|Government Type:||Loose Hierarchy|
|Group Type:||Raider-Mercenary Band|
|Location:||Bridge of the Gods, Cascadia|
|Notable Members:||Shiv, Smasher, Janice|
|Goals:||Destroy Twin Pines Badlander pack, keep NCR out of Cascadia|
|Allies:||Sons of Liberty, some Oregon tribals.|
|Enemies:||NCR, Twin Pines Badlanders, FNA, New Order|
|Status:||Guarding the bridge and plotting revenge|
A group of Badlanders that have "gone native", the Degenerates consider themselves the true heirs of the Twin Pines name and banner. This feud has its origins in the Degenerates' founding, as well as resulting from the NCR's close ties with the pack.
The Degenerates have their start in a warband of the Twin Pines Badlander Pack, contracted to purge a section of downtown Seattle of raiders. The thirty-strong group were arrogant in their estimations of the raiders' capabilities, and simply rode in on their motorbikes. The resulting noise and spectacle attracted the attention of several gangs and the mercenaries quickly found themselves surrounded. After running low on ammunition the Badlanders made the decision to scatter and fled in separate directions. Six of the remaining twenty-five would be killed or captured during the break-out, but the survivors managed to escape into the ruins.
Alone or in pairs, the Badlanders navigated the ruins, the more honor-bound trying to ambush the pursuing raiders, the pragmatic simply trying to return home. A handful of the later, including Smasher, managed to reconnect in south Seattle and sheltered in a Super Duper Mart for the night. Smasher rallied and shame the survivors, telling them they could only expect exile and death if they returned to the pack as failures. He told them that they had to fight, which the mercenaries took to heart as they prepared to ambush their pursuers.
Expecting the Badlanders to continue running, the raiders were routed the next morning, and the survivors were captured and interrogated. They pried the location of several caches before killing the raiders, then move onto the supplies. Now armed and resupplied, the Badlanders attacked a gang's hangout, killing the remaining members of the crew. They then approached another gang, this time offering the olive branch instead of lead.
The leader laughed at the offer and was shot in the head and the badlanders prepared to shoot the rest. Now much more receptive, the raiders agreed to aid the badlanders and as a sign of unity, Smasher led the gang in an attack on their rivals. Another ambush, this encounter would be an easy victory for the Badlanders, who then promptly turned on their assistants. Now with some breathing room and managing part of his contract, Smasher moved his people back to the Super Duper Mart, and sent a runner to update the pack.
After assigning a repair detail Smasher took the remaining manpower back into the ruins, where they disguised themselves as raiders. They laid in wait for a day until they found a suitable target in a patrol of New Order footsoldiers. The mercenaries injured two of the militia before withdrawing, discarding their disguises as they went. Ensuring the safety of his group for some time, Smasher waited on reinforcements and an update.
In the mean time, the remaining mercenaries focused fully on fortifying the Super Duper as they expected another warband to reinforce them. Their expectations soon gave way to disappointment, and then to resentment, as their messenger was killed by Waspoon. When two weeks had passed and no word came, all believed they had been written off. When scouts reported a nearby caravan, Smasher led the entirety of the gang against it, easily overwhelming the guards and merchants. They Feasted on both brahmin and human that night, and pledges of vengeance made.
For the rest of that year, they descended fully into raiderdom, attacking any caravan or gang that exposed itself, and even took to recruiting some of the locals. As they sheltered for the winter, a representative of a smaller gang approached to parlay, and was let inside to see Smasher. The raider offered peace and a small tribute, as her gang wasn't fairing well against their rivals. Smasher was surprised by this turn of events, but was clever enough to take advantage of it. He offered her the chance to join his crew, which was met with skepticism.
The two talked for hours, coming to little agreement before a simple peace was decided and messenger allowed to leave. While Smasher would fail in his attempt to grow his "pack" word spread that his gang would hear offers from rivals. This allowed them to make peace with or destroy several of their rivals by early June, enabling them to recruit and raid freely. This freedom was checked in September however, as a raiding party came under attack by a group of Badlanders. The newcomers thought the masks the raiders were wearing were trophies from their last warband, and pursued them through the ruins to the Super Duper Mart.
The Twin Pines fell back when raiders began to pour out of the Mart, but promised to destroy the "Degenerates" inside. This increased the rage inside Smasher and his band, and he led them on a chase of the Badlanders. The mercenaries tried to defend themselves in a small square, but were quickly be overwhelmed by the chem-fueled raiders. Their bodies were chopped apart and cooked, with the meat shared among the surviving Degenerates. After this, they considered the Twin Pines their blood enemy.
The Degenerates suffered a string of bad luck after this, being repelled by towns and caravans and attacked by other gangs. This culminated in February of 2245, when Smasher was almost assassinated by a group of New Order footsoldiers. Narrowly escaping his death, he returned to their den to see infighting in full force. He announced his return by kicking in the doors, the vibrations echoing over the din of battle. Seeing his followers dead and bloody, fighting each other over ego and power, Smasher knew he needed a succession plan. After looking over his followers however, he realized that none could hold the pack together. Feeling weak from his wounds, he called his raiders together and told them his proposal.
Telling them that their time was running out as a group, and if they continued as is, they would be destroyed. Quieting their murmurs, he went on to say that they had to spread into the city, "giving birth to a true pack" as he put it. He then told them to gather their belongings and prepare for their last raid. Smasher led them against a scavenger camp in the ruins, and ensured that all the inhabitants were slaughtered. Stacking their bodies into a pile, The Degenerates lit them, and their compound, ablaze and retreated into the ruins. Smasher guided them into a Metro station and told them to "disperse among the other gangs, hide, and breed." with that he turned and walked downed a tunnel. The great majority of the raiders simply filed out of the station, murmuring to themselves, while a few followed him into the darkness.
Interim and Brushfire Wars
After this the Degenerates ceased to exist as a unified group for a time, many obeyed Smasher's last directive and joined the local gangs, several formed their own crews while others sought new lives in the area's settlements. Most formed some form of family or at least raised children, and many passed down stories of the pack and Smasher. The individual gangs and crews squabbled amongst themselves in the ruins for the next two decades, until rumors of war came. By that time, most in Seattle were familiar with the New California Republic, either from traders who claimed to be from there, or from migrant tribals and veterans of the Oregon Brushfire Wars.
A few dozen of the Degenerates had already fought in the wars, viewing them as a rite of passage as well a chance to get revenge on their treacherous "cousins." With the start of the War of the Northwestern Alliance, another wave joined and united regardless of previous affiliation. Among them was a young Degenerate named Shiv, whose mother had told him the old legends every night. Shiv and three other youth from his gang made their way to Emerald City to meet up with other Degenerate youths. They were then recruited by Clyde Everett, a mercenary of some fame in the region, into the Free Army.
Everett and his mercenaries headed south to meet up with the newly founded Free Army in Oregon. There they engaged the NCR and their Badlander allies in an escalating series of skirmishes. The Degenerates especially enjoyed fighting the members of Twin Pines pack, often taking their masks and charms where they could. The youth sent news and money home to their gangs and family, which drummed up both support and reinforcements. These pleasant times ended in 2268, when Everett and half the army was killed at Edna's Hill, and the next senior leader Drake Terrenzi took his followers and left. After this command of the warband fell to Shiv.
After looting the fallen and cannibalizing Everett in a show of respect, which further alienated the remaining civilized element, the warband retreated north to recover. They camped at an information station near Cascadia State Park, where they utilized the decrepit radio to call for reinforcements and update the alliance. Shiv also contacted several gangs and Degenerate groups in Seattle, claiming the title of Warboss of all the gangs and demanding their obedience. Few bosses acknowledged the claim, but it resonated with a number of the younger members who went to Shiv's warband. The Warboss broke the gangs up and rearranged the members, trying to foster a sense of unity. He reinforced this by sending his followers on raids against NCR mercenaries and homesteaders, letting them keep the loot they found.
While Shiv specified that only NCR homesteads be harassed, some of his troops would not be as discriminating as their leader and extorted independent farms. This, combined with their abandonment of Edna's Hill and its subsequent capture by Badlanders, further angered many civilized settlers in the region. The Oregon tribals fighting the NCR grew fond of the warband however, and the two groups often coordinated attacks. These clashes only slowed the mercenaries, and the Degenerates soon found themselves under attack. They scattered through the Park, and fought guerrilla for the rest of 2268.
They massed for an attack on badlander in early January, successfully overwhelming the guards and escaping into the wider wasteland. From there they headed North-west, hoping to meet up with other members of the alliance. They happened to encounter a group of hunters from Thallus, who directed the group to Hogansville. From there they were able to radio other members of the Alliance, and were told to stay in their area and harass the mercenaries. Shiv grumbled at this but complied, and continued to skirmish with the NCR's mercenary allies.
Fortune favored them in March when they ambushed and captured a supply caravan headed for a Badlander position. They found crates of medical supplies, which the battle-weary soldiers quickly distributed amongst themselves and their tribal allies. Some sent excess meds and scavenged weapons back to their parent gangs, quietly fueling an arms build-up that summer. At the same time, Shiv's warband further split the tribals from the "civilized" members of the alliance when they helped slaughter a village. The settlers had reportedly started to work with the NCR and it's forces in the region, something that the tribals couldn't stand.
The combined force struck at midnight a week after hearing the rumor, and had destroyed everything by dawn. The attack was celebrated by the alliance initially, believing the village to have joined the NCR, but that view quickly turned as the truth came out. The tribals had actually been in a land dispute with the homesteaders, who refused to leave. Knowing the Degenerates were unaware of the situation, the tribals misled their allies into attacking.
This resulted in a PR nightmare for the alliance, who moved quickly to eject the Degenerates from their forces. This created a small rift as some of the more bloodthirsty tribes protested, and left with the raiders. This group initially continued their attacks on the NCR, until a skirmish with a formerly friendly militia changed their mind. They began to trek north, doing their best to avoid both sides. They camped in the ruins of Dale for a time, where they ran into conflict with a band of scavengers.
Initially planning on just ignoring them, the Degenerates hunted down these scavengers after an attempted raid on the raiders' supplies. This occupied them for an entire month as they then turned to scavenging themselves. In that time they managed to find a repairable radio, and after a few hours, one of the more tech-oriented raiders fixed it.
They then contacted their parent groups and families in Seattle, and were enraged by what they heard. Seeing a chance to eliminate some rivals, the raiders of King's Council launched a series of raids that Spring targeting the Degenerates. Divided and feuding, the gangs were easy pray for the attackers and were soon pushed to the edge of the ruins. Shiv called them south, telling them to meet his warband in Dale.
To accommodate the expected refugees Shiv ordered his followers to clear a section of town, by whatever means. This mainly constituted killing a few feral ghouls and smashing a Roach nest but still gave the other-wise antsy raiders a purpose. The first refugees trickled into town starting in September, and they painted a far bleaker picture than Shiv had previously imagined. Renegade Badlanders from Alaska had left their pack and was pillaging the region, and having heard of the Degenerates' weakness attacked as well, devastating the camps.
The number of refugees that arrived in Dale that fall would be far lower than what the warband had prepared for, and as winter set in, no consensus on a plan was reached. This resulted in a coup attempt that winter while Shiv was hunting, and lead to a fifth of the tribe being killed. Hoping to keep the survivors from fracturing apart, Shiv moved his people east, interrupting the funeral processes. With morale at an all-time low, the Degenerates crossed the Cascades in early February 2270. On the other side of the mountains, they found several unaffiliated tribes and towns, from whom they recruited and raided, refilling their supplies and ranks.
They continued to head east however, and in March they crossed into Idaho. In that dark land, they would start suffering misfortune after misfortune, which was soon imagined as a curse. This fear was soon be solidified after they were attacked by a tribe of mutants in the mountains west of Boise, and forced back after a fierce clash. They would camp in the watershed for a time, trading and skirmishing with the local tribes at times, but often left to their own devices.
As 2270 went on and their booty ran low, the warriors would begin to take on mercenary work, often finding jobs in the city below. A show of force from the Idaho Brotherhood of Steel convinced them to seek greener pastures the next spring, however, as well as an increase in mutant attacks. They headed north from the seemingly cursed city, finding work or pillage as they went. Northern Idaho proved somewhat more welcoming for the raiders, who found several smaller gangs to prey on. These extra hands were a relief to the bloody and battered Degenerates, who had worried about being ground away.
A scouting party happened to encounter a Native trader who, after exchanging goods, invited the Degenerates back to his people's home. Formerly part of the Nez Perce Reservation, the community they went to was nothing like it's pre-war vision. The locals had returned to their way of life before the White man, and had a healthy environment surrounding them. The animals within were a different story, however, and had grown aggressive recently.
Having conducted several expeditions previously, the Natives were leery of risking more of their people and sought outside help. The Degenerates were more than happy to fulfill this role, being eager to be away from Boise. There was some tension between the two groups, as some of the raiders' hobbies would put-off many in the community. Regardless, their first three months were refreshing for the newcomers, who found the place peaceful. Tensions continued however, and the Degenerates were soon considering betrayal.
Their hosts sensed something in the works however and eject the mercenaries shortly after they cleared the last Hill Skunk den. The Degenerates considered attacking the reservation, but lack enough numbers to fight the natives. They continued on after this, becoming raiders after finding a decent camp by a rest stop.
Here they took several caravans and over a dozen travelers, before being attacked by a tribal warband. Despite being armed with primitive weapons the tribals began to push the raiders back, the tide only turning when Shiv and his veterans arrived at the front. The raiders pursued the retreating tribals back to a warcamp and raze it, slaughtering the survivors.
Despite their victory, the Degenerates moved their camp farther northeast before waiting out the winter. They attempted to move east towards Wyoming but were stopped by mutant-tribals a short distance from the border, in early March. The ferocity of the mutant advance pushed the raiders back West, into the mountains of Idaho. Here they wandered from pre-war resort to village, taking what they needed or trading for what they couldn't take. A mudslide struck one of their camps in mid-2273, killing two dozen and scattering three times that number.
It was while the raiders was out looking for survivors that they encountered Janice, a young girl wearing ragged clothes. They initially took her for a tribal and were going to capture her, but Shiv stopped them. The girl looked at them for several moments before turning and walking into the brush. Curious, the Warboss and his guards followed and found a small trail, which eventually led to a partially collapsed Army supply depot. The Raiders were at first excited to see the promise of food, but soon remembered the girl.
They searched the outer buildings cautiously, but after finding no evidence of tribal residents relaxed somewhat. They sent a messenger to find the other raiders and bring them back, while the Warboss and his guards explored further. They found the young girl in the depot's commander's office, sitting on the floor. When she noticed them she smiled, and grabbed the Warboss by the hand, leading him and his guards deeper into the facility.
Regrowth and Return
In the bowels of the facility, they found several dozen cargo containers stacked and rusted, one having already collapsed sometime in the past. Breaking into them, the raiders found a variety of items, from moldy blankets to MREs, but their most significant discovery was a pair of howitzers. The raiders had a large celebration that night, giving out food and chems freely. When they recovered the next morning, they began the process of dragging the field guns outside. This was accomplished after a day of hard dragging, and they then began the task of repairing the guns.
Three days after they arrived, they began to test their weapons, delighting in the destruction of the environment. The noises brought scouts from the nearby tribes, who took stories home of the Degenerates "death-thrower." Emissaries from two tribes approached the supply Depot under a white flag with gifts, and negotiated a peace agreement with the raiders. Others were not so easily swayed and organized war-parties to take the guns. These warbands were detected well before they reached the depot, and the raiders decided to use them as target practice, terrifying one group, and killing much of another after they learned to aim. This event cowed most of the hostile tribes, who offered tributes in exchange for peace.
Now able to relax somewhat, the Degenerates settled into and fortified their new home, chopping down most of the surrounding trees. They even attempted to farm wild seeds, but the Degenerates found that they didn't have the commitment to it. The food contained in the depot proved to be mostly edible however, sparing them the labor. They supplemented this supply with loot from raided caravans, but stayed mainly inside the depot for the next few years. In this time they traded with the tribes, even marring into a few. This peace allowed the raiders to rebuild their numbers, both through births and recruits.
By 2283 the Degenerates had begun to run low on their food supply, and after consultation with their tribal allies reluctantly began mercenary work. Their reputation worked against them at first, and no caravan took them seriously. They started to struggle by July, but off-set this by hunting game around the depot. They would find one reluctant client that August, a former gangster from La Mugre who had played one too many bad hands and was headed northwest. Unable to find any other protection however, he was forced to hire the Degenerates. The man, calling himself O'Henry, was trying to get to Cascadia via the Trail, but was concerned about tribals and vengeful associates.
The raiders take to the trail in force, the majority of whom had never taken orders from a non-raider. Despite some hostility from each other, the first few days of travel were otherwise unremarkable: they crossed into Oregon on August fifteenth, and were near the Washington border on the sixteenth. Hostile tribals would attack shortly after using both guns and rocks but were unable to defeat the raiders. The Degenerates initially started to pursue the attackers to their villages, having forgot about their client, until he fired several shots in the air to regain their attention. The remainder of the trip was tense but quiet, and the two parted amicably in Forrest Heights.
This led to other merchants and travelers hiring the Degenerates to escort them along the trail, and by the next year, the raiders had become mercenaries. They were approached in June of 2284 with their largest contract yet, clearing the Bridge of the Gods for caravan trade. Shiv initially dismissed this, thinking it to be too far away, but was swayed when the representative offered him double the caps as before. Knowing that caravaners from Seattle had the money to back up their talk, Shiv agreed in exchange for an advance of the pay. He then sent messengers to tribal allies informing them of the contract and requesting troops in exchange for a share. The remaining Degenerates were told to prepare to move, and to think of a way to bring the howitzers.
A group of enterprising warriors found several brahmin after a few days, which they attached to the front of the guns to move them. The Degenerates and their allies set off in late June, and made good time west. They were again harassed by the Hard Fish Tribe, but their numbers and firepower warded off every attack. They arrived at the bridge in August and found it moderately well fortified and defended by the Sons of Liberty, and while most mercenaries simply wanted to pound the camp with high-explosive shells, Shiv didn't want to risk destroying the bridge. The Warboss and his honor guard approached the camp under a white flag and sought its commander.
The Degenerate first offered the man a fair promise of surrender despite his memory of their abandonment, stating that the Sons of Liberty would not be attacked or harassed if they voluntarily pulled out from the bridge, but was passionately turned down. Shiv's patience grew short as the militia commander commenced a speech about "duty & loyalty" but became interested when the latter mentioned the Badlanders. Stopping the speech and asking about the group, Shiv was told that the Badlanders, at the behest of the NCR and some caravans, regularly attacked the bridge to dislodge the Sons. The Degenerate leader flew into a rage then, cursing the NCR for their attempted "manipulation" of him and his tribe, and marched back to his awaiting troops.
He would tell them of the militia's story, raising a general sympathy in the ranks, though their tribal allies were far less enthusiastic about losing out on that many caps. Shiv offered those who disagreed the chance to leave, but told everyone who stayed that they were fighting against the Badlanders, whatever the price. The majority of tribals left, along with a few of the more jaded Degenerates, but the large majority supported their leader's vengeance. Shiv then reproached the Sons and offered his group's assistance.
They would receive an okay and the mercenaries set up camp overlooking the bridge. Since then they have helped the Sons garrison repel attacks by the FNA, tribals, mercenaries, and their hated cousins in the Twin Pines Pack. Despite his desire the take the war to this later group, Shiv knows that they lack the numbers and that Yankton was likely taken by the local tribes who continues taking contracts. He has mended some fences with their hosts, though some of his fellow Free Army veterans still remember Edna's Hill and the aftermath in the park. The group is currently preparing for the winter as well as keeping abreast of talk from Seattle, especially in regards to the Alaska Pack.
The first Warboss of the Degenerates, Smasher was the highest-ranked Badlander sent to clear the raiders out of Seattle. Underestimating the native resistance and being quickly overwhelmed, Smasher rallied the remaining Badlanders and sent for reinforcements. When the runner was killed on the way and never returned, Smasher took it as an act of betrayal and swore an oath against the Twin Pines Pack. He is the one responsible for breeding the Degenerates into local raider gangs.
The Current Warboss of the Degenerates, Shiv is a surprisingly soft-spoken man by Degenerate standards, rarely raising his voice or bragging about his past deeds. This contrasts greatly with the savage glee that he takes in combat, and his grimy, unwashed appearance. Originally more boisterous and less political, Shiv would be altered by his time in the Free Army, as well as the expulsion of the Degenerates from Seattle, and their time in Idaho. He will often sit in his shack staring at a map of the region, and plan his revenge against those who have wronged him.
A mysterious teen found in the mountains of Idaho, the then-child revealed herself to Shiv and guided him to the Yorkton Supply Depot, where the group found their beloved howitzers. Some of the more superstitious degenerates believe she is a reincarnated spirit sent to lead them to victory, while the more cynical joke that she is the Warboss' child-bride. Janice herself never addresses the topic, preferring to spend her time gathering food from the wilderness when not in Shiv's tent.
A young raider in the pack, Bone-Nose personifies the growing superstitious worship of the Howitzers, offering trinkets and saying prayers to the guns before firing them, and oiling them religiously afterward. While off-putting to the Degenerates erst-while allies at the bridge, his behavior amuses Shiv who overlooks him.
A young Degenerate fresh out of his hunting rite, on leave in Seattle. Marcos is currently caught in an existential crisis, not seeing the point of the group's bloodshed but not knowing a different option. He has considered going off on his own, but doesn't want to leave his friends at the bridge.
The Degenerates retain several features of their heritage such as a banner and masks, but have adopted native raider habits in place of other ones, such as outsiders being allowed in with the approval of several members as well as a hunter's rite, as well as a lack of fear towards robots. Chems and alcohol are wide-spread throughout the ranks, though slaves are rare mainly among the newer "local" element. They have sanctified the cannibalism of their originators, participating in it at certain ceremonies. Since their time in Idaho, they have developed a fondness for their artillery and explosives in general, and have recently begun to make their own from Bighorner droppings.
The Degenerates posses a hatred of the NCR and Twin Pines pack Badlanders, blaming them for much of their past suffering and shame. This ironically led to the Degenerates taking on mercenary work, as they couldn't fund their war solely by raiding. They have also developed a cult of personality around Shiv, who many view as the only thing that saved them from destruction. While most of their new recruits don't share this view, almost all who had fought in the Brushfire Wars or had been forced out of Seattle do, and a few even view him as the return of their first Warboss.