Work in Progress
This article is a work in progress.
|A typical symbol used to denote Swampers as a whole|
|Group type:||Post-War Ethnic Group.|
|Leader:||Clan by clan basis.|
|Location(s):||Swamps and Bayou's along the Gulf Coast of the United States.|
|Allies:||Clan by Clan basis.|
|Enemies:||Clan by Clan basis, Klansmen Confederacy, The Royaume, Brethren of the Shroud|
Swampers are descended from the poor, rural and uneducated folk that lived near the swamps and bayous that made up the Gulf Coastline of the Southern United States. As they did not live in a strategic area they were not bombed during The Great War. Similar to the rest of the post-war United States chaos and looting affected the proto-Swampers and in an effort for easier survival many retreated to the local swamps and bayous for protection.
As the generations passed after The Great War, the offspring of those that fled into the swamps became the Swampers. Due to the physical isolation of living in the Swamps, an area most do not consider to be "valuable property", they were more or less alone. The isolation from the wasteland at large was only magnified within the large and sprawling swamps. It was difficult to travel from settlement to settlement because of the mutated creatures that found the aquatic environment suitable, the distance between settlements and the environment itself not lending itself to quick travel.
As a result Swampers in specific geographic areas banded together in "clans" for mutual survival. As the families in these new clans intermarried and had children, the clans become more and more of a large family unit rather than the geographic happenstance of the first clans. As the clan became the dominant unit of Swamper society conflict between different clans became common as the fight for resources such as prime hunting grounds, suitable land for limited agriculture, or caches of pre-war supplies intensified as the Great War became more and more of a distant memory.
Endemic warfare quickly became a daily fact of life for the Swampers. The Swampers, in part justification for the acts of violence they committed and in part creating a permanent casus belli, formed a new religion out of their new life in the Swamps. It is explained in the appropriate section below. The religion spread quickly throughout the Swamps despite most Swamper interactions being of the hostile variety with each other and it quickly and largely superseded pre-war Christianity as the dominant religion in the Swamps. Despite the clan differences, religion and an overall Swamper culture became a unifying factor for the Swampers.
Swampers were well known for their raids outside of the Swamps, at times sometimes quite a distance away from their native Swamps. Raids were considered to be one of the best ways to obtain supplies for the clan with medical supplies, firearms and pre-war foodstuffs like Blaze Pizza in particular being highly valuable. Stories of Swamper raiders descending upon sleepy towns in the wee hours of the morning or at the darkest of nights fueled wasteland imaginations and in a few cases post-war romance novels where the trope of the romantic but barbaric Swamper was tamed by the beautiful and patient wastelander after she was taken away in a raid was created. Although the targets of the raids varied the Klansmen Confederacy was a common target due to their location near the Swamps.
In 2165, Swamper raiders defeated the Klan Lincoln Chapter militia in battle. As a response the Klansmen Confederacy sent an army of sixty men into the Swamps to deal with the problem the next year in 2166. The force caught Swamps by surprise as this was the first organized attempt to invade the Swamps, the First Park War. It forced local Clan leaders to band together to defeat the force, as only a few of the largest clans could outright match the force on their own. Despite a few earlier victories in skirmishes the Klansmen Confederacy were lulled into a trap deep into the swamp; where the combined clan forces of one hundred and twenty ambushed them. Trapped in an environment which do not favor firearms the Klansmen were killed down to a tee. Although the coalition broke down when fights broke up the spoils of the loot; it was an important moment in the history of the Swamps and led to the general consensus that if "outsiders" invade the Swamps then all clans will set aside their differences temporarily to deal with the issue.
In 2230 missionaries from the Brethren of the Shroud entered the Swamps
The Swamps Massacre of 2268 was a particularly important event that helped shape the Swampers into what they are today. A section of Royaume Gendarmeries entered the Swamps, exploring the territory. After clan scouts reported to their respective heads, a small coalition of Swamper from several nearby clans set out to meet them and repulse them from the swamps. Despite the fact that the Swampers knew the territory and heavily outnumbered the Gendarmeries, the forty-plus force of Swamper warriors were massacred down to the last man by the sixteen-man Gendarmerie scouting patrol. The Gendarmeries suffered no casualties. The small skirmish sent shockwaves throughout the Swamps as well as severely damaging the local male population. With word reaching even the farthest edge of the Swamps that the, to them, unknown soldiers that had invaded their Swamps and didn't receive a single casualty enraged many Swamper clan leaders. Despite the fact that most Swamper clans weren't near the location of the skirmish or intrusion, Clan leaders knew that they couldn't let this event pass by without fighting back. If they did let the event pass, larger and organized groups may attempt to enter the Swamps at a frequent rate. As such, Clan leaders from across the Swamps created a temporary alliance for one purpose; to push the Royaume out.
Within months of the massacre, a large force of Swampers was sighted outside of The Big Easy. Although the city had faced a few Swamper raids from time to time, this particular raid was different to say the very least. At least eight hundred Swampers from various clans in Texas and Louisiana were assembled outside of the city. The Swampers cut off the main points of entry to New Orleans and waited. For two days, the Swampers slung insults at the defenders and made preparations to invade the city including building a makeshift battering ram and ladders. On the third day, the Swampers assaulted the city. At first the Swampers seemed to have the advantage. The battering ram made it to the gate and had began to slam itself up against the improvised gate that separated the Swampers to the rest of New Orleans. However, the Swampers general lack of firearms again pushed them away from New Orleans once the Gendarmies managed to set several machine gun nests in over-watch positions near the gates. Once the Swampers broke through the gates, they were cut down in a hail of lead. The remaining Swampers retreated back into the Swamps shortly thereafter. Despite the fact that they suffered nearly forty-percent casualties, most of the wasteland was shocked about the development. How could a group of, to what most of the Wastes considered, a group of inbred Tribals nearly win against an army? Swampers grew their already infamous reputation, the subject of various horror stories about how they eat the ones that they kill or how there all secretly related to one another. Some of it was even true.
The Swampers continue to inhabit the Swamps, following their own religion. For the most part, they are content to stay inside of the Swamps and fight amongst themselves. However, various Clan leaders have been launching raids into the wasteland at large at an alarming frequency. Some outside of the Swamps views this as the Swampers wanting to launch a full scale invasion of the wasteland. Others view this as a few Swamper clan's looking outside of the Swamps for local, easy prey.
Swampers, for the most part, are blunt people. They speak their mind and often choose to settle their arguments through violence. Religion also plays a heavy part in Swamper culture, with Swamper's following a post-war religion of their own making.
As mentioned earlier, violence plays a huge role in Swamper culture. With Swampers fighting amongst themselves and against outside foes, it seemed only natural that violence began a norm rather than the exception. Males are expected to learn how to use the various improvised melee weapons that the Swampers prefer, along with learning a fighting style known as Swamper Boxing. Swamper Boxing is a mish-mash of boxing techniques, bar-brawl fighting, and wrestling mixed in together. Swamper Boxing focuses on pure power, with the goal to knock out an opponent as soon as possible. The fights themselves can be long and drawn out, as both fighters stand and swap punches with one another until one knocks the other out. Fathers are expected to teach Swamper Boxing to their sons as a rite of manhood.
As for sports, Swampers often play fight with one another when they aren't busy. However, they are largely concerned with survival and as a result, they don't have much time to actually have "play" fight.
Swamper Clans are a group of interrelated family's living in a shared geographic area that swore to protect one another and consolidate whatever land they owned in the Swamps in order to increase their own power. The various Swamper clans ,almost innumerable to count, are fiercely independent of one another and often engage in conflict for resources, dry land, and prime hunting grounds with each other. Although some clans do sign various peace treaties and engage in alliances, these are often short lived and only last until both sides realize that they'd rather just have each others stuff.
The Swamper Clans originally grew out of the immediate need for protection following the Great War. Once the people who would become the Swampers moved into their namesake swamps, they quickly discovered that most family's wouldn't be able to survive alone (considering the various mutated beasts and unhealthy conditions). As such they slowly began to branch out to their neighbors, forming various support networks and coming to their aid if others (such as animals attacking their homestead or other Swampers attempting to take their supplies) attacked. Over time, these various informal agreements became cemented through intermarriage; thus resulting in the clans that there is today.
Clans often live together in small hamlets called "parks". These are fortified compounds, built on whatever dry land possible, with several dozen people living inside of the walls. Most clans only own a single park, with scattered homesteads throughout their holdings. Most Swampers choose to live inside of these parks, as they offer the best defense from rival war parties and from the beasts of the swamps. Swampers that chose to live outside of the parks are regarded as eccentric, as they chose to live outside of the immediate support structure and defense of the rest of the clan. However, they are still invited back to the park whenever they chose, and these homesteaders often provide valuable supplies from within the swamps that those living inside of the parks cannot attain without considerably more effort from them.
The Clans themselves take the last names of one of the early leaders of the clan, even if the family that was originally in charge of the clan is no longer in charge. The Clans also choose to mark their boundaries in a variety of ways, often with various improvised signs with the clan's chosen symbol, stacks of both human and mutated animal skulls mounted on posts, or various other ways. A clan's symbol is often determined on where they are at in the Swamps. For example, a Clan who inhabits an area with a large population of mutated alligators might choose to use an alligator's open maw as a symbol; while a clan who resides in a area where it is flooding prone might choose to have a small wave as a symbol (however crudely drawn it may be.)
Social Rank in Clans
There are five social ranks within a clans structure. Despite the differences between clans this sort of social structure is
Clan leader Warriors - Shamans Avg person Beta types
The vast majority of Swampers follow a religion of of their own creation. The Swamper religion has no actual name and is refereed to by Swampers as "the Way", "the Truth", "the Path" etc. The religion spread quickly through the Swamps despite the disjointed nature of Swamper society.
A monotheistic religion, "the Way" teaches that the world was created by an all-powerful being known as "Draun". Originally a kind and loving god Draun watched as his prime creation, Humans, grew to be cruel and violent towards one another. Overtime his creations no longer heeded his words. Draun grew to be angry and hateful; eventually engulfing the world in a great fire to cleanse the world of his creation.
However at the last second Draun felt great compassion for the people that had followed him since the beginning and told them to head to the Swamps where they shall be protected. The faithful heeded his warnings and survived the Great Fire. However the unfaithful were like cockroaches and also managed to survive using unholy means to continue their blasphemous ways.
Greatly angered by the fact the nonbelievers survived Draun prepared a second and final great fire to destroy all of his creations. However the faithful made a case to Draun for their survival to which Draun issued his great proclamation; only blood spilled in his name shall protect the Swampers when the second and final great fire returns.
Due to the apocalyptic message of the religion, it is easy to see why Swampers are particularly violent in comparison to the wasteland at large. In a Swamper mindset a battle regardless who against is apart of an epic storyline in defending their people from the wrath of an angry god. As a result of these beliefs the wasteland near the Swamps have occasionally been rocked by a Draun's Will which is a mixture of a large scale raid, crusade, and debauched warpath undertaken by Swamper clans through the "normal" wasteland. As the blood of unbelievers is "worth more spilled" than the blood of believers a Draun's Will seeks to inflict as many casualties as possible before it runs out of steam. A Draun's Will is typically called by a particularly powerful Clan leader or Priest. After a Draun's Will is called other clans flock to it as a chance to increase their standings as well as to gain valuable loot on the raid. Swampers engaged in a Draun's Will rather than a normal raid can be told apart by the application of blue facepaint.
Swamper Priests are well respected within their community. They are rather shamanistic in nature; overseeing animal scarifies to Draun, along with serving as a sort of 'witch doctor' to cast out spirits that have possessed Swampers. They also work to solve physical sicknesses and battle wounds; often using roots and other natural alms to heal the sick or wounded. Priests often lead their clan in mass prayers in an attempt to gain the eye of Draun and bless the Clan's warriors before they go off on a raid. Some Swamper Priests are believed to be able to see the future, and those that have their predictions come true often find themselves courted by a variety of clan leaders in order to predict their own future.
Swampers that convert away from their religion, are viewed with mistrust and disdain by other Swampers. They believe that Ghouls as those that had converted away from Swamper religion and are now doomed to a life of agony, being forced to walk the areas outside of the Swamps forever, never being able to satisfy hunger nor thirst, and having the wounds covering their body (inflicted by Draun himself) that will continue to inflict pain until they are killed by a faithful and eventually having their skin fall off. As a result, Swampers kill whatever Ghouls they see in an attempt to release them from their eternal pain.
Marriage and Funerals
Marriage follows a strict set of rules. First, the groom must secure permission from the family of the woman he wishes to marry. If they accept, then the groom will be allowed to ask for the woman's hand in marriage. If they do not accept, the groom has the challenge of fighting the father for the right of marriage in an unarmed match. If the suitor in successful or at least impresses the father during the fight, then he may proceed with asking the woman's hand. If the women accepts the groom's offer the marriage often is completed within the following week.
The marriage itself is a simple affair. Both the groom and the bridge are married within their clan's park, overseen by both their clan's leader and priest. They both are expected to dress in the best clothes they have, and the majority of the clan has been often present for such ceremony's. Both the bride and groom start the ceremony by offering up sacrifices to Draun with the larger sacrifice being seen as more impressive. The priest, after the items are sacrificed, leads the clan in prayer; asking both the gods to look over the couple. After the prayer is finished, the clan leader then gives his blessing over the marriage the new couple engages in a post-wedding celebration with the rest of the clan for a few hours to a few days depending on the circumstances before retiring to their new homes (often the groom's parent's home). Gifts are not typical of a Swamper marriage, as most Swampers believe that whatever the couple earns should be of their own work rather than others.
Polygamous marriages are only common amongst clan leaders. They are really the only ones inside of the Swamper community with the resources to support multiple wives, as most Swampers struggle with a basic day to day existence.
Funerals, as with marriage, are simple. The dead Swamper, either male or female, are placed on a small funeral pyre. Those that knew him or her well often say a few words about their life, with the surviving spouse lighting the funeral pyre at the end. If a spouse isn't alive, then a close friend is often nominated to do it. If a body isn't present then the funeral pyre has an effigy placed atop it.
Rite of Manhood
About the time a Swamper boy is fourteen, his father give's him a sharpened stick known as a Whomprat poker. A families whomprat poker is passed down from generation to generation, and is highly decorated according to the last generations whims and preferences. Tied at the end of the stick is a string with some sort of trophy according to the threats that have been killed by the previous user such as a Grator's jaw, part of a Mirelurks shell, and so on. Losing the whomprat poker is a source of shame for families, and in a handful of cases lead to the person who lost the whomprat poker to commit suicide.
The Swamper Rite of Manhood is when a young Swamper boy, armed only with a whomprat poker, must venture out into the swamps and kill the largest and most dangerous animal he can. It's a highly dangerous task and has led many to become seriously maimed or even killed. Although it doesn't matter what kind of animal is killed, most fathers encourage their children to go after the largest ones in order to bring honor to their individual family. It can take anywhere from hours to days depending on the circumstances. Afterwards, once the boy returns with proof that he had killed the animal, he is deemed to be a man within Swamper culture.
Women, on the other hand, have no such ritual. Rather, they are all considered to be girls until they are asked for their hand in marriage which is when they become a woman. As such, women are encouraged to marry as soon as they can in order to lose their "girl" status within the clan and become a woman.
- Dead-Eye Dick: A Louisiana Swamper, legendary marksman and next-to-last survivor of his clan; Dead-Eye is a crazed scourge that gives most other Swampers pause.
- Ellis Colbeck: A Texas Swamper, mercenary, and future "King of the Texas Swamps."
- Shifty Dick: Scholar. Visionary. Man of letters. Shifty is the next-to-last survivor of his clan along with his cousin Dead-Eye.
- "We offer them two choices: the serenity of our rule or the tranquility of the grave."
- ―Sa Majesté le Roi Jérôme Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Devereux; King of New Orleans, Protector of Acadiana
- "Bushwhacking monkeys are good eating once you get past the smell."
- ―Unknown Badlanders Warrior of the Louisiana Pack
- "Not a damn one of them kills me and lives. "
- ― Nathan Lewis Clark; Grand Wizard of the Klansmen Confederacy after being fatally shot by a swamper
- "Ta' hell is a 'tran-quilt-ah-tee'? Some faggot ass blanket or something?"
- ―Bubba Jay, Priest for Clan Conaughey, in response to Sa Majesté le Roi Jérôme Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Devereux's ultimatum to the Swampers
- "Har har har, 'ey Billeh their white robes made 'em look like they pooped themselves with dey Swamp mud on it."
- ―Partial conversation recorded during the First Park War