25 November 2021

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Horror 18 — The Gobbler

This is the eighteenth 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.

With a third post this week (two legendary Named Horrors!), I hope everyone is getting their fill. Even if they aren't celebrating in the U.S. This is a bit of a joke and also deadly serious. Don't mess with the Gobbler.


The Gobbler

There are legends about a Named crackjaw gnasher that feasts on Namegivers, feasting on them as it croons. It is called the Gobbler both because of how it devours its prey — often whole — and the sounds it makes while it hunts.

It’s massive like other crackjaw gnashers, but is fully bipedal rather than in recline. Most of its body is covered in dark brown, spined feathers, often stained with blood, except for its two naked heads and their toothed beaks. Fleshy sacs hang from each, filled with stones, weapons, armor, anything hard to help grind its prey while still alive. A gaping maw filled with jagged teeth fills its stomach and the internal grinding parts can be seen when it opens. While the Gobbler has wings, it doesn’t fly. However, it does use them to make impressive leaps and attack its prey with the long spines on each wing. The Gobbler also uses its talons to eviscerate and grab prey, tossing them into its mouth or eating them in pieces while still alive.

Other gnashers tend to be social and are found in groups, but this isn’t true for the Gobbler. Nor does it ever serve other Horrors. The Gobbler only eats. Gobble gobble.

Challenge: Warden (Legendary Tenth Circle)

DEX: 9 Initiative: 19 Unconsciousness: 620

STR: 16 Physical Defense: 21 Death Rating: 710

TOU: 18 Mystic Defense: 24 Wound Threshold: 32

PER: 7 Social Defense: 13 Knockdown: 33

WIL: 8 Physical Armor: 19 Recovery Tests: 6

CHA: 5 Mystic Armor: 16 Karma: 8 (32)

Movement: 16

Actions: 4; Bite [Heads] ×2: 27 (29), Bite [Lower Mouth]: 26 (30), Claws ×2: 28 (28), Wings ×2: 30 (26)

Powers:

Cursed Luck (28, Free)
Digest (23): A swallowed victim gets to meet the Gobbler’s crop and its grinding action. The victim takes Step 23/Physical damage and -1 Physical Armor (after damage is applied) at the beginning of each round before Initiative is determined. Any armor reduced to 0 Physical Armor is destroyed and cannot be repaired, including thread armor.
Feast of Suffering: The Gobbler gains +1 to Attack and Damage tests for each Wound the target has.

Fowl Play (28, Free): This is triggered the first time one of the following happens: The Gobbler has 5 Wounds or the Gobbler's current damage is over 310. The Gobbler leaps into the air and slams the ground beneath it, unleashing a shockwave and a terrible smell. All opponents within 60 yards are Harried until the end of the next round and must make a Knockdown (28) test.

Fury (4)
Gobble Gobble (Standard): The Gobbler uses the Swallow Whole special maneuver on a victim it started its turn grappling.
Great Leap (20)
Harvest Energy (19, Free): The Gobbler can only use this power to regain Karma when feasting on living flesh. If it is a Namegiver, the Gobbler gains an additional Karma point and gains a point if the test fails.
Immune to Fear
Indomitable: The absolute value of Action test and Defense penalties applied to the Gobbler 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 the Gobbler.
Invincible (Simple): The Gobbler recovers from one Wound.
Long Neck: The Gobbler’s necks can reach up to 10 yards for bite attacks.
Physical Nature: The Gobbler exists in the physical world.
Terror (28, Standard)
Two Heads Are Better Than One: The Gobbler cannot be blindsided or Harried through positioning, attempts to distract or blindside the Gobbler require an additional success, and it can make two bite attacks per round.
Unconquerable (Simple): The Gobbler ends an ongoing effect that functionally prevents it 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 the Gobbler takes a bonus action, but it must make a test as normal. Unflinching applies to this test.
Unflinching (3): The Gobbler gains a +15 bonus to any test to resist ongoing effects.
Unrelenting (2): After a character opposing the Gobbler takes their turn, the Gobbler may take two Standard actions and a Movement action (at half movement rate) against that character. These cannot be continuations of actions taken on the legendary opponent’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 the Gobbler cannot reach or affect the character, they may target a different character.
Unyielding (Simple): The Gobbler stands up. This can be used once per round at the beginning of their turn or before they take a bonus action.
Special Maneuvers:
Armor Cutter (The Gobbler): The Gobbler may spend additional successes to give the target -1 Physical Armor per success. This may not destroy thread armor.
Cut Free (Opponent): The opponent may spend an additional success on an Attack test to attempt to free a swallowed victim. If the attack causes a Wound, a swallowed target escapes. If there is more than one swallowed victim, determine who escapes randomly.
Enrage (Opponent)
Grab and Bite (The Gobbler, Claws)
Overpower (The Gobbler, Claws): The Gobbler may spend two additional successes from an Attack test to force the target to make a Knockdown test against a Difficulty Number equal to the Attack test result. If the test fails, the target is knocked down and knocked back a number of yards equal to the total number of successes on the Attack test.
Provoke (Opponent, Close Combat)
Pry Loose (Opponent, Close Combat)
Swallow Whole (The Gobbler, Bite [Lower Mouth]): The Gobbler can spend two additional successes on an Attack test to swallow the victim. The victim may escape the Gobbler’s insides by making a successful Attack test with a bladed weapon against the Gobbler’s Physical Defense or casting a spell inflicting Physical damage against the Gobbler’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 victim is Harried while swallowed.

Wing Buffet (The Gobbler, Wings): The Gobbler can spend two additional successes on an Attack test to force the target to make a Knockdown test with the Attack test result as the Difficulty.

24 November 2021

Earthdawn 4E: Rogues' Gallery 54 — Wizard, T'skrang [Alt]

This is the fifty-fourth 4E Rogues' Gallery, 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.

Like other entries in the Rogues' Gallery [Alt] series, this presents NPCs in a different fashion easier to use in combat. Essentially, these are disposable opponents who don't need to have skills referenced. They are also written to be more appropriate as combat challenges for the given Circle.


This particular entry presents an Eighth Circle t'skrang Wizard. They have four ranged attack options, which allows them to adapt to most any situation depending on what effect they want: Physical Defense penalty, Mystic Defense penalty, a Wound, or ignoring armor. Astral Flare, Astral Interference, and Dispel Magic all provide different ways to mess with opposing spellcasters. Add flight and various ways to detect opponents (including Lifesight), and they're and effective opponent for use.

I thought briefly about doing a character write-up for this adept, but realized that premise runs counter to the point of these alt entries. These are more disposable NPCs who should graduate to a full character if they end up with that kind of staying power and growth. This gives a basis for that development, but should more reflect the needs of the campaign.


Wizard, T'skrang


Challenge: Journeyman (Eighth Circle)

DEX: 6 Initiative: 4 Unconsciousness: 58

STR: 5 Physical Defense: 14 Death Rating: 64

TOU: 6 Mystic Defense: 17 Wound Threshold: 9

PER: 8 Social Defense: 14 Knockdown: 7

WIL: 8 Physical Armor: 10 Recovery Tests: 2

CHA: 6 Mystic Armor: 9 Karma: 4 (8)

Movement: 12 (Flying 16, Swimming 12)

Actions: 1; Aura Strike (20 yards): 20 (21), Crushing Will (50 yards): 20 (21), Hypervelocity (20 yards): 20 (20), Mind Dagger (20 yards): 20 (20)

Powers:

Astral Flare (19, Standard): Spell. The t’skrang Wizard targets a point within 20 yards and makes an Astral Flare test against the highest Mystic Defense within 10 yards of that point. If successful, everyone perceiving astral space in the affected area (this includes Astral Sense) suffers full blindness until the end of the encounter.
Astral Interference (15, Standard): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 129. The t’skrang Wizard is unaffected by this talent.
Astral Sight (15, Simple): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 129.
Astral Targeting (13): This power can be dispelled, giving the t’skrang Wizard -2 to Action tests with the spell keyword and any associated damage or effect tests.
Aura Strike: Spell. This attack is made against Mystic Defense and is reduced by Mystic Armor. The target also suffers a Wound.
Awareness (15, Simple): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 129.
Crushing Will: Spell. This attack is made against Mystic Defense and is reduced by Mystic Armor. The target also suffers -2 Mystic Defense until the end of the next round.
Dispel Magic (15, Standard): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 139.
Hypervelocity: Spell. This attack is made against Mystic Defense and isn’t reduced by armor.
Lifesight (15, Simple): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 156.

Mind Dagger: Spell. This attack is made against Mystic Defense and is reduced by Mystic Armor. The target also suffers -4 Physical Defense until the end of the next round.

Special Maneuvers:
Psyche Stab (T'skrang Wizard, Mind Dagger): The t'skrang Wizard may spend two additional successes on a Mind Dagger test to extend the Physical Defense penalty until the end of the encounter.
I’m Crushing Your Head (T'skrang Wizard, Crushing Will): The t'skrang Wizard may spend two additional successes on a Crushing Will test to extend the Mystic Defense penalty until the end of the encounter.

Equipment: Crystal ringlet armor

22 November 2021

Earthdawn 4E: Anatomy of a Horror 17 — Duaga

This is the seventeenth 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 post looks at updating a classic Named Horror, Duaga, found in Mists of Betrayal from 1E and 3ER.

Being completely honest, Duaga is weird. There's a warning in the text "Note that Duaga is a deadly horror; only characters of sufficient power should expect to survive a confrontation with Duaga." Which is true, though not necessarily a lot of help when gauging what exactly that means. Through a modern lens, this opponent is all over the place. There's some decently high Attack and Damage Steps, mostly reasonable Defenses, and — OH MY GOD, PHYSICAL ARMOR 25! Granted, this was the era of Armor-Defeating Hits, but this encounter basically became about fishing for those hits. The good news is it didn't take many because Duaga's Unconsciousness Rating is 48. Even generously, this makes little sense against a Toughness Step of 11.

Unfortunately, this is also a case where the description and the art don't match. The former indicates a humanoid with tendrils for hands, while the art is a snake person with claws. When we get there, I tried to square the circle and make this work with both.

The Duaga presented in the 3ER version of Mists of Betrayal is more reasonable, with higher everything, except armor, which is much lower at 7 for both. For something listed as a Tenth Circle (Group) challenge, this feels pretty underwhelming. However, it's still pretty true to the original.

I feel much less need to hew so close to the original.

The description is sparse, but I'm going to use mostly the 1E version as my basis. Nothing about this Named Horror says they're Warden tier, so I'm moving them to Journeyman. They're just not interesting enough to occupy that area. I'm keeping the attribute Steps the same and using the proportions of the original Defenses to align them for an appropriate Eighth Circle opponent. The big disparity between Physical and Mystic Armor gets the same treatment, as do the Attack and Damage Steps.

I'm bringing forward the original powers, but cutting spells. They don't feel like a good fit here and articificially push it to Tenth Circle. If someone wants Duaga to be a Nethermancer, it can still be a Nethermancer. However, I'm also adding some more powers based on the description and to fill it out. This is a Named Horror after all.

3ER added Burning Aura, which I think is a good fit. The original Combustible Touch power is awkward. Instead, I'm replacing it with Cinderskin, Ignition, and Feast of Suffering. These largely accomplish the same purpose, but I don't have to adapt anything (I already wrote them for Fire Wraith) and they're more interesting. Combustible Touch was too much like Skin Shift, which it also has. But Cinderskin also offers Wounds with a side of dread and Feast of Suffering combines well to take things to the next level.

Next are the immunity and vulnerability, which are simple and obvious. Adding Fearless helps without making it absolutely immune to fear effects. A suite of standard 4E Horror powers also gets included, along with a ranged attack and giving the tendrils some additional range to make the Horror more threatening to opponents who might otherwise feel "safe." Addining various grappling options increases that danger and gives some strong control options to round it out and provide a variety of different threats.

The last piece is applying the Legendary Mask and including Conflagration as a big mid-fight threat. Applying Cinderskin to everyone isn't likely to be fun and definitely get more use out of Feast of Suffering.


Duaga

During the Scourge, the Horror Duaga took up residence near Blood Wood, terrorizing and butchering those unlucky travelers who passed through its domain. Since the return of Parlainth, mercantile traffic, adventuring groups and the occasional blood elf patrol, keep the Horror amused. Otherwise, it spends most of its time sleeping in its lair.

The Horror has a humanoid upper body and the long tail of a snake. It’s roughly eight-feet tall, twenty-feet long, and with sore-dotted, leathery skin so hot it smolders. Duaga attacks its prey with its two arms, each of which ends in slender, flexible tendrils ending in claws it can stretch from its hands.

Challenge: Journeyman (Legendary Eighth Circle)

DEX: 10 Initiative: 15 Unconsciousness: 445

STR: 12 Physical Defense: 17 Death Rating: 540

TOU: 11 Mystic Defense: 19 Wound Threshold: 21

PER: 12 Social Defense: 13 Knockdown: NA

WIL: 12 Physical Armor: 15 Recovery Tests: 4

CHA: 7 Mystic Armor: 8 Karma: 10 (40)

Movement: 16

Actions: 2; Bite: 17 (24), Burning Lance (60 yards): 24 (18), Tendrils ×2 (8 yards): 22 (22)

Powers:

Awareness (20, Simple): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 129.

Burning Aura (12): Duaga gives off intense heat. All creatures within 6 yards suffer Step 12/Physical fire damage. Clothing, paper, and other easily flammable objects usually burst into flame when exposed to this power.

Burning Lance: This attack is made against the target’s Mystic Defense and reduced by Mystic Armor.

Cinderskin (8): Duaga causes the target’s skin to glow and burn, potentially igniting. The victim suffers Step 8 damage, ignoring armor. If this damage results in a bonus die, the target’s skin catches fire and causes a Wound. This is in addition to a potential Wound caused by damage exceeding the target’s Wound Threshold.

Conflagration (Free): This is triggered the first time one of the following happens: Duaga has 5 Wounds or Duaga's current damage is over 222. Duaga's burning aura explodes in a physical and astral conflagration, damaging all patterns in the area. Everything within 60 yards suffers from Cinderskin twice each until the end of the next round; Cinderskin doesn't normally stack.

Constrict (15): Grappled opponents take Step 15/Physical Damage each round as long as the grapple is held.

Fearless (10): Duaga gains +10 to its Defenses against fear-based effects.

Feast of Suffering: Duaga gains +1 to Attack and Damage tests for each Wound the target has.

Forge Construct (20, Sustained): Duaga prefers to create jehuthras.

Fury (4)

Harvest Energy (15, Free): If the harvested emotion is pain, Duaga gains an additional Karma Point, and gains a point even if the test fails.

Horror Mark (20, Standard)

Horror Power (22, Skin Shift, Simple)

Immune to Fire: Duaga suffers no damage from mundane fire attacks and gains +20 Physical and Mystic Armor against magical and elemental fire.

Indomitable: The absolute value of Action test and Defense penalties applied to Duaga 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 Duaga.

Invincible (Simple): Duaga recovers from one Wound.

Reach Out and Touch You: Duaga can extend its tendrils up to 8 yards. Opponents affected by its Grab and Bite special maneuver are dragged back to Duaga on its following turn as a Simple action if they haven’t escaped.

Skin Shift (22)

Terror (22, Standard)

Unconquerable (Simple): Duaga 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 Duaga takes a bonus action, but they must make a test as normal. Unflinching applies to this test.

Unflinching (2): Duaga gains a +10 bonus to any test to resist ongoing effects.

Unrelenting (1): After a character opposing Duaga takes their turn, Duaga may take a Standard and Movement action (at half movement rate) against that character. These cannot be continuations of actions taken on the legendary opponent’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 Duaga cannot reach or affect the character, it may target a different character.

Vulnerable to Water: Attacks with the water or cold keyword against Duaga ignore any protection provided by armor.

Special Maneuvers:

Enrage (Opponent)

Grab and Bite (Duaga, Tendrils)

Ignition (Duaga, Close Combat): Duaga can spend additional successes on an Attack test to inflict Cinderskin on the target. Cinderskin lasts for one round per success spent in this fashion.

Provoke (Opponent, Close Combat)

Pry Loose (Opponent)

17 November 2021

Earthdawn 4E: Rogues' Gallery 53 - Wizard, Dwarf [Alt]

This is the fifty-third 4E Rogues' Gallery, 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.

Like other entries in the Rogues' Gallery [Alt] series, this presents NPCs in a different fashion easier to use in combat. Essentially, these are disposable opponents who don't need to have skills referenced. They are also written to be more appropriate as combat challenges for the given Circle.


This particular entry presents a Seventh Circle dwarf Wizard. They have four ranged attack options, which allows them to adapt to most any situation depending on what effect they want: Physical Defense penalty, Mystic Defense penalty, a Wound, or ignoring armor. Astral Flare, Astral Interference, and Dispel Magic all provide different ways to mess with opposing spellcasters. Add flight and various ways to detect opponents (including Lifesight), and they're and effective opponent for use.

I thought briefly about doing a character write-up for this adept, but realized that premise runs counter to the point of these alt entries. These are more disposable NPCs who should graduate to a full character if they end up with that kind of staying power and growth. This gives a basis for that development, but should more reflect the needs of the campaign.


Wizard, Dwarf


Challenge: Journeyman (Seventh Circle)

DEX: 5 Initiative: 2 Unconsciousness: 53

STR: 5 Physical Defense: 12 Death Rating: 59

TOU: 6 Mystic Defense: 16 Wound Threshold: 9

PER: 8 Social Defense: 11 Knockdown: 9

WIL: 8 Physical Armor: 12 Recovery Tests: 2

CHA: 6 Mystic Armor: 5 Karma: 4 (8)

Movement: 10 (Flying 16)

Actions: 1; Aura Strike (20 yards): 19 (20), Crushing Will (50 yards): 19 (20), Hypervelocity (20 yards): 19 (19), Mind Dagger (20 yards): 19 (19)

Powers:

Astral Flare (19, Standard): Spell. The dwarf Wizard targets a point within 20 yards and makes an Astral Flare test against the highest Mystic Defense within 10 yards of that point. If successful, everyone perceiving astral space in the affected area (this includes Astral Sense) suffers full blindness until the end of the encounter.
Astral Interference (15, Standard): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 129. The dwarf Wizard is unaffected by this talent.
Astral Sight (15, Simple): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 129.
Astral Targeting (13): This power can be dispelled, giving the dwarf Wizard -2 to Action tests with the spell keyword and any associated damage or effect tests.
Aura Strike: Spell. This attack is made against Mystic Defense and is reduced by Mystic Armor. The target also suffers a Wound.
Awareness (15, Simple): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 129.
Crushing Will: Spell. This attack is made against Mystic Defense and is reduced by Mystic Armor. The target also suffers -2 Mystic Defense until the end of the next round.
Dispel Magic (15, Standard): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 139.
Hypervelocity: Spell. This attack is made against Mystic Defense and isn’t reduced by armor.
Lifesight (15, Simple): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 156.

Mind Dagger: Spell. This attack is made against Mystic Defense and is reduced by Mystic Armor. The target also suffers -4 Physical Defense until the end of the next round.

Special Maneuvers:
Psyche Stab (Dwarf Wizard, Mind Dagger): The dwarf Wizard may spend two additional successes on a Mind Dagger test to extend the Physical Defense penalty until the end of the encounter.
I’m Crushing Your Head (Dwarf Wizard, Crushing Will): The dwarf Wizard may spend two additional successes on a Crushing Will test to extend the Mystic Defense penalty until the end of the encounter.

Equipment: Chainmail armor