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D&D 4E Statting Out Things That Don't Belong (4e)

SadisticFishing

First Post
Okay, that title is a bit more melodramatic than I needed, but hey, whatever.

So I'm DMing a 4e game. Lots of fun, took a while to get used to so many monsters in combat, et cetera. But since 4e doesn't have the same "build your own NPCs" that 3e did, I find myself homebrewing a few things. Once every few levels the group will meet something that is not in the MM, and they have no idea what to expect. It's fun, and not hard at all to balance, really.

But now for the fun part - I was recently rereading my copy of Vector Prime (great book, it was my first Star Wars book and it got me hooked - though I'd suggest starting with Heir to the Empire), and it struck me how AWESOME the Yuuzhan Vong would be as bad guys. I thought "but I can't take something directly, out of a book, can I?" But then I looked down - at the Monster Manual.

Few tidbits on the Yuuzhan Vong (MINOR spoilers): they come from another galaxy, they are a very war loving society, with self mutilation and pain being two major parts of their culture. Caste system, always honor their Gods, ritual sacrifice, et cetera. They absolutely HATE machinery, especially droids, and everything they use is bio-engineered. They are also completely absent in the Force. They can't be read, noticed or... well, anything. It just ignores them.

Now how could I represent that these guys are so disconnected from regular reality? I plan on having them hate magic, and use a lot of the same things as the books (Vonduum Crab armor, Ooglish Maskers, Amphistaffs [amphistaffs are snake-like animals that the Yuuzhan Vong weird as weapons, they harden and soften as necessary, so kinda like a Spiked Chain + a quarterstaff... except they have poisoned bites]), but I have no idea how to show that they are not at ALL normal. Something simple, one thing that all of them can have in common, similar to the Force immunity... But can't be the same, as immunity to magic would be very, very boring.

Thoughts? Ideas? Just something to show that they're from the Far Realm - possibly even farther.

Thanks in advance for the help!
 

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sozomai

First Post
I would recommend reading some of H.P. Lovecraft short stories. He is quite the master of creating an atmosphere that feels utterly alien, abnormal, and wrong. Concepts such as the Far Realm, Mind Flayers, Aboleths and many other ideas in D&D were most likely inspired by his writings.

A few links:
The Call of Cthulhu - Wikisource
The Shadow Over Innsmouth - Wikisource
The Colour Out of Space - Wikisource

And a favorite from a similar author.
The Abominations of Yondo by Clark Ashton Smith

Here's a free online music album inspired by the latter. You may find it useful in creating an aberrant-feeling atmosphere.
Abominations of Yondo

I'm actually running a cosmic horror campaign right now. It's shaping up to be a lot of fun. : D
 
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eloquentaction

First Post
Okay, that title is a bit more melodramatic than I needed, but hey, whatever.

So I'm DMing a 4e game. Lots of fun, took a while to get used to so many monsters in combat, et cetera. But since 4e doesn't have the same "build your own NPCs" that 3e did, I find myself homebrewing a few things. Once every few levels the group will meet something that is not in the MM, and they have no idea what to expect. It's fun, and not hard at all to balance, really.

But now for the fun part - I was recently rereading my copy of Vector Prime (great book, it was my first Star Wars book and it got me hooked - though I'd suggest starting with Heir to the Empire), and it struck me how AWESOME the Yuuzhan Vong would be as bad guys. I thought "but I can't take something directly, out of a book, can I?" But then I looked down - at the Monster Manual.

Few tidbits on the Yuuzhan Vong (MINOR spoilers): they come from another galaxy, they are a very war loving society, with self mutilation and pain being two major parts of their culture. Caste system, always honor their Gods, ritual sacrifice, et cetera. They absolutely HATE machinery, especially droids, and everything they use is bio-engineered. They are also completely absent in the Force. They can't be read, noticed or... well, anything. It just ignores them.

Now how could I represent that these guys are so disconnected from regular reality? I plan on having them hate magic, and use a lot of the same things as the books (Vonduum Crab armor, Ooglish Maskers, Amphistaffs [amphistaffs are snake-like animals that the Yuuzhan Vong weird as weapons, they harden and soften as necessary, so kinda like a Spiked Chain + a quarterstaff... except they have poisoned bites]), but I have no idea how to show that they are not at ALL normal. Something simple, one thing that all of them can have in common, similar to the Force immunity... But can't be the same, as immunity to magic would be very, very boring.

Thoughts? Ideas? Just something to show that they're from the Far Realm - possibly even farther.

Thanks in advance for the help!

I like this idea. A lot. Take a look at the Eberron source books. There are races in there (the Daelkyr?!?) that use grafts and you can get ideas there.

As far as their immunity - why not make them immune to Clerical / Paladin powers. The gods have no influence over them, at all. They can't be healed (they have to use a graft), but they can't be affected by clerical powers, either.

Just an idea.

-- Hirahito
 

AumShantih

First Post
Immunity to Magic is pretty insane and unbalanced. You could give them Resistance to any attack with a Divine/Arcane Keyword - Resist 5/10, or just a simple 1/2 damage.
 

Well, you want these guys to be scary to the players because they're antithetical to something that the PCs rely on. I would recommend that you first decide what this is going to be. I think "magic" is too general.

Antithetical to life: Maybe they get a bonus against enemies with the "natural" origin.

Antithetical to magic: A bonus against enemies with the Arcane power source (since they're monsters against PCs, this works, but you'll have to start making things up if they ever fight anyone else). Or against powers with the Arcane keyword (again, only works against PCs).

Antithetical to the gods: Something like above, but for Divine. Or, immune to radiant damage. Or, a bonus against enemies with the immortal type.
 

SadisticFishing

First Post
Good responses! I plan on reading some H.P. Lovecraft, but we're level 3 right now and these baddies aren't until Epic...

Once I have them statted out, I may post them all here :D They have some bad ARSE attacks, Thud Bugs, slimes, Amphistaffs, poison-spitting-eye replacements...

Resistance to magic just seems... blah. Gives the martial guys a huge advantage.

The Gods hating them makes perfect sense, and I thought of it, but am still not sure how to implement it - you can't heal them, but who would want to?

Huh. Maybe resistance to Radiant (Gods), Necrotic (they're not the same sort of life), and Psychic (being so disconnected from our reality makes their minds very difficult to effect)... With a bonus on saves against Charm/Sleep/Fear, for the same reason as Psychic.

Ideally, I'd have some sort of massive blanket immunity, but that would completely unbalance the game, and not be fun. I'm fairly sure I am making them immune to all Rituals, which effects little, but if they ever walk through a magic circle or someone attempts to scry on them, it should be a cool surprise...
 

What level are you at, and what is the party? The simplest answer to having these things out of phase with reality from a mechanical standpoint is to give them resist: weapon. Their story would be that they are slightly out of phase with the physical world, and would be great for storyline purposes because they are an infinitely greater threat to the world at large than they would be to PCs. While that may sound like it hurts the martial classes, getting elemental damage on weapons isn't that hard to accomplish. Once these guys hit, give your players the opportunity to get their hands on weapons that deal Radiant, Fire, Cold, Lightning, or whatever. Some classes like Paladin(based on Str) and Swordmage can get around this on their own.
 

Kaladhan

First Post
Instead of a complete immunity to magic, you could make them immune to divination or spells/rituals like telepathy, detect, scry, etc. Perhaps even communion with gods will give you no information, since even them don't know.
 

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