- "Not the most glamorous place, but it's home."
- ―A New-Merican militiaman, 2236
Once simply the capital building of North Dakota, Tall Town became a thriving post-war community after its settlement in 2148. Nestled in the ruins of Bismarck, Tall Town now serves as the base of the New-Merican Society, and more recently, the American Northern Army.
Bismarck was founded in 1872 and has been North Dakota's capital city since the State was created from Dakota Territory and admitted to the Union in 1889. It remained the state capital until 1969, when the United States of America adopted the system of the thirteen commonwealths.
In the 2000s, Bismarck's population grew steadily. However, when the Badlands oilfields ran out in 2053, the city's population and economy took a major hit.
The Northern Commonwealth was on the frontlines of the Canadian Annexation, and Bismarck was used as a staging ground for American troops going north.
When the Great War occured, Bismarck was targeted since it was an Army staging ground and a population center. Three bombs hit the city, killing a third of the population almost instantly.
The chaos that followed killed another third. Almost all the Army units that survived the bombing deserted and began attacking civilians, with rape and pillage being common. That, combined with mutants, made Bismarck dark in a few hours.
A handful of soldiers, led a Corporal Tyner, attempted to hold out against looters and mutants in the old North Dakota State Capitol. However, a traitor in their midst caused them to be massacred by T-51b armor wearing deserters who managed to break into the building. This turned out not to matter in the end, as the entire city froze that winter, and everyone who hadn't already left died.
For many years, the ruins of Bismarck remained deserted, save for a few robots and scavengers who visited the city every once and a while. It was only in 2135 when some raiders began to make their bases in the ruins of Bismarck. However, this did not give the population much of a boost, as raiders tend not to attract settlers.
The city's first real settlers arrived in 2147. Refugees from raider attacks in the south, the settlers discovered the Bismarck ruins and decided to seek safety there.
The settlers, making their way through the ruins, found the North Dakota State Capitol standing tall among the other buildings in Bismarck. The settlers decided it was there that they wanted to settle. Because of the fact it towered over the rest of the city, they named their settlement Tall Town in 2148. For the moment, the settlers relied mostly on scavenging and substinence farming.
They succeeded at first, but the settlers were soon confronted by a group of raiders led by a man named Lou. The raiders extorted the settlers for "protection" by threatening violence. Defiant but pragmatic, the settlers gave the raiders what they wanted.
However, the shame of being victimized by raiders grew on the residents of Tall Town and by fall, they decided to act. Gathering up what weapons they had and training, the people of Tall Town formed a strong militia in to combat the raider threat.
Though the first few battles were bloody, by 2150, raiders had learned to stay away from Tall Town for fear of its strong militia. Soon after a clash with raiders in 2151, the townspeople of Tall Town decided to elect a mayor to lead their fledgling town.
The election of 2151 set the precedent for the rest of the mayoral election that century. It consisted of a liberal, business-oriented civilian facing off against the typically conservative head of the Tall Town Militia.
After stabilizing in 2151, Tall Town became a safe trade hub in North Dakota, attracting caravan traffic from the east and west. This caused Tall Town to grow substantially, with its population topping 1,000 by 2200. However, this success bred greed and in the election of 2203, things changed.
Drew Avery, the head of the Tall Town Militia, had lost the mayoral election narrowly to "a weasel of a women" called Mary Catherine. Avery was convinced Catherine had somehow rigged the election in her favor and decided to act on his suspicions.
This coup by the militia caused many in Tall Town fled for fear of being killed and even some militiamen left. By 2205, Tall Town's population had dropped by three hundred, and Drew Avery was the totalitarian leader of the settlement.
This ushered in the "Era Of the Dictators", a twenty-two year period where Tall Town changed hand between numerous people and groups. These individuals usually were either supported by an the Tall Town Militia, outside interested groups, or just simply raiders. These new leaders usually lasted two years or so, with the longest lasting five years. This instablity caused more townspeople to flee south and by 2220, it looked like the town would soon be empty if the infighting did not stop soon. Rulers from this period included (but were not limited to): Drew Avery himself, Mad Dog, Jesus 3000, Jezebel, Umangi Evans, and Bayonetta.
The end to the "Era of the Dictators" would be in 2225 with the arrival of the New-Merican Society in Tall Town. Originating from the nearby countryside, the New-Merican Society was formed out distorted memories of pre-war America and advocated ultra patriotism and somewhat libertarian values.
The New-Merican Society decided to seize Tall Town from the dictator Bayonetta when she started sending her raiders out to attack the countryside. Uniting into a sort of militia, the New-Merican Society marched on Tall Town.
Bayonetta put up a good fight but was killed in battle. The rest of her gang fled to other parts of the Bismarck ruins. The people of Tall Town welcomed their the Society as liberators in 2225. The New-Merican Society integrated its own armed wing with the Tall Town Militia, forming a new force, the New-Merican Militia.
After taking the town, the New-Merican Society decided to hold open elections and put their president forward as a candidate for Tall Town's leader. The 2226 elections went well and the New-Merican Society were hailed as fair and just rulers. Upon coming to power, the New-Merican Society instituted new "Free Speech" laws as a sign that, as the president put it, "the dictators are gone, democracy is here". This democracy, however, did not extend to the many slaves owned by many in the New-Merican Society, a fact they would like to gloss over.
Tall Town spent the next decade or so improving itself, with the New-Merican Society giving the settlement focus and encouraging small businesses to be founded. Electricity was restored for the first time since the war, and Tall Town could be lit up at night.
As Tall Town grew in size and wealth, caravans began to come to the settlement more often. However, raiders in the area continued to harass caravans which stemmed traffic. To put a stop to this, the then current president of the New-Merican Society declared a War on Raiders.
This War on Raiders was at first unsuccessful, as the raiders were larger in number than Tall Town's New-Merican Militia, and some were even equipped with power armor. However, by 2236, through zeal and determination (and an alliance with the nearby settlement of Smithsforge), the New-Merican Militia managed to drive the major raider groups out of the Bismarck ruins and force the rest to surrender.
With the raider threat in Bismarck effectively nullified, Tall Town began to expand into the rest of the ruins, and the New-Merican Society actually began to gain influence outside of Tall Town.
However, Tall Town's successes in Bismarck were short lived and ultimately brought the ire of other raiders from the south. The War on Raiders turned into the Great Raider Wars in 2238 and affected not just Tall Town, but many other settlements in North Dakota and even South Dakota.
In the next twenty years, the New-Merican Society defended its costly War on Raiders against dissatisfied people in Tall Town. The taxes became more "taxing", and raiders were seen on the perimeter of the Bismarck ruins once again. In 2248, a party appeared in opposition of the New-Merican Society: the People's Alliance. Created on the anniversary of Tall Town's founding, the group claimed to represent the common man of Tall Town and wanted to scale back the War on Raiders in favor of social reform such as the abolition of slavery and more intelligent uses of taxes. When the People's Alliance won one third of Tall Town's vote in the election of 2250, that caught the attention of the New-Merican Society. Things had to change.
However, instead of changing their position on slavery or the War on Raiders, the New-Merican Society went all in, signing a treaty with Belfield to combine their militias to form the American Northern Army, hoping to bank on the patriotic vote. This saving throw managed to actually stabilize Tall Town and the settlement became the epicenter of the new army, providing much of the group's equipment and supplies, even in peacetime.
The War on the Raiders really went on mostly unchanged for Tall Town, but due to successful offensives against raiders in the south, raider opposition began to break down by 2254. The New-Merican Society trumpeted this as another success and intended to use their new influence in Belfield and their new army to try to recreate "Merica". This optimism carried on to 2256 when the American Northern Army aided the Badlands Roughriders and gained their support. Tall Town continued to grow in the 2250s, with the security brought by the ANA bringing in even more caravans and traders. However, with no organized threat, support for the ANA dropped in Tall Town and funding began to become more scarce.
A new threat did emerge though, this time in the far south. Custer's American Army, who had taken care of much of the ANA's raider problem, had now established a "Restored United States of the America" and had claimed all of the Dakotas as the Badlands Territory. This general disregard for the autonomy of other groups had caused Custer to come into many conflicts. One of these was with the Dakota Regulators, lawbringers from Rapid Valley.
Both the Dakota Regulators and Custer's American Army sent emissaries north to Tall Town, hoping for either an alliance or maybe even a union. The New-Merican Society misunderstood Custer's motives and almost immediately labeled him a dictator, helping the Dakota Regulators join the American Northern Army in 2261. After that, Custer chose not to attack the Regulators so as to not bring the ANA's ire.
This was seen as a success in diplomacy by the leadership of the American Northern Army but seen by many in Tall Town as an anticlimax. With all the warmongering of the previous years, they had expected at least something. The lack of anything after all that buildup caused a decline in the American Northern Army once again, as many of their active missions began shifting south towards South Dakota. For almost twenty years, all Tall Town was fighting off was the cold. In this time, Tall Town's first radio, the Wild West Radio Station, began broadcasting, with its host exploiting the settlement's "Free Speech" laws to their full extent.
Everything changed in 2280. Peacetime changed to war in an instant as the Canadian Liberation Army arrived in the north while Custer finally made his move in the south. The economy was forced into overdrive once again to support the American Northern Army and war bonds began to be distributed. Tales of endemic trench warfare in the south and slain heroes in north frightened many in Tall Town, and residents began to fear for their way of life. They had weathered a lot over the years, but an attack on both sides? Never before had this occured. The New-Merican Society still preaches self-reliance and patriotism, but even their president is worried at the situation. All they can do now is fight on.
Tall Town is centered around the old North Dakota State Capitol and spreads out into the ruins of Bismarck from there. The New-Merican Society has the Capitol as its administrative base. Around the Capitol is Tall Town's light industry, mostly run by members of the New-Merican Society. A few other independent businesses stand in the Capitol's shadow at the behest of the Society.
The fringes of Tall Town are mostly taken up by inns and service industries to support caravans. Housing is mostly reinforced pre-War buildings, with a few post-War houses scattered about. The Mulching Ground is located here, closer to its poor, loyal patrons.
The economy of Tall Town is currently centered around limited manufacturing as well as agriculture. However, caravans are also a factor in Tall Town's economy and a lynchpin to its success in recent years. The ringpull is Tall Town's principal currency.
The New-Merican Society interferes as little as possible with Tall Town's economy and leaves it a free market split among smaller businesses. However, there is a flat tax to all goods and money in Tall Town that is squared away for the use of the American Northern Army. This funding's distribution has fluctuated through the years and increases most often during times of war. ANA war bonds can also be issued but have become untrustworthy in recent years for their fickle returns.
The New-Merican Society runs Tall Town as a "capitalist/libertarian utopia" with most of their presence being felt through taxes and law enforcement. "Free Speech" rules/laws limit government actions so as to curb another dictatorship. Nevertheless, corruption is still present in the New-Merican Society's upper echelons (embezzlement, nepotism, etc.). However, organized crime has failed to take hold in Tall Town, probably due to the settlement's general distaste for "raiding types".
The election process in Tall Town does not only include the New-Merican Society, and other political organizations are allowed per the "Free Speech" rules. Still, the Society has kept an iron grip over Tall Town for sixty years, with their control being only seriously challenged twice. Many in the Society see this as a testament of the superiority of their ideology.
The culture of Tall Town is heavily influenced by the New-Merican Society's distorted views of pre-War America. The values of freedom and liberty are held above all others, and the people of Tall Town are paradoxically expected to be fiercely independent while also being dogmatically patriotic.
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