The Son of Cheeroonear
An Adventure for GURPS
by Jeremy Davies
Part I, last week, gave the plot of the adventure. This week details the special items found in the cave, plus NPC and creature stats.
Albert Patrick Randolph
5'6", 150 lbs., sandy brown hair, pale sunburnt complexion, nervous gray eyes, haunted appearance.
ST 10, DX 11, IQ 12, HT 9
Speed 5 Move 5 Dodge 5
Advantages: Literacy, Appearance (Handsome), Danger Sense.
Disadvantages: Greed, Paranoia, Weak Will -2. Fanaticism (striking it rich with gold).
Quirks: Distrusts natives
Skills: Area Knowledge (Western Australia's' south east)-14, Riding (horse)-12, BP Weapons-13, Broadsword-11, First Aid/TL-13, Navigation/TL-14, Naturalist-14, Prospecting-15, Administration-14, Law-11, Leadership (default)-5, Diplomacy-12, Strategy-11.
Equipment: compass and sextant, diary
Albert was the fourth son of a well-to-do English gentleman. As such, he joined the army at the age of 17 with his father purchasing a commission for him. He was found to be far too nervous a man to lead troops, as well as being a born non-leader, so was soon shuffled out to India in a staff position in the field of Ordinance, where he was given an education in surveying.
After running up numerous gambling debts, Albert sold his commission and fled to Sydney Town, New South Wales. He eventually managed to secure a position as a surveyor's assistant in the far-flung colony of Western Australia, the only colony that still accepted convicts for labor. In his travels, he came across an aboriginal man who seemed to have a lump of gold attached to one of his "Indian artifacts." Although he was unable to get "any sense out of the chap," it started an obsession that soon replaced his gambling need.
Everywhere he went from that moment on, he would test for the likelihood of gold ore. He had only found a few small streaks until the "big one" he called Albert's Luck . . .
"Two Bob Snooze" Walter Trimble (Gnaragka Kamilaroi)
6'1", 155lbs, long black hair kept combed and tied back, dark brown eyes, dark brown skin, scar below left eye.
ST 12, DX 15, IQ 11, HT 13
Speed 7 Move 7 Dodge 8
Advantages: Literacy, Combat Reflexes, Appearance (Handsome), Alertness +2, Strong Will +2, Toughness DR1, Hard To Kill/1
Disadvantages: Flashbacks (abusive childhood -10), Jealousy, Bloodlust, Enemy (Colonial Government of New South Wales-wanted Dead or Alive) appears on 9 or less.
Quirks: dislikes native lifestyle, patterns himself after American dime novel gunslingers, enjoys writing verses about his own exploits
Skills: Riding (horse)-16, Poetry (western culture)-12, Running-16, Throwing-16, Swimming-14, Brawling-16, Fast Draw (Pistol)-19, Guns (Pistol)/TL5-19, Guns (Rifle)/TL5-19, Knife-15, First Aid/TL5-11, Naturalist-13, Tracking-13, Climbing-15, Navigation/TL5-12, Theology(Christian)-10, Area Knowledge (Eastern Australia)-13, (South/West Australia)-11, Carousing-14, Gambling-14, Savoir-Faire-12, Shadowing-14, Stealth-14.
Equipment: Two English Deane-Harding .45 double action five shot percussion revolvers. 1860 Spencer .50 repeating rifle
Gnaragka was born in the colony of New South Wales to a tribe of the Kamilaroi in 1838. He lived among his people for one day of his life, before his family was killed in a reprisal attack to avenge the spearing of some settlers north of Port Macquarie. He was left to die beside the body of his mother.
Two days later, he was discovered by Henry Trimble, a nearby settler. He was brought home to his wife, who had a three month old baby still at the breast. The Trimbles unofficially adopted him and named him Walter.
At the age of 6, the meager Trimble farmhouse was set alight; Walter was the only survivor of the blaze. A group of "blacks" were blamed for the attack, and Walter was sent to live with his Uncle at Port Macquarie. The Uncle was a terrible man who subjected all the children in his care to vicious and despicable abuse. Walter is afflicted with debilitating flashbacks of this traumatic period of his life.
Walter became a New South Wales native policeman in 1856. He was well-liked by his commanders, being a "killer of aborigine without tire or remorse." His command of the English language soon saw him as a respected sergeant. Respected for a "savage" that is . . .
In 1859, Walter shot three white men dead at the Red Inn in Newcastle. He had overheard them discussing a certain burning of a farmstead 15 years earlier that they had been a part of. Walter turned to bushranging, often killing his victims at the slightest aggravation. A newspaperman dubbed him Two Bob Snooze, ostensibly due to the presumption that he would "put his own grandmother to sleep for two bob." The name began to appear on the wanted posters, which appealed to Walter's vanity. It made him sound like an American gunman.
In 1860, the east coast became too hot for Two Bob. After a very near-miss in Golbourn, he headed west on a fishing boat. He spent some time in South Australia, but soon wound up in Fremantle.
Bishop t'bakka/Guayyanya Ngadjunma
5'7", 114 lbs., short gray mangy hair, regularly scrubbed with mud and wet sand, dark brown skin, wrinkled with age and covered in ritual scars, thoughtful brown eyes, gray beard of various lengths.
ST 9, DX 12, IQ 14, HT 11
Speed 5.75 Move 5 Dodge 5
Advantages: Native Land Affinity (+5 to all dice rolls in Ngadjunma tribal area)
Disadvantages: Addiction (pipe tobacco)
Quirks: laughs a lot while speaking
Skills: Area Knowledge (Western Australia's' south east)-14, Navigation/TL-14, Naturalist-14, Stealth-14, English-7
Equipment: tribal law stones, bone pieces, spear
Guayyanya was born over sixty years ago to the Ngadjunma tribe on a yearly corroborree day of some significance. On the night of his birth, two magpies landed beside his mother and cawed together in the night. This was seen as very significant; Guayyanya was destined for some form of greatness.
He became a clever man quite young due to the help of the spiritual presence of the legendary Winjarning brothers. It was thought he was going to be the one who would slay the terrible beast, Cheeroonear ha, that had begun to plague the Nullabor tribes. It was not to be.
Guayyanya was chosen to greet the champions that would kill the beast, so he left his wives, children, and tribe, and lived a solitary life at Three Rock Spur, which became the seal town of Esperance in the 1840s. He thought that these white men, with no Dreaming to speak of, were the ones, but he could convince none of them to accompany him inland. Despair loomed upon him. The spirits of the Brothers would no longer some to him. But still he waited. He trusted in the spirits.
Over the years of isolation, Bishop t'bakka, as the whalers came to call him, has become a little strange. He is barely in touch with reality anymore. He learned some English from the whalers, but he has trouble using it, since he is so out of practice. He has been looking forward to the day when the champions would arrive and he can return to his people to finish his time here, to become his Dreaming. His excitement will be obvious even to a fool.
"The Test" Adversaries
Arnold "Red Belly" Thompson
6'2", 220 lbs., balding wispy dark hair, ruddy complexion, light blue eyes.
ST 14, DX 12, IQ 10, HT 12
Speed 6 Move 6 Dodge 6
Advantages: Literacy, Appearance (unattractive), High Pain Threshold.
Disadvantages: Greed, Overweight, Odious Personal Habit (burps classical symphonies when bored)
Quirks: like to bite people after grappling them.
Skills: Area Knowledge (Western Australia's' south east)-14, Brawling-15, Boxing-14, Guns (pistol)/TL5-13,
Equipment: several large metal rings on three middle fingers of right hand (fist does +1 damage)
NPC Team Members
ST 11, DX 12, IQ 9, HT 10
Speed 5.5 Move 5 Dodge 5
Skills: Brawling-14, Guns(rifle)/TL5-13, Guns(pistol)/TL5-12
Obstacles on the Run
5'7", 110 lbs., dark brown skin, simple hide belts, bushy black hair, red-and-white ochred faces, ritual scars on chest and arms.
ST 9, DX 13, IQ 10, HT 12
Speed 6 Move 6 Dodge 6
Skills: Area Knowledge (tribal area)-14, Broadsword (waddie)-15, First Aid/TL2-13, Navigation/TL-14, Naturalist-15, Spear Thrower-15, Spear Throwing-16, Stealth-16.
Equipment: Waddie (swing crush 1D), Woomera (spear thrower), Throwing Spear (impale 1d-1, with woomera impale 1d)
Creatures of the Night
Cheeroonear ha (The son of Cheeroonear)
Weight: 1,100 lbs.
Damage: claw 1d+2 cut; bite2d+2 cut swung rock in hand 4d crush; thrown rock (30lb stone, range 37') 4d crush; grapple*
Cheeroonear's stooped frame measures around seven feet tall. His body is heavily muscled with thick tufts of hair, huge gnarled hands, and a neck like a thick tree trunk. His chest, however, is thin and hollowed out. His arms are long and often trail on the ground when walking, while his legs cover huge distances when he breaks into a loping run.
Cheeroonear ha's head is his most terrifying feature. It is canine, with tall, alert ears and a long, wide snout from which protrude double rows of one-inch teeth. Under his chin and attached to the bottom of his mouth hangs a membranous sack, similar in design to a pelican, but much larger. When hungry, this sack flaps about like empty folds of skin, barely touching his chest. When Cheeroonear ha feeds, he stores chewed up food in this area for later digestion. He can easily kill eight people, leaving the meat from six of them broken and dismembered in his sack to sustain him over several months. When full, the sack balloons out, filling his hollow chest cavity with a macabre ball of blood, body fluids, human organs, and flesh, easily seen through the membranous wall. This sight requires a Fright Check -10 (if the sack is empty, -6).
The story of Cheeroonear, the dog-faced man, goes back many years. He lived on the Nullabor plain, with a wife and six huge dogs. Though he was extremely powerful, a prophecy had been laid upon him, stating that if he were ever to be seen by men or women, his death would shortly follow. Because of this, Cheeroonear had been very careful. He created his dogs with powerful magics to help him hunt for food -- his favorite being human -- as well as developing a terrifying ability to ambush and suddenly kill so that no one ever saw him. His method was to sneak up behind a victim, then leap feet first into the small of his back. The creature's huge hands would grip his victim's arms before he hit the ground. Once he had them down, standing firmly braced on his back, he would lock his jaws onto the head and twist his huge neck muscles until the head tore free in his mouth.
One harsh summer a drought forced him to visit a waterhole without his usual care, causing a group of similarly drought-stricken humans to catch sight of him. Though too weak to attack, he promised to return before the sun rose again, hoping to beat the prophecy by killing all the people who had seen him.
The people were put much in fear by this promise. The young men thought to hunt the beast with their spears, but a wise old hunter, an ancestor of the Wiradjuri, counseled that this would be foolish. He pointed out that in the night they would never see Cheeroonear, his wife, or his dogs approach due to their legendary stealth, "when death melts like a shadow under the trees, darker than night itself." He counseled the young men to appeal to the Winjarning brothers in the south, the renowned wirinuns (sorcerers) who would often help those in need.
The Winjarning brothers knew how Cheeroonear would attack. First he sent his dogs, which they led into a trap and killed one by one with a heavy boomerang, cutting off each of their heads. Then they cut off each of the tails and gave one each to six warriors. The Winjarnings commanded a mist to descend so that when Cheeroonear came to check up on his dogs, he thought he could see them chasing prey through the mist by the dancing tails.
When Cheeroonear came into the camp, confident and relaxed, ready to feast, the Winjarnings clubbed him to death with their waddies.
The wife of Cheeroonear then came to see what had befallen her husband and his pets. The men of the tribe, inspired by the brothers, fell upon the female creature, hacking her clean in two. From the upper part of the terrible body emerged a boy-creature, identical to his horrible parents. The men ran towards him, but he turned himself into a reptile and escaped from under their feet.
This was Cheeroonear ha, the son of Cheeroonear. It has taken him thousands of years to grow and develop into a creature more powerful than his fearsome father was. It also took him many painful years to re-invent the process of creating the demon dogs. But he has finally done it, and believes himself ready to enact revenge on the creatures that destroyed his family, starting with the descendants of that old hunter, the Wiradjuri.
Cheeroonear may attack in many ways (listed above). He particularly enjoys his father's ambush attack. To do this he must have successfully snuck up on his victim (Stealth 30!). Then he executes a reverse flying tackle (since he is actually hitting feet first while his long arms allow him to grapple simultaneously). This has automatic success (from behind), and he has a +4 bonus to his ST for the Contest to succeed in his grapple, though he must make a DX roll -2 to stay on his feet once landing on the treacherous ground of the poor victim's back. If he fails this, he still holds the victim's arms (if the grapple was successful) but he is not perched and ready to strike. Once on the back, he will target either the brain with a bite (all out attack, +4 to hit) in an effort to suck the brain straight from the skull cavity, or the head to dig his teeth into the skull and pull it free from the torso (treat as contest between Cheeroonear ha's ST and victim's ST+ST+HT). He will then swallow the head whole and leave it in his digestive sack to be consumed last of all. The sweetest meat . . .
Cheeroonear ha, unlike his father, has no prophecy hanging over his head, so is able to use his grapple attack from any angle, making him far more dangerous. He may also try tearing limbs from bodies after grappling, if he's in a playful mood (ST vs. ST+ST+HT)
The Monster has the ability to Morph (see p. FF28), which allows him to assume the form of any creature he can see or has memorized (memorized forms are aboriginal man or woman, lizard, eagle, kangaroo, crocodile, bush fly, green ant, venomous black snake, owl, and carp). Size can vary, though mass does not due to the magic altering body density. It takes him one full turn to change or change back again. Clothing can be mimicked, but cannot be removed, as it is actually part of his body. He retains all skills and abilities, gaining only the appearance of the morph and its voice/sound.
It is painful for Cheeroonear ha to remain for more than a short period in a morphed state . . . a legacy from his need to use the power so soon in life. For every minute after the first ten minutes he is morphed, he must make a Will roll to stay in the disguised form, with the target number decreasing by one every ten minutes after. A failure indicates instant return to his true form, plus he is mentally stunned for 1d turns.
Weight: 280 lbs.
Damage: claw 1d-2 cut; bite2d+2 cut
Cheeroonear's dogs are completely devoted to their master and creator. They are an Australian variant of the Hell Hound, standing nearly as tall as a man at the shoulder, with fearsome two-inch-long razor sharp teeth, though their claws are stunted to aid their cunning (Stealth 25). Their short sleek coats vary between dark brown and a light tan. Their eyes blaze with unnatural intelligence. To look upon one would certainly warrant a Fright Check at -5.
There are only two ways to slay these creatures. First is to strike the head completely from the body, requiring a blow of 14+ cutting damage to the neck and a HT roll failure (consider every 14+ cutting blow to reduce the target number by one). The second is to slay Cheeroonear ha first, which instantly reduces the dog's bodies to the many ingredients from which Cheeroonear ha fashioned them. They have the power of instant regeneration (1HP/turn).
Items of Interest
The Winjarning Boomerang
The Winjarning boomerang is a heavy example of a war boomerang, weighing about five pounds and measuring almost two feet from tip to tip. Made from a heavy, dark wood, its inside edge is lined with flint, giving a solid, sharp edge. Anyone foolish enough to throw it in the hope it will return will soon discover that returning boomerangs were only made as a toy. This item is not designed to return, or even be thrown, as hunting boomerangs are.
Whoever holds this weapon, or keeps it on their person, will find themselves unable to act contrary to the law of the land as they understand it; thus an aboriginal who "steals" a sheep to eat is not acting against the law as far as he understands, while a white man doing the same thing would be. Treat this as a temporary Honesty disadvantage. If the person already has Honesty, the only other side effect is that the boomerang will always seem as light a feather (+1 Accuracy bonus).
The magical endowment placed by the eldest Winjarning upon the boomerang means that when it is especially effective. When used against a dog brought to life by Cheeroonear's magic, it automatically decapitates the animal so long as the neck is targeted and it does at least 1 point of damage.
The Winjarning Waddies
The two waddies (long-handled clubs) created by the younger Winjarning are cut from a blood-red wood, and have very smooth black granite pips worked into the tapered-out ends. They each weigh four pounds and can be wielded one- or two-handed (1H crush swing +1, 2H crush swing +2).
The waddies confer on their holders a +5 Alertness bonus and Danger Sense, though these abilities are lost to that person if he ever acts contrary to any laws as far as he understands (see above).
Used against Cheeroonear, or any of his descendants, the waddies do not receive a penalty to target the head. If used by an Honest man (i.e. has the disadvantage Honesty) it will also do double damage.
All of these items are considered "men's business". If a woman touches one of them she will slowly die of an incurable wasting sickness in around three days (lose 1 HT every six hours until dead).
Ticket Of Leave
A ticket of leave was the first grant given to a serving convict while his sentence was still being carried out, as a reward for good behavior that allowed some personal freedom. The ticket granted the convict the right to earn money for labor, and to travel at liberty within the boundaries placed upon him in the ticket, though he must produce the ticket on request. To travel beyond the boundaries and be caught would guarantee a swift return to hard labor, with time added on to his sentence.
Article publication date: May 3, 2002
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