Explaining the Cover of Enemies & Allies (Ronin Roundtable)

Enemies & Allies is Modern AGE RPG’s next release, due to hit stores this first quarter of 2020. Enemies & Allies is one of three Modern AGE books besides the Modern AGE Basic Rulebook that can be considered “core” releases. The Modern AGE Companion is the big book of rules options, while the Modern AGE Mastery Guide, due to come out later this year, is the sourcebook for player and Game Master advice along with deeper options for customizing the game, including as rules for creating very simple characters or using Fantasy AGE style character classes.

Enemies & Allies sits between them. It’s the big book of Non-Player Characters and unusual creatures that can act as threats or allies. Its five chapters not only present various beings organized by genre but add optional rules to enhance their presence in your campaign, from the disturbing psychic impressions generated by horrific entities to the places of power that tend to attract fantastical creatures. Think of it as a significant expansion of the Modern AGE Basic Rulebook’s Chapter 9 adversaries, and more: rules to generate NPCs quickly, quick listings for a number of animals, and even guidelines for adapting creatures from other AGE system games.

However, one nasty antagonist is missing: the creature on the cover! When I wrote the cover description, I felt it was important to put the multi-genre nature of the book first, and the Cyberdemon represented that well, but I wanted individual authors to come up with their own ideas first instead of just reproducing my concepts. Still, for the completists out there, here are its game statistics. Note that the individual entries in Enemies & Allies itself are more detailed than what follows.

Cyberdemon

In certain secret labs, scientists and occultists join forces to create unusually potent computers and cybernetic enhancements. These synthetic limbs, brain implants, and crystal-processor super-servers are powerful because they don’t rely on Earthly energy. Instead, these ritually manufactured objects draw energy from the so-called Netherworlds, where Inimicals—beings the uneducated call “demons”—dwell. These implants are installed in secret operatives who are sent on the most dangerous missions, and scientists working on disturbing theories about the origins and ends of all things. These individuals don’t know that if they die, their souls are claimed through the devices they used. When enough of these sacrifices provide their souls as sustenance, the Cyberdemon is born, ready to be summoned by a knowledgeable occult technologist.

Cyberdemons are potent servants, whose formidable strength is enhanced by their abilities to influence technology. A Cyberdemon’s appearance is based on the technologies which were used to create it, combined with a form selected from the combined fears of those implants’ former owners.

Cyberdemon

Abilities (Focuses)

3              Accuracy (Inimical Cable)

1              Communication

5              Constitution

2              Dexterity

4              Fighting (Grappling, Inimical Cable, Talons)

3              Intelligence (Computers, Cryptography, Electronics, Medicine, Occultism)

4              Perception (Seeing)

6              Strength (Intimidation, Might)

2              Willpower (Morale)

Speed     Health                    Defense            Armor Rating + Toughness

12            35/85/115               12/12/13                          4I/4B +5/+7/+8

Note: Health, Defense, and Toughness are listed by Mode, in Gritty/Pulpy/Cinematic order.

Weapon Attack   Roll             Damage*

Inimical Cable         +5                    2d6+4

Talons                     +6                    2d6+6

*+2 to damage in Pulpy and Cinematic Modes

Special Qualities

Favored Stunts: Demonic Data (4 SP), Lightning Attack, Shock and Awe

Demonic Data (4 SP): By spending 4 SP in combat or while interacting with an electronic device, the Cyberdemon can transmit a burst of corrupt data to compromise or destroy anything capable of electronically processing data. Roll the demon’s Intelligence (Computers) against TN 15. On a success, the Cyberdemon either disables a number of devices in a 30-foot radius equal to the Stunt Die result or steals data from a single device in a 30-foot range. This data can be retransmitted using the interface special quality.

Inimical Cable: As a minor action, the Cyberdemon can shoot a spike-tipped segmented metal cable from its body at high speeds up to 30 feet from its body. The cable inflicts ballistic wound damage. After hitting its target once with the cable, the Cyberdemon can use it to engage in close combat as a minor or major action even when the demon itself is out of hand to hand range, for as long as the cable stays attached to it. This allows it to use grappling stunts, melee stunts, and other stunts and actions normally limited to close combat. To sever the cable, a combatant must inflict 20 points of Health damage. This damage is suffered by the Cyberdemon. The inimical cable has the same Armor and Toughness as the creature. The Cyberdemon can produce any number of Inimical cables, but its ability to control them are limited by its actions per round. Some Cyberdemons use clouds of destructive nanorobots, segmented armatures, and other visually distinct variations of the inimical cable, but most function the same.

Interface: The Cyberdemon can transmit data to an appropriate storage or computing device or connect to any network within 30 feet by spending a major action. The Cyberdemon can also act as a computer, wirelessly activating output devices whether or not these have wireless capabilities. The Cyberdemon’s processing powers are on par with the highest-end consumer-grade systems, and its storage capacity is prodigious, increasing as the technologies that spawn it become more sophisticated. Currently, a typical Cyberdemon can store a petabyte (1000 terabytes) of data.

Spectral Sight: Cyberdemons can see infrared, ultraviolet, and radio waves, along with electrical activity. A Cyberdemon cannot be blinded by environmental conditions—its eyes must be destroyed. Furthermore, it can see up to 10 feet through walls, but must succeed at a TN 15 Perception (Seeing) test to perceive anything more than the rough outlines of people and objects.

Talents: Hacking (Master), Overwhelm (Master). At the Game Master’s discretion, the Cyberdemon may also have technological augmentations using the rules in Enemies & Allies (Chapter 5: Science’s Edge), the Modern AGE Companion (Chapter 5: Extraordinary Abilities) or other books (such as Threefold or Lazarus) presenting such enhancements.

Equipment: None

Threat: Major

20 Years of Green Ronin, Over 2 Years of Modern AGE

Since this is 2020’s first Modern AGE-related post, I would be remiss if I didn’t note this was Green Ronin Publishing’s 20th Anniversary. I was fortunate enough to work on a new edition of Ork! The Roleplaying Game, Green Ronin’s very first RPG, and now, with Modern AGE, it’s been my privilege to oversee the birth and growth of one of its newest lines. As I said, 2020 should bring forth the remainder what I consider Modern AGE’s core rulebooks, but this year will be busy with even more material for the game: adventures, Threefold setting material, and one really exciting project we can’t wait to announce. Cheers!

Malcolm Sheppard

After writing and designing games as a freelancer from 2000 on, Malcolm Sheppard is pleased to join Green Ronin as developer at large: the one who works on any number of games, from the Adventure Gaming Engine to Ork! Malcolm’s experience before Green Ronin includes Exalted, Mage: The Ascension, Onyx Path’s Chronicles of Darkness and Scion lines, as well as Shadowrun and Eclipse Phase. Outside game design, Malcolm’s worked in community development and education, and as a professional historical re-enactor, where he gave large metal swords to children. (They were blunt!) Malcolm lives in semi-rural Ontario, Canada.