Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"T" is for "Thundirge"


No. Enc.:  0 (4d4)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  120' (40')
Armor Class:  5
Hit Dice:  7
Attacks:  1 (head-butt or trample)
Damage:  2d4 or 2d10
Save:  L4
Morale:  8
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  2,890

Thundirges are enormous blue herbivores that travel in familial herds across the plains and grasslands of the Mutant Future.  They stand between 5'-6' at the shoulder, reach lengths of 12' long, and weigh between 2-3 tons.  Eight bony tubes of increasing size sprout from the tips of their snouts to the top of their skulls.

Thundirges utilize these tubes not only as nostrils, but also as resonating chambers for generating sonic frequencies ranging from melodious whistles to triumphant trumpeting, to bellowing rumbles to forlorn piping.  They can communicate over vast distances with these sounds, and use them to devastating effect in combat (when not Charging and/or Trampling, that is).

To activate their harmonics-based Disintegration mutations, thundirges must work in unison in groups of at least three...and because of this joint effort, they ignore the unconsciousness-inducing side effects.  Their collective WIL for this attack is determined at a value of 13+1d8.

Legends insist that, deep in the wastelands, there are secret "thundirge graveyards" littered with valuable ivory and treasure.  And given their complex vocalizations and structured social behaviors, some believe that thundirges are sentient.

Mutations:  Echolocation, Disintegration (Restricted), Energy Ray (Sonic), Increased Sense (Hearing), Increased Sense (Smell), Reflective Epidermis (Sonics), Shriek (Greater)

Sir Mix-A-Lot Has Never Steered Me Wrong

"Now the ground be shakin', when my bass drum's breakin'...."  —  Sir Mix-A-Lot, "Swass" (1988)


When building my beasties for this blog, I've tried to stick exclusively to the official mutations listed in the Mutant Future Core Rules.  Not only did I want to make the monsters painless to drop into any campaign, but I wanted to keep things simple and uniform.  (And it hasn't always been easy, as I'm a 28-year Champions player, and wired to be all about the Special Effects.)

That said, I'm not fond of the Shriek mutation [p. 25].  It lacks flair, pizazz, and all-around oomph; the damage (which can be avoided outright) is paltry, the deafness isn't that big a hassle, and the "once per day" restriction grates.

So here's my fix:  a brand new mutation cleverly called...Greater Shriek.

Shriek, Greater
The mutant's vocal cords are substantially altered, allowing him to produce sounds both above and below the normal human auditory range.  The culmination of this ability seems to be a focused shout, using the sonic vibrations on everyone in the immediate vicinity of the mutant.

1d6 times per day (as determined randomly during Character Creation), the mutant can let out a horrible shriek that affects everyone within a 20' radius of him.  Targets in the area of effect take 2d6 points of sonic damage, and must Save Versus Stun Attacks or be both deafened for 1d6+4 rounds and Paralyzed for 1d4+1 rounds.

Both total damage and effect durations are doubled if the mutation is used under water.

Those who successfully Save are unaffected by the deafness and paralysis.  Mutants with Echolocation suffer a -3 penalty to Save.


I've gone back and updated a handful of relevant critters, like Brainwhales, oscreeches, and zephrogs.  And expect to see it in future entries.