The Iron Rivers, also known as Iron Lines, are group of fairly primitive, largely nomadic tribals.
They patrol and chart the railways of the pre-War world. They collect and often use handcarts to make their way across the wilderness. When they travel, they usually form handcart caravans for mutual safety. They resist the Daughters of Hecate and have remained largely immune to the plagues that haunt other tribes who go against Hecate’s wishes. However, the Vipers never pass up an opportunity to butcher any Iron Lines they discover. They decorate their bodies with paintings of parallel lines resembling the railroad tracks they travel on.
Although they are nomadic, their main headquarters is Circle Junction, which is pretty literal in its naming - it's a circular collection of railways that intersect and go in a number of different directions, located southeast of Denver.
Although not absorbed into Caesar's Legion, the Legion occasionally raids Circle Junction for slaves and other Legion recruits.
|The following is based on Van Buren and has not been confirmed by canon sources.|
The exact history of the Iron Rivers is not clear. They are said to have come from some place to the West many years ago, and to have once been part of another tribe but have become ostracized. They survived many hardships before finally coming to the "Great Circle" where they have lived ever since. They were led here, following the path of a great roaring machine that disappeared. They believe it to be a sign that the old world is waking up.
The Iron Lines were intended to be in Van Buren, the canceled Fallout 3 by Black Isle. Circle Junction is mentioned by Ulysses in Lonesome Road as a place the Courier has been.
- The tribe was named "Iron Rivers" in Chris Avellone's official draft for his role-playing campaign that later formed the basis of Van Buren.
- The Iron Rivers take inspiration from the Desert Nomads from, Fallout's spiritual predecessor, Wasteland which used railcars and locomotives, although Iron Rivers is more primitive.
- Naming and customs for the Iron Rivers is directly inspired by the short story Mary Margaret Road-Grader.
- While they were never referred to as "Iron Lines" during the actual development of the game, J.E. Sawyer later named them Iron Lines in his own PnP RPG because of their body art and general association with the railroads, as he thought it was weird that all of the other tribes had names but they didn't (apparently not being familiar with Avellone's original name for the tribe).