"The Midnighter" hat

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Duke Rollo Duke Rollo's picture
"The Midnighter" hat

So check this out. (and apologies if this thread was already brought up... possibly by me lol)

There was a comic book called The Authority some years back. Not looking to discuss the comic save for the powers of one of the characters.

The Midgnigher was a brawler. If you've never seen him before, think of Batman, give him a trench coat instead of a cape, make him less of a detective and more of a brute. That's The Midnighter. Unlike Batman, he did have a special super-power which is where the topic of this thread comes in.

The Midnighter had the ability to review a fight in his head millions of times as the fight was happening. He knew exactly what his opponent was going to do and exactly how to beat them.

So why doesn't this technology exist in Eclipse Phase?

Imagine a combat helmet. It has micro-cameras all over it for a near 360 degree view.

Inside the helmet are a few Ecto's that are hooked up to generate a simulspace just for a single AI. This AI's simulspace is operating 60 times faster than real time. It's nothing fancy. Just a blank white room. Just a space for the AI to examine what's going on in the real world.

Say my character has this helmet on and someone goes to throw a punch at me. They pull their arm back and swing. Takes half a second. The AI on the helmet recognizes aggression and kicks on. For the AI, that punch is going to take 30 seconds to land. Consider what an AI can do in the Eclipse Phase setting when it has 30 seconds to crunch numbers and possibilities. In just a few seconds of accelerated time, it's fed to my brain (or cyberbrain... in fact, cyberbrain probably works best) EXACTLY how to block the punch and counter-attack effectively.

To the guy throwing punches, my character appears to know EVERY move he's going to make BEFORE he makes it.

If he takes out a gun and tries to riddle me with holes, the helmet can observe the angle of his weapon and direct me how best to dodge. If my character wants to return fire, the AI can make micro-corrections to where my weapon is aimed.

So here's my take on how this would work with game stats. To avoid any nasty copyright issues, we'll call it...

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Adanced Tactical AI Analysis Coordination... or ATAAC for short.

ATAAC is a helmet that can be used by pods or synthmorphs. Inside the helmet is an AI programmed for personal combat residing in a tiny simulspace. The morph connects directly to the ATAAC system and allows the ATAAC AI partial control over the morph's actions. The simulspace operates 60 times faster than the real world. If the morph is attacked or enters combat, the ATAAC AI reviews the combat information in it's accelerated simulspace and optimizes the morphs attacks and defenses. Apply a +30 bonus to all offensive and defensive maneuvers that pertain to physical combat. This includes targeting foes with ranged or melee weapons as well as fray rolls to avoid being hit. This bonus represents the AI "fine tuning" the movements of the ego. Alternately, the character has the option to let the ATAAC system take over the morph completely. In this case, the character is assumed to have all melee, ranged and defensive skills (fray & free running) at 60.

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If this seems too powerful, here are some possible drawbacks:

Using ATAAC system can be damaging to the morph as the Ego and AI attempt to move the morph in different directions at once. For every 3 rounds the ATAAC system is used, apply 1D10 points of damage as servos misfire.

The ATAAC system can cause mental stress as two entities (ego and AI) attempt to control one morph. Apply 1D10/2 stress per round of combat.

Walking around with an ATAAC helmet carries a social stigma. It's hard to negotiate with someone when they know at any moment you could reach out and snap their neck. Apply a -30 penalty for face-to-face social roles.

Your thoughts?

-Duke Rollo

Duke Rollo Duke Rollo's picture
Re: "The Midnighter" hat

I also picture this thing being incredibly expensive.

-Duke Rollo

Tyrnis Tyrnis's picture
Re: "The Midnighter" hat

Why would you have to wear a helmet to get this, unless you're a bioconservative? It seems more likely that it would just be a tactical combat AI that you carried in a ghost rider module (or even in place of a muse) and that it interfaced with your tactical network and your existing sensor packages rather than providing its own.

This has the advantage of making it possible to overcome -- if you deny the AI sensor data, then it's far less effective against most non-melee opponents (or even melee opponents that you couldn't detect), thus heavily limiting or negating the bonuses.

The bonuses also wouldn't apply during the first round of combat unless the character had studied the opponent before, and deliberately changing your tactics could (potentially) temporarily reduce or negate the bonuses.

I also dislike the idea of the AI taking over the morph, since that just makes it an excuse not to buy any combat skills and to let the AI handle it. Also keep in mind that AIs are capped at 40 on active skills.

Deadite Deadite's picture
Re: "The Midnighter" hat

Duke Rollo wrote:
Say my character has this helmet on and someone goes to throw a punch at me. They pull their arm back and swing. Takes half a second. The AI on the helmet recognizes aggression and kicks on. For the AI, that punch is going to take 30 seconds to land. Consider what an AI can do in the Eclipse Phase setting when it has 30 seconds to crunch numbers and possibilities. In just a few seconds of accelerated time, it's fed to my brain (or cyberbrain... in fact, cyberbrain probably works best) EXACTLY how to block the punch and counter-attack effectively.

What kind of super-slow motion fighting are you involved in that a punch takes 30 seconds to land from initiation?

As for in-game use, the sheer number of variables are going to make it very difficult/impossible for even an AI to use Midnighter's 'I've played this fight in my head a million times' super-power. I would expect an enhancement would monitor known cues and would learn specific opponent's tells and telegraphs and would advise the most probable next move and best counter move - this would be good for a bonus to Fray, Initiative or an attack skill. I'd imagine tactical network software would already have a version of this running anyway.

And of course, many of your appropriately skilled and equipped opponents would have the same software running for them so the bonuses would cancel out.

EDIT: I agree that the use of a helmet is a strange scenario for Eclipse Phase, and probably not required.

Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: "The Midnighter" hat

Deadite wrote:
I agree that the use of a helmet is a strange scenario for Eclipse Phase, and probably not required.

Head injuries still exist. :P

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

Deadite Deadite's picture
Re: "The Midnighter" hat

Decivre wrote:
Head injuries still exist. :P

Yes they do, and armoured helmets have a purpose. It seems strange to add 360 degree cameras and tactical software in the helmet when it can almost as easily be done through implants! :)

NewAgeOfPower NewAgeOfPower's picture
Re: "The Midnighter" hat

Deadite wrote:

What kind of super-slow motion fighting are you involved in that a punch takes 30 seconds to land from initiation?

An expert software running at 60x or higher speed would perceive an half-second attack as a 30 second attack.

My own 2 cents on this though, is that while such software can give you advantages, they can give you rather extreme disadvantages as well.

As mind to body, so soul to spirit.
As death to the mortal man, so failure to the immortal.
Such is the price of all ambition.

Elfface Elfface's picture
Re: "The Midnighter" hat

My take on it is the following:

From a gameplay point of view, it's broken. Buying an autosoft at greater than 40, which is what this would be, makes taking the skill not worth it. A character would need this augment to be viable in combat, because why wouldn't you, even with the drawbacks.

There are a lot of variables in a fight. Sure the telemetry of a thrown punch is easy enough, but calculating and moving muscles fast enough is the tricky part.
Secondly, you opponent is quite possibly using it against you. If it works as described, it would be as vital as weapon for a fighter. It works for The Midnighter, because he's the only one to have it. Against an opponent with the same setup, they would stare each other down, making tiny movements and gauging reactions until one counter-counter-counter-combat program proved superior.
Thirdly, the setting already has augments for plotting and acting faster. Neurachem, multitasking and smartlinks combine together to form this upgrade.

Duke Rollo Duke Rollo's picture
Re: "The Midnighter" hat

Thanks for the replies.

Some thoughts:

Yes. From the perspective of running a game I agree that it's broken. But looking at the in character world of eclipse phase, I just feel like SOMEONE would have cooked this up.

I picture it as a helmet because I see it having multiple cameras mounted all around the head. It's also running a simul space which, from my reading of the core book, didn't seem like something you could run from your head alone. Also, as a helmet it offers players the ability to rip it off npc's or have their own torn off.

As for smart links and multitasking... My take on them was they helped you aim and gave you more actions. They didn't actually fight the fight for you like ATAAC software would.

-Duke Rollo

Duke Rollo Duke Rollo's picture
Re: "The Midnighter" hat

Thanks for the replies.

Some thoughts:

Yes. From the perspective of running a game I agree that it's broken. But looking at the in character world of eclipse phase, I just feel like SOMEONE would have cooked this up.

I picture it as a helmet because I see it having multiple cameras mounted all around the head. It's also running a simul space which, from my reading of the core book, didn't seem like something you could run from your head alone. Also, as a helmet it offers players the ability to rip it off npc's or have their own torn off.

As for smart links and multitasking... My take on them was they helped you aim and gave you more actions. They didn't actually fight the fight for you like ATAAC software would.

-Duke Rollo

Duke Rollo Duke Rollo's picture
Re: "The Midnighter" hat

Thanks for the replies.

Some thoughts:

Yes. From the perspective of running a game I agree that it's broken. But looking at the in character world of eclipse phase, I just feel like SOMEONE would have cooked this up.

I picture it as a helmet because I see it having multiple cameras mounted all around the head. It's also running a simul space which, from my reading of the core book, didn't seem like something you could run from your head alone. Also, as a helmet it offers players the ability to rip it off npc's or have their own torn off.

As for smart links and multitasking... My take on them was they helped you aim and gave you more actions. They didn't actually fight the fight for you like ATAAC software would.

-Duke Rollo

Decivre Decivre's picture
Re: "The Midnighter" hat

This seems to try to fill a role that tacnets already fulfill. Tacnets can already run predictive algorithms and calculations and feed them to users. Rather than using some 360-degree camera configuration strapped to a helmet, it uses a tactical team's own senses and other hardware to collect and collate data for the purpose of processing and predicting the actions of hostiles within the area, while using the team's AIs and muses to get that information to the team members in a usable manner.

While these might not be particularly effective in CQC (the telegraphing of attacks happens half-seconds before anything actually occurs; it takes an intense amount of training to learn how to predict the actions of another fighter in close quarters), they are excellent for predicting positions that a currently invisible target might be moving, cover zones and safe positions for members of the tacnet to place themselves. But they can certainly scan for wounds and weaknesses in a combatant so that the user can determine where best to strike, as well as use tacnet data to determine which parts of their body to best defend.

Plus, there would be a sort of arms race between this sort of tech and martial combat skills. If I remember right, the Midnighter could not use this ability on people who were far too unpredictable (he was unable to use it on the Joker due to his nuttiness). This sort of tech, if feasible, would be so disruptive to the field of CQC, that every single soldier would from that point on train in unpredictable combat methodology, just so that they would be able to prevent any attempts to use this technology on them. Which would probably render it useless in only a generation or so.

Transhumans will one day be the Luddites of the posthuman age.

Help me get my gaming fix, if you want.

Azathoth Azathoth's picture
Re: "The Midnighter" hat

I am just getting in to the Authority! :)

I personally think it's a cool concept! Almost like the fight scenes in the Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr.. I had the same thought as Decivre, though. Tacnets probably do a lot of this already. As GM, I'd probably let my PCs apply a +10 to defend against melee attacks in some circumstances if they optimized their tacnet (muses with appropriate combat style knowledge skills, or perhaps just a nominal price increase) for this function.

I'd think some Psi may be able to accomplish this without the need for a tacnet (or helmet). Predictive boost or pattern recognition, perhaps.

Gee4orce Gee4orce's picture
Re: "The Midnighter" hat

I agree with the comments about it being a helmet - just have it as a skill augmentation of some kind.

My take: everybody already has this upgrade and the existing rules already factor this in. Increased skill, or better bonues from implants may be partly explained by upgraded / more refined versions of the tactical software.

AlphaCentauri AlphaCentauri's picture
Re: "The Midnighter" hat

You already can have your Muse/inbuilt AI have Active skills, right?
Midnighter OS would be a (badass) way of explaining how your Muse grants you an Unarmed Combat and Fray skills, rather than something more conventional like Research or Protocol.

Prophet710 Prophet710's picture
Re: "The Midnighter" hat

This sounds like an adaptive version of Move By Wire from SR. AWESOME!!!

"And yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this Earth with envious eyes. And slowly, and surely, they drew their plans against us."

Azathoth Azathoth's picture
Re: "The Midnighter" hat

AlphaCentauri wrote:
You already can have your Muse/inbuilt AI have Active skills, right?
Midnighter OS would be a (badass) way of explaining how your Muse grants you an Unarmed Combat and Fray skills, rather than something more conventional like Research or Protocol.

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the optional skills on a muse (you know, not interfacing and all that jazz) are all knowledge skills. So you could theoretically have Knowledge: Unarmed Combat on your muse, but not Unarmed Combat. But as I was saying above, I'd make that worth a +10 in combat every once in a while. :)

godmoney godmoney's picture
Re: "The Midnighter" hat

Duke Rollo wrote:
I also picture this thing being incredibly expensive.

and a dazzler is moderate... splurge for a lens crazer for high.

the human mind does this automatically, and with experience it gets better (without enhancments).

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi!?!

Aardvarkus Aardvarkus's picture
Re: "The Midnighter" hat

I've been putting together a similar concept (a gun-slinging diplomat-detective of sorts). The approach I've been using is:
Very high weapon skill,
High 70+ Kinesics (Confrontation) and Perception (Visual) so I can attempt to pick up on a target's intent as they begin winding up for an attack, with enhanced senses for additional bonuses,
Neural speed to have two mental actions to study the situation and prepare responses and the huge boost to initiative (mathwiz and lidar for exact measurement determination when needed.)
One or two speed boosting mods and drugs,
High deception skill to fake out the opponents,
and to top it off, i added Palming (quickdraw).

The best part is that most of the skills are cross compatible with a skilled diplomat/negotiator/thief/problem solver, and stay with the character regardless of morph changes.