Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Background Material

Connecting the Mer de l'Ouest to the Pacific are the myriad Straits of Anián. These worm their way between those little-known islands of the westmost frontier, from La Isla California up past Nova Albion and Fusang all the way to the frozen edge of Grand Alakshak itself. In every direction sounds and inlets creep up the landscape to wash upon the roots of cedars and firs, which themselves hold back hungry spirits, ruins ancient and obscure, and organizations of men unknown to the Western mind.

To the natives of these lands of copper and rain, all waters are merely arms of the Xwulge, that life-giving sea that sets their ways and provides for all their needs. Their canoes have flitted from village to village throughout the region since the beginning of time, when in ages long past men traveled the sky to converse with stars, and Changers walked the earth.

And of course there is the Company, those brave adventurers ranging through unknown lands in search of wealth and opportunity. The Bostons have their designs and ambitions, but the Company was here first. Forts operate all throughout the Anián District bringing in voyageurs, laborers, and traders from across the Empire, not just stalwart Canadiens but Kanakas, Haudenosaunee, and Anicinàpe as well, with proud Georgemen steering the course. They came at first for the furs - beaver, otter, bear, and other more exotic beasts - but there are rumors of gold and blue jade washing down the rivers from remote mountains, leading many to proclaim that lost Mu has been found, though few truly believe in such obvious fantasies. Regardless, many now join Company ranks with ambitions far beyond the trade.

While there are certainly riches to be had, savage intelligences older than man lurk in the depths of those ancient forests, many of which would like nothing more than to snatch up a wayward Company man to devour or abuse for other nefarious purpose: Fever Woman; the Dog-Eater; sasquatches, stick-men, and kushtakas; the Cannibal Wind; sea-wolves and left-handed bears; and many, many more bizarre and baleful things, each slavering for naïve flesh.