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Oard Infiltrators and Bioengineered Monstersby Rodger Burns
Armour Class: 0 (or 9 – see below)
Hit Dice: 6+3****
Move: 120’ (40’), fly 60’ (20’)
Attacks: Variable (see below)
Damage: By weapon (see below)
No. Appearing: 2d4 (1d4+1)
Save As: Dwarf 10
Treasure Type: Special (see below)
XP Value: 1550
Infiltrators are the most common type of oard to appear on Mystara, and the closest in appearance to natural humanity. They are slightly under six feet in height, and appear slight and wiry but have a mass of more than five hundred pounds due to the density of the machinery and circuitry placed within their bodies. Of all the oard types, they will try hardest to ‘appear’ human, but do so only poorly, adopting bizarre facsimiles of expression or posture and committing frequent faux pas when with humans.
Like all oards, infiltrators are immune to ESP and charm spells, and receive a +4 bonus to saves against hold, confusion and feeblemind effects and all illusions. An infiltrator can use its connection to eschaon to ‘unstick’ itself from the normal flow of space-time for short periods, leaving it unable to take any offensive action for 1 round but negating any and all attacks and spell effects that might normally target it. This ability can be used but three times per day.
Oard infiltrators also possess access to certain advanced technology, as follows. These items can generally only be used by oards, though a wish spell might allow 1-4 uses of a single device.
- Protection Belt: This device improves the wearer’s AC to 0, and provides the benefit of protection from normal missiles, resist fire, and resist cold. It also allows use of levitation for a period of 6 turns per day.
- Ray Glove: This weapon fires blasts of energy similar to magic missiles, allowing three attacks per round dealing 1d6+1 damage each. Each blast must roll to hit versus a target of AC 9 – Dexterity and magical bonuses improve this value, but normal armour does not.
- Concussion Gem: This odd metal egg can be thrown up to 240’, exploding on contact to inflict 4d6 fire damage and 4d6 damage from metal shrapnel. Targets can save vs. Dragon Breath for half damage. The gem is destroyed after one use.
- Antimagic Coil: This device looks like an odd crystalline cylinder some 2’ high and 6” in diameter, and requires one full round to set up in a stationary position and activate. The round after it activates, the coil emits a dispel magic effect (as a 15th-level caster) with a range of 20’, and for the next 2d4 rounds has a 50% chance to suppress any other magical effect coming within 20’. It can be disabled if 20 points of damage are inflicted upon it, but if recovered intact can be sold as jewellery for a value of 2,000 gp.
- Image Amulet: This disguises the oard’s appearance, voice and equipment to appear as that of another humanoid creature. Specific individuals can be mimicked, but only if the target can be studied carefully for at least 24 hours beforehand, and even after this is accomplished individuals familiar with the target can realise the deception with a successful Intelligence check. Physical contact, or an attack made by the oard, will nullify the disguise effect.
- Transport Beacon: This is a small cube of bronze like metal and ceramic, about 3” on a side. It can be placed in an area, hidden in a human’s belongings, or thrown through the air, and allows the oards to use eschaon to teleport to the beacon’s location, bypassing all normal barriers and defences against such magic. This is only good for arrival, though, not departure - the latter generally requires use of large, bulky and fragile equipment, not found outside oard outposts.
- Speech Bracelet: This is a two-way communication device, with a range of 50 miles.
Armour Class: Per creature –4 or 0
Hit Dice: Per creature
Move: Per creature
Attacks: Per creature +1
Damage: Per creature
No. Appearing: 1d6 (1d4)
Save As: See text
Treasure Type: Nil
XP Value: Per creature + 1 asterisk
These creatures are animals or monsters native to Mystara but captured and enhanced by the oards. They can be used as guard animals, scouts, or most often assassins.
An oard-bioengineered monstrosity looks much like the original stock creature, but is always recognizably changed – its coloration muted into a dull, ominous grey, its body and musculature marred with odd lumpy protrusions buried beneath the skin, and any spark of intelligence replaced with a low animal cunning and bloodlust. No matter the intellectual level of the original creature, a bioengineered monstrosity will be only barely beyond animal intelligence, able to understand only simple commands and unable to speak, use spells or appreciate tactics beyond the most basic of frontal assaults.
The process of making a bioengineered creature offers many improvements. The creature’s AC is improved to 0, or by 4 points if the creature was originally AC 4 or better; the creature also gains one additional attack per combat round, at the best damage capability available (a creature that could claw/claw/bite for 1d4/1d4/1d6 damage would gain a second bite attack, also for 1d6 damage) and becomes immune to sleep and hold effects (though it can still be charmed). However, the creature’s saves are often reduced – the creature saves as a Fighter of a level equal to half its hit dice only. Also, any spellcasting ability, energy drain or breath weapon attacks the creature once possessed are lost. Normal and giant animals, magical beasts, monsters and lowlifes are most often turned into bioengineered monstrosities – humanoids, planar monsters and dragon-kin receive this treatment only rarely, and undead and constructs cannot be bioengineered at all.
Commentary: Making up new oard stats makes the adventure more accessible to players without access to CM6 or the Creature Crucible. It also lets me make up new toys to surprise those who've already played the original module and think they know all the surprises already. Bioengineered monsters, meanwhile, are an excuse to throw weird and bizarre stuff at the PCs, often with a powerup attached.
Up Next: I try to actually use some of this stuff in an adventure write-up, titled 'Forestkiller'.