"Walk softly and carry a sharpened stick with a fire-hardened point tipped in poison."
- Charm: Sweet
- Adaptability: Chameleon
- Planning: Needs development
- Survival Preparations: Who needs them when you can live off the land as well as an ISFP?
- Wealth: The trees and the flowers
- Weapons Skill: Ninja
- Intelligence: Clever
- Warm Fuzzies: Toasty, though rather secretive
- Leadership: Would rather not
Many ISFPs are highly attuned to nature. (Actually, a lot of them are highly attuned to TV. But that will change.) The transformation of the Earth into a radioactive desert will hit the nature-loving ISFPs harder than most. But though they will be initially depressed by the endless sea of dusty craters, they will learn to find joy in what remains, or failing that, they will create beautiful new natural havens for themselves.
ISFPs are very sensitive to differences in texture, sound, and color. Since the only color left in nature will be a sort of drab, dusty “nuclear wasteland brown,” their sense of color will grow finely attenuated, and they will see “chocolate brown,” “beige cream,” “coffee dust,” “smoky wood,” etc. They will make beautiful landscape paintings where they depict all the fascinating hues of brown in careful detail. (But to everyone else the pictures will just be nuclear wasteland brown.)
One of the nice things about being attuned to nature is that one doesn’t need to make as many survival preparations. For example, while the rest of the world eats spam, you will drink nectar from the dripping buds of carnivorous honeysuckle trees. Although the trees would have devoured any other creature foolhardy enough to venture into range, the honeysuckle trees will droop their buds to release delicious ambrosia directly into your cupped hands. (Of course occasionally there will be that one nasty exception when a tree has a bad day or just isn’t feeling very kindly at the moment. Nonetheless.)
Many ISFPs will take up gardening as a way of beautifying their environment. They will create refreshing oases using carnivorous venus fly traps, carnivorous vines, and carnivorous tulips. Thirsty travellers will come to the oasis and be stunned by the beauty, then eaten alive.
Areas with high amounts of ISFPs will eventually be converted into carnivorous jungles, or “nature preserves,” as the ISFPs will call them. They will add hiking trails, picnic benches and other pleasant little amenities that will tempt in those who ignore warning signs. By and large, the plants will be well fed.
Once settled in, the ISFPs will build shelters out of giant leaves and enjoy a simple, uncomplicated existence within their ferocious homes. But there will be no TV.
As a Feeler, you seek harmony and dislike confrontation. For example, instead of going to the person who is treating you like dirt and screaming at them, you prefer to find a nest of megatarantulas and throw in a flash grenade. When the terrifyingly fast spiders give chase, you will race through the night until you find your enemy's camp, then fly past into the darkness. Startled by the wind of your passage, your enemy will look up from his pillow. In the light of the flames, he will see the spiders closing in on him. Naturally you won't stick around for the ugly confrontation that will follow; that's just not your scene.
But there is another side to the ISFP's unwillingness to confront. A darker side.
The Deadly Arts
After the apocalypse, most of the Artisan types will immediately arm themselves with powerful guns. But not the ISFPs, because they don’t need them. Instead they will continue to hang out quietly in the background, perhaps strumming a guitar. Nobody notices them, or if they do, they never suspect the truth.
What nobody realizes is that while stuck in the bunker waiting out the nuclear winter, the ESFPs and ESTPs gnawed on their ropes, the ISTPs played video games, and the ISFPs popped in their collection of kung fu movies and watched them over...and over...and over. Eventually they got it into their heads that it didn't look so hard, and began practicing in front of their TV sets for twelve hours a day. By the time the ISFPs have emerged from their bunkers, they will be able to kill an opponent with a pair of dull fingernail clippers. In 27 ways.
What inevitably happens is that one the more aggressive STP Artisan types will meet up with a ISFP who is quietly sitting on a rock, strumming their guitar.
The STP offers challenge: “Hey, where’s your gun? I’m gonna gut you and loot your stuff!”
The next thing they know there is a guitar pick pressed into their jugular and a soft voice whispers in their ear, “I don’t like violence. But if you insist...”
They won’t. And those that do will be used as fertilizer for a bed of carnivorous daisies.
At other times, the ISFP will be meandering through town when they notice a ruffian and his thugs bullying a poor defenseless widow as she tries to buy supplies at the store.
“Excuse me, but I don’t think that’s very nice,” the ISFP will say.
“So whatcha gonna do about it?” the ruffian sneers.
“Well, I don’t like violence. But if you insist...”
After a few such demonstrations the ISFP will get a rep as a shy, quiet berserker. Being modest and unassuming, they will shun the limelight and retreat to their jungle home to practice their deadly arts in peace. Natural enemies of cruelty and selfishness, they will keep the areas they frequent free of stupid jerks.
Taming and Pets
It may be that the ISFP had a pet or two when the nukes hit. Like all post-apocalyptic animals, these pets will mutate into ferocious, acid-spitting versions of themselves. Post-apocalyptic canaries will be able to bite their way through solid steel bars. Post-apocalyptic cats will have saber fangs. Post-Apocalyptic ferrets will be able to strangle grown men with their boa constrictor-like bodies. It is to be hoped that you have always treated your animals well.
Presuming that you have—and are thus still alive—you can now train your pet to hunt for you and attack enemies on command.
Because of their kindness and sensitive yet pragmatic nature, ISFPs seem to be the best at this sort of training. Their pets are inevitably the most powerful and devoted, and will unhesitatingly spit bone-dissolving acid at anyone who might dare to threaten their friend and master.
A lone ISFP may wander the world with only their faithful megatarantula for companionship. At night the giant spider will sleep cuddled up next to the ISFP for warmth, and when the ISFP hunts they will give the best portion to their arachnid brother. Together they will have many adventures which will be repeated around Artisan campfires and become incorporated into legend.
But on the greatest quests an ISFP must hunt alone.
Like all the Artisans, ISFPs love hunting mutants. However, unlike their SP cousins, they will often choose to hunt with a sketchbook rather than a gun. Those who hunt with mortal weapons often choose to use the bow and arrows or other primitive weapons, i.e. dart blowers or spears. Whichever way they choose to hunt, they will enjoy the physical exercise of hiking, rock climbing, and running for their lives.
Since ISFPs will be forced to spend so much time abroad enjoying nature after TV goes away, they will know all the game trails and watering holes. Scorning the small, easy mutants taken by other Artisans, they will venture into the remotest of mountains, the deepest of jungles, and the driest of deserts in search of the ultimate trophy.
But here’s the thing about the biggest, nastiest mutants. How did they get to be so big and nasty? It’s because the place they live in is so radioactive that even lead glows in the dark. ISFPs who hunt in such areas may emerge seemingly unscathed, but in a few weeks they will begin to assume the attributes of the animal that they identify most closely with. These mutant ISFPs will found clans of animal-people who will be loved, hated, hunted and worshipped.
You, however, don’t have any mutant attributes so far. In fact, your greatest hunt wasn’t a mutant at all.
One day, while wandering across the barren post-apocalyptic moonscape, you stumbled over the split-hooved spoor of the mythic ENFP unicorn. This is typically a sign that there is a secret INTJ genetics laboratory nearby, churning out crossbred horrors and the occasional dragon, griffin, etc. for their ENFP girlfriend. Be sure to avoid any doors camouflaged to look like rocks and you will be okay.
Being a creature of impulse, you decide to follow the tracks.
For weeks you trace the spoor over mountains and across rivers. At times the track is lost amidst rocks, but you sense instinctively where the unicorn would travel and soon pick up the trail again. At other times you will circle for days before finding the distinctive hoofprints at the bottom of a ravine.
Then one evening, as the sun dances upon the coffee brown rocks, you find your quarry. At the side of a rock pool in the wildest, most remote valley you have ever seen, a graceful white equine is drinking, its spiral horn dipped into the clear cold water. You crouch, still as the very stone, and slowly draw out your tool of choice—in this case, a camera.
The wind changes. The unicorn freezes and lifts its head, scenting the breeze with its delicate flared nostrils. It snorts, stomping its cloven foot. The tufted tail lashes. The unicorn looks straight at you. A perfect moment; you snap a picture. The unicorn charges.
Instantly you hurl down your camera and snatch up your bow and arrow. In a blur you notch a poisoned arrow to the string. The unicorn races towards you, head down and horn poised. You loose a deadly shaft. It flashes into the white chest. The unicorn gives a scream of fury. The poison kills in seconds, but in that instant the beast covers the remaining distance between you. You send another arrow into its savage heart at point blank range.
The unicorn stumbles. It goes down, its horn gouging the earth. The blazing black eyes lock onto yours for a moment, seething with hatred. Then slowly the fire goes out.
Never forget that unicorns are artificial life forms created by INTJs. No matter how much they may love ENFPs, they still loathe the rest of mankind.
Well, that was exciting. You saw off the horn to sell for an astronomical price on the pharmaceuticals market, cut yourself a few tough steaks, and have a little dinner. It’s been a long, hard day.
After you plunk the horn down on the counter of the pharma center to be converted into various potions, you will get a rep in the mutant hunting community. People you have never seen before will point you out to their children as you walk down the street.
Then one day, as you sit peacefully in the morning sun, plucking out Post-Apocalyptic Blues on your guitar, a well-dressed stranger approaches and respectfully tips his hat.
"I wonder if I might have a moment of your time. It will be well worth it." He jiggles his pocket and you hear the dull clank of gold. "You see, my town has been having some problems with a—a creature."
As he explains in his hesitant way, he is the assistant mayor of a little town—aka an armaments factory—that is besieged by some kind of unseen menace. The creature, which no one has yet seen, mauls people travelling to and from town. A few pathetic remains in the form of a gnawed head or severed hand are all that is left of the victims. There are no zombies in the area.
"Forty-five people have gone missing so far," the man says. "It's getting bolder too—people are disappearing during their lunch break. We're afraid to leave the enclave."
You nod, silently mulling it over for a moment. Then you shrug. "Where is it?"
"I'll take you there."
The assistant mayor owns the world's last remaining helicopter. In a flash you are swooped up, carried across miles of forested hills, and deposited on a platform in the middle of a giant factory complex. You get out, shielding your face against the dust whirled up by the blades.
A young blond woman in a black coat, black gloves, black sunglasses, and black skirt approaches, her black heels clacking across the tarmac. She is flanked by two rough looking men with assault rifles hanging over their shoulders. She stops and appraises you. Then, without a word, she gestures to the two men and stalks away.
The two men strut up.
"We're here to help you with whatever you need," one growls, spitting on the ground. "We saved the remains of the last guy if wanna take a look at them."
You nod. Maybe an examination of the body will tell you what you're up against.
"I'll leave you to it then," says the assistant mayor, tipping his hat again and strolling off.
The two men lead you down a flight of stairs, then you pass through two checkpoints and finally emerge outside. Beneath an overcast sky, a tangled forest of thornvines waves in the wind. The men make an exaggerated show of checking their weapons. You have no need to check your bow and arrow or your quiver of poisoned arrows.
Following a trail, the men lead you deep into the thornvines. The mingled scent of damp leaves and rotting berries fills your nostrils. You duck under dripping branches and push aside prickly tendrils. As you walk, you ponder the scene at the helipad, and find yourself wondering who the woman was.
"Who was the lady you came with?" you inquire, keeping your voice quiet.
"She's the CEO, of course," the first man replies, not bothering to lower his voice. "You never heard of Quiet Liz?"
"'Quiet Liz'?" you echo.
"Short for Elizabeth Atlanta," the man explains. "She doesn't speak—not no more, anyways—and she's the richest woman in three states. She hunts too, like you."
You nod and say nothing more. Silence returns, broken only by the snapping of branches and the muttered curses of your associates.
Finally you reach a clearing and step out into an expanse of trampled grass and bloody ferns. The air thrums with flies. You repress your gag reflex as you look down upon a single human leg lying alone in a pool of dried black blood. For a moment no one says anything. One of the men spits into the grass.
You kneel by the limb, which is severed at the thigh, and inspect it. There is something a little odd about the bloody stump, and you take a twig and poke at the mutilated flesh. The stringy tendrils of meat remind you of pulled chicken. You frown. You've seen torn carcasses, but this sort of damage doesn't look like anything you've encountered before.
There are some peculiar speckles pocking the flesh, and you lean forward and sniff. A lingering odor of acid tickles your nostrils. This is the work of a mutant, then.
You look up at the men. "Is there usually this much left?"
"No," the black-headed one replies, spitting again. "Usually there's nothing but a hand or foot. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen much else."
You contemplated the pitiful limb thoughtfully. Many predators leave their kill to finish off at a later date. Perhaps your mutant plans to return for another meal. If so, you will be waiting.
Standing, you turn to the men. "I'm going to stay the night. I'll need a light."
While the men head back to the enclave for a powerful flashlight, you circle the clearing, looking for tracks. Nothing; every sign of the creature has been pummeled out of existence by heavy-heeled bootmarks. With a sigh you choose a sturdy thornvine and clamber up. You wait there in silence, absorbing the sounds of the great forest.
Half an hour before dusk the men return. You are dismayed to see that they have brought three lights and are planning to help you. For a moment you consider sending them back, but you do not fancy the thought of them bumbling their way through the black forest on their own. You find two trees for them and sternly enjoin them not to move unless you say otherwise. They are not to spit, not to cough, and not to slap mosquitoes. Hopefully they will listen.
You return to your tree. The evening sky pinkens, then dims into purples and dark blues. At last it is dark.
As the hours pass, you listen to the wind moving through the trees. Somewhere in the distance a spinecat yowls. The moon rises slowly up the sky, its great white face greeted by disembodied hoots and chatters. Silver grass waves in the clearing below. You stare at the blurry patch of the leg, then scan the rim of the clearing. Your eyelids grow heavy, and your limbs cramp as you crouch among the hard branches.
At last the grey tint of dawns lights up the edge of the sky.
A cry of agony pierces the air. Your drooping eyelids shoot up. Instantly your bow is in your hand, a poisoned arrow already on the string. One of the men tumbles from his perch with a choked scream. He writhes in the grass. You look everywhere, searching for a shape, a shadow, a sound. Nothing! The man goes silent.
If you go down, you will be easy prey. You hesitate a moment, torn between going to help and waiting for the creature to expose itself. Finally you cannot wait anymore. You climb down and run to the other man, your bow held at ready. But you are too late—he is dead, his face dissolved away into a mass of red ichor. You smell the burning odor of acid.
Suddenly you wonder why your other associate has not called out to you. You pick your way cautiously to his tree, all senses on alert.
A drop of blood falls to the ground and spatters on a leaf. With a sinking feeling, you look up. He lays draped over a branch, his arms hanging limp. There is a dagger sticking out of his chest.
The hairs on the back of your neck rise. You look around, seeing and hearing as if for the first time.
Then, from somewhere nearby, a soft voice hisses, "Come out and play."
You whirl, automatically raising your bow, and see a branch bobbing—a leaf falling—a broken strand of grass—but no sign of anyone.
A wave of horror runs through you.
For a long moment you stand frozen, uncertain what to do. You came to hunt—not to track a mutated psychopath. Should you go back? Would you make it back alive if you tried?
You glance upwards at the dead man. He stares blankly down at you, his figures contorted in terror.
Slowly your will hardens. Maybe this wasn't what you thought you came to do, but you will carry on nonetheless. This monster must be stopped, and you are the only one to do it.
You find the depressions of human feet in soft moss, the vegetation still springing up. Cautiously, every sense on alert, you follow. The mutant makes no efforts to hide its trail. You track it down to the edge of a muddy slough and through a tunnel of thornvines. With every moment, your uneasiness grows. You are going to track yourself right into an ambush.
Finally you decide that you won't play this game. You’re the hunter, not the prey. Stepping off the trail, you pad noiselessly into the undergrowth. Then you wait. For awhile, the forest continues its regular chatter. Birds twitter, rat-monkeys jump from branch to branch. You listen.
From up ahead, a bird gives a warning call.
Quietly, you begin to slink forward. You pick your way step by step, until at last you come to a broad field. You do not step out into the open. Instead you stand there silent, listening.
Across the clearing, you see a flash of pale gold hair. A woman in a black-green jumpsuit is clinging to the branch of a thornvine tree. As you watch, she clambers up the trunk, her clawed fingers and toes clenched around the tree branch like a lizard. You recognize her.
It’s Quiet Liz. Gone are her black gloves and black glasses. She must have been wearing them to conceal her mutation. When did she begin to change? She's obviously been hiding it for some time. When did the inhuman side overtake the human?
You finger the string of your bow. The thought of taking a human life repels you, but she is a murderer... Perhaps it would be best to return to the enclave and let them deal with it. But as you contemplate that thought, a realization strikes you. What will be made of the dagger sticking out of the dead man's chest? You suddenly realize what would happen if the richest woman in the state accused you of murder. Would there even be a trial? Or would you just be taken somewhere and quietly shot? You realize for the first time that you would not be safe even if you returned to the enclave.
No longer certain what to do, you hesitate, watching the human shape clinging to the tree. She is a monster. But still...
Then in a flash she is gone. You blink, only to see her reappear on the other side of the tree. Squirrel-like, she worms her way down the trunk and disappears.
A chill runs through you. Too late; you missed your chance. Now she's coming to look for you.
Silently you curse yourself for not taking the shot. Do you run, hide, or fight? If you run, she will track you, and you don't know where you could hide. So there is no choice but to fight.
Setting your jaw, you get moving. After a few minutes, you find a mossy depression that suits your purposes. You lay down. For fifty feet in front of you the forest is fairly open, then there is a wall of brush. You can lie in the depression and wait for her to come out, following your tracks. Quickly you uproot a little bush and plant it in front of the depression. Then you wait and listen.
Seconds stretch into minutes, and minutes seem like hours. Each sound is magnified a thousand times, and each flutter of a leaf sends your heart racing. She must close by now—picking her way through the brush with the silence of a cat. How long will it be?
Above you a bird shrieks and flaps away. Is that a warning? You wipe your sweaty hands off on your clothes.
You whirl, raising the bow, and it is torn from your hands. Blazing yellow eyes sear into yours and a fanged mouth gapes wide. Acid! You roll aside and a spray of noxious green liquid burns the moss where you were lying. You grab the little bush and thrust it into Liz’s face, eliciting a snarl from green-stained lips. Before she can recover, and you lunge forward and smash your closed fist into her throat. A choked gargle announces the fact that she won't be spitting acid anymore. You drive another blow at her nose, but her arm comes up and smashes your arm aside. You can't restrain a cry of pain; she has mutant strength. It feels as if your bones have snapped.
Seeing the way you clutch your arm, her mouth turns into a gleeful snarl. She raises her hands and claws spring out of the fingertips.
You back slowly away, your good arm raised in defense. She gives a victorious hiss. All her muscles tense up as she prepares to spring. You stand your ground. Wait for it...wait...
You rip a poison arrow from your quiver and swing it out in front of you like a sword. She tries to twist aside, but too late—the tip catches her shoulder and glances off into her satiny blond hair. A cry springs from her lips and she falls against you, her claws digging into your flesh. You try to pull away, but the razor embrace holds you fast. The poison is killing her already. She gives a gasping snarl, struggling for breath. You find yourself looking down into her yellow eyes.
Her lips twist as if she is trying to say something. Her eyes seem less animal for a moment, more real. You hear a sound from her throat that might be "Thaaaank." Then the biting claws retract, and she slumps to the ground, dead.
You stagger a few steps away and lean against a tree, gasping. There are tears in your eyes.
Later you dig a shallow grave and bury her with forest litter. Your shattered arm makes the task an agony, but you press on until she is covered up. When you are finished, you murmur a few words. Two sticks awkwardly lashed together make a cross to mark the mound. Then you set out back to the enclave.
The assistant major is waiting when you arrive. He looks at you with a strangely timid expression.
"I killed it," you say.
He flinches slightly, but nods. "I'll get your money."
"There'll be no need for that." You turn your back on him and walk out.
It’s time to go home.