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A tribe is an ambiguous term, generally used to refer to stateless societies that emerged across the wasteland, characterized by the absence of formal government, a distinct cultural identity, and self-sufficiency. The term tribal is typically used as a pejorative noun by inhabitants of various non-tribal communities, to describe someone as primitive, uncouth, and unsophisticated.
In a broad sense, every human society can be described as a tribe, a linked family of families, regardless of the place they inhabit or other circumstances.
Joshua Graham describes wasteland tribes as a connection of "families of families," where the family unit extends beyond blood relations and often encompasses the entire community. This results in much more close-knit communities than in other wasteland settlements, but also tends to make these tribes highly insular and wary of outsiders.
Tribals often possess a highly religious or mythologized view of the world, in contrast to more cynical or secular worldviews held by other wastelanders. As such, some tribes consider pre-War technology and structures taboo, preferring to live in isolated agrarian communities or as nomadic hunter-gatherers.
This mystical worldview and disconnection from the pre-War world often lead to tribals being stereotyped as backward and uneducated by outsiders, though as with all stereotypes this is not always the case. Some tribes, such as the Boomers and New Canaanites, utilize technology and social systems not dissimilar to those used by more "civilized" wastelanders.
Tribes were concentrated in the western United States, and those that inhabited the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau were each known for a specific weapon. A majority of the tribes of Arizona and New Mexico were slaughtered or assimilated into Caesar's Legion, while in California the New California Republic has been rounding up the tribes and attempting to "domesticate" them. NCR prospectors travelling east into tribal lands have been known to drive the inhabitants away.
- Arroyo tribe, existed 2167-2242
- Jackals, remaining only in the Mojave Wasteland, elsewhere destroyed by the New California Republic
- Khans, later called New Khans, eventually migrated to the Mojave Wasteland, last fully organized raider tribe that originated from Vault 15
- Oregon's cannibals
- Primitive Tribe
- Vipers, remaining only in the Mojave Wasteland, elsewhere destroyed by the Brotherhood of Steel
- Beastlords, destroyed by the Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel in 2197
- Brahmin Wood tribe
- Dirt Haven tribe
- Whachutu, a tribe originating in Peoria
- The Kings, former tribe members
- Mojave Boot-Riders, until 2274, reestablished themselves as the Chairmen
- Fiends, raiders with many tribal customs such as splintering into bands, cannibalism, and wearing tribal clothing
- Great Khans, descendants of the Khans and New Khans from New California
- Jackals, last remaining remnant of the tribe from New California
- Vipers, last remaining remnant of the tribe from New California
- Slither Kin, until 2274, reestablished themselves as the Omertas
- Mojave's cannibals, until 2274, reestablished themselves as the White Glove Society
- Blackfoot, assimilated into Caesar's Legion
- Crazy Horns, potentially destroyed by the White Legs, slavers, raiders, and prospectors
- Dead Horses
- Fredonians, assimilated into Caesar's Legion
- Hangdogs, assimilated into Caesar's Legion
- Hidebarks, assimilated into Caesar's Legion
- Kaibabs, assimilated into Caesar's Legion
- New Canaanites
- Painted Rock, assimilated into Caesar's Legion
- Ridgers, destroyed by Caesar's Legion
- Sun Dogs, assimilated into Caesar's Legion
- Tar Walkers, potentially destroyed by the by the White Legs, slavers, raiders, and prospectors
- Twin Mothers tribe, destroyed or assimilated by Caesar's Legion
- Twisted Hairs, assimilated into Caesar's Legion
- White Legs, prospect for assimilation into Caesar's Legion
One tribal group appears in Fallout, located in southern California, the Khans. This band of raider-tribals live their lifestyle on the Mongol warriors. Two raider-tribal factions are also mentioned, the Vipers with their shamanistic nature and the Jackals with their savage and cannibalistic nature. They were both obliterated in time but their remnants appear in Fallout: New Vegas. They originated from Vault 15 with the Khans, and are culturally based upon early human cultures.
In Fallout 2, the Chosen One was born and begins his quest in the Arroyo tribe, as a tribal descendant of the Vault Dweller from Fallout. A potential companion Sulik is a tribal seeking his sister, Kurisu, who was captured by a mysterious group. Their tribe lives near the "Great Salt Water," and they are one of the tribal groups which can be seen in random encounters while traveling through the coastal area, they are extreme believers in the here-after and revere many spirits. Also, a cannibalistic tribe next to Arroyo can be met in random encounters, and therefore appear to be from Oregon.
The Khans make a second appearance in the New Khans. When the Vault Dweller massacred the Khans in 2161 the sole survivor Darion was corrupted by survivors' guilt, and over the next eight decades, he devoted his life to rebuilding his tribe to its once former glory, but solely to get revenge on the Vault Dweller. Eventually, the New Khans became a major raiding tribe and again based their lives on the Mongols like they once were and by 2241 they occupy Vault 15 which is also their original place of origin. Other tribals live around the Den, only seen during the slaver quests of Metzger, if the Chosen One is a slaver.
The Treeminders are a peaceful group of tribals that have renounced using technology. They are found in Oasis and worship the FEV mutant Harold, who became one with the tree Bob (which Harold liked to tease by calling Herbert). Crow is said to be of tribal birth. One belief of Crow's tribe is revealed when he gives his unique eyebot helmet to the Lone Wanderer, claiming it to be made from the hide of one of the wisest wind spirits. Also, the Point lookout tribals are a group of tribals living in the swamplands and the Ark & Dove cathedral in Point Lookout in the Fallout 3 add-on Point Lookout. They cultivate, worship and consume the punga fruit and believe that the physical world has been destroyed, they're now concentrating on reaching astral planes of existence.
Fallout: New Vegas
The Boomers is a group of tribals originating from Vault 34, living in Nellis Air Force Base as of 2231. They revere explosions and the discharge of weapons. The White Glove Society, the Omertas, the Chairmen, and The Kings were all formerly tribals with other names before Mr. House enlisted their help, making the first three more civilized and gave each of them control of different areas of the New Vegas Strip. The last group known later as the Kings, currently residing in Freeside, likewise abandoned their tribal culture. The Great Khans are a raider tribal gang based at Red Rock Canyon. They originated from California but migrated to the Mojave to escape the NCR. They live in tents and glean their history and legacy from the Mongol warriors. An old abandoned tribal village can be found north of Goodsprings. Many also are involved in making and moving various chems. Additionally, the Fiends, though operating as raiders, share many tribal customs such as splintering into small bands, cannibalism, and wearing tribal style clothes. There are two other raider tribes in the Mojave, the Jackals and the Vipers. Both migrated from California to escape the NCR and Brotherhood of Steel, who have significantly reduced their numbers.
The add-on Honest Hearts introduces four tribes from Zion Canyon and the surrounding area: the New Canaanites, the Sorrows, the Dead Horses and the White Legs. A territorial raiding tribe known as the 80s is also mentioned. Also mentioned are the Tar Walkers and Crazy Horns, both of which were destroyed. The New Canaanites, Sorrows, Dead Horses, White Legs, 80s, Tar walkers, and Crazy horns are all based in Utah, east of the Colorado River.
|The following is based on information from Fallout Tactics.|
There are some groups of tribals living in The Belt region, and are usually friendly folk. Three missions in Fallout Tactics involve visiting a place with a tribe: Dirt Haven tribe (only in the demo), are a peaceful people who live in a small village north of Chicago. Their leader is called the Town father and their shaman is called Salik. Brahmin Wood tribe, are a wealthy tribe who worship Brahmin gods. They live in a large village west of Chicago. Their leader is the tribal father Charon, and their shaman is Hawkeye. The last peaceful group, the Peoria tribe live near the remains of Peoria. The people who live there are Whachutu tribals. Their leader is Chevron the tribal father, and their shaman is Dhal. Also, one raider-tribal faction that the Warrior has to defeat, called Beastlords, are a people who have a unique mutation, allowing them to take control over animals. Their leader is Daarr.
|End of information based on information from Fallout Tactics|
Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel
|The following is based on information from Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel.|
Cyrus is known to have grown up in a semi-tribal farming community, with an important reverence for tattoos. This community had its share of problems with raiders, radscorpions, and the like, but was finally devastated by the remains of the Master's Army when he was just a boy, sometime after 2162.
|End of information based on information from Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel|
- KCBUCK.MSG, KCHILD.MSG, Klamath citizen: (Kcitizen.msg), Jenny (KCJENNY.MSG), Maida Buckner (KCMAIDA.MSG), Sally Dunton (KCSALLY.MSG), Slim Picket (KCSLIM.MSG), Three-Card Monte: (NC3MONTE.MSG), Porn actress: (NcActres.msg), Bishop's bodyguard (NcBisGrd.msg), John Bishop (NcBishop.msg), Bishop's man (NcBisMen.msg), Casino bouncer (NcCasBou.msg), Ethyl Wright (NCETHWRI.MSG), Fluffer (NcFluffe.msg), Leslie Anne Bishop (NCLABISH.MSG), Lil' Jesus Mordino (NcLilJes.msg), Mason (NcMason.msg), Mordino's man (NcMorMen.msg), Orville Wright (NcOrvill.msg), Reno townsfolk (NcPerson.msg), Pit boss (NcPitBos.msg, NCPITBOX.MSG), Cat's Paw girls (NcProsti.msg), Renesco (NcRenesc.msg), Sheb (NcSheb.msg), Wright child (NcWriChi.msg, NcWriPly.msg, NcWriTee.msg), Myron (NhMyron.msg)
- The Courier: "Are the New Canaanites really a tribe?"
Joshua Graham: "We wear more clothing than them and understand more about technology, but we're still a tribe, a linked family of families. The Boneyard, Phoenix, New Vegas, they're just places, metal and stone. New Canaan dies, but the tribe lives on. When the walls come tumbling down, when you lose everything you have, you always have a family. And your family always has a tribe."
(Joshua Graham's dialogue)
- The Courier: "Nice guns."
Joshua Graham: "In the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau, all tribes are known for a specific weapon. White Legs are known for their big submachine guns, "storm drums." They broke into an armory near Spanish Fork and have been using them for years. Of course, the Dead Horses have their wooden war clubs and even the Sorrows have their Yao Guai gauntlets. This type of .45 Automatic pistol was designed by one of my tribe almost four hundred years ago. Learning its use is a New Canaanite rite of passage."
(Joshua Graham's dialogue)
- The Courier: "And since forming the Legion, all you've done is conquer other tribes?"
Caesar: "That's right. Decades of warfare, absorbing lesser tribes, gathering power. Forging the dross into a vast, razor-sharp scythe. My Legion's expansion has never ceased. Much of the Utah and Colorado, and all of Arizona and New Mexico, are mine. We have cities of our own, but nothing compared to Vegas. Finally, my Legion will have its Rome."
- The Courier: "Your mother was a tribal?"
Rose of Sharon Cassidy: "You know, like one of the tribes from the East - we got 'em out West, too. NCR's herding 'em up, though, domesticating them. Mom was from East of the Colorado, though, not sure what tribe. Was before the time Caesar rounded them up, made them Legion. She walked a hell of a way until she crossed paths with my Dad and he convinced her to stop walking. And lucky for me, he was a horny old bastard."
(Rose of Sharon Cassidy's dialogue)
- The Courier: "The use of violence only leads to more violence."
Daniel: "Try walking alongside a tribal child, a refugee, and holding her hand for three days because her parents were killed by NCR prospectors. After the prospectors have stalked the remainder of the tribe, they fire off a few shots to scare them, and the tribe bunches together for safety. A grenade comes rolling in and kills another six people. The only reason you survive is because someone else's body absorbed the shrapnel. You're left sprawled out on the ground with ringing in your ears and a little girl's hand in your hand because that's all that's left of her. After you've done that, if you can look me in the eye and tell me it's better to stand aside, maybe then I'll listen to you."
- The Courier: "What can you tell me about Freeside?"
The King: "To understand Freeside, you have to look back a few years. Originally, we were all just tribes making a living in this area. That all changed when Mr. House came around. He made an offer to the three biggest tribes that were willing to listen to him. Today, everyone calls those tribes the Three Families, and they live in luxury and run their own casinos in the Strip. The rest of us were left to fight over the crumbs, living in the shadow of those more fortunate. Things got pretty nasty for a while. But we wanted more. A place of our own. A place where no one could tell us what to do. And we didn't want to go elsewhere to find it. So we took control of this place, and made it our own. And that's really all Freeside is, the best of a bad situation."
(The King's dialogue)
- Notable quotes from Chevron: "You chase away bad spirit, you may have bats and leave friend of the Whachutu people."