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"There are cities that get by on their good looks, offer climate and scenery, views of mountains or oceans, rockbound or with palm trees. And there are cities like Detroit that have to work for a living."
Elmore Leonard
The ruins of Detroit, Michigan and its surrounding environs. A region ungoverned by any large faction, though many have tried to claim it, from the Midwest Chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel, to the Canadian Liberation Army and the Army of Revolution. All have tried but failed, how or why is unknown, the people that make up this region fight for independence. Many areas are heavily settled while others are dense and have never been fully explored. The region is ripe for the taking, who will have it, no one knows; but for in the Detroit Wasteland. . . . War, war never changes.

History

Pre-War

The Resource Wars were a very mixed period for Detroit. On one side, manufacturing bloomed as the US military machine became ever-increasingly hungry for materials to wage war. Factories in Detroit were churning out all manner of military equipment, from Tanks and APCs to guns and bullets to robots and Power Armour and whatever else they could. For those who benefited from this boom, life was good; specifically the corporate leaders who saw profits rolling in off the backs of their worker's efforts.

For the poor, however, life got even worse. As the economy stagnated and then crumbled, the numbers in the city below the poverty line skyrocketed, made even more painful by the ever continuing shortages that characterized the period. This in turn saw the crime rates, especially violent crimes, soar, with gang violence, armed robberies and almost random killings becoming a day to day occurrence in the city. As international tensions continued to grow, the city almost resembled a battlefield, especially as riots and looting became commonplace. Soon the National Guard, bolstered by US Army Power Armor, were needed to maintain order on the streets.

To many, Detroit seemed like a bomb ready to go off. However, what happened next was even worse than anyone could have imagined.

The Great War

On the morning of October 23, 2077, Detroit’s people received limited advance warning of the incoming Chinese missile attacks. The already tense situation exploded within the city as it degenerated into panic in the last minutes before the expected strike, with people scrambling for shelter or doing whatever else they could in the hope for survival. The Army’s efforts at keeping order crumbled, as their troops either sought shelter or were pulled back to protect priority targets. The majority of the city was simply left to its fate.

Ironically, Detroit was not directly attacked during the Great War, but that may not have been on purpose. A Chinese missile instead obliterated the Canadian city of Windsor, located across the Detroit River; why is unclear, but it might have been off-course. While the city had been spared outright destruction, the worst was not over by a long shot.

Post-War

With no apparent leadership, the US Military cut off from their chain of command and the world ending around them, the people of Detroit gave up on any semblance of law and order. Instead, an every man for himself approach took over as the city collapsed into complete anarchy with gang violence, roving armed bands of looters ruling the streets. Even then this period was short lived, as radiation from the ruins of Windsor began to wash over the city in terrifying storms. The rain of black ash, beginning only a week after the war, only added to the chaos. Within weeks, a substantial portion of the population were dead, killed by violence, starvation or the radiation.

There was still worse to come for the survivors. A harsh nuclear winter settled in, burying the city in snow. It served to quell the violence by simply killing off many of those that remained, and forcing the remainder to concentrate on finding food and shelter. Many of those that survived chose to leave the city as the weather began to lift, seeking safer places to take refuge further into the countryside. The result was that downtown Detroit was effectively abandoned for the next fifty years.

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Midwest Commonwealth