Monday, March 16, 2015

Redoing the numenera bestiary: okay . . . the E's

This was rough.

Earthshaker. A fine monster. HD 20 at d20+4 hps per (15 being average), 1 attack +12 (+16 when charging) deals 3d12 damage against up to four adjacent creatures. AC 18. Yes it can charge 200 feet in a round if it spends a previous round dashing, and then also make its charge attack, which allows it to move through a creatures space or, if the target would prefer, an opposed Strength check failure is full damage and knocked about. He’s large enough to step on a person as an additional attack for 2d6 damage, which if he maintains the pin deals automatic damage each round. An earthshaker with some baleful aura would be a perfect foe.

Edacious destroyer. So this picture is no good. Instead, this is probably a black giant with a really fat worm growing out of one of its eyes. You’d meet the giant and it would either have an eyepatch or a crusted hole or like just a wiggling tip poking out and then it would disgorge a fat white maggot. Maybe there is scabbed hole that the worm breaks through every time it comes out. The giants accept the worms willingly from their Worm Pool. I imagine the worms hunting with the giants and bringing the digestion back to the worm pits to feed their young. The largest worms are ridden upon. They are regarded as an alternate intelligence, like the machinations of weather or divinity, and the worms are consulted on decisions of state. 

Ellnoica. Fuck this monster. Invisible, again. The description (“it tries to suck the flesh off the bones of a fresh kill” . . . “a glowing terror the color of uncooked meat”) is totally different from the picture, which is: a bright pink walking hand with spikes on either end. This is another monster where I could probably use the picture as-is but scrap everything about the description. Instead of a “crushing blow” or acid that liquefies you, it just grabs you and squeezes, and the other end puts holes in you. The shimmering psychedelic speed-lines are to indicate the creepy speed with which it hobbles across the room, like the crocodile-head girl in Tokyo Gore Police. It makes a constant hissing humming static psychic noise, being as it’s a debased mutant mindflayer and all. Phew, I can’t believe I made it through this monster, I thought I’d have to give up on this project completely.

Ember scion. Oh, so it’s just a fire elemental. They live in volcanos and are on fire and they shoot fire and things around them catch fire. Fire elementals are already so boring that I don’t use them in my game. “Reasoning with them never seems to work.” This is the worst page so far. The best sentence is the one that makes the least sense: “It is said that the understanding of the past shaped flesh that could thrive anywhere, and therein lies the most likely genesis of these creatures.” So these things go into cities spreading the Understanding of the Past Shaped Flesh, which is a tenet of Imix, and is incredibly fascinating and complicated and heretical, but as soon as anyone understands it they spontaneously combust and turn into malicious lava with screaming faces, and the ember scions herd these lavas into their volcanoes and smugly bathe in them. The picture is no good and I can’t draw so I have no idea what these look like: so use your favorite demon generator and call it a day. They’re probably more Boschean than Warhammer.

Encephalon. Haha this monster is great. Everything about it is totally fucked: a lamprey-mouthed slimey big-headed guy shoots out flocks of flying slugs that drill into your brain, steal your brains, and fly back into the tree-man’s chomping mouth to feed it brains. It walks on a mass of tentacles. The slugs have butterfly wings. I love it. 

Engineered Viral Host.  “It has bioengineered its own, more efficient hosts.” This seems like a basically good idea. I don’t like any of these pictures: a green jelly guy perched on a rock; a faceless green wizard making a twisty-fingered wrathful non-expression; a predictable four-legged green spider. Why green? The opening paragraph makes me wonder about the psychology of an intelligent virus though. It must be incredibly futile - one humongous, disconnected, impotent body. No wonder they would try to create artificial bodies to live in. It’s decided to build its own cities instead of invading others forever and ever. Probably the hosts are aware of their virulence and try to protect themselves from harm as much as any person would, since infecting another lifeform is tedious and difficult, like a siege. I’d preserve the way they spray horrible diseases when damaged, but they probably go, “Oh noooo!” when it happens and helplessly cover their wounds with their fingers. They probably just look like sick men, skin green with jaundice. Another person at court, and an assassination target for the forces of Nurgle. 

Entrope. They are “never found in warm environments” and are “entities of exotic biomineral.”  I wish I could just say “Fine, next” but I would never use this in my game this way and I shall not cheat you. Here’s the thing: everything this monster does, an ice ooze does better. Biomineral? Never found in warm environments? Splits in two? Sucks the heat from the air? Well the ice ooze sucks in heat and then spits it out too.

Okay, how about this: that picture of the tentacle worm is the size of a finger. If you sever a finger and put an entrope there in its place you can use it to make an attack dealing 1d10 cold damage and on a failed Charisma save its entropy becomes activated and both you and the target lose your next turn while the entrope coils and uncoils its tentacles and makes a loud laughter through its cold lips.

Ergovore Hound. Perfect, another dog to put on the dog list for the players to buy. It eats force effects (magic missiles, force fields, force cubes, etc) by taking big chomps out of them, and in combat it can either maul a guy or whip out its six-tongued spiketongue and make six attacks. The picture is good. “The only dogs in the kennel are a sick bulldog and . . . THIS”

Eurlian. WTF? They show us a picture of a floating brain connected to a spine and don’t specifically say, “This is what happens when a brain gets sick of being in a body, because it’s too smart and powerful for the meat it’s embedded in?” Like, a wizard learns too many spells at once and its central nervous system gains a superior consciousness and rips out of its body. Makes sense to me. I’ll skip the first entry, for the Erulian, because it’s empty (The monster can be incorporeal but chooses not to . . . it can float through objects but chooses not to . . . “Erulians are normally passive” . . . “Erulians can exist in any environment”), and just say the Erulian can take six actions each turn because it’s so fucking smart. Possible options include: any number of wizard spells; cause disadvantage on one kind of ability save; slow a monster for a turn; make one deaf and blind; undo the turn; cause a spell to come into effect the next turn instead of this one; all kinds of bullshit like that.  

Etterick. “They control the machine through means that look much like scuttling around and doing typical insect activities.” Basically, this is an alien ant farm. Ho ho ho. I can’t get over its dopey smile. I can handle the idea of a metal golem with a dopey smile that just spams magnetic repulsion round after round, and then when it takes a certain amount of damage it cracks and a swarm of clicking magnetic flying metal bugs pours out and forms, like, a sword that attacks you, or a screaming skull. I suppose I would do that in my game.

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