Monday, December 2, 2013

Wasteland Oddities: Deadmen

In a region as flush with rampant magic as the Wastelands, oddities are to be expected. Among the most feared are the Deadmen. Deadmen come in many forms, and indeed have no "set" pattern. They are almost universally at least unlucky, if not outright cursed.

The name comes not from being undead (although various levels of unlife are common), but rather is bestowed upon one by their enemies, and accepted.
"You should know better than to mess with us! You're a dead man!"
"That's right."
Indeed, nothing but good sense prevents a living person with no particular abilities to claim the title; however, doing so without a means of backing it up is typically fatal. People looking to make a name for themselves will often try to prove it by killing a deadman, enemies will try to make extra sure that their opponent is really dead. It has been said that merely accepting the title carries with it a minor curse.

One common feature of all surviving deadmen is combat. Rogues, mercenaries, and bounty hunters, deadmen are almost always found in or near the line of fire. Routine survival of bad situations and terrifyingly high body counts are common. Deadmen usually don't last more than a few years, racking up an astonishingly large amount of combat hours in a very short time.

A few examples of deadman that are by no means mutually exclusive (The boundaries between the world of the living and the realm of the dead are thin in the Wastelands, and thoroughly determined spirits may force their way back into the world, either serving as the animating spark or forming a body of their own to sustain them upon breaking through. ).

Mechanical, Constructs, and Golems: Constructs, golems, and exceptional quality androids and cyborgs often qualify as deadmen, with their damage resistance, injury tolerance, and merciless mechanical precision.

Artficial Lifeforms: Appearing on the surface to be just another person, if cut open they look like a regular lifeform, but simplified. Organs are abbreviated or missing, optimized, or even mechanical. Extra space may be filled in with damage absorbing filler to protect the important organs that do remain. Rapid healing or damage control systems are common, as is the need for some manner of extra support beyond the usual food/water/air.

Undead: Kind of on the nose for a category called Deadmen, ain't it? They're always intelligent undead, taking additional measures to preserve themselves if needed. Skeletal gunslingers may wander the wastes with a bone to pick, fallen soldiers force their cooling corpse back to its feet for one last fight and find that unlife isn't so bad, or deceased warriors are returned to serve as short lived engines of destruction.

Deadmen are always viewed with a suspicious eye, and often treated as intelligent undead, whether that description is accurate or not.

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