Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Wereshark

There wereshark was originally created by John Eric Holmes, according to a source I looked at. It first appeared in AD&D in 1983 in Monster Maual II. It has since appeared a number of times in the different editions through the years.

Originally, the wereshark only had two forms: the humanoid form and the shark form. It gained a hybrid form in 3rd edition, though if I were to use one, I'd probably stick to the two forms. The wereshark detailed here is based on existing D&D material. The Razor Coast campaign from Frog God Games has a slightly different take on the wereshark (spoilers). They're still arrogant and cruel, but they are less individualistic due to being dedicated to an evil shark god. So you end up with groups of the darn things, and they do have the hybrid form.

Now on to the stats:

The original MMII picture.

Medium humanoid (human, shapechanger), neutral evil

Armor Class 11, 12 in shark or hybrid form
Hit Points 97 (15d8+30)
Speed 30 ft. (0 ft. in shark form), swim 40 ft. in shark or hybrid form

Str        Dex      Con      Int        Wis      Cha
18 (+4) 12 (+1) 15 (+2) 10 (+0) 11 (+0) 9 (-1)

Skills Perception +2
Damage Immunities bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons that aren’t silvered
Senses blindsight 30 ft. in shark or hybrid form, passive Perception 12
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)

Amphibious (shark or hybrid form only). There wereshark can breathe air and water.

Blood Frenzy. The wereshark has advantage on melee attacks against creatures that don’t have all of their hit points.

Shapechanger. The wereshark can use its action to change into a Large shark-hybrid or Large shark form, or back to its true form, which is humanoid. In shark-hybrid or shark form, it gains a swim speed of 40 ft., and loses its 30 ft. speed in shark form. All other stats, other than its size and AC, remain the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn’t transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies.

Multiattack. The wereshark makes two attacks, only one of which can be a bite.

Bite (shark or hybrid form only).Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8+4) piercing damage. If the target is a humanoid, it must succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or be cursed with wereshark lycanthropy.

Boarding Axe. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6+4) piercing or slashing damage or 8 (1d8+4) piercing or slashing damage if used with two hands.

A character cursed with lycanthropy gains a Strength of 18 if his or her score isn’t already higher, and a +1 bonus to AC while in shark or hybrid form (from natural armor). Attack and damage rolls for the natural weapons are based on Strength.

Weresharks are avaricious brutes, individualistic and always out for their own gain. As humanoids, they are muscular, frequently showing evidence of a shark attack in the form of scars or possibly even a missing limb. These old wounds are not evident when in shark form. Arrogant and cruel, weresharks are also fiercely territorial and will defend a claimed area to the death. The only creatures weresharks will usually associate with are real sharks, though it’s not unknown for a wereshark to cooperate with sahuagin or a priest of an evil sea god.

A wereshark fighting on land will use weapons appropriate to its previous maritime existence, such as a boarding axe. It much prefers to do its fighting in the water, where it has an advantage. Weresharks don’t tend to worry about infecting victims with lycanthropy. It’s a rare occurrence for a wereshark to leave a victim alive, so it rarely becomes an issue.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Of Gods, Demons, & Devils

I'm just going to ramble a bit about all those powerful supernatural entities D&D has running around in the Outer Planes.

Against The Wicked City talks a bit about how those demon lords & arch-devils used to be a bit closer in power level to the PCs. It is certainly true: powerful enough to be dangerous, but weak enough that a decently high level party could stand a chance of taking them out. As new editions have come and gone, we've seen these beings become increasingly more powerful.

It seems that 5e has kind of scaled it back a bit, though at CR 30, Tiamat could really ruin your party's day. Send her consorts along for the ride, & a 20th level party would probably decide to nope out, until better circumstances presented themselves.

Anyway, so far CR 30 is as high as things go, with the demon lords statted up so far being between CR 21 & 28. Of course, some of these guys used to be CR 35 or 40 or more, and I know some people don't like this downpowering.

I've decided to try to stat up a CR 30 Asmodeus. I'll be posting these stats soon. I know some people are going to be all "He's a god now. He shouldn't have stats at all or should be CR 45 at the least." A CR of 45 seems kind of pointless if you ask me.

If you can't stomach these ultra powerful beings being downgraded from previous versions, you do have options: aspects, proxies, & avatars.

Aspects are duplicates of an entity, bestowed with a small part of the being's power. They first appeared in the D&D miniatures game. They can be of various power levels and are used to represent the being in matters either too dangerous or too trivial for the entity to deal with directly. When they are created, and multiples can exist at the same time, they are of the same mind as their creator, but from that point on, they are essentially free-willed. Supposedly, an entity can create one really powerful aspect, but only one due to how much power is invested in the creation.

Aspects never willingly come near each other, and are likely to try to destroy each other if they are forced into each other's presence. If the original entity is destroyed, the aspects continue to exist, and it's possible for one to ascend to the position of the original entity.

I've never seen a proxy in an adventure, while I've seen aspects a few times. The proxy is a servant of the entity in question that has proven itself and is given a bit of the entity's power. So kind of similar to an aspect. The proxy then goes out to represent the interests of the boss.

An avatar is, I believe, a manifestation of the entity under the entity's direct control. It's not as powerful as the original, but it's still one bad mofo. If it's destroyed, the entity is all nice and safe back on it's home plane of existence.

If you've read this far, thanks. As I said, this was just a bit of rambling. Now the question is, do those stats written up for the demon lords & Tiamat represent the entities in their full glory? Or are they just avatars or aspects?

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Boarding Axe

I've been thinking about Frog God Games' Razor Coast campaign lately, which led me to think about the boarding axe. The boarding axe was a common maritime tool used for a variety of purposes, such as fire fighting, gathering firewood, smashing through doors, walls, etc, and of course, battle.

Boarding Axe Function and Form goes into much more detail about the various designs of the axe as well as its many varied uses. It's kind of an interesting read.

Based on what I've read there, this is what I've come up with for a boarding axe for 5e.

Boarding Axe   10 gp   1d6 slashing or piercing   3 lbs   Versatile (1d8), special

The boarding axe's spike may be used as a crowbar, granting advantage to Strength checks where the spike's leverage can be applied.

So what do you think? Balanced? In need of some work? Let me know.