vaecrius: Duke2 Rigelatin overlord: "We'd kill you, you see, but our religion prevents the interruption of suffering." (rigelatin)
[personal profile] vaecrius
The hoplophage is worn on the person, usually on the belt. Some helmet mounts are also available but it is this author's opinion that for the reasons below a head mount is, at a population level, a self-correcting tactical error.

When activated, the hoplophage creates an etheric shell in a sphere around itself. Anything passing or trying to pass through it with sufficient force will find its kinetic energy rapidly absorbed by the shell.

The shell is not impermeable. If an object violently descended upon the top of the shell, it would come to a sudden stop as its momentum is absorbed, then regain downwards momentum as it falls through the shell at a speed below the hoplophage's threshold.

The hoplophage can be calibrated to change its size, minimum threshold, or rate of absorption. The smaller the shell, the higher the threshold, and the lower the rate, the less energy the hoplophage will use and the longer the shell will last - and the less protection it will provide. A neat trick to do with the hoplophage is to allow it to catch a dropped, uncooked egg that then slowly seeps through the shell and is caught by the wearer within.

The shell is not a perfect shield and for many high-energy objects (e.g., bullets) only a portion of the momentum is lost before the object fully escapes the shell and continues with its remaining momentum. A (typical black powder antipersonnel) bullet may still bruise or even penetrate given a sufficiently high threshold or low rate, or insufficient remaining "space" before overload.

Each deflection by the hoplophage generates some heat at the point of impact, with harder hits generating more heat. Some objects may be visibly damaged as though they had struck a physical object.

The shell works by absorbing the relative kinetic energy of objects that strike it. If a wearer runs into a wall or falls to the ground with a force greater than the hoplophage's threshold, with the shell hitting the surface first, the energy converted is that of the hoplophage falling. Depending on what is required the hoplophage may be attached loosely so that it can be knocked away leaving the wearer to their own momentum, or secured by tight webbing to allow the wearer and the hoplophage to be cushioned by the shell as more or less a single unit.

The shell is normally visible as a very faint sphere of visual distortion occasionally hit with little blue arcs from inteference with dust and insects and solar and other radiation. The more power to the shell and the less it's had to absorb, the less visible the shell is. Most impacts will give off light visible as "cracks" in the shell that fade over time. The more energy a shell is made to absorb, the redder the glow the cracks give off; as a general rule, if the background flickering is the colour of freshly oxygenated blood, the hoplophage is no longer capable of stopping a sword. At night the shell appears as a glowing field and its colour is visible in any event.

Once depleted the hoplophage automatically shuts off and the shell dissipates in a blast of hot air (outside first). To minimize risk of long-term damage to the hoplophage, the user is strongly advised to immediately open the device and drop the heat sink without letting it touch any bare skin or flammable materials.

If two hoplophage shells overlap, the devices will feed into each other and rapidly overload and shut off.

Tactics with a hoplophage:
  1. Rush in for a grapple.
  2. Use a long reach weapon to avoid triggering the shell on your end while still able to build up speed on the other.
  3. Do a sudden turn against the direction of someone's weapon to trigger the shell and disarm them.
  4. Move a saturated shell towards flammable objects.
  5. If your hoplophage is depleted, eject the heat sink in your opponent's face.

Tactics against a hoplophage:
  1. Shoot your opponent with a blunderbuss and momentarily blind them in one direction.
  2. Stay out of melee range, forcing them to either expose themselves, call for backup or take a long detour to reach you.
  3. Trick your opponent into getting their own weapon caught in the shell.
  4. If the shell is large, slow down as you reach through the shell, then do a swing from within, using the contact point between the haft of your weapon and the shell as the fulcrum.
  5. If the shell is small, discover and attack exposed points.
  6. If the shell is very small, attempt to sabotage the hoplophage to cause it to interfere with the wearer's blood flow where it intersects with their body.
  7. Overload the hoplophage with a continuous shield-wall charge. It may be possible with a large enough shield to actually dislodge the device from its wearer, or strain or dislocate whatever appendage the device may be strapped to.
  8. Turn on a hoplophage, maximize its sphere size and threshold, and throw it at your opponent. Note that a hoplophage shell does not overload a deactivated hoplophage.

I know this

if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.

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