The Surface

Table of contents


On the planet surface, humanity is a rare and hunted species. The surface of Newgulf is mostly uninhabited and uninhabitable - the Blight has all but strangled all other life into extinction. However, a few madmen venture beyond the (relatively) safe confines of Cessnock and into the dark wastes.

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The Surface is, on the whole, a wasteland; what was once lush countryside has since been overrun with the monstrous, mutated creatures that have been transformed by the Blight, and very few people choose to set up their homes in land likely to be ravaged or destroyed further by Blightstorms. The few people who do live on the surface generally have taken up residence in ancient bomb shelters, the shattered remains of old cities. They are considered hermits, crazy for venturing out of the sheltered bastion of Cessnock.

Life on the Surface

A life spent venturing into the wastelands will usually be a rough one, a dangerous one, and a short one. The Storms could come around at any time to sweep away all life, or to invade lungs and eyes and nose with great gusts of dust, leaving a person rotting from the inside out or slowly driven mad. Blight-touched creatures beyond description stalk the barren country, patrolling their territory. It is said that Void Eaters venture to these dark lands for worship - and that Monks of Anvari follow them, to make war against their eternal enemy.

Farther from Cessnock, the land has become even more broken and wild, enough that it has been generations since anyone tried to explore out into the world in search of other survivors. In the deep darkness, nothing save the Blight touched can live, and humans almost never return from the cursed places. Blight touched mutants of unbelievable size swarm the land, in constant battle with anything and everything they find. The sun is obscured completely by the Blight smog, and the air is frigid cold. Farther yet, in the Deepest Dark - far deeper than any human has ever penetrated - the legendary leviathan (supposedly) lies in waiting.

Weather

The surface is a world of extremes. Where the Blight has been cleared around Cessnock and the ruined shatter of the city that surrounds it, the sun is unforgiving and cruel, bringing constant drought and merciless heat. It generally only rains a few times a year, usually in a destructive, torrential rain, so most denizens of the area store as much rainwater as possible during such storms, and carefully ration their water during the long dry spells — or pay huge sums for the water that has been cleaned by particularly talented crafters.

In the wastes where the Blight is strongest, the sun cannot penetrate the ever-present canopy of Blight smog hanging overhead. Thus, the near wastes are bitterly cold, and often dank and rainy besides. The deeper wastes are increasingly frigid, and in the deep darkness a thick layer of permafrost lies beneath the Blight rotten ground. It is said that if one ventures farther from the safety of the city (where Leviathan waits impatiently for the ruination of mankind) even the air itself is frozen by the relentless cold.

Blightstorms are enormous, permanent storms that wander at random across the surface, destroying everything in their paths. They are fairly rare - any one location might only see a Blight storm every dozen years or so, but they move quickly and erratically, so there is no way to predict their coming. They are a ever-present threat, striking with little warning and overwhelming force. It has been decades since one of these hit Cessnock, and the stories still serve as legends to terrify children around campfires, myths of men walking around for days with their heads in their arms, or of women transformed into monsters that ate their own families.