The Red Ape
Description: The Red Ape is a huge gorilla, tall enough to tower over any man when standing, with clay-red fur, a barrel chest, and burning red eyes. He tends to be watchful, with slow and deliberate motions, whenever humans are about, but can forget his dignity to move with frightening speed when necessary. He and his people (at least several hundred ordinary gorillas) live in a few square miles’ worth of forested mountain slope and ridge, where in times of great need they take refuge in a cave complex of unknown extent.
Worshipers: No. Villagers at the foot of the mountain, and even imperial servants passing through, leave out regular offerings of fresh fruit and leaves for the gorillas in return for peace. But Kapik Adam is not interested in human followers, only in keeping his people safe.
Servitors: Yes. Many troops of gorillas roam the mountain. With their god as an unquestioned mediator for internal tensions, these groups are both larger and more coordinated – internally and with each other – than is typical for gorillas in the wild.
Confrontation: Human intruders into the Red Ape’s mountain territory will be met with observation from increasing numbers of gorillas; open threat will be met with harassment through sabotage, thrown objects, or even hit-and-run attacks. An effective defense will cause them to draw back quickly. Kapik Adam may appear and observe the intruders from a distance, but will prefer to meet them in his cave near the peak with his weapon close to hand, a rough iron machete-like blade.
Kapik Adam communicates telepathically. He is not polite or kind to intruders, but makes a point of being reasonable. He will attempt to negotiate and reason with anyone willing to talk. If this fails he will attack with his machete without warning while telepathically “screaming” at targets he cannot reach in an attempt to stun them. (Psychic save at difficulty d20 or be unable to move for a number of rounds equal to the margin of failure on the save.) He is a perceptive combatant who chooses targets tactically and may call on his people for support if he feels their presence will help end a fight quickly without undue risk to their lives and safety.
Aspect: Iron; strength; mind. Those present at defeat may boost one of Strength stat, Life meter, or Shock save.
Powers – Tier 1: The character gains the ability to communicate psionically with others of their own species within eyeshot. A single channel may be established at will, and a second may be established after a round’s worth of concentration, although the only use of these channels is one- or two-way communication, respectively. The character may establish a “group call” with a number of total links up to their Presence score.
Powers – Tier 2: The character’s psionic powers grow stronger, and their hair turns red and shaggy. They may open communication channels with all sentient beings, and if focusing on an individual, may open up a third channel (with a round of concentration) and attempt to stun them with a psychic scream (difficulty d10).
Powers – Tier 3: Anyone who has lost more than half of their Humanity after embracing the Red Ape’s essence becomes redder and hairier, is no longer in danger of being stunned by his machete, and may compel any apes in their presence to follow simple commands. The save difficulty of the character’s psychic screams rises by a step at this point, and will rise by another step if they enter apotheosis.
Powers – Other: The essence of The Red Ape carries an empathic connection to other apes. The character can automatically understand an ape’s emotional state by looking at it or touching it and can speak and understand their language on a rudimentary level. (Points may then be invested in this language as a skill.) His machete is a relic and never rusts. Anyone coming into contact with it must make a Psychic save at d10 or be stunned as above, unless they have mastered it by passing three consecutive saves.
Example Checks: Anyone who has absorbed part of Kapik Adam’s essence must check Humanity in order to harm any sort of ape. In most circumstances the difficulty is d20; this drops to d4 if the ape is actively attacking the character or someone they feel they must protect.
Notes: The Red Ape despises Monkey, and fears both the wolves and the wargs. He will help and reward any who act against these enemies.
Kapik Adam is not terribly hostile or dangerous to humanity, and players may balk at the idea of attacking and killing him in order to acquire his power. This is fine. The campaign world is full of too many gods to count, much less consume, and PCs can make an ally of him, or an enemy that they don’t need to battle to the death. As a relatively easy god to kill he may present a tempting target, leading players to grapple with moral and ethical issues – or a GM may simply place something that the PCs want inside his territory and see how they approach the potential conflicts that arise.