|Henry Wainwright Towers|
|Notable events:||Numerous changes of ownership|
|Current status:||Raider Haven|
- "A blight on the city"
- ―Seth Huchinson
Previously a housing project, the Henry Wainwright Towers are now one of the most dangerous places in the Detroit Wasteland. The home of the powerful Scrap Dogs raider gang, the towers serve as their base of operations.
Built before the great war as a model community, the Henry Wainwright towers fell from grace long before that conflict. Economic changes, especially those driven by the deprivations of the Resource Wars and related shortages, saw living conditions within the towers spiral. By the last days before the war, the towers were run-down with utilities often broken down or cut off, constant power shortages, non-functional elevators and even structural decay. All but abandoned by those who were supposed to be managing them, the towers instead became warrens of drugs and gang violence, home to the most desperate and those without other options.
While the towers were not damaged in the Great War, the collapse of society within Detroit was enough to finish them off. With no power, food or water, those inside the towers either fled, or hoarded what they could and barricaded themselves inside the structures, hoping to ride out what was to come. Ultimately, these plans were unsuccessful, as the combination of fallout, nuclear winter and the radiation storms blowing in from Windsor finished off those that remained. Added to that was the hazards of those others remaining in the buildings, who quickly turned on each other in order to say alive.
Like most of Detroit, the towers remained abandoned for decades before human life returned to the city. Even then, the towers were initially bypassed by those looking for homes within the ruins. Not only were they visibly in poor condition, but they also proved to be a nest of feral ghouls, the last remnants of their former inhabitants. As other settlements grew, the towers were deliberately avoided, seen as being too dangerous and not worth the effort of clearing out.
As the city’s population grew, however, a changing situation did drive humans towards the Henry Wainwright Towers. The rise of organised settlements and trading, as well as a period of sustained population growth (both naturally and also through immigration from rural regions of the state) also saw an increase in raider activity. Those Raiders needed places to take shelter from the elements, as well as to hole up and fortify against retaliation or efforts to end their attacks.
In 2158, a group of raiders under the control of Kletus Brock made a move to take the towers for their own. The Henry Wainwright towers were seen as an ideal location for a raider base. Their sheer size would provide ample living space, while their limited access would make them highly defensible. The roofs of the towers would be ideal sites for lookout points. Finally, their location relatively close to Park Lane would give the raiders access to easy targets. Moving in force, Brock’s men took the towers, eliminating the feral ghouls inside of them and bringing them firmly under their control.
After doing some minimal work to make the towers more inhabitable (as well as stringing up ghoul corpses from the building’s sides to make a point), Brock’s raiders began using them as a base of operations. For the next three years, Brock was the bane of Park Lane and its traders, staging attacks and then fading back to their secure hideout. Brock also used this opportunity to strike at other raiders, using his muscle to bring them under his control.
Finally, in 2162, the people of Park Lane took action against Brock, and hired a team of mercenaries to get rid of him and his gang. After a long and hard-fought battle, Brock was dead (and his body thrown off the top of one of the towers), as were many of his men. The survivors scattered, fleeing the towers. The menace had ended, and the people of Park Lane breathed a sigh of relief.
It lasted whole months.
Seeing an opportunity, another gang moved in, taking control of the now-empty towers and using them as their base of operations. From there, they staged raiding operations against Park Lane and other communities, trade caravans and other targets of opportunity, much as Brock had. These new raiders enjoyed several months of operating with impunity before Park Lane again took action against them, once more hiring mercenaries to drive them off. This time, the Raiders chose to retreat rather then stay and fight, and were able to preserve much of their numbers. After a break of a few weeks while the heat died down, they simply returned to the towers and raiding.
This process would repeat itself a number of times. Park Lane lacked the resources to permanently size the towers, as they lay well outside the community, and would require the establishment of a permanent supply line through one of the more dangerous parts of the city. Likewise, hiring mercenaries to permanently garrison the towers was considered to be prohibitively expensive, as they would effectively need to permanently occupy the buildings to prevent raiders from returning. An attempt to destroy the buildings in 2177 backfired spectacularly; the supply column transporting explosives to the towers was intercepted by raiders, who made off with the cargo (and lead to the terrifying reign of would-be raider king Mad Bomber Bill).
Similarly, while the occupants of the towers were regularly cleaned out, either by paid mercenaries or even other raiders vying for a location, the Henry Wainwright Towers proved to be just too good a locale to pass up, due to their many desirable traits. The result was a self-perpetuating cycle where the towers would be occupied by a raider gang, who would use them as a base of operation. When their presence became too much to bear, Park Lane (or some other community) would send mercenaries in to clean them out, leaving the towers vacant for the next raider gang to come along.
The formation of the Black Skull Company actually served to deter the raiders based in the towers, but not through force of arms. The Company’s headquarters in the Grand Army of the Republic building was positioned between the Henry Wainwright Towers and Park Lane, effectively providing a buffer against raider attack. This served to turn their attacks away from Park Lane and towards other communities, reducing their threat to a degree.
In 2283, the towers were sized by the Scrap Dogs, a particularly large and well-organised raider gang. Rather then immediately turning on available targets and drawing attention to themselves, the Scrap Dogs instead went to work on fortifying the structures, building barricades and sealing off entrances in order to protect themselves against what they saw as the inevitable retaliation for their attacks. This preparation paid off, as after a few months of raids, Park Lane sent a group of mercenaries to take the raiders out. Instead, they were repulsed, falling back without inflicting significant damage on the raiders.
Subsequent efforts to mount a more determined offensive were thrown off by the Revolutionary War, which refocused the attention of many settlements towards the more immediate threat. The Henry Wainwright Towers themselves were not targeted, with the Revolutionaries deliberately giving them a wide berth to avoid unnecessary conflict. At the same time, the Scrap Dogs also deliberately avoided antagonising the Revolutionaries to prevent drawing down an attack upon themselves.
The Henry Wainwright Towers were constructed as a group of a half-dozen identical buildings, using a functional, bare-faced concrete design style. The goal of the buildings was to ensure simple functionality, and aesthetic issues were not a concern. The interior of the towers are divided up into near-identical apartments, originally intended for families. The apartments were built facing outwards, while the core of each building contained the elevator shafts and other utilities. In order to save on costs during the design and construction, the buildings were all built to the same design, with their orientation proving to be the only difference.
The ravages of time and neglect have taken their toll on the towers. Already run down before the war, the towers have suffered further decay over time. Three of them have partially collapsed, with their roofs and some sides fallen in to a tangle of rubble. The others are still standing, but are showing signs that they are less then structurally sound. In many cases, interior floors have collapsed in on each other, leaving giant, yawning holes between levels. Portions of the buildings are choked with debris, leaving them completely inaccessible. No intact windows remain, with some boarded up and others just left open as yawning holes. The buildings leak during the rain, and provide little protection from radiation storms.
In order to shore them up and make them at least somewhat inhabitable, the Raiders have made their own modifications to the buildings. Power exists in some isolated parts of them, fed by makeshift generators and often dangerously exposed wiring. Several jury-rigged lifts, both internal and external, provide some measure of access to the upper levels, even if unreliable. Use of makeshift floors and catwalks help bridge some of the interior holes, while makeshift scaffolding adorns the two ruined buildings. However, these solutions are only helping to make the buildings more inhabitable, and are doing little to prevent their decay.
Under the Scrap Dogs, the towers’ have been somewhat fortified. A number of entrances have been sealed off, while barricades have been erected on the inside in order to reduce access to the building and slow attackers. Guard posts and makeshift walls have been erected around the towers, providing an additional layer of defence against a would-be attacker.
The Henry Wainwright Towers are the domain of the Scrap Dogs raider gang, who have occupied them since 2283. A particularly large and well-organised gang, the Scrap Dogs are no less violent or greedy then their smaller brethren. Unlike other Raider Gangs, the Scrap Dogs have a well-established hierarchy and clear chain of command, which prevents infighting and giving them a greater focus. This does not make them any more ‘professional’ by any means, but rather gives the a better direction for their violence.
The Scrap Dogs take their name from their scavenging of scrap metal and other materials, and using it in whatever way they can. The gang includes several members with technical skills, allowing them to build their own weapons and armour from the junk they collect. They also are more adept then the usual raider at recognising the value of the material they collect, and how to best put it to use.
In recent years, the Scrap Dogs’ ranks have swelled with members of other gangs and deserters from the Army of Revolution left behind during the Revolutionary War. This has made them the largest gang in the Detroit Wasteland and, given how well they are presently dug in and the distractions facing other groups, they are unlikely to face any serious challenge soon.
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