Nomads were once corporate wage-slaves, who got fired and blackballed from employment, and now they roam the highways as travellers and motor-gangs. As life on the road is hard, they maintain strong family bonds. If a Nomad is in trouble, he can count on members of his family to watch his back.
Who Are They?
They drove your family off the Farm ten years ago. The Corporations rolled in, took over the land, and put rent-a-cops all over the place. It wasn't the first time it'd happened and it wouldn't be the last. Gradually, your family fell in with a bunch of other homeless families, and they met another group... until you'd create a Nomad pack of nearly two hundred members.
Now, crammed into a huge, ragtag fleet of cars, vans, busses and RV's, your Nomad pack roams the freeways. You look for supplies, odd jobs and spare parts in the world where society has fragmented. The pack is your home - it has teachers, Med Techs, leaders, and mechanics - it's virtually a town on wheels in which everyone is related by marriage or kinship. Sometimes the Pack pulls into a town just to fuel up or get grub. Other times, it swings south to follow the harvest; you pick crops in trade for cash or food. Less terrorizing cities and hiring out as muscle in Corporate wars. For obvious reasons, cops don't like Nomads. But it doesn't matter - your vehicles are usually well armored and bristling with stolen weapons; mini guns, rocket launchers and the like. Every kid knows how to use a rifle, and everyone packs a knife. Being homeless in the 2000's isn't easy.
The most visible members of the Pack are the Scouts - leather-armored riders on bikes or in fast muscle cars, who protect the convoy from attacks and hunt up safe campsites. As a Scout, you're on the lookout for trouble, and you usually can find enough of it, with rival Nomad Packs, the Law, and the cowboys; you ride the hard trail. You've got a gun, a bike and that's all you need. You're a Nomad.
Nomad groups are divided into families, clans, tribes, and nations. Families can be as few of two people to as many as one hundred. Clans are made up of several families and can range from a few hundred to a over a thousand members. Tribes consist of several clans and can consist of several tens of thousands of members. Nations are the largest groups and number in the hundreds of thousands. The biggest nomad Nation has roughly one million members.
In 2020 the Nomads were Mad Max style small bands of gangs who roamed the wastes fighting among themselves and being pirates to anyone entering their territory.
However in the time of the RED after the Night City Holocaust when a nuke went off in the Arasaka tower, the Nomads became united and moved into Night City to take over and control all physical forms of transportation in and out of Night City and to any other city across the U.S. and the Pacifica Confederation.
They became the biggest investors and builders of infrastructure in Night City; responsible for repairing services, and then controlling those services.
While the Nomads still have roaming bands in the wastes they are no longer fighting among themselves and now work together for their survival.
"Night City's seductive but remember you're a Nomad. That means guns. Guns and cyberbikes. That's how we hold the line. We don't have any home except the caravan. We don't have any rights except what we take. We get run out of town by cops; we get raided by the roadwarrior packs, and we survive because we've got guns and bikes..."
The Rebuilding (2040–Present)
After the bomb:
Roughly two million people in the greater Night City region were left homeless due to the Bomb, either directly or because of flooding from the liquefaction of the city's foundations. Survivors fled into overcrowded tent cities in the surrounding suburbs of North Oak, Westbrook, Pacifica, Heywood, and South Night City. But tent cities aren't real homes and it was obvious that something needed to be done fast.
The remnants of the Night City government turned to outside resources, calling in old markers and favors from a wide variety of Edgerunners. Recovery was lead by the Nomads of the Aldecaldos Clan and their allies in the StormTech Corporation. With a lot of experience in city rebuilding due to the Chicago project, StormTech and the Aldecaldos were uniquely equipped to construct extensive temporary housing from shipping containers and later formocrete modules brought in by rail and sea.
The Reclaimed Perimeter
When Night City was the regional hub, it was surrounded by a constellation of smaller towns and suburbs. Most of these were abandoned during the 2000—2020 period, as they were too far out to protect from the roving go–gangs that plagued the area. Now, supported by Nomad Families and private security, the Reclaimers are attempting to transform ghost towns into new homes for the dispossessed of the City.
The Open Road
In the 2020s, the Open Road was home to roving go–gangers and well defended Nomad caravans. But as the Nomad Families take greater control of the world's commerce and shipping routes, they're using surplus military hardware to drive out the go–gangs and make the roads safe for travel. The roads are still open, wide and dusty, with dead and burned out vehicles littering the landscape, but increasingly, the Open Road is looking more Route 66 than Route 666.
The most reliable transportation in or out of Night City is offered as a service by the Nomad Clans. Individual Clans sponsor heavily armed convoys to Cities along the Coast, throughout the West, and even to the edges of the New United States. These convoys, often made up of over a hundred vehicles ranging in size from giant multifamily combis to small and armed escort cycles, are capable of standing off even the most determined road–gangs and rogue mercenary groups. Sea–based Clans have commandeered everything from abandoned luxury liners to gigantic container ships and pressed them into service; these are the only reliable way to get out of Night City via the sea lanes.
By Air and Even Space
Need to travel faster? Nomad Clans now control a sizable percentage of the aero–zep (modern cargo blimps) traffic around the region and overseas,. usually backed up by satellite snub fighters and AV's. There are few actual commercial jets or other winged aircraft available (too expensive to operate), but if you're really in a hurry, there are an assortment of ex–ESA (European Space Agency) or Orbital Highrider pilots commanding their own suborbital scram–jets; like the legendary Han Solo, these "Deltajocks" go out of their way to avoid legal entanglements and will move any cargo (including you) for the right price.
WHAT YOU EAT
Meet the Meat
Things got even more heated when some enterprising farmers began raising real chickens, dwarf pigs, and even goats (cows are still rare). Individual animals and herds were shipped through Nomad convoys with heavy Solo protection, creating a new form of "cattle drive." Needless to say, there were attempts to rustle the range that ended up with many of the would–be rustlers buried in the Night City equivalent of Boot Hill.
MEET THE TEAMS
Nomad Packs are natural teams—they are already together in one group, and everyone knows each other. A good Nomad pack could include a few Fixers (to handle in–town negotiations), a Netrunner (who handles the pack's intelligence work), Techs (for vehicle repair and scavenging work), and any number of Nomads and Solos. The pack operates from the Caravan— an assemblage of RVs, trailers, buses, and cars running goods across the blasted landscape of freeway America. The team could travel with the main caravan or as scouts traveling ahead in their own vehicles.
Family is a two-way street. A Nomad can call on his group for hospitality, protection, and assistance but has to give back that aid or lose status or suffer penalties as a result. Their score in this Special Ability is also their rank within the group. A Nomad group can be a biker gang, an extended family, a nomadic cultural group, itinerant laborers, or panhandlers. A Nomad group can really be anyone who cannot stay put and grow roots - whatever the reason.
Work Gang is the Orbital equivalent. Orbital workers are clannish and help each other out.