The tentacles rose out of the darkness like a submarine explosion reaching for the ocean surface. Only submarine volcanoes don’t bend and flex and reach for passing travelers.
The four silvery warsteeds and their riders, though surprised, deftly dodged around and between the hungry tentacles, avoiding their grasp to break for open ocean. Frustrated by its initial failure, the submarine monster was not to be denied, and pursued the four piscine forms, its massive body pulsing obscenely as powerful siphon muscles pumped water like a giant living jet engine.
War Sister Kalleon Heartstrike glanced over her shoulder to confirm what her networked senses were already telling her. Optical filters cut the oceanic gloom to show the veritable thicket of seqoia-sized tentacles following, one enormous eye visible and seemingly glaring directly at Kalleon with voracious intent.
“Goddess curse the dark beast! A monster squid! We haven’t the TIME for this!!! We must make rendezvous with the rest of the pack if we are to ambush that Horune raider!”
One of her fellow riders voices cut through the communication channel they shared; “It doesn’t look like it cares what OUR schedule is, does it? Its schedule seems to be EAT, and since it seems to be gaining on us, we may have to make time on our schedule to deal with it.”
Another rider spoke up; “Talk about a scheduling conflict!”
The fourth rider spoke her piece; “If we weren’t lugging these torpedoes, we’d be able to outpace it easily---”
Kalleon cut that thought off; “No! We’ll need the explosives for the Horune! We’ll have to take this hellspawn by other means!”
“Oh, we’ll be slicing and dicing then?”
“Two teams. Lissah, you’re with me! Marga, you’re with Henni! We stay on either side of it, away from those tentacles and go for the head!”
“Will do!” Already she could sense Lissah coming in behind her, Marga and Henni rolling away to angle around the onrushing beast, their divergent courses seeking to divide the monster’s attention.
As she watched the approach of the giant cephalopod, Kalleon was feeding instructions through her link with her war mount. She could feel the creature’s shark-like mentality stirring under her, a craving for action and bloody violence building in it. Along its flanks, running light luminescence streaked as the warstead manifested its eagerness and shared its readiness to hunt and slay with its partner warstead, now pulling aside and flashing its own running lights.
Kalleon hunched down closer to the body of her warmount, the dense water hammering at her as the SeaSword picked up speed, prior to the maneuvers she had just ordered it to perform. She clutched at the blade-tipped laser rifle in her hand and prayed to the Goddess for a quick and easy fight. Not that she didn’t doubt the outcome of the coming fight, nor in her own skill, but she had no wish to be late for the ambush of the Horune. She might enjoy a fight with a giant squid if she had the time, but now it was an annoying distraction from her real work.
A giant palp the size of a small ground car swept by her, the water it displaced punching at her even as she rolled under it, and dodged the follow-up by the palp’s twin. Her warsteed’s blade fins gleamed with lethal energy, its sword-bill sparkling as combat was joined.
The SeaSword resembles a giant robotic billfish (marlin, sailfish, swordfish) and may have been inspired by studies of the Coalition’s shark drones and the Horune’s ‘seahorse’ underwater sleds. The SeaSword has a sleek, streamlined, sharp-finned body configuration; if not carrying a rider it can be easily mistaken on casual observation to be a particularly large billfish. Closer scrutiny will reveal metallic skin, robotically articulated fins, and gleaming cyberoptics. Underwater, it uses a combination of robotic articulation and concealed hydrojets to power along at high speed. On land, the SeaSword can walk awkwardly along like a spiny-finned catfish, using its blade-fins to totter along. The rider sits just behind the head and lateral fins, with the spinal crest framing and partially protecting the rider.
The SeaSword lives up to its name with regard to sharp blades; the Warmount sports an armor-piercing bill on its front, vibro-blades are concealed in the side fins, and the tail has a slashing blade incorporated into it. The eyes fire short-range lasers, and the bill can fire a charged particle blast. If the ordnance is available, the SeaSword can also mount and fire mini- and short-range torpedoes.
The SeaSword IS known to have been infected with a Ecotroz intelligence essence. This gives the ‘bot added psionic abilities and an animalistic predatory cunning in keeping with the original billfish. The psionically-possessed AI also allows the ‘bot to operate semi-autonomously of a rider; the SeaSword can fight independently of its rider, conduct remote recon, or perform simple missions (like ‘Return to Base, Deliver This Message.”, “Attack Anything Entering This Area”, etc.).
The SeaSword poses something of a puzzle to those who have advanced knowledge of the EShemar. The SeaSword is so highly specialized for aquatic combat, it has little capability on dry land. That means that the Warmount is either not used all the time by the handful of EShemarrian warriors trained in its use, or else those same EShemar are CONSTANTLY using them. This means that either the EShemar have enough surplus industrial capability to make Warmounts that they don’t use all the time, and/or they are maintaining a constant marine presence (a shore community or submarine base from which to stage their operations). No specific tribe has yet been identified by North American intelligence agencies as operating the SeaSwords in deployment, owing to the difficulties of IDing units operating underwater. The DarkWaters and Ghost Rider tribes remain popular suspects, however, given the known areas of SeaSword attacks.
The SeaSword is not the best armored or armed of the new War Mounts, but its specialized nature gives the EShemar important power projection into the oceans and waterways, allowing the (E)Shemarrian Republic to extend its domain offshore and preemptively strike at the Splugorth before they even reach North American shores.
|Crew||Neural Intelligence/Ecotroz Fragment|
|Number of Riders||1|
MDC By Location
|Blade Fins (2)||50 ea|
|Height||3 ft (5 ft spinal crest)|
|Main Wingspan||8 ft with fins out|
|Swim Speed||50 mph surface
65 mph underwater
|Maximum Depth||9000 ft|
|Power System||20 year nuclear|
|Standard Sensors||Standard Robot|
|Cybernanite Repair||4d6 MDC/hr 40 MDC|
|Special System 1||Psionics|
|Primary Weapon||Sword-Bill/ Ion Lance|
|Third Weapon||Eye Lasers (2)|
|Fourth Weapon||Optional Torpedoes|
A sonar is built into the SeaSword with a 5 mile range.
Sword-Bill/Ion Lance (1, nose)
|Range2||Ion Blast 3000 ft|
|Damage||1d6 MD +1d6/20 MPH unenergized|
|Damage2||1d4x10 MD +1d6/20MPH energized|
|Damage3||6d6 MD Ion Blast|
|Rate of Fire||ECHH|
Instead, the decision was reached to go with a wholly new ion weapon being produced by the Spinsters. The crafting of these new weapons has slowed production of the SeaSwords somewhat, but most riders consider the balance of range and damage to be worth the wait. The ion lance has superior range to the particle wave rifle, and better damage than the laser, and its discharge looks enough like that of the particle wave to lead to confusion among Splugorth Minions as to whether they’re being attacked by naut’yll (at least initially).
Also does TRIPLE damage on a Natural 20 (critical strike) owing to the ion energy discharging INSIDE the penetration strike
Vibroblades (3, lateral fins and tail)
|Damage||3d6 MD +1d6/20 MPH|
Eye Lasers (2)
|Damage||3d6 MD single|
|Damage2||6d6 MD double|
|Rate of Fire||ECHH|
the positioning of the eyes gives the laser’s excellent arcs of fire; 150 degrees.
Torpedoes or mines can be carried and deployed from the flanks of the SeaSword. However, the added structures and mass impose extra drag, at least until the ordnance is expended.
- Mini-Torpedoes: One 5 shot pod can be mounted per side. Reduce speed by 10% for one pod, 20% for two pods.
- Short Range Torpedoes: One can be mounted per side. Reduce speed by 10% for one, 20% for two.
- Medium Range Torpedoes: One can be mounted per side. Reduce speed by 15% for one, 30% for two.
- Spear/Harpoon Gun One can be mounted per side. Reduce speed by 10% for one, 20% for two.
|Damage||4d6 SDC Regular|
|Damage2||1 MD MD Penetrator|
|Rate of Fire||ECHH|
|Payload||48 per pod|
|Attacks Per Melee||5|
|Initiative||+3 (+2, +1 Ecotroz)|
|Tail Lash||2d6 MD|
|Body Block/Ram||3d6 MD|
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:
|Track and Hunt Sea Animals||50||5%|
The Ecotroz entity can also pick up one Secondary skill at levels 2, 6, and 12 of experience, though the nature of the SeaSword 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).
The Ecotroz intelligence fragment inhabiting the ‘bot gives the SeaSword an aura and behavior more befitting an animal than a robot; the SeaSword may complain non-verbally when overworked, scream when damaged, and react to intruders or strangers appropriately. The SeaSword entity is fairly smart and cunning, with a dog-like intelligence (roughly equivalent to an IQ of 6). It possesses a predatory mindset, and works well in hunting packs with other SeaSwords, able to instinctively coordinate attacks on prey.
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).
The SeaSword has the following Natural Psionic Abilities (no ISP Cost), all equivalent to 6th level with regards to range and proficiency.
- Sense Evil
- Sense Magic
- Sixth Sense