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Cyclone231
2006-03-30, 10:39 PM
Prepare yourself for a very long post. Suggesting CRs for the meatriders, and noting any typos, would be nice.


Those who have been enthralled by a meatrider will doubtlessly tell you of the sickening sensations in their mind as they are forced to do vile things that they would rather not. Though their minds are their own once more, they are never the same, always remembering the sickening choices they made, always feeling guilty. They are the meatriders.

The origins of meatriders are unknown. Some say they come from another plane of existance. Others suggest that they were some sick, twisted wizardís expirements. Still others suggest that perhaps they are an amalgamation of spirits of the forest which refused to leave. Whatever the case, they are bizarre and unique, with a totally alien biology.

Meatriders, while they rarely form groups, are deadly and versatile. When they do form groups, they are even more deadly, though also more prone to infighting and combat about who owns what. While meatriders generally keep their ďdomainsĒ to a small size, some choose to expand to the size of cities or even nations, controlling key figureheads and slowly spreading their dominance. However, such cases are as rare as they are frightening. There was only one recorded case of a meatrider taking over a nation.

Meatrider
Meatriders are composed of a single, large, lettuce-like ďheadĒ, with four tentacles attached to the side. If the leafy exterior is peeled away, glowing, beating heart, as well as a brain, lung and small digestive tract, can be seen beneath a thin layer of cartilage.

Meatriders undergo three distinct stages through their life cycle. These are spore, spawn and adult. A spore has no personality or will of itís own, and itís only function is to supply an adult meatrider with servants. A spawn is a smaller version of an adult meatrider, and capable of moving, though unable to create spores. Full grown adults are the most fearsome, capable of enslaving villages and even cities with sufficient work.

Meatriders rarely live in ďlairsĒ. Their homes vary from simply living in the forest, perfectly content and disguised, to the most extravagant of back rooms, secretly controlling the city.

Meatriders do not natively speak a language, though they are capable of communicating through their host, using whatever languages it knows.

Meatrider Traits:
The tactics of a meatrider vary based on itís life stage. They all share the following abilities:
Massive Tentacles (Ex): For the purposes of grapple checks made with itís tentacles, the meatrider is considered to be one size larger.
Psionics (Sp): A meatrider casts spells as a wizard of 10th level, without need for material components, and regardless of whether or not the spells are actually on the wizardís spell list. At will - telepathic bond, hold animal, hide from animals, scrying. 3/day - hypnotism. All spells except scrying have touch range. Anyone targetted by the scrying spell who is within 60 ft is considered to be known firsthand.
Blind (Ex): A meatrider cannot see normally. It can still see via itís Scrying spell in itís special abilities.

Adult Meatrider:
Small Aberration
Hit Dice: 4d8+4 (22 hp)
Initiative: +2
Speed: -
Armor Class: 14 (+1 size, +2 Dex, +1 natural armor), 13 touch, 12 flatfooted
Base Attack/Grapple: +3/+4
Attack: +3 Tentacle whip 1d6
Full Attack: +3 Tentacle whip 1d6
Space/Reach: 5 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Improved Grab
Special Qualities: Attach, insert spore, psionics, meatrider traits, aberration traits
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +5
Abilities: Str 8, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 17, Wis 12, Cha 14
Skills: Bluff +8, Diplomacy +9, Hide +11, Listen +8, Knowledge (geography) +6, Knowledge (local) +8, Sense Motive +6
Feats: Cleave, improved grapple
Environment: Forests and civilized areas
Organization: Solitary
CR: ?
Treasure: None
Alignment: Typically chaotic evil
Advancement: Class levels
Level Adjustment: ?
A large, lettuce-like shape is attached to the back of the human that stands before you. A single long tentacle is attached to the humanís brain, three more sprouting out from the side, grasping for anything.
Adult meatriders are the most infamous of the meatrider stock. While the spawn and spore are still dangerous, the adult is widely accepted to be the most dangerous of them all.

The adult meatrider looks much like a very large stalk of lettuce growing from the ground when encountered unaware. A good look at it would notice a faint, red glow from within the meatrider. This is the adult meatriderís heart. Further examination can reveal other, even fainter glows, of the meatriderís other organs. Once it is aware of itís foes, however, it will yank itís tentacles out from the ground and poise them to strike, looking like a bizarre, sickly horror. The sight of an aware adult is frightening, and itís tentacles writhe around.

The prongs of an adult meatriderís tentacles look something like large pieces of cloth, similar to a thick hankerchief or a thin blanket. The prongs are surprisingly tough for their thickness (or lack thereof), and have several strange deformities on the outside, used to supply extra toughness to the creatureís tentacles.

Combat:
When caught in combat, the first instinct of an adult meatrider is to grapple a target (generally the nearest one, since it is unable to see properly when suprised), and then takes over itís mind with Insert Spare. Once this is completed, it will attempt to grapple any other enemies, or run, based upon itís information.

When initiating combat, an adult meatrider generally has a fairly large stock of humanoids and other creatures under itís control, and will attempt to overwhelm any foes it encounters with a large number of thralls.

Attach (Ex): This ability allows the meatrider to attach itself to a creature which it has already grappled and dominated. It takes a successful grapple check against the meatrider to remove it from the creature it has attached to.

Insert Spore (Sp): The meatrider is effectively capable of casting the spell Dominate Monster at will (caster level 10th; Will DC 18), with a few variations.

First of all, it can only be cast once the meatrider has already successfully grappled a target creature.

Secondly, it can only be used on an animal, giant, humanoid, monstrous humanoid or magical beast.

Thirdly, even though there is no common language between you and the target creature, full communication is possible.

Fourthly, the spell lasts an indefinite amount of time, until the controlled creature has broken out of control via a successful Will save upon an order which conflicts with the creatureís moral codes. An additional Fort save (with a DC of 22) is allowed every week.

Finally, if the meatrider is killed, all creatures that were under itís domination begin to take d3 Intelligence and d2 Wisdom and Charisma damage each hour (Will save DC 15 negates), until they are dead, or until they have negated the effect three times in a row. If the spore consumes all of any ability score, a meatrider spawn will emerge, and in the process kill itís host. If the character succeeds, it will survive, though the damage will be permanent until a restoration spell is used.

Psionics (Sp): In addition to normal spells: 3/day - hold person. 1/day - insanity, hold monster, mass hold person. All spells have touch range, except mass hold person.

Meatrider Spawn:
Tiny Aberration
Hit Dice: 1d8+1 (5 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: 35 ft. land (7 squares), 15 ft. climb (3 squares)
Armor Class: 15 (+2 size, +3 Dex), 15 touch, 12 flatfooted
Base Attack/Grapple: +0/+2
Attack: +0 Tentacle Whip 1d6
Full Attack: +0 Tentacle Whip 1d6
Space/Reach: 0 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: None
Special Qualities: Natural climber, meatrider traits, aberration traits
Saves: Fort +1, Ref +3, Will +2
Abilities: Str 6, Dex 17, Con 13, Int 3, Wis 10, Cha 12
Skills: Climb +3, Listen 1
Feats: Improved grapple
Environment: Forests, areas that a recently deceased adult took thralls in.
Organization: Solitary
CR: ?
Treasure: None
Alignment: Neutral
Advancement: 2 HD (Int 8, Move 20 ft land, 10 ft. climb, chaotic evil alignment, hold person 3/day and mass hold person 1/day), 3 HD (Int 13, Move 10 ft. land, no climb, lose natural climber, gain insert spore)
Level Adjustment: -
A tiny green bulb, looking not unlike lettuce holds itself high above the ground on four thick, long green tentacles. It whips about at high speed, gallavanting about.
Meatrider spawn, while a dangerous foe, are no where near as feared as an adult meatrider. They are incapable of performing the most feared ability of the meatrider - that is, the ability to insert a spore into a living creature and take over itís mind - until they grow completely and become adults.

They look very similar to adult meatriders, except their ďheadĒ is much smaller and does not glow to the extent of an adultís. They do not gain sentience until they have properly matured.

Combat:
Meatrider spawn are constantly active and hunting. If they find possible prey, they will attempt to surprise it, grab it, and then consume itís flesh to help their growth. They typically respond to attacks by scurrying up trees, unless they realise their attacker has the ability to follow them.

Natural Climber (Ex): The key ability for the Climb skill is considered to be Dex for the meatrider spawn.

MEATRIDER SOCIETY
If anythingís good about meatrider culture, itís that they donít group very often, and they have no real racial connection. Although this leads to a total absence of predictable behaviors, it is difficult to imagine a world where meatriders formed social bonds that does not involve humanoids being their perpetual thralls.
However, all meatriders think about the increase in their own dominionís size, slowly growing to control more and more. This lust for a very personal power seems to be a genetic trait amongst them.

Meatrider Characters:
Although meatriders are definitely not suitable for player characters, some meatriders take levels of classes such as wizard (typically enchanters), sorcerer and rogue. If you have a copy of one of them Psionics book, it could also be one of those.
- -2 Str, +4 Dex, +2 Con, +6 Int, +2 Wis, +4 Cha
- Small size (+1 bonus to AC, +1 bonus to attack rolls, +4 bonus on Hide checks, -4 penalty on grapple checks, lifting and carrying limits 3/4 those of Medium characters)
- A meatrider is sessile, unless in is attached to a living creature.
- Racial hit dice: A meatrider begins with four levels of aberration, which provide 4d8 Hit Dice, a base attack bonus of +3, and base saving throws of Fort +1, Ref +1 and Will +4
- Racial Skills: A meatriderís aberration levels give it skill points equal to 2 x (2 + Int Modifier, minimum 1). Itís class skills are Bluff, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Hide, Listen, Knowledge (any), Sense Motive and Use Magic Device.
- Racial Feats: An adult meatrider has the improved grapple feat. It may also choose another feat, like a normal character.
- +1 natural armor bonus
- Natural Weapons: Tentacles (1d6), reach 10
- Special Attacks (see above): Improved Grab
- Special Qualities (see above): Attach, insert spore, psionics, meatrider traits, aberration traits.
- Meatriders speak the languages known by their thralls through their thralls, and lose knowledge of the language as soon as a thrallís contact is severed.
- Favored Class: Wizard.
- Level Adjustment: ?


Meatrider Anatomy
Meatriders have been likened to large lettuce foliage on countless ocassions, and though they do resemble them, there is no real relation. They are, in fact, closer to an amalgamation between flowers, squids and some species of wasps, as well as a few sickly unique elements.

A meatriderís large lettuce-like bulb is about three feet in diameter and two feet in height. The total weight of an adult meatrider is about fifty pounds, which makes most humanoids have a difficult (though possible) time carrying it around.

The meatriders long tentacles do not actually have any bones in them, and rather have a very long strand of nerve. The nerves found in the tentacles are unusually thick, reaching up one inch in diameter. The nervous system has a particularly powerful ability to stimulate the muscles of a meatriderís tentacles, allowing them to move. However, due to the lack of proper bone structure, the meatriderís tentacles have almost no ability to support much weight, and by the time they reach adulthood, they have exceeded that weight.

Organs:
The lung design of a meatrider is much weaker and less efficient than that of a normal mammal. Fortunately for them, however, they do not need as much air from their lung as an ordinary animal, since they are largely sessile and have other sources of energy.

The heart of a meatrider does not actually pump blood, and only serves to provide warmth to the other organs in a meatriderís body, and does so quite efficiently.

The outer leaves of a meatrider efficiently gather solar energy, mildew and air from the environment to keep the meatrider with a constant supply of a plant-like sap.

The most obviously abnormal organ of a meatrider is itís brain. The brain and reproductive systems are closely interrelated (see reproduction), and the brain is highly sophisticated and obviously capable of psionics. However, the most unusual trait of a meatriderís brain is itís size. It is no larger than a grapefruit, and though surprisingly heavy (about two pounds) and hard, it is capable of using powerful psionics on itís foes.

Nervous System:
The meatriders long tentacles do not actually have any bones in them, and rather have a very long strand of nerve. The nerves found in the tentacles are unusually thick, reaching up to one inch in diameter. The nervous system has a particularly powerful ability to stimulate the muscles of a meatriderís tentacles, allowing them to move. However, due to the lack of proper bone structure, the meatriderís tentacles have almost no ability to support much weight, and by the time they reach adulthood, they have exceeded that weight.

In fact, the entire body of a meatrider lacks any bones at all. Though the nervous system is fairly complex, there is no primary bone structure connecting it. It is often theorized that the nervous system also supplies itís brain with many of itís psionic powers.

Reproduction:
The nervous system is capable of generating a spore, the natural way in which a meatrider reproduces, at the tip of itís tentacle. When this process begins, a small dagger exits the tentacle, and creates a tiny whole through the skull of the creature it is entered into, which is then covered with a thick glue-like substance. This glue-like substance takes on a color similar to the nearby areas of the head, and, once hardened, is almost indistinguishable from normal skull.

When a meatrider dies, it sends out a powerful psionic cry, which begins the process of spore growth. The spore quickly feeds off of itís host, and eventually bursts free in a sickening sight, leaving scattered skull fragments everywhere and a meatrider spawn leaping free. The brain tissue is used to supply genetic diversity to the escaping meatrider spawn, and many adult meatriders are noted to share certain traits with the creature from which they first burst.

Spores that are not injected into a brain properly quickly die from a lack of proper environment are are generally eaten by less polite animals.


Meatrider Life
Early in itís life, a meatrider is little more than a simple solitary, tree-climbing hunter. However, once it begins to consume tissue, it slowly begins to expand itís own size and intelligence, much like how a human child will slowly get a larger and larger brain.

A newborn meatrider is surprisingly likely to survive, as it is very suited to the native environment of forests. However, as age comes, the survival odds of a meatrider begin to hinge on itís first attempt to enthrall a creature. If it chooses a fair creature to enthrall, it can survive, grow, and become capable of controlling large areas. If it chooses a creature too weak or too powerful to enthrall, it generally dies - either in the process of enthralling itís first or second creature.

Within a space of time from a week to two months, a meatrider has reached itís maximum size, as well what is generally the maximum intelligence it will reach. In between this time, the meatriders ability to climb and move normally slowly reduce until it is rendered sessile.

Meatriders rarely worship gods, and stay mostly out of such affairs, much as gods stay out of those of mortals. Not because they are more powerful than gods, but because they have no reason to get involved in such things - they live in a down-to-earth world of surviving and thriving.

Meatrider Diet
Meatriders are fully capable of autonomy, though doing so slowly saps them of their manual dexterity with their tentacles. Every day that a meatrider goes without eating, roll a Fortitude save (DC 16). If they fail, their Base Attack Bonus goes down one, and their Grapple bonus goes down with it. This continues until their Base Attack bonus is zero.

Meatriders are, of course, distinctly carnivorous, consuming the flesh of prey. However, they prefer to scavenge, since they could always just take over a creature and add it to their group of thralls. Almost all creatures are valid choice of thralls, and so only the frailest of large creatures (often elves) are eaten. If desperate, a meatrider may kill and eat a creature which could provide a valuable service as a thrall.


Meatrider Variants
Though meatriders generally share the same atypical traits, some do have unique mutated creatures, generally due to a flaw with the host creature, though ocassionally due to a minor mutation in the meatriderís own DNA.

Father Meatrider
Unlike typical meatriders, a father meatrider is incapable of properly inserting a spore into a living creatureís brain. Any spores the father meatrider creates automatically begin the process of growth, and quickly kill their host. However, the other unusual trait of the father meatriderís children is that they are totally obedient while spawns, and do not naturally grow until the psionic cry is released which normally alerts spores.

To create a father meatrider, remove the dominate and attach attributes of an adult meatrider, and replace them with the following:
Create Spawn (Su): Once a father meatrider has successfully grappled a creature, it may insert a spore into it, which will quickly kill the host. The creature begins to take d3 Intelligence and d2 Wisdom and Charisma damage each hour (Will save DC 15 negates), until it is dead, or until it has negated the effect three times in a row. If the spore consumes all of any ability score, a meatrider spawn will emerge, and in the process kill itís host. If the character succeeds, it will survive, though the damage will be permanent until a restoration spell is used.
Spawn Obedience (Su): Any spawn that the father meatrider creates will not naturally grow, and instead remain at itís normal size until the father meatrider dies. Additionally, the spawn can be issued telepathic commands as if it was under the effect of a telepathic bond spell if it is within sixty feet of the father meatrider. Furthermore, a spawn always acts as if it was under the effect of a Dominate Monster spell.

Dwarf Meatrider
Dwarf meatriders are a infertile variant of normal meatriders, which never grows to full size, yet gains the intelligence of a full grown meatrider. They do not reproduce, and are quite rare.

A dwarf meatrider is as follows. Any special qualities or attacks that are not directly mentioned are from the meatrider spawn or adult meatrider entries, above:
Meatrider Spawn:
Tiny Aberration
Hit Dice: 3d8+3 (11 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: 20 ft. land (4 squares), 10 ft. climb (2 squares)
Armor Class: 15 (+2 size, +3 Dex), 15 touch, 12 flatfooted
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+4
Attack: +1 Tentacle Whip 1d6
Full Attack: +1 Tentacle Whip 1d6
Space/Reach: 0 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: None
Special Qualities: Natural climber, psionics, meatrider traits, aberration traits
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +5
Abilities: Str 6, Dex 17, Con 13, Int 17, Wis 14, Cha 12
Skills: Climb +3, Listen 1
Feats: Improved grapple
Environment: Forests, underground
Organization: Solitary
CR: ?
Treasure: None
Alignment: Neutral
Advancement: Class levels
Level Adjustment: ?

Meatridden
Some meatrider spores are incapable of proper growth, and these generally die when they hear the psionic cry of their father. However, more rarely, they survive, and take over the brain of their creature.

Creating a Meatridden
ďMeatriddenĒ is a template that is sometimes gained when a base creature has a meatrider spore implanted in their brain and the father meatrider dies. The base creature can belong to the types of: animal, giant, humanoid, monstrous humanoid and magical beast.
A meatridden uses all of the base creatureís statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
Size and Type: The creatureís type changes to aberration. Do not recalculate hit dice, but do recalculate saves and base attack bonus. Size is unchanged.
Ability Scores: The creatureís Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma are changed to 17, 12 and 14, respectively.
Spell-like Abilities: A meatridden can cast telepathic bond, hold animal and hide from animals at will, as a 10th level wizard, without material components, so long as it is touching the target. It can also cast hypnotise three times per day, also as a 10th level wizard without material components.
Challenge Rating: ?


Twisting Striker
Though the best known ability of the meatrider is itís ability to impregnate living humans with itís own children, where would that skill be without itís four fearsome tentacles? The twisting striker unpredectably moves at a rapid pace, itís tentacles flying about the battlefield like lightning, easily grabbing, tripping and hurling any foe.

Twisting strikers tend to live in the forest more often than typical meatriders, since they are much more able to defend themselves than ordinary meatriders.
Entry Requirements:
Race: Meatrider
Feats: Combat Expertise, Weapon Focus (Tentacles)
Class Information
Hit Dice: d6
Skills: Twisting strikers get (2 + Int Modifier, minimum 1) skill points each level. Itís class skills are Bluff, Concentrate, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Hide, Listen, Knowledge (any), Search, Sense Motive, and Use Magic Device.
{table]

Level
Base Attack
Fort
Ref
Will
Special




1

+1
+2
+2
+0
Bonus Feat




2

+2
+3
+3
+0
1d8 Tentacle Damage




3

+3
+3
+3
+1
Bonus Feat




4

+4
+4
+4
+1
1d10 Tentacle Damage




5

+5
+4
+4
+1
Bonus Feat


[/table]
Class Features
All the following are class features of the twisting striker prestige class.
Bonus Feat: At first level and every other level thereafter, the twisting striker gains a bonus feat, chosen from the following list:
Blind-Fight, Deflect Arrows, Cleave, Elongated Strike, Great Cleave, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Improved Disarm, Improved Sunder, Improved Trip, Snatch Arrows, and Tentacle Agility.

Tentacle Damage: At second and fourth level, the dice rolled for a tentacle attack increases in size. See the table.


Meatrider Feats
Access Memories
A meatrider with this feat can access the memories of any nearby creature it has dominated.
Prerequisites: Meatrider, Wisdom 15
Benefit: The meatrider may make Knowledge (any) checks based off of the combined skill of any enthralled creature within sixty feet. It may also access the memory of any creature within sixty feet, so as to learn things such as dates, history, events, and so forth.
Normal: The meatrider cannot access the skills of any creature it controls - only the spore inside that creature can.

Enlongated Strike
A meatrider with this feat can strike at a particularly long distance.
Prerequisites: Meatrider, Base Attack Bonus +5
Benefit: The meatrider can attack with itís tentacles with a reach of 15 ft. It cannot grapple with itís tentacles, nor can itís improved grab special quality be applied to the attack.
Normal: The meatrider can normally only attack creatures up to 10 ft. away with itís tentacles.

Hidden Creature
A meatrider with this feat can become invisible, so long as it is attached to a humanoid.
Prerequisites: Meatrider, ability to cast invisibility twice per day.
Benefit: The meatrider is considered to be invisible, as the spell, so long as it is attached to a creature with an Intelligence score of at least 12. Only a see invisible spell will detect it.

Perfect Synergy
A meatrider with this feat can apply the thinking skills of his mount to combat.
Prerequisites: Meatrider, mounted combat, universal mount
Benefit: You can apply half your mountís Intellegence bonus to your Base Attack Bonus.

Spore Bond
A meatrider with this feat can communicate with itís spores at instantaneously.
Prerequisites: Meatrider, Cha 17
Benefit: The meatrider can give commands to creatures it has dominated as a free action. It can only give out one command per round, though it may send it to as many dominated creatures as it desires.
Normal: A meatrider must normally use a move action to give commands to creatures it has dominated.

Tentacle Agility
A meatrider with this feat is able to attack multiple opponents with itís tentacles at the same time.
Prerequisites: Meatrider, Base Attack Bonus +10
Benefit: The meatrider can attack additional targets when it strikes. This makes the initial attack become a single strike, but it can still grapple the target. Each additional strike decreases the meatriderís base attack bonus by five, like attacking a normal target. It can only strike each opponent once.

Tentacle Finesse
A meatrider with this feat is particularly skilled in the use of itís tentacles.
Prerequisites: Meatrider, Dexterity 17
Benefit: The meatrider can use skills such as Sleight of Hand with his tentacles. It may also wear one ring per tentacle. Finally, it may attach use itís tentacles to weild weapons such as swords or shields. The weight of any swords or shields being weilded is considered to be five times as great for purposes of calculating encumberance.

Universal Mount
A meatrider with this feat is adept at riding a creature under itís control.
Prerequisites: Meatrider, mounted combat
Benefit: The meatrider can apply any feats he has which typically apply only to mounts to whatever creature it is currently attached to

Sophistemon
2006-03-30, 11:09 PM
I know very little about balancing homebrew creatures, so I can't really help you there, but I like what I see. Very creepy and original.

Tomada
2006-03-30, 11:34 PM
On it's own it looks like a CR 4 -5


But you need to take on account the dominated creatures it command.

I would probably have it be CR 5.

Cyclone231
2006-03-31, 01:29 AM
Added in Meatrider Life section, which includes:
ē Father meatriders, who control not other beings but instead meatrider spawn.
ē Dwarf meatriders, smaller than normal and incapable of reproduction, yet just as intelligent and magically capable as a full grown meatrider.
ē Meatridden, those whose spore did not grow properly upon the psionic death cry of the parent, and instead still control the body of their host.
ē Twisting striker, a prestige class that focuses on amazingly fast tentacle attacks.
ē Meatrider feats!

Sophistemon
2006-03-31, 09:03 PM
Hmm. Now we're cookin' with gas! I love this idea. When my PCs are high enough level I'm going to throw these at them. Awsome job.