But I am no mermaid

This post follows on from A River Runs Through It. We left the characters in the water in a fast flowing river, going over rapids and generally up the creek without a paddle.

I was once told the general anatomy of a story is ‘Put the hero up a tree, throw stones at him and then get him down again.’ Now it is time to throw some stones metaphorically speaking at the characters.

It is entirely possible that one or more of the characters may have drowned by this point. If you had one character go overboard early on during the river run they could have gone under and drowned long before the last character goes overboard. For now, we will let them believe they have drowned. Think of them as being unconscious rather than dead as that may have implications regarding automatic spells.

So everyone is by now in the water. Some have drowned others are keeping their head above water. We are not just going to wait for them to drown. Those that are still with us will feel something brush their legs under water. They can maybe see some massive sort of fish maybe six to eigth feet long and silver green moving deep below them. More seem to a circling and coming closer.

Let the characters worry for a couple of rounds and then have the first one feel a hand grab an ankle and drag them down. I would have a knot of the forms grab the characters attention in front while the first attack comes from below and behind!

As the character goes under they will get the first real look at what has them and it looks like merfolk! These though are bigger than your usual half man half fish types. That does depend rather on whether your characters have ever met any merfolk before.

What we have here are freshwater merfolk. These are bigger and more deadly cousins of the more common saltwater variety.

Any characters that have previously been ‘drowned’ have actually been rescued by a naiad. This water spirit has cast waterlungs on them once they were unconscious and towed them to a safe underwater cave. The naiad wants the merfolk gone from her river and the characters landing in her lap are the opportunity she has been waiting for. Once the merfold attack she will revive any unconscious ‘drowned’ people and quickly convey to them not to ask questions but go save their friends. The characters should then see the scene of the surviving characters being attacked and circled by the merfolk.

Freshwater Merfolk.

Freshwater Merfolk – Found in treacherous waterways such as rapids and below waterfalls; 6’6″–8’6″ from head to fin.
Crippling Flaw (Must totally immerse once a day in water, –10 to all activities for each missed day (at –80 a coma ensues, at –100 death occurs).

Innate Spell Caster, has the following mentalism lists to their own level. Speed (closed mentalism), Self Healing (open mentalism), Attack Avoidance (open mentalism). They gain 3PP/level.
The fair skin of a merman’s torso blends at the waist into the silver and green shimmering scales of their fish’s tail. Freshwater Merfold are very uncomfortable above water but can breath air if they must.  They are fond of sunlight and like to bask in shallow streams.

Unlike their sea born cousins they do not build manors and palaces. They are much more ‘barbaric’ by comparison. Freshwater merfold wear strings of animal skulls, bones, precious stones, or gems as raiment. Average lifespan is 30 years.

Level 6C
Base Mv 90
Max Pace Dash/+25
Speed MF/MD
Size/Crit M/-
Hits 80D
AT(DB) 1(35s)
Attacks 95 Melee/60 MCl 30
Enc 1-10
Bonus EP E
Outlook IQ Aggressive

For weapons they prefer daggers, knives, short swords and short spears. Things that do not compromise their manoeuvrability in the water or weigh them down.

Next time we will put the characters in even more trouble.

Is a Kenku a race or a monster?

I came across the Kenku last week and I really like them. The basic idea is that these are humanoid avians. They are great mimics, infact they have not language of their own but rather string learned phrases together from what they have heard but all in perfectly mimicked form of the original voice. They are also natural thieves.

I am debating as to whether they should be a monster or a race when converting them over to Rolemaster. As a monster they are rather weak but as a race they require a lot more effort from the GM to prepare them before time.

A basic Kenku, as per the D&D to Rolemaster conversion rules is a rather weak creature.

5th level, 55 hits, AT1 DB10 34OB (short sword)/49OB (short bow). They should have a decent Stalk and Hide Skill of at least +25 as well as a +30 Trickery. There is something of the magpie about them and their desire to steal as much as their carrion crow like behaviour. I first encountered the Kenku in a grave robbing encounter so that may have coloured my perception of them. Their big feature is their mimicry. They communicate via mimicked phrases joined together to get the message across. They can also use it to confuse and lure people into traps.

There is great roleplaying protential here with hidden Kenku masquerading as members of the party and giving conflicting orders. They also gather in social groups called flocks, naturally, so you can use any number of these guys. They cannot fly but going by their D&D stats they should have at least a +15 Agility bonus. Play them as fast, stealthy assassin types when defending their territory and there is a great adventure in here. I just want to use them to steal something from the party.

With mimicry there is a lovely opportunity to have witnesses swear under oath that they heard the party talking at the scene of the robbery and with the best megic in the world the witness would be shown to be telling the truth. How were they to know they were hearing a perfect reproduction?

I now have a urge to put a gang of Kenku into my world, set them up near the players and just see what happens. Is there an opportunity for the Kenku to over hear the parties plans? Would the Kenku be interested in stealing what ever it is the party are trying to find or steal? Who will get there first?

I will see if I can work these guys into my game some time soon. If I manage it I will let you rknow how it goes.