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View Full Version : Reach out and implant someone... (PEACH)



Abd al-Azrad
2006-07-20, 02:37 AM
Hey, all. I threw this monster against some of my players in a campaign way back a long time ago, but never bothered to officially stat it out. But they were quite terrifying back then, so without further ado, I open myself to your constructive criticism!

http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h293/bigmaclarge_huge/Corpsezombie.jpg

Corpse Vine
Tiny Plant

Hit Dice: 2d8+2 plus 3 (14 hp)
Initiative: -3
Speed: 10 ft. (2 squares) or as host - 10 ft.
Armor Class: 10 (+2 size, -3 Dex, +1 natural armor)
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/-7
Attack: +3 Vine (1d2 and Implant)
Full Attack: +3 Vine (1d2 and Implant)
Space/Reach: 2 1/2 ft./5 ft.*
Special Attacks: Implant, vine
Special Qualities: Blindsight 30 ft., pheromones, plant traits, vulnerability to fire
Saves: Fort +4, Ref -3, Will +0
Abilities: Str 10, Dex 4, Con 12, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 1
Skills: +5 Hide*
Feats: Toughness
Environment: Warm, humid climates
Organization: Solitary, pair, or plague (3-9)
CR: 1
Treasure: As host or None
Alignment: Neutral
Advancement: 3-6 HD (Tiny), 7-12 HD (Small)
Level Adjustment: -

The Corpse Vine is a small, slightly reddish vine with the horrifying ability to grow rapidly inside living creatures, quickly killing the host creatures and gaining control of its muscles and senses.

The Corpse Vine is a predatory plant, growing in climates which cannot normally provide enough nutrients for regular plants to thrive. It is unknown what originally caused the Corpse Vine to come to being, whether it was natural selection or magical manipulation, but whatever its source, the Corpse Vine is renowned for its ability to spread rapidly via its Implant ability. By thrusting a reproductive barbed vine, similar to a root, into a passing animal, the Corpse Vine can rapidly spread throughout the animal's body, taking control of its body and essentially reanimating it as a quasi-zombie. It is then free to feed on the host animal's body, while using the host animal to search for more suitable prey.

Combat

The Corpse Vine is remarkably ill-suited for combat. The typical Vine is relatively weak and vulnerable, relying exclusively on its host for protection and offensive capabilities. The Corpse Vine will often attempt to use its host to start a grapple, during which it can easily use its Implant ability on a foe without fear of resistance.

Vine (Ex): The Corpse Vine may extend one of its vinelike roots up to an incredible distance from the Vine's central mass. This ability allows it to threaten areas up to five feet away, but in any round that it uses this ability, it cannot move from its current location. However, a Corpse Vine can still direct its host to move, if it has one.

Implant (Ex): When a Corpse Vine makes a successful attack, it breaks off a small, barbed root which quickly burrows deeply into any living creature the Vine has attacked, branching out and feeding off the creature's body. Any living creature that takes damage from a Corpse Vine must make a successful Fortitide save (DC 12) or become implanted with the root. This save DC is Con-based. If implanted, the root deals 1d4 points of damage per round as it burrows through the creature's body, starting on the round the save was failed. The creature continues to take this damage until any of the following occur: the creature receives a Remove Disease, Delay Poison, or any stronger form of magical aid; the creature dies; or the creature receives the benefits of a Heal check (DC = 10 + total damage dealt by the Implanted root since implantation). If such a Heal check fails, the creature takes an additional 1 point of damage from the cutting and digging into its body while its allies attempt to remove the spreading infestation growing within its organs.

If the creature dies while Implanted, it rises as a Plant Zombie after 1d4 rounds. Use the Zombie stats for a creature of its size and type, but the creature's Type changes to Plant rather than Undead, and the Plant Zombie (hereafter refered to as the Host) gains the Vulnerability to Fire of a Corpse Vine. The implanting root becomes a Corpse Vine inhabiting the zombie, which can direct the host as a free action on its turn. Also, the Host's land speed is decreased by 10 ft.

If the host body is destroyed, the inhabiting Corpse Vine also dies, as it has tied all of its vital systems into its host.

Pheromones (Ex): A Corpse Vine constantly exudes a smell similar to raw meat and freshly spilled blood. Predatory creatures with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2 within 100 ft. of a Corpse Vine must succeed at a Will save (DC 12) or approach the Corpse Vine, as they smell a fresh kill. This save DC is Con-based.

Vulnerability to Fire (Ex): The Corpse Vine, and any hosts it implants, are subject to an additional 50% damage from any Fire-based attack, magical or otherwise. If a Corpse Vine or its host catches fire, it will always reflexively devote all its actions towards putting out the fire until it succeeds, dropping to prone if it can to roll on the ground.

Skills: The Corpse Vine gains an additional +4 to Hide checks while it remains still.

EDIT: Dropped CR to 1.

EDIT 2: Specified that the implanting vine grows into a new Corpse Vine that can take a free action to direct its host to act.

Lord Iames Osari
2006-07-20, 03:24 AM
Only one word will do justice to my reaction:

NICE!

Abd al-Azrad
2006-07-20, 12:43 PM
Only one word will do justice to my reaction:

NICE!

Thanks for your compliment. I'm still kinda hoping for some form of feedback, however. How does VT get so much with his monsters?

I guess reputation. I should have just posted this under VT's name.

Fax Celestis
2006-07-20, 12:49 PM
DC 12 isn't terribly difficult, even for ECL 2 characters. I'd suggest upping it to 15.

It also doesn't seem to be terribly threatening until you either advance it's HD or make it a plant invasion (having 5-15 in a given group, that is).

Abd al-Azrad
2006-07-20, 12:59 PM
DC 12 isn't terribly difficult, even for ECL 2 characters. I'd suggest upping it to 15.

It also doesn't seem to be terribly threatening until you either advance it's HD or make it a plant invasion (having 5-15 in a given group, that is).

I'm teetering between CR 1 and 2. I highballed it at 2 because it has a quasi-instant kill ability, which requires higher level magics or extremely difficult Heal checks to stop. And DC 12 isn't too difficult, but if the vine hits you three times, what happens? You roll a 13, a 16, and a 6 (modified, the 6 still likely won't make a DC 12) and you start dying horribly. It's how they played out in the games I ran.

Meat Shield
2006-07-20, 01:03 PM
I would actually give it more attacks than just the one, maybe based on maturity of the Vine.

Say for a young vine, only one attacking thorn has grown. For a young adult vine, three. For a mature vine, five. And I can go either way on older than mature vine getting more or fewer attacks, meh. This would also help with the low DC on implantation.

Other than that, the Mad Arab strikes again!

Fax Celestis
2006-07-20, 01:04 PM
It's still got to hit you three times. Any ranger worth his salt will know one of these plants on sight and ask the fighter for his torch (or the mage for a handy dandy flaming sphere).

No more plantykins.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's a good creature. It just seems like something the party's going to run into and go, "I...oh, um. OW! It BIT me! BURNIT."

Abd al-Azrad
2006-07-20, 01:15 PM
It's still got to hit you three times. Any ranger worth his salt will know one of these plants on sight and ask the fighter for his torch (or the mage for a handy dandy flaming sphere).

No more plantykins.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's a good creature. It just seems like something the party's going to run into and go, "I...oh, um. OW! It BIT me! BURNIT."

Sounds reasonable, but remember that due to the Vine's Implant ability, and its poor mobility otherwise, you likely won't be encountering them outside of a host body, ever. They're kind of a survival horror type of monster- attack in swarms of mixed monsters (wolves, hawks, implanted humanoids, etc.), slowly shamble towards their enemies, and try to overwhelm and implant. However, that description alone seems to set them as CR 1 monsters.

I'm personally wary of making the DCs too high for their abilities, mainly because I use these guys as a threat of danger for low-level games. Yes, in general, you'll see and kill one long before it presents a threat, but the times where one manages to get up close, or you fall through a shoddily made floor into a basement full of them, you know that you could very well die. If you're low level.


I would actually give it more attacks than just the one, maybe based on maturity of the Vine.

They have a single attack, wouldn't they get more based on their BAB? Although I see what you mean, a 20 HD vine with only one attack isn't terribly scary. I'll think of how to level their multiple attacks.

Fax Celestis
2006-07-20, 01:21 PM
Sounds reasonable, but remember that due to the Vine's Implant ability, and its poor mobility otherwise, you likely won't be encountering them outside of a host body, ever. They're kind of a survival horror type of monster- attack in swarms of mixed monsters (wolves, hawks, implanted humanoids, etc.), slowly shamble towards their enemies, and try to overwhelm and implant. However, that description alone seems to set them as CR 1 monsters.
That being said, could you coup de grace an implant?

If you can't, perhaps increase the DC if the subject is helpless, paralyzed, or otherwise immobile.

Coupled with the above, something that would make these terrifying at higher hit dice would be dominate monster 1/day.

Animal Trance would also work at lower dice...maybe even right off the bat.

If you're going for the OMG ZOMBIES effect, then giving the plant animal trance would give it the ability to lure lots of them in, implant them, and spread further.

Abd al-Azrad
2006-07-20, 01:34 PM
That being said, could you coup de grace an implant?

If you can't, perhaps increase the DC if the subject is helpless, paralyzed, or otherwise immobile.

Coupled with the above, something that would make these terrifying at higher hit dice would be dominate monster 1/day.

Animal Trance would also work at lower dice...maybe even right off the bat.

If you're going for the OMG ZOMBIES effect, then giving the plant animal trance would give it the ability to lure lots of them in, implant them, and spread further.

Interesting ideas. I don't really want to bog down this monster with an advancement chart similar to a True Dragon's (multiple attacks, spell-likes learned at higher HD, etc.) so I'll do the next best thing: Cap the Corpse Vine's advancement at 13 HD, and create another monster, the Corpse Kudzu (or something), the big mother plant (14+ HD) which behaves like this guy but has a lot of extra spell-likes and nasty abilities.

Oh, as for the paralysed/helpless/grappled/immobile ideas- wouldn't the fact that the vine can basically just keep trying to implant until they succeed be nasty enough, without raising the DC?

I'm not really trying to make a lethal killing machine here (although I probably will end up with something similar)- I'm going for a balanced low-CR monster with just the right touch of scary abilities that they can have an adventure based solely on their infestation.

Fax Celestis
2006-07-20, 01:38 PM
I suppose, but say someone ties up an unconscious Lev 20 fighter and drops it into a pit of these plants. They'll never impant him.

Hell, even a lev 10 fighter with 21 Con won't ever be implanted.

As for the Mother Vine? Excellent.

Perhaps after 13 HD of advancement, it spontaneously grows into a new plant?

Abd al-Azrad
2006-07-20, 01:44 PM
I suppose, but say someone ties up an unconscious Lev 20 fighter and drops it into a pit of these plants. They'll never impant him.

Hell, even a lev 10 fighter with 21 Con won't ever be implanted.

Don't you still fail saves on a 1?


As for the Mother Vine? Excellent.

Perhaps after 13 HD of advancement, it spontaneously grows into a new plant?

Yeah, that's basically what I'm going for. The game I ran did have a giant mass of these corpse vines in the house's atrium, which acted as a gigantic, magic-using version of their young... granted, a high level evil wizard had merged with the mass, but that's largely unnecessary to make a big nasty monster.

Fax Celestis
2006-07-20, 01:46 PM
Don't you still fail saves on a 1?

Yeah, I suppose.

Abd al-Azrad
2006-07-20, 01:56 PM
Yeah, I suppose.

I can see you're unconvinced. You want a really big, threatening, CR 20 version of this little pipsqueak. Don't worry, it will come... and no, even a hundred CR 1 monsters shouldn't be too much of a threat for a high-level character whose class is heavily focused on resisting their attacks (high Fort save).

Advanced to 12 HD, the DC jumps to 18, for a monster with an effective CR of 4. Might be a bit dangerous after all.

Fax Celestis
2006-07-20, 02:02 PM
I can see you're unconvinced. You want a really big, threatening, CR 20 version of this little pipsqueak. Don't worry, it will come... and no, even a hundred CR 1 monsters shouldn't be too much of a threat for a high-level character whose class is heavily focused on resisting their attacks (high Fort save).

Advanced to 12 HD, the DC jumps to 18, for a monster with an effective CR of 4. Might be a bit dangerous after all.
I like my monsters scary and in large quantities, yes.

...part of that has to do with the fact that the group I DM has the strange power to overcome (with apparent ease) CRs several levels higher than they should.

At ECL 12, they took out 7 ECL 15 Barbarians.

This is why, next game, I'm throwing them against: 1 Old White Dragon, 2 Frost Worms, 2 White Dragon Shamans (L14), 1 Bard/White Dragon Disciple (5/10), and 4 Winter Wolves.

In one encounter.

As you can see, I've got something of a problem. And I don't, for the life of me, know how to fix it.

The Vorpal Tribble
2006-07-20, 03:31 PM
I'm headin' out the door, so can't give a full critique, but when I get back I'll take a thorough look over if everyone before me hasn't polished it up :)

Abd al-Azrad
2006-07-20, 03:34 PM
I'm headin' out the door, so can't give a full critique, but when I get back I'll take a thorough look over if everyone before me hasn't polished it up *:)

I look forward to your input. *:)

Fax, I perfectly understand the whole obsession with defeating powergaming players. It's just not really my thing- the more powerful a monster you make up to defeat the players, the more I feel you're just throwing tons of poorly designed PC-killer abilities into a 25-40HD pot and pumping ability scores up to deific levels. I feel true monster-making takes place at lower levels, where you have to use discretion and careful attention to balance to create creatures based on a concept, rather than existing just to destroy all life.

Overlord
2006-07-20, 03:46 PM
I look forward to your input. :)


Yeah, but if you had used Vorpal Tribble's name, he would basically be giving himself advice, now wouldn't he? :P

As for the monster, it looks great. Any class with a good fortitude save will have a pretty easy time of killing this, but I can see that this monster's strength will come from it's minions. It should probably have large amounts of small, zombified woodland creatures protecting it, which is what you have planned anyway. I like the idea a lot. Good job!

Fax Celestis
2006-07-20, 03:50 PM
I look forward to your input. :)

Fax, I perfectly understand the whole obsession with defeating powergaming players. It's just not really my thing- the more powerful a monster you make up to defeat the players, the more I feel you're just throwing tons of poorly designed PC-killer abilities into a 25-40HD pot and pumping ability scores up to deific levels. I feel true monster-making takes place at lower levels, where you have to use discretion and careful attention to balance to create creatures based on a concept, rather than existing just to destroy all life.
The horrible bit is that they're not powergamers. I've got a psion/pyrokineticist, a cleric/warmage/mystic theurge, a ranger/shadowdancer, and a raw fighter. None of them have optimized anything, really. They're just good.

Abd al-Azrad
2006-07-20, 03:57 PM
As for the monster, it looks great. Any class with a good fortitude save will have a pretty easy time of killing this, but I can see that this monster's strength will come from it's minions. It should probably have large amounts of small, zombified woodland creatures protecting it, which is what you have planned anyway. I like the idea a lot. Good job!

Thanks. Yes, the basic idea behind this monster is that it's versatile. You can have six encounters with them and none would be the same- a pack of wolves, a small bear, a flock of ravens. Of course, they'd all just basically charge into melee, but the whole point is to keep the players guessing. From a distance, any creature could be infested.

Overlord
2006-07-20, 03:59 PM
The horrible bit is that they're not powergamers. I've got a psion/pyrokineticist, a cleric/warmage/mystic theurge, a ranger/shadowdancer, and a raw fighter. None of them have optimized anything, really. They're just good.


Hmm. Well, I've played a cleric/warmage/mystic theurge, and I can tell you, while they aren't terrible, they definitely aren't uber. The rest of the party doesn't look too optimized either, although I don't know about the pyrokineticist; I'm not that familiar with psionics. Did you deliberately persuade them to make weak choices just so that they would be less unstoppable? :P

EDIT:



From a distance, any creature could be infested.


Hey, look, it's a little bunny rabbit... ;D

Fax Celestis
2006-07-20, 05:12 PM
Hmm. Well, I've played a cleric/warmage/mystic theurge, and I can tell you, while they aren't terrible, they definitely aren't uber. The rest of the party doesn't look too optimized either, although I don't know about the pyrokineticist; I'm not that familiar with psionics. Did you deliberately persuade them to make weak choices just so that they would be less unstoppable? *:P
Actually, no. They're more interested in flavor and RP than "Killing Everything".

I just don't get it.

NEO|Phyte
2006-07-20, 05:16 PM
The horrible bit is that they're not powergamers. I've got a psion/pyrokineticist, a cleric/warmage/mystic theurge, a ranger/shadowdancer, and a raw fighter. None of them have optimized anything, really. They're just good.

...Pyrokineticist, and you are sending them into a fight with COLD-based monsters? I can only assume this is due to their current environment.

Fax Celestis
2006-07-20, 05:22 PM
...Pyrokineticist, and you are sending them into a fight with COLD-based monsters? I can only assume this is due to their current environment.
Yup.

Let's leave it at the dragon worships Ghulurak, of the Killing Frost of Ghulurak, found in the DMG-II.

kailin
2006-07-20, 07:35 PM
Hmmmm. Cool. Reminds me of something I saw on an epsiode of TNG once.

I think the pheremones should do the work of the animal nicely, without the need for any pesky spell-like abilities clogging up your low-level party scarer.

It's a cool monster. Here's the wierd thing about it, which became clear when I read about how it can't move after it tries to implant, but its host can. It's basically two monsters in one, a gunner (if you will), and a pilot (Zombie pilot) who can do some smashing of his own. Zombie is a clever template to apply to the hosts, since they'll have restricted actions anyway, so I guess on any given round it could either Zombie attack and Vine attack, or move and Vine Attack, OR charge+Zombie attack and Vine attack. What a screwy beast.

The upshot is, it basically has 2 standard actions per round, which is quite kickass. The downside, I guess, is how limited it is in using these 2 actions, and the fact that its host will never have more than 1 attack per round. Eh, sure, why not. I think it probably is a CR 2 though, but only if it takes the party by surprise.

Fax Celestis
2006-07-20, 07:44 PM
Interesting ideas. I don't really want to bog down this monster with an advancement chart similar to a True Dragon's (multiple attacks, spell-likes learned at higher HD, etc.) so I'll do the next best thing: Cap the Corpse Vine's advancement at 13 HD, and create another monster, the Corpse Kudzu (or something), the big mother plant (14+ HD) which behaves like this guy but has a lot of extra spell-likes and nasty abilities.
Something else you could do is, instead of zombifying the hosts the Corpse Kudzu takes over, you could apply the Photosynthetic (http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=gaming;action=display;num=1153027275 ) template instead, perhaps over the course of a few days (1d4+1, for instance), and slightly change the vines on the back of the creature to be (basically) mobile versions of the Corpse Vine.

And, of course, remove the host's sentience. Probably with an undispellable version of Dominate monster or something.

Abd al-Azrad
2006-07-20, 11:30 PM
It's a cool monster. Here's the wierd thing about it, which became clear when I read about how it can't move after it tries to implant, but its host can. It's basically two monsters in one, a gunner (if you will), and a pilot (Zombie pilot) who can do some smashing of his own. Zombie is a clever template to apply to the hosts, since they'll have restricted actions anyway, so I guess on any given round it could either Zombie attack and Vine attack, or move and Vine Attack, OR charge+Zombie attack and Vine attack. What a screwy beast.

The upshot is, it basically has 2 standard actions per round, which is quite kickass. The downside, I guess, is how limited it is in using these 2 actions, and the fact that its host will never have more than 1 attack per round. Eh, sure, why not. I think it probably is a CR 2 though, but only if it takes the party by surprise.

Yeah, I intended the Vine to be able to make Implanting attacks while its host makes his own. The big thing hosts do to help out is initiate grapples with enemies. While a zombie is pinning an opponent, the vine can make implant attack after implant attack without fear of retribution.

DMgrinder
2006-07-21, 12:37 AM
You guys are all saying that you just walk up and kill it? It has a hide modifyer of +13. This is also its only skill so I would asume it would use its only trick.

Cool monster dude. I would love to see a druid infested with this. It could summon more! The druid could have a corpse vine animal companion. If you use the PHB II rules for druids, their forest avenger form could be a corpse vine. The possibilities are endless!

Also, I don't think the standard zombie template fits very well. You could consider reworking the yellow musk zombie template from the Feind Folio. If you don't have that, just make up your own.

Something that would be cool is a swarm version of these. Plants work very well for swarms, although I have never seen any.

Abd al-Azrad
2006-07-21, 02:04 AM
You guys are all saying that you just walk up and kill it? It has a hide modifyer of +13. This is also its only skill so I would asume it would use its only trick.

Ah, crap, I calculated its total Hide bonus with the +4 I gave it for standing still. Have to rework that... it should have +9 when using all its tricks.

Fax Celestis
2006-08-19, 04:26 PM
MitP Vote: Yes.

Fualkner Asiniti
2006-08-21, 10:39 AM
This is by far the creepiest monster I have ever seen. The spreading power of a weed, and the danger of a vampire... ouch.


MitP vote: A big fat freakin' YES!

Abd al-Azrad
2006-08-21, 01:09 PM
Update: Now with art! See the Corpse Vine in all its hideous glory!

My girlfriend is awesome. Not to brag, or anything.

Fualkner Asiniti
2006-08-21, 06:27 PM
Update: Now with art! See the Corpse Vine in all its hideous glory!

My girlfriend is awesome. Not to brag, or anything.

Yeouch. That does rock. Deffinetly going in the book.


That reminds me, got to talk to my friends about art for this...

SilveryCord
2006-08-21, 09:27 PM
Swarmed plants?!? What will they think of next!

*remembers to use this*

Abd al-Azrad
2006-08-22, 02:26 AM
Swarmed plants?!? What will they think of next!

*remembers to use this*

I'm not sure it's a completely original idea (Yellow Musk Creeper) but it's my take on a very effective, versatile, low CR terror. Please do use it!

Lord Iames Osari
2006-08-23, 10:50 AM
MitP Vote: Yes.

Spartan_Samuel
2006-08-23, 03:54 PM
Sweet! The Flood! I love you man!

Abd al-Azrad
2006-08-23, 05:46 PM
Sweet! The Flood! I love you man!

Love me with your votes. ;)

Zeal
2006-08-24, 04:31 PM
MitP vote: Yes

asromta
2006-08-25, 05:23 PM
MitP Vote: Yes

Winged One
2006-08-25, 05:26 PM
MitP vote: yes. I believe that's 7.

Cornugon
2006-08-27, 01:12 AM
MitP Vote: Yes.

I absolutely love the concept and execution of this beast. A big thumbs up.

Fax Celestis
2006-08-27, 01:19 AM
Congratulations, Corpse Vine is now official. Monsters in the Playground: Monster #1.

Fualkner Asiniti
2006-08-27, 09:06 AM
Congrats, Abd al-Azrad, for making Monster #1!

Randomman413
2006-09-04, 05:09 PM
MitP: Yes. Ever read the zombie survival guide? You need to.

Abd al-Azrad
2006-09-04, 06:27 PM
Congrats, Abd al-Azrad, for making Monster #1!

Yay! Now I'll start riding my success by creating a few more!

Thanks everyone. I look forward to this project's growth. It seems to have taken off immensely.

Hyrael
2006-09-14, 06:00 PM
This is a very cool monster. the best thing about it is that noew druids can control hordes of zombies as well