Wrathofzombie’s Look at Monster Manuals- A

Knowledge: I like giving my players conflicting information on creatures, because it makes it so they have to deliberate on what is the most effective and true piece of information.  I will include a few of these with the monsters.

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Aboleth [Pathfinder]

Aboleth’s are an ancient and vile race that dwells deep in oceans and lakes.  They consider themselves superior to all creatures and have no qualms enslaving or killing en mass.  Aboleth society is so foreign that not much is known about it.  These creatures have an insatiable thirst for knowledge on what makes other life forms function.  They use their Transmute Flesh ability to push the boundaries of reality and create horrors that serve them in all sorts of diabolical ways.

Mucus Cloud: The Aboleth is able to secrete a viscous cloud of mucus that hovers about them.  This substance, when absorbed through the skin, creates a euphoric effect in the victim.  Prolonged exposure can result in addiction and dependency.  This ability is only useable in water.

 Slime: On a successful attack from one of the Aboleth’s tentacles the target must make a Constitution based save or watch in horror as their skin begins to soften into a slimy membrane over 1d4 rounds.  The creature’s new skin is soft and tender, which reduces their Constitution by 4.  Creatures that are afflicted by this must keep their skin moistened or it begins to crack and bleed.  The target is now considered aquatic and gains all the benefits and penalties of that.  Remove disease will cure a person of this ailment.

Transmute Flesh: The Aboleth enjoy figuring out what makes a creature function as it does.  They are able to morph and shape a creatures flesh in new twisted and vile ways.  A target must make a Constitution based Save to resist the effects of this ability.  An Aboleth can safely use this ability once on a given target every 24 hours. Any further use that risks killing the target (target takes 1d4 Con damage per other attempts with a failed save).

Possible World Knowledge

  • Aboleth’s are ancient.
  • Aboleth’s have a fear of fire.
  • Aboleth’s are the creators of many horrors across the world.
  • Aboleth’s are giant carnivorous fish [F].
  • Aboleth’s are able to read thoughts [F].
  • Aboleth’s are benevolent to those who serve them well [F].

Angels/Archons/et al.

I do not like to have any form of celestial creature as an active character in my game.  I look at the stats of some of these creatures in 3.x and Pathfinder and think why the fuck is there even heroes when these bitches can do all that they can?  Why are players out there fighting demons and devils when Angel’s are so much better equipped to handle the task?  Kinda defeats the purpose.  I tend to handle any sort of divine interactions as visions.  It’s probably my Atheist nature but I rarely have Gods heavily involved.  They may have some influence or sway, but mostly aloof about the mortal realm as a whole.  Nix.


Ankheg [Pathfinder]

 Ankheg’s are a plague to the rural areas.  These creatures are roughly the size of a horse and love to feed on livestock.  Ankheg’s live underground and use their pincers and saliva to burrow.  To attack prey they use their tremorsense to get right beneath them, bursting from the earth and dragging food back down.

Another problem for livestock owners lies in how an Ankheg reproduces.  The beast fertilizes its own eggs and then lays its eggs in a thin line on the grass where livestock will eat them.  The eggs that aren’t destroyed (3d4) settle in the creatures gut and begin to gestate for roughly 2 months.  At this point the eggs hatch and the larva, reaching up to 1 ½ feet in length, begin eating through the creature’s stomach.  Only at this point is it evident that something is wrong with the creature.  The larva will eat through the creature in roughly 1d4 hours and then begin to borrow into the earth.  Once deep enough they will create a burrow that will house them while they pupate for 1 month into an Ankheg.

Acid Spit: When an Ankheg is agitated or afraid it can spew a glob of sticky acid up to a distance of 60 ft.  The acid does an initial 3d4 damage and an additional 1d4 damage per round that the acid is not cleaned off.  It takes an Ankheg’s glands six hours to produce enough acid that can be spit, thus the creature tends to save this until it is in a flight or fight mode.

 Tremorsense: An Ankheg has the ability to feel creatures walking above it or around it due to tiny hairs on its legs that pick up vibrations from the earth.  Ankheg’s use this ability while burrowing to get right below a creature and surprise their prey.  Creatures get a -2 to any perception rolls when an Ankheg uses this against them.

Possible World Knowledge

  • Ankheg’s are afraid of fire and will skitter away from it.
  • Ankheg’s favorite meal is cow.
  • Ankheg’s are as intelligent as a dog.
  • The Ankheg’s chitin provides protection against acid [F].
  • Ankheg’s are as intelligent as a man [F].
  • The Ankheg creates a cloud that kills animals and crops [F].

Ant, Giant [Pathfinder]

There really isn’t much that can be done with Ants.  At best you can make variants of ants.  Fire ants do an extra d3 burning damage and maybe attackers take 1d3 damage from heat by being close to them.  That’s about as far as it goes.

Aranea [Monster Manual]

 Zak S. really has a point that there are just too many fucking versions of spiders in the various monster books.  The Aranea can talk, shape change, AND cast spells.  Its shape change ability is limited though.  Natural form, human form, and a hybrid human/spider form…  so basically it is a not-totally-evil Drider thing..  While it may be cool for players to encounter it..  I think that it is so hard wired into player’s brains, “AH SPIDER! KILL IT!” That it wouldn’t get much out in the way of a dialogue or something alternate than a slug fest.  Nix.


Assassin Vine

The Assassin Vine is a dangerous adversary to those traveling through heavily wooded areas.  It blends in perfectly with the surrounding flora and is almost indistinguishable save for its trunk which has a blood red tinted bark.  Assassin Vines survive on bodily fluid of creatures, once done it drops the carcass to the ground.  The ground littered with skeletons tends to be the only warning of the plants, and by then it is often too late.

Entangled: The Assassin Vine will attempt to entangle a target so as to absorb their bodily fluids.  This is resolved as a normal attack, however for each additional vine that dedicated to the task, it receives an additional +1 to its roll.  Targets take no damage from being entangled.

 Vitality Drain: Assassin Vines live off of the bodily fluids of those they capture.  When a vine attacks it attempts to force its tendrils down the creature’s throat and absorb its bodily fluids.  If a target is entangled on the next round they must make a Constitution based save or lose 1d4 Con.  Each round this test is made.  Once the target reaches 0 Con they are dead and are a dehydrated looking husk of their former self.

Berries: After an Assassin Vine has fed berries will grow from its stalks.  These berries contain the blood and life essence of its prey.  If a berry is eaten it restores 1d4 HP.

 Possible World Knowledge

  • The berries of the Assassin Vine are filled with blood that restores vitality to those who eat it (1d4).
  • Assassin Vines sap can be used in alchemy potions.
  • Assassin Vines are immune to fire [F].
  • Assassin Vines are intelligent and see out their prey [F].
  • Assassin Vines have extremely poisonous barbs [F].

Animals (Including Herd) [Et Al.]

I really don’t need to go into the various animals in the monster books; either a GM will use them because they fill a niche in their world or serve a purpose.

Athach [Monster Manual]

This is just a dumber and smellier version of an Ogre with an extra arm on its chest.  When I get to Ogre I’ll discuss this in more depth. Nix.


About wrathofzombie

I am a History major attending a community college until I can get more financial aid and attend a four year school. I am living in NJ with my girlfriend who is currently wrapping up on obtaining her PhD in Toxicology. I love Star Wars, Role-playing, video games, working out, reading, writing, and hanging with my girlfriend, dog (Perfect), and two kittens (Birch and Brambles). My main focus on this site will be my discussion of Role-playing games and ideas and hopefully contribute something worth a damn. View all posts by wrathofzombie

6 responses to “Wrathofzombie’s Look at Monster Manuals- A

  • Chuck

    Pretty cool. But I do like throwing in angels. Not the toughy feely hippy New Age types. I’m talking wrath of god types. Like Dean Winchester said in Supernatural, “Angels are dicks.” Or like the Prophecy movies.
    While they may be “good”, they completely lack compassion or empathy. “What are you complaing about? So we burned a village to the ground just to get at a few bad people. The good ones are having a nice afterlife.”

  • wrathofzombie

    I can dig that and would put that in there. I just don’t like how they are in the various MM’s as these benign creatures of radiant light.

  • anarkeith

    I like the idea of false knowledge that can be gleaned about monsters. Few things are more frustrating to a GM than players with encyclopedic knowledge of the “Monster Manual” who, when confronted by a monster, rattle off all its strengths and weaknesses.

    That’s why I like to reskin monsters, or switch various powers and abilities between them.

    What if players come up with a cool idea about some monster or component thereof, like your Ankheg chitin being acid resistant? If they spend the time and effort to hunt down an Ankheg, harvest its carapace, and craft a suit of armor from it, I think I’d allow some kind of skill check to see if it actually worked. Listening to how players react to leads like, “Ankheg chitin is rumored to be acid resistant” and letting the players’ choices inform the story is a key component of a good campaign in my mind.

    • wrathofzombie

      I wouldn’t be opposed to doing that but I honestly would not due it often. If there is constant respinning of lies to truths because the players think something is neat then that ruins their decisions.

      I tend to go more of a sandbox approach where there is a chance risk of failure and disappointment. If it was something that the group got super jazzed up about and started heading out to find the Ankheg so they can get their hands on the chitin but I had already decided it wasn’t, I wouldn’t change it but I may throw in something else later that had that or similar to throw em a bone.

      That’s just me.

  • Wrathofzombie’s Stab at Monster Manuals « Wrathofzombie's Blog

    […] About wrathofzombie I am a History major attending a community college until I can get more financial aid and attend a four year school. I am living in NJ with my girlfriend who is currently wrapping up on obtaining her PhD in Toxicology. I love Star Wars, Role-playing, video games, working out, reading, writing, and hanging with my girlfriend, dog (Perfect), and two kittens (Birch and Brambles). My main focus on this site will be my discussion of Role-playing games and ideas and hopefully contribute something worth a damn. View all posts by wrathofzombie This entry was posted on Monday, January 23rd, 2012 at 9:13 am and posted in Monsters, Role-playing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. « Wrathofzombie Frankengame Alchemist. Wrathofzombie’s Look at Monster Manuals- A » […]

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