|Type of Government:||Raider band with quali-mythological overtones|
|Location(s):||The Citadel, Minnesota|
|Notable members:||Decimax, Decimax (II), Vexar (III)|
The origins of the Decimators lie in several smaller Raider groups that were active in the Minnesota region during the early 23rd Century. Dexter Malek had been a member of several such bands, noting that all of them had a number of common factors. While many were focused on raiding and were good at it, very few of them had any sort of long-term goal or viability; no plan to do anything beyond ‘raid and raid again’. Ultimately, he knew that such groups would fall apart one way or another, only to be replaced by other, equally as uninspired and aimless groups.
He sought to change this, to create a force that would have a lasting impact and continue forwards, rather than simply surviving from raid to raid. Dexter felt that way forward was to create a mythology, to make those who would follow him feel like they were a part of something greater. As much as he needed bodies, he also wanted to create the bonds that would not only bring them together, but also allow them to continue forwards.
During 2202, using a combination of brute force, guile, diplomacy and bare-faced lying, Dexter built a collection of loyal followers. These would be his core of loyal supporters, the ones that he knew shared is vision, he recruited other raiders through a variety of means. Some were convinced to join, others were coerced, and others were forced to serve at gunpoint. By the winder of 2203, he had built an army. The next stage was to create the myth that would guide them.
Rise of the Decimators
Malek bought together his most loyal followers, bringing them to a private meeting in the ruins of the pre-war town of Zumbro Falls. He shared his ‘vision’ with them, speaking of ancient warrior-kings who had ruled their lands with unbroken linages across centuries. He claimed that he sought to recreate those traditions, and through them, build a raider empire that would sweep away all before it. In order to ‘empower’ his lieutenants, he bestowed upon them the names of these ancient kings, in essence giving them that same level of prestige and mythological power. Malek himself took then name ‘Decimax’, apparently combining his own name with the Decimator mythology he had created.
Each of them was given a ‘warband’, made up of those raiders that they had bought under their control. They would be allowed to lead them as they saw fit, but they would still swear loyalty to Decimax and follow his instructions. In the advent that one of them died for whatever reason, another would be promoted from within his warband to take his place and inherit his ‘name of power’. This would give them an air of immortality, an unbroken line of these warriors who lived and raided across the decades.
By the time he was finished, seven warbands had been formed, each named for their leader. Besides his own Warband Decimax, the others were Axoid, Exaxes, Nebo, Orbar, Tigon and Vexar. Each one of them would be in turn further shaped by their new leaders into their own vision of what it should be. They extensively trained their soldiers, while indoctrinating them into their mythology, in essence offering them a chance at immortality (after a fashion) by following their lead.
The reign of the warlords
Decimax began his reign by allocating territories to each of the warbands for them to do with as they pleased. His orders made it clear that the Warbands were not to interfere in each other’s business or to fight each other. Any disputes between warbands would be settled by him where possible; otherwise, if the leaders of a warband could not come to an amicable solution, they were instead expected to fight each other. This created an air of responsibility by putting the onus on each of the leaders to resolve problems before their own life was put at risk.
The sole exception to this was Decimax himself, the ‘king of kings’ among their number. In all matters, his word was law, giving him the last say in any matters. Likewise, his warband were held as the ‘prime’ warband, the best of the best who were above all else.
The initial raids went well, with the Decimators proving to be better trained and more capable then the average raider band. Each one of them claimed considerable plunder, be it caps, food, weapons, technology, slaves or whatever else. Decimax was pleased with the results, judging his lieutenants – now known as warlords – as being worthy successors to their ancient forebears. With his blessing, they went forth to continue their actions.
Over the next few years, the Decimators grew in number. In some cases, raiders flocked to their banners; in others, they forced those that they had conquered into their ranks. Each of the Warlords soon had set up their own base camps, their armies roaming further and further as they became more and more powerful, willing to travel further and take bigger risks for greater rewards. A strong sense of competition emerged between the warlords, each one of them seeking to prove that they were the strongest and the most worthy of Decimax’s favour. Soon the Decimators were a plague to the people of the Minnesota region, striking without warning and taking whatever they wanted.
Warlord Orbar fell in battle in 2210, the first of the warlords to be slain. As per the traditions laid down by Decimax, one of his lieutenants was promoted, taking the name Orbar in order to ensure the unbroken line and reinforce the mythology of their immorality. This process would be repeated numerous times, with each fallen warlord replaced by his successor. As years stretched into decades, it became clear to Decimax that his plan was working; the Decimators were remaining a coherent whole, driven forward by their own self-perpetuating mythology.
With this in mind, Decimax made a decision in 2241, one that would shape the entire future of the Decimators. He knew that he was old (now in his late sixties), and that his health was failing him as a result of decades of hard living and battle. Rather than risk becoming a liability, he stepped down as the leader of the Decimators, passing his position and title to his son. Confident in Decimax (II)’s ability to lead, he lived out the last few years of his life as a ‘spiritual elder’, and advisor to the warcheifs. Dexter Malek died in 2245, but he left behind a lasting legacy.
Parts of that legacy would not be as long-lived as he hoped, however. Decimax (II) lacked his father’s vision and much of his leadership skill. While he still commanded the same powers as his father, it became clear that he did not command the same respect. The other warlords paid him lip service, but ever increasingly would chose to ignore his leadership. Many times they would ‘step around’ going to him to resolve a dispute, further eroding his position.
Decimax (II) was aware of this however, and tried to find ways to force the warlords to respect him. He lead a number of major raids over several years while, while netting Warband Decimax considerable wealth, also suffered high casualties due to his own questionable decisions. Rather than reinforcing his position, however, all this did was further undermine it as the other warlords saw him as compensating for his own weaknesses.
Matters came to a head in 2249 after Warband Axoid had suffered severe losses at the hands of the mysterious Minnesota Tribe. Not only had the Tribe defeated them in battle, but they also raided Axoid’s camps, taking or destroying their supplies and liberating a large number of slaves. Warcheif Axoid was humiliated by this loss, but others saw opportunity in it. During the annual Convention, Warcheif Vexar stated that the Minnesota Tribe were such a risk that only their strongest warriors could stop them, citing Axoid’s failure as proof. In essence, he forced Decimax (II) to take them on in order to prove his worth.
Decimax (II) didn’t so much reluctantly agree as he leaped at the opportunity. Leading Warband Decimax north, he marched head-on into the Minnesota Tribe’s territory. As expected, the Tribe rose to the challenge and attacked their would-be invaders. Over the course of a few days, Warband Decimax was utterly destroyed, with only a handful of survivors. Even then, they were completely disempowered, as the Tribe took all their supplies and again freed their slaves. Warband Decimax was no more; the few survivors had little to do beyond report their failure to the remaining Warlords.
The destruction of Warband Decimax and the death of its leader in essence decapitated the Decimators. Their foundation had made no provision for such an event, and there was no real way to decide who would be the next leaders. An emergency Convention was held to try and resolve the issue, but it ended with little progress. The best the Warcheifs could manage was a crude power-sharing agreement where they would vote to resolve issues between them. However, with six warcheifs remaining, there was every chance that such a decision could instead result in a tie with no way to resolve it.
This lead to a fragmentation of the Decimators; while they did still in theory exist under a unified structure, they increasingly had less and less to do with each other. While clashes between warbands did occur, it became rare that any formal effort was taken to resolve disputes. Instead, the Convention became a largely ceremonial event that the leaders attended out of habit then any need to communicate or share ideas; instead it became more important for the trading done between bands than any efforts at planning or crafting a direction for their culture.
It would take another catastrophic event to arrest this decline. At the 2265 convention, Warcheif Tigon announced his intention to extend his Warband’s raids into Illinois, seeking what he saw as richer pickings while also getting further away from the other warbands. While the other Warcheifs were largely indifferent to the idea, Warcheif Vexar advised against it, stating that such a move was potentially too great a risk.
This only seemed to goad Tigon on further, leading to his Warband’s escalating their incursion into a full-scale invasion in an effort to create their own homeland. The result instead was a complete disaster, with Tigon’s forces devastated by the heavy opposition that they met. The warband was crushed, with only a few survivors managing to beat a retreat. While Tigon regrouped and appointed a new warcheif, the result was that they were simply too weak to survive and rebuild. Tigon would suffer a slow, withering death over the next two years as its remaining warriors were worn down simply trying to defend their territories.
The death of Tigon was bought up at the 2267 convention, with Warcheif Vexar citing it as proof that they could not continue without leadership. He proposed that the warcheifs would appoint a leader from among them who would serve a three-year term as the ‘prime’ warcheif. At the end of that period, the warcheifs would vote to see if they should continue with the current leadership or change. As a catch, however, no Warcheif could nominate himself for the position. The others agreed, each seeing it as a way to bring power to their warband while also knowing that there were no better options.
An unexpected nomination and round of voting saw Orbar appointed as ‘prime’. Her reign was largely one of foundation building, seeking to both undo the damage of the last two and a half decades while also laying the groundwork for their new order. While much of her work was functional, it also was not very exciting; as such, she was replaced at the 2270 convention with Vexar.
The last decade and a half has been one of expansion and renewal. With consistent leadership, the Decimators have begun to throw off the lethargy and infighting that dominated them for so long. Instead, they have become more active with more raiding and further roaming across the Midwestern region. For the people of the region, however, this renewed activity has only served to bring further misery.
Since 2279, the Vexar warband have been the ‘Prime’, largely due to their solid leadership and clear direction. For a while, Exaxes was favored to take the 2288 election, however, their recent losses in the Flint River War has substantially weakened their position.
Broadly speaking, the Decimators are Raiders, and share many common traits with them. They are cruel, violent, aggressive and territorial, preferring to take what they want by force rather than work for it. The Decimators see those outside their warbands as either their enemies or targets; there is no room for allies. Mercy is rarely given, save for when taking slaves. However, the Decimators do have several features that make them stand out from more common raiders.
The key founding point that Dexter Malek built the Decimators upon was their mythology. He impressed upon them the idea that they were the heirs to the traditions of great warrior kings of ages past. By imparting their names upon them, he was in essence granting his lieutenants their power and a form of immortality. While the individual may die, the title lives on. Through this, anyone who rises to the rank of warcheif can achieve a form of immortality.
It is this factor that binds the Decimators together, while also giving each and every one of them a greater goal. In theory, any Decimator can become a warcheif, as long as they possess the strength and cunning to do such. And since these titles are effectively immortal, it encourages unity among the members of each warband. Nobody wants to inherit a weak or devalued title, after all. Likewise, the identity of a warlord is inexorably tied to their warband; the success of one is the success of the other.
What Dexter never revealed before his death was that he blatantly stole this mythology whole cloth from a pre-war comic book.
The Convention was established by Decimax as a way of ensuring the continued unity of his creations. The Convention is held at the end of November each year in the Decimators citadel (Formerly Zumbro Falls, Minnesota). During this time, the warcheifs meet to discuss the past year and plan ahead for the next one, while also airing any grievances and seeking to resolve them. During the fragmentary years between 2249 and 2267, these meetings became largely ceremonial with very little actually achieved at them; while every Warcheif still attended, they did so more out of tradition than any real need.
Since the 2267 reformation, the Convention has been renewed. In addition the prior responsibilities, every three years the Warcheifs appoint a new ‘prime’ or, at the very least, renew the term of the current one. This sees a lot of behind the scenes trading and deal-making in order to secure nominations and votes. The Warcheifs cannot abstain from a leadership vote, ensuring that there is no way for there to be a tie for leadership.
The Convention also provides an opportunity for members of different warbands to meet and interact. A lot of trading goes on during the Convention, as well as exchanging information. The Warlords often carefully monitor this activity, eager to not only find out more about events in the region, but also to get a more accurate picture of their supposed allies.
In theory, any human can become a Decimator (Ghouls are not welcome and usually killed on sight); all they need to do is prove that they are capable of doing such. Joining requires a would-be member to undergo a gruelling initiation in order to prove their ‘worth’; failure leads either to enslavement or (more frequently) death.
There is another way to join the Decimators, however. A child of two current members is automatically ‘in’ once they reach adulthood (or close enough). This only applies to the children of full members, and not slaves or the like. This provision was created by Malik as a part of his idea of building mythology and continuity; it encouraged its members to continue their own legacies knowing that their futures would be guaranteed.
The Decimators largely are based out of the former state of Minnesota, but have been known to roam into Wisconsin and even Michigan (As well as a brief, disastrous foray into Illinois). The warbands will often convert existing structures to act as outposts, fortifications or bases of operations, with each warband having its own central headquarters. While one warband might roam vast swathes of territory, they actually control very little of it, more raiding as needed rather then settling down to occupy space.
Their central citadel is located in the former town of Zumbro Falls; this citadel was formerly ruled by the Decimax warband until its destruction. Since the 2267 reformation, the ‘Prime’ Warband has occupied the citadel. During the Convention Season, the Citadel's population swells with members of the other Warbands.
Technology and equipment
The level of technology among the Decimators does vary a lot from warband to warband (and, indeed, within a warband), but is generally relatively low. Most bands are armed with low-tech weapons like conventional ballistic rifles; scratch-built ‘pipe’ weapons are common. However, this can vary wildly; energy weapons can be found in some groups. Transport usually comes in the form of foot travel, horses and other beasts of burden. Needless to say, the Decimators lack aircraft.
Other technological items are generally rare and used on a case-by-case basis. For example, a Warband might take over a facility with still functional computers, or a power station or water pump. Their outposts will try to have some functional technology, but usually it is more focused on what is needed rather than comforts; generators for power, machine gun turrets and so on.
At the foundation of the Decimators, Decimax created seven warbands; six for his lieutenants and one for himself. Over time, each has developed its own unique culture and traits, the results of generations of leaders moulding them to suit their image of what that band should be. Of the original seven, five survive to this day.
- Axoid: Traditionally one of the more powerful warbands, Axoid’s members prefer fast attacks that hit the enemy hard before they know what is going on. Axoid’s members often wear red, with their faces covered by black warpaint. Axoid and Vexar have a long-standing rivalry, with each seeing themselves as the most powerful.
- Exaxes: The most technologically adept and focused of the warbands, Exaxes have a passion for all sorts of technology, but especially robots. Its members will try to capture them where possible and modify and reprogram them to boost their armies. Exaxes traditional colour is purple. After their loss in the Flint River War, Exaxes has seen its power considerably diminished.
- Nebo: The members of Nebo are often even more daring then Axoid. They prefer wild, reckless attacks that keep their enemies off-balance and guessing what will happen next. They often will use explosives in their attack, which can end badly for them. Nebo’s colours are grey with a red trim; their members often wear elaborate face-covering masks and helmets.
- Orbar: The most conservative and practical of the Warbands, Orbar is seen as being dull and unimaginative by the others. While they do get results, they are not flashy or colourful like the others. As such, Orbar is often overlooked. Its members often wear camouflage, eschewing signature colours.
- Vexar: The current ‘prime’ warband, Vexar has held the position since 2279 and are expected to maintain the position at the 2288 election. The members of Vexar are more about planning and long-term goals, but can be some of the most violent of the Warbands when pushed. Vexar’s colours are yellow and black; their members all wear mohawks.
Two more warbands have been destroyed since their foundation.
- Decimax: This was the original warband of the Decimators’ founder and formerly guaranteed the position of ‘prime’. Decimax had the best weapons and equipment of any of the warbands, save for possibly Exaxes, but that could not save them from incompetent leadership. Decimax’s colours were light blue and red.
- Tigon: The most brutal of the Warbands, Tigon’s members preferred violent close combat to all else. Many of them used chems like Buffout or Psycho to further enhance their performance, and addiction was common. It is possible that this was what lead to their ill-fated attack on Illinois. Tigon’s colours were blue and yellow.
|This has been written by Darthfish. Please contact this user before editing this article.|