Welcome to the first Random Monster Monday of 2011! Every Monday I let the Thumb of Fate loose on the 4e Monster Manual and try to come up with a scenario or use for whichever critter it finds.
This week, the Thumb of Fate brings us………
This stalagmite with an attitude problem has been a part of D&D for a very long time – since 1975 according to Wikipedia – and rates as one of the iconic creatures of the game. Any old schooler will tell you tales of their entire party being wiped out by a Roper. Good times.
The Fourth Edition version of the Roper is much the same as it always has been, though its placement at Level 14 in the Paragon Tier gives me pause for thought. I would have expected Ropers to first make an appearance around Level 4 (just as the heroes are beginning to get cocky) and lose their usefulness in the low-Paragon Tier when adventurers move out of the Dungeon and on to pastures new. A Level 14 Elite Roper would be something I would use to remind them that even the lowly monsters they have fought before can level up too. This would be a Friday Night Special Roper that has lurked in the deepest Underdark and eaten more adventurers than they have had iron rations. Your run-of-the-mill Roper though – Level 6 and ass-scary for a 4th level party who are still wet behind the ears.
One quick trip into the Monster Builder, and…..
There. Done. Much better.
When it comes to tactics, Ropers have two important though oft-neglected features: Darkvision, and Spider Climb. Quite why you would want to climb spiders is beyond me, but put those two together and you have a monster that looks like a stalactite, can hang from the ceiling like a stalactite, lurk in the deepest darkest corners like a stalactite and attack unwitting adventurers with their tentacles like a stalactite. Sneaky things, those stalactites.
The only other thing you need is an NPC. Give the PCs a henchman just so he can mysteriously disappear from the back of the group while they’re not looking. Then pick off the Wizard – with just a roll of the dice he’s hanging 25’ up above with tentacles wrapped around his limbs. Until he breaks free (don’t forget the falling damage) he’s unable to cast spells and the other PCs are going to need to watch their area attacks. Oh, and don’t forget that the Ropers are lurking in pitch darkness so the other heroes don’t have a clue what is above them.
Add in a few other ground-based critters that come out of the walls to clean up the mess (Giant Rats, for example), and you have what I believe is called a situation.