Adam, Praetorian Nightmare

   Here we have a high-level threat from the Federation-Apocalypse campaign. Fortunately, Adam does have some weaknesses: like any Praetorian, he is quite unable to use – or even be directly enhanced by – magical and psionic effects and has few defenses against such things beyond his saving throws. If you want to use Adam in another setting, where attribute enhancements cost twice as much and he wouldn’t get as many skill or DR bonuses, don’t bother to change anything. Just count him as about CR 18.

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   Corporal Samual Dreyfuss was a mistake… Like many of the early-generation Praetorians, he went quite mad. Unlike most of them, he wasn’t suicidal. He simply decided that HE was human, that normal “humans” were merely some sort of talking fungus or something, and that – as the only truly self-aware human and therefore duly-elected leader of humanity – he was bound to his own orders only. Normal “humans” were fit only to be exterminated when they got in the way, like any other vermin.

   As the first true human, he took the name “Adam” – and set out to overthrow his creators. While throughly psychotic, he wasn’t especially stupid: there were obviously too many pre-humans, equipped with too many war machines, to destroy directly. The only way to win would be to ensure the creation of more true humans, like himself, and to subvert the mechanical assistance on which the vermin relied.

   “Adam” prefers to turn the vermin against each other. Failing that, he will attempt to turn their machines against them. He prefers not to enter personal combat unless all else fails – after all, to risk himself is to risk his destiny – but if he must, he will normally attempt to close as quickly as possible, taking full advantage of his superhuman speed and dexterity. He places his first priority on anyone who attempts to stay out of melee, since they are likely to possess either dangerous special abilities or powerful ranged weapons. Outside of that, he simply concentrates on disposing of his targets as quickly as possible, relying on block/riposte combinations to deal with any incidental attackers.

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Adam, L8 Human-Derived Praetorian:

   Praetorian Race/Template (See Below): +5 ECL, effective level 13. Note that this includes personal-computer and HUD functions, IR, UV, low-light, magnification, and flash suppression visual enhancements, encrypted radio communications, life support, fast healing-1, regeneration, and the ability to recover from “death”, immunity to penalties for operating in micro-gravity, berserker/emergency overload (+8 Str, +8 Con, +4 Will, -2 AC for [Con Mod + 3] rounds 1+L/3 times per day), combat reflexes, immunity to massive damage saves, tirelessness, and an extended lifespan, among other benefits covered below.

   Available CP: 216 (Base L8 Allowance) + 16 (Duties: Destroy all normal humans, replace them with Praetorians, +2 CP/Level) + 6 (Human Bonus Feat) + 18 (Level-Based Bonus Feats) + 22 SP (Singular-Realm Human Bonus) = 256 CP and 22 SP.

   Singular-Realm Human Modifiers: +2 Int (Half price due to campaign rules, half cost in template, 6 CP), +1 Bonus Feat (6 CP), Fast Learner (Specialized in Skills, +2 SP/Level, 6 CP).

   Basic Attributes: Str 40 (+15, also provides DR 15 under the campaign rules), Int 16 (+3), Wis 16 (+3, adds to AC while unarmored or lightly armored per campaign rules), Con 26 (+8, provides 8 magic points – although Praetorians generally have no use for hem), Dex 26 (+8, provides 16 CP worth of Proficiencies for free), and Chr 14 (+2, provides four free contacts).

   Level-Based Attribute Bonuses: +1 Wis, +1 Con.

With a 16 base Dexterity, Adam is entitled to three extra pieces of cyberware. In his case, these are:

  • Passive Sensors: Adam has passive sonar and “radar”-based awareness of a 30 foot radius: he cannot be flanked and suffers no penalties for blindness, darkness, invisible opponents, or for being surprised.
  • Medical Module: This doubles his daily regenerative capacity and provides a +2 bonus on Fortitude saving throws.
  • Decryption Module: This provides him with a +(Level/2, +10 Maximum) bonus to cracking codes, hacking computers, and other relevant rolls as well as providing a similar penalty on others attempts to hack his systems or to interfere with his own communications, remote drones, and similar checks.

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Combat Information:

  • Saving Throws:

    • Fortitude: +6 (Purchased, 18 CP) +4 (Racial) +8 (Con) +2 (Cyberware) = +20, +22 versus poisons and disease, +24 Versus Chemical Agents.
    • Reflex: +10 (Purchased, 30 CP) +8 (Dex) = +18. Saves for 1/2 or no damage.
    • Will: +6 (Purchased, 18 CP) +3 (Wis) +4 (Racial) = +13.

     

  • Hit Dice: 8d6 (16 CP) +2d6 (Enhancement) +80 (Con) +30 (Cyberware) = 157 HP.
  • Damage Reduction: 15 (Campaign-rule strength based) +6 (Cyberware) + 4 (Purchased, see below) = 25 (29 when Berserk). This applies against both physical and energy damage.
  • Proficient with Light and Medium Armor (9 CP) and with all Weapons (15 CP) (-16 CP due to Dexterity).
  • Move 90.
  • Armor Class 10 (Base) +6 (Natural) +8 (Dex) +3 (Wis) +4 (Martial Arts) +2 (Light Combat Dress) = 33
  • BAB/Warcraft +11 (66 CP).

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Usual Weapons:

  • Unarmed: +11 (BAB) +15 (Str) +10 (Dex) +4 (Martial Arts) + Personal Haste = +40/+40/+35/+30. 8 available attacks of opportunity. Unarmed Damage: 1d12 (1d6 Base + Martial Arts) +15 (Str) +10 (Dex) +4 (Cyberware) = 1d12+29, Crit 20/x2, 10′ Reach.

   What Adam is armed with depends on what’s available. At the very least he’ll have a Smartlinked Laser Pistol, a smartlinked pistolgrip Minigrenade launcher, and some other explosives. If he happens to have recently had access to an arsenal – or, worse, a Core arsenal – he’ll probably have all the weapons he can reasonably carry. At a minimum he’ll have:

  • Laser Pistol: +11 (BAB) +10 (Dex) +4 (Martial Arts) + Personal Haste -2 (Rapid Shot) +4 (Smartlink) = +27/+27/+22/+17. Note that only one martial art attack bonus can be used in any given round, but when he makes Riposite-based AOE from melee he normally uses +25 to hit – full BAB but no Martial Art bonus. Damage 2d8, Range Increment 50′, 50 Shots, Crit 19-20/x2.
  • Minigrenade Launcher: Four shots per round (modifiers as per the Laser Pistol, above. Empty areas have a default AC of 15). 4d6 to a 10′ radius, 12-shot clip, 40′ Range Increment.

Total Base Costs: 132 CP.  

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Special Abilities: 124 CP

  • Advanced Augmented Bonus/Advanced Martial Arts: Adds Dex Mod to Str Mod in melee combat (Corrupted: only in Unarmed Combat, 12 CP).
  • Block Missile, Riposite, Multiple (May block 60 HP as one AOE, may respond with another, up to twice per round, 18 CP):
  • Block Melee, Riposite, Multiple II (May block 60 HP as one AOE, may respond with another, up to three times per round, 24 CP)
  • Improved Fortune (Reflex saves are made for 1/2 or no effect, 12 CP).
  • Damage Reduction +4 (Universal, 9 CP) (25 total)
  • Enthusiast (Corrupted, requires appropriate programs, 2 CP)
  • Doubled Damage with Unarmed Attacks vrs Inanimate Objects/Structural Analysis, Corrupted: Not vrs Force Fields (4 CP)
  • Lunge (5′ Reach, 6 CP)
  • Improved Initiative +8 (Net total +16, 12 CP)
  • Evasive: May make ranged attacks when in melee without provoking an AOE (6 CP)
  • Leadership: Assorted Mechanical Minions, 30 ECL worth in total (Usually 10 ECL 3 Remote Tactical Combat Units), Max ECL 10, 6 CP)
  • Professional Skill: Computer Operations, Specialized in Hacking (Double Effect, +Level, 6 CP).
  • Adept (Half cost for Computer Hacking, Stealth, Spot, and Knowledge/Tactics, 6 CP)
  • Skill Points: 1 Purchased (1 CP) +22 (Singular Human) +33 (Int) +32 (Dex Derived, for physical skills only) = 87

 

Purchased Skills:

   Broad Skills (All +3 Int): Computer Hacking +29 (5/11* SP +3 Int +8 Professional +4 Cyberware), Stealth +30 (5/11* SP +10 Dex +6 Gear), Spot +23 (5/11* SP +3 Wis +6 Racial), Listen +15 (3 SP +3 Wis +6 Racial), Medicine +7 (1 SP +3 Int), Knowledge/Tactics +17 (5/11* SP, +3 Int), Repair +10 (4 SP +3 Int), Drive +14 (1 SP +10 Dex), Pilot +20 (7 SP +10 Dex), Gather Information +9 (4 SP +2 Cha), Martial Art/Makendon +31 (3 SP +15 Str +10 Dex), Martial Art/Gun Bunny +21 (11 SP +10 Dex).

   Narrow Skills (All +3 Int, +5 Training): Balance + 20 (2 SP +10 Dex), Climb +24 (1 SP + 15 Str), Jump +25 (2 SP + 15 Str), Urban Shadowing +19 (1 Sp + 10 Dex), Swim +24 (1 SP +15 Str), Knowledge: Singular Military Gear +17 (6 SP +3 Int), Singular Nanotechnology +20 (9 Sp +3 Int), Tumble +23 (5 SP +10 Dex), Forest Survival +14 (3 SP + 3 Wis), and Intimidate +13 (3 SP + 2 Cha).

 

Makendon Combat Training (Str):

   This straightforward martial art is straightforward and brutal, designed to inflict as much damage as possible as quickly as possible.

  • Requires: Martial Arts or Equivalent Point Buy
  • Basic Abilities: Attack 4, Defenses 4, Power 3, Strike
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Breaking, Instant Stand, Reach, Expertise

   Adam has fully mastered this martial art.

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Gun Bunny Martial Art (Dex):

   You get the gun out fast, you fire quickly and accurately, and you try to stay under cover as much as possible. This may not qualify for most people’s idea of a martial art, but keeping your head and shooting straight while under fire takes plenty of practice.

  • Requires: BAB 6+, Thanks to this modest requirement, this is a relatively minor art.
  • Basic Abilities: Attack 4, Power 3, Strike, Defenses 4.
  • Advanced and Master Techniques: Prone Combat, Quick Draw, Rapid Shot,

   Known Abilities: Attack 4, Defenses 4, Quick Draw, Rapid Shot, and Prone Combat.

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   Gear: Adam is normally equipped with Chameleon Clothing (+6 to Stealth), a Jet Pack (50′ slightly clumsy flight), Battle Dress (+2 Armor, no penalties), his Laser Pistol and Mini-Grenade Launcher, Rations, Rope, a sophisticated Toolkit (+4 to relevant rolls), Active Holsters (reduces the action required to draw or sheathe a gun by one level – movement to free, free to none at all), and whatever kit seems appropriate.

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   Adam is a combat monster. In fact, he can be expected to go through many parties like a guillotine through a cheese log. On the other hand, he is a 13’th level character and we’ve had characters half his level running around who could take him easily – usually by the simple expedient of stacking True Strike and a mass of enhancements onto a single overwhelming (thanks to Enhanced Strike: Crushing and Hammer) attack. Admittedly, he can block 60 points, and take off another 25 for his damage reduction – but a good 300-point strike will still put him down quite long enough to deal with him handily, and there are more ways to get to that kind of attack then you might think. Of course, such characters are generally even more specialized than he is – and if you have characters like that running around, you’re probably running an anime-style campaign anyway. If you don’t have any such characters around, your party may be in trouble unless they’re extremely durable themselves.

   Adam would be almost invincibly-deadly if he could pick up Enhanced Strike/Crushing with some Bonus Uses. Fortunately, that’s basically a magical technique, and thus off limit to Praetorians. That’s just as well. Does any world really need someone who punches people for 4d12+116 damage?

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   Yes, you’re right. This is a modernized version of Frankenstein, as Frankenstein was an updated version of the Golem and the Mummy before it. A very old, or even primal fear – a mortal spirit bound to unnatural life, and thus returned as something monestrous. A creature both empowered and cut off from humanity by its passage through a gate which should have remained closed. A powerful archtype – and thus, in the manifold, where belief shapes reality, a peril to all research into the nature of human life and death.

   The Praetorians are a product of misunderstanding: in turning purely to technology, in binding and limiting existence to matter and physical energies, they are a denial of the mind and spirit – and thus are fundamentally flawed. Still, within that narrow speciality, they are quite incredibly deadly. Whether that is because, or in spite of, their flaws is a philosophical issue.

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One Response

  1. […] Thirteen: Adam, Praetorian Nightmare: a melee death-machine nightmare for entire high-level […]

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