Desert Dwellers

Chris Van Deelen

outside a temporary camp, the members will always be male and they are hunting, scavenging, or possibly setting up a raid.

The females are always subservient to the males and are the care-givers, cooks and take care of all the domestic chores. The males also tend to treat their women more like property and have been known to beat them to death due to slights against their ‘honour’ or manhood.

If a clearly mutated child is born to a family, the woman is always put to death because these nomads consider her to be contaminated (even though it could very well have been the father).

Despite this, these human mutants do possess a handful of mutations that they don’t even realize that they possess. Others who are born with mental mutations often hide this fact from their brethren, who would put them to death if they learned about it. There are even those with in-obvious physical mutations that are in the same boat.

Quite often the females will attempt to leave the tribe (especially those who were captured by the Desert Dwellers). When this happens the females are always tracked down and re-captured. If they are slaves, they are simply put to death on the spot. If they are actual members of the tribe, they are stripped naked and tied to the ground, spread-eagle and left to the mercy of the elements. Few manage to survive more than a day or two before succumbing to the heat and harsh conditions.

Even males who discover that they have mutations will either attempt to hide this fact from the rest of the tribe, kill themselves (usually they do not, they’re too cowardly to do so), or attempt to escape. If they’re caught, they suffer a similar fate as to how the females are executed.

Those who do escape make their ways to other communities, where they discard their desert clothing and try to fit in. These women are always shy and rarely will look a male in the face, and occasionally this gives away their nature, but most of the time it isn’t discovered and they are left alone, eventually integrating fully into the community.

When it is discovered who they are, depending on dealings with the nomads, the community will kill them, exile them or simply leave them alone.

Typically these nomads travel on foot, although they have been known to use horses, mutated buffalo and other such creatures as mounts, and they will gladly use any vehicles they find (although this is exceedingly rare) because it is typically very difficult for the creatures to maintain and keep vehicles running.

Of course their greatest love is artifact weapons. They always have at least one artifact weapon per family, always wielded by the male. It could be an energized melee weapon, a pistol or rifle or something similar. They disdain using regular melee weapons and will only use them if they have no artifacts. The more powerful the weapon, the higher the individual standing is with the tribe.

Quite often these nomads will scout