Monday, April 12, 2010

Monster Mash: The Necroton

There's been a bit of talk about Orcus over at "A Paladin in a Citadel" and that got me to dust off my copy of Dragon #42.

Therein I found a strange monster called the Necroton.  The description states:
A greedy wizard is said to have designed the first Necroton. There
can be no doubt that this is the case, for the appearance of the metalbodied
Necroton is convincing proof of its artificial origin. At first
glance this creature appears to be some sort of giant crab. Its large,
oval-shaped metallic body and multiple sets of legs give this impression,
as do its two forepincers. However, its luminous central eye
marks it as something quite more than this.
The creature is golem-like and designed to go forth and find treasure for its greedy wizard master.

What makes the creature notable to me isn't its purpose, its picture or its stat block.  What I like most is the way the article reveals the creature to the reader.  The creator of the Necroton, a Mr. Phil Meyers, was very thoughtful in its genesis.

First, he reveals the purpose of the creature (steal stuff).  Then he explains how one would go about making a Necroton should one be so inclined.  He lists the spells (Wish, Polymorph Any Object, Wizard Eye, Geas, Hold Monster, Fireball, and Detect Magic) that are required to create the beast.

I like how each spell has a connection to the powers of the creature.  The creature can cast fireballs, so Fireball is used in its creation.  The creature goes out and performs a mission, so you cast Geas.  It can detect magic with its central eye; Detect Magic, Wizard Eye.  Paralysis Ray = Hold Monster.

Then there's a neat part that explains how to use the Message spell and a Crystal Ball to basically control the Necroton "remotely".

Finally, toward the end of the article, the author describes strategies the Necroton might use when it encounters it's "prey" -- in this case the heroes.

All in all a very thoughtful and complete treatment of an unusual monster.  This kind of detail goes a long way when deciding if the creature has a place in your game.


Brunomac said...

Wow, probably haven't seen that ish of Dragon for many more years than I care to count, but recognized the beastie right away. I totally forgot the description though, but it is pretty well thought out.

Autonomy and Systems said...

Not a gaming comment, but the flavor of the write-up just has me thinking about typing programs in BASIC - before even shareware...