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Friday Funny (Monster): Carbuncle

Friday Funny (Monster): Carbuncle


Hey GMs! Are you looking for that certain something to drive your power-hungry, dragon-slaying group just a bit wild? Well, look no further than Krazy Kirk’s House of Forgotten Horrors. We take all those baddies that have gone the way of THAC0 and shine ‘em up real nice for you.  Your player’s won’t know what hit ‘em!

We’ve got bunyips, we’ve got caryatid columns, we’ve got gorilla bears… that’s right, gorilla bears! Heck, we’ve got the whole Fiend Folio on our lot and everything must go! Today’s deal is a real gem, a rock-solid deal; it’s the carbuncle. Pick it up for FREE! Take it for a spin, let it drive your player’s nuts… just please get it off my lot and out of my head! …

A stone-skinned fey beast, the carbuncle’s entire body seems composed of smooth, interlocked plates of rock. This thick, earthen covering gives carbuncles a fair resistance to most damage, as well as a ponderous, slow gait.

Aside from their stony skin, the true physical oddity of a carbuncle is the polished crimson gem embedded within their forehead. This valuable stone is sought after by treasure hunters to sell and by arcanists to tap into its supposed magical qualities…

Carbuncle (Level 3 Controller)

Medium fey magical beast (XP 150)
Initiative +1       Senses Perception +6; tremorsense 10
Soothing Presence (charm, psychic) aura 3; an enemy that starts its turn within the aura is unable to attack the carbuncle until the carbuncle attacks it or a save ends; a creature is subject to this effect only once per encounter
hp 46; Bloodied 23
AC 16, Fortitude 15, Reflex 14, Will 18
Resist 3 against attacks that target AC
Speed 5, burrow 4

[M] Bite (standard; at-will)
+8 vs. AC; 1d8 + 3 damage, and the target is grabbed (until escape); a carbuncle may only have one grabbed target at a time

[m] Stonetooth Grip (standard; at-will)
The target must be grabbed by the carbuncle’s bite attack; +7 vs. Fortitude; 1d12 + 3 damage

[c] Gemflash Glamour (minor; encounter) ◊ Charm, Psychic
Close blast 3; +7 vs. Will; 2d8 + 3 psychic damage, and the target is dominated until the end of the carbuncle’s next turn
Aftereffect—The target is dazed (save ends)

Strength of Stone (when mounted by a small friendly target of 3rd level or higher) ◊ Earth, Mount
A carbuncle’s rider gains resist 3 against all damage as long as the carbuncle remains in contact with the earth

Alignment unaligned     Languages Telepathy 10
Str 6 (–1)              Dex 11 (+1)         Wis 10 (+1)
Con 14 (+3)         Int 4 (–2)              Cha 18 (+5)

Carbuncle Tactics

Despite the carbuncle’s thick form, which seems suited for combat, the beast rarely seeks out confrontation. Instead it acts as friendly as a domesticated dog. It nuzzles outstretched hands, sidles up to people, and exhibits a playful nature, generally.

Of course, the carbuncle is fey, and its show of friendship is nothing more than a mask covering its mischievous intentions. Carbuncles revel in the use of their telepathic abilities to gently nudge companions against one and other. The stone-skinned beast will play favorites, implant notions of frustration, deception, and envy in its newfound caretaker’s thoughts, and drag objects from one person’s keeping to another’s. It is unknown whether the carbuncle does this because it feeds off the strife or if it simply takes pleasure in the grief it causes.

When combat is actually forced, the carbuncle relies on stonetooth grip to hold its foes in place. Gemflash glamour is used as a diversionary tactic; the chaos this power creates often allows the carbuncle ample time to burrow away.

Carbuncle Lore

A character knows the following information with a successful Arcana check.

DC 15—Carbuncles are resilient fey beasts that resemble, in part, a stony mix between armadillos and badgers. A large ruby sits in each specimen’s forehead and can catch a fair price in most markets as jewelry or a reagent. The gem is also used by carbuncles to disorient its foes.

DC 20—Gnomes often keep carbuncles as pets. Carbuncles can be trained for battle and often make a good frontline for gnome spell-slingers to stand behind. Additionally, some gnomes train them as mounts, drawing on the carbuncle’s innate resiliency to bolster their own fighting prowess.

Carbuncle’s Gem (Level 2+)

The design of this holy symbol is highlighted with a stunning fey ruby.

Level 2                  +1            520 gp
Level 7                  +2           2,600 gp
Level 12                +3           313,000 gp
Level 17                +4           65,000 gp
Level 22                +5           325,000 gp
Level 27                +6           1,625,000 gp

Implement (Holy Symbol)

Enhancement Attack rolls and damage rolls

Critical +1d6 damage per plus

Power (free action; daily)
Use this power when you hit with a radiant keyword attack using this holy symbol. The target is also dazed until the end of your next turn.


Sweet! That’s certainly a useful beastie for my menagerie.

Now, crack that pinata open, so we can get its  goodies!

14 thoughts on “Friday Funny (Monster): Carbuncle”

  1. Oh, really. And I suppose you are going to tell me my Hound of Ill Omen is actually just a sad Basset, too.

    (Yeah, the Fiend Folio is a wealth of odd monsters that demands to be revisited.)

  2. An interesting take on an old ‘favourite’.
    (And by favourite, I mean ‘DMs favourite’, since any player that ever met one will hate its guts!)

    Running such a creature can be a pain, since it’s tactics only work if the DM can keep the source of the party’s strife a secret.
    (I’ve had recent experience of this, running a doppelganger bard, in 3.5, trying to delay the PCs mission with his fascinate ability, so I feel your pain).

    As I recall, in 1E, the creature’s discord ability was a continuous, passive wave, such that the creature could simply afford to wait out the inevitable failed saves, and mayhem.

    The 4E mechanics do seem to make this more difficult, requiring a specific attack to dominate a victim. By being a direct action, it’s more likely that the battlemat is out, initiative will have been rolled, and the players fully aware of the source (even if their PCs should not be).

    The Soothing Prescence takes the reverse angle from before, in that the PCs are ruled to be affected by an inability to harm the creature, until the succeed a save, as opposed to the 1E state of acting normally until they fail a recurring save.
    It leads to the perennial question, in games with abstract game mechanics, of ‘When is the encounter deemed to have started?’.
    If it starts at first meeting, then all the PCs will have had ample time to shake off the Soothing Prescence by the time it makes its move. No longer can the carbuncle sit on someone’s shoulder, or ride in their back pack for a day, sowing distrust.

  3. @ Snorter – I would argue that the act of sowing distrust is all roleplay and based off the carbuncle’s Telepathy.

    The GM will have to adjucate how that effects the party, but I imagine simply telling the player the thief stole his wineflask after the carbuncle buried at night is a good example.

    Then the aura only comes into play once the PCs either try to attack it or say, “I roll initiative.”

  4. Who knew such a crazy critter could raise such serious design points? But yeah, staging and setup are very important for running this beastie correctly.

    I’m especially happy that it is a fey creature. Seems very appropriate for its role and abilities.

    Hmmmmm…. I wonder if one of these would make a good cat-in-the-lap pet for a villain in Courts of the Shadow Fey?

  5. @Wolfgang – I think that would be sweet! I am spending a little bit of time today catching up on comments and the like for Shadow Fey, and I could just see one of these devious elves using a carbuncle to deter the party . . .

  6. This is a good reason to have your PC’s stats on hand so they can fail a save without ever knowing it. I could totally see a “friendly” Fae offering to assist PC’s while his “familliar” messes with their heads.

  7. @Wolfgang – I love the carbuncle mechanics for CotSF, but can we reskin it? Its unique look is going to ruin the surprise for anyone who had the 1e FF. Plus a silver-beaked raven or ruby-eyed ferret feels more shadow fey than an armadillo. :)

  8. For Gemflash Glamour, just one question. What is the target? Its a close blast 3, but does it hit just one target, all enemies in blast, or all creatures in blast? I know I could house rule it, just curious about the original intention.

  9. My intent was all creatures in blast; the carbuncle, for all its wily ways, does not have a lot of control over its supernatural sympathy inducing powers.

    However, I could easily see someone say all enemies, as the power is charm and psychic and therefore could be easily directed by the carbuncle.

  10. I just wanted to say kudoos! I was doing some research on Ask when I found this site. After looking around on this site I’ve come up with some ideas for a new weblog. I just thought I’d let you know

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