road is not a safe
place. Itís true that the Corporations make sure
maintained, but they only do that for their personal
fleets. The back
roads and most of the secondary highways are all in
various stages of
and neglect. Itís not just the poor road
you have to
worry about. Raffen Shiv set up ambushes and raids
constantly across the US, and there are reports of small towns that have become so isolated, paranoid, and desolate that they will ambush any vehicle or group they think they can survive attacking.
Most of the US is still proudly part of the Union, and travelling through and between these states is usually not an issue from a government standpoint. Sure some borders like Nevada and Alabama are more secure than others, but itís the Free States that can really get you in trouble when trying to cross.
Often the major cities arenít any safer for nomads than the open road. Most nomads are Zeroes (SINless), and as such do not have any legal rights under the law. Harassment by both law enforcement and private citizens is common. In any confrontation between locals and nomads, it is almost a certainty that law enforcement will side against the nomads. Even the nomads with a SIN often end up with little hospitality, as the publics view of the nomads is that they are all outlaws coming to rape pillage and kidnap. If all that wasnít enough, changes in global weather patterns create their own hazards for nomads. The following is a safety guide to nomad travelÖ
1. SIZE MATTERS
The size of the group you are traveling in definitely has its advantages and disadvantages.
An individual or small nomad family (15 people or less) has the advantage in that the smaller a group is, the more easily it can travel in the major metropolitan and suburban areas without attracting attention from law enforcement. Smaller groups can also usually move faster. Unfortunately, a smaller group also presents an easier target, especially on the open road. A small group of 5 or less vehicles is an irresistible target for Raffen Shiv. Border crossing can be just as bad, with border patrol charging hefty bribes or confiscating cargo and supplies in order to cross, as well as being much more strict in searchesÖ
Conversely, a large group has few problems on the open road, other than speed. Occasionally a large group will still get attacked by Raffen Shiv if the Raffen Numbers are high enough or if the target family seems particularly vulnerable, but those incidents are rare. While bribes are still necessary at many borders, the border guards will be much more careful, as few border checkpoints have the man power or firepower to deal with a confrontation with a large group of nomads. There is definite safety in numbers. Another obvious advantage is that the larger the group, the more cargo they can haul.
However large nomad groups have their own disadvantages. The most obvious is that they have to devote enough space to supply every member. Security is also an issue. In smaller groups everyone knows each other and trusts each other. In large groups you often have never met some of the people you are traveling with. They could be smuggling things without the knowledge of the rest of the group, they could be extremely wanted by the government, they could be rapists or psychopaths, they could even be spies for the Raffen Shiv giving away group movements or leading the tribe into an ambushÖ
Itís also much more difficult to move large groups over rough terrain. Large groups move slowly, And if they do get up to speed, someone is always lagging behind. This is why outrider and scout gigs with large groups are so very important.
And lastly, in large metropolitan areas, large nomad groups are about as welcome as the black plague. As has been said, Statics do not differentiate between Nomads and Raffen Shiv. To them all nomads are vile outlaw scum. So when 50 or more nomads roll up in a huge caravan of 2 dozen cars trucks and vans and 20 + motorcycles, they gain attention really fast. Police, corporate security, the National GuardÖÖ they will be watching every move the group makes like a hawk, ready to open fire and not even bother to ask questions later. Street gangs are also a problem, since they view Nomad groups as just another gang trying to move through their territory and not even bothering to pay respects. Ask the Yella Dogs from the Aldecaldo nation about what a good idea it was to short cut through the Night City Combat ZoneÖ oh wait, you canít, because Maelstrom slaughtered them like lambsÖ
It doesnít matter how small or how large your Nomad group is, you can only move as fast as your slowest vehicle. The best rule a nomad can live by, make sure none of your families vehicles are slower than the cargo hauler. In other words, it makes zero sense to have a family centered around a big rig with a top speed of 100 mph if the outrider vehicles canít keep up with it. It canít always be helped, especially since so many different families will choose to ride together in a caravan for safety, but understand, if you canít keep up, you may very well be left behind if trouble starts.
3. IF YOU CANíT FLY, YOU BETTER BE ABLE TO FIGHT
There is a reason why so many nomads weld large hunks of scrap metal to their vehicles as armor and mount guns to their trucks. The Road can turn deadly in the blink of an eye. When the Raffen-Shiv swarm down out of nowhere if you canít fight them off then you will be cut down, even if you survive you will be taken and either put into slavery or killed for sport, and thatís if you are a man. If you are a woman or child, itís usually better to just put a bullet in your own head than be taken alive by the Shiv. And the Raffen arenít even the only ones who will attack you: Corporate truckers who think you are in their way, or think you are after their cargo, Hi-Way who think you are Raffen, and the rare rural townsfolk who just think all nomads are trash.
4. CORPORATE TRUCKS ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS
They see you as competition at best, and at worst, as Raffen Shiv. Corporate convoys are well armed and armored. Their vehicles, equipment, and weapons are state of the art. Yes, most overland shipping is hired out to nomads, but for sensitive goods, (such as fuel, weapons, sometimes food and livestock, or new technologies) the corporations prefer their own crews. These crews are highly paid, but see every shipping gig contracted to Nomads as taking money out of their pockets. They will not stop to help you, they will not slow down if you are in their way, and they may very well open fire on you just for being on the same stretch of road they are.
Granted itís usually not all that bad, but conflicts do erupt, most often at Truck Stops. To this there have sprung up Corporate refueling stations. Nice well lit, well supplied, luxury refueling stations, with clean showers, fresh food, nice hotelsÖ these refueling stations are almost universally off-limits to nomads. A special pass card is required to open the gates just to get in, and armed guards patrol the lots and perimeter. Obtaining one of these pas cards is a high boon for a nomad truck, but even if a Nomad can get his hands on one (sometimes given by corporations who contract the nomads out), he is not going to be made welcome at one of these stops so he better refuel as fast as possible.
truck stops have
become much fewer and far between, and further you
get from a major
are. Some nomads, seeing the lucrative nature of
such a venture have
found older stations, and re-opened them on their
own, but such
dangerous. Anything open to nomads is going to
by necessity be
open to anyone,
and is quite often the backbone of an entire
community. As rural
so did itís support structure. Since most
Corporate agri-complex will also be equipped with
their own refueling
eliminating corporate support of most rural
5. KNOW YOUR SURROUNDINGS
A GPS is one of the most valuable tools a nomad can posses. Unfortunately, most GPS devices today are equipped for life on the roads of North America. Many roads no longer show up on GPS devices, even once extremely busy highways. Other times, roads that have long since become impassable show up clear as day. So outside of the cities and major interstates, a GPS is just not as useful as a nomad would like it to be. Experience and knowledge of these roads is beneficial but unless they are plied regularly, that knowledge can become obsolete quickly.
Even more important than the GPS, is a good radio. Every major Nomad Market has itís own broadcasting station, and there has been a major undertaking to re-appropriate abandoned transmitter towers across the US to allow communications between nomad stations nationwide. These nomad stations broadcast weather, closed roads, Raffen Shiv activity, and other important information. The information itself is usually called in directly from nomads on the road, and is considered to be one of the most reliable sources of such information to be found, so much so that even corporate trucks rely heavily on the broadcasts.
Of course all that will mean nothing if you donít know what you are doing in the first place. A nomad must be extremely vigilant of his surroundings at all times, he must know and understand the terrain. Is that ravine up ahead safe, or an ambush zone? Is the bridge you are crossing in danger of collapse?
He must know the locals, if the group stops in this small community are they going to be received amiably, or will they be hostile? She must be aware of the weather, is this storm going to trigger a flash flood, or a mudslide? Is it going to make the road ahead impassable?
They must be aware of all this and more. The possibility of attack is the least important reason why a good scout is such an essential member of a Nomad Family. They are your eyes and ears on the road ahead, they are the ones who plot the course and warn of potential dangers. Any family headman who ignores the advice of their scout is a fool not long for this world. Once on the road, the Scout is possibly the most important member of the group, they travel alone and are easy targets usually too far ahead of the group to count of backup in event of an attack.
6. KNOW YOUR VEHICLE
nomad vehicles look
like they are held together by bubblegum and fond
wishes, and perhaps
hand but their owner this image isnít far off.
A nomad vehicle is
of its driver, they
know the feel of the vehicle, and they know its
limitations and its capabilities. Their
vehicle is a nomadís
important tool. They eat, sleep, and work in
it. They know
when something is
wrong, and how long they can push it before it
breaks. A nomad
must spend at
least a month with his vehicle before he becomes
this attuned to it.
7. KNOW YOUR EQUIPMENT
Much like their vehicle, a nomads equipment is an extension of themselves. It comes as no surprise that most everything a nomad owns or uses is Unique, whether it be that is simply decorated or stripped to a nomads taste, or hand made from scratch. Some nomads carry only what they need, others waste nothing. Mostly it depends on the size of the vehicle they are traveling in, but most nomads usually look like refugees from a flea market or arts and crafts fair. A nomads gear in some ways is a measure of their commitment to the nomad way of life, and the more personalized their items, the more they will be respected. Standard rule of thumb is, except in very special circumstances, if something looks brand new and pristine, it isnít nomad. They donít advertise this, because the easiest way for a nomad to pick out an outsider is by their gear.
This philosophy extends to everything, from their weapons to their clothing. One of the only exceptions are tools. Tools are universal and always in demand, and quality tools will bring in high trade at the Market. From a simple hand tools to power tools, if you have them to trade, they can be worth their weight in gold.
8. KNOW WHO YOU ARE RIDING WITH
Whether you are traveling in a small group, or a large one, the people you are travelling with are for better or worse, your family. As mentioned earlier, there is safety in numbers, but that in and of itself can bring danger to you. Medical conditions that can effect performance, depravity, tendencies towards violenceÖ these are only some of the things you must be aware of. The new outrider may be death on wheels, but if he has a reputation for stealing or sleeping with other menís wives, these things could lead to major problems down the road. The new scout who has hired on may have an uncanny knack for finding shortcuts, but why was she the only member of her last group to make it back alive. No one needs to tell a Nomad to be paranoid of outsiders, but all to often I have seen a strong nomad family be ripped apart by one untrustworthy member. In the badlands, in territory infested with Raffen Shiv, just falling asleep on guard duty can get everyone in your family killed, so be sure you trust who you are riding with. Remember, family is sacred in the Nomad community, and if you arenít willing to fight, even die, for the people you are riding with, perhaps you should find someone else to ride with.
9. KNOW YOUR CARGO
You should always know exactly what it is you are transporting, especially if smuggling is one of your major sources of income, at minimum, you should always have at least an idea. Is it illegal? Is it explosive? Is it radioactive? Is it going to get out and eat youÖ if I get pulled over by law enforcement with it am I going to jail for a while or am I going to prison for life. These are things you should know. Of course sometimes the money is too good, and transporting something no questions asked is a necessity. In that case, all I can say is if you canít know your cargo, you damn well better know who you are working for.
10. WORD IS BOND
While subcontracting to a corporation might require signing a legal contract, inside the Nomad community there is no such thing. Among Nomads the only thing you have going for you is your Reputation, your Honor, and your Word. Donít make promises you canít keep. The nomad community may be vast, but word travels fast, and if you are someone who is known to be untrustworthy, then no one is going to ride with you, no one is going to hire you, and no one is going to back you up. If you canít be trusted, then you are for all intents and purposes, Raffen Shiv.
Written By Deric Bernier. Images from Deric Bernier, Mad Max, The Road Warrior, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Warriors
of the 21st Century, Spacehunter, Battletruck, No Escape, Dawn Of The Dead, Land Of The Dead, Stryker, Babylon AD,Exterminators of the Year 3000,
Damnation Alley, Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared Synn, Warriors of the Lost World, Transformers, Death Race 2000, Deathrace, Warhammer, Neon
City, Akira, Tank Girl, Dragon Staff, Final Fantasy, Tempus Fugitive, Dragon Chiang, Nausicaa, Porco Russo, Windaria, Red Skies, Waterworld, Ghost in the
Shell, GITS: Stand Alone Complex, GITS: Innocence, The Fifth Element, Ghostrider, The Postman, The New Barbarians, Back To The Future 2, Car Warriors,
GI Joe, Mad Police, Corvette Summer, Gunm, Mercenaries, Survivors, Chronicles of Riddick, Savage Tales, Fallout, Book of Eli, The Road, Atomic Highway,
Star Wars, Appleseed, Ride To Hell, Truck Battles, Buckaroo Banzai, Solar Babies, Spy Hunter, Genesis Climber Mospeada, Urban Warriors, Exterminators
3000, Burning Man, Urban Warriors, Cyberpunk 2020, Deadlands: Hell On Earth, Rifts, Gurps, Macho Women With Guns, Warlands, Metro 2033, Mekton,
Ratbike Zone, Tekken, Cyberspace, Road Warrior Weekend, Road War, Street Fighter, D20 Future, D20 Apocalypse, Road Avenger, Redline, Dark Future,
Doomsday, C.O.P.S., Dethkillers, A.P.B., Serenity, Firefly, Massive Black, Twilight 2000, The Lawless Land, Yo Tan, Dimitrys, Knightwatch, Horrified
Survivor, WarmGunMod, Aleksi, Salemburn, Avonius, Avalonfilth, Wildlifehoodoo, Skam4, Superhawkins, Nickykcin, Scruffyronin, Poibuts, Archipelo, Maria
William, Adonhis, A. Baldasseroni, Britnerfmogul, Udoncrew, Artbytheo, Luis Royo, Richard Daborn, Fuchsiart, El Pinoy, Chonastock, Joe Clucher,
Ghostronix, Psychofish, Polaris Pirate, Storm X, januszwyrzykowski, Brokenhill, Bokuman, The Vigil, Tariq12, Lazeedog, Idomuchris, Remichan,
TimurMutsaev, Joe Leder, Johan Bergstrom, and various other unknown films, anime, comics, artists, and car customizers.