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Old 03-21-2018, 07:23 AM   #31
Culture20
 
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Default Re: Ancient Near Eastern Monsters (with Serpentine, Reptilian and Dragonic themes)

From older D&D “Mystara”, you have the Kopru and Carnifex (the latter being probably too humanoid for your tastes). There are also the Neogi from SpellJammer, who are a sentient species which is a centauroid with giant wolf spider body and moray-eel head. Switching that to cobra and a dense web weaver, and you have a vicious monster for the players.

If not everything is evil/dangerous, there might be coatl or fairy dragons. If you want to get a laugh from your players, announce that one of the eggs is hatching, then play a video clip of the birth of the second twin from the original “V” miniseries from 80’s American TV.

Last edited by Culture20; 03-21-2018 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 03-21-2018, 10:30 AM   #32
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Default Re: Ancient Near Eastern Monsters (with Serpentine, Reptilian and Dragonic themes)

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
From how the PCs have handled previous threats on this quest, 'bigger' is a bit of a double-edged sword. While it makes the monster more capable of threatening the PCs with raw damage and grappling, it also makes them less likely to hit and much easier for PCs to target.

Most importantly, perhaps, it plays havoc with their tactical flexibility. Make the creatures too large for most of the tunnels and the PCs can anticipate where they can attack.

That's not to say that big monsters are inappropriate, just that I need to mix them with smaller threats which can go anywhere. Hence the pack of attack dog sized deinonychus/velociraptors.
Monitors (and most lizards and snakes) are quite good at negotiating narrow tunnels. So they should be able to squeeze through corridors and caves where most mammals of similar size (excluding the weasel family) would have difficulty going. The perentie monitor, for example, is Australia's largest lizard, commonly reaching lengths of 1.5 to 2 meters and 5 to 20 kg in mass. in modern times, they obtain much of their diet from introduced rabbits, which they catch by entering the rabbit burrows - rabbits are about 1 to 2.5 kg in mass.

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Most of them eggs that the PCs found are somehow being infused with dragonic or serpentine elements, like the scales, serpentine tails and venomous snake heads added to such creatures as chimeras, hydras and the small dinosaurs.

In setting, dragon bone, cartilage, teeth and other hard parts are regarded as one of the strongest substances available. How could they not be, when they have to be light enough to allow winged flight, but strong enough to absorb the impact of tons of dragon landing?

Dragon teeth can bite through steel with ease. If the lizards have some dragonic elements, I imagine that their teeth could penetrate anything.

Of course, I had planned on the opposition having only recently acquired eggs from true dragons. But perhaps there was a dragonic creature of a breeding age acquired earlier that could have desirable characteristics...
Sounds awesome!

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Nice! Venom that afflicts Hemophilia.
maybe something like
Innate Attack 1 (bite venom - anticoagulant, vasodilator; 1d toxic; follow up (bite); cyclic (3 hourly cycles); cyclic (1 daily cycle); symptoms (-2 HT (only for bleeding checks -60%), -4 FP , 1/3 HP); symptoms (another -2 HT (only for bleeding checks -60%), another -4 FP, 1/2 HP); symptoms (another -2 HT (only for bleeding checks -60%), daze, 2/3 HP); symptoms (hemophilia, unconsciousness, full HP); symptoms (heart attack, 2 × HP); blood agent; onset (1 minute); resistable (HT-4, doesn't stop cycles));


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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Sounds good. Rasul Khamsin Mubtasim would know of these beliefs and certainly fears impotence more than death.
I tracked down my source for this, in Daniel Bennett's "Little Book of Monitor Lizards" (Aberdeen 1995). Daniel Bennett is a wildlife biologist and herpetologist who has traveled the world studying monitors

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Bennet
The energy and spirit of its threat display are doubtless responsible for the many sinister characters that are attributed to it by humanity. They are believed by many to be as venomous as any snake, and are also supposed to be capable of inflicting a variety of deforming, debilitating and terminal illnesses on any unfortunate person they encounter.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Bennet
according to Bogdanov (in Nicolskh 1915) if a desert monitor runs between a man's legs it can rob him of his sexual prowess and render him impotent.
Luke
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Old 03-21-2018, 05:02 PM   #33
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Default Re: Ancient Near Eastern Monsters (with Serpentine, Reptilian and Dragonic themes)

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Originally Posted by lwcamp View Post
Monitors (and most lizards and snakes) are quite good at negotiating narrow tunnels. So they should be able to squeeze through corridors and caves where most mammals of similar size (excluding the weasel family) would have difficulty going. The perentie monitor, for example, is Australia's largest lizard, commonly reaching lengths of 1.5 to 2 meters and 5 to 20 kg in mass. in modern times, they obtain much of their diet from introduced rabbits, which they catch by entering the rabbit burrows - rabbits are about 1 to 2.5 kg in mass.
That's good to hear.

How are they at navigating rocky slopes and/or climbing stone walls?

How silly would adding some kind of gecko-ish feet adaptations be?

Or can perfectly un-chimera-ed monitor lizards manage steep tunnels in stone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lwcamp View Post
maybe something like
Innate Attack 1 (bite venom - anticoagulant, vasodilator; 1d toxic; follow up (bite); cyclic (3 hourly cycles); cyclic (1 daily cycle); symptoms (-2 HT (only for bleeding checks -60%), -4 FP , 1/3 HP); symptoms (another -2 HT (only for bleeding checks -60%), another -4 FP, 1/2 HP); symptoms (another -2 HT (only for bleeding checks -60%), daze, 2/3 HP); symptoms (hemophilia, unconsciousness, full HP); symptoms (heart attack, 2 × HP); blood agent; onset (1 minute); resistable (HT-4, doesn't stop cycles));
Oooh, nasty! Consider it adopted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lwcamp View Post
I tracked down my source for this, in Daniel Bennett's "Little Book of Monitor Lizards" (Aberdeen 1995). Daniel Bennett is a wildlife biologist and herpetologist who has traveled the world studying monitors
Wonderful! The PCs are blasé about wounds due to their great DR, defences and ability to cure most any injury with potions and divine magic. But threaten the sexual potency of the PC who views himself as the greatest lover of all time...
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Old 03-21-2018, 06:19 PM   #34
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Default Re: Ancient Near Eastern Monsters (with Serpentine, Reptilian and Dragonic themes)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Culture20 View Post
From older D&D “Mystara”, you have the Kopru and Carnifex (the latter being probably too humanoid for your tastes). There are also the Neogi from SpellJammer, who are a sentient species which is a centauroid with giant wolf spider body and moray-eel head. Switching that to cobra and a dense web weaver, and you have a vicious monster for the players.
It's not that I'm avoiding reptilian humanoids so much as I already have named and statted NPCs of several different humanoid species awaiting encounter with the PCs. It was the accidental by-products of breeding experiments and magical energies which make for conditions favourable to neogenesis that I was looking for ideas on. Mostly animal intelligence, with a few perhaps approaching human levels of cognition, but strange and bestial.

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Originally Posted by Culture20 View Post
If not everything is evil/dangerous, there might be coatl or fairy dragons.
That's an intriguing idea. The PCs didn't get the sense that the verdant and fruitful Tree of Life itself was evil, just that some taint of corruption / extra-planar evil was affecting it through the spring / aquifer which fed its roots.

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Originally Posted by Culture20 View Post
If you want to get a laugh from your players, announce that one of the eggs is hatching, then play a video clip of the birth of the second twin from the original “V” miniseries from 80’s American TV.
I strongly doubt any of them would have the faintest idea what it was, as I barely recognise the name and had to Google what it was about. Not a cultural touchstone here in Iceland, it seems.
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Old 03-21-2018, 09:19 PM   #35
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Default Re: Ancient Near Eastern Monsters (with Serpentine, Reptilian and Dragonic themes)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
That's good to hear.

How are they at navigating rocky slopes and/or climbing stone walls?

How silly would adding some kind of gecko-ish feet adaptations be?

Or can perfectly un-chimera-ed monitor lizards manage steep tunnels in stone?
.
Remember that video I posted, of a monitor easily scaling a tree to raid the possum's nest? Yeah, monitors are excellent climbers. Up stone, wood, dirt banks. There are Malaysian stories of an attacking army tying a rope to a water monitor lizard and putting it on the wall of a castle. The monitor climbed up the wall, and then when it reached the top the soldiers pulled on it, the monitor set itself, and everyone climbed up onto the ramparts. Fanciful, perhaps, but it gives the general idea. Those huge claws of theirs give good purchase, and monitors are very muscular and powerful, allowing them to climb easily.

They are also very good diggers and swimmers and runners. Their main weakness is that they can't handle cool weather as well as mammals and birds.

Here's a sample basic Nile monitor, enlarged to 5 meters long
Code:
Nile Monitor

ST 23      DX 12      IQ 3      HT 13     

Jaw ST 25

Basic Lift 52.9 kg      HP 23      FP 11      Will 10      Per 12     

Weight 370 kg      SM 1      Length 5 m

Basic Speed 6.25     
Basic Move:  	6
Land Move: 	6 (7 sprint)
Water Move: 	6 (7 sprint)
Climb Move: 	1

Attacks
Attack	Damage	Reach
Bite	2d+3 cut	1
Claw	2d+2 cut	1
Tail	2d+3 cr	2

DR:  	
5

Advantages: Acute Smell 3; Amphibious; Clinging (Requires claw-holds); Breath Holding 4; Combat Reflexes; Hard to Kill 2; Hard to Subdue 2; Discriminatory Smell; Extra Legs (4 legs); Peripheral Vision; Perfect Balance (Skill and DX bonuses only, does not negate need for rolls; Only if braced with tail); Perk (Fast Digger); Reduced Consumption 2 (Cast Iron Stomach); Sharp Claws; Sharp Teeth; Striker (tail; crushing; long +2; cannot parry; weak); Terrain Adaptation (undergrowth); Terrain Adaptation (uneven)

Disadvantages: Bad Sight 4 (Motion Sensitive); Bad Sight (Night Blindness); Cold Blooded (65°); Gluttony (12-); Low Empathy; No Fine Manipulators; Non-Discriminatory Hearing; Paranoid; Reduced Endurance 1; Restricted Diet (carnivore); Semi-Upright; Short Lifespan 2; Wild Animal

Features: Long forked tongue; scaled; Long neck; Loud hiss; Born Biter 2

Skills: Brawling - 14; Climbing - 14; Intimidation - 10; Stealth - 12; Survival - 12; Tracking - 15; Wrestling - 14
Adjust as necessary for dragon teeth, claws, and scales, and add the venom and withering tail lash and curses, so that it is a credible threat to your party. Taken from my Animalia http://panoptesv.com/RPGs/animalia/animalia.html page on Varanids http://panoptesv.com/RPGs/animalia/r...as/goanna.html

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Old 03-21-2018, 11:10 PM   #36
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Default Re: Ancient Near Eastern Monsters (with Serpentine, Reptilian and Dragonic themes)

Nehushtan, who was probably of the winged serpent type.
Many river deities and their relatives.
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Old 03-22-2018, 04:12 AM   #37
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Default Re: Ancient Near Eastern Monsters (with Serpentine, Reptilian and Dragonic themes)

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Nehushtan, who was probably of the winged serpent type.
Oh, that's a good point.

I couldn't resist including a minority group whose religion rejects the anthropomorphism of deities practised by the polytheistic majority, and worship the sun and the moon without attributing names or human qualities to them. They are called the Nisutu ('Kindred'), tend to live in special quarters of urban areas in the Untheri Empire, have historically been subject to various legal restrictions and persecution and, obviously, allow me to play with various aspects of Jewish culture.

The PC martial artist / bard / master of tantric lore, Rasul Khamsin Mubtasim, visited a middle-aged sage and physician by the name of Malachi Elgezar, but discovered that due to the strictures of a religious day of rest, the man was unwilling to discuss what Rasul wanted to discuss*, as it came under the heading of 'business'.

Instead, Rasul spent a couple of hours politely making conversation with the man in his study, steering clear of any subject with connotations of 'business', but hearing Malachi's views of various acquaintances, his views on his adopted homeland** and the trials and tribulations of being a single father to a spirited girl, whose friends and interests were alarmingly beginning to be from outside Nisutu society. When she came home from temple, Rasul was invited to eat lunch with the small family, with apologies that the food had been prepared the day before, due to restrictions on cooking with fire on the day of rest.

All in all, Rasul felt that he had wasted most of a day on a pleasant, but ultimately pointless diversion, but an offhand comment that he would enjoy making the acquaintance of a woman named Gula, the proprietress of Karallu ('Beatitude, bliss, jewel'), an establishment that Malachi described as 'a convivial social salon', led him to decide to visit at least one other place before writing the day off entirely. Long story short, Rasul discovered that Karallu was an opium den, Gula was a powerful necromancer, underworld figure and a priestess of Tiamat, and that she was just right for Rasul's underhanded schemes against the Tiamat cult.***

The lesson, of course, is that just because someone is a good family man who follows religious restrictions to the hilt it doesn't mean that he's not intimately familiar with the underworld of dragon worshippers and drug users. And that someone can be surprisingly affable and seemingly harmless while apparently belonging to a thoroughly evil cult.

Nehuhstan is a nice-sounding name, too, and I might decide to have ancient cultic practices in the area remembered by Nisutu sages rather than by the majority population (who've spent a long time under the tyrannical rule of a God-King who tended to get irate when history recorded details he wanted remembered differently, such as anything to do with other gods than him). That would make it plausible for the PCs to use the Kindred name for any ancient religious symbol they find.

*Rasul is impersonating a spy for the Cult of the Dragon and wanted to obtain the names of local contacts in the allied (for now) Tiamat cult. While Malachi never confirmed it, Rasul suspects that he is also a spy for the Cult of the Dragon and the visit was prompted by a suggestion from a character who accepts Rasul's cover identity and wants to help him do well on his clandestine diplomatic mission.
**Malachi has lived in Unthalass, the capital of the more-or-less fallen Untheri Empire, for about twenty years. His original homeland is the city of Mourktar, in Threskel, a former province of Unther, but independent now for some four centuries.
***Rasul is a recovering villain, now in the service of a benevolent deity and a righteous cause, but maintains that skulduggery is a mitzvah (as his new friend Malachi would no doubt say) when performed against evil organisations with nefarious goals, whose high priestess has officially declared him anathema.


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Originally Posted by VonKatzen View Post
Many river deities and their relatives.
Yesss...

It would make sense for there to have been a deity associated with the river that runs through the city and has flooded it on numerous occasions. Judging by the fact that enormous dragonic turtles and various sea serpents are linked to times of such floods, that river deity might have some reptilian connections of its own...
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Old 03-22-2018, 09:44 AM   #38
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Default D&D 'Rake' Attack against Grappled Foes

The PCs and their allies are currently playing music to entertain a 40+' long behir. Zurgur the Behir seems very musical and not all that eager to eat them, though he has informed him that such will be his regrettable duty if they should attempt to traverse the cavern he occupies.

Zurgur has at least twelve clawed feet, which he can use to crawl like a centipede on walls and even ceilings, but seems to travel mostly by slithering with the feet folded along his body. For a creature that must weigh tons, he seems very quick, graceful and agile.

From the way he moves, the PCs can guess that he would attempt to bite and constrict, in the manner of a python. If he managed to get a solid grip of someone, however, he would be able to rip and slash at them with his clawed feet, as well as choking the life out of them.

Even though point values have little to do with NPCs, the players were wondering if someone had this powerful being as a willing ally or unwilling slave and how expensive that would be. One of the abilities that might be expensive would be a D&D style Rake, where a successful grapple allows attacks with some or all of a creature's leg claws.

Assuming that Zurgur could make 2, 4, 6 or even twelve claw attacks in a single turn, but only against a creature he had already grappled, what kind of Limitation on Extra Attack would Only against Grappled Foe be?

Other Limitations would be One Skill (Brawling -20%), but Only against Grappled Foe would implicitly include reduced Reach (to C) for the Extra Attacks and limited target selection (all attacks must target the same foe), in addition to the Accessibility Limitation of having to establish a grapple first.

In GURPS Technical Grappling terms, the grapple would need to be significant, probably expressed by enough CPs to impose a penalty to DX.
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