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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Ode to the Maligned, forgotten or misunderstood monster. and 101 uses for the stirge

    Recently there have been various threads about rarely used monsters (Serpentine's Abeil and Catoblpaes inqueries), monsters who got a realy bad rep (the rust monster thread for example), and other monster that have fallen thrrough the cracks for some reasons (bronze dragons from Archetype's thread, or the Araena discussion). combined with people choosing their favortie monster manuals and such, it had got me thinking...

    what this thread is about
    many monsters have fallen out of use. this is due to bad design, a concept that wasn't clear enough, D&D periodic styles and another multitude of reasons. however- sometime a DM get surious about a monster, or develops a special fondness to this or that kind of creature. with a little change of perspective, a tweak or two, a different way of using the same old critter you suddenly get a memorable and fun immersive monster! through the above posts and others, it seems that by sharing our ideas and thoughts, alterations and adjustment to the many creatures just waiting to be played, we can enrich our games, add depth and color to them, and most importently-make the ancient seemyl boring and unusable monster into soemthign fresh, exciting, and fun!

    which monsters:
    any monster that you feel had been left aside, and doesn't deserves it. from your oozes and plants, way-too-weird abberations, to the multitudes of overlaping humanoides, redundent dragon and giant types, undead who should have been templates (ghoul, wight for example), and more. the aim is not to make them more mean, but more fun, memorable, and viable as playing options!

    so my suggestion is to:
    open new thematic threads, each of them dedicated to a single monster, and the ways to make it better, classier, more enjoyable! (we have the imagination, we can build it!). the initiator of each thread is responsible to open the discussion by his/her own views on his/her chosen monster, as well as give his/her own special messing and tweaking... (a sample format is provided).

    as to responses
    any queries about the monster, suggestions, additions, and posisitve views are welcomed... any attempts to flame the monster (in her old or newly suggested form), relay bad experiences with it and such are not- these threads are meant to celebrate monstrosity, give the forgotten creatures a new wind, an encouragment to be all they can be! if you are trully sooooo in need to dwell in negativity ("boooo!"), then i ask you to do that on another thread. give our monsters their own little place please.
    "a celebration of monstrosity, in all it's shapes and forms" as an Addams once said...

    basic format
    (suggested only, feel free to alter it to your tastes and needs)

    Monster's name and source: self explenatory

    Bad street rep: whatever caused your chosen monster to be exiled from the common D&D table. the title of this article gives 3 possible categories, but feel free to expand as needed.

    i care for it because: this is mostly to add some personal touch, and a bit of your story of why you chose to pick the monster by the shoulders (or other appropriate areas), shake it up, give it a thorough make over (or not so thorough), pump it with confidence and send it to the world!

    "and now, presenting to you, the new and improved <insert name here>: this part is all about the changes you made, big and small, to make your loved creature a more fun creature to play. these are to many to count, but i've suggested some sample areas and issues you may wish to address:

    - perception: perhaps you noticed a new way to look upon the creature? a new twist? many monsters just need a new PR in order to become appealing.
    - concept: what is the monster's role in the game? as a DM tool? it's role in battle, the campaign and such? many DMs over years become fixed upon the "appropriate task" for each monster, the way it should handle itself, and more. a new perspective, a new use can suddenly change worlds.
    - it's place in the world: many monsters don't get to participate because a DM can't fathim why a monster should be there,what it should do there, and so on. by ingrating a creature in the setting, giving it an exact role in it's surrounding, it may becoem viable for choice. it adds depth and realism to the creature's existence, as well as many ways it could be intergrated. the creature becomes more alive... far better than a randomly placed monster...
    - interactions: similar to the previous issue- creatures do more than fight adventurers. what are their life cycle? what creautres do they compete with? who do they feed upon? (and how do they hunt) who feeds upon them? (and ow do they avoid that) does any creature rely on them? use them? domesticate them? do the creature show similar relations with other creatures? how do they deal with unknown threats? (such as adventurers) all of this is to add more playable scenerios and possibilities, as well as add even mroe life to the creature.
    - Game mechanics: any additions or alterations you want to make. the reason for the change, it's use, and how it makes the critter better! feel free to suggest variations for gaming styles, campaign worlds and so on.
    - mysteries and the unknown: all kind of obscure knowledge, odd behaviours and things that deviat's fro mthe creature's norm. many time the exceptional speaks volumes of the the non exceptional (sahuagin with 4 arms, ogre mages versus ogres, and more). this also provides nice hooks, adventure ideas, and a source for knowledge checks (feel free to add the DCs if you wish). another dimension of the evolving creature.

    "Playing, at a D&D table near YOU!" well, in here you suggest some sample encounters your creature should participate. there in no better way to explain your concept then by a good example, so make it exciting! make it intriguing! make it turn our heads! remember- it's your monster's new premiere, and there ar a lot of DMs out there, just looking for a good idea. this could be your creature's dream gig!

    in conclusion: whatever you want, self explenatory i think. it could also be an excellent place to suggest further ideas, or ask others about specific features.
    - end of format -

    about new threads
    i'd appreciate if you copy/paste or quote the relevent portions of this thread (this paragraph included), and post it on the first post, before your monster's entry. this way- we can spread the word, and help lift the maligned and forgotten monstrosities to a brighter/ darker place under the sun/ moon (each to it's own preference). i don't ask this because i wantto see my name on quotes, but because i think the threads will be more easely recognizable, and more orderly... any ideas for imporvement are highly appreciated. i tried to leave anough room for play and creativity...

    i hope this catches on, if not- at least i fought the monster's fight...
    the immediate post after mine is a smaple post, that i write about a little blood sucker we all know, but very few love- The Stirge. let it be my pioneer! fly my preeties, fly!

    EDIT: just added the next remade monster- check out the stone giant- http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...=1#post4124979
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2008-03-30 at 04:35 PM.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten or misunderstood monster. and 101 uses for the sti

    <Testing, testing...>

    ladies and gentlemen! freaks and beasts! without further ado, let me present you you, thhhheee one! thhheee only! a blood sucker you all love to hate, the pincher and the drinker, thhheeeeeee Stirge!

    Stirge. MMI

    Bad street Rep: from my experience with stirges, they are considered between too weak to matter (at levels 4/5 and up), or packign too much impact for such a smal creature. the fact that the ability damage they cause is CON, which both decrease hp and is life threatning at low levels, makes them a potential game stopper. but realy, the reason i think they are realy hated/ neglected is because they seem like an annoyance. after all- they are just big mosquitos, no?

    i care for it because: first, i the image of something attaching you to, and then starting to sap your blood with a straw (cartoon like) has always amused, and somewhat disturbed me. second- i tried using them with some other creatures against a 9th level party some time back, and suddenly they had a different role. that's when i began thinking aboutthese blood suckers- they should act with others, they should try and avoid being zapped by whom they sting, and one more idea came to mind- in swamps and jungles what you fear the most are mosquito swarms... what if they were stirges?

    and now presenting to you, the new and improved stirge:

    - perception: many DMs treat stirges as mindless vermin, who stupidly fly and attach to a target, even if it's highly capable of killing it. also, there are usually very few stirges present... i decided to play my lovelies differently- as patient, parasitic stalkers. the stirges are NEVER the main threat, they never attack capable targets. their role changed from an odd encounter, to harrasement, a constant threat, and complication for more serious encounters.

    - concept: i view stirges as predaory pests who lurk most commonly in jungles, swamps, forests and such. they travle in fairly large groups, though the stirges are independent, not coordinating attacks. the stirges most commonly attack the prey when it's vulnerable, or otherwise occupied. common possibilities for stirges attacks (on a party) are: when one falls into water, when one is seperated from another, when a wizrds mumbles a spell, when the party sleeps (the stirges fall to the gorund, and crawl to the victim, biting and drawing blood as it sleeps), or the most common event- when the party suddenly has it's hands full fighting soemthing else. (as the party fights against' the hydra they suddenly feel something land on them, turning their heads to see it preparing to draw blood).

    - Place in the world: these are the bottom feeders, feeding on those who are two weak to fight, who are trapped (many an animal sunken in a mud pit saw the fluttering of stirge wings on nearby branches), or slayed beasts (one of the best ways to get them off your back). think of them as sort of flying hyenas... they stay mostly in natural areas, but small flocks and nests are known to travel near rural settlements, and kill livestock. a special meance occurs every 4 years, when BloodLustSwarms emerge (more on that later).

    - interactions: stirges tend to focus and specialise on a certain kind of prey in their area (learning their habits, weaknesses, and so on), but they are always ready to explore new prey (such as adventurers). it's usually the younger and more inexperienced stirges who makes the first flights, as the others watch, preparing to move if the first are succesfull, preparing to wait if not. stirges always seek some cover, as many airborn predators fly better than it. stirges avoid flying prey (flying animal companions and familiars can assist). some races, nations and armies sometime capture flocks of stirges, to later unleash them on the enemy. some even train them to attack certain enemies or banners. (In Eberron, armies using the dead or the warforged were known to use the flying menace, mostly for morale affect, their own armies imprevious).
    stirges are known to be drawn and set up small nests near monsters and creatures who either kill in abundance, or have abilities that work well with theirs (assasin vine, carrion crawler, rust monster for example). in return, they striges do not draw blood from their benefactor, and kill all other annoyances and pests (rat control). druids are divided in their opinions about the stirges. for they can cause great harm, as well as great good. the most troubliing issues are the BloodLustSwarms.
    a secondery impact on environment, is the Stirges tendency to be disease spreaders. feasting on blood, and living in hot environment, they usually carry some diseases in their system when migrating. the stirges are immensly reistent to most known diseases, and havebeen at time used to drain the blood of the sick. (House Jorasco's major enclaves in Eberron uses them instead of leeches). the stirges posses a small gland that is believed to assist against various illnesses, and it is highly sought after.

    - game mechanics: i don't have my full notes with me, but some of the main alterations are:
    1) blood drain (ex): before this can begin, an attached stirge must succeed to attack (with it's probocis) with only the armor and providing AC bonus. this is supposed to simulate the critter finiding aclear piece of skin, giving an advantage to heavily armored characters.
    natural armor decreases the amount of blood drained! (making creatures with a +4 to natural armor impervious).
    2) Numbing effect: the insertion of the probocis is preceded by a spraying of a numbing liquid from the stirges gland- this means that characters unaware of the stirges presence remain unaware to the probocis (this mainly concerns sleeping characters).
    3) blood sense: stirges has an acute sense of locating blood, and can sense it's presence in a 30' radius, even if blinded and deathened. this enables the stirges to pinpoint locations, and notice hiding characters, though it still needs to deal with all other implications of adverse conditions. this sense is blocked by two an inch of solid, or two inches of fluid.
    4) stirges get a +8 racial bonus to their move silnetly checks whil on the ground, not fluttering their wings (again, used with sleeping characters mostly).
    5) diseases: the target of a Stirges blood drain has 50% chance of attracting some sort of a disease (to be determined by the DM)
    6) BloodLustSwarm info: every several years, massive swarms of stirges migrate out of their nesting habitats. these swarms attack indiscriminatingly, viable and nonviable targets alike, utterly fearless, utterly driven (far from the normal pattern of the cowardly stirge). what is more odd that once attached, a stirge drinks until it is killed, or it dies from over feeding (about 10 con). the swarms bloodsense increases dramatically, up to 1000 ft. approximatly. these swarms attack with their pinches as well, makeing them a menace (though less) even to bloodless targets (such as warforged).
    the following are just basic guidlines for the swarm. i do not intend to post it here (i think it's not the place), if someone wishes, put it on the homebrew forum:
    - 8-10 HD, with +2 hp per HD (the swarm's con increased due to constant rage)
    - swarm traits of course, half damage from weapons and so on, distraction and the like...
    - blood lust rage: basically like a babrarian's rage, applied consistently, until the swarm disperss. animal empathy and emotion calming magic do not work.
    - increased blood sense: the range of this ability increases to 1000 ft for the swarm. it always moves towards the target with most blood. that is it's primary target. most stirges avoid other targets in the swarm's path, and thus it only causes the blood loss damage below.
    - increasing bloodoss: besides the usuall damage of the swarm (from pincers), an engulfed target suffers 2d4 damage the second round it is in the swarm, increasing by 1d4 each consecutive round. this blood loss decreases once the target leaves the swarm. (with an approapriate number of stirges attached)
    - attacking the main target: all the stirges attack. with hundreds of stirges upon the target, the stirges basically kill any viable target with blood, and having less than +4 natural armor), on the second round (drawing blood round), unless the character succeeds on a fortitude save (DC high, but not impossible). if the target survived, it's hit point are at -1, and 1d4 con, losing one each round. a heal check (again high) can stop the bloodloss... the swarm moves immediatly to the next main target.
    - dwindeling swarm: the more blood the swarm takes, the more of it's members die. this is especially true with main targets, and practically negligable with "on the way" targets. the usuall method of dealing with swarms is sacrificing a large number of farm animals, who's bloodless shriveled husks, with bloated sdead stirges around them is all that remain after a night of the BloodLustSwarm

    - mysteries and unknown: the only real mystery is the existence of the BloodLustSwarms. these horrifying monstrocities are the exact opposite of the secretive, cowardly, dumb stirge. some theorise that angry divine powers are behind this, some that it's a manifestation of nature's wrath. (in Eberron they are attributed to the Devourer, or the Fury. the Ashbound consider them a vengefull force, the Wardnes are uncertin, and so on). it does seem to help to keep the stirges populations in check though. the Swarms come every some years, and all of them at the same time frame. however- no one has yet been able to perdict when the swarming happens, what triggers it.

    Playing, at a D&D table near YOU!

    - "they're out there, i can feel it!": a basic harrasement and terror continuing encounter. as the party enters a jungle/ swamp/ deep section of a forest, they notice the strange fluttering of wings and strange humming. (someone with know nature can make a check learn about stirges. with a high enough spot skill, someone may notice a few of the stirges on branches and such... watching...). as the party advances, keep mentioning the humming from time to time, and make some spot checks. they'll notice the little cuties around them... in front of them... behind them. at some point when someone does anythign other than moving, make an attack with 1-3 stirges (on the most occupied/ exhausted character). the party should easely beat them/ kill them, but the fluttering will increase momenterily. the stirges will continue to follow, with maybe one more attack. after that they'll just wait, biding their time... if you wish to add a bit more terror, add some dead animals and creatures somehwere, with blood drained.

    - "when monsters attack, so do we!": at some point after this, when the characters suddenly engage in battle, have a greater amount of the stirges attack! some should also seem to attack the monster (though if it has a +4 nat armor, it ignores them). this could prove especially surprising if the party shields some vulnerable party member (wizard?) from the monsters, only to have him attacked by the ever waiting stirges. the stirges would also most likely attack anyone who goes "meanuvering" seperatly, like rogues and scouts... again this pattern of attacking when the party is attacked (the party can use it once or twice against badly armored foes) should happen 1-3 times... after that, when ther party has learned and retaliated, they wait... as only stirges can..

    - other good points to attack could be when the party crosses a bridge, when they swim, when they climb up/down a rope/ cliff. any time they are a bit more busy...

    - " when night descends, so do we! who needs a vampire realy?" as the party prepares to sleep, the stirges keep being around. if the party sleeps in the opem then they are in for some trouble, if they somehow barricated themelves, then the danger is lessened, but not averted. as some characters begin to sleep, some of thestirges fal lto the gorund (you might allow a listen check for that, though finidng the stirges can be more difficult). they then crawl to the nearest character, and suck some blood from it (see the numbing effect in game mechanics) the guarding character should have some chance to find and kill the intruders (flat footed on the ground). if they sleep in a barricated place, then less stirges can come in, and they are easely detected and destroyed.
    note that the loss of blood also means no healing during the night, and that the casters did not get a "good night's sleep".

    - "the gang leader and his homies": (i apologize for my bad slang) not linked to the encounters above, Stirges often reside near an effective creature. how about a large hall, in which some carrion crawlers reside? when a vicitm is paralized, suddenly a stirge or two descend on the warapped up meal (and the party must deal with their buddy's distress as well). a spider's (or aranea's, or a dridder's) den with all it's webs... once a prey is caught, come the predators... or perhaps a rust monster who coexist with some stirges- once reduces the AC, the other reduces the Con till they fall... stirges could work remarkebly well with fairly nonintelligent creatures, especially if the ydon't drink blood, such as... Golems? a group of stirges resides near a ruin guarded by some golem or another, swopping by whenever it starts pounding it's next meal...

    - "BloodLustSwarm": the swarm itself is meant to be horrifying, and very deadly if not handled properly. but it can be diverted and redirected fairly easely, if one knows how. however, from my point of view, two significant points about it is not knowing when it will strike, and the mystery surrounding it. i can easely imaigne a campaign, in which the party has a few encounters with stirges in an area, the main druid concerned at the increasing numbers. then, as the party explores something entirely different (prefereably in some old abandoned place, close by to a rural settlement), they suddenly meet a minor villain, whom they know worships some dark/ insane purpose, standign under a massive nest of stirges, who hum stragenly. they engulf it as he laughs and screams (i said insane, you following me?), and then the swarm senses it's next target- one of the characters... the ecnounters? one- flee the swarm and distract it. two- alert the villagers/ druid/ whomever. three- prepare a sacrifice in the direction of that swarm. four- have a second swarm arrive from an unanticipated direction...

    in conclusion: as you see, other than the swarm i haven't diverted that much from what's written in the MM. this could easely be done with many other "banal" monsters! the stirge is indeed a treasure, if used right, and there are so many other tresures out there, just waiting... looking forward to your feedback, and to other threads,
    Kol.

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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten or misunderstood monster. and 101 uses for the sti

    Oh thank you so much


    2E monsters would be very interesting as well

    Personally, i've never seen an arrowhawk
    from
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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten or misunderstood monster. and 101 uses for the sti

    i would be all over this, and do some of my favorite forgotten creatures (like the blink dog or the Remorrhaz), but i have no clue how to write things. thanks for the thread, though.

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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten or misunderstood monster. and 101 uses for the sti

    You know what else stirges are good for? Humbling wizards who have grown too attached to killing things with Maximized Shivering Touch. 19 dex, baby!

    i would be all over this, and do some of my favorite forgotten creatures (like the blink dog or the Remorrhaz), but i have no clue how to write things. thanks for the thread, though.
    You may be interested in the story of Joseph, a feral child raised by blink dogs.
    Time travels in divers paces with divers persons.
    As You Like It, III:ii:328

    Chronos's Unalliterative Skillmonkey Guide
    Current Homebrew: 5th edition psionics

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten or misunderstood monster. and 101 uses for the sti

    hhmmmm... i honestly thought this thread might stir a bit more of a response. (thank you EE, nobodylovesyou4 and Chronos though...). maybe less of a response for the Stirge (an acquired taste after all), but at least to the general core idea.

    is it because this thread might fit better in the "homebrew" forum? (i was under the impression that was for finished, detailed products, very rule heavy, where this wasn't). if so i might transfer it there.

    or perhaps people aren't realy that interested after all? if so, then boy was i wrong... oh well, it was worth a try.

    actually, it is worth one more try. perhaps the Stirge came out wrong, perhaps too low-powered for most people's tastes, or still just too "icky" (hush my stirge! they don't realy mean it!). So perhaps something a bit more powerfull, a bit more challanging is in order. how about the often forgotten and misused... friendly neighborhood Stone Giant?
    i shall start another thread, based on the concept above (i'll edit this post and add a link to it when i finish it). if it doesn't make the monster rights activists raise their heads and speak up, then i'll just let sleeping giants (or perhaps should i say Watchers.. but i'm getting ahead of myself) rest. (the stirges will always fly though!).

    again, all comments will be welcomed, (monster specific ones in their own threads) and on behalf of the masses of barely used, or wrongly applied monsters, i thank you.
    Kol.

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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten or misunderstood monster. and 101 uses for the sti

    No, no, I read it and thought it was very interesting. I just wasn't sure how I could contribute.

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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten or misunderstood monster. and 101 uses for the sti

    Hi

    Interesting to read about the not-so humble stirge.

    At a convention earlier this year met a 10HD swarm of stirges. (We were about lvl 10). Managed to get rid of them with Gust of Wind spell before they drained the living con from our fighter.

    Few weeks ago our local group faced 36 of them together. We were only 2nd level! Lost a few of our Orc hangers-on (another story), but a wand of Colour Spray (used by my Cleric with Magic domain), and much smackdown by our fighters & warlocks won the day.

    Cheers
    Paul H

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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten or misunderstood monster. and 101 uses for the sti

    Found it interesting, but planning my next campaign so sadly I won't contribute...

    Someone, please do the next

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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten or misunderstood monster. and 101 uses for the sti

    finished the stone giant. the link is on the first post. i will put all links there.
    thanks for the show of hands folks

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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten or misunderstood monster. and 101 uses for the sti

    There was one 2nd edition monster (IIRC) that my DM mentioned and said he missed. It was basically an undead hand with 1 HP and regeneration so if it wasn't killed the right way it would just come back to life. Not much of a threat on it's own, but sent in by the hundreds or thousands they created a grade A zombie movie feel.

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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten or misunderstood monster. and 101 uses for the sti

    Quote Originally Posted by holywhippet View Post
    There was one 2nd edition monster (IIRC) that my DM mentioned and said he missed. It was basically an undead hand with 1 HP and regeneration so if it wasn't killed the right way it would just come back to life. Not much of a threat on it's own, but sent in by the hundreds or thousands they created a grade A zombie movie feel.
    rofl - addams family much?

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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten or misunderstood monster. and 101 uses for the sti

    Quote Originally Posted by holywhippet View Post
    There was one 2nd edition monster (IIRC) that my DM mentioned and said he missed. It was basically an undead hand with 1 HP and regeneration so if it wasn't killed the right way it would just come back to life. Not much of a threat on it's own, but sent in by the hundreds or thousands they created a grade A zombie movie feel.
    Wow, that's pretty cool, I gotta make something like that some time, now to find a sufficiently evil use for it....

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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten or misunderstood monster. and 101 uses for the sti

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Tataraus View Post
    Wow, that's pretty cool, I gotta make something like that some time, now to find a sufficiently evil use for it....
    That hand just claws at sufficiently evil uses. If somebody posted one, it would be the best thing ever!

    Also, a swarm of those would rock.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wardog View Post
    Rockphed said it well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Starfall
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    Now offering unsolicited advice.

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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten or misunderstood monster. and 101 uses for the sti

    You've got be thinking...
    "Flying assassins": Lock a bunch of stirges up with a poisonous hunk of raw meat to which they are immune. Bundle up, put on some repellent, and let them loose.
    "Lycanthrope's army": A lycan might not mind having a pinch of blood drawn here and there if the stirge next target may bring and ally.
    "Something like Vorpal Tribble's Remedian": Stirges an be trained to draw up things other than blood and inject them into other creatures. Therefore, you have mobile syringes which can deploy potions or medicines.

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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten or misunderstood monster. and 101 uses for the sti

    The hand mentioned is "Crawling claw", and it was kinda cool and kinda dumb at the same time

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    Default Re: Ode to the Maligned, forgotten or misunderstood monster. and 101 uses for the sti

    Quote Originally Posted by holywhippet View Post
    There was one 2nd edition monster (IIRC) that my DM mentioned and said he missed. It was basically an undead hand with 1 HP and regeneration so if it wasn't killed the right way it would just come back to life. Not much of a threat on it's own, but sent in by the hundreds or thousands they created a grade A zombie movie feel.
    A Crawling Claw. Specifically not undead, but looked it enough to fool careless players.

    Great things to have in tombs or Egyptian type settings.
    It doesn't matter what game you're playing as long as you're having fun.

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