Sunday, December 23, 2012

Triple Threat: Shan'tacs


Shan’tacs are huge, elephantine horse-headed beasts with long sinuous necks and vague bat-like wings. They tend to lair in cold places with lots of caves or darkness (thus accounting for their rime encrusted wings). Shan’tacs and Nightgaunts are natural enemies and always fight if the two find themselves in the same area as the other. Often found either in the wild or serving as aerial mounts for more powerful creatures (typically a powerful caster and other human-like individuals).

For Any Game...
ST: 34                    HP: 34                   Speed: 6.00
DX: 11                   Will: 10                Move: 6 (30/45 Air)
IQ: 4                      Per: 14                  Weight: 1½ tons
HT: 13                   FP: 13                    SM: +3
Dodge: 10             Parry: 10              DR: 6

Bite (13): 3d+4 cut. Reach C-2.
Tail Whip (12): 3d+4 cr. Reach C-3. Treat as a weapon (Striker), not as a body part.
Wing Buffet (13): 3d+4 cr. Reach C-2 (either side or front). Treat as a weapon (Striker), not as a body part.

Traits:  Acute Vision 2; Appearance (Hideous); Combat Reflexes; Discriminatory Hearing; Extra Attack 1; Flight (Winged); Intolerance (Nightgaunts); Mind Shield 2; Nictitating Membrane 2; No Fine Manipulators; Peripheral Vision; Resistant to Metabolic Hazards (+3); Slippery 1; Temperature Tolerance 6 (Cold); Wild Animal;
Skills: Brawling-13; Flight-14; Observation-14; Stealth-12. Add Mount-12 to those who have been trained to carry riders.
Notes: Trained Shan’tac mounts are can fetch quite a price in markets in that sell them, usually up to 10x what a horse costs. If the GM is using Intrinsic Fright Check GURPS Horror, (p. 139) Shan’tacs have a modifier of -3.

For Dungeon Fantasy
ST: 34                    HP: 34                   Speed: 6.00
DX: 11                   Will: 10                Move: 6 (30/45 Air)
IQ: 4                      Per: 14                  Weight: 1½ tons
HT: 13                   FP: 13                    SM: +3
Dodge: 10             Parry: 10              DR: 6

Bite (13): 3d+4 cut. Reach C-2.
Tail Whip (12): 3d+4 cr. Reach C-3. Treat as a weapon (Striker), not as a body part.
Wing Buffet (13): 3d+4 cr. Reach C-2 (either side or front). Treat as a weapon (Striker), not as a body part.

Traits:  Acute Vision 2; Appearance (Hideous); Combat Reflexes; Discriminatory Hearing; Extra Attack 1; Flight (Winged); Intolerance (Nightgaunts);Mind Shield 2; Nictitating Membrane 2; No Fine Manipulators; Peripheral Vision; Resistant to Metabolic Hazards (+3); Slippery 1; Temperature Tolerance 6 (Cold); Wild Animal;
Skills: Brawling-13; Flight-14; Observation-14; Stealth-12. Add Mount-12 to those who have been trained to carry riders.
Class: Dire Animal.
Notes: Shan’tacs have DR 2 on the eye hit location. Per 18 for Hearing rolls. Per 16 for Vision rolls.  Trained Shan’tac mounts are can fetch quite a price in markets in that sell them, usually up to 10x what a horse costs. If the GM allows a Shan’tac might become the mount for a powerful delver. If so use the template below.

For Dungeon Fantasy (as an Animal Ally)

Shan’tac
19 or 29 points

Shan’tacs are huge (the size of an elephant!) and are used mostly as a means of transportation for delvers, carrying loot from a dungeon, or helping them fight in open spaces. It can easily carry a single rider plus gear (BL 231 lbs) for long distances (up to 300 miles, adjusted for encumbrance).  A successful Flight roll increases this to 360 miles in a single day.

Built on 229 points. Generally bought as Ally (Shan’tac; Built on 100%; 12 or less; PM, -10%; Summonable, +100%) [19] or (15 or less) [18].

Shapeshifting: 16 to cast, 6 to maintain; or 221 points.

ST: 34 [72]*†       HP: 34 [0]             Speed: 6.00 [0]
DX: 11 [12]†        Will: 10 [20]        Move (Ground): 6 [0]
IQ: 6 [-80]             Per: 14 [40]          Move (Air): 30 [36]
HT: 13 [30]          FP: 13 [0]              SM: +3
Dodge: 10             Parry: 10              DR: 6 [30]

Bite (13): 3d+4 cut. Reach C-2.
Tail Whip (12): 3d+4 cr. Reach C-3. Treat as a weapon (Striker), not as a body part.
Wing Buffet (13): 3d+4 cr. Reach C-2 (either side or front). Treat as a weapon (Striker), not as a body part.

Advantages:  Acute Vision 2 [4]; Combat Reflexes [15]; Discriminatory Hearing [15]; Extra Attack 1 [25]; Flight (Winged, -25%) [30]; Mind Shield 2 [8]; Nictitating Membrane 2 [2]; Peripheral Vision [15]; Resistant to Metabolic Hazards (+3) [10]; Slippery 1 [2]; Striker (Tail; Long, +100%) [10]; Striker (Wings; Limited, Sides or Front only, -20%) [4]; Teeth (Sharp) [1]; Temperature Tolerance 6 (Cold) [6].
Disadvantages: Animal Ally [-44]; Appearance (Hideous) [-16]; Dull [-1]; Intolerance (Nightgaunts); [-5]; No Fine Manipulators [-30].
Skills: Brawling (E) DX+2 [4]-13; Flight (A) HT+1 [4]-14; Mount (A) DX+1 [4]-12; Observation (A) Per [2]-14; Stealth (A) DX+1 [4]-12.
Class: Dire Animal.
* Cost reduced for Size (-30%).
† Cost reduced for No Fine Manipulators (-40%).


For Monster Hunters
ST: 34                    HP: 34                   Speed: 7.00
DX: 13                   Will: 10                Move: 30 (Air) or 6 (Ground)
IQ: 4                      Per: 14                  Weight: 1½ tons
HT: 15                   FP: 15                    SM: +3
Dodge: 10             Parry: 10              DR: 9

Fright Check: -4

Bite (13): 3d+4 cut. Reach C-2.
Bite, Swooping (10): 1d+2 cutting; Reach C. Made as a Move and Attack; ignore the skill cap of 9.
Tail Whip (12): 3d+4 cr. Reach C-3. Treat as a weapon (Striker), not as a body part.
Wing Buffet (13): 3d+4 cr. Reach C-2 (either side or front). Treat as a weapon (Striker), not as a body part.

Traits:  Acute Vision 2; Appearance (Hideous); Combat Reflexes; Discriminatory Hearing; Extra Attack 1; Flight (Winged); Injury Tolerance (Homogenous); Intolerance (Nightgaunts); Mind Shield 2; Nictitating Membrane 2; No Fine Manipulators; Peripheral Vision; Resistant to Metabolic Hazards (+3); Slippery 1; Temperature Tolerance 6 (Cold); Wild Animal;
Skills: Brawling-15; Flight-14; Observation-14; Stealth-14. Add Mount-15 to those who have been trained to carry riders.
Notes: Trained Shan’tac mounts are can fetch quite a price in markets in that sell them, usually up to 10x what a horse costs. Use the skills listed under Cryptids in the Know Thy Enemy box in Monster Hunters 1 (p. 16). Two to three champions should be able to handle a single Shan'tac.

Summon Shan’tac
Spell Effects: Greater Create Crossroads + Greater Control Mind.
Inherent Modifiers: None.
Greater Effects: 2 (x5).

A favorite or rogue witches and cultists this spell summons up a Shan’tac to do the caster’s will. Even though a Shan’tac is not considered sapient they are hard to mentally control thanks to their levels of the Mind Shield advantage. Once cast the spell opens a temporary gateway near the closest Shan’tac (which can be anywhere on Earth or in a nearby dimension) and attempts to take control of their mind. The caster must win a Quick Contest of his skill vs. the shan’tac’s HT (15). If he is successful the shan’tac is under his control for the next day.

Typical Casting: Greater Create Crossroads (6) + Greater Control Mind (5) + Duration, 1 day (7) + Range, 10,000 miles, extradimensional (53) + Subject Weight, 3,000 lbs. (5). 380 energy (76x5).

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Triple Threat: Guggies



Guggies are huge, hairy giants with a vertically split mouth and long spindly arms like that of an orangutan ending with four hands (two on each arm) instead of the regular two. The gods have banished the Guggies  to the Netherworld for the performance of horrific rituals. Guggies will happily eat any strangers they encounter, crushing them in their filthy paw's before dismembering them into manageable chunks. Guggies communicate via complex facial expressions and have no spoken language.

For Any Game...
ST: 35                    HP: 35                   Speed: 6.00
DX: 11                   Will: 10                Move: 10/20
IQ: 10                    Per: 11                  Weight: 3 tons
HT: 13                   FP: 13                    SM: +3
Dodge: 10             Parry: 10              DR: 11

Bite (13): 4d-9 cut. Reach C-2.
Claws (13): 4d-1 cut. Reach C-3.
Stomp (10): 4d+4 cr. Reach C-1. This attack can only be used against SM 0 or smaller opponents, or SM+1 or larger opponents who are laying down or who are prone.
Traits:  Acute Taste and Smell 3; Ambidexterity; Appearance (Ugly); Bloodlust (12); Cannot Speak; Combat Reflexes; Dark Vision; Discriminatory Smell; Discriminatory Taste; Extra Hands (4 hands); Gluttony (9); High Pain Threshold; Long Arms (+1 SM); Odious Racial Habit (Eats other sapients); Overconfidence (9); Reduced Consumption 2 (Cast-Iron Stomach); Regeneration (Slow); Resistant to Sickness (+3); Unfazeable; Weak Bite.
Skills:  Brawling-13; Wrestling-13.
Notes: Vertical split mouth; Horizontal (goat-like) pupils. If the GM is using Intrinsic Fright Check GURPS Horror, (p. 139) Guggies have a modifier of -4.


For Dungeon Fantasy
ST: 35                    HP: 35                   Speed: 6.00
DX: 11                   Will: 10                Move: 10/20
IQ: 10                    Per: 11                  Weight: 3 tons
HT: 13                   FP: 13                    SM: +3
Dodge: 10             Parry: 10              DR: 11

Bite (13): 4d-9 cut. Reach C-2.
Claws (13): 4d-1 cut. Reach C-3.
Stomp (10): 4d+4 cr. Reach C-1. This attack can only be used against SM 0 or smaller opponents, or SM+1 or larger opponents who are laying down or who are prone.
Traits:  Acute Taste and Smell 3; Ambidexterity; Appearance (Ugly); Bloodlust (12); Cannot Speak; Combat Reflexes; Dark Vision; Discriminatory Smell; Discriminatory Taste; Extra Hands (4 hands); Gluttony (9); High Pain Threshold; Long Arms (+1 SM); Odious Racial Habit (Eats other sentients); Overconfidence (9); Reduced Consumption 2 (Cast-Iron Stomach); Regeneration (Slow); Resistant to Sickness (+3); Unfazeable; Weak Bite.
Skills:  Brawling-13; Wrestling-13.
Class: Mundane.
Notes: Vertical split mouth; Horizontal (goat-like) pupils. Per 18 for smelling hidden foes. Add +1 per hand used to grapple an opponent beyond the first if that opponent doesn’t exceed their BL (235 lbs) or SM-3, whichever is more advantageous to them. Will occasionally negotiate. Guggie chieftains have Leadership and Tactics at 10+.


For Monster Hunters
ST: 35                    HP: 35                   Speed: 6.00
DX: 11                   Will: 10                Move: 10/20
IQ: 10                    Per: 11                  Weight: 3 tons
HT: 13                   FP: 13                    SM: +3
Dodge: 10             Parry: 10              DR: 11

Fright Check: -4

Bite (13): 4d-9 cut. Reach C-2.
Claws (13): 4d-1 cut. Reach C-3.
Stomp (10): 4d+4 cr. Reach C-1. This attack can only be used against SM 0 or smaller opponents, or SM+1 or larger opponents who are laying down or who are prone.

Traits:  Acute Taste and Smell 3; Ambidexterity; Appearance (Ugly); Bloodlust (12); Cannot Speak; Combat Reflexes; Dark Vision; Discriminatory Smell; Discriminatory Taste; Extra Hands (4 hands); Gluttony (9); High Pain Threshold; Long Arms (+1 SM); Odious Racial Habit (Eats other sentients); Overconfidence (9); Reduced Consumption 2 (Cast-Iron Stomach); Regeneration (Slow); Resistant to Sickness (+3); Unfazeable; Weak Bite.
Skills:  Brawling-13; Wrestling-13.
Notes: Vertical split mouth; Horizontal (goat-like) pupils. Add +1 per hand used to grapple an opponent beyond the first if that opponent doesn’t exceed their BL (235 lbs) or SM-3, whichever is more advantageous to them. Guggies are considered a form of demon thus Hidden Lore (Demons) is the skill used to identify. Two to three champions should be able to handle a single Guggie.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Book Reveiw: Taking the Highway by M.H. Mead

Where to begin? Hmm, if you haven’t read Riding Fourth I suggest you do before reading this book (it’s free and short). It’s not necessary mind you, but acts like a primer to a subculture that is important in Taking the Highway. Let’s get the bad over with first, Papa Ravenpenny always says take your medicine before your sweets. Like the Caline Conspiracy I found the end coming at me way to fast (no pun intended, when you read the book you’ll understand). Now whether that is a consequence of the plot or simply how the author(s) write I don’t know. Hell, maybe it’s just me – when I emotionally invest in something I tend to want it to last as long a possible. It also features several new additions to the Detroit Next series but none of the old ones so no Aidra, no Morris, etc. Still the ‘rules’ are the same and so is the universe. I do not know if that qualifies as bad or not but I’m lumping it up here anyways.

Now, the good, and man oh man is it good. M.H Mead’s sublime Gemini team really delivers it this time. The plot is amazing, it is like some sort of triple spy pretending to be one thing while being yet another while secretly being a third. No, it’s not complicated or even contrived…I’d call it limited by human perception, and that is intentional. Mead presents a problem in unfiltered ‘human vision’ and lets you think what you want only to slowly give you the clues to realize all is not as it seems and then pulls the rug out from underneath you at the very end. It’s a beautiful roller-coaster full of loopdeeloops that leaves you wanting more even while you are breathless… I found all of the characters rather remarkably crafted but one thing I do want to call out is the relationship between Andre and his older brother Oliver. It is so believable that much of the time as I read the interactions between the two I imagined my older brother and I have these selfsame conversations (with different subjects of course). Mead has this gift for making dialogue come to life, which gives a realistic animus to her cast of characters that I have rarely found in literature. Anyone who follows me on Twitter knows I have compared the writing duo of Margaret Yang and Harry Campion to a modern-day version of William Gibson. I do not give this praise lightly, Gibson is one of my favorite authors of all time and Yang/Campion remind me of him quite a bit. This is not to say they are carbon copies of Gibson, far from it, they are very much their own entities but I can easily see Viker Morris Payne and PI Aidra Scott in the same universe as Gibson’s Case or Molly or even Stephenson’s Y.T. or Hiro. Despite the fact that I felt like I wanted more of the book I give it a full five out of five pennies. It is that damn good. I look forward to more from the binary brilliance of M.H. Mead.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Night-Dimmed Day – Part I – Game Session 4



July 2nd 2000, Sunday



Gelar Ohanzee & Hachiko Koga (Part I)

9:00 pm

Undisclosed Island in Michigan Lake

Gelar and Hachiko are both briefed by Commander Islington. [Neither of the players for these characters showed up and were thus moved into the ‘background’ for this game session]



Sergei Romanova (Part I)

9:00 pm

Undisclosed Island in Michigan Lake

Having managed to keep his presence secret and steal (then clone) a keycard to the rest of the base Sergei goes about memorizing the layout and familiarizing himself with the people there all the while staying completely unnoticed.



Angelique Ashur, Jonathan Valerius Baxtalo, & Alex Hamilton (Part I)

10:00 pm

Undisclosed Island in Michigan Lake

After everyone is interviewed by Dr. Victor Halusko (the project leader), he pulls aside Angelique and Alex to ask if they will interview some of the project’s staff. Halusko’s reasoning being that neither of them could have turned the machine on. Adding to this fact that Angelique is a literal mind reader and Alex is a trained investigator and Halusko is quite sure they can find the person who cut the machine on. Narrowing the possible subjects down to a mere 25 another couple of hours of interrogations and listening to their thoughts eventually reveals the culprit: Senior Project Technician Timothy White. Trying to escape he begins to transform into something vaguely resembling a human being1 but is soon caught by Alex who throws a set of handcuffs at White’s ankle which then wrap around a nearby water pipe trapping him. After he is caught Angelique tries to read his mind but when she does she instead hears words to some language she doesn’t understand. Telepathically contacting Jestinius, she repeats the phrase but he stops he before she can finish telling her to stay where she is. Moments later he appears with sword drawn and a detachment of marines in tow, one armed with a flamethrower. Halusko (who came along with the marines) orders White to be separated from everyone else. White is then strapped down to a gurney and shipped off to a cell despite Alex and Angelique’s protests.



Sergei Romanova (Part II)

11:00 pm

Undisclosed Island in Michigan Lake

Having watched the whole affair with White take place Sergei decided to ‘guard’ the room the prisoner was kept in not trusting the guards already posted outside the door. As if to confirm his suspicions less than twenty minutes after White has been locked someone opens the door to the room and puts three bullets in the restrained prisoner killing him. Sergei reacts, drawing and sheathing his ninja-to in a single smooth action dismembering the shooter from the mid-arm down. The shooter lets out a scream and runs away with the near-invisible ninja following quickly behind in pursuit. Sergei’s knowledge of the base allows him to twist the killer around eventually trapping the shooter in a dead end. Once trapped Sergei is shocked to learn it is Stormy-Lynn “Sam” Samson (Alex’s on-again, off-again significant other). Blood dripping from her severed limb she smiles telling him that he knows something he doesn’t. Edging closer Sergei draws his swords until she screams again attracting the attention of the guards who begin shooting at Sergei (note: remember he wasn’t officially allowed on the base) who they think has attacked Sam. Before making a break for it Sergei realizes that Sam isn’t even human, she’s a Doppelganger2. Armed with this knowledge he heads back to find Angelique and informs both her and Alex as to what has happened.



Angelique Ashur, Jonathan Valerius Baxtalo, Alex Hamilton, & Sergei Romanova (Part I)

11:20 pm

Undisclosed Island in Michigan Lake

Since Jonathan has been monitoring the camera feeds from the base he’s the first to notice some sort of combat happening in the hallway. Informing Alex and Angelique of what has happened they make their way to the infirmary where Sam is. Sergei on the other hand plays a hunch and ‘broadcasts’ his thoughts loud enough so that Angelique can hear them with her telepathic abilities. Angelique and Alex then decide that it would be best if Alex approached Sam as if nothing were wrong and then subdue her. After getting close enough to the unsuspecting Doppelganger Alex manages to restrain her before she can do any more harm. Jestinius then takes her away to be held in a separate cell until they can figure out when the Sam-Doppelganger made the switch with her ‘real’ self. Angelique suddenly has a vision of the base and the island they are on being attacked by creatures from the Dreamlands, steering the vision she finds what they are going after: a piece of the machine is on the north side of the island. Informing Jestinius he tells her to follow her vision while he organizes the rest of the base for the upcoming ‘surprise’ attack. Getting her little group together they raid a nearby armory and head to the north side of the island with Jonathan driving at breakneck speed over rough terrain (and with a horse laying down in the back of the jeep to boot!). Once on the north side of the island they come across a steep incline that results in a jagged cliff face. In the side of a small hill rests something glowing faintly blue in the dark. In the distance several wamps can be seen as can a huge elephantine like flying creature3 with a human figure on its back. Marie sets up the sniper rifle she snagged from the armory while the rest head down the hill to keep the wamps away from the device. The fighting is fierce with more foes being summoned by the mysterious flying figure, including several guggies, and even a couple of adult tatou. Although Alex’s horse is killed by a tatou he manages to maneuver himself in front of the vicious armored creature and kill it with several well-aimed shots from his automatic rifle. Angelique again casts a spell to increase the amount of injury inflicted by her allies making the fight much easier. Surprisingly, Marie acts as over-watch taking down all three guggies with three separate well-aimed shots showing why she has won dozens of medals in competitive shooting events. Marie even manages to take down the large flying beast which gives the rest of her allies time to dig out the piece of the machine so they can return to the base. Alex’s horse, somehow still alive but dying is spelled to keep it in a form of stasis till they can get back. Once there Angelique tries to save the faithful animal but finds the wounds to grievous even for magical healing. Unable to take the loss she decides instead to perform a necromantic ritual and bind the spirit of the animal. She gets Jonathan (who is quite artistic) to create a focusing object for her. Jonathan retrieves a large black stone from the nearby beach and begins to carve a statue of a horse in the exact likeness of the fallen animal. Angelique then binds the spirit into the statue with the help of Jestinius (who, while not liking the idea of using necromancy, goes along with the request) and Alex (who supplies most of the necessary energy for the spell). Letting the spell ‘sink’ in, Angelique tells Alex to keep it near him and to give the horse a name but not to tell anyone as this will act as a command word to summon it. Alex, decides to name the horse Minninnewah, a Cheyenne word meaning ‘whirlwind’. Jestinius then casts a huge warding spell to cover the entirety of the island to prevent another attack and give them some breathing room while they study the piece of the machine they retrieved.



July 3rd 2000, Monday

2:00 am

Undisclosed Island in Michigan Lake





1 The creature Timothy White began to transform into is known as a ghoul, a cannibalistic monstrosity that was once a human being. Most ghouls live solely in the Dreamlands  but can exist outside of them as they have a dual-planar nature. Ghouls are usually the result of a curse by a powerful mage, the willful and knowing act of repeated cannibalism, or birth; though some are created by willing individuals performing blasphemous rites that change them to their very core.

2 Doppelgangers are the result of a psychic parasite known as a didymi worm. The creatures are widespread and it is thought that 6 in 10 persons in the world are infected with them. The larval form of the didymi physically attaches itself to its host from the Dreamlands (the other planes might be possibly if humans can visit them and the didymi also lives there). From that point on the creature remains with the host ‘sipping’ from their life-force, while this isn’t harmful to the host those who have been parasitized cannot develop any supernatural gifts. At (or during) puberty the worm detaches and goes off to lay its eggs and then cocoon itself. From this cocoon a exact duplicate of the person the worm was attached to emerges. Experts are fairly baffled by this behavior as the duplicate serves no purpose whatsoever in the didymi worms’s lifecycle. It is thought that the worm somehow filters whatever energy it needs to breed and then stores the rest of this psychic residue. When it dies this residue somehow coalescences and turns into a Doppelganger. Most Doppelgangers are barely self-ware (treat as IQ 7 with the Slave Mentality disadvantage) and whatever they are told by others. Thus Dreamlords find them perfect (and abundant) slaves. For some Doppelgangers the shock of being ‘born’ causes it to become fully self-aware. These self-aware duplicates have full memories of their other selves with abilities that are comparable as well. Most of the time they ended up serving a Dreamlord as well but are given far more leeway than their less-intelligent kin. Because it is possible for Doppelganger’s to cross over to the real world or for the Doppelganer’s counterpart to wander the Dreamlands there is a chance that both beings could be on the same plane of reality. When this happens both beings experience Psychoentropic Cascade Syndrome, an illness that can become fatal. In layman’s terms, two beings who ‘harmonize’ on the same psychic frequency cannot cohabitate on the same plane of existence, resulting in madness then death.  The first symptoms don’t become apparent until after seventy-two hours have passed and then both subjects begin to hallucinate, hear voices, etc. becomes weaker both physically and metaphysically until either one of them dies (usually killed by the other and almost always resulting in a Harrowing) or leaves the current plane both are occupying.

3 This creature is a shan’tac a large winged predator that vaguely resembles a horrific cross between a horse, an elephant, and a bat. ‘Domesticated’ versions often serve as mounts to powerful sorcerers or psychics.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Triple Threat: Wamps


Obscene scavengers haunting dead cities and other abandoned places, wamps have pale, vaguely egg-shaped bodies and nine swaying, web-footed leg/arms. The ‘head’ is eyeless and mouthless, with sharp-edged ears and multiple ‘nose’ organs. It has four eyes, one on each of four different limbs, with four mouths, also on four different limbs. It has a ninth limb as well that it uses for reproduction, all wamps are hermaphroditic and only reproduce when ‘food’ is plentiful. Wamps carry and spread disease, and its bite is notorious for injecting nasty infections, like black fever, gangrene, leprosy, the bubonic plague, and rabies; typically all at once! Though blind, it has phenomenal smell and hearing and has a ‘sixth sense' to track living beings. Wamps prefer soggy surroundings, like polluted water sources, such as sewers, dumps and abandoned wells. Wamps while preferring carrion will kill live prey and then store them for several weeks until the flesh rots for its tastes.

For Any Game...

ST: 14                    HP: 14                   Speed: 6.00

DX: 10                   Will: 10                Move: 6 (Water Move 6)

IQ:  6                     Per: 12                  Weight: 100 lbs.

HT: 12                   FP: 12                    SM: -1

Dodge: 10           Parry: 10             DR: 3

Biting Hand (12): 1d cutting. Reach C, 1.

Pestilence (-): If a target is affected by any attack a wamp makes he must make a HT-2 roll, failure means he contracts an amalgam of noxious diseases and immediately takes 2 points of toxic damage, every hour after that he must make a HT-2 roll or take another point of toxic damage. This persists for the next 72 hours and the target becomes capable of transmitting this disease (which is also highly contagious) himself through contact!

Torso Grapple (10): No damage, but on further turns can squeeze (Choke or Strangle, p. B370) as ST 14* or worry.

Traits:  360º Vision (Easy to Hit); Acute Hearing 6; Acute Smell 6; Amphibious; Appearance (Monstrous); Combat Reflexes; Detect (Living Beings; Precise); Discriminatory Hearing; Discriminatory Smell; Doesn’t Breathe (Gills); Extra Arm 7 (Extra-Flexible; Foot Manipulators); Extra Attack 1; Extra Mouth 3; Extra-Flexible Arms 2; Immunity to Disease; Injury Tolerance (No Blood, No Neck); Pestilent; Unfazeable; Wild Animal.

Skills:  Aquabatics-10; Brawling-12; Survival (Swamps)-12; Swimming-14; Wrestling-10.

Notes: Hermaphroditic. If the GM is using Intrinsic Fright Check GURPS Horror, (p. 139) Wamps have a modifier of -2.
* Assumes two hands; +2 for each additional hand used.

For Dungeon Fantasy

ST: 14                    HP: 14                   Speed: 6.00

DX: 10                   Will: 10                Move: 6 (Water Move 6)

IQ:  6                     Per: 12                  Weight: 100 lbs.

HT: 12                   FP: 12                    SM: -1

Dodge: 10           Parry: 10             DR: 3

Biting Hand (12): 1d cutting. Reach C, 1.

Pestilence (-): If a target is affected by any attack a wamp makes he must make a HT-3 roll, failure means he contracts an amalgam of noxious diseases and immediately takes 2 points of toxic damage, every hour after that he must make a HT-3 roll or take another point of toxic damage. This persists for the next 72 hours and the target becomes capable of transmitting this disease (which is also highly contagious) himself through contact!

Torso Grapple (10): No damage, but on further turns can squeeze (Choke or Strangle, p. B370) as ST 14* or worry.

Traits:  360º Vision (Easy to Hit); Acute Hearing 6; Acute Smell 6; Amphibious; Appearance (Monstrous); Combat Reflexes; Detect (Living Beings; Precise); Discriminatory Hearing; Discriminatory Smell; Doesn’t Breathe (Gills); Extra Arm 7 (Extra-Flexible; Foot Manipulators); Extra Attack 1; Extra Mouth 3; Extra-Flexible Arms 2; Immunity to Disease; Injury Tolerance (No Blood, No Neck); Pestilent; Unfazeable; Wild Animal.

Skills:  Aquabatics-10; Brawling-12; Survival (Swamps)-12; Swimming-14; Wrestling-10.

Class: Elder Thing

Notes: Hermaphroditic. Unwilling to negotiate. Truly evil. The salivary glands can be (carefully!) removed from a dead wamp. Make an Alchemy roll to collect the slaiva before it becomes useless, for every 5 points by which the adventurer succeeds on his Alchemy roll he collects enough for an additional dose. Wamp saliva can be applied to weapons GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 1: Adventurers (p. 28) and use the rules under the Pestilence entry above but the roll to resist is HT-1 not HT-3. If sold this fluid is worth $2dx50.
* Assumes two hands; +2 for each additional hand used.

For Monster Hunters

ST: 18                    HP: 14                   Speed: 6.50

DX: 12                   Will: 10                Move: 6 (Water Move 6)

IQ:  6                     Per: 12                  Weight: 100 lbs.

HT: 14                   FP: 14                    SM: -1

Dodge: 10           Parry: 11             DR: 3

Fright Check: 0

Biting Hand (14): 2d+1 cutting. Reach C, 1.

Pestilence (-): If a target is affected by any attack a wamp makes he must make a HT-4 roll, failure means he contracts an amalgam of noxious diseases and immediately takes 2 points of toxic damage, every hour after that he must make a HT-4 roll or take another point of toxic damage. This persists for the next 72 hours and the target becomes capable of transmitting this disease (which is also highly contagious) himself through contact!

Torso Grapple (10): No damage, but on further turns can squeeze (Choke or Strangle, p. B370) as ST 14* or worry.

Traits:  360º Vision (Easy to Hit); Acute Hearing 6; Acute Smell 6; Amphibious; Appearance (Monstrous); Combat Reflexes; Detect (Living Beings; Precise); Discriminatory Hearing; Discriminatory Smell; Doesn’t Breathe (Gills); Extra Arm 7 (Extra-Flexible; Foot Manipulators); Extra Attack 1; Extra Mouth 3; Extra-Flexible Arms 2; Immunity to Disease; Injury Tolerance (No Blood, No Neck); Pestilent; Striking ST 3 (Bite only); Unfazeable; Wild Animal.

Skills:  Aquabatics-12; Brawling-14; Survival (Swamps)-12; Swimming-14; Wrestling-14.

Notes: Hermaphroditic. Natural enemy of chupacabra. For Monster Hunter games that feature Things Man Was Not Meant To Know wamps are lumped in the same ‘category’ and can often be found as pets for cult leaders. They are otherwise considered ‘cryptids’. Each champion should be able to handle two to three wamps.
* Assumes two hands; +2 for each additional hand used.

Triple Threat: Yar! There Be Monsters


I’ve been considering adding some extra resources to my blog for GURPS Gamemasters for some time. Since most of the things I create in my campaign end up as a part of a GURPS book or article somewhere I don’t usually post a lot of my game ‘stuff’ online (why give the milk away for free when  I can sell it?). My current campaign sort of changes that up a bit because of the various H.P. Lovecraft and Mythos elements that are embedded in it – basically I can’t use this stuff in a GURPS book or Pyramid article so I’m posting it here pour vous. Since I want the material to be able to be used by the widest possible GURPS audience I’ll post three different versions of each critter/character/ whatever. One for Dungeon Fantasy, one for Monster Hunters, and one for ‘standard’ GURPS. A few caveats: 1) I’m guessing on some stuff for DF and MH because I run a cinematic gritty non-DF/MH game; 2) While most of these monsters are from some portion of the Cthulhu mythos some are of my own design (and I’ll mark it as such) or have been given a new ‘spin’ by me – I don’t care if you repost ‘em just attribute me. ^_^; 3) If you do use them in your games I’d love to know how it went so drop me a line here or on Twitter; 4) Finally, the stuff that is copyrighted I don’t claim a copyright and I’m not trying to infringe, just trying to have fun! (don’t sue me -whimper-)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Night-Dimmed Day – Part I – Game Session 3



July 2nd 2000, Sunday

Angelique Ashur, Alex Hamilton, Gelar Ohanzee, Hachiko Koga, & Sergei Romanova (Part I)

12:00 pm

Skokie Highway Mile-marker 30

Still patching people up Angelique, assuming the role of de facto leader, gives everyone twenty minutes before they move out of their current camp at the abandoned rest stop. Having nearly drained her own supernatural reserves putting some of the other members of their ragtag little band back together she decides to sleep for a bit. Moments later, she awakes with a terrible dread that she cannot understand, only fear. Moving out, they head towards the SPRN Radio Station where Angelique’s boyfriend (Jonathan) works and has been broadcasting since the darkness hit the city earlier that morning. Since he is a probability manipulator and has skill with electrical devices, he managed to keep the generator running and the station powered up.

Angelique Ashur, Alex Hamilton, Gelar Ohanzee, Hachiko Koga, & Sergei Romanova (Part II)

12:40 pm

307 East Washington Avenue, Lake Bluff, Illinois, USA

Arriving at SPRN they find that the entire radio station and surrounding area has seemingly been replaced by a bizarre ‘funhouse’. Angelique and Hachiko (who both have a phobia of clowns) are reluctant to enter but after a while they (along with the others) do. Kendall, Sam, and decide to stay outside watching the (still sleeping) Little Boy. Once inside, everyone but Angelique and Marie vanish.

Alex Hamilton (Part I)

12:45 pm

307 East Washington Avenue, Lake Bluff, Illinois, USA

Alex ends up in a darkened room spinning rapidly. After a knife nicks his ear he realizes that he’s bound by manacles to a quickly turning disk and someone is trying to kill him. Getting out of the wrist manacles first he dodges another thrown knife while working his legs free. Once free he turns his attention to the person throwing knives at him. Laughing maniacally the human-looking pale-faced creature1 smiles showing a row of razor sharp teeth…

Gelar Ohanzee (Part I)

12:45 pm

307 East Washington Avenue, Lake Bluff, Illinois, USA

Gelar opens his eyes to find himself in a ball pit. Standing up he realizes he is waist-deep in a seemingly unending area. Walking cautiously he eventually finds a ladder that leads up and out of the ball pit but the area right near it seems to have a steep and sudden drop off. Detecting movement behind him as the plastic balls begin to rattle he opts to try and jump to the ladder. Despite succeeding and catching the bottom most rung he ends up slipping off and falling back into the ball pit. Falling several yards ends up against the floor though the topmost level is far above him. Hearing someone grumbling and then moments later letting out a surprising sound he moves just in time before the other person can fall on him. Unfortunately he hits a latch and the ball pit evacuates. When he finally stands up Gelar realizes that the Old Man had been the one making noise. Though they had been trying to hide it, Gelar discerns that the plastic balls from the pit are in fact living (biting!) things with sharp teeth. Moving away from them both Gelar and the Old Man make it towards a abandoned concession stand while something crazy begins happening with the balls. Both watch in horror as they began coalescing together forming a large, vaguely humanoid shape. Noticing what appears to be a way out (a large funhouse mirror floating in midair) they get ready to make their way their…

Sergei Romanova (Part I)

12:45 pm

307 East Washington Avenue, Lake Bluff, Illinois, USA

Sergei feels the air rush past his face and on pur instinct and trained reflexes dodges a huge bowling ball size skeeball. Realizing he is on a oversized skeeball lane he rushed towards the end of the alleyway seeing both the machine hurling the skeeball’s at him and a doorway out. Running past the ball launcher he cuts it in half with a quickly drawn and sheathed blade and heads for the doorway looking to find Marie…

Haciko Koga (Part I)

12:45 pm

307 East Washington Avenue, Lake Bluff, Illinois, USA

Hachiko finds himself in a(nother) hall of mirrors, making it hard for him to navigate to find his way out. Once he does locate the door it takes him several minutes to screw up the courage to touch the door knob which opens revealing another room. Seeing one of the people he entered the funhouse with being attack by a close he rushes through the door and drawing his sword attacks it…

Alex Hamilton & Haciko Koga (Part I)

12:50 pm

307 East Washington Avenue, Lake Bluff, Illinois, USA

Alex reaches for his weaponry only to watch Hachiko seemingly come out of nowhere and decapitate his attack. The two then looking for another way out spot a second door which Alex opens and they disappear into…

Alex Hamilton, Gelar Ohanzee, Haciko Koga, & Sergei Romanova (Part I)

12:52 pm

307 East Washington Avenue, Lake Bluff, Illinois, USA

Gelar and the Old Man remain at the concession stand while Gelar improves an explosive device from the oil and flour left there. The ball creature continues assembling itself as Sergei, Alex, and Hachiko burst forth from the door/portals into the middle of the brewing combat. Gelar tosses his hastily constructed explosive at the giant ball-monster causing it to begin melting and losing cohesiveness. Spotting the others, Gelar and the Old Man make a break for it and the five of them find a portal in the form of a floor-length looking glass. Trying to figure out how to use it, Gelar ends up standing to close and it summons his doppelganger2. During the ensuing fight (and with a little help from Hachiko) he manages to quickly down the doppelganger and the shattered mirror leads everyone back to the beginning hallway…

Angelique Ashur, Jonathan Valerius Baxtalo, Alex Hamilton, Gelar Ohanzee, Hachiko Koga, & Sergei Romanova (Part I)

12:55 pm

307 East Washington Avenue, Lake Bluff, Illinois, USA

Unable to actually walk down the hallway Angelique (who has a severe phobia of mirrors aka spectrophobia) keeps her eyes closed while Marie guides her down the hallway. Using her psychic abilities she makes a couple of (accurate) guesses and manages to get to the room where her boyfriend, Jonathan, is. Accidently opening her eyes she ends up losing control of her TK and shatters every mirror in the hallway. Having to deal with She uses her psychic abilities again, this time to make sure that Jonathan is Jonathan. Turning to exit she is greeted by the others who are coming through one of the mirrors she just shattered. Once back outside the ‘funhouse’ seems to contract and expand and then slowly sink into the ground leaving the radio station, as it had been before3.

Angelique Ashur, Jonathan Valerius Baxtalo, Alex Hamilton, Gelar Ohanzee, Hachiko Koga, & Sergei Romanova (Part II)

1:00 pm

6751 North Edgebrook Terrace, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Driving to Hachiko’s home, the PCs find the road blocked by a downed tree and unable to drive up to the house they get out and walk. Angelique receives a sudden precognitive vision and warns the others that more of the giants are nearby, eight all told. She tells Kendall to stay with the Little Boy. Having a feeling of being watched along with Angelique’s warning, they ‘gear’ up getting ready for anything. As they get closer the PC’s spot a large furry giant humanoid3 towering over twenty feet tall right near Hachiko’s home. As they get closer, Gelar notices another one behind it. Despite the fact that the giants are closing in on the team Angelique’s visions allow the PCs to outmaneuver them and Jonathan and Sergei take down two of them before the others can get any closer. Once the giants do begin moving closer it becomes obvious that the rest will not be so easy. Easily taking the small arms fire and even Gelar’s expertly aimed shots the giants seem all but invincible. Jonathan runs in close and using his sonokinetic powers causes a giant to be stunned before he launches himself at it and slits its throat. After several rounds of intense fighting Angelique takes down another of the giants sticking her kris in its spine while stopping a second with Hachiko and Alex’s help though his horse ends up caught between one of the charging monsters and its neck is broken. Alex then takes out a third getting in close to help set up a shot with Gelar. Sergei attacks a giant by jumping onto it and stick his ninja-to’s in the things ears. After twisting the blade a few times the creature falls down and he helps the others. The giant’s leader, a shaman, afflicts the entire group of PCs with a curse causing causality to (temporarily) turn against them making it harder for them to land blows, dodge them from the giants, etc. Jonathan (who is a probability manipulator) turns the tables on the shaman and curses him in turn cause the shaman to slip and fall down breaking his ‘medicine stick’. Once down, the shaman is swarmed by the others and eventually Hachiko and Sergei behead him before going to help the others. The last giant comes up on the rear trying to hurt Marie only to be struck by lightning from the sky. As the lightning continues to electrocute the giant a figure comes down out of the clouds as if by magic and buries a blade in the creatures spine splitting its back open while it fries. Angelique turns to the figure and runs toward him excitedly, happy to see Jestinius, her husband. Hachiko begins to make his way to his home but before he can his wife Ruby and four daughters are being lead out by a group of soldiers. Hachiko lets out a loud kiai and stuns the soldiers before realizing they are part of his old SEAL team. Petty Officer Third Class Zev informs Hachiko that they had been ordered to bring him and his family in. Exclaiming loudly he draws a deck of cards4 from his shirt pocket saying that the other two aces and a queen are there. Jestinius consults with Zev and moment who then hands him a piece of paper. Jestinius tells everyone they are going with the SEALs and after Hachiko asks about transportation a CH-53E begins to descend. The Old Man while reluctant agrees with Jestinius and the two great each one another as if they know the other. Both Angelique and Alex take the remains of Alex’s horse into the back of the trailer and then drive the truck into the helio.

Angelique Ashur, Jonathan Valerius Baxtalo, Alex Hamilton, Gelar Ohanzee, Hachiko Koga, & Sergei Romanova (Part III)

1:00 pm

Undisclosed Island in Michigan Lake

After landing on a island somewhere in Michigan Lake the PCs are ushered into rooms where they can receive medical aid and food. However, before they can be lead away they all end up in the main room of the base, where a huge (over five stories tall) circular device can be seen spinning at a wobbly almost random pace. Whatever it is it has obviously been damaged and scorch marks can be seen all over the place. Dr. Halusko introduces himself to everyone as the Spearhead Project Leader  and then lets Commander Quinn debrief Hachiko, the Old Man, and Jestinius. Everyone else is shown to quarters and allowed to rest for a few hours.

July 2nd 2000, Sunday

9:00 pm

Undisclosed Island in Michigan Lake

1This creature has many names but most call them zanies or whitefaces (or more archaically allaharu or scurra). They are not creatures of the Dreamlands but in fact a cursed sub-race of humanity, most of them do however live in the Dreamlands using special portals that only they know about to drift in and out of the real world. While they require food and drink like every other living creature they are also psychic vampires and feed exclusively on fear. While they hate everyone that is not them, they particularly hate children and have a special hate for psychic or especially sensitive/artistic children. Other than the fact that they like to impersonate ‘real’ clowns and terrorize others not much is known of them.

2 This creature is a form of self-sustaining metuovoric supernatural construct – essentially a creature of raw belief fueled by the fear of those around it. The main difference between this creature and a marowit is that marowit are (usually) formed by unconscious belief and fear of something. Constructs are consciously formed (usually by a magic user), in this case however the zanies pooled their mystical abilities and created it to help them feed on the fear of others.

3 The full transformation of a landscape or building like this is called phantasmogenesis. It is a exceptionally rare phenomena that almost never occurs in the real world without being in a place of immense supernatural power such as a ley line nexus, the site of multiple deaths, etc. In this case the zanies used a nearby unstable portal to the Dreamlands to ‘create’ the Funhouse from the radio station having been attracted their by the severally coulrophobic Jonathan Valerius Baxtalo.

4 This ‘deck’ of cards shows pictures of the ‘most valued subjects’ and includes mystics, scientists, and others who have had a brush with the other side or know specific skills that might be needed in the case of a containment or equipment failure for the Project.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Night-Dimmed Day - Part I - Game Session 2



July 2nd 2000, Sunday

Angelique Ashur, Alex Hamilton, Gelar Ohanzee, Hachiko Koga, & Sergei Romanova (Part I)

8:45 am

Skokie Highway Mile-marker 17

The Old Man tries getting the Ford F-350 working but somehow manages to catch the engine block on fire. Putting it out quickly he along with Hachiko get the vehicle working again by ‘popping’ the clutch. Angelique meanwhile begins stitching the injured young woman’s head up recruiting Marie and the other little girl to ‘help’ her (read here: distracting them so they are not afraid). The young woman wakes up briefly mumbling something about her pet poodle before falling into a semi-conscious stooper. Alex’s police radio suddenly flairs to life and a whispered female voice can be heard begging for help. Alex realizing it is the voice of his on-again off-again girlfriend, Stormy-Lynn “Sam” Samson, answer’s back.  She tries to tell him where she is but the radio cuts off suddenly. Angelique gets a idea and decides to cast a locator spell using the wedding ring that Sam gave back to Alex when they broke up to track her. Angelique tells Alex she can get them to Sam but they’ll need to avoid the main roads. Hachiko, Gelar, and Alex hear a faint chittering and something sharp scraping on the concrete and decide it might be best for the little group to leave. Angel then tells the remainder of their little party to backtrack to the gas station near the Army/Navy store and get supplies, then hit the Clinic a few blocks over and get some antibiotics for Poodle Girl. The teams split up with Angelique and Alex on horseback rushing to wear the bespelled ring leads them while Hachiko and the rest head back to get supplies.

Gelar Ohanzee, Hachiko Koga, & Sergei Romanova (Part I)

9:00 am

1015 10th Street, North Chicago, Illinois, USA

Driving back to the Number One Stop Mini Mart Gelar and Hachiko begin to siphon gas and grab supplies. Gelar makes a discovery - along the far wall of the mart, a horse trailer is hitched to a (now) non-functioning car. Breaking into the mart Gelar gets some tools and gets the Old Man to back up their truck, hitching the horse trailer. All the while Hachiko is inside trying to calm the animal within who had been wounded by something (which had also tried to claw its way into the trailer though it had been unsuccessful). The horse (obviously a racing horse) is gentled by Hachiko who then exits the trailer. Marie and Gelar (along with Marie’s ever-present ever-invisible protector, Sergei) head a few storefronts down to the Army/Navy store that Gelar had broken into earlier that night and fill up two shopping carts worth of gear and weaponry. Surprisingly, Marie seems to know how to use a weapon as she fieldstrips a Beretta and then puts it back together in short order. Meanwhile Hachiko is siphoning the gas from all the nonfunctioning vehicles and even manages to get a gas pump working after using a ofuda charm to ‘pick’ the lock to the pump’s workings. Gelar and Marie begin packing their ill-gotten gains into the Old Man’s truck when a low unearthly shriek can be heard echoing in the streets. From the end of the block a pack of wamps1 can be seen heading towards the Number One Stop. Gelar, realizing they’re going to get swamped if they don’t act now draws his bow and begins rapidly firing arrows, while Marie gets her own firearm out and aiming hits one of the wamps dead in the eye dropping it with a single (lucky) shot. When the wamps finally get close enough Sergei and Hachiko get to work cutting the remaining critters into ribbons. After the wamps are dispatched the group piles back into the truck and then heads to a nearby clinic which they break into (after several tries) and retrieve medical supplies and equipment. They then abandon the meet-up point in favor of a shutdown rest-stop several miles up the road

Angelique Ashur & Alex Hamilton (Part I)

9:25 am

In a field off of Buckley Road, North Chicago, Illinois, USA

Cutting through backyards of houses where the occupants are huddled inside scared, through fields, and seemingly abounded roads Angelique and Alex, following the magic that she has imbued in the ring, finally reaching a fallow field near Buckley Road. They can plainly see the ambulance in the middle of the road…but it is surrounded by a huge pack of wamps (18 that they can count). Deciding to try to sneak Sam out, Angel distracts the wamps while Alex gets close enough to get atop the ambulance and pull Sam out. She hands her crash kit up first and seems more than a little surprised that Alex came for her. The three then leave the field at Buckley and head back to the gas station though they find it abandoned. Angelique using her retrocogntive abilities susses out where they headed (the rest-stop) and heads that way with Sam and Alex.

Angelique Ashur & Alex Hamilton (Part II)

9:35 am

Somewhere on Skokie Highway, North Chicago, Illinois, USA

While heading to meet up with the others Angelique is drawn to the screams of a child coming from within a car. Despite being arachnophobic and probably driven by maternal instinct, she ignores the giant spider3 spinning some sort of corrosive web over the car. Using the revolver the Old Man gave her she puts three rounds in the spider's head 'cause it to fall backward and hoping off her mount reaches into the car to get to the screaming child. The young boy (a toddler) screeches even louder until she unbuckles him from his carseat and clutching the child to her body remounts her horse, rejoining Alex and Sam who are watching to make sure nothing sneak up on her during the rescue. The young boy calms down and Angel notices several acid-burns covering his arms and upper chest. Taking her time she uses her biokinetic abilities to heal him, even healing the tissue that would have become scarred. The four of them then make their way to the rest-stop joining the others.

Angelique Ashur, Alex Hamilton, Gelar Ohanzee, Hachiko Koga, & Sergei Romanova (Part II)

10:00 am

Skokie Highway Mile-marker 30

Meeting back up with the others the rag-tag band gets a moment to breathe as they assess the situation trying to formulate exactly why neither stars, nor moon, nor sun can be seen. And more importantly why the electricity doesn’t seem to work. Alex points out that battery operated gear with fresh batteries work just fine if new batteries are used. Gelar goes inside the rest-stop and sits down to meditate, while Angelique and Sergei go behind the building to look at the unkempt woodlands area. Both of them sensing something though not what. Alex lets the police horse he’s been riding graze and Angel does the same, keeping the young boy she rescued near her. The Old Man stays in his truck keeping a eye on Poodle Girl and ready at the wheel should they need to take off quickly. Hachiko meanwhile checks his weaponry including going through a few kata’s with his diasho.

Behind the building Sergei and Angelique are still ‘looking’ for whatever is throwing of their ‘spidey sense’ – moments later Gelar comes out as well pulled out of his meditative reverie sensing something as well. Seconds later something the bulk of a medium-size dog2 pops up out of the ground and attacks  Sergei latching on to his leg and trying to bite through the reinforced material. Hachiko and Alex are attacked as well and Alex ends up being badly bit on the leg. Sergei dislodges the creature from his leg and after attacking (and missing) it rolls up into a ball and bounces away from him, instead attacking Hachiko several yards away. Hachiko despite being distracted sets himself for the impact of the other creature and impales it with his weapon. The creature, hurt leaps away again, this time into the brush behind the rest-stop. After Sergei kills one of the creatures a huge roar is heard and the glass on the rest-stop shakes then shatters as a larger version of the creatures they had been fighting appears. The creature from that had hidden in the brush makes its way towards the Old Man and the two kids whom he lead away from the battle. Both Marie and the little boy begins screaming and Sergei, using his shinobi training easily climbs atop the building and towards the scared children. Landing on the creature Sergei kills it before it can reach them.

The creature, landing a lucky blow grabs Hachiko completely in its jaws and curls up with him inside so that it can gnaw on and eventually swallow him. Its at this time that the toddler begins screaming and Angelique unable to cope with a screaming child dangerously shortcuts herself through the Dreamlands4 to where he is to try and comfort him. The Old Man goes to help the others and Gelar jumps through the gate that Angelique left behind transporting himself across the board near instantly. The toddler calms down for a moment then screams and behind him Poodle Girl can be seen EXPLODING into bits in the truck. The Old Man, having seen what happened looks alarmed and shocked at Angelique before turning around to help the others fight off the beast. Angelique who nearly burnt herself out opening the gate to the little boy suddenly feels much better, even vitalized. Using the excess energy she launches a spell at the huge monster, amplifying the amount of damage it takes from attacks. Alex mounting his horse drags Sam out of the fighting and then something strange happens…everyone near the creature begins to start floating as if gravity were completely suspending, rocks, candy machines, and other unsecured objects begin to float up.

Meanwhile the others are desperately trying to take the creature down before they attract something even more dangerous when Gelar tries something risky and targets the creatures spinal area (which is under massive amounts of plated armor) causing it to ‘uncurl’ from its ball form and then he shoots at its jaw forcing it to release Hachiko. Angelique manages to calm the (now obvious) powerful teke down and everything falls back to the ground. As the large creature tries to get its bearings, Gelar peppers it with arrows and unsteady of its feet Hachiko attacks it cutting of its head in several rage-fueled chops, flicking the blood from his katana and spitting on the monster he promptly falls down unable to stand due to his injuries. Angelique, using her biokinetic abilities causes the little boy to fall asleep so she can help the wounded. Angelique being both a surgeon and medical doctor begins work on Sam who is the most gravely injured. Alex acts as a nurse, helping with his limited knowledge though Angelique uses her TK to simply float the instruments in the air nearby grabbing them as needed. After stabilizing Sam she works on Hachiko who is barely conscious but less gravely injured. After Hachiko is alert he uses his remaining healing ofuda on Sergei and Alex who are less hurt then the others. Angelique, again using her biokinetic abilities heals the rest of the damage to Sam who wakes up and Hachiko. The radio in the truck (which is now mysteriously clean of the ‘asploded Poodle Girl) comes on and a radio jockey can be heard (Jonathan) pleading for Angelique to come and save him from the clowns…

July 2nd 2000, Sunday

12:00 pm

Skokie Highway Mile-marker 30

1This creature is a wamp, a carrion eater from the Dreamlands that do not mind if its prey is not dead yet, it often stores corpses for months till they are of the ‘right’ taste. They travel in packs and posses an intelligence similar to that of a chimpanzee or a ‘movie’ animal. They are savage and will fight to the death being exceedingly territorial.

2 This creature is a tatou, a vicious apex predator from the Desoul. Resembling a horrid combination of snapping turtle, salamander and armadillo the tatou has heavily armored plate-like skin that is resistant to small arms fire. They have developed the unique ability to curl up into a ball and using special-purpose muscles ‘bounce’. They can also remain curled up in a ball thus covering up their more exposed portions making them immune to all but the most powerful of handguns and small-arms fire. Tatou are incredibly territorial and will go out of its way to protect what it considers its. While they have no teeth they do have incredibly sharp beak-like mouths that can crush limbs and break bones. While they can use their special bounding ability to move they prefer tunneling under the earth and surprising their prey from below. Tatou can reach upwards to 30 feet long in some of the largest adult specimens.

3 This creature is a extremely large specimen of the much smaller (but still vicious) Meldein Spider from the Desoul. Meldein spiders typically reach the size of a small dog (about the size of a terrier) and are really on dangerous when they’re swarming during mating season. They possessive a terribly corrosive bite and despite the fact that they look like spiders they have both teeth and a digestive system optimized for a carnivorous diet. They also have the capability to spin corrosive webbing which if given enough time can eat through metal or even stone! The one encountered by Angelique was excessively large for one of its kind and is typically called a broodmother. This sort of mutation is encountered in 1 out of 1,000 meldein spiders and rarely outside of the swamps themselves.

4Teleportation is impossible in this setting but rips in time/space can be created by connecting the real world with that of the Dreamlands. It’s dangerous, fatiguing, and without proper preparation suicidal because the portal draws on the essence of the mage to create a stable wormhole. What Angelique did here was pull of a near-impossible stunt in the best of conditions in the absolute worst conditions possible. It should also be noted that all forms of teleportation are impossible in this setting meaning that the Teleportation psionic power is not allowed, as are other forms involving the Warp advantage except for those with the Tunnel enhancement.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Book Review: Riding Fourth by M.H. Mead

Damn it every time I try to get out they keep pulling me back in! Last night I read Riding Fourth by M.H. Mead. First, its short, sweet, simple, and free. Those are your four basic literary food group right there. That’s the good, the bad is it’s just a window into another book. If you like the Detroit Next universe by Mead then go grab it.

Yes, apparently the book series is called Detroit Next (though I still like the Viker ‘Verse better but that’s my own appellation). Be on the lookout for an upcoming book in this series which yours truly managed to get a hold of an ARC copy. I dug into it early this morning and man it’s as good as anything else the dynamic duo has written so far. Look for my review of this book on (or after) December 1st 2012 when it can also be downloaded and enjoyed.
I give this book 4 out of 5 pennies.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Book Review: The Caline Conspiracy by M.H. Mead

The Caline Conspiracy is M.H. Mead’s third foray into the Viker ‘Verse (I have no idea what the collective team of Margaret Yang and Harry Campion call their little world but this is what I call it, so deal). I’m going to start with the bad then go to the good: First (and worst in this humble readers opinion), IT. IS. TOO. DAMN. SHORT. Mead built up the pressure on the plot slowly and then put it on full blast somewhere in the middle and kept it up till the very (unexpected) end. Basically my brain was going full speed doing its SUPER-GENIUS thing right until I hit the book-ending-meep-meep, and suddenly I realized I was over the damn cliff. Now don’t get me wrong the ending made sense and tied up the loose ends nicely (that is hard to do!) but I wanted more. I felt there could’ve been wayyyy more chapters till the final act. Second, speaking of the final act, I was (for some reason) expecting more Machiavellian plots not the end of Macbeth (well partially Macbeth anyways).

 

Okay my gripes aside to the good stuff!

 

PLOT. My gawd it was so pretty, so simply constructed and perfect. It was like when your son/daughter/young relation gets a hold of an erector set or Legos and builds a structure the first time. And they do it perfectly. Mead incorporates enough science to give you the idea of what is going on but doesn’t bludgeon you with Neil Degrasse Tyson’s figurative whoompum stick. (Side note: whoompum stick, isn’t that a awesome pair of words? I just like saying it out loud: whoompum stick, you should try it is fun). Second, you can tell that Mead has put real work into the universe her books take place in, that is to say nothing feels…contrived. Either the Mead duo are madcap writing geniuses cranking out loads of manuscripts no one will ever see or they got a setting bible. I’m good for either theory. Third (and finally because I know by now reader you are getting grumpy and possibly need a cookie and a glass of milk*), the characters are very very fleshed out. Very real. I don’t get the cardboard cutout feeling when someone new comes onto the stage. For instance, I got the creep vibe near instantly from Edo, the whiny teenager vibe from Jon, and (as I did when I read Fate’s Mirror) the kick-ass action hero vibe from Aidra. Though I doubt she’d describe herself as such. Overall, it is a great book but I just want more of it. The Caline Conspiracy gets 4½ pennies out of five. It is worth the buy in and while you are at it go ahead and get Good Fences and Fate’s Mirror. Also worth it.

 

* Warning you should never give a mouse a cookie!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Night-Dimmed Day - Part I - Game Session 1



Then

July 2nd 2000, Sunday

Sergei Romanova (Part I)

7:25 am

3120 22nd Place, North Chicago, Illinois, USA

Sergei finds himself suddenly in the hallway of suburban home with the sounds of a young girl screaming echoing off the walls. Sergei (knowing somehow that he had to protect her) runs down the hallway to find a nine-limbed creature savaging a small girl. The thing has eyes in some of its hands and mouths in others, though its overall shape is vaguely egg-like1. Sticking to the shadows Sergei snuck up upon the creature and killed it with two quick strikes from his ninja-to. The little girl then tells him that the monsters “killed her mom and her dad went somewhere…” Gathering her into his arms he proceeds to fight his way through several more of the creatures (with a few ‘assists’ here and there from the plucky little girl). He even loses a eye to one of the monsters who attacks him from behind while protecting her. Getting her to run outside he fights off the remaining creatures before calling her back in to get her coat and things so they can leave. She introduces herself as Marie Daisy Alcott. Outside Sergei steers Marie away from looking at the sight that greets them outside: her father’s body ripped to pieces half in and half out of the family car. Concerned about Sergei’s eye injury she rips a piece of cloth from the arm of his gi and bandages it up while he remarks that “God gave him a spare.” In the eerie unnatural darkness they began to walk towards the highway in a effort to get somewhere safe.

Hachiko Koga (Part I)

7:15 am

1015 10th Street North Chicago, Illinois, USA

Driving back home from an all-night session at Naval Station Great Lakes Chief Petty Officer Hachiko Koga (formerly of SEAL Team 8) is tired and more than a little wired when he decides to pull into the Number One Stop Mini Mart for coffee. Inside, manning the counter is a young man with a slack-jacked expression, a young woman carelessly twiddling her hair as she stares at the prophylactics section of the medicine aisle, and older man staring contentiously at the many flavors of soda in the fridge section while mumbling under his breath. Grabbing a cup of java and a bear-claw Hachiko saunters up to the counter but before he can pay for anything the lights go out, looking outside the window he sees his ’76 Super Beetle’s headlights die out, then the skyline of the rest of the city… Sighing and impatient Hachiko tries to pay for his items but is refused by the clerk because “the register is out”. Moments later a strange multihued light can be seen emanating from outside and both the clerk and the young woman go to look at it. Just as Hachiko is about to go out as well, the old man shuts the door with his foot. Outside the glowing lights, keep shifting hues, colors, and intensity. The old man turns around and begins heading for the mart’s freezer urging Hachiko and the others to come as well. Only Hachiko hears (and follows) him, once inside the freezer the old man bars the doors and moments later a concussive blast was felt that knocked the food off the shelves inside the freezer and nearly ripped the door off its hinges. Hachiko quickly goes outside the freezer to find the clerk impaled on a nearby parking post (obviously dead) while the young woman is unconscious against the (now shattered) front windows. Hachiko picks her up and places her in his car to drive her to the hospital but discovers that his car completely dead. Beside him the old man is cussing at his older model Ford, finally kicking it, making it ‘magically’ start. In the distance the sound of a ‘yipping’ bark can be heard. The old man urges Hachiko to put the girl in his truck so they can leave before “whatever that is shows up.” Handing Hachiko a Winchester 1887 lever-action shotgun the old man revved the engine and peeled out of the parking lot. With the not so distant bark-yips from before coming closer…

Alex Hamilton (Part I)

7:17 am

611 Lakehurst Road, Waukegan, Illinois, USA

At Lakehurst Mall, Alex the nightshift security guard finds himself doing the job of his relief (who is as usual, late). While opening the doors downstairs so that the service staff can get into the building he notices an odd sound coming from the second floor. Investigating he hears a scream halfway up the escalator and takes off running as fast as he can. As soon as he reaches the topmost step the lights go completely out and another scream echoes, animal-like, in the empty space of the mall. While trying to turn on his flashlight he realizes the batteries are dead and replaces them with spares he has at hand. Armed with his sidearm (a Sig Sauer-226) and the now functioning light he works his way to where the scream came from, hearing crunching sounds he comes upon the corpse of one of the janitor staff half eaten. Alex’s training kicks in and he takes cover behind a nearby pillar scanning the area with his flashlight/firearm he sees nothing. Hearing a vague crunching sound he slowly raises the flashlight to the ceiling where he sees a large terrier-sized moth-like creature2. However, instead of a head, it has a recessed mouth that sticks straight out from its body and its skin is more rubbery and octopus-like than insectile. Letting out an involuntary gasp the creature notices him and detaches from the ceiling where it had been digesting its kill. Alex shoots the creature but it manages to bite him on the leg anyways as it attacks. Though quickly dying as he squeezes off several more rounds severing its wings from its body. Pulling the creature off his leg he heads back down stairs…

Angelique Ashur (Part I)

7:17 am

611 Lakehurst Road, Waukegan, Illinois, USA

A.L. Feyr is one of the newest and most popular authors on the block, with a rabid (and massive) fan base. Angelique (whose pen name is A.L. Feyr) has been at Lakehurst mall most of the night shilling for one of her favorite local bookstore’s: Kendall’s Printed Page. The signing ended up a rousing success that lasted far into the morning. Angelique, volunteering to help Kendall with the clean up, ends up staying late. While moving chairs and tables back into Kendall’s shop the lights go out and a scream followed by another can be heard from above. The sound of echoing gunshots can be heard next and then rapid footsteps. A pale multi-hued pulsating light can be seen coming from the second floor…

Angelique Ashur & Alex Hamilton (Part I)

7:23 am

611 Lakehurst Road, Waukegan, Illinois, USA

While Angelique goes to investigate the strange lights, Kendall grabs a baseball bat from behind his counter and follows. Once outside they can see a borealis-like effect forming over the food court. Then flying creatures like the one that attacked Alex begin pouring out. Angelique, scared, taps into her psychokinetic powers and ‘pours fire’ into the swirling vortex of creatures killing them. Getting close to the strange phenomena she can see a hooded man from the other side as well as the Dreamlands themselves. The figure, dressed in robes, sandals,  and wearing a large set of japa mala (Buddhist Prayer Beads) held out a hand and said, “It’s not what you think, it is a m…” Deciding not to take any risks Angelique again calls on her supernatural abilities and through adrenaline/excitement/fear forces the phenomena shut. Alex, Angelique, and Kendall then make their way out of the mall only to discover their cars are nonfunctioning. Angelique and Alex grab their ‘go-bags’ from their vehicles and then begin walking. After a few miles, they find a pair of unattended (and in one case a bloody saddle) police horses, which they then mount, riding on.

Sergei Romanova & Hachiko Koga (Part I)

8:05 am

Skokie Highway Mile-marker 10

Hachiko, the injured young woman, and the old man drive down the highway. By now all three have realized that the darkness pervading the moring sky is unnatural (it is way beyond sunrise at this point) but that does not seem to be what they are focusing on. The highway itself is almost completely empty of other drivers except for the lonely one here and there. Behind them Hachiko can still hear the strangely yipping barks. Passing a stranded minivan occupied by a woman and her young daughter, the creatures3 pursuing them stop and began to attack those in the minivan. The old man stops the truck and begins going in reverse, Hachiko, not waiting for the action to start opens the vehicles door and hops up and into the truck bed using the railing as a hand hold. Holding on he proceeds to fire the shotgun at the large canine-like creatures that have been following them.

From the nearby shadows of the off-ramp Sergei waits anxiously, his hand protectively over Marie hoping the creatures will leave. Marie however has other ideas and convinces Sergei to help the mother and child being attacked by the monsters. Reluctantly, Sergei moves into position and with carless ease quickly dispatches three of the canine creatures using several accurately hurled shuriken. By this time, the old man had backed up close enough to the minivan and began to help the woman and her child into the back of the truck. Marie asked the large imposing Hachiko if they can come with them. Hachiko answers her by helping her into the truck, Sergei climbing in after. The motley crew then make their way down the highway.

Angelique Ashur & Alex Hamilton (Part II)

8:15 am

Skokie Highway Mile-marker 5

Alex, Angelique, and Kendall ride down Skokie Highway on horseback realizing by now that the sun should have already risen (Angelique knows something is wrong but is not sure what it is). They pass several vehicles along the roadside, most of them abandoned though a few have stubborn occupants which stare incredulously as they pass by. Reaching an underpass, they stop for a moment to rest. Soon the sound of twisting metal can be heard as right before their eyes a big-rig truck began to change and metamorphose into something from a nightmare…

Gelar Ohanzee (Part I)

7:20 am

3001 Green Bay Road, North Chicago, Illinois, USA

Gelar finds himself awake suddenly, the smell of antiseptic and the sounds of medical machines beeping all around him. Carefully disengaging himself from the machines he is hooked up too he looks around for clothing but instead finds his bow, quiver, and tomahawk on his hospital table with a scrawled note in feminine handwriting saying “Good luck, you’re going to need it”. Gelar recognizes the handwriting as belonging to his ex-fiancé (and the one who put him in the hospital to begin with), Archana Kimiko. Looking outside he finds the hallway littered with corpses with strange small circler puncture marks all over their flesh. Dragging one of the bodies inside his room, he steals its clothes to wear, though the poor bastards feet are “smaller than his mothers.” Gathering up his weaponry he exits the building and tries to discover what has happened. In the dark of the hospital’s hallways he makes a horrifying discovery: every single person in this area is dead or dying. The cause seems to be large (almost half a foot) black leeches4 that have seemed to take over the Emergency Room area of the hospital. Assessing the situation Gelar goes back to the nurses’ station and grabs a large bottom of isopropyl alcohol. He then pours a line of the liquid onto the floor and reaches in his corpse-lifted pants looking for (and finding) a zippo lighter which he uses to light the fluid. Unfortunately he did not take stock of how close he was to a oxygen tank and the trail of fire quickly leads there. Spotting it in time Gelar ducks into a room right before the door is blown through the wall to outside leaving a hole just big enough for him to squeeze through with some effort. Heading into the parking lot he tries to start a car but realizes that something is wrong with them takes off on foot towards a small cluster of stores into the distance.

Angelique Ashur, Alex Hamilton, Gelar Ohanzee, Hachiko Koga, & Sergei Romanova (Part I)

8:37 am

Skokie Highway Mile-marker 17

As the big rig truck begins to shift and morph into some sort of nightmarish amalgam of steel and pulsating flesh5 Angelique, Alex, and Kendall back away readying themselves for a fight. Angelique’s horse decides to confront the monstrosity with her on it and using her psychokinetic abilities damages several of its internal structures; while Alex gets close enough to start shooting at it though his small caliber bullets don’t seem to do enough damage to penetrate the creatures metallic ‘hide’.

Coming across the scene as they drive down the other side of the highway, the old man (once again) stops the truck and gets out, emptying his .357 magnum revolver into the truck-monster. Hachiko and Sergei also exit the truck, with Hachiko putting two shells into the critter while he bounded over the highway divider. Sergei on the other hand just disappeared, pouncing on the truck-monster and embedding his ninja-to blades hilt deep into its engine block while simultaneously balancing on the hood. Angelique, following the ninja’s example hops up onto the hood of the monster while drawing her large kris and trying to cut into it. From the distance an arrow is shot and hits a front tire/clawed hand making the beast roar. Both Alex and Hachiko tries shooting at the things gas tanks but this doesn’t seem to cause it much distress. Eventually the old man gets close enough to use what he has been holding in his hand the whole time, a phosphorous grenade. The old man, shoving the explosive into the engine block as everyone begins shooting and attacking until the twisted metal stops moving. Hachiko and Angelique bandage the wounds of the others with everyone converging on the old man’s truck which then shuts off leaving them stranded and exposed on the highway…

July 2nd 2000, Sunday

8:45 am

Skokie Highway Mile-marker 17

1This creature is a wamp, a carrion eater from the Dreamlands that do not mind if its prey is not dead yet, it often stores corpses for months till they are of the ‘right’ taste. They travel in packs and posses an intelligence similar to that of a chimpanzee or a ‘movie’ animal. They are savage and will fight to the death being exceedingly territorial.

2This creature is a fluttermouth, starting life as a fungal-like spore they grow to maturity as grubs infesting the host that either breathes a flutterbloom in or is bitten by an adult fluttermouth. Specimens range from actual moth size to the size of large dogs! They end their lifecycle by dying and becoming a flutterbloom that carries the next generation. Their bite (and touching their skin) can produce hallucinations that are very real and many pleasant dreams have turned to nightmares with an invading fluttermouth flock. Fluttermouths subsist almost entirely on bone marrow but also like to eat internal organs.

3This creature is a Barghest, a large horse-sized canine that resembles a cross between a hyena and a wolf with mangy fur and sharp pointed ears. Barghest are found commonly through the Dreamlands and hunt in packs, they are especially sensitive to prey with magical capabilities whom they find delightfully tasty. They possess animal level intellect but are cunning and capable of cornering or boxing in their prey.

4 This creature is a the psychic manifestation of a person’s fear (in this case a Vietnam vet’s remembered horror of the leeches he had to deal with). While psychic manifestations are rare the Blackout seems to be having some sort of effect on the rarity of such situations.

5This creature is a marowit, a dreamlander given form by a powerful nightmare (typically a phobia or other pathological fear). Marowit can take any form and have varying levels of power and ability. This particular specimen is from a child’s fear of ‘monster trucks’ which caused a normal truck to spontaneously animate and supernaturally mutate into the thing they faced.

Carpe Blogiem: The Start of Something New


A few months back I began to work on a new GURPS campaign. I must admit, however that is isn't entirely new, there are pieces of it that date back years into my gaming history. This is because even when I scrap a campaign I don't toss any of the ideas associated with it - ideas can be reused and rehashed and made new. I like to think of it as intellectual shellacking. Anyways the campaign seed (that is the idea behind it) has been kicking around in my head a while. Basically the setting is weird horror, think the book/film John Dies At The End, the MMORPG The Secret World, much of the Cthulhu Mythos (but especially the Dream-Cycle), the TV show Fringe, and various movies featuring dream imagery (Inception, Paprika, Dreamscape, and the first two House movies, and so on). The premise is simple: the PCs investigate strange happenings involving supernatural things from the Dreamlands intruding into our world. The campaign takes place in two parts: Then (starting in 2000) and Now (starting in 2005). I'll eventually get around to posting a more full campaign synopsis but for now you can read the first game session synopsis here. Please keep in mind that my game sessions last anywhere from 6 to 12 hours with half-hour breaks thrown in at key moments. I ask forgiveness ahead of time for any mistakes, grammar, etc.