Archive for the ‘RPGs’ Category

Were-Watch 5: The Final Frontier

November 29, 2015

It’s here!

And I might just have to review this thing. I mean, actually review it and not just mock the freaking Animal entries.

As much fun as I’ve had doing that, mind.

But this Bestiary is… Well, it’s a beast. And I mean that in both a good and bad manner.

But then again, what would you expect from the fifth in a series? It isn’t surprising.

Though there were things in this that DID surprise me. One so amazing, so great, so utterly fantastic, that I literally need to save the best for last.

So let’s go! The rules are simple: I look at a Bestiary and I delve into its Animal entries, in terms of what would happen if we were silly enough to take a random Animal and apply the Lycanthrope template to it.

Because I am that silly. Let’s roll.

Bear, Polar and Dire Polar: Well, there’s already werebears. Gives something for your Frost Giants to turn into?

Cameroceras: Um, what? Deep sea werebeasts, maybe? Or an amusing target for Teratocephalos maybe? Like I said, this book is a mix of good and bad, and this creature is a little of both.

Digmaul: An amusing mix of a big cat and a stegosaurus, lycanthropes with tail attacks in hybrid form are always fun. For you. This thing is actually based on a “fearsome critter,” and as usual, Paizo takes a tall tale and turns it into the last thing you want chasing you…

Dinosaurs: Ceratosaurus, Plesiosaurus, Therizinoosaurus and Troodon. All except that third one make  superb shifters, and even that guy would be good if you went “Attack on Fucking Titan” again, and had to describe the beast that just one-shotted the Barbarian as “comical.”

Frog, Father and Goliath: Well hello. I thought we was done with ye. Both of these guys have a tongue they can use to grab people. And the Goliath, in true Paizo naming fashion, is merely Large. While I can definitely see an issue with Animals that are the same, but different… Hell, that’s why this subject exists. For the fun factor. Also, more Swallow Whole lycanthropes! We are not the hunters…

Megafauna: Good to see you again. Chalicotherium is another potential were-sloth, this  one Large. So, “the same, but different,” it is. Kaprosuchus is a were-crocodile, though it can ram creatures with its snout (…?). Moa is a flightless bird, basically a were-ostrich. Uintatherium is… another were-rhino, though this one can bite. Overall, nothing quite as magnificent as the original were-sloth but beggars can’t be choosers.

Whale, Blue and Narwhal: The same, but different. One’s got a tusk anyway.

Wolliped: What do you mean, this isn’t a Magical Beast? These eight-legged freaks remind me of those things from Star Wars. They can even spew at their enemies. Weird-ass bugger. Not even I’m sure this is a good idea.

And because I said I was saving the best for last, we return to “A” for…

Ape, Megaprimatus: Oh my Chtulhu.This is amazing. It’s basically King Kong, as Pathfinder monster. This thing can step to creatures larger than itself, can literally tear its enemies to pieces, and it has an inborn Bite attack. This thing is great on its own. A were-version is almost overkill. I’m really rethinking my “Christmas present,” because what I was planning on, it turns out, isn’t SRD, and this is.

It probably won’t be a Lycanthrope, but rather a demonstration of a concept I’ve toyed with for awhile.  Still, if you want were-Tyranosaurus versus were-Primatus, go ahead. I won’t stop you!

And there we have it. There’s a few “bonus episodes” I’m considering doing, from the “Shit’s too easy” tab of third-party books. Very good third-party books, but even the good ones can break the game in the wrong hands.

Like mine.

See you next time.

The Were Watch 3: I don’t have a clever title.

March 18, 2015

I haven’t posted in awhile. I really ought to fix that. More importantly, I picked up some PDFs I need to review.

But for now, something that takes no real effort! On to the Were-Watch, seeing what abominations we can create with the Lycanthrope template in Pathfinder Bestiary 3!

Dinosaur: Open the door, get on the floor. The Iguanodon would be amusing, and maybe the Pachycephalosaurus… Though given what I had to go through to spell that and I’m not even sure I got it right? Yeah, no.

Herd Animal, Antelope/Elk: Sparse offerings in this Bestiary, eh?

Giant Gecko/Giant Chameleon: Heh. In particular, a Were-Chameleon would be funny as hell. It’s a werebeast that can hide in plain sight on you. Sad that the only reason these entires are so silly is because Bestiary 3 has such slim pickings.

Marsupial, Kangaroo/Thylacine: Like I was saying. Were-kangaroo, anyone? Your players will never respect you again. The Thylacine would be pretty scary though.

Megafauna: Because the last time went so well. Archelon gives us another were-turtle (you know, like the previous ones weren’t enough). Megalania is a poisonous lizard. Because we cannot have enough were-lizards. Unfortunately, though, nothing can top the were-sloth from last time.

Giant Owl/Great Horned Owl: Who? Not me. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that were-ravens once existed and I somehow forgot about them…

Giant Porcupine: Hahaha. Oh, wow. And I thought the were-kangaroo was bad. These things would make disgusting werebeasts if they kept their quills. Make a were-porcupine grappler and your players will genuinely hate you.

Giant Skunk: I’m pretty sure nobody thought someone would genuinely consider this, consider using the Lycanthrope with every Animal in the Bestiaries. Well, I did! This is the “Your Players Will Hate You” edition of the Were-Watch!

Vulture/Giant Vulture: We have owls and eagles, so why not this?

… yeah this was disappointing. Fewer animals and fewer good candidates. I think it was this Bestiary I was thinking of when I considered this topic.

Ah well. They can’t all be winners.

Until next time. Beware of were-skunks.

Were-Watch 2: There Watch!

March 7, 2015

And we’re back. I couldn’t think of anything else to cover, and I had a lot of fun with the first post, so let’s go back, and have a look at Pathfinder Bestiary 2, and see what magical creatures we can summon up this time around!

Same rules as before: Animal type, should be Small or larger. I know what I said last time, but I realize that since there ARE Huge and Gargantuan Giants out there (and one could easily apply the Giant Creature template to any Humanoid anyway), might as well include those too.

As an aside, I dug up THE CREATURE CHRONICLE, which is a fairly nice blog, dedicated to updating creatures from prior editions (primarily 2e, 3e and 4e, but also some Alternity and other weird stuff) to Pathfinder. I found him in another search for Were-Lions, and dug up the Were-Raven. Damn, but I forgot these things existed. Anyway, I bring this up because the Raven is usually a Familiar monster, and, as a result, is way too gimpy to be used for the Lycanthrope. So he based them on the Eagle’s stats instead.

Just sayin’.

Badger, Dire Badger: Used to exist. They were primarily Dwarves, making them the most fun of the “stupid racial Lycanthrope” group in my book. They’re hilarious. A werebeast with a Burrow speed would be awful… for your players.

Bat, Mobat: An even scarier version of the Were-Bat, the Were-Mobat would be an adequate adversary… One that all too often is mistaken for a vampire. Keep your players guessing!

Dinosaur: More fun with dinos. The Allosaurus would be a good replacement for the T-Rex if a big enough Giant isn’t available. The Tylosaurus would be a nasty surprise if you want to make your players wish for a bigger boat.  Beyond that, kind of a weak offering. Not silly so much as… Eh.

Gar/Giant Gar: Werefish. It makes only minimal sense but it’s still pretty amusing. Plus, again, the tactic of grabbing the wizard and pulling her beneath the water is still a valid one for all aquatic life with grab attacks.

Camel: Some men see things as they are, and ask “Why?” I dream things that never should be and ask… “Is anyone actually gonna read these topics and find them useful?”

Ram: Dodge this! I actually think this would be neat. Were-ram! I’m not 100% sure if creatures lacking bite attacks work, but since the Curse of Lycanthropy is transferred through the bite, presumably they’d gain one? I don’t know. I exist to break things.

Hippopotamus/Behemoth: Don’t laugh. The hippo is among the deadliest land animals, with some of the strongest jaws on Earth. If you saw fit to laugh at a were-hippo, you would not be doing so for very long…

Megafauna: Now we get to the other reason I made this topic. It’s to explore these insane things. They appear to be the ancent ancestors to modern mammals. And they’re silly. Well, they’d be useful for settings that require them… But they’re also Animals. Meaning possible valid targets for Lycanthrope. In particular is the Glyptodon- Though we will return to were-turtles later- And the Megatherium, who would result in a WERE-SLOTH. That’s why I made this topic. For were-sloths!

Primate, Baboon: Like the great ape, only not quite as great, and with a shiny red ass. Why am I doing this again? Oh, right. For the laughs.

Manta Ray/Stingray: Yeah I got nothing. I’d almost rather use the Monstrous Lycanthrope template from the Advanced Bestiary to make a Were-Cloaker, instead of this…

Emperor Cobra/Giant Anacona: BEHOLD ONCE MORE, THE MIGHTY WERE-SNAKE! Because why not? Giant Anaconda because we don’t have enough giant werebeasts yet.

Giant Toad: BEHOLD ONCE MORE, THE MIGHTY WERE-FROG! Sometimes, I question my sanity. Other times, I realize one cannot question that which never existed.

Snapping Turtle/Giant Snapping Turtle: Between these and the Glyptodon, we’re getting about as far as we can with were-turtles. Well, almost. We’ll visit this again at least one more time, I think… The Giant Snapping Turtle would be a werebeast that can eat your party members. Okay. NOW, it’s Attack on Fucking Titan.

Whale/Giant Whale: I fear not even I think this is an especially good idea. And I’m trying to defend Were-Rams.

After going through two Bestiaries and looking only for Animals, I realize the truth of that age old saying: Just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should.

This doesn’t mean we’re done, however. I still got two more Bestiaries to sift through, with more amusing results.

Also, just like with werebeasts, expect this topic to change suddenly…

The Were-Watch

March 6, 2015

Some five years ago, I said something about my love of Gargoyles.

Still need to get to that. Why the hell are they Always Chaotic Evil, anyway…?

But for now, I think we’ll do something a little more recent for me: My newfound love of the Lycanthrope template.

For those of you unfamiliar, a brief history: When 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons launched in 2000, it brought with it a vast multitude of improvements. One of these improvements was the Template.

These would show up in creature books, and rather than being a creature themselves, they’re something you slap onto a creature, to change their attributes.

Some of these templates more or less make a new monster. Examples of this include the Half-Fiend and Half-Dragon templates.

Others simply helped eliminate a lot of duplicate entries from 2nd Edition D&D, like the Vampire and Lich template.

For a clue as to how influential Templates were to 3rd Edition, look no further than Green Ronin’s Advanced Bestiary, a book so beloved among fans that it was recently resurrected for Pathfinder. Either version contains no new monsters, simply new Templates… Over a hundred of them, to be precise. Paizo describes the current version as “force multiplier.”

They’re right.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand.

On the subject of eliminating extraneous monster entries, this streamlining includes the Lycanthrope template. Formerly, there were all these complex rules for who could and couldn’t catch Lycanthropy. In the beginning, only Humans could. I think if another humanoid succumbed to Lycanthropy, they died instead of becoming a werebeast.

The TSR designers must have realized this was dumb.

Unfortunately, their response was even dumber- the creation of werebeasts… unique to a particular race. The only two I remember right now are the Werefox, who were elves, and the Werebadger, who were Dwarves.

The Lycanthrope template fixes most of these problems: You take a creature with the Humanoid type (as in, something that is human or close to it, so elves, gnomes, dwarves, halflings, these all count too…), and a creature of the Animal type, do some jiggery pokery, and viola; You have a werebeast.

Despite the existence of this template, the Pathfinder Bestiaries still contain new Lycanthropes. Most of them are ones we’d want to have quick access to.

That isn’t what this post is about.

This is about finding animals you’d never want to use as Lycanthropes. The rejects. The trash.

Or the just plain weird.

What does this have to do with Gargoyles? It demonstrates the stupidity and weirdness at the center of WHY I LOVE THIS GAME.

So allow me to present the first ever edition of… The Were-Watch.

The rules are simple: It must be an Animal, and it should be any size that isn’t Tiny or Colossal. Tiny I suppose could be used by Small creatures, but Colossal could only be used by Humanoids who were already Gargantuan or Colossal themselves. We’re getting into some Attack on Titan shit with that, so yeah.

The other rule is, it should be an Animal that doesn’t have an associated Lycanthrope already. At least, not one I’m aware of.  Sharks are out, because of Creatures of Freeport, for example. Weretigers and werebears return in a later Bestiary… And aren’t weird enough for this series anyway.

Let’s start with Pathfinder Bestiary 1, to whet our appetites.

Ape/Dire Ape: We start with a fun one. So much fun that I’m amazed it doesn’t exist, and frankly, it probably does, somewhere. Given its utility for jungle environs, to say nothing of being evocative of the Conan-esque fantasy some fans grew up on, these guys aren’t actually a bad idea. Wereape. Get rekt, scrub. (As an aside, I attempted to check for Were-Apes on Google and got “were apes around with the dinosaurs,” which I of course read as “Were-Apes around with the dinosaurs;” a story I probably should write…)

Dire Bat: It turns out this exists. I’m gonna talk about it anyway. I know I read at least one D&D adventure that used Werebats. I’ve known many people whose favorite Batman: The Animated Series villain was Man-Bat. I’d be upset if this thing DIDN’T exist. They’re frigging scary, because the only thing worse than a werebeast is one that can fly…

Cat, Cheetah: It’s the cheese that goes crunch? I don’t know, could take these guys seriously, kind of a sub-equatorial answer to the Werewolf empires of old…

Cat, Leopard: Turns out this thing exists. Why, I could not tell you. Wait, no. It’s because of the desire for Adventure Paths to include new monsters as often as possible. This will result in weirdness. Weird is not necessarily bad, mind you.

Dinosaurs: Okay I’m sure these have to exist. … Nope, not according to Google. In particular, the Deinonychus is an amusing option, as is the Pteranodon. Triceratops is Huge, meaning your Giants can probably make use of him. T-Rex is here but he’s Gargantuan, limiting his use, outside of Giants. Still, Giants that are Dinosaur werebeasts is an amusing and terrifying thought. I mean, why the hell not? Lost World-styled locales, ancient empires of Dinosaur shifters! It’s the kind of shit I live for.

Dog/Riding Dog: Sure. Why not? The Dog stats say they can be used for Coyotes, Jackals and other such things, meaning we get a lot of our canine werebeasts right here. Amusing at any rate.

Dolphin/Orca: Sure. Why not? I remember reading some Cthulhu Mythos stories that held the Dolphins were some breed of servant to Cthulhu. Indeed, they’re not the happy, cheerful creatures New Agers like to think they are. The stat block mentions dolphins killing sharks with their snouts, so I imagine battles between Weredolphins and Weresharks. Keep your players off balance and they’ll never know what to expect.

Eagle/Giant Eagle: These don’t seem to exist either. Their utility to Native American folklore and a general concept of, you know, being a freaking EAGLE SHIFTER forces me to wonder why. I’m realizing this post is quickly becoming less “Ha ha, this is stupid!” and more “Wait, why doesn’t this exist?”

Electric Eel/Giant Moray Eel: I was afraid this existed but Eagles did not. Well, as it turns out, though I’ve found evidence people have made homebrew stuff involving were-eels, but nothing official. Thank Mima.  I’d need to reconsider this whole topic…

Elephant/Mastodon: Could be a good companion to were-dinosaurs. I mean, stampeding elephants are scary. Giants are scary. So, stampeding giants would be even scarier! … We think.

Giant Frog/Posion Frog: Okay. Now we get silly. I mean, Boggards and stuff already exist so why would you ever use these? because sometimes, silly is what you want. Also, much like with the were-dolphin, confusing the hell out of your players is what you want too.

Goblin Dog: Has anyone noticed this? The Goblin Dog has the Animal type. Goblins have the Humanoid type. This makes them good- if not necessarily ideal- candidates for Goblin Were-Goblin Dogs. They’d keep the Allergic Reaction ability, and generally would be absolutely horrifying low-level werebeasts.  … This game has been out since 2009. I can’t be the first person in six years to have noticed this, can I? Please, tell me I’m not…

Herd Animal, Aurochs/Bison: MESS WITH THE BULL AND YOU GET THE HORNS! Admitted, Minotaurs already exist, but hey. Could use both. Again, people are expecting wolves and rats. They’re not expecting Bison…

Horse/Pony: I don’t recommend it. I mean, sure, you always COULD, but at that point, why wouldn’t you just play Ponyfinder instead…?

Hyena/Dire Hyena: Though they’d have a decent amount of utility, I noticed something: For some bizarre reason, Gnolls have the Humanoid type, when they really ought to be a Monstrous Humanoid. This means you can have a Gnoll Were-Hyena. There’d be no way to tell when they shifted into Hybrid form. They’d look exactly the same! There could be generations of Gnoll tribes, suffering from Lycanthropy and nobody ever actually noticed! You have no idea how much I am laughing as I type this out. Seriously, that’s some funny shit.

Lion/Dire Lion: Frankly, I’m surprised this one doesn’t exist. I’m aware of one from Kobold Press, sure. But nothing from Paizo, it seems. Really, this one just makes too much sense, especially considering how many cultures revered lions. Also, who doesn’t like lion-men? I’m surprised at how many of these ideas I’m digging…

Monitor Lizard/Giant Frilled Lizard: Confession time. About seven years ago, when I was on Wizard’s own message boards for 3.5e, I was a Character Optimization (CharOpt for short) regular. I was the natural weapons master- one of them, anyway- and the old Soul Eater thread? That was mine. Anyway, later, someone did a thread on optimizing Lycanthropes, and listed the Monitor Lizard as one of the best options to play as. It’d be bloody hilarious to play as one. The looks on people’s faces… That whole episode is likely what most inspired this post. And to think, I’m still crazy, after all these years…

Octopus/Giant Octopus: Hehehe. This would look silly, until one grabs the party Wizard and drowns her. In particular, the Giant version’s eight tentacle attacks would be bad news for any young adventurer- Regardless of gender.

Rhinoceros/Wooly Rhinoceros: See Elephants above. Also, Rocksteady says “Hi.”

Roc: I was looking forward to this one, because it IS an Animal… But it’s Gargantuan. Eh. You know what? Attack on Fucking Titan it is. The true rulers of the Eagle empire were the Roc Lords! … Damn, that actually sounds like a good idea…

Constrictor Snake/Venomous Snake: More shades of Conan here. I don’t know. I kinda like this idea. Horrible servants of the Yuan-ti/Serpentfolk? Hmm…

Squid/Giant Squid: Octopi were a go, why not squids? Still no fun for either gender though…

Wolverine/Dire Wolverine: You got a problem, bub? Yeah I don’t know why you’d use this, except to make a lot of really bad jokes/pop culture refs.

Well… This was interesting. I was expecting more lulz but instead discovered actual good ideas here. I’m surprised, honestly.

Pleasantly so.

I may return to this topic soon.  Until then, take care, and beware of Werefrogs.

A Beast A Day Keeps… Something, I don’t know…

March 4, 2015

This is  just a quicky,

While researching various creatures for Pathfinder, I kept finding The Daily Bestiary.  After the third or so time he came up in a Google search, I figured… what the hell. I’m updating again, people are apparently reading me again (And I thank you!) so why not?

This guy’s pretty neat. The main gimmick is, he diligently goes through the Pathfinder Bestiaries, in alphabetical order, and explains some details about the creature in question, then gives three adventure hooks.

For every monster.

Even ridiculous shit like the Immense Tortoise.

The thing I’ve discovered is, the best adventure hooks seem to always be stolen from a movie… But that’s not such a bad thing. If anything, it teaches us that ideas can come from anywhere. I probably will start making posts on what I call “gaming theory” or “shop” soon, and I’ll explain such things in due time.

He also once did some posts on the best 3.5e books for Pathfinder DMs. Yeah click on that and go to “next day” a few times to find them all. His list is obviously biased… But part of what convinced me I need to read this guy is, so many of the books he’s listed are some of my favorites. (Also I own over half of them. Many are exactly as good as he describes. Yes, even Serpent Kingdoms. Surprised me too.)

He’s pretty good, overall.

And he’s better at updating than I am, so there’s that.