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Carapace Beetle Swarm[]

With the success of the Carrion Fly Swarm being adapted by Clan Shelley, Lost Eclipse and the Necromancer units, Clan Vespa developed the Carapace Beetle Swarm.

The Carapace Beetle Swarm is a large group of two inch long robotic beetles that resembles a swarm, which usually fly or crawl about their assigned controller, or contained within a container to recharge their power cells. Carapace Beetles are used more for defensive and offensive purposes, able to form armour by crawling onto the controller, forming shields or reinforcing barricades. Offensively they can be linked and form weapons. Individual carapace beetles can be used as surveillance bugs to record a few hours of audio and video. When surrounding their controller, they form a suit of armour, or can form shield(s), which can be either attached to the user's arm or float in the air to intercept attacks. The basic force field found in the Carrion Flies is greatly increased, as well as the materials used in the beetles themselves.

The robotic intelligence of the Carapace Beetle is about equivalent of fairly intelligent animals, but are connected together as a hive intelligence, increasing the intelligence when grouped together in large swarms.

Carapace Beetle drones are completely AI robots and are never Awakened, seen as tools and weapons. The helmets and communications of the Necromancer can easily control and give instructions to the swarm, especially when grouped together for a higher hive intelligence, allowing the swarm to act independently for a few hours, reporting surveillance intelligence the swarm gathers.

The swarm is usually kept in a specially designed container that looks like a wicker basket, about 1.5 ft diameter by 2 feet deep, holding 100 Carapace Beetles. This container can recharge the beetles and gets power via induction with the Shemarrian carrying it, or power hook up from a vehicle or war mount. An e-clip can be inserted near the bottom, recharging a full swarm in about an hour, but completely drains the e-clip. The container has 15 MDC and weighs 30 lbs. empty. A larger container measuring 2 feet wide by 2.5 feet deep is available that holds 150 beetles, weighing 35 lbs empty and has 20 MDC has gained more popularity as it allows the user to use the normal 100 beetles for a full suit of protective armour and the extra 50 for creating melee weapons.

Abilities[]

Carapace Beetle Swarm
Type EcoS-D62cv
Class MicroRobot
Crew Robotic AI
Original Tribe Clan Vespa
MDC By Location
Head 8 SDC
Main Body 20 SDC
Legs 3 (6) SDC
Main Wings 2 (2) SDC
Physical Size
Height 0.5 in
Length 2 in
Width 0.75 in
Main Wingspan 3 in
Weight 0.5 lbs
Physical Attributes
IQ 6
PS 3
SPD 5 mph
Flying Speed 30 mph
Maximum Altitute 100 ft
Power System Electric Battery 6 hrs
Other Attributes
Sensors
Special Systems
Cybernanite Repair Unknown
Special System 1 Distraction
Special System 2 Force Field
Special System 3 Protective Armour
Special System 4 Shield
Special System 5 Form Weapon
Weapon Systems
Primary Weapon Bite
Secondary Weapon Slash

Carapace Beetles are incredibly small and difficult to notice, attacks suffer -3 to strike, if the opponent is even aware of it.

Each Carapace Beetle has an effective IQ of 6, but when in groups of 20 or more, gain +1 IQ for the group per 20 additional flies, allowing a large swarm to operate independently quite effectively with missions of spying. The beetles must be within 30 feet of each other for this additional boost in IQ.

Systems of Note[]

  • Multi-Optics
  • Thermo-Optics (100 ft range)
  • Camera/Video Eye w/ live transmission
  • Basic Audio
  • Radio, range: 20 miles
  • Motion Detector (500 ft range)
  • Recording Chip---Stores up to 8 hours of recorded observations.
  • Modulating Voice Synthesizer Chip---Allows the Carrion Fly to imitate a variety of natural sounds, such as animal calls.

Special Systems[]

Distraction[]

Similar to the Carrion Fly ability, a group of 10 or more Carapace Beetles will fly about and on a target causing as must of a distraction as possible, getting in the way of optics, nipping at bare skin, buzzing, getting in the way of triggers, etc. The target must make a save vs insanity 12 (+1 for every 10 carapace beetles over the initial 10 to maximum save of 18) or suffer -1 attack, -2 to strike, dodge and parry, and can not make use of auto dodge.

Force Field[]

A group of 40 or more Carapace Beetles can create a force field with a strength of 50 MDC, +5 MDC for every 10 over the initial 40,that can regenerate at a rate of 5 MDC per minute. The carapace beetle swarm can maintain the field for 5 minutes +1 minute per 10 beetles over the initial 40. The force field covers a 10 foot diameter area, which is usually centered on the controller or an ally the controller designates. The beetles fly around the perimeter of the area with the force field energy flowing between and around them. The constant movement of the carapace beetles makes it difficult for anyone to get a clear shot shooting into the area, suffering a -1 to strike. Anyone inside the field can fire to strike targets outside the field, the beetles, especially while protecting the controller easily move out of the way so they don't get hit.

Protective Armour[]

Developed first for the Carrion Flies, greatly improved with the Carapace Beetles. The beetles can crawl onto the controller, or an ally, and linking mandibles and feet together, forming a set of protective armour, with a low level version of the force field to reinforce their structure. 40 carapace are required to cover the main body of a humanoid up to 8 feet tall, with another 12 for each limb and 8 for the head, granting 100 MDC to the main body and 60 MDC to limbs or the head. Each additional 5 beetles adds 5 MDC to any location they cling to. This armour can be maintained for 120 minutes and can only regenerate with the addition of more beetles as the MDC is depleted, the robotic beetles are being destroyed. For creatures larger than 8 feet tall, +10 beetles are required (this is distributed to all locations) for every foot over 8 feet, and increases MDC by +10 per additional foot. This does allow one to protect even small warmounts, if there are enough beetles.

While in the armour form, the beetles can project the forcefield with a strength of 75 MDC, with the required 98 beetles to cover a 8 foot tall user for 10 minutes. More beetles are required to increase the forcefield strength. Due to the beetles being closer together, the field strength is higher.

The beetles can be used to coat a wall or other surface that is about 10 feet by 5 feet with the same protective properties as a user would benefit from. However, as the beetles can tighten their bonds instead of being flexible to allow movement, the MDC is increased by 25%, but not the forcefield, and damage from explosives is reduced by 25% to the side protected by the beetles.

The sharp edges of the beetle's body, reinforced by the field can damage anyone grabbing or striking the user, and adds to the user's own unarmed strikes. Deals 1d4 MD per melee when grappled/entangled or the user is grappling. Unarmed melee strikes deal +1d6 MD.

Shield[]

The beetles can be used to create shields, which can either cling to the user's arms, or float about the user. A buckler sized shield requires 10 beetles and has 20 MD with a forcefield strength of 10 MDC, regenerating 1 MDC per melee. A medium sized shield requires 20 beetles with 30 MDC, with a forcefield strength of 25 MDC that regenerates 2 MDC per melee. A large shield requires 30 beetles with 40 MDC, a forcefield strength of 40 MDC that regenerates 5 MDC per melee. The shield can be maintained for 120 minutes, with the forcefield for 10 minutes.

The shield can float about at a speed of 30 mph, and can intercept attacks designated for the user with a parry of +4. If the parry misses, the attack will continue to the user, but the user gains a +2 to their own parry or dodge due to the beetles being in communications with the user (provided the user has the capability). For every minute the shield floats, it reduces 5 minutes of operational time the shield can be maintained.

Form Weapon[]

The Carapace beetles can link together to form various weapons from daggers to swords, axes and polearms. Dagger or small blades that can be attached to the hands require 5 beetles dealing 1d6 MD, swords require 20 dealing 2d6 MD, axes require 30 dealing 3d6 MD, spears take 60 to 80 (for polearms) dealing 4d6. The weapons can be maintained as long as the beetles have power. 

Weapons Systems[]

Bite[]

Range Melee
Damage 1d4 SDC

The heads are equipped with little mandibles, which can be used to hold wires or very small objects, but generally used in their distraction ability.

Damage: 1d4 S.D.C.  Technically ineffective against MDC creatures, but due to the design of the mandibles, when used as part of the distraction ability, they irritate the skin of MDC creatures, including creatures with scales, such as reptiles and even dragons.

Slash

The sides of the beetles are sharp and the energy field that helps bind them together and create the forcefields allows a beetle to do a fly-by attack that can damage foes, but really only effective with groups beetles working together.

  • Range: Melee
  • Damage: A single beetle can deal 1d4 SDC, but with more, the damage increases, plus energized by the fields that bind and reinforce their structure. 10 beetles attacking the same target 4d6 SDC, 20 beetles 2d4x10 SDC, 30 beetles 1d4 MD, 40 beetles 1d6+2 MD, 50 beetles 2d6 MD, +1d6 MD per 10 additional beetles dealing a slash attack as a swarm to the same target.

Options[]

Extended Abdomen[]

Carapace Beetles can be fitted with an extend abdomen/thorax which can contain extra systems. The mini-pod adds extra drag (reduce maximum speed to 26 MPH) but allows the microrobot to carry extra systems such as the following based on the Vespina, although smaller: 

Drug Needle and Injector[]

Stinger needle does 1 SDC damage, plus chemical effects. Can carry enough chemical for 3 doses. In armour mode, the beetles can be programmed to inject the drug anytime the user is grappled or attacks with an unarmed, or a carapace beetle formed weapon.

Acid Sprayer[]

Can spray an area (3 ft wide) with a corrosive that, depending on the specific agent involved, does 1d6 SDC for 1d4 melees, or 1 MD per melee for 1d4 melees. Has enough for 2 applications. In armour mode, the beetles can be programmed to inject the drug anytime the user is grappled or attacks with an unarmed, or a carapace beetle formed weapon.

Tracer Chip Dispenser[]

The Carapace Beetle can attach (via adhesive or injection under the skin) a small micro-tracer to a target. The chip can act as a passive transponder or as an active ‘pinger’ (3,000 ft range, 48 hour battery life). Can carry up to 5 chips.

Micro-Explosive(s)[]

The Carapace Beetle can deposit a small explosive device, ranging from a detonator chip (does 1 SDC and useful for destroying circuitry or setting off larger explosives....up to 10 can be carried) to larger explosive devices. Also consult the following for other micro-explosives:

Weight:

  • (.22) 1.9 grams
  • (5.56mm/.22 ‘long’) 2.8 grams
  • (7.62mm) 8 grams
  • (9mm) 115 grams
  • (15mm) 120 grams
  • (20mm) 130 grams

Damage:

  • (.22) 2d6 SDC to eight inch ft blast radius
  • (5.56mm/.22 ‘long’) 6d6 SDC to 1 ft blast radius
  • (7.62mm) 1d6x10 SDC to 1.5 ft blast radius
  • (9mm) 9d6 SDC to a 2 ft blast radius
  • (15mm) 2d4x10 SDC to a 2 ft blast radius
  • (20mm) 4d6x10 SDC to a 3 ft blast radius

(MD)

  • (.22) 1d4 MD to six inch ft blast radius
  • (5.56mm/.22 ‘long’) 1d4 MD to 1 ft blast radius
  • (7.62mm) 1d4 MD to 1.5 ft blast radius
  • (9mm) 1d4 MD to 2 ft blast radius
  • (15mm) 3d6 MD to 2 ft blast radius (*uses more recent chemical technology)
  • (20mm) 4d4 MD to 2 ft blast radius

Features:

Exploder Chip---A multi-mode detonator that be set for as little as a fifteen second count to as long as five minutes, or can be radio detonated. 

In armour mode, the beetles can be programmed to release an explosive anytime the user is grappled or attacks with an unarmed, or a carapace beetle formed weapon. The beetles will deposit one explosive per successful hit.

Payload: The Carapace Beetle can carry up to 90 grams of micro-explosives

Neural Stinger[]

Improved version of the Neural Stinger described in the Rifts Bionics Sourcebook (pg. 47). Targets are -8 to strike, parry, and dodge, plus reduce Speed and APMs by HALF. Four or more stings means that the victim must roll to save versus unconsciousness, a failed save meaning the victim is knocked out for 2d4 melees. The neural-stinger has enough power for 4 stings, then recharges at a rate of 1 sting per hour. The Beetles are programmed that they can use this while in armour mode when the user makes an unarmed strike or is being grappled, or while in weapon form.

Flash-Blinder[]

The extended abdomen is actually a high-powered illumination source that can light up a 30 ft area, but can also produce a strobing effect similar to a Blinding Flash spell (has enough battery power for 12 such flashes, recharges at a rate of 12 flashes an hour). 

Ignitor[]

A modified soldering iron, that can be used to inflict a severe burn (1d6 SDC) or set materials on fire. 

Extra Battery[]

This extends the operational time of the Carapace Beetles to 14 hours. The battery can be used to power the force field, increasing the recharge rate to 5 MDC per melee round (in shield mode the recharge rate is increased by +8 MDC per melee), and the swarm and maintain the field for 10 minutes, +2 minutes per 10 beetles,  if at least 50 beetles are fitted with the extra battery.

Chromed[]

The carapace beetles are coated in a laser reflective material. When in armour or shield mode, when the forcefield is lowered/depleted, the armour or shield suffers only half damage from laser weapons. When in force field mode, covering the 10 foot diameter area, with the beetles flying about, damage from lasers is reduced by 25% as the blast will strike a beetle, or several.

Silvered[]

The beetle is coated in silver, allowing its attacks, bite or slash, or when formed into a weapon or unarmed strikes in armour mode will damage creatures vulnerable to silver.

Heat Refractory Tile[]

The beetles are covered in a heat resistant tiling. While in armour mode, damage from fire, heat and plasma attacks are reduced by 25%.

Programming[]

  • Detect Ambush 60%
  • Detect Concealment 60%
  • Intelligence 80%
  • Basic Math 98%
  • Radio: Basic 98%
  • Prowl 85%
  • Tracking 90%
  • Navigation 86%
  • Wilderness Survival 80%
  • Computer Operation 80%
  • Language: Can understand 5 different languages 80%

Combat[]

Attacks Per Melee 2
Bonuses
Initiative +3
Dodge +5, +8 in flight
Parry Unknown
Auto Dodge +3
Strike +2, +1 w/ranged
Roll +6
Pull Punch Unknown
Disarm Unknown
Entangle Unknown
Knockout/Stun Unknown
Critical Strike Unknown
Attacks

Carapace beetles are programmed to be more aggressive than Carrion Flies, using their slashing attacks often, and while in armour or shield modes to flare their wing carapaces to present their sharp edges at all times while the user is in melee combat for a chance to damage anyone attempting to strike the user.

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