“Once there were cities so vast as to dwarf the imagination. Buildings that reached into the sky, and beyond. Once there were ships that sailed the sky and sailed to the stars. We do not know what manner of cataclysm brought this world to its end. We cannot conceive or understand how such a thing could happen, but it did. The cities have been reclaimed by nature. The scars in the earth have mostly healed... But still we are left with the thought. All they accomplished – their magnificent works of science, engineering, art... Yet still, they are gone. We cannot understand nor conceive how or why they destroyed themselves yet the fear remains. Is the poison that was within them, that destroyed them… Is that poison within us as well?”

No one is sure how long it has been since the Burn. Long enough that much of what came before has been obscured by time and nature. The long years after the Burn are known as the Dark Time, generations spent in a bitter struggle for survival in the ruins of the world that was.

The old roads that crisscrossed the land gradually fell into disrepair; cities broken by vine and tree; and man’s space born creations one by one plummeting to a fiery end.

It was out of this darkness a new world was born. New cultures emerged, relearning civilisation and self-sufficiency. The world now shows little evidence of mankind’s presence. Some farmed land is still visible; as are a few settlements, dotted in loose chains, and linked by long, arduous, foot worn trader routes. The rest is wilderness.

Despite the claims of some of the larger factions to hold territory, most of the land is uninhabited, with settlements separated by days and weeks of travel. Despite this, many share views and outlooks close enough to be considered one ‘culture’. It is easy to imagine these cultures as monolithic blocks with borders and territories and clear leader-ship. This is far from the truth. These settlements develop independently - for the most part they might as well be alone, regardless of culture. More than anything else, it was this isolation that came so close to finishing off the human race for good when the Swarm came.