Milqueghost

Name: Milqueghost
Word of the Day: milquetoast
Environment: Any area creeping with undeath, especially graveyards, abandoned buildings, or anyplace else haunted.
Organization: Ranges from solitary to large groups
Attacks: Performs handy tasks for the greater monster
Defenses:
is a ghost
Weaknesses:
is a milqueghost…

Background: When enemies die on the battlefield, often their souls stay bound to their corpses, slowly wasting away.  Certain powerful ghosts and demons sever these abandoned souls from their cadaverous shackles, turning lost souls into obedient milqueghost.  Out of a bit of respect and mostly fear, milqueghost will do whatever they are commanded to do out of weakness and literal spinelessness, shaking nervously the whole time.

Tactics: Milquetoast will run in a horrified panic if they are approached by most living things, whereas their fear of the living dead is paralyzing.  While milqueghost never get near an enemy, especially not near enough to attack, they do carry out whatever orders they’re given by the stronger demon or ghost.  Milqueghost are often seen carrying small chalices of blood from bodies, performing mundane tasks such as flipping switches or closing curtains, or sacrificing themselves to their greater for the purpose of some powerful ability or spell.

You don’t really fight a milqueghost so much as they are around while you’re fighting an enemy.  If you attack one directly, it will attempt to run away, but if you manage to hit it you can expect anything that can hit a ghost to instantly vaporize it.  They literally always die in a single hit, making their crippling fear somewhat justified.  While you can choose to take them out during a fight with a stronger monster so that they stop providing the monster with blood, power, or other such handiwork, sometimes you can simply kill the greater monster and cause the milqueghost to become paralyzed with fear.  Though you can easily pick them off then, if you offer a milqueghost a very bland, simple piece of food, such as a piece of bread, and then walk a healthy ways away, it’ll graciously accept your offering and often point you in the right direction, or try and find something of value to give you in return.


Hobson Goblin

Name: Hobson Goblin
Word of the Day: hobson gobson
Environment: Roaming everywhere
Organization: Ranges from solitary to small groups
Attacks: Tourism-fu
Defenses: General defenses and resistances
Weaknesses: Because of their varying fighting style and general defenses and resistances, hobson goblin don’t have much of a glaring weakness.  Adaptability lets you handle it’s off-kilter arsenal, and in many cases the hobson goblin pick up moves that don’t necessarily work together.

Background: Goblin are known for their savage culture and long-standing traditions.  While most live their entire lives never knowing much of the outside world, hobson goblin are overwhelmed with wanderlust.  Traveling far from their tribes, hobson goblin consider the open road their home, absorbing the local culture and enjoying every minute of life.  Whether or not they encounter the fabled adventuring party they hear so much about, you can be sure that they’re enjoying every minute of it.

Tactics: If you’re fighting another monster and there is a hobson goblin around, you can bet they’re going to join the fight – hobson goblin are always looking for the authentic
native experience, especially battle with an adventuring party!  A hobson goblin will always attempt to blend in, using a fighting style called tourism-fu that draws from various elements of other local monsters.  This means that for any given hobson goblin, you can expect their moveset to range from incredibly powerful to poorly mismatched.  Hobson goblin accommodate for this by having a general defense and resistance to everything, giving them a bit of defensive versatility in their travels.

Hobson goblin are interesting to fight because they combine random abilities from various native monsters into a single encounter.  Sometimes hobson goblin manage to pick up pretty deadly combos, but a lot of the time they provide a little extra damage or crowd control without much of a synergistic moveset.  The best way to deal with a hobson goblin is to pack a bit of versatility in your group, preventing any one strong random set of moves from catching you too off-guard, and preventing its ability to double some moves of the other monsters you’re fighting from getting too out of hand.

Ribbane

Name: Ribbane
Word of the Day: rapine
Environment: Anywhere there is treasure
Organization: Solitary
Attacks: Summoning flute
Defenses: High mobility, turning to stone
Weaknesses: When fighting a ribbane, you’re mostly dealing with the ribbane’s summons, as the monster itself doesn’t attack.  While there is no assured strategy that works against the ribbane’s summons, having a highly versatile team significantly increases your chances for success.

Background: Ribbane are annoying frogs that hobble around leglessly and steal people’s valuables.  Ribbane have an eye for quality, and though they’re known to constantly pilfer valuables, they only hang on to and protect the most valuable of their many treasures.  While ribbane themselves are annoying, with their summoning flute they’re known to rob throw entire cities into chaos just to obtain a particular rare item.

Tactics: A ribbane will only approach you and possibly attack you if it senses an incredibly valuable treasure in your possession, and if it steals something of yours it’ll immediate toss out its previous treasure.  Younger ribbane are more likely to attack, as their treasure is much less likely to hold any real value.  At the start of the fight, ribbane will blow their summoning flute, calling forth a multitude of various monsters.  The strength of the monsters corresponds directly to the ribbane’s age, meaning that ribbane hold a relatively stable strength-to-valuable-treasure ratio. Once the monsters are summoned, the ribbane mostly avoids enemies with its high mobility, turning to stone when enemies get too close, making it nearly impossible to damage.

Younger ribbane are annoying, but older ribbane make excellent opponents because of their valuable treasure.  It is hard to prepare to fight a ribbane, as their primary form of offense is summoning various monsters that would not normally exist within the same encounter, making versatility key.  A veteran adventurer might be strong enough to break through a weaker ribbane’s stony form, but otherwise it’s best to ignore the ribbane entirely and focus on beating the summons.  Once you have defeated the ribbane’s summons, the spell of the ribbane will shatter, turning it into a regular frog atop a treasure chest.  While collecting the treasure is obvious, the cracked flute is valued by adventurers for its ability to play a single note before crumbling, summoning a monster at random.

Ae

Name: Ae
Word of the Day: fey
Environment: While ae have no specific locale, they are incredibly dangerous and are therefore sealed in places that are incredibly hard to get to.  This ranges from places you might expect such as dungeons, caves, or ruins to places that might seem more unlikely such as deep in the wilderness, atop isolated mountains, etc.
Organization: Solitary
Attacks: Shredding your soul
Defenses: Nullifying spheres, phasing gaze
Weaknesses: Fast attacks or abilities that hit multiple times

Background: Ae are ancient beings that are chained to the ground for the safety of others.  Though their levitating eye orbs look to be separate from their body, they are in fact part of the same monster and as such the restraining chain is almost always pierced into one or more of its eyes.  In ancient times ae were spirits of judgment, gauging the worth of one’s soul, but as people began to fear the judgment of their own corrupted soul, the monsters were bound to ground, feared, avoided, and eventually forgotten.  Bitter from their imprisonment, with judgment decayed with time, most living things are considered guilty in an ae’s eyes.

Tactics: When an enemy is spotted by an ae from an incredibly long distance away, the monster focuses all of its six eyes on them, gazing through their mortal form and pulling their soul out in a stream of sand which it promptly devours.  With the soul severed from the body, its target is significantly weakened while the sand slowly spills from the ae onto the ground, counting down towards the victim’s death.  Once all of the sand has spilled, the victim’s life ends, and the ae prepares to pick a second target.

Ae are difficult to fight because they start the fight by creating a frustratingly short time frame, and then proceed to exclusively stall until their opponent’s soul has passed the test of time.  Each of its unchained eyes nullify all incoming damage in a small area around them, and the ae can focus two of its unchained eyes on a single enemy to phase them out of existence, turning them into a blurry projection that can’t physically interact with its surroundings.  This makes an entirely unchained ae incredibly difficult to fight, as it can entirely nullify three opponent while effectively nullifying a fourth.

As instruments of death, ae are not ideal to fight, but if you find yourself struggling for your soul, there are a couple of strategies that’ll keep your soul from being torn to shreds.  Before you fight an ae, it is incredibly important that you figure out how strong of an ae it is by how many of its eyes are chained and whether or not you can win the fight.  For example, if an ae has four unchained eyes, you will never be able to defeat it with two people, since it can use two eyes per person to phase you out of existence entirely.  Also keep in mind that the party member whose soul is being judged will be incredibly sluggish and weak, making them difficult to rely on.  Once you’ve sized up the ae, your best bet is to attack it fast and often or using a spell or ability that hits multiple times, as each of its eyes nullifies an entire attack, no matter how strong, before getting knocked back a ways away from the eye.  If you try and use slow, powerful attacks, the eyes knocked back will return before you have any time to harm the exposed body.  Thankfully, knocking back eyes breaks their phasing gaze, making pummeling the ae constantly your best option to staying in the fight.  As an act of desperation, you can manually scoop the sand back into the ae’s mouth to give you more time.

Arena Excerpt #1

A lot of my miscellaneous writing recently has been related to The Arena, so I figured I’d occasionaly post from excerpts for others to read! :D

“I’ll take that trade any day!”

“No Koreig, look!” she shouted from the sidelines. “H-he’s zipping the wound closed.”

His grip on his crescent axe tightened as he felt the pain running up his thigh.  When his axe had torn a deep gash into his opponent’s chest, releasing an arc of blood that speckled his grin, he didn’t mind the chunk his opponent’s pike had unexpectedly taken out of his upper thigh.  For a split second it felt like success, but as his opponent ran his fingers along the edges of the gash, pulling his flesh back together as if he had just zipped a zipper shut, his grin faded.

“Leaving him unscathed and me wounded… Damn it, he fights just like an experiment, but I thought…” he cursed, finishing his query internally, I thought that Jeppetto was a respected citizen of Galindh?  This thing can’t be an experiment, but then what is he?

His opponent retracted the pike into the zipper slot in the palm of his hand, leaving it open. As suddenly as his weapon had appeared, it was hidden once more. After stretching out his hand, the enemy extended an arm towards Koreig, mockingly gesturing him forward.

“You’re really starting to piss me off, freak!”

Placing his other hand on his axe, Koreig ran forward with an incredible burst of speed, ignoring the pain stabbing at his leg as he surged with rage.  When he got close enough to his opponent, he braced himself just in time to spot the tip of the pike peeking through an open zipper on his opponent’s foot.  With not a moment to lose, Koreig pulled his charge’s momentum backwards as the pike tore through the air less than an inch in front of his face.

“That trick isn’t going to work on me again now that I know it’s coming, you freak!”

Spinning around the pike clockwise, Koreig dodged to the left of the pike while using the added force of the swing to arc his axe across his opponent’s upper arm, severing it off cleanly.  Without losing his momentum, Koreig continued to run past his opponent a good distance before turning to face him.  As he turned to face his opponent, his opponent was zipping off the stub of his severed arm, stopping the rapid blood loss.

“It wasn’t that you can’t be cut, it’s just that the cut wasn’t deep enough,” Koreig sneered.  “Zip it off all you like you freak, I’m winning the arm game 2-1!”

It when was when Koreig mentally tallied the score that he realized something was terribly wrong.  His eyes darting across the ground around his opponent, and he realized that the arm he had cut clean off what nowhere to be found amidst the small pool of blood.

He could’ve possibly retracted it into that zipper of his, Koreig thought, but that doesn’t explain the blood. Damn it, I hate dealing with these freaks, they’re so hard to predict.

“Koreig, behind you!”

Unsure of what his teammate was shouting about, Koreig turned to look over his shoulder only to see his opponent’s hand wrap its fingers around his face.  The hand at the end of the arm that was crushing his face was attached to his shoulder, flesh bound together by a metal zipper that he hadn’t even felt placed.  In the moment before he had cut off his opponent’s arm, his opponent had somehow unzipped his arm, rezipping into Koreig’s flesh without him feeling it.

“Damn it!” he shouted, biting at the fingers as they tried to hold his mouth shut.  “Get this freaky thing off of me!”

The fingers continued to press firmly against Koreig’s face as he gnashed at them while trying to pry them away with his offhand, a distinct chuckling emanating from his opponent.  His opponent reached across his own lips, peeling back a zipper that was stifling his hearty laughter.

“Looks more like 3-1 to me,” his opponent jeered. “Oh dear, I’m losing terribly, aren’t I?”

Rules for “The Arena”

This is the first draft of the rules for The Arena.  Most of the rules are subject to changes as they are play-tested, and a lot of general gaming terms are used that would normally be elaborated if this wasn’t the abridged rules.  Feel free to ask for clarification!

Getting ready to play:

  • Players are given a chance to agree on a stage.  Otherwise, a stage is selected randomly.
  • Players are given a chance to decide who picks first.  Otherwise, a person is selected randomly to pick first.
  • Player 1 picks one character
  • Player 2 picks two characters
  • Player 1 picks two characters
  • Player 2 picks one character
  • Each player puts their first picked character onto their starting position, putting the other characters on the sidelines.
  • Each player marks that all of their characters are at their starting maximum HP value.
  • Each player gains one “Stylish Action!”
  • The game starts, and Player 2 goes first.

Taking your turn:

  • Your abilities cooldown by one turn.
  • Gain two Movement and one Action for the turn.
  • Perform each effect that says “At the start of your turn”
  • Gravity takes effect.
  • Objects in motion take effect (projectiles move, summons perform actions, etc.)
  • You may use Movements and Actions, in any order.
  • Perform each effect that says “At the end of your turn”

Movement:

You may use a Movement to move your character one space in any direction and face that direction, including diagonally.  The following effects modify your movement:

Gravity: At the start of your turn, if you are not standing on top of the ground or a grounded surface, you gain an Airborne Counter.  Then, you move straight down one space for each Airborne Counter you have.  If this causes you to touch the ground or a grounded surface, you lose all your Airborne Counters.

Momentum: At the end of your turn, if you used multiple Movements in the exact same direction and you don’t have a Momentum Counter, you gain one in that direction.  While you have a Momentum Counter, for the first time each turn you use multiple Movements in the exact same direction, you move an additional space in that direction.  Conversely, it costs an additional Movement to move in the opposite direction.  At the end of your turn, if you didn’t use multiple Movement in the exact same direction and you do have a Momentum Counter, you lose it.

Grabbing and Lifting: If you end a Movement adjacent to a stationary object you may grab that object, becoming grounded.  If you are grabbing a stationary object that is you are able to pass through, you may use one Movement to move directly on top of it.  You are always able to pass through stationary objects that do not occupy a space but instead appear between spaces, like floating platforms.

Actions:

Actions may be used to perform your characters attacks and abilities.  These attacks and abilities are incredibly unique, and should be evaluated on an ability-to-ability basis.

“Stylish Action!”:

Each player starts the game with one “Stylish Action!” At any point in time, you may use your “Stylish Action!” to pause the game, gaining an Action that you must immediately use.  Then, the game is unpaused.

Switching Characters:

If you want to change which character you are fighting with, you may use a Movement and an Action.  If you do, you gain the buff “Switching…”

“Switching…” [buff] – At the start of your next turn, if your character has both a Movement and Action available, your active character and a character of your choice from the sidelines switch places.

When you switch characters, all buffs and debuffs are removed from your character.  Note that global buffs and global debuffs are associated with a player, not a character, so these will remain in effect.

Enter “The Arena”!

As you probably haven’t noticed, I recently added pages for the two main personal projects I’m currently working on – I have more major projects in mind, but rather than listing them all I figured I’d only list a few to begin with, and focus my efforts on them rather than trying to work a little bit on numerous conceptual projects like I have in the past.  The motwotd page should be fairly expected, since you’ve been seeing pretty much exclusively monsters up until this point, but I know a good deal of you will be pretty excited about the second page I’ve added – The Arena.

Those of you who don’t know what The Arena is can check out the page for a brief overview, but I’m sure the rest of you are going, “Yeah, yeah, but Umbrella you’re always working on The Arena!” That’s true, but here’s my current list of things to work on in regards to The Arena.

  • A finalized rules set and a comprehensive rules guide
  • Character move sets, including actual numbers (gasp!)
  • Full character descriptions, including back story and a character sketch
  • Snippets of story

That’s a little bit more concrete information than you’re used to, but that’s not all! I’ve already been setting up a rules foundation and working out the details on how to make it possible to play test The Arena online over an online whiteboard program.  Over the next month, keep your eyes peeled for details!