The Wanderwell Gang
No sense in sugar-coating it: the Wanderwells are a bandit gang based out of the ruins of Columbus. What makes the Wanderwells interesting is that they’re a mechanized bandit gang. The gang uses motorcycles (converted to ethanol engines) to hit their targets unexpectedly, then retreat. They generally have twenty to twenty five members, broken up into three squads for raids.
These are not romantic bandits, by the way. Wanderwells aren’t the slave-collars and spikes-on-shoulders sorts: they don’t kidnap for ransom or trade in slaves; and they aren’t gratuitously cruel. But they’re not trustworthy, and in a fight they’ll shoot to kill. And if you’re a weak-looking merchant caravan they’re absolutely going to try to rob you, regardless of the situation. Life is hard in the Ohio Country, especially when there’s a war going on. And there’s always a war going on.
The two leaders of Wanderwells – Idris and Nell – were both traveling adventurers in the 1920s and 1930s (indeed, they were both married to the same charming rogue at one point). Idris was peacefully enjoying her semi-retirement when the Serpentfall happened; she ran into Nell in 1946, back when the Wanderwell gang was still pretending to be a guard company. They shifted to outright banditry soon after. Idris’ supposedly estranged current husband still lives in Cincinnati with their children: in reality, he’s secretly providing the Wanderwells with information on good merchant targets via coded phrases via Cincinnati’s WHIO’s broadcasts. The kids are likewise bandits at heart.
The gang’s biggest weakness is that it keeps getting harder to find the supplies they need to keep their bikes running; Idris and Nell are now looking for One Big Score to retire on. They may have made Ohio too hot for them, but Chicago always has a place for entrepreneurs who know how to do business. But the problem there is that Chicago is expensive to buy into, so it has to be a really big score…