Hy Plains Drifters
The origin of the Hy Plains Drifters: The final years of the big push were desperate times, and many people were forced to commit crimes to feed their loved ones. The backlash from the government was draconian, and many good people found themselves undernourished and terrified in an overcrowded cell next to violent convicts. When the United States finally succumbed to it’s collapse the wardens of these prisons were forced to make a tough decision- do they release the prisoners they are responsible for en-masse, or let them all perish together in their cells? Not all of them made the same ruling, but they all lived with their decision for the rest of their lives.
Many of the prisoners that found themselves freed faded back into their past lives, but some had nowhere else to go and banded together, forming a tribal society based on many of the codes and mores practiced in the prison system.
During the two centuries (and change) known as the Dark Times the Drifters got by using a combination of hunting, gathering and pillaging. An oral history depicting the ‘thieves law’ many of the founders had adhered to in prison was adapted and became a strict tribal code of conduct. During this period most Drifter tribes also adopted ancestor worship, which was soon integrated with the mores of the tribes.
When a child is born in a drifter tribe they are taken from the parents and placed in the care of the communal wet nurses. These children are forbidden to know their lineage until they have earned that right through surviving a battle or great hunt. Through more brave or cunning acts the warrior may discover that they have distant ancestors and add them to their lineage (leaders have had visions of generals, khans and other historical figures as long lost relatives).
Most of the laws of the Hy Plains Drifters involve protecting the personal freedoms of the tribespeople, and all are punishable by banishment. When a Drifter is caught breaking the tenants of their tribe they become a ‘No Ghost’- branded, rendered sterile and cast out. A No Ghost will be shunned by all of the tribes and renounced by any children they may have, which to a Drifter is like never existing at all. Many No Ghosts take their own lives (the tribes do not practice imprisonment or execution due to their origin) but a few wander the lands, living a solitary existence and occasionally selling their skills as mercenaries.