Monday, September 8, 2014

Wastelanders: A field guide to the people outside the dome. A Savage Worlds supplement for Dystopia.

Copyright Nate Miller Photography
A field guide to the people outside the dome.
Written for the Houston Dome Daily By: Jack “Rusty” Smith
(With supplemental Savage Worlds Role Playing Game information for Dystopia: Wastelands and Empires. By Nathan and Michelle Miller)

Ever since the shit hit the fan back in 2075 life for the folks outside the domes or walled townships has become progressively worse. You might think that everyone out here is some kind of bloodthirsty savage but you would be mostly wrong.... mostly. Fact is there are all types of people out here but there are a few types that are far more common. This here “field guide” is intended to give more civilized folks a heads up on who they might encounter out in the wilds as it were.

My name is Jack “Rusty” Smith and I'm from the Ozarks in what used to be known as the United States of America. These days my stomping grounds are one of the most lawless and backwoods places you can find which is pretty much how it was before everything went to Hell. Just more so now.

(In the Dystopia: Wastelands and Empires setting humans are the only race of heroes avaliable. Instead of using racial templates like many other settings the Players and Game Masters may choose a Lifestyle from the following list instead)

No one trust a Drifter.
Copyright Nate Miller Photography

Drifters: There are folks that just don't seem to belong anywhere or with anyone. Drifters are typically loners who move about a lot either lookin' for somethin' or runnin' from somethin'. Occasionally they team up with other drifters for mutual protection but they never run with a very large group. They might settle for a bit in one place or another but something always drives them back onto the road.

The thing about Drifters is that you can never tell what kind you are dealin' with. They tend to run the spectrum between devils and angels. You never know if they are going to come to your aid when times get tough or stick a knife in your back and take your things. They are however highly resourceful and usually able to take care of themselves.

  • Outsiders: Drifters are often mistrusted and misunderstood by others. Drifters suffer a -2 Charisma when dealing with non Drifters.
  • Acclimated: Drifters have to spend most of their time in the elements. Drifters get a +4 to resist all negative environmental effects. (heat, cold, pressure, ect.)
  • Penniless: Drifters have to travel light. Drifters start with half the starting funds of a regular hero and can not hold on to money or wealth.
  • Fighter: Drifters have to fight to survive often. Drifters start with a d6 in either Shooting or Fighting skills

Zealots: Religious fanatics have been around since the concept of gods and what not came about. However the fall of civilization as we know it put these folks into overdrive mode. All over the globe there were some folks who turned to the divine for answers to the shit storm that most of us were tossed into. It doesn't matter if they worship a god, or gods, or “Zortog the Very Shiny” their line of bullshit is always the same. We are all being punished by the great holy one for our numerous sins and these folks believe they have been “chosen” to do the punishin' on the rest of us.

Zealots are always dangerous to deal with. Every one of them is more than a bit “touched” and they absolutely do believe in their holy missions. They may come at you with a message of peace and love claimin' their dearest savior is the only path to salvation from the livin' hell but they absolutely will turn on you the moment if you question their truth. They are best avoided.

  • Pig Headed: Zealots believe their truth is the only one that matters. Zealots therefore begin with the Stubborn hindrance.
  • Aggressive: Zealots attack with everything they have in combat and therefore gain the Frenzy edge.
  • Inspired: Zealots are dangerous and violent but they can be very good at converting others to their faith. Zealots start with a d6 in the Persuasion skill.
  • Martyr: Zealots will willingly die if they believe their holy mission demands it. Zealots begin with the Death Wish hindrance.

Amazons are always difficult tribes to deal with.
Copyright Nate Miller Photography

Tribals: Back in the day when things were less shitty these folks would have been hippie environmentalist types. Shunnin' most technology that doesn't involve killin' folks that trespass on their lands and livin' off the land is the way they like things. Tribal types usually avoid civilized folks as often as possible and prefer to live in loose bands close to nature. Some tribal types are more dangerous than others. Most just want to avoid civilization but some of them want to burn what is left of it down. A few of the more aggressive types have been rumored to engage in cannibalism.

Tribal types are hard to get along with. They don't trust outsiders although the friendlier ones will trade with others from time to time. If you end up on their land without their permission even the most friendly group may just as soon kill you as talk to you. If you see them in more civilized areas with more weapons than trade goods it might be a good time to run or at least gather up the local militia.
  • Backwards: Tribals rarely handle technology and don't understand how to repair it. Tribal characters start with the All Thumbs hindrance.
  • Live off the Land: Tribals are experts and living off the natural world. Tribal characters start with a d6 in the Survival skill.
  • Acclimated: Tribals live among the natural elements. Tribal characters receive a +4 to resist all negative environmental effects. (heat, cold, pressure, ect.)
  • Occhlophobia: Tribals live in very small communities with only a few family groups. Tribal characters suffer from Phobia of crowds as a Major hindrance.

Mystics are weirdos but they know how to patch you up.
Copyright Nate Miller Photography

Mystics: These weirdos are like Tribals without a tribe. They have pretty much the same outlook on life but prefer to live a bit closer to some form of civilization. Sometimes they are pretty handy to have around because they usually have a good knowledge of folk medicines and they usually know what local tribals consider to be their territory. Most aren't dangerous in the regular sense being that they tend to be pacifist but if you piss one off or threaten one you need to keep in mind that their knowledge of folk medicines comes with a knowledge of natural poisons.

Mystics are loaners and hermits. Most of them like a variety of pets and some of them are quite talented at handlin' all kinds of critters. Mystics always believe in some kind of spiritual world. Many worship “Gaia” or some other earth spirit or spirits. They are also almost always weird for the sake of being weird whether it is their schtick or just that fact that most are simply crazy.

  • Hippie: Mystics are peaceful people not easily provoked to violence. Mystic characters start with Pacifist as a Minor hindrance.
  • Folk Healer: Mystics are knowledge about a number of folk remedies. Mystic characters start with a d6 in the Healing skill.
  • Weirdo: Mystics are really strange individuals who often profess believe in spirits, ghost, faeries, and the like. Mystics start with Delusional as a Minor hindrance
  • Herbalist: Mystics are highly familiar with flora of all kinds. Mystics start with a d6 in the Knowledge: Plants skill.

The only thing more dangerous than a Nomad is a Nomad that is out of fuel.
Copyright Nate Miller Photography

Nomads: Some people were born with fuel pumping through their veins instead of blood like the rest of us. Nomads are those types of folks. They love vehicles and they hate to stay in one place too long. Nomads always travel in gangs and their vehicles are usually rigged with weapons and makeshift armor. Most Nomad gangs are opportunistic raiders but some of them operate like traveling merchants or circus performers. Most settlements are leery of Nomad gangs but they will usually tolerate them for a short time so long as they behave themselves. Some Nomad groups have permanent bases and regular routs but other groups just drift from place to place.

Nomads always find a way to live it up even in the wastelands. They are rowdy daredevils by nature who love to drink and fight. Most are dangerous most of the time and some are dangerous all of the time. They are all excellent drivers and usually pretty good gear heads as well.

  • Distrusted: Nomads are considered very dangerous by others. Nomad characters start with the Outsiders hindrance.
  • Road Warriors: Nomads spend most of their time on the road behind the wheel of a vehicle or motorcycle. Nomad characters start with a d6 in the Driving skill.
  • Hold my Beer: Nomads frequently engage in dangerous and reckless activities to impress other members of their gang which often gets them killed. Nomad character start with the Death Wish hindrance.
  • Party Animal: Nomads like to party like it really is the end of the world. Nomad characters receive a +2 bonus to resist the negative effects of alcohol or drugs.

Techs aren't always good in a fight but they can fix almost anything.
Copyright Nate Miller Photography

Techs: Without these folks life outside the domes and walled cities would be even harder. Techs are experts at repairin' damaged technology and re-inventin' old technology for new purposes. Some are very specialized experts but others are more “Jack of all Trades” types. Good Techs are in high demand almost everywhere except tribal lands and their services rarely come cheap.

Most Techs are a good deal sharper than the average wastelander especially those who specialized in electronics and computer technology although finding a genius mechanic isn't at all unheard of. Personality wise they run the spectrum but most are good at haggling a proper price for their skills.

  • Over Thinker: Techs are cautious by nature and prefer to test and re-test repairs and inventions before feeling confident in them. Tech characters start with Cautious as a hindrance.
  • Sharp as a Tack: Techs are smarter than the average wastelander due to their specific training. Tech characters start with a d6 in the Smarts attribute.
  • Gear Head: Techs spend most of their time fixing up lost technology in the wastelands. Tech characters start with a d6 in the Repair skill.
  • Tribal Enmity: Tribals do not trust Techs because they deal with and repair technology. Tech characters suffer a -4 Charisma penalty when interacting with Tribal characters and NPCs.
  • Book Smart: Techs have to study technology to learn how to repair it. Tech characters start out with a d6 in the Knowledge Lost Technology skill.
  • Techno Babble: Techs find it difficult to communicate with others who lack their specific vocabulary. Techs suffer a -2 to Charisma when dealing with non Tech characters and NPCs

Militia members are the protectors of the wastelands when they aren't pushing you around.
Copyright Nate Miller Photography

Militia: Any decent sized town or settlement not large enough to have it's own private security company must rely on citizen militias. Most are organized by whatever passes for the local law and they vary in size dependin' on the population of the town. A few towns require every able body citizen who live their to be armed and equipped as militia but this is not always the case. Militia also vary highly in quality of equipment, organization, and training but they are almost never as well trained or equipped as private security companies.

Militia members tend to be more brave in the local watering hole than on the battlefield but most of them will fight when there is trouble on their door step. Most members are just regular citizens with a sense of civic duty but a few are just jerks who just like to push the locals around. In towns where the local law dog is a bully the entire militia tends to act more like a gang than a group of protectors.

  • Home Town Hero: Militia members have usually grown up in their town and or the surrounding area. Militia characters start with a d6 in the Local Knowledge skill.
  • Oath of Service: Militia members are required to promise to protect the local population and properties in a specific area. Militia characters start with Vow as a Minor hindrance.
  • Guard Duty: Militia members spend a lot of time guarding the boundaries of their local area and they quickly learn to spot dangers. Militia characters start with a d6 in the Notice skill.
  • Nomad Enmity: Militia members and Nomads don't get along. Militia members uphold the law and Nomads have no care for the law. Militia characters suffer a -4 Charisma penalty when interacting with Nomad characters and NPCs.

Tourist.  A danger to themselves and everyone around them.
Copyright Nate Miller Photography

Tourist: That would be you. If you ever venture outside the cozy confines of civilization that is. That's what most wastelanders call regular folks from the domes and walled cities. Believe it or not sometimes regular folks like you find themselves out here among us unfortunates. Most times it is because you got on the bad side of some corp or politician in your lovely home dome and you're fleeing from their professional enforcers. Sometimes you get the crazy idea that you are gonna find some grand adventure out here or even worse you believe you are on a mission to save us all from ourselves. Whatever the reason you almost always end up hightailing it back home in short order if you don't end up getting yourself killed first.

The best Tourist are insufferably arrogant useless whiners. The worst believe us savages need to be shown the proper way to live like civilized folks. Even Tourist who claim to have grown up in the poorest neighborhoods are never even remotely ready for the wastelands. You can't go on the dole in the wastelands. No one will provide for you or protect you. If you can't live by your own means you won't make it out here.

  • Babe in the Woods: Tourist spend most of their life in the protected confines of domed or walled cities and have no idea what life if like in the wastelands. Tourist characters start with the Clueless hindrance.
  • Life of Luxury: Tourist usually have a lot more E-script than wastlanders and since their equipment is newer than most wasteland equipment it can bring double it's value in trade. Tourist characters start with the Rich edge.
  • Sheltered: Tourist grow up in climate controlled environments thus they easily become uncomfortable in the wastelands. Tourist characters suffer from a -4 penalty to resist all negative environmental effects (heat, cold, pressure, ect.)
  • Educated: Tourist spent at least 12-16 or more years of their life in schools learning a variety of subjects. Tourist start with a d6 in any two specific Knowledge skills that do not have to do with the wastelands.

Scavengers can get you almost anything with enough time and money.
Copyright Nate Miller Photography

Scavengers: A lot of people died after things went south. Whole communities either died off from disease or nuclear fallout or some kind of civil strife. Those who could fled to the walled cities and domes as fast as they could. As such there is a lot of unclaimed property out there that isn't doing anyone any good. Scavengers are the prospectors of the wastelands. Always on the search for caches of lost technology or just some useful junk. Scavengers frequently operate in small groups and they very jealously guard their “finds”. Scavengers most frequently deal with techs unless they are lucky enough to find the occasional bit of perfectly workin' technology in which case they usually sell to the highest bidder.

Scavengers are secretive types who rarely trust anyone outside their own crew. In fact it is said they rarely trust anyone in their crews either. They are usually good at spottin' useful items and knowin' what they can get in trade or E-script for it. Most Scavengers are content to poke around the ruins of the past for useful stuff but a few are quite happy to scavenge technology from your still twitchin' corpse.

  • Useful Items: Scavengers usually have a number of small useful items on their persons and they are very resourceful in the way they use them. Scavenger characters start with the McGiver edge.
  • Enforcer Enmity: Scavengers frequently scavenge their lost technology from corporate or government controlled projects and facilities in the wastelands. As such they don't get along well with Enforcers. Scavenger characters suffer a -4 Charisma penalty when interacting with Enforcer characters and NPCs.
  • Tribal Enmity: Some of the best lost technology caches are frequently on Tribal lands and Tribals do not look kindly on trespassers. Scavenger characters suffer a -4 Charisma penalty when interacting with Tribal characters and NPCs.
  • Burglar: A lot of lost technology caches are secured in locked vaults and facilities so Scavengers must learn to bypass these security measures. Scavenger characters start with a d6 in the Lockpicking skill.
  • Good Eye: Scavengers spend a lot of time combing through junk piles or searching overgrown areas for lost technology. Scavenger characters start with a d6 in the Notice skill.
  • Dangerous Prospects: Scavengers are very careless when they are searching for lost technology caches therefore they will often snoop around areas they don't belong. Scavenger characters suffer from the Curious hindrance.
  • Like a Ghost: Scavengers frequently have to sneak into guarded areas to recover lost technology. Scavenger characters start with a d6 in the Stealth skill.
  • Finders Keepers: Lost Technology is extremely valuable in the wastelands. Scavengers guard their finds jealously. Scavenger characters suffer from Greed as a Minor hindrance.

Enforcers: For a number of usually stupid reasons sometimes the high and mighty decide that they need to exert some kind of influence over the World's unfortunates. Usually they choose professional killers for this purpose because they usually want some resource we have discovered or to find some lost and important Tourist. Enforcers are professional private security contractors that work for the governments and corporations of the domed or walled cities. They are well equipped, highly trained, and utterly devoted to their contracts. They are most commonly found in the wastelands escortin' trade convoys or diplomats, lookin' for criminals or lost Tourists, or indiscriminately drivin' wastelanders off some bit of land someone important decided they needed.

Enforcers are not necessary cold and heartless. Some are devoted husbands, wives, mothers, and fathers or otherwise decent folks. When they are in civilization that is. Outside they are brutally efficient killers. They are conditioned to believe wastelanders are the greatest threat to civilization and that they are the thin blue/green/urban cammo, line that protects all that they love from sub human monsters. You really can't blame them but you can't trust them to do anything other that kill you without losin' sleep over it if they believe their mission dictates it.

  • Firearms Training: Enforcers receive extensive firearms training for their profession. Enforcers characters start with a d6 in the Shooting skill.
  • Hand to Hand Training: Enforcers receive extensive training in hand to hand combat for their profession. Enforcer characters start with a d6 in the Fighting skill.
  • Contracted: Enforcers are under contracts from either a government or corporation. Enforcer characters start with Vow as a minor hindrance.
  • Militia Enmity: Enforcers are frequently put in positions that put them violent at odds with the citizens of the wastelands and their Militia protectors. Enforcer characters suffer a -4 Charisma penalty when interacting with Militia characters and NPCs.

Trackers: Bounty hunters are sometimes employed by powerful people to track down wanted individuals when larger forces are unavailable or inappropriate. Trackers usually work alone or in small teams to hunt their quarry. Well armed and equipped for wastelanders Trackers are formidable combatants although they will usually employ more subtle techniques than Enforcers when trackin' their targets. For their own safety Trackers usually do their best to stay on the good side of local authorities and minimize collateral damage. It is considered unprofessional to inconvenience innocent bystanders among the members of their profession.

Trackers are usually a combination of skilled fighter, sharp investigator, and cautious negotiator. If they are smart they do everything they can to get the drop on their targets to minimize casualties especially if the target is preferred alive by their employers. Some however are little more than hired hit men.

  • Bloodhound: Trackers have to be adept at tracking fugitives over a variety of terrain. Tracker characters start with a d6 in the Tracking skill.
  • Tribal Enmity: Trackers frequently have to track fugitives who trespass onto Tribal lands which causes Tribals to distrust them. Trackers suffer from a -4 Charisma penalty when interacting with Tribal characters and NPCs.
  • Man About the Wastlands: Trackers are experts at gathering knowledge about their targets off the street. Trackers start with a d6 in the Streetwise skill.
  • Nomad Enmity: Nomads make a lot of enemies in the wastelands and they are frequently on the bad side of powerful and wealthy individuals and organizations. Nomads are typically distrustful of Trackers. Trackers characters suffer a -4 Charisma penalty when interacting with Nomad characters and NPCs

Well that about covers the most interestin' types you might run into round these parts. The wastelands ain't no place to be for proper city folks so it's best you just take my word for it. Now thanks to this article and a fat transfer of E-script I'll be livin' it up in the Houston Dome! God Bless.

Note: I hope to make this available as a PDF soon.

This game references the Savage Worlds game system, available from Pinnacle Entertainment Group at Worlds and all associated logos and trademarks are copyrights of Pinnacle Entertainment Group. Used with permission. Pinnacle makes no representation or warranty as to the quality, viability, or suitability for purpose of this product.”

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