|Government Type:||Nomadic Tribes|
|Headquarters:||Scattered Across North American Continent|
|Population:||Unknown, estimated in the hundreds|
|Founded by:||American Special Forces and Canadian Survivalists|
|Goals:||Survival, gathering wealth via mercenary work|
|Allies:||New California Republic|
|Enemies:||Brotherhood of Steel, Caesar's Legion, Canadian Liberation Army, Great Khans, Stern's Raiders|
The Badlanders are a large tribe of raiders, nomads, and mercenaries hailing from the desolate tundra wastes of post-War Canada, descended from U.S. special forces and Canadian survivalists, these self-styled wasteland warriors have recently spread into the radioactive hell that was the continental U.S.
Well armed, organised, and remarkably adept survivalists, the Badlanders have made a name for themselves in the remains of the lower forty-eight. To the average wastelander, the term Badlander conjures images of mask-clad savages, riding atop slapdash motorcycles to pillage small settlements and eating the unfortunate dead. To those rare and lucky few who can consider themselves apart of a large post-war nation or have a residence in a heavily fortified settlement, they are curious bands of nomadic hunters and mercenaries, oath-bound to carry out their contracts to the letter.
In truth, there is little incorrect in both of these assessments, for the various nomadic bands, or 'packs' of Badlanders are a diverse gathering. They are warriors, hunters, psychopaths and scholars. In many ways they are a people better adapted to live in the wasteland, and live as their ancestors did centuries ago in the blasted northern tundras, fighting, killing, surviving in this harsh new world. Underestimated, but seldom outmatched.
Rise of the Badlanders
The Badlanders reportedly formed when elements of Op 34, veterans of the Gobi Desert campaign formed out of light infantry specialists and reconnaissance units, joined forces with various scattered bands of Canadian survivalists and would-be rebel militia that were still trying to resist the U.S. Commonwealth's annexation of their land. Op 34 had been redeployed to the Canadian tundra to eliminate this rabble, but with the advent of what was most likely the apocalypse, instead rallied these groups together for the interest of mutual survival. It seemed nation and creed mattered little when the world was burning in a nuclear hell-storm.
Soon the Badlanders began striking out against other groups further south, the nature of the Canadian tundra making raiding a necessity of survival. The Badlanders swept down, their small unit tactics and hit and run raids allowing them to utterly annihilate almost every scattered band they encountered. For every foe conquered, the tribe grew, and soon the Badlanders were known and feared across the whole of Canada. However, it was when the Badlanders migrated into Alaska that they truly hit their stride. Striking against both U.S. military remnants and raider bands with equal savagery and aggression, it is reported that even at this early stage the Badlanders were already avid cannibals. But the Badlanders as they are known now only came about when they absorbed vast numbers of native Inuit tribes, adopting some of their ancient traditions and spiritual mysticism.
From this position of strength, the various Badlander tribes built bases in Alaska and Canada that have now stood for hundreds of years, bastions for the tribe in harsher times. From these areas the Badlanders swept east, the semi-nomadic packs, following herds of game and searching for settlements to raid or trade with. However, each band, or as they are known in the Badlanders, 'packs', would maintain contact with one another by any means necessary. They developed vast, if not spotty and sporadic, communication network, mostly using pre-War military radios and by aggressively taking command of various radio stations wherever they roamed. Eventually the Badlander packs made their way down to the lower 48, hearing tell of populated villages and wars that they could exploit.
First Contact: NCR
In the year of 2226, the Badlanders and the NCR made first contact. It was at a small trading post owned by the Crimson Caravan company located at the border of Oregon and California proper. The Badlanders were said to have been first spotted by some local farmers near the surrounding area, they told tales of strange tribals brandishing assault rifles and wearing strange masks, most atop motorcycles. Unbeknownst to the NCR forces in the area, this was just a scouting force. A week later, a whole pack of Badlanders, men, women, and children, made their way to the gates of the trading post.
They were heavily armed, and this alarmed the traders greatly, but they were assured by the seasoned NCR soldiers assigned to the post that tribal warbands don't come into a battle with women and children, their very presence indicated that the Badlanders wanted peace. After a rather shaky introduction, and the discovery that the tribals spoke English perfectly, trading quickly commenced. The Badlanders traded various animal skins and meat for guns and ammo, and some of the packs warriors wasted no time in asking if the local NCR forces needed any dangerous animals or tribes dealt with.
This was the start of a fairly profitable relationship with the NCR and the Badlanders, though as the NCR grew and its core populations learned of the depths of Badlander savagery, it would become a frowned upon act to hire Badlanders mercenaries. Despite the reputation the tribe gained as cannibals and raiders, the Badlanders as a whole are still on good terms with the NCR as their pedigree as mercenaries and enemies of other tribal bands generally makes them quite useful. The Twin Pines Pack played a pivotal role in the Oregon Brush Wars and still regularly works for the NCR, often hunting dangerous wildlife or outlaws.
The Badlanders first encountered Caesar's Legion in 2268, when a pack attempted to go further south into the Midwest, hearing that the region was ripe with poorly defended tribes and that mercenary work was plentiful. However the pack delved deep into Legion territory, in what was once the state of Arizona. The pack was eventually slaughtered by a Legion centuria, and according to the Legions records of the incident it was quite a fight, with Badlanders quickly forming a ring with their carts and wagons and their motorcycle bound warriors pulling off ferocious mounted charges. The pack in question managed to send a distress call detailing the attackers, and once it was discovered that these "Bulls" had wiped out a pack the Badlanders response was swift and brutal. Three packs rode to war with the Legion, Badlander scouts tracking down that very same centuria and, whilst the Legionaries slept, a force of no less than a hundred Badlanders ambushed the camp.
The resultant slaughter is now known as the Battle of Buford Ridge, with the Badlanders first striking upon their bikes. Legionaries were awoken to the sounds of revving motors and the screams of dying Legion sentries, and rushed from their tents directly into a nightmare. Badlanders rode through the camp, lobbing grenades, dynamite, and firing SMGs and laser pistols. The riders left as quickly as they came, and in their wake came the Badlander warriors, brandishing assault rifles, grenade launchers, and various melee weapons. The Legionaries attempted to rally to their centurion, trying to meet the onrushing tide of masked barbarians with a disciplined front line. Legionaries formed firing lines, only for the bike mounted warriors to circle back for another charge, hurling yet more explosives, shattering any formation the Legionaries may have managed create, before the lines clashed. Bloody slaughter ensued, as scattered pockets of Legionaries were beset by howling tribals. Signature Legion discipline and ruthlessness was pitted against Badlander savagery and cold precision, and though outnumbered and surrounded the Legionaries fought ferociously for their lives. But then the centurion was run down by a Badlander biker, and all discipline and resolve shattered. The decani tried in vain to rally their men, but the horror that was the Badlander assault was overwhelming. Cut down where they stood or run down by motorcycle-riding savages, the Legionaries were wiped out to a man. In the morning Legion scouts that had been dispatched the day prior to hunt down any surviving Badlanders from the previous battle had arrived at the camp only to find it in utter ruin, their comrades laying in heaps of their own dead, their flesh cooked and eaten over their own camp fires, their flayed skin handing in crude tribal totems, and their tents ransacked for any valuables.
From that day onward the Badlanders were a persistent thorn in Caesar's side, the three separate packs eventually forming into the legendary Arizona Pack. For decades they assaulted the Legion directly in its own homeland, once famously striking at the settlement of Good Intent, only a scant eight miles from the capital of Flagstaff. For a time, the Arizona pack challenged the Legion openly for dominance of their own backyard, but such a time could scant last. The Badlanders still had no clue the sheer extent of the Legion's power, and were in for a rude awakening.
In 2279, the Legion sent forth the Beast of the East. Legate Lanius, at the head of a cohort of veterans fresh from conflicts in Nevada, marched into the northern wastes of Arizona with one goal in mind. The death of the Arizona pack. At first, he dispatched bands of scouts, fresh recruits from Flagstaff, to scour the desert. Many of these groups were hunted down or destroyed, their remains left for their comrades to find, as was the Badlander way. But the Badlanders had underestimated their foe, for these groups were sacrifices. By triangulating the sites of these various slaughters, Legate Lanius discovered the location of the Arizona pack's base. Such a tactic was advised by Caesar himself, aware of how the ancient Romans dealt with the Scythian tribes who were not unlike the Badlanders in manner.
The Badlanders could have never been prepared for the force that came crashing down upon their fortified base at Winslow Point radio station, much of the pack's warriors were on the warpath and they had never met a foe of the Legion's apperent level of technology who also had such a solid grasp of pre-war strategy. For while the Arizona pack was at its peak, numbering over two hundred warriors, the Legate commanded an army of well over four-hundred-and-eighty. Striking with his trademark brutality, the Legate took full measure of the base, its fortifications and warriors, and found them wanting. The slaughter was total, Legionaries braving gunfire to close with Badlander warriors, hacking the savages down in a tide of crimson. The Legate slew the Arizona pack chieftain and standard bearer in single combat, never breaking stride as he fought at the front with his Legionaries. The Badlanders fought to the last, and the Legate showed uncharacteristic mercy. For while he slaughtered the men with his bare hands, and had the women and elderly burned alive, he spared the children to be brought up as Legionaries under his own banner. Legate Lanius marched into Flagstaff in triumph, bearing the Arizona pack standard through the streets and trailed by a procession of chained children, the once proud blood of the Badlanders now bent to serve the will of almighty Caesar.
The few Badlanders who were not present at the battle of Winslow Point remained in Arizona, a dozen or so vengeful tribals who eventually faded into memory. To this day, none within the tribe proper know the final fate of the Arizona pack, but it is said the last free members of the pack were hunted to the last by fervent Legoinaries seeking glory, preferring to die fighting than be chased from their chosen land. The last known member of the pack, Redtooth, died inciting a slave revolt within Flagstaff itself, with her teeth around the throat of a Centurion.
The D.C. Pack was the first to send news of the Brotherhood of Steel, their early travels around the ruins of Pittsburgh giving them scattered information via word of mouth. The D.C. pack at first dismissed most of these tales of power armored warriors as mere flights of fancy or old tales passed down form Pre-War times. Until they entered D.C. proper.
The first skirmish between power armored warriors and the masked brutes of the pack that would become the D.C. Pack took place in the winter of 2275, however, it was not the grey-clad warriors of Lyon's Pride, but instead the black and red defectors known as the Outcasts. A Badlander bike patrol sighted a patrol of Outcasts near the old D.C. Nuka Cola plant, and struck with their trademark ruthlessness. The four-man Outcast salvage team had only time to set up a firing line of sorts when the twelve man biker force descended upon them, firing from their grenade launchers and laser pistols as their ancient machines roared down the slope. The Outcasts stood firm, one of their number armed with a minigun while the rest fired with assault rifles and laser rifles. Three Badlanders were cut down in the initial salvo, but the Badlander bike assault left one of their number dead, a Chinese Officer Sword driven through his throat at breakneck speed. The Outcasts tried to fall back, seeking higher ground, but one by one they were picked off by the nimble savages.
Thus began the D.C. Packs long and storied history of preying on the Outcasts. Striking at isolated patrols and mounting daring assaults on Outcast salvage operations. But as the D.C. Pack became more and more entrenched in the Capital Wasteland, the more they sealed their inevitable doom. For when the pack began its forays into the war-torn capitol itself, they crossed the Lyon's Pride. The D.C. Pack's leader, a militant brute known only as Burndog, had brokered a pact with the slavers of Paradise Falls, and sacked various minor settlements in the D.C. area, gathering wealth in both caps and weapons. Operating out of their base at the old Patriot's Point radio station, the D.C. Pack had garnered the ire of Elder Lyons, disgusted at the savagery the Badlanders had wrought upon the hapless population of the D.C. area. Though his daughter begged her father to do something about these bandits, Elder Lyons knew with a heavy heart that he couldn't spare the manpower to exterminate these tribals, and so instead tried to shore up what settlements he could. To Burndog, this was a display of weakness, for only prey backs into a corner when confronted with a predator. For months the Badlanders would strike with ever increasing boldness, systematically overwhelming isolated Brotherhood forces, slaughtering settlements that dared seek the Brotherhood's protection. Burndog hoped to bleed the Brotherhood dry while his own pack grew fat on caps from Paradise Falls and even on contracts for the vile eccentric Alistair Tenpenny. However, Burndog grew too bold, and in his contempt for the "Old Knight", he made the great blunder that would inevitably kill his pack.
The Siege of Galaxy News Radio was a brutal assault, with over a hundred Badlanders gathered, armed to the teeth with weapons stolen from the corpses Outcasts and bought from Paradise Falls. But the Badlanders never counted on the Lyon's Pride. The brutal three day siege was a gory nightmare, Badlanders had to eschew their usual mobile tactics, instead hoping their newfound firepower and numbers would win the battle in the choked city streets. But for every member of the Brotherhood that fell, dragged to the ground and shot point blank by bloodthirsty Badlanders, dozens were scythed down in blasts of laser and swings of power fists. On the third day, the Badlanders breached the front doors of GNR, Burndog and his Killpack leading from the front, clad in stripped down suits of power armor and armed with a devastating array of weaponry. But there in the lobby stood the Lyon's Pride, with Sarah Lyons standing defiant. Though a monster, born and bred for endless conflict across the wastes, Burndog was no match for Sarah Lyons. As Burndog's honor guard engaged the Lyon's Pride, he and the champion of the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel clashed in savage hand to hand combat. Trading blows and point blank weapons fire, the pair would smash through the walls, Sarah Lyons finally dispatching Burndog after wrestling him to the ground and twisting his neck from his head.
With the death of their chieftain and his entire honor guard, the D.C. Pack would choose to stand and die fighting in the ruins of D.C. than dishonor their warlords memory. Crippled and robbed of the majority of their warriors, the D.C. Pack still lingered on for decades on the northern outskirts of the D.C. area, until finally a young Arthur Maxson led a newly unified East Coast Brotherhood of Steel to destroy the Patriot's Point radio station. However, the Badlanders had long since anticipated the Brotherhoods move to finish off what was now the last remaining enemy of the Brotherhood in D.C., and had planned quite the surprise for the young, cocksure messiah of the Brotherhood. A handful of elders remained while the rest of the pack escaped under the cover of darkness, and rigged the entire base to explode with an ancient nuclear warhead, and fought to the death. While Brotherhood casualties were minimal, the trap almost cost Arthur Maxson his life, and the newly build Prydwyn. To this day, the remnants of the D.C. Pack hide in the mountains of West Virginia, under the leadership of a hulking warlord, known as Dragonjaw.
Whilst often disregarded as savages and mindless man-eaters, the Badlanders have a great understanding of conventional weapons technology and much of their gear appears well cared for. This is probably due to each Badlanders military style upbringing, as each are trained how to load, shoot, and maintain a firearm before they can say their first words. Thus, conventional, military grade firearms such as assault rifles are commonplace. However melee weapons, particularly the heavy use of Rippers and similar weapons shows that the Badlanders are far from afraid to come to the grips with the enemy in close combat. This combined with the Badlanders communications network means that over time the whole tribe learned how to coordinate quick, vicious, decapitating hit and run strikes on their enemies. Such a technological edge allow them to easily conquer innumerable lesser tribes, and overwhelm even professional soldiers who underestimate the Badlander's tribal warriors out of hand.
Badlander packs often have a small stable of armored, combat ready. motorcycles. The first of these war machines were utilized by the Badlander's ancestors in the vast wastes of Post War Canada, and continue to serve the tribe as the main means by which their warriors crush all opposition. Many would assume such machines to be ancient relics from the bygone centuries of the old world, but upon closer inspection, any competent mechanic would realize that many of these war bikes have been forged from scraps and spare parts. Much like the Badlanders themselves, their motorcycles have been forged in the harsh crucibles of the wasteland, and are reliable and rugged steeds. Badlanders often find themselves locked in battles for the already scarce fuel for these vehicles, but they are indispensable, as they allow the elite mounted warriors of the tribes to scout far and wide, covering vast distances in mere days, and easily overtaking any foe in a prolonged skirmish or in the heat of pitched battle. These sacred war machines are cared for with almost a religious zeal, and only the tribes most elite warriors are entrusted to pilot them. Most Badlander Bikers are armed with a deadly array of weapons, explosives such a dynamite and hand grenades, SMGs, sawn off shotguns, Laser Pistols, missile launchers, and even brutal melee weapons such a scrapmetal lances and swords.
The Badlander's handful of fortresses and hideouts, known as bases, are often representative of the height of Badlander technological achievement. Though few are as vast or impressive as the mythical holds in northern wastelands of Alaska and Canada, these unassuming holdfasts are often bristling with hidden defenses. From minefields and entrenched heavy weapons positions to elaborate underground tunnel networks featuring hidden pillboxes and ambush positions. However, it is the non-militant additions to a base that truly makes it a marvel of wasteland engineering. Most bases are replete with self sustaining hydroponics gardens, vast libraries of assembled old world knowledge, and medical care on par with even the most able professional doctors of the NCR or Brotherhood. All the goods and materiel wealth the packs gather inevitably flows back to their bases, to ensure that these fortresses are truly capable of both rearing future generations of the pack in the best conditions possible and ensure that they can sustain the tribe in times of great hardship.
Badlanders are, at their core, pragmatists and oppertunists. As a common saying amongst seasoned wastelanders goes, 'A Badlander will never lose on accident.' Quite simply, the Badlanders survive their way of life by being able to size up a situation, and make the most profitable call as quickly as possible. If encountered with an opportunity, such as a poorly defended settlement or a lone traveler weighed down with goods and light on ammunition, they will seldom hesitate to rob their hapless victims blind and leave them for dead. However, if there is little profit in banditry, the packs will seldom hesitate to open up avenues of trade and offer their considerable talents as mercenaries to persons and factions who have something to offer that could not be easily taken. Only if the prize is considered worth the risk will Badlanders commit to any action, but once they are committed, it is rare for Badlanders to abandon their course of action, for such a failure to properly assess the situation before committing to a goal is seen as brash and dangerous to the pack, and it is generally considered better to die well in the pursuit of a profitable goal than fail and stain the pack's legacy. Such an unforgiving philosophy leaves most living Badlanders shrewd and conniving, but they can be easily trusted merely at their word if they express conviction in a statement.
In this manner, the Badlanders commit themselves swiftly and decisively to any conflict. As the Badlanders have passed down doctrines of pre-war, small unit tactics for centuries, they are uniquely uncompromising and vicious warriors. In the typical skirmish, Badlanders are said to move like the wind, swiftly advancing without hesitation to their chosen targets. Moving in small, tight fireteams, they sweep forth in a coordinated advance, firing their weapons in disciplined bursts and keeping open lines of fire between them. If they encounter stiff reistance, the pack prefers to sweep around the enemy strong points like water, enveloping them and then closing in for the kill in close combat from all sides. If the enemy is strong willed and holds their lines, then the pack will simply rush forth with unbridaled, fearless determination. However, once their enemy is soundly broken, Badlanders are known to break from the foe and swiftly vanish into the wastes, taking only their trophies and loot with them, leaving the mutilated remains of their victims in their wake.
When war comes to a pack, they set out to totally devastate their foes' morale and will to fight, striking with such speed and ferocity that the enemy rarely recovers from the initial shock. The spear point of such shock assaults are the elite Badlander War Bikers, riding to war clad in scrap armor atop roaring armored motocycles and armed to the teeth. These swift bands of fearless warriors strike hard and fast, breaking the enemies lines and mounting relentless hit and run raids that reduce even well disciplined enemies to tatters on the open field. These assaults are followed up by bands of Warriors and Mad Dogs, the rank and file, well equipped and professionally trained warriors of the tribe form an inexorable advance while the commando-berzerker Mad Dogs rush forward in death or glory charges to decapitate enemy leadership and crush surviving strong points. These foot infantry are often armed with an ad hoc assortment of small arms and heavy weaponry, with specialist close combat fighters generally made up of veteran warriors armed with melee weapons and pistols often forming the embittered rearguard of these formations. Such brutal assaults are invariably sudden, utterly without quarter, and end in the ritual mutilation and cannibalization of the enemy dead.
However, this style of warfare is not without its many flaws. Badlanders are, by their nature, few in number. Even the mightest pack may number in the low hundreds, and the average pack has perhaps thirty to fifty warriors at any given time. This is due to the fact that the tribe rarely accepts outsiders, and their semi-nomadic warrior culture is a harsh one in which only the strong endure. If the pack is utterly outnumbered, they either flee far ahead of their foe, or strike with repeated gurillla assaults in a running battle until the foe is exshausted and abandons chase or is so weakened that they can be defeated in a counter attack. If cornered, they will fight to the last, but without the advantage of their manuverability and momentum, they will only have their superior training and skill to rely upon. While the average Badlander warrior is easily the equal of a dozen or so of other tribal counterparts, he is but one man regardless. Thus, to avoid predation by larger groups, Badlanders rely on their fearsome reptuation and stern discipline, hoping to break a larger opponents morale with vicious displays of cannibalism and cold savagery, the enemy often well aware that cornered Badlanders will fight to the death without hesitation.
This has made the Badlanders universally feared, hated, and reviled by a great deal of the peoples of the wasteland, leading many to distrust or even be outright hostile to Badlanders upon first contact... But to those with the coin or connections to hire them, a Badlander warrior is well worth his weight in caps. Honor bound to their contracts and sworn to die for the mission at hand, Badlanders are tough, ruthless, and self sufficient soldiers who will carry out their orders to the letter without scruples. A Badlander would die without hesitation to protect an employer, even if he personally despises him, because such a sacrifice will benefit the tribe in the long run. As the Badlanders have made many enemies, so too have they made powerful friends. The Badlanders seldom risk open war with post-war nations that appear technologically advanced, understanding that these factions may well be more than capable of defeating the Badlanders in open battle with superior numbers and firepower. However, they also understand such 'soft peoples' are often wealthy and have many enemies, enemies that the Badlanders are likely more than capable of dispatching. Thus, whilst many decry the Badlanders as savages on par with the mythical heathens and satanists old world religious figures vilified, even stable, civilized post-war nation-states find their services invaluable, and many a Badlander pack freely ply their trade even in the heartlands of places such as the NCR, New Vegas, and the outskirts of the Boston area.
Though many packs are spread far and wide across the wasteland, they all share a culture, traditions and customs originating from their earliest days of survival in the Canadian tundra. Such traditions have only perpetuated themselves through centuries of sporadic communications though the tribes makeshift radio communications network.
Badlanders, from the day they pass the Hunters Rite to the day they are burned on a funeral pyre, all wear masks. This cultural aspect goes back to their days as survivors of the nuclear holocaust, when their ancestors constructed masks to defend against the violent blizzards and stinging radioactive storms of the Canadian tundra. Later these masks developed a deep religious meaning to the Badlanders, as they believe it is the very essence of ones soul locked away in the mask. Thus masks are customized by each Badlander in order to make his or her mask fit their inner person, and may be subject to various alterations through the years. If a Badlander is a remarkable shot, he may place a crosshair on his mask to symbolize his skill, or if a Badlander is known for their fearsome nature, they will decorate their mask with trophies from the most dangerous local fauna. Masks are almost never removed because of the taboo that surrounds such an act, as the Badlanders believe that should they die with their faces bared, their soul will be snatched up by demons. Only in the company of close friends, immediate family, or an intimate partner, do Badlanders ever remove their masks and even then for a very short time. Each mask is handmade, often from materials of the Badlanders choosing. However, some form of gas mask is highly sought after, as the added utility and protection from environmental hazards is seen as an obvious benefit. At the Badlanders death, it is burned, as the Badlanders believe that the smoke will guide and defend the Badlanders soul as it ascends into the heavens to the place of their ancestors.
Though some, less superstitious packs, may not believe in the spiritual need of wearing a mask, they still do so more out of thoroughly ingrained tradition or to make themselves easily identifiable as Badlanders.
The Badlanders have plied their ancestral survivalist skills and weapons expertise for hundreds of years to the highest bidder, and it has become part of the very fabric to the Badlanders as a people. This is seen in every Badlanders natural level of business savvy, and their willingness to make a deal with almost any stranger or faction they can't rob or destroy with ease. Badlanders contracts are often short-term and on an individual or group by group basis, with warriors of a Pack taking up jobs for outsiders. Such contracts are often completed within a few days or even hours of their signing, and the Badlanders in question tend to vanish back into the wastes to rejoin their Pack once payment is made. However, large-scale contracts are only agreed on by the Pack chieftain himself, and often involve nearly all the warriors of the Pack. Such contracts are usually long term as their nature reflects the patron faction or individuals current embroilment in a large conflict. Only Badlanders who have been banished or have left their Pack of their own volition end up in lifelong contracts, often as personal hit-men of crimelords or bodyguards. Such individuals are infamously deadly, and in the wastelands, Badlanders willing to serve for an extended time are considered very valuable assets.
To any Pack of Badlanders, their contract is their bond, and it is considered a mark of great shame (as well as bad for business) if a contract is not fulfilled within its parameters. Badlanders will often carry out their contract even if their hiring party is rendered dead or incapable of paying, simply holding the clients next of kin or allies responsible for paying the debt at a later time. This is why even lone Badlanders are is such high demand as mercenaries, for their loyalty to their contract (and by proxy, their client) is iron clad, unlike other, more unsavory types of guns for hire. Should a client double cross a Badlander, he cannot expect to live long such is the wrath he will have brought down upon himself. And, given the relentless natures of the Badlanders, no betrayal is ever forgotten, or forgiven.
Every pack, from the most infamous to the most secretive, has a symbol that identifies them amongst their fellow kin for those rare occasions when packs come together to their regional base or come across one another in the wasteland. The Pack Standard is often flown in the form of a flag, made from either the materials at hand or even the skin of fallen enemies, and is entrusted to the pack's greatest warrior to bear into battle. The Pack Standard is handled with religious reverence, and to lose it is to incur great shame upon oneself and the pack. Such and individual is seen as even lower than the Untouchables, and is banished from not just their own pack, but the tribe as a whole. They are branded with the marks of shame, which is a series of defacing scars wrought upon their bodies and masks, and cast into the wastes, never to return. That is, unless they can locate the standard, in which case they will be offered the chance to once again run with the pack. But for many Badlanders, the stain of such shame is impossible to truly atone for. Even if they return the banner, most prefer to die alone in the wastes. Each hopes that at the very least, they die a warriors death, and leave some mark that will survive their shame for all eternity. Should any foe be so bold or foolish to steal a standard, they will be relentlessly hunted not just by the shamed individual who lost it (if they survived its theft) but some of the finest of the packs bikers, hungry for revenge and glory. If a pack is destroyed, it is the duty of the nearest pack in the region to retrieve the Standard and bring it to the tribes' mysterious leader, Three Tears, in the tundras of Canada, where it can be laid to rest.
While the Badlanders are not consumed by the total mysticism that tends to consume most tribal bands, they are known to be extremely superstitious, often concerned with luck and even the wills of malevolent entities such as demons and ghosts. Though the average Badlander would wave off prophecies, and certainly see through most of the odd wasteland cults that crop up in isolated communities, they do hold a certain belief in the fates. Badlanders generally hold that luck is gained through pleasing the ancestors and the whims of beings whose powers border on the supernatural. While no pack to date has ever named a certain spirit or demon, they hold that pacts with such beings can make an individual powerful, but in the case of malignant entities, it is often at great cost. Pacts are often entered into via obscure blood rituals known only to the local packs shaman or spiritual adviser. These individuals are often the lore-keepers of a Pack, and in addition to knowing and recording much of the packs history, are trained at the local base in various arcane arts. Whether this is all tribal hokum, or if there is some form of power being brokered in these rituals, none can say for certain, but it is certain that the Badlanders do not take such pacts lightly. At their most civilized, packs are still highly superstitious when it comes to the concept of luck, and will often carry a lucky totem or attempt small rituals to ensure their continued streak of good luck or to ward off particularly bad twists of fate.
Those constantly mired by what seems like a constant torrent of poor fortune are often banished under the pretense that their 'curse' may endanger others. And are often doomed to walk the wastes as lone mercenaries whose skills are foreshadowed by impending calamity. These 'Untouchables' often become obsessed with the prospect of gaining good fortune, making hundreds of pacts with supposed demons and spirits, even invoking the will of the ancestors in their desperate gambles to return as heroes to their Pack.
The Hunters Rite is a brutal ceremony all Badlanders undergo when they reach their thirteenth birthday. The specifics of the Rite vary from pack to pack, but one fact of the Rite has stayed consistent, it involves the hunting, killing and the consumption of some creature of the wastes. Deathclaws are often the target of these Rites, but some packs have been known to target Super Mutants, Cazadores, Night Stalkers, and invariably, human beings. Hunters Rites that target humans often pick ones from certain groups, such as the Legionaries of Caesar's Legion (which have become favored targets over the years) or even specific individuals. If a "youngling" succeeds in his or her Rite and returns with a trophy from the target's corpse (which is often the centerpiece of the younglings new mask) they are officially adult members of the tribe and can now go on raids, work as mercenaries, and marry. However, should a youngling fail, they are totally forgotten and not even mourned, and to even mention them is to earn banishment. Mothers of failed younglings will often wander out into the wastes to die in mourning. Often the Hunters Rite is undergone alone, but siblings who are at least a year apart in age are allowed to undergo this ordeal together.
While the consumption of human flesh is not always considered a good thing within the Badlanders, it is often a fact of life for these die-hard survivalists. Badlanders will consume anything if it means they can survive another day. (They don't necessarily need to be starving either) It is also a key part of their warrior traditions, as warriors of the Badlanders often consume their fallen foes as part of some primitive ritual, in which they believe one is made stronger by partaking in the flesh of a worthy opponent. However, few packs actively consume human flesh without it being a necessity or religious need, and those who do are often regarded with some suspicion by their fellow Badlanders if not abject hatred by the local population who they prey upon. And the killing of women and children for food is frowned upon by most packs, as it is seen as needlessly bestial and likely to call the attention of dark spirits. Nevertheless, tales of some packs practicing in the indiscriminate slaughter and consumption of defenseless people are far from unheard of.
Badlanders are often allowed to name themselves after the Hunters Rite, until then they are referred to as "Child" or "Youngling". But most are known by their fellow children by various colorful nicknames, and these often become the younglings official name after they complete the Rite, but cases of individuals picking names with greater personal meaning are far from rare.
Chems are often used in abundance within the various Badlanders packs, but are seldom abused as seen with other, less wary tribes. However, Psycho and Buffout abuse has been on the rise as many warriors of the Badlanders use it to prepare themselves for the tribes famous sudden and relentless charges, and have become irreparably addicted. These individuals become erratic and savage over time, turning them into "Mad Dogs", who are used by their kinsmen as deadly shock troops in times of war. Mad Dogs have devolved to an almost animalistic level and they can only barely tell their fellow Badlanders apart midst the carnage of battle and as such are given a wide birth. It is often speculated by many wasteland scholars and medical professionals that such a rapid and violent degeneration may due to the introduction of prion poisoning due to the ritual consumption of human flesh combined with the inherent symptoms of Psycho and Buffout addiction. When the pack has no need of their vicious talents, most Mad Dogs are kept locked away in special wards within the packs local base, their people's shamans and medics always striving to cure or at least hamper their kinsmens descent into complete, ghoulish madness.
Badlanders are a superstitious lot, and they have a difficult time telling machines apart from demons or monsters. It hasn't helped that most robots encountered in the wasteland are haywire killing machines. Thus, most packs destroy or avoid robots at all costs. Though a few packs, namely the Rio Grande, Death Valley and all packs in the Alaska area, understand that there is nothing supernatural to these automated systems, they are still extremely uneasy around such constructs. Only one pack was ever known to adopt the use of robots and that was the fabled Nome Pack in Alaska, who had stumbled across a facility full of inactive Robo-Brains and, after brutally interrogating several Enclave scientists, managed to turn the machines into a group loyal to the Badlanders. These "Bad Brains" are often seen alongside warriors of the Nome Pack, (albeit in sparse numbers) who have become less superstitious when it comes to automatons. (though they packs place explosive collars on the Bad Brains just to be safe)
Bases within the Badlanders are sacred bastions where the packs of a region can come together for ceremonies and to wait out the wrath of powerful factions. These fortified bunkers are often far off the beaten path and the routes to them are often rife with traps and natural barriers. Bases are often guarded by a pack that has been viewed by its fellows as worthy of the defense of these sacred places and will do so to the last man, woman, and child. Bases are places of learning as well as sanctuaries, and have vast libraries that hold the collective knowledge and history of all packs in the area. They are also arsenals, often holding some of the best weaponry the packs of a region have to offer. Base packs differ from their nomadic kin in that they have learned to live off the land without migrating with game or trading with outsiders, and as such are completely self sufficient. Bases are surprisingly well fortified and any attempt at capturing or raiding one is going to be a costly affair, even for large and well-armed groups such as the Brotherhood of Steel and Caesar's Legion, as seen in D.C. and Arizona.
The Badlander Packs are many and widespread, from Alaska and Canada to New Mexico, and California to New Hampshire, the Badlanders can be found all over the wasteland. Packs are often named for the region they frequent, mostly for simplicity and due to the Badlanders having old pre-war military maps at their disposal. Some Packs that do not frequent a region usually take up their own unique name but this is rare. Should a pack be wiped out, another pack of Badlanders eventually fills the void and takes up the name of their fallen kin.
Fabled by the rest of the Badlanders as the "Father Pack" and led by the legendary god-king known only as Three Tears. The Alaska Pack are by far the most disciplined, hardened, and ruthless of the Badlanders. They were the first pack, and all Packs can trace their origin from them in one way or another. Often clad in their white furs and bearing masks made of pure whale bone, the Alaska Pack look like ancient Inuit warriors or Viking raiders. Whilst most factions in the lower forty-eight know only rumors of the Alaska Pack, the handful of first hand accounts are universally chilling. Tales tell of hulking, savage warriors, clad in a strange clash of tribal vestments and pre-war military gear, wading through the battlefields of the harsh north like legendary warriors of ancient antiquity. Striding through blizzards that would rip flesh from bone, emerging from the snowy wastes atop roaring metal steeds, only to leave crimson snows in their implacable wake. How much of these accounts are the result of too much drink, or traumatic half remembered nightmares of horrors past endured, none can say for sure.
However, regardless of their near mythical status, the military-style tactics and possession of great quantities of pre-war, military grade weaponry make the Alaska Pack a deadly foe to all who oppose them. The Alaska Pack only deal as mercenaries to vast settlements and powerful groups who they cannot destroy. And considering the Alaska Pack's ferocity and size, they are more raider than mercenary. They are most commonly seen around Anchorage and Vancouver, large urban centers, but they have been sighted as far south as Washington and have even been rumored to range as far as Siberia, as a handful of trophies and weapons the tribe brandish are clearly Soviet in origin.
The D.C. Pack was of a more militaristic bend than most packs, and were well organised and ruthless beyond measure. They had had few if any peaceful interactions with any people of the Capital Wasteland (save for the slavers of Paradise Falls). In spite of their aggressive behavior and large arsenal, the D.C. Pack was eventually defeated by the forces of the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel, their infamous warlord, Burndog, having been slain during the Battle for GNR Plaza by Sarah Lyons in pitched combat.
The remnants of the pack lingered for a few years after, before, realizing that the united East Coast Brotherhood under Arthur Maxson would inevitably destroy them, did the unthinkable. They gathered what belongings and valuables they could, and fled their base, leaving behind a handful of their old and wounded to make a bitter last stand against the Brotherhoods encroaching forces. Though reduced to a shameful shadow of their former glory, the D.C. Pack is currently building strength in the mountains of West Virginia, the son of their former warlord, Dragonjaw, gradually growing the might of his tribesmen so that one day they will take vengeance on the Brotherhood who dealt them this dishonor.
A unique Pack in that they are not openly considered Badlanders by their former kin, the Hellhounds are the elite hit-men of the Los Muertos. Started by the Untouchable known as Dingo, the Hellhounds are a pack made up of exiles and loners who have left their Packs or have been banished from the tribe. These cutthroats and killers are extreme and sadistic even by the standards of even the most savage Pack, and are loyal to only two individuals in all the wasteland, their founder, Dingo, and their employer, Zeek, Vice Lord of La Mugre. The Hellhounds are a crude and fearsome lot, even as they dress in suits and bulletproof vests, they hold true to some of the most brutal tactics of combat and torture known in the wasteland. Each one of them has left a trail of bodies in their wake to get to where they are now, and kill without compunction or remorse. As is their only true tradition, every Hellhound wears a simple black bandanna as their mask, as a symbol of their solidarity and position as one of the most lethal gunmen in all of Idaho.
The Mojave Pack, along with the Colorado and Death Valley Pack, have become the NCR's go to gunhands. Recently the Mojave Pack has had various dealings within the New Vegas area, launching a campaign of terror against Caesar's Legion at the behest of their NCR paymasters. This pack specializes in stealth and ambushes and thus are ideal guerrillas. Many a promising decanus or centurion of Caesar's Legion has met a horrible death at the business end of a Mojave Badlanders' Ripper.
Unfortunately for the Mojave Pack, their dealings with the NCR brought them ruin when Legate Lanius came to Mojave. Fresh from killing the Colorado and Arizona Packs and knowing what 'mischief' Badlanders could wreak unchecked, Lanius commanded several centurias to hunt down the Mojave Pack and kill them. That, combined with help from the Great Khans and possibly Mr. House, broke the Mojave Pack and in early 2281 they left the Mojave, intending to join another pack further north and lick their wounds until such a time as they could return for vengeance.
The Arizona Pack was legendary among the Badlanders, having lived right under the Legion's nose for years and winning spectacular victories against Caesar. The Arizona Pack existed for well over forty years "Under the Bull" and survived. Its success was hard won and bled for daily, since the Legion did not rest until this tribe of was hunted down and exterminated with extreme prejudice. The Arizona Pack survived by becoming unrivaled guerrilla fighters and ruthless terrorists, honing an almost singular expertise in kidnapping, bombings, and mass murder. They were vicious and cruel, and some of the best melee fighters in the wasteland. Veteran Warriors of this pack were known to hire themselves out as "Specialists" often receiving jobs from other factions through a Badlander middleman, these experienced killers rarely failed, and could survive for years in hostile territory.
The Arizona Pack's story came to a close in 2279 when Legate Lanius, fresh from the campaign in Colorado, came to Arizona and went to business. Quickly discovering their base, Lanius led the attack and ordered the entire pack to be defeated in open combat. This ensuing massacre, was one of the few times the Badlanders were ever defeated in the field. Knowing the significance of pack standards, Lanius had the Arizona Pack's standard paraded around Flagstaff and put for all to see that the Badlanders had well and truly been defeated.
The Louisiana Pack is a reclusive branch of the Badlanders. Members of this pack are known as quiet and introverted, disturbingly they are also known as some of the most cold-blooded killers this side of the Mississippi. Members of the Louisiana Pack are regarded with some unease due to their reputation they have garnered after years of hunting and stalking through the bayous and swamps of post-War Louisiana. This pack, in addition to being remarkable trackers and hunters of both man and beast, are casual cannibals. As such they not only kill other human beings for profit, but for sport and sustenance. Swampers are favored quarry, as their innate knowledge of the bayous makes them challenging if not dimwitted prey.
They are also famed for their amazing ability to improvise, where a Badlander of any other pack may find a weapon beyond repair, a Louisianan Badlander could fix the problem with some turpentine, a bobby pin, and some duct tape. This skill also comes into play during the hunt, as members of this pack have been known to kill just as efficiently with a belt or bare hands as they can with a magnum or assault rifle. The Louisiana Pack is relatively well liked by the people of their region for their hunting of Swampers and Water Tribals. Their slaying of Matthias Dugan, which saved the Big Easy way back when, is also remembered fondly.
Twin Pines Pack
Native to the northern Oregon forests and the very first pack of Badlanders ever encountered by the NCR, the Twin Pines Pack are one of the oldest allies of the NCR Military. The Twin Pines Pack even take their name from the small homestead and trading fort that they first met the forces of the NCR at. Twin Pines Badlanders are the foundation of many NCR stereotypes about the tribe as a whole, and to this day any NCR citizen or soldier who has not had personal experience with any other pack will generally believe that the Badlanders are stoic, cold-blooded warriors who ride motorcycles and cannibalize their fallen enemies. The Twin Pines Pack has prospered due to a continuous stream of mercenary work from the NCR, usually dealing with other Oregon tribes and wild animals such as during the Oregon Brushfire Wars. Though recent NCR policy towards the use of cannibalistic mercenaries is not in the Twin Pines' favor, it has yet to stop experienced NCR brass in the area from hiring them to deal with threats that their troops are ill-trained and equipped for.
Rio Grande Pack
The Rio Grande Pack are noted as some of the best equipped and funded Packs in the Badlanders. This is more due to their chosen location than anything else. The Rio Grande Pack, when not raiding various villages on either side of the US-Mexico border, make their fortunes acting as mercenaries in the infamous Corpse Coast. Noted as highly civilized and trained to a standard that would be impressive even in a Pre-War army, the Rio Grande Pack favor themselves as progressives in the otherwise superstitious and traditional ranks of the Badlanders. They stay true to the basic tenets of Badlander culture, such as masks and the Hunters Rite, but eschew much of their tribal roots, holding cannibalism as barbaric and treating advanced technology with covetous hunger rather than superstition. The Rio Grande Pack are known to strike with military-style precision and maintain strict disciple among their warriors. This has made the pack ideal mercenaries, and they have been known to take jobs from the other warring factions of the Corpse Coast and operate in their own interests with signature Badlander ruthlessness and skill.
The Pack also ranges into Tamaulipas, Mexico and takes jobs there, but more infrequently than with the Corpse Coast. Usually, it is to protect cattle or eliminate rivals, as no one has hired the Rio Grande Pack in a truly large Mexican conflict as of yet.
Founded and led by the descendants of the infamous Badlander Skintaker, the Skintaker Pack have marauded the wastelands of the Great Plains for as long as anyone can remember, and have become the unfortunate stereotype by which the whole tribe is measured by, so great are the Skintakers infamy. The Skintakers are the most feared and savage pack the large tribe has to offer, and are noted to be so fearsome that even hardened Legionaries of Caesar's Legion will hesitate to close ranks with them on without sufficient numbers. The Skintakers, unlike many of the Badlanders Packs, prefer a direct approach to warfare. Rather than striking vulnerable targets and fleeing, content to simply make the point that they are not to be trifled with, the Skintakers assault the enemies most hardened positions, obliterating them in gruesome ways and utterly obliterating the enemies' morale in the process. The Skintakers are not mindless savages however, they understand their style of warfare means exploiting every weakness the enemy has to offer, no matter how cruel or ignoble. Thus they have thrived, though they must avoid contact with outsiders the most, as they have made innumerable enemies in their long history of murder and warfare. The Skintakers are avid cannibals, and, as is their namesake, wear the skins of their fallen foes in elaborate cloaks, even nailing the face of a particularly worthy foe onto their masks.
More recently, as civilizations have risen in the Midwest and elsewhere, life have been rougher for the Skintakers. Hated more than any other Badlander Pack, they have made enemies from Colorado to South Dakota. It was only in 2254 that they were dealt their first big defeat in the Battle of Deadwood at the hands of Custer's American Army. Since then, numerous factions have begun to stand up to the Skintakers and raiding has become harder and harder for them in recent years.
The Highway Pack are all nomads to the core, this pack was the very first to ever enter into the area that was once the United States and has roamed about the wasteland since, never resting long in one region or area. They are the most self sufficient pack in existence, and rarely have dealings with outsiders. They, as their namesake implies, use the old highways as paths to navigate, often moving around any settlements they encounter along the way. However, should the pack be in need of Chems or weapons, they will send in merchant-scouts to trade for what they need. This pack has taken an interest in history and technology and has learned much in its time traveling through the wasteland, most of the knowledge the Highway Pack learns is disseminated through the tribe thanks to its extensive network. They travel light save for the vast volumes of books and pre-war history they have collected over the years and deposit at the nearest base for categorization and dissemination. In spite of their scholarly outlook, the Highway Pack are not to be trifled with and boast a sizable fleet of motor-bikes and experienced riders.
A Pack operating in Northern Texas, the Flash Pack are notorious for their materialistic and immoral ways. Named for their tendency to "pimp" their weaponry, adding chrome and gold paint and plating. Almost a century of successful mercenary work in the strife ridden borders of Caesar's Legion has made the Flash Pack magnificently wealthy, plying both desperate homesteaders and organized paramilitary factions who must face the ever present threat of the Bull. Unlike their now long dead kinsmen in the Ariziona Pack, the Flash Pack have made their bases in central and southern Texas, occasionally working alongside the Rio Grande Pack when there is enough pay to split.
Known for their extortionate prices, hiring the Flash Pack can often bankrupt an entire settlement, but as the pack almost never hires out individual warriors, every contract ensures the full support of the entire compliment of the packs warriors. And as the Flash Pack has become hideously wealthy, they have long since abandoned much of their peoples spartan ways in favor of the trappings of ostentatious finery and the finest weapons caps can buy. Laser weapons, scrapped together suits of power armor, and even refurbished pre-war tanks powered by fusion core batteries, the Flash Pack may have abandoned much of their nomadic ways, but as long as the Legion's southern borders remain contested, the Flash Pack are likely to continue to live in a mercenary's paradise until such a time as rampant chem abuse as rendered the pack a collection of psychotic burnouts.
Once the largest subfaction of the Alaska Pack and known for their use of "Bad Brains", the Nome Pack is now functionally extinct or scattered to the four winds. The Nome Pack was at one time just a small band of Badlanders wandering the northern wastes but struck gold when they discovered a dome-shaped facility deep in the tundra. It turned out to be an Enclave base full of inactive Robo-Brains, and the pack quickly overtook the facility, interrogating the scientists within. This turned out to be a pivotal moment in the pack's history. While the interrogations were going on, one of the Enclave scientists released an old prototype from the facility depths which caused the pack to flee with their Robo-Brains. The gain of the "Brain Bots" was good for couple of years as the pack conquered several tribes in the frozen north. That was until the pack began to become reliant on their machine slaves, and soon the decadence and lethargy of so called civilized living left them vulnerable to a lone foe, an old wolf that stalked the pack from the ruins of Nome.
This figure turned out to be an Enclave remnant who had miraculously survived the Nome Pack's assault on his facility. This lone Enclave soldier eventually managed to infiltrate the packs base, and set their robot slaves against them. While most of the rogue machines perished thanks to the packs precautionary slave collars, the havoc wreaked destroyed their base, and left them vulnerable to their many enemies. By the end, only a handful of the pack's members returned to their lord Three Tears and prostrated themselves for forgiveness for their dishonor. In the end, it is said that they were, as a whole, exiled for going against the tribes vaunted traditions, and cast out into the northern wastes of Canada, never to be heard from again.
This specific Badlander is believed to be the closest thing to a ruler the Badlanders have, as he is frequently mentioned in Badlander radio chatter and his influence spreads to all packs. He is believed to be leading the packs to some greater goal, something more than just marauding and raiding across the wastelands. This is unsettling to many factions to say the least, as the united strength of all the Badlanders packs would be enough to take over a small state. Aside from his bare existence, not much else is known about this enigmatic individual. To the Badlanders he is a god-king, who has brought down armies of other tribes single-handedly and conquered vast swaths of the Canadian tundra. To the other tribes of Canada and Alaska, he is a demon warlord, a destroyer of lives and the burner of villages. To the NCR and Caesar's Legion, he is a myth, some great ancestor the Badlanders worship, or some form of hereditary title as opposed to an individual, and nothing more.
However, if the Badlander legends were to be taken at face value, Three Tears is a warrior the likes of which could only be forged in the darkest tundras of the north. A hulking mountain of muscle and cold fury, Three Tears is rumored to stand as tall as a fearsome northern Yao Guai, and said to be capable of killing a man with a single blow with his bare hands. This figure of almost primeval might is reputed to ride to war at the front of a roaring horde of elite warriors that spans the horizon, and is said to command the very elements of his hellish homeland with but a whim, commanding blizzards and thunder storms with the same steely, unrelenting impunity he commands his own savage legions. He is said to stride through the ice and snow like a murderous spirit of the land itself, and it is said that no beast of the north will dare face his domineering, slate grey eyes. His fearsome image is completed by is mighty panoply of war, said to be a vast cloak made from the hide of a massive northern Yao Guai, a complete suit of pre-war combat armor, a heavily customized assault rifle he wields one handed, a single shot grenade launcher, and a huge axe said to have been forged from the metal hide of a daemon he vanquished in an exotic land from across the sea.
A Hand-Flamer toting savage with a pension for sadism and gold plating, Grill is a mighty warrior from the infamous Flash Pack. Grill grew up with a passion for pyromania, and would fit right in with the flashy and flamboyant Flash Pack. Known for his aggressive behavior and mean Buffout addiction, Grill is a brute of a man, and will gladly butcher any living being that gives him slightly enough reason to do so with his Shishkebab and Hand-Flamer, Smokey. Though reputed as a savage, Grill can perform adequate as a bounty hunter and caravan guard, and his abilities and Badlander origins are more than enough credentials for him to find employment, in spite of the fire risk. However, Grill finds much more entertainment acting as a raider, burning and butchering entire settlements for the adrenaline rush, and taking as many surviving women as he wants to be his pleasure slaves.
The nightmarish chieftain of the Skintaker Pack, Marrow claims direct descent from the legendary founder of the pack, and his actions speak to his pedigree. No single Badlander has so tarnished the tribes name in the minds of both civilized folk and tribals alike. To the Native American tribes of the Black Mountains, he is a demon in flesh, a Wendigo who feeds on the souls of his victims and brings death and strife wherever his evil eye falls. To the tribes of the west, he is a beast clad in human skins to hide his true nature, and it is said that no blade can kill him, only a blessed bullet. To the settled people of the Great Plains, he is a figure more devilish than Ghengis Khan, more depraved than Caligula, and has a body count that rivals the most virulent plague. To the northern garrisons of Caesar's Legion, he is the frigid wasteland incarnate, an entity that rides on the chill winds and strikes without mercy, and kills with agonizing totality. In truth, Marrow is no more supernatural than any other man... And perhaps that is what is most terrifying.
Marrow was born in a time of great strife for the Skintaker Pack, a harsh winter had crippled the pack, and many of their prey had long since fled to more hospitable land or succumbed to the deadly chill. Over half of the packs number died, and their current warlord, Venger, had failed to bring forth any salve for his people's suffering. But Marrow was strong of limb and cold of heart, and he did the unthinkable to save his people from a slow, suffering death at the hands of a land they had thought tamed. Declaring that he would take Venger's flesh as his Hunters Rite trophy, he shocked and horrified the tribe by slaughtering their leader in cold blood before the entirety of the tribe. Several of the tribes warriors charged the young Marrow, blades raised, and yet it is said that he slew each and every one of them, and tore their skin from their bodies with his bare hands. Such a grizzly display cost Marrow his right eye, which he offered to the demon spirits of winter, proclaiming that if the spirits did not fear him now, they would should he ever perish by a foes blade, for he would consume them as well. The next day, the winter seemed to abate instantly, and under their new warlord, the pack made ready for war.
Ranging far to the west, the Skintakers strode into new lands and fought many new tribes, it is said that Marrow rode at the head of the pack, howling like the chill winds of the north as he slaughtered foemen by the dozens with his bladed gauntlet, a weapon that would go on to be known as Heartseeker. Every enemy chieftain and champion he butchered only grew his fearsome image amongst his people, who had come to fear and love him in equal measure as a demigod. Once the western lands had been all but depopulated as surviving tribal bands fled in a great migrations or huddled in ancestral strongholds, fearfully muttering to their petty gods, Marrow took his people south, to the lands of the Bull. Against the Legion, Marrow's abilities as a warleader were truly put to the test. Legion discipline is legendary, and the northern veterans of Caesar's Legion were no strangers to the ways of the Badlanders, some having served alongside Legate Lanius himself during the culling of the Arizona Pack. But they could not have expected the force that bared down upon them from the empty plains of the north that sweltering summer. Gathering new pack members by sending out a call via radio to any and all dispossessed and disgraced Badlanders, Marrow once again flaunted his supposed supernatural connection, threatening that should any of these desperate warriors fail him or bring shame to his kinsmen, he would see their masks buried, deep into the uncaring tundra soil, their souls condemned to writhe with the vermin of this world for all time.
With such motivation, the howling force that fell upon Legion encampments was one of swift, desperate, uncompromising violence, and many a Legionaries fled in horror as skin clad ghouls burst from the dusty dusk horizon, their bikes and banners strewn with the heads of dozens of Legion skulls. Yet it was not mere terror alone that Marrow utilized, torturing captured Legionaries in ways that even made his most fanatical kinsmen squeamish, Marrow learned what he could of Legion battle doctrine, where his foe was strongest, where he was weakest. To most, the latter would be the most pertinent information, but Marrow was a son of Skintaker's blood, and so the former held the most interest for him. Soon, the Legion was facing defeat, not because of Badlander's harrying strikes or vicious hit and run maneuvers, but by breakneck mounted charges directly into the thick of their front lines. Normally, such an assault would be suicide, as many of the Arizona Pack learned when dragged from their bikes, now mired in blood and bodies, and stabbed to death by vengeful legionaries. But such was Marrow's hideous visage, and such was the fanatical blood lust of his chosen warriors, that even hardened legionaries refused to hold their ground, risking decimation and torture if only to escape the beast clad in mans flesh, who howled in inhuman voice for their flesh. By the time the Legion had time to reorganize and strike at the Skintakers, they had long since left the east, Marrow more than aware that his pack were too few to face the full, ordered wrath of the Bull... for now.
But it was in the east, in the traditional Fall raiding grounds of the Skintaker pack, that Marrow would face a foe who seemed too blessed by the spirits for greatness, one George Armstrong Custer II.
The barbaric warlord of the D.C. Pack, Burndog rose to prominence after leading his people through the arduous journey from Quebec to the very seat of pre-war American power. A fearless warleader, canny tactician, and shrewd merchant, in many ways Burndog was the Badlander ideal of manhood. His hulking frame and skill in the saddle of his war bike made him a natural leader, and his meteoric rise to leadership of his tribe was built upon decades of leading his people from strength to strength. His cult of personality would be fully cemented in the minds of his people when he led them to unprecedented victory against the raiders of the Pitt, striking ruthlessly at Ashur's own forges in a series of vicious street battles in which the Badlanders made off with great stores of weapons and ammunition. But such victories made him arrogant, ruthless, and greedy. And such failings would be his downfall.
Once in D.C., Burndog had grand ambitions for his pack. Hoping to walk in the steps of the legendary god-king, Three Tears, Burndog saw the Capital Wasteland as his opportunity to bring his people to power everlasting. Without mercy he began to slaughter and pillage the scattered peoples of D.C., Super Mutants, raiders, wastelanders, none were safe from his relentless crusade of carnage. Eventually, Burndog happened across the settlement of Paradise Falls, he considered cannibalizing its inhabitants and burning the settlement to the ground... But then he smelled something more alluring then the scent of manflesh scorched on flame... Opportunity. Striking a pact with Eulogy Jones, the Badlanders began to sack settlements and take their hapless inhabitants to be sold at a premium. With this, the D.C. pack flourished in wealth, but soon they would be flush for arms as well. Encountering the scattered forces of the Brotherhood Outcasts, Burndog began to personally lead raids against Outcast patrols, looting their corpses for a great deal of weapons and materiel. Defeating warriors in power armor, despite their isolated nature, made Burndog and his warriors feel utterly invincible, and soon he began targeting Lyon's Brotherhood, seeking to strike the killing blow and truly lay claim to the Capital Wasteland once and for all.
But what seeds Burndog had sown, he did reap. The Brotherhood came close to collapsing under the twin assault of the Badlanders and the D.C. Super Mutant hordes, but, armed with scores of weapons and even stripped down suits of power armor, Burndog eschewed all tradition and chose to attack the Brotherhood head on at one of their major strongholds... GNR Plaza. Striking in force, and ripping through the mutants that dared stand between them and their prey, Burndog led his kinsmen at the head of their force, personally slaying dozens of Brotherhood of Steel Knights before he and his honor guard smashed into GNRs lobby. However, there he came face to face with the Lyon's Pride, and in the ensuing pitched battle, he was slain, Sarah Lyons brawling the power armored brute to a stand still, and after a brutal struggle, snapped his neck.
With Burndogs death, his warriors hurled themselves into a suicidal frenzy, and even years from now his people are few and scattered... But his blood still leads his people, his son, Dragonjaw, slowly building up his pack in the general safety of West Virginian mountains, plotting vengeance for his father's death and the shame wrought upon his people.
Killclaw is the brutal leader of the Toronto Pack, and rumored to be the right hand man of Three Tears himself. Killclaw is a massive individual, famed to be as muscled as a Super Mutant and strong as a northern Yao-Guai. Killclaw earned great fame when he killed an unknown "Demon" with his bare hands, beating the metal beast into submission with his bare hands before casting it off a snowy cliffside. (the Demon in question is believed to have been a haywire Mr. Gutsy) For this feat of strength, he was summoned for an audience with the great god-king of the Alaska Pack himself. Ever since that faithful meeting he has led the Toronto Pack with a strong and decisive hand, striking at various paramilitary forces that remain in the lower Canadian region, gathering munitions and war materiel for an as of yet unknown purpose.
Muerto is a ruthless mercenary that has been under the employ if NCR forces in the New Vegas area. He, along with other members of the Mojave Pack, have found themselves taking up the NCR's side over the dispute of Hoover Dam. (if only to fight their old nemesis, the Legion) Muerto often finds himself on small odd jobs, and the occasional dirty deed in the name of caps and of course, 'freedom'. His most notable action was the wholesale slaughter of a Legion village on the other side of the Colorado River, hired to carry out the deed by the NCR as the village was supplying Legion forces at the Dam with various medical supplies. Muerto struck with a band of his fellow pack members in a vicious night raid that left few survivors. Muerto and his men set fire to the few structures in the village with a flamer, and brutally butchered both the meager garrison of Legionaries and all civilians. The action would be the catalyst for Legate Lanius' deployment of his own elite Badlander hunters, mostly warriors fighting in the style of the Hangdogs, who would eventually strike at the Mojave Pack's base and drive them from the Vegas region, Muerto included.
Freed is the infamous leader of the Rio Grande Pack, cold, methodical, and ruthless beyond measure, this Badlander has delved into hundreds of dark trades, from murder to slavery, in the name of the almighty cap and the prosperity of the Rio Grande Pack. Freed was once considered an Untouchable, a Badlander whose fortunes never seemed to be favored by the ancestors, that is until, he supposedly made a pact with a demonic entity. Since that bloody day, he rocketed up the Packs ranks, earning respect and admiration for his almost superhuman conduct as a warrior. On the day of the old leaders death, Freed took control of the pack unopposed, and has ushered the Rio Grande Badlanders into an era of prosperity the likes of which no Pack has seen. Their ranks swell with worthy warriors and their very name strikes fear into the hearts of all who reside along that great river and beyond. But whatever power that demon may have given to Freed, it is rumored it took much of his humanity away. Even by the standards of the Badlanders, Freed is known to be almost sadistic in the eradication of the Packs competition, targeting families, rather than soldiers in many cases. He rules his Pack through a mixture of fear and respect, and his abilities in combat are said to be almost supernatural, having felled innumerable foes with his dual Rippers.
Redtooth was a deadly Badlander markswoman that was responsible for the deaths of many Legion officers in the Midwest. After her Pack was butchered by Legion forces when she was off completing her Hunters Rite, she swore an oath of vengeance that she held true to more than twenty years later. No group of Legion assassins managed to track her down and any of the many bounty hunters local Legion forces hired came back with their eyes plucked out. However, she was eventually brought to heel by agents of the Fumentarii, who then brought her in chains to the coliseum of Flagstaff, to fight and die for the amusement of the Legion. Such a move would prove to be folly however, as after a year of fighting daily for her life, Redtooth fomented a gladiator revolt that spilled into the capital of the Legion itself, becoming a slave riot that lasted for days. Though eventually Redtooth and her allies were slain to a man, the Badlander died fighting, hacked to death by Legionaries as she tore out a Centurion's throat with her teeth.
Sludge is an infamous member of the Louisiana Pack, and regarded as one of the best bounty hunters in all of the wasteland. Sludge earned much fame after his Hunters Rite, in which he tracked down and killed an elusive Water Tribal. Such skill destined him for greatness in his pack, however, he would be cast out when he killed a fellow pack member in a dispute over a switchblade, though exile seems to have done little to dampen his spirits. Today he lives to deal death, killing for business and for pleasure, living alone in the bayous and preying on Swampers for easy sustenance. Sludge often finds employment as a bounty hunter, preferring to bring his quarry back dead, usually gutted and decapitated by his trusty machete.
Hoodlum is a young Badlander from the Rio Grande Pack. Hoodlum, unlike most lone Badlanders in the wastes, left his Pack of his own volition (or so he says) to make a name for himself, to be a legend of the wastelands, and will do anything to realize that dream. Though his Pack is known for ignoring the old ways, Hoodlum is an extreme example of this, having almost no care for the traditions of his people and holds no faith in the tales of demons and ancestral spirits. However, he still clings to his mask and lucky charms as his prized possessions, not only because he, as any Badlander, would feel naked without his trinkets, but because they are the key to his 'image'. Hoodlum is vain, cocksure, and extremely loud, often at odds with the typical image of the stoic and savage Badlander. However, his boasts are not all for show, as it has been proven time and time again that Hoodlum is by far one of the most deadly individuals in the wasteland, having killed warlords and legendary monsters alike in his short career as a mercenary. Hoodlum is noted for his easily bruised ego, and just as famous for the extremely violent outbursts that result from such a slight. He has become fairly wealthy over the years, though he blows every cap he ever makes on better weapons and flashier outfits. Hoodlum never stays long in one place, always roaming the wastes, ever eager for an opportunity to sake his need for adventure and excitement. (and beautiful women) Though he talks about looking out for only 'numero uno', the wastes gets lonely, and he has often grouped up with other adventurers, either for pay, or for pleasure.
A quiet and introverted Badlander from the Highway Pack, Spook is a traveling chef and occasionally assassin, his only friends in the world being his Dart Gun, some odd Cookbooks, and a pet Golden Gecko, Hurley. Though he returned successful from his Hunters Rite, Spook would leave his pack behind to wander the wastes, his only real anchor to his people being his aged mother who passed away from sickness while her son was away. His fellow Badlanders considered Spook too meek and sickly to ever truly belong in the tribe, and while they would not cast him out, his departure was met with indifference.
While appearing rather unintimidating with his stuttering and lithe frame, Spook is quite dangerous, having an unbelievable plethora of knowledge regarding poisons and toxins, both natural and man-made. His Dart Gun is loaded with various poisons, many he engineered himself. His bookish demeanor also belies his dangerous ability in hand to hand combat, where his surgical precision with his trusty Machete can be devastating when coupled with his uncanny sneaking ability. In addition to these easily applicable skills, Spook is also an excellent cook and impromptu medic, having taken an early interest in the culinary and healing arts in his youth. Spook makes a living as a hunter and caravan guard, his Badlander pedigree being more than enough to get hired by caravan, if they get past his ominous stare and odd fascination with insects and poisons.
Caesar's Legion- The Badlanders were, at first, considered little more than another tribe by the Legion, and dealt with accordingly. However, little did the Legionaries at Buford Ridge know what an enemy they had made. While the Badlanders would have initially left the Legion be, their size and marital nature marking them as potential allies, they spilled first blood and made themselves the enemy of the entire tribe, and would be shown no respite until the last Badlander is dead. Packs all across the lower forty-eight now routinely attack the Legion's holdings, striking at ill defended outposts or raiding caravans chartered by the Legion. While this is generally considered a mere nuisance, the tenacity and boldness of Badlander raids remains an issue the Legion as a whole is hamstrung to deal with.
However, with the destruction of the Arizona Pack, Legate Lanius has cemented himself as the Bane of the Badlanders. The Monster of the East's uncompromising, brutal style of command and utter fear he inspires in his Legionaries, combined with a firm understanding of pre-war military strategy, has given him a deep insight into the Badlander way of war. Spending his underling's lives with aplomb, Lanius has learned how to strike consistently at the Badlander's bases, ensuring that no pack can ever lay claim to Legion territory again or hope to engage in a protracted campaign deep into Legion territory. As the Legion's borders continue to expand, there may soon come a day when the packs are driven from the Midwest entirely.
Swampers- The Louisiana and Rio Grande Packs sworn enemy and chosen prey item, the Swampers have been natural enemies of the Badlanders in their area due to their territorial ways and habit of angering those with the caps to hire the Badlanders. Though Swampers often outnumber packs, the packs usually have better training and weaponry, making the rivalry rather one sided, as Badlanders will freely raid Swamper settlements and then retreat before their warriors can even arrive to the fight.
Tribals- Badlander's mercilessly prey on other tribal groups, taking advantage of their superior training and weaponry, even a large tribe is usually incapable of fending off a pack of Badlanders on the warpath. Tribals usually have little value to the Badlanders save for their supplies and occasionally their flesh and blood. However, some enterprising packs have taken to the slave trade, and prey upon tribals as a stable form of income. While the Badlanders prefer to victimize tribals rather than wipe them out wholesale, if the tribe has attempted to make a defiant stand or if the pack of Badlanders is particularly vicious, they will think nothing of committing virtual genocide.
The Brotherhood of Steel- The Brotherhood of Steel and the Badlanders have had various dealings, many of them hostile, but this has not always been the case. While the D.C. Pack made enemies of the East Coast Brotherhood, seeing that particular chapter as weak due to their thinning numbers and repeated defeats at the hands of Super Mutants at the time, the Midwestern Brotherhood managed to broker lasting peace with several packs, including the vicious Skintaker Pack. In general, Badlanders would prefer to pick off small bands of Power Armored foes, using their speed and surprise to overwhelm and slay their outnumbered foes, then pick them clean of their advanced gear. In the end, Badlanders have no use for power armor, but know many other groups who would, and would also pay handsomely for it. However, if the Brotherhood Chapter in question appears to be in a position of strength, Badlanders will quickly see if the Brotherhood is interested in hiring mercenaries and scouts in exchange for ammunition or perhaps the odd laser weapon.
Brotherhood opinion is split, with all groups east of the Mississippi generally considering them loathsome, dangerous raiders to be exterminated on sight alongside Super Mutants and Feral Ghouls. Most groups in the Midwest, however, see them as unpopular but useful allies, often hiring Badlander scouts to survey points of interest for pre-war technology without risking Brotherhood personnel.
New California Republic- The NCR and the Badlanders have eked out a mutually beneficial relationship for almost a century now, the Twin Pines pack's shrewd estimation of the NCRs military capabilities having now payed dividends that the entire tribe continues to enjoy. Even the near mythical warriors of the Alaska Pack do well to respect the laws of the NCR when in their lands, and this is simply because the tribe as a whole long ago decided that it is better to befriend the bear than anger it. The NCR has nigh limitless wealth from the perspective of the Badlanders, and the Badlanders are amongst the most sought after mercenaries in the wasteland. In turn, while the public opinion of the civilian population of the NCR's heartland view the Badlanders with disgust as barely better than even the most degenerate raider, the peoples of the NCR's border colonies view them as a necessary evil. There are a scant handful of given men in any Oregon border town who can truly say he as come to grips with a mighty deathclaw and slain the beast, but such a feat is more often than not a matter of course for a seasoned Badlander warrior.
Thus, as Badlanders are always eager to work for base supplies such as ammunition and medicine, many a stranded settlement facing their doom at the hands of raiders, tribals, and deadly beasts have been saved solely by the hands of Badlanders. Furthermore, the NCR military remains the most prolific employer in the entire wasteland of Badlanders, with much of the NCR's seasoned top brass valuing the efficiency and ironclad loyalty of the Badlanders over any tribal taboo. Many of the NCR's conquest in Oregon would simply have been impossible without the Badlanders, as these mercenaries allow an NCR officer to easily cut through the red tape of NCR bureaucracy by signing over a few caches of chems or weapons in exchange for a problem solved.