Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech : The Farscape Campaign
Cattle town of the District of Garcia
Gaucho is a small town on the wide Guajira Plains of The District of Garcia located approximately 36kms south of Ciudad Garcia. The town and municipality have preserved its colonial character, depending primarily on cattle raising for its primary income. The town itself has a population of nearly 2100, while the nearby villages add an additional 3200 to the local totals.
The Guajira Plains
Gaucho is located among the western foothills on the edge of the plains of Guajira. The central of five communities in the region, which is well-watered and has numerous creeks and the important Palomino River at its heart.
A tropically humid climate promotes a steady climate and rainfall throughout the year, though weather conditions can change quickly as storms boil over the Blue Mountains to sweep across the plains towards the coast. Flooding is a constant threat in the Palomino River, and has promoted wet rice plantations for its peasant farmers, but also leads to rampant jungle growth along unsettled areas.
Gaucho Cattle Herding
As expected, the Gaucho Ranchers’ Organization and the Serrate family dominate the local economy. This union has also improved the lot of most peasant farmers, giving them an assurance of good markets and protection.
According to tax receipts, 70% of the local population are small agricultural producers. They cultivate primarily rice, gloriosa, corn and fruit trees in an area of 260 hectares. They also cultivate citrus (orange and lemon) and cacao through only in very small, inefficient residential vegetable gardens. Very little local produce is grown for commercial export.
In Gaucho, livestock is mostly cattle raised for milk and beef. Some of the population has survived by shepherding goats. The production of grass for cattle suffers from the unpredictable local weather. The technological education and implementation is low as there is a lack of use of fertilizers (organic and chemical) and medical vaccinations to prevent diseases amongst cattle are nearly non-existent. This causes low production levels and thereby low income generation.
The Gaucho Ranch factory opened its doors in early-3026, serving primarily as a regional meat processing plant, and is currently developing a series of cooking sauces, specializing in BBQ mixes. As the only notable industry in the region, it has dominated the local specialized job market. The company is wholly owned by the Serrate family, funded through their own private investments.
The handcrafts elaborated among the town’s craftsmen are stone sculpture, figurines made out of pottery, straw hats with traditional patterns, fans, baskets, animal figures made with grass, religious relics, and labor tools made with bull horns.
Santa Barbara Church and Courts
Gaucho’s paradise attracts a low number of tourists even though the western landscape is exotic, there is vast biodiversity, and the plains are generally undeveloped. Gaucho is close to the mountain pass entrance of the Camino Muerto, which travels over into The District of Guaviare. Due, however to the local lack of industry, has never attracted a solid infrastructure. Native Terramatrix Indian tribes sometimes come to the town to exchange handcrafts for rare goods and resupply, and sometimes perform their rituals for visitors.
The central town square has a small park, a soccer field, and is popular as a draw for the entire region. The central church, Santa Barabara’s is Roman Catholic, but unaffiliated with the Order of Santa Rosa in * Landhold : Miguel. Each year there is a harvest festival, known as Santa Barbara’s Feast, in the town plaza, noted for its all-night feasting and live music. The annual cattle drives east to the coast tend to begin the following morning.
Numerous popular bars and taverns are located in town, providing live music and locally brewed liquors and beers. Though they tend to close early in the long evenings, most locals continue to celebrate at home.
The local soccer pitch is host a semi-professional soccer team,“El Banditos”. Funded by the Serrate family, the team does well regionally, though rarely makes the national play-offs. They are insanely popular among locals, with the players living in relative prosperity and fame, though most also have off-season hobbies/jobs to make ends meet.
As expected, the local area is serviced by Aquatech, who maintain a small, but vital, water purification facility on the northern edge of town. As there is no expected community growth, this facility is likely to remain sufficient for some time. Nonetheless, local water supplies tend to be concentrated on providing for the local cattle industry, occupying most of its production. Out-lying farms tend to be off the water network, and must resort to sub-standard practices. Disease is common. There is also no local sewage system, with only a third of local citizens having direct access. Lastly, flooding of local ground water tends to reduce its ability.
Electricity is supplied by Garcia Electrical Authority, routed through the hub in Ciudad Garcia, but lack of a local industry, and pressing needs elsewhere in the district for electrical generation development, namely in the mining area around Diablo Mines, lead to many individual farms being off the grid, and even some of those often suffer shortages.
Gaucho’s educational facilities are inadequate, teachers are poorly qualified. The community has two primary schools : the larger Institución Educativa Rural San Antonio, with 828 students and 26 teachers, and the smaller San Isidro Labrador, with 80 students and 4 teachers. The nearby villages of Divino Niño, La Sierrita and Promigas also have small primary schools, but the isolated community of Del Cesar does not, and buses its students to Gaucho. There is no local secondary school.
Education in the schools involves basic language skills (Spanish and some English), basic mathematics, local history and agricultural processes. Some exposure to “advanced” science (primarily water purification and food preservation) are provided, but is universally practical in application. The agricultural needs of the locals are self-taught through active work in the local family ranches and farms, which invariably leads to a lack of real education.
In Gaucho there is only one health center servicing approximately the 6000 local people. The center has a full-time doctor, a nurse, and a dentist. It is currently undergoing expansion to add child development and prenatal control, with doctors being recruited from outside the district. There are three pharmacies in town.
Gaucho has a local distributor for ComStar, providing communication services to most people’s personal coms devices over the national microwave tower network.
Although a couple repair shops can be found in town, only a single refueling depot operates under the Solaro Oil Company banner in town. It offers basic repair services, though anything really difficult must be referred to nearby Garrison, where there is access to a large force of technical expertise.
Mompox Ferry over the Rio Palomino
Rio Palomino main access road to Gaucho
The town’s main road is in poor shape and unpaved. The access roads to the town’s neighbors are in very bad condition, mostly dirt roads with limited access to traffic. There is a local ferry over the first cross of the Rio Palomino which is necessary in order to cross the river during the flood season.
There are very few vehicles available in the region, and most of travel in the region is via horseback, or horse-drawn rubber-wheeled cart. Motorcycles are becoming increasingly popular among the affluent, and tend to be imported off-world models. What few light transports exist are exclusively owned by the larger co-operatives, and the Serrate family.
Bulk transport of goods in the region is limited by the lack of real industrial development. What little bulk cargo reaches Gaucho does so through the Mercado Industrial Group, and its logistics division, MIL.
Expresos los Llanos coach
Expresos los Llanos : While there are a handful of Chiva Transport buses in the area, a locally developed bus line, “Expresos los Llanos”, operates a fleet of six (6) light transports, hauling passengers and light cargo throughout the local region, but is primarily a feeder service from the rural communities around Guacho, to connect with service from Whippet Transport Lines. Access to Ciudad Garcia and * Landhold : Garrison are provided by this larger parent company. The company is a subsidiary of Whippet.
Gaucho Prison Facility
Although not officially military, the Policia Federales maintains an office and force here, consisting of the 3rd Región de Policía Company (Gaucho), (20 paramilitary squads) equipped with four (4) Wheeled APCs, and numerous “Hellbender” Jeeps, that patrol the nearby region (mostly on horseback) to ensure the peace is maintained. Most of these men and women are locally recruited, and have an intense personal interest in maintaining the peace, and keeping the local area safe.
In addition, an old, isolated prison has been converted from its use by the former governor as a place for political prisoners, into an actual prison facility. It was deemed important enough to refurbish, and presently houses Citra Talugmai-Montenegro and her followers, who are under guard by a platoon of mercenary security troops hired solely for the task. Their future is being determined.
The nearby military base of * Landhold : Garrison, however, brings a great deal of stability to the region, and ensures the local town has little chance of being targeted for any sort of partisan activity. Also, the Gaucho Ranchers’ Organization maintains roughly two companies of militia under arms, who serve primarily as a means of keeping local banditry and cattle rustling in check. They are, however, very loyal to the Serrate family, and are effectively a small personal army backed by the loyalty of the locals.