Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Booze + Lumberjacks = Goofy Monsters

There just ain't much to do, here in the woods of 19th-century North America, but drink cheap whiskey and hallucinate monsters. Gotta hope that people write books about our tall tales, and maybe a century later Wired will be invented and do an article on those books.

The whole thing is worth browsing through. Some of the illustrations are charming, and a lot of the critters are a weird blend of wilderness and steam-age imagination. Like the Tripodero here...

Drawn by Coert Du Bois, apparently, and written up by William T. Cox

...who's supposed to have a rifle-style scope on his nose, in addition to his extensible legs. You could easily adapt a bunch of these beasties to a game of your own -- fantasy, sci-fi, steampunk, cyberpunk, weird modern, whatever. Here, let me give you a system-neutral hand with the Tripodero. I used an arbitrary points-out-of-seven scale:

Health: 4/7
Armor: 3/7
Speed: 4/7 (legs extended) or 2/7 (legs retracted)
Attacks: ranged 5/7 (clay spitshot), melee 2/7 (kick)
Stealth: 1/7 (legs extended) or 3/7 (legs retracted)
Etc: Enhanced vision; accuracy bonus with spitshot
Details: The tripodero is a carnivorous mammalbird that travels in small packs. It hunts by spitting small clay shot (also called quids) at high velocities; these are comparable to a medium-caliber bullet or heavy sling stone in terms of damage. A tripodero will forage for mineral-rich mud, which it "chews" in its mud gizzard to create the shot. Patient creatures, the tripodero will stalk prey from hundreds of yards away, combining its scope-sight with its eerie telescoping legs for maximum sight range. The clak-clak-clak of tripoderos raising and lowering themselves in the distant brush has haunted many explorers, and is often followed by the whizz-thak of its spitshot.

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