Monsters in the City

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Myconids

They’re street cleaners, removing offal, dejections, basically any organic waste. Sometimes they get a little less discriminatory about the unmoving quality of their sweepings.

That’s something I came up with while reading Jeff Vandermeer’s book:

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What I’m stealing for my setting is only the cruder idea of the Gray Caps of Vandermeer, who aren’t even mushroom creatures as such, but are fuzzily described as smaller humanoids with a weird civilization based on advanced fungi technology.

The total creepiness and sinister threat of the Gray Caps I leave out, only because it won’t do thematically for my setting, but it was a very good read!

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Dryads

Far from the primeval forest of its youth, amidst the housings and the bustling urban activity, lives a strange creature: a cosmopolitan dryad. The most surprising thing? It chose to be there…

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Of course, it could have had a better tree in the wild. But the crazyness of the crowd, the thousands of overheard tidbits of gossip, even the occasional surge of violence, this dryad loves it all!

Sometimes an unfolding event catch its fancy so much that it overcomes its usual shyness and asks a friendly-looking passerby about it. It rewards interesting information with some of its tree’s deliciously invigorating oranges.

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A steroid user.

Ogres

Ogres are anabolic steroids (ogrenabol) users, of course. Humanoids taking ( by ingestion) ogrenabol gain tremendous strength but it has a terrible side-effect: intense deformity.  Ogrenabol was synthetized by hobgoblin chemists almost a century ago. It’s not illegal but it’s costly.

Now, I like this concept… But I haven’t the faintest idea what I’m gonna do if a player wants to test ogrenabol for his PC… Oh well, let’s cross the bridge when we’ll come to it, I guess…

cockatrices

Cockatrice

Cockatrice pit fighting.

Now, let’s assume that the cockatrices are, somehow, evolved(1) creatures and as such, likely to fight each other if left to their own devices, shouldn’t they be resistant  (at least) to each other’s petrifying bite? Let’s say, to keep it simple, that they have advantage vs petrification (2).

Also:

  • their owners have thick leather gloves
  • their wings are clipped so they don’t fly away
  • champion cockatrices may have a little bonus to their attack or save or both

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Freshwater Dragon Turtle

The freshwater dragon turtle is a lot smaller than its oceanic cousin. Many of these beasts have found their way in the canals of the City where they seem satisfied to operate as living rafts, transporting both people and merchandises, for a fee. Being as intelligent (int: 10) as their gargantuan relatives, these dragon turtles accept partnerships with a « pilot » (that don’t have any piloting to do) who will negociate fees and seek clients, for everyone’s convenience.

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Approaching their nesting sites, at the bottom of the Sacred Lake, is a sure way to be attacked by these otherwise peaceful creatures.

The freshwater dragon turtle is of huge size, is CR 6 (compared to 17) and  steam breath is very rarely exhibited amongst them.

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Galeb Duhr

A Galeb Duhr typically come into existence, however briefly, in the aftermath of a brutal street fight that saw a lot of brick/pavement throwing. It’s supposed that the creature’s existence – formed from the very stuff that litters the street – is a defense mechanism set in motion by the ambient angst and the City’s magic.

Most of the time, the Galeb Dhur brutalize some of the nearby offenders and then simply resume its inert state. Sometimes though, it lingers and endangers until forcefully put to rest…

Class variant: Flâneur

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I won’t mess with the mechanics of the rogue as it is one of the few character classes that is perfectly okay within Mean Streets D&D but… Here is a little more flavour coming along with the flâneur. As always, the players will be free to do as they wish (almost) but it seems to me that a rogue character could well be played with these lines in mind:

The flâneur belongs to the same social and moral universe as the spy, agent de sûreté and, somewhat later, the detective. Like them, he strives to be both all-seeing and invisible (though, just as spies were commonly spied upon, so too the flâneur is himself not infrequently the object of physionomie) and, no less than Vidocq or Hugo’s Javert, he is a Protean figure capable of assuming a variety of disguises in order to pursue his scopophiliac passion undetected.

extract from The flaneur and his city by Richard D.E. Burton

The flâneur is a keen observer, so much so that using physionomie knowledge he can, from the dress, gait, etc. in a mere moment gain, like Burton says: « god-like power-through knowledge over the Other. »

Rosler-LeFlaneur

Well I think that would help explain a few things about the features of the rogue class (versatility, skills strength, backstab ability and such).