The Saline Bandit: DayZ Diary – Part Four

DayZ is a multiplayer zombie survival sim which, though incomplete, produces anecdotes of drama, desperation and clown mask-wearing weirdos. Emily Richardson has been playing it with a question: can you be a good person in the videogame post-apocalypse? Read parts one, two, three.

On the way back to Elektro we meet two New Spawns on the road. They’re totally bear, in nothing but t-shirts and jeans. They seem to be having a little trouble with a fence, so we puff out our charitable chests and take our opportunity.

“Hi there!” one of us announces. The pair turn to look at us.

“Are you guys thirsty? Hungry?” we ask. They say nothing, merely looking at us, a group of about four. We start dropping food and water on the floor for them and I try force feeding one some water from my canteen, but he shuffles awkwardly away to break the animation.

“Please let us help you,” we say, trying to give them more items, offering them saline and bandages and all sorts. The pair simply look at us, bewildered.

“Well, I guess we’ll leave this stuff here and if you want it you can have it.” We wait patiently for them to make a move. Eventually, one of them edges closer to the goods. We all stand and stare, eagerly waiting for him to pick up a can and start drinking. It’s like watching baby birds that have fallen from their nest and landed on a motorway. They’re terrified of us, and we realise that they think we’re going to kill them the second they pick up one of the items.

“Go on, we’re nice. We’re not gonna kill you.”

Eventually, they take our things and drink. We wish them very happy birthdays and continue down the road, pretty pleased with ourselves.

When we reach Elektro we do our usual and search the buildings. I head on over to the school and find two unarmed guys in t-shirts and jeans. It’s the same New Spawns from earlier. They followed us.

“Hello again!” I say, barging past them and taking whatever loot they’ve left on the floor. Again they simply stand and stare at me; the pair have never said a word. I tell one of them to take the yellow raincoat in the other room as it has more item slots than their t-shirts.

I head on upstairs, scan the rooms, and head back down to the second floor again. When I go back in the room where I saw the pair, one of them is lying on the floor. He’s dead. I turn around and see Yellow Raincoat Guy.

“Did you do that to him? That’s really mean. You’re a big fat butthead,” I say, and carry on, assuming that the guy isn’t going to attack me when I’ve a loaded rifle and magnum, plus military gear. Again, he just stares. I float around checking for more loot, talking to my friends, Tobias, Craig and Edward George Terry Fenning, who are all over at the hospital. I suddenly hear a gunshot and turn on my heel, going back to check on Yellow Raincoat Guy.

“What are you up to, Yellow Raincoat Guy? Not doing anything nasty I hope? I will kill you if you’re being nasty.” I go back in the room where the first body was and there he is. Yellow Raincoat Guy. On the floor. Dead.

“Oh,” I say, still in proximity chat.

“Um, guys?” this time in Skype, “I got two dead dudes over here and I don’t know how they died.”

“OH FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-” is the only response I get.

“What’s going on?!”

“I’m shot!” shrieks Tobias. “Goddamn it.”

“Where are you?” asks Craig.

“The roof.”

“I can get you, hold on a second.”

I’m crouching in the room where the bodies are, checking the windows with my mosin like a sniper’s whack-a-mole, when I see a guy dart out of the house opposite. Like a clever sniper, the guy is changing positions, but like a plonker, he’s done it without checking his surroundings. I watch him leg it down the road and call his location.

Amazingly, Craig manages to save Tobias. I give him some saline and he’s back to full health. He can’t believe his luck, but we can’t find the sniper. We never do.

I log out at sniper hill and when I come back, I’m joined by Edward George Terry Fenning and our friend Chris. We’re on a full server and Tobias has since ran off into the wilderness with Andy from Part 1.

Chris has a freakishly authoritarian voice, so everyone obeys his orders without actually realising it. After the shootout at the school I’m incredibly jumpy, and while we’re waiting for Tobias and Andy to join us on sniper hill I keep my sights trained on a plucky little looter who’s running across the fire station roof. I’m terrified he’s got a rifle and he’ll spot us, but Chris is determined no one is going to fire at this guy. “We’re not going to kill someone for doing what we’d be doing.”

He’s right. It goes against everything we’ve been trying to do this far. I hold position and let my trigger finger rest entirely on Chris’ moral compass.

Unfortunately, we get hungry pretty quickly. We can see a dead body down in the factory courtyard and it’s not long before Chris wants to risk everything for one can of beans that may or may not be down there.

“I’m going down there, you stay and cover me from up here with the rifle. Edward, you watch her back. Make sure no one comes up behind you.”

We do as we’re told and I watch as Chris vanishes down the hill, under my scope and into a thin line of trees. I’m really, really jumpy now. A full server; the fire station and the factory; one can of beans. This seems so stupid.

I check the roof of the fire station and the factory, both of Chris’ major blind spots, and the outlying hills. When I come back to Chris, he’s coming back toward the body having scouted out the side of the factory that I can’t see. As he sneaks up on the body I see a second player. I do a double take, assuming the server is just lagging out. It does this – sometimes a player will ping back a little way and I think this is what’s happened, that I’m just seeing Chris for the second time.

Then I realise that Chris is now on the body, and the second player is still coming up on him. This all happens in a matter of miliseconds.

“There’s a guy behind you, there’s a guy behind you!” I want to shoot so badly, but it goes against everything. We don’t shoot-on-sight. We’re not those people. Maybe Chris can say something to him? I know this is just as stupid as it sounds because I even say, “Chris, I’m going to shoot him.”

But I don’t. Not until he draws up on Chris and opens fire, at which point Chris says with a steady, focused voice, “kill him now.”

And I do kill him. I put two bullets right in his chest the second Chris pronounces the ‘k’ of ‘kill’, but it’s too late. Chris is dead. I’m furious with myself.

I’m so furious with myself I want dump all my gear at the top of the hill and give Edward George Terry Fenning my rifle so I can go down there and get Chris’ gear back. Unfortunately, however, Edward George Terry Fenning has not dressed for the occasion and says he’s not really up for sniping on sniper hill on a full server when he’s dressed himself entirely in bright orange. He has a fair point, he looks like a traffic cone. We decide to wait.

Chris does eventually get back to Elektro and pushes back down into the factory courtyard a second time. As soon as he gets to the wall, two other players appear. I order Chris to stop, to hide somewhere until I’ve got rid of them. I don’t hesitate a second time, dropping a bullet into each of them. Blood sprays from their characters and the server goes bonkers, pinging them in and out of walls like nobody’s business. I get worried – I can’t see where they’ve pinged off to. I really don’t want Chris to die a second time now.

But they never reappear. Chris gets back to his body and is halfway through looting his own corpse when the server goes nuts again. It sends him all the way back to his spawn point. Most servers aren’t as bad, but this one simply can’t handle this many players. It’s a disaster. Not only is Chris miles away and with only half his equipment, but our reinforcements have pinged miles back too. Tobias and Andy are vocally irritated.

I’m not switching servers though, not until Chris gets all of his gear back. It’s a long and exhausting wait, punctuated by M4 fire that feels like it’s right next to us. Every ten minutes or so we’re sure we’ve been spotted, and when nothing happens we put it down to a sound glitch or M4 fire that’s right down in the centre of town and echoing up to us.

That is until Andy and Tobias hit sniper hill. They round a corner and find a small building that’s surrounded with wire fencing.

“Whoa, there’s tons of bodies here,” says Andy.

“Where?” I ask, assuming he’s still a while away.

“On this hill. Isn’t this where you are?”

“Uhm, there’s no bodies where we are.”

Andy and Tobias decide to take a look at the bodies. There’s at least ten of them, probably more. They’re all stripped down to their underwear, according to the voice chat I’m listening in on. Suddenly Edward George Terry Fenning and I hear the M4 fire again. Then Andy and Tobias start swearing.

We’ve been sharing a hill with bandits the entire time. We’ve been sat here for at least an hour with bandits right round the corner, only metres away. We’ve heard them every time they’ve gunned someone down and now we’re pooping our pants. Edward George Terry Fenning and I do the unthinkable: we log out, instantly vanishing into the ether.


The following is the story of how the Saline Bandit finally fell. Originally, I was going to have all my allies from the series team up with me and rampage down a really big hill onto the Balota airfield, waving bags of saline high over our heads as we went. We were going to charge at our enemies with love and kindness and saline and stuff, until the very last of us was killed trying to forcefully medicate people who violently disagreed with the notion.

We were going to die at war, with honour, doing what we did best (or not very well at all, but shut up.)

Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. The Saline Bandit was actually minding her own business, trying to appease the adventurous nature of Craig, who is still very much to blame for all of this and won’t soon forget it.

Craig decided he wanted to go to Cherno on a full server. Tobias and I decided we should go with him for adventure’s sake. I’d scope from a distance with my rifle while those two went in. It was the usual procedure and we figured we could come off with some great loot, maybe even heal some people and make friends.

No. We were wrong. Not long after we get there the three of us spot armed bandits who are firing left, right and centre. We decide to bolt into a multi-storey building and wait. If they pass by us, great. If they come in, we’ll surprise them. This plan seemed perfectly sensible until someone decided to go up on the roof and yell, “I CAN SEE YOU.”

“Oh god what are you doing?”

“Shut up, Craig, shut up.”


More M4 fire. Then mosin bullets start hitting the windows just above where Tobias and I are lying prone.


“It’s alright, it’s alright,” I say, “they think Craig is alone. They don’t know we’re here. They’ll come up for him and we’ll kill them on their way.”

Then Craig holds down public proximity chat and says, “Yup. Pretty sure they don’t know about you guys in the building. You can shoot them when they come up alright.”


They came in the building, shot through the walls at Tobias and I and killed us. Craig continued to wind them up from on top of the roof until they sprayed him down too. All in all, it was a pretty pathetic way to die.



  1. Luringen says:

    Note: Although giving someone saline will restore some blood and give you colour back, it does NOT regenerate your health, as health and blood is separate in Standalone. Health can be regenerated by having the “Healthy” status in your inventory screen, which you get when your hidden energy and water bars are full, which they become when you have eaten and drunk a lot. More detailed info in this guy’s video on it: ttp://

  2. CookPassBabtridge says:


    I loved the two mute baby birds though. Have enjoyed this series rather a lot so ta :)

  3. harr0p says:

    Can say I’m all that surprised the only help your going to get in cherno or elektro and airfields for a matter of fact is the kind that helps you off the mortal coil.

  4. Blaaaaaaag says:

    “Craig decided he wanted to go to Cherno on a full server.”

    That can only end one way.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Out of interest, how many players is a full server?

      aka I can’t be bothered to google

      • MajMooseknuckl says:

        Currently 40. The final version will have 150.

        • Amun says:

          I would bet my house that they’ll never make it to 150. =/

        • KastaRules says:

          150? I don’t think I would ever try to login in a server with that many players. Unless I wanted to die. Constantly.

          Seriously that’s way too many people for this kind of game where almost every encounter ends in a bloodshed. As big as Chernarus is, there is always somebody near you. Once I even managed to have a firefight with the only other player on the server: link to

          I agree with Amun BTW, it’s very unlikely they’ll pull that off.

      • Universal Quitter says:

        It varies between 30-40, if you can be bothered to check for replies.

  5. The Random One says:

    The story took weird turns this last episode, like a Monty Python sketch guest written by Kafka.

  6. plsgodontvisitheforums_ says:

    Making those oompa loompa screenshots is literally the one and only good thing of 3rd person shoulder cam

  7. Ergates_Antius says:

    ” They’re totally bear, in nothing but t-shirts and jeans”
    Where they shitting in the woods or something?

    • buzzmong says:

      Exercising their rights to bare arms.

    • JanusForbeare says:

      “Where they shitting in the woods or something?”

      I don’t know wear they shit, unless it where in the jeans they’re were-ing.

  8. scottyjx says:

    Really cool series, Emily.

  9. Eric292 says:

    Yes this was some of the best content i’ve ever read on Rock Paper Shotgun.

    I hate to ask…But could you please continue? Hehe. Do it again! Do it again, your writing is really well done and this story was captivating!!!

  10. PopeRatzo says:

    I wish games were written as well as your articles, Emily.

  11. Roygbiv says:

    Excellent series, I must buy this game soon :)

  12. Craig Pearson says:

    I approve of all the me in this tale of glory.

  13. Shooop says:

    And the lesson is: Always shoot everyone on sight in Day Z. Otherwise they’ll make your regret it.

    Still a clunky FFA deathmatch with some survival things tossed in.

  14. Darkstar1303 says:

    Damn, I think my group and I saw you guys get gunned down in Cherno. I remember it. Too bad I didn’t know it was you and your crew.

  15. alienation says:

    I just found a server were the admins just sit on the coastline fully geared up and shoot fresh spawns the entire time. But me and a friend decided to have a little fun with the ass-bandits.

  16. Gwyddelig says:

    Enjoyed reading this and I’m not even a big fan of the game. Good work.

    PS – That Craig….

  17. nymrod says:

    Find this day by day blog so fun to read. The shot on sight part of dayz is a pain on a lot of servers my group have found that if your armed they will kill you for your ammo sights on you guns.

    try wearing UN pace keeper hats(the blue ones)

    maybe they wont shoot you ?

  18. varangian says:

    So in no time at all new DayZ = old DayZ in that servers are full of people shooting on sight for no reason and frequently no profit, or none worth the expenditure of ammunition anyway. Perhaps it should be renamed HoleA.

    • Reefpirate says:

      Well even someone with good intentions like the people in this article became seriously tempted to shoot first… I guess you could call it ‘no profit’, but staying alive has value.

  19. cauldron says:

    Great reading but… It is not supposed to be a game with zombies in it?…

  20. xlnc says:

    there are zombies, sadly not many at the mo and they enjoy scaring me by walking though walls, apparently in the next patch routing is fixed and amount of zombies is being stepped up.

  21. Synesthesia says:

    Hm. So it was just a kill on sight fest, with 4 people trying to break that norm, and failing miserably. But no, who needs the humanity system?

    • xlnc says:

      theres lots of argument as to wether theres need for a humanity system or not, Im not sure Im in favour of a system similar to the old one, but i would like to see some kind of bonus for ‘hero’ actions and some kind of negative debuff for bandit actions, How these would be implemented im unsure but we defiantely need somthing.

      • hungrycookpot says:

        When I played the DayZ mod, there was a planned humanity system which seemed pretty cool to me: bandits, people who aggressively killed other players and such, would be given a “Bandit Skin” at spawn. It marked you to other players as someone who could not be trusted. Conversely, players who experienced peaceful interactions, gave transfusions, etc etc were good guys got a Hero skin, marking you as a benevolent player. I think this is the only type of humanity system that has a place in DayZ. I wouldn’t want anything that actually gives you a gameplay advantage to go to either side, because life isn’t like that. You make the choices you make to do what you have to do. There’s no such thing as divine punishment or karma, the only thing that changes is the way people see you.

  22. HeroJez says:

    Would love another Day-Z series, Emily. This was awesome. :)

  23. aludlam says:

    Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed reading through the “Saline bandit” diaries. Most of what I’ve heard about this game indicates it’s populated by thugs and bullies who delight in torturing other players. A goody-goody team on a quest to heal and help gives me the warm fuzzies. Kudos!

    • hungrycookpot says:

      Hopefully gives you a better insight into the player’s motivations too. Even Emily, with her altruistic ideas, couldn’t survive in the wasteland with just good intentions. You don’t kill people in DayZ because you’re a mean bastard, you kill them because you don’t know if they are. And really, there’s no incentive not to.

      • aludlam says:

        It’s not the “kill of be killed” mentality that bugs me. That seems to be how the game is designed. It’s a game about survival, and I get that. Many of the things described in this diary are basically tactical decisions to reap rewards at the expense of others. Within the context of the game I don’t have a problem with that.

        It’s all the other stuff I’ve heard about bands of players denigrating other players by forcing them to do silly things at gunpoint. Making them sing the Swedish national anthem or wave back and forth for 10 minutes to avoid execution. It’s the same behavior as teabagging in Halo – humiliating and unnecessary, serving no purpose but to make the recipient of the behavior feel low. Games are supposed to be entertaining, maybe even about sportsmanship. In professional sports, the parallel behavior would be rewarded with a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

        So yeah – learn the game, get good at it, survive. Don’t humiliate people for sport. That’s just mean.

  24. DrRoxo says:

    Love the series! Would gladly read more!

  25. Nikita "Hot Stuff" Khrushchev says:

    Emily Richardson, you must do more DayZ stories!

  26. NuVoltare says:

    Emily, if you ever need a body-guard or an extra medic I can offer my time and services. I’m a recruit with TMW (Trusted Medics of the Wasteland) and I’m used to the sort of play-style you’re doing. I can also recommend different sources that can teach you a lot about DayZ’s medical system (if you’re lost about it, lots of people still are), or I can teach you about it myself.
    If you, or anyone else for that matter, wants to meet friendly DayZ players then you can head over to the TMW website and/or join the TMW teamspeak.
    *you can join the teamspeak through the website (if you have everything installed)
    **also, in no way am I speaking for TMW, just trying to encourage friendly interactions and information sharing.