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Time Lord Game Additions

By Justin Reynolds

The Charrl

The Charrl were once one of the greatest civilizations in the galaxy. It has been claimed that they were responsible for nearly half of the 699 Wonders of the Universe (the 700th was the City of the Exxilons). Their Hive World of Alya was a beautiful planet, renowned for its flower forests and honey pools. Though in structure resembling giant termite mounds, their hives were things of great beauty. Their technology is largely organic, and powered by the tremendous psychic ability of the Charrl. Though able to travel between the stars with their gravity ships, they never sought to expand their influence beyond their home planet.

The Charrl are a female-dominated species, ruled by the Queen of the Hive Imperial. They are a noble race, and do not break their word. Honour is important to them, and those in authority at least must show strength and bravery at all times. Despite their insectoid single mindedness and connection to a limited group mind, Charrl are remarkably creative and artistic, and capable of independent action. Taught by their Goddess to respect all forms of life, the Charrl never fought a war except in self defence. However, protecting the Charrl race is of critical importance to them, and overrides all other considerations.

Charrl eggs are usually laid within the corpses of animals; this gives the Charrl young an immediate food source on hatching. If for some reason the animal is not killed as the eggs are injected, an egg will often find its way to the animal's womb and become accepted as one of the animal's own, like a microscopic cuckoo. Any animal that has been infected in this way becomes susceptible to mental control by the Charrl. It is possible for Charrl to live for more than 4000 years under good conditions, and a Charrl Queen may have over a thousand daughters.

Charrl grubs bear some resemblance to human babies, with only four gangly limbs and pale, loose fitting skin that disguises their alien anatomy. Only their bulbous eyes are obviously inhuman. After a few years these Charrl larvae enter a pupal stage, in which they hibernate for a long period while metamorphosing into adult Charrl. Mature Charrl look somewhat like bipedal wingless grasshoppers, standing between 5 and 7 feet high. They walk on their central limbs, and their arms are equipped with deadly claws. A third pair of powerful limbs is kept folded behind their backs. These legs allow them to leap great distances. Hard and skull-like, their heads possess powerful mandibles that drip acidic saliva, and large multifaceted eyes. They smell with sensitive antennae that are frequently kept wrapped around their heads, and speak in thin, rasping voices. The Charrl produce an ammonia-like stench which makes their presence uncomfortable for humans, and they find the smell of mammals similarly unpleasant.

When their home world Alya became devastated by solar flares and pollution, the Charrl were forced to flee the planet. Because of their reverence for all forms of life, they had never disrupted the ecosystems of other planets by setting up colonies, and hence had no clear destination. Their greatest philosophers selected the planet Antykhon as a world possessing minimal indigenous biomass but with enormous potential for supporting life. In the Great Migration, a tremendous effort exhausting almost all their resources and lasting for decades, the entire Charrl race journeyed to the new planet. Unfortunately Antykhon turned out to be a dying world, only marginally habitable. The Charrl eventually realised their plight, but in their weakened state a second migration was beyond their ability, and for three and a half millennia the Charrl civilization declined as their numbers dwindled. The mysterious Muldwych finally rescued the last survivors, and established them within an artificial world inside the TARDIS.

The Charrl are not a warlike species, and usually do not carry any weapons. However, their claws are razor sharp and can inflict 4 Wounds, and when left with no alternative they can be formidable opponents. It is not known what weapons the Charrl can muster when necessary, but they are certainly capable of defending themselves against most potential invaders. As with all Charrl technology, what weapons they have draw on psychic power and are worthless to the vast majority of other species.

As an insect race, the Charrl possess a chitinous exoskeleton. This shell provides them with Full Armour 5.

The great respect for life possessed by the Charrl puts them at a severe disadvantage in combat, unless their species is threatened in which case they can be quite merciless. They are often reluctant to deal with their enemies until it becomes too late. Charrl from Antykhon are generally in very poor condition, and may suffer from reduced Armour and strength.

Psychic Ability [Awareness]
The Charrl mind is possessed of psychic power greater than that of almost any other species in the universe. They do not often use their mental abilities directly, however, instead drawing on them to power their technology. They are capable of telepathy when necessary, and when their most powerful Chronomancers work together, they can even transport living beings through time. The full extent of their Psychic Ability is not known.

[Charrl Game Sheet]

This item appeared in TSV 41 (October 1994).

Index nodes: Time Lord Additions, Birthright