Sand Serpent

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MadMoses
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Sand Serpent

Post by MadMoses » Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:33 pm

This is an encounter in a scenario I'm working on, featuring a sand serpent (think dune sandworm, albeit a bit smaller) in a desert area the PCs have to cross. Do you think this is a reasonable challenge for a group of about six 2nd level characters? What do you think of the special rules? I'm grateful for your feedback!

SAND SERPENT: Init +4; Atk bite +9 melee (1d6 + swallow if bite result was higher than 20); AC 18; HD 8d8; hp 36; MV 40’ in sand, otherwise 30'; Act 1d20; SP swallow 1d4 damage per round, swims in sand like a fish in water; SV Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +2; AL N.

A swallowed character is digested for 1d4 damage per round, but is able to cut the serpent with a sharp weapon, doing a maximum of 1d4 damage due to space constraints. Cutting the character out takes one round and is possible after the sand serpent is dead, or instantly even during the fight on a successful Mighty Deed of 4 or higher (even from the inside). If the body of a presumed dead, digested character is recovered, they lose a point of Personality instead of the normal physical attribute point.

On a crit, the Sand Serpent rolls a d14 on table M, but on sand ignores any result over 5 and instead pulls its victim into the sand, which causes 1d6 Stamina damage beginning with the next round. This causes death by suffocation if Stamina reaches 0, but the lost points are recovered immediately if rescued from the sand. Characters buried this way can try to claw their way to the surface with a DC16 Strength check (armor check penalty applies). Other characters may try to unearth buried characters by digging with a DC16 Strength check as their action (no armor penalties). Subsequent dig attempts at the same spot improve the die (d24, then d30), as does using a tool made for digging. For every dig action above, a buried character gets a cumulative +1 (or +2 if a shovel has been used) on their roll to crawl out.
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Doug Kovacs
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Re: Sand Serpent

Post by Doug Kovacs » Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:58 pm

this isn't any kind of comment on the stats but conceptually you might want to dial it one (or even two) steps to the right or left of Dune sand worms, because they are pretty well covered in Perils on the Purple Planet. If thats something you would care about. You could easily just change the description

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MadMoses
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Re: Sand Serpent

Post by MadMoses » Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:09 pm

*shakes fist in Harley's general direction*

It's not that big of a problem I think, since mine are more giant sand snake than worm. Of course now I'm curious how Harley's creatures compare. Thanks for the info and the sneak peek, though!
Dead Cyclops is my blog with DCC and old-school RPG stuff at http://deadcyclops.blogspot.com

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Doug Kovacs
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Re: Sand Serpent

Post by Doug Kovacs » Tue Jun 24, 2014 4:30 pm

Ya, you are correct, now that I actually read the stats.

I think this is probably fine for level 2. One minor criticism is that you might want to detail the rules out on the thing more likely to occur. It seems like the swallowed thing would happen more frequent than the crit. You might just increase the chances to get get pulled under or apply some of those things to the swallowed stuff. This is just the kind of criticism I've been giving myself on some monster stats lately. Trying to boil them down but keep something cool about them.

I like the personality loss even though I often spontaneously make people roll for "beauty" on a 3d6 in game… just because I can, and personality isn't always physically applicable… thats just the kind of crap I do as a DM probably shouldn't be part of your monster..
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Pesky
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Re: Sand Serpent

Post by Pesky » Tue Jun 24, 2014 5:49 pm

MadMoses wrote:SAND SERPENT: Init +4; Atk bite +9 melee (1d6 + swallow if bite result was higher than 20); AC 18; HD 8d8; hp 36; MV 40’ in sand, otherwise 30'; Act 1d20; SP swallow 1d4 damage per round, swims in sand like a fish in water; SV Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +2; AL N.
I like it; I've always liked Dune worms. :D

If you are looking for an alternative, however, let me suggest the following. Instead of damage being "1d6 + swallow if bite result was higher than 20," make the swallow automatic but allow the PCs a reflex save (e.g., DC 10) to avoid it. This gives PCs a chance to avoid the swallow by burning luck, rolling well, etc., but you can adjust the DC to achieve the level of deadliness you desire. They may assume that being swallowed means insta-death, and burn a whole lot of luck to avoid it; it could be fun when they discover afterward that they can cut themselves out, and wish they had saved some luck for that...
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Doug Kovacs
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Re: Sand Serpent

Post by Doug Kovacs » Tue Jun 24, 2014 5:56 pm

or…. it would be funny too if for some reason the cosmic overlords smiled at mortals being swallowed alive by sand serpents and actually granted a luck bonus if the adventurer could survive to see the light of day.
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Pesky
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Re: Sand Serpent

Post by Pesky » Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:07 pm

Doug Kovacs wrote:or…. it would be funny too if for some reason the cosmic overlords smiled at mortals being swallowed alive by sand serpents and actually granted a luck bonus if the adventurer could survive to see the light of day.
Wait, did that elf just get a luck bonus? What do I need to roll to dive into the worm's mouth? :lol:
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MadMoses
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Re: Sand Serpent

Post by MadMoses » Wed Jun 25, 2014 2:11 pm

Thanks for the suggestions!
Doug Kovacs wrote:It seems like the swallowed thing would happen more frequent than the crit.
That's intentional. That's just what giant sand snakes do, gobble you up in one bite. Normally the extra effects of snake attacks are poison or constriction, here it's swallowing.
Pesky wrote:allow the PCs a reflex save (e.g., DC 10) to avoid it.
Good idea. There should be a save.
Doug Kovacs wrote:it would be funny too if for some reason the cosmic overlords smiled at mortals being swallowed alive by sand serpents and actually granted a luck bonus if the adventurer could survive to see the light of day
That's great! I'll definitely add that.
Dead Cyclops is my blog with DCC and old-school RPG stuff at http://deadcyclops.blogspot.com

oncelor
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Re: Sand Serpent

Post by oncelor » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:31 pm

Seems about right for 6 2nd level characters.

Our traditional house-rule mechanism for avoiding things like being swallowed by a huge monster is an opposed ability check -- monster's strength vs. the character's choice of strength or agility. The party in my current campaign had a spell that reduced a creature's strength and they liked it when they could make these sorts of checks easier by using their Ray of Enfeeblement.

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MadMoses
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Re: Sand Serpent

Post by MadMoses » Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:53 pm

Probably not a bad way to handle it, but the mechanics of this creature are complicated enough as it is, so I don't wanna add another opposed roll on top of it. Thanks for the suggestion, though!
Dead Cyclops is my blog with DCC and old-school RPG stuff at http://deadcyclops.blogspot.com

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Cthulhuoid
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Re: Sand Serpent

Post by Cthulhuoid » Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:53 pm

Neat critter, I like it!

Only suggestion I have would be requiring a Strength or Agility check (character's choice, per roleplayed attempt) to make an attack while inside the creature.

But, that's just my DM style. :twisted:
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