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Converting monsters from Dragon magazine

Cleon

Adventurer
Well, I did think we'd did some other symbionts in a simplified way, but I can't remember which they were. :/

I vaguely remember doing a Hazard as a pseudo-symbiont but think it was a homebrew.

Let's go with Aberration (extraplanar) with something in the symbiosis that they can't be banished when bonded with a host. SNIP I'd drop Advancement.

Works for me.

UNSNIP Sleepless can probably be combines with Constant Vigilance, right?

I'd be fine removing Sleepless from the ability descriptions if we have "immunity to sleep effects" in the SQ line and a mention in the Constant Vigilance description that it's why the creature is immune to sleep effects.

Updating Worry-Wart Working Draft.

I'm of two minds on the Dex. The eyestalks can move around, but these are pretty immobile. Maybe there's a better way of dealing with damage to them than giving them AC and putting their highest attribute in Dex. Wis should probably be highest if they're good at seeing stuff.

The Armour Class is for the Worry-Wart when it's flying about free, symbionts use their host's AC when attached:

Symbiont Traits said:
A symbiont never takes damage from attacks directed at the host. Like a worn magic item, a symbiont is usually unaffected by spells that damage the host, but if the host rolls a 1 on its saving throw, the symbiont is one of the "items" that can be affected by the spell. A symbiont uses its host's base saving throw bonuses if they are better than its own.

The original monster's AC 0 is equivalent to AC 20 in 3E. Since it's fine-sized 8 points of that comes from its size adjustment so it has another +2 from some other source. Natural Armour seems unlikely and a +2 Dex bonus seems the most obvious solution, although I'd be willing to entertain arguments for another source such as deflection or insight.

I'd be willing to considering a higher Wisdom modifier but would be more inclined to give it a racial bonus to Spot and Search if we wish to increase its perceptive ability. The flavour text doesn't suggest it's that "wise" in the self-awareness and understanding sense.
 

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freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
This seems more complicated than how we did the skullcap ivy, though in principle I like using more standardized symbiont traits. But I guess I can go along with Dex 14, Wis 13, Cha 10. Maybe even Cha 8, since these things sound kind of annoying often.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
This seems more complicated than how we did the skullcap ivy, though in principle I like using more standardized symbiont traits. But I guess I can go along with Dex 14, Wis 13, Cha 10. Maybe even Cha 8, since these things sound kind of annoying often.

How about Charisma 9 or 7 so it has three odd ability scores and three even scores?

I guess we should do Infestation before Constant Vigilance. I'll have a stab at a rough draft…

Infestation (Ex): If a worry-wart lands on a living creature (which may require a +10 melee touch attack to make contact) it can attempt to merge with the target. If the creature succeeds at a DC 15 Fortitude save, their physiology rejects the worry-wart and that particular nibish-riule can never infest the creature (although another worry-wart might succeed). Should the target fail the saving throw, the worry-wart bonds to the creature's skin and becomes indistinguishable from an ordinary "beauty mark" or wart. The worry-wart then slowly grows a network of tiny fibers throughout the creature's body that link the worry-wart to its host's nerves and blood vessels. Every week or so another "beauty mark" wart pops up from the host's skin where the network forms a cluster

After 2d10+20 days the symbiotic network is completed with a total of 1d4+2 beauty marks. The worry-wart gains the ability to communicate with its host telepathically and grants its host the benefits of its constant vigilance ability. Each "beauty mark" of a complete network is an eye the worry-wart can open to view its surroundings. These eyes can pop out on stalks to peer around itself, the flexible eyestalks can easily curl round to stare at the host's body or face.

Worry-warts are very hard to get rid of once they infest a host. A worry-wart can be surgically excised by ??? (each attempt does ??? damage) or removed by the spells ???. [Or just plaster over them???.]

The saving throw is Constitution-based and includes a +5 racial bonus.
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
You know, as written the Worry-Wart ought not have some of the standard Symbiont traits. For a start, it shouldn't be possible to target the symbiont with attacks like a worn magic item since the thing's a network spread throughout the host rather than a separate discrete targetable object.

Also, the main point of Constant Vigilance is its perception is independent of the host, so the "It is not flat-footed unless its host is, and it is aware of any danger its host is aware of" shouldn't apply.

Actually the more I think about it the fewer of the Symbiont traits apply. I'm not sure any of them should, except the "A symbiont never takes damage from attacks directed at the host" and possibly the "uses its host's base saving throw bonuses if they are better than its own".

If the "Any spell the host creature casts on itself automatically also affects the symbiont" applied the host could simply kill the worry-wart by doing a couple of points of damage to itself with spells. We might have to introduce an addendum that the network simply grows back if it is not destroyed/removed in some special manner.

I guess we'd better rename the special quality "Symbiont Network" or something.
 


Cleon

Adventurer
Don’t forget telepathy that only works with it’s host!

Already got that in Infestation: "The worry-wart gains the ability to communicate with its host telepathically".

Is it worth clarifying that with "The worry-wart gains the ability to communicate with its host (and only its host) telepathically"?
 


Cleon

Adventurer
For flavor text: it changes color inishialy to match it’s hosts main skin color.

We normally leave the flavour text until after we finish the mechanical gubbins. There's still quite a bit to decide on regarding the special abilities of this beastie.
 


Cleon

Adventurer
How about low-light vision & darkvision? I’m not sure on the range on either though.

Isn't that already in the Working Draft?

Goes to check…

It's got 60-foot darkvision but no low-light vision. The original monster had infravision (the AD&D equivalent of darkvision) but there's no mention of good nightvision or ultravision (the AD&D equivalent of low-light vision) so it doesn't really need it.

Still, I would have no great objection to adding low-light vision if Freyar's in favour of it as well. It does seem thematically appropriate to the nibish-riule.
 


Cleon

Adventurer
Does it have any senses other than sight when attached to its host?

The original creature's text makes no mention of what senses the Worry-Wart possesses apart from saying it can "look around" with its eyestalks and possesses infravision.

If it lacked a sense "normal creatures" possess like hearing or smell its entry would presumably have said so, but there's nothing about it being deaf or the like.
 


Cleon

Adventurer
Maybe the worry-wart could use it own eyes to use the lens slot for itself?

Well in theory it could wear magic items since it is a creature, but wouldn't lenses fall off every time it retracts its eyestalks into its host?

I'd also be reluctant to start mentioning it wearing magic items in the description to avoid the potential of PCs abusing their symbionts to add additional magic item slots.

It might be simpler to assume that a symbiont and its host are considered a single creature for "Magic Items On The Body" purposes.
 




freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Let's finish off Infestation. Con-based DC with the +5 racial bonus is good.
To remove them, I'm kind of thinking a DC 20 Heal check with each attempt doing 5 hp damage might work before the network is established. But after that, it should take magic. Maybe a remove curse spell?

I have to think about the symbiont traits, etc, a bit more. I see what Cleon's saying about being flat-footed, but it's part of the host's body, really, so it shouldn't have an AC penalty if the host isn't surprised even if it is.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Let's finish off Infestation. Con-based DC with the +5 racial bonus is good.

I'll remove those question marks from the Infestation Rough Draft.

To remove them, I'm kind of thinking a DC 20 Heal check with each attempt doing 5 hp damage might work before the network is established.

I'd prefer something a little more substantial such as ability damage since it presumably involves the removal of portions of the host's skin, flesh and the risk of nerve damage. So Con damage and possibly a bit of Dexterity damage.

Also it'd mean repeated attempts won't be trivial to a hard PC with lots of hit points.

But after that, it should take magic. Maybe a remove curse spell?

I don't think it can be considered a "curse" in the D&D supernatural sense. The remove disease spell seems more appropriate, since that "also kills parasites", since they're very difficult to remove I'd add a (high) Caster Level check for it to work.

If we allow remove disease than presumably a heal could be used as well if we ignore that "unwanted symbiont" isn't listed amongst the adverse conditions it can end.

The original description says a complete merger "is irreversible without the use of wish-level magic", which seems a bit extreme but suggests we could say it can automatically be removed with a limited wish, wish, or miracle.

I would think psychic chirurgery and bend reality would definitely be able to remove one as well.

However, another idea I had was simply boring the worry-wart into going away. If the hold applies plasters over all the 'warts' so the creature cannot protrude eyestalks and sense its surroundings then after a while the nibish-riule might eventually get bored and disconnect itself to look for a host that's actually entertaining. 'Course the host will have to ignore its telepathing nagging to be allowed to see what's going on.

Also, couldn't a spell that cuts extradimensional connections sever the link to the nibish-riule and stop the symbiosis. I don't think dimensional anchor would do the trick since it doesn't block extradimensional perception or attack forms or interfere with creatures already in ethereal or astral form, but a spell like dismissal or banishment might do the job by forcing away the portion of the creature that's on this plane inside the host. Maybe have it apply a decently high Will save and/or Hit Dice against banishment/dismissal based on its "whole self" rather than the tiny portion in the symbiont?

I have to think about the symbiont traits, etc, a bit more. I see what Cleon's saying about being flat-footed, but it's part of the host's body, really, so it shouldn't have an AC penalty if the host isn't surprised even if it is.

I guess we could treat the flat-footed question like the symbiont and host are in a two-person Hive mind, with that ability's "If one is aware of a particular danger, they all are. If one in a group is not flat-footed, none of them are. No [name] in a group is considered flanked unless all of them are" rule.
 

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