Originally conventional Eels, these Cobra operatives were highly skilled, yet otherwise normal human beings. However, Cobra has since surgically enhanced several Eels into Hydro-Vipers, making them function better underwater, so they can no longer be considered normal humans.
Resistance to Cold and Pressure Variance: Hydro-Vipers are surgically augmented to withstand nitrogen narcosis and other effects of deep sea diving, and chemically conditioned to produce increased fat stores. These measures give them this power at Incredible (40) rank.
Super Swimming: while their other enhancements are internal, Hydro-Vipers feature artificial webbing installed between the digits of their hands. These passive implants provide them Feeble (2) super swimming, allowing them to traverse the oceans at up to 15 miles per hour.
Limitations / Enhancements:
Diving Gear: Hydro-Vipers all possess the equipment necessary to perform their duties underwater. This gear includes their distinctive wet-suits, air tanks, demonic underwater regulators, and fathom fins, allowing them to function for up to eight hours beneath the waves.
Explosives: whether to sink ships or to collapse undersea structures, Hydro-Vipers carry explosives with them on the job. They can set these devices to inflict Incredible (40) Edged Attack damage throughout the area they detonate inside, usually to devastating effect.
Knife: the essential weapon of all Hydro-Vipers, these stylized blades are made from rust-resistant metals of Incredible (40) m.s. They can be used by a Hydro-Viper to inflict Edged Attack damage in melee, or to instead cut through items of up to a like m.s., given enough time.
Sidearm: when functioning on the surface, Hydro-Vipers have the use of a conventional sidearm. They can either fire a single shot from this weapon to inflict Typical (6) Shooting damage, or a three-round burst to inflict Good (10) Shooting damage.
Spear Gun: the Hydro-Viper's fire-and-forget weapon is loaded with a singular spear, and they usually don't take the time to reload it in the middle of a fight. They fire a long, deadly barb which inflicts Good (10) Edged Attack damage to whatever they manage to hit.
While the exact nature it will take is a mystery until it manifests, the procedures that create Hydro-Vipers subject them to mental instability. These negative mental quirks are generally level 1 in the debilitation they cause, but may be as strong as level 2 in effect.
Boating: while they are most often deployed under the waves, Hydro-Vipers are nonetheless well-versed in the operation of most sea vessels. Thus, they can typically operate most ships and submarines, receiving a +1 CS on applicable FEATs called for while doing so.
Engineering: though their primary role involves demolitions, Hydro-Vipers are also trained in marine engineering. Thus, they should receive a +1 CS on any FEAT roll intended to either create or destroy something in the water, whether a ship or a secret, undersea base.
Guns: like all Cobras, Hydro-Vipers are trained how to effectively discharge firearms. Whether wielding standard, semi-automatic, or fully automatic rifles or pistols, or even their Cobra-issued spear guns, Hydro-Vipers may do so as though their Agility was +1 CS in rank.
Martial Arts type A or B: Hydro-Vipers each have one of these two fighting styles - if they have both, they could possibly be promoted further. A allows them to Slam or Stun a foe regardless of their comparative Strength or Endurance, and B allows a +1 CS to hit in unarmed melee.
Military: all Cobra operatives possess this talent, even if the organization they belong to isn't a real military. It nonetheless has a structure, however Byzantine, and Hydro-Vipers are taught how to effectively fight in groups, if they somehow haven't been previously.
Skill / Knives: since ranged combat is so dicey underwater, Hydro-Vipers are trained in the fine art of knife fighting - which also comes in handy on the surface. They may attempt to assault another with a blade in hand as if their Fighting score was +1 CS higher than is listed above.
Underwater Combat: while there aren't too many opponents they might actually face under the waves, Hydro-Vipers are nonetheless trained in the art of deep sea combat. They may attempt offensive and defensive maneuvers beneath the sea without penalty, unlike most other people.
As expensive as their training and surgical upgrades are, Hydro-Vipers generally aren't considered all that expendable by the Cobra Command, and they may thus consider the group a reliable contact. This may vary somewhat with individual Hydro-Vipers, however.
Hydro-Vipers utilize a uniform that acts to instill terror within others. It primarily consists of a scaly purple diving suit, which is supplemented with red knife sheathes, sidearm holsters, belts, web gear, wrist guards, arm bands, fathom fins, and a demonic regulator mask.
Those Eels who are in peak physical condition, are highly skilled underwater operatives, and have repeatedly proven themselves to Cobra in battle are offered the opportunity to become Hydro-Vipers. This is a double-edged sword, however, for the promotion is something of a dead end.
This is because those Eels who accept the position of Hydro-Viper are surgically augmented in numerous ways, helping them to better withstand nitrogen narcosis and various other effects associated with deep sea diving. And that's just the modifications you can't see!
Given artificial webbing between the digits of their fingers to swim faster, and chemical injections to bolster the production of fat cells, Hydro-Vipers simply function better underwater. On the surface, they are sluggish and less coordinated, limiting their usefulness there.
Finally, there's the psychological side-effects of becoming a Hydro-Viper. The numerous procedures and isolating effects of their job does something to the mind of a Hydro-Viper, changing it in unforeseen and unintended fashions. But this nonetheless suits many of them.
The higher pay is a prime motivator for some Eels, particularly those unwilling to undertake additional training to become Lampreys, Sea Slugs, or Snow Serpents. And some just like the idea of being left alone by their superiors, only hassled when it is time to get busy underwater.
Strangely enough, Hydro-Vipers often befriend rays while going about their work. Their particular choice of pets possess a -1 size factor, but make up for this by being one of the few rays with stingers, which inflict Good (10) Edged Attack damage, and inject similarly potent venom.
Cobra directories featuring a version of Hydro-Vipers:
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