Enemy Mechanics

Traits and Abilities

Duplicants

The joint invention of Benedict Pemberton and Tinker Oddcog, these constructs are soul-bonded to a humanoid creature, after which they can be remotely piloted by that creature while perfectly mimicking its appearance.

Duplicants count as natural animates (construct), regardless of what type of creature they are currently mimicking.

Metal Shell

Their outer casing is incredibly resilient, giving each duplicant at least Resist 10 All. No weaknesses in this defense are known to exist, but adamantine weapons, gloves of piercing, and other magical items seem to penetrate the shell thanks to their innate abilities.

The shell can only take so much punishment, however, and eventually a rent in their armor will appear (when they become bloodied, to use game terms). After that point, they become incredibly frail, owing to the sensitive and complex nature of their clockwork insides. Bloodied duplicants lose their Resist All, and take further penalties besides:

  • Vulnerable 10 All
  • -5 to all defenses
  • -5 to saving throws

Remote Possession

Pilots must enter a trance-like slumber to connect to a duplicant, after donning a necklace with a vial of witchoil that has been attuned to a similar vial inside their construct’s body. Subjects in these constructs appear to be unable to disobey Pemberton’s orders. Upon extended research, it’s been noted that this mimickry doesn’t affect creature type. A duplicant mimicking an elf counts as neither an elf, nor a fey.

Duplicants cannot be knocked out – like many forms of constructs, they function until destroyed. Damaging the duplicant or severing the link between duplicant and pilot does not harm the pilot in any way, though damage to the pilot will harm the duplicant. Fascinatingly, since only a small sliver of the pilot’s soul makes its way into the construct, this form of “remote possession” is unaffected by mage-cuffs with coffin-nail charms.

Gidim – Thoughtform

The hideous creatures encountered in Chapter 3, the Gidim, appear to waver between ghostly and opaque, as if they can’t decide if they really exist or not – thus they interact with solid matter and organisms in strange ways.

True Gidim are aberrant humanoids, though they are served by aberrant magical beasts which share many of their unique physical qualities.

Mechanically, these creatures are insubstantial and phasing. They take half damage from all effects, but they do have weaknesses:

  • Force damage takes full effect on them.
  • Psychic damage takes full effect as well.
  • Kida’s vision suggests there may be some way to force them into a corporeal state.

Encounter Roles

Solos

The biggest complaint about solo encounters in 4e is that they go on far too long and become incredibly stale very quickly. Being equipped with two action points just means that the creature can use all its encounter powers in the first round or three, and from that point on it becomes a tiresome exercise in watching the enemy use its at-will power again and again until it dies… much later. It can also be very hard to judge how close or far one is from the end of the encounter, since the huge number of hitpoints put the ‘bloodied’ point quite far from either extreme of the HP pool.

The following changes can be expected of solos in Zeitgeist.

HP Thresholds. Solos now have three ‘stages,’ much like any good boss in a videogame. Their hitpoints are divided into three equal amounts, and each time they drop to a new threshold (e.g., from full HP down to two-thirds) their stats change, gaining or losing access to certain powers or traits. Solos are usually bloodied after hitting their first threshold.

Action Point Spacing. Rather than blow through its action points in the first two rounds, solos now space their action points throughout the battle. They usually start with only one AP, and gain a new one each time they hit a new threshold.

Mitigate Status Effects. Much like the newer solos introduced in Monster Manual 3, most solos not only have a +5 to saves against ongoing effects, they also tend to have special resistances or immunities to conditions, particularly daze, stun, and dominate.

Goons

Halfway between a minion and a normal monster, goons only have half as much HP as a normal monster, and tend to have more limited options in combat. But they tend to be found in greater numbers (ie, they’re worth half the XP value of a normal monster). Goons, like minions, deal static damage with their attacks, and generally don’t do any extra damage when scoring a critical hit.

Minions

Some minions in Zeitgeist have an ability that allows them to resist the ‘one-hit-KO’ that is usually inflicted upon them so easily. If an attack or effect deals them below a certain amount of damage (depending on their level), they become bloodied instead of being defeated. Bloodied minions lose this ability.

Enemy Mechanics

Zeitgeist elfshire