Saturday, 6 February 2016

Clickers Individuals

Nature is an overwhelming force and the Zone is a cathedral of that power. Human life is small and everyone can feel it here. The trees, the wall of sound, the desperation and the everpresent risk of death all speak to the irrelevance of human life, and sometimes, when people crack, that feeling gets inside and fills them up.

Clickers Individuals haven't just gone native, they've gone Individual. They live up in the Cloudgrave trees with hives of secret bees, eating blue honey and talking to the air. The honey gives them visions, the worms they keep give them visions, being up in the trees all the time gives them visions and huffing ground crystal and low grade resin from the plant also gives them visions.

They have a lot of visions. It helps to make up for the hunger. It also gives them a startling savagery in combat. Most of them believe they are invincible and a few don't even realise they are people at all. When they come down climbing from their hidden homes they come for rope and human flesh.

Mainly rope, its more useful and you can't really cook flesh up in the trees. But Clickers Individuals will straight up eat a guy, they are famous for it. "Clickers hungry!" they say, if they say anything at all. They tend not to use their words. No-one knows who Clicker is or can remember meeting them but when Clickers Individuals come for you that's who they say they are taking you to.


What Are They Like When You See Them?

The Individuals obsessively take on the identities of Zonal animals, wearing their skins and body parts, moving like them, eating like them and thinking like them. Many of them are so crazy that they actually believe they *are* these creatures.

In most groups there is enough ambient sanity to stop them doing anything _too_ insane but at the DM's discretion, if a group of Clickers Individuals fails a morale roll then, instead of running away, they may do something ruinously self-destructive that only that animal would do. I.e. try to fly or curl up in a shell.

How Do They Get About The Zone?

 They either attack and kill the bridge guards or cross the canyons by moving across the Cloudgrave canopy far above the ground.

Kinds Of Individual

 (Many kinds of Individual are described as 'men', they are in fact made up of all genders, except Slumberman who is always male and Honeywoman, who is always female.)


Basic Individuals


If Day - Hooky-Men
Ragged cloaks of Hook Bird feathers, masks like beaks and sharpened sticks like primitive Bakh Nagh. They attack from the lower canopy, clambering through the branches and leaping upon their target at the last moment, screaming. Like Hook Birds, they go after those who have already been injured or who are separated from the group.


If Night - Moony-Men
Stitched up skins of moon moles spread between the limbs. Some have their lips cut off, exposing their front teeth. They climb the trees and leap down, gliding invisibly but uttering the Moon Mole cry. ('Gliding' is pushing it, they fall at an angle.) They always stay together in a group, biting and clawing in a frenzy.

- Morale = group size


In the Upper Canopy - Stilty-Men
Stilt Sloth skins, walking on wooden stilts strapped on to their limbs. Passing across the fronds much like the Sloth, using the higher canopy as a kind of highway. Slow, indifferent, almost bored. Stilty-Men advance and strike downward with their stilts.
- Move at 1/2 speed
- Always lose initiative.
- Morale 11
- If a Silty-Man suffers impact of any kind a puff of light but poisonous hair explodes in a 3ft radius. Anyone caught suffers 1 hp damage to the lungs, they cough and weep blood for a full minute and make take no other action.



Special Individuals

 The Individuals also have smaller number of specialist members who may appear if large groups are encountered.

SpiderKids
Children squatting down on hands and feet, softly crawling closer, disguised as any fucking thing you can imagine. Maybe that Rhododendron bush isn't really a bush. Maybe that log isnt really a log. Leaping for the face with daggers of sharpened bone.

- 1 HD 3 hp
- Stealth 5 in 6.
- Suprise attack +4 to hit damage x2.


Humble-Men
Big, calm, sheathed in bark-armour from a Cloudgrave tree, all wearing helmets of Humbler Snail shell. Wielding whips made from rope, snail radula and chips of stone and glass. They come forward calmly, relentlessly advancing.

- 2 Hit Dice 18 hp
- Armour as chain & shield.
- Whips - attack at 6 feet, entangle random limb on a hit, STR or DEX test to escape or auto damage.


Rat-Panther-Men
Stealthy, ruthless treetop assassins cloaked in ragged Rat-Panther skins like hobo ninjas, wearing their skulls as masks. Rat-Panther-Men leap, grapple, dig in their bone knives and keep digging. Its a matter of pride and self-identity for them that they never let go.

- 2 Hit Dice, 16 hp.
- Speed x 2 standard.
- Stealth 5 in 6.
- Surprise attack +4.
- If they score a hit, Rat-Panther-men drive their knives in further every turn, grappling and doing damage every round.


Wormlings
Plump, slow, secretive children. They rarely attack or advance but are often left at the rear to guard something important or prevent flanking attacks. Each one carries a familiar Zonal worm which they caress, if endangered they fire the worm at the face of the closest person and squirm into a hiding spot.

- Worm attack. Anyone receiving a facefull of goo must roll d4+d8+d8 on the Tree Dreams table (page xx).


Individual Individuals


Slumberman!
Slumberman is the mightiest of Clickers Individuals and their leader in war. (It’s not clear whether Slumberman is fully aware of this.) He once defeated a Slumber Monkey in hand-to-hand combat and still wears its blue skin and its skull as a hat. Slumberman advances bravely, focusing on the most powerful and masculine enemy fighters and tends to give away surprise attacks by making pseudo Slumber Monkey displays. (Slumberman can be distracted by threats to Slumber Monkey eggs.)

7 Hit Dice 40 hp, +7 AB, huge Cloudgrave club d8+3 damage , STR 18.


Clicker
The prophet and de-facto leader of the Individuals is a mysterious and terrifying figure. Eyes rolling, jaws clacking, mouth foaming, limbs jerking, they stumble forward like broken puppet. Clicker is in the final stages of Dementia-Wasp poisoning. Their insides have literally begun to ferment, filling the air with a sweet, yeasty scent and with  cloud of Dementia Wasps which follow them about, waiting for them to die. (The Individuals keep Clicker in a rarely-visited tree and avoid them in combat.) Clicker is utterly, utterly, utterly insane and barely connected to reality. The Individuals will honestly try to follow their commands but it’s never really clear what their commands are or if they are even giving them so, in effect, a kind of rough democracy prevails where various arguments are put forth as to what Clicker is saying and the most popular or compelling is assumed to be the truth.

- Followed by a cloud of 3d4 Dementia Wasps

Honeywoman
Honeywoman is the only high-status member of Clickers Individuals that, in any way, has a vague idea of what is going on. She is an ancient crone, caked with the hexagonal blue wax casts of a Tree Bee hive. Literally built into the hive and waxed into the top of the tree, she lives a somewhat restrained life. Individuals bring her food and water and take away her waste when they come to ask for advice. One of the few magic-users in the Zone, Honeywoman knows the following spells and can cast them, at will, as a Lvl 5 Magic-User;

Detect magic, Identify, Locate Plants, Locate Object, E.S.P, Suggest

She can also place her mind into the hive of Tree Bees which live upon her body. If the bees do not work constantly to find food then they will starve to death so she will never possess them for more than an hour a day.


Can You Communicate And Deal?

It helps a lot to be seriously fucked in the head. Unless the person speaking to them is suffering from some kind of actual madness, clickers individuals won’t even recognise them. But if they are genuinely nuts, or at least, drugged out of their minds, then reaction dice may be rolled. This might lead to a parlay in some circumstances.

Honeywoman is capable of communicating with non-drugged, non-crazy people.

Names

D6
First Phoneme
Second Phoneme
1
Xi'
Nuknul
2
Jo'
Wnanale
3
Ki'
Naavul
4
Br'
Tvnuu
5
Oo'
Muknu
6
Zo'
Knkul


What Are Their Treetop Lairs Like?

Grim, and generally not great places to hang out. The Individuals move constantly and their sleeping places are guarded by Humbler Snails and semi-tame Hook Birds when they are not present.


What Do They Want, If Anything?

They like violence, eating people and drugs. There is a vague cultural sense that they should be ruling the Zone but nobody really has the mental technology to turn this into a fully formed thought.


Encountering The Individuals

Clickers Individuals have the following stat lines;

Armour none, Move standard', 1 Hit Dice, 8hp, 1d4 damage, Morale 9.
Climb 6 in 6, Stealth 2 in 6

Any specific differences are given in the entry for that kind of Individual.

Simple Encounter - roll 4d4 Basic Individuals and have them attack.

Complex Encounter - roll a d100 and add the total HD of the PC party, read across on the chart below.

(The numbers given are included so that it’s easy to generate a specific encounter without rolling more dice. If you want to, feel free to generate random numbers of Individuals by rolling 2, 3, 4 or 5 d6's and d4's)

D100+ party HD
Infiltrators
Main Force
Reserves
Rear-guard
1-20

4 Basic Individuals


21-30
2 Spiderkids
5 Basic Individuals


31-40

7 Basic Individuals
2 Humble Men

41-50
2 Rat-Panther-Men
8 Basic Individuals


51-60
2 Spiderkids
9 Basic Individuals
2 Humble Men

61-70
2 Spiderkids & 2 Rat-Panther-Men
11 Basic Individuals


71-80
2 Spiderkids & 2 Rat-Panther-Men
12 Basic Individuals
4 Humble Men

81-90
3 Spiderkids & 3 Rat-Panther-Men
13 Basic Individuals
4 Humble Men
2 Wormlings
90-99
RAIDING PARTY
6 Spiderkids & 4 Rat-Panther-Men
20 Basic Individuals
6 Humble Men lead by Slumberman!
4 Wormlings
100
TOTAL WAR

12 Spiderkids & 8 Rat-Panther-Men
50 Basic Individuals
12 Humble Men lead by Slumberman!
6 Wormlings. Clicker is also here, urging on the war party, or possibly trying to make them stop. He's doing something or other.



The Individuals thus generated are doing whatever it makes sense for a group of that size to be doing in the current context. If a strong party of PC's encounters a small weak group then they may have come across a scouting or thieving party, the PC's have the advantage. If a weak group of PC's encounters a gigantic war party, they are probably not the intended targets and may well have time to get out of the way.

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