Quips [They Came from Beneath the Sea!]

They Came From Beneath The Sea!

One of the mechanics in They Came from Beneath the Sea! that people really seem to love is the Quips. Here’s a section on Quips and a small selection of them, as written by Larry Blamire for the core rulebook. You’ll be able to buy these on cards or make your own once the game is released!

The Art of the Quip

“It’s not just what words you say… it’s when you say them… and how you say them… Also what words you say… I’ve said before… you can take away my armaments. You can take away my freedom. You can take away this neat hook thing I use. But nothing can touch my quips…. Nothing…”

—    Clain Hoake, veteran canner, troubleshooter, and quipper

There is no handier weapon at the monster or alien fighter’s disposal than the Quip. Also a gun. And a ray, some kind of ray. Plus speed, agility. Hiding is good, if you hide from something, so you can organize later, maybe regroup. Punching, also handy.

But Quips, they are something special, because all they take is some presence, some wit, some wherewithal, and a little bit of imagination. And, before a wave of slime can engulf, before a razor-toothed mouth snaps, or a clutch of allies panic, those words are out of your mouth and no one or no thing can ever put them back. It’s often believed a Quip turned the tide for the Scots at Stirling Bridge, though its actual words are lost to history.

Quip Mechanics

There are six decks of Quips in They Came from Beneath the Sea!, from which you will be drawing your character’s pithy one-liners. If you don’t own the official decks, that’s fine. Appendix One (p. XX) lists each deck’s contents so you can create your own.

Vows, Defiance, and Tough Talk

These are the Quips that express your steadfastness, dedication, or resolve. They can boost those around you, but they can also boost you. Often, it’s a show of grim determination, a pledge of alliance, or a vow to not give in to fear. These are the Quips we all need from time to time.

Quip Your Griping

Quips aren’t always about cocky bravado or quick cleverness. They can also express displeasure, a bit of wiseass attitude, often jaded, towards how things are progressing, perhaps even as a criticism of their fellows. This is especially true of hardened veterans who are just not happy with things, the newbie who’s been thrown into more than they bargained for, or the hotshot who wants some action, pronto. These can be sneered, bitten off, and spit out or dropped like that sour note no one wants to hear. Sarcasm often works nicely here.

And Before You Pull That Switch

There will come a time in fighting thaumocs that you are just about to deliver something of consequence. It might be as small as a single punch that carries symbolic weight. Or perhaps an attack that could have great impact, an escape that could turn things around, sometimes a jump from a high place. Often times it means throwing a switch, pushing a button, or pulling a lever that could have devastating effect.

It is practically a prewritten rule that this be punctuated by something pithy and punchy, usually just beforehand. This Quip carries perhaps less weight than the others. It’s just so satisfying…

Please Enjoy This Great Portent

Nothing freezes a room full of brass or lab coats like an ominous ton of bricks plopped in their midst by a mere twist of tongue. It reverberates in the air like aftershock, earning the respect and admiration of any doubters, but also as a wakeup call, a rally to go and kick some alien ass.

No matter what your role in the battle against Things from the Sea, your true mettle is shown when you utter a portentous foreshadowing. Often, it can be an ultimatum. Sometimes… it’s an ultimatum to yourself…

These can be perceived as being negative but often it’s a harsh truth that must be faced. A reality check of sorts. As if to say: This is it. Now or never. We have to buckle down or we are done for. In this way, it somewhat overlaps the Vow. But it can also be a grave and heroic pronouncement after a perceived victory, even a minor one.

Why So Glib?

Glibness is crucial to a large portion of well-delivered Quips. It is the humorous heart of the snappy remark. Nothing raises morale in the face of a scaly goggle-eyed horror from the deep more than a brash display of amusement.

Of course, people on screen have been laughing at danger since the days of Errol Flynn and, before him, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. (most effectively recreated in The Princess Bride).

It can be that devilish rejoinder against all odds as a slimy dripping appendage closes in on your face. Or, most popularly, the triumphant punctuation just prior to pressing that button or pulling that switch or whatever the coup de grâce may be that dispatches one or more horrifying aquatepillars. Again, understatement is key. It implies confidence, coolness, lack of effort. It says, despite your exertion, despite the grueling effort it took to get here, the rising fear you constantly tamp down like so much mud… please accept this wisecrack…

The Flirtation

Finally, nothing spices up a growing attraction or old movie chemistry like a playful Quip. A string of these can become the light verbal fencing that takes place even in the midst of conjuring the necessary science to battle aquatic nightmares. Slight smirks are welcome.

Vows, Defiance, and Tough Talk

If being right works when I go to bed… it still works at breakfast…

I’ll make my final move if it’s the last thing I do…

Like the math whiz said, count me in.

It’s time we taught them a little human know-how as well as some neat engineering tricks, also knot-tying…

Just get this through your little hive mind…

Sorry if I parted your scales too close…

It’s time we put the “I” in survival…

We’ll cross those T’s when we come to them…

I’ve spit in the eyes of hurricanes bigger than you…

If you’re going through me, you’ll have to go through me to do it…

I have one rule: If I can eat it, I can kill it…

I don’t know much about science or monsters but… I’m willing to learn…

Just one question… Which garnish?

I’d sooner wear commie clothes than give up my humanity…

Mister, that won’t buy you a half stick of gum at the Half Stick of Gum Store…

Maybe I’m just not comfortable with the phrase “aquatic alien overlords.”

If I’d known you were coming I would’ve baked a sweetbread…

I’ve smoked worse things in my pipe…

Hope I didn’t ruin your little fondue club reunion…