Friday, May 14, 2010

The Zobo Bird

Another in a series of posts of monsters inspired by Amazing Monsters: Verses to Thrill and Chill a wonderful collection of whimsical monster verses. This is definitely in my Appendix N. I'd like more whimsy in the game, and I'd especially like a more different 'fey'; something more Midsummer Nights Dream or folk tale like than simply invisible pixies with darts. They'll be there too, for sure.

One of my few disappointments in the Yggsburgh hardback was the 'Wychwood' encounters which amounted to little more than wood elves, satyrs and centaurs. All of these creatures could be all too easily interpreted as bags of hit dice with no mystery whatsoever; by the book that's pretty much all they are.
I'll certainly be following Mandragora as he's already done real research into all this.

So, here it is:


The Zobo Bird

Do you think we skip,
Do you think we hop,
Do you think we flip,
Do you think we flop,
Do you think we trip
This fearful measure
And hop and hip
For personal pleasure?

O no, O no,
we are full of woe
From top to toe:
It's the Dread Zobo,
The Zobo Bird

He brings us bane,
He brings us blight,
He brings us pain
By day and night:
And so we must
Though it take all day
Dance or bust
Till he flies away.

Away, away!
O don't delay.
Go Zobo, go,
O Zobo bird!

by Frank A. Collymore


I take this as a creation of some fey power that decreed all their guests were to party and dance - OR ELSE. So it must be a fairly fearsome encounter, though avoidable IF the secrets of the bird are known and one can actually take the time to do nothing but dance or sing.

But what does the Zobo Bird look like?

Is it of fearsome countenance?



Or is more like the dread Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with 'nasty big pointy teeth'.


It'll do you a trick, mate!








We'll go with that.

The Zobo Bird
Frequency: Rare
No. Appearing: 1, possibly 2 (mated pair)
Armor Class: 5 (1E) 15 (C&C)
Move: 10"/50" fly
Hit Dice: 6
% in Lair: 25 %
Treasure Type: 5 (C&C), D
No. of Attacks: 3
Damage/Attack: 1-8/1-8/2d6
Special Attacks: Flyby Attack
Special Defenses: Twilight Vision
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Low
Saves: P (C&C)
Alignment: Neutral
Size: S (1' long)
Type: Magical Beast
Experience: 180+6/hp

(Forgive the amalgamated Castles and Crusades and 1E stat block. Use what you use, ignore the rest.)

An unassuming bird, the zobo patrols portions of fey forests that are prescribed for merriment. No reaction roll is necessary; unless the zobo bird sees you singing or dancing, it will attack with fierceness. Drinking alcoholic beverages is ok if part of a drinking song, but otherwise you're Zobo prey. No training in singing or dancing is required, as a zobo was born to value enthusiasm not skill. A zobo may remain to enforce merriment for 1d6 turns. However, if a 6 is rolled the zobo remains vigilant until sunrise or sunset.

The zobo is especially deadly because of its flyby attack. It can dive from above, moving a portion of its movement rate (even using your edition's charging rules), make its attack and fly the remainder of its movement. The best course of action is to wait the zobo out with singing or dancing. After all, whatever fey power set the zobo to the forest is also interested in merriment. But if one insists upon dourly fighting the beast missile weapons and long pole arms set to receive the dive attacking bird are your best option.