Wednesday, April 29, 2015

CS: Civil Society

An indeterminate number of years ago... not as much as ten, but more than four (based on the age of the notebook)... I wrote a lot of notes about the civilian society of Rifts Coalition States. While we know a lot about their military machine, life as a civilian is not well described. So, I wrote a lot of notes, with the idea of writing a longer article, or even a book. Since I'm not planning on doing much more with Rifts, I thought I'd share what I have.

This is very rough; it's simply outline notes for work I was going to do later. Perhaps I'll expand it, one day.

A large portion of the CS population has military experience; it used to be about 40-60%, but post-Tolkien, its closer to 80%.

The CS economy is production based
-Most jobs are in manufacturing
-Many in mega-cities work in hydroponic gardens or service industries
-Salvage/recovery, medical and technical jobs frequently go to ex-military

Education & Childhood

-CS offers free prenatal care and screening, neonatal care, and free schooling.
-This is not pure altruism; scans for mutations, psionics, and so on.
-psychics are singled out early; they're not officially mistreated, but they are identified for future training and monitoring.
--There may be a variation on the Cell Reader powers from After the Bomb that the CS uses; I'm inclined to think its primarily technological.
-Early education is songs, games, and stories
--emphasizes the scariness of DBees and wizards, as well as loyalty to the CS
--Think stories like Hansel & Gretl or Little Red Riding Hood
-About 8 years old, education shifts to teamwork and problem solving
--Team sports, building and art projects, occasional supervised trips
--individual excellence still important in sports and games; games include combat sims & laser tagg games; many learn basic self-defense
-At about 16, formal driver's training & job training
--Begin trying careers suggested by aptitude tests
--All hear military recruiter's pitches, formally

-Early Education similar, but with books evident; Lowlies will use a screen, but Loftie school teachers will visibly read
-About 8, education for lofties becomes more academic, but not hugely; individual books are eschewed for screens. Still many teamwork & problem-solving exercises, team sports, art and building projects
--Individual team sports (track, tennis, etc.) popular; students regularly assessed for leadership potential and encouraged to develop it. Objectives in combat sims and laser tag more complex.
-At 16, heavy academic work and career selection. Formal CS history, American composition, Advanced Math, etc. Those unable to keep up are subtly pushed to periphery of classes.

-Children begin work early
--Learn Gardening/Animal Husbandry
--Gradually introduced to weapon & driving skills
--Fewer join the military than in cities; closer to 20-30%

Bonus skills (Except language, stuck at level 1 unless selected; then a free +5%)
-Language: American; 1 Domestic Skill; Athletics OR Running; Automoble OR Hovercraft: Ground OR Robot Combat: Basic; Art OR General Repair; WP E-Rifle OR WP E-Pistol

-Language: American; Literacy: American; Athletics, Aerobic Athletics, OR Running; Robot Combat: Basic; Computer Operation; WP E-Pistol

-Language: American; Gardening; Animal Husbandry; Physical Labor; Automobile OR Tracked/Construction Vehicles; WP Rifle OR WP Shotgun


Government by State

Arkansas: King Randall III, advised by various "nobles" (rich and powerful individuals)

Lone Star: Military governor hears petitions from settlement leaders. Settlement leaders often retired officers or NCOs, serve as executive and judicial officials of settlements, appointing others as they need. Older settlements elect or appoint a mayor, with the governor's approval.

Missouri: As Lone Star

Chi-Town: Mayors of Chi-town responsible for oversight of city and courts of a district. The governor of Chi-town is a separate job, and oversees the entire state; technically above the mayors, but seldom in practice.
Mayors and Governor selected by the Emperor; mayors are nominally advised by elected selectmen, though they are, in practice, free to ignore them. Governor is advised by local mayors (of non-Chi-town-proper settlements) who are elected from a list approved by him (preventing outright dissidents from being elected)

Iron Heart: Democratically elected representative assembly; 1 member per 1000 citizens, small villages combine to send 1 representative. Reps serve on juries for higher class citizens, or as judges for lower class citizens. Terms are set to 3 year, with no term limits. Very ineffective and easily swayed by emotions and politics; Chi-town representatives very persuasive and good at making compromises.

Internal Political Factions

Anti-CS (Arkansas): Some in El Dorado oppose unification with CS; work to undermine King or turn popular support against the CS

Free State Movement (Iowa): Want to separate from the state of Chi-Town; they believe the state governor doesn't pay attention to rural needs.

Democratic Movement (All states but Iron Heart): Want state governors (and King and Mayor, as appropriate) to be elected by the populace. Carefully not anti-Prosek, but frequently hides members of anti-Prosek movements in its ranks.

Anti-Mutant (All): Varying degrees of severity; Most are anti-Psi-hound, many are anti Psi-Stalker, some completely anti-psychic. Losing a lot of ground post-Tolkeen, still strong in Iron Heart.

Isolationists (All): Firm up borders, expel non-citizens, consolidate claimed lands and limit trade. Get most support on their "consolidate" platform, but politically influential.

Expansionists (All, especially Chi-Town): Rapid expansion by taking potential citizens from the Burbs and sticking them in wilderness communities as probationary citizens.

Eugenicists (All, especially Lone Star and Chi-Town): Want to encourage or mandate human improvement through breeding programs and minor genetic tweaking. Frequently clash with the anti-Mutant faction. Gain a lot of Lofty support, and are a frequent proponent of improved health care.

Anti-Michigan (Iron Heart): Fears diminution of Iron Heart if Northern Gun and Manistique Imperium continue to gain favor with Chi-Town.

Jayhawkers and Sooners (Missouri): Want to annex Kansas and Oklahoma, respectively. Obviously connected to Expansionists, though not all Jayhawkers or Sooners are broad Expansionists.

Literati (All, scattered): Support improving CS education to include basic literacy.

Bug-Killers (Iron Heart, Chi-Town): See Xiticix as greatest threat going; want all efforts directed towards them, even if it means temporary alliance with enemies.

Vanguard (All): Still maintain subtle influence, with various "cautious magic" groups under this grouping.

Free Media Coalition (All): Oppose government censorship; associated with rebel broadcasters, though not all endorse "illegal transmission". Doesn't necessarily want to overthrow government, just discuss ideas and inform the people.

Pro-German Faction (Chi-town): Supports expanding NDR alliance, trade, and cross-training.

Explorers (All): Want to send out groups to explore rest of the world and bring back knowledge and possible alliances.

Pro-Business (Chi-town, Iron Heart): Support loosening restriction and taxes on business, increase protection against nationalization of businesses.

CS Agriculture

Mix of private, communal & corporate farming
-Chi-town state sees most corporate farming
-Missouri is mostly communal, precorporate farming
-Arkansas is almost all private farming
-Iron Heart is mostly small, private, and limited

Food crops are genetically modified from Lone Star to be fast growing, hardy, with a large yield
-Corporate farms buy all farmers crops. They pay regular salaries, and use high-tech farming methods
-Communal farms sell portion of their crops to brokers or military, keep some for private use; often diversified in agribusiness
-Private farms sell to small markets or brokers, often self-sufficient
-Common crops are wheat, rice, soy, barley, corn, flax for linen, and cotton.
-Uncommon psychic power: Improve Growth. Has to be used daily, but increases crop yield.

MDC Tractors & Combines
-Most CS commercial tractors & combines are SDC with MDC exteriors & frames; cheaper to manufacture & easier to maintain.
-Usually diesel/electric hybrids; nuclear systems aren't economical.
-No integral weapons, though all have firmpoints to allow for easier defense; +1 to strike, or +2 to strike for burst as recoil is minimized
-Light tractors usually have max speed of 45mph, range of 250miles. Main Body MDC is 60, with 400 SDC (internal workings). Tires are usually MDC; 3 MDC for two front towers, 6 MDC for two rear tires.
-Large Tractors and combines have a max speed of 30mph, range of 250 miles; Main Body MDC is 100, with 700 SDC; Tires are MDC, 6 for the 2 front, 15 for the 2 rear.

CS Ranching and Animal Husbandry
-Limited fish stocks; some small lake and river aquaculture, but few large sources available (most from Iron Heart)
-Most animals genetically modified or GM hybrids; cattle, pork, chicken and sheep.
-Missouri Hill Dog is common for herding; descendants of Pre-Rifts geneengineered work dogs. Similar to After the Bomb Bounders - intelligent, but not human smart. Human-sized but dog-shaped, with psychic power (animal psychics) and dog boy sensitivities. They can do MD to supernatural and creatures of magic with a bite
-Some limited factory farming of pork and chicken, most free range, lots done in Lone Star and Chi-town.


CS Expansion

New CS communities frequently founded by retiring officers or NCOs
-Receive government charter, can get low interest loans, permission to buy surplus CS equipment
-Frequent settlers are new citizens, term-expired soldiers, and provincials looking for new and larger tracts of land. CS offers inducements to those who will settle the wilderness
-NCOs and officers get limited number of licenses for CS gear, supplement with NG Gladius & Chipwell Challenger armor
-Private companies are available to build earthworks & prefab houses; transport to site, clear and build, and leave for a fee. Site must be secure for them to work.
-Constant tension on settler; the CS wants to expand, but most potential citizens want to live in the mega-cities for safety, not a wilderness community that may one day be safe.
-Many who settle are mildly disaffected or already frontier folk; not outright dissidents, but people who want more independence than available in the fortress cities.

CS Resources

Metals are valuable and rare; most of the mining is in the Ozarks, both for metals and for stone & clay, which are used in MD ceramics

Texas still has oil and natural gas; Ft. Pinnacle and resources in Arkansas exploit the East Texas Oil Field, while Lone Star explores West Texas. Robotic mining a major aspect.

Many, especially ex-soldiers, involved in salvage and recovery operations. Big Bertha & support travels to battlefields to cut up damaged bots & power armor for recycling.
-Sell scrap and components at auction; military is a major purchaser
-other missions go to old cities, dismantle buildings & other scrap, search for valuable discoveries. These missions will be monitored by a CS military specialist; any valuable data will be taken, with a "finder's fee" paid to the corporation.
-psychics and operators are valuable in this work

Jobs in Cities

Service industry
-Cooks, salespeople, housekeepers, janitors, delivieries, drivers, cosmetology, usw

-Consumer goods, military, industrial, needs of provincials, vehicles (CS corporations build and export some vehicles and consumer goods)

Professional Trades:
-Teaching (many teachers are illiterate, unless in Lofty schools)
-Medicine (most retired military, many from Tech Officer Corps)
-Business (most out of the Lofties, the rest come from military backgrounds)
-Craftsmen (many cater to providing "hand crafted" materials to Lofties; the middle class use manufactured replicas of such things)
-Skilled trades (electricians, mechanics, technicians, etc.; all are non-Union, as are all CS jobs)


CS Media

TV, Radio, Movies are all popular and locally produced.
CS Internet navigable by headjack, but all icons give audio cues when touched.

TV- Chi-Town center for most TV production, plus the official channels
-Each State has 1-5 local stations; most areas will only have 1 one station, but the fortress cities might have access to 4 or more)
-DVR is common, popular, and legal, especially in the boonies

Common TV Programs
-Children's shows: Puppets, cartoons, live action, a lot similar to lessons in school. Dramatizations of history. Evils of Magic and aliens, and the coolness of Dead Boys; think GI Joe: The Movie: inhuman creatures trying to make humans into monsters. Human dupes are helping them to gain personal power. Brave human soldiers stop them with teamwork and explosions.
-Sports: Baseball, football, soccer, basketball, hockey are all big; Juicer sports are gaining in popularity in CS markets, but Minitru is engaged in censoring parts of non-CS broadcasts of them.
-Crime Dramas; think Law and Order, but half the uniformed cops are psi-stalkers or psi-hounds. Most criminals are magicians, unregistered psychics, D-bees in disguise, or rogue scientists. Dog Boys and psi-stalkers gone bad are occasionally featured.
-Army Dramas: long recruiting videos, essentially. Very popular, but many Drill Instructors will mock recruits for them "You think you're in a studio up on level three? You're  real 'Dead Boy' now, and that stand and fire crap only happens on TV, Puke!"
-Soaps: rich people behaving badly. "Lofites" is a popular one, about several intertwined Lofty families and their business and personal dealings.
-Sitcoms: Poor and Middle Class behaving badly. Military sitcoms, like MASH, happen, but more often involve garrison soldiers who succeed despite their kookiness... think Hogan's Heroes.
-News: Local stations produce own under orders from Minitru, plus distribute CS News
-Gardening & Decorating: common in cities on alt channels; local stations use as filler during the day when most adults are working.
-Instructional: Demon and Monster ID, signs of traitors, farming techniques, CS History, recognizing psychic offspring (which has gotten less hysterical, more informative over the years), practical repair. These shows are common in the provinces.
-Game Shows: Quiz shows aren't popular. Tend more towards "normal people in physical challenges" for money and prizes, similar to "Most Extreme Elimination Challenge". There's some market for a semi-pro version of this, like "American Ninja Warrior", using CS troops or enhanced soldiers (crazies and juicers), sometimes with exhibitions by psi-hounds or psi-stalkers, or pitting normal CS troops against enhanced soldiers and mutants.
-Frontier shows: mix of contemporary drama and historical propaganda. Not as popular in the provinces; more of an indulgence for people who live in the cities.

Individual Stations decide what to run, again within Minitru limits (i.e. must run certain bulletins, only approved shows, etc.). When multiple stations are in a market, they don't compete, instead specializing; one will do children's shows, one news, one sports, even running the same shows, but at different times for different audiences.

CS Radio
Most areas have 3-5 radio stations; one is always news and weather. Other popular genres are folk/country, electronic/dance, classical, and pop music.
-Hard rock, metal, and rap get no airplay on official stations, but the music is not officially banned by genre; some indie stations will carry it, usually in "Headbanger's Ball"-style blocs of programming. Music still must meet Minitru guidelines.

CS Movies
CS produces ~50 feature movies a year; average about 1 per week.
-Produced by private companies, though the government is frequently a large investor
-All movies comply with Minitru propaganda guidelines, though some may be less overt.
-CS Movies have great special effects where needed
-Many movies are sold outside the CS or available in provincial movie houses; CS doesn't disapprove, since this reinforces their propaganda. Despite CS slant, the movies are popular across the continent

CS Internet
Only available in big cities, and usually city-specific; limited inter-city connectivity
Interface is icon-driven; all icons give auditory cues when highlighted, and can produce more information if selected.
Most content is news and information, combined with approved entertainment. Very tightly controlled.

CS Telecom
Land lines are paid service in big city; corporation run, using mostly ex-CS Techs
Cell phones are easy to get, but require a cheap and easy license; coverage can be spotty in the burbs
Some smaller towns have Land Lines, but most use cell phones; few require licenses for that. Some cities use radio only.


New Skills
-Nuclear Mechanics: Skill in working on nuclear power plants and safety precautions. Mechanical Skill, requires NBC Warfare and Basic Electronics.
-Nuclear Engineering: Skill in design of nuclear system. Allows for modifications of existing systems to put in new devices (i.e. transferring a power plant from one manufacturer's power armor to another's). Mechanical or Electrical skill, requires NBC Warfare, Electrical Engineer, Mechanical Engineer.
-CS Politics and Propaganda: Knowledge of political and bureaucratic systems of the CS, and general ability to assess CS reaction to item or act (and how to spin things so they're more positively or negatively received). Military, Espionage, or Technical.


Common CS Settlements, using the Rifts Adventure Guide
A. Weapons and Armor 30pts
B. Medicine: 4-10pts
C. Agriculture: 10-30 pts.
D. Real Estate: 5-40 pts.
E. Vehicles and Fuel: 12 to 35 pts
F. Administration: 10-15 pts.
G. Alignment: At least a rating 3.
H. Magic: 0-3 points.
I. Race: 0-1 points
J. Trade: 5-30 points
K. Threats: 0-30 pts
L: Skills and Profs: ?
M Overall 5-10pts
N. Shelter: 7-18 pts
O. Security: 12-20 pts
P: Power: 12-35 pts
Q. Special ? often 33, due to Alliance with CS, Comm Gear, Maps

Total 148-343

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