well, here goes... the idea behind my design is that the players have a lot of challenge in making the place they grew up a better one... thats what they might want to do before leaving for some mythical place over the rainbow... its still got a LOT of holes and errors but i was hoping you guys might be able to help a little?
The Ruins of Old Houston
Several small communities are located adjacent to the ruins of Houston. Several nomadic groups orbit the city moving from settlement to settlement. The city itself is a source of pre-Big Death artifacts and supplies. The small communities provide livestock, lumber, farm produce, fresh fish, and various scavenged goods. Horses are more common than cars and the few cars that exist are owned by the gangs soon enough.
There are six small communities separate from Houston and mostly autonomous from it. They engage in trade with each other and although each settlement has formed a militia, they are poorly armed and poorly trained consisting mostly of simple folk who just want to live in peace. The four largest of these communities are all along I-45.
The Woodlands has farms and lumber. The former planned community is being clear-cut and made into farms and flop houses for nomads who are gathering here to settle.
Huntsville has farms, cattle, and the ruins of Sam Houston State University. The university has become the seat of a burgeoning government. Too weak and fragile to make any real difference, they are barely able to defend themselves or hold onto whatever meager scraps they do manage to recover from the ruins.
Conroe has farms and fishing. Fish are plentiful, mostly because the people who live and fish here have agreed to not abuse the lake.
Spring has farms and a great marketplace where people from all over come to trade. A few hundred people working to further civilization and all the free enterprise that comes with it. On a daily basis there is a market here where essentials are bartered, but on the weekends the Big Flea Market really kicks into high gear and all sorts of "luxuries" are brought in from traders, craftsmen, and scavengers from all over.
Tomball has farms. Several families living and growing crops together in a communal setting. They bargain collectively with the excess produce.
Magnolia has farms and cannabis fields. The cannabis is what makes this city viable. It’s not as if it’s not growing wild everywhere, it’s that that it has become a cottage industry here. Every year at harvest there is a festival that attracts people from the other communities and even gang members from the city. The festival is neutral ground and no violence is allowed. Amazingly, the rule has lasted. Partially because (against all odds) the gang bosses agreed to enforce the neutrality and partially because people deep down inside recognize that a festival like this is needed.
The dangers of Houston and its surrounding settlements are feral animals, dangerous gangs, violent nomadic raiders, and natural hazards. A lot of the old city burned in the chaos after the Big Death. In the following years, much of the city flooded in the face of storms that frequent the Gulf Coast. Parts of the city are sinking and suddenly appearing sinkholes are a danger. Feral dog packs roam the streets and wilderness, poisonous snakes abound, alligators have moved into the bayou and flooded areas of the city, and hordes of large disease carrying rats have swarmed into the ruins.
Five gangs have staked out claims in vital areas of the city. They work against each other vying for turf and resources; and whatever it is that they don’t have, they take from whomever does have it. The ruins of the old city are mostly unusable, but Houston was never a dead concreted-over urban sprawl. There was plenty of green, verdant, life interspersed throughout the city.
The Skinheads have taken over a large but sparse outer area of the city proper. From inside Beltway 8 to outside the 610 loop. They surround the inner city and claim to control all access to the heart of the ruined metropolis. They are hate mongers spreading a message of white supremacy to all who will listen; and in these dark days there are more than a few who will listen to anything that offers a chance at being a part of something that claims to be greater. They hoard weapons and gasoline, and actively recruit soldiers for a coming “final race war” where the Skinheads will destroy the “mongrel races” who brought the Big Death in the first place. Their leader is a man named John Krieger who’s ultimate goal is conquest of all of the ruined city and the surrounding villages. They often form raiding parties to pillage the surrounding communities and enemy gangs. Theft, murder, extortion, rape, and kidnapping are all common practices with these violent and dangerously dedicated thugs.
The Scavengers have amazingly been able to take the heart of the city for themselves and keep it. This enigmatic group controls just about everything inside of the 610 loop. They keep a low profile but under no circumstances tolerate trespassers. Strangers are shot on site, no questions asked. The only thing that is certain about this gang is that they’ve gotten a hold of the best tech and can keep it in good repair. Using the old power and internet grids they can keep an eye on every nook and cranny of their turf using cameras and well-armed and fast-moving patrols. They routinely lay traps and place obstacles like razor wire and electrified fences on the outskirts of their territory. Every once in a while they will send covert agents to barter with the small communities for goods and trade away recovered gadgets and trinkets. Rumors persist that they routinely snatch children who show promise as being gifted or clever to add to their ranks. They control the ruins of Rice University and the University of Houston, as well as television and radio stations, warehouses and factories, and several medical centers.
The West Side Posse territory is like wheel spokes running around the hub of Beltway 8 from 249 to I-59. Conglomerating what used to be Katy, Jersey Village, Missouri City, and Bellaire. Gang warfare often flares up along the borders with Skinheads and The South Side Families. They are arguably the most powerful gang outside of the city proper. They are run by Kenneth Lee, a brilliant tactician who recently ascended into power with the mysterious death of the pervious boss.
The South Side Families territory stretches from I-59 to I-45 along the hub of Beltway 8. Recently losing much territory to the Posse in a major conflict, they have focused on maintaining a hold on what ground they still have. Incursions from the Ballas to the east and Skinheads from the north makes this difficult. They are in danger of being squeezed out all together. The leadership is currently in contention since the death of the former leader in the battles lost against the Posse.
The East Side Ballas territory runs between the coast of Galveston Bay and Beltway 8. They control one of the last oil refineries around and defend it at all costs. The amount and quality of fuel they can produce is hampered by limited man power and sub par know how. They are run by Samantha Kenner, a highly intelligent and completely ruthless young woman of incredible beauty.
Living under the gangs is to live in fear; either from the thugs that rule or the enemies of the thugs that rule. Most people keep their head down and do what they’re told. Many times the average person is forced to do things they find morally repugnant just to survive. Those who can get away, do.