The STOP-SCUM Conflict is a Post-Armageddon Wars battle between the Special Tactics Operative Patrol (S.T.O.P.) and the Special Coalition Urban Militia (S.C.U.M.). The extent of this conflict is around North and Central America.
S.C.U.M. is a ruthless organization, trying to control what is left of civilization, and bring humanity under the rule of their evil cyborg leader, known as Cyclops.
S.T.O.P. was formed to fight S.C.U.M. They are made-up of veteran Special Forces troops, who are dedicated to restoring order and rebuilding civilization.
The Freemen Alliance was formed to rebuild civilization, but became para-militant to deal with despotic groups like S.C.U.M. They have a loose alliance with S.T.O.P., and are not affiliated.
This conflict is ongoing...
In this environment, any sort of authority has been reduced to local levels, and most communities struggle maintaining basic necessities like food, clean water, medicine and security. Without working infrastructure, most cities and suburbs were abandoned and are decaying urban jungles. Without a well-established currency, barter has become a common means of trade. Although some communities have produced their own local currency. (see: Economy)
Communities have formed into "Company Towns", "Farming Communs" and "Hubs", with "Shanties" scattered across the landscape. A number of them have been conquered by S.C.U.M., while others have been freed from their iron rule. Their are also many traveling bands of Nomads and Raiders.
Company Towns are communities that still support an industry or workshop, and are supported by local Farming Communs. Local currency is used for trade - called "scrip" - as well as the product being manufactured. They are generally not welcoming towards strangers, unless an individual can proved a skill that can benefit the community. Their is not much privacy or personal freedom in a Company Town, as the residence are treated as employees, and the leaders (usually called the "Boss") maintain a lot social control. They typically form their own militia for self-defense - its foolish do do otherwise, as its a dangerous world. S.C.U.M. have been trying to infiltrate high-value Company Towns, but their xenophobic and internalized nature makes this difficult. Someone from a Company Town is called a "Company-man."
Farming Communs are tight-knit collections of farms, who banded together for mutual benefit and protection. They often have to deal with Raiders, but they are considered low-priority targets by S.C.U.M. - once they takeover a local trading community, they will try to force them to be loyal. They typically trade their foodstuff with near-by Company Towns and Hubs for essential goods, like fuel, mechanical parts, medicine and ammunition. Someone from a Farming Communs is called a "Farmer."
Hubs are trading communities. They welcome strangers as long, as they don't start trouble. Here you will find restaurants, lodging, casinos, brothels and markets for a wide range of goods. It is not unusual for casino chips and brothel tokens to be used as currency. A few Hubs even deal in slavery. Nomad caravans allow for goods to be traded between distant Hubs. S.C.U.M. actively infiltrates Hubs. Someone from a Hub who is not already in a trade, is called a "Townie."
Shanties are by far the most common way people live. When civilization fell, people became displaced and wandered around until they found a niche. Unfortunately for most people, they lingered or they could not find better. They squat in old homes or live out of old, nonfunctional vehicles. They make do with nearly nothing. They eat rats or snakes, and salvage ruins for useful items. Communities range from tight-knit fellowships, to loose clusters of paranoid neighbors, but they take on all forms. They are low on S.C.U.M.'s radar, but they are often terrorized by them, and unaffiliated raiders. People who live this way are call "Shanty-folk" or "Squatties" (if not some other demeaning term by folks who are better off).
Occupied Communities are controlled by S.C.U.M. Agents (generally an Infiltrator or a high-ranking field commander) with the people ether becoming conscripted or enslaved. Occupied Hubs becomes outposts, where everything and anyone is for sale. Company Towns are retooled for weapon production, while the workers are enslaved. Farming Communs are absorbed into the rule of a local commander, and the Farmers become Surfs. And Shanties are burned-down with everyone ether killed or enslaved. Beyond overt expressions of loyalty the local ruler, Social Darwinism is the order of the day, and the community gives tribute to Cyclops, which intern allows the ruler to run the town as a feudal city-state. In a world where might makes right, the weak and helpless only knows suffering. High valued settlements are well-guarded, while most are lax with security. S.T.O.P. and the Freemen Alliance actively works to liberate occupied communities, and try to do so with minimal casualty to the civilians.
Liberated Communities form a key network and support structure for S.T.O.P. or the Freemen Alliance. While S.T.O.P. is the most effective against S.C.U.M., they are not set-up to help rebuild communities on the long-run. They try to help in any way they can, but they are too spread-thin, and usually encourage them to rebuild on their own. The Freemen Alliance on the other hand are largely focused on rebuilding, reorganizing, and education. In both cases, liberated communities usually become more prosperous, then before the occupation. The continued military success of S.T.O.P. and the rebuilding efforts of the Freemen Alliance has given both organizations a great deal of support from liberated communities, as well as other communities that would otherwise be neutral to the conflict, and gives them hope for better future.
Nomads are bands of close-knit friends & families, who travel around on bikes and in cars, trucks, buses and RVs. They sustain themselves as traders, bodyguards and day-labors. They take elaborate means to safe-guard their bands from bandits and hostel communities, which takes the form of patrols and outriders. They also deal with the stigma of being a nomadic culture, as most communities would just assume they are lawless bikers. Each band is vary wary of their own reputation, and take great means to stay in good standings with the Hubs they deal in. A number of Nomad bands have been forced into becoming S.C.U.M. Raiders, but they are not ruthless or desperate enough to be full members.
Raiders are outlaw biker gangs, road-side bandits and rogue Nomads. There are many independent bands, but S.C.U.M. have been actively recruiting them - by force. They are universally despised, as they raid communities and Nomad caravans alike. Only the most degenerate Hubs deal with their kind. Raiders are given a wide range of names and slurs by people, but "Raider" or "Bandit" is generally the most polite, and reserved when they are in earshot.