Thursday, 18 April 2019

Bat-Harpies (BX Monster)

Batfolk, flying troglodytes, snatchers. The bat-harpies have many names, and come in many varieties. Generally they are squat, furred, humanoids with bat wings for arms and underdeveloped legs. Some have a vulpine countenance, some are crumple-faced, some are even rumored to pass for a cloaked human.

This monster was commissioned by @mountain_foot, one of my kind patrons. If you'd like a monster once a month, you can check out my patreon.

Rumour Table:

  1. They are loath to fly in the rain (True)
  2. They're agents of the gods; they drag evildoers back to their caves and down to Tartarus. (False)
  3. If a white-robed woman appears at a crossroads in the dead of night, she is a necromancer. Bring a fresh-killed animal to her, and she will raise the dead. (Partially True)
  4. Beware the desert-bats, they carry a wicked sting. (True)
  5. They feast on human blood. (Mostly False)
  6. Old Bill lost his arm to one of them, they sprinkled some agony-powder on him and he cut it off himself. (True)
  7. Their language has over a hundred words for "quit touching me!" (True)
  8. Some wear crystal armour. Beware, they're the batfolk's secret kings, who disappear any human witnesses to their royal dungeons. (Mostly False)
Batfolk Statistics (BX)
Armour Class 9 [10]1
Hit Dice 2 (9 hp)
Attacks 1 × weapon (1d6 or by weapon)
To-Hit 18 [+1]1
Movement 30' (10') / 180' (60') flying
Saving Throws As 2nd-level Fighter:
Unified 13, or
D12 W13 P14 B15 S16
Morale 6
Alignment Neutral
XP 20, or 25 if you use a variant below.
Number Appearing 1d3 (3d6 in lair)
Treasure Type N2

1 First value is for systems with descending AC, [bracketed] value is for systems with ascending AC
2 No individual treasure, 40% chance their lair has 2d4 potions.

Echolocation: Unaffected by effects that impair, modify, or rely on sight. Blinded by silence 15' radius.

Ungainly Walk: Hold weapons in their legs. On the ground, can only attack with daggers or similar light weapons.

If you prefer abbreviated/inline stats, here you go.

AC 9 [10], HD 2 (9hp), Att 1 × weapon (1d6 or by weapon), THAC0 18 [+1], MV 30' (10') / 180' (60') flying, SV D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (F2), ML 6, AL Neutral, XP 20, NA 1d3 (3d6), TT N


Each of these variants (except maybe Ghost Bat) counts as a special ability. If you award XP for combat, they're worth +5 XP.

  1. Desert Long-Eared Bat. Sandy fur, large sideways-pointing ears, wing membrane extends to legs.

    Immune to the venom of giant scorpions, 4-in-6 chance of immunity to any other poison (roll for each distinct poison).

    Each carries a curved, grooved dagger carved from a giant scorpion stinger, and 1d3 - 1 doses of giant scorpion venom (save vs death or die after 1 turn (10 minutes).

    The dagger is worth 3d6 × 10 gp (105 gp) to buyers interested in nonmetallic weapons. Scorpion venom is contraband in most civilised areas.

  2. Ghost Bat. Short white fur, face is humanlike save for a leaf-shaped growth on their nose. Carnivorous, accept fresh kills as trade.

    Can speak with dead creatures (at-will, lasts 10 minutes, cannot speak to any creature more than once).

    Can become ethereal for 1 turn (10 minutes) per day. While ethereal, they are:

    • Invisible
    • Immune to nonmagical attacks
    • Able to pass through objects that are not also ethereal.
  3. Greater Noctule Bat. Robust skull and russet fur, long canines.

    Have a bite attack that deals 1d6 damage (still only capable of one attack per round).

    Snatch small birds from the air, use nets to bring down larger prey. Will even kill and eat birdfolk, using their feathers as fletching for magic darts imbued with basic intelligence.

    Treat magic darts as daggers if thrown, or as arrows if launched with an spear-thrower (e.g. atlatl, woomera). They home in on targets that match a three-word parameter. Attacks against such targets are made with advantage, similarly, roll damage dice twice and use the best result.

    The darts can be "reprogrammed" in a 1-hour ritual of blowing woodsmoke over the darts while continually intoning the new parameter. Any number of darts (even ones with different parameters) can be changed at once to the new parameter.

    The parameter must be something visually identifiable like "has green feathers". The referee should rule out overbroad parameters like "is a creature".

  4. Sac-Winged Bat. Wing surface extends between legs, prefer insects and fruit. Have sacs of pearlescent skin near their elbows, where they store bodily secretions to scent-mark territory or waft at mates.

    In dire circumstances, they can scatter greater amounts of scent to create a almost-magical effect. The effect is particular to each bat, some sample effects are presented below.

    Each bat has enough musk for 1 usage per week. Generally, effects last for 1d6 turns (1d6 × 10 minutes) and can be avoided with a save vs breath. A bat can scatter musk in front of them in a 10 ft by 10 ft area, or underneath them in a 20 ft by 20 ft area. The lower dosage of the latter gives affected creatures a +2 bonus to their saving throw.

    1. charm. As the spell charm person, but can affect any non-undead creature.
    2. levitate. You and all carried gear are weightless, can only move by pushing off surfaces or throwing reaction mass.
    3. itchiness. Bad enough for you to consider cutting off affected body parts.
    4. loss of touch, balance, and proprioception. You have -2 on all attacks, move at half-speed, and cannot manipulate anything you can't see.
    5. super-heavy. Everything weighs three times as much (or takes three times as many slots) for determining encumbrance.
    6. static cling. Thin, lightweight materials (e.g. fallen leaves, parchment, many textiles) will stick to you if they come within 1 foot.
  5. Vampire Bat. Flat nose, razor teeth, brown and silver fur. Able to run on all fours, their land speed is 120' (40'), as a human.

    A sleeping character has only a 1-in-6 chance of awaking, rolled as the bat approaches and lands. Their saliva numbs pain and prevents blood clotting, so victims do not wake upon biting. Note that attacking a sleeping character does not require a roll to hit.

    The victim will wake with 1d6 fewer hp, to a minimum of 1. They only bite superficially, lapping at the open wound with their tongue. Except for their bedding being drenched with blood, many victims wouldn't even realise they were bitten.

    These batfolk are Lawful. They have a well-developed society that cares for its sick and infirm, even regurgitating blood for them. If something threatens their human "herd", they will act to protect them.

  6. Virus Bat. Crystalline growths evident across its body. These grant a +2 bonus Armour Class (changing it to 7 [12]) and a 3-in-6 chance of nullifying any spell cast upon it, even beneficial ones.

    These batfolk are a natural reservoir for the crystal virus, a disease which progresses much further in humans. Contact with any bodily fluids (including saliva) will risk transmission.

    The virus bats are aware of their condition, and try to avoid humans. they have on humans and try to avoid them.

The details of the crystal virus are still pretty up in the air, but two visual inspirations are 4e D&D's Shardminds and the T4-bacteriophage-esque machinery of the Kindergarten from Steven Universe. The fate of an infected human isn't going to be "save or die", either. Sorry, I don't know the artist(s) for either piece.