Dystopia Rising: Florida Genre Guide
The survivors there called the far reaches of what's left of the Southern coast the "Rum Coast", and the remains of what used to be Florida they called the Pain Handle and the Paradise Isles. Life is very different from "paradise" for the survivors that actually carve out an existence there. Frankly, there is little "paradise" at all, outside of the simple life on the rivers and coasts, but how simple can life be when pirates and zombies can end it all on a daily basis?
Dystopia Rising: Florida is based in the small but growing settlement of Gatorland, the namesake capital of the area north of the Rat Trap proper called the Gatorlands. Named not only for the plethora of gator wildlife but also the pre-apocalypse paraphernalia and "Gatorland" bill boards that still stand the test of time. Here survivors act as a buffer between the aggressive raiders and bandits to the north and the Rat Trap's island territories to the south. Its location on the southernmost coast of the mainland provides not only a potentially highly profitable and defensible location, but also a highly desired location for anyone wanting to take that profit for their own. In the thick swamplands to the north groups of raiders occupy the lands of the Pain Handle. Bandits and other groups, many of whom follow the dark ways of the Final Knights, seek to move south off the mainland and to the island chain of the Paradise Isles. There they hope to find glory, profit, and spread the word of their Dark Gods. To the south, the archipelago of territory home to the Rat Trap is ruled with an iron fist by the Rat King and his subjects. From the massive stone and twisted metal structure on the highest point of the largest island, the king is flanked by his court of Dukes and Duchesses through which he dominates the waterways and trade routes. And of course, all around lie the dangers of mutated wildlife and the ever present zombie hordes waiting in the muck of the swampland. The primitive settlement of Gatorland is far behind the times even by post-apocalyptic standards. Most residents, a great percentage of whom are the hearty Mericans, Natural Ones that thrive within the swamps, and Rovers willing to run ships through the gauntlet of the Rat Trap, forge a life for themselves with mainly primitive means. Most survivors here have never seen a motor vehicle of any sort that wasn't a boat or ship of some kind and equipment that can't be fixed with a set of old wrenches, some oil, and blood, sweat, and spit is just unheard of. Much of the technology that is and once was has been washed away under the waves, sunken to the bottom of swamps, or lost behind hordes of zombies, raiders, pirates, and aggressive wildlife.
Dystopia Rising: Florida controls the post-apocalyptic landscape of the Dystopia Rising universe within Florida. Members from as far west as Pensacola, FL as far north as Atlanta and Savannah, GA, and as far south as Fort Lauderdale and Miami, FL participate in the Dystopia Rising experience through the settlement in Gatorland.
In the much more primitive swampland that Gatorland calls its home, the apocalypse has granted a number of blessings or hardships upon the survivors there...depending on who you ask. With much of the former civilized world that existed pre-apocalypse buried under the risen seas, and the majority of what is left controlled with an iron fist by the Rat Trap or the hordes of zed and raiders in the Pain Handle, technology and culture has not advanced much beyond the red-neck, back-woods Merican south. Motor vehicles that don't float are unheard of, and the metal husks of what used to be land vehicles are nothing more than obstacles to travel and scrap metal, artifacts of an era long forgotten. The tales of Vegasians that have made it this far are laughed at and referred to as tall tales of a drunken Westerner. Outside of the Rat Trap, electricity is a luxury only dreamed of by fanatical Darwinists, and fuel and hooch are as valuable as any currency. A steady bow, a machete, a fishing pole, a trusty old rifle if they're lucky, and a canoe are often all that a Merican needs to survive in the swamps...other than a good working still. As a result, society in the swamplands is equally as primitive. Camps of Natural Ones are common amongst the swamps, gathered on areas of higher ground, subsisting on the hunting and fishing of the area as well as the fresh water that still bubbles up from the springs. Most "civilized" settlements are little more than bartering markets and bars to trade hooch scrapped together by Mericans out of old metal husks, burnt out buildings, and whatever else they might be able to make a bar-top out of. Simple agriculture does thrive in the rich soil, but outside of Gatorland most viable farmland is controlled by the vassals of the Rat Trap. However, with the iron grip of the Rat King spreading ever further north, and the Raiders of the Pain Handle growing ever more bold and venturing further south, these survivors are caught between a rock and a hard place if any hot blooded Merican has ever seen one. With doom brewing on all sides and a seemingly endless swamp and a vast ocean between them and any other civilization the survivors of the Gatorland need all the help they can get. Are you bold enough to help forge a survival out of this Swampland Paradise? It may just be a Paradise yet...
Much in the Rum Coast and Paradise Isles revolves around the Pure Blood Houses of the Rat Trap and how their rule influences the entire region. Click above to learn more about each Duchy of the Rat King's Kingdom!
A Short History of Gatorland
It all started with a letter delivered by the Postman to any Settlements they could manage to make it to. It arrived on aged paper, written in a fine script, though the text wavered at points as if hands shook as they wrote it.
Survivors far and near…any souls with kindness left in them who can read these words: our beloved Gatorland is about to fall. We have fought long and hard but with supply lines cut, our people are dying, and there is no relief. There is no medicine, little food, and very few left standing who can still fight the Zed and raiders that come in droves.
I write this plea, wondering if anyone will even read it. I can only hope that they will, and that they will come.
Even if you won’t come, please, tell others so that some might, as Gatorland has long been a bastion of strength and rest for travel and trade in the swampy wilds of the Rum Coast. Carved out of nothing by folks with little but hope and a will to find a way but now, we are overrun. Down to the last handful of men and even children, we fight until the end. We hope now for reinforcements, and we will hold out as long as we can.
And, if you do come…and you do not find…us. I beg you as the dying wish of an old man, please: Kill as many of what you do find as you possibly can. Please. We will thank you for the mercy, and God will bless you for it.
Father Nicodemus Price
Governor of Gatorland
Survivors from all over the Rum Coast and Paradise isles answered the call for help from Governor Nicodemes. Some, like many of the Sainthood of Ashes, came purely to offer what aid they could against the Hordes and save as many lives as they could. Others came for adventure and excitement, hoping to hone their skills and test their limits against the threats that loomed over the beaten town. More still came for profit and the chance to rebuild a town in their own image, asserting themselves as driving forces in the towns survival. Whatever the reason, dozens and dozens came that fateful Summer weekend and pushed back the zombie hordes and put a stop the raiders advances, but the threats to Gatorland were far from over.
It soon became clear that these were no ordinary raiders, as many of them bore the imagery of the Final Knights. Bloodied tattoos and brands of the "33" were carved into their skin and their eyes burned with a fiery purpose that was uncommon in feral raiders. Soon the faces of the true threat made their presence known, Canus, Lord of the Final Knights, and his crazed psionic minion, Deacon Stench lead their forces against the town. Canus's brutal tactics and the diabolical creations of Stench proved to be quite a challenge for the citizens of Gatorland and many of them met the Gravemind. Even when the citizens traveled to the carnival and trade show in Glowing Springs did they not escape the attention of the Final Knights that were hell bent on their destruction. Slowly but surely the Final Knights began to gain a foothold and things were looking grim for the citizens of Gatorland. It was then that Nicodemes sacrificed his own life to give it to his family, the citizens of Gatorland, to save their lives and give them a chance to fight back against Canus.
With the Final Knights sent back to lick their wounds, Gatorland turned inward to their own economy and development as citizens fought for political power while outside forces tried to turn their attention elsewhere. While some fought just to find a place to live and do business, others fought back against the incursion of groups like Ground Zero and the Commune to keep Gatorland safe from danger. All the while the mysterious and deadly Red Eyes kept the nights a dark place in Gatorland.
Winter came and went in the settlement of Gatorland as the residents finally began putting their roots in and making names for themselves. The town saw rise to the numerous organizations from the Kings of Heart to the Gatorland Medical Center to the Saturday Night Swamp Slam entertainment company. However as the winter months grew cold and dark elsewhere in the wastes, the more temperate climate of Gatorland attracted attention from far and wide. Survivors from as far as Hayven and Bravo came like the snowbirds of the past to Gatorlands Trade Weekends. The increased presence of course caused an increase in attention from the Gravemind as it sent its own agents after is prey and even coaxed those that met the darkness to do its deeds before they left the morgue. This time also saw the return of Nicodemes, Governor of Gatorland, who returned battered, bruised and on the verge of death as he staggered into town. However this return was short lived, as not long after he had spoken to those close to him, performed a Baptism for the Nuclear Family, and presided over dinner did the Gravemind return for its most desired prey. A host of most nefarious zed attacked the town seeking to return Nicodemes to the grave, but the citizens of Gatorland and those visiting were able to hold them off. However, not long after did a terrible revelation come to light. Nicodemes was in fact the creature known as Red Eyes, and he transformed before their eyes despite attempts to save him. He seemingly ran off into the night before he lost control over himself and did harm to those he most loved.
The spring provided a host of challenges to Gatorland as they tried to recover the physically and emotionally hard winter, all the while still trying to improve the economy of the town. Early on in the spring the settlement saw the arrival of the Leaky Bastard, a large trading ship that was wrapping up it's route through the Paradise Isles on the way to the Coral Fort. While some members of her crew seemed intent on trade, others were no more than thieves, scoundrels, and pirates. Gatorland was ever vigilant however and by the time the Leaky Bastard was on her way the town was better for it. As the crisp air began to grow warm in the tropical heat once again vendettas also thawed as a number of psychopaths and deranged men under the leadership of an excessively crazy man named Carl had a bone to pick with some of the local residents of Gatorland. As zed and other creatures of the night plagued the town, and residents dealt with the assaults and incursions of those too crazy to know right from wrong, Gatorland's skilled doctors and Rovers were able to calm their minds and save Gatorland, and the crazies, more bloodshed. As tropical air arrived in full force and rains began bringing life to the wilds, the radiation from the area known as Ground Zero began seeping into the ground with disastrous effects on the flora of the swampland. Mutant plants began assaulting the town intent to inject Gatorland's residents with spores that allowed the plants to reproduce, quit explosively. More than one Gatorlander fell victim to the explosive spores and met the Grave that weekend. However the quick minds of the local scientists and the skilled hands of the local brewers we able to inoculate the town and send it's warriors to kill the mutant plant at its heart.
With summer in full force, the Rat Trap invited the residents of Gatorland to the Paradise Isles for a summer celebration. Hosted by House Fa, the residents arrived on what was called Narrator Island to find it rife with zed and not occupied for many years. Before the Pure Bloods of the Rat Trap could setup the "guests" had to clear the island of dangers and reactivate the islands power source. With the help of Pure Bloods from House Arendelle, the generator was reactivated that night and the island was cleared of most zed by the next morning. House Fa moved in that afternoon to setup their party for that evening. All the while Pure Bloods from the allegedly nefarious House De Vil were making deals in the shadows. By the end of the weekend the residents of Gatorland and visitors from afar witnessed the boons to be gained from the Pure Bloods of the Rat Trap but also the consequences that can come from dealing with them.
Upon returning to their homes from the Rat Trap the residents of Gatorland discovered the forces of Librarian Cross, formerly of the Fallow Hope infringing upon their territory. By trade weekend, Cross had seized control of part of the town and setup a base of operations to move on to destroy his former allies of the Fallow Hope. A massive battle took place and a number of Gatorlands residents were captured and some even killed by the rain of bullets and mortar fire from Cross's canons. Silvered tongue prevailed in the end and a cease fire was negotiated for long enough that a deal could be made to end the battle. Cross used what resources he needed and continued on through Gatorland to his destination, though grudges still burned in the eyes of the locals.
With much to rebuild from the short war with Cross, Gatorland and its surrounding inhabitants began focusing on the future. Citizens pooled their resources and began to focus on the economy of the town. New crafting benches were build around town, present ones were upgraded, and equipment for most citizens saw improvement. Many traders took advantage of this and came to town to do business. Many citizens took the time to learn new skills and forge new alliances as well.
With the arrival of the cool air from the north as the few leaves that change began to turn yellow and orange, the Harvest time brought out the evils that lurk in the night. Drawn out again by the legions of the Final Knights, raiders of all sorts began attacking the town from all angles. Worst of all, the Dread Surgeons of the elusive "Chemist" were capturing townsfolk for bizarre experimentation. Though the town fended them off, it left them with a bad feeling about the rest of the season. No sooner had the Raiders been fended off did Halloween come to Gatorland and the Nemesis emerged to strike terror into the hearts of the survivors. Many did not survive the frightful weekend, and those that did still shudder at the sounds and sights they experienced those nights.
Winter had come and the temperatures dropped to their lowest in the Rum Coast. In the icy chill of the night, the Chemist's Dread surgeons continued their work and more and more bizarre monstrosities began to invade the Gatorlands. Living and zed alike were seen with strange experimentation altering their bodies, and ultimately their minds. Whispers of something called the "Tank Factory" began to circulate along the trade routes, explaining the tanks with strange evolutions that had been invading the town. On one of the coldest nights, amidst screams of terror and pain and huge explosions, the Tank Factory seemed destroyed by the same zed it experimented on. Loose to the night was all of their creations. Worst of all, their crowning achievement. When the night was at it's darkest, it struck, the largest zed most had ever seen. That battle waged through the night, but eventually Gatorland and it's visitors were able to put the creature down. Yet, what other monstrosities from the Factory had the Gravemind reclaimed control over?
Following the destruction of the Tank Factory and its most monstrous of creations, the next few trade meets in Gatorland saw an increase in violent activity. With little help from the Rat Trap, aside from House Arendelle's occasional assistance, the Final Knights in service to Pontifex Carrion increased their attacks on the settlement. Unable to keep up with the raiders under the Pontifex's control, Gatorland's scholars discovered the source of Carrion's control over them, and sought to eliminate it to remove the masses of Carrion's army. After locating a focusing crystal in a mass of gravemind fungus a group of Gatorland's citizens sacrificed of themselves to shatter the crystal and end Carrion's control over the raiders. With his raiders loosed, Carrion unleashed his elite troops, the 101 Damnations upon the town led by Lord Gnarl and the Chemist. After many of Gatorland's citizens fell and the town sacked, Lord Blaze offered the town respite from the violence if they would consider an alliance against the Rat Trap. With the majority of the citizens leaving the territory for the summer, there was much to think about during the cease fire.
The summer away from Gatorland saw her citizens to the north, within the Pain Handle, to the small outpost of Foster. Foster was far within the frontier and absent of the Rat Trap's influence. In order to build good will, Gatorland's citizens tried to help the outpost build an infrastructure to be able to survive the long, hot summer. Engineers spent their days and nights building stills, workbenches, and forges to support the town while Zed and Raiders alike were cleared out of the area. Their growing presence eventually attracted the attention of the Rat Trap, who tried to take control over the town and bring it under the Rat Kings control. By the end of the trade meet loyalties were strained and it was uncertain who truly held power in the small outpost.
As the summer waned its citizens returned to their home to find their woes with the Final Knights still burning, though they stood strong against them. Whether it was in support of the Rat Trap, or simply against the Final Knights, was yet to be seen. Worse yet, a creature known as the Nightmare Man, or No-Face, was haunting the nights and controlling members of the town causing them to perform nefarious acts. However, the settlement saw more and more assistance from the Rat Trap entering town. Soldiers, scientists, and scholars were making more frequent appearances to assist the town after their support against the Final Knights. When the Final Knights returned to Gatorland to reset their blockade they were met with heavy resistance and eventually pushed back again.
With the ongoing struggles for Carrion and his forces, groups began bleeding off to make their own attempts at Gatorland, while others deserted his ranks and sought refuge among the citizens of Gatorland. As the weather continued to grow colder, the season soon brought Halloween back to Gatorland, and so too the Nemesis that plague the October nights. However, accompanying them was a number of psionic manifestations that made the trade meet all the more lethal. It was soon discovered that the psionic disturbances were created from the Duchess of House Rose, who was afflicted with a terrible disease of the mind, causing her powerful psionics to manifest and lash out. However, with the strength of Gatorland to fend off the Nemesis, Gatorland's frontier doctors were able to fashion together a cure for the Duchess where other doctors could not.
Thursgiving festivities were marred by the Final Knights and their desire to continue their war and disrupt the Nuclear Family holiday. A large group of Carrion's forces breached the outer wall of the settlement and allowed in numerous forces, both raider and zed, into the town. Despite this, Gatorland banded together and pushed back not only Carrion's forces, but put down the raiders and zed pouring through the wall. Carrion himself and Lord Gnarl later came to Gatorland to demand the citizens surrender but this was met by the resolute men and women of the town who refused and fought back, eventually putting Gnarl and Carrion down once and for all. Surely it wasn't the last they'd see of Carrion and his forces though.
Holiday festivities continued as the season turned and things began to recover from the ongoing wars with the Final Knights. The war efforts garnered Gatorland much attention from the Rat Trap and a number of representatives of the numerous Houses were seen in the area soon after the war began to die down. As the holidays came and went, Gatorland returned its focus to rebuilding. With the wall in shambles numerous Raiders were becoming a growing problem, so the citizens turned their efforts to its reconstruction. Amidst the rebuilding Gatorland found themselves in a tentative position as a separatist movement began causing strife within the Rat Trap. Assorted groups of mercenaries, settlers from other townships around Gatorland, and even bands of Final Knights all found themselves in the mix of those trying to break free from the tyranny of the Rat Trap. Who would Gatorland support? How would the Rat Trap react?
As the season turned to spring, civil unrest and violence had erupted across the Rat Trap as those who sought freedom from the Rat King's rule fought for their freedom and Rat Trap reacted with an iron fist. Gatorland wasn't immune to the violence as those that sought freedom fled to the frontier and the Trap followed. Gatorland's loyalty was tested as the Rat King sought to put down this rebellion and seek out traitors and seditionist. Gatorland residents chose sides and tensions grew hot between those loyal to Gatorland and those loyal to the Rat Trap. These choices had direct effect on Gatorland's election and the citizens of the town chose based on their place in the struggle. The new council was immediately put to the test as rebellion became open sale in the Rat Trap as assorted separatist forces and Minor Houses around the Paradise Isles declared their intent. Tensions grew as the Rat Trap's iron fist tried to reign them in, resulting in deaths of commoners and noble Pure Bloods alike. The dead became martyrs and the separatists continued to fight back. Both sides found themselves in Gatorland fighting for their cause and Gatorland's own citizens were not immune to the death and violence. Gatorland entered the burning trade season, leaving their homes for the road, but what would be left of the Paradise Isles when they returned?
With the burning trade season in full swing, Gatorland's citizens traveled to south to Thunder Bay, a stronghold of the Baywalkers in the Paradise Isles. Also called Gasparilla Bay by the local Vegasian enclave, the area was an independent haven outside of the iron fist of the Rat Trap. However this didn't stop the Rat Trap from bringing their hostilities there as well, and Gatorland's citizens again clashed with the Trap and the might of the Navy. With pirates and assassins aplenty, and disease infecting them, Gatorland managed to turn the navy away, though the cost of resources and life was high.