El Chupacabra
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Basic Information

Chupacabra is Spanish for "Goat Sucker". Since 1990, there have been sightings and reportings, mostly in Puerto Rico, Mexico and the United States of strange creatures, usually associated with reports of livestock mutilation or animal exsanguination. Recently it's become more of a global phenomenon, if the tabloids are to be believed. According to one popular Conspiracy Theory, in 2000 a live Chupacabra was caught in Chile and handed over to the US Government.

Eyewitness accounts range from a dog-like or kangaroo-like creature to some sort of spiny bear, or even a humanoid lizard with glowing eyes of doom. They may thus be related to Reptilians or other cryptids such as the comelenguas or Jersey Devil. Chupacabra might or might not be related to vampires or vampire bats given that they drain the blood of their prey. In fact, some have speculated that the 1975 El Vampire de Moca attacks were actually chupacabra-related. In some of the more extreme incidents, several hundred farm animals have been killed mysteriously. The blood is drained via small circular incisions, often three in number.

Folklore assigns a variety of powers to these creatures, most commonly the ability to jump great distances, and either hypnotize or nauseate with their glowing red eyes and strange hiss. More traditional vampiric powers are possible, and a few reports claim they could fly. Descriptions and powers vary wildly, which leaves plenty of room for a GM to improvise and surprise. A few of the more radical sources suggest links between Chupacabras and Medieval gargoyle statuary, or even links to the Greys.

That the reportings started in Puerto Rico may have significance. The US Government allegedly tested Agent Orange and various Contraceptive chemicals in Puerto Rico without notifying the populace that they were human guinea pigs. Some say the Chupacabra may have broken out of the base at El Yunque after a severe storm in the 1990s. If this is the case, the chupacabra may be a creature of our own making. Genetic Engineering is the New Radiation, after all.

Chupacabra started somewhat obscurely and relatively recently, but have entered the pop culture vernacular in force, quickly becoming nearly as well known as Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster. Sightings range from Chile to Maine to Russia. By tradition, Chupacabra are described with masculine Spanish articles and pronouns, but can be freely used plural or singular. El Chupacabra, El Chupacabras, and Los Chupacabras are all equally valid terms for an individual or the entire species.

Texan Chupacabra Dogs

Recently, strange dog-like creatures have been spotted attacking animals in Texas. At least 6 of these dog-like creatures have themselves been killed by ranchers and examined by authorities. Whether they are the source of the Chupacabra folklore remains to be determined. At this point, there's still some question whether they represent a new race or mutation, or are merely ugly inbred wild dog or coyotes with mange and various parasites. They may be in some way related to the Xoloitzcuintle, the Mexican Hairless Dog. These recent Chupacabra are similar to the Elmendorf Beast.

These "chupacabra dogs" have chihuahua-like facial features, proportions and sizes more like a greyhound, very large canine teeth, and hairless skin with a bluish-grey or purplish-grey tint. They don't leap far distances or have a magical hypnotic gaze, but they are pretty freaky looking and some have oversized hind legs that could theoretically lead to an uneven kangaroo-like gait. So they may just be the source of the chupacabra legend. Or, the goat suckers in Puerto Rico and all points south might be something completely different.

Texan Chupacabras in the News

Sources

In addition to the articles listed on the "Texan Chupacabras in the News" pages linked above, here's some more detailed chupcabra sites…

Bibliography
3. How Stuff Works - cool drawing of a humanoid Chupacabra
4. Crystal Links presents many of the more outlandish bits of folklore, and some good food for thought.

Game and Story Use

  • The PCs are sent to investigate the "Texan Chupacabra Dogs" and discover there's something far more supernatural than just coyotes afoot.
  • The PCs are, or encounter, Government Agents acting to keep the truth about Chupacabra secret.
  • Chupacabra and Vampire Bats somehow crossbreed, becoming a highly-mobile threat.
    • Or Chupacabra and The Greys, or Chupacabra and Moth Man, or whatever else floats your boat.
  • After The End, amidst the ruins of Post-Apocalyptic Decay, packs of wild Chupacabras stalk the surviving remnants of mankind.
  • To surprise players in a fantasy campaign, drop lots of clues that the big bad is a Vampire. When the fearless vampire slayers track him to his lair, it turns out he either is, or is served by, a Chupacabra. Do stakes and holy water work on a Chupacabra?
  • In my Scion RPG campaign, I used a pack of Los Chupacabras, lead by "El Luchacabra" a particularly beefy Chupacabra in a Luchador mask. On top of hypnotism and nauseation, he also had super-strength and wrestling moves.
  • The real chupacabra is framing those dogs in Texas. To cover his predations, he's breeding and abusing dogs, then leaving their dead carcasses at the scene of the crime whenever he's shot at or spotted.

Building This Character

Character Level

  • As much as we'd love to have a chupacabra be a real bad ass, the truth is it feeds mostly on livestock and sometimes gets killed by otherwise unexceptional ranchers. I'd say it's low-level, but probably with some decent evasion abilities to allow it to sometimes escape and perplex a higher-level character that it couldn't go toe-to-toe with.

Attributes

  • I'd guess Agility or Dexterity is at the top of the list.
  • Charisma may be either really low or really high, depending on whether that's what powers their paralysis and hypnosis powers. If it's not needed for those powers, it'll be their dump stat.

Skills

  • Stealth
  • Athletics especially running or jumping to escape detection and capture.
  • Survival or Hunting
  • Probably an ambush predator, so it needs some attack skill. Again, this shouldn't be too high, or else it would logically attack humans instead of chickens and goats.

Special Abilities

  • Hypnosis / Hypnotism is likely. It may break the basic rules for such, having a fast-acting hypnotic gaze via the glowing eyes of doom. Victims report being frozen with terror or paralysis.
    • Just make sure you know what you're doing. Many players respond poorly to being hypnotized or immobilized - some responding to a few lost turns with as much out-of-character emotional drama as you'd expect for character death. Veteran gamers tend to take this thing better than n00bs.
      • This usually has some correlation to how long combat lasts in the system you're running. A game where missing a round means having to chill for 2 or 3 minutes is less likely to result in social drama than a game where it takes 2 hours to play out a 4-round combat.
      • A saving throw may be in order, or some other sort of escape hatch for the player characters. Getting killed by a monster is bad enough, but getting killed by a low-level monster that paralyzed you and then sucked your blood at it's leisure is just adding insult to injury.
    • Given the many variations in what people have described as chupacabra, you might consider some sort of illusion power instead of (or to augment the) hypnosis.
  • Induce Nausea. A common trait described by eyewitnesses is a horrid hiss, piping, or drone that seems to make you ill. El Chupacabra may have a sonic attack that can stun. See warnings about hypnotism in the previous bullet.
  • In a game like Call of Cthulhu with clearly defined sanity rules or traumatic shock mechanics, they may simply be terrifying. Fear of the unknown is what paralyzes or sickens the victim, not some magical gaze power or sonic hiss.
  • Increased speed or boosted jumping could be helpful for a critter that many have seen but few have captured.

Flaws and Hindrances

  • In most cases the Chupacabra will be built as a monster, not a character, and thus most mundane hindrances can be skipped.
  • If you're making an unusual Player Character chupacabra, then Ugly is a sure bet. Being an outsider, not-quite human, and probably not speaking the local language are all disadvantages the chupacabra faces.
  • In systems where flaws give you bonus points or other advantages to compensate, the GM should try not to pile too many social disadvantages on one character. There is a practical point beyond which you'll be avoiding social rolls completely, and your fourth overlapping "-2" penalty to the roll really shouldn't generate yet more points to sink into other abilities you'll actually use. Beware the munchkin.

Combat Role

  • The Bushwhacker, the Glass Cannon, and the Fragile Speedster are all likely interpretations of chupacabra tactics and capabilities. They don't plan engage in a long battle, just strike quickly and then withdraw. Chupacabra probably make poor Solo Monsters as a result. If outnumbered by the PCs they'll probably just go down.
  • Chups with really strong hypnosis powers could stand as The Mezzer or Solo Monster, but again make sure you think good and hard before throwing in big flashy mind control powers that could often amount to Save or Die. There are a few games and settings where this sort of thing works, just make sure you know what you're doing.

Variants

  • Alien Chupacabras are like the above, but with bizarre technology, even stranger powers, and inscrutable motives. If things go wrong they don't just flee into the jungle, they beam up the ship.
  • The "Texan Chupcabra Dog" is likely to be somewhat less supernatural than the above proposals. Alternately, you could apply the same process and powers as the more-human like version, but use your game's dog or wolf stats as the starting point instead of using human average. Bite attack may be a bit nastier on this version, to compensate for lack of human-level intelligence. You can probably up their movement rate as well.
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