November 21, 2008

Word of Wizards - Excerpts: Astral Drednough

Manual of the Planes Excerpts: Astral Dreadnought

Today's excerpt is on the Manual of Planes cover beast and a monster that I like to call 'The Tarrasque of the Astral Plane'; the Astral Dreadnought.

I used to remember the Astral Dreadnought from 3.x. It was a fearsome beast that has a central eye that was antimagic and it was the last thing that you wanted to stumble upon the in endless skies of the Astral Plane.

Well, the antimagic eye is now no more but the ferocity of the Dreadnought is still something to be very afraid of. Its Frightful Presence will make anyone within 3 squares of it suffer a -2 penalty to their attacks.

This 24 level solo brute has Twin Pincer Claw (standard; at will) that can grab you and crush you with its Pincer Crush (standard; at will) that is going to hurt (2d6+13 for the Pincer Claw and 2d12+13 for the Pincer Crush)

If you are grabbed and bloodied, the Dreadnought will Swallow (standard; at will)you that will take you to a 8x8x2 feet demiplane where a large insubstanial eyeball is at the center.

This is where it gets a little weird, anyone swallowed into this demiplane can attack the eye and any damage dealt to it also damages the Dreadnought. It gets a little unclear on what the eye can do but I'm assuming it is the Orb of Dread (free 1/round; at will) which dazes (save ends) those who are swallowed and will stun anyone who fail on their first save and deal 40 ongoing psychic damage if they fail their second save.

The Astral Dreadnought is also incorporated into the 4E cosmology other than just being a big wandering monstrosity in previous editions. This time around, the Dreadnoughts are said to be former angels of the Chained God and that it's central eye contains a fragment of the Chained God's evil which is also believed that if accumulated together with other eyes, can release the Chained God.

That's why the Astral Dreadnought has the Chained God's Gaze (minor; recharge 5,6) which does a similar effect as the Orb of Dread but to not swallowed targets.

It feels quite different to have the Astral Dreadnought be incorporated with so much fluff from the setting by having such a relationship with the Chained God but the proposition that the Dreadnoughts are the key of releasing the Chained God does sound like a good basis for a plane-hopping campaign.


Anonymous said...

I LOVE the concept of fighting back while you've been swallowed. It gives a very exciting new dimension to combats, if more enemies have weird powers and secondary areas like this.

Questing GM said...

Agreed, wyatt!

It doesn't kill the game for the players whose characters are swallowed but the lack of dangerous attacks from the Orb of Dread has me quite concerned.

It doesn't deal any damage unless the characters fail 2 saves and once the player's are able to overcome the Orb's defenses, it actually turns out to be quite a weak spot for the Dreadnought.

Still, the idea of getting swallowed into a demiplane still sounds pretty neat.