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Killer Shrike

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  1. August 12, 2003, Mechazone (Camp Pendleton), California...01:34 AM PST "And who is 'we'? Who else is here?", Makeshift asked. "Just the two of us.", Ing replied a bit grimly. "The Violaters?", Pete inquired. *Fracas still lives but he is elsewhere pursuing his own ends. The rest died.* "So pretty much your whole team is dead, then? Kamikaze, Furnace, and Dozer?", Pete pressed. "Ja, sie sind tot. They are 'kaput', as you no doubt would expect me to say. Those three did not survive the first twenty four hours." Despite their villainous ways, Pete was still affected by the news...particularly by the thought of Kamikaze dying. He had basically just been a dumb kid caught up with bad influences. "I'm...sorry for your loss. I know what it's like to lose teammates...Triage died that day too." "Tsk, save your lamentations. They were idiots. Occasionally useful idiots, but idiots all the same.", Ing replied archly. "That's cold, dude", Turbofist said, aggrieved. *The past simply is and this is not the time to dwell upon that which we cannot currently change. We have more important matters to discuss.* "Yeah, no kidding. So what's next then?", Pete asserted, snapping back to business. *We are approaching a nexus of possibilities. That which has been opposing me is silenced, perhaps only temporarily, but I am again able to see some favorable paths forward.* "...Great. So...", Pete replied impatiently. *It takes time to work through the branches of each possible future...which I need to do before we decide on our long term plans. But in the short term in virtually every possible future I see there will be a significant battle here, in this area, before the hour has turned.* "...the 'crazy robot battle' Ing was talking about earlier?", Turbofist inquired. *Yes.* Pete responded, a little bit of anxiety in his voice, "We need to make contact with our people and let them know what's going on." *You should not do that. If you try to, it begins a chain of events that ends with this location discovered and us collectively in a variety of undesirable situations. Instead, be patient, and remain hidden with us here. I will ensure that the future we proceed with is one in which your allies become aware of the approaching enemy by other means.* "One must simply get used to approaching problems in a different way, mein scheißfreund, when one is allied with a seer.", Ing interjected, his trademark smug smirk in evidence. "...we're supposed to just take your word for all that? And what if the other future bending person or thing gets involved again?", Pete replied, unconvinced and frustrated. *At this point, you either trust me or you don't Makeshift. I suspect that you mostly do, because in most of the possible immediate futures I see you choose to take my advice on this. But yes, if my hidden opponent begins meddling with the timeline again in the next hour or so, things will likely get very bad for us all.* "If you can see possible futures, can't you see the possible futures where that happens?", Turbofist asks questioningly. *Not exactly. When both I and my opponent or some other agent are attempting to control emerging events in the same timeframe, the possibilities fork and fork and fork in a proliferation of fracturing probabilities. It is difficult to describe, and even more difficult to detect very far into the future. Currently, as far as I have been able to determine in the last handful of minutes, we seem to have gained a generous window of opportunity to work on the timeline unopposed.* "So we just wait then? For how long?", Pete asked. *That is what I'm recommending you do, yes. Be patient, for at least a half an hour, and allow me to pick the most advantageous path available to us while my enemy is indisposed.* Pete and Turbofist looked at each other; Turbofist shrugged. "Fine. Half an hour, then we revisit the subject. I need to do some repair on my armor. Is there a place I can do that?", Pete addressed the last part to Ing. "Ja. I have a workshop of sorts upstairs." Turbofist let his powers deactivate. "...and while he's doing that can I get something to eat? I'm super hungry." Ing brightened up noticeably; "Ah, yes, the famous appetites of youth on display. Fear not, we have a fine selection of 'Meal Ready to Eat' packages. Perhaps the epitome of what American cuisine has to offer the world; I find the 'Omelette with Ham' to be particularly vile and worthy of appreciation as an offense against man and nature."
  2. This is a 5e supers character that uses a lot of supervehicles as his "superhero" abilities...Mr. Goodspeed Here's another 5e supers character that is a noncorporeal energy being...ERG-9 but has a robotic containment suit that allows him to interact with the physical world and focus his energy into blasts. The thing to keep in mind with vehicular based characters is that it all comes down to their DEF. Too low and they will fall apart, too high and they are nigh-invulnerable. They are also much more complicated than a normal character. Vehicles fall apart as they get damaged, losing abilities. During play this can be a speedbump to resolve. Often it can be less troublesome to just model vehicular / robotic abilities with a more normal character build and apply SFX than to build a character based on vehicle rules, but it depends on the player and the GM and what they want to deal with at the table.
  3. I'm a former Marine. If I stopped swearing when I spoke I'd be reduced to hand gestures and writing things on a chalk board.
  4. I was also reminded a bit of Heat, Baby, and similar heist movies. A lot of work and danger by highly skilled people living on the edge that doesn't end well... A one-shot adventure using this as a template could probably sprawl out into at least a story arc or two as a mini campaign. The movie definitely had an obvious outlet for extension.
  5. Sure. Hit me up. What's the name of the setting?
  6. August 12, 2003, Bakersfield, California...01:36 AM PST. Showdown had returned to the couch, sitting on the arm closest to the Mechanic at his laptop. The Mechanic had returned to wait and watch mode. Mr. Goodspeed's voice crackled over the walkie-talkie Showdown still clutched. ~"We are over Pointman's last known position. No visual on Pointman or fastmovers. Visuals on remains of several bots and signs of a recent battle. FM1 appears to be running a spiral pattern patrol. FM3 is approximately half a klick north by northeast of Pointman's last position and is signaling via beacon for Tango Papa. FM2 and Pointman are not on sensors. Please advise?"~ "Acknowledged. Retrieve FM3, debrief, and update us ASAP. Status of hostiles?", Showdown rattled off into his walkie-talkie. ~"None detected in immediate vicinity. Picking up signs of movement towards Pointman's previous location...closest one fourty plus klicks out. It's going to get crowded down there very soon."~, Goodspeed responded. "...Acknowledged. What sized response?" ~"Difficult to say. Looks like five separate patrols from nearby areas converging. Looking for the broken bots we see down there most likely. Strength of each patrol is unknown at this time."~ "Roger that. Pulse FM1's beacon with coordinates for pick up. Get asset off the ground if possible before hostiles arrival. Put all air assets on board on hot standby for rapid deployment just in case." ~"Will do, and they already are. Over."~ "Out." Showdown glanced at his chronometer, started making some mental calculations. Where were FM2 and Pointman...aka Turbofist and Makeshift? Not knowing their location injected unwanted ambiguity into the situation. Showdown did not like ambiguity. Ambiguity %@!#ed operations. Ambiguity got people killed.
  7. If I were to charitably paraphrase Ninja-Bear, as # of limbs matters for certain Grab based maneuvers a centaur-like creature with 4 legs and 2 arms might circumstantially gain some benefit in situations where an opponent used such a maneuver against them.
  8. That might be stretching the speciation guideline a bit further than intended. Here's a helpful infographic, however, in the scope of primate differentiation.
  9. A poor little amputee monkey. So sad.
  10. Sorry, can't resist...monkeys have tails, apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans, gibbons, and humans) do not. Many parents of small children know this thanks to the immortally annoying lyrics to an obnoxious Veggie Tales song: If it doesn't have a tail it's not a monkey Even if it has a monkey kinda shape If it doesn't have doesn't have a tail it's not a monkey Well maybe we could catch it on the tape If it doesn't have a tail it's not a monkey if it doesn't have a tail it's not a monkey it's an ape
  11. On the contrary, I addressed the question of how to manage the situation of a character with EL and a character without EL on two different Centaurs in the same game by saying "don't allow it to happen in the first place". As Mr. Franklin once said, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".
  12. I would look both of the players in the eye and say...here's the package, both of you can either take it or play something else. If the pkg had EL, then they both have EL. If the pkg did not have EL then neither would have EL.
  13. Well, then let the admins pose the question if one indeed sees fit to do so.
  14. 1) Well, if it were my campaign, I would have a Centaur package deal / template defined the way I want Centaurs to be defined. Also, I get involved with my players when they make their characters, they don't just walk in and sit down with a piece of paper and start playing. So two different players would not walk in with differently defined centaurs, or whatever. 2) Its the player's job to make their character's abilities matter. The rules say "Extra Limbs have no direct effect on combat, but characters can use them to perform maneuvers not possible to ordinary humans", which is entirely circumstantial to events in play. Thus it would come down to circumstances and situations a character might find themselves in where having 4 legs and two arms allows them to do something a normal-limbed person can't do as well or at all. Extra Limbs Inherent costs 6 points; a veritable drop in the well (and if limited manipulation is allowed, the cost comes back down to 5). Figuring out a way to make 5-6 points matter over the course of a campaign should not strain most players. 3) Either Extra Limbs should not be a Power unto itself at all (which I would be ok with) as it is usually just a SFX for other abilities and should therefore be dropped from the rules, or having more than 4 limbs requires a Power. If EL were dropped from the rules, I would not bat an eye...I would even go so far as to say dropping the power from the rules entirely seems sensible to me. However, as they are in the rules and survived other similar constant-body-shape-definition things like being permanently big or small, for the sake of consistency I would lean on the side of actually making characters with more than the typical arrangement of limbs purchase the power.
  15. I would expect them to, but wouldn't lose sleep over it if they did not.
  16. Every episode is completely different; they have no connection to each other and are in different styles. You may find the sound mix clearer on less underground-club based shorts.
  17. Finished the season. I think Lucky 13 was my fave overall, but all in all some really good animated shorts.
  18. August 12, 2003, Mechazone (Camp Pendleton), California...01:32 AM PST "Sybyl.", Makeshift said, halting in his tracks halfway between the door and the command chair. Turbofist smacked into his back, caught looking sideways over the desks and monitors instead of where he was going. Ing kept walking to stand slightly behind Sybyl seated upon the swivel chair, which 'coincidentally' put his right hand and lower right side out of the line of sight of the distracted heroes. Sybyl telepathically communicated not a word, but a sort of voiceless question, a mentalist's equivalent of a quirked eyebrow, *?* "Come on, lady, don't play games with us. What is going on with the timeline? We know you and someone or something else are messing around with it. No more of your spooky fortune cookie nonsense; give it to me straight for once!", Pete irritably responded. He was getting tired and frustrated, and his Chicagoan accent was starting to get more noticeable. There was a pregnant pause, an awkward silence. Turbofist took advantage of it to turn on his powers again, filling the room with a low threatening buzz as his molecules vibrated in place. *As a man of science you should understand why it isn't safe or wise for people to know too much about the future. Causal loops, paradox, the act of observing a thing changes that thing...* Pete cut her off, "Yeah, I get it and I call bullshit. We're past that point. Schrödinger ain't here. Meanwhile we got a total shit show of %#@!ed up probabilities, killer robots everywhere, millions dead. And you're somehow in the middle of it. Spill." *I am not your enemy in this and I'm not to blame for the situation we find ourselves in. As I told you before, this is not how it was supposed to be.* "Then how was it supposed to be? Start with that?", Turbofist suggested...his voice oddly vibrating and echoing. Pete blinked, realizing Turbofist was also 'hearing' Sybyl, and began to think. For any given communication from Sybyl he had no way to tell if she was communicating only to his mind or not. He was more or less used to that at this point. But Pete started to wonder if she were capable of having separate conversations simultaneously or not, mind to mind. That also reminded Pete of another lingering question, so he triggered his suit to close its eyeslits and turned his HUD back on. He was irritated to discover that according to his sensors he was standing in a scrub filled hollow; Turbofist, Sybyl and Ing were not present...and interestingly enough now even he didn't show up on his own sensors. *Our original encounter in San Diego with Mechanon at the Technodyne facility should have been successful, resulting in Mechanon's consciousness being infected by a computer virus designed by Ing. It would then have been destroyed by Gravatar in a later encounter the next month. Mechanon should be no more. But something interfered, manipulating events faster than I could counter. The interference has continued, collapsing probabilities where Mechanon is defeated, and increasing probabilities that it will continue to expand. Since then, it has been all I could do to slow them down. My futuresight is clouded by the constant shifting of possible futures. Even simple workings can become complicated, as whatever is doing this actively works against me.* Pete turned off the HUD again and triggered his suit's eyeslits to reopen. "Well...can't you just...I don't know...do that back to them? Or something?" "Brilliant", Ing said sardonically, shaking his head. *I've been doing 'that back to them' as well as I can. But whatever this opposing threat is, it is more capable than I am. If I try to fight it for direct control, I usually lose. Instead I have to nudge, hide my efforts, act while they are distracted, and pick my battles. I cannot explain it fully as you lack the senses to understand, like a sighted person trying to explain the color purple to jellyfish.* Pete switched gears, "So what is this place then? How did you get here? Why is it invisible to electronic sensors?" "It's a secured information 'fortress' for a military intelligence unit. It had some useful ELINT masking built into it to counter conventional electronic surveillance, is hardened against various forms of attack, and provisioned to be self sufficient for up to a hundred and twenty people for three months. Ironically it was locked down and abandoned when everything was evacuated the first week of the robot related festivities. Sybyl's futuresight guided us here and I...upgraded the technology. As long as we are reasonably careful, we are completely invisible to conventional digital optics and EM based sensors.", Ing said...only slightly smugly. "But not analog? What about maps and satellite imagery...if one of the bots pulled up a map or looked at a picture of this place, they'd 'see' it right?", Pete asked...his mind already trying to work out the how of it all. He also wasn't about to volunteer that the IT group had figured out how to detect chronal energy; Ing would no doubt eventually puzzle out a way to block it once he knew it was possible. "Ja. But you forget, robots 'see' even photographs digitally, as they are encoded for their processors to compute. I reverse engineered a destroyed I-37, and wrote a patch script to mask this location for the visual processing library used by Mechanon's bots, altered its memory banks and log data to remove our encounter with it, repaired it enough to call home, put it on a timed delay, and then dropped its carcass on the other side of this military base. The I-37 phoned home when the timer elapsed and remotely core dumped its data, trojan horsing my hack, which eventually propagated to all of Mechanon's battle bots as part of their routine updates.", Ing explained. 'Such a clever #$%!ing asshole', Pete thought to himself, reluctantly impressed. Despite his villainous ways and their several altercations Pete had always been forced to accord Ing professional respect, engineer to engineer. The man was unquestionably a genius. A very dangerous, villainous, mercenary genius, but a genius all the same. Out loud he said, "Well don't break your arm patting yourself on the back. Could that hack be expanded to do more than just hide this place...or even just blind the bots altogether?" "Ja, of course, the exploit could be reused but the hack itself was surgical, only this location. The bigger the hack, the more likely Mechanon would detect it, purge the hacked data, remove the logic, and close the vulnerability. But in the worst scenario case it could be done." "How long do you think it would take for Mechanon to undo it if we, um, blinded all his bots?", Turbofist asked. "It would not work the way you think. A hack like this takes some time to propagate across the robots' network as part of routine updates. An overt hack like blinding all the robots would probably be detected before the hack was fully propagated. We're dealing with machine intelligences; their reaction time is measured in clock cycles, not minutes or hours. You would not get full propagation, and then a fix patch would be issued and roll out in the same way. So, if you were fighting say ten robots when you uploaded the hack perhaps a few of them would be affected within a few seconds of the upload, and then a few more, and then a fault would be detected, a few more would be affected, automatic updates would be turned off, the hack would be discovered, a countermeasure would be deployed, automatic updates would be reenabled, a few blinded bots would be patched, then a few more, and so on until the hack was removed. It may take slightly longer to close the exploit, but with active monitoring any reattempt would be detected and countered rapidly.", Ing explained...switching into a dispassionate engineering voice devoid of his usual acerbic wit. "But if we were doing like an all out attack on robot Normandy, then maybe?", Turbofist asked. "...Ja. If you were sure it wouldn't turn out to be more of an all out attack on robot Market Garden, you could use the exploit once to affect a percentage of Mechanon's warbots for perhaps a minute.", Ing replied with a bit of a frown. "But would you tell us how to do it?", Pete asked. "For the right price." *Ing...* "...perhaps a case of Pilsner Urquell and we can call it even, ja? I have not had a beer in over six months. But I will not tell you how to do it while we are still hiding here."
  19. Just finished "Suits". Farmers in battlemechs fighting tyranids, I kid you not. Very awesome.
  20. Love Death & Robots popped up on Netflix. Just started watching it...very cool so far. David Fincher (Fight Club, Seven, Panic Room, The Game, etc) is behind it.
  21. Did you post this to share it here only, or did you want me to include it on the linked to page of my website along with the other options discussed?
  22. I've used things like that in the past for certain characters. Off the top of my head, John Wrath (sort of the Nick Fury of my CU continuity, minus the LMD's) has a variable defense MP that isn't designed to make him invulnerable, but rather to allow him to situationally protect himself from unusual forms of attack. It is considered to be a "force field" SFX, which allows it to counter some AVADs and UAA's, and in a pinch it can layer on top of the character's other defenses if necessary. Omni-Belt 10 Multipower, 15-point reserve, (15 Active Points); all slots IIF (Belt; -1/4), 4 Continuing Charges lasting 1 Minute each (-1/4) 1f 1) Anti-Psi Psycho-Pixelating Matrix : Force Field (10 Mental Defense) (Impermeable) (15 Active Points) 0 1f 2) Bio-stablizing Endocryne Therapizer : Force Field (10 Power Defense) (Impermeable) (15 Active Points) 0 1f 3) Auto-polarizing Exo-reflector Field : Force Field (10 Flash Defense: Sight Group) (Impermeable) (15 Active Points) 0 1f 4) Ionization Field : Resistant Protection (1 PD/1 ED) (Impermeable, Protect Carried Items) (13 Active Points) 0 1f 5) Magflux Inversion Field : Resistant Protection (5 PD/5 ED) (Impermeable) (15 Active Points) 0
  23. That's how I usually did it as well when I was building a new FH group.
  24. This is one of the reasons I usually avoid playing in licensed settings, particularly using a simulationist or gamist system.
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