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Page history last edited by Michael 1 year, 9 months ago

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     A Cartel caravanserai and fuel depot in southeastern Colorado.





     The historic old Bent's Fort, a couple of kilometers east of the town of La Junta, Colorado; population 8300. US Route 50 and the Santa Fe railway ran through the town, which is on the Arkansas River.

     The fort was rebuilt by the National Park Service in 1976.



     Many people fled to La Junta, and then further east along US Route 50, after the Atomic War. Only a very few people were still living here during the Long Winter; in 2020, the Yellowstone eruption laid a 5 meter deep layer of ash on the town. The roofs of the remaining buildings collapsed, and the inhabitants fled south.

     A few decades ago, the Cartel showed up and built a fortified plaza using the thick walls of Bent's Fort. Settlers have arrived and created a town around the fort.


What Outsiders Know

     A small but growing town, centered on a Cartel waypoint and fort.


The Reality

     As known -- it's not a town of mystery. A well-organized truck stop. Lately, there have been rumors of trouble to the north:  some sort of brigand army, or worse.



     About 600 persons live in the walled town; another 2400 live in ranches and farms within 50 kilometers or so. Ranches are typically 6 kilometers apart.


Territory and Locations


     On the remains of US Route 50, a couple of kilometers west of Midway, are the ruins of La Junta; the Arkansas river runs past the town.

     Midway has a low wall of dirt, wrecked cars, structural steel, cinder blocks, and other improvised materials. The Cartel fort, near the edge of town (but still inside the town wall), looks rather like a "Foreign Legion fort", with slightly sloped walls and a watchtower on one corner. It's about 20 meters across.




Government, National and Local

     The town is under the control of the Cartel; the jefe is Juan Dryden.

     The Cartel jefe hires and pays the schoolteacher in town; decides disputes about contracts and land ownership; checks the validity of weights and measures; and hears criminal cases. He could also call out any number of adult men as the militia, if needed; in practice, the Cartel's changas are more than enough military force.

     About 50 cavalry horses are kept stabled in or near the fort, along with some motorcycles and a few "dune buggies" as a rapid-reaction force.


Justice, Social Control, Punishment

     The jefe decides all cases, except those involving senior Cartel members (which are referred to Kingman City) . Possible punishments are hanging, banishment, or fines; there is no jail. A common alternative to a monetary fine is either public work, or restorative labor.

     In practice, the jefe only cares about what happens in town, or along the trading road, or to members of the Cartel.


Political Factions, Dissent

     The jefe enforces some arbitrary rules about firearms ownership, which have the effect of leaving non-Cartel members without anything more advanced than muzzle-loading rifles.


Famous/Infamous Persons


     Not really. The jefe is known by name to a lot of traders, though.


Relationships with Other Groups

     Well, it's all about the Cartel here. The Waste Lords aren't welcome customers, but some trade takes place (just not in town). Raiders are basically kept at a distance; any trade with them, or attacks on them, depend on whether a particular group has bothered any Cartel convoys lately.




Ethnic Groups, Immigration and Emigration


     It's a pretty even split between generic Americans, and immigrants from northern Mexico.


Social Divisions and Castes

     Heads of families are very important; unmarried men have little say in decisions. The "richest" people are the owners of large ranches (haciendas); they sometimes act as tiny despots, without much reference to the jefe. 

     Besides any convoy members, there are a hundred or so men in town actually employed by the Cartel -- mechanics, soldiers, and other people on the jefe's staff. 


Religion, Beliefs and Superstition

     The Komerk-speaking (Spanish) inhabitants are almost all Catholics; some of the others are too, since it gives some social advantages. There is a church and priest in town.


Morality and Values

     Respect for the parent's and their siblings; obedience; family unity. Raiders, robbers and highway bandits are barely considered human, and probably don't get judicial trials very often.

     Marrying, or romantic involvement with, Cartel soldiers is not a socially approved act for the locals.


Progress and Failure

     Marriage, and offspring, are a goal for men.


Family, Age, Sexuality and Gender

     As with most of the modern world, there are notably more men than women in the population. Women and married men are the decision-makers.


Education and Language

     The locals are all fluent in Road Talk and Komerk. Literacy in the town is about 50%, but much lower in the farms and ranches away from town.


Environment and Agriculture

     Farms are spread along both sides of the Arkansas River. More than a few kilometers from the river, the area is scrubland, with deep volcanic ash everywhere. Horse and sheep ranches spread a bit further from the river.



     Heavy on meat and dairy products; generally, kind of "Mexican".


Art and Entertainment, Music, Literature, Recreation


     The local musical style in the farms is ranchera and norteƱo; in the town there are two banda groups.


Fashion and Appearance

     Very typical of the post-apocalyptic southwest. Men have big mustaches, and wear straw "cowboy hats"; adult women wear long dresses. Cartel drivers and soldiers are often armed to the teeth.


Urban and Rural Areas, Architecture

     Most of the post-Atomic War buildings are in Pueblo Revival style, with thick masonry walls, flat roofs, and roof beams protruding just below the top of the walls.


Equipment and Resources



     Cartel convoy crews, and the jefe's guards, spend their pay here. Horse meat, mutton, and wool are sold to traders; manufactured goods are brought in and sold at the Cartel emporio, or by traders.

     Non-Cartel traders have to negotiate a fee or payments with the jefe to do business here.


Science, Medicine and Technology

     Except for the Cartel facilities, the area is at a nineteenth century level of technology.

     There is a doctor, Flynn, who works for the Cartel but also patches up the locals.


Weapons and Military Equipment

     The locals carry knives and (when mounted) lances. A prosperous man might own a muzzle-loading musket; the head of a family, or a merchant in town, will own a revolver. The Cartel emporio sells muzzle-loading weapons, powder, etc.; and if you're a trucker, especially a Cartel trucker, they might sell more advanced weaponry.

     The Cartel has (at least) a couple of belt-fed machine guns, and Cartel rifles for all of their soldiers. There is either a cannon or mortar present, and usually a scrap tank of some sort.



     The Cartel uses CB radios, a few walkie-talkies, and a simple field telephone system. Otherwise, news moves by mounted couriers, on foot, etc. There is no newspaper nor a printing press closer than Tucumcari.

     In an emergency, the Cartel might use a motorcyle or courier truck ... but the emergency better be good!



     Horse, horse-drawn wagons, and (for the Cartel) trucks, motorbikes, etc.









Comments (2)

Michael said

at 11:27 pm on Aug 29, 2013

It's possible the Fort was where the Cartel base is at ... but your characters probably don't have much info on Bent's Fort.

Kirk said

at 10:36 pm on Aug 29, 2013

La Junta, nominally the area where Bent's Fort was located.

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