Written by Splice Master, Chris "Slappy" Kluge and Co-created and Illustrated by me, Chuck Walton II, the Silverback is a new Splicers® RPG War Mount 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.
Palladium Books Website: palladium-store.com/1001/produ…
Michelangelo, the Second Librarian of House Artemis, often described as being a creative genius and has mastered Bio-Technology to such an impressive degree that even his fellow Librarians are envious of his skills. He is the mind behind most of Artemis’s cutting edge Bio-Tech designs, and he is one of the key people responsible for House Artemis’s dramatic shift in battlefield tactics. Previously, they (like most Great Houses throughout the Resistance) focused on smaller, more mobile War Mounts to allow their teams to strike quickly and then fade away before the Machine could muster a counterattack. Michelangelo began designing and testing larger, more powerful War Mounts without authorization because he believed that while these hit and fade tactics had their place, they would never be enough to win the war. The Resistance needed powerful War Mounts that were capable of standing their ground against overwhelming odds. Not only would this be necessary to give them a chance when fighting the Machine on her turf, or providing heavy field support for strike teams, but they also needed some powerhouses on their side to hold off the inevitable invasions of their underground havens. Michelangelo thought his argument had merit, but he decided to show the wisdom of his beliefs through actions rather than words. His initial giant War Mount designs like the Kraken and Juggernaut made such an impact on the war effort in this Area of Influence that Warlord Artemis authorized him to go forward with more of his ideas.
One such concept is the massive brawler known as the Silverback War Mount. This enormous armored gorilla looking beast stands over 35 feet (10.66 m) tall when at full height, but when hunched forward on its knuckles, it stands about 25 feet (7.62 m) tall. This colossal simian was built with one purpose in mind, to quickly close the distance with its opponents and pound them into submission (though some might argue into oblivion). It is equipped with a pair of shoulder mounted Super Light Cell Cannons to engage targets at long range, but it is far more dangerous up close. Its tremendous size and strength allow it to smash most machines into scrap with just a few well placed punches, but it also possesses some powerful enhancements that make it absolutely devastating in close combat.
Aside from its powerful bite, its main weapons in close combat are its supernaturally strong hands, so Michelangelo made sure to enhance them with the proper tools to make them even more destructive. The hands, wrists, and forearms are heavily reinforced and the knuckles on each hand end in enormous spikes which increase the damage of each punch, but these spikes can also be made to shoot out on impact directly into the target. Spent spikes grow back quickly, but this attack can still only be used a limited number of times. To ensure the Silverback is never without its best weapons, Michelangelo also enhanced the bottom of its hands so that they can generate a powerful concussive blast on impact. This enables the Silverback to deliver a deadly barrage of hammer strikes while the knuckle spikes regenerate. The concussion blasts also have a limited payload, but alternating back and forth between both types of attacks usually provides enough time for them to regenerate.
To further enhance the Silverback’s close quarter’s prowess, it also possesses a pair of strange experimental pods on each shoulder. These insect-like creatures are capable of spraying nearby opponents with a super cold fluid, similar to liquid nitrogen only far colder. This cryo fluid can be used against organic targets, but it is far more effective against robotic adversaries. When sprayed on a robotic target, its joints start to freeze and stiffen which does slow it down somewhat, but most importantly, it makes the robot’s metallic armor extremely brittle. This combined with the Silverback’s powerful strikes is what makes it so devastating in close combat.
Of course, it needs to close the distance first. To help the Silverback safely charge into hand-to-hand range, it has a small orb mounted on its forehead that can project a powerful point defense force field. This strange field may only protect the front of the War Mount, but by concentrating the energy of the field, it makes it far more durable. The field also has a secondary benefit. When this high-energy field comes into contact with another person, creature, or machine (generally whatever the Silverback was charging towards), its energies are discharged completely into the target, which temporarily stuns it, allowing the Silverback to unleash its first salvo of attacks against a diminished opponent.
There are currently only a handful of Silverbacks within House Artemis’s armory, but they have already proven their effectiveness in the field and have been fast tracked for introduction throughout the armed forces. Dozens more are currently incubating in leathery egg sacks and hundreds more have been slated for generation in Gene Pools. Warlord Artemis has already sold the genetic code to a few of his most trusted Great House allies across the planet, and he is debating on distributing it to dozens more to hopefully give the Resistance an edge as the war with the Machine continues to escalate.
Class: Heavy Close Quarters Assault War Mount.
Crew: One rider.
Running: 120 mph (193 km) maximum, but normal cruising speed is only 50 mph (80 km). The act of running does tire out the War Mount but not the rider. The Silverback can run at top speed for up to one hour straight before needing to rest for 1D6x10+30 minutes. However, it can fight or trot along at cruising speed almost all day (20 hours) without needing rest.
Leaping: 30 feet (9 m) high our across, increase by 50% with a short running start and double when running at full speed.
Digging: 15 mph (24 km) through sand or dirt. 10 mph (16 km) through clay, rock or stone. Digging does not tire out the War Mount and it can dig an adequate hole to cover itself in 3D4 melees.
Swimming: 20 mph (32 km).
Underwater Depth: Maximum depth is 1000 feet (305 m).
Flying: Not possible.
Height: 35 feet (10.9 m) at full height, 25-28 feet (7.6 to 8.5 m) when hunched over on knuckles.
Width: 22-25 feet (6.7 to 7.6 m).
Length: 15 feet (4.6 m).
Weight: 10 to 12 tons.
Cargo: Can carry 6 tons on its back or drag 10 tons behind it.
Production Cycle: 4-year gestation period plus 9-year growth cycle.
Operational Lifetime: 50-year life span.
Trade Value: Experimental and highly sought after by many forces outside of Great House Artemis. Any Great House on the planet (assuming they have the means) would pay 5D6x10 million credits for an undamaged Silverback War Mount with all its weapons and limbs intact. Of course, anyone caught selling a Silverback War Mount would be hunted down by House Artemis’s Repo Men.
Feeding: The Silverback is a Carnivore. It needs to eat 100-250 pounds (45 kg to 135 kg) of animal matter a day, and may gorge on up to 600 pounds (270 kg) at one time. After gorging, the War Mount can go 2D4 days without feeding and without suffering any ill effects.
Color: The mount is dark gray in color with silver highlights on its back.
Sleep Requirements: As an artificially created organism, the Silverback only requires 4 hours of sleep per day.
An unmanned Silverback is able to operate independent of a rider using its animal-like intelligence and instincts to respond to any given situation. It is naturally aggressive and frequently tries to exert its dominance among other War Mounts, Gorehounds, and Splicers in Host Armor. It rarely attacks others outright, but it will growl, roar, make threatening movements, and even bat them about “gently” in order to get them to back down. If the recipient of this display chooses to fight back right away then the violence can quickly escalate. Only Outriders and Packmasters seem to be immune to these games. They are also the only ones that can get a Silverback to calm down when it attempts to exert dominance over another Gorehound, War Mount, or Splicer.
Senses and Features: Standard for War Mounts plus:
Armored Eyes: The Silverback is expected to mix it up with heavy resistance at close range, so it was given four armored eyes to give it some redundant backups when it inevitably loses a few eyes in battle. Each eye has a hard transparent lid that slides into place when necessary to protect them from damage.
Prehensile Feet: The Silverback’s feet are prehensile which allows it to grasp and hold objects. They are not developed enough to throw or fire weapons with any degree of accuracy (-6 to strike), but they do improve the climbing ability and acrobatic skills of the War Mount.
1. Super Light Cell Cannons (2): The cannons mounted on the shoulders are actually clusters of Super Light Cells. Each cannon contains seven cells. When fired, all seven cells fire in unison to unleash a more powerful blast. Both cannons can engage the same target simultaneously for an even stronger attack.
Primary Purpose: Assault.
Secondary Purpose: Defense.
Maximum Effective Range: 2000 feet (610 m).
Payload: Effectively unlimited.
2. Armored Gauntlets (2): Both hands are heavily reinforced and equipped with multiple enhancements to allow for more devastating punches and hammer strikes. The spikes on the knuckles of each hand can be made to fire into the target on impact, for a point blank attack that inflicts massive damage. The spikes regenerate quickly, but it still takes 1D4 melee rounds. The bottoms of the hands can also deliver powerful concussive blasts when slammed down on targets with hammer strikes. These blasts also have a limited payload but regenerate at a much faster rate.
Primary Purpose: Assault.
Secondary Purpose: Defense.
Mega-Damage: Knuckle Spike Launch: adds 2D4x10 M.D. to punch or power punch damage. Concussive Blast: adds 4D6 M.D. to punch or power punch damage.
Payload: Knuckle Spike Launch: There are four spikes on each hand. All the spikes on the hand are launched on impact. Spent spikes regenerate after 1D4 melee rounds. Concussive Blasts: 20 blasts per hand (40 blasts total). 1D4 blasts are regenerated every melee round.
3. Cryo Spray Projectors (2): The strange bug-like creatures mounted in each shoulder are capable of projecting a blast of intensely cold liquid. It inflicts minor damage to living targets, but it is far more effective when used against robotic targets. Living creatures hit with the cryo spray suffer 3D6 M.D. every melee round for 1D4 melees and are also -3 to strike, parry, and dodge for 1D4 melee rounds due to the searing pain. Robots hit with the spray are -2 to strike, parry, and dodge for 1D4 melee rounds, plus their armor becomes brittle and fragile. While in this state, kinetic impacts like those from punches, explosions, and rail gun rounds inflict double damage.
Primary Purpose: Assault.
Secondary Purpose: Defense.
Mega-Damage: Against living targets, the cryo spray inflicts 3D6 M.D. every melee round for 1D4 melees and penalties of -3 to strike, parry, and dodge for 1D4 melee rounds. Against robots, the cryo spray does not inflict any damage, but it makes their armor weak and brittle, leaving them more vulnerable to kinetic attacks. For 1D4 melee rounds, physical impacts from punches, kicks, bullets, rail gun rounds, falls, and explosions inflict double damage. Their joints are also stiff and less responsive which causes penalties of -2 to strike, parry, and dodge for 1D4 melee rounds.
Maximum Effective Range: 50 feet (18.3 m).
Payload: Each cryo spray projector contains enough liquid for 5 blasts (10 blasts total). One spent blast regenerates every 5 minutes.
4. Stun Shield Projector: The seemingly innocuous orb on top of the Silverback’s head is capable of projecting a point defense force field that protects the front of the War Mount as it charges its prey. The field also serves an offensive function. Once the force field makes contact with another living creature or robot, it completely discharges into the target, stunning it temporarily. This causes the field to drop immediately, and cannot be reactivated for 1D4 melee rounds. The Silverback needs to disengage the shield anyway to attack its prey, so it generally prefers to endure this slight inconvenience in order to weaken its prey. Simply role to strike with a body block/tackle to see if the field hits the intended target. The target must then roll a 16 or higher to save against stun. On a failed roll, the victim loses 3 attacks per melee and is -6 to strike, parry, and dodge for one entire melee round. On a successful save, the victim is only -1 to strike, parry, and dodge for one melee round.
Primary Purpose: Defense.
Secondary Purpose: Assault.
Mega-Damage: None, other than stun penalties.
Maximum Effective Range: About five feet (1.5 m).
Payload: The stun field must have at least 100 M.D.C. to inflict stun penalties. Once the field makes contact, it cannot be reactivated for 1D4 melee rounds.
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