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Video Game / Neo Scavenger

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The world? Hell. Who knows? I mean, who knows what happened to the world? Place's gone all sideways, and who the hell knows?
Bernie, Tent City Junk Peddler

NEO Scavenger is a roguelike turn-based survival simulation video game with some role-playing and adventure game elements. The player takes control of Philip Kindred, a man with no memory who wakes up in a Cryogenic Lab to an apocalyptic Michigan. He sets out to explore the world, and uncover of his forgotten past. But first, he has to stay alive, since everything around can and will kill him.

Developed by Blue Bottle Games, NEO Scavenger is inspired by various old-school games, particularly tabletop role-playing games including Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Rifts, and Shadowrun.

A free demo as well as the current version can be found at the developer website, on GOG, or on Steam. A spaceship sim game set in the same universe, Ostranauts, is in development.


This game contains examples of:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Anything that is carried in a specific container is basically ammunition, saving the trouble of coding "resource lost without container."
    • Liquids can be poured out of bottles to produce stacks of droplets - bottles are only necessary to transport the liquid between hexes. This means that boiling lots of water with tree bark to produce tannin tea results in a field full of tea drops. If one has trouble remembering which of their bottles contain which(water, whiskey and cola bottles use the exact same sprites when full no matter what liquid is in them), one can simply pour them out and re-fill bottles as they please.
    • You can somehow extract electrical charges from batteries before consolidating them in a single battery. This is really noticeable around the Detroit Mega City, where every tent city hex has an unlicensed power tap that Phillip "uses" to produce charges, which he then empties out and stuffs in his electronics. Even better, Phillip can do the same with a "Hot Brick" RTG — a freaking man-portable radioactive battery kitbashed out of a soup can.
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  • Action Survivor: Most scavengers in the game. Philip Kindred, the main protagonist, is basically a blogger.
  • After the End: The game takes place after an unidentified event which led to the collapse of civilization.
  • Agony Beam: The ADS (Short for Active Denial System) defenses at Camp Grayling, which is basically a heat ray. It comes in two forms, first by strategically placed microwave emitters and turrets that forms a invisible wall surrounding the interior of the base, frying anyone who made it past the fence. They also appear mounted on robotic spiders, that will chase down and attempt to fry Philip to death. Each actions that involves taking ADS exposure expresses in great detail the pain your character suffers.
  • Awesome, but Impractical?: Dogman meat. If you manage to kill one and butcher it properly, you get seven medium chunks of it... but even if you cure it the same turn, it will spoil before you eat it all.
  • Bandit Mook: NPCs can steal stuff while the player character is sleeping. Of course, if you can kill them, you can get all your items back.
  • Big Bad: The Merga, a cosmic entity of sorts that discovered the "mass belief become reality" rule and exploited this to increase their own power, becoming powerful enough to create it's own dimension and summon nearly-indestructible wraiths to serve as agents. Philip, while investigating The Merga for the New Earth Ostracon wiki, got too close to the truth, prompting The Merga to summon a Wraith after him. This forces Philip to erase his own memories and go into hiding at the Gyro facility to shake off their tail. However, the Wraith found him and forced him out of hibernation, hoping he gets eaten by a passing dogman. As this fails, the Wraith places additional traps around Michigan, including paying Hatter to send Philip to retrieve a urn, hoping he gets strangled in the process.
  • Body Horror: The Melonhead.
    Narration: ... you pull back a soiled find a bulbous, misshapen head. A waft of pungent body odor and halitosis nearly knocks you over, and you immediately recoil from the shock of sight and smell. The head is human-ish, but with a massive, veiny cranium. Its face is distorted from the stretched skull, eyes fixated open and downward in an expression resembling horror.
  • Bookends: The game starts with Philip waking up from his cyrosleep pod, and is disoriented as he gets up and assesses his surroundings. In the game's ending, Philip climbs out the crashed UAV pod, and is once again disoriented as he examines his current location and realizes that he's in Indiana.
  • Bonus Boss: The Merga Wraith.
  • Boring, but Practical: Everywhere.
    • When you get hurt or sick, you need medical attention. You can find antibiotics, prescription painkillers, and even nanite-based medical treatments... or you can just steep some tree bark in water and drink the resulting "tannin tea". Even better, you can use it to sterilize wounds. You should save some pills and nanites for the inevitable mauling, but 90% of the time you can recover with nothing but tea and a night's rest under a tarp shelter.
    • The single most useful object you can find is a crowbar. Great for looting buildings, and while it's not the best melee weapon, it's one of the most durable; the broad spear will break after a few dozen attacks, but it takes few hundred to break a crowbar. On top of that, you can add a twine strap and wear it in a shoulder slot, freeing up your hands.
    • Scavenging is always easier with a source of light. You can spend weeks finding flashlights, AA batteries, and somehow extracting the electrical charge from any other kind of batteries to keep the AAs charged — and a fully charged flashlight has only eighty charges, and you will waste them by forgetting to turn it off after using it. Or you can use a lighter, which is also good for starting campfires, takes up a third of the space, and only loses about 1% of its durability per use; a fully functional lighter can be used one hundred times. You can extend its lifespan even further by using it to light torches (though torches do eat into inventory space).
    • While Flashlights are considered unreliable in the beginning, careful use of them can make the game much easier. They can be refilled rather easily once you get to Detroit, and a laptop battery can hold 240 charges each, 240 hours worth of light. Careful use of these tools can make exploring much easier.
    • Melee attacks in general, since ranged weapons require some finesse to use, not to mention the ammunition problem. Bonus; the best melee weapon in the game — the broad spear — is just a tree branch with a shard tied to it with string or just paper. You can craft one as soon as you leave the cryo facility.
    • If the player is fond of range weapons, the cheapest option they have is the sling. Crafted from some strings and some rags, it makes use of the stones and pebbles that are virtually everywhere.
    • Bows and arrows are dirt-simple to craft; the bow is just a branch whittled with any sharp tool with medium thread for the bowstring, the arrows are just branches with foil or paper for fletching and glass shards tied on short thread. The arrows are even good for multiple uses.
    • The travois. Just twelve units of medium thread and a bunch of branches, and you get a 16x10 container... and any containers on it do not decay. This pretty much justifies choosing the otherwise-worthless Mechanic skill. Bonus; when its condition approaches zero, you can break it up and re-craft it to return it to perfect condition.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The best armor and weapons in the game can only be acquired by attacking DMC personnel - DMC guards in general, and crafting the Gauss Rifle requires destroying multiple DMC Drones (heavily armored, flying robots that fire armor piercing shots), which are significantly harder to kill than any other enemy in the game. It's really not worth the effort since the DMC never initiates any kind of hostility towards Phillip throughout the game, and pissing the DMC off cuts him off from all the stores save the trading post at the Magical Native American ATN Enclave.
  • Breakable Weapons: All weapons and equipment a "condition" that appears as a percentage, which lowers every time they're used. They break when the number hits 0.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Hinted at in-game, and expanded on by the developer. This has led to a Fantasy Kitchen Sink, where Anishinabe myths like the Windigo exist alongside Michigan lore such as the Enfield Horror and more modern legends, like serial killers haunting creepy cabins.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: A favorite activity of Blue Frog cultists. Done to non-believers and as a initialization ritual for new recruits. Attempting to join their cult requires you to choose enduring either being waterboarded, burned, or electrocuted.
  • Colonized Solar System: Some time before or during Philip's cryosleep, humans have successfully gone to Jupiter and established colonies on its moons. Unfortunately, things there seem to have taken a turn for the worse just like on Earth.
    • One newspaper article describes rebellious militias in the Galilean Confederacy coming to prominence and fighting each other in space and on the surface of Jupiter's colonized moons. The colonists have suffered likewise from the brutal conflict and oppression.
    • Another newspaper article details the financial plight of Troy-Jupiter Group, an off-world mining company that has lost 1.2 billion in revenue due to a month-long worker's strike.
    • The spinoff game Ostranauts will be dealing with these groups.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Headbutting, leg tripping, kicking downed opponents, sneak attacks, luring to traps, and other such moves in combat are both encouraged and necessary for survival.
  • Crapsack World:
    • The game's setting. Cities and towns are abandoned and reduced to ruins. Bandits and looters run rampant. People turn against each other for a good pair of shoes. Add in an enclave of religious nuts that revels in torturing and killing people. Although Detroit Megacity is safe compared to the outside world, they have restrictions on newcomers that resulted in slums forming around its walls. And that's not even the worst of it.
    • Even the pre-apocalypse isn't doing well, which was shown in newspapers that were published during that time. Examples includes Mega-Corp ran by Corrupt Corporate Executive, Chinese super soldier overthrowing the government, open-air drug market, and soda made entirely out of corn syrup.
      • Of special note to the Corrupt Corporate Executive activities, one news article found in-game reveals that the Agrasanto Corporation lobbied and managed to dismantle the otherwise Crazy-Prepared Svalbard Seed Vault (Which in real life preserves and shields various specimens of seeds from plants to grow in the event of famine or a event that would have otherwise driven said crop to extinction.), claiming that the seeds would contaminate their own genetically modified versions of the same seeds. For sure, this would complicate the growing of crops, and seeing how the 'modified' crops had to be chemically burned to create the Black Swamp, one can see how that did nothing but harm humanity's chances at survival.
  • Crazy Survivalist: One of the game routes is to become one of these. Stock up purified water, cured meat and non-perishable food, gather some good clothes and shoes. Prepare spare weapons and ammunition. Then make several other camps and keep stocking up.
  • Critical Encumbrance Failure: Averted. There are several levels of encumbrance, each significantly reduces the character's mobility and makes him tires more quickly.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted. Before dying, characters can sustain various injury (bruises, cuts, crippled limbs) that greatly reduced their mobility and combat effectiveness. It is possible for a character to win a fight and die several days after from blood loss or infection.
  • Crowbar Combatant: On top of it's utility as a scavenging tool and door opener, the crowbar is a fairly effective weapon. Compared to the monkey wrench or meat cleaver, it has a longer reach but does slightly less damage.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: While scripted events avert this if the player has the proper skills, random events almost always seems to assume that the player character is poorly armed and lacks any skills, with few exceptions. In one event, falling into a mugger's trap will result in set mugger overpowering and kill you, even if you have good combat skills and having a strong melee weapon, gun, and armor. In another event, alerting a dogman to your position always results in your death with no way to fight back...
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: ....Yet the Dogman encountered upon the start of a new game can be punched to the death with minimal damage if you select Melee or Strong to fight it (using both prevents any injuries). Normally, Dogman act as Demonic Spiders, who are very difficult to kill even with good weapons, much less unarmed.
  • Deadly Gas: Defoliant Exposure is a permanent illness that results from venturing into the Great Black Swamp. The first stage of this illness (Dormant-Level) is indicated by occasional episodes of abdominal Pains, Dizziness, Eye Irritation, Headaches, and Vomiting. Prolonged exposure will result in pneumonia which may become fatal.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: It's possible to kill The Wraith, a supernatural being able to teleport in between dimensions and able to shrug off bullets. Doing so and being discovered by other the other wraiths in Merga's Realm instantly unlocks both the Elusive and Unstoppable reputations, possible reflecting the "Oh Crap" reaction from The Merga, now aware that Philip was able to kill one of it's agents.
  • The Dreaded: Philip can become one, upon earning the Unstoppable reputation, which will be reflected in conversation with NPCs:
    Looter: Oh hell no. I heard of you. You stay the hell away!
  • Early Game Hell: The first few turns of the game will put you in a desperate struggle to find shoes and clothing to increase your movement and avoid hypothermia. Until you find a vaguely useful weapon, any and all opponents can swat you like a fly. Following that, you will then need a pack to carry stuff and tools (crowbars, bottles, and lighters being some of the most important ones) before you're safe and ready for the rest of the game.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: With the Electrician and Mechanic Skills you can repair the Cryo Facility's lighting and HVAC, turning it into the single most luxurious campsite on the map. However, their use throughout the rest of the world is negligible, so you burned four of your fifteen skill points just to make the early game easier. Though once you reach the DMC, you can use them to craft a Gauss Rifle.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The supernatural entity in the house at Seven Gable Road, whose presence the character can only "feel". By making wrong choices, the character can have his head crushed by its hand. Also, the Merga Wraith.
  • Endless Game: It is possible to survive in the game forever, as food and supply can respawn in the woods, and they can be bartered for. Of course, if you take too long/open up too much of the map for the game to store, you could trigger a Game-Breaking Bug that resets all location data and makes many sites you've already visited impossible to enter.
  • Everything Fades: Completely averted. Killed humans and creatures will remain on the map until they gradually decay (leaving behind pieces of rotten meat which never disappear).
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Here's an inexhaustive list
    • Human enemies: Looter, Bad Mutha, Blue Frog cult members, and everyone you pick a fight with.
    • Non-human enemies: Dogman, Wild Dogs, Melon Head, etc
    • Injuries: A bruise is okay, but a cut can lead to blood loss. Better bandage it. Oh, is that a dirty piece of rag? Be careful, or you might get an infection.
    • Hunger and Thirst: Yep, better eat and drink. However, avoid eating raw meat or drinking unboiled water. You might get cholera or gastroenteritis. Unidentified mushrooms or berries can poison you.
    • Lack of Sleep: You might black out in the middle of nowhere (even in the middle of combat) and get looted or killed.
    • Hypothermia or Hyperthermia: Better watch what you wear.
    • Airborne diseases: Be careful while scavenging, or you might inhale some toxic black mold.
  • Evil Luddite: Martha's Army is a technophobic militant group of Michigan Luddites that blame technology for the end of civilization. They want to destroy Camp Grayling, a military base in northern Michigan, and will either kill anyone trying to loot it or help whoever volunteers to try and destroy the abandoned facility.
  • Exclusive Enemy Equipment: Averted. You can take anything and everything the enemy is carrying or wearing.
  • Fog of War: Covers the places that the player character cannot see. In normal condition, the player can see up to 4 hexes (4 kilometers) on an open plain.
  • Gameplay Roulette: Normal "exploration" mode is turn-based with action points, on an isometric hex map. Combat is text-based, with each side take turn performing one action each turn. Encounters play out like a Gamebook.
  • Geo Effects: Swamps, ruins, marshes, hills impede movement. Standing on a hill tile boosts vision range.
  • Good Morning, Crono: The game begins with Philip Kindred, the protagonist, waking up from his Cryogenic chamber.
  • Hammerspace/Hyperspace Arsenal: Averted. Character can only hold one item in each hand. To hold more items, he has to carry bags or backpacks. Larger items, if not equipped, can only be put on a sled or shopping cart and dragged along.
  • Harmful Healing: Poisoned berries and mushrooms. While they temporarily relieves hunger and thirst, they will poison and might kill the character. Eating raw meat and drinking unboiled water can also lead to the character's demise.
  • Heal Thyself: Although there is no instant health, you can still treat injuries by bandaging them and getting plenty of food and rest while waiting for them to heal naturally, using pills to treat any pain.
  • Hit Points: Averted. The character's condition is represented by Blood Supply, Immune System and Pain Tolerance bar. Having any of those too low can lead to character death.
  • Human Popsicle: The game starts at the Gyges Cryo Facility, where Philip Kindred wakes up after 50 years of suspended animation.
  • I am a Humanitarian: It is possible to cut up human corpses and eat the meat. If it is done repeatedly, the character becomes afflicted with the Windigo curse and has to eat human meat everyday. Also, Zom Zom's tasty "barbecue" is made from this, as Philip finds out when he's about to be roasted.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: The Metabolism Flaw will make your character go hungry and thirsty more often, straining you to find and carry more food and water than usual. On the other hand it accelerates your recovery, allowing your wounds to heal quicker.
  • The Illuminati: Inserting Hatter's bug into the Camp Grayling mainframe causes the Illuminati logo to appear on screen, advising the player to run before the base self-destructs. Their motives are unclear, although its likely they either wanted to access the PRISM's surveillance network or to destroy it.
  • Improvised Weapon: A tree branch, shard of glass, etc can be used as weapons. You can also create better makeshift weapons like shivs, spears, slings, bows and arrows.
  • Interface Spoiler: When two drops of unidentified water refuse to stack on each other, it means that one is infected water and the other is sterilized water. Given the unforgiving and treacherous nature of this game, it's better to be safe than sorry by boiling them or using a digital water tester. The same applies to mushrooms and red berries but you're always better off with the botany skill rather than taking a chance with your health and life.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: Try to put everything you want in your pack. Items can be switched around, rotated, sorted, etc
    • You can also only add/remove items from containers like plastic bags or backpacks if they're equipped. You can equip up to 4 containers, one in each hand, one on the back and one on the hip.
  • Isometric Projection: The main exploration map.
  • Item Crafting: It is impossible to survive without it. You make weapons, clothes, make fire, roast meat, boil water, etc using crafting.
  • Karma Meter: There's a very subtle, hidden karma system that is affected by random events. Having positive karma will result in future random events that reward nice behavior, while negative karma will result in events that usually hurts the player.
  • Killer Robot: The main entertainment at Zom Zom is pitting a hungry survivor against an automated killer bot in an arena. Also, Camp Grayling is protected by many of these.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Predictably, given the setting.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Several dialogue lines lampshade the game mechanic.
    Looter: Man, I wish these bags had a condition gauge on them or somethin'. You be walkin' along one day, and 'pow!' Thing just falls apart!
  • Lethal Chef: The chef at the "Last Chance" Canteen. Eating either the Seagull Wings or Meat Stew has a chance of making the player sick, as the meat comes from non-sanitary sources (the meat in the meat stew is left a mystery). His other meals, while safe to eat, are described as being tasteless at best.
    • Subverted by the Canteen Truck within the DMC. Although the owner openly admits they serve rat meat, their meat is otherwise safe to eat. The chef also appears quite skilled, as Philip notes the meat tastes genuine and complements the served vegetables, making a tasty and filling meal.
  • Lord British Postulate: The Merga Wraith was supposed to be an Invincible Villain (albeit a completely avoidable one.) After a beta tester managed to kill it, the developer added a small reward to beating it—a brief peek at where it came from.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The Early Game Hell. Can't scavenge a weapon before the feral dogs show up? You're dogfood. Can't find a damn metal container(a tin can will do) fast, so you can make tannin tea to treat the dysentery you picked up before you could boil water? You shit yourself to death. Can't find shoes? You'll starve to death limping between scavenge sites on blistered feet. Hell, even if you do manage to get food, water, clothing, shoes and a weapon, a damn dog getting a good hit in before you build a stock of clean rags and tannin tea to disinfect and bind wounds means you will bleed to death or die of infections.
  • Magical Native American: Invoked Trope, as the game world's "belief makes reality" rule has given the ATN Enclave (a native american group) limited magical powers, and were also the ones to create Philip's protective talisman.
  • Mega City: The appropriately named Detroit Megacity, the last gasp of technological civilization in Michigan. The exact size of the city is not revealed. However, the part of the city seen on the map occupy roughly 20 hexes, and the slum around it also occupies around 20 hexes. Considering each hex is equivalent to 1 square kilometer, one can only imagine the size of the whole city.
  • Nemean Skinning: The Dogman Fur Coat, which can be acquired after killing, you guessed it, a Dogman.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Wraith attempted to kill Philip by ejecting him out of hibernation after luring a dogman to his location. Rather than being eaten, Philip thwarts the dogman, and goes back to investigating the truth behind The Merga.
  • Nintendo Hard: Just look at the Everything Trying to Kill You above.
  • Permadeath: If you die once, you go all the way back to the beginning. To reach the end of the game one must be extra cautious, or have a lot of luck.
  • Power Up Letdown: The Gauss Rifle, and how.
    1. You'll need the 99% useless Electrician skill to modify a laptop battery to power it.
    2. You'll need the 90% useless Mechanic skill(it can be used to build the travois) to dismantle a perfectly good rifle or shotgun for the stock.
    3. You'll need to kill at least two DMC Drones for the complete set of five components(possibly many more due to Random Drop shenanigans), pissing off the only technological civilization left in Michigan and cutting you off from the best shops in the game.
    4. You'll need to regularly drop by the DMC and kill more drones because they're the only enemy that drop ammo for it.
    5. And unless you hunt down the "Hot Brick" RTG, you're going to need to regularly drop by the DMC and draw power from the taps to keep the battery charged.
    • Result: A weapon with the same stopping power as the hunting rifle you may have destroyed to make it, but with the range of the shotgun you may have destroyed to make it — which had more stopping power.
  • Random Drop: Happens when scavenging items.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: The game's map is randomly generated every time you start a new game. Save for about 10 fixed locations, the remaining tiles are mixed and matched randomly.
  • Reduced to Ratburgers: People are eating deer, dogs, squirrels, and seagulls to stay alive. Even the canteen trucks inside the DMC have to rely on meat from less than sanitary sources.
  • Religion of Evil: The Blue Frogs.
  • Roaming Enemy: Every NPC, human or otherwise.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Lampshaded by both The Stoat and Hatter. Upon giving a mission involving breaching Camp Grayling, they will recall a newspaper story where a protester wearing a suit made from a "embarrassingly primitive" material managed to breach through the base's high-tech ADS defenses. It was made from aluminum foil.
  • Scavenger World: As scavenging is pretty much the only way to survive, this is expected.
  • Schrödinger's Player Character: Philip Kindred.
  • Sequel Hook: The story ends with Philip crossing the Great Black Swamp and sees Indiana at a distance.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: You can lure a hostile monster (usually a Dogman) to attack human enemies. They'll start killing each other giving you a chance to escape or watch the fight and kill the softened surviving one.
  • Shoplift and Die: The Red Gnome Diner is the only place in Michigan that serves genuine, sanitary, high-quality, pre-apocalypse food. Eating there doesn't come without a high price though: The meals all have a hefty price tag ($20.00, $24.50, $32.50) and tips are mandatory (+15% of the selected meal's price). In previous versions, not paying or tipping twice resulted in the staff killing you by throwing you out of the restaurant and in front of a speeding car. Now, not tipping enough times simply results in the staff refusing to serve you, while dine and dashing results in the Nain Rouge curse you with hallucinations and illnesses.
  • Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: Pistols in the game has extremely pitiful range of 10, which is half that of slings at 20. If you don't have ranged skill, that means you can only use your pistol at the range of 5, which is just 2 range away from getting hit by a spear.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Averted. The normal shotgun has a range of 30, the same as normal bows (compound bow has 40), while the military shotgun has the range of 61, which is 3/4 of unscoped .380 hunting rifle at 80. Meanwhile, melee combat takes place at range 0-3 (if you're using a spear).
  • Shout-Out: Philip Kindred's name is a shout-out to Sci-Fi writer Philip Kindred Dick.
  • Signs of Disrepair: The Saginaw Mental Institution has a sign in front of it that used to read "Reaching Wellness", but the only remaining letters spell out 'aching'. Ominous.
  • Soft Glass: Averted. Attempting to climb through the window in the Cyrofacility when escaping the dogman at the start of the new game will result in several cuts. Using a glass shard as a weapon also has a chance of scratching your own hands.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Averted. It is possible to scare off enemies by looking tough and well armed. Also, some enemies with strong gear might run away when they wish to avoid a fight.
  • Survival Sandbox
  • Swamps Are Evil: The Great Black Swamp was created out of a desperate government operation to stop Genetically-Modified Crops that were out of control and rampaging through the Midwest region. It is the origin of the toxic black mold and the water from the swamp is immune to boiling and purification pills, making it absolutely useless and unsafe for drinking.
  • Title Drop: The "NEO" in "NEO Scavenger" is actually an acronym for New Earth Ostracon, the wiki of paranormal events Phillip blogged for.
  • Too Awesome to Use: After the Early Game Hell, you're constantly warring between this and Boring, but Practical. Loads of scavenged loot can easily make hash out of life-threatening situations... if you haven't used them earlier or sold them at a market to buy a dozen BbPs.
    • Whiskey. Nothing better for sterilizing wounds. However, it's also worth twenty bucks per unit and can be kept in a stack of twelve; hauling a full container of it to the ATN Enclave or the DMC Junk Market means you just paid for new clothes and shoes. Tannin tea works just fine as an antiseptic, and is craftable.
    • Medicine, medicine, medicine. Pills stack ten, and only takes up a single inventory space.
      • A single dose of antibiotics will cure you of anything except the Blue Rot... but if you're moderately healthy, so will drinking some tannin tea and a good night's rest in a sleeping bag. At fifty bucks a pill, a stack costs the same as a hunting rifle. But if your immune system's in the red, nothing else can save you.
      • Painkillers. OTC stuff is good, prescription is better... but prescription stuff costs thirty bucks a pill while the OTC is only five. Use in moderation. Pass out from agony and get eaten.
      • Sleeping pills. Double the effects of a night's sleep... for twenty bucks a pop. Just remember you can die of overexertion.
      • Nanorobot medical kits. Players have used these to recover from wounds on every body part overnight... or to be more precise, they've expired from wounds on every body part because they try to make do with tannin tea and rags rather than use a two-hundred and fifty dollar nanorobot charge.
    • Any and all firearms. They have great range and do respectable damage. However, at fifty bucks a shot , the only loot more valuable than bullets are antibiotics; they stack five, but that's more than a full bottle of whiskey. Hell, even the Merga Wraith can be killed with a bow and arrow — handmade ones. The only enemies worth that kind of expense are the DMC Drones, which are only hostile if you're going for the Bragging Rights Reward. They're actually not even worth salvaging for cash because they'll only fit in vehicles and otherwise have to be carried either by hand or with a strap... and even one in perfect condition(which you will never find in the field) is only five hundred bucks to its 51 inventory spaces.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The AI behaviors in this game have a tendency to be erratic which causes NPC scavengers to die mostly from non-combat causes (malnutrition, dehydration, hypothermia, poisoning, improper or lack of first-aid).
    • Scavengers and DMC Guards will venture into the Great Black Swamp and slowly, but eventually, die of Defoliant Exposure.
    • It's very rare but possible to encounter a wanderer with no clothes whatsoever.
  • Unspecified Apocalypse: There are plenty of hints about various disasters (escalating tensions with China, a smallpox epidemic, GM crops gone rogue), but it's not quite clear how they all came together to destroy society.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: The key to not dying in five minutes. Take as few risks as possible, run from fights, nurse your wounds, and soon the dogs and dog-men will seek out easier meat; you'll start stumbling over the corpses of your rival survivors, surrounded by their scavenged loot. The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
  • Urban Segregation: Detroit is separated into the Megacity proper and the Tent City, where those who cannot legally enter the city (due to the extremely strict and expensive immigration) congregates into a slum outside the city itself. Even then, people prefers living in the Tent City than the other parts of Michigan since at least they still get DMC's security.
  • Vague Age: Philip Kindred.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: NEVER try to sell human meat in the Junk Market at the Detroit Mega City Sprawl. You will be hated by the locales, regardless of whether or not you were aware of the true origins of the meat, and sternly warned not to do it again. Doing it a second time will get you lynched to death. Attempting to sell it at the ATN's store will result in a permanent exile.
  • Was Once a Man: Melonheads. They drop human meat.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Any attempt to sell human meat at the Junk Market will always result in a local butcher calling you out on your disgusting callousness.
  • Weapon for Intimidation: Looking strong, tough, have good armor, carrying a gun, and you'll have a pretty good chance of scaring enemies away or forcing them to surrender their stuff.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: It is possible to go anywhere on the map right from the beginning. Obviously, it is not recommended to just go anywhere.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Not just food, water and sleep as well. Philip will die without any of those.
  • You Get What You Pay For: When you're looking for footwear at the start of the game, you may find flip-flops and rag shoes in your scavenging efforts. Be sure to note their trade value is only a few bucks each, because both are so bad that you're better off being barefoot for a bit longer: flip-flops have a high chance of falling off every time you end your turn and rag shoes will give you blisters if they're worn for too long.