Monday, December 15, 2014

Mutant Monday

This will be a bit stranger than my normal selection for Mutant Mondays. Today, I want to talk about a certain type of creature not usually seen in RPGs, the Animal Eye Spy/Messenger. These creatures generally appear in various works of fiction, such as the Crebain of Lord of the Rings, Gwythaints from the Chronicles of Prydain, crystal eye bats from The Dark Crystal, various corvid species in general, etc. I'm not really talking about wizard & witch familiars that can be used for spying or carrying messages, or any sort of power that lets a person see through an animal's eyes or control animals, but rather, species of creatures that have the ability to search out their master's foes and carry messages, like the examples listed.

Seeing the lack of such creatures, I thought I'd stat up a few, though they're generally geared more toward traditional fantasy than post apocalyptic settings.

Crimson Crow


No. Enc.: 4d4 (4d4)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement:
          Fly: 270' (90')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 2+4
Attacks: 1 (eye peck or claw)
Damage: 1d2/1d4
Save: L1
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: VI
XP: 59

Crimson Crows are large, crows of a dark red color, typically 3 feet long with wingspans of about 5½ feet. They primarily feed on small animals, specifically rodents, rabbits and hares, small swine, various procyonids, and mustelids. They will also feed on the carcasses of any larger creatures that they encounter, though they rarely attack anything more than 1½ their size.

These disreputable creatures are known to serve powerful Chaotic aligned creatures as spies and informants, trading their services for meat and shiny gee-gaws which they hoard in their nests. While they have excellent vision, equal to an eagle's eyesight, they also have decent nightvision and ultraviolet vision. They are also able to communicate intelligently, with a vocabulary of several hundred words.

Mutations: Increased Vision, Bizarre Appearance


Night Raven


No. Enc.: 1d6 (2d4)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement:
          Fly: 180' (60')
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 3+3
Attacks: 2 (2 claws or bite)
Damage: 1d6/1d6/2d4
Save: L2
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: II (x3)
XP: 205

These huge, sleek predators appear as dark blue-black crows about 6' long with wingspans of 10-12 feet. Night Ravens are evil and known to serve as scouts and spies for any Chaotic being that can meet their price, 30 pieces of silver per job, with very specific contractual requirements, communicated through Neural Telepathy.

As they are nearly man-sized, they are known to prey extensively on humanoids, though only those they outnumber at least three to one, or who appear weakened, diseased, wounded and unarmed and easy prey. Uninterested in corpses and other animals, they prefer only live prey.

While they have excellent Nightvision, they primarily hunt prey with their mental abilities; Empathy and Track Mind (Creatures of the Wasteland) to locate targets, and Neural Telepathy to extract information.

Mutations: Gigantism, Empathy, Track Mind (CotW), Neural Telepathy


Dire Corbie


No. Enc.: 1 (1d4)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement:
          Fly: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 4+2
Attacks: 3 (3 claws)
Damage: 2d4/2d4/2d5
Save: L3
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: XIX
XP: 245

Dire Corbies are immense, 8 foot long, three-legged crow-like creatures with a wingspan of 15-16 feet. While not quite large enough to be used as mounts by average-sized humanoids, they are occasionally known to carry small humanoids or creatures, though they will never act as steeds, instead, carrying the creature in their claws. These rare creatures will be found employed by only the most powerful Chaotic aligned villains, as the price of their service is often very high, typically multiple artifacts (magic items).

Thorough carnivores, they will attack just about any creature that they could possibly consume. Generally they attack by sinking all three claws into a victim in a swoop attack, and if they successfully connect, lifting the target into the air, to drop them from a considerable height.

Dire Corbies gather information with their powerful sight, increased range of vision, nightvision, ultraviolet vision, thermal vision, and 360 degree vision, allowing them to visually observe just about any target within miles of their location.

Mutations: Increased Sight, Thermal Vision, 360-Degree Vision (Creatures of the Wastes)


Spyder


No. Enc.: 1d8 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120' (40')
          Web: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 2+2
Attacks: 1 (bite)
Damage: 1d6, poison
Save: L1
Morale: 7
Hoard Class: VI
XP:

Spyders are a mutated breed of giant hunting spider with a single large eye that can transmit its images to a selected recipient. Generally, dark grey to black in color, these 1' long spiders are hairy and of a fairly placid disposition. Unlike many other types of spiders, Spyders do not spin webs, although they can negotiate webbing, vertical surfaces, and even cling to ceilings.

While primarily passive observers, Spyders can attack humanoids, usually by leaping at their target to bite. They can leap up to 40', allowing them to cross large gaps, attack prey, or flee. Their venom contains a Class 12 poison.

When not being actively used to spy for their masters, they lair in large, dark caves and ruins, avoiding light, though they are not nocturnal or even light-blind.

Mutations: Gigantism, Increased Vision, Reverse Clairvoyance (NEW)


Eye Bat


No. Enc.: 1d6 (3d6)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement:
          Fly: 240' (80')
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: 2 (2 claws)
Damage: 1d2/1d2
Save: L1
Morale: 7
Hoard Class: None
XP: 47

Eye Bats are large grey-brown, bat-like creatures with a wingspan of 4-6 feet, and a large, single eye in place of a head. Employed by intelligent Chaotic beings of all stripes, they are used as ocular scouts to find targets for their masters. Generally unintelligent, they must be telepathically guided to their target(s). Oddly, since they have no known mouthparts, it is unknown what they consume, or even if they eat at all.

Their masters rarely use Eye Bats for combat, attacking only as a last resort (although a few villains are known to habitually sacrifice Eye Bats as one-shot kamikaze weapons against their foes).

It is not known how Eye Bats are produced (or reproduce, if they do so), however, with their acute vision and mental capabilities, they do make excellent spies.

Mutations: Bizarre Appearance, Reverse Clairvoyance (NEW), Mental Slave Bond (NEW)


Wyrmpire


No. Enc.: 2d4 (2d4)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 60' (20')
          Fly: 180' (60')
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: 3 (2 claws, bite)
Damage: 1d4/1d4/1d6
Save: L1
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: None
XP: 95

Wyrmpires are flying bird-lizard creatures with grey skin and black wings. Though small (about 2 feet long with a wingspan of 3 feet), they can be fairly dangerous, as they are known to be blood drinkers. Somewhat intelligent, these creatures are sometimes employed by Chaotic masters as spies and scouts. However, they have only a limited ability to communicate, generally a vocabulary of 100 or so words.

These creatures will attack just about any mammal, humanoid or otherwise, but only if the creature is small enough to physically overpower, or somehow restrained, incapacitated, paralyzed, asleep, or otherwise immobile. When attacking a target, they prefer to grip with both claws and then physically biting their victim in order to drain blood (1d6 damage per round that they are in contact with the victim).

Mutations: Bizarre Appearance, Complete Wing Development, Dietary Requirement Change (Blood, see Creatures of the Tropical Wastes)


New Mutations
Reverse Clairvoyance (Beneficial Mental Mutation)
This mutant can transmit visual images to a selected recipient up to 100’ away, allowing the recipient to see as if they were standing on that spot.

Mental Slave Bond (Mental Drawback Mutation)
This power functions as if the mutant is under the effects of the Possession mutation, with some differences. Unlike Possession, the creature in control is not directly controlling the victim, but rather issuing mental commands which must be obeyed (Mental Combat with a -4 to WIL for a mutant with the Mental Slave Bond to resist the command). Neither is the controller directly receiving sensory information from the mental slave, instead they must concentrate to receive information and/or pass on mental commands. If the controller is concentrating on the linkage to the mental slave, and that mental slave is killed, the controller must save vs stun attacks or be rendered unconscious for 1d6 hours.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mutant Monday

Ash Dragon


No. Enc.: 1d6 (2d6)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 3+3
Attacks: 3 or 1 (2 claws, 1 bite, or breath)
Damage: 1d6/1d6/1d8 or 2d10
Save: L2
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: None
XP: 310

Mutated Morchella tomentosa that have become 2' long lizard-like creatures with ashen scales. These creatures abide near existing bodies of fire, among the ashes left.

While their primary diet is the ashes left by any burning conflagration, they can also consume meat from any animal. They prefer to attack any unwary visitors to their habitats by breathing their flame breath (2d10 damage up to 50') and then clawing or biting those that survive.

Ash Dragons are commonly found in ruins where fires have occurred, battlefields with burning wreckage, forests that have had recent forest fires, volcanic areas, and occasionally wasteland or desert regions.

Mutations: Reflective Epidermis (Heat), Energy Ray (Fire), Free Movement, Full Senses, Dietary Requirement Change (Ash) see CotTW, Thermal Sensitivity (Cold)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Mutant Monday

Arkansas Barking Spider


No. Enc.: 1d6 (1d6)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 60' (20')
          Web: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 3+3
Attacks: 1 (bite)
Damage: 2d4, poison
Save: L2
Morale: 7
Hoard Class: VI
XP: 205

The Arkansas Barking Spider, a mutated species of Steatoda nobilis, is a 3' long spider with a dark brown globular abdomen with white markings in the shape of a skull and reddish-orange legs. They are web-spinning spiders that construct strong, sticky tangle webs (also known as cobwebs) in order to trap prey. Because they are web-spinning spiders, they have poor eyesight and use their vibration sense to locate prey and potential predators.

While Arkansas Barking Spiders are generally uninterested in humanoids and large creatures, preying primarily on small mammals and smaller mobile plants, they do employ a notable preemptive defensive measure when man-sized or larger creatures near their webs, by emitting a special gas cloud in a 30 foot radius which lasts for 1d3+6 turns in still conditions and 1d3+1 turns in windy conditions. Each round a target is in this gas cloud, the character must save vs poison or spend 1d4 rounds doing nothing but gagging, vomiting, and retching, and trying to get away from the silent but deadly gas. Any character that has failed the saving throw also suffers an AC penalty of 1 and +2 to all attack rolls. A gas mask or other filtering device will protect against this gas attack. For predators that persist in approaching the web, the barking spider will begin to a vocal warning consisting of their characteristic "barking."
For those foolish enough to actually get trapped by the web, they can break free in 2D4 turns, unless their strength is 19 or greater, in which case, they can break free in 2d4 rounds. For each round someone is stuck in the web, they will be attacked by half the number of Arkansas Barking Spiders that are present. For each bite, the victim may make a save vs poison against a class 6 poison.

Arkansas Barking Spiders typically make their huge (20-50' in diameter) cobwebs in caves or forests, hiding any treasures they accumulate in small holes.

Mutations: Toxic Weapon, Unique Sense (Vibration Sense, see Creatures of the Tropical Wastes), Webbing (WftW #7), Vision Impairment

Saturday, November 29, 2014

MF Search Engine

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mutant Monday

Here's a trio of ruin dwelling fun-guys to mess with your mutants.

Black Mold


No. Enc.: 1 (0)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: None
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 10
Attacks: 1
Damage: by mutation
Save: L5
Morale: None
Hoard Class: None
XP: 1700

Mutating from common Stachybotrys chartarum, this black gooey mass can be found in ruin corridors and rooms. It is typically 10’ to 30’ in diameter.

Coming into contact with a Black Mold releases an addictive substance. Anyone who releases this substance must make a save vs poison or become addicted to the toxin. Failure to make contact with a Black Mold once per day results in withdrawal symptoms that act as a Class 6 Poison that acts for each day without contact.

Black Mold is only damaged by fire and other energy attacks. If a black mold is attacked with other weapons, it splits into more individuals of reduced mass. Every successful attack creates a smaller mold that has 2 HD.

Mutations: Toxic Weapon, Narcotic


Fission Yeast


No. Enc.: 1 (0)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: None
Armor Class: 8
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: 1
Damage: see below
Save: L3
Morale: None
Hoard Class: None
XP: 350

Fission Yeast is a mutated strain of Schizosaccharomyces pombe that produces radiation. A fully grown fission yeast generates a Class 5 Radiation field for 50' around it. Immune to all attacks except electrical-based ones, Fission Yeast are known to split into smaller yeasts when attacked with weapons. Each of these smaller yeasts generate a Class 2 Radiation field for 25' around them.

Mutations: Toxic Weapon


Gold Fungus


No. Enc.: 1 (1)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 10' (3')
Armor Class: 8
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: 1
Damage: 2d6
Save: L2
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: None
XP: 65

Gold Fungus is a mutant fungus that can grow to a diameter of up to 10 feet, and a thickness of about 6 inches. It resembles gold sheeting. A gold fungus strikes like a snake, slamming opponents with its body. A successful strike allows the gold fungus to cling to an opponent. When clinging to an opponent, the gold fungus will use its Possession power to try and take over the victim. Gold Fungus is immune to the effects of fire-based and cold-based attacks. They take normal damage from electrical-based attacks and weapons.

Mutations: Possession

Friday, November 21, 2014

Another 20 Questions: 20 Quick Questions on Rules

Brendan over at Necropraxis came up with this list of 20 house rules/game mechanics questions that I thought it might be useful to have.


1. Ability scores generation method?
2. How are death and dying handled?
3. What about raising the dead?
4. How are replacement PCs handled?
5. Initiative: individual, group, or something else?
6. Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work?
7. Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet?
8. Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly?
9. Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything?
10. Level-draining monsters: yes or no?
11. Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death?
12. How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked?
13. What’s required when my PC gains a level? Training? Do I get new spells automatically? Can it happen in the middle of an adventure, or do I have to wait for down time?
14. What do I get experience for?
15. How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination?
16. Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work?
17. How do I identify magic items?
18. Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions?
19. Can I create magic items? When and how?
20. What about splitting the party?

Just some quick thoughts for post apocalyptic settings.
Question #3 is iffy, depending on the pre-apocalypse tech you want to use, or whether or not you're including magic in the setting.
Question #10 should probably switched to something about gaining/losing mutations.
Question #17 should be replaced with a question about figuring out pre-apocalypse tech.
Question #18 should replace magic items with artifacts/pre-apocalypse tech/energy weapons. Potions should probably be replaced with either vehicle fuel or some other energy resource (i.e. charging power sources or buying power sources).
Question #19 really depends on the pre-apocalypse tech of the campaign.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

This is not that list of questions for your campaign, Post Apocalyptic Edition!!!

So, yet another variant on Twenty Quick Questions for your Campaign Setting), this time from scrap princess over at Monster Manual Sewn From Pants. I love this one, it basically lets you set the gonzo level of your campaign. However, there are a few entries that are either already answered, or don't quite work for the post apocalypse. So, I'm going to redo some of them, just for fun.

1. Is there weaponized Squid?
(follow up questions are below) Can I start with one? How much are they? Can I have one as a pet/horse/best friend? Can I play one? Can I dual wield them?
About the only possible change I can see here would be to note whether or not that is weaponized LANDsquid.


2. Is there undead robots?
follow up questions involve the nature of consciousness and the existence of the soul in your campaign and can I play one? or have one as a pet or a gun that shoots them?
I might change this to spirit robots, but that's about it.


3. Do Icebergs walk across the land ?
can I be from one? Is godzilla frozen in one? Can I play a godzilla?
It's the post apocalypse, of course there is godzilla, except he's called "gojira" ;)


4. What do birds know?
(no further questions)
This would change only slightly to, "Do birds tell the truth?"


5. Does medicine work like it does here but no-one knows CPR or does it work like a cartoon so I cure amnesia with more head injurys or does it work like medieval euro people though it did with demons in your teeth?
Do I start with demons in my teeth? Do I know CPR? Can I invent CPR? Can I give myself powers with additionally organs? What planet is in ascension in my spleen midmorning? These are all good questions.


6. I want to play a hobbit but really I'm the fleas controlling the hobbit. Where is that in the book?
Could I take over a new guy with my fleas? Or another players guy?
This should probably already be answered, (with the exception of the bits about hobbits). For gonzo post apocalyptic, I would reverse the questions. I want to play fleas, but really I'm a hobbit controlling my fleas.


7. How much could I rent my body out to spirits before I lost control of my character?
What are the names of the spirits? Are they cool?
I'd definitely have to add to this; How about AIs? People from before the apocalypse stuck in some sort of virtual reality? Aliens? How much do those aliens pay to probe? Can I play an alien probe? Are there rednecks to abduct and probe?


8.What level do I have to get my character to before I am the g.m?
Can I half be the g.m at an early level? What about when you leave the room?
Can I eat those doritos if you aren't going to?


9. What is the dumbest thing I can spend my money on?
no dumber than that but cool. Like a pet with a pet with a weapon? Can pets dual wield?
What about a mutant symbiote or parasite? Can I dual wield parasistes?


10. How ugly can my guy be? Like Can I basically be a walking fish?
No wait I wanna be a walking fish. What is the reverse scuba technology like in this world?
Now see this question, pretty much answered already. So we gotta go for something more classic. Can I be an Elf? Dwarf? Minotaur? French Maid Cross-dressing Ninja Robot Monkey Space Pirate?


11.The lamp oil? Is that like cooking oil, kerosene, white spirits or napalm?
How much can I buy of it?
Good questions, but not as important in post apocalyptia as are those energy weapons the standard laser/ion/plasma/particle beam stuff, or do I get freeze/heat/death/paralysis rays instead?


12. How does physics work in this world?
What makes the planets stay up? Are there planets? Is it elves? Can I play an elf from another planet? Does everything work like how we though it did in the past? Can I discover stuff and pass it off as a magic? Is possible to use the scientific process to organise the concepts of magic?
Actually, for a gonzo post apocalyptic setting, it wouldn't be physics (at least I don't think it would), it would be magic.


13. Can I start with weapon hands?
What about crab claws? Can I play a crab with human hands? Can I have one as a pet? Do they live on a different planet? Can we go there?
Weapon Hands is almost a given for mutants, as are crabs with human hands. What we need is weapon faces, weapon backs, weapon ears, and weapon butts.


14. What cultures approve of cannibalism?
What about if we are super rich? Aren't rich cannibals be default , I mean if you think about it? How is the class struggle here anyway? Is there a Karl Marx? How receptive are people to the ideas of anarcho-syndicalism here?
Well cannibalism and anarcho-syndicalism are pretty much a given after the apocalypse. How about knights in shining armor, devil-slaying (and hopefully, non-racist) paladins, plucky halfling sidekicks, and of course, bards.


15. Can my character not be real , but a hallucination of another character?
But I still wanna be able to do stuff. What are the stats for that?
Sure, see magic above.


16. Which is the rome but with lava fire country in this world?
What about the ice circus country? Can I have a pet from there?
I'd be more interested in the pastoral righteous kingdom with a benevolent king in the post apocalypse.


17. Can I invent an insect?
as a player like right now I tell you an insect and you put it in the game? Or as a character? Can my spells be insects that then exist in this world after I cast them? Can I play an insect who is actually a spell cast in this world? What about as a pet?
I'll give you spell casting, but insects already abound, usually as horrific mutated beasts. Try asking to invent magic items instead.


18. Is there reverse fire?
What about reverse water or earth? What do they wear there?
What about reverse air?


19. How much money can I make inventing siege engines?
Can I play a siege engine? In what ways are animals used in siege engines?
War, War never changes. Invent some medicine or better methods of farming, or waste reclamation technologies.


20.What is the most significant tree to the economy of the starting place?
Is it really a tree or maidens stitched together? If I play a maiden do I get spells or do people that worship me get spells but only if I'm mad at them?
Another good set of questions.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mutant Monday

Ninja Robot

The product of a mysterious nation across the western ocean, these six foot tall humanoid robotic assassins travel the wastes on their mysterious missions. They are typically coated in non-reflective black paint and are armed with a variety of melee weapons.


Hit Dice: 16
Frame: Armature
Locomotion: Legs (pair)
          Movement: 120' (40')
Manipulators: Basic Hands (2)
Armor: Duralloy (AC 3)
Sensors: Class IV
Mental Programming: Programming
Accessories: Magnetic Feet, Self-Destruct System, Photon Screen
Weaponry: Katana, Throwing Stars (2d6)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mutant Monday

Dark Bramble


No. Enc.: 2d4
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: None
Armor Class: 9
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: 1
Damage: by mutation, or see below
Save: L1
Morale: None
Hoard Class: None
XP: 56

A species of unintelligent, mutated Rubus flagellaris (Common Dewberry) that range from 8 to 15 feet long, up to four feet high. The main body consists of a woody taproot with 4d4 low growing stems which have hard prickles that can cut unprotected flesh, doing 1d4 damage to those who come into physical contact with the plant. The stems are covered in green leaves that are pale on the underside and form an alternate compound arrangement of three to five leaflets. Also present are white, five-petaled flowers which open during the day and close at night. Lastly, the aggregate fruit of this plant consists of 3d6 dark purple berries per stem which resemble blackberries.

To someone unfamiliar with the Dark Bramble, the plant looks much like any other bramble. This makes them surprisingly difficult to distinguish from normal brambles, at a distance of more than 10 yards, surprising beings on a surprise check roll of 1-3 on 1d6. Because of their body form, blunt or piercing weapons (including projectiles) cause but a single point of damage on a successful attack. Whereas slashing weapons, fire, or other attack forms generally have their normal effect. Dark Bramble attack with their Disintegration mental mutation when humanoids approach within 50 feet.

These plants grow in a variety of soils and are found in bogs, savannahs, sandy regions, abandoned files, meadows, and woodland borders. They survive and repopulate by attracting animals such as chipmunks, mice, racoons, squirrels to eat their berries as well as a large variety of aphids, bees, and butterflies. While a nuisance plant, their leaves, unlike their inedible berries, can be used to make delicious teas or eaten raw.

Mutations: Disintegration, Full Senses, Edible Leaves (NEW), Inedible Berries (Inedible Fruit from Creatures of the Wastes)

New Mutation (Beneficial Plant Mutation)
Edible Leaves
This power functions similar to the Edible Seeds mutation from Creatures of the Tropical Wastes, and should probably include Edible Bark as well. There are also some new additions to the list of effects:
Roll Effect
9 (replaces old 9-10 option) Tasty, acts as one ration of food.
10 (replaces old 9-10 option) Nutritious, acts as full day's worth of food.
11 Sugary Energy, restores CON to normal for 1d4 hours, or reduces Fatigue by one step (if used).
12 Disease Vaccine, randomly roll type of Disease cured.
13 Narcotic (depending on what rules for drugs are used).
14 Booze (depending on what rules for drugs are used).
15 Meat Substitute, acts as a normal ration of food for carnivores.
16 Poison Antidote, randomly roll type of poison cured.
17 Radiation Antidote, 1/2 damage from any radiation during that day.
18 Energy Absorption, (randomly rolled) for 1d4 hours.
19 Epidermal Photosynthesis for 1d6 hours.
20 GM's Choice

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mutant Monday

More Fearsome Critter and Cryptid goodness (or is that badness?).


Snallygaster


No. Enc.: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement (Flying): 360' (120')
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 7
Attacks: 3+ (2 claws, 1 bite, 1d8 tentacles (roll for how many tentacles used))
Damage: 1d8/1d8/2d10/1d3 per tentacle
Save: L3
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: XIV
XP: 1490

The Snallygaster is a half-reptilian, half-avian, dragon-like aerial predator. Their bodies consist of a long, pointed metallic beak lined with razor-sharp teeth, aa single blazing eye in the middle of their horned head, sharp taloned claws of hot glowing metal, two huge wings with a 25-foot wingspan, octopus-like tentacles, and a 20-foot long, reptilian tail.

These blood-drinking creatures will typically attack large animals, up to the size of human. They attack, initially, with a swoop that inflicts double damage if the opponent is surprised. They may pick up smaller than man-sized creatures and carry them off, piercing the victim's body with their beaks in order to drain them of blood. They also constantly exude a noxious, sulfuric-smelling poison gas over a 30' radius that is a Class 11 Poison. They may also attack with their Shriek attack, which listeners describe as "loud as a locomotive whistle."

Snallygasters are very territorial, holding large regions of forested mountains as their domains. They are also fairly intelligent, though they can be tricked or bribed (especially if presented with large quantities of strong alcohol). Surprisingly, they also have natural enemies, the Dwayyo (q.v.) who seek out their aeries among low-lying mountain peaks.

Mutations: Gigantism, Toxic Weapon, Shriek


Dwayyo


No. Enc.: 1 (1)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: 3 (2 claws, 1 bite)
Damage: 1d8/1d8/2d4
Save: L3
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: XX
XP: 200

Dwayyo or Dewayo are bipedal, canid-like creatures often misidentified as werewolves or sasquatches. They appear as hairy bipeds with tails, wolf-like heads whose eyes are entirely black, with slim humanoid arms and powerful digitigrade legs. Their coats consist of a brown and black striped pattern which allows them to blend into the woods. They typically stand six to nine feet tall.

They typically attack with claws or a powerful, fanged bite. Generally they prey on small and large animals, but have been known to attack humanoids. In addition, they are deadly rivals to the dreaded Snallygaster.

Dwayyo are known to live in wooded areas, and are equally likely to make their dens in caves or ruins.

Mutations: None


Snoligoster


No. Enc.: 0 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement (Swim only): 90' (30')
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: 2 (tail, impaling spike)
Damage: 1d8/3d6
Save: L3
Morale: 7
Hoard Class: VII
XP: 320

An 18' long, reptilian creature resembling a crocodile without legs or fins, but possessing long, glossy fur. The only appendages that Snoligosters posses are a large, impaling spike in place of a dorsal fin, and a long tail ending in three bony plates resembling a propeller. By wiggling its tail to and fro, it causes the plates to spin like a propeller, which generates its movement through mud or water. While waiting for prey it is often mistaken for a fallen tree stump, encrusted with vines or ivy, making it difficult to spot. For this reason, at a distance of more than 30 yards, a motionless Snoligoster is difficult to distinguish from a normal fallen tree, surprising beings on a surprise check roll of 1-3 on 1d6.

These vicious carnivores will hunt any mammal, but have a preference for humanoids to sate their voracious appetite. A Snoligoster attacks by swimming up to unwary victims and using their propeller tail to toss the unfortunate victim on the impaling spike on their back. If their attack roll is equal to or greater than 18, the victim must make a save vs stun attacks or be impaled on the spike. A victim so impaled will take an additional 1d6 damage per round and will require 2D4 rounds to free themselves from the spike, unless another victim is impaled on top of them, which prevents them from being able to free themselves.

Found in swamps and marshes, particularly cypress and mangrove swamps, Snoligosters typically lair in muddy riverbanks, using their propeller tails to scoop out holes. It is in these lairs that Snoligosters bring their unfortunate victims, scraping them from their impaling spikes and using their propeller tails to beat their prey into a pulp before ingesting them.

Mutations: None

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mutant Monday

Grass Devil


No. Enc.: 1d4 (1d4)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: 2+ (bite, weapon) see below
Damage: 1d8, poison/by weapon/see below
Save: L3
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: XIX
XP: 2120

This grass mutation of the species Saccharum ravennae generally appears as a green snake-humanoid hybrid. Typically they take the form of a four-foot tall, serpent-headed humanoid with a serpentine tail. There are some variations in each Grass Devil however, roll twice on the following table to determine which serpent-like mutations the Grass Devil possesses:
RollFeatureEffect
1Cobra hoodToxic Weapon (Spray Poison), replaces bite attack.
2Flexible torsoThe mutant can go through any hole or space he can fit his head through.
3Tendril tail instead of legsMoves at 120' (40').
4Camouflaged leaf patternMore difficult to spot, surprising beings on a surprise check roll of 1-3 on 1d6.
5Carnivorous tendrils instead of armsAdds 2d3 carnivorous mouths (1d4 damage) at the end of flexible tendrils where each arm would be. Cannot manipulate weapons or objects. Attacks increase to 3 (bite, arm bite, arm bite).
6Constrictive tendril tail instead of legsA 3d6 damage constrictive tendril. Cannot manipulate weapons or objects. Attacks remain at 2, but can use constriction instead of bite or weapon.
7Constrictive tendrils instead of armsA pair of 1d6 damage constrictive tendrils that can manipulate objects and wield weapons.
8Constrictive tail tendril in addition to legsA 2d6 damage constrictive tendril. Cannot manipulate weapons or objects. Attacks increase to 3 (bite, constrict, weapon).


Grass Devils are violently opposed to mammalian life and attack it whenever possible. Intelligent and cunning, Grass Devils fight from ambush, create and utilize traps, and seek to use terrain to their advantage. With their Quick Mind mutation, they are quite adept at figuring out and using technological artifacts and almost always possess one or more objects, typically weapons. In addition to whatever weapons they may possess, they also have a class 12 poisonous bite (or poisonous spit if they have the Cobra hood mutation).

Grass Devils inhabit ruins in swamps, rain forests, and jungles. They typically lair in single level buildings, or buildings with "handicap access" ramps.

Mutations: Animal Limbs (arms)*, Full Senses, Free Movement, Toxic Weapon (poison bite)**, Carnivore, Quick Mind
*Animal Limbs (arms) may be replaced by carnivorous or constrictive tendrils.
**Toxic Weapon (poison bite) may be replaced by spray poison.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mutant Monday

A quick note, I may miss the next Mutant Monday post due to some RL issues.

Tiki Terror


No. Enc.: 0 (1d4)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 8
Attacks: 1 (fist, weapon, or mutation)
Damage: 2d8/by weapon
Save: L4
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: None
XP: 3060

Believed to be a gene-engineered species of Phyllostachys edulis (moso bamboo), these ten foot tall, evil looking humanoids are vicious killers of those who intrude on their woods and forests. They appear as demonic, wood-skinned humanoids, with often grotesquely exaggerated faces, thick arms and legs, and three-fingered stubby hands. No leaves or other foliage mar their appearance.

They are surprisingly difficult to spot in their forest habitats, at a distance of more than 10 yards, a motionless tiki terror is difficult to distinguish from a normal tree, surprising beings on a surprise check roll of 1-3 on 1d6. They prefer remain motionless until intruders approach within range of their Mental Phantom (see Creatures of the Wastelands) power, unless the intruder is using fire or carries an axe or saw, in which case they single out that intruder for their Possession power. If their mental powers are ineffective in removing or killing the intruders, they will physically attack with their fists (40%) or natural wood weapons (60% chance of having one of the following: Roll 1d8: 1 - Quarterstaff, 2 - Spear, 3 - Heavy Mace*, 4 - Great Club*, 5 - Club, 6 - War Mace*, 7 - Maul*, 8 - Tonfa*).

Mutations: Mental Phantom (CoTW), Possession, Free Movement, Full Senses, Animal Limbs (two arms)
*Weapons marked with an asterisk can be found in Wisdom from the Wastelands #21.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Mutant Monday

This is the first in a short selection of Fearsome Critters and Cryptids that I feel are appropriate (and fun) for post apocalyptic settings.

Jackalope


No. Enc.: 3d4 (3d8)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 150' (50')
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 1+2
Attacks: 1 (butt or bite)
Damage: 1d4, 1d4
Save: L1
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: None
XP: 21

Jackalopes are hybrid jackrabbit/deer carnivores. Appearing as a brown- or grey-furred hares about two feet long with deer antlers extending from the head for up to another foot in length. They are typically found in plains, prairies, scrub deserts, alpine meadows, and savannah woodlands and their lairs are flattened nests of grass or shallow depressions in the earth.

Jackalopes attack in waves of 1d6 members, with two or three such waves forming a swarm. With their significant ability to leap up to 20' in one bound, they typically attack prey by leaping from ambush in waves of antler butts. On an attack roll of 19 or 20, the target must make a saving throw vs Stun Attacks or be knocked down. Any target that gets knocked down will be attacked by bites from the wave on the following round.

These creatures have an incredible vocal ability, allowing them to imitate a range of noises and voices. They can sound as a man, woman, child, animal, or other creature, and can even sound like an audio or video recording being played back. While not really sentient, they can reproduce just about any sound they hear, and have been known to reproduce the sounds of creatures that are in pain or sick, repeat specific names, and even imitate the specific voices of those that they hear. Jackalopes generally use this ability to lure prey into approaching within attack distance.

Mutations: Aberrant Form (Natural Weapons)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Mook Hit Points

Way back, when I first started playing D&D, I felt that Hit Dice was a bit of a pain to use. Sure it gives you a relative value of toughness (coupled with AC at least) of a "monster," but, unlike AC, it was a variable number, not a static number that was easy to use. So the first thing I did was establish a way to quickly convert Hit Dice to Hit Points for ease of use. The thing is, as any gamer that's been playing for a while probably knows, dice rolls have an average number. For example, the average result of rolling 1d6 is 3.5, 2d6 is 7, 3d6 is 10.5, so on and so forth. (Though, I'll admit, I'm still not entirely up on how the statisticians arrive at those results, I just go with it.) For 1d4 the average result is 2.5, for 1d8 its 4.5, for 1d10 its 5.5, 1d12 is 6.5, 1d20 is 10.5, so on and so forth (it's easy to know once you see the pattern). In our case, Hit Dice are generally represented by 1d8. By knowing the average result (which, in case it isn't obvious, is NOT the same as the average roll), you can immediately establish the average number of hit points for any creature using Hit Dice. Unfortunately, unless you round the average off, most creatures with an odd number of Hit Dice won't end up with a whole number of hit points. So in the case of a 1HD orc, the average would be 3.5 hit points. Following common rounding rules ("round half up" is the term I believe is used) any value of .5 would round up to the nearest whole number, giving the AVERAGE 1HD orc a total of 4 hit points.

So, by following this simple math, you can instantly generate the average hit points for a whole group of monsters without having to roll for each individual one. However, say you want to include some basic variation in your group of monsters, again, without having to roll a whole bunch of dice for each and every individual monster in a group. That's when I started thinking about how to make generically "stronger" or "weaker" individuals without having to roll their specific hit points. So I came up with a semi-simple compromise that lets me (fairly) quickly roll up some variable hit point individuals without just giving them all average hit points.

Kinda Quick Hit Points Determination (Roll 1d6):
Roll Type 1 HD 2 HD 3 HD 4 HD 5 HD 6+ HD
1 Skirmisher Mook hp = 1 hp = 2 hp = 3 hp = 4 hp = 5 hp = #HD
2 Mook hp = 2 hp = 4 hp = 6 hp = 8 hp = 10 hp = #HD + 1 HD
3 Upgraded Mook hp = 3 hp = 6 hp = 9 hp = 12 hp = 15 hp = AVG hp - 1HD
4 Elite Mook hp = 5 hp = 10 hp = 15 hp = 20 hp = 25 hp = AVG hp - 1HD
5 Lieutentant Mook hp = 6 hp = 12 hp = 18 hp = 24 hp = 36 hp = Max hp - 1HD
6 King Mook hp = 8 hp = Max hp hp = Max hp hp = Max hp hp = Max hp hp = Max hp

Notes:
Max hp = Hit Dice x 8.
AVG hp = 4.5 x the number of Hit Dice (rounded up).
#HD = the number of Hit Dice as hit points (i.e. a 7HD creature would have a value of 7).
When adding or subtracting 1HD from the results, this can be any number you choose (or choose to roll), for example, you could add or subtract 1 hp, average hp (5 in this case), or full hp (8) from the hp already determined.
For creatures (like say a creature with 6+1 HD or a creatures with 3-1 HD) just add or subtract the modifier after determining the hit points.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mutant Monday

Red Tide


No. Enc.: 0 (1d2)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 90' (30')
          Swim: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 9
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: 2 (bite, tail)
Damage: 2d8, 1d8
Save: L2
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: None
XP: 650

These serpentine creatures are a heavily bio-engineered form of Karenia brevis, the dinoflagellate responsible for the "Red Tide" harmful algal bloom found along the Gulf Coast. A Red Tide appears as a reddish or pinkish serpent, approximately 120' long and 12' in diameter. The head appears as a distinctive bulge containing a large mouth and no discernible eyes.

Typically found near the surface of the ocean, attacking prey from behind or underneath, detecting their victims by motion. They may attack with both a bite and a tail slap in 1 round. If a Red Tide’s bite attack roll is at least 4 higher that the roll needed to hit (or a 19 or 20 are rolled), a victim is swallowed. A being that is swallowed takes 3d6 hit points of damage per round inside the Red Tide’s belly. The damage stops when the character dies or the Red Tide is killed.

Red Tides can also use their powerful bodies to create a small, but powerful wave in the water, similar to a tsunami. This wave propagates out to the side of the Red Tide covering an area 60' by 60'. Everyone in that area must make a save versus energy attacks or take 2d6 points of damage and be submerged. Those that save just take 2D6 damage. Against ships and boats the wave does 2d6 shp and has a 80% chance of capsizing a galley-sized or smaller vessel and a 50% chance of capsizing a sailing ship.

Mutations: Abnormal Size (Gigantism), Carnivore, Free Movement

Sargasso Sulfinator


No. Enc.: 1d4
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: None
Armor Class: 9
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: See below
Damage: 1d8 swat, 2d10 crush
Save: None
Morale: None
Hoard Class: XIX (x2)
XP: 1020

A mutated species of Sargassum seaweed that has evolved into a carnivore. A Sargasso Sulfinator is composed of a collection of 4d6 brown seaweed fronds with grape-like gas-filled bladders surrounding a central core. Appearing as a normal mass of sargasso, 1d20x10' in diameter, floating on the surface. Because of this, beings must make a surprise check roll of 1-3 on 1d6 to notice the danger posed by Sargasso Sulfinators. The mouth of the creature is hidden near the the center of the mass.

When prey approaches, a Sargasso Sulfinator attacks with 1D4 of it's fronds. If prey is hit, the creature will attempt to drag the victim into its huge mouth. It takes two rounds for the victim to reach the mouth, and five rounds later the victim is completely digested by the immensely powerful digestive agents within. Each frond can receive 6 points of cutting damage before being severed; severed fronds regenerate fully in 2d6 days.

In addition to physical attacks, if the creature takes damage, there is a 50% that several gas bladders will be punctured, releasing a toxic cloud of gas (Class 7 poison) in a 30' radius.

Mutations: Toxic Weapon, Prehensile Tendrils (Constrictive), Carnivore

Sirenweed


No. Enc.: 1 (2d4)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement:
          Swim: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d4
Save: L2
Morale: 6
Hoard Class: XXI
XP: 355

Mutated versions of Macrocystis pyrifera, these aquatic creatures can be found lairing among vast seaweed beds among the coasts. About 14 feet in total length, Sirenweeds appear, from the waist up, as green or brown skinned humanoid females, with long, flowing hair. From the waist down, generally underwater where it can't be seen, the body appears as a long sea serpent, with a long narrowing tail, covered in long, delicate fins, and ending in a wide, fan-shaped fluke.

Sirenweeds generally attack by using their Captivate mutation to lure in victims, which they then drag underwater to be drowned and consumed. Against aquatic prey, they instead pummel the victim to death.

Mutations: Animal Limbs, Captivate (new), Carnivore, Free Movement, and Full Senses



NEW MUTATION (Beneficial Mental Mutation)
Captivate
This mutation allows the mutant to produce an invisible field that is enticing to all living creatures. The radius of the field is 50 feet and any creature inside the area of effect must make a save vs. energy or be so enticed will stay as close to the mutant as possible and try to protect it, even to the point of fighting other creatures that draw near. Every 5 rounds anyone enticed by the field may make another saving throw. Until the victim is successful, he will stay near the mutant until he dies from drowning, dehydration, or starvation (whichever comes first).

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Early Morning Adventure Thoughts

I recall a post on some blog somewhere (though I can't remember where) which discussed the author's use of the module S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks in Gamma World games. That got me thinking about reusing other old modules in post apocalyptic games. So I decided to look at several old D&D/AD&D modules and see if I could "convert" them into something fitting in a post apocalyptic setting. In no particular order:

DL1 Dragons of Despair - Yes, I know, many people dislike this series because of it's railroad nature, however, throwing away the rest of the series and just using the basic themes, ideas, and areas of this module, with some modification strikes me as being playable. Afterall, it's not like the setting isn't post apocalyptic when you come right down to it. However, let's look at some ways to tweak this module into something useable for a PA game set in a post apocalyptic Earth. First let's change the regional map of the Solace Region. Ironically, there don't need to be as many changes as one might think. First rotate the map 180 degrees so that "Qualinesti" is in the north. Doing this gives us a map of a region with a major forest to the north, plains to the south (south west, but go with it), sea and swamp beyond the plains and a small mountain range, and towering mountains to the east. Well I can think of a place in North America that fits that description well enough to be used, Washington State (more or less), heck you could even probably use California or Oregon if you really wanted to, come to think of it, you could probably use the state of New York as well (and those are all from the USA). So now you've got a PA region of Earth to work with, the rest follows without much in the way of major changes. Solace represents a post apocalyptic community living among giant mutated trees, Qualinesti (though it doesn't come much into play in this module) as a forest of forest-dwelling mutants, the Darken Wood as a mutated forest full of fey mutants and possibly robot remnants from the apocalypse, Haven as a pure human safehold (or possibly dome city), the Plains of Abanasinia as grasslands or wastelands full of nomadic tribals (being attacked by armies of whatever villainous mutant species you care to make the antagonist), and the swamp and Xak Tsaroth as whatever major sunken city you want to use (such as Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Oakland, Los Angeles, San Diego, Albany, etc.). Now change the major macguffin from the Disks of Mishakal into something more technological, like say Microsoft Operating System discs and you're pretty much good to go. Mutants, tribals, pure human techs, ancient robots (kiss gully dwarves goodbye, say hello to Roomba ver 12.6), lost technology, ancient ruins (and cool ones at that), what's not to love?

B2 Keep on the Borderlands - This one should be a no-brainer to convert. Post Apocalyptic survivalist/militia group compound and nearby small town ruins (the titular "Caves of Chaos"...though these could also be mines, an old military research facility, experimental geofront, or even regular caves). A couple of basic things of note though. One the rumor table would have to be slightly reworked, though not by much. For example, the "merchant" could be a water merchant, wandering wasteland merchant, ammunition merchant, arms merchant, etc. The "powerful magic-user" could become a psychic, robot, cyborg, or some other powerful menace. The magic wand could be a firearm or energy weapon. Altars could become some electronic device (televisions or music speakers for instance). "Piles of magic armor" could become power armor. The rest of the humanoid specific rumors could easily be modified (although "dog-men" and lizard-men really need no change) into humanoids from Mutant Future, goblins becoming Higher Baboons, bugbears becoming Pumpkin Men, the ogre becoming a Goliath, the elf becoming an Eloi, and of course, orcs becoming Pigmen. Kobolds could be Cockroahoids, Hobgoblins becoming Morlocks, the Minotaur could be a mutant cow or bison, the gnolls could be medusoids, etc. Of course, it should be obvious that references to magic items should change to technological items, with magical armor becoming advanced armor, magical weapons becoming either advanced melee weapons, or, more likely, firearms and energy weapons (though I think energy weapons are better represented by magic wands/rods/staves). Scrolls could be power sources or explosives, potions would likely be variuos chems and medical items, rings and miscellaneous magic as "Gizmos", etc.

X1 The Isle of Dread - One of my personal favorites (and I think, slightly better done than WG6 Isle of the Ape though I don't think it's difficult to combine the two modules to get the added King Kong effect of giant carnivorous apes fighting dinosaurs). This one is fairly easy if you want to have your own post apocalyptic Jurassic Park thing going. Heck, just replace the Kopru with psychic fishmen, brain lashaers, or humanoid masses, the aranea with spidergoats, the rakasta with catmen of your choice, and phanatons with mutant gliding mammal (such as a flying squirrel, colugo, galago, flying lemur, or greater glider) and you're set. (allowing for the magic item substitutions noted above.)

B4 The Lost City - Another favorite module of mine. This one requires a bit more work to convert than some of the others, but I think concepts of arcologies, dome cities, geofronts, hyper towers and so forth, combined with the typically common post apocalyptic desert wasteland makes for a lot of playability. For an interesting twist, change the three Cyndicean cults into Christianity, Judaism, and Islam (or cargo cult/debased versions thereof, making as many changes as you see fit to avoid offending people) and the cult of Zargon a Cthulhu type cult (no real change there), add in some 60s psychedilic drug culture, and go gonzo with it.

FRC1 Ruins of Adventure - Another easy to convert module of great utility. Clear out the ruins of some ancient city so it can thrive again. Slums, no problem, choose your poison, raider gangs or mutants (or both). Sokol Keep, go robots/cyborgs or fishmen (or some other aquatic humanoid mutant). Kudo's Well, easily a major raider band controlling a fresh supply of water. Podal Plaza provides tons of fun, with an auction, temples (to whatever cults you want), and a "raider" bar for all your bar brawl needs. The Textile House gives us mutant humanoids and political intrigue. Mendor's Library can easily be used for knowledge recovery quests. Kovel Mansion provides plenty of loot caches and thieves. The Wealthy District has some mutant dark cult foes. The Temple of Bane is obviously the HQ of a cryptic alliance or mutant dark cult. Valhingen Graveyard gives you your zombiepocalypse fix (personally, I'd throw some other undead type critters or pseudo-undead in there as well...nothing says vampire like a blood drinking mutant cannibal...though I gotta admit, incorporeal undead are a harder sell in a PA setting). Stojanow Gate is where some serious decisions have to be made. After all, depending on what you chose for the Big Bad, you'll have to figure out what minions you want. As a simple exercise, let's say the Bane "faction" is a mutant death cult (regardless of what you chose for the Temple of Bane block of the city), the giants are Goliaths and Medusoids, mages are brain lashers, the false Tyranthaxus is a skin stealer, and the gnolls and trolls are pumpkin-men and vile slashers respectively. Of course the hedge maze is also populated by various killer plants. For a change of pace, switch around the city blocks so they are in different locations than on the map.
The Wilderness outside of Phlan also provides lots of utility. They Pyramid is obviously the lair of a mad scientist or robot factory. The dragon could be a pro-restorationist AI. The Kobold Camp, Buccaneers, and Nomad Camp are all pretty easy to convert. Zhentil Keep can easily be a mutant supremacist or pure human supramicist stronghold.

FRC2 Curse of the Azure Bonds - Another module that requires quite a bit of conversion. Mostly in deciding what five factions (i.e. cryptic alliances) you want to harrass your characters. Given that most Cryptic Alliances have vastly differing goals, I recommend using an expanded selection of cryptic alliances/post apocalyptic cults such as Gamma Cryptic Alliances to give you a lot more useable options. Personally, in keeping with the basic theme of the module, I recommend a raider band to represent the Fire Knives, a robot or cyborg cryptic alliance to represent the Red Wizard, a mutant plant PA cult to represent Moander, pure human supremacists to represent Zhentil Keep, and a mutant supremacist for Tyranthraxus. (Obviously each faction has its own goals, and they all think they are using the others for their own ends, which means plenty of opportunities for backstabbing and betrayals.) The main problem here is how to replicate the "magical" Azure Bonds themselves. I think that while some form of psychic control is possible, it's not very likely given my suggested usage of pure humans and robot/cyborgs. Nanotechnology or some sort of Snake Plisken virus might do the trick, also bio-engineered parasite/symbiote would also work, or computer chip implant controls (for example, the type from Terminator Salvation). Better yet, a combination of all of the above, each requiring a different method of removal would be a particularly fun trick. Lastly, the problem exists in just what the goal of each of these factions is.

I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City - Obviously a no-brainer, heck you could probably keep the monsters as is for the most part, and just make each section of the city that they control the focus of some pre-apocalypse loot cache such as a national guard armory, police station, hardware store, library, computer center, supermarket, hospital, etc. to determine what kind of loot would be scavenge-worthy. I suppose that the ruined city could either be the result of an earthquake, sinkhole, sunken dome city/arcology, or geofront if you really wanted to.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mutant Monday

Drooling Death


No. Enc.: 1d6 (1d6)
Alignment: None
Movement: None
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: 1
Damage: poison
Save: L2
Morale: None
Hoard Class: None
XP: 500

Drooling Death are mutated Dicksonia squarrosa fern trees, standing about 20 feet tall. Their fronds form an "umbrella" at the top of the plant, covering an eight to ten foot radius. Their roots have mutated to obtain nourishment from animal and humanoid bodies.

A bane to unwary forest travelers, these ferns attack by dripping a Class 19 poison sap onto those unwary enough to walk under their fronds.

Mutations: Extreme Natural Armor (Plant), Toxic Weapon (Class 19 poison)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mutant Monday


Bristly Haircap


No. Enc.: 1(1)
Alignment: None
Movement: None
Armor Class: See below
Hit Dice: 1D6
Attacks: See below
Damage: See below
Save: None
Morale: None
Hoard Class: XIX
XP: 1 HD: 22
        2HD: 56
        3HD: 110
        4HD: 300
        5HD: 800
        6HD: 1320


This plant is a mutated Polytrichum commune (haircap moss) that has been bio-engineered as an area denial weapon. It appears as a large, dark green moss in the form of many-branched caltrops scattered densely over the surface of the ground. Found in rainy or humid temperate regions, a patch of Bristly Haircap has a radius in feet equal to Hit Dice x 100. The hadrom (water conducting tissue) of these plants has also been modified to absorb iron rich blood in addition to water, further strengthening the alloy of the leaves, though providing no nourishment per se to the rest of the plant. The photosynthetic lamellar of the plant are only slightly modified, trapping and retaining moisture and blood efficiently, but otherwise providing little protection to the plant.

The caltrop-like feature of Bristly Haircap has been heavily modified, replacing the soft, plant-like original material with a shiny, golden monomolecular metallo-crystal iron alloy, while retaining the shape of the original toothed lanceolate blade leaves. Additionally, the leaves and structure of the plant have been modified to make them into hypodermic injectors linked to a gene-engineered poison sac. When stepped upon, these leaves penetrate any material that they come into contact with, including metals, but not stone or rock. A creature walking through a patch will encounter 2d6 such leaves, each doing 1d4 damage and injecting a Class 12 poison into the target.

With the exception of the metallic glint of promised gold among a field of green moss, which often attract the attention of victims with more greed than sense, Bristly Haircap appears to be a field of normal moss. Because of their unremarkable nature, beings must make a surprise check roll of 1-3 on 1d6 to notice the danger posed by patches of Bristly Haircap. A patch of Bristly Haircap cannot be destroyed except by fire or by careful digging and removal from the soil it covers. Some primitive tribals and mutants cultivate patches of Bristly Haircap as defensive fields.

Mutations: Injected Poison Sap, Natural Vegetal Weapons, Metallic Bark (CotW), Thermal Sensitivity (heat/fire)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mutant Monday

Ketos


No. Enc.: 1(1)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 30' (10')
          Swim: 180' (60')
Armor Class: 1
Hit Dice: 10
Attacks: 5 (4 claws, 1 bite)
Damage: 1d8/1d8/1d8/1d8 or 4d8
Save: L10
Morale: 20
Hoard Class: XV
XP: 5200

The Ketos, or Fish-Dragon, is an ocean dwelling monstrosity that preys on ships and coastal regions. Appearing as a 60' to 80' long blue-gray muscular, shark-like reptile out of nightmare, it's body consists of an elongated lizard-scaled serpentine shape, with shark-like anal, caudal, dorsal and pelvic fins along the serpentine tail. There are eight other limbs; four powerful lizard like arms with webbed claws near the head of the beast, and two sets of whale-like flippers behind them. A horned dragon's head with shark teeth and a black forked tongue is used to bite large prey and swallow smaller prey whole.

Fish-Dragons are capable of breathing air and water, and can operate in a limited fashion on land, though, if forced to retreat, they will often head toward the nearest body of water. When attacking at sea they prefer to capsize boats and ships. To determine the chance of capsizing a vessel, divide the Ketos's size by the size of the ship. For instance, a 75' Ketos attacks a 150' long sailing ship has a 50% chance of success. The chance of success never exceeds 95%, in other words, any vessel that is the same size as or smaller than the Fish-Dragon has a 95% chance of being capsized. Any sailors unlucky enough to be dumped into the water will then be attacked. If their attack roll is equal to or greater than 18, the poor sailor is swallowed. A being that is swallowed takes 2d6 hit points of damage per round inside the Ketos’s belly. In addition, if a victim does not succeed in a saving throw versus paralyze, he is paralyzed with class 10 poison. Otherwise, he may attack the Ketos from the inside with a –4 to the attack roll versus an effective AC 7. Any other prey killed will be dragged back to the Ketos's lair for later consumption.

Dominating an area of a few hundred square miles of ocean, these aquatic carnivores generally lair is large underwater caves, occasionally being found in ship graveyards or large underwater habitats, such as pre-apocalypse dome cities. Those Fish-Dragons located near coastal area have been known to attack coastal communities by crawling onto land and "going to town."

Mutations: Echolocation, Night Vision, Reflective Epidermis (Cold), Regenerative Capability, Dietary Requirement Change (Carrion) [from Creatures of the Tropical Wastes], Epidermal Dependence (Water) [from Creatures of the Tropical Wastes].

Monday, September 8, 2014

K is for Kuru (the effects of cannibalism in post apocalyptia)

Kuru

Save Modifier: -1, cumulative (with each consumption of an infected target)
Infection Duration: 6 months
Affected Stats: STR -1, DEX -2 (First Stage)
Damage per day: See Symptons below

This common post apocalyptic disease, more widely known as The Shakes, but also known as The Laughing Sickness is widely reviled throughout the wasteland. The problem is that this disease can generally only be contracted through cannibalism. This disease is caused by prions found in humans (and any other primate species, that is monkeys, apes, gorillas, orangutans, monkeys, chimpanzees, etc.), though several mutant animal species have their own variant. In bovine races (cows, bison, buffalo, water buffalo, yaks, and certain types of antelopes) it is known as Mad Cow Disease. Among sheep and goats it is known as Scrapie. The cervid species (deer, elk, moose, etc.) have Chronic Wasting Disease. Felines, Minks, Ostriches, and Grazing Antelopes (a bovine sub-family) all have some variant of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy. There is no save modifier when consuming an infected cross-family (i.e. primates are all one family, bovines are all one family, cervids are all one family etc.) meal.
Symptoms: First Stage: unsteady stance & gait, decreased muscle control, tremors, and slurred speech.
Second Stage: (occurs after 10 consecutive failed saving throws against Infection Duration) incapable of walking without support, loss of muscle coordination (DEX is halved), severe tremors, depression, and bouts of uncontrollable laughing.
Third (Terminal) Stage: (occurs after 12 consecutive failed saving throws against Infection Duration of Second Stage Symptoms) no muscle coordination (DEX is equal to a value of 1), unable to speak, difficulty swallowing, incontinence, and becomes ulcerated (as if infected by Flesh Eating Bacteria). Death usually occurs between three months and two years once this stage is reached.

Mutant Monday


Porphyric-blooming Cereus


No. Enc.: 1d10 (1d10)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: None
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: 2-5 (1d4+1)(projectile spines)
Damage: 1d4+special
Save: L1
Morale: None
Hoard Class: VI
XP: 29

Also known as the Blood-Bloom Cactus, this mutated version of Hylocereus undatus is a profusely branched climbing vining cactus, bearing largish (about a foot in diameter) white-colored flowers, and white oval fruit. The flowers and fruit darken to a beautiful crimson when the cactus has fed.

The preferred method of attack for a Porphyric-blooming Cereus is to wait until its prey is within a few feet, then quickly extend 2-5 spines with a range of 30 feet. Each spine that hits inflicts 1d4 points of damage. Each tendril that hits absorbs 1d6 hp of blood each round it is attached. It has a maximum capacity of 100 hp worth of blood, or as much as 10 pints. It swells to allow the fluid to be stored. The Porphyric-blooming Cereus gains half the damage done back in hit points. A cactus that is feeding does not attack again until it is dislodged.

A Porphyric-blooming Cereus is interested only in food. If it finds it has attached itself to something that doesn't have blood, it normally lets go and drops to the ground. It continues to fight only in self-defense. Blood-Bloom Cacti are found all over the wasteland in small clumps of as many as ten plants. They are non-ambulatory and so have no territory. While they have no treasure in and of themselves, the occasional victim will leave behind some trinkets.

Mutations: Projectile Vines (Fluid Leech)


NEW MUTATION (Beneficial Plant Mutation)
Projectile Vines
The plant has a network of modified vines that can be shot out to 30 feet for small plants, 60 feet for humanoid-sized plants, and 100 feet for large or huge plants. If the plant has sensory capabilities it is also assumed to have the intelligence to direct these modified vines; otherwise, the vines spread out 360˚. To determine the exact type of projectile, roll 1d6 and consult the chart below.
Roll Type Effect
1 Poison Vines - Plant has a network of 3d4 vines dotted with sharp thorns coated with poison (with a type randomly determined upon creation).
2 Sucker Vines - The plant has 4d6 vines edged with suckers that affix themselves to a victim on a successful hit. Each vine does 1d6 damage each action round it is attached to a victim, (on the second round, not the first). All hit points drained from the victim are added to the plants score. A successful grapple check must be made each round to continue to drain the victim. Sucker vines release their victim when their plant or the victim is killed.
3 Harpoon Vines - The plant has 2d6 hardened spear-like vines they can launch at targets, up to the plants total number of harpoons. Each spear does 1d8 damage plus strength modifier. An attack roll of 19 or 20 means the victim has been impaled by a harpoon for double damage. If the plant fails to impale, it retracts the harpoons and fires again the next round. When a victim has been successfully impaled, the plant retracts the harpoon, which pulls the victim to the plant.
4 Energy Leech Vines - The plant has 3d4 vines that will drain 1d6 charges (or equivalent) from any energy item it comes in contact with on a successful hit. The plant gains 1 hit point back from every charge drained. A successful grapple roll is required to maintain contact each round.
5 Fluid Leech Vines - The plant has 3d6 vines that will drain 1d6 hit points from any creature they come in contact with. The plant gains half the damage done back in hit points. A successful grapple roll is required to maintain contact each round.
6 GM’s Choice - The GM may choose any type of vine, combination of vines, or create his own type of vine.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Mutant Monday Labor Day Bonus Edition

Dire Bamboo


No. Enc.: 2d6 (2d8)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120’ (40’)
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: 1 (bite)
Damage: 1d8
Save: L2
Morale: 11
Hoard Class: None
XP: 245

This mutated bamboo appears as a long-bodied, almost weaselish creature with four powerful, panther-like legs, and a long tail. They have relatively smooth, bark-like skin that ranges in coloration from green to tan or whitish-grey, covered in a thin fur of green, sword-like leaves.

Dire Bamboo hunt in packs and prefer small prey over the larger variety, because of the amount of energy required to run them down. Even then, they catch only the weak and sickly animals. They usually hunt only one large quarry per week, per pack, going without food for days at a time.

Dire Bamboo can often be found in moist woodlands and marshlands. They are often associated with Bryophytians

Mutations: Carnivore, Free Movement, Full Senses

Mutant Monday

Bryophytian

No. Enc.: 6-24 (30-300)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 60' (20')
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 1 to 6
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d4 or weapon type
Save: L1 to L6
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: I, II
XP: 1 HD: 22
        2HD: 56
        3HD: 110
        4HD: 300
        5HD: 800
        6HD: 1320


Bryophytians, also known as mossmen, are short, bipedal moss creatures. They appear as furry or fuzzy humanoids with rounded, often bulging proportions. Coloration is generally greenish, except when the Bryophytian becomes dehydrated, then it turns to a pale whitish green or light blue-green. Mossmen are 1½ feet tall, plus ½-foot per Hit Die. Although they do not have a spoken language, they are capable of vocalized cries. They normally communicate by tapping on their chests and on trees or stones.

Parties of Bryophytians hunt near their lairs. In their home territory, mossmen blend into their surroundings, so opponents receive a -2 penalty to surprise rolls. Bryophytians will attack any form of animal life for food. Timid and cunning, mossmen will not only use their natural camouflage for ambush, they will also use other tricks or traps, preferring snares, pit traps, and deadfalls. Half of the mossmen in a group have 1 HD, while 25% have 2 HD. The rest are 3 or 4 HD (equal chances). For every 50 Bryophytians, there is a subchief with 5 HD and 1d4+1 bodyguards with 3 HD each. Each tribe of mossmen is led by a chief with 6 HD and 2d4 bodyguards with 4 HD each. Half of the Bryophytians encountered carry spears, while the others use clubs or go without weapons (equal chances). About half of all of their hunting parties are accompanied by a pack of Dire Bamboo as well. Mossmen settlements always hold 1-4 packs of Dire Bamboo.

Bryophytians form primitive, settled tribes. Mossmen live by scavenging and hunting. Their lairs are usually found in moist woodlands or marshes. Tribes are territorial. Bryophytians co-exist well with plant and fungus life. They often use Screech Bushes to guard their lairs, and mossmen native to the lair can pass by those Screech Bushes unnoticed.

Mutations: Abnormal Size, Carnivore, Free Movement, Full Senses

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mutant Monday

Changing things up a little, I'll be introducing a new robot type.

Tanktuar

An early offensive robot, Tanktuars resemble nothing more than Robo-Turrets mounted on a tracked tank chassis. Unlike their stationary bretheren, they have better armor, sensors, and improved offensive weaponry.

Hit Dice: 75
Frame: Armature
Locomotion: Treads
Manipulators: None
Armor: Neovulcanium (AC2)
Sensors: Class VI
Mental Programming: Programming
Accessories: loading mechanisms for its weaponry, internal storage unit full of ammunition.
Weaponry: Tanktuars are armed with a Cannon as their primary weapon and two Rail Gun Support Weapons (Wisdom from the Wastelands #3) for secondary use.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Barbarians of the Aftermath Review

For this review, I'll be covering Jabberwocky Media's Barbarians of the Aftermath.

Likes:
  • The book pretty much starts off with a way to randomly generate what type of apocalypse occurred, including how long ago it happened.
  • There was a good selection of races or "genotypes" in the game, including all the classics; standard humans, robots, mutant plants, mutant animals, and mutant humans.
  • There is a somewhat useful (if limited) section on PA names.
  • I like how the designers include various rules that can be taken and used piecemeal, allowing a GM to customize their post apocalypse further.
  • While I disliked several of the random table layouts intensely, I have to give notable mention to the Body Part table. It may take up two pages and have wasted space, but associating each table section with human body artwork helps in visualizations. (Sadly, some of the sub-tables here were a bit too limited.)
  • The inclusion of rules for vehicles, vehicle combat, and vehicle modifications.
  • A fair selection of equipment.
  • Riding Mounts, nice, but unfortunately too abstract in execution (needed examples of each type).
  • A decent random adventure generator (it suffers from the poor table layout problem, but is otherwise useful).

Dislikes:
  • While I have no likes or dislikes about the general mechanics (as I mentioned in my review of Mutant Future), and I generally don't comment on the layout of products, I found the layout of many of the tables in this book to be less than optimal, too much wasted space making the tables more difficult to navigate as a consequence.
  • While I like the apocalypse generation idea, I felt the execution was a little off in the time frame (i.e. how long ago the apocalypse occurred) portion, giving options that totally take away the post apocalyptic genre feel (mainly the last two options).
  • I also didn't particularly care for the "Sentient Species" table for the apocalypse generation section (determining how many species are present, not what types are present).
  • While there were many "Careers" present here, many of them didn't feel all that appropriate to giving the setting a post apocalyptic feel. Also, the "alternate titles" were often at odds with what the career was listed.
  • Sadly, the "awakened" mutant animal genotype suffers from extremely limited base animal data. Mutant plants suffer from the same problem, to a somewhat lesser degree.
  • I felt no real difference between the standard human and wastelander human genotypes (some mechanical differences, which moved the wastelanders more into mutant territory...making the genotype redundant).
  • Aside from my personal dislike of supernatural entities in post apocalyptic settings (I lean more toward sufficiently advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic, though I'll give a pass to psychic powers), they also felt short-changed, with several obvious options missing from the subtypes (demons/devils for one, and if you're going to have elves "elvar," you might as well throw in dwarves; lastly, if you've got vampires, why not werewolves (or werecreatures in general)).
  • While there are quite a few mutations, the layout and breakdown of the tables for them are so scattered and spread out (even the reference version in the back) as to make the tables almost useless. I feel this stems mainly from the D6 table types (1d6, 2d6, 3d6, etc.) limiting how the designers can form their table, though the physical layout compounds the problem.
  • The abstract usage of Equipment Points instead of a money or barter system. Sorry, I truly hate abstracted systems like this for equipment and treasure, it's not fun murderhoboing or scavenging the wastes for something that only has abstract value.
  • Lack of improvised, "junk" weapons and armor. There's sorta rules for it, but nothing concrete enough to satisfy me.
  • The limited selection of opponents (what is there is fair, a bit more generic than I prefer, but fits with the overall presentation, there just isn't enough).
  • While I generally prefer master reference tables for ease of GM use, the poor layout of tables used in this book doesn't really make them useful.

Overall, I'd have to say that there is some useful stuff here, but for the most part, poor layout decisions took out so much space that could have been better used for more examples and options. This book really only functions as a bare bones idea grab bag than a post apocalyptic RPG. Sadly, it also looks like too much work to really get a game going.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mutant Monday


Ginkgodzilla


No. Enc.: 0 (1-2)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 20
Attacks: 3 or 1 (2 claws, 1 bite or radiation breath)
Damage: 1D4/1D4/3D6 or Class 6 Radiation
Save: L10
Morale: 11
Hoard Class: VIIx3
XP: 6250

Gingkogodzilla is a mutated version of the gingko biloba tree, in the form of a towering 65-100' tall bipedal beast which bears more than a passing resemblance to a tyrannosaurus rex. Its great jaws are lined with sharp thorny teeth and it moves erect on its hind legs. It will attack anything that is man-sized or larger, preferring to attack the largest creature first.

If their attack roll is equal to or greater than 18, a victim is swallowed. A being that is swallowed takes 2d6 hit points of damage per round inside the gingkogodzilla. They are capable of emitting a lethal blast of class 6 radiation and are completely immune to all forms of radiation, and are very hard to injure due to a thick, bark armor covering their entire bodies.

Mutations: Energy Ray (Radiation), Carnivore, Natural Vegetal Weapons, Natural Plant Armor, Reflective Epidermis (radiation)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Mutant Monday


Gamma Yeast


No. Enc.: 1 (0)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 3' (1')
Armor Class: NA, no roll needed
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: 1
Damage: Class 6 Poison (6D6 damage)
Save: L1
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: None
XP: 65

This animate, viscous mutant yeast (Aureobasidium melanogenum) feeds on animals. It is typically found on or near small bodies of water and looks like dark green pond scum. Gamma Yeast senses movements through subtle vibrations, and will cling to an opponent who steps on it or touches it. Once in contact with a victim, the gamma yeast's dermal poison sap takes effect.

Once covering a victim, gamma yeast will will open a plane shift in 1d6 rounds, taking it and it's victim to another dimension. Because they have no real intelligence as such, the planar doorway stays open the full 6 rounds.

Gamma yeast is impervious to most attacks, but is susceptible to fire. The yest clings in such a way to make scraping it off ineffective. Note that if gamma yeast is burned while it is on a character, the damage from the fire is divided evenly between the yeast and the character.

Mutations: Abnormal Size (giant), Dermal Poison Sap, Plane Shift, Thermal Sensitivity (heat)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mutant Epoch Review

In this review, I'll be covering Outland Arts awesome "The Mutant Epoch" (though, as I saw somewhere on the net, I'll be dumping "The" from my title references to the game).

Likes:
  • The artwork, my gawd, the artwork. Even more amazing is the guy writing this game does the artwork as well.
  • Loads of outstanding racial options; Cyborgs, Pure Humans, Clones, Mutant Humans, Beastial Humans, and, of course, Ghost Mutants.
  • While many of the mutant monsters are based on animal stocks, the key thing is that they are often just based on the animal stock, being mutated versions of standard animals.
  • There are still other mutant monsters not directly drawn from animal stocks.
  • Fairly good equipment lists that don't feel like fantasy genre port-overs.
  • Free online resources and supplemental material.
  • A good selection of mutations, broken down into Prime, Creature, Ghost/Latent, Minor, & Flaw categories.
  • The inclusion of Implants.
  • Skills (sorry, I kinda like skill systems).
  • Character History by Caste (while not a "class" system, it does function well to give the character a sort of background focus, without limiting their further development).
  • The appendices; hex & graph paper, paper dice form!, and more.

Dislikes:
  • I personally don't care for the Trans-Human or Bioreplica races, though I have no problem with their inclusion.
  • The lack of Robot and Mutant Plant races was disappointing.
  • Likewise, the lack of mutant plants as mutant monsters was disappointing.
  • I felt there was somewhat of a lack of intelligent mutant monster foes, requiring the GM to roll up their own such foes like characters.
  • No Spidergoats :(
  • Gold/silver currency. (As a standard for relating the value of an object, I have no problem with monetary currencies. I'm also not advocating a total barter system, since there's too much fluctuation in valuing objects and services. I'd really prefer a more Fallout style approach where some (generally small & light, limited ocurrance, and hopefully useless for non-entertainment activities*) commodity is used to represent a currency.)
  • I do have to admit, I prefer the somewhat simpler breakdown of mutant powers found in Mutant Future, though I can understand why mutant humans, mutant animals, and mutant plants should have different mutations available (though I think the mental/ghost/latent mutations are more universal), and I have no problem separating out flaw/drawback/disadvantageous mutations from beneficial ones.
  • Lack of improvised, "junk" weapons and armor. While the setting in Mutant Epoch doesn't really reflect a survival-scavenging feel (It's more like murder hobo Excavator (or "adventurer," "explorer," "mercenary," etc.) based exploration and salvage), I can't help but want to see more improvised weapons and armor.
  • Limited setting information. While the basic setting is fairly well covered, I felt there needed to be more on useable locations to springboard from, as well as factions to work with or against.**

* Things like playing games with currency, hobby collection of certain types of currency, or other miscellaneous stuff; as opposed to say, having to use bullets in your firearm to fight, drink water to survive, etc.
** Though the Crossroads Region Gazetteer more than makes up for that, holy rusted ruins that thing is packed.