Second City Survival part 6: Post-Apocalyptic Gangs

Heroic Explorations: Developing Ancient History
Heroic Explorations: World War Wizard

The gangs of Chicago were uniquely situated to survive after the collapse of mainstream authority in the city. While their populations were no more spared the initial die-off than anyone else, they were more accustomed to the violence that followed, had organizational hierarchies to follow, had caches of weapon, and were psychologically prepared to take harsh steps when required. They acted swiftly to appropriate foodstuffs and supplies, which they used themselves and sold to what civilians could afford their prices.

Over the next decade the gangs largely let old conflicts rest as survival took priority, and the die-offs brought plenty of elbow room. Survivors flocked to the gangs to protection, either joining them outright, or providing labor in exchange for food, shelter, and safety.

Of course, the gangs were themselves no less susceptible to the technological and communication breakdowns than anyone else. Cut off from leadership at any level above the local, individual sets within a gang drifted apart until they owed one-another no more loyalty than they did their formal rivals.

In 2050

In 2050 Chicago is ruled by gangs, each claiming their own territory and the resources within, which more often than not includes salvage rights and the civilian population. In some cases these civilians are little more than slaves. In others they are valued members of the community.

Most of them are isolationist, focused on their survival and the survival of those under their protection, but they will cooperate in defense of the city against both suburban mutants and any of their number who threaten to destabilize the rest. Any inter-gang warfare is limited to the occasional raid for resources or to count coup, or retaliatory actions for these raids. Nobody can afford to fight a protracted war, at least not yet.

Gang Structure

While the gangs have developed in relative isolation for the last decade and a half, they did grow from the common Chicago street culture as of 2036. As such, there are a few generalities we can make.

  • Leader: Each gang has a strong leadership, either a single individual or multiple individuals who each control a different aspect of the gang’s activities. The nature of the leader (or leaders) bleeds into every other aspect of the gang.
  • Committee: Those members most trusted by the leader. They see to it that his orders are passed along and fulfilled. In some gangs they may have specific duties, like Warlord or Bookkeeper.
  • Foot Soldiers: Most gang members are rank and file. They do everything from tag territory to scavenge for goods and clash with rivals.
  • Associates: Non-gang members who live in a gang’s territory under their permission. Some of them may provide services for the gang with the hopes of eventually joining.

The Core Members of each gang are primarily made up of those who were in the gang before the collapse, and the few newer members who’ve managed to make a name for themselves since then. As such, most are now in their thirties, and most gang leaders are in their forties.

In 2036 many of the gangs were split along ethnic lines, but these matters are less important after the apocalypse. Those who survived were those willing to put their differences aside.


The old People and Folk alliances still exist, but by 2036 they’d become little more than nominal history, observed more often in the breach. By 2050 they’re thought of as archaic, simply because the gangs are too busy trying to survive to worry about serious war; at worst, the gangs raid one another. This could change either way in the future with new alliances built on the bones of the old, or the struggle for resources could intensify into more frequent clashes.

Selected Gangs in 2050s Chicago

Folk Gangs

  • Gangster Disciples
  • Satan Disciples
  • Imperial Gangsters
  • Spanish Cobras
  • Two Six
  • Insane Deuces

People Gangs

  • Latin Kings
  • Vice Lords
  • Black P-Stones
  • Four Corner Hustlers
  • Gaylords

Unaffiliated Gangs

  • Black Gangsters
  • Black Souls
  • Lynchmen Sercaun Gangsters
  • Molotov Mafia

Michael Coorlim

Michael Coorlim is a teller of strange stories for stranger people. He collects them, the oddballs. The mystics and fire-spinners, the sages and tricksters. He curates their tales, combines their elements and lets them rattle around inside his rock-tumbler skull until they gleam, then spills them loose onto the page for like-minded readers to enjoy.
Michael Coorlim

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