Etrom: The Astral Essence
The world of Etrom is the planet Earth projected into the future and a dimension parallel to ours. Born from mystic events, this world is dark, wrapped in deserts with the population huddling into enormous Megacities. Protected and trapped by the cities' outer walls, herded into class systems by the walls inside, the people of this Earth look up to a sky occluded by barriers of chromatic energy. Time stands still, history forgotten in the minds of men, and the future lost in the thick, deadly fogs outside the city walls...
Inside the chrome and concrete barriers, humanity lives piled upon itself, 20-30 million souls crammed into 100km. Sector boundaries are marked by huge walls guarded by soldiers who guarantee the power of the privileged and crush the will of the rest. The masses are resigned to a grey, unending existence, where there is no escape, there is only survival. While there are many differences among the 4 states - freedom of thought, expression, material and spiritual wealth - there is little difference in the attitude of the rich and powerful towards the less fortunate.
In all the states, a shortage of resources in the Chroma mines means births are strictly regulated and laws limit reproduction. Each state's target, for every Megacity, is a birth rate of 0, a newborn child for each death. All individuals in excess of this are officially terminated, for those who escape, they become outlawed by their birth, deprived of any rights - they are the 'Unborn'.
In all the states it is forbidden to leave the Megacity where you are born with the only exceptions being the privileged classes, the army and individuals with special passports. In all the states, in each Megacity merely traveling from one city block to another requires you to obtain government passes usually handed only out to the highest class citizens.
In all the states, society is controlled by the secret services and the police who are overseen by the small powerful ruling class. Through spying, investigation, and technologies both visible and invisible, every individual is monitored. Any suspect action such as going to the library is flagged and the person reported and checked. Every thought considered 'too free' is immediately classed as dangerous and the thinker prosecuted.
Outside the Megacity, within the boundaries of the 4 states, there is only an immense desert devastated by 6 months of torrid heat and 6 months of glacial winter.
These lands are called the 'Dying Deserts' and whoever ventures into them without a Chromatic mask (respirator), is struck down with the 'Dark Disease'.
Beyond the dying deserts and the columns of the main barrier, outside the boundaries of the 4 states, lie the mysterious Void Lands where it is absolutely forbidden to venture and where, according to official governmental sources, you can die from the Dark Disease even with a Chromatic mask...