2015-12-31

Monster: Bolter Battelwrought

Battlewrought, Bolter

A spidery contraption composed mostly of a heavy crossbow with segmented legs and a long flexible tail.

CR 2; XP 600
CN Small Outsider (battlewrought, chaotic, extraplanar)
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +6

Defense
AC 13, touch 12, flat-footed 12 (+1 Dex, +1 natural, +1 size)
hp 21 (2d10+10); regeneration 2 (cold iron or lawful)
Fort +3, Ref +4, Will +1
Defensive Abilities constructed
Weakness rust vulnerability

Offense
Speed 40 ft., climb 20 ft.
Melee sting +4 (1d3+1)
Ranged heavy crossbow +4 (2d8, 19-20/x2)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 1st, concentration +1)
Constant—abundant ammunition, gravity bow
3/day—true strike

Statistics
Str 13, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 7, Wis 12, Cha 10
Base Atk +2; CMB +2; CMD 13 (25 vs trip)
Feats Improved Initiative, Point-Blank Shot, Precise Shot
Skills Acrobatics +6, Climb +6, Perception +6, Stealth +10
Language does not speak but understands all spoken languages as per truespeech
SQ big weapon, reloading tail

Ecology

Environment any
Organization solitary, pair, or flock (3-14)
Treasure standard

Special Abilities


Big Weapon (Ex): A bolter is a living crossbow scaled for a Medium creature and deals damage accordingly, adjusted for its constant gravity bow spell-like ability.


Reloading Tail (Ex): A bolter's tail is flexible, strong, and semi-independent, being able to reload the heavy crossbow as a swift action.


Rust Vulnerability: A bolter affected with rust-inducing effect has its regeneration suppressed for the duration of the effect. Instantaneous rust effects suppress the regeneration for 1 round.

Bolters are the least and the smallest of the battlewrought, little more than mobile self-firing crossbows composed of debris of thousands of wars across the universe. They serve as scouts and ranged support for battlewrought troops. Their intuitive grasp of tactics and matters of war is much better than their lowly overall Intelligence score would suggest and some of them develop curiosity bordering recklessness, while others prefer to wait hidden in ambush to scouting.

A bolter battlewrought can become a familiar of a non-pacifist character with Improved Familiar feat (requires 7th caster level). It can be also acquired as a 4th level cohort.

The Battlewrought

The war incarnate, the spiritual debris of endless battles, the battlewrought are embodiment of conflict itself. While they appear to be husks made of discarded armors, broken weapons, and pieces of ancient siege engines, they are animated with a living force, spirits formed from out of the raw chaos of war.

Battlewrought Subtype: Battlewrought are spirits of war inhabiting shells made of shattered arms and armor. They have following traits.

Body Weaponry (Ex): All the weapons, shields, and armors used by battlewrought are parts of its body. They cannot be disarmed or removed. They can be sundered but they regenerate in 1 round if broken or 1d4+1 rounds if destroyed.

Constructed (Ex): Although battlewrought are living outsiders, their bodies are constructed of physical components, and in many ways function like constructs. For the purposes of effects targeting creatures by type (such as a ranger's favored enemy and bane weapons), battlewrought count as both outsiders and constructs. They are immune to death effects, disease, mind-affecting effects, necromancy effects, paralysis, poison, sleep, stun, and any effect that requires a Fortitude save (unless the effect also works on objects, or is harmless). Battlewrought are not subject to nonlethal damage, ability damage, ability drain, fatigue, exhaustion, or energy drain. They are not at risk of death from massive damage. They have bonus hit points as constructs of their size.

Low-light Vision.

Saves: A battlewrought good saves are Fortitude and Reflexes.

Skills: A battlewrought counts Acrobatics, Intimidate, Knowledge (engineering), and one Profession skills related to war and its specific role such as siege engineer, soldier, teamster, or sailor as its class skills in addition to regular Outsider class skills.

Regeneration (Ex): All battlewrought have regeneration, usually suppressed by cold iron or lawful effects. The amount regenerated varies between battlewrought.

Truespeech (Su): A battlewrought can speak with any creature that has language as if using tongues (caster level 14th). This ability is always active.

Wrought For Battle (Ex): A battlewrought racial HD counts as fighter levels when meeting prerequisites of combat feats. A battlewrought gains bonus combat feats as if its racial HD were fighter levels.

2015-12-30

Monster: Abductor Toad

Abductor Toad

An enormous toad with multiple eyes, row of small horns and spikes along its back and spots of weird colors on its skin.

CR 9; XP 6,400
N Huge Magical Beast
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, sense teleport; Perception +16

Defense
AC 23, touch 9, flat-footed 22 (+1 Dex, +14 natural, -2 size)
hp 115 (10d10+60)
Fort +11, Ref +10, Will +8
Defensive Abilities no freebies

Offense
Speed 20 ft.
Melee bite +17 (1d8+9 plus grab), 2 claws +17 (1d8+9), tongue +17 (grab and pull)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 10 ft. (30 ft. with tongue)
Special Attacks pull (tongue, 25 ft.), swallow whole (3d6 acid, AC 21, 23 hp), teleport assault
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 13th, concentration +15)
At will—greater teleport (self and creatures and objects swallowed)

Statistics
Str 28, Dex 12, Con 22, Int 11, Wis 16, Cha 11
Base Atk +10; CMB +21 (+25 grapple); CMD 34
Feats Combat Casting, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Uncanny Concentration
Skills Perception +16, Survival +16
Language Abyssal, Draconic, Infernal
SQ breach ward, prison gut

Ecology

Environment any
Organization solitary
Treasure standard

Special Abilities


Breach Ward (Sp): An abductor toad teleportation ability is powerful, capable of penetrating effects that would block it. This works like a greater dispel magic targeted against dimensional anchor, dimensional lock or any effect that prevents teleportation, that activates together with the teleportation effect used by the toad. If the dispel check is successful the blocking effect is suppressed for 1d4 rounds. Effects that could not be affected by dispel magic (such as antimagic field) cannot be breached by this ability.

Prison Gut (Ex): An abductor toad's innards were deliberately shaped to hold swallowed creatures. An abductor gut increases its natural armor by 4 and doubles amount of hit points needed to cut oneself out while swallowed. Swallowed creatures are unable to use teleportation effects and living creatures not immune to poison are sickened. An abductor toad can suppress or resume dealing continuous acid damage to swallowed creatures as a free action.


Sense Teleport (Su): An abductor toad can sense all teleportation effects and their residual aura as if using constant detect magic. It can take a move action to determine destination location of any sensed teleport effect.

Teleport Assault (Su): An abductor toad can make a single attack as a swift action after using its greater teleport spell-like ability.


No Freebies (Ex): A mercenary mindset is so deeply imprinted in the abductor toad's brain, that it cannot be compelled by mind-affecting effects to use its teleportation abilities against its will, and it will demand an appropriate payment for its teleportation services while charmed.

Abductor toads were deliberately created as a tool for precise teleportation strikes and, as their name implies, abduction. It is known that their creator used a sample of slime from a toad god to grow cunning weapon, but it is not known if their sapience was intentional or not. Since their creation abduction toads spread and grew independent. They have little love for humanoids but are sometimes willing to sell their services for prodigious amounts of food and fancy trinkets from time to time, acting as mercenary kidnappers, or more rarely offering transportation services (as long as the traveler is willing to trust being swallowed by a humongous toad and has enough hope that he will be spit out at the end of the journey).

Abductor toad eyes can be used as an additional material component while casting teleportation spells increasing their caster level by 2.

Elder abductor toads (CR 11) grow even larger, gaining advanced and giant simple templates, increasing their caster level to 20 and being able to use interplanetary teleport and plane shift spell-like abilities.

2015-12-29

Monster: Dire Toy

Dire Toy

A child-sized teddy bear, clearly tattered and patched with cloth and fur.

CR 4; XP 1,200
LG or CE Small Construct
Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +15

Defense
AC 17, touch 15, flat-footed 13 (+4 Dex, +2 natural, +1 size)
hp 37 (5d10+10)
Fort +1, Ref +7, Will +3
Defensive Abilities evasion; Immune construct traits

Offense
Speed 20 ft., climb 15 ft.
Melee bite +8 (1d6+2), 2 claws +8 (1d6+2)
Special Attacks pounce

Statistics
Str 14, Dex 18, Con —, Int 11, Wis 15, Cha 11
Base Atk +5; CMB +6; CMD 20
Feats Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes
Skills Acrobatics +12, Climb +10, Perception +15, Stealth +13; Racial Modifiers +8 Acrobatics, +8 Perception
Language Common (understands but does not speak)
SQ compression, hidden monster, patch and stitch

Ecology
Environment any urban
Organization solitary, pair, or band (3-12)
Treasure standard

Special Abilities


Hidden Monster (Ex): A dire toy can hide oneself among mundane toys with ease. When in place where a toy could be expected it can use Stealth even without proper cover or concealment and can take 20 on the Stealth check.


Patch And Stitch (Ex): A dire toy can use parts from other toys or other materials, such as clothing and pieces of cured leather to repair itself. Each minute of work repairs 1 point of damage. Three dire toys can work together to create a new dire toy as if they had Craft Construct feat and all the required spells—instead of a regular crafting check they need to roll a Wisdom check (DC 10). On a successful check, they create a dire toy matching their alignment and role. On a failed check the created dire toy has opposite alignment.

A thrown away teddy bear, a porcelain figurine, a rag doll... Any of those mundane toys could really be a dire toy. An animated construct tasked with defense of children from the darkest nightmares, or a corrupted monster bent on protecting the children from adults... By destroying any adults around. Good or bad, dire toys normally look like rather big mundane toys, until they engage in combat when their mouth open unnaturally wide revealing powerful fangs, and their hands or paws sprout long talons. Unlike majority of animated toys, dire toys are not only ambulatory but also fairly intelligent, capable of planning and even building more of their kind.

Construction

A dire toy is made of cloth, cured leather, wood, metal wires, porcelain, with the body itself costing approximately 50 gp.

Dire Toy
CL 10th; Price 10,050 gp.
Requirements Craft Construct, charm person, mending, unseen servant; Skill Craft (tailor); Cost 5,050 gp.

2015-12-28

Monster: Wyrmling, Shooting Star

Wyrmling, Shooting Star

A minute slender winged dragon. Its scales are silvery, its wings are delicate, its moves are sudden and confusing.

CR 2; XP 2,400
CN Tiny Dragon
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +7

Defense
AC 15, touch 13, flat-footed 13 (+2 Dex, +1 natural, +2 size)
hp 17 (2d12+4)
Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +5
Defensive Abilities blurred flight; Immune paralysis, sleep

Offense
Speed 40 ft., fly 60 ft. (good)
Melee bite +2 (1d3-2), 2 claws +2 (1d3-2), tail slap +2 (1d3-2)
Space 2-1/2 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks breath weapon

Statistics
Str 8, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 11, Wis 15, Cha 11
Base Atk +2; CMB –2; CMD 10 (14 vs trip)
Feats Improved Initiative
Skills Fly +15, Perception +7, Stealth +15, Survival +7, Swim +4
Language Draconic

Ecology
Environment any
Organization solitary
Treasure standard

Special Abilities


Blurred Flight (Su): Shooting star wyrmlings fly around in bursts of speed. A shooting star wyrmling can take a move action to fly in a straight line at double its regular speed gaining benefits of blur until the beginning of its next turn.


Breath Weapon (Su): Shooting star wyrmlings spew pulses of raw magic, remarkably similar to the projectiles of magic missile spell. A shooting star wyrmling can spit up to three missiles at once, each inflicting 1d4+1 points of force damage to creature within 100 feet. For each missile produced beyond the first, the shooting star wyrmling cannot use its breath weapon for one round.


A tiny draconic curiosities, shooting star wyrmlings are either ancient beings that remained forgotten for ages or a very recent creation. Like other dragons, they have a magical breath weapon, but unlike their bigger cousins they produce motes of raw magic instead of elemental energies. This is their main noticeable trait, for their breath is remarkably similar to magic missile spell leading to speculation about their origins. A number of sages suggest that contacts with the shooting star wyrmlings inspired the early spellcasters to formulate magic missile spells. Other scholars insist that such complex form of magic could not occur naturally, and clearly the wyrmlings were breed by unknown creator in much more recent times specifically to mimic the spell and not the other way around.

Regardless of the truth of their origins, the shooting star wyrmlings are here and will stay here, unless they will be hunted to extinction by more ruthless magicians. A vial of fluids distilled from a single shooting star wyrmling's blood, lymph, and viscera can be used as an added material component to magic missile spell, allowing it to ignore target's Spell Resistance.

A shooting star wyrmling can be befriended and become a familiar of a suitable character with Improved Familiar feat (requires caster level 7th) or cohort of a character with Leadership feat (counts as 5th level cohort).

Monster Week

I decided to post one (more or less new) monster each day of this week. Starting with shooting star wyrmling today. What monsters will follow? Will see.

2015-12-27

Monster: Bone Pyromancer

Bone Pyromancer

A skeletal figure in half-burned robes with a pair of embers where eyes should be. Its hands burn with flames and heat distorts air all around it.

CR 6; XP 2,400
CE Medium Undead (fire)
Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft., Perception +12
Aura restless heat

Defense

AC 19, touch 15, flat-footed 14 (+4 Dex, +1 dodge, +4 natural)
hp 68 (8d8+32)
Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +9
Defensive Abilities absorb fire, undead traits; DR 5/bludgeoning; Immune fire
Vulnerability cold

Offense
Speed 30 ft.
Melee 2 claws +8 (1d4+2 plus 1d6 fire)
Ranged scorching ray +10 touch (4d6 fire)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 5th, concentration +9)
At will—burning hands (DC 15), flaming sphere (DC 16), pyrotechnics (DC 16), scorching rayspark

Statistics
Str 14, Dex 18, Con –Int 13, Wis 13, Cha 19
Base Atk +6; CMB +8; CMD 22
Feats Combat Casting, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Iron Will
Skills Intimidate +15, Knowledge (arcana) +12, Knowledge (religion) +12, Perception +12, Spellcraft +12
Language Abyssal, Common, Ignan

Ecology

Environment any
Organization solitary
Treasure standard

Special Abilities


Absorb Fire (Su): Bone pyromancers arise from fiery destruction. They are not only immune to fire damage but flames mend their undead bodies. Whenever a bone pyromancer is exposed to fire effect, it heals 1 hit point per 3 points of damage the attack would otherwise deal. If the amount of healing would cause the pyromancer to exceed its full normal hit points, it gains any excess as temporary hit points. A bone pyromancer usually deliberately fails its saving throw against fire effects to maximize effects of this ability.


Restless Heat (Su): Bone pyromancers emanate aura of unholy heat that augments nearby undeads. All the undeads within 60 feet gain 10 points of fire resistance and their natural and manufactured weapons gain flaming weapon property.

Sometimes, when a pyromaniac caster dies, especially when the deceased died in his beloved flames, when the flesh burns away, the blackened bones keep going, spreading the fire. Bone pyromancers are animated by a insane will focused on watching the world burn. They are malevolent beings having little interest beyond causing fiery destruction around them.

More willful spellcasters whose bodies were burned away might arise as spectral pyromancers (CR 8). They gain 2 additional Hit Dice, advanced template, incorporeal subtype, incorporeal special quality, and Empower Spell-like Ability (burning hands) feat but they lose DR and replace natural armor bonus to AC with deflection bonus. Their spell-like abilities have 7th caster level and they can use fireball three times per day.

2015-12-21

Envoy: The Guidance

When the Benefactors came to the Earth, they decided they need assistance of the local denizens while bringing Unity, Progress, and Expansion to humanity. Their handpicked agents were given biological, cybernetic, and psychological improvements pushing them far above the mundane specimens of homo sapiens. They became liaisons with governments of the world and corporations, speakers and public relation assistants, diplomatic attaches, and staff for the various installations and institutions raised by the Benefactors. Now they are fulfilling their tasks with loyalty and dedication... Usually.

Their proximity to the Benefactors gives them certain insight and knowledge denied to other humans, but they are still kept in the dark about many things concerning their patrons. In fact, they are aware that there are more things they don't know than those that were revealed to them, for the Benefactors are used to keeping mystique and only provide information they specifically deem to be needed by their agents to complete their orders. At times, it even seems that Benefactors are deliberately restricting information available... Do they hide some unspeakable secrets from their Envoys? Or maybe they want to motivate self-learning instead? Certainly they seem to cherish when Envoys discover things on their own but is that honest reaction or just concealment of their failure to keep secrets?

It is clear to any experienced Envoy that Benefactors are not single minded hive, for there are philosophically driven factions among them. Factions within factions in fact, and they seem to be fluid in their convictions and activities to muddy the waters even more. The main division seems to be the focus on one of the three great values (or at least goals they set for humankind): Unity, Progress, and Expansion. Unifiers favor the Unity, a hard to translate into human language sense of serenity, internal cooperation, psychological and social integrity. They want to engineer human culture and society into a smooth and harmonious composition, suffering from no dissent or dissonance. Evolvers want to accelerate humanity 's Progress, to push them beyond their current biological and psychological restrictions and make them so much more than they are now. Builders want to maintain and accelerate Expansion which is intended to bring prosperity and potential. Various Benefactors seem to assign differing priority and degree of support to each of this values, creating a bewildering array of subfactions and lodges... And yet, following the principles of Unity, they cooperate and present unified facade to the peoples of the Earth. Completing the missions and advancing the cause of each of this values brings each Envoy corresponding faction influence—ability to call upon extra resources, aid, and favors from supporters of each of the great values.

Even without tapping their accumulated faction influence Envoys have great resources at their hand: their personal augmentations, the Benefactors' information network, alien tech arms, tools, and vehicles, aid of Terran Assistance, international organization that includes but is not restricted to security and paramilitary forces, providing many vital services to the Benefactors and their Envoys. Envoys also enjoy special legal status, close to diplomatic immunity.

Personal augmentations that are available to Envoys vary between individual Envoys, but all are given neurocom, an internal alien computer and communicator connected directly to their neural system giving them access to the Benefactors' information network and allowing them to control various alien tech devices. Neurocoms are capable of running one or more Agents, digital protocols managing various digital and mental tasks for the Envoys, a necessary tool while using any complex alien tech devices or vehicles, but also a helpful aid while searching networks and analyzing data. Two more implants shared by all Envoys are personal force field, capable of absorbing staggering amount of damage, and an internal energy source to power the force field, the neurocom, and any other implants the Envoy might receive. In addition to listed implants, all the Envoys are augmented with genetic therapy and nanobots that make them immune to most diseases, reduce effects of many toxins, accelerate natural healing, and allows surviving any non-immediately lethal wounds. Depending upon their tasks Envoys might receive other augmentations, implants, genetic modifications, and psychological conditioning.

The Earth's internet is dwarfed by the Benefactors' information network by orders of magnitude, though most information brought from beyond Earth or concerning the Benefactors' activity is hidden behind various layers of clearances and almost total incomprehensibility of the alien language, which seems to resist most attempts of deciphering without using alien tech computers. While most humans can access the public areas of the network, Envoys have much higher clearances than other humans, including Terran Assistance. Still, they can view only an insignificant fraction of information available in the network, even while using their accumulated influence to temporarily extend their clearances.

Alien technology available to Envoys surpasses anything available on Earth, including hand weapons capable of vaporizing cars, drones and shuttles that can fly with unearthly grace of gravity-manipulating vehicles, machines that can regrow lost limbs... All of those devices, except for the few deemed suitable for public use, have to be controlled via neurocom connection and require focus of one or more Agents.

Terran Assistance is an international organization composed of men and women dedicated to promoting cooperation between humankind and the Benefactors, educating humans about the benefits of the Benefactors' presence, advising the Benefactors about dealing with humankind, and suggesting ways the Benefactors could help Earth, but also providing a number of services to the Benefactors, including the sadly necessary security to facilities and areas restricted for the Benefactors' use, to prevent attacks from xenophobes, and to protect xenophiles from their own enthusiasm.

The main problem with which Envoys have to deal is countering threat of various groups hostile to the Benefactors: xenophobes, religious fundamentalists, biological and cultural purists that reject prospect of human evolution, fringe political groups, and steady supply of mentally incompetent individuals. Many of those struggles are not of physical and violent nature, being fought on social, psychological, political and economic level. Occasionally they have to oversee certain scientific or sociological experiments or attempts of applied engineering involving alien technology. Some of the Envoys also have to deal with  doubts in the sincerity of the Benefactors, or try to reconcile certain discrepancies in their declarations and actions... A few Envoys already failed in those internal struggles going through psychotic breakdowns, turning into a bitter supporters of groups opposing the Benefactors... And there is the issue of something the Benefactors do not speak directly, something related to the stars and certain regions of the galaxy. Could it be some species or culture hostile to the Benefactors? Would those Externals be hostile to the Earth as well, or are they simply the competition to the Benefactors?

2015-12-13

Eidolon: The Hidden

Eidolon: The Hidden

"Thou shall not make unto thee any graven image"

The ancient proscription against making semblances of human form bears secret wisdom, for an image bears sympathetic connection to the nature of the imagined. Make a statue of a man and other will think of it as of man, and it will attract what makes one a man. If the thoughts of many focus enough on the image, if the unseen powers flowing through the world fill the image enough, the image will become like a human, an independent entity with its own thoughts and desires. It might not be a common, but sometimes, when placed in the right place, at the right time, an anthropomorphic creation can become self-aware being. Despite their resemblance, eidolons are not true humans, nor do they think of themselves as such—there is only so much that the sympathetic connection of the outer form can give to a newly awakened being. Usually, the awakening process is slow, with tides of the unseen powers, mortal thoughts, and mystical conjunctions slowly bathing the inanimate shape for months, years, or even centuries before enough of the ambient life force gathers to bring the eidolon to life. Yet, through all that time, the unawakened eidolon is expose to the events passing by, etched in its psyche to be as a vague memories of the local past. That sense of place, of passage of time and of timeless existence at the same time shapes the eidolons and sets them apart from mortal beings. A timeless patience, psychological inertia, and a lifetime of being hidden from mortals in plain sight makes them slow to take direct actions, especially when they could reveal them to others. They are also creatures of habit and natural voyeurs watching the life around them—some my be driven to action to protect status quo, while others my be actually motivated by curiosity.

A playable eidolon should belong to one of the four major forms: Idols, Grotesques, Toys, and Mannequins, and to one of the four habits: Watcher, Keeper, Guardian, Pretenders. The form is defined by their creator's original purpose for their anthropomorphic shape:

Idols are those eidolons whose human-like form was intended to impress mortals, to be adored, even worshiped like a figure in the gallery or a statue at the market square.

Grotesques might be the least human, but still anthropomorphic enough to incite fear, revulsion, and darker impression in mortal minds.

Toys purpose is to bring joy and love and sense of safety.

Mannequins anthropomorphic shape was planned as utilitarian—literal mannequin in the shop or a crash test dummy for example.

The lines between the forms are not clear-cut, though. A scarecrow could be a grotesque because purpose of its form is to bring fear, or mannequin, as it is an utilitarian creation after all; many shop mannequins are utilitarian in nature but shaped in ways that are supposed to impress the onlookers.

Beyond the four major forms there are other less common forms: Accidentals, whose anthropomorphic shape wasn't intended as such; Abstracts, whose shape is not actually human-like and yet, they are easily confused because they were made to bring the impression of anthropomorphic shape to those who would look on it; and Pictures, who are more or less flat images and are bound to the surface they live on.

While the form is the innate division among the eidolons, the habit is mostly the matter of choice, representing the eidolon's expectations and desires, and helping them regain energies:

Watchers are those among eidolons whose main purpose in their awakened life is voyeurism—watching the lives of mortals (and possibly other supernatural beings). This might be actual curiosity, this might be feeding the habit of repetition, the need for observance of small daily rituals...

Keepers form deeper bond with their neighborhoods, the zones where they roam. They protect the place from threats, often opposing change and maintaining status quo, with some rare keepers taking actions to make places they consider home better—in whatever way they consider better for the place.

Guardians differ from keepers in that they focus not on places but on people. They might appoint themselves protectors of a specific individual, a family, or any other group they will feel special affinity to. A guardian shop mannequin might take care of the salespeople for example, while a statue of a hospital founder might defend the patients from abuse.

Pretenders are invigorated by meshing with the mortals, hiding among their ranks, or simply mimicking their actions and recreating their society among themselves. A group of toys might replay a tea party every evening.

Eidolons construction influences their abilities—strength and toughness that can reach superhuman levels, wings that allow gravity-defying flight, beauty that can daze and charm onlookers. The form and the habit influence the affinity for more subtle powers—often allowing influencing and altering the local neighborhood, inspire or suppress specific activities and emotions, ward off other supernatural influences. In addition, all the eidolons have an ability to remain motionless for indefinite amount of time, return to the same position every time, and sense when a mortal being is close to noticing them, warning the eidolon before someone actually looks upon them. They can also slumber to replenish their energies and repair their artificial bodies. Not being alive (in medical sense) makes them resistant to many mundane hazards and completely immune to biological threats.

2015-12-07

Fantasy Races: Rivalries And Alliances, part 3

Part 1
Part 2

The Boisterous Giants And The Arrogant Midgets

Descendants of the giants and kinfolk to the trolls, troldhrym are violent, loud, and reckless. They fight for the glory and the rush of battle, they insult those around for the joy of verbal spar, and they eat, drink, and mate with equal passions. Their brutality and lack of subtlety are far from intellectual pride of azan and yet, there is a certain sense of understanding between those people as both of them have their deeply ingrained pride in themselves and their culture.

Troldhrym and azan interests are rarely coming close but they are sometimes linked together because of business—troldhrym martial prowess makes them decent mercenaries in azan eyes. Their physical capabilities would make them great slaves, but azan know better than to try to enslave people so focused on individual freedom and so prone to violence at the same time. The little geniuses are not above using subtle magic, trickery, and hefty bribes to ensure troldhrym services. Interestingly, azan working with troldhrym usually adapt to the giants' insults quickly and efficiently. In fact, many of them surpass their colleagues in that field, considering developing of new insults a way of minor intellectual challenge.

Outside of buying troldhrym services, azan have little interest in the giants, and vice versa. Troldhrym culture is seen as too savage, by azan, and azan civilization is viewed by troldhrym with mild disdain as too urbanized, too pampered, and too shielded from the elements and the world. The acceptance of slavery common among azan aggravates troldhrym as well, on occasions even pushing them to raid smaller azan facilities to free the slaves, even not of their own race.

The Glorious Warriors And The Radiant Traders

Kyo, like azan, are content to let the mercenaries fight for them and troldhrym make great mercenaries. Their relation is more complex than between azan and troldhrym, though. While kyo respect honor and sense of pride, their concepts of honor and proper behavior are very different from troldhryms', in many aspects they are opposite, with troldhrym focusing on one's individuality and personal glory, while kyo assign prestige for actions benefiting the community and Radiant Empire first. They are also much less accepting of dramatic failures, though they can, to a degree, accept a failure caused by sticking to the expected forms. Unlike azan, kyo are unable to comprehend troldhrym insults, finding that custom deeply disturbing and distasteful. On the other hand both people share their deep appreciation of certain luxuries, though exact choices in food, beverages, and jewelry are quite different.

Kyo are usually more than happy to use their wealth to pay troldhrym mercenaries and use them as front line units and shock troops, but due to unruliness and recklessness they are rarely used for defensive units or honor guards. Troldhrym gladly accept kyo money, and keep a degree of respect for kyo merchants for providing them with exotic luxuries, but they are not above raiding them to acquire those riches easy way or free the slaves kept by kyo.

The Children Of Elements And The Dwellers Of Forests

Surprisingly, the courageous and boisterous troldhrym show strange caution when encountering therigens. There is a bit of superstitious wariness of fey entities mixed with lack of conviction that therigens are actual sapient beings and not only speaking animals. A few troldhrym point out to some old legends suggesting that therigens might be a creation of old troll witches to play tricks on the giantkin, other suggest that they are descendants of tricksters that instigated the quarrel that made their ancestors thralls to the troll-wife. This makes the majority of troldhrym to treat therigens with respect and distrust, with a very small minority taking time to stalk and even hunt therigens.

On their side, some therigens seems to enjoy the feeling their kin inspires in troldhrym, playing tricks and practical jokes on the giantkin. A few industrious theirgens even went so far that they played animistic totems for isolated groups of troldhrym. The rest takes the advantage of the troldhrym caution to keep them at distance, away from the manors and courts of the therigens.

2015-12-01

Wayfinder #14: Monsters!

A new issue of >Wayfinder< is available now!

This time the theme is "monsters" so look for Monstrous Bodies And Warped Minds and disemboweled prophet...