I'm continuing to scheme and postulate regarding how I'm going to present "my" version of the world of RIFTS when the Savage Worlds version drops (in PDF form) this summer.
In my last post, I started big by discussing my take on the Megaverse and promised a follow-up post detailing an overview of the situation in North America. I'm going to push that particular post to next week, however, and instead dial things even further down to just talking about a region of North America. Specifically: where I'm planning on setting my initial campaigns.
But first, a short digression...
A few years ago, I ventured to produce my own North America map, showing the more radical sea-level rise I feature in my world (I mean, you can't have a whole new continent show up in the middle of the Atlantic and only expect to lose parts of Louisiana and Florida...). Going back to that map, however, I was disappointed to see that I kept some of the idiosyncracies of the original Rifts maps in terms of political boundaries.
Specifically, I'm looking at the Lone Star and Pecos Empire borders. After a 300-year Dark Age, massive geophysical upheaval, and the rise of brand-new political entities, there is simply no way the Texas Panhandle border would've remained intact.
This was of particular concern to me in the here-and-now because Texas is going to form the locus of my campaign region: you've got the Coalition State of Lone Star (and all those lovely mutant animals!), you've got the bandit kingdom of Pecos and the Free Lands promising some lovely Mad Max-style action, you've got the Gulf Coast if you want to bring in some Horune Pirates...and, of course, just over the Rio Grande, you've got the Vampire Kingdoms.
Thus, I sat down with a Rand-McNally map of Texas that helpfully included all those surrounding regions (and a bit more!) and started re-working coastlines and borders. I had two main goals in mind:
1) Have the political borders conform to more "natural" boundaries; things like rivers, the edges of mountain ranges and plateaux, even old Interstates (which will be long-gone by now but would have been around long enough to leave their mark, as it were). I wanted to avoid artificial, "surveyed" borders as much as possible, as it just doesn't seem in keeping with the rough-and-tumble post-post-apocalyptic world of Rifts.
2) Incorporate New Mexico into the region! In addition to the plain old illogical nature of the old west Texas borders remaining intact, as a New Mexico resident I'm somewhat irked that yet again my beloved state gets overlooked. The world of Rifts has write-ups for states and locations in Texas, Colorado, and Arizona, but apparently New Mexico is nothing but howling wilderness. I'm not buying it.
With those goals in mind, here's what I came up with as a "good enough for rock & roll" draft sufficient to get me grounded in where things are in relation to each other:
The Pecos Empire (the big red blob) is now worthy of its name, stretching from the rowdy biker town of San Antonio all the way up along the stretch of land between the Rio Grande and Pecos Rivers and terminating at the frontier town of Burque. This forms a nice buffer zone for the State of Lone Star from the depredations of the wild vampires of Mexico, adding a nice gloss to the relationship between the two states.
And speaking of Lone Star (the purple blob), I've kept the state's central axis (running from Amarillo to the Lone Star Complex itself), but shifted the borders west, so that the state essentially sits upon the Llano Estacado ("Staked Plains"--a nice little pun for a region so close to vampire territory!). Having driven through eastern New Mexico and west Texas plenty of times, I can attest that this region is very much its own holistic entity, regardless of the artificial state boundary that currently bisects it on maps.
Other fun details have emerged as I've gone over the original road map and compared it to the new boundaries: Houston lies beneath the waves, and Nacogdoches is practically a seaside town! There was room to place the CS State of El Dorado (the blue blob) on the map, and so I did, centering the eponymous settlement on the former site of a pre-rifts town called Hope...
As I said, this is the roughest of maps, and I'll likely be working up something with a bit more polish to use in my games. But this is a good jumping-off point for now, and gives me a solid base to talk about North America in general next week (I promise!).