The Bloodwood Forest is a stretch of wilderness, mostly, but not wholly forested, in the north western former-US. It encompasses the redwood forests of former Northern California, as well as some of the land beyond. Travelers saw the ruined signs for Redwood National Park, and as survivors spread the tales of their doomed exploration, the name began to be corrupted. Now it serves as a fitting warning for those who would attempt to delve its foreboding interior.
In the early twentieth century, humanity progressed genetic technology to a point where they could reverse engineer extinct species. This was not the resurrection of books and movies, with DNA recovered from millennia dead haemovorous insects trapped in amber, plugging holes with frogs and ostritches. This was taking DNA from living dinosaurs--birds--and tweaking it in a lab to unlock long dorment genes, add in genes from other animals, and creating a viable replica of our best understanding of these ancient beasts.
Initially, these creatures were created to be attractions, entertainment for tourists. Not in the forests of Northern California, but on tropical islands. But these animals held a wildness and a savagery unlike lions and elephants. They would not put on shows, they would not be held in cages. Their ancestors had ruled a world once, before it was taken from them with celestial fire. They would retake this world and rule again, or at least live free.
Time and again, humans tried to exploit these beasts, and time and again, those humans would reap death and ruin by the teeth and claws their greed bought. Meanwhile, those humans who saw wonder and majesty in these "Rengineered" creatures, respecting and protecting the life of them, managed to survive little the worse for wear once medical attention had been provided.
No system is not without its cracks, and that is especially true of a system designed to repress an apparent savage will that refuses to cooperate. Specimens escaped--scientists became attached to their work, and took home cute little birds that grew into ferocious hunters, transports crashed and broke and were waylaid and animals that were supposed to be sedated woke up, men who sought to sell animals to other men found their auctions torn down around them by their dockets.
What's the Difference Between Recreation and Creation? Edit
While the majority of creatures that would eventually be unleashed in the wilderness of Northern California were "Rengineered," reverse engineered from living specimens to be replicas of extinct species, as accurate as we could make them, there were always side projects, looking not to the past, but the future. If we can take the DNA of a chicken, and make it larger, change the feathers, replace the beak with shredding teeth, lengthen the tail... and so on, why could we not also take animals and enhance them? Designer cats. Living tanks made from komodo dragons given thicker hides and biochemical projectiles. Bats enlarged to the match the largest raptors and with frightening faces to make enemy soldiers thinking they were fighting the hordes of Hell.
Records and Rumors Edit
Few manufactured things survive a world-wide apocalypse like the Rapture, but those that are stored in facilities designed to withstand nuclear war fare better than others. Fractured records of the animals officially created by various facilities have been found here and there, and there is some knowledge of the creatures that likely lurk in the bloodwoods.
But, as usual, rumor is stronger than record. While a few know what animals escaped into the wilderness of Northern California, many more have heard strange tales of everything from monstrous beasts with claws like kitchen knives on arms like trees, and spikes jutting from their bodies, to some strange race of humanoids, allegedly making their homes in the trees.
Every story from a survivor who escaped death in the bloodwoods involves the imagery of large, glowing eyes, staring at them from the darkness, judging their actions and their presence. These eyes never resolve into a full creature, and they match no creature yet allegedly seen in the Bloodwood Forest. And they're always there.
Stories from these survivors often also mention places in the Bloodwood Forest where leaf litter, ancient ruined goods, and claw and teeth marks are... arranged. Not strewn about in happenstance, they seem deliberately placed. It's in these places where the feeling of some otherworldly, judging presence is strongest.
Some people think that the Bloodwood Forest is watched over, much as the Rengineered dinosaurs seemed watched over, by some protective force that refuses to allow humans to exploit these beasts.