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………
The Monster Manual contains three different flavours of Hound; there’s the ever-popular Hell Hound, the shadowy Shadow Hound (good for urban adventures!) and the Wild Hunt Hound – or, as I like to call him, the Constipated Skunk Hound.
Constipated Skunk Hound
Given that I have the luxury of a choice of three, I’m going to pick the Wild Hunt Hound this time around. At Level 21 he’s one Epic Doggie that is an example of what Fourth Edition D&D does best: great storytelling potential mixed with kick-ass tactical coolness.
On the storytelling front, think about the name for a minute. This is a hound from the Wild Hunt. Y’know – this Wild Hunt.
There’s your Epic, right there (Åsgårdsreien, by Peter Nicolai Arbo)
Not such a Constipated Skunk Hound now, is he?
The Wild Hunt is one huge topic unto itself. Rather than waste pixels I encourage you to head on over to Wikipedia (best rpg supplement ever) to read all about it. If it doesn’t get you itching to recreate the Hunt as a major event in your campaign, nothing will.
Back to the Hound. Here’s a summary of the statblock, in a nutshell:
Wild Hunt Hounds are scary. If you’re within 50’ of them you are at –2 to all defences because you are quaking in your boots. Unless you’re immune to fear, of course.
They can fly. Here’s an important piece of advice. Never be underneath a flying dog. Especially when they cock their leg.
Speed 10, Endurance +24, Stealth +24. They will not tire, will outrun you and you won’t even see them coming. They’re like the Predator mixed with Usain Bolt. That’s a pretty awesome combination.
They bite. One bite, and you’re Slowed and can’t Teleport. Another bite, and you’re immobilized. The third bite is the worst. In terms of Epic damage dealing, their bite doesn’t bring on a whole load of hurt (just 1d8+10, or 1d8+20 if you’re immobilized) but imagine a whole pack of these suckers, each harrying the same target. It’s possible to go from “Safe” to “Immobilized and royally screwed” in just a single round, and that’s not a good place to be when there’s a Wild Hunt going on around your ass. No sir.
The Monster Manual already provides a great encounter setup, and it’s the one I would use too – 4 Wild Hunt Hounds and a
Biryani Bralani of Autumn Winds. The Bralani is not a curry but is a fantastic high-level Eladrin sword-wielding manifestation of the season, and the perfect Wild Huntsman to go with these Hounds. I would suggest using this encounter as a part of a much larger Hunt – a tableaux scene amid the churning chaos of the Hunt itself.
Now imagine the PCs having to rescue an ally or essential contact from the path of the Hunt.
Good luck with that.
The alternative is to go down the Disney-slash-human-interest path. A puppy was left at the doorstep of a local woodcutter’s cottage after the last Wild Hunt passed by. It rapidly outgrew and dominated the other dogs in the area and is in grave danger of terrorizing the neighbourhood. Problem is that the woodcutter won’t part with him. Can the heroes recognize the cute doggie for what he is, convince the woodcutter to part with him, find the Hunt and get him to join the pack? If that’s not the making of a one-shot Epic Skill Challenge based gaming session, I don’t know what is.
Till next time!