Outcast envoys speak of a grounded ship that appears randomly throughout the Wastes, still manned by a loyal crew eager to return to the seas that are no more. They call it the Defiance.
by Under Librarian Tai Shui
(aka Tyler Omichinski)
I wish I could tell you where the Defiance was. But, like so much else in the Wastes, it isn’t exactly predictable. All I can say is you’ll recognize it.
From a distance, it looks like a hunk of metal left behind in the desert. Draw closer and you’ll recognize a ship – the largest of its kind that any one can remember. Someone left it behind when the waters boiled away. When the Wastes are as calm as they get, the exterior crawls with the crew who continue their maintenance, no matter what else happens to them.
I advise caution when dealing with the crew of The Defiance; they aren’t the most reasonable bunch you’ll find. They are, to a soul, convinced the ocean is going to return to them. To hear them tell the tale, the return will happen any day now. Disagreeing with them on this, or otherwise challenging their beliefs is asking for trouble. Some tell tales of victims being kidnapped and brought around to their way of thinking.
While it’s fun to laugh at this example of insanity in the wastes, mind that they have proved themselves capable of surviving the worst the Wastes can throw at them. Time and time again the Wastes has tried to chew them up, but each time the would-be sailors hole up in their ship and ride out storm and beast alike.
They are led by Captain Dembe Graz, a veritable mountain of a man who resembles nothing so much as his ship. Clad in heavy, rusted iron, he appears to operate without sleep or mercy. In all ways, he acts as a captain aboard a ship, referring to those off the vessel as being “overboard” and the highest honor he can give an outsider is being a “Captain”.
The Defiance itself is 150’ long and 30’ across at its widest point. It tapers, slowly, towards a point at either end. The appearance has varied, as it is, from time to time, relocated across the wastes. After each such movement, the crew leaps into action to scour the nearby area for any resources they may need to repair their ship. There are several cannons on the ship that make up the strongest part of their armoury, though the crew has small arms they use to defend themselves. The days are filled with maintenance, hunting for food, and training for what they are to do should the ocean return to them.
The mode of locomotion for their ship is unknown to outsiders. When questioned about how they reached their current location, the crew always states that they sailed there. It appears that it is part of their larger inability to grapple with reality, claiming that they have travelled across a body of water. There might not even be a singular mode of transport; perhaps it is occasionally attacked by leviathans or predators that are, ultimately, unable to get into the ship.
Captain Dembe Graz
A mountain of a man standing over 8′ tall, Captain Graz (or simply the Captain, as he prefers) wears an iron suit of mysterious origins to protect him from the ravages of the Wastes using various life support systems (respirator, pacemaker, etc.). Anyone who studies the Defiance up close will discern many of the components came from the Defiance itself.
Homeland: The Wastes (formerly Dharos)
Qi Power: None known
Unique Features: The Captain’s face is hidden underneath long dreadlocks and a knotted beard. He very much appears like a steampunk version of a pirate and adorns his iron suit with various knickknacks collected during his time at sea and abandoned in the Wastes.
Unwavering Belief d6/3/2
Oh Captain, My Captain d6/3/2
Resource Slots: Iron suit (+1 steps or +1 damage); The Defiance (+1 steps; the use of this resource can include detailed knowledge gained from countless years spent on board this ship)
Sleepless: In part to the madness brought on with commanding the Defiance and as a result of the life support systems built into his suit, the Captain does not require sleep.
This post was written by Tyler Omichinski, a writer and game designer from the wilds of Canada. He’s been a contributor for two ENnie nominated RPGs and has received an honourable mention for the Writers of the Future contest. He lives with his wife and a gargantuan black dog.