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Erasmus1966

Tales from the Cryptozoo

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Hello folks,

I've been browsing the forum for a few months now and thought I'd have a go at making a proper contribution, given how many ideas and worthwhile bits of advice I've found on here.

My Question is this:

Which creatures from cryptozoology and legend would you like to see statted and described for BRP?

I plan to attempt these and I'll post the results for critique and feedback.

Regards,

Erasmus

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Err... I was thinking of starting with two or three and working my way up from there :)

I almost started doing stats for some of the more obscure monsters from the Godzilla franchise but the standard player response is the famous battlecry of 'Run Away!!' =O

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As mentioned in other threads, BRP has some issues with Godzilla-sized critters. How about starting smaller and working your way up? ;D

El Chupacabra, the Goatsucker -- Actually, a quite recent "legend," originating in Puerto Rico in 1995. Originally, it was supposedly a lizard-y biped 3-4 feet tall, with dorsal spines and glowing eyes.

Whirling Whumpus -- American folklore. A mammalian critter with heavy forepaws that spins rapidly in the manner of Warner Brothers' Tasmanian Devil, pulverizing its prey like a blender. It licks off its paws afterward to feed.

Bedcats -- American folklore. Mutant bedbugs, grown to house cat size and covered with fur. They preyed upon Paul Bunyan's loggers in one tale.

Beesquitoes -- American folklore. Paul Bunyan attempted to battle giant Texas mosquitoes (the kind that nearly carried off infant Pecos Bill and his family) by importing fierce bees. Instead, the two insects interbred, producing swarms of giant bugs with stingers at both ends.

Just to get you started .... ;)

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Okay, first beasty, El Chupacabras:

Roll Avg

STR 1D6+6 9-10

CON 3D6 10-11

SIZ 1D6+3 6-7

INT 1D6+2 5-6

POW 3D6 10-11

DEX 3D6+6 16-17

Move: 28

HP: 8-9

DB: 0

Attack Skill Damage Notes:

Claw 50% 1D3

Bite 25% 1D2 Not used in combat

Spines 75% Contact Poison: POT 15 Effects: Paralysis and Anticoagulant

Poison

Skill Percentage

Sneak 75%

Listen 60%

Hide 90%

Description:

The Goatsucker is a ground-dwelling biped approximately 3-4 feet tall, distantly related to Genus Ateles (Spider Monkeys) but significantly larger. The arms are elongated as one would expect from a monkey, but the legs are longer. The Chupacabras walks digitigrade on feet which, unusually for a primate, have only three toes. The hands have three fingers and a semi-opposable thumb, all of which have claws used for clinging to prey and for self-grooming. The Chupacabras has a covering of short, well-groomed grey hair, but its head is largely naked. The tail too is naked, with an unpleasant resemblance to that of a huge rat. All areas of bare skin are grey, though a lighter shade than the fur. As befits a nocturnal creature, it has large eyes with excellent night-vision, that flash reddishly when they catch the light. It's nostrils are simply holes in the face below the eyes, and it's mouth is a slit that contains only two incisors in the upper jaw, which are used to penetrate the skin of prey in the throat or genital area in order to drink it's blood.

A row of unbarbed quills runs down the spine from the back of the head to the base of the tail. These normally lie flat but can be erected when the creature is agitated or executing it's unique method of predation (see below).

El Chupacabras has evolved an interesting method of predation. It waits in ambush near game trails, until another animal passes. This creature is usually of similar mass, in order to supply a large enough meal to last the Chupacabras for several days. As the prey animal passes, the Chupacabras erects its caudal quills and rushes past the prey, ensuring that the quills come in contact with the prey's skin. At the base of each quill is a modified sweat-gland that secretes a fast-acting contact-venom with paralytic and anticoagulant properties. This is carried up narrow channels in the quills by capillary action. Once the contact poison takes effect, the prey becomes torpid and then collapses, though the venom does not affect the autonomic nervous system. Thus the prey is still alive and semi-conscious when the Chupacabras begins to feed.

The Chupacabras uses its overdeveloped incisors to cut its way to the nearest large vein (usually in the throat or more rarely the genitalia), at which point it begins to drink the blood of the prey. Feeding is assisted by the continued circulatory action of the prey animal.

The Chupacabras is a solitary animal much of the time, meeting only to mate. After a 2 month gestation period, the female gives birth to 1-2 offspring. If twins are born, the larger or more aggressive of the two will usually kill the weaker. Offspring stay with the mother for a year or more, at which point they can fend for themselves by preying on smaller animals. It is impossible to distinguish visually between Chupacabras genders, as the genitalia is small and retracted in the male and fully internal in the female.

Since man began to impinge upon the Chupacabras territory, they have adopted a semi-urban lifestyle, using their abilities to hide during the day and emerging at night to attack domesticated animals or pets.

Constructive opinions, if any, gratefully received. Bear in mind this is just my take on this creature, trying to fit it into a semi-real-world context. :)

Edited by Erasmus1966

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I like your take on the Chupacabras. It is icky yet plausible. The bald head and tail, uniform coloration, and hidden reproductive organs explain why witnesses, catching a brief glimpse in the dark, might mistake a primate for a reptile.

My question is, how did this previously undiscovered species spread so rapidly from a Caribbean island to most of Hispanic America, including the Southwestern and Western United States? Was it always there? Are most sightings merely hysteria? Is it a recent natural mutation? Or was it genetically engineered? It has a short gestation time but mothers are unlikely to breed while still caring for existing young, so one to two years in between births. It doesn't reproduce as rapidly as, say, a coyote, which is a similar-sized predator. I like it that, like coyotes, possums, and raccoons, it adapts easily to urban conditions.

Also, given the proximity of Puerto Rico to the U.S. East Coast, why are most sightings on the other end of the continent? It would seemingly be easier for the creatures to migrate to the Eastern United States, where trees would give welcome shelter to the mutant monkeys. Instead, people most often report it in arid areas, where shelter and food are less plentiful.

Officially, of course, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service denies that the Chupacabras exists, putting down sightings as encounters with coyotes and other dogs afflicted with mange.

Edited by seneschal

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Glad you liked it. I was aiming for icky ;D

Regarding your other questions, while I believe an awful lot of pretty much everything in the world can be blamed on hysteria (interestingly the Chupacabras seems to be culturally aligned to the Hispanic population), I'd suggest that the Puerto Rican population is a small percentage of the whole, possibly a relict population that came to notice due to the growth of the island's population, whereas the mainland population has a wider range of places to hide.

The write-up I've done assumes a naturally evolved creature, as opposed to a mutation or genetically engineered creation. The longevity and geographical spread of the reports indicates to me that we are seeing a species of elusive cryptid, rather than a small, widely dispersed population of deliberately 'made' animals. This was also behind my decision to make the Chupacabras a mammal rather than a reptile. The bare skin of the face was an attempt to make a more squamous-looking mammal.

Quite why the mainland population would favour the west coast I don't know. Perhaps they were deliberately transplanted by person, persons or entities unknown. Conversely, the fact that the reports come from the arid areas may indicate that they are simply easier to spot in that environment? This may also be the reason for its diet now including household pets.

Assuming I am correct in my assumption that it's a mammal, the Chupacabras too could be susceptible to mange, which would not only make it even more 'icky' (I love technical terms - did they ever use that term in the Malleus Monstrorum? ;D) but also make it match some of the other descriptions.

Other stories refer to wildly divergent creatures, so it appears that the term has become a catch-all for any mysterious entity of sufficient 'ick'.

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Beasty Number 2: The Whirling Wumpus (this is a very weird one, and most of it's characteristics are really not my fault ;D)

Whirling Wumpus (Wimpus)

Synonyms: Whirling Wimpus, Turbinocissus nebuloides

'...Lives along the hardwood ridges of the Southern Appalachians, and is doubtless responsible for the occasional complete disappearance of hikers in that area.

A chunky beast, some seven feet tall, with a body about the size of a coal-oil drum and roughly furred. The equine hind legs unite at the fetlock, terminating in one broad hoof. The front legs, disproportionately long, sinewy and powerful, end in broad paddles. When standing at ease, the Whimpus usually rests these on the ground.

The Whimpus is wholly carnivorous. Deer, bear, oxen, turkeys, humans---they're all grist to his mill. About sundown time he will take stand by a bend in the trail and begin to whirl on his single hoof. The maximum speed (2150 r.p.m.) is quickly reached and is accompanied by a peculiar droning sound. At top speed the Whimpus is practically invisible, a little dust or a few leaves eddying about being the only indications of his presence. The unwary, home-bound hiker, on hearing the odd droning, usually starts to investigate it. The instant he steps within the circle of those flying, flailing bony paddles he is deposited thereon in the form of an unctuous treacle. The Whimpus then promptly cuts his throttle, slows down, and crawls under a nearby patch of rhododendron to lick off his syrupy supper.

A Whimpus was recently reported from Nebraska by a chap whose name, age, and previous condition of veracitude are unknown to us. He swears that he saw one at precisely 11:32 P.M., on June 23, 1935, just as he was emerging from a roadside gin-mill. We are dilligently seeking confirmation of this report…'

From Henry H. Tryon's “ Fearsome Critters ” http://www.lumberwoods.com/p65.htm

Description:

Additional to the description above, the upper body, head and limbs of the Wumpus are very similar in structure to that of a large anthropoid ape, with the exception of the already-mentioned fore-feet. It is unknown whether the Wumpus is a naturally evolved creature but this is considered highly unlikely. It is more likely that it is the creation of a deranged geneticist/insane magical practitioner with a particularly warped sense of humour.

Special Attacks:

Assuming that the 2150 r.p.m. above is accurate, and that the Wumpus can make two strikes per revolution, this equates to (in a 12 second combat round) 860 attacks! However, these attacks can only occur in a 6 foot radius from the body of the Wumpus. The Wumpus is largely stationary while revolving, but can move slowly by hopping when it is not.

Special defenses:

The Wumpus bobs and weaves slightly while revolving, which results is it being almost invisible at full speed. This is reflected in it's high 'Hide (While Spinning) ' skill. It would be even higher were it not for the droning sound made during spinning.

The spinning predation strategy gives the Wumpus an interesting defense mechanism while spinning. Any attack with a melee weapon on a spinning Wumpus has a 75% chance of knocking the weapon used from the user's grasp. If this occurs, there is a 1 in 4 chance that the weapon will hit that user, doing normal damage plus half the Wampus's DB. Missile weapons are deflected 75% of the time, and on a 1D12 roll of 12 will be send back in the direction they came from (i.e.: directly at the attacker). If it hits the attacker, the missile does normal damage plus a quarter of the Wumpus's DB.

Effects on the Wumpus of magical or psychic attacks are normal. Energy-weapon attacks on a Wumpus are normal 75% of the time. The other 25% they strike the wampu's swirling fore-feet and do minimum damage.

Note: Whirling Wumpus is a term used for a number of differing creatures. The creature depicted above should not be confused with the creature also known as a Wumpus-cat, which will be covered under a separate entry.

Stats Roll Avg

STR 4D6+18 32

CON 3D6 10-11

SIZ 2D6+18 25

INT 1D6+3 6-7

POW 3D6 10-11

DEX 3D6 10-11

Armour: 3 points of thick hide and fur

MOV: 2 (Hopping)

HP: 17-18

DB: +3D6

Attacks

Attack: Fist (Spinning) Skill: 50% Note: 1D10+DB The Wumpus can attack 860 times per combat round, but cannot move while spinning.

Skills

Hide (While Spinning) 90%

Hide (Not Spinning) 75%

Edited by Erasmus1966

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Beasty number 3:

The BedCat (another from American Folklore)

Description:

A BedCat is an insect the size of a housecat, that feeds on the blood of sleeping victims. It originally evolved as a specialist Hematophage that fed on hibernating bears, but with the encroachment of human logging camps into its territory it has modified its behaviour to enable feeding on man.

In appearance, an unfed Bedcat looks like a huge version of its smaller brethren, with a very flattened bodyform. Short black sensory hairs sprout from the joints in its cartilagenous brown skeleton, giving it a patchy, furry appearance. Its feeding apparatus consists of a large extensible maw at the anterior end, which houses a feeding tube. The feeding tube grows continuously, as it breaks fairly easily. This gives its end a jagged appearance.

Method of feeding

The BedCat secretes itself in the mattress of the victim, at approximately the position of the neck in a reclining human. When the victim is soundly asleep, it bites through the mattress fabric, removing a sizeable chunk of the victim's flesh. 25% of the time, this is a part of the victim's neck and spinal column, and thus the bite instantly paralyses the prey. 75% of the time, another part of the victim is bitten, causing less damage, but it should be borne in mind that this bite can still easily remove an arm. The attack wakes its victim 100% of the time unless they are completely unconscious, though those victims bitten in the spine have no ability to do anything about it anyway.

It then feeds on the blood exuding (or more often squirting) from the hole at a rate of 1 litre per minute. This means that an average man would be completely exsanguinated in 5 or so minutes. Removing the BedCat from a bitten victim requires a STR roll against 10 on the resistance table, and causes an additional 1D3 damage.

The BedCat is an extremely fecund creature. It mates in a similar fashion to a normal-sized bedbug, with males using a sharp genital spike to impale its potential mate somewhere in the abdomen, at which point it deposits sperm. However, the bedbug, and its larger relative the BedCat, is not fussy. Smaller bedbugs will attempt to impregnate any well-fed member of its own species, and BedCats are even less discerning. They will attempt to impregnate any animal that is similar to its own size, including cats, small dogs, raccoons etc. This usually severely injures or kills the potential 'mate'. Luckily this attack can be easily dodged by a victim that's not asleep (Dodge successful on a standard Agility roll).

If a successful mating (with another BedCat, of course) has occurred, the female of the species lays a number of pinhead-sized eggs, that cling to fur and clothing, thus transferring the species from location to location. The young are almost indistinguishable from ordinary bedbugs at birth, with a similar feeding pattern. They progress to larger prey as they grow, reaching full size in about a year. They rarely manage to reach even half-growth, given their slow movement and the advent of powerful insecticides.

Potential for additional nastiness:

In a less than realistic campaign or scenario, the mating may produce hybrids. It is up to individual GM to determine their nature.

Stats:

Roll Avg

STR 1D3 2

CON 2D6 7

SIZ 1 1

POW 3D6 10-11

DEX 1D6 3-4

Mov: 2

HP: 4

DB: -1D6

Armour: 1 point thick chitin

Attacks:

Bite Skill: 100% Dam: 3D6-DB Notes: 25% to paralyse victim completely. Only usable on sleeping victim. Causes an additional 1 point of damage through blood-loss every round it remains attached

Sperm Duct Skill: 50% Dam: 1D6 Notes: The deposited sperm is slightly toxic (Pot 5)

Skills:

Hide in Mattress 90%

Identify member of own species 5%

Heavily based on the biology and habits of actual bedbugs, this may be the most unpleasant creature I've ever built =|. I tried to make it at least a little plausible, but one has to work with what one has ;D

Opinions, as always, gratefully received (be gentle with me :) )

Edited by Erasmus1966

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I like your Whirling Wumpus write-up. My only suggestion is that rather than give it hundreds of attacks per combat round, just increase the damage it inflicts if it hits. Physical contact would be like brushing up against a buzz saw or chainsaw. I also appreciate your description of what happens if a PC attempts to attack the thing; practical physics makes it hard to hurt while in motion.

Basing the BedCats on real bedbugs is exactly the approach I would have taken. Yikes! Supposedly, they were a natural mutation that occurred at one of Paul Bunyan's northernmost logging camps. Vermin were always an issue in camp because filthy loggers had little opportunity to bathe, particularly given the chilly Canadian climate. This remote camp was especially infested. Bunyan's men were forced to abandon it, not because of bedbugs or lice but because of a run of severe winters that kept them working further south for several seasons. When they finally returned, all went well until the men prepared for sleep -- the results in the tall tale I read weren't as grisly as the ones you've logically described. Without humans to feed on, the bedbugs had survived by preying upon wildlife that took shelter in the deserted log cabins. They coped with the terrible cold by growing larger and growing fur. They were very ... happy ... to have the loggers back. =O

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Thanks for the feedback :)

The multiple attacks of the Wumpus are a little OTT, I'll admit (yes, okay, VERY OTT) , but the idea was to make the attack more granular, in that it could spatter a person all over the landscape, but you could kill it if you drove over it with a tank or bulldozer without them being heavily damaged. I'm sure for a more formal write-up some kind of halfway house could be achieved...

Funnily enough my wife said the BedCat write-up was one of the nastiest things she'd ever read, and as she has a degree in Corrections and Criminal Justice, and an academic interest in Forensic Pathology, she knows all about nasty. :b1:

I always try to figure the logic behind creatures. It makes for a more believable beasty. I love monster movies, but a little part of my brain has difficulty suspending disbelief if the creature isn't at least a little plausible...

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I remember in a very old campaign setting I used to have a whole species that is lovecraftian in origins. There could only be one at a time on the planet, because it's method of reproducing was to "Hollow" the souls of people into nothing, then form a body around them after the person's death, which killed the being. "Hollowed" People went into permenent brain-dead comas.

This creature was called a Void or Empty One officially, but the myths connected to them included the Jersey devil.

For that to work, you'd basically have to have the following things in place:

1: Damage done by this character is direct to the POW stat. This can be recovered up to what the undamaged value was, though the process is exceedingly difficult and requires a long time of acquiring new memories.

2: When the POW stat reaches zero, the character is "Hollowed". They're gone for good. That brain is dead, Jim.

3: Depending on the skill check for the "Howl" Ability of the Empty One, damage to POW changes accordingly.

Believability wise... That "Howl" could easily be caused by electromagnetic interference stripping away the patterns of electromagnetic activity inside the brain, leaving the neurons inactive. There would actually be no noise.

Edited by Link6746
Implimentation tips

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Thanks for the suggestion, Link...

I'm kind of in the middle of a VERY major project at the moment, so it may be a while before I get to 'The Void'. However, it sounds extremely creepy (excellent :) )..

Was this a creature of your own creation or was it taken from literature? Either way, as much info as possible is good.. I do like to get my beasties accurate :)

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It was a creature of my own creation based on the legend of the jersey devil and, in the setting, from a non-place outside normal reality and the normal multiverse, where the timelines and universes within all were innately wrong or corrupted.

This creature showing up in a setting basically meant it was doomed.

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