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Monarch of the Monsters 5 Finalist: Living Wicks by Ben Wertz

Monarch of the Monsters 5 Finalist: Living Wicks by Ben Wertz

Monarch of the Monsters

Living Wicks

Living wicks are obedient wax statues brought to life by an enchanted wick that runs from the nape of their neck to their lower back. When new, a living wick looks and moves like a slightly stooped human, but as the wick burns, the wax features melt and the statue takes on a twisted, hunchbacked appearance.

Cheap and Disposable. Because living wicks are wax constructs powered by flames, they do have a predetermined lifecycle and are typically formless lumps in about fourteen days. Proponents of these particular constructs, however, claim that a living wick’s affordability more than makes up for its inevitable obsolescence. Individuals looking to quickly construct a building or fortification, without the use of paid labor or necromancy, find living wicks to be both obedient and efficient, as do those that need to field a large army for a single battle or limited purpose.

A Versatile Construct. Living wicks are interesting in that they are only active when their wicks are lit and only respond to the telepathic commands of whoever did the lighting. This makes it easy to transfer living wicks between owners, even those not well-versed in the use of magic. This has caused some aristocrats to develop a fondness for the constructs, particularly there utility as eye-catching servers at dinner parties. Living wicks used in this capacity are often ornately carved and look nothing like basic, featureless models. Following the party, the living wick can be extinguished and stored until the host has need of it again.

Controlled Burn. The amount of magical energy contained within a living wick, paired with the manner in which it is released, gave the constructs an unintended affinity for self-destruction. Should their controller every demand it, all living wicks have the ability to suddenly release the magic contained within their form, engulfing themselves and anyone nearby in white hot flames. This is seen as a terrible liability for those that use living wicks as butlers or servants, but less scrupulous types see it as an asset, especially those seeking to destroy incriminating evidence or anonymously attack their enemies.

Living Wick

Medium construct, unaligned

Armor Class 10

Hit Points 14 (4d6)

Speed 20 ft

STR                       DEX                       CON                      INT                        WIS                       CHA

10(+0)                   10(+0)                   10(+0)                   5(-3)                      5(-3)                      5(-3)

Damage Vulnerabilities fire

Damage Immunities poison, psychic

Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, unconscious

Senses sight 20 ft. (blind beyond the radius of their light) passive perception 10

Languages shares a telepathic link with the individual that lit their wick

Challenge 1 (200 XP)

Controlled. Living wicks cannot move, attack, or perform actions when they are not lit. Living wicks only respond to the telepathic commands of the individual that lit them.

Light. Activated living wicks produce light as a torch.

Melting. A living wick loses one hit point for every 24 hours it remains lit.

Actions –

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d6) bludgeoning damage

Consume. A living wick can be commanded to rapidly burn through the remains of their wick creating a devastating fireball. All creatures in a 20-foot-radius sphere centered on the living wick must make a Dexterity saving throw. A target takes Xd6 fire damage on a failed save, where X is the number of hit points the living wick had before it was commanded to consume. A successful save reduces the damage by half. The fire spreads around corners and ignites flammable objects in the area that aren’t being worn or carried. Using consume destroys the living wick.

10 thoughts on “Monarch of the Monsters 5 Finalist: Living Wicks by Ben Wertz”

  1. “…affordability more than makes up for its inevitable obsolescence.”
    Now that’s just good writing.

    I would love to see some art interpretations of a small army of Living Wicks about to square off against some very skeptical looking orcs…

  2. Really cool. My only concern as a DM (or worse as a player) is a Challenge 1 rating for a creature that can potentially do 14d6 damage. Still, a cool idea and a great power (but in my game I would probably tone that damage down a little).

  3. I love the concept and the accompanying mental imagery!
    Couple of problems, but they’re easy fixes.
    First, the hp, after adjusting for immunities, should be a little over double what they are now.
    The other is, as Michael Patrick points out, Consume damage. Highest average damage for an attack from a Challenge 1 critter is 9-14 in a round. Average damage at full hit points from these guys comes to 49 points (3.5 x 14). That’s the average damage you want for a Challenge 7 creature. You could fix it by looking at swarm damage, say, where they do X amount until they’re below half of their hp, then half of that damage from there on out.

  4. Congratulations!

    Consume could probably be toned down to inflict damage equal to remaining hit points, or maybe 2d6+remaining hit points for a big boom.

    A few editorial nitpicks: as a Medium creature it should have 4d8 HD and there is no DC listed for saving throw against consume ability.

    Great idea, great imagery, and I am already wondering how much it would sell for, and I’d like to see creation process described.

  5. Robert "Stormbow" Maxwell

    Definitely a creature I want in my campaigns! I do have to agree with the others though– the Xd6 is quite powerful; I also like “remaining HP in damage” with a save for half or none as a fix there, especially considering swarming or a small horde of them.

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