Written by: James S.
An Animated Armor is a construct brought to life by magic or other supernatural means, devoid of any living being inside. It is typically crafted from metal, with a cold and emotionless appearance. These constructs are animated by arcane or mystical energies, and their purpose can vary from guarding ancient tombs to serving as protectors of magical artifacts. When encountering an Animated Armor in the eerie setting of the "Chthonic Lighthouse - Blind Wyrm" Czepeku battlemap, consider these elements:
- A giant suit of animated armour with a two-handed hammer blocks a narrow bridge.
- Its attacks are slow but devastating.
- The tail of a massive, mucus-covered serpent moves the armour like a puppet.
- Tiny flesh-eating invertebrates carpet the bridge, gnawing on anyone who stands still.
- The serpent’s head spits slime on anyone who attacks its tail.
Here, the players face off against a massive suit of animated armour. The key to an encounter like this is to decide what causes the armour to move. What gives it power? Use your answer to lend the encounter some flavour, and reiterate that flavour by mashing the creature up with some weird and interesting themes. As a guardian of the ancient lighthouse, this armour has stood on the bridge for uncounted centuries. But now the tower has been corrupted, and the sentinel serves a different master. The animating force behind it is the enormous serpent that has consumed the tower’s light. It moves the armour around from the inside with its gruesome fleshy tail.
Running this scenario can be reduced to a series of ‘if x, then y’ statements:
- If players deal enough damage to the serpent’s tail at the back of the armour, then the serpent will withdraw its tail. The armour crumbles immediately.
- If players engage either the armour or the tail in melee, then the armour prepares to smash them with its hammer.
- If players damage the serpent’s tail in melee, then the serpent’s head aims a glob of mucus at them, possibly causing them to slip.
- If players do end up on the floor, then the armour can smash them more easily with its slow attacks. If you want to be really mean, make the armour prioritise these fallen targets.
- If players stand (or lie) still on the bridge for more than one round, then the insects begin to swarm up their legs, dealing small amounts of damage. It takes time to bat them away.
These if/then statements turn a single large enemy into its own environment. There are particular ways to defeat this creature more easily, but there are hazards associated with those actions. The clever way to beat it is to damage the serpent's tail enough that it slithers out of the armour or is severed altogether. But if the players get too close, the serpent’s mucus spit might cause them to fall, leaving them vulnerable to the armour’s deadly hammer. If they stay back and pepper it with missiles or magic, the invertebrates will swarm and overwhelm them.
The armour should be almost too difficult to defeat on its own. Take a regular stat block, double its health, and make it physically large. Give it a scary amount of damage, but reduce its speed by a lot—perhaps more than fifty percent. It is slow, but if it manages to pin down a player and crush them beneath its hammer, they won’t stand a chance. Importantly, if the armour does use its hammer, you should give it a ‘wind up’ round to telegraph the massive attack. Describe the scraping, clanking noise as the armour lifts the heavy stone slab over its head. Even if the players scramble out of the way, describe the shower of stone splinters and insect carcasses thrown into the air by the impact. Give it some weight.
Give the serpent’s tail a separate health block about half that of the suit of armour. If the players manage to defeat the tail, describe how the armour begins to fall apart. Tell them how the serpent’s ichor pours out of the armour like luminous blood. Tell them how the serpent roars in pain as its mangled tail slithers from the bridge.
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