Monday, August 17, 2020

Oh no, not the hooch! - Monsters that steal/break your stuff

Partially inspired by my rust monster post and partially inspired by Noisms' post on constrained monster design from last year, here are 3 novel monsters that attack your party's travel resources.

I dunno where this is from and I can't read the artist's signature :(
Sand Sprites
You can hear sand sprites before you see them - the plip-plip-plip of thousands of tiny pad
ded metatarsals like a sudden gush of rain as they explode at speed out of the nearest sand dune or rocky steppe. Each sand sprite has the capacity to absorb 4 times its body weight in water and moves unerringly to the nearest source of water when dry. Once they consume every last drop of water, they flee to their underground burrows. There, they disgorge their precious supply into a communal spawning pool, allowing the twin queens the sustenance they need to continue birthing more sprites.

Tiny Insect Swarm
AC: 12 HP: 22 Speed 40', Burrow 20'
Damage Resistance Bludgeoning, Piercing, Slashing
Condition Immunities: Charmed, Frightened, Grappled, Paralyzed, Petrified, Prone, Restrained, Stunned
Blindsight 10 Ft.
Perception +3
Pinch Attack (at or above half health) +4 / 2d4 Piercing + 1d4 days' water rations
Pinch Attack (below half health) +4 / 1d4 Piercing + 1d2 days' water rations

  • These are the sort of nuisance that could be combined with other creatures without causing a TPK, at least, immediately..
  • Just because the Sand sprites took off with your water doesn't mean you can't get it back, you just have to follow them underground. This might result in discovering buried treasure or a new dungeon complex if you get lucky.
  • I imagine these guys swelling up with water, then when they get killed they burst like an overfed cockroach unless you take extra care to wring the water out first.
  • Dragon, give us the spoor details! Okay okay, here:
    • Dried mud wallow / mud crater directly above burrow where sand sprites with wet feet enter and leave - also serves as handy rainwater collection basin.
    • Plip-plip-plip from underground headed to another target
    • Curled, dusty sand sprite husks left from thirsty predators - sand sprites aren't worth eating, but they provide a critical source of hydration for a variety of predators.

not brown but still swole
These chestnut brown birds nest in cliff faces, treetops, and similar dangerous locales. Each bird weighs a few ounces when passive, but if threatened it puffs up its tiny feathered chest and gains 150 lbs. If a predator is noticed near a nest, the lodesparrows will land on the predator and lend the weight to the predator. This can pin it down, cause it to lose it's balance, or break the terrain beneath it. Some Lodesparrows are territorial and take offense to anything larger than themselves bumbling around near their nests. The eggs have distinctive lead shells.

Tiny Animal
AC: 12 HP: 1 Speed 10', Fly 50'
Perception +3
Beak Attack +4 / 1 Piercing

Overlode: As an action, the lodesparrow grabs onto a target and lends 150 lbs to the target's carried inventory. This can have a variety of negative effects, especially if a target is climbing a rope, dead tree, or rickety ladder.

  • A druid could command these en masse
  • What happens if many lodesparrows land on a cart in muddy terrain and someone says 'Shoo!' a little too forcefully?
  • Can one train a lodesparrow as a pet and carry it around in a cage?
  • What happens if you get an infestation of them in a barn or tower?
    • It collapses from the weight as soon as one too many predators appear.
  • What sort of spoor would lodesparrows leave?
    • Heavy droppings might pockmark terrain
    • Crushed bones of seahawks
    • Corpses with falling damage below a nest

Riesling Scorpion
An opaque, amber glass scorpion delicately clinks out of a mouse-hole into the alley. Moments later, an anguished shriek echoes from the darkness within the building - the brewer's painstaking work has been decimated.

These tiny scorpions metabolize alcohol in a baffling way - by absorbing it from the area around them. Academic dissection reveals no clues: the fragile creatures appear to have no mouth-parts or esophagus. Even more curiously, they seem to have this capacity even while apparently dead - any corpses of an infestation must immediately be whisked away or risk tainting any alcohol nearby further with each passing moment.

Riesling scorpions are made of glass and thus have no conventional predators, but they flee from the sound of sheaves of paper rustling. Any desert trader would be well advised to hang a few old books from his wagon to catch the breeze and thwart these 
bibulous predators.

Tiny Animal
AC: 12 HP: 1 Speed 20', Burrow 10'
Stealth +6
Beak Attack +4 / 1 Piercing + DC 14 Con save vs drunkenness (see below)

Drunkenness: Use whatever rules you have for being drunk and treat as a sudden serious onset rather than just lightly sloshed, or just deal 1d4 temporary wisdom damage and gain 2 levels of exhaustion.

Bibulous Aura (30'): Any alcohol that stays within 30' of a Riesling Scorpion gradually denatures along the following track:
  • After 1 hour alcohol tastes watered down.
  • For each subsequent day alcohol is one level of quality weakened (vintage wine becomes good wine, good wine becomes table wine, table wine becomes gutrot, gutrot becomes denatured alcohol (AKA methylated spirits).
  • Once alcohol becomes denatured alcohol, it is now toxic to consume and is of minimal value (perhaps to a tannery?). Consuming denatured alcohol is effectively consuming a weak poison, causing inconvenient mid-combat stomach cramps and loose bowels.
This aura continues whether the scorpion is alive or dead; unless it is melted, shattered, or otherwise totally destroyed.

  • Squeaky sound of nails on glass as a possum, bird, or other conventional predator tries to taste the scorpion. This might result in encountering a super drunk minor predator.
  • Books, fliers, old scrolls and bits of paper hung on poles and strings to catch the breeze indicate that there were Riesling Scorpions here once..
  • "Does this beer taste bad to you?" "How dare you- you mumblecrust! That's my mother's prize-winning stout!"

No comments:

Post a Comment