Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bestiary: Tamirac

The wilderness of Kimatarthi is made all the more dangerous by groups of prowling tamiracs. These clever and extremely adaptable animals can be found in any sort of terrain. They are just as likely to be found leaping among rocks and trees or scurrying across the open land. Some have even been seen scavenging in city garbage heaps. They are quick and can easily squeeze through such narrow openings, that it can seem as if they disappear into thin air.

The tamirac has a lean and hungry look about him. (ArthurWeasley)

A typical tamirac is the size of a medium-sized dog with a mouth full of tiny, needle-sharp teeth, and is not much of a threat. Unfortunately, one will rarely encounter a single tamirac. They hunt in packs and are known for their exceptional cunning. Stories abound of unassuming hunters tracking down their kill, only to find a pack of tamiracs laying in wait. Their ability to mimic the sound of wounded or lost animals, and even children is renowned. "As sly as a tamirac," is a common expression, though one rarely used in a flattering way. Their favored tactic is to cut an individual off from the group, surround their prey, and then attack from multiple directions. Any tamirac that comes under attack will spend that round distracting the victim, dodging while the others attack the flanks.

Number appearing: 2D6+2
Fighting: 3D+2
Dodge: 3D+2
Stealth: 4D
Damage: bite (2D+1), claws (1D+1)

Friday, July 27, 2012

George Rasmussen, Colonel, 5th Merlin Regiment

Holy crap.

So July is nearly a wash in terms of blog posts. But that is just an indication that other stuff has been keeping me busy. It started with some holiday travel and then we almost bought a house, but then we didn't buy a house, but we still did all the work that you need to do to buy a house... basically it meant no free time to blog or even to game. Rather than let it go and not post ANYTHING, here's an older piece.

I love creating characters. It may be the actor in me, but one of my favorite parts of gaming is developing a character concept and running with it. I'm sure many players can relate to the bittersweet moment, as your character's bones are being absorbed into the ocher jelly and you realize that your pointy eared bard, Elvish Elvis, will never sing again... BUT you get to roll out some other character that you've been thinking about for months!

So here's the character I'm currently playing in our Knights of the Astral Sea GURPS campaign

Sir George K. Rasmussen, Colonel, 5th Merlin Regiment

The eldest son of Baronet Percy Rasmussen, George Kyle Rasmussen was educated at Charterhouse until his magical potential was recognized, at which point he was transferred to Carmarthen Academy to continue his training as a wizard. At age 16, he was commissioned an ensign in the Magickal Brigades, and, serving under Lord Brandybuck, he was sent to India to further his skills in the Oriental magicks.

The first test of his mettle was in 1849 at the Battle of Chillianwala, where the British fended off the rebel Sikhs, and he later participated in the glorious victory over the rebels at Gujrat. Having helped preserve the Raj, Rasmussen remained as advisor to the Commissioner of the Punjab until he was sent to accompany an exploratory party that trekked the extent of the Persian Empire. After a 26-month expedition, the party ended up in Gombroon, where they spent some time more at the East India Company house, trading tobacco, drinking panch, and occasionally hanging Qawasim pirates.

Already well-versed in the magicks of the Mohammadeans, Rasmussen was made a liaison to the mages of the Sublime Porte when he was sent to the Crimea in 1854. He took shrapnel to the leg while shielding the thin red line at the Battle of Balaklava, but rather than leave the war, he was able to repair the bone using an Oriental healing spell. Fully recovered for the Siege of Sevastopol, he commanded the thaumaturgical effort that caused an entire Russian artillery regiment to be swallowed into a chasm. For his performance and gallantry he was brevetted-major and awarded medals by both Queen Victoria and Sultan Abdulmecid.

He served the rest of the war as an aide-de-camp to General FitzRoy Somerset, and then was sent back to Delhi to assist in putting down the Indian mutiny. In 1859, he was summed back to England to act as secretary to the Duke of Beaufort, who was anxious to make use of the young wizard’s skills at Whitehall. Sir George spent much of the next decade in the political realm, where he developed a name for himself among the “Wizard Peers,” who were becoming ever more opposed to the “Vicar Peers,” who favored the clergy. In 1870, he was given command of the 5th Merlin Regiment and returned to support the Raj.

Returning to London in 1873, Rasmussen found that the daughter of his good friend Sir Quincy Campbell, member of the House of Commons, was taken ill. In fact, she had been possessed by a demon. Sir Qunicy, not trusting the clergy any more than Rasmussen himself, requested that he be present during the exorcism.

 Something went terribly wrong. After a blind light and wrenching vortex, Rasmussen awoke on a strange plane in the body of a 10-year old girl. Though a very experienced wizard, he found that he has neither his full magical capacity, nor the ability to reliably use it.

Of course, George is still a foul-mouthed, battle hardened, and rather bloody-minded spellcaster. He also enjoys drink to a good degree, but tends to stick to feminine drinks, such as Champagne, out of consideration for little Julia, who he does hope will get her body back someday. He hates to think that the poor child is stuck with his gout.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Connections Wargaming Conference

There is little to no convergence of my professional life and my hobbies - likely because my hobbies include slaying orcs and casting Explosive Lightning. From time to time, however, I do get to play games at work, but sadly they have not yet included orcs.

Posting this plug on my blog is a rare crossover, though. If there are any serious military or academic grognards that happen to read this and are going to be at the Connections 2012 Wargaming Conference in Washington, DC, please let me know. I'll be there for a day or two.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bestiary: Abuca

 Since I need to populate Kimatarthi with things to kill PCs (or at least make things more interesting), I decided to run with some of the ideas I brought up in my previous post about artistic renderings of prehistoric animals. So, here's a first shot at attaching D6F stats and a description to a critter. I figured I might as well make it something that will ruin your night.


Few beasts in Kimatarthi strike as much fear into the hearts of travelers as the abuca. Also known as "Night Stalker" and "King of the Shadows," this fearsome beast hunts in the dead of night, and is rarely seen in the light. Silent and quick, the abuca has been known to snatch individuals from the midst of their camp, should they but stray too far into the shadows.

The Abuca: King of the Shadows (DiBgd)
The abuca shuns light and can usually be kept at bay by keeping a fire burning all night long. Unfortunately, hungry specimens have been known to overcome that fear without much difficulty. Indeed, few people can give an accurate description of one since nearly every encounter with an abuca is in darkness... and such encounters are usually as short as they are violent.

With its heavy paws and powerful jaws the abuca is a fearsome predator. An abuca will patiently stalk its prey, waiting for the right moment to strike. It will almost always strike at the back of its victim's neck in an effort to demobilize it and snap its neck with a violent shake. A victim that is successfully hit by this sneak attack will have to make a roll against the abuca's Fighting skill. Failure means that the beast has a solid hold on the victim's neck and will shake him until dead beginning the next round.

Number appearing: 1
Fighting: 5D+2
Dodge: 3D
Stealth: 7D
Wound levels: 3

Damage: Bite (5D+2); Claws (3D+1)
Special attack: Neck snap (6D) - automatic damage the round after a sneak attack, unless victim beats the abuca's Fighting roll. This damage will recur each round until the victim is dead or the abuca is compelled to release him.