This article originally appeared in Pyramid #15
A Roleplaying Adventure for GURPS
By Stephen Dedman
IntroductionTime of the Tyrants" is an adventure for GURPS Cliff Hangers , but it can easily be adapted for a variety of settings, from the old west to the present day. Because of the elements involved, GURPS Time Travel and the new GURPS Dinosaurs will also be necessary.
The PCs should have a range of talents. An ideal group might include a paleontologist, a big game hunter, an explorer, a mercenary, and a skeptical reporter. In a Cliffhangers setting, many of these individuals might be unemployed and ready to step into a possible time machine for a few samoleons; Atomic Horror or modern-day PCs might be employed by the TSF or motivated by curiosity, patriotism or overconfidence. "Time of the Tyrants" might also be used as for an episode in an "In the Cube" or "Infinite Worlds" campaign (see GURPS Time Travel). Useful skills include Zoology (Specialization: Paleozoology); Survival (Forest); Camouflage; Stealth; Guns; Tracking; Anthropology; Animal Handling; Fast-Talk; Driving; and Pilot. Cowardice, entomophobia and ophiophobia are not recommended.
The adventure begins with each PC receiving a telegram offering them "a job ideally suited to your particular talents and training," from William Mowat, noted producer of documentary films. Mowat shows the PCs photos of what seem to be late Cretaceous dinosaurs, some shot from a fixed camera position, some from the air - including shots of whole herds of Triceratops. He explains that the film comes from a Dr. David Katz, an astronomer who claims to have built a time machine. The wheelchair-bound Katz is unable to travel in the machine himself, and is seeking volunteers to make a trip back to the Cretaceous. Mowat has had the film examined by Hollywood special effects experts, who are unable to declare the film either real or fake.
Katz will show Mowat and the PCs his "time machine" - a control room which stays in the present, and three vehicles that can be sent into the past. One is roughly breadbox-sized, designed to be carried by a weather balloon and take photos at three-minute intervals, light permitting; one is similar, but has a tripod instead of the balloon; and the third, Prometheus, an eight-foot sphere mounted on three spring-loaded legs. Prometheus, Katz explains, can carry 1,500 lbs., holds up to eight people, and has a manual control - a lever which will instantly return the capsule and its contents to the present. Unfortunately, Katz explains, the capsule's destination can not be determined or controlled precisely; the margin of error is approximately 600 years, so that anything (or anyone) left behind is probably lost forever. Katz also refuses to send anything back less than a million years, for fear of changing human history, and chose the late Cretaceous as a safe and interesting destination.
Katz offers the PCs the equivalent of their month's salary for 24 hours of risk; Mowat offers them fame.
Equipping the Party
Though a pacifist, Katz won't let the party go without at least one high-powered rifle - an H&H Express or .470 Nitro would be appropriate for the '20s or '30s, an assault rifle (AK-47 or FN-FAL) any time after 1950. If none of the PCs has such a weapon, Katz will pay for it himself. He'll also insist on the group taking a tape recorder, movie camera, and at least two 35mm still cameras, and on everyone carrying a large knife. Katz will supply all of the outdoor equipment that the capsule can hold and the PCs are willing to carry, but if they want more guns, they'll have to buy them with their own money.
First ContactThe PCs' first view of the Cretaceous will be of a small clearing in a thick forest, lit only by a crescent moon. A glance at the constellations and a successful roll on Navigation or Astronomy will reveal that they are in the northern hemisphere. A roll on Botany or Naturalist -2 will identify the surrounding trees as screw pines, a type that existed from the Pennsylvanian to the present. Further examination will reveal flowering plants (Cretaceous or later) but no grasses, and cockroaches from 3 to 6 feet long. There is a thunderstorm approaching from the south, the occasional rustle of branches, frogs croaking, and a lot of insect noises, but no sign of any animals larger than the PCs themselves within sight of the capsule.
If the PCs leave Prometheus to explore the forest by night and make a successful Tracking roll, they will discover some fresh two-toed footprints, similar to those of an ostrich. A roll on Paleozoology will identify them as belonging to a small (roughly human-sized) carnivorous dinosaur. While the PCs are examining the prints, the troodons who made them will attack.
The troodons - a pack of seven - have Stealth-16, Night Vision, and enough cunning to take advantage of the thunderstorm; they will try to take the party by surprise. They have never seen humans moving about at night, and assume the PCs are large but harmless mammals. The troodons will retreat if they receive any wounds that bleed, but they will not be scared by fire, electric light, or the sound of shooting. If the PCs decide to stick close to the capsule until sunrise, the troodons will attack their camp instead, tearing their way into tents and stealing anything unfastened and small enough for them to carry away.
The troodons are the only dinosaurs the PCs will encounter in the forest that night, though they may see small mammals (opossums and shrews), snakes (non-venomous constrictors up to 40 feet long), and lizards. Flashlights will inevitably attract flying insects, some of them enormous.
The HerdShortly after sunrise, the PCs should find their way out of the forest and down to the nearby river. There, they will see a flock of pterodaustro standing and feeding in the nearby shallows, and a huge crowd of triceratops and parasaurolophus lined up on the other bank, intently drinking. The river is approximately 20 feet across, 7 feet deep at its deepest, and contains nothing worse than a few leeches. The ground on either bank is swampy and riddled with twisted roots (very bad terrain). Twelve to 15 feet from the water, the ground becomes slightly smoother and drier (bad terrain).
Occasionally, a parasaurolophus will look up and around, like a sentry. If the PCs remain unobtrusive (roll Stealth +5), they will have 1d+1 minutes to observe and photograph the herbivores before the wind changes direction, enabling the parasaurolophus to smell them. When that happens, or if the PCs do something likely to startle the dinosaurs - jumping into the river, taking a flash photograph, firing a gun, etc. - the male parasaurolophus will begin to bellow lowly and slowly wave their brightly colored tails in the air, the pterodaustro will fly away, and all the female and juvenile dinosaurs will back away from the river and start running. The male parasaurolophus will soon follow, and then the male triceratops will retreat and rejoin the herd as it thunders away along the riverbank.
If the PCs follow the dinosaurs, they will see an open all-terrain vehicle approaching the herds from the rear. When it is approximately 100 yards behind the largest male, and 300 yards from the PCs, the ATV will stop and the passenger will stand. A PC who rolls on vision (-6 without binoculars) will notice that the passenger - clad in jungle cammo - is aiming something that looks like a carbine gleaming with little lights.
The passenger - Graf Ohlendorf - takes three turns to aim before firing. His weapon, a TL10 dinosaur laser, does 26d impaling damage; if the PCs don't interfere, he will fell his quarry with one shot, and the herds will continue on their way over the rough ground. Ohlendorf will then sit down, and the ATV will drive up to the Triceratops. Ohlendorf will get out and admire the dead dinosaur, and the driver - Gunther - will attach a homing beacon to the corpse. Ohlendorf and Gunther will wait by the body until the Skytruck (see sidebar) arrives to collect it, and then drive away. If the PCs have not made their presence obvious by this time, Gunther may notice them (Sense roll 13 vs the lowest Stealth skill in the group) and point them out to Ohlendorf, who will then study them through his televiewer.
How Ohlendorf reacts to the PCs will depend on their appearance. His world is thoroughly Aryanized, thanks to bodysculpting and genetic engineering as well as the extermination camps of previous centuries; a completely Caucasian party will receive a good reaction (greeted with shouts and smiles), but anyone with dark skin or Asian features will immediately be fired on. Fortunately, his first shot will miss, blasting a tree; after that, the PCs will have to fend for themselves.
If the PCs cross the river, Ohlendorf will want to take at least one of them back to Camp Mengele as a curio - preferably the most attractive female and/or the most distinctive male, and preferably alive. If the PCs refuse to cooperate, Ohlendorf will use his Gauss needler (rather than his dinosaur laser) to "persuade" them. The first two needles in the clip are tracers; they do no damage, but transmit a homing signal detectable within ten miles.
If it is necessary to rescue the PCs, have the herds run into a pair of T. rex and stampede back towards the ATV, persuading Ohlendorf and Gunther to abandon their trophies and drive away hurriedly.
Marooned!When the PCs return to Prometheus, they will see that the skytruck (piloted by Koch) has reached it first and is raising Prometheus with its tractor beam as it did the Triceratops. The landing legs are approximately 10 feet from the ground; an unencumbered person 5"8'+ in height with ST or Jumping skill of 13+ will have one chance to grab one with a running high jump and a DX roll. Prometheus is being lifted at 13 feet per second towards the skytruck, 260 feet above.
The flight back to Camp Mengele takes 12 minutes (56 miles at 280 mph). A person holding on to one of Prometheus' legs will have to roll on (ST-Enc level) every (ST-Enc level) minutes not to fall off. The skytruck will fly at least 30 feet above the treetops, or 90 feet above the ground; a merciful GM might put a swamp, lake or alamosaurus underneath any PC who lets go. PCs holding onto Prometheus' legs cannot climb into the skytruck itself, but they may be able to climb into Prometheus. The door is accessible from two of the three legs; a roll on Climbing or Acrobatics is needed to move from one leg to another, open the door, or enter the capsule.
TrophiesThe fate of any PCs taken to Camp Mengele (either by Ohlendorf or with Prometheus) will depend on Koch's reaction to them as individuals. A neutral or worse reaction will result in an interrogation lasting 1d+3 hours (involving threats on a poor or bad reaction, torture on a very bad or worse reaction). On a good or very good reaction, Koch will conduct a somewhat friendly questioning for one hour.
Make another reaction roll at the end of the interrogation. On a poor to good reaction, Koch will lock the PCs in an upstairs room after the interrogation, while he consults his superiors (this room will be monitored, and anything the PCs say will be recorded): he will also permit Schneider to administer any necessary medical care. On a bad or worse reaction, medical care will not be permitted; if the PC was unwounded before the interrogation, Koch will inflict some minor damage (such as a crippled off hand). Any PC who gets a very good or better reaction will be given some freedom to explore the compound with one of the Neanderthals as guards; only Prometheus, the vehicles, the basement and the outside will be off-limits.
If the PCs are confined to a room, they will be helped to escape if any of them get a good or better reaction from Schneider. If all of the PCs and Prometheus are inside Camp Mengele, the only thing preventing their escape is the deinonychus guarding Prometheus: the only weapon Schneider can give them is a monowire survival knife. If some of the PCs are still outside the camp, those inside will have to decide whether to abandon them (in the faint hope of being able to return to that time and place) or leave Prometheus and go hunting for them.
If Schneider releases the PCs, he will explain that all the weapons at Camp Mengele have transceivers built in, and the best way to send Koch off on a false trail is to stick the knife into a dinosaur going in the other direction. He will also give them a quick explanation of the security system at Camp Mengele, stressing that it won't be safe to return unless Koch is dead.
If Schneider doesn't (or can't) help the PCs, their best hope will be to enlist the aid of the Neanderthals. Sex-Appeal and Gesture will be at -2 because of cultural differences, and Fast-Talk will only be possible if the fast-talker also makes a roll on German language skill. When Koch discovers that the PCs have escaped, he and Ohlendorf will arm themselves, take an ATV and a male Neanderthal each (Koch will also take a deinonychus), and hunt them down. If none of the PCs are captured initially, Koch will examine Prometheus and begin a search for its owner(s), taking any captives to Camp Mengele for interrogation, etc., as above.
A Brother to DragonsPCs not taken to Camp Mengele will have to get there under their own power, to recover Prometheus and possibly to rejoin the rest of the party. The easiest way of finding the camp is to follow the ATV tracks: Tracking +10, down to +5 after 24 hours, then -2 for every day that passes (see p. B57. For faster play, roll every hour instead of every five minutes; non-critical failure means an extra hour of searching.) Camp Mengele is 60 miles from the herd by land. Roll 1d for every hour of travel; 1-2 is very bad terrain (or bad with rain), 3-5 bad, 6 average. The trip will probably take 3-4 days; survival rolls will be necessary, and encounters with dinosaurs and other creatures inevitable. Use any or all of the following incidents:
A dimwitted male stegoceras mistakes a tall PC for a rival male, and charges at him. Only his head and legs can be targeted. Running away may result in the PC(s) being trampled.
The ATV tracks lead into the middle of a herd of browsing ceratopsians. The PCs have a choice of waiting for the herd to move on (1d-1 hours), or trying to walk around them without startling any (Contest of lowest Stealth skill vs. a collective sense roll of 14). This will be made more difficult when flying insects, disturbed by the herbivores, start biting the PCs: Will rolls will be needed to avoid crying out.
The group is followed by a pack of dromaeosaurs or other man-sized predators (two dinosaurs per PC). The dinosaurs are more curious than hungry, but after a few minutes (during which they may be detected by the PCs; contest of their Stealth vs. the PCs' senses), they will begin moving in to surround the adventurers, leaving only one exit. If the PCs run, the predators will chase the slowest; if the PCs hold their ground, the dinosaurs will lose interest and go after other prey. The pack will attack if the PCs wound any member, but flee if any of their number is killed.
A Mother to Dragons:
The party passes by an abandoned nest as the eggs start hatching. A hatchling mistakes one of the PCs for his mother, and follows him everywhere, crying loudly when left behind. The hatchling may be anything from a hadrosaur to a utahraptor or tyrannosaurus,
A dead or dying dinosaur attracts scavengers - first 1d-2 Quetzalcoatlus, then a pack of small carnosaurs, then 1d-3 large carnosaurs (Albertosaurus or Tyrannosaurus). The PCs will be near the bottom of the pecking order, and may be pecked very hard indeed. This scenario is very likely if the PCs kill or wound any large dinosaurs.
Do Not Disturb:
While trying to hide from Koch, the PCs discover a cave with a small entrance. Unfortunately, the cave is easier to enter than to leave (though the thick layer of guano at the bottom should break anyone's fall), and there's a horde of irritable Sordes clinging to the ceiling. PCs fleeing Koch should rejoin the rest of the party before meeting him. They should also encounter more dinosaurs: e.g. a herd of herbivores obscuring their tracks, or an alamosaur eating a tree in which a PC is trying to hide. Ohlendorf should find at least some of the of PCs before Koch does, and before they reach Camp Mengele - perhaps by blundering into a trap the PCs have set. Taking his weapons or his ATV will make it much easier for Koch to track them, but it will also make the inevitable fight less one-sided. The climax of the adventure should be the battle with Koch and his trained deinonychus. If Koch is winning, have a hard-to-kill carnosaur come running towards him, drawing his fire. Once Koch is dead or incapacitated, the PCs can return to Camp Mengele and Prometheus safely; if they return to Camp Mengele while Koch is still alive, he and the surviving Neanderthals will be waiting in ambush.
Camp MengeleCamp Mengele sits atop a gently sloping hill, and the ground for 10 yards around has been cleared of any plants more than 9 feet high. The camp is surrounded by a 30-foot high, 2-foot thick wall, topped by pestguards every six yards and a turret-mounted Gatling laser at each corner. The only gateway is 24 feet wide, but only 10 feet high - low enough to deter most large dinosaurs from entering if the gate is left open. The cleared area (including the dead-straight unpaved roadway down to the plain) is bioscanned; anything weighing more than 100 lbs. entering this area will be detected.
The pestguards (p. UT 61-62) emit ultrasonic waves which repel insects and other IQ 1 creatures, and can be reset to induce terror in animals. At this higher setting, any animal with an IQ of 2 or less is repelled automatically; others must make a Will roll each (3 seconds x IQ) to stay within 6 hexes of the sound (+1 for every 50 ST).
The Gatling lasers are controlled from the main building, and cannot be turned to fire at anything inside the compound. They do 20d impaling damage; SS 10; ACC 20; 1/2D 4000; Max 12,000; RoF 4; Rcl 0.
The computer-controlled security system is designed to cope with dinosaurs, not humans. If the PCs approach the walls on foot, the computer will merely reset the pestguards; only if they remain in the cleared area for more than three minutes will Koch be alerted.
The walls are DR 9, HT 400; the inch-thick doors slide down, guillotine-style, to close (5d crushing). The doors are transparent plasteel (DR 9, HT 60) with red diagonal stripes, and computer-controlled: the inner door will not open unless the outer is shut, and vice versa. Power comes from solar panels on the roof and power cells in the basement. The outer door will open automatically for an approaching ATV on autopilot, unless the base is on red alert.
The compound contains the Skytruck, three ATVs, Prometheus, a rifle range, and some garden furniture.
Map Key:G1: Foyer and bar. The walls are decorated with holographs of dinosaurs and the heads of Koch's kills (ceratopsians, carnosaurs, brontotheres, mammoths, sabertooths, and some obviously alien creatures). Most of the furniture is upholstered with leather or fur from extinct species (standard for ground floor and top floor). The bar is well-stocked with cocaine and some ultra-tech recreational drugs as well as alcohol. The bookshelf is packed with holographic promo magazines for Time Tours, which includes information on how the Reich flourished in the 20th century - invaluable for anyone who wishes to prevent this from happening.
C: Corridor. Walls decorated with more holographs and (smaller) animal heads.
G2: Restaurant. Similar decor to the foyer, but less well lit (-2 to vision).
G3: Kitchen. Largely automated, but it includes a work-space for Helga or anyone else who wishes to prepare their own food, with a drawer full of monowire-edged knives.
G4:Office. Contains a mini-computer desk and three chairs. The floor safe (security 3) contains a Gauss needler, back-up disks, and Koch's most valued heirloom: a hardcover history of both world wars, signed by Hitler and Goering. Security 2.
G5:Koch's quarters. Contains a bed, a closet, a holocom, a bookshelf full of data discs, and assorted trophies. The closet contains a dinosaur laser, a military laser rifle, two exploration suits, two survival knives, a suit of reflec, an armory repair kit, and spare power cells and ammo for his weapons. Security 2.
G6: Armory. Contains more weapons than the PCs could ever need. Security 3.
G7: Schneider's quarters. Contains a bed, a closet, a bookshelf full of data discs (mostly medical and biology texts), a holocom, computer peripherals, and no trophies. The closet contains a dinosaur laser, an exploration suit, a survival knife, and a TL10 emergency medkit. Security 2.
D: Drop tube, roof to basement. Takes anything up to 1 ton down at 3 seconds per floor. PCs will have to make a DX roll to get off at the appropriate floor (floor is padded). Agoraphobes will have to make a Will roll to use, and a Fright check.
L: Lift tube, basement to roof. Takes anything up to 1 ton up at 4 seconds per floor. PCs will have to make a DX roll to get off at the appropriate floor (ceiling is padded).
B1: Fusion reactor, and capacitors for the time portal. Security 3.
B2: Time Portal. Operating the portal should be a last resort; it is set for Koch's time, 240 years after the PCs left, and giving it new instructions requires rolls on German at -4. Worse still, it runs on "oscillating time" and has elaborate safe-guards programmed in to prevent anyone visiting historic times. It can take the PCs to similar hunting lodges in the Pleistocene, Miocene, Eocene and the early Jurassic; there will be similar NPCs and technology to deal with, but it will give them the advantage of surprise. Security 3.
B3:> Helga's room. The furniture consists of furs, a large soft bed, and a trunk full of Helga's clothes and possessions.
B4: Neanderthal "barracks." Contains four mattresses with sleeping furs, and four trunks full of clothes and survival equipment. The walls are decorated with holographs - headless shots of plump naked women taken from porno books, similar to Venus cult figures.
B5: Sick bay. Contains an automedic, a bed, and a locked cabinet full of TL10 medicine. Security 2.
T: Guest bedrooms. Each contains a large bed, a closet, and a holocom. The closet contains two exploration suits, plus any belongings of the guests. Security 1: these rooms can be locked from the outside to serve as (fairly comfortable) cells. Windows are DR 9, HT 20, and cannot be opened from inside.
Security: Security 1 rooms have voice-print scan-locks; doors are DR 6, HT 20. Security 2 rooms have genetic scan-locks; doors are DR 12, HT 40. Security 3 rooms have genetic scan-locks; doors are DR 16, HT 50.
All rooms contain computer-controlled concealed holocameras: weapon fire in Security 1 or 2 rooms will start a recording and sound an alarm, and any movement in Security 3 rooms will be recorded.
EpilogueOnce they have defeated Koch, the PCs can return to Camp Mengele. Schneider will let them in, if he's alive and they contact him; if not, they will have to climb the walls or persuade the Neanderthals who've been left in charge of the camp. Schneider will also give the PCs any needed medical care before packing them back into Prometheus. He won't allow them to take any TL7+ weapons or equipment, but he will give them Koch's history book and some magazines, and tell them about the millions dying in the interstellar war the Reich is fighting with some of its former colonies. He will also warn them that the government has plans to escape into the past if the war reaches Earth, and breed a new human race from perfect Aryan stock, 63 million years before the first hominids . . .
If the PCs manage to smuggle (Contest of Holdout skill vs Schneider's Vision rolls) any gadgets back to 1934, they will not be able to duplicate them at TL6: at best, a Gadgeteer will be able to recharge the power cells.
If Katz learns about Camp Mengele and the Reich, he will do his best to prevent any further time-travel and try to swear the PCs to secrecy, for fear of the Nazis building or stealing a time machine. Katz will also try to change history to prevent a Nazi victory - even, if possible, prevent or minimize World War II and the holocaust. However, he draws the line at providing the allies with ultra-tech weapons. The PCs will receive their money, but not fame: any dinosaur eggs, hatchlings, photos, or samples that they've brought back will be given to a zoologist friend of Katz' with a large private lab (from which the dinosaurs will eventually escape, of course, but that's another story). Katz will die less than a year later, bequeathing Prometheus and the control room to the PC to whom he had the best reaction.
Alternatively, Koch's successor may override the safeguards on the time portal, and come to 1934 hunting the PCs armed with ultra-tech weapons and trained dinosaurs: he might also try to change the course of history to ensure a Nazi victory by influencing German science, politics, or military intelligence.
If the Reich changes the course of evolution, the PCs may return to a very different world, indeed.
Adapting for Other Genres"Time of the Tyrants" assumes that the PCs, if they return to their own time alive, will be able to change the future for the better. In the case of Cliff Hangers PCs, this means preventing a Nazi victory. In an Atomic Horror adventure, the PCs may have to track down surviving Nazi masterminds in South America (or, if you prefer Russian villains, prevent Beria from succeeding Stalin). For any GM who wants to adapt the adventure for present-day or Cyberpunk PCs, genocidally-inclined organizations and politicians may be found in any newspaper.
Age 58; dark brown hair and beard turning grey; blue eyes; 5'7", 155 lbs.
Advantages: Gadgeteer; Intuition; Mathematical Ability; Wealth (Comfortable)
Disadvantages: Lame (Legless); Lecherousness; Overconfidence; Pacifism (total); Stubborn; Unattractive.
Reputation: +2 to scientists and economists (genius, always recognized); -1 to general public (pacifist, extreme liberal, etc.; rarely recognized); -2 to conservatives (rarely recognized).
Quirks: Vegetarian; Incompetence, Diplomacy (maximum skill 6); Loves monster movies.
Skills: Accounting-16; Anthropology-16; Archaeology-17; Astronomy/TL6-19; Bard-15; Chemistry/TL6-14; Cooking-15; Detect Lies-14; Economics-15; Electronics (Sensors)-18; Fast Talk-15; First Aid/TL6-11; History-14; Languages (Danish, English-17; German, Greek, Hebrew)-15; Linguistics-15; Literature-14; Mathematics-20; Merchant-17; Meteorology/TL6-15; Occultism-15; Physics-18; Research-18; Savoir-Faire-15; Scrounging-17; Streetwise-14; Theology-16; Zoology-14.
Katz, a Danish Jew who emigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1913, lost the use of his legs after a fall from the top of Yerkes Observatory. He is best known in scientific circles for his work on optical telescopes and camera lenses, in financial and mathematical circles for having predicted (and survived) the Wall Street crash, and in political and religious circles for his outspoken pacifism, left-wing sympathies, and disregard for conventional morality.
Graf Horst Ohlendorf
Age 44; Fair skin, red-blond hair, blue eyes; 6'1", 208 lbs
Speed 5.25, Move 3
Advantages: Status +4; Wealth (Wealthy)
Disadvantages: Bad Temper; Bloodlust; Bully; Gluttony; Overconfidence; Overweight; Stubbornness; Xenophobia.
Skills: Administration-11; Area Knowledge (Reich)-13; Beam Weapons/TL10 (Laser)-14; Brawling-12; Carousing-14; Diplomacy-10; Driving/TL10 (ATV)-11; First Aid/TL10-9; Fishing-11; Guns/TL10 (Needler)-13; Hobby (Heraldry)-11; Knife-12; Languages (German)-10; Leadership-11; Naturalist-9; Politics-12; Savoir-Faire-14; Stealth-9; Survival (Forest)-9; Swimming-9; Tracking-11.
Equipment: Dinosaur Laser; Monowire survival knife; Gauss Needler; Exploration suit; Televiewer; Wrist Computer.
Quirks: Collects weapons and hunting trophies; Distrusts women, especially his wife, and prefers to avoid them.
Ohlendorf spends most of his time mismanaging a vacc suit factory in 23rd-century St. Petersburg that he inherited from his father. During his visits to Camp Mengele, he loves playing the role of the Great White Hunter, and is patronizing (but generous) to everyone except Koch.
Neanderthal, early 20s, tanned skin, blond hair, brown eyes, powerfully built; 5'11'', 180 lbs.
Speed 6, Move 6.
Advantages: Alertness +2; Combat Reflexes; Toughness (DR 1); Strong Will +2.
Disadvantages: Duty (Camp Mengele, 15 or less); Illiterate; Manaphobia; Sense of Duty (Neanderthals); Unattractive (to modern humans; attractive to Neanderthals).
Quirks: Loves driving, hates flying; Always carries a weapon he's made himself; Homesick.
Skills: Animal Handling-12; Beam Weapon (Laser)-14; Bow and Palette-12; Club-13; Driving/TL10 (ATV)-13; Gesture-11; Guns (Needler)-13; Languages (German)-9, (Tribal)-10; Knife-13; Spear-14; Spear Throwing-15; Stealth-11; Stone Knapping-13; Survival (Forest)-14; Tracking-14.
Equipment: Dinosaur Laser; Monowire survival knife; Gauss Needler; Stone Knife; Exploration suit; Neanderthal jewelry.
Gunther was one of the best hunters in his tribe until "rescued" by Koch while they were both hunting the same mammoth. He has been working as a guide at Camp Mengele for five years, under the impression that it's some type of afterlife, and has a working knowledge of TL10 equipment but no real understanding of it. In most ways, he still thinks like a Neanderthal hunter, and a PC with a firm grounding in anthropology and psychology may be able to turn him against Ohlendorf.
Tanned; receding ash blond hair, blue eyes; 6'3", 170 lbs.
Basic Speed 6
Advantages: Absolute Direction; Acute Vision +2; Appearance (Handsome); Combat Reflexes; Fearlessness +2; High Pain Threshold; Military Rank 5; Night Vision; Strong Will +2.
Disadvantages: Bad Temper; Bloodlust; Intolerance; Sense of Duty (Reich).
Skills: Armory/TL10 (Beam Weapons)-12; Beam Weapons/TL10 (Laser)-17; Brawling-14; Camouflage-12; Carousing-15; Climbing-12; Cooking-12; Detect Lies-12; Driving (ATV)-13; Fast-Talk-12; First Aid/TL10-13; Fishing-13; Gesture-12; Guns/TL10 (Needler)-16; Holdout-13; Intelligence Analysis-11; Interrogation-13; Intimidation-14; Knife-14; Languages (German)-12, (Tribal)-10; Leadership-14; Judo-13; Mechanic/TL10 (ATV)-12; Naturalist-12; Navigation/TL10-13; Savoir-Faire-11; Scrounging-11; Speed-Load (Power Cell)-13; Stealth-13; Streetwise-10; Survival (Plains)-14, (other)-11; Swimming-12; Tracking-14; Traps/TL10-11.
Equipment: Military Dinosaur Laser; Military X-ray laser rifle; Gauss Needler; Monowire survival knife; Exploration suit; Televiewer; Wrist Computer.
Quirks: Loves hunting and war; Hates wearing a helmet; Megalomaniac and bully (only when drunk); Collects trophies.
Wolfgang Koch is a former SS colonel demoted and "banished" to the Cretaceous after sending his daughter's lover on a suicide mission. He treats his "banishment" as a holiday, and enjoys hob-nobbing with the wealthy and powerful who come to Camp Mengele. He detests Schneider, and usually ignores him.
Dr. Hans Schneider
Pale; wavy dark blond hair, blue eyes; 5'10", 150 lbs.
Basic Speed 5.75, Move 5
Advantages: Danger Sense; Empathy; Immunity to Disease; Language Talent +1; Rapid Healing.
Disadvantages: Code of Honor (Hippocratic Oath); Low Pain Threshold; Pacifism (Cannot Kill).
Quirks: Xenophile - loves strange places and people (especially women).
Skills: Anthropology-13; Beam Weapons/TL10 (Laser)-13; Botany-13; Ecology-13; Guns/TL10 (Needler)-13; Detect Lies-14; Diplomacy-13; Fast-Talk-13; Genetics-14; Languages (German)-17, (English, French, Russian, Spanish)-15; History-14; Linguistics-12; Physician/TL10-16; Piloting (Vertol)-13; Savoir-Faire-14; Sex-Appeal-13; Stealth-13; Streetwise-13; Surgery-15; Survival (Woodlands)-13; Zoology-15.
Schneider was banished to Camp Mengele after his C.O. was executed for giving medical care to the enemy; Schneider was suspected (and guilty) of complicity, but nothing was ever proven. He hates all SS officers, especially Koc If Katz learns about Camp Mengele and the Reich, he will do his best to prevent any further time-travel and try to swear the PCs to secrecy, for fear of the Nazis building or stealing a time machine. Katz will also try to change history to prevent a Nazi victory - even, if possible, prevent or minimize World War II and the holocaust. However, he draws the line at providing the allies with ultra-tech weapons. The PCs will receive their money, but not fame: any dinosaur eggs, hatchlings, photos, or samples that they've brought back will be given to a zoologist friend of Katz' with a large private lab (from which the dinosaurs will eventually escape, of course, but that's another story). Katz will die less than a year later, bequeathing Prometheus and the control room to the PC to whom he had the best reaction. Alternatively, Koch's successor may override the safeguards on the time portal, and come to 1934 hunting the PCs armed with ultra-tech weapons and trained dinosaurs: he might also try to change the course of history to ensure a Nazi victory by influencing German science, politics, or military intelligence. If the Reich changes the course of evolution, the PCs may return to a very different world, indeed.
Neanderthal, late teens, pale skin, platinum-blond hair, green eyes, skinny; 5'3'', 83 lbs.
Speed 5, Move 5
Disadvantages: Duty (Camp Mengele, 15 or less); Illiterate; Laziness; Skinny; Unattractive (to modern humans; ugly to Neanderthals).
Skills: Animal Handling-12; Bow and Palette-12; Cooking-14; Disguise (Animal Guise)-10; Fast-Talk-13; Gesture-12; Herbalist-13; Languages (German)-10, (Tribal)-11; Knife-13; Mimicry (Animal Sounds)-13, (Human Voices)-11; Naturalist-12; Sex-Appeal-8; Stealth-13; Stone Knapping-12; Sleight of Hand-12; Survival (Forest)-13; Theology (Rituals and Ceremonies)-13; Tracking-12.
Equipment: Small monowire knife; Dress (no PD or DR); Neanderthal jewelry.
Helga is a shaman's daughter from a tribe near Gunther's. Koch kidnapped her because she was, by his standards, the most attractive Neanderthal woman he'd seen - petite (apart from large breasts), long-legged, and fair. To Neanderthal males, however, she is unappealingly scrawny and pale. Helga is aware of this, but she also knows that she's the only Neanderthal woman the males are ever likely to see again, and enjoys playing the four against each other. Helga's tribal language defaults to the others at -2, and vice versa.
Fritz, Klaus and Helmut
Neanderthals, late teens, tanned skin, blond hair, brown eyes, powerfully built.
Speed 5.75, Move 5
Advantages: Alertness +2; Toughness (DR 1).
Disadvantages: Duty (Camp Mengele, 15 or less); Illiterate; Manaphobia; Sense of Duty (each other); Unattractive (to modern humans). Fritz has Overconfidence, Klaus, Impulsiveness, and Helmut, Gullibility.
Skills: Animal Handling-11; Beam Weapon (Laser)-13; Bow and Palette-10; Club-13; Driving/TL10 (ATV)-13; Gesture-11; Guns (Needler)-12; Languages (German)-9, (Tribal)-10; Knife-13; Spear-13; Spear Throwing-13; Stealth-11; Stone Knapping-12; Survival (Forest)-14; Tracking-13.
Equipment: Dinosaur Laser; Monowire survival knife; Gauss Needler; Exploration suit.
Like Gunther, these are Neanderthal hunters kidnapped by Koch. Being younger and less perceptive than Gunther, they are more easily intimidated (by Koch), manipulated (by Helga), or tricked (by Schneider or the PCs). Klaus and Fritz are brothers; Helmut, Helga's favorite, comes from the same region, but several centuries earlier.
ATVThis is a TL9/10 electric smartcar with off-road suspension. It has two roomy front seats with crashwebs, and two light rear seats which can fold to provide another 60 cubic feet and 300 lbs. of cargo capacity (total 872 lbs. and 76 cf). It is fitted with a midget computer, crashwebs (front seats only), communicator (1,000-mile range), and a convertible hardtop with solar panels. It can run for 11.4 hours on battery power, at a top speed of 120 mph. The solar panels can recharge an hour's power use in 21.3 hours, or enable it to crawl along at 15 mph. Its armor gives it PD 4, DR 10. The ATV's computer can drive the car, and respond to commands in German. It will ignore most orders in unfamiliar voices, but will always obey "Stop!Ó or "Home." The manual controls are simple: only -2 unfamiliarity penalty for any PC used to jeeps or ATVs.
SkytruckThis is a TL10/11 armored vertol fitted with a TL11 heavy tractor beam. It has eight seats and a 130 cf cargo bay, and is propelled by reactionless thrusters powered by a 2 MW fusion reactor. It is fitted with a midget computer, crashwebs (front seats only), communicator (1,000-mile range), and a multiscanner (5000-yard range). Its armor gives it PD 6, DR 50. It can travel at 420 mph with no cargo and the tractor off, 324 mph while carrying the un-aerodynamic Prometheus, or 283 mph with maximum load (a ten-ton dinosaur). The controls are very complex: -5 to Pilot (Helicopter) skill for a TL7 character, -7 to Pilot (Autogyro or Airship) for TL6.
Military Dinosaur Laser: Damage 26d Imp.; SS 16; Acc 12; 1Ú2D 4,000; Max 12,000; Wt 10; RoF 1/2; Shots 10/D; ST -; Rcl 0.
Military X-Ray Laser rifle: Damage 3d Imp.; SS 15; Acc 15; 1Ú2D 500; Max 2,000; Wt 9; RoF 8; Shots 140/D; ST -; Rcl 0.
Dinosaur Laser: Damage 26d Imp.; SS 16; Acc 12; 1Ú2D 4,000; Max 12,000; Wt 9; RoF 1/2; Shots 2C/2C; ST -; Rcl 0.
Monowire survival knife (p. UT58): thr+2 imp, sw+1d cut (max 2d+2). Any armor protects against cutting attacks with only half its normal DR. Hollow hilt contains an inertial compass and miniaturized TL10 survival equipment (GM's choice).
Exploration suit (p. UT81): PD 2, DR 5. Can be sealed against contamination or pollutants; camouflage pattern can be reset manually (5 seconds). 8 lbs.
Televiewer (p. UT33): Electronic binoculars, adjustable from 5$ to 50$; includes IR, and a range finder accurate to 5,000 yards. 1/2 lb.
Article publication date: October 1, 1995
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