Thursday, December 20, 2018

GFA18 - Wampus Cougar

The wampus cougar is my next-to-last mountain lion variation for the 2018 Gongfarmer's Almanac. It's physically the weakest mountain lion, but also the most deadly. The wampus cat (which originates in Cherokee myth, but was also adopted into American folklore as a fearsome critter) is supposed to have a voice that either kills or foretells death. It's also supposed to shapeshift into a woman, but I decided that for gaming purposes, it was more interesting to separate out that ability, resulting in the were-cougar. 
The various "wail" abilities I gave to the cactus, wampus, and were-cougars ended up being modeled on this one, which was in turn modeled on the folklore. I decided I wasn't quite willing to kill a character for failing a Luck check, but that I was totally willing to kill a character who rolled over double their Luck score. I also thought it would be fun if there was some reward for surviving really well. I initially thought about giving all the mountain lions their own wails, but ultimately decided it only fit with a few of them. Danny Prescott edited all the mountain lions, and provided art for this one.
Art by Danny Prescott 
Wampus cougar: Init +0; Atk claw +2 melee (1d4) or bite +3 melee (1d6) or wail (special); AC 10; HD 3d6; MV fly 20'; Act 1d20; SP ghostly body, pounce, mourner's wail; SV Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +3; AL N; Crit U/d8.
The wampus cougar is smaller than other mountain lions, with longer, silver-white fur that seems to shine in the dark. It floats rather than walks, stalking completely silently, and appears almost unreal as it moves. The sight or sound of a wampus cougar is widely believed to be an omen foretelling death.
If the wampus cougar makes the first attack of combat, it will use its mourner's wail; otherwise it attacks normally. Thereafter, it will alternate attacks between claw, bite, and wail, pouncing when possible.
Ghostly body: The wampus cougar takes half damage from ordinary weapons. It counts as unholy for neutral clerics and lives halfway between our world and the spirit realm.
Pounce: The wampus cougar can pounce to gain an extra d20 attack die and attack with any two different attacks, i.e. claw and bite, bite and wail, wail and claw. The wampus cougar can only pounce if it surprises its victims, attacks first due to initiative, or has taken no damage since its previous attack.
Mourner's wail: The wampus cat caterwauls like a mother crying for lost children. The wampus cougar's wail affects the opponent with the lowest Luck score who hasn't been affected yet today (in case of tie, it targets the opponent with the lowest hit points from among those with lowest Luck). The affected target rolls a Luck check to see how they're affected:

  • Half Luck score or lower - Permanently gain 1 hit point
  • Luck score or lower - The target faints and immediately comes to. Lose 1 hit point and fall prone
  • Higher than Luck score - The target loses half her current hit points (rounded up) and falls prone
  • Higher than double Luck score - The target drops to 0 hit points and begin bleeding out

Undead crit: A wampus cougar rolls 1d8 on the undead crit table.

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