Thursday, August 11, 2022

Giant Lynx, Mammoth, Manticore, Masher, Mastodon

 AD&D Giant Lynx


don't sue me TSR games I own the monster manual and can show it to people if I want...!

AD&D Mammoth, Mastodon
These nearly identical entries (Mammoth has 13 HD instead of 12, does 3d6 instead of 2d8, and has AC 5 instead of 6) take up a good half of a page and are largely redundant with the Elephant entry earlier. More and more evidence for the existence of someone very interested in finicky details of the pleistocene being involved with early D&D.

AD&D Masher
Probably among the most forgettable monsters of all time, these are 8HD 'worm-like' fish, dealing 5d4 damage and being covered in poisonous dorsal spines that mean it must be attacked from the front or below, lest the spines fend off attackers who must either abort their melee attack or save vs poison or die. They eat coral but are prone to attacking if surprised or threatened in "self-defense." It's not a bad concept for a monster, though it being underwater and just a fish limits the need to engage with them.

One might expect them to be popular sources of poison spears by the underwater races of Sahuagin and so on, but I see no mention of interaction with other sea creatures. In fact, apart from a lonely 2e wiki entry and a mention of dwelling in the waters of Raven's Bluff in Toril, they do not appear to have any internet presence.

Some random 5e character named Masher has about the same online presence as this fish on search engines

AD&D Manticore
An interesting creature, it can fire 4 volleys of 6 spikes, dealing 1d6 damage each at the range of a light crossbow. As they can fly, one assumes they soften up or slay foes at range, then close in to finish off whatever remains with their unimpressive melee (a regular ol lizard man is about equivalent if you ignore the HD difference) Their treasure type E is typically unimpressive- there is a chance of something good, but it is a low chance indeed. If nothing else, their iron tail spikes can no doubt double as iron spikes to shut doors with.

Manticores are an interesting tactical problem for low to-mid level parties- one must survive the volleys of fairly accurate (+6) spikes, then be able to defeat the creature before it flies away to end its aerial reign of terror, or find a way to track a flying beast back to its lair for treasure. They are of low intelligence but are 'Lawful Evil' which might imply deals can be struck with them, though it is unclear if they speak despite having human heads.

Sunset Realm Giant Lynx
Like most giant animals, the answer is 'sure, why not, there are many ways to become gigantic.'

nasty man

Sunset Realm Mammoth/Mastodon
See the Elephant entry. Most of them are found in the frozen lands of Fomoria south of the fault, driven ever further south by Deadliege expeditions to steal their bones and make necromantic war-constructs from them, just as what was done to their less-hairy elephant brethren in the warm north jungles.

Lungfungus had an interesting approach for these beasts statblock wise that I think I'll steal- failing a melee attack against one incurs 1d8 damage from trampling, as an automated way to make unskilled hunters better off on ranged duty and account for the bulk of the beast simply trampling people.

Sunset Realm Manticore
Goblinpunch already did a pretty great take which I am mostly stealing from.

Manticores are Nightmare creatures, born of dreams of spite and grudge. As Nightmare is closest to the waking world in Saresare, they are known to be residents of that desert sultanate, though they are often hunted and driven into Yuba, Fassulia, and Mercia, cursing all the way. Their faces are that of the host of the nightmare that made them.

They eat hard things, breaking their teeth and bleeding their gums, and incorporate those things as their tail spikes. Shards of bone, stone, and metal compose the quills of a manticores tail. Vomiting forth unsuccessful consumption leads to their lairs being foul smelling and messy, and frequently haunted by unclean spirits of disease. Harpies and manticores do not get along well, but are frequently found together regardless. They fear sphinx.

Manticores are generally unreasonable, growing more resentful of everything you have that they don't but can be satiated temporarily with slander and general nastiness. Politeness and care only pisses them off more. Aiding them with whatever grudge they are nursing is the only way to be allied with one.
If a manticore cannot kill you, it will follow you, harassing your friends, scaring off game, leading enemies to you, and worse if it can manage it.

If you are hit by a manticore tail spike, it embeds in you and you become poisoned by hatred. You cannot aid other people, and can only laugh at their misfortune, mocking them, listing out all your grievances and resentments towards them. Pulling out a spike deals 1 extra point of damage per spike, and you can pull out any number within a round as a full-round action, but someone with a spike in them certainly can't pull spikes out of someone else. Those who die, not from the manticore itself, but from the side-effects of this poison, will spawn a Nightmare incursion upon death which in turn will spawn manticores with their face. Manticores try to engineer these scenarios, knocking people off cliffs and then poisoning their friends and similar so they let them fall.

This poison is nightmarish in nature and only takes effect when the manticore hurls spikes, it can only be collected by things that can collect dreams or emotions.
Similarly, only their spikes are real- upon being slain, the manticore collapses and turns to nothing. Manticores do not have biology or ecology, and could indeed sit in a dungeon room for 100 years doing nothing but hoping to eat the next person they saw.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Mutation Megapost

There are three main problems with mutation charts I have been bumping into lately, so I made my own (with judicious amounts of ripping other people off of course)

Problem #1 was the style of mutation that just makes you ugly and persecuted by villagers (or at least have bad character design) but is otherwise largely pointless and easily forgotten because we don't have visual feeds on the theatre of the mind. DCC was pretty bad for this. 
Such mutations have a little more place in campaigns where mutations are basically just a punishment not a fun random table, but the problems of being easily forgotten due to no visual feedback persist.

Problem #2 was the style of mutation that gives you magic/superpowers with no physical component. It's kinda neat occasionally, but I prefer the sort of mutation that has drawbacks & a physical explanation to aid commonsense understanding, not just 'you're Jean Grey now I guess.' Allowing stuff like 'water control' makes players a bit too willing to become the X-Men by scumming mutation tables. On the other side of the coin, lots of mutation tables have entries that are more like curses, mutilations, or diseases, which I don't like for intruding on the design space of other tables.

Problem #3 was stuff that, well, suffice it to say that some things in the Metamorphica Classic don't read as 'mutations' so much as 'LotFP edginess fallout.' I didn't notice them for a long time but hoo boy.

There is a max # of mutations a character can get, to prevent them from becoming overly complicated/incoherent. I've been using CON as the cap, but level could also work if you wanted mutations to double as a corruption track that you can resist the more badass you are.

Exceeding this limit will transform a character into a monster, kill them, or most mercifully, simply replace existing mutations with new ones rather than adding to the character.

If something does damage and you roll it again, upgrade it by a dice class.
Poison can be 1d6 damage, death, paralysis, confusion, hallucinogen, etc, but only affects equivalently sized targets, requiring more doses per volume (about x8 dosage for x2 height/width)

1-Hands/Feet/Lesser Area
2- Legs
4-Lower Torso
5-Upper Torso
6- Head

  1. Blob- Body becomes gelatinous. STR & DEX reduced to 3, but immune to blunt damage and can squeeze through things. If rolled again, become an ooze who splits if hit by slicing damage instead of taking damage normally.
  2. Unusual Coloration- Albino, night black, leaf green, pumpkin orange, gradient pink/indigo, etc. Advantage to hiding in appropriately colored areas, disadvantage in high-contrast zones. Rolling again adds chameleon powers, which can provide nigh-invisibility, but probably only if naked and unmoving.
  3. Terrible Claws- Bird, lizard, mammalian, hooves, crustacean claw, fingernails, etc, replace 1d4 hands/feet. Deal 1d6 unarmed damage, 1 attack per free claw. 1/6 chance of feet instead of hands, 1/6 chance of both. Fine manipulation is difficult at 1d8, and impossible at 1d10+
  4. Fangs/Beak/Jaws/tusks/- Bonus 1d4 unarmed damage bite attack. Is a bonus attack in addition to other attacks if grappling/fighting unarmed. Rolling again increases damage.
  5. Armored Scales/Shell/Hide/Boneyness- Unarmored AC changes to 10+1d6. If combined with armor, add half of armor bonus to new unarmored AC. +1 AC if rolled again.
  6. Spiky- Armor must be specially made to allow for spikes to function. 1d4 automatic damage to beings that strike/grapple you with a vulnerable body part.
  7. Furry/Feathery- Counts as winter clothing. Requires x3 time to clean off gunk. Rerolling makes one 50% cold-resistant, but prone to heat stroke in non-arctic conditions.
  8. Tentacle- sprouts somewhere random. Acts as bonus limb.
  9. Lengthy- Body part can stretch/is 20 feet long. x2 Size on reroll
  10. Monstrous Pupils- Pupils change shape. Conscious refocusing allows shifting into infrared vision. Reroll can see invisible with conscious effort.
  11. Extra Eyeball- Increased field of sight, flanking penalty requires alternate angle of attack such as from above or below. Rerolling grants 1000 eyes on handy/inconvenient areas, making some tasks sensitive but making surprise nigh impossible.
  12. Giant Ears- hear enemy behind door, take 1 nonlethal damage from yelling/other loud noises.
    Surprise chance reduced by 1 if method of ambush mostly based on sound reduction. Extra magic ring slots in the form of earrings may be had.
    Rolling again allows for echolocation.
  13. Venomous- 1 unarmed attack mode can poison equivalently sized enemies, requiring about x10 doses per doubling of size to take effect.
  14. Gliding Membrane- as flying squirrel. Glide 1 horizontal per 1 descended. Rerolls double horizontal glide.
  15. Horns- Bonus 1d4 unarmed damage headbutt attack on charges. Free if grappling/fighting unarmed.
  16. Wings- Flight! 1/2 speed at light load, can't fly with heavy load. Weight restrictions removed if rerolled, but are notably large (30' wingspan)
  17. Fins- Swim speed as run speed. Doubled if rerolled, but replaces other limbs, RIP.
  18. Tail- Neat, mostly aesthetic, but other mutations may inform it being that of a scorpion, fox, lizard, etc. Rerolling adds prehensility, or an attack form.
  19. Quadrupedal- Can run on all fours at full speed. Slowed in bipedal stance.
  20. Giant Brain- +5 Int, but each point of bonus INT counts as 10 pounds/1 slot weight.
  21. Giant In General- x2 size. Doubled carrying capacity and melee damage against smaller beings. Needs everything special made at x10 cost.
  22. Poison Sacs- bulges spill poison if ruptured. Nearby targets save vs poison, with a +1 per point of AC from worn armor, and a -1 per point of damage if they bit you.
  23. Redundant Organs- If you are killed by piercing/poison/damage likely to kill via internal damage, survive, once.
  24. Nature's Pocket- +1 Inventory slot (internal).
  25. Eyestalks- Good for peeping around corners, under wide doorframes, etc. 3 foot initial length, x3 on rerolls.
  26. Exoskeleton- No bones, but exterior is hard. Lose -X max HP per level, but gain +X AC.
  27. Extra Head- Roll a new character to represent the head's skills and personality.
  28. Big Hands, gecko feet, spider legs, etc etc- Can climb at run speed on vertical surfaces and overhangs. Light load makes overhangs too dangerous, heavy loads make vertical surfaces too hard.
  29. Frog/grasshopper/bunny legs. Can jump run speed distances, horizontally, half vertically.
  30. Hump, fat deposits, etc. Excess food/water can be devoured and stored for up to a week without.
  31. Leafy- Leaves replace hair, or skin becomes green. 8 hours sunlight counts as a ration (but not water). Reroll includes flowers/fruits which are a poison/potion or at least a ration.
  32. Scrambled- Appendages/features in unusual spot. Commonly referred to as Zongism.
  33. Oh Worm- become worm. See if people REALLY love you, or if you must Shai-Hulud alone
  34. Tentacle Transformation- Hair, Arms, Legs, or Head become single/multiple tentacles. They are either small and poisonous, or large and strong.
  35. Extra Arms-2d4, keep lowest
  36. Centauroid- Fast but oddly shaped. Double carrying capacity and run speed, worse at climbing, turning quickly, squeezing.
    Reroll becomes Centipede-like.
  37. Cyclopean- Big eye collects light well (see twice as far in torchlight/starlight/lowlight) but has no depth perception (-4 to hit with ranged, double scatter distance for thrown oil, fireballs, boulders).
    Reroll- Entire head is eyeball.
  38. Smol- Half damage, carrying capacity, movespeed, etc. Can fit in lots of places. Stacks on rerolls.
  39. Petrified- Immune to physical combat damage from nonmagical weapons, level 1 spells, and monsters under 5HD (or anything deemed incapable of harming a statue able to defend itself). Cannot heal HP without Stone Shape/Stone to Mud/Mud to Stone shenanigans. Each reroll increases level of immunity by 1 stage.
  40. Vampiric/Trollish- Regenerate 1HP per round, but each HP recovered counts as a day without food which must be compensated for quickly to avoid starvation undoing all the healing.
    A human is about 10 days of food, roughly. Double rate with rerolls
  41. Fever- Body temperature can keep up to 8 people warm in cold weather camping. If rerolled, 1d4 heat damage from skin-to-skin contact.
  42. Thick Skin- Wrinkly, or toadlike, or blubbery. Unaffected by contact poisons. If rerolled, 1/week can shed skin to cure self of skin-based problems. Those wearing skin look like you as a disguise for a week of regular use, more if carefully preserved, less if used in strenuous activity.
  43. Sticky/Grasping Cilia/Prehensile hair- Things touching the mutant are automatically 'grappled.'
    If rerolled, mutant is so sticky that they cannot unwield or throw things. Gluey secretions ooze through clothes/armor.
  44. Slimy/Smooth- Mutant too slippery to be bound or grappled, escaping at the end of their turn.
    If reroll, can't grasp things effectively, climb or stand on smooth floors, near-frictionless.
  45. Gills- Breath water! If reroll, ONLY breath water....
  46. Acid blood. Reroll, Potion Blood. May also be lava blood, bug-blood, ice blood, etc for variety.
  47. Cold Blooded- Lose initiative in cold weather, Slowed (as spell) in very cold weather or if you take cold damage.
  48. Electric Generation- Can zap people for 1d4 damage on contact/conduction through water/metal.
    If rerolled, can arc 5' through air.
  49. Hermaphromorphic- Can change sex to various configurations.
  50. Musk/Pollen/Spores- Notable scent may attract or repel certain types of monsters (reroll CHA to determine opinions by species). Rerolling makes musk have poisonous effect. Leaves a trackable trail for those who find it repulsive or attractive.
  51. Hollow Bones/Lightweight/Gas Buoyancy -etc- Mutant weighs 1/10th of normal. -1 max HP per HD.
  52. Battle-Form/Adrenaline/Berserker- Upon entering combat (ie, making an attack roll or being attacked), effect is as potion of heroism. Exhaustion afterwards causes bonuses (save for temp HD) to be reversed until sleep can be had. 1/day, rerolling doubles uses.
  53. Bioluminescent- Glows as torch if nude, candle if clothed. Rerolling increases light radius.
  54. Mitosis- Can reproduce by splitting. Each resulting split has half HP and level but retain all characteristic and are distinct individuals.
    If rerolled, the splits may instead be drones
  55. Mighty Nose Hair/Dwarf Beard/Non-hairy filters- Protected from inhaled poisons, gases, smoke, etc.
  56. Silk- Can make silk rope, 10' per HP expended (metabolically intense). 100' of string, or 1000' of thread. If rerolled, silk rope can be extruded sticky or slippery.
  57. Elemental Affinity- 50% resistance to Fire/Cold/Electricity/Acid/Other Elemental Issue
    Reroll- Immune. Reroll again, heal from.
  58. Mighty Breath/Lungs- Can hold breath for an hour, and shout very loud and long. If rerolled, you can inhale tuns of air and inflate like a balloon, the sudden size increase frightening animals and surprising others (check morale).
  59. Hibernation/Cocoon- Mutant may sleep for set times, and cannot awaken. While in this state, food/water is not needed, healing doubles. If rerolled, lost limbs may be regrown, diseases cast off, etc etc, at a rate of 1 such healing per week.
  60. Herbivore/Carnivore- May only eat plants (but can eat things like grass) or may only eat meat (but may eat it raw/somewhat bad safely). If rerolled, both apply in super-omnivorousness. Rerolling again allows consumption of anything organic safely. Rerolling again, anything physical. Rerolling yet again, anything.
  61. Worm Mouth/Mole Claws- May tunnel through soft earth/sand at half speed. Rerolling means hard earth/soft stone may be burrowed through, rerolling a third time allows for even worked stone/bedrock to be bored through.
  62. Acid Expulsion- vomiting,  range as thrown dagger. Previously swallowed objects/liquids act as projectile. Rerolling adds 1d4 acid damage.
    Getting hit in the stomach forces a save vs poison or vomiting.
  63. Eyeless- Blind. Reroll becomes faceless. Grues will not hunt you.
  64. Breath Weapon- 1/day, random type. Deals 1 damage per HD. Rerolling adds 1 use and 1 damage per HD. Save for half.
  65. Steam/Ink/Smoke/Dandruff- may emit an obscuring cloud 5' radius. 
  66. Piezoelectromagnetism- Can sense magnetic/electric fields with concentration. On earth-like worlds, allows for finding north. Rolling again grants 30' range ferrokinesis (with INT as STR)
  67. Transparent- Invisible flesh. Only really works if not carrying anything at all. Handy for seeing parasites, effects of swallowed potions, etc.
  68. Fungal- If killed, explode in spore cloud, 10' radius. Those failing to save are infected by you and you live on in them, able to make them take 1 action per day. If the infection is not cured, you replace their brain in 1d6 weeks. On reroll, corpses are also infected and raised as fungal zombies. Multiple copies of you are philosophically troublesome.
  69. Hideously Ugly- Those beholding you must check morale or flee in terror, and may assume you are some kind of monster. If rolled again, it's a save vs magic or fear.
  70. Manticore Spines/Fingerbone spurs/Blowgun tooth- You may attack for 1d8 unarmed (range as throwing dagger) by throwing bits of yourself. Ammo regrows slowly, so each shot costs 1 CON damage. The first time you do this to someone it counts as a sneak/surprise attack.
  71. Nerve Interface- Touching another creature for 1 whole turn allows you to link to its nervous system and feel what it is feeling, and vice versa. On a reroll, you may read its mind clearly, and if rolled again, you may control it.
  72. Enhanced Vocalizations- You can be loud, musical, a mimic, or a ventriloquist with ease. On a reroll, you may shriek for 1d4 damage, syattering glass and similar.
  73. Egg- Assuming you are well-fed, you lay an egg every week, much like a chicken. Counts as a ration, is not cannibalism unless fertilized and allowed to develop significantly.
  74. Corrosive Sweat/slime- Metal rusts, corrodes, and crumbles if touched by you in stressful/exercise situations. If rerolled, this extends to organic substances like leather, cloth, etc.
  75. Sucker/Elephant/Duck Feet- Wide distribution of weight foils many pressure-plate type traps. Unfortunately, still a bit slow- 1/2 speed.
  76. Skeleton- Vital organs and functions retreat inside bones, making flesh redundant. Attacks that cannot break bone cannot kill you (though they still do damage otherwise) and enemies are likely to believe you dead at half-HP or lower.
  77. Fire Extinguisher- Upon taking fire damage, pores shoot forth expanding white foam that cannot burn and smothers flame in a '5' radius. x2 Radius on rerolls.
  78. Homunculi Colony- Internal organs replaced with 1 little person who has 1 giant appendage for each appendage you have, forming your arm, your head, mutant tails, etc. They may separate to perform important tasks, but are misshappen and better off working together as 'you.' If slain individually lose 20% max HP, XP, statistics, etc.
  79. Pseudothanatism- Albinism, 1d6 damage per turn from sunlight, undead can't tell you're alive until they touch you.
  80. Udders- Can feed most baby mammals milk. Other creatures probably allergic. -1 Con=One Ration's worth.
    Rerolling increases efficiency, allowing 2 creatures to be fed for -1 Con.
  81. Long Tongue- can grab things like a frog. Rerolling makes it prehensile as a hand. Tends to not fit in your mouth. 5' length by default, doubles each reroll.
  82. Vents- Tube growths that can expel poisons, diseases, parasites, curses, etc affecting the mutant (they are not cured, only spread.) On a reroll, the range increases to that of a trebuchet.
  83. Flammable- All bodily fluids function as lamp oil (1HP per hour of light for blood). Always catch on fire when taking fire damage. On a reroll, functions as napalm.
  84. Extra Mouth- Back of head- Talks, demands food, or, Stomach- huge, can eat a whole chicken. Hand- Spooky, convenient for eating.
    Reroll- 1000 mouths all over. !d6 bite attacks each round in grapples, 1 damage each unless you have fangs etc.
  85. Turtle Appendages- All appendages can be retracted into the body, protecting them from being targeted (or used.) If rerolled, body can be retracted into appendage.
  86. Long Nose- good for sniffing, or using as a breathing tube. Common target of slashing weapons.
    Reroll- prehensile like an elephants, counts as appendage.
  87. Gobbler- Can unhinge jaw and swallow things up to twice your size given a turn, though you still must count their weight for encumbrance.
  88. Bloody Eyes- Weep blood. Can also shoot blood (-1 HP) from eyes to blind people briefly (1 round, automatically hits the first time you trick someone with this.) If rolled again they act as pressurized water cutters, only deal 1d4 damage but can punch through metal.
  89. Antennae- Very sensitive. Can detect air current movement of invisible creatures/drafts.
    On a reroll, they can ID illusions and imposters (like doppelgangers) with investigation.
  90. Unstable- Reroll one other mutation every day.
  91. Exotic Presentation- Reroll 1d89 twice, combine results into new, single mutation.
  92. Malignancy- Reroll 1d89, it manifests in a highly detrimental way, even reversing function if need be
  93. Solidarity- Reroll 1d89, there is a mutant colony, decrepit noble lineage, secret bloodline, etc etc of which this mutation is a hallmark.
  94. Contagion- Reroll 1d89, this mutation is contagious due to being symptom of disease, curse, etc
  95. Beneficial- Reroll 1d89, it manifests in a positive way, regrowing limbs if necessary, not interfering with other character quirks, and if nothing else being healthy and good-looking rather than grotesque and unsightly.
  96. Path of Evolution- Reroll 1d89. All future mutations upgrade, enhance, or otherwise follow a chain of logic based on this evolution, seeking to transform you into a new kind of being. Could be an existing monster or not.
  97. Chimera- Become fusion of [YOUR_SPECIES] and a monster, ideally based on existing mutations if there's any theme.
  98. Final Form- Upon death, immediately explode into a full-strength monster, ideally based on existing mutations, otherwise random+ existing mutations.
  99. Darkspawned- Every player present comes up with a mutation. 50% of picking one randomly, 50% of gaining all. 
  100. Ok Fine A Little X-Men as a Treat- Find a 'random superpower generator' and roll on it, or just have everyone pick a superpower and then select one.