As humanity slowly started to crawl its way out from disaster, many returned to former large cities to reclaim the remnants of technology they had lost. Many died in the process, falling victim to radiation or mutant beasts, but those who escaped danger found wonders from the old world and prospered.
This was the fate of the Wright family, who returned to the ruins of what was once Duluth. They combed the ruins, and not only found many tools that they could use, they began trading their goods to the small number of settlements beginning to form in what was once northern Minnesota. Over the decades, the Wright Trading Company has expanded to include not only members of the family itself, but also hundreds of employees who scour the landscape for scrap, protect caravans, and provide other support roles. The actual buying and selling is still reserved for members of the right family, which now includes several branches.
History of Wright Town
According to family lore, Jed Wright’s father, Anthony Wright, was born the day the Great War ended. His parents were survivalists who had stockpiled enough food and ammunition to see them through the end of the world. Little else is known about them, as Anthony’s
children never met their grandparents, and he refused to even mention their names.
Anthony started out fending for himself, hunting and gathering food, and salvaging what he could from the ruins. As he grew up he started to realize that he could do more serving as an intermediary. He learned what people needed, found it someplace else, transported it, and took his cut. Not long after he started trading, Anthony met a fisherwoman named Sable. The two fell in love and were soon married. Their children became the first employees of the Wright Trading Company.
As Jed Wright and his siblings grew, so too did the Wright Trading Company. They established a base outside of the ruins of Duluth and hired a dozen scrappers to sift through the ruins for anything usable. They set up regular trade routes with nearby fishing and farming communities.
The Wright family weren’t the only ones with this idea, and early on several other scavengers and traders attempted to compete with the Wright family, but the family didn’t tolerate friendly competition. The Wright Company either convinced traders to work for them, pushed them out of the territory, or executed the for, “the crime of unlicensed trading.”
On his deathbed, Anthony Wright named Jed his successor to lead of the Wright Trading Company. Unfortunately Jed’s brother Ben thought he should control the company. The brothers’ arguments turned to brawls and soon to bloodshed. The families fought for a year and a half, and the violence didn’t end until Ben and all of his children were dead.
The brothers’ war hurt the Wright family, and for some time it looked like they might fall from power, but in the twenty-four years since then, the company has grown even stronger and has regained its place as the defacto power in the north.
Though they still see themselves a business, the Wright Company has become a defacto government, which controls a small town with the apt (if unimaginative) name of Wright Town. Jed Wright is the patriarch of the Wright family and, as CEO of the Wright Trading Company, is also the defacto leader of Wright Town. He is assisted by several family members, including his daughter Sally who oversees the traders and his younger brother Jack who oversees salvage.
Like most company towns, most of the employees who live in Wright Town are constantly in debt, since the Wright Company (which operates all the stores in town) sets prices to squeeze all they can out of their employees. Most of the employees are scrappers, and, while they are paid based on what they find (and only if they find something), the Wright Family considers all the salvage in the town to be their property, and anybody who “steals”
is punished harshly.
The Wright Company is concerned with governing only as it affects their business. They maintain enough order to make sure that conditions are safe for their customers and workers. They maintain roads and ports, but otherwise care little for infrastructure, or education. They dole out punishments for major crimes like theft and murder with speed but little due process. There are no jails, and punishments usually involve branding,
losing a hand, or execution.
The Wrights and the Have-Nots
Members of the Wright family live comfortable lives. Not only do they never worry about their next meal, they enjoy luxuries like books, guns, and even the occasional use of a gas-powered generator. They are the closest thing the region has to royalty.
Most other people in Wright Town live in pretty squalid conditions. They barely scrape together enough to keep themselves fed, and many go into debt to the Wrights to make it through the winter. A lack of sanitation and modern medicine also makes disease and parasites common throughout the town.
There is a very small band between the Wrights and the toiling masses. Most of these people survive by working for the Wright family in ways that they deem more important. These include caravan guards, smiths, and mechanics. Most of these people dream of marrying into the Wright family. When people marry a Wright, they always take the Wright name, whether male or female.
A Community of Loners
Wright Town has the least community cohesion of all the communities in the region. They don’t necessarily share a history, culture, or creed. Many squabble with their neighbors, competing over food, land, and scrap. Others do their best to form smaller cooperative communities within the ruins of Duluth.
Because Wright Town is less homogeneous than the other major communities, the world-views of the citizens are more varied, but here are a few guidelines of what they might believe.
• For good or ill, the Wright family is the most powerful force you know of.
• There are monsters out there, waiting to strike.
• Raiders and thugs can be just as dangerous as any monster.
• Some people have psionic powers. You may or may not understand them.
• You know of advanced technology. You might consider it magic.
• You’ve probably seen people from nearby communities like Moose Town or Agate, and maybe even far off travelers from places like Freaky Town.
• Ruins often contain useful and valuable items hidden among the rubble.
• Your clothes are a mix of alpaca wool, leathers, and furs.
• Most of your tools and household goods are scavenged or made from scrap.
• You probably live in the ruins of a building that you have cleaned up and modified for your own purposes.