Category Archives: Monsters

Assorted creatures, mostly for D&D 4e.

Prairie Lobsters

Prairie Lobsters

Since semi-regular updates of this site are generally considered a sign of the apocalypse, it is only fitting that I continue with more snippets from my apocalyptic RPG, Earth Delta, which is intended for use with Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition, and damn straight that awkward phrasing is there mostly to get google to be aware this site sort of exists.

Since a major chunk of “completing paragon tier” is “finishing the monster list”, that’s where I’ve been putting a lot of my attention. I’d been contemplating some sort of mutant lobster for a while, and then, suddenly, the phrase “prairie lobster” popped into my head, and I rolled with it.

Some design notes: Mostly, these are intended as “baseline” critters — the kind of bog-standard things you need at various levels to fill niches. Exotically powered and specialized monsters are way cool, but if everything is an insane pile of custom one-off mechanics, the game becomes unplayable. At the same time, I want to try to make them feel right for their nature and not be trivial reskins of any other creature. So the prairie lobster doesn’t mark, per se; it grabs you, and if you stop struggling against it for an instant (to attack something else), it gives you a little extra pinch. Its ability to grab and hold two targets, coupled with its size and reach, lets it do a lot to make enemies choose to take it down first.

The riding lobster was actually where my mind first started; I just had this image of a cowboy type, rolling a cigarette as the sun set in the west, while his armored and clawed mount plodded along. The yunguns are there because you can always use some more minions, and I like “ecologies”, where different creatures in the same category can have roles that make a kind of sense, even if what we’re discussing is horse-sized lobsters that have decided to live like buffalo. It’s not how ridiculous your premise is that matters; it’s how you play out the consequences. I also like the image of swarms of lobsters, about the size of large dogs, bounding playfully around the prairies, tearing random passers-by to pieces with their claws.

You will note I resisted the urge to give them Vulnerability 10 butter.

(As with a lot of this “Preview” stuff, this is hot off the presses, literally created only a few minutes before posting, and may be even more typo-riddled and unbalanced than my usual stuff, to the extent that’s even possible.)

It’s my hope that I’ll post a PDF addendum to this article, that will have the critters more properly formatted; for now, you’ll need to make do with what WordPress does to Word.


 

Lobsters

Lobsters are tough and ill-tempered critters, while also being notably delicious. Their giant fighting claws make them naturally threatening, especially when increased dramatically in size and given the ability to confront man more directly, whether in the ruined cities that line the coastal regions, or wandering the great plains… hey, man, this game has flying grizzly bears with laser eyes. You can deal with prairie lobsters.

Prairie Lobsters

Much like the hoppertank, prairie lobsters are oversized arthropods who have undergone dramatic transformations in lifestyle. They are found in many of the fertile grassy plains of the world, especially the Purple Plains and the Ghostgrass Expanses. They are primarily omnivorous grazers, devouring many types of grass and the insects and other creatures that live on them, but they can and will eat larger prey if they catch it. They are especially good at rooting out smaller burrowing animals, and if a herd moves into cultivated land, it can be devastating if they are not driven off. They compete with hoppertanks for many of the same feeding grounds, and if the hoppertanks’ greater mobility fails them, they will be torn apart and devoured with gusto.

Some prairie lobsters have been captured young and trained as mounts; see “Mounts”.

Prairie Lobster Adult

Prairie Lobster Adult

Level 15 Soldier

Large natural beast (mutant, arthropod)

XP 1,200

HP 148; Bloodied 74AC 32; Fortitude 28; Reflex 27; Will 24Speed 5Resist 10 cold

Initiative +12

Perception +10

Low-Light Vision

Standard Actions
m Pincers • At-Will
Requirements: Must have less than two targets grabbed.
Attack: Reach 2; +20 vs. AC
Hit: 3d8 + 7 damage.
Grabbing Pincers • At-Will
Requirements: Must have less than 2 targets grabbed.
Attack: Reach 2; +20 vs. AC
Hit: 3d8 + 7 damage, and target is grabbed until escape or until the lobster lets them go. The prairie lobster can grab up to two targets. While grabbed, if the target makes an attack that does not include the prairie lobster, it takes 10 points of damage as an immediate interrupt.
M Squeeze • At-Will
Attack: (Make a separate attack against each grabbed target.); +19 vs. Fortitude
Hit: 2d8 + 7 damage, and ongoing 5 damage (save ends). If the target is already taking ongoing damage from this attack, it increases to ongoing 10 damage (save ends).
Triggered Actions
M Fury of Clacks • Encounter
Trigger: When first bloodied.
Effect (Immediate Reaction): The prairie lobster adult makes a pincer attack against all non-prairie lobsters in range (Reach 2). It will drop anyone it has grabbed prior to doing so as part of this action.
Skills Endurance +17
Str 26 (+15) Dex 17 (+10) Wis 17 (+10)
Con 20 (+12) Int 1 (+2) Cha 14 (+9)
Alignment unaligned     Languages

Adult prairie lobsters (it is nigh-impossible for anyone who isn’t an expert to tell male from female, and no one cares too much) travel the plains in herds of ten to twenty, usually surrounded by a small cloud of leaping, clattering “yunguns” whom they will try to protect from predators. Prairie lobsters are quite aggressive towards all other species, and will snap and make threatening displays at any creature that gets too close; if this does not work, a few of them will dash forward from the herd to dispatch the enemy. When badly injured, they tend to go mad, lashing out at everything in sight that isn’t a prairie lobster.

Prairie Lobster Yungun

Prairie Lobster Yunguns

Level 14 Minion Skirmisher

Small natural beast (mutant, arthropod)

XP 250

HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minionAC 31; Fortitude 26; Reflex 31; Will 22Speed 8

Initiative +17

Perception +9

Low-Light Vision

Traits
Group Attack
If a yungun has damaged the target this round, the pincer attack does +2 damage.
Standard Actions
m Pincers • At-Will
Attack: +19 vs. AC
Hit: 9 damage and see “Group Attack”.
Free Actions
Skittersnap • Encounter
Effect: The prairie lobster yungun may shift 2 squares after making a pincer attack.
Skills Acrobatics +20
Str 17 (+10) Dex 26 (+15) Wis 14 (+9)
Con 20 (+12) Int 1 (+2) Cha 14 (+9)
Alignment unaligned     Languages

Yunguns (no one is quite sure of the derivation of the word; some scholars feel it comes from the language of the Eastern Dragons, who, it is said, had great influence on the Merkan lands) are immature prairie lobsters, and usually travel with the herds, protected by their elders. Active, curious, and playful, they often explore in small groups, bounding and leaping across the amethyst waves of grain that cover much of the Central Merkan Plains. Their shells are remarkably hard, and an unwary traveler who finds himself surrounded may be torn to bloody gobbets by their claws. They are also extremely tasty when grilled over a fire, so everyone from wastelanders to armies of the Beast Legions on the march eagerly hunt them if they have wandered too far from their protective pack.

Riding Lobster

Riding Lobster

Level 14 Soldier

Large natural beast (mutant, arthropod, mount)

XP 1,000

HP 140; Bloodied 70AC 30; Fortitude 26; Reflex 26; Will 23Speed 7Resist  cold

Initiative +12

Perception +10

Low-Light Vision

Traits
Scary Mount
When mounted by a trained rider of 14th level or higher, the riding lobster grants a +2 to Intimidate checks made by that rider.
Standard Actions
m Pincers • At-Will
Attack: Reach 2; +19 vs. AC
Hit: 3d8 + 6 damage.
Hold ’em, Boy! (mount) • At-Will
Requirements: Must not be grabbing a creature.
Attack: Reach 2; +19 vs. AC
Hit: 3d8 + 7 damage, and target is grabbed until escape or until the lobster lets them go. The grabbed target grants combat advantage to a rider of 14th level or higher mounted on the Riding Lobster.
M Squeeze • At-Will
Attack: (One grabbed target.); +17 vs. Fortitude
Hit: 2d8 + 6 damage, and ongoing 5 damage (save ends). If the target is already taking ongoing damage from this attack, it increases to ongoing 10 damage (save ends).
Skills Endurance +17
Str 26 (+15) Dex 17 (+10) Wis 17 (+10)
Con 20 (+12) Int 2 (+3) Cha 14 (+9)
Alignment unaligned     Languages

Riding lobsters are prairie lobsters trained from hatching to serve as mounts. They are fed a special diet that makes them slightly smaller and much faster than their kin, at the cost of shrinking one of their claws to virtual uselessness. While most range in color from dark green to olive green, a few scholars have found that feeding selected plants to them while young can change this coloration, producing brightly colored individuals who can be very distinctive. Some bloodger knights are known to have them bred in colors matching their personal heraldry, as have some Beast Legion commanders.

Riding lobsters almost never have additional mutations.

Common Mutations

Hypnotic Shell: Some prairie lobster adults have shells which ripple in coruscating colors. This unusual effect increases in speed and intensity when the prairie lobster is in combat, and it can be hard to look away. So… pretty…. It gains the following attack.

Minor Actions
C Hypnotic Shell (charm) • Recharge 6
Attack: (All non-prairie lobsters in burst.); +4 vs. Will
Hit: Target grants combat advantage to all enemies (save ends). While this condition persists, the prairie lobster can slide one affected target one square as a free action on the start of its turn. .

Venomclaw: A few prairie lobsters have evolved poison sacks in their claws. When they squeeze a target, they also inject a poison that causes partial paralysis, making it especially difficult to escape the beast’s claws or to flee far if they do.

Venomclaw
When a target is hit by the prairie lobster’s squeeze attack, it is slowed and suffers a -4 to Athletics and Acrobatics checks (save ends both). This is a poison effect. This is a different saving throw than the ongoing damage.

 

 

EXTERMINATE!

The tagline of this site is “Old School Attitude, Modern Rules”. (Not, as some would have it, “Updates on a roll of 18+ on 2D10”) A big part of the feel of “Old School” is “Anything that’s cool is included”, and “cool” usually meant whatever was in the movies or at the top of the nerd reading list for that week. Dungeons & Dragons campaigns in the 1970s and 1980s were full of wookies and kzinti, phasers and lightsabers, aliens and predators, ninjas and more ninjas. A lot of that great and glorious wahooness has been lost in recent decades, or is brought back only so that it can be snickered at with a superior attitude and/or played purely for laughs (see the execrable “Castle Greyhawk” module published by TSR for AD&D 2e, as repugnant an attempt to piss on Gary’s legacy as I can imagine).

Me, I prefer unironic, unexamined, embrasure of the 14 year old within. Since Doctor Who hadn’t made it across the pond in most of the early era of D&D, or was sneered at by the kind of Very Serious Fans who might have heard of it (if they watched anything British, it would be Blake’s Seven), there was very little inclusion of Dr. Who material in things like Arduin or All The World’s Monsters. So, we set the gaming TARDIS to take the “That which is cool, rules” attitude of the 1970s and merge it, via a chronal transpacial rift in idea space, with the mechanics of the 2010s, and I present the first of several Daleks, statted for 4e. (There will be at least one solo “Dalek Commander”, and probably a non-elite, maybe two, but I wanted to get one mid-range “model” out first.)

Dalek

Killer Fractals

Killer Fractal Of The First Iteration

Never let it be said I do not provide actual content anymore, as opposed to long rants about how I changed +2 to +1 and then back to +2 again. In the course of my Earth Delta development work, I realized I was really shy of 1st level monsters not too tightly bound to Cataclysm Cults. So in addition to everything else, I’ve been buffing up the monster lists, and somehow the phrase “killer fractal” got stuck in my head. Possibly due to listening to too much Coulton. Anyway, for once, the leap from “idea” to “implementation” was not particularly painful.

With a small amount of reflavoring, this can easily be a creature from the Far Realm for those of you playing “standard” Fourth Edition D&D.

Actual stat block and description after the break!

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Ooze Dragon

Ooze Dragon

It is difficult to say with certainty precisely how the creatures known as Ooze Dragons came to be. The dominant theory is that they were created by the Demon Lord of Slimes, most likely in mockery of a certain former demon who managed to jump herself up to godhood via the worship of the chromatic dragons. Another theory is that the first Ooze Dragon was an accident, the result of a battle between a dragon and an ooze, most likely a black pudding, in some area of high and wild magic.

Ooze Dragons, while sapient, are not very bright. They are among the stupidest of the dragons, and their soft, malleable bodies are more revolting than fearsome. An Ooze Dragon cannot even fly — its wings are great sheets of slime, constantly dripping, and they cannot catch or hold the air. It can, however, slowly climb up or down almost any surface.

Like all dragons, Ooze Dragons enjoy their hordes, but their acidic bodies reduce most treasure to useless goop. Any items which survive are likely either ceramic, some jewels, or powerful magic. The most intelligent of Ooze Dragons will actually have their hordes managed and maintained by servants, usually kobolds who can’t find a more respectable dragon to grovel under.

Ooze Dragons are asexual. They reproduce via the Ooze Drakes which split off from their bodies when they are wounded. Very rarely, an Ooze Drake will slither away from its "parent" and will, eventually, become an Ooze Dragon Wyrmling and then age normally.

 

Full stat blocks for the Ooze Dragon and his Ooze Drakes after the break!

(A side note — I’ve been using image files instead of text blocks due to nightmares with trying to paste the formatted text into my Joomla editor. I hope this isn’t problematic for anyone.)

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Violet Dragon

Violet Dragon

For details on how and why this beast came to be, please read Dragons and Dungeons.

Violet Dragons are curious and strange beasts, possibly a form of elemental dragon. They are extremely rare, and are sometimes confused with Purple Dragons, though there is, in fact, no relation. They are, as one might expect, a deep violet in hue, with the tone deepening and darkening with age, from an almost lavender shade as wyrmlings to a deep, dark, color, nearing black, for an elder wyrm. They are distinguished by the single row of sharp ridged plates which line their back, plates which crackle with energy even when the Violet Dragon is at rest, which is not often.

Violet Dragons are extremely active. While most dragons are content to sit in their lairs and count their coins, venturing out only occasionally to hunt, terrorize, or command, Violet Dragons will venture forth daily. A few have no lairs at all, but roam the world, demanding and then destroying tribute from whatever areas of civilization they pass. The breath of a violet dragon destroys magic, and once an item has been rendered inert by this beast’s exhalations, it can devour the essence of it. Unlike some creatures, such as rust monsters, there is no residuum storage within the dragon; whatever process it uses leaves nothing behind. Thus, Violet Dragons are seen as a true test of courage for would-be dragon slayers, as those who face it risk more than their lives — they risk their magic items! (In a world where Raise Dead scrolls are cheap and +5 swords are not, property is indeed worth more than life itself!)

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Underdweller: Cryptguard and Gravepriest

Underdweller Cryptguard And Gravepriest

Two more Underdwellers!

The Cryptguard is a reasonable fighter in his own right, but his real strength is as a guardian for his allies — he is hard to get past if properly positioned, and if he sees a friend perish nearby, his fury is quite painful.

The Gravepriest can fling bolts of solidified necrotic energy, as well as sapping the strength of nearby enemies and giving his allies the power to grwo strong from the blood of their foes.

General notes on Underdwellers are here: Anthrophagi Of The Undercities

 

Underdweller Cryptguard

Level 8 Soldier

Medium natural humanoid

XP 350

Initiative

+8 Senses Perception +11
HP 86; Bloodied 43
AC 24; Fortitude 21; Reflex 20; Will 20
Speed 6

m

Claw (standard; at-will) • Poison

+15 vs. AC; 2d6 + 5 damage, and ongoing 5 poison damage (save ends).

Lunging Slash (no action; at-will)

The Underdweller Cryptguard may make opportunity attacks against any enemy which shifts in a square adjacent to him.

M

Eviscerating Fury (immediate reaction; at-will)

Trigger: An ally of the Cryptguard is reduced to 0 hit points by an enemy adjacent to the Cryptguard. Effect: The Cryptguard may make two claw attacks against the triggering character.

Tendon Slash (standard; encounter)

+13 vs. Fortitude; 4d8 + 5 damage, and ongoing 5 poison damage and target is immobilized (save ends both). Aftereffect: Target is slowed (save ends).

Alignment

Unaligned

Languages

Common

Skills

Athletics +15, Dungeoneering +11

Str

22 (+10)

Dex

14 (+6)

Wis

14 (+6)

Con

14 (+6)

Int

10 (+4)

Cha

14 (+6)

Equipment

Scavenged Chain

 

Underdweller Gravepriest

Level 10 Controller (Leader)

Medium natural humanoid

XP 500

Initiative

+7 Senses Perception +8; darkvision
HP 102; Bloodied 51
AC 24; Fortitude 21; Reflex 22; Will 24
Immune Disease; Resist 5 Necrotic
Speed 6

m

Claws (standard; at-will)

+15 vs. AC; 1d8 + 5 damage, and 5 ongoing poison damage.

R

Screaming Bolt (standard; at-will) • Necrotic

+14 vs. Will; 2d6 + 5 and target is pushed 2 squares.

C

Miasmic Mists (standard; recharge 5 6) • Poison

Burst 3; +14 vs. Fortitude; 2d6 + 5 damage, and 5 ongoing poison damage and target grants Combat Advantage. (save ends both).

Blood into Life (no action; at-will)

Any ally of the Gravepriest who is within 10 squares of him may take a Move action to gain 5 temporary hit points if they are adjacent to a bloodied foe.

Alignment

Unaligned

Languages

Skills

Arcana +13, History +13

Str

14 (+7)

Dex

15 (+7)

Wis

17 (+8)

Con

14 (+7)

Int

17 (+8)

Cha

20 (+10)

 

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Underdweller: Cryptguard and Gravepriest

Underdweller Cryptguard And Gravepriest

Two more Underdwellers!

The Cryptguard is a reasonable fighter in his own right, but his real strength is as a guardian for his allies — he is hard to get past if properly positioned, and if he sees a friend perish nearby, his fury is quite painful.

The Gravepriest can fling bolts of solidified necrotic energy, as well as sapping the strength of nearby enemies and giving his allies the power to grwo strong from the blood of their foes.

General notes on Underdwellers are here: Anthrophagi Of The Undercities

 

Underdweller Cryptguard

Level 8 Soldier

Medium natural humanoid

XP 350

Initiative

+8 Senses Perception +11
HP 86; Bloodied 43
AC 24; Fortitude 21; Reflex 20; Will 20
Speed 6

m

Claw (standard; at-will) • Poison

+15 vs. AC; 2d6 + 5 damage, and ongoing 5 poison damage (save ends).

Lunging Slash (no action; at-will)

The Underdweller Cryptguard may make opportunity attacks against any enemy which shifts in a square adjacent to him.

M

Eviscerating Fury (immediate reaction; at-will)

Trigger: An ally of the Cryptguard is reduced to 0 hit points by an enemy adjacent to the Cryptguard. Effect: The Cryptguard may make two claw attacks against the triggering character.

Tendon Slash (standard; encounter)

+13 vs. Fortitude; 4d8 + 5 damage, and ongoing 5 poison damage and target is immobilized (save ends both). Aftereffect: Target is slowed (save ends).

Alignment

Unaligned

Languages

Common

Skills

Athletics +15, Dungeoneering +11

Str

22 (+10)

Dex

14 (+6)

Wis

14 (+6)

Con

14 (+6)

Int

10 (+4)

Cha

14 (+6)

Equipment

Scavenged Chain

 

Underdweller Gravepriest

Level 10 Controller (Leader)

Medium natural humanoid

XP 500

Initiative

+7 Senses Perception +8; darkvision
HP 102; Bloodied 51
AC 24; Fortitude 21; Reflex 22; Will 24
Immune Disease; Resist 5 Necrotic
Speed 6

m

Claws (standard; at-will)

+15 vs. AC; 1d8 + 5 damage, and 5 ongoing poison damage.

R

Screaming Bolt (standard; at-will) • Necrotic

+14 vs. Will; 2d6 + 5 and target is pushed 2 squares.

C

Miasmic Mists (standard; recharge 5 6) • Poison

Burst 3; +14 vs. Fortitude; 2d6 + 5 damage, and 5 ongoing poison damage and target grants Combat Advantage. (save ends both).

Blood into Life (no action; at-will)

Any ally of the Gravepriest who is within 10 squares of him may take a Move action to gain 5 temporary hit points if they are adjacent to a bloodied foe.

Alignment

Unaligned

Languages

Skills

Arcana +13, History +13

Str

14 (+7)

Dex

15 (+7)

Wis

17 (+8)

Con

14 (+7)

Int

17 (+8)

Cha

20 (+10)

 

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Underdweller Harvester

Underdweller Harvester

The harvesters are the most commonly encountered Underdwellers, as they must venture near to the surface to retrieve the newly buried before the meat is lost to rats and others. Their claws are rich in painful pestilences, and they are expert at hiding in the shadowy niches that fill the twisting catacombs. Despite their gaunt appearance, they are surprisingly strong.

Tactics

Harvesters travel in groups in order to bring back as many corpses as possible. If they hear the updwellers approach, they will hide and then attack, bringing especially fresh meat back to their clan. Often, one will use his Terrible Grasp on an enemy when the others are best positioned to attack. The Impaling Pick power is mostly used to deter pursuit or to hold back one foe while they swarm another.

 

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Rotscale Dragon

Rotscale Dragon

The design notes and thought process which led to this beast are here.

The Rotscale Dragon is a massive creature of vile decay. Bone shows through in many spots, and it seems impossible that its tattered wings could possibly hole it aloft. Despite maggot-filled and hollow eyesockets, it keenly sense prey, and mindlessly attacks whatever it is commanded to by its master. (Masterless Rotscales obey a vague, distant, memory of an instinct, and seek out a "lair" which they fill with "treasure", all foul and disgusting beyond compare — rotting corpses, sewage-encrusted statues, and similar "valuables". At least one Rotscale found itself inexplicably worshipped by some very dim kobolds who thought they’d found a dracolich.)

Click to see the stats!

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