November and Beyond

November looks like a pretty busy month, weighing in at three products that I want.

I'd forgotten about the Beholder Collectors Set, which in addition to a combined expenditure for Monster Vault and Famine in Far-Go promises to weaken my wallet (savings ends). The set runs $35 and has four beholders, and when compared to eBay prices that's a really good deal.

They've also posted up a preview for a (the?) beholder. This one is only level 9 and not a zombie nor drinks blood, so that's a plus. My only experience with a beholder was back in 3rd Edition, where we slaughtered it effortlessly (perhaps accidentally) thanks to a min-maxed arcane archer that could shoot fireball enhanced arrows modified with Elemental Substitution (ice) because we were going up against a red dragon. The group in my Tendrils of Fate campaign is good enough for a gauth, but I think I'll hold off and let them gain a level or two before throwing the real deal at them.

Like a few of their kin, beholders cannot be flanked, which sucks for rogues, and their bite is fairly tame (17 damage on average). I don't think anyone would really bother with it since they can fire two out of ten eye rays at a time without provoking opportunity attacks despite being ranged, and if you start within 5 squares of it? Well, it gets to shoot you. For free. With no action required. I would say count your blessings that it's random, but they've got some nasty eye rays in their arsenal.

I checked, and they have almost the exact same abilities as a 3rd Edition beholder (which is not a good thing, let me tell you), the exception that instead of a charm monster ray they get brilliant ray. Here's a list in case you somehow aren't familiar with an older beholder:

  • Charm ray: Dominates for a turn.
  • Wounding ray: Deals lots of necrotic damage.
  • Sleep ray: Immobilizes you, and if you fail the save you fall asleep (save ends).
  • Telekinesis ray: No damage, just slides you around a lot.
  • Slowing ray: Has only slightly less average damage than the wounding ray, but also slows (save ends).
  • Brilliant ray: Minor amount of radiant damage and ends. Bitch.
  • Terror ray: Good amount of psychic damage and you are pushed your Speed.
  • Petrifying ray: You're immediately petrified (save ends), and when you shake it off you're still immobilized. Holy save-or-screw, Batman!
  • Death ray: Hefty amount of necrotic damage, and also dazes if the target is bloodied before of after you resolve damage. If you fail your first save, you're also weakened, and if you fail that save, you die. 
  • Disintegrate ray: Minor damage, but also causes ongoing damage.
So, hmm. At first I didn't care for petrifying ray, but really it's a lot like the stunned condition except that you get a lot of damage resistance, and you can still shake it off so it's not quite a "save or fuck-off" effect. Immobilized ain't so bad, especially if you have ranged attacks at any capacity. The really nasty one is death ray, because if you're bloodied at all it starts the doom counter. In case all of this doesn't impress you with just how nasty this fucker can be, when you bloody it, it can also use a recharge 6 ability that lets it pepper you with three eye rays instead of two, and its central eye locks down your encounter and daily attack powers for a turn. It can do this as a minor action, whenever it wants.

Famine in Far-Go
The first Gamma World expansion will add more cards, to some's dissent and other's delight, that allow you to reflect an allegiance (if temporary) to a "cryptic alliance". A group can all be allied with the same group, or everyone can draw one at random, but one thing to keep in mind is that its an optional rule. I'm sure many will conveniently overlook that bit. Each of the cards provides you with a benefit that gives your character an advantage to the detriment of the rest of the party. The efficacy of many will hinge on whats going on, such as untapped Alpha mutations or penalizing Omega Charge checks at the end of the encounter.

As for the actual adventure, expect mold, mold men, and aliens. I can't say that that the prospect of mold particularly excites me, but all the same I'll be glad to get my hands on more origins, and if nothing else there's another "high-level" threat, though I find it odd that an alien ship is actually weaker than a much smaller man-made robot. Maybe they used lots of American parts to repair their ship?

The death saucer is an alien ship that fires death rays, drops a neutron bomb, and can teleport in minion shock troopers occasionally. It can make four death ray attacks each round, and has a solo action ability that it can use up to two times during the encounter (which is really another way of forcing the monster to ration the Action Points that it would have gotten in D&D). So, everything one expects from a solo monster. However, there's one thing I take issue with: neutron bomb. It recharges once bloodied, but when it becomes bloodied it immediately lands (no action), and while it's grounded it cannot use neutron bomb (or confinement ray).

Oversight, or am I reading it wrong?

December's Dragon and Dungeon
Not much dropped here, except that modrons are coming back? o.O

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