Following on from that news item this past summer about something in Lake Champlain using bio-sonar, here are five possible sources for a Champ-style lake monster in modern day weirdness or urban fantasy campaigns. Some of these play faster and looser with the traditional Champ story than others, but that’s the case with every tale that builds on those which came before, isn’t it?
Vacationers from the United States of Lizardia.
The USL is one of the odder worldlines in GURPS Infinite Worlds, where a civilization of bipedal saurians, dubbed neo-troodons by Homeline paleontologists, arose. In this case, the photographic evidence of Champ is obviously way off base, as the fleeting glimpses of those neo-troodons whose holographic camouflage ran out of battery juice obviously don’t do the raptor-descended beings much justice. Oh yeah, and how did the neo-troodons get the secret of parachronics? And who convinced them the middle of a freshwater lake in a highly developed worldline was a dynamite vacation spot?
Survivors of a prehistoric space ark.
The trouble with being a space-faring race with the build of plesiosaurs — albeit relatively diminutive ones — is your space ships need to be that much bigger. So this species just went all-out and built their generational ark from a handy asteroid. Unfortunately, the guidance system malfunctioned while passing through our solar system and the asteroid crashed hard in the Gulf of Mexico. Oh, the irony. An escape pod jettisoned over the inland sea that eventually became Lake Champlain. The colony that scratched out an existence there has been trying to rebuild its technology to an interstellar spaceflight level ever since.
A shamanic lineage’s inherited psychic projection.
Down through the years, the genius loci of the long lake has chosen a defender from the peoples inhabiting the valley. Sometimes it’s a native, sometimes it’s one of the settlers who came from the east, but there’s always a mortal defender chosen to bond with and serve the spirit of the lake. When the mortal mount works with its supernatural rider, one of their combined abilities is to manifest a form expressing the blending of the essences of land and sea. It may be butt-ugly, but it’s more than tough enough to get the point across to people who transgress its rules.
Victim of temporal anomalies.
Deep down, on the bed of the lake, a ley line runs on the north-south axis. An infrequent, yet periodic alignment of celestial bodies induces a microscopic rent in the noetic strata boundary of the ley line, through which otherworldly energies spray like a high-pressure hose. Unfortunately, this plays merry hell with the bottom-feeding lake sturgeon population, causing them to grow to alarming proportions, with dispositions to match. The coming confluence of heavenly influences places ever increasing stress on the puncture in the ley line, which in turn aggravates the sturgeon-turned-Champ, which become ever more antagonistic to crafts entering their breeding grounds.
Guardian of a fabulous trove of a past civilization.
Naturally, when the super-advanced civilization that left behind no obvious traces of its existence rolled through the Lake Champlain valley, they paused to install a cache of technology on one of the upper islands to mollify the ever-changing someday-will-be-New England weather. Or, they erected a mystically-charged mineral formation as part of a continent-wide dragon line configuration. Either way, they left some over-sized aquatic pets behind with an instinctive urge to gather around the site in question and an extreme sense of territoriality.