Monday, June 26, 2017


The Destroyer (p. 348 EP) is the most common military spacecraft in the solar system - a medium tonnage, fast and maneuverable ship designed for long endurance and escort duty which defends against attacks at short range. Because of their flexible armament, high-speed designs and very efficient power supply in the form of an antimatter drive, Destroyers are typically all that is needed by a space navy force to defend territory or patrol vectors used as trading routes. But, they are not the entirety of the design. Smaller ships, from fighters carried on destroyers and larger vessels, to armed shuttles which act as patrol boats, interception satellites and even "light cruisers" or "corvette" designs exist as small, fast attack and defense or long-term independant operation ships. There are, however, also larger designs - these take three primary forms:

  • Command Carriers are rare, large ships which are mostly armed with defensive weapons and almost always require escorts - their purpose is to launch and coordinate large amounts of smaller ships. Their mass harms their maneuverability and top speed, so these sluggish ships do not often leave their home ports but would be vital in an actual space war to force projection.
  • The fabled "Dreadnoughts" are even more rare, seen as an outdated return to military tactics of the past. Heavily armed and armored these large ship designs are much more popular in fiction than in actual military engagements. Almost designed to show off the material wealth and engineering prowess of their builders, these ships can easily be overwhelmed by smaller, more maneuverable craft which cost much less time and effort to build in large numbers. No new Dreadnoughts are listed as under construction, and the majority left in commission are in the Jovian Republic or LLA.
The third common large ship class is increasingly popular, and is the Battlecruiser. Battlecruisers are larger ships designed along the same lines as the destroyer. They sacrifice armor capability of their larger size to maintain speed, but are still heavily armed - the intent is to be able to chase down and outgun ships with lesser armament, but evade or outmaneuver heavier and more powerful ships. Modern, spaceborne battlecruiser designs first appeared in the era of conflict immediately prior to the Fall, as a countermeasure to prospects of Dreadnought warfare. Several constructed Battlecruisers did well in the limited space warfare during the Fall itself, both against human forces and even TITAN ones. Comparable speed and defenses but greater power make them a good match for small numbers of Destroyers, and better agility and similar power mean they are more cost-effective against Dreadnoughts. 

In the modern period, every faction with a major space force owns one or more Battlecruiser-type designs, and some of them own several and are constructing more. The main drawback of the Battlecruiser is its greater expense and logistics - they take more material to build and to fuel, and more mental resources to run, either in form of AIs or Egos. The fact that open space conflict is not generally a popular or advisable position also means in some polities (such as the Titanian Commonwealth) with high transparency or citizen influence that Battlecruiser expenses are often frowned upon or judged harshly as opposed to less expensive Destroyers for defensive purposes. On the other hand, the Jovian Republic is proud of it's fleet composition and energy resources of Jupiter to fuel them - and plans on having the largest set of Battlecruisers in the Solar System by AF 15. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Web Grenade

Area denial is an interesting area in AF10. While landmines are still made (and due to less issue of lasting injury, slightly less stigmatized) they can present issues in tight spaces of transhuman construction, and risk infrastructure or even depressurization in enclosed habs. A mantrap can block a door or other route - but only covers a single surface. To this end, there is some desire for a device which can offer an expanded area of coverage to block doors and halls and hopefully cause less destruction than explosive traps. Luckily, materials science has solutions.

Web Grenade: While coming in grenade form, this device is more like a container for spools of carbon nanomaterial fibers, which end in grip head micro-anchors. When detonated (ideally in an airburst) the coils fly out in all directions to a maximum length of about 1.5 meters and anchor to surfaces, creating a web of black coils. These strands impede visibility, and are strong enough to be impossible for a morph to break under their own strength - they have to be cut with a tool, or the core grenade found and dismantled so the webs lose their anchor. Such a process can take several minutes, buying valuable time in a pursuit or security situation. Anyone unfortunate enough to be caught in the blast radius of a Web Grenade takes 2d10 DV with an AP of -5, and will effectively be grappled to the web grenade until they can extract themselves. This can be done as a Complex Action with a SOMx3 test, but causes 1d10/2 DV which ignores armor as the anchors are ripped out - or can be done as a more delicate proceedure over about 5 minutes (possibly requiring some form of Medicine test). This is available both as a minimissile and a grenade, but not as micromissiles, standard missiles or minigrenades. [Moderate]

Web Grenades are often used by scavengers and zone runners to keep away hostile exsurgents, TITAN bots or just fellow scavs by blocking narrow access points and delay long enough to escape. Some criminal operations (especially smugglers) also occasionally use them to delay rivals or law enforcement so they can get away. Military and security forces are also known to carry them, however, should they need to improvise security on a location with methods less permanent.

Addendum 2E: If converting to the 2E playtest, count the Web Grenade as Moderate Complexity. It still inflicts 2d10 DV, and applies Grappled status to anyone hit with it, and inflicts a d6 of DV which ignores armor if ripped out. They probably shouldn't be restricted, and also note the lack of the "Armor Piercing" trait. Any other aspects of Seekers and Grenades normally applies.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Heterotaxy Cyberbrain

"Heterotaxy" is the term for a form of genetic defect where major organs are not in the proper location in the body. While not unheard of in Flats, the defect has been extinguished in Splicers and better though technically some lines of morphs may be heterotaxic compared to standard transhuman or other "source" genes for design purposes. This idea of relocating organs for specific purposes can be applied to other things, such as implants, which led to the exotic development of the Heterotaxy Cyberbrain.

Heterotaxy Cyberbrain: In short, this implant/enhancement is applied to a morph which already has a Cyberbrain and relocates the cyberbrain to another location inside the body besides the normal one. For humanoid morphs this is typically the head, and the relocation may be to the body - but can be even so exotic as to be in a limb. The dimensions of the cyberbrain do not need to be exactly the same, but the relocated area must be able to hold a sufficiently strong computer to run the cyberbrain software. In place of the normal cyberbrain routing hardware is usually installed to make sure sensory input and command output is processed through the rest of the body correctly and prevent undue disorientation to the Ego. Sleeving into a morph with a Heterotaxy Cyberbrain is slightly unusual, and can be difficult, imposing a -10 penalty on Resleeving tests. This implant can only be applied to morphs with a Cyberbrain. [High]

The primary purpose of the Heterotaxy Cyberbrain is the obvious - a relocated brain makes it difficult to permanently disable a morph via cranial damage. While there are severe penalties due to problems with senses and coordination (i/e Wounds) for taking head trauma, a morph is unlikely to be stopped simply by suffering blows to the head - and instead suffers similar effects when struck in the area where the Cyberbrain has been relocated. It is often combined with the Possum Cache (p. 198 Transhuman) in order to better "play dead". Barring expensive implant masking, The Heterotaxy Cyberbrain is incredibly easy to detect if one knows what to look for, however. The cranial area is much less dense and will obviously lack a proper brain to scan ("empty-head" or "air-head" is a common nickname for HC users) and the increased mass and electrical activity of the relocated cyberbrain can be very obvious to many types of scanners. The users of the Heterotaxy Cyberbrain tend to be eccentric or paranoid.