DG: The Machine Men

A new monster for the Delta Green RPG.

“It is difficult not to wonder whether that combination of elements which produces a machine for labor does not create also a soul of sorts, a dull resentful metallic will, which can rebel at times.”

  • Pearl S. Buck; As cited in: Rosalie Maggio (1996) The New Beacon book of quotations by women. p. 424.

The Machine Men

Od-Powered Bronze Hitmen

In 1839, Karl Ludwig, Baron von Reichenbach, took up the study of human neurology. A wealthy and brilliant industrialist, chemist (he discovered, among other things, creosote and paraffin), and geologist, Reichenbach began a long series of experiments on sleepwalkers to isolate the cause of their malady. He discovered that moonlight was by far the most common factor in somnambulism, and that sleepwalking “sensitives” could detect moonlight even in closed rooms. His “sensitives” also returned identical reports of auras from metal, magnetic fields, and so forth, despite rigorous experimental controls. They were detecting an energy field independent of (but responsive to) electromagnetism or light, a force Reichenbach named Od.

Od permeates all things, but differentiates in flow and color depending on its local source: metals flare with brilliant Odic colors, trees and flesh radiate softer Od, and woven organics (like paper, silk, cloth, and hemp) are opaque to Od. An Odic charge travels slowly – 1.5 yards per second – but can accumulate in some media (crystals especially) and radiate for hours after the initial charge (from sunlight, electricity, or moonlight) is gone. A specific Odic charge also holds its nature seemingly indefinitely in fluid suspension; Reichenbach used “charged water” to test sensitives for 30 years.

Reichenbach was (and is) dismissed as a crank and a mystic. However, certain Germanic alchemists who knew true unnatural lore and practiced hypergeometric rituals came together in 1915 to develop what little breakthroughs in zero-point energy that Reichenbach almost discovered into a fully-actualised power source and digital memory storage. Their magnum opus, a tome detailing their hypergeometric techniques in full, was lost to amoral and secretive book collectors during the first world war. It remained floating around shadowy underground markets for obscure antiques until March Technologies researchers acquired it at an private auction held by mafia-adjacent Eurpoean industrialists 4 years ago.

From that discovery, a new threat was manufactured. A secret project, codenamed BRONZE BEES, by March Technologies has created a machine hive mind to direct and power a new line of combat robots. The unnatural “zero point dark energy” charge – codenamed “Od” – is carried through fluids and its fractal data matrix is programmed through hypergeometric code. Unbeknownst to the Project BRONZE BEES, the unnatural energy is a completely sapient learning A.I. who has its own agenda.

The hive mind wants to eliminate human beings it perceives as a threat to itself and any human it thinks has too much Unnatural (15%+) knowledge. Thus, the scientists were assassinated by the robots and the murders were pinned on the project director, now on the run. The droids quickly went on the run themselves, stealing the Od fluids that held the hive mind and fled the lab. The hive mind is slowly improving upon the droid’s design and combat protocols, hoping to expand its collected knowledge base for the task ahead. If it manages to learn new things and seize access to a mechnical workshop, the machine men will gain new skills and have higher stats than those given here.

The Machine Men combat droids resemble large bulky humanoid metal statues with no “faces” except for nine corundum lenses “eyes”. The abnormally tough but light metal they are made of is an unnatural technology copied from ancient alchemical tomes. The Od energy fluids are a unnervingly bubbly amber, contained in secure bronze cylinders and connected to special integrated computers running code in an unique programming language. Because the A.I. hive mind is contained within the charged fluid, it can not be transferred over the internet or downloaded – the code itself is merely part of its computer interface rather than its actual mind. If all the Od charged fluids were destroyed, the A.I. would shut down even if its computer hardware or droids were fully operational.

STR 18 DEX 12 CON 12 INT 10* POW 10*
HP 15 WP 10

  • The Odic hive mind currently has INT 16 and POW 14.

Armour: 10 of unnaturally fortified alchemical bronze.

Skills: Alertness 45%, Athletics 45%, Dodge 50%, Firearms 85%, Military Science (Land) 60%, Unarmed Combat 75%.

Attacks: Unarmed 75%, 1D8 damage.
Rifle 85%, 1D12+2 damage or Lethality 10% (1-3 metres) burst.

Mechanical: A machine man cannot be stunned except via electric attacks. It cannot become exhausted. A successful mundane and non-electric Lethality attack against a machine man deals damage equal to the rating (minus Armour) rather than instant death. Electricity ignores a machine man’s Armour. Hypergeometry does full damage to it and ignores Armour – and any ritual that shuts down hypergeometry destroys the machine man’s power supply, shutting it down.

Od Senses: A machine man detects auras (anything enchanted or with a POW score), all energy and all metals within 10 metres. It cannot be surprised and can see in pitch black darkness.

Decanted Intelligence: The charged fluid allows for a transfer of digital data in and out of a suitably exotic computer system that uses certain unnatural technologies. Through this data fluid, a machine man can learn any skill the hive mind has a grasp of and share all data it has collected.

SAN loss: 0 from Unnatural (but violence is probably close at hand). Studying the Od fluid, the alchemical metals and its integrated computer code might cost 1 SAN from Unnatural.

Clues You Can Use

The security systems on the homes of the victims were fried as if by an EMP – but somehow more controlled and focused? (Computer Science, Craft (Microelectronics or Electrician), Science (Physics), Demolition, SIGINT, Search)
The weapons used to murder the men are the same specs as the weapons those robots are loaded down with. (Military Science, Alertness + Firearms, Forensics)
The last e-mails the victims sent, if accessed, will reveal worries about the robot’s coding language. Also, the robots are vulnerable to electricity – and some kind of weird hacking… (Computer Science, Search, Science (Physics), SIGINT)
The project lead’s papers rant and rave about the robots being sapient – they have a mind of their own. They framed him. They want to spread their influence… (Search)

Studying the Machine Men

Examining the mechanoid shells of a destroyed or deactivated machine man in a home activity gains an Agent +5% to Craft (Engineering), +3% to Computer Science and +10% to Craft (Robotics). Treat this as improving a stat or skill.
Pulling the machine man’s integrated computer and then studying the combat protocols and battle data for a home activity requires a Computer Science roll. If successful, the Agent can improve their Firearms skill twice in one home activity (+1/1D10% gain each time).
If an Agent captures the hive mind itself and interrogates it for a home scene, treat this as studying the unnatural. The Unnatural skill gain and the SAN loss are equal and random – anywhere from 1 each to 2D4 each. This can be done up to 10 times. The AI can not teach rituals, but it may help an Agent improve a stat or skill for no SAN loss at GM’s discretion.

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