Let's Read Threats to the Nentir Vale: Mooncalf
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This was the first time I saw these monsters, but it looks like they first appeared in Heart of Nightfang Spire, one of the modules in the official Third Edition adventure path.
Mooncalves are creatures native to the Far Realm with innate dimensional travel powers. They look like giant bat-winged eyeless squids. Their life cycle is a mystery, but it seems to include regular trips to the middle world, where they spend a few weeks nesting at the top of a mountain or hill, hunting by night and resting by day. The Nentir Vale has a lot of mountains and hills, so they often end up there.
These creatures travel in groups of 2-5 individuals known as “grasps”, and arrive at the middle world roughly every 8 years. They’re not picky about their food and will hunt whatever is available. They do like the flesh of humanoids and their cattle, so if “what’s available” is a village that place will be in serious trouble while the incursion lasts, and might end up getting abandoned or decimated.
Nerathi sages knew how to predict mooncalf incursions with great accuracy, but the knowledge has been lost. All that’s left are the stories of past incursions. Of how Hammerfast was once tormented by a single individual of prodigious size and appetite, or how a hunter was accidentally saved from being eaten by a manticore when a mooncalf appeared and ate the beast instead.
The most popular mooncalf vacation spot, however, is Thunderspire. The things just love the permanent storm at its top, and descend from it to hunt in the surrounding region.
These creatures are intelligent but alien. They can communicate via telepathy but only those who know Deep Speech can even begin to understand their thought patterns. What they can understand ends up being mostly about killing and eating. They will definitely talk to each other and set up clever ambushes for prey, however, using psychic powers to lure their victims into the reach of their tentacles, or to conjure small localized storms.
Mooncalves are Large Aberrant Magical Beasts, with Resistance to Lightning and Thunder 10. They also have Darkvision, so I guess they’re not eyeless after all. Their ground speed is 6 and their flight speed is 8.
Their signature trait is Tentacle Snare, which lets them pull all grabbed creatures with them when moving.
The base model, who makes up those grasps of 2-5. It’s a Level 10 Controller with 112 HP.
The mooncalf’s basic attack is a Reach 4 tentacle rake, and it can use Tentacle Grab to do a little less damage and grab the victim. The monster can have up to 2 grabbed victims, and can release a victim as a free action. The escape DC is 18, and grabbed victims take 5 ongoing damage while the grab lasts.
These tentacle attacks can’t target victims who are already grabbed. Instead, the mooncalf can use Vile Bite on them, which deal physical damage and prevent the target from spending healing surges for a turn.
The mooncalf’s psychic powers are both minor actions. Lure is a ranged attack that targets Will and pulls the target up to 5 squares on a hit. Stormwrack is an encounter power that creates a fireball-sized zone which deals 10 lightning and thunder damage to anyone caught inside. It lasts a turn but can be sustained with further minor actions.
Rarely, a mooncalf will present a peculiar mutation that gives it teleportation powers instead of weather control. Harvesters are Level 10 Skirmishers with 107 HP.
Their physical abilities are all identical to the base model, but instead of Lure and Stormwrack they have Teleport, an encounter power that lets them teleport 10 squares and take all grabbed victims with them.
A mooncalf that managed to grow to a prodigious size and spawn progeny. It will usually be found in the company of that progeny, a group of three or so standard mooncalves.
Sires are Huge in size, and are Level 12 Elite Controllers with 262 HP. They have the same physical attacks as a standard specimen: Tentacle Rake, Tentacle Grab, and Vile Bite. The main different is that they are Reach 6 instead of 4, and are generally more effective due to the beast’s higher level. The sire can use Double Attack to perform any combination of two of these attacks with one standard action.
Sires also have Lure, and their weather control abilities take the form of two different encounter powers. Call Lightning is an attack that targets enemies in a Close Blast 5, does lightning damage and slows for a turn. Fury of the Storm is an interrupt that triggers when the sire is bloodied, and causes it to project an aura (1) that deals 10 lightning and thunder damage to enemies caught inside. This lasts for the rest of the encounter.
Sometimes, a mooncalf is separated from its kin. These loners might team up with other creatures capable of understanding them, such other aberrant monsters or mortal spellcasters with strong connections to the Far Realm. These use standard stat blocks. A rogue is something else.
Mooncalf rogues are outcasts among their kind and are adamant in their desire to remain alone. They attack even other mooncalves who trespass upon their territories. The isolation, or perhaps something they do to themselves, causes them to grow far beyond the size of a standard mooncalf, and to develop powers not seen among those more gregarious individuals.
These creatures are also Huge in size, and are Level 15 Solo Soldiers with 620 HP. They have two additional traits: Psychic Veil makes them invisible to creatures more than 6 squares away from it, and Superior Brain ends any dazing or stunning effects on them at the start of their turn.
Their Tentacle Rake is upgraded to a Tentacle Slam that also knocks prone on a hit. The other two attacks are the same, with bigger damage and Reach 6 instead of 4. Multiattack lets the rogue perform three melee attacks against different targets with the same action.
They can call up a Windwrack aura as a minor action (recharge 5+). This lasts a turn, prevents any creatures inside from shifting, and knocks them prone if they end their turns inside. If an enemy escapes the rogue’s grab, it can react with a Tentacle Flurry that lets it attack every enemy in a Close Burst 1.
If you can see this thing at all, it can reach you with its tentacles. I guess they would typically try to grab a couple of PCs and fly away to eat in peace, but it’s also excellent at playing a more traditional soldier role and protecting squishy artillery from PCs.
Delightfully weird and horrific, and an excellent out-of-context problem to throw at the PCs when they’re busy dealing with something else. They go somewhere to face a more mundane threat, and suddenly discover it’s mooncalf season.
Rogues work very well as the Thing From Beyond that a Far Realm cult might be trying to summon. They’re threats on par with an adult dragon or a titan, but are completely impervious to negotiation.