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Old 02-23-2019, 03:14 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2006
Default [Monster] Keepers

One thing that drives a lot of new delving sages borderline crazy is that most dungeons just do not make any sense. WHY have fourteen different goblin tribes moved here over the centuries, set up shop, and fought all comers until exterminated? Why does every second human that dies in here rise as an angry spirit? What keeps the ropes supple, bows taut, and poison potent for traps inside a tomb that has been sealed for a thousand years? What do dragons have against banks? Why doesn't the slime escape and take over the world? Or the Vampires? HOW THE HECK DOES THIS THING EVEN WORK IT'S BUILT UNDER A RUINED RIVER KEEP IN FRACTURED ROCK BENEATH THE FREAKIN' WATER TABLE IT SHOULD ALL BE UNDER WATER AND IT'S BARELY DAMP EXCEPT FOR THE 10' LONG TALKING CRAWDAD AND NONE OF IT MAKES ANY SENSE!
(... pant ... pant ...)

Around this point in the rant a more seasoned delver, often a druid, cleric, or wizard, will take the sage by the hand. Making a sweeping nebulous gesture, they whisper conspiratorially "Keeper Spirits"

In terms of stats, keepers are almost identical to Spirit Guardians (DFRPG Monsters, p. 52), but the small differences that there are make all the difference.

Domain: A Keeper has an inner domain and and outer domain. It only has traditional Spirit Guardian powers in the inner domain, but it can move around in the outer domain and observe things and plan, or influence it's minions. Even from a distance, it can still notice ... exciting ... events.

Add the following attack:
Corrupt Weakness(18, resisted by Will): This can only be applied to someone who unconscious in the keeper's domain. It allows the keeper to add 1 point of disadvantage to the victim, as long as the trait is it applied to is clearly related to an existing trait. It stacks. In the keeper's inner domain, it can also add a positive point to "Higher Purpose, Defend the Keeper's Domain" if it has a full week to do so. With even more time it can add other traits at the GM's discretion.

Traits: Add the following:
Keeper Contingency Casting 5 This is a modified version that allows the spirit to cast any non-combat spell, and perform small supernatural effects of similar power level to spells, as long as they cost 3 FP or less per use of KCC expended. Treat critical failures as normal failures.
Remove incurious and no fine manipulators
Divine Curse is often more flexible than "defend an area."

Skills: Add stealth 16. It will often receive large bonuses due to being invisible, or inside of a wall, etc.

Class: Spirit.
Notes: Keeper Spirits are bound to protect something, but also bound to keep it from being forgotten. Originally placed to guard the tombs of the great royalty of old, the keeper spirits kept their charges safe with elaborate tombs, guardians, and traps ... and kept them from being forgotten by luring greedy yet braggy types into their clutches, letting out just enough hoarded wealth the keep the legend alive. Over time, the secrets of binding ritual to create these spirits has spread, been used, re-used, and mis-used in many times and spaces. Yet exactly how common keepers are is unknown, as they are very shy and cautious. They observe their mandate from the spirit world, making subtle changes here, and exerting subtle influences there, like a fanatical hobbyist adjusting the rigging on a ship in a bottle.

In practice, most keepers use their powers to make the denizens of their domains committed defenders, with fanatacism, sense of duty, or other binding disads, as well as a sprinkling of trickster, greed, and other traits that make for opponents worth singing about in the tavern later. Those close to the object of the keeper's curse will often have one or more levels of higher purpose, and a favored few will have been subtly modified in other interesting ways. (The GM should always feel free to add "fun" traits to their dungeon critters of course the keeper is just getting the blame.)

The oldest keepers tend to be the shyest, and the ones with the most mundane looking focuses for their curse. There is a keeper who has been protecting the same set of three finger bones (all that is left of an ancient prince) for millennia. Occasionally explorers have breached the inner sanctum, and driven off and exorcised the spirit, and destroyed the (decoy) prince's undead body, but those finger bones have been carefully wedged between two wall stones in a back corner, and the keeper has been called back again.

An example of "Corrupt Weakness"
a group of delvers, exploring the omni-maze, sets up camp in the outer domain of a keeper. The curious keeper seeps through the cracks of the stone to the room where they have camped, and listens to them talk of their adventures, noticing that Tvalin (who has a sense of duty to underground nature) really appreciated the natural beauty of the Flowcaves, another area inside of its domain. In the morning, Tvalin wakes up with a new quirk: Really Likes the Flowcaves. Usually that's it as delvers seldom linger ... but Tvalin gets captured by the local orc tribe in a terrible battle that forced his fellows to flee the dungeon. By the time the rescue mission finds him again, Tvalin has a -10 point duty to protect the caves from interlopers. The next delvers through that cave are going to have to deal with him.
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