Mysterious fane on the banks of the Sea of Ohkotsk

Mysterious fane on the banks of the Sea of Ohkotsk

Monday, 17 August 2015

Monster - Mask Rider

Perhaps I'm not quite sane, but after watching a Kamen Rider show with my son the other day, this emerged from the depths of my subconscious.


AC: 7                                                              
HD: 2                                                                    
Move: 10'                                                
Attacks: special                                      
Damage: see below                            
No. Appearing: 1 (see below)                                      
Save As: Fighter: 1                                          
Morale: n/a                                                      
Treasure Type: nil                                              
Alignment: Neutral                                            
XP value: 150        

(this is for independent form - when riding a host, use the host stats.  See below for details)

When encountered in its independent form, a Mask Rider will appear to be a mask, crafted from some slick material like chitin or lacquered wood and painted in brightly coloured patterns that seem to represent a face.  The combination of the shape of the mask and the colours may evoke the image of a humanoid, insectoid, or animal face.  In its independent form, the Mask Rider will most often be discovered near the body of its most recent host, quiescent and waiting for its next chance.

Should someone finding the Mask Rider in its quiescent form mistake it for an actual mask and attempt to put it on, the creature will immediately and violently inject hooked spines into the flesh and skull, doing 2d6 points of damage, and when fixed will force a “proboscis” down the victim’s throat.  This whole process takes 1d6 rounds, and is extremely painful – the victim must make a save vs death ray or fall unconscious for 1d6 turns.  If the save is successful, the victim will merely writhe in agony, making muffled, inarticulate noises during the attachment process instead.

During the attachment process, bystanders may attempt to remove the Mask in two ways:

1. Attempt to pull the mask free: treat as an open doors attempt.  The victim suffers a further 1d6 damage with each attempt as incompletely seated hooks are torn free.  If successful, the creature will be exposed for the monster it is, and will attempt to creep away on its hooks, which double as legs.

2. Attack the Mask: if the mask is recognised as an attacking monster, the victim’s friends might try to attack it as it is fixing itself to the victim’s face.  In this case, roll to hit as normal (using the Mask’s AC) but damage dealt is divided evenly between the Mask and the victim.

Once fully attached, the Mask may still be removed (by brute force, prying it away from the face, or by cutting it away by forcing a knife or similar between the Mask and its host and sawing at the points of connection), causing 2d6 damage, but attacks will simply harm the host.

If the Mask is permitted to complete its attachment, the victim must make an Ego test to determine whether the Mask can take control of the host’s body:

Mask ego: 4d6  (+1d6 per week of symbiosis)
Host ego: sum of INT+WIS+CHA

Test: roll 1d20 for each, add the result to ego, highest total wins.

If the Mask wins, the host falls completely under the control of the Mask, and the combined organism will try to escape.  When the host is controlled by the Mask, the character becomes an NPC.  A host-Mask symbiote will lurk in dark and lonely places, seeking to surprise and feed on the blood of weaker prey.

If the host wins, he or she will calm (if conscious) and in fact will feel fine – even energized – though when speaking the victim’s voice will seem strangely distorted, as though speaking through a long tube and far away. 

Unfortunately, the Mask obscures the host’s entire face and so the host can’t eat – however, nutrition can be taken in the form of broth, milk, blood, liquidy porridge and the like via a leathery proboscis that will uncoil automatically from somewhere under the Mask when such nutritious liquid materials are within 1 foot. [At the DM’s option, this may mean the host can’t voluntarily consume potions and the like, but must rely on the Mask recognising the mixture as potentially nutritious]

The victim will discover that the Mask has immediately granted the following abilities:

  • Regenerate 1hp/turn (does not regenerate from death)
  • Waterbreathing at will
  • ½ damage from poison gas, obscene vapors and the like – save for zero
  • Immune to dusts, powders and spores that must be inhaled to have an effect

After a long time living with the symbiotic Mask, the host gains the following additional abilities (cumulative):

  • 1 week: Danger sense (if save vs spells succeeds, the host can sense hidden enemies (impossible to backstab or surprise) and traps (+2 on saves or +10% on find/remove checks), +1 to each of STR and DEX. 
  • 2 weeks: +1 to each of STR and DEX, +1 bonus to AC (chitinous growths will be visible on the host’s shoulders and spine), hide in shadows +10%
  • 3 weeks: +1 to each of STR and DEX, +1 bonus to AC (chitinous growths now extend over the chest, thighs and upper arms), Blindsight (host suffers no penalty when sight is obscured by a blindfold or darkness, and can attack invisible opponents without penalty)
  • 4 weeks: +1 bonus to AC (body is now completely covered with chitinous plates and lumps, though the original flesh and tufts of hair are still visible), Hide in shadows +10%

However, these abilities come from the deep (and deepening!) integration between the Mask and its host.  Whenever the host-Mask symbiote is weakened (drops below 50% hp, takes 25% of total hp in damage in one blow, falls unconscious, suffers level drain or damage to INT, WIS or CHA) another Ego test is required, with the host suffering 1d8 penalty.  Note that this is true no matter which is currently in control.

If the host body is killed, the Mask will immediately detatch and fall away, leaving the hideously scarred and half-consumed remains of the host’s face behind.  Once it senses that it is safe (i.e. the threat that killed its host is gone) the Mask will move slowly on a multitude of hooked, chitinous appendages to where it will be safer from scavengers, or in search of a new host.   

Masks may be encountered in one of three circumstances:
Near the remains of a deceased host.
Hiding in cracks or shadows in an area that makes an attractive camp site.
Riding a host creature, in which form it seeks to ambush a lone victim and feed on its blood.     

Mask Riders with hosts are normally solitary hunters, but on rare occasions may gather in small packs of 2-8 (random human, demi-human or humanoid hosts) to allow for breeding.

It is rumoured that a variant form of the Mask Rider has been sighted living in the sewer systems of the largest, most corrupt cities, where larger packs of Mask Riders cooperate to breed more rapidly - emerging at night to snatch living hosts for their young.  

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