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> Cyberzombie Suggestions, Assistance requested
LurkerOutThere
post Feb 24 2010, 11:35 PM
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Hey guys tommorow my runners are attempting to hijack a plane in mid flight. Their expecting to face a hit squad and hopefully have them by suprise unfortunately there will be a suprise in store for the team themselves as in the carge compartment I'm planing on having a cyberzombie. Anyone have a syggestion on cyberzombie builds? These are seasons runners with someowhere between 40-80 karma under their belts although they are not particularly optimized. As such I want to challenge them but not TPK although one character may get her ticket punched if i can find a suitable moment to do so. (Player has been getting fatigued of playing the face). SO i'm asking for suggestions on design of the cyberzombie would be appreciated. I have no real thoughts on the matter otherthen i'd like to see a dwarf just for the underestimation factor and really only 1 or 2 points in the hole aught to be sufficient (and lets face it, at deltaware you can do a lot with 8 points of essence)
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Daylen
post Feb 24 2010, 11:38 PM
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how will the PCs be armed?
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LurkerOutThere
post Feb 24 2010, 11:43 PM
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Presumably they'll be loaded for bear, assualt rifles, magic weapons, everything except really high explosives as the team normally doesn't much care for those and the whole point of the exercise is to take the plane not take it down.
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Daylen
post Feb 25 2010, 12:16 AM
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then build it so you can deploy smoke, IR blocking/reflective smoke, noise makers to foul up any sonic goggles and do anything else to keep them from being able to shoot easily at the critter. be sure it can hide really well and attack up close. for sensors try to give it something to detect metal with high fidelity so it can search for the players by their firearms. and try to add in any speed you can get. Once the players pull out weapons the critter should blind them and be able to take on and kill quickly one player at a time. If the players are kinda smart and make it difficult be sure the critter can escape to service areas of the plane. This way either the whole group has to go and is then away from the passengers and pilots or the group is divided and can then be attacked in a way favorable to the critter.

or if you dont think your players can handle that and you want the big scarry monster approach just give it 50 body, 10-15 ballistic armor high strength and a mean suckerpunch. then it will die quickly and they can say how great they are for taking it down.
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Acidsaliva
post Feb 25 2010, 05:40 AM
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I'm picturing the runners merely pissing the Cyberzombie off with their bullets. A synthesized scream of rage comes from somewhere within the smoke and flames. A gleaming metal monstrosity punching and chewing through the walls of the airplane in bloodlust . Chasing after the 'runners through a burning, nosediving airplane. "Whats that? Your PCs left their parachutes at home? Shame."

*AcidSaliva cackles manically*

Oh wait. You said you didn't want a TPK. Nevermind.

*AcidSaliva practices his nonchalant whistle*
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Dahrken
post Feb 25 2010, 06:41 AM
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An airplane is a pretty confined space. I suppose it's the commercial jet of your previous topic, it's even smaller than an airliner. It is also relatively fragile.

Picture the situation as a fight in a bus, or maybe even an RV. Assault rifles would be close to useless, you'll bump into seats and the ceiling all the time, you can barely move, you simply cannot hide, and any missed bullet are likely to translate into structural damage to the plane unless they are specialty round - but those will have a harder time taking down a cyberzombie.

The trick here is what kind of tasks is the cyberzombie designed for ? Is he an indoor specialist (close combat, mobility, the ability to take some hits while rushing its target), a tank (heavy armor, strength to handle heavy weaponry - that he won't use in the plane), a ninja (stealth and mobility) ?

The general concept will guide the design and make it more or less suited to the combat you plan. If the cyberzombie is optimised for this kind of situation, the fight can quickly become too hot for the player's team.

A note : a cyberzombie is dual-natured (and can learn Assensing). While this opens him to astrally cast Mana spells, this also allows him to identify and target magical threats and to use his limbs and implanted blades to damage an astral entity, spririt or overconfident astrally projecting mage

Some things that can be useful if you want to make your player's life miserable :
- anything that will improve his resistance to toxins and electricity/shock (no DMSO, Stick-n-Shock means they need to go hand-to-hand or risk bringing the plane down with high-power rounds).
- Taser surface so the players cannot simply rush and heap on the cyberzombie to pin him down for a severe dose of headshots
- boosted soak against Mana spells (Willpower through the roof) so he is harder to take down from the astral
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Kliko
post Feb 25 2010, 10:16 AM
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Or have the players find the still dormant cyberzombie in the cargo hold. Gives a whole different meaning to not waking sleeping dogs. Now, what to do with it is going to be basically yourPC's dilemma? That should give them a vastly more creepy feeling than some combat challenge extraordinaire.
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Professor Evil O...
post Feb 25 2010, 10:24 AM
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Nothing says cyber-zombie like full body cyber-limb replacement. I'm assuming we're talking a combat borg here, not the kind that you would try to hide in a crowd, so to hell with concealed limbs. Add on the max amount of armor for the limbs. Then have the sucker in full body armor on top of that. Add in a few external weapon mounts. Have it wield multiple heavy weapons. Pretty much just assume it has maxed out augmented physical stats, with maxed IPs. Cyber-zombies should be terrifying. If the players can take it on in a fair fight it won't instill the proper terror. Cyber-zombies are rare and very, very, nasty - they shouldn't come up so often that the players will think of one as just another target. Your players should be avoiding a direct fight with the thing.

This is how I have handled cyber-zombies in the past.

1) The players should have to think fast and act smart. The fight doesn't actually have to be that hard. It's actually better to think of something as crazy a cyber-zombie as less of a combat challenge than a player IQ test. If they can outsmart the situation they can avoid the messy combat. It may take a few actions before the players figure out they can't hurt it.

2) Encourage called shots to subsytems of the borg - weapon mounts, eyes, etc. - even suggest this to the players if they aren't the type to normally think of these sorts of things. Encourage the players to split up and come at it from multiple angles, forcing it to reposition and manuver after each PC attacks.

3) Cyber-zombies suffer from mental problems. This is a good way to give the players a breather. Roll a few dice each round (preferably where the players can't see them) and say "It's ok this action" or "it get confused and just stands there."

So how will they survive in this situation? Well, for starters, all those heavy weapons are pretty limited onboard an aircraft - firing them could quickly bring the plane down. Have the borg waste actions aiming before firing. Smart players may even try to blow out that section of the plane, hoping the cyber-zombie will get sucked out in Hollywood action movie fashion, especially if the cargo compartment can be isolated from the rest of the aircraft. You may even want to leave some oxygen tanks laying around the cargo hold they can shoot and blow up.
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Kliko
post Feb 25 2010, 11:39 AM
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Or just eject the dormant cyber-zombie from the plane... Now that would be hilarious while flying over land (soak a 10,000 ft drop biatch) or over sea. Now would said zombie be able to shoot down their airplane while falling to its demise... (and yet when the plane crashes near the site (for dramatic purposes) did the drop actually kill/wound/terminate the cyberzombie.
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AngelisStorm
post Feb 25 2010, 12:02 PM
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Don't forget to add crazy "future tech" stuff to the battle scene. This is the future: if a hole get's blown in the side of the plane, make a couple of checks while things (and people) get sucked out, then let safety barriers drop into place. (Ultralight, ultra strong materials must exist to build Archologies.) Think of cool movie cinematics which shouldn't -really- work, and add them in to make it all "futury."
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Dahrken
post Feb 25 2010, 12:14 PM
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QUOTE (Professor Evil Overlord @ Feb 25 2010, 11:24 AM) *
Smart players may even try to blow out that section of the plane, hoping the cyber-zombie will get sucked out in Hollywood action movie fashion, especially if the cargo compartment can be isolated from the rest of the aircraft. You may even want to leave some oxygen tanks laying around the cargo hold they can shoot and blow up.

Yeah, sure... Don't forget we are talking about a business jet here, not an airliner. The "cargo area" is not a "sub-level", but more likely a 2mx2mx1.5m closet at the back of the cabin. And with a 2.5 m diameter fuselage blowing a hole wide enough for a human-sized target to goes through is IMHO highly likely to result in catastrophic structural failure.

The whole scene is going to take place in an area 2 to 2.5 m meter wide and 10 to 15 meters long, cluttered by 8 to 15 seats plus the unconscious (if they are lucky and their convoluted plan worked) or pretty pissed (if they are not) rest of the opposition, , with a ceiling between 6 and 7 feet in the middle... Pretty claustrophobic isn't it ?

Also don't let the "zombie" in "cyberzombie" fool you. Even if the process is seriously traumatic and often lead to mental troubles, a cyberzombie still has a basically metahuman mind and personnality, he's NOT a drone.

Would you tell the heavily-cybered streetsam in your runner team "Bob, shut down so we can pack you in a crate, sending you as fret is cheaper than an airplane ticket" ?
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LurkerOutThere
post Feb 25 2010, 06:56 PM
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On further consideration i'm just going to drop the cyberzombie enounter entirely from this session, there's already plenty going on and it woul be more or less a dick move as it would essentially destory the plane which the PC's are relying on for a paycheck, plus on an escalation of force model it makes more sense for the cyberzombie to come last. and be part of a completely seperate package.
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Ascalaphus
post Feb 25 2010, 07:38 PM
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I was going to suggest the following: the enemy security team is also scared shitless of the unnatural monstrosity, and warn the PCs not to do anything to wake it up. Because if they do, the CZ will likely kill everyone on board.
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LurkerOutThere
post Feb 25 2010, 08:31 PM
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That could be cool although it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The way i'd originally planned the encounter is there are six people on the plane other then the CZ. Four of which are just a security detail'/donuts/leg work squad. One of which is the CZ's technical handler (kind of a cross between a hacker and a medic) and the other is it's magical handler. Either of the handlers could wake him from his manacoffin (because otherwise a CZ's aura screams trouble to customs and law enforcement). It doesn't make a lot of sense for the CZ not to distinguish friend from foe and I'm not goign to give my players a sleeping cyberzombie to hock for parts without fighting it or somehow subverting it.
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Manunancy
post Feb 26 2010, 06:35 AM
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Unless he's really deep down the essence well, a cyberzombie doesn't require a handler. They're still peoples, not machines or trained dogs !

If you're going on that route, I'd suggest to use a jarhead instead - the cloned brains ones tends to be fairly screwed-up and machine-like. Or a least fairly oblivious about how peoples are supposed to act. As far as creepy vibes and killing power go, they're a match for a cyberzombie, even if they lack the astral presence and hazing. It also solves the aura problem from a cyberzombie. You also get the bonus of lower price tag and better availability.
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Professor Evil O...
post Feb 26 2010, 09:50 AM
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QUOTE (Kliko @ Feb 25 2010, 03:39 AM) *
Or just eject the dormant cyber-zombie from the plane... Now that would be hilarious while flying over land (soak a 10,000 ft drop biatch) or over sea. Now would said zombie be able to shoot down their airplane while falling to its demise... (and yet when the plane crashes near the site (for dramatic purposes) did the drop actually kill/wound/terminate the cyberzombie.


That's just, brilliant! (IMG:style_emoticons/default/rotfl.gif) Trust me, players will be talking about that one a lot longer than "the time we shot up that cyber-zombie."

I just hope it would actually work...which bring me to:

QUOTE (Dahrken @ Feb 25 2010, 04:14 AM) *
Yeah, sure... Don't forget we are talking about a business jet here, not an airliner. The "cargo area" is not a "sub-level", but more likely a 2mx2mx1.5m closet at the back of the cabin. And with a 2.5 m diameter fuselage blowing a hole wide enough for a human-sized target to goes through is IMHO highly likely to result in catastrophic structural failure.

The whole scene is going to take place in an area 2 to 2.5 m meter wide and 10 to 15 meters long, cluttered by 8 to 15 seats plus the unconscious (if they are lucky and their convoluted plan worked) or pretty pissed (if they are not) rest of the opposition, , with a ceiling between 6 and 7 feet in the middle... Pretty claustrophobic isn't it ?


OK, my bad. I've never been on anything other than a passenger plane. I assumed a similar layout. How exactly would you even fit something man-sized in there, much less a cybered monstrosity? In quarters this confined heavy weapons and explosives will be almost totally useless, you'd risk hull breaches. That pretty much just leaves HTH and called shots.

QUOTE (Manunancy @ Feb 25 2010, 10:35 PM) *
Unless he's really deep down the essence well, a cyberzombie doesn't require a handler. They're still peoples, not machines or trained dogs !


The thing is, from a story standpoint, those are the ones you want to use. If your cyber-zombie isn't displaying all the fluffy drawbacks - mental problems, astral hazing, etc. - you might as well just substitute a cybered up goon with military armor. Cyber-zombies are supposed to be inhuman, scary, and just plain wrong. I'm not suggesting using the mental problems as a nerf on it, just as a way to get across to the players how fragged up the thing is inside. And as reminder of why they shouldn't want to go down that path themselves.
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Dahrken
post Feb 26 2010, 10:33 AM
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QUOTE (Professor Evil Overlord @ Feb 26 2010, 10:50 AM) *
The thing is, from a story standpoint, those are the ones you want to use. If your cyber-zombie isn't displaying all the fluffy drawbacks - mental problems, astral hazing, etc. - you might as well just substitute a cybered up goon with military armor. Cyber-zombies are supposed to be inhuman, scary, and just plain wrong. I'm not suggesting using the mental problems as a nerf on it, just as a way to get across to the players how fragged up the thing is inside. And as reminder of why they shouldn't want to go down that path themselves.

I think Manu's point was the same as mine.

This was not about discarding/nerfing the obvious problems and drawbacks of a cyberzombie, but about the fact that despite all this there is still something metahuman enough inside that you cannot shut him down, pack him in a crate and send him as cargo because it's more convenient.

Shielding him from astral observation to pass the checks at the airport is IMHO OK, but with the tenouous grip the typical cyberzombie has on sanity keeping him in a manacoffin during the whole flight sound like a bad idea...
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cndblank
post Feb 26 2010, 05:25 PM
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Just brain storming...

One, not being able to use the heavy weapons might keep your PC's alive. Might keep your Borg alive long enough to be a challenge.

You can always arm him with frangible rounds (which might not do much). Gel Rounds would likely be better. Of course capsule rounds are fun too.

Either way if the players are working under the same rules then it will mostly be hand to hand. Add smoke and jamming and you should be able to to turn it in to one wild party.

Two, You can tune the ranged/melee specialization of your Borg to to challenge your players. Most fun is if the Borg is mostly a ranged specialist but has enough melee to give them a challenge. Then the next time they meet you can show them what the Borg can do with a favorable battle ground.

Three, You want him in the Mana box so that he will be awake if your players gas the plane. Works for me. If you want him in the box, then likely they would put him in hour or half an hour or so before landing to get past inspection. No reason not to when you can use simsense to play any game or watch any trid you want. Or maybe the Borg and another teammate are in the middle of a marathon game session. You can see if your players wonder who he is playing with (especially if that someone is about to finally win against the Borg and then gets gassed at the last second). Once the game is interrupted, you have a valid reason for your Borg to come looking for what is up. Might even have a fiber optic cable running to the box which neatly leaves the game off the jet's network and off the wireless (one again some thing for the players to question.)

Four, I'd also suggest more than one manabox. The extra one (which of course is closest to where the PC will come in is for the team mage).

Five, And there is no reason for a truly paranoid team to not ward the plane (or at least a section of it) once the wheels are up. Nothing too heavy. Just enough to shield the presence any illegal gear they might have and to alert the mage if anyone tries to enter. Makes the team feel better to be behind wards for mission planning too.

Six, in order to be sure you get to have the return of the Borg, the Borg has an internal parachute built in or has one strapped on. Maybe the players will blast him out the side of the plane to get ride of him. Might be a good tactic if the plane is filled with smoke. Worse comes to worse, he will make an exit and wait till he is out of sight before deploying the chute. Maybe the Borg will choose to grab a team mate and escape rather than risk capture (or even jumps after a team mate that gets sucked out of the plane).

If the Borg is unconscious, his internal systems will deploy it for him. Either way, you get to bring him back some time in the future which is always so much fun. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

Seven, The bad part is if they gas the plane successfully, the borg will be all by himself. Maybe a spirit told to do what the Borg tells him to. Maybe a few drones to help out? They might be locked down for travel and or unloaded, but a rotor drone barreling down the center of the plane would provide a useful distraction even if the LMGs are unloaded. A ferret with a taser would be ready to go once unshipped. Either one could play chase the mage! So the Bork will want to crack open some drone travel crates if he can before engaging.

Eight, If they were flying a cargo plane, (perhaps they are bringing in a vehicle too) then you could have the fun of the rear ramp being lowered while the plane was in flight. Course you would have to take the risk that your players would also liberate the vehicle being transported and a cargo plane might be more expensive than a executive jet.

Nine, Course it is all ways fun to force the PCs to change plans at the last minute. What do you mean the flight has been canceled? They are suppose to take off in 2 hours. Wait got a private medium cargo plane, a Alenia C-27J, that just filed the same flight plan. Give me five to check on who hired it.

Lots of options to keep it from being a cake walk for your players.

You have to let us know how it turns out.

Man I have got to figure how to get my players in the same situation.
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Manunancy
post Feb 26 2010, 09:52 PM
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As I've mentioned earlier, the jarhead borg is an alternative to the cyberzombie which lends itself better to the 'surprise in a crate' option. Thre's also the neat detail that neither inhaled nor contact airborne towins will affect him, ensuring he will be operrational when the players show up.
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