Posts Tagged ‘Monster’

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Unliving and Unbound (A to Z)

24 April, 2020

Plague spiritThings that were living and now are not but are still animate, in the Sea of Stars, are referred to as the Unliving.  There are a surprising number of them in some places, as Necrourgists (such as those in the High Kingdom of Laccini) are found of using their death magic to provide these once-living shells with an animating spark of energy torn from dark places, if not properly controlled, these sparks come with touch of malevolent cunning, not true intelligence, but dangerous if not watched and controlled.

Other effects can cause the dead to walk (and hunger): odd magic from the sundering, the residue of dead gods, alchemical runoff and more.  A few few of the unliving predate the Sundering and a few of those have ways of creating more of their kind.  But they are careful how they use such, knowing that if they are too obvious the dragons will swoop in and destroy them all.

The Unbound are those spirits no longer ties to their body, thus unbound from them, yes unable to make the transition through the shadowed lands to judgement beyond.  Many are tormented, seeking revenge or to complete a task left undone, while a few are simply lost.  Setting them to rest may be simple or easy depending on the nature of the spirits, making work for exorcists and ghost hunters.

The Church of the Sun, like their patron, has a visceral hatred of the Unliving and a harsh pity for the Unbound, seeking to destroy or banish them whenever encountered.

Notes:  Renaming things to suit your world / setting in important, it makes it more yours see (also Hollows and Hellions).  Also, I find the term “undead” wearing at this point, overused.  Of course, the challenge is getting your players to adopt the new terms.

Image An allegory of malaria. Reproduction of an engraving after M. Sand. Maurice Sand. Wellcome Collection license CC BY.

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Hollows and Hellions (A to Z)

9 April, 2020

Sometimes things just need a name change to fit into a world better.  For the Sea of Stars, that is the renaming of Golems to Hollows and Tieflings to Hellions.

A larger than usual wooden hollowHollows, the art of creating the illusion of life from inanimate objects is one that exists in the Sea of Stars, such creatures are usually called Hollows as they lack souls and often any sort of intelligence simply being bound to perform repetitive tasks.  (One can make an argument that an animated being with sentience but not souls are not actually Hollow, but that is the realm of philosophy.)

The dwarves in particular delight in the construction of complex hollows of metal, sometimes animated with clockwork and magic, other times purely with magic, and animated stone statues using bound elementals or powerful enchantments.  The elves have a tradition of filling the ranks of their armies with hollow soldiers made of carved wood or animated plants, the elves always having been loath to risk their lives in the “push of pikes” and even more so since the Sundering.  Human wizards and craftspeople have worked to build all sorts of hollows but flesh and clay are among their more common materials. The Sen’tek seek to use complex clockwork and spring, supplemented with a minimum of magic, to make tools to aid them in their never ending war to overthrow Dragonkind.

Necrourgists seek to improve their legions of the dead though the creation of hollows of flesh and bone, less prone to the whims of the evil spirits attracted to most animation of the dead but far more complex to create and bring to “life”.  Priests and Priestess seek ways to animate their temple’s guards, but as this often involved binding spirits into them, they are not truly hollow.

Hellions, are those whose lineage has, at some point, had the blood of beings from what are called “the lower realms”.  Unpredictably, such a heritage expresses itself through odd eyes, strange skin, even horns, a tails or odd appendages (claws, cloven hooves for feet, usw).  Ties to such physical expression are various magical power than are rarely as well controlled as the possessor of such would wish.

Notes: The word Golem has a very particular cultural source, so a word more unique to the Sea of Stars is good.  While Tiefling is a pure D&Dism and really should not be used outside of those worlds and I have never much cared for it in any case while Hellion has a nice history of use.  So, rename things to suit your world, it will take some time for people to adjust but it is worth it, as least, I think it is.

Photo Green Man Sculpture, Creator Nicholas Smale, License CC by 2.0

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New Monster – Dragon Descendant (Template) for D&D 5E

5 April, 2020

Dragon dogs!Dragons often seek to “improve” other being by sharing their blood and power with what most of them consider “lesser” creatures.  Once the drconic nature is established, it tends to stick within a bloodline showing up in greater or smaller manifestations:

Dragon Descendant

The blood of dragons is strong and even distant descendants of the mighty dragons sometime inherit part of their strength.  Some dragons gather such distant relations to serve them.  Other with draconic blood make their own way with their enhanced strength and abilities.

Dragon descended creatures are highly prized as guardians and fighting beasts.

“Dragon Descendant” is an inherited or acquired template that can be added to any living corporeal creature (such as a beast, humanoid, giant). It keeps its statistics, except as follows.

Challenge: While the CR for this template is a +0, a DM should considered tossing in a few extra experience points for defeating creatures with this template as they are tougher than the base creature just not +1 CR worth.

Senses: The dragon-descendant gains darkvision.

Damage Resistances: The dragon-descendant gains resistance to a type of  elemental damage: acid, cold, fire, lightning or thunder.

Willful: The dragon-descendant has advantage to saving throws against Fear and Sleep effects.
Imbalanced: The Dragon Descendant or reasons not fully understood, the blood of dragon causes an imbalance that makes those that possess it vulnerable to certain magics.  Choose one elemental damage type and one school of magic, the Dragon Descendant must roll a d4 and subtract the number rolled from a saving throw against either.

Notes: To go with yesterday’s Dogs and Dragons and allow the creation of dragon dogs.  Compare and contrast with the Pathfinder version.

The added defenses of the energy resistance and willful is balanced out by the weaknesses embedded in imbalanced, this is to encourage the research of one’s enemies.

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Dogs and Dragons (A to Z)

4 April, 2020

Dragon/DogThe dragons rule the Sea of Stars with an iron grip, from the Empress on down through the Draconic Houses and down to their clients and servants.  It is a truism among the peoples of the Sea of Stars that the dragon are best though of as extremely powerful cats, selfish, lazy, enjoy toying with their prey and exceedingly deadly if provoked.  But many have an affinity towards dogs as well, finding their unhesitating loyalty charming and relaxing.

Many dragons have taken to breeding dogs, as a hobby, being able watch the evolution of a line is very interesting for some dragons.  Shaping life in a direct way, often mingling dragon blood with that to make them stronger and tougher.  Dragon dogs, as these breeds have become known, have become widely dispersed throughout the Sea of Stars.

Mechanically these are dogs or wolves with the Dragon Descendant (Pathfinder) or Dragon Descendant (D&D 5E) template some obviously have dragon blood with visible scales and talons other seems just to be normal dogs with sharper eyes.  But thieves and assassins have learned to be exceptional careful around dogs.

Notes: I will try and update this with a Dragon Descendant template for D&D 5E soon.  Dragon Dogs have been around since one of the very earlier adventures in the Sea of Stars.  Barbarians should use it as an exclamation.

Photo December Creator rickcameron License CC by-nc-nd 2.0

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New Monster – Great Alotian Wagon Eater

16 January, 2020

Is this the lair of a GAWE?Voddick knelt down at the road edge and picked up some splinters of wood and a fragment of metal. “I fear we are not going to find those lost wagons, my friend.”

“Why? Has someone beaten us to them?” Gollaon asked scanning the horizon from horseback.

“No, worse, much worse,” said Voddick shaking his head. “A wagon eater.”

“A wagon eater? Are you joking?”

“Not in the least,” said Voddick. “They are much feared by the Dwarven Clans. They are secretive creatures that rarely emerge from their lairs except to consume abandoned wagons.”

‘How . . . bizarre.”

Great Alotian Wagon Eater
Large monstrosity (chimeric), unaligned Read the rest of this entry ?

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Chimeric Monster Subtype for D&D 5E

15 January, 2020

The original ChimeraWhile D&D 5E is not as much into finely classifying and subclassifying all its monster by type and subtype, chimeric monsters are an important group in the Sea of Stars so I wanted to give them a set of special abilities tied to their nature as well.

Chimeric [Subtype]

A chimeric being is a hybrid creature made from blending together aspects of other creatures.  Some are created by alchemical and magical experiments, other emerge spontaneously from unknown sources.

•    Final Form– For whatever reason, the chimeric being’s form is the end and final result of many changes and it has no wish to change again, it gains a advantage on any saving throw to resist any attempt to further change or weaken its form (including but not limited to polymorph).
•    Hybrid Health– A chimeric creature is full of surprising vigor, gaining a advantage on saving throws against disease and poisons.
•    Obsession with a Food– Each chimeric creature has a particular food that it desires above all others.  A chimeric being will go out of its way to obtain such.  A trainer who has access to such food may gain a advantage on their Charisma (Animal Handling) rolls when training a captive chimeric beast.

Notes: Obviously this subtype would be applicable to chimera, hippogriff, owlbear and such monsters.

Chimeric creatures created for this design journal (for Pathfinder) include: Cobra-Cat, MothLion, StagWolf and Sting Squirrel.

Original Pathfinder version can be found here.

Image Chimera. Apulian red-figure dish, ca. 350-340 BC. owned by the Louvre, photo by Jastrow found on Wikimedia Commons and is in the Public Domain.

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Insects in the Sea of Stars (A to Z, I)

11 April, 2019

Insects of several typesInsects are everywhere in the Sea of Stars, just as they are here, but in even greater variety.  Due to the presence of magical flows, some insect are able to overcome the square law rule and grow to enormous size.  Occasional insect-animal hybrids (such as MothLions and sting squirrels) exist and are more common in some regions than others.  (So, insects, giant, unusual and hybrid, are all viable forms of threat.)

While magic can be used to eliminate large numbers of insects at once, there are always more, but in general the farms and large cities of the Sea of Stars are no more troubled by insects than such are in our modern world.  Though occasionally a new, invasive species with upset the balance in a city or island with catastrophic effects before a balance is reestablished.  There are a small number of wizards who specialize in large scale extermination of vermin, not just insects, and they rarely lack for work somewhere.

Of course, very few know that the insects of the Sea of Stars are occasionally influenced by the mysterious Pattern which acts through them to achieve its inscrutable goals.

Notes: Sorry this is late, yesterday was just a terrible day for productivity.

Image Five insects of the Orthoptera order, including a grasshopper, locust and mantid. Coloured engraving by J. O. W from the Wellcome Collection. CC BY.

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New Monster – Corpse Custodian Projection

22 October, 2018

A ghostly appearance

You open the crypt revealing a body decked in valuables, as you reach for them, swirling motes of dust coalesce into the spectral form of a small person. “Halt varlet! Neither those riches not this body is for you! Flee now or taste my blade!” It brandishes a translucent sword to back up its statement.

Corpse Custodian Projection CR 2

XP 600
N Small construct (ancestral, force)
Init +3; Senses darkvision, low-light vision; Perception +6

DEFENSE
AC 20, touch 14, flat-footed 17 (+3 Dex, +6 armor, +1 size)
hp 26 (3d10+10)
Fort +1, Ref +4, Will +4
Special Defense DR 5/Magic, Resistance to Acid, Cold, Electricity, and Fire 10

OFFENSE
Read the rest of this entry ?

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New Chimeric Monster – Moger (for Pathfinder, D&D5 and Dungeon World)

26 May, 2018

Just a moose, right?A sound near by, you turn to look, a moose?! How did it get so close without you noticing? It is moving towards you awfully purposefully. Those teeth do not look friendly and it has claws! Run! Run for your life!

MOOGER CR 4

XP 1,200
N Large magical beast (chimeric)
Init +3; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +6

DEFENSE
AC 15, touch 12, flat-footed 12 (+3 Dex, +3 natural, –1 size)
hp 57 (6d10+24)
Fort +9, Ref +8, Will +4
Special Defense shielding antlers Read the rest of this entry ?

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A to Z – Cobra Cat

3 April, 2018
White Cat

One of these and . . .

A long-bodied cat with a longish muzzle. It weaves it way through the legs of a chair and eyes you quizzically.

Cobra-Cat CR 1
XP 400

N Tiny magical beast (chimeric)
Init +7; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +5

DEFENSE
AC 16, touch 15, flat-footed 13 (+3 Dex, +1 Natural, +2 size)
hp 11 (2d10)
Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +1

Cobra

. . . and one of these.

OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft., climb 20 ft.
Melee 2 claws +7 (1d3–2), bite +7 (1d6–2/ x3 + poison)
Space 2-1/2 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Defensive Abilities Immune to consumed toxins

STATISTICS
Str 6, Dex 17, Con 11, Int 3, Wis 12, Cha 7
Base Atk +2; CMB -1; CMD 11 (15 vs. trip)
Feats Improved Initiative [B], Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +7, Climb +7, Perception +5, Stealth +15; Racial Modifiers +4 Climb, +4 Stealth
SQ Familiar, Pleased by Poison

SPECIAL ABILITIES
Familiar (Su) The master of a cobra-cat familiar gains a +1 bonus on Initiative checks and a +4 bonus to saves against consumed toxins.

Immune to consumed toxin (Su) Anything poisonous or toxic consumed by the cobra-cat is ingested with no ill-effect. If the poison consumed has a higher DC than the cobra-cat’s poison, the cobra cat gains a +1 bonus to its poison DC for 24-hours.

Pleased by Poison (Ex) The cobra-car will consume poisons and poisoned food preferentially, gaining a +4 bonus to perception checks to notice such.

Poison (Ex)
Bite—injury; save Fort DC 11; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d2 Con; cure 1 save.

The origin of the cobra-cat is unknown but they have become very popular as pets for nobles.

While primarily mammalian, the cobra-cat lays eyes from which its kittens hatch and are nursed by the mother cobra-cat.

For D&D 5E:

Description as above. Read the rest of this entry ?

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