Sunday, April 4, 2010

Six Monsters Beginning With "I"

Playing today--I had a holiday-appropriate plot seed all ready, but unfortunately the PCs aren't really high-level enough yet to fight an ex-carpenter-turned-lich. One day.

Anyway, point is I've got things to do, luckily the I's are easy...

Excluding the "Ice ___(place base creature here)___", not a lot of monsters start with I. Most are stupid. I have a job to do, though...


The imp is one of the very few infernal creatures in D&D that has an effective mechanical method of portraying satanic evil as not just a brand of monster but as a force for manipulating people. Specifically:

" imp is able to contact a lower plane once a week in order to help its 'master' decide some course of action...6 questions are allowed".

I like that very much:

Send six questions down to Hell.
Get six answers from Hell.

(Six Answers from Hell sounds like a Christopher Lee movie.)

That's a whole adventure right there--a siege is coming, a sorceror wants to ask six questions that will allow him to prevail, the PCs are hired to find out as much as possible (they're paid by the meme) about the battleground, the army, etc. and then to help the sorceror formulate six perfect questions.

If the six questions can only be asked once, or if they can only have yes or no answers or something, that's even better.

Or: the imp is about to return to the crooked tower with answers that--progressively--will annhilate all that the PCs hold dear. The imp brings back one answer a day, and each makes the enemy harder to defeat--can they defeat the sorceress before her imp returns with the fatal final answer?

Or: The situation is dire. The imps answers are known, yet it is also known that three are lies and three are true, and the PCs are hired or otherwise obliged to sort out which is which, sending them on a minmum of 3 far-flung (or strictly local) quests.

Oh my god I'm in love.

Intellect Devourer

Mandy does not fear PC death. She has, however, explicitly said she fears her PC being made stupid. How seriously she'll take it if it ever does happen is not yet known.

Here's a sub-question: if you knew you were going to end up stupid, would you feel better if it were done by the intellect devourer--a giant brain with claws--or the thought eater--a skeletal duck monster? Or is the point here that creatures that make you stupid are always, at least in the Rientsian sense, stupid.

You have to love the fact that the lion-legged giant brain will "stalk" its victims and hides in shadow as a level 10 thief. Like it's sneaking. Sorry Frankie, I know you like to sneak, but the overgrown mind with paws will have your 2nd-level rogue outclassed for at least another six months. I imagine it creeping around behind you with Elmer Fudd wabbit-hunting music cues matching every step.

Maybe it's just too stupid.

I've just decided it has a slightly less stupid subspecies that's more like a jellyfish--a brain with tentacles that floats on the water.

Invisible Stalker
and Irish Deer

I really want to flip them around so it's invisible deer and irish stalker.

Or.... intellect stalker and irish devourer. (Gasp! The spiced stew and Guinness have all disappeared! 'Tis The Devourer!)

Stalker-devourer? That sounds like a prestige class. Or a Mastodon song.

Or deerstalker, deer devourer, invisible irish intellect...fuck i need a chart...

"Run, it's the invisible irish intellect!"
"Mary mother of Christ, have ye no backbone! Don't you know fear is merely an emotional response to a perceived threat characterized by overstimulation the amygdala?"
"Oh no! You can't see him and he's smart."



"They are of evil disposition, and clerical in nature."

Oh jesus, what to do with this thing?
I don't know, but I think I know where it came from:
I refer again to Jeff, this time from a post about creating memorable villains:

It's a simple technique. Start with a basic type of critter that could be seen in your campaign, one of those archetypal encounters that people have been using since the stone age...[like, say, a Manta Ray]...Now modify these basic encounters with a word or phrase that is not normally associated with the basic encounter. Don't be afraid to go far afield in this step...[Religious Manta Ray]...Now do that again, making sure the new modification has nothing to do with the original word or the first modification...[Religious Vampire Manta Ray]

Jeff does not then add that you should then let your cat walk across your keyboard and then name the resulting creature after what comes up, but then, Steve Marsh* was way ahead of his time.

Iron Cobra

I have no idea how legit this is, but whatever obsessive soul did the Wikipedia entry for Iron Cobra wrote:

"The iron cobra is typically built and animated (they require more magic than machinery) by neutral or evil aligned mages in the above mentioned settings to act as a sentry, interrogator, assassin, or servant."


Man, do I like that.

The drug wears off, you wake up, you're tied to a chair and there's this metal snake sitting there. You begin to sweat in the merciless glare of its ruby eyes.

Six Questions From The Iron Cobra is the sequel to Six Answers from Hell. Peter Cushing is in it.

*seee comments


Erin Palette said...

Peter Cushing lives in Whitstable
I have seen him on his bicycle
I have seen him buying vegetables
Peter Cushing lives in Whitstable

Zak Sabbath said...

Thank you, Erin!

squidman said...

Exquisite! Tell me, do you have more?

thekelvingreen said...

For some reason, Six Answers From Hell strikes me as being an ill-advised Hammer/blaxploitation crossover, with afro-sporting monster hunters going toe-to-toe with Lee's Dracula in 1973 Detroit.

Also, Iron Cobra has to be a kung fu flick. I cannot believe that decades of cheap martial arts films have yet to put that word combination together.

There are some Ixitxachitl in my current game, but the players haven't met them yet.

huth said...

'Clerical disposition'? Vampiric undersea bookkeepers?

huth said...

Wait no, I've got it. They're the ones the sorceror has to consult to determine the information-mass of a meme.

And the Iron Cobra is interrogating an Imp. You must rescue the imp before all six questions are extracted from its disproportionate, diabolical head!

Anonymous said...

Well, you know, there was an article somewhere I think that the man of the day would really only be a Low Level cleric in a standard D&D game. Healing the sick, Cure Light Wounds. Water into Wine...I forget if Purify Water counts.

But yeah...something along those lines.

Joethelawyer said...

You could have had them fight Ju Ju Zombies...

Zak Sabbath said...

we're really baiting the no-sense-of-humor-squad here. i'm sure they'll turn up any minute.

Joethelawyer said...

I hope so. I've been waiting for a good chance to use the Ju Ju Zombie joke all day. Your Lich crack game me the perfect segue. :)

I figure that'll make sex and religion down. What's left...politics? Your Food not Bombs and my conspiracy theories should take care of that.

Want to schedule some political rants for next weekend?

Chris said...

Manta ray + cleric = sea bishop

The monks writing up the bestiaries did it first (and madder).

Matthew McGee said...

Regarding iron cobras, you might enjoy my use for them here:

PatrickW said...

"Six Questions From The Iron Cobra is the sequel to Six Answers from Hell. Peter Cushing is in it."

I would pay to see both of those movies.

mordicai said...

The fact that Ixitxachitl just looooooove Demogorgon makes me want to like them...but I dunno, any niche I'd want to use them for I've already filled with aboleths. Maybe they are the satanic guys who oppose the Lovecraftian monsters for their own reasons?

Rick Marshall said...

Like the floating eye, sahuagin, morkoth, and the other aquatic monsters introduced in the Blackmoor supplement, the ixitxachitl was invented by Steve Marsh.

On Dragonsfoot, in the General Discussion forum, under topic "Q&A with Steve Marsh," on 4 June 2007 he says he invented the name "ixitxachitl" after reading the Mormon pamphlet "Christ in America," which includes a bunch of Aztec names. Other features of the ixitxachitls were inspired by a Fafhrd and Grey Mouser story, but he didn't say which one. Bonus points to whomever can tell us which story they came from.