Friday, October 31, 2014

Devastation Drive-In: The Final Cut — 'Ticks' (1993)


No. Enc.:  7d10 (20d20)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  150' (50')
Armor Class:  1
Hit Dice:  1
Attacks:  1 (bite)
Damage:  1d4
Save:  L1
Morale:  12
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  40

To better harvest certain "recreational pharmaceuticals", Ancient horticulturists used mysterious chemical brews to facilitate plant growth and elemental resistance...


Zipticks are hyper-aggressive, saucer-sized arachnids found in wooded and overgrown environs.  They possess armored hides and powerful jaws, and dash and leap (standing 10'; running 20') with such speed that all ranged attacks directed their way suffer a -2 To Hit penalty.  Zipticks cling to, and move across, vertical surfaces and ceilings with ease, and often drop down on those below (Surprising on a 1-3 on 1d6).  They also surge across the landscape to attack in swarms.

Zipticks lay clutches (containing dozens—if not hundreds—of eggs) almost anywhere in their habitat...and while many masses are blatant, others rest within hollow logs and ruins, and dangle from trees, and coat the undersides of bulky artifacts / wreckage, etc.  When clearing out egg-festations, adventurers have to be extra cautious and triple-check the area. Accidentally brushing up against an egg wakes up the tick within, and the creature gets a free biting attack as it bursts free.

Speaking of bites, zipticks clamp with mighty fangs.  A successful bite allows a ziptick to burrow its head deep into the victim, and the beast freely drains 1d6 damage per round after. Zipticks inject a powerful hallucinogenic toxin with each bite; a failed Saving Throw Vs. Poison results in Confusion  [p. 57 of the Mutant Future Core Rules] from twisted visions for 1d4 Turns.  Getting exsanguinated while tripping is a horrible way to perish, indeed.

Removing a ziptick requires an Ability Check Vs. STR at a +2 penalty, and successfully pulling it free inflicts an automatic 1d8 damage.  But one risks being too successful, as making the aforementioned Ability Check by 5 or more means that the body is ripped free, but the head stays embedded, doing free damage each round as above!  Dealing with a detached head involves cutting it out of the victim with a bladed weapon, which inflicts base equipment damage plus and additional 1d10 for trauma.

If a ziptick bites with a Natural 20, the creature actually burrows into the victim, and devours the unfortunate soul from within!  (Damage is the standard 1d4 + 1d6 per round.)  Death is agonizing, and bystanders can see the tick(s) hideously squirming under the skin.  Those that expire from an "internalized tick" suffer even after death, as 1d10 rounds later, their corpses are rent asunder as a man-sized ziptick bursts forth!  These abominable, fang-ier specimens [XP: 1,700] have 5 HD, AC -1, and inflict 2d8 damage with each bite...and natural To Hit rolls of 18-20 sever limbs!  Fortunately, these giant zipticks don't drain blood...but unfortunately, it's because they're too busy devouring flesh and bone.

Standard zipticks explode when touched by open flame (even something as small as a lit match), and  that's the easiest way to remove them.  They actively flee fire, too, and their Morale drops to 5.  Giant zipticks don't die instantly like their smaller brethren, but do take double damage per fiery attack.

Zipticks are incredibly strong and tenacious for their size, and given enough time, can gnaw and dig through earth, wood, and even metal in pursuit of prey.

Mutations:  Toxic Weapon (Hallucinogenic Venom)

Designer's Notes:  This film never got a proper theatrical release, so no official poster exists (necessitating use of the DVD cover).

Monday, October 27, 2014

Devastation Drive-In: The Final Chapter — 'Fido' (2006)

Artifact:  Zomcon Corpsecollar

To handle the not-as-infrequent-as-they'd-like uprisings of flesh-hungry ghouls, The Ancients did their best to domesticate the creatures with technological artifacts...


The Zomcon corpsecollar is an Ancient artifact used to control the walking dead [p. 101 of the Mutant Future Core Rules].  When clamped around a ghoul's neck, the device renders its subject docile and compliant.

Collared zombies can follow simple commands, and perform basic tasks without supervision (including gardening, standing guard, collecting refuse, etc.).  The collar also raises (restores?) both intelligence and awareness by slight degrees.

When functioning properly, a corpsecollar's two red lights glow red.

But when the lights go inactive...beware, for the ghoul reverts to its savage, ever-hungry state!

Damage in excess of 3 HP will deactivate a corpsecollar, and necessitate repairs. Accidental jostling and intentional tinkering are also risky, eliciting a malfunction 50% of the time.

Each corpsecollar comes with a hand-held remote-control.  This device sends an electric shock through the collar, and serves to aid in the training of zombies (or outright torture them).

There is evidence to suggest that particularly strong-willed specimens of the walking dead regain shreds of their humanity after long-term exposure to a corpsecollar...and may even remain docile and friendly if the device malfunctions!