Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Featured Creature: Camel

Back on track with the alphabetical animal listings from the Rules Cyclopedia.

There are two extant species of camel in most worlds: one-humped (dromedaries) and two-humped (bactrian), both of which are exceptionally well-adapted to life in arid climes.  Like horses, they have a long association with longpaws as service animals, companions, and even war mounts.  But unlike horses, they never seem to have gotten over their foul disposition towards longpaws; they are notorious for their bad tempers and moody behaviors.  Nonetheless, they are sturdy beasts and faithful companions, able to weather environments that end lesser animals quickly.

     AC: 7
     AT (Dam): Bite (1 HP), hoof (1d3 [1d4])
     Beginning HP: 7 [8]
     Habitat: Arid lands (Bactrian), desert (dromedary)
     MV: 10
     SZ: Medium

Species Traits: 
  • Arid Adapted: Camels need less water than other animals, and can function longer in hot, dry climates, as well.  A well-watered camel can travel for two weeks without needing to drink water.  After this, she needs only to make a Trauma save vs. dehydration every 36 hours, instead of the normal 24 hours.
  • Growth Spurt: Camels become Large at 2 Total Levels/Hit Dice
  • Low-Light Vision
  • Scent
  • Spit Attack: Camels are prone to spitting at targets who aggravate them.  While this inflicts no actual damage, it does require an attack roll to successfully spit upon a target.  The subject of a spit attack must make a successful Blast save or be partially blinded until she cleans out her eyes.  This inflicts a -2 penalty on all attack rolls and lore checks until the camel's phlegm is removed from her eyes.
  • +4 bonus on all endurance-based lore checks
  • +2 bonus on lore checks to detect noise and spot hidden attempts.
  • Suitable Niches: Any

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Belated Halloween Post -- Featured Creature (Crocodilian) and An Animal Darklord

So, there's been a delay in my posting schedule, because meatspace reasons.

But not to worry: Halloween season at my house runs right up til Christmas, so I can still legitimately post my promised game stats for crocodile (and alligator) PCs, along with Great & Small stats for Death Bringer, the animal darklord of Ravenloft's Wildlands.

Other than the great cats, crocodilians are perhaps the most feared predators on land, for they will eat anything or anyone they can catch in their powerful jaws.  They specialize in striking suddenly from a well-hidden position; so suddenly, in fact, that potential allies have little time to notice them, let alone establish parley, and so often become victims.  Despite their prowess, though, crocodilians rarely leave their habitat, and thus have limited knowledge of the world beyond their swamps and wetlands.  Like lizards and snakes, they are deliberative and ponderous, but swift and deadly when finally taking action.

There are three main kinds of crocodilians: alligators (which includes caimans), crocodiles, and gharials.  In a reality-lite setting, they will occupy separate continents but have very similar habits, while in a fantasy setting, they can mingle more or less freely.  The listed game stats cover all three types.

     AC: 5
     AT (Dam): Bite 1d7 [1d8], Tail slap 1d5 [1d6]
     Beginning HP: 7 [8]
     Habitat: Semitropical, tropical swamps & wetlands
     MV: 5, swim 6
     SZ: Small

Species Traits:
  • Death Roll
  • Fast Swimmer:  Crocodilians can use the run action while swimming, provided they only move in a straight line.
  • Growth Spurt: Crocodilians become Medium at 2nd Total Level
  • Hold Breath: Crocodilians can hold their breath for 10 minutes + 1 minute per Total Level/Hit Dice.
  • Low-Light Vision
  • Surprise Attack:  If successfully hidden at the beginning of a combat round, crocodilians surprise their foes on a roll of 1-3.
  • +4 bonus on all lore checks that involve swimming.
  • +2 bonus on checks to hide or move silently in the water.  This bonus becomes +5  if the character lies under the water with only her eyes and nostrils above the surface.
  • Suitable Niches: Any
Death Bringer, King Crocodile, Darklord of Ravenloft's Wildlands
This great monster began life as a typical crocodile in a distant land that closely resembled sub-Saharan Africa.  When longpaws first arrived in this land, the other animals lived in fear of their weapons and mastery of fire, finding themselves driven further and further from their original home habitats.  It was then that Death Bringer seized his opportunity.  He visited all the other animals of his land, and made a pact with them: in exchange for a bit of their power, he would slay all the longpaws.  The other animals quickly agreed to this pact, for none of them had been able to defeat the longpaws on their own.

With each ritual infusion of other animals' power, Death Bringer grew larger in size and more versatile in his capabilities.  After the last longpaw was slain, he declared himself King Crocodile, and refused to return any of the other animals' power to them.  Instead, he began to prey upon his fellows, and became a horrible tyrant.  It was then that the Mists claimed him, and created the Wildlands as his domain.

The following stats use the Rules Cyclopedia entry for a giant crocodile as their base, with spandrels added on from each of the other species in the Wildlands, representing the powers Death Bringer claimed from them.

Death Bringer possesses all the standard crocodilian traits, except as noted below.

Death Bringer, 15th-level giant crocodile (Warrior)
     AC: 1
     AT (Dam): Bite 3d7 [3d8], tail slap 3d5 [3d6]
     HP: 98
     SZ: Huge

Spandrels:  In addition to the standard crocodilian traits, Death Bringer possess the following traits claimed from other species of animals through dark pacts born of fear and vengeance.
  • Brachiation (claimed from the apes)
  • Prehensile Tail (claimed from the monkeys)
  • MV 8 on land (claimed from the elephants)
  • Nine Lives (claimed from the lions) 
  • Scent (claimed from the herdbeasts)
  • Venom Resistance (claimed from the boars)