- "It's a seedy bed of shifty as hell Cuban bastards who are as liable to use you for target practice as they are to sell you their goods. However the taste of that fine Caribbean rum makes it all worth it."
- ―Anonymous pirate in the Gulf of Mexico on Rumrunner Bay.
|Location:||Florida, United States|
Once a paradise resort which had tourists, millionaires, and retirees flocking in droves to its sandy shores, the Pensacola area, known now as "Rumrunner Bay", was devastated by the nuclear infernos which scorched the Earth in 2077.
However through a stroke of fate, these shores would be found again and revived, not through tourism and sightseeing as they once had but as a center of distribution for rum by the Havana Rum Cartel, a predominantly Cuban group of rum distillers and distributors.
Rumrunner Bay was originally inhabited by a group of American Indians for centuries who were named the "Pensacola" by Spanish explorers. This would lead to the Bay being named for them. Throughout its history, Pensacola Bay has been an important part of western Florida and was at one point Western Florida's capitol.
The heritage and history of the Bay are rich and diverse, and it has been famously controlled by five sovereign entities before the Great War - Spain, France, England, The United States of America, and during America's Civil War the Confederate States of America.
As time advanced for Pensacola, it became an ever more increasingly important city. Dubbed the cradle of naval aviation, many advances in flight were made in the city, and it saw a large naval aviation base inside the city which helped to make the city a prime target for Chinese ICBMs. In addition, it gained great renown for its beaches which made the city a vacation and retirement hotspot.
Pensacola was hit terribly hard by six nuclear warheads of Russian origin. Due to its high population and significance to the American Navy, it received no mercy and lost more than half of its population.
Pensacola was devastated by the nuclear holocaust, and some parts of the town were highly irradiated. However, a group of National Guardsmen managed to set a safe zone inside the town and guarded it against the chaos and death taking place outside. Over the years, the safe zone turned into a town itself, Fort Pen. The town survived against all odds and a group called the Gulf Rangers was formed in 2178 to police Rumrunner Bay.
However, trouble was on the horizon. The cyborg warlord Matthias Dugan attacked Fort Pen in 2200 and massacred the inhabitants. To make an example of the town, Dugan razed the town and intentionally dumped radioactive waste there.
Fort Pen would lie as a hollow grave for the rest of its existence. However, an outpost in another part of the Bay was set up for rafters by rafters in 2208.
Occasionally the ruins of Fort Pen and the rest of the city were explored by scavengers however most avoided them as for reasons beyond the comprehension of the wastelanders the ruins were more irradiated than most sites.
The small outpost on the beach was of no real significance and most didn't even know of its existence. By 2220 the area was all but forgotten and abandoned. This would change in 2235 when one of the first acts of foreign exploration was committed by the growing Havana Rum Cartel, who sent a steamship from Havana laden with rum.
The Cuban rumrunners would quickly set up shop on the beach and begin selling their wares to travelers. Establishing a radio post to draw in customers, the rumrunners grew with the times and under the leadership of the cartel's appointed boss, Roberto Gomez the beach gained a nightclub and its sales shot through the roof.
With Roberto's death in 2245, his young on Micheal took over running the Bay, a post he has proven to his father's equal in. The Bay has been neutral ground for years and used as a site for negotiation among criminals to an area for political asylum such as in the case of the pirate, Wilson Banks who stayed in the area for four years to avoid privateers before being killed by a bounty hunter.
While most groups do not like the Rumrunner's presence, they tolerate it. From the Jews of Little Israel to the feudal Royaume, most ruling bodies have condemned their harboring of pirates, selling of rum, and incredibly violent tendencies. And while groups like the Gendarmie could eliminate them if needed, the Cuban militia is incredibly well armed, and the manpower, munitions, and money needed to take the Bay would be immense. This has historically proved to be Rumrunner Bay's best defense and the main reason it stays a Babylon-style hub of vice on the Florida panhandle.
Rum is the undisputed economic hallmark of Rumrunner Bay, which was renamed and established for the pure distribution of the beverage. The Rum Cartel makes tens of thousands of caps every year off of this beverage and sells several varieties for different prices which are:
- Havana Champagne - A light "white" rum which has a low alcohol percentage and is mixed with white wine. More popular among lighter drinking crowds such as rafters or salvagers, it is commonly bought as a gift or for celebratory purposes which gives it its name. Prices start at fifteen caps a bottle.
- Cocktail Cola - Called 'Cola' for one of its secondary ingredients, Cocktail Cola is spiced rum mixed with Nuka Cola which makes it an alcoholic version of the beverage. It is slightly common around the Gulf of Mexico but not very popular as non-alcoholics won't buy it for the rum and hardcore alcoholics find the Nuka Cola taste unpleasing. However due to the cost of production, it sells for twenty caps a bottle.
- Hellfire Brew - Named for its spicy Taste, Hellfire Brew is forty percent alcohol, thirty percent molasses, and thirty percent chili pepper making it an incredibly hot drink to swallow and a popular beverage to use in a dare or drinking game as most find it very painful to drink. Hellfire Brew is aged in wood barrels for a better taste and is popular among hardcore drinkers, pirates, and mainly members of the cartel who buy it from their employer more than outside customers do. Hellfire Brew sells for thirty caps a bottle.
- Midnight Psycho - A drink made for raiders, Midnight Psycho is a dark rum blend of sixty percent alcohol, thirty percent sugarcane, and ten percent psycho. Mixing the elements of both a stimulant drug and rum, it provides enough of the chem to serve as a fix for an addict and provides both the drunken rage of alcohol and the increased strength of psycho. Definitely a hardcore drink but dwarfed by Daredevil Rum, Midnight Psycho is a cheap and effective stimulant which has served its purpose well in many a robbery, murder, or raid. Midnight Psycho sells for forty caps a bottle.
- Daredevil - Arguably one of the strongest alcoholic beverages in the post-war world, Daredevil is very popular among those who have the stomach for it and can afford it. Easily able to kill a man whose stomach isn't strong enough, Daredevil has an alcohol makeup of eighty percent. The rest of the beverage is mostly sugarcane with a small bit of red chili pepper similar to that in Hellfire Brew. This makes the drink strongly alcoholic with a sweet and spicy flavoring. Daredevil has been used by many raiders, and it can take very little to get one drunk on it, sending them into a complete frenzy making them hard to kill and immune to pain. Most bottles of Daredevil are bought by wealthier pirate and raider leaders for their men as a better alternative to Midnight Psycho or to prove a point to one's friends about their strength, it has also seen use as a makeshift anti-depressant, and occasionally a means for suicide. Daredevil sells at eighty caps a bottle.
When one fails to be able to pay gambling, prostitution, or rum debts or kills or hurts a cartel member, they are normally taken alive and physically examined. If they are a young female, then they can count on working off their debt through prostitution. If they are physically weak, then they become target practice. However if they are physically fit, then they are normally incapacitated and sold to pirates or raiders as slaves.
Some slavers will drop by from time to time to pick up new acquisitions, and the regular price of a slave runs a modest twelve hundred caps per person. The majority of the time this covers debts which the average enslaved individual would have incurred and this practice has attracted slavers to Rumrunner Bay, who will normally subsequently generate revenue in all economic fields for the Cartel.
Gaming & Entertainment
The second largest revenue source in the former Pensacola Bay, the Havana Rum Cartel operates a moderate sized nightclub formed made from materials collected from the outer ruins of Pensacola. The club's bar serves dozens of cocktails and rum varieties made by the Cartel. Whereas the cartel sells their specialty rum in sixty-ounce bottles, the bar sells drinks in five ounce shot glasses, and the prices are lowered accordingly.
Inside the nightclub which is known as "Club Havana," many entertainment venues are offered which normally suit the taste of Cartel members and pirates, the bay's largest patrons. Aside from the bar patrons may undertake in prostitution with slaves of all ethnic descents and of varying levels of natural beauty, gambling with poker, blackjack, roulette, and riverjack a game hijacked from straight from the gaming deck of The Devil's Den. In addition, indoor shooting contests occur with live targets for entertainment and once a week an indoor brawl match is held in a makeshift boxing ring where the rules are simple: only bare or brass knuckles.
This sort of entertainment generates massive profit for the Cartel as gamblers lose fortunes in rigged games and would be "tough-guys" will pay sizeable sums to enter the boxing match with a large sum of Daredevil given to the man who is tough enough to take down at least a dozen opponents. In the end, everyone who enters Club Havana walks out poorer or with a slave collar. Those who do manage to beat the house are normally accused of cheating and executed. However, stories of this rarely get out due to bribes and most being too drunk to see the fact that the winners are wrongly accused.
Rumrunner Bay is the undisputed territory of the Havana Rum Cartel and as such, they appoint a leader to oversee the security and running of their Florida outpost. Known as "Barons" they have overseen Rumrunner since it was established as an outpost. Barons have simple orders: Sell rum, pay cartel members and keep Rumrunner in cartel hands.
Besides these objectives, there are no other instructions to barons, and while they follow these tenants vigorously they do not use their practically unlimited authority to enforce any practical laws among the cartel or visitors, and mostly the barons handle large transactions and payments.
Law & Order
While the barons do not set any real laws, there is one which has stood since the conception of Rumrunner - Don't fuck with the cartel. This means any acts of violence or insults towards a cartel member are met with death even if one kills a cartel member in self-defense. As well owing the cartel money is considered a grave offense and is punishable with enslavement.
Besides the rules forced on visitors, cartel members have their own small code - Don't mess up a deal. This simply means that if a drunken member picks a fight with a potential buyer, then they are killed, however besides buyers cartel members may pick any fight they want and have full immunity making it dangerous to stay in Rumrunner Bay for a traveler.
The layout of Rumrunner Bay is rather simple, sailing into the bay the first thing the average boat will see is the wharf which is illuminated with pre-war neon lights taken straight from Havana to ensure it is not missed by boats. The wharf contains a small vault where large orders of rum are kept for boats to be given before they leave.
After the wharf, there is nothing but a strip of beach with makeshift watchtowers fashioned from pre-war lifeguard towers every two hundred yards. About five minutes from the wharf one can find a marketplace for rum and slaves which are heavily guarded by cartel members.
After the marketplace, there is the Havana Club, which is surrounded by a small tent city where most cartel members sleep. Past the club, there is the captain's office where the Baron stays and runs his operation with a small captain's wharf nearby.
Cartel members are found napping on the beach all the way down the sandy strip of shoreline and some guard the entrance to the ruins of Pensacola, which are mostly barricaded and entered by only the bravest and most skilled salvagers. Fort Pen is left to the ghosts and ghouls.
The culture of the people of Rumrunner Bay is one of violence and anarchy, cartel members are normally drunken and drinking contests, animal fights, gambling, and the live target practice are common. Most people regard the Cuban inhabitants with fear and rightly so, certain members are more violent than others. However, all are generally hardened killers as if one becomes "soft" by Cartel standards then they are normally killed by their own friends.
In general pirates from all over the Gulf find Rumrunner Bay as a refreshing stop which serves as an in-between point with the Orange Bowl to the east and Old Tortuga to the west. Safety has no presence here, and one must enter Rumrunner Bay at their own peril if they value their lives.
Yet many men whose business is not that of murder venture into the ruins of the pre-war city not to do business with the Cartel but to salvage the untapped ruins of Pensacola whose repeated bombardment by nuclear weapons have caused enough radiation to scare away all but the most determined of salvagers leaving a sense of exploration in the air in Rumrunner Bay.
However, the city's radioactivity does not serve as a "holy grail" of pre-war salvage as it does for some. When the cartel first came to the former Pensacola Bay, several wandered into the city after establishing their presence on the beach. Drunk, the bootleggers wandered willingly into the ruins of Pensacola and lost their way in the maze of ruins and their lives shortly after. Several men sent after them also died and the rumrunners left, intoxicated and superstitious the Cubans with the aid of rum reached the conclusion that the loss of their friends was the work of the paranormal and supernatural forces and stories explaining the missing bootleggers blaming anything from ghosts of the lost to the mystical Chupacabra surfaced and became embedded in the minds of Rumrunner's guards.
Also Rumrunner Bay maintains a radio station known simply as "Rumrunner Radio" which plays a wide variety of pre-war reggae and Latin music common to the Caribbean islands. Capable of broadcasting songs up to sixty miles away, the sound of reggae music on the radio is a sure sign to those traveling without a navigator that Rumrunner Bay is nearby, and the tunes of Reggae have become synonymous with members of the cartel.