arcdream (arcdream) wrote,

'Bigger Bads' Preview: Monkey Aliens from Planet K

Bigger Bads, the new sourcebook for our multi-award-nominated game Monsters and Other Childish Things, is now in a fundraising "ransom" with just under three weeks to go. Written by Monsters creator Benjamin Baugh—who was also nominated for a Major Award for The Dreadful Secrets of Candlewick Manor, and who won one for Evil Hat's Don't Lose Your Mind—Bigger Bads adds scads of new tools for a Monsters game, including enemies small and really, really large.

As a preview, here's a group of small enemies who can pose a very large threat.

Monkey Aliens from Planet K
"You have unmasked us! But you will not win—not while we control the power of Mecha Mi-Go'Jirra!"

Who are those guys in the ’70s suits with the sideburns and the really unconvincing accents? It's not just the clothes that make them weird. Some teachers at school are worse fashion victims. It's more how they're always sneering evilly, like they're so much better than everyone else. And how they tend to break out into maniacal laughter. And how they all seem to work for the same new company nobody has every heard of. And how they're always muttering "Puny humans!" under their breath. And how when they're angry, it's like for a split second they're not people anymore, and their faces are replaced by the coal-black mask-like faces of angry, angry monkeys.

BIGNESS: 1 (Normal size)

REAL DEAL: The Monkey Aliens from Planet K are an aggressive species of furry black space monkey, big and bipedal, strong and ruthless. Planet K is a cold, dark world circling a dead star, and their species is dying. They came to Earth to steal our resources, our water, our rich supply of monsters and other paranatural space-event vortices. They want to pollute and poison our planet to make it a comfy new home for Monkey Aliens.

There aren't many Monkey Aliens, most having died out on their own world, and those that survived are ruthless and cruel. They’re willing to do anything to prepare Earth for when their vast moonship arrives, carrying all the survivors of their homeworld and all the things they refused to leave behind—their favorite furniture, their space-CD collections, their army of robotic murder machines to destroy all puny humans....

The advanced force of Monkey Aliens who operate on Earth arrived via D-MAT Portal, a one-way and limited-use interplanetary teleporter carried on a robotic rocket probe. They have been specially prepared to blend in with humans—hence the wardrobe and the sideburns (all their data was from the 1970s). They are hidden by the use of polymorphic photonic mildew colonies which infest their skin and project the image of a regular human over each Monkey Alien. Well, approximately a regular human. When angered, injured, killed, or just feeling like letting it all hang out, a Monkey Alien's true monkey face is revealed.

The Monkey Aliens must take special precautions to survive in Earth's dangerously pure environment. All Monkey Aliens smoke three packs a day, and in this age of no smoking, they stand out. When fighting the Monkey Aliens, the question "Do you smell cigarette smoke?" should make you pay attention. Their diet consists almost entirely of refined sugars, saturated fats and cholesterol via pre-packaged snack cakes, from which they also extract vital artificial colorings and preservatives. They regularly sleep in beds lined in soil taken from toxic waste dumps and old glow-in-the-dark clock factories so they can get their daily dose of low-grade radiation. If you see a glowering guy dressed for disco stuffing his face with a Big Barn Double Cheesy, an Amish-Sized Spud Sack, and a Great Chuga'Lug while smoking and laughing mockingly as he reads a copy of Green Lifestyle, you might have found yourself a Monkey Alien from Planet K. Or just a regular, fashion-challenged human jerkwad.

Monkey Aliens often find work as “environmental consultants” and promote projects which will bring the Earth's environment in line with their requirements.

MODUS OPERANDI: The Monkey Aliens infiltrate human organizations, working their way to the top with a ruthless ambition that serves them as well in the corporate world as in their home jungles. They further their schemes to poison the Earth and to capture and study any weird or otherworldly creatures they encounter. Their advanced technology includes star metals hundreds of time stronger than steel, supercomputers, video game systems offering bloodier and higher-res games than anybody else; and, held in reserve, fearsome robotics technology based around a process called “bio-mechanization,” through which they can quickly build robotic duplicates of living creatures. But they don't trust thinking machines, so no artificial intelligence drives these things. Even when they build a replicon to replace a specific human, it must still be remote-controlled by a nearby Monkey Alien.

The Monkey Aliens will do just about anything to avoid being uncovered and exposed. There are not enough of them to fight all of humanity openly—at least, not yet—so they guard their conspiracy murderously. Somebody asking the wrong questions around a Monkey Alien-controlled project is going to have “a little accident” involving stumbling into the path of a ruby-light zapgun's scintillating disintegration beam.

The Monkey Aliens create biomech duplicates of any monster from which they can get a tissue sample, especially any giant monsters they encounter. When they're near defeat, the Monkey Aliens get manic, laugh a whole lot, and send out their biggest most dangerous mecha-replicon to smash, well, pretty much everything.

Grade Level
The Monkey Aliens have a hard time telling one human from another (they keep notes and have unflattering nicknames for humans based on obvious physical features), but recognize that little humans are usually young ones, and bigger humans are adult ones. They have dismissed the danger posed by little humans—having, in their outdated survey of Puny Earth Culture, missed all those kid-takes-out-the-burglars-at-Christmas movies. They consider children amusing rather than threatening, which means they like to be cruel to them rather than simply zap them until they're charred outlines on the wall. They're more likely to zap a cherished toy or family pet and then laugh at a child's tears, while utterly failing to recognize that some children have friends who can reach through time and poke an unwary Monkey Alien in the back when he was only five songars old and taking his first walk out on the petrified limbs of Home Tree, sending him teetering off the edge so his grownup self vanishes in a puff of logic.

So the Monkey Aliens present another one of those cases where they're more likely to do you some sort of horrible injury the older you are. Growing up is hard enough without creeps like this waiting to make it harder.

An interesting thing has started to happen for the Monkey Aliens, though—they've started to have kids on Earth. These young Monkey Aliens, by a total coincidence, end up in the same grade level as the player's kid characters. Adult and Kid Monkey Aliens conform to the usual types (dredged from your own hateful memories of school, work, and daily life, or from pages 96 to 112 of Monsters and Other Childish Things), with the modifiers below applied. A grownup Monkey Alien might be like the Mad Science Teacher with Monkey Alien modifiers, while her son might be like the Jock with Monkey Alien modifiers.

While adult Monkey Aliens are universally hateful, despising humanity and all its puny ways, their kids are—well, they've never seen Planet K. Never stared at the hideous wonder of the Chasms of Grue. Never wakened in their Home Tree to find their whole family poisoned by a rival clan. Never stared up at the dark star and really, really hated it. All they know is Earth, and GameBox, and TV, and fast food, and dodgeball (for which their natural cruelty is well suited). They don't even speak K'inglish particularly well, or take the Sacred Rites seriously. They still hate humanity, but in a vague sort of way they never really thought about. When they start meeting other kids who have seen way weirder things than an unmasked Monkey Alien, they might start to rethink this whole invasion thing.

Monkey Alien Modifiers—Stats and Skills
FEET: +0 (P.E. +2)
GUTS: –1
HANDS: +1 (Shop +2)
BRAINS: +1 (Out-Think +2)
FACE: –1 (Charm –1, Putdown +2, Connive +2)

ADULTS: Planet K +3.
KIDS: Planet K +1; Earth +2.

Monkey Alien Mind-Mites
Imagine, if you will, a robot crab the size of a toilet. Add long, waving antennae and fangs that inject mind-altering drugs, and give the robot crab about a hundred brothers and sisters. Imagine it and its kin buried like ticks in the skin of some vast and terrible monster, controlling its lumbering actions with painful nips and ladles of brain gravy. Now, imagine yourself climbing desperately up the leg of this vast beast, and these robotic parasites burst free and come towards you, clacking their claws and grinding mouthparts that sound like Symphony for Buzzaw and Car-Crash in D Minor.

The Mind-Mites are the Monkey Aliens’ answer to monsters that they can't duplicate, and their weapon when they need to unleash destruction without revealing their mechs. The Mites infest a monster of Bigness 2 or bigger, and let the Monkey Aliens drive it like a remote-controlled race car (not very well, of course—more like an R.C. race car driven with your feet and tongue—but well enough to point it at the city you want messed up). If enterprising kids decide to climb up onto the giant monster, the Mind-Mites will disengage and fight them. Of course, this means the beast becomes uncontrolled, starts to thrash about, roars, and SCRATCHES at that darned itchy spot on its back....

The Mind-Mites are a Threat (see Chapter 2) with whatever dice pool you want to inflict on the players.

ATTACKS: The Mind-Mites are built to burrow into the impossibly dense skin of monsters the size of cruise liners. The thin skin of puny humans poses no challenge.
DEFENDS: Mind-Mites have simple programming. Attack first, and if they suffer losses, alternate defending and attacking. They'll attack one round, defend the next, and so on. Figuring out the pattern requires the same ingenuity and pattern recognition that a kid would use to learn Tic-Tac-Toe.
USEFUL: Mind-Mites can control the minds of giant monsters, which is pretty useful. They're not bright enough to use more complicated tactics though unless there's a Monkey Alien around to shout orders at them in the barking guttural language of Planet K.
EXTRAS: Area x1, Gnarly x1, Tough x1.

Weird Kid Power Source: Monkey Tech
The Monkey Aliens from Planet K brought technological wonders and horrors from their dying homeworld—devices able to transmute matter, read minds, and get five bars of reception on their Monkey Phones even when driving through a tunnel. Monkey Technology is biochemically keyed to the Monkey Alien who uses it, and disintegrates into a pile of inert and chemically boring sand if a puny hu-mon gets dirty hu-mon fingerprints all over it. But just as the children of Earth sometimes get the keys to the car, Monkey Aliens from Planet K sometimes loan choice gear to their ungrateful offspring.

Young Monkey Aliens can be played as Weird Kids. They get most of their kewl powerz from biochemically-coded Monkey Tech which is either disguised as ordinary objects or hidden under its own layer of polymorphic photonic mildew. Most Monkey Aliens share a general immunity to toxicity and ick, which can be represented by a 0-die skill in all their locations called “Immune to Ick,” which Defends and gives them 1 rank of the Immunity extra. This means they can drink toxic waste and rub arsenic on their legs and only find it as irritating as they generally find everything.

Young Monkey Aliens may have lost this immunity after growing up in Earth’s pristine environment, so if you’re playing a Monster Alien kid, you don’t have to use your Weird Dice on this if you don’t want.

Here are some examples of Monkey Tech to get you started.

Multiplex Super Suit (10 dice total)
This silvery gray jumpsuit can look like whatever you want it to look like, and includes the following Weird Skills:
Hands: Rip-Stop Super Weave 0d (Tough 1), Mylo-Muscle Fibers 1d (Useful: super-strong; Attacks).
Feet: Rip-Stop Super Weave 0d (Tough 1), Energy Return Thrusters 1d (Useful: super jump; Defends).
Guts: Rip-Stop Super Weave 0d (Tough 1).
Face: Rip-Stop Super Weave 0d (Tough 1), Fashion Sensor 2d (Useful: shift appearance to look cool).

Omni-Watch 5d
A big, clunky, retro-looking watch with all sorts of unexpected special features.
Hands: Zap! 2d (Attacks).
Brains: Magneto-Kinesis 2d (Useful: move stuff around with magnetic fields), Hack-o-Matic 1d (Useful: automatically hack into electronic machines).

Basilisk Shades 5d
A pair of shiny, gold Elvis sunglasses.
Face: I Am Cooler Than You 2d (Useful: make others think you’re the coolest; Attacks: make others feel so bad about not being cool, they want to die), Freeze! 2d (Useful: paralyze a target with a neural feedback loop).

Rocket Chucks 5d
These sneakers look like an ordinary pair of Chuck Taylors, except the star emblem looks more like a black planet orbiting a dead sun. Also, there’s a certain funky footy smell. They let a Monkey Kid fly or, if he’s inclined, deliver rocket-assisted kicks to the giblets.
Feet: Woosh! 2d (Useful: fly!; Defends; Attacks).

Fly Eye for the Monkey Guy 5d
A pair of thick, nerdy glasses and a cloud of tiny robot flies. The one flies around and shows a Monkey Kid what it sees on the other.
Brains: I.C.U. 2d (Useful: see what the flies see), Tagged and Bagged 2d (Useful: tag somebody with a fly and follow them anywhere), Strafing Run 1d (Attacks: teeny tiny robot flies with teeny tiny LAZORZ).

Mecha Mi-Go'Jirra, Attack!
You can turn any non-robot giant monster into a robot pretty easily, just by changing its physical descriptions a little bit and varying the FX on some of its abilities. See page XX for more info on the different sorts of mechs: piloted, autonomous, robot, remote-controlled, etc.

The Monkey Aliens like to use a remote control to activate a robot's simple programmed routines—walk, jump, fly, shoot the Omega Beam. Sometimes these remote controls are small and handheld, and sometimes they're big consoles with huge dual view-screens showing an image from each of the robot's eyes.

One semi-classic model here is to put control of the mech version of a heroic giant monster in the hands of a semi-sympathetic NPC. Even if the Monkey Aliens from Planet K are responsible for the creation of your monster's mecha doppelganger, that new girl in school who you have a crush on could still be secretly controlling the mecha-monster, possibly via a radio-relay built into her life-saving artificial cybernetic heart...

Yeah! Pathos, baby! Bring it.


Click here to visit the Bigger Bads homepage!

Tags: benjamin baugh, bigger bads, monsters and other childish things, ransom
Comments for this post were disabled by the author