Rotted Capes Set Piece: Hazard Room

So a few weeks ago, some of our people were out scavenging for the greenhouse. Apparently, they got hit pretty bad by a wolf pack. The survivors believe one of the zombies was Glider (remember that guy? The guy who could glide without wings? Super useful, I know). The rest of his crew were made up of no-named metas who got turned. Long story short, the group thought they were going to be zombie chow when suddenly – Bam! The Guardian League arrives and chases the wolf pack away.

I already had Dr. Hu check for any signs of drug use. But nope, apparently, these survivor saw Civil Servant (I can personally confirm this guy dead), Liberty Belle, and Magnetic Matron (Goldshot confirms she put down a Super Z’d M.M. a year ago). So either we got a case of ghosts or something weird is going on.

Sentry actually had a thought. He asked Goldshot to send information from Amazonia on the old combat drones from those HZR rooms. Maybe one of these are still with power, yeah?

If we can find this HZR then we could see about repurposing the old combat drones. I remember training with these. They could do a decent amount of damage if need be. Anyways, here is the information Goldshot (seriously when is she coming back?) sent about the Hazard Room.

The History of the HZR Room                          

The Hazard Room (HZR) was created by Frederick Chaudhari in 1992. A genius in analytical technology, Dr. Chaudhari revealed the HZR to the Guardian League with the assistance from the hard light manipulator Glimmershot. With Glimmershot connected directly to a computer, a simulation could be played out using Glimmershot’s abilities and Dr. Chaudhari’s analytical software. It was a simple demonstration with the holographic ‘minions’ being nothing more than nondescript bipeds, however, it was enough to impress the Guardian League and for the project to receive the funding it desperately needed.

The HZR has gone through several upgrades, the first being a hard light projector in lieu of Glimmershot. From faceless forms to highly detailed images, the HZR grew in popularity until finally becoming adopted by many supergroups and the United Nations in 1999 as their ‘preferred training program’. It was speculated that within ten years, the HZR would enter the public sector in the form of entertainment.

However, with the arrival of Z-Day, these speculations seem highly unlikely.

How the System Works

The HZR is able to create a holographic setting for heroes to interact with. While most of the standard objects are nothing more than hard light constructs, the simulated villains, minions, hostages, and citizens are not. The reason for this is the amount of energy and power that the HZR requires to create a solid light creation. In order to not waste energy and to combat lag time, any individual seen within the HZR room is actually a training dummy with its own holographic emitter on it that can alter its appearance as needed.

Scenarios were created by veteran heroes as well as government trainers that allowed heroes to pit their abilities against minions at a variety of levels. Any program could have its difficulty altered with rank 1 being considered extremely safe and easy to rank 10 which was extremely dangerous thus requiring a passcode to start up. The scenario played out much like any heroic encounter but with all the attacks and powers being non-lethal. Of course, accidents could occur (especially when the level were beyond a six rating), however, the simulation was programmed to stop the moment an occupant’s biosignature showed signs of damage.  

While the HZR was capable of adjusting its program to deal with situations, that didn’t mean it was beyond glitches. While there were several safety precautions in place to make sure the danger ranking of a scenario couldn’t be altered mid-run, it wasn’t uncommon for a glitch to occur after the hero did something unexpected. This might have meant that a new enemy was introduced into the simulation that didn’t fit (“Why is Titan attacking us!?) to enemies being stuck in walls (“The walls are shooting at us! Not fair!”) to even animals accidentally saying the villain’s monologue (“I don’t know who pissed that squirrel off but let’s just let it have the peanuts…”).

While humorous, these glitches were seldom life-threatening.

Combat Drones

As mentioned, the HZR used combat drones. Older models of the HZR would require special compartments where the drones would exit from. Later improvements provided a teleportation system to insert the drone directly where it was needed.

As for how the drones looked, they appeared little more than crash test dummies when it wasn’t wearing a holographic ‘sleeve’ on them. If the sleeve had been placed on them, the drone could look like anyone a person wanted. Special extensions in the drones limbs allowed for the drone to grow and shrink as the designer saw fit. The thickness of the drones foam could also be increased to provide as much defense as needed.

When defeated, these combat drones will lay prone for fifteen seconds before blending themselves into the area around them. They would then either blend into their surroundings and move back into the loading bay or they’ve dematerialized away.

How to Run an HZR

The HZR was made to easily be set up. The hero simply inputs an access number, selects a scenario that has been created, and then inputs the danger rating. Anyone who tried to run a mission at rating 10 will need an HZR password.

Danger Rating Scale:

  1. This is the lowest setting. Anything set here will make sure the dummies have a ten percent accuracy when trying to strike heroes. Not only that but the protective foaming on the dummies will be incredibly soft thus reducing the chance of injury. Minions are incredibly easy to defeat. Villains are considered easy prey. This has no hostages, no locked door and nothing a hero needs to disable. In short, this is a ‘tank and spank’ as the younger generation says. No time limit.
  2. Dummies at this setting have a ten percent accuracy when trying to strike heroes. Not only that but the protective foaming on the dummies will be incredibly soft thus reducing the chance of injury. Minions are incredibly easy to defeat. Villains are considered easy prey. This setting can have locked doors, bombs to disable, and hostages to save. No time limit.
  3. Dummies are raised to a 30 percent accuracy rating and the foam density is increased to give a better armor rating for them. Minions are easy to defeat for a standard hero and Villains are considered to be moderately challenging. This setting can have hostages, locked doors, and explosives. A time limit can be added to this rating.
  4. Dummies are raised to a 40 percent accuracy rating. The foam density on the dummy remains the same setting as rating 3. Minions are easy to defeat, Villains moderately difficult. This setting can have locked doors, hostages, bombs, a time limit, and unknown variables (hostages suddenly becoming frantic, a second enemy group attacking, a baby carriage suddenly rolling into the middle of the battleground with a screaming child in it).
  5. Dummies jump to a 50 percent accuracy rating. Foam is also increased to allow for dummies to take more of a beating. They can also use meta-human powers. Not only that but their power is increased as well as their tactics. At five, the dummies have the experience of a rookie group of minions. Expect locked doors, bombs, hostages, time limits, and unknown variables to be added. (This is the default)
  6. The dummies are at a 60 percent accuracy rating and can take more of a beating. Along with the list of story elements that can be added to the mission, collateral damage is now taken into place when reviewing the ‘score’ at the end of the mission. If too much damage is done to a wall, it can fall (thus ending the mission before the occupant is crushed).
  7. Dummies are set to 70 percent accuracy rating and their powers are increased. Minions are moderately hard and Villains are hard to beat. Mild injuries can occur during this mission such as sprained ankles, cuts, bruises, and even mild concussion.
  8. Dummies are set to an 80 percent accuracy rating and the dummies are now considered minor villains. They are difficult to beat. The supervillain is extremely difficult to beat and will require several heroes to take down. As well with the options to add locked doors, bombs, and the like – it also allows for traps to be set that can actually cause minor harm to a hero if they are not careful.
  9. Dummies are capped at a 90 percent accuracy rating. Major threats can occur from both minor villains and super villains alike. This setting is for veteran heroes. Incredibly dangerous for any rookie hero. This setting can and will cause serious injury, however, the scanners will take emergency action to end the program if the injury is life-threatening.
  10. You must have a special passcode to have access to this level. In truth – they only give this code to a very select few and this generally is due to a hero needing to actually feel afraid of harm. Maybe it’s for research, maybe it’s because they need that fear to unlock a new power. All in all, this is a Nightmare setting. Medical scanners are taken offline. You are completely on your own. Oh, and the dummies are set to a 98 percent accuracy rating. You aren’t fighting minions or minor villains in this battle. Every one you face is a supervillain.

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About the Author
Billy started out his roots like many roleplayers - D&D. Playing it and then Vampire all through highschool and college, Billy picked it all up again when he made the move from Michigan to New York. Now working in publishing, Billy does what he can to view roleplaying games through a narrative's lens. Does that sound classy as balls? It should.

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