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  • Monsters

    Okay, so let us say I want to run something like Psions or Novas exploring another world or Talents adventuring in some mysterious hidden place on Earth or some adventure in say a post-apocalyptic or changed world. I want them to have monsters to fight but I don't want said monsters to be humans, sapient alien species, or anything remotely on the level of undead (I am NOT a zombie fan). What sort of monsters would you suggest? This question could be answered thematically or mechanically, or both, or even something else.

    But yeah this has been one of those ideas that have been in my head for a while now. I want the potential players to have some sort threats that need to be fought but I am not sure what those would be. Hence this post.

  • #2
    So no sapient aliens, so you want something beastial? Not Howard-style Serpent Men dwelling in the Hollow Earth for example?


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    • #3
      Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
      So no sapient aliens, so you want something beastial? Not Howard-style Serpent Men dwelling in the Hollow Earth for example?
      On one hand I really like the idea of sapient aliens and humanoid bestial monsters, like the Serpent Men you mention. My 'problem' with them is that if they have civilizations my creative mind starts to think "well couldn't peaceful relations occur" and then the creature stops being monster and becomes a potential race to befriend which leads me to coming up with all sort of quest and adventure ideas.

      Which is part of the reason I seem to have problems coming up with monstrous creatures that could be fought without any issues.

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      • #4
        Seems like you just need creatures that are inherently driven by a need to feed. Where it breaks down is people wanting the monsters they fight to be evil - because evil requires the ability to make moral choices, which makes and “evil” species impossible - just evil individuals. But a species whose survival needs/instincts are at odds with humanity’s survival needs are in contrast easily doable, no moral judgment required.

        My brain right now is on giant shapeshifting swarm of small spider-like creatures


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        • #5
          A creature that lives in a black hole and feeds on noetic energy of any entity that is crushed into the Singularity, and has a psychic lure driving people to take their ships beyond the event horizon, be it suicidally, because they think they’re fleeing something else, etc.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
            Seems like you just need creatures that are inherently driven by a need to feed. Where it breaks down is people wanting the monsters they fight to be evil - because evil requires the ability to make moral choices, which makes and “evil” species impossible - just evil individuals. But a species whose survival needs/instincts are at odds with humanity’s survival needs are in contrast easily doable, no moral judgment required.
            Its not so much people as it is me looking at creatures that are clearly sapient and going "but why can't we communicate, wouldn't it be interesting fi the monstrous being was actually someone that could be our best friend?" Which then turns said creature / species from being the standard combat threat to something with a much deeper arc. Which is great, which is fun, but not when I want to have something that is purely something we fight.

            My brain right now is on giant shapeshifting swarm of small spider-like creatures
            This is cool. This is a good idea. The idea of having them face a swarm of small shapeshifting spider-like creatures is interesting. The benefit is that they could face multiple swarms of creatures that all look different but that in the end are part of the same broad monstrous species.

            Mutated monstrous spiders, rats, wolves, cats etc are a perfect starting point actually. They resemble natural creatures but are clearly different enough so as to be unique.

            A creature that lives in a black hole and feeds on noetic energy of any entity that is crushed into the Singularity, and has a psychic lure driving people to take their ships beyond the event horizon, be it suicidally, because they think they’re fleeing something else, etc.
            This is cool, though this sounds more like a 'boss' level monster type rather than a run of the mill monster type. The idea of facing a creature that can effect or something with black holes and gravity and space is like a "whoa" moment. Which is very nice.

            ======

            This whole situation is one of my biggest 'issues' with setting up a post-apocalyptic game. I want there to be some sort of common cannon fodder sort of monster, and I don't want it to be either undead or human. (That is not to say fighting other humans is banned, but I don't want shoot first ask question later as the primary set up for facing other humans.)

            Its also the same thing I have when I am thinking of say a group of adventurers having to clear some sort of location - be it on a new world or an ancient castle or the plateaus of a mountain top location. I want there to be a variance in monster types to be fought.

            I should note that while right now we only have Talents, Psions, and Novas but I am thinking on the potential for when we get Stalwarts/Superiors and Mesmerists. These types would be perfect for fantasy or scifi or post-apocalyptic adventuring.

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            • #7
              For a Postapocalyptic setting you could have mutant ANIMALS as your canon fodder instead of mutant people (who I agree should be as potentially dealable with peacefully as any humans).


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              • #8
                Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
                For a Postapocalyptic setting you could have mutant ANIMALS as your canon fodder instead of mutant people (who I agree should be as potentially dealable with peacefully as any humans).
                Yeah. Of course then I like to figure out why some animals became mutant slash monstrous while others (like domesticated animals, I have no wish to have one's pet dog or cat or whatever become some sort of dire monstrous creature that eats humans) remain normal.

                It also leads me to the question of how long has it been since said apocalypse. Is it now, which means the monsters just appeared, or has it been years or decades. hehe

                But yeah the idea of Large Mutated Dire Spiders and Bats and Rats and Wolves and such is an easy category of monstrous creature.

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                • #9
                  Some kind of ooze monster, maybe? Maybe a giant amoeba like thing.
                  There was also an old (unofficial?) supplement adventure about genetically modified monsters in Antarctica, which were like the Alien if it was crossed with a giant ant. Bugs and oozes tend to make good enemies if you want to avoid moral quandaries.
                  BEngiBeasts and other genetically modified killing machines can also be pretty straightforward foes, unless your party decides they want to try to save or tame them.
                  Predators like you'd find in Pitch Black or Jaws could also work. I forget if it's 1E or 2E, but one of the gas planets has all of those giant flying creatures, one of which was described as often attacking ships.

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                  • #10
                    Violent invasive species sounds like what you are after.

                    Xenomorphs from the Aliens series.

                    Would the existence of the Brain Bugs in Starship Troopers make the bugs too sympathetic for you?

                    Same with the Zerg and Tyranid Hiveminds?

                    Are the Borg too close to zombies for your liking? They kinda run along the same Violent Invasive Species line, only robots.


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                    • #11
                      It seams you need a creature to fill the gap as a creature that can be found anywhere and became a recurrent / archenemy. I. This case I would go on a Tyranid / Bug if they just kill people to get more resources and control, or a Zerg / Borg if the idea is assimilation.

                      In game terms, I would use the Aberrant descriptions and just say they are not humans (and remove the Qualities and Mutations that would make them Moreno human).

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Wynterknight View Post
                        Some kind of ooze monster, maybe? Maybe a giant amoeba like thing.
                        There was also an old (unofficial?) supplement adventure about genetically modified monsters in Antarctica, which were like the Alien if it was crossed with a giant ant. Bugs and oozes tend to make good enemies if you want to avoid moral quandaries.
                        BEngiBeasts and other genetically modified killing machines can also be pretty straightforward foes, unless your party decides they want to try to save or tame them.
                        Predators like you'd find in Pitch Black or Jaws could also work. I forget if it's 1E or 2E, but one of the gas planets has all of those giant flying creatures, one of which was described as often attacking ships.
                        I totally like the idea of Oozes and Slimes being a sort of monster that is fought. I think they are nice beginning tier but upgradable monster types. Plus there is the whole idea of finding a way to farm, one may say 'ranch', resources from Slimes and such.

                        Hmm. Will have to look up the monsters in Antartica. I do have to admit it sounds familiar. I think I remember reading something WOD fan made about that, though I don't think it was Trinity related. Still, it sounds fun and something I should look up more.

                        The idea of players taming the monsters is an awesome one though that to me is something like the player asks me "hey can I get a tamed monster" and then I as ST work to provide a sort of situation for them.

                        The creatures from Pitch Black do work. They are very spider like. Very monstrous and dark. Something that makes you wonder what is going on.

                        Originally posted by MoroseMorgan View Post
                        Violent invasive species sounds like what you are after.

                        Xenomorphs from the Aliens series.

                        Would the existence of the Brain Bugs in Starship Troopers make the bugs too sympathetic for you?

                        Same with the Zerg and Tyranid Hiveminds?

                        Are the Borg too close to zombies for your liking? They kinda run along the same Violent Invasive Species line, only robots.
                        Aren't Xenomorphs sentient? That said the idea of a monstrous species that uses Earth life to make itself is interesting. It allows all sorts of things, including we not really being at fault for our fall. That is, say, we explored one of the moons of Jupiter and brought back some sort of genetic sample. Said sample gets broken and infects someone leading to change leading to horrible mutations leading to war. As the thing mutates and expands it gains variations in its form.

                        Death to the Arachnids! hehe (That said, no, they aren't too sympathetic, and yeah, they serve as a potential perfect enemy force for players to fight upon arriving at an alien world.

                        I like the Zerg, funny enough, so yeah, that is sympathetic - especially how the Cerebrates and such speak and act and seem to have personalities. That said, the idea of them in a campaign is definitely interesting.

                        Tyranids are a mix between the Arachnids and the Zerg in most ways. They lack the coolness that is the Overmind though. hehe

                        Yeah, not a fan of the Borg. That said they do have a potentail use in a scifi setting as a major threat. Though the unfortunate thing is its hard to have a Borg like force without it seeming to be the Borg.

                        But yeah the whole multiple variances - breeds - in such creatures as Zerg or Tyranids or Arachnids do sound intersting. Especially if the species requires boss nodes to allow for command and control. It means that by defeating the boss monster in a zone the players can basically clear the area, allowing for further expansion and habitation.

                        I could totally see the potential of having large stretches of the world/continent/region being controlled by the Mysterious Species. By defeating certain Brood Bosses an area can be secured. The first Brood Boss was accidentally defeated when the Humans arrived by either portal or spaceship. This gave them a 'safe' landing zone. One that they can then push outward more by exploring, finding, and defeating the Brood Bosses zone by zone.

                        Originally posted by Mateus Luz View Post
                        It seams you need a creature to fill the gap as a creature that can be found anywhere and became a recurrent / archenemy. I. This case I would go on a Tyranid / Bug if they just kill people to get more resources and control, or a Zerg / Borg if the idea is assimilation.

                        In game terms, I would use the Aberrant descriptions and just say they are not humans (and remove the Qualities and Mutations that would make them Moreno human).
                        So thinking about it, the benefit of using those species is that it allows for the simple monster to be fought without question while also potentially enabling for more widespread social or political issues when the group gets higher up. It also allows for the idea of variations while saying said differences hide the fact that they are all a part of a greater race.

                        Its very interesting.

                        It even works on a more modern day post apocalyptic setting, like I said above with us bringing things from other worlds.

                        Aberrant descriptions are perfect as they allow for variable powers in a way that works within game terms.

                        I think I am going to need to find some way to expand this into a more nuanced idea. hehe

                        Last edited by LordHeru; 08-30-2019, 02:47 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Love the Zerg. How About Dragons and Mutant Dynosaaaurs? OR Demons, mindless ones that possess Animals or Humans or Corpses so whoever they possess are already dead by the possession and mutate into monsters?


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LordHeru View Post
                            Aren't Xenomorphs sentient?
                            They are, in the sense that Sentience refers to an organisms ability to feel, act, and respond to stimuli. Earth worms are sentient, for example.

                            The real word you're looking for is "Sapience": the capacity for reason, abstract thought, and self-awareness. While we see glimmers of Sapience in some animal species - apes, dolphins, ravens, etc. - we generally see "true" sapience in humans.

                            The Xenomorphs sometimes display "cleverness", but they are still, nonetheless, predatory animals. Whatever depths of intelligence they may have is hidden behind the more immediate drives that dictate their every action: to feed, survive, and breed.

                            Moreover, YOUR "Xenomorphs" need be as clever as you want them to be. They can exhibit a low cunning but be largely brute beasts, that see all other life forms as nothing but food or "breeding stock". While the players may consider trying to capture or repel such creatures, ultimately when push comes to shove, violence may be necessary, because diplomacy is a non-option. Hungry mountain lions do not parlay, and neither do xenomorphs.


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                            • #15
                              On another point, monsters that are formed into a hive mind make for good antagonists, if one assumes there is a "Controller" or "Master". Whether this controller is simply a designated member of the species or some other intelligence mastering them, the effect is the same. You don't need to justify why an entire species is hostile and refuses to negotiate. You just need to justify why their master is hostile and unwilling to negotiate. A whole race being evil strains credulity, whereas a single evil individual is almost expected.

                              This, incidentally, is also how one could justify throwing killer robots at the PCs. Robots, biological experiments, giant insects brought up from the hollow earth and hypnotized into servitude. Break open any number of comic books from the Silver Age, and it's a gold mine for ideas.


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