APAGear II Archives Volume 3, Number 11 December, 2001



Living off the Corpses

Janne Kemppi

Badlands is sparsely populated arid zone between two mutually suspicious superpower blocks in Terra Nova. Life there is often harsh due lack of developed physical and social infrastructure. Furthermore, it is often turned into a battlefield in frequent skirmishes and minor clashes by polar located blocks wrestling for supremacy. This causes local population to turn into refugees as they seek to flee from battle. A lack of social and physical safety subsequently often causes long stretches of unemployment and extreme poverty. Many Badlanders, especially those in military age, thus join their fortunes to militaries trying to earn their living as scouts and auxiliary laborers or even skilled workers. Some simply have to work on their own. They often turn into crime becoming Rovers which has become a generic term for describing small bandit groups roaming the Badlands in times of great upheaval.

There is a more specialized class of Rovers called Scavengers. They have also such (not so pleasing) nicknames as "Body Looters" or "Grave Robbers". They are simply small groups of Badlanders who wait for battle to end and then come to the scene to recover whatever useful material they can. In practice this means going through all the bodies and equipment abandoned to battlefield. The proceedings are then sold forwards through black market to get money and supplies necessary to survive. Scavenging is very illegal activity but it becomes a part of normal social life in Badlands in time of crises. Groups mushroom during wartime when amount of abandoned equipment is high. They are also practically nonexistent in peaceful times when there is nothing much to take. Most groups simply disperse but some turn into "regular" Rovers.

Militaries have traditionally taken a dim view on things that Scavengers do for their living. Furthermore, many people in general do not enjoy idea of someone prowling over corpses in general and their friends' corpses in special. Legally all soldiers should turn over suspected (and known) Scavengers to military court martial where they'll get a fair trial and just (harsh) punishment. In practice soldiers often kill suspected Scavengers on the spot. Those few that are caught alive are often given rough justice and torment of captured ones can continue for days. Only lucky few actually arrive to court martial to receive harshest possible punishment. Scavengers know the penalties of their activities quite well. Thus some groups kill any surviving soldiers to cover their tracks and to make tracking them more difficult. This, naturally, only incites soldiers.

Scavenger groups are typically equipped with trucks and small cross-country vehicles allowing them to carry whatever they have taken. They have often also military small arms but seldom any major piece of equipment such as Gears or armored fighting vehicles. Well-equipped groups have often one or two tool shop trucks to assist them in removing useful parts from destroyed vehicles. Some high-end groups might even field vehicles specially equipped for recovery. Size of these groups varies from individuals to one or two dozen.

Scavengers have often very diversified collection of skills depending on previous occupation but there is seldom any dedicated directly military applicant skills or background. Those few technically trained or experienced people who can carry out (or lead) recovery of are most valued and often work as experts in the group. These people are often deserters from Polar armies.

Scenario seed: Loot Rush!

There has been a particularly vicious fighting close to a nearby small Badlands community. Surviving refugees are coming out of their caves and hiding places to see who has survived and who has not. Dying smoke columns are sure sign that armies are moving away and leaving behind a virtual treasure trove. Thus there are soon several impromptu Scavenger parties ready to leave along with groups of deserters and more 'professional' Rover gangs coming over long distances. A motley collection of groups leaves refugee camp at night fall trying to avoid military patrols and such battlefield hazards like mines and unexploded ordnance. It is dangerous job but someone has to do it and if someone, be that a competitor or a soldier, comes across, that's just too bad...


  1. Looks quiet. Perfect looting opportunity...
  2. Military police unit is screening through the area. They are not too happy to see Scavengers at all...
  3. Competing Rover gang is closing you. To trade or to steal with you?
  4. Group is totally lost and sun is rising soon making them sit in open plate...
  5. Something very valuable is found. Then again, whoever lost it might be interested in getting it back, with good or bad...
  6. You find a soldier who explains something of very valuable shipment that went through the supply column a little time ago. Is it a tall tale to save her skin or is it true?

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APAGear II Archives Volume 3, Number 11 December, 2001