- "Used to be a real shithole when the slavers were around, but the new guys have really turned the place around, even if they do tax us."
- ―A resident of Grant's Pass commenting on the town's turnaround
Grant's Pass, a peaceful farming community in the beautiful Rogue River valley, is a growing town prospering under the protection of the Free Northwestern Army, who have made Grant's Pass their provisional capital. The New California Republic, funneling resources to the FNA and sending caravans through town, has also breathed new life into Grant's Pass. However, the town's tranquility belies a dark past and a rather burgeoning problem in the present.
Grant's Pass was originally founded in 1887 in the Rogue Valley of Oregon. The town grew slowly over the next two hundred years, though still remaining rather small and unimportant. The Resource Wars and Sino-American War had little effect on Grant's Pass, beside stoking some paranoia among the townspeople.
Things changed when the bombs fell on October 23, 2077. Grant's Pass was not hit directly from any nuclear weapons but did get hit with leftover radiation and black rain. The unprepared died in their homes or on the road, attempting to flee. However, there were those paranoid few in Grant's Pass that stocked up on weapons and built their own fallout shelters and survived the initial dangers of the wasteland.
Those survivors mostly stayed underground for about two years before most of them emerged in 2079 to find Grant's Pass abandoned but mostly undamaged. Finding each other, the survivors decided they had two options: attempt to scratch out a living in their town or head north to Seattle, which many had heard was a safe zone still held by the Army. The town's sheriff, a lucky survivor of the Great War, favored staying. The survivors tried to solve the problem democratically and voted to try to get a majority decision, but they were unsatisfied with the results of the vote, getting no clear majority. So, nearly half of the survivors headed north to Seattle while the rest stayed in Grant's Pass and elected a new mayor, eventually electing the pre-War sheriff.
The remaining residents of Grant's Pass only just managed to get by for the first hundred years after the Great War, always teetering on the brink of destruction either from starvation or outside threats. There were particularly bad harvests in 2088, 2105, and 2160, but these difficulties were weathered. The outside attacks were harder to get around. Grant's Pass was attacked numerous times by an outlaw biker gang in 2080, who fought the townspeople to a standstill before finally leaving. Grant's Pass was continually attacked for three years by tribal cannibals from 2105 to 2108, exacerbating the food problem at the same time. In 2113, the town was attacked by an alliance of gecko trappers and raiders looking to clear the place out, which failed. Grant's Pass was sacked in 2130 by vicious Oregon tribals but quickly rebuilt.
Soon after its last bad harvest in 2160, the luck of Grant's Pass began to turn. The fertility of the Rogue Valley finally recovered to pre-War levels in 2163, bringing in many more crops than previously. This was assisted by a large-scale water purifier that was built in 2161, bought from a caravan from San Francisco. Grant's Pass soon entered a new era of prosperity, now able to have a stable existence and even sell commodities like food and purified water.
The town came under attack again in 2192, again from Oregon tribals. The tribals were repelled but at a heavy loss of life. The town's mayor at the time, Nahum Birch, decided it was necessary for Grant's Pass to establish a formal militia to protect the town from the savagery of the waste. With the town's new surplus of money, the militia was armed with decent weapons and equipment. They were tested later that year against more Oregon tribals and easily warded off an attack on Grant's Pass. The town was safe, for the moment.
After 2192, no one messed with Grant's Pass for close to fifty years. The town thrived and its people became complacent and weak. There was peace, but it would ultimately come at a cost.
In the 2230s and 2240s, slaving was becoming an increasingly important institution in Northern California, stemming mostly from the Den and the Slavers Guild. At first, things were pretty easy from slavers, seeing as isolated homesteads and wandering nomads were easy prey. That began to change with the advance of the NCR north and NCR Rangers' deadly campaign against slavery in the south. So, some slaver teams began looking to the savage north for opportunity, seeing no organized government to stop them.
The slavers initially mostly targeted tribals in Cascadia due to their strength and weakness towards technology. The people of Grant's Pass were initially cautious towards the slavers but soon became comfortable meeting and trading with them. By 2238, the town had an overall positive attitude towards the slavers, seeing them as the only way to possibly deal with the ever-present threat of the tribals and to maybe even civilize them. This gave them a false sense of security around the slavers, who instantly saw this as exploitable.
In 2239, the low-level slavers who raided in Cascadia and frequented Grant's Pass met in the Den and cooked up a conspiracy. They would band together their smaller slaver teams to form one large slaver band, led by one Jay Howell, who would take over Grant's Pass and make it their base of operations, a slaver enclave in Cascadia.
The plan went on without a hitch. Marching on the peaceful farming town, the slavers quickly captured Grant's Pass, disarmed the remaining populace, and set up a little fiefdom to call their own. The town militia, woefully unprepared and slow, was bloodlessly defeated and forcibly disbanded. The sheriff, Pike, managed to escape, however.
For the next twenty years or so, Grant's Pass was under the thumb of slavers. The inhabitants of the town were largely enslaved while others, like the mayor and the owner of the local inn, were allowed to remain free in exchange for a large sum of caps and "loyalty".
Grant's Pass soon became a hub for slavery in Cascadia, seeing traffic from slaving raids going out into the wastes and captives, both civilized and uncivilized, being brought back from raids to be sold or put to work. The slavers also took much of the town's trading goods like food and purified water as tribute and sold it to line their own pockets. The Den and Grant's Pass maintained relations and did business with each other, but many in the Slaver's Guild considered not being informed of the takeover to be a slight. The slavers in Grant's Pass did not care about the Den's attitude and wallowed in their newfound power.
In the years the slavers were in power, Grant's Pass became a terrifying place to both outsiders and its own true inhabitants. Slavers had free reign on the streets and pretty much could do anything they wanted, to anyone they wanted. The enslaved residents who were lucky were forced to work back-breaking hours on the farms to produce food while the unlucky ones became sex slaves or target practice. Caravans who went into Grant's Pass either learned to avoid the town or at least tread lightly.
Meanwhile, Sheriff Pike and his small band of rebels proved to be a thorn in the slavers' side for years, raiding slaver farms and freeing townspeople whenever they could. By 2242, Pike had become a sort of folk hero to the people of the region, a man to rally behind to fight the slavers. The slaver leader, Jay Howell, saw this and decided in 2243 to focus on hunting Pike down and making an example of him to the people of Grant's Pass by finally putting him down. This led to a year-long hunt with many skirmishes all over the region. Pike managed to kill Howell in an ambush but was captured weeks later by Howell's successor, Roy. Roy, even more sadistic than Howell, wanted to make an abject lesson out of Pike, not just kill him. He decided to make Pike's humiliation and subsequent execution a public event. The event consisted of Roy personally tattooing a slaver tattoo onto Pike's face and then drawing and quartering him, a practice Roy had read about in an Old World library. Pike remained stoic until the quartering began, where he broke down. The people of Grant's Pass, free and enslaved, watched in horror as this unfolded but seemed scared into submission, just as Howell had originally hoped. However, the memory of Pike's resistance still lived on after his death, to the slavers' frustration.
Now with no organized opposition, the slavers thrived in the 2240s after Pike's death. They did occasionally sustain attacks from nearby Oregon tribals and occasional Purifiers but always fought them off quite easily. However, pressure began to mount as the NCR advanced north, bringing their anti-slavery attitudes with them. Roy saw this but was smugly satisfied with the short-term pleasure of seeing the Den suffer. The slavers also became more confident in their safety after pillaging a National Guard armory somewhere in Cascadia far away from Grant's Pass. Their accumulated supplies included including hundreds of MREs, clothing, weapons, and ammunition.
In the the 2250s, the slavers continued to rise in power, preying on numerous tribes and homesteads while also taking full advantage of growing caravan traffic going up I-5. The caravaners disdained the slavers but were grateful for the temporary safety they and Grant's Pass provided from the wastes (at least until Fort Eugene rose to prominence). At the same time, the aging Roy struggled to evolve to navigate the rapidly changing geo-political situation playing out in Cascadia in the 2250s and 2260s. The tribals were mobilizing and unifying in the north, the NCR was slowly advancing from the south, and the civilized folk of the region were becoming progressively fed up with everyone. Roy saw this and hoped to align himself, his slavers, and Grant's Pass with the group that could best ensure their survival, most importantly his. He approached the NCR first after the Brushfire War in 2263 offering them a staging area to combat threats to north in exchange for protection and freedom from NCR jurisdiction. The NCR predictably rejected Roy's demands and made a counter-offer, adding the condition that the slavers free their slaves, stop their elicit business, and allow free elections. This offer insulted Roy so much that he went into cardiac arrest soon after hearing the counter-offer and died, being quite old at that point.
After Roy's death, his lieutenant Will took over the slavers after a brief power struggle and decided that it would be for the best if Grant's Pass just keep to itself, since no one seemed to want to ally with the slavers. After 2264, the slavers' power dropped sharply with caravan traffic vanishing and increased attacks from irritable tribals. Will became sure that the NCR was plotting against him and started to fortify the Grant's Pass for an attack, either from the south or Fort Eugene. This paranoia soon descended into madness, with Will being increasingly sadistic towards his slaves and even his own men. The other slavers doubted their leader's sanity but were too afraid of the man to tell Will anything he did not like.
As it soon became clear though, Will's paranoia turned out to be well-placed. The NCR finally came for the slavers in 2266, and they came hard. A small army of NCR troopers, coming from Medford, attacked Grant's Pass in a head-on assault. Even with their weapons and defenses, the slavers were unable to stand up to the NCR war machine and were defeated and dealt with. The triumphant NCR troopers soon freed all the slaves of Grant's Pass and celebrated their victory. The slaves, some townspeople enslaved for more than thirty years, some enslaved outsiders, and others born into slavery, were universally overjoyed at their freedom. They all celebrated that day. Many illegitimate children born from unions of locals and NCR troopers were later born in Grant's Pass.
After the town's liberation in 2266, Grant's Pass remained under NCR occupation for four years while the War of the Northwestern Alliance raged. The general in charge of the NCR forces in Cascadia set up his command post in Grant's Pass and coordinated the war effort from there. The town at that time had no elected government and was simply run by the NCR. The elections mentioned to the slavers seemed to have been forgotten. Grant's Pass was luckily untouched by the violence due to the large military presence and being in the south of Cascadia, close to the NCR. They avoided the disaster at Fort Eugene and only heard stories of the bloodshed there. The townspeople had to get used to being free once again, and it was hard for some. They were a little resentful of the NCR's continued occupation but still liked them for freeing them.
The NCR occupation ended in 2270 as the War of the Northwestern Alliance ended with the Battle of Black Peak and the collapse of the Northwestern Alliance. However, even as they had technically won the war, the NCR was far too exhausted and bloodied to continue their military operations and the occupation of Grant's Pass by extension. So, the NCR handed the reins over to the newly-formed FNA and its level-headed leader General Randy Adams.
General Adams had a good handle on the situation and knew that if he wanted to succeed, things had to work between the FNA and the people of Grant's Pass. So, Adams finally allowed elections for a town government. For the first time in a generation, Grant's Pass had a mayor and a sheriff. The people of Grant's Pass were very grateful towards Adams and the FNA by extension, and they were perfectly fine being ruled and protected by the FNA, in exchange for some paltry taxes. The townspeople of Grant's Pass also made a statue of the local folk hero Sheriff Pike in 2271 to again celebrate their freedom. The FNA in Grant's Pass at that time frequently left the town to assist other FNA groups in battles.
General Adams died from radiation sickness in 2272, and the FNA's central command proceeded to break down. After a brief bloodless power struggle, Homer Jay took control of the FNA and became the new General. Grant's Pass was not affected by the power struggle, but the townspeople were vaguely aware that something was up. The FNA continued protecting the town but things changed after Jay became General. The FNA in Grant's Pass began to leave town less frequently, and taxes for protection took a steep hike over the next decade or so. The people of Grant's Pass feel this is a fair arrangement as the town has become more prosperous after the FNA's rule.
However, discontent has begun to build within Grant's Pass. The younger townspeople within Grant's Pass, not around when the town was under the control of slavers, do not feel as much gratitude towards the FNA and the NCR and wish that their protectors would lighten up on their taxation. No real conflict has happened yet between the townspeople and the FNA but if nothing changes, conflict is inevitable.
The governance of Grant's Pass is divided between the town government and the FNA, who are in turn under the control of the NCR. The town government, the mayor and the sheriff, deal with the townspeople but generally leave the FNA alone. The FNA effectively rule the town, protecting it from hostile groups and levying taxes upon the populace to pay for their protection. So far, the populace of Grant's Pass are fine with being ruled by the FNA's rather unaccountable rule, appreciating the prosperity the FNA brought to the town and much preferring their rule to the town's former slaver overlords.
Due to the fertility of the surrounding Rogue Valley, Grant's Pass has a largely agricultural economy. The residents of the town are able to grow enough food to sell to others, such as caravans and the FNA. Grant's Pass sells purified water to passing caravans as well, a valuable commodity for many.
Grant's Pass is a reliable hub on I-5 for caravans both from the NCR and Cascadia since after the town was cleared of slavers. The townspeople service caravans going both north and south and often meet a lot of interesting characters. The caravan traffic of Grant's Pass has fortunately been unaffected by the fall of Fort Eugene.
Slavery used to be a linchpin of the economy of Grant's Pass, taking in tribals from Cascadia to sell south to the Den. This system was ended when the NCR finally took down the slavers who once occupied the town in 2266.
The layout of the Grant's Pass is roughly analogous to the town's pre-War area. The Rogue River cuts through the center of town and divides it in two. Most of the population of Grant's Pass is located in the northern half of town which is more built up, with the southern part being a way station for caravans and a large camp for the FNA protecting the town and their NCR advisers. Numerous homesteads are located outside the town proper.
The people of Grant's Pass are rather peaceful and happy farmers, contrary to the town's dark past. They want to put the memory of their slaver conquerers behind them and are quite willing to help the NCR and FNA in exchange for their safety. The townspeople are still skeptical of joining the NCR in the future but are quite content living under the FNA's rule. They hold tribals, scavengers, and mutants in low regard.
Grant's Pass is located in the Rogue Valley, and the Rogue River runs through the ruins of the pre-War city. The inhabited part of Grant's Pass is currently centered on the north of the Rogue River, near Interstate 5. U.S. Route 199 passes through the city, and joins I-5.
Despite its slaving past, loyalty to the FNA, and close relationship with the NCR, Grant's Pass is largely given a pass by the people of Cascadia, even those with harsh anti-NCR tendencies. The town is a hub for caravan traffic right off of I-5 going north and south. It is also a large provider of purified water to much of Oregon, distributing this through caravans. So, most homesteaders and normal people in Cascadia are able to overlook the "betrayal" of Grant's Pass because of their need for its trade. However, Oregon tribals are still a problem for Grant's Pass, at least to its surrounding homesteads. Hardcore Northwestern Alliance (or Oregon) partisans also hate Grant's Pass, but most do not have the ability to attack the town.
Grant's Pass has a close relationship with both the NCR and FNA. Being located near California and NCR proper, Grant's Pass has had a close relationship with the NCR ever since the NCR Army liberated the town from slavers. The town benefits a lot from NCR caravans and aid given to "help" the FNA. Some in Grant's Pass have even considered petitioning to join the NCR formally, but the sentiment is not yet strong enough within town.
The FNA holds Grant's Pass with a firm but fair hand. The town acts as a "provisional capital" for the FNA as they try to claim Cascadia for themselves. The people of Grant's Pass appreciate the FNA's protection and the prosperity brought to the town. Whenever the FNA's strong-handed policies, heavy taxes, or actions elsewhere are brought up, the townspeople simply remember the slavers' rule and think things could be so much worse.
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