got burned. After the hive fell, a lot of people saw the crazy ones, saw what they’d do if they got close to you – There are still people around who’ll shoot a hollow on sight. I’ve only met one or two, but they keep wrapped up, no skin on show. I don’t think there’s many left now. It’s - just no way for a man to live.
Ah, Throne, you’re right. Sorry, where was I? Poor bastards always throw me off. Right! Easthollow. And the aftermath, I guess. Rumour is, it rained runoff in parts of Shantytown. Literally poured from the sky. Think of the worst acid shower you’ve seen out on the wastes, kind of thing that strips paint from your truck, and imagine it doing the same to people. Reduction compounds got thrown up into the air too – you know the stuff that gives you blight throat? This is where all of it came from. ALL of it. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? There were rebreathers and gas masks around, of course, industrial protection for workers and the like, but nothing like as many as we’ve got today. More people back then, too, so less to go around. McCaughey’s train had masks – reconditioning gear like that was what they did, but the general public had nothing to protect themselves. Riff would have seen it all – the burned, the people whose lungs were slowly dissolving, the hollow crazies, hell, starvation and regular disease will have taken thousands. At first, they sold to the crowds, but Kew eventually talked McCaughey into giving out the spare masks they had left for free to any who would take them. It was already too late, really. All I know for sure is that once it was clear that there were more refugees than there were resources, people got desperate. Once the shooting started, McCaughey made the wise decision to get the hell back to Skew.
Their flight took them past Haverbrook, of course, though they didn’t slow down. Riff still wakes up sometimes convinced that the glow off the generator is the fires of her home. She had no idea if her parents had reached an evac, fled to safety, been killed in the fighting. Who knew? She had the realisation, then and there, that she didn’t really care. She felt nothing when she thought of them, of all her old friends and neighbours. It was like a different reality. Numbed.
Over the course of the next few months, McCaughey let Riff work. She’d told him she was from Easthollow, and as far as he knew, she had just watched every person she had ever met burn. In a way, she had. Bresnan, one of the younger lads working for his team, showed her how to make repairs as he fixed up the few things they had left, and slowly but surely she began to pick it up. They stayed in Skew Hive, for a few months, same as everyone else on the continent. Too dangerous to head out, back when the air was still poison. That’s when Riff learned to fight – the hive was crowded before, now there was scarcely space to move. You fought for what you had, or you lost it. They were one of the first caravans to head back into the wastes, though, among the first to re-establish contact with all the new settlements that had sprung up in the carcass of the old ones. Over the course of the next five years, they helped more than thirty settlements start up in the wastes – mostly for profit, of course, though I understand McCaughey was known to sell below cost if he could see that people were dying. Once again, though, he was making himself a tidy living. They had a pretty high turnover of caravan guards: riding shotgun was dangerous in the early days. Lot of desperate people.
The last day that Riff saw her friends from the caravan route, they were travelling from Pallain to Ruckett. A pretty safe route, usually – through the bones of the old world city of Newhall. Lots of stories were told in the camps of sinewy monsters eating travellers there, or gangs of cannibals, creatures that used to be human. Nonsense, of course, but it made for a quiet route. They were a small convoy – a couple of smaller buggies up front, heavy stubbers and flamers on pivots, to keep the road clear. Riff and Bresnan were in the back of the first merch truck along with a couple of guards. One more truck ran behind them, a single buggy following up from the rear. Safe, but manoeuvrable. She was chatting with Bresnan, she remembered. Joking about vampires ambushing their route.
The first explosion, the one that killed her driver, knocked Riff to the wooden floor and threw boxes from the flatbed, spilling scavenged circuit-boards behind the truck. Shots rang out as the truck skidded to a stop. The caravan guards, kids McCaughey had hired from a local settlement, began firing wildly into the buildings along the side of the street. The leading cars were on fire – Parin and Holt, the men who had built Riff a shelter back in The Skew, already dead. Bullets ripped through the canvas around her, killing one of the mercenary guards and catching Bresnan in the shoulder. He screamed, and fell from the truck. More shots echoed out, and his screaming stopped. The other guard jumped from the back, dropping his rifle as he ran. Poor kid had probably never been shot at before. Riff saw him collapse. Before she had even taken it in, the shooting had stopped. She could hear men laughing, two voices arguing over the stimms in Kew’s medical pack. A louder man with an Easthollow accent barked orders. Shaking, Riff pulled a pistol off the belt of the man lying dead alongside her, trying not to meet the empty stare of his wide eyes. When a face appeared at the foot of the truck, a young man in a penal collar, she pulled the trigger. Nothing happened – a faint, repeating click revealing the jam in the firing mechanism. The butt of a rifle met her temple, and the world slipped away.
And though she didn’t know it yet, this was how she met Coop.
Coop on the planet surface:
The surface – the true surface – now had a strange kind of beauty to it, Coop thought to himself. The emptiness, the silence, had a unique sensation, a feeling all of its own. Between the settlements, in the mainly intact ruins of the old world, it still felt like trespassing, like sneaking out as a teenager. The truck growled through the silent city, echoing back and forth in the empty buildings. He felt as though he were walking through Greenmile City again, footsteps echoing impossibly loud in the early hours of the morning when the streets were dead. You could be the only person in the world. It would be easy to ignore the signs of what had happened, if you kept your gaze high enough. Facing skyward, the pockmarked walls and burnt out vehicles would slip out of view, the upper levels of what used to be Ruckarnlan jutting dark and silhouetted against the yellow-hued sky, looking now as he imagined they always had. He’d never come here before the evacuation – the empty streets of the old city were all he’d ever seen of it, a passing blur thrown up and down from the back of Carson’s caravan. The city told stories, like every place on the surface. He’d learned to read the environment as they drove, hear the history it whispered, just below your hearing, through the tedium of the long ride. Here a former shop-front was boarded up with scrap scavenged from nearby buildings, corrugated iron and rotten wood. Empty food cans littered the ground, a rainwater collection duct rigged to the front of the building. A scavenger, maybe a family, had lived there once, maybe died there. Picked the area clean before moving on, or succumbing to the poisonous air. Conditions on the surface were harsh, and few survived up here for long.
Here, a faded mural. Scorpions, a gas mask, crossed rifles. A gang? Perhaps just a lone waster? Might even have been prior to the rebellion – images of warfare and revolution were nothing new on Caitiff. There were others around Ruckarnlan, less warlike, less violent – things of beauty. Real artworks, sprawling growths of painted plants, painstakingly etched representations of women, surrealist blooms of colour. Multi-storey buildings covered in swathes of pigment - hours upon hours of work in the deadly conditions of the wastes. He’d often wondered about who could produce such things: could they be the work of a single man? Some crazed artist lost in the wilderness? Coop had seen shadows moving through the buildings, all of them had – ghosts of the old world, they called them. Killed so quickly when the violence began that they’d never realised that they were dead. Stories were common in the hive of people taken by these shadowy spectres, vanishing silently from the back of vehicles in dust storms, not a trace of their passing, only to be seen in the painted walls of the surface. Coop didn’t believe them, but he still shuddered as the wind picked up.
There were still signs of the life that had once thrived here, if you looked high enough – tattered rags hung on what had once been washing lines, faded curtains still blew from open windows. The signs were always there, though. Windows, shattered. Paintwork peeling and torn. With time came decay, and decay was all that was left in the wastes.
Pulling at his uncomfortable mask, Coop nudged Riff awake. It was her watch, and he’d seen enough.
Coop and Riff join the Remnants (written a waaaay back, and not very good ):
Riggs moved through the shattered entranceway, following the glow of the fire. He could hear them talking - low and cautious, still unsure of themselves. He smiled. It would be good to get some new company. The dog growled, leaning into the rope around her neck as the campfire came into view. Riggs bent down, pulled her in and patted her side as her hackles rose.
"Easy, Cass. Calm down, girl. They're friends, ok? No one's trying to kill me today."
The strangers by the campfire turned towards him, the male half rising. His hand was at the holster hanging off his belt. The girl spoke first.
"Uhh... hey. You okay, man? We're new. Murdock's cleared us, so... no need for the dog, alright?"
Riggs laughed, raising his arms in what he hoped was a disarming gesture. "She's not that bad, honest - just talks a big game. She'll be fine once she's used to you." He tied her off against a door frame and patted her muzzle once more. "You mind if I join you?"
The man sitting opposite the fire still hadn't lowered his hand. The girl turned to him, and he nodded, sitting back where he had been. He smiled, and appeared to relax. Riggs pulled a bottle optimistically labelled "Wildsnake" from his bag and offered it to his new companions. With a muttered ‘thanks’, the girl took it and drank deep before spluttering a few times and passing it back.
"Not the best, huh? Got it in Jento - should have been warning enough, I guess." He took a sup of the spirit and passed it on to the man opposite him. In the light of the fire, the thick gouges in the newcomer's arms were thrown into relief. "Name's Levin Grigg, though the folks round here tend to call me Riggs." He sighed. "Guess two syllables was a little much to ask. The girl growling at you on then end of that rope is Cass. I know the welcome Murdock gives to strangers can be... a little less than friendly, so I figured I'd stop by and say hi. What're your names?"
"Coop." It was the man who had spoken first. He was tall and heavy set, but probably no more than 25 or 30 years. Fresh cuts lined his features, and fresh bruises covered much of his face. His nose was set at an awkward angle - a look that seemed recently acquired, based on the crusted blood underneath it. Riggs could make out the profile of a penal collar beneath the man's coat - an interesting one, no doubt. "My friend here is Riff Raff." He paused for second, and grinned a smile with more than a little wince in it as he extended his hand. "Nice to meet you."
"Riff Raff?" The girl laughed. She was about Riggs' age, with dark eyes and bright green hair cropped short to her head. Slung at her side was a heavy backpack, filled with what looked like computer equipment.
"It stuck! I grew up in Haverbrook – you know it?" Riggs looked blank. "Haverbrook! Oh, come on. Big, fancy, posh oppressive arsehole community, couple miles outside the hive? Lots of trees? Back when there were still trees, that is. You'll know it if you see it." She paused for a second. "You know what a tree is, right?" Riggs smiled wanly, took the proffered bottle from Coop.
"So it's an ironic thing?"
"Sort of. fething hated that place, ran away the second the factories blew up. I like it - burning out my roots, y'know?” She paused, taking a sup of the alcohol and grimacing. “Guess my family got evacced though – maybe I shoulda stayed." She laughed.
Riggs thought for a second. "So how did you guys end up in Rukob?"
"Series of coincidences, I guess." RiffRaff grinned. "Coop, me and Twitch - have you met Twitch? You'd uh... You'd remember if you had." She chuckled quietly to herself. "We’ve been working as caravan guards. Good work. Couple of different employers, of course, and a few disputes over pay, but there’s plenty of opportunity around Skew. This latest donkey-cave though -"
Coop, who had been valiantly swigging at the bottle, cut her off with a smile. "Aw, come on Riff. He wasn't that bad. For a guilder." RiffRaff glared at him, turned back to Riggs.
"This latest donkey-cave –“ A pointed glare at coop. “– was a solid gold prick, even for a trader. He ripped off everyone he met."
"It was his job." Coop shot back.
RiffRaff ignored him. "He charged more for drugs if people were sick."
"Demand was up."
A smile hung on the corner of her mouth, but she beat it back. "What about the maps he kept selling after the QA took Derrick? People died."
"He had to make his money back."
"He shot that trader in Saltash!"
"The one who tried to stab him?"
"I’d have stabbed him too!" RiffRaff was laughing now.
Coop broke into a playful smile, which was apparently a little too wide as he grunted and rubbed his bruised jaw. He turned to Riggs. "Carson was an underhanded, backstabbing con artist, but that just meant that he was good at his job. With us though, he was a good guy. Mostly. We sat shotgun on his caravan between settlements. Easy money. There were the odd raiders or waster lads, but between me, Twitch and this one, they didn't really have a chance."
"So what happened?" Riggs took another swig of the 'wildsnake' Coop had passed him, gagging a little as the aftertaste hit him. It really was foul stuff.
"Well," RiffRaff muttered. "like he said, we covered his ass between settlements. If Carson wants to shoot his mouth off to every guy in every drinking hole in Skillett, we can't be there to stop the guy who... well, shot his mouth off." Coop laughed and put his arm around her shoulder, but stopped when she threw him a look. "Turned out he insulted one of the local mercs, some real badass apparently. And apparently he wasn't in the mood for Carson's gak talk." A look of sadness spread momentarily across her face, before her features quickly hardened. "Either way, we found ourselves between employments." She passed a bacc-stick to Coop, lighting her own off the campfire. "You want one?" Riggs shook his head."Eh, your loss, they're good."
Riggs smiled, patting his shirt sleeve. "Got my own. From uphive." RiffRaff looked briefly impressed, but pulled it into a good natured sneer, rocking her head from side to side. "So how'd you find yourself here? Skillet's what, like, 10, 15 miles East?"
"Business venture." Coop replied. "Whatever we think of Carson," a glance to RiffRaff, "he went out owing us a fair few creds in backpay. He also left behind a fair few crates of spirits, munitions and condensor parts that he was no longer using. We heard of a trader who didn't ask many questions out at this end, but unfortunately didn't quite make it all the way here. The guide we hired was the same guy who gave us the tip, and said he knew the fastest way from Skillet to Rukob - yeah, yeah, I can see in your face that you know where this is going. It was stupid as hell, I know." Riggs raised his hands and shook his head, trying to repress a grin. "There were 20-odd armed men - thugs hired by the local guild interest - waiting for us in a pass about 5 miles out. We did what any sane people would do in that situation - gave em everything." He paused for a moment. "Twitch was – having a bad day. He was raging, practically frothing at the mouth, couldn’t stand to think that we were just going to let them walk away. We managed to calm him down before he shot anyone though, or I'm guessing we wouldn't be here." He spat in the fire and watched it hiss. "Still, I'd love to meet that 'guide' again. Just the once." RiffRaff cracked her knuckles.
"They let us live, which was an unexpected courtesy. Took everything, of course, but let us go. Not before their boss had given me a "lesson about trade rights"." RiffRaff put her hand on his shoulder, but he shrugged it off and smiled at her. "We made it though. It's almost hard to hate them, they played it so well."
The dog had been whimpering for a few minutes. Riggs pulled another bottle from his pack, set it on the rubble he'd been sitting on.
"Well, you’re welcome here. We could always use another couple of experienced eyes, and you’re one hell of a lot friendlier than the last batch. Look, I need to move, or Cass here'll never forgive me." He gestured at the bottle. "That's yours, if you think you can stomach it. Sounds like you guys could use it." He untied the dog from the post, pushing her back as she licked his face. He stood upright, turning again to the two newcomers. "Welcome to the Jackals. Hope it treats you better than your last post."
A close friend of RiffRaff and Coop, Twitch worked with them for several years as a caravan guard. Somewhat of a heavy drinker with a talent with cards and a fast mouth, he was known widely as a story-teller and writer. Around a year before the three came into contact with Murdock, though, he was thrown from his truck in a collision with some local wildlife, striking his head against the road. Whilst he survived, he has been wildly unpredictable since, breaking down into tears with no provocation or attacking strangers over imagined slights. Despite this, he still experiences periods of lucidity, and can for days at a time seem the man he used to be. Whilst most men in such situations would not have lasted long, Riff and Coop stuck by their old friend, even though his outbursts cost them several contracts. Murdock was not happy with his inclusion in the Jackals, but allowed him to remain, as long as the others accepted responsibility for his behaviour.
At 19, Scratch is the youngest member of the 21st Jackals. Optimistic and adventurous, she spends as much time on the surface as she can, and adores the ruins. Scratch had no real experience of the world before the Easthollow disaster, and was carried to Pinepoint shortly after the evac by her parents, both of whom have since passed (her father of rusinate lung, her mother of radiation sickness while serving with the Remnants). She was raised mostly by Elara, another orphan girl discovered by Remnant patrols shortly before her arrival. The two are very close. Scratch revels in finding what she can of life before, and has developed a penchant for old world luxuries – she has spent many an evening with a begrudging Elara combing ruined stores in Crockfall for lho sticks, soda and sour candy. She also delights in finding gifts for others, hunting out undamaged spray-paints for Coop and Riff, or interesting mechanical parts and wiring for Skragg.
Originally from the poorer quarters around The Skew Spire, Scratch’s parents had little money for medical care, and her birth was complicated. She suffered a nerve injury to her right leg, resulting in a complete loss of sensation that led to multiple fractures and injuries as she grew. Though it does little to slow her down, pain and fatigue quickly set in if walking longer distances and Scratch is loathe to admit this, pressing through the pain for as long as she can. She learned to drive at a young age and has developed some skill, often being entrusted with the truck by Murdock on their expeditions outside of the hive.
A few years older than Scratch, but willing to put up with her, Elara served as her begrudging big sister as they grew up together in Pinepoint. She looked out for Scratch, keeping her out of trouble with the local gangs and ensuring she had food and water, but mostly allowing her to find her own way. Elara taught her what she could about the world before Easthollow fell, and what to avoid in the world since. Elara has a boundless interest in seemingly everything, and her shack in Pinepoint is a treasure trove of books and holodisks – acquisitions from years of scavenging and trading. The darker side of this voracious interest is the obsessive hoarding tendencies that she has developed, building collections of seemingly useless trinkets that she will trade anything to obtain. Whilst she understands that her ‘collections’ often defy logic, Elara has difficulty controlling her compulsion, and has developed some kleptomaniacal tendencies, kept in check mainly by Scratch. Through badgering Farrell and some instructional data drives, Elara has taught herself basic first aid, and will happily sit watching Skragg repair equipment for hours.
THE QUADRING ACCORD
Background on the QA:
The QA, or Quadring Accord, are a loose band of ex-convicts, penal legionnaires, miners and manufactorum workers, working under a vague common goal. They emerged from, and are still based in, the Quadring Penitentiary, a detention camp North of Skew Spire where prisoners were held before their assignment to a legion or labour duty. The exact details of how the group came to be are unclear, though their founder, a man calling himself “The Warden”, was widely believed to be Colonel Lockwood, an officer of the PDF awaiting sentencing for insubordination at the time of the evacuation. Not all of the inmates in such facilities were dangerous, or even guilty – as the Revolution dragged on and governmental forces found their numbers dwindling, penal legions proved invaluable as disposable assets to take entrenched positions or provide a distraction. When numbers fell low, governmental forces were known to arrest large numbers of citizens for arbitrary crimes, filling out their ranks once again. Colonel Lockwood was rumoured to have been imprisoned for refusing to carry out such arrests.
Many loyalist penitentiaries were found to have massacred their inmates as the shuttles left the planet, but the denizens of Quadring had overthrown their guards in an armed uprising a few days previously, leaving them in control of the facility when the PDF arrived to dispose of them. It is more than likely that a bloody power struggle took place within the walls of the detention centre, but no one outside of the complex will ever really know how The Warden took control.
It was several months before anyone emerged from the complex, and the extensive underground network of cell blocks is understood to have protected the inmates from the worst of the rusinate storms and radiation that plagued the surface in the months following the Easthollow event. To the surprise of the surrounding settlements, who had been dreading the day that the prison doors would open, the initial emissaries from the penitentiary were friendly, and keen to establish trade. The ‘Quadring Accord’, they told them, had been created as a place for the downtrodden – the jumpsuits that had marked out poorer manual labourers and prisoners were now a badge of honour. For several years, peaceful contact existed between those in the prison and the outside world, and many flocked to Quadring itself as a sheltered and safe settlement. Small contingents of QA soldiers, armed with the weapons of their former guards and whatever could be manufactured within the facility, were eventually hired to protect the smaller satellite settlements around the prison. The Warden himself even introduced a rudimentary system of law – any who stole or killed were forced into labour for a set term, constructing new housing around Quadring, or working the nearby mines to provide Quadring with a resource for trade.
Eventually, however, the Warden changed. Those within the inner workings of the QA would swear blind that the man leading them was their founder, but it was fairly clear to all that the reins of power had changed hands. The new Warden’s policies were rather different than his forebear’s, and it became quickly apparent that those who had not served within a legion or labour team were second class citizens. Murder and theft by the ‘protection’ teams became commonplace in the surrounding settlements, and crimes committed by the former prisoners went unpunished. As there was never any substantial proof, QA teams would often drag away individual citizens and travellers for crimes that they themselves had committed, and few survived the labour sentences they received.
As the profit from mining increased, so too did the number of ‘arrests’. Eventually, the soldiers of the QA dropped the pretence and dragged away any remaining citizens of the surrounding wasteland at gunpoint, killing those too weak or old to work. The shanties that had formed around the complex were put to the torch. Discipline among the newly captured slaves was by brutal example, and the QA developed a vicious reputation for sadism and cruelty among the settlers of Skew State. Whilst not all members of the QA were involved in the atrocities committed in its name, it is rare for an outsider to greet them with anything but fear and hostility. Most denizens of the wastelands will shoot a man dressed in blue fatigues on sight.
The title of ‘Warden’ changes hands regularly in a society of cut-throats and thieves. Whilst the face of their leader changed regularly and the uniform that marked him out acquired more holes, the attitude of the QA remained relatively stable for many years. Settlements further and further from Quadring were raided and enslaved, and it was only with a drying up of resources that the hostile advances of the former convicts seemed to slow. Those trading on the surface have little opportunity for making moral judgements on their customers, but even the most amoral trade caravan will consider their own safety first. Attacks on caravan routes through QA territory became more and more commonplace as The Warden’s influence over his hungry citizens waned, leaving very few settlements willing to trade. The area surrounding Quadring itself was hit hard by toxic runoff, leaving very little arable land – the penitentiary was dependent on outside trade for supplies of food and clean water. It seemed that the QA had burned itself out. For several years, the compound has been quiet, while ex-QA defectors have become a more and more common sight.
The man holding the title of ‘Warden’ today is attempting to move away from his group’s violent past. QA envoys dressed in civilian clothes have made contact with settlements throughout Skew State, offering protection for trade routes and free shelter and work for any who come to Quadring. Many such envoys were lynched by the settlements before they could get their message across. QA scavenger teams have been sighted – groups of men out salvaging the old cities, interacting (relatively) peacefully with other prospectors. Cynics would say that the new behaviour of the QA is a desperation measure – a forced civility with nowhere else to turn. Others, perhaps naively, believe this may represent a change in the group, a rise in influence of the less violent political prisoners held within the prison walls. The new Warden himself is somewhat of an unknown. He is not a wicked man, in wasteland terms. His hands are not clean, by any means - Perhaps some innocents have died under his orders. Perhaps he has killed a man for the equipment he carried. There are few on the surface who could plead innocent to such claims.
It will take a lot to erase the legacy of the years of murder and violence, but new caravans have been sighted within QA territory, and Quadring-produced munitions have begun to appear in the stocks of merchants as far afield as Roth. Whether this marks a new chapter in the history of Quadring, or simply a blip before the inevitable assassination and rise of another Warden remains to be seen.
The Warden ///datatagsearch drive C:// “Warden”
searching… #ERROR 7C##: no results found.
///datatagsearch drive D:// “Warden”
searching… #ERROR 7C##: No results found.
Lodge Lodge was an engineer. Course, he hadn’t always been. Fought with the Desert Rats before, a ‘revolutionary group’ that quickly went the way of most revolutionary groups – vying with others for territory. Killed a fair few people, but not one of those bastards didn’t deserve it. Among the best up close and personal, Lodge led his own squad. Tried to lead by example, show his lads how to do it in person. No patience for weakness or cowardice. He was wounded when the slave caravan he was leading was ambushed by governmental forces – cowardly bastards couldn’t face them head on. His squadmates abandoned him, even as he shouted curses after them and tried to drag himself upright with the good chunk of thigh he had left. Treacherous scum left him to his fate the first time he’d ever really needed them. He learned a lesson then. Not a quick one, and not an easy conclusion to come to, but as the beatings went from hours to days he realised where he had made his mistake.
Didn’t matter who he had been anyway, he was QA now. Engineering is what he did.
He had served in the penal mines near the Quadring Penitentiary for two years, far longer than most survived. Hard time. He’d seen then how engineers were valued, how vital they were to everyone in the mines. Makeshift respirators and scratch-built structural columns saved lives, and with this salvation came privilege. The engineers, or even anyone who knew a little about the trade, could work shorter shifts, get better food, and get fewer beatings. Even the guards had respect for those who made the place safer: The convicts were manual labour, and the guards little better – as many of them were killed in mine collapses as the inmates. Lodge learned the trade from Borth, another man who had served with the Rats – he traded hard-earned lho sticks and smuggled alcohol for the knowledge he would need. Lodge had learned to make himself essential. Even if that involved ‘engineering’ an industrial accident for Borth.
Magpie ///datatagsearch drive C:// “Magpie”
searching… #ERROR 7C##: no results found
///datatagsearch drive D:// “Magpie”
///searching… 2 files found. ///locating files… ///downloading… complete.
///displaying pictoral feed 1 of 1
///displaying data fragment 1 of 1
Ah, this one. Apparently known locally as ‘Magpie’ – doubtless due to a predilection for shiny objects belonging to others. A ‘vagrant’, I understand? Charged with assault, participation in a riot, and public inebriation. Oh, and I do love this defence entered here – no memory of events, “not a violent man”? Moving. You’ll be right at home in the mines then. No violent men there. 30 years! Next! A factory worker from Hollow State, Silon had tried to flee with his family to the relative safety of the Skew in the final weeks before the Evac. The PDF were closing on pockets of resistance around Easthollow, and civilian casualties and reports of atrocities had caused panic in the local populace. The refugee column they were travelling in was attacked by slavers near the border, and Silon panicked, losing track of his wife and daughter in his flight. He escaped alone, but had witnessed the brutal deaths of many of the others who had tried to run. Eventually finding his way to Crockfall, he lived there for several months, begging and stealing whenever he could to stay alive. Though he found other refugees who had made it through the mountains around Crater Lake, he never heard word of his family again. His years of living rough have made ‘Magpie’ a useful asset in the QA scavenger teams – he has developed a reputation for making valuable finds, though much of his share is known to be spent on liquor.
And here's the original OP - please don't judge by this as I like to think I've improved a bit since! Hope you enjoy the blog.
Hey everyone! First post on Dakkadakka, so greetings all around and that
This is going to be a project log for 'Ridgeway's Remnants' - a scavenger force made up of the remains of various guard forces and civilians abandoned during an evacuation from a planet ravaged by civil war. Once a relatively rich planet, when the veins of ore beneath Caitiff's surface was exhausted, so was its use to the Imperium. Offworld contact came less and less often, and eventually rebellion over rising poverty and terrible conditions threw the planet into civil war. Conflict ravaged the planet, and after the destruction of several processing planets released huge quantities of toxins into the atmosphere, it was decided that an evacuation of loyal citizens was the best solution. With a callous government and little interest from offworlders, woefully few evac points were arranged as bandits and rebel forces blockaded the roads. Large numbers of the population were left stranded on the wartorn and anarchic planet. Ridgeway's forces themselves are mostly the remains of the PDF, along with any civilians who joined and trained. The current timeline of my forces is about 15 years after the botched evac. Most of the Remnant's opponents are other opportunistic survivors and gangs, and they use a lot of improvised gear, tending to be pretty battered and weathered. The Caitiff Jackals (a name Ridgeway could never get to stick, even among his own men) favour sneaky tactics, fighting light and fast but using no wheeled / tracked vehicles or heavy weapons at all.
I also requested on another forum (I would link, but I'm not sure of Dakka's rules ) for people to personalise soldiers within my army, and I would model and name them according to the requests. The models below are all altered to fit these requests. I have only started modelling / painting for about 8 months, so be nice, though constructive criticism is always appreciated
Anyhoo, onto the photos (and please rate if you get a chance!). Apologies for the image dump -
A few shots of a WIP sentinel (the lasgun will be recieving a GS strap, still to do the ML):
A couple of troops and vets:
Some rough riders I'm considering using:
And just a joke I made a while back to stand in for Sly Marbo 'til I come up with a proper model:
Hope you like, and please let me know what you think! Will post more as I make it
EDIT: Images sorted! (hopefully )
This message was edited 230 times. Last update was at 2017/02/23 21:11:31
Hmmm there are allot of wonders in "The Orange Box"!
Inquisitor_Syphonious wrote:All I can say is... thank you vodo40k...
Zweischneid wrote:No way man. A Space Marine in itself is scary. But a Marine WITHOUT helmet wears at least 3-times as much plot-armour as a Marine with helmet. And heaven forbid if the Marine would also happen to have an intimidating looking, vertical scar. Then you're surly boned. Those guys are the worst. Not a chance I'd say.
Thanks so much for the kind words and the welcome! Solid sly was fun to make, and I thought the magic stealth box fitted Marbo's 'appear from nowhere' style quite well. At the moment, he's just a stand in, but I'm happy to use him in a game if noone complains
I've made a strap for the sentinel pilot's lasgun now, and am soon to paint up his ML, so hopefully you'll see the finished article pretty soon.
warpcrafter wrote:So, are you going to name every one of your guardsmen? That's gonna get tiresome after awhile.
I'm planning on it! I tend to take a while over single minis and like them to be at least a little individual, and I think naming helps with that. Some of the names are from people who asked for particular models, and some are from movies / books / imagination! I quite like naming the base when a model's done - it's a nice sense of finality, even if a mini's never really finished...
Next up on my to do list is another demo charge veteran, but I'm using the 'crew' model that GW released this year. Will get it up as soon as it's done!
Love the fuel cannister demo charge, it absolutely fits in with your under equipped, surviving on what can be found theme.
Also, i think its great you're naming your guardsmen, fluff is always welcome. Plus, if you go veteran squads then you won't have tooo many names to make =]
I do a little 40k writing in my spare time or when class gets boring. Nothing special or professional by any means but I've amassed about 45 pages of writing. You can use some of my character names if you like =p
These guys are all part of my Inquisitorial Task force but portray them however you like =]
Sergeant Grere (Missing arm from the elbow down, laspistol)
Major Lebedev (P.Fist and Boltgun)
Trooper Helln (Hellgun)
Trooper Marius (Hellgun)
Commissar Allaster Rousseau (Laspistol and Sword)
You could even include a tattered looking Commissar, who's left his commisarial duties behind and has simply become another dog soldier after his regiment was either destroyed or left him stranded.
Automatically Appended Next Post: Oh and welcome to Dakka!
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2010/01/11 03:33:56
Subject: Re:Ridgeway's Remnants - Survivor and Scavenger IG
just wondered what you're using to get the brown camo on the desert clothes - is it a sepia/devlan wash?
keep it up!
Lets face it, by the sounds of things some of you people couldn't complete a game of snakes and ladders without running off to the internet to whine that snakes are broken and ladders are too powerful...-Hymirl
A-P wrote: Autocannons? Phht. Footsloggers and their little toys. Tanks and battlecannons are the way to go. There are no Ork related problems that a well placed batlecannon shot won´t solve.
Pfft, Treadheads ! All the gear and no idea! You'll only end scattering and blow up a shrine to the God-Emprah!
Subject: Ridgeway's Remnants - Survivor and Scavenger IG
Thanks again everyone! You're all being way way too kind
These guys are all part of my Inquisitorial Task force but portray them however you like =]
Sergeant Grere (Missing arm from the elbow down, laspistol)
Major Lebedev (P.Fist and Boltgun)
Trooper Helln (Hellgun)
Trooper Marius (Hellgun)
Commissar Allaster Rousseau (Laspistol and Sword)
You could even include a tattered looking Commissar, who's left his commisarial duties behind and has simply become another dog soldier after his regiment was either destroyed or left him stranded.
Cheers! Will do my absolute best to get your troops in somewhere, and I really like the idea of the commissar actually - I've being looking for a use for the beaten up looking officer out of the last chancers, and that sounds like as good as any! Have never used a proper commissar in my army - way too attached to my squaddies to have them shot by my own side!
The Good Green wrote:These guys look great. I like the gas cans as demo-explosives, very improvised. Where did you get the bike, tho? I'mm looking for some good bikes that are smaller than the SM or Ork bikes.
Thanks Good Green! The bikes are from ramshackle games. I absolutely love the models, but be warned that if you order from them the casts are among the worst I've ever seen - leaked resin everywhere, unremovable release agent, pockmarked with holes and just generally godawful. If you're prepared to do a LOT of filing and filling, I feel like they're worth it!
Vlad-X7 wrote:These look great - especially Snake as Marbo.
just wondered what you're using to get the brown camo on the desert clothes - is it a sepia/devlan wash?
keep it up!
Thanks Vlad! The fatigues are bleached bone with graveyard earth camo, followed by quite a heavy badab black wash and devlan mud on areas that would get dirty.
Next up is another vet, or possibly the finished chimera. Keep an eye out, and thanks again!
Thanks a lot Anung Un Rama! I'm a big fan of the modelling aspect, so I'm hoping I won't lose interest - guess I'll just have to see how my first 500pts go! And Hej to you too, I guess Avach?
GG, they're not overly expensive, and it's possible I just got a bad batch or something - I don't want to put you off completely! Why not order one and see how it works out? If you like it you can order more
Oh yeah. I found Ramshackle a while back. I must have lost the link shortly after...
I love their Dungers too. Perfect for the Snakebite orks... Thanks again for the tip on their casting quality. It's good to know what I'm in for. They cover a few of my modeling needs, so I will be ordering from them... I just wish they were in the states.
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2010/01/11 21:24:56
Actually, if you like the dungers, I have a couple that they sent me for free with a big order of the bikes - would you like them? It'll give you an idea of the casting quality, and you're bound to have more use for them than I do
I kid you not mate, I thought about exactly same idea and already started collecting IG for that purpose (plus some em4 models, which are really suited for that). Hope you dont mind if somebody else will have something similar? (my idea is more along ad hoc regiment constructed from remaints of battered forces after campaign that was lost..).
And hey- excellent cobnversions. Can I have my opwn personalized guy?
Of course that's ok! I'm sure a lot of other people have had similar ideas already anyway. Thanks for the compliment! You're welcome to customise someone - all I ask is that it sticks vaguely within the constraints of my army style Might take me a while to get to you now, my list is getting pretty extensive If you see anyone on there that hasn't been filled and you like the look of, give me a shout and I'll add you in!
(p.s. I hope it's ok to link things, nice Dakka mods! Please don't delete me!)
The Marbo stand-in is simply genius. I love how his feet stick out from the bottom of the box, it adds that extra comic effect. Great work on the rest of them as well, I love it when the armies are personalized like this.