The Mojave has to worry about slavers from the Legion capturing folk. But at least when you’re grabbed by the Legion, you know where you’re heading. Out East in the Capital Wasteland there are plenty of slavers, but it seems like there aren’t many slaves around. People always wonder what happens to the unfortunates who get nabbed, but it turns out that the slavers in Paradise Falls are in the Export business. When they capture someone, they usually aren’t sold locally, they get shipped North to a place aptly named The Pitt.
Before the war, the Pitt was called Pittsburg, in the Eastern Commonwealth. The Pittsburg Chamber of Commerce produced some interactive holotapes to draw in tourists, and show off its thriving steel industry.
This is what it looked like in the late twenty first century. There aren’t many records of what the city was like in the years following the Great War. No reliable sources entered the Pitt until about thirty years ago when a Brotherhood of Steel chapter led by Paladin Lyons passed through on their mission to explore the East Coast.
When they arrived, it looked more like this. While the West Coast was slowly marching back towards civilization, Pittsburg had spent a hundred and eighty years degenerating into a genetic swamp with barely-human mutants cannibalizing each other.
Different parts of the wasteland get their own local flavor. In The Pitt, the unique combination of radioactive runoff, and industrial waste brought about what they call Troglodyte Degeneration Condition.
Anyone who stays in the Pitt will start to develop it after a few weeks. Most people just get a case of ghouly-lookin’ skin, but many lose their higher cognitive abilities eventually. The most unfortunate folk devolve one step further and lose their humanity altogether. These “Trogs” as they call them, crawl around naked on all fours, and shun humanity in favor of the shadows.
When the Brotherhood of Steel traveled through The Pitt in 2255, Elder Lyons couldn’t stand seeing humanity reduced to such a state, so he and his followers annihilated most of the cannibals, the raiders, and mutants.
The Brotherhood called it “The Scourge”. They brought fire and brimstone to hell, sacked the city, and took what unmutated children they found with them to Washington DC. A few of those Pitt kids are now full members of the Brotherhood’s Capital Chapter. The Brotherhood also left someone behind in the Pitt. A paladin who had been wounded and trapped during the Scourge. Ishmael Ashur.
Paladin Ashur was a loyal brother at one point, but when awoke surrounded by raiders in the ruins of the Pitt, he saw a city that held promise. Pittsburg had once been called The City of Steel, and Ashur knew that the secrets of steel would let the wasteland rebuild America’s railways.
Noble goals, indeed, but the business of forging iron ore into girders of steel is hard work. Hard even during the height of civilization, and even worse now. Given that people who spend more than a few weeks in the Pitt end up turning into troglodytes, it’s not surprising that there weren’t many volunteers. The dwindling population of the Pitt had to be inflated with slaves, so Ashur has been importing his labor force from the Capital Wasteland.
Slaves need a motivation, a reason to not just lie down and let the Trogs tear their throats out. For the slaves in The Pitt, their hope is The Hole. A combat arena where the brave can try to prove themselves worthy of freedom by brawling in a crater filled with radioactive sludge. Survive three rounds against the most bloodthirsty people in The Pitt, and you’re free to go with an offer of joining Ashur’s army.
The gentleman’s art of boxing has no place in The Hole. Slaves fight with anything can get their hands on, from mining equipment to laser scatterguns, one person even won their freedom using a board with a nail in it.
Very few people actually make it out of The Pitt, though. One person fought their way free through The Hole and showed up in the Capital Wasteland a few years ago carrying holotapes that were supposedly recorded by Paladin Ashur himself. If it’s really him, it seems that he had been trying to find a cure for the Trog condition. Yet more “noble” aspirations from a slave-owner.
Folk who want to see how things turned out can take a handtruck there from Northern Maryland. The rails go all the way up to The Pitt. No matter your opinion on slave owning, that’s quite a feat of engineering, and a testament to the potential of Ashur’s vision of a reborn world.
There’s a chance that future generations will actually restore the railways that once connected both coasts of this continent. Getting across the oceans is another story. A few folk with funny accents claim that they’re from overseas, but ships that can navigate the water spouts and sea critters are nearly impossible to find.
There’s a fella who says his old paddleboat could travel up and down the Atlantic Coast, but the farthest anyone has ever gone and returned is a swamp a little ways to the south. It’s a place of mysteries, and ancient magics, or at least that’s what you’ll hear from the few tourists who’ve been there and back. But that- is a story for another day…