Originally Posted by Eldan
Animal lords! Man, why haven't I found this book a year back when I needed a cat lord. Too bad they didn't bring the Lizard Lord back, he always looked cool.
I hear you there. I only found it last year, after I'd already been converted into a d20 Modern fangirl. That's not to say that it isn't convertible to that system, though...
Also, this time, we have a double-dose. Why? Mostly because I felt like it, and a few of the monsters this time are rather lackluster.
The archer bush is a CR 2 Plant whose appearance is that of a slowly shambling pile of leaves and thorny sticks; think a shambling mound, only sucky. The archer bush's sole claim to fame is that it can launch a barrage of projectile needles that deals the same damage as a strike with a longsword (!) and forces the target to remove the spines or be forced to fight impeded. This would be rather interesting...if it weren't for the fact that the attack only has a range of 20 feet. This means that any spellcaster or ranged fighter makes this already rather poor critter even more pathetic. The only way I can see the archer bush being more than a Fighter-fumbler is if you play it as a stealthy ambush predator, hiding itself amongst normal bushes and waiting for its prey to get close.
Fear the mighty giant puffball! No, seriously, the CR 5 Plant known as the ascomoid is a 10-foot wide sphere of fungal fluff. What makes this amusing creature frightening is that it is both deceptively fast (40-foot base speed for a 'shroom ball? Dang!), resistant to most damage you can throw at it, and can both run over opponents and fire grenade-like explosive spores that deal 2d6 points of Constitution damage. Even more unpleasant is what the ascomoid does with its adventurer quarry; anything slain by the power-puff has its vital liquids suctioned out for sustenance, leaving them as a desiccated husk. I imagine the ascomoid works best as an atmospheric encounter. Imagine a cavern, littered with shriveled corpses coated in a fine powder. What did this? Certainly not any undead, the odd powder and lack of any spawn goes against that idea. Then, all of the sudden, a rumble from higher up in the cavern as an ominous cloud of choking spores fills the air... As a side note, this creature also has 3E stats in Dungeonscape
, which was written by someone you are all probably familiar with...you know, considering we're on his website an' all.
CR 6 Outsiders that are...well...sharks of the astral plane. Not much to say beyond "Wait, what?" and "holy crap they have an insta-death attack". Yes, dear readers, the astral shark can, on a successful critical hit, sever an astral traveler's silver cord (the tether that keeps an astral projector's mind connected to their physical body, according to popular occult lore) and immediately both dissipate their astral projection and kill their material body. Meh...
The miniscule atomie are your typical mischievous fey race; they're tiny, they're "whimsical", and they're annoying. These CR 1 tiny terrors have Spell Resistance 16 and damage reduction 5/cold iron, so even if you do hit the flightly little suckers you probably won't hurt them that much anyway. They also have the standard "fey array" of spell-like abilities: invisibility, entangling plant spells, communication with animals, the like. They do, however, at least have some interesting fluff to work on. It is stated that an atomie family stakes the claim to the entirety of a single tree, in spite of their handheld size. This could be worked on with a refluffing of less whimsical prankster and more classic fae; the atomie may be part of the Trooping Faeries, their warbands stalking the forest floor in search of intruders. These atomies fight fiercely with each other as well, defending their sacred family trees with zealotrous rage. But that's just my take on it, your results may vary.
The CR 9 aurumvorax, or "golden gorger", is an eight-legged weasel-like creature with a golden pelt and a vicious temper. Their unpleasant temper, combined with a sweet tooth for gold and gold ores, makes the aurumvorax a key enemy of the dwarves they share the forest-side hills and mountains with. I imagine, however, that a tamed aurumvorax might make a key ally to a dwarven fortress. Since they are primarily carnivorous, all you'd need to do was train it to not eat the deposits it sniffs out and give it a little bit of the gold as a treat now and then. It could also make a good guard "dog" with its Damage Reduction 10 and further Fire Resistance 10. Other than that, there's not much to say, since the aurumvorax is the standard melee tank beyond its odd metallivorous habits.
These unpleasant animals resemble nothing so much as ostriches on steroids. With thick bodies, powerful legs, and a razor-sharp beak, these CR 2 plains-dwellers are more or less the lions of Lost World environments. They are also extremely vicious and their flocks of 3 to 6 individuals will race after fleeing prey with frightening speed and determination; considering they are as fast a horse, one can imagine how this is a very bad thing. As a fun aside, the fluff states that the mother lays 1d4 eggs, and both the eggs and the hatchlings fetch anywhere from 50 to 80 gold pieces. Why exactly you'd want a vicious murder-bird unless you are running a gladiatorial arena or want a very odd mount, I dunno.
Take an allosaur. Stretch its body out like a sausage. Give it stumpy little legs. A weird allegory or metaphor? No, that's simply the appearance of CR 3 Magical Beast known as the babbler. This quirky reptile is not only of human intelligence, but also is a Chaotic Evil anthropophage (who savors dwarven, elven, and human meat above all else) and has a +2d6 sneak attack! Its name comes from its crude, burbling language, if you were curious. I....have little more to say, really. It's weird.
Banderlogs are another sapient beastfolk, this time CR 3 baboon-people of the deep jungles. They travel in groups of 2 to 26 individuals, browsing through the forest for both small animals, fruits, and nuts, under the command of the largest banderlog of the tribe. Their language consists of typical monkey sounds and a form of hand signalling when hunting or hiding...hmm, interesting. According to the Tome, banderlogs typically coexist with other tribes of their kind, but will get testy during times of scarce food.
I say pshh to this! They are baboon-people who wield clubs and projectile coconuts and have Barbarian as their favored class, make those suckers territorial warring tribes that often engage in raids for food. Baboons are by far one of the most unpleasant primates I've had the misfortune to be around, and I'd say that the banderlog, like the orcs they share an Intelligence score ranking with, should be equally unpleasant.
Finally, a fun fact: the banderlogs get their name from the Bandar-Log, the monkey tribe of Rudyard Kipling's famous tome, The Jungle Book. I must admit that the Bandar-Log have, as a result, colored my perception of how I treat the banderlog in my use of them.
Up next time, we have polybrachial pack-hunting platypi, barrow-dwelling bodies, psychotropic plants, big basilisks, bats, and beetles.