Martian Mode

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Martian64.png

No one would have believed in the first years of the 206th decade that this station was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's...Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded Space Station 13 with envious eyes, and slowly and surely the Martians drew their plans against us.

The chances of anything coming from Mars

Are a million to one, he said

The chances of anything coming from Mars

Are a million to one...

But still, the Martians come!

The Coming of Martian Mode

The Initial Idea

Adapted, with some formatting changed, from a thread by MollyMillions, itself moved from one of the unfortunately-named sites Goonstation used to be hosted on. Read through the thread for more interesting ideas people had about the mode. The following sections will have just two of some of the more interesting posts.

Here's an idea that was going around in IRC the other day:

You are a crack squad of martians bent on wiping out the savage and ruthless human menace once and for all. Raid their primitive station and repurpose them to serve the martian cause. For the Red Planet!

A squad of 1-5 martians spawns on a martian shuttle off the station z-level. Each begins with one Martian Raygun. In the spells tab, they have a "Return to shuttle" command. The martians are linked via telepathy, and can communicate freely with each other, but their speech is nonsense to human listeners.

Objective: Harvest X units of human biomass.

  • Martian Win: Reach the above goal, or kill all the humans.
  • Draw: The humans escape on the shuttle: "The crew has abandoned the station to the martain raiders!"
  • Human Win: Kill all the martians.
  • Human Win: Survive 70 minutes, at which point NT fighters chase the martian craft away.

Note: If the shuttle is called before the 20 minute mark, the martian craft will shoot it down and prevent further shuttle callings until after that point. There will be a message about equipping the next shuttle with stealth measures or something.

The Shuttle:

A biological craft that carries the team through space, the shuttle features a reclamation pool, bioelectric chargers, a teleporter platform, birthing polyp, and regeneration pods. There is no normal way for humans to get in here unless they're kidnapped by martians. Using the telelab to steal their shit or teleport bombs in might be hilarious though.

  • Regeneration Pods: These are small pods that heal martians inside over time.
  • Teleporter Platform: This platform is big enough to hold several martians or objects. There's a computer nearby that can select locations on the station (possibly humorously misnamed to reflect martian misconceptions about them) and a timed setting, so you can dispatch your whole team to the bar or wherever.
  • Bioelectric Chargers: These recharge martian tools and guns, much like the rechargers the humans have for their gear.
  • Reclamation Pool: This is basically a big pool of acid that you throw humans into, living or dead. They dissolve and are absorbed by the ship. Each dead human adds 30 biomass to the shuttle's total. Live humans are worth 50. Decomposing/skeletal humans may be worth even less.
  • Birthing Polyp: The birthing polyp is a gross thing that martians can interact with to grow new equipment. Equipment grown this way costs biomass, but doesn't detract from the "lifetime" biomass that the martians capture. This way, they don't have to hold back on buying equipment just to win faster.

The Martians

Each martian is basically a mob with a head slot and two hand slots. They are no stronger or weaker than your average human to begin with. Martians can breathe and fly in space, though they still take the cold/pressure damage. Return to Shuttle: Every martian starts with this in their spells tab. When this ability is activated, it teleports the martian and everyone lying down underneath them back to the shuttle after a one second delay as long as the martian is conscious and standing (which means a tased martian can still get away, but a fire extinguisher'd one can't). This ability has a one minute cooldown. It's up to the martian whether he wants to come home right away.

Martians can purchase one upgrade in their lifetime from the polyp.

  • The Soldier: Soldiers gain a slight speed boost and crawl over (but not under) tables.
  • The Warrior: The warrior gains a "Shake off" spell that instantly unstuns them. When they use their return home spell, it stuns every human and monkey in a four tile radius.
  • The Mutant: The mutant gains a "Stare" spell with a very long cooldown. The target slows to a crawl and has only a second or two to do something about it before they're completely immobile. Once held immobile for three seconds without the mutant moving or being interrupted, the target's head explodes. This ability should be used with care as it means you can't get any biomass.

The Equipment (And cost)

  • Martian Raygun (15): A basic pistol weapon that deals some brute and burn damage. It can knock down targets who are below 50% health. Note that this weapon will be less effective against cyborgs due to the split damage. It holds eight shots and can be recharged on the martian shuttle.
  • Martian Helmet (10): Makes you look cool. Also offers some protection from attacks.
  • Tentacle Barb (20): A vicious melee weapon worn like a bracelet on one tentacle. Only martians can use this effectively, for obvious reasons.
  • Soporific Blastula (5): A single grenade full of some kind of short-term knockout gas.
  • Incendiary Blastula (5): Essentially a napalm grenade.
  • Egg Sac (10): When used, this hatches a couple of baby martians who run around fuckin shit up.
  • Martian Rifle (60): Fires a three round burst of shots, each individual bullet is a bit weaker than the martian raygun, but the weapon holds 24 shots. It can be recharged in the martian shuttle.
  • Martian Bomb (100): Does exactly what it says on the tin.
  • Mutate Self - Mutant(50): Turns you into a mutant, unless you already took another mutation.
  • Mutate Self - Warrior(50): Turns you into a warrior, unless you already took another mutation.
  • Mutate Self - Soldier(50): Turns you into a soldier, unless you already took another mutation.

It'd be easy to come up with more ideas. But that's it!

Objectives and Other Traits

Pulled from a post by Cirrial, a Goonstation developer who coded some of these ideas and ran some of the mode's first tests, from the same thread as the previous section

Hey Sundance, did you ever have any thoughts regarding skillsets for the different breeds? I'll post some dumb ideas I had that will only further serve to complicate everything. I'm just throwing these here for input/discussion while I continue to sit on my butt and code things that aren't martian mode.

Martian Death/Ghost Involvement

  • When martians die, they gib into organs such as their limbs (tentacles), heart, skull and brain. Perhaps weird martian blood and viscerite/martian tissues too. The martian brain is completely irrelevant, though, as the martian's psychic pattern is returned to some sort of pattern buffer onboard the mothership, thus meaning the martian ghost can only forlornly wander around the mothership's interior.
  • Any attempts to borg the martian brain will cause it to dissolve. Put it to better use in burgers or something, jeez. You should know by now that if you eat the brains of your enemy you get their courage! Serve with martian calimari.
  • The birthing polyp/perhaps some larger structure can produce single mini martians that require time and biomass (eat some meat slices and/or viscerite) to rapidly develop into a breed, with one of these psychic patterns transferred into it. With more biomatter, this partial delayed resurrect can be skipped and a martian respawned as normally expected.
  • With sufficient psimatter levels recovered, the option will become available for ghosts to enter the psychic pattern holder, but they can only spawn as mini martians that do not mature, and must be spawned by one of the martians choosing to spend precious biomatter on doing so. They also have to sit and wait in the psychic pattern buffer until a martian decides to produce them. Martians will get a telepathic message from the ship brain that a pattern exists for implantation.
  • Mini martians have one hand slot, are fast, fragile, and are effectively the same sort of nuisance a handspider is. Regular, maturable mini martians can speak, while ghost-based ones can't.
  • It should probably go without saying that ghost mini martians absolutely do not retain any memory of their previous round RP wise, although they're intended to cause havoc and destruction before they get squished underfoot, so whatever, grudge away.

Martian Mode Objectives

  • One of the key features of nuke mode is that the objective is invariant. Everyone knows exactly how a nuke round will go down; the nuke will be planted in an area and the nuke will be set to detonate. The operatives start off as full powered as they will ever be. Martians, however, will not, as they will start with some capacity for upgrades but won't have all the fun toys until they start gathering biomatter.
  • Martian high command (or equivalent, help, help, I need a lore expert) will task the crew of the mothership with a set of randomly selected objectives, such that the requirements for the aliens never remain quite the same, thus making their motivations less easy to predict.
  • The current plan is for the objectives to be along the following:
    • Collect psimatter from the crew by dipping them into the biomass vat. Higher ranking provides more psimatter from the access to and knowledge of higher amounts of classified information. Clowns and mimes are too foreign a concept for these generally humourless aliens to understand, though, and as such are worth less, even though we all know they know the true secrets of space. Use this psimatter to terraform the station into a state worth colonising. This will require both amassing the psimatter and then defending the mothership for the time it takes to begin the process.
      • This is sufficiently complex enough to be the sole objective for a round.
    • Harvest the DNA of individuals with unique signatures (either randomly chosen or perhaps individuals with complex DNA/booster genes latent in them, depending on how that works out) for further study and analysis of human weaknesses. Either claim them completely in the biomass vat or extract a blood sample from them depending on how loud the team wants to go.
    • Steal important human secrets. Martians are not 100% sure on what humans consider important secrets. This can be something like "steal 6 shoes, as these probably contain encoded information in sweat traces", "steal 2 bees (unharmed)", "steal 7 bedsheets as the fabric obviously has messages encoded into the weave", "steal at least one of the green pointy leafed plants the humans are fixated on growing to understand their power", "steal 3 brains because we need specimens to test our new interrogation techniques", etc.
    • Spread martian vines in a specific area of the station to disrupt its performance, and make sure that specific area is 70% covered by vines by round end.
    • Ensure that 5 or more mini martians are running around the station causing havoc by round end.

Arrange a set of warp signallers in 3 different areas, to allow for a larger fleet to visit some day, and make sure they're intact by round end.

  • Some of these objectives are shit, some are less shit. Please help

Other Dumb Stuff

  • Mancer Visor: Like the visor proposed by Sundance, except a monocle, and provides advanced health output and/or reagent scans instead of just health scans, making it a potent combination of ProDocs and spectroscopic goggles, with the downside that flash protection is no longer provided. Mancers spawn with these and they cannot be grown.
  • Mothership Things: The mothership needs a power source of some kind (probably simple, but should exist so it can be damaged by boarders), a ship control pod for the pilot, and a teleport system, both external (warp the mothership somewhere) and internal (use to teleport to parts of the station). Also needs some sort of ability to be repaired (although that probably could be achieved by waiting for regeneration), and for there to be interesting effects on the interior and its subsystems when damaged.
  • Pet/Guard Creature: Modelled after a velvet worm, this creature lives in the mothership and is everything that a humble space bee is not - violent, aggressive, but mostly harmless, more or less. It sprays sticky slime at anything it considers either prey or a threat, which happens to be more or less anything not a martian. This slime temporarily immobilizes anything it touches, until they either resist out of it or wait for it to dry out and become less clingy. This creature also hates bees with an unexplained passion, far greater than its hatred for humans and robots, and will chase and hiss at them and launch slime at them at any opportunity. Despite this intense hatred for anything alien, it never seems to actually attack anything. It also cannot survive outside of the exact internal conditions provided by the mothership, so no, no cheap stun cannon outside the ship.

The Classes in Detail

Trimmed from a post by Sundance, a mentor who contributed many potential sprites and ideas, from the same thread as the previous sections

Martian Stats

Cirrial, basically this works similar to how people build your DnD team, you will have your melee units, support, spellcasters and the like. Which for the most part distinguishes this mode from others in that each team could be made up of a variety of different martians.

Martian Trooper: Hardened Foot-soldiers.

HP: 90 (Weaker than a human)
BP: High (relative)
Skillsets/Attributes:
None. Spawns with light armor, some martian brew and its own IMP (1x1 pod).
Armor class: Heavy. (can use all armor)
Weapon class: Heavy (can use all weapons)


Martian Mutant: Psychics with a turgid cranium.

HP: 65 (quite feeble)
BP: Medium
Skillsets/Attributes:
-Warp: Can warp away instantly, but has a longer cooldown than the wizard equivilant.
-Clairevoyance: Same as above, longer cooldown.
-Intense Stare: Targets an individual, if target stays in area, will knock the target unconcious.
-Profound Stare: Same as above, but will freeze the target in the area, causing him to scream and writhe. Will detonate the targets head, at the cost of your own life. Use as last ditch measure/revenge.
-Telepathy: Can communicate with Humans
-Cerebral Combusiton: AoE spell, will slow and cause minor brain damage to all those in target area.
-Psychotic Break: Melee range. Inflicts 15 units of Rajajajah in system.
-Mental Distortion: Targets an individual, causing them to hallucinate and see humans as martians (and their speech too), and visa versa. Lasts for 5 minutes.
-Subconcious shield: AoE spell. Will buff targets by providing them +30% damage reduction from all sources for (x) period (err i forget)
-Mind Arc: Shoots a beam of purple lightning, if hits target and if there are others nearby, it will arc like lightning to another target, up to 3 times. Mild burn damage, does not stun.
Armor class: None (cannot wear armor)
Weapon class: Light


Martian Beserker: Pale warriors with gold warpaint. (varied facepaint, aesthetic)

HP: 130 (Buff as fuck)
BP: Low
Skillsets/Attributes:
-Leap: Exactly the same as the mutation. Jump headfirst into combat.
-Battle Stance: Beserkers punches deal x2 more damage. Is modal (lasts indefinetely, only stops when switched with a different stance).
-Defense Stance: Has a 50% chance of deflecting melee attacks (including armed), but halves damage done by punching. Is modal.
-Blind Rage: Can only be activated if in RED health. Fully regains stamina, and ignores slowdown from damage.
-Body Slam: Exactly like the wrestling attack, can only be used if target is prone.
-Throat Whip: Slaps the target across the throat, stunning them briefly and preventing speech.
-Constrict: Binds the target, essentially cuffing them and causing the target to be pulled. However anyone can break this by pulling the target away.
-Agonizing Bind: Target must not move, similar to shocking grasp. Painfully pulls off a random limb. Works well with constrict.
-Pulverize: Strong brute attack, creates medium bleeding damage and stuns the target. Will also wreck borgs. Long cooldown.
-Can brute open doors, including bolted ones (passive)
Armor class: Light
Weapon class: None (cannot use weapons, but can use attire like barbed tubing)


Martian Mancer: Militant biologists of malicious intent. (with/without eyepiece. Again, aesthetic)

HP: 80 (quite feeble)
BP: Medium
Skillsets/Attributes:
Has no skillsets but has numerous tools and abilities, some unique only to Mancer's:
-Mancer visor: Acts as a health scan, chemical scan and nightvision combined (heck)
-Martian stim: Only available to Mancers. Heal a medium amount of damage, requires to be charged after 3 uses.
-Flamethrower: Despite mancers not being able to handle "heavy" rifles, mancers can handle/come equipped with the flamethrower by default.
-Chem resistance: Is completely resistant to poison damage (passive)
-Biobomb: A single sac, available only to mancers. Releases a small cloud unstable mutagen smoke (note this has NO effect on martians, see: martian brew), but they are not grenades, rather proxy assemblies, so can only be used as traps. Can be recharged.
-Fleshy Dynamo: Acts as a one use EMAG before being recharged. Available only to mancers.
Armor Class: None
Weapon Class: Light


Martian Sire: Egotistical aliens of royal bloodline.

HP: 100 (= to human)
BP: Medium
Skillsets/Attributes:
One martian is picked as the Sire, which are considerably stronger than its cohorts due to not being restricted. Spawns with cape (acts as light armor), tiara (acts as helmet), so is already pretty armored. Has some Mutant abilties, and some unique to its own:
-Telepathy: Can communicate with Humans
-Warp: Can warp away instantly, but has a longer cooldown than the wizard equivilant.
-Clairevoyance: Same as above, longer cooldown.
-Mind Arc: Shoots a beam of purple lightning, if hits target and if there are others nearby, it will arc like lightning to another target, up to 3 times. Mild burn damage, does not stun.
-Royal Command: Can only be used if in orange health or under. Removes stuns, heals minor damage and will notify all other martians of your location.
-Grevious Shriek: Will activate passively if any martians break from the hivemind (i.e: Die), screeching; causing dazing and stamina damage, AoE
-Zealous Rage: AoE, will cause all martians in area of effect to move quicker.
Armor class: Heavy
Weapon class: Heavy

The Station Under the Martians

Saucer.png

The first iterations of Martian mode were considerably less grandiose than the suggestions. Not that this is necessarily bad; they were simply baby steps on a road towards something grander.

In the first tests, the Martians had no motherships or cruisers for a base of operations. Instead, an Admin would simply spawn few Martians, detailed below, and a device that would convert people into Martians, also detailed below, somewhere on the station. There was, however, one test that opened with a flying saucer (pictured above), although it was not much more than a reskinned Space Pod with phasers, and it disappeared within 10 minutes.

Conversion

MartianConverter.png

To convert the humans they killed into fellow Martians, the Martians would place the corpses adjacent to this pink grody thing that looks like a fumarole. After a short period of time, the gross clump would absorb the corpse and spit out a Martian of a random class.

The waiting period and random class selection were only temporary mechanics, created to facilitate testing and soon to be replaced. There were plans to allow players to select their class upon spawning and add a "biomatter" resource that was replenished by recycling corpses and used up by creating Martians, similar to the cloner, so players could have some control over new Martian spawns, instead of just waiting around.

Classes

All Martians had one hand slot, one ear slot, and one head slot for hats, which, just as it is now with the Martian "body type" available from Diplomat, Merchant, and Tourist spawns, looked quite ridiculous on them. Unlike those Martians, they could perfectly understand English. However, they still couldn't speak to other humans, because all their speech went to a "telepathic hivemind" heard (?) by all Martians.

Each Martian also had two abilities:

  • Teleport: Teleport to square of choice, regardless of any obstacles or solid objects in way.
  • Psyblast: Inflict 20 BRAIN damage, stun target for about five seconds, and make them drop whatever items were holding.

There were three classes of Martians available:

  • MartianWarrior.png Warrior - Had the exciting prospect of not one, but two hand slots.
  • MartianSoldier.png Soldier - Had a "Psychokinetic Blaster" slot that did piddling BURN damage but could hit any tile of choice in the line of sight and recharged fairly quickly.
  • MartianMutant.png Mutant - Had a Psychic Stare ability that could gib a target within seconds...if the target or Martian stayed within line of sight.

Does this sound like the same Martians available through Admin critterization shenanigans? Because it pretty much was.

There was also a Martian sapper class MartianSapper.png, though it was not available through the converter, and it did not see much use. Based on the current unused NPC Martian sapper, it might have had (or was planned to have) the ability to plant bombs that could convert station turf to their Martain equivalents or spawned cute lil' Martians that beat the shit of humans.

Epilogue

Though the mode was warmly received by players during test rounds, coding the classes proved immensely difficult, particularly in the addition of new abilities. In 2017, rather than grapple with the alien, possibly extraterrestrial monstrosity that was critter code, the main coder behind it, Cirrial, decided to create his own class of mobs that would be easier to work with. The game mode has been virtually completely abandoned since, and from this new class of mobs came the Flockmind.

Though the Martians managed to land a few of their troops on SS13, most of their forces were lost in transit. Supposedly, the Martians sent another warfleet, but it apparently took the wrong turn at a moon and, after a horrifying ordeal through a hyperspace lane, landed on a shitty desert planet being claimed by hairless apes in giant suits.

There are still Martians in the Debris Field and around Oshan Laboratory, of course, but they are simple-minded NPCs who only have plans of invading your personal space, not your station. As previously mentioned, you can still randomly spawn as a Martian (which is really a human with a Martian body type), among other aliens, as a Diplomat, Merchant, or Tourist, but it's different from those available through Admin Make-Critter shenanigans.

Supplementary Video


Archive
Discontinued Features:
Discontinued Game Modes - Discontinued Syndicate Items - Nuclear Engine - Construction Server - Prison Station
Discontinued Material Properties - Fabrication Units & Looms - Old Constructions - Old Electronics
Discontinued Jobs:
Atmospheric Technician - Barber - Boxer - Chemist - Elite Security - Head Surgeon - Intruder - Lawyer - Martian - Mailman - Medical Assistant - Technical Assistant - Tourist - Vice Officer - Replicant - Spy
Old Maps:
Donut Station - Devstation - Donut Station 2 - Mushroom Station - Chiron Outpost - Samedi
Old Lore:
Chemical Information‎ - A Crash Course in Legal SOP - Generator Startup Procedure (Old)‎ - Job Information - Old Storyline - Standard Operating Procedure