To the south lies the Verdant Waste, a vast spread of savannas and rainforests tangled around the overgrown husks of the Tomb Cities. Though teeming with life, they are treacherous in the extreme - they are where the Walkers call home.
Once the inhabitants of the world's industrial capitals, the Walkers led a popular revolt against the seductive tyranny of law, wealth, and morality. They tore down their structures with savage devices, and unleashed engineered life to reclaim them. Now they walk free, held down by nothing more than what they can carry on their backs and remember through their tales. And with them the Waste follows, a weapon as potent as any they have reclaimed from the ruins.
The inhabitants of other nations, the Still, may call them mad, degenerate, or worse. Certainly, contact seldom ends well for them. But the Walkers know better. They live life as it was meant to be lived - rich with passion, creativity, and the sheer bloody joy of conflict.
The Twisting Trail
"We are not savages. We just rediscovered what you seem to have forgotten."
Whatever form a Walker's life takes, it must be their own. If a Walker was wounded, one of their fellows might give them the tools or techniques to mend their flesh - but would not dote on them, for that would be to deny them their struggle. If a Walker found a bounty of luxuries, they would share them in an orgy of revelry rather than slave themselves to guarding them. In this way, they are free.
Walkers often love to compete and vie with another, but would never seek to diminish a fellow Walker; the weak and obnoxious are abandoned to their own fate. If a Walker craves the taste of murder, their thirst will be slaked on the other peoples of the world: Walkers call outsiders the Still, for they are so bound by false ideals that they could barely be considered alive.
The Three Paths
When designing their new way of life, the Walkers created three paths to help guide them. They have no clear rules or definition - instead, it is left to the skalds to sustain and grow them.
- The Red path is the flesh and blood. It is what makes life worth living; sense, feeling and expression. It teaches its followers to seek rich experiences, and to embrace all sensation and emotion with equal abandon.
- The Blue path is the stone and sky. It is what has came before you, and what will remain when you are gone. It teaches its followers to understand and respect what makes them Walkers, to protect what is important to them, and to build a legacy that they are proud of.
- The Green path is the vine and flower. It is what allows life to persist, and to flourish. It teaches its followers adaptation, guile, and to get what they want by any means they have available to them.
A given Walker can devote themselves to a single path or combine them, and may freely shift their focus as their life unfolds. This is an expression of the deepest truth of what it is to be a Walker: that life should not have limits.
The Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With One Step
Walkers seek personal meaning in their lives, and in few places can this be found as intensely as in love, companionship, and lust. The chaotic web of Walker tribes are a roiling maelstrom of emotion that throws up flashfire romances, joyous reunions and frantic fumbles in the dark with ample frequency.
They reject formality and structure in their relationships, but that doesn't make them any less involved - of all the criticisms that could be laid at the feet of the Walkers, being dispassionate is not one. Creating or finding gifts for one another is common, and any Walker given to romance will carry keepsakes from everyone who has touched their heart.
When a new Walker is born, someone in their tribe will elect themselves as their guardian. They take on responsibility for the child's actions, and in turn have a little assistance in hunting, singing, fleshweaving, or whatever their current pursuit may be.
When tribes meet, each will adopt children from the other. Every child will have had many guardians, learned many crafts, and travelled much of the Verdant Waste by the time they are ready to come of age. This happens when they consider themselves ready - declaring themselves their own guardian, and so claiming sole responsibility for their actions ever after.
A Walker chooses their name when they come of age (until then, of course, they are not proper people). The name chosen tends to be based on the path they feel most affinity for:
- Red-path Walkers choose names based on parts of living creatures, or emotional responses. Examples: Talon, Blush, Marrow, Fury.
- Blue-path Walkers look to terrain or weather features for their inspiration. Examples: Savanna, Hail, Caldera, Storm.
- Green-path Walkers take their names after flora or fauna. Examples: Ivy, Oryx, Flytrap, Cricket.
It's not unknown for a Walker to choose something different entirely, or change their name if they feel their inclinations shift. Who is going to tell them otherwise?
Attitudes of the Walkers
THE PEOPLE'S COMBINE
“We gave them a little sport, and they return the favour by creating their ‘firebreak’ of irradiated obsidian. Bad sport, that. They take everything so seriously, don’t they? Imagine what they must be like to fuck. Ha, I can see the grim determination on their sooty little faces.”
- - Claw, Nomad
THE VALTARIAN KINGDOMS
“Every now and then they storm down south, all banners and shiny armour and good intentions. Our new wardens get to hone their guerrilla warfare skills, we kill a bunch of peasants, and they return home telling themselves that our lands have been ‘cleansed’. Works for the both of us, I think.”
- - Mesa, Warden
THE VISIONS OF OPPORTUNITY
We are very sorry that we broke free of your control and made something of ourselves. By way of apology, I have enclosed a single, perfect tear. We hope that your economic and emotional destitution passes soon.
P. S. I know that you’re keen for us to return all your stuff, but I regret to inform you that it’s suffered some environmental damage.
P.P.S. The Verdant Waste is lovely this time of year. You really must come visit.”
- - Spite, Sage
THE PENITENT ORDER
“I recognise those voices, the quiet chorus who gave a voice to our agonies, and taught us how to walk the Threefold Path. We are their children, and we are glad for the life they have shown us. But a child soon outgrows its parent, and takes a name for itself. If these guides think we will remain so easily led, then they underestimate the success of their previous efforts.”
- - Orchid, Skald
The Walkers' Roam
The Walkers control the Verdant Waste to the south, and the Tomb Cities nestled within its midst. Their raids extend northwest into the Combine, north into the Inner Sea, and northeast into Valtaria.
The Ones Who Walk
The Verdant Waste is lush and abundant. The wardens watch over you. The sages create marvels for you from the detritus of the world you have vanquished. And if you mis-step on your path, the skalds will help you find your footing once more. What life is more beautiful than that of a nomad?
Nomads are more than just freeloaders; they are the very pinnacle and purpose of the Walkers' efforts. They are free to enjoy life without limit; no prison of authority or chains of responsibility weigh them down. And so they spend it as they please: creating, fighting, discovering, dancing, wandering ever down a trail of their own design.
Do not confuse them for being weak of will, or mild of character - the passions of nomads are brief and tempestuous as a summer storm, and they relish the creative and destructive arts with the same unbound delight. What they do, they want to do, and nothing will stand in their way.
"Faith is the anguished shriek of the unfulfilled, raw and purposeless. Let us make it a battlecry."
The Walkers worship no gods, and recognise no moral principles, but they have a rich philosophy of their own. The three complementary paths - Red, Blue, and Green - were created by their predecessors to guide them in their new way of life, and it is their skalds that keep this understanding alive.
Skalds cannot rely on the easy authority that most spiritual leaders depend upon. Their words carry only the weight of the wisdom contained therein, and the respect they have earned. With most means of writing lost, they teach through song, parable, and ritual - as well as through example, for they are required to be every bit as bold, cunning, and ruthless as any other Walker.
The Walkers have a great affinity for personal symbolism, and this is seldom more pronounced than amongst skalds. If they have chosen to focus on guiding one path, they will seek to exemplify it through their appearance - but, like all Walkers, they may change their affinity at any time.
"We remember just enough of our past to use it against our enemies."
Free from the petty constraints of 'civilised' life, the Walkers have little use for much of the knowledge left mouldering away in the Tomb Cities. But some is still of purpose: biomantic techniques, weapons engineering, survival training. Rather than lug it around in heavy tomes, the Walkers place this wisdom in the trust of their sages.
Most sages follow the Blue path. They tend to salvaged equipment, pass on rites of maintenance, and construct melodic mnemonics to pass on knowledge to those Walkers that have need of it. Red-path sages are passionate artisans, delighted to create beautiful devices for their loved ones - or else discover new and cruel ways to make their enemies suffer. Green-path sages apply their affinity for adaptation, gleaning the acumen of other cultures and weaving it into their own bizarre hybrid inventions.
Sages are usually recognisable by the pieces of advanced technology they carry. Where wardens and nomads prefer functional designs that are easy to repair, the sages are perfectly capable of operating, maintaining, and upgrading cybernetics or complex ranged weaponry. Their command of biomancy is unrivalled in the Homeworld, and many create symbiotes and artificial creatures to aid them in battle - or just to keep them company.
"We are the survivors of a cataclysm suffered gladly. You think you can make us kneel?"
Though few in number, the Walkers have had little difficulty overrunning their smaller neighbours - and have fared well against the Combine's fleets, Valtarian crusades, and Opportunity restitution teams alike. This is through the brilliance of their wardens, Walkers who have chosen the art of bloodshed as their calling.
A warden's approach will depend much on their choice of path. Blue-path wardens are sharp and ruthless strategists, willing to make any sacrifice in order to protect what they hold dear. Red-path wardens are the Walkers' shock troops, laughing berserkers that revel in conflict's crude cocktail of terror and delight. They are complemented by the Green-path wardens - duplicitous diplomats, snipers, and unrivalled masters of asymmetric warfare.
Wardens use a variety of weapons: repurposed industrial equipment from the Tomb Cities, biomantic symbiotes created by the sages, and tools woven from the rich life of the Verdant Waste. Unbound by dogma or doctrine, they excel at finding their feet on any battlefield - and then turning it to their advantage.
Roleplaying A Walker
DO NOT PLAN
Impulses are there to be followed. Instincts are there to be listened to. A rigid thinker crumbles when their plans do, but you are a wind. Your path changes as quickly as your mood does. You are unpredictable, undefeatable, and your feet will always find the ground beneath you. What's the alternative? To place all hope in some future that may or may not come to pass? Try to seize the future, and you will lose your grip on the present.
ALL LIFE IS A GAME
Fear is thrilling, anger is invigorating, desire is scintillating - even sorrow has its melancholy charm. There is nothing of importance beyond what you see and feel. Laugh at those who cower from death or misery! You care nothing for comfort, and so life is yours to command. Existence is Calvinball, and you're on the tiger's team.
DRAW TOGETHER THE TALE OF YOUR WALK
Each Walk is a story of a life lived greatly. You wander because this tale needs new characters, events, revelations and sudden twists. Look for meaning in everything you see and do. Draw lessons from the smallest things. Compose this saga in your memories, then bring it to life with paint, speech, and song. This way, and this way alone, you shall live forever.
"There's a feeling that sums up Outworld. I bet most of you know it, and if you don't yet then you will soon. It's that feeling of coming out of a forest and into open fields, of reaching the peak of a mountain and looking at the lands beyond. It's liminality, transition, reaching the end of one path and the promise of a thousand new ones. That's where we're at right now, a crossroads of possibility.
"The Still may never appreciate this gift they've been given, but for better or worse they're tangled up with us here. Let us show them what it means to live life to the fullest, unlimited and free. We have a whole new world to play with - not just to explore and revel in, but to create for ourselves and mould to our tastes.
"The paths we walk here are paths no-one has ever walked before. The things we see, unseen by any other. The things we dream, undreamt of, and things we do, undone. All these things and more are within our reach - all are possible if we desire to bring them to life.
"Embrace the possibilities! The real adventure begins here..."
- - Abyss, Ranger of the Walkers
The Walkers follow a post-apocalyptic, neo-tribal look. They are not just survivors – they are gleeful victors over ‘civilisation’, and showcase their vibrant natures with rich colours and copious decoration.
- Clothing: Lightweight, heavily worn clothing. Sleeveless jackets, skirts, trousers. Painted, repaired or otherwise customised. Armour made of leather, rubber, or chitin plates.
- Accessories: Mementos, trophies, talismans, headpieces, necklaces, piecemeal armour plates, straps.
- Iconography: Bright colours, patterns, and symbolic shapes painted on clothing, equipment, and skin. A Walker’s Path is often reflected in the colours they choose.
- Weapons: Repurposed and redecorated industrial tools, clubs, biomantically grown blades, bows, repeatedly repaired guns, axes and hatchets, venom-spitting symbiotes, patchwork shields, spears.
Doomsday, Fallout, Borderlands, Mad Max, The Last Of Us, Tank Girl, Ruin, Horizon Zero Dawn.
Things to avoid
- Grimdark/realistic post-apocalyptic wear in the style of The Road. The Walkers are masters of the Verdant Waste, and dress based on inclination rather than necessity.
- Headdresses made of rows of eagle feathers. There is plenty of scope to create headdress designs of your own.
- Replicas of distinctive real-world tribal facepaint or insignia. This is visually jarring and opens you up to accusations of racism, which you do not want.
- All grey, black or white attire. This is used to signify members of the Penitent Order.