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AlHazred

Weird Animal Species for Your Games

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I was reading this article, which led me to this page about the plight of the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, and the attempts to get it on the endangered species list to save the last few members of this now-rare animal.

 

I can't do much about endangered species except raise awareness. So, as a Hero gamer, here's how I do that:

 

 

Character sheet is located here.

 

For a real combat challenge, supersize one and give the Beak one or two levels of AP and the tentacles some Stretching. Should be a real threat for Fantasy Hero or Star Hero PCs, especially if you give it terrain bonuses, like if it grabs one guy and attacks him in the trees while his friends are on the ground.

 

It occurs to me that a thread with creatures not specifically designed for a particular genre would be a good resource -- it'd be nice to have them all in one place. So, I open the floor to suggestions.

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Re: Weird Animal Species for Your Games

 

How about a giant killer panda (and not a panda that kills giants, no sir...)? Or a palm-sized pterodactyl? Surgeon crabs? The domestic gryphon (admittedly far more appropriate to Fantasy Hero, but with a new description it could be alien)? A gargantuan underwater mollusk?

 

I need to do a writeup of another endangered species from that part of the world, the Mountain Walrus.

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Re: Weird Animal Species for Your Games

 

This octopus looks like a probable evolutionary ancestor of the squibbon.
The squbbon and several other analogues are mentioned on the "Save the Tree Octopus" website. It's really exhaustive when it comes to research!

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Re: Weird Animal Species for Your Games

 

Don't overlook the Goddardopuses (rocket-propelled octopus), whose evolution and historical impact is mentioned briefly here, with other interesting speculations elsewhere in the thread.

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Re: Weird Animal Species for Your Games

 

I dabbled with the idea of making a bear-sized waterbear (i'm sure you can find info on the waterbear, though)

 

 

They were #1 back in the day on the Most Extreme Animals-Survivalist Edition. (they'd have LS: Intense heat/cold and vacuum of space if I remember for starters)

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Re: Weird Animal Species for Your Games

 

I dabbled with the idea of making a bear-sized waterbear (i'm sure you can find info on the waterbear, though)

 

 

They were #1 back in the day on the Most Extreme Animals-Survivalist Edition. (they'd have LS: Intense heat/cold and vacuum of space if I remember for starters)

 

To quote Wikipedia:

 

Some can survive temperatures of −273 °C (−459 °F), close to absolute zero,[5] temperatures as high as 151 °C (304 °F), 1,000 times more radiation than other animals,[6] and almost a decade without water.[7] In September 2007, tardigrades were taken into low Earth orbit on the FOTON-M3 mission and for 10 days were exposed to the vacuum of space.

 

Sounds about impossible to kill.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says they can bear anything

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Re: Weird Animal Species for Your Games

 

Where to start? Assuming you want something not utterly horrifying, try Pistol Shrimp - they have an enlarged claw that can be cocked and fired resulting in a supercavitating jet of water momentarily hotter than the surface of the Sun.

 

Or larger, Mantis Shrimp - either the Spear or Smash varieties - with the fastest strike of any animal on the planet, eyes that are sensitive to more wavelengths than anything else alive AND are hexa-focal for triangulation AND can detect the circular polarization of light and use it for secret communication... and then there's Nannosquilla, which is a mantis shrimp that curls into a wheel and rolls along.

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Re: Weird Animal Species for Your Games

 

Where to start? Assuming you want something not utterly horrifying' date=' try Pistol Shrimp - they have an enlarged claw that can be cocked and fired resulting in a supercavitating jet of water momentarily hotter than the surface of the Sun.[/quote']

 

And also generates a quite impressive shockwave for a critter its size.

 

Book I read about the establishment of the first Marineland. At one point the author had several young pistol shrimp, generally regarded as "cute, but kinda noisy". Because of a shortage of space, he decided to have them share a tank with some fish - it being judged that neither would be very interested in the other.

 

Next morning, the fish are dead, and most have partially eaten by the shrimp. Big mystery.

 

The author puts in another fish, sits back and watches. The fish swims around for a little while. Then a pistol shrimp clambers out of hiding. The fish slowly swims closer, apparently curious. What happens next, the author describes as "BANG! You're dead!" - the pistol shrimp points his big claw at the approaching fish, "pops" it loudly just once, and the fish promptly rolls over on its side, apparently stunned. Pistol shrimp grabs the fish and hauls it off to be eaten.

 

After that, the pistol shrimp always got a tank to themselves.

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Re: Weird Animal Species for Your Games

 

I heard that a Pistol Shrimp can crack aquarium glass.

 

I've heard that too. I wonder if they have an "oh crap" moment when that happens.

 

I have some long-standing reservations about the story. I wonder if the originator, whoever it was, confused pistol shrimp with mantis shrimp, who can most definitely smash aquarium glass.

 

I wouldn't say it's impossible, but fish are a lot more vulnerable to sonic weapons than glass.

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Re: Weird Animal Species for Your Games

 

Looking around the net, it seems pistol shrimp are pretty popular aquarium pets, and there's a lot of skepticism about their ability to break glass. Mantis shrimp are also very popular, but even with them glass-breaking seems to be rare.

 

So I'll revise my statement: I wonder if, on those rare occasions that a mantis shrimp breaks the glass of his aquarium, does he have an "oh crap" moment?

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Re: Weird Animal Species for Your Games

 

I suspect cases of mantis shrimp cracking aquariums are rare because of their highly sophisticated eyes and associated optical processing neurosystem.

 

The average mantis shrimp can probably tell that whatever this weird "glass" stuff is, that's AIR and not water on the other side of it.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says the eyes have it

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Re: Weird Animal Species for Your Games

 

I dunno. Some humans in a similar situation would probably make that mistake. Suggesting that mantis shrimp are arguably smarter than some humans.

 

Not smarter. More perceptive in some ways.

 

Bat's aren't smarter than Humans but if you stretch a black thread across a pitch dark room, they'll know it's there.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says the ears have it

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