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  1. #1
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    OK, I just wanted to share a moment here with everyone. I`m writing up a

    BR monster, the premise of which is that insects from the Shadow World

    called gloomflies (a kind of anti-firefly that exudes a small aura of

    darkness) can form themselves into a swarm creating a hive mind. Because

    gloomflies lay their eggs in putrefying corpses the big priority of the

    swarm is to find dead bodies to "impregnate" with larvae. Once so infested

    a corpse can then be animated as a zombie by the hive mind of the swarm

    which also controls the maggots. However, the zombies that are so animated

    aren`t truly undead, so I need to note that they cannot be turned or

    rebuked, nor are they affected by holy water. Therefore, I wrote the

    following text in the monster description for a gloomfly zombie:



    "Gloomfly zombies are not undead. They are corpses animated by an

    infestation of writhing gloomfly maggots under the control of a gloomfly

    swarm`s hive mind."



    Now, immediately after writing that second sentence I was struck by how...

    well, bizarre a thing it is to actually put into words, let alone write

    down into a format that I fully intend to share with as many people as

    possible.



    G

  2. #2
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    Err... I will argue your point here: this reminds me of earlier editions where something was exactly like this but not quite, a common method to make sure that the players were always on their toes...

    First of all, have you worked out the mechanics on how the gloomflies affect their environment? Any statistics available?

    What I visualised when you described them is a 5-foot area of effect that is sapped of light; this would drop illumination to shadowy illumination if under bright light, otherwise it would be an area of murky, impenetrable darkness. Neither darkvision nor low-light vision should penetrate it...

    Is that how you have it in your mind or not?

    Being able to produce a Darkness effect at will as if they were objects seems also viable, but you could tell us what you have in mind first.

    In any case, if it anything near these, my first suggestion is you either turn the zombies to undead or vermin.

  3. #3
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 11:51 PM 3/25/2005 +0100, RaspK_FOG wrote:



    >I will argue your point here: this reminds me of earlier editions where

    >something was exactly like this but not quite, a common method to make

    >sure that the players were always on their toes...



    Is that a previous edition dynamic? I still do it all the time....



    Anyway, keeping players on their toes is one side benefit of the issue. In

    this case, the justification for making the zombies _not_ undead

    ("unundead"?) really came about as part of the process of writing up the

    description, and the zombie animation was the result of the introductory

    text that I started writing up after I wrote the stats for the swarm

    itself. At first it was merely going to be a "swarm with darkness effect"

    but after scribbling up some notes the zombies got added.



    Since neither the maggots nor the insects that spawned them can be turned

    and they don`t actually employ an animate dead spell (they merely work the

    body like a marionette) it didn`t seem sensible that one should be able

    turn the animated corpse. (There`s another one of those sentences again....)



    >First of all, have you worked out the mechanics on how the gloomflies

    >affect their environment? Any statistics available?

    >

    >What I visualised when you described them is a 5-foot area of effect that

    >is sapped of light; this would drop illumination to shadowy illumination

    >if under bright light, otherwise it would be an area of murky,

    >impenetrable darkness. Neither darkvision nor low-light vision should

    >penetrate it...

    >

    >Is that how you have it in your mind or not?

    >

    >Being able to produce a Darkness effect at will as if they were objects

    >seems also viable, but you could tell us what you have in mind first.



    I`m still writing up the description and other stats, so I haven`t worked

    it out yet other than to describe the darkness effect in the introductory

    section of the write up:



    "At first I did not understand what it was that I was seeing, for it seemed

    like a shadow that flew along the ground like some black fog. It was not

    until I saw the pale corpses that shambled along behind that it dawned upon

    me what it was that I was witnessing, and I admit that in my horror I did

    not immediately call out. Precious seconds passed as that fetid cloud made

    its way into the graveyard followed by the putrid and crumbling flesh of

    the zombies."



    At present, though, I was thinking of making the ability equivalent to a

    Darkness spell within the squares occupied by the swarm or 5` beyond the

    edges of the swarm (10` x 10`) for a total of a 20` x 20` area.



    I`ll go ahead and post the description when I get it finished.



    Gary

  4. #4
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    OK, here`s the first draft of the write up for this beastie:





    Gloomfly



    It was twilight and I was watching the last rays of light dwindle away in

    the west when I saw the plague ridden filth heading towards the

    cemetery. At first I did not understand what it was that I was seeing, for

    it seemed like a shadow that flew along the ground like some black fog. It

    was not until I saw the pale corpses that shambled along behind that it

    dawned upon me what it was that I was witnessing, and I admit that in my

    horror I did not immediately call out. Precious seconds passed as that

    unholy cloud made its way into the graveyard followed by the putrid and

    crumbling flesh of the zombies.



    I had heard tales about the last infestation that had occurred, the havoc

    wreaked by these vermin that was only surpassed by the desecration they

    wreaked upon our most holy of places and upon the bodies of our honored

    dead. I had been told of the horrible plagues of gloomflies that sometimes

    darkened the land. I had prayed that I might never witness such a thing in

    person, but as I saw the rotting bodies of the zombies begin to dig into

    the sod at the foot of the graves I was certain that my prayers had gone

    unanswered.



    I admit, I did not call out a warning to wake my brothers in the abbey so

    much as they rushed to see what it was that was the source of the screaming.



    --oooOooo--



    Gloomflies are insects from the Shadow World that, when gathered into a

    swarm, have a collective intelligence.



    Gloomflies lay their eggs in rancid conditions, preferably the putrid flesh

    of corpses that have been dead for some time. Normally, gloomflies breed

    at a rate not unlike that of ordinary insects, but when they infest the

    body of a human their breeding cycle increases dramatically. As their

    breeding cycle increases in a human corpse gloomflies begin to swarm, and

    when the body is consumed the swarm must move on to find new breeding material.



    Gloomfly swarms can be very dangerous, for it does not take long for the

    rudimentary intelligence of the hive mind to realize that if there are not

    enough corpses available for reproduction purposes then some can always be

    created from the local population. In general, however, gloomfly swarms

    prefer corpses that they do not have to endanger themselves to

    create. Rotting flesh is preferable to newly killed flesh, so graveyards

    and offal pits are often their favored breeding grounds.



    As gloomfly eggs hatch they turn the body they inhabit into a writhing mass

    of maggots. In a human corpse gloomfly maggots breed so quickly that soon

    the body is filled with them and the body is animated as a zombie under the

    control of the collective hive mind of its "parent" gloomfly swarm. The

    rudimentary intelligence of the swarm then uses the zombie for defense and

    as labor in its efforts to locate more putrid flesh into which the

    gloomflies can lay more eggs.



    Large infestations of gloomflies are rare in the Shadow World. The

    carnivores of that world rarely leave behind enough carrion to result in a

    large swarm. Upon occasion, however, swarms will appear and seek to assure

    their numbers by locating additional corpses upon which to spawn.



    Gloomfly infestation of the daylight world is similarly rare for they do

    not appear to thrive in a world of light and warmth. In winter months,

    however, some gloomflies have been known to somehow pass through one of the

    veils between the worlds by accidentally being carried across by some

    adventurer. If able to find a nesting place for their larvae gloomflies

    can reproduce rapidly.



    Gloomfly, swarm

    Diminutive Magical Beast (Extraplaner-Shadow World, Swarm)

    Hit Dice: 10d10+10 (65 hp)

    Initiative: +5

    Speed: 5 ft. (1 squares), fly 30 ft.

    AC: 19 (+4 size, +5 dex) touch 19, flat-footed 14

    Base Attack/Grapple: +10/-

    Attack: Swarm (2d6)

    Full Attack: Swarm (2d6)

    Face/Reach: 10 ft./0 ft.

    Special Attacks: Animate Zombie, Darkness, Distraction

    Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., hive mind, immune to weapon

    damage, swarm traits

    Saves: Fort +8, Ref +12, Will +3

    Abilities: Str 1, Dex 20, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 9

    Skills: Listen +10, Spot +10

    Feats: -

    Environment: Shadow World

    Organization: Solitary, cloud (2-5 swarms) or plague (7-12 swarms)

    Challenge Rating: 6

    Treasure: None

    Alignment: Chaotic evil

    Advancement: None

    Level Adjustment: -



    A hissing sound accompanies the approach of this unearthly fog of

    darkness. Weird, black insects fly in and out of the cloud, each

    surrounded by a thin aura of darkness that radiates about a foot from its

    body. The massing of these creatures results in an impenetrable shadow.



    Gloomflies are insects from the Shadow World that exude a dim aura of

    darkness. When gathered into a swarm their combined connection to the

    twilight world creates a dark intelligence that directs the hive to achieve

    particular goals. For the most part these goals are made up of acquiring

    new corpses into which the hive can lay eggs.



    COMBAT

    A gloomfly swarm does not attack the living unless provoked as long as

    there are fresh human corpses for it to infest. Once the supply of the

    dead is exhausted, however, the rudimentary intelligence of the swarm will

    realize that living humans can be turned into hosts for their eggs with a

    little effort and the hunt for victims will begin.



    In combat the swarm seeks to envelop its opponents, doing 2d6 damage to

    creature whose space it occupies at the end of its move.



    Animate Zombie (Su): The day after a gloomfly swarm lays its eggs in the

    putrifying flesh of a dead human body the corpse is animated by the maggots

    that infest it as a zombie under the control of the gloomfly swarm. The

    swarm then directs the zombie to perform physical labor, such as digging up

    graves to provide additional corpses for the swarm to use as food for more

    maggots.



    Corpses begin to be consumed by the gloomfly maggots soon after they are

    animated. Each day after the first the zombie loses 1 hp until its skin

    finally bursts and the corpse falls completely apart two weeks later,

    spawning another gloomfly swarm. A zombie "killed" by some means can still

    spawn a gloomfly swarm. In order to prevent a swarm from emerging the

    corpse must be purified using a Remove Disease or Heal spell. Burning will

    also destroy the infestation.



    Though there is no limit to the number of zombies a swarm can control at

    once it takes one hour for a swarm to lay enough eggs in a corpse to

    animate it, and the zombies begin to deteriorate rapidly. See the Gloomfly

    zombie description below.



    Darkness (Ex): A gloomfly swarm radiates an aura of darkness 10` from the

    center of the cloud or in a 20` x 20` area. This effect otherwise conforms

    to the effects of the Darkness spell.



    Distraction (Ex): Any living creature that begins its turn with a swarm in

    its square must make a DC 15 Fortitude save or be nauseated for 1

    round. The save DC is constitution based.

  5. #5
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    Here`s the slightly tweaked write up for the zombies animated by a gloomfly

    swarm. They are very similar to regular zombies, but with a couple of

    tweaks to denote the differences.





    Gloomfly Zombie

    Medium Construct

    Hit Dice: 2d10+3 (14 hp)

    Initiative: +0

    Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares; can`t run)

    AC: 19 (+4 size, +5 dex) touch 19, flat-footed 14

    Base Attack/Grapple: +1/+2

    Attack: Slam +? (1d6+1)

    Full Attack: Slam +? (1d6+1)

    Face/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.

    Special Attacks: -

    Special Qualities: Construct traits, Hardness 5/slashing, darkvision 60

    ft., low-light vision

    Saves: Fort +?, Ref +?, Will +?

    Abilities: Str 12, Dex 10, Con -, Int -, Wis 1, Cha 1

    Skills: -

    Feats: Toughness

    Environment: Shadow World

    Organization: Any

    Challenge Rating: 1/2

    Treasure: None

    Alignment: Always neutral

    Advancement: -

    Level Adjustment: -



    Thick with writhing maggots, this shambling corpse wreaks of death.



    Gloomfly zombies are not undead. They are corpses animated by an

    infestation of writhing gloomfly maggots under the control of a gloomfly

    swarm`s hive mind. Because they are not undead they cannot be turned or

    rebuked by clerics, nor are they vulnerable to holy water.



    Because of the maggot infestation consuming it from within a gloomfly

    zombie begins to suffer damage. Every day after it is created it loses 1

    hp. Eventually, the zombie will be reduced to 0 hit points at which time

    it will simply fall apart and the gloomfly swarm will have to find another

    body to infest, animate and consume.



    Once it reaches half its starting hit points a gloomfly swarm will usually

    order a zombie to hide in some secluded place, attacking only those who act

    so as to disturb the gestation period.



    COMBAT

    A gloomfly zombie obeys the commands of its parent swarm. They fight with

    a slam attack when so commanded.



    Disease (Ex): Rotting and filled with vermin, the touch of a gloomfly

    zombie exposes the target to Filth Fever: Fortitude DC 12, incubation

    period 1d3 days, damage 1d3 Dex and 1d3 Con. The save DC is constitution based.

  6. #6
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    Change: "I admit, I did not call out a warning to wake my brothers in the abbey so much as they rushed to see what it was that was the source of the screaming." to "I admit, I did not call out a warning to wake my brothers in the abbey so much as they rushed to see what was the source of the screaming."

    Change: "As their breeding cycle increases in a human corpse gloomflies begin to swarm, and when the body is consumed the swarm must move on to find new breeding material." to "As their breeding (rate?) increases (or, "breeding cycle speeds up?") in a human corpse, gloomflies begin to swarm and, when the body is consumed, the swarm must move on to find new breeding material."

    ----
    Animate Zombie (Su): The day after a gloomfly swarm lays its eggs in the putrifying flesh of a dead human body the corpse is animated by the maggots that infest it as a zombie under the control of the gloomfly swarm. The swarm then directs the zombie to perform physical labor, such as digging up graves to provide additional corpses for the swarm to use as food for more maggots.

    Corpses begin to be consumed by the gloomfly maggots soon after they are animated. Each day after the first the zombie loses 1 hp until its skin finally bursts and the corpse falls completely apart two weeks later, spawning another gloomfly swarm. A zombie "killed" by some means can still spawn a gloomfly swarm. In order to prevent a swarm from emerging the corpse must be purified using a Remove Disease or Heal spell. Burning will also destroy the infestation.

    Though there is no limit to the number of zombies a swarm can control at once it takes one hour for a swarm to lay enough eggs in a corpse to animate it, and the zombies begin to deteriorate rapidly. See the Gloomfly zombie description below.
    ---

    There should be a limit to the number of "zombies" the maggots can control; however, I strongly suggest you change your mind regarding what these "zombies" are: so far, they are "zombies" but not undead... Not good, if you catch my drift: insofar it sounds more like you want to trick your players into wracking their brains as to for what reason these zombies are not subject to turning than having a good reason for them to be not undead, even if that is not the case!

    All in all, I suggest you first write up a template or something that somehow places these "zombies" somewhere along any axis (animated object seems the most appropriate). [MOSTLY taken care of, as I see...]

    Furthermore, make sure that the loss of 1 hp each day really and actually makes a "zombie" collapse within 2 weeks. This means that your zombies should have 16 hp, since a Cerilian week has 8 days, not 7.

  7. #7
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    In a message dated 3/26/05 12:19:29 AM Eastern Standard Time,

    geeman@SOFTHOME.NET writes:



    << Gloomfly Zombie

    Medium Construct

    Special Qualities: Construct traits, Hardness 5/slashing, darkvision 60

    ft., low-light vision >>



    I think you mean `Damage resistance 5/slashing` here?

    Also, you mentioned earlier that they try to avoid sunlight, does that

    need to be added somewhere?



    Going back to your original post, yes, this is a creepy concept.



    Lee.

  8. #8
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 05:23 PM 3/28/2005 -0500, Lee wrote:



    ><< Gloomfly Zombie Medium Construct

    > Special Qualities: Construct traits, Hardness 5/slashing, darkvision 60

    > ft., low-light vision >>

    >

    >I think you mean `Damage resistance 5/slashing` here?



    Right, my mistake. In coming up with the stats for these things I decided

    to make them somewhere between animated objects and regular, undead

    zombies. Hence, the confused vocabulary.



    >Also, you mentioned earlier that they try to avoid sunlight, does that

    >need to be added somewhere?



    I think that`s a good idea. When writing up the monster description I put

    that in there in order to rationalize why such a swarm would not have bred

    its way across the continent without any restrictions rather than describe

    an actual game mechanical effect, but on reflection I think having

    something like that in there makes sense.



    Gary

  9. #9
    Senior Member RaspK_FOG's Avatar
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    I just realised that myconid sovereigns do something similar to what you described; just use the stats for zombies but retain the creature&#39;s original type (this "zombie" template does not change the creature&#39;s type) and, thus, are not able to be turned...

    Change from this point onward as you like; I apologise for not noticing it earlier.

  10. #10
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    Khinasi Wizards and their Oaths

    At 12:20 AM 6/17/2005 +0200, A_dark wrote:

    >Can a wizard not abide by the oaths, even if he has not sworn them? In
    >other words, if an Anuirean mage visits khinasi and he`s LG and does
    >nothing to violate the oath (he doesn`t talk to the dead, he doesn`t
    >disobey his master, he doesn`t kill other mages unless instructed to do so
    >by his liege etc etc etc), would he then need to get killed?
    >
    >IMHO, no. The oath compels someone to kill a mage who actually violates
    >the law. Killing them for simply not swearing them is not compelling by
    >the oath itself. (you are however, compelled by the khinasi states laws to
    >go and swear the oath. imho Quirad al-Dinn must die, not because the oath
    >compels other mages to go kill him, but because all of the khinasi states
    >have sentenced him to death for not swearing the oath and because all the
    >Avani paladins are given this quest by their temples and because the High
    >Priest of Rilni simply says so)

    The relevant Oath here reads: "To destroy any wielder of true magic who
    does not abide by these oaths." That language could be interpreted in
    several ways. For instance, there is no obligation to the Oath swearer to
    actively seek out and destroy those who have not themselves sworn the
    Oaths, nor does it outright say that those who have not sworn the Oaths
    cannot, despite the fact that they are under no obligation, still abide by
    them and avoid being destroyed by those who have. Only those who actually
    break the Oaths must be destroyed, and I`d even suggest that even though
    wizards, magicians and sorcerers might have magical ways of getting
    information, they aren`t going to know that a particular wielder of true
    magic might have broken one of the Oaths at some point if that person was
    not in his/er presence when they did so.

    So, on the whole, I think the aforementioned contrasting of the Oaths with
    the alignment of those who have sworn them would be applicable to a certain
    extent to this kind of situation as well. That is, those who are lawful
    might see it as their duty to seek out such violators, the chaotic feel
    substantially less obliged and might be inclined to interpret the process
    differently, etc.

    Furthermore, the Oaths themselves represent an ethical system. There will
    be individuals of any alignment who take certain aspects of it more or less
    seriously than others. One character, regardless of his alignment might
    find the Oath regarding preserving and protecting all knowledge as a
    personal crusade and seek to kill those who attempt to destroy an ancient
    scroll. Any of the Oaths might have people who adhere to them more
    stringently than the magical geas of having sworn the Oaths might oblige
    him, so there`s no reason why in your example the Anuirean spellcaster
    might not run into a "zealot" who finds his status as someone who has not
    taken the Oaths to be "blasphemy" and seek to either convert him/er (by
    getting him to make the pilgrimage) or destroy him.

    Gary

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