Staring at Monsters – The Alp (2)

Ok, here are two ideas how to use Alps as the centerstone of an adventure:

When the metropolis of Immarion was settled by the humans that had survived the end of Veldenia, they couldn’t know that this would awake the vengeful ghosts of a past war. Only when a sudden outbreak of a strange illness befalls several members of the small human community, old ship’s doctor Haydriff suspects that there is more behind it and contacts a group of adventurers to find a cure for that illness.

Comments: I hinted at that in my last post, but the idea is the elven metropolis suffered vast destruction in the last war between elves and humans. A lot of Immarion’s inhabitants suffered a grueling fate and some of them became Alps. Now, when their ancient home is suddenly inhabited by their old enemy, they seek revenge. I could imagine one of the still living elves being the mastermind behind that attack, because he can’t stand the thought of his old home being desecrated by human presence

The little town of Yonder is threatened by a hunger crisis when the farmers around that town report, that their cows have stopped giving milk and smaller livestock is found crushed to dead on the meadows, without any obvious hints why this would happen. Investigations show that there’s only one farmer whose cattle is totally unaffected by those events, and it doesn’t take the other residents of that area long to suspect him of being the culprit behind that catastrophe. Fearing for his life, farmer Padley asks a group of adventurers to protect his life and to find out who or what’s the real villain behind these events.

Comments: For this idea, I imagine that this adventure starts at a time when the humans have returned to their old home continent. No one knows that Yonder lies where once a human city stood that fell prey to the devastation of the Cataclysm and became a mass grave for its inhabitants. Here I think I could easily use the shape-shifting aspect of the Alps, and to solve the riddle, the PCs might have to find out where those Alps came from and put their poor souls to rest to save the still living. Oh yeah, and why is the farm of Old Padley the only one not to be affected by the curse?

Word Count: 396

per/day: 340 (well, this needs to get better ^^)

Staring at Monsters – The Alp

In my last post, I said I would steal a lot from other bloggers, even if it’s only the idea. One such idea stems from The Daily Bestiary by Blogger Patch, a blog that goes through diverse Bestiaries since 2011, taking one monster at a time, commenting on their backgrounds and powers and then adding their own adventure ideas, 3 at a time. Initially, I thought about just taking those ideas and fleshing them out a bit (something I still might do), but then I thought I could give it a try myself and do my own adventure spark stuff. Apart from that, Patch started with the original Paizo Bestiary, and the first entry in it just happens to be the Aasimar, so I was willing to take that as an excuse to start with the much more recent Bestiary 6 instead.

Which has the Alp as it’s first entry, an old mythological creature whose name’s related to the English „elf“ that sits on a sleeper’s chest at night, causing them to have nightmares (which is „Alptraum“ in German) and drinking it’s victim’s blood. Originally thought off as a nature god, the Alp would turn into a demon in the middle ages, and it’s easy to see how the stories around it might be early predecessors of what would eventually become the vampire. While doing a bit of research on that topic, I also stumbled about an interesting article about sleep paralysis, which I found very enlightening and that also theorized about the existence of those creatures being early explanations for that phenomenon.

John_Henry_Fuseli_-_The_Nightmare

By Johann Heinrich Füssliwartburg.eduimage, common license, Link

It is easy to see how the bestiary entry turn’s this creature’s traits into monster abilities. The Alp (CR 10) has several spell-like abilities like Deep Slumber and Nightmare, it can turn invisible via Greater Invisibility (in folklore, the Alp is often narrated as wearing a Tarnkappe, like King Alberich from the Nibelungenlied used to, before he lost it to Sigfried. It has a bite attack, draining it’s victims blood, and with the special abilities Crushing Leap and Nightmare Rider, it is able to pin and grapple it’s victim, making itself so heavy in the process that the victim gets serious problems with breathing. It even can shape-change into several smaller animals.

What I find interesting is that the entry makes the Alp‘ alignment into a Chaotic Neutral rather than an Evil entity. And in fact, mythology hints at Alps being able to be negotiated with, and while being mischievous in nature, they are not necessarily out to kill other beings, which I think would make for a rather interesting approach to a scenario, in which the PCs have to use their brains rather than their swords to get rid of such a beast.

But you know what? I already have nearly used all my 500 words for today, and one thing I want to avoid very much for the time being is to go over that limit, so my adventure ideas must wait until tomorrow, which also means that I’ll have another 500 words and can do a bit more than short online descriptions.

Word count day 1: 517.

Motivating Monsters – The Giant toxic sponge

I hope that this will be the first in a series of articles taking a monster as inspiration for adventure and/or encounter creation. Monsters are one of the things D&D made me most exited about and to this day, I have problems to ignore monster books no matter the system they are written for. So there are already a lot of critters out there waiting for me to mull over them.

toxic-spongeOut of curiosity (once again), I picked up Octopus Games‘ Free Monster of November 2015, the Giant toxic sponge. This CR 5 monster lives at the bottom of the sea and is surprisingly mobile for a sponge. Main abilities are Siphon, with which the sponge creates a current drawing its prey towards itself and Swallow Whole (up two two creatures). Its Toxic Aura causes acid damage and may poison its prey. As long as you’re interested in underwater adventuring, it’s actually a nice little critter and the only thing I’d probably change is the poison-induced ability damage (from DEX to STR; the Save against the Siphon ability is strength-based so it would make sense to me if the Toxic Aura would attack the same ability, making the monster a little bit nastier .

And as this is what I’m most interested in (thinking about how to use the stuff I’m reading about), here are some ideas how to use the Giant toxic sponge.

1. The PCs are tasked to retrieve some treasure from a ship sunk before the coast during a heavy storm. Unluckily, the ship’s body has been infested by a pair of Giant toxic sponges feeding from the fauna living near the wrack. They won’t surely mind greater prey (like some meaty PCs for example who will literally have to go through the sponges to get what they came for.

2. When some townspeople go missing and the local authorities aren’t able to find any clues about their whereabouts, the PCs are hired to solve this riddle by the brother of a wealthy merchant who hasn’t been seen for several days. Hints point to a nearby lake and the PCs may find that the missed persons fell prey to a giant advanced toxic sponge. How did a salt water creature get into a sweet-water lake. And how is it able to survive there? The answers to these questions may lead to a mass murderer on the loose thinking he had found a way to commit the perfect crime.

3. For mysterious reasons a portal to the water plane opened in a big mountain cave looming over a little town. Poisonous Water pouring through the portal threatens to destroy the town but finding a way to close the portal involves exploring the cave. Meaning to handle the creatures coming through the portal as well as handling the portal itself which seems to be a gigantic living creature drawing the water out of the plane of water onto the material plane.

[Werkstatt]Bewohner Tetherils – Die Waldmenschen

Kleines Vorwort: Tetheril ist der Arbeitsname für meine Kampagnenwelt, die mir schon seit Jahren im Kopf rumschwirrt, ohne dass ich über ein paar Konzeptarbeiten hinaus ernsthaft daran gearbeitet hätte. Nun missbrauche ich also den Blog als Notizbuch für Ideen für mein Setting, natürlich in der Hoffnung darauf, auf mögliche Fehler hingewiesen zu werden. Als Vorlage für meinen Waldmenschen dienten übrigens die Abandoned aus dem ersten Monsterhandbuch, das unter der OGL für das d20-System erschien, nämlich der Creature Collection von Sword&Sorcery, dem d20-Label von White Wolf. Ich hab die stats nach Pathfinder konvertiert (und dabei etwas modifiziert), der Hintergrund hat mit dem der bereits auf das eigene Setting Scarred Lands abzielenden Vorlage aber nichts mehr zu tun. Dennoch Ehre, wem Ehre gebührt.

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Waldmensch

Die Waldmenschen bewohnen die bewaldeten Hänge des Ahsenmassivs. Aufgrund ihrer ungeheuren Körperlänge oft auch als „Waldriesen“ bezeichnet, leben sie zurückgezogen in kleinen Familien oder Stammesverbänden weitab jeder Zivilisation. Sie sind scheu, und werden daher als feige unterschätzt, was ein gefährlicher Fehlschluss sein kann, wie schon so mancher Jäger feststellen musste, dem sie seine Beute abzunehmen versuchten.

Die Existenz der Waldmenschen war den Veldenen lange unbekannt. Erst die Gründung der Adlerfeste und damit verbunden die Erkundung der umliegenden Gebirgsregion führte zu ersten Sichtungen. Zunächst hielt man die Waldmenschen für eine kleine Unterart eines Riesenvolkes, doch lassen unterdes gemacht archäologische Funde wie auch ihre eigentümliche Sprache, die eine entfernte Verwandschaft zur Ursprache der Menschen aufweist, nur den Schluss zu, dass die Waldmenschen ursprünglich menschlichen Ursprungs sein müssen. Veldenische Wissenschaftler haben deswegen sogar die Vermutung aufgestellt, dass es sich bei den Waldmenschen um degenerierte Nachkommen der Mendaraner handeln müsse, was den Schluss nahelegen würde, dass man der verlorengegangenen Heimat der Menschen auf die Spur gekommen sei.

Waldmenschen werden bis zu 3 m groß. Ihre Körper sind nahezu völlig von fellartigem, graubraunem Haar bedeckt, so dass sie mit ihrer heimischen Umgebung beinahe zu verschmelzen scheinen, wenn sie unentdeckt bleiben wollen. Sie tragen keine Kleidung, fertigen aber manchmal aus den Zähnen von Raubtieren, die sie erschlagen mussten, um ihre Beute zu verteidigen, einfache Ketten an.

Fremden gegenüber sind sie misstrauisch. Meist versuchen sie, Kontakten aus dem Weg zu gehen und reagieren äußerst angriffslustig, wenn ihnen das nicht möglich ist. Über ihre Lebensweise ist daher nur bekannt, sie gelten aber als primitiv und werden von den Veldenen eher als intelligente Tiere als Verwandte betrachtet. Meist lässt man sie aber in Ruhe, solange sie sich von den Berghöfen und Erzminen in der Umgebung um die Adlerfeste fernhalten.

Waldmensch HG 2
EP 800

N großer Humanoider
INI +0; Sinne Wahrnehmung +0

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VERTEIDIGUNG
RK
14, Berührung +9, auf dem falschen Fuß 14 (-1 Größe, +5 natürlich)
TP 13 (2W8+4)
REF +0 WIL -2 ZÄH +5
Aura Ausdünstung

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ANGRIFF
Bewegungsrate
12 m
Nahkampf Keule +6 (1W8+5)
Fernkampf Wurfspeer +1 (1W8)
Angriffsfläche 3 m ; Reichweite 3 m

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Taktik: Waldmenschen bleiben gerne im Verborgenen und gehen Konflikten aus dem Weg. Wenn sie sich zum kampf entschließen, schleudern sie ihre mächtigen Wurfspieße auf ihre Gegner um sich dann mit ihren Keulen gegen Angreifer zu verteidigen. Werden sie verletzt, ergreifen sie die Flucht, kämpfen aber bis zum Tod, um ihre Jungen zu verteidigen.

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SPIELWERTE
ST
21, GE 10, KO 15, IN 6, WE 10, CH 7
GAB +1; KMB +7; KMV 17
Talente Heftiger Angriff
Fertigkeiten Klettern +9, Überlebenskunst +4, Heimlichkeit +4; Volksmodifikatoren Heimlichkeit +4
Sprachen ein kaum verständlicher, mit der menschlichen Ursprache Mendaran entfernt verwandter Dialekt

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LEBENSWEISE
Umgebung
Gebirge unterhalb Baumgrenze
Organisation Einzelgänger, Paar, Familie (2-4) oder Stamm (5-15)
Schätze keine

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BESONDERE FÄHIGKEITEN
Ausdünstung (AF): Aufgrund mangelnder Hygiene verströmen die Waldmenschen einen so intensiven Geruch, dass jeder Charakter, der in ihre Nahkampfreichweite kommt (3m), einen Zähigkeitswurf (SG 13) ablegen muss. Misslingt der Wurf, erhalten sie den Zustand kränkelnd, bis sie sich aus der Nahkampfreichweite des Waldmenschen entfernt haben (und 1W4 Runden danach). Bei einem erfolgreichen Rettungswurf können sie von dem Geruch derselben Kreatur für 24 Stunden lang nicht mehr beeinträchtigt werden.