Monday, April 13, 2020

OSE Encounter Activities - Lycanthrope

Ah Lycanthropes… I was a little unsure of how to approach these without duplicating a ton of effort. Each one has an animal form that roughly maps out to an existing or soon to come Encounter Activity Table, and this can handily be used for “what they’re up to” in this mien (Boars, Bears, Rat, Cat, Great, Wolf, etc.).

Additionally, one could also crib from one of the “Human” Encounter Activity Tables to generate bipedal undertakings. Some are good fits, like Bandit for Wererat, or Berserker for Boar, others might be a little more subjective or need seasoning to taste, I like my Devil Swine as “Nobles” for instance, but Merchants/Traders could easily work as well. There's nothing that says you couldn't use Dervishes, Acolytes, Mediums, Brigands, or even Buccaneers for this purpose for any of them though and that could even make for some surprising and compelling combinations.

Similar to the Doppelgänger, these Monsters are “more than they seem at first glance,” so instead of just giving them more “things to be doing” on top of the existing tables, I decided to go with some tables that can be utilized by a GM to help hint at their unusual nature when encountered as an NPC. These “tells” might help betray the situation somewhat, and canny Players could pick up on them and deserve to feel extremely pleased with themselves if/when their suspicions don’t go unfounded.

This brings up an interesting digression about creatures like this: for ages, Players have been conditioned to adopt a healthy Paranoia when it comes to certain suspicious encounters. If every helpless, comely lass ends up being duplicitous, I really can’t blame them, so it’s much better to sparingly sprinkle encounters like this and lean on that lovely Reaction Roll more often than not. Werebears, Weretigers. and Wereboars aren’t inherently Chaotic and can be more compelling as a sympathetic or friendly encounter (I could have sworn that Werebears were Lawful, but I may just be misremembering an artifact from Holmes). I usually extend this to the occasional Wererat or Werewolf in Human form as well (it doesn’t help conceal one’s true nature if uncouth behavior like immediately attacking betrays you). Devil Swine are of course the exception, and are just terrifically evil and terrifying (get a load of those HD!) enough to make much better longer term villains (like Vampires, or the aforementioned Doppelgängers), pulling the strings with the aid of several charmed thralls (given enough lead time, potentially subjugating an entire Village or Town to their wicked whims!).

It’s always wise to be tread carefully in order to avoid squandering what could be a delicious reveal with these wonderful Monsters 😊.

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