|Myconids by MOAI|
|Myconids by MOAI|
Whales come from hell--everyone knows that. They swim up from the blackest abysses. They are formed from the souls of gluttons, who's insatiable hunger inevitably led their swollen bodies back to the light of the living lands, where they can feed on the living. Either way, two things are certain:
|Faroe Island Whalers|
Piabon is a fairy knight, of course, one of the knights botanical. But he refuses to say who he serves.
What is your quest?
"I am gathering knowledge of your weaknesses for the coming war. Don't look so concerned! It won't be for a long time yet."
How long exactly?
"I find it best not to worry about such things. But tell me, how poisonous is cinnamon to the human constitution? Can you safely breath it?"
Piabon is accompanied by Gressa, an enormous white lion. Gressa speaks with a girl's voice, hates violence, and pretends not to hear or see anyone else except for Piabon, who she addresses with mild contempt. She is much lighter than she looks.
Want / Do Not Want
Piabon wants to learn about human weaknesses. He would be especially interested in seeing large amounts of humans fighting at one time. He has no interest in anatomy or dissection. He would be interested in a book of poetry that describes heartbreak (another human weakness).
Piabon does not want his face to be seen. He doesn't want people embarrassing him in front of Gressa.
Help / Harm
If Piabon likes you, he will accompany you (although not underground) and happily tell you about interested locations nearby and all the threats on the wandering monster table (he's traveled quite a bit).
If Piabon doesn't like you, he'll probably try to kill you.
There's actually four of him--brothers who share a name. One wanders around with Gressa, while the other three usually remain in their laboratorium sanctorum, atop Old Miss Thistle (a mountain).
Level 3 Armor as plate Morningstar1d8 War Bee 1d6 (see below)
Move as human + bumbershoot (see below)
Piabon loves alcohol, and a single drink will make him hilariously, chilidishly drunk.
Piabon's armor is made from spun sugar. It is light and strong, but melts if it gets wet.
Piabon's head, carefully concealed beneath his helmet, is that of a dandelion puff. If he is restrained, his helmet removed, and his head blown off, the blower gets a minor wish. The wish is limited to what an adult human could definitely accomplish with a year of labor. Build a wall, destroy a bridge, teach the blower to play the panpipes excellently, kill a merchant, etc.
Piabon's War Bee lives inside his magnificent neckerchief. He carries it in place of a bow, but treat it like a spiritual weapon. It requires an action on the first turn to sic the bee on someone. On the first turn and all subsequent turns, the bee makes an attack (using Piabon's bonus) for 1d6 piercing damage. Lasts until the target is dead or Piabon loses line of sight.
Piabon has a bumbershoot that allows him to fly up to any altitude, but only outdoors and only in the direction that the wind is blowing. It also allows him to cast featherfall on himself.
Which way is the wind blowing today? [d12]
1 - N
2 - NE
3 - E
4 - SE
5 - S
6 - SW
7 - W
8 - NW
9-12 - No wind today.
Level 5 Armor chain Claw/Claw/Bite 1d6/1d6/1d8
Move as lion Int 18
Gressa will not attack unless she is attacked first. If Piabon is attacked, she will stand there idly, criticizing Piabon and while pointing out advice and tactics. This gives Piabon +2 to hit and damage with his morningstar, and allows him to fight much more cleverly than he would otherwise.
Bonus: Dandelion Knight as GLOG Class
Template A - Bumbershoot (as above), Spun Sugar Armor, Wishing Head
Template B - War Bee (as above)
Template C - Condescending Companion (HD 5, random giant animal, as above)
Template D - Spawn SquireSpawn Squire
You sprout off a hechman. They are always level 0 (but can always advance as Dandelion knights, or any other knight botanical). If you would die, you can choose to have your squire die in your place. They are always named Pod (but may take a new name if they gain a level).
Have you ever read through some old adventure module and come across a room that has 40 orcs in it? You don't see that much anymore. Let's talk about that.
|Skeleton Army by Adrian Smith|
The Appeal of an Army
I don't think I need to defend the idea that it is cool as fuck to fight a horde of enemies. Orcs, hellhounds, traitor knights, vampire wolves. . . they're all cool.
They're also intimidating in a way that a dragon is not. Normally, in the boss fight encounters against a singular foe, the players have two advantages:
The Disbanding of the Army
Why don't we see armies like this anymore? The big reason is combat complexity. As editions of DnD got more complex, combat turns started taking longer and longer. How much did blur slow down combat in 3e?
There's also the push for more complexity in monster abilities. Each monster has been loaded down with more and more bells and whistles. This creates more of a burden on the DM, to use and track these abilities effectively. I'm not saying the trade-off isn't worth it--sometimes it is. But we should be aware of what we're giving up when we start giving bonus actions to lowly orcs and goblins.
(I've made the argument before that there is a lot of worthwhile differentiation that can come from behavior, rather than the stat block, but that's a different conversation.)
OSR combat moves fast. A fight against thirty orcs shouldn't be out of the question
Rules for Facing Armies
How many people can you catch in a single fireball? Maybe 3 if they're wisely spread out. A dozen if they're densely clustered. On any other round, tell the wizard that their best fireball opportunity is 2d4+1 (rerolling it every round--let the wizard decide when the best opportunity is). Armies that are trying to spread out (and have the space to do so) will limit themselves to 1d4+3 within the range of a single fireball.
Can you split up an army? Easily, if your foes are unintelligent. Intelligent enemies will avoid splitting up into overly small groups. If they search for you, it will be with scouting groups that will retreat and seek help, rather than allow themselves to get drawn into a pitched battle.
The most important rules will probably be facing rules: how many orcs can attack your fighters simultaneously?
In a hallway 10' wide (or other chokepoint, I'd say that 3 people fighting abreast is the maximum, while 2 people fighting abreast would be the minimum to hold the line.
While totally surrounded, a cluster of at least 5 PCs has 2 enemies facing each of them. Smaller groups will have 3 enemies facing them simultaneously.
Armies will, of course, fight as intelligently as they can. This includes, but is not limited to: