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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    gtwucla's Avatar

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    Default Monster: Speculum

    This beast seems to be made up of mirrors. Its body is plated with countless immaculate reflective surfaces. It has no head, any number of limbs (usually 4) and innumerable sharp edges. Its movement is the sound of a thousand mirrors breaking, its assault the source of nightmares

    The speculum was a creature most dreaded during the Great War. Its appearance struck fear into the hardiest of warriors. Hunted to extinction, speculums were thought long dead until the Elves’ War, when one was discovered locked away in the deepest dungeon of Old Mramor. These creatures destroy the flesh with their claws and razor sharp edges. Wizards of the elven House of Maleinos discovered that speculums trap the souls of creatures they destroy, somehow imprisoning them within their body. Only by destroying a speculum can the souls of the creatures killed by it be released.

    Jagged Edges (Ex): Any creature that strikes a speculum with a handheld weapon (without reach), unarmed strike (including special attacks), or natural weapon is dealt 1d8 damage and must make a Reflex save or have glass lodged into its body, DC 17. If glass is lodged into a creature’s body it is dealt 1d4 damage each round it moves faster than ½ speed or takes any other action, until the glass is removed (Heal check, DC 10 with help, DC 15 without, and 10 uninterrupted minutes to remove the glass). Additional failed Reflex saves lodge additional glass shards and deal additional damage (1d4 each round).

    Reflecting Sight (Ex): Speculum have no sensory organs of their own. They are only able to sense creatures who can see, hear, feel, or sense them (including supernatural means of sensing), therefore a speculum can never be caught Flat-Footed or unaware. Creatures with eyes give sight to a speculum, but only when they are able to see it. Turning one's back to a speculum will remove a speculum's sense of sight, however being able to hear or feel it will impart these senses on the speculum. Reflecting sight activates whenever the speculum is observed (with no limit to distance), even if it is observed through another reflective surface. Scrying a speculum imparts the ability to scry on the caster for as long as the spell is active. A creature with tremorsense imparts that ability to a speculum for as long as it is within range.


    This is the direction I'm going with aberrations. Thoughts?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Monster: Speculum

    I was assuming that it had to be a construct, I was even go in to suggest mirror golem as an alternate name. Also, since a speculum is a device for holding open an orifice to look inside, I'd suggest maybe "speculus" instead. And give it some kind of spell reflection.
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    Default Re: Monster: Speculum

    This had much less to do with shoving things into bodily orifices and holding them open than I was expecting.
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    PirateGirl

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    Default Re: Monster: Speculum

    A speculum is what an OB/GYN uses. I really think you should invest in a different name for your creature.

    You might want to try working on the back story a bit more. Superlatives are all well and nice but unless you are making a truly unique one-of-a-kind epic creature, I don't recommend describing it that way.

    What CR are you aiming for?

    Debby
    Last edited by Debihuman; 2016-01-11 at 01:57 PM.
    P.E.A.C.H. Please Evaluate And Critique Honestly. Being nicer and kinder doesn't hurt either. Note I generally only critique 3.5 and Pathfinder material.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
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    gtwucla's Avatar

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    Default Re: Monster: Speculum

    Quote Originally Posted by Debihuman View Post
    A speculum is what an OB/GYN uses. I really think you should invest in a different name for your creature.

    You might want to try working on the back story a bit more. Superlatives are all well and nice but unless you are making a truly unique one-of-a-kind epic creature, I don't recommend describing it that way.

    What CR are you aiming for?

    Debby
    Oh for pete's sake (face palm). Yeah it's definitely getting a new name. The first paragraph is just the little italics blurb. The descriptions are all somewhat dramatic. Too over the top? They are a CR 8.

  6. - Top - End - #6
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    Default Re: Monster: Speculum

    Quote Originally Posted by gtwucla View Post
    Oh for pete's sake (face palm). Yeah it's definitely getting a new name.
    To be fair, I'd rather fight most monsters than face a speculum.
    My Homebrew (Free to use, don't even bother asking. PM me if you do, though; I'd love to hear stories).

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  7. - Top - End - #7
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    Default Re: Monster: Speculum

    That's what I get for using a thesaurus. Jeez, I lean over to my wife and say, apparently I named one of my monsters the same name for a tool OBGYNs use for looking into vaginas. She, replies 'specula?'

    Damnit.

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    PirateGirl

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    Default Re: Monster: Speculum

    Despite the unfortunate name, it sounds intriguing. How about Speculators?

    Lack of a head is interesting. What kind of beast does it most resemble? I'd say figure out it's niche in the world first. I usually go with ecology. It cannot see unless it can be seen so it seems that it should light source (near water since that is really reflective) or it has some kind of bioluminescence of its own making it shine. It makes a lot of noise when it moves so it could live underground or in a cave that echoes.

    For some reason calling it a "beast" suggests quadrupedalism to me, but you need to define what it looks like. Form follows function. This is why it shouldn't have "any number of limbs." That is sorta sloppy. If it has 4 limbs, what are they? If they are 4 legs than you can make it cat-like by giving it pounce and rake. If it has 6 legs you can make it crab-like and give it pincers.

    How does it sustain itself? You didn't mention Type or any Subtypes. Magical beast or Construct?

    If a CR 8 monster is the MOST DREADED creature in the Great War, that war clearly wasn't so great. The backstory rather detracts from what the creature does NOW. If it was so fearsome that even the fiercest hunters were scared of it, how did they hunt to near extinction? That's the kind of over-the-top description you should avoid. Seriously, this is not that scary. It's a shiny beast that apparently dies easily if it can be hunted to near extinction.

    Be specific when you describe a creature. Does it glide effortlessly across the ground on graceful mirrored legs or do the mirrors jut out at irregular angles and break off as it shatters across the land. Form follows function. It's easier to create statistics for a creature when you can picture it.

    Headless creatures are immune to vorpal weapons. You have to be specific to the kind of sensory organs. Taste, touch, hearing and smell are also sensory organs. How does it not have any of those and still be considered a "beast" rather than a construct? Reflecting sight is weird. All creatures who can hear would hear them as their mirrors break with the sound of broken glass. They'd hardly ever be without hearing but your special ability should just stick to Sight or call it Reflecting Senses.

    Fixed Jagged Edges for you. I would think the jagged edges would cause slashing damage rather than untyped damage. You also failed to mention the effect of a successful save.

    Jagged Edges (Ex): Any creature that strikes a speculator with a handheld weapon (without reach), unarmed strike (including special attacks), or natural weapon is dealt 1d8 points of slashing damage and must make a Reflex save or have glass lodged into its body. A successful Reflex save (DC 17) negates? (or halves?) the damage. If glass is lodged into a creature’s body it is dealt 1d4 points of slashing damage each round it moves faster than ½ speed or takes any other action, until the glass is removed. Removing the glass requires a Heal check (DC 15 without out help) or (DC 10 with help), and 10 uninterrupted minutes to remove the glass. Additional failed Reflex saves lodge additional glass shards and deal additional damage, 1d4 points of slashing damage each round.

    Note: until you state which ability the save is keyed from, the DCs are just placeholders.

    Reflecting Senses (Ex): Speculators have no sensory organs of their own. They are only able to sense creatures who can see, hear, feel, smell, or sense them through other means such as blindsense, lifesense, metalsense, tremorsense, etc. as long as the speculator is within range. As a result, a speculator can never be caught Flat-Footed or unaware. They are never surprised. Creatures with eyes give sight to a speculum, but only when they are able to see it. Turning one's back to a speculator will remove its sense of sight, however, being able to hear or feel it will impart these senses to the speculator. Reflecting senses activate whenever a speculator is observed (with no limit to distance), even if it is observed through another reflective surface. Scrying on a speculator imparts the ability to scry on the caster for as long as the spell is active.

    Debby
    Last edited by Debihuman; 2016-01-14 at 02:05 PM.
    P.E.A.C.H. Please Evaluate And Critique Honestly. Being nicer and kinder doesn't hurt either. Note I generally only critique 3.5 and Pathfinder material.
    Please, please, please when using non-core material, cite to the books. There are too many books to wade through to find the one with the feat, special ability or spell you use.
    my creations in homebrew signature thread

  9. - Top - End - #9
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    gtwucla's Avatar

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    Default Re: Monster: Speculum

    Quote Originally Posted by Debihuman View Post
    Despite the unfortunate name, it sounds intriguing. How about Speculators?

    Lack of a head is interesting. What kind of beast does it most resemble? I'd say figure out it's niche in the world first. I usually go with ecology. It cannot see unless it can be seen so it seems that it should light source (near water since that is really reflective) or it has some kind of bioluminescence of its own making it shine. It makes a lot of noise when it moves so it could live underground or in a cave that echoes.

    For some reason calling it a "beast" suggests quadrupedalism to me, but you need to define what it looks like. Form follows function. This is why it shouldn't have "any number of limbs." That is sorta sloppy. If it has 4 limbs, what are they? If they are 4 legs than you can make it cat-like by giving it pounce and rake. If it has 6 legs you can make it crab-like and give it pincers.

    How does it sustain itself? You didn't mention Type or any Subtypes. Magical beast or Construct?

    If a CR 8 monster is the MOST DREADED creature in the Great War, that war clearly wasn't so great. The backstory rather detracts from what the creature does NOW. If it was so fearsome that even the fiercest hunters were scared of it, how did they hunt to near extinction? That's the kind of over-the-top description you should avoid. Seriously, this is not that scary. It's a shiny beast that apparently dies easily if it can be hunted to near extinction.

    Be specific when you describe a creature. Does it glide effortlessly across the ground on graceful mirrored legs or do the mirrors jut out at irregular angles and break off as it shatters across the land. Form follows function. It's easier to create statistics for a creature when you can picture it.

    Headless creatures are immune to vorpal weapons. You have to be specific to the kind of sensory organs. Taste, touch, hearing and smell are also sensory organs. How does it not have any of those and still be considered a "beast" rather than a construct? Reflecting sight is weird. All creatures who can hear would hear them as their mirrors break with the sound of broken glass. They'd hardly ever be without hearing but your special ability should just stick to Sight or call it Reflecting Senses.

    Fixed Jagged Edges for you. I would think the jagged edges would cause slashing damage rather than untyped damage. You also failed to mention the effect of a successful save.

    Jagged Edges (Ex): Any creature that strikes a speculator with a handheld weapon (without reach), unarmed strike (including special attacks), or natural weapon is dealt 1d8 points of slashing damage and must make a Reflex save or have glass lodged into its body. A successful Reflex save (DC 17) negates? (or halves?) the damage. If glass is lodged into a creature’s body it is dealt 1d4 points of slashing damage each round it moves faster than ½ speed or takes any other action, until the glass is removed. Removing the glass requires a Heal check (DC 15 without out help) or (DC 10 with help), and 10 uninterrupted minutes to remove the glass. Additional failed Reflex saves lodge additional glass shards and deal additional damage, 1d4 points of slashing damage each round.

    Note: until you state which ability the save is keyed from, the DCs are just placeholders.

    Reflecting Senses (Ex): Speculators have no sensory organs of their own. They are only able to sense creatures who can see, hear, feel, smell, or sense them through other means such as blindsense, lifesense, metalsense, tremorsense, etc. as long as the speculator is within range. As a result, a speculator can never be caught Flat-Footed or unaware. They are never surprised. Creatures with eyes give sight to a speculum, but only when they are able to see it. Turning one's back to a speculator will remove its sense of sight, however, being able to hear or feel it will impart these senses to the speculator. Reflecting senses activate whenever a speculator is observed (with no limit to distance), even if it is observed through another reflective surface. Scrying on a speculator imparts the ability to scry on the caster for as long as the spell is active.

    Debby
    Thanks for the input Debbie. I'm working on the description and have changed its ability to Reflecting Senses.

    There are some things I have left out that maybe don't paint enough of a picture as far as what sort of creature it is and why they are how they are. What I am going for with aberrations is the concept of truly alien creatures in a world they cannot escape. So my thinking is all aberrations attempt to mimic the creatures/environment around them with varying degrees of success in an attempt to 'blend in'. They are all able to sense the minds of creatures around them as well as adjust their appearance and size (to within one size category), but they are also unable to fully comprehend the minds of the creatures around them, so often they take on a bizarre appearances. With that in mind I wonder does labeling it as an aberration sound out of place? A construct to me is something that was literally constructed or given life by a spell.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Troll in the Playground
     
    PirateGirl

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    Default Re: Monster: Speculum

    Quote Originally Posted by gtwucla View Post
    Thanks for the input Debbie. I'm working on the description and have changed its ability to Reflecting Senses.
    You're welcome. Glad you liked Reflecting Senses.

    There are some things I have left out that maybe don't paint enough of a picture as far as what sort of creature it is and why they are how they are. What I am going for with aberrations is the concept of truly alien creatures in a world they cannot escape. So my thinking is all aberrations attempt to mimic the creatures/environment around them with varying degrees of success in an attempt to 'blend in'. They are all able to sense the minds of creatures around them as well as adjust their appearance and size (to within one size category), but they are also unable to fully comprehend the minds of the creatures around them, so often they take on a bizarre appearances. With that in mind I wonder does labeling it as an aberration sound out of place? A construct to me is something that was literally constructed or given life by a spell.
    It was hard to see where you were going with this. Aberration makes sense as they are made of mirror-like stuff (for lack of a better word) that shatters as they move. That doesn't work well for mimicry as the reflections would constantly be changing as the creature moved. Also the sound of the breaking glass is a dead giveaway. They would need a camouflage ability to be able to blend into a normal environment -- aberrations by nature don't fit into the natural order so you'd need to give it a way to do that.

    Bad idea adjusting appearance and size as that tends to make combat bog down as a DM has to adjust all sorts of stats (this is exactly why Lycanthropes have 3 separate stat blocks). Unless you are willing to make stat blocks for ALL its alternate forms (because going bipedal from quadrupedal changes attacks as well), you are making too much work for the DM. See Lycanthropes for examples of how greatly stat blocks can vary. In theory, it's a nifty idea but in practice, it's a nightmare. If you don't mind doing a lot of stat blocks, then go ahead. They probably take the forms of the most common species in whatever area they live. I'd recommend a Large Quadruped for physical battle, Medium Biped for flexibility, and Small form for stealth. Alternate Form should be a Standard Action. Of course YMMV.

    Good luck and I look forward to seeing a stat block when you get to it.

    Debby
    P.E.A.C.H. Please Evaluate And Critique Honestly. Being nicer and kinder doesn't hurt either. Note I generally only critique 3.5 and Pathfinder material.
    Please, please, please when using non-core material, cite to the books. There are too many books to wade through to find the one with the feat, special ability or spell you use.
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  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Default Re: Monster: Speculum

    That's what I mean by 'blend.' They are doing what they think best resembles their surroundings. But they're not by any means good at it. That's just the nature of this creature. Its method of 'blending in' doesn't work quite well.

    As for adjusting size, there are some things about this system that are a bit different from 3.5, one being changes in size only adjust bonuses to special attacks (like grapple and such) and a couple small things, so that'll make it easier. I might as well also mention that normal character levels are between 1-10. 11-20 still exist, but only as epic levels, so I am intending on this being a very tough creature.

    For the purposes of reviewing the creature ability though 3.5 suffices, but because of the differences the stat block will be a little confusing (which is why i left it out). But it'll show up soon, almost finished with it.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Monster: Speculum

    And here, I opened this thread thinking "Man, I really hope this is a mirror-themed monster". Glad to see I was right.

    For what it's worth, the word "speculum" is also used in English to refer to a particular alloy used for making mirrors (especially telescope mirrors). There's also the word "specular", meaning "mirror-like", as for instance in the phrase "specular reflection".
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Monster: Speculum

    Just invent a gibberish word, and have people use a vernacular name for the beast: Soul Mirror.
    If the beast gathered great renown in the Great War, it's possible that every soldier in that war knew about it, but hardly every soldier in any army is literate enough to remember a more elaborate name, but a more descriptive name is easier to remember even by those who have been enlisted from farms and such.

    Frankly, A CR 8 in my opinion is quite enough if there were more of them than just a few, and besides, if every army consisted of people equal to your standard hero, world would've been swept clear of any possible monster a thousand times before your adventure began. And there wouldn't be need for heroes in the first place. Adventurers (our characters) need to stand out of the common folk.
    Last edited by Arkhios; 2016-01-15 at 10:57 AM.
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