So we have our gatehouse on the causeway with its undead guards. We have marshes patrolled by roving undead but where do all these undead come from?
I want a necromancer, but not just any necromancer.
Some where in this city there is going to be access to an underground lake and lurking in the depths of that lake is our Necromancer!
The bottom of a pool is not the usual place to find necromancers, well not BEFORE the party meet them anyway.
I rather like the way that RMU applies Archetypes to any creature to create a unique build. I want to do something similar to that here but using RM2/RMC stats.
You will also remember from the first post in this group that I want to make all of this scale-able to a wide range of character levels.
So our scary monster is going to be an off the shelf creature and then tweaked to make a suitable Super Creep.
I want to start with an Octopus(!). I then want to apply one or possibly two changes to it. The first of which is to give it a profession.
A professional octopus?
Just because Octopi don’t wear tee-shirts and buy coffee at Starbucks does not mean they are not intelligent. They are just differently intelligent. So this Octopus is a cleric and an evil cleric to boot!
A large octopus/squid has 30′ tentacles, is 6th level and has an +80OB which is a fair challenge for a low level party. If we give it the Necromancy (Base) and Calm Spirits (Closed Channeling) lists you have an interesting villain. A 6th level evil cleric given enough time a bit of overcasting or ritual can create type I and II undead and control them. So the villain at the heart of the city can create the undead that protects the city. It has had plenty of time to build its minions so that is all consistent.
So lets scale up our Super Creep.
Using the RAW for GIGANTISM (C&T pages 139 for the RMC version of the book) one increase in size for our octopus takes it from 6th level to 14th level. It also takes its #hits from 70 to 160. As an 14th level Evil Cleric we are now able to create (at a push) Type IV undead. Type IV include Ghosts and Spectres that are up to about 10th level monsters. The Octopus itself now had an OB of 100 and is doing Huge Grapple attacks.
Want something tougher?
Lets scale him up once more!
So with two levels of size increase we have an Octopus that is 16th level, 180#hits and OB of 120. Its criticals are reduced by 2 levels so ignores A&B crits.
I think this kind of end of level boss makes a wonderful Cthulhuesque mastermind. You can be pretty sure that he party will never have met one before and to be honest I doubt if anyone would be expecting the giant octopus to be a spell caster! That should make the players have to reevaluate their tactics at some point if nothing else.
So what comes next?
I would like to introduce two things, first, something that the party need to bring back from the city, their primary quest. I like the idea of this being so big it needs a cart. I am thinking of some kind of throne that just happens to be sunk at the bottom of the pool.
I also want some interesting suggestions for some ‘set play’ encounters. Something challenging for the players to showcase the city of undead.
7 thoughts on “Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)”
It’s interesting that RMU is adding archetypes to monsters. That seems reminiscent of D&D 3.x and derived systems such as Pathfinder.
An octopus is a very intelligent creature under normal conditions.
* – Well worth watching. It’s fascinating.
A magically enhanced one would be even more so. In the fantasy realm, it’s easily believable that a magically enhanced octopus would be able to “cast spells from a spell list.” Now I say it like “that” because it may not fit the concept a human/elf/dwarf would equate to learning a “list of spells.” There are creatures that can cast spells from lists. C&T 1, 2, 3 all list them. However, we can look at the circumstances surrounding our Giant, Higher-intelligence, “Evil”, Octo-pancer.
The item in question that needs to be retrieved from the bottom of the pool needs a cart to be transported. This implies large size and/or weight. When enchanting an item, size and weight are factors, especially for runes. One could assume the item is magical (maybe evil) and could have been enhancing or influencing the octopus over the years. Depending on power level, the item could have a Will that it imposes upon the octopus. The octopus could be totally innocent, just misunderstood.
So now we have an evilly-influenced, magically enhanced, completely misunderstood octopus. The octopus may discover that with concentration it can cause the skeleton at the bottom of the pool to move. It may discover that with concentration on a corpse, it can make it move to herd fish towards a certain direction (or to just be bait LOL), and so on and so on.
The Octopus isn’t aware that it’s “casting spells from a spell list” but for book keeping purposes, we humans will call it a spell list since they all seem to be focused around animating dead. The octopus has no concept of what is evil, good, frowned upon by society, etc. It may not be evil, it is simply animating dead things because it’s bored or lonely or because it’s able to. It has no idea that humans consider animating dead things to be evil.
With years of practice, the octopus can exert more control of the undead and can start to summon shades and spectres, or it maybe doing that without even being aware that it is as the spectres may be above the water line or living in the USA. 🙂
We have a big evil throne with runes and/or an evil Will about it. The throne has enhanced and possibly has influenced the octopus, preventing it from aging and allowing it to grow to monstrous proportions. The throne may even give a bonus to learning spells from a necromancy list or gives a bonus to learning closed necromancy lists. If you want a truly powerful item, it could grant access to necromancy lists and therefore needs to be taken to a temple to be destroyed.
I like the idea of a throne that has a will of its own. There are a whole bunch of complications the GM could throw at the characters if they have to transport the thing a long distance and it starts whispering to them and planting ideas.
I can see the Octo-mancer using the undead to bring it food. That would be a perfectly logical reason to build up the numbers, consume the body and control the soul.
Giving the throne ‘will’ also gives it a good reason for
A. Be at the bottom of the pool. (It was dumped there by the townfolk to get rid of it)
B. The town to have been overcome by undead (the will wants revenge on the townsfolk)
C. For the group to be seeking it. (A group wants to destroy/release/worship the ‘Will’)
D. Other adventure groups. (More than 1 group wants the prize. Maybe the PCs are on the wrong team…..)
And the ‘evil’ octopus is a nice way for the players not to realise that is the throne that’s the problem. Indeed it might be that the throne wants to escape with the players so they could get help instead of hindrance…..
Option D is quite interesting from a differentiation point of view so the adventure has different endings depending on the level of the party. Lower level adventures tend to be more along the lines of get in, grab the prize, get out whereas higher levels need to be challenged on multiple levels and have the skills to cope with that.
Working through the potential set encounters locations. They would need to.
A. Identify where the throne is. – Unless they were told exactly by the quest giver. They would probably have to go to the town council building/leaders hall/throne room. And then do an investigation in any tomes there for evidence. Likely to have undead or another group also searching for clues.
B. Get a cart. – unless they brought their own.
C. Enter the lake/sewer area. – some kind of entrance. Likely to be guarded by undead going in. And a good place for an ambush by another group going out.
D. The lake/pool itself. The main battle with the octo-mancer.
these seem to me the most likely places that the characters will have to go.
I like that list, I would expect the party to go to some central square or market place just to get their bearings. The market would also be a viable place to try and find a cart that is still in working condition.
As GM I would be inclined not to tell them that the object they are questing for is a two ton throne. One of those names that could have multiple meanings or is a bit vague.