Remember how in the 1980s, there was a slew of slasher films featuring silent, hulking murders with huge blades, unholy damage resistance, and seemingly supernatural ability to appear out of nowhere? The Welder is inspired by them. This Admin-spawn-only baddie slashed people with a big knife and could phase in/out of a ghostly form, resist stuns, open any door, and summon zombies. Most certainly was not imitating the character of the same name from the Chzo Mythos series.
The Welder Demystified
The Welder had a very simple goal: kill people. No absorbing them for powers or points, no reviving them as minions, just killing. The Welder did not get an objective, so the game didn't track number of victims either or whatever. The Welder did not spawn in any Game Modes or Random Events, so you could only become the Welder if an Admin decided to make you into one (and yes, multiple Welders were possible.)
The Welder wore a plain outfit, consisting of a welding helmet, an armor vest, black shoes, black gloves, and a standard headset. The Welder could not remove the helmet, and no one else could, so The Welder was limited in ability to use disguises.
In addition to the protection offered by the armor vest, the Welder also got 95% heat and cold resistance (essentially pushing them up to full heat and cold resistance) and the Anaerobic Metabolism mutation, in addition to above-average vision in the dark and ability to see through all forms of invisibility cloaks.
One of the weakness of the Welder was that, like the Vampire, the Welder suffered BURN while standing in the Chapel. The Welder was also still vulnerable to many of the things normal humans were vulnerable to.
The Welder also had a handful of abilities. These came before the current system for abilities, so instead of handy-dandy icons on the HUD, they were commands in a "Welder Verbs" tab. These had no cooldowns.
- Welder Ghost: Turned the Welder into a ghost and got rid of their knife, allowing them to escape and stalk new victims. They could readily return back to the physical plane by using...
- Welder Appear: Put a ghosting Welder into a freshly-healed physical form, giving back the outfit and knife. This and Welder Ghost make up the Welder's main movement skills and imitate the tendency for many slasher villains to apparently teleport while off-screen, sometimes called the "Voorhees Unreality Engine".
- Recover Stun: Cleared any and all stuns from the Welder, as well as blindness, if they weren't dead. It's worth noting this came before stun resistance, Disorient, and stamina in general and had not yet been updated to accommodate these newer systems.
- Opens nearby doors: More precisely, it opened all doors within a few tiles of The Welder, for chasing prey naturally.
- Spawn Portal: Created a "hell portal" that caused a slowly expanding shockwave that wrecked structures and spawned an NPC zombie every 2.5 seconds. It disappeared once 5 zombies were spawned.
The Welder's Knife
Just as Jason from Friday the 13th famously wielded a machete (among many other implements), the Welder also killed using a blade, with the weapon of choice being a kitchen knife simply called "Welder's Knife". It did 20 BRUTE and stunned its victims upon hit, and as long as the Welder was alive, every few minutes, it gained 20 more damage, up to a maximum of 80 BRUTE. The blade could also be thrown to cause 20 BRUTE.
Only the Welder could wield the knife, or rather, only anyone wearing a welder mask and armor vest. If someone who didn't meet those requirements tried to use the knife, they would be stunned for a long time (seen on their end as feeling an "immense pain") and suffer a random amount of BRUTE damage. The latter scaled to the knife damage by a factor of 3/2, so if the Welder's Knife was at its max 80 damage, the person could take up to 120 BRUTE, putting them in critical condition.
The Final Chapter
The Welder goes back as far as 2012 and got removed sometime in the years after. Then ZeWaka bought it back in 2016 upon request, and the antag was removed from Goonstation's code again by Flourish in April 2020. The reason was that it was so poorly coded that the developers felt that it would be easier to remove it all and start from scratch than rework it. There was particular ire towards the parts of the code that allowed the Welder to turn into a ghost and back and kept track of multiple Welders and their knives. The developers are open to the possibility of a makeover, but this is much lower priority than other projects.
While the code is ousted, the legacy of the Welder continues. The Syndicate butcher's knife is inspired by the Welder's Knife and in fact used to use the same sprite before the butcher's knife got a new one. A revamped version of the hellportal is still around as something admins can spawn. A sprite of The Welder with an long brown apron (making it closer in appearance to the Chzo Mythos Welder) is still around as a sprite for one of the merchants for the Traveling Trader random event.