|Group type:||Loose coalition of explorers, merchants, and migrant workers.|
|Leader:||Varies on a boat by boat (or fleet by fleet) basis.|
|Location(s):||The Big Easy, Corpse Coast, Gold Coast, Mississippi River, Tampa|
|Goals:||Exploration, Survival, Trade|
The history of the rafters is vague and tenuous. Within a decade or two of the Great War there were people plying the waters; looking for food or more hospitable lands. The myriad dangers on land prompted many to stay on their boats as much as possible. Rafters coalesced into couriers, merchants, and transporters organically over the centuries; their unwritten code developing the same way.
Activities & Interests
The rafters trade goods and spread news and stories wherever they go. Some sideline into other related ventures such as playing courier or transporting people. Every raft captain looks for opportunities to improve their boats or to create or add to a fleet. Because boats are difficult to create or come by, destroying one is seen as a grave sin. While most rafters are confined to rivers and coastal waters; there's an elite tier of rafter that have seaworthy vessels. These rare few are able to make a realistic attempt to reach the islands of the Caribbean though the way is dangerous and few attempt it. Because cargo space is limited and the crew requires food, water, and typically ammunition; Rafter captains tend to find a niche of goods they typically carry. This is helpful to their regular customers who can usually rely upon a particular raft to meet a particular need when it shows. Of course there's no sure thing in the wasteland and some communities have suffered in the past due to a rafter being forced to carry different goods.
The rafters are a very diverse lot with numbers far greater than most suspect. There is no central leadership, but a number of famous figures have merged. Captains sometimes take on new crew from the communities they serve, though they're careful about accepting fugitives from local justice or runaways. Because of the diverse backgrounds of rafters, they've developed a pidgin language consisting of words and phrases taken primarily from English and Spanish, but also from Creole, French, Mikasuki, Portuguese, and Yiddish. Native rafters; those who were born to their crews rather than recruited demonstrate a higher incidence of minor mutations: supernumerary digits, off-color skin and hair, slight disfigurements. Those who dislike them tend to caricature these mutations to make them seem more dramatic, telling tales of horrifying mutant crimps who snatch away people to man their rafts. In truth, Rafters don't ever impress sailors into service, the job is challenging enough without having people who may want to escape or sabotage the raft.
- Gillingham: Probably the single most famous rafter extant, the jovial Gillingham is the captain of the mighty King Mango Strut, a raft that has grown throughout the decades and become something of an icon to other rafters. Gillingham's regular route makes a languid circuit from Miami to Vieux Carré, but he has allegedly explored the waters as far south as the ruins of Cancun and Havana. Gillingham dislikes violence and so he mostly trades food, clothes, and medicine; though he keeps alcohol and chems on hand for when he's not dealing with squares.
- Max Stone: A clean-cut rafter servicing the Miami area in his cherry looking boat, The Veneer; he's the primary source of drinking water for a number of small communities there. He sells only water and takes only pre-War antiques, even those that seem fairly worthless to those trying to survive. Nobody knows what his source is, and he's evaded all attempts to follow him when he resupplies.
- Amanda Wilson: The most successful unaffiliated rafter on the Mississippi, Amanda Wilson trades goods from Minnesota to Louisiana on her quick ship River Nile but has consistently refused to join the Mississippi Traders Union. This is due to her convictions against what she sees as a monopoly (MTU) and her policy of selling to anyone who can pay her. Her most (in)famous clients or friends include the Klansmen Confederacy, the Comrades' League, various Nocturnal tribes, and many, many raider bands. This makes her a powerful if controversial figure in the Rafter community.
- Reuben: A rare Hillfolk rafter, Reuben is known for his incredible good luck and his relatively large and advanced "raft", The Hellcat. Originally starting as a rafter in Mobile with a few other Hillfolk and trying to make the Gulf Belt, Reuben was caught in a great storm around Miami and was swept north, landing near the ruins of Cape Canaveral. There, he and his crewmates scavenged much of the ruins. Reuben even modified his raft, installing much of the salvaged tech such as turrets and put a jet engine to propel the Hellcat. Eventually, Reuben and his crew returned back west to the Big Easy rich. Reuben later took part in the Privateer Crusade in 2270, receiving a Letter of Marque and joining the Privateer Alliance. He managed to take down a Court of the Bayou ship but luckily fell out before the Battle of The Diamondback due to disagreements over distribution of loot. After that, Reuben has continued to ply the Gulf Belt, generally avoiding regional conflicts due to memories of what happened in the Privateer Crusade.
|This has been written by OvaltinePatrol. Please contact this user before editing this article.|