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Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


Adventure! time!

Psychic Knacks:

Psychic Knacks are the powers of Mesmerists. They’re mostly mental effects, but there are exceptions. These Knacks come in three levels, with escalating power. The higher level ones cost more TP/EXP to buy, but there’s no requirements on you otherwise. These also don’t have minimum Trait requirements like the Heroic Knacks, because there’s nothing plausible about any of them. They often but don’t always cost Inspiration to use.

Level One Knacks:

Brain Skimming: This lets you read the surface thoughts of a target. You have to talk to the subject and bring up something at least tangential to what you want to know, then roll Rapport. If the subject knows you’re trying to fish for something, they can resist with Willpower. The more guarded the secret, the more successes to get it out of this Knack. This doesn’t cost any Inspiration to try, which is nice because it’s pretty weak. This’d be a big one that you’d want to actually properly RP the conversation and give some bonuses if they’ve come up with a good way to subtly bring up the topic.

Command Voice: This lets you issue a short verbal command to a group of people no larger than your Charisma dots. It has to be something you could reasonably do in about three seconds. You then spend an Inspiration and roll Command. Every target without more Wits than you rolled successes has to execute the command unless it would put them in obvious direct danger. Inspired characters can spend a Willpower to avoid doing it. This is all about coming up with creative and non-obvious ways to turn this into a save-or-die (since if the danger isn’t obvious they don’t get to negate the effect), any other benefits you get out of it are gravy.

Marked Man: This lets you ‘mark’ a person or object and then unerringly track their location relative to you. You touch the target, spend an Inspiration, and roll Navigation. The effect lasts for a week for each success you roll, and you can have as many marks as your Reflective Facet. This is pretty loving great, while it does require you to physically touch something or someone it lasts for-drat-ever in the grand scheme of tracking.

Perfect Translation: You can use telepathy to understand the thoughts behind languages you don’t actually understand. You have to be able to see or hear the subject directly, you can’t do this through a radio or something similar. Roll Rapport, the more successes you get the better an understanding of what’s going on you get. You don’t need to spend any Inspiration for this. While this doesn’t let you speak the language of your target, it does let you communicate with them somewhat, including letting you use Knacks that require verbal communication on them. Interesting contrast with the Heroic Knack equivalent here, this is in theory more versatile since you act like you know every language instead of just knowing way more, but there’s a lot of dice rolling and some chance to gently caress this one up. Valuable to have if you’re the party’s designated diplomat.

Psychic Hand: A small and relatively weak but mobile telekinetic force. You can roll Endurance to activate it for a number of turns equal to your successes, or spend an Inspiration to use it for a whole scene. The force can be anywhere within a radius of 20 yards per Inspiration point. It can take two forms, a ‘hand’ that manipulates or a ‘shield’ that deflects attacks. The hand exerts twice your Willpower in kilogram-meters per turn in force. It’s not capable of any fine manipulation, though. When you use it as a shield, it provides extra bashing and lethal soak equal to your Reflective Facet to ranged attacks from a direction. It’d be hard to use against melee attacks but you could probably argue it. You can’t use the hand form for any kind of attack, though. If you’ve got a high Reflective Facet this is pretty great, an Inspiration for a ton of lethal soak that would normally be hard to get is solid even without the hand option.

Scientific Prodigy: This allows you to improve your super-scientific abilities by drawing upon the knowledge of your assistants. When you are doing super-science (we’ll cover that after all the Knacks), for each assistant you get one extra die (up to your Intelligence+Reflective Facet). There’s no roll or Inspiration cost. Super-science is powerful as poo poo so this might seem boring but trust me, if you’re the sort of character who does that stuff it’s great.

Telluric Resonance: You can sense telluric energy. You roll Awareness, and for each success you get the general location of a mesmerist or stalwart within 20 meters. You can’t detect daredevils, they’re not actively using energy like that. You can also detect super-science devices. When dynamic or psychic knacks are used near you, the storyteller rolls in secret to determine if you detect its use. This gives you some valuable information you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get, which is always nice.

Thermal Manipulation: This is a weak form of psychokinesis that lets you control the temperature. You can only raise or lower the temperature at any given time, not both. You spend an Inspiration point, decide if you’re trying to protect against heat or cold, then roll Resistance. Each success gives you a level of soak against any injury that is connected to that temperature, including fire or ice based attacks. Even one success protects you from relatively normal temperature extremes for 12 hours. You can also roll Willpower to reduce the effect of a fire (extinguishing it by one damage level per two successes and putting it out if you reduce it to none), and melt ice the same way (with two successes melting one cubic meter of ice). This is one of those powers that’s either crucial or useless, if you need it you really need it.

Level Two Knacks:

Brainstorm: Our first offensive Knack for the Mesmerist, and it’s loving nasty. You project pain and horror into the target’s mind. You spend Inspiration and roll Manipulation + Destructive Facet vs Willpower, adding three dice to your pool if you know enough about the subject to make the poo poo you’re throwing into this personal. For each success you get, they lose a temporary Willpower AND can take no action other than flee for one turn. If you take someone down to zero temporary Willpower they pass out for hours. A botch renders them immune to this power from you, though. So like I said, nasty. It’s a save-or-die with a second, nastier save-or-die that can happen. And even worse, the targets most likely to get taken out completely are also those that are likely to take the most damage by having fewer dice to oppose the initial roll. Definitely big if you want some offence.

Cloak of Dread: This lets you become spooky as hell for a while. You spend an Inspiration and get the effect for a scene. You double your Intimidation for the scene, and animals won’t stay in your presence unless they absolutely have to. Extras will only target you if you’re the only person to target, and the unreasoning fear that you’re going to annihilate them if they make you angry causes them to use their least damaging possible attack against you. A great defense against weak enemies.

Evil Eye: This lets you put a ‘hex’ on the target, effectively a much more functional version of ‘real’ voodoo curses. While under its effects they will subconsciously undermine their own efforts. You roll Wits + Destructive Facet and, if the target in Inspired, spend an Inspiration. You then have to split the successes between duration and effect. The effect is an escalating difficulty increase to rolls and eventually the loss of Willpower points as well. None of this lost Willpower can be regained until the curse has worn off. It’s possible to convince yourself the curse is over in theory and break the suggestions but there’s no real system for that. You can really gently caress someone up for the duration of a scene with this, and there’s not even a cost if they’re not Inspired. Tons of fun.

Flame/Frost Conjuration: Good old Pyrokinesis/Cryokinesis. You take them separately, but they work essentially the same. There are two ways to use it. One starts a fire or flash freezes an area, which costs one Inspiration point and lasts for a number of turns equal to the successes on a Willpower roll. The effect is a 3 lethal dice hazard plus 1 per two successes. As a ranged attack, you spend an Inspiration then roll Awareness. Your base damage is 3 + Destructive Facet lethal, but it can be dodged. You can also do little goofy poo poo with fire or cold if it would be cool. A pretty straightforward offensive option that also gives you a lot of fun room to break poo poo with thermal stress and what have you. Very worth taking one of these, and don’t underestimate the cold version. They also note that this could work as the basis for an Electrokinetic Knack.

Hypnotic Presence: You can hypnotize people, as you’d expect. You make eye contact, concentrate for a turn, then spend an Inspiration. You need to score more successes on a Rapport roll than the target has dots in Intelligence (which is actually a bit different than normal, most of these only require meeting the Trait). While hypnotized the subject will always speak truthfully and you’ll be able to implant posthypnotic suggestions if you succeed at some more rolling. These suggestions will last for a few days, and can’t make someone do something that would violate their basic morals or sense of self preservation. It’s alright, especially since it has the side-effect of letting your buddies goddamn execute the poor gently caress if that’s all you want.

Inspirational Aura: This Knack lets you buff the confidence of a group of allies. Spend an Inspiration and roll Command. Every two successes you roll reduce the difficulties of all actions your allies (but not you) take for the rest of the scene. It affects a number of allies up to your Inspiration. You also get to increase all your Command rolls for the rest of the scene by your Reflective Facet. If you’ve got this Knack, you’re not allowed to benefit from anyone else’s Inspirational Aura. This is really goddamn nice, needless to say. The more rolls you can knock down to standard difficulty the better.

Teledigitation: Where Psychic Hand was force, this is telekinesis with precision. Spend an Inspiration to activate the Knack for turns equal to your Stamina + Wits. You can essentially do anything with them you could do with normal hands. They have Strength 1, and Dexterity equal to your Reflective Facet + 1. If you try to act with both them and your real body in the same action multiple action penalties apply. The two hands can act independently but can’t spread more than two meters apart. If you have both this and Phantom Hands, you can activate them simultaneously to make the Teledigitation hands much more powerful. They gain Strength equal to your Intelligence instead of just being 1. Telekinesis is always nice, just remember this one still isn’t an attack per se (though it can use weapons).

Level Three Knacks:

Cloud the Mind: The Shadow knows what this power is. It’s invisibility by means of perceptual filter. Spend Inspiration and for the scene your Stealth Ability rating is doubled. It’s not super clear but you’re supposed to roll Stealth at this point. Someone who’s not actively looking for you will only notice you if you do something incredibly blatant or the have more Perception than you rolled successes. Someone who is actively looking for you gets to roll Awareness, but they need to get more success than you got to break through the Knack. This does not preclude you using normal means of being stealthy, which work in addition to it. This is powerful, just remember you’re not ACTUALLY invisible.

Mindhammer: Here is our telekinetic attack. Spend an Inspiration and roll Wits + Awareness. Attempts to dodge are at +2 difficulty, because it’s invisible. Base damage is your Willpower in bashing, increased by bonus successes as normal. That’s potentially VERY substantial, consider that the best effect from a Fists of Stone punch would be eight bashing and this can start at ten. Still, it’s honestly a bit underwhelming compared to the save-or-die potential of Brainstorm or the lethal damage of Flame/Frost Conjuration. I feel like it needs more but I’m not sure what.

Psychic Control: Straight up mind control. Strictly speaking, it’s memory modification. The more you want to do, the more successes you’ll need to get on a roll of Command resisted by Willpower. You have to spend an Inspiration and Willpower, and can spend additional Inspiration for automatic successes. You also need to concentrate for as many minutes as you’ll need successes. The target’s able to spend Willpower to reduce the intensity of the effect. You can REALLY gently caress someone up with the ‘requires five successes’ version, since it notes that you can make changes that are destructive to the target such as ‘forgetting about breathing’. Still, this is a tough power to use properly and requires a lot of planning to get good use out of. Working someone over to reduce their ability to spend Willpower at the end is probably a good idea.

Psychic Synergy: This lets you connect yourself and a group of people together into a sort of psionic hive mind. You spend an Inspiration and roll Command. Any successes mean you and your allies (the number determines how many can be effected) can communicate at distance without speaking for the rest of the scene. Furthermore, you all get to add your Reflective Facet to all your dice pools and act on the Initiative turn of whoever rolled highest. This poo poo is straight hacks, it’s not even like the Inspirational Aura in that it doesn’t specify you aren’t affected yourself. It’s a huge rear end buff for a whole combat or any other kind of scene, and almost guarantees your whole party gets to act first, together. THIS is the sort of power that you should be getting for Level 3. Oh and if you try and stack this with Inspirational Aura like nothing says you can't expect your storyteller to put a horse's head in your bed.

Sleight of Will: This is another power for moving things with your mind, but rather a different one. It’s not telekinesis, but instead warps space itself to teleport things. You can’t move anything as large as a person, though. You are limited to an object equal to your Reflective Facet in kilograms. Spend an Inspiration and roll Stamina + Awareness. One success will move the object, and three or more means the power does not count as your action for the turn. If the item is in contact with someone else, they can resist with Willpower. Momentum of the object is conserved, so for example something falling will still be moving with all its momentum if teleported to the ground (though you COULD teleport it upside down, meaning its momentum will see it thrown a bit into the air before landing normally). This won’t work on anything too small and fast to see with the naked eye, like a bullet, but can work on thrown weapons. This has some cool uses but again I’m not sure it’s at the power level of a Level 3.

Touch of Life: A healing power. Touch the subject, concentrate for a minute, spend an Inspiration, and roll Medicine. Each success heals one bashing or lethal health level, up to twice your Reflective Facet in bashing or your Reflective Facet in lethal. You can spread the successes how you like. Even a failure on the roll will stabilize a bleeding patient, but a botch does an additional bashing level. You can’t heal someone more often in a day then they have Stamina. You can’t use this in combat without pulling back thanks to the minute of concentration but it’s still goddamn amazing. If you’ve got this Knack your party will never want for healing.

The Future: Mesmerists vs Psions

So, I’m going to divert here a bit to compare and contrast the Mesmerists of Adventure with the Psions they will become in Trinity. I’ll do this again once we’ve really seen what Psions do, but I can still hit some high points. Basically, Psions are MUCH more powerful than Mesmerists at what they do, at the cost of versatility. The process that lets Psions develop their powers also means they’re limited to certain groups of related powers. Mesmerists meanwhile have access to most of the potential powers of a Psion, but in very weak forms. Some of the Psion’s powers are so weakly manifested in Mesmerists that they don’t get any representation at all. We’ll see those once we get there, just keep it in mind.

Conclusion:

Mesmerists are really versatile with a lot of support abilities but kind of lacking in offensive punch that isn’t a straight save-or-die. The Conjurations are okay and properly min-maxed Mindhammer can do some decent work, but nothing way out of line with what a Daredevil could do offensively without even having to spend Inspiration. But god drat the support abilities, your ability to make the rest of the party better are second to none. One thing of note, while you’re good at making other people lose actions Mesmerists have no Knacks that give THEM extra actions. Extra actions are god in combat, and we’ll see the true masters of them next time when we cover the Dynamic Knacks of the Stalwarts.

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Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Cythereal posted:

Sisko holds himself to exceptionally high standards of behavior and performance, and he does not take it well when he fails to meet his own self-imposed standards.

Garak sure knew that.

"That's why you came to me, isn't it, Captain? Because you knew I could do those things that you weren't capable of doing? Well, it worked. And you'll get what you want: a war between the Romulans and the Dominion. And if your conscience is bothering you, you should soothe it with the knowledge that you may have just saved the entire Alpha Quadrant. And all it cost was the life of one Romulan senator, one criminal, and the self-respect of one Starfleet officer. I don't know about you, but I'd call that a bargain."

Snorb
Nov 19, 2010


Angry Salami posted:

What are Sisko's flaws in the game, by the way? Besides "Unhealthy Obsession (Baseball)".

Sisko has the flaws Devotion (Jake Sisko), Devotion (Kasidy Yates), and Rival (Captain Solok). The only mention baseball gets is that he has the Sport (Baseball) skill at +6 to the roll, which is pretty drat high in the CODA System.

For comparison, Kirk has Enemy (Kor), Intolerant (Klingons), Species Enmity (Klingons). Picard has Infamy (his role as Locutus of Borg) and Intolerant (Borg). Kira has Dark Secret (did some things in the Bajoran Resistance that she isn't proud of), Devotion (Odo), and Species Enmity (Cardassians). Archer doesn't have a stat writeup because this game came out right around the time Star Trek: Enterprise started.

Huh. I can't help but notice that parallel; Decipher Inc put their Star Trek game out just as Enterprise was hitting the air, and Modiphius put theirs out just as Discovery was hitting All Access.

Snorb fucked around with this message at 14:32 on Nov 1, 2018

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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#1 Builder
2014-2018



...

Intolerant (Borg)?

how does that...work

I mean, is Free Borg just a thing that there is more than one of now?

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




I guess Decipher Star Trek doesn't have an Obsession Flaw that would better represent his Ahab-like willingness to risk everything to destroy them.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry



The Colonies -- The Midwest


Elgin Law Community
Population: 1489
Located in the garden spot that is northern Illinois, the Elgin colony was created by a Chicago Detective named Jesse Williams. It is far away from the drama and activity of the South and the East and people are seriously trying to make a new life here.

Threats to Elgin: Complacency. The residents don't understand why Williams is trying to build fortifications and prepare for a siege. The reason, of course, is that he's heard from the refugee Swamp Rats that made their way north as well as having some of Elgin's hunters encountering a few of DC's advance scouts and barely fighting them off. DC is currently more focused on Boston of course, but when that's done they will be moving west.

Living in Elgin: It's basically a peaceful farming community with limited electricity. They do have access to Chicago and its resources though so they will be improving the standard of living as long as no one attacks them.

Commodities Needed: Soldiers. The residents are woefully unprepared for any sort of raid

Who's Who:
Henry Jordon -- A former architect and now the second in command of Elgin. He was an oxy addict until Jesse busted him and convinced him to go into treatment. Now he is devoted to the man that saved his life.

Bob Nashe -- Jesse's biggest political rival. Bob thinks that life isn't so bad now, after the end, and doesn't understand what he considers Jesse's paranoia. He is highly vocal on expending colony resources on what he considers a boondoggle.

Relations with other colonies:

Swamp Rats -- Jesse has reached out to the Rats and offered them shelter in Elgin as military muscle. Bob Nashe does not know about this offer.


Elgin is the only midwest colony listed.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




mllaneza posted:

Put those two things together and you don't have a token, you have an officer on the command track. Do watch the TAS episode where she ends up in command. It's S01E04, "The Lorelei Signal". It's good Trek and on Netflix.
... I know that's not what it means in this context but now I want to see a Tool Assisted Speedrun of a Star Trek episode.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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2014-2018



Zereth posted:

... I know that's not what it means in this context but now I want to see a Tool Assisted Speedrun of a Star Trek episode.

Well, I mean, there's the one where Spock summons the Devil in order to get them through an area of space faster (and at all).

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Humbug Scoolbus posted:

Commodities Needed: Soldiers. The residents are woefully unprepared for any sort of raid

quote:

Elgin is the only midwest colony listed.

:doh:

I know I'm not the first one to say this, but it's a good thing there's now over 70 square miles per person in North America! Otherwise, raids might actually be a thing!

The End has a tiny fraction of the population of The Walking Dead. And in that show, there's a handful of settlements with dozens of people between southwest Kentucky and Washington, DC.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

You use a fast-forward button to skip from the hook to the premise, past the B-plot and conference room scenes, to the conclusion and epilogue.

Tibalt
May 14, 2017

What, drawn, and talk of peace! I hate the word, As I hate hell, all Montagues, and thee


Zereth posted:

... I know that's not what it means in this context but now I want to see a Tool Assisted Speedrun of a Star Trek episode.
"Okay, this a WR pace run, so pray to the RNG gods as we get our next episode aaaaaaaaand its "Shades of Gray". Well, there goes that run, i'm taking a break. gently caress!"

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Mors Rattus posted:

Well, I mean, there's the one where Spock summons the Devil in order to get them through an area of space faster (and at all).
Unless he did this by jumping backwards until his velocity got high enough that he clipped out of the map and found a trigger to summon the Devil in unallocated space it's not what I'm talking about. :colbert:

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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#1 Builder
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Zereth posted:

Unless he did this by jumping backwards until his velocity got high enough that he clipped out of the map and found a trigger to summon the Devil in unallocated space it's not what I'm talking about. :colbert:

I mean, it's not far from what he did.

Snorb
Nov 19, 2010


Mors Rattus posted:

...

Intolerant (Borg)?

how does that...work

I mean, is Free Borg just a thing that there is more than one of now?

The Intolerant Flaw is described as "You do not like a particular group of people; if you have anything to say about them it isn't kind, and they can contribute nothing useful to any discussion." If you have that Flaw, you have to spend 1 Courage (basically like a luck point) to even attempt any kind of social roll dealing with the group you're intolerant of.

My guess is that flaw came up a lot when Picard was dealing with the events of "I, Borg."

Halloween Jack posted:

I guess Decipher Star Trek doesn't have an Obsession Flaw that would better represent his Ahab-like willingness to risk everything to destroy them.

No Obsession Flaw. I'd say Starfleet screens out the mentally ill, but out of the nine professions in the game, only one of them is Starfleet.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

Endorsed by:
Pentecoastal Elites!
fart_man_69!
Terminal autist!
Ruzihm!
Judakel!
Dixon Chisholm!
Nix Panicus!
Neurolimal!

Yea, Intolerant is less 'ugh, sharing a room with a Tellarite, I'm gonna have a headache' and more 'I literally cannot tolerate even thinking about you as anything but an enemy and have no desire to pretend you're worth discussing as anything but a threat'. It's a BIT cheap to pick a 100% antagonist race like Borg for it, yea, but if I was the GM I'd say the courage point tax also would come up for things like 'you need to pay if you want to suggest a course of action other than 'we need to fight the Borg and get them driven out in this area' as a solution to a problem involving them, even if they're not what you should be focusing on' and all.

Like, as dumb as it was done Picard going apeshit with the tommy gun was an example of how 'Intolerant' can be bad even against 'enemy' groups.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




"We have to fight these guys right now" is actually a pretty bad compulsion when the enemy is the Borg.

grassy gnoll
Aug 27, 2006

The pawsting business is tough work.

Speaking of absorbing the cultural and techonological distinctiveness of others, it's


Combined Army parade


Morat Vanguard Infantry

The generic Combined Army line trooper and general example of the Morat units, Vanguards are real good at punching things, not very good at shooting, and kind of useless otherwise. Their biggest asset is the Morat rule, which lets them ignore the majority of the game’s morale systems. Be prepared to pay out the nose for the privilege; in an elite-based army like CA, that’s a fool’s errand.

Blah blah fated to die glory to the army fatalist gunk laid on with a trowel.



Unidrons are a smarter choice, but you can only take four of them in vanilla CA. One of the Onyx sectorial’s greatest advantages is that they get to take as many of these guys as they like and run them as fireteams to bolster their deficiencies, which are numerous. Unidrons aren’t any great shakes overall, apart from a surprisingly high defense against hacking and special ammunition, and a terrible close combat score. I can’t actually think of anything in Infinity that’s less capable of punching stuff - even pack mule drones are fiercer melee combatants than these things. They carry better guns than Vanguards, specifically plasma weapons which do about the same damage but use a template and force a roll against both ARM and BTS, dealing damage for each failure. Plasma guns are rare enough that ALEPH’s army of recreations has a few, which were captured by their owners; CA dumps the things on its army of drones. Being drones, Unidrons can also be boosted by hacking supportware to roll more dice, have bigger numbers, etc.

Unidrons are your basic evil supercomputer’s cyborg army, mass produced and thrown at problems en masse. Notable is that the EI keeps farms of these things all over its territory, and it keeps active contingents around to make sure its subject species don’t get any bright ideas about who’s in charge.



Nexus operatives are the EI’s specialest of the special forces. They’re mostly just adequate from a stats perspective, but they make excellent hackers. You can run them in fireteam with Unidrons in Onyx, which is their preferred environment.

Nexus operatives are members of the Urkherits, one of the Ur subspecies (those guys who built the EI originally). They’re kept in a pastoral environment, tithing their best young men to the silver and black spaceships that appear from the sky every year. After that, they’re given to the rear end in a top hat space vampires for training, which somehow endears them to the EI’s cause. Speaking of!



Above, Umbra Samaritan; below, Umbra Legate in its native environment

I’ve touched on the Umbra in the last update, so I’ll be brief. They’re murderous in melee, they move 6-2 so they’re fast and hard to keep in a fireteam, Legates can forward deploy and Samaritans can heal by dealing damage. They’re quite pricey and they cost a shocking amount to be your LT choice in vanilla, which is a little surprising.

Umbra are rear end in a top hat space vampires and are irredeemable shitheels. The EI resurrected them from a justifiable genocide because they’re good at murdering, which the game openly passes judgement on. The word “Legate” is pronounced “leg-ett,” and rhymes with “peg-set,” which is apparently intensely difficult for the players of this game to understand. The Samaritan fluff is actually kinda funny, because it’s presented as an unnamed character calling what’s effectively combat tech support and ignoring the security consultant’s instructions, just like in real IT work.



Fraacta are the Sygmaa unit you’ll actually use. They have the Tohaa gimmick of changing their stat line when they get wounded, but instead of getting crappier, they get slower but harder to kill. They’re not great at jumping into fights, and they’re not going to out-stat much, but I do like their greebly models.

Fraacta are all ladies, and their thing is a practiced lack of care about much of anything. Curiously, concept art exists for male Fraacta. It’s unclear when the decisions were made, but I’m willing to be it involves one of the company decision-makers having a thing for women in black armor.



CA’s other major classification of drop trooper is much weirder. Instead of a functional combat unit, the Cadmus drops in as a seed-embryo. You place your marker on the table. If an enemy trooper wanders into its zone of control, two things happen. One, it explodes like a mine. Two, it triggers the Morph-scan ability, which lets the Cadmus take the MOV, CC, BS, and PH attributes of the trooper that triggered it. This ability used to be combined with the vampire trait the Umbra get, but they sectioned it off for the current edition of the game. It’s possible this entire thing will be reworked in the upcoming rules book.

Cadmus troopers are named for the Theban king who sewed dragon teeth to grow an army. The idea is that these guys are spread like spores over a battlefield, just to make people’s lives a little worse whenever possible.



These two Noctifers come in a blister pack, as part of CB’s efforts to consolidate their SKUs. See that guy with the machine gun crouching on his rock like Batman? Put him back in the blister, and throw it away. Noctifers exist entirely to pop out of hidden deployment with their TO camo and blow stuff away with a rocket launcher. They’re decent at this, but their primary benefit is that they’re cheap. Two of these missileers are still cheaper than one equivalent Swiss Guard, if admittedly a lot squishier. Who cares? Put ‘em in cover up on a building and blast away. There’s another version of these with regular camouflage and no heavy weapons, called the Asawang. You’d never take them outside the Shasvastii sectorial.



Good morning! How are you? This is the Med-tech Obsidon Medchanoid. Reread that name a few times, because you glazed over how dumb it is the first go ‘round. Nobody cares that you’ll never pronounce it correctly, however, because this guy is universally called Dr. Worm. This is CA’s only option for doctors, and one of two options for engineers. CA hits things and breaks them, it doesn’t fix them. Dr. Worm’s pretty good at what it does, however, with good foot speed and a high WIP value. Getting ARO’d to death by Dr. Worm’s peashooter is a rite of passage for anyone who plays against Combined Army.

The EI decided that keeping medical staff for its vast panoply of subject species was too much of a pain, so it created Dr. Worm to handle all that garbage while it continues loving off in search of the Answer. Each Obsidon Medchanoid carries a wildly dangerous nanoforge on its back, to generate whatever tool it may need on the fly.





T-B: Rodoks, Rasyat, Yaogat, special character Kornak Gazarot

The majority of Morats are medium infantry, and they’re a little better than Vanguard. Very little.

Having learned to wear a helmet somewhere along the line, Rodoks are Vanguards but better. They can actually shoot things, for starters, and have substantially better defenses by virtue of having defenses in the first place. Most uniquely, they get the Super Jump rule, so they can vault their basic MOV value without needing to make checks. They can also use this to jump straight up to get line of sight on somebody hidden behind cover or otherwise inaccessible. Jumpin’ space monkeys. Yep.
Rasyats are the Morat diplomatic corps, and as such they’re jet-propelled melee monsters. They recently picked up that new sculpt, which they desperately needed.



Yaogats are like Rodoks, but less mobile and much worse at melee. They do all come with MSV 2, however.These exist so you’ve got something to shoot through smoke on occasion. The fluff paints them as search and destroy operatives, which they’re wildly ill-equipped to be. Take the sniper rifle version and stop wasting calories thinking about these guys.

Raktoraks are the non-commissioned officers of the Morat Aggression Force. Again, Rodoks but this time generic specialists. They get the ability to move through Jungle Terrain without penalty, I guess. Kornak is a character version, and much more worth your time. He’s a little pricey, but if you take him as your LT you get Strategos level 1, he’s durable and very punchy. A no-brainer Lt for Morats, since he can run off and get killed with no repercussions, but less so for the rest of Combined Army.



Like the Yaogats, the Maakrep are a delivery system for MSV 2. They drop the Tohaa dual-profile schtick for Auto-medikit, which like the regular version, but you don’t need a paramedic around. Just spend your order and probably kill your dude instead of making him stand up. Maakrep are the Sygmaa counter-intel staff, hunting down rebels against the EI. I think the Sygmaa horns look pretty cool, if nothing else.



By contrast, having Auto-medikit on the Sogarat works great, since they’re way more likely to survive the treatment at a hefty Physique 15. Sogarats aren’t great shots by the standards of heavy infantry, but they do have access to very damaging weapons and they’re drat hard to put down in the first place. If you absolutely need to hold onto a piece of territory, you could do wildly worse than Sogarats. Sogarats have won the most duels to the death to determine who gets to lead the Morats.



If Vanguard Infantry are Rodoks but less, Suryats are Rodoks but more. They don’t jump, though. Apparently the Morats practice Starship Troopers citizenship rules, and Suryats are the Morats who’ve completed their term to become full citizens. How this squares with honorable dueling to the honorable death being the only described Morat decision-making process is left as an exercise for the reader.


Zerats are another all-female organization. They’re the Morat equivalent of camo infiltrating specialists, which they’re okay at, but they cost too much for the useful ones. So, they’re very Morat in that regard. Minor subtlety is apparently considered women’s work by the Morats, but they try to cover their bases by saying nobody respects Zerats any less than other Morat soldiers. :spain:



Oznats (center) lead the packs of Gakis and [/i]Pretas.[/i] These work a lot like Kuang Shi and their Celestial Guard controller, in that you have to take one to take the warband unit. Same deal as the Kuang Shi. Oznats have to fight and kill the leader of their Hungry pack before the others accept their leadership. The Alien Queen is dead, long live the Alien Queen.

Weird sexual dimorphism, huh? Well,




Presumably you’re literate.

Yeah, all those are the same species, and they’re the same species as the Noctifers and Cadmus.

Yep.

Shrouded and Malignos are camouflage infiltrators, with comparable abilities and loadouts. Malignos are a little higher-tech and costlier, since they have TO camo. You’d only ever take the Shrouded if you’re short on points. Speculos are the Fidays of the Combined Army, and perform similarly, but they get the super alien version of Impersonation where they can pretend to be Tohaa or humans.

Shrouded are rangers, Malignos are rogues. That’s a little more literal than I’d like. Speculos are why the Human Sphere is afraid of the Combined Army - they’re body-snatching pod people. Theoretically anyone could be one of them, and they could theoretically be anywhere in the sphere. The effect is somewhat spoiled by being green Star Trek babes.

CA’s got real great drones.



Old-style letter drones, new style

Their general drones are some of the best in the game, and one of the few I can say I’d prefer to Nomad remotes. There’s not a whole lot to say about them at this point in the write-up, other than they’re quite good in both rules and sculpts.


Center, Ikadron. Rear, Immetrons.

The humble baggage bot gets a total rework for Combined Army as the Ikadron. For nine points, you get a repeater, a laser dazzler to ARO with, two light flamethrowers, and Baggage for refueling your weapons and counting victory points. I believe this is the only Silhouette 2 (that’s regular person-sized) with baggage. Ikadrons are the biomechanical version of Ur dogs, companions and pets with just enough intelligence to be useful workers. Ikadrons are great.

Imetrons are even better. These aren’t quite units and they aren’t quite equipment markers. They’re deployed on the table via a low-skill combat jump, so there is some risk that they’ll scatter off or land somewhere unsafe. They don’t do anything once they’re there, except provide a full, regular order for four points. Plop one of these babies down and fuel your army. You’d be a sucker not to take as many as you can cram into your list.



Xeodrons and an Overdron with tinbots

CA TAGs are pretty good in general. Xeodrons and Overdrons are grown-up Unidrons, much to your surprise. They come in Bigger and Biggest. Background material’s just like Unidrons.



The Raicho just got a new sculpt recently. It’s up there with the capabilities and price of the higher-end PanO TAGs, which makes it hard to find a place for in a CA list - everything else is so expensive. Its most distinguishing feature is its mine-thrower. Normally, you have to place a mine at your feet, or lay it within your zone of control at deployment if you have the Minelayer ability. This guy doesn’t care about that, and he can chuck mines across the field with abandon. It’s great for area denial. It’s gonna cost, though.

Raichos were named by JSA troops, after the mythical firebird. That’s technically a fluffy detail.



While it’s desperately in need of an updated model, the Sphinx is pretty rad. It’s a TO Camo TAG. Now in practical terms, just like the Cutter, there’s a limited number of options for a TAG-sized TO camo marker in Combined Army; if you put one down on the table, your opponent will know what it is. This is fine, because you can still hidden deploy and your opponent’s still got to discover you as you come screaming in at a blistering 6-6 MOV with Climbing Plus. The Sphinx is built for close-in work, with a light machinegun and two heavy flamethrowers, but not too close, because its CC value is merely good, not overwhelming. You really don’t want to sink a third of your entire points budget into something to have it get punched to death by a line trooper.

Fluff-wise, Sphinxes are sneaky, real sneaky, do you get it? The description also lists it as totally silent when it moves, which I think is pretty neat.

Those of you playing the home game have probably noticed some pronounced omissions from this list. In general, these are all great profiles with at least decent fluff. They’re all tied together by the Ghost: Mnemonica special rule.

The Ghost skill is a really huge thing, and I mean that in a physical sense - there’s a lot of text shoved under this one roof. Ghost includes things like the rules for remotes, helper bots and auxbots, as well as some weirder stuff. Mnemonica is weirder, and why you care less about Morats ignoring Loss of Lieutenant in a regular CA list.

Mnemonica represents the EI splintering off a piece of itself and having it run your army. Because the EI may be stupid, but it’s also cowardly, and it’s taken steps to preserve itself and its knowledge in the event of a physical interruption of service. Your LT may or may not be a Mnemonica profile, but it’s probably not a bad idea.

When a Mnemonica model is knocked out or killed, or otherwise put into the Null state, it can dump its WIP value, and LT status if applicable, into any other model with a Cube in your army. This will kill your original model if it’s just unconscious. This happens automatically at the end of the order that put your trooper into the Null state. So, if your Mnemnonica LT is blown the hell up, the EI fragment pops through the CA wifi network and overwrites the personality of its next host, and it can keep doing this as long as you have active models with Cubes. All this happens instantly, with no time to enter Loss of Lieutenant or order expenditure on your part.

This is a big deal.

Not only will you effectively never lose your lieutenant, but Mnemonica units tend to be pretty badass in general. It’s certainly helped by their equipment, which includes the Sepsitor. Named for the Greek word for “corruption,” Sepsitors are the reason Ariadna is valuable in the fight against the EI.

Sepsitors come in normal and limited-ammo variants. They use the same teardrop-shaped template as heavy flamethrowers and big shotguns and whatnot. Place your template, and any trooper caught in it with a Cube has to make a BTS roll. If they fail, they’re immediately brought to dead… for their original owner. The Combined Army player then takes control of the model, and are free to do with it as they like. It won’t generate orders for the CA player, but it’s generally a bad idea to have your big hitter turn against you.



The Skiavoros are interesting just for what they are, which is a medium infantry unit that gets Strategos level 2, high stat values, and costs as much as a Swiss Guard or a Hac Tao. Definitely a unique combination of features. Mnemonica troops are, somewhat reasonably, very expensive. I personally wouldn’t take a Skiavoros unless I just had to based on points, since their antecedents are much better for proportionally less cost.

Long, long ago, while the EI was still a gleam in the Ur’s eye-equivalents, another species created its masterpiece. To truly spread among the stars, it would be necessary to radically change their biology, to make a new kind of life suitable for habitation anywhere. These new forms would be durable, hale, smart, and capable of adapting to life drat near anywhere. The original meat-people were able to sleeve into these new biomechanical forms, and readied themselves for life on a slow boat colony ship.

The rest of the species to be left behind had a “what has science wrought” moment, and looked at all these ubermenchen, sleeping away in their cryobeds ever so trustingly, and decided they were enough of a threat to the originals’ existence that they were all better off cast away. The colony ship was launched in no particular direction, so as to assuage the guilty consciences of the originals.

Milennia later, the EI stumbled over the ship, adrift and on the verge of failing. It flushed what little was left of the original colonsits’ mind-states, and set about adapting these great new bodies for its own incarnations. The Skiavoros are the original models with some tweaks here and there.




T-B: New Charontid, old Charontid, Anathematic

Let’s take the Skiavoros, but this time we’ll paint a wizard on the side and put in some leather seats. The Charontid is less able in close combat, but better at shooting in this shooting game, as well as beefier overall. It’s got a better weapon loadout, comes with MSV3 (that’s the one that lets you auto-pass your rolls to detect camo troops), and it’s generally a more efficient use of your points.

The Anathematic is quite literally an upgraded Charontid, with TO camo and a monofilament CCW.

Unlike the *drons, the Skiavoros family is described as something living and breathing, only these guys can breathe poison, march for a week without rest, and shrug off cannon fire. Charontids are deployed when the EI has a grudge against you, and wants to track you across the galaxy. Anathematics come out when it feels less like the Terminator and more like the Predator. These guys are both heavy infantry, not TAGs. They used to look relatively similar, to keep with their theming. While I like the Charontid model in the abstract, it’s nowhere near as weird and alien as the Anathematic.

This whole unit writeup is just setup for the following payoff.




If you have somehow pissed off the malevolent galaxy-spanning artificial intelligence that it wants to pay you a personal visit, you get the Avatar, possibly the single biggest and baddest unit in the game.



The Avatar is such a presence that it requires special list building. If you take one, it must be your LT - who the gently caress are you to tell the EI who’s boss? Furthermore, it’s so incredibly expensive that it eats almost half your total points allowance, and a little over half of your SWC. Therefore, an Avatar list will consist of 1) the Avatar, 2) Dr. Worm, and 3) as many cheap specialists and order generators as you can fit, which won’t be very many, all preferably with Cubes in case the Avatar dies.


And it can be killed. It’s just very difficult, because it can either murder you or shrug off most conventional attacks. The traditional way of dealing with a nasty violence TAG, hacking, won’t work very well because it’s immune to the Possession state - no hijacking the EI’s body on this mortal plane. Again, you might get some lucky crits on it, but then you’ve transferred a WIP 17 LT into potentially something almost as vicious, or something that can go out and accomplish objectives and practically never fail.

There are two ways to deal with the Avatar that I’ve found particularly efficacious. One, status it down. This is harder than it looks, because inflicting Isolated or Immobilized is tough against such a burly target. Still, it’s easier than killing the thing outright.

Two, and the vastly preferable option, is to go behind its back and murder the rest of their army. If the Avatar is out of Orders to spend, it can’t kill you unless you trip over it. Ideally your opponent took a lot of fragile, inept assholes to power their death machine, and you brought something that can walk into their back line to do some violence.

It’s the embodiment of an evil god-computer. Of other note in the fluff, it seems to suggest the EI really enjoys taking its Avatars out for a spin every now and then, even if it’s not really necessary.

I’d say the Szalamandra and the new Avatar are neck and neck for the best-looking TAGs in the game. I admit Avatar Classic has its charms, however - it looks way more like the weird incarnation of an alien death-machine.

You will be shocked to learn that the Combined Army does not have an ALEPH recreation available to it. In fact, all ALEPH recreations are designed to self-terminate should they be captured by EI forces, to prevent it from getting its alien hooks into our own evil AI. They do have some human friends, however.



Kerrigan Ko Dali is, depending on your perspective, either Corvus Belli’s first step into a “living” fluff set, or the beginning of their ride to screw Yu Jing players. As I’m of the opinion that YJ deserves everything bad that happens to them, I side with the former.

Ko Dali used to be a Yu Jing Tiger Soldier, their elite jump troop cadre. She blew up that career by using company time and money to avenge her father’s death, so instead she became a wetwork operative for State Empire military intelligence. Eventually it was time for another career change when she got Sepsitorized. Ko Dali was deleted from the YJ lists and added to Combined Army, and man, nerds hate change. One merely okay special character getting transferred caused much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Later, as mentioned all the Japanese units would be stripped out of Yu Jing and put in their own army, which frankly seems like a bigger deal to me. NewKo is okay, and is technically capable of accomplishing some objectives by herself. She’s got MSV2, but only a basic combi rifle to work with. I’d have to be real motivated to include her in a list of my own devising.

She’s literally Kerrigan, only Chinese. The original fluff for her YJ profile is uncomfortably horny and Orientalist. Good work, CB, great job.



Bit and Kiss; that’s Bit in the dress and Kiss in the cold metallic carapace. In an attempt to do Ko Dali again, but right, CB launched a major campaign initiative featuring the ALIVE crew. A new band of irregular hackers was released (in rules form only, you’ll see why shortly) and made available to every army, even Tohaa and CA. Picture the cast of Hackers, basically. ALIVE was dedicated to revealing the truth about the EI invasion, skirting ALEPH’s censorship, and real big on non-violence, which feels like it’d be mutually exclusive with their other goals. Still, the fluff paints them as idealistic dopes, so I guess it works.

Long story short, they got their hands on and promptly leaked a whole bunch of classified military intelligence, with some aftershocks percolating through the Sphere. Mostly what they did was piss off PanO intelligence enough to earn a dedicated hit squad.

As part of the metagame that summer, you could submit battle reports and participate in tournaments to influence the outcome of the ALIVE event. The winning faction would get some permutation of the crew as a permanent member of their faction. CA won.

What Bit thinks she saw was the Combined Army forces staging a rescue for her and her friends after they got nabbed by the PanO goons. The rest of the ALIVE gang were killed in the ambush/rescue/whatever it is, and she woke up much later in a CA field hospital. Now she’s willingly (“willingly?”) joined the Combined Army, and is one of their ace hackers. Her little buddy Kiss has a new chassis full of cool new toys, Bit herself is back in the game, still trying to rouse some rabble and change the world.

Bit’s not great at putting holes in things, but when she’s got a great killer hacking device and she can crap out repeater coverage like crazy, who cares? She’s a must-take in Onyx lists, and a fine choice in vanilla CA. I think I’d like her more in a Ko Dali-less world, but Bit is definitely the preferred option of the two.

Next: the other insane AI

grassy gnoll fucked around with this message at 00:39 on Nov 2, 2018

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


I am excited for ALEPH times.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


By the way while I was hunting down my copies of the module series for Trinity (which I successfully found) I found a bunch of other Aberrant and Trinity books I half forgot I even had. I've you've ever heard Anna Devries is a huge cheater but not known why, well, I've got the book for that!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


I also really appreciate that the EI will occasionally be so petty that it puts itself in a position where a character can punch it in its smug face and really piss it off.

The EI rules.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



I love the El's muscle robot designs, and also Bit has a cool look. Really I like a lot of the CA aesthetics except for the weird Sexy Lady Xenomorphs.

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


Mors Rattus posted:

I love the El's muscle robot designs, and also Bit has a cool look. Really I like a lot of the CA aesthetics except for the weird Sexy Lady Xenomorphs.

El's just a big fan of oglaf is all.

Ronwayne
Nov 20, 2007

That warm and fuzzy feeling.


Given the themes presented so far, I would've been disappointed if bug lady boobs weren't present.

MonsterEnvy
Feb 4, 2012


Volo's Guide to Monsters: Beholder's Bad Dreams Come True Part 3 AKA Tactics, Traits and Lairs

Previous Entry



Beholder Battle Tactics
Beholder tactics are said to very depending on the combat, as they take stuff like the enemies armor, weapons and tactics into account. However they all tend to go for certain strategies

Stay out of Range and Sight
A Beholder's natural hovering flight means they can make parts of their lair largely inaccessible to anyone but them. This makes it hard for minions to take over the lair, and means intruders have to deal with steep vertical climbs. The hovering also means they can't activate any floor based traps. Making it likely to cover it's lair in traps it is in no danger of setting off, but others are.
Unless concealed by fog or magic, a beholder can shoot rays from the dark at any creature within the radius of it's darkvision. So a dark room with a 120 ft high ceiling allows it to freely attack any target in the room while they will be forced to use light at a distance to return fire with any accuracy. Those who don't need light usually have only 60 ft of darkvision, so beholder will see them before they see it.

Volo posted:

A beholder always has several backup plans ready. When dealing with one, I have three plans of my own: run, hide, and distract. Rival adventurers are always a good distraction. Rival beholders are the best one.

Elminster posted:

Best of all, if ye can learn what schemes a beholder holds dearest, threaten those schemes. Its lured attention will at least make it momentarily predictable. And, I fear, suspicious of thee. Ye could choose an easier career than adventuring.

Use Antimagic Freely
A beholder's central eye projects a cone of antimagic. It can't use it's eye rays on any creature inside the cone, but it is a useful combat tool none the less. Crippling Spellcasters, revealing magically hidden enemies, sending those flying magically plummeting. The cone is wide enough that the beholder can normally keep any target it wants locked inside the cone while it focuses on killing those outside it.
Because the cone turns off any magical effects, it can also be used to reveal if minions have been magically compelled to act against it. The cone can also be used in lair building. A beholder might use permanent magical effects or magical hazards to keep it's lair safe. Effects only it can easily bypass due to it's antimagic.

Use Eye Rays to Best Effect
A Beholder can fire off three eye rays in a single turn, and might focus them all on a single target or spread them out. If a target intended to take them all succumbs to one of the eye rays, it can always use the remaining rays on different targets then planned. As it can freely decide where they go.

Use Legendary Actions
A Beholder is a Legendary creature with access to legendary actions. Allowing it to act between other creatures turns. In the Beholder's case it's legendary actions double the number of eye rays it can fire off in a round. Being able to shoot them between other creatures turns. This allows it to press it's advantage or react to changes in the battle. For example, "it might use its sleep ray as a legendary action against an enemy that has just been awakened."

Use Traps and Minions
Beholders like traps and they like spending minions. It will likely place minions in key ambush spots along with many traps. Every beholder has minions and all are of the opinion they can always get more, so they don't hesitate to send them into the fray.

Outside Combat
In battles a beholder's use of eye rays are random, decided by die roll. This is stated to be an abstraction meant to make sure the PC's don't have any idea what eye ray is coming next. But also to make sure it does not use the most dangerous eye rays at every opportunity. This also makes the monster easier to run.
Out of combat a beholder can use whatever eye rays it wants, whenever it pleases. They are mostly used as tools.

Antimagic Cone
Alongside the uses mentioned earlier, the beholder can always turn the cone off by closing it's central eye.

Negative Energy Cone
Instead of an Antimagic Cone Death Tyrants use this. It prevents creatures from healing and animates dead or dying creatures as zombies under it's control. As there is no limit to the number of zombies it can animate and control. A death tyrant will normally fill their lairs with so much undead there is hardly any room to walk.

Charm Ray
The charm ray can used to lure hostile monsters to it's lair, were it can confine it there to be used as a guard. This allows it to fill it's lair with a zoo of dangerous monsters it would not normally be able to control.
The chram ray only lasts an hour. But repeated uses on the same creature slowly wear down their will, which helps with creating a docile servant.

Paralyzing Ray
Outside of a battle it's normal use is just to capture fleeing minions it does not want to outright kill.

Fear Ray
Normally used to torture and interrogate prisoners.

Slowing Ray
A ray normally used as a threat or demonstration. Normally with a more dangerous ray to follow if they don't submit.

Death Ray and Enervation Ray
It can fine tune them to deal only slight zap to small targets to quickly kill them. Used to clear a lair of any vermin. (As they could be used as spies.)

Telekinetic Ray
This ray serves as the Beholder's arms and hands. And is also useful for building traps, transporting minions and objects to their proper places. And capturing creatures it wants to use as guards that are immune to charm.

Sleep Ray
Used to disable the leaders of groups that it wants to parlay with, but at the same time wants the leader to be alive to lead the group on it's behalf. It's also good for pacifying captives it is planning on conditioning with the charm and fear rays.

Petrification Ray
Mainly used for decorative purposes. It can be used to create a living reminder of disobeying the beholder. It can also use petrified creatures as obstacles in rooms or as falling hazards instead of other heavy objects.

Disintegration Ray
This ray is the beholder's primary excavation tool, as it can be used to create up to 10 foot cubes out of nearly any material. It can also fine tune the ray, allowing it to chisel, drill, carve, amputate creatures or brand things. This ray and the telekinetic ray are what allow a beholder to shape a lair to it's exact need.

Variant Abilities
When a Beholder's dream imagination runs wild, the offspring may have different abilities then the standard ones held by most beholders. Normally one or two different eye rays and or a different central eye cone effect.
We are presented with a list of variant effects for each eye that could be used instead.

For a few examples. Our Beholder has had it's Enervation Ray replaced with a Create Undead Ray, and it's Petrifaction Ray replaced with a Otto's Irresistible Dance Ray.

Elminster posted:

Beholders rule territories and try to manipulate the wider world from them. For adventurers, the trick is learning where a given beholder believes its territory’s boundaries are.

Volo posted:

It’s easy. You just have to think like a beholder. According to Elminster, they all think of themselves as the center of the world. Well, I know I am.

Beholder Lairs
The Lair of a beholder normally consists of isolated chambers accessible only from one or two other areas. Allowing the beholder to control were all creatures entering must go to reach it.
They usually make lairs in areas of natural caves using the disintegration to shape everything out as desired. Entryways and passages are usually made too small for anything larger then itself. Any natural openings are constricted or collapsed. No matter how it's configured, Beholder's take advantage of their flight. Chambers are connected by steep vertical tunnels barely large enough for the Beholder's body.
Minions normally have their own living space. With slopes or stairs connecting them to some chambers, so the Beholder can move them around easier as they normally lack flight.
We are then given some example rooms in a Beholder lair.

Central Gallery
The Beholder's main living area that it fills with things it likes to look at. Such as art, statues, and victory spoils. It is normally guarded by minions, and has an uneven floor that is difficult for intruders to navigate.

Escape Tunnels
Tunnels blocked on both ends by large boulders. To prevent other creatures from accessing them and using any entrance other then the main one. The beholder can simply disinterested the boulders to move through. Like other tunnels they are ether steep or nearly vertical, to prevent non flying creatures from following. And bends are built into the tunnel every 50 feet or so to prevent attackers shooting the fleeing beholder. They also commonly have falling traps or weak ceilings supported by single pillars that the beholder can disintegrate after passing through.

Eyes in the Sky
A secret tunnel system in the lair that run above each of the main chambers of the lair. Witha fist sized hole peeking into the room. Enough for a Beholder to spy into it or fire off an eye ray, while providing cover if they shoot back. (Note this is not included in the accompanying map, but it is assumed to be there.)

Minion Chambers
Rooms for the minions.

Prison
A beholder will normally create a space for holding prisoners. The most common type being a 20 ft hole disintegrated into the ground maybe with a grate. A prisoner is stripped of possessions tossed into the hole and guarded by minions at all times.

Sanctum
The Beholder's private room normally at the lair's highest elevation with only a steep vertical climb connecting it to the rest of the lair. It's were the Beholder sleeps and plots. The beholders favorite things are normally kept here as well.

Vestibule
The entrance and vestibule are normally kept natural rather then being sculpted by eye rays. As it may misled intruders excepting a artificially created place. Shrieker Mushrooms are normally kept in the vestibule chamber to serve as an early warning system.

Traps
Rooms and tunnels with no other purpose are normally filled with traps. Pit Traps, Door Traps, Ceiling Traps. Obstacle Courses, and a favorite Gas Spores. Gas Spores are placed in a sealed off or constricted area to prevent them from drifting into inhabited areas. And are normally kept hidden from view so that intruders walk into them unprepared.

Trophy Gallery
Beholders that have many mementos may create a chamber just for them. Because Beholders tend to no like minions handling or stealing their things, the more valuable items are normally kept high and out of reach of any ground bound creature.

Leaving the Lair
Beholder's try and make their lairs as comfortable as possible. So they leave rarely. The typical beholder is normally only goes out of the way to secure the area within a mile of it's lair. But may go beyond that to confront or forestall threats, capture new minions, or go after an enticing trophy.
When they go on the attack, the beholder brings all of it's minions and plans every detail of the attack. If going after a village, scout for 1 or 2 days, before going on the attack luring defenders with it's minions and targeting leaders and potential threats when it attacks. The raid normally lasts less then an hour, after which the Beholder and it's forces withdraw. If the villagers don't flee the beholder and it's minions return night after night. Each time eliminating key defending and trying to break morale. When it is broken, the beholder's forces capture anyone or anything worth keeping and raze the settlement.

We then get an example Beholder Lair.



Treasure
Beholder's scrutinize and break all treasure in the lair into five groups.

Tools
Anything the Beholder can use as personal gear. They can't use most humanoid type gear, but rings can go on eye stalks, and cloaks can go on it's back. Beholder's can also use wands, using the telekinesis ray as their hand.

Gift
Something the Beholder can't use, but a minion can. Sometimes used as a reward. Beholders like to rule through fear, but can sometimes see the merit in rewarding positive behavior.

Hazard
Something that can be used to defend the lair in some way. Beholders like repurposing dangerous or cursed items as traps. Particularly if it's an ongoing effect that it can turn off as needed with it's antimagic.

Trophy
Something the Beholder likes as evidence of it's power, that calls upon fond memories, or it just find pleasing to look at. A Dragon Skull or Preserved Beholder corpse are given as examples, along with art objects that the beholder just finds pleasing for unknown reasons. They normally have memorized all of their trophy's and can tell when they are out of place.

Clutter
Stuff that has value, but is not useful to the Beholder or Minions. Currency, gems jewelry and magic items no one can use are considered part of this category. They are normally kept in a chunk of the lair, before being disposed off, ether by dividing it out among the minions, or by disintegration.

The Personalty of a Beholder can change how it views treasure, one Beholder might view a Magic Battle Axe as trophy, while another views it as a gift for a powerful minion. New minions may also change the role of treasure, a staff that was considered clutter can becoming a gift when the Beholder obtains a spell casting minion.

Minions and Pets
Beholders as you have guessed by now, enjoy having minions and pets. Normally after brutally subjecting them and making them realize the beholder can freely kill them and it's best for them to do whatever it wants. They are largely responsible for any tasks a beholder considers beneath it.
Some minions even worship the beholder as a kind of deity.

We are given tables for randomly generating minions for our Beholder. Divided into three types.

Lesser Minions
Consisting of the grunts, responsible for hunting, cleaning, scouting and guarding the lair.

Greater Minions
The elites normally stationed in ambush positions in the lair and or serving as the last line of defense for the inner sanctum.

Pets
Creatures the Beholder enjoys the company of, normally because of their combat ability, entertainment value, or trophy status.

For our Beholder

We roll a (1d100) 41 on the lesser minions table. Granting us (10d10 + 50) 98 kobolds, (2d4) 4 kobold inventors, and (2d6) 9 kobold scale sorcerers as lesser minions.
We roll a (1d100) 65 on the greater minions table. Granting us (2d4) 6 Trolls as greater minions.
We roll a (1d100) 55 on the pets table. Granting us (2d4) 6 Ropers as pets.

The Xanathar Guild
Is a criminal organization controlled by a beholder in the Forgotten Realms setting. This is a bunch of info on a setting NPC and his group, explaining how it works and such, and serves as an example of a beholder run organization. It is quite long and I don't feel like repeating all of it's info. As Xanathar is a pretty typical beholder.

Next Time Giants: World Shakers

MonsterEnvy fucked around with this message at 00:52 on Dec 23, 2018

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Dr. Worm fuckin rules.

megane
Jun 20, 2008





He's not a real doctor, but he is a real worm

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




Mors Rattus posted:

Well, I mean, there's the one where Spock summons the Devil in order to get them through an area of space faster (and at all).

The same Satan that Kirk befriended?

TAS rules.

Anniversary
Sep 12, 2011

I AM A SHIT-FESTIVAL
:goatsecx:


Kai Tave posted:

Dr. Worm fuckin rules.

megane posted:

He's not a real doctor, but he is a real worm

He's interested in things.
I am interested in Dr. Worm.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Ghost Leviathan posted:

The same Satan that Kirk befriended?

TAS rules.

It always amused me that the one actually benevolent and chill super-powered alien god figure the Enterprise encountered was literally Satan. Other gods? All assholes, but Satan has your back and is worried for you.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


unseenlibrarian posted:

It always amused me that the one actually benevolent and chill super-powered alien god figure the Enterprise encountered was literally Satan. Other gods? All assholes, but Satan has your back and is worried for you.

What happened with Satan, exactly? Also, hey, Satan's allowed to be a chill guy when he's not trying a case.

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



grassy gnoll posted:

Speaking of absorbing the cultural and techonological distinctiveness of others, it's


Combined Army parade


Some notes: Unidron Batroids are also Dogged, which means that if you knock them out, they can stay functioning until they drop dead at the end of the turn, and you need to re-kill them. On a fairly cheap combat platform, this is a massive pain in the rear end because it means that you need to spend a lot more orders kicking them in the face.

The EI's signature weapons are plasma weapons, which are really nasty because they have two chances to wound every time they hit. They're particularly nasty against Ariadnans because the first chance to wound is saved by armor, the second is saved by BTS, and Ariadnan units pretty much universally have BTS 0, which means that EI gunners can basically vaporize heavily armored Ariadnans pretty often, as Ariadnans also have a distinct dearth of multi-wound units.

The Overdron Batroid, the big swole guy, is notable for how he's actually big and fat and slow. Most infantry move 4-4, medium infantry typically move 4-2 outside of some exceptions (most of whom are in ALEPH, I believe), most TAGs move 6-4 (the Sphinx moves 6-6), and bikes move 8-6 or 8-4. The Overdron moves 4-4. The Overdron is also amusing because he's got a ludicrously cheap option, the twin heavy rocket launcher option, who costs less than 60 points, which is within the price range of the smallest, weediest TAGs (like the Gecko or Xeodrons).

Finally, you forgot one unit (well, character), Cadmus-Naish Sheskiin. Who sort of doubles as a preview of the other overbearing AI.



Yes, another green alien space babe. Sigh.

Cadmus-Naish Sheskiin is a Cadmus agent who managed to win the holy grail of Morpho-Scan targeting and Morpho-Scan Achilles, who has the absolute highest overall statline of basically any soldier in the game. This means she runs as fast as a TAG, is swole enough that she can kill a giant robot with a sword, can gunfight with the best Panoceania has to offer (and remember that Panoceania is the 'shoots good' faction), and can outfight all but a small handful of units in close combat. She also has a nanoscreen (something Achilles doesn't have) to make up for her weaker defenses by basically allowing her to carry portable cover with her in all situations, and carries demolitions charges for some reason.

Thankfully she doesn't inherit his high armor and ability to eat multiple wounds and is actually kind of fragile for her ludicrously high cost. She costs 50 points, which is a lot for someone so fragile. Although she keeps her ability to be a vampire and suck health out of enemy soldiers, that can be pretty risky to use. Amusingly, she can join fireteams, although that means that some jerk with flamethrower or shotgun can annihilate a hundred points of dudes in one fell swoop if she ends up in a bad position.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Night10194 posted:

What happened with Satan, exactly? Also, hey, Satan's allowed to be a chill guy when he's not trying a case.

So basically, the enterprise is investigating the center of the galaxy for technobabble reasons about finding a "Creation point" where new matter is being expelled into the universe. When they do so they wind up getting sucked into an alternate universe or region of space where magic works and the ship is breaking down when a red-skinned satyr named "Lucien" appears, who fixes up the ship and warns them to be careful because the physical laws are different here.

Naturally, because the enterprise, they start experimenting with magic. Spock first, then Sulu, and then everyone's conjuring poo poo. Lucien shows up, warns them that they're going to get in trouble for messing around with this, but is too late, because suddenly the bridge crew is standing trial in not-Salem under judge Asmodeus. Apparently the local inhabitants had been to earth in the past but got misunderstood and were driven out as witches. They defend themselves because hey, humanity' progressed since the 1690s, and so the locals agree to let them go but want to punish Lucien instead. Kirk being Kirk defends Lucien, even after the judge is like "You realize he's the Devil, right? Literally the Earth's devil." But Kirk is still willing to lay down his life to protect someone who's been nothing but good to them, and this impresses the judges and Lucien goes unpunished and the enterprise is freed, with hints that they might allow earth visitors in the future.

So tl;dr The Enterprise makes friends with the devil and defends him in a reverse witch trial.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



MJ12 posted:

Cadmus-Naish Sheskiin is a Cadmus agent who managed to win the holy grail of Morpho-Scan targeting and Morpho-Scan Achilles, who has the absolute highest overall statline of basically any soldier in the game. This means she runs as fast as a TAG, is swole enough that she can kill a giant robot with a sword, can gunfight with the best Panoceania has to offer (and remember that Panoceania is the 'shoots good' faction), and can outfight all but a small handful of units in close combat

So why doesn't the EI have some more people Scan her?

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




There was also a Star Trek comic where the Enterprise gets attacked with voodoo, and Spock protects them with ancient Vulcan mysticism that is, coincidentally, identical to voodoo. (Or, what the comic thinks voodoo is. A space wizard controls the Enterprise by making a model of it.)

grassy gnoll
Aug 27, 2006

The pawsting business is tough work.

The Lone Badger posted:

So why doesn't the EI have some more people Scan her?

Ah, well, the answer to your question is here, in the Corvus Belli wine cellar.

No, further back. Yes, just a little more.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



have you ever put a copy back into a copy machine?

it's like that but with soldiers instead of paper

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




grassy gnoll posted:

Ah, well, the answer to your question is here, in the Corvus Belli wine cellar.

No, further back. Yes, just a little more.
For the love of God, Corregidor!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Mors Rattus posted:

have you ever put a copy back into a copy machine?

it's like that but with soldiers instead of paper

That would actually still be kind of cool, though. Hyper badass super scan lady and then a unit of the attempts to copy her that came out usable but not as amazing.

The real answer is the EI was too busy with bitcoin to think of it.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



Mors Rattus posted:

have you ever put a copy back into a copy machine?

it's like that but with soldiers instead of paper

Like the Genome Soldiers!

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RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

Night10194 posted:

That would actually still be kind of cool, though. Hyper badass super scan lady and then a unit of the attempts to copy her that came out usable but not as amazing.

The real answer is the EI was too busy with bitcoin to think of it.

I'm pretty sure the EI thinks it's probably cheaper just to sepsitor ALEPH's champions than to make doppleganger lady knockoffs.

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