Sunday, December 24, 2006

Destrachan, Large Abberration, but what does it eat?

Well, here I sit alone in my house, except for the dog at my feet. I just ate microwaved Thanksgiving leftovers and I'm working on Dungeons & Dragons stuff while watching Biblical Disasters on the History Channel. It's not as pathetic as it sounds, really. No, really. I think that's Lorne Greene narrating. How come no body fights over the better Commander Adama?

Yes, with my wife out of state visiting her parents, I'm having a geek Christmas.

What's on my mind? The diet of the Destrachan, that's what.

One of the frustrating things about the 3E materials is that it is geared heavily toward tabletop miniature battles and not to role playing at all. Who cares about habitats or diets if all you're going to do is make a warband and slug it out for an hour or two?

You 3E apologists can tell me I'm full of it on that score all you want, but the 3E MM says "No living thing would ever willingly ally itself with this monster, although sometimes undead or evil outsiders accompany a destrachan as it attacks and slays other creatures" but the Aberrations preview article that featured this mini says "Unlike a lot of other large dungeon denizens, the Destrachan is smart enough to cooperate fully with its allies. No trace of a Difficult ability or other mental drawback here."

Right....I know, the miniatures game is different from 3E. I just don't see where that is a defense for such huge gaps in source material description or inconsistency between the two games. I'll stick with 2E, thank you. At least they were very serious about consistent monster ecologies back then. But, enough of that soapbox. I'll never play 3E and I'll never convince these new fangled kids to play 2E. Back to the critter at hand.

The destrachan is listed as an aberration (from the Aberrations series of miniatures) and not an outsider, so it isn't a planar being. That means it has to actually eat something. The 3E MM (page 47) says that Destrachans "feed on death and misery." It also says that it has no teeth in its maw. Pretty hard for a predator to get fat on death and misery, especially with no freakin' teeth.

But, that's it. That's all you get. It has claws and it is described as being a crafty hunter and haunting inhabited underground complexes "spreading woe for evil's sake."

What the heck does that mean? It doesn't have any psionic abilities, so it doesn't make sense that it derives actual physical sustainance from misery or pain, and it doesn't seem to feed on souls, which is the only thing I can imagine "feeding on death" means. The description does say straight out that it is a sadist, so it has to get some benefit out of causing pain.

From a role playing standpoint this creature's description leaves a lot to be desired, but then from a D&D Minitaures Game standpoint, role playing isn't really desired, so why should I be surprised?

Surprised or not, I have to figure out some way to make this creature make some kind of sense.

What I've decided is that it finds screaming, wailing, and cries of misery by its victims to be soothing, in the way that someone might enjoy jazz music, so it seeks opportunities to generate those sounds and to prolong those sounds as long as possible. There, covered the sadism and the misery mongering.

Now, the feeding without teeth.

I'm going to say that it uses its flesh disrupting harmonic attack to reduece flesh and bone to a bubbling viscous jelly, which it then slurps up using its toothless maw like a straw. It will use this attack only after it has caused the victim to pass out from the pain caused by its subdual harmonic attack which targets the nerves. This subdual attack, we'll say, is just about as painful as if you were suffering the torments of the Abyss or Nine Hells.

OK. That makes the creature a little more interesting and plausible to me. Can anyone tell me if this is what the creature designers intended but just didn't write into the description?



Blogger Jeffrey said...

Two years later than your post about the Destrachan, and I stumbled across the very same quandry while puruesing my copy of the 3e MM. I was thinking, what does it eat? I came to a similar conclusion, that it's only form of gaining sustenance was through sonically reducing its prey to goo and as you say "slurping" it up. I googled just to make sure, and yours was the third page I hit. The only one so far with a reasonable commentary. Just wanted to thank you for confirming I am not out in left field with my theory.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Floyflhs said...

Yep... It seems reasonable enough to "melt" flesh or whatever and suck it in. It's what the species known to us as "fly" does for a living, isn't it? "Flies only suck nutritional liquids, and do not have mouths to process solids. They can ingest solids by regurgitating saliva onto them to dissolve them." -->

Besides, it helps keep the throat clean and the vocal chords vibrating!! Long live opera!! ;DD

10:04 AM  

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