Thursday, November 17, 2011

[Kerberos] A Small Menagerie

(Cross-posted on

You may be aware of an incredible event that took place recently. If you were there, one day you will tell your grandchildren about it. If you weren't, you've no doubt heard about it by now. I'm speaking, of course, about the live Q&A chat-thingie Benjamin Baugh and I participated in last week on the IRC channel. The topic, of course, was The Kerberos Club (FATE Edition).

(Incidentally, there's a sweet sale going on through December 15th -- $10 off on the print-and-PDF bundle, or, if you already own it, trade in your first printing for the second printing for only $10+s/h. Click on the link up there for more details.)

Going in, I'd fully expected to just sit back and watch the questions for Ben roll by, but to my surprise, I had to do a lot of typing. A lot of fast typing. Moderator Dan Davenport had a bunch of questions to keep me busy, and there were plenty flying at me from everyone else. So yeah -- good times. It's always gratifying to see other people's enthusiasm for the book.

One thing that came up was that people wanted to see some write-ups for animals. There's already a horse write-up in there (on page 98) -- something of a "hero" horse, complete with skills, stress tracks, and consequences. But unless you count Archibald Monroe, Kemnebi Meti, or the Pre-Human Horror, that's the only animal in there. And I don't know about you, but I have entirely too much respect for Dr. Archibald (and fear of the other two) to think that.

So here is the first of at least two posts of statted-out animals. Season to taste, as always.

Sewer Rat (Average Minion)
The bane of civilized society

  • Average (+1): Physical
  • Aspects:
    • Ravenous Vermin
    • Swarm! Swarm!
    • Swimming in Disease
  • Gifts:
    • Impact: Physical scope
Notes: Individually, of course, rats aren't a big deal. It's when there's a whole swarm of them that they pose a danger. Terrifyingly so, in fact. To reflect this, put more than five of them in a group. Their Impact Gift can give them a reliable advantage in combat. The consequences they deal should involve disease more often than not, although the specifics, of course, are up to the GM.

Wolf (Fair Minion)
Savage forest hunter

  • Fair (+2): Physical (E)
  • Average (+1): Mental
  • Aspects:
    • Pack Mentality
    • Dogged Pursuit
    • Keen Senses
Notes: Is it really so unreasonable to find wolves in London? Not werewolves, mind you -- just regular ones. Hyde Park is huge, for one thing. Who knows what's in there? And I saw a fox once by St. Paul's, so it seems likely enough to me.

Gorilla (Adversary)
Imported from the Dark Continent

  • Great (+4): Brawn (E)
  • Good (+3): Athletics (E), Intimidation
  • Fair (+2): Endurance (E), Alertness, Survival
  • Aspects:
    • Powerful Arms and Jaws
    • Daunting Displays of Dominance
    • Fearsome Teeth
  • Gifts:
    • Theme: +1 Survival in native environment, Use Intimidation instead of Resolve to defend against fear/intimidation, Use Brawn instead of Fists when fighting unarmed
    • Equipment: Teeth (Deadly x2: Weapon 2 [Health], Aspect: Ripping and Tearing)
    • Impact: Brawn
  • Tier Benefits
    • Weapon 1 [Health] (Weapon 3 [Health] with Teeth)
    • Armor 1 [Health]
    • Move 1 zone as a free action (run/leap/climb)
  • Stress and Consequences:
    • Health: OOO OO [Armor 1]
    • Mental: OOO
Notes: An adult silverback is going to be a challenge for a great many Strangers; the average Londoner, of course, doesn't stand much of a chance. You'll notice that the Equipment Gift has been used here to quantify something that's most definitely not mere Equipment -- the gorilla's teeth. Using Equipment like this is a good way to give your animals a little more fine-grain detail. If you want to get a little more Howardian about it, give it an aspect of "Albino Man-Eater."

Great Cat (Adversary)
Suitable for all manner of lions and tigers

  • Great (+4): King of the Jungle (E)
  • Good (+3): Alertness (E), Stealth
  • Fair (+2): Brawn (E), Endurance, Survival
  • Unique and Strange Skills:
    • King of the Jungle (Strike, Dodge, Move, Leap, Climb, Menace + Zone)
  • Aspects:
    • The Incomparable Grace of a Jungle Cat
    • Claw/Claw/Bite
    • Intimidating Roar
    • Majestic Beast
  • Gifts:
    • Theme: Use King of the Jungle instead of Resolve to defend against fear/intimidation, +1 Survival in native environment, +2 Stealth with maneuvers
    • Equipment: Teeth and Claws (Deadly: Weapon 1 [Health], Well-Made: +1 King of the Jungle with Strike)
    • Impact: King of the Jungle
    • Signature Aspect: Majestic Beast
  • Tier Benefits
    • Weapon 1 [Health] (Weapon 2 [Health] with Teeth and Claws)
    • Move 1 zone as a free action (run/leap)
  • Stress and Consequences:
    • Health OOO OO
    • Composure OOO
Notes: If you're a purist, you'll want to make some adjustments to differentiate between lions and tigers (tigers are generally larger and fiercer), but unless you're having a lion-vs.-tiger cage match, this write-up should do fine for either of them.

Anaconda (Fair Minion)
Sinister serpent of the Amazon

  • Fair (+2): Physical (E)
  • Average (+1): Mental
  • Aspects:
    • Huge Aquatic Snake
    • Tightening Coils
    • Strong as Steel Cable
  • Gifts:
    • Equipment: Constricting Coils (Deadly x1: Weapon 1 [Health], Well-Made: +1 Physical)
Notes: While this anaconda is a Minion, it's pretty easy to turn it into an Adversary if you want something more like a giant anaconda (which probably doesn't exist, but whatever). Keep the same aspects, use the gorilla's skill pyramid (I realize this sounds crazy, but it works) and Theme Gift, and give it a Minor Invulnerability to physical strength. This is a weird one, I know, and not how we usually use Invulnerability, but it means that whenever it has someone in its coils, its Brawn defense against that person's escape attempts is two Power Tiers higher. Because it is a giant anaconda.

Elephant (Adversary)
Asiatic or African, as you please

  • Superb (+5): Tough Hide (E)
  • Great (+4): Stampede (E)
  • Good (+3): Resolve, Alertness
  • Fair (+2): Brawn (S), Survival
  • Aspects:
    • Prehensile Trunk
    • Tough Hide
    • Ivory Tusks
    • Massive Size
    • Stampede!
  • Unique and Strange Skills:
    • Tough Hide (Resist Damage, Stress Capacity [Health])
    • Stampede (Move, Strike + Zone; Minor Snag: No free movement unless using also Stampede to attack in the same round)
    • Minor Invulnerability: Bludgeons
  • Gifts:
    • Equipment: Tusks (Deadly: Weapon 2 [Health], Alternate Use: Use Brawn instead of Fists for unarmed combat)
    • Theme: +2 Brawn with maneuvers, +1 Survival in native environment, Ignore penalties to movement from barriers/physical obstructions equal to or less than Great (+4) Stampede
  • Tier Benefits:
    • Weapon 2 [Health] (Weapon 4 [Health] with Tusks)
    • Armor 1 [Health]
    • Move 1 zone as a free action when attacking with Stampede
  • Stress and Consequences:
    • Health: OOO OO [Armor 1]
    • Composure: OOO O
Notes: If you have a rampaging elephant in the streets of London, you pretty much need a Kerberan if you want something done about it. (Preferably, not the Kerberan who was responsible for putting it there in the first place.) Its Theme Gift basically lets it charge wherever it wants without much regard for walls or anything else that might be in its way.

Next time: dinosaurs!


Unknown said...

Love your blog. Thanks for the critters. Kerberos Club rocks, though I have yet to play. Keep writing.

TQuid said...

Damnit, what about housecats? They're a canonical animal for any RPG worth its salt! Especially if one can reliably tear an ordinary human apart.

Mike Olson said...

One cannot.