There is much to discover in the world of post-Catalysmic Earth. Many have gone before you. Here is a sampling of the knowledge gleaned from the tales they lived to tell.
Upon death, we all lose a little something. While the core of our soul remains, there is a chaff, a residue, something left behind as our essence is yanked into the cosmic foyer to await rebirth.
Sometime after the cataclysm, the result of death became manifest in reality. Though easily missed at first, the mad killers of the early Wasteland soon discovered a dusting of "crystals" over the corpses of their fallen foes.
Ranging in size from grains of sand to small rocks, crystals glow with a rainbow of life force. They radiate an undeniable yet immeasurable warmth. Long ago, a curious (or perhaps starving) denizen of the wastelands ingested a handful of crystals and realized their incredible curative powers.
Ingested crystals invigorate the host, easily cure fatigue, smooth a frazzled sanity, and heal physical wounds. Some claim to have experienced further effects, such as increased strength and other physical properties.
What happens when you die? Your "self" (composed of body and "soul") is yanked from this plane, leaving a crystalline residue--the portion of your essence lost in transit to the afterlife. Traumatic bodily damage such as gaping wounds and severed limbs usually translates into mental damage when you and your "container" are thrust back into the physical world, but the body itself may retain diseases or other chronic destructive elements.
When do the dead stay dead? When your entire body is disintegrated at the atomic level, you will not come back. Luckily for you, only something as powerful as a ground-zero nuclear detonation can completely disintegrate a body. Even burning someone to ashes or melting him into a pile of goo will not destroy the ethereal cohesion of his self.
The Desert Rangers began as a rag-tag group of survivors joining together after the Cataclysm for mutual protection. The leadership of former soldiers and lawmen structured a scruffy mob into a legitimate paramilitary organization. Rangers championed the cause of Justice with swords and plowshares, and are credited with the survival of many of the communities in the Wasteland today.
At their height, the Rangers manned dozens of bases across the Wasteland. The organization itself has waned in popularity, many enclaves reverting to their militia roots. A tin star on a stranger's chest doesn't mean what it used to.
The legacy of the Rangers is their former headquarters, now thriving social centers. Ranger Tango HQ (AKA "RT/HQ") remains a haven for peace-loving denizens of the Wasteland. Even the vilest of criminal defers to it as "holy ground," and the young ruffian who defiles its sanctity is often swiftly treated to a painful lesson in respect.
Other former Ranger HQ are sprinkled throughout the Wasteland: some inhabited (for better or worse), others buried in glowing dunes, holding ancient secrets and fabled wealth of knowledge and power.
Many have tried to rouse the former glory of the Rangers, but none of the movements have achieved lasting success.
Replicators `create' a desired object by combining part of the essence of the operator with ambient particles. The desire of the operator is matched to a stored template which guides the creation. While functionally equivalent, each replicated object is unique in that it is the manifestation of the peculiar desire of the operator.
Anything can be replicated, but the quality of the replication is a function of the resolution of the template, the knowledge and willpower (force of desire) of the operator, and the current availability of ambient particles. Often after a replication, one will feel a static charge as the required particles are `stolen' from the environment. The manufacture of replicators is carefully controlled to ensure particulate capture operates within safe parameters.
While food and drink can be replicated, long-term sustenance on replicated nourishment alone has proved problematic. As real as replicated objects may seem, they are still very much a manifestation of their creator's desire. The end effect, while giving a `feeling' of having eaten, is only slightly more nourishing than eating dirt while imagining a feast.
A creator is as aware of his replicated object as he is a part of his own body; he knows its location and condition at all times. Furthermore, it canboth be summoned to and be willed out of existence by its creator at any time. Caveat emptor.
Each person is limited in the amount of matter he may replicate. When this limit is reached, more matter may be created only by destroying items previously replicated.
Some replicators have been modified to draw from a central source of desire (often artificial or forced), or to directly accept refined particulate (often `crystals'). The objects produced by these modified replicators may or may not be tied to the operator in the manner described above.