It has been fourteen hundred years since man first set foot on extraterrestrial soil.
Though scientists and scholars had plotted and wondered and dreamed for thousands of years about the possibility of traveling to the moon, to Mars, to the farthest reaches of the visible galaxy and beyond, it was only through the efforts of a handful of determined men and the resources of the most powerful nation on Earth that the dream was finally achieved. Since then, exploration of the solar system continued first as a benevolent scientific curiosity, and then as Earth’s fuel, water and food resources began to dwindle, as a bloodthirsty desperate struggle to survive and outlast. Colonies were painstakingly built in the airless hostile environments of Luna and Mars and even beneath the crushing clouds of Venus.
It was on Mars that humanity found its salvation in the element known as genesium - a mysterious metallic substance found deep within the frozen water caverns below the red surface of Mars. Genesium’s properties seemed to shift as often as the colors of light reflecting off its multifaceted surfaces; at once light as air, the next moment heavy as lead. Initial experimentation with alloying proved fruitless, but it was only when genesium was subjected to nuclear fission that the greatest eureka of all was found. Genesium could be fused with hydrogen for almost no cost, in a containable manner, releasing nitrogen and oxygen as waste products - and the resultant star-like energy was harnessed and converted to electricity.
Mankind was saved from impending disaster. Almost immediately, the planet Earth experienced an explosion of consumerism and artistic renaissance. Petroleum was converted almost entirely to the production of plastics, and the metals of the earth were drawn out and converted to building after building, machine after machine. Pollution levels skyrocketed, and soon the urbanized planet was reaching out in new directions, seeking aid from the colonies to produce food and water. The decision was made to turn Mars into a permanent Earth colony, and terraforming the land and atmosphere began in the twenty-fifth century.
The introduction of genesium byproduct into the Martian atmosphere was a godsend for humanity, until the second eureka of the Red Planet - indigenous, sentient lifeforms, attacking human colonies with strange quasi-organic technology in a desperate effort to stave off the pollution of their iron/oxygen dust atmosphere. Reinforcements were called in by the legion, and the First Martian War ended with the creation of the Great Cloud - a three thousand mile-wide “storm” of Earthlike breathable air that trapped solar heat - and the founding of New Rome, the capital of the Mars colony and a flourishing center of interplanetary trade between Earth and the other planetary colonies.
Over the course of a century, the ground itself became arable through the introduction of oxygen, nitrogen and water into the iron-rich red soil, and hardy cultivars of certain crops and feed products were introduced to Mars, followed by cattle and domestic animals. Townships and fortresses grew up around key water supplies, to settle and protect the resources, and genesium fuel supplies came with the human settlers.
The last great Eureka of Mars was not discovered all at once, but rather by accident. Long-term exposure to genesium and genesium by-product unlocked in the settlers and their descendants the key to Martian technology - referred to by science as “psionics” and by most settlers as simply “magic”, latent sensitivities to raw force produced and distributed by genesium air. When the first real wizard manifested himself, using ‘magic’ to pull lightning from the sky to defend his ranch from Martian raiders, the colonial wars for genesium lodes began in earnest. More and more users of magic augmented corporate and government forces wielding conventional solid and energy weapons and nuclear fission bombs, and the settlers fought back. Magic was used in increasingly destructive ways - calling down lightning, activating ancient Martian tech, and even raising the dead to send zombie armies to do battle. Over the course of the remainder of the millennium, the New Roman military fought to maintain control of trade and power, and eventually stood victorious over the ashes of centuries worth of destroying and rebuilding.
In the last three centuries, an uneasy truce has developed between New Rome and the outlying settlers. Small city-states have arisen to protect the citizens from rival states, Martian raiders, and the still-roaming bands of undead. Ranches and farms exist in tight clusters around water sources, and a sort of rough law exists to punish those who would prey on the undefended. Trade continues between Mars and the mother planet, and the outlying colonies on Luna, Venus, Mercury, and the moons of Jupiter. Life goes on.
It is on this world, hot and dry and wild, that you must survive and learn to thrive. It is up to you to determine your goals, your drive, and your destiny.
The distant colony of Devil’s Well, a small town situated at the entrance to a deep ice mine, sits all but forgotten at the edge of the Cloud. Recently, genesium has been discovered inside the mine, and an influx of settlers have been making their way out to the town to seek their fortune.
You are a human settler traveling with a small caravan to Devil’s Well. You can be assumed to possess whatever tools, weapons, clothing and equipment you require to be able to do your job as dictated by the Nature card you select and the background you write for yourself.
Hosted and narrated by:
Evan Tessier (StoneGolem)
Scenes played: 2
License: Community License