|Notable Individuals:||Mayor Bill Long, Marcy Smith, Alecto Wolfkill|
|Factions:||Homesteaders, New Disciples|
|Notable events:||The Mutant Killings, Oregon Brushfire Wars, Cascadia Convention|
Harper is a free settlement of homesteaders in northern Oregon that has avoided much of the suffering brought on by the Oregon Brushfire Wars, though they did lose a couple of their own during the conflict. Whether Harper will drag itself into some other conflict it to be seen.
Harper was founded over a century after the end of the Great War in 2205. The settlement was founded by a single family, the Fullers, who established a homestead east of Mount Hood after being pushed out of their previous home by tribals. The Fullers were quickly joined by a travelling merchant named Harper who decided to finally settle down after years of wandering the wastes. Harper proved to be a valuable asset to the Fullers when he built the first iteration of the General Store. Harper's contributions to the community eventually made him its namesake in 2212, to his delight. Before then, the settlement had simply been known as the Fuller Homestead.
As the years passed, Harper continued to grow in population (and soon in infamy as well). More families established homesteads in the area, and Harper became a common stopping point for caravans traversing central Oregon. The New Disciples came in 2227 and established a church there that would remain for the foreseeable future. Though the caravans brought much prosperity to Harper, they also brought something else, something regarded to be more sinister: mutants. The patriarch of the Fuller Family, Demetrius Fuller, always had a philistine distaste for mutants and the increasing number of mutants going through Harper via the caravans made him uneasy to say the least. Nonetheless, the prosperity of the caravans kept any xenophobia in Harper at bay for a couple of years.
That was until 2230, when a combination of misfortunes befell Harper which led to it getting its rather unsavory reputation in the next couple of years, not to be removed until its 'participation' in the Oregon Brushfire Wars. Oregon tribals began attacking caravans coming into Harper and occasionally attacked Harper itself, causing an economic downturn and an atmosphere of paranoia. So, it was hardly a surprise when tensions boiled over when an all-ghoul caravan loped into town one day. All of Harper seemed on edge, eyeing the mutants with suspicion. These suspicions were seemingly confirmed when one of the ghouls was caught stealing from the General Store. Even as the ghoul caravaner companions agreed to seeing him pay for his crime, Demetrius Fuller accused all of them of being spies for the tribals. The ghouls, confused by this accusation, laughed this charge off as ludicrous. In response, Fuller rallied a mob using fiery language and lynched all the ghoul caravaners. The caravans heard of this incident and many caravans avoided Harper as a result for a couple of years. That only proved to antagonize the inhabitants, who saw this as evidence of a conspiracy against them by mutants. As Oregon tribals lessened their attacks on Harper, the settlement turned it vitriol wholesale on mutants. For many years, Harper would kill any mutant that cam near the settlement out of fear.
These Mutant Killings continued on intermittently for the next thirty years or so, fueling Harper's bad reputation and reducing it to something of a backwater. The homesteaders gained a reputation of being fiercely independent, diehard xenophobes, and crack shots with a rifle. Outsiders were not deemed welcome, with the only notable one being Bill Long, who bought the General Store from an ailing Harper. The homesteaders’ reputation and the Mutant Killings were just about all Harper was known for until Stern’s Raiders came along.
Far out of the way and in northern Oregon, Harper was spared much of the early destruction wrought by the Oregon Brushfire Wars. However, the Brushfire War was a wake up call to Harper and many other small settlements that NCR was knocking on their doors. Many homesteaders began gearing up for war, worrying that NCR and their tribal allies would soon be coming for their land. One family in particular that began preparations was the Smiths, who started a shooting club to practice weapons preparedness.
After the Brushfire War in 2263, Stern’s Raiders emerged on the scene as Oregon’s newest celebrities. That attracted many wannabes who wanted to join the Raiders on their adventures and one group of prospective Raiders was the Smith triplets from Harper, Franklin, Rose, and Butch. They left as a group for safety, and they, unlike few others, actually managed to find the Raiders. The Smiths soon joined and gave the homesteaders of Harper, including their parents and sister, something to be proud about. That is except for Bill Long, who knew of NCR’s power and rightly feared them. For the next couple of years, the Smith triplets made the people of Harper proud fighting alongside Stern's Raiders. Luckily for Harper, that fighting was far away from the settlement, and the homesteaders were content to cheer from afar.
Things became much more serious in 2269 as the War of the Northwestern Alliance winded down. Captain Jakob Stern, the leader of Stern's Raiders, was dead and conflicts within the Northwestern Alliance had come to a boiling point. When asked by Stern's Raiders, Harper willingly allowed itself to be the host of the Cascadian Convention. The Cascadian Convention would be the Northwestern Alliance's last chance to solidify into some kind of nation and to establish a peace between tribals and civilized peoples. Harper was a hub of activity for more than a week as hundreds of Northwestern Alliance members came together to decide the fate of their coalition.
The Cascadian Convention was ultimately a failure with it nearly ending in violence. The members of the Northwestern Alliance slowly left Harper leaving nothing behind except for sorrow, goodbyes, and a little girl named Alecto. It was the last time the Smith Family ever saw the triplets and the last time Harper ever saw Stern's Raiders as the Battle of Black Peak happened less than a year later. When it became clear that the Northwestern Alliance had crumbled, Bill Long took the reins as Harper's first mayor and worked hard to move Harper towards the future instead of looking to the past. In the years since the War of the Northwestern Alliance, Harper has had a hard time moving on. Many homesteaders still fondly remember Stern's Raiders while also holding immense animosity towards mutants, a stumbling block of sorts to caravans ever coming back to Harper to Mayor Long's dismay. People take a while to change in Harper, and they aren't liable to change soon.
Harper's government is minimal to none. The settlement is basically a collection of homesteader families who banded together for security and ease of access. The office of mayor is a relatively new position, and there is no established justice system. This vacuum is what led to the mob justice that characterized the Mutant Killings.
At one time, Harper was a thriving stop for caravans going between Seattle and NCR. The settlement's economy had homesteads at that point but was still highly predicated on servicing caravans. That included providing the caravans with food and lodging, selling them products made in Harper, and purchasing some of the caravans' goods. That all came to an end when the Mutant Killings began. The caravans dried up, and the homesteaders of Harper were reduced to relying on subsistence farming. This continues to the present.
The culture of Harper is one of pride, prejudice, and independence. Harper has seen much strife over the years, within and without, and the little settlement mostly just wishes to be left alone with its homesteads. That is with the exception of a few of the more enterprising or bloodthirsty members of the community.
Points of Interest
Harper's original homestead, the Fuller Homestead is the home of the Fuller Family where they grow maize and razorgrain. The Fullers make do on their homestead, and they protect it jealously from any outsiders. Local children know better than to trespass on the Fullers' land, lest they get scared off by a warning shot from their family shotgun Deliverance. The current patriarch, Samson Fuller, is not particularly nasty but also prefers isolation, leading many in town to be suspicious of the family.
Ruth Garcia went a little crazy when her family died and subsequently abandoned her family's ancestral homestead. After living in the wasteland for some time, Ruth returned to the outskirts of Harper to build a new house that would be her’s but without any painful memories. The new house is more or less built into a small grove of trees. Ruth is quite the packrat, and the house is usually full of knick-knacks.
Harper’s General Store is the lifeblood of the community and where most of the town’s business takes place. The store has all sorts of goods in stock varying from pre-War artifacts to the various foodstuff grown in Harper. It is owned by the mayor while being managed by Agnes Warren, and if caravans come into the community, they will no doubt stop at the General Store.
Harper Church of the New Disciples
Built about fifty years ago, the Harper Church of the New Disciples is now an integral part of the community. It is where all of Harper meets every Sunday and often serves as a meeting-place because of its large size. The church’s last pastor, the aged Ted Young, died recently, and no one has come to replace him yet, leaving the layman Matthew Fuller to take the pastor’s place for now.
The largest homestead in Harper, the Smith Homestead is inhabited only by Marcy Smith now Alecto Wolfkill has departed. Marcy maintains the homestead on her own because of the tragic destruction of her family over the last twenty years. Unmarried and brooding, Marcy is unlikely to carry on the family name, and the homestead’s future is therefore uncertain.
The Warren Homestead is a large homestead headed by Agnes Warren with her relatives also living there. The homestead is currently prospering, even as Agnes keeps a cool relationship with her siblings and cousins.
- "Why does everything have to be about the Raiders all the time? Aren’t we people too?"
- ―Agnes Warren
Agnes Warren is a longtime resident who runs the settlement's general store and acts as Harper’s main trader. Agnes is a person with a lot of loss in her heart, and she lives her life unsatisfied. However, she does not want to cause further suffering through an extended Oregon Brushfire Wars and wants to mend bridges, both to bring about peace and to further help friendly caravans.
The Warren Family was one of the largest homesteader communities in Harper when Agnes was born in 2259. Agnes Warren grew up on her homestead in the shadow of the Oregon Brushfire Wars. The young woman had a front seat to the destruction of her time and the broken men that returned from the war after the immolation of Stern's Raiders. She watched that and learned that caution would probably be the best course of action instead of immediate hostility when dealing with outsiders like the NCR. So far, that has been pretty successful for Agnes in a business sense, as she works well with the caravans that do come through Harper on occasion. However, Agnes still remains rather unhappy after her mother died in 2283 and she was forced to lead her disparate extended family. She would like to get married one day, but many of the men in Harper are either married or old. So, Agnes looks to potentially leave Harper some time in the future to look for a partner.
Agnes Warren is a effective businesswomen and leader, but that does not dissuade her troubled mind. She takes her job at the general store and role as head of her family's homestead very seriously, but these things are not enough for Agnes. She hungers for ever more and will probably never be at peace, even if she gets what she wants.
- "The Raiders are dead, but their cause lives on. The Bear should be afraid, their day of reckoning is coming."
- ―Alecto Wolfkill
Alecto Wolfkill is the daughter of Kiki Wolfkill who was raised in Harper by the Smith Family. Raised to carry on the Raiders’ legacy, Alecto never felt she fit in with the rest of Harper, even those who shared her rather narrow worldview. Alecto’s tribal ancestry also set her apart and eventually led to her departure from Harper.
Alecto Wolfkill was born to Kiki Wolfkill of Stern's Raiders and an unknown father in 2267. After a brief time with Stern's Raiders, Alecto was raised by the Smith Family with a homesteader's education, knowledge about her tribal heritage, and a love of Stern's Raiders. Alecto seemed almost groomed to take on the Raiders' legacy, whether she liked it or not. After reaching adolescence, Alecto left her previous home in Harper and returned to the lands of the Oregon tribals in northern Oregon to do what her parents could not: bring together the civilized and tribal parts of Cascadia. This mission has yielded mixed results since, with most tribals like Kill-a-Ton being ambivalent to Alecto's message while others accepted it more readily. This was due to a combination of the Wolfkill name still holding some weight and Alecto's message being appealing to those tired of years of war. Currently, Alecto is living in the brush of Oregon among other sympathetic Oregon tribals. She is a determined, stubborn young woman who is honestly in over her head.
Mayor Bill Long
- "The past is the past. We can’t change it, but we don’t have to live by it."
- ―Mayor Bill Long
Bill Long is the long-suffering mayor of Harper who juggles the settlement’s needs with the often violent desires of its residents. Mayor Long lived through many harsh episodes of Harper’s existence and sees the latest one as just another. He strives to lead Harper into the future with a positive mindset but continues to meet difficulties, from others and himself. He also has a hobby of fixing broken pre-War machines and styles himself to be a bit of a handyman.
The origins of Bill Long are rather nebulous as he was not born in Harper. Rather, Bill arrived in 2256 when he was already a man lush with caps. No one knew his past then, but some homesteaders have come to suspect that he was a gambler in a past life. Bill rented a room at the Warren Homestead his first week or two in Harper, but he soon decided to swoop in and buy the town’s General Store from old man Harper, who was nearly dead at that point. Bill quickly fixed up the General Store. In his early years, many in Harper distrusted Bill as they did all outsiders. However, Bill's gregarious personality and the necessity of the General Store eventually swayed most of Harper to like him or at least tolerate him. Around the same time, word of the Oregon Brushfire Wars began coming to Harper which seemed to put Bill on edge though no one really knew why. He just seemed really scared of the NCR and their offensive capabilities. Bill was eventually proved right with the dissolution of the Northwestern Alliance and the collapse of organized resistance to the NCR. He felt like things needed to change if the town could survive. In an unprecedented move for Harper, Bill Long offered up his services as mayor of a town that for all intensive purposes had never had organized law before. The homesteaders of Harper decided that a mayor might be just what they needed and decided to make Bill their new mayor. Bill quickly went to work rehabilitating Harper's image in the eyes of caravans and the NCR. This has been a slow process, but Bill is hopeful that trust can be restored between Harper and other peoples in Cascadia.
Bill Long is a sociable and educated man who is well-suited to his role as mayor. He is also very helpful, always ready to play handyman for someone with a broke generator or light. However, that belies a hidden nature lurking just below the surface that Bill would never not have revealed. As this side of him is connected to his rather scandalous past, Bill keeps it hidden and as a result has a tad bit of paranoia. That has hindered him from ever having a lasting romantic relationship in Harper.
- "Fuck mutts, fuck NCR, and fuck the mayor!"
Joel is a man rooted in history but who is nonetheless determined to survive in an unforgiving future. Having grown up in Harper during the War of the Northwestern Alliance, Joel absorbed both the old biases of Harper against mutants and the new biases against NCR. Joel, now a homesteader with his own farm and family, still absolutely both groups and is morally opposed to cooperating with them. He is also known as being a smooth operator and has a large amount of influence in Harper due to long-standing friendships and working relationships.
Joel was born in the 2240’s at a time when Harper was just beginning to draw in one itself. A farmhand on the Warren Homestead, Joel had to work hard as a child, and that left little time for schooling. As a result, what little education Joel got was from his family and fellow farmhands. That “education” was mostly instructions on how to carry out his work and who to distrust. Joel learned to hate mutants and NCR and has so ever since his childhood. Marrying his childhood sweetheart in 2265, Joel established his own homestead and has lived there ever since. He remains eternally suspicious of the mayor and watchful for NCR and their Badlander dogs.
A simple man, Joel prefers his problems and solutions to also be simple. Joel is blunt and prefers honesty to expediency. The bigotry Joel exihibits is constant and the man will go to no length to express his opinion, no matter how unwanted or rude.
- "You want in this house? You’ll have to go through me first, with a shotgun preferably!"
- ―Marcy Smith
Marcy Smith is the last surviving member of the Smith Family and the adoptive mother of Alecto Wolfkill. A stubborn woman with a long memory, Marcy has not forgotten the deaths of her three siblings who joined Stern’s Raiders and has not fully gotten over the more recent deaths of her parents. She was a good mother to Alecto in most ways but poisoned her mind at a young age against NCR and anyone the Raiders opposed. Marcy prefers to remain alone now that Alecto has left, free to brood on her own time.
Born after the rest of her siblings, Marcy Smith was the youngest child of the Smith Family. Marcy was quieter than the triplets but nonetheless was more than happy to play with them and engage with their often risky attempts at adventure. They all had to work on the family homestead in some capacity, so adventures were fun ways to blow off steam. Marcy's hobby of reading and writing set her apart however, and her sister Rose often said Marcy would make a great author someday. Marcy loved her sister's encouragement and treasured her words for years to come. When word of Stern's Raiders came to Harper, all the Smiths were enamored with the would-be band of freedom fighters. Marcy especially had a crush on the dashing Jakob Stern and wrote extensive writings during the war about her "adventures" with him. That was while her older siblings had run off to join the Raiders and actually succeeded to Marcy's delight. Perhaps that meant some day she could join as well? That dream came to a grinding halt with two events: the death of Catpain Stern at Fort Eugene and the Cascadian Convention. Both events shattered Marcy's rosy view of the glorious "war of liberation" Stern's Raiders was fighting. The second event also saddled the Smith Family with another mouth to feed, the illegitimate child of the tribal Kiki Wolfkill. The child was named Alecto, and the Smiths were left with her out of necessity. Marcy liked Alecto but felt the Raiders had wronged to Smiths in a way by just leaving her there. The Battle of Black Peak made Marcy forgive all that. She cried for days at the word of the death of all the Raiders and her siblings by NCR and Badlanders. She has never forgiven the Bear for what it did. The deaths of both of Marcy's parents in the 2270s have only deepened her sorrow as she resolved to care for Alecto herself. She has done a satisfactory job if that includes pumping Alecto full of her own hate for NCR. Currently, Marcy lives alone on her homestead brooding about the past and lost opportunities.
A quiet but not dispassionate woman, Marcy Smith has a lot of bottled up emotions due to the actions of her siblings and her relative inaction. She wishes she could have been there beside them at Black Peak, but she was too young. Marcy also wishes she could have know the daring Captain Stern and still remembers him with the sole letter she received from him during the Oregon Brushfire Wars, courtesy of her brother Franklin. She cannot let go of the past, and ultimately, she doesn't want to.
- "Home remedies are the only remedy in my book."
- ―Ruth Garcia
Ruth Garcia is a local purveyor of home remedies and herbs to the homesteaders of Harper. Living the life of a hermit, Ruth’s eccentricities have led to her isolating herself from the rest of Harper so that she can live on her own. Ruth is related to the Smith Family, and they took care of her after her father died of cancer. She is well-known for her quackery and large collection of feral cats.
The girl who became Ruth Garcia was normal enough at one point. She was raised on the Garcia Homestead alongside the many children of the Smith Family. Little Ruth was very happy playing alongside the Smiths when she was not working. However, even then Ruth Garcia had some rather odd qualities about her. Even as a girl, Ruth believed in absurd superstitions that she apparently thought up on her own. For example, Ruth refused to ever eat anything with salt in it as she claimed it “sucked out life essence”. Also, Ruth obssessively collected pre-War because of the belief that they could actually tell her about the past as in talk to her. As a child, her parents waived this behavior as an overactive imagination at work, but time showed that Ruth’s mind never moved on. Things only worsened in 2270 when her best friend Ruth died at Black Peak and her parents died from a brief Badlander raid. That drove Ruth into madness and she wandered off into the wasteland with many in Harper assuming she was lost forever. That turned out not to be true though as Ruth returned to Harper four years later. When Ruth came back to Harper, she had grown even more mad, but she had also learned some skills in making home remedies and herbs. Ever since then, Ruth has remained on the outskirts of Harper in her new house as she stays away from the Garcia Homestead. Ruth stays away from the people of Harper unless they want some home remedy from her or she needs supplies. She prefers it that way, living alone with cats and her madness.
- "Harper is the last free settlement in Oregon! Don’t let anyone tell you any different!"
- ―Joel on Harper’s status
- "A nice place... but not home."
- ―Alecto Wolfkill recapping her childhood in Harper
- "You guys should avoid Harper if you want keep all your limbs. The folk there aren’t friendly to people like you and me."
- ―Ross to mutant caravaners about Harper
- "I’d like to burn that shithole down someday. Already caused enough trouble for us and NCR."
- ―A Badlander tribal on Harper
|This has been written by MongoosePirate. Please contact this user before editing this article.|