|Establishment:||Late 22nd Century|
|Notable Individuals:||*Nicholas Busey
|Notable Events:||Founding, Several changes of government|
Even in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, there are places that are going to be especially bad. Arsetown is one such place. A settlement in the Detroit Wasteland, Arsetown is home to the poor, desperate, filthy, unwanted and those with nowhere else to go.
The origins of what would eventually become Arsetown lies with the resettlement of the Detroit Wasteland during the 2120s-2130s. As people began to return to the city, a number of settlements sprang up such as Park Lane or Chryslus Castle, becoming islands of civilization in the middle of a sea of chaos. However, there were also those who simply did not fit in to these communities for whatever reason. Many would become transients or drifters, struggling to survive on their own in a hostile city filled with raiders, dangerous creatures and the hazards of a fallen civilization.
At some point in the late 22nd century (no records exist as to when exactly) a group of transients took up residence in an abandoned Police Station on the northern side of the wasteland. Finding it to be not only structurally sound but also relatively warm and easily defensible, the group dug in and tried to make the station their home. The discovery of a cache of food in the basement gave them a decent supply to work from, further encouraging the group to put down roots.
Despite their best efforts to lie low and remain off the radar, news of this settlement did eventually get out. Over time, individuals and small groups began to gravitate towards the community, looking for shelter just as its impromptu founders were. While some effort was made to turn them away at first, the result was that the police station became surrounded by a sea of makeshift shelters as those who arrived refused to leave.
This situation was clearly unstable and couldn’t last. Fights between transients, both individuals and groups, were common as they squabbled for food or shelter. Their presence also attracted raiders, as well as scavenging and opportunistic creatures that the transients had little hope of defending against. All the while, the original occupants tried their best to hoard their resources for themselves, hoping that those outside would just give up and go home.
In the summer of 2193 a breakthrough occurred with the arrival of Bryan Greene, a particularly charismatic and well-read drifter who had been thrown out of Park Lane for rabble-rousing. Rather then squabbling with others, he acted as a mediator and tried to do his best to bring the people of the makeshift community together. Having managed to win over a substantial portion of the population, including the original police station inhabitants, Greene laid out his plan for the community. He wanted to build a synchronistic anarchist commune based on Marxist principles where all decisions would be made by the collective as a whole. There would be no individual property, and instead, all resources would be distributed according to need. Above all else, nobody would be in charge, and nobody would be able to lord over anyone else.
The plan worked, and for a week, there was a genuine movement to build a community. And then Greene was stabbed to death for a can of beans that he was trying to hide for himself.
Despite this setback, the seeds had been planted for something bigger. Coming together, the members of the community appointed a leader and began work on building something out of what they had. The first part of this was to build walls around their holdings so that they would be able to protect what little they had from the outside world, while also establishing a firm demarcation of their actual territory. Along the way, they managed to set up something that actually resembled a functioning government.
News of the growing settlement got out, leading to traders making contact with the community to see what it wanted and had to offer. Local legend has it that the first trader to set foot in the community considered the town to be ‘utter ass’, leading to its less then flattering name. Regardless, the town entered into the trading network of larger and more established communities, its people trading scavenged materials for food and other necessities.
While never overly prosperous, the town managed to hang on as it slowly grew. Raider attacks, rampaging creatures and hazards such as the weather, radiation storms and food shortages all took their toll, but out of a combination of obstinance, determination and having nowhere else to go, the community hung on and refused to give in. However, at the same time, it never prospered, and its people remained uniformly poor.
The first Arsetown knew of the Revolutionary war was when it was suddenly inundated by refugees fleeing from Baggie High. What passed for the town’s authorities managed to find out what was going on, which immediately painted a grim picture for them. With no real defenses beyond their wall, they would be easy prey for the Army of Revolution. At the same time, their position meant that they would likely be next in line to be attacked. Fearing the worst, the town sent runners to other communities, while also digging in for the inevitable.
However, the expected attack never came. The Army of Revolution simply considered Arsetown to be of little value, having nothing to offer but the land it sat on. While the town was considered to be in the territory they controlled, the army also made no effort to actually bring it to heel. They simply expected that the community would surrender or, at the very least, could be taken down once they dealt with higher priority targets. In return, the town did nothing overt to oppose the revolutionaries, instead quietly keeping to themselves. Under the table, they contributed what little wealth they could to the fund to hire the Black Skull Company.
Once the war was over, Arsetown had hoped to return to business as normal. Instead they found that the refugees from Baggie High were remaining in place, having nowhere else to go (and not really being welcome in any of the other communities). Furthermore, with the town’s coffers drained and a greater strain being placed on the population, the town has had to step up its scavenging operations in the wastes, which as lead to conflict with Revolutionary scouts and patrols. The result of which has been growing tensions within the town as its already basic living standards have fallen and shortages have become ever increasingly common.
Following the destruction of Baggie High in a chem and cow poo fuelled explosion and fire, much of the surviving population fled to Arsetown. While the quality of life in the settlement a well below even the rough conditions in Baggie High, they were still better than nothing or trying to make the long and perilous journey to any of the other settlements. Furthermore, for many of those involved, Arsetown offered them a chance to be free of the Army of Revolution, an opportunity that few were going to pass up.
This influx threatened to overwhelm Arsetown’s already precarious (nay, dubious) infrastructure as the new populace far outstripped any ability to house them. However, many of them were willing to help out in throwing up new shacks, shanties and hovels to house themselves. Added to this, a number of the newcomers bought with them useful skills, having been members of Baggie High’s chem mixing crews.
Mayor Busey immediately saw the benefits to having a group of chem cookers in a community full of hobos, and dedicated what resources he could to setting up a chem lab in one of the less combustible parts of town. This not only provided a regular source of chems to the people of Arsetown (and had the net benefit of making their lives at least seem less awful) but also providing the town with a viable export for the first time in its history. Soon, Arsetown was actually bringing in caps; ironically the result of the Army of Revolution’s actions.
Arsetown is built around a group of derelict commercial and residential buildings, centred on a pre-war police station. Many of the original buildings have fallen into disrepair of collapsed altogether, and been scavenged for materials. New housing has been constructed out of reclaimed materials, leading to the town being a mish-mash of shanties and lean-tos, built without any sense of planning or organisation. Even by wasteland standards, the town is filthy, covered in refuse, pools of stagnant standing water and the constant odour of alcohol, urine and desperation permeating everything. The town’s borders are defined by a series of walls, scratch-built from junk and debris reclaimed from the fallen buildings and surrounding areas.
The town’s appearance reflects its population. Universally poor and with little to their individual names, many of them are simply unwanted anywhere else and have no other place to go. Many families have been there for generations, caught in an endless cycle of poverty that few escape. The town’s authority is limited and its laws few, largely based around the premise that anything is acceptable as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else or the town as a whole. Arsetown has flopped through several different governmental models, but few of them have had any lasting effect.
Due to its conditions and ramshackle government, the town has no standing police or defence forces. Most of the time it is run on a policy of ‘everyone minds their own business and nobody gets hurt’. In the advent of a dispute there are various methods for resolving it, including involving the town’s mayor or the two parties simply fighting it out. Defence is largely a matter of people being willing to step up and fight for their community in a crisis. Most of the population are armed, but few have anything more sophisticated then makeshift pipe weapons or shotguns.
Nobody has ever tried to take a census of Arsetown, and few care what the actual population is. Best estimates suggest about three to four hundred, but this number fluctuates as new residents enter or succumb to the various hazards of a life on the edge. A substantial portion of the town’s population is made up of Ghouls, displaced from other communities or pushed out by the Army of Revolution’s advance.
Points of Interest
The original settlement that grew into Arsetown, the police station has been since converted into a multi-function facility that performs several roles for the community. It serves as a trading post and secure storage, and is usually the only part of the town that any traders will see (or want to see). It also is the home for several of the town’s best off residents; as small and uncomfortable as the cells are, they also are far safer, more secure, warmer and more weather-proof then anything else in the town.
Arsetown’s only tavern is incorporated into a partially rebuilt pre-war storefront that also serves as the proprietor’s home. The closest thing the town has to a social hub, the tavern provides cheap liquor to its undiscerning clientele. The bar serves an assortment of recovered pre-war drinks, as well as moonshine made from a still out the back. The latter has been described as utterly foul and tasting like Yao Gai piss, but also is cheap and thus readily affordable.
A 2217 social experiment during one of the town’s more socialist phases offered a model for potential conflict resolution. If two parties could not come to an agreement, then they would fight each other until one party yielded. Intended to encourage resolution by providing a theoretically unpalatable solution, instead the idea of punching somebody over a disagreement became popular. A ring was built for the purpose, and over time it has become home to regular bouts between inhabitants. Betting on the fights has become a huge business, and it is rumoured that members of other settlements attend and bet on the fights incognito.
The current mayor of Arsetown, in as far as the community has one, Nicholas Busey is a shambolic wreck of a man, bought low by a life of addiction to chems, alcohol and any number of other vices. What he was doing before he washed up in the community is unknown, and he refuses to speak about it. How he became the mayor is another mystery, but few seem to have any issues with the idea. His leadership is largely vague and consists mostly of letting people do whatever they want to do.
Busey lives in a derelict houseboat propped up on a vacant lot in the middle of the town. How it got there is another mystery.
The owner, proprietor and chief distiller of Wino’s Post, Stan Ferdberger has been a part of the community for years. Open, sympathetic and willing to listen to others, he’s seen as something of a pillar of the community, for what that’s worth in a dirty, hobo-filled hovel. All of this means that he has his finger on the community and knows what’s going on, who’s doing what and the latest in interesting discoveries in amongst the refuse and debris of the old world. All of which he is passing to the Army of Revolution to supplement his income.
The closest thing there is to law enforcement in Arsetown comes in the form of Robot Jones. An ancient Protectron, the robot is in poor condition and has been subjected to numerous makeshift repairs due to the community’s overall lack of technical knowledge and infrastructure. As such, it is often only at best semi-functional and is as shambolic and haphazard as the rest of the community.
Hat Trick Lemonade
Formerly the chief runner for Baggie High, Hat Trick Lemonade was one of those who fled the community as it burned and, in doing such, managed to escape from the Army of Revolution. Instead, he ended up with those that headed towards Arsetown, where he performed the vital duty of scouting ahead of the pack and finding a clear route for them, and thus preventing them from being attacked by raiders, dogs, deathclaws, Super Mutants and whatever else. Being a runner is a harsh job.
After the establishment of chem labs in Arsetown, Hat Trick Lemonade was essential in restabilising trade with potential clients, be they traders, legitimate dealers, raiders or whoever else. In short order, he has become an essential member of the Arsetown chem trade, and has managed to carve out a pretty decent life for himself on the profits. Or at least as nice a life as one can get in a post-apocalyptic wasteland filled with hobos.
|This has been written by DayteBayte. Please contact this user before editing this article.|