|Group type:||Nomadic Tribals|
|Leader Title:||Buffalo Baron|
|Location(s):||Ozark Forest, Arkansas|
|Goals:||Survive, Grow and Expand|
|Enemies:||Anything that threatens their territory|
This group of nomads live in what once was the Ozark National Forest. They make it a point to blend in with their surroundings using natural camoflague. Typically you wont see them unless they want to be seen.
The history of the Ozark Riders stretches back to the Pre-War era to a little ranch in Arkansas. The locals called the place Gypsy Falls after an 18th century event no one cared to talk about, but that's a story for another day. The beautiful waterfall that partially gave the ranch it's name was an excellent source of clean freshwater and the business thrived from amble irrigation. Gypsy Falls ranch, owned by George Steward made most of their income raising beef cattle for most of the 19th and 20th century. However, once the cattle industry became industrialized the profit margins on cattle farming shrank to next to nothing.
George Steward's grandson, Theodore, or 'Ted' Steward, the owner at the time, had to think of a new way to make money or go under and he came up with the idea of selling food to a niche market. Ted identified two choices they could sell horse meat or buffalo. If he knew how things ended up he might have chosen horses but horses had to be slaughtered when they were old to get the best tasting meat. Buffalo on the other hand could be harvested much younger and they weren't as picky eaters. The cattle herds were sold off and replaced with a few hundred head of bison. This policy change kept the Gypsy Falls Ranch profitable until the bombs fell.
Once the bombs started dropping Ted's grandson Jason Steward, the owner at the time, gathered up all his staff and supplies and headed into the Ozark forest for protection. In the chaos after the bombs fell mobs of people from the city were tearing up the countryside for food and shelter. The Gypsy Falls Ranch wasn't about to loose everything to a pack of thieves during this period of rioting. The plan was to hide up in the woods until the government reestablished order and then return back to business. Of course that never happened and successive generations lived and died in the forests.
Eventually the group gave up on the world rebuilding itself and made their own society. People took new names for themselves and appointed the best warrior of their group to hold the title Buffalo Baron. The baron was the leader of the herd and made the important decisions for the group. In time the bison became somewhat domesticated and used as draft animals to pull supplies while the swiftest were reserved to be used as cavalry. The soldiers of the tribe rode on buffalo back while the civilians followed on foot. The tribe and the bison grew as they began to adapt to their new surroundings and currently they seem to thrive in the woods.
Culture and Misc
The numbers of this tribe vary at times it can be upwards of 100 strong during periods of peace and abundance. In times of prolonged war or famine the amount of nomads can slip below 50. The society of the Ozark Riders puts the Buffalo Baron at the top, followed by the mounted soldiers, then the warriors on foot, after that are the craftsmen and below them the old an infirm. The tribe wears durable brown fabrics that are covered in bark and branches. If you can catch the herd of nomads moving it looks like the forest itself is on the move. The Ozark Riders use this camouflage to their advantage and ambush animals and enemies in the forest using stealth.
The most common weapons you'll encounter with them are recurve bows, which they make themselves. The nomads that walk alongside the bison are skilled and efficient craftsmen. You will see some with guns occasionally and these come from the bodies of dead enemies. When a nomad kills another person he is allowed to take trophies from their body. It's easy to spot the elite fighters in the group during battle because they have the best equipment. Typically the riders only go after easy targets. They don't like to pick fights with Gatling guns and for obvious reasons. During periods of famine though the riders will get much more aggressive and take risks they normally wouldn't. Any attack that they perceive on their territory will get a response though.