Converting monsters from Tales From The Infinite Staircase

Cleon

Adventurer

Cleon

Adventurer
Valgoss Host Sample Creature Working Draft (Hanim Worm Lord)

Sample Valgoss Hosts
The following sample creatures have gained the valgoss host template.

Hanim Worm Lord
Human 3rd level wizard, 3rd level cleric, 6th level mystic theurge

Medium Humanoid (Human)
Hit Dice: 3d4+3d8+6d4+24–20+3 (43 hp)
Initiative: +?
Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares)
Armor Class: ?? (+2 Dex, ??), touch ??, flat-footed ??
Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+6
Attack: Masterwork quarterstaff +7 melee (1d6)
Full Attack: Masterwork quarterstaff +7/+2 melee (1d6)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks: Cleric domain powers (???, ???), spells
Special Qualities: Human traits, protection from The Taker of Life, rebuke undead, slaiyith gifts (all 10), spell resistance 17, summon familiar, valgoss telepathy
Saves: Fort +8, Ref +5, Will +14
Abilities: Str 10, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 13
Skills: ??? Must have at least 6 ranks in Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (religion)
Feats: Scribe Scrollᴮ, Oneᴮ, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six
(includes human extra feat)
Environment: Swamps of Maelost
Organization: As base creature
Challenge Rating: 14 (10 symbionts)
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Usually neutral
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment: +2

Worm Lord in Fighter Host
Hit Dice: 3d4+3d8+6d4+48–10+3 (77 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares)
Armor Class: ?? (+3 Dex, ??), touch ??, flat-footed ??
Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+8
Attack: Masterwork quarterstaff +9 melee (1d6+3)
Full Attack: Masterwork quarterstaff +9/+4 melee (1d6+3)
Special Attacks: Cleric domain powers (???, ???), spells
Special Qualities: Human traits, protection from The Taker of Life, rebuke undead, slaiyith gifts (hanim gift plus all 4 physical gifts), summon familiar, valgoss telepathy
Saves: Fort +10, Ref +7, Will +14
Abilities: Str 15, Dex 16, Con 18, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 13
Skills: ???
Challenge Rating: 13 (5 symbionts)

Hanim Host
Human 4th level fighter
Hit Dice:
4d10+16–10 (28 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares)
Armor Class: ?? (+3 Dex, ??), touch ??, flat-footed ??
Base Attack/Grapple: +4/+6
Attack: Masterwork torag pole +8 melee (1d6+4) or javelin +7 ranged (1d6+2)
Full Attack: Masterwork torag pole +8 melee (1d6+4) or javelin +7 ranged (1d6+2)
Special Attacks:
Special Qualities: Fighter class features, human traits, protection from The Taker of Life, slaiyith gifts (hanim gift plus all 4 physical gifts), valgoss telepathy
Saves: Fort +8, Ref +4, Will +4
Abilities: Str 15, Dex 16, Con 18, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8
Skills: Climb +10, Handle Animal +2 (+6 for valgoss hosts), Listen +1 (+3 on Maelost), Ride +9, Spot +1 (+3 on Maelost), Survival +1* (+3 on Maelost)
Feats: Exotic Weapon Proficiency (torag pole)ᴮ, Iron Willᴮ, Mounted Archery, Mounted Combat, Weapon Focus (torag pole)ᴮ, Weapon Specialization (torag pole)ᴮ
(includes human extra feat plus three fighter bonus feats)
Challenge Rating: 5 (5 symbionts)

Description.

The hanim worm lord presented here is 3rd-level wizard/3rd-level cleric/6th-level mystic theurge with ability scores Str 8, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 13 (base abilities Str 8, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 15, Wis 14, Cha 13 before level advancement). He sometimes uses the hanim gift of personality exchange to exchange bodies with a 4th-level fighter with five valgoss symbionts and the physical ability scores Str 13, Dex 14, Con 16 (base abilities Str 13, Dex 14, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8).

Combat
Tactics.

Spells: A hanim worm lord casts spells as a 9th level wizard and a 9th level cleric.

Wizard Spells Prepared (4/4/4/3/2/1), save DC ?? + spell level.
0—one, two, three, four;
1st—one, two, three, four;
2nd—one, two, three, four;
3rd—one, two, three;
4th—one, two;
5th—one;

Cleric Spells Prepared (6/4+1/4+1/3+1/2+1/1+1), save DC ?? + spell level.
0—one, two, three, four, five, six;
1st—one, two, three, four, five;
2nd—one, two, three, four, five;
3rd—one, two, three, four;
4th—one, two, three;
5th—one, two;
ᴰ Domain Spell (domains are ???, ???).

Summon Familiar: The hanim worm lord has a toad familiar.

Toad Familiar: CR —; Diminutive Magical Beast; HD 1; hp 1/2 master's (); Init +1; Spd 5 ft.; AC 16, touch 15, flat-footed 15; Base Atk +0; Grp -17; Atk —; Full Atk —; Space/Reach 1 ft./0 ft.; SA —; SQ improved evasion, low-light vision, granted abilities (Alertness, deliver touch spells, empathic link, improved evasion, share spells); AL any; SV Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +2; Str 1, Dex 12, Con 11, Int 6, Wis 14, Cha 4.
Skills and Feats: Hide +21, Listen +4, Spot +4; Alertness.
Special Ability: Master gains +3 hit points.

Skills: *A hanim worm lord host gains a +2 insight bonus on Listen, Spot and Survival checks while on Maelost.

This hanim worm lord valgoss host has a –10 penalty to all Charisma-based skills except for Intimidate unless the target of the skill is also a valgoss host.

Originally appeared in Tales From the Infinite Staircase (1998) in Tale 3: Lord of the Worms

Notes:
(Wizard/Cleric/Mystic Theurge)
Base BAB +1+2+3
Base Saves: Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +11
Fort +1+3+2 Ref +1+1+2 Will +3+3+5

Equipment Budget: The Worm Lord has the 45,000 gp budget of a 14th-level NPC to match its CR 14, not the 27,000 gp budget of a 12th-level NPC.
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Looks like a fine start!

Can you point me to the original stats for this one?
I don't recall were (or whether) I posted the original stats. It seems easier repeating them. The bulk of the "Worm Lord" entry are descriptions of the new spells he has developed - which I think I'll leave for later.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Worm Lord Original Stats

A Hanim named Zophiel rules over Aml. Zophiel never transfers his personality to another body, probably because his is the most efficient for his purposes. Ten valgoss have joined with Zophiel’s granting him a great many abilities. He’s a powerful wizard and priest, but generally unpleasant to be near, with all the valgoss hanging out of him, his weak and withered body (from all the lasting damage that the valgoss have inflicted), and the battered and broken wings of flying that he wears on his back. Many would describe him as a withered, diseased angel. Zophiel favors the self-proclaimed title of Lord of the Worms.

To further embody his title. Zophiel has created the following spells which he uses himself and has given to other casters among the Hanim. If the PCs spend enough time among these folk, perhaps they, too, can learn these spells and add them to their spellbooks (assuming that they have reached high enough levels for such magic).

✦ SNIP ✦​

Zophiel dislikes outsiders of any kind. He has commanded that if ever any come to his people that they be brought before him. He never leaves the floating city, and can usually be found in his abode—the central and largest tent in the city. If some newcomers approach the him seeking aid, advice, information, or anything else, he’ll most likely refuse at first, demanding proof that they are not actually part of one of the rival tribes. This, however, isn’t hard to prove if it’s true. Any Hanim can recognize non-Hanim mannerisms (such as humor, overt generosity, unnecessary cruelty, showing signs of weakness, ignorance of Maelost, or the like) fairly quickly.

Still, nothing in Maelost is free. Zophiel demands something worthwhile as payment for whatever the newcomers might ask. No Hanim has any interest in money, jewels, or other conventional sorts of valuables. Useful magical items or well-crafted, useful normal items (particularly those made of wood) have value to Zophiel (and his people as well), but nothing on Maelost has more value than action.

✦ SNIP ✦​

ZOPHIEL (Pl/♂ Human/W9, C9): AC 10; MV 18 (valgoss enhanced); hp 7; THAC0 15); #AT 1; Dmg 1d6 (staff); SA All 10 valgoss abilities (see page 55); MR 10%; SZ M (5′ 5″ tall); ML unsteady (5); AL NE; XP 2,000.

S 11, D 12, C 10, I 17, W 15, Ch 4 (14 to Hanim)

Special equipment: wand of negation (21 charges), folding boat, wings of flying (damaged and no longer functional).

Personality: Twisted, sadistic, selfish

Priest Spells (6/5/3/2/1): 1st—bless, cure light wounds (x2), faerie fire, light, sanctuary; 2nd—augury, barkskin, dust devil, hold person, summon worms; 3rd—continual light, dispel magic, pyrotechnics; 4th—cure serious wounds, neutralize poison; 5th—curse of the worms

Wizard Spells (4/3/3/2/1): 1st—burrow, charm person, sleep, spook; 2nd blindness, blur, summon swarm; 3rd—fly, flame arrow*, wormwork; 4th—ice storm, stoneskin; 5th—wormtongue

* Spell always cast at maximum efficiency
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Equipment Budget: An NPC of character level 12 has a 27,000 gp budget, while if we match the CR of 14 it's 45,000 gp.
So would you rather use its Class Level budget of 27,000 gold or its Challenge Rating budget of 45,000?

I prefer the 45,000 version.

That would just allow us to copy the original's equipment - a rod of negation is 37,000 gp and a folding boat 7,200 gp, for a total of 44,200 gp. Which leaves 800 gp for "sundries".
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
I also prefer 45,000 gp.

Shall we sort out spells first? That asterisk on flame arrow suggests a Maximize Spell feat. I'm not sure that the spell selection in the original suggests a school specialization, but we could consider it.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I also prefer 45,000 gp.
Seems we're agreed!

Updating Hanim Worm Lord.

Shall we sort out spells first? That asterisk on flame arrow suggests a Maximize Spell feat. I'm not sure that the spell selection in the original suggests a school specialization, but we could consider it.
It's maximized because it's the recipient of the gift of maximization from one of the Worm Lord's valgoss symbionts - the Worm Lord has all ten slaiyith gifts, remember.

Shall we sort out spells first?
I think I'd rather sort out ability scores first.

It seems pretty obvious both hanim ought to have the elite array, with the Worm Lord focusing on mental stats and his host body focusing on physical stats.

For the Worm Lord, I'm thinking Str 8, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 13. (base of Str 8, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 15, Wis 14, Cha 13 plus 3 points from level advancement)

What level shall we make the Hanim's host body? The original text did not specify, so I'm thinking we could make it a 4th level fighter like a standard Hanim warrior.

I think the Worm Lord would pick a host with the highest Con he could find, so Str 13, Dex 14, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.

Putting that together we get Str 13, Dex 14, Con 16 , Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 13, to which we add the slaiyith gifts of Strength, Dexterity and Constitution:

Abilities: Str 15, Dex 16, Con 18 , Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 13

The hanim worm lord presented here is 3rd-level wizard/3rd-level cleric/6th-level mystic theurge with ability scores Str 8, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 13 (base abilities Str 8, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 15, Wis 14, Cha 13 before level advancement) who has used the hanim gift of personality exchange to exchange bodies with a 4th-level fighter with the physical ability scores Str 13, Dex 14, Con 16 (base abilities Str 13, Dex 14, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8).
 
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freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
How did I miss that we didn't have abilities yet?

I like your proposed abilities, but there's a problem. The Gift of Personality Exchange says that the mind gets the valgoss symbions and slaiyith gifts associated with the host body. So then we shouldn't put usual gifts in the stat block. I think it would be better to give a "base Worm Lord" (ie, un-exchanged personality) stat block and then maybe a "Hanim Warrior Worm Lord" stat block in an underbar. How would that work for you? Then I could go for the Str 8, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 13 for the base and your proposed abilities for the variant.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
How did I miss that we didn't have abilities yet?

I like your proposed abilities, but there's a problem. The Gift of Personality Exchange says that the mind gets the valgoss symbions and slaiyith gifts associated with the host body. So then we shouldn't put usual gifts in the stat block. I think it would be better to give a "base Worm Lord" (ie, un-exchanged personality) stat block and then maybe a "Hanim Warrior Worm Lord" stat block in an underbar. How would that work for you? Then I could go for the Str 8, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 16, Wis 16, Cha 13 for the base and your proposed abilities for the variant.
I think it makes sense if the main stat block was for the "swapped" version since that's the one the PCs will encounter.

If we want to have the unswapped Worm Lord and Hanim Warrior stats included I'd rather add them as underbars.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Hmmm, logically I like the base critter in the main stat block, but I'm ok with putting the unswapped Worm Lord in an underbar, I guess. But we then need to take out the majority of the slaiyith gifts, since I don't think the warrior would have all of them. Or else edit the personality swapping gift.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Hmmm, logically I like the base critter in the main stat block, but I'm ok with putting the unswapped Worm Lord in an underbar, I guess. But we then need to take out the majority of the slaiyith gifts, since I don't think the warrior would have all of them. Or else edit the personality swapping gift.
Dang it, I just noticed that Zophiel in the adventure never uses personality-exchange despite having that slaiyith gift. Presumably he thinks having all 10 gifts is worth the disadvantages of using his feeble original body.

And I quote "Zophiel never transfers his personality to another body, probably because his is the most efficient for his purposes. Ten valgoss have joined with Zophiel’s granting him a great many abilities. He’s a powerful wizard and priest, but generally unpleasant to be near, with all the valgoss hanging out of him, his weak and withered body (from all the lasting damage that the valgoss have inflicted), and the battered and broken wings of flying that he wears on his back."

Well I guess that means we're doing the unswapped version in the main stat block!

Updating Hanim Worm Lord.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
OK, this works better for me.

But where to start? I guess the low-hanging fruit are the attack and damage bonus for the quarterstaff. +0 in both cases, since this doesn't seem like the kind of character to spend a feat to improve those.

I guess we should give it a familiar, so it has all the wizard SQs. But something pretty basic. A toad seems appropriate for the milieu, and the extra hp would be helpful.

Thoughts on spells? Which kind do you want to tackle first?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
OK, this works better for me.

But where to start? I guess the low-hanging fruit are the attack and damage bonus for the quarterstaff. +0 in both cases, since this doesn't seem like the kind of character to spend a feat to improve those.
Not quite, it has +1 to attack due to being masterwork.

I guess we should give it a familiar, so it has all the wizard SQs. But something pretty basic. A toad seems appropriate for the milieu, and the extra hp would be helpful.
Yes I can go along with that.

Although the original character did not bother with a familiar so I'd have also been OK leaving it out.

Updating Hanim Worm Lord.

Thoughts on spells? Which kind do you want to tackle first?
I think we should decide on Cleric Domains and the "new spells" first.

I can't recall whether I mentioned it before, but I fancy giving the worm lord a new "Worm Domain" that includes all the new spells from the original adventure.

Here's what the original had in the way of spells:


Priest Spells (6/5/3/2/1): 1st—bless, cure light wounds (x2), faerie fire, light, sanctuary; 2nd—augury, barkskin, dust devil, hold person, summon worms; 3rd—continual light, dispel magic, pyrotechnics; 4th—cure serious wounds, neutralize poison; 5th—curse of the worms

Wizard Spells (4/3/3/2/1): 1st—burrow, charm person, sleep, spook; 2nd blindness, blur, summon swarm; 3rd—fly, flame arrow*, wormwork; 4th—ice storm, stoneskin; 5th—wormtongue

* Spell always cast at maximum efficiency

To further embody his title. Zophiel has created the following spells which he uses himself and has given to other casters among the Hanim. If the PCs spend enough time among these folk, perhaps they, too, can learn these spells and add them to their spellbooks (assuming that they have reached high enough levels for such magic).

BURROW 1st-Level Wizard Spell (Alteration)
Range: 0Components: V, S, M
Duration: 1 rd.Casting Time: 1
Area of Effect: The casterSaving Throw: None

For one round, the caster of this spell is able to burrow through the earth at a movement rate of 1—that is to say, he can move 10 yards through the earth. The caster moves like a worm, squirming through the earth (getting very dirty in the process). The earthen path closes behind him as he moves, so no one can follow him.

The caster cannot move through solid or worked stone. The material component for this spell is a small spade.

WORMWORK 3rd-Level Wizard Spell (Conjuration/Summoning)
Range: 100 yds.Components: V, S, M
Duration: SpecialCasting Time: 3
Area of Effect: 1 10′ cube/3 lvlsSaving Throw: None

By means of this spell the caster can summon a horde of magical, voracious worms underground. These worms weaken earth and stone, causing cave-ins, stone walls to collapse, and so forth.

In 3d10 rounds, stone in the affected area is permanently reduced to the consistency of packed earth, and packed earth or natural soil is rendered to the state of loose, tilled earth (it takes 6d10 rounds for stone to be rendered to tilled soil). Upon completion of their work, the worms disperse, joining the natural ecology as best as they can. They pose no direct threat to any other life, eating nothing more than earth and rock.

The area of effect is not vast, but certainly enough to get through a stone wall or to collapse a small cave. The material component of this spell is a living worm.

WORMTONGUE 5th Level Wizard Spell (Alteration)
Range: 50 yds.Components: V, S
Duration: 1 rd./levelCasting Time: 5
Area of Effect: 1 creatureSaving Throw: Neg.

This offensive spell functions much like a curse, transforming the recipient’s tongue into a long worm with a vicious mouth at its end. The affected victim cannot speak while his tongue is so transformed. Immediately upon transformation, the worm pushes itself out of the victim’s mouth and begins attacking him. The worm has a THAC0 of 8, and inflicts 1d4 points damage per bite. The worm has the recipient’s Armor Class and 12 hit points; the recipient of the spell suffers all damage inflicted upon the wormtongue. If the worm is slain by violence, the victim loses the ability to speak for 3d4 days. If the wormtongue is dispelled or the damage inflicted upon it is magical, the long-term loss of speech does not occur.

SUMMON WORMS 2nd-Level Priest Spell (Conjuration/Summoning)
Sphere: Animal, Summoning
Range: 30 yds.Components: V, S, M
Duration: PermanentCasting Time: 5
Area of Effect: 10′ squareSaving Throw: Special

Upon casting this spell, the priest calls forth a number of normal worms that come up from the earth below and cover an area 10 feet square. The worms remain until they die and desiccate in the sun (if outside), starve, or someone burns/washes/sweeps them away.

Aside from just being repulsive, the worm-covered ground becomes very slippery. Anyone entering the area or in the area of effect when the spell is cast must attempt a saving throw vs. spell. Those who make successful saving throws manage to keep to their feet, but any time another move is made in the area, another saving throw is required. Failure results in a fall, and a successful saving throw (which can be attempted but once a round) is required to stand up again.

The worms do not move appreciably, nor do they obey the caster in any way. The material component for the spell is a small handful of fresh soil.

CURSE OF THE WORMS 5th-Level Priest Spell (Conjuration/Summoning)
Sphere: Animal, Summoning
Range: 30 yds. + 1 yd./levelComponents: V, S, M
Duration: SpecialCasting Time: 1 round
Area of Effect: 1 creatureSaving Throw: Special

A horrid variation of slay living (the reverse of raise dead), this spell summons a number of worms into the body of a victim, which then begin to squirm out of every orifice. The victim must make a successful saving throw vs. death magic or die from multiple hemorrhages and suffocation in 1d4 rounds. The worms continue to issue forth during this time and for 1d6 rounds afterward. The victim cannot use spells, magical items, or mental abilities while the worms erupt, but can move, speak, and attack normally. The worms are real in every sense and remain even after the victim is dead. A remove curse or dispel evil spell or successful dispel magic spell cast before the victim dies ends the effect and saves the victim’s life, but the victim still suffers damage as noted below.

Those who successfully make saving throws still suffer 2d8 points of damage from hemorrhaging and choking, and a small number of worms briefly issue forth from the victim’s body.

The material component is a pinch of dust taken from a desiccated worm.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Whew, those spells will last us a bit, won't they?

Well, let's get started. Do you have a draft for Burrow? I guess 1st level Sorc/Wiz, Transmutation?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Whew, those spells will last us a bit, won't they?

Well, let's get started. Do you have a draft for Burrow? I guess 1st level Sorc/Wiz, Transmutation?
I might have some notes from back when I did some "Cleon Special™" conversions for these creatures but it'll require some digging around my hard-drive(s) to find them.

Since I'm about to go out for a "day on the town" it'll have to wait 'til later.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Let's get started this, I'll post these draft spells individually as it'll make it a bit easier to quote them during development.

Burrow
Transmutation
Level: Sor/Wiz 1, Worm 1
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 [swift or immediate?] action
Range: Personal
Targets: You
Duration: 1 round

The caster gains a burrow speed of 15 feet for the spell's duration, writhing through the ground like an earthworm. The burrowing can tunnel through dirt but not rock and does not leave a tunnel behind.

Material Component: A small spade.
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Summon Worms
Conjuration (Summoning)
Level: Worm 2
Components: V, S, M/DF
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Targets: One swarm of worms
Duration: Concentration + 2 rounds
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

[This is basically a repackaged summon swarm spell. We'll need to stat up a worm swarm of CR 1 or 2.]

Material Component: A handful of fresh soil.
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Wormwork
Conjuration (Summoning)
Level: Sor/Wiz 3, Worm 3
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Area: One 10-ft. cube per three levels
Duration: Special
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

[Mechanically it could be considered a weaker form of the transmute rock to mud spell or possibly earthquake since it's main function is to collapse buildings. Maybe have it also create treacherous (soft) terrain if the original soil isn't packed earth or rock?]

Material Component: A living earthworm.
 
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