Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Unseen (and Seldom Seen) Monsters of Atlantasia

John Holland has said that, in his The Realms of Atlantasia, there are forty-four monsters that “nobody has ever seen before.” I haven’t counted them, but I’ll take him at his word. Certainly, there are a couple of monsters that no one will ever see and it is unlikely that one or two others will be seen.

The description of Chill Winds begins on page 75. Chill Winds are…wind; “You cannot hit them, you cannot see them…” Characters can “generally” hear a Chill Wind approaching, meaning they have two semi-segments to react. The description states, “…the only way to kill a chill wind is by the spell Heat Wave…” Apparently, Control Weather spells won’t do the trick. I suppose characters could use magic to get out of the way. Otherwise, unless characters have some sort of resistance to cold or weather, Chill Winds inflict 4d20 points of damage as they blow past the characters. Fortunately, Chill Winds are not as common as one might think; there is no chance of encountering Chill Winds on the tundra or in the mountains. In fact, Chill Winds seem to occur only in swamps, where they comprise 8% of all encounters – as opposed to Swamp Hags (6%), alligators (6%), or crocodiles (7%).

Dream Stalkers, according to page 73, are extra-dimensional entities that prey upon people who are asleep. They don’t inflict any damage; in fact, they don’t leave any impression at all. The victim of a Dream Stalker is not aware of the Dream Stalker at any time. However, when the victim wakes, he or she will be “in a completely different place (usually 1 – 2 countries away),” deprived of all possessions save for what he or she was wearing. How the Dream Stalker benefits from this prank is unknown. How anybody knows anything about Dream Stalkers and what they perpetrate is unknown. I suppose this could be a convenient way of dealing with a character whose player doesn’t show up for a session. I guess that Dream Stalkers don’t like water because there is no chance of encountering them at sea.

Speaking of water, page 77 describes Water Blobs which “are almost impossible to see as they will blend in with the water around them…”  They can change size from as little as one foot across to as much as twelve feet across.  They have a 100% chance of hitting an opponent at close range.  An opponent is enveloped and will drown in five semi-segments unless said opponent can activate an ability that allows him or her to breathe under water.  A character with such an ability activated can attack the Water Blob from inside, causing it to disperse.  Killing a Water Blob is out of the question unless an attacker can evaporate the water within it.   The ‘shell’ must then be hacked “until there is nothing left.”

No one will ever see a Shadowperson because “…if you run across one of these beings you will never know it…”  Page 94 tells us that Shadowpeople came from another dimension and that they “have no true form.”  By creating illusions they appear as whatever form they want.  Shadowpeople have no need or desire for material goods and rarely leave Shadowland.  “[A] very good natured shadowperson” named Miraje can show up as a random encounter.  Although Miraje is a 100th level spy, “players will sense someone watching them” when an encounter is indicated.  I guess Miraje is so good at being a spy, it convincingly acts as if it is not a spy.*  More realism at its finest.

Dimensional Stalkers are distantly related to Dream Stalkers and similarly, they come and go “without anyone truly knowing about it.”   They go about collecting the souls of recently deceased persons.  Once a Dimensional Stalker “absorbs” a soul (page 97 tells us), it will “go off in search of another being still alive to drop this soul into (usually being the opposite in alignment as the one who died).”  This raises a host of questions.  What's the effect?  Is the living being's original soul displaced?  Do the two souls engage in battle for control of the body?  What does the Dimension Stalker get out of it?  What happens if an elven soul is dropped into a human body?  Does it kill itself?  What happens if a Light Dragon’s soul is dropped into a gnome body?  Does it become pure compassion?  Is spirit the same thing as soul?  The alert reader may recall that the spirit of Sycaezz-aar-ryss-ail, daughter of “THE dragon God Draphet,” was installed in a medallion.  What happens if a Dimensional Stalker drops somebody’s soul into Sycaezz-aar-ryss-ail’s body?  Will the new soul be able to pronounce Sycaezz-aar-ryss-ail's name?

*  Holland never applies a gender pronoun to Miraje.  It makes sense that formless Shadowpeople would not have different genders; however, Holland does assign gender pronouns to other Shadowpeople.

1 comment:

  1. Gotta say this is the game that keeps on giving.

    I certainly hope that we get to see your spy Johann interact with this vivid, realistic world beyond the bite-off he had with that goblin.