CAMELOT Trigger: Armoured Human NPCs

Tournaments, duels and frank exchanges of views are a staple of the Arthurian romances – as much as, if not more than, full military conflict. In the universe of CAMELOT Trigger, the Emergent might be the ultimate enemy, but that doesn’t mean that human knights don’t have plenty of reasons to clash.. Noble houses manoeuvre around one another, and beyond the Round Table, pirates and brigands take advantage of the turbulence to prey upon unwary travellers. And then there are those truly villainous souls who willingly serve MerGN-A herself…

Last time I provided a few Emergent NPC statlines for GMs to use in their games. This time I want to expand that range to include human adversaries. In each instance, I’ve provided an archetype of human opponent, then an example character who fulfilled that role in my campaign (with stats!).

 

THE SCHEMING BROTHER

For every just lord and rightful successor, there is an embittered relative who covets the throne themselves. Your scheming brother (alternatively an uncle, or former queen) will usually profess loyalty, buy may or may not do so convincingly, depending on their individual patience and craftiness. For a while, they might prefer to act through intermediaries, but with a passion for power as intense as theirs, they will not hesitate to act in person when required to achieve their ends. They’ll fight the PCs when they feel power is within their grasp – taking advantage of PC weakness to either call for a duel or simply stab them in the back.

In our campaign, the Scheming Brother was Sir G’Vair, our version of Agravain, brother to G’Wayn (a PC). When their homeworld of Io rebelled, G’Wayn confronted his father the king, challenging him to single combat for the right to the Ionian throne. When their father simply abdicated, G’Vair stepped in to accept that challenge himself, but was subsequently defeated. A subject of much suspicion and distrust for the rest of the campaign, G’Vair nonetheless joined the Round Table a few sessions later, and ultimately died a hero in MerGN-A’s final attack. You can read more about where this character concept came from over at Stephen Morffew’s blog (he’s the guy who was playing G’Wayn).

High Concept: Orkish Prince Aspirant
Trouble: Biding My Time
Aspect: Harsh Tongue
Aspect: Strike Like a Serpent

Skills
+4: Cunning, Daunt
+3: Armour, Skulking
+2: Household, Intrigue
+1: Devotion, Lineage

Physical Stress: O O
Mental Stress: O O O
Mild and Moderate Consequence Slots

Stunts
Think Like a Villain: Use Cunning instead of Chivalry to defend against enemy uses of Cunning.
A Growing Court: +2 to Lineage when calling upon allies on the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

Viperblade systems
Corrosion Needle Spitter (Head): Blast +3, Mark +1
Exothermic Wave Emitter (Torso): Twice per conflict, when you move into an enemy’s zone, inflict a 2-stress physical hit on that enemy.
Surge Talon (Right Arm): Melee +4
Shield-Breaker Battering Ram (Left Arm): +2 to attack with Melee against anyone defending with Melee.
Turbo-Charged Jousting Jets (Legs): +2 to Armour when overcoming opposition that prevents you from moving towards an enemy.

THE FURY

The louder counterpart to the Scheming Brother is the Fury, someone within the Court whose propensity for outrage is a frequent source of drama or irritation. They’ll initiate social conflicts when displeased, and if not immediately satisfied, they’ll escalate to a physical conflict by calling for a duel. It’s challenging for the PCs to have a Fury in their own court, but it’s even better (and funnier) if it’s someone the PCs have to win over or negotiate with. A party better equipped to engage in combat than diplomacy may even be grateful for a counterpart they can render obedient with violence.

In our campaign, the Fury was Sir Tora, daughter of the lord of Ganymede. The campaign began with Ganymede joining Arthur’s court, and immediately being attacked by a rebellious Io – Tora was not slow to criticise Ganymede’s new allies for failing to afford them protection. The party managed to deal with her discontent with diplomacy and promises of assistance, but I made sure I had stats for her armour on hand just in case!

High Concept: Revered Champion of Ganymede
Trouble: Go Where I’m Pointed
Aspect: Fiercely Loyal

Skills
+4: Melee
+3: Armour
+2: Devotion, Lineage
+1: Chivalry, Daunt

Physical Stress: O O
Mental Stress: O O O
Mild and Moderate Consequence Slots

Stunts
Swift Attack: When you succeed with style whilst attacking with Melee, you may sacrifice your boost (and reduce stress by one as normal) to inflict a second 2-stress hit.

Regio systems
Auto-Response Interface (Head): Use Armour instead of Mark to determine initiative in physical conflicts.
Barker Cannons (Front): Blast +2, Daunt +2.
“Unfriendly Fire” Target Scrambler (Back): +2 to defend with Armour against Blast attacks when you’re engaged with an enemy in melee.
Titansforge Seeker-Sabre (Arms): +2 to attack with Melee when your enemy defends with Armour.
Rampager Rocket Blasters (Legs): +2 to attack with Melee when you move into a zone, and then attack in the same turn.

THE CHALLENGER

None shall pass! The Challenger is intended as an extra obstacle between the PCs and their goal, to test their steel and break up fights against machines. They might be sent by the bad guys to impede the party’s progress, but just as often they aren’t. There are plenty of desperate souls that the PCs might just stumble across in their travels, be they knights questing for an item they believe the PCs to possess, or sentinels refusing to allow intrusion into their territory. Like the Fury, resolving the situation with social skills is possible, but far from guaranteed.

I used Sir Ragnelle as a Challenger in my campaign, introducing her during the rebellion of Io as the captain of a mercenary Edge Knight force. The session ran out of time to handle things as a full conflict, but the party was inventive in the use of social skills to settle the situation through a challenge, essentially bribing her into switching sides. She became one of the Round Table’s most devoted servants, surviving the campaign, and (inevitably) ending up in a relationship with G’Wayn.

High Concept: Mercenary Edge Knight
Trouble: Making This Up As I Go
Aspect: Jaw-Droppingly Hot

Skills
+4: Blast
+3: Cunning, Smithy
+2: Chivalry, Devotion
+1: Armour, Mark

Physical Stress: O O
Mental Stress: O O O
Mild and Moderate Consequence Slots

Stunts
Loathly Lady: When you reveal your beauty to someone sexually compatible, take a +4 boost to your first roll to create an advantage against them.

Sovereynte systems
Gorgon’s Stare Targeting System (Head): +2 to attack with Blast against enemies exactly two zones away.
Tower Deflector Shield (Front): Use Melee to defend against Blast attacks.
Limiter Bypass Module (Back): You may shut down a system to take a boost on a Melee roll.
Turbo Maul (Arms): Melee +4.
“Discretion” Pattern Astro-Thrusters (Legs): +2 to Armour when evading pursuit.

THE ZEALOT

The Zealot is a good knight in a bad job. They’ll fight the PCs not because they particularly want to, but because their lord has willed it. Chances are that lord is a pretty bad guy if he has earned the enmity of the PCs, but to the Zealot this distinction is irrelevant: duty trumps all other concerns, and loyalty to one’s master its own reward. The most effective way to use the Zealot in a campaign is to give the PCs a chance to meet and learn to like them first, before putting the party in the unenviable position of having to fight a former friend.

Our campaign cast the Grandmaster of the Zodiac Templars, Polaris, as an enigmatic antagonist, and Sir Mitus the Aquarius Templar as his most devoted servant. He tended upon the Temple of Infinite Heavens when all others were absent, and harvested the waters that filled the Templar Meditation Chambers. When the PCs first visited Uranus, he provided both companionship and medical assistance; but on their second visit, which resulted in life-or-death battle with Polaris, he was honour-bound to oppose them. Fortunately, the PCs were able to avoid injuring their former ally, by simply leaving the planet once their objective was achieved.

High Concept: Trusted Servant of the Templar Grandmaster
Trouble: Quiet Solitude
Aspect: Tender of the Meditation Tanks

Skills
+4: Blast, Devotion
+3: Skulking, Smithy
+2: Lore, Melee
+1: Chivalry, Mark

Physical Stress: O O [O]
Mental Stress: O O O O
Mild and Moderate Consequence Slots

Stunts
Suffer Burden Without Complaint: When an enemy inflicts a physical consequence on you, do not place a free invoke on it.
Live to Serve: Once a turn, when Polaris is targeted by a physical attack, and you are in Polaris’ zone, the attacker’s zone, or a zone the attack is traced through, you may choose to become the target of that physical attack. If you do, the attacker gains a boost against you.

Aquarius systems
Templar Meditation Chamber (Head): Armour +4.
Networked Target Lock (Front): +2 to Blast when within the same zone as Polaris.
Moisture Conversion Array (Back): When you shut down an enemy armour system, take a boost.
Microwave Evaporator Cannons (Arms): You may overcome with Blast to target an enemy armour system. If you succeed, they choose an armour system to shut down. If you succeed with style, you choose an armour system to shut down.
Tidalforce Power Surger (Legs): Armour +2, Vigor +2 (extra stress boxes in brackets above).

GIANT MONSTER BOSS FIGHT SPECIAL: THE TEMPLE OF INFINITE HEAVENS

Whilst the archetypes above can probably be dropped into most campaigns, this last one is very specific to my own campaign. But I’ve included it anyway in case it gives people ideas for how to frame their own siege armour boss fights.

The decision to make Polaris, leader of the Zodiac Templars, into a villain came out of character creation – one of my players wanted to roleplay as a Zodiac Templar, and she seemed keen to explore themes of divided loyalties and duty. When the PCs visited Uranus, seeking vital military intelligence from Polaris, he instructed them to first bring him the Grail Code, “the secret to immortality”. Upon discovering that the Grail Code unlocked the secret to transhumanism, transferring human consciousness into a mechanical body, the PCs instead destroyed the code and returned to Uranus to face the consequences. Polaris then revealed his true colours: a brain in a jar, desperate to preserve his dwindling mortality, and enraged that the PCs had stolen it from him.

Then the entire Temple of Infinite Heavens transformed into a giant robot and proceeded to beat the crap out of the PCs.

Conflicts against a single NPC in Fate Core are difficult to balance. The sheer number of actions a player party puts out a turn, all but one of which can be a create advantage option, allows for an absolutely crippling attack that can overwhelm even the most absurdly statted bosses. CAMELOT Trigger’s siege armour, with its extra actions and incredible resilience, is a useful counter to that. If you’re interested in replicating the absurd anime stylings of the mecha genre in your campaign, I recommend having a super-giant mech boss to drop into it.

High Concept: Grandmaster of the Infinite Heavens
Trouble: Cannot Leave the Temple
Aspect: Obsession with Immortality
Aspect: Beyond Man and Machine

Skills
+6: Lore
+5: Devotion
+4: Daunt, Lineage
+3: Chivalry, Household
+2: Cunning, Melee
+1: Mark, Vigour

Physical Stress: O O O [O]
Mental Stress: O O O O
Mild, Moderate and Severe Consequence Slots
Bonus Mild (Mental) Consequence Slot

Stunts
All There is to be Known: When you succeed with style when creating an advantage with Lore, to draw upon the knowledge stored within the temple, generate three free invokes.
Weakness Revealed: If you succeed with style when defending with Will, you may sacrifice your boost to place two free invokes on a character aspect or consequence from your attacker.
Ghost in the Machine: You can use Lineage to gather information from spies you have embedded in the Emergent, not just other knights.

THE INFINITE HEAVENS ARMOUR
NOTE: The Infinite Heavnes is siege armour (page 233 of Worlds in Shadow). It always counts its initiative as Mediocre (+0) and counts as its own zone. It takes four actions a turn but each system can only be used for one of those actions.

Siege Aspect: Symbol of the Zodiac Order
Siege Aspect: Massive Size
Siege Aspect: Technological Marvel
Siege Aspect: Human/Emergent Construction

Siege Stress: O O O O

Temple of Meditation systems
Templar Meditation Chamber (Shrine): Armour +4
Tactical Reconfiguration Matrix (Chamber): When you create an advantage with Armour to analyse an enemy’s weaknesses, successes with style generate 3 free invokes rather than 2.
Combat Redundancy DigiSuite (Chamber): Blast +2, Melee +2
Emergent Intelligence Processor (Chamber): Armour +2, Mark +2
Superstructure Pylon (Corridor)

Temple of Peace systems
Tactical Nuclear Missile Launcher (Shrine): Blast +4
Advanced Offensive Suite (Chamber): When you create an advantage with Armour, and then make a physical attack with Blast, you can use free invokes on that advantage for a +4 bonus instead of +2.
Neutron Cone Driver (Chamber): +2 to Blast attacks against targets in the same zone as another enemy.
EMP Rocket Blasters (Chamber): Larceny +4
Superstructure Pylon (Corridor)

Temple of Harmony systems
Titanica Pyrosword (Shrine): Melee +4
Lightning Strike Lance (Chamber): Blast +1, Melee +3
Vulnerability Analysis Sequencer (Chamber): +2 to Melee attacks against enemy armour that has suffered a physical consequence.
Turbo-Charged Shield Generator (Chamber): Vigour +4
Superstructure Pylon (Corridor)

Constellation Skeleton systems
Superstructure Pylon (Spine)
Superstructure Pylon (Left Arm)
Superstructure Pylon (Right Arm)
Quad-Rocket Booster Pack (Body): Zeal +4
Moon-shaker Boots (Legs): Overcome with Armour when you move into a new zone. All enemies in that zone must roll to defend – if they fail, they suffer 1-physical stress.

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