Monday 1 November 2010

The Trianthrope

Here's my own take on the tirapheg, and also a chance to show out my new unified old school system monster listing format. Comments on both monster and format are welcome. Some explanations of the format, below the monster:


Hit Dice: 2 or more
Size: M
Move: 6
Armor Class: 9 (descending)/10 (ascending); Armor 0/Agility 0/Magic 0
Attacks: Arm bash 1d4 nonlethal; Arm bash 1d4 nonlethal; Hand (dagger) 1d4
Special abilities: Spells; 2 mind attacks (save vs. Mind/Spell or 1d6 damage to INT and WIS); saves at +4 vs. mind and illusion spells
Intelligence: Exceptional
Alignment: Neutral
Reaction: variable, from 3-8
Morale: 6
XP Basis: As Hit Dice, plus 3 major Specials

A trianthrope is the willing or unwilling result of an arcane alchemical ritual known as the Chymical Wedding, in which a living male and female body are fused together, creating a third sentience which controls its parents. The union of two bodies and their exploitation to create a third is monstrously evident in the creature's two featureless heads, handless arms, and footless legs. The third head is hairless but has a normal face, the third arm is possessed of long, supple inhuman fingers, and the third leg is wide-footed and contributes to an effective if slow means of ambulation aided by the other two stumps.

The creature communicates by direct telepathy, with no need to know the language of the being it communicates with. It may have more hit dice than two if people with class levels were used to create it. The head with a face can silently use illusion and mind-affecting spells as a magic-user with level equal to its hit dice plus one. The faceless heads each can make one mental attack per round with a range of 60 feet; the victim must save or take 1d6 temporary damage rolled separately to intelligence and wisdom, being unable to think if one ability goes below 3 and knocked out completely if at or below 0. Lost abilities are regained at 1 point per 10 minutes.

Nothing definite can be said about the disposition of this creature. Some are driven quite insane and hostile by their ordeal; others master themselves and become terrifying, if physically fragile, controllers of bodyguard creatures. A few are curious and potentially friendly to intruders.

Monster format explanations:
  • The Armor breakdown is a way to let GMs know how many points to subtract if physical armor is being ignored (as when a mere touch needs to be scored) or if agility is being ignored (as when attacked by surprise or from the back).
  • Nonlethal damage knocks out its victim if reduced to zero or lower hit points, and is regained at 1 point per minute.
  • Intelligence is classified as in AD&D, with the understanding that this is not mere book-learning ability as in some interpretations of the character ability, but how strategic and clever the beast is.
  • Reaction is rolled on two d6; in effect, it can also be expressed as a modifier by subtracting 7 from it. A roll equal to the reaction score or one below it indicates a neutral attitude, with various degrees of hostility according to the margin it failed or succeeded by.
  • Morale is also rolled on two d6, as in the Basic game. At some point in the future I'll explain further the various interactions of Reaction and Morale rolls...
  • XP basis: Old-school games vary enormously in XP granted for monsters slain or dealt with. I myself prefer 100xp/HD (the perils of fighting are its own deterrent at lower levels, and this lets me be stingier with treasure there), but the norm across S&W/OSRIC/LL is a tighter award.  The best I think I can do is indicate how much special abilities should count. In my system each major special adds 50% of the original base hit dice and each minor one 25%. Thus a 2HD tirapheg should be treated as 5HD due to its effective 3 major special abilities.

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