Radioactive wasteland. Removal of the hazmat suit, no matter how partial, is highly ill-advised. Acute radiation poisoning can occur within 3.4 seconds of direct skin exposure to sub-atmospheric gases or 0.2 seconds of inhalation. Two main continents: East Decila and West Decila.
Decila used to be a peaceful industrial world specialising in lower middle-class consumer products until a skirmish between the XTC and the Weezman-Kobayashi Group in AOS49. A total of 34 Minuteman ICBMs were launched on both sides of the conflict, turning the world into an inhospitable wasteland and desert. Only 1.79% of the civilian population managed to find shelter, of which less than 20% survived in the aftermath.
Remaining survivors retreated to a tribal societal structure, searching out canned food and water in the city ruins for sustenance. Some of these tribes (individually known as ‘scavs’) are leery of but not unwilling to trade with travellers: they have however little to trade with save scavenged cheap consumer electronic parts. Independent scavs-gangs (i.e. small groups of scavs that do not belong to any particular tribe) have been known to hire themselves out to travellers for personal protection in exchange for food, shelter or transport off-world.
The tribes seem to ignore each other in a wary sullen sort of peace except where scavenging territory boundaries are crossed; in which case all-out war often breaks out. The author has not been able to identify any visible territory boundary markers, but the natives appear to instinctively know the limits of their own territory.
Despite the overarching tribal structure, scavs appear to be fiercely independent for the most part, scavenging either independently or in small family groups of two to five known as ‘scav-gangs’. Each gang lives in the building that it is currently scavenging in, with an adult in the highest point of the building serving as the designated guard and watchman. Gangs from the same tribe are warned off or invited in (particularly rich locations may have up to three such groups living together) with a friendly cry: on the other hand, if another tribe’s gang is spotted within tribal territory, a flare is fired to warn the rest of the tribe, summoning them to war.
In contrast to other desert worlds, scavs work mostly during sunset and sunrise, relying on the angled light to illuminate the ruined buildings where they do most of their work in. When a building is fully exhausted of its resources (and scavs are nothing if not thorough), a sign known to the tribe is left on the main entrance to the building: this can take the form of a sketched chalk symbol, a particular placement of rocks, a road sign demolished in a particular ritual fashion and so on.
Tribes and gangs have no official leader, though the more powerful families within a tribe tend to become natural leaders. After the resources of a particular territory is fully exhausted, the tribe must either move or risk war with a neighbouring tribe to take over its territory. Both are particularly dangerous tasks and will be undertaken only after exhausting all other options. To achieve either, the individual gangs begin to move throughout their tribe’s established territory and, finding no unscavenged buildings, naturally cluster together to form a “war moot”. Once sufficient mass is achieved (typically consisting of about 80% of a tribe’s full strength), the tribe then moves or invades.
As full hazmat protection is required at all times when on the planet, hazmat suits are priceless commodities that appear to be hereditary heirlooms within the gang itself. Children are kept and carried within the mother’s hazmat suit in a specially created inner-pouch until they are old enough to wear a suit of their own. To tell each other apart, tribes decorate the standard yellow hazmat suit with personal gang insignias and tribal totem images; the latter of which seem to be mostly images drawn from pre-fallout times.
At the time of writing, an alliance formed by the tribes of Che, DianShi and DianNao (respectively Car, Television and Computer, roughly translated from the native proto-Mandarin dialect, with visual correlation with the source pictures) appear to be forming a fledging village of their own in the Central Manufactorium city ruins of East Decila. The concept of a permanent village is particularly foreign to the native mind, for historically the only reason why a tribe will ever gather in a place is for a war moot; and scavs instinctively tend to avoid such gatherings if they can. However, the alliance has held so far, and the respective gangs appreciate that the village is able to provide such specialist services that they would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else (i.e. gear repairs, trade, shelter and protection).
War (and to a lesser extent open conflict) is a fairly rare thing on Decila, given that the natives are often far too concerned with survival to waste time and energy fighting amongst themselves. Inner-gang/tribe conflicts are resolved by majority decision, with the dissenter leaving the gang/tribe if he is unable to convince them of the rightness of his cause. When physical conflict is inevitable, however, heavy blunt implements (usually no more than a primitive sledgehammer made from a slab of concrete tied to a broken-off signpost) and thrown projectiles are the preferred weapons of choice, that the hazmat suits of one’s fallen foe should sustain as little damage as possible. Scavs tend to fight in the most energy-efficient fashion possible, minimising unnecessary movements wherever possible. It is unthinkable for any native to use a modern projectile weapon (i.e. pistol or rifle), for they inevitably damage the precious hazmat suits.
Visitors are advised to prepare personal sub-atmospheric landing gear; shuttles rarely survive for long without dedicated automated anti-personnel defences, for wandering scavs are more than likely to come across and strip any such vessel. The Ji (Plane) scav-gang, however, is known for its unique “watcher” service: for a nominal fee (in the form of food and water), the gang will protect all shuttles landing in their territory. Ji scavs are also the only tribe who has mastered the basics of Galactic English and thus are often hired out as guides and interpreters.