Blog Archives

Legacy Bestiary: Hill Giant

Rogue Genius Games is currently running a Game On Tabletop crowdfunding campaign to try to fund the Legacy Bestiary, a Starfinder-compatible book of monsters from the fantasy-laden past of the Starfinder universe, but that haven’t been updated to SF yet (in any book we are aware of, including popular 3pp expansions).

But, you ask, as fantasy monsters really interesting in a scifi-with-magic game? Well, they are if you update them conceptually, as well as in rules.

Written and illustrated by fan-favorite Jacob Blackmon, the Legacy bestiary doesn’t assume legacy monsters stood still while the rest of the universe for plasma guns. Here’s a teaser example of a updated SF monster, the Hill Giant.

Hill Giant

Hill Giants are brutish creatures that serve as the front line grunts in the armies of the Giants’ Expanse. These near-mindless thugs are cybernetically enhanced upon reaching adulthood, and have their minds and bodies genetically altered to bring out their more aggressive traits as well as increase their already physically powerful bodies. Just one hill giant is known to tear through a unit of a dozen normal humanoid troopers in a matter of seconds! So an entire squad of these things, barreling towards one’s position on the field, is enough to make any trooper second-guess their service to the Empire.

The militant frost giants and ruling fire giants of the Expanse throw hill giants at their enemies as if they have an endless supply … which they seem to have!

Hill Giant Brute        CR 7 (Combatant)
XP 3,200
CE Large humanoid (giant)
Init -1; Senses low-light vision; Perception +19
DEFENSE      HP 105
EAC 19; KAC 21
Fort +9; Ref +9; Will +6
OFFENSE
Speed 50 ft.
Melee slam +17 (2d6+14B)
Ranged hurl debris +14 (2d8+7B plus 5-ft.-radius area of difficult terrain around the spot where the debris hit)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Offensive Abilities crush (2d6+14B), trample (2d6+14B, DC 15)
STATISTICS
Str +5; Dex -1; Con +4; Int -2; Wis +2; Cha -2
Skills Athletics +14, Intimidate +19, Survival +14
Languages Giant
ECOLOGY
Environment hills
Organization solitary, gang (2-5), band (6-8), or raiding party (9-12 plus 1d4 dire wolves)

The crowdfunding campaign runs through the end of the month and into early April, so please check it out!

Making d20 Creatures Interesting: Phase Venom

In general, d20 games are more fun if the foes have abilities that require PCs to make interesting decisions.

Ideally these abilities can be easily figured out (perhaps after being experienced a time or two), follow an internal logic, and force the players to try new things without being frustrating or overpowered.

For example:

Phase venom. A creature with phase venom is out of phase with all standard planes of existence. It takes only 50% of the damage inflicted on it, and it only 50% likely to be effected by nondamaging effects.

All the creature’s attacks infect targets injured with phase venom, causing them to be more in-phase with it, and less with the normal universe. Such targets do full damage to the phase venom creature and have nondamaging effects affect it, normally, but receive 50% less healing from allies not at the same phase, and each round are 50% less likely in that round to be affected by non-damage based abilities (such as beneficial spells) cast by allies not at the same phase. They also take only 50% damage from creatures not out-of-phase, and are only 50% likely to be affected by such foe’s nondamaging effects.

A target of phase venom becomes fully in-phase with their normal reality after one minute.

Now, this makes a creature very resistant to PC attacks, but it also gives them a way to make it less resistant, at the cost of potentially being more cut off from ally support. OTOH, if the phase venom creature is used in a fight with creatures that don’t have that ability, a PC that becomes out-of-phase is actually harder for some foes to hurt… which may cause them to target in-phase foes.

None of this is overpowering, but it adds a new element to an encounter, forcing PCs to decide who is best to face off against each kind of foe.

(Do you enjoy the content on this blog? Why not become a patron, and support the creation of more free material! Or you could even become a sponsor, and get me to link to YOUR content!)

Pathfinder Template: Boss Monster

A template for 1st ed Pathfinder, to turn a foe into a Boss Monster.

CR: +2
Initiative: If a boss’s total initiative is less than 15, it changes to 15. If that would cause it to go last in the first full round of combat, it’s initiative improves until it goes next-to-last.
HP: Double total HP
Boss Action: At the end of each round, the Boss gains an additional full-round action. It cannot use this to run, charge, or double-move if it has already done any of those things this turn.
Boss Bash: As a full-round action, a Boss can move itself up to its move and damage all creatures adjacent to it at any point as if it had hit them with a melee attack. If the boss had some kind of limitations on its movement they do not affect this action, but are still in place after it takes this action. This movement does not provoke an attack of opportunity. Alternatively, it can expend a spell or spell-like ability to damage these creatures equal to  1d6 per spell level +1d6 per 2 caster levels.
This ability looks and is described differently based on what the boss is, and does damage of a type the boss can normally do.
Boss Options: Anything other than boss bash that the boss can do a limited number of times per day, or per minute, or per round, it can do twice as often.
Boss Resilience: If a failed saving throw would normally cause a boss to be helpless, unconscious, dead, or paralyzed, and the boss still has the boss action ability, the failed saving throw instead just strips the boss of its boss action for 1d4+6 rounds.
Treasure: Give double treasure.

There you go! All the boss’s numbers and abilities are in the range PCs can deal with, but it’s twice as tough and dangerous, and harder to pin down or isolate!

Patreon
If you found this useful or entertaining, and you’d like to support the creation of more such content, check out my Patreon!