Present -Main character 2: Coues(aka Buck/Bucky as a nickname) Jack’s older half brother, in his early 30s in chapter 1, barely remembers the beginning of the apocalypse
Buck’s lack of resemblance to King Veni(aside from very small minute details and mannerisms) has caused him a lot of issues growing up in the community with his supposed “family members” so it only caused him to try harder to prove himself and find a place to belong After losing an eye trying to protect his father from enemies and only then receiving some measure of respect, Buck is thoroughly disillusioned and apathetic, but a part of him thinks he could be a better leader than his father Buck is naturally a great warrior and a leader first, often blunt, cold, pragmatic, efficient(if you play him that way) and putting his emotions to the side to complete his tasks--he expects the same of everyone else and is continuously disappointed and disgruntled. Some might even call him bossy or controlling. But his success rate in hunts and battle give his words more weight. Buck used to have a rattlesnake tail but his mother cut it off and cauterized the wound because it was “unseemly” and the noise would alert enemies to their location while they were hiding Buck makes a hissing noise when upset Buck used to have two mini tusks peeking out from his mouth but one broke off in a battle Buck lost an eye to raiders in his teenage years, he now wears an eyepatch His go-to attack move when in close quarters combat is [Headbutt] Buck’s signature weapon is a [Beat up pickaxe] When trading for different weapons to equip, the weapons that appear to Coues are typically two handed weapons like bats or hammers or spears or swords Past/Present - Side character, Initial Quest giver - Richard “Elder Veni” [Redacted]: He is the leader of the community/settlement the game starts out in and the father of the two main characters Veni is short for Venison He has few favorite children and the rest of them he couldn't care less about He thinks Jackrabbit’s a smartass and too defiant for his own good and that his mother coddled him due to his resemblance to Veni himself, which he appreciates along with his skill in battle and success rate on hunts and other various missions, but the attitude is what keeps him mildly distant and brutal on punishments. Missed potential. Coues flew under the radar for years with his lack of resemblance and his mother desperately trying to keep him alive and favored only had him disregard the child even more, despite being a competent and practical leader and good warrior with the unconventional weapon of a pickaxe Coues only became more trusted when he lost an eye trying to protect Veni from a bandit attack Despite how Jack and Buck resemble each other, Veni has this sneaking suspicion that Buck might not be his blood, as Buck’s mother was briefly kidnapped during an ongoing clash with a now dead bandit group in the past and it is heavily implied that she was SA'd while there and Veni nearly threw her out before she promised him that if the child wasn’t his, she’d kill him Buck’s vague resemblance to Veni and and his resemblance to Jack later on saved his life Rules with an iron fist He used to be a lawyer with a hobby for survivalism which came in handy when the world collapsed Small unrelated fact, his first wife before the apocalypse ran off to find her family a few states away when the end of the world was just getting started because she didn’t like the person Richard was becoming, he hasn’t seen her since Prior to the apocalypse Richard was cheating on her with someone at his firm--a secretary The same woman is one of his wives in his harem now, and the mother of both the eldest child in his brood and also Jackrabbit

Richard has 11 children by 4 of his 6 wives
[In No Particular Order]
Doe [A favorite]
Gila II[A favorite]
Harris[A favorite]
Ricky II[A favorite]

Other Notable Aspects of the World:

People used to get what little hydration they could in the early days from rainfall, but as the virus spread it infected the ocean water as well which in turn turned the rainfall toxic(people try to avoid rainfall as much as they could, or floods/monsoons are downright deadly but also very rare)

In the early days they also got their water from what water bottles and water towers were around until that finite supply completely depleted itself to the knowledge of most--but there are rumours of stashes of bottled water or untainted wells completely untouched that are guarded zealously and violently

There is a way to purify the water, not completely and not for consumption, but a few days to a week of non stop boiling can clean it enough to be used to wash clothes and other things(not dishes or anything that comes in contact with food)

Flora and Fauna

Little to no Flora--about 85% of Flora in the setting is just gone, only succulents and plants that can survive in arid desert type environments with little to no water are around, the few plants and crops that do survive are incredibly mutated and are either inedible or guarded heavily and lethally

The Fauna that has survived now is wholly carnivorous if they don’t live near what little plants grow now, which is most fauna, they will cannibalize their own species and hunt down any other living creature including humans without discrimination

Fauna in general are larger and more aggressive, regardless of their predator or prey status before
They’re the only living creatures that can drink from the toxic water straight up now and not die horribly

A deer before could be a 9 feet tall deer-horse-lizard hybrid monster now

If they eat outside their species for years on end they’ll mutate(like humans) and gain the traits of the animals their feast on

Systems of Government/Magic

Parts of humanity that managed to make it long enough in the apocalypse formed tribes/clans/groups and communities, mostly around water towers, waterfalls, and rivers, in hopes that maybe they could find a source of drinkable water that wasn’t inherently poisonous. Aside from the water towers, those hopes were dashed. Some communities still have rudimentary technology if they're plentiful enough but not too many people bother with it because they’re more focused on the basics like food and water

Plot lines:
The main plot of the story

The player starts out in Santa Fe as one of the brothers and experiences a tutorial going through day to day life in the compound/settlement of their father

NPC Party member #1 is dragged into the Santa Fe Water Tower Settlement in ropes to the leader, [plot presented] because they were fleeing from a rival group who heard they had valuable information on a source of relatively non toxic liquids, possibly even water

Elder Veni dismisses the claims, NPC #1 is brought into imprisonment for the immediate future, they plan to kill them as to not be a drain on community resources

One of Elder Veni’s children(one of the favorites)--not the main characters, make a plea to the leader to try and hear the NPC out and see if the claims are true, EV dismisses it again and forces the child(and by child I mean someone in their late teens early 20s) out on a hunt to stop bothering him, sends the two main characters as escorts--Jackrabbit volunteers to get out of the compound, Coues is forced to go because all their other siblings heavily dislike or outright hate Jackrabbit and Jack himself volunteered Coues’s support, 2 to 3 more unnamed NPCs join along for a battle tutorial

Intro to use of map, skills, equipment, tracking, hunting, as the small party hunts a 1 or 2 star beast for meat and to boil its blood to drink(water is in the beasts blood but its toxin water so they gotta boil the impurities out)

Unskippable cutscene

The favorite child of elder Veni is heavily injured and poisoned and they have to amputate a limb on the battlefield

[Beforehand, the favored child and jackrabbit get in an argument and jackrabbit exits the conversation smiling, but angered. Now during the cutscene, they see the favored child--let’s just call them “Doe”, and Jackrabbit has an opening to save them from the beast they’re hunting, but doesn’t go for it]

[If you are in control of Jackrabbit in the first chapter, you can choose whether to try and save Doe, and if you try, you’ll still fail but your reputation and moral meter will go up, but Coues will imply he only tried to gain favor and attention]

[If Jackrabbit doesn’t try then morals and reputation go down and you can try to manipulate/charm the NPCs into believing you tried, though Coues will accuse you of trying to get Doe killed and be suspicious]

[If you are in control of Coues and witness Jackrabbit failing to act, you can accuse them of trying to kill Doe and lying about it, or brush it off, or say Doe deserved more than losing a limb for being so stupid, which lowers his morals and reputation and causes Jackrabbit to feel remorse and snap back at Coues about his mother cutting off his tail when he was a child for being so stupid.]

Returning back to the Santa Fe camp with an injured Doe displeases King Veni greatly and regardless of what explanation the player character chooses to give, King Veni will send the brothers off with NPC #1 and a few others of their choosing to search for the non toxic drinkable liquids that Doe had believed in

But during the explanation, if the player character takes the blame and apologizes for Doe losing a limb by prostrating in front of the encampment and begging for forgiveness, the King will allow them to take a good portion of supplies(meds, food, weaponry) and a few “horses”(huge mutant horse-dog hybrids for tracking and running) to pull the “carriages”, convertibles with the top down--this results in increased morality but a slightly lowered reputation, but high gain

If the player character doesn’t take the blame but tries to be neutral and explains it was just unforeseen circumstances, Veni is displeased and allows the character to take the bare minimum in resources--morality does not change but reputation grows for not throwing anyone under the bus, little to no gain

If the player character pushes the blame onto the other brother for not being there for Doe to protect them as is their job, that brother is punished with a beating and the group gets a modest amount of supplies and transportation, but not too much--low morality and reputation from throwing your brother under the bus, but high gain

If the player character places the blame on Doe for not moving fast enough, they get beaten, the group gets the bare minimum of supplies, and the character currently being played who got beat starts with half HP--reputation and morality lessens, no gain

Then the game really starts as the main characters and party sets out on their quest for a rumoured oasis at Lake michigan, Jackrabbit nonetheless excited for the quest ahead while Coues is disgruntled with a chip on his shoulder as he thinks their father has sent them off on a suicide mission for allowing one of his favorite children to get hurt
At the end of the game in Michigan there is a community based around Lake Superior, not even a community kinda like a city or mini fiefdom of well fed and well hydrated people--the succulents saved them

The Lake Superior lore is that--

Some desperate bastards start planting succulents round the lake thinking it would soak up the moisture from the ground and somehow not kill the plants, get water, or some sort of liquid. This was a little after society had collapsed
But through some act of god the plants actually grew, that should literally be impossible, there was a forest of succulents growing from and eventually mutated to grow inside of the lake and feast off the moisture and produce drinkable water

Unstable weather patterns bring a rare Monsoon season in their area where the toxic rainwater falls heavily nonstop and lowkey floods the place, so the main characters want to get in and out of the LS surrounding area as quickly as possible to avoid getting caught up in the natural disaster(of sorts)--the LS citizens have adapted and built their abodes up high

There will be Three Types of Endings**[Neutral, Jack’s endings, and Buck’s endings]**

Jackrabbit’s Ending [Coues’s Death] [Thicker Than Blood]

If the player makes morally dark decisions/takes the darker path when playing as Jackrabbit continuously, Coues will autonomously counter his actions and decisions when not directly being controlled by the player, which causes a confrontation between the two brothers and whichever allies they have collected over the course of the game after they get to the lake superior community. The group splits between Jack’s faction and Buck’s, and both groups want to get the water the Lake Superior community is offering, but they don’t want to give out two separate gifts to two separate groups as their resources are very precious. Buck rallies the NPCs that follow him to try and argue for who gets the water because he and those who follow Buck have lost faith in Jackrabbit and think he’s too far gone. This argument escalates and triggers the Boss Battle between the brothers as Jackrabbit tries to kill him.

Low morals, high reputation
After killing Coues and whoever supported him--almost a massacre, the loyal NPCs to him over the course of the journey that he has collected have begun to deify him and with Jack’s boundless charisma and manipulation, the NPCs loyal to him form a cult of personality. It’s more of a literal cult that Jack takes advantage of to rally them behind him and kill his brother and his supporters and then upon his success and descent into darkness Jack has two choices he can make with his devoted army at his beck and call
Raid the Lake Superior Community for resources and take the oasis for yourself
Don’t go home, become wandering bandits worshiping Jackrabbit as their new messiah leading them to another oasis

Low morals, Low reputation, (little to no allies)
Instead of a boss battle, Jackrabbit sees that he is outnumbered and Coues essentially banishes him from the group. The same night, Jackrabbit poisons Coues in his sleep with toxic water and leaves his body to be found by the rest of the party in the morning. He rushes from the Lake Superior community with the water they had given him under the impression that he was their ambassador of sorts, and the NPC party tracks him down, murders him, and begins to make the journey back to Santa Fe.

If the player makes morally light decisions/takes the better path when playing as Jackrabbit
High morals, high reputation Coues’ daddy issues and jealousy combined with Jackrabbit’s continued successes with the group and the NPCs slowly looking to the younger brother for guidance instead has him desperate and vengeful and with him making darker and darker choices/dialogue options the NPCs want Jack to banish his brother after they reach Lake Superior and leave him to his own devices, but Coues hears and stalls them the entire time until the Monsoon is just on the verge of arriving, then attacks Jackrabbit with what little allies he has if he even has any, triggering a boss battle between brothers in the rain, toxic rain slowly chipping away at both brothers’ HP during the fight and taking more and more HP as they get more and more injured. Jackrabbit tries to talk him down but is forced to kill him and then take shelter from the rain. The LS community help him heal up and sends his group back home with lots of water.

High morals, low reputation

Coues basically banishes him and sneakily takes control of the group in an almost totalitarian way and he’s on his dark path and Jackie tries to warn him but gets beat for it by the party that’s loyal to Coues and Jackie notices Coues has never looked more like their father than now--the warning is that the lake superior community sussed them out and gave them tainted water[if the journey back doesn't kill them, or the tainted water…than father will]

Coues’s Ending [Jackrabbit’s Death] [Covenant]

If the player makes morally dark decisions/takes the darker path when playing as Coues continuously, Jackrabbit will autonomously counter his actions and decisions when not directly being controlled by the player, which causes a confrontation between the two brothers and whichever allies they have collected over the course of the game after they get to the lake superior community. The group splits between Jack’s faction and Buck’s, and both groups want to get the water the Lake Superior community is offering, but they don’t want to give out two separate gifts to two separate groups as their resources are very precious.

Low morals Low Reputation

Coues and Jackrabbit have an argument over who should bring the water back to father and Coues sees it as his one last chance to redeem himself and take back control of the group but no one trusts him and he’ll never be like the perfect Deer-like brother of his or his father, and he snaps and catches Jack off guard by stealing one of his blades and slitting his throat in the middle of an argument. He then proceeds to drink his blood while having a psychotic break and the NPCs look on in horror before killing him.

Low Morals High Reputation

Over the course of the game your pragmatic decisions have saved this group time and time again, and they know you’re the only one capable of making the hard decisions that need to be made. And if they don’t know you make them aware by force. Jackrabbit rises against Coues and tries to challenge him but it doesn’t go anywhere because one of Coues’ soldiers kills him. You take the water you are given and make your way back home to storm your community and challenge your father for leadership with a loyal army behind you.

OR, another choice, Jackrabbit attempts to appeal to your humanity to make you avert this dark path but instead you take him on a walk and reminisce about your past together before drowning him in the nearest toxic pond. Your soldiers kill what supporters Jack had. Upon receiving water you leave and March on the nearest community you see--with your resources and might you can take over easily. Then expand. Then march, rinse and repeat. Until you are a King. Until you have an empire. Then one day you can come back to the Lake Superior Community and take everything they have and more. Your people will follow you to the ends of the earth, and you will reward your soldiers greatly.

If the player makes morally light decisions/takes the darker path when playing as Jackrabbit continuously, Coues will autonomously counter his actions and decisions when not directly being controlled by the player, which causes a confrontation between the two brothers and whichever allies they have collected over the course of the game after they get to the lake superior community. The group splits between Jack’s faction and Buck’s, and both groups want to get the water the Lake Superior community is offering, but they don’t want to give out two separate gifts to two separate groups as their resources are very precious.

High Morals High Reputation

Coues has a loyal army at his back and Jackrabbit tries to literally stab him in the back and take control by killing him, blaming it on a hunt gone wrong, and taking control of the group by claiming Buck left it all to him to take care of things going forward, but Coues counters the attacks and as the monsoon rolls in it triggers a chase scene and boss battle as Buck yells for the help of his allies and Jack does the same. Win the boss battle, kill Jackrabbit by throwing him off a cliff into flooding toxic waters, and recover with your party--LS community gives you the water but you can either

Go back home, mission completed and finally able to make your father proud

Settle down near the LS community and establish relations

Join the LS community and let go of your past, and uncaring family. Start a new one with the people you have now.

High Morals Low Reputation

Jackrabbit manipulates the NPCs into following him instead of Coues and attempts a coup, Coues managing to escape with his life but injured and his allies dead during the monsoon--he makes the perilous trek through the storm and flood to warn the Lake Superior Community that Jackrabbit plans to take fresh water by force before succumbing to his injuries and passing out. He wakes up about a week later in the medical building to news that his brother and his cohorts were easily killed, and they’re still unsure about what to do with Buck himself. His fate is unknown.

Neutral Ending [Pyrrhic Victory/Was It Worth It?]

If the player does their best to have both main characters make an equal amount of good and bad choices and doesn’t have them commit to a path fully, all the NPCs are confused and have disorganized and contradictory opinions on what to do with the water and where to go from here to the point where and the brothers can't get them under control so the Lake Superior community won’t give them anything at all. Surprisingly it’s this that gets them all to agree on one thing: They’re desperate for that water and the journey back without it will probably kill them, so they might as well. So they try and raid/rush the LS community and take the water by force, and the boss battle gets all the NPCs killed by superior numbers and strength with only the brothers left alive--Buck loses his other eye and Jack loses an arm, on the same side their sibling Doe did at the beginning of the game. Blinded and crippled, the two brothers are left to their own devices outside of the Lake Superior community and try to find shelter, almost certain that they will die.

Neutral Ending [We’re All In This Together] Balanced Good Choices for both main characters--impossible. You can’t make both characters make the best morally upright decisions and still keep their reputations high and everyone happy, if one brother is making all good decisions while the player is in control of them, the other brother will naturally begin to counter said decisions and play devil’s advocate/contrarian, swapping back and forth as you hop between the brothers’ POVs, and push the player into one of the neutral endings

Neutral Ending[A House Divided] Balanced Bad Choices for both main characters--If the player continuously makes contradictory and bad decisions for the party and gets people killed in unnecessary combat, kills many party members or trades them off in the dark path with one main character, AND doesn’t make the best decisions while on the lighter path(morally), the NPC party(what’s left of them) gets fed up and abandons them in the last chapter and leaves, leaving the main characters with no support to help them get drinkable water and plants back

The main characters can either:
[If the brothers have vastly different morals] Go Their Own Separate Ways [Leaving each other to their fates and abandoning their community/family--the brother with the higher morals considers making the journey back but his fate is unknown]
[High Morals For Both] Try To Make The Journey Together [Knowing they’re very likely to die on the way back with the monsoon approaching]
[Low Morals for both] Stay Where They Are [Abandon their community/family and the quest to help them survive and take your chances with the Lake Superior Community and your greed for resources]

Extra stuff:

Oklahoma subplot

While traveling through the state the player party comes across a completely isolated amish-seeming settlement of very nice people, the weird thing being that absolutely no one in the settlement has an animal mutation and seems more well fed than the half-starved half-animal people. They’re so human it’s unnatural, uncanny. Turns out they’ve been kidnapping, raiding, enslaving and raising humans for slaughter for sustenance for years when the apocalypse rolled around so they wouldn’t starve. The realization triggers an argument between the two main characters on what to do--ignore everything, take their supplies and hospitality and leave, or kill as many people as you can and burn the settlement to the ground?[new quest]

“Look at us! We’re monsters, and that’s fine, but them. They’re human. They’re all human. Too human.”

Collectable NPCs in your party

They’re not directly controllable like the main two characters

Have their own little backstories and quests that can improve relationships and their devotion to the main characters

Depending on their morals they could align more with one brother over the other

Not all NPCs you come across in settlements and battles are collectable(that would bog things down too much)
NPCs you kidnap/hold hostage will despise the character responsible for making the decision--if you force them into battle or equip them with a weapon they will autonomously Flee or try to attack the player depending on how you treated them in your custody(did you steal from them, feed them, etc) If one main character kidnaps/holds hostage an NPC, the other can choose to release or kill the NPC, which affects morality/reputation in the party

In battle you can assign them a singular task(like Medic, Ranged Offense, Close/Direct Offense, Defense, or Flee, or more, idk) they will do their best to complete depending on their health and hunger

Example: NPC #3[Yet to be named] gets assigned as [Medic], you equip them with the medical supplies, and they stay out of the radius of the fight and heal you or other NPCs that autonomously retreat to them when their health is low from battle

If there’s no Medic the NPCs either keep fighting till it’s over or they die, or Flee until the fight’s over
Morality & Reputation system that contributes to the endings

Side quests to get more supplies or build reputation amongst the NPCs around you

Like doing quests around a settlement you’re in temporarily will have the party that travels with you like you more and want to support your decisions, as well as having the settlement you’re temporarily in offer you better deals in trade or allow you more privileges/benefits than if you just kept to yourself the whole time or stole shit
You can get side quests for good benefits from other communities or NPCs you interact with or make the choice and take on a side quest of betraying and stealing and raiding from them, which, if caught, will have the character’s party immediately kicked out/chased off and lose reputation/morality with your party

The boys below are the two main characters, the one with deer antlers is Jackrabbit aka Jack, and the one with big horns is Coues aka Buck
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Big horns dude is King Veni, with and without lines