FOR DAWS TO PECK AT

Blue Room Edition

By S. John Ross

OUR FEATURE ARTICLE: YOU CAN BE SCOTT MAYKRANTZ!

Admit it, folks - we ALL envy Scott. His 'zine layout is sharp, he can DRAW (grumble, &$#@%), and (much more to the point), he is shockingly talented when it comes to creating really cool, disturbing, downright SICK creatures for GURPS Horror. The bastard.

He's also a Darn Swell Person, and I figured I'd do this article as kind of a friendly cheap shot/tribute to the work of the writer who's work I most admire here in the APA. Here you will find the REAL secret to creating Maykrantzian Creatures yourself. Why wait for Creatures of the Night when YOU can outdo it? Get out those d-sixes and have them nice and warm . . .

Remember How to Draw Comics The Marvel Way? This is on the same intellectual level. Only much shorter.

First Step: The Name

To properly simulate the Maykrantz Process, the name must come first. The name of a Maykritter provides the initial "feel" and texture on which the creture's function and appearance will be built. Since at least half of the Makritters are compound words, the process of name-creation can be easily randomized. Roll two dice for table A (one for row, one for column), then add a roll on table B to it to get your name! Easy!

Table A: Creature Name (First Part)

1,2 3,4 5,6
1 Brine Dead Lynch
2 Change Dread Nether
3 Chimney Ether Night
4 Clutch Green Quiet
5 Crypt Hex Wilder
6 Dark Jack Wierd

Table B: Creature Name (Second Part)

1,2 3,4 5,6
1 kin(s) wretch(es) ling(s)
2 er(s) dogs naughts
3 furies wights brat(s)
4 oid(s) masques retches
5 birds worms glands
6 ler (g)rues sores

The names can either be combined as a serious-and-creepy compound word (Nightsores, Dreadlers), or kept horrifyngly, shockingly separate (Dead Brats, Wierd Kin). Choose the method that inspires the most chills.

Second Step: What Does The Name Mean?

This basically breaks down into a simple question - Does the name tell you ANYTHING whatsoever about the nature of the Maykritter? Roll one d6. If you roll a 6, it does.

Third Step: What Does The Creature Do?

Another series of tables, this time to build a sentence instead of a name. The sentence describes the creature in shorthand form. Combined with your imagination (and the creature's name, if you rolled a 6 in step two), this can be fleshed out into a detailed write-up with stats.

The basic structure is this [Table C] [Table D] who/that [Table E] [Table F]. Just insert the rolls and you've got a sentence. For instance, the rolls 6/1/3/4 would result in "Foul and very tall humans who dance around disgusting biological acts." That's a Netherwretch if I've ever heard of one, eh?

Table C (1d6) Table D (1d6) Table E (1d6) Table F (1d6)
Possessed Humans Eat Player-Characters
Sickly Trees Hunt Pain
Swarms of Insects Dance Around Darkness
Dead Entities Need Disgusting Biological Acts
Misshapen Animals (Pick a type) Crave Fire
Foul and Very Tall Plants (Pick a type) Can Only Be Seen Near Brains

Fourth Step: Drawing It All Together

Things like stats and so on have to be added at this point. By now, the GURU should have a clear idea of where the creature is going. See? Now we don't have to envy Scott's talent any more!

:)

"CHAIN:" A 600-POINT SUPER FOR ANY GURPS I.S.T. CAMPAIGN

Here's a dusty old character from my packed-to-the-brim diskette of old PCs. I created Colonel Mkate about two and a half years ago for a GURPS Supers mini-campaign set in Australia. While not in any way related to the character of the same name in Spike Y. Jones' Mixed Doubles (it's just one of those irritating coincidences that crop up in overdone genres, as Spike himself has pointed out), those who use the I.S.T. universe should probably think of Spikey's character as "Chain II" from now on. <grin>

Personal Data

6'1" 210 lbs, negro, black eyes. 27 years old. Out of costume, prefers corduroy jeans and irish sweaters (t-shirts in summer). Chain's current costume consists of a deep red body suit that leaves much of his chest and arms exposed. It has several small pockets and a (decorative) silver chain belt.

His costumes, which change about twice a year, always tend toward the barely conservative. While he DOES ride a motorcyle, he never goes for a "biker" look (the bike is a compartment-heavy "business-bike" anyway); never wears leather.

Character Story

Nyekundu Mkate was born on February 19, 1964 in Kampala, Uganda. His mother died in childbirth, and he was raised by his father and grandfather (both important city church officials). As a youth, he was a devout christian and a quiet child, and with the exception of the Ugandan social unrest of the period, his life was unmarred by trouble until the age of 12.

On Christmas Eve, 1976, three gunmen (in the service of the state) entered the Mkate home, and shot Nyekundu's father in cold blood. They tried to shoot Nyekendu - but the bullets bounced off. In a rage of pain and grief, Nyekendu pummeled two of the men to death, and the third into coma. This berserk act saved his grandfather's life, but they both knew it was only temporary. His gaurdians had both been active dissidents, and had been slated for death. They fled on foot, seeking asylum in Tanzania. Throughout the length of thier journey, Nyekundu's strength seemed only to increase.

In Tanzania, Nyekendu's grandfather was granted citizenship and he continued to raise Nyekendu. Nyekendu's powers were kept a secret, but young Nyekendu rebelled, fully intending to become a vigilante like those that were appearing worldwide. At the age of 17, his grandfather died of a heart attack, and Nyekendu returned to Uganda.

His history in Uganda is a complex one. He was a member and/or leader of several small, politically motivated groups, and was never satisfied with anything he managed to achieve. It was in 1983 that he first accquired "the chain" - as a spoil of battle. In his guise as Askari ("the soldier;" an early public identity), he fought a military super who had been serving president Obote by killing civilians at random. That super, name still unknown, posessed the chain, presumably given to him by the president's men. However, the technology needed to produce such a weapon was (and is) far beyond the capabilities of Earth, let alone those of Uganda. It was shortly after this that Nyekendu was approached by the U.N., then constructing an I.S.T. embassy in Kampala.

He trained to be one of the founding members of I.S.T. Mexico City, but stayed on in Uganda until July, 1985, when he assisted U.S. troops in removing Obote from power. At this point, he considered "his work" to be done, and made the belated move to Mexico, serving as the team's "strongarm" for four years. During this time, Nyekendu began to relax as an individual, ejoying culture and the company of people. He also became a popular speaker on metahuman ethics, rights, and combat tactics througout North America. In 1989, he was made a colonel and took over the Team Administrator position. His popularity among the team members and knack for public relations curried him many favors from the U.N., and when the Australia Project was announced, his volunteer of service was accepted without question.

Super-Abilities Summary

Nyekundu is super-strong, able to lift about six tons if he exerts himself. He can easily put a fist through 4/10-inch steel plate. His skin will turn nearly any small arms fire, and he has a higher capacity for injury than might be apparent. In addition to his super-abilities however, Nyekundu posesses The Chain, a weapon of considerable power, which he controls with his mind. The chain is forged of an unknown ally, and contains thousands of independent nanomotors and circuits. It is actually a single object, as opposed to a series of links. While it can be severed by a powerful blow, it will regrow itself in a matter of hours. It is unknown whether the chain posesses any form of intelligence. If so, it has not demonstrated it. The chain does not conduct electricity. Through expermentation, Nyekundu has found the following functions:

Extension: The chain has a normal length of only 5 feet, but it can be extended up to 110 feet almost instantly. It's mass (26.5 lbs) does not change regardless of it's length. The chain's flexibility is to a limited degree controllable.

Strike/Whip: Nyekundu can throw/extend the chain at a foe to strike him, doing considerable harm. Before a strike, Nyekundu must take a turn to re-ready the chain. In addition to damaging his foe, the chain can also wrap and bind his arms and legs. Nyekundu may choose to bind without doing damage, or damage without binding, or a combined strike/bind. Nyekundu once used this function to swing on the chain like a rope (by "binding" a support beam). However, this was during a crossover appearance in Astounding Adventure Tales, and not in his own book, so the GURU may rule that this use of the chain is non-canonical.

Sorry. Couldn't resist <G>.

Shield: Nyekundu can spin the chain in front of him, forming a nearly impervious disc of metal 7 feet wide. While doing this, he must maintain concentration on the chain, and can move only at a slow walk. Nyekundu must take a turn to restart it spinning if it is penetrated. Such penetration does not actually harm the chain.

GURPS Stats for the Chain

The chain is 70-point item of super-equipment, with the limitations Breakable (DR 20, HT 100/10) for -5%, Can Be Hit (-4) for -15%, Can Be Stolen (contest of ST, immediately useable), for -30%, and Unique for -25%. Total: -75% It takes 10 points to break the chain, but the larger part still works with temporarily reduced ranges for Strike/Whip. 100 points is required to "kill" the chain. "Strike" (Generic Crushing Missile-16(10), Reduced Range -13% (Range 35 yards), No Knockback When Combined With Bind -5%, No Half-Damage range +15%, Link +10% with Bind. Note: both this and the Whip power require a Ready instead of a Concentrate before use.

"Whip" (Bind-16(10), Cannot Bind, Strike, or release the chain until Victim is released -30%, Link +10% to Generic Crushing Missile, Reduced Range -13% (as per Strike), Increased Duration +30%. The bind may be layered by looping the chain, but Nyekundu must step toward the victim once per each additional layer.

Shield (DR 41, Requires Ready Manuever -10%, Wall (only 3 hexes wide) +15%, Requires Continual Concentration -20%, Penetration Unreadies -20%.

Regeneration (Gadget, not user) 1 HT per hour.

Nyekundu's Attributes: ST:70 DX:12 IQ:12 HT:13/20

Nyekundu's Advantages, Disadvantages, and Quirks

The Chain (see above), Charisma +2, Comfortable (x2 Wealth), Damage Resistance 20, Handsome (+2/+4 reaction), I.S.T. Member, Military Rank 7 (Colonel), Pacifism: Cannot Kill or Harm Innocents, Type II Luck (5 dice retroactive).

Politely ignores S&M jokes; Graceful, patient, and extremely tolerant; Curses softly in Swahili if frustrated (it happens only in extreme circumstances; friends know this as a definite "danger sign." He got it from his grandfater); Prefers ANY restaurant to "eating in;" Intends to discover the origin of the chain.

Nyekundu's Skills

Acrobatics-12, Admin-13, Area Knowledge (Australia)-12, Area Knowledge (Mexico)-12, Area Knowledge (Mexico City)-13, Bard-10, Comp Op/TL 8-12, Diplomacy-13, Fast-Talk-11, History (U.N. International)-11 Hobby (Oscar Wilde Trivia)-12, Karate-13, Language (English, Native)-12, Language (Spanish)-12, Language (Swahili)-12, Strategy-11, Swimming-11, Tactics-14, Whip-13.

A Few Useful Notes

Chain has a Thrust of 8d and a swing of 10d, which translates into 6d+7 and 6d+14, for convenience.

If The Chain is Stolen or Borrowed: The power of the Bind is equal to the user's (Will-2). The chain does swing crushing damage, and it's maximum range is equal to ST/2. There is no 1/2D range for any user. SS 12 and Acc 1. ST required to use it is 16 due to it's mass. Readying time for the chain is not affected by ST. This means that a normal man couldn't do much with it, but a ST 200 villain would use it MUCH more effectively than Nyekundu can - and could take it from him easily.

Campaign/Context Notes

Chain was created for a GURPS I.S.T campaign with 500-point supers + 100 "free" points to pay for the full requirements for the I.S.T. None of the players brought in super-normals, so there was no Unusual Background cost.

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