Monday Monsters: Cloaker

The final monster from the poll I ran on Twitter and Google Plus was the Cloaker. I wasn’t expecting the flying manta ray to be first (and was very surprised when that honor went to the Black Pudding), but I wasn’t expecting it to be last either.

The Cloaker is a pretty weird monster. A flying manta ray that looks like a leathery black cloak while at rest, hence it’s name. It’s probably one of those monsters created in the early days of Dungeons & Dragons where the DM was expected to take on a more antagonistic role. “There’s what appears to be a black cloak on the floor of this room.” the DM would say, rubbing their hands gleefully behind the DM’s screen as the PCs went to go pick it up. It feels like a “gotcha” monster, like the treasure chest mimicking Mimic, or the metal destroying Rust Monster.

Anyway, the main features of the Cloaker differ between the different editions of Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder. In some editions its sonic attack sickens people, in others it disorients them, and in others it causes fear. Sometimes it’s able to magically manipulate shadows, and other times it can create multiple illusions of itself. Things that stay the same though are its “cloaking ability” (sorry for the pun), and a tendency to suffocate characters with its wings.

With a number of abilities to choose from, I turned the ones that seemed most interesting into stunts. As usual, I tried to spread the stunts around with regards to the types of actions they modified and the approaches they used. I’ve found that I can suggest tactics and a certain play style for these monsters by referencing elements that aren’t actually included in the stunt. For example, the Engulf stunt grants the Cloaker a +2 bonus when it Forcefully attacks a character who has the Ensnared aspect attached to it. But the stunt doesn’t create the aspect; that’s something the GM has to do separately. The stunt encourages the GM to take a certain action with the monster, or to ensure certain things are true, to set up the stunt. I rather like that. It also means I don’t have to turn every notable thing about the monster into a stunt. I can suggest additional abilities by referencing them in the stunts I do include.

I made the Cloaker a Hitter; an enemy that has some trick or ability to dish out a lot of damage, but goes down quickly when the PCs are finally able to do damage in return. With the Engulf stunt, a Cloaker who’s wrapped itself around a PC’s head (represented by an aspect) will Forcefully attack at +4. The attack increases to +6 if it invokes the aspect on the roll. As the characters I made only have a lead approach of +3, the Cloaker is more than likely succeeding with style on an attack this way. With the Phantasm stunt, the monster will Cleverly defend at +5, or +7 if it invokes an aspect, meaning it’ll be really hard to deal with unless the characters find a way to get rid of the illusion aspects.


Cloaker

High Concept: Large Flying Manta-like Aberration
Motivation: I Must Eliminate Mortals from This Plane
Aspect: Xenophobic Subterranean Lurker
Aspect: Razor-Sharp Tail Spike

Approaches:

  • Careful: Average (+1)
  • Clever: Fair (+2)
  • Flashy: Good (+3)
  • Forceful: Great (+4)
  • Quick: Good (+3)
  • Sneaky: Fair (+2)

Stunts:

  • Phantasms: Because I can magically create mirror images of myself,  I get +2 to Cleverly defend against attacks while an aspect such as Mirror Images, Illusory Duplicates, or Dancing Images is present.
  • Engulf: Because my wings hold victims in place while I bite them, I get +2 to Forcefully attack someone whom I’ve trapped this way, represented by an aspect such as Ensnared, Suffocating!, or Wrapped Up.
  • Subsonic Moan: Because I can emit a nauseating moan, I can spend a Fate point to Sneakily create an advantage on every other character in my zone, giving an Unsettled aspect to each defender I succeed against.

Weight: 2 (Large)
Role: Enemy: Fair Hitter
Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢
Consequences:

  • Mild (2):

You can download the Cloaker as an A4-sized PDF or a letter-sized PDF.

Cloaker_A4

The monster illustration is the free paper mini made by Printable Heroes. The free versions are backless, but if you support the Patreon at just $1 a month you get minis with backs. For $2 a month you get access to “reskins”, and for $3 a month you get multiple color options. That’s a fantastic deal.

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Monday Monsters: Cloaker

Chaos Chips 1.0

The recent announcement of a revised Android: Netrunner core set has me a little bit bummed out, but I’m trying to stay positive about it. To that end, I’ve started tinkering with deck ideas that will be tournament legal after the rotation happens on October 1st.

adn49_box_leftAs the new core set will be legal for the upcoming World Championships (and the old core set, Genesis, and Spin cycle cards will not), I have no idea what the tournament meta will look like. Not that I had a strong idea before mind you. But a new card pool with quite a few “staple” cards no longer being tournament legal will have a huge effect on the types of decks we see at Worlds. I’m excited.

I’m also going to try and stop “net-decking” so often. So here’s my first truly original deck in quite a while: Chaos Chips. It’s aiming to install “multi-breakers” (Adept, Sage, and Savant) onto Net Chips so that I have a lot of unused MU. As as Chaos Theory starts with 5 MU, she seems like a great ID to use. Economy will come from pitching extra copies of programs with Freelance Coding Contract and Inject, with some drip economy coming from Data Folding. The smaller deck size will hopefully see me drawing important cards more reliably. We’ll see if it works.

Chaos Chips 1.0

20037

ID (1):
Chaos Theory: Wünderkind (Revised Core Set)

Event (8):2x Deep Data Mining (Terminal Directive)
3x Freelance Coding Contract (Creation and Control)
1x Levy AR Lab Access (Creation and Control)
2x Inject (Up and Over) ••••

Hardware (5):5x NetChip (Business First)

Resource (7):
2x Same Old Thing (Creation and Control)1x The Source (Creation and Control) ••
3x Data Folding (Order and Chaos)
1x Film Critic (Old Hollywood)

Icebreaker (15):
1x Paperclip (Blood Money) •••
1x Black Orchestra (Escalation) ••
1x MKUltra (Martial Law) ••
3x Adept (Terminal Directive)
3x Savant (Terminal Directive)
3x Overmind (Honor and Profit)
3x Sage (The Source)

Program (5):
1x Equivocation (Martial Law)
2x Self-modifying Code (Creation and Control)
2x Multithreader (Data and Destiny) ••

15 influence spent (maximum 15)
40 cards (min 40)
Cards up to Revised Core Set


I just played two games with this deck during lunch and it performed reasonable well. I won the first game 8-5, and I was up 4-1 when we had to call the second game.

I played against Jinteki: Replicating Perfection which, ugh. A large chuck of the deck’s economy comes from me trashing programs from my grip. Against Jinteki, net damage both kills my economy and brings me closer to a flatline. This was a poor matchup and I had to play carefully.

The MVP of the deck was definitely Film Critic. With Fetal AI and Obokata Protocol floating around together, there’s a lot of “when accessed” agenda nastiness to avoid. Especially when playing against RP.

I’m not sure about the economy. Multithreader is good when I have the rig set up, but it doesn’t help early game when I need credits to get pieces onto the table. Magnum Opus might be a better choice. It costs me a click to use, but the credits it makes can be used for anything. At 2 MU it also fits onto a Net Chip, but I need to have two chips installed before I can host it.

Chaos Chips 1.0

Wednesday Warriors: Halfling Thief

Just like the “intelligence-based” wizard from last week, the halfling thief is such a classic fantasy RPG character type I had to make one. (Thank you Bilbo Baggins.) But the character took longer to write up than some of the others I’ve done so far. I’ve mentioned before that I try to spread a character’s stunts around, both in regards to the action and and the approach the stunt modifies. But some fantasy character types seem very focused on a fairly narrow area of expertise. The fighter is one, and the thief is another.

It would have been very easy to make Sneaky the thief’s lead approach. Because of how Fate Accelerated approaches work, creeping along in the shadows, backstabbing an unaware target, picking pockets, and even picking locks could be handled with the Sneaky approach. Stunts that grant bonuses to these “thief-y” actions would also have been really appropriate. But that also would have been rather boring.

One result of Fate Accelerated‘s approaches caring about how a character does something instead of what they are doing, is that the same approach can cover many different situations. This can lead to players “spamming an approach” – meaning the player intentionally tries to finagle things so they get to roll with their character’s highest approach as often as possible. Players and GMs are meant to use the approach that makes the most sense based on the fictional situation at hand, but there is nothing forcing the player to use different approaches.

Having stunts that use different approaches is a way to encourage players to branch out and use more than a one approach all the time. (Not that I necessarily expect people to do that.) But much like the fighter, making stunts that were tied to different approaches and actions yet still evoked the flavor of a fantasy thief was rather hard to do. I didn’t really need a stunt to emulate lock picking, as the equipment aspect of Expertly Crafted Set Of Thieves Tools could cover that. Instead I went with a stunt that grants a bonus when overcoming physical barriers. I always try to have a stunt that reinforces the adjective in the character’s high concept, and moving around during a fight seemed to fit nicely here. Moving into an adjacent zone for free doesn’t feel like it equals two shifts on the ladder (which is generally what a stunt’s effect is worth) so it works on success with style for two actions; attack and defense. Lastly, because the character is a thief and a halfling, I went with a stunt that granted a bonus to avoid notice.

As I’m using the Weight rules from War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus for the fantasy monsters I’ve made, I could have given the character a Weight 0.5 (Small). But that would have meant any medium-sized opponent got to change one of their dice to a “+” when opposing the character. That doesn’t feel very heroic. Plus, the aspect Nimble Halfling Thief can be compelled when the “halfling” part would cause interesting problems because of the character’s size. It could also be invoked by an opponent for the same reason. That seems more fair, as it will only come up at interesting times, and the player gets a Fate point for having some trouble thrown at them.


Halfling Thief

High Concept: Nimble Halfling Thief
Motivation: I Must Steal A Legendary Treasure
Aspect: Raised On The Deck Of A Pirate Galley
Aspect: More Luck Than I Know What To Do With
Aspect: Expertly Crafted Set Of Thieves Tools

Approaches:

  • Careful: Average (+1)
  • Clever: Fair (+2)
  • Flashy: Average (+1)
  • Forceful: Mediocre (+0)
  • Quick: Good (+3)
  • Sneaky: Fair (+2)

Stunts:

  • Acrobatic Fighter: Because I constantly move during a fight, whenever I Quickly attack or defend and succeed with style, I may immediately move one zone instead of gaining a boost.
  • Escape Artist: Because I can always find a way out, I get +2 to Cleverly overcome obstacles and aspects representing physical bonds or impediments to escape, such as Behind Bars, Tied Up, or Superior Locks.
  • Low Profile: Because I am small and unassuming, I get +2 to Sneakily create an advantage such as Beneath Notice, Inconspicuous, or Totally Not Important, representing people overlooking, ignoring, or not paying attention to me due to my size.

Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢
Consequences:

  • Mild (2):
  • Moderate (4):
  • Severe (6):

You can download the Nimble Halfling Thief as an A4-sized PDF or a letter-sized PDF.

Nimble_Halfling_Thief_A4

The character illustration is the free paper mini made by Printable Heroes. The free versions are backless, but if you support the Patreon at just $1 a month you get minis with backs. For $2 a month you get access to “reskins”, and for $3 a month you get multiple color options. That’s a fantastic deal.

Wednesday Warriors: Halfling Thief

Monday Monsters: Juvenile Dragons

I ran a poll on Twitter and Google Plus several weeks ago asking which monsters people wanted to see for future Monday Monsters posts. The Purple Worm and Juvenile Blue Dragon tied for second place and as I already had it statted up, I posted the Purple Worm first. But to make it worth the wait, I did something extra for the dragons.

That’s right. Dragons. I did juvenile versions of all five of the chromatic dragons; blue black, white, green, and of course, red. This will have to be a short post for now as it’s very late and I need to go to bed, but I’ll be updating it with notes tomorrow.


Juvenile Blue Dragon

High Concept: Large Juvenile Storm Dragon
Motivation: I Must Punish All Intruders of My Domain
Aspect: Exceptionally Vain And Arrogant
Aspect: Electricity Resistant Armor Scales

Approaches:

  • Careful: Fair (+2)
  • Clever: Fair (+2)
  • Flashy: Great (+4)
  • Forceful: Good (+3)
  • Quick: Good (+3)
  • Sneaky: Average (+1)

Stunts:

  • Dominating Presence: Because I issue irresistible commands, I get +2 to Forcefully create an advantage representing mental domination, such as Compelled, Influenced, or Swayed.
  • Fly-By Attacks: Because I attack on the wing, whenever I succeed with style on a Quick attack, I may forgo the boost to move up to two zones.
  • Lightning Discharge: Because I spit lightning, I can attack targets up to two zones away and can never become Unarmed. By spending a Fate point, I can Flashily attack every other character in my zone.

Weight: 2 (Large)
Role: Enemy: Fair Threat
Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢
Consequences:

  • Mild (2):
  • Moderate (4):

Juvenile Black Dragon

High Concept: Large Juvenile Swamp Dragon
Motivation: I Must Make My Enemies Suffer
Aspect: Exceptionally Cruel And Malicious
Aspect: Acid Resistant Armor Scales

Approaches:

  • Careful: Good (+3)
  • Clever: Good (+3)
  • Flashy: Average (+1)
  • Forceful: Fair (+2)
  • Quick: Fair (+2)
  • Sneaky: Great (+4)

Stunts:

  • Acid Breath: Because I spit acid, I can attack targets up to two zones away and can never become Unarmed. Whenever I succeed with style on a Careful attack, I may forgo the boost to give the defender a Corroded, Dissolved, or Melted aspect with a free invoke.
  • Ambush Hunter: Because I attack from ambush, I deal +2 stress on a tied or better Sneaky attack while benefiting from an aspect related to concealment (I won’t get a boost on a tied attack this way.)
  • Bushwhacker: Because I use terrain to hinder my foes, whenever I Cleverly create an advantage to ensnare or distract someone with the environment and succeed, I gain an extra invoke on that aspect.

Weight: 2 (Large)
Role: Enemy: Fair Hitter
Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢
Consequences:

  • Mild (2):

Juvenile White Dragon

High Concept: Large Juvenile Snow Dragon
Motivation: I Must Follow My Animalistic Instincts
Aspect: Exceptionally Brutal And Savage
Aspect: Cold Resistant Armor Scales

Approaches:

  • Careful: Fair (+2)
  • Clever: Average (+1)
  • Flashy: Fair (+2)
  • Forceful: Good (+3)
  • Quick: Great (+4)
  • Sneaky: Good (+3)

Stunts:

  • Blizzard Lizard: Because I can exhale a blast of ice and snow, I can attack targets up to two zones away and can never become Unarmed. Whenever someone tries to move into or to pass through my zone, I can Forcefully oppose them with a +2 bonus.
  • Go For the Kill: Because I prefer to ends fights quickly, whenever I succeed with style on a Quick attack, I may forgo the boost to immediately attack the same target again. I can not attack more than twice in an exchange this way.
  • Ice Walk: Because my feet are covered in tiny hooks and spikes, I get +2 to Carefully overcome any obstacle that would hinder my movement. I also get +2 to Carefully oppose anyone attempting to create an advantage to create an aspect that would hinder my movement.

Weight: 2 (Large)
Role: Enemy: Fair Hitter
Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢
Consequences:

  • Mild (2):

Juvenile Green Dragon

High Concept: Large Juvenile Forest Dragon
Motivation: I Must Toy With My Prey First
Aspect: Exceptionally Devious And Deceitful
Aspect: Poison Resistant Armor Scales

Approaches:

  • Careful: Good (+3)
  • Clever: Great (+4)
  • Flashy: Average (+1)
  • Forceful: Fair (+2)
  • Quick: Fair (+2)
  • Sneaky: Good (+3)

Stunts:

  • Arcane Lore: Because I know many spells, when I use magic to Cleverly defend against a spell and succeed with style, I can give the defender an Arcane Interference aspect with a free invoke instead of gaining a boost.
  • Forked Tongue: Because I lie like a cheap rug, after I Carefully create an advantage to discover a personal aspect on someone, I get +2 to Sneakily create an advantage related to deceiving or tricking that character until the end of the scene.
  • Poison Breath: Because I spit poison, I can attack targets up to two zones away and can never become Unarmed. By spending a Fate point, I can Sneakily create an advantage on every other character in my zone, giving a Poisoned aspect to each defender I succeed against.

Weight: 2 (Large)
Role: Enemy: Fair Threat
Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢
Consequences:

  • Mild (2):
  • Moderate (4):

Juvenile Red Dragon

High Concept: Large Juvenile Fire Dragon
Motivation: I Must Dominate Through Physical Combat
Aspect: Exceptionally Violent And Bad-Tempered
Aspect: Fire Resistant Armor Scales

Approaches:

  • Careful: Average (+1)
  • Clever: Fair (+2)
  • Flashy: Good (+3)
  • Forceful: Great (+4)
  • Quick: Good (+3)
  • Sneaky: Fair (+2)

Stunts:

  • Deafening Bellow: Because my roar causes even the stoutest warrior to tremble in fear, I can spend a Fate point to Flashily create an advantage on every other character in my zone, giving a Terrified aspect to each defender I succeed against.
  • Fire Breath: Because I spew fire, I can attack targets up to two zones away and can never become Unarmed. Whenever I succeed with style on a Forceful attack, I may forgo the boost to give the defender or a nearby target an On Fire! aspect with a free invoke.
  • Massive Wings: Because I can knock foes aside with my powerful wings, when I Forcefully defend against a physical attack and succeed, I may push my attacker into an adjacent zone.

Weight: 2 (Large)
Role: Enemy: Fair Threat
Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢
Consequences:

  • Mild (2):
  • Moderate (4):

You can download the juvenile chromatic dragons as a three-page A4-sized PDF or a letter-sized PDF.

Juvenile_Dragons_A4

The monster illustration is the free paper mini made by Printable Heroes. The free versions are backless, but if you support the Patreon at just $1 a month you get minis with backs. For $2 a month you get access to “reskins”, and for $3 a month you get multiple color options. That’s a fantastic deal.

Monday Monsters: Juvenile Dragons

Wednesday Warriors: Human Wizard

If you saw yesterday’s post, you know I’m having internet issues at home. As a result, there wasn’t a Monday Monsters post this week, and this post will be a bit short. I’ll try to make up for it by posting something special for next week’s Monday Monsters entry.

An “intelligence-based” wizard is such a classic fantasy RPG character type that I felt I had to make one. But I also didn’t want to get bogged down with spell lists, schools of magic, and casting styles. You can absolutely do that with Extras in Fate and Fate Accelerated, but I wanted to keep things simple. As Fate Accelerated uses approaches instead of skills, the game doesn’t really care about what a character is doing, but how they’re doing it. That means a hardy knight swinging a sword as hard as they can and a wizard casting a big, powerful fireball spell will both use the Forceful approach.

On the one hand, that’s great. Players don’t have to worry about the mechanics of what their character is doing. It’s all description, and that allows players to narrate their characters doing awesome things without the game fighting against them. But that also means it’s sometimes hard to differentiate characters. A wizard with a good Forceful approach can use it to cast a big spell or to swing a sword just as hard as the knight. And if the knight learned to cast some spells? They can use their Forceful approach for a big fireball. Which is where aspects and stunts come into play, naturally.

Some aspects are called “permission aspects”, and they give a character the fictional permission to do certain things. Spellcasting is a good example. Unless a character has an aspect that either implies or explicitly states they can use magic, then they can’t. Aspects like Battlemage, Arcane Pistoleer, and Runepriest are all permission aspects in that way, as they indicate the character can use magic. A character with “wizard” in their high concept aspect, very clearly has permission to use magic.


Human Wizard

High Concept: Ingenious Human Wizard
Motivation: I Must Atone For The Evil I Unleashed
Aspect: Former Master Of The Ebon Circle
Aspect: Much Older Than I Look
Aspect: The Legendary Staff Of Avan-Rakash

Approaches:

  • Careful: Fair (+2)
  • Clever: Good (+3)
  • Flashy: Fair (+2)
  • Forceful: Average (+1)
  • Quick: Mediocre (+0)
  • Sneaky: Average (+1)

Stunts:

  • Adaptive Magic: Because I can modify my magic on the fly, whenever I
    Cleverly attack with a spell and succeed with style, I can create an aspect
    representing a magical effect with a free invoke instead of gaining a boost.
  • Counterspell: Because I can cast negating spells, once per scene when I use
    a spell to Flashily defend against magic, I may shift down my opponent’s
    result by one step. If I do, the scene gains a Dangerous Arcane Feedback
    situation aspect with no free invoke.
  • Eldritch Lore: Because I have studied tomes of occult knowledge, I get
    +2 to Cleverly overcome obstacles if I can explain how such knowledge is
    relevant to the situation at hand.

Stress: ▢ ▢ ▢
Consequences:

  • Mild (2):
  • Moderate (4):
  • Severe (6):

You can download the Ingenious Human Wizard as an A4-sized PDF or a letter-sized PDF.

Ingenious_Human_Wizard_A4

The character illustration is the free paper mini made by Printable Heroes. The free versions are backless, but if you support the Patreon at just $1 a month you get minis with backs. For $2 a month you get access to “reskins”, and for $3 a month you get multiple color options. That’s a fantastic deal.

Wednesday Warriors: Human Wizard

Updates: No Internet

As yesterday was a holiday, I’d said this week’s Monday Monsters post would be going up today. Unfortunately that’s not going to happen. Long story short, we changed internet providers and now, for some reason, my PC won’t connect to the web. (I’m writing this post from my phone. 😛 )

There will still be a Wednesday Warriors post this week, as I can upload the blog post and character sheet from work if I have to. But at this point, I’m going to push back the Monday Monsters post to next week. As that gives me another week to work on the character sheets, I promise to do something special to make up for it.

Updates: No Internet