Continuum II – the High-Tech Warrior

   Here we have another segment from the Continuum II rules – in this case a chunk from the “handle with caution” section; the high- and ultra-tech skills for the various warrior professions.

   Please note that “Skill Selections” in Continuum II mean a bit more than in most games: they represent what you’ve invested your time in. They’re the core of a character and come with the appropriate gear. if you select “Cyberware” as a major skill, then your character has, and knows how to use, some pretty extensive built-in systems (whether those are technological, magical or psychic is up to him or her). If you take ECHO piloting, you have, and know how to use, a Mecha. Iron Man may have Combat Armor-7 – but a warrior character can get Combat Armor-3 as a single major skill selection, and then can improve it from there.

   Continuum II: Warrior Class High- and Ultra-Tech Skills

    Unlike most of the other professions, the High- and Ultra-Tech warrior skill lists have been separated from the basic professional selection lists. That’s because the GM ought to be quite careful about letting them into a game. Like it or not, in many campaigns, combat is disproportionately stressed. Unlike research, planning, designing things, or character interactions, it’s easy to involve everyone, the outcome is almost always vital, there are lots of decisions, and such situations tend to be fast and fluid. Combat – at least if it’s well-run – is exciting and dramatic. You can’t rely on it too much – either you’d have to lower the risk until wasn’t really exciting any more or you’ll kill off all the characters after a bit – but an awful lot of game masters fall back on a fight scene when they’re short of ideas or need to spice up the game.

   Enhanced warriors can change all that. Whether the technology involved is physical, magical, or psychic – or some combination thereof – other characters usually have little chance, and little to do, in a confrontation involving ultra-warriors. While this may be fair enough, just as warriors often have little to do during magical events or studious situations, it has a massive impact on the structure of a campaign. A cyborg with powered combat armor, a martial art built around advanced weaponry, and a blaster rifle, may not be socially adept – but in any normal group he’ll tend to dominate any combat situation that isn’t especially designed to prevent it (something that gets old very fast). As a compromise option, the GM may choose to allow warriors a limited number of skill selections from the following lists, rather than just opening them up entirely. That will still let the Warriors dominate the battlefield, but not exclusively.

   High-Tech Armsmen mostly center on enhancements and the use of high-technology equipment.

  • Major Skill List/Mechanized Warfare: Combat Armor, Cyberware, ECHO Piloting, M.O.S. Training, Remote Weaponry, and Unique Weapon
  • Minor Skill List/Advanced Militarism: Demolitions, Electronic Warfare, Gunnery, Modern Weapons (Group), Piloting, and Weapons Technician.
  • Minor Skill List/Support Functions: Forward Observer, Hostile Environments, Sensor Operation, Communication Systems, Vehicle Systems, and Weekend Warrior.

   High-Tech Barbarians only occur under pretty special circumstances. They can only appear when and if a group with high technology – and the skills needed to maintain and reproduce it – gets driven somewhere where all their technology and efforts are barely enough to survive, and are prevented from leaving for generations thereafter. It’s hard on the neighbors if such a group gets loose; when you haven’t got any margin – when you’ve grown up knowing that death may come at any moment, that even a slight error may mean killing someone you love, and that you may have to leave somebody you love to die – or be left to die – at any time, “compassion” tends to be in short supply. Once unleashed in gentler regions, high-tech barbarians tend to be ruthless, exploitative, cruel – and have no respect for the “rights” of anyone weak enough to let them take over, commonly enslaving such unfotunates. Many barbarians approach life with savage gusto, being well aware that there may well be “no tomorrow” for them.

   As a secondary note, barbarians generally don’t pay much attention to the idea of “Childhood”. If a kid is old enough to work, that work is needed. Infants still too young to work are valuable property – just because they represent a considerable investment of effort and can be brought up to contribute to the tribes survival, whether as members or as slaves.

   Given that every group of high-tech barbarians is a unique case, no single skill list is practical. If someone wants to play one, their “tribal heritage” skills will be whatever skills are required to survive in their normal environment and they’ll just have to take the appropriate talents and backgrounds to gain access to another warrior classes high-tech skill list. This generally is not a good thing,

   Being a Berserker is largely instinctive. There are no inherent adjustments for a high-tech background, as it’s already weird enough to get a berserker from such a background. In game terms, this works just like a high-tech barbarian does; they’ll just have to pay a couple of talent points for a special background and access to an appropriate High-Tech skill list.

   The Guardian skill lists mostly focus on incredibly intensive training – developing personal potentials to inhuman levels. While less incredibly-destructive then Armsmen, they are far more difficult to disarm.

  • Major Skill List/Empyric Channels: Dedicative Focus, Esoterica, Living Matrix, Minor C’hi, Nexial Channel, and Psychic Symbiont.
  • Major Skill List/Inner Mastery: Auric Flare, Biosphere Tapping, Hypertraining, Living Weapon, Mindlight, and Weapon Attunement.
  • Minor Skill List/Augmentations: Auric Focus, Martial Arts, Minor Cyberware, Psychic Weaponry, Recognized Aura, and Weapon Attunement.
  • Minor Skill List/Enhancements: Combat Adept, Innate Channels, Innate Mastery, Mystic Link, Passive Focus, and Power Accumulation.

   High-Tech “Samurai” usually stress either technology or philosophical training. Depending on this choice, they gain access to either the Armsman’s or the Guardian’s HighTech skill lists. The selection may be left up to the character, or it may be determined by the GM. The most common HighTech Samurai are the dedicated, elite, agents of various organizations.

   HighTech Scouts can be extremely dangerous, as they have access to both the Armsman’s lists and their own. They also include security breakers, saboteurs – and a variety of other solo operatives and sneaks.

  • Major Skill List/Far Frontiers: Computer Operation, Military Technology, Minor Psionics, Personal Vehicle, Telepresence, and Unique Mount.
  • Major Skill List/Military Equipment: Ab Initio, Demolitions, Locksmith, Strange Device, Tech Mastery, and Technician.
  • Minor Skill List/Collecting Oddities: Fantastic Followers, Interrogation, Photography, Sixth Sense, Surveillance, and Trivial Psychic

   As might be expected, “High-Tech” Shapeshifters rely primarily on refinements of their innate powers. While less capable of dominating a battlefield, and far more subtle, then the abilities of a High-Tech Armsman, they are far more flexible – and require far more thought.

  • Major Skill List/External Controls: Bloodshaping, Environmental Field, Phasing, Matter Synthesis, Shapeshift Others, and Shift Manipulation.
  • Major Skill List/Inner Controls: Enhanced Protean, Hyper-Regeneration, Metamorphic Enhancement, Minor C’hi, Nonresistance, and Occult Polymath.
  • Major Skill List/Hypershifts: Auric Disguise, Biochemical Control, Elemental Shift, Energy Forms, Fantastic Forms, and Universal Survivor.
  • Major Skill List/Fitting In: Adaptive Shift, Cybernetic Interface, Dimensional Adaption, Enhanced Chameleon, Social Shift, and Symbiotic Adjustment.

   High-Tech Swordsmen have a problem; there just isn’t much dash or style in explosives, automatic weapons, and relying on your invincible combat armor, instead of on your own capabilities. Fortunately, there are still a few appropriately flamboyant roles available – Hotshot Pilots, Solo Operative (Usually some form of espionage agent), various weapon-wielding Heroes (for those ever popular comic-book settings), and ultra martial artists.

  • Major Skill List/Personal Heroics: Combat Piloting, Cyberware, Living Weapon, Minor Psionics, Personal Vehicle, and Unique Weapon.
  • Major Skill List/Military Equipment: Ab Initio, Demolitions, Locksmith, Strange Device, Tech Mastery, and Technician.
  • Minor Skill List/Advanced Militarism: Explosives, Electronic Warfare, Gunnery, Modern Weapons (Group), Piloting, and Weapons Technician.
  • Minor Skill List/Support Functions: Forward Observer, Hostile Environments, Sensor Operation, Communication Systems, Vehicle Systems, and Weekend Warrior.
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