For those of you about to play in the Wasteland Wilderness campaign on Roll20, this is your starting information. More will come soon.
Long in the past, there was a great cataclysm, the nature of which is not really known. Whatever it was, it left the world changed. Before (B4), there had been a great prosperous culture, apparently ruled by the Pure Strain Humans (PSH). Some of their technology still survives, and mutated humanoids and mutated animals can make use of much of it. Some only works for the PSH. Plant and animal life was apparently not as savage B4 because there remain stories of people who traveled great distances. Today, we rarely travel more than 10-15 miles into the wilderness. Traveling near water is especially dangerous, and any unfamiliar plants or animals should be avoided or at the very least, treated with great caution.
Your character is from one of three villages in the Woods of the Great Road.
If you are PSH, you are from Mourne. Mourne is a settlement of about 150 PSH. They are led by Prez Stephan Aldys, and most warriors belongs to the Knights of Genetic Purity. Leadership is chosen by the village’s Genetic Code, which has resulted in an inbred and weak leadership. Prez. Aldys is a prime example, a weak, unattractive and stupid man who spends most of his time drinking. Your mentor was Ime Babasia, once a skilled warrior but now wasted to nothing. Mourne has little social life. There is one bar (the Farting Attercroppe), which thankfully is of good quality, and one brothel devoted to the gay life. Heterosexual encounters are governed by the Genetic Code. There is little room for competent and ambitious people, and you have decided to leave to seek your fortune.
Despite the poor leadership, the village thrives because of supplies laid down long ago. The village maintains an industrialized level of technology, there are a number of ancient artifacts used about town. That technical advantage is all that that has kept Enom from conquering them. Sansker, a PSH merchant, occasionally visits Telph for trade. The rest of the village keeps its distance and although willing to allow some visitors, they are very paranoid about mutated humanoids, whom they suspect are spies from Enom. There is a much larger settlement of PSH just to the north of Mourne, called Hawk’s Nest.
“Find us allies!” orders Ime Babisa as she sips on her Hurricane. As weak as she is, her brain still works fine, and she is your most trusted mentor. She taught you everything you know about shooting. “We are very lucky to have the Hawk’s Nest nearby,” she continues, “but they tell us that there seems to be no Pure Strain Human settlements to their north, just a lot of mutated animals. Go south, or east, or even west, but don’t go anywhere near Enom. Share our location with other humans, not with mutants. Scout them out, and report back. Don’t let them know where you come from, or they’ll raid us for our stores.”
If you are a Mutated Humanoid, you are from Enom. The tribe of Enom has been shrinking for the last generation, and now has only forty-eight members. Many have fled or died because of the rule of the Radioactivists, led by Gord Hundred-Armed. Enom is near an ancient village, and mutations are frequent. Those of Enom who survive are renowned for their fighting ability, though these days it is used in fighting with the deadly inhabitants of the Forest. In the center of Enom itself is a thirty-foot tall statue of Gord’s father, Nurr the Magnificent. Nurr was nearly unrecognizable as human, and his statue causes mutations even in adults, something that is expected and revered by Gord and his followers. Many people have acquired too many defect mutations and died, or have fled into the hostile jungle. Some have sought refuge in Telph, which has caused resentment and a simmering border war with the larger settlement. You have decided to do the same.
“I’ll kill you if I find you!” screams Vakregu, punching down a small tree in anger. “You and your friends — I’ll kill you all.” Vakregu had only four arms, but he was strong as three men, and his threats were all too real. “Making friends with the enemy proves you are a coward, just like I always said! I’ll make you pay! I’ll show you!”
You can’t stay in Telph; you and your friends need to leave and find safety elsewhere.
If you are a mutated animal, you are from Telph. Telph is a settlement of almost two hundred mutated animals, most of whom are Fliers. Some are descended from hawks, a few from mountain lions, but most are Martens. Most of the town is made up of their warrens, along with a few lairs for the lions and nests for the hawks, in the trees left for that purpose. The Martens stand 1.5 meters tall, their slim furry bodies looking ridiculously out of scale to their long limbs. They can run on all fours, but much prefer walking or flying. When walking or standing on their hind legs, they can use their hands. They have heightened touch that allows them to be very skilled mechanics, something that worries the PSHs at Mourne, with whom Telph has a truce. Martens sometimes “get the Passion” and slip into an obsessive superstition in which they fashion lucky charms, pile rocks into cairns, and pray to idols made of straw or sticks they put in them. When in this state, they can little to protect themselves, so those with the Passion are protected and cared for their comrades. Very rarely, those with the Passion become destructive and have to be restrained. Usually the Passion passes after a few days. .
The town is governed by the Ranks of the Fit, under the leadership of Karg Swiftwind, a mountain lion and the current dictator. He is a relatively weak leader but he is a direct descendant of Blef, a famous general, and is tolerated for this reason. Mutated humanoids are welcomed in Telph if they have useful mutations, but Karg has begun to fear a possible attack by Enom. Telph itself is located near Sweet River, and is a relatively pleasant place to live. The village gathers water from the river by means of a water wheel controlled from a clay bunker near the water northwest of town.
“You’re a fool to leave,” said Walks Too Much, an Elder Marten who taught you much of what you know. “You know there’s death waiting out there for you. We’ve got a good thing going here, and we don’t need to lose good people out exploring.” The Elder drops to the ground. “But we’ve talked about this enough. I know I’m not going to change your mind. If you’re going to go, then go south or east. Mourne has our northern door, whether they like us or not, but it would be good to find allies to the south or east. Don’t reveal our location until you are sure of their intentions — we don’t need new enemies! Stay away from the water as much as possible; you know how dangerous it can be.”