Yesterday I logged on to the internet and I checked my emails and my formspring and I didn’t answer any of it like I usually do, and then I tweeted and then I logged on to IRC and THIS HAPPENED.
[5:37pm] Nanoka: You haven’t posted in your blog in like, forever.
[5:38pm] WyattSalazar: lolno I posted like yesterday. You barely read it so you’re never aware.
[5:38pm] Nanoka: Because you’re seriously dropping the ball. Who reads your blog anyway anymore?
[5:40pm] Nanoka: You need something to inspire you to work
[5:41pm] Nanoka: If you’re not done before the MM3 comes out you have to blog a thorough playthrough of Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure on like Hard mode or whatever. With screencaps. And you have to listen to all the songs, and link youtube videos of every song in your posts, the English ones mind you. I’d ask you to do video but you’re probably too dumb to get that to work correctly, plus your commentary would probably suck.
[6:25pm] WyattSalazar: Go back to not reading my blog please
[6:25pm] Nanoka: I just practice tough love because you need it :3
I’m not blogging god damn Rhapsody because it’s the worst game ever made so IT IS TIME FOR MONSTERS.
Last time we left off at the Oozes. The first ooze is the Abolethic Skum. Aboleths are pretty bad at this whole magic thing, did you know? Sometimes, while trying to enslave you they might instead turn you into goo. Not only does it turn you into goo, it turns you into chronically depressed goo that must then seek out and destroy everything that looks human out of fear and shame of its new form. I think this is the Aboleth equivalent of making a crappy indie game. You’re like “man I’ll show all of those hot shot industry aboleths who think they’re the hugest thing” and you try to enslave a hot young princess, but you instead create The You Testament. I mean turn her into sludge. Equivalencies, you know.
There’s not much more to say because Abolethic Skum is a minion. It’s got an aura that makes creatures vulnerable to psychic damage, because I’d guess you’d lose sanity too if you realized how that thing was created. It has a pretty potent slam attack that pushes or slows characters, and is invisible in water. It has a much more interesting backstory than mechanics.
A Black Pudding is basically British Petroleum’s fault. They’d like to blame Haliburton for it, but there’s no getting around this one. You can’t put little white columns on black puddings either, because if you attack them with weapons, they split up, creating Black Pudding Spawn minions. If your party uses a lot of weapon attacks, there’s almost no upper limit to how many little bastards you will bring into the combat. If your GM is a minis-collecting sort of guy he will hate you. Other than that, Black Puddings can Engulf you, which drains your healing surges. It’s amazing how useful this stupid little drain clog is for DMs who want to beat the attrition factor of 4e. Only want two encounters in a day instead of like eight? Have the first encounter be against like three Black Puddings. If they get to engulf, it’s like four encounters right there.
We leave off the oozes section with the Gray Ooze and Green Slime. They’re as interesting as they sound. I went out and I sought out the expertise of a friend of mine, who is a credited Ooze Expert from Points of Light University.
WyattSalazar: (6:16:12 PM) Yo
WyattSalazar: (6:16:53 PM) I’ve been doing these Monster Manual 2 monster reviews for the past like year or something and I’m not done with them, and I was wondering if you could help me out, since you’re the leading authority on the next monster I have to write about
WyattSalazar: (6:16:55 PM) oozes
WyattSalazar: (6:17:01 PM) so tell me all about why oozes are so great
****: (6:45:06 PM) Oozes are really slow and look delicious, but that’s just their deceptions at work! They can swallow you whole and make you hate life!
They’re the best creatures ever because their role in any game amounts to nothing less than being a dungeon-cleaning sphincter. What a champ!
If I had to nominate one monster that is iconic of the D&D experience, I would give the Ooze my nomination. Slow, slightly retarded, and makes no sense whatsoever.
What a champ indeed.
Next up we have Phoelarch. They’re half-humanoid, half-elementals of the low paragon tier. The Phoelarch’s one neat trick is the summoning of Phoera. Whenever a Phoelarch dies, it triggers its Rise From The Ashes power which spawns a Phoera in their square after a damage-dealing explosion. You guessed it then – Phoelarchs are basically people-phoenixes. Only they’re not like this which is a shame. Both Phoelarch have an aura that burns a creature that steps in it for 5 damage. The Phoelarch Mage has two pretty basic artillery moves while the Warrior just has a basic attack and the ability to explode into a Phoera.
Phoera are the ones that are more interesting. They have Flyby Attack, which is always fun to harass players with. Unlike Phoelarch, when Phoera die they just explode, rather than spawning more Phoera. It’d have been kinda cool if they made some minions or something for a final stage to the fight, but maybe that’s pushing it too much. They have the same aura as the Phoelarch’s but larger and they have a blast 4 fire attack to round them out. Overall, Phoeralarch are pretty neat in general, though I wish the regular Phoelarchs had a bit more to them than “wait to die so you can spawn the fun critter.”
Remorhaz are one of those iconic D&D creatures everyone’s gonna complain about the implementation or degradation of. It’s a worm that tunnels through ice by being really hot. It has pretty much a perpetual trollface.jpg. Its big thing is swallowing people whole. The swallowed whole power is basically its own subset of the D&D 4th Edition rules. “Swallowed” might as well be a condition of its own. It deals fire damage to anything that’s nearby, and the most fun attack that it has is that it can trample. That never gets old. It moves its speed AT WILL and smashes into any creature it moves past, knocking them prone. You could do this every single round with a guy in it’s mouth. What’s more, Remorhaz are elite. So you could have two of these. Yes. YES.
Retrievers used to be demons, now they’re just epic elemental robots created by the Primordials. Damn the Primordials have some amazing tech. Not even the U.S. Government can make retrievers right now. Not even China! Because they’re high level Soldiers, Retrievers have insane defenses. They also have really high speed and immunity to charm, which means a lot of expedient ways of laughing in their face are not options. Retrievers have a kidnapping power (grabs then moves with the grabbed creature without hindrance) and eye rays. The eye rays do keyword damage, and one of them blinds, another immobilizes, another STUNS and the other does ongoing damage, all save ends. They recharge one of these every round. Retrievers also have a weird meta-power that lets them plane shift to be 10 squares away from whatever they were asked to kidnap.
Ah, the Rust Monster. Back in 3.5, Rust Monsters were just totally worthless creatures. They were devoid of any point to their existence but two. They could destroy player equipment, either to a) roughly rectify a mistake you committed in handing out treasure or b) because you’re one of those congenial people who think the idea that “giant bugs that are otherwise helpless to do any damage to me will appear and destroy all of my stuff” should be a risk measurement everyone must account for.
Fast Forward to D&D 4e. Now, Rust Monsters are just totally worthless creatures. They are devoid of any point to their existence but two. They could destroy player equipment, either to a) roughly rectify a mistake you committed in handing out treasure or b) because you’re one of those congenial people who think the idea that “giant bugs that are otherwise helpless to do any damage to me will appear and destroy some of my stuff” should be a risk measurement everyone must account for.
The only difference being that now, they crap out powder for you to replace your weapons after they’re done.
Rust Monsters are still inoffensive save for destroying items. They can’t hurt you, unless you stand there and dare them to kill you with their little plinky basic attacks and do nothing to resist.
Next up we have the Shadar Kai. They’re like this but with more piercings and less pigmentation.
The Fleshtearer Shark is every bit as awesome as it sounds. It has a speed of 1 (clumsy) on land, but a swim speed of 8. The Shark’s basic bite is pretty damaging for a level 10 guy. The Shark can charge and attack at the end of it, grabbing the target, at will as long as it’s not grabbing anybody. Also at-will, the shark can deal some pretty heavy damage without an attack roll if it has someone grabbed. It has a bonus to damage against creatures that don’t have a swim speed, to top it off. Simple, effective and cool with loads of damage potential. Sure to liven up all your high-heroic/low paragon water encounters.
Oh yeah, nobody uses water encounters
I was going to skip the Skeleton and put an image of a really skinny scene girl, but it’d be too close to my last stunt of that sort. The geography of this article would be ruined if I were to do that. See, this is how in-depth I plan out this kind of stuff. So instead I’m going to have to talk about the skeleton. Not that I don’t like skeletons conceptually, they’re just not outstanding monsters. There’s so little to say about the Bonecrusher Skeleton. It’s basically a greatclub with threatening reach. The Skeletal Steed is a good low level Mount, for the people who are into that, but a pretty sad offering as a monster.
Slaads are evil frogs. Not like Bullywugs though. They’re totally different things because Slaads are made of madness. The Flux Slaad is an attempt at a lower level offering for Slaads, which were before paragon tier creatures. The Slaad is really quite something to think about in the D&D design space, because it’s entire gimmick that makes the encounter interesting in any way, is that its resistances and vulnerabilities will shift around if you beat it up with certain keywords. So your sorcerer or wizard or warlock may get a little annoyed, while the rest of the party just murders the Flux Slaad.
The Slaad Spawn is a minion, but with an interesting ability! It basically body slams you so hard that it explodes. Well, it only explodes if it misses, but the mental image is still rather amusing.
Slaughterstone Constructs are robots made by Dwarves, apparently from a material called Slaughterstone. Or maybe the robots slaughter stones, but that makes less sense, so I think they’re made from slaughterstone. Man, and I thought murderclay was a really hardcore building material. I want to build a stronghold made of slaughterstone some day. You’ll get mutilated just trying to climb over the moat walls. You’ll rest your back on a wall and it’ll totally cut you son.
The Slaughterstone Eviscerator is a high-paragon brute with a damaging aura, reach, and is basically a subdued-looking metal Tyranid. Its schtick is that its attack are basically high-crit, and it can squeeze well. It is otherwise unremarkable. The Hammerer is basically the same, except that it is a mid-Epic creature and has at-will save ends daze. It has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. The Slaughterstone Slicer is an Elite Brute that’s a much lower level than the other two, just at the entry-Paragon level, and is basically the same deal. One basic attack, one non-basic attack that’s not any more interesting, and tunnel fighting. However, it has a token attempt at being interesting in that if a PC crits the thing, it’ll be dazed.
We’ll wrap up here. Next time, we’ll look at the Sphinx.