Setting

Table of contents



The planet, as viewed from above, is a wasteland; red and tan earth, largely flat, is broken up by great expanses of murky rust water, large clusters of dark blue stone, spotted only here and there with outcroppings of wild, dangerous, faded green growth. From a great distance, it's obvious that something happened here, even if it happened some time ago. The creatures that wander the dust and the dunes, that weave their way through decayed or overgrown cities, are strange and unfamiliar, wild and savage and dangerous.

And this is the view that most of Newgulf's survivors get. Thousands of miles above the surface of the earth sits the new primary home of humanity: a great Turritella shell shaped station of deep, metallic, oil-slick blue and green, roughly ten miles in diameter, tethered to the earth by giant cables, hovers as a small disk to the bare eye. Here is humanity's new home, high above the inhospitable terrain, safe and sparsely-populated. Here are cities, and artificial greenery, great Estates and dirty streets alike. A world unto itself, safe from the plague and the disaster that destroyed the planet above.

There are some people still living on the surface, of course. A great elevator, accessible only with the proper papers, ties the skies above with the rooftops of ancient, crumbling buildings, and makeshift cities sprawling across them. These are home to the unwanted, the criminals, the troublemakers, sent down to fend for themselves.

The Blight

No one is quite sure what caused the Blight — or if, perhaps, the Blight caused everything else. Something, many centuries ago, killed off all but a small minority of the population of the planet of Newgulf, leaving only around ten thousand people left alive. As time has past, these numbers have grown to the hundred thousand alive in the Turritella and on the surface below.

However, the Blight still wreaks havoc on the survivors, in the form of horrendous wind and dust storms on the planet itself, creatures that have been mutated and changed into killers and monsters instead of harmless wild beasts, and in incurable wasting disease in people who spend too much time interacting with Blighted plants and animals.

There is a lot of mythology about the Blight, many versions of its history. These can all be found on its article page.

The Turritella

The Turritella is also something of a mystery. It is a space station, of sorts, sitting in geostationary orbit roughly twenty thousand miles above the surface of the planet. It is grown from Chitin, is certainly magical, and holds all kinds of great technology and technological methods that have been forgotten. It is a relic of the past, but it is also a thing of the future, in its own way. Cables of Chitin and Spiracle tether it to the Surface through the rooftops of Cessnock below, with highly-regulated elevators allowing for transport between the station and the ground. Of course, there are also more dangerous, unregulated and illegal ways to get up and down...

The shape of this station takes after its name. It looks like a huge, fat, black Turritella shell, wider at the bottom and spiraling up in a loose cone shape toward the sky and the stars. It is covered in windows, all of them in a faintly blue sheen, reflecting the light so that it glitters and shimmers in the night. Through its core is a long, thin tower that is the Spire. Other than this central core, it revolves in a slow, constant circle, providing gravity for the people who live within. The Spire has no gravity at all, and the Scientists who live and work within prefer it that way.

For more information about the Turritella, please read its article page. For details about specific locations and settings within it or on the surface, read on.

Important Locations

There are six main areas in which the people of Newgulf live. For more information, click the area name to read its article page.

Kaipalu

This city is the main center of human life, in the Turritella, home to about 60 thousand people. It houses workers, craftsmen, and people from all the middling and lower classes, sprawling horizontally across seven or eight square miles of the inner surface of the shell.

The Estates

These pristine communities, clusters of giant estate buildings connected by tunnels and opening onto green pastures, are gated on all sides and extremely well-guarded. Only the oldest, wealthiest, most influential families even have access, perhaps five thousand people.

The Countryside?

Here the twisting shape of the shell has been turned, somehow, to greenery and life: grain and corn and a range of edible cactuses make up a good portion of the diet and the crop, with livestock and horses on the rest of the land. Some of the farms and barns are also dedicated to the construction and growth of transportation, a difficult and highly-respected career. More spread out, the twenty thousand people in this area don't cluster and tread on each other as in the cities.

The Spire

Jutting up through the center of the Turritella, the Spire is highly visible but also highly mysterious, secretive. The only people who have seen the zero-gravity inside of this building are the Scientists who live and work within, conducting experiments or studies or learning. To everyone else, it is just a dark tower pointing toward the stars, broken by the occasional flash of colored light or white-coated man in the window.

Cessnock

Primarily slums, Cessnock is on the planet below the hovering space station, high in the tops of old buildings that once made up the centuries-abandoned city of Lapidum. Old construction has been augmented by new, piecemeal growths and additions, torn down walls and fresh furniture. A good portion of the arable land on the top tier hasn't been turned to fresh foods, to growing sustenance, but to drugs. Most of the best buildings are saloons and bordellos, dedicated to illegal activities. A good fifteen to twenty thousand criminals and their families and hangers on have taken up residence here, by choice or not.

The Surface

The surface of Newgulf is a dangerous and virtually uninhabitable place. On top of the dust-storms, the wild creatures, the general barren surrounding countryside, there is the most problematic thing of all. Blight, disease, the lingering remnants of some long-forgotten disaster. Some people are willing to risk it, however, for the sake of exploration or glory or enlightenment. This group is negligible, small, and largely insane.