Sunday, January 31, 2016

Encounter: Airman of War

Something like this, but nothing like this.
A jelly! Today, I'm posting about the pain affliction. It was kind of hard for me to think of an interesting animal or spirit that represents the concept of pure pain. So I asked a bunch of friends again, and the answer that immediately struck me was "jellyfish". Now Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 1 (a worthwhile book) already has a jellyfish type monster, but 1) it's incredibly powerful versus what I'm trying to go for and 2) it is more themed around the concept of electrical attacks. I am going to try to design a low level jellyfish monster around the concepts of the afflictions "Moderate Pain", "Severe Pain", "Terrible Pain", and "Agony". Let's see how that goes.


A jelly. It kinda evokes a certain laziness. In nature they go wherever the current takes them without much ability to propel themselves at all; actually they do swim by propelling water. I'm playing with a real tight budget though because Agony is a real expensive ability in terms of CER; I also want to go with it as a follow-up, which will help us save some points if we go with a weakish attack. If I want to keep a manageable low level threat under 30 points, I am going to need to give this thing some notable weaknesses, so I'm thinking super slow. 

Attack Skill0Active Defense0
Affliction20Damage Resistance0
Fatigue Points0Hit Points0
Total Offensive Rating (OR)17Total Protective Rating (PR)0
That is already a large portion of the budget already, more than 50%. I was thinking of giving it a really low Active Defense for more point savings, but that didn't seem right; I just think that instead of "dodging", it'd be neat to imagine this thing deflecting blows with its tentacles. Its attack power will always be pretty low because of the 1/5 of one or the other, but we need to give it some skill. If we can fit it in the budget, I'd also like to give the guy homogeneous.
Attack Skill4Active Defense0
Affliction20Damage Resistance8
Fatigue Points0Hit Points0
Total Offensive Rating (OR)17Total Protective Rating (PR)8
So, we are sitting right on top of 30 CER, and I feel pretty good about these numbers. Let's make some stats from this guy.
ST: 10HP: 10Speed: 5
DX: 10Will: 10Move: 1, Air 2
IQ: 4Per: 8
HT: 10FP: 8SM: +0
Dodge: 8Parry: N/ADR: 0
Smack (14): Reach C-4, 1d+1 crushing, see follow up for additional effects.
Smack Follow Up Venom: If the smack connects, then the target must roll against HT-4, but with bonuses for any unpenetrated DR. Failure inflicts Moderate Pain (-2 to DX and IQ) for margin of failure minutes. If envenomed successively, the condition accumulates to Severe Pain (-4 to DX and IQ), Terrible Pain (-6 to DX and IQ). If it accumulates one more time, the target remains in Terrible Pain but is also in Agony (You are in such tremendous pain you can do nothing but scream, wail, and fall on the ground. You lose 1 FP per minute in this state.) Time accumulates. High Pain Threshold cuts penalties in half.
Traits: Laziness (12), Flight (Low Ceiling, 5 yards), Injury Tolerance (Homogeneous), Gluttony (6), Extra Arms (6, Long(4 yards, Flexible)), Vibration Sense
Skills: Brawling-14


This is an animal, and a very low form at that. It is not capable of malice; it only attacks because it needs to eat and doesn't know well enough to separate prey from delvers. It is attuned to vibrations and attacks instinctively whenever it feels a vibration in the air. It lives in caves where it likes to eat small animals like bats and flying insects, though it is not unheard of for it to eat small primates that might nest in such caves. It maintains flight by expelling air and being incredibly light. A tell-tale sign that a party might be blundering into a group of Airmen at War is the sound of a breeze brushing dust and pebbles away from the ground. Indeed, one specimen in captivity had remained aloft for its entire adult lifespan of 4 months, and it is rare to see any touch the ground except if injured or dying. Some peoples enjoy eating the raw flesh of these animals as a prized delicacy, others for pain remedy medication, and you might be able to collect enough material from a defeated one for $100!

Other Notes

There are a lot of ways to easily make this thing stronger. I'd focus on giving it a bit more resiliency first by buffing its Hit Points. I'd let players circumvent the threat by attempting to feed it at a distance and running while it is busy eating. Giving it extra attacks, or skipping straight to the worse levels of pain could also make it incredibly dangerous. Be careful! Agony can lead to a total party kill if you are relentless and without mercy. It would be hard to justify a jelly fighting alongside anything but a swarm of jellies unless you refluff it and say it has a symbiotic relationship: my version is dumb and just reflexively attempts to eat things that get close. Maybe something akin to a flying clown fish if you think of the jelly more like a flying sea anemone? In any case, many of the ideas included with the "Electric Jelly" in Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 1 would also probably work well with this variant concept.

Precis - A flying jelly who inflicts agonizing pain.

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