This is where all hostile (At least until you talk them out of it.) intelligent humans and ghouls will be kept. (What they do. What they might carry. How strong they are. How they act. How to take 'em down)
In the common lexicon, Raider is the term for the many lawless, and often violent, assholes who inhabit the wasteland. Although they take many forms, as bandits, highwaymen, and even topplers of small communities and towns, as their name implies. After 200 years of lawlessness and desperation, they tend to be the rule, rather then the exception, and many different gangs, groups, and operations are scattered throughout the entire southern wastes. With names like 'the vandals' 'the seatbelts' 'the sledgehammers' and the like, they can be anything from a group of kids causing a nusiance to a core of murderous career criminals.
Although some tales might lead you to believe otherwise, they're all still human, and ocassionally with a display of skill or with some smooth talking you can convince them not to blow your head off, and even join them. Regardless of your disposition, it is a fools move not to be prepared for these types, because they exist almost everywhere it's possible to make a profit from such deeds. Caravan's should ready themselves for attacks in the less settled parts of the wastes, and many small towns had best be ready to defend themselves should a patch of ruffians see it fit to attack.
Sometimes, people resort to eating the flesh of the dead to survive. Not everybody does, since at least the moral code of the Southern Wastes says eating dead human as a no-no. There are those who eat the flesh of there fellow humans that pass off as normal. Then there are other groups that are pure crazy. They seemly lost their sanity and everything else attached to that for there cravings. Roaming the wastes in packs of 3-15, these 'Crazies' are almost always hostile. Carrying crude spears to clubs to the occasional hunting rifle, and wearing nothing but the clothes on their backs. That is, if they're wearing clothes. Sometimes they wear just pants or a loincloth. The Crazies have no tactics besides rushing there opponent’s in hopes of out-numbering them. Against the lone scavenger, this strategy is brutally effective. Even small Brotherhood and confederate patrols have been swallowed up, and they are the scourge of tribal bands. Really, the only way to win against them is to use superior firepower, and better tactics. A grenade thrown into the midst of their ranks seems to be especially effective.
If raiders give you trouble, Slavers are just going to go ahead and swallow you up whole. Better equiped, smarter, and better organized, slavers don't become successfull in their trade unless they know what they're doing. Luckily, they'll try to trade with you as often as they will try to attack with you, and they tend to be a lot more reasonable and logical then most other roving groups. Not so luckily, they're going to hit you harder and faster then all but the best groups of raiders.
Raider parties with guns are one thing. But what if you gave the same sort of crazy better equipment, a formal chain of command, a cause and a tendency to capture you instead of killing you?
You basically get the Confederate Army. They mainly recruit through conscription, but this means that their ranks are filled with all sorts of sickos. Even the most sympathetic of these guys has so much pent-up rage that he'll stand and fight until his excessively violent demise. Although they mainly aim to kidnap you rather than murder you, that doesn't stop them from beating the shit out of you, as every patrol has a skilled medic with them.
Each patrol has around five men in it, consisting of three standard soldiers, an officer leading the patrol and a medic. It would be an idea to kill the medic first, and then the CO; without a commander or a chance of healing, this cripples the remaining's tactics and morale, and in rare occasions they may turn tail and run or surrender.
But remember two things. One, if you ally yourself with the confederates, these guys will probably come to your aid rather then hurt you. And two. Not every slaver party you'll encounter is a confederate.
"You got a price on your head....and I intend to collect."
Sometimes somebody wants you dead. Now, this is always with good reason. Maybe when you were helping the Slaves revolt against there masters in a small Slaver town, a Slaver made it out and told his friends. Maybe you crossed the Texas rangers, or a tribal group. Or, most likely, you simply just ticked someone off who was rich enough to send a Bounty Hunter after you. As a general rule of thumb, the richer the person, the more skilled the Bounty Hunter. These guys you don't want to mess with. They generally have one thing on there mind which is there paycheck. This is both a curse and a blessing. The curse is that they don't care who or what they lose or go through, they will do it just to get paid. The blessing is that you could give them a hefty bribe to tell there employer that there dead.
There are two types of bounty hunters. The first is the independent ones. Generally working alone or in pairs, these men are often the easiest to bribe and are most likely just novices. On the other hand, they may be excellent gunslingers and harder to bribe. The other type of bounty hunter is the 'Company Bounty Hunter'. They work in bigger groups of 3-5, and are often hired to take down groups of people, not just one person. They generally are so expensive that only richer towns or wealthy people can afford them. However, there results are often phenomenal.
The tribal comes in many forms. While some are willing to trade, and even work together with an outsider, many would rather kill you to mark their land. It's difficult to describe a group as varried as the different tribes, but there are many shared qualities. For one, they are generally equiped in homemade and some scavenged equipment. Expecting a tribal to be carrying a minigun is foolish, as it's far more likely they will have melee weapons and old scavenged hunting rifles.
It is also foolish to assume tribals are idiotic barbarians. They survive in some of the most dangerous areas of the wasteland. And that's saying something.
Most can handle themselves in melee or ranged combat, and most groups know the area well. Watch your back. You'll likely be cornered, enclosed, or worse.
Neo-Feudalists Well. In this world, some people lead, and some follow. Now that Nuclear cataclysm has hit the reset button on society, it isn't terribly uncommon to meet someone who has enough power to declare themeselves warlord. When that happens, they almost always have a force to back them. the problem is, newcomers present a force opposing the warlord. And THAT leads to problems. In general, Neo-feudalists don't act with much tact when not in the presence of their leader. Discover their plan of attack, and exploit a weakness. It isn't often that a king allows his men to change his orders.
Feudalists use different equipment, and wear different uniforms, but a key thing to remember is that it is generally uniform. That is, matching armor and weaponry. If we still had what you call psycho... pshiachiatra... somethings. They would likely explain this as the warlords need to show his own power. But that's not the point. The point is, when one has a pistol, the rest likely have pistols too.
In the wastes, a settlement needs to be able to defend itself if it wants to survive. To that end, many settlements have started enlisting the aid of guards to defend the settlements. These guards differ from settlement to settlement. Smaller settlements typically have a small standing force, if any at all. They're usually poorly equipped and poorly trained. Larger settlements are protected by "professionals", soldiers or mercenaries who act as a standing force. Rarely, some settlements have extremely well-equipped, well-trained guards, although they're usually only found in highly technological settlements, such as those run by the Southern Brotherhood of Steel.
Regardless of affiliation, all guards share several traits. They all answer to a higher authority, usually the mayor of the town, although the guard hierarchy gets more complex as the guard force grows larger. Guard equipment varies from settlement to settlement, although almost all settlements have a guard force that is pretty much uniformly dressed and equipped. In most settlements, guards typically wear combat armor, pre-War police armor, or metal armor. Guards typically prefer to use two-handed small guns or large blunt weapons, although they may on occasion carry pistols or knives. Large, powerful, well-equipped settlements, such as those maintained by the Brotherhood, may also be equipped with powerful laser, pulse, or plasma weaponry and high-grade combat and power armor. Big guns are usually not used by guards unless they're guarding a fortress.
In the central parts of the Southern Wastes, there reside the nomads. Traveling the wastes on there hardier mounts, there a mysterious and unknown people. Revealing little to outsiders, most of there culture save for what they show to non-nomads is simply unknown.
The nomads are often seen using mutated horses known as “Uglies”, the Uglies are a hardy and strong breed, although they look more akin to a smaller, more graceful brahmin then to a horse. They are well adapted to survive in the new desert environments of the Southern Wastes, requiring little food or water to survive. The same can be said about their riders. Traveling in small tribal units of seven to ten people, Southern Nomads form very tight-knight bonds with there kinsfolk. Family is the ultimate bond of Southern Nomads, and even distant relatives are people to be honored and fought for if need be.
When a nomad group stops into a small village, they often trade off Uglies that they don’t need, or, pre-war tech they find while there traveling. Avoiding larger settlements all together, they normally stop by small villages once every couple of months. Some of the more longer-reaching nomads go into Eastern Texas to trade with settlements there. However, when they enter a settlement, they often keep to themselves. Avoiding conversation when possible, and staying there for less then a day before leaving once again for the wastes.
Nomads also show kindness to fellow travelers. If they see someone being attacked by raiders, they often ride off to help them. If they find someone injured, they also nurse them back to health. In a few cases, the people they rescued stay on with the nomad group and continue to travel with them. Still, a few nomad groups would prefer to rob you then to save you; but these groups are the exception rather then the rule.
Often wielding bows and arrows, the Nomads are deadly archers. Nomads are masters at both shooting on and off the saddle, and they often eschew firearms. The few firearms they do use are in the hands of their tribal leaders, and they're often scoped weapons. Usually dressed is rags and small bits of leather, they have no heavy armor to speak of. Instead, they rely on agility and their horses in a fight. In a close combat engagement, they can either be seen using spears or a knife known as a Skim. The Skim knife is made out of small bits of scrap metal, or really anything that the nomads find on there long travels that they can use. Often handed down from generation to generation, they are revered possessions in the Southern Nomads (Save for their horse and their bow.) If an outsider was to kill a nomad and take his knife, or even steal it, you can expect that nomad group to find them eventually.
Every few months, the Southern Nomads meet in an old circus staging ground to discuss matters of varying importance. This meeting lasts for a week, and there is much trading and feasting going on. It is also the largest gathering of Nomads, where you can find an upwards of 75 nomads in the same area. Still, they don’t let many outsiders in and the few that they do let in are often highly trusted by one of the nomad chiefs.
In closing, the nomads are a quiet and mysterious group of people. Rarely seen in towns, and only occasionally seen outside of them, they come to the aid of a stranger; helping him or her to there feet before riding off again. Masters of sleath, riding and archery, there are quick and hard-hitting in a fight. Although lightly armored and having no firearms, they are still feared. Plus, they have horses.