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For the note, see The Free States (note).
 
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Gametitle-FO76
On October 23, 2077, the world was plunged into nuclear war. But what if you expected the worst? And planned for it? In Appalachia, a group of doomsday preppers did exactly that. Organized as the Free States, they holed up in their bunkers. And survived. At least, for a while…— @Fallout[1]

The Appalachian Free States, or simply the Free States, were a secessionist militia movement primarily consisting of Appalachian survivalists. Following the Great War, they attempted to create a new society, but by 2102 they had been exterminated.

BackgroundEdit

The Free States were a group of Appalachian anarchists who seceded from the United States shortly before the bombs fell.[2] Paranoid that the government was lying to its people about the Vault program, the Free States movement built their own concrete bunkers to survive in case of nuclear devastation.[3] Although largely diffuse, the Free Staters used the town of Harpers Ferry as a staging area and supply point for the bunkers they were building deep. As Harpers Ferry was a small town that depended on tourism, this put them at odds with the growing movement, whose conspiracy theories put off patriotic visitors.[4] Most of Appalachia considered the Free States movement to be nothing but political agitators and traitors, particularly Clay and Blackwell.[5] After the war, many of these same people would turn to the Free States for help.[6]

The situation steadily escalated as the Sino-American War deteriorated. In late 2076, the Free Staters started buying up supplies at stores throughout the Ferry, ranging from canned goods to camping gear. Although the shopkeepers found it a little strange, they paid in cash and that was all that mattered (although it did scare some of them when they realized just how much ammunition the Free Staters were buying up).[7] The situation rapidly deteriorated in early 2077, as the divide between the Free Staters and the denizens of Harpers Ferry grew. Street fights between Staters and "patriots" became disturbingly common, tearing the Ferry apart and attracting government attention.[8] At first, the interest was limited to surveillance and documenting Free States membership and their associates. Secret policemen visited Ferry vendors and coerced them into handing over names and addresses, winning a battle and losing the war, as the shopkeepers started to realize that the Free Staters may, in fact, be right about the government.[9] However, the visits also had a notable chilling effect, as by May, many started outright refusing to provide services to Free States members.[10]

By June, the United States military seized on the resentment and launched a propaganda campaign against the Free States, and following up with seizure of property belonging to known members of the movement. Although the signs referred to them as being seized for seditious activity, the propaganda posters left no doubts as to who was the intended target.[11] The piece de resistance came midway through June, when the public prosecutor pressed charges against Raleigh Clay, the leader of the movement.[12] In response, the Free States openly seceded from the United States and by September 2077, completely isolated themselves from the outside world, waiting for the bombs to drop. The military, lacking the resources to fight a protracted counter-insurgency campaign, decided to let them be for the time being.[13]

The Staters weathered the nuclear war and remained in their bunkers until roughly July 2079. After the all clear, they moved quickly and retook Harpers Ferry, turning it into a major fortress and trading post near the heart of the Mire. Using salvage and scrap gathered from the surrounding area, they established fortifications to protect themselves and people under their care - many of whom used to despise them for their convictions.[14] By 2084, the town was a prosperous outpost, providing support and food to those in need. The Free States cooperated closely with the Brotherhood, despite Clay's misgivings about Taggerdy and her outfit.[15]

The Grafton Dam outpost in particular shielded their western flank and allowed traders and travelers to move safely through the Savage Divide to the Ferry. It was also a key route connecting the Free States with the Responders in Charleston, at least until the town was destroyed by raiders in 2082.[16] However, this prosperity would not last. The situation deteriorated after the release of the scorchbeasts by President Thomas Eckhart. The monstrosities wreaked havoc on the region, bringing the scorched plague in their wake. Harpers Ferry held out until 2086, when the scorchbeasts nullified seven years of hard work overnight.[17] Raleigh Clay issued a general order banning all recovery efforts, as the Free States were forced back to the drawing board.[18]

Although the Mire offered enough cover to allow them to escape the scorchbeasts for a time, the incredibly hostile environment was taking its toll. Abigayle Singh, the States' resident genius, worked hard to create countermeasures and a detection network that would help turn the tide. The Scorched Detection System, as it was called, became operational after the loss of Harpers Ferry, to provide an early warning network. However, the biggest asset at the Free States' disposal came after the fall of the Brotherhood in August 2095. Using information salvaged from their abandoned forward camps, the Free States managed to combine it with the SDS to create scorchbeast lures, capable of attracting the monsters, disorienting and trapping them, so that the Free States can wipe them out. The Free States could fight back and the Responders desperately reached out through Hank Madigan, who realized the potential lying in the technology and decided to combine forces.[19] However, it was too little, too late. Without the Brotherhood and their AA perimeter, the scorchbeasts and their minions had free reign over Appalachia and could spread without any barriers. They did. They started spreading out like wildfire. Although Madigan aided Abbie Singh with the SDS, the entire system, which could provide respite from the scorchbeasts, was ruined by David Thorpe and his raiders, who imprisoned Madigan, trying to ransom the uplink. Instead of money, they received the scorched. And so did the Free States, eventually overwhelmed by the scorched.[20]

OrganizationEdit

The Free States were a loose confederation of people bound by skepticism of the intentions of the United States government and its plans for the citizenry in the event of a nuclear war. This loose organization made them resilient and diffuse, helping weather the propaganda attacks from the military and "patriotic citizens." The second aspect was a strong political backing: While Raleigh Clay was the public face of the Free States, his arrest would reveal US Senator Sam Blackwell to also be a driving force behind the movement.[21]

Perhaps the only standardized element of their organization was the Free State iconography: A five-pointed star bisected into fields of black and light blue (anarchism and freedom), typically surrounded by a broken chain. A number of Free State flags have been created for circulation:

TechnologyEdit

Atx camp decoration signfreestates large01 c1

A Free State Revolutionary on guard.

Free Staters emphasized resilience and survival in any condition. While lacking the refinement of military technologies used by the Brotherhood of Steel in Appalachia or the combined training and discipline of the Responders, the Free States made up with ingenuity and resourcefulness. Their talented mechanics and gunsmiths created a variety of rugged weapons, repurposing hunting gear, old weapons, and various civilian items like tools or even musical instruments as weapons of war.[22] They also made extensive use of salvaged gear, such as military-grade body armor[23] and other armor salvaged from the nearest available resources[24]. To add, it seems the Free States had an access point to military armament, with many Free States members and locations bearing military technology, including turrets using high-grade explosive rounds[25] As well as military robots[26].

Unlike the raiders, the Free Staters heavily invested in self-sufficiency, establishing farms and harvesting the bounty of The Mire, trying to survive in the strange new world that emerged in the wake of the Great War.[27]

The Free States had no unified uniforms, but many of their members are seen wearing civilian workmen’s clothing, like miner uniform, fisherman’s outfit, and fisherman’s overalls, as well as salvaged military gear like the forest camo jumpsuit and military fatigues.[28].The closest to a unified uniform was the one worn by revolutionaries and survivalists (soldiers and scouts), consisting of repurposed jackets and steel mill uniforms respectively, combined with surplus combat webbing and steel helmets.[29]

Interactions with the player characterEdit

VendorsEdit

Vendor bots that belong to the Free States offer the following:

Armor
Any wood, metal, Marine, and trapper pieces.
Components (bulk)
Gears, oil, screws, springs.
Consumables
Various alcoholic drinks and packaged food. Includes mountain honey moonshine.
Weapons (melee)
Super sledge, pipe wrench, knuckles, frag mines, pole hook, meat hook, Ripper, Shishkebab, Switchblade, tire iron, shovel, Bowie knife, death tambo, drill, fire axe, pitchfork, war drum, multi-purpose axe, knife, lead pipe, machete.
Weapons (ranged)
Harpoon gun, lever-action rifle, double-barrel shotgun, railway rifle, The Dragon, black powder pistol, black powder blunderbuss, light machine gun, single action revolver, missile launcher, assault rifle, combat shotgun, hunting rifle, laser gun, minigun, gatling gun, flare gun, crossbow.
Weapon plans
Workshop plans

GalleryEdit

Examples of government propaganda
Examples of Free States markers

AppearancesEdit

The Free States appear in Fallout 76.

ReferencesEdit

  1. https://twitter.com/Fallout/status/1053680995780751362
  2. Fallout 76 loading screen hints
  3. Fallout 76 loading screen hints
  4. Fallout 76 loading screen hints
  5. Overseer's log - Free States
  6. Fallout 76 loading screen hints
  7. Harpers Ferry terminals: "Sales at the shop have really picked up this month. A bunch of folks are buying up all sorts of camping gear, survival equipment and canned goods.
    When I ask them what they're up to, they start talking about "preparing for the end of civilization" and "the collapse of society." Sounds like crazy talk to me, but they're paying cash, so they can say whatever they like.
    Of course, it gets a bit scary when they buy cases of ammunition. I don't exactly feel comfortable knowing we've got these kooks living in the mountains sitting on that kind of firepower."
  8. Harpers Ferry terminals: "It's not even a single day into the new year, and a fight breaks out in the street over politics.
    No one knows who started it, but it didn't really matter - it's was the same old story again. One guy mouthed off about how lousy the government is handling everything and then a patriot stepped in to tell him that he was wrong. Discussion led to shouting, shouting led to insults and then the insults led to blows.
    The police eventually broke it up, but this divide isn't getting any smaller. Harpers Ferry is tearing itself apart."
  9. Harpers Ferry terminals: "Had a fella in a fancy suit stop by the shop today. He was wearing dark sunglasses, had an earpiece and looked clean-cut. Almost too clean-cut if that makes any sense. I knew he was government way before he showed me his ID.
    He started asking questions about the folks who've been stockpiling all the supplies, then asked me to give him names and addresses. I refused at first, but then he asked to see my tax records. I caught his drift, so I gave him the copies of my receipts. He left without even saying thanks.
    Maybe those doomsday folks aren't so crazy after all."
  10. Harpers Ferry terminals: "-----------------------------------------------------
    In commandeering this terminal, I found the following entry:
    "As of May 23rd, this clinic no longer serves the Carson family. This includes Caleb, Elizabeth, and their children Madeleine and Max.
    You can refer them to Morgantown or Charleston, but due to their constant involvement with the Free States, our doors are closed to them."
    I just have no words. To think the people here hated us this much. And now here we are, saving their lives... "
  11. Charleston Capitol Building terminals: "[Wed 02 June 2077 17:03:12]
    Hey Sam,
    I did my best trying to convince the military to take down all those signs, but the General outright refused. On the bright side, at least they don't specifically call out the Free States by name... yet. Stafford was pretty pissed when I approached him about it, so they must really be on his shit list.
    Sorry I couldn't do more. Hope we're still on for dinner.
    Perry
    --------------------------------------------------
    >>You Replied Thu 03 June 2077 01:41:21"
  12. Charleston Capitol Building terminals: "[Fri 11 June 2077 08:01:33]
    Senator Blackwell,
    I highly advise staying far away from the Raleigh Clay case. I know he's a close friend, but this has "set up" written all over it. Someone wants to take him down for the Free States movement, and they won't hesitate to tie you to that sinking ship. We can't afford that type of publicity.
    Curtis Cline
    Deputy Chief of Staff
    --------------------------------------------------
    >>No Response"
  13. Sugar Grove terminals: "Sugar Grove IntraMail - 10-13-77
    From: Jamison, B
    To: Gould, W
    Subj: Free States
    Here's the latest on the Free States. After the secession, we were picking up loads of activity. But they've been pretty quiet ever since the real interesting ones, like Blackwell and Clay, locked themselves up in their bunkers last month.
    For what it's worth, we managed to infiltrate a few of their lines of comunication. But again, they mostly seem to be staying put and waiting for bombs to drop, as if the enemy actually has the guts to pull a move like that on American soil.
    I'll update you if anything noteworthy happens. As far as I'm concerned, They can sit there and stew as long as they want, or at least until we can free up the resources to deal with them good and proper."
  14. [[ ]]: "6.8.2079 Sender: [K.Baker]
    >> They've left their bunkers
    Chandler got back last night. Said that the Free States have left their bunkers and retaken Harpers Ferry. Those tinfoil hats may have had the right of it all along cause they seem to have plenty of food and supplies.
    We still haven't been able to figure out what's been creating that weird mire out there. She did see some other paramilitary looking folks out at the power plant, but they didn't seem to be with the Free States. Said they had power armor so she didn't try to approach.
    -Baker"
  15. Sam Blackwell's bunker terminals
  16. Raleigh Clay's bunker terminals: "We've been able to set up a few small trade routes which have been risky but successful. We found a couple more communities out there. Some people are building up in the trees, others managed a decent shanty town, for lack of a better word.
    Then of course there's the route we secured to Charleston to work with the Responders. It's been a decent exchange so far, and hopefully we can build it up."
  17. ?: "My dearest Geneva,
    It's been a while. I haven't written on this terminal since we left for Harpers Ferry, but we're back. It was a seven year effort, but a failed one. This new world is more dangerous then we anticipated.
    There's a new creature out there we call the Scorched. It takes over an organism somehow. Bears, deer... and even people. Until we can devise a way to face them, we're back in the bunker where I can keep Abbie and Cal safe. We lost the Cohens to this abberration. I won't lose our children."
  18. Free State notifications: "-----------------------------------------------------
    To all:
    I'm not sure how many people this will reach after the attack on Harpers Ferry. But rest assured, we are working hard on a solution for this new threat.
    From the Brotherhood's last transmission, we know we're on our own, and we know their reports were real.
    All we can advise for now is to remain in what shelters you may have found, and, if you must leave, stay under as much cover as possible.
    - Raleigh"
  19. Madigan encounter
  20. Abbie's Bunker terminals
  21. Fallout 76 loading screen hints
  22. Available weapon blueprints.
  23. Marine and combat armor is the preferred gear of the Free Staters, judging by the recipes and rewards.
  24. Robot armor and robot armor mods are found on the Free States vendor and wood armor is directly discussed by Abbie Singh during the quest Early Warnings
  25. The Explosive turrets located in Berkeley Springs and Harper’s Ferry
  26. The eyebot, Rover, during the Event: Always Vigilant, the vendorbot in Harper’s Ferry, and Hardball, a reprogrammed Mr. Gutsy found north of Value Galleria during the quest, Tracking Unknowns
  27. Harpers Ferry history and that of other families.
  28. Can be seen on the multiple corpses scattered around Harper’s Ferry
  29. Free States Revolutionary and Survivalist outfits.
  30. Early Warnings
  31. Reassembly Required
  32. Coming to Fruition
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