GURPS Supporting Cast: Dr. Harry Hill, Entomologist

by Jason Brown

6'2", 190 lbs.; multifaceted eyes, antennae, mandibles and dark-colored chitin, 30 years old.

ST: 14 DX: 10 Speed: 6
IQ: 15 HT: 14 Move: 6
Damage: Thrust 1d Swing 2d
Dodge: 6 Block: n/a Parry: 5
No armor; no encumbrance

Point Total: 263

Advantages
Acute Taste and Smell +5 [10]
Animal Empathy [5]
Danger Sense [15]
Infravision [15]
Peripheral Vision [15]
Teeth (Mandibles), [10]
1d-1 cutting, Reach 1
Disadvantages
Appearance: Hideous [-20]
Color Blindness [-10]
OPH: Face Feeling [-10]
Phobia: Floods [-10]
Quirks
Eats mostly pure sugar [-1]
Has an ant farm in every room [-1]
Chews antennae [-1]
Can't stand certain perfumes [-1]
Won't unnecessarily kill bugs [-1]
Skills
Agronomy-17 [6]; Biochemistry-17 [16]; Botany-15 [4]; Chemistry-18 [10]; Detect Lies-13 [1]; Ecology-17 [8]; Engineer ( Mining)-15 [4]; Genetics-16 [12]; Geology-14 [2]; Mathematics-18 [10]; Naturalist -15 [4]; Poisons-13 [1]; Research-17 [6]; Teaching-17 [6]; Zoology-17 [8]

Weapons:
None

Dr. Hill has a stunning visage. Though otherwise a tall, attractive man, the first thing that most people would notice is that he has the head of a giant ant. Other than that, he's fine.

Harry Hill started off as an entomologist working for UCLA as well as freelancing for the Theoretical Science Foundation. His lectures were very popular, especially his laboratory series on using insects as an alternative food source, his pet crusade.

During a trip to South America to study a newly found species of termite that was threatening crops and homes in the area, Dr. Hill took some time out to look at the local ant and termite populations, just for fun. As he was hiking around, he found an ant mound complex of a species he didn't recognize. He thought he might have discovered a new species, which would give him the pleasure of naming it.

He ventured near the nest, notebook in hand, to take some notes and noticed among the ants a few other insects that were of the same size, but didn't seem to be ants. They had green, leafy-looking growths on their abdomens and heads. The doctor got in closer to the mound for a better look. He discovered that these green insects were doing typical "worker" jobs for the nest.

Harry continued to study these ants and their green "workers" for several hours. After some time, he broke some field rations out of his satchel and had lunch. A few ants began to wander over and remove his crumbs. As was his habit, he picked up a few of the curious ants and ate them, relishing their nutty flavor. He finished his meal and continued his studies. He was positive that the green insects were close relatives to the ants who owned the nest.

In his free time, he continued these studies for several days, as well as his mound-side meals of rations and fresh ants. He even showed these ants to one of his colleagues, who pointed out that the species of ant had indeed been named, but that the green "worker" insect was an enigma. As the University team was readying themselves to leave for California, they obtained permission from the local government to take a sample of the insects back for further study.

A few days after Dr. Hill returned to the States, something began to happen. He became very sick. He began to need higher-calorie foods, and more of them. Growths began to form on his face and forehead, and he had a very high fever.

He tried to continue his work. As the days passed, his condition became worse. Coincidentally, the ants were going through some changes as well. They began to sprout strange new appendages. After a week, most of the ants had mutated to death. The green "workers," the doctor discovered, were indeed ants; they also began to mutate in strange ways and died just as quickly.

After the deaths of all the ants, his condition improved. His fever dissipated and he began to feel much better. But he looked awful. His eyes had glossed over with cataract-like growths. His skin had hardened and begun to darken and become slicker. Movable nodes formed on his forehead.

Another week later, the transformation was complete: he now had large eyes, with dozens of lenses. His face and head were larger, darker and slick. Obviously, they were now covered in chitin. His teeth were gone, and replaced with large mandibles. He had grown two large, fully functional antennae.

In short, he now had the head of a giant ant.

He hid in his labs, talked to no one and shunned his friends. He dove into his work, trying to find a cure for his disease. After three months of work, his theory was that the ants had a rare virus that would recombine genetic codes with other codes available in the digestive system. The ants natural food was a leafy plant, when the Doctor changed their diet to grains, the virus took the ants on a turn for the worse that led to their death. In his case, it only recombined his DNA and the DNA of the ants, and the results were somewhat beneficial. He found a common virus in his tissue and in the tissues of the ants, but it was dead; no live samples were found. Dr. Hill resigned himself to his fate, and began working on other more important projects.

Dr. Hill has lived with this infirmity for about a year now. He has set up a lab in his home - his colleagues at UCLA had trouble working comfortably around him. His wife was scared at first, but has since adapted. He still pursues his research, teaches open-minded students and freelances for the TSF.

His lab is a tour of the mind of a genius. It is unkempt, but very well stocked. He has a full set of chemistry apparatus; almost every piece of analysis equipment available at TL 6 can be found in the piled-up corners and tables. One wall is dominated by a wooden cabinet containing his pinned-insect collection, numbering in the thousands. Several hundred, maybe as many as a thousand, text books litter the floors and tables and are piled to the ceiling in some places. Rows of technical journals line one wall, the only sign of organization in this lab that is bordering on chaos. (An observant visitor might notice a strange pattern to the mess, vaguely reminiscent of an ant colony . . .) A large refrigerator sits in one corner. It contains chemicals, insect samples, fresh food and bottles of beer. On the outside of the refrigerator are dozens of newspaper articles detailing flooding from all over the world. Ant farms, gifts from friends, can be found in some interesting and odd places, such as underneath the water heater, in the restroom and on top of the refrigerator.

The doctor is an engaging fellow. Upon a first meeting, he most likely will feel the face of his new acquaintance with his antennae. This often scares or sickens people with a weak disposition. Some people will react as if the doctor is attacking them. Dr. Hill does make an attempt to keep his antennae away from new people he doesn't know, but this is hardly ever effective.

Once people can get past his appearance and his antennae, they find that he is a social, kind and easy to talk to gentleman. He has a brilliant mind and can have a conversation on several subjects. If allowed to lead a conversation, he will often discuss insects, insects as an alternate food source, flooding around the world or his current project. If asked, he will tell people that most of his unusual traits (Advantages and Disadvantages) came with the transformation -╩except that the collection of ant farms began while he was in college; his friends thought they were funny.

He has no formal fighting skill, but he will defend himself. His bite is only effective as a last resort. He has never bitten another person, and doesn't relish the idea of ever doing so.

Quotes
"Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you. I can't help myself sometimes. My antennae are harmless."
"Did you hear about the flood in Romania?"
"Madame, you are wearing Chanel No. 5? Please leave my laboratory."
"There are 4 billion insects for every human on this planet. Is there a better source of protein? Why have you stopped eating?"

Adventure Seeds

Dr. Hill works best as a sort of comic relief, playing his scary visage off his non-violent ways. He also can serve as a knowledgable resource for thePCs. He's best inserted into adventures not directly related to himself as an odd NPC.

Although designed for an Atomic Horror setting, he might fit into other campaigns.


Copyright © 1999 by Steve Jackson Games. All rights reserved. Pyramid subscribers are permitted to read this article online, or download it and print out a single hardcopy for personal use. Copying this text to any other online system or BBS, or making more than one hardcopy, is strictly prohibited. So please don't. And if you encounter copies of this article elsewhere on the web, please report it to webmaster@sjgames.com.


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