Monthly Archives: February 2012



You Should Be Used To Names Like That By Now

Wow, 20 days or so since I last posted? Well, I’ve been replying to comments, I updated Grammar For Gamers, and I’ve been active on some of the 5e boards over at WOTC, telling them what they’re doing wrong. Also, exercising, which has started to take an hour a day away from important things like writing blog entries while eating an entire bag of bacon-wrapped Cheetos.

Anyway, this is a creature which has been in the back of my mind for a while, but I was, surprisingly, stuck on the name… I kept thinking “Porcuboar”, which is obviously not acceptable, and it both astounds and depresses me how long it took for the bleedingly obvious “boarcupine” to emerge.

While the kangaruins are intended to be straightforward creatures, the boarcupine is more complex, as it changes its fighting style and general function when it’s bloodied, going from a quill-tossing piece of artillery to a vicious brute.

The usual caveat: Fresh off the keyboard, not a lot of editing, yadda yadda yadda.


Boarcupine (Artillery/Brute)

Level 16 Elite Artillery/Brute

Large natural beast (mammal)

XP 2,800

HP 252; Bloodied 126

AC 28; Fortitude 29; Reflex 28; Will 27

Speed 6

Saving Throws +2; Action Points 1

Initiative +13

Perception +10, low-light vision

O Prickly Defense • Aura 1
Any creature entering the aura, or starting its turn there, takes 2d6+4 damage. If doubles are rolled on this damage, the creature also takes 5 ongoing damage, save ends. If the first save fails and the target is in the aura, increase to 10 ongoing damage.
Raging Boar
When the Boarcupine is bloodied, it gains 64 temporary hit points, and its AC and Reflex defenses drop by 2. It also changes its abilities in ways noted in each affected power. Once it has been bloodied, it becomes Berserk. It does not lose this condition until the end of the encounter, even if it is healed back above Bloodied.
Standard Actions
m Gore • At-Will
Attack: Reach 2; +21 vs. AC
Hit: 3d10 + 8 damage. If the Boarcupine is Berserk, the damage increases to 4d10+10.
a Quill Toss • At-Will
Requirements: The Boarcupine must not be Berserk.
Attack: Area Burst 2 within 15 (All creatures in burst.); +20 vs. Reflex
Hit: 4d6 + 4 damage, and creature is slowed (save ends). If hit again by this power when still slowed, the condition becomes immobilized (save ends). .
M Trample • At-Will
Requirements: Must be Berserk.
Attack: +21 vs. AC; +2 bonus to attack rolls and +6 bonus to damage against prone targets.
Hit: 2d12 + 10 damage, and target is knocked prone. .
All Out Attack • At-Will
Requirements: Must not be Berserk.
Effect: The Boarcupine makes a Gore attack and a Quill Toss attack. The Quill Toss does not provoke an OA from any creature targeted by the Gore.
C Quill Burst • Recharge 4 5 6; recharge 6 if Berserk
Attack: Close Burst 3 (All creatures in burst); +21 vs. Reflex
Hit: 4d6 + 4 damage, and creature is blinded until the start of the boarcupine’s next turn.
M Tramplegore • At-Will
Requirements: Must be Berserk.
Effect: The boarcupine makes a trample and gore attack, against the same or different targets. If both attacks hit, it may shift half its speed.
Triggered Actions
Bloodied Burst • Encounter
Trigger: The boarcupine is bloodied for the first time in an encounter.
Effect (Immediate Reaction): Quill Burst immediately recharges, and the boarcupine uses it. In addition, the boarcupine become Berserk.
Skills Endurance +20, Intimidate +15
Str 24 (+15) Dex 21 (+13) Wis 15 (+10)
Con 24 (+15) Int 2 (+4) Cha 15 (+10)
Alignment unaligned     Languages

Boarcupines are massive creatures, usually 8-10 feet high at the shoulder. Their general form is that of a greatly enlarged boar, except that they are covered with a dense tangle of jagged quills, and usually have 2-6 tusks that jut in every direction.

Boarcupines are almost never seen with their own kind, except during mating season, when they will gather in the dense, temperate forests that are their homes and engage in violent battles in order to win attention from the females. After mating, the females will leave and raise their offspring away from the violent and territorial males; boarcupines are weaned within 6 months. Some groups of bloodgers will stalk pregnant females and try to capture the young within a week or two of birth; this is the only way to even partially domesticate them.

There are a number of herb and fungus mixes which can mimic particular scents which the boarcupine responds to, such as a female in heat or a male marking its territority. Races which dwell in the forests often use these to control or guide boarcupines, so they may be encountered as guards. Sometimes, female boarcupines are teamed with other creatures, sapient or otherwise, that have been scent-masked to seem to be her young.

Boarcupine Mounts: Bloodgers, and members of the Beast Legion and the Annihilation Army, sometimes manage to make mounts out of these beasts. Such creatures gain the “Mount” keyword, and the following powers:

Difficult Mount
When the boarcupine is Berserk, any rider must make an Easy Athletics or Nature check, with the DC based on the boarcupine’s level, to remain mounted. This check is a free action made at the start of the rider’s turn.


Painful Spur • Encounter
Requirements: Must be mounted by a rider of 16th level or higher.
Effect: As a Standard Action, the rider forces the boarcupine to perform a Quill Burst attack, even if the power has not recharged. After this, the power cannot recharge (even by Bloodied Burst) until the boarcupine has had a short rest.

(Generally, it’s best for riders to save Painful Spur until the boarcupine has been bloodied; otherwise, they lose the bonus recharge from Bloodied Burst, and, besides, Recharge 6 might as well be recharge never when you’re past bloodied — the fight will most likely only go another 2-3 rounds.)



As a creative type, I am often asked “Where do you get your ideas?” (Well, by ‘often’, I mean, ‘Often when I’m in a generic interview being read the same questions they ask everyone who fills out the form’.) I am even more often asked “Man, do you know how bad your stuff sucks?”, but that’s another issue. Anyway, to answer the first question (the answer to the second question is, by the way, ‘All too well.’), just about darn near everywhere, and surprisingly, not from really good drugs, which I suspect would be most people’s guess. Where was I? Oh yes. Ideas.

A week or two ago, I was watching a documentary on the problem of kangaroos invading Australia’s suburbs. Yes, I know that sounds like a Sci-Fi (sorry, ‘SyFy’) channel “original movie”, or the leadup to some sort of joke, but it’s actually a fairly major issue, as you have multi-hundred pound kangaroos roaming people’s backyards, standing in front of cars like a deer… erm… a kangaroo caught in the headlights, etc. On a few occasions, they’ve even broken into people’s homes, and one such news story got media attention and headlines referred to “ninja kangaroos”. My mind immediately got to work, and produced these critters for Earth Delta, which are not in any way ninja kangaroos. (I do intend to create some more rules for Kangaroid PCs, though… how did I leave those out, anyway? Then you could be a ninja kangaroo, except you’d need to use the monk rules, or the rogue, or something.)

From a design perspective, I wanted to keep these basic — even at higher levels, you need bread-and-butter monsters who just do a few simple things. I also had to embody the most iconic aspect of kangaroos, which is, of course, hoppity hopping all over the place. The two breeds, the kicker and the leaper, are slight variants on each other, power-wise, and their various “knock prone” abilities synergize well. This is deliberate; kangaroo collectives are called “mobs”, and so these creatures are designed to be used in groups, so that as soon as one has knocked an enemy prone, the others can move in and attack, taking advantage of their extra damage.

The “common mutations” section was inspired in two different ways. First, I knew I wanted some kind of “freaky-ass tail” variant; my original idea was to add a thagomizer, but I decided a sting worked better (no reason a DM can’t change that, of course — Earth Delta is all about the mix-and-match). The other was based on some cool fossils of extinct, carnivorous, kangaroos. The mechanic is designed to reflect the idea of coarse, irregular, teeth ripping open gaping, bleeding, wounds, and the restriction for “bloodied targets only” is really more fluff than anything else, but it’s always nice to have a couple of surprises to pull out, to have monster abilities change, even a little, as the fight progresses.

Oh, yeah, the usual disclaimers apply — this is all “fresh off the manuscript”, barely edited, never mind playtested, yadda yadda yadda.


Kangaroos are group-oriented herbivores that have proven themselves to be quite effective survivors as suburban sprawl engulfed them. After the Cataclysm, they had to adapt to deal with all manner of new and changed predators. They’ve mutated less than many creatures, but have still become much more powerful and dangerous than they once were.

The most common type of mutant kangaroo is known, simply, as the kangaruin. There are several variants and subspecies, and a typical mob will hold individuals of several types, all of which can interbreed freely. Kangaruins strongly resemble slightly larger, slightly rougher and more scraggly versions of their ancestors, with one interesting exception — their arms have shriveled to near-useless stubs.

Kangaruin Leaper

Kangaruin Leaper

Level 16 Skirmisher

Medium natural beast

XP 1,400

HP 154; Bloodied 77

AC 29; Fortitude 28; Reflex 30; Will 27

Speed 6, Jump 6

Initiative +17

Perception +12

Low-Light Vision

Kangaruins can clear obstacles up to 3 squares high as part of their move action if they jump.
Hop On Top
The kangaruin leaper does +2d6 damage against prone targets.
Tie Me Kangaroo Down
The kangaruin leaper has a +2 bonus on saves to end any immobilized, slowed, or restrained condition.
Standard Actions
m Kickback • At-Will
Attack: +21 vs. AC
Hit: 3d8 + 11 damage, and the kangaruin leaper can choose to either shift 2 squares away from the target, or knock the target prone.
Bouncing Kick • Encounter
Attack: +21 vs. AC; As part of this action, the kangaruin leaper may jump, perform the attack, and jump again, so long as the total distance jumped does not exceed its speed. (So jump 2 squares, kick, jump 4 squares, for example.) The kangaruin does not provoke opportunity attacks from the target of the kick, whether it hits or now.
Hit: 3d8 + 11.
Triggered Actions
Out Of The Way • Recharge 5 6
Trigger: An enemy charges the kangaruin leaper and makes a melee attack. This power triggers after the attack roll is made.
Effect (Immediate Interrupt): The kangaruin gains +4 to all defenses against the source of the triggering attack. If the attack misses, the kangaruin and the attacker swap places, and the attacker falls prone.
Skills Athletics +18
Str 20 (+13) Dex 24 (+15) Wis 18 (+12)
Con 18 (+12) Int 2 (+4) Cha 15 (+10)
Alignment unaligned     Languages

The leaper’s mutations include dozens of small changes to muscle fiber, bone structure, and neural speed, making it fantastically agile and responsive, easily battering down enemies and then kicking them to bloody pulp.

Kangaruin Kicker

Kangaruin Kicker

Level 16 Brute

Medium natural beast

XP 1,400

HP 194; Bloodied 97

AC 28; Fortitude 30; Reflex 27; Will 27

Speed 6, Lump 4

Initiative +12

Perception +10

Low-Light Vision

Hop On Top
The kangaruin does +2d6 damage against prone targets.
Tie Me Kangaroo Down
The kangaruin kicker has a +4 bonus to Athletics checks to escape being grappled, and a +2 bonus on saves to end any immobilized, slowed, or restrained condition.
Standard Actions
m Hard Kick • At-Will
Attack: +21 vs. AC
Hit: 4d8 + 14 damage, and the target is knocked prone.
c Tail Swipe • Encounter
Attack: Close Burst 3 (All enemies in burst); +19 vs. Reflex
Hit: 3d10 + 10 damage, and the targets are knocked prone.
Triggered Actions
M Frantic Attack • At-Will
Trigger: The kangaruin kicker is bloodied.
Effect (Immediate Reaction): The kangaruin kicker makes a hard kick attack at all adjacent enemies, at a -2 to hit, but +5 to damage. .
Skills Athletics +18
Str 21 (+13) Dex 18 (+12) Wis 15 (+10)
Con 24 (+15) Int 2 (+4) Cha 15 (+10)
Alignment unaligned     Languages

Kickers are larger, tougher, and slightly slower members of kangaruin packs. They are even more difficult to restrain than their leaper cousins, and somewhat prone to panic if seriously injured. Typically, a kicker will start attacking an enemy, then, once it’s been battered to the ground, leapers will… erm… leap in, and finish it off.

Common Mutations

M Scorpion Sting (poison) • Encounter
Attack: +19 vs. Fortitude
Hit: 6d6 + 3 poison damage, and the target is slowed (save ends).
First Failed Saving Throw: Target falls prone (save ends).

The kangaruin’s tail ends with a large stinger, capable of injecting a poison that causes dizziness in addition to searing pain.

m I Ate A Dingoes Baby • At-Will
Requirements: Bloodied creatures only.
Attack: +21 vs. AC
Hit: 3d8 + 5 and ongoing 5 damage (save ends). If injured again by this power before saving, the ongoing damage increases to 10.

The kangaruin has developed sharp, jagged, nasty teeth. It will not use them in combat against an enemy unless that enemy is badly injured, then a bloodlust overwhelms it and it attacks. It likes to bite at the same place again and again, tearing the wound open.