- "What do you mean? We're the only Badlanders this side of Seattle, those swine are just the NCR's bitch boys."
- ―Shiv telling a Son of Liberty how it is.
|Type of Government:||Loose Hierarchy|
|Group type:||Raider-Mercenary Band|
|Location(s):||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 would try to navigate 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, would reconnect in south Seattle and shelter in a Super Duper Mart for the night. Smasher would rally 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 would pry the location of several caches before killing the raiders, then move onto the supplies. Now armed and resupplied, the Badlanders attacked the raider 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 of this crew would laugh at the offer until a badlander shot him in the head and prepared to shoot the rest. Now much more receptive, the raiders agreed to aid the badlanders and as a sign of unity, the Badlanders led the gang in an attack on their rivals. Another ambush, this encounter would be an easy victory for the Badlanders. 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 would injure 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. 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 would feast on both brahmin and human that night, and the local raiders were given mask as a sign of acceptance.
For the rest of that year, they would descend fully into raiderdom, attacking any caravan or gang that exposed itself. 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 would spread that his gang would hear offers from rivals. This would allow them to make peace with or destroy several of their rivals by early June, enabling them to recruit and raid freely. This freedom would be checked in September, 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 would pursue them through the ruins to the Super Duper Mart.
The Twin Pines would fall back when raiders began to pour out of the Mart, but promised to destroy the "Degenerates" inside. This would light the rage inside Smasher and his band, and he led them on a chase of the Badlanders. The mercenaries would try and defend themselves in a small square, but would quickly be overwhelmed by the chem-fueled raiders. Their bodies would be chopped apart and cooked, with the meat shared among the surviving Degenerates. After this, they considered the Twin Pines their blood enemy.
The Degenerates would also suffer a string of bad luck after this, being repelled by towns and caravans and attacked by other gangs. This would culminate 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 would lead them against a scavenger camp in the ruins, and would ensure that all the inhabitants were slaughtered. Stacking their bodies into a pile, The Degenerates would light them, and their compound, ablaze and retreat 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 would simply file out of the station, murmuring to themselves, while a few followed him into the darkness.
Interim and Brushfire Wars
After this the Degenerates would cease 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 would form some form of family or at least raise children, and many passed down stories of the pack and Smasher. The individual gangs and crews would squabble 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 would join regardless of affiliation. Among them would be 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 join a larger group, and would meet up with other Degenerate youths. They would be recruited by Clyde Everett, a mercenary of some fame in the region.
Everett and his mercenaries would head south to meet up with the newly founded Free Army in Oregon. There they would engage the NCR and their Badlander allies in an escalating series of skirmishes. The Degenerates would especially enjoy fighting the members of Twin Pines pack, often taking their masks and charms where they could. The youth would send news and money home to their gangs and family, which drummed up both support and reinforcements. Everett would be killed at Edna's Hill, a small homesteader outpost, and command of his warband fell to Shiv.
After looting the fallen and cannibalizing Everett in a show of respect, the warband would retreat north to recover. They would camp at an information station near Cascadia State Park. There they would utilize the decrepit radio to call for reinforcements and update the alliance. Shiv would also contact several gangs and Degenerate groups in Seattle, claiming the title of Warboss and demanding their obedience. Few bosses would acknowledge the claim, but a number of the younger members would respond and join Shiv's warband. The Warboss would break the gangs up and rearrange the members, trying to foster a sense of unity. He would reinforce 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 Warboss and extorted independent farms. This, combined with their abandonment of Edna's Hill and its subsequent capture by Badlanders, would alienate many civilized settlers in the region. The Oregon tribals fighting the NCR would grow fond of the warband however, and the two groups would often coordinate attacks. These ambushes would only slow the mercenaries, and the Degenerates would soon find themselves under attack. They would then scatter through the Park, and fight guerrilla for the rest of 2268.
They would mass for an attack on a mercenary position in early January, successfully overwhelming the guards and escaping into the wider wasteland. From there they would head North-west, hoping to meet up with a friendly tribe. They would happen 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. The Degenerates would grumble but comply, and continued to skirmish with the NCR's mercenary allies.
Fortune would favor them in March when they ambushed and captured a supply caravan headed for a Badlander position. They would find crates of medical supplies, which the battle-weary soldiers quickly distributed amongst themselves. Some would send 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 would 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 would be celebrated by the alliance initially believing the village to have been joined the NCR, that view would quickly turn as the truth came out. The tribals had 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 would result in a PR nightmare for the alliance, who moved quickly to eject the Degenerates from their forces. This would create a small rift as some of the more bloodthirsty tribes protested, and left with the raiders. This group would initially continue 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 would camp in the ruins of Dale, where they ran into conflict with a band of scavengers.
Initially planning on just ignoring them, the Degenerates would hunt down these scavengers after an attempted raid on the raiders' supplies. This would occupy them for an entire month as they then turned to scavenging themselves. In that time they would manage to find a repairable radio, and after a few hours, one of the more tech-oriented raiders fixed it.
They would use the device to contact 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 would call 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 would mainly constitute killing a few feral ghouls and smashing a Roach nest but would still give the other-wise antsy raiders a purpose. The first refugees would trickle 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. These renegades would hear of the Degenerates' weakness and 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 would result 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 would move 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 would recruit and raid, refilling their supplies and ranks.
They would continue heading 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 would 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 would convince them to seek greener pastures the next spring, however, as well as an increase in mutant attacks. They would head north from the seemingly cursed city, finding work or pillage as they went. Northern Idaho would prove somewhat more welcoming for the raiders, who found several smaller gangs to prey on. These extra hands would be a relief to the bloody and battered Degenerates, who had worried about being ground away.
A scouting party would encounter a Native trader who, after exchanging goods, would invite the Degenerates back to his people's home. Formerly part of the Nez Pierce 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 would be some tension between the two groups, however, 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 would continue, however, and the Degenerates were soon considering betrayal.
Their hosts would sense something in the works however and eject the mercenaries shortly after they cleared the last Hill Skunk den. The Degenerates would consider attacking the camp, but lack enough numbers to fight the natives. They would continue on after this, becoming raiders after finding a decent camp by a rest stop.
Here they would take 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 would pursue the retreating tribals back to a warcamp and raze it, slaughtering the survivors.
Despite their victory, the Degenerates would move their camp farther northeast before waiting out the winter. They attempted to move east towards Wyoming but would be stopped by mutant-tribals a short distance from the border, in early March. The ferocity of the mutant advance would push the raiders back West, into the mountains of Idaho. Here they would wander from pre-war resort to village, taking what they needed or trading for what they couldn't take. A mudslide would strike one of their camps in mid-2273, killing two dozen and scattering three times that number.
It would be while the raiders was out looking for survivors that they would encounter Janice, a young girl wearing ragged clothes. They initially took her for a tribal and were going to capture her, but Shiv would stop them. The girl would look at them for several moments before turning and walking into the brush. Curious, the Warboss and his guards followed and would find 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 would send a messenger to find the other raiders and bring them back, while the Warboss and his guards explored further. They would find 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 would find several dozen cargo containers stacked and rusted, one having already collapsed sometime in the past. Breaking into them, the raiders would find a variety of items, from moldy blankets to MREs, but their most significant discovery would be a pair of howitzers. The raiders would have 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 would be 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 would bring scouts from the nearby tribes, who would take stories home of the Degenerates "death-thrower." Emissaries from two tribes would approach the supply Depot under a white flag with gifts, and would work out a peace agreement with the raiders. Others would not be so easily swayed and organized war-parties to take the guns. These warbands would be 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 would cow 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 would even make attempts to farm wild seeds, but the Degenerates found that they didn't have the commitment to it. The food contained in the depot would prove to be mostly edible, however, sparing them the labor. They would supplement this supply with loot from raided caravans, but stayed mainly inside the depot for the next few years. In this time they would attract and trade with the tribes, and even married into a few. This peace would allow 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 would work against them at first, and no caravan would take them seriously. They would start 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 would take to the trail, 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 would initially start 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 would lead 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 would approached in June of 2284 with their largest contract yet, clearing the Bridge of the Gods for caravan trade. Shiv would dismiss this at first, 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 sent messengers to their 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 would find several brahmin after a few days, which they attached to the front of the guns to move them. The Degenerates and their allies would set off in late June, and would make good time west. They would again be harassed by the Hardfish tribe, but their numbers and firepower warded off every skirmish. They would arrive at the bridge in August and found it moderately well fortified and defended, 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 would then approach the camp under a white flag and seek its commander.
The Degenerate first offered the man a fair promise of surrender, stating that the Sons of Liberty would not be attacked or harassed if they voluntarily pulled out from the bridge, but would be 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 would grow 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 would offer 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 would leave, along with a few of the younger Degenerates, but the large majority supported their leader's vengeance. Shiv then reproached the Sons and asked permission to camp near the location.
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, continues taking contracts. When not fighting or working, the Warboss also has teams assigned to look for more shells.
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 relaxed and less political, Shiv would be altered by the expulsion of the Degenerates from Seattle, as well as 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.
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 "blessed in" or allowed in on word of mouth alone in place of a hunter's rite, and a lack of fear towards robots. Chems and alcohol are wide-spread throughout the ranks, and slaves are common though mainly among the newer "local" element. They have abandoned the cannibalism of their originators, participating in it only at a few rare 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 also display a hatred of the NCR and Twin Pines pack Badlanders, blaming them for much of their misfortune. This would ironically lead to the Degenerates taking on mercenary work, as they couldn't fund their war solely by raiding. They are also noted for holding grudges, often spoiling their contracts if they see a chance to correct a wrong done to them, whether that was as a collective or just one member.