The vast majority of Earth’s surface has faded into the clouds of myth and mystery. The spaces between city-states and large freezone communities have been mostly uninhabited and virtually ignored for the better part of two centuries. Although satellite mapping can once again provide images of the entire planet, many regions of the world have not been explored or seen with human eyes for generations.

Numerous communities have managed to achieve stability. Some have even begun to expand, to trade and reach out. However, many remain isolated, and much of the world remains unknown, dangerous, and in need of exploration. Earthquakes opened new waterways and volcanoes pushed islands up from the ocean’s depths. The mysteries of the unknown and unseen draw explorers out of the cities every day, but the world is a very big place and most of it still shrouded in mystery (4.5).