Thursday, September 17, 2009

Playtesting the Scorpire Vampion

During hiatus I'm revisiting the WWtH monsters and trying them out in actual 4e combat encounters. With the party at first level we tested out the beelion, the doppelganger freak and the laughing lambchop lizard, then tweaked the latter two and ran them again. After leveling the party up to level 2 and giving them appropriate gear, we completed a couple of level 2 encounters. It turns out the Weekly What the Heck is kinda shy on level 2 sample encounters, so this week we leveled 'em up again and moved on to level 3. The party is still:
A goliath warden
A gnome bard
A longtooth shifter ranger
A deva invoker

The girls decided the gimmicky Teleport Temple was no fun anymore, so they told me their characters were leaving. Fine. They stepped outside into the Dragon Graveyard map from Fantastic Locations: Dragondown Grotto. The last time they were here they almost lost half the party. *evil laughter* My favorite frightened wizard ran by again, yelling 'It's the zombie apocalypse! Aaah!" A half-dozen zombies and guy who kinda looked like a vampire came shambling out of the shadows around them. This was almost the level 3 sample encounter from the scorpire vampion entry, but I replaced the gravehound with a scorpire scuttler.

The girls spotted the minion-ness of the zombie rotters pretty quickly and made short work of the lot of them. The zombie brute put up a little more of a fight but not much. One of the items they picked up for the ranger was a +1 sunblade scimitar, and she was enjoying its radiant damage very much. In fact, a critical from the scimitar in the third or fourth round took the corruption corpse from full hit points to two.

Meanwhile, the WWtH monsters weren't faring much better. The scorpire vampion missed the warden with his hypnotic gaze, and only caught the warden in his confounding stare blast. But the warden made her beginning-of-turn saving throw against the stare and was right back on him. The scuttler leaped out from a hiding place and attacked the bard, but missed with the bite part of its scorpilock attack. The gnome faded away and got behind cover where she could blast the scuttler with impunity. The scuttler tried to daze the invoker but failed due to the bard's misdirected mark, then couldn't hit with its bite either. With their recharge powers spent (and not recharging, despite what felt like a dozen rolls) the scorpires were easily defeated.

The scorpires were obviously created before I read the design advice somewhere that a monster should have one recharge power at most. That advice is dead on. Tracking the multiple possible recharges on just two monsters was a pain. Also, it's a little weird how the hypnotic gaze works differently on the scuttler and the vampion (a minor action for one, standard for the other). A little rework and another playtest is in order, I think. My initial thought is that scorpilock should be at-will, confounding stare should be encounter, and hypnotic gaze should be a standard action for both monsters (and possibly also at-will, at least for the vampion).

Friday, September 11, 2009

Playtesting the Ridgeback

During hiatus I'm revisiting the WWtH monsters and trying them out in actual 4e combat encounters. With the party at first level we tested out the beelion, the doppelganger freak and the laughing lambchop lizard, then tweaked the latter two and ran them again. After leveling the party up to level 2 and giving them appropriate gear, we've started in on the level 2 monsters. The party is still:
A goliath warden
A gnome bard
A longtooth shifter ranger
A deva invoker

Last week we got through one encounter showcasing the sabre-tooth lycotaur. This week we tried out the ridgeback loper. The map was still Teleport Temple from the War Drums Starter Set. The party started in the top center of the image to the left, hanging out outside the room after their encounter with the lycotaurs. Since I liked the frightened screaming wizard so much last week, he ran by again. "A wizard runs around the corner yelling 'Goblins on giant lizards are attacking! Aaah!' Roll for initiative."

The encounter was two ridgeback lopers and four goblin warriors, with two goblins mounted on each loper in side baskets like in the picture on the monster entry. Oops, looks like in trying to alter the encounter to put in evil enemies I missed the "rider nth level or higher" rule that mounts always have. Oh well, it's a weird rule anyway. The first loper was spotted in the opening just below the square wall/pillar/whatever. The party (except the invoker) won initiative and charged it. Then the second loper came around the corner at the top left of the map and its goblins started throwing things at the invoker.

Surrounded, the bard and invoker ducked for cover and plugged away with their ranged attacks. The ranger and warden pretty quickly dispatched their loper and scattered the two goblins. The goblins moved next to the nearby teleporters and the ranger and warden obliged me by missing each of them, allowing them to use goblin tactics to shift into the teleporter and blink away to the upper right corner where they could join in the harassment of the other two PCs.

Meanwhile, the loper-and-two-riders arrangement was turning out to be quite vulnerable to the invoker's area attacks, but the invoker was pretty vulnerable to their highly mobile return fire. The loper fell first, however, and the deadly bard followed up by using an action point to viciously mock both riders to death in one round. After that the party easily chased down and mopped up the last two goblins.

The lopers were probably too constrained by the tight hallways on the Teleport Temple map. They were pretty effective anyway, granting their two riders hefty attack and damage bonuses almost every round (especially the second one, which had more room to maneuver). If the battle had taken place on a wide open outdoor map, I'm sure the PCs would have taken a lot more damage from bonus-laden missile fire.

The encounter composition raised one interesting question, though. The goblin warriors get +1d6 damage if they move more than 4 squares due to great position, but the loper also grants +1d6 damage with hopping gait if it moves more than 4 squares. I presume the warriors get the bonus even though they're not using their own move since it's just based on distance from starting square, but then do the two damage bonuses stack? I was ruling that they didn't since it seemed like an overwhelming amount of damage if they did, but I'm not sure that was right.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Playtesting the Saber-Tooth Lycotaur

During hiatus I'm revisiting the WWtH monsters and trying them out in actual 4e combat encounters. With the party at first level we tested out the beelion, the doppelganger freak and the laughing lambchop lizard, then tweaked the latter two and ran them again. Last Sunday we leveled the party up to level 2, gave out appropriate gear as level 1 parcels, and started in on the level 2 monsters. The party is still:
A goliath warden
A gnome bard
A longtooth shifter ranger
A deva invoker

We got through one encounter showcasing the sabre-tooth lycotaur. This time the map was Teleport Temple from the War Drums Starter Set. The party started in the room in the top center of the image to the left. The girls tried pulling some kind of story setup out of me. I wasn't in the mood, so I went with "A wizard runs past the doorway yelling 'Lycanthropes! Aaah!' Roll for initiative."

I like the image of the frightened screaming wizard so much I might use it to start every session from now on.

The encounter was similar to the level 3 lycotaur sample encounter, downgraded to level 2 with only two lycotaurs and one wererat instead of three and two. The monsters started near the teleporters in the upper right corner. They won initiative and charged the party, but only one rat got close enough to actually attack in the first round.

The rats were dropped pretty quickly, but bought the wererat some time to get in position. The lycotaurs stood back and threw invisible logs at the warden for most of the fight, setting her up to take sneak attack damage from the wererat. This synergy worked really well for a few rounds until the ranger and the warden managed to take out the wererat.

While the wererat was being whittled down in melee the invoker was softening up the lycotaurs, so once the wererat fell they followed pretty quickly. The last monster tried the flash the bling/confusing lick combo as a desperation measure, but was foiled by the needed dual attack roll (the burst only affected the ranger and the lick didn't hit her Fortitude). When the lycotaurs fell I forgot about their ferocity power, but it really wouldn't have made any difference.

Everything went pretty well with this fight. I would have liked to see the flash/lick combo actually connect to see what chaos it unleashed, but the fact that three attack rolls against different defenses need to hit for any damage to be done (flash/Will, lick/Fortitude, charge (and maybe OAs)/AC) is really the factor that balances that attack anyway.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Post-Revision Playtest: Success!

Last Sunday night I ran encounters with the doppelganger freak and the updated laughing lambchop lizard. The map was still Dwarven Outpost from the Miniatures Game Starter Set. The party started in the outpost building after their rest.

To showcase the freak I used a simple wolf pack style encounter with two freaks and three goblin warriors (all skirmishers). The group of monsters tried to sneak up on the party but blew a stealth check. We rolled initiative with the monsters creeping up on the side of the outpost away from the water. The warden won initiative and got between the party and the monsters, then got swarmed.

The two freaks spent pretty much all their time trying to get sneak attacks on the warden. Their confusing shift power worked nicely, targeting the warden's weak Will. Once in melee, the combination of confusing shift and combat advantage gave them sneak attack damage on most every hit, and they also used it to simply shift around into flanking positions. The last one almost managed to prolong his pitiful life by hitting the ranger with confusing shapeshift, but the warden just dragged it to its doom when the ranger found herself unable to both move and attack. Overall the freaks felt interesting and threatening without being overwhelming.

For the lizards I used the same sample encounter with the updated stats. They also didn't start the encounter all crammed in the outpost like last time (they started by crawling out of the water and over the bridge as the party came around the building again). Befitting their new status as soldiers, the regular lizards formed a wall around the party while the lightning lizards stood back and threw directed shocks. With the updated stats, a pack of lizards now makes a good double line style encounter.

The lightning lizards never got into a good position to use their lethal shock bursts, but they managed to do a lot of damage one target at a time anyway. Again, I forgot to use cheshire fade when I should have, but that's a minor issue. None of them used sideburn flare, either, but the fight was pretty static once joined so immobilizing party members wouldn't have changed much. I'm not quite as happy with the lizards as I am with the freaks, but they're miles better than they were.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Playtesting the Laughing Lambchop Lizard

I want to say up front that if anyone has used the laughing lambchop lizard sample encounter as written on a low level 4e party, I'm really sorry if I wiped your party out (and I probably did).

During hiatus I'm revisiting the WWtH monsters and trying them out in actual 4e combat encounters. So far I've done a beelion test and a doppelganger freak test. I ran the sample encounter for the laughing lambchop lizard last week (this post is late because I've been dreading how much rework the monster was going to need). The party is still:
A goliath warden
A gnome bard
A longtooth shifter ranger
A deva invoker

The sample encounter for the laughing lambchop lizard is 4 regular lizards and 2 lizards of lightning. Again, the map was Dwarven Outpost from the Miniatures Game Starter Set. This time the monsters were inside the ruined outpost building and the PCs were coming across the bridge toward it. The party heard the lizards and the ranger managed to sneak up and get a look at them without alerting them.

The ranger used her surprise round to fire arrows at the lizards, but then the lizards won initiative and swarmed her. Before I even rolled the first attack I realized that letting each of the six lizards catch her with a lethal shock would result in instant nasty electrical death. So the first change to the lizards, before they rolled their first attack, was to remove the lethal shock power from the plain laughing lambchop lizards. As a result, most of the lizards didn't attack this round, but moved into better positions. The party moved closer and got in a few hits.

In round 2, one lizard of lightning had the ranger and warden in range for a lethal shock, while the other moved into position to catch the entire party. I quickly realized that adding an attack bonus and damage for each lizard in the burst would spell instant TPK, so lethal shock was toned back to only add bonuses for other lizards of lightning in the burst. Even with that nerf, since the ranger was hit by two bursts she was going to die instantly, so the 2d8 damage per lizard was nerfed to 1d8. The ranger went down anyway, but at least wasn't instantly dead.

With lethal shock nerfed and spent, the rest of the fight was pretty dull, mostly because I forgot to use the cheshire fade power so my lizards never pulled back when damaged like they were supposed to. I think I'll make that one "when bloodied" so there's no question of when to use it. I'm also changing the plain lizards from lurkers to soldiers since they no longer have a big boom attack and their job will be to shield the artillery lightning lizards.

Updated stat blocks:
    • Level 1 Soldier
    • Laughing Lambchop Lizard
    • Small natural magical beast
    • XP 100
    • Initiative +5
    • Senses Perception +1
    • HP 29; Bloodied 14
    • AC 17; Fortitude 12, Reflex 14, Will 12
    • Immunities Resist 10 lightning
    • Speed 7, climb 5
    • Bite (standard; at-will)
    • +6 vs. AC; 1d10 damage.
    • Sideburn Flare (move; at-will) • Fear
    • +4 vs. Will; the target is immobilized until the end of the laughing lambchop lizard's next turn.
    • Annoy the Weak
    • The laughing lambchop lizard possesses the cat's abnormal talent for finding out who, in a group, will be most annoyed by its presence and targeting that person. The DM should feel free to use all available knowledge of the party members' weaknesses and defense numbers to decide who will be most vulnerable to its attacks, and attack that PC.
    • Cheshire Fade (free, when first bloodied; encounter)
    • The laughing lambchop lizard disappears except for its grin, shifts 4 squares and turns invisible until it attacks or until the end of its next turn.
    • Align. Unaligned
    • Lang. Common
    • Skills Stealth +8
    • Str 10 (0)
    • Dex 16 (+3)
    • Wis 13 (+1)
    • Con 13 (+1)
    • Int 7 (--2)
    • Cha 12 (+1)
    • Equipment ---
    • Tactics A laughing lambchop lizard will seek out enemies with low Will defenses and exploit their vulnerability to sideburn flare.
      Source Weekly What the Heck
    • Created with DungeonMastering.com's DM Tools

    • Level 2 Artillery
    • Laughing Lambchop Lizard ... of Lightning
    • Small natural magical beast
    • XP 125
    • Initiative +4
    • Senses Perception +3
    • HP 32; Bloodied 16
    • AC 14; Fortitude 14, Reflex 15, Will 14
    • Immunities Resist 10 lightning
    • Speed 7, climb 5
    • Bite (standard; at-will)
    • +9 vs. AC; 1d10 damage.
    • Sideburn Flare (move; at-will) • Fear
    • +6 vs. Will; the target is immobilized (save ends).
    • Directed Shock (standard; at-will) • Lightning
    • Ranged 10; +8 vs. Fortitude; 2d6 + 3 lightning damage.
    • Lethal Shock (standard; recharge 6) • Lightning
    • Close burst 5; laughing lambchop lizards are immune; +1 (+1 for each other laughing lambchop lizard ... of lightning in the burst) vs. Reflex; 1d8 lightning damage (+1d8 for each other laughing lambchop lizard ... of lightning in the burst).
    • Annoy the Weak (standard; at-will)
    • The laughing lambchop lizard possesses the cat's abnormal talent for finding out who, in a group, will be most annoyed by its presence and targeting that person. The DM should feel free to use all available knowledge of the party members' weaknesses and defense numbers to decide who will be most vulnerable to its attacks, and attack that PC.
    • Cheshire Fade (free, when first bloodied; encounter)
    • The laughing lambchop lizard disappears except for its grin, shifts 4 squares and turns invisible until it attacks or until the end of its next turn.
    • Align. Unaligned
    • Lang. Common
    • Skills Stealth +8
    • Str 10 (+1)
    • Dex 17 (+4)
    • Wis 14 (+3)
    • Con 14 (+3)
    • Int 7 (--1)
    • Cha 12 (+2)
    • Equipment ---
    • Tactics A laughing lambchop lizard ... of lightning will target enemies with low Fortitude defenses with directed shock. If forced into close combat it uses the same tactics as a laughing lambchop lizard.
      Source Weekly What the Heck
    • Created with DungeonMastering.com's DM Tools

Friday, August 14, 2009

Testing Out the Doppelganger Freak

During hiatus I'm revisiting the WWtH monsters and trying them out in actual 4e combat encounters. We tested out the beelion earlier in the week. I ran another encounter Wednesday evening. The party is still:
A goliath warden
A gnome bard
A longtooth shifter ranger
A deva invoker

We got through one encounter again: this time the sample encounter for the doppelganger freak. Again, the map was Dwarven Outpost from the Miniatures Game Starter Set. This time the monsters were scattered around on the far side of the water from the PCs.

This starting position was an abject tactical fail for the monsters. Even though they won initiative, only two of the monsters had any ranged attacks, and they started too far away for even those guys to get a good shot without moving closer. The only advantage the monsters had was that since they were spread out the invoker couldn't mow down all the minions in one blast, but that really didn't matter since the minions came trickling in one or two at a time anyway as their initial position allowed.

The goblins managed to nickel and dime the ranger down by concentrating their ranged attacks on her, but the bard got her right back up. By the time the doppelganger even got near the fight it was basically over. The doppelganger tried to daze the ranger with confusing shapeshift but only got its minion ally and spoiled his ability to flank. The doppelganger also missed its sole good shot at a sneak attack due to a well-timed blades of astral fire from the invoker. After that it got pulled into a flank by the warden and beaten like a red-headed stepchild.

As a fight, this gave the party a chance to kick some ass and take some names, and after the tough beelion battle I think they appreciated that. As a playtest for the doppelganger, it wasn't worth much. I'll probably have to throw another doppelganger encounter at them in closer quarters and with more freaks to get a good test.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Weekly What the Heck Monsters - Now With Playtesting!

I thought during hiatus would be a good time to revisit the WWtH monsters and try them out in actual 4e combat encounters. I've used a few of them before, but probably less than half a dozen out of the over 40 the feature has generated.

So Monday evening the girls whipped up a four-PC party covering the four 4e roles and all four power sources. They brought to the table:
A goliath warden
A gnome bard
A longtooth shifter ranger
A deva invoker

We got through one encounter: the sample encounter I whipped up for the beelion (3 kobold skirmishers and a beelion). The map was Dwarven Outpost from the Miniatures Game Starter Set, with the fight concentrated around one of the corner start areas as the bad guys came at them from ambush. The bad guys won initiative and used all their shifting abilities (the kobolds' shifty and the mounted beelion's guided frenzy) to surround the party and get some hits in on the softer targets (the bard and the ranger).

The gnome used fade away to get clear and the invoker slowly backed off as the warden marked almost all the enemies on the field and pulled the mounted kobold off the beelion. The beelion used lion's frenzy to get another hit on the ranger even while marked. The warden soon managed to mark all four enemies at once and got hit by all four for lots of sneak attack damage for her trouble. Impressively, she was still standing. After that round the PCs' attacks started taking a toll and kobolds started to drop. Unfortunately, the beelion's alluring gaze dazed the warden, leaving her unable to get out of the blast area of the invoker's next attack, and that coupled with more hits from the kobolds managed to take the warden down. After the warden had failed one death save, the last kobold (4 hp left) mounted the beelion (11 hp) and they flew away.

I need to make two small tweaks to the beelion. The alluring gaze is way too powerful to be at-will. I'll make it recharge 5 or 6 and drop the attack bonus by 1. Since I don't want two recharge powers on one monster, and lion's frenzy is only useful in specific circumstances anyway (next to 3 or more foes) I'll make that one at-will. The updated stat block is below:

    • Level 1 Elite Skirmisher
    • Beelion
    • Medium natural magical beast (mount)
    • XP 200
    • Initiative +5
    • Senses Perception +1
    • HP 62; Bloodied 31
    • AC 17; Fortitude 16, Reflex 16, Will 13
    • Saving throws+2
    • Speed 6, fly 8
    • Action points1
    • Bite (standard; at-will)
    • +6 vs. AC; 2d6 + 1 damage.
    • Bee's Frenzy (standard; at-will)
    • The beelion makes two bite attacks.
    • Alluring Gaze (minor 1/round; recharge 5 6) • Gaze, Psychic
    • Close blast 3; targets enemies; +1 vs. Will; the target is pulled 1 square and dazed until the end of the beelion’s next turn.
    • Lion's Frenzy (standard; at-will)
    • Close burst 1; targets enemies; +6 vs. AC; 2d6 + 1 damage.
    • Guided Frenzy (while mounted by a friendly rider of 1st level or higher; at-will) • Mount
    • A beelion with a rider may shift 2 squares between bite attacks when using bee's frenzy.
    • Align. Evil
    • Lang. Common
    • Skills
    • Str 13 (+1)
    • Dex 16 (+3)
    • Wis 13 (+1)
    • Con 15 (+2)
    • Int 6 (--2)
    • Cha 8 (--1)
    • Equipment ---
    • Tactics A beelion prefers to begin a fight in the air, choosing a landing spot that gives it a positional advantage. It tries to stay in a flanking position with its allies while surrounding itself with enemies to target with its lion's frenzy.
      Source Weekly What the Heck
    • Created with DungeonMastering.com's DM Tools

Two other things I took away from this fight:
1) Goliath wardens can soak sick amounts of damage.
2) Maxed-Cha bards make clerics and warlords look like healing amateurs.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Jeffs Phrase of the Day

This is a response to Jeff Rients phrase of the day on Jeffs Gameblog on August 6. Here are some "supplementary amounts of wild ass"...
- ChaoticBlackSheep

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Weekly What the Heck: An Updated Overview

Since I'm on hiatus, this seems like a good time to update the master Weekly What the Heck monster list.

Here's the updated level/role breakdown of all the monsters. The names that are links link to the original post on this site. The level/role links link to the reformatted stat card at tools.dungeonmastering.com (free login required) for easy printing. My plan is to update this post as often as I can until all the monsters have been put in Yax's database and all the names and levels/roles are links:

Laughing Lambchop Lizard
Level 1 Lurker
Eye Mite Midge
Level 1 Minion
Saeggan Genesis
Level 1 Soldier
Beelion
Level 1 Elite Skirmisher
Doppelganger Freak
Level 1 Skirmisher

Laughing Lambchop Lizard ... of Lightning
Level 2 Artillery
Pixie of the Styx
Level 2 Elite Artillery
Emo Monkey
Level 2 Controller
Saber-Tooth Lycotaur
Level 2 Controller
Pixie Trickster
Level 2 Lurker
Ridgeback Loper
Level 2 Skirmisher
Archaic Gastropod
Level 2 Soldier

Trimandibular Praying Mantelope
Level 3 Brute
Saeggan Dreamcaster
Level 3 Controller
Scorpire Vampion
Level 3 Controller
Scorpire Scuttler
Level 3 Lurker
Sapient Sloth Commoner
Level 3 Minion
Nutrition Bulb
Level 3 Minion

Xenomoeba Larva
Level 4 Brute
Goth Emo Monkey
Level 4 Controller
Pyrosphynx Cub
Level 4 Lurker
Spore Bulb
Level 4 Minion
Student of the Path
Level 4 Skirmisher
Undead Chicken
Level 4 Skirmisher

Turkatrice
Level 5 Brute
Wallowing Merhog
Level 5 Elite Brute
Wraithpunzel
Level 5 Lurker

Dire Orcish Knucklewalker
Level 6 Brute
Emo Ghoul
Level 6 Brute
Ridgeback War Machine
Level 6 Brute
Greholdusa
Level 6 Controller
Orcish Knucklewalker Swarm
Level 6 Skirmisher
Merdragoblinborn Ecclesiastic
Level 6 Soldier

Necrotic Xenomoeba
Level 7 Elite Brute
Ravenous Pelicgizard
Level 7 Brute
Monkicore
Level 7 Controller
Scorpire Viscount
Level 7 Lurker (L)
Jamuzavdu (Speed Demon)
Level 7 Skirmisher

Pyrosphynx Sun Lion
Level 8 Brute
Stumper
Level 8 Controller
Sextuple-Finned Hammerhead Fish
Level 8 Lurker
Merdragoblinborn Follower
Level 8 Minion
Were Saber-Tooth Lycotaur
Level 8 Skirmisher

Fireblooded Monkicore
Level 9 Artillery
Merdragoblinborn Schoolmaster
Level 9 Controller (L)
Snake Mahjicocl Soloist
Level 9 Controller
Christmas Treant Shrub
Level 9 Lurker

Cycloptic Elephantaur Gawker
Level 10 Artillery
Treefling Leafwielder
Level 10 Artillery
Conflagrating Pelicgizard
Level 10 Controller
Aquatic Wraithpunzel
Level 10 Lurker
Shellsong Siren
Level 10 Lurker

Green Toothnip
Level 11 Lurker

Embryomace
Level 12 Artillery
Cycloptic Elephantaur Trumpeter
Level 12 Controller
Piscean Tempest
Level 12 Skirmisher
Quizacoatl Contestant
Level 12 Skirmisher
Greholdusa Scourge
Level 12 Soldier
Merhog Steed
Level 12 Soldier

Christmas Treant Bush
Level 13 Controller
Snaketongue Rampant
Level 13 Minion
Snaketongue Restrainer
Level 13 Minion

Firebred Pyrosphynx
Level 14 Artillery
Chanavan Serpent
Level 14 Solo Brute
Piscean Evolutionary
Level 14 Controller
Snake Mahjicocl Principal
Level 14 Skirmisher
Yuan-ti Rampant
Level 14 Skirmisher
Yuan-ti Restrainer
Level 14 Soldier

Demodracosauralisk
Level 15 Elite Artillery
Hemi-Demodracosauralisk
Level 15 Artillery
Abolderithicus Starme
Level 15 Controller
Quizacoatl Host
Level 15 Controller
Treefling Leafmaster
Level 15 Controller

Eye Mite Berserker
Level 16 Brute
Frieghboranean Slimemaster
Level 16 Controller
Frieghboranean Tempest
Level 16 Elite Skirmisher
Squiglet Caretaker
Level 16 Soldier

Sextuple-Finned Scintillating Hammerhead Fish
Level 17 Controller
Ripe Toothnip
Level 17 Soldier

Kruthiguid
Level 18 Elite Brute
Eye Mite Mindraper
Level 18 Controller
Abolderithicus Staryu
Level 18 Minion

Abolderithicus Wistar
Level 19 Artillery

Triclops Manipulator
Level 20 Soldier

Aspect of the Ultimate Dungeon Master
Level 26 Elite Controller

Ultimate Dungeon Master
Level 35 Solo Brute

And here's the updated list of all the commenters and how many times each has contributed.

NameComments
Ripper21
Scott15
ReverendMike12
greywulf10
Gomez8
Jeff7
wyattsalazar7
benpop5
ChaoticBlackSheep3
jermwar3
dicemonkey2
DoctorCheckmate2
joeskythedungeonbrawler2
mthomas7682
RPGIke2
AlexSchroeder1
Ameron1
Anonymous1
Bartoneus1
BenPop1
d71
DawnRaven1
Donny_the_Dm1
FatAlibert1
icosahedron1
JeffRients1
Jerm1
Ravyn1
rcarbol1
Rekres1
TheRecursionKing1
thievescant1
Viriatha1
Will1
Wyatt1

I only had to add one new name for the past two months, which doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Weekly What the Heck - Hiatus

I got no comments on last week's What the Heck, and it's been over a month since I got more than two (but props to Scott and Ripper for hanging in there with me). I'm going on hiatus for a while. If everything goes according to plan there will still be WWtH-related content popping up on the blog from time to time, and I might finally get around to updating the master list of WWtH monsters and moving/converting all the stat blocks to the dungeonmastering tools site/format.

I've felt like a fraud keeping it going as long as I have, actually. I haven't DMed a game in almost six months and have played once in the past four months. The good news is, that might change today. We'll see.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Why, that's a Doppelganger Freak!

There was only one comment on last week's What the Heck, but I really didn't expect a barefoot dude in a wig and miniskirt to really generate much interest anyway. Now an angry plant, on the other hand...

I'd like to thank Ripper for his ideas, which have been mashed together with some brainstorming by me and the missus to create:
Doppelganger Freak
Sometimes a doppelganger just.... fails.

Level 1 Skirmisher
Doppelganger Freak
XP 100
Medium natural humanoid (shapechanger)
Initiative +5 Senses Perception +0
HP 29; Bloodied 14
AC 15; Fortitude 13, Reflex 15, Will 13
Speed 6
mShort Sword (standard; at-will) * Weapon
+6 vs. AC; 1d6 + 3 damage.
MConfusing Shift (move; at-will)
The doppelganger freak shifts 2 squares then makes a melee attack; +4 vs. Will; the doppelganger freak gains combat advantage against the target until the end of the doppelganger’s next turn.
CConfusing Shapeshift (minor; recharge 6)
Close burst 2; +1 vs. Will; the target is dazed until the end of the doppelganger’s next turn.
Combat Advantage
The doppelganger freak deals an extra 1d6 damage against any target it has combat advantage against.
Alignment Unaligned Languages Common
Skills Insight +8
Str 11 (+0) Dex 16 (+3) Wis 11 (+0)
Con 13 (+1) Int 10 (+0) Cha 13 (+1)

Doppelganger Freak Tactics
A doppelganger freak moves among its enemies, using its confusing shapeshift to daze as many as possible if it gets surrounded.

Doppelganger Freak Lore
A character knows the following information with a successful Nature check.
DC 17: Occasionally a doppelganger will lose control over its shapeshifting abilities, like a human with a degenerative disease losing motor skills. These doppelganger freaks change shape constantly and randomly.

Encounter Groups
Doppelganger freaks are often found aiding lower humanoids like goblins that will hang out with anybody.

Level 1 Encounter (XP 500)
* 1 doppelganger freak (level 1 skirmisher)
* 2 goblin warriors (level 1 skirmisher)
* 1 goblin blackblade (level 1 lurker)
* 4 goblin cutters (level 1 minion)
Creative DMs can probably have a lot of fun with this one describing its random changes in shape from round to round...

Weekly What the Heck

Welcome to the thirty-eighth installment of my regular feature here at the Near TPK. With continuing apologies to one of my favorite blogs, the Daily WTF, I present... The Weekly What The Heck.

Each Saturday at 10 AM Central Time I'll post one of Jen's drawings of some kind of whacked-out creature, and ask my readers: "What the heck IS that?"

I hope my readers will approach the challenge in the spirit of "Yes, and ..." - building on previous responses so everyone's ideas can be used in the final writeup. Comments are now closed on last week's entry, and I hope to have the final writeup posted tonight. Comments will be accepted on this week's entry until I post next week's entry.

So... What the heck is that? What should it do? Why does it look so irritated?

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