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)

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