The Hydra

It was late last night when I finished this post. I decided I’d go to sleep and go over it real quick in the morning to make small tweaks before copy/pasting it into the blog. Then my alarm failed to go off. I still don’t know what. When I woke up naturally (and two hours late) it was still on and set to the right time (AM, not PM). I think it may be broken. Anyway, I’m backdating this to two hours ago, and let’s all just agree to pretend that it was posted on time.

Summary: A many-headed hydra lurks in the jungle here. Though its diet does not usually contain humans, it regularly feeds on animals of just about human size, and is perfectly willing to feed on something new so long as it smells like meat and is big enough to be worth the trouble. Wouldn’t you know it, but the party is both of those things.

Discovery: Before rolling for a random encounter in this hex, first roll a d10. On a 1-5, the party encounters the hydra. On a 6-10, roll for a random encounter as normal.

Exploration: If a character succeeds on a Challenging(+0) Survival check, they are able to find hydra tracks that they can follow back to its lair. This happens even if the Survival check was made while looking for something else, like food or shelter.

Confrontation:  The hydra’s hit locations are its first, second, and third head, which cover 1-10, 11-20, and 21-30 respectively, its torso, which is 31-70, and its legs, which are 71-85 and 86-00. If it takes critical wounds from any damage source but energy to any head (including from righteous fury hits), the head will immediately fall off (if there’s anything left) and two new ones will grow. This heals the hydra of all critical wounds it may have suffered, removes any critical wound effects it took to that head (including preventing the hydra from dying), and restores one quarter of the hydra’s maximum wounds. Additionally, the new head will become a new hit location from 31-40, shrinking the torso hit location down to 41-70. A fifth head will push the torso out to 51-80, while reducing each leg hit location by five points each, to 81-90 and 91-00. The sixth head will reduce the torso again, the seventh will reduce the legs, and so on, until the hydra reaches a maximum of nine heads, with a torso hit location of 91-96, and the legs at 97-98 and 99-00. Every head severed after reaching this maximum will not regrow. Each new head also increases the maximum number of hits the hydra can land in a single melee attack action by one.

If the hydra has five or fewer heads and is being fought outside of its lair, it will retreat after taking heavy wounds. If the hydra is up to at least six heads, it will only retreat after taking critical wounds to its torso or one of its legs. If tracked back to its cavernous lair, the hydra will fight to the death.

Rewards: The hydra is a result of Chaos mutation, and each of its heads contains a gland that can be used to trigger the growth of extra limbs on a humanoid creature. Extracting and preparing the gland requires a Very Hard(-30) Medicae check and access to a freshly severed head of the beast (it does not matter if the head was severed by an attack or if it sloughed off in the process of growing new ones), and the process takes about ten minutes. Failing by at least 3 degrees of failure destroys the gland. Once the gland has been prepared, it can be consumed. This grants the character one extra arm as per the Multiple Arms trait, and also inflicts 1d5 Corruption. The hydra can, in theory, be corralled and harvested for extra heads indefinitely if the party is up to building a cage that can contain it, herding the hydra into that cage, and then sniping its heads from outside the cage to collect new glands.

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