Converting monsters from Dragon magazine

Cleon

Hero
Let's go with blindsense, why not? And CR 1/10 makes sense.

Updating Powerslug Working Draft.

We should do a "simple template" for affected creatures. I can agree with +1 CR at the +4 bonus and +2 CR for the full +8. "Powered Creature" would be a good name for it!

Okay, it should be relatively straightforward to whip up.

We just need to take some bits of the Powerslug's POWER! ability and repurpose the salt vulnerability of the Infestation.

Here's a start, I'll need to modify the SQs but don't have time to do that now:

Powered Creature (Template)
The creature bulges with exaggerated musculature and seems unusually agitated, jittering with nervous energy.

A powered creature is a warm-blooded creature that has been infested by a powerslug. They are unusually suspicious and aggressive, so their initial attitude towards beings they encounter is usually at least one step worse than is normal for their species (i.e. if a creature of its kind is normally Indifferent, a powered creature is usually Unfriendly and may be Hostile).

Creating a Powered Creature
"Powered creature" is an acquired template that can be added to any living warm-blooded creature (referred to hereafter as the base creature).

A powered creature uses all the base creature's statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

If the powerslug is forced to abandon its host, the powered creature immediately loses all physical ability bonuses, their Powerful Temper trait and the +1 CR adjustment it granted them. It takes 1d10 minutes for a phasing powerslug to leave a Small or Medium creature's body, each size increase larger than that doubles the time (2d10 minutes for Large, 4d10 for Huge, et cetera); during this time the powerslug grants no benefits to its former host. The unpowered host retains the Weak Heart special quality until the damage to their heart heals (see below), which completely removes the Powered Creature template.

Special Qualities: A powered creature retains all the special qualities of the base creature and gains those described below.

Powerful Temper: Once a creature gains a bonus to Strength, Dexterity or Constitution from a powerslug infestation they become increasingly aggressive. Whenever something happens that might provoke anger, the creature must succeed at a Wisdom check or lose their temper. For a minor provocation, such as someone spilling their drink, the DC is 5 for every +2 of physical ability bonus, so DC 5 for +2, DC 10 for +4, DC 15 for +6 and DC 20 for +8. A moderate provocation, such as being slapped without cause, adds another +5 to the DC. A severe provocation, such as being attacked, adds +10 to the DC. Attempting to forcibly remove the powerslug is a serious provocation. All creatures infested with powerslugs hate the taste of salt, so giving one salty food is always at least a moderate provocation, whether it's a coincidence or an attempt to expel the powerslug.

If the creature fails this Wisdom check they will attack the provoking object or creature in a violent frenzy. This frenzy lasts until the host dies, loses consciousness, or the provoking creature or object is either out of their sight for 1d4 rounds or destroyed; if the provoking creature flees the host will pursue them. A calm emotion spell will stop the frenzy if the host fails their Will save.

Weak Heart: The enormous strain of powerslug infestation damages the host's heart. If the powered creature performs extremely vigorous activity, such as combat, for 1d4+1 rounds, they must succeed at a DC 5 Constitution check or suffer a fatal heart attack and die over 4d4 rounds. The save must be repeated each 1d4+1 additional rounds of vigorous activity, with the DC increasing by +1 for each previous check. The rounds of vigorous activity need not be consecutive or on the same action. The accumulated strain of vigorous activity can be healed by rest down to the minimum of DC 5: a night's sleep lowers the Con check DC by –1, a full day's rest lowers the DC by 1d2, and long-term care with a DC 15 Heal check lowers it by –3 per day. A restoration or cure critical wounds spell can prevent a host dying from a heart attack, the restoration also lowers the Con check DC by –5 (minimum DC 5). A heal or greater restoration completely cures a fatal heart attack and sets the Con check starting value to DC 5.

If the infesting powerslug is removed, the powered creature immediately loses all the physical ability bonuses and aggressiveness from the infestation, but they continue to be at risk of a fatal heart attack, retaining the Constitution check DC they had when the powerslug was removed. The damage to their heart can be healed as described above. Once the Con check is reduced to DC 5 or lower the powered creature's heart is fully healed and they lose this Weak Heart quality.

Weakness to Salt: If a powered creature consumes enough salt to feel ill (sickened for 2d6 hours) any powerslug infesting them will phase and abandon that host (as described above). This only requires a tablespoon or so of salt for a typical Medium humanoid. An overdose of salt (an ounce or more) cause nausea for 2d6 hours and forces the creatures to succeed on a DC 10 Fortitude save or take 1d4 Constitution damage, while an extreme overdose (typically requiring three or more ounces of salt) does 1d10 Con damage on a failed DC 10 Fort save.

Abilities: A powered creature gains a +8 alchemical bonus to its Strength, Dexterity and Constitution scores.

Organization: Solitary, battery (1 plus 0-4 base creatures) or dynamo (2-5). Powered creatures are usually solitary, but if the base creature is particularly social they may work in small groups despite their powerful temper.

Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +1.

Sample Powered Creature
The following sample creature has gained the powered creature template.

Powered Lizardfolk
Medium Humanoid (Reptilian)
Hit Dice: 2d8+10 (19 hp)
Initiative: +5
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class: 19 (+4 Dex, +5 natural), touch 14, flat-footed 15
With Shield: 21 (+4 Dex, +5 natural, +2 heavy shield), touch 14, flat-footed 17
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/+6
Attack: Claw +6 melee (1d4+5) or club +6 melee (1d6+5) or javelin +5 ranged (1d6+5)
Full Attack: 2 claws +6 melee (1d4+5) and bite +4 melee (1d4+2); or club +6 melee (1d6+7)[1d6+5 with shield] and bite +4 melee (1d4+2); or javelin +5 ranged (1d6+5)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks:
Special Qualities: Hold breath, powerful temper, weak heart, weakness to salt
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +0
Abilities: Str 21, Dex 18, Con 21, Int 9, Wis 10, Cha 10
Skills: Balance +10, Jump +11, Swim +10
With Shield*: Balance +8, Jump +9, Swim +6
Feats: Multiattack
Environment: Temperate marshes
Organization: Solitary, battery (1 plus 0-4 base creatures) or dynamo (2-5)
Challenge Rating: 2
Treasure: 50% coins; 50% goods; 50% items
Alignment: Usually neutral
Advancement: by character class
Level Adjustment: +1

A tailed reptilian humanoid the height of a tall human.

A lizardfolk is usually 6 to 7 feet tall with green, gray, or brown scales and a tail 3 to 4 feet long. They can weigh 200 to 250 pounds.

Lizardfolk speak Draconic.

Combat
Lizardfolk fight as unorganized individuals who prefer frontal assaults and massed rushes, sometimes trying to force foes into the water, where the lizardfolk have an advantage.

Powered lizardfolk are even less organized but occasionally fight in small groups with powered or non-powered kinfolk; they generally attack in a frothing frenzy of claws and teeth. Powered lizardfolk usually don't bother carrying shields, and those that do often forget to use them. They prefer to wield their clubs two-handed.

Hold Breath: A lizardfolk can hold its breath for a number of rounds equal to four times its Constitution score before it risks drowning.

Powerful Temper: Whenever something happens that might provoke anger, the powered lizardfolk must succeed at a Wisdom check or lose its temper. For a minor provocation, such as someone spilling their drink, the DC is 5 for every +2 of physical ability bonus, so DC 5 for +2, DC 10 for +4, DC 15 for +6 and DC 20 for +8. A moderate provocation, such as being slapped without cause, adds another +5 to the DC. A severe provocation, such as being attacked, adds +10 to the DC. Attempting to forcibly remove the powerslug is a serious provocation. All creatures infested with powerslugs hate the taste of salt, so giving one salty food is always at least a moderate provocation, whether it's a coincidence or an attempt to expel the powerslug.

If the powered lizardfolk fails this Wisdom check they will attack the provoking object or creature in a violent frenzy. This frenzy lasts until the powered lizardfolk dies, loses consciousness, or the provoking creature or object is either out of their sight for 1d4 rounds or destroyed; if the provoking creature flees the lizardfolk will pursue them. A calm emotion spell will stop the frenzy if the powered lizardfolk fails its Will save.

Weak Heart: The enormous strain of powerslug infestation damages a powered lizardfolk's heart. If the lizardfolk performs extremely vigorous activity, such as combat, for 1d4+1 rounds, they must succeed at a DC 5 Constitution check or suffer a fatal heart attack and die over 4d4 rounds. The save must be repeated each 1d4+1 additional rounds of vigorous activity, with the DC increasing by +1 for each previous check. The rounds of vigorous activity need not be consecutive or on the same action. The accumulated strain of vigorous activity can be healed by rest down to the minimum of DC 5: a night's sleep lowers the Con check DC by –1, a full day's rest lowers the DC by 1d2, and long-term care with a DC 15 Heal check lowers it by –3 per day. A restoration or cure critical wounds spell can prevent the powered lizardfolk dying from a heart attack, the restoration also lowers the Con check DC by –5 (minimum DC 5). A heal or greater restoration completely cures a fatal heart attack and sets the Con check starting value to DC 5.

If the infesting powerslug is removed, the powered lizardfolk immediately loses all the physical ability bonuses and aggressiveness from the infestation, but they continue to be at risk of a fatal heart attack, retaining the Constitution check DC they had when the powerslug was removed. The damage to their heart can be healed as described above. Once the Con check is reduced to DC 5 or lower the powered lizardfolk's heart is fully healed and they lose this Weak Heart quality.

Weakness to Salt: If a powered lizardfolk consumes enough salt to feel ill (sickened for 2d6 hours) any powerslug infesting them will phase and abandon their host (as described above). This only requires a tablespoon or so of salt. An overdose of salt (an ounce or more) cause nausea for 2d6 hours and forces the lizardfolk to succeed on a DC 10 Fortitude save or take 1d4 Constitution damage, while an extreme overdose (typically requiring three or more ounces of salt) does 1d10 Con damage on a failed DC 10 Fort save.

Skills: Because of their tails, lizardfolk have a +4 racial bonus on Jump, Swim, and Balance checks.

* If the lizardfolk is carrying a heavy shield its skill modifiers include a –2 armor check penalty (–4 on Swim checks).
 
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freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
So does the template work for hosts without the full boost? Maybe we could do +1/2 CR for the half boost.

Here's one attempted ability edit.

Weakness to Salt: If a powered creature consumes enough salt to feel ill (sickened for 2d6 hours) any powerslug infesting them will phase and abandon that host. This only requires a tablespoon or so of salt for a typical Medium humanoid. An overdose of salt (an ounce or more) cause nausea for 2d6 hours and forces the creatures to succeed on a DC 10 Fortitude save or take 1d4 Constitution damage, while an extreme overdose (typically requiring three or more ounces of salt) does 1d10 Con damage on a failed DC 10 Fort save. 1d10 minutes after the powered creature consumes the salt, the powerslug leaves, removing the Powered Creature template.
 

Cleon

Hero
So does the template work for hosts without the full boost? Maybe we could do +1/2 CR for the half boost.

Here's one attempted ability edit.

Weakness to Salt: If a powered creature consumes enough salt to feel ill (sickened for 2d6 hours) any powerslug infesting them will phase and abandon that host. This only requires a tablespoon or so of salt for a typical Medium humanoid. An overdose of salt (an ounce or more) cause nausea for 2d6 hours and forces the creatures to succeed on a DC 10 Fortitude save or take 1d4 Constitution damage, while an extreme overdose (typically requiring three or more ounces of salt) does 1d10 Con damage on a failed DC 10 Fort save. 1d10 minutes after the powered creature consumes the salt, the powerslug leaves, removing the Powered Creature template.

Rather than "1d10 minutes after the powered creature consumes the salt, the powerslug leaves, removing the Powered Creature template" I'd go for:

Weakness to Salt: If a powered creature consumes enough salt to feel ill (sickened for 2d6 hours) any powerslug infesting them will phase and abandon that host. This only requires a tablespoon or so of salt for a typical Medium humanoid. An overdose of salt (an ounce or more) cause nausea for 2d6 hours and forces the creatures to succeed on a DC 10 Fortitude save or take 1d4 Constitution damage, while an extreme overdose (typically requiring three or more ounces of salt) does 1d10 Con damage on a failed DC 10 Fort save.

If salt intake forces the powerslug to abandon its host, the powered creature immediately loses all physical ability bonuses, their Powerful Temper trait and the +1 CR adjustment it granted them. It takes 1d10 minutes for a phasing powerslug to leave a Small or Medium creature's body, each size increase larger than that doubles the time (2d10 minutes for Large, 4d10 for Huge, et cetera); during this time the powerslug grants no benefits to its former host. The unpowered host retains the Weak Heart special quality until the damage to their heart heals (see above), which completely removes the Powered Creature template.
 



Cleon

Hero
Since we have wattage for a group of power slugs anyway, what should a group of power slug infested creatures be called?

A station! Or possibly a dynamo?

More seriously, I'd think their Organization would mostly be "Solitary" (because they're so aggressive they'd soon murder anyone they hang out with) but maybe some can gather in small groups with non-infected specimens of the base creature.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
A PC party? :devil:

That version of the salt weakness is good for me.

I don't think I see anything that really needs to be changed for the Weak Heart SQ. Does it seem ok to you?
 

Cleon

Hero
A PC party? :devil:

That version of the salt weakness is good for me.

Updating Powered Creature Working Draft.

I've rearranged it so the "power slug abandonment" paragraph is separate from the salt weakness. It makes more sense to have it in the general template intro rather than tied to a Special Quality.

I don't think I see anything that really needs to be changed for the Weak Heart SQ. Does it seem ok to you?

Well it could do with some slight rewording:

Weak Heart: The enormous strain of powerslug infestation damages the host's heart. If the powered creature performs extremely vigorous activity, such as combat, for 1d4+1 rounds, they must succeed at a DC 5 Constitution check or suffer a fatal heart attack and die over 4d4 rounds. The save must be repeated each 1d4+1 additional rounds of vigorous activity, with the DC increasing by +1 for each previous check. The rounds of vigorous activity need not be consecutive or on the same action. The accumulated strain of vigorous activity can be healed by rest down to the minimum of DC 5: a night's sleep lowers the Con check DC by –1, a full day's rest lowers the DC by 1d2, and long-term care with a DC 15 Heal check lowers it by –3 per day. A restoration or cure critical wounds spell can prevent a host dying from a heart attack, the restoration also lowers the Con check DC by –5 (minimum DC 5). A heal or greater restoration completely cures a fatal heart attack and sets the Con check starting value to DC 5.

If the infesting powerslug is removed, the powered creature immediately loses all the physical ability bonuses and aggressiveness from the infestation, but they continue to be at risk of a fatal heart attack, retaining the Constitution check DC they had when the powerslug was removed. The damage to their heart can be healed as described above. Once the Con check is reduced to DC 1 or lower the powered creature's heart is fully healed and they lose this Weak Heart quality.​

I think that covers it!
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Now that I look at it again, here's a couple of edits (changes in red).
"A restoration or cure critical wounds spell can prevent a host dying from a heart attack; the restoration also lowers the Con check DC by –5 (minimum DC 5)."
"The damage to their heart can be healed as described above but with no minimum DC (heal or greater restoration fully heals the powered creature's heart)."
If we left the last bit strictly as written, there'd be no way to get full healing.
 

Cleon

Hero
Now that I look at it again, here's a couple of edits (changes in red).
"A restoration or cure critical wounds spell can prevent a host dying from a heart attack; the restoration also lowers the Con check DC by –5 (minimum DC 5)."
"The damage to their heart can be healed as described above but with no minimum DC (heal or greater restoration fully heals the powered creature's heart)."
If we left the last bit strictly as written, there'd be no way to get full healing.

It might be simpler changing the previous draft's "Once the Con check is reduced to DC 1 or lower" to "Once the Con check is reduced to DC 5 or lower".

Alternatively, we could drop the minimum DC from 5 to 1 in the previous paragraph so it can overlap with the cure condition. That'd also mean that only a creature with a negative Constitution modifier risks dying from a heart attack. Considering they get a +8 modifier to their Con that seems unlikely though. The +4 to Con rolls that gives them was one of the reasons I set DC 5 as the minimum.

In any case, the Powerslug's POWER! trait will need to be tweaked to match.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Hmmm, yes, let's just go with "once the Con check is reduced to DC 5 or lower." That should take care of Weak Heart (with appropriate changes to POWER!).

I think Powerful Temper seems ok.

What do you want to do for the sample?
 

Cleon

Hero
Hmmm, yes, let's just go with "once the Con check is reduced to DC 5 or lower." That should take care of Weak Heart (with appropriate changes to POWER!).

Agreed.

I think Powerful Temper seems ok.

Upon reflection, I'll change the "the character must succeed at a Wisdom check or lose their temper" to "the creature must succeed at a Wisdom check or lose their temper" for the sake of consistency.

Updating Powered Creature Working Draft.

Better make the same character => creature update for the Powerslug Working Draft too.

What do you want to do for the sample?

Some aggressive creature that's native to swamps I suppose. Or warm forests. Or both.

Here's some possibilities:

Swamps: Black Dragon, Crocodile, Lizardfolk, Pyrohrdra.
Forests: Couatl, Criosphinx, Digester, Girallon, Manticore.
Swamps & Forests: Green Hag, Megaraptor, Tyrannosaurus.

Any of those tickle your fancy?
 


freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
The update is good.

Let's do a powered lizardfolk, I think.

Tactics: Due to their lack of combat abilities, powerslugs typically stay hidden except around sleeping creatures, which they then infest.
 

Cleon

Hero
The update is good.

Let's do a powered lizardfolk, I think.

That'll be fairly straighforward so I'll just slap it into the Powered Creature Working Draft.

Tactics: Due to their lack of combat abilities, powerslugs typically stay hidden except around sleeping creatures, which they then infest.

Seems a bit clunky. How about:

A powerslug has no means to directly injure opponents, so stays hidden and tries to sneak up to creatures it can infest. The slug spends most of its time phased, so if an enemy notices it they'll have a hard time injuring the creature.

Threatened powerslugs instinctively head for cover, ideally water clogged with mud and dense undergrowth, but are so slow they are unlikely to outrun any pursuit.
 

Cleon

Hero
That'll be fairly straighforward so I'll just slap it into the Powered Creature Working Draft.

Done. I tweaked the tactics a bit to reflect its more frenzied nature (i.e. they usually don't carry a shield and just attack in a blizzard of claws, fangs and 2H club blows).

Tweaked the wording of the SQs to change a bunch of "host" and "creatures" to "powered lizardfolk" so it doesn't read funny.

Oh, and I double-checked the skills:

Balance 2S+Dex4+4R–2 Jump 2S+Str5+4R–2 Swim 1S+Str5+4R–4
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Your tactics look good to me!
And I think the sample lizardfolk looks fine. Do you want a description and background for the template and sample? I'm inclined to skip for the sample at least. For the template, I think I might just go with something like, "A powered creature is one that has been infested by a powerslug. They appear to be normal members of their species, but they are prone to emotional instability and violent frenzies."
 

Cleon

Hero
Your tactics look good to me!

Updated the Powerslug with tactics.

We've still got the background fluff to do for it, remember.

And I think the sample lizardfolk looks fine. Do you want a description and background for the template and sample? I'm inclined to skip for the sample at least. For the template, I think I might just go with something like, "A powered creature is one that has been infested by a powerslug. They appear to be normal members of their species, but they are prone to emotional instability and violent frenzies."

I'd rather have a brief description about them bulging with muscles and exaggeratedly energetic, plus maybe something about them seeming a bit "twitchy" and unusually hostile.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Hmmm....
"A powered creature is one that has been infested by a powerslug. They appear to be normal members of their species but bulging with exaggerated musculature. They seem hyperactive, jittery, and unusually suspicious."

Actually, would it make sense to give Powered Creatures an SQ where their initial attitude is a step worse than usual or something?
 

Cleon

Hero
"A powered creature is one that has been infested by a powerslug. They appear to be normal members of their species but bulging with exaggerated musculature. They seem hyperactive, jittery, and unusually suspicious."

Aren't you mixing the Description and the Background there?

Actually, would it make sense to give Powered Creatures an SQ where their initial attitude is a step worse than usual or something?

Not sure I'd go as far as making it an actual Special Quality. Maybe mention the possibility in the Description?

Hmm…

The creature bulges with exaggerated musculature and seems unusually agitated, jittering with nervous energy.​
A powered creature is a warm-blooded creature that has been infested by a powerslug. They are unusually suspicious and aggressive, so their initial attitude towards beings they encounter is usually at least one step worse than is normal for their species (i.e. if a creature of its kind is normally Indifferent, a powered creature is usually Unfriendly and may be Hostile).​

Plus we still need a Background for the Powerslug itself.

How about:

A powerslug is a very rare parasite found in bogs, tropical swamps and jungles. The slime exuded by the slug is anesthetic: creatures may see or hear a powerslug crawl upon their skin but they will never feel it. Powerslugs can phase themselves away from the Prime Material Plane to become intangible while remaining visible. While useful for avoiding threats this serves a more sinister purpose. Once the slug finds a warm-blooded creature it uses its phasing to enter their body and parasitize them. Powerslugs never share hosts no matter how large they might be; a slug will not enter a creature if their bloodstream tastes of another powerslug's infestation.​
Powerslugs feed off adrenaline and similar chemicals. A slug fastens onto its host's adrenal gland and forces it to go into overdrive. The flood of chemicals enhances the host's muscles and nervous system, causing them to become far stronger and more agile than is natural as their muscles swell and their movements grow more energetic. Unfortunately, this increased performance comes with a price. The host becomes increasingly aggressive and violent, eventually fighting to the death at the slightest slight or setback. Even worse, the unnatural development of their body puts such a strain on their cardiac system that most victims of a powerslug suffer fatal heart attacks within a few months of infestation. If the host dies the slug just phases out of the corpse to seek new prey.​
Druids despise powerslugs for the devastation that creatures infected by these magical pests do to their environment: an outbreak of powerslugs is usually accompanied by a spate of savage animal attacks. Some brutal individuals or cultures actually seek out powerslug infection for the crude physical power it provides, not caring for the risk of heart attacks and senseless violence.​

I thought about adding a paragraph about powerslug reproduction, but there's nothing in the original article about how they do it. My best guess is.

Like many gastropods, powerslugs are hermaphrodites. Unlike most they never mate with each other, but fertilize their own eggs while remaining inside their victim. When the slug senses it is in a warm and humid environment suitable for their development, the eggs are laid in a phased condition to exit the host.​

So shall I add the above, despite it being entirely of my invention?
 

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