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.