by Davide Amato
Art by Christopher Shy
These creatures are evolved dinosaurs, distant cousins of the Reptile Men (see GURPS Fantasy). They look like graceful, slender, two-legged, man-sized reptiles. When fully clothed, one of them could pass for a slim human if he does not speak and covers his face. They are omnivorous egg layers, warm-blooded, with light green or yellow scales. Their faces are like lizards'. They do not have claws, fangs or a ferocious appearance, so humanoid beings tend not to react at the -3 penalty that Reptile Men receive.
The race has a peculiar advantage called "Fast evolver." Over the course of few generations the race can develop useful physical or mental traits, adapting to their environment with amazing speed. In game terms, assume that during character creation a Reptilian can spend about 20 points in any racial Advantage/Disadvantage allowed to Earth-like creatures (See GURPS Aliens).
These advantages are normally linked to some physical disadvantage and some skills, and given in an "Evolver module." The skills are only a product of education, but the disadvantages are part of the physical structure of the subrace, so nothing short of TL9 bioengineering can change this. Note that two Reptilians having different "Modules" can mate, but fertility will be greatly diminished. The offspring will never mix modules, but instead only take the mother's or father's module.
The Fast Evolver is a "special effect", and the race does not have any peculiar characteristic, so the racial cost is zero. Note that a race so perfectly tailored for survival would quickly spread all over an Earth-Like world, unless confined by natural or artificial barriers. They can live comfortably in any natural environment, so they are unlikely to develop a technology past TL1. They simply do not need it.
Some advantages and disadvantages have been taken from the GURPS Aliens book, but they are fully described here, so that book is not required.
Some campaign hooks:
- The PCs are human settlers; the Reptilian Race are less-human natives.
- The PCs are fierce Reptilian Race natives, with low-TL, against human invaders with 1 or 2 TL over the natives.
- An adventure or campaign could focus around Reptilian Rune-Casters vs. Human mages.
Here are some Evolver modules.
The subrace is very well adapted to the life on tops of trees or in dangerous mountain peaks.
Module Cost: 17 points
- Individuals have suction cups on fingers, toes, knees, and elbows, allowing them to walk over walls and ceilings at half Move. An individual can stop at any point and stick to the surface without risk of falling. If an individual is falling and tries to grab a wall that's within reach, he must first make a DX and then a ST roll, the ST roll made at -1 for every 5 yards fallen. If the ST roll is failed, 5 yards are subtracted from the distance fallen.
- Individuals spend much time killing things with thrown weapons, so they learn Throwing at DX.
- Individuals spend nearly every waking moment doing acrobatic feats, so they will know Acrobatics at DX+1.
- The subrace has a light physical structure. Treat this as the Skinny disadvantage.
- To make themselves lighter and more agile, this subrace developed hollow, light bones. This will result in individuals taking double damage from crushing attacks (and falls!).
Summary: Clinging, Throwing at DX, Acrobatics at DX+1, Skinny, Fragile
How to use: Very good at hunting and ambushing. Perfect for swashbuckling warriors.
Night Predator Module
This subrace is very adapted to night hunting, and can function well even in daylight.
Module Cost: 16 points
- Infrared Vision: This subrace can see only the infrared portion of the spectrum, like the creature in the movie Predator. In game terms assume that they can see normally in daylight and in darkness, and that when fighting in darkness they suffer only a -1 by looking at the heat emissions of the foe (assuming that foe emits heat, of course).
- Infrared Vision has no sense of color. Treat this as the Color Blindness Disadvantage.
- Night Predators are good trackers, knowing Tracking at IQ, with a +2 bonus if the trail is less than an hour old (Tracking by heat emissions), but with a -1 for older tracks (because of the Color Blindness).
- Individuals are very trained at stalking silently at prey, and as a result gain Stealth at DX.
- The physical structure of the race is very well built to prowl silently in darkness. They get a +2 to Stealth if motionless, or a +1 if moving, but only when being seen is not a factor (in total darkness, for example, or against a blind creature).
- The subrace has an highly developed hearing sense. Give them a +1 to Hearing rolls.
Summary: Infravision, Color Blindness, Tracking at IQ, Stealth at DX, Silence 1, Acute Hearing +1
How to use: Perfect assassins and thieves. Combined with a cowardly personality, they make excellent villains. Give them Night-Only Magery (GURPS Magic) and they will be perfect!
The subrace can blend into its surroundings and become noiseless.
Module Cost: 14 points
- Individuals can change their skin colors, blending into the surroundings. They get a +4 to Stealth, but only when perfectly still; moving will forfeit this bonus. Note that the +4 bonus will apply only against those relying on sight to track.
- Chameleons can become totally noiseless. They get a +2 to Stealth, but only when perfectly still. Moving will forfeit the bonus. Note that the +2 bonus will apply only against those relying on hearing to track.
- Against normal chasers the bonuses mentioned above will add, giving a +6 to Stealth.
- Individuals are highly trained in stealthy movement, even without their special bonuses. They gain the Stealth skill at DX.
Summary: Chameleon 2 and Silence 1 (modified), Stealth at DX
How to use: Patient stalkers, quiet and very deadly. Give them an introvert personality, a strong willpower, and some light weapon skill, and they will become the ultimate killers
This subrace is lightly armored and very adapted to underwater activity.
Module Cost: 18 points
- Crocodiles have bony plates on their whole body (except for the eyes), giving them no inherit PD, but DR2.
- Given one second to fill their lungs, individuals can hold their breath for several minutes, even when fighting or doing very active movement. It will cost 4 fatigue for the first minute, and 2 each minute thereafter.
- Because of their build, they face a problem when walking; their walking Speed is reduced by 1.
- They spend much of their time swimming; as a result, give them Swimming at DX+2.
Summary: Damage Resistance, Reduced Move, Hold Breath, Swimming at DX+2. (The Hold Breath effect is taken from the GURPS Grimoire and implemented using the Knack Rule.)
How to use: They have an advantage in their home, and do not want to lose it. They can be effective villains and good ambushers.
The subrace is like a tank: slow but very well armored.
Module Cost: 19 points Summary: Body of Stone x4, Reduced Move How to use it: They are not warriors; a slow warrior is a dead warrior. They will be calm, strong-willed and self-confident. They do not seek fights, but give a good beating to any would-be attacker.
- Ankylosaurus members of the Reptilian Race are heavily armored by bone plates, giving them PD1, DR2 on their whole body (even their eyes).
- Because of the bony plates, their bare-handed attacks will do +2 damage.
- These plates also increase their mass. Their body weight is increased 10%; this will count as encumbrance, except when swimming.
- Move is reduced by 20%, then further reduced by 1.
Animal Shaman Module
This is the only module that can be combined with others. This represents the "Shaman," who talks with the spirit's World, as opposed to the classical Magician. It is strongly recommended this module be used instead of the standard Magery Advantage.
Module Cost: 14 points
- Magery 1
- Animal Empathy
- Magic Susceptibility 2 (GURPS Grimoire: The opposite of Magic Resistance. Does not interfere with spellcasting)
Summary: Magery 1, Animal Empathy, Magic Susceptibility 2
How to use: It could be used by adding Magery 2 or 3 for a spell-based mage, or used as it is for a Rune Mage.
Hypnotic Eyes Module
This subrace developed an useful natural attack: a peculiar eye movement capable of hypnotizing the unwary.
Module Cost: 10 points
- Their primary attack is their hypnosis, giving them Hypnosis at IQ+5.
- Their acute vision provides them with the advantage of Telescopic Vision 2.
- Their sensitive eyes are also vulnerable to attack. As such, all damage done to the eyes is doubled.
Summary: Hypnotism at IQ+5, Telescopic Vision 2, Weakness
How to use: This module requires cunning. The Hypnosis skill is useful, but only against one enemy at a time, and if it fails there will be some quick escaping to do. Note that this module will become useless in a culture where the Hypnosis skill is known and taught.
Article publication date: June 9, 2000
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