SIDEBAR: Animals of Siccaria

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.gurps (More info?)

Ironically, given that Siccaria is incredibly dry for an Earth-like
(loosely defined) world, most of the large native animal life is
basically of the Class Amphibia. They are not necessarily much like
the amphibians familiar to Terrans, though some of them share some
characteristics with amphibians from the Paleozoic.

The Eldren largely ignored Siccaria after its initial terraformation
and the foundation of its biosphere. They did occasionally add new
species, but not nearly as often as they did for most of their other
worlds. In the vagaries of evolution, the amphibians did better than
Siccaria than they did on Earth, partly because a quirk of the local
chemical environment in those early times made most amniotic eggs
unviable. Many reptile species were present at first, but they had a
hard time reproducing in that native Siccarian environment.

This condition actually passed as the ages went on, but the advantage
the amphibians gained in those early days was never entirely reversed.
Reptiles remained niche players in the Siccarian biosphere throughout
its planetary history.

Another advantage for the amphibians in the early ages of Siccarian
history was that the seas, while shallow and modest in terms of total
water volume, covered large areas and had long coastlines. This
provided plentiful niches for the amphibious life-cycle in those days,
giving them plenty of time to adapt to the slow changes of the
planetary climate.

Convergent evolution did produce certain similarities between the later
amphibians of Siccaria and the reptiles of Earth. Lacking the cleidoic
egg, the amphibians of Siccaria compensated by producing tougher, more
land-adapted adult forms. Though almost all Siccarian amphibians
continued to begin life in the water, and to pass through the
equivalent of a 'tadpole' stage, their adult-stages were often quite
divorced from the water, and often very physically powerful and well
adapted to a variety of land environments.

Their reproductive tie to the water continued to restrict them, but
evolution produced a variety of partial solutions. One of the most
successful involved a behavioral adaptation in which creatures
developed the ability to store water and transfer it to 'nests' inland
where the immature stage could exist, and by shortening the immature
stage. Many of the later large animals of Siccaria derived from this
particular developmental line.

By the time Man came to Siccaria, a variety of carnivorous and
herbivorous forms had developed from that line. Some of the herbivores
were actually suitable for domestication, and were so used.

One such form was the _kroth_, the primary beast of burden for
Siccarian culture throughout most of history. A kroth is a 10-12 hex
creature, the size of a Terran elephant, but radically different in
life-cycle and behavior.

A TYPICAL KROTH (large quadrapedal amphibian):

IQ 4
DX 4
ST 200-350
HT 15/50


Kroth are large, but not terribly bright. They do, however, have very
stable, even-tempers as a rule. Their endothermic metabolisms enable
them to operate with far less food than a mammal of equivalent size,
and the warm climate of most of Siccaria means that they remain quite
active during the daytime hours. They tend to hiberate through the
night. A wild kroth, or one far from civilized shelter, tends to curl
up into a ball at night, to conserve warmth.

Kroth have thick tough hides that are excellent insulation, as well as
providing DR 5 over most of the body. This hide tends to toughen
throughout life, and a very old kroth might have as much as DR 7 in its
hide, reinforced by bony plates under the surface.

A line of skin-covered spines extends above the vertebral column, which
can be relaxed against the back or held vertically, which a kroth uses
to cool itself when necessary.

(Meaning that actually _riding_ a kroth is almost impossible, and any
sort of protective covering for such a beast requires openings along
the back.)

Domesticated kroth can live up to 50 Terran years, wild ones usually
die of predation (or other natural causes). They reach sexual maturity
at 8 Terran years, and like all amphibians require water for
reproduction. Being descended of the line that stores the water,
though, they are not tied to the seas (which is critical on Siccaria).

Wild kroth will did a 'nest' at breeding time, fill it with water, and
use it to deposit the eggs. Domestic kroth are provided with the
necessarily facilities for breeding. The 'tadpole' stage lasts about
six Terran months. Adult kroth provide food to the 'nest' for the
growing tadpoles.

Kroth are entirely herbivorous, but can eat almost any form of plant
matter common to Siccaria (except for some _very_ tough plants, and
some of the genetically engineered plants created by Man).

MORE LATER.

Shermanlee
7 answers Last reply
More about sidebar animals siccaria
  1. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.gurps (More info?)

    Johnny1a wrote:

    >Their reproductive tie to the water continued to restrict them, but
    >evolution produced a variety of partial solutions. One of the most
    >successful involved a behavioral adaptation in which creatures
    >developed the ability to store water and transfer it to 'nests' inland
    >where the immature stage could exist, and by shortening the immature
    >stage. Many of the later large animals of Siccaria derived from this
    >particular developmental line.
    >
    Any species that use stratagies similar to the marsuipal frogs or
    gastric brooding frogs of today? (Basically, holding the eggs and
    tadpoles in a pouch or interior body cavity that is moist or filled with
    water?) This would allow almost complete divorce from standing water
    for reproduction (other than drinking, of course).

    Luke
  2. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.gurps (More info?)

    In article <d585i7$2j8$1@news.service.uci.edu>,
    LukeCampbell <lwcampbe@uci.thetrash.edu> wrote:
    >Johnny1a wrote:
    >
    >>Their reproductive tie to the water continued to restrict them, but
    >>evolution produced a variety of partial solutions. One of the most
    >>successful involved a behavioral adaptation in which creatures
    >>developed the ability to store water and transfer it to 'nests' inland
    >>where the immature stage could exist, and by shortening the immature
    >>stage. Many of the later large animals of Siccaria derived from this
    >>particular developmental line.
    >>
    >Any species that use stratagies similar to the marsuipal frogs or
    >gastric brooding frogs of today? (Basically, holding the eggs and
    >tadpoles in a pouch or interior body cavity that is moist or filled with
    >water?) This would allow almost complete divorce from standing water
    >for reproduction (other than drinking, of course).
    >
    >Luke
    >


    The kangaroo rat of the American Southwest, I've read, gets a significant
    amount of the water it needs from the metabolic processes involved in
    breaking down the dry grains and grasses that it eats. I thought that was
    kind of neat-- the water doesn't have to be standing or in liquid form.

    --
    "Are those morons getting dumber or just louder?" -- Mayor Quimby
  3. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.gurps (More info?)

    Gregory L. Hansen wrote:
    > The kangaroo rat of the American Southwest, I've read, gets a
    significant
    > amount of the water it needs from the metabolic processes involved in

    > breaking down the dry grains and grasses that it eats. I thought
    that was
    > kind of neat-- the water doesn't have to be standing or in liquid
    form.

    I think oceanic mammals do much the same. Dolphins, whales, and pals
    get their water from the fish, krill, and seals that they eat - not the
    salty water in the food, but the water produced from digesting
    carbohydrates, fats, etc.

    Mike Miller, Materials Engineer
  4. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.gurps (More info?)

    I have an archive of Google URLs for all the previous threads I know about.
    I've started indenting sidebars under the thread they appear to be sidebars
    to. Let me know if you want any of this formatting changed:

    http://www.cs.queensu.ca/%7Edalamb/Games/Johnny1A.html
    --
    "Yo' ideas need to be thinked befo' they are say'd" - Ian Lamb, age 3.5
    http://www.cs.queensu.ca/~dalamb/ qucis->cs to reply (it's a long story...)
  5. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.gurps (More info?)

    In article <1115321445.593207.173560@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com>,
    Cray74@gmail.com <Cray74@gmail.com> wrote:
    >
    >Gregory L. Hansen wrote:
    >> The kangaroo rat of the American Southwest, I've read, gets a
    >significant
    >> amount of the water it needs from the metabolic processes involved in
    >> breaking down the dry grains and grasses that it eats. I thought
    >that was
    >> kind of neat-- the water doesn't have to be standing or in liquid
    >form.
    >
    >I think oceanic mammals do much the same. Dolphins, whales, and pals
    >get their water from the fish, krill, and seals that they eat - not the
    >salty water in the food, but the water produced from digesting
    >carbohydrates, fats, etc.

    I understand that they will go to river mouths for a drink of fresh water
    I don't know how often or if its all species.

    --
    Michael
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    NPC rights activist | Nameless Abominations are people too.
  6. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.gurps (More info?)

    Johnny1a wrote:

    > Ironically, given that Siccaria is incredibly dry for an Earth-like
    > (loosely defined) world, most of the large native animal life is
    > basically of the Class Amphibia. They are not necessarily much like
    > the amphibians familiar to Terrans, though some of them share some
    > characteristics with amphibians from the Paleozoic.
    >
    > MORE LATER.
    >
    > Shermanlee

    Another large animal native to Siccaria is the _shryk_ (or that's the
    closest rendering in English, the Siccarians (naturally) did not use
    the Western alphabet, or any Indo-European langauge). This is a
    Siccarian word that bears a coincidental verbal similarity to both
    'shark' and 'shriek', and this is not entirely inappropriate, thogh
    entirely accidental, because it is the name a large, dangerous
    predator.

    The shryk is actually distantly related to the kroth, in about the same
    degree that a grizzly bear is related to a horse or a pig. The most
    recent common ancestor was roughly 40 million Terran years ago. Like
    the kroth, the shryk digs a 'nest' which it fills with water for its
    tadpole stage, and like the kroth is guards the nest, and further like
    the kroth the adult form is essentially well-adapted to a pure-land
    life, indeed, they rarely go into the water, and do so only
    reluctantly.

    An adult shryk is a two-hex creature, with the following stats:

    IQ 5
    DX 15
    ST 20
    HT 15/20

    All shryk effectively have the Alertness and Combat Reflexes
    advantages.
    They are also remarkably hard to kill. Their sense of smell is as good
    as a dog's, and their hearing is better. Their eyesight is tuned to
    detect movement, rather than resolve detail, and they can not discern
    colors.

    Like their distant kroth cousins, their hide is nearly waterproof and
    very tough, averaging DR 5-6 in adults, and like the kroth they have an
    elevating 'spine' used for temperature controls. Unlike the kroth,
    evolution has shaped their 'spines' into a double-row of broad 'plates'
    linked by a webbing along the whole legnth of the back, and the spines
    are razor-sharp, providing additional service in protecting the spinal
    cord and vertebrae from other predators. They change color with the
    seasons, for camoflage.

    Unlike their kroth cousins, they are priamrily carnivorous. They can
    and will eat a limited amount of vegetable matter, partly for certain
    trace nutrients, and also if nothing better is available, but they
    really are basially carnivores. Being endotherms, they need far fewer
    meals than a mammal or a bird, usually contenting themselves with one
    large meal every 5-6 local days, and they can go longer.

    Shryks spend much of their time somnolent, especially at night, but
    when roused to hunt or right they are lightning fast, powerful, and
    well-armed. An adult shryk has a mouth containing four rows of almost
    literally razor-sharp teeth, with a bite that does 3 cutting damage,
    and claws that can do 2 slicing damage.

    They are foul-tempered, and territorial, especially toward other
    shryks, but Homosentients tend to stoke their ire as well.

    Further, they are venomous, with a neurotoxic venom that can be
    injected with any bite that penetrates the skin of the victim. It is
    not quite as effective on mammals (including Homosentients) as it is
    any sort of amphibian, but it is still quite dangerous.

    A Homosentient with a typical biting dose of shryk venom must roll at
    HT-4, a failed roll resulting in rapid total paralysis last 1D6 hours,
    followed by extreme sickness for another 2-4 days, with an effective -2
    on all IQ, DX, ST, and further HT rolls of any sort.

    A critical failure on the HT roll results in immediate death from
    systemic collapse. The venom is almost always instantly fatal to
    epileptics, only a critical success on the HT roll enables survival,
    with paralysis as usual, plus extreme ill effects including severe and
    common seizures for a period lasting as much as 1D6 _weeks_.

    Skryk reproduce slowly, but live a long time, and have few natural
    enemies. They mate for life, and are protective of their mates. A
    healthy well-fed shryk can live up to 50 Terran years.

    MORE LATER.

    Shermanlee
  7. Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.gurps (More info?)

    "Johnny1a" <shermanlee1@hotmail.com> abagooba zoink larblortch
    news:1115788390.218452.40320@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com:

    > Another large animal native to Siccaria is the _shryk_ (or that's the
    > closest rendering in English, the Siccarians (naturally) did not use
    > the Western alphabet, or any Indo-European langauge). This is a
    > Siccarian word that bears a coincidental verbal similarity to both
    > 'shark' and 'shriek', and this is not entirely inappropriate, thogh

    Using more standard principles of transliteration, it could be rendered
    "shr'k", where the single-quote would indicate palatization of the syllabic
    "r".
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