Once the settlements began to take hold, the colonists began to discover several surprising things. First and foremost, the planet, which they dubbed Winter, was found to be magical. There were many things about the planet which did not make any sort of scientific sense, chief among them the ability of native flora and fauna to survive in such a hostile arctic environment. There were also native intelligent populations on the planet, some of which were able to harness the magical energy of Winter and use it to their own ends. Something about the planet, possibly its magical aspect, seemed to interfere with the proper workings of technology.
Without being able to rely on their technological and scientific knowledge, the human settlements quickly slid into a dark age from which they have just recently began to emerge. It is here that the campaign begins.
Normal GURPS magic works on Winter. All spells, except those from the Enchantment and Meta-Spell colleges, are available for study at the University of Newton, which is the only organized magical enclave on the planet. More will be discussed about the nature of magic on Winter when the settlement of Newton is covered.
Psionic abilities also exist on Winter, although their existence is neither widely known or accepted. Any example of psionics is likely to be assumed to be another form of magic. Characters wishing to have psionic abilities should be assessed a 20 point Unusual Background and be limited to a maximum power rating of ten.
The Vellnes are an elf like race with innate magical abilities. Most live in scattered settlements near the northern base of the southern mountain range. Most Vellnes are farmers, using their magic to help their crops to grow in the poor climate. They are frequently at odds with the Gnomes living in the central mountains. They get along well with the humans, often trading crops for goods.
Most Gnomes live in their native homeland: a vast network of caves beneath the central mountains. They have an extreme dislike for the Vellnes, which is unfortunate since only fifty miles separate their settlements. Gnomes like to mine and build things, but their distrust of the humans' technology stands as a barrier for constructive trade.
The Urs are a primitive bear-like race. They live in small, isolated clans scattered throughout the land. For the most part they keep to themselves.
The Orcs are a violent, nomadic race. Many Groups roam the land, attacking travelers and occasionally human settlements. No one likes orcs and they are basically indiscriminate about who they attack.
These are basic, everyday humans. They are divided amongst the twelve settlements, scattered throughout the land.
Winter part 1: Introduction originally appeared in A Rock and a Hard Place vol. 1 no. 4, as a part of All of the Above #11/12, November/December 1992, by arrangement with PK Publishing.
Copyright (c) 1992, 1994 David S. Carter. All rights reserved. Winter(tm) is a trademark of David S. Carter. GURPS(R) is a registered trademark of Steve Jackson Games. No infringement on their trademark is intended by its use here.