Creatures of the Night -- and Afternoon, Evening, or Too Darn Early in the Morning
aka "IOU Bestiary Out-Takes"
by Elizabeth McCoy and Walter Milliken
When composing the Illuminati University "bestiary," space forced us to leave several things out of the final version. One of the most notable lacuna was left by the Anims, our attempt to allow Toon/GURPS crossovers. (Other nascent plans included actual conversion guidelines for Toon characters into GURPS. That was clearly meant to rest on some other intrepid author's shoulders.)
Origin: Weird Science
Habitats: Anywhere They're Not Wanted
Note: Anim attributes never exceed 12, except that multi-hex Anims have roughly 10 hit points per hex of size.
Advantages: Instant Regeneration, Indestructible (see below).
Disadvantages: at least one Odious Personal Habit (often Practical Joker); most also have the Compulsive Behavior: Be Silly.
Skills: varied, but no Anim ever has a skill level above 12, even with modifiers.
Short for "Animates," anims are sentient creatures made of doesn't-matter (see p. IOU82) by an especially unsuccessful WUSE experiment. These cartoon-like creatures sometimes spontaneously appear on campus, harassing students, staff, and faculty. A few have been admitted as students, or employed as staff or even faculty. Most vaguely resemble normal people, animals, plants, or inanimate objects. All are self-aware (though many are incredibly stupid) and capable of speech, though holding a conversation with one is usually a frustrating experience.
All anims have the advantage Instant Regeneration (see p. CI64), regaining one point of HT every second. They also have the special advantage "Indestructible" -- like demons, destruction of an anim's physical body merely relegates it to some Limbo, and it will eventually return, usually at the most inconvenient time.
Despite the rapid -- and enthusiastic -- destruction of the original anim generator (which was supposed to be the ultimate kitchen appliance), new anims appear on campus from time to time. Theories on this phenomenon are varied: some hold that the original anim generator merely opened a gate to an especially strange demonic plane that the other demons sealed away as too dangerous, and mercifully forgot.
Other professors, led by Professor Cootie of the English Department, advocate the "Cootie Theory" -- that like vampires and werewolves, the anim "life force" is contagious, and prolonged contact between anims and normal matter causes otherwise normal animals and objects to become animates themselves. Campus Security favors this theory, as it justifies their efforts to purge the campus of anims (since it is theoretically possible to get rid of them, unlike in the "demonic gate" explanation). More importantly, the inevitable massive collateral damage becomes "purification of contaminated objects."
The Team has developed a simpler theory -- that anims are created by art students ("they're all wimps, anyway"), which leads to frequent lynchings in front of the Fine Arts building. Fortunately for the victimized artists, the Team has yet to figure out how to tie reliable knots.
Variations: Anims will not exist except on a Silly campus. Honest.
Weight: 1/2-1 ton
Origin: Weird Science
Habitats: Plains, Campus Grounds
A project in the Department of Animal Spousery, calves are born a metallic gold color, which turns to green and black as they get older. When fed precisely the right diet, they will produce milk with a high concentration of gold flakes (worth at least as much as the special diet, and often a little more). Unfortunately, getting the diet right can be a bit tricky. Mostly, the Department of Animal Spousery just sells them to greedy farmers or ranchers for high prices.
Cash cows will only produce more cash cows when bred to a cash bull (these keep their golden color, and are often referred to, jokingly, as "papal" bulls); bred to a normal animal, their offspring is normal. They produce a respectable quantity of normal milk when not on their special diet, and are fairly typical dairy cows, except for the color.
The bulls are also typical in personality, though slightly smaller than their normal counterparts. Short-tempered, they are likely to react to trespassing students with a charge -- a slam and a trample. The slam (head butt) does a base damage of 1d crushing (1d+1 impaling if the bull's horns are long). After knocking the foe down, the bull tramples with its hooves for 1d+1 crushing, halved for running through the hex. It will then turn around and gore the prone victim (or chase a running one), this time doing only half head butt damage because the speed of the charge is missing. If there is anything left, the bull will toss the remains: treat this as falling damage from 5 yards (p. B130).
Variations: In a Weird or Dark setting, cash cows have more normal coloration (though still with hints of oddness), but are otherwise unchanged. Well, the genetic engineer(s) responsible for Dark cash cows may have signed some contracts in blood, but that surely wouldn't affect the cows, right?
Size: <1 hex-1 hex
Weight: 15-50 lbs.
Damage: 3d cut
Origin: Weird Science
Habitats: Campus Grounds
Skills: Fast-Talk-15, Merchant-15.
These felinoid sales-creatures are easily distinguished from the ArchDean's cats by their extensive cybernetic enhancements -- think "RoboCat." However, they use their formidable cyborging for one purpose only: to sell things.
Every Cat-alog carries a means of displaying its items (a slide- or holo-projector are most common), and the larger ones will have sample merchandise tucked away in special compartments inside their chromed bodies -- students are advised against attempts to steal samples, since Cat-alogs are cyborged. They are all capable of reading credit cards by licking the mag-stripe, or they deal in cash by swallowing money and spitting out the change.
The Cat-alogs' most innocuous tactic is to position themselves near a group of students -- outside the cafeteria, next to the Adds & Drops building, in front of dorm doors, et cetera -- and start into their selling spiel, repeating as necessary until they've sold something, been driven away, or just decided that nobody around has enough money to buy what they're offering. (Cat-alogs will make deals, lowering their prices from incredibly over-priced to merely exorbitant.) However, as if their incessant sales pitches weren't enough, they may also corner individual students and, after using their cybernetic enhancements to good effect, recite their commercials to a literally captive audience.
Variations: Cat-alogs are unlikely to appear on any campus but Silly, though a Cyberpunk campaign might have some. A Dark Cyberpunk setting would probably build human brains into the animal-esque robot bodies.
Size: 1 hex
Weight: 5-150+ lbs.
Habitats: Campus Grounds, Real World
Occasionally, stray dogs from the town will wander onto campus -- some of these are pampered pets who have slipped away for a moment (or at least until a reward is offered for their return), some are perpetual strays who stop off at a particular house for a daily handout and some few are feral canines who are attracted by the various fauna -- squirrels, pigeons, rabbits, meeps, and for the desperately hungry, arctic furred turtles.
For the most part, stray dogs are ignored until they get into enough mischief (digging in the gardens, tearing up trashbags, or leaving "doggy deposits" outside the School for Social Anti-Sciences) that somebody will catch the offending beast and call the local pound. However, those canines who try chasing the ArchDean's cats will soon discover what the phrase "Evolution in Action" means as they are abruptly yanked out of the gene pool. Mostly, such foolish dogs just . . . disappear. Rumors of flashes of lightning are surely exaggerated.
Therefore, most strays on campus will be very well-behaved, and restrict themselves to lunching on meeps or begging for handouts from students.
ST, HT, Weight and Move vary greatly, depending on breed. A small lap dog has Move 4, while some greyhounds reach Move 20, with selected individuals hitting Mach speeds and low orbit . . .
Size: 1 hex
Weight: 160-220 lbs.
Damage: by car
Habitats: Roads, Real World
Advantages: Absolute Direction, Absolute Timing.
Disadvantages: Greedy, Illiterate, Bad Temper, On The Edge.
Skills: Area Knowledge-20, Driving-20, English-7.
The ultimate in "wandering monsters," taxi drivers are commonly found on streets (and sidewalks), usually in a cab moving at about 50 mph through a traffic light that just turned red. Naturally, the PCs are trying to cross the street at the same time . . .
Sometimes taxi drivers can be useful for transportation, or to find a particular place or type of place. ("Sure-I-know-just-de-spot-vere-ya-kin-finda-pizza-wid-pickled-newts. Ten dolla.") Just remember, "Taxi drivers don't speak English, and they don't take Illuminati Express cards."
Size: 1 hex
Weight: 120-160 lbs.
Origin: Weird Magic
Presumably these creatures were once free undines (see p. M114), but were captured and bound into waterbeds by sybaritic Metaphysics majors. Or perhaps they are the result of a Body of Water spell gone wrong (or right . . .) and a Bimbira.
However they were created, it is certain that waterbed elementals appear as curvaceous humanoid females, and they give the best backrubs that bribery can acquire. Their curiously mattress-less homes are standard furnishings in the most luxurious dorm rooms, but it is harder to acquire one for an off-campus dwelling -- possibly they can't survive in low mana areas.
Male versions of waterbed elementals are not yet known, though elementals really are neuters, and ought to be able to take whatever form they wish.
Variations: On a Weird campus, a waterbed elemental will only manifest as a peculiarly sapient waterbed, responsive to commands such as "massage" or "rocking boat mode." In a Dark one, they're probably not actually elementals, but instead are demons . . .
Article publication date: January 18, 2002
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