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Gustav Holst - The Planets - Mars, the Bringer of War

Gustav Holst - The Planets - Mars, the Bringer of War

"A real bastard that one. Nearly took down half the Coast with him, he did."
―A ghoul from Mobile
Matthias Dugan
Dugan
Date of birth:Unknown
Age:35 (time of death)
Gender:Male
Height:6'5"
Occupation:Raider
Warlord
Status:Deceased

Matthias Dugan, also know as the Terror of the Coast, the Vault Warlord, and Thunder Catcher, was a near legendary raider warlord who ravaged large parts of the Gulf Coast region in the late 2100s and early 2200s until his death in 2204. Dugan was gifted with cybernetic implants that made him stronger, but sapped him of his humanity. Although his time in the spotlight was short, Dugan's memory is still reviled by much of the Gulf.

Biography

Origins

"Anyone else want to fancy a question? Anyone?"
―Dugan after executing a member of his horde who asked about his origins

The origins of Matthias Dugan are muddled and varied. All that's known for sure is that he emerged in the Orlando Wasteland around 2189, already a cyborg.

One of the more accepted stories is that Dugan was the lone survivor of an unknown Vault in Florida, possibly with some type of cybernetics experiment. No such Vault has been found in Florida, but members of Dugan's horde did say that the warlord possessed and sometimes even wore a Vault suit in his early days, earning him the nickname the Vault Warlord.

Another theory suggests that Matthias Dugan was the result of a failed super soldier experiment, either by the Enclave or independent scientists. This story has very little evidence aside from Dugan sometimes saying he was "made by monsters".

The most out-there theory of Dugan's origins claims that he was an escapee from the "Magic Kingdom". The "Magic Kingdom" is said to be a lost city in the wilds of Florida where children are abducted and "changed". This theory is little known outside of Florida but has gained a lot of traction with wingnuts and conspiracy theorists.

It is known that after leaving the Florida swamps, Matthias Dugan took to the raiding lifestyle naturally, as a lone bandit at first.

It was in 2189 that Dugan met Nitro Achilles for the first time. Achilles was, at the time, a member of the Highwaymen, a well established, well-equipped raider group in Orlando Wasteland. However, when he met Dugan, Achilles and his gang were fleeing the Orlando Regulators, who had killed the Highwaymen's leader and were now intent on killing the rest of them.

Dugan and Achilles were at first suspicious of each other, but when the Orlando Regulators arrived, the two joined forces to gun them down, with Achilles saving Dugan's life and Dugan saving Achilles in turn. Once the Regulators were all dead, the leaderless Highwaymen decided to follow Dugan, as he was strong and looked to be a natural leader. For saving his life, Achilles was made Dugan's unofficial second-in-command (and speculated lover).

For the next five years, Dugan and his band of raiders ravaged the Orlando Wasteland, building up their forces to progressively become stronger and stronger. Dugan became known in the Orlando Wasteland for his terrifying visage coupled with his infamous temper and usage of psycho during battle.

It wasn't long before something else drew Dugan's attention, a chance to make a name for himself: a full-fledged war.

Chassahowitzka War

"Yes! Yes! I swear upon the souls of your dead that we will avenge what was lost here and take the fight to these scavengers, these thugs who think they can just take whatever they want without any comeuppance!"
―Dugan effectively declaring war on the Big Easy after the Battle of Pine Island

The Chassahowitzka War was a war between the native tribals of the Chassahowitzka River and mercenaries hired by bosses from the Big Easy over prospecting rights. The Chassahowitzka River area held bountiful amounts of pre-War tech that the bosses wanted, but the tribals of the area considered the relics sacred and refused to let prospectors on their land. The bosses sent mercenaries to chase the tribals off their land, and the decade-long struggle known as the Chassahowitzka War began.

In 2191, the Chassahowitzka tribals, led by their war chief Red Dog, were finally winning the conflict with the mercenaries after ten long years. However, a large amount of the tribals, mostly women, children, and elders, were dead from mercenary attacks and most of the remaining tribals were young, vengeful warriors. Also, the mercs were holding out in their base at Pine Island rather well and had no intention of leaving of surrendering.

Matthias Dugan and his raider band arrived on the bank of the Chassahowitzka River in 2191 and sided with the tribals to fight the mercenaries, hoping to get a hand on some loot. Many battles took place in the following four years. The land was devastated, and food had to be shipped in by boat, sometimes even from the Big Easy itself.

By early 2195, the prospectors and mercenaries from the Big Easy were still holed up in their island base but had lost all will to fight. However, because Dugan had taken the practice of attacking transport ships, no ships would come to resupply or evacuate the base at Pine Island. By summer, Dugan's the final assault was ready.

The Battle of Pine Island was quick and decisive. Dugan and a strike team of tribals (including Red Dog) swam to Pine Island and lowered the base's drawbridge to the mainland. The raider band rushed in, as planned, and massacred the starving prospectors and mercenaries inside.

The battle was costly, but it served as the catalyst for Dugan to go on to greater things. After killing the last of mercenaries, the surviving Chassahowitzka tribal warriors decided to join Dugan since they had little else to live for, and the land they had lived on for generations had become poisoned. Red Dog even became one of Dugan's trusted lieutenants. Dugan promised his new army that they would avenge those killed during the war and they would march on the Big Easy.

After leaving the Chassahowitzka area, Dugan began using his newfound fame as a warlord to recruit more raiders, soldiers, and tribals to his ever-increasing band. On July 4, 2197, Matthias Dugan made a head count of his horde. Three hundred sixteen in all. It was then that Dugan decided, on a whim, to follow through on his promise and move north to the Gulf Coast instead of going further south. That was when Dugan's Scourge began.

Beginning of the Scourge

"You deserve this."
―Dugan staring out at the burnt remnants of armory in Tampa

The first victims in Matthias Dugan's Scourge were mainly other raiders and a few small wasteland settlements. However, after clashing with a group of Gulf Rangers from Fort Pen, it became apparent that Dugan's Horde was underequipped, with most of them armed with pipe rifles and crude melee weapons. If Dugan wanted to be a force to be reckoned with on the Gulf Coast, he needed better weapons.

In early 2198, Dugan made camp in the ruins of Brooksville and sent out scouts to find the weapons he needed. After a year of living off the land, Dugan's scouts found what they needed: a pre-War armory held by ghoulified U.S. Army remnants on an island in Tampa Bay.

After discovering the armory, Dugan moved fast and marched his horde south to take it. Upon reaching Tampa Bay, Dugan came upon Ybor City, a seedy, crime-ridden town. Red Dog advised the warlord to sack the settlement while Nitro Achilles advocated simply levying some "tribute" from the townspeople and focusing on the task at hand. Against his gut feeling, Dugan sided with Achilles and decided not to level Ybor City.

Needing ships to get to the island the armory resided, Dugan sent out a radio signal to all the rafters and independent boats in the area to assist in shuttling his horde to the island. By summer, Dugan had enough ships for the assault.

On February 20, 2199, Dugan and his horde landed on the island and assaulted the armory. The U.S. Army remnants put up a hell of a fight but were defeated with heavy casualties. Dugan's Horde looted the armory of its ancient weaponry and proceeded to burn it down. From there, Dugan moved got on the march again, now armed to the teeth with Pre-War weaponry.

The "Rape" of West Florida

"Behold my eminence and submit, wastelanders! Do you not see my power?"
―Dugan intimidating a tribe of nomads while at the head of his horde

After the Battle of Tampa Bay began Matthias Dugan's most infamous campaign, the "Rape" of West Florida. Leaving the Tampa area in 2199, the horde moved northwest sacking and burning settlements led by their cyborg warlord, perhaps to make up for not looting Ybor City. From Tampa to the ruins of Panama City, Matthias Dugan met no equal and little resistance except for (perhaps ironically) other raiders. In this initial march north, Dugan recruited two of his future lieutenants, Razorfist Stud and Joel Hammerstein (aka the Golem) as well as many other raiders eager to join the Horde. Dugan also gained new treasures from his scavenging teams: an incomplete salvaged suit of T-51 power armor recovered by the Golem and a working Chryslus Highwayman that Dugan nicknamed his "chariot".

It was 2200 when Dugan's next major target emerged: Fort Pen. An independent fortified town built on top of the ruins of Pensacola, Fort Pen played host to the Gulf Rangers, a spinoff of the Mobile Rangers, and boasted its own sizable militia. The town had experienced the horrors of the wasteland for years and would not just surrender itself to Dugan. The Gulf Rangers had been harassing Dugan's Horde since before the Battle of Tampa Bay and in Dugan's eyes, had to be dealt a lesson.

Arriving at the town's outskirts on February 15, 2200, Matthias Dugan rode atop his (now topless) Highwayman in full power armor at the front of his horde. Upon reaching shouting distance of the town's defenders, Dugan offered them humiliating terms in exchange for their survival, demanding the town to hand over all the Gulf Rangers and pay heavy tribute. After hearing the Mayor of Fort Pen's rebuttal, Dugan withdrew for a day to ready himself for battle. He would make an example of this town.

The next day, the long battle (and eventual extermination) for Fort Pen began. Dugan's horde attacked the town but were unable to penetrate the defenses. A siege began, with occasional skirmishing for next few months with some major battles

The important work during that time was done by Dugan's lieutenants, who were tasked with ravaging the countryside, killing any Gulf Rangers operating outside Fort Pen, and stamping out any settlements supporting or supplying Fort Pen. Razorfist Stud became especially infamous for his "antics" on the battlefield, attracting raiders who admired this behavior.

By the fourth month of the siege, Dugan finally felt the time was right. The lieutenants returned from the field and mustered their forces for the attack. On May 2, 2200, Dugan's forces staged an all-out assault on Fort Pen and finally broke through. Civilians, militia, and rangers alike were slaughtered by the sheer numbers of raiders in the horde, and Dugan claimed victory. The town of Fort Pen was razed as an example to those who disrespected Dugan, and any prisoners taken in the battle were either enslaved or executed. However, there were costs. During the battle, Red Dog was shot by a Gulf Ranger and died of his wounds.

For the following months, Dugan remained in the area, clearing out any remnants of the Gulf Rangers until none were left. Soon, the land had been stripped bare and Dugan reluctantly decided to move on west, towards the Big Easy and his goal. It was that or his horde would desert him or starve. To make sure no one would ever resettle Fort Pen, Dugan left the site irradiated with radioactive waste, making it uninhabitable

His next destination was the Mobile Warzone, home of the Mobile Rangers, predecessors of the defunct Gulf Rangers. Matthias Dugan met stiffer resistance in Mobile, with the warring factions all turning their guns toward his horde. Dugan managed to strike a fatal blow against the Roughneck gang, but after a two-month long attempt at sacking Waldock Plaza, the warlord decided to move on. The area was far too militarized to remain in any longer, and the local gangs had begun to strike back.

Dugan's horde left Mobile with their bloodlust unsated, so Dugan allowed them to unleash their anger upon nearby settlements in Alabama. The warlord cared not for this pisspot shacks, he wanted the crown jewel of the Gulf Coast: The Big Easy. As Dugan moved west, he began to hear stories of the fear he put into the hearts of the bosses in the Big Easy and how they were beginning to realize how close he was getting to them.

After the wholesale ravaging of settlements in Alabama, Dugan decided to spare most of the settlements march west down I-20 in exchange for tributes of food, caps, and women. A notable exception was the tiny Republic of West Florida, a micronation in based in the ruins of an air force base near Biloxi who in 2202 fought to the bitter end to preserve its freedom and integrity. In retaliation, Dugan spent the better part of the next year raiding and burning west Mississippi and the Florida Parishes.

In 2203, Dugan's march west had become an almost mythic threat as masses of refugees fled his horde's advance, most of them to the Big Easy. The bosses of the city recognized the severe threat the warlord and his horde posed to them and decided to form some type of temporary truce to deal with Dugan.

After thoroughly picking over the lands to the north, Matthias Dugan began closing in on the Big Easy. On October 22, 2203, Dugan and his horde attacked Slidell, a town just across the water from the Big Easy. Dugan personally executed the town's boss and took Slidell for his own. The Big Easy was within his reach and momentum seemed to be on his side for the moment. Making Slidell his temporary war camp, Dugan prepared for the assault on the Big Easy.

Endgame in Slidell

"You're not real smart for a Jew, you know that?"
―Dugan insulting the Golem's intelligence after another hard day

However, all was not what it seemed. Dugan had vastly underestimated his enemies defensive capabilities, as his scouts indicated. Dugan's horde had much better equipment but the bosses' combined forces outnumbered Dugan's three to one. Also, Dugan's scouts indicated that I-10, the interstate connecting Slidell to the Big Easy, had been rigged to blow if Dugan's horde marched across. Dugan was shocked at this, as that meant the bosses were willing to cripple their city's trade in order to save themselves, an action he deemed cowardly.

Upon discovering this, Dugan had two choices: brave the putrid swamps and horrors of Acadiana and risk losing the majority of his horde or stay in Slidell and try to hack out a plan. Dugan chose to remain in Slidell for the time being. The horde would be kept in the dark about the charges on the road and would be told that Dugan was rallying more forces to them to prepare for the final attack. Meanwhile, Dugan and his top lieutenants (Achilles, Stud, and the Golem) would have to figure out a plan to disable the charges so the horde could perform the actual attack.

The initial occupation of Slidell went smoothly enough, as the locals offered little to no resistance. As time went on though, the bosses made life hell. Assassins and saboteurs targeted members of the horde relentlessly, through means such as explosives, snipers, and poison. Dugan also was unable to get any spies into the Big Easy, as the bosses had the underworld of the city securely under their thumb. No ships would take his horde across the water or Big Easy privateers would sink them in an instant.

By 2204, the situation had swung in Dugan's favor. The Golem had managed to remotely disable the charges' detonator through a mole, and Razorfist Stud and his band of elite raiders had begun removing the charges from the road, just to make things extra safe. The bosses, who by now had gone into a full panic, in late 2203 pulled one of the last cards they had: they hired the entire Badlander Louisiana Pack to fight for them.

Renowned trackers and hunters of both man and beast, the Badlanders went to work quickly, cooperating with their boss allies and utilizing psychological warfare on the horde. For some, this had little effect, but for most of the horde, it was massive. Morale dropped immensely and soon Dugan himself had to confront the problem. The warlord issued a bounty on all Badlanders and actively searched them out and set up traps outside Slidell. Razorfist Stud took much glee in hunting down, skinning, and unmasking Badlanders for sport. However, this sidetracked Stud's priorities and set back removing the charges weeks. That would be too long.

It was on January 5, 2204, that Dugan's assassination finally happened. There had been several attempts at killing him before by boss mercenaries and Badlanders alike but none had come close to succeeding. The snipers had always missed, the explosives had always been stale or premature. Things were looking up for Dugan. Ninety percent of the charges were now removed from I-10, and Dugan was confident that Stud would finish the job.

The attempt made this time was by a young Badlander medicine woman called Mara. Mara had gone into Dugan's camp unmasked, a taboo in Badlander culture but a disguise nonetheless. Mara used her various skills to work her way closer to Dugan and move in for the kill. However, Dugan was armored, armed, or well guarded at all times, even during his sleep. So Mara figured there would only be one way to kill him: poison. Easily slipping into Dugan's personal chef's kitchen, Mara inserted a drop of specially treated tindalo saliva into the warlord's morning soup.

Dugan drank the soup for breakfast and actually told Achilles, who was present, that it had good taste to it. Later that day, Dugan complained of stomach pain and said he would lie down in his bed. Dugan never woke up. His last words were "Tell Stud to move his men back. I think we're ready." After his death, Mara slipped in Dugan's room and cut off one of his ears to eat later.

Legacy

"Fuck you, fuck the bosses, and fuck any of you chucklefucks telling me what to do."
―Razorfist Stud's response to an olive branch proposal by Jacksonia and the bosses

Following Dugan's death, his horde initially stayed together, even observing his funeral where (to the Golem's outrage) he, his power armor, and Highwaymen were detonated in a glorious fireball, as per his wishes overseen by Nitro Achilles. However, when the democratic election of a new leader began, things fell through, and Achilles was assassinated before the election concluded. The Golem subsequently fled from the chaos, and the horde fragmented into factions with many fleeing in fear of retribution from the locals for their misdeeds. The largest group, led by Razorfist Stud, remained in Slidell. These remnants of Dugan's mighty horde would plague Slidell and the surrounding area for five more years before they were destroyed by the Ghost Combine. Dugan's remaining possessions and equipment not destroyed at his funeral or taken by his fleeing followers were subsequently looted from Razorfist Stud's camp.

Smaller fragments of Dugan's horde split off earlier in Alabama and Mississippi and formed their own raider bands. These bands were collectively called "Florida Filth" and are feared and hated by all in the area for their origins and reverence for Matthias Dugan.

The Gulf Coast does not hold many fond memories of Dugan, and his name is cursed from his homeland Florida all the way to Louisiana and beyond. However, some historical revisionists in Mississippi and Louisiana hold him in a different light, as a man fighting against the crime bosses of the Big Easy and being just barely beaten from his goal by poison of all things. A Big Easy satirical play, called On the March (2265), utilizes this origin of Dugan to make him a tragic hero and portray the crime bosses as vague analogues of the Royaume. Although the play was successful upon release, it was a flop outside the Big Easy and is regarded as scandalous in the current day for its content.

Legend tells that Matthias Dugan left a hoard of treasure and technology somewhere in the Gulf Coast. This legend originated with rumors circulated in the Big Easy after his death and is surprisingly repeated by much of the "Florida Filth", though they do not know where the hoard lies. Most intellectuals scoff at this legend, pointing out that Dugan is said to have destroyed all his worldly possessions in his funeral pyre, but that has not dissuaded treasure hunters from looking for the legendary hoard.

A big part of what Dugan left the Gulf Coast was the destruction he wrought. Fort Pen and the Gulf Rangers were destroyed, the foundling nation-state of West Florida was wiped off the map, and many towns were razed and never resettled. This holds true most of all in Fort Pen, where Dugan intentionally irradiated the town to make sure no one would ever come back. Even today, it remains a ghost town, save for a few Glowing Ones and radroaches.

Lieutenants

Nitro Achilles

Nitro

A former Highwayman, a raider band descended from Highway Patrol deserters, Achilles was Dugan's first and most important lieutenant, recruited during the warlord's time in the Orlando Wasteland. Achilles rarely showed emotion towards others but was said to have been good "friends" with Dugan throughout the warlord's conquests. He was assassinated (possibly by the Golem) during the election of a new leader of the horde in 2204. Achilles favored weapon was the Steeple Rancher shotgun, a holdover from his days in the Highwaymen.

Red Dog

RedDog

Once the war chief of the Chassahowitzka River tribals, Red Dog joined Dugan after he realized the Chassahowitza War had devastated his homeland and there was nothing to stay for, land or family. Red Dog was a broken man and fought for Dugan because it was the only thing he had left. Because of his depression, Red Dog often drowned his sorrows in chems such as buffout and psycho. He was killed in 2200 by a Gulf Ranger during the Battle of Fort Pen. Red Dog's preferred weapons were dual shishkebabs or a sledgehammer.

The Golem

TheGolem

Joel Hammerstein (aka the Golem) was once renowned as an enforcer and (eventually) a leader in the organized crime elements of Little Israel before being banished from the city. The charges were soliciting prostitution, the only thing that the Families could catch him doing red-handed. Journeying north, Joel and his small gang of exiles were captured by Dugan's horde in 2199 and almost killed. However, Joel soon proved himself to be very adept at logistics and scavenging, earning his freedom and Dugan's approval by salvaging a suit of power armor for the warlord. Within a year, the Golem had worked his way up to being one of Dugan's top lieutenants and was in charge of the horde's baggage train and scavenging teams. Joel Hammerstein was the only one of Dugan's lieutenants that outlived him by at least five years, passing away peacefully in Boss Town in 2243. The Golem was unarmed most of the time but his preferred weapons were a Desert Eagle pistol or brass knuckles.

Razorfist Stud

Stud

A crazed raider from the wastes of West Florida, Razorfist Stud and his sizable raider band were absorbed into Dugan's Horde when the march west was in full swing. However, it did not take long for Stud to become Dugan's most visible lieutenant, committing terrible atrocities and horrific feats with the utmost glee. Stud was known for his penchant to rape everything he could touch after battle and his obsessive habits, often involving face paint or sex and sometimes even both. He was killed along with most of his followers defending Slidell in 2209. Razorfist Stud used many different weapons in his time and never kept one long.

Appearance

To many, Dugan's appearance played a large role in his terrifying presence. A cyborg, Dugan had many visible implants on his body as well as some internal ones, giving him a rather monstrous appearance. Even without the cybernetic implants, Dugan would still be an imposing man, being tall and well built.

Dugan preferred baldness as he felt it gave him a more professional look. Also, the warlord always wore some type of armor or military garb, as he felt it to be "more comfortable" than conventional clothing.

Dugan's clothes changed over time. When he first emerged in Florida, Dugan came only in a vault suit and nothing more. During the Chassahowitzka War and the Battle of Tampa Bay, Dugan wore a mix of armored vault suits and mixed tribal clothes, making himself look like some decadent tribal godhead. After the Battle of Fort Pen, Dugan preferred the salvaged T-51 armor, as with his cybernetic enhancements he could move it unpowered.

Personality

Dugan's personality, at least later in life, reflected his actions on the battlefield. Often arrogant, Dugan could also be calculating when needed as well as very focused on a given goal. When planning the assault on the Big Easy, Dugan did not give into impulses and attack immediately. However, this made Dugan smug and overconfident in his own plans.

Dugan's interactions with people were usually informal but always controlling, with everybody in his horde being "his things". Everyone had to service him at his beck and call, no matter who or what it was. However, Dugan was not needlessly cruel and did not often employ torture.

Equipment

During his career as a raider and a warlord, Matthias Dugan had a wide array of equipment and weapons at his disposal.

When Matthias Dugan began as a raider, he was said to have nothing but a vault suit and a laser rifle. However, what was especially important were his visible cybernetic enhancements and implants which not only made Dugan stronger but also more agile. These benefits were what led to him being a successful raider and move on to greater things.

During the Chassahowitzka War and the Battle of Tampa Bay, Dugan used a variety of weapons, from gauss rifles to explosive tip spears to accomplish his goals. This habit of switching weapons continued on for the rest of Dugan's life, with his only recurring weapons being his minigun and his trusty stick grenades.

It was during the "Rape" of Florida when Dugan acquired his most valuable equipment: a salvaged suit of T-51 power armor and a working Chryslus Highwayman. The Highwayman was useful for theatrics to cow primitive settlements, but it was not very effective in battle and required an army of grease monkeys to maintain. The power armor became a staple of Dugan's, and he almost always used it when in battle from Fort Pen onwards, becoming part of Dugan's historic image.

Quotes

By

"You're fucked. There's no escape for cowards like you."
―Matthias Dugan to the besieged inhabitants of Fort Pen
"Tell Stud to move his men back. I think we're ready."
―Matthias Dugan's last words

About

"He was a king among highwaymen."
―Nitro Achilles at Dugan's funeral, also the closing line of the play On the March
"A mysterious, nebulous figure. Dugan killed and conquered, but who was he really? We may never truly know."
―F.D. Reynolds when asked about Matthias Dugan
"By faith alone and nothing more."
―The Pastor of Pentecoastal when asked how the town survived Dugan's scourge
"Wish I would have heard about him sooner, sounded a lot smarter than the Willits."
Nash Laurens after hearing of Dugan

Gallery

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