“I against my brother, my brothers and I against my cousins, then my cousins and I against strangers.”

Bedouin Proverb

By the first decade of the twenty-First century, almost 20 million Americans had no fixed abode. By far the largest segment of this group were migrant workers, overwhelmingly of foreign origin and usually undocumented, who moved from place to place on a seasonal circuit working as farm and construction laborers. However, there were others: the “Snowbirds”, around 3 million strong and almost exclusively elderly, who lived in their R.V.s permanently; the young anarchists known as “Oogies”, off-the-grid and hedonistic; the 660,000 or so officially homeless; travelling carnival folk, truckers living from their cabs and traditional hoboes.

At the height of The Collapse, refugees from drought-stricken towns and war-torn Latin America swelled that number seven-fold or more. Tens of Millions died from famine or sickness, but out of the furnace of struggle came a new American lifestyle – the Nomad. Coalescing around existing groups, or borrowing styles and survival tips where they could, new extended families (Packs) and tribes of permanent migrants sprang up and stabilized at a population of around 25 million, with another 25 million or more wandering the wilds in small groups or alone rather than as part of an organized band. Quickly learning the rules of the road, the newly formed Packs learned how to defend themselves against highway gangs and government agents alike. Nomads are homeless transients, who travel in armed caravans of heavily modified vehicles, finding work wherever they can – from day-labor to hauling freight to smuggling risky contraband. Many of the Packs have adopted Native American survivors of the carnage that many reservations became, adopting their motifs at the same time. The Lakota saying “Mitakuye Oyasin – we are all related” is a commonly heard one.

Nomad store

Ironically, the members of the Packs are some of the most well-educated people in the modern era. Often the children of teachers, doctors, engineers and farmers, the Nomads can adapt to a surprising number of situations and events. Always on the lookout for migrant work and a place to set up a safe camp, the Nomad Scouts often travel into the city for needed supplies and current info. While rare, that can be extremely useful to a team of Edgerunners.

There are three main migratory paths. In the East, workers begin in Florida and travel up through Ohio, New York and Maine, following crops that range from citrus to tobacco to blueberries. The Midwestern stream begins in Southern Texas and flows north through every state in the MidWest. Workers in the West begin their season in southern California or Arizona and follow the coast to Washington state or veer inland to North Dakota.

Not all Nomads are honest, hard working types however – some prefer to eke out a living by robbery and violence instead. In the popular imagination of most “Statics”, there are no distinction between Nomad groups and all are equally treated with contempt and bigotry.

Nomad Packs are one of the highest expressions of the clades concept yet seen. Fiercly proud of their lifestyles, each Pack has it’s own idiosyncracies and a “my lifestyle choice isn’t any worse than yours” attitude. All are “go-claves” in that they are migrants, mobile by vehicle or animal power, but from there all bets are off. Many claves have accentuated motifs gained from their founders and turned them into a philosophy, a style or a means of expression. Thus there are biker packs, cowboy packs, snowbird packs, survivalists, travelling carnival and circus packs, many packs based around the traditions of Latin American immigrant groups – a profusion of different lifestyles all under the banner “Nomad”. Packs with a common theme, way of life or just a common habitual route might come together into “tribes” and the massive winter campsites in California, Arizona, Texas and Florida – the “Nomad Markets” such as Slab City in Arizona – are turning habitual gatherings into something like nomad “nations”.

Particular Nomad packs and tribes will be detailed in the Organizations section of this wiki.


Edgerunners Langy Cernig