This is the sixth in a series of articles introducing The Strange. You can read the first one here.

Ruk has hidden in Earth’s shoals since before humanity evolved. Creatures that were never human populate Ruk, because fiction from somewhere else birthed this recursion. Ruk is a land of amazing technology, miracles of biological enhancement, and feuds that have burned since before humanity evolved.

In Ruk, the walls of the world are a literal fact, visible as massive metal spars that pierce, protect, and lie shattered across the landscape. Outside the relative safety of Harmonious, the capital city, threats abound in the form of spore worms, venom troopers, constructs from the Qinod Singularity, and glial storms.

Ruk’s factions, powerful and ancient, strive always against each other. Lately, their strife is coming to a head, and the fate of Earth hangs in the balance.

When player characters translate to Ruk, the translation itself gives them some context about the recursion they’re entering; it’s what every recursor knows about Ruk.

What a Recursor Knows About Ruk

  • Ruk operates under the law of Mad Science, and it is a place of extreme biotech and body modification.
  • Ruk has hidden in Earth’s shadow since before humanity evolved, and it comes from another place in the universe, apparently having fled an unremembered disaster.
  • Feuding factions rule Ruk; a faction is like a religion, corporation, and governing body rolled into one.
  • The True Code is the ancient knowledge of Ruk, much of which is lost, though many still cleave to it and attempt to rediscover it.
  • The All Song is the communal web of knowledge, insight, and inspiration that many in Ruk rely on, though many believe that reliance comes at the expense of the True Code.

The heart of Ruk is an artificial construct. It is, for lack of a better term, a craft that once traveled through the Strange. True to the nature of the Strange, however, this craft is a recursion, created through the power of its creators’ imaginations and their ability to impress their will on the roiling chaos there. Unlike most recursions, Ruk could move, traveling down the informational canals by constantly writing and rewriting the laws that govern the Strange.

Cartography: Hugo Solis

Ruk was an alien escape craft, fleeing the destruction of the world that birthed it. Ruk suffered a few terrible mishaps along the way, but it continued onward until one day, millennia after its journey began, but even more millennia before today, Ruk was caught fast. Inexplicable properties from a nearby world–Earth–had stopped its progression. Ruk had run aground. The ship was now damaged and stuck—a shipwreck. And its people were castaways.

Many in Ruk decided that Earth might be a place whose proximity could offer true shelter from the forces that destroyed their homeworld. Others, however, reckoned that Earth’s destruction was the only thing that would free them from their predicament and allow them to continue on their way.

The Shape of Ruk

Ruk was originally a near-perfect disk. As the millennia passed after it ran aground in Earth’s shoals, Ruk began to grow like a living thing. This organic “edge” to Ruk is called the Periphery. At first it grew only slowly. In recent centuries, that growth has accelerated so that today, the edge in any given region of the Periphery usually grows about a centimeter, but sometimes up to a meter or more in a day.

By Lead Artist Matt Stawicki

Ruk’s central portion is often referred to as the Hub or the Core. Most inhabitants dwell in the Hub, in Harmonious. Areas beyond Harmonious, both in the Hub and in the Periphery, are primarily used for resource harvesting (organic matter from the grey forests being the most extensive). The farther one travels from Harmonious, the more dangerous a frontier Ruk becomes.

This is the sixth in a series of posts introducing The Strange. You can read the next one here.

Charles Ryan
Charles Ryan

Charles M. Ryan has written or contributed to titles in nearly every class of tabletop game—board games, card games, trading card games, miniature games, and roleplaying games—over a 25-year career in the game industry. He has also served as the global brand manager for Dungeons & Dragons and headed up the marketing department at the UK’s Esdevium Games, one of the world’s largest game distributors. He is the Chief Operating Officer at Monte Cook Games.