Tuesday 13 September 2011

20 Scorpions

20 types of scorpion found in Yoon-Suin, for your amusement and edification. All scorpions are 1 hp monsters, with 1 attack; sting effects are listed as "failed save/successful save".

Scorpions are small, unobtrusive, and good at hiding. They always surprise their opponents unless forewarned that scorpions are in the area and characters are actively searching (1/4 movement rate); there is a 25% chance a randomly determined character will step on the scorpion and incur an attack which hits automatically. Thick boots protect against this.

Usually scorpions are solitary unless otherwise specified.

1. White tiger. White, most active in autumn, said to serve the White Tiger of the West. Sting results in freezing pain, paralysis for d3 days/d3 hours.
2. Vermillion bird. Red, most active in summer, said to serve the Vermillion Bird of the South. Sting results in burning pain, spasms, death/half total hp loss.
3. Black tortoise. Black, most active in winter, said to serve the Black Tortoise of the North. Sting causes debilitating weakness, -2 STR permanently/d3 weeks.
4. Azure dragon. Blue, most active in spring, said to serve the Azure Dragon of the East. Sting causes flesh-decaying necrosis, -2 CON and CHR permanently/d3 weeks.
5. Fool's gold. Small, golden, often found underground. Sting causes intense irritation in the throat, hacking cough, -2 STR and CON for d3 days/no mechanical effect.
5. Amethyst tail. Black and nodescript with magenta-coloured tail. Toxin causes back to spasm into an arch, until it breaks or the spasm subsides. Death after d3 hours/paralysis for d3 days, hp total permanently halved.
6. Greater amethyst tail. As above, but larger, with slightly less powerful venom. +2 bonus to saving roll.
7. Judge. Maroon coloured, with black pincers, as with the traditional garb of the black-gloved judges of Caricot. Nausea and vomiting, -2 hp and incapacitation for 1 day/d3 hours.
8. Legislator. Blue, with a white "face", like the makeup of the legislators of Caricot. Temporary blindness for d3 days/d3 hours.
9. Green fisher. Lives underwater in shallow streams and ponds. Disorientation and dizziness; half movement rate and -4 to hit for d3 days/d3 hours.
10. Goblin face. Pale orange with blue around the "face", like a forest goblin from the bamboo forests. Excruciatingly painful sting, -6 hp/-4 hp.
11. Monkey scorpion. Dark brown. Climbs trees - instead of a character stepping on the scorpion, interpret an attack result as the scorpion dropping down onto a face or hair. Sting causes strange hallucinations for d3 days, no save.
12. Patient meditator. Greenish grey, lurks in grassy areas or under rocks for days at a time waiting for prey. Muscle paralysis and spasms in the legs, quarter movement rate/half movement rate for d3 days.
13. Ten leg. Ten legged scorpion, yellow coloured, hunts by speed. Relatively harmless, causes shortage of breath, half movement rate for d3 hours/no mechanical effect.
14. Walung monk. Purplish brown colour said to resemble that of the robes of the Walung order. Sting causes loss of bowel control, dehydration and weakness; -2 STR, half movement rate, -2 to hit, -2 damage for 1 week/d3 days.
15. Brown toad. Dirty brown colour, nondescript. Sting induces madness and hallucinations permanently (becomes NPC until cured)/for d3 days.
16. Gift giver. Small, blue. Sting injects eggs into the bloodstream which hatch after d6 days; d6 damage results from three dozen baby scorpions burrowing out through skin, no save.
17. Patriarch. Big, bulky, black. Sting causes petrification: body turns to stone from the site of the wound (half movement rate and DEX for 3 days; quarter movement rate and DEX for 3 days; death - successful save doubles length of time required).
18. Purple sage. Purple, as the name suggests. Lurks underground. Sting causes memory loss for the last 2d20 hours - includes memorized spells, no save.
19. Blue boatsman. Skims across surface of lakes and ponds. Sting causes tongue to swell, throat to constrict, suffocation after d6 hours/no effect.
20. Yak milk. Pink like the colour of yak's milk. Sting causes blood to seep from pores, tear ducts, nostrils, ears; -4hp/-2hp.


  1. Ok honest question for the DM:

    You just wrote up 20 scorpions.

    Are you thinking "by the time my own personal campaign ends, the PC party will have been attacked by 20 different kinds of scorpions"?


    "I'll write up 20 scorpions. Maybe 3 or 4 will stick."

  2. The latter. I probably end up using about 30% of the stuff I come up with. For me it's win-win: the players feel like the game world is incredibly complex, and I get to make up loads of weird shit, which is an end in itself.

    Also, crucially, I don't know what 30% of the stuff I make up is going to get used, because it depends on what the players do and what the dice decide.

  3. Ah, so you're thinking your players will READ about your 20 scorpions?

    Because half mine won't read them because they don't read campaign stuff and the other half won't out of a sense of honor about not trying to ruin the surprise.

    So the only way to introduce the scorpions into my players' heads would be to actually refer to all 20 at some point

  4. Oh, I see what you're getting at. Yeah, they'll hear about all the different scorpions from time to time if they're in the right areas. But it's likely they won't encounter all 20, unless they deliberately go out looking for them or the dice do really strange stuff.

  5. The IRL rule of thumb for scorpions: big scorpion with big claws = weak poison. Scary looking, but not really a threat to people. Big scorpions are fighters who rely on their size and strength to kill prey. It's the little ones you have to watch out for. They rely on their poison to do the job for them.

    In a game that might be somewhat less than satisfying, but threats like these are really much more like a trap than a monster anyway, so...whatever works.

  6. If you notice the green/blue tint to that scorpion, that's because the exoskeleton is fluorescing slightly in the UV of daylight. Under a UV bulb, it would be glowing brightly.

    I believe all scorpions do that, not just the black ones.

    Not sure how to work that into a game, though, unless Tenser had a side business on selling blacklight posters and UV Continual Light.

  7. Really? All scorpions do that?

    At the local natural history museum they have a (live) scorpion display, which is very dark. The scorpions are black, but you flick a switch and a UV light comes on - suddenly they appear fluorescent. It's pretty amazing.

  8. Yeah, if you go outside in Arizona at night, and turn on a UV light, you'll see loads of little scorpions light up, all around. A friend did this, and said it was freaky how many were around.

    In daylight those would be brown or sand-colored. The big, dark scorpions with the big claws, that are used in TV stunts and are sold in pet stores, are usually forest scorpions from Africa or Asia.