Saturday, March 5, 2011

Thoon (part one)

Here's another Monster Manual 5 gem that was never updated to 4E. The concept behind Thoon was another take on mind flayers, having them be mad scientists who create biomechanical horrors and use them to harvest natural resources at the expense of everyone else. A bit too science fictiony for the average DnD campaign, but for a Lovecraftian horror campaign I could see it working beautifully.

Here are the Thoon cyborgs and constructs. I left it ambiguous as to whether or not Thoon has anything to do with the mind flayers; it could be mind flayer artificery, or it could be a completely unrelated aberrant threat. Have fun.

...

Something stirs among the shadows at the edge of the map. An eye above the clouds, watching the lands of the civilized races with an appraising hunger. An arm from the deep caverns underfoot reaching into the minds and bodies of hapless men and women and leaving...something...behind. The mysterious entity known as Thoon is as elusive and secretive as it is malevolent.

Thoon's origins and true nature are unclear. It could have slipped into the natural world from the Far Realms, it could be the creation of a deranged mortal artificer, or it could be the agent of some other aberrant race (the mind flayers being the most likely culprits). What is known is that deadly creatures made partly of flesh and partly of alien machinery answer to the name of Thoon, and they work ceaselessly toward some unknowable goal, destroying anything that gets in their way. Thoon creatures appear to be acting under the orders of a guiding intelligence, but that intelligence could be anything; a unique aberration hiding under the earth, a cabal of maladjusted individuals, an alien god, or perhaps just a distributed hive mind.

Whatever the case, tackling the Thoon menace is not for the faint of heart or the slow of mind. Or the weak of stomach...


Lore (Dungeoneering, Arcana)

DC 20: Somewhere in the world, there is an army of creatures with strange clockwork and alchemy worked into their bodies, so that they are neither construct nor living being. These entities are said to capture natural creatures and resources and reduce them to their base elements, so that they can build more of themselves.

DC 25: Thoon's motives are less clear than the simple desire to spread and conquer. These mysterious creatures seem to choose their targets arbitrarily, as if searching for something only they know how to look for. Their usual modus operandi is to set up a hidden base somewhere in the area that has caught their interest and begin abducting specific people, animals, and materials from the surroundings. Sometimes, they might want gold. Other times timber. Other times children. Once they've met their quota, they pack up their bases and dissapear.

DC 30: Thoon's greatest power is its ability to process life force. By assimilating living creatures, the Thoon hive mind can consume great amounts of mystical power which can then be put to various uses. Many Thoon creatures can spend a portion of their life force to use special abilities, at the cost of weakening themselves. Worse still, Thoon's symbiotic nature allows it to infiltrate humanoid societies by implanting mind-controlling devices in the bodies of innocent people, enslaving them to its will and giving them disturbing powers.


Thoon Pawn; Level 11 Minion Soldier (150 XP)
Medium aberrant humanoid
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Initiative +11 Perception +4
HP 1 (a minion is never damaged by an attack that misses)
AC 27 Fortitude 24 Reflex 23 Will 23
Speed 6
Skills Endurance +15
Immune nonlethal damage, sleep
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Standard Actions
basic melee attack Claw (at will):
+16 vs. AC; 12 damage and one adjacent ally gains a +1 bonus to attack that target until the end of its next turn.
-
close burst Explode (encounter):
The pawn dies and makes the following attack; close burst 1; +15 vs. Reflex; 12 damage. No traces are left of the pawn after its life force detonates.
Miss: 6 damage.
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Minor Actions

Overdrive (minor; encounter):
The thoon pawn gains resist 12 to all damage and a +2 to speed, damage, and attack rolls. On a recharge roll of 5 or 6, the pawn uses Explode as an immediate action.
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Alignment unaligned
Languages Common
Str 20 (+10) Con 20 (+10) Dex 18 (+9) Int 10 (+5) Wis 6 (+3) Cha 18 (+9)


This humanoid commoner has had invasive devices forcefully placed beneath its skin. These poor souls live in constant pain and misery, as Thoon allows them to go about their daily lives knowing that they cannot resist its telepathic orders should it choose to give them any. When Thoon chooses to give them commands, their skin becomes pale and unhealthy-looking, and veins of black metal become visible under the flesh of their faces and arms.

Thoon pawns are used as manual labor, espionage, and disposable cannon fodder. When it drives them into battle, they scream for help and mercy even as their bodies make the motions of combat against those they are crying to.


Tactics

Thoon pawns are seen as absolutely worthless by their mysterious controller. It throws them at the enemy almost haphazardly, seeking to overwhelm the opposition through sheer numbers. They will not hesitate to use Overdrive to catch up to a fleeing enemy, or to use Explode if there are no allies within the blast radius.

Most often, they are lead by a Thoon Infiltrator. In such cases, they will use the tactics described in the Infiltrator's entry.


Thoon Infiltrator; Level 13 Elite Controller (leader) (1,600 XP)
Medium aberrant animate
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Initiative +12 Perception +11
HP 208 Bloodied 104
AC 28 Fortitude 27 Reflex 25 Will 27
Speed 6
Skills +17 Bluff, +15 Arcana, +16 Endurance, +15 Dungeoneering
Immune nonlethal damage, sleep
Saves +2
Action Points 1
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Standard Actions
-
basic melee attack Electrified Claw (at will):
+18 vs. AC; 2d8+8 damage and ongoing 10 lightning damage (save ends).
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basic melee attack Electrified Tentacle (at will):
reach 2; +17 vs. Reflex; 1d10+8 lightning damage and target slides one square.
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melee Thoon Frenzy (at will):
Make one Electrified Claw and one Electrified Tentacle attack against different targets.
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melee Implant (standard; at will):
Target must be below 0 hit points; +18 vs. Fortitude; ongoing 10 disease damage (save ends); if the target is killed while under this effect, it becomes an allied thoon pawn and acts on the infiltrator‘s initiative.
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Minor Actions
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Assimilate (minor; once per round, at will):
One adjacent thoon pawn dies; the infiltrator heals 15 hp and gains an action point. The pawn's body crumples to dust, its life force completely sucked away.
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Regenerate (minor; once per round, at will):
A dead thoon pawn in an adjacent square returns to life with one hit point and acts on its old initiative. This ability does not work on pawns that were killed by Assimilate or Explode.
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Alignment chaotic evil
Languages Common, Thoon
Str 22 (+12) Con 20 (+11) Dex 18 (+10) Int 14 (+8) Wis 20 (+11) Cha 22 (+12)


A more advanced means of infiltrating other societies, Thoon's infiltrators are small, sentient constructs that are placed inside the bodies of living creatures. Unlike the Thoon Pawns, who are simply enslaved by Thoon, the Infiltrator parasite takes complete control of its host, dictating every movement, breath, word, and facial expression with flawless acting. For all intents and purposes, the host is dead.

The parasite itself looks like a small octopus or starfish made out of metal discs and wires. The main body is buried in the back of the host's neck, where it creates a visible bulge (the infiltrator usually hides this by wearing high-collared or hooded clothing). The metallic tentacles extend through every part of the host's body, and can emerge from the skin to attack during battle.

Thoon infiltrators live among the host's society, where they gather data, manipulate local politics, and command the many Pawns installed around it: the Infiltrator can also create more Pawns by implanting a small piece of itself into a helpless victim.

The Infiltrator parasite itself can only be created by a Madcrafter of Thoon, and is very costly to produce. Thus, each Thoon base will only have a small number of them. If a Thoon Infiltrator is killed, other Thoon creatures may be able to recover the parasite - with all its memories and intelligence intact - and install it in a new host. Thus, an adventurer who fights Thoon should either cut out and break the metallic parasite, or burn the entire body; Infiltrators are known to hold grudges against people who have killed their previous hosts.


Tactics

Thoon Infiltrators are highly intelligent and canny beings, and fight with considerable tactical skill. They use their Electrified Tentacle attacks to drag enemies into squares where it can flank them with its Pawns, using Electrified Claw on those that it already has Combat Advantage over. If too many of its Pawns have been killed, it will use Electrified Tentacle to push any adjacent enemies away and then walk over to the Pawns' corpses to Regenerate one or two of them.

The Infiltrator always tries to keep a Pawn or two within easy reach of itself, both to provide flanking and so it can Assimilate them if it gets low on hit points. Generally, the Infiltrator will only use Assimilate if it is bloodied. If a particular opponent is doing a lot of damage to the Infiltrator, it will push it away and then order its minions to surround the offender and keep it away. If the battle turns too badly against it, the Infiltrator will order all of its remaining Pawns to charge the enemy and Explode before the Infiltrator flees.


Thoondercloud; Level 14 Skirmisher (1,000 XP)
Medium aberrant animate
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Initiative +15 Perception +17 (blindsight 6)
HP 108 Bloodied 54
AC 28 Fortitude 26 Reflex 27 Will 26
Speed 7 (hover); fly 4 (hover)
Skills +17 Insight, +18 Stealth
Immune nonlethal damage, sleep
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Standard Actions
-
basic melee attack Bladed Tendril (at will):
Reach 2; +19 vs. AC; 3d6+5 damage.
-
charge Evicerating Charge (charge; at will):
When the thoondercloud charges, it makes two melee basic attacks instead of one. If both attacks hit the same target, the target takes an extra 3d6 lightning damage.
-
melee Whirling Blades (recharge 4, 5, 6):
Move 7 squares and make a melee basic attack against every target within reach with a -2 penalty to attack and damage.
-
ranged Thoonderbolt (recharge 6):
line 6; +17 vs. Reflex; 4d10+6 lightning damage and target is dazed (save ends). The thoondercloud takes 27 damage.
____________
Alignment chaotic evil
Languages Thoon
Str 20 (+12) Con 18 (+11) Dex 22 (+13) Int 6 (+4) Wis 20 (+12) Cha 12 (+8)


Unlike the Thoon parasites, which are implanted into natural creatures, some Thoon creatures are created completely by the Madcrafters, their flesh grown in vats of alchemical fluid and placed in metal exoskeletons. The Thoondercloud is one of these. These hovering, synthetic phantoms prowl the wilderness and dungeons surrounding the Thoon bases, finding intruders and slicing them into bite-sized chunks. Like the Infiltrator, they can use their stolen life force to create electricity, but in significantly higher quantities.

A thoondercloud resembles a black, metallic blimp, about three feet long, with a single, glowing red organic eyeball in a socket at the anterior tip. A dozen metallic tentacles hang down beneath the hovering creature, each ending in a razor sharp blade or pincer. Inside the body is a mess of fleshy organs and nerves surrounded by metal and ceramic coatings, all flooded with a mysterious, vinegar-smelling fluid. Many of the organs appear to have been surgically removed from people or animals, while others are vat grown. The thoonderclouds can hover along very quickly a few feet above the ground, but slows down significantly if it has to fly higher.

Though somewhat intelligent, the thoondercloud can only communicate with other Thoon creatures.


Combat

The Thoondercloud is a security guard. That means it knows how to do only three things: find intruders, report intruders, and kill intruders. Other Thoon units are then sent to pick up the pieces and bring them home for processing.

If it starts its turn more than two squares from the nearest enemy, the thoondercloud will use Eviscerating Charge, hoping to hit with both tentacles and create an electrocuting circuit. It will then fight furiously in melee until Whirling Blades recharges, at which point it will use this attack to move back to charging distance and hopefully mangle some enemies in the process.

If the battle gets desperate, or if several of the enemies are lined up just right for it, a Thoonderbolt will be unleashed, the thoondercloud spending a significant part of its life to launch a crackling bolt of lightning. Occasionally, the thoondercloud will fly out of reach and launch a Thoonderbolt before Eviscerating Charging back to ground level.

...


This post is already way too long. Tune in tomorrow, when we see the rest of the Thoon bestiary, including the hideous Madcrafters that give birth to all the others.

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