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TITAN Knife Missile

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Karmarainbow Karmarainbow's picture
TITAN Knife Missile
So I was thinking it might be fun for my players to meet a new kind of hideous TITAN war machine, and I thought a knife missile drone from Iain Banks' Culture series would be pretty effective at being terrifying (i know - i'm a sadist). I cooked up the stats below to strike the right balance between doing justice to the concept while giving some chance at defeating it. Grateful for any thoughts. TITAN Knife Missile COG 15, COO 15, INT 15, REF 40, SAV 5, SOM 35, WIL 15 Durability 30 (6), Initiative 11+1d10, Speed 6, Move: Ionic (20 / 200) (max: 1300 kph; mach 1+) AI Skills: Exotic Melee Weapon (effector field) 90%, Fray 90%, Perception 75%, Infiltrate 75%, Flight 75%, Infosec 50%, Interfacing 50%, Academics: Military Tactics 80% Implants: 360 Vision, Anti-Glare, Basic Mesh Inserts, Chemical Sniffer, Direction Sense, Echolocation, Electrical Sense, Enhanced Vision/Hearing, Eidetic Memory, Eelware, Heavy Combat Armour, High-Pressure Adaptation, Lidar, Magnetic System, Medichines, Nanoscopic Vision, Neurachem 6 (special), Nanophages, Oracles, Radar, Radiation Sense, Radiation Shielding, Radio Booster, Reduced Signature, Shape-Adjusting, Temperature Tolerance (Cryonic), T-Ray Emitter, X-Ray Emitter, Vacuum Sealing Equipment: Nano-detector, mobile lab, software (image recognition, tactical network, probability mapping, radio motion detector, cartography package) Features: Armour 20/20, Small size (-10% to hit), immune to shock, ignore 1 wound, 90% mono-molecular blade-shaped effector field, 3d10+10, AP -20
MAD Crab MAD Crab's picture
For those of us who cannot
For those of us who cannot recall the description of a knife drone, could you throw together the short form you'd give a player?
Karmarainbow Karmarainbow's picture
In short, it is a small, very
In short, it is a small, very fast metal drone the size of a dagger that is designed purely as an offensive weapon. It's primary attack is its electromagnetic effector field which it can make narrow and intense enough to cut flesh. Here is a quote from Use of Weapons which gives a fuller flavour: “The man thrashed wildly in the centre of the room for a second, then he was a blur through the air above her, there was another colossal pulse of sound, and a ragged aperture appeared in the wall over her head, beside the window looking out to the square. The floorboards jumped and dust choked her. 'Stop!' she screamed…something thrummed past Sma's shoulder and darted down towards the men. One of the warriors roared, brandishing his sword and lunging towards the door of the inn. He managed two steps. He was still roaring when the knife missile flicked past him, field outstretched. It separated his neck from his shoulders. The roar turned to a sound like the wind, bubbling thickly through the exposed wind-pipe as his body crashed to the dust… Faster - and turning more tightly - than any bird or insect, the knife missile made an almost invisibly quick circle round most of the riders, producing an odd stuttering noise. Seven of the riders - five standing, two still mounted - collapsed into the dust, in fourteen separate pieces. Sma tried to scream at the drone, to make the missile stop, but she was still choking, and now starting to retch. The drone patted her back. 'There, there,' it said, concernedly. In the square, both of the inn-keeper's daughters slipped to the ground from the mounts they had been tied to, their bonds slashed in the same cut that had killed all seven men. The drone gave a little shudder of satisfaction. One man dropped his sword and started to run. The knife missile plunged straight through him. It curved like red light shining on a hook, and slashed across the necks of the last two dismounted riders, felling both. The mount of the final rider was rearing up in front of the missile, its fangs bared, forelegs lashing, claws exposed. The device went through its neck and straight into the face of its rider. On emerging from the resulting detonation, the machine slammed to a stop in mid-air, while the rider's headless body slid off his collapsing, thrashing animal. The knife missile spun slowly about, seemingly reviewing its few seconds' work, then it started to float back towards the window.”
Chernoborg Chernoborg's picture
Reminds me of Yondu' s "arrow
Reminds me of Yondu' s "arrow" weapon from Guardians of the Galaxy. His wasn't a drone just controlled by his whistling (or possibly a cybernetic implant). Throughout the movie people are consistently freaked out when he brandishes the arrow even though he doesn't seem too threatening. When he finally DOES use it you see exactly why everyone reacts that way, it is impressively lethal.
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MAD Crab MAD Crab's picture
Ah, I don't think I've
Ah, I don't think I've actually read Use of Weapons yet, which would explain why I couldn't recall the drone. Let's be honest here, though. The Culture novels are a massive wellspring of 'holy fuck that's horrifying' tech, and the Culture Minds would eat the TITANS for breakfast. With the description you give, a knife drone would definitely be a suitably terrifying attacker. I'm just not convinced that your players will survive much longer than the horsemen in your excerpt. How do you shoot something that moves at mach 1?
UnitOmega UnitOmega's picture
Quote: How do you shoot
How do you shoot something that moves at mach 1?
Mental Speed. Being on a reflex enhancer like Neurachem or Kick might do it also. The Knife Missile is scary as fuck as a TITAN security device or weapon for an exsurgent agent to use, but don't sell a pack of well equipped transhumans too short now.
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ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
It's less shooting something
It's less shooting something which is moving at mach 1, as it is shooting something which is about the size of a chef's knife and moving at mach 1 with enough agility to make nearly right-angle turns. Mainly the size thing, though; that said, I would say that hitting this thing should be damn hard, even if you're one of the best shots in the 'verse. For one thing, there really should be a "Very Small" size category for things the size of housecats and below, for another, given this thing's incredible reaction speed (both in terms of ability to process incoming attacks and the rate at which it can change its vector,) I would say that, as a specific exception to normal rules, it can use Fray at, say, 3/4ths normal against incoming ranged attacks, rather than 1/2. Still, I know how I'd destroy the damn thing. 'Splosives. "When in doubt, Plan B is automatically twice as much explosive as Plan A."
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branford branford's picture
UnitOmega wrote:Quote: How do
UnitOmega wrote:
How do you shoot something that moves at mach 1?
I would also think that sprayer weapons with some area effect like the shard pistol and shredder might slightly improve your chances of a kill.
Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
In the Culture novels it is
In the Culture novels it is not called an effector, it's a forcefield. Effectors are for electromagnetic manipulation, like controlling electronics. As to the difficulty of killing a culture knife missile, I don't think the OP suggests something as powerful as a knife missile - but a piece of TITAN tech inspired by them. As someone said above, the Culture is WAY ahead of the TITANs (as far as we know).
jackgraham jackgraham's picture
Moved thread to Homebrew
Moved thread to Homebrew section.
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Karmarainbow Karmarainbow's picture
Thanks guys
Thanks guys Speedwise I suggested a combat move of 20 / 200. Mach 1 was the out of combat maximum speed that I guess would take concerted acceleration to achieve. Take your point about it being in the very small class. Fields not effectors - got it. Allowing it to use more Fray against ranged is a great idea and helps to represent its manoeuvrability.
Leodiensian Leodiensian's picture
I've been binging on the
I've been binging on the Culture lately, so this is of interest to me. Given the amount of damage this thing can put out in one turn, isn't Speed 6 maybe a bit much? It seems like it would wipe most groups really quickly and it's surprisingly tough for something so small. I would say make it a bit clearer that this thing is a glass cannon - make it hard to hit, but it goes down pretty easy when hit.