ENTRY 214: Anglers
Transhumanity’s defining traits are what make it most vulnerable. Most every animal on Earth and beyond exhibits basic drives like hunger, fear, or lust, but few species show signs of curiosity, compassion, reverence, greed, and vengeance. So perhaps it was natural that the TITANs sought to turn the very traits that define humanity into traps that destroy them.
Anglers are TITAN-crafted robots made to look like large multilegged animals with a shiny black synthetic leather hide—usually Earth-based quadrupeds like horses, bulls, and elk, though other versions have been identified, including a three-legged ungulate of some sort that was most prolific on Mars. Where the anglers’ heads should be however is always a flat expanse of skin. Reports and video surveillance during the Fall showed their modus operandi: if possible, a small pack of anglers look for lone victims, working together to separate one biomorph from the rest of a group. The victim is disabled with attacks to the lower body, and when the victim can no longer flee quickly enough, the smooth skin of the angler’s “neck” will open, and snaking tentacles will drag the victim into the gaping space. The skin then closes about the lower torso, leaving the victim’s head and upper torso free, in grim parody of a centaur or similar creature of myth.
From this point on the victim is essentially a prisoner of the angler. The lower torso is dissolved and recycled into nutrients to keep the captive upper torso alive and awake while invasive implants begin integrating the victim into the anglers’ system. Anglers use their prisoners to attract additional victims—“angling” by have the captive upper torso wave, shout, cry, call out for help or scream. At other times the angler seizes control of the upper torso like a puppeteer, directing the torso to manipulate airlock controls or utilize hand weapons. Most biomorphs can last up to eight weeks before infection or starvation gets to them, and anglers have been known to raid supplies that keep their prisoners alive for nearly six months before being brought down.
After the Fall, most anglers are assumed to have been destroyed, but the possibility exists for lone anglers—or even a small pack—to exist in the wilds throughout the system.
Anglers use the same stats as Warbots (Eclipse Phase, p.383), but with a Durability of 40 and a Wound Threshold of 8. They cannot use beam or kinetic weapons unless they have a prisoner with functional hands and arms to manipulate the device. Prisoners of anglers are best considered NPCs; due to their lower torso being removed and their systems compromised by the angler, they have half their normal Durability and gain the Puppet Sock augmentation if they did not have it already.
- There is a legend on the ‘Mesh that anglers were based by the TITANs on an experimental centaur-morph technology—and that the original prototype for this still exists, buried somewhere in the Zone on Mars or some other ruin. If it exists, then the proto-angler would have a muse-like AGI and when integrated the biomorph would have full control of the half-synthmorph body, with the angler relegated to a “hindbrain” ghostrider module that helps coordinate the extra limbs.