The Metal Waste is a wasteland in a literal sense, where the inscrutable refuse of a time-lost culture (advanced far beyond our own) accumulated over untold centuries. The Waste was inevitably abandoned after the civilization fell, and has since been left to the whims of time.
As the ages passed, strata gathered atop the refuse like paint on a canvas. The land is harsh and gray, barren due to the chemical slag it covers. The only evidence of the long-buried refuse are bits of metal and glass found among the pebbly ground, and a faint charge in the air that makes your hair stand on end.
At least that is the common story. But anyone who’s been to the Metal Waste knows that the truth is much stranger. Crooked spires and pylons protrude from the earth, hinting at the larger mysteries buried below.
Inconceivable discoveries have been made by those brave enough to venture into the wasteland’s decaying heart: beneath the strata of gray, ashen earth lie labyrinths of maddening geometry; organized structures far bigger than any known today, built by methods long lost to mankind. And hidden in these structures are said to be strange and terrible things: legions of ancient men preserved in crystal coffins, fetal stars bound in adamantine cages, and treasures whose very nature lies at odds with our understanding of the world. Of course, that is what these scavengers claim.
Most of what is found in the Metal Waste is trash. Dangerous trash, but the danger is manageable as long as you know how to deal with chemical burns and radiation poisoning. Even trash can have its value. There’s enough scrap metal buried down there for an eager scavenger to earn a king’s ransom, and even better are the baubles and curios, always broken beyond repair, that are given new life after being deconstructed and repurposed.
These become the tools of the scavengers, which are used to delve even deeper into the wastes and discover even more decrepit wonders.
Each tool can be used 1d6 times a day, after which they must recalibrated the next morning. If a character is skilled with machines, their Intelligence or tinkering bonus gets applied to the 1d6 roll.
- Extend-o-hand: A skeletal metal hand connected to a series of thin, interlocking strips of metal that fit on the back of the forearm like a bracer. The metal strips can unfold and extend up to 10’, and the fully articulated hand can be controlled by an intricate wire system controlled by the wearer’s fingers. This increases the reach of one of your hands by up to 10’, although you can’t use it to lift heavy things or effectively use a weapon. The hand can support the weight of a fully grown man and not much more, despite repeated attempts by tinkerers and artificers to modify the design.
- Spring boots: Actually clockwork components that strap over regular boots. Clicking the heels together primes the mechanism, launching you 10’ into the air 10 seconds later. Leaping with the launch sends you 20’, and a running jump launches you 30’. The boots are a lot of fun to use, although many ankles have been sprained and knees dislocated by foolish scavengers who got too carried away.
- Glide pack: A slim backpack that can deploy two membranous, wing-shaped parachutes. The parachutes negate the first 100’ of fall damage, and allow the wearer to move 5’ horizontally for every 10’ of falling. Despite the value it has for preventing tragic falls, relatively few scavengers bring them on their excursions because they can’t wear a normal backpack with it on. Given a decision between safety and the potential for bringing home more loot, the choice for most scavengers is clear.
- Light belt: A thick wire belt with two luminiferous gaslights mounted on either side. Both lights together have the same illumination as a torch, and they leave your hands free. Both lights can be shuddered and adjusted to only shine forward like a hooded lantern. One usage lasts 30 minutes. Scavengers frequently decorate these by hanging small trophies and mementos found off of them.
- Multiform implement: A small handheld device, about the size of a deck of cards, made up of several rectangular sections. The sections can shift and unfold to reveal various tools and mechanisms, like a steampunk leatherman. Functions as thieves tools that grant a +15% (or +1 in a 1d6 system like LotFP) bonus to picking locks and disarming traps. It can also do everything a typical multitool or Swiss army knife can do. No two are exactly alike.
- Magnet grenade: A dark metal ball with two shiny bands crossing its surface. When triggered, it creates a pulse that draws all magnetic objects in a 30’ radius. Can only be used once a day, and has a 2-in-6 chance of irreparably breaking each time it is used. They are generally frowned upon in the Metal Waste as they can cause unintentional damage to the buried megastructures and occasionally lead to catastrophic collapses.
- Crowjack: A cross between a crowbar and a car jack. The wedge expands as the handle is cranked, allowing stuck doors to be opened and heavy loads to be lifted with ease. Has a 5-in-6 chance to open a stuck door, and generates no more noise than someone walking around in chainmail. On a 1, the door breaks and is unable to be closed again. Only recently invented, many older scavengers scoff at them and claim that they take some of the spirit out of exploring the ruins.
- Grapple claw: A claw-like grappling hook connected to an arm-cannon by a length of thin chain. Works like a hook shot from Legend of Zelda. The claw can be shot up to 60’; if it latches to something heavier than you, it pulls you closer. Vice versa if it latches to something lighter than you. If it hits something fragile, the object will break it. The chain can also be set to raise or lower slowly, so you can use it to climb and lower yourself safely. It can support the weight of a fully equipped full grown man. These are the most coveted tools in the scavengers arsenal, but also the hardest to get ahold of.
For pricing, any one tool would go for 2d4x100 SP (silver standard) except for the grapple claw, which is twice the price. That being said, scavengers rarely sell their tools and would rather trade for something useful or valuable.
For murderhobo purposes, treat scavengers as Thieves/Specialists with 1d6 HD and two random tools, plus a 50% chance of an additional tool for each HD above 1.