Deadlands Reloaded: Lost in the Maze
It’s odd, but in the Great Maze people aren’t so afraid of war. “Not much a body can do ’bout gettin’ shot dead, or blowed up, is there?” was how one sage ghost rock prospector put it to me. Strange as it might sound, the possibility of armed conflict on a scale never before witnessed doesn’t frighten these people as much as the prospect of simple starvation. Hunger stalks this land like a lean wolf, ribs showing through her mangy pelt. Fireside tales are told of doomed miners who literally go insane with a hunger that spreads like sickness.
Since the Great Quake of 1868 shattered California into a ghost-rock-laden jigsaw puzzle, crops mostly refuse to take root. It’s no surprise when you consider the western half of the state is broken into a vast labyrinth of high-walled channels, all of them flooded with seawater that constantly leaches salt into the land. Farther inland one finds the occasional arable valley, but these can be as much a source of conflict as they are a source of sustenance. Banditry is so common that even rail companies have been known to raid farms when the need strikes.
The High Cost of Living
Even imported foodstuffs spoil sooner than expected nearly everywhere in the Maze. “Must be something about the climate,” is what the locals say (no matter where those locals are from), usually with a nervous shrug, as if it’s something they’d rather not fret about. You can tell they’re fretting anyway.
For the most part fresh food needs to be imported, which makes it scarce and pricey. Provisions, meals, and most other goods cost about five times the normal price on the West Coast. Amazing, but true. That’s just a general guide—you’ll want to avoid buying your gear in places like H.J. Kent’s of Lynchburg, where the going rate is more like eight times the suggested retail.
All you penny-pinchers might consider a trip to the Confederate port of Shannonsburg, where the CSA mandates pricing and cracks down on gougers ruthlessly. In Shannonsburg everything costs just what you’d expect it to, though friends of the Union might end up paying a higher price than they figured on.