Lost at Home
The Great Wastes of California
p. Tidal waves and earthquakes formed the primary evidence of the Great Cataclysm in the state of California. All along the Pacific Coast, seismic faults flared to life with a vengeance. The majority of shore communities were shaken into the sea. Those few towns that survived the tectonic assault were washed away by the violent surf as the sea level along the shore rose. Floods inundated many of California’s formerly picturesque valleys and low-lying areas, including the sites of all five of the largest Pre-Rifts cities. The waters receded from Los Angeles and San Diego, taking millions of lives with them. These cities are now crumbling ruins. San Francisco Bay rose up to swallow many of its surrounding cities as well. The flood waters ultimately poured into the state’s Great Central Valley, forming the Sacramento Sea, which stretches from Redding in the North to Bakersfield in the South. p. Throughout the state, evidence of the Old American Empire’s agricultural efforts abounds. In some areas, an intrepid explorer will stumble upon veritable forests of almond trees or cotton bushes, the wild remains of some farmer’s fields from centuries past. Citrus trees, grape vines, and berry bushes have all gone wild. p. The old highway system is mostly gone as well. All the geologic activity unsettled the ground to such a degree that the roads have been all but swallowed up. Of all the state’s original highways, only Routes 101 and 395 remain passable. There are some dramatic sections of 101 still clinging tenaciously to the cliff face along the Pacific Coast. p. Very little of this vast territory has actually been explored or mapped. Some things, however, have not changed from the time before the Rifts. The Mojave Desert is still the Mojave Desert, and temperatures there are as high as ever if not more so. The mountains still see snow in the winter and turn a lush green in the spring. Wildfires are still common on the lower peaks in mid- to late summer. Coyote and cougar populations have rebounded with the wane of humanity, and these creatures can be found throughout Northern California, in addition to bear populations expanding south from the Pacific Northwest. p. Civilization is returning, albeit slolwy, to the former Great State of California. Native Americans, many returning to traditional ways, have fanned out across the landscape to eke out a simple life in the style of their ancient ancestors. Their lives are centered around events taking place in the hidden Hoopa Valley. A handful of modern towns and city-states have risen where some Pre-RIFTS cities once stood; Fort Bragg and Redding in the North, Lake Tahoe in the East, ’Frisco City and San Jose Sobre El Agua in the West, and Bakersfield in the South. Some were founded by survivors and some by settlers moving away from the Coalition States. The great cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego have been cast into ruin, but communities descended from survivors are hanging on in and around the ruins. p. There are also plenty of D-Bees and monsters from the Rifts. California is a popular home for many bizarre creatures simply because so much of its area is unsettled wilderness. p. The technology level and atmosphere are very similar to those described in RIFTS New West.