Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mythic Monster Tuesday: Candarian Demon

This week we are tackling The Evil Dead movies as a theme. Kicking it all off on a Tuesday (because we were still hung over from X-mas) Andrew delivers the awesome-sauce with a mythic demon!

                                                Image by spasmaticgonads  and taken from www.DeviantArt.com

Candarian Demon

With massive horns and claws, this creature seems to display a constant cocky grin. Its wild eyes shine with malice. 
XP 1,600
CE Medium outsider (chaotic, demon, evil, extraplanar, incorporeal, mythic)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +11
AC 18, touch 18, flat-footed 15 (+5 deflection, +3 Dex)
hp 57 (5d10+30)
Fort +3, Ref +7, Will +9
Defensive Abilities incorporeal, natural invisibility; DR 5/epic; Immune electricity, poison; Resist acid 10, cold 10,fire 10; SR 17
Speed fly 40 ft. (good)
Melee incorporeal touch +8 (1d2 Wisdom damage)
Special Attacks mythic power (2/day, hollow soul (DC 19), surge +1d6), plant possession
Str --, Dex 17, Con 14, Int 15, Wis 17, Cha 20
Base Atk +5; CMB +8; CMD 18 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Ability Focus (curse)
Skills Bluff +13, Fly +11, Intimidate +13, Knowledge (nature) +10, Knowledge (planes) +10, Perception +11, Sense Motive +11, Stealth +11,
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Draconic; telepathy 100 ft.
Environment any forest
Organization solitary, pair, band (3-6)
Treasure none
Hollow Soul (Su) Damage-contact (curse); save Will DC 19; effect shaken plus 1 Wisdom drain per round (see below); cure 3 consecutive saves. This is a fear effect. The save DC is Cha-based.
A creature who dies from Wisdom damage while under the effects of this curse is immediately transformed into a dread ghoul1 with DR 5/slashing. Furthermore, a new candarian demon is summoned as if by a gate spell and immediately gains the benefits of a magic jar spell possessing the ghoul.
Candarian demons can only bestow this curse by dealing hit point damage with a physical attack with their plant possession ability or while possessing a ghoul as a result of this curse. It costs the candarian demon 1 mythic power to apply the curse.
Plant Possession (Sp) A candarian demon can possess plants as if using animate plants at CL 13. While using this ability, their essence is imbued into the plants as if under the effects of magic jar.

These invisible terrors enjoy toying with their prey before striking. First they try and lure an easy victim into an area thick with vegetation and attack them with plant possession. They’ll let the prey live and follow it as it returns to other areas with more prey. Only when it thinks it has the advantage will it continue to drain the victim until it becomes a ghoul with a new candarian demon ally.

Once unleashed on the world, these demons are difficult to destroy or return to the Abyss. They make cleaver use of their abilities to attack only small groups until they can build up their forces.

1 – Advanced Bestiary. Copyright 2004, Green Ronin Publishing, LLC

Sunday, December 22, 2013

On the Second Day of Christmas, I Got Lycanthropy

On the First Day of Christmas, I Got a Tenticle

                                                picture by trollgirl and taken from www.deviantart.com

A Week of Holiday Cheer

We, the wizards at the Flying Pincushion are taking a week off, as this is a time to spend with friends and family, and let some of the brain burn wear off.  However to give a little something back to our loyal readers we present for this holiday week, seven days of mind numbingly terrible monsters dressed as Santa, because we must.

The Flying Pincushion will return next week and greet the new year with new crunch.  Until then good yule to all folk.

Jeffery B. Harris
Flying Pincushion co-creator

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Fine Line: This Isn’t Your Story

By Scott Bingham

Greetings readers and gamers alike! This is the Flying Pincushion and this is Scott with the Fine Line. Now last week’s piece was familiar ground for me, favored terrain if you will, as I am a huge fan of Firefly and love those fantastic 14 episodes of glorious geekdom. That being said there are several movies that are among the “classics” that I have never seen before and still many more books falling into the same category that I have never read. The Last of the Mohicans is not to be found amidst the vast collection of novels and films that have crossed the threshold between my eyes and my brain and finally down to my heart. So as I searched among the Drama section of the movie store and picked out an old, beaten dvd case to rent for the evening I didn’t know what to expect. My limited contact with the film had only been through the soundtrack and from what others had said concerning the movie. For this week’s piece I will refer to the 1992 version of the film as I have yet to track down a paperback copy for some nighttime reading.

The story follows three party members, Hawkeye our main hero and the leader of the group, Chingachgook the last surviving chief of the Mohicans, and Uncas the son of Chingachgook. According to his backstory Hawkeye is the adopted son of Chingachgook and step brother to Uncas. Every decision that is made as far as the party’s actions are concerned follow the will of Hawkeye. Hawkeye wants to escort the pretty ladies, the party escorts the pretty ladies. Hawkeye wants to step up and speak out on behalf of the frontiersmen, the party stays at the fort and helps where they can. Hawkeye leaves Uncas and Chingachgook behind for a moment to try a diplomatic exchange for his love interest and manages to save her from a fiery demise. All throughout the film it’s all about Hawkeye, Hawkeye, and more Hawkeye.

Hold on tightly now. There be spoilers ahead.

We now fast forward to the end of the movie. Chingachgook is standing on the edge of a cliff looking off into the distance and saying a few words on behalf of his fallen son Uncas. He bears some beautiful words that go something like this…

                Great Spirit, Maker of All Life. A warrior goes to you swift and straight as an arrow shot into the sun. Welcome him and let him take his place at the council fire of my people. He is Uncas, my son. Tell them to be patient and ask death for speed; for they are all there but one - I, Chingachgook - Last of the Mohicans.”

                Wait what now? Color me all sorts of surprised. The movie is called The Last of the Mohicans. This story isn’t about Hawkeye’s love for Cora or about all of the awesome things he did and said. This is Chingachgook’s story. It’s about him. His people are all gone, dead and passed away from the land. They have gone to the other side and await the last child of the Mohican people. Uncas was among the only two Mohican’s left alive and he fell by the hand of Magua, leaving his father to bear the weight of their peoples’ extinction.

                I will admit that I felt the teensiest bit of satisfaction when those words left Chingachgook’s mouth. It must have been like a slap in the face to Hawkeye, the adopted son, the hero. Surely he could be considered a Mohican. He was raised by Chingachgook, he was brother to Uncas, speaks the Mohican tongue, and lives by their ways. And yet Chingachgook says simply that he, the father, the old worn warrior, the follower, is the last. This is what’s important, this is what we can learn from.

                Our players are important. We’ve covered that last week when the crew of Firefly was discussed and the worth our players have to our stories. They are the heroes, they are the victors, they are the driving force to see the end of their own epic. But.

And there it is. The challenge. The change. The hesitation. The moment that I as a Game Master tell myself, “I want to push myself and my players. I want to try something new.”

What if we run our players through a story that isn’t about them? Yes they make the decisions and yes they fill the role of protagonist but what if it isn’t their story? Hawkeye did a phenomenal job as the party leader. He made tough decisions and pushed his party through some difficult fights. He swept Cora off of her feet and rescued her from the Hurons. He did so much to see his party succeed and yet the purpose, the meaning, the end goal of the story wasn’t about him.

It was about Chingachgook. Chingachgook was the last of his people. Whilst Hawkeye was getting some loving and scoring some points with his seduction checks Chingachgook was likely sitting quietly with his son Uncas relating to him the stories of their people. He must have been singing the songs of their race in far off hopes that one day their people might live on through the seed of his son. And in the end as he prayed standing alongside Hawkeye on that cliff side Chingachgook really was alone. This was his story and Hawkeye was simply a smaller piece of the unseen puzzle.

So there’s the challenge, the push that will separate the strong from the truly creative. The story doesn’t always have to be about our players. Yes the game must be personalized and yes the players must feel involved and care about the outcome. But what about when it’s not about them? Just how much depth do I as a Game Master possess when the story is about more than my players? What will they learn when all is said and done? What is the overall picture?

Hawkeye did his part as the leader and remained a strong role throughout the story but I learned more from Chingachgook the quiet old warrior as he stood alone on the mountain. In his sadness and grief the full weight of the fate of his people comes crashing down upon his shoulders, a weight far too grievous to bear and yet one that must be borne alone. This is what will be remembered. This is the mark left upon me as a storyteller. Our players matter.


Pairing it Down: Mistranslated Heroes

By Kiel Howell

     Come in and sit by the fire as the cold rages outside (at least, here in the USA it’s pretty cold). Listen to a tale about brave men, selfless sacrifice, deception, and love. The Last of the Mohicans is this week’s theme. If you haven’t seen it then you should at least listen to the soundtrack as it is one of the best soundtracks this writer has ever heard.

     So what do we pair down this week? In this column, I’ve gone pretty gaga over story and characters. The games we play are pretty devoid without at least some bit of motivation behind what our characters are doing. Even in games where story is not the main focus, there is still some semblance of an overarching theme. There is also, I’m willing to bet, something the player pictures or has written in their heads for every action they decide their avatar does.

     Perhaps your character is only very broadly defined. The nuances to their behaviors have nothing more apparent than a gruff exterior and tactical acumen. Perhaps they are overly emotional. When it comes down to it, the player has some reason for making their characters they way they are.

     Here’s where I will get straight to the point in this week’s article. Major Duncan Heyward, played brilliantly by Steven Waddington, deliberately mistranslates a key point in Hawkeye’s words and takes his place at the burning stake. The heroic sacrifice. It is a device that is used relentlessly in literature and film but hardly seems to feel cliche. This single act shows truly how good of a person Duncan is despite his earlier actions. It can do wonders for a character who is a heart-of-gold type. It will spark memories for years when a player takes a character he’s lovingly and painstakingly crafted and acted and sacrifices that character for another’s benefit.

     I challenge you, the reader, to relive a memory like that in the comments. Give us a tale or two (or three!) about a time when such and such did something that saved so and so. Keep that memory alive and maybe it will ignite your own character to take that step.

     Until next time dear readers when the wizards tackle The Evil Dead. Remember to shop smart...shop S Mart!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mythic Hero Monday: Mythic Natty Bumppo

By Andrew Hoskins

Natty Bumppo
Though the man is as pale as the men from across the sea, he dresses in the native fashion and wears his hair long and flowing. His soft brown eyes reflect a sort of kindness as they survey all they can see.

Natty Bumppo                  CR 8/MR 3
XP 4,800
Human Ranger (Skirmisher) 7
LG Medium humanoid (human, mythic)
Init +4; Perception +12
AC16, touch 14, flat-footed 12 (+2 armor, +4 Dex)
hp 57 (7d10+14)
Fort +7, Ref +9, Will +4
Speed 30 ft.
Melee mwk handaxe +8/+3 (1d6+1, x3)
Ranged +1 musket +12 (1d12+1, x4)
Special Attacks favored enemy (animals +4, humans +2), mythic power (9/day, champion’s strike (distant barrage), surge +1d6)
Str 12, Dex 19, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 12
Base Atk +7; CMB +8; CMD22
Feats Bullseye Shot, Deadly AimM, EnduranceB, Far ShotM, Improved Precise ShotB, Point Blank Shot, Precise ShotB, Rapid Reload (musket)
Skills Climb +7, Handle Animal +11, Heal +12, Knowledge (nature) +10, Perception +12, Ride +10, Stealth +14, Survival +12, Swim +6
Languages Common, Mohican
SQ  favored terrain (forest +2), hunter’s bond (companions), hunter’s tricks (5/day, surprise shift, uncanny senses), path abilities (limitless range, sniper’s riposte, to the death), track +3, wild empathy +8, woodland stride
Combat Gear antitoxin, bloodblock; Other Gear masterwork leather armor, +1 musket with 20 bullets, 5 paper cartridges, 2 powder horns.

Natty Bumppo, also known as Nathanial Poe and Hawkeye, was adopted at a very young age. He grew up among the natives of his familiar forest land, though is ethnically a human from across the sea. Over the years he became a fearless warrior, and is skilled with many weapons. When finally he learned to use the musket, he earned the name Hawkeye for his precision.

Natty only hunts what he needs to survive, and believes it should only take one shot to take down a target. He is fiercely loyal to his companions and friends; he would gladly give up his life for any of them.

*Please note this NPC has been created under the assumption of the commonplace firearms frequency as presented in the Pathfinder rules set.