Friday, 23 September 2022

Let’s Convert the Fiend Folio: Magnesium Spirit and Mantari

Starting with “M”, the Fiend Folio gives us two relatively unused creatures, at least as far as official adventures are concerned. In my conversions, I have made the Mantari decidedly less dangerous, but also easier to run, as damage for the original creature was equal to 20 minus Constitution (Stamina), and subsequent hits caused four times this damage. If you had an average (10) score, that would mean 10 points of damage if you were hit in round 1, and 40 more points of damage if you were hit again in round 2. I toned this down considerably.

The Magnesium Spirit is one of those monsters which doesn’t have a illustration, and is complex enough to require both reworking the material to fit the DCC rules and reordering the material to make it easier for the judge. The original Magnesium Spirit only attacked characters of 5th level or higher, but that is fairly high level in DCC, and no one wants to encounter a monster which systematically reduces your 5th level PCs to 1st level. My version is a bit kinder in this regard. In fact, it’s a bit kinder in every regard, while still being utterly terrifying to characters of any level.

The Magnesium Spirit is similar in many ways to the Astral Searcher, at least superficially. I could easily see how a judge might want to use one, or the other, but not both. The flavor of the creatures, though. is very, very different – far moreso than that between goblins and orcs. When I was running AD&D back in the day, these are both monsters which were frequently in my “cool enough to want to use” list, but also in my “too cruel to want to use” list.

I really tried to keep the cool factor in these conversions, and enough of the cruel factor to make them fun without going overboard.

 

Magnesium Spirit

Magnesium Spirit: Init +20; Atk Touch +3 melee (1d5 plus XP and Strength drain); AC 20; HD 6d6; MV 90’; Act 1d20; SP Sense humans 200’, flare (Reflex DC 10 or blinded 2d6 turns), XP and Strength drain, merge, only hit by silver or magic weapons, 50% magic resistance, holy water vulnerability; SV Fort +0, Ref +20, Will +10; AL L.

A magnesium spirit appears as a cylinder of white flame, about five feet tall and three feet in diameter, with a wispy tail 1d5 feet long. Despite their appearance, they give of no discernable heat. They are able to sense humans from 200’ away, and move at extraordinary speed towards any humans they sense. Non-human creatures (including elves, dwarves, and halflings) are ignored completely.

Sages aware of these creatures believe that few remain in the Lands We Know, the last remnants of those conjured by an unwise magician in ancient times, who died with the strain of their summoning. It is possible that a misfire when casting consult spirit or similar spells might bring further magnesium spirits into the world, at the judge’s discretion. Whatever the case may be, the spirits are trapped in our plane unless they can inhabit a sufficiently robust human body to perform the complex spell-casting ritual which will return them to their (unknown to us) place of origin, and only human bodies are capable of providing the necessary psychic frame of reference.

When within 10’ of its selected target, a magnesium spirit flares up in a split-second blinding flash of white light. All sighted creatures within 20’ and who are observing the spirit must succeed in a Reflex save (DC 10) or be blinded for 2d6 turns (up to 2 hours).

If a magnesium spirit successfully touches a human target, it automatically drains 1d5 XP and 1d3 temporary points of Strength from the target. The lost Strength is regained at a rate of 1 point per hour if the target survives, but the lost XP are not restored. If lost XP put a character below the threshold of their current level, they must succeed in a DC 15 Will save or they immediately lose a level. In any event, lost XP must be re-earned to gain additional levels.

Once it has touched a victim, it merges gradually into the victim’s body, with all the effects of a successful touch attack occurring each round. After the second round of merging, the magnesium spirit is so integrated into the host body that only holy water, a clerics Turn the Unholy, or spells such as banish can affect it without also harming its victim…and the magnesium spirit’s defenses (see below) may mean that only the victim is harmed!

After the third round of successfully merging with its victim, the victim’s human persona is negated in favor of the magnesium spirit’s alien mind. The spirit uses the body to shriek out a spell which will return it to its native plane. If the victim is still strong enough to sustain the magic (a minimum of 110 XP and 5 Strength) the body and spirit vanish in a flash of light, never to return. Otherwise, the spirit abandons the body and seeks another, turning to the nearest human if there is one it can sense. An abandoned body collapses, but might recover in 1d3 turns if a Luck check is successful; otherwise it is a mindless husk, which dies after 1d5 hours without powerful aid, such as the intervention of a deity.

Because they are not fully corporeal in the Lands We Know, magnesium spirits can only be harmed by silver or magical weapons, and they have a 50% chance of being able to ignore any spell or other magic used against them. Magnesium spirits are vulnerable to holy water, taking 1d14 damage per vial, and if successfully hit with holy water, any merger in progress is sundered. The spirit will, of course, attempt to restart the merger again on its next action. Should banish be used against a magnesium spirit, the 50% magic resistance must still be rolled, but the spirit willingly fails any save if doing so would return it to its home plane.

 

Mantari

Mantari: Init +1; Atk Tail sting +0 melee (1d6+3); AC 11; HD 1d8+1; MV fly 50’; Act 1d20; SP Sting; SV Fort +0, Ref +1, Will +0; AL N.

These flying creatures bear a close resemblance to marine rays, with a flat body about 3 feet long (and nearly as wide) and a 4 foot long thin, whiplike tail. They usually prey on giant rats and similar vermin for food, and are often found in the dingy ruins and dungeon passages where such meals can be found. Nonetheless, they are also territorially aggressive when encountering other creatures - including humans.

A mantari’s sting is not poisonous, but acts on the victim’s nervous system, so that if the same target is hit in two consecutive melee rounds, it inflicts double damage. Damage does not increase on the third or subsequent rounds, instead maxing out at double damage.

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