|Establishment:||2279 (As the Foundry)|
|Notable Individuals:||The Forgemaster|
|Notable events:||Flint River War|
|Current status:||Active, inhabited factory/fortress|
Known before the Great War as Flint, Michigan, the Foundry is now the most powerful of the factions vying for control of the troubled Flint River region. Ruled by the heavy-handed Forgemaster and their army, the Foundry has bought a guarantee of peace and stability to its population, but at a heavy price. The Foundry portrays itself as a bastion of safety from the horrors of the outside world, offering comfort, food and shelter to its people in exchange for their service. This is supported by its role as a weapons manufacturer, where it trades firearms and armour for supplies, all the while fuelling the violence around it.
The Great War and aftermath
Prior to the Great War, Flint was a heavily industrialised city. A number of companies (Including Chryslus, General Atomics, RobCo and Wattz Electronics) had factories in the city, providing much of its employment. In order to maintain profitability in the face of growing resource shortages, many of them cut corners in a number of ways. For example, pollution control was often next to non-existent, leading to heavy air and water pollution in and around the city. Many of its citizens simply accepted this as the price for their relative stability in the face of growing economic and social unrest; after all, there was no point in complaining as long as you still had a job,
The Great War would change all this, as it did the rest of the world. While Flint was not struck directly, it was hit by fallout from a number of other attacks (Such as the missile that destroyed Windsor). With food already in short supply, the city quickly collapsed into chaos, with the surviving National Guard units trying to do their best to maintain order. As ash falls and nuclear winter rolled in, even that proved to be futile as authority within the city collapsed, accelerated by the contamination of the already polluted Flint River with radioactive runoff. Looting quickly became the order of the day as those remaining fought to get whatever they could to survive.
Most of the population was dead by the end of 2077 from violence, starvation, illness or radiation poisoning. A dwindling number of survivors clung to the city, using the bulk of the factories as shelters for as long as they could, hoping to ride out the painful 2077-2078 winter. Those that emerged in the aftermath found themselves bereft of supplies, while also faced with a new threat. Many of those left outside had been horribly mutated by the radiation, transformed into cannibalistic, feral ghouls that attacked the emergent survivors to feed off them.
The surviving population dwindled further as the remaining supplies dried up, especially clean water. Those that could leave did so, hoping to find better sources of food and water. By mid-2078, Flint was effectively deserted, save for the Ferals still lurking in the ruins and a few isolated holdouts.
Warlords of the 22nd Century
Human habitation returned to flint in 2115 when Morrison's Murderers, a raider band, entered the seemingly deserted town. Seeing an opportunity, their leader, Dennis Morrison, chose to occupy the Chryslus factory, claiming it for his gang. After clearing out the Feral Ghouls lurking inside, the Murderers took up residence, the factory's thick and still sound walls providing them with protection from the outside world, both natural threats and the gang's many enemies.
Putting down roots proved to be an opportunity for Morrison, allowing him to expand his gang while using the factory as their base of operations. Over the next two years, the Murderers grew in size as they began raiding other groups in the Flint River region, confident that their factory-fortress would protect them from retaliation. With no surviving military vehicles or aircraft in the area, his plan seemed sound. Any who wanted to come after them would have to contend no only with the natural defenses that the factory itself offered, but with the remaining Feral Ghouls in the city who lurked, waiting to prey on the unwary.
As the Marauders continued to be at the top of the regional food chain, their numbers grew as people flocked to what was seen as the winning side. Starting from 2119, members of the gang began to slowly, systematically clear out other parts of Flint, looking to expand their living space. While many Feral Ghouls were killed in these expeditions, others were displaced to seek food and refuge elsewhere, thus continuing the cycle. At the same time, others came to the city to live, despite its rulers. In many cases, life under the thumb of raiders was still seen as being preferable to a life outside.
Ultimately, it was Morrison's success that proved to be his downfall. In 2125, he was assassinated by Kenny "Red" Ryan, one of his lieutenants. Ryan sought to take control of the Murderers for himself. Instead, he touched off a power struggle within the gang that saw it tear itself apart over the course of several months. Others sought to take advantage of the chaos, either to claim what resources the raiders had hoarded, or to take revenge for past injustices. In early 2127, Kenny Ryan was driven out of the Chryslus factory by Hendrick Oberon and his 'Elite Guard' (Another raider faction), who crowned himself the King of Flint.
Morrison's period as the ruler of Flint had the effect of kickstarting what would eventually become the institutionalised cycle of violence within the Flint River region. His raiders would prey on those outside the city, taking what they wanted and leaving their victims with nothing while struggling to survive. They, in turn, would be forced to prey on others in order to stay alive, and so on. This cycle would continue unabated; even if the players in the conflicts changed, the war would continue. This was especially true within Flint itself, as the ownership of the city would often change hands from one despot to another, usually in an orgy of violence that would spill over into the lives of its population.
The reforging of Flint
Flint, like the rest of the Flint River region, remained locked into this cycle for the next century and a half. The city would pass from the hands of one warlord to another, with each new arrival attacking the other groups in the region to support their reign. In the meantime, the lives of those around them were little more than abject misery, having to scrounge for whatever scraps their overlords could be bothered to give them.
And yet, at the same time, the city offered a degree of shelter to its population, with its structures protecting them from the elements as well as various creatures that inhabited the wastes. While life in Flint was far from easy, few were willing to risk leaving for an uncertain future outside.
Matters came to a head in 2279 during the reign of Mad Mabel, the Ghoul Queen. Utterly depraved and with a taste for human flesh, Mabel’s reign was marked by its exceptional cruelty and the horrors inflicted upon the population. Yet few dared to rise up against her, fearing not only for their own lives, but what would happen if she was overthrown. While removing this menace would end her terrors, it would also make the city vulnerable to attack.
An unexpected arrival turned the situation around. A group of travelers simply walked into Flint, their leader declaring their intent to take control of the city. While this sort of thing was far from unheard of, what made this so different was the people involved. They were clearly not form the Flint River region, being well-armed, well-fed and not as obviously diseased or desperate. Added to that, their leader was clad in a suit of battered but still operational T-51b Power Armour. Calling themselves the Forgemaster, this individual claimed that they were here to end the cycle of violence and repair the city.
While no immediate response came from Mad Mabel herself, the inhabitants of Flint could not help but be drawn to this group. The hope of removing their insane overlord was enough to encourage many of them, especially given the presence of a Power Armour suit, a weapon that none of Mabel’s followers could even hope to match. Within an hour, a large crowd had gathered behind the newcomers as the word of their plans spread.
The makeshift mob reached the Chryslus factory that Mad Mabel used as her throne, with the Forgemaster deliberately calling her out. Whether out of some desire to protect their honour or sheer insanity (Both being equally possible), Mad Mabel responded, emerging from the factory with her own posse at her back. Her response to the Forgemaster was blunt and direct; she welcomed the challenge, and added that she would enjoy killing and eating everyone involved.
The Forgemaster’s reply was to split Mabel’s skull.
A fight broke out as Mabel’s lieutenants tried to extract vengeance on their queen’s killer, but it became clear early on that this had been the Forgemaster’s plan all along. During the public display, several of their men had taken up position around the area, and opened fire on the pack of Ghouls. Within minutes, those present had been cut down, leaving the Forgemaster, their followers and their newfound supporters free to move on the factory itself.
An hour later, they had rooted out Mabel’s remaining supporters. Those that had survived were dragged out into the street and publicly executed. The Forgemaster declared themselves to be the new ruler of Flint. And, for the first time since the Great War, the response was cheers of joy.
Building the Foundry
Now that they controlled Flint and actually enjoyed something that resembled popular support, the Forgemaster launched their ambitious plan to rebuild the city and change the Flint River region. The first stage was to consolidate control, which meant pulling back from much of the ruins. Instead, the Forgemaster concentrated their forces and their followers into an area defined by several factory complexes, and centered on the Chryslus factory that had served as the lair of so many of the city’s rulers. This area would become known as the Foundry, and would be the basis for their vision for the city.
The city’s population had a lot of lingering resentment for the Ghoul population, even those that had nothing to do with Queen Mabel and her gang. The Forgemaster used this, creating an enemy in the eyes of their followers to focus their aggressions on. As the city was reorganized, its Ghoul population was purged, either killed or driven out. This move would result in the creation of an enemy in the form of the Ghoul Liberation Army, which only served to give the Forgemaster something else to focus the attention of the population of.
After taking control of the Foundry, the Forgemaster ordered the construction of walls to protect their new holdings. While over the last two centuries numerous improvised or partial walls had been constructed in the city, this was the first comprehensive attempt to fortify an entire section of it. At first, the walls were very much temporary, made from scrap metal, wood and whatever other materials they could use. However, these were progressively replaced with more solid defenses built from reclaimed concrete and steel. Several gates were added out of necessity, built to withstand attacks. Guard towers also added to the city’s defenses.
With the perimeter secured, the Forgemaster’s next stage was to put both the city and its people to use. Their initial core of followers had included several skilled engineers, who were tasked with restoring key infrastructure. Soon the city had power, which in turn allowed for the construction of a crude but effective water purification facility from a combination of repurposed salvage and newly-fabricated parts. This alleviated one of the city’s greatest problems, making it unique among the Flint River communities in that it now had access to fresh water.
By the first anniversary of the Forgemaster’s revolution in 2280, the Foundry had clean water, heating, housing for its population and walls to protect them from the outside world and its threats. And at each step of the process, the Forgemaster had emphasised how these achievements were the result of the hard work of its people, instilling in them a sense of pride in their accomplishments that served to boost their morale, while also ensuring their loyalty.
Now that the population had the benefits of clean water, power and secure homes, the Forgemaster began the next step of their reformation of the city. However, they still did not have a reliable source of food; while they had managed to start their own crops, it was still not enough to feed the city's population. While raiding of other communities was still able to supply the populace, it was far from a reliable source. Instead, the Forgemaster's plan was to trade for food.
At the same time, the Forgemaster sought to build a strong army to protect the city from those around it. Using their skilled engineers, they began conversion of several of the remaining factories towards their new ends. The Chryslus plant was re-purposed to begin production of weapons, most notably hand-made clones of the pre-war Assault Rifles used by the Chinese Army. While crude and suffering from dubious quality control, these automatic weapons were still powerful and dangerous, and more effective then the scratch-built pipe weapons often used by raiders and other wastelanders. The materials for these weapons came from reclaiming scrap metal that was melted and reforged at one of the city's steelworks that had been again reclaimed by the Forgemaster.
While many of these weapons were issued to the Foundry's army, more were sold on to whatever parties were interested in them. These were either sold for caps or bartered away for food, giving the Foundry the food supply that it so needed. Soon, the Foundry's weapons were being sold across the Michigan area, especially in the Detroit Wastelands. Of course, the Foundry also produced the 7.62mm ammunition used by these rifles, thus ensuring them a regular source of income. A deal struck with the Army of Revolution saw the Foundry become their chief supplier of weapons, exchanging finished rifles for scrap metal, food and other supplies.
The Flint River War
By 2284, the Foundry was the dominant power in the Flint River area, its power as unassailable as its walls. None of the groups in the area had the manpower, the technology or the firepower to defeat its defences and its armies. The Foundry held itself aloof from the rest of the conflict in the region, content to let the Ghouls, Raiders and Super Mutants of the region batter each other to death. The Forgemaster had no interest in conquering the polluted, war-torn area, but rather wanted to ensure its own security.
The arrival of the Exaxes Warband in the region upset this balance of power. While Decimator warband did not have the numbers to overcome the Foundry's defences, they did represent a powerful and well-equipped threat, especially given the augmentation of their forces with robots. While the Forgemaster did not see the Exaxes as an immediate threat, they still kept a wary eye on the raider band. However, they were not aware of the full extent of the Exaxes' plans.
Meeting with several groups in the Flint River region, including the Ghoul Liberation Army and the Wastors, the Exaxes had built up an alliance of groups and turn them into some sort of army. The Foundry was taken by surprise by this move, having not expected such an alliance to be possible given the conflicting agendas of all those involved. The initial battles in the Flint River War saw the Foundry's forces falling back, unready for both the strength of numbers and the presence of their robotic forces.
The Forgemaster did their best to rally their forces, reinforcing their front lines while also ensuring the security of their supply routes. Digging in, their forces managed to slow the Exaxes-lead advance, but not halting it entirely. While the Foundry's forces were well organised and reasonably well trained, as well as consistently armed, their opponents had the advantage of the sheer weight of numbers as well as the advanced weaponry and technology available to the Exaxes.
Biding their time, the Foundry continued to reinforce their front lines, which resulted in the advance bogging down into a bloody stalemate. The Foundry were able to continue to supply their armies while also having the advantage of the terrain. While the Foundry had not claimed all of Flint, they had also reinforced the ruins, building strongholds, watch towers and other defences. Now the Exaxes and their allies were crashing up against these defences, and were unable to penetrate them. Days turned into weeks and then months as the Foundry's forces stood their ground against the attacks.
In August of 2284, the Exaxes forced their allies into a new assault on the Foundry, desperate to break through the stalemate. At first, the Foundry's forces appeared to fall back, seemingly routed. Excitedly, the Exaxes and their allies surged forward, seeing victory within their grasp. The truth proved to be anything but. Lead by the Ghoul Liberation Army and their other allies, the Exaxes surged and drove straight at the Forge itself. Feeling that victory was at hand, their charge instead ran straight into a trap laid by the Forge's armies and personally lead by the Forgemaster. Pinned down on three sides, their formations lost coherence and degenerated into chaos as those present tried to flee the slaughter.
In January of 2287, the Foundry’s poor environmental conditions finally began to catch up with its population and leadership. A mutated flu-like virus broke out amongst its population, aggravated by their densely packed living conditions, their poor environment and the chronic respiratory problems caused by the heavily polluted atmosphere. In short order it spread across the population, leaving vast swathes of their workers incapacitated and in some cases, dead.
Realising that they could not fight this problem on their own, the Forgemaster turned to their allies in the Army of Revolution for aid. The Forgemaster knew that the Army had control of considerable drug manufacturing facilities in Baggie High, and offered to trade weapons for the medicine that they needed to protect their people. Seeing an opportunity, Colonel Martin Kruger chose to use this situation as leverage over his ally to get what he wanted. Over the protestations of ambassador Olivia Milton, he pushed up the asking prices for the medicines, making an incredibly one-sided offer that he knew that the Foundry would have no choice but to accept.
His decision would prove to have far-reaching consequences for all involved.
While the Forgemaster did reluctantly accept his deal (and made their displeasure at his conditions known), they kept a portion of the medicines for themselves. These were handed over to some of their inner circle for study and duplication in order to break their dependence on the Army of Revolution and end their one-sided deal. Olivia Milton discretely supported their efforts, albeit largely for their own reasons, managing to get intelligence out of Baggie High about the manufacturing process through her remaining allies.
However, the Foundry and its people were still not out of the woods yet. Many still died from the illness, while portions of the city were still quarantined. Production levels fell dramatically, with all their output going straight to the Army of Revolution in order to keep up their extortion-like payments for the vital medicines.
The destruction of Baggie High in February completely reversed the situation. All of a sudden, the Army of Revolution had been deprived of their leverage over the Foundry, as they could no longer supply the medicines that the Foundry needed. Furthermore, the Foundry’s labs were now producing their own medicines, albeit at a much slower rate than Baggie High had. The Forgemaster chose to renegotiate their deal, in effect punishing the Army of Revolution for their actions by imposing on them the same sort of jacked-up pricing that they had been subject to before.
Behind the scenes, the Forgemaster suspected the ambassador Milton was running her own agenda in both reporting the destruction of Baggie High and then endorsing the price hike. However, for the moment they chose not to act on it, instead letting Milton have her moment.
Instead, with their food supply now secure (Ironically aided by the loses caused by the outbreak), the Foundry chose to hold back a significant potion of its production, reducing the amount for export both to the Army of Revolution and other export clients. Instead, they began stockpiling weapons against the possibility of further conflict with the Exaxes Warband. However, one of the Forgemaster’s lieutenants, Bruno Sondheim, protested this move, claiming that the Exaxes were no longer a threat and that it would be more useful to support the Army of Revolution (A group that he had openly sympathised with) rather than punishing them. The Forgemaster stated that they would not change their mind, leaving Sondheim without any support.
Frustrated in his own efforts, Sondheim began to look for other opportunities to push his own agenda.
Ultimately Bruno Sondheim’s plans were undone by his own ambition. After capturing Kara Stinson, a mercenary sent to infiltrate the Foundry, he tried to use them to assassinate the Forgemaster and then take control of the inner circle. Instead, his (unwitting) agent was captured and quickly turned on him, exposing his plan. Sondheim invoked a little-used Foundry law that allowed him to confront his accuser in combat, a last line of refusal as it were. Instead he was killed by Stinson, who then was ‘claimed’ by the Forgemaster as their own personal property.
The next day, the Forgemaster presented Stinson to the Inner Circle, advocating her use as an agent to further their own agenda. They cited the Foundry’s relative isolationism and lack of contact with the rest of the world as a good reason, adding that the recent crisis that left them subject to the Army of Revolution’s blackmail could have possibly been avoided if they had other trading partners. Their proposal was both to mine Stinson for her knowledge of the Detroit Wasteland and also have her operate as a scout and spy for them. The Inner Circle agreed, many of which felt that their relationship with the Army of Revolution had become untenable.
Crisis and Opportunity
The sudden shift in power within the Army of Revolution caught the Foundry by surprise, especially given their declaration of Olivia Milton to be their legitimate leader. Wary of becoming involved with somebody else’s conflict, the Forgemaster kept their forces at bay, unwilling to intervene in the situation despite getting several requests from Colonel Kruger to do such (requests that were delivered to them personally, rather than going through ambassador Milton). At the same time, the Forgemaster also turned down requests to have Milton removed back to the Army of Revolution’s custody.
As the situation within the Army of Revolution continued to deteriorate, the Forgemaster and the Inner Circle formally cut off trade with the Army. With Scrap Iron City effectively no longer under the Army’s control, the flow of raw material that had been key to their trade agreement had ended. Almost immediately, they were approached by representatives of the pro-Milton faction who were offering food and raw materials (again from Scrap Iron City) in exchange for weapons. Again, the Forgemaster was reluctant to make any deals given how unstable the situation was, especially after the Foundry had been held hostage by Kruger.
However, the Forgmaster was not expecting what happened next. Mass desertions erupted among those Army of Revolution groups as the “legitimate” Army of Revolution leadership wanted to bring them to heel. Somehow the Pro-Milton groups were able to communicate enough to share information and coordinate their next move.
While a number of the deserters (Especially those who had been a part of the Park Lane garrison) had headed for Scrap Iron City in order to reinforce the rebels hold on the city, the bulk of them moved northward out of the central city. Instead, they descended en-masse on North Point Village, a ruined pre-war housing project that had been used as a waystation in the Army of Revolution’s dealings with the Foundry. The rebels quickly captured and disarmed the loyalist garrison there, turning the waystation into a rallying point.
Seeing an opportunity, the Forgmaster sent troops to North Point Village to help secure it while effectively warding off any potential retaliation by Kruger and his loyalist faction. The emergent leaders of the rebel faction were glad for the support, leading to further talks between the two groups, aided by Olivia Milton. The outcome was the establishment of a formal alliance between the Foundry and the rebel faction that would, in effect, fold the rebels into the Foundry’s army while placing them under Milton’s command.
Publicly, the Forgemaster welcomed the newcomers into the fold, stating that they shared a common dream of ‘protecting humanity’ and ‘rebuilding from the ashes’. Internally, Milton and he Forgemaster engaged in lengthy discussions over what to do next. Milton very much wanted to see Kruger removed from power, but also knew that such was not going to happen without military force. And while the Forgemaster was willing to support such a move, they first needed to get their own house in order. It just so happened that they now had the two weapons that would make it possible at hand.
Return to the Flint River
While the Exaxes Warband had been defeated during the Flint River war, the raider band still maintained a presence in the region. Their fortress at Machine’s Reach allowed them to project power across the region and still was home to a sizable number of troops and robots. While the Exaxes would never again threaten the Foundry directly, they could still disrupt operations across the region. While the Foundry could have driven them back, doing such would require a considerable investment in manpower that it could not afford to divert from other purposes.
Furthermore, the Foundry had previously lacked the manpower and resources to remove the Exaxes from Machine’s Reach. The structure was too heavily fortified, even if it was not fully walled like the Foundry. However, the combination of well dug-in soldiers, robots, turrets and the building’s own walls meant that any assault would likely be very costly. As a result, the Foundry had to simply tolerate the Exaxes’ presence and work around their disruptions.
Now, however, they had the chance to remove them, thanks to two new assets they had gained. The first was the rebel faction of the Army of Revolution, which added substantially to the Foundry’s manpower, and specifically to their armed forces. The bulk of the defectors were combatants, which allowed the Foundry to quickly beef up its numbers without drawing from its workforce and those involved in other support roles. Olivia Milton agreed to this use of their manpower, but only if she had control over how it would be employed; a condition that the Forgemaster agreed to.
The second asset was Kara Stinson, whom had already shown herself to be resourceful and adaptable in the face of adversity. If a conventional assault against Machine’s reach would be costly, then the Forgemaster had to look for alternatives. She tasked Stinson with recon of the fortress in order to fins any potential weaknesses that they could exploit. In order to “assist” her, and to ensure that she didn’t attempt to run off, Milton assigned Kyle Bleaker and a pair of rebel-faction troopers to her team.
Stinson’s efforts paid off to a spectacular degree. While the information she returned on the Exaxes’ presence in the region was vital for determining their numbers, positions and movements, it was what she discovered about Machine’s Reach that proved to be the most useful. More then just its defences and layout, she found a clearly forgotten, partially-submerged outflow pipe that actually served as a hidden entrance to the factory. While entering it would require wading through the muck and polluted water, it presented an opportunity to eliminate the facility without attacking it directly.
At the start of August, 2287 the Foundry launched its operation to ‘cleanse’ the Flint River. While they did deliberately target groups of scavengers or raiders in their operation, the primary target for their attentions was the Exaxes Warband forces still present in the region. Dislodging these forces turned into a series of oddly mismatched battles; while the Exaxes were generally a more cohesive force, and occasionally were supported by their robots, the Foundry possessed the weight of numbers.
Furthermore, there was a considerable difference in the morale between the two groups. The Foundry’s forces were energised, knowing that they were fighting for their “homeland” and to drive out the invaders. Conversely, the Exaxes force were the survivors of the Flint River War of three years prior, and had effectively been stranded there for the last three years as a token show of force. Few among the Exaxes were willing to die to help prop up this failed expedition, and as a result, their forces tended to retreat after only light losses, instead pulling back to the supposed safety of Machine’s Reach.
Seeing how fast the Exaxes were collapsing, the Forgemaster moved up their timetable for the operation. Stage two of the operation began when Stinson and a small force infiltrated Machine’s Reach through the outflow tunnel. Penetrating the facility with no opposition (it appeared that the Exaxes were completely unaware of the tunnel’s existence), the team set upon the Exaxes commanders within the facility in a targeted strike. The facility quickly degenerated into chaos as the Exaxes were trying to figure out where these attackers were coming from and what was going on.
While part of the team were dealing with the Exaxes’ leadership, Stinson deactivated the facility’s defences before climbing up to the roof to signal to friendly forces. A strike force, lead by the Forgemaster themselves, stormed the facility, laying into the Exaxes forces as they were desperately trying to recover and reclaim control of the situation. The fighting quickly degenerated into a series brutal, short-range firefight, but it became rapidly apparent that the Foundry held the upper hand.
Wounded in battle, Exaxes commander Kei Henderson called for a retreat, abandoning the facility. In doing such, the Exaxes abandoned not only their sole stronghold in the region, but also much of the supplies that they had been stockpiling over the years. More concerned with preserving what forces he had for the future, Henderson instead ordered his men to rendezvous at one of their remote outposts west of the river. In the long term, this defeat was the first stage of their complete withdrawal from Michigan.
With their enemies in full retreat, the Foundry were left unquestionably victorious. However, for the Forgemaster, there was one unforeseen complication that affected their personal agenda. Kara Stinson had disappeared during the battle, apparently fleeing when she had the chance.
Despite Stinson’s desertion, the Forgemaster proceeded with their plans for expanding the Foundry’s reach. After two weeks of consolidating their gains in the Flint River (Mostly spent on driving back stray raiders, scavengers, Ghouls and Super Mutants) , the Foundry turned its eye towards the Detroit Wasteland. Their alliance with the pro-Milton rebel faction of the Army of Revolution gave them control over one settlement, Scrap Iron City, by proxy. However, its position was still considered to be tenuous, surrounded by the weakened but still capable Army of Revolution and their allies.
Seeing an opportunity, the Forgemaster put out feelers towards gathering more allies within the Detroit Wasteland. While there were those who were concerned about the Army of Revolution’s growing influence and presence, such as Grand Central and Chryslus Castle, few of them were willing to act against them for fear of retaliation or escalation of the situation. Instead, the two settlements had largely focused on their own protection and ensuring their security against further attacks. As unlikely as it seemed, neither was willing to risk becoming the next Park Lane.
Instead, the Forgemaster found interest from the Black Skull Company. Having formerly been on the frontlines against the Army of Revolution and responsible for their defeat during the Revolutionary War, Black Skull Company had been priority targets for the Revolutionaries in their campaign. The mercenary group had suffered substantial losses in a failed attempt to drive the Revolutionaries out of Park Lane, and then taken even more when they lost their headquarters in a retaliatory attack. While they had taken refuge in Grand Central, the Black Skulls sought to retake their home and punish the Revolutionaries for their actions.
Another group did emerge that were willing to support the Forgemaster. Some members of the Park Lane safety patrol had survived the conquest of their town and retreated to Grand Central. Along with the few surviving members of the city council and several others from Park Lane, they wanted to reclaim their home, and proved to be interested in the Foundry’s approaches. Alongside them were members of the Grand Central Police Department who felt that they could no longer stand by and let the Army of Revolution continue to hold the town.
There was one more group that the Forgemaster wanted on board, however. News had reached them of a mercenary group that had been engaging in a private guerrilla war against the Army of Revolution and their allies. Not just did this group represent a potential ally, but their analysis made it clear that Kara Stinson was among their ranks. Seeing an opportunity to both bolster their numbers as well as to regain Stinson’s services, the Forgemaster used their agents to find some form of leverage they could use against her while also tracking down her location.
Fortune smiled on the Forgemaster as they were able to find a source of information, as well as an ambassador of sorts to try and lure Stinson in. She had been a regular client of Pete Pettowski, a male prostitute from Park Lane who had remained when Revolutionaries took over the settlement, but now was acting as an informant. With a bit of persuasion, Pettowski was willing to deliver a message to Stinson with the offer of an alliance, accompanied by a veiled threat if she did not agree. The tactic worked, as she and her mercenary allies replied to say that they were willing to join.
Act of War
The alliance’s first target was the former headquarters of the Black Skull Company, known simply as The Castle. It was chosen as their objective for a number of reasons. The first was its location on the fringes of the Downtown region, which made it a prime staging ground for any future moves against Park Lane itself. This would give the newfound alliance the advantage of having bases of operation both to the north and south of the captured settlement.
The second was that it was being used as a base of operations for the Army of Revolution and their allies, Rawson’s Razors. From there, they had been able to stage raids on traders moving between Grand Central and other communities, while also serving as a potential threat to the settlement. By removing it from the equation, the Forgemaster hoped to win the favour of Grand Central while denying their enemies an asset.
Finally, retaking the Castle would serve as a symbolic gesture towards the Black Skull Company, allowing them to reclaim their home and some of their lost pride. The Forgemaster’s hope was that this would ensure Black Skull’s loyalty going forwards in what could potentially be a lengthy conflict.
The alliance’s first move was to use pathfinders to establish a safe route towards the Castle. Besides the threat of the Army of Revolution and Rawson’s Razors, there were other matters that needed to be considered as well. The Castle lay on the fringes of the territory claimed by the Wrecking Crew raider gang who were normally very territorial and violent, as well as having a dangerously unpredictable leader. Avoiding contact with the gang as well as other hazards such as roaming Super Mutants, would be vital.
Instead, the pathfinders found that the Wrecking Crew were conspicuous in their absence. They made only fleeting contact with the gang, and even then found that they were lacking their usual aggressive bent. While there were many who were worried about a potential trap (especially given the prior silence of the Cake or Death raider gang, an ally of the Army of Revolution) the pathfinders were able to verify a clear path for their forces.
The attack on the Castle was a four-pronged assault, aimed at surrounding it while still leaving a gap to allow a potential enemy retreat. While it would allow the enemy to preserve some of their forces, it also would discouraging them from fighting to the death, leading to greater allied losses then would be needed. The attacks were spearheaded by a quartet of Power Armoured soldiers, including the Forgemaster themselves, who acted as a sledgehammer to smash through Rawson’s defences.
Once inside, the Allied forces spread out to quickly secure as much of the building as they could. While the Razors were well dug in, the attackers had the advantage of sheer weight of numbers as well as better equipped troops. Wounded in the battle, Rawson ordered a retreat from the castle, taking with him the ragged remnants of his forces. By the end of the day, the alliance had secured the Castle, with Black Skull Company’s flag once again flying over it.
While the operation was a success, there would be one wrinkle in it that would have massive implications for the future. After the battle, the Forgemaster took Kara Stinson aside, reiterating their desire for her to take their place as the leader of the Foundry. When Stinson refused, the Forgemaster directly threatened her home in Vault 54. Rather then forcing compliance, however this then escalated to a fight between the pair of them.
Initially, the Forgemaster held the advantage; while their T-51b suit was inferior to Stinson’s T-60b, they had the advantage of better training and years of experience. Realising her mistake, Stinson tried to disengage and make a break for it. The Forgemaster attempted to follow, only to be struck down by a sight unseen sniper, allowing Stinson to escape.
However, the Foundry did not remain leaderless for long. Once Stinson had departed, a small team lead by Olivia Milton arrived on the scene. Claiming the Power Armour for her own (after removing Lisa Callhoun’s body), she simply assumed the Forgemaster identity, returning to the Castle as if nothing had changed. The Foundry’s forces present either did not see any change in their leader, or if they did, chose not to acknowledge it for whatever reason.
Forging the future
The change from Callhoun to Milton went unnoticed by the Foundry’s leadership. For the rank and file, this was because of their acceptance of the Forgemaster as an identity without ever questioning who was in the suit. Instead, they saw the suit as being the personification of the Forgemaster, their liberator, protector and leader. As there were no obvious immediate differences, nobody had any reason to suspect that anything had changed at all.
The Inner Circle were another matter. Olivia Milton knew that sooner or later she would have to answer to them, as they were well aware of the Forgemaster’s true identity. For the moment, she had the advantage of distance; since she was leading the Foundry’s forces in the Detroit Wasteland it was not practical for her to return to the Foundry. However, this was still only a temporary measure, and she knew it. A confrontation with the Inner Circle would be inevitable, and so Milton did what she could to prepare for it.
Knowing full well that her ability to maintain their support would depend on how effective she was, Milton began work on the next stage of her plan. No longer content with simply driving the Army of Revolution out of the Detroit Wasteland, she wanted to instead make the Foundry a permanent part of the city, giving it the balance of power over the other communities. Bringing the rebels into the fold as a part of the Forgemaster’s army was the first stage in that plan, creating a groundswell of support that would be loyal to her first and the Inner Circle second.
The second stage would be the elimination of the Army of Revolution, and with it, the installing of the Foundry as the city’s new preeminent power. Having captured the Castle from the Army of Revolution, Milton looked towards eliminating their last remaining major stronghold within the Detroit Wasteland proper. To this end, she began marshalling her forces and planning for an attack on Park Lane.
While the victory at the Castle had been one-sided and decisive, she knew that Park Lane would be a much greater challenge. The Army of Revolution had concentrated their forces there, including their raider and mercenary allies. Those in charge of the Army would do whatever they could to hold on to the community, which meant that their forces would likely fight to the death rather then risk capture of the inevitable consequences of retreat. Finally, simple geography was against her. Park Lane was a far bigger target then the Castle, and was densely packed with buildings. Any assault would likely end up turning into a bloody house to house and even room to room fight.
However, there were also several advantages that her forces possessed. First was their cadre of skilled, experienced soldiers from the Black Skull Company who had ample reason to want to see Park Lane go free. Far more capable then the average Revolutionary soldier or Raider, they possessed skills, equipment and knowledge that would be vital to taking the town. The second was the force of Park Lane Safety Patrol survivors that had joined their alliance. While lacking the skills and equipment of the Black Skulls, their determination to free their hometown gave them a ferocity and drive that could not be matched.
The Alliance possessed another group of skilled soldiers, albeit one that was both smaller and suddenly less reliable then the others. Xiphos Company were another mercenary unit within their ranks (Even if Milton had some doubts as to their actual origin), although their loyalty was complicated by Kara Stinson being a part of their group. After what had happened between her and Callhoun, Milton knew that they would be reluctant to follow the Forgemaster’s lead.
In order to reclaim that lost loyalty, she took a straightforward approach. Milton, acting as the Forgemaster, simply walked into their encampment, wearing their Power Armour but not carrying any weapons. She offered a forthright, straight-out apology to Stinson for her prior behaviour, saying that it was inexcusable and that they had learned their lessons from their mistakes. They added that they rescinded their offer, feeling that it was obvious that Kara had no interest in leading the Foundry and that it was a mistake to try and force the role on to her. For her part, Stinson was clearly thrown off by this unexpected act, and readily accepted the apology. At the same time, Kirsten Farris, their leader, agreed to support the Forgemaster in their forthcoming plans.
Now, for the Forgemaster all the pieces were in place. They were ready to forge the future they wanted.
With their forces rearmed and their loyalties reassured, the Forgemaster made their move. In early October, they began the first stages in their operation to liberate Park Lane. As with the Castle, scouts were sent out to explore the region around the community and the path to it in order to ensure that it was as clear and safe as possible. What they found was unexpected; as with the approach to the Castle, the Wrecking Crew gang were strangely quiet. Furthermore, the Cake or Death gang, known to be allies of the Army of Revolution were also seemingly absent. Not only were they not a part of the force protecting Park Lane, but they also seemed to be absent from their territories around it.
While the Forgemaster found this news to be disquieting, they did not suspect that it was a trap on the part of the Army of Revolution. Rather, they suspected that something was going on between the two gangs, who had a known, long-standing rivalry. Seeking to take advantage of it as best they could, the Forgemaster ordered their troops to decamp and prepare for their assault on Park Lane, feeling that the time was right to drive the Army of Revolution out.
As expected, the approach to Park Lane was mostly quiet. There was isolated contact with raiders, but this mainly came in the form of stray groups or opportunistic attacks. Certainly the mass forces of the Wrecking Crew that many had feared seemed to be absent, which many saw as odd given their territorial and often unpredictable leader. These incidents were easily dealt with, leaving the attacking force nearly unharmed in their approach.
The Foundry only encompasses a portion of pre-war Flint, a deliberate choice by the Forgemaster to make the best use of their available manpower. A section of the city, originally focused on heavy industry, was walled off and fortified and kept as the functional part of the city. The rest of it, mostly residential and commercial districts, was abandoned, the buildings stripped of anything of worth for use in the Foundry itself. Many of those buildings have begun to decay as they have been carved up for building materials.
Initially, the city walls were crude constructs built from scavenged materials; while useful at protecting against the smaller or less organized groups, they were only a temporary measure. Behind them, more permanent concrete and steel walls were constructed using materials scavenged from the rest of the city. These walls were supported by watch towers, as well as massive iron gates. As such, the Foundry resembles a medieval castle in many ways, a fortress against the outside world.
Inside the walls lie a number of factories, including those formerly used by Chryslus Motors, Wattz Electronics and RobCo. These factories have been overhauled, their salvageable machinery converted towards the Foundry’s own goals of manufacturing weapons and armour. Other buildings have been converted to support the population, acting as dormitories, mess halls, supply stores, schools and so on. The twin hearts of the Foundry, the ones that keep it alive, are a water purification facility constructed by their engineers, and a repaired Poseidon Energy power plant that provides electricity to run the machines.
The Flint River runs through the portion of the city claimed as the Foundry, dividing the community in half. The river itself is heavily polluted and unsafe for just about any human use, but also feeds the various factories and other industries. At the same time, waste water from the factories goes straight back into the river. The output of the purifiers is still limited, which means that clean water is still tightly rationed and rarely used for anything other than drinking.
Much like the water, the air over the city is heavily polluted thanks to its unrestricted industrial output, lack of safety concerns and the poor quality of the recycled and repurposed machinery. Much of the city is covered in grime and soot, and most of its population wear some form of mask or respirator, or even just simple cloth bandannas, when they go outside. Wind often carries the pollution over the region, adding to the misery of other Flint River settlements.
The Foundry is ruled as a dictatorship under the control of the Forgemaster. While they rule with the aid of their lieutenants who advice on policy, planning, strategy and so on, the Forgemaster has the final say in all matters. Their decisions are in turn enacted by their lieutenants, who handle much of the day-to-day running of the Foundry and its various industries and key infrastructure. They also are the only parties that regularly interact with outside powers in matters of trade.
All of the Foundry’s industries, including weapons and armour manufacture, scrap reclamation, water purification, power generation and so on are effectively owned and run by the government. Every citizen over the age of sixteen is employed in one of these industries, save for those who are either enlisted in the military or are unable to work due to injury or disability. In return for their work, the Forgemaster ensures that every citizen receives access to food, clean water and shelter, as well as education for their children.
Working conditions in the Foundry are poor, to say the least. The hours are long and the conditions are unhealthy, with worker safety often a second place to production quotas. However, the average worker is surprisingly content with his lot for several reasons. The first is that the Forgemaster has provided a measurable improvement in their quality of life; guaranteed food and clean water is a massive step up from fighting with ghouls and creatures for scraps. The second is the idea of safety; as long as the keep working, the workers of the city know that they will be protected from the outside world.
The third pillar is the steady diet of propaganda fed to the workers by the Foundry’s leadership. While the Forgemaster merely needs to point to what life is like in the Flint River region or remind them of the city’s past to underscore how much better off they are now, they also use positive reinforcement to improve morale. The average worker in the Forge knows that he is the one who has made this all happen, and that the peace and stability that they have in their lives are due to his efforts.
The Foundry is protected by the Forgemaster’s Army, a standing army raised from its citizens. Membership is usually handled on a volunteer basis, with would-be soldiers in effect trading the drudgery of factory work for the hazards of the battlefield. Leadership of the army, however, is handled by the Forgemaster’s original followers, with the supreme commander being the Forgemaster themselves. It is rare for a regular citizen to rise to a significant rank, but not entirely unheard of.
All would-be candidates undergo basic training and fitness tests to determine if they are able to serve without being a hindrance. Training primarily focuses on conditioning to be effective under battlefield conditions and marksmanship; while rather basic, it is still more formal and produces more polished soldiers then are found in the average raider group. Most importantly, members of that army are more directly trained to act as a group and support each other in the field, rather than as individuals like most Raiders tend to do.
Typically, the soldiers in the Forgemaster’s army are armed with Foundry-built rifles. While the quality of the weapons can vary, in general, each soldier is armed with a reasonably reliable automatic assault rifle. Some dedicated units are equipped with specific weapons for special purposes, such as sniper rifles or carbines. Despite the quality issues, these weapons are still a cut above the scratch-built pipe weapons that are typically used by the raiders that they face.
Policing is handled by the army. Crime is relatively rare in the Foundry, but it still does occur. Punishments are usually swift and on the spot. Lesser offences are typically punished through suspension of rations or extra unpaid work shifts. More serious offences are dealt with through forced labour. In such cases, the workers are forcibly separated from others and moved into particularly dangerous and unwanted jobs. These include scavenging for materials in the wastelands or cleaning out machinery at the end of shifts. In the most extreme cases, the offender may be exiled or simply executed on the spot.
In times of war or emergencies, the Forgemaster may draft recruits into the army for defense. Usually these are drawn from less vital areas of the city’s production, and rarely includes the skilled leadership of the Foundry’s various factories. Prisoners may also be transferred to penal units, but the battlefield life expectancy of these units is usually very short.
The population of the Foundry is entirely made up of humans. Flint’s Ghoul population were driven out during the uprising that lead to the creation of the Foundry, a result of depraved actions of the city’s former rulers. Those few Ghouls that remained were subjected to persecution, including lynchings before being officially declared unwanted by the Forgemaster. This was a part of their propaganda campaign, seeking to create an enemy that the Foundry’s populace could focus their hatred on while not noticing just how bad their lives actually were.
These actions would lead to the formation of the Ghoul Liberation Army, who in turn demonised the Foundry and its leadership as symbolic of human oppression of Ghouls. Eventually, this would lead to their joining forces with the Exaxes Warband during the Flint River war. Many of those that fought against the Foundry had once lived in Flint.
In theory, any human can become a citizen of the Foundry as long as they are willing to work and subject themselves to the Forgemaster’s rule. Those that do enter the city from outside are usually subject to a probationary period to see if they are fit to join the Foundry’s ranks. During this time, they perform relatively menial labour and are kept segregated from the rest of the population. Those that display useful skills or knowledge are usually accepted straight away.
Besides its human population, the Foundry has a small number of robots in the form of reconditioned pre-war Mister Handy and Protectron models. Salvage from the Flint River War has allowed the Foundry to repair several more robots, and there has been some talk of trading to further boost their numbers. The Foundry’s robots are treated as property of the facilities in which they work, and do not have any rights.
Even by the standards of the Foundry’s Inner Circle, the Forgemaster remains enigmatic. Like the rest of them, their past remains unknown, having simply appeared in the Flint River region after travelling westwards. Like the others, they are clearly a trained soldier with considerable combat experience. And, like the others, they never elucidate on their past, preferring to remain a mystery.
However, the Forgemaster adds to the questions about their origins due to their mode of attire. They have never been publicly seen outside their T-51b power armour, giving no actual idea of their appearance. Even their voice gives no clues, being heavily electronically distorted by the suit’s speakers. Similarly, there is no indications as to the origins of the suit itself. Its appearance betrays nothing beyond the fact that it is rusted and weathered, and that its right arm has been replaced at some point in the past.
In public, the Forgemaster has an imposing baring, and not just because of the sheer size of their Power Armour suit. Bold, forceful and outgoing, their force of personality and charisma has made them a hero to the people of the Foundry, and in turn allowed them to not only accept but openly embrace their situation and conditions. It is their hands that shaped the Foundry, and their will that gave it direction. In reply, their people never question their leader’s identity, knowing full well that they were the one who made the safety and security they currently enjoy possible.
One of the Forgemaster’s inner circle, Bruno Sondheim shared the same enigmatic origins as his leader and compatriots. Little can be said about him beyond his being of an obviously military bearing, and being somewhat scarred, clearly the result of injuries received in battle. Otherwise, like the rest of the inner circle, he was silent about his past, revealing nothing to the people he rules over. Unlike the Forgemaster, however, he was not a public face of the Foundry. Instead, he worked behind the scenes as an organiser, directing the workers and their efforts while also helping to oversee the settlement’s security.
Politically, Sondheim was somewhat opposed to the Forgemaster on a number of issues, key among them being engagement with the Army of Revolution. He advocated a stronger alliance, suggesting that the Army’s goals mirror their own. Rather than simply being trading partners, he felt the two should work together to create a human-dominated state within the Detroit Wasteland. While this stance is not openly popular, Bruno knew that there were others within the inner circle who agree with his ideas As such, he was looking for a way to circumvent the Forgemaster and redirect the Foundry towards his own goals.
Ultimately, Sondheim’s planning would come to nothing. He was undone by his schemes backfiring and the Forgemaster outmanoeuvring him, resulting in his death at the hands of one of his own agents. Furthermore, his efforts would result in a distancing of the Foundry from the Army of Revolution, which would have long-term consequences for the entire Detroit Wasteland.
In order to cement their trade alliance with the Foundry (and in the hope of turning it into something bigger), the Army of Revolution assigned a permanent ambassador to the city. Their task was to serve as a liaison to the Forgemaster and their aides, as well as to build relations while quietly gathering useful information about the Foundry and its people. The current ambassador is former Army of Revolution leader Olivia Milton, who was deposed following the end of the Revolutionary War. Her position as the ambassador is being used as a form of exile, placing her in a position where she is isolated from the rest of the army, while appeasing her remaining supporters and allies.
Despite the events that lead up to her assignment here, Milton has been entirely forthright in the execution of her duties, doing her utmost to support the Army and its goals. At the same time, she has attempted to integrate herself more with the people of the Foundry, and build up personal alliances with key members of its ruling party.
Following the schism within the Army of Revolution, Olivia Milton became the head of the "rebel" faction. She would use this faction to further her own agenda, strengthening her own alliance with the Foundry while severing all ties to the loyalist Army. This move would give the Forgemaster the manpower they needed to move directly on the Detroit Wasteland, an act that would have long-term consequences for all involved.
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