Dissecting Monsters: The Defiler’s Creature from “Better Than Any Man”

Defilers Creature Illustration by Jennifer Rodgers
Art by Jennifer Rodgers

=The Defiler’s Creature=

Armor 17, 3 Hit Dice, Movement 180’  ground  240’  leap,  1 bite  attack  doing  1  Hit Point  of  damage  per depth level plus swallows whole, Morale 12.

The Defiler’s creature is the size  of  a  pit  bull  dog  and  hops along  on  its  two  legs.  It  can  only attack with its lower mouth (its barbed tail is a sexual organ which it will not use in this dimension, while its upper mouth merely recites  Chaucer’s  Canterbury  Tales  in  Spanish). On a successful hit, the creature will do 1 Hit Point of damage and swallow its opponent whole, no matter the size difference between them.

Inside the creature, a swallowed victim will find an identical creature with the same starting stats. This creature will do 2 Hit Points of damage on a hit and swallow the victim whole, which will result in facing another creature inside which will do 3 Hit Points of damage on a hit and swallow the victim whole, and so on and so on.

Killing a creature after being swallowed causes a character to be vomited up to the next higher level to face a new creature doing  one  less  Hit  Point  of  damage  per  hit  (unless  vomited back  into  the  real  world,  in  which  case  the  original  creature will be the opponent). The creature has infinite stomachs, so multiple  characters  swallowed  by  the  creature  will  face  their own individual “creature trees.”

If the original creature in the real world is killed, the creature indeed  dies,  but  all  of  its  internal  organs  vaporize,  killing  all who were still within it.

The most notable thing about the Deflier’s creature is how funny it is. The mouth that recites Chaucer in Spanish, and the scary barbed tail which is completely useless as anything other than a sexual organ are both pretty funny. Although from a play perspective, they’re unlikely to come up, so they’re mostly intended to amuse the reader / GM, rather than the players. (Though I suppose the GM should mention that one of the mouths is constantly speaking, and if any character speaks Spanish, that could make for a pretty amusing revelation). A pit-bull sized creature swallowing humans whole is also pretty funny, and also serves as a useful misdirection. If the players have encountered any of the other monsters from this module, they’ll know to expect some kind of treachery.  But they’re unlikely to expect quite what they get.

Really, this creature is quite easy to defeat. It has good movement speed and could easily escape from the players, but with a morale of 12 that’s unlikely to occur unless the creature’s mistress recalls it. Its AC is on the high end, but is hardly un-hittable, and with a measly hit dice of 3 it won’t survive more than a few solid attacks. The strength of it lies in its ability to divide the players.

On any successful hit, a PC is separated from her fellows. If the creature is in single combat against a mid level fighter, that’s no problem. The fighter’s HP pool, armor class, and ability to hit consistently will make short work of the creature. But if the fighter’s party is nearby, the creature’s 240′ leap ensures that no one can easily escape from it. Less martially oriented characters have much less chance against the lower iterations of the creature, and the encounter against this otherwise simple enemy could quickly turn ugly. Divide et impera.

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One thought on “Dissecting Monsters: The Defiler’s Creature from “Better Than Any Man””

  1. Perhaps I reveal too much about how I used to procrastinate, but these creatures have the feel of MMO bosses, for some reason this lil guy makes me think of the space tentacle fungus lump at the bottom of one of WOWs lich king dungeons. Point is the use of novel mechanics to craft encounters that use the same rules to more interesting effect. Just a thought.

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