Using My Monsters

Friday, 29 November 2013

Hooked Daemon - Level 27 Soldier

The Hooked Daemon is based on the monster of the (nearly) same name in 13th Age, and is something I threw together to show some of the new save mechanics in action. Enjoy!

(Don't forget, the stat mods shown do not include the +13 mod the monster gets for half its level)

13th Age Saving Throws in 4e?

Firstly check out the rules HERE (on page 12). How do you think would work in 4e? Personally, I love it, as it means that nastier abilities (or ones that only trigger under certain circumstances) can be harder to shift, without the players having to keep track of numerous save modifiers (beyond those of their own attacks and items).

In my games we have stopped using XP, instead going for a more story based system (i.e. the characters go up a level when it seems right). This has lead to me giving out more action points as rewards for battles well fought, and for particularly good examples of players sticking to their characters - even if it isn't the best idea for them...or occasionally, their group. With this in mind, Dave (of Veteran and Jaeger fame), suggested allowing players to spend an action point to reduce a save to the next lowest category....

I like this a lot, as it add another use to the growing array of action point abilities (if you wonder what I am talking about, check out "Combat Options" in Dragon 425), and it forces the players to make some tough decisions.

Anyway, I intend to start making use of the 13th Age style saves, and will let you know how it all goes!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Shnecke's Wolves - Session Report (12/11/2013)

Following the Elemental Bergs, the group entered the Hydran Straits. There they encountered The Curse - a pirate ship crewed by Theo'Gorgai (Hoboblins), Nargor (Trulls or Trolls) and few Gorashym (Bugbears). The ships captain was a medusa. The two vessels exchanged fire for a while, before closing on each other. Then, a brutal battle, in which the crew of the Sea C*nt were totally victorious (though the Medusa had a nasty surprise for them, her blood animating as she was slain, and carrying on the fight as a vicious, petrifiying slime). A search of the ship cost two crewmen their lives, as they encountered an ancient Gorgothian warrior monster (A Witchlight Marauder) in the hold, and the group had to deal with the unexpected and out of place abomination. A search of the ship revealed no treasure (other than the ship itself), and the group realised that the pirates must have a base on one of the nearby islands. After some time and effort, they located the likely island, and prepared to seek the pirates lair....and their treasures...

27/8/1472: Group decide to land on the pirate Island, on opposite side from suspected pirate base. Will go at night, in order to hopefully maximise element of surprise. Before they leave they meet with Caleph and the chosen men, both to organise who will crew The Curse, and to discuss their planned mission to locate and loot the pirate base. Caleph suggests a deception, so that those who cannot be trusted completely do not realise that the group are no longer on board the ship (Jaeger sees to this deception).

01:00 - 03:30: The group land on the western side of the island, and make their way across its barren surface, beneath the baleful light of Aelnaeryss. The assassin looks for and spots a high point that would be useful as the location either for a lookout post, or the base itself, and the group split; Jaeger going by himself, the rest approaching from the opposite direction.

Able to see perfectly in the dark, and able to move both by teleporting, and stealthily at full speed, the assassin arrives ahead of his colleagues, and spots a lone theo'gorgai manning a simple watch point. A bundle of dry driftwood serves as a warning beacon. As the assassin plots what to do next, the barbarian's voice is carried towards the hide on the night winds, clear over the sounds of the distant surf, and at once the massive hairy humanoid is up, seeking out the source.

Distracting the beast with a thrown pebble, the assassin moves swiftly in, and thrusts his shadowy blade into its skull, ending its life. By the time the rest of the group arrive, he is sitting on the dead gorgai, cleaning his nails.

From the point, the group identify a well worn path that clambers down a cliff face overlooking a wide sea channel. It seems to lead to a bridge of raised land that forms a closed end to the channel.

04:15: The group follow the path, picking their way down towards the bridge. As they get lower, they spot what looks like docks nestled against the cliffs below, and soon, they spot a bulge in the stony landscape that looks out of place.

The assassin goes ahead, darkness cloaking him, and moves towards the bulge. However, his blood freezes as he spots something truly massive - a 30' high humanoid, with skin like a rhinoceros, obscene amounts of muscle, and a single glaring eye in its head - squatting next to what seems to be some kind of ancient stone entrance. Mind racing, he is horrified to hear the sound of clanking armour behind him - the rest of the group.

Also hearing their approach, the Orgon'Gigorim (Cyclops), raises to its full height - a living mountain - and emits a deafening challenge, swinging a gargantuan spiked club into a ready position, as if it were nothing. The rest of the group almost freeze, horrified, as the massive beast stamps its feet, sending shockwaves through the air, and prepares to attack.

Battle is soon joined, as three theo'gorgai pirates race from the entrance to join their terrifying ally. The crumbling bones of some ancient winged reptile are the only cover available to the group.

Ormid et Al - Session Report (21/11/2013)

Once, the mountain citadel occupied by Skrung and his kin, was home to a peaceful clan of Morgog'Gigorim (Stone Giants), who lived under the rule of Malogg Sturvodd. The Vulgorim took it nearly 40 years ago, during the final days of the Age of Loss, their greater numbers and desperation giving them the upper hand they needed to storm the keep and steal it for themselves. It is not known what happened to Malogg - but it is known that the skulls of many Morgogorim can be found in the valleys around the keep. With the arrival of the Vulgorim, the land changed. The villages and mines that once peppered the area are gone now - lost to Vulgorim raids, and the forests that once cloaked the lower peaks of the mount have vanished; burned and hacked by the monsters for fuel and building materials.

5/7/51 - 9/7/51: The group head into the fastness of the Northern Streaked Mountains, each expecting to face endless swarms of Gorgoth, Gorgryn and similar horrors. However, despite finding many signs of their presence, the greenskins do not attack - and the group realise that their epic bearing, so unnatural and potent, has cowed the ferocious beasts. As such, they have a relatively uneventful journey...until.

09:40: The group enter one of the last wooded valleys around Skrungs Peak, and are attacked by a band of Vulgol'Gigorim and their starved Owlbear companions. It is a brief battle, that sees the group taking a few good knocks, but they manage to slay all but a few of the monsters (who flee). The teeth and beaks of the Owlbears are collected for sale later, and the group, after a brief rest, continue...

That night they camp at the foot of the mountain, close to the huge flight of massive carved steps (each one 5' high) that lead all the way to the great gatehouse that guards the way into Skrung's Keep. Although they hear disembodied voices booming down from the peaks above, as well as piercing animalistic shrieks, they enjoy a good night's rest.

10/7/51: The next morning, they opt to climb the stairs (aware that this may mean more encounters with Vulgorim, but preferring that idea to trying to climb the mountain up one of its other sides. However, they meet no one, and that night, they rest in a small hollow carved in the cliffs against which the stairs butt.

11/7/51: As the group get higher, so the air thins and grows colder. Each step brings them closer to the huge gatehouse; a looming thing of stone, that bears crenelated battlements, as well as a heavy portcullis. None look forwards to fighting whoever guards it.

12:00: As the group enter the last stretch of the path, their legs trembling and weary from their efforts, so they encounter the guards posted to watch the gate - several more Vulgorim, as well as a great warrior giant, and, at the gates themselves, two of Skrung's personal guard; massive Vulgorim clad in dire bear furs, and bearing huge shields of hardened wood. Each wields a stone club, and both show unusual canniness as they allow their kin to wade into combat, to wear down and weaken the group before they attack...

Using the stairs for cover, the group allow the fight to come to them - the guards on the battlements being dispatched by a well placed blast of acid from Dracusviir - and up to the point of writing, things are going well from them; most of the base Vulgorim painting the stairs with rivers of their blood, or the air with their shrieks as they plummeted to their deaths from the stairs unbound side. The warrior has just managed to smash the artificer brutally, sending him tumbling back down the stairs, and as yet, Skrung's Guard have done nothing but edge slowly forwards, shields before them, carefully waiting for the right time to strike. 

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Wood Giant (Voadkin / Aelwyr'Gigorim) - Level 8 Artillery

The Voadkin or Wood Giant was one of those odd creatures that rarely if ever got any use as far as I can tell. Stealthy, smaller giants, they were allied with the elves and shared many of their traits. Whilst flicking through the 2E AD&D Monstrous Manual, I came across the little blighters, and decided to convert them. You will also note some of the 13th Age type flourishes that I am now using have crept into this conversion - although you can ignore the escalation dice one if you want (or give that power an alternate recharge state). 

And remember, the stat modifiers listed at the bottom do not include the +4 bonus this fellow will get for half his level!

If you wanted, you could add another way of ending the ongoing damage; namely that someone takes a standard action to make a D.C. 20 Heal check on the individual bleeding out. I've started doing this quite a lot lately, and it works really well!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Ormid et al - Session Report (5/11/2013)

18/6/51: Whilst accompanying Llewellyn to retrieve some papers from a well in Currusp, the group are attacked by a supernatural assassin known as a Gloom. It all but slays Llewellyn with a single strike, and similarly dismantles Ormid after he tries to heal the rogue. It is clearly intending to finish off the vyrleen when the Veteran stands over him, and manages to land a blow against the fiend. This wounding sends it away - although all realise that it will be back!

To keep Llewellyn safe, he is temporarily put under guard. Vladislav - who is visiting - helps with this, as do mages of a cabal of noctramancers allied with the Order. Llewelyn is confined to a circle, cast to protect against minions of the shadow planes - the dimension it is felt his assassin comes from.

19/6/51 - 20/6/51: Whilst Ormid makes use of Currusp's libraries to research their assailant, the rogue (from his self imposed prison) tries to use his guild to find out who could have sent it. The artificer learns that the monster is an incredibly potent being, that only the most epic of rituals, beings or items could summon to this plane - let alone allow it to be commanded. Llewellyn is only able to surmise that one of the three most potent thieves guilds his own have pissed off recently might have been behind the summoning.

During his research, Ormid is able to ascertain (through disparate fragments of lore written across a number of tomes), that a "device" that contains a trapped Gloom does exist. It was a painting known only as "The Shadow Man", which was first reported in the early 2nd Age. Little information exists about where it could be, or even, if it really exists. In order to try and verify both his theory, and to locate the item if it exists, Ormid seeks a copy of the View Object ritual - which he obtains for a price from the sisterhood of Merriel'Shaava.

21/6/51 - 23/6/51: The ritual is cast (Ormid is assisted by the Helldazzler, and a number of his allied mages), and the artificer asks to see "The device used to summon the Gloom that attacked us". Finds himself in a five-sided chamber of what he recognises as Northstone Granite, almost being smothered by the thick strands of shadow magic there. Briefly sees an ebony picture frame, before a toxic intellect forcefully ejects him. Ormid passes out and fits. Two of the mages die. The artificer deduces from the stone, that the most likely locale is quite local. This would suggest that the guild most likely to have sent the monster is the "Hands of Silence" - based in nearby Tull'Norak.

Much discussion about how to proceed. Llewellyn has unrealistic ideas about mobilising his guild to march in force on the Hands. His advisors, as well as the Veteran and Ormid point out the many flaws with this plan. They discuss seeking out an ally - a guild or order that also has something to gain from the fall of the Hands of Silence - and with a groan, they realise that the main candidates are the infamous "Tanners and Knife Sharpeners Guild" (TKSG) of the holy city of Alaz'Cellinthar; one of the guilds that the Procurer's so recently annoyed and threatened.

24/6/51 - 26/6/51: Llewellyn does some digging, in order to find out if there is anyone in his guild that is expendable. He comes to hear of a young human named Sored Viid; cocksure and arrogant, and a little too quick to voice his negative opinion of the vyrleen. Late on the 26th Sored is told that he will be sent to Alaz'Cellinthar with a letter from Llewellyn, calling for the TKSG to put aside their hared, and to meet to discuss a cooperative move against a common foe.

Sored weeps and begs not to be sent. He is told he has no choice - a likely (but not definite) death on this mission, or a certain death at the hands of Llewellyn and his potent allies.

Sored is teleported to a circle within the holy city....everyone waits.

31/6/51: Research on the fragments found around the "infinite hole" discovered by the group in the Eastern Guild reveals that they are parts of a Chronoportal, recently (within the last 12 moons) destroyed. Although opinions are a little split, it is felt that the "hole" is actually a tear in time itself. This raises concerns amongst the group, who wonder what Ebon Eye would want with a time portal - and what harm he could do.

The Veteran also learns that the multi-destination portal they discovered in the ancient lab could be used to forge a planar energy infused rebuild of Ferrous. He decides that a Defender infused with the chaotic power of Pandaemonium would be most useful to the group, and artificers under Ormid's command begin to draw up plans for the Mk III version of Ferrous.

3/7/51: To the group's utter amazement, they receive a curt but amicable reply from the Khorven Dulsiir, leader of the TKSG. A meeting is arranged for noon, on the 13/7/51, in the main taproom of the "Jaded Monk" inn in Laeran. Llewellyn is advised that he may only bring one guard. The homunculus that brought the message is returned with the groups message - "It shall be so".

4/7/51: With ten days to burn, the group decide to deal with Skrung, the Vulgol'Gigorim Lord who calls himself the "King of the East Mountains", and to end his threats to the Veteran's keep once and for all!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Zengott The Everflayed - Lesser Daemon Lord

I had a dream last night of a dark place wrought from frozen pain, carved into blades and spikes by winds born from anguished screams. At the heart of it, bound to a throne of hooks, twitched and shrieked a terrible being who's rage and hatred blossomed like a black fire through the walls of that reality, and into the world of men. Zengott The Everflayed*. Broken beyond reason, he appeared as a faceless human, devoid of flesh, gutted and broken. Entrails hung from his ravaged and opened abdomen, writhing and twitching as if seeking something to tear into, each pipe and coil equipped with barbed blades of bone and seeking hooks of gristle. Where his face would be, was a soft, lipless orifice, from which came a constant, terrible howling - pain, hopelessness and rage, given voice and sung into the nightmare world born from its refrain. A horrific light, unlike any earthly illumination, pulsed and writhed over the thing, its touch triggering agonies in the fiend, his screams in turn giving the strange glow more weight, and I knew that if I stayed too long, this blasphemous light would erode my sanity and send me into the arms of Xix forever.

Although he knew I was there, he gave no sign, continuing to writhe against the almost sentient implements that pierced and restrained his twitching, bucking form, holding it in place. However, I could feel his mind - a perverted thing of utter madness and loathing - hungrily searching for something undamaged to take apart and toy with; groping through the stench and misery of his realm, and with great fear in my heart, fought to leave.

I managed to escape, leaving Zengott to his eternal torments. However, having caught a glimpse of this abomination, and knowing that it was more than a mere dream**, I began to search through the archives for any mention of him or his cults. I spent several months in my studies (until the Order grew wary, and banned me from the accessing the great tomes that detail the Lords of the Abyss), and despite my intense research found mention only of two cults that could be related to this horrific fiend.

One was based in Lower Malgoroth towards the end of the Second Age, and was initially thought to be a cult dedicated for Adathraine, the Great Beast, for its members engaged in many of the same activities - cannibalism, ritual scarification and blood rites. However, they showed a particular fondness for flaying both their victims and each other. Even more tellingly, their High Priests ritually removed their eyes, and carved their faces open to create a single mouth. This somehow did not kill them, and many developed supernatural senses to replace those mundane one lost in the procedure. This cult was destroyed by an order of Solumite Knights, their own records speaking of preventing a ritual which would have seen the "Flayed King" born "through the entrails and agony of a pure victim".

The second mention was more apparent, and referred to a pre-sundering group who had been kidnapping, skinning and violating "innocents" from the streets of Talosvern. They daubed the symbol of a toothless, screaming mouth in blood all over the place, and were quickly stopped due to their blatant acts. Their leader - one Thadeus Raadim, a former merchant - is reported to have screamed spells of agony at those sent to capture him in a language of "screams, choked howls and raw, full throated shrieks", his spells stripping flesh from his enemies, rupturing eyeballs and in one poor individual's case, causing his entrails to prolapse explosively from his anus.

As stated above, the Order have grown suspicious of my readings (and in light of the recent catastrophe and the loss of so many of our leaders, I am not surprised). However, I intend to seek further information from tomes outside of their control, and am currently arranging passage to the heart of daemon worship - the ancient, decaying "daemonocracy" of Draxia - specifically, the City of Stained Stones, Pentas Daemonica. Wish me luck, for I believe that I shall need it.

May Merriel'Shaava bless you. May Leorn'Aerbrin give you good fortune, and may Rithuen'Ardaana clear your path.

Your friend, Allessar Kreede.


* I really did dream this....No cheese was eaten before I went to bed.
** I am speaking from a fantasy point of view was only a dream!