Old World Monkeys in GURPS
The old world monkeys are found in most habitats in Africa and tropical Asia.
Old world monkeys usually have tails which are used for balance, and walk on their hands and feet. Most monkeys are nearly at home in the trees as on the ground, and can rapidly move through and between trees by climbing and leaping. Their hands and feet are adapted for grasping - this is what they use for climbing, but they also use their hands to acquire food or to carry objects with them.
To represent these locomotor abilities in game terms, they have the advantage "Brachiator" (a misnomer because they do not actually brachiate) so that they need not make rolls for jumping between branches and vines and do so with speed and agility, Clinging(requires hand-holds) so that they need not make climbing rolls for moving along rough, grippable surfaces and can so so with speed and agility, Terrain Adaptation (uneven) for jumping and clambering over jumbled surfaces without penalty, and Perfect Balance for running along branches without making rolls to see if they fall off.
Old world monkeys have senses similar to that of humans, relying on acute detail-oriented vision to select food such as ripe fruit or young leaves from a cluttered background. Their sense of touch is most developed around their hands, and they use their hands to explore their world.
Among the old world monkeys, the males tend to be larger than the females and grow large fangs. They use these fangs for fighting. Monkeys will also slap, grab, or pull with their hands but this is often more for teasing than serious fighting.
These monkeys almost always live in groups, but the nature of the group can change drastically between species. The social life of the various species are listed in ther description on the table below. There are some general trends that can be discussed here, however
Monkeys forced to live alone become despondant, and may exhibit psychotic behaviors such as rocking and hugging itself.
- Most monkeys are matrilocal, meaning the females stay with the group they grew up in, while adult males leave and join other groups. The alternative, seen rarely but not entirely absent, are patrilocal groups where the males stay in their natal groups and the adult females leave to join new groups. Matrilocal or patrilocal, those that stay in their natal groups form the closest lifelong bonds while those that migrate into the group are more peripheral to the social structure and less tightly knit into the social fabric.
- Many monkeys are matrilineal. The status of the young monkeys in the group is just below that of their mother. They are outranked by any monkey that outranks their mother, and they themselves outrank any monkey that their mother outranks. Males keep their status until they move out of the group at adulthood, females keep their status for life. Matrilineal bands are always matrilocal, but the converse is not always true - many species live in bands where the females are egalitarian. A consequence of matrilineal behavior is the development of matrilines, families or clans of related females that are ranked according to other families or clans in the group. Matrilineal behavior naturally leads to scheming, drama, and competition between matrilines for dominance.
- Adult males that leave their natal group need to find mates. In some species, males do not tolerate any other males competing for their mates - they guard harems of females. The females are usually related because they will be matrilocal. In this social arrangement, competition between males for breeding rights to a harem can be intense, and lead to vicious fighting. Note that harem behavior does not necessarily mean that the males are dominant - they might be (patriarchal behavior), but they may be co-dominant with the females or they may just follow the females around while the females do their thing (matriarchal behavior).
- In species where the males establish harems, there will be a lot of surplus males around. These males gather together in bachelor groups for companionship and mutual protection against predators.
- In groups that are too large for one male to dominate, you will find multiple males. These males may be dominant over the females (again, patriarchal), the females may be dominant over the males (matriarchal), or you may find parallel dominance hierarcies for both males and females. Since monkeys are usually matrilocal, the males need a way of figuring out who is boss which is not based on birth - this may involve senority, intimidation, or fighting. Since monkeys are both intelligent and highly social, it is not uncommon to find groups of males ganging up to take over the top spot from other males and then sharing power, although even within these groups there will usually be one monkey who is boss.
- In all cases, monkeys maintain their social bonds by grooming each other. this is the equivalent of people socializing and enjoying each other's company. This strengthens the relationships and reinforces the alliances the monkeys have made.
Monkeys have the basic needs and drives of humans - they want to be loved, want status, seek comfort and the admiration of their friends. However, they have none of a human's inhibitions. They act on their impulses - they may fly into a rage at little or no provocation, react badly if slighted or if they do not get what they want, and delight in teasing those whom will not or can not retailate.
|choose a species:
The radio button entries in the table above give typical sizes of the monkey species of the selected sex. If you want a larger or smaller specimen, enter the weight in kg manually.
enter weight (kg)
The Captive checkbox is for animals that have been kept in captivity all their lives, without the ability to hone their reflexes, muscles, and skills like thier wild relatives. It would be appropriate for pets and zoo animals.
Marking the T? checkbox will give you the stats in template form with all costs listed, otherwise you get a stat sheet as for a character.
Marking the HR? checkbox will print the information using all my house rules. Otherwise, the stats will be as compatable with plain vanilla GURPS as possible (although several custom advantages and disadvantages will be present, see my Traits page).
Back to Animalia