"Okay, yeah I shot first- but to be fair? He was being really annoying."
Guinea Pig / Special Ops
"Hey guy, buy you a drink? No? Can you buy me a drink? -what do you mean I can't anyway, that's just rude! Well since you're here, how's about a story, huh? It's a good one, really, 's about a guy from the war. Hah! I ain't talking about Tolkeen, I'm talkin' about the war, you know, some seventy years back? Yeah, yeah I see it your eyes, that one. ...what're they calling it again? Well, don't matter- you know what I'm talking about. Anyway.
There's this guy, see. Okay, there's lots of guys- it's a war! Lotta people died. Lotta good people. Don't matter which side, tech, magic- you end up on the wrong side of it, you end up dead. Fact of life. But...some people were on the brink of death. Just one more push and it's all over. Helluva scary place to be for some. Well, some of them got saved. ...actually I don't know if saved is the right word for it. I mean, when you don't got much left of a body, what hope do you have? Mind still works. Heart...the figurative one, not the physical 'cuz that one's splurtin' away down here to parts that won't respond. But so long as your mind is functioning, you're still you. So they just give you a new body, right? So anyway, they put him together again. Think there was some old kiddie rhyme like that. All the king's horses and all the king's men... Heh. Outcome wasn't so great in that one, if I'm rememberin' correctly.
Slap 'em in a new body, put them right back to work, isn't that how it goes? Honestly, the rest of it's a blur. Had a new team, must've been out there fighting again. Obviously I'm still here so... -hey, you even listening?
...where'd you g- Eh well. 'm sure you've got better stuff t'do with your time than listen to some 'ol 'borg blabber. Don't got much of an ending for that story anyway."
I've Got Soul but I'm Not a Soldi- Wait
Once there was a man named Galan Gallerhorn. Like so many who had gone to fight in the Hinterlands War, Galan was grievously wounded, his body shattered beyond repair. So they put him back together, connecting the mind of Galan to a new body of metal, cables and wiring. But it's not the same. It will never be the same. Galan is no more, although Baldur remembers what he can of his past before the war with fondness.
Invoke: He's a broken soldier. Now he's little more than a weapon, but without consistent use, he's had to find other ways to entertain himself in a body that neither eats nor sleeps. He likes to think that sarcasm is the sign of a personality and therefore a soul just as the proof's in the pudding. ....man, he misses pudding.
Compel: Given his appearance is hardly anything soft and cuddly, the general public tends to treat his presence with a polite wariness, like a crate of eggs balanced on a wine glass atop an orange. Baldur knows sometimes he makes people anxious but he pretends to ignore it, although he's long since lost track of when he'd engage them just to be a bother or out of genuine want to socialize.
Dog of Dogwood
He's been given another chance at life, but for a debt he might just end up having to pay for the same price. As a work in progress, he's been subject to improvements and trials to continually help his mechanics and technicians keep pushing for something better. That means following orders, and apparently once a soldier, always a soldier.
Invoke: "For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?"
Compel: Whenever duty calls.
In the depths of the Hinterlands war a small group of Dogwood extremists contrived to get a handful of Dogwood Armored Infantry implanted with experimental techno-wizard anti-magic devices. Most of the soldiers in question were unaware of what was done to them which is just as well for if it should ever become known the fallout would be dire.
Invoke: Aside from the device’s anti-magic effects (covered under the M-Null stunt) its presence seriously discomfits most creatures and practitioners, giving Baldur an edge in conversation, negotiation and social maneuvering.
Compel: Making mages, demons and creatures of magic uncomfortable, especially powerful ones, is not always a good idea. Sometimes it just makes you a target, which is a problem when the being in question is immortal, well resourced and incredibly imaginative. They may react in different ways from fascination to hostility, but it’s always trouble. Unfortunately Baldur can’t turn his aura off. Moreover if his secret should ever come to light, his position, social standing and possibly life would be in immense and immediate danger.
The Id and Ego
When your fleshly body's been stripped away from you, it certainly cuts down on a lot of things you'd previously wrestle over in terms of desires and needs. As though he's not already walking a fine line between humanity and machine, for Baldur it's become more or less a flip of a switch depending upon circumstances.
Invoke: Baldur's instincts generally boil down to "yes" and "no" under pressure, a soldier's mentality where knowing a split-second of uncertainty can cost you. This of course particularly revolves around confrontational situations.
Compel: Violence begets violence, that sort of thing. Sometimes he doesn't always realize when he resolves things out of efficiency over deliberation, but when he does, he tends to regret it.
Armor (Cost 1)
While all Cyborgs have some level of toughness afforded them by their implants, some take the extra step of having armor directly implanted onto them. Grants Armor 4. Does not stack with worn armor, replaces the armor conferred by the Cybernetic Conversion Gateway.
Total Conversion (Cost 1)
You are a ‘Total Conversion’ Cyborg: a mortal brain, a few vital organs and possibly a face housed inside an entirely mechanical body. This gives an additional 5 stress box and +1 Armor that stacks with other cyborg chain armor extras but does not stack with worn armor. Note, Total Conversions may or may not be able to pass for normal depending on the parts used in the conversion and the purpose of it.
Hyperagility Actuators (Cost 1)
Sometimes fast is better than strong. Borgs outfitted with hyperagility actuators eschew the heavier, clunkier type of implant or bionic chassis and focus on sturdy, lightweight construction paired with the kind of limb strength and control that would make olympic gymnasts weep with envy. You gain +2 to Athletics overcome rolls to bypass obstacles to movement , +2 to Athletics create advantage rolls relating to acrobatic movement or extreme agility and may move 2 zones during a conflict along with your action instead of the usual one.
Optics Package (Cost 1)
A standard IR, UV, Thermal optics package common to cybernetic eyes. You take no penalties to any kind of roll relating to the ambient lighting. Additionally you may use this Extra as justification to see things that you otherwise could not see provided doing so makes sense within the context of the scene.
Integral Weapon: Energy Blasters (Cost 1)
Baldur has weapon 1 blasters mounted on his arms (both sets).
Baldur may defend against magical attacks which target him either singly or as part of an area of effect with his physique. Successfully defended attacks simply fizzle as the M-Null device counters the magic at a safe distance. Doing so, however, strains Baldur’s well being. Each such defense costs him a mental stress. He may take consequences from this damage if so desired
Armor 3 (counting Armor and TC), Additional 4 stress box, +2 Strength to Overcome with Physique using raw strength Physique cap increased to 6
The demons finally make their move against the Taniguchi-Trent forces.
With everyone in position, all Jericho and Natsuki's forces can do is wait. However not everyone likes waiting quietly.
Natsuki travels to Vesper accompanied by Baldur, Stella Bridger, and the Crown Prince of Dogwood, hoping to gain some footing towards an alliance between the two cities.
Stella brings a few extra surprises with her shipment, direct from Vesper. Now if only the Baronet can persuade the higher-ups that help from Vesper in general might be beneficial for them all.
With war brewing with an unknown foe, Dogwood mobilises. The Trent / Taniguichi party gets a visitor
Things are heating up on the Dogwood Western border. Taniguichi-Trent gets word of a stranded Knight and a request, if you can call it that, to rescue them.
Giant mecha-pumas don't understand party protocol.
Faces from all over come to enjoy themselves at the Taniguchi's for a fancy winter ball, along with some royal distractions.
With the turn of the seasons just around the corner, merchants and traders head to Vesper's marketplace to sell their wares, others come to enjoy them, and yet others take advantage of the crowds drawn.
An entire facility of some sort has just appeared seemingly nowhere and onto the Taniguchi's front lawn. Jericho, Natsuki, Stella and Baldur head in to investigate.
With concerns of demons coming down from the mountains soon, Jericho and Natsuki gather trusted associates to talk of preparation.
Preparations for the annual Tournament in Dogwood are abruptly disrupted by Stella's unwanted scrap buddy, not only compromising the technically enhanced, but calling a certain Puma's attention...
Accompanied by bannermen from the Taniguchi House, Baldur sets out to meet a group of Psi-Stalkers on Natsuki's behalf with only minor complications.
Some partied too hard and now nurse hangovers in the warmth of Gran's inn. Others come for the warmth itself, for news, for deliveries and good food.
Jericho goes over his further findings regarding the data spill the robo-Puma delivered to Stella and Baldur. The location of origin looks a bit shifty...
In the peacefulness of the gardens, Natsuki and Baldur take a walk to clear the air on some things.
While making a pitstop from a delivery run, Stella and Baldur run into some rather opinionated people from Dogwood. And Leo.
Jericho proves his ability with a blade for a bet, and takes on Natsuki and Baldur for a two-on-one.
Slaine's little group from Vesper isn't the only one drawn to an abandoned mining encampment. Not only does a representative from Dogwood appear, but...someone from the Coalition?
Jericho makes some inquiries about a strange code that's been recently transmitted towards the Taniguchi lands.
So much for a pleasant shopping day at the mall. Natsuki's stalker takes a more direct approach and meets things head-on.
Someone decides to try putting a couple of opposing patrols from Vesper and Dogwood to the test.
There's a bit of a close call during another visitation Natsuki makes. Thankfully there's plenty of able bodies to prevent any worse.
Someone's messing around with harvesters in the Taniguchi farmlands. ...not the soul kind.
An unidentified D-Bee trespasser prompts a response from Dogwood, and turns into a barbecue gathering.
Natsuki and an Agent of the Crown decide to enlist in the services of certain individuals to investigate cause for growing concerns regarding the amassing Psi-Stalker tribes to the west.
At the site of a drug-dealer warehouse in the slums of Dogwood, two old war-buddies reunite after a very, very long time...