Friday Feature: Wimplo


All told, Dr. Gearbox pulled dozens of core samples from the glacial ice during his research expedition to Jasper. His analysis led to several breakthroughs in our understanding of climate change during the last ice age, the geometry of ice crystals, and what kinds of ice cubes chill a glass of lemonade on a hot summer day the fastest. His favorite discovery - his “pet theory” if you will - came when he discovered several perfectly preserved frozen dog treats in the pouch of an ice age hunter he uncovered deep below the surface. After some analysis, he concluded that humankind must have domesticated the first wild dog in this region around 30,000 years ago. “There’s an important lesson in that,” he once said to his grand-daughter Jessica, but when she asked what the lesson was he couldn’t quite remember. “Something about… survival...” he said.

Now that you’ve made it to Jasper, you may need to learn that lesson for yourself. With a powerful, if clumsy bound that might almost be adorable in a less gigantic creature, the Wimplo lunges into the field in front of you. Resembling a dog but larger than a horse, the Wimplo is an imposing sight. After stopping to shake the snow off of its shaggy blue and white coat - looking rather goofy in the process - it eyes you and shows its crooked, oversized teeth. Is that a snarl? Or a smile? With its awkward gait and playful attitude, something about this creature makes you almost want to smile back. In your adventures, you’ve learned how to defend yourself against all sorts of unusual foes, but perhaps there’s something else to be learned. In a world full of opponents sometimes it’s good to find one that could be a potential ally, and perhaps this creature can be tamed. You reach into the pocket of your Jasper armor and pull out a snack, and hold it out to the Wimplo. Cocking its horned head, it eyes you suspiciously and sniffs the air. It steps forward, shakes its shaggy head, and snaps back to attention. Is it about to attack? But what’s that? Its tail is starting to wag. It looks like you’ve made a new best friend.

As you and your party leave the field and press deeper into Jasper, you wonder what Gearbox’s ancient ice age hunters would think if they could see you now: the young adventurer in the bear suit, the huge, happy puppy, the hovering bot. In this snowy world, it’s enough to warm your heart.