Hiway War

Concerning the Hiway War and her Lasting Effects (Final)

It was in the third year following the Bomb over Bravo that the Lonestar entered its proper Industrial Age. Like the common cactus plant, which grows upwards and triumphant upon the dross and rot of its older self, the workcamps of New Bravado stretched outwards and upwards towards the sun. 

Progress is exponential, theory dictates, and given the time, space and safety in which to grow, a population may reobtain and surpass their previous technological eschalon by degrees. In the relative peace of the 03’ PHW (Post-Hiway War), the people of New Bravado were given this opportunity in spades. 

Ramshackle tents and shacks were replaced piecemeal by proper frames, walls and roofs. The land was tilled and tamed by the same kind of stubborn folk that have always made these rocky scrublands their home. Bit by bit the landscape took upon the shape of a settlement, and progressively a town. Isolated, on the edges of sand and fire, New Bravado became nonetheless a destination on the minds of the brave, entrepreneurial, and desperate. 

The Ox was completed in the first four months of that year, thanks to the efforts of two Doctor O. Sam-Manual Sung and Doctor B. Squire but its maiden trek between the town of Essex and New Bravado was not until some two months later. A pilgrimage, the train was attacked by a band of Tainted, Natural Ones and Lascarians and nearly derailed. The Ox Killers, a new identity ostensibly under the power of Holy Mother Queen Jasper, claimed the effort - nearly provoking a war between the Railroad Commission and the Tribes Disparate in the weeks following. 

Felicity Redfield, CEO to the Railroad Commission, genius inventor and investor, saw opportunity where others saw conflict and negotiated a contract with the Tribes Disparate that served them both. Holy Mother Queen Jasper would keep the Ox Killers at bay, using her own soldiers as railjacks to defend the Ox as it makes its way across the Blastlands - and in return her nation state reserves the right to ship wares up and down the line between New Bravado and Essex without surcharge and to gather yearly in the boomtown for the purposes of political summit. Shale, brother and right hand to the High Mother, negotiated the bulk of this contract and it is his ambassadors that reside in New Bravado to this day. 

As a stone rolls, the town and its reputation gained inertia; the ruins below lent New Bravado the sheen of opportunity as again and again delvers dragged up artifacts and rarities that made them not humble spelunkers panning for gold, but wealthy gentlemen and women whose reputation was only outstripped by their wealth. 

It was the stories of these first delvers that drew the attention of the wastes. Three hard years stole the hope in the tired eyes of Braves and those affected by the Hiway War. Three hard years made meanness comfortable in the hearts of itinerants and refugees. But three hard years were the fallow fields in which hope would again take root because as cyclic as human wickedness is, so too is the goodness of man and the belief that better times are yet before him. 

And so the Lonestar arrived; in wagons, or flatbed trucks, on foot, or in the greasy cabins of the Ox, and by sea. The second Indulgence came and went, taking with it lives and contracts but affirming its place as a Bravado Tradition. The Punkerport grew, as did the Junkerpunk’s general resentment towards the Railroad Commission - a kind of offhand rebellion that did more to legitimize the RRC as the ultimate power and the Junkerpunks as their anti-establishment counterpoint. 

The town grew at pace in the later months of that third year, developed a haphazard culture, a half dozen work crews, infrastructure to support the delving population and the kind of halfway houses that their occupants never really leave. Private contractors sold their finds out of The Maw or liquidated them for brass to be sold up the line in Essex

The town developed a kind of comfortable cadence of capitalism that lasted all of two months. In the summer of that third year disaster struck in the form of western raiders that descended upon the muddy, radioactive caldera That-Was-Bravo in the first year post-bomb; Firebrands.

Festooned with bullet-casings, blast-glass and all the same bravado the town touted, the Firebrands blew up a section of track halfway between the burgeoning boomtown and Essex, rendering the rails unusable and the Ox’s goods forfeit for scavenging. Their motivations are largely unknown, though their penchant for explosions is common knowledge. 

Now, some two months following, the track’s re-completion looms. The alleys and streets of New Bravado are temporarily dark. With no way to ship down the line, the town has become isolated. Little information enters or leaves as the only mechanism by which a layperson may easily migrate is currently decommissioned at the empty rail station just south of Essex. There are whispers of strangeness, of the Mortis and her servants, and of returned persons who have no business among the living. As a scientist I am hesitant to record these claims lest I give them credence. But as a scientist I must also acknowledge that there is no more uncommon dirt than that tread by the Braves.

An old adage rings in my mind as I pen these final sentences that bring us to the contemporary state of the Town Bravado and Her Outlying Territories. This is a place that bends but does not break. That endures and endures and endures again. A roughshod and rowdy testament to the hubris of man that waxes and wanes as surely as the moon. For never in the history of the Lonestar have I known a place to render its people so stubborn or staunch. Nor have I known a scrap of land so dearly loved and returned to. 

So go west, you young and yawning; you beleaguered and bastards. Go make the world your children will live in. Go find your fortune in the sharp angled hills and dusty wells of the Worlds Before and Below.

This author lost their home when the Hiway war began in earnest. The world we live in now is not my own nor do I have the energy left in my tired bones to reclaim it. Instead I will pen your triumphs for those who follow after. Go forth and succeed knowing your victory is immortal. 

Stay Brave. 

Dr. Pernathius Goodfellow 

August 03’ PHW

Concerning the Hiway War and Her Lasting Effects

In the weeks following the Second Stampede and the nuclear detonation that marked the end of the Hiway War, the second war that follows all wars began in earnest. The mass exodus out of Bravo and her outlying territories was only the beginning of that effort. And the hundreds of displaced peoples, uprooted from their culture as much as their homesteads, began to assert themselves on the desolate wastes beyond the borders of their vaporized town.

The first burning season was the worst we’d ever seen. The bomb carved a hole in the sky. Not like the quaint colloquialisms that paint the stars above Lonestar as distant forges, but in a very literal sense. The ionizing radiation ripped a hole in our atmosphere some ten miles across, exposing us to raw starstuff beyond our ken. The sun baked the land black, reducing what little was left by the bomb to flakey, carbonized debris.

Radiation sickness rent through the population like gorehound claws would a lump of tepid butter. Hundreds grew ill, their immune systems mangled by the blast and the fallout thereafter. Dozens died to common illnesses that had no business taking the hardy Bravo folk, while dozens more will live the rest of their lives with the scarred imprint of their clothes on their backs, twisted and marked with nobbly keloids in the places that the initial thermal wave tore at them from behind.

Storms, rendered radioactive and boiling by circumstance, swept over what we now refer to as the “Blastlands” South of Old Bravo. The Oil Fields, as they were called before, were ignited by the bomb and even now, at the time of this entry, burn hot and bright below the black dirt. To rest your feet too long on the Blastlands invites pain, and only with thick and leather soles would this author ever suggest to traverse them. Month by month, they extend further southward as the Texas Tea below ignites; threatening the Imixin people and the various tribes that inhabit the Pridelands and Dead Marches. Ambassadors forged north and spoke widely of a new homeland. Opportunists and criminals accosted the diasporic Unborn as they made the pilgrimage across the burning wastes, forcing the Imixin people to look for allyship in the uprooted and downtrodden.

They found this in the shape of other mutant and gorger strains. Full Dead, Retrogrades, Lascarians, Semper Morts and Tainted; discriminated against in the wake of a disaster that cast any zed-presenting persons as aggressors and and monsters, they began to form a loose association of tribes that would eventually come to be known as the contemporary Grave Council.

Other victims of the war, distraught and displaced, banded together - finding refuge from within. Three hardy individuals, self-titled Widows of the Lone Star, formed an orphanage-of-sorts. A haven for the misfits and the lost. They wore their grief on their sleeves - these common folk that had sacrificed everything in the war against Robb - but there was a fragile hope in their kinship and, as is the case when victims come together in common cause, there was eventually strength and determination.

In the meantime, beyond the blastlands and into the dangerous and virulent forests that characterize our northern Lonestar, the Antler Tribe’s flotilla came to rest at last. After months of searching these itinerant peoples began to craft for themselves a new capital and a new identity alongside the Cervaxi who had saved and hosted them in the wake of their genocide. Queen Jasper, first of the Antlers, proved herself the conqueror she had always claimed and in the space of a few months, the Antler Tribe annexed twelve clans and their power grew to that of a small nation state. Even now the Antlers and her Tribes Disparate rule the northern lands as a matter, not explicitly, but of course.

To the east of Old Bravo there was war, small wars that tore at the identity of the places they were waged in. Insurrection after insurrection as half a dozen leaders rose and fell, each time claiming that their way was the right one - only begetting more death when the the next demagogue climbed up to meet them.

Temple Station, as few call it now, after largely bloodless conflict came to rest firmly in the clutches of Warden Tabitha St. Mercy, the woman responsible if not for the founding, than the actualization of the Prison located there.

While The Clutch, located in the Concrete Isles, ballooned in terms of population. A divide quickly developed in the months following the Second Stampede. The nuclear winter that followed, affecting the entire latitude at which ground zero occurred, isolated a unhappy population to the shorehouses and fisheries there. The riots that broke out killed dozens, most often by the process of exposure when offending parties were thrown from the safehouses into the unforgiving, month-long blizzard uncharacteristic to this southern locale.

When the long winter ended, two factions had developed and one of them left. Called the Junkerpunks - at first a slight against their motley flotilla of repurposed boats, this loose coalition of Saltwise, Red Stars, Remnants, Diesel Jocks and Baywalkers set out to make a new identity along the Spoiled Coast. A kind of freedom-fighting but vicious underdog, they made their name first with blood and made targets of the looming leviathans below the murky waves. In that first year after the blast, the Junkerpunks only began to gain ground.

The Dune Sea to the west remained unchanged. Pitiless miles of sunbaked stone and sand have little to change in the wake of nuclear detonation. Raiders, previously deep-dwellers in the unexplored reaches of the desert migrated Eastwards towards the blastlands. Lured by the object of their worship, these blast-glass festooned and psionic madmen were among the first to brave the radioactive storms that surrounded ground zero for the first eight months following the Second Stampede.

It was only when the storms passed, and the end of the first year approached, that the lands Bravado became remotely livable again. A few wandering Aggies returned, lured by the radiation and the promise of discovery. The Firebrands, raiders as mentioned above, made their first primitive settlements around the muddy caldera that had been Bravo. And a few dedicated and Darwin monks took up residence and the purpose of cataloging and understanding the slow and stately evolution of a land post-nuclear.

Instead of a town, there was now a lake. An imperfect circle of muddy, radioactive water. The air was barely breathable and only the hardiest, fool or otherwise, could live in the Lands Bravado without suffering sterility or sickness.

But it was that they could live there at all that drew them. Radiation takes a long time to leech itself out of the soil, much longer than ten months.

It was in May of the year following the Second Stampede that the discovery was made. A pale and perfect edifice of stone rose up and out of the muddy ground that surrounded Old Bravo. Something older than the town that died there. Something older than any of us.

It was proximal to that obelisk of too-perfect rock that the town of Bravado was re-born.

Concerning the Hiway War and Her Lasting Effects

By: Dr. Perenthius Goodfellow

THE HIWAY WAR as penned by Ranger-Steward Raven

Ranger-Steward Raven here. It is fitting, that I make my final report in the burnt wreckage of Station Echo. Surrounded by as many ghosts as I am now, echos are all I hear.

Three weeks ago, Bravo’s citizenry detonated a nuclear device in the middle of their city and ended the conflict with the undead warlord, Hiway Robb.

War is horrible. It grinds us down to stumps and runs roughshod over our souls. It makes husks of men and I remember the brilliant, morbid expressions of my ranger kin when they realized that it was their lives they would sacrifice to preserve the peoples of the Lonestar. And the steely resolve that bastioned them against the terror of oblivion, knowing that their deaths would buy time.

The Braves were the best of us. I do not know how many survived the bomb. What reports I have from wandering itenerents indicate that some seven hundred persons made it out of the blast radius before the explosion. According to our last census this means some four hundred poor souls evaporated when we finally took down Hiway Robb. But this is vagaries, born of supposition and recollection. And I can only hope they saved enough of us.

In the spirit of my station, as steward to what was once the Rangers, I will do my best in the coming hours to convey, over the airways and to the disparate peoples of this commonwealth, the greater state of the landscape. It may not matter to you, but this will be my final report. The Rangers are scattered, dead, or determined not to be found. And I am content to put down my badge - and leave the business of justice to those of us unbroken and unbowed by this conflict.


Ranger-Steward Raven reporting. On the greater and unaffiliated peoples of the Lonestar. These are the farmers and families, workers and merchants, commonfolk who have lost their land and their belongings and have been made to pick up and move far from the blastland that was our home and into the sanctuaries across the wastes that have enough food, water and work to support them. This is a rough estimate of their numbers and locations. Individual names will not be provided as I do not have them. But you may find your families and friends here.

Temple Station, bastioned by strong walls of concrete and steel, was only damaged in the explosion but not leveled. The lowest basements of the city held hundreds of huddled bodies when the bomb went off. And hundreds more spilled in after the radioactive fog cleared. It is now the most populated location in the blastlands around ground zero. In the three weeks since the bomb, in an act of rare and beautiful comradery, strains of all humanity struggle to rebuild the town quickly. There is word of a leader, a woman with half a face who calls herself warden. She is the one to speak to, if you are seeking shelter or the familiar faces of missing family.

The Stoneoak Caverns in the north are full, but not with the Lascarians that populated that place prior to the War. The Stoneoak people, royal and ancient, were wiped out by the Stampede prior to the bomb’s detonation. Now the people there are new, wandering among the vestiges of a dead culture. It is good they have a place to be, but they will struggle without the knowledge of those caverns and how to live in them.

The Third Eye has closed. There are not enough of this faction left to call them a right and proper entity. I am told the powerful psions of the lineage burned out their own brains holding back the stampede long enough for Bravo to finish their bomb. But their safecamps, scattered across the Lonestar, are populated by refugees. What food and supplies the Third Eye left behind will feed these people for a few weeks. But they will need to scatter soon - and so if you are looking for family among those camps I would move swiftly, friends.

The Antler Tribe have been reported seen across the wastes, but reports indicate they have taken up a permanent residence alongside the remnants of the Cervaxi peoples. Do not attend the Mudergoat Hovel thinking to find them there. They wander, in search of a homeland in a kind of inland flotilla of caravans and livestock - but you can see their banners from across the level blastlands red and proud and unburnt. Their Queen leads them, and hundreds follow in her train.

The Ranger Outposts are leveled. Hollow, burnt-out husks that we destroyed ourselves to keep Robb’s bandits from getting at our supplies. Part of me regrets that now, as I look out over the dozen hungry faces that fled here, thinking the Rangers would save them. We saved many, but we cannot save them all. Echo, Charlie and Delta are finished. In a few days I will take these people and we will make the pilgrimage northwards. Away from the blastlands.

The Darkmoon people, to the best of my knowledge, are dead. Their tunnels below the city of Bravo proper are nonexistent in the wake of nuclear hell. Only the bilgey backwaters far to the south continue to be structural, and these caverns are full. Already there is word of raiders that uncannily resemble the Darkmoon peoples, with crescents on their foreheads and foam on their lips. One case of badbrain untended is all it takes, my friends, to reduce a culture to memory and its people to murderous psychopaths. The backwater folk are calling them Nightstalkers. Be wary if you go searching there.

In comparison, the Redwater Complex to the west is thriving. It is a huge, meandering labyrinth largely unpopulated until now. Refugees balloon their numbers to the hundreds, and their leader - Wisest, has opened the doors to all Braves and disparate peoples. There is word, however, of a mysterious illness that renders the Lascarians of this lineage a sickly greenish color. With pale eyes and vacant expressions. But it is not the luxury of the refugee to turn away food and shelter, and so Redwater has become a bastion in its own right. If you go looking here, be respectful. This clan has been isolationists for many decades, and only in the wake of tragedy and the efforts of their own ambassadors do they welcome refugees now.

The Caine Family Ranch hosts some two dozen refugees. Far away from the blast this homestead fares well and can take more bodies to feed and to work. It’s matriarch boasts the best cooking in the Lonestar and expresses only that anyone who drops by will be fed in exchange for their labor to shore up the walls and tend the growing fields. If your family is here, friends, I think they are safe.

I have received a report that the surviving Scadians, formerly of their home Ansteorra, have broken ground on their first permanent dwelling since they became refugees during the Mustang War. The war truck used to breach the blockades finally gave its last and broke down on the last hilltop before the Dune Sea, where it was mostly disassembled for materials. Though its unofficial, some are calling their new home Cannon's Crown. Their time spent aiding Bravo has softened their, once notable, violent xenophobia, and have opened their new home as a way station for those who travel to and from the Dune Sea, and to all who once called themselves Rangers

Far to the East lies the Clutch. A city-state in the Concrete Isles, these watery taverns and fishhouses are alight with lanterns and the hungry faces of a hundred refugees. The inky waters here, rendered brackish with oil, ring a half-dozen islands dotted with newly-erected tents and homesteads. The Saltwise, who have previously only partied to trade, are taking notice. In a bizzare happenstance of war, this port has become an authority in the short weeks since the bomb. Few other port towns survived the stampede, and so the Clutch holds the purse strings for the foreseeable future.

The Lands Aggie are flat, featureless. Save for a few leaning towers and crazily oriented domiciles. The refugees that fled there are unaccounted for. And I would not suggest pilgrimaging after them into the radioactive hellscape. There is word of Darwinist Monks, who seek knowledge in the phantasmagoric fog that raises tumors and boils on the skin of the uninitiated. If you are seeking family here, misguided as I think you are, speak to them before venturing in yourself.

To the far west lies the Dune Sea. An uncharted land of heat and sand and sun. But because refugees are by definition running away from something worse, reports indicate that a large number of itenerents left Bravo in the direction of those hills. I wish these people the best, but recall in my youth the leviathans that lurk under the loose sand, and the yawning mouths of the monsters there that swallow people like you or I might an unpleasant pill. Good luck, Braves.

One notable exception to the dangers of the Dune Sea seems to be the Diesel Jock clan known as The Road Royals. After escaping the destruction of Bravo using the Lascarian clans as a distraction, the Royals have taken their fleet to the west. One sure way to avoid the leviathans below is to keep moving, and the DJs seem to have that down. Last report was that there was discontent in the clan based on how they helped the “townies” escape and the friction is threatening to split the clan along faction lines. Regardless of the outcome, the Dune Sea is both safer AND more dangerous due to these explosive-loving maniacs on wheels.

Falken Castle, a locale I did not know existed until their guardship opened the gates to the hungry and desperate, lies just outside of the blast radius. When searching for this place know that the walls are pale and stonework, and that you need only express you are friend to House Ramguard to enter. Already a tent city is erecting itself beneath their high walls, and the hollow halls of this place echo with the sound of civilization it has not seen since before the Fall.

Gun City, to the north, a prosperous cowtown that until now has kept to itself, has opened its gates to the same. A tradehub, largely run by Rovers, this locale can offer as much as any other in terms of food and shelter. Hundreds pass through this station, and posters of missing persons festoon the streets and alleys like so many pious flags in the wind.

The Killscout Caravans roam by definition. With a population of nearly a thousand, and many of them psionic in nature, this inland flotilla can be seen ambling across the blastlands with all the speed and momentum of brahman at march. They spread out across the wastes in a fan, and pick up refugees like a trawlingbarge scoops up cretaceous life from the silt below the Clutch. You will know where they have gone by the gore-marks in the dirt and the footprints that follow after. Luckily, you need only a brisk walk to catch up, given time.

Far, far to the north. At the edges of Star City, the Wasteland Witches have opened their compound doors to a choice few. Otherwise known as Devree Kapl, these psionists have a seedy past rooted in their affliction. But in times of war we make our choices, and these people have agreed to buoy Braves and lend us aid. We can only hope they stay friendly.

The Palace Godmoney, egregiously named for what it is, is the mudflats that once could have been called the Washborne plantation. A few broken hovels have sprung up here, just on the inside ring of the blastlands. Rife with crime and violence, if your kinship has fled to the Palace willingly, let them stay there and wish them the best.

The Litur Efni people, a rover caravan from far to the East, has left the Lonestar and taken refugees with them. They deal in spices, pigments, rare stones and beautiful things. Know them by their opulence and their kindness, friends. But seek them warily, and use the name “Vaan” when you do.

More centrally located, the McBride Ranch hosts some four dozen refugees. A visual callback to the plantations the bomb evaporated, this staging location has ample food and room for many more bodies. If you are looking for family or a place to stay, the point of contact is one Stacy McBride, the matriarch and steward of this ancestral home. A good pureblood, in a bad time.

And the Bishop Compound, an industrial homestead of impressive size, looms to the east as close as Temple Station does the north. An extended family of rovers and mericans maintain this waystation and you will know you are close by the tire marks in the road and the smell of refined peppermint. In a lawless land where we are all travelers, their brew will make them barons.


Ranger-Steward Raven Reporting. I have, to the best of my abilities and my intelligence, conveyed all the public refugee silos in the Lonestar proper. The peoples are scattered but they are converging at these locations. This is not an exhaustive list of peoples, locales, or efforts by the citizens of this commonwealth to make right in the wake of thermonuclear war. This is a rough state of the region that hopefully gives shape and comfort to the war-blinded and wandering. There are places for you to go, safety in numbers. The Rangers are gone but there are good people in the wastes. Find them, find shelter, rebuild.

Ranger-Steward Raven Out.

Stay Brave out there.