Themes of Sojourn Green

The Core Themes of Sojourn Green:

It keeps getting worse…
Dark times encompass the world, a boom in technology and energy has consolidated wealth in the top 1 percent of the population. Massive corporations are like nations unto themselves, possessing private armies and equipment rivaling most world powers. These private armies constantly war with each other, showing little regard for those caught in the crossfire. While people below try to scratch out a living on the scraps left behind, the rich live luxuriously on islands in the sky, supported by great networks of vast tenement buildings and towers.

The Mist is growing…
In the last century, a phenomenon called simply “The Mist” swept over the planet. In its weakest concentrations it causes illness and eventually mutation in organic tissue. At its strongest, it causes the body to grow uncontrollably, often breaking bones and producing tumors that rip through flesh. In the range between, odd creatures have evolved to thrive in these areas. Plant-life as well is twisted and the very ground becomes boggy and unstable in areas with heavy layers of the Mist. A great deal of money and resources was expended to study the Mist after the first disasters, but no cause or cure could be discovered. Only a counter-measure, a force-field generated around living areas, was devised to keep it at bay.

The world is divided…
Literally and figuratively, the world has been divided. Not only does the Mist cover nearly the entire surface, the precious few places left are subject to periodic “storms” when the weather blows the Mist through. And the clouds are growing: safe havens of ten years past have been completely consumed. Compounding this isolation, the stores of Mana-Stone deep within the planet are yielding less stones and new mines are become rarities. Corporations will make nearly any sacrifice to secure mining rights, including “relocating” current residents on mana rich land. Traveling is a luxury most can’t afford, or a risk they can’t afford to take. The super-rich travel in relative safety in giant airships with state-of-the-art equipment to track and avoid the Mist. Even so, one or two airships never return to port every year. Those that have to travel, including traders, use subterranean highways that connect major cities and the brave (or foolhardy) use “wild-caves.” Paths carved by creatures of various kinds to travel safely below the mists. These creatures are nearly as deadly as the Mist itself.

Sometimes, you go through it…
Despite the expanse of tunnels connecting important places, there are many compelling reasons to travel over ground. First and foremost, sometimes there isn’t even a “wild-cave” passage to take and when there is, you might not want to take it. People need to visit family in barrier-free communities. Although free of the somewhat oppressive environment of the corporate cities, these communities lack for vital supplies and are subject to the constant threat of mist storms and monsters born of the mist. There are two relatively safe methods of traveling to these outlying areas. The first and more popular is traveling with the Caravaners. These rough and tumble adventurers are treated like rock-stars in the working class community. They carry freight, packages and escort pilgrims for nominal rates, using cobbled together second-hand tech to track the mists. Despite the questionable origin of their gear, they are expert and lose less people than most airlines. A caravan heading out is often like a parade, the Caravaners themselves drive armored vehicles with custom engines and weapons, followed by semis carrying goods and the ramshackle vehicles of pilgrims.
The other option is a bit unsettling.

You are feared and hated, but we need you…
They call them Mist-Touched, Mist-Cursed, emcees or worse. But they call themselves Mist Walkers. Sometimes, when a village or travelers get destroyed by the Mist, there are survivors. They do not mutate physically, but are changed just the same. Something connects them to the Mist and they can sense where it is and where it will go. They favor foot paths that offer multiple options and copious bolt-holes, entrances to wild-caves and Inter-Cities. Due to the nature of their gifts, most people who live behind barriers fear them, but recognize their utility. Although it takes longer traveling with Walkers, they have never lost a party who followed their instructions. Of course, the only one who comes back when Pilgrims don’t follow a Walker’s instructions is the Walker. This doesn’t help the general populace trust them. Walkers are tougher than most people; they heal quicker and can shrug off wounds that would cripple mundane folk. Walkers usually bind together in communities forming Clans. Communal living space is shared between the Walkers and whatever family they have left willing to stay with them. These usually number just enough to keep the household running when the Walkers are out. Even when Walkers aren’t out on a job, they often feel compelled to roam outside the barriers and even feel uncomfortable in the outlying communities.

The Mist is unnatural…
Sometimes, it seems the Mist possesses malevolent intent. Caravaners claim that Mist Storms will rise up with no notice or warning from their equipment, as if it were laying in wait or sought them out. Also, the wildlife and unlucky people who suffer exposure to the Mist become twisted and hostile when they don’t die outright. These monsters act as though they hate the civilized bastions left in the world, attacking them with great regularity and taking advantage of nearly every incidental lapse in security.

Themes of Sojourn Green

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