Saturday, January 1, 2011

Monster A Day for the New Year (or at least a month!)

I always learn a great deal about a game by building monsters for it; they tend to have wacky, oddball powers and abilities that inherently break the game. How does dragon breath work compared to other attacks? What about poison? Petrification? The semi-transparency of spirits? The fluid form of animated jellies?

It’s a pickle; or rather, it's a jar of pickles.

I’m going to spend the month of January creating a monster a day (in addition to other blog posts I do; some days you’ll get double the goodness!). Most of these will end up in the core book at some point, although I can’t say for sure where and how they’ll make it in; also, a caveat: these are drafts and not finished versions of anything.

One of the goals is to make the experience of fighting monsters different. It should feel different to battle different foes; you use different abilities and face different challenges depending upon the abilities of the foes you face.

Monster #1: Myrmidon Ant

Idea: I like bugs as a staple of fantasy gaming. I usually default to spiders (the image of the spiders climbing out of the sand and attacking the heroes in the first Desert of Desolation module is one of my all-time favorite gaming scenes). I'll mix it up a little by going with ants instead.

Concept: stout, giant ants (3’ long), these burrowing pests attack en masse, growing more powerful as the battle continues. They attack without reason, seeking to kill and take food wherever and whenever they can. Having a virtually bottomless hunger, myrmidon ants have wiped out entire communities.

Myrmidon Ant Soldier (30 CPs)
Battle Acumen +3; Burrowing +2; Intuition +2; Invulnerability +4; Fighting +4; Might +3 (mandible strike); Stamina +4

Ability Notes:
• Battle Acumen stacks with your fighting. Each round after the first, you take a +1 shift to your fighting, up to your battle acumen rating. With battle acumen +3 and fighting +4, myrmidon ants have fighting +4 in round 1 of every new combat; this moves to fighting +5 in round 2; to fighting +6 in round 3; and to fighting +7 in round 4 (and beyond). With battle acumen +10 and fighting +20, by round 11 of a combat, you’d have fighting +20… that’s pretty awesome (but then again, you did invest 60 points to get it).
• Burrowing is an ability that sets your travel rate (in units per turn) through earth and soil; as an application, you can purchase this linked to speed, allowing you to move your speed rating through soil, not taking the +3 bonus that all creatures normally get while moving. Swimming will be a similar ability, although swimming as an application defaults to 1 unit per turn, + your speed rating as applicable.