Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The “Clash of Titans” Rule

While I have already talked about this subject within a narrative approach, now the idea is different (and simpler): a new monster ability. Well, in many movies we’re constantly reminded of how dangerous it is to stay near giant creatures (like elephants – or oliphants –, dinosaurs, krakens, old dragons or the Tarrasque). Those things can literally step over most player characters without a second thought, with great collateral damage following in these leviathans’ paths.

Although Pathfinder’s rules of reach and threatening areas give a good edge to big monsters, I want something that forces the characters to stay away from gargantuan menaces. With that in mind, take a look at this new universal monster ability:

Hulking Menace (Ex): Only creatures of Huge size or bigger can benefit from this trait. The monster’s bulk and strength make of it a hazard for lesser opponents. Any creature two sizes lower suffer 1d4 points of nonlethal damage at the beginning of its turn if he’s adjacent to the monster. This damage increases to 2d4 each turn if the size’s difference is three or higher.

This nonlethal damage simulates loose rocks and fragments loosed from the ground (or from nearby structures) due to the giant’s movement through the terrain. They also could reflect minor impacts against the creature’s body when it moves around or push its adversaries.

At the beginning I thought about expanding this damage to include all creatures inside the monster’s threatening area, but that would leave gargantuans too powerful. A good side effect of this ability is that it greatly increases the importance of pole weapons.