Mules and Terrorists

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On this page, I often just say "Mule" when I mean "Mule or Terrorist". So that I don't have to say "Mule or Terrorist" countless times.

Mule and Terrorist Overview

Mules and Terrorists have set up camp across the ruins of old America. These deranged porters lust after your cargo. Infiltrate their camps to take back their ill-gotten goods.

If they catch you, you'll lose everything on you.

Or worse.

Table of Mule Camps

# Name M
or T
Size Post
1 Ludens Camp M* Mixed Small 1 0 Only Resins (~2/3rds) and Metals (~1/3rd) seen.
2 Musician Camp M? Metal? Tiny 1 0 So small that it can't specialize much, but usually more Metals (~60%); Resin (~25%), Ceramic (~15%); no Chems or SAs.
3 Lake Camp M Metal Medium 2 0
4 Elder Camp M* Ceramics Medium 3 2
5 Swamp Camp M Metal? Large 3 1 A mix of materials, about half Metals. One postbox is far east of the camp, almost to the highway. Never(?) seem to use the Mule truck in a tent.
6 Badlands or Ravines Camp M SAs Large 3 2
7 Farm Camp M* Ceramics Large 3 2 Didn't count two rusty inoperable Mule Trucks near the barn.
8 Forest or Incinerator Camp T Ceramics Huge 2 1
9 Plains or Highway Camp T SAs Large 3 2 Third postbox is in woods ENE of camp. Can also be called Photographer or Novelist's Son camp.
10 Volcano or Evo‑Devo Camp T Chemicals Huge 3 0

  • /u/MisterCrowbar says material specialties don't change across platform, DC, or difficulty. (Thanks, good to know!)
  • Certain camps (asterisked above) turn Terrorist in Episodes 10 to 12.
This is when you return from Edge KC back to Capitol KC.
Once you reach the after-game (Episode 15), they go back to normal (Mule).
The last three are always Terrorist.
  • Size of camp means number of opponents:

Tiny: 3
Small: 6
Medium: 9-10
Large: 12–14
Huge: 15–16

Mnemonic Names for Camps

A rambling discussion that only matters to some players, so I put it in this collapsible

I personally am boggled by how the DS designers chose such god-awful long names for distros and waystations.

Conversely, there are important concepts they never name, like standard speed (so I felt compelled to call it Jogging, big sigh).

And there are no names for the many Mule camps. The net result is that you have to use super-long descriptions to describe them. How does this sound to pin down one camp?

It's southwest of Craftsman, northwest of the Distribution Center South of Lake Knot City, at the base of the Mountain (to its northeast)   (23 words)

This unambiguously identifies one of them but Holy crap! That's a lot of words!

Many of them are like this, requiring extensive calisthenics by both writer and readers. But how many people on reddit (or wherever) want to write 10 or 20 words to describe one place... without abbreviating or shortening it so much it might not be clear? (Very few, I tell ya.)

To make a long story short, I propose alt names for Mule camps based on these rules:

  • They should be as short and simple as possible.
  • They should unambiguously identify exactly one camp.
  • The particular camp should be immediately clear to players, including folks who haven't had it explained to them and didn't use any look-up table.
  • They should not rely on landmarks revealed later in the game; ideally players should already know the name or landmark at the point they encounter the camp.

Thus we wouldn't want to call the camp in the swamps southwest of Craftsman the "First Prepper Camp". Although it's clearly the camp that's closest to First Prepper, most players don't find him until near the end of the game (Order 66), after the Edge KC Higgs boss.

  • Likewise, try not to reference knots that aren't part of the storyline, unless there's little alternative.

I completely missed Novelist's Son in my first playthrough. It's not part of the storyline, you're never pointed at it, and you don't need it to finish.

  • Bonus points for names with flair or that are catchy.

I spent a lot of time on reddit mulling over names. Many super helpful players contributed, including MisterCrowbar for Farm Camp, harve1138 for Forest Camp, and heelstoo for lots of thoughtful discussion. (And a shout out to actual Mule JordanNails for speaking up! :-)

Without further ado...

Mnemonic Names for Mule and Terrorist Camps in Death Stranding
# Name Location
1 Ludens Camp SW of WS W of Cap KC
2 Musician Camp SW of DC W of Cap KC
3 Lake Camp S of Lake KC, NE of Engineer
4 Elder Camp SW of Engineer, SE of Craftsman
5 Swamp Camp SW of Craftsman, NW of DC S of Lake KC,
at base of Mountain to its NE
6 Badlands or Ravine Camp SE of DC S of Lake KC with lots of knots around it
7 Farm Camp Just N of Timefall Farm
8 Forest or Incinerator Camp S of Incinerator, E of DC N of Mountain KC
9 Plains or Highway Camp Due W of the Mountain; across highway from
10 Volcano or Evo-Devo Camp S of Evo-Devo Biologist

Discussion of particular name choices

Almost every name choice is a tug of war relative to the naming rules:

  • The two Eastern camps are close to a waystation and distro, but as always, those have real long names. So I went for the preppers there, because they're short and pretty unambiguous.
    • Dropped Fan from Luden's Fan because Ludens is good enough, and shorter. Shrug.
    • Using Musician is a violation of one of the rules (don't use knots players might not encounter). I personally completely missed the Musician on my first play-through. But there really aren't many choices here except the terribly-long distro name. So: Musician it is.

I also toyed with ideas like the North and South River Camps, but there's a lot of more-northerly or southern camps in this game, and rivers, too. It's ambiguous. Or maybe North and South Eastern (as in Region) ... but again, a reader won't necessarily know you mean the region. It violates the rule that readers should instantly know what exactly camp it means, without need for explanation.

  • Lake Camp was tough. Some suggested Engineer instead, a logical choice. But the Engineer is also close to the Elder camp, and you also encounter Elder Mules right off the bat early in Central, as you leave the Engineer to go to Craftsman.
So here, Lake (for Lake KC) is a very unambiguous choice. There's only one Mule camp that's closest to Lake KC. It's an executive decision.
  • Elder Camp is one of the easiest: Most everybody has to tangle with these guys to get to the Elder's knot (except maybe late game, if you make a zipline from Elder to the highway). Craftsman is also a possibility here, but he's close to the Swamp guys, too. In fact, some people suggested Craftsman for the Swamp camp. But I think that's just too ambiguous... Craftsman is possible for either of them, depending on how you slice it. So I went for something unambiguous: Elder.
  • The Swamp Camp was another tough one. Near Craftsman, including in player's minds... but see the previous bullet. It's also near the First Prepper, but most new players won't find him until very late in the game (Order 66, on your way back from taking out the penultimate Higgs boss at Edge KC). Plus "First Prepper" is two words... short names are preferred.
So I went with Swamp. /u/Heelstoo suggested Wetlands (thanks!), but I think Swamp has a little more personality and is a little shorter.
  • The Badlands Camp is surrounded by knots. One could easily argue for it to be called after some of them:
    • It's pretty close to the big DC S of Lake KC.
    • The Collector is physically closest to its boundary.
    • The Junkman is quite close, and key in the game (for the Bridges Truck, etc.).
    • The Film Director is on its far side; you practically have to bee-line through the camp to get to him.
If I had had to choose a knot name, it probably would've been the Junkman. The distro name is too long (as always) and the Junk Dealer is otherwise more important to gameplay and has a much bigger story than the Collector or Director. Check out this hilarious thread on the Junkman and his gf, lol. But ultimately, the fact that so many knots could be used argues against using any of them, to me. Some players would always think, "Why'd you choose that knot and not this other one near it?"
So, for a name without a knot in it, I originally thought Ravine Camp. Later I went with Camp Crevasse. Then somebody suggested Badlands and I loved its atmosphere, combined with how treacherous the terrain is. The word Badlands wasn't suggested in one of my names threads; I want to credit the redditor and have searched but can't find who said it. Let me know if it was you and I'll put your name here!
Still, after doing a test run on the name Badlands, MisterCrowbar - the most helpful player across my many months of posting to reddit - showed a preference for Ravine. So I've stuck them both on the list.

All three of the camps at the base of the mountain are head scratchers. They're all kinda-sorta close to other knots, but don't have any one that really stands out (and doesn't conflict with any other name rules, like finding the knot you name it after before you find the camp, or naming it after a knot that's clearly mostly linked to that camp). But we have to choose something, so we soldier on.

  • I originally proposed Incinerator camp for the one northwest of the mountain, because you come across the incinerator just before the camp, plus it's clearly most closely associated with that camp. But "incinerator" is also a mouthful.
The Forest Camp was a great suggestion by /u/harve1138. It's short and accurate and everybody knows that that camp is nestled into woods more than any other camp in the game. I'm sure many players first come across it going southwest of the incinerator, through the woods there.
It could also be called the Woods or Woodlands camp (thanks, /u/heelstoo!), but to me, Forest is a little more natural coming off the tongue. The word Forest is used more widely than either woodlands or woods as a place name for a location with lots of trees.
  • The Plains or Highway Camp was perhaps the toughest decision of all. It's not particularly close to any knot.
Novelist's Son is probably the closest... but he's not part of the story line and in fact I completely missed him in my first game.
Mountaineer is about as far as the other three, but far up the mountain with no route between, and encountered well after finding the camp. When most people visit Mountaineer, they are probably not thinking "this is one of the closest knots to that camp".
The Photographer's knot is also kind of close, but relatively hidden and not encountered until quite a bit after first meeting the camp.
The Distro Center is out because the name is too long.
So it leaves geographic names.
But if you named it, e.g., "Camp west of the Mountain", do you have to name the other three foothill camps in relation to the Mountain, too? Plus it doesn't feel west of the mountain to me, even though it is. If I had been asked the direction without looking at the map, I would've said southwest, due to how the highway seems to curve all the way around the mountain (although it actually doesn't).
Besides, I'd rather keep all names short than start putting compass directions into some names. If at all possible, keep the camp name to one word, is my thinking.
My ideas went from Photographer to Highway to Plains. /u/MisterCrowbar thought Novelist's Son was best, but others might've completely missed that knot, like me. I went back and forth with /u/heelstoo a lot over this.
Finally I'm just calling it the Plains or Highway camp:
Clearly these are some wide open plains here. (Although a lot of water too, damnit... it's almost in competition with the Swamp Camp, laugh. But the big difference is the wide-open plains around it.)
It's also the camp with the most autopaver going through its territory. The only other one that comes close is the first Central (Lake) camp, but that one has other naming choices. Plus the way the road winds through it, with even a postbox on the far side, kind of emphasizes the highway's association with the camp. So I personally think Highway is a reasonable choice here, too.
  • The Volcano or Evo-Devo Camp really only has these two choices.
I guess it could have been Paleontologist, but it's closer to Evo-Devo. And you'll probably encounter Evo-Devo right after the first time you skirt this camp.
The story line emphasizes the ruined volcano observatory as you get to the camp. So this name is well documented in the game, even though there's no actual landmark with a sign that says Volcano.
Evo-Devo is a good choice too because of its proximity and how you encounter the camp on a mission to the Evo-devo Biologist. (Thanks, /u/heelstoo!) It's shortened from Evo-devo Biologist because long.

This name discussion may seem like a lot of hot air. But I think it's useful because whenever we talked about camp names on reddit, many folks didn't use all the rules I suggest. Quite a few probably simply said the name they use in their head, without considering ramifications like the ones I list in the name rules. Ultimately not even I could avoid breaking a few rules (e.g., some players won't find the Musician in their first game), but most of these names meet most of the rules.

Damn I type a lot lol

Loot from Mule Camps

Screencap of raw Mule Camp data through July 2021... it's a mess, laugh

I don't have lots of info on camps because I didn't take detailed notes until late in my second game. Consider it spot checking, not hard numbers.

Materials for Roads

It should be easy to find Ceramics for Autopavers. It's at the Elder, Farm, and Forest camp, but Elder is clearly the most-easily accessed (the center of that map and the highway system) and has the least opponents. I got 4,640 to 4,960 hgs (kg*10) of Ceramics (81–89% of materials) from six Elder raids, whereas the Farm had 4,080 to 4,480 (4 raids) and Forest 3,600 to 4,120 (3 raids).

So: Elder Camp is the best place to get Ceramics.

Metals are a tougher call. I raided Lake camp 14 times (testing camp respawning) and got 2,450 to 4,300 hgs (median 3,400). For the Swamp camp, I got 1,800 to 2,300 in three raids. (Swamp is kind of a mix of materials, with roughly 47% metal, 24% resins, 18% ceramics, 10% SAs, and 2% chems across the three samples.)

So I guess Lake camp is the place to go for Metals, but you won't be getting as much of a haul as you do for Ceramics from Elder camp. Maybe because Lake Camp has less tents and one less postbox.

The total amounts of Metals and Ceramics needed for roads is almost equal. When others contribute, they contribute equal percentages due to how that aspect of multiplayer alchemy works. Net result: you need roughly equal amounts of these two materials, regardless of how much others help rebuild roads.
It takes ~110k hgs of each material if you made all roads with no help from anyone else. In my second game, others contributed ~30% of the total materials needed.

Materials for Ziplines

A level 1 zipline needs a PCC2 and 500 Chiral Bandwidth, and can span 300m. To upgrade them to 350m and longer durability:

CXls Chems SAs
2 0 240 480
3 300 1,440 1,440
Total 300 1,680 1,920

Level 3 is a huge jump. Honestly if I see a level 2 zipline that's highly degraded, I just tear it down and start over instead of hauling all the materials needed for level 3. Unless it's one of my (very few!) ziplines with a lot of Likes (laugh). I'll upgrade them to level 3.

Special Alloys are pretty easy to come across in normal gameplay (from knots and KMIs), but if you need more, go to the Badlands or Plains camps. Badlands had more (4,740 to 7,080 in 5 raids) than Plains (3,900 to 5,040 hgs in 3 raids).

Only the Volcano camp specializes in Chemicals. I got 2,100 to 3,210 hgs in 3 raids. For me, Chemicals are almost always in shorter supply than SAs when building out a level-2 zipline web.

Other sources of Chemicals are the Evo-devo Biologist who rewards HD Chems (the XL1's 480 hgs in a Medium), but the Spiritualist rewards ~2.5 times as much with her Lightweight Chems (a 1,200-hg XL4 that weighs 24 kg instead of 120).

So you might ask yourself whether you want to make two or three Premium deliveries to the Spiritualist, or raid the Volcano Camp. Either of these would give you roughly the same amount of Chemicals. You'd get more Likes with the deliveries, and more chances to make other deliveries, too (coming and going).

But it's not as fun as a raid, laugh.

Types of Loot Recovered During Raids

Falls into several categories:

  • The Mules or Terrorists themselves:
    • Appear to have a 50/50 chance of having a piece of equipment or a material container.
    • Of the materials, about half might be what the camp specializes in.
    • I got the impression that they mostly have Small material containers, but occasionally some or even all were Medium. I'm not sure if there's a pattern to this; I didn't start tracking it until late in testing.
  • There will be one or more large tents. This and the Postboxes are the motherload of the material that the camp specializes in.
    • These containers always(?) range in size from Medium to XL1, of the specialty material.
      • The number of containers seems to be the same, and maybe even their placement in the tent. But their size (hgs) will vary.
      • It's my guess that a big score of specialty materials depends mainly on whether these "fixed drops" spawn as XL1s.
    • Sometimes a large tent for vehicles will have also specialty materials.
    • Large tents may also have a piece of equipment or two.
  • Small tents will be connected to large ones, or stand alone. These have a very small number of items or materials. I get the impression the devs deliberately gave them random materials, which means they're not the specialty material (there are five to choose from).
  • Camp postboxes are an odd one. Sometimes they'll have lots of the specialty material, sometimes not. Sometimes they're full of other items and/or player-dropped stuff, sometimes not so much. They might be kinda-sorta functioning like Share lockers (see next section).
    • Lost Cargo (with a knot destination) will have a blue strand through its entry in the Postbox inventory. Player dropped cargo will have a green strand.
      • Player Lost Cargo (pLC) can be quite numerous; I've seen up to 12 in a postbox. Usually it's more like 2 to 4 and sometimes it's zero.
      • There are usually 2 to 4 Knot Lost Cargo (kLC).
    • Postbox camp materials (not Lost Cargo or equipment) seem to range from Medium to XL1, just like tent materials.

The net result of all this is that, in addition to the lion's share of your haul being the specialty material (except in camps too small to specialize much), you always get a fraction of materials that are not that camp's specialty. If you keep close tabs on amounts, the highest percent specialty materials (by weight) I ever saw was 94% SAs from the Badlands camp. But most of the time the percent will be 80 to 90% of the haul. If it's a (very) small camp or you have Empty Tents (below), this percent will be lower.

Note: For my total material counts on this page, I do not count any Postbox Lost Cargo. The amount varies a lot, plus some players might not touch it. In order to reduce the variability in my data and keep it focused on actual camp spawns, I didn't count it. If you get pLC and keep it, your total raid haul will be higher than what I discuss. Still, it's probably only a fraction of a big camp's regular drops.

Also, whether it's a non-lethal Mule or a lethal Terrorist camp affects drops:

  • Mule camps have non-lethal weapons lying around, and no blood containers. You're liable to find a few Mule Boots.
  • Terrorist camps have lethal weapons as well as blood containers. These guys are likely to have a few Terrorist Boots.

I can't recall ever seeing a Mule carrying Terrorist Boots or vice-versa, but I can't say it with absolute certainty. I didn't make a decision to keep an eye out for it until I just now wrote this, laugh.

Only the last three camps (starting on the way to the Mountain) have Terrorists. If you're unsure whether a camp is lethal, do an Odradek scan. If any carry Boots or non/lethal equipment, there's your answer.

Respawning at Mule Camps

  • If you knock out a Mule or Terrorist, it stays down for 2 hours of game time (2:00). I don't know if this is exact or there's a little wiggle room (± a few minutes for each one), but it's pretty damn close.
    • You can pass this time by hitting a prepper Rest or knot Private Room four times (30 game minutes each time).
    • If you knocked out a lot of guys, you will probably find some of them waking up the rest if you hurry back.
  • Camps have usually also spawned Material drops by then, BUT:
    • There must be at least 1 guy left alive at the camp. That's all you need, and you'll still get the same full set of Material containers spawning in the tents and postboxes. (Of course, since each Mule carries one item, there will be less Mule items if there are less Mules. But they don't carry much Materials anyway.)
    • Oddly, I found that sometimes you must exit that game at least once between raids or materials won't spawn, especially if you're "forcing" it via four Rests. (In ordinary play there might be a lot time between raids, and you'll be in a new DS session, so it's not a concern.)
      • Going to the Title Screen is enough.
      • If you slept at a knot, you probably generated an Autosave each time you hit the terminal. (Watch for the little "Saving Game" in the lower right.) Just load that when you exit to the Title screen to force Materials to spawn.
      • If you're unsure whether it Autosaved, just check the time of your latest savegame. Or force an Autosave with, e.g., C (Rest in place). Whatever.
  • I found that sometimes tent and postbox containers would respawn after two hours, but sometimes (a third of the time?) it took many hours longer, even if I quit to the Title Screen. Not sure what's going on here... Could there be some sort of real-time cooldown period relative to the time you've spent in the game? This doesn't seem likely. Or maybe even synced to real-world time, like, only every 6 or 12 hours? This doesn't seem real likely either. But it might have been doing something like "camps can only respawn materials every 4 hours UTC", which would have been really hard for me to figure out. (How can you tell when you just missed a cut-off, or if you just got lucky and caught one in time, when you don't even know when the cut-offs are?)
  • If you force 2 hours of game time by Resting, Mules will NOT be carrying any items (even though camp materials respawned). There also seems to be less items in Postboxes (not counting Lost Cargo, which works on its own schedule). So the items that Mules carry take longer to spawn; longer than the 6 hours or so for my longest forced-Rest tests. Don't know how much longer.

Empty Tent Raids

When I first arrived in the Central region in my second (Hard) game, several of my camp raids didn't net many materials. As best I can reconstruct, the main load – the big containers in the big tents – simply weren't there. I called these "empty tent" raids (the ETs column in my spreadsheet inset). A more-precise definition would be "main tents don't have specialist materials", but they still have a few miscellaneous things.

Sometimes one or more postboxes would be near-empty, too.

However, the Mules would always have one item on them (as usual) and the assorted items and materials in main and outlying tents would still be there.

Thus I didn't walk away completely empty handed, but it was much less of a haul than expected, especially of materials the camp specialized in.

I asked whether others saw this on reddit, but the only person that responded speculated it was due to spawn time. IOW, not a single person confirmed that they had ever seen it. So I'm guessing that 1) it isn't real common, and 2) maybe it was due to spawn times.

If you watch Share lockers at knots, you find that, if you haven't visited them in a long while, the Share stuff gets emptied out. If you visit it once you see it's empty (check it from afar via the Map), the Share locker will have little or no items. But if you've been working around that knot and hitting its terminal for a while, the Share locker will have quite a few things in it.

Maybe something similar is going on for Mule camps. I doubt it's exactly the same. But ... there's some kind of precedent.

I can't recall it happening at all in my first (Normal) game, but for that playthrough everything was new to me, and I didn't take notes on camp loot. Thus I can't say for sure that it didn't happen. It was very clear in my second (Hard) game though, especially in my earlier days in the Central region.

In all my other discussions on this page of what you'll find at camps, I excluded data from empty-tent raids. AFAIK, they're uncommon. Plus I don't know any way to predict it. And finally, you're not going to not raid because it might happen ... you're going to raid because you've got some reason to. If the tents turn out to be empty, you're just SOL. Keep on keepin on, Sam Porter Bridges.

Knocking Out Mules

Here's a little YouTube showing Mules about to wake up, and how the "stars" hovering over them pulse just before they wake up, and just after you put them down. (They pulse fastest just before waking up.) Also it shows parry and bind, and has a bonus song for little BB.

Parry and Bind with Strand

In the game's Tips under Enemy Strategies: MULEs, there's a section called Using Strands. For PC controls:

Use RMB to prepare the strand, then use LMB to bind the enemy.
If you can sneak up on a MULE from behind, you can use a strand to bind them. You can also use strands to avoid MULE melee attacks, although your timing will need to be just right.

This is a real simple way to take down non-lethal Mules:

  • Select your strand (rope) with the weapon wheel.
  • Keep your it taut (hold down RMB).
  • Then when they lunge, hit LMB, especially if they go past you. Click it madly if you want.
  • Really, just getting behind them and spamming LMB seems to be enough, much of the time.

That's it!

It's pretty easy and works most of the time once you get the hang of it. If it doesn't, just keep trying. You'll bind'em soon enough.

Strand Binding also works great on Higgs in the final battle near the end of the game where you're stripped of all equipment except your strand.

Parry, bind, and kick the crap out of his head.

Rinse, repeat, defeat.

Stun Mules via their Odradek

To stun a Mule from afar:

  • Get within 50m. Target them with Odradek.

That's it. Conveniently, your Compass tracks them while you hack into their scanner. Relax and let it do the work.

Caution: Stunning Terrorists takes two charges, in quick succession. They recover from a single stun relatively quickly, just like Sam if he's nearly knocked out (yellow line over his health bar almost gone).

Each stun takes a hefty 94 SBUs. You can only deliver 10 with the standard 1,000 SBUs.

  • The biggest Mule camps have up to 14. You'd need 1,316 SBUs to stun them all.
  • The biggest Terrorist camps have up to 16. For this, you'd need 3,008 SBUs in total (94x16x2).

I sometimes use Stun to snipe lone guys in the field, especially if there's a generator nearby. I only use it closer to their tents when there's only one in a position to attack me, and they're not close enough to interrupt the Stun-charging bar. So it's usually like a supplemental weapon to non-lethal bullets for me; it saves on ammo for Terrorists. For Mules, I mostly use strand binding these days (see above). I used to love and use the Bola exclusively, but now strands are sort of new and fun to me.

You get the Stun ability when you do the third Cyberpunk crossover mission (for Johnny's sunglasses):

  • Read the yellow-highlight email from "Your partner J" titled "[Recovery Request] [V] I've Lost Contact with the Porter Who Recovered My Chip".
  • Get the mission at DC N Mtn KC and find the body atop a hill just northwest of the Forest Camp.
  • When done, you'll get an email called "[V] Thanks for Dealing with the Porter's Body" and another one called "[V] You Really Are the Great Deliverer!" He says the new Odradek stun capability should work "most of the time, heheh".

Laugh. I've never had it fail, although it can be tricky to execute if the target is moving a lot and/or close.

Sensor Poles

Use your Compass to Disable Sensor Poles:

  • You must be within 50m
  • It uses 25 SBUs. Sam has 1000 by default, so this is small potatoes.
  • They will spark and blink erratically when glitched
  • If you take one down, it takes them all down, all around the camp
  • They all come back up in 5 minutes
  • As they approach the 5-minutes they start making a sound at shorter intervals, like a countdown. You have to be pretty close to a sensor pole to hear it.

You get this ability from the second Cyberpunk 2077 crossover mission (for the Yaiba Kusanagi trike):

  • Watch for a yellow-highlight email titled "[Recovery Request][V] Retrieve My Chip from the MULES" from J.
  • After reading it, start the mission at Lake Knot City and find the chip at the Lake Camp.
  • When done, you get another email from J titled "[V] The Mists Are Clearing, Thanks To You". Among other things it says you can short sensor poles "for a minute" (actually it's 5 minutes).

For more info on the Cyberpunk missions, see this.

Word to the wise, courtesy Frivolous_chicken – Sensor-pole scans differ for Mules versus Terrorists:

  • MULEs scan for tagged cargo. If you're in MULE territory but have no tagged cargo (generic materials/items/weapons don't count), nothing triggers the holo alarm.
  • Terrorists scan for bodies. Unless you negate the scan somehow, you always get scanned when you cross the sensors, the holo being that of Sam in whatever position he was in when the scan hit him.


I don't have the DC, but here's a tip from frivolous_chicken:

A strategy to deal with camp turrets is to take out all the guys on the perimeter before taking on the central tents, so then they aren't lining up to replace each other at the turrets.

Corpse Disposal Team

Two corpses, one with full pre-melt showing (see below)

Death Stranding has lots of way to take care of Mules and Terrorists non-lethally. But should you be so inclined, here's info about corpses and their disposal.

When you first kill someone, they have their original outfit. But to do anything with them at all, you have to put them in a body bag. Once you do, they are forevermore a faceless 70-kg "Body Bag" piece of cargo. 70 kg (154 pounds) is a little light for male adults. I guess times are tough for post-apocalypse porters.

Transporting Corpses

The apparent "size" of corpses is specific to the situation:

Sam himself can only carry one person or corpse on his back, always in a body bag (even if alive, laugh). Past that he can put 2 more SCEs on his back (2 Small or 1 Medium).

Ordinarily, Sam can hold 28 SCEs, which implies that the corpse is 26 SCEs (28–2).

But you can see that there's lots more room available. Ultimately I guess the devs only wanted Sam carrying one body, so they simply made it work like this.

The Bridges Truck can straight-up hold 14 bodies, and not 1 SCE more. That's big enough to hold all the bodies from all but the two Huge camps. Since B Trucks can hold 168 SCEs (a.k.a. 28 XLs), this says Body Bags are 12 SCEs each (168/14).

Fourteen bodies also means each one equals an LED on the back of the truck.

If you scan a B Truck full of bodies, their outlines show that they're all sitting in little seats, just like with the Mule Truck.

You can also fit one more corpse into a B Truck if it's on Sam's back. Ordinarily, his backpack proper holds 8 SCEs; if he has even 1 more Small container on his back, he can't get in a full B Truck. But with a body, he can. If corpses are 12 SCEs, then this is one more irregularity in their size.

In the dev's defense, making a corpse 12 SCEs (if Sam puts it on his back) seems a little excessive to me. I think 10 would be more than enough; maybe even 8. (They aren't big guys if they only weigh 70 kg.)

Anyway, there's that.

The Mule Truck is to die for when it comes to bodies. (Ha. Ha. Ha.) You can put up to 6 in it; they sit on the cargo seats, laugh. (Ah, so that's why Mules put seats in their trucks beds – they're planning ahead!)

But this has zero impact on how many SCEs you can put in the Mule Truck... you can still put a full 48 SCEs into them, even with 6 corpses. Because Mule Trucks follow the Rule of 8, 48 SCEs is 6 XLs. (Look at that picture more closely.)

Floating Carriers can hold two bodies and not 1 more SCE. Ordinarily Carriers can hold 32 SCEs. So this configuration implies that bodies are 16 SCEs, not 12.

Bikes can't hold a body. In theory their racks can hold 12 SCEs, but it's divided up into two sides at 6 SCEs per side.

Perhaps the devs could've gone the extra mile and let you drape a corpse across the seat behind Sam, like on a horse in a Western. But who cares, there are plenty of other options.

Just don't full-on massacre until you have a B Truck.

Fun With Bodies

Sam lecturing some CDT cargo about the virtues of honest delivery work. Secretly Sam sometimes feels like he should've been an actor, or maybe even was in some alternate life.
  • Targets go down easier with an Assault Rifle than rubber bullets.
  • BB's condition goes south fast:
    • With each kill, there's an immediate drop of ~20% that keeps dropping (even from just one kill) to 50–70% damage.
    • If you soothe BB, multiple kills don't have to end in autotoxemia. But of course, you have to be out of danger to soothe the little rugrat.
    • Tip: If you're soothing Lou and hit Compass again (G on PC), you can look around better. You're not staring at Lou any more.
    • I've been able to comfort Lou back to health after killing 4 in quick succession. You probably could take down an entire large camp without knocking her out. You just have to keep withdrawing to fix BB.
  • When a target dies, they have their original outfit on. To pick them up, you have only one option: Put them in a Body Bag.
  • Body Bags weigh 70.0 kg and use roughly 12 SCEs, depending (see above).
  • You can't put them in a Postbox or Private Locker (laugh).
  • If you bring them to a knot, a CDT "alert" sign flashes above them. CDT stands for Corpse Disposal Team.
  • You can't go to a knot's Private Room if there's a corpse on the elevator (in a truck on the elevator, etc.).
  • If you go to the Private Room with corpses anywhere else within that knot's sensor perimeter, Die-Hardman chides you for not taking them to an incinerator – "You should've been the one to handle this." You get red text as follows and, when you return to the lobby, the corpses are gone:
Bridges Corpse Disposal Team disposed of 6 corpse(s). Docked -1200 Like(s).
  • The same thing happens if you leave a corpse at a knot (anywhere inside its perimeter) and move away 750m or more: Die-Hardman docks you 200 Likes per corpse, and they poof.   750m from the Map icon for the knot, not the corpse per se.

Time To Die

Getting Rid of Bodies

Access to Lake KC is denied if you have corpses

There are several ways:

  • Bring them to the Incinerator. If you have 14 in your truck, the Incinerator will take them all at once (it's a single delivery of 14 packages).
  • Drop them in any tar lake. Tip from /u/C4pnL0ngDong: "Park your truck before the red sinking point and use Inventory to dump all your bodies in the tar. Also, you can take small groups of dead guys from a camp... they won't repopulate in the meantime."
When you drop a body in a tar lake, it disappears after a few seconds and you get the white-text message "Corpse lost".
  • Leave them at a big knot and use the Private Room.
    • Die-Hardman will tell you the CDT picked up the corpses (see above). You're docked 200 Likes for each body. They'll be gone when you return from the Private Room.
    • Works for corpses anywhere in that knot's perimeter.
    • You can't use the elevator if there's a corpse on it (perhaps in a truck). You also can't Room with a corpse on your back.
    • Preppers won't take care of corpses. You can even have one on your back when you Rest at a Prepper.

Deadman's 8-hour Warning

In my Hard PC game, if you kill peeps and don't get rid of the bodies, after exactly 8 hours of game time you get an urgent call from Deadman:

Um, Sam. We've recorded a spike in chiral levels not far from your position. I think it might be a body. A body about to go necro. I've marked it on your map. If I'm right, you need to deal with it fast. Like, right now.

He keeps telling you this any time you load your game again, for the next four hours.

Deadman says he marked the corpse(s) on your map, but actually they're already well marked on the map. The marker doesn't change after Deadman's call, as far as I can tell. So I guess this is a tiny dev oversight, but it's better to have them visible the whole time anyway, shrug.

Pop or Melt

At exactly 12 hours of game time after killing someone, corpses will go necro and either pop (voidout) or melt into a BT gazer at their location. If they pop, the voidout ends the game and you have to reload.

If you (and not some other human) caused the voidout, the screen fades to white and you immediately get one of these three voice messages:

Sam Goddammit, not another voidout. Did I leave a body somewhere?
Deadman Oh God, Sam... There was a corpse you missed that went necro.
The BT, it... it found someone, and there was a voidout...
I don't think we can come back from this. I think... I think it's over.
Die-hardman Goddammit, Sam. The body you left behind went necro.
The BT it popped made contact with someone and triggered a voidout.
The chiral network, the UCA... you can forget about it all. We're done.

I'm going to call this type of voidout an Instant Voidout because it always happens, with no recourse, if conditions are right. Which is to say: A corpse is somewhere that goes straight to voidout, for reasons that are unclear and unexplained in the game.

The game has a built-in failsafe for Instant Voidouts: Whatever game you load after the whiteout will have all corpses removed. Probably so you can't get stuck in an endless loop. You can always reload again if you actually want the corpse(s). Like, oh, I don't know... if you're testing voidouts hundreds of times <grr> laugh

If another human causes a voidout, you don't get any message. Like if a friendly porter or Mule is caught by the BT that spawns from a melted corpse.

I'll call this a Normal Voidout. It's well explained by the game mechanics: If a BT captures a live human (not Sam), there's an enormous explosion.

Normal voidouts might sometimes confuse newbie players. They can get a sudden fade-to-white Game Over with no explanation, maybe after days of real-world play time. It might take a long time for a friendly porter to happen to stroll through the area with the new BT (from a corpse), much more than 12 game hours after you killed someone.

/u/thomas2026 even left bodies in incredibly remote areas and still got surprise voidouts much later.

YouTubes of corpse-spawned gazers and voidouts

For all these, notice that there's no message or voiceover when the voidout happens... just straight to Seam and game over.

  • Corpse melts into a gazer just as a friendly porter arrives, then Voidout
    Shows how to set up a porter intercept by dropping a corpse right in their path, based on game time.
    Also demonstrates how the game's failsafe removes any corpses from whatever savegame you load right after the voidout.
      Plus shows a very rare instance of the game engine not drawing a highway fast enough, so I drive right off the highway, lol.

Normal Voidouts

The game explains that if human and BT meet, it's like a matter/antimatter explosion.

If you set it up so that the corpse melts near friendly porters (FPs) or a Mule camp, the voidout can happen quite soon after the body melts into a BT gazer (just 12 seconds, or whatever).

I had a lot of fun testing this, lol. If you know a porter's route, drop the corpse-cum-gazer ahead of them. If you 1) wrote down your game time when you made the corpse (cough), 2) have the Porter charm on, and 3) do a few strategic game saves, it's super easy to line things up to catch an FP right when the corpse melts (12 hours after death).

Tip: The Porter backpack accessory (from the Veteran Porter) show friendly porters on your Map, all across your entire region. You can use this to see where they are or follow their paths and patterns from anywhere in the region.

I found that BTs will sense Mules up to 50 or 60m away. In fact it's kind of exciting to watch them creep up on the dudes. A few tips:

  • It will always be raining when you do this, and Mules will mostly hide in their tents. (If it isn't already raining, a corpse causes rain wherever it is, 60s before melting. I guess this is S.O.P. for a BT area.)
  • If the gazer spawns very close to them (20m or so), it will immediately take off.
  • If farther (40 – 60m), it will linger at its spawn location and eventually sense(?) the humans. It's kind of cool to see it slowly drift over.
  • Either way it can be tricky to keep an eye on the gazer. Obviously you don't want to get too close; he'd come after you instead. But if you're 20+ meters away in heavy rain, it can be hard to see the wraith-like gazer. Sometimes your scanner can help.
  • If a Mule is in a tent that you can't see into, a recent scan will still show his outline as he's snatched. In fact, this is par for the course:
    • You also don't want to get too close to the Mules, so that they might attack you and mess up your voyeurism.
    • So you probably won't be right at the entrance to a tent, and thus can't see into it very well.
    • Therefore, most of the time, you'll only be seeing the scan outlines of a Mule being captured by a BT if you want to play with corpse-gazers attacking Mule camps.

Friendly porters give a much clearer view. You can set it up so that it happens in a pretty open area.

But it's a lot funner with Mules. Muhaha.

Instant Voidouts

An exact Instant Voidout point at -1834 +1919 at the start of the road southwest of DC N Mtn KC
Instant Voidout points south and west of DC N Mtn KC. Sam is in same place as the screencap (-1834 +1919). Marker A is the other boundary I pinned down, 472m to the SSE of Sam (-1584.9 +1515.5).
Chart map of X Y coords around the DC N MKC where corpses will either Pop or Melt

An instant voidout is when a corpse is in a place where it does NOT melt but, instead, goes straight to a voidout. One moment the corpse is there, the next the screen goes white and you get one of the three voiceovers shown above. This happens 12 hours after the guy was killed.

I asked on reddit if anyone knew what caused this, because it's not the well-explained mechanism for Normal Voidouts; it happens when there are no humans around (or any other apparent cause). But no one could explain it, or even seemed familiar with it. /u/reversegremlin posited, "Putting my software engineer hat on, I’d guess it’s like the gold BT game over: something protecting the game from itself. There is something near there that doesn’t allow BTs for some reason." Real food for thought.

Isn't it odd that the game has voiceovers for this, but not the normal, explained type of voidout?

As of this writing, I have no idea what causes it. All I can tell you is where it happens. But it takes a lot of time to map each point (15-30 minutes, including reloads, waiting to pop, and careful mapping and note-taking). Thus I've only checked places that happened to be near me.

Trying to find the corpse Pop (vs. Melt) areas and boundary

Editor's note: I started testing where corpses would Pop or Melt, but then I found that results were being contradictory and eventually it seemed to Pop no matter what I did, even if I left a corpse inside the perimeter of the DC N of MKC (where, previously, it wouldn't do either until I left the perimeter). I've already sunk days into investigating this phenomenon – a phenomenon which is pretty damn obtuse and that few players will ever toy with or care about.

Meanwhile, all the rest of the truly useful stuff on my site is yet to be seen, because I want to finalize everything before going public. Therefore I'm going to draw the line on this Pop / Melt crap and simply stop working on it.

Here are my notes as of the time I quit. At the point I gave up, I was finding that the game went Pop even if I left a corpse at the DC. This had not happened before, and contradicts some of what I had written up to that point (below). You will also see in the notes below that as I got farther from the DC N MKC (especially when testing right at Craftsman and at Lake KC) that all it ever does is Pop. I have no idea if, in fact, the game is doing something entirely logical and predictable (relative to how the devs set it up) but it's so complex I can't figure it out. Or if, in all my testing, I've driven it to the point where some bug or unusual set of conditions has kicked in that players wouldn't usually see, even if playing with Pop vs. Melt.

So I'm just bagging it all for now. Here are my notes as I left them 11/23/21. As I said, some of the buginess may have already crept into what's written here, causing potentially contradictory information. Anyway this is as far as I got on my intended write-up that I want to be a "more details" collapsible-text section:

I didn't try to detail other places where corpses Pop or Melt well. Often I was testing other things, like siccing BTs on porters and Mules. Anyway, here's what I found:

Novelist's Son: In a quick attempt to see how far the Pop zone extends west of the DC N MKC, I found two Pop points by N's Son. One ~10m outside NS's perimeter to SE of shelter entrance, the other ~3m outside perimeter due N of entrance. No Melts.

Forest Camp and Incinerator: Most places around here, especially on Autopaver 41-9 and -10, do a Melt. But around -564 +2376 (~270m NW of the Incinerator icon on Map) there's a place where it always Pops south of here (I don't know how far south) and Melts north of there (again, don't know how far). This boundary is ~60m northwest of where AP 41-8 makes its northern-most curve.

  • The Forest Camp itself is a guaranteed Melt. Tested center of camp (-767 +1822), east of camp (-660 +1774, a few m E of east-most tent), and west of camp where it borders on the plains proper (-1065 +1841, -1053 +1795, and -1070 +1796).
  • SE of the Incinerator at -153 +2105 (224m SE of the Incinerator icon on the Map) is a Melt.

A corpse a few meters from the entrance to the WS S LKC goes Pop.

Ruined Factory NW of Craftsman: Pops at +629 +1372, up on the raised highway just SW of the factory. This was an accidental Pop when I got the timing wrong, laugh. All I got was this lousy data.

I wonder if it might've popped because this is already a BT area?

Craftsman: Having corpses inside Craftsman's perimeter leads to Instant Voidout.

Between Craftsman and Engineer SSW of the AP 23-4 map icon, S of the little lake there near its eastern edge. Always Melts. Some friendly porters (FPs) happened to be walking along here going W to E. I could put a corpse here that would Melt and capture them for a Normal Voidout. I did this several times; one of the points was +1,695.5 +1,367.3. Got some great video, muhaha.

Elder Camp 20 to 100m west of the main tent: Always melted. I had a lot of fun capturing Mules.

If you spawn a gazer quite close (next to the little tent just W of the main tent), the BT almost immediately eats a Mule and Bam. If more than about 50 or 60m away, you will have to get the gazer to chase you over to where the Mules are (hiding in their tents due to the timefall rain that always accompanies a BT spawn).

Anyway, corpses always Melted around here.

South of Craftsman along AP 23-7: Always Melted. First I tried spawning them on the highway where it crosses the river. The gazers didn't melt through the highway and drop below; they spawn on the highway itself.

Then I drove a truck full of corpses into the river there where another stream meets it (approx. +1260 +1020) and again they all spawned gazers. Right in the river itself!

Lake KC: Instant Pop, even inside the perimeter as defined by the sensor poles. At +2517 +1816, just 20m southwest (outside) of the physical barriers. However you can't enter the knot itself with a corpse; the barriers prevent it (see screencap above).

DC S LKC: Instant Pop if corpses are inside perimeter when the time is up.

Here's a quick way to find an Instant Voidout boundary:

Editor's Note: I inserted this "Wait No" just before testing went goofy (always Popping) and I gave up:

Wait, No: If corpses are left at the DC N MKC and you go more than 750m from the DC's Map icon, Die-Hardman will say:

Dammit Sam, another body was found abandoned at our facilities.
Fortunately a Corpse Disposal Team came across it.
But we came very close to disaster.
This text is probably not verbatim. I didn't get repetitions to check it, before the corpse started Popping every time. Usually I have to hear something a few times to copy it all down (super fast lol), then a few more to make sure I got everything just right.
  • Leave a corpse at a big knot (KC or DC). It can pass its necro boundary time (12 hours after death) here and nothing will happen (yet). It just has to be inside the knot's perimeter line (sensor poles).
    • In limited testing, it looks like this doesn't work at smaller knots. But who cares because you can be all the way across the map. It doesn't matter.
  • But before the time is up, go to wherever you want to do testing. Save the game a little while before the 12 hours is up... however much time you might need.
    • Make sure it's a location where a corpse would Melt and not Pop, or it'll be game over already.
    • If you're not sure, just leave extra time. You may have to retry it some to find a Melt place.
    • You might have several save games:
      • One 30 minutes out that let's you move much farther away, for a later round of testing.
      • Another at 15 and 10 and 5,
      • And the last at 1 or 2 minutes.
      • Now you can explore the area very close to the shortest save with a lot of quick reloads. And go back in time to move to other places around the boundary edges you're finding.
  • Once the time is up, you can now move around and approach the Pop area. Keep an eye on exactly where you are. You want to see where you Pop. The Melt/Pop boundary.
    • To have well-spaced results, use your coordinates. For example: If you're on the west edge of a boundary exploring to the east, you might go 5m N of your savegame point, then head exactly E (using your compass) until you Pop. Next time go 10m N, then head E. Next reload go 15m N, then E. Et cetera. The spacing is up to you. You don't need to be super exact... it's just that you don't want to find out after the fact that your Pop points are in clumps, because you didn't have much method to how you aimed yourself.
    • Video capture might help here. Vidcap the game while you approach the boundary. After you Pop, retrace your steps (without a necro corpse) and jot down the coordinates where it happened.
    • Since it's a hassle to keep going back and forth between vidcaps and retracing, you might get a bunch of Pop vidcaps first. Then you only need to revisit all the locations once without a corpse.
  • I personally just use an X, Y "scatterplot" in Excel to see what a boundary looks like (see my "Chart Map of X Y coordinates"). If you know spreadsheets, it's pretty easy to set up and you can play with the minimum and maximum on the axes to focus in on particular areas. It has the big advantage that you're using the actual coordinates you found. But the disadvantage that it's not actually overlaid on a game map, to give it meaning. But then, unless somebody makes an interactive DS map that individuals can plot points on, I don't think there's much hope of that anyway.

Details on Melting

Four of these six corpses show "pre-melt". The farthest one is just starting.

Deadman gives a warning at 8 hours, and bodies melt or pop at exactly 12 hours after death. A couple more things happen just before they melt.

If they're going to Pop, they don't Melt. You simply get an Instant Voidout and game over; see below.

This is the six gazers from above, plus four from the truck (you can't see the farthest two). On the road need Forest Camp.
5 minutes before Melt: A small black circle starts to form on their chest. This will grow into a larger one and then stop, within a minute. See the pics for the large one.
1 minute before Melt: It will start to timefall (rain or snow), if it's not falling already.

You might call the black spot pre-melt, the soul patch, or tar burn. It's another little warning that the devs built into the game.

It's hard to catch it right when it starts because it grows slowly over the course of the minute. In fact the earliest I noticed it in brief testing was 4:44 before Melt. You're watching the grass grow until it finally appears 11 hours and 55 minutes after death, laugh. Since the game often uses nice round numbers, I assume it actually starts at 5 minutes before Melt, and I simply missed it's smallest beginning.

If you don't notice it until it's full-blown (as shown), you probably have less than 4 minutes until Melt.

At the moment of Melt:

  • The corpse will drop off your back or out of your truck, if you're carrying it.
  • It instantly becomes covered in tar. This is a jet-black circle about 2m wide (same height as corpse, but all around in a circle.) Everything in this circle is briefly covered with tar.
  • The corpse drops/dissolves down into the ground; it "melts".
  • A gazer rises up from the spot as the tar patch goes away.
    • When this happens, you also get the big BT warning (unless there's already a BT near).
  • The gazer takes a few seconds to settle into place.

All in all, it takes about 8 seconds to go from corpse to gazer. If it was on your back or in your truck when it melted, you have plenty of time to get outside the gazer alert radius (~20m).

Yes, corpses will melt right off your back or truck, and drop onto the ground below.

Also, it's entirely possible to spawn gazers on a highway (they stay up there) or in a river. I parked a truck full of corpses in the middle of a river, and not a single gazer complained.

Gallery: Corpses Melting at the Forest Camp
1: Before any of the nine corpses melt at Forest Camp. No rain or soul patch.
2: Four corpses gone; #s 5–9 about to go
3: The 5th one melted moments ago; 6 & 7 just started. The tar on the feet of 8 & 9 is from the ones that just melted next to them.
4: Hail hail the gang's all here
5: Not good... NOT GOOD! I figured I'd watch from a perch, but they sensed me. Couldn't jump or they'd hear me. Fade to white

Will Camps Repopulate If You Kill Mules?

The short answer appears to be: No. Not ever. Each killed person doesn't re-appear. So be sure you want them permanently gone, before you kill them.

A Google search finds a lot of Yes; that they do respawn. But if you look close, those Yesses don't have any details. I have yet to find one that says the author themself observed it, or how long it takes for Mules to respawn, or anything else besides what appears to be a reflexive "Yes".

As we all know, plenty of people on the net reply quickly without thinking deeply. It's also easy to also find instances where people answered "Yes" initially but when you drill down, they're answering Yes to the fact that unconscious people wake up. That's what they (mistakenly) thought was asked.

So if some people are answering the wrong question, and other people are blindly copying it, what's the result going to be? A lot of reflexive Yesses in Google results, without any details provided.

When I asked about this on reddit, only one person insisted that Mules respawn. When pressed, they said it was because anybody can google it and find out; they hadn't done it themselves.

The only person I know who has done this and spoke up is /u/C4pnL0ngDong. He slaughtered everybody at all the Central camps; 85 hours later (Total Play Time), not a single one has respawned.

I followed up and have tested out for about 36 hours and found, like him, if you kill them all, none will re-appear.

And no materials will re-appear at that camp. Ever. (But player and knot Lost Cargo will appear, as well as any Recovery missions.)

BUT if you leave at least one Mule, materials will re-appear, as normal. A full camp loadout; it doesn't depend on how many are left alive.

Also apparently:

  • Recovery Orders (where a knot asks you to get something from a camp) still appear regularly. Of course, they're much easier with little or no enemies.
  • Of course, you won't be getting the items the Mules usually carry. I've found this to roughly be:
    • 50% chance of equipment
    • 50% chance of a material (Small or Medium), of which
      • Half will be the camp's specialty material (so, 25% chance overall)

Still, having one-fourth of them drop Small or Medium specialty materials is very small potatoes compared to what's in the tents and postboxes.

Although you only need to leave one alive to spawn materials, it's also true that however many you leave alive, will remain. I tried leaving 5 alive at Elder camp and 4 at Badlands. Through two more successive Rests and raids, there were always exactly that many Mules at those camps.

Cremating Bodies Does NOT Make More CXls at the Incinerator

Somebody once wondered if cremating bodies caused Chiral Crystals to form around the Incinerator.

So I cleaned up ALL CXls anywhere near the Central Incinerator (inside and out), then took a truck full of 14 bodies and smoked them all. (The Incinerator lets you do all of them at once, like it's one multi-container delivery.)

Not a single crystal formed.

I checked all around the Incinerator with my Odradek. Waited about 5 minutes, too. /u/LTAden sagely commented that it makes sense that Kojima wouldn't incentivize killing.

The good news is that when I cleaned up (before cremating), I found quite a stash of CXls around the base of the Incinerator chimney. There were 15 chiral hands for a total haul of 845 cgs, as much as a medium-sized Catcher. This stash is just sitting there for the taking the first time you make it to the Incinerator.

Also: There are strategically-placed ladders that go down into the well at the base of the smokestack. You don't need any climbing equipment to safely and easily get down into the well and back out of it. Just use your Odradek to light up the ladders, then take a few seconds to see exactly where they are.

Finally: Nope, there's no CXL stash at the Incinerator back East. I fought through BTs to check for ya. You're welcome.

This and That

Missing Mules

Every once in a while, you'll make it to the camp center and seem to have taken everyone out... but you still won't get the message that Friendly Porters can now roam the area.

It happened to me at Swamp camp once. Eventually I found that a Mule was stuck in a cup-like rock structure by a creek. Alive and well with legs churning, going nowhere.

Likewise, some camps have very extensive areas. I've had a Mule who stayed way west of Lake camp, on the far side of the highway, if I defeated the sensor poles. (So maybe he never got the word.) It took me a long time to realize he was actually around, as opposed to, I dunno... sleeping? This was when I was testing camp materials spawning and had killed all but one Mule. I still got material drops after 2 hours, but couldn't find that one guy. A mystery until I finally realized what was happening.

The intruder-alert alarm seems to wind down by itself if a long time has passed (15 minutes?) and no enemy has seen you.

If you can't seem to find them, do scans and keep your eye out for that one orange item they will carry.

What MULE stands for

Apparently nothing, even though it's always capitalized in Tips and Email. No one knows of any official explanation (within the game) where it's spelled out as an acronym, or whether it even is an acronym.

This Fandom wiki page (see the Notes at bottom) says there could be a:

  • Possible connection to the 1982 Atari classic M.U.L.E., which encouraged the aggressive gathering/buying/selling of resources in an effort to edge out competing prospectors, so much so that being the sole controller of a given resource was considered ideal. This cargo was transported from plots of land to market by way of a "Multiple Use Labor Element", hence the name.

Of course, the idea of a mule or packhorse or more recently, drug smuggler, is a common concept.

Into the vacuum, redditors surged forth:

  • Men Under Lost Employment   -thomas2026
  • My, U Look Encumbered   -prairieschooner
  • Mentally Unstable Loot Envoy   -RabidOtterRodeo
  • Mercantily Uncapable Luggage Employee   -DistFunc

The reddit thread also has some discussion on DOOMS as well as the two Official Novelizations (review, GoodReads, Amazon).

Playin' wit Mules

  • If you get one down with with bola, punches, or bind (see next section) and it shows a chain symbol over their head (looks like infinity), they will free themselves soon. You need to knock them out with a kick to the head. If you see two little stars/asterisks, they're down for good.
  • Put on an O2 mask and break out the tranq grenades.

For more, check out the fun thread Do you kill Mules or Terrorists much?