10 June 2020

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Horror 11 - Rook

This is the eleventh 4E Anatomy of a Horror, 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.

This is essentially a Named despairthought, though different enough in how it operates to change things up from expectations. Until the player characters location Rook's physical form, it keeps causing trouble. The kind of trouble it causes can be more difficult to detect and is more disruptive and dangerous because of that.

Rook

Rook is an enormous armor-plated grub with barbed spikes for limbs and an orifice filled with spikes and blades. Lashing tentacles serve as a tail to help trap victims for the always slavering mouth hole. While it’s physical form betrays some distant relation to despairthoughts, its astral form is malleable, but almost always appears as some beautiful Namegiver.

Instead of finding parents filled with fear over their child, Rook seeks lonely outcasts who want to be more than life has given them. Posing as Astendar, it promises them that and so much more, offering the gift of glibness. The victim’s silver tongue gets them nearly anything they want. And they want more.

It doesn’t take long for what they have to never be enough. The victims’ newfound gifts aren’t always as effective as they once were. Rook, always in the guise of Astendar, visits and listens patiently, nodding sagely. It acknowledges the power is tied to their devotion and they must prove their devotion to continue receiving the gifts. At first, the requests seem strange, but innocuous, escalating over time to increasingly dangerous and hateful tasks. Some victims don’t even notice the extremes to which they have gone, even reveling in their sense of freedom from the norms of society.

Eventually, it costs them everything. Nothing is left. Only at that point does Rook reveal the truth, squeezing one last meal from a victim who thought they could sink no lower. However, Rook never lets them commit suicide, it always brings them back. Freedom can only be won when they find the Horror a new victim. After this, it devours what is left. Though, instead of sweet release, the victim is reborn in the Horror’s gut and given new life as a construct. There is never peace for Rook’s victims.


Challenge: Warden (Ninth Circle)
DEX: 6          Initiative:                  6        Unconsciousness:      111
STR: 13         Physical Defense:  13       Death Rating:               127
TOU: 16        Mystic Defense:      20      Wound Threshold:     24
PER: 13         Social Defense:       20      Knockdown:                  19
WIL: 17        Physical Armor:      20      Recovery Tests:            5
CHA: 15        Mystic Armor:         15       Karma:                            9 (36)
Movement: 14
Actions: 2; Bite: 17 (25), Spike: 20 (22), Tail: 23 (19), Trample: 20 (20)
Powers:
Animate Dead (26, Standard)
Astral Projection (Standard): Rook can project itself into the astral realm, perceiving both the astral and physical worlds at the same time. It can communicate with those in the physical world by manifesting, though it has no substance. This power has no duration or range limitations.
Aura of Awe (24, Standard)
Corrupt Compromise (24): Rook can reduce or suppress any benefits provided by this power indefinitely, but they cannot be removed.
Corrupt Karma (26, Standard)
Corrupt Reality (26,Standard)
Cursed Luck (22, Free)
Damage Shift (20)

Digest (20): A swallowed target gets to meet Rook’s internal grinder. The target takes Step 20/Physical damage at the beginning of each round before Initiative is determined. After damage is assessed, the target’s Physical Armor is reduced by 1. Thread items are never destroyed by this effect.
Forge Construct (26)
Hardened Armor
Harvest Energy (26, Free)

Horror Mark (22, Standard): In addition to the normal effects, marked victims become increasingly self-involved and feel entitled, as well as concerned over status and prestige. Social norms do not apply to them. The juxtaposition between what marked victims want and how they behave becomes more pronounced over time until it is all-consuming.
Horror Power (22, Damage Shift, Simple)
Immune to Fear

Karma Boost (Free): This power can always be used on Charisma-based tests.
Karma Drain (22, Standard)
Physical Nature: Rook exists in the physical world.
Unnatural Life (26, Standard)

Special Maneuvers:
Brilliant Idea (Rook, Aura of Awe): Rook may spend additional successes on an Aura of Awe test to “inspire” the victim with a brilliant idea and course of action (which the victim came up with, of course). The victim gains +1 for each success to tests which further this idea, while they suffer -1 for each success to any other tests.
Crack the Shell (Opponent)
Cut Free (Opponent): The opponent may spend an additional success on an Attack test to attempt to free a swallowed target. If the attack causes a Wound, a swallowed target escapes. If there is more than one swallowed target, determine who escapes randomly.
Grab and Bite (Rook, Tail)
Overrun (Rook, Trample)

Slowpoke (Opponent, Close Combat): If the opponent has sufficient movement, they may spend an additional success on an Attack test to quickly move behind Rook before it can react. Rook is Blindsided against the opponent until the end of the round.
Swallow Whole (Rook, Bite): Rook can spend two additional successes on an Attack test to swallow the target. The target may escape the leech’s insides by making a successful Attack test with a bladed weapon against Rook’s Physical Defense, or casting a spell that causes damage reduced by Physical Armor against Rook’s Mystic Defense, and inflicting a Wound. Attack and Damage tests from weapons larger than Size 2 have a penalty equal to the weapon’s size. The target is Harried while swallowed.

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