- "This is where the wind roosts outsider, the mother of all sand, this is the center of the world."
- ―Sirocco Game
|Location:||Permian Basin, Texas|
|Factions:||Sand Hills Tribe|
|Current status:||Tribal village|
Monahans is the enervated husk of a small, west Texas oil town, nearly completely abandoned before the war. Its current inhabitants are the descendants of several bus loads of children returning to Odessa after a trip to the nearby Sandhills State Park. These wasteland walkers are a proud tribe whose indistinct traditions are lifted from pulp novels and Grognak comics.
Monahans was once just a sparsely inhabited stretch of desert that the Texas and Pacific Railroad wanted to run through. During construction, water had to be hauled all the way from Big Spring, in a bid to same time and money they successfully dug a well which provided hundreds of thousands of gallons of water daily. The availability of water and cheap land made the area more attractive to settlement and so a town sprung up by the tracks. Oil was discovered in the area in the 1920s and the population exploded. The Million Barrel Oil Tank was built in 1928 to store crude oil awaiting shipment. The tank was found to be defective and dismantled sometime in the 1930s, the concrete basin would later be made into a museum.
In the latter half of the 20th century the town's oil economy petered out and the population dwindled, most moving to bigger towns like Odessa and Midland. It remained a typical small town up until the war, hosting just a few thousand people until the end.
Monahans had a population measured in two digits by the time the great war took place and was unworthy of notice. It was mildly irradiated by the bombing of Odessa and Midland. Most of the residents, the stranded schoolchildren, and their chaperons took shelter at Monahans High School.
Immediately following the war, the people of Monahans organized the collection of all supplies from the local shops and service stations. They hadn't planned for having so many extra people, but appealed to their own better natures and did their best to help all the survivors. Despite the best efforts of the people, casualties began to mount from radiation sickness. The instincts of the adults led them to give themselves smaller doses of radiation, drugs in favor of saving more for the children, eventually leading them all to their demise, leaving the children to fend for themselves.
The older children took it upon themselves to lead as best they could, but had trouble wrangling the younger kids. Coping as best they could, they tried to turn their efforts into a game by drawing from the various escapist comics and magazines they had. They assigned kids "quests," and started granting titles as rewards. As time wore on their games became a part of everything. As the children grew up, there was an emphasis on base survival: the older kids figured it was more important that everyone know how to start a fire or set a broken bone and so things like history and mathematics were set aside. When the last original "big kid," died of old age the literate population was tiny. With limited knowledge of the real old world, the Sand Hills tribe adopted the works of fantasy that their ancestors had read to them as gospel, passing the pulps through word of mouth.
History and reason are now mostly lost on the tribe who approach most aspects of life with supernatural thinking. Magical rituals such as fire dances, animal sacrifices, the use of totems and effigies abound. Gunpowder is powdered thunder and fire, lasers harness lightning or hellfire, and robots are the creations of long-dead wizards. Every phenomenon, natural or otherwise has some fantastic explanation. The Million Barrel Oil Tank is an important site, frequently used for religious practices or challenges.
The tribe depends on hunting, gathering, and scavenging to meet its needs. There is no real industry to speak of, though some members of the tribe have some primitive crafts they sometimes manage to trade to outsiders. They exist almost entirely on a subsistence level.
The tribe's leadership consists of the chieftain and his council: the war leader, shaman, midwife, priestess, and pathfinder. The chieftain exercises near-total executive power, stayed only if his council unanimously stands against him or her. Anyone wishing to be chieftain must first be endorsed by each member of the council as a worthy candidate, they can then petition the current chieftain who can either resign (a choice which carries no particular shame) or set a challenge for the challenger. The challenge can be anything but since the chieftain must also participate they are all feasible. Some prefer duels, tests of endurance, or battles of wits, others come up with a quest that will benefit the tribe regardless of who is victorious. The war leader is the tribe's general, leading warriors in serious engagements. The shaman is the male religious authority while the priestess serves for the women The midwife is the keeper of medicinal lore. The pathfinder is responsible for tracking the different herds and packs in the Sand Hills territory, and knows where both predator and prey are going.
I-20 curves south around most of Monahans, which is just under 21 miles west and slightly south of Penwell. The sand hills from which the resident tribe takes its name are densest starting 5 miles northeast of town. The tribals usually have their younger children play and learn in and around Monahans High School in the center-southwest end of town. The tribals only let outsiders enter Monahans from the south, where I-20 exits onto State Highway 18.
|This has been written by OvaltinePatrol. Please contact this user before editing this article.|