The game presents a post-apocalyptic setting though the exact nature of the event is not strongly defined. Three classes of hostile people are defined - The Mad, The Predators, and The Afraid. Typically The Afraid are humans. Also inimical to the characters is The Environment and The Wilderness. Finally, all of these are eclipsed by the Things from Outside. It would be up to the game master to specifically define these threats (if such definition is necessary to the game).
Characters have Methods (somewhat like Skills) and Motivations (Traits) with numeric values distributed from a point pool at creation. These values determine the number of dice in the pool associated with them. Characters usually will utilize two dice pools - an Active Pool and a Pain Pool. Opposed rolls align pool results from lowest to highest for comparison.