The Desert Rats
- The old world is gone forever. Old world nostalgia is wishful thinking and distracts from what is. The changed world is real and new and must be re-explored for new opportunities.
- Survival takes many forms, and no one can judge a person’s survival.
- Altruism is a luxury and there is no obligation to help another.
Andrew Taves and Kavor Hewitt
Laura Varys (“Alpha Rat”)
Guy Keller (“Beta Rat”)
Mady Burell (“Gamma Rat”)
Tail’s End settlement, old Arizona territory
Areas of Control:
Primary holdings are concentrated in outposts and settlements throughout the Southwest. Lesser presence and affiliated members have been reported as far west as old California and all the way east to the coastline. Many groups of Rats operate in a nomadic fashion, within lands where they are welcome or at least unopposed.
The Desert Rats are effectively in a state of war with the Freedom Fighters, with battles dating to the founding of both groups. The Rats consider the Freedom Fighters to be the “self-appointed guardians of a lost cause,” while internal Freedom Fighters documentation describes the Rats as marauders and barbarians.
Texas Star rangers and Patriot militiamen do not look kindly upon the Rats, either. Texas Star communities are by their nature tight knit and mistrustful of outsiders, so Rat tolerance of theft or even outright raiding is considered utterly abhorrent by the Texas Star leadership.
Patriots and Rats will always be subject to deep philosophical frictions, given their respective attitudes toward the Old World. Our library of skirmish reports confirm that these disagreements escalate to violence on a regular basis.
Of the continent’s major power blocs, the Confeds have the most room for agreement with the Desert Rats. They both operate from the assumption the old world as irretrievably lost and they both prize strength, although the structure of their societies take different forms in execution.
The Steppe Tribes and Rats share many similarities in their day-to-day actions despite different cultural touchstones. They both expend considerable resources towards exploration of, and adaptation to, the post-Fall environment.
“The Rat endures.”
“Where they starve, we prosper.”
“Every end is a beginning for something else.”
Desert Rats are entirely a product of the New World. Their greatest tie to the world before the Fall is their utter rejection of it. They lack formal education, but they make up for it with highly-effective, pragmatic training, particularly in the fields of wilderness survival and navigating hazardous environments.
The Desert Rats are bound by a strong oral tradition and should be viewed as a cultural movement as much as a structured organization. Reports confirm that they do cover more territory than any other faction, with a true coast-to-coast presence, but their relatively weak and primitive communication network means that central control is nominal to non-existent. Highly variable strategic attitudes among their very independent-minded leaders further strain the organization’s operational unity. Their interactions with outsiders can be quite unpredictable as a result, ranging from murder and theft to shrewdly dealt exchanges, and even unexpectedly benevolent frontier cooperation.
Desert Rats are unparalleled scavengers, explorers and scouts. Some Desert Rat cliques are established and respected traders or mediators. Others are accomplished craftsmen and skilled farmers or ranchers. It is also true that a number of Desert Rat troupes engage in caravan piracy, settlement raiding, and even outright cannibalism.
This prompts the following warning: DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE A DESERT RAT.
They could just as easily be a master assassin, an expert xenologist, or a brainless drunkard. They can draw from an extremely varied pool of personnel amongst their many different settlements. This unpredictability has proved to to be a liability to them as much as it has an asset, as it also means inadequate planning can doom their high-level endeavors to lack of skill or inappropriate temperament on the local level.