|Motto:||"Nous devons toujours honorer" ("We must always honor")|
|Location(s):||New Castle, Delaware|
|Goals:||Accumulate wealth and political power|
|Enemies:||Five Families of Atlantic City|
The history of the Vernon family in America goes back many, many years. The family is actually of French aristocratic origins, having owned an estate in the northwest of the country. Bernard Vernon, the youngest son of the family patriarch, was a pen pal of Thomas Jefferson, and the American politician convinced his friend to aid the American cause during the American revolution. Bernard received his father’s blessings- along with a considerable monetary gift- and sailed for America to help in the Revolutionary War. He had very little impact in how the conflict went, as he arrived only two months before the war ended.
Vernon settled in Maryland at the behest of Jefferson, buying a plot of land not too far from Monticello. Jefferson was elected President of the United States not too long after, and he hooked his friend up, appointing as a judge and helping him win local office. By the turn of the 19th century, the Vernon family was among the preeminent political families in the state.
When the Civil War broke out in the 1860s, there was a schism in the family. Guy Vernon, the son of Bernard, was a believer in the Confederate cause of slavery, while his son, Charles, was a believer of abolitionist cause. This mirrored the divide that the state itself found itself in, straddled between North and South, with the population divided and thousands signing up to join the armies of both sides. Charles and a handful of more progressive family members left the Vernon family estate for nearby Delaware, a non-slave state. The move would prove life-saving, as the Vernons that stayed in Maryland were virtually all killed during the war.
In the aftermath of the Civil War, Charles Vernon became involved in the local politics of his new home. Members of the family would go on to hold municipal and state offices in Delaware, and some would even go on to represent the state in different assemblies at the federal level.
In the last days of Pre-War America, Albert Vernon was a U.S. Senator representing the state of Delaware. As a member of the Senate, he voted to authorize Project: Safehouse in 2054, and voted to annex Canada into the Union in 2076. As a member of the political elite of America at the time, he also had access to “inside knowledge” and knew that there was a heightened chance for nuclear war in the wake of China’s defeat in the Resource Wars. He contracted Pulowski Preservation Services, manufacturers of the famous Pulowski Preservation shelter, to build a large fallout bunker, similar to a Vault-Tec’s Vault, beneath his office in Wilmington, Deleware. Senator Vernon, along with a handful of family members, campaign staffers, and office workers, were in the office when the Great War began and China launched nuclear missiles at the United States. They had enough time to make it into the shelter below, along with a small number of nearby civilians Senator Vernon was kind enough to take in and give shelter to.
Founding New Castle
Monitoring the situation from their underground bunker using short-wave radios, Vernon and the small band of survivors did not emerge from the shelter for almost two years. When they did, they only left to make supply runs and to search for survivors. Until the turn of the 22nd century, that was more or less how the survivors lived. In 2102, the bunker came under attack by a group of roaming raiders that followed a supply run party back to the shelter. While the raiders were driven away, the bunker itself sustained damage that rendered it indefensible. The aging Albert and his group of some 75 survivors were forced to leave it behind and expose themselves to the danger of the wastes.
One of the final acts Albert Vernon made before dying was to start construction on a new home in the ruins of Delaware. Possessing a degree in medieval history, the former politician reasoned that, just like during the Middle Ages, a castle would be the best kind of fortification against the dangers the Post-War world presented. Just before his death, he worked out the logistics of constructing a fortified city. His son, Stephan, followed through with the plan, and in the year 2123, construction on the settlement of New Castle, constructed on the bank of the Delaware River in the ruins of the former city with the same name ended.
Coming Into Power
The Vernon family went from simply surviving in the wastes to carving out a niche of their own when construction on New Castle ended. With a fortified and relatively safe place to live, the survivors were free to begin exploring the new world. Over the next few years, two pivotal events would occur that would shape Clan Vernon’s role in the Post-War world.
In 2130, the waters of the Atlantic Ocean receded, exposing the ruins of Atlantic City. One of the closest permanent settlements, Andre Vernon decided to fund an expedition to explore and plunder the city, adding its lost wealth to the growing coffers of the Vernon family. In 2134 a small army of hired mercenaries was sent to the city, to deal with the mirelurks living in the ruins and to explore what was left. The mercenaries did indeed find Pre-War riches, but betrayed the Vernons, keeping the spoils for themselves and taking over the ruins of the city. Andre Vernon found his hands tied, unable to do much to the men and women that betrayed him, but swore revenge.
Happening concurrently, a group of explorers from New Castle came into contact with members of the Kutya Tribe in 2133. This meeting would change the fortunes of Clan Vernon, literally making them a fortune. While the Kutya were no more special than any tribal group living in Post-War America, they possessed a product that was quite special. Upon returning to New Castle, the explorers told their Vernon sponsors of a substance that the Kutya produced to celebrate special occasions. Made of rotten punga fruit, Atlantic Ocean water, and swamp methane gas, the resulting paste produced a sense of euphoria beyond explanation. Andre Vernon, himself a closet chem addict, was immediately intrigued.
The Vernon sent a delegation to the Kutya and invited representatives of the tribal group back to New Castle, to form a pact with each other. The Kutya accepted and the two groups forged an alliance that stands to this day. In exchange for regular shipments of the punga/ocean water/methane mixture, Clan Vernon would provide the Kutya with weapons, armor, and other assistance to help them fight off the other tribal groups on the Cape of Delaware and Eastern Shore of Maryland. After initially using the substance himself, Andre Vernon realized that it could be marketed with some slight modifications. After a few years of experimentation, Clan Vernon perfected the synthesization of the substance and in 2141 began selling the chem they called ‘up’ on the market.
In the years since, Clan Vernon has made a fortune on selling up. New Castle is a safe, thriving community and the Vernons are firmly entrenched in its power structure.
Membership of the actual Vernon family is limited to blood, but through business associations and other relationships, Clan Vernon is much larger. There are roughly 24 blood members of the Vernon family still alive, plus a handful of recognized and unrecognized bastard children of family members. Charles Vernon is the current patriarch of the family, with his son, Alexander as his next in line.
In-laws and close ties based on the bonds of friendship make up the next layer of the group. In most cases, these individuals are seen as just as important as actual members of the Vernon family, but simply don’t have Vernon blood in their veins. Examples include Godfrey St. John, the husband of Charles Vernon’s sister, and Chuptank, the chief of the Kutya Tribe.
Business relationships without any deeper meaning make up the last layer of Clan Vernon. These individuals make up the largest cross-section of group. For-profit, they do the will of the family. They have no real allegiance to the family other than caps or the danger of having Clan Vernon as an enemy.
Activities & Interests
The main goal of Clan Vernon is to keep stay in power. They achieve this through various means, with normal political maneuvering and posturing and their booming chem business. Centered in Delaware, the Vernon’s are interested in expanding their influence into Maryland, southern New Jersey, and southeastern Pennsylvania.
The Vernons are one of, if not the richest and most politically powerful groups in Delaware, and as a result, they are both feared and respected by those living in the state.
Clan Vernon has strong, virtually inseparable ties to the Kutya Tribe, a group of tribals living on the border of Maryland’s Eastern Shore and the Cape of Delaware. It is from the Kutya that the Vernon’s get their supply of up, an addictive chem that they sell up and down the mid-Atlantic coast, from the Capital Wasteland all the way north to the Commonwealth.
Clan Vernon considers Atlantic City to be theirs and have been waging a low-level cold war on the Five Families of Atlantic City ever since the original five founders of the city betrayed the Vernons and took the city and its treasures for themselves. The Vernons would never outright attack the New Jersey city, since they covet it. Instead, they peddle drugs there, pay mercenaries to harass the business interests of the Five Families outside the city and generally do whatever they can to cut into their bottom line and destabilize their political stranglehold on the city.