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Old 09-10-2020, 09:34 AM   #1
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default The basilisk freeze power

The basilisk's ability to freeze "works like a Freeze spell". Does this include a DX roll for the basilisk? The text is a little ambiguous.

The text says:
This ability works like a Freeze spell, but with no ST cost. It succeeds unless the victim makes a 4-die saving roll vs. his IQ. If he fails, he is frozen...
The second sentence suggests no DX roll needed, but "works like a Freeze spell" may mean a DX roll is necessary. If no DX roll is needed, there's also no penalty for range far as I can tell.

Since a basilisk has DX 8, whether a DX roll is required matters rather a lot. A single basilisk becomes a pretty good way to nerf the dumb warriors in a party without the DX roll. With the DX roll, at range 1 the probability of hitting becomes a measly 16%.
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Old 09-10-2020, 09:41 AM   #2
phiwum
 
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Default Re: The basilisk freeze power

On reflection, the fact that the basilisk's freeze has an explicit maximum range (5MH), I reckon no DX roll is necessary.
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Old 09-10-2020, 11:38 AM   #3
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: The basilisk freeze power

You're right. The rule specifies, just so pithily that one might question it means what it says:

"It succeeds unless the victim makes a 4-die saving roll vs. his IQ."

I.e. No casting roll. And yes, the 5 MH range is a clue since it would almost never succeed even at 2 MH if there were a Thrown Spell roll involved.
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Old 09-10-2020, 12:05 PM   #4
phiwum
 
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Default Re: The basilisk freeze power

Thanks for the confirmation.

Seems like even one basilisk may be a bit challenging for a newb party of four. An intelligent critter, so he can target the heavies first, leaving the thieves, wizards or support characters having to engage or retreat.

Perfect.
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Old 09-10-2020, 12:25 PM   #5
Skarg
 
Join Date: May 2015
Default Re: The basilisk freeze power

A basilisk is dangerous because it has a very special ability, so in certain situations it can be very powerful.

And some people have managed to get parties wiped out by a basilisk.

But generally success for the basilisk relies on it being able to freeze all its opponents before they can come kill it, so it really depends on the situation. One or two victims caught by surprise with no one to come help them are in big trouble. A group of four or even three people with ready weapons and decent adjDX and nothing to keep them from attacking the basilisk may make short work of it, though.
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Old 09-10-2020, 01:05 PM   #6
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Default Re: The basilisk freeze power

Best response to a basilisk and octopus teamup is a party of IQ 17 goblins.
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Old 09-10-2020, 02:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: The basilisk freeze power

Traditionally the petrifying power of a basilisk (and cockatrice, and gorgon) lies in its gaze. Doesn't necessarily need to be reciprocal (the victim doesn't have to meet the gaze with their own). So if some of the party can hide from sight or attack from behind they can avoid the effect a bit longer.

But in general any creature with petrifying vision is going to be quite dangerous in the hands of a smart GM. I put a single pampered basilisk and its two skeleton attendants on one of the higher (and thus harder) floors of the Deathspine in part because it's such an effective threat. Even moreso if it has sidekicks to do the actual killing while it handles paralysis duties.
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Old 09-10-2020, 03:21 PM   #8
phiwum
 
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Default Re: The basilisk freeze power

I'm a little puzzled how to play an intelligent basilisk.
A basilisk does not object to power and wealth, but its main desire is comfort and seven square meals a day.
I'm trying to see how a basilisk, which is a yard-long lizard, would use wealth. I know, the same applies to dragons, but I think of them viewing a great hoard as a status symbol, having no use to them aside from showing just how powerful they must be to acquire such pretty trinkets, gems and coins.

What good does money do a basilisk? Despite his intelligence, I doubt that he is welcome wandering into a town and buying, er, food I guess. Maybe a throw pillow or a dog bed or something.

They are, I presume, quadrapeds. I'll guess their forelimbs allow them to grasp and use tools to some extent. Still, I'd think that basilisks are utterly indifferent to wealth. (Not entirely sure how one acquires power for that matter, but I suppose he could be a top lieutenant to some head honcho or king of the labyrinth or something.)
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Old 09-10-2020, 03:28 PM   #9
phiwum
 
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Default Re: The basilisk freeze power

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadekeep View Post
Traditionally the petrifying power of a basilisk (and cockatrice, and gorgon) lies in its gaze. Doesn't necessarily need to be reciprocal (the victim doesn't have to meet the gaze with their own). So if some of the party can hide from sight or attack from behind they can avoid the effect a bit longer.

But in general any creature with petrifying vision is going to be quite dangerous in the hands of a smart GM. I put a single pampered basilisk and its two skeleton attendants on one of the higher (and thus harder) floors of the Deathspine in part because it's such an effective threat. Even moreso if it has sidekicks to do the actual killing while it handles paralysis duties.
A bit of an aside, but when you use skeletons as permanent fixtures like that, do you bother to give them Zombie rings or explain how they can serve a basilisk over time? Or do you just take for granted that these particular skeletons are special and don't require regular ST boosts?

I ask because one Zombie ring per skeleton adds up to a serious cash influx.
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Old 09-10-2020, 03:29 PM   #10
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Default Re: The basilisk freeze power

Basilisk + Troll = Endless mealtime.
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