Saturday, June 13, 2015

like mutations, but...not?

So I always feel like my monsters fall flat. Thought about it for a while and settled on the thought that I am usually seeking to identify everything around me - to learn the limits and such. This is anathema to mystery. Any sense of wonder is lost when my mental image of the thing is “well it’s a giant rabbit but purple and it hates humanoids” or whatever. Not useful in a real game. Same with so many monster manual entries: describe what it is but not what it does.

If you (like I did) were to dig into the archives of False Machine you can find some stuff on e-prime. A very inconvenient language, but particularly suited to monsters since their actions are what actually appear at the table.

Thus, a short list of interesting monster actions, harvested from what little could be found amongst various 3.5 MMs:

  1. Despises (creature type)
  2. Inherits parent’s knowledge
  3. Assimilates knowledge
  4. Psionically enslaves
  5. Babbles madness
  6. Levitates constantly
  7. Cultivates fungal camouflage
  8. Bathes rarely
  9. Jams bracelets on wrists
  10. Provokes fights for gems
  11. Feeds on corpses of slain
  12. Exacts tribute from weak
  13. Declares own form ideal
  14. Prefers to ambush
  15. Attacks anythings edible
  16. Lives as hermit
  17. Melts others into goo
  18. Hunts on ground and wing
  19. Collects skulls
  20. Unfurls to attack
  21. Flies directly into faces
  22. Discusses strategy before battle
  23. Hangs from ceiling by muscular foot
  24. Feeds by dissolving rock
  25. Weighs >2 tons
  26. Enjoys taking slaves
  27. Emits carefully focused harmonics
  28. Traps prey in ribcage
  29. Has aura/tone that soothes
  30. Has an aura/tone that enrages
  31. Skids across liquid surfaces
  32. Hides near aristocrats
  33. Commands an army of tiny animal relatives
  34. Wears a mask over missing face
  35. Takes psychic commands via brain tentacle
  36. Fortifies itself with embedded metal plates
  37. Can command but has limited language
  38. Warps wood to decorate
  39. Attacks with four insectoid arms
  40. Sprays a flammable acid
  41. Causes nightmares within 1 mile
  42. Can extend thin blades from forearms
  43. Wades through the ocean
  44. Creates mindless spawn resembling another creature
  45. Sprays insanity-causing blood from own face
  46. Holds arcane spells inscribed on its body
  47. Stupifies with a touch
  48. Flees own death as a sparkling mist
  49. Particularly enjoys eating elves
  50. Watches strangers even when in danger
  51. Sustains itself by spreading corruption
  52. Melds its body with a host to control it

I’ll add more as they appear

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