“They’re not much to look at, and they look kludged-up as hell, but there’s a certain animal ferocity inside them, even the ones not Awakened, that comes through when they’re in combat. And the thruster shriek of a full wing of them pouncing on a target? That’s pure battle song, sung by simple hearts that appreciate combat.”
“I hate those damn things. Every one of them can whittle down my armor and my soldiers, while every shot I waste on them is a shot I’m NOT using to shoot down those accursed Hawkmoon harpies. And the Shemarrians know it, otherwise they wouldn’t be making so many of the damn things and throwing them at me. Damn cursed Shemarrians.”
- 1 Shemarrian ‘Shyger’ Aerial Raptor Drone
- 2 Abilities
- 3 Ecotroz Fragment
Shemarrian ‘Shyger’ Aerial Raptor Drone
aka ‘Catbird’, ‘Shemarrian Giant Parrot’
The Hawkmoons are the professed ‘Sky Tribe’ of the Shemarrian Nation, and they employ the largest number of Avyet (Shemarrian cyber-hawks) of any of the Tribes. However, as enraptured as the Hawkmoons are of their ‘little friends’, even the most diehard ‘featherheads’ of the Tribe admit that the best of the Avyet ‘breeds’ just don’t have the same firepower of some of the companion-cyberanimals of the more ground-based tribes. Freeflying marauding flocks of Ayet just lack the raw destructive power of a Kantaran (Shemarrian Wolf) pack in full unleashed rampage mode. And simply adding wings or flight systems to their own Kantaran compaion-mechs just wasn’t an option for the Hawkmoons. Hawkmoon Tinkers have thus been fishing about for a more satisfactory solution.
One of the more interesting experiments that has emerged from this quest is the ‘Shyger’, an obvious ‘frankensteed’ (robot pieced together from the bits and pieces of existing equipment) development made by Sister Emili Featherforger, a Tinker known to frequent the upstate New York regions of the Hawkmoon range. Since the Hawkmoons there frequently came into contact with forces beholding to the Free Quebec Coalition State, the Tribesmen were quite familiar with the equipment of Free Quebec and had scavenged a good bit. Thus the ‘Shyger’ is readily recognizable as being based on the QV-229 ‘Bobcat’ Hover Cycle, modified with various odds and ends.
The ‘Shyger’ retains the bullet-shaped body of the ‘Bobcat’, but the cockpit windshield has been removed, the cockpit itself fared away, the tail fins replaced with more articulated (if still stubby) wings with forward sweep, and two powerful robotic legs, resembling those of a bird of prey (but also resembling those of the ‘Gekker’ robeast), mounted underneath. This allows the ‘bot to engage in close raking attacks with its new claws. Performance is roughly equal to that of the ‘Bobcat’, but the ‘Shyger’ is slightly more maneuverable and agile, especially when it comes to flight maneuvers that would cause a living pilot to black out.
Armament also follows the original ‘Bobcat’ configuration, with the exception of an added nose turret and the leg-mounted vibroclaws.
In place of a crewman, the hybrid hover cycle/robot has been modified with an installed robot intelligence. Multiple concealed sensors installed on the body frame keep the robot A.I. up to date about its surroundings, without giving opponents an obvious ‘head’ to snipe at (the blunt parrot-like fuselage ‘head’ holds some sensors and the small laser turrets, but not the AI housing). The A.I. is also occasionally ‘Awakened’ with an animal-intelligence Ecotroz Essence fragment, but roughly sixty percent of ‘Shygers’ are kept as robotic drones.
Once regarded as an interesting experiment, the ‘Shyger’ has begun appearing in greater numbers with Hawkmoon forces as a force multiplier. ‘Shygers’ are used by the Hawkmoons as attack animals, rather than personal companions. They are often used to shadow Shemarrian forces, escort caravans and slower-moving aircraft, and to scout ahead and draw fire. ‘Shygers’ are also deployed in semi-autonomous packs or flocks, set loose to attack targets of opportunity. Besides the Hawkmoons, the Ghost Riders are the only other Tribe known to use Shygers.
No ‘feral’ version of the ‘Shyger’ exists, as the cybernanimal is quite obviously a robot lash-up.
|Class||Robotic Animal, Attack|
|Number of Riders||0|
MDC By Location
|Main Thruster||75 (2)|
|Main Wings||40 (2)|
|Nose Turrets (2)||35|
|Mini-Missile Launchers (2)||45|
|Direction Jegs (10)||15|
|Tail Fins (2)||40|
|Main Wingspan||8 ft|
|SPD||20 mph, awkward|
|Flying Speed||Hover - 440 mph|
|Maximum Altitute||2700 ft|
|Power System||Nuclear 20 year|
|Cybernanite Repair||4d6 MD/hr 40 MDC|
|Primary Weapon||Nose Turrets (2)|
|Secondary Weapon||Rail Gun|
|Third Weapon||Mini-Missile Launchers (2)|
|Fourth Weapon||Optional Self-Destruct|
Nose Turrets (2)
The ‘Catbird’ mounts TWO nose turrets to the ‘Bobcat’s’ one. The turrets are also modular, allowing for several different weapons types to be mounted
Double-Barreled Laser Cannon
|Damage2||6d6 MD dual blast|
|Rate of Fire||ECHH|
Standard armament found on many Shygers, especially during times of ammunition shortages.
Double-Barreled Ion Blaster
|Damage2||4d6 MD dual blast|
|Rate of Fire||ECHH|
Fairly standard dual barreled ion blaster.
Rail Gun (1)
|Damage2||1d4x10 MD 40 rd burst|
|Rate of Fire||ECHH|
|Payload||4000 rd drum|
This weapon, slung under the main body, is unchanged from the original. The standard fit-out is not terribly remarkable; the weapon is recognizable as the venerable C-40R SAMAS rail gun. Occasionally, though, the Shyger has been seen mounting the Shemarrian Assault Rifle with shorter range, but greater damage.
Shemarrian Assault Rifle
|Damage2||1d4x10 MD 12 rd burst|
|Rate of Fire||ECHH|
|Payload||4000 rd drum|
A common replacement to the rail gun, especially on those found not on Rifts Earth, making use of readily available Shemarrian ammunition.
Occasionally the gun is done away with entirely and replaced with either two rails for short range missiles (2 SRMs) or a mini-missile launcher (volleys of 1-5, 10 total).
Rather than mount a direct fire weapon, the Ghost Riders sometimes dispense with the under-fuselage gun and mount an EW jamming pod, either an electronic targeting jammer, or a communications jammer.
- ECM Module---electronic jamming system that gives radar-guided weaponry a -4 to strike the drone. Or it can be used offensively, to foil ALL radar-guided weaponry in a 15 mile radius (-2 to strike)
- Jammer---A mini-radio jammer, that can pump out enough multi-wavelength white noise to jam civilian band communications with 90% effectiveness, and military comms with 70% effectiveness, over a 20 mile radius.
Mini-Missile Launchers (2)
|Range||Varies by missile|
|Damage||Varries by missile|
|Rate of Fire||Volly 1-5|
|Payload||10 / launcher|
Unchanged from the original; these launchers slide out of the sides of the cyberanimal
Fully robotic A.I. Shyger-drones are sometimes fitted with powerful self-destruct packages, especially if they are being sent on one-way suicide missions.
- 250-lb Bomb----2d4x10 MD to 50 ft blast radius
The Ecotroz have installed robotic AIs, then infected (some of) the matrix with a low-level Ecotroz sentience. The robot has an effective I.Q. of 12, and exhibits a personality similar to that of a well-trained bird of prey. The ‘bot can patiently wait to be unleashed on a target, but tends to fidget and flex for flight/combat, and in combat is wholly dedicated to hitting the target/destroying the enemy.
Typically has the following:
|Skill||%||Awakened Bonus %|
|Read Sensory Instruments||75||+5/level|
|PIlot: Fighter (maneuvering purposes)||96|
If Awakened, the Ecotroz entity can also pick up one Secondary skill at levels 2, 6, and 12 of experience, though the nature of the Shyger 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)
|Attacks Per Melee||5|
|Initiative||+2, +3 if awakened|
|Dodge||+5 (automatic in flight|
|Strike||+5, +2 w/ranged|
|Claw Kick||1d4 MD|
|Flying Claw Rake||4d6 MD|
|Wing Sideswipe||1d6 MD|
Shyger are usually deployed in small to large groups, or flocks, used as force multipliers for the Hawkmoon forces, launched to soften or harass enemies before heavier Shemarrian forces arrive.
Only approximately 40% of Hawkmoon Shygers are Awakened, while the Ghost Riders never (and can't) awaken theirs, making them completely robotic drones.
The Ecotroz intelligence fragment inhabiting the ‘bot gives the Shyger an aura and behavior more befitting a sentient being than a robot.
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, and NEW BUILT EShemar constructs are immune to this)
Note also that the Ecotroz-possessed ‘bot can infect other bots with the Ecotroz viral-entity, by bite or sustained touch (takes 3 attacks).