Talk:Hunch (3.5e Creature)
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My first creature submission is a monster I intend to unleash on players for an upcoming game this weekend. It started as a conclusion to a long-running joke among the players and I thought it might be useful to DM's who deal with players that over-prepare for encounters.
Early on in my current campaign, a spellcaster NPC responsible for bringing the group together was killed off, partially because I felt he was hogging too much of the players' spotlight and partially because I wanted to dispose of him and focus on running the game now that he had served his purpose. He later appeared to the party's dwarven fighter (as a ghost) and warned him that he had a "hunch" they would need to stick close by their weapons. The dwarf took this perfectly literally and has since been on the hunt for the elusive hunch as if it were a creature! Party members have reacted to his fruitless quest with anything from outright scoffing to sarcastically encouraging him to continue the chase, but I had a different idea...
THE FIRST ENCOUNTER
The initial encounter with the hunch was relatively straightforward; the creature appeared to, and only to, the dwarf, who swore he saw it but nobody else did (since it was invisible, but had come from his mind, I chose to allow him to see it as a means of continuing the joke). The party's human cleric decided to use command in an attempt to cause the creature to reveal itself, which I allowed even though the spell technically doesn't include that command as a sort of reward for smart play.
So, the creature is commanded to reveal itself, and does so in the only way that will allow it to hide; it simultaneously activates darkness as it "appears". Everyone rolls initiative. It gets a nat 20 and ends up going first. I have the hunch fire a scorching ray at the dwarf from within the field of darkness for a total of 14 fire damage. The dwarf takes it but is hurting pretty bad.
Now the party is faced with the obstacle of how to accurately attack a medium size creature that is hiding in a 20 foot dome of darkness. A human fighter specializing in the spiked chain decides on the tactic of five-foot-adjusting into the darkness and swinging the chain (at a reach of 15 foot due to his unique powerful build, which is a story for another time) in the hopes that the creature is still relatively close to the center. This provokes an attack of opportunity, which the creature takes, doing the only thing it really can and grabbing the chain with a grapple. It loses. Horribly. And so it is grappled.
From here it became a relative non-challenge as the dwarf bull rushed the creature out of the darkness, where the halfling rogue got a critical hit on it and the human cleric finished it off with a coup de grace (it was relatively helpless while grappled).
So what did I learn? If you're going to use this creature, use it from a distance, never try to grapple anything with it, and make sure it's moving around in that darkness as it fires off the scorching ray instead of assuming no one will be able to find their way to it in the darkness; once that chain grappled it, the party had a relatively exact tether to its location!
A LITTLE HELP?
I'd be very appreciative of any notes you care to provide on balancing the creature, which was created primarily using the rules for monster creation presented in the Monster Manual and the rules for assigning level adjustment (which I ultimately decided not to allow, although I had considered him an LA +4 initially) presented in the Savage Species supplement, with of course feats taken from the Player's Handbook. Additionally, if anyone would like to produce artwork of the hunch for his page, you are more than encouraged.