"Once, cities thrived here. This was before the Burn, and before Primals like you and I, or the Tribe in the forest, even existed - this was in the day of old Hyperion. This whole plain was studded with towns, all connected and virtually glowing with the ether that powered them. Hyperion was a shimmering light which could be seen from Forgotten City to the Long Forest, or so the Archaeologists' Guild tells us.

"The Burn changed it all. Now, those towns have sunk beneath the plain, buried in dust and in memory, nameless and forgotten. Oh, New Hyperion thrives by our standards, but it is a shadow of its former self. And the thing which led us here, the Burn which destroyed the old world, which changed our bodies and made the races we know, which formed our world around us and us within it? Nobody even knows what caused it. Not even a clue.

"Your etheric training is impressive, don't get me wrong, but the big city lights have given you delusions of grandeur. You come back to your clan after all this time, you show me your sword and rifle and the complicated device on your wrist, and you perform tricks, saying that with these you'll change the world. Your etheric abilities are indeed impressive, but you forget the lesson of these cities on the plain. Everything fades and everyone forgets. You say you'll change the world and maybe you will, but in time your name will become as faded and forgotten as these poor lost towns.

"Nephew, I am your shaman, and the bonds of your family are tight here - you will always be welcome. But please, please, look after yourself out there, and for all that is good don't get yourself killed just to become a famous name.

"We don't need any heroes."

Jackal Pack Games is pleased to announce its 2012 release, Homelands. It's a full-size, completely self-contained RPG, set in a post-apocalyptic past. Using Jackal Pack Games' proven 3d10 stat and dice mechanic, it uses a new character mechanic to allow players to really play their character. For more information on the system, Click Here.

In the middle of the Wastes, lying on the river Tethys, lies the city of New Hyperion, the hub of the continent of Rodinia. The landscape around is scarred and twisted; an apocalyptic explosion of the inherent natural force of ether centuries ago twisted the very fabric of the world, and everything which lived on it. In some areas, the dirt turned to glass; in others, the air itself became poison or the animals and plants simply melted away like water.

Those who survived were changed. The etheric flux altered their bodies, and adapted them to their own way of surviving the events of what became known as the Burn. Eventually, they developed into separate races, and their struggle to rebuild their ruined world is what Homelands is all about.

The earliest rebuilding was accomplished by those poor souls who survived the Burn with nowhere to go. They subsisted on the harsh plains and deserts of what later became known as the Wastes, and with each generation they became tougher, stronger, more fiercely self-reliant. Millions died, but those few left were nigh-unstoppable. They eventually took the name the Forgotten, as befitted a people who appeared to have been forsaken by nature, and set up their home in a ruined city.

This Forgotten City, and to a lesser extent the ruind of Hyperion, the city at the epicentre of the Burn, formed a foundation for them to establish what is arguably one of the most enlightened, equal and self-sufficient civilisations in Rodinia. Soon, though, the Forgotten left Hyperion...

There were humans in the ground. Regular humans, unaltered by the Burn, unadapted by the etheric flux. They emerged from underground shelters, generation after generation weathering the storm until the etheric disturbance had reached a safe level. Establishing a beachhead in the ruins of Hyperion, they colonised the surface and sealed off their old home. Those earliest colonists' technology and knowledge, some say, remains down there to this day.

The majority of Forgotten left the colony, now dubbed New Hyperion, as it turned into a town and then a city. Archaeologists began combing the wreckage for clues as to the city's past. Engineers and builders began reclaiming the ruins for human use. The senate and guilds were formed, homesteaders and ranchers colonised the Wastes around the city and eventually, they started send explorers further afield...

Meanwhile, to the north, a great seismic disturbance during the Burn had raised a great cliff, hundreds of miles long and now known as the Shelf, across the continent. Those caught in the area, with corruption around them and winter approaching, fled to the huge cracks and crevices in this cliff. They became smaller - squatter - able to make the absolute most of the little food they could get in the dark, cramped conditions. These Troglodytes, as they called themselves, began carving out the sides of their canyon home, mining into natural lava tubes and even some caves which had survived the destruction.

Over time, the city of Holm was born. Isolated and mistrustful of the "dirty" outside world, it was some time before they sent explorers very far afield. Eventually, they discovered first the Forgotten, and then the humans, and relations began between the races. Then, an explorer returned from the West with news...

A forest had grown. In a land where the most verdant vegetation was twisted, sickly bushes, a vast forest, stretching for mile after mile. And it was inhabited. In the first years after the Burn, the volcanic activity on that side of the continent had left a thick bed of ash, creating the only truly fertile land. Within a century it was verdant forest, ranging from thick jungle in the south to hardy conifers in the north.

The forest seemed like an ideal place for people to survive, and some Burn survivors went there for shelter. However, they soon discovered that they were not the only ones adapting to their surroundings. Being surrounded by so much life meant being surrounded by animals and plants alike which all wanted to kill, eat or poison them. In the flux after the Burn, they adapted. They became lighter, more agile, more alert, eventually reverting back to a more reptilian form. They retained their intelligence, but were forever changed - all reflexes and instincts. First contact was tricky, but their less sophisticated lifestyle was not an impediment for them starting up trade and relations with the rest of Rodinia, particularly for the ash which was one of the only ways to make usable farmland in the Wastes. Things were stable for a while. Then, new arrivals...

The people known as Primals weathered the Burn in the south, an area largely unexplored by the races of Rodinia. They led a nomadic life, following the herds and living in large clans as hunter-gatherers. They developed backward-pointing legs which ended in almost-hooves, they developed great powerful arms which allowed them to be their own transport and knuckle along for hours at a time tirelessly - they became the ideal nomadic people.

But eventually, the herds started thinning out. They overgrazed the land and started migrating further north, and the Primals followed. Eventually they got to the Great Plain at the south of Rodinia and found, not fresh grazing lands, but other civilisations. They continued their nomadic life, but through the network of towns, villages and homesteads which were rapidly becoming a fixture of the Wastes, and they remain doing so to this day.

At around the same time, teams from the Archaeologists' Guild exploring the ruins of Hyperion discovered an incredible thing. There were some small artifacts which seemed to contain the entire etheric imprint of a person's mind, seared from their body during the burn and dormant for the many years since. These imprints, although difficult to awaken, were found to be living, thinking minds, and steps were immediately taken to construct bodies for them to inhabit and take their lives back.

Since then the mechanical Imago, as they have been dubbed, are becoming a more common fixture in New Hyperion and even beyond. Their labour adds to and enriches the city, and their few, vague and fragmented memories help the scientists and archaeologists to understand what olf Hyperion was like, and what went wrong on that devastating day.

Nowadays, these cultures are more established. New Hyperion is a cosmopolitan centre, home of the most advanced scientific and etheric research and a true melting pot of different races. It is from here that Etherics come, using devices on their wrists to alter the flow of ether and produce seemingly magical effects. Forgotten City is a cultural and economic powerhouse, due to their incredible work ethic. Holm is known for its heavy industry and the very finest manufacturing. Even the Tribe and the Primals are known for their strong shamanic traditions and for Witch Doctors, with their ability to twist the ether in weird, magical ways. This is modern Rodinia.

Join us there.