Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Nuclear Renaissance Forces: The Giggles Clan


Next up on the forces of the Wastelands are the Giggles Clan:

The dust storms that blow about can be hard. They last for days, blocking out the light, the warmth of the sun. Better to be sheltered, and the Giggles clan have done just this. The family stretches back at least ten generations and more but as none of them keep any records there isn’t any knowing who their first ancestors were. They have been living in the same warren of tunnels, caverns and shanty sheds the whole time, extending it adhock as new wee ones are spawned.

The main thing that marks the Giggles out is their uncanny affinity with machines. Most have cybernetic limbs and mechanical systems grafted to their bodies. Some are fused with hulking guns, industrial size power tools and even whole vehicles!

They believe that the flesh is weak, and that survival lies in replacement. They take this ideal extremely seriously indeed. Its two fold logic says that family binds and replaces the lost parts of the spirit as metal binds and replaces the lost parts of the body. They rely on one another, and they rely on their ingenuity.

The world of the Nuclear Renaissance is dangerous, and its all too easy for horribly crippling injuries to befall the residents. The giggles clan see this as a trial. Those that survive are esteemed, and those that die are scavenged for parts, then replaced by new members.

The oldest living of the clan are ancient indeed, often with scant remaining flesh left on their iron bones. Old Gargamel is said to be over three hundred years old, and some say there isn’t even the merest strand of his original body left! Still, such mechanisation comes at a price. The giggles family are shunned socially, and have become dour and joyless. As they age they come to resemble machines in temper as well as physique. Its rare that an outsider to the family is welcomed.

The Giggles Clan (left to right: Papa, Camshaft, Leroy and Pontius)

The Giggle’s family don’t think much of the wicked ways of the others. Decadent bunch they are, obsessed with lewd acts and drinking, how will that make the world better? Family, that’s where strength and dignity come from. In this harsh world each must raise children, and the more the better. And while your at it, why not see to some upgrades? The dust storms can rob you of your very life blood, and Papa Giggles has seen dust storms so black you’d think the world was ending again. We are ill equipped with our frail bodies.

Better to upgrade. Better to replace. Steel may rust, but so what? If your rusty leg falls off, replace it with a new one! Much better. And after so many years, Papa Giggles has become more machine than man. His huge claw of steel can cut the thickest armour, so nobody can get the better of him! Even if he goes down, he will soon be on his feet again. That’s strength, that’s endurance. And whats better than that? Family you can trust in a scrape. If you can’t get up, they will pick you up.

Another strong candidate for the first force to be worked on for my Nuclear Renaissance project, the Giggles Clan are essentially an extended family group of cyborg hillbillies. Armed with an array of powerful cybernetic limbs, or improvements as the clan puts it they also tend to field an unusual mixture of support weaponry, often grafted directly onto themselves. A good example of this is the Engine Cannon:

Leroy Giggles Armed With An Engine Cannon

The Engine cannon evolved as a pragmatic, if unorthodox response to the logistical concerns of acquiring ammunition. Charging rail-cells or refining chemical propellants is a time consuming and costly process in the wastes. Invented by the
Giggles family, they applied their twisted logic to the principals of ‘conservation of energy’ and decided to remove a stage form the ammunition creation process. They stopped charging rail cells and used the generator to fire the ammunition.

The result is the engine cannon which, like most of the developments pioneered by the family, is an ad-hoc and impractical eccentricity, which somehow proves effective. The principal is a simple one. An engine is rigged to fire ammunition from its cylinders rather than pistons. The result is noisy, inaccurate and prohibitively bulky to all but the strongest of combatants or cybernetically augmented monstrosities. The more refined models use complex gearing or bulky pneumatic feeds to
fire shells down a traditional rifled barrel. However there are some models which are simply a V, or inline block scattering shells willy-nilly from their cylinder heads, which are wielded rather like a massive accordion.

Currently the clan are available as a pack of four and individually and many of the machines and vehicles in the Wastelands are also suitable for the somewhat unusual bunch. I really like the combination of backwards hillbilly and the bodged equipment, homemade cybernetics and overall combination of man and machine. The Giggles clan have lots of potential for conversions and scratch builds representing various members of the clan!

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