Savage RIFTS: The Eleytherian Conspiracy
Stretching from the Gulf Coast through Georgia and into the Carolinas, Dinosaur Swamp is a diverse mixture of environments ranging from wetlands to hardwood forests, populated by flora both native and exotic. The fauna of the region is equally diverse, hosting life forms both native and alien, but many of the “native” animals were, until recently, extinct!
Despite being known regionally as a swamp, the terrain is dryer and less of a wetland the further north and west one travels and as elevation above sea level increases.
Organized exploration of the region has been sparse, with most adventurers concentrating on salvage and monster hunting. Most of the information known to scholars comes from the publication, The Dinosaurian Swamp: Notes from the Field by Deearn Neenok, famed explorer from New Lazlo. Published in 87 P.A., it chronicles his first and largest expedition into the heart of Dinosaur Swamp from the years 82 P .A. through 84 P.A. With the fIrst edition almost twenty years old now, it shouldn’t be long before Neenok decides to go back to do research for an updated edition or possibly another book entirely.
Directly north of the submerged Florida peninsula is the old state of Georgia. Divided into three regions by Neenok in his book about Dinosaur Swamp, it is broken down into the Eastern Sandy Marsh, a middle higher elevation known as the Georgian Piedmont, and a northwestern Mountain region.
Georgia is part of the continent proper and has the traditional four defmable seasons, with temperatures ranging from below freezing in the winter to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit at the peak of summer.
Travel throughGeorgia is easiest in the Piedmont. In this zone between the marsh and the heavily forested region, the soil composition is generally capable of supporting most land vehicles. The further east and into the marsh one goes, the problems faced become increasingly intractable. The further west one goes, the firmer and dryer the ground and the denser the tree coverage as it rises into mountainous terrain. The uneven ground and dense forest can create havoc for ground vehicles . Small hovercraft, hovercycles, flying power armor, riding animals and one’s own foot power offer the easiest methods of travel in this region.
The Ruins of Atlanta
Located in the northwest area of the Piedmont, the ruins of Atlanta are an imposing sight, rising above the massive trees and vegetation that have grown up, cloaking the city in their shadows. Despite the devastation of the Great Cataclysm and chaos of the last three hundred years, there are still several high-rise structures and skyscrapers (snapped in half or missing their topmost floors) visible above the tree, though they are little more than tattered skeletons of the past. What were once towers of concrete, steel and glass are now hollow sockets and skeletons of metal standing in silent protest of the tragedy that has befallen them. These structures are now home to whatever claims a comer of them as its own.
Beneath the surface, there are actually two systems of tunnels running beneath the old city. The first is an old underground train system, and the second is what looks to be a buried city all of its own. These are known as the MARTA Turmels and the “Underground.”
Originally two different states, now usually lumped together as one region simply called the Carolinas. The differences that made them two separate states in the pre-rifts days are mostly meaningless today. Geographically and geologically, they are pretty identical, although the old state of South Carolina does not possess any mountains within its old borders, and over 75 percent of its remaining land area is covered by an alien forest. The western portion of North Carolina is made up of the continuing Appalachian Mountains, then descends into rolling, forest covered hills that meld into the flat land of the Piedmont. Where the hard piedmont soils come into contact with the softer, sandy deposits, marshland becomes more predominant. However, this demarcation between sand and clayey soils is not quite where it once was. The dramatic encroachment of the Atlantic Ocean has caused the boundary between the piedmont and the coastal plain to shift further inland than it was in pre-Cataclysm.
Communities in Dinosaur Swamp
Scattered throughout the southeast are tiny villages, small towns, settlements, barbarian tribes, nomadic hunters, Wilderness Scouts, Psi-Stalkers, wandering adventurers, and any number of individual homesteads and isolationists. What these people may lack in collective numbers, they make up for in determination and the pioneer spirit.
Not all of the local inhabitants are classified as barbarians, or live in the tribal societies, though at least half fit that description. Many inhabitants of Dinosaur Swamp live off the land or eke out a living as best as they can as farmers, hunters, fishermen, and scouts. They trade goods and services with neighbors, even if that neighbor is 100 miles away, and with the occasional adventurer and explorer that passes nearby. They can be recent immigrants from the west or north, descendants of slaves who escaped from Atlantis, or the dimensionally displaced, as well as the many ancestors of humans who survived the Great Cataclysm—their people living in the region for generations.
While they may be a diverse collection of people, they all share the commonality of making Dinosaur Swamp their home. Much like early American Colonials, they are living in the heart of the frontier. Dangerous animals, dinosaurs, the weather, injury, physical and mental illness, hostile barbarians, and any other host of dangers are daily concerns. They take things one day at a time, and most never go looking for trouble. Some people question whether living in Dinosaur Swamp is any more dangerous than living in the civilized Midwest, or anywhere else. They love their home and find things about Dinosaur Swamp that make living there worthwhile.