The Blitzers

A sociologist would say that the Blitzers are an anarcho-capitalist society organized into collectives vaguely reminiscent of 1600 century pirate crews. Specifically, each collective (generally referred to as a “gang” or a “crew”) has an elected captain (“Boss”, “Chief”, “Jarl”, “Herzog”, “Captain”, etc) and an elected quartermaster (“Cook”, “Sarge”, “Chief”, “Junker”, “Mech”, “Bigshot”, etc).

The captain has dictatorial and management powers, but only in situations when a decision must be made quickly. If there is time to discuss things, the captain has the informal responsibility to gather everyone, let the various sides present their arguments (often by screaming at each other), and call it to a vote; enforcing whatever got the majority vote, or enforcing his own will if it looked roughly even. There are no formal elections for captain; they reign until the majority want someone else as captain, in which case they either back down or get killed in a short civil war (alternatively, the result of the civil war may be that the surviving gangers prefer keeping the old captain, or the group splitting in two).

The quartermaster, who in some cases is the same person as the captain, has the job of divvying up the loot. This is a combination of making sure everyone has sufficient gear (devising punishments for those who lose or damage their gear too much), liquidating loot the group cannot use, trading for food, ammo, and fuel, and dividing whatever is left out fairly. As with the captain, the quartermaster lives and dies on the satisfaction of the crew, so must balance bribing ringleaders and keeping the mass of the crew happily supplied with bullets for booze and hores.

Most gangs divide the crew into two or three tiers. Those who have not yet entered Lyon or another corrupted zone and returned with something valuable are referred to as newbloods and are treated like second class citizens. They get all the menial labor jobs, get whatever loot noone more important want, and are generally treated like crap. It is, however, safer and better than being in blitzer territory and being unaffiliated with any gang.

Those who’ve made it back from a corrupted region are considered full members of the gang. This isn’t an individual challenge; whole teams of looters are sent in at once, and are expected to watch each other’s back and help carry each other’s hauls if needed. Such teams often only consist of maybe 25% newbloods, with most of the members being surviving veterans.

Some gangs also reward the best warriors with a third tier, a sort of knighthood (“Deathguard”, “Kriegsritter”, “Huskarl”, “Personal Guard”, “Black Hand”). These will be better armed, more experienced, and in many cases more mutated than the common soldiers. Requirements for entry in the ranks vary, typically it’s by majority vote of the existing members, or by appointment by some specific authority figure (the captain, the head of the knighthood, or someone else).

The Blitzers relish in mutations, seeing them as a mark of veterancy, proof of a life spent “Blitzing” (Going into corrupted regions). Mutations are exceptionally common amongst the higher ranks, though not universal. Mutations are by their nature random in occurrence.

The Camp

The Blitzers’ Camp is a shanty town built into what was once an industrial suburb of Lyon. The Camp is right up to the edge of the corrupted zone, the invisible line between the raging storm of Lyon and the fresh summer breeze of the wastes making up the Northern perimeter of the camp. There’s no wall to the north, only a large archway covered in high tech trash (broken circuit boards, and the likes) labeled The Gate of No Return.

The place used to be a warehouse district, a collection of storage facilities dotted with the occasional factory and chock full of parking places and cargo containers. Most of the original buildings still stand, though they’ve been reinforced with scrap metal and weather-worn gray wood.

In general, the richest and more influential gangs are holed up towards the north, with the poorer and more desperate gangs (known locally as “the Scabs”) are more towards the south (assuming they have shelter at all). Most of the big warehouses are home to a single gang (a fortress for a rich and powerful gang or a flophouse for a loose band of scabs as the case may be), while the smaller buildings are taken over by businesses. Brothels, bars, and even the occasional fortified trading outpost line the roads. Those who lack the firepower to claim a building for their own make due with a shack or a wagon at the side of the road, selling rat-on-a-stick, cheap booze, or whatever else they have available to drunk gangers. These impromptu bazaars are patrolled by whatever gang has managed to take control of the local area, forming a lucrative protection racket and maintaining their monopoly on taking stuff from the traders.

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