Creatures & Monsters






Monsters in General

Monster Design - Balancing Encounters - Monster Powers - Bestiary

Monsters have a bunch of funky powers and descriptors that can get attached to them. The different kinds of Hits and Damage, as well as the various different powers available to monsters, are described in the Monster Powers section below. Note the difference in terminology between small m "monsters" (the creatures the PCs face) and capital M "Monsters" (the people playing those creatures).The stats for monsters will be presented as follows:




Designing Monsters

There's a lot of weirdness out there in the big wide world, so GMs can feel reasonably free to make monsters up as they go along. There are a couple of guidelines people should stick to, and some general conventions people should follow.

First the guidelines. The White City world tries to avoid generic monster types, firstly because the designers were pretentious that way and secondly because it tries to keep the setting reasonably coherent and the problem with orcs and elves is that people tend to associate them with an awful lot of baggage that this setting really doesn't include. Introducing a sentient race into the setting is a major addition, so please give it some thought. Even more importantly, if you wish to use magical creatures please bear in mind the nature of magic in the setting. Magic in the world of the White City usually doesn't produce things like golems or elementals.

A weak monster type will have 1 or 2 hits per location and do Singles or Halves. Monsters with more than 4 hits per location are usually formidable, particularly if this is combined with the ability to deal extra damage. Monsters with damage immunities and the like are particularly dangerous. Spellcasting monsters are often terrifying. A single Ethereal creature of average strength will generally be more than a match for any character who's not a Sorcerer or Priest.




Making Monsters More Or Less Dangerous

Making Monsters More Dangerous: Having designed your species of monster, you may find that the PCs just wade through them like they aren't there. Here you have a problem, because monsters that are too weak are boring, but monsters that are just arbitrarily beefed up are a bit silly. The best way to make monsters more dangerous is to up their numbers. Sure one bandit is no challenge, but if they start coming in Waves (see below) you're on far safer ground (or less safe, depending on your point of view). It's also relatively easy to justify monsters appearing in force, when it isn't easy to justify them starting to do extra damage.
The alternative is to use exceptional individuals. Use this sparingly. Individual monsters with more Dodges, Parries, Hits and Damage than the norm can be hauled out as long as it doesn't go too far. In general it's suggested that you can get away with having one or two monsters with an extra point of damage, or a 50% hit bonus amongst a group. This is a particularly useful tactic if there's one PC who is particularly problematic. The final option is to give monster leaders the equivalent of the Leadership or Tactician skills.

Making Monsters Less Dangerous: This one is actually far easier to do, but harder to get right. The simplest way to do this is to just ask the Monsters to go easy on the PCs. On the other hand if you do this the monsters may come off as being a bit crappy. A better solution will be having the monsters trying to take the PCs alive and striking to subdue. Alternatively have the monsters fight and argue amongst themselves during combat or portray them as extremely gullible or just plain cowardly.




Monster Powers


Monsters have various kinds of strange and unusual capabilities. Since a lot of them are similar, they're all compiled in one place. Special powers are listed in alphabetical order.


Hits
Most creatures will have a certain number of Body hits per location. As with PCs, a limb will stop working when it loses all its hits, and the creature will fall unconscious or die when their torso loses all its hits. Most creatures also have set totals of Fatigue Hits and Psyche Hits in the same manner as PCs. There are, however, a couple of variations on this:
Global Hits - Rather than having a certain number of hits per location, the creature has a set number of total Body hits. When all these hits are lost they fall over, but until that point they are unimpaired by any damage they've taken. Creatures with Global Hits are often insubstantial or supernatural, tend to ignore Fatigue Hits and may or may not have Psyche Hits.
Psyche Hits - An ethereal creature or spirit has no physical form and can only be injured in Psychic Combat.


Damage
Most creatures inflict standard Singles, Doubles, etc. Some creatures can inflict Psychic damage with their physical attacks, others can only inflict damage in Psychic Combat. Some creatures can inflict Paralysing or Vitrifying damage - see below for details.


Special Powers

A note on the distinction between Hard to Kill, Unrelenting and Immunity. Basically the first implies that the monster or character can only be killed under specific circumstances but could (potentially) easily be defeated. Immune characters are pretty much unstoppable if you're relying on things that they're immune to. Unrelenting creatures are midway between the two, they're hard to stop but it tends to be a matter of firepower or effort rather than knowing what to use.




Bestiary

All good settings need some examples of commonly encountered monsters for people to crib from. So here they are. Note that this information is presented strictly out of character, and subcategorised for your convenience.





Humans

By far the most common creatures in the world of the White City, and still by far the most common antagonists for the game, humans are all over the place. Though near infinite in their diversity they nonetheless benefit from having some generic templates written up.





Creatures of the Great Forest

The Great Forest to the West of the White City is the domain of the Old Powers and full of their creatures. It is also populated by wild feral animals, Weavers, trolls and mysterious entities that lurk in the depths of the Forest far from human civilisation.





Creatures of the Northern Mountains

The North is a strange place, where the borders of Dream and reality shift and merge. The creatures of the North are equally strange, a mix of the real, the insubstantial, the imaginary and the downright bizarre. Both the Dream Powers (if they exist) and the Princes of Breath are associated with the Northern Mountains and the Whistful City, and many of the Northern creatures partake of the natures of Dream and Wind.





Creatures of the Eastern Plains

The Eastern Plains hold the battlegrounds of the Binding Wars and the tombs or prisons of the Bound Ones. Watched by the Cloistered Brethren of Chains, the lands between the White City and the City of Crossroads are still populated by the remnants of armies and creatures who served in the Binding Wars.





Creatures of the Southern Lands

To the South of the White City lie the Garden Lands and the Port of Glass, the centre of worship of the Vitriarchs and home to many of their creations. Some of these things of Glass have been known to wander north...





Undead

The undead are found wherever people have the temerity to practice Ash magic in its corrupted form. They also periodically show up of their own accord. Please note that in the world of the White City the following four subtypes are the closest you're ever going to get to categorising the undead. It's either a ghoul, a spirit, a walking corpse or the living dead. In the world of the White City "lich" is just an archaic term for a corpse, "death knight" is a pseudonym adopted by a pretentious adventurer with Ashen leanings, "ghast" is largely meaningless and "mummy" is the person who is married to daddy.





Messengers of the Magical & the Divine

The various Powers and the sorcerers who wield their magics can send forth a variety of servants to do their bidding. A few of the more common ones are listed here.





Gods Themselves

No, your eyes do not deceive you, these are sample stats for Gods. We're not trying to create a setting where PCs tool up and go out to kill deities. We are trying to create a setting where the gods are on a relatively human level. Powerful, but not untouchable. Think in terms of a Classical/Norse model. Mortal heroes can deal with the gods almost on their own terms, and can get smacked down for their presumption. Some more information on gods and their followers is available on the Gods & Cults page.


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This page last updated: 27th April 2006

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