- "Park Hills produces clouds of black smoke visible for miles, its great medieval furnaces burning constantly. The metals pulled from the mineshafts in the outlying territory would be reduced, and turned into slag, and then into ingots or wrought into whatever shape was needed. The farms of Sullivan and the Fortress produce vast quantities of maize and other produce, and massive compost heaps ensure the soil will never be depleted of its nutrients. Brahmin caravans roam the countryside, peddling their wares across the Republic. Ozark is small, but it is a world contained unto itself, self-sufficient and self-reliant."
- ―A wasteland explorer's record of his first visit to the Republic
The Republic of Ozark (alternatively Republic of the Ozarks, Ozark Federation, and Ozark) is a relatively new polity in the Midwest wasteland. A federation of four largely independent city-states, it was formed to promote the safety of their corner of the wasteland and to facilitate more fluid trade between the cities and their dependents.
The Republic of Ozark was formally founded through an initiative begun by the Fortress, one of the largest post-war settlements in the south-central Missouri region, in 2245. By this time, an agricultural economy with medieval-level industry had been established in what was once the Lead Belt, with a number of major dependent and allied communities to the east and north of the Fortress. The federalization of these ties with the signing of the Lead Belt Treaty by the four major city-states, of which the Fortress was the de facto leader, established a joint "Quadrimunicipal Federal Government".
From 2246 to 2248, the Three Congresses were held in the Fortress. Each one touched upon the different issues of the forming government, ranging from land distribution to individual rights. Insitutions were established, such as the formalization of a central military, to courts who could attend to criminal proceedings, and bureaus to oversee production in the industry-heavy areas.
The Constitutional War
2248 to 2254 became a defining period in Ozark's history. The powers that be, many of whom dissatisfied with their sudden deprivation of power, began to split into opposite camps, with Park Hills' Mountain Mining Company, at the time a monopoly on the northern mine region, and the Fortress' Reactionary Party forming a series of under-the-table agreements with the intent of overthrowing the new government.
The Hawks, outside of Ozark's jurisdiction, were paid for their support by the Reactionary Party. The New Order of Saint Cristopher, living on the fringes of Ozark's territory, had formed in the image of the Order of Saint Christopher, with all the fanaticism that came with that.
By 2249 they took their stand and what would be known as the Constitutional War had begun.
The Pathfinders were forced to regroup and oust the Reactionaries from the Fortress, in brutal house to house fighting that lasted over a week. The city's water plant was trashed and its farms scorched, but not irreparably so; within two weeks of the Reactionaries being pushed into the hinterlands all the Fortress' facilities were brought back into operational status.
The Reactionary forces and its allies numbered no fewer than two-hundred, and were significantly outnumbered, but couldn't be easily subdued by the local militias -- even the best trained and equipped militia, the Fortress militia, couldn't score a decisive victory in the fighting that spread across Ozark.
The whole situation devolved into a mire for over three years, with Ozark being unable to properly coordinate its army while its municipal governments squabbled, and the Reactionaries unable to successfully subdue any of the major cities -- not even Sullivan, which was an island in the heart of Reactionary control, refused to fall.
It wasn't until a formal Central Command was established for Ozark that the situation began to turn in their favor, in late 2252. The Winter Offensive, the first organized military campaign by Ozark forces, began in November 2252 and ended in February of 2253.
The Pathfinders, realizing the Hawks' had most of their forces in Ozark, launched a major attack on their headquarters and, without the vehicles needed to react in time, destroyed it. The remaining Hawks, who were guns for hire, realized that without their commanders they would never get paid, and promptly dispersed into the wasteland. Ozark's First and Second Companies then launched a two-pronged assault on Reactionary territory with the aim of reestablishing control over Sullivan's land. It was hard fighting, but without the Hawks, the Reactionaries could not mount a proper defense.
The war wound down with dozens of Reactionary leaders being imprisoned. The MMC was disbanded and its assets turned over to Park Hills' municipal government. The war took a heavy toll on the population and on the land of Ozark, but showed that the polity was capable of defending itself -- even against the enemy within.
After the War ended, the Congress was moved to Sullivan, which was the de jure Capitol.
Under Gerard Howe
The first Chancellor, the head of state, was elected by the Congress as prescribed in the Ozark Constitution, in 2258; a man named Gerard Howe from Park Hills. The foundational powers of the Chancellor were restricted much alike the pre-war American government's president, and served mostly to preside over Congressional proceedings. Howe's term, from 2258 - 2264, served to establish a precedent for future Chancellors, and during his time he helped to form many early laws and powers regarding the seat of the Chancellor.
After his sixth year, he was re-elected for his second and final term. Although Howe wasn't seen as a particularly exceptional Chancellor his guiding hand in the Congress was clearly felt and was instrumental in refining the workings of the government. Consolidation of power and refinement of the government continues to 2281, but was functionally complete by the end of Howe's second term in 2270; among his many introduced laws, one was the Garrison Act which instituted mandatory garrisons in every settlement scaled to the population size of the settlement (a minimum of one militiaman per twenty civilians), and another was the Coinage Act which instituted silver- and copper-based coinage as the official currency of Ozark, to replace bottlecaps. An exchange rate of 100 caps to 1 silver chip (the popular name of the currency, reflecting the periodic usage of casino chips which the new coins outwardly resembled), or 25 caps to 1 copper chip. The transition continues to 2281, but has seen widespread use throughout the region and even seen penetration in outlying communities.
In 2270, the Republic formally recognized factions as a part of the Congress, with three main ones dominating three-fourths of the Congress. The Restorationists are effectively conservatives, borderline reactionaries, who seek the return to "classical" Americanism, and is unsurprisingly at home in the Fortress. The Farmers' Front is a populist movement predominantly popular in Sullivan and Twain, where the majority of the economy is built on agriculture. Finally, the Miners' Union are industrial advocates, pragmatists who seek the exploitation of new lands for their businesses, and whose popularity is centered around Park Hills.
Under Lucas Mannheimer
Among these, the second Chancellor was elected from the Restorationists, an aging man and the former Base Commander of the Fortress, by the name of Lucas Mannheimer. He had been alive when raiders still roamed the land largely unchecked. He enacted a series of laws, collectively referred to as the Wasteland Rehabitation Acts, with the intention of establishing more communities in strategic regions, but resource mismanagement and logistics issues turned the project into abysmal failures. The number of people who died trying to establish and defend the embryonic communities, which had no immigration draw and typically suffered from poor land quality, rose as popular opinion dipped. Eventually the Park Hills City Council threatened to leave the Republic if the Congress didn't cease the projects. Mannheimer's popularity never recovered, although he had learned that his newfound power wasn't omnipotence; much more reasonably-sized initiatives were undertaken such as the Great Cartography Project that was signed into law in 2274, in which the Pathfinders (in conjunction with a hand-selected surveyor brigade) set about mapping the whole Republic and its immediate surroundings in detail. Manuscripts were put together, in addition to the maps, which catalogued every resource and possession in the Republic, the name and status of nearly every person who lived there, and the status of the various communities under Republic jurisdiction. Like the Domesday Book of England this project gave the Federal Government an exact picture of the resources and population makeup under their control, as well as allowing them to distribute maps and other resources in order to make governmental proceedings easier.
Under Felicia Jansen
Regardless of this good work, Mannheimer was still voted out of office in 2276, and the current residing Chancellor, Felicia Jansen, was elected in favor; a younger woman from Twain, who had no affiliation with the major factions, but was instead known for her excellent administrative skills from time spent as the governor of Twain. Her first act of business was to attempt to found a city on the Mississippi river in order to tap into the booming trading industry there, but issues with Park Hills and their sovereignty over the area has put a damper on the idea.
The Pathfinders staked out a number of locations that might offer access to the Mississippi river. Despite initial hesitation from Park Hills on the subject of zoning as well as the Rehabitation Acts still being fresh in the population's mind, eventually all doubts were put aside as arrangements were made to the satisfaction of the relevant parties. The abandoned and ruined town of St. Mary's Landing was eventually selected after careful examination of its soil quality and position right on the banks of the river.
The Ozark Defense Force
As these things were happening, Jansen and the Congress authorized the formation of a more formal military force (besides the Pathfinders). After some debate, the initial version of the Ozark Defense Force Formative Act was drafted by the principle cities of the Republic, in early 2280, which, after further debate and modification, formed the framework and legal groundwork for the new branch of the Republic Army -- the Ozark Defense Force or ODF. Many representatives cited the failures of the Patrol Corps, the informal central militia of Ozark until that point, in defending the forming cities under the Rehabitation Act as their principle reasons for supporting the move to further centralize militia organization and integration.
In total, five companies of one hundred individuals (five platoons of twenty apiece) were formed as the basis for the ODF, drawn from the most prestigious of the preexisting militia groups throughout the Republic. The primary difference between the pre- and post-act Republic forces was simply in organization -- each Company, while drawn from preexisting militias, did not maintain their militia structure and instead found themselves being deliberately mixed so as to break bias within a unit and reduce the chance of mutiny. No company is bound to any particular city, and their commanders are all retired Pathfinders or Pathfinder handlers. Initially, First and Second Company were based near Sullivan, with Third Company in Fortress, Fourth in Park Hills, and Fifth in Twain.
Standards were lax, with most of the ODF's equipment simply being inherited on the individual level from the militia that preceded them. There was not even a formal uniform until Jansen's second term, at which point a BDU developed by Twain was adopted for use, but manufacture and distribution of the uniforms remains slow despite Twain's textile producers selling part of the contract to outside manufacturers in Sullivan and smaller settlements. Regardless, this restructuring of the militia greatly improved defensive coverage of the more remote areas of the Republic. Permanent outposts were continually established along major trade routes, with garrisons of up to two platoons on particularly at-risk regions where wildlife and raiders were a regular threat to local communities. While logistics remained troublesome, the ODF's presence enabled greater volumes of trade along the major routes, which for the most part was enough to make up for what the Congress's efforts could not.
Clearing the Way for Saint Mary's Landing
The Pathfinders, in coordination with the then newly-founded Ozark Defense Force's Fourth Company (specifically the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th platoons), successfully eradicated the feral ghoul inhabitants of St. Mary's in 2281, not long before Jansen's first term was coming to an end. The overwhelming success of this action and complete lack of casualties on the ODF and Pathfinder side both legitimized and drummed up support for Jansen, the ODF, and the planned city of Saint Mary's Landing.
It had been agreed that the resources to construct and populate this new city would be shared evenly among the four principle cities, and would be governed as a condominium between them (i.e., under the control of the Congress rather than by any of the municipalities individually).
Jansen had just won the election in a landslide in 2282 when the formal repopulation effort of the city began. ODF forces in more isolated and poorer regions were used to extend the offer of homesteading to the people living in those regions. An unforeseen consequence of this move saw the depopulation of particularly poor communities, who had been having a rough time simply eking out an existence. The municipalities which suffered most from this was Park Hills and Sullivan; the former losing valuable mining communities and the latter many of its local brahmin herders.
While the loss of such valuable resources was damaging to the reputation of the project, the sudden arrival of new traded goods and income from Saint Mary's made it less of a problem and more of a bittersweet opportunity for those two largest municipalities. New, more exotic minerals were imported, offering entire new industries for Park Hills, while new livestock and feed options enabled Sullivan to continue its farming and herding tradition with even greater zest.
Geography and Ecology
The Republic of Ozark, as its name suggests, is largely centered on the Ozark mountains. Its terrain is fairly rough to the west and south, but flattens out toward the east, with marsh-like territory in the Park Hills and Sullivan area which were once part of a river in the area. Par for the course with the Wasteland as a whole, it is hot, humid, and in a perpetual state of drought; only manual irrigation permits the existence of the many farms in the region. Sullivan, in particular, feeds off of a subterranean aquifer with an upswelling in its limits.
The flora of the Ozark region is made up of essentially two types of plants: conifers and smaller flowering plants.
The conifers, a loose group of four or five different breeds of fir trees which have mutated heavily in the years since the apocalypse, growing yellow needles instead of green and (as a result) growing at a much more stunted rate. However, their roots are capable of absorbing and retaining significant reserves of water for years on end, enabling them to survive the seemingly endless droughts. In the east and south, where these trees are most common, the locals have found ways of making use of them as a source of food -- the needles are the key ingredient in making what Twain calls "mountain tea". The roots can be dug up and used as a source of water (which naturally kills the plant, and so it is largely prohibited except as an absolute last-ditch survival method). Perhaps most commonly, bark can be stripped from the tree and used as an ingredient in a wide variety of meals, be it stews, soups, and even as a standalone dish or side-dish. Seasonally, male pine cones can be harvested for their pollen, which is used as a thickener and flour substitute.
The flowering plants, on the other hand, are far less useful for human survival. Ferns and grasses are common, both mutated and adapted to their new habitat. These lack nutrients and tend to have a very bitter taste. Additionally, mutated forms of poisonous plants like poison ivy and milkweed which have a far more potent toxins than their prewar predecessors, causing rashes, boils, and even necrosis in the worst cases. Thankfully for most, poisonous plants tend to stay localized in shaded cracks and crevices where water naturally collects in the morning, and most fauna instinctively avoid the plants which keeps them from spreading far beyond their natural habitat.
Many of the animals that live in the region are mutated forms of prewar wildlife. The majority of wildlife lives in the east and south of the Republic.
Sullivan, Fortress, and Northern Park Hills
The flatlands that make up the northern portion of the Republic is inhabited by a slim variety of mutated and non-mutated wildlife.
Wild dogs, pack scavengers, are quite common. Despite most having a ragged appearance, they are not mutated animals but rather afflicted with the same kinds of prewar diseases that feral dogs did -- primarily mange. Unlike the wolves and coyotes that inhabit the more mountainous regions, wild dogs are roaming scavengers and not territorial pack hunters. Some have been tamed and bred back to their domestic dog origins, but for the most part they are just one of many animals that hunters in the Republic regularly cull. When threatened, wild dogs will lash out like any other animal, and their bites can cause severe and even lethal infections.
Turks are an extremely large, solitary predatory bird. A mutated form of the Eastern Turkey, Turks stand at roughly four feet tall from foot to head and have extremely muscular legs. These birds claim a territory and will violently defend it from intruders. With an ear-piercing screech, a kick that can eviscerate a man, and a bite that is not only extremely painful, but can also cause lethal infections, Turks have been hunted for years in the northern reaches of Ozark because of how dangerous they are, and also because of how much meat and other materials they provide, especially their feathers.
Wild hogs form one of the bottom rung of the ecological ladder in the northern regions. They are little more than prewar hogs, and are frequently hunted by Turks and other predators. The same can be said of the deer of the region.
Komodo dragons have been sighted in the absolute northernmost extremes of Ozark in the past forty years, likely migrating from Brotherhood of Steel territory. However, they are rare and have not yet had a significant ecological impact on the region, but the Congress has been concerned over the implication of an invasive species displacing native ones in the future, including potentially damaging consequences to Brahmin herds around Fortress and Sullivan.
Twain and Southern Park Hills
Mountain Voles, burrowing scavengers and herbivores, live in small families. Standing at roughly a foot tall from foot to spine, and two feet long from nose to tail at the absolute largest, they are essentially the lowest on the food chain. They live in and around the conifer forests, living mostly off of the roots of the trees and scavenging edible ferns and shrubbery as well. Like mole rats in other parts of the world, they are burrowers, creating underground nests where they live and raise their young. They are a favored target of Twain's hunters, with adults providing a substantial meal for up to three people and the skins being valued for clothes manufacturing.
Sheep, hardly affected by the radiation, are similarly low on the food chain. Ranchers living as hermits often serve as shepherds, tending to moderately sized flocks of sheep that graze on the region's mutated grasses. Their principal adaptation since the Great War has been antioxidant-producing glands, which allows their cells to more easily manage damage to their DNA. While sheep are a common prey for both humans and the predators of the area, their most important use is their wool, which is harvested and used to produce new clothes.
Elk, deer, and other big game have lived in relative peace in the hinterlands where their main predators are humans, wolves, and coyotes. Unlike their brethren on the flatlands the mountain deer are stockier and more well-muscled, well suited for their high-altitude lives. Elk are indigenous only to this southern region, where they had nearly been hunted to extinction prewar and only came back into the region as part of a conservation movement.
Coyotes and wolves, as mentioned previously, also stalk the mountains, along with yao guai and Sabers -- mutated bobcats. They are scarce in number but are one of the limiting factors in the expansion of Twain and its dependencies: although Twain has appealed to the Congress for aid in culling these natural predators in years past, the Congress does not want to risk an ecological collapse that would come from removing the main predator of the plentiful deer and elk.
The apex predator in the region, however, is the Hellbender. Radiation and light FEV exposure have caused the Ozark Hellbender, a previously endangered breed of salamander indigenous to the Ozark Republic region, to grow significantly in size (up to three feet from tail to snout) and develop oddities that set it apart from its amphibian ancestor. Most notably, the toxin that the Hellbender produces has increased in lethality by many times. Its physical effects just by skin contact are severe rash and swelling in the best case, and gangrene leading to death in the worst cases. Even more dangerous is the bite -- if a Hellbender, whose small but very sharp teeth create a serrated effect, manages to break the skin, the poison they excrete will enter the bloodstream. The only way to treat an attack like this is to use a tourniquet to isolate the wound, and remove the affected limb if possible. In all cases of exposure, the toxin has an effect similar to a psychedelic drug coupled with excruciating pain.
On top of this, Hellbenders are capable of speeds of upwards of 20 miles per hour, making it quite hard to get away if a Hellbender charges. The only reason these creatures are not more feared in the region is because, firstly, they stay entirely within their natural range, and secondly because they are a rather rare sight. Hellbenders must lay their eggs in a stream or other flowing body of water, which makes migration into drier areas impossible.
Demographics and Culture
The majority of the population of the Republic is pure humans. A minority of Ghouls, remnants of the Order of Saint Christopher, have disseminated into the Republic, typically acting as merchants or scavengers, with their mutation allowing them to go into untouched and otherwise highly dangerous irradiated ruins.
The Fortress officially has no name. To the inhabitants it's simply The Fort, to outsiders it's commonly referred to as The Fortress and New Sparta, and for good reason. The Fortress is one of the most militarized communities in the region, with nearly every able-bodied person trained in basic marksmanship and survivalism.
Their collective cultural memory has been twisted over the centuries, shifting from cynical anti-government in the immediate decades post-war to a strange kind of idealism for democracy and the ways of the Old World. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is their emphasis on loyalty and mutual trust, combined with an unusual mix of righteousness, xenophobia, and xenophilia -- they are extremely critical of outsiders, but won't shy away from trade and cultural dialogue, and don't hesitate to help their neighbors when needed.
The religion of the Fortress is referred to natively as Americanism. Derived from Baptist and Episcopalian forms of Protestantism, much of the old Christian ways have been passed down. However, a new oral tradition has ingrained itself in the unconscious mind of the settlement, wherein they are God's chosen people, destined to restore life to the world and bring about the new Kingdom of God on Earth. In 2281, the Church began a project to compile stories passed down over the generations, recording how the world fell, how the Fortress' denizens survived and thrived, and even going so far as to frame President Richardson as a kind of prophet, a martyr whose resurrection alongside Christ would be their sign. This work was completed in 2285, as determined by a council of the highest priests in the Church, and is beginning circulation. It has been termed the "Stories of America" internally, but most of the faithful view it as an extension of the New Testament and the delay of Revelation.
Park Hills is the main industrial community of Ozark. They are a cutthroat people, competition is not unknown and for this reason it is controlled by a series of families under the guise of a democratic municipality. Mines in the region give them the resources they need to trade and continue their existence, although the usage of bloomery furnaces, forgeries, smelters, and other such equipment is heavily regulated to prevent the oversaturation of the region with resources and to ensure that nobody gains too much power. As a result, families rise and fall from grace on a regular basis.
The main form of worship in Park Hills is Fludayism. It is said that a prophet, Licca Fluday, lead the people of what is now Park Hills from the ruins of Saint Louis to the region of Park Hills, and that she taught them how to work the hills, build furnaces and smelters, and even what kinds of materials to use to produce certain kinds of metals. The Fluday family still exists -- denoted by a strange mutation that gives their hair and eyes a purple or bluish hue -- and are revered as religious leaders. They keep and update scriptures, but are forbidden from actively working in the mines or from leaving the city proper's walls, for fear of losing their main contact with the Goddess.
Sullivan is heavily intertwined with the Fortress. For the past centuries their numbers had wavered and their ability to defend and care for themselves was in question, with every passing year seeing them losing more people. They became nomads, and the Fortress (the Pathfinders specifically) regularly traded with, taught, and protected the people who would one day become the community of Sullivan. But after stumbling upon the schism in the earth in the pre-war town of Sullivan, whence pure water sprang forth, they settled down.
They became farmers and water merchants with relative ease by calling on their ties with The Fortress. Trade gave them the means to begin their farms and the Fortress had a pact to continue to defend Sullivan from the raiders who regularly menaced them.
Sullivan, while viewed by all as one of the major municipalities, is most similar to the Fortress, and is often viewed as an extension of it. Their culture is largely the same -- a warped pre-war American mindset, and Americanism as the predominant religion. The only real difference is their skillsets.
Twain was once a mighty mountaineer tribe, or so the story goes. Coming down from the heart of the Ozark Mountains, their innate pragmatism and natural talent for persuasion has given them a reputation.
The population was known to be connivers, and for much of their early history would regularly lure raiders and other hostile forces into their limits, buttering them up before tearing them apart all at once and seizing their goods. While their tactics have since become more civilized, relying on metalworking and trade to survive, they remain the most byzantine of the four major cities, and are known for being excellent diplomats, traders, and lawyers.
Fludayism and aboriginal American spirituality defines their approach to religion. They consider Licca Fluday to be the Goddess of the Mountains, but do not actively worship her, or any other single deity.
Government and politics
The Government of Ozark is a unicameral (single-house) Federal Constitutional Republic. Its founding document was the Lead Belt Treaty, which brought the four major cities of the region into a federated union, replacing the former series of trading agreements and mutual defense agreements that previously defined relationships in the area.
Each state within the Republic submits a single representative to the Congress to represent the will of the state as a whole versus the wills of the various communities. Each community within that state, in addition, submits representatives. While the representatives from every community may have their voices heard, only the four "principle" representatives for each state may directly vote in most proceedings. This assembly is known simply as the Congress. It meets in the Sullivan High Court building, once their Town Hall, and Sullivan is the capitol and administrative hub of the Republic.
At the head of the Congress is an elected Chancellor -- elected by the average of a popular and representative vote in which every person is accounted for. The Chancellor serves as a tie-breaker in the case of tie votes and is responsible for the submission of drafts for laws.
The Republic military consists of two main branches: the Pathfinder Corps, and the Ozark Defense Force. The military is heavily intertwined with local militias, and during times of conflict it is expected that several platoons will be given over to Federal control from each major city, and squads from more minor settlements. However, during peacetime they are by and large directly controlled by their city-state, with only five companies remaining under permanent Congressional control -- these comprise the Ozark Defense Force, or ODF.
The Republic has no air force to speak of despite nominally owning a number of prewar military jets. The lack of both fuel and replacement parts to bring them into working order means that for the foreseeable future it is unlikely that Ozark forces will take to the sky.
Ozark Defense Force
The five companies under the permanent control of the Congress make up the Ozark Defense Force, the most recent evolution of the Ozark military. Preceded by the Patrol Corps, the ODF is the formalization of a joint military force for the Republic, something which had been lacking for the first decades of its existence. The Patrol Corps, while good for defending the large cities, suffered from many issues -- particularly on the discipline and logistics fronts, as well as severe understaffing -- which only began to appear during the Wasteland Rehabitation Acts instituted under Mannerheim.
After long discussion, which was first begun by Felicia Jansen late in the 2270s and into the 2280s, the groundwork and legal basis for the ODF was laid out by the Congress. The municipal governments would disband parts of their militias, whose members would then be folded into the nascent ODF. Retraining was facilitated by former members of (and handlers for) the Pathfinders, who remain as the commanders for the ODF down to the platoon level.
While certainly less disciplined and less well-equipped compared to the Pathfinder Corps, the ODF has already in its short existence proven to be much more efficient at covering the larger Ozark region than the Patrol Corps which preceded it.
Ozark Pathfinder Corps
The most important arm of the Republic's military is the Pathfinder Corps, an elite light infantry company comprised of fifty field agents and twenty-five support personnel. Operating under the permanent direct command of the Congressional Pathfinder Oversight Commission, they serve as a quick reaction force, scouts, diplomats, and even as spies. Trained in survivalism and marksmanship and armed with the best the Fortress has to offer, they are a potent force recon outfit.
The arsenal used by the Republic's military largely consists of prewar M199 assault rifles, under the new designation R1, issued by the Fortress' quartermaster. With a simple, sturdy construction, and ammunition that is plentiful and easily recycled, it is perfect fit for arming the militias. DKS-501 sniper rifles are also issued to special purpose units like the Pathfinders, but are largely kept locked away in the Fortress due to their relative fragility.
A particular sporting rifle under the new designation R2 that became common for the militias, a carbine variant of the M14 chambered in the more common 5.56mm round, has begun to overtake the R1 because while both are extremely rugged, the R2 is even moreso.
In terms of armor, the Fortress provides a cut-down version of prewar Army combat armor, repainted a dull tan to match the new environment. These are issued more sparingly, to all units directly under the command of the central government rather than to all militiamen.
The Pathfinders are a special case. In the immediate post-war world they made use of T-51b power armor to traverse the tough and irradiated world, but as more suits failed they were forced to fall back on hazmat suits and later, combat armor. Their combat armor is not, however, cut down the way the standard suits are.
Mining and Metalworking
Many of the mineral resources in what was once the Lead Belt were within the borders of a national forest and as a result fell under the Government's protection against exploitation. This left many deposits of minerals ripe for the picking in the post-war world. Mining and smelting are typical in the Park Hills and Twain regions, and are by and large family-run operations using tried and true ancient practices. Mines are usually constructed, by hand, and worked by hand using old-fashioned picks. The ores gathered from these mines are then reduced via the use of small bloomery-style furnaces made from clays sourced along the Mississippi river or one of its offshoots, leaving a workable base metal. Lead, copper and iron, are produced in amounts generally not exceeding 4lbs per furnace per day (depending on the metal), and with three families operating two furnaces in Twain and seven operating two or three furnaces in Park Hills, the amount is significant enough to facilitate the production of new tools or furnish replacement parts from iron, usually wrought in much the same way as a medieval blacksmith might have.
When a mine produces an amount of extra minerals that can be used for alloying, such as zinc or tin, it is usually reduced and then stockpiled away for the future. Steel, an alloy of iron and carbon, is produced only by the Richardson Iron & Steel Company in Park Hills, and is produced in much smaller amounts than base metals and sold at a premium to those who can make use of it. The process used in its manufacturing is a closely guarded secret. Other alloys, like brass and bronze, are periodically produced (and can be produced by anybody with knowledge of the right amount of each component needed), but the loss of some of the base components and the relative rarity of the base components both mean the asking price of such alloys is much higher than the base metals.
Water production is key to the survival of the region. There are three main sources of water in the Republic: the Fortress, which possesses a fairly significant atmospheric water generator, which relies on a principle of physics to produce large quantities of fresh water; Sullivan, which sits atop a schism in the crust that has given the town access to virtually unlimited fresh water via a subterranean aquifer (although they lack the technology required to extract it in significant quantities); and finally a rudimentary reverse-osmosis purifier run by Park Hills, in what was once a fallout shelter.
Sullivan and the Fortress make up the "breadbasket" of the Republic. With their water generator, the Fortress is capable of putting out a significant amount and wide variety of produce, much of which was grown from preserved seeds. While most makes its way directly to the people of the Fortress, quite a lot is sold to Twain and Park Hills. Similarly, Sullivan's direct access to an aquifer gives them the ability to produce a lot more food than they would generally need. Unlike the Fortress, most of their produce is mutated varieties -- in particular, a mutated form of maize that puts out about half as much food as its prewar ancestor.
Trade, both private and governmental, is ongoing. Patrols by the militia keep the main trade routes fairly free of raider activity, and most people choose to travel alongside trading caravans, hauling their wares in large groups to ward off any possible threats.
Other sources of economic activity
Crime and Raiders
With its cultures having a heavy emphasis on morality, and a no-tolerance policy in place, means that most crimes are punished quickly and ruthlessly. The militias act as the primary law enforcement agency.
For petty crimes (anything short of rape and murder), capture and trial by jury of their peers is the normal standard operating procedure. For more serious crimes, summary execution is preferred, although in cases where the evidence is dubious a more thorough investigation may be undertaken (posthumous or not). Arrests and investigations may only be made under a warrant issued by the jurisdiction's judge, unless there is clear and present danger or probable cause.
However, outside the major population centers, crime is much harder to prosecute. Raiders are common, though normally limited to small bands of highwaymen, and regularly conflict with the trade route patrols that otherwise keep the roads safe. However, when a raider band gets too big or too ambitious for its own good and starts attacking settlements, the Pathfinders are rapidly called in to put them down.
Putting down large bands of foreign raiders -- such as the New Sams -- is much more difficult because of logistics issues. While the Pathfinders will usually wipe out the raid parties sent by the New Sams, the Pathfinders have been unable to track down the "headquarters" (assuming the New Sams even have one) which lies beyond the Ozark frontier.
Pan-municipality relations and competition
While largely benevolent in nature, the interactions between cities is often grating and can even become antagonistic. Disagreements over currency (Twain and Park Hills refuse to accept Chips manufactured in the other city, and vice-versa), resource distribution, and obligations to the central government are regularly fought about in the Congress. More than once, disagreements have been settled by duel to the death.
As previously mentioned, the competition between Twain and Park Hills is palpable at the Congress. It's representative of a constant power struggle between the two; as the only manufacturers of metals in the region, both are always lobbying for greater access to the most profitable mines, and representatives from the two communities never hesitate to start throwing around accusations of mine "spiking" (deliberately causing collapses in rival mines) and producing lower quality metals. Most notable, perhaps, is the fact that neither city recognizes the other's right to produce currency, and have an active embargo on the usage of coins produced in their rival city. Periodic border skirmishes between the two have even been recorded, with wildly different accounts of the incidents.
The relationship between the Fortress and both Twain and Park Hills can be described as grudgingly helpful at best, and deeply-seated distrust at worst. While they never actively fought, the Fortress throwing around its weight during its time as an Enclave outpost, and in the years after, caused Park Hills to be terrified of a potential hostile takeover, while Twain had plans to lure in and destroy any force brought to bear by the Fortress in the event of an incursion -- specifically designed to play to the Fortress' tactical sensibilities. The Fortress, meanwhile, was constantly keeping tabs on its neighbor cities, its commanders fearing a possible shift in the balance of power should Park Hills or Twain be able to get steel mills working. While these attitudes have largely subsided following the Constitutional War, there is always an air of distrust whenever representatives from the cities meet.
Meanwhile, Sullivan sits as a neutral ground among the other three major municipalities. While their connection to the Fortress is obvious to anybody, they lack the same kind of hard-nosed isolationist viewpoint. This is the reason Sullivan is the capitol of the Republic and is the seat of its power; with no outstanding grudges against any other city (though representatives from Twain and Park Hills regularly accuse them of being complicit with the Fortress) and sitting on flat, reasonably-accessible ground from all directions, it is the perfect place to hold the Congress.