View Full Version : There's a use for that [d20 Modern Creatures]

2009-10-09, 03:14 AM
As a result of my boredom, I decided to reread over the creatures of the Menace Manual and Urban Arcana and my mind started reeling as I poured over the pages. Thus, this thread was born. After I've finished up those two titles, I may look at more Open Game Content titles, but for now it's just those two. So...welcome to There's a Use For That's first posting.

What's This Thread About?
This thread is dedicated to trying to find uses for creatures that may be overlooked or underappreciated. "Use" in this case refers to both their use as part of the game and their use in an in-game context. More or less, it's a lighter, d20 Modern-focused version of the "Ecology of" articles for Dungeons and Dragons.

And now, without further adieu...

Uses For the Roach Thrall
The Basics
Roach thralls are gigantic cockroaches with the ability to carve out humanoids and utilize their flayed skins as "suits"; in other words, they're expies of the Bugs from Men in Black. As 3 hit die Medium-size aberrations, a lone thrall isn't going to be a huge menace for anything but low-level party. In larger numbers, however, they start to transform into something truly nightmarish for your standard run-n'-gun party. With a resistance to massive damage and a faster-than-human speed when on all sixes, as well as darkvision, a roach thrall horde is able to creep through the shadows of alleyways and sewers while they players fearfully attempt to pick them off in vain.

In spite of this, however, roach thralls are best used to incite paranoia and fear amongst the players. They find one roach thrall leaving its suit, and the gears in their mind start to turn. They might not have even had to fight the creature, it's just the sheer sight of it. Are their neighbors roach thralls? Their family? Maybe even one of the party members? Doubt and fear grow until something snaps.

If you truly must use roach thralls in combat, strength in numbers and darkness are their greatest ally. Strangely enough, roach thralls have no climb speed, but do have a few ranks in Climb; as a result, they are for the most part relegated to the ground rather than climbing up vertical walls and falling down on unsuspecting passers-by.

Human Uses
Roach thralls are pretty much useless for average human use. They aren't sociable with other species enough to trade with or use in war, they have no valuable byproducts, and their horrid stench makes their shells unlikely to be used for armor. At best, they could be utilized as exotic research subjects by an eccentric or overly curious organization.

Arcane Uses
The foul-smelling secretions emitted by roach thralls can be used as a material component in stench-based spells.

Roach Thrall in Various Settings
Baseline Modern: In a non-urban fantasy modern setting, the most likely source of the roach thrall would be mad science or Hollywood-style mutation. Perhaps roach thralls have their origin in an experiment similar to that in The Fly?
Urban Fantasy: Roach thralls might be the result of an overflow of arcana into an area of trash and filth, the cockroaches of the area transforming into something larger and more intelligent than their base form.
Sci-Fi: Roach thralls fit in well with the "bughunt" genre; they're big (for an insect), they're alien in agenda and habits, and are shaped like a creature most humans find disgusting.
High Fantasy: Roach thralls might be the servants of a deity of insects, plagues, or deceit.

2009-10-09, 12:06 PM
How about using them as bait? "Oh help, these people have been kidnapped/disappeared!"

In a dark room, human-Thralls look like every other dirty prisoner. Then you have the real villains of the piece (maybe ones with Sneak attack!) ambush the party, while the Roach Thralls unmask one at a time to provide flanking!

2009-10-12, 09:21 AM
You make a good point. I always enjoy further input.

EDIT: And now the newest installment.

Uses For the Bogeyman
The Basics
Bogeymen are the horror movie monster staples, the hateful revenant in the night that comes to murder those that break the cultural norms. As a template, the bogeyman gets much more usage fuel than a full-fledged monster, and can be applied to any humanoid. This leads to an interesting question: if bogeymen murder those messing with their personal idea of the status quo, what happens with non-human bogeymen? Perhaps elf bogeymen slaughter elf loggers. Maybe orc bogeymen hunt down and brutally murder deserters of the battlefield. The ideas are endless.

Bogeymen may be humanoid, but that doesn't mean they fight naturally. With immunities to both nonlethal damage and most status conditions, fast healing, and the ability to survive at the point most humanoids die (-10 HP), a bogeyman is a fearless brute in combat that gets in close and doesn't relent in spite of adversity displayed toward it.

Human Uses
A bogeyman could theoretically be utilized as an assassin; they'd work for free to "purge the beasts" for their employer. Then again, you never know when the bogeyman might decide its employer is just as worthy of purging...

Arcane Uses
Necromancers find heavy use out of bogeymen.

Bogeymen in Various Settings
Baseline Modern: The killer with the hook for a hand, the man in the back seat of the car, the axe murderer in the old abandoned house...popular culture and urban legends are already filled with bogeymen. They fit in disturbingly well into a modern setting, since their supernatural toughness is only an overlay over the all to real fear of madness.
Urban Fantasy: Bogeymen fit in rather well into urban fantasy, adding into the wendigo niche; perhaps there's a supernatural force that possesses the bogeyman, rather than it just being mutated by its own inner rage and madness.
Sci-Fi: Go play Seven Days a Skeptic. The general premise might give you a good idea of how to utilize bogeymen in a science fiction campaign.
High Fantasy: Bogeymen in high fantasy fill a generally similar niche to those in urban fantasy, only with less chainsaws and shotguns and more swords and armor.