Photo by  Jessy Halvorsen

The History of the AreA

It takes strong people to live in harsh lands, and few places are as harsh as the stretch of forest, mountain and water between Shanghai and Undersea. There isn’t much here that hasn’t been touched by the glowing green of radiation; the plants, animals, and even the people. The rad-waters used to cover most everything. This area wasn’t much more than a marshland of murky glowing water, surrounded by dense pockets of gnarled trees or impassable rocks. For generations after the fall, hardly anyone made their home here; just a handful of Natural One or Lascarian tribes who considered it a mark of pride to survive here, criminals and outlaws hoping to escape the notice of the law, or little enclaves of farmers or scavengers too stubborn to give up on the place.

The threats in this area were nothing to take lightly. Zed plagued the land, of course, as strong or stronger than anywhere in the Wastes. Some folks would later claim they were summoned by the high density of psions in the surrounding areas; others said that the Gravemind here was just a real bitch and put out more than our fair share of the undead just to spite those who dared try to make a home for themselves there.  Regardless, from armies of tanks to hordes of river hunters walking around in broad daylight due to the constant rain, the undead threat was high.

Living things weren’t much kinder. Giant psionic insects turned friends against each other. Mutated animals preyed on people like fodder. Raider tribes preyed on caravans unfortunate enough to travel too near their territories, or struck out at farmsteads or outposts too weak to protect themselves.  Living was hard. Dying came altogether too easy.

There were little villages here and there, sure, but nothing like a full on town, at least not within a few days travel. Gatesville, a city ran predominantly by Pureblood scientists, was one of their nearest neighbors, but their zeal for new technology (and more than a few eccentrics with more brains than morals) kept most folks from interacting with them heavily.  Those who encountered them were as likely to be taken prisoner to serve as guinea pigs in some wacky experiment as they were to make allies or do trade, and even traveling near to the tech-town put one at risk for fall out (literal or metaphorical) from one of their crazed inventions.

Swamp Crazies (later called Dar after the town befriended them) lived in the rad-swamps, but their inability to speak clearly made communication difficult, and their obsession with all things irradiated made it a challenge to interact with them for long enough for those only passing through to form friendships.

A DJ tribe ran the roads here, along the northern Rust Coast. Calling themselves the 82s, they were gruff and disdainful of flat-footers (as they called non-DJs) but they were also always on the lookout for opportunities to trade for the food and booze that their high-speed nomadic lifestyle made difficult to produce. Among their number was a woman, however, with a special ability; she was so in-tune with the rad-swamps in the area that she could sense where and when the waters were receding. The skill was a boon to her tribe, but later would herald the beginning of a new era for the area: the birth of The Rend.

Up to that point, the Cascadia Rendezvous wasn’t a town; it was just a trading event. From around the region, traders and merchants would get together a couple of times a year and hold a rendezvous – a week or two-long meet up held on some chunk of neutral ground.

During these Cascadian Rendezvous, old grudges were put aside and folks could gather in one place buy and sell, socialize and drink, and sometimes even to learn from each other before trudging back to whatever more isolated existence made up their normal daily lives. These get-togethers started off small, held at whatever crossroads of trade routes and caravan roads seemed least likely to be overrun by zed or slavers or giant mutated spiders  at that time of year.

Eventually some locations became more popular, and folks began a regular schedule of trade meets. Caravans from as far as Hayven or Ripton Falls would make the trek out to the Cascadia Rendezvous, laden with goods and gear that the locals couldn’t make or harvest in their own area.

-This history was collected and set down by Mother Maggie May, Scribe of the Eternal Teacher, Priestess of the Hearthfyre, and Proprietor of The Family Print Shop (Jess Hartley)