Skinnarbol Crater — What Exactly was The Cause?

Greetings, users! I’m a bit new here, but I’ve been trolling (traditional) the Discord for some time now, and those of you might be familiar with my intent to make dossiers on every machine type (Runner, Seeker, Hunter, etc.) and how each machine behaves on their own and with each other in more detail, and then a design philosophy (Prototype, Military, FNIX, Apocalypse, Reaper) covering each different level so to speak of the machines regardless of type, and what their doctrine is.

If it wasn’t obvious by now I take a serious stance on realism, even where it doesn’t make any sense for it to be. But since this game is an alternative history, it makes sense to me that there’s some realism to be had, and I see it’s my job to expand upon existing reasoning and create new reasoning for things.

If none of that interests you at all, I understand, but it’s something I enjoy doing nonetheless, and I would ask you to give this a try.

Today I’m covering something different from the overarching dossier work I’m used to. I’m going to ask a simple question. You might think it foolish at first, trivial. I want you to hold such rebukes for now and wait until I’m done.

Look at this picture.

This picture is of the aftermath of some event unseen by players in the time between the last update and the current one, which introduced several new crafting features, and the launch of the Stridsmaskin 90 “Liemannen”, the Grim Reaper.

The crater is of an as-of-yet unexplored complex that stretches beneath the Farmlands region and likely beyond, as besides F23 there are no nearby bunker complexes capable of this scale, as the blown open tunnels have burning trucks and shipping containers, handfuls of various munitions crates scattered inside and out, and even the remants of radiological waste or byproduct, as seen by the glowing green puddles of slag.

The crater is swarming with FNIX class machines and even a few Apoc stragglers, and the whole area gives me the sense of an ant nest that’s been disturbed, with ants crawling out. However, the site is closed, as the tunnels that were exposed are mostly collapsed, with one exception being the tunnel you find the Reaper schematics in, and a door with a card scanner that doesn’t open, but seems to be functional.

The area around it is devastated, with the majority of foliage and trees being torn out and mostly absent as debris, several nearby aboveground structures being scorched if not burned down, and a few destroyed by cement or concrete rubble likely thrown from the crater in the event.

However, some trees remain and are not burnt down, knocked over, scorched, or leaning away from the epicenter of the crater area. Structures nearby that were not on fire before are now heavily damaged, and little besides a few walls, ashes, and the foundations remain.

There were some damaged buildings from before the event, the Stora Dyrbo location is not far from the site, but the location was previously damaged from a skirmish during D-day between the army and the machines, as there were Military Tank wrecks all over the structures and a few Strv-103 (the Swedish tank at the time) wrecks as well, likely from the skirmish that took place further to the southwest. However, there are no more intact Tank wrecks at that site, and it seems to be a little more on fire than usual.

Oh, and the crater is not centered on that weird Bunker 66(6) fight pit or whatever it is, that’s a little northwest of the epicenter, and as far as I’m aware, is completely unrelated.

So here’s my question. What caused this crater?

Take a moment to think.


I think that it’s fair to say the Reaper is involved somehow in this, but I have doubts that it caused the amount of destruction seen. I’ll touch lightly on the subject later, but let’s move onto two possible, if basic, causes of the destruction in the area.

1: The destruction was caused in a single and sudden event, like the detonation of a large explosive device.

This one is the most probable in my eyes, but it has some issues.

The first is that if it were from an explosive of some kind, the blast area would be more decimated, and there’d be no trees standing, especially if a tactial nuclear device (small nuke) was detonated.

Second, while I’ve spent some time — as of the time of this writing — looking at instances of explosion craters to guage what the causes were, or at least how big the crater is in comparison to other craters, I run into a lot of issues of where the explosive device would be, in the tunnels, above ground, or in the air as an airburst type.

The closest explosive comparison to the amount of damage caused and the size of the crater leads me to suspect that if it was a detonation of an explosive device or other material, then it would be similar in scope and volatility to the explosion in Beirut just this year.

That is to say, a 1.1 kiloton explosion at ground or just below ground level, as any deeper and the crater would be sharper and less shallow a climb. But I haven’t even gotten into the earth science and geology regarding how such an explosive would crater the ground with a placement above or below ground, so there’s also issues with that.

So to stop from spiraling out of control, we’ll move onto the second possible cause.


2: The devastation was not caused all at once, and was instead done over the course of several hours time, if not days or weeks depending on the method.

This one is less probable as it has many more holes that are not as practically answerable as the ones regarding the first.

And before anyone pops off and says “The Reaper did it” I know it probably did if the second possibility is true, but we have many more questions of how and why.

First problem — I am trying to limit spoilers, but if you’re here and you haven’t played for that long to know what I’m saying, what are you doing? — the entire military complex belongs to FNIX (for various reasons) save what we have disabled over time (won’t say where), and we did not know of the existence of this section of tunnels, which are large, likely expansive, and do not have any obvious entrances, let alone any players could have sniffed out over time.

So since it’s not likely players could do this, and we assume the Reaper did it over time in some kind of fit of rage, why do it to FNIX’s own territory and resources? This part of the question goes for both cause one and two, but it would be more wasteful for the Reaper to cause such destruction like that.

Follow up argument might be “it was in the tunnels and had to get out”.

But then we get to the issue of if it was sudden or not, and that’s problem two: since if it wasn’t one big boom (which even the Reaper can’t do if you go to the crater and examine the scale for yourself) then it had to dig itself out, which I doubt, and then carve out the crater like it was an explosion.

And the surrounding area. Which makes no sense. Because if the job was to get out, it could have blown a small hole, crawl out, and then tear away from the exit in one direction, not make a pit of destruction around where it emerged and call it home.

The Reaper is the pinacle of machine warfare. It’s tough, and mean, and nearly indestructable if all you’re doing is panicking and firing wildly. And FNIX is smart enough to understand that with something like this, and a few escort machines, it can demolish any obstacle of its choosing on the map.

So if it did, for some reason, forgo any normal deployment and make its way to the highest populated area on the map and smash it, why would it waste time scouring the area above where it came out? To my knowledge there wasn’t anything there before, not even a safehouse or a farm larger than housing for a handful of people.

Since this has turned into a rant of sorts, I’m going to leave it at this, and ask you. What was the cause of the crater? Take a trip for yourselves, go there, see the destruction, and the scope of it. Think about it. Try and look at what’s left and tell me what you see.

Just go there, and see for yourself. Because despite the crater not changing, a lot of people see different things. And

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Due to the size of the crater, I wonder if it is a search and destroy type of mission. Because it is isolated to that area, Im wondering if the Reaper decided to go looking for something, or if other bots were dispatched to go looking. Thats why Its a large area, but doesnt continue on and on as if they were destroying just to destroy.

Also I feel it may be a searching type of destruction because, with the exception of the bunker door at the northern part of the crater, that was a totally hidden bunker. None of us wouldve known it was there which to me means added security and deeper, juicier secrets.

(Love these type of conversations and ideas. Anything to further the story is right up my ally)

I say it’s to show the extent and destruction of the Reaper’s Thermobaric Explosion, kind of a foreshadowing

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The various tunnels also seem to indicate an extensive bunker network. Curious!

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It is like the test blasts outside Nausta in Lappland that Försvarets forskningsanstalt (FOA) carried out in the 50’s and 60’s.

Link to the Swedish Armed Forces history about the Swedish nuclear program.
(Note; I could not find an English version).
Link to wiki about The Nausta Bang (Swedish)

Translated from the Wiki

The Nausta Bang was a project to see the effects of a small atomic bomb, which was carried out in northern Nausta southwest of Jokkmokk. The plans never materialized and the only thing that was tested were dummies from an atomic bomb, so-called nitrolite charges. In 1956, 36 (metric) tons of bonyl were tested, and in 1957, 50 (metric) tons were blasted.
The intention was to test the effect of air shock waves, by exhibiting aircraft and tanks at different distances from the charge in the terrain.
The crater, with a diameter of 40-50 meters, then filled the natural way with water, forming a small lake that was given the unofficial name Foajaure, a composition of FOA and the Sami word for lake; jaure. The area around Nausta is still suspended as it is part of test site Norrland.

I wonder if the complex runs deeper down, there is a truck standing in a flooded part of the tunnels.
It could have been an assembly area for the reaper and other machines, just like the one on Himfjäll with the Reaper prototype.

Previously in another topic I said this:

Now thinking a bit more, I think, in order to get the devastation we see, the thermobaric blast possibly also ignited some ammo and/or fuel storages in the underground facility.
I don’t think the devastation is big enough to think about a nuclear explosion, and the whole area would be a dead zone due to the radiation.

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I think it was a large NORAD like bunker facility way larger than all the other bunkers in the game. As it was just too hard a nut to crack, the only option left was to completely level it with mini nukes.

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First, we don’t know how vast this network really is. I’ve been even joking that at first there was bunkers and Ostertorn been build above them.
Second is how deep FOA been digging? Hints are Muskudden Port complex and North Coast FOA Facility.
Third, about cause of destruction my guesses:

  1. It wasn’t nuke for sure. At least not external - for crater like that blast would be powerful enough to flatten out the whole Farmlands and beyond; for scorching marks like we seen the blast wouldn’t be sufficient to dig it this big. Internally - more likely, but it would be rapid explosions of all these “dirty” rockets for Apoc Harvesters and Reaper.
  2. Reaper directly involved - there’s a reason why thermobarric explosions are exceptionally deadly within bunkers/buildings. Considering that SuperTank’s “butt-hurt attack” we observe in the open area, that chemical it releases and ignites has waaay bigger volume of explosion than this pre-fart cloud.
    I assume that there’s no direct pathway big enough to safely transport the Reaper from FOA4 and been disassembled there, transported, assembled.
    1.1) there were no way that Reaped could exit complex on one piece. So it dug itself out.
    1.2) there was some crucial clue/piece/weapon/alien etc that FNIX deemed too dangerous to keep/guard and it was better off to get rid of it, Reaper blew it up nice and clean, whlie getting to area where it would be more useful (Himfjall already infested with nasty Apocs and Reaper won’t add much).
    1.3) there was incident around time of activating Reaper, likely during testing systems. And it’s butt-hurt was too strong for complex to contain it from inside, but shield system was robust enough for machine to survive.
  3. Reaper indirectly involved - may be that tunnel network was strong enough to withstand any punishment from a single Reaper. But what if there was two Reapers blowing stuff up? Dozen?
    I talk about equivalent of chemicals and munitions exploded simultaneously, measured in “reapers”.
    2.1) Judging by blast radius (scorched earth around crater), puddles of green slag, lots of ammo boxes, terminal with it’s chematics etc, I guess it’s the real birthplace of The Machine (since it’s hinted that Reaper is FNIX’s project). FOA4 was used for it’s specialized assembly line that can handle hazardous and strong materials to materialize SuperTank in metal. The space that is now crater was either vault for storing munitions for Reaper or actual munitions factory, that was able to tend to Apoc needs.
    2.1.1)FNIX couldn’t handle proper maintenance and caused hazardous chemicals leak (machines didn’t bother with gases in bunkers and even weaponized it) which was set off by something small (there’s incediary ammo for ApocTank/Reaper and flamers). Over time leak was filled that space with that very potent aerosole explosive and set off. That would explain crater shape - even small “secretive” munition factory/storage still would need extensive digging and concrete isn’t that strong, considering crater appear in rather soft “farming soil” withoud much of bedrock like other known underground facilities. With spacious area like that one at FOA4 and it being filled with that “special fart chem” the workshop was rather weak and sheer explosive pressure would literally blow upwards it’s roof and grind it’s relatively thin bunker walls into smooth slopes, yet somehow preserving some concrete around. It wasn’t that deep in the first place, and excess aerosole spreaded and scorched with about same ratio as Reaper’s thermobarric attack (gas cloud to fireball ratio). That would also explain uneven destruction around crater.
    2.1.2)Some accident happened during Reaper’s arming up that ended up in rapid fill up with thermobarric cloud and it blew up. May be mishandling equpment, may be FNIX been grinding gears of production line without/unable to do proper maintenance (we still don’t know where and how machines and structures were built). Reaper was activated and either was or wasn’t there, either moving nearby or just in stand-by - it had enough time to react and escape explosion or shielded itself and dug up itself/helped out in the worst case.
    2.1.3)There was test runs, that involved Reaper’s armament and some accident set off explosion/munitions stored, due to weaponry being too powerful for tests like these/facility wasn’t intented for this purpose and didn’t have enough structural strength to protect explosives/ammo from Reaper.
  4. Reaper itself has nothing to do with this and “craters space” was either sabotaged prior by still present humans just before the demise/abduction* or there was a skirmish that led to severe damage of facility and FNIX didn’t fix it in time for some reason, which needed some external “kick” to set it off like fighting nearby or by the tremble of sheer combined mass of machines.

* command bunkers are for some strange reason were devoid of bodies and has little to none signs of fight, just some of them have scenes or “forceful entrance”, but nothing more

My idea is similar to the quoted one:

But with some differences.

I think that the Skinnarbol was the main development bunker for Reaper, evidenced by the nearby terminal with it’s blueprint. And during the development or assembly of Reaper’s armament, something went wrong and the whole assembly area went sky high.
It is impossible to tell what exactly triggered the explosion but it could’ve very well been that one of the assembly ticks had malfunction and pointed it’s laser to wrong spot, thus triggering the explosion.

The following shockwave was enough to blow out from the bunker complex, forming the Skinnarbol Crater in the process. Though, the bunker complex was sturdy enough and/or explosion wasn’t powerful enough for the shockwave to travel much further from Skinnarbol.
This explains why the devastation is contained in the small area. However, shockwave alone isn’t enough to set trees on fire. For that, i have another idea.

After the initial explosion, the highly flammable gas, that machines use, leaked into the crater, filling it. And it found the ignition source, thus creating 2nd explosion and sending wall of fire all around the Skinnarbol Crater area, burning houses and trees.

I also think that after that “setback”, FNIX learned from it’s mistakes and assembled the Reaper at some place else (best candidate being FOA2). And FNIX continues to make Reapers in another facility. Latter explains why new Reapers are able to spawn, once player takes out the active one.

As of why only one active Reaper can be on the map at any given time and not several, my guess is that FNIX doesn’t have enough computing power to control more than one Reaper at a time.

Well, your theory about “double explosion” started up me another though train that has no brakes. :slight_smile:
A bit off-topic, but I still drop it here.
What if “thermobarric explosion” that used by Reaper isn’t cause, but consequence of “crater incident”?
Like FNIX been gathering pieces of the aftermath and concluded at “I want that to be a weapon!”

We don’t know for sure if there canonically a single Reaper or FNIX somehow got enough advanced resources and facilities to to regularly rebuild it. Unless I see two side-by-side my headcannon will register it as single unique entity.

Back to topic: most things I’ve covered by other words, but may be not that eloquent.
The part about “double explosions and fireball outside”: points about “weak concreete”, “soft farmlands soil”, shallow building are about deliberate design choices for that munition/chemical factory/storage.
Thing is that any cause that will lead to explosion will need countermasures. Concentrated explosion against bedrock especially underground, like other bunkers/FOA facilities, would inevitably cause shockwave that would be equal to earthquake, so hipothetical “ammo storage boom” certainly will set off and destroy the rest of workshop. “Weak concrete roof” and shallow dig for factory will cause least resistance upwards, “soft soil” damp a bit shockwave. The placement under one of “plainest” areas around (or rather with very wide “bowl” shape) with least possible settlements to be not suspicious will secure least collateral damage. “Weak roof” point is about that within single blast all the fuel didn’t burned and a lot of it was spreaded around. Think of boiling pot - overpressured steam will cause the lid to jump. Same here - “roof” itself was sturdy enough to preserve it’s “shape” for the most parts, but collumns and other support wasn’t, so this “lid” for a moment long enough under very high pressure horizontally spreaded most of fuel along wide open area due to “shockwave”.

About the “double explosion” - I’ve had an itch that I’m still missing something.
It still could work out:

  1. puddles with ticking noices (that is what does that ticking noices?) hinting that there were “dirty” bombs/rockets. These are highly unstable munitions and caused initial destruction. Shockwave from it caused damage for what appears to be tanks with highly volative “fart” that started to fill up all the holes. Some flashbulb shorted and ignited it, causing even more destructions and paint a new wasteland over farmlands.
  2. there was “few” consecutive thermobarric blasts. “Inner” was powerful enough to crack through roof and a cistern of it under big pressure set fly upwards and break somewhere outside or at least burried very shallow. Some debris damaged it, gas rapidly spreaded in and out of crater and then something still burning/sparking ignited “outer” blast that made “wasteland” area.

Other cause would be (mis)handling unstable chemicals.

  1. However advanced were FNIX and computing power in it’s possession, it still wasn’t enough to perform scientific calculations and control machines. So it resorted to method of “poking with sticks” (sci. for “empyrric research method”). And then extreeme exothermic reaction dug us a grey sandpit.
  2. Or probably during “FNIX Rising” events teenagers destroyed/hacked “just right” servers that supervised these researches and sudden server failure led to momentary mishandling of chemicals, long enough for turd reach fan.
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They mention this in some of the audio tapes or someone talked about it. I believe the machines were collecting bodies to experiment on them but later stopped. I guess they learned enough about us. As the bunkers were strategic points they would have been hit early on by the machines and therefor those bodies would have been some of the first taken.

The crater was created by the reaper tank. It popped up when the reaper was added and the reaper blueprint can be found there. It was in the underground bunker we see ruins of and was able to blow itself out.

Yes, but it’s unclear what exactly happened. I mean what kind of explosion. How was it triggered, etc. There is no info on this, only visual evidence And the fact the Reaper was introduced, which sparked a lot of ideas, and conjecture.

Well, the reaper does have an attack that causes a massive explosion, so probably that.

Yes probably the thermobaric blast in combination with explosives/fuel in the underground bunker. Still there are also nuclear theories. Also the why is untold, was it deliberate or accidental?

So it’s not a story fact yet.

Well, we know the reaper is one of FNIXs own creations, as seen in the blueprints description. He took over a prototype of a new tank shortly before the invasion and made it his own. With that in mind, I’m guessing it’s deliberate.

Discussion moved to proper topic.

//Mod

Maybe bunker 66(6) is a maintinance entrance for the tunnels at the crater? so what if bunker 666 is a way in

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The crater resembles very much the real life accident in the UK during WW2

RAF Fauld Explosion

Does anyone know what happened to cause all the destruction in the farmlands?

If you do let me know I can’t figure it out