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Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2014 2:50 pm
  

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Assuming that a potential Host Armor for a Gardener can fail during its larval stages just like any other...

Would it be possible for a Geneticist to 'claim' this and have a Homunculi which can produce the same plant-fortifications that Gardeners can?

Rifter 50 pages 78/80 and 65 for reference purposes.

If this is possible I am not totally sure how it works in terms of Bio-E spent on the plants though. The Gardener armor gets a HUGE pool of Bio-E to select plants with, separate from the smaller amount of Bio-E used to upgrade the base armor.

Would a Homunculi also get this additional pool? Or would they have to choose from the limited amount of Bio-E that a Geneticist can give, whether that goes to plants or to normal armor features?

Would a failed-GardenerHA-turned-Homunculus get the no-expense features of musculature-locking? Symbiotic Nourishment which is also built-in would not seem applicable.

It seems like the bulk of Bio-E would come from the Metabolism, making Photosynthetic a better choice than Thermosynthetic due to providing 50% more Bio-E. A photosynthetic base would allow a Homunculus to grow a Bramble Wall or a Tangle Weed, while a Thermosynthetic could only grow Sawgrass.

Of course these 3 things which a Homunculus could theoretically start with are not the limit. By using the bonus Bio-E which a geneticist can add to a Homunculus it seems like it might be possible for the Homunculi to grow more advanced things.

Assuming average rolls and all Bio-E from level 5 on dedicated to a single Homunculi, a Photosynethetic one (with no other upgrades) could buy the most expensive, the Bao House, by level 6. A thermo would need slightly above-average rolls to get it by 6, otherwise average rolls (or even slightly-below average) would get it by 7, and it would be guaranteed by level 8. A photosynthetic rolling minimum could get it by 7.

If we look at the Bio-E gained per level, although the average and maximum gained by the Gardener for plants is higher, the Geneticist gains a higher minimum amount, which could make for more reliability.

The only thing I'm not really sure about, in regard to things like remote-operation of turrets (like the Photon Cannon) is how well a Homunculi could operate it, since they are on a lower mental level than humans. It would probably turn out better if being commanded directly by their Geneticist (or perhaps by a respected Gardener so long as they were in Host Armor) but even then I think their tactics would be limited in sophistication.

Odds are that Homunculi-Gardeners would be best suited for production of passive things that do not require interaction (like Bao Houses or Bramble Walls) so set up fortifications from safe positions, basically to enhance bases in a guarded area, since they are so weak and vulnerable to destruction and lacking in versatility.

I don't know what would happen, if a Homunculus could grow Plant Fortifications, to those fortifications if the Homunculus died though... presumably nobody could ever control them then? I assume they would still be alive though... I don't know how something like a Photon Infusor would recognize friend or foe in those situations though...

I'm not even sure what happens in the case of normal Gardeners. A Gardener could die (leaving their armor alive but unable to bond with anyone else) or a the Host Armor of a Gardener could die, in which case I am not sure if a replacement GardenerHA could interact with plants created via the previous one.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 3:00 pm
  

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Not initially. Failed host armor becomes a normal humunculus, but I could see a geneticist adding the capability to one in order to develop new plants.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 4:26 pm
  

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would it spawn full-fledged plants?

(on a side note, a typical geneticist would not be particularly good at growing plants, and having the appropriate skills at a *really* high rating is extremely helpful for growing the gardener's special plants)


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Unread postPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 4:33 pm
  

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Shark_Force wrote:
would it spawn full-fledged plants?

(on a side note, a typical geneticist would not be particularly good at growing plants, and having the appropriate skills at a *really* high rating is extremely helpful for growing the gardener's special plants)

Probably not.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:31 am
  

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They would be inferior to Gardeners, sure, but it could be a way of producing plants to supplement Gardeners, with Homunculi handling some of the easier versions, since not many people may be able to fulfill those OCC requirements.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:04 am
  

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While I agree that Geneticists would use Photosynthetic Homunculi to help develop improved and new versions of the Plant fortifications, I don't think that the number of Gardeners is that low... their requirements are neither many nor that high (the higher end of average, but still average). The requirements for a Geneticist is higher... suggesting that they are even less common (given this, it is unlikely that they will be much of a supplement to the Gardeners).

This doesn't mean that a given Geneticist won't use a Homunculi to work on new and improved versions of Plant Fortifications... just that with fewer Geneticists than actual Gardeners (due to the higher requirements), the likelihood of this being more than a pet project of a few Geneticists within a given House is small.

In all honesty, each Geneticist probably focuses on a given area of research... one might develop Plant Fortifications, another might prefer to work on War Mounts while a third works with Gorehounds and/or War Hawks and a fourth might focus on more conventional Bio-Tech (weapons and armors used by average soldiers).

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 7:34 pm
  

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Although I agree that the higher attribute requirements of the Geneticists would make them rarer than Gardeners (not to mention the mutations and stuff, probably scares some people off) and many of them would be too low a level to even manage a single Homunculi, the number that can would still help back up the Gardeners. Plus the rare higher-level Geneticist could have multiple Homunculi laying down basic plant fortifications this way, allowing Gardeners to work on more advanced stuff (like taking remote control of Photon Turrets, which a Homunculi would not be very good at, assuming they were capable of it at all)

Also agree that it would be a minority of Geneticists who do this, unless compelled by a Warlord or something like that. IMO it's probably the safest application of Homunculi though considering how weak they are for front-lines, best use as a support structure behind-scenes.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2014 11:44 pm
  

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Yes, a large number of Geneticists won't even have access to Homunculi... but not just because they are too low of a level to do so. A large number of Great Houses have a noticeable distaste for these creatures... mostly because they are seen as failures (though the fact that they are also MDC creatures and often support MDC weaponry is another important factor). Many Houses ban any Homunculi, insisting they be destroyed and their genetic material recycled. Others insist on heavy regulations (including self destruct bio-implants). Only a few tolerate the presence of Homunculi without regulations, and fewer still treat them with any real respect.

Beyond this, some metabolisms will be more common than others... since most OCCs that have access to Host Armor are limited to the metabolisms they are allowed. At the moment, only the Dreadguard and Deliveryman (Rifter 32) can choose any metabolism. Both the Outrider and Roughneck are limited to Carnivore, Herbivore, Omnivore and Parasitic armors. Gardeners are limited to Photosynthetic or Thermosynthetic metabolisms while Swarmlords can only choose Lithovore armors. This means that the vast majority of Host Armors are likely going to be carnivore, herbivore, omnivore or parasitic. This means that there will be significantly fewer Homunculi of the Photosynthetic and Thermosynthetic varieties for Geneticists to even think of supplementing Plant Fortification production.

Additionally, the tending of Plant Fortifications requires a lot of work that is ill suited to the child-like attention spans most Homunculi have. Even a Geneticist is unlikely (not to mention often ill equipped) to spend enough time away from the safety of their homes (bases) to see these plants reach maturity.

Combined with the fact that Geneticists will be a little more rare than Gardeners... and we can see that there isn't likely to be enough Geneticists with the right kind of Homunculi to make a significant contribution to the number of Plant Fortifications. This doesn't mean they can't contribute what little amount they can... but their real strength would be better spent improving or designing new plant fortifications rather than adding a meager amount of plant fortifications... fortifications that neither they nor anyone else can control (Gardeners can only control the Plant Fortifications they planted).

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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 1:24 am
  

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just to clarify how important a good gardening skill is, let's do a bit of number crunching.

for starters, to successfully plant, you need to make a successful gardening or botany skill check. the homunculus has no skill in gardening, so anything will have to come from the geneticist. the best chance a geneticist is going to be able to pull off is 60% at level 5 on a gardening check (and if they're planning on using a gardener homunculus, i think it's only reasonable to expect them to do so, even if it does cost 2 skills)

then, in order to successfully have it reach maturity, you'll need to make one check per day. now, i'm lazy, so we're going to pick a nice, easy plant... such as it is. sawgrass. 1d4 weeks are required to make it grow, which means anywhere from 7 to 28 days. we'll just take a look at 7 days.

for one day of care, you must either make a successful gardening check, *or* make a successful botany check *and* two out of three gardening checks. so just how likely is that to happen? well the first part is easy: 60% right? which means that condition fails 40% of the time. botany at the same level is an expected value of 55%, and the odds of two successful 60% rolls out of 3 is (0.6)^2/3 if i'm not mistaken, or 90% (which feels high to me, so i'm guessing i'm mistaken. but that's fine... lower only proves the point more). 55% * 90% will give us the odds of success for the second condition, which is 49.5% meaning that we can cut away roughly half of the failures from our first condition, for an effective success rate of about 80%.

at this point, it's easy... we've determined (probably incorrectly and a bit generously) that we have an 80% chance to make a single check, now we need to know our odds for doing that 7 times in a row... which would be 0.8 ^ 7, which is about a 20% chance. in similar manner, there's a ~4.4% chance for 2 weeks, ~0.9% chance for 3 weeks, and ~0.2% chance for 4 weeks. add those up, and we get 25.5% of a mature sawgrass plant per successful planting (15.3% of a chance per planting including unsuccessful plantings.

that isn't very good, and i think it's actually lower than that. and that's for a level 5 geneticist (which is the earliest you can get such a homunculus).

mind you, it's also a pretty bad chance for a starting gardener, along the same lines. better than a geneticist of equivalent level (the gardener will be 5% ahead at least, on a per level basis; more if the gardener spends a second skillon gardening, which you should pretty much *always* do). which should tell you something for a gardener (and on the same vein, should tell you what kind of fortifications a great house would encourage starting gardeners to have): expect only the simplest plants, or plants which retain most of their value in immature form. and seriously, don't expect them to let you contribute to the great house fixed defences unless you're fairly up there in levels... and if you have 98% skill in gardening and botany as a gardener, you are probably among the most valuable resources in the great house just shy of engineers and librarians, because you are one of a very very very small group that can consistently grow mature plants and have anything like a reasonable chance to grow an elder plant.

but seriously, don't pick a bao house at level 1. it may look like an amazing and useful plant, but if you don't have very high skills, you're going to need a lot of luck to even see immature stage (3-4 days of care required), let alone mature stage where you actually get the nutrient bath - the only real reason to take a bao house). a bramble wall will provide for more shelter at lower cost, and if you need food you're better off planting glowfruits because you won't starve to death before you successfully grow them. on the flipside, feel free to have as many photon infuser cannon plants as you want, 'cause those things are by far the best offensive weapon in your arsenal even in immature stage, and are additionally the one with by far the best payload since it's almost trivial to recharge them.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 6:40 am
  

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Wasn't there a savant upgrade for biotics? A sort of 'free' skill program that they were barely, if that, aware of having?

Could such a system not be adapted to a homunculus?

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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 12:33 pm
  

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Slight001 wrote:
Wasn't there a savant upgrade for biotics? A sort of 'free' skill program that they were barely, if that, aware of having?

Could such a system not be adapted to a homunculus?

Yes there is.

I'm sure there could be something for the humunculus like that, but we hadn't written one or considered it.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 9:44 pm
  

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Razorwing wrote:
A large number of Great Houses have a noticeable distaste for these creatures... mostly because they are seen as failures (though the fact that they are also MDC creatures and often support MDC weaponry is another important factor). Many Houses ban any Homunculi, insisting they be destroyed and their genetic material recycled. Others insist on heavy regulations (including self destruct bio-implants). Only a few tolerate the presence of Homunculi without regulations, and fewer still treat them with any real respect.


I imagine for the paranoid houses that Homunculi whose only upgrades are growing non-violent plants to help expand bases would be more readily accepted and under less suspicion.

Razorwing wrote:
only the Dreadguard and Deliveryman (Rifter 32) can choose any metabolism.
Gardeners are limited to Photosynthetic or Thermosynthetic metabolisms
the vast majority of Host Armors are likely going to be carnivore, herbivore, omnivore or parasitic. This means that there will be significantly fewer Homunculi of the Photosynthetic and Thermosynthetic varieties for Geneticists to even think of supplementing Plant Fortification production.

Good points. That said... since the majority get recycled anyway, they could simply preferentially pick out the Herbovore/Thermosynthetic ones.

Considering how some houses find Homunculi threatening, not having a dangerous chomp-mouth and not consuming any high-in-demand resources (plenty of sunlight and heat for all) would help reduce their threat and ecological footprint and make them more acceptable assets.

Razorwing wrote:
the tending of Plant Fortifications requires a lot of work that is ill suited to the child-like attention spans most Homunculi have. Even a Geneticist is unlikely (not to mention often ill equipped) to spend enough time away from the safety of their homes (bases) to see these plants reach maturity.

That's the beauty of it, they don't have to actually do the tending, they could just be grow-spots and give added seedlings for Gardeners to tend. A Gardener in Host Armor would be a natural leader for a Homunculi being sent out by their Geneticist.

Razorwing wrote:
we can see that there isn't likely to be enough Geneticists with the right kind of Homunculi

That's if the rejected Host Armors are given out randomly, I figure they get their pick of the litter. The limiting factor of how many they can get does not seem to be supply (since most get recycled regardless of Homunculi use) but rather the Geneticist ability to manage them or convince management to allow them one or more.

Razorwing wrote:
their real strength would be better spent improving or designing new plant fortifications rather than adding a meager amount of plant fortifications... fortifications that neither they nor anyone else can control (Gardeners can only control the Plant Fortifications they planted).

That's why I think they would focus on the hands-free fortifications that can't be controlled anyway. Some are entirely passive and cannot benefit from Gardener-interaction, far as I can tell.

Shark_Force wrote:
just to clarify how important a good gardening skill is, let's do a bit of number crunching.

Does the one tending the plant necessarily have to be the one who it grew from?

If not then it doesn't matter how much Homunculi suck since a Gardener or perhaps a savant Biotic (as suggested) might take care of it.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:03 pm
  

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gardeners actually get a ton of bio-e, and there isn't really a huge variety of plants to pick from anyways. most likely, you won't need additional sources of the no-maintenance plant fortifications... furthermore, even the low-interaction plants have an active use in most cases. a gardener can make something like sawgrass turn off, which can be fairly handy. i guess maybe they could plant bramble walls, and perhaps bio-comm roots in some areas, but even then, i figure gardeners probably have enough of those plants to meet the great house's needs most of the time (and if not, the probable solution would be to train more gardeners if at all possible).


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Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 10:06 pm
  

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Tor, you do realize that Gardeners can only control their own plants... as in just the plants they grow from their own armor? The only one who would be able to control a plant created by a Homunculi will be that Homunculi... which they really can't do (the attention span of a child with ADD). A Gardener can not command the plants another Gardener planted.

What this means is that you are suggesting the use of Homunculi to create Plant Fortifications that no Gardener will be able to control... they will only act independent of any desires the Great House may have. If the Great House is currently in a feud with another House and its plants are programed to attack members of the rival House, these plants will continue to do so regardless of whether or not a truce is called... since no Gardener can take control of these plants to get them to stand down. Gardeners also wouldn't be able to prevent the plants from attacking Machine scouts that are looking to set off any possible traps... thus while such scouts might be destroyed, the machine will know exactly where such a trap is and avoid sending any convoys though the area until it can be pacified properly.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 10:55 am
  

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Shark_Force wrote:
gardeners actually get a ton of bio-e, and there isn't really a huge variety of plants to pick from anyways. most likely, you won't need additional sources of the no-maintenance plant fortifications...

There's ALWAYS a need. You can never have too many Bao Houses or Glowfruits or Walls. It's not that Gardeners can't easily cover all the varieties, it's just the quantity they can produce (limited regrowth rate) versus losses from machine assaults.

Shark_Force wrote:
a gardener can make something like sawgrass turn off, which can be fairly handy.

Rifter50p70 says Sawgrass cannot be controlled by Gardeners, the only benefit to a Gardener planting these versus a Homunculus appears to be the ability to sense enemies within it.

Sawgrass not attacking Friendlies is automatic. Although how it actually goes about the process of recognition is not made clear.

Shark_Force wrote:
i guess maybe they could plant bramble walls, and perhaps bio-comm roots in some areas, but even then, i figure gardeners probably have enough of those plants to meet the great house's needs most of the time (and if not, the probable solution would be to train more gardeners if at all possible).

Training more Gardeners and training Homunculi would be complimentary processes. Bramble Walls (like Sawgrass and Bao Houses) are exactly the kind of passive fortification I am thinking they would be great at growing, since they are non-interactive. Being stupid, they can be told where to drop the seed (assuming it is possible for a Gardener to assist them with the Gardening/Botany skills) in tactically advantageous places.

I don't think you can ever have too many Bramble Walls, those things would be a huge tactical advantage (even though Palladium's incorporation of cover into combat rules doesn't reflect this well) and probably need a lot of replacing when the machine destroys them during battles.

Razorwing wrote:
Tor, you do realize that Gardeners can only control their own plants... as in just the plants they grow from their own armor?

Yes, that is why in the original post on this thread I wrote this:
Quote:
I'm not really sure about, in regard to things like remote-operation of turrets (like the Photon Cannon) is how well a Homunculi could operate it, since they are on a lower mental level than humans. It would probably turn out better if being commanded directly by their Geneticist (or perhaps by a respected Gardener so long as they were in Host Armor) but even then I think their tactics would be limited in sophistication.

Odds are that Homunculi-Gardeners would be best suited for production of passive things that do not require interaction (like Bao Houses or Bramble Walls) so set up fortifications from safe positions, basically to enhance bases in a guarded area, since they are so weak and vulnerable to destruction and lacking in versatility.
Perhaps you missed it.

Razorwing wrote:
The only one who would be able to control a plant created by a Homunculi will be that Homunculi... which they really can't do (the attention span of a child with ADD). A Gardener can not command the plants another Gardener planted.
Which is why I would leave the Control Bonus type plants to Gardeners and only use Homunculi for basic passive structures that cannot be interacted with.

Razorwing wrote:
What this means is that you are suggesting the use of Homunculi to create Plant Fortifications that no Gardener will be able to control...
Which is irrelevant when it comes to Bao Houses, Bramble Walls and Saw Grasses, since they are not things that Gardeners interact with anyway.

Razorwing wrote:
they will only act independent of any desires the Great House may have. If the Great House is currently in a feud with another House and its plants are programed to attack members of the rival House, these plants will continue to do so regardless of whether or not a truce is called... since no Gardener can take control of these plants to get them to stand down. Gardeners also wouldn't be able to prevent the plants from attacking Machine scouts that are looking to set off any possible traps... thus while such scouts might be destroyed, the machine will know exactly where such a trap is and avoid sending any convoys though the area until it can be pacified properly.

Not an issue for BrambleWall/BaoHouse fortifications, still giving Homunculi a valid role in base-making.

This is possible a concern for Saw-Grass. It's still a bit unclear how the process of automated enemy-recognition works.

Sawgrass is not something that can be controlled by a Gardener, so that would say to me that if you program it for one type of enemy recognition, it would be fixed anyway, and not reprogrammable by a Gardener. It appears that if a Gardener wanted to reprogram a patch they would have to raze the bad-programmed grass and plant a new patch with proper programming.

As gardeners can NOT take control of Sawgrass this also means they cannot make it stand down to avoid tipping off robot scouts.

All we lose out on with Homunculi-Sawgrass is the ability to sense enemies in it, and if it reacts to enemies by moving about and slashing them, that'd be a secondary tipoff anyway.

For long-range sensory issues, coaching a Homunculi to inform a Geneticist or Host Armor when "enemies" are within its grass should also not be that hard, they seem intelligent enough to manage that.

As far as distinguishing details... I'm not sure how much a Gardener can do in that area to begin with before trying to make any comparisons. They can "sense machines or living things within the sensory range" (which one might collectively call 'active things') but it doesn't say if the Gardener can distinguish between the two.

Even though a Gardener can control plants at very long ranges (that of the Bio-Comm, 6 miles, dunno if there is a way to increase that) their functional range might be less depending on how much a Gardener can rely on the plant's senses to discern environment/opposition and how much they might need to supplement the plants with their own long-range sensory abilities.

A plant may inform the Gardener there are 'enemies' about, but while the Gardener can amplify the plant's combat speed and accuracy at these 'targets', they may not be able to tell which target is which (ie prioritize more dangerous or vulnerable opponents) relying solely on the plant.
Shark_Force wrote:
a typical geneticist would not be particularly good at growing plants

Let's compare the two OCCs.

The Gardener allegedly gets botany and gardening via the Survivalist skill program, for which they get a decent bonus (same as their Bio-Tech and Trapper programs) although not as good as their Construction program (guess they're better builders than growers).

I find that a bit confusing since Survivalist only gives 1 espionage (wilderness survival) and 4 wilderness skills... which would not allow you to select Gardening (a domestic skill) or Botany (a science skill) which leads me to believe that botany/gardening may be 'bonus' skills which get the same bonus as Survivalist but may not count as any of its skill selections.

A geneticist, if they opt to not be a Coroner, similarly gets a bonus skill to their Scholar program (a SCIENCE of choice) which could allow them to be equally as good at Botany as a Gardener.

Where geneticists fail is in the basic domestic gardening skill, since whether they get it via their program of choice or via an elective or secondary, they don't get a skill bonus.

Benefit there of course, being domestic, is they can double-purchase it (probably using 2 secondary skills) to get a +10, although that option is open to Gardeners too.

Of course... you could just get a Savant Biotic to take care of the domestic chore of Gardening (heck, who needs a Savant, Biotics start with some at a bonus automatically) while having the Geneticist take care of the sciencey Botany-diagnosis procedure when Gardening fails and problems need assessing.

A non-Biotic intervention might also include having a Technojacker take control of either a Labour/Maintenance Drone OR a Nex-Android, both have near-perfect Gardening skills. Although I'm not sure if AI skills are retained when you over-ride the machine... I don't know if the book addresses this to confirm or deny, would be a big deal when controlling certain AI humanoid bots, could use them for half-day gardening shifts. Nex-Androids would be lower-risk on the basis of punch damage, but L/M-Drones would be lower-risk on the basis of higher noticibility of threat. In either case you could simply corrale them with mines or walls, have a Gardener-overseer ready to blast them with a Photon cannon if they ever got out of the Technojacker's control. Not a PC tactic for high-public-visibility bases but certainly a good front-line tactic (may be preferable to put a Technojacker at risk than a valued Gardener, dat racism.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 1:17 pm
  

Palladin

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actually, the biotic savant option does help with the possibility of growing more plant fortifications easily.

but as for needing more plant fortifications to keep the gardeners busy... I disagree.

for example, you mentioned always needing more bao houses. be that as it may, you really, really need to have an exceptionally high skill level for the bao house to be worthwhile. with a 98% gardening skill, you have a ~20.6% chance to successfully grow a bao house with the minimum growth time (if your gardener also has 98% botany, your odds go up considerably... but the savant option won't cover that, so unless we're talking about having a level 11 geneticist spend all their time gardening it's kinda pointless... I mean, at that point, you should've just made a gardener). the bottleneck is not a lack of plants to grow. it's a lack of people to grow the plants. in the process of growing a single bao house from sapling to maturity, a gardener can plant another ~40 bao houses, not that they likely have time to care for them all in addition to caring for the other plant fortifications they can deploy in that time. and honestly, if you actually have a gardener who's that good, you've probably awarded them extra bio-e in the first place, because that guy is able to successfully grow as many bao houses as dozens of lesser gardeners.

more bramble walls are also nice, it is true, but again, by the time you've grown a single bramble wall, you've likely been able to plant another 10 or so on average. furthermore, there is a practical limit to just how much a gardener can care for.

that said, I really do like the savant biotic idea (probably in pairs; one for botany, one for gardening, provided the skills in question don't need to be used by the gardener or by the same person). the thread about biotics being used as servants mentioned using them as personal servants, but I think growing plant fortifications is almost a perfect assignment for biotics, if it's allowed. even then, though, like I said... a fully-loaded gardener most likely has more plants than they can handle caring for at a time by a significant margin (the fact that it uses gardening skill as opposed to a new skill called farming suggests to me that the level of care required is much more personal than just roaming around and watering the plants en masse, or throwing down fertilizer).

simply put, the much larger problem facing the resistance is lack of gardeners, not a lack of plants for those gardeners to take care of.


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Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 3:56 pm
  

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Palladin

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I think one problem with us trying to figure out the garden-cap is that, although we know immature plants need daily care to reach maturity, I don't remember if we were ever told how much time the care took. Each use of the gardening skill would take some amount of time, if it failed then it would take even more time to use a botany-diagnosis (particularly if you are a domestic-only gardener who had to seek out a Gardener/Geneticist scientist to do it, add some travel time) and then even more time to do the additional therapy-gardening (double to triple, depending on how many rolls it takes you to pass, I figure).

Even assuming 0 time for the skills, the time it takes to travel between plant outposts would be a huge factor for spread-out stuff, but knowing the time-per skill is going to be the main limiting factor for many plants grown in a small area where there is no appreciable issue of getting from plant to plant quickly.

A lot of the infrastructure hinges on whether or not Gardeners can load-share the domestic-Gardening and science-Botany duties, or whether they are required to do it themself. If it is self-required then that pretty much kills the Homunculi approach since I don't think they have any skills aside from sensing North and presumably at least understanding our spoken language (or do they just get moved about with gestures?)

One thing to keep in mind though is that... a plant doesn't necessarily HAVE to be mature. It could in theory just be frozen at immature forever (I think this happens if you fail Botany once or the post-Botany Gardening 2/3). This is a worse deal for some things more than others. Immature plants live long enough to 'expend their payload' which means eventually uselessness for some things that have fixed pre-maturity payloads, but means nothing for those which are already-renewable.

An eternal-immature Bao House is still VERY useful. Sure, it has less MDC, heals slower, regenerates water slower... but it still gives plenty of water, and the nutrient bath storage and regeneration is the same. As for the fruit it grows... if it regenerates in either state, I don't know how quickly, that's a gray area.

Bio-Comms explicitly survive indefinitely in an immature state, it'd be good to have Homunculi seed these everywhere for easy short-range networking within a house, while using Gardeners to penalty-reduce the more important ones on the borders that will allow inter-house comm and scrambling.

Boom Shrooms are going to get expended no matter what, so there may not be much incentive to build them to maturity anyway. Although a Homunculi can't delay their explosion like a Gardener (or make it hurt more) they can still seed important areas.

Bramble Walls have no finite payload to worry about, if you're willing to settle for a smaller and slower-regenerating wall, single-use Gardening may be preferable... considering how thick the walls are, it may actually be ideal to have smaller walls like these and save the super-thick fast-healing mature walls for your outer borders where they will receive more fire and not interfere with utilization of internal space.

Glow Fruit and are the big suck if your gardening fails, at that point you either eat them, harvest some nades, or hope a robot happens upon them and it manages to expend its payload before becoming utterly useless. These two I wouldn't bother having on a Homunculi unless I knew it was on the front lines where I wanted to plant-and-abandon (having to show up every day to tend garden could make you a target) as a source of food and bombs, unless I could sub another's domestic/science skills to tend house.

Photon and Razor are similar, limited-use enemy-damagers. Photon having the advantage of being rechargable if you have a Techno with a laser pistol ready to help them get back to full.

I used to figure Sawgrass was unlimited but it appears the die you roll for hours-of-activity might be a 1-time use? It doesn't mention dying after that, so I wondered if it meant per-day, but that might be an expend-until-dead for immatures.

Snap Dragons and Spike Roots and Tangleweed are similar payload-limited guys you would prefer not engage anything until mature, so that they can do so forever. If Homunculi focus on growing more-basic expendable barriers like Boom Shroom, Bramblewall and Sawgrass, this would allow Gardeners to spend more Bio-E on the big defensive high-intelligence weapons like these three which benefit more from their direct involvement and in reaching maturity, since they require maturity for indefinite use while the Wall does not, the Shrooms are limited away, and grass is bound to get wrecked anyway.

I do agree that if we want plants to reach maturity (as we would for the best-for-fighting) types that the care they need (and the space they are probably spread over) create many time demands for them to get the required daily care (particularly if best-Gardener is not best-Botanist) particularly as you widen the radius of a base, hopefully you have patrols scouting the area too.

If you just do fire-and-forget (pass your single Gardening skill when planting the Sapling, abandon forever) you can enmasse the inferior walls and bao houses to build a community and not worry about economy. But then, the saplings are being put to minimal use, so it is preferable to have them properly daily-tended to reach their potential.

I love the idea of Biotics doing this too... I mean they wouldn't necessarily be fighting EVERY single day, so having them out tending crops like this would make a lot of sense. Better risk them on the outer borders planting walls or sawgrass.

Heck even for limited-use 'you will never become an adult' offense plants, it still might be good to fire-and-forget Garden them on the outer borders where they are probably going to get destroyed in assaults before reaching adulthood. Save the daily-tending for the closer-to-center plants that are more likely to survive their journey.

Looking at the skills of other classes...

Archangel/Dreadguard/Outrider/Skinjob could all double-select Gardening as a secondary and help maintain the basic less-important plants that might otherwise be abandoned. Scarecrows could too but... I have trouble picturing this. Technojackers could also but... they probably wouldn't be trusted near the stuff (I would want them backing up immature Photons if they have a laser pistol though...)

Houndmasters or Saints would want to select Gardening as an Elective (they would be as competent as Biotics with it) prior to upgrading it via the secondary second-select.

Roughnecks would be below the Biotic/Houndmaster/Saint trio, but better than Archs/Dreads/Outs at Gardening.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2014 10:03 pm
  

Palladin

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we don't know exactly how long the care takes, but we can safely presume it's not nothing, and again, considering the required skill is the domestic skill of gardening rather than introducing a new technical skill of farming, it probably requires a fair amount of individual focus on each thing. the botany check probably doesn't take long (no equipment is mentioned, so it's probably mostly just a diagnosis from examining the plant with your basic senses - likely only a few minutes taken at most).

but as to immature plants... well, a plant doesn't *have* to be mature, but in most cases that's where most of the benefit comes from.

for example, you mentioned the bao-house. it likely continues to produce food and water and definitely continues to provide shelter in immature form, but you'll notice if you look closely that "...mature plants even have a small vat which contains a small amount of nutrient fluid..." (bolding for emphasis mine). it's an excellent source of food and water, but neither of those seem to be particularly pressing issues for a great house most of the time. really, what you want from the bao-house is the nutrient fluid to provide someplace where patrols can feed their handheld weapons and living armour, and that doesnt' come without a mature plant.

bio-comms, the immature plant is still *fairly* useful, but transmitting from everyone is much more useful (as is the potential to eavesdrop on your enemies). also, while relatively minor, it also offers a slight range increase due to the plant itself reaching further... depending on the situation, the extra 100 foot radius could be significant.

for boom shrooms, the mature plants do close to double damage in double the radius. that's a pretty big deal. for a bramble wall, it has triple the MDC and nearly 10 times the regeneration rate. plus, if you don't tend it while it's growing, you get no crawl spaces.

for glowfruits, you're looking at doubling payload on average, with the original payload dealing about double damage at double range in double the AOE again. also, the mature plant will be ready again in a few hours, which can be pretty important. plus it has a better rate of fire. the photon infuser cannon... well, they're not bad in immature form, but you don't want to be spending time on a silly immature one when you could have a gardener controlling the mature form, which is massively superior. i suppose you could use immature ones if you literally had nothing better, but they really seem to be something that you'd want to directly control to select targets, particularly since it is a heavy damage single-target hitter with long range; you don't want it "sniping" something unimportant, you want it cleaning up after the glowfruits and boom shrooms have destroyed the least dangerous enemies. for willows... well, willows are a special case. you don't want mature... you want *elder* plants, and they get really really scary when they get older. because they're making constant opposed rolls, every point of bonus entangle counts for double. also, the unlimited payload is *really* nice... the tree can pretty much stop a swam attack dead, if they come a few at a time, if it's mature. also, the mature trees can help keep the skies clear...

sawgrass is devastating, and you may be thinking the mature form only deals double damage. in fact, because it has an extra 2 attacks, it's not that far off of triple. also, a doubled radius is actually quadruple the area covered, for the record, and yes, the immature sawgrass does die once it expends all energy.

snap dragons, the napalm strike covers a much larger area, the bites do a heck of a lot more damage, it enjoys a nice bonus to strike with either weapon (and unlimited use) plus enemies take -3 to dodge their attacks, and is eligible for the very impressive elder plant bonus eventually (better bite damage is nice, extended burn time is devastating). for spikeroot, mature plants can't be dodged unless you have an automatic dodge, which is vastly superior. they enjoy double or better in strike, parry, and dodge, better than double damage, and substantially better MDC (4 times or more on average). for tangle weed, only mature plants deal any damage, plus they have 2.5 times the number of vines, more attacks, better bonuses (which are more important, again, because they're entangling with them), and of course qualify for potential elder status (which is amazing again, for most of the same reasons it's good for the razor willow).

simply put, if i was a great house and considered something important enough to grow plant fortifications, i wouldn't let some amateur anywhere near that location with immature plants that are eventually going to just clog up the area and prevent the really good stuff from being planted. i'm certainly not going to be interested in inferior *and* uncontrollable plants (because practically speaking the geneticist isn't going to be sticking around, and therefore neither is his homunculus even if it can control the plants - remember, that is technicaly a gardener ability, not a general feature of the plants) taking up space, and ultimately forcing me to expend resources destroying it to clear ground for vastly superior versions.

simply put, a starting gardener probably has plenty of bramble wall and sawgrass anyways (they're inexpensive, they grow quickly, and they don't need control which means you can always plant more and it's not useless). they don't need more to keep them busy. if anything, the stuff they likely want more of would be things like photon infusers that benefit greatly from direct control.


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Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 3:24 pm
  

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Palladin

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Makes me wonder, in case there are no canon rules for skill use time, if there might be house rules in the rifter or the web...

Maybe something like... 1 or 2 minutes of Gardening per Bio-E the plant cost, per day? *shrug* The latter would mean 1 hour 40 daily on a single Bao House... maybe it shouldn't be Bio-E based?

In re-examining the domestic/science combo, perhaps the person doing daily tending SHOULD have Botany, because if they screw up Gardening, to know they screwed up they might need to pass Botany. Although in theory you could go get someone else to do the Botany check, you wouldn't actually know they were needed unless you passed it yourself, right?

Still, you could have Biotics select Gardening in their domestic program (and boost it via a secondary) and then give them the Savant for Botany so they could still be competent maintainers.

I stand corrected on the Bao Houses, that bit about the nutrient bath appearing at maturity was in the middle of the intro, guess I forgot that bit. Still... with the correct observation about statistics (even at 98% requiring an average of 105 daily tends is prone to failure) there are bound to be a lot of forever-immature no-nutrient-baths-4U Bao Houses out there solely used as food/water/shelter.

Probably a good tactic is to grow a bunch of Bao Houses together and wait until some reach maturity before deciding which ones you want to defend better and which are just canon fodder. I think in a lot of cases the ones which are most likely to reach mature-status would be the ones which take the least amount of time to grow (12 instead of 18).

We agree on Comms/Shrooms/Walls just thinking for front-line outposts it would be better to just get them going and abandon, the time spent locked to a limited area prevents you from seeding more defenses elsewhere, you can always come back later once the area is secure and plant some new ones and let THEM reach maturity.

Since Gardeners probably would want more Photons and similar, that's why I figure the task of mass-seeding large amounts of never-to-mature grass/wall plants would fall to Homunculi.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 9:26 pm
  

Palladin

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hmmm... i think we have very different ideas of how various plant fortifications are used.

for example, the bao house: the *last* thing you want, imo, is to build up fortifications around one. it's not a stronghold. it's a hidden safehouse. you're not an equal fighting against an equal, you're a rat fighting against an army of exterminators.

realistically, any fortification you build will only be good for a certain amount of time before the machine decides to make a priority of destroying it. you can't afford to have weak spots, or else the cost-benefit analysis the machine performs will have a lower amount on the cost side of the scales and you risk being the place it decides to commit a few thousand (or tens or hundreds of thousands) of robots.

the best way to keep a place safe is to keep it secret. you cannot hope to fight the machine in conventional warfare. at best, you can create a strong point, make sure that strong point is going to cost the machine as much as possible, draw them there, and then use it to cover your escape (my personal opinion of the ideal use for "throwaway" fortifications is actually to place them right outside of a place you want to assault, and hopefully when the machine inevitably launches a counterattack you'll be able to use them to cover your retreat... and you still want fully mature plants for that, because the quality of the plants determines how much lead time you're going to have).


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Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 9:56 pm
  

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Palladin

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Depends on the kind of fortification. So long as the defense does not compromise the location, it should be fine. You could layer sawgrass in and around a Bao House for example, since that would actually help hide it and attack anyone who approached it (or went within it) with melee.

Stuff like ranged attacks on the other hand, if they reacted to approaching enemies, could give away the position.

Bao Houses are flexible in that they can be hidden bases like you say, but would also be used if you did have an open fortification.

I would prefer to use Bramble Walls as bait for the machine to attack so when they expose themselves to attack it, you can then hit them.

Although they could do so more safely from a distance via laser guns, they might opt to do it at closer range using melee weapons to save on ammo.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 6:03 pm
  

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I am going to agree with Shark-Force here. A fortified Bao-House is just making it a more valuable target to be smashed flat. There is no way to realistically 'protect' a Bao House (or pretty much anything on the surface, which is why the great houses tend to be under ground). If its top side, its only survival chance is to be hidden, or to be mobile. Anything else is going to be either overwhelmed with robot infantry, or hit with missiles from jets. And the ability to protect against air strikes is....lets be generous and say 'very, very weak'.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:58 pm
  

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Fortifying a Bao House via sawgrass hides it though.

Also, if you create a bunch of ThornWall cubes then people will not be able to see which ones have a Bao House inside, meaning all of them would have to be targetted equally.

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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 8:05 pm
  

Palladin

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1) without sawgrass, a bao house is an unremarkable fruit tree, probably one of gaia's experiments, as far as the machine is concerned (unless of course gaia is inhabiting the machine walking past). with sawgrass, the area becomes a point of interest, and you risk having it marked as a point of interest (or worse, being discovered, especially with someone inside it).

2) NEXUS has flying drones. furthermore, a wall, bramble or otherwise, without anything to defend it is not going to stop squat. once again, the presence of a barrier draws notice. the machine will wonder why the area is protected by thorns that rip through MDC steel on a plant that repels heavy laser fire and regenerates in minutes. that kind of plant isn't exactly normal. unless, of course, the machine never goes there and thus never notices the bramble, in which case your bramble walls have done absolutely nothing anyways.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:10 pm
  

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If you dig a pit first (not too hard for host armor) and plant the Bao House in it, you can have it mostly underground and then camouflage the pit with a ring of saw grass, all they should see is saw-grass.

Plus you can also just plant sawgrass EVERYwhere (including non-enhanced SG) as camo.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:43 am
  

Palladin

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the rules don't reflect it, but i'd be strongly inclined to apply at the bare minimum a penalty for growing a bao house inside of a hole. i'd probably rule that it just flat-out dies if you carpet over the top of it with razor grass.

as to putting razor grass everywhere, that's not particularly feasible. it requires a robot be standing on it to do anything. a robot, on the other hand, can attack it without standing on top. it takes weeks to grow a mature patch, or at least days for an immature patch due to how long it takes for the plant to reappear on the host armour. it takes minutes or less to destroy one for a single robot (squads of robots roaming around will be able to destroy them extremely quickly). there are millions of robots. there are perhaps thousands of gardeners in any given great house, maybe even just hundreds. if every single one of them devoted everything to sawgrass (except for one guy with maxed-out skills planting bao-houses all over the place - let's call him johnny appleseed, shall we?), they simply couldn't match what the machine can do in clearing it out if the machine decides to put in the effort (and if you spam it everywhere, the machine will eventually put in the effort).


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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:27 pm
  

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Though I can hardly believe it myself, I find myself agreeing with Tor... at least for the most part.

Plant Fortifications are not nearly as useless as you make them out to be Shark. The first thing you have to remember is that many appear to be ordinary plants, with only a few easily missed features that identify them as anything suspicious. The second thing you need to remember is that most of the robots do not have an extensive knowledge of Botany... meaning that they are very likely not to notice anything unusual about a plant. This is understandable because for the most part, the Human Resistance has far more dangerous creations... war mounts, host armors and such, that are much more easily recognized than a slightly modified plant. Third, the layering of multiple defenses maximizes the effectiveness of these plants.

For example, a single patch of Sawgrass can cover a 100 to 200 ft radius and hinder the travel of most robots that pass through (the faster they travel through the area, the more damaging the Sawgrass becomes). Given the height to which Sawgrass can grow, it provide the perfect cover for other defenses like Boom Shrooms, Spikeroot and Tangleweed... making it very difficult for the Robots to even notice, let alone target and destroy these defenses.

This is the beauty of most of these defenses... they are easy to hide in plain sight without the machine even noticing they are there until the Resistance leads them into these ambushes (ambushes that they probably won't detect since most robots don't consider plants to be a threat). Gardeners are also scouts, easily learning the pattern of robot patrols in an area, and thus know where to plant their fortifications where they will draw the least attention until they are mature... while still fairly close to do a fair amount of damage to the Robots once the fortifications are ready... provided that is what the fortifications are being used for. Gardeners will also take advantage of the terrain and natural features to help hide the nature of their plants. A patch of Sawgrass is far more effective hidden within normal sawgrass... and an natural rock overhang can hide a Bao House from casual aerial recon by the machine.

Of all the Personalities of NEXUS, only Gaia is beginning to comprehend the level of threat that these new plant fortifications represent... and even it is reluctant to reprogram the robots to counter these threats as their simple programing is likely to cause them to target all plants... threatening her very directive of returning the world to a natural balance.

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Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:19 pm
  

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Palladin

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*wonders if rock overhang would compromise growth or survival rate of Bao House based on shade interfering with sunlight*

Shark_Force wrote:
the rules don't reflect it, but i'd be strongly inclined to apply at the bare minimum a penalty for growing a bao house inside of a hole.


If we assume that plants require sunlight then areas with less sunlight should probably have skill penalties to botany or gardening, sure. This could apply to planting within a depression, or surrounded by too many normal plants (including normal ones) which might shade it too much, or if growing in a cloudier region.

Shark_Force wrote:
i'd probably rule that it just flat-out dies if you carpet over the top of it with razor grass.
Saw-grass can only grow in soil, not on the roof of the plant. I just mean that you could have a ring around it to prevent horizantal-angle observation. Someone flying overtop would still see the Bao House as an abnormality within the saw-grass patch.

Of course, camouflage skill could help to some degree, particularly if plants did not need sunlight to stay alive.

Shark_Force wrote:
as to putting razor grass everywhere, that's not particularly feasible.

Sure it is, if you dedicated a Gardener solely to seeding saw-grass he could do several patches a day. If you didn't care about it reaching maturity then you could just mass-seed and not stick around to groom it, or perhaps have Gardening-trained or Botany-savant Biotics tailing your route to tend to them. Or just have a Homunculi dedicated to sawgrassing entire regions.

Shark_Force wrote:
it requires a robot be standing on it to do anything. a robot, on the other hand, can attack it without standing on top.
True, and if they want to spend ammo or expose their positions to go out and destroy the stuff, that's a use too, keeping them busy. Also a use for non-enhanced sawgrass since robots presumably can't tell the difference, unless they want to start SDC wildfires to weed out the normal kind, I guess. Good way to **** of the Gaia personality though.

Shark_Force wrote:
at least days for an immature patch due to how long it takes for the plant to reappear on the host armour.
The seedling > maturity time doesn't matter since you only need to make one skill roll to succeed in that. The daily skill rolls are only for immature>mature.

Shark_Force wrote:
it takes minutes or less to destroy one for a single robot (squads of robots roaming around will be able to destroy them extremely quickly). there are millions of robots. there are perhaps thousands of gardeners in any given great house, maybe even just hundreds. if every single one of them devoted everything to sawgrass (except for one guy with maxed-out skills planting bao-houses all over the place - let's call him johnny appleseed, shall we?), they simply couldn't match what the machine can do in clearing it out if the machine decides to put in the effort (and if you spam it everywhere, the machine will eventually put in the effort).

Good way to attrition their forces though, if anything it helps reveal roaming parties to Splicer-warriors who may then engage them, perhaps slightly weakened.

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Unread postPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2014 3:02 am
  

Palladin

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NEXUS robots can be reprogrammed. they don't have the botany skill *right now*.

5 minutes from now, they could.

but that's beside the point. detecting something like sawgrass isn't that hard for the machine. they have a bajillion robots. have them walk around. when the ground starts trying to murder you, murder it back (on a side note, expended resources are somewhat of a moot point for anything that uses built-in energy weapons... the nuclear reactor is going to produce that energy whether you use it or not). now, if it's not carpeting anything except for a few places that you set up a month or two before using it, it's not worth the effort. you may very well never find the sawgrass. but if it's being set up to cover the entire continent? won't take long to find. repairs for your "finder" robot will be annoying, but thankfully, NEXUS could probably build a giant bin miles across and thousands of feet high, stuff it full of robots, and go scrooge mcducking their way through the giant pile if it wanted to. there are facilities with *millions* of robots that the machine simply doesn't have turned on. you think damaging a few thousand is going to cause them serious issues?

and i'm not talking about seedling ==> maturity time for limitations. a plant fortification takes 24+4d6 hours to be replaced by the host armour. so yes, it really does take 1-2 days for an immature sawgrass (most of which is time spent waiting for the plant to be ready).

traditional attrition methods aren't likely to work terribly well. humanity is alive because the machine doesn't consider them a big enough problem to be higher priority than doing its own thing.

there's a *reason* the resistance is desperately hoping to find a killswitch or something like that. for the foreseeable future, it's pretty much the only hope they have of actually doing anything to the machine that the machine can't counter by deciding to put away the kid gloves.


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