Friday, September 27, 2013

Two for the price of naught

Quickie gaming update: My sociopathic savage worlds character is now a blooded priest of the wolf god of dreams and nightmares and also had all his fear removed. Literally, he cannot feel fear. As fear was the prime motivator of his antisocial and psychotic behaviors, he's effectively been cured.

But who is the man without fear?

We'll find out when that adventure continues, I suppose.

In the meantime, I'm scratching my sci-fi itch by coercing the group to switch to a Travellers game, of which, I am DM.

I find that space games suffer from the same problem as sea-based fantasy games. Ostensibly, the only difference would be that the characters mode of locomotion has changed from foot and hoof to oar and sail, but the reality tends to be "OK, we have a ship.... now what? We just sail around until something attacks us?"

I've never had it work out, for whatever reasons. However, I am not one to walk away from such problems.

So I lurk here, in my basement, chain smoking unfiltered Camels and listing to Neil Young; stewing over the elements of the scenario.

Also, I read an article about the Michigan Dogman. So, using Ed's sans-system monster thingy, here is the Dogman.

Name: Dogman

Purpose: Could function fine as a random monster, or the focus of a one or two shot adventure, or as an element of a location, something of an environmental hazard. I see them as being something horrific, without origin or a natural place in the world. A corruption of both man and beast.


Man/dog face, human body, covered in fur, dog legs, four of 'em. Though capable of walking upright, the "arms" are just another set of legs. Sharp claws. Stanky. Makes sounds like a large dog, or a man with a cleft pallet.

Descriptors: The Dogman is as intelligent as the smartest wolf and just as fast. Whatever stats your game gives for something like a dire wolf should work just fine, or a faster bear, perhaps. They should be pack manimals. Territorial, if shy. Smart, fast, deadly. Tougher than your average man, though completely unarmored. Strongish. Keen sense of smell and hearing. Nocturnal.

Ecology: Dogmen could be a cursed race of men, horrors summoned from the Twisting Nether, or a natural part of the ecosystem. Suppose some or all of them are domesticated and serve in roles traditionally filled by mundane dogs. My immediate thought was of something like a pack of stray dogs. Dirty, wild, and dangerous. Surviving off society's refuse and feasting on the unwary or unlucky. Regardless, Dogmen should be truly uncanny. Close enough to being a man or a dog that the similarity only serves to highlight their strangeness. Unsettling. Perhaps their appearance in a location could be a symptom of some greater corruption? Perhaps any who encounter Dogmen and leave some alive are doomed to be forever hunted by that particular pack? Though, if Dogmen are cursed, the effects shouldn't be spread by mere encounters with or wounds from a Dogman. If you want some polymorphing disease monster, we have werewolves for that.

In the Fiction:

"We tracked the pack of devils from the O'Leary farm to Sutter's Mill. They seemed to disappear by day. It seemed that we could only catch a glimpse of them once the moon was up and they could see and we couldn't. You could smell the pack before you could see them, anyway. Though, if you can smell the beasts, you can bet they can smell you. The bastards are smart too. You'd spot one standing out in the open, and he'd lock eyes with you, eyes that were too much like a man's, and you would know that he was staring right at you. Not just in your direction, but right into your own eyes. That's when the rest of the pack would come down on you. All teeth and stinking fur, tearing and barking and screaming at you. That night, we lost three good men and killed one, maybe two, of the beasts. The rest fled, and we called that a victory. How do you hunt something that is hunting you? I say we lost three good men, and we did. Their widows had no bodies to bury. The Dogmen took them as they fled. Between the O'Leary's and those we lost, those monsters were likely fed for a month. Did they come out of the hills seeking to eat a few families? Or did they want us to come at them, all angry and stinking of fear? I don't sleep but with my doors and windows locked. And if you think it's Dogmen you've got, then take my advice and let them have your sheep and your horses and cows and pray that they'll settle for them and not you."