The Surface

It is a place that misses no opportunity to remind you of how deadly it is.  
— Sencha, Blight-Trackers
  The Surface of Araea is a blight-blasted wasteland of barren deserts, frigid arctics and terrible monsters. Perhaps more than any other part of Araea, mankind is not welcome here. Blight poisons everything and confines humanity to enclaves where it is tolerable. The sun rises every day like a terrible omen and blinds those used to the darkness below. Storms of dust and radiation cover continents, while mutants and cannibals stalk the night.   Only the brave, foolish or desperate seek their fortune from the Surface.      


  Desolate and forbidding, much of the Surface consist of stone and sand. The skies are usually bleary brownish-grey, cloaked in a constant swirl of dust, ash and poison. Even on clear days, the color of rust dominates the sky. It changes during the charged storms, with plasma arcing across the heavens and paints it an angry purple, streaked with incandescent lights. These are most frequent during the Season of Storms, when the entire Surface is doused in cosmic gloom.  

by Nicola Danese


  The Surface is a land of extremes. Cracked arid plains stretch to the horizon, vast mountains that claw at the clouds, and broken rifts in the earth all mark the land. Across the Surface, the impact of meteorites and other celestial visitors dent mountains and riddle the landscape with craters. To the far south and north, monolithic glaciers dominate for countless miles.    

Regions of the Surface



Flora and Fauna

  Despite the bleakness of the Surface, there is life. To those who dwell beneath the world, it is a strange and alien life. Hardy spores drift in the storms and drink in radiation, or clumps rotting fuzz that floats on lakes of poison. Some things are edible to humans, but most aren't - too soaked in the ever-present Blight to make a healthy meal.  


Waste Watchers cover
by C Balasask

Life on the Surface broadly fall in two categories: life that has learnt to mitigate, resist or tolerate Blight and life that that feed on it. Humanity sees mostly the former, sharing the regions of the Surface that are not so Blighted. In the Shrouded Lands, a different kind of life blooms beyond the haze of radiation.   At home in Blight, they bask in radiation that would kill a man in seconds and feast on it - or on others that do. Few creatures of the Shrouded Lands are ever seen by mankind, but it is never a good omen when they do.  
Some scholars believe that there is a paradise deep within the blighted lands. An oasis that have glutted itself on the radiation and bloomed.   Whatever it might look like, few expect it to be anymore hospitable to humanity than the rest of the Shrouded Lands.


Creatures of the Surface


Araea At A Glance   The world of Araea is divided up into four layers by its inhabitants, with the Surface at one end and the Far Deep on the other. The Outer Shell lie just below the Surface and continues downwards until it connects to the Inner Shell. It is there most of humanity survives, eking out a living deep in the darkness.   Introduction to Araea's Geography


  The quiet poison in the wind and in the ground, Blight is another word for radiation. It is almost everywhere on the Surface, with entire continents shrouded in lethal zones of radiation. It is one of the most pervasive and insidious hazards of the Surface, and one of the least understood.   Travelers carry lead amulets to ward themselves from the venom, but superstition has made for a poor shield. Mutations and blight-sickness are common fates for unprepared surface-explorers.   Read More About Blight    
Most of the Surface is hidden from human eyes by zones of lethal radiation. Only the most determined - and prepared - have ventured beyond the the veil of the Shrouded Lands.   Out of all the lands of the Surface, humanity has only seen a fraction.
by Justin Oaksford

Blood on the Ice

  The most common form of plant-life encountered by humanity on the Surface is a tough, blood-red algae that grows on glaciers and waters.   Although many creatures consume the algae as their main source of food, it is inedible to humans. The algae feeds on both sunlight and radiation, making it toxic.    


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