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MP The Great Lakes

Page history last edited by Michael 3 years, 5 months ago

back to the Index or the Geography and History page 



purple dashed lines are the boundaries of the Arcadian Republic




     About 50,000 persons live in all these communities; perhaps 100,000 more live in small towns and individual farmholds.






  • Formerly Minneapolis. Radioactive pollution from the destroyed nuclear reactor at Monticello has made the Mississippi River dangerous here. Pretty much ruined in the Atomic War, only 1500 scruffy tribal people live there. They follow the Oracle, a young woman. They've just established a skinball team, the Silverbacks, but are having trouble getting anyone to come so far west to play. Economically:  poor, non-industrial; technology level, F.


The Arcadian Republic


  • Extending from the Mackinaw Straits to Manitoulin Island, and including the Soo Locks. Total population about 10,000. Economy:  rich, agricultural; technology level, E.





  • Formerly Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The economy counts as rich, industrial, non-agricultural; the technology level is D.




  • Formerly Cleveland. Almost entirely uninhabited, except for a hospital operated by the Learned. Their skinball team are the Wolfs; the economy is poor, non-agricultural, non-industrial; the technology level is mostly G, but the Learned hospital is level C.




  • Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin sit on opposite sides of Saint Louis Bay, the lower end of the Saint Louis River. At the northeast end of Saint Louis Bay the Blatnik Bridge (Interstate 535) spanned a channel; beyond the channel is Superior Bay. The Blatnik Bridge was destroyed in the Atomic War, but by now the river currents have cleared a channel sufficient for 22nd Century craft to pass. A sandbar several kilometers separates Superior Bay from Lake Superior; there are two channels through the sandbar, but one is choked with the remains of a lift bridge and wrecked ships.

  • Two 600 kiloton warheads from a Soviet SS-17 missile struck Duluth (pop. 92811 at that time) during the Atomic War -- one on the northwest side of Saint Louis Bay, and one on the dockyards at Rice's Point. A single 600 kiloton warhead from a SS-19 missile struck Superior (pop. 29,571 at the time), landing in Howards Bay near the approaches to the Blatnik Bridge. By mid-January the harbor froze over, and remained that way until 2023. Meters of snow accumulated atop the rubble and wreckage; by the end of 1991 the population of the area was only a few hundred. The "Halloween Blizzard" of 1991 alone added 2 meters of snow to the ground.

  • As of 2140, a community of 500 persons live in what used the East End neighborhood, southeast of Superior. The local economy is based on salvage, and trading with trappers and lumbermen coming down the Saint Louis River (or from along the west end of Lake Superior). The sheriff and magistrate control the small posse; a brothel, tavern, and trading post are the main businesses. Another couple of thousand persons live in the ruins of Duluth and Superior. Technology level is E; the town is non-industrial.

  • There are only a couple of small motor vessels based here, along with a dozen fishing vessels. From time to time a wild scheme to re-float the whaleback freighter Meteor, since it's in far better condition than any other old vessel in the Duluth area, but the resources available around Lake Superior aren't up to repairing and moving a 6880 ton, 120 meter long steamship.


The Feeding Grounds


  • The ruins of the Chicago metropolitan area. Population at least 10,000. The skinball team are the Vultures. Economically, the region is non-industrial; technology in the hands of the locals is at level D (but local production is at level F).


Fort Tol


  • Formerly Toledo. Population 1,000, ruled by the militia under various names. Apparently the militiamen have ruled this city since just after the Atomic War, although various coups, decimations, changes in structure, plagues, etc. pretty much mean that "rowdy roughnecks have rules the city" is about the only certain fact. Lately they claim to have found the rightful heir to the Presidency of the United States. Their skinball team are the Missiles; the economy is poor, non-agricultural, non-industrial. Technology is at level E.


les Frontaliers


  • people living north of the Great Lakes, outside of the Arcadian Republic. Economically, they are agricultural; their technology is at level E.


Granot Loma


  • a fortified coastal castle on the shores of Lake Superior, 8 kilometers from Granite Island (where Team Eta was at). The castle inhabitants dominate the farmlands for a few miles around.




  • formerly Muskegon, MI. Population 5,000 including areas within a few miles. They grow a lot of food. The town is governed by the Sanctum, a fraternal order. Their skinball team is the Whitecoats; their economy is rich, agricultural, and their technology is at level D.




  • formerly Ludington, MI. It's a port town on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. During the Long Winter it was entirely deserted, due to snow and fallout. Only a few hundred people live here year-round; a large sawmill, and lumber camps nearby, provide most of the employment here. The ferry Badger currently travels from Sentinel to Lud (until recently it traveled from Bastion to Haven). There is a railway line leading from Lud to Sag City, and from there to Troyt and Mackinaw; there have only been a couple of maintenance trains run on the line in the last few years. The skinball league offices are located here, as a neutral community (in skinball, at least).


The Mariners


Sag City


  • former Saginaw, Michigan. In the remains of the 20th Century city, a couple thousand people make their living from lumbering, hunting, salvage, and some manufacturing. Several large railway yards surround the town; the lines to Troyt, Lud and Mackinaw are kept in usable condition with funding from Haven and the Arcadian Republic, in the hopes that scheduled regular service can be restored. The local skinball team are the Saggers.

  • a traveling circus is based here; it raises funds for the Sanctum (see below). The circus is on the road from roughly February to Thanksgiving, visiting towns and cities all around the Great Lakes.




  • formerly Green Bay, WI. Population 1,000 and growing rapidly. Skinball was first played here; the local team is the Storm. The "Safehouse", filled with Ancient mysteries, was discovered near here; also a fair amount of equipment from the National Railroad Museum is present (some was destroyed, some was salvaged beyond recognition,but some is preserved and in use). The town (and the Mariners) keep the Fox River open for navigation all the way to Portage. This area's economy is rich, industrial. Technology level is D. Raw materials come from elsewhere -- Bastion (metals and metal components), Mariners and the Arcadian Republic (foodstuffs), Lud and along the Fox River (timber), etc. A census of the population in summer of 2140:

    • 400 children and seniors

    • 100 people not employed in productive industry (teachers, administrators, cooks, housewives, bartenders, doctors, guards, martial arts instructors, a few Highwaymen, Blessed Ladies, etc.)

    • 100 people employed in the shipyard, building hulls, etc. (not engines)

    • 100 people employed building steam engines, propulsion systems (i.e. prop shafts and propellers, paddles, etc.), rebuilding diesel engines, etc. (specialized machine shops). Most of this output goes into watercraft. These people also operate and salvage railway equipment from the National Railway Museum.

    • 100 people employed in lumber industry (converting logs to useful shapes of lumber), not many actual loggers call Sentinel home. Some of the mills are water powered.

    • 50 people employed as teamsters, etc. maintaining and handling horse-drawn transport

    • 50 people (varies by season) employed operating the Fox River locks, working on dredges, and general waterway maintenance

    • 30 people employed at other mills along the Fox (the paper mill, a flour mill)

    • 20 people employed as boat crews (tugs, mostly)

    • 25 people in other productive professions (draftsmen, engineers, architects, researchers)

    • 25 farmers and other agricultural professions (Sentinel depends mostly on food from elsewhere)




  • The ruins of pre-War Detroit. About 2,000 people live here, ruled by the Troyt Nights, a xenophobic and expansionist group. Their skinball team is the Tornadoes. The area's economy is poor, non-agricultural; their technology is rated at level D, much of it salvage.


The Upper Peninsula


     The people of the Upper Peninsula are considered poor, non-industrial as far as economy is concerned; their technology is level E at best.

  • Bots:  in the hills of the Upper Peninsula, a few villages worship some sort of machine -- the "Thinker in the Woods". The villagers are called "bots", though that is probably not their own name for themselves.

  • Cons:  the name comes from "convicts", men released from prisons just after the Atomic War. Neo-nazis, Michigan Militias, and other ruthless types formed gangs terrorizing the Upper Peninsula for many years. By now, there are only a few such groups, made up of outlaws and lunatics. Most of the cons were raised in some other group.

  • Finns or Finnlanders:  descendants of Finnish immigrants.

  • Mountain Club:  descendants of members of an exclusive private club, in a wilderness area south of where R-101 is based. In the 20th Century, thousands of square miles of primeval forest were inhabited by 50 or so rich club members, with patrols, guarded gates and strict no-trespassing rules . For a long time after the Atomic War, a few residents were holed-up here. There are only a few hundred of their descendants, but they are well-equipped -- their ancestors laid down large supplies of survival equipment. Very territorial, perhaps xenophobic, but they do emerge sometimes to trade for basic goods.  

  • Upans:  aka Yoopers; descendants of "ordinary" American citizens.




The Anishinaabeg



  • Various communities of the Chippewa, Ojibwa, Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Mississauga tribes. Their Medicine Society has preserved much knowledge from before the Atomic War. This group is actually spread widely over the American-Canadian border states east of Manitoba, to Quebec.


The Black Hand


  • A criminal gang that likes to think they're descended from 20th Century gangsters. They work as mercenaries, both as caravan guards (or attackers), and as assassins. They're found in Bastion and Sentinel; there are probably 40 of them at most.

  • They wear a black leather glove on their right hand, the "killing hand". For various historical reasons they're well-regarded in Bastion.

  • "Mr. Coldgrave" is their boss.


The Blessed Ladies



  • Nuns of fertility. "Fertility is life".

  • Their symbol is a white feminine symbol on a red background. They wear black-and-white robes (for maidens), red robes (during pregnancy) and gray robes otherwise.

  • They know a fair amount of medicine.


The Dragons


  • A small martial-arts society in Bastion and Sentinel.  Very small -- perhaps 50 members total. The organization in the Great Lakes area was established only a few decades ago.


The Guardsmen


sleeve patch


  • A couple hundred soldiers, rulers and guardians of Bastion. They are descended (mostly) from 20th Century Wisconsin National Guard units. The leader holds the rank of Colonel, and is supposedly descended from a National Guard private, William Whittaker. Colonel Henry Whittaker IV is the commander of the Guardsmen; there have been eight Colonels since the death of William Whittaker in 2002.

  • There are two Sentinel Battalions (1st and 2nd), each of 60 men, forming the main strength of the Guardsmen. They are armed with old cartridge weapons, and wear olive green uniforms and steel M1 helmets. Most other adult males are in the militia, which can equip them with muzzle-loading black-powder muskets. The Sentinel Battalions act as mounted infantry; there is a battery (6 guns) of black-powder artillery available for use in the field. A very mixed set of cannons and mortars guard Bastion and the Milwaukee area itself.


The Highwaymen



  • This martial organization patrols and defends the roads in what was once Wisconsin, and more recently expanding out into adjacent areas. They are a respected group, but there are tensions between the Highwaymen and the Guardsmen, and within the Highwaymen organization. They mostly travel on horseback, but possess a few methanol-powered motor vehicles. They go to some efforts to arm their members with cartridge weapons -- most often revolvers. They carry mail, and will sometimes act as caravan guards for pay.

  • They recruit mostly in Bastion, or from the inhabitants of small towns and tribal areas in Wisconsin.

  • Their symbol is an outline of a triangle, in red, on a black background (or on black clothing). They wear blue-gray uniforms, with black campaign hats and black leather belts, holsters, etc. Their motor vehicles are painted black and white. Tech level D.


The Learned


  • Note that it's pronounced as one syllable:  "lernd", not "ler-ned". The center of this faction is at Bastion, in an ancient technical institute called the Institute. High walls surround the building, with guards on patrol night and day. Children are educated at the Institute, and at primary schools ("colleges") in some other communities. The Learned claim to be non-violent, dedicated to the preservation and study of Ancient knowledge.

  • Their symbol:  a yellow sun with nine black dots around it. Some particularly well-executed symbols will portray one dot as white, one yellow, one blue, and one red. They normally don't have a set costume or uniform, but on especially important days, or in official portraits, they were black mortarboards and black academic gowns. Tech level C.

  • Information about weaponry and (how to wage) war is not available from the Learned's archives; it's not known if they store such data.


The Medicine Society


  • A secretive and mystical group within the Anishinaabe culture. Before the Atomic War they preserved pre-Columbian history, traditional healing methods, and other "way of life" lore. While still secretive, they've apparently taken to gathering and archiving information from the 20th Century as well. Medicinal and spiritual treatment is their main contribution to the community; but they will make it clear that the term "medicine society" is an incorrect translation.

    • Still, if you have an injury in an Anishinaabe community, the Medicine Society member is the person to see.

  • They certainly don't make themselves known easily to outsiders ... they don't have a flag, uniform, headquarters building, or mailing address. The Ojibwa, Ottawa and Chippewa communities support and protect them.


The Postmen


the Mail Boat


  • Put out of business on July 10, 2140.

  • An extortionate crew with an armored steamboat, cruising about Lake Superior and carrying messages. The Mail Boat is about 20 or 25 meters long, 5 or 6 meters wide, draws a meter or so of water, so about 100 tons displacement. It’s propeller driven, steam powered, armored, with a single 75mm cannon in an armored turret, a coaxial rifle-caliber gun (the locals don’t know the word ‘coaxial’, but you can figure it out) and some other unarmored, pintle-mounted guns (might be machine guns, more likely just “wall guns”). The boat flies a black flag.

  • How armored? Unknown, but at least musket-proof. The crew (the Postmen) are at least 15; they have good personal weapons (probably all have cartridge-firing weapons).

  • They do carry mail and even passengers (only two at a time, though). It’s possible that they have a rational or at least consistent set of “fees”, but the locals in Soo felt that the Mail Boat just made up some number and called it a tax, fee, permit, etc. They’re considered “cons”, i.e. outlaws. They take captives sometimes, but it's not clear whether they're involuntary ... "Reverend Thunderhead's pretty daughter was taken by the Postmen, though they never issued a ransom demand."

  • The Postmen probably have a secret base somewhere, if only for repairs.

  • The Mariners don’t like them, but it’s possibly just jealousy.

  • Captain Deltoid was their leader ... for an update, please see The Last Pirate Of Gitche Gumee


The Sanctum


     The Sanctum was founded in 1870; it was typical of the various pre-Atomic War fraternal orders (e.g. the Elks, Shriners, Odd Fellows, etc.). In full their name is The Ancient Society of the Inner Sanctum. The usual 22nd Century nickname for the Sanctum or its members is "Whitecoats".

     In the years immediately after the Atomic War, some of their hospitals in Michigan and Ontario ended up as important centers of medical care. Besides luck in avoiding nuclear attacks, the hospital system had sought funds through the Disaster Relief Act of 1974, which provided for backup generators, deep wells and water filtration systems, NBC filters for the air conditioning system, etc.

     By the end of the Long Winter, their hospital in Muskegon (now known as Haven) was the most sophisticated medical care facility in the Great Lakes area.

     The town of Haven is controlled by the Sanctum, which also has a lot of influence in Sag City. The order's senior officers have odd titles, and many of them are apparently doctors or nurses. Their usual symbol is a gate or door.


Sanctum Circus


     Founded in 1906, this traveling circus was affiliated with a benevolent organization, the Sanctum. By the 1920s it had grown to three rings; it usually played at various Sanctum Centers around the United States, but also appeared under a 'big top' tent. The last performance each year was held on Thanksgiving weekend; this would have been Thursday, November 23rd in 1989, at New Orleans.

     Saginaw, Michigan was the home of the Sanctum Circus during the off season (currently Thanksgiving to when the ice breaks up -- no later than March).

     A second unit toured Sanctum events in Canada; their headquarters was in Rexdale, Ontario.

     The Sanctum was founded in 1870, and was typical of the various fraternal orders founded in the 19th and 20th Centuries (e.g, DeMolay, the Shriners. the Elks, Odd Fellows, etc.). In full, their name is the Ancient Society of the Inner Sanctum. The circus was a major fund-raising event for the Sanctum, supporting hospitals across North America.

     After the Atomic War, the circus gradually made its way from Minneapolis back to Saginaw.

     The circus consists of 220 persons (plus 25 advance men who don't ride in the "train"), and currently travels in ten motor vehicles (relatively uncommon around the Great Lakes), pulling trailers, carried on steam boats when needed. They also have an overabundance of railway rolling stock at Sag City. Side shows, singers, dancers, acrobats, comedians, monologists, a flea circus, cotton candy, popcorn, bands (one-man and more), high-wire acts, clowns, animals, sketch artists, a velodrome (used for bicycles, motorcycles, and roller derby), an arcade, some fairground rides, sports, boxing and wrestling, a roller skate rink and rink men, trick shots (often part of security), kinetoscopes and slide shows "of the most exciting nature", card tricks and other magical acts, a parade with a big circus organ ... Currently the circus is directed and led by Judge D. D. Ingalls; he's 84 years old and has been involved in show business for about 50 years.

     The first show is normally at Flint, followed by Detroit, Port Huron ... Shows open once a week, which means they play for no more than 3 days. Billposters and other advance men show up a week or so ahead of the circus, along with pitchmen and street corner pamphleteers. Streetmen arrive just before the circus, to hang pennants and bunting, and to arrange for the parade route.




  • A rough and tumble version of football, there is a league which has quickly built a lot of influence around the Lakes. The league was established in  2120, and there has been an annual championship game every year since 2126. The ten teams as of 2140 are:

    • Apolis Silverbacks

    • Bastion Gronts

    • Bricktop Wolfs

    • Feeding Ground Vultures

    • Fort Tol Missiles

    • Haven Whitecoats

    • North Shore Nessies

    • Sag Saggers

    • Sentinel Storm

    • Troyt Tornadoes

  • The Commissioner is Heather Mist, age 59, who is hoping to increase trade in the Great Lakes area. She's a native of Lud, where the League offices are located.

  • The skinball season runs from August to December, with the Skin Bowl held on New Year's Day. The 14th Skin Bowl will be held at Haven on New Year's Day of 2141.




Trade categories


  • AG:  agricultural -- able to export agricultural products

  • NA:  non-agricultural -- must import agricultural products

  • IND:  industrial -- able to export industrial goods

  • NI:  non-industrial -- unable to make industrial goods

  • R:  rich -- relatively well-off

  • P:  poor -- relatively


Technology levels


Technology Levels


name and era



Atomic Age, 1980+

might even have fusion or laser weaponry.


Late Electric Age, ~1955 AD

semi-auto rifles, assault rifles, light machine guns


Early Electric Age, ~1920 AD

magazine rifles, hand grenades, simple grenade launchers, semi-auto weapons, machine guns, flamethrowers


Late Steam Age, ~1880 AD

early cartridge weapons, including revolvers


Early Steam Age, ~1840 AD

muzzle-loading rifles


Late Iron Age, ~1770 AD

muzzle-loading smoothbore muskets


Early Iron Age, ~700 AD

bows or crossbows


Bronze Age, ~00 BC



Stone Age, ~3000 BC



     Technology refers to what an encounter group or community possesses, not what they can create. So a Morrow Project team is by default Tech Level A.

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