I'm closing in on putting the finishing touches on my initial draft to be submitted to Fight On! for my handling of Level 3, Spawning Grounds of the Crab-Men. There's a lot more than just Crabs here, though.
Stop reading now if you don't want to spoil any of the surprises in the article!
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A portion of the dungeon has been taken over by a one Quimlin, a demented arcano-tech being (you'll have to buy Fight On! for more about the elusive Quimlin) driven mad by his thirst for power. Quimlin plans to assemble a force capable of assualting the Mysterious Crystal Hemisphere in the caves beneath this level (fellow blogger James of Grognardia is writing Level 4), one abducted and mutated man at a time.
As a teaser, here are a few of the new monsters to be found in the Quimlin's Manse section of Level 3:
The Thing From Beyond! AC 8, Move 9, HD 5. The Thing From Beyond! is an 8’ long amorphous translucent blue, semi-gelatinous blob. This oddly formed monstrosity has three 9’ long appendages, and five great 7’ long eye stalks. Its bulbous pink eyes emit dim white light in a cone 30’ long, and it communicates with whale like mewls and songs as it hovers about, floating 3’ off the floor. This bizarre abomination from another world is a somewhat disinterested and exceedingly bored higher life-form. TTFB! is a reluctant, apathetic, nonchalant servant of immense power. TTFB! attacks as a 10 HD Monster, and can deal 2d6+2 damage per round, but only in self defense. TTFB! will only attack if Quimlin is present and he directly orders the alien to do so. Even then, TTFB! will subdue and toy with foes rather than devour them. It prefers to snatch up opponents and tickle them into submission while attempting to tell them to destroy the Multi-Levered Device that it might devour the crazed Quimlin. Only the possessor of the Multi-Levered Device can actually understand what TTFB! says. Quimlin uses this device to communicate with TTFB!, constant communication has slowly driven Quimlin insane. TTFB! will happily devour Quimlin if the device used to control it is deactivated. TTFB! knows that eventually it will get its wish, and in the meantime it bides its time dreaming of home, wherever that might be.And lastly, here is one of the rooms in the Tribe of the Claw section of level 3:
Lab-Rats: AC 7, Move 9, HD 1-1. Damage 1d3. Giant rabid albino rats with pink eyes. Their bite has an insidious, cumulative effect. Save vs. Poison or begin itching. After two such missed saves, victims must discard armor and scratch in non-combat situations. After four such missed saves, victim is incapacitated, and writhing about trying to scratch, even during combat, duration 1 turn. When Lab-Rats are in a pack of 12, they can form a hive mind intellect equal to INT 5, capable of very rudimentary, high pitched speech. They will single out and eat Quimlin if he doesn’t offer them Liquid Joy whenever they see him.
Speci-Men: AC 5, Move 12, HD 2+1 (*Speci-Men are so drugged up that they get one free attack after they have been slain). These horrific beings are genetically mutated men with chemically enhanced reflexes. Muscular, twitching, crazed, drooling, and wild-eyed, they are addicted to Quimlin’s Liquid Joy. After being abducted, human victims are subjected to Quimlin’s devious arcano-tech concoctions, which erase their minds and turn them into hulking muscular almost ape like men, bristling with savage strength and cat-quick agility. These abominations posses long talon-like nails and preternaturally strong jaws with massive fang like teeth. Semi-intelligent, but given basic commands by Quimlin via Brain Implants.
11: Crazy Clonk, the Malformed Chosen One: A heavy iron gate blocks entry to this cell. An old iron lever, set into the wall to the west, operates this barely functional mechanism. The guards in room 10 will open the cell to free its inhabitant if seriously threatened, for getting Crazy Clonk back into his cell is a difficult undertaking. Crazy Clonk is a horribly misshapen Crab-Man, formerly one of the Tribe’s most promising Chosen members. Over a year ago, Clonk broke taboo, and picked up a glowing sword from some slain men of light. The sword caused Clonk to become a raving lunatic. Perhaps as punishment, Clonk has had his form ravaged in an unexpected manner by the dark ritualistic metamorphosis normally safely endured by the Chosen tribesmen. As soon as the gate is opened, Clonk will rush out and attack anything that moves. Clonk is severely stooped, with a spiny, lopsided shell, an oddly curved massive claw which drags on the floor, great bulbous eyes, red with rage, on bent stalks of uneven length, and a haphazard, crooked, sideways-lumbering gait. The only vaguely human remnant of Clonk’s former self is a long, sinewy arm, clutching a dimly glowing bronze sword. Crazy Clonk (Crab-Man) AC 4, Move 6, HD 4, HP 17. +1 to hit from Grog the Gladius. Grog the Gladius is a finely crafted short bronze stabbing sword. Grog glows a dim violet when held by a living being. Grog is a Sword +1, +3 vs. Dragons. Aligned to Law, Int 7, Ego 12, with the power to See Invisible Objects. Grog will communicate the presence of such things via Empathy. Clonk was able to survive the initial blast of damage from grasping Grog, but has since been overpowered by the egotistical sword.I've decided that the map of the level is fairly well fleshed out and detailed at this point, so it's being submitted as is.
Also, keep an eye out for the version of the Entourage Approach which I sent in to Fight On! Hopefully it will make it into issue #2.
~Sham, Quixotic Referee