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Additional abilities/explanations for the Drowned

 
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SirXaris
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:49 pm    Post subject: Additional abilities/explanations for the Drowned Reply with quote

I'm working on an original adventure that takes place at least partly underwater. The 8th-10th level adventurers encounter a Drowned (Monster Manual III, p. 46), which is a CR 8 monster, in an underwater environment. The Drowned is a 20 Hit Die monster, but the only real special ability which makes it a threat is its Drowning Aura ability. Its effect is to cause air breathing creatures to be effected as if they were under water if they are within 30 feet of the Drowned.

This works fine if the adventurers encounter the Drowned on land when they are unprepared for an underwater adventure. But, when encountered underwater, the PCs will all be enjoying the effects of being able to breathe water already, so the Drowning Aura ability is totally ineffective. At first, I figured I could simply decrease the monster's CR in this encounter since its main threatening ability is useless. But, that would mean the PCs are just battling a 20 Hit Die zombie underwater. Boooriiiiiing! rolleyes So, I got creative and came up with the following solution. It is an addition to the description of the Drowning Aura in the MM III.

" The secondary affect of the drowning
aura is that it emanates a weak, though
constant, form of
Dispel Magic that
effects any magical spell or any magical
item that allows a creature to breathe
water. Thus, each and every such spell
or item within 30 feet of the drowned is
subject to a
Targeted Dispel effect from
the drowned. This effect is a free action
for the drowned and requires no
concentration. This check is only at
1d20+5 and success lasts for only a
single round. Affected spells and items
are only temporarily suppressed and
return to working order the very next
round unless the next
Targeted Dispel is
effective against them. These checks are
made on the drowned’s initiative and last
until the beginning of its next turn."


I would very much appreciate any comments, criticisms, and suggestions for improvement that you are willing to offer. I would like to deal with the situation in a manner that increases the fun for the PCs.

Thanks! Smile

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Cebrion
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If the adventure is original, how about an original creature? Perhaps something that causes the water pressure in the area to increase, thus slowly crushing things that get close to it.

For instance, the creature could be an incredibly massive amoeba-like thing, with an outer membrane that it can make extremely porous, making it feel like a spider web brushing against the characters as they pass through it(so not very noticeable underwater), and with the true the threat being the part of it that "resides" inside the membrane: a nucleus-critter monstrosity! The critter-monstrosity can then make its membrane completely non-porous and cause it to contract, thus constricting the water and increasing the pressure to slowly but surely crush things trapped inside of it.

Maybe that is too weird for what you want to do though. Aeolius might like it though. Laughing
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Last edited by Cebrion on Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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SirXaris
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cebrion wrote:
If the adventure is original, how about an original creature? Perhaps something that causes the water pressure in the area to increase, thus slowly crushing things that get close to it.


Thanks for the response, Cebrion. I like your idea. But, that brings up another question I've been wrestling with that perhaps you can offer some insight into:

As this will be the first adventure I offer publicly, I thought that it would be best if I don't try to get too elaborate with new ideas. I mean, I plan to include at least one new monster (though its really only new to 3.5e), a new spell or two, and a new/unique magic item or two. I'm also attempting to include original or, at least, rare combat or role-playing situations for the party to find themselves in. However, I am leary of going too far. Inventing a totally new monster, like the one you describe, may be a bit much for a first offering. Am I wrong to play it safe?

Whether I go with a totally new monster or not, I'd still like some input on the fix I've added to the Drowned, if you don't mind. I have a fun encounter planned for this creature and would really like to use it. I can always include a new monster in another section of the adventure. Happy

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Icarus
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:19 pm    Post subject: "Drowned" Spell-like ability Reply with quote

Hmm ... well ...
I'm going off the top of my head here, but frankly, I would just adjudicate the spell-like ability according to something like the counterspelling rules. For example, Light spells of equal or higher level cancel out a Darkness spell. (or is it just higher level?) At any rate, I would simply rule that the ability of the drowned is essentially a counter to Water-breathing, and that it's treated as such. That way there's no additional rules to make up, no other rolls to make ... and somehow, I suspect that since it would be treated as a spell from a caster equal to the monsters HD, I can't imagine that they're dealing with a Water-breathing spell cast that high.

It's CR is written so that it has that ability ... and that's what makes it interesting and unique. Whether the PCs are on land, or are breathing water, drowning is something that should be a sudden and frightening thing. I think preserving that sudden terror by magically taking away their ability to breath water (even just for a few moments) might actually be even more terrifying if they're already underwater. Taking away that ability (even by allowing another roll for it) sort of impinges on the horror of not breathing, and reduces the effectiveness of the monster's presence in the story (not to mention reducing it's CR).

I like the idea of treating it as a targeted dispel also, but, that's still kind of hampering the monster. I would use either the actual targeted dispel rule, or the counter rule, without adding or changing the ability as written. So, I would say - don't write any new rules, or append new secondary abilities to the monster. Just inform the players when the effect comes into play that it's an odd corner-case of rules, but that you will be adjudicating the spell-like ability according to the rules as written - to the best of your ability, and the ability of the rules - to make the story happen.
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Aeolius
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could always used the "Drowned One" from Greyhawk Adventures. CE free-willed 5 HD creatures, their special abilities include stench, disease, and spell use. They are "rumored to animated by the will of the god Nerull the Reaper" and "many of the humans who become drowned ones were clerics while alive".

"Underwater, drowned ones are active around the clock...They are only active above the surface during the hours of night... If the wind drives a sea fog onto the coast, however, they can roam inland as far as the fog reaches."

Or just go with one of my spellstitched swarm-shifter dread necromancer emcipated spawn half-scrag sea kin lacedon with aboleth grafts. ;)
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SirXaris
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@ Icarus

I like the idea of simply making the dispel ability operate as an automatic effect that is a natural extension of the Drowning Aura special ability. Since I'm writing this adventure up for publication, I need to have this part in written form. So, I think your suggestion will end up being easier to write and less confusing to the reader. I'll post it in its re-written form soon and see if that might work better.

Aeolius wrote:
You could always used the "Drowned One" from Greyhawk Adventures.


This was my original intent, but the adventure I'm writing is for 3.5e and there is not an equivalent monster in that edition. Since there is another, non-equivalent monster with the same name in 3.5e, however, I decided not to try to reinvent the original Drowned for 3.5e. But, as I said, that monster was my original intent. Smile

Quote:
Or just go with one of my spellstitched swarm-shifter dread necromancer emcipated spawn half-scrag sea kin lacedon with aboleth grafts. ;)


Uh, no. Razz

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Icarus
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 7:43 pm    Post subject: "Drowned" Spell-like ability Reply with quote

Well, that's certainly cool.
I found an interesting thing while I was researching an answer for this thread. In the errata for MMIII, the CR was actually bumped up to 9.
I will say, if you're trying to make the creature a little less threatening, the dispel method that you're using certianly makes the creature more survivable. If you're intending to keep it a highly dangerous critter, I would either a.) contrive a situation where, somehow, the creatures are breathing air, or b.) use language that makes it more simple and straightforward to have the Supernatural Ability still affect the PCs.
Quote:
A light spell (one with the light descriptor) counters and dispels a darkness spell (one with the darkness descriptor) of an equal or lower level.

Simply replace the language about "light" with "Drowning Aura" and "darkness" with "Water Breathing". the reason that I say this is that this type of language (straight from the PHB) includes dispelling *and* countering. That way there's no question about it.
Keep in mind that this would not work both ways. A Supernatural ability could include language that allows it to work that way, but the standard rules for Supernatural abilities means that they cannot be countered or dispelled. Now, I just gotta remember how to calculate the ability of a Supernatural ability.
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Cebrion
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another solution is to use the Drowned exactly like it is, just put it in a location where its ability actually works, meaning not in the water.

So, put in a warren of sea caves with an area largely filled with air. Perhaps the main cavern has a massive pool in the center of it, in which rests a nice centerpiece like the rotted hull of some ancient ship from an era long gone by, which serves as the lair of the Drowned who has been cursed for an age. You might have it served by Drowned Ones, or other things, but it be a unique Drowned- perhaps with spell ability. The cleric if Nerull angle works in conjunction with the Drowned Ones, and a simple dispel magic(which has a 30 foot radius area of effect) from it will potentially wreck the PC's water-breathing magic, thereby making the Drowned's Drowning Aura ability workable.

Also, once in the an air breathing environment for some time, players may get comfortable enough to let their characters' water-breathing magic lapse. Sure, they might just be able to activate it again, but doing so in the midst of a combat means they are doing one less offensive thing in return, and of course it can simply be dispelled by the Drowned.
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Last edited by Cebrion on Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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Icarus
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:02 am    Post subject: Re: "Drowned" Spell-like ability Reply with quote

Icarus wrote:
... If you're intending to keep it a highly dangerous critter, I would either a.) contrive a situation where, somehow, the creatures are breathing air...
Cebrion wrote:
Another solution is to use the Drowned exactly like it is, just put it in a location where its ability actually works, meaning not in the water.

Ah ... yes. Great minds do, indeed, think alike.
I like Ceb's ideas here. If they need a place to rest after combat or something, a little place that is their environment is great for getting spells back and all - until the Drowned attacks in the night. Shocked they wouldn't even likely think of casting Water Breathing as a combat option. And if they do ... they deserve to have a fight as easy as how quick that fight would be.
Also, Ceb mentions using Dispel Magic as an environment option. I like this one a lot. If the PCs are facing a CR20 threat, a dispel isn't normally likely to threaten them much. But, as he points out, in this situation, that monster just became massively more threatening.

Also, I would like to point out, these options don't have to be used together. A null-magic area works just as well in water as it does in an air environment. And since the Drowning Aura isn't subject to being dispelled ... the creature would have learned the benefit of having a lair near it (or in it)!
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Aeolius
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:59 am    Post subject: Re: "Drowned" Spell-like ability Reply with quote

Icarus wrote:
... the creature would have learned the benefit of having a lair near it (or in it)!


I have always used Cold Seeps as anti-magic zones. It just seemed to fit, somehow.
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SirXaris
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alright, you guys have given me some excellent feedback. Now, I'm researching cold seeps and thermal vents and considering a dozen possibilities for their magical inclusion in the adventure. I'll get back to you when my ideas coalesce into something worth posting as a draft for your critique.

Thanks! Smile

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Icarus
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:46 pm    Post subject: Spammers Reply with quote

Three-month old thread. That doesn't seem suspicious, does it?
Don't click it ... it's spam. Office sullplies? Really?
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Cebrion
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spammer has been cast into the sphere of annihilation. Evil Grin
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