Awaken Online carried me through my daily update deadlines, but I am still committed to finishing old projects, if only so that I can point to them and say “look, I finish things, look at all these things I finished” when new fans are worried because I’ve missed an update or whatever. So we’re back in Vestitas today.
Summary: A Chaos mutant lurks at the edge of Imperial territory, and preys on anyone unlucky enough to wander into her neck of the jungle, using her snake-like lower body to constrict them to death and then feeding on their flesh, sustaining herself for weeks off of every adult human she consumes.
Discovery: If the characters have developed a reputation as monster hunters (for either faction), they may be contacted by the authorities in Chaos controlled 3.04 or Imperium controlled 04.06 and asked to deal with the creature causing the disappearances. If the characters are passing through the hex and roll a 1 on the random encounter table, the monster ambushes them. Otherwise, they find the remains of a previous victim half-devoured before the mutant was driven off by misfortune.
Exploration: If the mutant ambushes the characters, she will retreat once she is heavily wounded. If she has a character caught in her coils when she becomes heavily wounded, she will attempt to retreat with that character still caught, but will not attempt to recapture a character who escapes her grapple if she’s still being pursued (but will attempt to recapture a character if she has dodged her pursuers). If the characters lose the mutant, or if they kill her and would like to track her lair down, they can track her through the jungle with a Routine(+20) Survival check. If they are stumbling across tracks from the discovery of a corpse, this is instead a Challenging(+0) Survival check to follow the older trail. Characters examining the corpse may also make a Challenging(+0) Medicae check to determine that the victim was crushed to death by the coils of a massive serpent.
Confrontation: The medusa’s cavernous lair is strewn with the crushed bones of devoured victims. If pursued to her lair, the mutant will fight to the death. She can also be negotiated with. She has an aggressive personality, a starting disposition of 15 for normal humans or 25 for anyone who is visibly a mutant. She has an intense loathing for normal humanity, devouring humans as much out of spite as out of any need for sustenance (though an obligate carnivore, nothing stops her from eating wild animals, and indeed she often has to fall back on that when no humans are passing through her neck of the jungle). Any social interaction with her takes a -20 unless the speaker is visibly a mutant of some kind. Any effort to get her to leave her hex takes a -10 penalty to the disposition check unless the primary purpose of the trip is to kill humans (including if the purpose is to kill specific humans, i.e. “we want you to help us kill the PDF in a village” or “we want you to help us assassinate a sorcerer”).
Rewards: As mentioned above, the mutant is a potential ally. Additionally, if the characters were put on the trail of the mutant by Imperium or Chaos authorities, they will be rewarded with 1d5 Influence if they can bring back the corpse of the slain beast as proof that they’ve killed it.