Arcadians

Chris Van Deelen

No. Enc: 1d4 or 5d20
Alignment: Any
Movement: 150’ (50’)
AC: 2
HD: 14
Attacks: Two
Damage: by weapon type) +3d6 if melee weapons
Save: L14
Morale: 11
Hoard Class: VII, X, XV, always 1d6 weapons (any) and 1d3 types of armor (any)

No one is certain how many different types of genetically engineered super-soldiers were created over the decades leading up to the final wars. Scholars however are at odds when it comes to the race that has become known as the Arcadian’s.

The only fact that they can all agree on is that the super-soldiers had their origin during the earliest years of the 21st century and that the progenitor of the race was a man named Alex Hunter.

Hunter was sorely wounded by an enemy combatant during a mission, taking a bullet to the brain. He survived the attack, although the man was left in a vegetative state as a result. The bullet was lodged deep in his cerebral cortex and inoperable with the medical technology that was available at the time. His commanding officer agreed to subject him to an experimental treatment in hopes that it would bring him back to some semblance of life.

Through a series of accidents and unforeseen circumstances, not only did the treatment work, it altered Hunter so radically that he became something far more than human. In effect by sheer accident the US military managed to create the super-soldier they had been searching for.

As it turned out, the modifications Hunter encountered due to the therapy he underwent changed him at a genetic level and bred true. After years of trying to recreate the process that gave birth to the first of the Arcadian’s, DARPA found that they simply could not achieve this goal. But much to their delight and Hunter’s everlasting dismay, he was able to pass on the changes through his offspring. DARPA ended up harvesting his seed in order to create more of his kind, and as a result the Arcadian race was created.

By harvesting his sperm, they were able to create literal thousands of Arcadians, who were all in effect half-brothers and sisters, as the sperm was used to fertilize only the best specimens available. Once the offspring achieved maturity, they were trained as soldiers.

Each member was put through training that made the ‘Hell Week’ Navy SEAL’s undertake look like basic training. All the soldiers succeeded beyond the DARPA scientists wildest expectations.

The Arcadian program continued unabated for many decades and the soldiers continued to breed successfully. Within a century, entire divisions of Arcadian’s existed and were used in the worst hot-spots around the globe, in near-space, the colonies and even interplanetary.

When the final wars began, these soldiers went up against the best of the best that were sent by the other nations. It was discovered that many of the opposing forces had the equivalent of the Arcadians and the death-toll on all sides was horrific beyond compare.

But the wars came to an end and the planet was nearly destroyed. Few of the Arcadians survived. All government was effectively gone as was the chain of command. The few that did survive went to ground and did their best to help other survivors.

Decades passed and they continued to breed true, as their genetic structure prevented mutation from appearing in their genome.

Now they tend to serve as guards, militia and guardians to the communities that they live in. Many join and serve in the legion (see Wisdom from the Wasteland issue 6: Factions for more information), although with the sheer number of mutations that have appeared since the end of the final wars, they are no longer the apex of combative capability. There are others that are as effective as or even more dangerous than they are through random mutation.

Physically the Arcadian’s appear to be Pure Humans although they are usually no less than six feet in height (even the females) and are quite muscular. The color of their hair, eyes and even skin-tone run the entire spectrum that was considered the norm back in the 21st century. The few times that they bred with exotics (see Wisdom from the Wasteland issue 4: New Races) the Arcadian genome proved to be stronger and the exotic traits did not appear in the offspring.

Also, their personalities differ from individual to individual. There is only one defining trait that is common among all of them. They have a legendary temper. When they are young, it is all but uncontrollable, but as they age they are able to control this deadly temper.

When they engage in combat, they must make a saving throw versus stun or enter a berserker-like state. They gain a  +4 to hit (to their already impressive combative prowess) and all dice are increased by one category (d6 becomes d8 and so forth). The downside is that all saving throws suffer a -4, and their AC is considered to be 4 points worse. This state lasts for 3d6 rounds and they will attack anything that comes near, even companions, although they are allowed another saving throw versus stun (without penalty) to keep from harming companions. Before the final wars this was controlled through drugs and allowed them to act normally, but once the final wars destroyed the infrastructure needed to produce the drugs, they were at the mercy of their rages.

As stated the older they get, the easier it becomes to control this rage. For every five years after the age of fifteen, they gain a +1 to the saving throw. So at 20, the save is -3, 25 the save is -2, 30 the save is -1, and 35 the save is +0.

If they are able to control their temper they are powerful and deadly combatants. They are able to sense the motives and actions of those they are engaged with through their minds, and as such they gain a +3 to all initiative rolls. They are also able to sense others around them, essentially turning them into walking motion trackers. As such it is impossible to surprise them, and they are able to pinpoint the location of targets that are invisible and attack without penalty.

Due to their quick-healing, almost all wounds will be healed, although destruction of the brain or heart will permanently kill them. Even normally killing wounds will eventually regenerate, leaving scars but that is the extent of it. And this regenerative capability also gives them an extended lifespan, similar to that of the Ferals. In fact may believe that they are just a distance cousin to the Ferals. Both groups will deny this, as they know that it is not the case. For the record, the two groups get along well, but it has been discovered that if they interbreed, the offspring will always be of the mother’s race.

Mutations: Empathy, increased senses (all), increased physical attribute (all), neural telepathy (modified), quickness, regenerative capability (fast)

Source: Alex Hunter series by Greig Beck

Chris Van Deelen is the author of the Skirmisher Publishing LLC sourcebook Creatures of the Tropical Wastes sourcebook, co-author of its Wisdom from the Wastelands game supplement and contributor to the 'Sword of Kos: Hekaton' Anthology.