At the Heart of the Abyss
- Combat Drone: A modular drone capable of providing fire support and flanking.
- Damping: A tech grenade that stuns and damages small groups of enemies.
- Energy Drain: A crafty device that drains power from enemy shields and transmits it to the user.
- Holograms: A battle-oriented holographic system that confuses enemies.
- Sabotage: A tech grenade that damages enemies and destroys their weapons.
- Shield Booster: A handy device for boosting shields without having to wait for the in-suit systems to catch up.
- Tech Mastery: The ability to remote-control nearly any device, as well as a suite of combat-utility drones.
- Variable Grenade: A small by hyper-accurate grenade that makes the most out of it’s mass-effect fields.
Most drones in combat are simple affairs, designed to perform a single task, and be as cheap and replaceable as possible. However, Engineers and other highly tech-oriented operatives often use a drone with much more complex programming, and more expensive equipment. It’s a constant struggle to keep such a drone in good repair but it can be worth the effort for the advantages an advanced drone can bring.
The Combat Drone power works a little bit differently from some other powers. As the drone becomes more advanced, more subsystems can be added to it. Those subsystems are listed below the power description, broken into tiers. A drone can have any subsystem that is at or below the tier of the character’s level in this power. The drone need not have one subsystem from each tier, an Engineer who has the 3rd rank of this power can put 3 level 3 subsystems in his drone. Also, the subsystems can be switched out as the engineer desires, though this can’t be done in combat or in the field at all. To switch subsystems, the Engineer needs access to a lab or machine-shop, and plenty of time, making it something that needs to be done between missions.
In battle, the Drone acts on the Engineer’s turn. Giving the drone orders consumes a minor action. The orders can be somewhat broad, the VI can handle orders as complex as “target enemies with active shields”, or “fight the worst damaged foes”. It can also be directed to target a specific enemy, and then attack the next closest foe once that target is dead, or alternately it can be set to fight the enemies that attack it. More complex orders that involve tactical understanding are beyond the basic drone VI.
If destroyed in combat, the drone needs to be repaired at the a machine shop or lab, just as when switching out subsystems. If simply damaged, the Engineer can repair it in the field, given access to basic tools and some uninterrupted time to work.
- MKI Drone: The basic combat drone is not really basic at all, when compared to normal fighting drones. It has a more robust propulsion system than a regular drone, stronger shields, and thicker armor. It also has better sensor capability, and can be slotted with a single, minor subsystem. For armament, the Drone carries a single main gun which is cooled with an internal system rather than thermal clips.
- The drone can be slotted with 1 subsystem of tier 1.
- The drone can move 1 space per turn, and can operate at up to Long range, but cannot leave the Engineer’s battle theater. Its attributes are given below.
- Health: 5 – Armor: 15 – Shields: 30 – Accuracy: +10 – Damage: 10 / 15
- MKII Drone: Once an Engineer has completed his Mark One drone, there’s nothing to do but improve it! The Mark Two is better in every way, able to add more and better subsystems, take more punishment, and deal more damage.
- The drone can be slotted with 2 subsystems of tier 2 or lower.
- Some of the drones attributes increase: Shields 35 – Accuracy 12 – Damage 12 / 18
- MKIII Drone: The Mark Three drone is a serious piece of technology, envied by lesser Engineers. The chassis is solid and cutting-edge, and there’s a lot more room for subsystems, as well as better quality tech in general.
- The drone can be slotted with 4 subsystems of tier 3 or lower.
- Some of the drones attributes increase: Shields 40 – Armor 20 – Damage 14 / 21
- MKIV Drone: It doesn’t get better than this without Prothean technology. Sure, it would be possible to spend tens of thousands of credits to build a drone even better than this one, but the money spent couldn’t improve the drone enough to justify the cost. This is especially true considering that the device is constantly being shot at.
- The drone can be slotted with 8 subsystems of tier 4 or lower.
- Some of the drones attributes increase: Shields 50 – Accuracy 15 – Damage 16 / 24
Drone Subsystems (Bulky Subsystems take up 2 slots)
|1||Ablative Armor||+5 to drone armor.|
|1||Laser Assist||+5 to Tech Mine attacks on the drone’s target.|
|1||Shock Cannon||Replace main gun with a weapon that does 20 damage to shields only.||No Crit|
|1||Upgraded Targeting||+5 to drone accuracy.|
|2||Chassis Upgrade||+10 to drone health.||Bulky|
|2||Networked Sensors||Bonuses to Tech attacks & Smartlink apply to entire squad.|
|2||Sensor Suite||+3 to Tech attacks on all targets.|
|2||Shield Battery||+10 to drone shields.|
|2||Rail Extension||+4 / +6 to drone damage.|
|3||Cloaking System||Full round action to cloak. Firing removes cloak.|
|3||Scram Rail||+8 / +12 to drone damage.||Bulky|
|3||Smartlinked Sensors||+2 accuracy to Engineer vrs all enemies.|
|3||Tactical VI||Can issue more complex commands.|
|3||Thruster Upgrade||Move 2 spaces per round.|
|4||Disruptor Attack||Critical damage against shields.|
|4||Energized Weave||+20 to drone shields.||Bulky|
|4||Inferno Attack||+10 damage against armor|
|4||Jamming VI||Cuts enemy communications|
|4||Missile Launcher||-10 Accuracy. Damage: 40 / 60, Blast||Bulky|
Technically a tech ability, Damping takes advantage of some of the research that has been done on biotics as far as what kinds of attacks can easily stun or disorient a living being. The Damping tech-mine explodes with a combination of emp, mass effect fields, and concussive force. The effect is to damage just about anything equally, and stun organics and synthetics alike.
Unlike most tech mines, Damping explodes in a signifigantly larger area and further proximity. Thus, there’s no penalty for attacking shielded targets, and the mine hits everyone in short range of the detonation point. However, the wide-area, multi-purpose of the payload means that the damage is somewhat lower than most other tech mines.
- Damping Grenade: The grenade is targeted at an area, and a roll made to determine how good the timing of the explosion is. All targets in short range of the explosion point are struck by the damage effects regardless, but the stun & suppression effects only take hold on enemies who’s Tech Defense was beaten by the activation roll.
- Using the grenade requires the Sentinel to roll Intelligence + Damping, all targets compare the result of that roll to their tech defense. Activating the grenade is a Standard Action. The grenade inflicts 20 damage, or 30 on a crit.
- Any enemy who’s Tech Defense is lower than the activation roll is Flashed.
- Fragmentation: A variant of the usual Damping grenade that adds shrapnel to the payload. It doesn’t deal any greater suppression to the target, but it does significantly more damage.
- Frag Payload Damping attacks inflict 30 damage base, or 40 on a crit.
- Regular Damping grenades now inflicts Daze on the first turn as well as Flashed.
- Flashbang: The flash and shockwave effects of the Damping grenade are upgraded, making it far more effective at stunning enemies. This grenade-mode does no real damage, but the stun effects are quite useful, especially if several tightly-grouped enemies can be caught.
- Enemies are Flashed and Stunned on their next turn, and Dazed on the second turn.
- Damping Blast: The base-damping grenade is upgraded to either do more damage, or hit a very wide area. The Damping Blast can cause problems for most of an enemy force if placed correctly. Previous versions of this tech now function better.
- Regular Damping grenades hit for 30 damage base, 40 on a crit. Frag payload Damping hits for 40 damage base, 50 on a crit.
- The Damping Blast version of the grenade hits everything within medium range of the target, for 20 damage, 30 crit. Targets who’s Tech Defenses were beaten by the activation are Flashed.
One of the great advances of modern technology, the ability to recharge electronic devices wirelessly, is also the bane of an Engineer’s enemies. Kinetic barriers are excellent at blocking physical objects but they cannot stop energy attacks. This ability utilizes a device that remains on the Engineer’s person, rather than a tech mine. Thus, it does have a range limitation, Energy Drain is ineffective outside of Medium Range.
The device is tuned by the Engineer to find the specific frequency of the target’s shield generator, and drains the batteries and capacitors that keep the shield powered. It then feeds that energy into the Engineer’s own armor, strengthening his shields. It can also be used against synthetic enemies, dealing Health damage directly, bypassing their armor. However, the synthetic’s shields must be brought down by draining or damage before the device can attack the machine’s health, as the overwhelming signature of a powered up shield generator blocks access to the more protected internal generators.
- Power Drain: The device selects a target with help from the Engineer’s omni-tool, and attempts to drain the shield generator or synthetic’s power supply. Neither shield generators nor mechs are designed to be drained in this way, so success is not guaranteed. Electronic interference makes the job more difficult.
- Using the device requires the Sentinel to roll Intelligence + Energy Drain, against the target’s Tech Defense. Activating the device is a Standard Action. If successful, 15 points of shield or health are drained (20 on a crit), and the Engineer’s shields are restored by 10 points.
- If the Engineer’s shields are down, only half the normal points are restored. On a critical success with the device, the full points are restored even if the shields are down.
- Selective Targeting: While shields still have to be down to attack a synthetic enemy’s health, the engineer can attempt to hit the power sources of other devices that an enemy is carrying. Omni tools, Armor HUDs, and other useful tech devices can be shut down. Alternately the device might be used to target a Shuttle’s engine, or the power source for an elevator.
- The device now drains 20 shields (25 on a crit), and restores 15 shields.
- When targeting another system, the GM decides the effects of the drain, and what happens if that system shuts down. In general, the enemy will loose access to some special ability (such as a tech mine attack) or get a penalty to Accuracy. If a vehicle is attacked it will be slowed or stopped by a successful attack.
- Heavy Drain: If the device is only draining power, as opposed to also restoring it, it can drain more power, faster. This is useful when the Engineer’s shields are already at full power, or when the desire is to simply strip the enemy of as much protection as possible.
- Normal operation of the device now drains 25 shields (30 on a crit), and restores 20 shields.
- Heavy Drain restores no shields, but drains +15 shields or health (+20 on a crit).
- Area Drain: Though it loses efficiency on individual targets, the device can now multi-task to drain the shields or health of multiple targets. Drain on each target is less than on a single enemy, but the overall effect is greater. An area is targeted by the power, and all enemies within short-range of the area are affected if the attack roll equals or exceeds their Tech Defense.
- Regular operation of the device now drains 25 shields (30 on a crit) and restores 20 shields.
- The Area Drain drains only 15 shields or health (20 on a crit) from each target, but restores the full 20 shields to the Engineer.
With the advancement of holographic technology in the modern day, it’s possible to use a drone-based hologram projector to cause some serious confusion on the battlefield. While it’s true that holograms can’t perfectly represent the thing they are imitating, in the confusion of battle there is little time to study something carefully to be sure it’s real or not.
This device can’t create literally any illusion, nor can it act as a tactical cloak. The data storage space required to load up a believable hologram restricts the drone to only a few choices. As the device gets more sophisticated, it can hold more holograms and the VI gets upgraded to make them more flexible.
- Drone Projector: The operative has a drone capable of projecting holograms, moving around the battlefield, and not much else. The drone can project two different holograms, one large-scale and complex, one smaller and more simple. The most popular choices for holograms at this drone level are a hologram of the operative himself, so that he can create a double that will hopefully draw enemy fire, and a hologram of an incoming missile. Very few people will check to be sure it’s a ‘real’ missile before abandoning their cover to get away from the blast.
- When a hologram is activated, the operative rolls Intelligence + Holograms. Any enemy who’s Tech Defense is lower than the result believes the hologram, at least initially. Depending on how the hologram behaves, it may soon be outed as an illusion.
- At this level the holograms can behave as specifically directed by the operative, the drone VI is not sophisticated enough to make them react on the fly to battlefield conditions. That means a hologram that is shot will generally not be able to produce an illusion of the round striking a shield or flesh.
- Multi-Projector: The drone can now project more than one hologram at once, and also boasts a larger storage capacity for more holographic options. While setting up too many holograms can ruin the illusion fast, sometimes having three copies of yourself on the battlefield creates exactly enough confusion to escape a devastating attack.
- The drone can now store 2 large size holograms and 3 smaller, less complicated illusions.
- Up to 3 holograms can be projected at once.
- VI Upgrade: The drone’s VI is now sophisticated enough to make the holograms at least a little reactive, registering damage if struck by enemy fire, falling over if hit by biotic attacks, etc. This greatly decreases the chance that enemies will ignore the holograms after attacking them once. The storage capacity of the drone is further upgraded.
- When a hologram is attacked the enemy must make an Intelligence roll to determine that he attacked an illusion instead of an actual object or person. The difficulty of this roll is the activation roll for that particular hologram.
- Three large holograms and 5 smaller holograms can now be stored.
- High Resolution: With a combination of better VI programming and upgraded hologram projectors, the illusions of the hologram become much more believable. These upgrades work best when only a single hologram is being projected.
- When the drone is projecting only one hologram, enemies get a -5 to their tech defense and intelligence rolls to penetrate the illusion.
- The drone can now project up to five holograms at once at the lower resolution.
This tech mine focuses on burning out enemy technological systems. Unlike Overload, it doesn’t affect shields, focusing more on disabling the enemy’s offensive tools. Most notably it disables modern weapons, but it also can shut down the enemy’s ability to use Tech Mines at higher levels.
As with many tech mines, the Sabotage grenades have difficulty affecting a shielded target. If the mine is stopped by a shield is is generally too far away from the target’s weapons to have full effect. When a hit is successful, the burnout effects of Sabotage last for 1 round per level of this power known.
A weapon experiencing burnout has all it’s systems shut down. Not only is the weapon incapable of firing, but it cannot even eject it’s current thermal clip. The once-sophisticated gun becomes a club for the duration of the burnout.
- Sabotage Grenade: The grenade is targeted on a specific individual, and pulses a wave of heat and electromagnetic pulse that wrecks havoc with modern guns. The effect is to disable the target’s current weapon which is already running hot and can’t handle additional stress. In addition, the blast deals some damage to the target.
- Using the grenade requires the Operative to roll Intelligence + Sabotage, against the target’s tech defense. Activating the grenade is a Standard Action. The grenade inflicts 20 damage, or 30 on a crit.
- The target’s current weapon has it’s thermal clip completely expended, forcing a reload. On a critical hit, the weapon experiences burnout.
- Tracking Upgrade: The grenade now links into the Operative’s HUD, tracking enemies even when they are behind cover. The propulsion system is upgraded as well, allowing it to make tight enough turns to dip behind cover or around corners. Targets being tracked by an Sabotage Grenade no longer gain Cover bonuses to defense.
- The damage of the Sabotage grenade increases to 30 (40 crit)
- The target’s current weapon experiences burnout and has it’s thermal clip expended.
- Scrambler: The operative can set his Sabotage grenade to forgo the normal damage in order to deliver a more comprehensive shutdown effect to the enemy electronics. This version of the tech mine affects all weapons, not just the active one, as well as the target’s capacity to fire tech mines.
- All weapons on the target are affected by Burnout for the full duration. The thermal clip in the active weapon is expended. The target cannot use Tech Mines on his next turn.
- Regular Sabotage grenades now deal 40 damage (50 crit).
- Area Sabotage: An advanced version of the Sabotage grenade that can strike an area. While it can’t hit quite as hard as the single-target version, it can be invaluable to stop several enemies from firing at the same time.
- Area Sabotage is targeted at a specific spot, hitting all targets within short-range who’s Tech Defense are equal to or less than the activation roll. Burnout on the Area Sabotage is only 3 rounds, and thermal clips on the active weapons are not expended. Damage is 20 (30 crit).
- The regular sabotage grenade now hits for 50 damage (70 crit).
A device fervently wished for by anyone who’s under fire with his shields down, this device restores shields in-combat much faster than the suit’s basic systems can do. Not properly an armor-mod, it is built into the user’s omni-tool, and connected to the suit’s power system from there. Because restoring shields drains a lot of power, the operative does have to pay a bit of a price for using this gadget. Tech mines cannot be activated on the round after a Shield Booster has been used. However, this is a small price to pay for restoring the operative’s shields on demand.
A Shield Booster relies on powerful capacitors to function, and simply can’t be used constantly in combat. Initially the Shield Booster is inactive for six full rounds after being used. As the device improves, it can be used more often, shaving a round off the wait time with each level. At the maximum level of this power, it can be used after only a three round wait.
- Shield Boost: The device re-activates shields that are down, bypassing the suit’s normal recovery system, though it does draw energy from the suit’s power source for certain. This power requires no roll, but it does require a Standard Action. The normal operation of shield boost can only be used when the shields are down entirely.
- The booster restores the shields to 1/4 of their maximum capacity, rounded down.
- The round in which shield boost is activated does not count for shield restoration, since the booster drains the power the shield system was building up.
- Active Boost: The shield booster becomes more flexible, able to restore shields before they are entirely down. This is a slightly more complex operation, as the booster has to override the active shielding system and restore protection where it’s needed most. Active Boost is also a standard action.
- Active Boost requires the Operative to roll Intelligence + Shield Booster. The result of that roll is the number of shield points restored.
- Regular shield boost now restores 1/2 of the total shields, rounded down.
- Booster Overload: The booster can have it’s safeties overridden to boost a shield completely, regardless of the state that shield is in. This overloads the booster, rendering it useless for the rest of the combat. A simple enough fix can be performed in about five minutes out of combat to restore the booster to operation.
- The operative’s shields are fully restored, regardless of their current state.
- Active Boost shields now restore 10 additional shield points, on top of the roll result.
- Pulse Shield: The booster forgoes some of it’s restorative capacity to introduce a cycling pulse effect into the shield. This has the effect of confusing technological tracking devices.
- Pulse Shield can only be used in lieu of a Shield Boost, not an Active Boost. It restores only 1/2 of the maximum shields, rounded down. The operative’s Tech Defense increases by 5 for as long as the pulsing shield lasts.
- Regular Shield Boost now restores 3/4 of the maximum shields, rounded down.