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Art:Gunwhale

From YPPedia

This article is an entry in the Piratical Guide to Oceanic Life muse game.

From Alpha Island Scientific Society Journal Of Native Sea Life, Volume 12, Issue 3

Gunwhale

The elusive cetacean known to most as the Gunwhale comes in two flavors. The first is the stately One-Gunwhale, whom nature has endowed with a single Large Cannon in a forward-fire arc. Second is the unpredictable Twenty-One Gunwhale, who is by all accounts a swimming arsenal.

Most sailors are unlikely to run across any type of Gunwhale in their normal travels, though they have been sighted as far south as Monsoon Island. The last known attack was nearly half a century ago, before the pirate population of the ocean started dumping the Gunwhale's favorite food into the ocean in truly staggering amounts.

Still, it is not entirely impossible that a laden pirate ship may run across a hungry Gunwhale, and the pirate ship in question should be wary of what a danger the Gunwhale represents.

Both species of Gunwhale will fire upon any nearby source of cannonballs, attempting to sink the vessel and devour its contents. The One-Gunwhale makes a series of charges, firing twice per round, and is capable of inflicting a shocking amount of damage in a very short period of time. The Twenty-One Gunwhale is somewhat misnamed, for while analysis of a beached specimen reveals that it does not possess twenty-one guns, anyone who faces this erratic, fickle beast may swear otherwise. It moves in the general direction of its target, peppering everything in range with medium shot in all four directions.

Survivors of Gunwhale attacks have written of a ferocious tenacity in the sea creatures' hunt for food. The Gunwhale will chase any ship it chooses as a target without end, so for the unlucky sailor there are few options at his disposal. The first, and most likely, is to be sunk by the Gunwhale. The cetacean will destroy the ill-fated ship and consume all the goods aboard, stranding the survivors at the mercy of the waves. Second, you might feed the whale. Simply fire at it its favorite food, cannonballs, until it is no longer hungry and swims away. Gunwhales are legendary for their appetites, though.

I have heard of some especially skilled sailors actually capturing a live Gunwhale while in combat. Their ship, I'm told, was near destruction, but they managed to grapple the beast and conduct a rude investigation of it, as they'd previously never seen anything like it. The Gunwhale, for its part, began to spasm after a short while, and suddenly reared up and vomited a mass of crates, boxes and barrels onto the main deck of the ship. The men were so startled by this that they released their hold on the whale, and it vanished to the murky depths. All was not lost, however, for the crates contained, improbably, various trade goods and rum! One sailor, while taking inventory of the unexpected bounty, discovered the manifests of several merchant ships, and through some careful investigation managed to match the contents almost exactly. There was, of course, one item commonly missing to all.

This creature originally created by Homullus[1] and described by Fronsac[2].

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