Adapting Van Buren (Workshop - Complete on Page 30)

Discussion in 'Fan Art/Fan Fiction' started by Atomic Postman, Jun 5, 2021.

  1. Dayglow Drifter

    Dayglow Drifter Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    495
    Sep 25, 2018
    Why did I think you were British for some reason?
     
  2. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    Because I'm half British and spent the past few years at uni in the UK, is I imagine why
     
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  3. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    I'd say Circle Junction in the west being something different with some light similarities and Colorado being the real deal.
     
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  4. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    When the party exit Van Buren Prison Complex and escape into the barren Rockies, they'll soon reach the I-70 and be faced with three choices of direction: Salt Lake City, Denver and Grand Junction. Depending on what they were able to loot from the prison during their escape, they may be pressed to find the nearest settlement for fear of starvation, that nearest settlement being Grand Junction, Colorado. Now home to a tribe they call the Iron Rivers.

    It goes without saying that this is adapted from Avellone's Grand Junction, Wasteland's Rail Nomads and my own flavour. The goal is to have a tribe that is independent of the Native American "noble savage" flavour and more focused on the idea of tribalism from primitive living and isolation of what were once regular Americans.

    Grand Junction

    OST Atmosphere:

    Grand Junction in the Fallout world is a vast railyard and switching station, prior to the Great War it was invaluable in transporting supplies to the food deprived states and resources to the Midwest for further movement up north to the Canadian front. In the post war it's a coagulated blockup of rusted hulks and boxcars. The Iron Rivers live amongst them, boxcar houses with plankwalks across the roofs interspersed with communal camps where they drink beer, dance, share stories and eat. Drawing water from the adjacent river, and beyond that their humble maize and Brahmin farms.

    To hear it from the Iron Rivers, their ancestors once came from the far west. Riding on the back of a great roaring machine: John Henry, a fusion powered train. Eventually, their journey east stopped at Grand Junction and they knew this would be home. They've been here for the decades (centuries) since.

    The Iron Rivers on appearance dress in simple leather armor (picture Raider Sadist without the severed hand). Across their bodies are grey painted parallel lines reaching from their legs to their head. Their warriors shape their hair into spiked mohawks, wearing large rail-worker goggles and thick gloves, wielding spears with rail spikes bound, sharpened and fashioned into a deadly point. The regular Iron River dresses in basic leathers and similar paint, with short cut ragged hair.

    Their language has devolved into a sub-dialect of English (similar to that seen in Crossed 100), for example "At high sun roadsters with long-bangers actualled, stealed our sprogs fuck-quick" would translate to "At midday raiders with rifles arrived and kidnapped some children suddenly". It's mostly understandable as poor English but at times difficult to parse.

    Grand Junction is well populated, and split into three large "families" (or you might call them clans) that are often at odds.


    Atchinsons: The strongest and most populated clan led by their Brakeman: Jukebox Atchinson, a stubborn old Brahmin who's not fond of Wasters (outsiders). He carries around a big sledgehammer that he's never used on anyone, but is known to threaten to. The Atchinsons are slowly and mostly unsuccessfully trying to repair John Henry, the original train that sits at the heart of the Atchinson camp, with the dream of heading out back West.

    Topekans: The second largest clan, lead by their Brakewoman Lulu Topekan, who's sprogbound (married) to Jukebox. Many Topekans become "Rail Nomads", scouts who track and map the railways and explore the Wastes, leaving their own marks and symbols to guide eachother (akin to the hobo code) to warn of danger, heed safety or lead to hidden stashes. Primarily they are in search of beer, a favourite of nearly all Iron Rivers. At home, the Topekans have tried making their own beer brewing but it's only produced crap piss water. None of the good stuff. Still, when the Rail Nomads are out or they come back dry, it makes do.

    Santa Fe: The least populated and least popular of the clans, lead by their Breakman Wrench Santa Fe. They're in a feud with the other two clans as the oldest rail nomad Sprog of Lulu and Jukebox was killed by unfortunate accident whilst scouting in the company of Wrench's drunkard son Switch, which they blame on him. The Santa Fe are also highly hospital to Wasters, and have invited a man only known as the "Hobo Oracle" to live amongst them, an old eccentric Waster from the Midwest who provides prophetic words of wisdom in exchange for beer. This is a matter of controversy also, as the other clans see him as a charlatan parasite. The Santa Fes find him to be great company and believe every word he says. Recently he warned of Roadsters, and now forecasts the arrival of the "Tribe of 13", but he is unsure of their intentions.

    Adventure Hooks:

    • The Atchinsons can receive help in repairing John Henry, but Repair minded characters will discover that heavy duty specific parts are needed from elsewhere. Maybe in Denver.

    • The Topekans can receive help from Lab Science minded players to help improve their booze recipe, or alternatively they'll trade rations and armor for boxes of beer

    • A few days before the arrival of the party, a small time starving band of raiders calling themselves the Crimson Runners turned up with guns and raided the Santa Fe camp, taking two children with them and retreating to an abandoned private fallout shelter in the hills. The deal is such, they give the raiders as much food and water as they can carry, or the kids get sold to the cannibalistic Bone Dancers out on the fringes of the Utah who value the flesh of the young as the most pure. Many Santa Fe warriors were killed in the raid and whoever were left went to follow them, but haven't returned. The other two clans refuse to help either through warriors or giving over the supplies, claiming this is their dues for their foolishness and justice for the wrongful death. Will the 13s help them?
    • Persuasion minded PCs could possibly help unite the clans and get them to solve the raider situation
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2021
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  5. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    Will probably do either New Canaan/Utah next or Boulder Done
     
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  6. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android Vault Senior Citizen

    Jun 7, 2015
    A little bare bones for the moment, maybe come back to it later like you did with Kallos, but good stuff nevertheless.

    I feel this is a bit of a mistake, though maybe that's just my personal inclination. Noble savage/Neo-Native American tropes work really well with the Fallout setting. it doesn't have to be as full on as Honest Hearts, but I think aesthetically and thematically it works very well.

    This raises a thought in my head - why exactly did Avellone have them come from the West in the first place? Was it just to have the possibility that they were descended from Wasteland's rail nomads?

    In any case, for this setting maybe it could be integrated with the western Circle Junction as either their point of origin or somewhere they passed through in their migration, with maybe a small remnant left behind today.

    Clans are solid, especially like the detail of the Hobo Oracle. But I do think it would be good if the Topekans and the Brakemen had more "main quest" type concerns, comparable to the Atchinson's desire to go west.

    Good hook here. One naming note - maybe instead of 'Crimson Runners' it could be 'Red Runners' or 'Blood Runners' since A) Crimson feels like a bit of a flowery word for these illiterate raiders and 2) 'CON Runners' just calls to mind the Crimson Caravan quest to steal the gun-runner parts.

    As with everything else, could use some more hooks, even if its a starter location.

    Here are a few possible bits and bobs, just ideas.

    -Maybe one of the clans (most likely would be the Santa Fe it seems like) has floated the idea of stripping some parts out of John Henry to improve the settlement, essentially bringing an end to their semi-nomadic lifestyle and the hope of one day plying the rails.
    -It seems like a crime not to do something with Promontory Point - maybe the three clans could be covetous of the Golden Spike. If you retrieve it and bring it to them, they'll make it into a spear. Which ever clan gets it gains a tremendous amount of authority.
    -Is it possible that a member of another clan is in league with the Crimson Runners to undermine the Santa Fe's even more? Probably not one of the other Brakemen, but a second-in-command. Exposing this could make the other two clans decide to help the Santa Fe's afterall out of guilt.
    -One of the clans motives (most likely the Topeka) could be the middle ground between the Atchinsons and the *Santa Fe - they don't want to throw in fully with returning west and abandoning *Grand Junction, but they also don't want to settle in for the long haul. Instead they want to focus on turning Grand Junction into a regional trade hub, connecting Denver and New Canaan.
    -If there are any antique steam engines laying around, Burham Springs would be very interesting to them.
    -Just a little worldbuilding detail, but you could have them do most of their nomadism/expeditions with light hand-carts that can be taken off the rail and moved if they come to a blockage/break in the rails.
    -They'd probably love to have one of those ticket-take Protectrons from Fallout 3, if they don't already.


    In addition, I have something to share. I started on this when you posted the thread, and I finished up just as you posted this latest update. So far it's only Colorado and Utah, but I'll expand to the southern half once you get there. I also included the Nevadan Circle Junction. I'm not sure that you'll end up doing anything with it and if you don't I'll take it out, but put it in as I'm rather enamored with the concept for the time being.

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  7. Dayglow Drifter

    Dayglow Drifter Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    495
    Sep 25, 2018
    This Grand Junction writeup is really good.
     
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  8. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    It is a starting area after all - and one the players may never encounter. I've got an overall plot brewing that links all the major settlements but Grand Junction is not one of them.


    I agree and disagree. Without going full Twitter on you I think the universal portrayal of Fallout tribals as stereotypes of Native Americans can come off in very poor taste and is even lazy. It makes sense with tribes that are descended from Native communities like the Dead Horses (and Dead Horse Point will be a locale in this campaign) but that's not the Iron Rivers. I think it's both more respectful and interesting to explore tribes that differ from that - New Vegas's base game does this well too. I also want to play down and give more multi-faceted depth to the New Canaanites "white saviour" aspect for this purpose also.




    As a prequel I'm taking this in the same vein as Fallout 2 in that there are canon endings and non-canon endings that lead to New Vegas or don't as a result of player choices. The party could side with Hecate in Arizona for instance and assassinate Caesar - or alternatively the "canon" ending slide for them is the Prisoners assisting directly or not to his rise to power. I have other ideas to this effect such as many different outcomes to the Brotherhood storyline, several of which can fit the bill of Caesar's reference and others which totally reshape the landscape of the East.

    It's entirely possible that the "canon" outcome is the Prisoners getting John Henry working and the Atchinsons migrate to the west to form their own Circle Junction in the 30+ years between this campaign and New Vegas. As for location, Ulysses lists CJ as the West in the same breath as places like New Reno and Vault City, so I always pictured it being close to New California.


    This is true. Perhaps they're concerned about Rail Nomads who have gone off the grid and are located in a plot relevant place as a hook to bring the players there. Or in Arroyo style they're concerned about fertility and a certain Hecate once deliriously passed through telling tales of the Nursery as a potential salvation or easily written off folktale. Just to seed the location as an idea.

    I only use crimson because I wanted the Hobo Oracle to forecast the arrival of the crimson men that would take the children of the Iron Rivers - both a prediction of the current situation and a foreshadowing of the distant arrival of The Legion in decades to come.

    Perhaps this an idea that Hobo Oracle suggests and the Santa Fe nod their head at - further attracting the ire of the other clans.

    Fantastic.

    Perhaps it could be one of the younger brothers of the Topekan/Atchinson nomad who was "killed" by Switch as an act of revenge. The idea in a very Fargo style fashion that to these starving Wasters it was meant to be a clean ransom to teach a lesson in exchange for them being fed, but things got out of control when the Santa Fe fought back and got killed. I'm wanting to inject Coen Brother style themes into my campaign and that really fits the bill.


    This works well with them mapping the railways and using pulley carts to get around. Gives Barter PCs s nice usage too - establishing a trade route through the Rockies.




    Thank you once again for the wonderful map. If we complete this and slap a 20 mile hex grid on top of it I will quite literally use it for my table, thank you!
     
  9. Dayglow Drifter

    Dayglow Drifter Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    495
    Sep 25, 2018
    Are there any plans for Legion inclusion?

    This isn't necessarily true, Graham basically says as much when you ask him to elaborate on tribes when you meet him in Honest Hearts. I think they check enough of the boxes they need to be a pretty loyal reinterpretation of the Iron Lines tribe from the Van Buren source document.
     
  10. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    Very much so. Arizona is a warzone between the young Legion and Hecate's Ouroboros and her many subservient tribes. The Painted Rock Tribe are an isolationist but well armed tribe located at Monument Valley in the process of being courted by the first iterations of Frumentarii attempting to convince them to join the Legion to rebel against the occultist parasite of Hecate.

    There'll be a contingent of distant Legion scouts stationed at a motel in Salt Lake City for the purpose of scouting and taking slaves (Dead Sea for instance is a White Leg plucked from the Salt Lake as a baby here)

    Similarly, a ZAX core necessary for Boulder Dome is still located in a BOMB station crashed in the Grand Canyon - which happens to be the Magnus Chasma heart of the Legion.

    I haven't decided whether the Legion is contained to the Grand Canyon or whether they've settled Flagstaff yet. Either way they're meant to be portrayed as a small faction building an absolute powerhouse of momentum, a clear empire in the making. With a young, more necessarily charismatic Caesar (rather than the blunt and aggressive older iteration comfortable in his throne) and the Darth Vader like Graham at his side.
     
  11. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android Vault Senior Citizen

    Jun 7, 2015
    I understand where you're coming from, and I'm probably well to the left of the overwhelming majority of this forum, but like I said I just feel like its a trope that works really well in Fallout. It only becomes 'problematic' (I mean from a storytelling perspective, its unavoidably problematic otherwise) is if their culture isn't really elaborated upon beyond vague native-ness.

    Otherwise as a stylistic accent, I think it adds great flavor. Especially in a 'wild west' setting like Van Buren. And also consider just how popular such depictions of natives were in the 50s.

    And the idea of subverting Daniel's highly simplistic white saviorship is an interesting one, but I feel you have to wear native accents a little bit more on your sleeve to make it work, and have it some place other than the Rez (which I assume will be featured somewhat prominenetly?)


    Ah I see. That probably makes more sense than my idea of having "Circle Junction" exist simultanteously as "Grand Junction."

    And I think Wells, Nevada being Circle Junction still makes sense as the 'West' if it is/was a major trading depot with heavy NCR influence before being conquered by the 80s.

    I like the first idea as an adventure hook, and the second as a clue works too. You could even go so far as to have the Iron Rivers call the Nursery the 'Big Rock Candy Mountain' - or maybe Big Rock Candy Mountain is just a general thing in their religion, an afterlife/abode of the gods. It could also connect to Boulder Dome with tribals arguing amongst themselves about which is the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

    In fact, that dichotomy could be interesting thematically if it ties into a resolution for the Iron Rivers - the Nursery representing maintaining their old way of life, oneness with the land and all, continuing nomadism (either in the form of going west as per the Atchinsons or remaining in Grand Junction but emphasizing riding the rails in the region as per Topeka), or coming to terms with the changing world and modernizing (either stripping down the John Henry and building up Grand Junction as per Santa Fe or trying to become the center of regional trade intimately connected with the rest of the Wasteland as per Topeka, just viewed from a slightly different angle.)

    And maybe as a third identification is just that the Big Rock Candy Mountain is somewhere out west.


    Ah I see.

    Maybe this is going too far coincidental, but here's an idea. Maybe the Crimson Runners were themselves displaced by the growth of the Legion, volkwanderung style. You could have a lot of fun with that in general, the rise of the Legion setting off all sorts of regional chaos as tribes flee from the Grand Canyon and then conflict with/displace a new tribe who flees them and they bump into another tribe and so on and so forth. It's a common trend in the rise of these sorts of militant tribal empires - the rise of the Huns set off a wave of migrations that (ironically considering our purposes) pushed the Germans into conflict with the Romans, same thing with the Zulu who are probably a closer analogue to the Legion.


    Look at that, fits so well its almost as though it was planned.

    Never done a hex grid before but I imagine it can't be too hard.


    And one final additional thought regarding the Iron Rivers. I've established two 'main story' hooks to drive the player west (Burham Springs coal and the Promontory Point golden spike), so it seems like in the interest of balance there should be two hooks east to give the player equal chance to turn around and see what they might've missed. All three factions would have a strong interest in connecting to Denver salvagers so there's that. Maybe also Boulder Dome, looking for advice/technical aid to either restart or repurpose John Henry?

    Personally I feel that it's more interesting if Caesar is basically limited to the Grand Canyon and immediate environs, but I'm not sure how well that lines up with the timeline.
     
  12. Jogre

    Jogre So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Oct 25, 2015
    I feel like portrayals of Tribals in Fallout is one of those things where concept differs from execution. Like conceptually, in Fallout 2, the Tribals are the most influential people in the story, they're the ones who are creating an optimistic new society in this broken world using the G.E.C.K, and they're the ones who the Vault 13 Dwellers eventually live alongside, being proud of the society their descendents created.

    Execution-wise, we have a man speaking in broken english with a bone in his nose, which feels ever so slightly like a caricature. It's the 90s so it's not unexpected, but it is always kinda cringey seeing Sulik in hindsight.
     
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  13. Dayglow Drifter

    Dayglow Drifter Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    495
    Sep 25, 2018
    Yeah honestly speaking with The Sorrows and The Dead Horses are the only part of New Vegas where I was like "You know, this actually sounds kind of nice"

    Also I liked Sulik, but I will admit that I'm somewhat beholden to tropes.

    What's the plan with The Boulder Dome?

    There was an older thread where someone posited that it would be cool to see it's inhabitants really reliant on the ZAX core, trained to consult it for advice but not trained to really think for themselves. The kind of "hook" for the player IIRC was that the ZAX was dying and once that occurs the population of the Boulder Dome would be left helpless and ignorant.
     
  14. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    Put it this way. I'm the DM and I have to do the voices, and doing a faux-native accent is more than a little awkward. Happened in my last campaign and I sounded like Johnny Depp in the Lone Ranger.

    As for the Rez, I interpret Grahams words as basically saying the Navajo nation was a birthing point for many of the native-descendant tribes (which is why Joshua refers to them as dialects rather than seperate languages entirely, they all share roots) rather than an existing place. A cultural origin point.




    .

    I had similar ideas with the tribes in New Mexico that the Brotherhood deal with - I will get to that.

    For Boulder Dome you've got the Prison Boy hook (one of the 13s is a Boulder Scientist) and just the general hook of it being the most technologically advanced location in the map. Denver is where much of your "we need x part" hooks come in. But I agree more explicit ties to Denver could be needed. The New Canaanites are known for their medicine so establishing a trade between them and Boulder would also be another one.


    It actually lines up well with the timeline. Per the NV game guide Flagstaff doesn't become the Legion capital until 2255
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
  15. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    That person was me, and the idea will be the same but surrounding stuff will be different. The New Plague storyline will be started there. I will make a full post on it later.
     
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  16. Hardboiled Android

    Hardboiled Android Vault Senior Citizen

    Jun 7, 2015
    Just so I'm clear, when you say a "20 mile hex grid" does that mean each side of each hexagon is equivalent to 20 square miles? And would 23 miles be acceptable?
     
  17. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    I should be clear that when I mean hex - square is probably easier. I make the same synonymous mistake in my PnP, my combat grids are actually squares. I'm sorry for the confusion. 1 square = 20 miles. It allows for players to track what a day of travel is.
     
  18. JunjiItosGio

    JunjiItosGio It Wandered In From the Wastes

    106
    Oct 29, 2020
    As a Floridian myself, I'd love to hear some more ideas for a Fallout here.
     
  19. Atomic Postman

    Atomic Postman Vault Archives Overseer

    Mar 16, 2013
    Maybe one distant day. Where you from in FL? I'm in Jupiter way
     
  20. JunjiItosGio

    JunjiItosGio It Wandered In From the Wastes

    106
    Oct 29, 2020
    I lived in Miami for a good chunk of my life, now I'm in Lauderdale.
     
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