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The Horune chieftain swore in three different Splugorthian dialects and six Horune tribal ones as he took in the carnage around him. He could appreciate a total bloodbath when it occurred, but he could hardly approve when it was HIS men being slaughtered!

Even as he watched, the night was lit by a barrage of flaring plasma bolts that lanced into a rallying group of warriors, vaporizing them and the section of hull they had taken position behind. Even after the glare of that strike faded, lesser lights, the fizzing yellow of ion weaponry, dancing spirals of particle wave streams, the pulses of teekee guns, and the flash bang of grenades showed the Horune ship’s complement fighting for their lives against dozens of tall armored figures, gleaming wetly as they climbed aboard the besieged raider.

The battle was not entirely one-sided; here and there fresh Horune reinforcements from below decks managed to overwhelm an attacker or two, butchering the cyborg amazons and hacking them to pieces. There a Shark Drone advanced, smashing attackers left and right, the center of a whirlwind of aggression. Fire shot down from the masts, from Horune snipers who’d managed to take up position there. Waves of telekinetically pumped water managed to catch more attackers offguard, leaving them open to follow-up strikes, or washing them clean overboard.

But the Horune chieftain could tell that his men were being pushed down and back. The snipers had illuminated themselves for return fire that pulverized them into a rain of armor scraps and shredded flesh. The cyborgized shark was felled by a hellion that jumped onto its back and sliced its head from its body with simultaneous strokes form two handheld blades, Even in dying, a fallen cyborg boarder would seek to take as many of her slayers as she could, eviscerating those within reach even as she collapsed to the increasingly gore-drenched deck. 

A brief glance overboard saw the waters around the Horune vessel glistening and teeming with small flitting slivery shapes and larger humpbacked forms. And more boarders, most of them the tall humanoid females, but others the smaller males, and here and there the more familiar shapes of the ‘Human’ cyborgs the Horune occasionally encountered ashore on slaving raids, all climbing aboard with fell intent. 

The Horune chieftain knew the ship was lost when he heard, and felt through his feet, explosions from deep inside the vessel. The normally rock-steady deck immediately took on a definite list, and smoke billowed from several open hatches. His experience with combat showed him what the problem was. His men were trapped aboard their own vessel where the enemy could concentrate their fire, but he knew they stood a better chance if they took to the waters. There, with room to maneuver, they could swim circles around the clumsy land-borne ‘Shemarrians’ and whatever allies they had brought. There, in the water, he could rally his men and they would exact a terrible retribution upon those who dared attack them on the high seas!

Calling those warriors closest to him to follow, the Horune chieftain grabbed up his war trident, fired a sizzling energy pulse into the chest of an attacker who sought to leap up to where he stood and impale him on her blade, then jumped overboard.

He had just enough time, as he saw the giant maw rise from the black waters to snap him up like a particularly tender worm, to realize he’d made a terrible mistake in not checking first where he was jumping. 

Ironback[]

The ‘Ironback’ is another new amphibious operations War Mount that has been deployed by the EShemar to extend their reach off the Eastern Seaboard. Like many others of their new War Mounts, the Ironback appears (initially) to be a ‘frankensteed’, cobbled together from the parts of other robots and vehicles; in this case Kittani War Crabs have provided the bulk of the components.

Description[]

The Ironback uses the main body of the War Crab, shorn off the humanoid upper torso, and replaced it with a large head and modified jaw assembly from another Kittani creation, the Mark 5 Shark Mini-sub. Extra armor has been added to the hull of the ‘bot, and a more powerful deep water propulsion system has been added for extra speed. The stumpy robotic legs have been replaced with longer flipper-like limbs, each edged with a vibroblade. The torso mounted heavy armaments remain largely unchanged from the War Crab, though are modular to accommodate the irregular supply issues of the EShemarrians. Overall, the Ironback resembles a giant mutant sea tortoise or streamlined snapping turtle.

Use[]

The Ironback is a ‘wet transport’ in that its riders do not sit inside a dry watertight internal compartment, but must ride outside in the water, though they are afforded some protection in the form of indentations and niches in the heavy armor. 

The Ironback operates much like the terrestrial Monstropede War Mount as mainly a transport and heavy weapons platform. It typically stands off at distance, using heavy ranged fire to batter an enemy, then closes to finish it off with blades and biting. The Ironback has also been observed acting as a tug, pushing or pulling cargo pods and floated salvage for the tribes

Abilities[]

Ironback
Type EcoS-K-8 Ironback
Class Heavy Marine
Crew 1 Neural Intelligence/Ecotroz
Number of Riders 1
Number of Passengers 10
Original Tribe Darkwaters
MDC By Location
Head 350
Main Body 850
Head Mini-Guns (2) 60
Legs/Flippers (6) 150
Main Weapon Turrets (2) 250
Fantail Weapon Turrets (2) 50
Snapper Jaw Assembly 150
Physical Size
Height 10 ft
Length 19 ft
Width 16 ft
Weight 28 tons
Physical Attributes
IQ 6
PS 50 Robotic
SPD 35 mph
Swim Speed 35 mph
Maximum Depth 3 miles
Cargo 600 lbs (2 300 lbs compartments) internal

Anything strapped to outsite

Power System Nuclear 20 year
Other Attributes
Sensors
Standard Sensors Standard
Addition Sensor1 Radar
Special Systems
Cybernanite Repair 4d6 MD/hr 40 MDC
Special System 1 Towing Hitch
Weapon Systems
Primary Weapon Heavy Weapon Turrets (2)
Secondary Weapon Forward Guns (2)
Third Weapon Rear Pulse Lasers (2)
Fourth Weapon Vibroblade Fins (6)

Sensors[]

Sonar[]

The Ironback is equipped with a sonar with a 7 mile range.

Special Systems[]

Towing Hitch[]

The Ironback is equipped with a towing hitch to allow it to pull cargo pods or salvage.

Weapons Systems[]

Heavy Weapons Turrets (2)[]

Semi-recessed into the built-up hull armor are two weapons turrets. The weapons can be directed by the linked rider, or can be operated independently by any passengers. These are typically the same as those mounted on the original War Crab, but available supplies of salvaged/reproduced weaponry, as well as personal preference, have led to a few additional weapons types being available for installation. Each turret can be ONE of the following:

Ion/Laser Cluster[]
Range Laser 2 mile/ 1 mile underwater
Range2 Ion 1000 ft
Damage Laser 4d6 MD, 1d4x10+8 MD double
Damage2 Ion 3d6 MD, 6d6 MD double
Rate of Fire ECHH

A dual weapon system mounting an ion and laser cannon. Both are designed to work underwater and in the air allowing for great flexibility.

Quad Plasma Turret[]
Range 3000 ft
Range2 1000 ft underwater
Damage 1d6x10 MD
Damage2 2d6x10 MD double
Damage3 3d6x10 MD triple, 4d6x10 MD quad
Rate of Fire ECHH

A quad barrelled plasma turret modified for use underwater. It is unknown if the Blood Riders are the inventors of this weapon, or the Darkwaters created it, considering that the Blood Riders are the Shemarrian masters of plasma weaponry.

Laser Lance Trinary Cluster[]
Range 6000 ft hi-mode
Range2 3000 ft lo-mode
Damage hi-mode 3d6 MD ea
Damage2 lo-mode 6d6 MD ea
Rate of Fire EGCHH

A cluster of three Kittani Laser Lances, modified for underwater operation with blue-green frequencies. The lasers can be fired in two different modes, hi-mode for greater range but lower damage, or lo-mode for higher damage but lower range. The barrels can be fired individually or as a group.

Pulse Laser[]
Range 4000 ft
Damage 1d6x10 MD
Rate of Fire EGCHH

This is the pulse laser taken from a Mark 5 Shark Mini-Sub. This was one of the standard weapons used in early Ironbacks before the Darkwaters were able to improve their manufacturing and supplies of other weapons.

Laser/Plasma Gun[]
Range Laser 4000 ft
Range2 Plasma 3000 ft, 1000 ft underwater
Damage Laser 1d6x10 MD, 2d6x10 MD double
Damage2 1d6x10 MD, 1d4x10 MD underwater
Rate of Fire ECHH

Shoulder gun salvaged from a Kittani Destroyer Power Armor, however rarely available early on. These weapons became a little more available in the Three Galaxies as the Shemarrians raided more Splugorth outposts to liberate slaves and hardware. 

Twin-Mini-Missile Launcher (2x1)[]
Range Mini Missile 1 mile
Range2 Laser 2000 ft
Damage Mini Missile varies
Damage2 Laser 2d6 MD ea
Rate of Fire Mini-Missile 1, 2 or 4

Laser ECHH

Payload Mini-Missiles 10 per launcher, 40 total

Somehow, the Eshemar managed to get ahold of a stock of Paladin Steel PS-MMLR-14 Mini-Missile Launcher Rifles, copies of the Coalition States’ CCT-M20 Missile Rifle, complete with mini-lasers. Two Rifles are mounted on a single turret mounting, and can even be detached to be used as handheld weapons. The only difference is that the mini-lasers have been modified for underwater use.

Twin Mini-Torpedo Launcher(2x1)[]
Range Mini-Torpedoes 1 mile
Range2 Laser 2000 ft
Damage Torpedoes varies
Damage2 Laser 2d6 ea
Rate of Fire Torpedoes volley 1, 2 or 4

Laser ECHH

Payload Mini-Torpedoes 40 (10 per launch tube)

Somehow, the EShemar managed to get ahold of a stock of Paladin Steel PS-CT24 Torpedo Rifles.The PS-CT24 is merely an adaptation of the PS-CM22 Missile Cannon, modified to fire mini-torpedoes instead. Meant to be carried by amphibious cyborgs and power armors, the PS-CT24 looks and operates almost exactly like the mini-missile version, even down to the backup co-axial light laser (now blue-green enabled) mounted on top. At least one Ironback has been seen mounting a twin-rifle turret of CT24s. The mounted weapons have no modifications, and can still be dismounted and used by passengers.

Damage: Mini-Torpedoes, usually HE or Plasma 1d6x10 MD to a 6 ft blast radius.

Short Range Torpedo Launcher[]

A short ranged torpedo launcher, holds 6 short ranged torpedoes.

Medium Range Torpedo Launcher[]

A medium ranged torpedo launcher, holds 3 torpedoes.

Forward Guns (2)[]

The two mini-railguns originally mounted at the base of the War Crab’s ‘crab man’ torso have been remounted to the head of the Ironback. Owing to issues of supply of original pattern ammunition, the original rail guns have been replaced with existing Shemarrian weapons types, or with lasers.

Rail Guns[]
Range 4000 ft
Range2 2000 ft underwater
Damage 1d4x10 MD
Rate of Fire ECHH
Payload 1000 bursts ea

Original pattern rail guns. Unlike the original War Crab, the Ironback’s mini-guns CAN fire on the same target simultaneously

Machine Gun[]
Range 3000 ft
Range2 1500 ft underwater
Damage 4d6 MD 6 rd burst
Damage2 1d4x10 MD 12 rd burst
Rate of Fire ECHH
Payload 12000 rds ea

Modified Shemarrian Assault Rifle are a popular alternative.

Pulse Lasers

Range 4000 ft
Damage 3d6 MD
Damage2 6d6 MD double
Rate of Fire ECHH

These are pulse lasers modeled after infantry weapons modified with blue-green frequencies to work underwater.

Rear Pulse Lasers (2)

Range 4000 ft
Damage 3d6 MD
Damage2 6d6 MD double
Rate of Fire ECHH

The two mini-laser turrets protecting the rear fantail of the War Crab have been retained in the Ironback design to protect the Ironback's rear.

Vibroblade Fins (6) 

Range Melee
Range2 3d6 MD +1d6 MD/20 mph ea
Damage Unknown

Each of the Ironback’s flipper-legs is fronted in a long vibroblade, allowing the War Mount to deliver a scything slash in passing. A favorite tactic of Ironbacks is to swim the length of an enemy vessel, the riders sweeping the enemy deck with suppressive fire, while the Ironback’s blade-fins tear into the hull below the waterline. 

Programming[]

The Ecotroz have scavenged the AIs from terrestrial-make robot dogs, and upgraded them as best they can, then infected the matrix with a low-level Ecotroz sentience. 

Typically has the following: 

  • Underwater Navigation 40% (+5% per level of experience for Ecotroz entity)

The Ecotroz entity can also pick up one Secondary skill at levels 2, 6, and 12 of experience, though the nature of the Ironback intelligence and design is such that it is limited to skill selections from Technical: Language (understanding) and Lore, Espionage (Detect Ambush, Detect Concealment), Wilderness (Track Humanoids, Track Animals, Hunting, Identify Plants and Fruits)

Combat[]

Attacks Per Melee 4
Bonuses
Initiative +2 (+1 +1 from Ecotroz)
Dodge +1 underwater
Parry Unknown
Auto Dodge Unknown
Strike +1, +2 w/ranged weapons
Roll +3
Pull Punch Unknown
Disarm Unknown
Entangle Unknown
Knockout/Stun Unknown
Critical Strike Unknown
Attacks
Bite 2d6x10 MD
Head Butt/Ram 2d4 MD
Body Block/Ram 3d6 MD

Bite

Due to the Ironback's large mouth, it deals 2d6x10 MD and covers a 28 ft area. This allows it to rip large chunks out of ships and creatures. In a pinch, the mouth can be used to help carry some items, as long as they are not delicate.

Ecotroz Fragment[]

The Ecotroz intelligence fragment inhabiting the ‘bot gives the Ironback an aura and behavior more befitting an animal than a robot; the Ironback may complain non-verbally when overworked, scream when damaged, and react to intruders or strangers appropriately. The Ironback entity is fairly smart and cunning, with a dog-like intelligence (roughly equivalent to an IQ of 6). Its personality can be described as slow and plodding, slow to anger, but persistent and unmindful of personal hardship. In combat, the Ironback is steadfast and aggressive, showing no fear while advancing on an enemy.

The Ecotroz fragment does occasionally need sleep/rest...though they only need 2 hours of rest/meditation per 24 hours...they can push this, going without for as many days as they have I.Q. points, but will have to go dormant for 4d6 hours after such exertion.

Susceptible to Exorcism and Banish spells, but are +6 to save against such spells, +1 at levels 4, 8, and 12 of experience, and becoming IMMUNE at level 14 and up. Such Banishment causes the ‘bot to revert to its default robot programming.

(OPTION: Ecotroz may become IMMUNE to Exorcism and Banishment with experience)

Note also that the Ecotroz-possessed ‘bot can infect other bots with the Ecotroz viral-entity, by bite or sustained touch (takes 3 attacks).

Psionics[]

The Ironback has the following Natural Psionic Abilities (no ISP Cost), all equivalent to 6th level with regards to range and proficiency.

  • Sense Evil
  • Sense Magic
  • See the Invisible
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