Click the map to enlarge it. After a decade-long civil war quite literally tore the United States in two, six of the United State's major cities managed to survive; New York City, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Washington, DC on the east coast, and Los Angeles, California, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington on the west coast. Of these six, New York and Los Angeles are considered the main hubs of all human life in the country, while the smaller cities on each coast serving to support them. Seattle and Charlotte are essentially sprawling general labour camps for their respective coasts, housing the majority of factories and farms and serving as thoroughfares for goods being transported between the cities, while Washington and Portland serve to house off-duty military personnel and massive warehouses to store extra supplies. Due to their heavy military presence, entering Washington or Portland is deemed the highest risk of any of the cities, and thus not worth it when the labour camps are far easier targets. Regardless of the city, poverty and crime is the norm, and military raids on citizens' homes to seize assets are far too common. This is why many people choose to take their chances in the wastes in small communities, and the Avarus simply have no choice.
Bosler, Washington is one such community. Nestled into the forests of Vashon Island, the community of Bosler has a similar story to many other communities founded in those first post-war years. Built on the rotting remains of a long-abandoned children's summer camp, the small community boasts a population of around 200, and communal living is very much the norm. For the most part, life in Bosler is simple and quiet. Residents typically make a living by producing food via the gardens or hunting, scavenging the wastes, or by trading their wares in the Marketplace. When night falls, however, the idyllic peace and quiet Bosler enjoys turns into something far more fearful. The Avarus - docile and friendly under the light of day - lurk in the shadows, ravenous for warm flesh and blood, and are willing to take it from any source that presents itself, human or animal. The only hope Bosler has of keeping the Avarus at bay is hunting for larger game by day, and the watchful eye of the Raider's night guard.
Think of flash events as a miniature version of subplots that happen randomly, sometimes once and other times more regularly. Contained to a single thread or sometimes a temporary subforum for larger groups, they will typically have minimal planning, letting members take full control of the direction. Staff may impose certain restrictions or terms, such as limiting the number/type of characters involved, limiting character access to resources, and so on. A full explanation will be available in the first post of each flash event thread. No signups are required for flash events; its simply a matter of jumping in with a character and replying to the given prompt/posts above yours. Examples of flash events include, but are not limited to; air drops of supplies that miss their mark, dangerous animals roaming through the community, celebrations/parties, fires, extreme weather events, and military raids. As always, we are open to member suggestions in Member Services.
This is just general world building information that didn't quite fit in elsewhere. It will be updated and added to as needed, and members are more than welcome to suggest additions in Member Services. Simply click on each section to expand and read it.
Each of the cities is surrounded by concrete walls stretching 40 feet tall and 5 feet thick, with at least a half mile of open space just inside the walls. This area is the most heavily patrolled by the military, armed with large caliber automatic rifles and shoot-to-kill orders, as nobody is allowed in or out of the cities "for their own protection". Inside the cities proper, extreme poverty, overcrowding, and fear is the norm. Residents are subjected to 24/7 surveillance, surprise raids on their homes and businesses by military, and even the suggestion that you may have contact with the outside world, or have more than your share of rations is enough to get you sent to the labour camps, or even outright executed. The cities are also notoriously anti-Avarus, viewing them as an extreme danger, and even the hint of one possibly being within the city is enough to throw it into a total lockdown while military personnel hunt them down and kill them.
For those who want to avoid the city life, but also want the safety that only comes in numbers, there are hundreds - if not thousands - of small communities scattered throughout the country. Each community is wholly unique, but there are some similarities. They typically consist of between 20 and 500 people, though some have been known to have up to 1,000 residents, and tend to have a focus on communal living. Some exist in a single long-forgotten building, while others have taken over entire towns, and there have been smaller communities known to be more nomadic in nature. Each community has its own rules and ways of doing things, and some are more open to newcomers and Avarus than others.
In the simplest of terms, the wastes are any area of the country that isn't part of a city or community. Ruins of old buildings and even towns dot the landscape, and nature has begun to reclaim what humanity had taken. Avarus run wild and rampant, and unscrupulous, dangerous people are the norm. Even still, the wastes are thriving with life of their own, from the lone wolves who don't want to be part of any city or community, to travelling groups of Raiders, scavengers, and all sorts of other travelers. Just be sure to find safety before nightfall.
Technology has become incredibly rudimentary across the wastes, thanks to rapidly dwindling access to fossil fuels, a non-existent power grid, and most replacement parts no longer being manufactured. Modern luxuries like computers and phones have been rendered all but useless with age, and any electronics that have survived are either shortwave radios or basic battery-operated lights. Bosler, like most places outside of the cities, is reliant on what little solar power they can generate. Due to excessive rainy weather, the community prioritizes their scant power for keeping their own shortwave radios powered to communicate with the Raiders and other communities. Fuel is generally reserved for when the Raiders go on long distance supply runs, and a small generator that is used to charge batteries when the weather is particularly bad. Most of Bosler's residents rely on fire for their light, warmth, and cooking. Makeshift oil lamps litter every building, and fuel made from animal fat can be cheaply acquired in the Marketplace, as can candles also made from fats. Small communal fires are also kept going night and day by Hunters, and are available for anyone in Bosler to use to ignite their lamps and candles, their own personal fires, or to simply use for warmth or cooking right there on the spot.
Outside of the cities, pre-war money has absolutely no value on its own. Some groups of Raiders, like the ones who call Bosler home, still collect the antiquated coins and bills as a means of bribing military personnel. Instead, the wastes and communities run exclusively on a barter system where very few things maintain a consistent value. Batteries (especially charged ones), fuel, medicine, alcohol, textiles/clothing, and certain foods and items only available in the cities are all highly sought after items. Many people trade also skilled work, or even just general labour for what they need. It is also not uncommon to find travelling groups moving through the wastes, offering entertainment (usually in the form of short plays, or singing and dancing), hard labour, or scavenged items for food and shelter.
Laws and Enforcement
In the cities, laws are enforced by the military, and the typical punishment is confinement in labour camps, even for petty crimes. The wastes, on the other hand, are a lawless place, governed solely by its inhabitants and their own personal morals or lack thereof. In the community of Bosler, however, there are several basic "laws" to follow; do not kill or harm other residents, do not take what isn't explicitly yours, and do not negatively impact the way the community functions. For the most part, consequences for breaking these rules follows a linear path depending on past history and severity of the person's actions. The lightest punishment is corporal punishment, usually resulting in a beating at the hands of the Raiders. Next is being stripped of normal duties and responsibilities for a time, and being forced to work the scrap pile with the Avarus. After that, Citizens run the risk of being considered Outsiders again, and loosing their job/business. If that doesn't work, the final step is to be restrained and blindfolded, and permanently exiled the wastes by the Raiders, or even left to the Avarus.
Firearms and Ammunition
Firearm availability is pretty similar to that of modern day America. What has changed, however, is the availability of ammunition. Since the the war ended, ammunition manufacturing has shifted dramatically, now only producing rounds compatible with standard military-issue rifles and handguns, and in such limited quantities that keeping up with military demand alone is a struggle. This makes finding ammunition in the wastes or communities all but a pipe dream. While homemade ammunition is an option, a bullet or slug that is off by even a fraction of an inch can damage the gun badly enough to render it unsafe or outright unusable, or even simply cause it to explode in the user's hand. Most firearm owners in the wastes and communities deem the risks of homemade ammunition far greater than the potential reward for this reason.
Since the war, education has sharply declined. In the cities, most residents receive the equivalent of an 8th grade education, and anything further is provided on a need-to-know basis in the form of on the job training. In the wastes, there is no form of formal education to speak of. As a whole, traditional education is no longer seen as a necessity beyond the basics for survival.
While nothing has changed in regards to the knowledge of modern medicine, access to medical supplies has changed dramatically in the wastes. Anything that cannot be made from local plant life with the basic tools you'd find in your kitchen must be stolen from the cities, making even basics like low-grade pain killers and fever reducers a hot commodity. Additionally, with the abysmal education situation, the most that people can hope for is crude and basic battlefield medicine.
Climate and Weather
Country-wide, its pretty safe to assume the climate and weather hasn't seen any dramatic shifts from what we know today. As part of Puget Sound, Bosler specifically experiences much of the typical temperate Pacific Northwest weather. Heavy rainfall is common from October through to May, and there are typically only a few days each year that drop below the freezing point. Throughout the rest of the year, rainfall is uncommon, and the temperature is quite warm, though not oppressively hot.
With fossil fuels fast becoming a thing of the past in the wastes and electricity in short supply, transportation options have been radically reduced. Goods and people are transported between the cities via heavily-protected rail lines, though these trains are unpredictable and it may be days or even weeks before the next one comes through, and there is no cross-country lines still in service. Most people now get from place to place on foot, horseback, bicycles, and the like. In Bosler specifically, boats are also quite common to span the 2 mile distance between Vashon Island and the mainland, and it is not uncommon to see scavengers, hunters, and messengers paddling their way across Puget Sound.
Pets and Animals
The general attitude towards animals as a whole has changed somewhat since the end of the war. Due to the rampant poverty, pet ownership in the cities has dropped to near-zero, and most animals are seen simply as a source of food. In the wastes, animals are most commonly seen as a food source or as a tool, though keeping animals for companionship - especially if they can do double duty for protection purposes - isn't unheard of. Packs of stray dogs and feral cats are also a common sight in the wastes, and it is advised to give them a wide berth as attacks are alarmingly common, and they are known carriers of diseases such as rabies.