05 June 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Horror 09 - Suicune

This is the ninth 4E Anatomy of a Creature, an ongoing series about Earthdawn Fourth Edition. Introduction and Index.

Everything contained here is the work of a fan and not associated with FASA Games.

Continuing with examples of legendary opponents, here's a legendary slitherhorn gnasher. This one is cold.

Suicune (Legendary Slitherhorn Gnasher)

Most slitherhorns are social Horrors, preferring to hunt with their own kind. Suicine is different and serves no other Horror and hunts alone. Rather than the pure black of other slitherhorns, Suicune is extremely dark violets, blues, and greens with a long mane. The rippling fur and undulating mane have an almost hypnotic effect as chilling astral energy like a frozen mist follows it on its hunts.

Challenge: Journeyman (Legendary Sixth Circle)
DEX: 9         Initiative:                     18        Unconsciousness:      380
STR: 11         Physical Defense:   16        Death Rating:               425
TOU: 8         Mystic Defense:       15        Wound Threshold:     18
PER: 7          Social Defense:        13        Knockdown:                  26
WIL: 8          Physical Armor:      10       Recovery Tests:            3
CHA: 4         Mystic Armor:           9         Karma:                             5 (20)
Movement: 18
Actions: 2; Bite x2: 17 (19), Horns: 16 (20), Tentacles x2: 20 (16)
Ambush (10)
Aurora Beam (18): Water-Ice. Suicune draws chilling energy from astral space, focusing it with their horns to shoot at a target within 100 yards. They make a Horror Power test against the target's Mystic Defense. If successful, the target suffers damage equal to the Aurora beam test result, +2 per each Horror Power addtional success spent on damage. Mystic Armor protects against this damage.
Awareness (15): As the skill, Player's Guide, p. 129.
Charge (10)
Displace (Standard)
Enhanced Sense [Hearing] (6)
Enhanced Sense [Sight] (4): Heat vision and low-light vision
Ethereal Darkness: As the spell, Player's Guide, p. 319, centered on Suicune; no threads are required and the duration is 5 rounds.
Harvest Energy (14, Free): Suicune can only use this power to regain Karma when feasting on living flesh. If it is a Namegiver, Suicune gains an additional Karma Point and gains a Karma Point even if the test fails.
Horror Power (18, Aurora Beam, Standard)
Immune to Fear
Indomitable: The absolute value of Action test and Defense penalties applied to Suicune are halved (e.g, half of -3 is -2 since the absolute value of -3 is 3 and half of 3 is 1.5, which rounds to 2). This includes penalties from Harried and explicitly does not include bonuses applied against Suicune.
Invincible (Simple): Suicune recovers from one Wound.

Long Tentacles: Suicune's tentacles have a range of 20 yards and are entangling weapons.
Nimble Jaws: Suicune is not limited on the number of bite attacks it can make per round.
Physical Nature: Suicune exists primarily in the material world, but can travel between worlds using Displace.
Sheer Cold (22, Free): This is triggered the first time one of the following happens: Suicune has 5 Wounds or Suicune's current damage is over 190. Astral energy seeps from Suicune's injuries and freezes everything within 50 yards, causing them to be Harried and their Movement Rate halved until the end of the next round.
Stealthy Stride (20): As the skill, Player's Guide, p. 170.
Unconquerable (Simple): Suicune ends an ongoing effect that functionally prevents them from taking actions. These effects include grappling, spells like Crushing Hand of Earth, Spell Cage, talents like Spirit Hold, etc. This power can also be used when Suicune takes an Unrelenting action, but they must make a test as normal. Unflinching applies to this test.
Unflinching (2): Suicune gains a +10 bonus to any test to resist ongoing effects.
Unrelenting (1): After a character opposing Suicune takes their turn, Suicune may take a Standard and Movement action (at half movement rate) against that character. These cannot be continuations of actions taken on Suicune’s turn (e.g., continuing to weave threads for a spell) and must include the character as a target (though the action can affect multiple targets). If Suicune cannot reach or affect the character, it may target a different character.

Unyielding (Simple): Suicune stands up. This can be used once per round at the beginning of their turn or before they take an Unrelenting action.
Special Maneuvers:

Armor Cutter (Suicune, Bite): Suicune may spend additional successes on an Attack test to reduce the target's Physical Armor by 1 per success. If Suicune also used Etheral Attack, it affects Mystic Armor instead. This may not destroy thread armor.
Ethereal Attack (Suicune, Bite): Suicune can spend an additional success to cause an attack to affect Mystic Armor instead of Physical Armor.
Grab and Bite (Suicune, Bite)
Pry Loose (Opponent, Close Combat)


  1. I love these Legendary creatures. They really give a Monster Hunter vibe, with an entire party scrambling to weaken and finally defeat just one creature.

    With that in mind, I wonder if it might not be interesting if the PCs can work towards removing specific abilities as they work on the creature. So it's not just a battle against its hit points, but they could focus on turning off Invincible, for instance. Or Unyielding.

    Perhaps something like 'spend extra successes to turn off this power' with a threshold. After 10 successes, this power no longer works.

    That would let the party feel like they're making progress and being smart and dramatic throughout the entire battle.

    Also, just as an editing note, you mention Long Tentacles, but tentacles are not listed as an attack option.

    Cheers, and as always, great stuff!

    1. Yes, they could, but that's beyond the scope of a generic Mask and entirely in the realm of a specialized version. Being able to turn off the basic powers would mean giving it significantly more threats in other areas. The ability to disable the basic powers required to threaten a group without additional edges means it's not a challenging or interesting encounter.

      This started with work I did many years ago trying to solve these types of encounters in ED3, providing ways to slowly debuff the opposition as they dismantled it until it could be meaningfully injured. Some of the actions (would be special maneuvers in today's terminology, but these were the first prototype of that idea) had consequences the player's didn't know about that kept the action moving and outcomes uncertain. I think I wrote about it briefly somewhere on here.