Monday, October 3, 2011

What sorcery is this?

Why the name?

Well, that's an easy one. It's from a classic PC strategy game called Myth: The Fallen Lords, released by Bungie in 1997. I highly recommend this game to anyone who hasn't played it. There is no resources-gathering or base construction like the other RTS games of the day. Your troops at the beginning of the mission are all you have to work with, so you'd better make each one count. And it's tough. The soundtrack is classic, worth listening to by itself, and the whole aesthetic of the game is a big inspiration: hordes of undead marching across blasted wastelands led by their immortal overlords in the twilight of Man.

In the opening monologue, the narrator sets the scene:

"In a time long past, the armies of the dark came again into the lands of men. Their leaders were known as the Fallen Lords, and their terrible sorcery was without equal in the West."

That's pretty much all you need to know.

I live in Western Canada these days. It's catchy. It's kind of funny. And while there are other Canadian guys doing the gaming blog thing (and doing it very well), I don't know of any other ones in this province.

I remember buying an old copy of Dragon magazine that had 2nd edition statistics for several of the monsters from Myth. Some of them *really* didn't need it and were just basic fantasy fare (Trow are just any large D&D humanoid, Thrall and Myrmidons are types of zombie, Shades are more or less Liches).

EDIT: Ghôls kind of make me think. They are hunched, carrion eating, ape-dog-man sort of things and this just reminded me of H.P. Lovecraft's The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath: "...for his vanished friend Richard Pickman had once introduced him to a ghoul, and he knew well their canine faces and slumping forms and unmentionable idiosyncrasies." Perhaps that's what inspired these creatures in Myth.

Two Myth creatures were unique enough to deserve their own stats, and since I can't find that copy of Dragon anymore I must do it myself. I'll stat these up for Pathfinder (somewhat abbreviated) and Labyrinth Lord, just for the hell of it.

(Pathfinder) CR 1/2, XP 200

NE Medium undead

Init +0; Senses Darkvision 60ft; Perception +0

AC 10, touch 10, flat-footed 10
HP 6 (1d8)
Undead Traits
DR 5/slashing or piercing

Speed 15 ft.
Attacks: explosion (Fort save DC 18)

Str 10, Dex 10, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk +0; CMB +0; CMD 10

"Urghhh... zzz... blooog.... BOOM!"
(Labyrinth Lord)

No. Enc: 1
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 60' (20')

Armor Class: 8
Hit Dice: 1
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d8 + paralyzation

Save: F1
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: None
XP: 16

These undead look like drowned corpses, bloated and fish-pale. They shamble along dressed in rags. When they are destroyed, Barrier Wights explode in a cloud of poisonous pus, dealing 1d8 damage to all creatures in a 15' radius and paralyzing for 2d4 rounds (save to negate). If they get close to a living creature, they will burst themselves with their sharp fingernails instead of attacking. Sometimes they hide in rivers or under bridges, waiting to ambush passersby. Necromancers often use them for shock troops, to soften up large groups of enemies before the main attack.

A chunk of an exploded Barrier Wight retains potency for a few hours, and if handled carefully can be thrown to paralyze a target on a successful hit, just as if the wight had exploded.

(Pathfinder) CR 3, XP 800

NE Medium outsider
Init +1; Darkvision 60ft; Perception +5

AC 17, touch 11, flat-footed 16 (+1 Dex, +4 natural, +2 armor)
HP 38 (5d8+15)
Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +5
Immune - Electricity, Poison
Resist - Fire 5, Cold 5, Acid 5

Speed 30 ft.
Melee: 2 claws +2 (1d6+2)
Special Attacks: lightning bolt (5d6, Reflex DC 16 for half)

Str 14, Dex 13, Con 17, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 14
Base Atk +5; CMB +7; CMD 18

"Hiss... where's my mirror?"
(Labyrinth Lord)

No. Enc: 1
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120' (40')

Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: 2 or 1 (2 claws, lightning)
Damage: 1d6/1d6/5d6

Save: F5
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: VII
XP: 350

Cruel horned creatures who wear coats of skin made from their victims. They seem almost human from a distance; when viewed at close range, their hateful expressions and gnarled skin coats can be seen clearly. By then it's too late. They project bolts of lightning 3' wide from their hands up to a range of 50', doing 5d6 damage to anyone in the path. In close combat they fight with their sharpened fingers, but prefer to avoid this as they are vain and lazy. They are summoned from another world through certain dark rites, but woe to the warlord or sorceror that doesn't keep them supplied with fresh victims and entertainments.

From this I've learned a few things. It's way easier to write up monsters in LL. This will get its own post shortly. It's hard to balance things out between systems, and in the end you really can't. The stats don't come across directly. But that's OK, these monsters will work fine for me in either system.

This post brought to you by: you guessed it. Turn it up.

No comments:

Post a Comment