Sunday, November 20, 2011

Genius Loci

Here is a preview of one of the new creatures that will be featured in the next version of the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary. I realize that a creature called a genius loci appears in the D&D 3.x SRD, but the version below was written without that in mind, being based solely on the historical example from Roman religion. This is presented under the aegis of the OGL and is not designated Open Gaming Content*.

Genius Loci

Number
1
Morale
n/a
Hit Dice
See below
Armor Class
-2
Move
180’/min.
Magic Resistance
7
No. of Attacks
0
Damage
n/a
Defenses
See below
Attacks
See below
Weaknesses
Tied to one location
Size
S-L
Intelligence
6-21
Alignment
Neutral
Treasure type
XV
Treasure value
See below
Magical treasure
See below
X.P. Value
1,350 + 14/h.p.

General: A genius loci or “place-spirit” is a non-corporeal being that is attached to a particular location or geographic feature and feeds on the emotional attention of others. Some will never be stumbled upon by intelligent creatures, and will simply waste away and eventually starve for attention. Others will be discovered and come to be venerated as nature spirits, receiving offerings in return for minor gifts. A few rare and lucky ones will merge with some living creature that is also tied to the spot (granite men, tree men, dryads, black willows, and occasionally creatures such as nagas, banshees, or dragon turtles. The criteria for merging is that the creature itself should not have more hit dice than the genius loci and should be both alone and not inclined to leave its home.

Once a genius loci merges with a creature, they become one being in all respects, with the personality of the genius loci becoming more and more dominant as time goes on, but always being recognizable as the original creature; a dryad/genius loci, for instance, will still attempt to lure handsome men, and a granite man/genius loci will have a preference for gems and precious stones.

The merged being will have the outward physical form of whatever creature it used to be, and is able to use any of its former powers as well as those of the genius loci. The number of hit dice will be a combination of the original creatures’ and the genius loci; use whichever hit die type is larger (d10 or that belonging to the other creature). It will still not desire (or be able to) leave its home; it is physically unable to go beyond a quarter-mile radius, but those which are more powerful will have agents more than willing to work on its behalf.

The genius loci will attempt to encourage those near its location to venerate and even worship it, making offerings in return for the application of its powers. It is quite needy and grasping in its desire for such attention, and will develop elaborate ruses and go to great lengths to ensure it has a steady supply of tribute. Genius loci pretending to be gods are certainly not uncommon.

Many of the statistics of the genius loci depend on how long it has been able to maintain its attention-cult. Just being present in the location is not enough to strengthen it; indeed, a genius loci that goes for 1d12 years without any sort of offerings or attention will die (if joined to another creature, they will both die). If the strength of the genius loci is not known, roll randomly.

Die roll (d%)
Years Venerated
Treasure value
Magical treasure
01-10
1-2
0
-
11-25
3-6
1d100
-
26-40
5-12
1d10x10
1 item (5%)
41-60
13-20
1d20x50
1 item (10%)
61-75
21-30
2d20x50
1d2 items (20%)
76-85
31-42
3d20x100
1d2 items (40%)
86-90
43-56
4d20x100
1d4 items (70%)
91-95
57-72
5d20x100
1d6 items (70%)
96-98
73-90
1d6+4x1,000
1d6 items (70%)
99-00
90+
2d6+6x1,000
1d8 items (75%)

Treasure value and magical treasure is not cumulative. If the genius loci is merged with some creature, add the x.p. value for that creature to the value for slaying the genius loci. Each month that goes by which sees the genius loci not venerated counts as an entire year lost in terms of its powers. Veneration can take many forms; outright gifts of food or precious items, intense prayers and meditation on its name and/or form (in its presence), ritual adultation and supplication, and so forth. It is speculated that if a genius loci is venerated for long enough, it will undergo an actual apotheosis, turning into a genuine deity.

Combat: The genius loci does not attack in a conventional sense, nor is it harmed by weapons of less than +2 enchantment. All illusion/phantasm and enchantment/charm type spells are useless against it. It has hit dice and magic powers as noted below (in all cases, the reverse of the spell effect is within the power of the genius loci, if applicable, and no material components, gestures, or incantations are required):

Years Venerated
Hit Dice
Magic powers
X.P. Value
1-2
1d8
suggestion
14+1/h.p.
3-6
2d8
bless
28+2/h.p.
5-12
3d8
enthrall
50+3/h.p.
13-20
4d8
augury
85+4/h.p.
21-30
5d8
remove curse
130+5/h.p.
31-42
6d8
cure disease
225+6/h.p.
43-56
7d8
divination
350+8/h.p.
57-72
8d8
cure serious wounds
550+10/h.p.
73-90
9d8
quest
900+12/h.p.
90+
10d8
heal
1,350+14/h.p.

Appearance: A genius loci is non-corporeal, and even on the ethereal plane will only appear as a shimmering humanoid form. If joined with some other creature, that skin of the creature will itself glow, and its eyes will be solid silver lights. It can use empathy at all times for communication, and can use outright telepathy to communicate once it has been venerated for 10 years or more.
__________
* All of the material being presented during the open playtest of ADD is very deliberately not presented as open gaming content; that designation is planned to change once the final version is published.

2 comments:

Orson said...

Original and very cool. I can use this in my campaign. The way it is written and explained feels Gygaxian to me.

Brendan said...

Reminds me of Japanese Kami.