Booty And The Beasts Part VIII: Technological Items
“And now… the end is…” Wait, I did that bit already?
Alright then! Well, this is the end, the final, the ultimate, the conclusion, the finish, the… boy, online thesauruses…thesauris..thesa… collections of synonyms are great! Anyway, this section covers technological items from Booty and the Beasts! What’s Booty and the Beasts, you ask? It’s not a new cartoon on Adult Swim about a hot girl who travels the country solving mysteries with a bunch of cliched monsters ripped off from Universal Studios, though, now that I think about it, that’s not a bad idea. Someone pitch it to them. Nor is it a rap album. It is, rather, an seriously unofficial supplement for Dungeons & Dragons, published in 1979 by Fantasy Art Enterprises, wonderfully illustrated by Erol Otus, and it features such amazing creations as the Galactic Dragon and some slightly less amazing creations such as the Gas Bag Neck People.
Those would be the “beasts”; this is the “booty”, the treasure, the loot, the bling, the swag, the… OK, enough thesaurus jokes. (I’m pretty sure the thesaurus was a 12 hit die dinosaur in the original Monster Manual, come to think of it). The first part of the booty articles covered the magical items; this part covers the technological items. Yes, technological items. You see, back in the good old days, we didn’t worry about “cohesiveness” or have any weird forge games which were tightly focused on playing one type of character through one type of story. We used D&D rules as a sort of semi-generic system into which we could toss anything we could imagine, and we could imagine quite a bit. Mixing tech and fantasy was commonplace, and Booty & The Beasts both fed off and fed into that zeitgeist. (Really, it all probably started with “Temple of the Frog” in Blackmoor.)
Anyway, from Pulse Lasers to Plasma Blades, they’re all in here… read on!
United States Army Pulse Laser Rifle
There’s some wonderful implied backstory throughout Booty and the Beasts which seems to indicate they had a pretty large sci-fi campaign history tacked on to their D&D fantasy, and most of it is revealed in the flavor text for the tech items. Somehow, this annoys me less than similar material does in more modern games, because it seems much more inspirational than restrictive, that it’s designed to start you thinking, not set boundaries. As per the tradition of gaming material of this era, the laser rifle introduces a completely new “to hit” mechanic, in that your roll is dependent on your distance from the target, not your hit dice or level. The long range and accuracy of the pulse laser rifle completely destroyed the Soviet army in the Third World War, by the way. Awww… they thought we’d be fighting armies and that there would still be a clearly defined, coherent, enemy we could all hate. That’s so sweet!
“Alias ‘Soviet Sizzler'”. Yes, it says that in the text. Gods, I love these guys. I love these guys so much. With a maximum range of only 240 feet, it is easily outclassed by the 1200 foot range of the American laser. Eat hot photons, you commie creeps! However, since most encounters in a dungeon take place at a range of “Oh my god it’s eating me it’s EATING ME!!!!!”, I’ll take the 3-36 damage the master does over the 1-8 * 1-3 that the laser does. Da, Comrade. Is good for frying dragon.
This is a “save or die” weapon, which produces a cone of super-gravitational energy that sucks people into the chunk of neutronium at its center. However, the weapon only works 1-100 time, and after the last time (which the player probably doesn’t know is coming), it sucks everything within 40 feet — including the wielder — into itself. I sometimes wonder about how devices like this, which were fairly common in Ye Goode Olde Days, were ever issued to troops. I mean, on average, every 50 shots, the guy with the gun dies and so does everyone within 40 feet of him. That can’t be good for morale. Or recruiting.
This is used by the Pacific Kangaroo people of the Mobius Nebula, and I am not at all sure if they meant “Pacifistic” or not. I mean, Australia’s in the Pacific Ocean, so “Pacific Kangaroo people” does make a kind of sense, but since this weapon is “the product of many centuries of non-violent defense”, so does “Pacifistic”. Anyway, if you’ve read “Ringworld”, you know what a tasp is, and, if you haven’t, what the frak are you doing reading this? Go read “Ringworld”.
A winged, flapping, craft, that “one filled the skies above Atlantis”. Believe it or not, that one sentence sent me off an orgy of creativity that led to a world I used for “Fantasy Hero” for about three years and from which I still steal some names, places, and fragments of history… but oddly, Atlantis and its winged craft never actually became part of the world. Welcome to the way Lizard’s mind works.
You just need the picture. Bless you, Erol Otus.
120 foot long, 20 foot wide cone, 12-144 damage. Dude! You get to roll 12d12! Does anyone even have 12d12? I’m going to write a game that uses nothing but d12s one of these days, just see if I don’t.
See “Tasper”. Oh, and the weapons “butt contains enough power to keep the blade extended for 100 rounds”. Heh heh. “Butt”. “Extended”.
Gas Gun Model Q3
It’s the little things that count… it’s not a gas gun, it’s a “Gas Gun Model Q3″, and it was designed by Earthlings (remember when we were “Earthlings” and not “Terrans”?) for use against the Multi Eye People Of Algol IV. It has some blinding effects, but, when used against the Multi Eye People of Algol IV, it causes them to dissolve! This would be great if, for example, the Multi Eye People Of Algol IV were statted out in the book. As is, it’s just a delightful little tidbit tacked on to the description. It’s like finding a magic item that’s +12 against speckled dragons, which don’t exist.
Rod of Cellular Disruption
A favorite weapon of the Venusians, if you are hit with it, you save or die. If you save, you are only disrupted on the body part hit. And speaking of body parts…
Please go to Part II, the Appendix. Or possibly the heart. Or maybe the lungs. Depends on how you roll…
The Body Location Charts
Many of the creatures and items and so on in Booty And The Beasts rely on or refer to hit location charts, which are conveniently located in the back of the book. While not nearly as gruesomely fun as Rolemaster Critical Charts, they are a damn sight1 better than Gary Gygax’s declarations of their non-necessity. Sorry, Gary — your imagination, creativity, and vision gave me the hobby I love and that may well have saved my life, but sometimes, you were Just No Fun.
I will provide the illustrations for your enjoyment, but typing in or copying the text wholesale is beyond me. I will note that in the example of use of the “Hit Allocation Chart”, the example given is “thus, Tyler’s genitals have been drilled off”, and if that isn’t one of the clearest summations of the kind of thing which tended to happen when playing truly old-school games, nothing is.
And In Conclusion….
That’s it for Booty And The Beasts, folks. I plan to look at “The Necromicon”, the spell-compilation counterpart to Booty And The Beasts and, as far as I know, the only other product published by Fantasy Art Enterprises. After that… who knows? There’s a lot of material from this era which is under-documented on the net, such as the All The Worlds’ Monsters books, and, somewhere, I have a copy of Alma Mater, the High School Roleplaying Game featuring NSFW art by Mr. Otus and enough sexism and offensive stereotypes to cause every moderator’s head on RPG.net to explode.