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Patrick Goodman
Somewhere along the way, during one of the endless and painful CGL Speculation threads (#3, I think it was), I mentioned that I'd throw up the proposal that ultimately landed me the gig writing up the Infected for Running Wild. After much stuff going on in the world, and lots of other things going on here, I've finally gotten around to doing this little thing. Without much ado, then, I give you this proposal.

As proposals go, this really isn't an ideal one, but it's what I've got. Looking back on it now, there's a lot of things I'd change. Things would be tighter, and there'd be more examples of how I'd do things to show how the flavor would come through. That said, it did get me the gig.

When I first pitched for Running Wild, I had been having a long conversation about a new critter book for SR3, and I'd gone on at length in public about what I'd put in and how I'd do it if I was in charge. That's how this particular proposal came to be; I had just been calling the book Critters Redux at the time, so when Rob announced to the freelancers that this book had a slot, though nothing had been really thought out about it, I did a big search-and-replace in my existing proposal, did some cleaning, and sent this in.
Patrick Goodman
A Proposal by Patrick Goodman

This one has been discussed a lot, though I haven’t seen anything concrete on it considering the way the schedule has been of late. While I don’t think I could write the whole book (and I wouldn’t necessarily think that it was a good idea even if I could), I think I have a decent idea of how to set the book up and sort it out, which is what I want to share with you here. The chapters I’d be specifically interested in working on are “The Paragon of Animals” and “Shadows of the Night,” both of which are detailed below.

This proposal proceeds from the idea that Running Wild will be an in-character sourcebook rather than purely a rules supplement book. The hardest part of an in-character bestiary like this is making sure it makes an interesting read and provides information that can benefit the player, their characters, and the GM, and still do so in a reasonably economical format. The format for the Paranormal Animals books from the 1st and 2nd Edition days clearly didn’t cut it on an economy scale, but the Critters pamphlet for 3rd Edition was too radical in the other direction and didn’t offer an interesting read. I think Running Wild could find a fairly safe middle ground between the two without much effort.

I think we should organize the critters more or less by general lines of habitat: urban critters, wilderness critters, aquatic critters, and so on (individual habitats are detailed below). Other chapters would deal with spirits, metahumanity, dracoforms, and HMHVV creatures.

For the creature writeups themselves, I think a couple of critters per page, with a small illustration for each one, would be the best way to go. This is basically how the new critters in Year of the Comet were handled. That is, in fact, the general template I have in my head for the book. The in-character discussion would talk about the critter’s general range around the world, its diet, and shadowtalk discussing specific encounters (both real and imagined) that different posters have had with them. Each chapter would likely be broken down into a few broad sub-habitats (desert, forest, and subterranean, for example); within each of these broad categories, the various critters would be arranged alphabetically.

In terms of rules information, most of what would be need would simply be revised stat blocks for the critters. Some of the critter powers need to be reworked or at least revised (I’m thinking specifically of Regeneration here, but there might be some others). We’d also want to include any new critter powers that may have come into being since the core books came out, as well as new SURGE traits and other mutations for critters. The revised stat block would, space permitting, also include revised weights for the critters, based on similar creatures in the real world. Many of the creatures in the old books (and even a few recent ones) are far lighter than they should be for their size.

I feel that art is essential for a book of this nature; a GM can have far more impact showing the players a picture of the thing they’re meeting up with than by merely saying that they’re dealing with, for instance, a giant armadillo if they encounter a juggernaut. However, it shouldn’t be allowed to dominate the entry the way that the pictures did in the original Paranormal Animals books. While I’d like to have the size comparison drawings that appeared in those books, I wouldn’t miss them if they couldn’t be used. One idea that I’ve had would be to have just the cropped illustration for the critter in the book, and have full pictures and the size comparison pictures in a PDF available on the website. The PDF wouldn’t have any game information that they’d need from the book, just the full image of the critter and the size comparison, and the art would already be paid for since it would be needed for the main book anyway (if it hasn’t already been paid for because it’s the old art from the PA books from previous editions).

The voice for this one would be an amateur sociologist who’s had extensive real-world dealings with many, if not most, of the metavariant races and has some genuine dislike and disrespect for Drs. Van Buren and Carmine, the sociologists who provided the information for the basic player races in the Shadowrun 2nd Edition core book. She notes the lack of any sort of update on their work in regards to metavariant races since the book’s publication in 2048, and suggests that like the infamous Dr. Danchekker of Native American Nations notoriety, they are actually a fictional construct that no one has bothered to maintain. Their book is still cited as the one of the most “famous” and “respected” references available on the subject by much of the lay public, however, and she suggests that this could be a problem for many people considering the factual holes and clear bias of their study.

In the fiction section, she’ll concentrate mostly on the metavariants, though she will point out “real-world” weight errors committed by Drs. Van Buren and Carmine in regards to the core races. She’ll also explore some of the fallacies about the various dietary habits of the races, reminding people that metahumans show the same basic range of diets as ordinary humans. She’ll give more details on most of the metaraces, though some will be less detailed than others.

Game Information
The big thing I’m trying to do here is get some more realistic weights in the game for player races, and to provide some canonical heights and weights for the metavariant races (one of my very few “realism” hang-ups in Shadowrun). One of the things that would be included is a revised table with the average stats for all the metavariant races, similar to the one that appears in the Critters supplement (this is a table that I’ve already compiled). There would also be an expanded table with the revised heights, weights and life expectancies for all the metavariants, similar to the table that appears in the Shadowrun 3rd Edition core book. Again, I’ve already got something like this done if you decide to go for it.

Some updated rules on customizing lifestyle considerations (vehicles, clothes, etc.) for the various troll and dwarf subraces might be desired by some, though I’m not 100% in favor of the notion myself.

This is where we can discuss creatures that are typically found in an urban environment, such as the devil rat and the hell hound. They don’t necessarily need to be native to the urban environment, since most of the animals used by the corporations as security animals would also fall under this heading. This would include any critters created since the debut of Shadowrun 3rd Edition, to include some mention of the critters from Year of the Comet and other sources. Fiction would concentrate mostly on critters that haven’t had much exposure recently; the critters from YotC would be mentioned, but not in as much detail as the Cerberus hound, for instance.

Some sub-habitats would include Sprawl-Wide, Security Critters, and the Sewers, though others are obviously possible.

Game Information
There have been some mentions on the internet about a desire for rules on animal handling and training, as well s some folks wanting to know how much some of these critters cost (on both the open and black markets). This would be the place to put those rules, in addition to the stat blocks for the critters. This same type of information would be useful for wilderness-based and aquatic creatures, too.
Patrick Goodman
This would be the counterpoint to the previous chapter, dealing with critters primarily found in the wilds outside of an urban sprawl (to include the barrens found in many cities). Again, most of the fiction would be dedicated to creatures that haven’t had any of the recent limelight. The chapter would likely be the bulk of the book’s page count, since I think there are a lot more wilderness-based critters than there are urban ones (though I haven’t, admittedly, done the math to find out if I’m right in this belief).

Some sub-habitats would include Desert, Hills & Mountains, Forests, and Arctic, among others.

I think that there are enough aquatic creatures for them to merit their own. In spite of the title, the chapter would be made up of creatures from both freshwater and marine habitats, as well as some of the aquatic swamp-dwellers.

Some of the sub-habitats that could be covered would be Lakes, Rivers, Coastal Waters, and the Deep Ocean. This chapter could be folded into the others if it’s determined that not enough aquatic creatures exist to merit their own chapter.

I think that HMHVV needs to be very clearly defined, much more so than it is currently. The Human-Metahuman Vampiric Virus has been kind of abused over the past many years, and has developed more strains than the Bears’ locker room after the end of the post-season. Some of the creatures attributed to the disease aren’t actually vampiric in nature, and so the diseases that cause these creatures shouldn’t be classified as vampiric viruses.

The main text of this section would be a lecture on vampirism, given to students at the Texas Technical & Magical University’s medical school by Dr. Thomas McAllister, a shaman to the Great Mother, a medical doctor, and a self-taught expert in the field. He started studying it several years ago after his sister was turned into a vampire.

In his lecture, Dr. McAllister would inform the students that some of the strains of the disease, while still referred to as HMHVV in many circles, are not in fact the same disease. He’ll point out that true HMHVV infections drain a victim’s life force, where some of the infections credited to the virus do not. He’ll propose that the hallmark trait of “true” HMHVV infections would be the fact that they drain a victim’s life energy as part of their attack, and that not all creatures afflicted with the disease do this. His discussion of each of the disease’s strains, their defining characteristics, and why he believes it is or isn’t a “true” vampiric virus will be organized along the following lines. He will also discuss the typical expressions of these viruses, and perhaps touch on some newly discovered ones.

This is the prototypical vampiric virus, and is clearly identifiable in all cases by several common characteristics found among all known expressions of the disease. Forgive me for mixing and matching game and in-character terminology in this proposal.

• All known cases see an increase in the creature’s speed (as measured in terms of Initiative dice).
• In all cases, the creature must drain the Essence of others to maintain its own supply.
• In all cases, the creature’s Essence fluctuates over the course of time.
• In all cases, the disease does not activate until the victim is reduced to 0 Essence, i.e. he dies. This means it can’t be cured within the bounds of medical science in 2064, but oh, the fun mad scientist types can have trying to do so (see “Playing God,” below).
• The disease expresses differently depending on the base species that is infected.
• They all drain Essence.
• They all have some degree of Allergy to Sunlight.
• They all regenerate.

These traits are common across all five basic HMHVV expressions, and many of them are not present in two of the remaining three strains of the disease. This strain of the disease only appears to strike sentient beings, though it does appear to have a destructive effect on the victim’s intellect in some cases. That destructive variety of the disease could become a true “Strain 2,” since dzoo-noo-qua and goblins aren’t immune to age, disease, or pathogens, as the other expressions of HMHVV are. There could, in fact, be examples of this intellect-destroying version of the disease in the other metaspecies, as there could be examples of non-intellect-destroying HMHVV in trolls and dwarfs.

Other discussion could include how members of the various metavariant species could express should they contract the disease. It might also include some other expressions of HMHVV in other base creatures such as the sasquatch, which could in turn open some debate in the shadow community as to what species are and aren’t intelligent and sentient. I’ve created one such creature in the form of a sasquatch stricken with the intellect-destructive variety of HMHVV for use in my local game; others would be easy enough to come up with.

While long classified as a strain of the vampiric virus, HMHVV-2 does not display most of the key traits for HMHVV listed above. Specifically, Jarka-Criscione Syndrome (as Dr. McAllister refers to it) lacks the following key traits:

• It does not cause the victim to drain Essence.
• It does not enable the victim to regenerate.
• The disease can be contracted without the victim reaching 0 Essence (spread via the Pestilence power instead of the Infection power).
• The victim’s Essence does not fluctuate over time.

The victims of this disease clearly don’t show any signs of actual vampirism, and the disease shouldn’t be classified as vampiric in nature. There should be some emphasis on that term in the name of the disease; pointing out that “Vampiric” is part of the disease’s name might help the public (both in game and out of it) to start differentiating between real HMHVV and other related diseases that aren’t vampiric in nature.

JCS is more closely related to HMHVV than the Krieger strain which causes ghouls (see below), since all known expressions of the disease are different depending on the base metaspecies. There are no known expressions of this disease from dwarfs, elves, or orks. This could be a good place to introduce such creatures if needed or desired, and as before, discussion could include what happens with metavariant races if they contract this illness.

Of the four known HMHVV strains in the game, Bruckner-Langer is the only one besides baseline HMHVV that can be truly classified as a vampiric virus. Little is known about the infection, beyond the fact that its victims are extremely powerful in comparison to those of the baseline disease, and that Bruckner-Langer only appears to affect humans. Discussion in the shadows indicates that there are possible expressions in other metahuman races, but nothing concrete has been discovered by the scientific community.

Of all the versions of HMHVV that have appeared, this is the least deserving of the title. Krieger Syndrome, as Dr. McAllister will refer to it, is clearly not vampiric in nature, though there are some similarities. Some of the traits that help show this isn’t actually HMHVV include:

• The disease expresses itself in the same fashion across all metahuman races, including the metavariants.
• Victims of the disease do not need to drain Essence from others in order to survive (though they do have to feed on metahuman flesh, they don’t drain the victim’s Essence).
• Victims of the disease lose some Essence, but aren’t reduced to 0 Essence and do not die.

The key, of course, is the fact that it doesn’t cause Essence Drain or Essence Loss. The dietary requirement for human flesh might make it seem more similar than it is, but not all of the vampiric forms have a dietary requirement of this sort; all of them, however, do drain Essence. Ghouls do not.

This chapter can also cover such critters as vampiric pawns and the chupacabras, which clearly exhibits vampiric tendencies but is also clearly manmade. This could be used to tie it into the critter cybernetics/genetech chapter later in the book (see below).

I’ve also been thinking of possible ways to come up with vampires of a truly supernatural nature, that aren’t caused by a mutated virus. With the advent of shedim and related, death-oriented, spirits, this is probably a more easily accomplished proposition than it might have been before.

Game Information
There will be no rules provided, by me at least, for vampire PCs. Screw the rabble if they can’t take a joke.

Okay, this isn’t entirely true. Part of what I plan to do here includes coming up with a consistent way for GMs to take a character and transform them into an HMHVV victim. Diseases have predictable symptoms and expressions, and HMHVV should be no different, even if it is a magical disease. The revised stat blocks that would be derived from this could easily be used for vampiric PC rules, though I must emphasize that I’m against it. There’s another game for that.

Most of the revised stat blocks I’m referring to here I’ve already done for my own use here in my local game. They’re based on the notion that these creatures were all characters prior to contracting the disease, and that the disease has the same basic effects on every character which it afflicts. They also correct a couple of errors that have appeared over the years in the books. For instance, the description of the dzoo-noo-qua indicates that it reduces the victim to an animal-like intellectual state, but their average Intelligence is higher than that of a normal troll; the stats should reflect this.

For each version of HMHVV, a sidebar showing all the common traits for each version would be provided. The same sidebar would show each race’s unique reactions to the disease, as well. The stats would be divided according to the variety of the disease, and each section would include the new expressions of the disease discussed in the fiction.

HMHVV-1 is the easiest section to do; most of what’s needed is simply revised stat blocks, since it’s the baseline from which the other versions are derived. It might be subdivided into HMHVV-1A and HMHVV-1B, to distinguish between the versions of the disease that do and do not destroy the intellect of the victim. Instead of 1A and 1B, the second form might become HMHVV-2, replacing the current HMHVV-2.

HMHVV-2 will be renamed Jarka-Criscione Syndrome, since it will be demonstrated in the fiction that it’s not really vampiric in nature, and so was misnamed from the start. New expressions for orks, elves, and dwarfs can be included, though I think we’re starting to run out of snazzy names for these critters.

HMHVV-3, the Bruckner-Langer strain of the disease, only produces nosferatu from humans at this point. Nosferatu are essentially just super-vampires; it’s not inconceivable that it does the same thing in metahumans, but given its rarity, these haven’t been reported yet. This strain could be one that doesn’t destroy the intellect of the victim, so it probably doesn’t express in those races that have their intellect destroyed by HMHVV-1. This would still leave us with the concept of super-banshees and super-wendigos, which should kind of scare people.

HMHVV-4 will be renamed Krieger Syndrome, since like Jarka-Criscione Syndrome, it doesn’t actually create a vampiric character. The biggest revision needed here will be an alteration to the stat block for the average ghoul. This table is something I’ve already compiled based on average members of each metahuman race and the ghoul rules from SR3Comp, but it does show some minor problems with character generation for ghouls. This should be easy enough to address, though.
Patrick Goodman
This could, admittedly, use a better title, but since I’m not altogether sure it’ll make it into the book anyway, I’m not too worried about it. This is the chapter where I’d assemble all the various spirits that have appeared since the release of the core book.

With Dragons of the Sixth World out so recently, this section might not be wholly necessary. Matter of fact, it might be downright superfluous, but I’m including it in this outline for the sake of completeness.

This is the chapter for critter-specific cybernetics and bioware. Discussion would center less around new critters, and more on artificial modifications for critters (primarily for security critters, of course, since there wouldn’t be much need to develop this kind of thing for critters in the wild). This would include genetic engineering and breeding, as well as bioware and cyber. The genetic engineering discussion could include things like trying to cure HMHVV and other magical diseases, and the horrors that have been (or might have been) unleashed on mankind as a result, as well as specifically trying to improve on the hell hound and other such creatures. It could even include manmade mutagenic weapons and things of that nature. Other discussion could include expansion on the mutation rules for critters.
Patrick Goodman
Note to self: Next time you do something like this, make title more lurid....
Saint Sithney
Yeah, I'm personally trying to *not* get Infected.

That's what this is about, rite? How you got Infected? read.gif wobble.gif wink.gif
Patrick Goodman
Likely depends on the infection, to be sure.... devil.gif
Thats an interesting read, Patrick. Thanks for sharing.
The Jake
Soo.... we have YOU to blame for the HMHVV infection rules!
*shakes fist*


- J.

PS: Good reading, thanks for that. Of great interest to us prospective writers.
QUOTE (The Jake @ Apr 18 2010, 11:40 PM) *
Soo.... we have YOU to blame for the HMHVV infection rules!
Yep. The looming vampire apocalypse is Patrick's fault... grinbig.gif
Patrick Goodman
No, the new Infected apocalypse is Ancient History's fault. He even confessed it here someplace. I'll have to look for said confession later.
QUOTE (Method @ Apr 19 2010, 01:44 AM) *
Yep. The looming vampire apocalypse is Patrick's fault... grinbig.gif

ghouls, actually. vampires aren't so bad. it's the ghouls that will be causing the apocalypse.
Ancient History
Yeah, I coulda done better on the Runner's Companion rules.
Wesley Street
Very cool, Patrick. I love reading writer proposals almost as much as the finished product. Thanks for sharing.
Tiger Eyes
Very cool, Patrick. I thought I would toss in my proposal for A Walk on the Wild Side...


I’d propose a pure fiction chapter discussing the ins-and-outs of non-metahuman societies and how sapient critters relate to metahumanity and metahuman societies, laws, customs, and culture.

This chapter would emphasis that sentient critters are not just meta-humans with fur, but beings with (often) completely different outlooks on life and their place in it. I would like to cover their internal cultures and customs (using a general guideline from real animal kingdom examples; ie, Centaurs would exhibit herd/equine behaviors in many ways in their societal structure).

This chapter would be in the form of a variety of documents by a leading researcher who has lived among the various critter societies in places all around the globe (sort of the 2070’s version of Jane Goodall). She would be an invited guest by Fastjack and would be uploading portions of her private journal and then commenting on them with various jackpoint posters. Other documents uploaded could include missionary pamphlets/letters, corporate investment/exploratory team correspondence/memos, and even a blog from a critter who has come to LA and gotten on P2.0.

The “in-depth with…” section would go into detail on a particular society (location) for each critter available as player characters. This would come from the poster’s first-person viewpoint as she has lived in or observed the culture. It focuses on a particular location with leaders, customs, laws, living arrangements, mating/child rearing, education, spirituality, magic usage/training, interaction with external world, and other specific details for that particular group of sentient critters. This is where psychology and behavior for the general species would be covered.

Note: This could easily cover more than 10K words, especially if we want to focus on their cultures and backgrounds and how they integrate with metahuman society—thereby providing a context for players and GMs who want to use sentient critters in their campaigns. I’ve placed it at 16K words for this outline.

Outline (16K)

Societies for non-metahuman sentient beings (2K)
What constitutes a society
Technology usage
Defining “Primitive”
Spirituality (religion)

In-depth with… (2K each = 10K)
Nagas (India)
Sidebar: Angkor Wat: Naga Nation
Centaurs (Asian steppes)
Pixies (Duchy of Pomoyra)
Sidebar: Brocéliande Forest: Pixie Nation
Sasquatches (Salish-Sidhe)
Shapeshifters (Amazonia: Jaguar/Sioux: Wolf)
Sidebar: Yakut: Shapeshifter Nation

Sentient Critters in the Metahuman World (4K)
Global Rights/Recognition
Corporate Citizens/Corporate Pets
Going Mainstream… integrating into metahuman culture
Adaptive Technology
Travel (or, “First Class or Cargo Hold?”)
Lifestyles – housing, entertainment, etc
[note: this is the only place I’d see placing rules, how to alter the Advanced Lifestyle rules to encorporate Sentient Critter needs]
Public Perception
Sidebar: Bounties vs. Rights
Thank you for sharing. You never know. Your sharing just might make someone sit up and write a proposal that gets later published.
Patrick Goodman
That's part of the reason I thought doing it might be a good idea. I was also trying to show people how these things work sometimes; believe me, it's not always the way it appears.
Tiger Eyes
QUOTE (Patrick Goodman @ Apr 19 2010, 12:55 PM) *
That's part of the reason I thought doing it might be a good idea. I was also trying to show people how these things work sometimes; believe me, it's not always the way it appears.

True enough. My proposals are always a bit on the light side, but previous developers had a good sense of my capabilities and my voice, and knew that I would fix anything at a moment's notice, so I got a bit of leeway. Endless IM and Skype conversations might have helped too (I used to badger poor Peter about the stuff I thought would be cool, and I swear he'd cave just to get me off his back... like the Walk on the Wild side chapter, which he didn't think there was word count for originally). smile.gif
Ancient History
Heh. I just asked Syn if I could get in on it, and ended up partnered with Tobias on Dragons. Then Tobias had to tap out and I asked John Dunn to help me finish it.
I always find it interesting to read the stuff AH posts that was never published. A lot of it is very good (and useful).
Ancient History
Danke. Of course, generally there's a good damn reason why it was never published.
QUOTE (Ancient History @ Apr 19 2010, 09:48 PM) *
Danke. Of course, generally there's a good damn reason why it was never published.
Yeah sometimes thats apparent (Red Scarlet Woman is probably not for general consumption), but some of it makes me wonder.

Edit: fixed
Ancient History
Well, the Scarlet Woman was never even submitted. Strict fan-material. Some items were cut for space, or content, or sanity...and a lot of the short fiction was written purely for my own purposes (and even then, bits and whole pieces sometimes found their way into different sourcebooks).
Along the same lines, I really liked the realistic weight and height tables Patrick posted last week. I really wish some kind of size comparison chart could have been included in Running Wild.
Patrick Goodman
QUOTE (Method @ Apr 19 2010, 11:06 PM) *
Along the same lines, I really liked the realistic weight and height tables Patrick posted last week. I really wish some kind of size comparison chart could have been included in Running Wild.

I wanted that really, really badly, but there just wasn't any way to make it happen. We didn't have the space. That said, I think it would make a dandy web thing of some sort. Not anything I want to work on, really, as I have the artistic talent of a drunken yak, but I think it would be a dandy thing to have show up.

I'm glad you liked the tables, Method; a part of me still wants to do "The Paragon of Animals" one of these days, but as I said in that other thread, most of my impetus to do it has actually already been taken care of.
QUOTE (Patrick Goodman @ Apr 18 2010, 05:08 PM) *
There will be no rules provided, by me at least, for vampire PCs. Screw the rabble if they can’t take a joke.

Okay, this isn’t entirely true. Part of what I plan to do here includes coming up with a consistent way for GMs to take a character and transform them into an HMHVV victim. Diseases have predictable symptoms and expressions, and HMHVV should be no different, even if it is a magical disease. The revised stat blocks that would be derived from this could easily be used for vampiric PC rules, though I must emphasize that I’m against it. There’s another game for that.

I'm glad that someone with this attitude wrote the section on the Infected. Thanks for your work on Running Wild and thanks for posting your proposal.
Patrick Goodman
QUOTE (Semerkhet @ Apr 20 2010, 12:56 PM) *
I'm glad that someone with this attitude wrote the section on the Infected. Thanks for your work on Running Wild and thanks for posting your proposal.

Well, by the time I got to work on RW, the playable Infected rules had already been written. I'm still opposed to them, but they're there. What can ya do?

And you're more than welcome; I'm very pleased that people are happy with the book, especially my contribution to it, and I hope that it will continue to draw support.
Gee, now i really want to write down my favourite NPC in my Vienna-campaign and propose it to whatever company holds the SR licencse next.

Thank you both for sharing, Tiger Eyes and Patrick, as an amateur writer, i appreciate it deeply. smile.gif
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