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Odd Bosses

Hey, I'm back from school, which means I can post things again!

I have recently been running a dungeon (basically just a complete butcher job and hack of Tomb Of The Serpent Kings with ancient Greek themes, eldritch fish-people, sirens, suitors, and fleshy abominations. The dungeon is great for my newbie players) that has a few "bosses" in it. Bosses kinda go against OSR design in general if done wrong, such as forced fights against a big bad. Nonetheless, I still love boss fights because they offer a nice break from dungeon-delving along with a new obstacle to deal with. I'm still building the dungeon as they explore it, and I'm lucky that Tomb Of The Serpent Kings already has some bosses in it that I can examine. The only problem here is that they are clearly designed for a system like GLOG, which is great, but a bit too number-crunchy for my players. Their incompetence around numbers and basic math is why I use Into The Odd, but making a boss fight in Into The Odd has proven to be tough due to monsters falling pretty quickly. So, I've come up with a solution that has worked for the first boss fights for my players pretty well.

Basically, I have treated the different phases of bosses as different monsters with their own stats and attacks/patterns. Here's a quick and stupid example of what I'm getting at.
The threatened swan - Jan Asselijn @rijksmuseum #amsterdam 🇳🇱
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#photo #photography #trowback #travel #travelphotography #art #artwork #fineart #ig_art #masterpiece #dutch #dutchpainting #dutchgoldenage #dutchmasters #asselijn #janasselijn #swan #rijkmuseum #museum #museumlife #amsterdamlife #amsterdamcity #netherlands
Something like this, except with less flesh. It's still a massive dick, though.
Jan Asselijin, The Threatened Swan
Quetz'qali, The Feather-Donned, is a big ol' swan with beady-red eyes and no flesh, but lots of squirming sinew.
Quetz'qali wants nothing more than to bring slow misery and suffering to any sentient being.
Quetz'qali has two phases, its Squirming Phase and its Ravenous Phase. Quetz'qali can fly just barely above the ground, it also has full control of its neck.

Squirming (14 STR, 14 DEX, 8 WIL, 10 HP, 1 Armor (Ablative Sinew)) - During this phase, Quetz'qali can do any one of these actions/patterns:

  • Thrash (D8) - Quetz'qali chooses a target, it croons down to snatch them. From here it can throw the target up to 15 feet, dealing D6 damage if throwing the target against a wall. It can also restrain the target (highly unlikely for Quetz'qali to do this), for every turn the victim is restrained, they may make a DEX save to break free of the swan's beak.
  • Lash (D6) - Quetz'qali hates being surrounded. It lashes around, dealing damage to everybody within 5 feet. The targets may all make DEX saves to avoid getting knocked to the ground.
Once the squirming phase takes critical damage, Quetz'qali goes to the Ravenous phase.

Ravenous (14 STR, 16 DEX, 12 WIL, 10 HP, 1 Armor (Ablative Sinew)) - When this phase starts, two other goose heads made of sinew and flesh come squirming out of Quetz'qali's empty eye sockets. Quetz'qali immediately uses Slither. During this phase, Quetz'qali can do any one of these actions/patterns:

  • Thrash (D8) - Quetz'qali chooses a target, it croons down to snatch them. From here it can throw the target up to 15 feet, dealing D6 damage if throwing the target against a wall. It can also restrain the target (highly unlikely for Quetz'qali to do this), for every turn the victim is restrained, they may make a DEX save to break free of the swan's beak. Quetz'qali can also choose to rip off a random limb of the victim, given they fail a DEX save.
  • Lash (D6) - Quetz'qali hates being surrounded. It lashes around, dealing damage to everybody within 5 feet. The targets may all make DEX saves to avoid getting knocked to the ground.
  • Slither - Quetz'qali makes the two goose-serpents in its eye sockets slither out, they are under Quetz'qali's control. These goose serpents are immediately replaced by two new goose serpents that come bursting out of Quetz'qali's flesh. Goose-Serpent (6 STR, 16 DEX, 6 WIL, 3 HP, D6 Bite)

Once the ravenous phase is defeated, Quetz'qali collapses to the floor, accompanied by a shrill death-rattle.

Again, a poorly thought-out example, but it proves the point. If you were to use Quetz'qali in a game, you should probably give it goose minions or something because a small adventuring party could take it out easily with the number of actions they get. Forgive me, I don't know how to balance ItO monsters. If you are giving a monster multiple phases, you probably want to make them have less HP than what I use.

The boss the players have beaten is The Sentinel Suitor (A big fuck-off dude in suitors frills and a giant fish helmet with a sword stuck through the back of his head. He is basically a replacement of the Stone Cobra Guardian in Tomb Of The Serpent Kings, except he is fought on the bridge and has different abilities) The players ended up killing the suitor by shoving him off the bridge and into the watery abyss below. Although, this was not before it decapitated one player and threw another off the bridge.

Anyway, that's all for now, see you guys and gals soon!

Comments

  1. I love the old JRPG-ness of having two "forms" for a boss. It makes perfect sense to stat them up as essentially separate monsters, too. Brill!

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