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System Shcok 2, the Many


The thought just occured to me, that The Many from Shock 2 would make a incredable antagonest. For those of you that are not familary with the game, the Many requre some description.

They are a artifical lifeform, that is an analid lifeform...basily worms. They are capable of massive growth, into large size...though the micro level they are worms, they can appear to be bulk masses of flesh. They as far as i know are generaly parasidic in nature, they can infect life forms, and mutuate them into different forms for diffrent functions. IE, they could use little resources to turn a human into a general grunt, or they could use great resources to make a massive lumbering hulk. there are other forms they can take too, but no need to go further into them.

The many are a hive minded creature, working both off of a direct link to alot of the phyical parts of it, and also a powerful psionic network. The Many have a central nervous system, with a sort of brain that controls most of its hierarcy.

The motives of the many dont single minded, but they do wish to spread, and grow. They can seduce people with great efficency, as they can psionicly conumicate both thoughts and feelings.

A good general description would be the Borg from startrek...just little to no mechanical components, and they have the capasity to become a ecosystem in their own right...both the habitat and the inhabitants. this discription sucks for the most part, but any one think it would make a interesting Traveller antagonest? some old project of the Ancients?
yep, I ran a game a long time ago using ideas from that game. PC's found an (un)abandoned research station in orbit around a crappy little rock after a misjump. Had em freaked with some creapy little infested rats for a while before moving on to bigger and bette... meaner things. They barely got off the station with the fuel they needed and jumped out, however, they had a stowaway. Never got to finish that game, got transferred.

SS2 is an awesome game and a good source for ideas though.

Personaly my favorite, i think the many could be a excellent antegonist, as could SHODAN, glad to see another Shock fan out there:)
Advanced version of the virus is kinda a mot in concept. it evolves by the day. It may reach some stages where it gets stuck, or the next evolutionary step is just a larger one. The thing that the many came from was intended to be a bio weapon, that ended up being ejected from the space station it was created on, and landed eventualy on Tau Ceti, it took 30 or 40 years or so to evolve from simple analid life to complex analid life capable of psionic comunication and matter to energy conversion. in theory it could become a full species on its own, with out the need to be paracidic. In theory it could evolve to the point of being able to become a biological spaceship...witch could make for a interesting campaign there. I can hear the Zhodani trembling.
Aaah, System Shock 2, one of my favorite games. I never completed it though. Maybe I should give it another try (will it run under Win XP?). Also, the original System Shock was excellent as well (back in the Neolithic Era). Both great games and brimming with stuff to steal into Traveller adventures (modified a bit, of course). Shodan was (is?) a great adversary, something lacking in most computer games of today. Few games have matched the atmosphere of these games. Sure there are better looking games now, but the feeling/immersion is missing. Man, I almost crapped (is that a real word?) my pants playing SShock 2 (or 1 for that matter), the cold feeling in your stomach when you're out of ammo, running through those dark corridors with only a wrench for defence and hearing distant mumblings of crew infested by the Many, oh my...
Apparently there is a level editor for System Shock 2. Wouldn't it be great if someone who had this could put together the Traveller Ships, what the inside of a High Lightning is really like from the crews perspective, not to mention infesting it with nast annilid life forms.
Shock 2 dose indeed run on XP. Shodan would indeed make a great advesary, I am going to be using her myself infact...Though she has a new form, a positronic life form.

and yes, running out of ammo in both games was a nice gut wrenching feeling. especialy once you hit level 8 on Shock 1. bloody security bots.
Originally posted by Antony:
Apparently there is a level editor for System Shock 2. Wouldn't it be great if someone who had this could put together the Traveller Ships, what the inside of a High Lightning is really like from the crews perspective, not to mention infesting it with nast annilid life forms.
Yes, there is, and quite a good one. The engine is old, but the editor is great (though buggier than in other versions of this engine - Thief II for example).

I was thinking of building Traveller ships in SS2, but the ones I had deckplans for (One for 2300AD, a Free rader, a Scout and a few more) were two small for a good game experince. But as a 3D represntation of this ships... well, could be nice. There are newer engines out there, but if you have SS2 you would probably prefer it

Oh, by the way, do you know that SS2 had texture and model fan upgrades? Not for all textues and not for all models, but for some, and they look well. Esecially the 3D ones; they're excellent, professional-quality. I'll post the links tomorrow once I get back home.

And I might create my SS2 mod's ship, the Nymph-Class salvage vessel Nimue as a traveller one - I have detailed deckplans. Could be a nice CT ship (I don't have T20). Oh, by the way,RabidVargr, do you have, by any chance, the deck plans and/or writeups/stats of that SS2-inspired campaign? Mind if I take a look?

And SS1 and/or 2 qould make a nice alternate Traveller universe. With modificaions, ofcourse, to cut out the force fields and exsessive nanotech, but the rest would be doable.
On WindowsXP? Ironically, I have just re-completed SS2, but had to downgrade my Nvidia drivers to get it to run on W'98. The OS had to be reinstalled after SS2 removal as the system became unstable. I think the biomass had moved in. Good luck on XP. There are some genuinely scary moments in that game. I mean SCARY! "...babies must rest..babies must sleep..."
some games just have great moments. I was going up the ramp in the piano lounge when the woman's afterimage appeared at the bar. I just stood there watching her and listening to the music of what was. so sad.

then the ninjas came out and kicked my ass.

it's great when you can generate those sorts of moments in a traveller game. makes it all worthwhile.
Well, I've run SShock 2 both on Win 98SE and Win XP without problems (with old and new Nvidia drivers). Um, got one problem actually, can't remember with which OS - after installing the patch, none of the cutscenes worked, the game just jumped over them, but no crashes or anything.

As said before, this game just oozes atmosphere, anyone with a PC should try it out. Shock 1 and 2 are one of the best computer games ever. Period.
The exact life cycle of the Many was not fully described in SS2 - especially the "who lies the eggs" question (though certain "orifices" in the Body of the Many are possible candidates), and the "where do spiders come from" question.

My theory is that once an annelid micro-spore enters a host (through the digestive system), it chooses an "evolutionary path", based on the host's biological compatability, enviromental conditions, resources and the will of the Many. The following pathes are available:

1) Hybridization. The annelid grows, drawing nutrients from the host's blood and digestive systems, and finally bursts its chest and attaches to the host's head, penetrating the skull and interfacing with the brain. This gives the Many full control over the host, to be used as a Hybrid: their basic soldier. From here there could come three additional pathes:

1-A) Rumbler. The annelid continues to grow consuming biomass from the enviroment, and transforms the Hybrid into a Rumbler, which is less autonomous than the Hybrid but posseses extreme physical strength, and used as a close-quarters warrior and/or a heavy/duty worker (handy in "remodelling" manmade structures/starships

1-B) Psi Reaver ("Overlord"). The Hybrid merges with several additional microworms, and goes through farther transformation and tumoral growth, entirely losing most of its body. All that remained is a self-contained brain, though with extreme psionic ability (I think about 12-15 in the CT psi system). The brain projects a semi-solid psionic "apparition" of its will, capable of psychically assualting enemies. While the projection could be temporarily distrupted by energy (or even physical) damage it will re-appear after a short while; only destroying the brain removes the Psi Reaver completely.

1-C) Arachnid. The annelid organ attached to the Hybrid grows in size, and slowly develops appendages. When the transformation is complete, the host dies and the organ detaches from it as an independant spider, which could later grow in size and even attain partial invisibility.

2) Egg. The micro-annelid enters a dead pody rather than a living one. Consuming its flesh, it transforms it into an "egg", capable of giving birth to two more lifeforms:

2-A) Swarm. A short-lived spawn of multiple fly-sized organizms, used mostly for defensive purposes. While the swarm lives for a very short while it is immune to bullets and blades; only area attack weapons harm it, while it could easily sting the enemies of the biomass.

2-B) Large Grub. This yard-long worm can bite, but that's only its mode of defence. Its real function is that of reproduction - giving birth to the microworms as well as secreting the sticky, flexible biomass residues used for construction of Annelid structures. It also posseses telepathic abilities, up to and including a certain degree of mind control, and could use these powers even in its embryonic stage.

3) Spawn (shown in-game as small clusters of tiny worms on the floor). The microworms grow inside the host's digestive system to the length of a few centimeters, and then leave the host's body through the digestive system. These small worms assist their large equivalents in biomass construction and resin secretion.

In addition to all of these creatures enough biomass would lead to the creation of a central, quasi-immobile bosy, and a centralised brain for the local Many hive. Destroying the brain will cause extreme damage to the hive's group mind, but the hive could be re-built again, given time.

EDIT: IMHO, even a single egg, a single Grub or a single microworm-infested individual could start a hive.
Here are some stats (LBB2 style):
(The "A6, F4, S1" and similar codes are "animal behaviors", which I am not sure whether or not they should appy to the Many).

Large Grub
Eater, 1Kg, 3/0 Hits, 1 Wound, Weapon: teeth, Armor: None. A6, F4, S1

Arachnid Adult
Pouncer, 12Kg, 7/9 Hits, 4 Wounds, Weapon: Claws, Armor: Jack. AS (attacks if it could surprise it's prey), FS (flees if surprized), S2
I haven't though yet about how to simulate it's poison in CT.

Arachnid Young
Pouncer, 3Kg, 5/1 Hits, 2 Wounds, Weapon: Claws, Armor: Jack. AS, FS, S2
I haven't though yet about how to simulate it's poison in CT.

Hijacker, 400Kg, 20/12 Hits, 9 Wounds with Clawns, 11 Wounds with Teeth, Weapon: Claws and Teeth, Armor Cloth-1. A2, F8, S1

Generally speaking, they should be treated as "human" opponents with avarage UPPs of 969210 and Brawling-1, in addition to atleast a Zero-level skill in the weapon they're carrying. While in System Shock 2 they were all unarmored and carrier either a lead pipe (treat as club), a shotgun or hand grenades, they should be able to use any armor and/or weapon that doesn't use extreme sophitication.
I know you'll be kicking yourself any time now...
Originally posted by Antony:
This also seems very similar to the "Swarm" from Halo
"Swarm, Flood*, Covie, it's all the same. Shoot them till they stop moving then empty the clip to make sure they stay that way. Finish up with a 'nade for good measure. Move on to the next ONE." Cpl. P.N. Schmidt, UNSC Marine

* Unless of course there WAS a name change for Oz but it'd be news to me
Ahh, the Swarm ... Nothing like watching a few Covenant bad a$$ Elites erupt into Flood juggernauts!

These kinds of enemies are far to powerful to unleash on mere mortals. Aliens, the Flood, the Swarm, the Symbiotes, the Genestealers, etc. could easily consume a platoon of combat armored, fusion gun armed Imperial Marines in 30 seconds to a minute; then use the bodies to attack and consume the rest of the company, then the battalion, then the brigade, then the division, then the army, then the ...

Maybe have your players roll up two sets of characters; the civilians who discover and unleash the horror (their names to be lost forever to history) and then the military personnel who are assigned to uncover the secrets of the horde and wipe it out. That way you can impress on the players the seriousness of the threat while giving them an reasonable opportunity to do something about it.