Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sandbox Encounters: Mantids...

Good Afternoon, All:

I'm halfway through the alphabet with this post, and still going strong. For my thirteenth post in this year's A-Z Challenge, I will be posting a Sandbox Encounter focused on the insectoid men who inhabit the tall mounds that are their hives. M is for Mantid.


Brief Description: Covered in dark chitin, mantids are intelligent insect-men that roam the Shattered Plains of the Madlands. Their hives are often quite huge and can cover a larger territory than the average human city. Mantids have domesticated giant beetles, which often accompany workers outside the hive. Being of a hive mentality, the mantid mindset is completely alien to most humanoids. For that reason, diplomacy is always a tricky matter, particularly if the non-mantids do not display a united front. Independent, contradictory thought is considered a crime against the hive, and is punishable by death within mantid society.

Encounter Groups: These are common encounter groups for this type of encounter.
  • Novice (levels 1-3): 2 Giant Beetles, 1 Mantid Worker. 2d6x10 silver shillings. (I use a silver standard in my campaigns.)

  • Seasoned (levels 4-6): 4 Giant Beetles, 2 Mantid Workers, 1 Mantid Warrior. 2d4x100 silver shillings, 2d4 slaves, 1d3 gems, 1d3 jewelry, two consumable items (50% chance each), and one magic item (50% chance).

  • Veteran (levels 7-10): 8 Giant Beetles, 4 Mantid Workers, 2 Mantid Warriors. 2d6x100 silver shillings, 2d6 slaves, 2d4 gems, 1d4+1 jewelry, one magic weapon (50% chance), one magic armor (50% chance), two magic items (50% chance each), and two consumables (50% chance each).

Stat Blocks: The following stats are provided as examples for inspiration. Please adjust as needed to fit your preferred gaming system and style.
  • Giant Beetle: AC 6 [13]; HD 2; Atk: one bite (1d8); ST: 16; SP: acid spray (10-ft cone, 2d4 damage, save negates, 1/round); MV: 12; CL 3; XP 60.

  • Mantid Worker: AC 7 [12]; HD 3; Atk: one bite (1d6 + paralytic poison), two claws (1d4); ST: 14; SP: leap (can leap 20 ft forward or 50 ft upward), paralytic poison (target paralyzed until save negates, one save per round); MV: 18; CL 6; XP 400.

  • Mantid Warrior: AC 5 [14]; HD 6; Atk: one bite (1d8 + paralytic poison), two claws (1d8); ST: 11; SP: leap (can leap 20 ft forward or 50 ft upward), paralytic poison (target paralyzed until save negates, one save per round); MV: 18; CL 9; XP 1,100.

Encounter Ideas: Here are six different scenarios related to this encounter type.
  1. The mantids are an advance group sent out to find a site for a new hive, as a new queen has been born.

  2. The party comes across the mantids as they are returning to their hive with food from their most recent expedition.

  3. The mantids address the party as representatives of a diplomatic emissary for continued negotiations. (All juicy humanoids apparently look alike to the chitinous mantids.)

  4. The hive needs food, and the party will suffice to supplement the larder.

  5. The mantids are seeking a certain medicinal plant, and are willing to trade for it, if the party has some to offer.

  6. Having declared war on a humanoid tribe, the party is attacked out of sheer mistaken identity.


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