Wednesday, 9 April 2014

New monster: Baboonbot

Today, as I recounted on my other blog, I went to the Rosicrucian Museum. It was pretty cool and I imagine I'll be writing about it for some time to come. But enjoyable as that was, it wasn't game-relevant per se. Except ...

... while looking through the funerary gallery, my wife took this photo of a mummified baboon:

Now, he is pretty cool. But do you want to know what's even better? He's fake. When the baboon was X-rayed, it was discovered that the torso is a pot, the head is carved ... no real baboon. In reality, this happened all the time. I assume that fake animals were just easier to source and less expensive than real ones, so the grieving widow would pay up for a gen-u-wine mummified crocodile and some unscrupulous funerary guy would give her a bunch of broken pottery in a crocodile-shaped mummy wrap.

But I got to thinking about the interpretation. What if it's not a fake mummified baboon? What if it's the mummy of a fake baboon? There are two routes you could go with this. Well, more than two, but I have done two: one for D20, one for CoC.

Zergathrax's Versatile Ape

This uncanny construct serves a wizard as a tireless, deathless companion, equal parts reagent-fetcher and face-ripper-offer. It is built around a clay pot which contains a number of volatile alchemical reagents (total cost (d4+1) x 1,000 GP) as well as the blood of a baboon. The ape is loyal and reliable, but surly, inefficient and frequently aggressive.

Wizardly opinion is divided about the apes. Some claim they are faithful companions, and it has even been known for particularly sentimental magi to have their constructs buried with them to serve them in the afterlife. Others feel that the baboon blood makes the ape simply too baboon-like to be a useful assistant, while given the high cost of reagents, hired goons are simply more economical as guards.

Medium Construct
Hit Dice: 2d10+21
Initiative: +2
Speed: 40 / Climb 30
AC: 16 (+2 Dex, +4 natural), Touch 12, FF 14
Base Attack: +2
Attack: Bite +4, d6+3 damage
Space/Reach: 5/5
Special Attacks: Baboom!
Special Qualities: Low-light vision, Darkvision, various construct abilities.
Skills: Climb +10, Listen +5, Spot +5

Etc., etc.

Baboom! The mixture of alchemical ingredients in the jar which powers the construct is highly volatile. When the ape has taken 22 damage, each subsequent hit has a 1-in-10 cumulative chance of rupturing the containment vessel and causing the jar to explode. The explosion does 2d8 fire damage to the baboon itself, and 1d8+1 fire damage to any adjacent creature. Reflex (DC 18) halves.

Ape mummy

This mummified baboon was sold to a European collector in the mid-1870s and has since passed through a series of owners. Although an interesting curio, the lack of information about the ape's provenance limits its usefulness to an Egyptologist. It is currently sitting unnoticed in the shop of a Northern California antiquities dealer, one William Hatler.

What Hatler knows -- indeed, what no one knows -- is that the baboon is not truly dead; it is simply inert. A hollow pot in the mummy's torso is primed with spells known only to initiates of Nyarlathotep (to whom, in his guise as the Egyptian god Tehuti, the baboon is sacred) to receive the spirit of a worshiper. If the baboon is brought into the presence of one of the god's devotees, the akh or magical intellect of the sorcerer will fill the pot. At this point, the baboon will lurch into a creaky semblance of life.

The baboon cannot speak, but it has the intellect of the sorcerer, including the knowledge of all spells. If the spell requires speech, the baboon cannot perform it, but could teach it to another worshiper. Devotees of Nyarlathotep tend to be highly intelligent, but it is likely that, having been dead for millennia, they will not by fluent in modern languages.

STR 18
CON 18
DEX 16
INT, POW, EDU: as human

HP 13
Armor 3
Damage bonus: +d4

Attacks: Bite 40% d8

Climb 75%, Dodge 25%, Jump 50%

As an artificial construct, the baboon is immune to impaling damage, poisons, strangling and what have you. The enchanted jar in its torso is immune to damage and can only be destroyed using the proper spell. The baboon does not apply its armour against fire damage, and takes an extra d4 damage from any fire attack.

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