Centuries of rampant pollution and war have reduced the planet to a wasteland in many ares. To top it off, in the 23rd Century, interplanetary war has left most of Earth's cities in rubble, with gangs of semi-barbarians roaming the shattered ruins.
Life within these "sprawls" is violent, savage, and often short. Most survivors belong to a gang of some sort, organized around family lines or neighborhoods. These gangs are constantly at war with each other for whatever stores of food, weapons, or tools can be found. Gangs are ruled by the most powerful. It is a tough, brutal life, with little chance of survival, much less advancement.
The luckiest Terrans come from one of the independent arcologies. These are huge fortress buildings, self-contained, with their own power plants, factories, schools and living facilities. Like the castles of the Dark Ages, the arcologies were built to withstand the collapse of civilization. With their massive walls and powerful weapons, the arcologies are well able to stand off any attacks by roving mutant gangs.
The arcologies' greatest strength is also their greatest weakness. Isolated from each other behind their tall, armored walls, the arcologies suffer from inbreeding, corruption, stagnation and overcrowding. Most arcology governments are oppressive regimes installed by the Martian overlords who have gained control of the planet. Other governments were left in place only because they agreed to sell out to the Martian raiders, trading their freedom for luxury goods and personal power.
Advantages: Terrans are extremely adaptable. They can live anywhere on Earth - a statement many other racial types cannot make - and with basic body protection and breathing apparatus can survive indefinitely in a variety of hostile environments.
Disadvantages: From a comparative standpoint, Terrans are at a minor disadvantage in game terms because they have the smallest number of racial modifiers to ability scores and saving throws. But this is only a minor drawback, more than offset by their adaptability.
Role-playing Notes: A Terran player character is confident in himself and in his race's ability to eventually throw off the yoke of Martian oppression, but he is also a realist: If man is to regain his freedom, the process will be a slow one composed of many small steps. Play your Terran character with a combination of determination and patience, and you will not be far off.
Ability Score Modifications: +1 Con +1 Wis