Vulcan, the Underminer
Super Short Summary: Vulcan is a frontline specializing in hunting and tracking enemies, and he’s not going to let a few walls stand in his way (unless he’s making them himself). Vulcan has two mini-themes: Heat Signature and enhanced vision. He has a bit of extra offense but does not have too much in the way of defensive capabilities — expect him to play a bit more like Garrison.
Lore-wise, I envision Vulcan delving through the depths to find Phaedra, so some of his abilities are slightly based around being a response to her thematically / capability-wise, but I didn’t build him as literally “this counters Phaedra” because that’d be silly. Appearance-wise, he’s some sort of digging animal re-envisioned as a robot drone (similar to Rio : Hawk). I settled on “underminer” for his title, but also considered “drill,” “burrower,” and a number of others. The name “Vulcan” evokes hot metal under the earth, so I thought it was appropriate.
I actually didn’t write any standalone commentary for this one (just a few notes after the abilities), so let’s just jump in.
Edit: 11-29-17. Orthas notes that this concept generally lacks things to do at range. Accordingly, Exterminator is now a full action, with certain related changes to it.
Vulcan, the Underminer
Affiliation: Hawk Aviation (I’m totally shipping this as a trust)
Hit Points: 180
Lore: As Grey’s campaign against the Terror of the Depths found her digging ever deeper into the tunnels beneath Atlas, she developed a new line of drones. In stark contrast to Rio’s mobility and precision, this machine used sheer force and flame, digging into the depths with its claws and possessing heightened senses and infrared to detect any sign of life…or any sign of HER. Grey named her personal prototype “Vulcan.”
Primary — Heat Burst — Blast Phase
Shoots three short-range missiles in a small cone (3 range, missiles form a quarter circle, each missile is 1 tile wide). Each missile explodes, on contact or at the end of its range, in a small AoE. Deal 26 direct damage to any enemy hit directly by a missile and 20 direct damage to any enemy hit by an explosion (can only deal damage to the same enemy once). Gain 8 energy per enemy hit. Enemies damaged by this ability have a Heat Signature the following turn.
Central Heating (2 points) (default) — deal an additional 2 damage to any enemy hit directly by a missile.
Hot and Heavy (2 points) — missile explosions also deal 26 damage.
Third Degree Burns (3 points) — hitting an enemy that already has Heat Signature will slow the enemy until end of turn.
Fired Up (1 point) — gain an additional 2 energy per enemy hit.
Notes: Heat Signature is a debuff similar to Phaedra bugs or Kaigin voidmark. There is no “standard” status effect (slow, weaken, reveal, etc.). Graphically, the target has a very faint orange-red glow and wisps of steam coming off their body. Vulcan’s primary, Heat Burst, applies Heat Signature, as does Exterminator; Infrared Tracking and Tunnel each have a mod that can apply Heat Signature as well. Heat Burst, Exterminator and Tunnel each have a mod that benefits from Heat Signature (two of these mods being default). Accordingly, Heat Signature is something of a “half-theme” — it is possible to disregard it entirely in your playstyle, or have a build centered around it, or anything in between.
2 — Exterminator — Blast — Cooldown 2
Fires a missile at the target tile within 6 range (gremolitions targeting restrictions apply). Deal 24 direct damage and gain 8 energy if you hit an enemy. Enemies damaged by this ability have a Heat Signature the following turn. Goes over walls and ignores cover. (Note: if you dash during your turn, with Flyswatter mod, the missile fires from your end location graphically but still hits the same tile you targeted.)
Hotshot (2 points) (default) — deal an additional 4 damage and gain an additional 4 energy if the enemy hit has a Heat Signature.
Root Out (2 points) — If the enemy hit is not in line of sight, deal an additional 6 damage and Reveal it until the end of the next decision phase.
Nova Flare (3 points) — A nova explodes from the targeted tile, dealing 16 direct damage to adjacent enemies and Slowing them (the primary target, if any, is not slowed). Gain 6 energy for each enemy hit by the nova.
Trigger Happy (1 point) — if you do not hit an enemy, reduce the cooldown by 1.
Flyswatter (2 points) — now a Free Action, but reduce damage by 12 and energy gain by 4.
3 — Infrared Tracking — Prep — Free Action — Cooldown 4
Gain 2 increased vision and can see through walls (but not camo) until the end of the next decision phase. Gain 4 energy.
Armored (2 points) (default) — gain 10 shields until end of next turn.
Hot To Trot (2 points) — gain Haste and Unstoppable until end of turn.
Crimson Glow (3 points) — the increased vision lasts an additional turn (i.e. until the end of the following decision phase).
Dynamo (1 point) — Gain an additional 4 energy on use.
Heat Seeking Missile (3 points) — on activation, fire a heat-seeking missile at the closest enemy within 4 units. Does not require vision or line of sight. The missile applies Heat Signature this turn and Reveals the enemy until the end of the next Decision Phase.
Notes: I was going to simply have it give X-ray vision for a turn (that’s basically what it does, you’ll note) but Blatm talked me out of the camouflage bit, saying that was the one aspect of X-ray vision he found the most unfair / unfun. And it’s the one I care about least for this type of ability, so it was easy to take it off. Free vision is inherently quite strong so I was happy to find a way to nerf it.
Select a path of 5 “movement” to dash along. Deal 20 direct damage to enemies along the path of the dash (ignores cover), and slow them until end of turn. Gain 6 energy per enemy hit.Mods:
Drill Down (2 points) — increase range by 1.
Digging Claws (3 points) — the dash path can go through walls. (Cannot end inside a wall, and use movement on wall tiles as if they were ordinary tiles.)
Thermal Thrilling (3 points) — reduce range by 1. Deals an additional 4 damage to enemies, and gain an additional 4 energy per enemy hit.
Hot Down Here (1 point) — Apply Heat Signature to targets hit until end of next turn.Ultimate — Fissure — Costs 100 energy
Slam the ground in a line (8 range) dealing 25 direct damage to enemies hit and creating a barrier impassable to enemies for 2 turns. Goes through walls.
Impact (2 points) (default) — deal an additional 7 damage to closer enemies (within 2 range).
Terraformer (1 point) — gain 35 energy if you do not hit an enemy.
Flame Vents (3 points) — deals no initial damage. Next turn, during Blast Phase, flames will spurt from the fissure dealing 35 indirect damage to enemies along the fissure. This damage ignores cover.
Seismic Sensors (1 point) — gain sight of the entire fissure for its duration.
Rock Solid (2 points) — gain 20 shields next turn.
Notes: Envision a Nix Drone that, instead of taking damage, you (i.e. enemies) can’t pass through at all (similar to Phaedra’s Lair). If you try to, your movement ends. Damage is dealt along the line of the fissure as if it were a line attack (similar to Aurora’s primary, I suppose), and cover applies as usual. (Flame Vents mod applies to any square touched by the Fissure; it will have a impending-bubbling-lava type graphic on those tiles so everyone can see what’s coming.)
A Few Suggestions For Builds:
Third Degree Burns (3) — Hotshot (2) — Heat Seeking Missile (3) — Melt (2) — Nothing (0). Full Heat Signature build. Try to keep it applied as often as possible to benefit from Third Degree Burns, Hotshot and Melt. As an alternative, you could replace Melt with Hot Down Here for additional application, and take a 1-point mod on the ult — both Terraformer and Seismic Sensors are pretty decent.
Central Heating (2) / Hot and Heavy (2) — Root Out (2) / Hotshot (2) — Dynamo (1) — Thermal Thrilling (3) — Impact (2). High-damage build with a couple variants depending on how you want to play. You could also certainly take Flame Vents on ultimate and drop, say, the point in Dynamo.
Third Degree Burns (3) — Root Out (2) — Crimson Glow (3) — Hot Down Here (1) — Seismic Sensors (1). Vision-oriented build that tries to keep tabs on enemies for your firepowers to benefit.
Not listed but also quite possible are builds focusing on CC (Third Degree Burns, Nova Flare, Terraformer, energy), Defense (Armored, Rock Solid), or Mobility (Hot to Trot, Digging Claws). Vulcan is intentionally not amazing at any of these, but has some decent options for all of these. Meant to be a bit versatile on these fronts without being a powerhouse on any, as they aren’t his focus.
Hope you enjoy!