Anyone want to make a monster?

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blusponge
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Anyone want to make a monster?

#1 Postby blusponge » Fri Feb 06, 2009 2:35 pm

So I'm currently in the process of cooking up an adventure for my library game and need a push in right direction for a new critter. Inspired by this thread and the current state of vampire love, I've been pondering over something of a "insectoid vampire." Almost like termites, these creatures would be vaguely humanoid (in fact, the spawn once were just that) and answer to the pheromone calls of a "vampire queen," who while beautiful is a true horror as well.

Currently I'm torn between going with the traditional undead angle (Aros doesn't have miracle-casting priests, so no holy water) or going with something more demonic. I'm also wondering what sort of strange blend of powers to throw in. Stings? Pheromones? Femoric acid? Swarms? I'm thinking the spawn would be somewhat degenerate and smaller (Size -2), but also be quick. They would attack in mobs (ala ants or termites) so they couldn't be as tough as traditional vampire spawn. The queen, OTOH, would be a tough opponent!

So any ideas out there? What sort of critter would you make out of this?

Tom
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#2 Postby islan » Fri Feb 06, 2009 2:53 pm

I'd say go with the Swarm as a template. Would they just suck out blood or completely devour their prey? If the latter, I might go with saying that whenever they eat someone's brains, they also eat their memories, which is then obtained by the Queen through a hive mind.

For speed, I'd go with centipede like movement, maybe some pincers that squeeze out of their too-small humanoid mouths. Hmm ... what if, after devouring someone, they leave something (the heart? or maybe the brain, instead of it being eaten) alone and spin it into a cocoon, from which another of these things sprout from, looking just like the person who was eaten only small and deformed by the insect features.

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#3 Postby Poor Wandering One » Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:41 pm

hmm for insects you might want to play up the fast and the crunchy.

Take a wasp, its quick and hard to hit but one good whack and your cleaning the walls.
So in SW maybe the Quick edge, good pace, Acrobat to help with the leaping tricks unless you want them to fly, low toughness but sporting some chitin armor. In play this means the spawn will be bouncing all over the scene, leaping over the front-line defenders to get at the tasty folks. The bugs are a threat but is you get a solid hit they splat. I would play them as if they were aware of the gang up bonus but unaware of the 'free attack if you leave combat rule' Have them swarm individual targets and then, apparently randomly move to another. ignoring the folks in between who will have a field day with all the free attacks. After a spawn wave everyone should have a wound or so and the fighter types will be knee deep in gore and shattered chitin.

You may also want to think about specialization. Spawn who fly? Burrow? Puppet their hosts like the bug that latched onto Donna Noble's back in New Who. I guess that is one of the insect shticks, One expects a number of specialized types.

How to work in the Vampire angle though? I mean if you just make them bloodsuckers all you've done is to reinvent the Stirge from first principals. Very nifty but it doesn't scream VAMPIRE to me. Can you tell us more about the vampire part? Background, are they intelligent? Territorial? Do they have issues with sunlight? Live only under ground. How do you see yourself using these beasties?

For what it's worth.

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#4 Postby Wiggy » Fri Feb 06, 2009 6:26 pm

D&D just took the name stirge from the Roman monster striges, which was a vampiric spirit in bird form.

Anyhho, this might be of some use (or it may not)...

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BeePeople
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#5 Postby blusponge » Fri Feb 06, 2009 6:46 pm

Basic concept is the legend of the Singing Mountain. It used to be the domain of a powerful (but benign) and reclusive sorcerer, but he hasn't been seen or heard from in over two centuries. His story is so famous and tragic they wrote an opera about him. Anyway, in years where the weather reaches unseasonably warm temperatures, the mountain "sings." It's a low humming sound that fills the whole valley. When the mountain sings, crops whither and die, livestock die; it's a bad scene. So when the mountain sings, locals offer it sacrifices, hoping to calm the earth spirit that has been displeased. Usually, these sacrifices work and the mountain's song ebbs. Other times, a human sacrifice is necessary to quiet the mountain.

Ok, so that's the legend. The sorcerer's abode still sits at the top of the mountain, relatively undisturbed. There is a sacrificial chamber behind a waterfall at the base of the mountain. The interior is basically been carved out as a huge hive by these "ant-pires." Like ants in winter, they are largely dormant except in the warmest months. When their activity reaches a certain level, it causes reverberations that cause the mountain to "sing." Naturally, they are behind some of the livestock deaths (the agriculture can usually be chalked up to drought).

Because of the sorcerer's proximity, I'm leaning towards a demonic queen rather than true undead. But the vampiric qualities I want to keep are the blood draining, the charm effect, etc. Her drones are Nosferatu-like in appearance, though they are short (3 1/2 feet tall) with insect-like features (again, I'm leaning more towards ants and termites here -- I already have an intelligent race of wasps elsewhere). Maybe a carapace, multiple legs, a stinging abdomen, etc. I've considered giving them a humanoid upper torso with the lower torso of an ant -- kinda like a centaur. I don't think their size lends them to true swarm attacks, but I'm willing to try.

Originally I was thinking that the sacrifices became the drones and workers. Now I'm thinking having the sacrifices as food for the young is a better idea and lets me give the ant-pires a more alien quality.

The queen is actually beautiful in appearance (an illusion?). She is the closest of the bunch to being a true vampire. I'm tempted to say she mates with humans on occassion, but this is a PG-13 game so keep that in perspective. Of course, being a demon, she is as horrifying as she is beautiful and should be a real challenge for the WCs.

The goal of the adventure is for the players to check out the sorcerer's den, so in that respect the ant-pires are more of an obstacle. But if they can destroy the den, they can end the threat to the townsfolk.

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#6 Postby blusponge » Fri Feb 06, 2009 6:48 pm

Wiggy wrote:Anyhho, this might be of some use (or it may not)...

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BeePeople



Ooooh! Nice! Thanks, Wiggy!

Tom
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#7 Postby zeth » Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:00 pm

The people ARE the drones for the ant people realizing/not realizing it. They use the mountain story to explain why they give large amounts of crops to the mountains and the occasional villager gets 'promoted' to warrior/ant-pire. Perhaps the original sorcerer was a tyrant and this 'queen' was a summon/experiment gone wrong and the villagers whole human see her as a protector/sovereign of sorts.

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#8 Postby shadd4d » Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:04 pm

It almost sounds like the Termen and women from one of the Lovecraft Dreamlands stories; they're in the Dreamlands book. Basically, the queen consumes men's essence. Might be something to look at.

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Fear is when you worry about what might be.
Horror is when you are certain." Dannyboy01

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#9 Postby Red Mercy » Sat Feb 07, 2009 1:10 am

Wow, what a cool idea. Since vampires are known for properties of seduction, maybe that could be how their pheremones are implemented? Perhaps most individuals would be fodder for the monsters, but certain individuals with good enough genes would be saved for breeding stock. Maybe they could be paralyzed and stored in cells, their bodies slowly atrophying as they become nothing but breeding machines. Or maybe they could be fed some sort of "royal jam" that somehow transforms them.

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#10 Postby GreenTongue » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:32 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellstrom's_Hive this book may provide some interesting ideas.
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