Jul 06 2015

Monster Monday– Goblin Mobbers for 5E

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When goblins go to war, they quickly learn that in a fair fight with, well, just about anyone, they are going to get their clocks cleaned. So obviously the answer is to never fight fair! To that end, goblins organize in small mobs (they’re too rowdy and undisciplined to be properly called a “squad”), with each mob going after a single combatant or group of combatants.

Within a mob, most members are pretty ordinary goblins, of the variety found on page 166 of the Monster Manual. However, there are some other specialized mobbers that also show up, especially once goblins are seriously on the march.

Goblin Trappers

These annoying pests hurl a bag of wet and sticky goo made from monstrous spider glands and web fibers that act similarly to tanglefoot bags at their foes, so that their allies can then attack at range with impunity.

Goblin Trapper (CR 1/4; 50 XP)


Small humanoid (goblinoid), neutral evil
Armor Class 13 (leather armor)
Hit Points 7 (2d6)
Speed 30′


Str 8/-1   Dex 14/+2   Con 10/+0
Int 10/+0   Wis 8/-1   Cha 8/-1


Skills Stealth +4
Senses darkvision 60′, passive Perception 9
Languages Common, Goblin


Nimble Escape. The goblin can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of its turns.


Actions
Sticky Goo (Recharge 5-6). Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 30’/60′., one creature. Hit: The target is restrained by the sticky goo. As an action, the restrained target can make a DC 12 Strength check, tearing free of the goo on a success. The goo can also be attacked and destroyed (AC 10; hp 5; vulnerability to fire damage, immunity to bludgeoning, poison, and psychic damage).
Scimitar. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5′, one target. Hit: 7 (1d8+2) slashing damage, or 5 (1d6+2) slashing damage if used one-handed.
Shortbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 80’/320′, one target. Hit: 5 (1d6+2) piercing damage.


Reactions
Fling the Goo! If the goblin trapper’s Sticky Goo ability is available, the goblin may use it as a reaction on any creature that moves within 30′ of it.

Tactics: A goblin mob that has trappers will let them act first (using a Delay action if necessary), preferably throwing their pots of goo from ambush. This in turn sets up the lobbers (see below) to fling their own pots, and then the regular goblin soldiers to rush in and finish the job. The goblin trapper avoids melee if at all possible, hanging back and plinking away with its bow while scrambling to get another pot of goo ready to fling.

Goblin Lobber

This annoying little grub has a backpack full of alchemist fire bombs and flings them as fast as it can prime and light them. However, not being the brightest of creatures, they have more than once been known to accidentally blow themselves up.

Goblin Lobber (CR 1/4; 50 XP)


Small humanoid (goblinoid), neutral evil
Armor Class 13 (leather armor)
Hit Points 7 (2d6)
Speed 30′


Str 8/-1   Dex 14/+2   Con 10/+0
Int 10/+0   Wis 8/-1   Cha 8/-1


Skills Stealth +4
Senses darkvision 60′, passive Perception 9
Languages Common, Goblin


Nimble Escape. The goblin can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of its turns.
Oops. If a goblin lobber is blinded, frightened, incapacitated, or knocked prone, it accidentally immolates itself, doing 7 (2d6) fire damage to itself and every creature in its space, and doing 3 (1d6) fire damage to every creature within 5′ of it.


Actions
Fire Bomb (Recharge 5-6). The lobber flings a fire bomb at a designated spot within 60′ of itself. All creatures in a 5′ sphere centered on that spot must make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw, taking 7 (2d6) fire damage on a failure, or half that amount on a success. All creatures within an additional 5′ radius of that spot take 3 (1d6) damage (no saving throw). The fire spreads around corners and ignites flammable objects in the area that aren’t being worn or carried. If a character is restrained by a goblin trapper’s goo, that goo takes the fire damage as well.
Scimitar. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5′, one target. Hit: 7 (1d8+2) slashing damage, or 5 (1d6+2) slashing damage if used one-handed.
Shortbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 80’/320′, one target. Hit: 5 (1d6+2) piercing damage.


Reactions
Out With a Bang! When the lobber is reduced to 0 hit points, it may choose to set off a fire bomb with its dying breath as a reaction, doing 7 (2d6) damage to itself and every creature in its space, and doing 3 (1d6) fire damage to every creature within 5′ of it.

Tactics: The lobber will wait for a trapper to successfully trap someone, then throw its fire bomb at that creature, hoping to catch as many targets in its blast as possible. Like the trapper, the lobber will avoid melee, hiding behind cover if it can in order to prepare its next bomb. Lobbers don’t always have the best fire discipline, and may happily catch their own allies in the blast if it means hitting more enemies in the process.

Goblin Mob Encounter Templates

Attack Mob (875 XP encounter budget, 350 XP award)
This is a fairly typical hit squad, often sent with orders to take out a specific target (such as the party cleric or spellcaster). Once the objective is complete, the mob will scatter.

  • 2 Goblin Trappers (CR 1/2; 50 XP each): Attack first, immobilizing objective, then retreat with Nimble Escape
  • 1 Goblin Lobber (CR 1/2; 50 XP): Fling their bombs at the target, then retreat with Nimble Escape
  • 4 Goblins (CR 1/2; 50 XP each): Surround and attack the target.

Harassment’R’Us (600 XP encounter budget, 300 XP award)
These jerks don’t necessarily want to kill their foes (although they probably wouldn’t mind), so much as to slow them up and waste their time, or soften them up for a bigger fight to come.

  • 3 Goblin Trappers (CR 1/2; 50 XP each): Attempt to immobilize any foes who appear to be melee specialists
  • 3 Goblins (CR 1/2; 50 XP each): Attack with bows, preferably from cover to snipe with Nimble Escape, targeting any spellcasters or ranged specialists

Grappers’s Slappers (2,650 XP encounter budget, 1,060 XP award)
Grapper is a notorious bugbear mercenary, hiring himself and his squad of obnoxious little brutes to thieves’ guilds, orc armies, drow spies, or anyone else willing to pay the price. Although perfectly capable of stand-up fighting, their inclination is more towards commando-style missions to assassinate enemy leaders, destroying fortifications, or even just wanton mayhem. Their tactics depend on their goals, but generally Grapper prefers to sneak around and come at the target from the back in order to gain a surprise attack, while sending his Slappers to make a frontal assault or attack from ambush. Grapper also makes a great recurring villain, so feel free to assume that with time and cash he can recruit any other support he might need.

  • Grapper (Bugbear Chief, MM p. 33, CR 3; 700 XP):
  • 2 Goblin Lobbers OR 2 Goblin Trappers (CR 1/2; 50 XP each)
  • 4 Goblins (CR 1/2; 50 XP each)
  • -The Gneech

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Jun 29 2015

Monster Monday– Burning Skeleton for 5E

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We Are Legion by zilla774
We Are Legion by zilla774

An animated skeleton wreathed in hellfire and pungent black smoke, this horrific monster seeks to feed all living things to the eternal flames which consume it.

Burning Skeleton (CR 1; 200 XP)


Medium undead, neutral evil
Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 22 (5d8)
Speed 30′


Str 12/+1   Dex 16/+3   Con 11/+0
Int 3/-4   Wis 10/+0   Cha 4/-3


Damage Vulnerabilities cold, bludgeoning
Damage Resistances piercing and slashing from nonmagical weapons
Damage Immunities fire, poison
Condition Immunities poisoned, exhaustion
Senses darkvision 60′, passive Perception 10
Languages understands Common but can’t speak


Heated Body. A creature that touches the skeleton or hits it with a melee attack while within 5′ of it takes 3 (1d6) fire damage.
Death Blast. When a flaming skeleton is reduced to 0 hp, it explodes in a fiery blast, doing 3 (1d6) fire damage to every creature within 5′ of it.


Actions
Multiattack. The skeleton makes two attacks with its flaming scimitar or its flame orb, or one attack with each.
Flaming Scimitar. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5′, one target. Hit: 3 (1d4+1) slashing damage plus 3 (1d6) fire damage.
Flame Orb. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 30’/100′, one target. Hit: 7 (2d6) fire damage.

Designer Notes

It’s no secret that I love, love, love Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition, but like everything it’s not without its flaws– mostly in the encounter and monster variety area, which in my opinion has needlessly abandoned some of the few really good ideas from 4E. Fortunately, these are easily fixable without messing around with the rules, it’s just a matter of building the content to fill the gaps.

One notable thing that’s missing in a big way is ranged threats to mix in to encounters. Most monsters are melee, melee, melee, with maybe a crossbow added at the bottom as an afterthought, and low-level corporeal undead are particularly egregious in this regard. So here’s something to correct that: meant to be primarily a support monster for a larger group, the burning skeleton hangs back and lobs fire orbs into the fray, only engaging in melee when forced to, and then likely to go out with a bang.

Mechanically, it’s mostly a reskinned fire snake with skeleton traits added.

I have more to say on the subject of encounter and monster design in 5E, which is for another post.

-The Gneech

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Jun 23 2015

Come Find Me at AnthroCon!

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Gneech and SirFox at table N14

AC 2015 is just a few weeks away! As usual, I’ll be sharing a table with my old pal Sirfox. And, as usual, I’ll be doing clean, family-friendly fare, and he’ll be smutting it up. 😉

As always, I’ll be doing badges, sketchbooks, and so forth, as well as premiering issue three of “Suburban Jungle: Rough Housing.” So come on over! Buy my stuff, I’ll be your friend!

-The Gneech

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Jun 01 2015

Art Schedule for the Upcoming Months

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First of all, hello and welcome to everyone coming to see me after picking up my card at Furthe’More! I hope you’ll find lots of stuff here you like. ^.^ Posts have been a little sporadic since March, due to the whole selling-my-house-and-moving thing, but that’s all cleared up now and the production machine is moving again. 😉 As I owe some of you commissions, and others of you may simply be curious as to what I’ve got in the pipeline, this is one of my periodic “state of the Gneech” posts to let you know what’s going on.

My first priority is to get Issue Three of Suburban Jungle: Rough Housing finished as quickly as possible, in the hopes that I can have it on hand for AnthroCon, which is only a month away! (Eep!) Everything else I’ve got going on is officially on hold until I get that squared away. If I’m lucky, that will be done by the end of next week… if I’m unlucky, it will take pretty much the rest of June and no issue three at the con, which will make me go all sadface.

Once issue three is done, either way, I will be emptying out my digital commission queue. This is what I have listed in my notes, so if I’m missing something of yours, please remind me!

  • KarmaKat’s Watering Hole series (4 of 4)
  • Conqure commission
  • Miertam Twilight/Fluttershy monster studies commission
  • MaxGoof commission

Assuming the SJ work gets done on time, these should be finished by the end of June and/or AC. Finally, once those are done, I’m going to turn all of my attention to Dungeons and Denizens and get that finished off while I work on the script for the fourth issue of SJ. That will probably take most of July and/or August.

So, that’s my summer spoken for. 😉 If you want to squeeze a commission in there, they are technically still open, but your best bet to get art from me in the near future is to get me to do it for you at AnthroCon. As you may have read in my LiveJournal, badges and sketchbooks at Furthe’More were almost nonexistent for whatever reason, which is not a happy way to spend a convention for an artist! Especially when most of the other dealers were booked solid. Don’t you love me any more? *sniffle* Aw well, hopefully AnthroCon will be better!

Anyway! Time for me to get to work. Catcha later!

-The Gneech

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May 14 2015

What’s Up With You, Gneech???

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It’s no secret that I have been dealing with dysthymia since childhood; the same way some people have a bad back or a trick knee, I have recurring low-grade depression. It’s further no secret that I have had a bad few years. I lost both parents, a favorite aunt, and literally half of my circle of closest friends, all since late 2010. Put shifting to self-employment, an extremely difficult short-sale of our house, and recurring worries about Laurie’s job situation on top of all of that, and I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that I’m still riding a psychological roller coaster.

Nevertheless, it continues to surprise me. My emotional center is completely broken and seems to be governed at the moment by a random number generator. I get ridiculously angry at nothing; when I find myself screaming at the top of my lungs at the phone to quit ringing all the goddamn time and physically restraining myself from throwing it across the room, I know I’ve entered the land of disproportionate response. But I also can’t seem to figure out anything to do about it.

My mood right now seems to have three basic settings, depending on my energy level. If my energy level is high, my mood is either edge-of-rage angry (bad day), or crazy manic productive (good day). If my energy level is low, my mood is lonesome, self-loathing, edge-of-tears despair (every day starting around 3:30 p.m.). There doesn’t seem to be “good day” version of low energy.

I am in counseling, and we have addressed this somewhat, but frankly I am such a basket case it’s taking a long time to get around to it. But if you have observed my behavior being erratic, this is why. Thanks for being patient. I am trying to broaden my emotional repertoire: I’d like to think “quietly productive and content” is an option and I just need to find the right buttons to push to get there.

-The Gneech

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Apr 17 2015

Fictionlet

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Unfortunately, as she snuck out of the building, Brigid’s cellphone began vibrating stridently in her bag, which just told her she had a lot more hell to get through before the day was over. Pulling out the phone, she barked into it, “I’m not gonna say four hours until you give me details!”

“Well that’s fine,” said Isadora’s voice on the other end. “I don’t want you to say four hours anyway! Why should I? It’s no skin off my nose.”

“Ugh, sorry Mom,” said Brigid. “I thought you were someone else.”

“Well I’m not,” said Isadora. “What’s more, I don’t intend to ever be.”

“What’s up?” said Brigid, hauling her bag up onto the bus and waving her pass in front of the sensor.

“I’m calling to issue yet another invitation,” said Isadora as Brigid collapsed into a seat. “Your Aunt Edna is hosting a family reunion two weeks hence.”

“Oh, hell no,” said Brigid. “No thanks.”

“What do you mean, ‘no thanks’?”

“I mean Aunt Edna can go hump a pool toy. A team of Navy Seals couldn’t get me to go to that.” A woman sitting across from Brigid turned her head and blinked; Brigid just hunkered down into her seat.

“Brigid!” said Isadora.

“No way,” said Brigid.

“She doesn’t have many years left in her, you know,” said Isadora.

“You say that like it’s a bad thing,” said Brigid.

“Don’t be cruel-hearted!” said Isadora.

“Sorry, sorry,” said Brigid. “I’m just… Mom, I can’t take family right now.”

“You’re supposed to take comfort and joy from your family!” said Isadora. “That’s what they’re for!”

“Then I should have a comforting, joyful family for that,” said Brigid. “Not Disdain McJudgealot and the Fifteen Sneerers.”

“I don’t even know what that means,” said Isadora. “In any case it doesn’t matter. We all have obligations, Brigid, and family is one of them. I understand that you don’t necessarily like them, and that can’t be helped. But you’ll be glad to have them later in life, take it from me!”

Brigid just squeezed her eyes shut. Then, quickly pulling a bit of paper out of her bag, she rapidly crumpled it up in front of the microphone. “Sorry, what’s that mom?” she said. “You’re breaking up. What? WHAT?”

“Don’t you try that crumpled paper trick on me you little–” was as far as Isadora got before Brigid had hung up on her.

-The Gneech

<-- previous B&G

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