Kings of the Road [The Day After Ragnarok].

Kings of the Road

[The Day After Ragnarok]

City: Rolla, Missouri

Population: 2,100/12,000

Controls: Rolla, plus a decent portion of the Frisco Line

Government: Machine

Problem: Gangs (New Konfederacy)

Heroic Opportunity: Trade Goods

City Aspect: Dangerous.  

Rolla is on the old St. Louis-San Francisco Railroad (popularly known as the Frisco Line).  The Frisco Line does not actually go all the way to San Francisco, but it does connect Dallas-Fort Worth, Kansas City, Oklahoma City (now administered by Texas), Memphis, Mobile, and Birmingham.  There hasn’t been an actual train traveling the whole way in three years, but the rails themselves are in remarkably good shape.  The town is also on Route 66, which went from Chicago to Los Angeles.  That road’s likewise not entirely awful, at least west of the Mississippi.

In short, Rolla is a convenient nexus for what trade exists in the Poisoned Lands, and its inhabitants are actively friendly to travelers and adventurers.  The town is now centered around the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy; the city’s new wall is constantly being upgraded and strengthened. There’s plenty of refuge space for the farmers outside town, in case of an attack. Rolla has reliable water inside the walls.  All in all: externally, it’s a tough nut to crack.

Internally, Rolla is at serious risk from subversion by Konfederate provocateurs. It’s easier for Birmingham to reach the town than other places, thanks to the Frisco Line; and having control of Rolla would give the Konfederacy considerable reach along a wide swath of the Poisoned Lands.  The Konfederacy is also aided by the fact that the ostensible leader of Rolla (Dean Curtis Wilson, from the school) is a broken man who has allowed most of the actual administration of the college and the area fall to whoever wants it. Birmingham intends to use the power vacuum to quietly take control of Rolla, then do whatever ‘reorganization’ is necessary later.

It’s not a bad plan, except that the Konfederacy is only starting to realize that the hobo jungle located right outside of town is an active danger to their scheme.  Said jungle is home to the Black Cats (a powerful mutual-aid hobo society that formed after the Serpentfall); run by Ralph Chaplin and Jean-Louis Kerouac, the Black Cats would not tolerate Birmingham coming to power in Rolla. And the Black Cats are no joke. Three years after the Serpentfall, any itinerant worker still alive and sane is going to effectively be a seasoned knight-errant with practical craftsman skills. Indeed, the major difference between a hobo and an adventurer these days is that adventurers usually travel in groups.
It will thus be necessary for the Konfederacy to get rid of the Black Cats first.  Plans along those lines have been set in motion.  And naturally, whatever scheme that the Konfederacy decides to come up with will first spring into action just as soon as the heroes arrive at town.

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