Thursday, March 29, 2012

Three Snake Terrors

How did I get to talking about terrors?  I guess my idea of using systematic creativity to make monsters wasn't quite enough; the interesting mechanics must be situated in some related concept.  And for monster concepts, our own fears and squicks are the best place to look. But it's cool, I like how the idea of the Low People that I came up with from the scary snake direction, and the encumbrance increasing that came from looking at the game systematically, work well together.

That's what I love about blogging, one post leads to another slightly different and then another and before you know it you're in territory you would have never guessed you'd be going.

So here are some snakey terrors.  I remember watching a commercial, just the commercial mind you, for the movie Hisss (?) Sssssss as a kid and being scared.  That peeling flesh is here as well as the writhing, limbless nature of these beasties that seems to bother people.

Tomb Serpents
These pale serpents live for ages even in utter darkness without food.  They grow to the size of architecture, serving as banisters, bridges, or even walls in ancient tombs.  Their bodies are smooth and cool to the touch.  But woe to them that touch those scales.  Their skin becomes dry and flaky, eventually peeling down to the wet meat.  (save or begin shedding at 1 Con point per day, even healed it is likely to leave terrible scars save or subtract the number the Con went down from Char).

It looks like a filthy man but stands five times as high.  It is ravenous, always.   It will not attack as such, but stuff anything it can grasp into its noisome maw.  It's gullet is filled with eels, lampreys, vipers and leeches.  Anyone unfortunate enough to be swallowed will be bit, bled, and crushed to death in the darkness before ever being digested. (allow swallowed players to roll a d4 each round and guess the outcome. If they guess right, they've managed to breathe and avoid damage.  If wrong, they take the difference in damage [guess 4 roll 1 = 3 dmg]).

Low People

Encountered in deep caverns, these appear to be groups of naked humans lying prone.  Closer inspection reveals these things have their limbs fused to their bodies.  They tend to lie in loose circles around mounds of debris and items-- backpacks, rope, bones.  Entering the circle will cause them to begin circling silently, slither up walls and across ceilings.  Unfortunates caught within this circle will begin to feel the pull of the earth stronger and stronger. Many never leave (each round items go up in encumbrance - double weight or slots required.  Characters will become unable to move in a number of rounds equal to their strength score).

Update: Whoops, that movie I linked is some Indian production barely 2 years old.  That is obviously not the one I saw advertised as a kid unless my parents had a time machine or something.  Help me out folks, what movie (maybe just made for TV) had a scene of someone looking into a bathroom mirror as they peeled the shedding skin from their face to reveal scales?

Update 2: Okay, consulted with my brother and found out it was just Sssssss, note the 7 "s"s, haha. Here's the trailer on YouTube, note the fused limb Low People impersonation in there.


  1. I don't personally remember a time when I ever thought snakes were anything but interesting and fun, but these are some creepy creatures!

  2. Same question as in the previous post....May I have your permission to use these in the RCFG ruleset? (I know you said yes there, but I do not like to assume)

    Also, if so, how would you like to be attributed? You can email me at ravencrowking at hotmail dot com if you like, or dbishop at danieljbishop dot com.

  3. Here's another question (and I'm sorry to be a bother). I was going to make the text of the game almost all OGC (name excepted), but I can put your material aside from that designation if you like. Just let me know.

  4. @LS: yeah, these fears aren't rational, snakes are pretty cool. Thanks.

    @ rck: no bother, treat anything I've posted on my blog as the creative commons license in the sidebar. How that works with OGC or not I have no idea, but if it gets in the way I'd rather you use my ideas and have fun than not. As for attribution, just say some of these critters were inspired by Telecanter and put my blog address and I'd be honored. Thanks.

  5. Eel-eater is sick. Nice low-level version of digestion/suffocation damage too.

  6. Thanks, Andrew. Hope you get a chance to try it out with some players.