Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Irving the Impressionable Young Shoggoth

This is Irving.

He wants to be an adventurer.

Irving is a youngish shoggoth, whose bud-parent only shed him just a short time ago (362 years...). In shoggoth terms Irving is the equivalent of 13 years old. A precocious 13 years old. He'd like to join your party...

In fact, that small, timid and oh so child-like voice calling out from the darkness "Is there anybody out there?" just might be Irving.

Irving isn't like the other shoggoths. At least not at first.

He's a little bit shy, at first, but after a bit of conversation and some wheedling, and a CHAR reaction roll or three, Irving will eventually ooze forwards from the shadows and try to prove himself to the group.

He's young, inexperienced, and very naieve. Or so it seems. At first.

Did we mention that he's a shoggoth?

Yeah.

You'd have to be insane to let such a thing join your party...but how do you turn it away without really getting it angry? Chances are, you wouldn't like Irving when he gets angry...

After all, he's a frikkin' shoggoth...

Irving's character sheet for Labyrinth Lord:
or



A few of the Pros in accepting Irving into the party:
  • The half-ton or so of this dim-witted blob of praeterhuman plasticity won't attempt to eat you, yet
  • The thing can extrude sensory organs and appendages at will, enabling it to spot things you'd never think of checking for. Of course you might not have words in your language for some of this stuff...
  • You could have a shoggoth to help break down doors, lug around godsawful-heavy piles of loot, and intimidate the goblins
  • It floats
  • Irving loves to learn new tricks
  • He is terribly loyal to his friends
  • His flesh is a lot like silly putty and has a 40% chance of reproducing any scroll you mush into it (with an additional 10% chance that the spell becomes lodged in Irving's brain and he's now a multi-class Fighter/Magic User...with just that one spell, so far...)
  • He's practically indestructible, regenerating even if reduced to a thin coat of slime by some particularly wicked trap or major demon...

Some of the Cons incurred by accepting Irving as a fellow adventurer (and by no means all of them):
  • It's a frikkin' shoggoth
  • It will eat you. It's only a matter of time...
  • There's something very wrong with this creature
  • Irving has wild mood swings depending on how long he goes without eating human brains -- the more brains he eats, the more human he thinks he is -- its a strange allergic reaction that he'll eventually grow out of before he gets too much older...
  • Every time Irving gets reduced to zero hit points, his brain has a 30% chance to reset as it regenerates and he loses all trace of his previous pseudo-human persona instantly
  • Never, ever let the shoggoth bind someone's wounds...
  • That's probably not water in your canteens/water-skins any more...
  • This thing can eat several horses in one go and might ask for seconds
  • Irving has a base 25% chance to go berserk if his most favoritist friend of all time gets hurt...
  • Detect Lie won't work on this creature -- its brain(s) are too alien for it to register properly -- which is an automatic red flag right there...
  • Irving may just be too incredibly clever for your puny intellects and this has all been a malevolent ruse that has allowed him to herd your party into a diabolical trap...
  • These things are older than your entire species...
  • He's practically indestructible, regenerating even if reduced to a thin coat of slime by some particularly wicked trap or major demon...
Last, but no means least -- keep in mind that this is the kind of creature that could get a human as one of the low-end options for its familiar...

TEKELI LI!

4 comments:

  1. I actually have the perfect place to use Irving. This is way cool and likely to completely freak my players out. Thanks.

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  2. How could you not let him join the party? Whole adventures could go on just within the group. This is such a wacky concept, and I love it.

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  3. Does Irving advance as a fighter?

    Come on! Give us a write up of the class/race!

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  4. @Travis: Please do let us know how it goes with Irving and your players. This is one of those Truly Weird encounters that could go in oh so many directions...

    @Matthew: Irving advances as a fighter until he either A) gets reduced to zero hp and his brain resets, B) he infiltrates every member of the party by way of contaminating their supplies with his own microscopic buds/spores, C) he leads them into a nasty trap that has something to do with the rest of the shoggothlings that were shed or fission-off of the original bud-parent. (Or maybe something else happens at GM discretion.)

    Irving is a one-off NPC/Encounter, but if you wanted to develop a class/race around this guy, it wouldn't be too hard. In fact, I'll see if I can get that done later today.

    @Porky: Instead of a moral quandry, this encounter presents an emotional/tactical one. If you do not want Irving to 'join' your party, just how are you going to get him to leave? Fighting this thing is a losing proposition and could easily attract a number of his bud-siblings or even the bud-parent. It's also a great excuse for some off-the-wall role playing.

    The adventures within the party that you mention are exactly the sort of shenanigans that this encounter is supposed to spark...but it's all fun and games until someone starts developing a tumor in their belly or gets their eye poked-out by a tentacle...writhing its way out of their body after a failed Save...

    In the end, as cute and fun and comical as this might at first appear, it's an extremely deadly and intensely sanity-challenging experience that could easily become a TPK in no time. It also opens the door to a lot of bizarre options, not the least of which is possibly negotiating with a growing shoggoth-lump/tumor so that it agrees to behave as a symbiote not a destructive parasite, until it reaches a suitable level of development and can remove itself from the affected character's digestive system one way or another...

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