MSRD:Researching Creature Weaknesses

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Researching Creatures

Researching a creature and learning its weaknesses will increase the likelihood of victory in the ultimate confrontation.

A hero can uncover secrets about a particular creature or type of creature through research. The success of any such endeavor is measured with Research skill checks.

Researching a creature takes 1d4 hours plus an additional 1d4 hours if the creature is unique or has traits unlike other members of its species. The type of information gleaned in this amount of time depends on the hero’s Research check result, as shown below.

Type of Information Research Check DC
Type Traits
Reveals a creature’s type and any traits common to that type. 15
Species Traits
Reveals a specific creature’s Species Traits. 20
Unique Traits
Reveals the unique attributes and weaknesses (if any) of a specific creature. 25

Creature Weaknesses

Although a creature’s type and species determine many of its traits and abilities, GMs are encouraged to alter a creature’s physiology, behavior, abilities, tactics, and defenses when it serves the story or to confound players who think they know everything about their opponents.

The rules provided allow GMs to build custom monsters and ascribe special qualities to them. When designing a creature, the GM should also think of ways the creature can be defeated. From the heroes’ point of view, a creature’s weaknesses are more important than its abilities. Assigning weaknesses to creatures gives under-powered or poorly equipped heroes a fighting chance.

Table: Sources of Weakness lists many sources to which a creature may be vulnerable. A source can be a specific object, location, substance, sound, sensation, or activity. How the creature interacts with a source of weakness is left up to the GM, although most sources must be in close proximity to the creature (if not touching the creature) to affect it. GMs may roll randomly on the table, choose a source that suits the creature, or devise their own.

Source Effects

After determining a creature’s source of weakness, the GM needs to decide how the creature reacts when confronted by the source. Pick an effect that seems appropriate for the creature and the source.

A creature gets either a Fortitude or Will saving throw to overcome or resist the source of weakness; the DC of the save varies depending on the source’s strength:

Strength of Source Save DC
Easily resistible 10
Moderate 15
Strong 20
Overpowering 25

Creatures usually react to a source of weakness in one of six ways:

Addiction: The creature is compelled to ingest, imbibe, or inhale the source. The source must be within 5 feet of the creature to affect it. On a successful Will save, the creature negates the compulsion. On a failed save, the creature spends a full-round action indulging its addiction, then may resume normal actions while suffering one or more of the following effects (GM’s choice):

  • Creature takes a –2 penalty to Dexterity and Wisdom.
  • Creature takes a –2 penalty on attack rolls and skill checks.
  • Creature loses 10% of its current hit points.
  • Blindness: The creature has a 50% miss chance in combat, loses any Dexterity bonus to Defense, moves at half speed, takes a –4 penalty on Strength and Dex­terity-based skills, and cannot make Spot checks. Foes gain a +2 bonus on attack rolls to hit the creature.
  • Deafness: The creature takes a –4 penalty to initiative checks and has a 20% chance of spell failure when casting spells with verbal components. The creature cannot make Listen checks.
  • Creature loses one of its extraordinary, supernatural, or spell-like special qualities.

Each effect lasts 1d4 hours. Even creatures immune to mind-affecting effects are susceptible to a source-induced addiction.

Attraction: The creature is compelled to move as fast as it can toward the source. On a successful Will save, the creature resists the compulsion. On a failed save, the creature moves toward the source at its maximum speed, taking the safest and most direct route. Once it reaches the source, the compelled creature seeks to possess it. If the source isn’t something the creature can easily possess, it gets a new save every round to break the compulsion.

Even creatures immune to mind-affecting effects are susceptible to a source-induced attraction.

Aversion: The creature finds the source repellant. On a failed save, the creature cannot approach or remain within 1d4 x10 feet of it. In the case of traveling sounds, the creature moves away from the source as fast as it can, stopping only when it can no longer hear it. On a successful Will save, the creature overcomes its aversion and may approach the source freely.

A repelled creature that cannot move the requisite distance from the source suffers one or more of the following effects (GM’s choice):

  • Creature takes a –2 morale penalty to Strength and Dexterity.
  • Creature takes a –2 morale penalty on attack rolls, damage rolls, and skill checks.
  • Creature takes a –2 penalty to Defense.
  • Blindness: See Addiction, above.
  • Deafness: See Addiction, above.
  • Creature loses one of its extraordinary, supernatural or spell-like special qualities.

Each effect lasts until the creature leaves the affected area and for 1d4 rounds afterward. Even creatures immune to mind-affecting effects are susceptible to a source-induced aversion.

Fascination: The creature finds the source fascinating and ceases all attacks and movement upon seeing, hearing, smelling, or otherwise perceiving it. On a successful Will save, the creature negates the fascination and can act normally. On a failed Will save, the creature can take no actions, and foes gain a +2 bonus on attack rolls against the creature. Any time the creature is attacked or takes damage, it gets a new save to negate the fascination. Otherwise, the fascination lasts as long as the creature can see, hear, smell, or otherwise perceive the source.

Even creatures immune to mind-affecting effects are susceptible to a source-induced fascination.

Fear: The creature is frightened by the source. If it fails its Will save, the creature flees from the source as fast as it can. If unable to flee, the creature takes a –2 morale penalty on attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, and saving throws. On a successful save, the creature overcomes the fear and can approach the source or otherwise act without penalty.

Even creatures immune to mind-affecting effects are susceptible to a source-induced fear.

Harm: Contact with the source or proximity to the source harms the creature in some fashion. On a successful Fortitude save, the creature negates the effect or, in the case of instant death or disintegration, takes damage instead. GMs may choose one of the following effects or invent their own:

  • Blindness and deafness: See Addiction, above. The blindness and deafness last 1d4 hours.
  • Creature loses all of its supernatural and spell-like special qualities.
  • Creature is turned to stone instantly.
  • Creature loses 50% of its current hit points.
  • Creature drops dead. On a successful save, the creature takes 3d6+15 points of damage instead.
  • Creature is disintegrated. On a successful save, the creature takes 5d6 points of damage instead.

Even creatures immune to effects that require Fortitude saves are susceptible to source-induced harm.

Table: Sources of Weakness
d% Source d% Source
01 Alcohol or moonshine 49 Lilac-scented candles
02 Amber 50 Mathematical equations
03 Animated cartoons 51 Morphine
04 Archways 52–53 Nerve gas
05–06 Bells or chimes 54 Nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
07 Books written by William Blake 55 Novocaine
08 Bunnies 56–57 Number “8”
09–10 Cancerous organs 58 Pearls
11 Carbonated soft drinks 59 Penicillin
12–13 Cats 60 Photo flashes
14 Chrome 61–62 Plastic or vinyl
15–16 Classical music 63–64 Played violin or electric guitar
17 Clocks 65 Playgrounds
18 Clowns 66–67 Plutonium
19 Cocaine 68 Poppies
20–21 Country music 69 Pulsing strobe lights
22–23 Crosses or crucifixes 70–71 Radiation
24 Crows 72 Radio waves
25 Dogs 73 Rubber
26 Elvis Presley memorabilia 74 Running water
27 Fast cars 75–76 Silver
28 Fast foods 77 Sodium benzoate (food preservative)
29–30 Fluorescent lights 78–79 Sodium chloride (salt)
31 Games of chance 80–81 Specific phrase or word
32 Gold or iron pyrite (fool’s gold) 82 Specific song
33 Grave dirt 83 Spoken Latin
34–35 Heavy metal music 84 Stuffed animals
36–37 Holy symbols 85 Sumerian or Egyptian hieroglyphs
38–39 Holy water 86–87 Sunlight
40 Hospitals 88–89 The Bible
41 Ice cream 90 Tinfoil
42 Insecticide (DDT) 91–92 Toxic waste
43 Jack o’-lanterns 93–94 Triangles
44 Keys 95 Television infomercials
45–46 Laughter of children 96 Television static
47 Laundry detergent 97–98 White rice
48 Lavender 99–100 X-rays




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