The Children of the Apocalypse have been around since the Fall, but their name has only been in use since they began raiding Hoover Dam and its supporting settlements. Before the coming of Redhand, small roaming bands of CHOTA warred among themselves and destroyed or exhausted any remaining technology they came across in the wastes. Comprised of the countless throngs of survivors who couldn’t cope with the changes around them, the CHOTA outnumbered the other factions, but were broken up into fractious tribes that so rarely cooperated, they were easily defeated. With the coming of the great warlord Redhand, this changed. Redhand appealed to their desire for destruction and conquest, uniting them, despite their inherent resistance to authority.
The CHOTA’s main strengths are their large numbers, mutations, and ferocity. However, because of their fractured society, they rarely use these advantages. As a result of their extensive exposure to the Shiva Virus and radiation, there are many mutants among their ranks. Whereas the CHOTA are not well-armed (they rely on scavenged weapons and armor), they are very powerful fighters and can be frighteningly effective in combat.
There are many tribes within the CHOTA, most of which control a single settlement. Some are larger, encompassing several camps, and those tribes normally grow through integration of the conquered. Groups within the CHOTA, such as the Slaughter Kings and the Spirit Seers, hold a wide variety of beliefs and practices. Most CHOTA settlements have members of conflicting sects.
Each CHOTA tribe has its own leader, who is usually referred to as “Warchief,” but such titles are unnecessary, as a leader’s behavior clearly identifies him or her as the dominant alpha. The only person who has some influence over all the tribes is Redhand, the leader of the CHOTA Revolt. For decades, he’s been something of a prime figure in their society. Redhand leads his own tribe, and other tribes give his words due consideration, but he has no actual authority over all of them.
Civilization destroyed humanity, so the Children will destroy Civilization.
The Enforcers embody everything that the CHOTA hate because they are trying to create order and rebuild the Old World, while the CHOTA only want to tear down every last vestige of former ways. For the past three decades, two groups come to blows any time they encounter each other; they even carry out regular attacks against each other’s outposts.
The Techs feel the CHOTA are a threat to restoring the Old World and its technological wonders and therefore the CHOTA are not allowed in Tech settlements. Instead of fighting directly with the Children, the Techs usually oppose them by giving guns to the Enforcers. The CHOTA consider the Techs weaklings who hide behind the Enforcers, so the CHOTA usually attack them whenever possible.
The Lightbearers see the CHOTA as being undisciplined, chaotic, and mostly useless. While the Lightbearers may value the abilities that some of the CHOTA have developed with their mutations, the Children are too destructive to ever be allies of the Lightbearers. Lightbearers feel the CHOTA are a disturbance but not worth killing unless a CHOTA’s actions prove too dangerous.
The Travelers aided the CHOTA in attacking Hoover Dam; nowadays, they trade with the tribes regularly. The Travelers are sufficiently nomadic and chaotic themselves, so the CHOTA consider them kindred spirits. This was largely made possible by early interactions with the Orphans—a group within the Travelers who grew up in the same wastes as the CHOTA and have many similar cultural norms. Because the CHOTA do not build much, they rely on the Travelers for weapons, armor, and other supplies—but these items must be of a non-technological nature. The CHOTA also sometimes provide muscle for the Travelers, in exchange for goods. The CHOTA do not trust the Travelers because Travelers are ultimately driven by greed, which is a thing of the Old World, but for now, Travelers are more useful than they are repulsive.
From their earliest days, the CHOTA have counted on the Vista as allies. After the Fall, the CHOTA might have died off completely if it had not been for the food and supplies given to them from the Vista communes. In exchange, the CHOTA have traded raw materials and offered their protection to the Vista, and the two groups have developed a strongly symbiotic relationship. The Vista and the CHOTA share a strong hatred for the Techs and often work together to attack Tech and Enforcer settlements. While the CHOTA don’t care for the communistic ways of the Vista, such organization does not seem nearly as corrupt as the dictatorship used by the Enforcers.
The only hope for this shattered world is the law and order provided by the Enforcers. That, at least, is the theory—but there are many who do not share the vision of the world’s rebirth that the Enforcers claim to embody. No one can deny the horrors visited years ago upon those living in the Hoover Dam, but in the time since, the Enforcers have worked to rise above that stigma. The faction was formed from the remnants of military units, local law enforcement, and even park rangers, but now they recruit anyone who believes that the Enforcer way is the only way to restore what has been lost.
There are many reports of crushing dictatorships by would-be warlords to accompany the mounting corpses located throughout the desert that bear evidence of Enforcer-style execution. Some within their own ranks feel as if they are constantly being scrutinized by unseen Enforcer agents. Nothing is ever proven, but the suspicion continues to mount. Still, the faction’s influence and resources continue to be reasons for fresh recruits to petition for membership.
Enforcer training and conditioning is harsh in the extreme, with strict schedules and grueling physical exercises. A cadre of Enforcer-trained shock troops has few equals on any battlefield, and when entrenched in a fortification, they can hold off groups ten times their number for extended periods. With their access to some of the best equipment available from the remnants before the Fall, the stereotypical image of an Enforcer is of a battle-ready trooper armed with a well-kept rifle and protected by refurbished combat armor. The Enforcers are quick to challenge that conception, pointing out that most of their members are in fact civilians, without combat experience, who serve in supporting roles. Their enemies, sadly, do not often make that distinction, which adds to the body count once the dust settles after an engagement.
After the loss of Alec Masters and the subsequent struggles created by his defeat, it was Colonel Elizabeth Pryce who had the influence and commanding presence to bring together the fractured remnants of the Enforcers and reaffirm their goals. In the years since, however, some captains and lieutenants have begun to express concern about miscommunication and unreliable intelligence; some say it is only a matter of time before the chain of command breaks down again. Are the Enforcers the last hope for the rebirth of this fallen world, or will they be the impetus for its final and inexorable destruction?
Colonel Elizabeth Pryce initially served under General William Masters as the captain of the 72nd Military Police Company; she was promoted several times in the course of her duties protecting the people of Hoover Dam. After the death of General William Masters, she quickly had a falling out with Alec Masters; she was disgusted with his treatment of civilians, his obsession with mutations, and his attack on the Monastery. She disappeared shortly after Alec Masters assumed command, and some inside the Enforcers still consider her a traitor. Currently, Colonel Pryce has the backing of most of the Enforcers, but this could change. Colonel Pryce spends most of her time in Masters’ Folly, only occasionally leaving on particularly important missions. She expends much of her energy seeing to the logistical needs of the faction. She is frustrated at her lack of progress in bringing any real order to the Province and so is considering more severe measures.
Law and order must be maintained at all costs.
The Enforcers hate the CHOTA, both for their general habit of creating chaos and for the role they played in the destruction of Hoover Dam. The two groups usually come to blows immediately when they meet; however, unless the CHOTA have significantly greater numbers, the Enforcers usually come out ahead. The Enforcers see the CHOTA as the prime threat to the long-term stability of the Grand Canyon Province, so they often offer bounties on CHOTA warriors.
The Enforcers do not trust the Travelers, as there are many criminals among their number. Enforcers prefer not to trade with them when it can be avoided. While the Travelers often police their own when they are caught performing illicit deeds, the Enforcers rarely feel that the punishments that get doled out are severe enough. The Vistas are enemies of the Enforcers mainly because Vistas are occasionally allies of the CHOTA. While the anti-technology slant of the Vistas is annoying, the Enforcers do not find them nearly as troublesome as the CHOTA.
The Techs were in Hoover Dam with the Enforcers before the CHOTA Revolt. Many Techs were once army engineers, which has caused some Enforcers to grow bitter that their brothers-in-arms chose to give their allegiance to others, such as the Travelers, with whom the Techs have strong ties. Generally, though, the Techs and Enforcers get along very well; the Enforcers protect the Techs in exchange for equipment and supplies. If the Enforcers could pacify the Province, the Techs would be overjoyed. There are rumors that the Techs also provide some mutation-inducing technology to the Enforcers.
The Lightbearers like the peace that the Enforcers create, but Lightbearers are wary about the past actions of the Enforcers and their limitations on personal freedom. Lightbearers have come to terms with the fact that the attack on the Monastery was not something the current Enforcer leaders backed, but it is still a sore point for them. The Lightbearers do not suffer the presence of anyone who followed Alec Masters. They tend to support the current Enforcers with humanitarian aid (such as medicine and food) in exchange for helping keep Lightbearer temples safe. The organic mutation inducers used by the Lightbearers are not popular with the Enforcers, who place their faith more in science than meditation and holistic medicine.
In the struggle to help humanity emerge from the darkness, the Lightbearers have picked up the torch. Keeping to the path their leader, Shakti, had blazed for them after the Fall, the Lightbearers try to make a difference, whether through healing the population, defending fledgling towns, or teaching their philosophy of moderation and light. If they don’t try to save the world, who will?
The Lightbearers’ mission to restore health and safety to humanity gathers many to their banner. Doctors have brought their knowledge of the healing arts and the tattered remains of the Hippocratic Oath to the group. Martial artists who have chosen to use their abilities to help and protect others have become the group’s warriors and defenders. Spiritual students have put a worthy philosophy into practice through the good works of Shakti’s followers. Those mutated by the dreaded Shiva Virus have found guidance and training with the Lightbearers.
Rumors abound that a branch of the Lightbearers believes that mutants are superior to normal humans, and that the Lightbearers harbor a secret society of deadly assassins who stand ready to quell those who oppose the faction’s goals. Only the Lightbearers know the truth, but it is clear they have the most knowledge about mutations. It is also clear that the Lightbearers’ highly trained fighters are some of the deadliest in the Province. Not everyone puts the needs of the many above themselves, so the Lightbearers have been forced to learn to defend themselves from those who oppose their efforts.
The Enforcers and the Lightbearers became allies soon after the Enforcers’ present leader, Colonel Pryce, warned the Lightbearers of an incoming attack on the Monastery by Alec Masters’ forces. Shakti herself—along with four of the Lightbearers’ Grandmasters and about thirty or so of the order’s best warriors—remained to fight a long, hard, and ultimately lost battle against Masters’ battalions, sacrificing themselves so the other Lightbearers could escape destruction. Since then, Colonel Pryce and two Grandmasters have worked together to try and restore peace and structure to a chaotic world.
The Lightbearers are led by six Grandmasters who comprise Council—all of whom are selected by their predecessors. Unfortunately, four of the Grandmasters on the Council went missing when contact was lost with the Monastery, leaving only two Grandmasters to preside until what happened to the missing leaders can be determined.
Spiritual development and mutations are the path to enlightenment.
The primary enemies of the Lightbearers are the Travelers because they sow material concerns and greed, whereas the Lightbearers try to reap the value of inner light. The two groups have rarely come to blows, but they do loathe each other. Traveler caravans are never welcome at Lightbearer camps, and neither are Lightbearer missionaries welcome in Traveler caravans.
The destructive and chaotic lifestyle of the CHOTA is antithetical to the Lightbearers, despite the fact that the two groups both have a large number of mutants in their ranks. The Lightbearers often end up defending their settlements from CHOTA attacks, though the CHOTA usually prefer targets like the Enforcers and Techs, when available.
While the Lightbearers do use some advanced medical technology, they do not trust highly complex technology in general; therefore, they find the all-consuming pursuit of the Techs somewhat disturbing. The Lightbearers have heard stories of what happened in Hoover Dam from refugees and mutant survivors, and the Techs do not seem to have shown the same remorse for their actions that the Enforcers have. Generally, Lightbearers believe the Techs will revert to their old ways and therefore should be watched.
Since their reorganization by Colonel Pryce, the Enforcers have been a ready ally of the Lightbearers, as their attempts to spread peace and order in the Province are in line with Lightbearer goals. The Lightbearers are still wary of the Enforcers due to their checkered past, but for now, Lightbearers are giving them the benefit of the doubt.
For many years, the Lightbearers have traded with the Vistas, exchanging medicine for food and livestock. The two groups are geographically close, which further encourages interaction between them.
Within the confines of Hoover Dam, a corps of civilian engineers and military technicians developed a sort of camaraderie as the world collapsed around them; they came to see themselves as the last defenders of the achievements of humanity. This self-declared mission led the Techs to largely separate themselves from the general population, devoting their time to research and crafting projects whenever they weren’t repairing or maintaining the Dam itself.
During the CHOTA Revolt, the technology-hating CHOTA and Vistas who sacked the Hoover Dam wiped out most of the Techs. The few surviving Techs managed to escape to Dawson Hill, a pre-Fall industrial complex. There, the Techs built a school of technology that became known as “the University.” Gradually, the Techs rebuilt their ranks. Apt recruits from all over the Grand Canyon Province came to the University, answering the Techs’ call to restore the advancements of the Old World.
The Techs have the strongest technological and industrial base of any of the factions. Owning the largest crafting facilities in the Province, Techs can manufacture advanced items, armor, and firearms in larger quantities than any other group. While they are not incapable of defending themselves, they have comparably less experience in combat, wilderness survival, and diplomacy than the other factions have. They tend to rely on their allies for protection, though some of them have learned to fight.
The Techs are led by the Congress of Science, which is made up of eight annually elected Techs from the eight largest Tech settlements. All members of the Congress of Science have equal say in deciding matters that face all the Techs, but Geoffry McNas, the Dean of the University, acts as the Speaker by breaking ties and keeping the Congress in order. Other Techs’ positions are organized in a set series of ranks, and each comes with its own responsibilities.
There are three primary subgroups within the Techs: the Appliers, the Theoreticians, and the Daedalans. Comprised largely of Techs recruited after the CHOTA Revolt, the Appliers believe that technology should be fundamentally practical, as well as beneficial to humanity as a whole. Conversely, Theoreticians value the advancement of technology for its own sake and are more interested in their private research than in bettering the quality of life. Many Theoreticians have fond memories of the technological achievements in the Hoover Dam, and they are more ambitious than the Appliers about returning to that level of advancement. Relatively new on the scene are the Daedalans, a group of Techs who grew tired of depending on the Enforcers for their personal safety. The Daedalans have designed effective armor for themselves and learned to use powerful firearms. They are just as likely to work as mercenaries as they are to protect dedicated Tech interests.
The Techs are not so tightly bound to their structure as the Enforcers are. Techs must be of at least the rank of Doctor to sit on the Congress of Science. Each member of the Congress of Science is responsible for overseeing the interests of his or her electing settlement, in addition to dealing with issues that face the whole Techs community.
Advancing science—by any means necessary.
The primary enemies of the Techs are the Vistas, who see the Techs’ high-handed, egotistical, and polluting ways as blights on the Earth. The Techs show precious little regard for the environment around them, which is something the Vistas find reprehensible. When the Vistas discover the Techs polluting or causing other problems, they usually mount an ambush, relying on secrecy and stealth to overcome the Techs’ superior technology. The two groups rarely go looking for each other to cause conflicts, but if either strays into enemy territory, there will likely be trouble.
The CHOTA are in some ways more annoying for the Techs than the Vistas, because at least the Vistas have some capacity to reason. The Techs, in general, have developed a “shoot first and not bother with questions” attitude toward CHOTA. Any CHOTA discovered near a Tech settlement will be shot on sight. Techs do not try to reason with CHOTA, nor do they attempt to have normal relations with the Children.
Meanwhile, the Lightbearers are seen as ignorant bumpkins who believe in faith and miracles instead of science. The Techs treat them with derision and disdain, and they have a great number of jokes that mock the Lightbearers. The two groups rarely actively oppose one another; instead, they disagree on philosophical terms and have many heated arguments. If the Techs were ever to be found kidnapping people for experimentation or polluting the environment, however, it is likely the Lightbearers would be some of the first to stand against them.
The closest allies of the Techs are the Enforcers, due to the similar aims and shared history between the two. These groups readily trade resources and work in each other’s settlements, but all is not perfect between the two. Some of the Enforcers don’t like the elitist opinions of some of the Techs, while some of the Techs think the majority of the Enforcers are uneducated buffoons. Their relationship has its ups and downs but is normally pretty good.
The Travelers are the most ready source of parts and information the Techs have, especially considering the aversion most Techs have to placing themselves in danger. The less-than-moral actions of the Travelers are of no concern to many of the Techs—unless those actions affect the Techs directly. Most Traveler caravans stop by Tech settlements regularly. So far, both groups have found their relationship to be extremely profitable and thus are unlikely to change it in the near future. Of the Traveler subgroups, the Brenhauer and Cleaner families have the most contact with the Techs.
Need something in the Grand Canyon Province? Maybe you’re tracking down information. Perhaps you’re looking for a rare weapon design. Or it could be you just want a little payback for some guy who double-crossed you in a deal gone bad. In any case, if you’ve got the chips to spend, the Travelers can help. If it can be known, they’ll learn it. If it can be found, they’ll track it down. If it can be bought, they’ll haggle. If it needs killing, they’ll put a shiv in its back.
Enjoying a rather casual moral attitude, the Travelers are a loose affiliation of “families” that have their fingers poked into a variety of pies: performance troupes, gambling, information brokering, smuggling, narcotics, kneecapping, and even assassinations. It’s all about business, even if it sometimes gets personal.
The Travelers aren’t much for noble gestures. Got a plan that doesn’t involve profit? Count them out. Travelers normally don’t like playing the margins and won’t get involved in moralistic crusades that threaten the bottom line. Despite this attitude, all Travelers share a common code that was developed during a grand summit of the seven families in 2126.
The Traveler Code:
Problems within the Travelers are settled with words before blood.
When a Traveler kills a Traveler, the action must be justified before a neutral arbitrator or the offending traveler must pay a penalty.
Family before Traveler. Traveler before everyone else.
Never take a fellow Traveler’s last coin or only weapon.
Once given to a fellow Traveler, a Traveler’s word is his bond.
It’s a rare Traveler who wants to be a hero. Most just want to live to profit another day. But some Travelers want to be liked. They want to be popular. For many, it’s about greed. For others, it’s about celebrity. For some, it’s about power and influence. But all within the Travelers are connected by a desire to live without bounds and stay out from under the yoke of draconian authorities. And there’s no such thing as a Traveler who likes to lose.
When it comes to conflict, Travelers don’t have an organized army. It wouldn’t be much of an army anyway, with all its foot soldiers following a code of enlightened self-interest. So the Travelers often rely on mercenaries to handle relatively large-scale combat operations. For lower profile work, like eliminating a would-be competitor outside the family, a Traveler would probably hire a thug or assassin to “encourage” their foe to the sidelines.
The Travelers don’t have much in the way of a hierarchy. Each settlement or caravan is ruled by its own leader, who chooses his own title; this leads to a variety of Kings, Emperors, Barons, Bosses, and Presidents among the Traveler settlements. They don’t often listen to each other, but they all listen to the sound of money.
Each Traveler family selects their own leader, usually through a combination of bribery, extortion, blackmail, murder, and various other underhanded acts of politics. They occasionally hold gatherings between the families to discuss policy, but in the end, each family is loyal only to itself.
Commerce will keep humanity alive, especially if we get the profit.
The primary enemies of the Travelers are the Lightbearers, who dislike the greed and sin on which the Travelers seem to thrive. The Lightbearers rarely actively attack the Travelers, but anytime the Travelers are caught stealing or trying to muscle their way into someone else’s profitable business, it’s likely the Lightbearers will get involved. The Lightbearers have nothing against the Travelers’ trading; they just have issues with the ancillary activities that seem to follow Travelers’ trade operations.
The Enforcers do not appreciate the Travelers troublemaking ways and avoid them when possible. Traveler caravans are often not welcome at Enforcer outposts, though the Travelers are rarely willing to push the issue, seeing as how the Enforcers outgun them. The Vistas find the greed spawned by the Travelers annoying, but occasionally Travelers have something of value to trade. The Vistas do not trust the Travelers, especially because they often traffic in the scavenged technology and environmentally unsound materials of the Old World.
The primary allies of the Travelers are the Techs, who rely on them to get spare parts and raw materials for their work. As long as there is money coming, the Travelers don’t really care what the Techs need or what they will do with it. Some folks whisper that the Travelers have even taken to kidnapping to feed the Techs’ need for human test subjects.
The CHOTA are sort of allies of the Travelers, as much as the CHOTA can recognize allies. The Travelers trade with the CHOTA, though doing so is rarely very profitable due to the low quality goods the CHOTA want and their lack of valuable trade materials. The CHOTA do not generally trouble the Travelers because the Travelers aided them in sacking Hoover Dam—and also because the Children aren’t particularly organized and don’t build things. The Travelers sometimes call on neighboring CHOTA settlements for help when they fear an attack.
Spread out between the settlements of the Enforcers and Techs, the shrines of Lightbearers, the roads walked by the Travelers, and the wastes claimed by the CHOTA, there are vast stretches of empty wilderness. These places are the domain of the Vistas. Before the Fall, the Vistas were an environmentalist movement that joined forces with the Grand Canyon park rangers to oppose GlobalTech’s methodical environmental exploitation of the Grand Canyon Province. Now, they are the last defenders of what remains of the ecosystems of the Old World. Since the Fall, they have become feared survivalists, who protect their charges with rifle and blade. Many Techs’ expeditions have been lost in Vista territory, never to be seen again, seemingly swallowed up by the wilderness.
The Vistas are not merely guerrilla warriors, but farmers, ranchers, and craftsmen. They produce most of the food consumed in the Province, knowing more about agriculture than any other faction. They know what plants can be used to heal and what animals produce the most virulent toxins. Instead of technology, they rely on nature—something that causes many of their enemies to underestimate their capabilities.
Vistas are not opposed to technology in general, only to the single-minded pursuit of technology at the expense of the natural world. This, they believe, was the impetus for the Fall of the Old World. Their search for ways to use technology in harmony with nature has produced significant scientific advancements, but they actively and violently oppose any technology that causes harm to the environment. This puts them directly at odds with the Techs (especially the Theoreticians) and on bad terms with the Enforcers and Travelers.
Vistas take pride in their self-reliance and ability to thrive in the wilderness. Many Vistas work to repair the harm that previous generations did to the environment. They study new mutant creatures and plants to determine how they fit into the existing eco-systems. Others try to halt the exploitation and destruction of the environment for profit or for technological advancement. Then there are the farmers and hunters who work to provide for their fellows without damaging the Earth.
The Vistas have a leadership structure loosely based on utopian socialist philosophy. All decisions (except for the most time-sensitive) are voted on by all of the adults in the commune, with the majority carrying the decision. Each commune elects a Citizen Speaker, who organizes such votes and handles quick decisions. The Citizen Speaker serves until he or she does something unpopular enough for a majority of the commune to vote for his or her removal. All other posts in the settlement are decided by common vote, except for military posts, which are decided by seniority and the Citizen Speaker.
We must preserve and protect our environment.
The Vistas have a strong, burning hatred of the Techs for their ongoing destruction of natural resources. Vistas attack Techs whenever they think they can get away with it, though a few Techs have earned a reprieve by concentrating on “green” technologies.
The Enforcers have long since been enemies of the Vistas due to their involvement in the Hoover Dam Garrison and missions against the Vistas under Alec Masters. Since their reformation under Colonel Pryce, the Enforcers have had fewer direct confrontations with the Vistas, but the Enforcers guard the Techs, so they are often in conflict with the Vistas.
The Vistas do not trust the Travelers, whose greed leads to a criminal disregard for the environment. The Vistas trade with the Travelers on occasion, but limit their interaction as much as possible.
Most often, the Vistas work with the Lightbearers because the two have similar temperaments and goals. The Lightbearers regularly trade medical supplies and training in the uses of mutations to the Vistas in return for food, herbs, and other natural products.
The CHOTA share many goals with the Vistas, but the Vistas keep them at arm’s length because they fear the CHOTA could decide the Vistas have become too “civilized” and turn on them at any point. For now, the Vistas have had good results in manipulating the CHOTA into doing their wishes, but some worry the CHOTA will eventually see through such plans.