The term tribal refers to a class of wasteland cultures and communities that, for the most part, live a primitive lifestyle with their own beliefs, customs, and sometimes even language.
Joshua Graham describes wasteland tribes as "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 make these tribes highly insular and wary of outsiders.
In addition, tribals typically possess a highly religious or mythologized view of the world, in contrast to the more cynical and intellectual worldviews held by other wastelanders. As such, they often consider pre-War technology and structures taboo, preferring to live in isolated agrarian communities or as nomadic hunter-gatherers.
This mystical worldview and disconnect from the pre-War world often leads to tribals being stereotyped as backwards 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 strategies not dissimilar to those used by more "civilized" wastelanders. Thanks to these stereotypes, many outsiders do not regard such groups as "real" tribes.
- Arroyo tribe (2167-2242)
- Jackals (only remains in the Mojave Wasteland, obliterated by the NCR)
- Khans (later called New Khans in Fallout 2 eventually migrated to the Mojave Wasteland, last fully organized raider tribe that originated from Vault 15)
- Oregon's cannibals
- Primitive Tribe
- Vipers (only remains in the Mojave Wasteland, decimated by the Brotherhood of Steel)
- Beastlords (obliterated by the Midwestern Brotherhood of Steel in 2197)
- Brahmin Wood tribe
- Dirt Haven tribe
- Whachutu (Peoria tribe)
- The Kings
- Boot Riders (until 2274, after became the Chairmen)
- Fiends (Though only considered raiders, they share many tribal customs such as splintering into bands, some going cannibalistic, and wearing tribal related clothing)
- Great Khans
- Jackals ( A petty tribe of raiders heavily weakened by the NCR)
- Vipers ( A petty tribe of raiders heavily weakened by the Brotherhood of Steel)
- Slither Kin (until 2274, after became the Omertas)
- Mojave's cannibals (until 2274, after became the White Glove Society)
- Blackfoot (assimilated into Caesar's Legion)
- Crazy Horns (wiped out by the White Legs, slavers, raiders, and prospectors)
- Cyrus' tribe (obliterated by the remains of the Master's Army sometime after 2162)
- Daughters of Hecate/Hounds of Hecate
- Dead Horses
- Fredonians (assimilated into Caesar's Legion)
- Hangdogs (assimilated into Caesar's Legion)
- Hidebarks (assimilated into Caesar's Legion)
- Iron Lines
- Kaibabs (assimilated into Caesar's Legion)
- Lucius' Tribe (assimilated into Caesar's Legion)
- New Canaanites
- Painted Rock (assimilated into Caesar's Legion)
- Ridgers (wiped out by Caesar's Legion)
- Sun Dogs (assimilated into Caesar's Legion)
- Tar Walkers (wiped out 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)
- Vulpes Inculta's tribe (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 of the Primitive Tribe, seeking his sister, Kurisu, who was captured by a mysterious group. The Primitive Tribe lives on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in California (which they call the "Great Salt Water"), and they are one of the tribal groups which can be seen in random encounters while traveling through the coast 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 as 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 are a group of tribals originating from Vault 34 and living in Nellis Air Force Base since 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 were moved to Freeside but abandoned their tribal culture eventually. An old abandoned tribal village can be found north of Goodsprings. The Great Khans are a raider tribal gang based at Red Rock Canyon. They originated from California but migrated to the lawless Mojave to escape the NCR. They live in tents and are based on the Mongol warriors. Many also are involved in making and moving various chems. There are also the Fiends though not considered tribals and just raiders, they share many tribal customs such as splintering into small bands, wearing tribal style cloths, and like many other tribes turning cannibalistic. There are two other raider tribes in the Mojave, the Jackals and the Vipers. Both migrated from California and into the Mojave away from the NCR and Brotherhood of Steel. They were both a once feared tribe across California but since the NCR and Brotherhoods war against them they have been reduced to just petty raiders tribes. 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 are also mentioned in the add-on. Also mentioned are the Tar Walkers and Crazy Horns, both of which had gotten wiped out. The New Canaanites, Sorrows, Dead Horses, White Legs, 80s, Tar walkers and Crazy horns are all based in Utah not the Mojave in Nevada.
There are some groups of tribals living in Midwest 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. There 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 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.
Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel
Cyrus is know to have grew 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.
- Notable quotes from Chevron: "You chase away bad spirit, you may have bats and leave friend of the Whachutu people."