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    Orc in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default The Thriller

    “And whosoever shall be found Without the soul for getting down Must stand and face the hounds of hell And rot inside a corpse’s shell…The foulest stench is in the air, The funk of forty thousand years, And grisly ghouls from every tomb Are closing in to seal your doom, And though you fight to stay alive, Your body starts to shiver, For no mere mortal can resist The evil of the Thriller.”

    The Thriller on first appearance looks like a mass of zombies. That is where the mob becomes stranger and stranger. At first, it appears that they are flagellating around in manners too fast and too coordinated for zombies, as if they are synchronized. As you get closer, you begin to hear strange music playing from seemingly nowhere, and everything starts to feel cold. As suddenly as they appeared, you feel the spontaneous need to start dancing, dancing as the zombies are, and you wish to join them in their masquerade. It is only when it’s too late, when you become one of them that you realize that this is no mere mob of dancing zombies—this is a killer, chiller, Thriller.

    A Thriller is a force of rogue necromancy that even seasoned necromancers will fear. Originating from the Grand Necromancer Thalikos, the Thriller was originally meant to entertain an evil king with music and dancing. However, the enchantments keeping the Thriller bound broke, and soon the entire court was assimilated into the Thriller (Thalikos was never found). The Thriller’s enchantment causes people to want to dance with the Thriller, and it saps the life force from their bodies, leaving only husks whose purpose is to dance and dance and dance. The influence of a Thriller rides on the size of the Thriller—the more thralls a Thriller can gain, the greater the influence of the Thriller on the minds of the weak. For some reason, only humanoids are only affected—other magical creatures are immune to its influence, and beasts merely run in fear.

    This is the physical stats for a single Thriller zombie

    Thriller
    Hp: 16
    AC: 15 (+1 Nat, +4 Dex)
    BAB: N/A
    Abilities: Str 10, Dex 18, Con –, Int 1, Wis 10, Cha 16
    Fort: - Ref:+4 Will:+3
    Special Attacks: Thriller Dance, Dance with Death
    Special Qualities: Undead Traits, Hive Mind

    Thriller Dance: The Thriller emits an aura of necromantic energy which causes anyone within a certain radius to dance. All humanoids that approach within 30ft of the Thriller are subject to a Will save. The Will save DC is equal to 10 + amount of HD acquired. If a Thriller consists of only a single zombie, the DC Will save DC will be equal to 10 until approximately 6 HD of thralls are acquired.
    Every round, the thralls of the Thriller must pass a Will save or gain a negative level. Once all levels are reduced the thrall becomes a Thriller zombie. Upon passing the Will save, the thrall is freed, and cannot be affected by the Thriller for 1 minute (plenty of time to run away).
    Each thrall has no bearing on the Thriller’s Thriller Dance until they become a Thriller zombie.
    The Thriller Dance is is not language-dependent, will affect deaf/earless humanoids, and is mind-affecting. Other creatures (non-huminoids) are affected by a fear effect that leasts for 1d4 rounds unless they pass a Will save equal to the Thriller's Thriller Dance DC.

    Dance with Death: Anyone with at least 4 ranks in Perform (dance) can attempt to duel the Thriller in a dance-off to scatter the Thriller, or even destroy it outright.
    The Thriller has a Perform (dance) bonus of +10. Both character and the Thriller roll opposing Perform (dance) checks. If the character wins the roll, the Perform (dance) bonus of the Thriller, for that dance-off only, is reduced by -2. If the Thriller wins the roll, the character gains a negative level. The dance-off then continues in the same fashion until one of three things happens:
    1.) Either party disengages (the character runs away, or the Thriller is turned/rebuked/controlled/etc).
    2.) The character’s levels are reduced to 0, and becomes a Thriller zombie.
    3.) The character’s Perform (dance) roll is triple that of the Thriller. At that time, the Thriller is scattered and is Panicked by the presence of the victorious character for 24 hours.

    Destroying the Thriller
    If one also has at least 4 Ranks in Perform (sing) when they win the Dance of Death dance-off, they may make a last roll using Perform (sing) with a synergy bonus equal to 1/2 their bonus for Perform (dance), and use the result as the DC for a Will save. The Thriller mob must then make this Will save or be utterly destroyed.


    I created this a short while after the death of the great Michael Jackson in his honor. There are parts of the stats that I haven't completed, sure, but what do you people think about this idea?
    Last edited by IncarnumJunkie; 2009-12-27 at 06:59 PM.
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    Planetar

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    Default Re: The Thriller

    The Thriller needs a pack leader.



    Improve an individual Thriller and make him part of the mob. Make sure you give him a Sonic attack, too.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: The Thriller

    Well, the Thriller was intended to be a roving zombie mob searching for more thralls to consume than an entity led by a single more powerful zombie.

    Wait. The music video gives me another idea.

    Destroying the Thriller
    If one also has at least 4 Ranks in Perform (sing) when they win the Dance of Death dance-off, they may make a last roll using Perform (sing) with a synergy bonus equal to 1/2 their bonus for Perform (dance), and use the result as the DC for a Will save. The Thriller mob must then make this Will save or be utterly destroyed.

    This will be added on to the first-post description. With a bit of work this could be a serious Undead monster.
    Last edited by IncarnumJunkie; 2009-12-22 at 02:41 AM.
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    Altair_the_Vexed's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Thriller

    Excellent execution of an iconic idea! With a little more detail, this could be used in all seriousness in a straight game...

    You need to give it a CR, and state what HD each zombie in the chorus line has, and give a movement rate, and so on.
    Take a look here for the standard format.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    PirateGirl

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    Default Re: The Thriller

    Thriller
    Hp: 16
    AC: 15 (+1 Nat, +4 Dex)
    BAB: N/A
    Abilities: Str 10, Dex 18, Con –, Int 1, Wis 10, Cha 16
    Fort: - Ref:+4 Will:+3
    Special Attacks: Thriller Dance, Dance with Death
    Special Qualities: Undead Traits, Hive Mind
    This is a good place to start but I think it needs to be more fully fleshed out.
    Thriller would closely resemble a mob of dancing zombies. Does anyone want to take a stab at coming up with full stats? Also, even undead get Fort saves, they just don't have any Con bonuses to add.

    First, we would need stats for a dancing zombie. It should have Perform (Dance) +4 as a racial ability even if it lose all its other skills after being turned into a zombie. Can any creature become a dancing zombie or are we limiting this to humanoids (humans)? Zombie is a template that is added so we could further limit this to creatures that formerly had 5 or more ranks of Perform (Dance) in life.

    Any other ideas?

    Debby
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    DracoDei's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Thriller

    Actually, the opening poetry/lyrics that were posted ("without the soul for gettting down") COULD be interpritted to mean that such ranks KEEP your corpse from animating... or it could just mean "dead".
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: The Thriller

    The quoted words were actually part of Vincent Price's famous lines in the actual song, Thriller. They don't have any real bearing on the Thriller creature.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Thriller

    This is a fun idea, but the mechanics are a bit weird in my opinion.

    Calculating the DC for destroying the mob is unnecessarily complex. A static DC or a simple opposed check would be better.

    I don't understand how the DC for Thriller Dance is calculated. Is the DM supposed to count the number of HD drained? Not a good idea in my opinion. Is the ability mind-affecting? Language dependent maybe? Are deaf creatures affected? Are the abilities Su or Ex? Dance with Death is also unnecessarily complex. It would be better if the ability worked like some existing monster ability so that you don't have to memorize it or check every time how it works.

    Also, undead creatures can make Fort saves even though they're immune to most things that require a Fort save.

    In other words, a lot of editing is needed.

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    DracoDei's Avatar

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    Default Re: The Thriller

    Quote Originally Posted by Kensen View Post
    Dance with Death is also unnecessarily complex. It would be better if the ability worked like some existing monster ability so that you don't have to memorize it or check every time how it works.
    Such thinking tends to stifle innovation. If you are fighting something, especially something newish, the default assumption is that the GM has its stats in front of him to reference. OTOH you may also have a point. Between the two extremes IncarnumJunkie must find his own balance in each case. I myself favor doing almost whatever it takes to make the mechanics fit my vision very closely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kensen View Post
    Also, undead creatures can make Fort saves even though they're immune to most things that require a Fort save.
    Specific rules tend to override general ones when the two conflict. Calling out the over-riding specifically can be good though. Also, undead are only immune to such things if the effect doesn't work on objects (but that doesn't apply in this case I don't think).
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: The Thriller

    The Destroying the Thriller part is an opposed save that the Thriller must beat vs. a check made by the Character with synergy. For this, the Thriller counts as a single creature.

    The DC for the Thriller dance is related to HD. The Will save DC is 10 if there is a single Thriller zombie in the Thriller, and after 6 HD of humanoids are enthralled into the Thriller then the DC begins to increase by 1 for every 1 HD enthralled after that point (so the DC goes from 10 to 11 after the 7th HD).

    The Thriller Dance affects all humanoids within 30ft. This ability is not language-dependent, does affect deaf/earless humanoids, and is mind-affecting. Other creatures (non-huminoids) are affected by a fear effect that leasts for 1d4 rounds unless they pass a Will save equal to the Thriller's Thriller Dance DC.

    Before it is mentioned, the other reason that I made the zombies appear incredibly underpowered is the fact that a very large Thriller is an extreme hazard at closer ranges: a party could easily be overwhelmed by a large Thriller with huge amounts of HD. This facilitates easier elimination of the Thriller before it an do extreme herm to the party.

    Also, what do you mean by Su or Ex?

    (I will make some edits to the above)
    Last edited by IncarnumJunkie; 2009-12-27 at 06:56 PM.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: The Thriller

    Well you're right about that it's not good to stifle innovation. However, one of the core design principles of the third edition was to make things more consistent, to use mechanics that are predictable and re-usable. 4th edition took that even further, which some people liked and others hated. But that's off topic.

    In my opinion, good rules design combines innovation with sound mechanics.

    And yes specific rules override general ones, but I think the OP thought no Con means no Fort. For most intents and purposes, they don't need a Fort save, but there are a few things like Disintegrate that work on undead.

    EDIT: Supernatural or Extraordinary. It determines whether it works in an antimagic field or not.
    Last edited by Kensen; 2009-12-27 at 09:01 PM.

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    PirateGirl

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    Default Re: The Thriller

    I statted out the thriller (see below) as dancing zombies (formerly humans) with a +4 racial bonus to dance. They were based off the typical commoner zombie in the MM, but have higher Dex and Cha as originally posed. They can be encountered as a mob as well as individually. I left off the Hive Mind as that seems to apply only to vermin. Rules for a thriller mob are listed separately below, but you can find the mob rules in the DMG II at pages 59 to 61.


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    “And whosoever shall be found Without the soul for getting down Must stand and face the hounds of hell And rot inside a corpse’s shell…The foulest stench is in the air, The funk of forty thousand years, And grisly ghouls from every tomb Are closing in to seal your doom, And though you fight to stay alive, Your body starts to shiver, For no mere mortal can resist The evil of the Thriller.”


    Initially, the thriller appears to be a dancing zombies or a mob of dancing zombies. However, they are flagellating too fast and too coordinated for normal zombies. As a mob, they are synchronized.

    As you get closer, you begin to hear strange music playing from seemingly nowhere, and everything starts to feel cold. As suddenly as they appeared, you feel the spontaneous need to start dancing, dancing as the zombies are, and you wish to join them in their masquerade. It is only when it’s too late, when you become one of them that you realize that this is no mere mob of dancing zombies—this is a killer, chiller, Thriller.

    A thriller is a force of rogue necromancy that even seasoned necromancers fear. Originating from the Grand Necromancer Thalikos, the thriller was originally designed to entertain an evil king with music and dancing. However, the enchantments keeping the thriller bound broke, and soon the entire court was assimilated into the thriller. Thalikos was never found.

    The thriller’s enchantment causes people to want to dance with the Thriller, as it saps the life-force from their bodies, leaving only husks whose purpose is to dance and dance and dance. The influence of a thriller rides on the size of the thriller—the more thralls a thriller can gain, the greater the influence of the thriller on the minds of the weak. Only humanoids are only affected—other creatures are immune to its influence, and normal animals merely run in fear.

    The Thriller (AKA Dancing Zombie)
    Medium Undead
    Hit Dice: 2d12+3 (16 hp)
    Speed: Dance 30 ft. (6 squares) [can't Run]
    Initiative: +4
    Armor Class: 16 (+4 Dex, +2 natural); touch 14 ; flat-footed 12
    Base Attack/Grapple: +1/+2
    Attack Slam +2 melee (1d6+1) or Club +2 melee (1d6+1)
    Full Attack:Slam +2 melee (1d6+1) or Club +2 melee (1d6+1)
    Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
    Special Attacks: Thriller Dance
    Special Qualities: Damage Reduction 5/slashing, Dance with Death, Undead Traits
    Saves: Fort +1 Ref +5 Will +3
    Abilities: Str 12, Dex 18, Con –, Int 1, Wis 10, Cha 16
    Skills: Perform (Dance) +12
    Feats: Toughness
    Environment: Any
    Organization: Solitary or as Mob (See Below)
    Challenge Rating: 1
    Treasure: None
    Alignment: Always Neutral Evil
    Advancement: None
    Level Adjustment:

    Combat

    The thriller generally does not enter combat, but relies on its necromantic auras to grow and expand. Eventually, it will grow too large and individual dancing zombies will splinter off on their own.

    Thriller Dance (Su): A dancing zombie emits an aura of necromantic energy which causes anyone within a 30-foot radius to dance along to their rhythm. All humanoids that approach within 30 feet of the Thriller are subject to a Will save (DC 15) or become a thrall of the thriller. The save is Charisma-based. For every additional dancing zombie, the save increases by 1.

    Every round, a thrall of the thriller must pass a Will save (DC 15) or gain a negative level. Once all levels are reduced, the thrall becomes a dancing zombie. Upon passing the Will save, the thrall is freed, and cannot be affected by the thriller for 1 minute.

    Each thrall has no bearing on the Thriller Dance until it becomes a dancing zombie.

    The Thriller Dance is not language-dependent, will affect deaf/ear-less humanoids, and is mind-affecting. Other creatures (non-humanoids) are affected by a Fear effect that lasts for 1d4 rounds unless they pass a Will save (DC 15), success negates.

    Dance with Death (Ex): Anyone with at least 4 ranks in Perform (dance) can attempt to duel the Thriller in a dance-off to scatter the Thriller, or even destroy it outright.

    Both character and the Thriller roll opposing Perform (dance) checks. If the character wins the roll, the Perform (Dance) bonus of the Thriller, for that dance-off only, is reduced by -2. If the Thriller wins the roll, the character gains a negative level. The dance-off then continues in the same fashion until one of three things happens:
    1. Either party disengages (the character runs away, or the Thriller is turned/rebuked/controlled/etc).
    2. The character’s levels are reduced to 0, and becomes a Thriller zombie.
    3. The character’s Perform (dance) roll is triple that of the Thriller. At that time, the Thriller is scattered and is Panicked by the presence of the victorious character for 24 hours.


    Skills: Dancing Zombies have a +4 racial bonus to Perform (Dance).

    Destroying the Thriller
    If the opponent also has at least 4 Ranks in Perform (Sing) when he wins the Dance of Death dance-off, he may make a last roll using Perform (sing) with a synergy bonus equal to 1/2 bonus for Perform (dance), and use the result as the DC for a Will save. The Thriller mob must then make this Will save or be utterly destroyed.

    Thriller Mob: a mob of dancing zombies is considered a Gargantuan Creature (comprised of a maximum of 48 dancing zombies); has 30 hit dice; BAB +15 for its type and Grapple +12 for its size ; Initiative of +0; Speed of 20 ft.; Armor Class of 12 (-4 due to size); it deals 5d6 points of bludgeoning damage to any creature whose space it occupies at the end of its turn, with no attack needed; it occupies 20 feet but has a reach of 0; it gains the expert grappler and trample special ability, which does 2d6+1.5 times the Mob's Str modifier points of damage. However, due to mob anatomy (having no clear front or back) it is not subject to critical hits or sneak attacks and cannot be flanked, tripped, grappled or bull rushed; unlike other mobs, the thriller's charisma does not drop to 10; the thriller mob gains Improved Bull Rush and Overrun as bonus feats. The mob's base good save is +17 and its base bad save is +9.


    I may try statting out the mob at a later date or someone else can try doing it. What do you think?

    Debby
    Last edited by Debihuman; 2009-12-29 at 09:41 AM. Reason: Completed (I think)
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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: The Thriller

    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=55828

    I can't believe this hasn't been mentioned yet!
    Quote Originally Posted by MammonAzrael View Post
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    At least, it should be.
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    PirateGirl

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    Default Re: The Thriller

    Oh, yes. The Thriller would definitely be funky. For a less serious encounter, you could have the thriller have its own theme music. Of course, they'd never be able to surprise anyone because the music would give them away.

    Also, I edited my previous post to tweak the mob rules a bit. I think it makes more sense now.

    Debby
    P.E.A.C.H. Please Evaluate And Critique Honestly. Being nicer and kinder doesn't hurt either. Note I generally only critique 3.5 and Pathfinder material.
    Please, please, please when using non-core material, cite to the books. There are too many books to wade through to find the one with the feat, special ability or spell you use.
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: The Thriller

    Wow. Thanks a lot for making it a much better Thriller ^^.
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