The dangers Nomads face on the open road are infinite and ever present, but some areas, some threats, are worse than others.  There is no greater threat on the open road than the Raffen Shiv, but other threats do exist, xenophobic small towns, corrupt government, and even the environment.  Here we have the most current information on areas of major threats and hazards, starting with the Northeast and moving in a spiral towards the center.


Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, otherwise known as the Seaboard Cooperative, are unfriendly to nomads in general, except the Jodes, the Folk, and Thelas, and even then only if your families reputation is known to them.  The Seaboard Police Corps fiercely protect their borders, and few nomads, and even fewer Raffen Shiv ever make it beyond their state lines.  Of course if you find yourself on the wrong side of the law in this area, the Raffen Shiv are the last of your worries.  Hi-Way works very closely with the SPC in this region.


Delaware is rampant with Raffen Shiv, the damage caused by the Orbital Rock Strike off the Delaware coast put a lot of people out of their homes and out of their jobs, and more than a few out of their minds.  Most of the coastal population that survived was left with nothing and no where to go.  Anyone who still had food and shelter wasnít of a mind to share it, and for a while the entire area devolved into a feudal state, with roving raiders raping, looting and pillaging their way across the state.  Things eventually settled down, but like everywhere else in the US, most of the rural population fled to the cities to escape unemployment, food and water shortages, and the out of control lawlessness of the roving gangs.  Many of the small towns in this area have been completely taken over by Raffen Shiv, and the Shiv work with many of the criminal street gangs in the major cities like Dover smuggling in guns and drugs and even slaves.

Maryland has a very minor Raffen Shiv presence, and what Raffen are there are usually just holdouts of pre-collapse biker gangs, and almost never pose a threat to any consisting of more than 2 large vehicles.  The only Nomads who have ever reported a threat here are Nomads traveling alone, or more commonly, small groups on bikes.  Maryland is one of the safest places in the country for nomads to travel through, itís economy and urban sprawl keep the highways well maintained and well patrolled.


Massachusets and Connecticut are hostile territory.  The state police and the Hi-Way officers that patrol here are some of the most corrupt in the country, easily open to abuses of authority and bribes, and many of them work with the Raffen Shiv.  The best course of action is to bribe any officer who even talks to you.  It is rumored that failure to correctly pay off an officer will lead them to radio in your direction of travel and description to Raffen Shiv raiders who will set up ambushes along the road, the cops who do this are paid healthy kickback from the raiders.  Itís almost hard to blame the cops, since their arrangement with the Raffen keeps them from preying on locals.  However the Raffen presence here is scattered throughout the state, with major groups set up along the major routes.  If you know your way around, it is advised to take the back roads, where the Raffen are more sporadically spread out and in smaller more disorganized numbers.   Despite the dangers, Boston is a thriving and clean modern city, and has benefited from New York Cities collapse to set itself up as a major port and business hub for the region and the US in general.  Because of this, the Boston Nomad Market is very large, fully integrated into the city where the nomads are welcome and embraced.  In fact, because Nomad shipping is so very important to the region, the bribes to State police and Hi-Way are often handled here, in the open, with Nomad travelers in the region getting special stickers to place on their vehicles, which almost ensure their safety from Raffen Shiv.  It doesnít always work, but Raffen tribes that break this deal usually face severe repercussions from whatever criminal organization is backing the nomad group.


New Jersey is a hellhole.  It always was, but after the collapse the state government went bankrupt, no real police, no elected officials past the city level, and the entire state being openly run by organized crime factions and street gangs.  To the Raffen Shiv, the Jersey roadways and rural areas are Mecca, they control everything.  In 2021 the crime families (mostly Italian mafia, though some Irish and Russian influence is also heavy) co-operated long enough to install puppet government officials, mostly to keep Federal law enforcement out of their hair.  So the main cities in the state have at least a semblance of protection again, but the small towns and highways are a no mans land.  Hi-way wonít even go there.  Things have gotten so bad in Jersey that the Raffen Shivís have taken over police stations and armories, and their favorite tactic is to use a confiscated police vehicle to pull over anyone foolish enough to be on their roads and once they are vulnerable descend upon them en masse.  It is advisable for nomads to avoid Jersey at all costs, and if you have to go in go heavily armed and in large numbers.  No where else in America do the Raffen Shiv enjoy such unrestrained freedom.  In fact the only real threat to the Raffen Shiv on the roads is internal, with different Raffen Tribes constantly at war over territory.

New York  has mixed feelings towards nomads.  With Jersey and Massachusetts and their heavy Raffen Shiv populations bordering them, as well as upstate New Yorkís own Raffen presence, the popular public perception is that all nomads are vicious biker scum itching to rape and murder anyone they can get their hands on.  However the Buffalo Nomad Market has been a boon to the state economy and without Nomad shipping services then many people in the state would go without food or basic goods.  So while misconceptions about Nomads are still high, the talks with the Nomad community to begin reclamation nd reconstruction on Manhattan are optimistic.  Because of this, the Nomad community in New York, often working alongside Hi-Way and State Police, work diligently to keep the Raffen Shiv to a minimum in isolated areas and small pockets.  The goal is to eliminate them completely, but a few holdouts still remain.  The Jersey and Massachusetts Borders are heavily guarded, though no State Police or Hi-Way officers will cross the Jersey borders for any reason short of WMD.  Overall, New York is on of the safer places to travel across for Nomads.

Pennsylvaniaís decaying urban sprawl, acid rain, pollution, and radiation contaminated water around the Pitt make traveling through PA dangerous enough.  There are Raffen Shiv here, although it is in one of the more loosely defined interpretations.  Some people never left the Pitt, and they send out raiding parties attacking the roads near the ruins of Pittsburg as well as the surrounding communities.  Due to the contamination, cancer rates are high, birth rates are low and deformities are common among the children that are born to the denizens of the Pitt.  Other Raffen Shiv in the state are comprised of small groups, usually making their headquarters in small abandoned towns.  The number of Raffen in the area is believed to be low, but they are also more desperate and attack nomads and locals alike.  They have even been known to attack Nomad and Corporate convoys who severely outnumber them, relying on surprise and ferocity to pick off stragglers and weaker vehicles.


Rhode Island has very few problems with Raffen Shiv, although they tend to watch all nomads very closely, often with Hi-Way escorts on the road just to make sure the nomads donít cause any problems.  It would be somewhat of a problem if RI were a larger state, but since travelling across it usually doesnít take but a few hours itís a relatively minor inconvenience.


Appalachia,  The Virginias, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina, are too successful and too well organized to allow a large Raffen Shiv presence, what you see most are small town militias, survivalists, and some biker gangs.  These operations are usually unaffiliated with each other, although there are some that co-operate or cross over membership.  As Raffen Shiv go, there numbers are small, but they are usually well armed and have training.  Not quite as racist in nature as the groups further south, especially in Tennessee and North Carolina, but itís still a common theme particularly among the survivalist and biker cells.  Travel through these areas is still dangerous as these groups often have close ties to whatever community they hail from, which can make things difficult, beware the townsfolk who seem to friendly, especially if they start asking questions.

South Carolina refuses to join the Dixie States, which has led to the unfortunate situation of Georgia pushing its worst elements across their border.  South Carolina has enjoyed some measure of success, especially due to their importance as a shipping port and a major tourist draw.  Still effectively being under Martial Law, South Carolina police and National Guard tend to hammer down any Raffen Shiv problems, but that doesnít stop Georgian based Raffen from making raids across the border.  Nor does it stop the Raffen gangs from cruising the back roads and by ways for unsuspecting prey.  Due to the heavy corporate influence, and the Nomad (Meta) owned Charleston Nomad Market Port, the main highways in the state are actually pretty safe and incidence along the interstates is a rare thing.


Florida is almost a lost cause.  Outside of Miami, Atlantis, and Key West, the poverty level in the state is overwhelming.  The Raffen Shiv are abundant here.  Florida is home to many nomad groups, and is still the largest Concentration of Blood affiliated families on earth, mostly due to their almost complete takeover of Orlando.  Of course there are many who feel the the Florida bloods are no better than Raffen Shiv themselves, after all the tribe was founded by carnies and street gangs.  And rumours run rampant that they actually work closely with known Raffen Shiv, informing them of high dollar shipments, even their own, and splitting the take with them.  If that wasnít bad enough, the northern and eastern borders are infested with Raffen gangs, eager to raid on any easy prey before they can cross into the Dixie territories.  The south is no better, especially the everglades, where Raffen Shiv groups like the Los Marineros Rojas and the Cajun and Creole based Swamp Rats keep the swamp a no manís land to anyone without a death wish.  Some of the Keys and small coves are also home to numerous pirates, who call the gulf and the keys their hunting grounds.


The Dixie States (Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana) are dirt poor and corrupt, this means everyone in the region is resentful to anyone they perceive as being better off than them.  The government is utterly corrupt, and the racism, bigotry,  and xenophobia is irreparably ingrained into the culture.  However, nomads actually have it pretty good travelling through the region.  Provided they pay the hefty tolls upon crossing the borders (read bribes), and provided they have absolutely no visible weaponry upon entering or traveling through the state, including sidearmís, then they are fairly well received.  Mostly this is due to the fact that even the best-off nomads are still perceived as being poorer than any static.  The fact that any guns other than shotguns or .22 calibers are absolutely illegal in the region shouldnít deter large nomad convoys from moving through.  Since the collapse and the food riots, the region is very reliant on Nomad shipping, and the police know full well that the roads outside Dixie are a dangerous place.  So as long as you stow your weapons well away and donít do anything monumentally stupid, you wonít get hassled by the law.  Unfortunately this leaves you vulnerable to attack from the Raffen Shiv in the region, mostly made up of ďgood old boysĒ and old biker gangs.   Again, traveling in a large group you are relatively safe, traveling in small groups or alone, you are making yourself vulnerable and the region becomes much more hostile.

Arkansas was devastated by the Wasting Plague and the Cholera outbreak that followed.  Arkansas was the hardest hit state in the country, and it has been estimated that over 70% of its population was killed.  Entire towns were simply wiped out to a man.  The majority of survivors either relocated to the city, or fled into the deep woods.  Little Rock exists primarily as shipping hubs, as well as processing and distribution centers for the agri-corps which have taken over vast tracts of land in the virtually abandoned state.  Fort Smith is populated almost wholly by the Military personnel on base and there families.  In the Northwest corner of Arkansas, Fayetteville has incorporated the towns north (Springdale, Rogers, and Bentonville) and the area still serves as the corporate headquarters for Wal-Mart, Tyson, and JB Hunt.  These three powerhouses keep the main highways  and interstates in the region maintained, though the rural highways and side roads have fallen into utter disrepair.  Eureka Springs, also in the NW, has become a renewed resort town for the wealthy who truly desire isolation, and most fly in, since the roads in and out of the town have become almost inaccessible.  The Raffen Shiv thrive in this state, they have the run of the back roads, which gives them almost free reign in attacking nomad and corporate shipping convoys or anyone else foolish enough to get caught on the open road.  Perhaps even worse than Jersey this region is infested with Raffen Shiv, and they even hold numerous gatherings here deep in the state where civilized man fears to tread.  The Raffen arenít the only threat either, the hillbillies have become exponentially more introverted and paranoid of outsiders, and the backwoods are riddled with inbred, and mostly illiterate, lunatics.  Many have ventured into the deep woods, most were never seen again.  These hill people even exist on corporate controlled tracts of land, and many disappearances have been attributed to them.  Arkansas is one of those places where it is extremely risky and ill-advised to travel off the main roads, and even on the interstates and highways it is advisable to be on guard at all times.


Oklahoma is not much safer than Arkansas, it was as hard hit by the wasting plague, but drought and heat dried up much of the farmland, creating another dustbowl.  Outside of Tulsa and Oklahoma city, the population is scarce and the small towns that still exist, like Muskogee, are able to survive purely due to their importance as refueling stations and way-points for interstate shipping.  In the more rural areas, the Raffen Shiv are as bad as their neighbors, and in many cases Raffen Shiv gangs are actually held up as heroes but whatever small towns they call home, as their raids are often the only somewhat reliable source of food and goods these people see.  The Lake Tenkiller region, particularly around Tahlequah and Gore, have been taken over by Native Americans, who hold and protect the land fiercely.  They maintain friendly relations with nomads, and can offer a safe haven from the Raffen Shiv, but charge a hefty fee for shipping through their lands.  They have also been known to raid corporate convoys, as well as actively hunt down Raffen who venture to close to their territory, which has caused mixed emotions towards them from the state population.  Dust storms are frequent here, creating a hazard in their own right, but Raffen Shiv have been known to use them as cover for their raids.

Texas is a land of contradiction.  They will proclaim their love of freedom while at the same time instituting the most fascist government enforcement in North America.  They teach Evolution only grudgingly and sometimes not at all, but every student is fully educated on their right to bear arms by the time they are in the 3rd grade.  With itís tightly controlled borders and hefty fees, travel through Texas is already painful, and the Texas Rangers patrol the roads with an iron fist.  This would be fine, except the people of Texas, while friendly to nomads (if they are white and Christian) they are absolutely enamored with Raffen Shiv, often holding them up as folk heroes.  Texas has always loved its outlaws.  This puts nomads traveling through the state in a very difficult place, having their vehicles openly armed invites harassment by the law, but traveling unarmed makes them easy prey for the outlaw raiders that are just waiting for an opening.  The leader of the largest Raffen Shiv gang, Sons of The Gun, is a dwarf named Big Tim.  How a midget became leader of the most bloodthirsty biker gang in Texas in the source of wild speculation, but his bloodthirsty and merciless nature are well known throughout the western United States.


Colorado is not as desolate as New Mexico or Arizona, but it is every bit as much an icon of the New American West.  The state is also home to the Denver Nomad Market, one of the most important Nomad shipping hubs in the country, and the last safe haven for nomads before entering the mountains where if the roads wonít kill you, the Raffen who lurk there will.  While nomads are welcome in Colorado by most of the population, travel here is every bit as dangerous as Arizona or New Mexico, with not only similar Raffen Shiv problems, but the highlands of Colorado suffer incredibly harsh winters and the mountain passes, treacherous even on the best of days, are absolutely impassable in harsh weather.


New Mexico and Arizona are the true heart and soul of the New American West.  With a landscape that is little more than desert with the occasional mesa or mountain, and a few lakes and trees to liven up the scenery.  The entire is reminiscent of the old west, or possibly a post apocalypse landscape.  Outside of the few remaining large cities, this is a harsh harsh land, and only the strongest survive here.  This is favored territory for nomads, it is also favored territory for Raffen Shiv.  With few laws and even fewer law enforcers, the open roads here, especially the back roads are infested with Raffen.  To make matters worse, the UAN attitudes towards nomads shifts with the wind, and what one day is nothing more than paying an amiable tribute can quickly turn into all out attack the next.  This danger draws a certain type of Nomad like a moth to the flame, and the New Mexico and Arizona region, as well as Colorado, are the birthplace and prime hunting grounds of the Raffen Shiv hunting Tribe the Stormriders.  Nomad Caravans of any size are advised to be on guard at all times when travelling through this region, and to not even attempt it if they are sufficiently armed.

Utah is a free state, but its borders are fairly loose and it has an amiable view towards nomads.  There is not much of a Raffen Shiv problem here, only the occasional biker gang or militia group, but as a whole Utah is one of the safer places to travel through.  Open weapons are not allowed on their highways, but they generally wonít confiscate them provided you donít cause any trouble.  If you do cause trouble, then you will likely be banned from the state, as itís cheaper than imprisonment, and shipping you out means you arenít there problem anymore.  While the roads are generally safe, there also isnít much going on here.  The majority of the population is Mormon, so any smuggled goods you have will likely be of little interest to the population, and they are quick to put down any signs of aggression from outsiders.  The best advice we can give is to enjoy the peaceful travel in and through the state, but donít linger any longer than you have too.


Nevada is a danger zone to Nomads, pure and simple.  Between the border security, the hostile and well armed population (particularly in the northeast), and the fact that pretty much anything is legal here, there is very little Nevada has to offer, and very little nomads have to offer to the people of Nevada.  Raffen Shiv, better armed here than anywhere in the US, plague the badlands.  It is rumored that Raffen Shiv freely trade slaves captured on the road, especially attractive young women, to the casinoís and resorts.  Very often outside the cities there will be little difference between the townsfolk and the Raffen Shiv.  Inside the cities Nomads are even less welcome, as the corporations and crime families that control the state have set up all the cities as nothing but high priced resorts.  A bunch of scruffy, filthy, dust caked nomads are the last thing they want dirtying up their patrons enjoyment of the carnal delights offered.  In addition there is also the reinstatement of limited nuclear Testing at the Nevada test range.  While testing has been kept to a minimum, these irradiated badlands are inhabited by squatters and Raffen Shiv, some of the squatters have been living on the old test sites long enough that mutations from radiation poisoning have led to severe deformity and mental instability.  And finally, while getting in to the Free State of Nevada is a hassle, getting out can be a nightmare, as every state that borders it has set up strict and severe checkpoints to stop the mass flow of contraband and dangerous materials from being smuggled out of Nevada.  Travel through the state is often a necessity, especially for shipping convoys.  However it is strongly advised that you either travel in groups of more than ten vehicles, or groups no larger than three.  A small group of nomads can be taken for locals, a large group is capable of defending itself, but anything in between will be seen as an easy target.  On the plus side, smuggling contraband goods out of Nevada is a very lucrative business, but also a very risky one.

Southern California is hell.  The southern portion of the state is desolate wastelands over run with Raffen Shiv, never before has Death Valley so lived up to its name.  The north portion of the state is almost entirely engulfed by the Los Angeles Metroplex, where street gangs run rampant and the police are corrupt.  This is one of the few urban areas where it is advised that if your vehicle has weapon mounts that they remain armed, loaded and visible.   If that werenít bad enough, the weather and pollution of the northern section of the Free State of Southern California will not only kill you, but possibly your vehicle as well.  The ocean is no safer, with Lost Angeles serving as a dumping ground for exiled Californians and a hiding place for the most vile of criminals, pirates breed here like roaches, so much so that while occasional trading is done with exceptionally brave and well armed Thelas, even those seaborne nomads will usually keep a wide berth.


Northern California is easily the most successful of the free states. Home to Night City and San Diego, the Northern California economy is strong and although it suffered heavily from the collapse, it has rebounded quite nicely.  However, many of the rural areas are still desolate, often deserted, which makes for ideal Raffen Shiv activity.  In addition many Raffen Shiv groups have close ties to the street gangs, especially around Night City.  Northern California is very welcoming to Nomads, relying on them for much of their freight hauling.  Even corporate giants like Arasaka will often subcontract to nomads (often through Meta middlemen working in the Night City Nomad Market) to ship their goods, particularly through dangerous territories.


Oregon and Washington are perhaps the most successful and stable areas of the United States.  With Portland, and Seattle propping up their economies, and strong political representation, these states feature well maintained roads, even in most rural areas and for the most part welcome nomad freight hauling families, migrant workers, and laborers.  However they have very little tolerance for wanton violence on their highways and even less tolerance for environmental recklessness.  The Hi-Way officers are well funded, and while there is a small Raffen Shiv presence in the more rural areas, they are struck down quickly if they make too much noise, making this region one of the safer regions for Nomad travel.  Unfortunately the general public and most of law enforcement sees little difference between proper nomads and Raffen Shiv, so prepare to be faced with scrutiny.  This is not to say that they donít rely on Nomad shipping, with the Seattle port becoming the largest shipping hub on the U.S. pacific coast, nomad shipping is a necessity, but during and after the collapse the states faced a lot of problems from the nomad community squatting on land and destroying the environment.  Luckily this distrust is fading as relations improve.

Idaho  while Idaho itself ended up moderately successful after the crash, it came at a cost.  The rise of the Neo-Nazi movement and its subsequent exile into the back woods (as detailed in Home Of The Brave) as well as many rural townsfolk and farmers losing their livelihoods to the influx of the Agricorps and corporate sponsored farming co-operatives led to a breeding ground of Raffen Shiv.  While Boise and its mass influx of former rural residents prospered, the ousted Neo Nazi party and supporters became a breed of Raffen Shiv all their own.  Highly disciplined and organized the Neo Nazi party melded with a large outlaw biker gang, and have since engaged in mass recruitment of anyone gullible or ignorant enough to believe that all the ills the country faces are the fault of minorities.  Redubbing themselves The Norse Lords, this group is one of the single largest Raffen groups in the country.  In fact, the group is so large, that it is considered the largest organized groups of racists you are likely to find outside of the Dixie Region.  To make matters worse, while loathed by most of the population of the state and denounced by all but the most laughable of political figures, it is rumored that the group is covertly contracted by Biotechnica and Montesanto, who keep them well armed, and well fed, in exchange for them keeping the more isolated Agricorp farms and surrounding lands free from squatters and nomads.  Nomads travelling on the main interstates and highways are relatively safe in large groups, unless a Norse Lord scout happens to spot anyone who even resembles a minority among them.  Traveling on back roads however is extremely risky.  The Norse Lords are very intolerant even of other Raffen Shiv groups in their territories and hunting grounds and will force the trespassers to either join them, or slaughter them outright.  It was found out that captured nomads are being forced to perform slave labor for Montesanto operations in the region.  This information came to light after the daring raid into one of the Montesanto operations in Wyoming performed by Members of the Snake and Aldecaldo nations in late 2020.  The information was suppressed in the media, but there are rumors and reports that this may be happening again.


The Great Plains (Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota) were initially hostile to the Nomad movement.  Nomads were blamed for starting the Brushfires that swept through the region, and were blamed for everything from raiding crops to stealing children.  However as the Agri-Corps, particularly Biotechnica and Montesanto, began buying land from private farms, or outright seizing farms whose mortgages had fallen behind, more and more natives to the region found themselves on the nomad side of the river, homeless and jobless.  In addition, the private farms that did exist were being charged out of existence with fees set up by their corporate neighbors, especially for shipping, in effort to wrest even more land.  The private farmers turned to the Nomads, who would ship their goods for them, at a very fair price, often in trade for a percentage of the food being harvested.  Not to mention the nomad migrant workers who would show up at harvest time then leave.  Of course while the rural folks tend to welcome Nomads, the Corporations in the region see them not just as competition, but as the enemy.  And it is not uncommon to see Corporate convoys attacking Nomad trucks or hampering nomad operations.  As far as Raffen Shiv in the region, they are ever present, mostly in small numbers and raiding from the hills and back roads, staking out claims at old abandoned farms.  In the desolate polluted wasteland of Minnesota however, the Raffen run wild and in large numbers.  While the great plains are one of the last places where rural America still exists, North West Minnesota it is virtually uninhabited, and unless you know the roads, almost impassable, creating the perfect territory for Raffen Shiv and other criminals, looting and salvaging the empty towns long since abandoned and preying on anyone foolish enough to enter their territory. 

Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois (The Great Lakes Region) are ecological disasters.  While South Western Wisconsin still has some farmland, tightly held by a shrinking number of private farmers and an increasing number of Agricorporations, the rest of the region is so eaten up by pollution, neglect and outrageous and virtually unmonitored corporate practices (Strip mining, illegal and reckless chemical waste disposal, etcÖ) that the areas outside the cities are virtually uninhabitable.  Inside the cities the pollution is even worse, with respirators, air scrubbers, and breathing masks a daily necessity.  Crime is rampant, the governments are corrupt, and while the cities are overflowing, even if the rural portions were inhabitable after the wasting plague hit there wouldnít be enough people left to sustain them.  Of course the deserted rural areas and wastelands are the ideal conditions for Raffen Shiv, who run rampant across these states, including an all-female Tribe calling themselves Daughters Of Chaos.  If the Raffen Shiv donít get you, the environment will.  Watch out for frequent and severe acid rain, in some instances so concentrated that it will burn flesh, and thatís not even mentioning the damage it will do to your vehicles and equipment.  The air is unsafe, and anyone travelling through the region is advised to at least wear a facemask at all times when outdoors.  Having a Nomad Gizmo is essential here, and everything, air, water, food, everything,  should be tested before  exposing yourself to it.  Lets put it this way, things are so bad in the region that Wisconsin built an giant indoor domed agricultural city for the purpose of trying to raise crops and cattle indoorsÖ yeah, and itís going about as horribly as you can expect.  Regardless of the pollution and Raffen Shiv, the region could not survive at all without Nomad shipping and Nomad laborers, who are the only ones left who will willingly expose themselves to the elements for construction (and in the case of Chicago, reclamation).  The desperate situation is nowhere more apparent than Detroit, which has walled its city off into subsections, whose borders are guarded, the rich live like kings, the poor live off the scraps, and the combat zones have effectively become prisons.  The inhabitants of the poorer sections and Combat zones would not survive at all without nomads smuggling them in food, medicine and clean water.  Relations with many street gangs and criminal organizations in the area with the nomad community are strong.  With the police and government, not so much.

Missouri is the last successful remnant of the Midwest.  It has somehow managed to avoid most of the acid rain that has devastated its neighbors to the north, and had the necessary medical procedures in place to keep the plague exposure to a minimum.  While drought and higher heat had its effect on the agriculture, things have been bouncing back steadily, and Missouri is one of the last places in America where the family farm is still a common sight.  Not that Agricorps havenít moved in, but since Missouri was still producing enormous amounts of food during the collapse and the New Dust Bowl, its private farmers were well in place to take advantage of the situation.  Missouri is friendly to nomads, especially during harvesting season.   So much so that not only is the Kansas City Nomad Market actually inside the city proper, it is the largest Market in the Midwest.  There are Raffen Shiv here, mostly affiliated with booster gangs in Kansas City and Saint Louis, or the smaller tribes that roam the more remote areas, but overall even in the cities Nomads are welcome and safe here.  And itís one of the few places where statics understand the difference between Nomads and Raffen Shiv.


Kansas is not as fortunate as Missouri, although it is slowly rebuilding.  During the collapse it looked like it was going to weather through the problems even better than its eastern neighbor, but when the New Dust Bowl hit its flat open fields were decimated.  This devastated the state economy and left them sore and bitter.  Missouri annexed Kansas City, and Colorado claimed portions of the western side, and the Kansans have never forgotten this.  Kansas has started coming back though, especially since Hydropolis was built and its fields are producing across the state except in the far northern areas where the pollution crosses its borders.  The problem is that nearly all the agricultural production in the state is corporate, there is s very small number of family farms scattered about the state, holding on by the skin of their teeth, but rural Kansas is virtually gone.  The Raffen Shiv have taken over entire towns, abandoned during the collapse, and the largest single Raffen Shiv group in the United States called Kansas home, operating out of a large but abandoned shopping mall north east of Wichita.  They raid I-70 constantly, and swarm across the back roads.  They are led by a man called Venger, who rumor has it is a former Paladin.  He is known to carry a Gunblade and his ruthlessness and ferocity are legendary in the Nomad Community.

Alaska breeds Raffen Shiv like rabbits.  The long nights without sun, the long summers without darkness, the bitter cold, the desolation, the wildlife, everything about Alaska, regardless of its incomparable beauty, is one big recipe for insanity.  And outside the major cities, while the Law is heavily armed and not in the slightest bit timid, they are scattered about and rare.  Response time even in the cities is abysmal, in the outback it can take days or week for a first responder to arrive depending on weather and road condition.  During the summer the Raffen prey on tourists and nomads, as well as any small towns that donít pay tribute.  In the winter they get more desperate, attacking Nomad and Corp vehicles alike on the ice-roads, and occasionally laying waste to small towns and villages in their path.  Alaska is the harshest environment in the United States, and would be dangerous even without Raffen Shiv, with them, itís deadly.

Hawaii doesnít see much Raffen Shiv action on land, although there is at least one biker gang on the island that likes to target Hawaiian native islanders (and several islander groups who attack the gwailo, not much of it is Nomad based.  In fact, on land there are very few nomads period.  The labor and agriculture is more than taken care of by locals.  The only place where you are likely to come across nomads are the Thelas at the ports and on the sea.  The sea is also pretty much the only place you are going to encounter Raffen Shiv activity, as there are numerous pirate tribes roaming the pacific islands.



Mexico is vast, it is wild, and outside the major population areas it is relatively lawless.  Raffen Shiv areabundant, often working with Drug Cartels and streetgangs.  Even after the massive efforts to reduce crime and modernize the country, the outlaw and the philosophy of Machismo is so integral to the culture that the popular nomad joke goes ďHo do you spot a Raffen Shiv in Mexico?...  Look out your window!Ē  Itís not really that bad of course, and Mexico is probably the friendliest place on earth to the Nomad Community, but Raffen make up a large portion of the rural population, and some small towns are entirely based around whatever home outlaw group is staking claim there.  These Raffen can also be a bit more reckless and courageous, attacking large convoys, nomad, corporate, even military.  These Raffen Shiv donít hide, they strut in the open, using intimidation and brute force to silence anyone who opposes them and they live by the strict code ďTake what you are strong enough to keep, keep what you are strong enough to take!Ē   Somehow this endears them to the locals, contrary to logic, and they will often work to protect them.  Even those who donít approve, especially their victims, will often stay silent for fear of reprisal, not just by the gangs, but by their neighbors.  These Raffen Shiv are not only well armed, but often they have had military training, either from being in the Mexican military or from survivors of the long walk, many of whom take up top ranks in the Raffen packs in the region.  In addition to the normal Raffen activities of plunder and pillage, they often serve as outriders, scouts, and muscle for the cartels and gangs, who more often than not pay them in drugs and weapons.  If the Raffen werenít bad enough, the cartels and gangs themselves are very suspicious of anyone passing through their territories and have a tendency to shoot first and burn the bodies later.  Corrupt military/police are also an ever present threat, even moreso than in the U.S..  And be very wary of your women and children, the slave trade is very active Mexico amongst the underworld, with children often going to work in fields or mines, or sometimes joining the women in brothels and harems.


What is a Raffen Shiv, what makes them different from other Nomads?  This question is posed by statics a lot, and honestly, some nomads have trouble understanding the difference.  Unfortunately the answer isnít always obvious.  There are obvious examples, outlaw biker gangs, often remnants of groups like the Hells Angels and the Pagans who didnít want to join the Nomad Community proper, being prime examples.  However other groups have also been dubbed Raffen Shiv by the Nomads, including small town Militia, urban street gangs, and those exiled from the Nomad Community (usually for violent or heinous crimes against the community itself).  The only real defining characteristic of Raffen Shiv is their extreme behavior and dress, and their preference for attacking Nomads.  While not exactly universal, the typical costume for Raffen Shiv is leather (sometimes even tanned human skin) and makeshift armor, usually heavily adorned with spikes and weapons.  Make-up, wild hair, tattooís, while all of these things are common trappings among nomads, on a nomad they will usually be functional and simple, while on a Raffen Shiv they will be worn and decorated in such a manner as to intimidate and instill fear.  Their vehicles are often heavily armed, and their weapons are often more focused on maiming and causing pain than instant kill.  It often takes a subtle eye to differentiate between a nomad and Raffen, and the Raffen are fond of using that to their advantage in planning ambushes and raids.  In the end, the best and most reliable way to differentiate is by posture and attitude.



Remember to also be wary of Small towns, many are very protective of what few resources they have left, as well as their families, and are mistrustful and paranoid, at times outright hostile towards nomads.  In a small town you are unfamiliar with, be polite, be friendly, be willing to trade, but always keep your eyes open and be aware of whatís happening around you.  Having a faceman (or woman) who is a good at reading people is an essential member of your team, if for no other reason than to judge whether the towns people are friendly because they are open to your presence, or whether they are friendly to lull you into a sense of security so they can slit your throat in your sleep as you camp for the night outside town.


Written By Deric Bernier.  Images from Deric Bernier, Mad Max, The Road Warrior, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Warriors
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TimurMutsaev, Joe Leder, Johan Bergstrom, and various other unknown films, anime, comics, artists, and car customizers.

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