Sunday, November 17, 2013

Monsters (& Critters) in Wizards' Realm

As might be expected, Wizards' Realm offers a variety of opponents for player characters.  Rather than a fixed set of statistics for each type of entity, the rule book lists what dice should be rolled to determine Attributes.  For instance, a skeleton has the following Attributes:  Strength – 1d20, Intelligence – 1d20, Constitution – 1d6, Dexterity – 1d20, Agility – 3d10, Charisma – 1d6, Appearance – 1d10, and Luck – 1d10.  The description for 'skeletons' is as follows:
SKELETONS make up the sword-fodder contingent of many a Spellcaster's traps, being easily Animated and cheap to maintain.  For all that, they are deadly foes, as one has to completely break up such opponents.  Even a Skeleton whose limbs are broken will attempt to make a biting attack.  Completely break up!
If your humble host may be allowed to digress for a moment, he would care to comment upon skeletons in combat.  Wizards' Realm combat does not use hit locations, so the notion of a skeleton “whose limbs are broken” is something that occurs only at the Game Master's discretion.  However, it does make sense that a skeleton's effectiveness would be compromised as its appendages are destroyed.  Characters and monsters in Wizards' Realm have an 'Attack Number' based upon Strength, Dexterity, and Agility.  If damage to a skeleton was applied to Attack Number rather than Survival Points, it would reflect a diminished capability of the skeleton to attack; it's not like a skeleton feels pain or could be rendered unconscious.  Just a thought.

Tolkien's influence is evident among the monster listings; 'Great Spiders' are even referred to as Attercoppes.  At least the authors try to use some imagination when naming their knock-offs; Balrogs are Balefiends and Ents are Florana (singular - Florin).  Other literary influences include the Grendl:
The GRENDL is the flesh rending fiend haunting swamp, bog and mire.  The so-called Bayou Bogey (no relation to a true bogey) is driven by one urge: hunger.  To satisfy itself the Grendl will even invade nearby lodgings for prey – and is savage with its victims.  Its most frequent weaponry are its fangs, claws and constricting hug, though in melee the beast has been known to use an arm or leg (of a victim) as a club.  Primarily nocturnal.
Wizards' Realm also presents a system for random monster creation.  Let's make a monster, shall we?

First, we roll d% to determine the monster's size in feet:  83.  Next, we roll another d% to determine 'general type':  34 = mammal.  (“For underwater adventures,” page 48 tells us, “assume Fish or Amphibian, and do not use this table.”)  To find out “means of locomotion,” we roll another d% and subtract the result from what we rolled for the monster's size; less than 75 means “walk/crawl, etc.” while 75 or greater means “fly.”  With a roll of 31, our creature is hoofing it.  Next, we roll on the 'weaponry table' once for every ten feet of size (or fraction thereof).  If the same 'weapon' is rolled more than once, damage from the weapon is multiplied accordingly.  With our nine rolls we get:  Teeth (x2), horns/spines (x2), poison/spray, trample/crush/constrict (x3), and claws.  Although the rules do not offer explanations for 'horns' or 'claws,' we are treated to the following information:
Teeth are a piercing weapon in the monster's mouth; jaws shut like a vise and hold, or make repeat attack.
Trample is usually the technique of large monsters or herds of creatures.
Poison can be in the fangs or claws, spines or even the skin of the monster.  Suggested types are:
Incapacitator, which causes the victim to lose 1d10 of Survival Points per combat turn until rendered unconscious/comatose, and lasts until cured.
Convulser, which causes immediate convulsions and reduces victim by 1d20 Survival Points per turn unless or until cured.
Nauseator, which causes victim to make save on Constitution or become sick and unable to fight for 1d20 turns, unless cured.
Corrosive is usually either contact (skin) or breath/spray weapon.  Does 1d20 damage, and it will blind if a hit is in the face.
'Trample' is appropriate given the size of our monster; with x3, damage is 15.  Spines are good to discourage attacks to the flank; with x2, damage is 24.  Teeth at x2 cause 20 points of damage; claws cause 8.  I like the idea of a nauseating breath weapon.

For every twenty feet of size (or fraction thereof), we are entitled to a roll on the defense table.  Our five results are:  1d10 Armor Rating (x3) and Runner (x2).  'Runner' means, “if getting the worst of the deal, will run away.”  I'm not sure what two 'Runner' results indicate, so I reroll one of them and obtain another 1d10 Armor Rating.  This gives our monster an Armor Rating of 16.

The rules inform us that a “quickie Attack Number may be developed by using size of the creature plus 1d20, plus the weapon damage of the various monster weapons...”  So, since I rolled a 'one' on the d20, our monster's Attack Number is 151 (i.e., 83 + 1 + 15 + 24 + 20 + 8).  As a comparison, a Balefiend without a weapon has – at most – an Attack Number of 140.  Of course, any given Balefiend “exudes an aura of fear,” which would prevent our skittish monster from attacking it.

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