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Useful NPCs

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Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Useful NPCs
What about a thread for useful NPCs? Here is a signature NPC I have used a number of times, mostly to rain doom upon the PCs. A bit of a munchkin/Marty Stu character, but effective. James Kong James Kong (born Hemi Hetaraka) is one of Firewall’s more trusted Cleaners. He is sent in when some situation has gone bad enough that it needs to be wiped out with plasma fire or worse. He is also occasionally used by proxies as a threat: “James Kong is on the way. If you do not resolve the situation quietly within 8 hours, his team will take over.” James was born on Aoraki Cluster, a culturally New Zealand habitat in Mercury orbit, socially aligned with the Argonauts and various uplift corporations. Trained for power engineering, he rebelled at an early age against “being forced into becoming a solar farmer” and left for the asteroid Belt. There he joined some gangs/militias, getting himself into all sorts of trouble. Everything changed during the Fall: he helped rescue a refugee barge at Fortuna, he saw action against TITAN systems, and was among the survivors from the 20880 Yiyideng evacuation. He emerged a veteran, and with some ties to groups that would soon form Firewall. Since the Fall he has officially been a mercenary of vaguely autonomist leanings, drifting around the solar system wherever there is work. In reality he has been doing dirty jobs for Firewall, quietly moved into place if needed. His reputation within Firewall is solid, if slightly mixed: great at applying brute force where needed (and even recognizing when it is needed), willing to face down seriously scary situations, but also a little bit too ruthless. The disaster at Galápagos Station 5 AF is widely remembered: the local Argonauts had experimented on something exsurgent-related and the virus got out. James dealt with it by vaporizing the entire station: probably the only way out, but killing hundreds of people. Firewall might have accepted it as regrettable and necessary, but the Argonauts consider Galápagos Station a terrorist action and are still on the lookout for the perpetrator. James likes to style himself as a suave secret agent, especially when he is not on the job and playing his persona of the wild scum mercenary. He does look good in a suit, he is a literal party animal, and as his partners can attest, a great lover. On the job he is coolly rational, making use of his smarts. Growing up as a big gorilla surrounded by puny microgravity transhumans and always told not to break things, James really enjoys when he can let go of caution and just destroy things and people. But he applies brute force methodically and with intelligence: he particularly enjoys having opponents underestimate him because he looks like a big violent gorilla. That is typically when the shaped charges hidden in the reactor casing detonates. Experience and stability: James has seen it all: exsurgent outbreaks, renegade sentinels, seed AGIs, hypercorp social engineering gone wrong, TITAN worshipping death-cults, asyncs using petals, even a possible case of demonic possession. He is unlikely to be shocked and tends to think well on his feet, but usually insists on getting all known data before the mission. He has undergone regular psychotherapy and memory editing to maintain ego integrity. His “carpe diem” attitude/James Bond persona appears to balance or shield the existential despair often experienced by many veteran field agents. Loyalty: James is reliable. Strongly motivated to fight existential risk. Relationship to Argonauts problematic: James claims he holds no hard feelings, but probability mapping suggest a certain reactance. Big 5 personality traits: Openness to experience: high. Conscientiousness: normal. Extraversion: above average. Agreeableness: above average. Emotional stability: high. Skills: Various weapon and defense skills, demolitions, some engineering. Practical physics background. Tactics: James typically carefully gathers more than enough firepower and other destructive resources before going in. “A fair fight is a mistake and a gamble: maximum overkill is safe and reliable.” Sometimes he quietly infiltrates another site or target in order to take control over suitably destructive equipment, whether it is spacecraft, antimatter, or asteroid defense grids. However, once things are in motion he is quite willing to improvise. In a direct fight James exploits his amazing freerunning skills to for 3D fighting. Associates: James often leads a team of sentinels or non-Firewall assets. He has worked much with Little Boy, an async with complex delusions of persecution from a (likely) imaginary twin brother. Quotes: “Fancy habitat you got. Do you know what happens if somebody blows up the main and reserve flywheels? Let’s find out. By the way, this exercise requires you to wear a spacesuit…” “No, I will not wait. My payload is incoming. Any complaints, you can tell them personally to Sir Isaac Newton in 2 minutes.” “This is the last time I work with children.” Adventure ideas James Kong is a useful NPC to keep PCs in line, get them out of trouble – or nuke them from orbit if they mess things up. He is unlikely to make much of being a rather senior Firewall member with a lot of experience: he is more likely to point out that he brought the big guns to the battle. The Medeans are on the trail of James, and he needs some help to avoid them. The PCs will get a nice rep boost from Firewall for doing it. But during the mission they might get a nasty suspicion that maybe the Argonauts have a point. What really happened on Galápagos? In fact, if James were a bit unhinged, wouldn’t he be in a great position to just annihilate any evidence of wrongdoing? Where does he get all those wonderful toys? James needs somebody to do a bit of shopping for him in a corner of the solar system where he cannot easily go. The PCs will be buying equipment, blueprints and materials (or having cut-outs do it) for later smuggling to Firewall. It might be normal weaponry, or near-existential risk alien artifacts. Except there are some annoying law enforcement people doing their best to stop arms smuggling at the same time. The spy who loved me: James has found a problem he cannot handle with his usual methods: after a wild party he has gained a romantic stalker. Normally, disappearing from sight would be enough, but in this case he needs to remain on site for a future mission. And besides, it would be cowardly to run away. Maybe the PCs can help? Sure, the stalker could be a Jovian spy trying to derail the mission, but that would make things simple. This might be particularly interesting if the PCs have mostly encountered James’ serious scary side before. By chance James encounters Moana, another exile uplift from Aoraki Cluster. Comparing stories they realize that there seem to be a surprising number of “delinquents” who have left and turned to exotic careers – gatecrashing, radical uplift politics, piracy, and so on. It is easy to shrug off as a response to a stifling home society, but something of the pattern seems off to James. Drawing on some Firewall probability mapping his hunch pays off: it almost looks like there is some deliberate memetic – or genetic – engineering going on to seed the solar system with wandering, competent but rebellious uplifts. Why? What is really going on back at Aoraki? And James, based on past experience, immediately begins to suspect that he might not be trustworthy. This is deeply disconcerting, and he wants to resolve the situation one way or another now. Stats (This is James sleeved in his optimized “work” morph and with full mission equipment; from time to time he uses less extreme and conspicuous neo-hominid morphs.) Name: James Kong (born Hemi Hetaraka, known aliases Grant Simeon, Nnamdi Amaechi, “The Maori Masher”) Background: Uplift Faction: Anarchist Morph: Neo-Hominid (Gorilla) Gender Identity: Male bisexual Actual Age: 28 Current Moxie: 3 Motivations: +Hedonism (après nous, le déluge), +Destruction (naked merciless force!), -Cowardice (especially people not helping people in need) Aptitudes: COG 20, COO 20, INT 20, REF 15, SAV 20, SOM 40, WIL 15 Stats: TT 6, LUC 30, IR 60, WR 13, DUR 65, DR 98, MOX 3, INIT 7, SPD 1(1), DB 4 Armor: Energy Armor: 20, Kinetic Armor: 19 Rep: @-Rep: 30 G-Rep: 30 I-Rep: 60 Ego Traits: Brave, Danger Sense, First Impression, Information Control, Addiction (Party drugs) (Level 1), Black Mark (Argonauts) (Level 3), Edited Memories (Firewall edits of past missions), Neural Damage (Finger agnosia: unable to distinguish the fingers on the hand) Morph Traits: Striking Looks (Level 1), Tough (Level 3) Implants: Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Direction Sense, Bioweave Armor (light), Endocrine Control, Muscle Augmentation, Neurachem (L1), Anti-Glare, Hardened Skeleton, Medichines, Nanophage, Oracle, Respirocytes, Facial Nanotats Skills: Academics: Physics: 40, Beam Weapons: 60, Blades: 40, Climbing: 40, Clubs: 40, Deception: 20, Demolitions: 60, Flight: 40, Fray: 65, Freefall: 65, Freerunning: 90, Gunnery: 60, Hardware: Aerospace: 50, Infiltration: 60, Infosec: 50, Interest: Partying: 60, Interest: Ancient comics: 50, Interfacing: 30, Intimidation (Haka): 70 (80), Kinesics: 50, Kinetic Weapons: 60, Language: English: 90, Language: Māori: 50, Networking: Autonomists: 70, Networking: Criminals: 50, Networking: Firewall: 60, Perception: 60, Persuasion (Seduction): 60 (70), Pilot: Spacecraft: 45, Profession: Energy engineering: 50, Programming: 40, Protocol: 60, Research: 20, Scrounging: 20, Seeker Weapons: 40, Spray Weapons: 60, Thrown Weapons: 30, Unarmed Combat: 90 Muse: Kazanda. Academics: Nanotechnology 40, Language: Mandarin 40, Profession: Security Ops 40 Unarmed fighting: Skill 90, DV 1d10+4, AP 0 Plasma Rifle: Skill 70, DV 3d10+20, AP -8, SA, Range 20/50/100/300, 10 Shots Seeker Armband: Skill 50, DV 2d10+10, AP -6, SS, Plasmaburst Micromissile, Range 70/180/600/2000, 6 shots Automatic Rail Rifle: Skill 70, DV 2d10+6, AP -14, SA,BF,FA, Zero Armor Piercing Rifle Rounds, Range 225/375/750/1350, 45 Shots Torch: Skill 70, DV 3d10-4, SS, Range 5/15/30/50, 20 shots Underbarrel Seeker: Skill 50, DV -1d10, AP 0, SA, EMP Micromissile, Range 70/180/600/2000, 9 shots Thrown grenade: Skill 30, 3d10+10, AP 0, SS, High-Explosive Grenade, 8/20/40/120, 4 Gear: Covert Ops Tool, White Noise Machine, DNA Chaff, Lens Crazer, (4x) Liquid Thermite, Cleaners, Disassemblers, Guardians, Saboteurs, (4x) Superthermite Charges, Anonymous Account, Backup Insurance (mod), (2x) Fake Ego ID, Active ID Protection, Exploit, Tactical Networks, Standard Muse, Nanobandage, Spindle, Spindle Climber, (5x) Speck, Helmet (full), Body Armor (heavy) (w/ Fireproofing, Immunogenic System, Faraday Mod), Plasma Rifle (w/ Smartlink,Safety System, Gyromount, Shock Safety), Seeker Armband (w/ Smartlink,Safety System, Extended Magazine, Gyromount), Automatic Rail Rifle (w/ Smartlink,Safety System, Extended Magazine, Gyromount), Torch (w/ Smartlink,Safety System, Gyromount), Underbarrel Seeker (w/ Smartlink,Safety System, Extended Magazine, Gyromount), (100x) Zero Armor Piercing Rifle Rounds, (10x) EMP Micromissile, (10x) Plasmaburst Micromissile, (10x) High-Explosive Grenade, (100x) Torch Gel
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Zsander Zsander's picture
Building a Better Blackbird
'Aleksandr Zaitsev' Born and raised originally in a Somatek uplift research hab, 'Sascha's' name was assigned to him by the cadre of scientists assigned to his batch of uplifts. As many of the team hailed from the Earth nation-state formerly named the Russian Federation, he and the rest of his 'production line' were given Russian nomenclature (albeit missing the middle patronymic), and was a random assignment of first and last names from a hash pool, although his caretakers were amused by the fact that his name matched both that of a figure skater and radio astronomer from Russian history. Over the next decade, Aleksandr was put through his paces, and while he absorbed a fair amount of the language and some of the cultural aspects of his overseers, he began trying to piece together his own theories on uplift development, and in the process, displayed a surprising amount of willfulness, despite the hypercorp's rigid and rigorous schedule applied to its uplift studies. When the Fall came a little over a decade after his 'birth' he took the opportunity to make his escape; it was easy enough, considering the chaos that was enveloping the Sunward region as the survivors of the Fall made their exodus. The lunar orbital hab itself was overrun by refugees and infugees alike, and with his gradually-increasing unruly behavior, he was less an asset to Somatek's research and more a liability. Amid the chaos, his leaving was barely considered. The continuing degree of prejudice displayed toward uplifts in the inner system gradually drove him to Mars and beyond, and he drifted in and out of social circles, uplift and otherwise, eventually settling on Mars, in the outskirts of Elysium among like-minded individuals (albeit at a bit of social and sometimes physical distance). Over the years his desire to take flight, literally and metaphorically, led him to learn to pilot aerospace craft as well as to spread his own physical wings, and his various talents led him to become in demand with the more open-minded members of various factions. These days, he busies himself as a courier of both data and physical items, having learned a thing or two about the smuggler trade—a concept that surprisingly satisfies some of his nature as a Corvid. Beyond his vocation, he's been trying to pursue his own private studies, essentially working to move past his 'apish' upbringing and form an idea of what Ravenkind would be like, had it evolved on its own, from social patterns to religious beliefs. Aleksandr is of middling height and slender for his size, with plumage that has an occasional crazy quill no matter how often he seems to groom. His deep black pupils are streaked bright gold, and the tips of his plumage are treated with nanotat work, so that in dim light, his feathers are edged with a glow like the tips of fiberoptic lines. He speaks with a medium-pitched, rasping voice as befits his morph, with a Russian accent even in English, and with some odd inflection to the 'Jack-Cant' that he and many other Neo-Avians have begun to adopt as their own cultural language. His muse shares his linguistic patterns, but tends to transmit its 'speech' in longer, deeper tones, interspersed with or backed by occasional corvid rasps or clicks. He's a fair shot, and although he is equipped to handle himself in close combat, certainly prefers to operate at range (and again, the irony of his last name being shared with a heroic sniper from the Russian Great Patriotic War is not lost upon him). Further oddly enough, he still has yet to break the habits his trainers and lab-keepers ingrained into him from their own culture: smoking (either cigarillos or hand-rolled cigarettes, usually of an unspecified harsh breed of black tobacco) and drinking (unsurprisingly, vodka). Some habits, it seems, are harder to break than others. Personality Traits: Curious (even nosy, but very cautious), Wisecracking (snarky, a little philosophical, mildly enamored of his own sense of humour), Slightly flighty or easily startled (but returns to task quickly once his plumage is settled); Secretly terrified of atavism (especially of going pre-verbal under strong enough stressors) Loyalty: Aleksandr works for those who can benefit him, but spends time with those who approve of or accept him as an individual, neo-avian or otherwise. He's mistrustful of hypercorps but willing to accept dialogue with scientists so long as their intellect doesn't overrun their morality. Anyone who works past the prejudice shown toward uplifts instantly earns a bit of trust from him that can quickly grow. But just like his non-uplifted forebears (and to an extent, his human trainers' influence), that trust can easily be damaged if it's abused; and just like his human AND non-human forebears, he can be vengeful or grudging afterward. Hooks: If it has a power plant and it's got wings (or other propulsion and stability systems) Aleksandr can likely fly it. He's also adept at getting small teams of people, objects and equipment from place to place in a discrete manner. His contacts in the scientific community are not as strong as they used to be, but he still has a little social capital in the local underworld and elsewhere, and in scum groups like the Neo-Raven swarm known as Migratory Vermin. If the team needs some sort of overwatch (even literally) his flight abilities (both in atmosphere and limited EVA) means he can certainly lend an eye. Anything that helps him or his fellow neo-avians and uplifts will certainly get his attention. Quotes: 'Chto vy khotitye'? More important, what do you -need-? ... Sit down, drink with me, we talk on it. ... [furious mishmash of squawking and Russian 'mat' profanity] ... "The ground is for dead people". Eh, I read that in a book somewhere, anyway ... [drunken singing that lapses between Russian and corvid song] Name: Aleksandr ‘Sascha’ Zaitsev Background: Corvid Uplift Faction: Mercurial Morph: Neo-Avian (Raven) Gender Identity: Male Heterosexual Actual Age: 26 Current Moxie: 3 Motivations: +Uplift Rights (Oddly egalitarian, too; what helps one uplift helps them all); +Exploration (Being cooped up in a lab for years was a major PITA); +Self-Improvement (He’s not entirely unselfish; what benefits all Ravenkind definitely benefits him) Aptitudes: COG 15, COO 20, INT 20, REF 25, SAV 15, SOM 15, WIL 15 Stats: TT 6, LUC 30, IR 60, WT 4, DUR 20, DR 30, MOX 3, INIT 9, SPD 1 (2), DB 1 Armor: Energy 13, Kinetic 11 Rep: @-rep 60, g-rep 60; r-rep 30 Ego Traits: Hoarder, Social Stigma (Uplift), Spacecraft Morph Traits: Beak/Claw Attack, Small Size, Ultraviolet Vision, Wings Implants: Basic Biomods, Basic Mesh Inserts, Bioweave Armor, Cortical Stack, Direction Sense, Drug Glands (Raptor), Enhanced Hearing, Enhanced Vision, Facial/Image Recognition, Medichines, Nanotats, Neurachem (Level 1), Standard Muse, T-Ray Emitter, Vision Filter, Wrist-Mounted Tools Active Skills: Deception 35, Flight 60, Fray 70, Gunnery 50, Infiltration 40, Interfacing 25, Intimidation 35, Investigation 30, Kinesics 40, Kinetic Weapons 55, Navigation 60, Palming 25, Perception 55 (75 Hearing/Vision), Persuasion 50, Protocol 50, Scrounging 65, Unarmed Combat 50, Hardware (Aerospace) 50, Networking (Autonomists) 50, Networking (Criminals) 50, Networking (Scientists) 25, Pilot (Aircraft) 70, Pilot (Spacecraft) 50 Knowledge Skills: Art (Performance) 55, Interest (Aerospace Models) 40, Interest (Black Markets) 50, Interest (Uplift Clades) 45, Language (Russian) 90, Language (English) 75, Language (Jack-Cant) 75, Profession (Smuggler) 60 Muse: “Kutkh”; Academics (Religion) 40, Art (Perform) 40, Interest (Bird Myths) 40 Unarmed Fighting (Claws/Beak): Skill 60, DV 1d10+2, AP 0 Sniper Rifle: Skill 65, DV 2d10+12, AP -14, SA, Range 180/400/1100/2300, 12 Shots Medium Pistol: Skill 65, DV 2d10+4, AP -4, SA/BF/FA, Range 10/30/50/70, 12 Shots Gear: Backup Insurance (basic Neo-Avian morph on ice), Facial/Image Recognition, Standard Muse ... Second Skin, Smart Vacsuit (Light) (w/ Fireproofing, Refractive Glazing, Self-Healing), Survival Belt ... Sniper Rifle (w/ Gyromount, Safety, Scope, Silencer, Smartlink, Suppressor; 100 Accushot Reactive Rounds), Medium Pistol (w/ Arm Slide, Gyromount, Safety, Scope, Silencer, Smartlink, Suppressor; 100 Accushot Reactive Rounds) ... Light Jet (Mars variant), High Lifestyle (Mars) ... Access to spacecraft ... 936 credits, pack of cigarillos, flask of vodka; various other gewgaws
"There is the world of light and the world of darkness. And some in the world of light prefer the darkness." — Loren Eiseley, 'The Night Country'