Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dubious Monsters

Before I kick off the rest of "fix third edition" week, I thought I'd post some of the monsters that my friend Tim and I came up with. We were discussing the difficulty of expressing man versus nature in roleplaying games, and decided that fauna is the most dynamic way of representing this. D&D is a game about killing monsters, not about dying from impersonal forces like thirst or exposure.

A number of monsters resulted from this. Perhaps you might enjoy them.

1. Ants that use psionics to compel you to set up camp near their hills. Perhaps they also have learned to set up camp fires.
2. Carrion-eating bees that spray you with particularly fragrant honey in Black Bear Forest. "Why the fuck would bees spray us with honey?" Then after they defend themselves from a hungry bear, they may find a half eaten deer carcass covered with bees.
3. A mimic that has learned to take the form of a tent.
4. Flamethrower eucalyptus that create their own controlled burns. Possibly occupied by fire-resistant drop bears.
5. A herd of horses that have developed a taste for human eyes.
6. A ghost shepherd. A murder herder, if you will.
7. A sentient field of wheat with razor-sharp stalks. "Lalala I love walking through fields OH GOD BLOOD EVERYWHERE..." Very Jared Diamond.
8. Birds of paradise whose feathers look like loved ones, that are used to lure you into quicksand, and then take your gems and items to festoon their bowers.
9. Dopplegangers that can only transform into beggars, prostitutes, or urchins, and subsist solely on the human flesh of the lower classes. "Don't give charity to that man, he could be a doppleganger." This idea beget several ideas relating to adaptive radiation and dopplegangers that can only imitate specific socioeconomic classes.
10. A blue-collared doppleganger that subsists purely on fermented beverages and sacramental foods.
11. A doppleganger baron that can subsist only on precious metals.
12. A colony of benevolent cranium rats living in the slums giving people dreams on how to exploit the rich. All they demand in return are fine and exotic cheeses.
13. An urban blight mold that spreads from house to house rotting the building materials and filling the residents with despair.
14. The ghost of a chimney sweep that has a black lung breath weapon. And his body is still stuck in a chimney somewhere.
15. Undead urchins that reach into your pocket and pull out a kidney. Organ pickpockets. They use the organs to fuel healing magic that they sell on the black market. Drunkards are useless to them; being drunk is surefire protection from their predations. Also lepers and those with consumption.
16. A psychic leech shaped like a top hat. It commands the creature that wears it to commit indignities upon the poor so that it may feed off the mental anguish. If a haberdasher tries to mend it, it screams, sprouts legs, and scurries off into the shadows. Also it gives off madness-causing fumes when threatened.
17. A symbiotic monocle-creature that allows you to see how much money a person is carrying and derives sustenance from the psychic energy produced by a rich wearer's feelings of contempt.
18. Literal street urchins of the spiny sort, that feel upon offal.
19. Sewage elementals, naturally.
20. A murderer that turns the soul of each person it kills into a brick, and builds a house. When he finishes the house, he stops murdering.
21. The ghost of a pet animal that died of starvation when its owners failed to feed it, and now possesses others' pets until they die. It feeds on the blood of its host's owners, and slowly mutates the owners into another version of it as a means of reproduction. "My, but your sideburns are looking exceptionally whiskery today."

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