Friday, February 5, 2016

Encounters: Lightning Pug

Hue hue hue hue hue hue.
It skitters into sight. It bares a toothy maw and flashes out of vision. Rain is pouring, and the echo of the water sloshing down the gutter gives a steady timbrel to back the pricking sound of hundreds of drops, and then it appears again, much more substantially this time. The Lightning Pug. Today's affliction is seizure. And I decided it will be delivered via pug. Let's see how that goes.


Seizure is an expensive affliction and is worth 20 to our CER budget off the back. This means, without an especially convoluted and gimped build, a weak monster that uses seizures is next to impossible, so I'll be using a budget of 45 CER instead, but lower is still better. Using some of the traits of a ratter, (I know, a pug isn't a ratter, but it is similar in size) from GURPS Animalia, we can get some kinda base stats for our CER. Let's see what we are looking at.

Attack Skill2Active Defense0
Affliction20Damage Resistance0
Fatigue Points3Hit Points-6
Total Offensive Rating (OR)26Total Protective Rating (PR)-6
OK, so technically, it is a pretty weak guy, and as a matter of fact, it actually surprisingly fits into our low budget! Wow. OK, so let's add a follow up lightning attack that requires some of his nice FP, and let's also add some stun to that attack, and some armor divisor 3 for metal armor only, which I feel is about a 40% limitation, and then is cut in half again for costing FP.
Attack Skill2Active Defense0
Affliction20Damage Resistance0
Fatigue Points3Hit Points-6
Total Offensive Rating (OR)32Total Protective Rating (PR)-6
Now, I like small annoying fast things to be small, annoying and fast. So I'm gonna try to keep us under 30, but I want to add one more move and more dodge. The extra move is important because it takes us from the threshold of a 1 yard step to a 2 yard step.
Attack Skill2Active Defense2
Affliction20Damage Resistance0
Fatigue Points3Hit Points-6
Total Offensive Rating (OR)33Total Protective Rating (PR)-4
I just found another way to lower his number a bit, and since he has a lot of FP, it might be worth while. If we say his seizure move requires FP, then his affliction is only 10 CER. Let's make him more dodgey!

Attack Skill5Active Defense8
Affliction10Damage Resistance0
Fatigue Points3Hit Points-6
Total Offensive Rating (OR)26Total Protective Rating (PR)4
Woo. We got something dangerous that actually stays in my low tier budget, and has some interesting strengths and weaknesses. Let's put together some GURPS stats now.

ST: 4HP: 4Speed: 9
DX: 12Will: 10Move: 10
IQ: 4Per: 10
HT: 10FP: 10SM: -2
Dodge: 12Parry: N/ADR: 0
Bite (12): Reach C1d-6 Cutting
Bite (Optional Follow Up): For 1 FP, the lightning pug can follow up a bite with a 1d burning attack with surge. This damage has a divisor of (5) against metal armor If this does any damage, roll versus HT at a penalty for shock or damage done, whichever is worse, failure stuns.
Thunderous Sparkly Howl (15): costs 1 FP, A crazy laser light show that messes with the senses. Are you seeing a howl? Are you hearing sparks? You almost feel like you have synesthesia, but in a bad way. Use Malediction rules and have a quick contest of the Howl versus Will.  Must be deaf and blind to avoid the attack entirely (or completely blindfolded and ears completely sealed,) with either giving a small resistance. Especially sensitive eyes or hearing give a flat penalty of -1 each if the target has any advantage that would intensify the spectacle. Failure leads to seizures for Margin of Failure seconds.
Traits: Acute Smell 3; Discriminatory Smell; Night Vision 4; Parabolic Hearing 2; Perk (fast eater); Perk (fur); Reduced Consumption 2 (Cast Iron Stomach); Sharp Teeth;Temperature Tolerance 1 (cold); Ultrahearing; Vibration Sense (air; based on hearing); Bad Sight 2; Bloodlust (9); Wild Animal; Gluttony (12-); Impulsiveness (12-); Quadruped; Quirk (Incompetence (Climbing)); Sense of Duty (pack); Stubbornness
Skills: Brawling-12; Running-10; Tracking-15; Hobby Skill (Fetch!)-15


Lightning Pugs. Unlike the earlier mentioned Booze Hound, this is an honest to goodness dog and not a spirit that shapes itself like one. Temperaments vary from dog to dog. Some are friendly pets, some are vicious guards in the guise of a cutesy pugsy wugsy. Unlike garden variety pugs, these dogs can be used for hunting as they are especially good at stunning prey, a valuable feature when the integrity of the hide is important.
No one knows especially why they have control of the elements, autopsies reveal no especial organs for producing electrical loads; the brain does not seem especially developed; nor does the muscular system look especially enhanced. It is reasoned that lightning pugs must be the output of some fairly advanced magic by some. Some churches say that it is a mystery that proves that the majesty of creation can't always be boiled down to an artificer's equation or a thaumaturge's magical circle.
That said, without any especially impressive biology, delvers will rarely find anything by cutting one open, but as they are a status symbol among the affluent, they sometimes have unusually ornate collars and harnesses with some valuable gems [try rolling against the random gems table in Dungeon Fantasy 8 maybe?]

Other Notes and Closing

I really like using Animalia as a template for animals based on real life. For suggested improvements, adding some mundane strength and making it bigger might be a good start. Animalia suggests a High Pain Threshold which I couldn't fit into the budget reasonably. Players with animal handling might be able to handle it non-violently, and if caught in a good mood, might be able to disarm it with a friendly game of fetch.
If playing by what I wrote, a typical location that a delver might see them is in the domains of the wealthy or among wizards. If they are taking the role of guard dogs, they might also be trained to bark loudly to alert real guards.
The lightning pug's main defenses are its extreme speed and good dodging ability, but it can be defeated easily if someone can get through its defenses. Deceptive attacks, or disabling afflictions might be the most effective strategies for dealing with one.

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