- "We treat cuts, missing limbs, and chemical dependencies! Come to Tyche's Miracle Clinic!"
- ―Morden's medical clinic advertising its services
A post-War settlement built from the remnants of a pre-War drive-in movie theater, Morden is a walled town in northern Oregon that makes its living off of caravan traffic. The town had an active role in the Oregon Brushfire Wars, and it paid dearly for that.
Morden is a town inescapably linked to the caravan trade connecting the NCR with the various city-states in Seattle such as Emerald City, Chinatown, and Capitol Hill. It started as just another pre-War ruin right off of I-5, a drive-in movie theater to be specific. The theater had been abandoned ever since the Great War and was only home to the occasional squatter or drifter.
That is until the Rourke Family came there in 2238. The Rourkes were New Disciples from Idaho who had been driven west by the Owyhee Watershed Tribes. They wanted to establish a new safe homestead away from war and felt the theater fit the bill. The family and a couple of New Disciples fixed up the place rather quickly and soon enough, they had even put up signs advertising food and board for travelers.
The Rourke family were New Disciples who just wanted a new community where they just could farm and minister to the tribal people of the area. For those early few years, that was all Morden was, an unnamed New Disciples' farming community. The New Disciples welcomed travelers, drifters and the occasional caravaner into their home over the years, and their community became well-known along I-5 for their generosity.
However, this generosity did not stop disaster from striking in 2241. A survivalist band from the east, driven west by Badlanders, came across upon the New Disciples' little community late in 2240 after a hard and arduous journey. The trusting New Disciples tried to reach out to the survivalists to help them but one misunderstanding led to another with blood being shed.
This initial incident led into a year-long war that cost both sides dearly. No matter how hard the New Disciples tried to make peace with the survivalist band, they were rebuked and sometimes even attacked. The survivalists even raided the New Disciples' crops on occasion. Seeing negotiations as ultimately useless, the New Disciples decided in early 2241 that the only alternative would be to fight back. That they did. The New Disciples also decided to build walls around their community at this time to make attacks more difficult.
The war between the New Disciples and the survivalist band would cost both groups their initial patriarchs, several other family members, and ultimately, the survivalists' second patriarch. The death of the survivalists' second leader Obadiah Williamson, the defection of their young gunsmith Stuart to the New Disciples, and a lack of a stable food supply drove the survivalists to finally sue for peace in the winter of 2241. A couple of the younger New Disciples demanded that the war carry on until the survivalists were destroyed as a threat, but their new leader Benjamin Rourke knew that was not the way New Disciples did things. So, Benjamin Rourke welcomed the survivalists' new leader Jeremiah Seamark with open arms to make peace. This process of reconciliation was a surprising success as the survivalists had not expected such forgiveness. The New Disciples allowed the survivalists to resettle outside their community and establish their own homesteads. From this experience, the New Disciples earned a harder edge and learned to defend themselves. However, they also ultimately stuck to their New Disciples beliefs, favoring forgiveness over revenge.
In the years after the conflict, the survivalists and the New Disciples intermarried, and their animosity simmered down. In 2242, Stuart opened up Stuart's Weapons Depot for business for the first time, providing the New Disciples, the new homesteaders, and travelers with plenty of weapons. It was also around this time that caravan traffic on I-5 began to grow at unprecedented rates. Caravaners from NCR and Seattle came across the New Disciples' community more commonly, and the people of the community serviced them best as they could. The homesteaders remained rather cold towards outsiders while the New Disciples continued to be welcoming towards outsiders though with caution. This caution paid off in late 2242 when some escaped convicts all the way from NCR ended up in the New Disciples' community and were apprehended for attempted rape. The escaped convicts were eventually executed by hanging while they were almost rescued by their convict friends. This improved the community's reputation greatly, especially for caravans.
Caravans grew as the time went on, and the population grew as well. By 2245, both the New Disciples and the homesteaders were outnumbered by outsiders who had come with the caravaners. This population surge alarmed many in the community who felt they were not organized enough to deal with this influx of people. A council was held in the summer of 2245 to organize what had once been a community into a formal town. The name Morden was decided upon due to a pre-War sign nearby bearing the name and being an informal nickname for the community for years before. The New Disciple patriarch Benjamin Rourke was also elected in 2245 as Morden's first mayor. The little town government took shape to help Morden weather the coming storm.
Morden continued to grow as the decades went on, even as conflict heated up in Cascadia. The town was seen as a rather attractive place for tired old caravaners to settle down in and for people wanting to exploit the caravan trade to set down roots. That was why the mysterious Tyche eventually settled down in Morden in 2260 and established Tyche's Miracle Clinic.
However, the most important people to come to Morden after its establishment were members of Crimson Caravan who saw the town's great potential as a waypoint between NCR and Seattle. In 2247, Crimson Caravan sent a group of representatives to Morden to try to work out a special deal with the town. The town government and the New Disciples were instantly skeptical of the caravan representatives, but the representatives managed to convince them after sufficient schmoozing. The new residents of Morden saw this move as necessary for continued growth while some others saw it as counter productive in the long run. The caravans continued to bring in caps after the deal but not all was well.
By the time the Oregon Brushfire Wars rolled around, there was discontent brewing up in Morden. The younger generations of all groups within Morden had grown resentful of the NCR and tribals, seeing war as being inevitable. Their elders saw this view of the NCR as an enemy near suicidal, as NCR caravans were what sustained Morden's livelihood. However, they did see tribals as a threat due to their increasing hostility. The Ruins War and Operation:RED TRAIL vindicated this view to many in Morden of the tribals' and the NCR's dual threat.
So, by the time the Brushfire War began, Morden was just about done with the NCR. An incident with an NCR bounty hunter in 2262 escalated hostilities and by 2263, Crimson Caravan had pulled its employees out of Morden (and most of Cascadia in general). This in turn made the residents of Morden more hostile towards the NCR, and the town became less visited by caravans as a result. Morden's economy suffered. The youth admired the adventures of Stern's Raiders and were drawn to the group's exploits. Meanwhile, the elders of the town were fully aware of the effects Morden's warmongering had on the town's economy and therefore remained more neutral to the coming conflict. They were also suspicious of Stern's Raiders for their cooperation with Oregon tribals.
During the formation of the Northwestern Alliance in 2266, Morden did not send representatives to Portland. However, many in town did deeply sympathize with the Northwestern Alliance and when war broke out in 2267, the Morden Citizen Militia was formed by youths to aid the Northwestern Alliance in their war against the NCR. In the time after that, the town was harassed several times by Badlanders under the employ of the NCR, making the town elders and the mayor a little more sympathetic to the Northwestern Alliance. Morden itself still remained neutral, neither siding with the NCR or the Northwestern Alliance. Caravan traffic continued for about a year as the war raged on in other parts of Cascadia.
That was until the summer of 2268 when the Morden Citizen Militia returned to Morden accompanied by the Sons of Liberty. The soldiers warned the town of increased attacks from the south by both NCR and Badlanders and said they were establishing a position in Morden to defend I-5. The mayor and other adults of Morden accepted the soldiers' "offer" reluctantly while the youths of the town were overjoyed at the new development.
The Sons of Liberty detachment remained in Morden for about a year and in that time protected the town pretty effectively. Badlanders were discouraged from attacking Morden and caravan trade began to pick up again. The Sons of Liberty themselves were quite popular throughout town, especially Owen Curtis. The New Disciples and their aged patriarch Benjamin Rourke were especially enamored by Owen Curtis for his reputation of leading a revival among the Sons of Liberty. That interest was lessened somewhat though by rumors of Curtis's promiscuity.
The situation changed when word that the NCR was gearing up for a major offensive, and Morden was one of their targets. The townspeople were panicked at hearing this, but the mayor managed to calm everyone down. The Morden Citizen Militia and Sons of Liberty fortified the town in advance of the NCR's attack. Everyone was surprised when they heard Stern's Raiders was coming to assist in Morden's defense. They arrived late as usual, but the people of Morden were still euphoric about finally getting to meet Stern's Raiders. The Raiders just assisted the rest of the Northwestern Alliance forces without much publicity.
The Battle of Morden served as one of the biggest flashpoints of the War of the Northwestern Alliance. The Twin Pines Pack and a large number of NCR troopers attacked Morden and other Northwestern Alliance positions on I-5 in a coordinated assault. The attackers first reached the homesteads outside Morden then reached the town's walls. The fiercest fighting took place near Morden's walls, and the attackers were finally turned back after an intense battle.
The defenders of Morden celebrated their victory only to hear of other positions on I-5 falling. Hearing of that, Stern's Raiders, the Sons of Liberty, and the Morden Citizen Militia left Morden to continue the fight. The people of Morden were hopeful for the future after they were rescued, their security seemingly ensured.
This hope only endured for about a year until the Northwestern Alliance collapsed, soon to be followed by Stern's Raiders. Morden accordingly fell on hard times when the town fell prey to Badlanders looking for revenge for the Battle of Morden. Badlanders raided Morden numerous times and some even took up residence in abandoned homesteads outside town, leeching off of the townspeople. The people of Morden were unable to effectively deal with the Badlanders, even with the return of the Morden Citizen Militia. Stuart, the gunsmith turned soldier, renamed his store Bearkiller Weapons Depot and started up business again. Things really heated up though when the Badlanders attacked the New Disciples' church in Morden on a Sunday and killed Benjamin Rourke. This roused the anger of the once peaceful New Disciples and Benjamin's son Aaron, a veteran of the Morden Citizen Militia, in particular. Aaron vowed revenge on the Badlanders and eventually left Morden to continue the pursuit of his father's killers.
By 2272, the Badlanders had left Morden to raid greener pastures, forced out surprisingly by Oregon tribals. Morden had suffered enough at that point but was still vulnerable to attacks from enemies besides Badlanders. So when the FNA came to Morden in 2273, most people did not resist their takeover of the town "for its own protection". That is besides the owners of Bear Killer Weapons Depot (Stuart) and the Red Star Bar (Jen Mae), who were simply defending their establishment from being taken over by FNA troopers. Stuart was allowed to keep his store while Jen Mae lost her's and her life.
Since 2273, the FNA has ruled Morden with an iron fist with General Tyrone Creed at their head. The villainous Badlanders of the past have returned on occasion only to be repelled back into the wasteland. The Crimson Caravan Company has returned too and has made a special deal with the FNA to reestablish formal caravan links between NCR and Seattle. Things seemed to have returned to normal, but that is just an illusion. The Northwestern Alliance is still remembered fondly by many in Morden, and the NCR is likewise despised. The FNA have attempted to divide the populace by offered the moralistic, outnumbered New Disciples positions within their hierarchy, but these attempts at divide and conquer have failed miserably. It is only a matter of time before the populace revolts against the FNA. The only question is when and for what reason specifically.
For the last decade or so, the town of Morden has been governed by a FNA military council headed by General Tyrone Creed. The FNA handles taxes, defense, and infrastructure for Morden, doing a decent job at it. The locals of Morden have little say in their own governance, and there has not been a mayoral election in the last fifteen years. The people of Morden are predictably not satisfied with the FNA due their occupation. The FNA controlling Morden and other nearby towns, called the Free Northwestern Expeditionary Brigade, is one of the more unsavory segments of the group who are in the pocket of the Crimson Caravan Company. They are corrupt, undisciplined, and prideful. They are even allied with the much-maligned Badlanders which even angers other FNA groups. The FNA in Morden also raid people who do not live under their rule to get more supplies for themselves.
However, General Tyrone Creed has ordered his soldiers to treat the residents of Morden with respect so as not to alienate them further. These efforts have been lukewarm at best, and a revolt against the FNA only requires a spark to begin.
Morden's economy has always been centered around caravans since it became a proper town. Various caravans from both north and south make their way through Morden on their way to their destinations. Crimson Caravan especially has a heavy presence in Morden due to their "special" relationship with the local FNA. Money flows through Morden like water, and the people of the town mostly make their money selling their wares and services to caravaners.
Some residents of Morden prefer agriculture over dealing with caravans and are allowed to farm as long as they pay their cut to the FNA. Lumber also used to be a large part of Morden's economy but has receded in importance in recent years.
The town of Morden is centered around the pre-War drive-in theater it originated from, expanding out from there. The heart of Morden is around the projector towers, where there are shops, generators, and a sort of "common area". It is a popular hangout for youths and caravaners. Tyche's Miracle Clinic and Bear Killer Weapons Depot are both located here. The FNA garrison is also located here, in a former bar seized during the FNA's takeover of Morden.
The larger drive-in theater area is home to several post-War houses and shacks, acting both as shops and residential areas. This area of Morden, along with the area around the projector towers, is walled in and therefore well-protected from the wasteland. The Rourke family still lives in the immediate drive-in theater area, and the current patriarch of the family ministers at Morden's lone church.
Directly outside of the walls of Morden is I-5, which brings the caravans that keeps the town alive. There are several homesteads who are loosely affiliated with Morden nearby, but their status as part of Morden is questionable at best due to past disagreements.
Being on a important caravan route has caused Morden's culture to shift around quite radically over the years. The town started as a devout but welcoming little community due to its origins with the New Disciples. Morden also had a great sense of cooperation in its early years, with everyone being very trusting and organized. Then, survivalists from the east arrived in the area and briefly engaged in a war with the little community. This little war ended with a forgiving peace and the survivalists settling down outside Morden, becoming homesteaders. This left the community significantly more hard-edged.
After the brief war with the survivalists, Morden experienced enormous growth due to increased caravan traffic. People came in by the hundreds, and the community became a proper town. This brought its own problems as people became less trusting with the stereotype of Morden becoming one of a hustler. Nevertheless, some in Morden remain faithful to the New Disciples' view of a simple community, shunning the "fast" caravan life.
Morden is located in central Oregon just off of I-5. To put it in quotes, "It's close enough to Seattle and close enough to NCR to get it just right."
Due to its status as a caravan hub, Morden maintains good relations with most of its neighbors, even Oregon tribals. Even the FNA takeover has not damaged it reputation to most of its "freer" neighbors to the north, as they see it as (relatively) temporary.
Morden has had a complicated past with NCR, Crimson Caravan, and the FNA. During the Oregon Brushfire Wars, Morden shot itself in the foot by backing the Northwestern Alliance instead of siding with the NCR, the source of nearly half of their caravans and economy. The town has been "forgiven" after the FNA takeover, but there is still a feeling of resentment towards the NCR, even after almost a generation of peace.
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