View Full Version : The origin of the Falling Star Discipline [Creature, TOB]

2009-12-09, 07:14 PM
The Bow-back Moncupine:
The majority of the practitioners of the Way of Nine Swords and the various other martial schools that were passed over for inclusion in the vaunted temple seem to think that their styles are eternal and unending; gathered from teachers who learned them from other teachers, reaching back into infinite time. The thing that they rarely seem to grasp is that these styles were usually developed by one who watched something unconnected and had an "ah-hah" moment. In the case of the Falling Star school of bowmanship, the truth of it's origins appear to have been intentionally covered up. Perhaps for their embarrassing nature or perhaps for the fear that they might become known by the name of the beast itself.

The Falling Star discipline owes much of its origin to a beast called the Bow-back Monkupine, a bizarre creature that dwells in the deepest sweltering sub-tropical jungles of the Eastern continent. The bow-back is a narrow, squat-looking creature with gangly limbs, no visible head and a thick, layered mat of hard spines that thatch its back. The creatures move swiftly through the close bamboo and tangled uppers of the undergrowth of their home and hunt their food primarily by firing their spines with grim accuracy at small mammals and fish. The true depths of their terrifying instinctive ability with these projectiles is only truly demonstrated when they are directly threatened by some of the more aggressive and beastly creatures of the night, including the terrifying, Stone Dragon inspiring, Mountain Eater Lizard.

A bow-back is about four feet in length, with a twenty five or more inch tail, capped with a blister of spikes. Its narrow shoulders are about ten inches wide, ending slightly in front of the point where its forelimbs, long feline limbs capped with monkey-like hands and vicious claws, join its body, though any trace of head or neck is covered by the beast's spines.

Bow-back Monkupine
Small Magical Beast
HD 5d10+10 (37)
Speed 40 ft. (8 squares); Climb 40ft
Init: +4
AC 20; touch 15; flat-footed 15
(+1 Size, +4 Dexterity, +5 Natural)
BAB +5; Grp +3
Attack Spines +11 (1d6+2, 20/x3, Range 50ft)
OR Claw +8 (1d4+2, 20/x2)
Full-Attack Spines - Rapid Shot +9/+9 (1d6+2, 20/x3, Range 50ft)
OR 2 Claws +8 (1d4+2, 20/x2)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks
Special Qualities
Saves Fort +6 Ref +8 Will +1
Abilities Str 15, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 3, Wis 10, Cha 5
Skills Climb +18, Jump +10, Hide +10, Move Silently +10, Spot +8
Feats Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, AlertnessB
Environment Sub-tropical Jungle
Organization Solitary
Challenge Rating 6
Treasure None
Alignment Usually Neutral
Advancement 6-8 HD (Small), 9-15 HD (Medium)

A Monkupine is usually a stealth predator of small mammals and fish but is known to engage in an unnerving pattern of preemptive counter-predation. Though they do not usually eat the flesh of other predators, due to a narrow horizontal mouth arrangement on their hidden head, they do attack and make a point of killing almost everything that is a direct danger to them.

Manoeuvres:The Bow-back has three classes of Manoeuvres that it can use. Once it uses one of it's Basic Manoeuvres, it adopts the Eagle's Eyes stance and may use it's Advanced Manoeuvres. Once it has used an Advanced Manoeuvre, it adopts Straife stance and can used its Finishing Manoeuvres.

Expended Manouvres are regenerated automatically if the Bowback fails to attack for 2 successive rounds.

Basic Manoeuvres: Lightning Bolt [+1d6], Blindside [Flatfoot, 1 round], Dummy Shot
Advanced Manoeuvres: Sure Shot [+20/+4d6], Take Aim [Touch]
Finishing Manoeuvres: Pilot Shot [+20/+4d6, +5/+3d6]

Eagle Eyes: When in Eagle Eyes stance, the Bow-back gains a +2 bonus to hit with it's spines and doubles it's Range increment.
Straife: When Straifing, the Bow-back's speeds increase to 50ft and it gains Skirmish +1d6/+1 as long as it moves at least 10ft.

Skills: The Bow-back has a +8 racial bonus to Climb checks and may take 10 on Climb checks, even when threatened or distracted. It additionally has a +4 racial bonus on Jump and Move Silently.

A fair proportion of martial arts are developed because of observation of various beasts in action. The fact that every monster i've ever seen connected to the TOB has been humanoid in shape and armed with weapons has always seemed a bit of a weakness and I thought it was about time to do something about that.

Fax's Falling Star Martial Discipline is used here without permission but i hope he sees the compliment i intended.

Book Wyrm
2009-12-09, 08:31 PM
I like this alot, though I'm not the best at judging monster balance.

Your reference of the terrifying Mountain Eater Lizard did give me some ideas though.

I imagine the Mountain Eater Lizard as a large slow moving lizard creature covered in a thick stony hide with a short thick tail that ends in a frighting knobby protrusion. They are carnivores, but have beaks and lack the ability to chew their food, instead pounding it to a pulp with their powerful tails. Mountain Easter Lizards naturally live high up in the mountains and prefer terrain with loose rocks and steep slopes. This is because the Mountain Eater Lizard's preferred method of attack is charging down steep slopes to ambush unsuspecting prey, sometimes even purposefully causing rock slides to help crush their prey. Mountain Eater Lizards only ever venture into the lowland tropics to hunt their favorite prey, the Bow-back Monkupine, using their thick tails to knock them out of the trees and pound them to death.

If you like any of this feel free to use it, I don't have the time to write up a new monster right now.

2009-12-09, 09:15 PM
so, our we saying that stone dragon was ALSO inspired by a very unattractive looking creature as well? I think we just made our second discipline connection. This one is going in the books.

2009-12-09, 10:15 PM
Most of the Chinese martial arts i've actually encountered are animal behaviour based so i thought...[i know that many of the northern aren't called stuff like "Crane style" but i've not encountered them directly].

I kind of pictured the Mountain Eater as being similar to the Mace-tailed Hystrodon,


from Magic, with a slow, deliberate buildup and then a slow, devastating strike with its forelimbs or tail. The name would come from it's habit of rooting through whatever it'd smashed to get at the edible bits hiding within.

I was considering designing it myself, but if you want to call it, Book Wyrm, feel free...

Book Wyrm
2009-12-10, 01:57 AM
I'm a little short on time and have never designed a monster before so I'll pass on this one. If you do follow my description though, I wouldn't mind some credit. :D

Also, cool pic.

2009-12-10, 05:35 AM
Mountain Eater Lizard
The Mountain-eater is a predator unlike most others, in that it has almost insectivore behavioural patterns. The beast channels elemental earth power through its hindlegs, and through either its tail or forelegs into its target. This process makes them a slow beast in combat, but they care not, their massive layered shells reinforced by the same elemental power.

Mountain Eaters are bulky beasts that resemble a geela monster with elements of a tortoise and a macetail dinosaur, an Ankylosaurus. It's wide, bandy stance is built for running, though they are still slow with the massive weight of their elementally charged armoured carapace, which armours its back with heavy overlapping plates, each cragged with stone-like bone protrubances.

The beast's channelling extremities are layered in channelling construstions that have a consistancy similar to reindeer horn when not charged with energy, i.e. when the beast is dead or somehow held off the ground. The fluted bone of these pieces can shatter stone and wood as if it were naught but dried honeycomb.

Where they are found, Mountain Eaters are rarely the top of the food chain but fill a role similar to a hyena, scavenging happily and demolishing things to get at the juicy, defenceless portions within. A rare exception is the Bow-back Monkupine, which usually attacks it for damaging its habitat and begins a hugely destructive and rather dim-witted game of cat and mouse.

Mountain Eater Lizard
Large Magical Beast (Earth)
HD 12d10+60 ( 126 hp )
Speed 20 ft. (4 squares)
Init: -2
AC 25; touch 7; flat-footed 25
(-2 Dex, -1 Size, +18 Natural)
BAB +12; Grp +27
Attack Tail Strike +22 (3d8+16, 19/x2, Ignores Hardness and DR)
Full-Attack 2 Forelimbs +17 (1d8+11, 20/x2)
AND Bite +17 (1d6+11, 20/x2) AND Tail Strike +22 (3d8+16, 19/x2, Ignores Hardness and DR)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft, 10 ft with Tail
Special Attacks Twinfoot Shatter +22 (2d8+6d6+22)
Special Qualities
Saves Fort +13 Ref +6 Will +3
Abilities Str 32/+11, Dex 6/-2, Con 20/+5, Int 1/-5, Wis 10/-, Cha 4/-3
Skills Intimidate +12
Feats Power Attack, Improved Bullrush, Stone Power, Shards of Granite,
Environment Mountains and Rocky Hills in Sub-Tropical Jungle
Organization Solitary
Challenge Rating 10
Treasure Hide: Worth about 1,200gp to those crafting earth channelling magic items.
Alignment Always Neutral
Advancement 13-22 [Huge]

Assuming that a Mountain Eater fights, it isn't subtle or cunning; it strikes at moving targets when they approach to attack it and move only when taking the offensive, something that it does most readily if it is wounded by ranged attacks, hence it's animosity for the Bow-back Monkubine.

Twinfoot Shatter [Ex]: The Mountain Eater's primary method of destroying things is to place both of its forelegs against the object and then using an Elder Mountain Hammer Manoeuvre to deal massive damage. The attack deals double foreleg damage plus the damage of the manoeuvre. Using this technique is a variant attack action that requires a full action and can only be used on immobile or prone targets.

Manoeuvres [Su]: As all of the manoeuvres possessed by the Mountain Eater are powered by gathering Earth elemental energy, it refreshes its full spread of abilities by spending a Full action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Elder Mountain Hammer [+6d6, ignore hardness], Irresistable Mountain Hammer [+4d6, Ignore Hardness, DC 27 or Nauseated for 1 round], Stone Vise [+1d6, DC 23 or speed drops to 0ft for 1 round], Iron Bones [grants DR 10/Adamantine]

Stance [Ex]: When it stops moving and recharges its manoeuvres, the Mountain Eater slips into Strength of Stone stance, becoming immune to Critical hits. If it moves as much as 5ft, it loses this benefit.

Hardness [Su]: As long as it remains solidly in contact with the earth at all times, remaining on the ground and not running, the creature has DR 10/Adamantine and Energy Resistance 20. This resistance does not apply to Sonic damage. This resistance stacks with the Iron Bones manoeuvre, unlike most damage reduction.

Credits: Book Wyrm deserves credit for much of this entry; the rest is mine and my favourite monster from M:tG, the Macetail Hystrodon.