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Monday, December 10, 2012

Murderous Menagerie: The Pool of Life

"At the center of the gorge, ringed by faintly glowing radioactive rocks, lay a sunken pool twenty yards across. But it was not a pool of water, but of life! 

A great, twitching, crawling mass of jelly-like life, heaving and sucking beneath the light of the flaring nebula-sky.

The final horror assaulted Gordon's reeling mind. For now he saw the things around the edges of the pool.

Little jelly-like things like miniature human bodies budded out of that mass of viscous life! Some were attached to the main mass by mere threads. One broke free in that moment and came walking uncertainly up the bank.

-- Edmond Hamilton, The Star Kings

Pools of Life



No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 20' (5')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 5-15
Attacks: 1 per 3 HD
Damage: 1d6+2 (pseudopods)
Save: F7
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: XVII
XP:
5HD: 330
6HD: 530
7HD: 805
8HD: 1225
9HD: 1840
10HD: 2650
11HD:   3730
12HD: 3810
13HD: 5120
14HD: 5210
15HD: 6750



One of the many remnants of the Ex Nihilo project, Pools of Life are lakes of plastic flesh which birth humanoid "children" that range across the wastes, seeking men to drag back to the ravenous mass.

A Pool of Life will produce a number of children (referred to as 'melters') equal to twice their number of HD, and can birth one melter a round if not otherwise engaged. If involved in combat or absorbing new flesh, the Pool of Life will produce one melter every two rounds.
The Pool of Life defends itself with pseudopods which strike bluntly or, on a roll of 19 or 20, will entangle a victim. Once entangled, the victim has one round before being dragged into the mass. Pseudopods have a number of hit points equal to their HD.

The greatest danger posed by the Pool of Life, however, is their ability to absorb flesh. Should a victim be submerged into the Pool they must make an immediate savings throw versus death. Failure means instant death as the victim is broken down into its component parts and becomes part of the teeming mass of life. When a victim is absorbed, the Pool gains a number of hit points equal to the character's level. For every 5 hit points gained in this fashion the Pool gains another hit dice with all attendant benefits (pseudopods, melters, etc).

Melters
Children of the Pool of Life



No. Enc.: 5-15
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 1+1 HD
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d6 or grapple
Save: F1
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: None
XP: -

Melters are dripping, rubbery mockeries of men with grossly distorted features. Their smooth, vinyl-like skin hangs loosely when fully formed, and they are in a constant state of flux, with liquid flesh flowing across their bodies as they constantly rearrange themselves.

Melters have no will of their own, being only part of the collective mass of the Pool of Life. They exist only to meet the needs of the Pool and primarily are used to drag prey to be absorbed into the Pool. A full half of the Melters employed by a Pool will be ranging at any given time, although they stay relatively close to their 'mother mass' for quick reabsorption.



When in combat, a Melter will attempt to club foes into unconsciousness with their fists or will swarm over a foe to overwhelm them. Melters attempting to overpower an enemy roll to hit as normal with a 'to hit' result indicating they have latched onto their foe. Each Melter has a STR of 10, with every additional Melter adding +2 to this STR total. If this number is greater than the victim they have them successfully pinned and will drag the character back to the Pool of Life for absorption. Victims can attempt a save versus Paralysis to escape with a -1 to the roll for every two STR points above their own.

The most remarkable feature of the Melters, however, is their unique defense in combat. If struck for even a single point of contact, the Melter will dissolve into a pile of protoplasmic ooze which quickly slithers away from combat. While in this protoplasmic form, the Melter will avoid all combat and heads straight for the Pool of Life. Once this protoplasm has been reabsorbed, the Pool will produce an exact replica on the following combat round except that it will be restored to full health. If a Melter is destroyed before being reabsorbed, however, the Pool will lose 3 hit points.

Because of their semi-solid nature, Melters are immune to weapons which inflict blunt damage.
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