Truly pathetic combat morphs?

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SquireNed SquireNed's picture
Truly pathetic combat morphs?
The other day I had a discussion with someone about the viability of combat morphs, and one of the things that it made me think about was the potential situations that some combat morphs could find themselves in. One of the iconic combat morphs is the Fenrir, which I jokingly referred to as "Redefining Total Party Kills since 2013" [Rimward came out in 2012, but my memory isn't that good]. Let's look at some of the traits of the Fenrir: 32/32 armor (the max in Eclipse Phase), 80 durability, and middling at best speed. It also suffers a +10 to hit. If we look at it that way, a desk-jockey I play in a certain campaign can actually stand a decent chance of taking down a Fenrir if he gets close enough, simply by using a shredder (6d10+5 [+1d10 for spray weapon in close quarters and an additional +3d10 for FA] at close range, ~70 weapons skill after smart link and -10 AP) and getting decent damage rolls. The Fenrir's wound threshold is 16, which is decent, but about the Fenrir will be taking an average of about 40 damage with -10 AP, which is reduced to 18. In a perfect comedy of errors, with a critical success and max damage rolls, we're looking at 60-70 damage straight to the Fenrir, requiring an unconsciousness check with a whopping 3-4 wounds. Even with average damage and a critical success, the Fenrir takes 2 wounds. And this is before multiple egos or true heavy weapons come into play. The Jovian around the corner with a seeker missile launcher can hit the Fenrir from 10km away, doing 6d10+24 with -8 AP (do you double AP for full sized missiles?), which basically means the Fenrir is guaranteed to take 6-60 damage, most likely in the 40ish area where it takes 2 wounds, presumably making each ego take an unconsciousness check and at the very least making the morph suffer a good deal. Balancing the Fenrir requires two possibilities; I don't think more armor is appropriate, since 32/32 is nigh-impossibly high for most standard small arms, but it could use either a durability or speed boost. Simply put, it's hard for the Fenrir to function with any of the standard weapons in Eclipse Phase. Disposable seekers are better against it than for it, since they are strictly one-shot weapons, which means that the Fenrir has an effective maximum range of 3000 meters with its longest range feasible weapons (minimissiles). While it's rare for someone to have 10km line of vision on a battlefield, networked systems mean that the Fenrir is basically impractical as a defensive unit, as someone can paint it and the missile just goes right where it should. I'd boost the Fenrir to 150 base durability (160 after modifications), which leaves it with a wound threshold of 32; this is high, but keeps it from taking multiple wounds in all but the most severe hits. I'd increase its walker speed from 4/20 to 6/30 or even 8/40 (it has treads that allow it to move faster, and it's a full-sized vehicle), and consider boosting its vectored thrust to 4/20. I'd also give some robotic or cybernetic enhancement to the Fenrir that allows it to negate smartlink and homing/laser-guided smart ammunition bonuses by firing off flares and chaff, whether traditionally or using some advanced technology.
uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
A hyperdense exoskeleton has
A hyperdense exoskeleton has a DUR of 100, and that's a frame designed for heavy industrial use, not a combat-tank meant to repel Jovian invaders! The Fenrir needs way more DUR. The Egos could be sleeved as Infomorphs using Wirehead and then they puppet sock the tank, which can also be speed boosted, and that protects them from Unconsciousness? I imagine Drone-Warfare would be more effective than fully sleeving into a tank. But I don't have a perfect grasp of Jamming and Combat in general. Is there maybe more of a focus on mobility and versatility, like the Reaper with its four smart material weapons and limbs? Since purely dreadnought, battleship logic expired in the 1960s before the invention of rocketry? An interesting conundrum about the fearsomeness of Fenrir and combat morphs!
Exhuman, and Humanitarian.
Lazarus Lazarus's picture
I'm not quite sure those are
I'm not quite sure those are fair assessments of the Fenrir. In the first case you are talking about a 1 in 7,000,000 event (that's the odds of both rolling a critical and maximum damage) that inflicts 65 points of damage, not enough to destroy the Fenrir although yes, it does do a lot of damage and forces unconsciousness checks. Still, it's kind of hard to say that a morph isn't very tough because it can be badly damaged by a completely freak occurrence. Even in your second example you talk about the Fenrir taking 2 wounds on a critical success. Well, yes, again, it's an extremely lucky event and you have charged ridiculously close (within 10 meters) with a pretty powerful weapon. The odds are much, much higher that you will charge to within 10m of the Fenrir and inflict no wounds at all with that very same attack, at which point it is going to turn on you with its multiple weapons and probably turn you into a very fine mist (depending on what it is armed with). Being fired on from 10km away by someone with a disposable launcher? How is that a design flaw of the Fenrir? Every morph in the game can be fired on from 10km by someone with a disposable launcher.
My artificially intelligent spaceship is psychic. Your argument it invalid.
jKaiser jKaiser's picture
These things were designed as
These things were designed as the equivalent to Main Battle Tanks, right? So while they're more likely to show up singly in an actual EP game, for what they're designed for, planetary defense, they'd be in large numbers with various types of support. I mean, yes, time and again, infantry have killed Abrams tanks, but that doesn't discount the MBT's effectiveness, just shows that there's a limit to it's intended use profile. Though that's just my attempt to justify things, admittedly.
uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
Moxie allows regular
Moxie allows regular successes to be upgraded into critical successes, right? That flouts some of the odds. But that is probably not fair to the metric. If I ever allow the Fenrir off Callisto for eclectic but general consumption (per core they are just a specific place Morph), I would increase their DUR based on the fact that they are as big as vehicles.
Exhuman, and Humanitarian.
SquireNed SquireNed's picture
Lazarus wrote:I'm not quite
Lazarus wrote:
I'm not quite sure those are fair assessments of the Fenrir. In the first case you are talking about a 1 in 7,000,000 event (that's the odds of both rolling a critical and maximum damage) that inflicts 65 points of damage, not enough to destroy the Fenrir although yes, it does do a lot of damage and forces unconsciousness checks. Still, it's kind of hard to say that a morph isn't very tough because it can be badly damaged by a completely freak occurrence.
It's not actually that rare. Criticals happen about 10% of the time in EP, and a critical success for a non-combat monster sits at around 5% of the time if they're decent. Remember that there is no damage mitigation going on any more when a critical success happens, and you'll get a +5 damage about 20% of the time with that build. 65 isn't max damage, it's only in the upper 80% of the damage curve. Sure your damage will look more like 38 most of the time, but see below.
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Even in your second example you talk about the Fenrir taking 2 wounds on a critical success. Well, yes, again, it's an extremely lucky event and you have charged ridiculously close (within 10 meters) with a pretty powerful weapon. The odds are much, much higher that you will charge to within 10m of the Fenrir and inflict no wounds at all with that very same attack, at which point it is going to turn on you with its multiple weapons and probably turn you into a very fine mist (depending on what it is armed with).
The problem is that the average hit from a shredder does one wound on a Fenrir. The shredder isn't a particularly powerful weapon; it's moderate cost. It's what I chose because it's the sort of weapon you could conceivably have on a non-combat character. Someone with a rail- or RAP machine gun could easily hurt the Fenrir from an actually decent range. That shredder will almost always cause a wound; its average damage is 6d10+5, which maths out to 38 with -10 AP; someone hiding behind a crate can pop out and hose down a Fenrir, Keep in mind that most of the EP weapons are probably not real combat munitions; even the automatic rifle and machine gun are based on intermediate cartridges, with only the sniper firing high-caliber ammo (probably something like a .50 caliber analogue), so if you actually had stuff like anti-material rifles or, say, a plasma rifle, you could wreck the Fenrir's day really quick. I mean, the Fenrir is a "tank" that doesn't even have full protection against a frag grenade (which, admittedly, can only hurt it on special occasions, but it's not high-power).
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Being fired on from 10km away by someone with a disposable launcher? How is that a design flaw of the Fenrir? Every morph in the game can be fired on from 10km by someone with a disposable launcher.
Technically speaking, yes, anyone can be targeted from 10km with a disposable launcher. However, the Fenrir is more likely to have it happen to it, because of its large size making it much easier to hit (at least other people are enjoying a -30 penalty on the incoming attack, while the Fenrir only gets a -20 penalty in its favor). Also, anyone can carry a disposable launcher, but the Fenrir can't really, because you'd have to replace them all the time. This means that the Fenrir has a significantly decreased maximum engagement range, which really hurts it when you look at its large size penalties. Likewise, people with disposable launchers can't waste them on just anything; unless you're in a Reaper or Q-Morph or something you don't really qualify as a valuable enough target to spend a one-shot rocket on. Better yet, many combat morphs actually have things that make them difficult to detect, while the Fenrir is simply big and loud. It does have a decent sensors package, but even that is only useful if one of the operators can use it; its ability to detect things through cover is limited even with that, so putting it in an urban or rough environment is asking for trouble. The real problem with the Fenrir is that at least against a standard morph you can't get a positive bonus, but a homing smartlinked seeker can actually hit a Fenrir with no penalties at extreme range. The Fenrir is vulnerable to ambushes, and while it's a nice big tank it's not even the toughest morph in the game (up-armor a Daitya and you've got twice as much speed, similar armor, and similar weapons capabilities), and many of its combat features are easily replicated elsewhere.
Lazarus Lazarus's picture
jKaiser wrote:These things
jKaiser wrote:
These things were designed as the equivalent to Main Battle Tanks, right?. . .
That's the problem right there. No, they are not designed as the equivalent of an MBT. If they were they would have the equivalent armament of an MBT. This would not only include the equivalent of the 120mm gun but would also include things like the .50 machine guns (which, I'm assuming are more powerful than they standard listed machine gun since that's meant to be a man portable weapon and these aren't). Fenrir are still meant to be 'soldiers' deployed in situations where a tank is not appropriate (probably things like urban combat where the Fenrir goes room to room by crashing through the wall). At least that's my read on it. If you were going to insist that Fenrir are suppose to be the MBTs for Eclipse Phase then I would have to insist that you allow me to arm it in a corresponding fashion, which means guns not currently on the list that do ridiculous amounts of damage, with horrifying ranges, which standard morphs could not pick up and use. Again the whole 'disposable launcher' argument would be null and void because the Fenrir would be equipped with seeker launchers that fire missiles substantially larger than the standard missile and which hold more than a single shot.
My artificially intelligent spaceship is psychic. Your argument it invalid.
jKaiser jKaiser's picture
I probably could've phrased
I probably could've phrased that better, since on thinking about it, MBTs are a bad analogy. Honey Badgers or other fighting vehicles, perhaps. But still, my question remains, aren't these things meant to be deployed as part of a larger force, with support and the like? I'm not saying that does away with the weaknesses in the design, but my take on it was that these were specialized designs, not universal combat machines. EDIT: I took another look at the stats and I was envisioning them way too big. Explains at least the tank assumption on my part. They still speak to me as being more like a mobile weapons platform, the support member of a fireteam on steroids, rather than solo combat assets, though.
UnitOmega UnitOmega's picture
I recently had some
I recently had some discussion about how vehicles have, like, stupid high DUR compared to say, a Fenrir. Really, I think it's a bad comparison. The Fenrir is a morph - the entirety of it's structure (i/e, the DUR) is devoted to it's various functions, just like the human body (barring a couple of potentially redundant organs, even so if those get banged up you're still leaking vitals). A car, on the other hand, is full of parts and spaces which are not integral to it's structural integrity or functionality. Fire through the trunk of a car and see how much impact on it's functionality bullets have. Since DUR is the measure of "how much gross physical damage can this object take before it literally stops functioning" a Fenrir is going to have probably slightly lower DUR than objects like a buggy which has effectively redundant structures. If you actually penetrate the Fenrir's armor, you are doing damage to something it needs to function. To this end, I'd say it needs a better AV than more DUR. I'd also like to say, while the speed of a seeker hasn't really been made explicit, I'm pretty sure they can't cross 10k in a single combat round. I believe a Fenrir is armed with Radar and Lidar, which move at the speed of light (ish). With ingrained weapon systems and maybe Mental Speed, you could easily locate, track and fire on an incoming missile from that distance. You may even be able to get in a few shots with multiple egos. But a lot of this has to do with EP as a system not being scaled for open warfare.
H-Rep: An EP Homebrew Blog http://ephrep.blogspot.com/
uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
You can catch grenades.
You can catch grenades. Also Fenrir have six egos in them, so I think it is safe to assume they have specialists with the skills to hack, jam, and eccm the ever-loving crap out of the battlefield as a support specialist. Also they were designed to counter Jovians who are on the slow side of the tech slide in the setting. But I think combat/warfare in the setting has evolved into a more versatile and mobility-based theatre.
Exhuman, and Humanitarian.
Lazarus Lazarus's picture
SquireNed wrote:. . .It's not
SquireNed wrote:
. . .It's not actually that rare. Criticals happen about 10% of the time in EP, and a critical success for a non-combat monster sits at around 5% of the time if they're decent. . .
Crits only happen 9% of the time if you've got a 100% chance to hit. The odds are never greater than that because there's only 9 rolls that are some form of crit that are not automatic critical failure. Crits happen in roughly 10% of successes so a lot of times the odds of a crit are only 6 or 7%.
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Remember that there is no damage mitigation going on any more when a critical success happens, and you'll get a +5 damage about 20% of the time with that build. 65 isn't max damage, it's only in the upper 80% of the damage curve. Sure your damage will look more like 38 most of the time, but see below.
The odds of rolling 55 or higher on 6 dice (what is required to get the 65+ points of damage) is .0462%. That is 462 occurrences out of 1,000,000 tries, not 4.62% and I forgot to shift the decimal point after my calculations. That's 1 in 2100, and that's only occurring because you got lucky on the attacking roll. Since it is also suppose to be a critical that means there's only 2 occurrences it could be (33 and 44 since your example seems to be someone with a target of 50) so you are looking at a 1 in 105,000 event. Ok, so the odds of a 65+ critical are better than 1 in 7,000,000, but it is still incredibly anomalous.
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. . . That shredder will almost always cause a wound; its average damage is 6d10+5, which maths out to 38 with -10 AP. . .
38 - 22 (32 armor - 10AP) = 16. That means that roughly half your attacks will fail to cause a wound (in fact, 47% of the time, ignoring for a moment bonus damage). Since you have a respectable chance of missing in the example (49%) that means that you will fail to cause a wound 73% of the time. Those odds will go down a bit if I figure in the bonus damage but not terribly much so my statement that you are more likely to fail to cause a wound is still accurate.
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Keep in mind that most of the EP weapons are probably not real combat munitions; even the automatic rifle and machine gun are based on intermediate cartridges, with only the sniper firing high-caliber ammo (probably something like a .50 caliber analogue), so if you actually had stuff like anti-material rifles or, say, a plasma rifle, you could wreck the Fenrir's day really quick. I mean, the Fenrir is a "tank" that doesn't even have full protection against a frag grenade (which, admittedly, can only hurt it on special occasions, but it's not high-power).
See above. The problem isn't that the Fenrir isn't tough. It's that it isn't as tough as you want it to be. If you assume it should be a tank then yes, you're going to be disappointed. If you compare it to other morphs on a reasonable basis then it is pretty respectable.
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. . .Also, anyone can carry a disposable launcher, but the Fenrir can't really, because you'd have to replace them all the time. This means that the Fenrir has a significantly decreased maximum engagement range, which really hurts it when you look at its large size penalties. . .
Incorrect. A Fenrir can carry a disposable launcher just like any other morph can. Did you think Fenrir could only use mounted weapons? Even if you want to argue that the picture doesn't show limbs that could use a disposable launcher (and I will counter by pointing out that there is nothing in the text that says a Fenrir lacks fine manipulation capabilities, maybe they're just concealed at the moment) you could easily add another set of limbs. While this might seem like cheating I will point out that the counter examples such as the Daitya talk about how effective a modified one would be, not a stock one.
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The real problem with the Fenrir is that at least against a standard morph you can't get a positive bonus, but a homing smartlinked seeker can actually hit a Fenrir with no penalties at extreme range.
You can do the same thing to any morph with an accushot missile. A homing smart linked missile against a standard morph would have a -10 (although to be fair one of your arguments is using a Daitya, and you wouldn't have the -10 there) so yes, that's a drawback to the Fenrir. One drawback does not make it woefully underpowered.
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The Fenrir is vulnerable to ambushes . .
Any ambush that will hurt a Fenrir is going to inflict serious hurt on pretty much any morph I can think of.
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and while it's a nice big tank it's not even the toughest morph in the game (up-armor a Daitya and you've got twice as much speed, similar armor, and similar weapons capabilities), and many of its combat features are easily replicated elsewhere.
You've added 20 points of durability to the Daitya and sacrificed 6 points of armor. That actually seems like a bad trade to me. You are much more likely to be wounded since it takes 2 points less damage to wound you. You're faster on the ground but now you're stuck to the ground. You've got no extra limbs and no ego sharing. Could you slap some of these features onto a Daitya? Sure, but now you are comparing a modified morph to a standard morph. If I can jam extra stuff into the Fenrir then we are right back to where we started with the only real difference being the higher durability, lower armor, and higher ground speed.
My artificially intelligent spaceship is psychic. Your argument it invalid.
SquireNed SquireNed's picture
The main issue for the Fenrir
The main issue for the Fenrir and disposable launchers is the fact that you have to replace them each combat turn. Since any fair GM would assume that you've got four limbs, and you can have five egos (I think) in the Fenrir, you could actually have one pilot and four full automatic weapons firing rates. Putting a disposable launcher on permits for one really powerful, long range shot, but then you need to get a new one out and fire it again. I'm not saying I wouldn't let them have more, but it's certainly sub-optimal. In any case, the Fenrir just doesn't make sense with what it's designed to do. There are other synthmorphs with good combat survivability, like the reaper, that can be pretty darn scary, are much faster, and don't have some of the undesirable traits of the Fenrir. As far as morph designs go, it's not even the best support selection, since there aren't any weapons that only the Fenrir or large morphs can use, and sleeving multiple egos in isn't necessarily productive. If you fork the support guy into the Fenrir multiple times so that he can use all his guns at once, it's pretty effective, but forking him into two Reapers would probably still be more convenient and dangerous.
Lazarus Lazarus's picture
jKaiser wrote:I probably
jKaiser wrote:
I probably could've phrased that better, since on thinking about it, MBTs are a bad analogy. Honey Badgers or other fighting vehicles, perhaps. But still, my question remains, aren't these things meant to be deployed as part of a larger force, with support and the like? I'm not saying that does away with the weaknesses in the design, but my take on it was that these were specialized designs, not universal combat machines. EDIT: I took another look at the stats and I was envisioning them way too big. Explains at least the tank assumption on my part. They still speak to me as being more like a mobile weapons platform, the support member of a fireteam on steroids, rather than solo combat assets, though.
Infantry Fighting Vehicles are probably a much more appropriate concept over tank. They are better armored than your average soldier but they don't have the armor and massive weaponry of a tank. That said, IFV still mount guns considerably bigger than what a soldier can carry. Perhaps one of the weaknesses of the Fenrir is that there should be some 'Fenrir specific' weapons that it could mount. As it is it is sort of like taking a humvee, uparmoring it, giving it a gunner position, and then having the gunner use his assault rifle, and then wondering why it isn't a more effective combat vehicle.
My artificially intelligent spaceship is psychic. Your argument it invalid.
Lazarus Lazarus's picture
SquireNed wrote:The main
SquireNed wrote:
The main issue for the Fenrir and disposable launchers is the fact that you have to replace them each combat turn. Since any fair GM would assume that you've got four limbs, and you can have five egos (I think) in the Fenrir, you could actually have one pilot and four full automatic weapons firing rates. Putting a disposable launcher on permits for one really powerful, long range shot, but then you need to get a new one out and fire it again. I'm not saying I wouldn't let them have more, but it's certainly sub-optimal. In any case, the Fenrir just doesn't make sense with what it's designed to do. There are other synthmorphs with good combat survivability, like the reaper, that can be pretty darn scary, are much faster, and don't have some of the undesirable traits of the Fenrir. As far as morph designs go, it's not even the best support selection, since there aren't any weapons that only the Fenrir or large morphs can use, and sleeving multiple egos in isn't necessarily productive. If you fork the support guy into the Fenrir multiple times so that he can use all his guns at once, it's pretty effective, but forking him into two Reapers would probably still be more convenient and dangerous.
Fenrir can have up to 6 egos (main + 5 additional). Yes, you have to discard the disposable launcher and grab another one, but you can do it, and you'll be much more effective at it than other combat morphs because they can't do that six times in one round. Is it sub-optimal? Absolutely, but again, it is no weaker than what any other morph is going to be doing. There's nothing wrong with being disappointed that it isn't stronger but calling it pathetic because it is 'only' as good as other morphs is kind of wonky. As for survivability, again, you really have to play fair and compare apples to apples. Saying 'I could pop out with a shredder and inflict 4 wounds on a Fenrir' sounds really bad until you put it into context. Hit most other morphs with the exact same results. You will immediately incapacitate a Bruiser, Fury, Guard, Remade, or Reaper. In fact you'll incapacitate almost anything with the Q-Morph, Daitya, Neo-Whale, or Nautiloid being the only other exceptions I can think of. Taking 4 wounds like that is actually a win for the Fenrir.
My artificially intelligent spaceship is psychic. Your argument it invalid.
UnitOmega UnitOmega's picture
Actually, this raises an
Actually, this raises an interesting question. Does every Ego in the Fenrir roll SOM for passing out? Because if they do, that makes a Fenrir even more reliable if stocked with multiple Egos - the odds of every single user failing the check is quite reduced. One might pass out from the feedback or the internal damage while others keep doing. You can ignore one wound intrinsically as a synth, another if you stack in cheap Medichines (which just aren't standard issue in morphs). I believe the Fenrir has a big SOM bonus. I'll agree with Lazarus. The Fenrir isn't designed to wrestle MBTs or even TITAN warmachines. It's designed to act as an equivalent to some Jovian Marines in Exoskeletons. It has a pretty good pound-for-pound in that regard, especially if stocked will with weapons. One Fenrir can certainly produce more volume of fire than a small unit of Jovian troops, even with Reflex Boosters. It has, what, like 8 separate weapon mounts, four extra pneumatic limbs? It has thrust vectoring so it flies, 360 vision. It's pretty nasty in personal scale fighting. But EP doesn't do anything beyond that well - so it's not going to compare well somebody driving a redneck technical. Eclipse Phase is clearly not intended to actually roll dice at that scale.
H-Rep: An EP Homebrew Blog http://ephrep.blogspot.com/
uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
It flies on Callisto!
It flies on Callisto!
Exhuman, and Humanitarian.
Lazarus Lazarus's picture
SquireNed wrote:. . .The
SquireNed wrote:
. . .The problem is that the average hit from a shredder does one wound on a Fenrir. The shredder isn't a particularly powerful weapon; it's moderate cost. It's what I chose because it's the sort of weapon you could conceivably have on a non-combat character. Someone with a rail- or RAP machine gun could easily hurt the Fenrir from an actually decent range. . .
Actually, here is part of the problem. The Shredder is a stupidly powerful weapon for what it does. In comparison a rail machine gun firing armor piercing ammunition (the best possible combination) is 5d10+6 with -14 AP when fired full auto. On average rolls the close in Shredder fired full auto actually does .5 points more damage against targets with 14 points of armor or more. Against targets with less armor this increases up to 4.5 points more damage. Of course the machine gun does have substantially better range, can take advantage of other forms of ammunition depending on the situation, and will average more damage one the target is out of the short range of the Shredder but the fact still remains that in the combat conditions that were being set up in order to show that the Fenrir wasn't particularly strong the 'not particularly powerful weapon' is more effective than the autofiring rail machine gun with armor piercing ammunition.
My artificially intelligent spaceship is psychic. Your argument it invalid.
ORCACommander ORCACommander's picture
in regards to
in regards to disposablelaunchers, they could merely be external mounted single fire tubes, much like what an AKULA II submarine is capable of doing with external torpedos. The fenris i think is a direct homage to the arachnikomas of GITS, bigger than the tachkis but not in an MBT roll that the huge one had. I would put these down as urban pacification assets. I think the rule of thumb here is if you want to have something like an MBT in your game then don't stat it, as it is something your players are not supposed to be able to handle in a game about espionage and covert action. after all if you stat it your players will try and kill it
Lazarus Lazarus's picture
ORCACommander wrote:in
ORCACommander wrote:
in regards to disposablelaunchers, they could merely be external mounted single fire tubes, much like what an AKULA II submarine is capable of doing with external torpedos. . .
You could do that but you run into lots of funny issues. If you use the existing weapon mounts then the Fenrir has a total of 8 missiles it can fire (I actually thought it was only 4) and then it is completely out of weaponry. That seems like a lot at first but it probably isn't enough to survive many prolonged engagements. Of course you could always stick more weapon mounts onto it, but then we are back to the whole issue of how heavily can you customize a morph.
My artificially intelligent spaceship is psychic. Your argument it invalid.
SquireNed SquireNed's picture
ORCACommander wrote:in
ORCACommander wrote:
in regards to disposablelaunchers, they could merely be external mounted single fire tubes, much like what an AKULA II submarine is capable of doing with external torpedos. The fenris i think is a direct homage to the arachnikomas of GITS, bigger than the tachkis but not in an MBT roll that the huge one had. I would put these down as urban pacification assets. I think the rule of thumb here is if you want to have something like an MBT in your game then don't stat it, as it is something your players are not supposed to be able to handle in a game about espionage and covert action. after all if you stat it your players will try and kill it
Keep in mind that there are explicit Arachnikoma, which are built with that in mind. I don't think the Fenrir is intended as a tank (I call it such because of its form factor), but it's just not practical in any real way as a military vehicle; it uses a form factor only used because of its ability to carry excessive armor and firepower, but only has a number of use cases where it's better than individual morphs. It's so darn expensive and (in-universe, though there's no mechanic for it) rare, and it doesn't deliver on any feature that is difficult for other morphs to deliver, and it's certainly not price optimal. I feel like that's my gripe with "combat morphs" in general in Eclipse Phase; they don't have a bunch of killer features that you'd need them to have for viability, and they're not really priced to sell. The Fenrir just tends to get most of my angst because even though it's got the best possible armor (for a morph), it's almost entirely devoid of selling features beyond that; it technically only has Ego Sharing (1), so you'd have to put in another 40k before you could make it fit a whole team, and with two egos it has redundant features that won't be useful. It's locked out of Speed boosts, too. You could fork some poor saps into a bunch of cases (or synths), hand them disposable missile launchers, and basically let them go to town, and you might have a 50/50 victory rate with six egos in the Fenrir and six outside, especially if the cases/snyths are filled with skilled soldiers. The Fenrir is not really a force multiplier, it's a force linear-improvement device.
Lazarus Lazarus's picture
The odds are more in the
The odds are more in the Fenrir's favor than it is in the case's. Why? Because assuming all else is equal with the egos the Fenrir will have a higher initiative bonus. It can also survive 4-5 strikes depending on how lucky/unlucky it is. Assuming it kills at least half the case morphs before they can attack (a very reasonable assumption) they would probably not kill the Fenrir unless they had brought extra disposable launchers. Even if they did, as we talked about before it would take them additional time to ready the next launcher during which time the Fenrir could take them out with whatever weaponry remains.
My artificially intelligent spaceship is psychic. Your argument it invalid.
UnitOmega UnitOmega's picture
Case morphs also come with
Case morphs also come with the Lemon trait, so in a combat situation they may arbitrarily take penalties for basically no reason. Honestly, the Fenrir [i]is[/i] overblown. Both in universe, and out. A normal player says "Damn, that's a lot of guns armor and DUR, and I can't buy it with CP? I want one". The Fenrir is suppose to be a niche encounter for Gamemasters spicing up the Jovian system - these tiny autonomist colonies build these multi-ego fighting machines to keep the Jovians back. In that regard, actual market cost may not matter, it's not like you typically go down to "Honest Ali's Morph Dealership" and go "I'd like a pocket tank, please!". Though, of course, under normal circumstances, you might not be able to just whip up half a dozen Cases either. Firewall has many resources and Morphs are interesting equipment, but most places technically have a morph shortage - bulk orders can't be common. And, I mean, a Fenrir is better than a TITAN Warbot. Probably because it's all scaled to PC-level combat.
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Lazarus Lazarus's picture
Hey, I won't argue overblown.
Hey, I won't argue overblown. I'm just taking issue with 'truly pathetic'.
My artificially intelligent spaceship is psychic. Your argument it invalid.
UnitOmega UnitOmega's picture
We should also take into
We should also take into account EP is a quite lethal game (and rightly so). People don't typically survive being shot full of 10+ HEAT bullets or hit with a man-portable missile. Using weapons to their fullest has deadly results. The Fenrir takes it pretty well, but like someone said up-thread, you give it stats, they will kill it. Or at least fight it. And why bother making stats if victory is not possible? It's a classic issue of game design. If you actually built a walking tank, at some point somebody will find a way to try and fight one. Or use it to fight. If nothing else in the system is scaled to handle that fight then why bother giving it stats? It's like Space Combat.
H-Rep: An EP Homebrew Blog http://ephrep.blogspot.com/
SquireNed SquireNed's picture
UnitOmega wrote:We should
UnitOmega wrote:
We should also take into account EP is a quite lethal game (and rightly so). People don't typically survive being shot full of 10+ HEAT bullets or hit with a man-portable missile. Using weapons to their fullest has deadly results. The Fenrir takes it pretty well, but like someone said up-thread, you give it stats, they will kill it. Or at least fight it. And why bother making stats if victory is not possible? It's a classic issue of game design. If you actually built a walking tank, at some point somebody will find a way to try and fight one. Or use it to fight. If nothing else in the system is scaled to handle that fight then why bother giving it stats? It's like Space Combat.
The big thing with the Fenrir is that EP's mechanism for damage is very heavily based around incapacitation, which makes it somewhat natural to have a giant walking quasi-tank that takes wounds almost as easily as the next guy. You then have issues with the fact that its large size and low speed mean that it can't really do any of the smart fighting that people are trained to do, and you get an anemic quasi-infantry but with bigger guns battlefield role. The problem is that the Fenrir either needs to be fast and sleek enough to do things that permit it to be easily incapacitated, or reinforced in some way to mitigate its potential to be incapacitated by wounds.
uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
I am curious about SAW sort
I am curious about SAW sort of stuff, the big guns that Hoplites wield easily and that you would mount to a Fenrir. Or the equivalent to a gunship.
Exhuman, and Humanitarian.
Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
I think part of the problem
I think part of the problem is that surprisingly little from your morph matters in a fight. I think DUR is about it. You can add more limbs and more armor up to whatever functional cap is desired. Past that it's all about your speed stat and weapon choice.
MrWigggles MrWigggles's picture
Does every ego inside a
Does every ego inside a fenrir get to apply moxie to the fenrir?
Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
They should be able to apply
They should be able to apply it to their own rolls while in it, as Moxie is an ego stat. The biggest problem with the Fenrir is its description IMO. Its not comparable to a tank, IFV, or other combat vehicle, its a lot smaller, and presumably masses a lot less due to the legs. Its a pretty potent combat morph though, partially because it can act as a command node with all the egos in it, and its strong sensory suite. Its also flight capable, which tends to get overlooked I think. Slap a couple of stealth enhancing aftermarket mods on it (medichines are a must have, radar stealth and optical stealth are probably a good couple to use, as well as quantum radar, weapon AIs for the extra weapons the users may not be able to use are probably a good thing to pick up as well) Its still going to want to take cover though, and, like a lot of heavier morphs, will want a lot of drones to give it telemetry and allow to be better fight without LoS. It's also worth noting that it has at least 5 manipulating arms, which extend its utility a lot further than its art would suggest. In terms of role, I think it has more in common with an attack helicopter than a tank, due to the (admittedly slow) thrust vector. It doesn't really have a real world analogue as its basically a fairly tough and mobile pile of guns with a panopticonic sensor array. In game terms its actually fairly strong in game terms, because with 6 egos inside its very likely for at least some of them to win the initiative, and it has a huge moxie pool to use for getting those initiative:firsts off, and ignoring armor. That also partially makes up for its lack of boosted speed, as its egos can use delay actions to keep going in later action phases. All in all, its a decent, though kind of overcosted morph, though its not as bad as the Faust in that respect. It just shouldn't be compared to a vehicle or tank. I've made some actual tankomorph rules though, and its an absolute steal cost wise compared to them. 200 DUR morphs don't run cheap. EDIT: mental speed is a must-take. It help the morph win initiative due to the initiative boost to all egos, and grants an insane action economy. 18 actions per action turn, 12 mental only. This lets the morph act as a jamming/RC hub for a lot of bodies (such as the attendant shell swarm its going to want). Beyond that, I'm actually not entirely sure what all of those could be used for, so far my best guess is launching multiple time reduced infowar attacks, even if most of the egos in the morph are mediocre hackers, there only needs to be two good ones for some crazy hacking to happen.
uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
Jamming via puppet sock a
Jamming via puppet sock a group of synths is a really cool visual! Need to incorporate that when I use one of these off-world to guard a data cache in the main belt.
Exhuman, and Humanitarian.
ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
All The Dakka.
I disagree completely – the Fenrir is a total killing machine, and throwing one at the players is a cordial invitation for them to Get Wrecked, but this isn't because of the armor and gunmounts, but rather because of it's unique ability to mount multiple EgoSharing augmentations. Let me expand on that: At it's most basic, EgoSharing is like Speed, but better. Not only does the EgoSharing cap at 6 when everything else is limited to 4, all the actions take place in the first action round rather than having to wait, and each gets it's own initiative roll. Taken together, the Fenrir is technically the Fastest morph in the game, even if it doesn't actually win the initiative. The next thing to note is that the egos all share the same senses and are neurally linked – what one sees, all see. Depending on how the GM interprets the rules, this means that either every Ego gets to roll perception to see something and only one needs to succeed for everyone to succeed, or the ego with the highest perception rolls with the others assisting for up to a +30 bonus on top of that from enhanced vision. Which segues neatly into the most powerful feature – the Fenrir can (subject to GM fiat naturally) apply Teamwork bonuses to skills which normally don't qualify. Perception is the most obvious but Freerunning, Flight, Infiltration... these could (and in my opinion, should) qualify for the bonuses. Most important is that this could apply to Fray. Combined with one of the egos using Full Defense for their action results in the Fenrir rolling (Fray/2 +60) to fray against ranged attacks, which is a nigh-unique ability. If the ego rolling the test has a skill of 80, this means that aggressors have at best a 50% chance to hit, regardless of attack mode. Which leads neatly into the last feature, which is applicable even if the GM doesn't allow the teamwork bonuses – the egos in the Fenrir can be optimized. Each aspect of the morph can be put under the control of the ego most capable in that ability – the ego with the highest fray rolls for the whole morph, the weapons fall under the control of the ego with the best skill, the one with the best perception sees for all. Seen from the outside, the egos form a gestalt entity where all the skills are rolled by the highest value of the group inhabiting it. Put together, the Fenrir is a combat machine unmatched by anything else in the system. It's simply that all it's bonuses are implicit, instead of being stated explicitly. Now some notes about weapons!
SquireNed wrote:
The shredder isn't a particularly powerful weapon; it's moderate cost. It's what I chose because it's the sort of weapon you could conceivably have on a non-combat character.
Lazarus wrote:
Actually, here is part of the problem. The Shredder is a stupidly powerful weapon for what it does.
I think this is more a miscomprehension of what the Shredder actually is; it's often referred to as a Space-Shotgun, where it's more accurate to say it's a Space-High-Pressure-Water-Cutter-Gun. In other words, it's an anti-armor gun, more likely to be found in the hands of a SWAT team member than those of a desk-jockey. Firing SS at close range has a damage code identical to a Thermobaric Grenade, and is ultimately comparable to being hit with a plasma cutter. Similarly, I don't really see vulnerability to one-shot Seekers as a fault exactly, because killing stuff like the Fenrir is exactly what the disposable launcher is supposed to do. Regarding disposable launchers, and advanced weaponry in general; it's important to remember that it's perfectly reasonable to combine weapons together – a Fenrir needn't have a "single" disposable launcher per mount, it can quite legitimately wield an array of 7 tubes as a weapon – or more simply, just have a variant that can be reloaded. Moreover, if the Fenrir is using internal ammo storage then reloading might be a Quick Action (explicitly allowed) if it's an action at all – I would have no qualms saying that the Fenrir's mounted weapons reload automatically. From a more housrule-y point of view, the Fenrir's description says it usually mounts "linked" weapons, which iirc isn't an explicitly defined term. This could simply be a reference to combined arms, but it could be parsed as multiple weapons set to fire at as one – in other words, weapons that can be fired at the same target without incurring multi-weapon penalties. Which is to be honest one of my favorite ways to represent heavy weapons – a heavy machine gun is the same as attacking with a normal MG twice, or can apply FA/Burst bonuses to SA fire.
In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few. But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?
R.O.S.S.-128 R.O.S.S.-128's picture
By Your Powers Combined
So basically, a Fenrir is philosophically the opposite of a drone jockey. It allows a single morph to benefit from multiple egos, where as drones allow a single ego to effectively have multiple morphs. So if you're given a mission where a caveat is they only have enough transport capacity for one morph, picking a Fenrir lets you still bring your whole party. Another interesting thing regarding speed: speed is technically a morph trait, so if you install Reflex Boosters on your Fenrir, suddenly all six egos in there have Speed 2 (and a total of +15 REF). Then for extra fun you can give them all Mental Speed, allowing that Fenrir to take 36 actions per turn (though 24 of them are restricted to mental actions). For additional cheese, install a ghostrider module on it. Now you can bring seven egos, one of whom is an infomorph with speed 3 or 4 depending on their Eidolon (or whether they got themselves Increased Speed). Of course, the ego in the ghostrider won't be able to help control the Fenrir (ie they can't roll Fray for you), but the rules for it does say they can (if given permission) access all your Mesh gear, senses, and your implants. So they can be your Signal/EWar guy, as well as monitoring any actively-managed implants/augmentations you may happen to have. You may have to ask your GM whether weapon mounts can be accessed by a Ghostrider. With all that in place, you can have a Fenrir that can take 16 physical actions per turn (12 from the installed egos, 4 from the ghostriding infomorph) and 32 mental actions per turn (24 from the installed egos, 8 from the ghostriding infomorph). If your group tasks their mental actions to remote controlling drones (RC, as opposed to jamming, is a mental action), your Fenrir can be escorted by a fleet of 32 combat drones. "By your powers combined" indeed... Edit: I just realized of course, it's not likely everyone in the party would have Piloting and Gunnery skills necessary to control drones effectively. That's okay! You can install skillware on the Fenrir, with Piloting and Gunnery skillsofts at 40. Now everyone onboard has access to those skills. With the +15 REF sitting in the Fenrir will give them (5 from the base morph, 10 from Reflex Boosters), that will be more than enough to make those drones a serious threat.
End of line.
Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
The Ego Sharing upgrade is
The Ego Sharing upgrade is incompatible with anything that gives speed.
R.O.S.S.-128 R.O.S.S.-128's picture
Unfortunate
Trappedinwikipedia wrote:
The Ego Sharing upgrade is incompatible with anything that gives speed.
I suppose I can understand why, it'd be pretty OP. That said it did capitalize "Speed", meaning it refers to modifying that particular stat, so Mental Speed can still be used. And of course, you can still take the Ghostrider. Even without Reflex Boosters it can still be a pretty scary loadout though.
End of line.
MrWigggles MrWigggles's picture
You know someone brought up
You know someone brought up Fenrir needed a Fenrir unique weapon. I was thinking, not so much a cannon, but a CWIS. A defensive only gun mount that would use the gunnery skill to fire on any incoming missiles or drones. Maybe a penality? Giving the Fenrir two defense rolls. The CWIS can be overwhelmed.
uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
Due to their origin, as a
Due to their origin, as a military innovation to counter a possible Jovian invasion/occupation, an anti-missile system sounds pretty appropriate.
Exhuman, and Humanitarian.
ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
Personally, I just assume
Personally, I just assume that the Fenrir presented in the books is an hilariously flawed version intentionally leaked by Gerdr to give the impression that their front-line combat morphs are hilariously fragile. As a point of reference, I assumed that a "budget" APC would have Armor 34/32 and DUR 160, and a "budget" light tank would have armor 36/36 and DUR 200. So I'd put a real, Milspec Fenrir somewhere in that range. By way of comparison, the semi-cheap Heavy Tank was 36/44 armor and 400 DUR. As for it being out of the range of small arms? It should be. "I get close to the tank and kill it with my shredder" should be suicidal, and entirely unworkable as a strategy. That's also why I implemented the Hardened Armor rule, which reduces/eliminates the damage bonuses for bursts/FA based on the difference between your target's unpenetrated armor and the AP of your weapon.
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MrWigggles MrWigggles's picture
Fenrir isn't a tank though.
Fenrir isn't a tank though.
jKaiser jKaiser's picture
I foresee a nomenclature war
I foresee a nomenclature war upcoming... Let's save everyone some grief and decide how literally we're defining the term "tank" here, because it has a specific definition as an actual vehicle, and much broader set of terms that I think people are leaning on. I know I was.
Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
A tank can be a lot of things
A tank can be a lot of things, but the Fenrir is tiny. Without its legs its about the same size as a Wiesel AWC (maybe smaller), which is only a tank by an *extremely* broad definition. Comparing the Fenrir to a tank is like comparing the Wiesel to a tank, a comparison which will make the smaller vehicle look terrible.
jKaiser jKaiser's picture
The thing's always evoked the
The thing's always evoked the Dragoon from Starcraft to me, so it's in that nebulous "mechanized infantry" category for me.
ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
Evil Bees FTW.
R.O.S.S.-128 wrote:
So basically, a Fenrir is philosophically the opposite of a drone jockey. It allows a single morph to benefit from multiple egos, where as drones allow a single ego to effectively have multiple morphs. So if you're given a mission where a caveat is they only have enough transport capacity for one morph, picking a Fenrir lets you still bring your whole party.
Pretty much. It also means you no longer have to worry about the distribution of specialists and equipment, because one "individual" can do All The Things, and losing a mission-critical member is effectively impossible.
jKaiser wrote:
I foresee a nomenclature war upcoming... Let's save everyone some grief and decide how literally we're defining the term "tank" here, because it has a specific definition as an actual vehicle, and much broader set of terms that I think people are leaning on. I know I was.
"Tank", aka "WarBrick" - A metal box coated with armor and guns. More seriously, the Fenrir is "A multi-ego morph that is akin to a tank" or "more akin to a super-heavy tank than a regular morph." I read this as "Regular considerations used when designing morphs have been supplanted with those used in heavy armored vehicles intended for front line combat.", so considerations of aesthetics, user comfort, multipurpose use in habitats ect. have been ignored in favor of More Killin'. I'll admit my personal biases influence this. (Slight Tangent Warning!) Let me explain;
ShadowDragon8685 wrote:
As for it being out of the range of small arms? It should be. "I get close to the tank and kill it with my shredder" should be suicidal, and entirely unworkable as a strategy. That's also why I implemented the Hardened Armor rule, which reduces/eliminates the damage bonuses for bursts/FA based on the difference between your target's unpenetrated armor and the AP of your weapon.
SquireNed wrote:
... as someone can paint it and the missile just goes right where it should.
These two quotes pretty much boil down why I think that in EP Tanks and armored vehicles are obsolete. I see the "regular weapons can penetrate heavy armor" piece, and take it as written – they are built to function as anti-armor weapons when necessary because hard targets like homicidal construction equipment or angry SpaceCrabs are common, and (just like the fenrir) it prevents having the "wrong tool for the job". Adding to this is the simplicity of establishing orbital cover on planets ("[s]SatNav[/s] Railgun In A Can"), which means that anything other a certain size/toughness becomes too tempting a target for orbital fire. The Fenrir is a tank because it's the largest thing on the battlefield – field anything bigger and "nuke it from orbit" becomes the default response. For advanced combat morphs, I don't see development going towards "more armor". Instead, combat is shifting towards stealth, speed and flexibility, which imo the Fenrir exemplifies. If you want a top-range combat morph, give it Invisibility, Internal Rocket, Shape Changing, or Modular Construction. The Ultimate Killing Machine in EP isn't a Tank; it's a Swarminoid with Invisibility, Combat Armor and mounted Microwave Agonizer.
In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few. But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?
ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
jKaiser wrote:I foresee a
jKaiser wrote:
I foresee a nomenclature war upcoming... Let's save everyone some grief and decide how literally we're defining the term "tank" here, because it has a specific definition as an actual vehicle, and much broader set of terms that I think people are leaning on. I know I was.
Although history would remember them, if at all, as a mere footnote in the story of the fall, the Nomenclatural Wars of the 2090s were brutal.
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jKaiser jKaiser's picture
Fuck, man, you and I must go
Fuck, man, you and I must go on different parts of Tumblr if you're putting it THAT far in the future. XD
ShadowDragon8685 ShadowDragon8685's picture
Note how "of the 2090s" can
Note how "of the 2090s" can be read as either "The Nomenclature Wars, which happened in the 2090s," or as a part of the whole proper noun, "The Nomenclatural Wars of the 2090s," implying other Nomenclatural Wars. :P
Skype and AIM names: Exactly the same as my forum name. [url=http://tinyurl.com/mfcapss]My EP Character Questionnaire[/url] [url=http://tinyurl.com/lbpsb93]Thread for my Questionnaire[/url] [url=http://tinyurl.com/obu5adp]The Five Orange Pips[/url]
jKaiser jKaiser's picture
Touche.
Touche.