Dragon Pack – All the Demons

The Cendiary

The Cendiary sculpt is based on a flaming Asian demon. I felt that at least one of the demons should spread hellfire.

When the Cendiary spawns, every hero catches fire, regardless of his location. Furthermore, should you be so bold as to attack the Cendiary in a group, when it attacks every hero in its area catches fire again. Fire inflicts 1 damage per turn on the hero, at the very start of his turn. It can be extinguished by giving up a hero’s attack. You can give up your own attack to extinguish the fire on yourself or another hero. Or you can simply try to “fight through” the flames for a while, perhaps using first aid to keep from dropping too much. Ultimately this last is a losing game but it can work in an emergency.

Fighting The Cendiary

With Toughness 5 and Attack 4d12, the Cendiary is a fairly tough enemy. Also it’s one you can try to avoid. Fire isn’t the worst status effect (that would be Stun), but it’s certainly not a walk in the park.

Plug for an obscure game

I first encountered the concept I wanted to use for the Cendiary while playing an little-known game known as Culdcept (actually Culdcept Saga, a sequel to the original). This was on the Playstation. The game was a sort of combination of Monopoly, Magic the Gathering, and Pokemon, and had the deepest strategy of ANY digital game I’ve ever played.

I understand there is now a game named Culdcept Revolt. That’s almost enough to get me to buy a 3DS.

The Elemental

This is not what most gamers today think of as “elementals”. Dungeons & Dragons popularized the idea of spirit-things based on the ancient Greek (or, sometimes, Chinese) elements. But the word “elemental” and its origin is rather darker. In paranormal research, elementals are hostile beings that can possess or harm humans with their psychic abilities. They cause milk to sour, drain human energy, engage in poltergeist activity, and otherwise wreak harm. That’s what this is. Not a ball of earth or water. Now you know.

The Elemental’s most cogent ability is that it blurs the images of the demons, making them harder for the heroes to see and target. In game terms, this means that the hero has to designate his target before he rolls his attack dice.

Normally, Planet Apocalypse lets you pick your victim after your dice are rolled, which is really useful. If you roll a 4 and a 2 on two dice, for instance, you can use the 4 to kill a first circle demon, and the 2 to take out a limbo minion. But if the Elemental is in play, you have to pick first. If you picked first circle enemies, then that 2 you rolled was useless. If you picked limbo minions, then the 4 you rolled is underperforming. If there is only one demon in a room, the Elemental’s effect is harmless, but the demon numbers tend to increase with its presence.

He has Toughness 5 (about average) and 4d10 attack. Of course if you want to hit him, you have to designate this before you roll. Argh.

One mitigating feature – this “blinding” effect does not stop ambushes, only heroes. So you can lean on troopers during this time.

The Nuckelavee

The Nuckelavee is a Scottish demon which really struck my imagination as a child. In the tale, a man is walking down a narrow road between two bodies of water. Ahead, he sees a terrifying horror – the Nuckelavee. It has a horse’s body, with a man’s body grown up from the middle of the back. Its huge head, like a pumpkin, lolls from side to side. Its’ claws stretch almost to the ground. Worst of all, it was skinless – its black veins & nerves were visible moving against its muscles. And the man couldn’t run away, since he knew you must NEVER turn your back on an evil spirit. Brr. Our Nuckelavee figure is based on this legend. You’ll note that the human part of the body is currently mostly resorbed into its form. Perhaps it’s nearly ready for a new “rider”?

The Nuckelavee is one of the most detested 4th circle demons, because when it spawns every player has to take one of his toughness counters and place it on the Nuckelavee’s card. That’s right – he indefinitely lowers your toughness. There is a way to get it back though – if you can kill the nuckelavee, everyone gets their point of courage returned. This of course makes the Nuckelavee a really critical target for the team.

He (it?) has Toughness 5, which is not good, but at least it’s attack is weak, at only 4d6 – tied with the Philtre for lowest. On the other hand, since everyone fighting it is down 1 Toughness, perhaps it doesn’t need so much of an attack. This is one demon you cannot afford to ignore.

Lady Stroma

Stroma is kind of based on Charybdis, but also on the all-devouring mother-thing common to many religions. Even Christianity has her, in the form of Lilith.

Stroma’s image shows her just as a gigantic pair of hands and a hungry face. Before her face (and between her hands) is a sort of a stand, like a whirlpool. This is large enough for a hero’s figure to fit, and that’s what it’s used for.

Her toughness is 4+4, which is hard to overcome, and takes time. She has a lot of hit points (20 for 4 players), and since a typical hit vs. her only does 1 damage, thanks to her doubled toughness, it will take many rounds to kill her. Do the math. If you have four players, each with at least 2 dice, who are lucky enough with gifts, helping, and rolls to get a hit 2/3 of the time, this means that it will take 6-7 complete rounds of combat to kill her. That may not seem too bad until you see her attack.

Her Menace is simple – the captain picks a hero who is placed on Stroma’s mouth-pool.

When Stroma attacks, she ignores the defender’s toughness, and simply rolls 1d6. This damage is taken directly off the hero’s hit points (though it can be absorbed by troopers, if he has any). Most heroes can last only 2 rounds – 3 if he has useful troopers.

The victim hero is absolutely certain to die, unless the fight lasts long enough to kill Stroma. He cannot retreat from the battle, and must be left behind if the rest flee.

Battling Stroma

It’s a problem. Most demon lords you can pop in for a quick strike, then exit again, lick your wounds, and return once recovered. But if you try this with Stroma, one of your heroes is certain to die every time. Unless you have a sacrificial lamb of some sort, you really don’t want to do this.

Thus you are encouraged by her nature to make one big attack late in the game hoping to burn her health down faster than she is killing your heroes. Yet that is not too palatable either.

Lord Chthon

Some backers have commented that Chthon looks like the entity of the same name in the old Quake computer game, also that it kind of resembles the Shambler from that game. Well all I can say is it’s no coincidence, since I was involved in that game. Chthon of course is derived from the Greek term. This lord is based on gaining power over time.

He has a toughness 5, and an initial attack of 6d12! His menace is to add a 1d4 token to his attack box, or else raise an existing die token in that box by 1 level.

Per 1 damage you inflict on Chthon, you must either add another 1d4 to his attack box, or bump up a die by a level. Chthon cannot have more than 4 dice of any one type (except d12s), so eventually you are forced to increase the die size. Unsurprisingly, he has a lot of hit points so he can really bump up those attack numbers.

Battling Chthon

Let’s just look at the raw math.

First attack – heroes enter Chthon’s area and hit him for 10 damage over a number of rounds before they feel obliged to leave. Chthon’s attack at this point is probably something like 3d4+4d6+6d`1. Chthon is down to 20 HP now.

Second attack – the heroes go after Chthon and hit him for another 10 damage. Now Chthon’s attack is something like 4d4+4d6+3d8+6d`1. But he only has 10 HP left.

Third attack – the issue now is every attack is adding a d8 or even a d10 to the lord’s attack, so the heroes simply can’t survive very long at a time. Perhaps only one round.