Thursday, August 20, 2015

Vipermen of Draconia

One creature that did not make it into CAL1 “In Stranger Skies” was the vipermen. This led to many questions being asked afterward about them. Now that I’m done with building “translatable” game stats and filling your heads full of gods and mythologies, it's a good time to develop these nasties from the hollow world of Soltan’s ephemeris. Mind you, I already “tested” these generic game stats when I posted the description of the Spirit Lords in the new web site’ forum. More testing by people other than me would be a plus.

The original vipermen come into existence when Sayble crossbreeds with favored Draconic knights—commanders and high-ranking priors. This species called elders, is able to reproduce in its own incestuous ways. Though elders are born of a living deity, they aren’t divine in nature but they do live very long existences. They mate for life and reproduce as long as their couples live. When an elder passes away, its spirit is reincarnated among Sayble’s next clutch. Each couple and their progeny embody distinct broods assigned specific territories or duties. The first and oldest brood is responsible for protecting Sayble. Others, those of later-born elders typically work faraway territories, such as other worlds and their moons. Sayble’s broods all work independently from each other, as separate organizations. They do cooperate with Draconic knights, should they be in contact with them. Tattoos are often used to distinguish different broods.

Elders sport black scales and, although bipedal, they still look more monstrous than human. They possess a long and powerful tail and claws, and can inflict a nasty bite. If wielding weapons, elders prefer oversized polearms, usually magical. Magic attracts them. They often keep the best of magical treasures their progeny brings back to them, handing much of the rest to their divine liege, the Black Queen. Elders occasionally gift magical weapons to hetmans and priors who have distinguished themselves. Dragon rulers of Draconia may also breed elders and vipermen (or some other similar creatures). Their appearances match the rulers’ colors, affinities to certain environments, and their general nature.

Vipermen are the progeny of elders. These creatures are sterile and genderless. They possess basic abilities and can improve their skills through experience. Their life expectancy is slightly less than that of a human being, maturing at about 15. Within the context of Sayble’s rule, they are her spies and assassins. An off-world brood typically includes 100-160 individuals able to live as much as 60 years. On average, they die out in their early-thirties as casualties of their dangerous lives (an elder couple lays one clutch of d3+2 eggs annually). Only Sayble knows how many broods exist, their missions, and their locations.

Vipermen are capable of passing themselves off as humans, especially when wearing a hood and gloves. Many resort to using masks and cosmetics to cover up their somewhat reptilian faces. Their scales are smooth and flexible, brown to black. They often wear armor, preferably leather, to improve their survival chances in combat. Vipermen mostly behave as rogues rather than warriors.

Game stats are given below. Use earlier blog posts (Game Mechanics & the conversion table) to translate them into your chosen game system. This is a first draft. Feel free to ask questions or make suggestions based on your experience reading about or playing in the Calidar setting. Thanks!

EDIT: the stats conversion PDF is now available as a free download.  Click Here!

Minions of Sayble

Abilities
Vipermen
Elder
Young
Mature
Hetman
Prior
Life Force (%)
3+1
8+2
17+4
14+3
25+6
Size (feet)
5’
6’
7’
Movement:       walking
swimming
90’ (30’)
150’ (50’)
120’(40)
180’ (60’)
150’ (50’)
210’ (70’)
180’ (60’)
240’ (80’)
Armor Rating (%)
AR25
AR30
AR35
AR30
AR40
# of Physical Attacks
1 bite + 2 claws, OR 1 spit, OR
1 weapon (blowgun, bolas, or sword)
OR 1 spell
As vipermen
+1 tail
Physical Damage
Bite
VL+1
Lo+1
2M
2Lo
3M+2
Claws
minimum
VL each
Lo+1 ea.
Tail
n/a
M+1
Spit
M
2Lo+2 acid damage
as a dragon
Weapon
n/a
by weapon
by wp. +2
by weapon
by weapon +4
Venomous Bite
10%
15%
25%
20%
30%
Special Abilities
All vipermen:  As rogues with comparable Life Force, high agility, night vision, background mimicry (90% chance to remain unseen when motionless or moving slowly), acid spitting (one target up to 10’ away, once per encounter). Their bites may be venomous (negated with a successful defense roll); effect (d6): 1-3. Double damage, 4-5. Paralysis for several minutes, 6. Death.
Priors:  Faithful to Sayble; as a prior with half as much Life Force.
Elders:  Add 1 tail attack to unarmed combat routine; acid spit three times per day, 90’ range, damage inflicted as an acid-spitting dragon).  Males cast spells as wizards with half as much Life Force; females act as priors of Sayble with half as much Life Force. Both detect magic at will.
Defense Rolls
as monsters with the same Life Force rating
Basic Immunities
Elders only:  Acid-based attacks, non-magical weapons, and mind-affecting magic (such as fear, sleep, charms, and demonic possessions).
Magic Immunity (%)
n/a
15
Minimum Int. (%)
39+
44+
50+
67+
Philosophy/Per.
predominantly rational/malevolent
Morale Rating (%)
MR50
MR67
MR75
MR83