Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mutant Animals

First - When I say “mutant” animals, I am not talking about ones who shoot concussion force beams out of their eyes or have three unbreakable claws that extend from their fists. Sorry if I roped you into this blog unfairly. (Though I do need to say that Cyclopes is SO much cooler than Wolverine!!) By mutant, I mean - not like what they are on Earth. I put mutant animals in my world for two main reasons: First, I want the animal to fill a gap that it really doesn’t fill on Earth, but would still be really cool in the game world. For example: Nanerette is a river town, but I always think of it as being sort of like New Orleans. I know, Brinston is the city on the delta, but it is more like Paris, and Nanerette is the city on the river, but more like New Orleans. Anyway! So for Nanerette to be more like New Orleans, I want there to be some manner of alligator or crocodile to scare the locals and provide reptile skin leather products. Don’t judge me; it’s what I wanted for that town. The problem is that Nanerette is way too cold in winter to support alligators or crocodiles. So I mutated the caimans and gave them a special power: Fletnern caimans can hibernate through the winter. Boom! Now, I can have reptiles in the more temperate zones. I can have caiman hunters who go out after several different sizes of caimans (right up to the 125lb indigo caimans). This allows me to have the culture I want and the products I want in the region I want. It’s a fantasy world, and if one can believe that dragons can fly, you have to believe that caimans can hibernate. The other reason I use mutant animals is to add variety. I do this for a number of reasons, but the main one is to keep the players a little bit more off kilter. When they see a blue furred cat moving towards them through the night, they don’t know what it is. Every boy who grew up in Garnock knows that is a lion - lions near Garnock are blue and have almost no mane. But the players don’t typically know that. The lions in the Southern Plains are golden like we expect from Africa, but the ones farther north are a really deep midnight blue - perfect for stalking prey at night around the swamps of Garnock. (But not in them, as the lions still aren’t big on the whole stagnant water thing.) Extra variety helps on all sorts of stuff - extra products to put on caravans, making different regions seem more different, and the previously mentioned, fighting guys who know the rule books better than I do. I may have written them, but didn’t memorize them. There is a third reason, and it’s sort of a cop out. If I say that this is an indigo caiman who lives in the Slyvanian Forest, no one can say - “You misunderstand caimans. In fact they would never act like that in real life.” Well, this isn’t real life. It isn’t even Earth. It’s my game world, and I may have based the animals on something similar on Earth, but they are not the same. That way, they are whatever I decide they are! My gorillas eat meat and so do my pandas. Take that Mr. Nature Channel!

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