by Jan E. Knoell
The Vancouver Horror is the aptly named Alpha-Predator of Vancouver Island. This alien felinoid is like no other cat that was born to this world. Roughly the size and shape of a terrestrial tiger, this creature is different in many aspects. Its mouth is reminiscent of a sabre-toothed tiger - complete with the deadly twelve-inch fangs and retractable 2" claws used for dealing death to its unfortunate victims. Unlike the sabre-toothed tiger it also bears a long whip like tail that is prehensile that it uses to grip and kill prey as well as defend itself. While born as a normal animal with soft S.D.C. flesh it begins developing ridged bony plates that are covered in a leathery mottled green hide during a molt in their sixth month of life. Within a year of forming these plates grow to be as strong as a suit of power armor - sometimes stronger. Unlike most supernatural predators the Vancouver Horror has an added threat to its reputation. While most predators are vulnerable to common weapons of man - the Vancouver Horror's tough shell is extremely resistant to damage from kinetic and heat energy.
Exactly how long the Vancouver Horror has been on the island remains unknown, but the traditionalist Nootka tribal peoples first encountered it soon after the initial cataclysm had ended. They were only a few weeks into their resettlement of the island when a mated pair of Vancouver Horrors attacked a quartet of playing children that had wandered away from the settlement. Over the course of the next several weeks these two Vancouver Horrors staged several coordinated attacks on the settlement - each a bit more bold than the last. After two months of sporadic attacks the mated pair attacked the camp proper. The village hunters attempted to fight them off, but their weapons were powerless to defeat them. The few spirit warriors and totem warriors in their village were even incapable of phasing the beasts.
As a result of the attacks over fifty, of their' slightly less than 600 band members, were dead - and neither beast had been severely wounded. It was then that the Nootka made the decision to move to Nootka Island rather than remain on Vancouver Island and face the Horrors.
When Akersley and the other exiles from Water Point Preserve arrived on the southern tip of Vancouver Island - they brought with them quite an assortment of weapons. While not well enough armed to fend off an army or even a well-equipped band of murderous cyborgs - when they squared off against the mated pair of Vancouver Horrors that claimed the southern tip of the island they were able to keep them at bay - but only just. Throughout the years prior to the arrival of Nyan Tamya and the founding of Wa-Daisho, they still made sporadic attacks against the settlers in outlying areas and farms.
By the time the Republic was founded the Vancouver Horrors had already learned to avoid large concentrations of humanoids, but with the added amount of settlers moving into outlying areas, the string of attacks against humanoids began to increase in frequency and ferocity. Before long Regent Tamya could no longer afford to ignore this string of attacks and so special squads of power armor equipped soldiers were assembled to go out on "hunts" to attack, kill, or capture Vancouver Horrors. Nearly a dozen mated pairs and at least twice that number juveniles were slain in the following years. While these "hunts" are still held whenever an attack is reported, they are no longer ordered as preventative measures.
Alignment: Selfish or Evil, depending on one's perspective.
Attributes: IQ: High Animal Intelligence, ME: 4D6+2, MA: 2D6, PS: 5D6+4, PP: 4D6, PE: 4D6+6, PB: 2D6, Spd: 6D6+20 running.
Size: 8' (2.44m.) long (plus an 8' (2.44m.) whip like tail) and 3 ½' (1.06m.) tall at the shoulder.
Weight: 550-750 Lb. (249.48-340.19kg.)
Mega-Damage: 2D6x100 M.D.C. at a year and a half in age. About half that at a year old. At 6 months they are only S.D.C. creatures with 2D6x10 hit points. As newborns they have 2D6 hit points.
Horror Factor: 15.
Natural Abilities: Bio-regeneration of 6D6 M.D. per hour, Nightvision 2,000' (609.6m.), hawk like vision, and excellent hearing. They are naturally invulnerable to poison, and are extremely resistant to heat and kinetic attacks - 1/10 damage.
Attacks Per Melee: Six.
Bonuses: +4 to initiative, +5 to strike, +2 to parry with the prehensile tail, +6 to dodge, +3 to roll, and +5 to save vs. horror factor.
Average Life Span: 15-25 years.
Vulnerabilities: It is vulnerable to electricity, magic, lasers, cold, and psionics.
Market Value: The meat of the Vancouver Horror is tough and gristly - making it worthless as anything more than dog food. Its winter hide is layered on the inside with a heavy coat of blubbery fat. This blubber can be used for a number of purposes including cooking, burning in lanterns, and for making candles. The species is too rare for this to be a practical business - but they are occasionally utilized in this fashion by reclusive wilderness folk. The winter hide is shed in mid April but once the hide is shed the creature usually devours it. The bony plates under the creature's hide are very tough - so tough in fact that it can be used to create up to 3 suits of body armor! A suit of body armor fashioned from the hide of a Vancouver Horror has 55 M.D.C., weighs 18 Lb., and provides a -10% prowl penalty. The color naturally is a sort of pale green but the bony plates bleach badly in sunlight and eventually come to be more of an off white with a faint greenish tinge. Wilderness scouts occasionally sell suits of this armor for right around 20,000 credits. As tough as Vancouver Horrors are - they are scarcely worth the trouble!
Appearance: The Vancouver Horror looks like a saber-toothed tiger with a long and whip-like prehensile tail, massive paws ending in 2" (5cm.) retractable claws, and with an oversized maw sporting 12" (30.4cm.) fangs. The hide of the creature looks like segmented plate armor - much like a Kreeghor's armored hide, but it is ridged where it meets up with the next plate - all of this covered under a thick leathery hide that is more fatty and rounded in appearance in the winter. The coloration never changes, however, being a deep green closer to the groves at the base of the plates and a lighter green color at the highest parts of the ridges.
Prey: Vancouver Horrors are completely carnivorous. They prefer larger game such as Roosevelt Elk and Black Tailed Deer but in the absence of these they are flexible enough to be opportunistic and will feed on anything from a small bird to a human in lieu of large game.
Social Behavior: The Vancouver Horror is very flexible in its social behavior. It will most often travel in mated pairs but occasionally two or more mated pairs, with their young, have been known to join up into larger "demi-packs" for periods ranging from a few days to an entire season. The males are almost always dominant in their species being some 10% larger and stronger than their female relations. Newly matured males will compete for the right to mate with newly matured females by competing in hunting skills - offering the female the more desirable prey. Once the female has selected a mate - they will remain monogamous together for the remainder of their days. If one should die prior to the other, the other will NOT select a new mate under any circumstances. In hunting members of both sex participate - unlike the case with lions where only the females hunt. Vancouver Horrors are generally territorial and will not permit intrusions into their domain unless prey is extremely plentiful. In this case solitary hunters are still not usually permitted access to their domain BUT the formation of the "demi-packs" usually results with a mated pair.
Habitat: The habitat of this creature is generally restricted to the forests, scrub brush, and grasslands of Vancouver Island. As the creature can NOT swim, none have yet so far made it to the mainland or any of the surrounding islands. This having been said, there are few areas on the island where one cannot find a Vancouver Horror within a 50 mile (80km.) radius somewhere.
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