Scratch Made Pies: Rats in the Cellar a.k.a. My players demanded a history that I had to make up on the fly.

Even before I had set about creating the world, I had decided that I was going to run a variation on the old trope adventure of rats in the cellar of the local inn. And with this I introduced a new race and deities into the world.

The twist that I decided to run with was that the rats had been feeding upon the mead that was being brewed in the mead hall in Joonsvyk. Over time the rats gained sentience from the mead and began to worship the brewer and his wife as gods. This brought into existence, Brennig the Mead-Father and Merin the Ale-Mother, and the race of sentient rats, the Ratkith. And the major source of conflict for the adventure, a cult based around a fallen Devil that loved wine, Milner. Along with this I introduced Joona, the namesake for the town as a deity. So with this I had the first four gods of the setting.

The adventure started off fairly well, the party didn’t groan that loudly when the owner of the mead hall asked them to pay for their meals and would give them a discount by helping them with an issue in his cellar. When they found the “rats” were tapping the pipes and not really stealing anything other than mead from the hall, I was presented with an issue that I hadn’t been prepared for.

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Homebrew Monsters: Octopus Dragon and Mantis Dragon

While the bestiaries for Numenera, The Strange, and Cypher System have plenty of wonderful creatures for your players to encounter, sometimes you see something you know your players need to encounter during their adventures.

A dragon-like sea creature with blue rings, and spikes and 4 legs ending in claw, four ending in tentacles

Octopus Dragon (Level 7)

While it bears little relation to the intelligent octopodes that reside in the deep, the Octopus Dragon was named for it’s resemblance to them. A cunning predator, the Octopus Dragon camouflages itself to match it’s surroundings and ambushes it’s prey. An Octopus Dragon can breath air, but prefers the ocean, where it’s a more effective hunter. Octopodes despise any association with these relatively mindless predators and will pay handsomely to anyone who brings evidence of a successful kill.

Motive: Hungers for flesh
Environment: Anywhere in the Ocean, Solitary
Health: 35
Damage Inflicted: 8 points
Modifications: Stealth as Level 9, Speed Defense as Level 6 due to size
Movement: Short
Combat: The Octopus Dragon can make two attacks in a round, a bite attack, a claw attack, and/or grabbing with it’s tentacles. The bite attack is venomous and requires a Might Defense roll if the attack succeeds. On a failed roll, the victim becomes respiratory muscles begin to seize up, and breathing becomes difficult. They take an additional 2 points of Intellect Damage (then Might, then Speed) each round as oxygen struggles to make it to their brain. To stop the progress of the venom, someone must pass a level 6 heal check, assisting with false respiration.
The tentacle attack prevents the Octopus Dragon from moving, but allows it to grab onto a target, increasing the difficulty of avoiding it’s bite or claws by two levels. To avoid being grabbed, the adventurer must succeed on a Might Defense roll, level 7.
Interaction: The Octopus Dragon is not intelligent like the Octopodes it resembles. It cannot be reasoned with. Patient predators, they use their superior camouflage abilities to blend in the with terrain and attack when prey draws near.
Use: When a party is investigating something on the sea floor or in a coral reef, the Octopus Dragon might be laying in wait. They are drawn to numenera, or semi-precious jewels, and will kill to add them to their hoard.
Loot: Like most dragons, the Octopus Dragon keeps a hoard, usually in a nearby cave. While typically composed of pearls and shells, adventurers may also find several oddities, 2d20 abadis, 2-3 cyphers or even an artifact in the hoard. If time is taken, a careful explorer might be able to extract enough venom for three uses from the mouth of the Octopus Dragon.
GM Intrusion: The PC fails to realize that the Octopus Dragon has another limb that has been camouflaged, and it now uses it to attack the PC.

A dragon like creature with front arms like a preying mantis, and dragonfly like wings

Mantis Dragon (Level 6)

With a silhouette that shocks with its very wrongness, the Mantis Dragon is an enormous hybrid that is as deadly as it is frighteningly alluring . With their ability to enthrall prey, Mantis Dragons typically wait until their targets are too close to even contemplate escape before capturing them with their hypnotic hum and fluttering of wings. Many an unlucky explorer has been ripped apart by a Mantis Dragon’s powerful forelegs, dumbly smiling all the while.

Motive: Hungers for flesh
Environment: Grasslands, temperate and tropical climates, Solitary
Health: 28
Damage Inflicted: 6
Modifications: Stealth as Level 7, Perception as Level 7
Movement: Short, Long when flying
Combat: The Mantis Dragon has powerful forelegs that it uses to clasp and cut apart it’s prey. Once grasped in the strong forelegs, it’s a difficulty 8 Might Defense roll to escape. The Mantis Dragon does an additional 2 points of damage each round once it has a creature in it’s clutches.
The Mantis Dragon frequently mesmerizes it’s prays with it’s wings. As an action, the Mantis Dragon may spread it’s wings and move towards it’s prey in a slow rhythmic motion, emitting a low hum. Each creature in line of sight must make a Level 6 Intellect Defense roll or become mesmerized by the patterns in it’s wings and the sound it makes. On a failure, the targets are stunned and unable to take actions until the Mantis Dragon ceases it’s dance, or they suffer harm from an attack.
The Mantis Dragon can also bite it’s prey, though it’s preferred attack is to crush a victim in it’s forelegs.
Interaction: Mantis Dragons are predators, and cannot be reasoned with.
Use: The Mantis Dragon, blends into the surrounding environment, rather then tracking it’s prey. The party might venture into its territory and it sees a chance for a meal, or hunters in the region have reported the Mantis Dragon as a threat on their ability to hunt for food for their families.
Loot: Mantis Dragons hide their hoards well, and it will take some time to discover it’s location. The hoard typically consists of 2d20 shins, several oddities, and 2-3 cyphers, taken from previous meals.
GM Intrusion: While an adventurer is in its clasp, the Mantis Dragon takes to the air, and drops them. The adventurer has moments to try to stop their fall.


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