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Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2021 10:07 pm
  

Hero

Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:08 am
Posts: 1312
Comment: They/Them
I'm weighing a couple of notions for a Rifts game I want to run, and wanted to bring up a question or two. Both games revolve around non-human characters, those often described in Palladium material as having high-animal intelligence.

The first would involve a number of beings together due to their individual association with heroic characters. Like the thread title says, they would be things like familiars, steeds, and other animal companions. Due to some sort of dimensional foul-up at the climax of a confrontation with a Shifter/Demon/whatever, all of the heroes got sucked into a particularly nasty rift. As the town the Shifter was holding hostage struggles to rebuild, the companions stay in the area in hopes of their people's return. Meanwhile, they struggle with things like a familiar's separation anxiety, the desire of many to return to the wild, trying to balance being helpful to the people of the village while not having their personal agency denied as dumb animals, and the fallout of further interest in whatever magical/industrial/natural resource which led to the initial Shifter's dominion.

Think of it if like Cordwainer Smith wrote A Night in the Lonesome October, with a dose of Legion of Super-Pets.

The second is full on ocean adventure. The players choose from a rotating cast of characters, including such things as schools of fish with hive minds, Blue Otters, Mega/Line/Land Rays, kindly-raised Shadow Sharks, a Sea Druid stuck in an animal shape, drug-addicted cybernetic dolphin hackers, what have you. This is intentionally more open ended, with an eye towards exploring natural vistas. Maybe helping a Tritonian researcher acquire samples leads to the discovery of a Naut'Yll attempt to cap deep-sea vents, and while the response to this by a New Navy submarine rubs a Lemurian patrol the wrong way, an empathically communicated memory of the party's whale witnessing that same sub helping her pod on their migration route helps to ingratiate otherwise bristling factions.

QUESTIONS: A lot of these beings vary considerably stat-wise, and combined with how few if any can talk I reckoned I'd have each player control two characters. How has that worked for any of you in the past? I figured that, when possible, a player might have one S.D.C. or low M.D.C. character, and one higher, just so the player of the Whisker Coyote might focus elsewhere if shots are fired.

Also, what are some good character options available for this sort of thing? I've begun putting together a list, but I've been far from systematic. I'm trying to avoid natively sapient beings that happen to not have opposable thumbs, so things like Waternix and Dragon Wolves are out.

Krel, Dragondactyl, Dragon Cat, Blood Lizard, Whisker Coyote, Owl-Thing, Pegasus, Megasteeds, Psi-Pony, Blood Hawk, Covenant Hawk, Unicorn, Familiars (Biomech in particular allows the use of some technology)

It's a little weird just how many horse-like varieties there are. I know My Little Pony's heyday has come and gone, but that's not a comparison I'm looking to invite.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2021 10:12 pm
  

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Champion

Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2003 4:59 pm
Posts: 2225
Location: Canada
Not trying to offend, but the first would not work well.
Without the influence of their people, they would generally wander apart. The surviving locals might take-in the "natural" animals, and possibly kill the "monsters." While I am sure that the surviving animals might remember their original "masters" fondly, but they could not put together the mental wherewithal to set-up and plan...at least not in the way, or to the extent that you are referring to.

For the second, as long as the creatures are not innately opposed, or being in a prey/predator relationship, it could possibly work.
I have personally had non-humanoid characters (PC or NPC) in multiple RPG systems. Heck, if you've ever played GURPS, they have non-human playable characters in most non "modern world" settings. The Horseclans prairie cats and horses come to mind! :)

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Fnord

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Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:37 am
  

Hero

Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:08 am
Posts: 1312
Comment: They/Them
I'm sorry it took so long for me to respond!

I wonder if I failed to make the first game's conceit clear. Many of the character options I began listing are capable of intelligence such that they would have agency. As generally problematic as the notion of I.Q. is, most of what I've been looking at falls in the 7-12 range. Those that might end up on the low side, like certain familiars, would be enticed to stick around due to their connection to their caster, which as far as I know persists across dimensions. One possible advantage to including a biomech familiar could be some sort of cyber computer, such that with empathic/telepathic help from the other Pet Avengers some vocal communication could be possible.

I was just hoping to avoid the sorts of four legged sorts of beings with 3d6 or higher scores, themselves capable of being ley line walkers and such.

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Je n'ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n'ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:55 am
  

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Champion

Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2003 4:59 pm
Posts: 2225
Location: Canada
No problems...

I replied the way I did as the vast majority of familiars have above average animal intelligence.
For steeds, unless you're talking a Mega Steed or similar sentient and sapient beings, again they would still have animal intelligence levels.
Animal companions, unless fully sentient and sapient (in which case they would not truly be "animal" companions), they would be essentially semi-tame to wild animals, and likely to leave after a short time (unless loyal pets...in which case, I can see them sticking around waiting for Master, or making their way "home" after a couple of days).

You specifically mentioned the bio-mech familiars, when I read the entries for them, I didn't have the sense they they were much smarter than animals. If I am incorrect, then I need to re-read. :) On the other hand, if I'm correct, the thought of letting it absorb an implantable computer would merely make them little more than a mobile weaponised Smart Speaker! :lol: (Just remember to make sure you and your buddy are on the same service, lest Alexa and Siri try to kill each other! ;))

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Fnord

Cool...I've been FAQed... atleast twice!

.sig count to date: 2

"May your day be as eventful as you wish, and may your life only hurt as much as it has to." - Me...

Normality is Relative, Sanity is Conceptual, and I am neither.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:47 pm
  

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Dungeon Crawler

Joined: Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:01 pm
Posts: 212
Location: Montana
Sounds like the sort of thing that will work just fine if the group is into it. You might think about using (maybe with some limits on abilities) the mutation rules. Just leave the animals as animals, and give them enough Bio-E to buy a few abilities that would suit their role as the familiar or animal companion of someone more powerful.


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