Parallel RPI - ParaWiki
A Futuristic Roleplay Intensive MUD


Life is hard in the grungy town of Rust. Even the members of the three biggest factions, commonly called the Families, have to keep their wits about them and watch their backs, and those without their protection are even worse off. Living conditions are low, ranging from run-down houses to simple shelters made of scavenged materials, and access to electricity or running water is not a given. The market offers a reasonable degree of safety thanks to the presence of armed guards, but it does not protect from poverty and sickness. Survival is a constant struggle in the slums around the great dome, home to about ten thousand residents.


The focal point of Rust is Hyperion, the enormous domed structure that rises from the center of the settlement. It is the reason people built the town a century ago – or rather, the hope of plundering it was what led to the founding of Rust. Residents are certain that there is a city inside, the last enclave of the penal colony's wardens and overseers whom the prisoners overthrew one hundred and twenty years ago. It consists of a gigantic metal base known as the Hyperion Platform upon which rests a mountainous dome of reflective glass, and the market is situated around its impenetrable entrance. People have tried to scale or break into the structure a few times throughout the history of Rust, but none have succeeded; fifty years ago a group built scaffolding up the side of the platform only to be mowed down by gunfire from above.

The market is the lifeblood of the settlement. Always open, busy and loud, it is the center of almost all trade and recreation in Rust. Here is the bulk of the town's businesses as well as its most popular bar, and this is perhaps the one place where people can feel truly safe. It is managed and protected by an unofficial faction of armed guards known colloquially as the Market Watch, and they stay strictly neutral and distanced from the town's politics.

Bjork's Boozer is the biggest and most popular bar in Rust. It is owned and run by the titular Bjork, one of the most well-known residents of the town, and this is where most people come to meet, relax and drink. Though brawls are common, he keeps a close eye on the clientele and does not allow it to escalate to armed conflict. Bjork's is located along the southern edge of the market just east of the ever-shut gate to Hyperion.

The Dark Side is the bar and strip club on Block Nine's turf. It is renowned for its lewd entertainment and for being the only serious competition to Bjork's Boozer. Located in the northwestern corner of the Niners' turf, it is known that all Rusters are welcome there unless they lose that privilege by annoying the locals in some way. Though denizens know not to wander willy-nilly around official gang turf, the Niners have no reason to bother those walking to and from the Dark Side.

Underneath Rust is a network of ancient sewer tunnels. They have never been explored fully as the bulk of them lie beyond a flooded section - and Rusters are not known to be talented swimmers - but the upper tunnels are relatively safe, containing mostly vermin. Desperate scavengers sometimes venture down there to scrounge for anything of value, but not much can be found in such a place. The only known entrance to the sewers is in the market.


Outside the market, Rust is a vast sea of slums and ruins, and only some of it is under the control and care of the Families. In the settlement's many little shanty-villages, residents live hand to mouth and are often desperate enough to do anything for a small avantage in the race for survival. Venturing out into the slums is not suicidal, but neither is it safe for anyone who looks like a potential target for mugging or worse. Members of the Families are typically left in peace by the more destitute slum-dwellers but can never be certain that a rival gang is not in the mood for violence, and anyone without influence would be wary of venturing far from the market or their local area in the outer slums.


Each of the Families have carved out a section of Rust's slums for themselves. The turf borders have shifted countless times throughout the years, but they have now settled into somewhat stable zones. People know not to venture into another Family's turf unless one has business there and an explanation ready for anyone who asks, and even then it is not guaranteed to be safe as trigger-happy thugs do not always ask questions first. Anyone seen snooping around or otherwise acting suspicious is often beaten up, and those caught stealing or vandalising can expect to be shot at.

The New Guard and Block Nine live on opposite sides of the Hyperion Platform, occupying much of Rust's eastern and western slums respectively. The Red Company have claimed the northwestern corner of the settlement, rather close to the Niners' turf, but most disputes take place along the southern stretch of largely autonomous mini-communities. The poor wretches who live out there have grown used to having Niners come in and demand protection money one week only to see New Guard thugs roam around the next, harrassing the locals for a cut of their earnings. The Reds have also been known to wander about, frequently patrolling the long road encircling Hyperion and sometimes making opportunistic trips into the deeper slums to the south. Nobody has managed to claim this area permanently, but it is often taken advantage of by its powerful neighbours on both sides.


Beyond the walls of Rust, the Moon is a vast wasteland of barren grey plains and pillaged ruins. Not much is left out there, and only the bravest and most able-bodied scavengers dare leave the settlement with any regularity. Most Rusters have never stepped foot outside the gates, and they need not do so to know that the environment is so hostile that life in the settlement is cozy by comparison. Fierce, mutated beasts prowl the wasteland and lurk in the ruins, and there are whispers of a tribe of masked bandits as well. Those known to travel the moonscape and comb the ruins for salvageable resources are rightfully respected as tough, brave and experienced.


The technology level of Rust is best described as whatever scavengers can find and restore to working condition. The most visible and well-known relics are the firebreathers, the massive recycling machines that the town depends on for survival. They reside in the market under the protection of its guards, available for all to use. Here, denizens bring their hauls of scrap metal, broken plastic, old rags, or the corpses of beast and man alike to turn them into usable materials again. Though the origin of these marvels is long forgotten, it is assumed by those who care that they were found in the ruins surrounding the Hyperion Platform and restored to working condition by the first to settle here a century ago.

In addition to the firebreathers, Rust has a power grid that provides some of the settlement with electricity. It powers the market and the turf of the major gangs, and some of the poorer slums have managed to barter or steal access to electricity as well. Much the same goes for running water as the town's waterworks actually provide an ample supply which is only hindered by the lack of proper pipes in some areas; anyone can go to the market or another nearby facility and fill their jugs.

Scavengers frequently recover computers from the ruins, some of which are cannibalized for parts while others can be restored. Few have any real use for a computer, however, so the supply is often higher than the demand as almost nobody can read or otherwise put a laptop to any meaningful use. Radios are in greater demand, needed by almost everyone in some capacity, and it would be considered suicidal to venture out into the wasteland without one. Batteries are likewise a valuable commodity and a prime target for scavengers.

Industrial machinery has also been brought home from the wasteland at times, allowing residents to manufacture new weapons and other goods for daily use. Other toys such as flashlights and video cameras also exist but are typically of more use to the ambitious families than to the paupers in the slums. However, the general technology level is slowly dwindling as things break down and the ruins are gradually depleted, and many Rusters are becoming aware of the growing necessity of gaining access to Hyperion and the resources assumed to await within.


The level of education in Rust is also cripplingly low; the literacy rate is less than ten percent, with little opportunity for the average slummer to gain any form of education. Among the Family elite, it requires a combination of discretionary time away from survival pursuits as well as access to educated tutors to acquire a proper education of at least 10th grade level (denoted by the Education skill). Mid- and high-level family servants have access to this for their children, especially if they are being groomed for a technologist position working with robotics, medicine or science. Many others even within the family hierarchy only have the education paralleling that of an elementary student, with reading and writing considered a luxurious past-time or for technicians to handle on your behalf.


There are three main sources of food on the Moon: vegetables from the greenhouses, meat from the beasts of the wasteland, and protein paste processed from dead bodies. The greenhouses are owned by the three Families and produce bland but edible greens, mainly lettuce. This is considered somewhat of a luxury due to their nourishing qualities and the fact that it is difficult to produce a harvest. The meat of the lunar fauna can be cooked, which is common fare and the main source of food for most Rusters. Though there is little in the way of spices and seasonings on the Moon, one can subsist on a diet of mostly cooked meat; the human body has grown accustomed to it over the generations.

Protein paste processed from corpses is the lowest of the low, barely considered food by those with access to something better, and is typically eaten by those living in the most squalid sectors of the slums. This paste is better used for chemical and industrial purposes, but it can be eaten raw and sustain a life when no other meals can be found. Those with access to the right equipment can turn the paste into something vaguely resembling food, but it is unpalatable and poor nourishment. Eating the paste of dead people is regarded as a particularly desperate and depraved recourse, and most just use it to make grease, fuel and plastics.


Orphans are common in Rust. With bad working and living conditions, the mortality rate is high and the average lifespan less than fifty, so many are left to their own devices at an early age. Luckily the birth rate is high as poverty and squalor leaves people with rather few ways to entertain themselves for free, so the population remains fairly stable. Young people are thus common in the settlement, and most are put to use from the age of twelve, picked up by the more powerful gangs to do their bidding either as runners or in the many small factories and businesses around town.

While children are generally treated poorly and often beaten or shouted at, Rusters come of age early in every sense, being treated as adults more or less as soon as puberty takes hold. Some ambitious youngsters join or form gangs, and a place in one of the Families is seen by many as the ultimate career, but most resign themselves to a life of anonymous hardship and toil. It is exceedingly rare to live until the ripe old age of fifty as people either work themselves to an early grave or live the comparatively privileged life of a Family member only to get killed in a fight or succumb to the perils of the wasteland.

Note: the minimum age for player characters is 18.

daily_life_in_rust.txt · Last modified: 2013/05/28 03:40 by prpi
Featured artwork used on Parallel RPI given permission for use by original artists macrebisz and merl1ncz.