Kriegspeil and Kalrith were a pair of characters who were rolled up for a Marvel Super Heroes campaign. Why are they here? Well (1) they or their species might make good NPC’s for someone, (2) because the background material is interesting in itself, as well as being generic enough for easy adaption into other systems, and (3) because its a good example of taking the results of random die rolls and turning them into something coherent.
Background : Six billion years ago a chain of supernova rippled through the core of NGC 6822 (talasien), a small galaxy 1.6 million light yrs from earth. The shockwaves spawned new stars and enriched the “local” interstellar medium with heavy elements. Now, although these suns are scattered across talasien, there are still similarities.
Star System: Astoren is a star of about 2.1 solar masses, now near the galactic core. With its extreme heavy element content it has always been somewhat variable, a situation which has worsened with age. With only about 20 million years left on the main sequence, even the outer planets feel the flares touch. Fortunately for its inhabitants, Verdin is a dense world, the natural consequence of a heavier sun. Astoren’s youthful solar winds swept much of the lighter elements from its systems core, its fivefold luminosity later stripped the planets further. While little larger then earth, Verdin’s gravity is 4.3 times as great. Even a relatively thin layer of Verdin’s metal rich soil can shield simple organisms from radiation overdose, though more complex beings require greater thicknesses.
Metabolism: While all of Verdin’s lifeforms use heavy metals in their tissues, making them dense, tough, and strong enough to function under 4.3 gravities, such a chemistry makes it impossible to insulate conventional nerves. On Verdin, nerves transmit photons instead of electrons, permitting both higher life forms and the rapid reflexes the gravity requires. Such tissues also give them increased strength and resistance to injury. Their hard tissues are nearly indestructible (Shift-Z plus material strength), but softer tissues are still somewhat vulnerable. These traits are further enhanced in the dominant centauroid form by anatomy, their vital organs are well protected within the massive lower body. Many other animals form nearly impregnable scales or have similar defences.
Flare Adaptions: Over the past few million years all of the higher species have evolved methods for resisting/ evading/ taking cover from solar flares, or perished. The dominant centauroid race has evolved a “superconductive” nervous system, allowing them to channel photons into EM fields capable of reshaping rock to create refuges. Some can even use the fields to crystallize scattered particles, giving their tunnels further protection and internal structure. Side effects of this adaption include heightened reactions and strength. As nerve signals need not be relayed their net velocity approaches light speed and, without resistance, the nerves can transmit extra energy to the muscles as required. Other species have developed underground lifestyles, resistance to radiation, or deflecting fields. One draconoid species has developed a psionic teleportation power coupled with an ability to “read” the environment, allowing them to jump to the other side of the planet when the radiation level begins increasing.
Verdinite (Dominant Centauroid) Civilization: Very high technology, with advanced FTL drives and AI computer systems, less intrusive in daily life due to the Verdinites nomadic lifestyle and ingrained acrophobia. While a few traders have adapted to constant interstellar travel, most cannot fully overcome their instinctive desire to be ready to take shelter underground at an moments notice. Most do carry ultra-miniturized computer systems. They use few weapons beyond bows, as most of the dangerous species are extinct. They have colonized several other worlds of the same general type, but major technologies are usually limited to industrial complexes or a families large, rambling, underground refuges.
Verdinite Government and Culture: Highly mobile, based on the Hunter/Herder lifestyle they instinctively prefer, linked together in loose groups of common interests and relationships, rather then in large communities. They are individualistic and value freedom highly, thus they have little regard for customs, laws, social position, and other artifacts of communal cultures. Since only those with similar ideas ordinarily associate with each other, they are generally poor liars, tending towards “searing honesty”. Their nomadic life-style tends to make them far more casual about “property” then most sentients, although advantage, reputation, and influence are another matter. Their relations with other civilizations are unusually good, possibly due to natural casualness or being only one of Verdin’s sentient races.
Verdinite General Data: The Verdinites are omnivorous, stand about 7’2 to 8’2 and ordinarily weigh 1800 to 2400 Lb. They have a generally patriarchal social structure, as pregnant females cannot employ their full tunneling capabilities without serious risk to both mother and child. Like many herd creatures they are polygamous, young males commonly wander widely before settling down – if / when they acquire a dominant position as head / protector of a group. Such males are also the most volatile of the species, sometimes getting into useless fights. This period is extended by their preference for walking, rather then artificial transport. They usually wear packs, panniers, or tool belts for equipment, sometimes adding bad weather gear, but almost never anything else. Other habits can be deduced from logic and / or earthly comparisons: They almost never lie down, sleep on their feet, often kick if touched from behind, like cats, dislike dogs or being too far from the ground, distrust stars, tend to take cover as a first reaction, and are strongly protective of any group they join. Their coloration is usually strong and dark, as it derives from metal ions in their hair and skin. Oddly enough, their appearance corresponds almost exactly with terrain notions of centaurs, and their genetic structure shows strong similarities. No reason is known, but Celestial meddling seems likely. They are usually called “Verdinites” as humans are often called “Earthlings”.
Typical Verdinite Cantauroids:
Talents: All males know martial arts “C” for use against centuroids only.
Powers: Ex Hyperspeed, Hyperdigging, and Light Emission, Rm Body Resistance, Sometimes Gd Crystallization and -4CS Magnetic control, see above. Dominant males must have the crystallization ability to build homes with.
Verdin has a second sentient species, the El’Sharrah, a draconoid race. Lacking manipulative limbs, they have never developed a material civilization, although they do have a rich “oral” culture. They are carnivorous, living on “birds” and small animals while young, on large water dwellers, which lack specialized flare defences, later. While Verdin has far less water then Earth, its greater gravity “flattens” the landscape, producing low mountains and shallow seas. Even so, there are not enough water areas to support many El’Sharrah, thus, despite the adults great strength, there have never been enough of them to be considered the planets dominant race.
El’Sharrah Evolution: The El’Sharrah developed from a predatory flying species adapted for fishing. They developed a minor telekinetic ability to manipulate air in aid of their take-offs from the waters surface. As this ability supplanted physical methods of flight their wings, used only to aid maneuvering, eventually became near-vestigal appendages to their colorful, streamlined, serpentine bodies. More notably, this increasing reliance on psionic powers increased their brain size, heading them firmly towards sentience. A secondary, teleportational, ability developed to avoid excessive inbreeding in the scattered colonies, when the sun began flaring, it was swiftly adapted to avoid the flares through jumps to sheltered areas. Interestingly, the flares radiation provided the final mutational push to sentience. They seem rather reptilian to earthly observers, as even the most “birdlike” of Verdin’s flying creatures are more like Archaeopteryx then modern birds.
Interspecies Relations: Relationships between the two races are good, or at least noncombative, mostly due to the lack of overlap between their lifestyles. Neither species ordinarily interacts with the other. The centauroids have no use for Verdin’s aerial creatures, “mountains”, or small seas, while the El’Sharrah have little use for the hills and plains. The centauroids aren’t even sure the El’Sharrah are sentient, as much of their language depends on posture and psychic signals. The El’Sharrah don’t care, and therefore don’t cooperate with communication experiments. Any conflict has to be voluntary on both sides, the centauroids don’t teleport, and the El’Sharrah don’t tunnel. This hasn’t prevented occasional fights, but these are really personal duels, a custom both races accept. A few of each regard this as a sporting proposition, with the other side as desirable trophies, like classical “big game hunting” among humans. Both species tend to regard this as a bit weird, but successful Centauroid / El’Sharrah “duellists” can gain a good deal of notoriety with their trophy skins / stories. Friendships are almost as unusual, but occur occasionally. As communications are very limited, such relationships do not develop easily. They are usually limited to the adventurous youngsters of both species.
El’Sharrah Social Structure: The El’Sharrah have no “government” as such, as they lack the numbers and technologies which make them necessary. They tend to associate in loose groups or clans, “led” by the matriarchs. As the supply of large aquatics for the adults to eat is limited, there are occasional conflicts over “fishing rights”. Such battles occur mostly between adult males, and are often fatal. The younger El’Sharrah have it much easier, the limited adult population never produces enough young to strain the supply of small edible creatures. Their social structure revolves around storytelling, for which they often gather. High “social position” is reserved for those who tell good stories or who expand the groups fishing territory. Much effort is expended on both pursuits. By other races standards, all El’Sharrah are excellent storytellers and have incredible memories for them, although this is usually obscured by the communication difficulties. They attach little or no importance to pure knowledge or physical objects, except for “souvenirs” that go with a story. Various pranks also make good stories, unfortunately.
General El’Sharrah Data: A full grown El’Sharrah weighs about three tons and has a length of up to 30 feet, although the body thickness is unlikely to exceed two feet at any point. Their usual lifespan is about 2000 years. Maturity occurs at about 450 years, at which point they can reproduce. Females lay two or three eggs if a mating “takes”, but this is a vary rare event. While they rarely form truly permanent ties, their groupings often seem so to races with lesser lifespans. By human standards they are individualistic, erratic, secretive, and lazy except on a hunt or during a fight. They rarely give their loyalty, but when they do it is without reservation, although they will play pranks on even their closest friends. Physically they resemble an “eastern” rather then a “western” dragon, their build is serpentine with scales in shades of blue, green and purple. They have an orange and yellow spinal crest.
Young : FASERIP: 20/40/20/10/10/30/04, Health 90
Adult : FASERIP: 30/30/50/10/20/20/10, Health 120
Talents: Acrobat, Serpentine Wrestling, Storytelling (Young/Adult/Ancient) +1/2/3 CS, Remember Stories +3 CS.
Powers : Teleport (Ex), Body Armor (Ex, Adults Rm), Sonar Sense (Gd), Environmental Awareness (Gd), Weather Control (Rm), Water Freedom (Adults only, Ex), May bite on the edged attack column (Max of Am due to mouth size).
Limits : Feeble manipulation and exocommunication ability
Verdin’s higher species are all six-limbed vertebrates, usually with four or six legs to support their weight against Verdin’s heavier gravity. The conventional color of Verdin’s plants is a brilliant yellow-red, as they absorb the higher frequencies most efficiently. Other colors often occur due to the rich supply of metal ions.
Demihuman Hero, Alien Centauroid
Fighting 50/Am, Agility 50/Am, Strength 300/Shift-Y, Endurance 56/Am, Reason 50/Am, Intuition 10/Gd, Psyche 50/Am, Health 456, Karma 110, Resources 75/Mn, Popularity 10/Gd.
Height: 7′ 11, Equine height ~5’2 “at the shoulder”, Weight 2300 Lbs, Hair/Eyes: Chestnut with silver “mohawk” mane / Green, Apparent Age/Real Age: Adult / 31, with a lifespan of about 260 years, Real Name: Genealogical and rather long, uses a shortened, anglicized, version of the personal part on earth, Occupation: Hero (stockholder), Identity: Quasipublic, Legal Status: Resident alien, Other Aliases: None known, Birthplace: Verdin / Astoren IV, NGC 6822 (Talasien galaxy), Marital Status: Single, Known Relatives: Parents, Maternal Aunt, Ethnic Origin: “Red” verdinites. Verdin’s population is too low for this to matter much, Religion: Follows a stylized earth mother / protector goddess religion, but isn’t very devout, Education: Through a computer net, by an advanced technical culture, Source Of Income: Initially, sale of superheavy elements, thereafter from stocks and patents on minor devices from his culture.
Talents: Weapon Specialist (Bow, +2 CS), Homesteading, Wilderness Survival, Martial Arts C, only versus other centaurs.
Centaur Modifications: +2 CS land movement, +1CS distance leaping, -1 CS height leaping and body resistance versus falls, limited acrobatics, although his balance and flexibility is far better then a horses, he can easily turn on one hoof or braid his tail. +2 CS popularity with horse lovers and fans of greek mythology.
All Verdinite males know a version of martial arts `C’, useable versus centaurs only, although the +1CS dodging may be otherwise employed. They also have “homesteading” skill as part of their basic education. On Verdin, he would be a young, but very eligible bachelor.
Photon Manipulation: This ability allows him to mentally control electromagnetic energies within about 3 miles. Subconsciously, he draws on ambient energies to supercharge his natural abilities. Consciously, this power allows him to create illusions or a resonant link between his photon – based nervous system and an image. This power subsumes: Illusory Duplication (50/Am) and Illusion Casting (50/Am).
Physical Abilities: These powers are natural to his race, although his abilities are amplified by his ability to tap external sources and improved, albeit subconscious, fine control of internal energy flows. His abilities include Hyperspeed (50/Am), Hyper Digging (50/Am), Hyper Strength (+1 CS), Body Resistance x2 (net 80/Mn), Crystallization (30/Rm), and Magnetic Control (6/Typ).
Magnetic Control is a relatively rare talent, sometimes appearing in older, more experienced individuals at -4 CS from their crystallization power, if any. His Hyperspeed and form give him Unearthly land speed.
Capsule History: Kriegspeil first met Kalrith when he appeared in the living room. When he demonstrated his “gateway” ability, Kriegspeil was delighted. Like any other kid might, he did his best to keep his new companions talents a secret. Unfortunately, Kalrith’s presence caused difficulties, rather then abandon him, he went “wandering” a few years early. He’s spent a fair amount of time doing so, and the numerous gateway “jumps” he’s been through with with kalrith have created a permanent, if low grade, mental link between them, allowing them to easily understand each others modes of communication.
Contacts: Kalrith, El’Sharrah Draconoid (Entitled to three additional contacts).
Playing Notes: Kriegspeil can be incapacitated by prolonged exposure to the darkforce, it negates the constant energy influx his body has adjusted to. Prolonged exposure can knock him out, although normal metabolic sources provide enough energy to keep him alive (Weakness: energy allergy, incapacitating with contact).Beyond being an outstanding specimen of his race, Kriegspeil is a mutant, able to manipulate light.
Pocket computer with wrist control pad/screen/sensor array.
In Reason, Ex material strength (but see below), Remote Datalink, typical range (E) with compatible systems. It’s too bad Earth hasn’t any. It can be used to tap into earthly computerized systems or override control circuits within 120 / 40 feet respectively, but breaking computer security or any circuit override requires a reason feat roll. Functions as a camcorder, radiophone with call screening/answering functions, clock/calender, secretary and “office”, music player, television, and radio transceiver. Class-1000 “restrictions”, unless someone knows Verdinian (Gd) or has an interpreter (Ex). If familiar with Verdinite systems apply a -1 CS.
Built-in “powers”, all at the “excellent” rank:
a) Linguistics (translator program, added as a “modification” of excellent cost).
b) Hyperspeed (optical microchips, this is needed to match his species normal speed).
c) Total Memory (“library” programs, normal computer/recorder functions).
d) Environmental Awareness (primarily flare sensors, since these are pretty much required on Verdin, it’s easiest to have them built into a small ubiquitous device).
e) Energy Detection (wrist unit sensors, added as a modification of excellent cost).
Cost Modifiers: Common, Standardized (Verdin only, -2 CS), Technology Level Modification (Verdin only, -1 CS), Casing Strength, (+5 CS to match natives strength, Verdin only, no cost), Pocket Sized (+1 CS), and Portable (+1 CS). Net Cost on Verdin (Un material, Rm), on Earth (Ex material, Mn).
His Supplement Pills have a remarkable cost monthly, QV “abnormal chemistry”, and contain assorted organometallic compounds of lead, mercury, tungsten, bismuth, and cadmium. While these elements are not all that expensive, getting them in a form he can easily metabolize is. The pills are highly toxic to those who lack appropriate enzymes, such as most humans. Without supplements he will slowly weaken, like a normal human with dietary deficiencies. Earthly foods, while containing plenty of calories, simply don’t contain enough metals, although they will suffice for several months without serious difficulties.
Typical “wandering” gear, usually carried in a pack, in panniers, or on a belt. Items which are likely to be carried while acting as a “superhero” are underlined.
1) Grapple and Rope (Un str (+2 CS over racial base))
2) Fusion “Lighter”, also a lantern, heating unit, flare, or blowtorch. Adjustable up to In intensity, but too small for effective use as a weapon.
3) Canteen, with internal condenser / filter system.
4) 60 days emergency ration tablets.
5) Foul weather gear (Rm thermal/chemical protection)
6) Breath mask (in case a shelter fills with water).
7) Monocrys sheet (Rm shielding vrs radiation and other energies, for flare emergencies, also a blanket, waterproof tarp, etc.
8) Camp kit, with utility/survival knive(s), pocket axe, tinware, cord and line, self-heating cookware, insect repeller, and assorted minor junk.
9) Medkit (Rm reason for medical purposes only, use allows an extra recovery daily and synthesis of antitoxins and such with a reason FEAT roll).
10) Pocket toolkit (Assorted miniaturized mechanical and microtronic tools, notably an ultrascriber, minimicroscope, high-tech “Swiss Knife”, sonic cleanser, wire, and supplies for minor repairs)
11) Bow, arrows, and quiver, with bowyers kit, and spare shafts, heads, and bowstave. (Shift-y draw, arrows, range, and damage)
12) Grooming gear (currycomb, hoof care tools, etc).
Geology kit (Kalrith’s got most of the rock collection in his limbo, a lot of it will go to establish those “monstrous” resources on earth.)
“Hardwood” stave (for poking at things with)
Assorted pocket junk
Picked up on Earth
Assorted data / computer service subscriptions.
A small estate, with woods, grass, and private beach.
Bagpipes, to be practiced on the estate. This may count as a security system at the GM’s option.
Helmet, in the scottish or classical greek style, to act as an oxygen mask, binoculars, IR and UV vision, and excellent protected senses.
Assorted computer programs, for: LORAN location, tracking, jamming, and transmission protocols.
Alien Draconoid “Animal”
Fighting: 50/Am, Agility: 75/Mn, Strength: 50/Am, Endurance: 50/Am, Reason: 50/Am, Intuition: 20/Ex, Psyche: 75/Mn, Health: 225, Karma: 145, Resources: Shift-0, and Popularity: 10/Gd.
Length: 4′, Weight: 185 lb, Hair/Eyes: None/Yellow, Apparent Age: ???, Real Age: 16, Real Name: Not Transcribable, Occupation: Creature, Identity: Not telling, Legal Status: None (animal), Other Aliases: None known, Birthplace: Verdin, Marital Status: Single (underage), Known Relatives: None known, Ethnic Origin: “Oriental” Dragon, Religion: None Known, Source Of Income: None needed.
Talents: Resist Domination, Trance, Serpentine Wrestling, Acrobatics, Luckbringer (Equates to the Leadership talent), Storytelling and Remember Stories (+3 CS for either).
Personal Notes: +2CS popularity with Ann McCaffery or fantasy fans. Doesn’t speak normally, possibly by choice, and has “feeble” manipulation abilities. His “gateway” ability uses a tremendous surge of psionic energy which momentarily links the travellers minds to those within a few miles of the exit. Normally this effect is trivial, but on very long jumps (Shift-X+) the link is strong enough to imbue travellers with the local language.
Warp Generation: a psionic ability to generate and manipulate dimensional warps. This allows him to tap extradimensional energies to augment his personal abilities, “reinforce” his armor by shunting away excessive forces, and subsumes the following powers: Teleport Self (40/In), Gateway (30/Rm), and Internal Limbo (75/Mn).
Molecular Telekinesis: Allows him to telekinetically manipulate the molecules in his immediate vicinity in a variety of ways, subsuming the following powers: Matter Animation (Solids, 50/Am), Weather Control (50/Am), and Water Freedom (50/Am).
Kalrith is still having trouble with liquids, their unpredictable intermolecular interactions are difficult to “get a grip on”, so far the best he can do is “push it away” enough to allow easy movement underwater. His abilities already surpass those native to his race, who cannot handle solids at all and must learn to handle water.
Draconic Powers: These powers are simply the result of his physical form. (QV, warp generation, above). Body Armor (Scales, 75/Mn), Sonar Sense (10/Gd), and Environmental Awareness (10/Gd). He may bite for edged attack damage.
Established Power Stunts: Weather/Incredible Flight, 20 areas/turn
Capsule History: Kalrith is a very young, if remarkably precocious, member of the El’Sharran race. While his species is independent after hatching and pick up their cultural basics with great speed, much of his life has been spent exploring his environment and personal abilities. Still more has been spent on the tales which make up his “education”. Curiosity about the centauroids mentioned in some tales inspired investigation, shortly thereafter he teleported himself into Kriegspeil’s “living room”. While Kriegspeil was delighted, and soon befriended him, the family was not so enthusiastic. When Kriegspeil went “wandering” a year or so later Kalrith accompanied him. He was 12 at the time. A few years later the pair experimentally tried to boost Kalrith’s power by tapping energies from an oncoming solar flare. The ensuing wild gate sought an energy source sufficient to stabalize it’s other end, and latched onto a nova. That energy surge coupled his next, reflexive, gate to the cosmic axis itself, taking them both to Earth.
Contacts: Clan Kalo’Kph’Arkee of the El’Sharrah, Kriegspeil, Verdinian Centauroid, three additional.
Playing Notes: Kalrith is an unusual specimen of his species, most have far more limited abilities. He apparently taps some extradimensional energy source to augment his powers and attributes. His dozens of “gateway” jumps with Kriegspeil have created a permanent low-grade rapport between them, allowing easy communication. His sonar makes him vulnerable to sonics: the disorientation disrupts his control of the energy he taps, and will eventually incapacitate him. (Energy allergy, incapacitating during the duration of contact). For a description see the racial notes on the El’Sharrah.