Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Vermin of the City

In the depths of the city, there are many small creatures that feed off the inhabitants and their scraps.  Many of these creatures have been detailed in other tomes, such as the kestrekels of Cliffside or the bloodthorn vines that cluster in Temple Park.  Spiretop drakes are especially common, and of course rats and the ubiquitous feral cats of Alam.

But I would like to have a look at a few of the critters that help define Diamond City, critters not as prevalant in most other urban areas, such as the demonic sawfly and the plague moth.

Demonic Sawfly
The demonic sawfly was unwittingly brought to Diamond City by the shadar-kai refugees. It is native to the hidden corners of the Tetrahedron, but spread across the surface of Courlark during the invasion fifty years ago.  Few people blame the refugees for the spread of the demons.  You see, the demonic sawfly is just the sort of creature to stow away in the hold of a spelljammer and easily escape notice.  It could happen to anyone.

The demonic sawfly resembles a large, winged 'daddy long-legs' spider that drains blood from its victims, not unlike a giant blood midge.  The most notable aspects of the critter are its ability to change size at will, and its ability to summon a blood midge swarm.  When feeding, the sawfly expands to become a small-sized creature, with a spindly legspan of three feet.  When hiding, the sawfly shrinks itself to about an inch long, the size of a blood midge, and mixes in with the summoned swarm, making it nearly impossible to identify.

Hazardous Terrain:

Hungry Blood Midge Swarm
A swarm of biting insects fills 4 contiguous squares
Effect: The squares occupied by the cloud are lightly obscured, and the cloud is difficult terrain. Any creature within the cloud at the start of its turn takes 1 point of damage and is dazed.  If no creature is in the cloud when a creature starts its turn within 3 squares of a blood midge cloud, the cloud moves 5 squares and attempts to cover as many living creatures as possible. If an area or close attack includes squares occupied by the cloud, the cloud is destroyed in those squares. If a cloud is broken into smaller pieces by an attack, each piece acts as a separate terrain feature.

Plague Moth
The dark corners of Diamond City, in particular the seedy borough of Talcum, have seen an infestation recently of an over-sized magical moth known as a plague moth.  The plague moth is grey in color, dappled with black and white, and is the size of a cat.  They are generally found in clusters of three to twelve.  The moth creeps in dark corners, only revealing itself at night.

Contact, or even close proximity, with the plague moth results in dangerous delusions, in some instances resulting in permanent madness.  A number of residents have become infected and seem to be forming a loosely organized cult as a result of contact with the moths.  An afflicted creature views the plague moths as his true family, even going so far as to consider himself a plague moth as well.

It has been theorized that the moth was somehow brought to Diamond City from Limbo, as they are not known to be residents of any other planet.  Efforts to eradicate the moth have been abysmal failures.

Moth Madness- Level 5 disease
The victim becomes obsessed with the moths that infected him, seeking their company when feasible.
Stage 0: The subject recovers from the disease.
Stage 1: While affected by stage 1, the subject takes a -2 penalty to initiative checks and Will. She often seems distracted, and speaks happily about her experience with the plague moths.
Stage 2: While affected by stage 2, the subject suffers all the effects of stage 1, and loses one healing surge that cannot be regained until she recovers from the disease. The subject takes a -4 penalty to Endurance, Insight, and all Charisma-based checks, as she begins obsessing over the moths.
Stage 3: While affected by stage 3, the subject suffers all the effects of stage 2, and takes a -4 penalty to all damage rolls when not within 5 squares of an unrestrained plague moth.  She will fight to defend the moths from attack.
Stage 4: While affected by stage 4, the subject descends into utter madness and is dazed.  She refuses to leave the company of the moths for any reason.
Check: At the end of each extended rest, the target makes an Endurance check if it is at stage 1, 2, or 3.
9 or lower: The stage of the disease increases by one.
10-14: No Change
15 or higher: The stage of the disease decreases by one.

Brown Mold
For as long as anyone can remember, Diamond City has been plagued by patches of heat sapping brown mold.  Periodically the barons sponsor magic users with cold-based spells to go through their districts freezing the mold, but the efforts are never coordinated enough to completely flush the mold from the city.  The mold can be hard to spot, as it looks simply like a particularly dirty or grimy patch of ground.
Brown Mold
Hazardous Trap, Level 6 Obstacle, 250 XP

The air is slightly cooler around a brown mold patch, as it saps the heat from nearby lifeforms.
Hazard: The brown mold occupies a single square, sapping the life of any creature who gets close and using the heat to rapidly expand.

Perception DC 19: The character can see the brown splotches of the mold
Nature DC 15: The character identifies the dark patch as a brown mold

HP 60
AC 10, Fortitude 10, Reflex 5, Will
Immune psychic, forced movement, all conditions
Resist 5 fire
Vulnerable 5 cold

Triggered Actions
Attack At-Will
Trigger: A creature enters a square adjacent to the brown mold.
Attack (Immediate Reaction): Melee 1 (triggering creature); +9 vs.Fortitude
Hit: 1d10 + 5 cold damage, and the target loses a healing surge.  Another brown mold appears in the same square as the triggering creature.
Expand At-Will
Trigger: The mold resists fire damage.
Effect: Another brown mold appears in a random adjacent square.

The brown mold cannot be disabled, it must be physically destroyed.

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