Thursday, September 1, 2011

Welcome to Berk

A friend of mine is running a "Write 15 Minutes a Day" challenge this month, so I will be participating by fleshing out a fictional city I have been working on. This may be the setting of some stories and/or an RPG campaign, so please comment on what you think works, what doesn't, and what else you'd like to know about the city of Berk.

Welcome to Berk, a post-post-apocalytic city. There's something for everyone: great street food (if it's fried and on a stick, it has to be food, right?), a world-class library (it even has books!), people of all shapes and sizes, forgotten technology (if the beeps start to get faster and faster, put it down and walk away quickly), and weapons from poisoned knitting needles to miniguns that speak the Queen's English. You'll want to keep those weapons handy at all times, because the city is home to yoga zombies, cyberpunk biker gangs, cannibals made of tofu, and more.

We hope you'll enjoy your stay.


Berk sits on the coast, with the ocean to the west and the wasteland to the east. The Sunken City lies across the Bay from Berk. To the north is the Unsettlement, where Gibson biker gangs launch raids into the wasteland. To the south is the Deep City, inhabited by monsters and madmen, and home to rumored technology and treasures.

Much of Berk is sparsely inhabited and patrolled by warring gangs and factions, but Downtown Berk is relatively safe, thanks to the proximity of the Great Library. The Librarians are one of the most feared groups in the Bay Area, and under their protection the Downtown area has become a haven of retail, entertainment, and residences.


Most of the inhabitants of Berk are humans with some level of mutation, though not all of them "show." They make their living as merchants, guards, craftspeople, artists, entertainers, doctors, witches, witch doctors, researchers, and a variety of harder to categorize professions.

In addition to humans, there are tofu people, ents (plant people),  cuttlefolk visiting from the Sunken City, Russian werewolves (who are always in wolfman form), clanky robots and a whole host of others.


It's well known that the First Event came at the end of the Twentieth Century, that "we" fought "them" across the ocean, and that both sides bombed the other. Nobody much cares who dropped the first bomb, since neither government survived.

After the First Event, the scientists who survived in bomb shelters and war rooms realized the folly of their ways and banded together in the Between-Time, a golden age of shared technology and scientific advancement.They put aside their differences, their egos, their ambition, and their greed, and they created technological wonders. The people who survived the First Event through luck or isolation enjoyed decades of marvels and cooperation.

While everyone knows that the First Event was a nuclear war, nobody is quite sure about the nature of the Second Event that ended the Between-Time. Whatever happened, it was as sudden, as global, and as catastrophic as the First Event. There are many theories, from a hypertechnological superwar to a tear in the fabric of space and time.

After the Second Event, there was a worldwide backlash against scientists and technology. A vast movement of Neo-Luddites swept the globe, destroying anything that was scientific, academic, or intellectual. They burned books, smashed computers, and tore apart robots. The main focus of their anger was the Second Event itself, and they wiped away all records of it.

Years passed and the mass hysteria of the Neo-Luddites burned itself out. Society rebuilt slowly. The survivors started to rediscover the technology that had been hidden from the Neo-Luddites or that the Neo-Luddites had not dared go after. The city of Berk was a gathering place for survivors and for those who preyed upon them. Berk became a cosmopolitan melting pot, as strange species and beliefs arose following the Second Event.

The city is an interesting, ever-changing place. Merchants hawk their wares (guaranteed not to be too radioactive), children dash through the streets (some on legs like stalks, others on caterpillar treads), people meet on street corners to gossip and swap a bit of news (did you hear that so-and-so joined the yoga zombies), while guards constantly patrol against threats (rumor has it that the Gibsons are planning on raiding the next shipment of vegetables from Redwood).

Stay tuned as we explore the species, factions, places, and items of Berk.

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