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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Now that we've run the full length of the ordning, what do people think about the following idea? The various giants are all degenerations of a titan race, according to Eberron, who had a massive empire across Xen'drik. What would you say to the idea of linking the empyrean to the giants, with the empyrean being that great titan race that all giants descended from?

    Various giants then took shelter from the catastrophe that destroyed their empire in different ways; the storm giants fled to protected realms, the stone giants took shelter in the equivalent of nuclear fallout shelters, and frost giants were those who evacuated to the far reaches of the continent. The hill giants were the poor who couldn't afford to flee.
    Last edited by Regitnui; 2017-03-02 at 11:53 PM.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    I like that idea. It ties into them being children of the Giant Pantheon, as Emperyrean are divine children.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Regitnui View Post
    What would you say to the idea of linking the empyrean to the giants, with the empyrean being that great titan race that all giants descended from?
    I would like the idea of Annam All-Father himself being an empyrean, more a divine giant than a god of giants, whose wives were powerful elemental beings. Later generations would be weaker because divinity doesn't transmit well.

    Alternatively, Annam is a true god, but his sons and daughters are empyreans.
    Last edited by Millstone85; 2017-03-03 at 09:35 AM.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Millstone85 View Post
    I would like the idea of Annam All-Father himself being an empyrean, more a divine giant than a god of giants, whose wives were powerful elemental beings. Later generations would be weaker because divinity doesn't transmit well.

    Alternatively, Annam is a true god, but his sons and daughters are empyreans.
    And the divinity didn't transmit well from there...
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Regitnui View Post
    And the divinity didn't transmit well from there...
    Knowing that empyreans are already less than gods.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Hmmmmm.

    I like the idea of Empyreans as children of the gods, not just of the giant gods. Tying the giants to the Empyreans seems to me to be a limitation on both races.

    However, I will sign up for the idea of the current giants, even the Storm Giants, as decadent descendants of greater ancestors - the Titans. Once Amnan withdrew from contact with his creation, they began a slow decline through the years. This is why the giants are no longer equal matches for the dragons, as they were in ages past. There's lots of myth around the idea of people no longer being what they once were - Tolkien's Noldor, Homer, and so on.

    Of course, the Titans might still be out there, somewhere, through some Eddie in the space-time continuum, or special gift from Amnan. I'll have to add this to my homebrew schedule. They aren't necessarily larger, or stronger; just wiser, more charismatic, and gifted with innate magics.

    That's right - giant sorcerers. Who, with some justification, think they are entitled to rule the world.
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Regitnui View Post
    Now that we've run the full length of the ordning, what do people think about the following idea? The various giants are all degenerations of a titan race, according to Eberron, who had a massive empire across Xen'drik. What would you say to the idea of linking the empyrean to the giants, with the empyrean being that great titan race that all giants descended from?
    I don't like the "Giants are degenerations of a titan race" idea. At least, not for D&D Giants.

    That being said, I think I'm going to try my hand at the next entry on the list: the Gibbering Mouther


    Gibbering Mouther



    Introduction:

    Madness as a face. And it's been stolen by one of those things.

    Haunting the Dungeon Master's menagerie -though some would say arsenal - since the 90's, the Gibbering Mouther was a monster in the grand Lovecraftian tradition: a strange, silly-sounding, somewhat gross concept (here, a blob of flesh with a lot of eyes and mouths that speaks gibberish) held together by the hope you can make it horrific through carefully orchestrated descriptions and enough ambiguousness to let our brain fills the blanks with visceral fear.

    Not that I dislike this monster, far from it. While I never used them during my times as DM, I've always had a soft spot for those guys. The 3.X version, at least. I liked the idea of an intelligent, True Neutral aberration who, while utterly alien and more than willing to drain your blood, was still potentially one of the weirdest thing you could talk or even have a social interaction with.

    The 5e version is ... different. And for great effects.


    Art:

    While previous editions' artworks had a gross, disgusting look to them, this piece, built around this double-mouth filled with angry teeth, manages something I didn't think I would one day see: make the Gibbering Mouther threatening.

    Maybe through the unity provided by the flesh-like red of its body contrasting with its random shapes and the clustering mouths and eyes, this picture provides both an impression of chaos and of some kind of perverse coherence, of believability. This thing is snarling. This thing is looking. This thing is out to eat you. And I don't know if it's due to its placement on the page, but it manages to give an impression of its size without making it look massive

    All in all, a very efficient piece.

    Purpose and Tactics:

    The Gibbering Mouther strikes a good balance between being a nightmare and being too easy.

    With its powers that require three different saves to beat, even with not so high DCs, it's likely that the Mouther will be able to hinder at least some of the PCs each turn, and even hinder other PCs who try to help their comrades or who get attacked by them. Its decent HPs make up for its low AC, and its Bite attack is sure to be devastating at low level. The Bite's secondary features and the Aberrant Ground power make it so that makes surrounding, or even engaging, the Mouther in melee combatant a rather unpleasant idea.

    Problem is, the Mouther is, as befitting a mad blob of tortured flesh, pretty slow, and so it risks to be avoided and killed at range. At least it has some ways to affect the PCs at range, so a DM could play with the expectations of the party who think they're clever to stay away from the big bad monster. And its capacits to swim through water, mud and quicksand is definitively an advantage PCs and players will not expect to see, as well as making them harder to hit, for the great pleasure of anyone who ever wanted to replay the trash compactor scene from A New Hope. Beware the Mouther in a swamp or near the sea!

    As an encounter, the Gibbering Mouther is a good boss for low-level PCs who think they've seen everything after killing a few humanoids, and a few of them can serve the same function for a higher-level group. Otherwise, the Mouther can serve as support for a boss who's smart enough to plug their ears and keep their "pet" at distance.



    Fluff:

    As I said before, the 5e Mouther is different. Gone is "My Buddy the Crazy Blood-Thirsty Amoeba", place for horror. The Mouther is mad, the Mouther is hungry, the Mouther will absorb you and reduce the crazed remains of your mind to a voice in its constant, insane, deadly chorus, and add your face to its collection. A pretty horrific I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream, with the added horror of making you borderline unable to be brought back from the dead creating an effective one-two punch for players who learn this during the confrontation. People who thought it was goofy can wipe that smile from their faces: this is NOT something you can afford to lose to.


    Hooks:

    It Takes a Village...

    The adventurers are approaching the small village of Hempwick, a quiet settlement without any story to its name, as the night fall, hoping for a meal and a bed. Sadly, the night before, a Gibbering Mouther had the same idea, and most of the villagers did not wake up...

    All the King's Horses and all the King's Men

    The Duchess Strayava calls the adventurers for help. Her husband was killed during a hunt with his brother the king, who barely escaped, as they were attacked by monsters. She begs the adventurers, and promise them a formidable sum, to bring back enough of her beloved Duke to be resurrected. But how did monsters manage to get this close to the city? How did the knights sent to solve the issue fail to bring back the Duke's body? And what are those strange sounds coming from the forest...?

    Tilios and Julios: Problem Solvers at a Reasonable Price

    Tilios and Julios, self-described mage apprentices, propose their services as guide through the swamp, despite it being reputed for the horrifying monsters inhabiting it, assuring they have a foolproof way to go through. And, for the sceptic ones, they have evidences they do the journey regularly. However, those who take them on their offer risk to discover two things: it does not matter how fast you walk as long as it's faster than the monster and one person left behind, and that a simple Hold spell make it so hard to walk faster than, say, a pair of mage apprentices.


    Sea Madness

    In the harbor, everyone talks of the ships from the south, sunken one after the other as they approached a nearby cap, since the start of last month. The shocked survivors speak of some kind of hypnotic song, whispered through the mist and wind, compelling them to do nothing as the waves pushed their ship to their doom, forced their friends to throw themselves in the water, or even made some attack the few who weren't trapped in a trance. Already, talks of Sirens or some kind of sea-folk witch are spreading, and the riches of those sunken ships would be worth a pretty penny, if the adventurers would be daring enough...


    Verdict: A very solid monster, perfect for a flavorful encounter.
    Last edited by Unoriginal; 2017-03-03 at 01:10 PM.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    I had an idea for a knight who had been cursed to wear her skeleton as armour, her insides reduced to spam. If the party succeeded in destroying the armour, they would then have to defeat the gibbering mouther left.

    Sadly my party are way too high level to fight something like that any more.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    If you guys think something need to be improved in my review (or for latter ones), don't hesitate to tell me, guys.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spellbreaker26 View Post
    I had an idea for a knight who had been cursed to wear her skeleton as armour, her insides reduced to spam. If the party succeeded in destroying the armour, they would then have to defeat the gibbering mouther left.

    Sadly my party are way too high level to fight something like that any more.
    Make it a Storm Giant Knight with a massive Mouther?

    Or a knight transformed to be as big as a Storm Giant. Curses don't have to do only one thing.
    Last edited by Unoriginal; 2017-03-03 at 01:34 PM.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    for the great pleasure of anyone who ever wanted to replay the trash compactor scene from A New Hope
    That reference belongs to the otyugh.

    The otyugh gets sad when another monster does it.

    A pretty horrific I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream
    That reference is perfect, especially because what we have here is also the complete opposite: too many mouths and won't shut up.

    Seriously now, this is a powerful concept. Demons are said to eat your soul, but I keep imagining a ball of light somewhere in the fiend's stomach. This aberration portrays the process in full organic horror. You will be eaten, digested and kept alive. Holy moley!

    Now, I see the existence of the gibbering mouther is blamed on "foul sorcery". I wish they had kept the "died near the Far Realm" explanation that was used in 4e, as it would allow the dread of becoming a gibbering mouther even when none are present yet. I also like aberrations being connected to that plane.

    Speaking of 4e, its MM presented the mouther along with two other gibbering beasts. One was the gibbering abomination, a version with more defined tentacles, limited levitation and a magic eye ray. The other was the gibbering orb, a version that could freely levitate as a ball and had many eyestalks from which to shoot rays. I have combined the illustrations in a parody of The March of Progress.
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    I don't particularly care about the abomination, but I had hoped VGtM would have something to say about the orb. Was the first gibbering orb dreamed into existence by a beholder who heard a gibbering mouther? Was the first beholder a conscience that escaped from a gibbering orb? But alas, nothing.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    If I didn't know better, I'd say the Orb was a bootleg Beholder to avoid copyright troubles.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    If I didn't know better, I'd say the Orb was a bootleg Beholder to avoid copyright troubles.
    This is the standard greeting among beholders and beholderkin.
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    Will the real Eye Tyrant please float up?

    By the way, my current avatar is a beholder-related creature that made its way into VGtM.
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    It's a mindwitness.
    It is what you get when a beholder is implanted with an illithid tadpole.

    Man, I wish we could start that Let's Read Volo already!
    But it is probably better to finish the MM first.

    I also considered using the gibbering orb as my avatar.
    Last edited by Millstone85; 2017-03-03 at 08:10 PM.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    It should be emphasized how vulnerable Gibbering Mouthers are to kiting tactics: Creatures at least 30 feet away from it can't be affected by it, and most PCs can perform attacks that exceed that range. On top of this, it only has 3 INT. I once defeated a Gibbering Mouther by forcing it to stay still with use of Ray of Frost, only needing to move upon missing the mouther.
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by TurboGhast View Post
    It should be emphasized how vulnerable Gibbering Mouthers are to kiting tactics: Creatures at least 30 feet away from it can't be affected by it, and most PCs can perform attacks that exceed that range. On top of this, it only has 3 INT. I once defeated a Gibbering Mouther by forcing it to stay still with use of Ray of Frost, only needing to move upon missing the mouther.
    The trick with using one is to put it in an environment that makes kiting difficult at best. I put two in a dark cave, covered in stalactites and with a deep pool of water at one end that one ambushed the party out of. If the Gibbering Mouthers can get into close range, they are devastating.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    I've always liked Gibbering Mouthers and I might dispute them looking unthreatening in previous editions. That said, this is definitely a fierce piece of artwork which does the monster credit.

    My only complaint about Mouthers is I've always found their blinding light spittle a little unthematic. Insane wailing? Makes sense. Melting the world around them, the same way they melt the flesh of their victims after eating it? Makes sense. Spittle that acts like a flash grenade when it hits something? Somewhat out of left field, even if it does give the creature a ranged option.

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterMercury View Post
    The trick with using one is to put it in an environment that makes kiting difficult at best. I put two in a dark cave, covered in stalactites and with a deep pool of water at one end that one ambushed the party out of. If the Gibbering Mouthers can get into close range, they are devastating.
    Their ability to move through water and quicksand unimpeded also make them terrifying in swampy locales, since your PCs at low levels have no such power.
    Last edited by ShikomeKidoMi; 2017-03-04 at 03:54 AM.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Love gibbering mouthers. Got plans for the next dungeon I'm running dropping one out of the ceiling if the right floor tile is stepped on. Directly onto the PC who steps. It's one of those dungeons.
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by ShikomeKidoMi View Post

    My only complaint about Mouthers is I've always found their blinding light spittle a little unthematic. Insane wailing? Makes sense. Melting the world around them, the same way they melt the flesh of their victims after eating it? Makes sense. Spittle that acts like a flash grenade when it hits something? Somewhat out of left field, even if it does give the creature a ranged option.
    I've always read it as the acide irritating the eyes

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    I've always read it as the acide irritating the eyes
    same here. like the frilled lizard dinosaurs from the first jurassic park movie.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    In my campaign, there's been two times a character was down and in danger of bleeding out because no one could help them. The second time was a young red dragon that caught the wizard full-on with the breath weapon. The first was a treasure room guarded by two Gibbering Mouthers. See, they don't start wailing until they see you, and so listening at the door heard nothing. And when the party opened the door, they were 10 feet away from a pair of these things.

    Fighter kept failing his will save; strangely, so did the monk. The spittle attacks kept some of the ranged attackers busy. The saving grace was the mouthers had to come out through the door and the wizard maintained Cloud of Daggers in the doorway. The fighter fell to the floor; the mouther was going to move forward and devour his body, but the wizard scored a critical hit with Fire Bolt and dropped it.

    For a party of 6 2nd level characters two of these things are a very tough fight.
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by SaintRidley View Post
    Love gibbering mouthers. Got plans for the next dungeon I'm running dropping one out of the ceiling if the right floor tile is stepped on. Directly onto the PC who steps. It's one of those dungeons.
    I've never used them, but I imagine tactics like this are the key to getting the most out of the mouther. I do the same with oozes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stavrost View Post
    I've never used them, but I imagine tactics like this are the key to getting the most out of the mouther. I do the same with oozes.
    If you really want to get the most out of them, put them at the bottom of a pit with a trap door on top.

    Adventurers will have troubles fighting the floor.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    I've always read it as the acide irritating the eyes
    Quote Originally Posted by SharkForce View Post
    same here. like the frilled lizard dinosaurs from the first jurassic park movie.
    It would make sense, but 'spit that gives off blinding light' is RAW.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by ShikomeKidoMi View Post
    It would make sense, but 'spit that gives off blinding light' is RAW.
    huh... ok, that is just weird.

    yeah, i'm gonna ignore that and stick with the way i thought it worked before. flashbang spit is certainly weird, but i'm not convinced it's weird in the way that i want it to be.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by SharkForce View Post
    huh... ok, that is just weird.yeah, i'm gonna ignore that and stick with the way i thought it worked before. flashbang spit is certainly weird, but i'm not convinced it's weird in the way that i want it to be.
    Personally, I think I'm going to use your 'blinding caustic spray' explanation myself, because I have the exact same objection.

    Otherwise, however, I'm quite fond of the Gibbering Mouther's design.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    I'm sure there's a combination of chemicals that are both luminous and acidic... I'm no chemist, though.
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Regitnui View Post
    I'm sure there's a combination of chemicals that are both luminous and acidic... I'm no chemist, though.
    A lot of glowing chemicals are really, really bad for you, even before you get into junk like radium. I think mostly it's a "kill you slowly" kind of deadly and not a "melt you right now", but, eh, fantasy chemistry.

    Anyway, that sounds like there are a couple logic extensions to flashy gibbering mouthers. If their spit is (or can be made) shelf stable, you could have a kind of flashbang that might be of interest to sneaky types and potentially job-worthy. You could have a rave-variant of the gibbering mouther that's constantly flashing in bright and confusing colors, and probably gets to use its spittle as a reaction against anyone who hits it with a slashing weapon.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by twas_Brillig View Post
    If their spit is (or can be made) shelf stable, you could have a kind of flashbang that might be of interest to sneaky types and potentially job-worthy.
    And someone has been kidnapping the homeless to feed this business.

    You could have a rave-variant of the gibbering mouther that's constantly flashing in bright and confusing colors, and probably gets to use its spittle as a reaction against anyone who hits it with a slashing weapon.
    The spittle is deafening instead of blinding.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Millstone85 View Post

    The spittle is deafening instead of blinding.
    ...Dude, a Mouther who makes its preys deaf won't eat much.


    In any case, shall we move to the next entry?
    Last edited by Unoriginal; 2017-03-05 at 01:05 PM.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    ...Dude, a Mouther who makes its preys deaf won't eat much.
    You missed the part about this one being all psychedelic lights.

  30. - Top - End - #60
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Beleriphon's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Protecting my Horde (yes, I mean that kind)

    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Sharur View Post
    Thank goodness their loners, because one of these guys could pose a massive issue if they have Giant (or non-Giant) retainers to keep foes back from them as they rained down rock and lightning upon them. It would be even worse with Multiple Storm Giants: they could wade into melee and then let loss with their lightning strikes, while being totally immune.
    Sure its long range, but its more fun to wade into melee and then call lightning on yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by GorinichSerpant View Post
    Then when he finds out he's causing trouble for the city below, the storms become worse because of the guilt he feels for causing people harm. Which leads to a cycle of despair and tempests. How can you get those storms to stop?
    Ask Loki how he made Skadi laugh.
    Last edited by Beleriphon; 2017-03-05 at 02:57 PM.

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