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Thread: Modrons

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    Default Modrons

    Modrons are very niche monsters in 5e. The only circumstances in which a party fights them are either during the Great Modron March, or if the chaotic characters are dumb enough to attack Mechanus. How would you use modrons in your games?

    My example would be: I had players battle modrons as a final fight on a gladiatorial arena (the fight was nearly a TPK, modrons are tough, especially quadrones). Ostensibly, the modrons were present as a field test of their combat capabilities.

    So, how would you use these unique, dangerous, and rare creatures in your games?

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    Default Re: Modrons

    One piece of fluff: Rogue Modrons are a thing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ignimortis View Post
    Do you want to play all those cool fantasy adventures like Lord of the Rings, Conan the Barbarian*, etc?
    Do you want to not actually bother about whether you've picked something that will work and not left in the dust by the rest of the party at level 7?
    Do you want that sense of excitement when you find a magic item back**?

    Then Dungeons and Dragons, 5th edition is for you!


    *Actually a fighter/rogue multiclass.
    **Might not apply to all campaigns. Enquire at your local DMs.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Modrons

    Quote Originally Posted by bc56 View Post
    So, how would you use these unique, dangerous, and rare creatures in your games?
    Someone could use them in much the same way lower plane creatures sometimes are: Bind them and use them to guard or fight. It's a dangerous business, but magicians aren't most noted for being sensible.
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook

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    Default Re: Modrons

    Quote Originally Posted by hymer View Post
    Someone could use them in much the same way lower plane creatures sometimes are: Bind them and use them to guard or fight. It's a dangerous business, but magicians aren't most noted for being sensible.
    Actually, I think Modrons would be relatively easy to bind, since they are all about following orders. The challenge would be commanding them, because they don't speak common.

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    Default Re: Modrons

    My DM completely missed the fluff and used the lower level ones as servants within the grand temple of the Priesthood in one adventure, sort of like Keepers on the Citadel in Mass Effect. They curled up unto little balls to get through service tunnels and such and were needed to open most doors in the structure. Was a nice touch.
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    My character (Artificer) befriended one we found lost in an abandoned temple. Somehow it multiplied and I now have a workshop ran by Modrons.

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    Default Re: Modrons

    Morons can be captured and corrupted by other forces, especially by dark powers that seek to steal the power of Primus or undermine the workings of Mechanus somehow for their own nefarious schemes.
    Last edited by StorytellerHero; 2018-01-03 at 10:10 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bc56 View Post
    Actually, I think Modrons would be relatively easy to bind, since they are all about following orders. The challenge would be commanding them, because they don't speak common.
    The danger I see is more about the inevitable Inevitables (I don't think they're statted for 5e yet?), or whatever reprisal the hierarchy itself may take against someone who enslaves some of them. Fiends see it as more of an opportunity, and don't really care that you enslave their fellows, except on principle. Modrons may only care on principle, too, but they take their principles a lot more seriously.
    'There are old summoners and bold summoners, but no old, bold summoners.'
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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Modrons

    In a gloom campaign, I put some modrons in the first aventure, but I completly change the fluff.

    An astronomer used mecanic and moon magic to create some construct servants, but the moon magic was corrupted and the modrons were getting dangerous. He made up a filter machinery to purify their fluids of dark influence (some maintenance system), but things grew worse too quickly for him to follow.

    The modrons were too corrupted. At some point, they get the idea that their master was having failures in his system too (because nervous, looking worried, and stripping down a modron to repair it), sa they wanted to help him and purify him. They threw him in some acid tank of the filter machinery and he died horribly in it.


    When the adventurers arrive to see the astronomer (to get informations about the main plot), a monodrone open the door and told them to go away, for the master was busy taking a purifying bath (I made the monodrones speaking common here), then shut the door to their faces.
    When the heroes started to think something was wrong and went to break in the observatory, the monodrones went agressive and attacked.
    Short dungeon here, mainly with monodrones and some investigations, then the finale room at the top of the observatory, with some stronger modrons (a tridrone I think, plus some monodrones). And at the climax of the fight, a oozed zombie (customized creature) break out of the glass tank and attack : the astronomer corpse, corrupted by the fluids.



    Quite far from the original modron fluff, but lot of fun !

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohanOfKitten View Post
    Quite far from the original modron fluff, but lot of fun !
    Sounds like it!

    Anyway, as long as we're refluffing: Modrons can be the hapless servants of the evil gnomish artificers. They are created as expendable slaves, themselves apologetic about trying to hurt the PCs, and when destroyed they do not immediately cease to have consciousness. They politely try to insist that the PCs go away, while apologizing for any injury they've made.
    If the PCs respond emotionally, a gnome may even try to use his slaves as hostages, or harm them to torture the PCs. If their creators are killed, the modrons will beg to be deactivated, as they cannot deactivate themselves by design, and would end up standing around with nothing to do until they decompose.
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook

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    Default Re: Modrons

    Quote Originally Posted by StorytellerHero View Post
    Morons can be captured and corrupted by other forces
    A universal truth I'm sure every DM has experience with.

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    Default Re: Modrons

    Quote Originally Posted by hymer View Post
    The danger I see is more about the inevitable Inevitables (I don't think they're statted for 5e yet?), or whatever reprisal the hierarchy itself may take against someone who enslaves some of them. Fiends see it as more of an opportunity, and don't really care that you enslave their fellows, except on principle. Modrons may only care on principle, too, but they take their principles a lot more seriously.
    'There are old summoners and bold summoners, but no old, bold summoners.'
    But modrons should at least obey their orders, unlike fiends, who really just want to corrupt/kill their summoner. I personally would say,
    "Abyssal? REAL mages speak Modron!"

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    Default Re: Modrons

    Modrons do what they are told, without reason or leeway. They were told to clear out some ruins? Doesn’t matter a city was built on them... they have to go! Why are they guarding that hill, attacking caravans that pass by, and have been for hundreds of years? Because they were told to!

    Modrons work good as enemies that you have to be creative to work around their needs and commands; how to fight a dungeon without drawing a weapon (they will attack if you do!), or how to convince them to leave an area by ‘finishing’ their job for them

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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Modrons

    I've never understood the point of the Great Modron March anyway. It doesn't accomplish anything, and shouldn't the most Lawful race in the multiverse have a reason for everything?

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    Default Re: Modrons

    This thread is why I stalk the forums. Every post here is awesome, inspiring, and useful. Now I have to see how I can use Modrons too!

    @brazenburn- I think the Great Modron March is basically a gigantic recon-in-force? Get a better understanding of what's going on in the multiverse by attacking everything they encounter and taking copious notes?
    Remember, it isnt anything useful from our point of view. Modrons are pure LAW and while they certainly have a reason, it doesn't mean us fleshy morally-conflicted meatbags will be able to understand it.
    Last edited by NRSASD; 2018-01-04 at 11:54 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by the_brazenburn View Post
    I've never understood the point of the Great Modron March anyway. It doesn't accomplish anything, and shouldn't the most Lawful race in the multiverse have a reason for everything?
    There likely is a reason, that we as mortals lack the perspective to see. Offhand it could be:

    1. Helps to keep the forces of chaos in check. Their recon trip is likely attacked by chaotic creatures, as lawful ones would't randomly attack such a force (likely anyways, it's conjecture), which means that invariably, while the modron numbers dwindle, a large amount of chaotic creatures die too.

    2. It helps recycle and refresh the modrons. I'm guessing that over time, the longer a modron lives, the greater the chance of it going rogue. And while random deaths among them do assist, it's chaotic and unreliable, whereas a regularly scheduled march across the planes serves well. The survivors are resilient enough that they would resist going rogue, and there's probably a number of promotions among their ranks as a result.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bc56 View Post
    Modrons are very niche monsters in 5e. The only circumstances in which a party fights them are either during the Great Modron March, or if the chaotic characters are dumb enough to attack Mechanus. How would you use modrons in your games?

    My example would be: I had players battle modrons as a final fight on a gladiatorial arena (the fight was nearly a TPK, modrons are tough, especially quadrones). Ostensibly, the modrons were present as a field test of their combat capabilities.

    So, how would you use these unique, dangerous, and rare creatures in your games?
    Not to be a completely shameless in my self-promotion, but I wrote an adventure for the DMsGuild (search for it by title: Modrons, Mephits & Mayhem) with a central rogue modron NPC and a backstory of some deeply troubling (morality-wise) modron operations working on the Prime Material. One of the ways to expand the adventure would be to have the rogue Modron's former superiors show up in a much more antagonistic role: they want to shut down their experimental facility and it's not like they'll care if doing so harms a few adventurers and githyanki...

    Outside of that adventure, modrons represent rigid law, almost universally without moral leanings by definition; rogue modrons are an exception, and as my adventure shows, some morality may creep into non-rogues, as well. That being the case, though, modrons could be easily convinced to safeguard locations or powerful artifacts that could be used to tip the balance of things in favor of law/chaos or good/evil, or to harm the power of law...meaning that modrons might have concerns with things being too neutral on the law/chaos axis. This is the sort of thing that would bring them into conflict with fey races (which often lean chaotic) or with the various Powers you might find on the Outlands (who are often "true neutral" and therefore don't adhere to strict laws and policies in the manner that the modrons do). This kind of thing can influence gate-towns, and that's a pretty big deal for the Modron March, in fact, so it sorta leads one to think that there'd be modron operations year-round in all major gate-towns, just to make sure they don't slip away...

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    Default Re: Modrons

    As a guardians of some secret place. A modron asks a yes or no question. If the answer is longer than one word or is other than yes or no, he refuses access to that place.

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    Default Re: Modrons

    If I had to guess, I would say the original purpose of the Great Modron March was to scout the early multiverse... or perhaps something to do with the early parts of the War of Law and Chaos.

    Now, the purpose is that it is on the calendar so it just needs to keep happening, it doesn’t need a deeper reason than that by Modron standards

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    Default Re: Modrons

    I think we're missing an important point here: Modrons are *just* lawful. They'd fight CE outsiders, beings and societies. They'd fight CG outsiders, beings and societies too. They'd euthanize entire races if it was the will of Mechanus, or raze civilizations to the ground, if it was Meant-To-Be.
    The really crucial part of making interesting situations with the modrons lies in developing plots in which Law is going against what the party would want.
    Maybe there is a sect of Modrons hiding in a city's sewers, systematically murdering people because Mechanus has decreed a certain person and all his bloodline should be "deleted" from the universe.
    Maybe the party stumbled upon a secret-that-man-was-not-meant-to-know and Modrons are hunting them.
    Maybe a civilization that the party lives in was long ago saved from a prophecy that fortold it's doom, and now the Modrons are trying to trigger that prophecy again, considering that civilization a "virus" in the code of history.
    There's lots to work with if you attack it from the right angle!

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    Default Re: Modrons

    Quote Originally Posted by bc56 View Post
    But modrons should at least obey their orders, unlike fiends, who really just want to corrupt/kill their summoner. I personally would say,
    "Abyssal? REAL mages speak Modron!"
    Do you mind if I sig this?
    Quote Originally Posted by Kane0 View Post
    "In the Eyes of the Great Beyond, you are constrained to each other's embrace until the day you perish"
    "Hey, that sounded more like a curse than a wedding" Your mortal customs are foreign to me. Is there a difference?
    Quote Originally Posted by bc56 View Post
    REAL mages speak Modron!
    Quote Originally Posted by KOLE View Post
    If I ever tried to cast animate dead or conjure animals at my table, my DM would reveal an AK47 and kill everyone in the room and then himself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobbyjackcorn View Post
    They'd euthanize entire races if it was the will of Mechanus, or raze civilizations to the ground, if it was Meant-To-Be.
    Except that it would not be the will of Mechanus, not how it was Meant-To-Be.

    Modrons might not move a finger when those things happen, but doing it themselves would mean they're lawful evil. Which is the Devils' job.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobbyjackcorn View Post
    Maybe there is a sect of Modrons hiding in a city's sewers, systematically murdering people because Mechanus has decreed a certain person and all his bloodline should be "deleted" from the universe.
    Yeah, no. Again, Modrons aren't evil, nor are going to sneak around without respect of the law.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobbyjackcorn View Post
    Maybe the party stumbled upon a secret-that-man-was-not-meant-to-know and Modrons are hunting them.
    This arguably works, if the PCs broke the law to learn/by learning this secret.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobbyjackcorn View Post
    Maybe a civilization that the party lives in was long ago saved from a prophecy that fortold it's doom, and now the Modrons are trying to trigger that prophecy again, considering that civilization a "virus" in the code of history.
    Nope.

    If a prophecy can be adverted, then the Modrons would consider it legitimate to have it adverted.

    The only thing the Modrons would be objecting to is if, say, some ****** had created a time bubble to lock the civilization in a time before the prophecy happened, because messing with time on such a scale to save your own skin is not respecting the rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobbyjackcorn View Post
    There's lots to work with if you attack it from the right angle!
    Maybe, but this is not the right angle.

    This is not 3.X's Mechanus.



    Basically, imagine a Modron like the inspector-pursuing-the-lovable-rogue-protag. They're not bad guys, they're just pursuing anyone who breaks the law, even if they're good guys.

    Of course, if the PCs are not the good guys...
    Last edited by Unoriginal; 2018-01-05 at 04:52 AM.

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    Default Re: Modrons

    I would say that Modrons are neither good nor evil, only lawful. They aren't doing what they do because they want to do it, they're doing it because they're programmed to do it. They have no ulterior motive, just orders that they must obey. Today it might be "wipe out that town", tomorrow it's "pick daisies and give them to those orphans".

    Or, you could just use the statblock as a chassis for any sort of programmed automaton (that's not a golem) and disregard the fluff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CircleOfTheRock View Post
    Do you mind if I sig this?
    Yeah, go ahead, as long as you give me credit.
    Awesome avatar (Kothar, paladin of Tlacua) by Linkele!

    REAL mages speak Modron!
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    Default Re: Modrons

    Quote Originally Posted by hymer View Post
    'There are old summoners and bold summoners, but no old, bold summoners.'
    Maybe my new favorite mad scientist / wizard quote

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    Default Re: Modrons

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Basically, imagine a Modron like the inspector-pursuing-the-lovable-rogue-protag. They're not bad guys, they're just pursuing anyone who breaks the law, even if they're good guys.
    Now I will have Les Mis songs stuck in my head for the rest of the day! ... Thank you. :-)

    “I am the law and the law is not mocked. I’ll spit his pity right back in his face!”
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    Default Re: Modrons

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Modrons might not move a finger when those things happen, but doing it themselves would mean they're lawful evil. Which is the Devils' job.
    Modrons may occasionally do evil things, but it isn’t a predictor of their behavior. The same Modron mindlessly attacking travelers to keep them away from a long forgotten temple today may be the same Modron running a soup kitchen to feed those who lost their crops to a Slaad incursion. An Angel doesn’t fall from a Neutral Act now and then, a Modron is still a Modron with a little Good and Evil in their history.

    Even if they destroyed your planet to make way for a transplanar highway. No use complaining about it now, the paperwork has been on file in Sigil for ten years, you had plenty of time to contest it!

    “They are one of the most unpleasant races in the galaxy - not actually evil, but bad tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous. They wouldn't even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal without an order, signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public enquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Naanomi View Post
    Modrons may occasionally do evil things, but it isn’t a predictor of their behavior. The same Modron mindlessly attacking travelers to keep them away from a long forgotten temple today may be the same Modron running a soup kitchen to feed those who lost their crops to a Slaad incursion. An Angel doesn’t fall from a Neutral Act now and then, a Modron is still a Modron with a little Good and Evil in their history.

    Even if they destroyed your planet to make way for a transplanar highway. No use complaining about it now, the paperwork has been on file in Sigil for ten years, you had plenty of time to contest it!

    “They are one of the most unpleasant races in the galaxy - not actually evil, but bad tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous. They wouldn't even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal without an order, signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public enquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters.”
    Nice, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy quote about VogonsModrons
    Awesome avatar (Kothar, paladin of Tlacua) by Linkele!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bc56 View Post
    So, how would you use these unique, dangerous, and rare creatures in your games?
    I'd use them kind of like Mass Effect's Reapers. Following a rule of absolute law, they have set to cleansing this plane of all life for reasons nobody understands. The party would need to find out why they're here, and find a way to close the planar gate they're coming through... or convince Mechanus to rescind the order.
    Walk boldly, and discover a world of wonder...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Strifer View Post
    Maybe my new favorite mad scientist / wizard quote
    I'm pretty sure it was said by the potion trader in Lut Gholein in Diablo 2, but I may be misremembering. I really like that guy.
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook

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