So i guess i should probably post up the other entry for this competition that i had been working on before i changed ideas completely. All this was done before i started working on the new entry, not all of it is finished, i.e. Lore and Checks and such, but i stopped that once i decided to change monsters. I'd love comments. You can probably see why i didn't use this one, but i'm guessing it probably would have done better than my magnobots. Oh well. You know what they say about hindsight and all that...
A Symbiotic Relationship
The Heart… and The Heartless
The Red Spawn Heart EaterIntroduction
The Heart of Darkness
Ashardalon, the once glorious and magnificent ancient Red Dragon, which lay waste to the Golden Plain, has settled down to a life eking out a meager existence living off the energy he has found in the Bastion of Unborn Souls, but his lineage and his past still haunt the world.
Ashardalon’s cult lies almost in total ruins, occupying the fortress known as the Nightfang Spire. Their leader, The vampire lord Gulthias has been plotting and scheming attempting to draw his lord Ashardalon back to them; among his plots, Gulthias became the reviver of Ashardalon’s brood, which were murdered when the King of the Golden Plain destroyed Ashardalon’s lair and slew his mate. This brood, gifted with the vampiric taint and lust for blood has grown in strength and ferocity and has become known as the Red Spawn Heart Eaters.
The knowledge of Ashardalon’s past has become a curse to some; for any person that seeks knowledge of his past is led down a path which meets with destruction. However, those who manage to see that the road they take ends in death live to pass on the knowledge of Ashardalon’s history and the battle which ended in the severing of Ashardalon’s heart as well as the magical ritual which bound the Baylor Ammet in its place, but few know of the actions which Ashardalon took in secret and his failed experiments to bind the living hearts of great immortal beings to his chest. These experiments begot the creation of a great magical plague upon the planes: The creation of the Hearts of Darkness, parasites which have become the embodied spirits of great immortal evil which seek out power through murder and deception by living inside the body of another powerful being.
Ashardalon’s wake lives on, the evil that has been brought into the world either at his own hand, or in his name, now grows more powerful; his legacy, the Red Spawn Heart Eaters and the Hearts of Darkness now move instinctively throughout the worlds, seeking to sate their wicked hunger for blood and power… but in the back of their minds, something calls them to each other, a will to unite and embody the glory, power, and might that is Ashardalon.
The following entry provides two new Elite creatures: The Red Spawn Heart Eater as well as the Heart of Darkness. While the Red Spawn Heart Eater is constructed using the traditional rules for creating creatures in 4e D&D, the Heart of Darkness contains homebrewed rules and the creation of a new breed of Evil: The Symbiote (not to be confused with the creatures of the same name from the 3.5 Eberron Campaign Setting which function as items rather than remaining creatures even while occupying a host). The following section provides rules for creating Symbiotes and using them in your games.Symbiotic Parasites
The Symbiotic Parasite is new type of creature type that I have presented here. It falls into the category of [keywords], which help to describe a particular monster. The Heart of Darkness is one of these creatures.
Symbiotic Parasites or Symbiotes are creatures which occupy the body of a host creature enhancing that creature and providing special abilities at the cost of the host’s will. These creatures essentially occupy a space inside the host’s body, whether that be a symbiotic lung, brain, hand, leg, or as in the case of the Heart of Darkness, the heart. Most, if not nearly all, of these creatures exert a dominating effect over the host, controlling its actions and directing its movements and attacks; exceptions may exist when it comes to creatures which attempt to work in conjunction with a willing host, but these Symbiotes are rare.
Symbiotes function as a method for adding both an element of paranoia and surprise to encounters. Symbiotes which already occupy a host can be very shocking to a party of adventurers oblivious to the presence of the creature inside the body of another ally or opponent. They can be used to create a degree of horror in encounters that would otherwise appear to be stable; a group of adventurers attack a small group of bandits not realizing that the bandit leader is a Host for an evil parasitic organism, thus creating a level of challenge that the adventurers may not have been prepared for.Creating a Symbiote
Symbiotes can be created exactly as other creatures by using the DM Tool Kit provided in the DMG; they all get the leader sub-role because of the connection which they have to their host creature, but are constructed via the roles for other creatures, ie. Soldier, Brute, Lurker, etc.
Symbiotes all share the animate creature type, but can be a number of different roles, origins, or subtypes such as demons, devils, undead etc. The entry that I have posted here, the Heart of Darkness is an undead creature created from the powers of terrible demons and devils of the non-natural planes, and thus gains the immortal origin, but other symbiotes may be come from the natural, shadow, or fey realms.
In addition, all Symbiotes have at least one merge, symbiotic bond, and separation power (the rules for which are detailed below).
Ideas for Symbiotes can be drawn from a number of sources: movies like “Alien”, or “The Thing”, or even “Total Recall.” Use your imagination when you’re trying to put one together.Symbiotes in the Game
A Symbiote, while it may be able to hold its own by itself, rarely has allies, and thus prevents little challenge when encountered by itself, but when joined with another creature poses a serious challenge. Once fused, the Host creature essentially acts as a mount, for the small creature which is feeding off its body and directing its actions. The Host creature also poses as a means for avoiding detection by others and when combat ensues, provides a shield which can be used to avoid taking damage. Symbiotes, when merged with their Host, gain all the memories of the Host creature through the telepathic link they share and thus can impersonate their Host creature to near perfection, which may cause a lot of problems for adventurers, as well as others when someone finds out that they have been infiltrated by a powerful breed of evil.
Symbiotes function similarly to riders controlling a mount; first of all, most of their rules, as shown below are very similar to the mount rules, with notable exceptions; secondly, Symbiotes are creatures on their own and thus an encounter which involves a Symbiote creature accounts for its experience as normal, noting the example of a wizard riding a wyvern as depicted in the DMG, Symbiotes which occupy a Host are accounted for in encounters at their full XP value despite not getting their full actions, which are compensated for by their increased defensibility and living wall which they occupy.
All Symbiotes have some form of merging power; sometimes the host creature must be near death or dying for the merge to be successful, other times, the creature may simply need to be stunned, or perhaps even willing (as is the case with a Heart of Darkness merging with a Red Spawn Heart Eater).Mount and Symbiote Rules Comparison
The power of a symbiote is very similar to the power of a player character or NPC riding a mount, but different in several ways. The similarities and differences are detailed below:
• Size: The Creature a Symbiote is attempting to merge with must be at least one size category larger than the Symbiote itself.
• Adjacent: The Host must be adjacent for a Symbiote to merge with a host.
• Willing: The Host may or may not need to be willing in order to merge with a Symbiote. This will vary based on the Symbiote’s merge power.
• Saddles: There are no saddles for a Symbiote; all symbiotes suffer from a -2 penalty to AC, and Reflex defenses while occupying the body of a Host.
• Mounted Combat: Symbiotes do not need the Mounted Combat feet to make full use of their combat abilities while occupying a host creature.
• Space: Symbiotes and Hosts occupy the same space. If you need to determine where the Symbiote is relative to the Host creature, reference the part of the body which that Symbiote occupies in order to determine its location. If this fails, it is left to the DM’s discretion where the Symbiote is located.
• Targeting: Symbiotes cannot be targeted directly by attacks, with the exception of delayed actions contingent on the Symbiote making an attack. For example, a player can choose to delay his action to attack the Symbiote when it tries to attack him. Close and Area of Effect attacks which deal damage to the host creature also deal damage to the Symbiote.
• Mount Benefits: A Host creature possess all of the powers which it had before it merged with a Symbiote and can do any number of actions each turn at the will of the Symbiote.
• Opportunity Attacks: A Host creature which provokes an opportunity attack must be targeted by the opportunity attack, but a Symbiote which provokes an opportunity attack by making one of its own personal actions can be targeted by Opportunity Attacks as normal.
• Forced Movement: Whenever an effect forces the movement of the Host Creature, the Symbiote moves with it and does not have the ability to select only itself to be affected by a pull, push, or slide effect. The Symbiote is stuck in the body and cannot easily pry itself away should an effect that forces movement prove to be dangerous.
• Mounting and Dismounting: Symbiote creatures have a merge power which dictates the kind of actions which allow them to essentially mount or dismount a host creature. Standard Actions are normal.
• Initiative: The Host and the Symbiote act on the same initiative count as do Mounts and Riders.
• Actions: Both the Host and the Symbiote get to take full advantage of their actions. The Host creature can make a Standard, Move and Minor, but the Symbiote sacrifices his move action each turn and moves with the Host creature. The individual nature of the symbiote allows it to continue making attacks and actions while occupying the host’s body. Some symbiotes which are entirely within the body of a host may lose the ability to perform certain types of actions, such as physical attacks, but may still be able to perform magical or psychic attacks while remaining totally concealed within the host body. Power limitations are explained under the Symbiote’s Merge Power.
• Attacking Mounts: The Host Creature can attack as normal without penalty.
• Charge: When a Host Creature makes a charge attack, only the Host creature may attack. The Symbiote may then make an attack after the Host has finished its charge action.
• Squeezing: When the Host Creature squeezes, the Symbiote takes the same penalties.
• Mounts in Enclosed Spaces: No penalty. Doesn’t apply.
• Knocked Prone: Attacks that knock a Host prone, also knock the Symbiote prone however there is no chance of being disconnected from the Host creature.Symbiote Special Rules
The following are the special rules which explain how Symbiotes interact with their host and the abilities as well as Powers that they possess while occupying a Host Creature.
• When the two creatures combine, they remain separate creatures and their health is accounted for separately.
• A Host Creature gains a Symbiote bonus to its Fortitude, Reflex and Will defenses based on the tier of the Symbiote Creature: Heroic +1, Paragon +2, and Epic +3.
• Attacks that target the merged creature use the defenses of the Host creature except where an exception is noted under the specific Symbiote’s statistics block.
• Use the initiative of the Host Creature or the Symbiote, whichever initiative is greater, but increase the value by +2.
• The Host Creature gains the Resistances and Vulnerabilities of theSymbiote, but retains any existing Resistances, Vulnerabilities, or Immunities it had previous to the synthesis which are then passed onto the Sybmiote. If they share them, they do not stack.
• The Host Creature and the Symbiote share the Action Points pool. They can use each other’s action points at will.
• The Host Creature and the Symbiote share the same trained skills. If one of them is trained in the skill, then so is the other one. On skills to which they are both trained, any skill attempt automatically gains a +2 Symbiote Bonus.
• The Host Creature gains a bonus to its Physical Attributes based on the tier of the Symbiote Creature: Heroic +1, Paragon +2, and Epic +3.
• Use the greater of the pair's Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma.
• The Symbiote gains knowledge of any languages spoken by the host and can speak through its body to others.New Attack Keywords
Symbiotes have access to three different types of attacks which are exclusive to this type of creature. They are:
[Merge]-This power is used to combine with a Host Creature.
[Symbiotic Bond]- This power is granted to the Host creature whenever the Symbiote occupies it.
[Separation]- This power is used to allow the Symbiote to leave the Host creature.Red Spawn Heart Eater
The Red Spawn Heart Eater… those who know its name, fear its coming. The undead monstrosity is known to wander from village to village, ever searching for more powerful hearts on which to feed. The Red Spawn Heart Eater often attacks at night, though it doesn’t possess the weakness to daylight which was possessed of its progenitor, it prefers the dark and rarely moves during the day.
The Red Spawn Heart Eater knows no lair and possesses no home. It prefers to stay mobile and search for blood.
The Red Spawn Heart Eater stands approximately ten feet tall. It has the frame of a terrifying and muscular humanoid, but its flesh is rotten underneath its decaying scales, those it still possesses which are dark red in color, but are covered in putrid filth, caked blood, and rot. It has a pair of wings that stem from its shoulders, but they too look as though they have withered away and provide little ability to still fly. The creatures face is elongated like that of a dragon’s. It has elongated canine teeth which resemble the fangs of a vampire lord and its eyes are solid black orbs. It has a prominent open wound on its chest from whence it tore out its own heart at birth; it now seeks to fill this hole.Red Spawn Heart Eater - Level 15 Elite Brute
Large Natural Humanoid (Undead, Reptile) XP 240 x 0
Initiative +12 x Perception +22, Darkvision
Heart Seeking aura 20 x : The Red Spawn Heart Eater automatically perceives any living creature that enters the aura. If a Heart of Darkness enters the aura, the Red Spawn Heart Eater stops any current action and immediately moves to meet the Heart of Darkness and take advantage of its True Host Power see below.
HP 288 x Bloodied 144 Regneraton 10
AC 31 x Fort 26 Reflex 31 Will 29
Immunities: Disease, Poison, Fear
Resist 10 x Necrotic, 10 Fire
Vulnerable 10 x Radiant
Saving Throws +2
Speed 8 x , Fly 8 (Clumsy)
Action Points: 1
Bite (standard; at-will)
Reach 2 x ;+18 vs AC; 3d8 + 6 damage
Claw (standard; at-will)
Reach 2 x ;+18 vs AC; 3d6 + 6 damage.
Fury of the Ashardalon (standard; at will)
The Red Spawn Heart Eater makes two claw Attacks.
Consume the Heart (immidiate reaction; when an adjacent enemy is reduced to hp) -Healing
The Red Spawn Heart Eater gains hit points equal to one-quarter of its normal total.
Blood Drain (standard, encounter; recharges when an adjacent creature becomes bloodied) -Healing
Requires combat advantage; 17 x vs. Fortitude; 2d12 +3, and the target is weakened (save ends), and the Heart Eater heals hit points equal to one-quarter of its normal total.
Black Fire Breath(standard; recharge 5 x 6) - Fire, Necrotic
Close blast 4 x ; 16 vs. Reflex; 2d8 + 3 Fire and 2d8 +3 Necrotic damage
The Red Spawn Heart Eater can make opportunity attacks against all enemies within reach (2 x squares).
The True Host:
A Red Spawn Heart Eater that comes within 2 x square of a Heart of Darkness immediately attempts to create a symbiotic bond with the Heart of Darkness without needing to be reduced to 0 Hit Points to do so. A Red Spawn Heart Eater that combines with a Heart of Darkness is not dominated, but rather acts in perfect cooperation with the Heart of Darkness forming a new creature called the Ashardalon’s Spawn. In addition, whenever a Red Spawn Heart Eater is within 2 Squares of a Heart of Darkness it becomes enraged and attempts to protect the Heart of Darkness at all costs. It gains a +2 Bonus to all attacks as well as a +4 bonus to damage rolls and its speed increases by 2 for all forms of movement. In addition, a Red Spawn Heart eater takes half of the damage that is dealt to the Heart of Darkness, this damage is prevented against the Heart of Darkness.
Alignment: Evil Languages: Common, Draconic
Skills: Athletics +22 x , Intimidate +22
Str 27 x (+15) Dex 20(+12) Wis 16(+10)
Con 17 x (+10) Int 13(+8) Cha 10(+7)
Equipment: NoneThe Heart of Darkness Heart of Darkness - Level 15 Elite Lurker (Leader)
Small Immortal Animate (Undead, Symbiote) XP 240 x 0
Initiative +18 x Perception +24, Blindsight
Heart Seeking aura 20 x : The Heart of Darkness automatically perceives any living creature that enters the aura. If a Red Spawn Heart Eater enters the aura, the Heart of Darkness stops any current action and immediately moves to meet the Red Spawn Heart Eater and take advantage of its Perfect Symbiosis Power see below.
HP 252 x Bloodied 126
AC 31 x Fort 26 Reflex 31 Will 29
Immunities: Disease, Poison
Resistance 10 x Necrotic
Vulnerable 10 x Radiant
Saving Throws +2
Speed 8 x , Hover 4
Action Points 1
Heart Seeking Stike (standard; at will)
+20 x vs AC; 2d8+6 damage; the target is grabbed (until escape).
Vein Lash (minor; at will)
+20 x vs AC; 2d8+6 damage
Skittering Burst (minor; recharge 4 x 5 6 ) - Shift
The Heart of Darkness immediately shifts its speed; it can not hover while taking this movement.
Black Blood Spray (standard; recharge 4 x 5 6 ) - Poison
Close Blast 2 x ; +16 vs Reflex; 3d10+6 damage; ongoing 10 poison damage (save ends).
Rend the Heart (standard; at will)
Target must be either stunned or grappled; +20 x vs Fortitude; 3d10+6 damage; the target is stunned (save ends); if the attack would reduce the target to 0 hit point or less, the Heart of Darkness may immediately use its Dark Transplant attack power.
Dark Transplant - Merge
When a Heart of Darkness rends out and destroys the heart of an enemy, it replaces the former heart with itself performing its Symbiote Merge. The target is dominated (no save); if the Heart of Darkness currently occupies a host, that host immediately dies when the Heart of Darkness transfers to a new host; the new host regains hit points up to its bloodied value prior to the symbiosis taking effect. The Heart of Darkness has many veins and many arteries which form the tentacles that come from its body and doesn’ x ;t entirely enter the body of the Host, but rather occupies a space just outside of the chest cavity allowing it to function both as a heart and as an attacker. Thus, the Heart of Darkness retains all of its powers except for Skittering Burst. The Heart of Darkness also gains the following powers whenever it has a Host Creature:
• x ; Pump the Evil Blood - Symbiotic Bond
The Host Creature gains Regeneration 5 x or its existing Regeneration increases by 5.
• x ; Detach (standard; at-will) - Separation
Must have a Host in order to use this power; the Heart of Darkness immidiately leaves the Host body and shifts up to 8 x squares. The Host Creature immidiately dies.
• x ; Flee the Host (immediate react; at-will) - Separation
When the Host Creature is reduced to one quarter of its total hit points, the Heart of Darkness may immediately use its detach power as a free action. The Heart of Darkness's Hit Points become its bloodied value (if its HP were greater than this prior to using Flee the Host) and it is weakened until the end of its next turn.
A Heart of Darkness which comes within 2 x square of a Red Spawn Heart Eater immediately attempts to create a symbiotic bond with the Red Spawn Heart Eater without needing to reduce the target to 0 Hit Points in order to do so. A Red Spawn Heart Eater that combines with a Heart of Darkness is not dominated, but rather acts in perfect cooperation with the Heart of Darkness forming a new creature called the Ashardalon’s Spawn. In addition, whenever a Red Spawn Heart Eater is within 2 Squares of a Heart of Darkness the Heart of Darkness becomes enraged and attempts to synthesize at all costs. It gains a +2 Bonus to all attacks as well as a +4 bonus to damage rolls and its speed increases by 2 for all forms of movement. All of its attacks become at-will powers.
Alignment: Evil Languages: None (see Dark Transplant above)
Skills: Stealth +2 x 0
Str 18 x (+11) Dex 25 (+14) Wis 20 (+12)
Con 15 x (+9) Int 19 (+11) Cha 15 (+9)
That was all i had put together before i changed my ideas. I would love to hear what people have to think about these though before the next competition starts off.