Co-Written by Splicehead Todd SPencley and Co-created and Illustrated by me, Chuck Walton II, the Samaritan Gore Hound is a new Splicers® RPG Gore Hound upgrade that made it’s debut in the issue of a Rifter® #74, adventure Article with all "Official" source material titled “Splicers: I Am Legion,” the 3rd episode published by Palladium Books.
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New Gore Hound Type - Samaritans
created by Todd Spencley and Charles "Chuck" Walton II
The modifications of Gore Hounds have been met with a moderate level of criticism, as the standard Gore Hound has proven itself time and time again to be a versatile, formidable, quick, intelligent, trustworthy and cohesive field unit. They are exceptional scouts, trackers, hunters, guardians and fighters. Add to the fact that Gore Hounds can be customized with bio-enhancements, various armament and defences; Packmasters rarely would entertain utilizing anything other than Gore Hounds. However, even being augmentable, there are certain specialized functions that can use a little more enhancement without breaking the envelope. Maulers were created as purified weapons, but medically speaking, there are very few field options to help sustain Splicers. The small population of Saints among the Resistance are extremely valuable and make attractive targets for capture by the Machine, and are not deployed very often on the surface. Unfortunately, numerous soldiers have died in the battlefield due to the lack of speed and the intensity levels by opposition during combat that surrounds most wounded victims. This typically means that by the time a Saint actually reaches a victim it is too late. However, a specialized Gore Hound can sufficiently reach and help sustain wounded soldiers or move them to safer staging areas where victims could be stabilized just long enough for a Saint or emergency evacuation team to properly treat them.
Librarian Constantine marvelled at the natural bond between humans and hounds, probing the minds of Biotics, Scarecrows and other field soldiers, studying how Gore Hounds rush to someone's aid or defence and do their very best to appease their Packmasters. Constantine pondered on a Gore Hound design that would specialize in being a first responder for Splicers. The Librarian discussed the matter with Warlord Artemis and it was agreed upon that another Gore Hound upgrade would be approved, a medical support type called the Samaritan. Inspired by the ancient world breeds like the Saint Bernard, Newfoundland, Bouvier De Flanders and Labrador Retriever; Samaritans are Gore Hounds that have been augmented with their instincts heightened towards human life and preservation. Designed to tend to injured victims during intense battles or critical situations, the Samaritan is engineered to endure attacks while not being distracted from its primary tasks of reaching, tending to, sustaining and if need be, defending victims. When required, the Samaritan will retrieve and relocate victims to a more suitable staging area where victims can be best treated by either the Gore Hound itself via a licking bath provided by its quick healing tongue that serves as a Slap Patch (see Splicers page 130 for capabilities) and its limited medical abilities or by a nearby Saint or other field support. It relies heavily on the rest of the Gore-Pack to tackle any threats, but it will defend itself and particularly those it is assigned to retrieve or protect with a valiant ferocity when enraged.
Samaritans look very different from most Gorehounds as it is important for their tasks to preserve a calming, non-threatening presence while they tend to the wounded. To help fulfill this, Constantine designed Samaritans to have a very thick, soft coat of fur that covers layers of Physical Attack resistant blubber, armor plating and powerful muscles that stand out under the heavy fur. The fur coat, while being exceptionally soft is remarkably durable (Mega-Damage) and has an elastic skin adhered to the body through a not a very lax subcutaneous tissue, giving them a slight wrinkly appeal. The thick loose folds of skin allow Samaritans to scramble into jagged edged areas to reach wounded comrades without being torn up in the process. The skin also enables the Gore Hound to physically grapple with adversaries like alien predators, rival Splicers or machines that are wielding sharp edged weapons by reducing the severity of their lacerations and overall penetration by half for claws, teeth, spines, daggers, small blades, spurs, etc. All Vibro-blades, long swords, stabbing attacks and projectile munitions deliver full damage unless augmented otherwise.
One of the saving graces of the Samaritan design has to be its Slap Patch tongue. The Purple or Emerald coloured tongue is based off of the medical Bio-Tech device and operates in the same capacity as a Slap Patch only the Samaritan's tongue is designed to be for long-term usage. It stops bleeding, soothes burns, stops bruising, reduces swelling and begins to regenerate damaged areas of both living beings (human and Bio-Tech oriented). The tongue heals humans and ordinary animals, and Mega-Damage animals and Bio-Tech Devices. The healing is very quick, requiring only minutes for the healing to start and the organism regenerates damage and heals wounds sufficiently. The Samaritan's saliva has blood clotting and cleansing agents to prevent blood loss or infection and they also stimulate the victims to help prevent them from going into a coma. To help maintain some form of sanitary treatment and care, the Samaritan's fur coat and its pores on the skin, secret a sterilizing dew that is easily released when the area is pressed. This allows for the Gore Hound to sterilize open wounds simply by pressing up into a victim with a slight nudge. Field medics may also cleanse themselves from germs, poisons, venoms, viruses, toxins, bio-acids, blood, bacteria and even acts as an odour scent reduction by pressing on the Samaritan's fur until they have enough dew and wiping themselves with it. The dew is very active against blood, literally causing blood to evaporate within minutes. The dew does not remove Napalm, Chemical Sprayer Stick-um, webbing, or metal of any form.
The Samaritan's "Puppy fat", is actually blubber that is highly resistant to physical attacks. This makes the Samaritan look cute and puppy like and helps its first impression appear non-threatening, especially to strangers that are wary of Bio-Tech. However, it serves as well-placed protective insulated, cushioning to protect the Gore Hound from blunt attacks as well as falls, explosive concussive forces and impacts as it strives to reach wounded victims located in intense or deadly places such as a combat field, fallen ravine, alien predator's lair, etc. Adding to the Samaritan's unique design are a pair of retractable, slender squid-like Medical Tentacles that act as manipulators and can perform minor tasks similar to that of a Prehensile Tail (see Splicers RPG page 94). Each tentacle is equipped with powerful suckers that aid in grabbing and securing hold of patients with a suction force of 200 P.S.I./1600 kilo pascals. These suckers help secure severely wounded, agonizing victims that are in shock or pain and are struggling or panicking, while the Samaritan makes a get away from danger.
The most alien feature of the Samaritan is its massive Manticore styled tail that houses a set of powerful, fury mandibles at the tip designed ideally for grasping, grappling and lifting heavy objects. However, they also fulfill the role and serve as emergency "Jaws of Life" when human pilots need to be safely cut out of their Host Armor or War Mount carcasses before they suffocate or bleed to death inside. The ant like mandibles are incredibly strong and precise with a Splicers strength and inflicts major damage. When they are used to spread openings and otherwise pry open doors, hatches, shells or tearing through debris, armor carapaces, shells and hulls (not applicable to punches). Despite the immense strength of the Pincer mandibles, the Samaritan can control them with a keen sensitivity to lift or carry the injured very gently. They are typically used as a hoist to carefully lift similar sized objects or victims onto the Samaritan's back for emergency evacuation. Victims can range from a fallen soldier in Living Body Armor, Biotic or a fellow Gore Hound packmate to some of the larger scaled Biotics and Host Armors (not exceeding (900 pounds/403.28 kg). Once a victim is firmly secured atop of the back, the Samaritan will use its tail and pair of Medical Tentacles to secure the victim while it flees at half speed until the victim is safe. Unlike standard Gore Hounds, when carrying their maximum weight on their backs are severely reduced in speed (reduce speed to 30% cruise speed); Samaritans are built to be strong haulers that can carry heavy victims of this scale up to 10 miles (16 km) away at half normal cruise speed before requiring rest. They can even scale up or down walls while carrying the victim.
Please note however, that despite their puppy like appearance, underneath these cute, fluffy features is still at heart, a powerful Gore Hound built for rugged terrain and battle. Samaritans are built like canine tanks resembling a massive Chow Chow breed of ancient days, only more robust. Broad, enhanced muscles and jaw power enable it to secure vice like bites (but apply soft mouthed care like Labradors or other hunting/retrieving breeds) onto large objects to drag them down or to if in a dire need, actually tow massive War Mount sized objects up to the size of a Behemoth for one mile (1.6 km) away at 5 mph (8km) across rough terrain, before being totally exhausted. They are very durable and can hold their own among the pack.
To create a Samaritan, the Librarians will enhance a Packmaster's pre-existing Gore-Hound (can not be a Mauler) with the following Bio-Enhancements and changes: Advanced Senses, Increased structure(x3), Reinforced Exoskeleton, Suction Cups and Gripping Hairs (all four feet and tail), Retractable shoulder mounted tentacles (2 to start, can add 2 additional at levels 9 and 15), Bio-Force Field Emitter Spheres one mounted on each shoulder above the tentacle ports, Slap Patch Tongue and saliva glands that acts as both a Slap Patch (see Splicers RPG page 130, also cleanses and kills infection) and a massive Crane Tail.
Height: 4.2 feet (1.28 m) at the shoulders, 5.10 feet (1.55 m) to the top of the head.
Width: 3.8 feet (1.15 m) shoulder to shoulder. Each Medical Tentacle can reach 8 feet (2.4 m).
Length: 8 feet 3 inches (2.5 m) from tip of nose to the rump, 10.5 feet (3.2 m) tail.
Weight: 600 lbs ( 272 kg) plus its 90 pound (40.8 kg) armored tail; 690 pounds (312.9 kg) total.
Horror Factor: 8 individually, 10 with four or more Gore Hounds.
Augmentation/Gestation Period: Two months gestation plus another three months growth.
Note: Any horns, spikes, needles, spines, serrated spurs, sharp edges, slime coating or Acid Blood that could accidentally injure a wounded victim or prevent a Samaritan from efficiently performing its job will be removed during the upgrading process by the Engineer and will not be added afterwards by an Engineer. Tail cannot receive any weapons or augmentations. Any ranged weapons should be placed so that wounded victims will not be inline of fire.
Each of the Samaritan's shoulder mounted Medical Tentacles end in a distal tentacular club similar to that of a squid's tentacle tip. These tentacle ends are dubbed "Mittens" and can be modified with any of the following bio-enhancements for more intricate field performances and features.
Breather Cups: These circular cups are able to stretch over the mouth of a victim and are connected to multiple inner-tubes running throughout the tentacle that lead to a dedicated port inside the Samaritan's lungs where it can breath and have air from its lungs go directly into the lungs of a victim requiring oxygen. The Cup is like a breathing mask and stays fastened to the victim's face without causing any harm and can easily be removed or release by the Gore Hound or the patient without any injury. Breathers are great for assisting Splicers that have drowned, inhaled some toxic fumes or gas, been poisoned, been constricted, gone into shock or seizures, are in a coma or have suffocated while being sealed inside a heavy Host Armor for too long.
Jolt Pads: These flat pad shaped cups when applied act as emergency defibrillator paddles that can shock a stopped or misfiring heart back into action or normal function. They can also be used to shock robots and stun living opponents like an Electrical Discharger (see Splicers RPG page 101), but are typically used as last resort weapons because the Samaritan does not want the Jolt Pads damaged should an emergency victim require them and can't afford the regeneration down time. However, Packmates rough-housing a little too rough have certainly yelped when the Samaritan has had enough.
Medical Probes: Smaller, retractable tendrils are mounted into special sucker cups mounted on the undersides of the Medical Tentacle's Mitten and are used as medical probes, scalpels, needles, tweezers and manipulators. Each Mitten can have up to a maximum of 3 Medical Probe Suction Cups; each containing 4 Probe Tendrils that can be extended at will to grab/probe individuals up to 1 foot (0.3 m) away, or used to reach or pick up small objects.
Ultra Sound Cup Pads: Up to 2 suction cups can be modified per Mitten manipulator to become an ultrasound pad. Meant primarily as a way for the Samaritan to be able to scan and tell if the biological they are grabbing is safe to pull (the Gore Hound utters a deep growls that is an ultra-sound frequency, channeling and emitting above audible human level sound waves into the victim using the Cup Pad to scour over the victim's body. The pads do not have to make contact with the subject, they just need to be within 3 feet (0.9 m) over the subject are being scanned. Within minutes, the Samaritan and the Packmaster that is linked to the Gore Hound via Bio-Comm, are both able to ‘see’ inside the victims's body (double if the Biological being scanned is in Heavy Living Body Armor or Host Armor and multiple by four if Biological is a War Mount that is bigger than a Grendel or Strider. The ultra-sound scan helps the Gore Hound tremendously by providing it with a comprehensive image and understanding of what and where critical damage is done, what is safe and secure to grab for contact points versus what it should avoid to prevent causing more damage to its patient. The Librarians that designed the Samaritan also learned that ultrasounds are some of the same bio-sonar abilities used by dolphins, porpoises and bats and have an alarming effect on some species that are sensitive to ultrasounds and can be used to flush insects and fish wildlife (even larger specimens seem to choose to avoid the sounds). A happy accident was discovered that rodents are also sensitive to ultra sounds and that the Samaritan's ultra sounds can also deter the Machine's Rat Bombs within 40 feet (12.19 m) making them flee in the opposite direction up to half a mile (0.8 km) (see Splicers RPG page 35).When not in battle the Samaritan makes itself of great use to unarmored pilots by applying therapeutic treatments for ligaments, tendons, and scar tissue that can still linger even after the Slap Patch licking treatments. Conditions for which ultrasound may be used for treatment include the follow examples: ligament sprains, muscle strains, tendonitis, joint inflammation, arthritis, and scar tissue adhesion. The ultrasound pads are also beneficial for breaking up stony deposits or tissue, accelerating the effects of drugs in targeted areas, and can be used to sort cells or small particles for DNA research (thus helping isolate alien predator DNA samples for Librarians to use).