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Old Hat Monsters: Going Crusty

Old Hat Monsters: Going Crusty

Nikiforos Lytras, Sailor smoking. Oil on canvas, Koutlidis foundationIn Pathfinder, aging is addressed in game mechanics by a slow degradation of the physical attributes and an equally slow gain in mental attributes. I agree that for perhaps the majority of stories this makes perfect sense, but then I think of some of my favorite characters that are older and how they seem to overcome age and defy this. Marv from Sin City, Bruenar Battlehammer from R.A. Salvatore’s work, Flint Fireforge from Dragonlance, and pretty much every veteran sailor from any ship-based fiction.

Then there’s Randy Couture vs. Tim Silva. If you know MMA, you know my point. If not, allow me to paint you a picture. Tim Silva was the UFC heavyweight champ, 30 years old, 6-ft. 9-in., and pretty much on paper the heavy favorite. Randy Couture was 43, had retired and come back, was under 6-ft. and weighed about 80 lbs. less than Tim Silva when they fought. Randy nearly ended the fight in the first minute with a hard right. For five rounds, the smaller, lighter, older man bullied and dominated the larger younger man with a 10-in. reach advantage.

Folklore monsters tend to be long-lived creatures that gain something with time. Join me after the jump for a template that honors a counterintuitive literary tradition: Sometimes the most dangerous man in the bar isn’t the huge muscled guy—it’s the old crusty sailor with the tattoos.

Crusty (CR+2)

This is an acquired template that can be applied only to humanoids, animals, vermin, and magical beasts. Outsiders and undead need not apply.

Armor Class: Gain a +2 to natural AC from scarification and bone density.

Special Defenses:

Stubborn as Hell (Ex)—Those with the crusty template are hardier and more set in their ways then their more youthful peers and gain a +2 to CMD, Will, and Fortitude saves.

Tough as Nails (Su)—Treat this as orcish ferocity, meaning the crusty creature can act in a round that would normally knock them out.

Liquid Courage (Ex)—When intoxicated, the crusty creature gains the benefits of a rage spell in place of the normal effects of intoxication.

Hit Dice: The crusty template adds 3 Hit Dice and +2 BAB.

Feats: The crusty creature gains Toughness, Improved Unarmed (or Improved Natural Attack), and Intimidating Prowess as bonus feats.

Ability Adjustments: The crusty template replaces normal aging and allows the reverse to happen—they gain physical stats as their mental stats degrade and they do so at the same rate as normal aging.

For every three comments, I’ll provide some crunch on this. What do you want to see? A crusty old sailor? A crusty wolf or perhaps a crusty Armovoraxx? You know the drill. Follow me on Twitter @GM_Solspiral for the latest on Old Hat Monsters, The Winding Road, and The Flying Pincushion.

7 thoughts on “Old Hat Monsters: Going Crusty”

  1. I like it. Given all the ubiquitous tales of that one old fish that always get away to live for decades, I wouldn’t mind seeing this application on something aquatic–maybe a giant gar or a bunyip.

  2. This makes a great deal of sense. In a world where people aren’t sitting around and working in front of a screen, old age does not necessarily equal decrepitude. Shake hands with a 65- (or 75- or 85-) year-old farmer sometime and you’ll see what I mean. And those creatures and animals that survive constant interruption of their lives by would-be adventurers and make it into old age have to be tough.

    Your template could apply to many stories of martial artists as well. The kendoka Moriji Mochida was nigh unbeatable until after he turned 80.

    What do you think about the template having something about reduced movement? Also, how would you work “Liquid Courage” with the eligible non-humanoids? Admittedly, the idea of a drunk crusty bear is terrifying.

    I like Jeff’s idea of “the one that got away.” Just about every lake here in Wisconsin has one of those stories.

  3. @ Curt glad to hear it not everyone peaks at 20!

    @ Jeff Lee aquatic was definately in my head, bunyip might get the crunch.

    @ Brian Duckwitz grat points let me address some individually:
    -Martial artists didn’t cross my mind but now I’m thinking of one of my favorite parts of Kill Bill!
    -The farmer and older but tougher types are where my head was at glad it resonated well with others.
    -Reduced movement makes some sense to me, maybe a trade off is an extra skill point per HD… so we don’t mess with the CR too much.
    -For non Humanoids replace Liquid courage with this…
    Wily Rage(Ex): whenever a crusty non-humanoid succeeds in a will or reflex save treat as having the effects of a rage spell for one round per the spell level defeated.

    I’ll hit you guys with some crunch early tomorrow/possibly tonight. Keep the comments coming if you guys want more!

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