Cephalopod Vessels

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.


  1. 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).

  2. 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).

  3. 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.

  4. 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).

  5. 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).


  1. 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).

  2. 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):

Common Octopus

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)*

Humboldt Squid

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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