Monday, October 24, 2011

Encounters: Shadix the Gremlin

     On their way out of Thelanis, the Feywild, I wanted there to be a series of interesting "gatekeepers" that the PCs have to deal with.  I wanted a darker fae creature to be the guardian of their passage into the Faedark underground caverns. Browsing through the Monster Builder, I saw that the Gremlin seemed like a likely candidate.  I updated him, adjusting his numbers, added a magic item from one of my PC's wish lists, and started looking for other monsters to round out the encounter.

     Nothing fit.

Looking over his stats, considering what could play well with his abilities, I kept coming back to Sabotaging Presence, Befuddling Burst, and Slip Up.

     Sabotaging Presence convinced me that, somehow, PCs needed to be forced to make skill checks.  What's more, it made me think of TRAPS.  That's when my initial idea came to fruition: a Gremlin mad-scientist who has rigged his lair with traps, running around a higher level catwalk shooting spells down on the PCs.  I added a Pit Trap (which actually gave me 4 squares of pit), a bunch of squares from a Spear Gauntlet (in key squares the PCs will want to use to get up to Shadix), and a couple of squares that trigger a Magical Crossbow Turret.  Of course, Shadix would be close enough, if high up and out of reach, to make it harder for PCs to disable the traps, climb or jump up to the catwalk, or do anything else terribly skillful.

Of course, I still had some XP budget to spend.  I knew I needed to create a monster that would take advantage of his Befuddling Burst and Slip Up powers.  In short, I needed something terrifying that would prey on the prone.  After not finding anything terribly interesting in the monster builder, I started thinking of an entertaining YA novel I had listened to on audio-book called The Edge Chronicles 1: Beyond the Deep Woods by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell that had a terrifying creature described in it called a Wig-Wig:
     Wig-wigs are an unholy cross between Tribbles and Piranha.  They are cute little puff-balls that swarm around the forest, consuming some of the most nasty and fierce predators around.  They are at the top of the food chain, and the only defense is to outrun them or hide in a tree because they can't climb.  They are little, they are cute, and they are vicious.  I thought an adaptation of Wig-Wigs would be a suitable minion for Shadix, the insane Gremlin Scientist.  I called them Shadix's Fuzzies:
The Fuzzies interact with this scenario in lots of entertaining ways.  First of all, they can appear as a mass of swarming puff-balls that get underfoot, and can slide you in different directions.  This means they can move the PCs into trapped squares. Secondly, they are completely harmless unless a PC goes prone from one of Shadix's spells, falls off the catwalk, or falls down a pit.  However, once that does happen, the fuzzies can encase you, blind you, and drag you down into one of the pits and start eating you.  Even if your friends kill the fuzzies to get them off of you, you will also be hurt by the damage.  Over all, I loved the concept behind theses little buggers.

     The fight itself didn't go off as planned.  The NPC that accidentally got dragged along on the quest, Donata, won the fight.  I hastily gave her stats as a low-level version of the much higher level threat she would become.  There was a great deal of variability in her attack power, as I decided she had not yet learned to control her raw psionic talents.

Donata d'Vadalis Level 2 Controller
Medium natural humanoid (magebred) XP 125
HP 36; Bloodied 18
AC 16; Fortitude 15; Reflex 13; Will 14
Saving Throws +5 vs. fear and charm effects
Speed 7 Initiative +2
Passive Perception 11 Low-Light Vision
Inspire Protective Instincts
Whenever Donata is adjacent to an ally, that ally takes a -1 penalty to all defenses and Donata gains a +1 bonus to all defenses. If Donata is adjacent to more than one ally, she gains a cumulative +1 to all defenses for each ally she is adjacent to.
Standard Actions
(Melee Basic) Unarmed Throw • At-Will
Attack: +5 vs. Reflex
Hit: 2d6 + 3 damage and the creature is pushed 3 squares and falls prone.
(Ranged) Wild Talent (charm, psychic) • At-Will
Attack: Ranged 10, +5 vs. Will
Hit: 1d10 + 5 psychic damage.  To determine the secondary effect of this power, roll 1d4 and consult the following table:
4: the enemy is dazed until the end of his next turn.  
3: the enemy makes a basic attack against his nearest ally.
2: the enemy is pulled 3 squares.
1: the enemy takes ongoing 5 psychic damage (save ends).
Skills Arcana +6, Diplomacy +9, Nature +6
Str 20 (+6) Dex 13 (+2) Wis 10 (+1)
Con 12 (+2) Int 10 (+1) Cha 17 (+4)
Alignment unaligned      Languages Common, Elven

I had her mostly controlled by the PCs, unless I decided she'd flee in terror or shrink from the fight, so she walked into the room and shot Shadix with her mind. She hit and rolled a 2, pulling Shadix from his catwalk to the ground, prone...where he was quickly killed by the PCs and devoured by his fuzzies.

The fight didn't go as I'd hoped, but it was memorable, fun, and creepy in a zany sort of way. I'd totally use the Fuzzies and Shadix in another campaign.

1 comment:

  1. I really like what you did with creature design on the fuzzies here. Also, Shadix and the Fuzzies is a great name for an indie band.