New Class: The Machine Man

Ours is an age of ignorance.  The heights of human knowledge and civilization are far behind us. Whether or not we will ever rise again is a question too lofty for anyone to concern themselves with. If it is going to happen, the process will take so long that our grandchildren’s grandchildren will be dead and forgotten. For most, it is best simply to let the past remain the past.

For others, created in that distant age, the past cannot so easily be dismissed. Scholars of the time knew the secret of making men from metal and lightning, and giving them life. Most of these machine men have long since ceased to function. Some of those are propped up in palaces or town squares like statues. There are a few, however, which still walk the earth. Though, in the absence of qualified technicians, all of these are in a poor state of repair.

Nods to Bryan Mullins, who once had something like this in a game he ran, though I can’t recall any of the details.

The Machine Man

Machine Men have a d10 hit die, advance as fighters, and make their saving throws as Magic Users. Because of the unusual composition of their bodies, they do not eat or sleep, and they cannot be healed by magic, or by human medicine. Once per day, a successful Tinker check can be used to restore 1d4 hit points. The Mending spell, if available, will also work.

Machine Men have an auto-repair function, which restores hit points during rest at roughly the same rate as human healing. If a Machine Man ceases to function (“dies,”) their auto-repair will shut down. They may, theoretically, be revived by an engineer of superlative knowledge and skill, but only if that engineer were familiar with sciences that have long since been lost to humanity.

Starting at first level, and again at each subsequent level, the Machine Man’s autorepair function manages to restore some lost ability. Something the machine man was originally designed to have, and which they contain all the requisite mechanisms and coding for, but which their long decay has caused them to forget. The table below determines what abilities the machine man gets.

The player may opt either to roll a d10 to determine their new ability randomly, or to choose themselves which ability they want from the list. Note, however, that while the results of a random roll are less predictable, the abilities gained are significantly more potent than if the same ability had been chosen.

1. Strength

If Rolled: Long dormant servos in the arms and legs whir to life. When tracking encumbrance, it now takes one additional item slot to make up a single encumbrance point. (Using LotFP RAW encumbrance). Furthermore, it is now trivial for the Machine Man to lift or push objects weighing up to 200lb.
If Chosen:
Only the leg servos whir to life. The Machine Man gains the increased encumbrance ability as described above, but not the lifting/pushing ability.
If Repeated: Cannot be chosen a second time. Each time it is rolled, add 100lb to the amount that can be lifted/pushed trivially.

2. Onboard Equipment

If Rolled: Randomly determine one of the following pieces of equipment. It has always been there in your body, but only now do you have the drivers required for operating it.

  1. Telescoping tentacle, 20′ long.
  2. High-powered, 60′ flashlight, with flash-bulb.
  3. 200′ Grapple Gun
  4. Hidden storage compartment, equivalent to a backpack. Nothing stored in it is added to your encumbrance.
  5. X-Ray vision through up to 10′ of solid, non-lead material.
  6. Propellers and flotation devices, allowing you to move through water at double your normal walking movement speed.

If Chosen: Pick one of the following pieces of equipment.

  1. Telescoping tentacle, 10′ long.
  2. Dim, 30′ flashlight, with flash-bulb.
  3. 100′ Grapple Gun
  4. Hidden storage compartment, equivalent to about half of a backpack. Nothing stored in it is added to your encumbrance.
  5. X-Ray vision through up to 5′ of solid, non-lead material.
  6. Propellers and flotation devices, allowing you to move through water at your normal walking movement speed.

If Repeated: Can repeat until all six pieces of equipment are active. Once all are, reroll this result.

3. Attack

If Rolled: Targeting software comes online. The Machine Man’s attack and damage rolls both gain a +1.
If Chosen: Gain the +1 attack roll bonus, but not the +1 damage bonus.
If Repeated: This one stacks fairly predictably.

4. Defense

If Rolled: Projectors for a personal energy shield have been repaired. The machine man’s armor rating increases by 2.
If Chosen: Armor rating is only improved by 1.
If Repeated: Stacks predictably up to a maximum of 18, after which, this result must be rerolled if landed on again.

5. Skill

If Rolled: Randomly determine one skill from the skill list being used. If that skill is at a 1-in-6, it immediately gains 5 skill points, rising to 6-in-6. If that skill had some skill points in it already, it is still raised to 6-in-6, but any excess skill points are allocated to another randomly determined skill.
If Chosen: Gain 3 skill points, which may be assigned to skills at the players discretion.
If Repeated: Stacks predictably.

6. Mining

If Rolled: Tools and programming suited to a mining-bot become active. The machine man can now excavate a 5′ x 5′ x 10′ volume of materials in 10 minutes time. This includes hard materials, like stone walls. While tunneling through most materials, the Machine Man instinctively knows how dig so as to prevent any cave-ins.
If Chosen: Same as above, except the time required for a similar volume of excavation is 20 minutes, rather than 10.
If Repeated: Each time this is chosen, increase the excavated volume by 5′, up to a maximum of 5′ x 5′ x 30′.

7. Docbot

If Rolled: Tools and programming suited to a medical robot become active. Each day, the Machine Man has a pool equal to one half of its total hit points. By spending 10 minutes tending to a patient, the machine man may spend as many points from this pool as they like, restoring an equivalent number of hit points to their patient.
If Chosen: Same as above, but the pool is equal to one quarter of the machine man’s total hit points.
If Repeated: The machine man’s healing pool doubles in size. (So, if it was rolled, it is now equal to the MM’s current hit points. If chosen, it is now equal to half). In addition to this, the machine man is also now capable of advanced surgeries. Given 6 hours with their patient, they can replace limbs and organs which have been lost, or damaged beyond healing. Of course, a suitable replacement must be available for this to work. If Docbot is rolled a third time, reroll.

8. Scout

If Rolled: The Machine Man’s base speed increases from 40’/120′, to 50’/150′. Additionally, a whole suite of sensory equipment becomes available, granting the Machine Man: thermal vision, telescopic vision, directional hearing, and tremor sense.
If Chosen: Same as above, but only part of the sensor suite comes online. The player must choose one of the four types of new sensory information to gain, while the rest remain dormant.
If Repeated: Each time, the movement speed increases by an additional 10’/30′. Characters who chose this may also pick an additional sensor package to come online.

9. Construction

If Rolled: Utilizing available materials, a machine man with construction-bot programming active will be able to build any 10′ x 10′ x 10′ structure within the space of an hour. This includes floor, walls and ceiling. In a similar space of time, the machine man could build 60′ of wall, or perhaps some siege equipment.
If Chosen: As above, but construction time is doubled.
If Repeated: Cut the time required for construction in half. If rolled again, re-roll.

10. Weapons

If Rolled: A weapon pops out of the machine man’s body, The player should decide what sort of weapon it is, pending the approval of the referee. It might be a laser, a gun, a flame thrower, a sword, a buzzsaw, or any other myriad options. Each one will have its own logic as to how it can be used. Regardless of the type of weapon it is, though, it deals 1d8 damage.
If Chosen: Same as above, but the weapon is in somewhat less pristine condition, and deals only 1d6 damage.
If Repeated: Each time this is rolled or chosen, the machine man gains a new weapon. Each new weapon may be used every round. So, a machine man with two weapons may make two attacks each round, a machine man with three weapons may make three attacks, etc.

Four Christmas-Themed Magic Items

Ugh, man, don’t you just hate Christmas? It’s such a stressful time of the year, with all these dumb obligations and traditions you have to endure. Blech, the worst, right?

Pft, no, dumb. Christmas is the best. I’ve been listening to Christmas music all day and now it’s time for you to read this post that resulted!

The Hat of Awakening

In a distant epoch, the demon Frozti, born beneath Satan’s wing, battled with a powerful wizard. The forces of good prevailed, and in the end, Frozti’s spirit was sealed within the wizard’s hat, where it has remained ever since. But, it is an immutable law of magic that any seal must have a key. Hoping to deny the vicious Frozti any means of escape, the wizard decreed that the seal would only be broken if the demon inside was able to befriend a million children.

Time passed, and in the smallest degree the seal began to leak. Whenever the Hat of Awakening is placed upon an inanimate object with human form, Frozti can animate that object, and control it as if it were his own body. But this false body is not enough for Frozti, he wishes to truly be free. And, so, whenever he has this chance, he plays the role of friendly oaf, befriending every child he encounters.

The untold ages since this demon was sealed have been the most peaceful in humanity’s existence. Every war in our memory pales in comparison to what came before. None now living could ever begin to understand the untold violence their forebears endured.

Frozti’s long effort nears its end. He need only befriend a handful more children before he is free.

Sock of Many Things

A white woolen sock, with red stripes. It’s fairly cozy, but lacks a mate, so you’ll look like a dingus if you wear it.

If the Sock of Many Things is left to dry by a fire, and remains unobserved for 6+ hours, it will miraculously fill with all manner of cheap junk!

Whilst carrying the full sock, at any time, the player may dig around inside of it, and pull out any item they desire. The only restrictions are that the item must be able to fit inside of the sock, and must have a standard market value of 10 silver pieces or less.

There is no hard limit on how many items can be pulled from the sock each time it is filled. The referee should merely declare that the sock is empty once it seems like the player has pulled out as much stuff as the sock could have held.

Tree of Generosity

Less of an item, and more of a location, given that it’s rooted to the ground it was grown in. However, it could easily be chopped down and transported, and would retain its powers for up to a month, if properly watered.

Anyone who smells the pine scent coming off the tree must make a saving throw versus Magic. On a failed save, they will be compelled to find a suitable gift for everyone who was present when their save was failed. Until the gifts are delivered, the character cannot pursue any other goal, or attempt to do any harm to the intended recipients of their gifts, unless those people attack them first.

Gifts cannot be just anything. They must be a material object (not a service, or other intangible gift), and it must be something the giver truly believes the recipient will appreciate, based on what they know of them.

Genesis Gingerbread

There’s a strange woman who sells this stuff in various markets all over the kingdom. She always trundles out of some nearby woodlands, but attempting to tracker her movements is the path to maddness. One day she comes out of the Bluewood, sells her wares, then returns from whence she came. The next day she emerges from Yellingbird Forest, eighty leagues to the North.

And no matter how well informed people are to be on the lookout for her, she’s never spotted by anyone who is wise to her tricks. Only folks who’ve never heard of her ever seem to encounter her cart, or her curious dough.

That’s really all she sells: gingerbread dough, by the pound. It’s an odd thing to find for sale at a market stand, but she offers a fair price, and assures you that it makes the tastiest cookies you’ve ever had. But, of course, only if you cut it into cute shapes before you make it.

When cooked, the woman’s gingerbread comes to life, mimicking whatever it was shaped like. Little gingerbread dogs act like dogs, little gingerbread men act like men, and if you’re a fuddy duddy who just makes normal disk-shaped cookies, well…they roll around a lot.

Sex in D&D

This turns me on. This is the sort of thing I like. I’m comfortable with sex as a subject matter. I would imagine that’s fairly obvious to anyone who has been reading my work here for any length of time. If you keep up with my play reports, session titles like “In Which My Ex Kills My Penis Monster,” “Have Your Cake and Fuck It Too,” or “Passing Through the BDSM district.” may have clued you in. Heck, I wrote a sex worker class at one point, and have never made any secret of the fact that I write pornography under a pseudonym. Sex is something I find very artistically engaging, and I’m not shy about pursuing that interest.

Until recently, it never occurred to me that I was unusual for feeling this way. After all, how many dungeons have you delved that included a harem? How many monster books include some creature inspired by psychosexual horror? In 2017, the ENNIE award for best adventure went to a book that includes a gangbang. That same publisher, LotFP, recently released a book called “Vaginas are Magic.” To me, it seems like sex is pretty well represented in the OSR scene.

Yet increasingly, I feel like I’ve been developing a bit of a reputation as a guy who “gets” how sex in RPGs works. I keep getting tagged into google+ threads where people are talking about it, because “Nick will have something to say about this.” And the other day, on Reddit, someone asked me point-blank to explain to them how I get away with including sex in my games without it turning into a shitshow.

So, alright, lets talk about sex.

First, why is sex interesting? Like, obviously we all enjoy a good orgasm now and again, but why include sex outside of a sexual situation? Why include in D&D?

Because sex is an elemental force. Beyond our individual lusts and experiences, it is a basic, primal thing that we all think about. And whether or not a particular flavor of fuck piques our interest, each new idea gets mixed in with the complex morass of our own sexuality. Sex is interesting because it’s universal.

But sex is also something that is deeply personal. People don’t tend to talk about it as much as they probably want to. We rarely have the opportunity to sit down with someone and intellectually engage with what sex is and what it means to us. It’s an emotional state, not so different from anger, joy, disgust, fear, or sorrow, and yet its exploration in life and art is comparatively shallow.

That’s why I feel compelled to put sex in my art. And, yeah, to some extent I do consider the D&D games I run to be my art. I know it sounds pretentious, and (even worse), story-gamey, but there it is. And I don’t mean to say that I’m rocking people’s world with how fuckin’ eye-opening my games are or anything. But, if your world has a BDSM town where everybody wears rubber and half the citizenry is on leashes, then that’s probably not something your players will have encountered before. It’s probably something they will remember, and that is a pretty decent accomplishment on its own.

Which I guess brings us to the question of how to do it right. The honest, but lazy, answer is “I don’t fuckin’ know.” You and yours are going to have different comfort levels than me and mine. I can’t write you a guide for how to make your friends comfortable with something they’re not comfortable with. But even ignoring that, even just writing about my own experiences, I can’t claim to be any kind of expert. Sex, in my games, is more of an ongoing experiment than anything else. That being said, I do have quite a bit of sex in my games, and I more or less make it work, so, what’s involved in that?

I never let sex be about anyone’s personal gratification. That’s what people are afraid of when they think about sex in a D&D game. They remember every horror story they’ve ever heard about some greasy basement dweller describing the contours and proportions of an NPC’s tits, while he fumbles and fails to hide his erection. That’s less about having sex in your game, and more about one person foisting their exhibitionism fetish onto the group.

Fortunately, if you play with decent human adults, that’s not going to be a problem.

You could probably chart a scary-accurate map of the sorts of weird sex stuff I’m into by paying attention to everything that doesn’t show up in my game world. I don’t think that sort of avoidance is really necessary to make sex work in a game, but it does help me stay honest. I know I’ll never get gross and linger over-long on the cake farting NPC, because cake farting isn’t my thing.

I also don’t make my game about sex, (most of the time). I just make sex part of the world. Players randomly encounter a dildo salesperson, but they don’t generally go on a quest to retrieve a magical sex toy. Sometimes the players are amused or interested, and they spend time role playing with the weird sex thing they bumped into, other times they ignore it and get right to the point. It depends on their mood.

When it comes to players actually having sex in the game, I want to share two examples I feel are usefully illustrative. One is the closest I’ve ever come to feeling like sex was becoming a problem, and the other is just a good example of how sex should normally work in a D&D game.

To tackle the latter case first, the players were in the middle of traveling, and had a random encounter with a succubus. She openly flirted with the party, and made it pretty clear that she would be happy to have sex with any one of them. One player decided to take her up on that offer.

The player mentioned that his character was a fairly modest guy, and would prefer to do the deed out of sight of his companions. The succubus agreed, and so the PC and the demon disappeared into a nearby bush. I then briefly described how sex with a succubus is weird, and terrifying, but so intensely good that it kinda ruins sex with anybody else. (After all, what mortal could measure up to a literal embodiment of the act? ) I tell the player what the experience is like, without lingering on sordid logistics.

In-game, the act took 30 minutes, so I ask the rest of the party if there’s anything they want to do with their 3 exploration turns. When that’s resolved, the PC was kicked out of the bushes, and the succubus left without another word. (At least, not until 13 game-months later when she showed up and handed off their infant child).

In this situation, the player self-censored by taking things into the bushes. But, even if he hadn’t, I would have described things almost exactly the same way. I might have included a few other notes for the observers, like “You see things you’d never considered, and new fetishes take root in your mind.” Given that it was a sex demon, I may even have required some kind of saving throw against the desire to join in. But one way or the other, the whole thing lasted a handful of seconds, and the game moved on.

I don’t “fade to black,” but neither do I obsess. I describe sex with the same level of detail I would use if my players said “Lets stop in this town and find something to eat.” I don’t describe the firmness of the vegetables, or the way the meat’s juice dribbles down their chin. BUT, I do make a point to come up with some interesting local cuisine, I tell the players how it tasted, and maybe throw in a tidbit about some strange local dining custom they encountered.

If those same players then wanted to have sex with the bartender, and he agreed to it, I’d say something like “He leads you back to the store room. He’s surprisingly gentle, and at one point does this weird thing with his feet that you really didn’t like at first, but was actually workin’ pretty well for you by the end. When you finish, he quickly excuses himself to get back to work, lest he get in trouble.”

Easy.

When she asks what sort of things you're into

My second example involves an NPC named The Hangman. She’s a towering bodybuilder of a woman, and a high level wizard to boot. Her role in the game is a long story, but the short version is that she is the party’s patron. She gives them access to some cool stuff, and in exchange they do jobs for her.

At one point, one of my players announced his intention to seduce The Hangman. His attitude about it made me a little uncomfortable, because it felt like he was only interested in seducing her because he found her annoying. She’s an imperious and demanding NPC, and it felt like he wanted to sexually “conquer” her as a means of bringing her down a peg or two.

(I don’t want to unfairly malign this player. He’s a decent guy, and was never anything but respectful. This is more about how I felt, how I reacted, and how the game world was affected as a result).

I waffled for awhile about how I wanted to deal with this situation. On the one hand, The Hangman is an NPC, and the player just wanted to build a stronger relationship with that NPC. It’s a completely reasonable thing for a player to want to do in an RPG. On the other, the situation was bumping up on my internal barometer of grossness. I didn’t want to let this powerful character be reduced to her sexuality. I could have easily just said “She’s not into you,” but honestly, I didn’t want to fiat an NPC’s feelings like that. I try to let the dice handle that sort of thing.

It took me awhile to come up with a solution that, in retrospect, is painfully obvious. I just played to her character. The Hangman is immensely powerful, physically, magically, and socially. Just because she’s been seduced by a player, does not mean she will become any less powerful or imperious.

So after a few game-months of (honestly pretty charming) flirtatious role play between the player and the NPC, the Hangman decided to take what she wanted. The PC had sex with The Hangman, yes, but like everything The Hangman does, she did it completely on her terms, and afterwords expected him to be ready for a booty call at any hour of the day.

Which is, again, precisely why sex is so interesting to include. Dealing with that situation forced me to understand this NPC better, and created a lot of fun role playing opportunities, and character moments, for everyone involved.

Lots of folks will read this, and think I’m some kind of deviant whack-job for including all of this in my games. And of course, there are plenty of actual deviant whack jobs out there who go even further than I do. Like anything, it’s all about your level of comfort, and what you and your group enjoy. But, if nothing else, I hope I’ve demonstrated that games with sex in them aren’t necessarily doomed to fail.

 

 

NES OSR Bestiary 4: Faxanadu

And here you thought I’d only ever played the NES’s greatest hits collection. Pshaw, I played my fair share of weird ones, and Faxanadu always fascinated me. (Even though I sucked at it). It has some of the creepiest, most inventive sprites of any game on the console. The game had this brooding atmosphere to it that has always stuck with me.

The Pendantrist
Draws strength from correcting you. Anything you say, it will find some technical error to comment on. Half the time its corrections aren’t even accurate. For each correction it makes, the Pendantrist gains 2 hit points, which can raise it above its normal maximum. The green bile that leaks from the creature’s mouth is liquid knowledge. If consumed, make a saving throw. On success, you gain some significant knowledge (perhaps represented by a skill point) If you fail, the slow transformation into becoming Pedantrist yourself will begin.

Creepin’ Goat
They sneak everywhere they go. Generally they’re a benign enough race, preferring not to be seen, but only as a matter of preference, and not as a means of conducting illicit activities. However, they do have a violent reaction to being perceived.  If you see one, it’s best to pretend you didn’t. If they think they’ve gotten away with being sneaky, they’ll continue to sneak off. If they think they’ve been seen, they will attack.

Toothcare Worm
In a time before proper dental hygiene, the Toothcare Worm is here to try and help us. He has an intense love of teeth, particularly human teeth. To him they are works of beauty, simultaneously religious and erotic. He has developed several devices, such as the toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss, and will teach anyone willing to listen about these things.

The Toothcare Worm is a generally amicable fellow, but hates being lied to about teeth. If someone tells him they’ve been brushing and flossing when they haven’t, he will know, and he will take their teeth away from them. Clearly, they are not capable of handling the responsibility.

Turkovik
Just before the alien ship ran out of power, the captain ordered her crew to download as much as they could about the world they were going to be stranded on. One of the most notable things they discovered while reviewing the information tapes was that humans love to eat a native creature that looks a great deal like they do–the Turkey.

Fearing the humans would kill and eat them as well, the captain ordered the whole crew to pluck their own feathers, exposing their pinkish flesh as an attempt to disguise themselves. They avoid humans whenever possible, as they are terrified of us, and will attack and kill out of that fear, rather than be taken to be roasted alive as they believe humans will do.

Parti Boi
While others merely enjoy parties, a PartiBoi is a party. They’re big tubby guys with huge mouths, who dance and clap around, and take a party with them wherever they go. A PartiBoi’s epistemology is entirely contextual. They know no language but the languages that the person they are speaking to knows. They don’t know anything about the calendar, except what reasons might exist for their celebration right now, at this moment. They have no craft or hobby, save for the ones that will promote good conversation with whomever they are with. Though their intentions are entirely innocent, there is a real danger that a PartiBoi will trap a person in a cycle of perpetual celebration that will leave them exhausted, destitute, or dead.

Bone Lips
Bone lips knows things. She’s a catalogue of the grizzly secrets that no sane person wants to know, but which adventurers sometimes need to know in order to get their job done. She’ll happily share, but only if you’ll let her have her way with your brain first. She likes to slide her tongue into a person’s ear, and probe every wrinkle  for some dark pocket of secrecy. She’ll share what she knows whether she finds something juicy or not.

The Capricious Batallion
You know those people who get weirdly uptight about the importance of “accuracy” and “realism,” in situations where those concepts have no bearing? Well, there’s a god like that. One day this god got really pissed off about the way children played at war. So he twisted their bodies with unnatural muscle, turned their sticks into swords, and their sweaters into chainmail. He filled their minds with hate and bloodlust, and organized them into a regimented body of troops.

Like anyone with a misplaced passion for realism, however, the god was strangely selective in his critique. He didn’t really develop the children’s minds at all. They’re still as unfocused and capricious as any children are, but with enough muscle and skill at violence to be  a real threat. He also gave them no goal, and so they wander around, killing and maiming whatever seems fun to kill and maim. Many have tried to assert some kind of control over the army, but any success is short lived, as the used-to-be-children quickly get bored and want to kill something else.

Kevin
He used to be a decent enough guy: quiet, never late for work, always polite to people. Then he turned 32 and it was like a switch got flipped in his brain.  He put on a robe, started insisting that he was a powerful sorcerer, contsnatly makes allusions to his ‘dark plans.’ It was offputting, but he still did his job, so people mostly just tried to ignore him.

What nobody realizes is that Kevin actually is spending his evenings attempting to summon a devil. Soon he will succeed, and manage to trade his soul for some of the dark powers he lusts for.

Outraged Obbo
Obbos have a rigid, traditionalist sense of morality. They are easily shocked by anything that might be considered inappropriate. They are also frail creatures, prone to heart problems. So even something as simple as seeing a woman wearing pants, or two men kissing one another, might be enough to kill an Obbo. Obviously, the Obbos themselves are not really much of a danger, as they can be easily killed with a string of mild cuss-words. However, killing an Obbo also causes it to stop excreting Liquid Euphoria while it sleeps. When the people who are used to enjoying that delightful tincture discover that their supply has been cut off, they may become predisposed to violence.

Miscreated Creatures: Arraku Arraku Arraku

One last peek into Miscreated Creatures. I hope you all have been enjoying these posts. As of now my life should be a little more under control, and I should finally be able to dedicate a more reasonable amount of my time to writing work. These last few months have really torn through my post buffer, and I haven’t been able to do much to replenish it.

Arraku Arraku Arraku

(Intelligent)(Unique)

AC 0, 8 HD + 32HP, Move 120’(40’), 1 Atk for 1d6, Morale 12
Head AC: 13

It is unclear if the body of Arraku Arraku Arraku is infinite, or merely surrounded with a complex series of undetectable portals. If one were to find her body and walk beside its length away from her head, they would find themselves back where they started before they found her tail. Yet they would detect no sudden change in the environment suggesting magical teleportation. And no one has ever stumbled upon her tail to begin with, ever.

Arraku Arraku Arraku (This is her name. To shorten it would not be her name. To call her by a name which is not hers would be a grave insult), is a snake-like creature with a flat, 5’ wide body. She secretes a sticky, viscous fluid which pools on her back to a 1” depth. She slides slowly through subterranean passages, her long body trailing behind her, never stopping even to sleep. She has an uncanny knack not to be noticed by anyone who isn’t actively searching the floor for danger. And anyone who carelessly walks over her back will be stuck.

Upon feeling the familiar tugs of struggle on her back, Arraku Arraku Arraku will fold back over herself, flipping her head onto her own back, and sliding along her length upside-down with her mouth open, ready to swallow whomever has succumbed to her trap.

  • If the lead character is not testing the floor when Arraku^3 is encountered, they will step on her back and become stuck. Arraku Arraku Arraku detects this, and her head will arrive in 1d10 rounds.
  • Hitting her body is as easy as hitting a rug on the floor, it’s an automatic success. However, any weapons used to attack her will become stuck after dealing damage, and can’t be used again.
  • When her head arrives, she will begin to twist her body back and forth, slamming any stuck characters into the walls and floor for 1d6 damage each round, + Save v. Paralyzation to avoid losing hold of any held weapons or items. If there are other characters in melee range, Arraku^3 may attempt to hit them with their companion using an attack roll. On success, 1d6 damage is dealt to both characters.
  • Once a stuck character is properly subdued and weaponless, Arraku^3 will slide forward and distend her jaw to swallow her victim whole.
  • If she is so inclined for whatever reason, her breath neutralizes the sticky substance on her back, so she can free any stuck characters by breathing on their feet, which is accompanied by an overpowering peppermint scent.

Whomever delivers the killing blow to Arraku Arraku Arraku is granted immunity to the next sticky trap they encounter, be it a web, or some other goo. The character can walk through it as though it isn’t even there.

Upon her death, the sticky goo will become inert and watery. It will overflow onto the floors as her body becomes a brown and withered husk. So brittle it will break under any pressure. But even in death, you’ll never find her tail.

Miscreated Creatures: Buzzbeard

Another entry from Miscreated Creatures:

Buzzbeard

Armor 15, Move 120’ (40’), 4hd , 2 Antennae 2d4, Morale 9

Some gods really aren’t supposed to be creating anything. It’s beyond their purview. But, like us, sometimes the gods break the rules. The Buzzbeard should not exist. The god that created them should never have made any creature, but he defied that dictate of the universe, and, predictably, an abomination resulted. The god was destroyed in the act, and forgotten by all who worshiped him. Only the Buzzbeards remember his name, and only as a foolish, arrogant sinner.

There are 18 Buzzbeards in total, and everything about them is grotesque. As though they were made to intentionally flout any sense of aesthetics. Their rudimentary language is composed entirely of croaking, and the buzzing of their insect-wing beards. They smell of mildew.

  • With its eyes glowing a dull red color, the Buzzbeard can mark everyone in a 60’ arc each round. No save is allowed unless a character is already behind partial cover, in which case they may attempt a save versus Breath to avoid being marked. Marked characters glow the same shade of dull red as the Buzzbeard’s eyes, including their clothing and any equipment they have. This glow illuminates up to a 60’ radius, and requires that an additional encounter die must be rolled every exploration turn per marked character. The mark will disappear if the character is touched by natural sunlight.
  • Buzzbeards always know where everyone they’ve marked is. They will ambush marked characters at the most inopportune times they can.
  • The Buzzbeard has four antennae-like appendages on their heads, which function like spears. These appendages attack in pairs, and a pair deals 2d4 damage. On a successful hit, if the antennae deal 4 or more damage, they become lodged in the target and cannot be removed without dealing an additional 1d8 damage.
  • The Buzzbeard’s main goal is to spread disease via its bite. But the shape of its face makes biting difficult. Once the creature is attached to their prey via their lodged antennae-spears, they can make a bite attack at +2. The bite deals no damage, but requires a save versus Poison. Once they’ve successfully bitten, they will dislodge themselves and retreat until they can attempt to surprise their prey once again. Characters who fail their save gain a disease called Yellow Flux.
  • Yellow Flux causes a banana-yellow pus to ooze from the bite wound. Every day after the bite the character should randomly determine one ability score, and permanently lose 1 point from that score, and must save versus Poison a second time. After the first failed save, the flow will increase and the ability score loss will increase to 3 a day. After the second failed save, the pus will begin to spray from the wound like a firehose, with enough force to knock someone off their feet. This process is excruciatingly painful as all of the fluids are drained from the dying character’s body. After a minute or so the spray will stop, leaving only a dry, withered husk behind. Cure Disease is sufficient to end the process. It is also worthy of note that the pus itself is absolutely delicious. It can be enjoyed plain, mixed with salt or liquor, and it’s also a superb marinade for both chicken and pork. (This is why the disease is sometimes referred to as “sweet flux”)

Buzzbeards are intelligent, but their intelligence is broken. They were created knowing everything that they can know. While their range of knowledge is impressive, they can never learn anything new. They might be able to understand a sentence, and they could respond to it, but they would be unable to repeat it.

One of the most important things they know that a Buzzbeard should always be the supreme being in its own environment. This is why two Buzzbeards will always retreat from one another, in acknowledgement that neither’s supremacy should be challenged by the other. There is a fairly exhaustive list in their minds of which creatures are greater than them, and which creatures are lesser. Humans, Dwarfs, and Halflings are most certainly superior to Buzzbeards, which is why the presence of humans is so enraging. The presence of a human forces the Buzzbeard to be an inferior creature. Elves, notably, are considered an inferior creature and may pass through a Buzzbeard’s presence peacefully.

If two Buzzbeards are forced into the same environment, they will tear each other to pieces. If a Buzzbeard can somehow be tricked into looking directly at the sun, a fire ignites within its brain, and it immolates from the inside out.

Whomever delivers a killing blow to a Buzzbeard will briefly know the location of every other Buzzbeard in existence. There are only 18 total, and they all live and hunt within a 15’ mile radius. Likewise, each of the remaining Buzzbeards will know the face of the creature that slew one of their number.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Thoughts and theories on tabletop games.