Week 1 - CalcasieuEdit
Town in the swamps of Louisiana called Calcasieu, west of Crescent Top. Population: 150
The marshes around Calcasieu are strange to put it mildly. This area is characterized by dark, foggy environments, weird screeching noises, and random attacks by ghouls and other monsters. Typically you don't want to find yourself stuck out there. Most travelers risk going through these swamplands on their way to the rich bounty of New Orleans, which sits like a jewel among this rot and danger. This dangerous area is best explored with friends, few would risk a solo trek with the hostile local fauna. Don't expect to just stroll past the numerous Howler Eagles, Hellcats, Grators, Morrigan Crows, and the other Whack bastards that inhabit the marshes. Even if the local wildlife doesn't swallow you whole there is the steady violence between Swamper tribes, Northern Louisianna raiders, and bands of church inquisition who trying to stamp out any trace of religious heresy.
Many would recommend packing some serious firepower if you were planning a trek through these parts. Old pros would caution against guns though, the moisture causes numerous maintenance issues and misfires, especially on muskets. Unlike the areas to the east, which see the occasional patrol from Rangers, this area is completely unprotected by any law enforcement organization. Swampers have their own laws, their own priorities and their own way of handling things.
The town of Calcasieu is in reality not much more then a small collection of ruins on tiny islands close to one another. A community has been built around the still standing structures on these relatively dry stretches of land. Calling it dry is charitable, but its not constantly submerged in water which is an improvement in these parts. Most people would rather not live here but the relative safety it offers in the hostile swamps makes it a vital stop for any merchants, travelers, or game hunters. The town is located it what was once considered southwestern Louisiana, a state which is now an almost permanent war zone. The town sits about a weeks travel on foot from Brick, but on a boat you might be able to shave a few days off if you know where you are going or have a guide. If it wasn't for the danger, it would be a lovely area to explore, the risen ocean levels hide a treasure of prewar oddities that haven't been seen in centuries. Around an untraveled corner could be a molding warehouse with virgin salvage or a grator ready to rip you to pieces.
Calcasieu gets a fair bit of foot traffic due to its location, a muddy stretch of land on the water route to the trading ports on the coast. Caravan boats and foolhearty wagons, with close swamper ties will stop here to resupply for the big push to New Orleans. Locals make a healthy amount of coin trading grator meat and hides for the trickets they carry with them. Recent conflicts have caused many of the traders to be replaced with warbands, which are less profitable but that is the order of things until the violence from the north can settle. Conflict, be it man against nature, or man against man is ingrained in the local area. In fact trophies of the dead are often used as currency. While animal hides have always been a raded commodity, processed raider scalps are also used for rough currency.
The town is compact in size, and boasts a modest population that many would consider small but is decent for the area. While the area sees its share of traveling merchants, the rest of the population tends to stay put. Firearms are rather scarce in the area, the moisture destroys any basic homemade gun a tribal would be able to reasonably find. Instead most locals rely on bows, darts, basic melee weapons and a local variation of hand to hand combat. The town's leader, The Jackal, is the creator of this style of martial arts, basing it on his many years of experience. Mechanical equipment does exist in a very rudimentary form. Calcasieu contains a makeshift methane plant that pumps gas through rusty moss covered pipes. The gas is used for lighting, heating, and cooking, and makes the whole area glow with a other worldly auras at night. If everything wasn't so damp it would be a real hazard, but its been a fairly safe venture thus far. As far as cooking goes, its mostly wild game that's available. Some efforts to grow rice have been attempted but the results have been less than stellar.
Calcasieu's defenses are modest, but until recently this hasn't been a concern. While infighting between swamp tribes has been a constant way of life, the town has been well manned with relatively equal fighters. Any significant force intruding in the area would expect high attrition from the hostile conditions. Until recently this has deterred most organized forces from returning. After the Blood Moon offensive was halted, hostiles began probing deeper into enemy territory to find some way of gaining the advantage. While other settlements have fallen, Calcasieu remains. This is Beyoncé in part to an influx of settlers from the west that sought shelter here on their ways to parts unknown. Over time many of those people stayed and helped improve the town to face these problems.
There are few prominent buildings of note in the area for travelers. A beached river boat serves as a makeshift bar. The deck has been cleared and a cloth awning serves as a makeshift roof to keep out the rain. Its little more than a counter and stools but it comfortably serves up to 20 people. Travelers will most likely head for the old submerged paper plant which has been converted into a hotel. The first floor is completely ruined but the second and third floors are dry and minimally furnished.
Week 2 - GrillonEdit
Elevator pitch - Safe spot in a warzone of a state, a place where players can easily meet trade caravans or interact on a basic level with major factions.
Town in the drier mid eastern portion of Louisiana called Grillon, North of Crescent Top and a few days from the Mississippi border. Population: 50 permanent residents, large influx of periodic traffic.
A bustling toll stop on the busy trading lanes, Grillon is a quick stop almost everyone makes on their way in and out of lobber territory. This region is controlled by more moderate bossmen that value the influx of goods from outside regions, unlike the more barbaric insular lobbers that can be found elsewhere. The crumbling roads give way to well worn caravan paths in places, but this is a bastion of civilization. The strong caravan traffic drives away most animals but danger still abounds. The swampers were never really pushed back that far after the Blood Moon offensive and there's the risk of Joint State incursion as well. Most people just stop long enough to rest their draft animals and buy additional supplies before heading on. Its a hot and humid area where the sun can be your worst enemy. Most trees and plant life still eking out an existence has been harvested for brahmin feed. The town is surrounded by clear and open clay dirt plains for over a hundred yards in any direction. A necessity when fighting off bands of southern tribals that use tall grass for cover.
If you were planning a trip through this area be prepared to pay the tolls. While the area is safer than most for travelers the somewhat friendly bands of lobbers will quickly revert back to their old ways if a caravan can't pay the fee to pass. Wagons that are too cheap to pay or anything suspected to be aiding the swamp tribes are violently confiscated and the offenders are quickly disposed off. The closest thing to order and rule of law is the flow of wealth. The bossmen need trade to continue so the lobber peacekeepers in the area maintain safety and order to keep the caravans moving through the area. As long as you don't cause trouble and as long as you spend your money things will go fine.
The community is a recent creation, while the toll road has existed for some time it was only until recently that it had any kind of permanent residents. Lobbers would work seasonal shifts, collecting the occasional toll that came through before the upsurge in violence in the state. The recent series of wars has encouraged the influx of residents looking for safety with the now permanent presence of lobber soldiers. The toll building is an old gas station made of cracked concrete and broken glass. This is the only prewar structure aside from the roads that still remains. The rest of the town is scraped together with the best materials in the barracks and auction block. Civilian residences are typically one room structures made from crude bricks to gaurd against swamper fire bombs. A ring of sandbags and scrap metal fencing offer a crude barrier to keep out nature and defend against possible attack.
Most activities in Grillon are devoted to the heavy caravan traffic the community receives. Caravans stopping in the area are frequently in need of resupplying, which requires a healthy number of stable hands. There are two stables in town, one by each of the gates into the town, that supply feed and fresh animals for the wagons. Locals make a healthy amount of Lobber dollars trading supplies and services for the caravan workers. The gates in and out of town are to the east and west. There are a couple shops located at either location. Along with the animal merchants a couple merchants have set up a nicely furnished shop selling used clothing. Textiles are a cottage industry for the community. A handful of the civilians in town make their living weaving new fabrics using whatever raw materials they can acquire. These rough spun postwar clothes are made in an unassuming adobe workshop and sold as uniforms or to the caravans passing by.
The town is small in size but the focus is on security not comfort. Most of the southern side of the town is comprised of military buildings and drill yards. The center of the town is controlled by the military as well, for security nothing passes through without the military checking it. The northern side of the town is dominated by the weigh station and the auction block plaza. The weigh station is the closest thing the town has to a town hall. There a lobber engineer by the name of Jack Neil attempts to keep the roadwork the traders use intact. It is a fine balance he has to strike to keep his bosses happy with large toll collections while not neglecting road maintenance. There is a well respected brothel to the southwest that sees a healthy amount of both lobber and caravan traffic. Most of the merchant activity occurs in the eastern and western portions of the town. The eastern part of town tends to be the nicer side of town as merchants traveling in are rich with treasures from the joint state. Agriculture is impossible with the constant threat of swamper attacks. Locals trade textiles for food and supplement their meager wages by growing small plots of produce in whatever bare patches of soil or window boxes they can scramble together.
Aside from the brothel there isn't much per say left for entertainment. Space is at a premium which hurts new businesses. A few of the more enterprising Lobbers though have converted an old storage unit into a makeshift hangout though. While it generally caters to lobbers it will welcome any dollar that comes its way. Given the heavy Lobber traffic the "bar" mostly serves bathtub gin and homemade psycho. Its a dirty cramped place, that could make a weak man pass out from the heat. If you need a drink though that's the place to go.