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Michael the Lost (Wasteland comics)

Michael the Lost


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Wasteland was a 2006-2015 post-apocalyptic series published by Oni Press. “The Walking Dead meets 30 Days of Night meets Mad Max”, or some such.

It takes place 100 years after the Big Wet; somewhere in America.


Background

  • Real Name: Unrevealed.
  • Other Aliases: Scavenger Man, Corpse Cleaner, Ruin-runner, Waste walker, Michael the Lost.
  • Marital Status: Unrevealed.
  • Known Relatives: Abi, Marcus, Mary (possible relatives).
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 6’2″ Weight: 210 lbs. Age:Likely 80+ years.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Black


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Powers and Abilities

Michael is a hardy man who ignores pain and fatigue. If hurt, he will continue until he passes out from blood loss. He’s convinced that he’ll heal up again over time, and it has been hinted that he has done so many times over.

There also are hints that he doesn’t age at all, making him immortal.

If he did visit the supposedly radioactive A-Ree-Yass-I area, then he has unusual resilience against radioactivity as well.

Other assets

His wanderings over the years meant developing survival skills. He seems to know his way around the continent well, and is knowledgeable about the wasteland inhabitants and cultures. He is a solid combatant, capable of holding his own against small groups of opponents.

He knows the old language of the world, called “the tongue”.

He also has poorly documented superhuman powers that include :

  1. Healing up from essentially lethal wounds.
  2. Powerful offensive and defensive telekinetic abilities.
  3. Some sort of telepathic abilities.
  4. An uncanny rapport with wild animals.
  5. Sensing danger in the vicinity.

Sometimes using his powers will result in a nose-bleed.


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Additional context

Wasteland inhabitants and old world myths

Most wasteland inhabitants, like those in the former trading outpost named Providence, are freemen. They engage in farming, trading, hunting and scavenging. Some are believers in the cross-chain (Christians), while most are Sunners (believers in the sun and the moon). Sunners are generally regarded as a cult and derided as lazy.

City inhabitants, like those of Newbegin and likely Wosh-Tun and Flad-si-dee, are freemen, artisans or slaves. Newbegin is commanded by Marcus, the Lord Founder (another superhuman) who has kept watch for over 80 years. There is also a ruling council with Primates.

There are some secretly superpowered people around, including Michael. These do not remember their own parents or their own age. They might be relatives or at least part of the same experiment.

There are caravans that travel from trade post to trade post with giant machines. One example is o sultan Ameer and his gang. Trade is an important part of the wastelands, and popular trade goods include boots, chain, clothes, old world hardware, meat and vegetable. Common currency is Newbegin cash.

In-between

The feared mutants named the sandpeople (or “sand-eaters”) are raiders in the deep deserts and hate men. They look exactly like you’d expect desert mutants in cowls to look like. Their leader is the Sand King.

Michael the Lost using his telekinesis

Some of the hunter-gatherers in the deserts belong to the Dog Tribes, while others are free nomads. The Dog Tribes have interesting cultural traits and names like Alpha Rover, Shadow, Scorp Tail, Banner, Muzzle and Candy.

There are also old city ruins, called Precities. These are inhabited only by dwellers, who are monstrous nocturnal mutants. Although dangerous, precities are, of course, good sources of trade goods and advanced machinery.

Most locales that Michael visits are barren deserts and dustbowls without modern technology. The seas are poisonous, and subsistence farming with small amounts of livestock appears to be the norm.

Then lastly, there is the fabled land of A-Ree-Yass-I. Its location is secret and the area, according to rumor, is radioactive. Anyone who visits it is said to die within a month.

The tongue

Linguistics are one of the most important and interesting parts of Wasteland. The English language has changed somewhat since our days. Be sure to use the era’s correct language for maximum role-playing effect and award the players for using it properly. Swearing, for example, is different.

Sample sentences include: “Doesn’t make a goat’s nut’s difference.” (no longer are cows the reference, but goats are used in all such expressions), “son of a goat” and “that sun-damned…”.

Use of the suffix -age has greatly increased in certain social circles and often replaces the -ing suffix. It seems to be the anti-language of caravaneers and slavers. It is possible to mock such people by ridiculously adding the suffix to existing words (producing, for example, Michael’s famous stabbage-quote).

The meaning should be clear in these sample sentences:

  • “Quit yer fuckin’ hollerage!”
  • “Cease fireage!”
  • “Help me do some clearage.”
  • “Those women are worth serious coinage in Newbegin.”
  • “I want extended tradeage rights in Newbegin.”
  • “My offerage is much.”
  • “Looks like he’s got truthage.”

Other languages

Then we have the sandpeople who speak an odd, hissing and shrieking variety of English. People tend to think that it’s a completely separate language from their own. Here is an example: “Fiiiiiitaan. Sandiiz naneefiiiiire takillll! Izzamooor sandiiz anna nastiiis! Kiiilnasstiiis!”.

The story “Dawnrazor” in Wasteland<:I> #15, was entirely in sandpeople speech!

Sandpeople in the Wasteland

The Dog Tribes have a vocabulary reflecting their cultural values. They have an interesting culture as hunter-gatherers and dog owners. Their speak is exemplified by the following:

  • “Because he threw a dog-damned rock in my head!”
  • “You heard the theta, bitch (the female equivalent of the male “dog”). You’re my wife now! Now shut your yap and do as you’re told.”
  • “All right, pad out there and sniff them.”

Of course, the boss is the alpha (or “top dog”), his closest men the betas. A loser is an omega. Despite this use, members of the Dog Tribes do not see themselves as animals – it’s merely a strong cultural trait.


History

The story is set in the Wastelands of Post-Apocalyptic America one hundred years after the Big Wet. This unspecified disaster destroyed modern society and, it is assumed, changed the world’s coastlines.

Little is known about the protagonist Michael, which is not unusual for men in his line of work. Michael is a “Ruin Runner”, “Corpse Cleaner” or “Waste Walker”, depending on whom you ask. He’d tell you he’s none of those things; he’s a trader, a businessman. Most people would just call him a scavenger.

Michael travels the wasteland, finding and trading in whatever he can salvage. Even this long after the Big Wet, there’s still plenty of stuff out in the desert, remnants of the world before, much of it just lying around for the taking.

As a general rule, ruin runners are loners. They’re surly, antisocial — some would say misanthropic — and remarkably selfish. All qualities needed to survive alone in the wasteland.

These same qualities make ruin runners pretty unpopular with people who choose to live in towns, cities and communities. But those same people are normally unwilling to venture out into the desert themselves, so people like Michael are a necessary evil.

Man of mystery

What sets Michael apart from the average ruin runner is his strange abilities, which even he can’t explain. That, and his fading memory. Michael doesn’t know his own last name, he can’t remember his parents, and he has no idea how old he is. Go back far enough and it all just becomes a blur.

Michael the Lost face closeup

It is known that Michael is very old, although he doesn’t look like it. His earliest memory is that he first awoke in a facility underground. He has since wandered as far as to the East Coast and then again back to the West Coast several times. He might be one of the great unofficial authorities of wasteland geography of his time.

Michael continues to offer his services to the highest bidder. He got his epithet of “the lost” from o sultan Ameer the caravan trader, who found him just wandering the deserts one day, and who then proceeded to hire him.

An history with Providence

It is known that Michael visited the small trade city of Providence only 45 years after the Big Wet, and then again, recently-in-story, 55 years later.

It seems that the sandpeople, a nomadic mutant race of the deserts, had tracked him to the trading post, which resulted in its destruction. The surviving inhabitants fled to the city of Newbegin, where they, being regarded as members of the Sunners cult, were enslaved.

Most of them regained their freedom after the sandpeople launched a major attack on the city. In Newbegin Michael became aware of two more superpowered beings, namely Marcus, the Lord Founder of Newbegin, and his sister Mary.

The talking machine

Just before the attack on Providence Michael found a talking machine in a Sand-Eaters’ camp. That set a chain of events in motion that would change him – and the world around him – forever.

Given his own superhuman abilities Michael has always been curious about what the legendary A-Ree-Yass-I is about, and the machine appears to give a map to this mythic place.

After troubles in Newbegin, Michael left the city alongside the super-powered Abi, who was the sheriff of Providence, to look for A-Ree-Yass-I. On their way there, since Michael claims to know where the legendary facilities are, they faced some problems with the Dog Tribes.

They have recently taken up their voyage again. They travel alongside Gerr, a wanderer who is secretly the assassin of Marcus, the Lord Founder of Newbegin. Marcus, his sister Mary, Michael and Abi are currently the only known superpowered people in the wastelands.

Their origin, as of this writing, remains a mystery, but is sure to be revealed in the coming books.


Description

Michael is usually wearing a long coat, a broad hat, goggles, a bandanna and a walking staff. These clothing offers him good protection from the harsh climate of the deserts.

He has long, dark hair, and eyes that seem to glow in the dark. It sometimes looks as if he has pointed ears.


Personality

Michael is a survivor of the wastelands. The eternal traveler and scavenger looking for his own past. He is a man of few words who keeps to himself. He is mostly looking out for number one, just wanting to make it one more day. He generally avoids cities since he finds them too loud.

Michael never smiles, isn’t very talkative, uses shortened sentences and never uses the pronoun “I”. He enjoys trading and gambling, even while he is usually regarded with suspicion.

His rough exterior and blunt manners have resulted in people often calling him ignorant, selfish, son of a goat and much worse. He is, in fact, often misunderstood, but he does little to correct the situation.

Other traits

Michael is curious about his own mysterious origins, and will follow up on leads that offer further clues to his own history. Thus, Abi, another superpowered being, became a rather interesting friend. Generally, always on the move, Michael has few friends.

Michael the Lost disarms a man with a knife using a kick

However, quite naturally, they are both on the look for A-Ree-Yass-I to understand where they are coming from in a sort of alliance.

His professional friendship with o sultan Ameer, the caravan trader, seems to have been severely damaged by Michael sleeping with one of his wives (under quite special circumstances, it has to be said). Ameer will, however, provide services and help against payment. He quite likely has friends or ex-friends (as well as enemies) all over the continent.

Michael is a rather capable combatant and will fight when necessary. He will attempt to escape overwhelming forces, using his powers while doing so. Since showing his powers might be dangerous, he usually keeps them a secret. Michael will usually avoid doing outright immoral things.

Although reluctant to help out other people if he isn’t paid, he has been known to feel obliged to freely help out the really suffering innocents. For example, sensing that he might have been partly responsible for the destruction of Providence, he helped the surviving inhabitants to the closest city, Newbegin, by arranging a caravan for them.

One gets the feeling that he is as much an enigma to himself as to his surroundings.


Quotes

“Think you took a wrong turn, stranger. Nothing to see here.”

(Laughing) “Hrrr. Hrrr. Hrrr.”

“Time for stabbage.”

“How about I compensate your mouth with my fist ?”

Shopkeeper: “Good afternoon, sir.”
Michael: “We’ll see.” (picks up a gun in the shop)
Sheriff: “Don’t even fuckin’ think about it.”
Michael: “Not loaded. Came to trade. Took it from a couple of sand-eaters yesterday. How much ?”
Shopkeeper: “We don’t have much call for guns around here…”
Sheriff: “Wait a second, doc, this is goatshit. There ain’t no sandies within a day’s walk of here.”
Michael: “Not anymore. Got other stuff, if gun’s no good.”

Michael: “Told you not to join the caravan. Figured you wouldn’t like it. Also told Sultan to keep it secret.”
Jake: “You bastard. You get half our fucking town killed, you lie about this caravan, you almost got Abi killed… and now you’re a fucking slaver ?”


DC Universe History

There is plenty of room in the world of Hex, Kamandi or the like for yet another wanderer. There are some interesting twists to Michael, such as his apparent immortality, that makes him useable in various time periods (i.e. World War III to the era of the Legion of Super-Heroes).


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Michael

Dex: 04 Str: 04 Bod: 04 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 04 Wil: 05 Min: 06 Occupation: Scavenger, Trader
Inf: 04 Aur: 03 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: Variable
Init: 014 HP: 040

Powers:
Invulnerability: 06, Mind Probe: 06, Regeneration: 02, Systemic Antidote: 03, Telekinesis: 06

Bonuses and Limitations:
As a Stunt Power Michael can whip up a small, disorienting sandstorm (emulating that application of the Earth Control Power described on p.72 in Blood of Heroes, special Edition) using his Telekinesis.

Skills:
Accuracy (Telekinesis): 07, Animal Handling (Animal Friendship): 06, Charisma: 04, Martial Artist: 05, Military Science (Cartography, Danger Recognition): 07, Thief (Escape Artist): 06, Weaponry (Firearms): 05, Weaponry (Melee): 06

Bonuses and Limitations:
Animal Friendship, Escape Artist and Danger Recognition are Powered Subskills (-1).

Advantages:
Area Knowledge (Desert wastelands), Expertise (Bartering), Familiarity (Gambling, Wasteland cultures and peoples), Languages (Common speak, “The Tongue”), Scholar (Wasteland survival), Slowed Aging.

Connections:
O Sultan Ameer the Caravan Driver (likely Low), Abi (Low).

Drawbacks:
Misc. Drawback (He can’t read).

Equipment:

  • Knives (x2) [BODY 06, Enhance (EV): 01 (Cap is 07), Descriptor: Piercing, Slashing]. These can also be “wielded” using Telekinesis as if it were STR.
  • Binnox [BODY 01, Telescopic Vision 04, Note: this is regular binoculars].
  • Usually a firearm of some sort.
  • Recorder [BODY 01, Recall 08, Notes: Recall is Audial only. The current message is in the old tongue and supposedly gives the coordinates to A-Ree-Yass-I. The recorder is solar-powered and will not run out of power.].
  • Sack of goods [BODY 1, variable contents useful for trading].

Hypotheticals

  • Michael is quite possibly immortal, which would give him the full Immortal Advantage.
  • During his many voyages Michael may have developed the full Omni-Connection Advantage.
  • Michael likely also has additional skills, powers and abilities not yet revealed in the books.


By Dr. Peter S Piispanen.

Source of Character: Wasteland comics #1-25 by Oni Press.

Helper(s): thebigwet.com , Sébastien Andrivet, Darci.

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