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The Strange Bestiary

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Text of The Strange Bestiary

  • Allen Hannon (order #7493438)

  • The Strange Bestiary

    Allen Hannon (order #7493438)

  • Writers/Designers Bruce R. Cordell, Monte Cook, and Robert J. Schwalb Creative Director Shanna Germain Editor and Proofreader Ray Vallese Lead Artist Matt Stawicki Graphic Designer Bear Weiter

    Artists Brenoch Adams, Milivoj Cran, Nicholas Cloister, Dreamstime.com, Jason Engle, Cory Trego-Erdner, Erebus, David Hueso, Guido Kuip, Brandon Leach, Eric Lofgren, Patrick McEvoy, Brynn Metheney, Grzegorz Pedrycz, Mike Perry, John Petersen, Michael Phillippi, Roberto Pitturru, Scott Purdy, Nick Russell, Joe Slucher, Lee Smith, Michael Startzman, Matt Stawicki, Cyril Terpent,

    Tiffany Turrill, Chris Waller, Cathy Wilkins, Ben Wootten

    Monte Cook Games Editorial Team Scott C. Bourgeois, David Wilson Brown, Eric Coates, Gareth Hodges, Ryan Klemm, Jeremy Land, Laura Wilkinson, George Ziets

    2014 Monte Cook Games, LLC. THE STRANGE and its logo are trademarks of Monte Cook Games, LLC in the U.S.A. and other countries. All Monte Cook Games characters and character names, and the distinctive likenesses thereof, are trademarks of Monte Cook Games, LLC.

    Printed in Canada

    Credits

    Allen Hannon (order #7493438)

  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: Strange Beings 4

    Designing Creatures for The Strange 5

    Ecology of the Shoals of Earth 9

    Creatures of The Strange 12 Understanding the Listings 12 Random Encounter Tables 14 Creatures 16 Characters 148 People of Renown 153

    Index 160

    Allen Hannon (order #7493438)

  • 4In the beginning was a singularity. Not a stable one, because it exploded, creating our universe. Some time after that, but billions of years before now, aliens known as the Precursors arose. They modifiedor perhaps createdexotic space-time to create a network that scientists on Earth today call dark energy. This newly fashioned dark energy network was used by the Precursors to travel between planets, solar systems, and even galaxies of the universe. Then something went about as wrong as things can go. The transport system malfunctioned. The Precursors and their civilization were destroyed. The dark energy network raced out of control, accelerating the expansion of the entire universe.

    Fast-forward to now. The few people on Earth aware of the true nature of the dark energy network call it the Strange, the Chaosphere, or the thing thatll finally kill us all. Thats because creatures live in the network, many of them terrifyingly powerful, though even the least are scary as hell. Most other alien civilizations that discovered the Strange were subsequently destroyed by the creatures living within it.

    Speaking of Hell, one of the qualities of the Strange is its ability to host limited worlds called recursions that have alternate laws of physics. Earth is filthy with recursions seeded from human imagination, which means more than a few recursions are crawling with demons. Wizards and dragons live in other recursions. Some limited worlds feature plasma swords and intelligent robots. Several recursions host terrors spawned by horror flicks and novels, described in campfire stories and tall tales, and written about on clay tablets. Vampires, kaiju, ghosts, killer robots, things that hide in mirrors, ogres, psychic parasites, cyborg warriors, demigods, posthumans, and many, many more monstrosities live in the recursions beneath Earth. Even stranger things abide in the dark energy network beyond, things born in the mind of no human being.

    This bestiary describes them for you. Enjoy.

    INTRODUCTION: STRANGE BEINGS

    Allen Hannon (order #7493438)

  • 5DESIGNING CREATURES FOR THE STRANGE

    Designing creatures for The Strange is intentionally very easy. At its most basic, a creaturelike any NPCis just a level. That tells you all you need, and then you just layer in the description. You can describe a terrible slavering beast with three clawed limbs, a mouth like a sphincter, and some kind of blue jelly covering its flesh, but behind the screen (so to speak) all you have is level 5.

    The Strange corebook gives a brief discussion on designing new creatures in chapter 19 (page 352). Basically, all the GM really needs to know is that creatures can work however he wants them to. But for those who would like more details, suggestions, guidelines, and food for thought, this chapter is for you.

    Creatures dont follow the same rules that player characters do. They dont have stat Pools, dont use Effort, and arent as limited in what they can do in an action because their form, size, and nature can vary so wildly.

    LEVELA creatures level is a measure of its power, defense, intelligence, speed, and ability to interact with the world around it. Generally, its an indicator of toughness in combat, although its certainly possible to have a lower-level creature be a tougher opponent than a slightly higher one, particularly in certain circumstances. Level isnt an abstract tool to match NPCs to PCs for appropriate encounters. Instead, its an overall rating of a creature to show how it fits into the context of the world. There is no rule that says a certain ability should be given only to a creature of a certain level, and there is no rule dictating how many abilities a creature of a given level should have. But keep the spirit of the system in mind: lower-level creatures are less dangerous.

    Obviously, a creatures level is its most important feature. For some creatures, it is the only feature. If you know the level, you have everything you need. Level determines how hard it is to hit, how hard it is to dodge or resist, how much damage it does, and how much health it has (typically, three times its level). It tells you how hard the creature is to interact with, fool, or intimidate, and how well it can run, climb, and so on. Level even tells you how fast it acts in terms of initiative.

    Of course, youre free to modify any of this as fits the creature, either for what you want it to do in an encounter oreven betterto try to ensure that it makes sense in the story and the world. A really big creature should have more health but be easier to hit in combat, for example.

    In general, level is the default stat for a creature, with pretty much everything else being an exception (that is, you can derive what you need from the level, but exceptions are what make creatures unique and interesting). To determine a level, figure out an appropriate rating (on a scale of 1 to 10) for the creature for most things. Dont base its level on the one thing it does best because you can portray that as a modification. Level is the baseline.

    HEALTHSince creatures dont have stat Pools, you have to determine how much damage they can take, and thats health. Health should make sense. Really big creatures should have lots of health, and tiny ones should have very little. You can also cheat a bit and give a creature thats really good in combat more health than its physicality might suggest to represent the fact that its no pushover and not easily defeated.

    Although there are many, many variables, its safe to thinkas a baselinethat a group of four low-tier PCs is likely to dish out about 10 points of damage in a round. This figure assumes that the group includes a paradox with Exception, a vector and a spinner with medium weapons, and a vector with a heavy weapon. The paradox deals 4 points of damage, the first vector 5 points (medium weapon and the Pierce move), the spinner 4 points (medium weapon), and the second vector 7 points (heavy weapon and Pierce). Thats a total of 20 points, and we can assume that they hit their target with a bit better than 50 percent accuracy if they are fighting a level 3 or 4 foe and using Effort. This very rough estimate tells you that a creature with a health of 11 or less will be wiped out in a single round (Armor figures hugely into this, however, so see below). A creature with a health of 12 to 22 will last for two rounds. A creature with a health of 23 to 33 will last three. And so on.

    Throughout this book, youll see page references to various items accompanied by this symbol. These are page references to The Strange corebook, where you can find additional details about that item, place, rule, NPC, or creature. Usually, it isnt necessary to look up the referenced items in the corebook; its an optional way to learn more about the situation. The exception is if a cypher or creature stat is referenced, in which case youll want the corebook nearby.

    DESIGNING CREATURES FOR THE STRANGE

    Paradox, page 30

    Exception, page 32

    Vector, page 25

    Spinner, page 38

    Allen Hannon (order #7493438)

  • 6skin, metal plating, scales, a carapace, mental wards, or any other type of similar protection. Armor does not represent other things that might make a creature hard to damage, such as intangibility (thats represented in other ways).

    Armor greatly influences how long a creature can last in a combat encounter. The Armor rating reduces the damage the creature suffers each round. So take our four characters mentioned above, who inflict 4, 5, 4, and 7 points of damage, respectively. Give their foe 3 points of Armor, and now they inflict 1, 2, 1, and 4 points of damage. On an average round, theyll inflict a total of 4 points of damage, and a creature with 11 health will last for three rounds, not one. (Of course, against such a foe, smart PCs will use Effort to increase their damage.)

    Dont give every creature Armor, though. If everything has 2 points of Armor, then all attacks just deal 2 fewer points of damage, and thats not terribly interesting. Sometimes a creature with lots of health and no Armor can be an interesting encounter, too.

    MOVEMENTOther than Armor, the only thing that level doesnt tell y