Monday, September 28, 2015

The Center Cannot Hold: Ropers or the Cht-Rang of the Hollow (Fate Core)

As is my usual habit, I created a dungeon and asked my players for ideas for traps, puzzles and monsters.  I typically hate dungeon crawls, instead improvising or getting the players to give me fuel for them.  If I can, I'll even have them help me create the map during play.  This all stems from the idea that crawls are a form of railroading, and I can bypass that if I get other heads in on the scheming from the start.

The monster I got back was the Roper, which I found myself wondering about.  Ropers are classic #DnD.  They go way back, and are probably older than I am.  So I came up with a explanation for them in #Crux.  Ropers have a alternate name I created, and I borrowed a bit from a issue of Atomic Robo (silicon-based rock life living in a "hollow" earth).  Perhaps later I'll find more underground monsters that could fit this paradigm, but here for now, be the ropers.


The thick accent threw me off.  Then again, I was being dangled in front of a ten-foot tall rocky cone with a single purple eye.  Its- hers- his? maw spoke Tomish, although I couldn't parse what dialect for the life of me. 

"Yes."  I tried to resist the urge to cross my arms.  "But that's how Ith functions.  Sorcerous have rights.  You have to prove the ability to use sorcery."

"Capability to prove citizenship."  The conical monster gurgled a laugh.  "Citizenship.  State.  Government.  Your kind... so absurd.  You insist on freedoms, yet submit to others."

"Without it things fall apart."  Sometimes I wish I hadn't been a philosophy major.  But for the last day it'd been keeping me alive.  Talking helped, since it kept me from thinking of my friends this thing had eaten.  "Anarchy."

"Individual capability.  An extension of this... sorcery rule.  Why not let the world decide, why enforce such ideals?"

"You've circled back to the start of this again."  I pointed out.  "Next you try to explain how religion causes us to chase after the same set of manic tendencies over and over."

"Well..." It paused.  "If this is circling back around, then maybe perhaps it'd be better to get back to the meal then?"


The Cht-Rang come from the realms of Hollow, a very deep and very ancient part of Orphos. Within the Hollow, some believe ancient species and empires hide from the world long before Humans, Ursyklon or Tengu came to be. The Cht-Rang believe their kind came to Orphos from the Sacred Fist, an ancient asteroid that impacted Orphos billions ago. The Cht-Rang are one of a dozen stone-races who find the carbon lifeforms of the surface alien and strange.

Cht-Rang like to talk philosophy with those they catch, especially in regards to religion. Cht-Rang like to eat and catch prey that come across them. The Cht-Rang usually eat the stony creatures of the Hollow and the underground realms. Of course, they can find and each organic life. But the difference between the hard, stony creatures and those of flesh and bone, is that Ropers get a high from organic life. Especially Ursyklon, something about Ursyklon is addictive to Ropers.

A cadre of Ropers have moved underneath the Blood Quarter. Being solitary creatures, though, they tend to compete for victims that fall between the cracks from the vampyres. They know very little of Crux, and think the city and the stories about general and true for all organics across the surface, despite claims otherwise.

One last note: Ropers or Chk-Rang have no protections according to Ithic law. Most don't even know or acknowledge Ith as a state- they find the concept of governance amusing and absurd. All Ropers are considered unsorcerous, the rare sort of monster that are unprotected, and tend to act in ways that make most who hunt them feel no guilt whatsoever. If what the Chk-Rang believe is true about the Hollow, though, it could mean that they are just part of some larger, silicate lifeform civilization that has yet to make its presence to known to the rest of the world...

Roper Aspects: Stony-Skinned Roper; Ursyklon Blood Addiction; Six Sticky Strands;  Flammable
Roper Stunts
Silicate Flesh. Ropers are monstrously tough.  They have two more Physical Stress boxes than organics do.  Further, they have Armor:2, reducing all physical stress dealt against them by 2 shifts.  Their Armor cannot be used against fire.
Pull. Ropers have a +2 on Forceful rolls to create advantages that involve grappling or entangling others with their strands.
Eat Their Strength.  A Roper can spend a fate point and cause anyone it has grappled to take on the moderate consequence Strength Sapped.
Spell Resistance.  A Roper's flesh is resistant to some forms of magic.  It gains a +2 to its Physique, Reflex or Will against major spells.
Ambush Hunter.  Ropers hunt from the darkness, and as such gain a +2 on Stealth while waiting to ambush someone.
Vulnerable To Fire (Drawback).  Roper flesh is easily ignited.  Those attacking a Roper with fire gain a +4 instead of +2 when invoking its flammable aspect.
Barely Moves (Drawback).  A Roper can barely move, if at all.  Given time, it'll slide gently and be able to move from place to place.  But it is too slow for a Roper to be able to flee danger, even if given a head start.

Note on one of these drawbacks.  Vulnerable to Fire I've decided to treat as a stunt those fighting a Roper get access to, if they are aware of it.  In its case, it helps the whole flame weakness thing along, to stay in traditional flavor of Ropers and all that.  I think using stunts as a method for flaws is kewl, and reading the Atomic Robo RPG has sort of given better ways to implement it than my sloppy work.  

Also, these were just my rough notes for my home game... I imagine it could be easier to just make this up as one went along, but... eh?  Why not?

Still, always glad for any ways to improve! :D