2009-05-06 Übermonsters

Following in the footsteps of Tim Short’s A Kinda New Look at Mr. Doppelganger, Michael Shorten’s The food chain - uber monsters and civilization and Dragons and Spawning and pesky Adventurers (author name?), I decided to write something about übermonsters. It reminds me of Robin Stacey’s Problem Monster Number Uno in Save or Die Issue #3, the Bodak.

My explanation for why humanity has not turned to cattle is organization. I imagine it like the Inquisition in the old days. Except that you add magic and heroes to the mix. And don’t forget “At-will Detect Evil” as one anonymous commenter said in one of the threads linked above.

So, I imagine a gang of twelve doppelgängers arriving in a frontier town. They kill twelve villagers, and settle in. And then what? They have a child? In which case it does come down to gestation period, replication rate, details of biology.

In any case, the day will come when somebody starts to suspect. If a person suspecting the shapechangers is disposed off, this will arouse more suspicion. If such a person is allowed to live, the power of Law kicks in. Clerics can cast spells, paladins can detect evil, witch hunters know about their weakness (in the case of doppelgangers this would be alcohol), a mob is assembled, and even if they are spellcasters or awesome fighting machines: will they stand against 100 angry villagers? Even if they win and leave the village, there will be pursuit eventually.

In my games, level nine is name level. Thus, in every settled five mile hex there is a level nine person and their entourage, possibly more. These people will also know how to deal with typical übermonsters.

That explains why übermonsters have not taken over the world and turned all humans into cattle. Sure, this might not work everywhere and all the time. But those situations would be temporary anomalies. Eventually, a hero will come along, clear the hex, and get rid of a village full of doppelgängers. There is no such thing within human lands, unless the doppelgängers “behave exactly like humans”.

That leaves the question of the wilderness. I agree, the wilderness will be full of doppelgängers, except for the areas where even greater evil rules – giants, dragons, what have you.

In short, I’m not worried about übermonsters.

Except for the Bodak. ;)



I agree. Fear the Bodak!

I like your rationale, a lot. The Name Level + Stronghold concept from Classic D&D works very well as a way of keeping back the tides of evil monsters and goes a long way toward explaining why civilisation stays civilised most of the time.

Good post.

greywulf 2009-05-06 20:18 UTC

Thanks. Your comment inspired me to write more about my name level approach.

AlexSchroeder 2009-05-06 23:52 UTC

Hey Alex great post. There are several ways to limit an uber monster especially in a society with organized magic and the temples full of good old fashion god power.

And agreed, Fear the Bodak!

Tim Shorts 2009-05-06 23:52 UTC

I liked the idea that you put forward in Mr. Doppelganger Part 2 where in mages might be willing to pay for doppelgängers, dead or alive – because they can use “precious blood and other gooey parts for potions, spell components and enchanting magic items.”

Awesome idea. :)

AlexSchroeder 2009-05-06 23:59 UTC

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