by Rob Heinsoo

Orc TileWhen I read the fun Wrath of the Orc Lord organized-play adventure written by ALL CAPS MAN, aka ASH LAW, I decided I’d want another orc variety or two if I was running the adventure myself. For those keeping pace with the 13th Age OP seasons, Wrath of the Orc Lord is just about over. But I suspect a lot of groups will still be experiencing Wrath and (not-really-a-spoiler-alert) ASH says that the Domain of the Dwarf King adventure coming up in a few weeks also features orcs.

So here’s a new 3rd level orc mook that can sub in for 3rd level Cave Orc mooks or used any other way you like.

My thought process designing the monster went like this:

  1. I’ve got some nice orc minis with spears and shields.
  2. What’s an interesting reason orcs would be fighting with spears?
  3. To keep them at a distance from their foes, so that they wouldn’t lapse into bestial bloodlust, throw away their weapons, and fight with their bare hands and teeth.
  4. OK, so the Orc Lord equips these savage grunts with spears and cheap shields because they do fight better with weapons, but when they lose control or things go badly for them they throw away their weapons and shields and revert to scavenger behavior. So they’re not even trained in throwing spears, and the spears are probably deliberately badly-balanced for throwing.
  5. Looks like two different stat blocks, one for fighting with weapons, one for when the Orc Lord’s discipline has been shattered and they’re fighting tooth and claw.

The results follow. Start battles using the orc spear grunt, which are tougher than most other mooks. Their bestial reversion ability means they might turn into savage grunts midway through the battle.

The savage grunts have a strange ability which is me messing around a bit: their feral aversion ability kicks in whenever they start their turn engaged with a non-staggered enemy, you roll a die and you don’t know if the orc is going to use that die roll to attack (standard action) or disengage (move action).

Orc Spear Grunt

3rd level mook [humanoid]

Initiative: +5

Spear +8 vs. AC—7 damage

Mob of seven: The maximum size of a mob of orc spear grunts is 7 mooks. When you include more than seven orc spear grunts in a battle, use another mob.

Bestial reversion: When an orc spear grunt’s attack drops an enemy to 0 hp or below, or when one or more orc spear grunts drops, roll a single normal save for the orc spear grunt mob, with a bonus to the roll equal to the number of remaining mooks in the mob (for example, 4 mooks left = +4). If the save fails, all the remaining mooks in the mob cast away their weapons and shields and become savage grunts until the end of the battle (use that stat block instead).

AC   20

PD    16                 HP 13 (mook)

MD  12

Mook: Kill one orc spear grunt for every 13 damage you deal to the mob.

 

Savage Grunt

3rd level mook [humanoid]

Initiative: +5

Claw and teeth +6 vs. AC—5 damage

Feral aversion: When a savage grunt is engaged with a non-staggered target at the start of its turn, roll a d20 that will become either an attack roll or a disengage check!

On a natural even roll, the grunt uses the roll as a claws and teeth attack.

On a natural odd roll, the grunt uses that roll as disengage check that may or may not succeed. If the grunt disengages, it will move to engage and attack a staggered enemy, if possible. If the grunt doesn’t disengage, it will stay and fight.

AC   17

PD    15                 HP 10 (mook)

MD  12

Mook: Kill one savage grunt for every 10 damage you deal to the mob.

 

13th Age answers the question, “What if Rob Heinsoo and Jonathan Tweet, lead designers of the 3rd and 4th editions of the World’s Oldest RPG, had free rein to make the d20-rolling game they most wanted to play?” Create truly unique characters with rich backgrounds, prepare adventures in minutes, easily build your own custom monsters, and enjoy fast, freewheeling battles full of unexpected twists. Purchase 13th Age in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.


AnimalTileTianacs

by Lawrence Augustine R. Mingoa

Introduction

Some say tianacs are the spawn of witches who turned themselves into living vampires using vile rituals, while others claim that they’re the bodies of unborn or uncleansed infants that are corrupted by undeath. But regardless of how they came to be, tianacs are so small that they could only take the form of a humanoid baby, wailing in the night; it’s said that those foolish enough to try and look for this child come back as bones, with their hearts ripped out (or eaten out), or not at all…

True Form of Tianacs

There are conflicting reports on how their true form looks like; some say that they resemble rotting fetuses or babies, while others claim that they resemble little brown creatures (almost like gnomes). The only consistent feature in the stories is that they have rows of sharp teeth and a withered leg.

Tianacs in the Dragon Empire

Some say that Bitter Wood got its name because it’s a dumping ground for those in the Empire with unwanted children (including some of the Emperor’s bastard children, a snarky few add), and it’s rumored to be haunted by tianacs. That being said, these creatures appear in just about any place where the bodies of babies (born and unborn) are laid to rest, but whose rituals to keep them at rest have been disturbed or were never done.

Tianacs and the Icons

Most Icons want tianacs utterly destroyed. Some however, feel differently.

The Diabolist: Aren’t they cute, in a certain light, maybe if you add a hint of demon taint to them?

Lich King: Just like any vampire, tianacs who refuse to bow down to the Lich King take great offense to his symbol. For those that do serve him, they serve as his spies, thanks to their shape-changing ability.

The Priestess: The Priestess has always been greatly saddened by the existence of tianacs, as no child should ever be desecrated in such a way.

Tianac

Normal6th LevelMookUndead Initiative: +12Vulnerability: holyM: Grasping Claws +11 vs. AC (one enemy; see below)—8 damage, and the target is grabbed and takes 4 ongoing damage until the grab ends.Natural 16+: The target is also hampered until the grab ends.Limited Use: The tianac can only use grasping claws in its true form.C: Cry of the Innocent +11 vs. MD (one nearby or far away enemy; see below) —the target must spend their move action during their turn to engage with the tianac, attempting to disengage from creatures it’s engaged with if necessary.

Limited Use: The tianac can only use cry of the innocent in its disguised form.

 

Steal Shape: The tianac can take the form of the last infant humanoid that it consumed as a quick action . While disguised, creatures must make a hard save (natural 16+) to see through the disguise. Reverting to their true form is a free action.

 

Withered Leg: The tianac crawls instead of walks or runs, requiring a 16+ to disengage from enemies instead of 11+, and may require normal (natural 11+) saves to travel distances that are nearby to other creatures; failing the save causes them to lose their move action.

 

Nastier Special:

Levitation or One Really Good Leg: While in its true form, the tianac can now levitate or leap several feet as part of their move action, but must end that movement on solid ground; this negates all the penalties of the withered leg.

ACPDMDHP 20182023

Tianacs in a Fight

Tianacs are sometimes found by themselves, using cry of the innocent to isolate creatures and consume them. More often they’re joined by other undead (usually ghouls and zombies), who serve as scapegoats that explain why there are so many who perish in the area. Usually they try to compel their targets to save them above all else, even if it means leaving themselves open to opportunity attacks.

Once they’ve been found out, or when the adventurer is engaged with them, tianacs waste no time in reverting to their true form in order to latch on to the victim, often seeking to consume the heart as soon as possible. As tianacs are usually small (or smaller if they ate a gnome baby), even halflings and gnomes don’t have too much trouble moving around while they try to shake off the abomination.

While uncommon, swarms of tianacs do exist, and these groups tend to focus their attacks on one creature at a time, stripping them to the bone before moving on to their next victim.

References:

AnimalTileby Ryven Cedrylle

The Uchawa (taken from the Old Gnomish Uczaáła “sand-borer”) is a gigantic crustacean found beneath the sands of many of the world’s deserts. Uchawa have a yellow-orange carapace, a dozen short reddish legs protruding from the underside and four forward-facing arms, each ending in a three-pincered claw. The claws are capable of grasping even mostly rounded objects and can close tightly to create a sort of shovel or chisel. The arms are stacked two to a side, one above the other. The uchawa’s carapace is light and sturdy. It contains no nerve endings so the creature is not hurt if the carapace is damaged.

The strangest thing about the uchawa is its dietary habits. It surfaces by day and basks in the sunlight, which provides enough energy for normal activity. Small herds of uchawa can regularly be seen lounging around in the heat. At night it burrows back underground to seek water. About twice a year, however, an uchawa needs to molt as its carapace becomes too small for the rest of its body. During this time it becomes strictly and abundantly carnivorous, devouring whatever animals or humanoids it can to build up reserves from which to build the next carapace.

Wild uchawa are nearly impossible to tame, but those raised in captivity can be used as mounts and tunnelers. There is a thriving business around raising and loaning out uchawa to travelers who must traverse desert for a long period of time. The skin and carapace are also useful for a small number of rituals and are highly prized by cults to various sun gods and goddesses.

 

Uchawa Juvenile (4th molt)

2rd level wrecker [BEAST]

Initiative +1

M: Claw Cutter  +7 vs. AC—10 damage

16+: Deal 5 damage to an engaged enemy.

M: Claw Clamper +6 vs PD—8 damage

  Natural even hit: The target is grabbed (save ends).

Special: An uchawa can spend its standard action to deal 10 damage to a grabbed enemy.

C: Heat Burst +5 vs PD (1d4 nearby enemies)—8 fire damage to characters in light or no armor, 14 damage to characters in heavy armor

Limited use: 1/battle.

Burrowing: An uchawa juvenile can burrow through the ground, but not fast enough to be helpful in combat.

Retract: An uchawa that has pulled back in its shell is effectively impervious to direct damage from either normal weapons or spells. It can still be affected by mind-altering spells or ongoing damage from poisons and acids. Special weapons or rituals are required to break this defense.

Lumbering: The uchawa can not make opportunity attacks or intercept an enemy.

Nastier Specials

Improved Coordination: The uchawa can make two melee attacks each turn.

AC 19

PD 17                HP 38

MD 12

 

Uchawa Adult (17th molt)

5th level wrecker [BEAST]

Initiative +4

M: Claw Cutter  +10 vs. AC—20 damage

16+: Deal 10 damage to an engaged enemy.

M: Claw Clamper +9 vs PD—18 damage

  Natural even hit: The target is grabbed (save ends).

Special: An uchawa can spend its standard action to deal 20 damage to a grabbed enemy.

C: Heat Burst +8 vs PD (1d4 nearby enemies)—18 fire damage to characters in light or no armor, 28 damage to characters in heavy armor.

Limited use: 1/battle.

Four Arms: The uchawa can make two melee attacks each turn.

Burrowing: An uchawa adult can burrow through the ground, but not fast enough to be helpful in combat.

Retract: An uchawa that has pulled back in its shell is effectively impervious to direct damage from either normal weapons or spells. It can still be affected by mind-altering spells or ongoing damage from poisons and acids. Special weapons or rituals are required to break this defense.

Lumbering: The uchawa can not make opportunity attacks or intercept an enemy.

Nastier Specials

Burning Up: Any enemy engaged with the uchawa takes 6 fire damage at the start of its turn.

AC 23

PD 21                HP 88

MD 15

 

Building Battles

Uchawa make excellent war mounts for large creatures or groups of small ones. WIld uchawa are generally only dangerous during molting season, though when that is exactly is unique to each individual. An uchawa who has turned on its master or riders also makes for a surprising and fearsome encounter.

Uchawa and the Icons

The Diabolist loves uchawa. They dig caves and pits quickly, they dispose of dead flesh thoroughly and those insulated shells are just ideal for hatching demon larvae. What’s not to like? If you see an unattended uchawa somewhere bizarre, there’s a good chance the Diabolist’s associates are nearby.

The Orc Lord also has a solid appreciation for uchawa. Rather, he appreciates discarded uchawa shells. The smaller abandoned carapaces are decent instant platemail when supplies run low, but they don’t fit well and eventually become brittle. The better thing to do is load the carapaces into catapults; the bigger the better. Old uchawa shells shatter and fragment on impact, making them excellent anti-personnel pieces against organized waves of the Emperor’s troops.

The Dwarf King has tried on previous occasions to put uchawa to work in his mines. Unfortunately for him, the lack of sunlight drives them to needing meat and that just never ends well for anyone.

The Archmage has sponsored research into isolating the components of uchawa skin that make them gather energy from the sun. So far he has not succeeded.

 

Things Uchawa Carry

Most of the time, uchawa aren’t carrying anything. Domesticated uchawa might be obviously carrying a rider or some gear, but that’s about it. A few brave individuals will try to hide their valuables inside the uchawa’s carapace. Even an uchawa you raised from an egg won’t take well to its shell being invaded. The odds of finding random useful items in a wild uchawa shell are almost zero. The odds of finding something useful in a domesticated uchawa shell depend on how desperate or insane the owner happened to be.

Adventure Hooks

1) A famous crafter wants to incorporate uchawa carapace into a special set of armor. It would be easier to find a molted carapace than trying to get the material from the live creature but sometimes you have to take what you can get.

2) From time to time, desert settlements just disappear – people, structures, the whole shebang – lost into a sinkhole created by active uchawa. Relatives come themselves or send others to seek out the lost. Treasure hunters and explorers soon follow behind to see what can be salvaged and what new finds might be unearthed.

3) No one’s quite sure how you steal a herd of uchawa out from the stables of the Glittergeld Golden Dune Company, but apparently it’s possible because it’s been done. Time to round up some crab rustlers.

 

ScarecrowWe knocked on 13th Age editor Cal Moore’s door demanding tricks or treats. He told us to wait, and disappeared back into his house for a few minutes. We heard terrible sounds from within. Then THIS emerged.

Lich King Scarecrow

This manikin of straw and sticks will scare away more than just the birds when the proper rhymes of creation aren’t spoken during its construction at harvest time.

3rd level spoiler [CONSTRUCT]

Initiative: +8

Stick claw +8 vs. AC—8 damage

Natural even hit: The scarecrow can make another stick claw attack against a nearby target as a free action as its claw extends farther from its body than should be possible.

R: Eyes of the death that waits +7 vs. MD—The target sees a fearsome enemy in its mind that is trying to kill it. At the start of its next turn, it must roll a hard save (16+). On a failure, it’s confused that turn. On a success, it does nothing as it cowers in fear.

C: Shrieks of the dead remembered +7 vs. MD (one nearby enemy)—The scarecrow gains a fear aura against the target (when that creature is engaged with the scarecrow, if it has 15 hp or less, it is dazed and cannot use the escalation die)

Limited use: 1/round, as a quick action.

 Made of straw and sticks: The scarecrow gains resist weapon damage 18+ against weapon attacks that don’t slash or bash.

Fueled by the power of the Lich King: As a standard action, a character with a relationship with the Lich King can use an existing advantage from a relationship roll for that icon (or roll any such dice as part of this action to try to get an advantage) to hinder the scarecrow. The scarecrow must roll a saving throw. On a failure, it’s weakened (save ends). On a success, it will try to target the creature that attempted to disrupt its power.

AC   18

PD    14                 HP 40

MD  18

Photo credit: Michael Ivanov, used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

By Ryven Cedrylle

 

Bamaltaph

The bamaltaph is a roughly horse-sized creature, though it more closely resembles a mole or similar burrowing mammal. They are covered in a short, bristly hair that protects their skin from being scratched by rocks as they dig, but is also short enough to easily shake out sand and silt. Each of their six legs ends in a set of four opposable claws with which they can scoop and grasp freely.

Bamaltaph are simple, but by no means stupid. The monotony of burrowing through miles of dirt and stone has shaped many aspects of bamaltaph thinking and society. Bamaltaph enter a sort of trance-like, meditative state while travelling long distances. This state enables them to be physically active for days on end without need for rest. Bamaltaph are one of the few non-humanoid species to display any interest or concept in philosophy; it is assumed that these thoughts occupy the bamaltaph’s mind during the long hours of digging.

Bamaltaph also highly value discovery in all its forms.  The relative position of any particular individual in the greater society is based largely on what interesting things that individual has discovered – anything from travelling shortcuts to metal veins and precious stones add to an individual’s general worth.

Encounter Ideas

A bamaltaph in a fully alert state is not commonly a threat. However, while in its moving meditation the creature can easily cause extensive damage in a matter of moments. Also, a bamaltaph shocked out of its trance often enters a violent “fight-or-flight” state for about a minute. Occasionally, bamaltaph who have immersed themselves in a specific philosophy will enter the service of Icons as fanatical followers, willing to give up everything for the cause. Such individuals generally serve the High Druid or the Dwarf King.

 

Bamaltaph CalfLevel 2 Spoiler
Initiative +5
AC: 15                                 PD: 17                                 MD: 14
HP: 42

M: Claws  - +7 vs. AC, 1d10 damage
12+: Dirt Spraytarget has -2 to hit (save ends)
M: Bowl Over – +6 vs PD, 1d6 damage The bamaltaph and the target each move one ‘distance’ together of the bamaltaph’s choice. On a miss, only the bamaltaph moves.

Burrowing: The bamaltaph calf can move can move underground without risk of interception. This ability does not interfere with the engagement mechanics.

 

Bamaltaph AdultLevel 6 Wrecker
Initiative +7
AC: 19                                 PD: 21                                 MD: 18
HP: 125

M: Claws  - +11 vs. AC, 2d12 + 10 damage
15+: Dual Claw Assaultadd an additional 1d12 damage
M: Bowl Over – +12 vs PD, 4d6 damage The bamaltaph and the target each move one ‘distance’ together of the bamaltaph’s choice, regardless of whether the attack hits or not.

Burrowing: The bamaltaph can move can move underground without risk of interception. It also gains a +2 to disengage saves.

 

Bamaltaph SapperLevel 6 Spoiler
Initiative +11
AC: 20                                 PD: 20                                 MD: 17
HP: 106

M: Claws  - +11 vs. AC, 3d12 damage
19+: Dual Claw Assaultadd an additional 1d10 damage

Burrowing: The bamaltaph can move can move underground without risk of interception. It also gains a +2 to disengage saves.
Sapper: Remove the bamaltaph sapper from play. While it is gone (underground), roll a d20 each time a PC changes position on the field.  On a 15+, the PC falls into a sinkhole (as if intercepted) and must use a move action to escape before (s)he can move again.

 

Bamaltaph GeomancerLevel 6 Caster
Initiative +8
AC: 18                                 PD: 18                                 MD: 21
HP: 106

M: Claws  - +10 vs. AC, 3d10 damage

R: Geomancy – +12 vs PD, 4d8 damage
Even: Repeat the attack against a different target.
Odd: The target is immobilized (save ends)

Burrowing: The bamaltaph can move can move underground without risk of interception. It also gains a +2 to disengage saves.
Spellcasting: The bamaltaph geomancer may also know a few other earth-related utility spells such as Speak with Stone, Stone to Flesh (but never the reverse) and Know Direction*

*assuming, of course, that these spells or similar end up in the final product.