A New Beginning

24 Jul
The world has been fractured; physics is splintered. When these basic laws that govern existence were corrupted, swept away by an unknown force, the remnant of humanity was corralled into distinct zones that affected their lives in fundamental ways. This is existence on the Brink.
At the peak of civilisation stand the Surges, unsullied by the destruction of the boundaries of physics. Whilst these zones are relatively small in size, technology is unfettered and the pinnacles of the Spire cities pierce the sky kilometres above the ground. Those with influence live at the top, their lives perpetuated by nanobots, drugs and microsurgery. Even at the lower levels of a Spire the population is afforded wonders denied to those in other zones. Nilgrav cars and flying machines allow for rapid transport, laser technology enables advanced engineering feats, and bionic enhancement is used liberally to enhance and extend lives. Surges offer the potential of utopia, held back only by the people within.
In the Smokes electricity ceases to work, and humanity has instead capitalised on elaborate steam powered machines to provide progress. While everything is designed to accommodate this technology, humanity at least has the basis of order and stability. Rail networks, road-trains and motorised dirigibles make transporting goods and people easier, as do the powered factories allowing rudimentary contraptions to function. The sheer quantity of the steam engines blight the cities with smog and smoke.
The Fades are where even basic technology fails. Humanity lives in a state of archaic limbo, reduced to only basic tools devoid of intricate workings. Dominions rise and fall by sword and arrow, stone fortifications protect the powerful, and peasants toil in fields and cramped cities. Rudimentary practices are often coupled with advanced knowledge enabling an odd mix of designs and capabilities.
The worst affected areas however, are the Wastes. It is in these zones that nothing survives and only slow erosion marks the passage of time. Also known as the Black, these territories offer tantalising glimpses into the past. For those intrepid (or stupid) enough to take the perilous journey through the border, fantastic fortune can be made by retrieving artefacts from centuries past. For the more enquiring minded explorers comes the lure of knowledge: of ancient times, of the events that precipitated the fall, or even of the fabled solution to fixing the disjointed world. However, the most likely fate for those who enter the Black is a painful death as their bodily functions cease due to the afflicted land. Their corpses will join those that lie in a strange state of mummification, disturbed only by stale wind and rain.
Dividing the zones are invisible, intangible yet inevitable borders. When moving across a border a variety of effects take place, the most notable being the physical symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to death. In conjunction with this however is the effect on devices where items taken from a higher technology zone into a lower technology zone stop working, sometimes enough so that they are irreparable.
Out of the splintered nature of physics came the evolution of those who can influence borders and zones with a thought. These people, known as Manipulators, are exceedingly rare and their talents remain unfathomable. It is these men and women who allow travel into the Black, their strange gifts pushing back the lethal effects. It is they who provide temporary respite through zones to allow technology to pass.
Tying the zones together while seeking their fortune across the world are Trading Houses. Irrespective of zones and borders these organisations establish trade routes, build diplomatic relations and found new towns. Their mandate almost always begins and ends in profit and the potential power they can wield can be immense. Regardless of the business impetus, Trading Houses provide links between far-flung and divided regions. It is in this way that knowledge is given, learned and stolen and it is with the Trading House operatives that lies the future of humanity.
This is the the world on the edge of greatness or demise. This is Brink.