By Michael Walton
James Walker wrote:
> care to whip up some vessel descriptions for Technologists using
> cephalopod Vessel to construct Vappy's latest Super Weapon?
Here's what I can do off the top of my head.
- Highly complex central nervous system incorporating
both an incredibly acute sense of touch, independently
controlled suckers on each tentacle and the second best
all-around optical system in the animal kingdom -- the best
all-around being that of Humans (suggested game mechanic:
bonuses to either the Attribute ratings or rolls involving
Perception or Precision; +2-3 sounds right to me).
- Octopi have poisonous bites, but not all of them have
venom that is dangerous to Humans. The venom is corrosive;
it doubles as a digestive enzyme. Their method of eating
is actually quite similar to that of spiders (suggested
game mechanic: victim of an octopus bite takes an
additional Body Hit every turn for a number of turns equal
to the CD of the successful attack roll, but only if the
target is of a species that is susceptible to the venom).
- Cephalopods -- especially octopi -- have soft,
compressible bodies. The smaller ones can squeeze
themselves through a hole the size of a quarter; any of
them can fit through a hole half the diameter of its head.
- Cephalopods convert food into body mass more
efficiently than almost any other animals -- some have food
conversion rates of up to 80%! A well-fed cephalopod can
regenerate lost limbs, and they probably heal lesser wounds
very quickly (suggested game mechanic: cephalopods heal at
twice the normal healing rate unless they are currently
regrowing a limb, in which case they heal at the normal
rate; reducing the animal's food supply can negate this
ability, and Celestials in cephalopod Vessels have to eat
in order to benefit from it).
- Specialized skin cells called chromatophores give them
innate color changing ability. Some species (mostly
octopi) also have specialized muscles which allow them to
alter skin texture as well. Certain deep-water species
have photophores (cells that emit light). Cuttlefish have
so much control over their color changes that they can
flash hypnotic patterns across their skin -- they appear to
use this to mesmerize prey. Cephalopod color changing has
been observed as camouflage, but they may also use it for
communication (suggested game mechanic: +3 to TN of stealth
rolls, and may use color changes as a form of extremely
rapid silent speech; Celestials in cuttlefish Vessels may
get a +1 to the TN of Hypnosis rolls).
- As invertebrates, cephalopods have no bones and thus
less leverage for their muscles. They tend to be weaker
than vertebrates of similar body weight (suggested game
mechanic: maximum Strength = 7 as opposed to the 10 that
Humans get, and smaller species don't even get that; Giant
Squid might max at 10).
- Cephalopod blood pigment is based on copper rather
than iron. Because hemocyanin is less efficient than
hemoglobin at carrying oxygen, cephalopods tire quickly
from exertion -- they can exert themselves just as
strenously as creatures with iron-based blood, but can't
keep it up for as long.
Note that all cephalopods are carnivores; most are
scavengers, but some are predators and can be very
aggressive. Here are suggested stats for a couple of
species (those marked with [*] indicate Attributes bought
up independently of Forces):
The most frequently seen cephalopod. They grow to have
arms spans of up to 8' and will confront Humans if their
territory is invaded. These extremely clever animals have
been known to escape from aquariums and fishing nets.
CorF: 2 (Str 4, Agi 4)
EthF: 1 (Int 2, Per 5)*
CelF: 1 (Per 5, Will 1)*
These animals are about 10' long when full grown. They
are among the most aggressive of squids and have been known
to attack Humans.
CorF: 3 (Str 7, Agi 5)
EthF: 1 (Int 1, Pre 5)*
CelF: 1 (Per 3, Will 2)*
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