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Subject: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF rss

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Jeff Fournier
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It is the Far Future. Mankind has progressed and expanded to where there is no disease, society is stable, crime non-existent, and poverty unknown. Natural death has become an option, not a certainty.

It's boring, really.

And it's up to the Expeditionary Force to keep it that way. Mankind may be happy with their little part of the universe, but there a lot of other species out there that might not like us. Might want our planets. Might possibly invade us. Maybe.

That's certainly not how the recruitment posters put it though.


"SEE THE UNIVERSE!"


"Drink Cocktails on an Exotic Beach 12,000
light years away!"



"Save Humanity from deadly enemies!"


"For Humanity!"


"See a Starkiller in Action!"


"Make Your Mother Proud!"



"Live an EXCITING LIFE!"

It sure sounded more interesting than watching the vidtanks for another sixteen decades or so...

Join the 16th Brigade of the Third Army! Come see distant planets! Exotic flora and fauna! Experience alien cultures! And make sure they will never, ever, ever threaten humanity. Grab your weapon, Trooper! We have some First (and Last) Contact to make!


Carnage Amongst the Stars is a rules light space combat RPG designed to simulate a squad's advance through a jaded military corps eradicating potential enemies on world-wide scales. Combat is fast, furious, and completely destructive. The system is designed to be more story-based than rules based -- you only have two skills: Fighting Ability, and Non-Fighting Ability. Along the way, we'll discover why you joined the Expeditionary Force and what you hope for...

AND KILL BUGS!

JOIN NOW! SEE THE STARS! SAVE TERRA!


You won't need the rules to play. However, a free, early draft of them can be found at 3:16: Carnage Amongst the Stars (24-Hour Edition) by scrolling down to the web-links.
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Jeff Fournier
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF
Character Roster



Name Rank FA NFA Player Strengths Weaknesses Kills

Johnathan Cranberry 1LT 2 8 looleypalooley 1/1 0/1 1
Tright SGT 8 3 Tom Wright 0/2 0/1 39
John Dekker CPL 6 4 pavunisi 1/1 0/1 22
Eddie CPL 7 3 bwt2q 1/1 0/1 11
Cliff Mason TRP 3 7 SuperChutney 0/1 0/1 2
Dr. Isaac Summer CPL 5 6 Escher0 0/2 0/1 2



Summer needs to promote
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Jeff Fournier
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF
Missions


Planet Planet Type Alien Alien Special AA

Matisse-VII High Grav Dinos Suicide 6
Warhol Mountainous Plant ?? ?
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF
You awaken from a deep sleep. Every muscle in your body aches and refuses to obey your efforts to move them. You desperately feel a need to sleep, but that klaxon won't stop ringing. There's a hiss, and the blurry world in front of you suddenly becomes unbearably bright as your deep-sleep capsule cracks open. That only makes the klaxon louder, and is it your imagination, or is the siren saying words?

"I said GET UP, lazy! Naptime's over! Line up against the bulkhead NOW! Everybody -- your momma ain't here. Your daddy ain't here. I am Sergeant Vialla and I am the only family you have now. MOVE IT!"

You struggle to your feet, cursing the decision to ever enlist. Your mind is still swimming with fragments of basic training subliminally implanted during your voyage to -- wherever this is. A few dozen or so other recruits shamble over to the bulkhead, and form a pretty sad looking line, shivering in their underclothes in the cold, sterile air. When you're in a moderately passable line, the Sergeant finally lowers his voice to a notch below screaming.

"Welcome to the Army. Now the combination of deepsleep, subneural information programming, and possibly your own slow wits may have left you with a bit of temporary amnesia and confusion. So I'm going to say all of this one more time. Welcome to The Sword of the Gods, the flagship of the Sixteenth Brigade of the Third Army of the Terran Expeditionary Force. I am Sergeant Vialla, and will be making sure most of you make it through outfitting and reviewing your basic training."

"Prior to enlisting, you all took the EFAT, The Expeditionary Force Aptitude Test. This test ranks you on a scale of 1 to 10 (with ten being the best) in two different categories: your Fighting Ability, and your Non-Fighting Ability. Fighting Ability (FA) is pretty simple: it measures how well you can aim a gun, toss a grenade, snap the spine of the enemy and such. Non-Fighting Ability (NFA) is your ability to do anything not directly connected to killing the enemy. You know, peeling spuds, pissing your NCO off, disarming explosives, working comm gear -- the stuff I see as useless except when filling out requisition forms. You all have a dogtag on which conveniently has those test scores listed on them. When I call your recruit designation, step forward, tell me your name, and read off those two values. From there, I'll place you into squads. "

"Oh yes -- one other thing."
He pulls out a scrap of paper. "The brainsqueezers in the psych department want to know a little about you so you can bond before you die in each others arms. So also describe yourself to your squadmates -- tell us one thing about your fellow soldiers that gets to the soul of yourself. Who writes this crap? Anyway, that's an order from higher up, so do it, but if it gets past a sentence, we'll just name you Wordsworth and be done with it. The sooner we do this, the quicker you can get your guns."

"Recruit nyr-4.."
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF
When your user name is called, please provide the name of the soldier you want to play and Fighting and Non Fighting Ability scores that sum to 10. Also describe your character in a memorable phrase or two. Any deeper character development will be done through play. An example follows

Recruit nyr-4 hesitates, then steps forward slightly. Grabbing his dogtags, he squints at them for a moment, then reads.

"Randy, erm, Randolph Westbourne Jr, Sir! FA-6. NFA-4. Umm... the gang down in the bayou called me Hound Dog because I could always sniff out some food"

Hound Dog quickly steps back in line, slowly letting out a breath.
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF (2 Open Spots)
We'll hold off to see if a few others join before starting. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them.
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF (Recruiting Closed)
"Right, let's get this started. Recruits, step up, and identify yourselves. I want to hear you loud and clear. I want the Kraxians on Rylar IV to hear you loud and clear and quake in their boots! You there. Yeah, YOU@! Identify yourself, Trooper!"

Feel free to introduce your character following the method I demonstrated above. Once everyone checks in, we'll move on.
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF (Recruiting Closed)
A tall, skinny fellow probably in his late 20's steps forward and offers a smart salute. His already greying hair, hard facial features and piercingly blue eyes suggest an inquisitiveness and wisdom beyond his years. Not much of an imposing fighter, though. He speaks:

"Recruit Jonathan Cranberry reporting, sir. FA-2 NFA-8. I was a technical specialist in the civilian world: electronics and radios circuits. Give me something broken, sir, and I'll find a way to repair it."

Cranberry snaps down his salute and falls back into the formation.
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF (Recruiting Closed)
Average-sized lad in his early thirties steps forward. Black hair's been cut short and dark eyes stand out on the palish skin. There's a small scar on the left side of the chin. It's obvious that he's worked out a bit, but there's still a small belly bulge visible. No salute with this one.

"Name's John Dekker, sir. Let's see, FA's 6 and NFA 4. I might not have the biggest guns of the bunch, but I try to compensate it with other assets. Well, at least I want to think so. After that sucku...Cranberry, I mean, I'm starting to doubt it. Well, like most Terrans my age, I haven't really worked, ever, but I've been spending my time with plants, everything from gardens to wilderness."
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF (Recruiting Closed)
The next recruit is easy to pass over, a man who would radiate blandness, if blandness were a quality that radiated. Instead, he simply deflects attention. His current state of dress makes it obvious that he has no tattoos, no scars, no identifying marks of any kind. How odd.

"My name is Eddie." His voice is bland and understated, in direct contrast to the Sergeant's. He continues without looking at his dog tags.

"FA 7, NFA 3. I like explosives. And I get to use my real name - how novel."

His eyes shine briefly, as if he's laughing inside at some kind of joke. Then the luster vanishes, and he somehow becomes less noticeable. He doesn't need to step back into the line, because he never stepped forward. The Sergeant's attention simply moves to the next recruit.
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF (Recruiting Closed)
The next man steps forward. By his vacant look but large frame, he's definitely more muscles than brains. He focuses on the sergeant.

"I'm Tright, sir. FA-8. NFA-2."

He steps back, giving everyone the feeling that what they just heard might be all there is to Tright.
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF (Recruiting Closed)
The next recruit who steps forward is a young man, and his lanky frame almost vibrates with nervous energy. He fiddles with his dogtags as he speaks.

"Cliff Mason, sir! My FA is 3 and my NFA is 7. I, um, I don't really have a specialty, but I'll do my best."

He quickly steps back and continues to fiddle with his dogtags.
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF (Recruiting Closed)
The last recruit looked out of place along side the others. Tall, classically good looking and exuding confidence and charm. All traits that would serve no purpose in the darkness of space. It was enough to make the others wonder why he would choose to ship out. He seemed a bit more awake and alert than possible after that long in deep sleep. When he stepped forward, everyone had an inclination to listen.

"Doctor Isaac Summer, sir. FA 4, NFA 6. As you might guess, I was a doc back home. Ready to serve an even greater cause."

He stepped back into line, his gaze never breaking dead forward.

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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF (Recruiting Closed)
"Right then. Form into a squad when I call out your name."

"Cranberry. Tright. Dekker. Eddie -- is that your first name or yor last name boy, because that's what your uniforms all now say. Mason. Summer."

"You six are Foxtrot Squad. I hope you know how to dance. Cranberry, lead these men to the Quartermaster on subdeck 12, forward starboard compartment 19-a. As you're raw and a landlubber, we've made it easy for you. Just follow the red line on the floor. Sergeant Harvey will be waiting for you. As in you're already late! On the double!"
 
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF (Recruiting Closed)
You never knew The Sword of the Gods was so big. It's a ten minute trot along the red line to S12:FS19-a, as the door so helpfully states. Along the way, there has been plenty of jeering at the "Red Shirts", "fresh Meat", and most discouragingly, "Reactor Fuel" from the grizzled vets wandering the halls in heavily scarred armor, and purposely lighting cancer sticks under "Smoking Prohibited While Inside the Ship" signs.

The small door leads to a cavernous warehouse full of grey or olive drab containers of all sizes and bright orange towing platforms with strobing warning lights humming along busily. You're kept away from the chaos by a long counter and a heavy mesh screen. Four Troopers work the counter, stamping paperwork, filing forms, arguing with customers and doing pretty much anything but letting equipment out of their precious storage.

On your side of the counter, there's a man with limbs as thin as twigs. He wears highly wrinkled and spoiled ships fatigues with the stripes of a sergeant on the shoulder. He seems almost entirely supported by a gleaming exoskeleton that encases him like a wire frame. As you enter, he clicks off whatever he was reading on his tablet and
unfolds himself from the crouch he was in.

"Foxtrot Squad, I assume? I'm Quartermaster Staff Sergeant Harvey Gubbington-Dawson. You can address me as Sergeant Harvey. It's far easier, and everyone does it. Vialla has sent your specs along, and we have your requisitions waiting. You will be given everything you need here except for your weaponry, which is kept in the armory."

Harvey guides you down the hall to where six piles of slate grey boxes lie atop crates. "Each of you has been issued one dress uniform, six sets of underclothing, socks, regulation shoes, and proper cover -- one for on the ship, and one for on planet. Proper wearing, caring, and use of all this clothing is in your Trooper's Manual here. Yes, it's an actual, real, made-of-trees book. Possibly the first you've actually bothered holding. Read it, love it, quote it. And, situation permitting, follow it.

"Next, you have your regulation four day supply of hydration tablets and Trooper Ready Meals (TRMs). Tastes like wet cardboard, and that's only if you use a hydration tablet on them. Keep them in your equipment locker -- the shipboard food is marginally better.

"Now we get to the more useful stuff. Flares. designed to work in 99% of the environments you will encounter -- from heavy sulfur atmospheres, to under water, and even deep space. These flares will emit high luminosity light in three favors -- white, green, and red, as well as a traceable burst on the radio, subsonic, and gamma frequencies. You drop one, and we'll know about it no matter where you are. Of course, so will anything else with sensing organs. Also, the doc's highly encourage you not to mess with these too much. Something about high dosages of gamma, subsonic, and radio emissions or somesuch. Here is your entrenching tool. Shovel, axe, knife, lover. Use it for whatever you need. Personally, all then men I've heard from say it's nothing but dead weight -- make friends with the plasma gunner. He can make a crater for you in a second that would take a week to dig with this antique.

"Meds next. You each get a basic medipack, which is pretty much an all-inclusive stick it where it hurts system. Minimal training needed, but what little it can do for you may very well save your life. Trooper Summer, for some reason, you've been supplied with a field medic kit. it's a bit non-standard for a squad kit, but may be more useful out on the field if you have some training, or time to read the 340 terabyte manual that comes with it. Finally, you will all find hypo tubes. These are what turn you from highly trained killers to psychotic mad-men trained killers. Use them only in dire circumstances. You don't want to see the paperwork to requisition more than one of these a month.

"And finally, a pack of cancer sticks and some lovely radium gum. All of this fits neatly into the backpack also provided."


Sgt Harvey shows you how to efficiently and properly load up your pack. Only the large crate remains to be discussed. He motions each of you to place a palm on a handprint reader on the crate. As you do so, it cracks open and unfolds to reveal a mass of reflective grey metal. Burned into the metal on each breastplate are your last names.

"And here is what makes you a combat capable Trooper. Your MandelBrite Combat Armour. Twenty-six millimeters of composite duralinium, uranium, and ablative shielding surrounding the most advanced boost-reactive exoskeleton man can make. An adaptive Chameleon Defense patterning, hardened comms, flare compensation, a three day survivability in hard vacuum, and just about anything else you could want in a combat suit. You do not want to know what that powerplant positioned at your lower back uses, but I suggest if you still want kids and expect to get a waiver from the government, you might want to visit a sperm bank ASAP. This suit here costs far more than you can hope to make in a lifetime, and your handprint just acknowledged you're responsible for replacement should anything happen to it. Fortunately, you will find this is about as comfortable as your BDUs, and are expected to be worn at all times while on mission or aboard ship."

As you struggle into the uniforms, they're ungainly, incredibly heavy, and confining. Once in, they take about seven seconds to power up. And your world changes. The suit's servos respond instantly to your thoughts, and you're amazed at how quickly the quarter ton of metal can move. You can see why the veterans don't like to take them off.

"One last thing before we move to the armory. Rank and insignia. You will note each of you has at least one chevron. That's Trooper Rank. The soul of the Army, and as good a place as any to start. Tright has a pair of double chevrons. He is the Corporal, and will be second in charge. Cranberry here, is your triple chevroned Sergeant, and is Squad Leader.

"Each soldier in the army has specific orders, and as you march up the advancement rung, you will be expected to achieve more orders. For now, you need only concern yourself with the following:

Troopers follow Order 1: Kill as many lifeforms as you can.
The Corporal must also obey Order 2: Maximize the kill ratio.
Sergeant here has a tough job, and double the workload of the corporal:
Order 3: Follow directives issued by the Officers.
and Order 4: Protect your squad of Troopers.

"Sergeant, you also have the authority to call in an E-Vac Squad if things get dicey. Just remember, the brass send you down there to kill things, not run away. If there ane't any questions, we'll move on to the Armory and make you killers."

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Jeff Fournier
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF (Recruiting Closed)
The above translated into rules

Equipment:

MandelBrite Armour: Allows you to survive in almost any environment and may take one KILL for you per Mission (You Have four levels of Health: Fine, A Mess, Crippled, and Dead. Each KILL you take will remove one level of health.) Armor cannot be repaired while on Mission. There are plenty more bells and whistles in the armor. But they're up to us to discover in-game.

Medipack: Medipacks allow one level of Health to be regained between Encounters on a Mission. Summer's field med kit is essentially the same, but may be useful in other ways.

Combat Drugs: Once per Mission, you may use Combat Drugs to reroll an FA roll. However, if you roll a 10 on the re-roll, you immediately take a KILL from the drug overdose

Remaining Equipment: Flavor and theme-building. However, creative use of such may result in bonuses to die rolls.


Ranks: Ranks are issued on a simple system: Most of you start as troopers (Rank 0) Highest NFA starts as Sergeant (R2), highest NFA is Corporal (R1). The sergeant has the ability to request some help from above (right now, that is only the E-Vac squad to escape an Encounter that is going badly). The corporal will be the squad's heavy gunner. Promotion occurs after each Mission: whomever has the most kills gains an automatic promotion (one of two awarded each Mission). This means Order 1 is important for everyone. The later Orders are pretty much extraneous.
 
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF (Recruiting Closed)
"Ha! Is this armor fancy, or what? I bet this would be a killer when picking up chicks. Even better than my scar. Too bad we're not seeing Terra in a while."
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF (Recruiting Closed)
Cliff is still making experimental gestures with his arm, watching the metal respond.

"I don't think I've ever seen armour this cool on Terra before, though. Not in person, anyway."
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF (Recruiting Closed)
I need to run out to work. I'll move you all out to the lobby (late) tonight. Feel free to chat amongst yourselves.
 
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF (Recruiting Closed)
Cranberry dons his exoskeleton and pauses, trying to take mental notes on the user interface and design of his suit. He carefully experiments with the mobility of the suit by practicing a few lunges and ridiculously-looking hops, which incites some snickers from the group. With a faint smile to himself, he relishes for the first time in his life the feelings of strength, agility, and power. Even Tright's brute strength is nothing...without the suit. Interesting.

"This should work".
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF (Recruiting Closed)
The others notice Tright walking awkwardly in his armor, looking like he's afraid he'll break everything around him. He looks up, sees their stares, and says:

"Uh, never did use one of these before. But just get a gun in my hand, and I'll be comfortable."
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF (Recruiting Closed)
"Tright, this will have to do for now" Cranberry states as he attempts to toss a pack of cancer sticks in the trooper's general direction.

But instead, the package flys through the air at an alarming speed, strikes a pallet of backpacks and other assorted supplies, knocking over the pile, and ricochets towards Mason & Dekker.

"&^!@**&!. I guess I'm still getting used to the suit, too."
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF (Recruiting Closed)
Dekker's still getting to know the suit and isn't really paying attention to all the ruckus. The pack still flies at high speed and hits Dekker right in the middle of the chest piece. The suit absorbs all the energy and the pack just falls to the ground.

"It seems we need to be more worried about the second-hand smoke than Cranberry's throwing arm."
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF (Recruiting Closed)
"Hey! Those are not toys! You don't just go goofing off with those! When you're stuck on a lifeless planet for a week with even the ground trying to kill you, you'll appreciate how precious an item I just gave you! Do you know how hard it is to get those delivered to deep space?"

Harvey snatches up the pack of smokes and slips them into his pocket.

"Recruits. They never learn."
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Re: The Sword of the Gods... a 3:16 PbF (Recruiting Closed)
Sergeant Harvey lets you adjust to the suits before leading you out into the main passage. Several one deck further down and on the opposite side of the ship, you arrive at a door that look more solid than a bank vault. Two marines in flimsy fatigues stand there with energy rifles. They immediately enter a code when they see Harvey approaching, then step back and salute.

You step over the threshold and step into a gun nut's wonderland. Side arms, long rifles, missile delivery systems, powered claws all line the walls. Large cases labeled in acronyms fill the aisles, many of them larger than a hover bike.Harvey leads you on into a second room, well separated from the first by several bulkheads.


"Welcome to the firing range. Here you'll be getting your final bits of kit, your weapons. We'll try all the equipment you are authorized for out, then let you pick which weapon suits you best. Then we'll take them away from you again, settle you into some bunks, and introduce you to The Sword of God's cooks call chow."

"First let me explain tactical combat. Combat can effectively be broken down into three distinct ranges, and each weapon is designed to be effective at different ranges. First and foremost is CLOSE. Your squad will usually be in close formation, and most aliens will seek to reach this range with you. At close range, short-barreled weaponry and blades, pistols, and grenades are extremely effective while larger or heavier weapons are almost useless. Next is NEAR. Near is roughly 10-50 meters away, and is where most common standard arms are best utilized. Generally anything but blades can be used at this range. Finally, we have FAR range -- Best suited for sniper or missile weapons. Technically, there is a fourth --it's called OUT OF RANGE for a reason, though."

"Everyone is issued a standard composite ceramic combat knife. Good for everything you need it to do, and strong and sharp enough to get through most organic material (1/-/-). Second, everyone is also issued several standard high explosive compact detonation devices. You may know them as grenades. They're tiny, but pack a whole lot of whallop. In fact, you stand an equal chance of injuring any friends who are in Close Range with the enemy when you use them. They are a marginal weapon at best at Near Range and I have yet to see the person who can lob one of these to Far Range. (10/1/-)"

"Now for your individual weaponry. Troopers Decker, Eddie, Mason, and Summer: You have a choice between the standard Energy Rifle, which is highly effective at Near Range, but of minimal use at the other ranges (1/10/1). It shoots coherent beams of light -- bright, but silent. And generally a safe choice when in pressurized environments. Your other option is the old fashioned Slug Rifle. Chemically propelled solid slugs redesigned to be useful in most environments. Terrible at Close Range, but decent at Near or Far (1/6/6). Loud, but more likely to knock your enemy down."

"Corporal Tright, you get to pick the big gun. These two are essentially jumbo-sized versions of everyone else's guns. The E-Cannon fires a massive pulse of energized death. It is absolutely the deadliest weapon available at Near Range, but useless anywhere else as the beam uses a cone-focusing crystal (0/20/0). Alternately, you may pick the Heavy MG, which is slightly less deadly at Near Range, but is capable of close in fighting when needed. The propellant is not significant enough to make it of use at Far Range however. (1/12/0)."

"Sergeant Cranberry, you have a choice between the Trooper's Slug Rifle, or the Corporal's Heavy MG. You are also issued a side arm, which is a rather decent weapon on its own at Close and Near Ranges (6/6/0)."

"Give them a shot -- the firing range is set for Close, Near, and Far Range Targets."



 
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