Thursday, January 31, 2013

"C" is for "Crocworm"


No. Enc.:  1d4 (2d6)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  30' (10')
  —Burrow:  30' (10')
Armor Class:  7
Hit Dice:  3
Attacks:  1 (bite)
Damage:  1d10
Save:  L2
Morale:  10
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  110

Crocworms are pale, 15' long abominations with scaly heads that fade into translucent, corpulent, slimy bodies.  They dwell in ruined sewers, deep swamps, and deeper caves, and often congregate near sites contaminated by toxins and/or necrotic energies. Crocworms reek of corruption and decay, and their phlegmy bellows (particularly when rutting) induce nausea in even the most stalwart of souls.

Crocworms track prey via scent, sound, and vibration, and though bloated and sluggish, gain a +3 Initiative bonus thanks to lightning-fast lunges.  Old wives' tales warn of using bladed weapons against crocworms, as chopping them in half allegedly results in two ravenous beasts....

Swamp hags treasure them as beloved pets.

Mutations:  Increased Sense (Hearing, Smell), Sensory Deficiency (Blind) [D]

Designer's Notes:  I got shanghaied into DMing Dungeon Crawl Classics, and I'm naturally going with "post-apocalyptic sword & sorcery" (Gods died; moon exploded; blood rained; world flooded; beasties turned beastlier) any monsters I use there are totally simpatico with my usual blog nonsense here.  I'll just dual-stat them—and cross-post here—with the DCC block at the bottom.  Like so!

Crocworm:  Init +3; Atk bite +1 melee (1d10); AC 12; HD 3d6; MV 15'; Act 1d20; SP Fort +3, Ref -4, Will -3; AL N.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"S" is for "Slugbear"


No. Enc.:  1 (1d3)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  60' (20')
Armor Class:  4
Hit Dice:  6
Attacks:  3 or 1 (2 claws, 1 bite, or 1 radula)
Damage:  1d6 / 1d6 / 1d10, or 2d4 + poison
Save:  L3
Morale:  10
Hoard Class:  VII
XP:  1,570

Slugbears are plodding, 11' tall bipeds with shaggy, slime-drenched fur.  They can slowly (over 3 rounds) elongate their torsos and limbs so as to reach heights over 20', and contort through openings seemingly too small for their bulk.

A slugbear harpoons targets up to 15' away with its barbed, radular tongue, injecting a Class 11 paralytic neurotoxin in the process.

Given their malleability and perpetual sogginess, slugbears are immune to blunt / bashing weapons and crushing, and suffer halved damage from fire-based attacks.  Desiccating agents (salts, silica gels, etc.), though, inflict 2d6 damage per round of exposure.

Mutations:  Frailty ("Dehydration Sensitivity") [D], Toxic Weapon (Venom)

Designer's Notes:  The Slugbear began as but a sketch, sprung from the fertile, fevered mind of Jason Sholtis (he of the awesome The Dungeon Dozen blog, which every self-respecting DM / GM / Judge / Screenmonkey should have bookmarked) over on G+.  He kindly gave me permission to run with the concept, so I statted it up.  Here's the original art!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mutants In The News — "Mutant Masterpiece" Edition

As mentioned previously, we here at A Field Guide To Doomsday go giddy for Ethan Nicolle's Bearmageddon strip.  It's chock full of murderous monsters and mayhem, and everything I want from a comic about mutant bears taking over the world in the most straightforward way possible:

Eating every human they encounter.  Elegant, no?

And back when I was just a rookie blogger, one of the very first beasties of my own making was the mighty molebear.  That subterranean sucker is very near and dear to my heart.

So when Mr. Nicole offered up custom commissions, I had to send him some megabucks.


The Greatest Thing I Have Ever Seen

Lovely.  Absolutely lovely.

To quote a certain Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr.:  "IT BELONGS IN A MUSEUM!!!"

Disclaimer:  Mr. Nicolle still retains the rights, y'all, so give 'im credit if re-posting it or whatever.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

"B" is for "Bergbeak"


No. Enc.:  0 (1d4)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  180' (60')
Armor Class:  5
Hit Dice:  5
Attacks:  1 (bite)
Damage:  1d10
Save:  L3
Morale:  9
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  650

The blubbery, 9' tall bergbeaks race across the tundras on broad feet perfectly adapted to the terrain. Their keening squawks carry with the winds.

Bergbeaks hunt by homing in on their prey's neurological signatures.  They sense any and all "cranial impulses" within a 1 mile radius, including those of Androids (but not standard robots).  In fact, Androids drive bergbeaks into a confused rage, granting the birds +3 To Hit against them.

Clothing and sleeping gear stuffed with bergbeak feathers provide an extra +2 bonus to any and all cold-related Saving Throws.

Mutations:  Reflective Epidermis (Cold), Unique Sense ("Brainwave Detection")

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mutants In The News — "The Coming Of...THE SINISTER STAR-SCARABS!!!" Edition

Ok, this is cool as hell.

The BBC reports that dung beetles use astronomy—specifically, the positions and light and reflections thereof from the Sun, Moon, and Milky Way—to navigate their little balls o' filth around the desert.

Choice quote:  "Humans, birds, and seals are all known to navigate by the stars.  But this could be the first example of an insect doing so."

Fortunately, some of us have spent a lifetime (and a fortune in quarters) preparing for this eventuality....

Radioactive Review — 'Wisdom From The Wastelands #14: Aggregates'

Boy, howdy, is this one hard to review.

The meat of Wisdom From The Wastelands #14: Aggregates provides thoughtful, scientifically-sound, well-reasoned rationale and methodology for Mutant Lords to create, and I quote, "composite creatures that result from endosymbiosis, the changes that develop from a host and a symbiont living as one."  Some infecting and some bonding and some mutating merges two separate species into one new super-beastie, with lots of stops along the way to manifest new traits.

Provided are a half-dozen combos—Brain Worms / Brain Lashers, Green Hide algae and Chicken Wolves, Shrimp / Giant Catfish, Water Mold / Glue Flowers, Water Mold / Kelpers, and Water Mold / Null Plants—and their evolutionary life cycles, all described in exquisite detail.  Each gets about a half-page of explanatory text, and a unique, elaborate timechart listing the abilities gained and lost over the generations.

It's thorough.  It's reasonable.  It's sensible.  But it does absolutely, positively nothing for me. I'm just not the audience for the material.

Why, you ask?

Because this is a chicken wolf, one of the critters from the core Mutant Future rulebook.

Just look at that thing of beauty.

Now, if I wanted to give it plant powers, I'd just roll up some additional random mutations and that'd be that.  I straight up don't need a chart—or, worse, a sound, methodical rationale—to make that ridiculously awesome mutant go all plant-y over the course of decades.  As a life-long Gamma World fan, I take alligators with taser-tentacles on their heads and buffalo that morph into big ol' bugs for granted.  I don't need to know how or why they do what they do.

Any of you remember those Dragon magazine "Ecology Of The..." articles, or the 1980s era Official Handbooks Of The Marvel Universe?  They turned over-explaining into an artform...and sucked the joy out of the wondrous, magical, and/or plum goofy in the process. But thousands of fans viewed those over-explanations as features, not flaws.

Don't get me wrong.  Some of the hybrids are awesome, like the catfish that's a living submarine housing a rampaging crustacean army (as you all know, I'm a sucker for hybridized catfish!!!).  And each and every entry inspires creative new monstrosities to bedevil your players.  I just find the chart system cumbersome and clunky and no-funs-at-all, well done as it may be.

The rest of the issue focuses on a full page of 16 all-new mutations and disabilities, and there are some snazzy ones.  Particular faves include Crawling Claws (detachable limbs rule!), Dragonfly Wings, Hidden Egg, and Strangle Twigs.

Then again, those are doable under the core mutations already listed in the main rulebook....


So...what's my final verdict?

I guess I gotta go with the old standby:  "It's the kind of thing you'll like if you like that kind of thing."

Buy it here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Mutants In The News — "Fish N' (Mortar) Chips" Edition

Catching up on lots of post-holiday mutie news.  Reviews, new monsters, and campaign materials coming pronto!

)  As they've been the stars of some of our very favorite flicks, piranhas are near and dear to us at A Field Guide To Doomsday.  So we gleefully report that scientists have determined piranhas (both prehistoric and  modern) have the strongest bites relative to their sizes, biting "with a force more than 30 times [their] weight, a remarkable feat yet unmatched among vertebrates."  They even beat out the jaw-some megalodon in chomptastic prowess!!!

) There's clearly something in the water (*snort*) when it comes to mini-mutant toys, what with the new LEGO "Legends Of Chima" sets and the revived Battle Beasts "Beast Saga" line (which we've mentioned before).  It's an embarrassment of radioactive riches!!!

But artist Hauke Scheer has given us just about the most mutastic beasties of all in the form of his psionic, armored Mechawhales!!!

  (All art and designs are his...just posting them for promotional purposes!)

These are some superb surly cybernetic cetaceans, and they go perfectly with plenty of our previously posted aquatic enemies.

Be sure to check out the Mechawhales link for bios, more art, and videos!!!  And you can buy the figure here!!!

)  The BBC has a snazzy article about self-cleaning, energy-generating, food-producing *cue Futurama cryo-technician voice* BUILDINGS OF THE FUTURE!!!

"Edible edifices," they say...