The Scraplands

         Far away on that blasted southern continent known to only the most learned in the lands of men, but much more widely outside of those backwaters, as Kalaong, lies a gorge not peculiar for its dimensions, but rather its contents. Seven days journey into the deep, heavy wastelands from Bol Atuk, the first signs of the tinkers’ trails are witnessed. As night and day blend into an unbearable ochre slog, you will lose track of the days and when you do, you will soon find yourself at the border of the Scraplands.

While the Scraplands and Kaloang are ill-known in the lands of men, those perennial pilgrims known as to men as tinkers are far more common, their migrations being noteworthy events. Few doubt the devotion of tinkers, these blessed nomads, for their pilgrimage to and fro throughout all lands results in a supply of sharp knives and mended tools merely at the cost of whatever refuse the community could make no use of. And thus, eventually, the tinkers of the world had organized a vast network of trash collection, exchanging the discarded remnants of man’s existence for more useful supplies in a wave southward, ever southward, across seas and continents to that southerly land of Kalaong, across that wasteland you lost all time in, to here, now, the Scraplands.

In some distant future that may never come to pass, when archeologists finally discover the Scraplands, it is doubtful that any would survive from the excitement. But should they fail to succumb to their own ecstasy, those archeologists would have a treasure trove unimaginable: relics of every era, of every time, every age, every fad, every half-baked trend or quixotic conspiracy, ever. Any of it. If it has existed in man’s depth and breadth of impossibly vast cultural multiplicity over the entire span of man’s existence, then it is somehow reflected here. Somewhere. 

And the somewhere is the problem. For the Scraplands are vast. Mile after trackless mile of scrap metal, plastics smeared with eons-old organic matter, crumbled concrete, bone nothings, and other, less-specific garbages is the sad fact of the average geography in the Scraplands, punctuated frequently with the remnants of large hulks of one variety or another: colosseums or factories or skyscrapers or airships impaled on grand lances of obsidian. But even these grand structures are fleeting; eventually, each of them will succumb to the Scraplands, to become part of that immense, landscape melange of everything. 

It is to this place that the tinkers of the world bring your garbage, dear friend, for this is the end of the road for all things discarded. The tinkers make their holy pilgrimage in fulfillment of their vows to the Overwright, that living god of industry and immensity who labors ceaselessly at the center of the Scraplands, their numberless arms and eyes uncountable in turn examine and repair all things they light upon. In return for their holy devotion, the Overwright makes gifts of these newly-whole objects to the tinkers. The value of these gifts, however, can in no way be assured; sometimes discarded items are discarded purely for want of a use. 

And yet the Overwright’s minions are by no means the only denizens of the Scraplands, nor even a plurality much less a majority. Scavengers from all over the world are drawn to the Scraplands, the promise of lucrative plunder and salvage pulling them in like a bee to a flower. And yet, this is no mere flower; this is the pitcher plant. The generations of people of all varied types and manners left to fend for their own in the Scraplands often prey on the new arrivals, sometimes going so far as to establish elaborate “honey trap” excavation sites, luring such adventurers in with that siren call of wealth unimaginable, only to be met with ambush after boobytrap after gimmick after puzzle. Add in some secret doors and a wandering monster table and you have what people of your era call a “dungeon.”

The peoples of the Scraplands are many and wildly varied. It is wise not to allow yourself to think narrowly in terms of “personhood” in the Scraplands, or what one “people” might consist of. Trash pirates whose ships ply the currents of maether that waft up from the piles of refuse raid tribes of grazing manotaurs and synthitaurs and omnitaurs who in turn wage ceaseless if somewhat petty warfare against the Shroom Sultanate of Basaq. Were one to mistake the Shroom Sultan’s immobility for a lack of personhood – for he is often mistaken for architecture by those unfamiliar – one could very swiftly find oneself the host to colony spores and a most pleasant future you would have indeed. A ceaselessly pleasant, unthinking, simple, uncomplicated pleasant future. Welcome to the colony. Personhood respects personhood in the Scraplands.

To those savvy adventurers and reavers who find what little success there is to be had in the Scraplands, there is a greater power that offers wealth and success in return for assistance with her inscrutable goals. She is a shadow, a phantom; some posit she is a ghost, still others, a god. In the deep places, the lonely places, the places without light or warmth, these are her abodes, her demesnes. Plunge headlong into this pile of refuse, she may whisper to a devoted servant, and pull forth what treasures lie within. The Moth Queen knows where every good score is in the Scraplands and she will part with that knowledge if her faith is kept.