Campfire Reading

DISCLAIMER: The following is considered an in-play document. As such, it’s veracity is not 100% canon and is subject to change. You have been warned.

If you’re reading this pamphlet then odds are that you’ve found yourself new to this world. Maybe you’re a creche kid who just hatched. Maybe you were raised in some cult and been told lies about the world. Maybe you just decided to read something to remind you about the bigger picture. There’s lots of books out there with their own spin but I’ve tried to keep it brief and just the points that everyone agrees on.

No matter why you’ve downloaded this I hope some day you pass it on some day to someone who needs it.

The Old World of Wonder

At the dawn of the 23rd century mankind lived in a new age of wonder. A full decade had passed without any war in part thanks to the technology of the Lattice. The lattice was the final fruition of the internet, the postnet, and the Grid all rolled into one. World wide there was now instant access to communication, information, and immortality. If anyone sustained mortal wounds, their bodies were digitized and uploaded along with a detailed file of the moments before their death. Dying still hurt of course and would be punished but folks found with all this ability to communicate and share ideas that things could maybe get better. There were still the haves and the have nots but it seemed that mankind had finally made it to the golden age history had been working towards.

The End

At the time folks called it lots of things. “Bee-pocalypse” and “Hive’s End” or “2222” but nowadays folks just call it “The End” and everything else has come after that. No one quite agrees why it happened but we do know that within a one week period all of the world’s bee population died.

You may not realize it now but those little critters were vital to how people ate back then. Bees moved pollen around plants and allowed for fruits, vegetables, and grains to get grown. Without them, the world had about a six month food supply before we fell off a cliff and began have mass starvation.

Things Fall Apart

People didn’t sit idly by and wait for the world to starve of course. You had governments, corporations, non-profit orgs, churches, universities, and just about every crack pot with their kid’s chemistry kit trying to solve the problem.

That’s where we got a whole new batch of problems. Some of those experiments led to outbreaks of disease and monsters roaming the streets. Some say that if the best and the brightest hadn’t all jumped at being on a colony ship for another world we’d might have fixed things but that seems like a bunch of “what if”
to me.

That was almost a hundred years ago and no one alive today remembers it. Some people might claim to but I wouldn’t trust anyone who looks 20 and claims to have survived The End.

New World Disorder

By the end of the year 2,222 A.D. the old world died and the world we live in was born. Ours is a world where most of the world is wild and blank spots on the map. Warlords and slavers come and go in power and the only safety a person has is probably the six shooter on their belt. Sure there are cities out there but if you’re reading this odds are you’re a Drifter like me and want to know a little bit more how to survive in the world.

I’d tell you more about specifics but the fact is that things can change overnight in our world as people rise and fall and where I live is probably different from where you are.

Food is Sleep

If you want to stay alive you have to eat and you have to sleep. Those things are even more important in the long term than being able to outrun zombies. The Lattice can’t bring you back if you starve to death. Some food and water is decent and will get you through the day. The good stuff though will be what you need to make real progress since you won’t have to worry about scratching around for bread that’s not all moldy.

Wine, (Wo)man, and Song

Back at the dawn of the 21st century they started having a better sense of psychological strength and being mentally exhausted worked. These days we call it Grit. Some of the easiest ways of keeping your Grit up (besides food) is to have a drink, some pleasurable company, or take in a performance. Some folks have great reserves of strength due to following a Calling but if you want to look into that you can.

Lattice Remains

The lattice is still out there and more or less functional in lots of places. That’s a great thing if you want to download the complete works of Shakespeare or all the music bands put up on Myspace. The problem is that the Lattice hasn’t exactly been maintained all these years and lots of things exist behind paywalls that can only be accessed with credit cards that stopped functioning a century ago.

The big thing of course is Upload. If you die, your body will be turned into digital code. The thing is, it’s not as perfect as it used to be. You probably only have three times or so before you’re stuck in the Lattice forever. Worse are the black out zones. Some places have physical damage to the Lattice and if you die there then you are dead forever.

Fast Learner

If you haven’t already looked up the file in the Lattice just search “Speed Learning” for techniques of absorbing skills faster than people a few hundred years ago. You’ll eventually peak out but in the short term you could be a full surgeon from zip in about a year and skills will make you useful to other folks.

The Wild Waste

So why do you need to know all this? Well partner, you’ve probably figured out by now that you’re not the only one that’s out there. You’ve got all the ways you might expect humanity to turn sour. There’s cults, controlling city-states, and run-of-the-mill crazy folks all out there for themselves. On top of that you got mutated animals talking like people, zombies who want to eat your brains, and echoes of people lost in the Lattice. All in all, there’s a whole heap of trouble out there.

Guns not Greenbacks

That being said, not everyone out there wants to eat your brains or steal your food. Some folks just want to live and let live. Others want to trade goods with you. Paper money doesn’t matter anymore. Some folks collect it as a souvenir of course but most people truck in what is useful. Food of course is great to trade for as is raw materials like metal or wood. You’d be surprised what some folks can make out of broken machines and bits of junk so those can be traded as well.

Of course, you’ve got to keep a sidearm loaded just in case those traders aren’t so friendly. Be careful with your ammo partner, every bullet counts.

Drifters Union

Yeah, I called myself a Drifter. When you say that word it means something a little different then it might have if you were raised as a Federal. To most people living inside of walls a drifter is anyone who doesn’t. That’s not true though. After The End, a bunch of folks got together who realized that the safest and freest way to live was on the road. They came up with a bunch of codes of behavior that mostly revolve around not being a jerk and leaving info where you can to help people. Anyone who subscribes to that code calls themselves a Drifter but if you want to know more about that you can always download the Drifters Alamanac.

Here and Now

This is being written in the year 2,314 A.D. as far as I can reckon.  Not all the clocks agree but I’m pretty sure I’ve got it right. I’ll try to update this as need be but you can check the Lattice for what day it is. If I survive then maybe I’ll add more. Till then, happy trails.

-Soapy Stravelakis