Deadman’s Rock is a misnomer really. It is a rock island nearly in the middle of The Wastes -a touch north and west. The name comes from a couple of legends, all of which are partially contradictory.
The oldest and original set has the same punch line. If you could reach this rock, you were a dead man, because you could not have enough supplies to get back. So many an old prospector ended his days attempting to reach The Rock.
Such is what passes for humor in The Wastes.
Though it started as a "place of death", it became one "of life".
Supplies and skills change over time. Deadman’s Rock was not "too far" for the properly prepared. As the story goes, a prospector, Gann by name, was lost in The Wastes. He found Deadman’s Rock. Using the supplies left over from the various prospectors who died there, he became the first man to allegedly make it out from The Rock.
Of course Gann is a very common name in the region around The Wastes, and surnames are never used by Prospectors, so we will never know who he really was, or if he ever was. We also don’t know if the Deadman’s Rock known today was Gann’s rock, or another rock island.
Between skills, supplies, and a few feature islands that were developed over the century or so, it became "relatively" easier to reach Deadman’s Rock. It was never an easy journey, and still isn’t. It can take three weeks in The Wastes to reach on foot or sled. A few made the journey for the thrill, but most head towards it because it as a stable and safe haven to rest while in the Deep Wastes.
The Deep Wastes are rich in resources with crystal practically littering the ground. They are churned up by the Verner. A pity there are so many of them there.
People began to cache supplies on The Rock. Some people were prospecting around The Rock and had others bring their "gatherings" out. A small community developed. With the "domesticating" of Verners for riding (which is a misnomer, as they are not domesticated at all.. they are just used and released), the chances of reaching the Deep Wastes improved. A small community grew up on Deadman’s Rock. The Rock, being the size of a small village, supported a smaller village. Supplies are trekked in, Waste goods are trekked out. The village is mostly Deadman’s Party (a bar (local swill) and grill specializing in BBQ Soarers), Gann’s and a couple of other places for supplies and trading, a tinker’s shop for repairing kites, harnesses, and such, and a few places to sleep. The Verner Pens are actually in a divot along the side of the rock. There is a unique wind powered mechanism that jingles the bells of the "tame" Verners with the ever present acidic smelling wind. About 40 people live here full time, and another 40 are in and out.
If you need a mental shortcut for it, think Sheep Station in the Australian Outback
The Rock is visible from quite a distance. It makes a solid navigational point in The Wastes. There is talk of creating a Light Tower, like the ones they use along the coast, on The Deadman’s Rock. The cost and whom will pay is stopping the project.
Deadman’s Rock is more important to the culture of the Prospectors than to Prospectors of the Wastes themselves. While some might stop on The Rock from time to time, or head for it if their supplies are running low, it is just there for them.
To the (small) Caravans that now occasionally traverse The Wastes instead of going around it the Rock is a life point. They travel by Verner pulled sleds (an oooooh so reliable mode of transportation) but would be unable to navigate the Deep Wastes so easily if it was not for Deadman’s Rock. Even given the dangers, it can be lucrative to cut two thirds the travel time out. These crazy people, crazy by prospector standards, are the ones bringing in most of the supplies to Deadman’s Rock and many of the caches Waste Goods out.