Thursday, March 11, 2010

[Aftermath!] The D.C. Campaign: The Free Companies

Washington, D.C. has between thirty and fifty bandit groups operating in the metro area at any one time. The smaller groups have around 4 members and the larger up to 20. They are indifferently armed and armored, some have permanent bases but all range across the whole city. If any one of these groups has survived alone in the District longer than 5 years, then they are not pushovers.

These bandits are collectively called The Free Companies. From scavenging, to highway robbery, to midnight raids into danger zones, if it can be fought, stolen, conned, or snatched, they do it. Most of these companies work for one or more of the stable survivor communities in the District, but some are willing to trade from anyone, and others will kill for the slightest advantage.

On the whole, though, the mad and insane ones don't last very long, as they have a tendency to self-implode or fight someone stronger. The vast majority tend to get along or at least remain neutral to each other, since most of them have enemies among the metro communities, so there is a tentative peace between them that is occasionally broken with extreme violence.

This doesn't make any of them boy scouts, but over the years the groups have been developing a culture similar to the Caribbean pirates of old - They consider themselves a law unto themselves and most adhere to "The Rule."

"The Rule" depend on the company, but most all agree to uphold these adages among themselves and within cross-company interactions:
  • "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life."
  • "A moral scoundrel may occasionally do what duty requires."
  • "I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. "
  • "Never insult anyone by accident. "
  • "Merchant and pirate were for a long period one and the same person."
In the event that one of the companies causes trouble that rolls down onto all the other companies, then a great banding together is done and the offenders are "retired, with prejudice." This possibility make most leaders of Free Companies willing to work with each other so that everyone can get out of it with a profit and lives intact. They are all aware that they don't have the membership to withstand drawn out warfare - they are the little fish in the big ocean. The majority of the District communities can make their lives very difficult but they are useful to doing the dirty jobs that these communities don't want to waste resources on.
  • Fighting between crew members could be punished by death or marooning both men.
  • Pirates who brought women disguised as men aboard ship were threatened with death.
  • Sexual assault was punished with death.
  • Drinking during watch was punished by death.
  • Gambling for money was forbidden.

    Unfortunately, due to spam, I have set up comment moderation. I will review and approve your comment as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.