KotM fight! Hive Ghoul

KotM fight! Hive Ghoul

wasp nestWelcome to the King of the Monsters Contest finals: the hive ghoul is finalist 5 of 10. These submissions are left almost entirely as they were received with the exception that all submissions have had minor alterations for proper spelling (not grammar), formatting, and the addition of an image. Let the fight commence!

______

One bard laughed at the other.

“Your face—if we can still call it that—speaks of a most unpopular performance.”

“Aye.”

“Indeed, indeed, I should have warned you—you have barely enough talent for a duke, much less a queen!”

“Aye.”

“If you had half a wit about you, you’d have run from the sting of her displeasure.” …

“I ran all right, but it followed me.”

“You mean they—her royal guard, clad in tabards black and yellow.”

“I mean it.”

“I know something of insects, my friend, and no single bee—“

“—It wasn’t the bees. It was the thing that carried them.”

Hive Ghoul (Level 6 Elite Controller)

Medium natural humanoid XP 500

Initiative +4; Senses Perception +4; darkvision
Stinging Cloud aura 2; the aura grants concealment; any living creature that starts its turn within the aura is subject to an attack: +10  vs. Fortitude, 5 poison damage and the creature is dazed until the start of its next turn; see also Stirring the Hive
HP 148; Bloodied 74
AC 20, Fortitude 19, Reflex 17, Will 21
Immune disease, poison; Resist 10 necrotic; Vulnerable 5 radiant
Saving Throws +2
Speed 6
Action Points 1

[M] Claw (at-will; standard)
+11 vs. AC; 1d6 + 4 damage, and the target takes ongoing 5 poison and necrotic damage (save ends)

[m] Breath of Hornets (recharge 5 6; standard)
Close blast 3; +10 vs. Fortitude; 1d6 + 4 poison damage, and the target is dazed (save ends)

[c] Direct the Cloud (at-will; minor)
Close burst 5; +10 vs. Fortitude; targets any square within range; this square is considered part of the Hive Ghoul’s Stinging Cloud until the end of the Hive Ghoul’s next turn.

Stirring the Hive (encounter; immediate reaction)
Usable when first bloodied; the range of the Hive Ghoul’s Stinging Cloud aura increases to 3.

Alignment Chaotic Evil   Languages Common
Skills Nature +9
Str 14 (+5)           Dex 13 (+4)         Wis 12 (+4)
Con 18 (+7)         Int 14 (+5)           Cha 15 (+5)

Appearance

Hundreds of large, black and yellow hornets crawl in and out of this warped creature. While some seem content in exploring the gaps and holes of its decaying flesh, most congregate in the large hive they have tunneled into its face, neck, and torso. From the rest of this creature hangs a tough, leathery skin, blotched red with the ignored infection of myriad stings.

When their host is engaged in combat, the hornets go berserk, emerging to protect their hive in a wide cloud that the creature directs with waves of its claws.

Tactics

A Hive Ghoul begins combat by moving up to a large group of people which it attempts to daze with its Breath of Hornets power. Unless stopped by a skilled defender, it will provoke opportunity attacks as necessary to maximize the effects of its Stinging Cloud aura. If happy with its location or forced to hold still, it trades its move action for a minor action to use its Direct the Cloud power twice.

Ecology

A Hive Ghoul forms a symbiotic relationship with a large hive of hornets. These hornets form a hive inside its torso, drawing trace amounts of necrotic energy which the Hive Ghoul then uses to control their actions. While at rest, the hornets brew a sickly honey within the creature’s innards, imbuing it with poisonous claws that can be milked several times a day for their venom.

Though the hornets are useful as weapons, they are still herbivores who feed on flower nectar. Over time, they infect their food sources with the same necrotic taint that binds them to the ghoul, blighting the land with sickly and dangerous floral mutations. On occasion, such creatures will also fall under the Hive Ghoul’s control, granting it flesh-eating plant monsters to supplement its already considerable defenses.

Hive Ghouls are favored servants of hags who enjoy blending black magic with the power of the natural world, but they can be found in the hands of any group that would desire a renewable source of venom, from trapsmiths to assassins.

21 thoughts on “KotM fight! Hive Ghoul”

  1. Having been swarmed by hornets before (we stopped counting after 30-some stings), I have to admit that this one made me cringe. Of course, there wasn’t a ghoul present at that time, which would have made it suck even more. Nice work Mario.

  2. I don’t think the “Direct the Cloud” power is defined appropriately…

    As described, I think it should be an Area Burst 1 within 5, or Area 1 square within 5 (I’d need to go reference the exact language for a single square of effect). A close burst 5 means that it will surround the ghoul for 5 squares in every direction.

    -Ben.

  3. I agree that Direct the Cloud would be re-worded during development/editing. And for me, the vulnerability should be Fire, not Radiant.

    And yeah, this creature just makes me want to describe the carnage to the players.

  4. “If all the insects on earth disappeared, within 50 years all life on earth would disappear. If all humans disappeared, within 50 years all species would flourish as never before.” — Jonas Salk.

    And if all the insects on earth were in a symbiotic relationship with the undead, I’d give the rest of us about a week.

    Love this monster!

  5. Fantastic! I fully expect to see this in your game next time we play! :)

    I actually am going to have to agree with the comments that /direct the cloud/ be re-worded. While I don’t think it’s ‘incorrect’ as written, since there a number of powers that are close bursts which only target one or two things in the burst (see cleric, warlord, and many traps), the wizard’s /cloud of daggers/ provides the cleanest model, I think, with a range of ‘area 1 within 10 squares.’

    I’d also make it vulnerable 5 radiant AND fire, since I like undead being vulnerable to radiant. Speaking of which, (undead) needs to go in the type line.

    The aura is heinous, I love it! However, I don’t think many auras have attacks that are listed in the aura line. Usually, they reference a power listed in the stat block (for an example, see the gibbering orb or the beholder (tee-em!)).

    I’m definitely enjoying how thematic this monster feels. In combat, I imagine the sensation of fighting a shambling monster crawling with hornets will be well-simulated.

    All things considered, I totally love this monster, and chances are I’ll be using it myself here soon.

  6. The only problem I have is that the aura is an ATTACK. You have any idea how many attacks you’ll be making with something like that?

    My favorite part of this is that the wasps effect the nearby plantlife. That’s a great little plothook!

  7. I think Direct the Cloud is fine as written. The difference between “close burst 5, 1 square within” and “area 1 square within 10 squares” is that an area attack provokes an attack of opportunity, and a close doesn’t. So if an attack would take an action like shooting a bow, it should be area, but if it’s something that takes only some mental energy while the hive ghoul is defending itself, it should be close burst 5.

  8. A great entry, however mthomas768 is right. Hornets are ferocious carnivores who often prey on bees and other nectar-seeking insects (which changes a large part of the monster’s description). Also, the monster needs to have the undead subtype assuming it is an undead (it could very well be a living creature that uses necrotic energy and has the word ghoul in its name). ;-)

  9. Ahah!
    I’ll have to tinker with it a tiny tiny bit to get the powers working properly, as others have observed above. But this one I’m definitely going to use. Perfect for the game I’m running.

  10. This monster is cool. I expect to see it from both sides of the DM screen over the next few sessions.

    I think you should be able to disable the ‘stir the hive’ aura bump with fire area effects.

    Can you write up a full “Hive Ghouls as Characters” section for this race? I want to build my next PC as a Hive Ghoul Cleric. Rhapsody the Hive Ghoul Cleric. He carries one of those honey-dippers from the Honey Combs cereal box. It is his implement. He comes from a long line of nectar-drinking insect themed Clerics, but there was an unfortunate accident with a shitty Turn Undead roll and look what happened! If you doubt the usefulness of this kind of build, look at the freakin’ charisma! Who gets charmed by a walking dead bee-hive? EVERYONE!

    Also, I think you should talk to Mark Wahlberg because I never saw M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening, but I think this monster was probably what was happening.

    Additionally, the nerds arguing about the text of the Direct the Cloud power should just nut up and roll initiative on the creature.

    28 Days Later After Eating Honey Nut Cheerios.

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