|Figure 2. The Manta sky-car |
by Mike Posen (from Morris, 1994).
Surely one of the coolest things in Heart of Ice?
5. Pack Animals, Steeds, and Other Forms of Transport. Following on from the previous post on Outdoor Survival (Wright, 2011a), I wanted to talk about three of the main examples of these ‘objects’ that will help you brave the perils of the Frozen Lands.
a) Burrek. This pack animal of sorts is described rather memorably as:
a hulking, thick-shouldered animal with shaggy white fur and a lugubrious snout. ‘The nomads use such creatures when they wish to cross the Ice Wastes,’ the trader tells you. ‘They huddle beside the beasts in blizzards, and when hungry they tap its veins to make a blood pudding.’
‘What a sickening thought!’
He nods sagely. ‘Indeed. It is probably only just preferable to dying of starvation. Still, if you intend to cross the
Sahara you cannot do without a burrek. This stout animal is for sale at the generous price of thirty scads.’ (Morris, 1994, paragraph 338)
I used to think that the burrek was a kind of weird sheep/goat hybrid, but from this description they sound more like a cold-adapted boar or pig of some sort. This is confirmed by the fact they can’t actually carry anything for you, and just follow you around to be used for warmth and food.
Rules for Burreks: Burreks cost around 10 scads (after haggling). They do not count towards your possessions limit. You cannot own a burrek if you have a Manta sky-car or a camel, as they do not fit in the car, and do not get along with (or can’t keep up with) camels.
Whenever you are told to lose any Stamina points as a result of exposure to the icy weather and environment, you may reduce the loss by 1 point if you have a burrek. In addition, if you run out of food, you can slaughter the burrek which yields 2 food packs worth of rations (and don’t forget to cross it off your Adventure Sheet).
b) Camel. The shaggy camel of the Saharan Ice Wastes appears to be a hybrid of both the old Bactrian and Dromedary species that once existed on Earth. It is used in particular by the nomadic
Hamadan ascetics that patrol the slopes of the Atlas Mountains, in the western Sahara (Morris, 1994, paragraph 273). It is also used as a beast of burden in merchant convoys traveling between far-flung cities such as Daralbad and Kastilan, or Bezant and Kahira.
Rules for Camels: Camels cost around 20 scads (after haggling). They do not count towards your possessions limit. You cannot own a camel if you have a Manta sky-car or a burrek, as they do not fit in the car, and do not get along with burreks.
Camels are irascible beasts and you cannot huddle next to one for warmth when out in the wilderness. However, if you run out of food, you can slaughter the camel which yields 4 food packs worth of rations (and don’t forget to cross it off your Adventure Sheet).
The main value of the camel is in carrying extra gear, such as supplies and survival equipment. When you acquire a camel, write ‘Camel (turn to 42)’ on your Adventure Sheet. Whenever you wish to take, use or swap an item carried by your camel, turn to paragraph 42 and follow the instructions there. Make sure you make a note of which paragraph you are on at the time however, as 42 will not direct you back to where you came from. See Figure 1 for an example of paragraph 42.
|Figure 1. Your friendly neighbourhood camel...|
c) Manta sky-car. This is the best ‘state of the art’ form of personal transport in the world of the Frozen Lands (see Figure 2). Manta sky-cars cannot be bought, only found or stolen:
You arrive at a large circular room. In the centre rests a Manta sky-car, its burnished black chassis reflecting emerald droplets of light. As you step towards it, you notice a caretek unfold its articulated metal body and move slowly around the base of the sky-car, now and then probing with its diagnostic antenna. This is cause for hope. If the sky-care has been regularly serviced by a caretek, it might still be functional. (Morris, 1994, paragraph 435)
Rules for Manta sky-cars: Manta sky-cars require an initial TECH roll at Difficulty 13 to pilot successfully. They do not count towards your possession limit. If you have a Manta sky-car you cannot also have a burrek or a camel as neither would fit inside the car. The Manta sky-car has an expansive storage locker. When initially found or stolen, the locker will usually contain the following items: 10 food packs, medical kit, flashlight, cold-weather clothes, and nylon rope.
When you acquire a Manta sky-car, write ‘Manta sky-car (turn to 99)’ on your Adventure Sheet. Whenever you wish to take, use or swap an item stored in your Manta sky-car, turn to paragraph 99 and follow the instructions there. Make sure you make a note of which paragraph you are on at the time however, as 99 will not direct you back to where you came from. See Figure 3 for an example of paragraph 99.
|Figure 3. "I've got a ticket to ride..."|
In addition, owning a Manta sky-car provides a faster and safer way of traveling about the Frozen Lands. This will be the subject of the next post!
Morris, D. (1994). Heart of Ice. London: Mammoth.
Wright, A. (2011). Heart of Ice versus The Fabled Lands (Outdoor Survival). Message posted to http://fantasygamebook.blogspot.com/2011/01/heart-of-ice-versus-fabled-lands_12.html