Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Witches Cauldrons (Libuscha + Rogue Planet Fluff)

Libuscha's Banksia Plains are a unique environment. The constant threat of tsunami and roaming herds of hungry Banksia have resulted in some evolutionary adaptations that are worthy of examination.

Despumat aeni pythonissam or Witches Cauldrons are unfortunately a relatively common sight.  Found in clusters of up to a dozen individual organisms,  Cauldrons take the appearance of globular cups, sized from 50cm to 2 meters in diameter.

Cauldrons are another mobile, albeit slow, predatory lifeforms.  Cauldrons spot the Libuschan landscape and along with the Banksia herds, they collectively pose a material threat to all those within their vicinity.

The Cauldrons name is derived from its thick viscous psychotropic soup that slowly boils and bubbles, bubbling and releasing clouds of steam in the Cauldrons vicinity.  This "broth" and the accompanying mist can induce a variety of hallucinogenic-like states upon those entities making contact with the same.  Of note is the fact that entities need not ingest the substance as it evidently can and does trigger reactions regardless of whether entities are fully environmental shielded or even non-organic in nature.

The broth's impacts are typically categorised as one or more of the following effects:
  • Paranoia causing the target to seek cover and hide - unfortunately upon the Banksia Plains, typically cover translates to predatory Banksias;
  • Disorientation resulting in the affected entity to move in a random direction - again rather a dangerous outcome when amongst Banksia; and
  • Hallucinations impairing the affected entity's judgement e.g., suddenly coming to the realisation that your squad members are actually the very same aliens you've been hunting!
Cauldrons live in a symbiotic relationship with the Banksia. Thanks to the Cauldron's hallucinogenic mist,  those Banksia lurking in the vicinity benefit from more readily accessible, well at least less troublesome, prey. In turn the Banksia act as a deterrent to all but the most determined of the Cauldron's predators.

Interesting Banksia also periodically deposit their Pearls into the Cauldrons which almost certainly accounts for their broth's more potent effects.  Whilst as many as a dozen Pearls may be residing in larger Cauldrons, presently there's no safety,  reliable and cost-effective manner in which they can be harvested.

Use in the Game (Rogue Planet)

Cauldrons are classified as Difficult Obstacles, resulting in a -1 modifier to all attacks passing through and requiring either two Moves or a successful Skill Check if attempting to pass through on a single Move.

Should a Unit pass within Standard FX Range inches of a Cauldron, they need make an effect test when attempting their next action.  Examples of such effect test include:

  • Move, Charge or Intercept: perform a Skill Check with a Rogue Die.  Should the result be Failure, then re-perform a move of the same distance in a random direction.
  • Shoot, Return Fire or Op Fire: include a Rogue Die with the role.  Should the result be a Failure due to the Rogue Die, then resolve a standard  Shoot Skill Check against the nearest ally unit.
  • Melee: will attempt to Disengage Melee and head to the nearest cover (even if the Cover is Dangerous Terrain).

Cauldrons may be employed as Treacherous Terrain.  Upon activation, generate a cloud of steam that will randomly travel FX Range in a direction designated by the active player - make an FX test to determine how far the cloud will travel.  At the end of each Player's Turn, roll a d6  1-3 the cloud disperses and 4-6 the cloud will now randomly drift again using an FX Range.  Should the Cloud drift off the map consider it dispersed.  Any Units that come in contact with the Cloud suffer Cauldron effects as above and the Cloud will partially block LoS of Units firing through it (-1 Modifier on Shoot, Return Fire and Op Fire Skill Checks).

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