Sunday, November 14, 2010

Location: Camptown

In these sections I'll give an overview of the locales that pop up in the course of the campaign. Some of it might be canon, others are just the product of my addled imagination. ;) I'll kick of with the setting of the last session: Camptown.

Camptown is a small settlement of some three hundred permanent inhabitants and about as many caravaneers temporarily camped on the outskirts of town at any given moment. Advantageously located on a spot where caravans out of The Hub and NCR Capital meet on the way east, Camptown grew spontaneously fifty-odd years ago around the small tent camps that the passing caravans put up. As trade with New Vegas increased, so did the number of caravans passing through the area and the temporary tent camps became almost constantly occupied, with new arrivals stopping and others leaving again on a weekly basis. Entrepreneuring traders and craftsmen smelled opportunity: catering to the caravans, with the increasing traffic and the absence of any other major settlement, guaranteed profitable business. The first permanent structures were erected, first out of wood or corrugated iron plates, which later became the downtown area and replaced with sturdier clay brick buildings. Over the years more and more simple folk, down and out of luck or looking for new opportunities, came and took up residence in Camptown. A town council of the foremost townsmen and women was formed to govern the little community, with an appointed sheriff to hold up the law, fashioned after NCR example.
  Without any natural resources to speak of, namely the absence of a fresh water supply and soil too poor to cultivate, the caravans are Camptown’s lifeblood. If the caravans would cease stopping at Camptown for some reason or take an alternate route, Camptown would not be able to sustain itself and most likely empty in a matter of months. Afraid of such a scenario, the town council has a strict policy of neutrality in the affairs of the caravan groups and seeks to avoid any hint of favouritism. Camptown is actively soliciting to be recognized as a NCR town in its own right, the promise of NCR rule of law protecting the town from the political manoeuvres of the merchant guilds outweighing the downside of trade taxation that comes with membership. Lately, the Water Merchants have launched an aggressive campaign in a bid to make the council accept a resolution to turn Camptown into a company town. Voices in favour say protection from the Merchants will help keep Camptown safe of possible threats and assure the future patronage of the caravan groups; opponents fear the Merchants will pester the other caravan groups away with unreasonably high taxation, bar private enterprise and only allow Merchant run stores, with a restrictive rule of law by a Merchant officiary and high taxation.

Points of interest and story hooks
*At the camp sites of the three major guilds the PC’s can sign up for a job on the caravans or pay to be travel along with them. The Water Merchants offer the worst pay, but are well equipped and well guarded. The Far Go Traders offer decent pay for generally low to medium risk runs. The Crimson Caravan specializes in the dangerous New Vegas route, they pay the best wages but their caravans come under frequent attack. They are always on the look out for more guards. Players can also travel along doing odd jobs, looking after the animals, hauling equipment etc, this pays a minimal wage. The Traders currently have a small caravan returning to The Hub. The Caravan is heading to New Vegas.
  -Vance McPherson, the foreman of the Water Merchants site, will ask the players, if they’re from out of town, to gauge the atmosphere in town about the upcoming vote. If the foreman deems the party trustworthy, he’ll ask them to pressure some prominent townsfolk to see things his way. Members of the council include: Doc Thompson, pastor Alesius, sheriff Bill Rhames, store owner Hank McCreedy, store owner Rafe Smith, grocer Mabel Miller, tradesman Benjamin Hull and tradeswoman Sarah Philips. If successful, he’ll ask the party to “deliver a final warning” and start a fire among the tents of the independent caravans.
 -Over at the camping grounds of the independent groups, a few thugs from the Merchants are threatening some of the caravaneers. The party can learn that this has been going on for quite a while already and seems to be increasing.
*The bazaar is the place for the characters to stock up. A lively hubbub of traders from many different parts, it is filled with merchants selling all kinds of wares and food and townsfolk or passing caravaneers looking for a bargain. The bazaar is a set of narrow pathways and alleys with most stalls being simple tents or temporary constructions of out corrugated iron and wood. Prices are generally about 10 to 20% higher than in major towns, but price and quality of the sold wares varies.
*The downtown area has some sixty-odd houses, stores and other buildings out of brown clay brick, with the more important ones having white plastered facades. The outskirts of town have smaller houses, with some being erected out scrap iron or wood. The center of town features some stores, a bar, a library/school building belonging to the Followers of the Apocalypse, town hall and the sheriff’s office. The doctor is located on the east side of town. On the town square stands a statue with the inscription: The hero of Camptown, the man they call Blaine, Blaine being a sort of local hero who once held up a large Merchants caravan returning from New Vegas, and dumping the money on the square before mysteriously disappearing.
 -In The Last Stop bar the party can meet up with Jacob, who will offer them the Jefferson job. Local rancher Obediah T. Jefferson needs to fulfil on a contract and his ranch foreman has fallen ill. He needs capable hands to deliver six Brahmin bulls to the Longhorn Ranch, about six days travel to the south east, near the settlement of Landfill.
 -When asked, pastor Alesius will express his fears for the future of Camptown and bring the characters up to speed on the situation with the Merchants.

In the spirit of the ending sequences of the Fallout games, here some possible scenario's for Camptown, though many different outcomes are possible depending on what the PCs precisely did.

Power struggle in Camptown: Endings
Party sided with the Water Merchants: Having been given a mandate by the council of Camptown, the Water Merchants turned Camptown in a company town, run solely by them. Imposing ever increasing taxes, they drove away all their competitors and impoverished the local populace. Under the harsh, bureaucratic rule of Merchant officiaries, Camptown dwindled, its former potential a distant memory.
Party sided with the townsfolk: Camptown stayed its course of strict neutrality. A tense peace between the different trade guilds and the townsfolk continued to exist. With the routes east becoming more and more important as the NCR expanded eastwards, Camptown soon became a thriving trade center for the entire region.

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