“Sit on down, grab yourself a drink — let me tell you a story of fools, monsters, and six-shooters…”
“Tales tell of a lonesome man, way out in the desert sands, who chimes in a cold night’s winds. A wide-brimmed hat lined with bells, with robes and poncho to match… what could possibly lie under that hat? Well, fewer folks tell tales of that.”
In the beginning, there were waves. Small ones at first, lapping gently against the shores of the world. Corporations and civilisations grew, gradually filling the atmosphere with its poisonous gases — seemingly a small price to pay for progress. Little did one know, the Earth was waiting for its revenge.
After years upon years of global climate change ramping up to dangerous levels, the storms finally arrived…
The New Frontier: a super-continent consisting of numerous regions inhabited by ruins, monsters, humans, or the various new sentient races that sprung up after the Great Monsoon. With the reformation of the landmasses that once made up the modern world comes strange weather patterns and new threats — stone-faced Giants; burning and eldritch Demons; ghastly and devious Yokai; violent raiders; risen dead; mysterious violet storms… all new ways for Death to claim your life. Life in the wilds is dangerous, and should you be particularly inattentive… you are most likely already dead and gone.
However, with new ways to die came new ways to fight back. Magick allowed trained souls to enhance their killing tools and perform small miracles — such as knitting together the flesh of a recent wound, or lighting a fuse with snap of one’s fingers. Particularly skilled individuals have transformed enchantments and ingenuity into an art-form in and of itself, as Gunsmiths and Vivisectionists take root in the civilised towns and settlements dotted across the New West… while the Onmyoji and Shokunin in the New East have found ways to command these new creatures, and revolutionise the art of augmentation far beyond that of the West’s “Augers.”
The New West
The New West is but one of the large regions of this new world — and one of the most obviously dangerous. From the automated contraptions of the oft-insane tinkerers and inventors known as the Augers, to the roaming titans that occasionally dot the horizon, to the Great Temples of the mummified Practitioners; you will know their approach, and you will learn quickly which ones can be killed… and which ones can only be delayed. Provided you survive through all of these, you will also have to contend with the harsh desert dunes and the constant fight for resources that persists through the drifting sands.
A long and arduous journey ‘cross the Wastes brings you to an extremely wide set of clearwater rapids travelling along the Tranquil River that winds between the mountain range that divides the continent in half. There is only one safe passage through this natural divider, but it leaves you in one of the more lethal areas of the New Frontier…
The New East
As if the fresh water and river weren’t rare enough, naught but five feet from the water’s edge lies a vast, luscious canopy of trees, nigh-sparkling in the harsh sunlight and spanning one end of the horizon to the other. The undergrowth is dark aside from the occasional ray of sunshine flitting through the bristling leaves, and the plants within are fresh and beautiful — but each one holds its own violent twist. A delicious fruit may hold a deadly paralytic agent, a rainbow butterfly may hide blood-leeching fangs, and a flower’s sweet scent may cause fatigue and an untimely demise.
Should you survive the forests, a paved road will lead you to Shikana, the City of Tranquil Death, where towers of chrome and neon lights scrape the sky. In Shikana, everyone and everything is either trying to sell you what they think you need or planning ten different ways to end your life… and that’s to say nothing of the Crater much further east, where spirits and mutants roam.
“Liar, cheat, hustler — all these words and more are used to describe and name this creature. It has taken quite a liking to our card games, but it doesn’t understand fair play at all. It’s a wonder why anyone is still willing to deal it in, let alone bet their lives on it…”
“Got to meet the legend himself — Big Bobby! They said that he’s armed to the teeth in protective charms and trinkets, and they definitely weren’t kidding. Maybe that’s how he’s stayed alive all these years…?”
“Towering and overgrown, the last living tree in this wasteland survives on seemingly nothing, as there is no obvious water source for miles. It’s somehow grown sentient since, and its saplings harass the local townsfolk and steal their food. Unfortunately, this means someone’s got to give it a pruning…”
“When I arrived, the whole place was but ash and ruined timber. A shame, really. All that survived was an old enchanted pistol, a scarred journal, and this strange, carved stone stained with blood…”
“What, this? I found it while out on one o’ my expeditions. No idea what it’s for, but it certainly don’t look pleasant, and I found it stained r— aw, Hell’s bells…”
“Classic piece of Auger work, that one; built out of some old steam train and a paradise of scrap metal. You’ll hear the rumblings long ‘fore it gets close… but gods help you if it does. It’ll chew ya up and spit you back out as a pile of ash floatin’ down from on high — you’d almost think it were snow, were it not for the pitch black cloud of smog leadin’ it…”
“Goin’ to Dryrock House? Best you don’t stay long — you won’t catch a lick o’ sleep with the Burning Man haunting that place. Only started showin’ up a couple days back, and then again the day after, but y’know what they say: Once is an incident, twice is a trend, thrice is a pattern…”
“…and that cowboy wrestled and grappled with the Serpent of Saint’s Gorge, holdin’ on for dear life to that magick knife stuck in the beast’s hide — if he lost that, his only chance of killin’ the thing would be gone. He was swung around and around until finally, it stopped. The tail started rattlin’, and its giant four-sided maw opened wide, lettin’ loose a mighty roar… he woulda been lucky if that were the end of him right then.”
“Let that be a lesson to any poor cowpoke who goes proddin’ around where they shouldn’t be. Y’see, them Practitioners have all sorts of weird experiments goin’ on, and they aren’t too given to using fossil fuels to power ’em… at least, that’s what I’ve heard.”