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Outcasts of the Whispering Sky: "Stalkers"


In my game these are twice as big as Humans, and pretty nasty. They guard the Ringworld, and kill all that intrude there if they catch them. The cone shaped head is covered in bioluminescent cells that the creatures use to communicate.

I dropped the "not being in on the joke" observation, partly because I don't understand it/its corny, and it adds nothing to the species being cool.

Very nice! I like your artwork very much and am always glad when talented fellows like you share their work with us. My artistic skills are so poor I can't draw a bath. :(

The Outcasts have been illustrated in canon before. A few superb Challenge issues tackled the Hinterworlds sector. There were maps, background information, some great adventures (Behind Blue Eyes), and other goodies.

A few articles dealt with the Outcasts too. There was a small 'Contact' piece and another in which an Outcast was part of an adventure.

Anyway, the Challenge/GDW Outcasts kind of resembled large Shmoos with walrus-like appendages. They evolved from an aquatic trapper that used a bioluminescent lure to attract prey. The body was large, smooth, and rubbery like a seal's or walrus'. The head resembled a bowling ball and the bioluminescent organ was a circular disc or lens on the front of the head.

They moved about either on all fours or on their hind legs. To stand upright they had to rock themselves up and back into position. They'd then waddle along on their rear flippers or feet. They seemed to have very stumpy, jointless 'legs'. Their 'hands' were on the end of much longer 'arms'. These arms could telescope somewhat.

Their head and neck were very odd. Normally, the head rested on what passed for the Outcast's shoulders. The neck could telescope quite far (maybe to a quarter of body length?) carrying the small head with it.

The Outcasts may look ungainly and vaguely silly to humans but it was pointed out that players should remember the Outcasts evolved from carnivores.

I wish I could have found a way top wrangle them into one of my campaigns!

Thanks again for the illo!

Have fun,

This would go well with the SR Special Supplement on the Hinterworlds in 1248. Would you consider volunteering some of your artwork to the cause?

With Much Appreciation,
Yes. I am working up a whole section on thier tools and habitats. etc. For an upcoming part of my campaign. The one thing I thought to change would be the feet. These are sort of triangular direct weight footbones, sort of like an elephant, but was thinking something a bit more "Intellect Devouerer" for the feet? Claws maybe?

Let me know what sort of shots you'd like set up, and I'll get crackin...
Oddly, I have only seen a couple of very brief illios of them, but something about them did say "seal" or "Porpoise" and "rubbery". The conehead thing I am seeing more along the lines of a Barlowe "eyeless dinosaur" , Sort of like a Plesiosaur.

I have decided to not only sillyectomize them, but also give them a little Tyrannid extract to give them some kick. In my game, they are they Guard that ringworld pretty fiercely, part of the mystery of them... I give them a TL 13 culture (in regards to ships, they only produce two designs. A type of fighter/destroyer and a Jump Ship for both military and trade. ) and they use Plasma Weaponry. Tactics involve sheer numerical overpowering and fanatical resolve... but this is for me own game.

If you guys have data on them ( I have Challenge 39) lets get a packet going on it. My data (along with the Gnivii) is spotty at best.
I like everything but the eyes, I always imagined from their description that they had eyes a Mi-Go but you the body downpact. I don't GURPS did not illustrate this way but I seem to remember the module that involved Margaret's Palace (Blue Feather something or another) had an illustration more of what I was thinking of.
Picture of the Mi-Go that I had in mind...as I when I searched I found many others. Now imagine if those tips could be luminscent or not depending what they wanted to say. And the body of the pelosaur, as I noted above is perfect.
The Mi-Go are from the imagination of H.P. Lovecraft this image is from the main Cthulhu rulebook. They are sometimes called the Fungi from Yuggoth.

The Mi-go are large, fungoid, crustacean-like entities the size of a man with an orb covered in sensory appendages in place of a head. They are distinguished by their mastery in various fields of science, especially surgery. Although they originate from beyond our solar system, they have set up an outpost on Pluto (known as Yuggoth in the mythos) and sometimes visit Earth to mine for minerals and other natural resources. The Mi-go normally communicate by changing the colors of their orb-like heads or by emitting odd buzzing noises. They can also speak any human language upon receiving the appropriate surgical modification.

The Mi-go can transport humans from Earth to Pluto (and beyond) and back again by removing the subject's brain and placing it into a "brain cylinder", which can be attached to external devices to allow it to see, hear, and speak.

The Mi-go worship the beings Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlathotep, and Shub-Niggurath, among others, although their religious beliefs seem to have relatively minor importance compared to their scientific interests. Their moral system is completely alien to us, making them seem highly malicious.

The moon of Yuggoth (Pluto's Charon) holds designs that are sacred to the Mi-go. The symbols inscribed upon the moon are useful in various processes mentioned in the Necronomicon. It is said that transcriptions of these designs can be sensed by the Mi-go, and those possessing them shall be hunted down by the few remaining on earth

Hastur apparently despises the Mi-go. His cult, servants of "Him Who Is Not to be Named", are dedicated to hunting them down and exterminating the fungoid threat.

Origin of the word
It is possible that Lovecraft encountered the word migou in his readings. "Migou" is the Tibetan equivalent of the yeti, a semi-mythical humanoid being who lives in the high mountain ranges of that country[1]. While the Mi-go of Lovecraft's mythos is completely unlike the migou of Tibetan stories, Lovecraft seems to equate the two, as can be seen in the following excerpt from "The Whisperer in the Darkness":

It was of no use to demonstrate to such opponents that the Vermont myths differed but little in essence from those universal legends of natural personification which filled the ancient world with fauns and dryads and satyrs, suggested the kallikanzarai of modern Greece, and gave to wild Wales and Ireland their dark hints of strange, small, and terrible hidden races of troglodytes and burrowers. No use, either, to point out the even more startlingly similar belief of the Nepalese hill tribes in the dreaded Mi-Go or "Abominable Snow-Men" who lurk hideously amidst the ice and rock pinnacles of the Himalayan summits. When I brought up this evidence, my opponents turned it against me by claiming that it must imply some actual historicity for the ancient tales; that it must argue the real existence of some queer elder earth-race, driven to hiding after the advent and dominance of mankind, which might very conceivably have survived in reduced numbers to relatively recent times — or even to the present.
It's Polymer Clay for the body, with a very rough spit coat of Acrylic blue/green paint, finished with future floor wax to get the "oiliness" I underlit it by setting the model on a lightbox. It is shot with a Canon a75 consumer grade digital camera.

As far as compositing, I did a light level of Gaussian blur, and then added a soft render effect light (White spotlight, omni) to give it a weird background, as if looking at it in a different atmosphere. The "tube" in the back is a roll of "Viva" Paper towels.

Also, the creature has no eyes in the eye sense. It more has a head that is like a tuatara's "third eye" (actually an IR receptor) and maybe a sort of sensory area like a what a hammerhead shark has. It doesn't "see" in the normal way, but it sees. Well enough to build spaceships.

Pg 26 of Challenge #52 has pictures of the Stalkers. I don't have the magazine, but a friend sent me a hardcopy.

I pulled out the article and looked at it. Essentially, picture a large round body, supported walrus-like by four arm-like legs ending in hands (three fingers, one thumb). The neck is a wrinkled mass unless extended, with a bowling ball head with one central eye approximately one-third the distance across of the entire head.

If someone can post a scan, I would greatly appreciate it, as I do not have a scanner. More details can be found on pg 27, in writing, but I haven't typed it up yet.

Hope this helps,
Originally posted by Baron Saarthuran von Gushiddan:

In my game these are twice as big as Humans, and pretty nasty. They guard the Ringworld, and kill all that intrude there if they catch them. The cone shaped head is covered in bioluminescent cells that the creatures use to communicate.

I dropped the "not being in on the joke" observation, partly because I don't understand it/its corny, and it adds nothing to the species being cool.
Don't understand? What's there not to understand? They communicate by light, thus they "hear" the nighttime sky "talking" to them.

I find it very alien, mood setting and a nice twist.

Was there a ringworld in the Hinterworlds? I had totally forgotten about that.

Nice to see these cool aliens actually reappeared in Challenge!
I needed my stalkers to be a bit more vicious, less whimsical.

The writeup, also sort of gives me an impression of a viewer biased by human standards*, in my opinion. It seemed a little corny, and gives them a built in inferiority complex. This would not fit with the "Guardians of the Ringworld" I am looking for...

Also, the stalkers maintain a pretty weird little polity there in the middle of all those big Empires. They must have some sort of gumption. I give them an edge to hold thier own, and put up a "Beware of Stalker" sign to boot. For most Hinterworlds Locals, there is little to gain, and Everything to lose. Not really a gig for the old Scout/Courier and a few buddies.

*= there is a lot of this humanocentric equivalency. Just ask any "Aslan" pals as you visit the "Hiver" Embassy ship. Watch out for "Centaurs". See? I'm calling em Stalkers, too! OOTWS?
Originally posted by Baron Saarthuran von Gushiddan:[QB] I needed my stalkers to be a bit more vicious, less whimsical.[QB]

I never found the GDW version to be 'whimsical' in any manner. If you only briefly look at their body shape; i.e. fat, clumsy, rubbery, 'Schmoos', you might form that opinion at first glance, but the Challenge Hinterworlds materials leave no such impression to the thoughtful reader.

Consider the following:

- The Stalkers are descendent from a carnivorious species.

- The Stalkers make visiting the abandoned (and uncompleted) ringworld very perilous.

- The Stalkers are paranoid to believe the the entire universe is 'in on' a joke or conversation that they don't get.

Yeah, they look like rolly-polly kiddy toys or bulbous clowns, but do not underestimate them as plenty of dead people have done just that.

I think there is no need to make their appearence nastier, no need to turn them into bioluminescent 'Nessies' as it were. Traveller has always been about "wheels within in wheels" and things not seeming to be what they are at first blush. The Stalkers fit into that canonical mold very neatly.

As their for keeping the ringworld 'safe', you needn't lay 100% of that accomplishment on their reputation.

The Stalkers and the ringworld are a long way from any significant interstellar power. It's a sector or more distant from the Imperium, Hivers, Sollies, or K'Kree. And the Stalkers compare favorably to the other interstellar polities in the Hinters. So they can keep the local powers away and the Big Boys are too far off to make a major effort without that effort dragging the other Big Boys into the mix also.

We also know that the ringworld is 'unfinished'. What exactly is there to learn from it? The Big Boys may know everything about the ringworld they already feel is worth knowing, leaving only smaller powers and players to test the Stalker's red zone of the system. And the Stalkers can easily handle those threats.

Have fun,
Biolumincent Nessies, with Mi-Go eyes. I like that image. Could it be also IYTU, that they have access to the tech left behind from the Builders? If so, how would their tech evolve. Things like lasers and what not that discharged light would be discouraged. Usually, an alien comes around and masters a particular tech eg. K'kree - biotech, Aslan - ornate but functional, etc. What would it be for Stalkers?