The Swarm Approaches

Posted by on Sep 13, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

The Swarm Approaches

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When deciding the direction each of the Planetfall races would take, the Relthoza presented us with a unique challenge and great potential to make something very distinct and exciting.

In the Firestorm setting, the warrior caste of the arachnid like Relthoza are described as over ten feet tall and fifteen or more feet long, so any Main Battle Tank (MBT) crewed by these aliens would be improbably huge! Added to this is the idea that the Relthoza are an incredibly advanced race – not mindless bugs, but individuals – possessing technologies that rival even the Directorate.

With all this in mind, we decided that their MBT equivalent would in fact be Relthoza warriors themselves, mounted in neuro-controlled mech suits that double their height and give each soldier the combat effectiveness of a tank.

Designer Chris Peacey explains: “As the Relthoza are evolved from arachnids it was of the utmost importance to ensure that they didn’t conform to the usual sci-fi ‘bug-hunt’ stereotype! In much the same way a human would imagine climbing into a giant bi-pedal mech or throw on the latest power-armour, I imagined the multi-legged Relthoza would have similar aspirations – just with more legs!! We would however like to keep a few familiar insect-like characteristics to our Relthoza. They will undoubtedly appear regimented in their battlefield presence with the smaller units in large numbers to swarm the opposing forces. I tried to pay homage to the race’s capital ships; the sharp angles and chevron forms that are familiar to Firestorm Armada Relthoza fans are present in the detail of the ground units.”

The Relthoza - Heavy Walker (left) & Warrior (right)

The Relthoza – Heavy Walker (left) & Warrior (right)

Above, and below, you can see our first three concepts for Relthoza models. A Relthoza Warrior inside his high-tech mech-suit, a towering Heavy Walker crewed by two Relthoza and mounting a pair of gargantuan cannons (web search ‘Archaeidae’ to see our inspiration for this: one of nature’s weirder creations!) and finally a drone vehicle, fast and agile swarms of which will support the larger mech-suits and walkers.

The Relthoza

The Relthoza – Heavy Walker (centre), Warriors & Drone Vehicle

Chris Peacey explains: “The Drone Vehicle is a gyroscopic, single-wheeled, powered gun designed for fast-attack in numbers and to soak up enemy fire during the process. Though they are designed as expendable cannon-fodder they are still resilient in nature; the studded armour plate on the front designed to shield the drive wheel from oncoming fire and the nasty kick of enemy landmines.

The Relthoza Warrior (think MBT) is a dynamic unit capable of so much more than it’s vehicular equivalents. Though it can still carry heavy weapons and various other payload delivery systems, it can also perform a multitude of other tasks. At Spartan we are excited to see how this race develop and how these units can perform key roles during a fire-fight! For now though, all you need to know is that each warrior is very modular enabling the possibility for them to form squads with differing skill sets. They have cloaking technology, the ability to pilot larger vehicles and engage in CQC with infantry.

The Relthoza Heavy Walker is one such example of a vehicle that Warriors in their battle suits can readily use during combat. With a pilot concealed safely within its mechanical abdomen and a gunner with a high vantage point this unit is designed to carve a path through enemy territory with extreme prejudice!! It sports large dual cannons that operate like an extension of the gunner himself and an array of various other weapons systems mounted in both the front and concealed within the knees of its giant tank-stomping legs!”

The Relthoza - Warrior

The Relthoza – Warrior

In battle, the unique look of the Relthoza translates to a force that plays very differently to the other races. Many of the Relthoza units are able to use cloaking systems built in to their mech-suits to shroud themselves from enemy fire whilst they seize ground and take up firing positions, before opening fire with nanite-imbued weapons that eat through enemy armour with ease.

The Relthoza

The Relthoza

These mech-suits can also be equipped with different load-outs that change a Warrior’s role on the battlefield. Long range rifles couple with cloaking tech to make deadly Tank Destroyers, dedicated countermeasure systems can protect the squad, anti-infantry weapons can mow down the enemy’s puny troopers with ease and so on.

The Relthoza

The Relthoza

In support of the elite Warriors and heavier vehicles, swarms of remotely controlled Drones protect flanks and stall enemy advances. Coming in varying shapes and sizes, these Drones can become even more powerful when in the range of a control relay – boosting their combat ability and allowing you to drown unwary foes with weight of fire.

Check back next week to see the ground forces for the last of the core races – the highly anticipated Aquan Prime.