A burgeoning strip of new growth from Washington’s western border to the Appalachian mountains, Westatum straddles the line between north and south. Its rural edges range from foreboding woods to dank swamps. As for the main affair, it may be the single largest body of new construction in the E.F.S. south of Rhodes: the gleaming boulevards and stern brick walls gild the shoddy building practices that prop up wide parts of the city, and collapses during earthquakes are all but guaranteed.
Every political affiliation in the mainstream and many beyond can find ample representation within the rat race of Westatum’s political machine. More interested in advancement leading to Washington than local issues glitz and bravado are substituted for substance in Westatum politics all but universally with an important exception:
The Capital Party has a reputation as being the most honest institution in Westatum, as they freely and fully admit their primary loyalty and interest is monetary advancement of them and their constituents.
Political activities are normally gaudy affairs with lots of free booze and flyers. Proximity to power is the most valued commodity and attractive character trait in Westatum, so they are usually as well attended as the group or person making an appearance is financed. Frequent federal investigations into voting irregularities make Bushwhackers are common enough sight in Westatum.
Poverty is a chronic issue for those in Westatum dedicated to throwing whatever they have into the quest of “making it” and gaining residency in Washington. The generationally poor tend to survive longer, paradoxically, accustomed to dealing with their situation and more game to the antics of swindlers to flock to Westatum like flies to honey.
Every manner of vice is available in Westatum behind the right door for the right price. However even simple pleasures like music and soda pop drip from every orifice of the city as they seek to soak up gullible cash. It has managed to prop up a tourist industry on the merit of being a much cheaper alternative to Washington and this has brought its own set of problems: drug tourists, sex tourists, and in rare cases even murder tourists--after all, life is cheap and the police overstretched in Westatum.
Illegal money needs to be cleaned, and the cleaners line every boulevard and avenue: drug stores, rug stores, coffee shops, tea parlours, soda jerks, memorabilia stores, clubs, bistros, bars, pawn shops, and more. Many are mysteriously persistent in spite of a clear lack of clientele, while other popular joints close virtually overnight for seemingly no reason. This leaves those in the service sector either complicit with obvious criminals or serially hunting for new work in an uncertain job market.
Rural Westatum deals in the usual: agriculture, Akroydiesel drilling, and morphant cultivation. The swamps also have some trappers and fishers.
Strangely enough Westatum has proved the most willing to engage in outreach with Appalachian communities next to their state. One could point to the obviously self-centered desire for trade with the Tennessee River Valley and Ohio River Valley areas, both facilitated by good relations with neighbouring tribes opening up lucrative but hard-to-find safe routes for moving freight through the region.
Westatum’s need for immigration may be tied to the fact that while there’s a sap born every minute, there are two killed in the same span in Westatum. Murder tourism, local crime, crime fighting by vigilante and official sources, disputes turned sour, crimes of passion, dispassionate crimes someone got in the way of, and more add to the body count. One things for sure: it usually is not an accident, unless it’s a building collapsing. Those are usually an accident, albeit ones caused in the course of trying to murder someone specific.