Tuesday, July 3, 2018

[Monster] Cloud of Chaos

Created for James Holloway's MONSTER MAN contest II!!! Based on a neural-network-generated monster. A weird science fantasy riff on clouds and neural networks... A bit meta-gamey, but fun, in my opinion.


The inhabitants of a distant pocket of the infinite multiverse are creating a massive repository of knowledge. This ephemeral, invisible system is called “The Cloud”. However, the eldritch spells (“cloud technology”) used to contain the ever-growing mass of raw information have damaged the time-space continuum. The Cloud is leaking through the rifts, the wormholes, the folds of non-Euclidean space, infecting the whole multiverse.

In your campaign world, this influence manifests as... the Cloud of Chaos!

  • The Cloud of Chaos has a chance of appearing as a random encounter whenever there is a thunderstorm or strong electrical- and lightning-based activity. 
  • It is also possible to summon the Cloud of Chaos intentionally, by concentrating high-power electric charges in one location.

Description: a shimmering, billowing, whirling mass floating above ground.

Size: variable. It manifests as a 40’ cloud. Roll 1d6 each round and consult the chart. On 1-2, the Cloud shrinks. On 3-6, the Cloud grows.

Size chart
1’ – the Cloud disappears
ñ 1-2 shrink
roll 1d6/round
ò 3-6 grow
40’ – starting size
175’ – the Cloud disappears

Movement: the Cloud of Chaos doesn’t move, just fluctuates in size

  • The Cloud of Chaos is not a physical manifestation. It’s information.
  • It doesn’t have hit points, cannot be damaged by any physical means.
  • The Cloud of Chaos is not a magical effect and cannot be dispelled.
  • It is not a real cloud. It is not dispersed by wind; it is not subject to weather magic.
  • Lightning strikes and other strong electrical discharges make the Cloud change size (according to the size chart).

  • The Cloud of Chaos is affected by spells and psychic powers connected with mental faculties, cognitive capabilities and willpower (Command, Confusion, ESP, Message, Suggestion, etc.). The result of this interaction is resolved on a case-by-case basis. However, as the Cloud of Chaos is still a program at its core, it responds beneficially to attempts at organizing information, information queries, commands.
  • Spells directed at the comprehension and manipulation of information (Comprehend Languages, Read Magic, etc.) increase the chance of beneficial interaction with the Cloud of Chaos.
  • Mind Switch… oh boy! The Cloud of Chaos enters the caster’s body. The caster’s mind is instantly dispersed. The character becomes an NPC, and will try to take over the world using the Cloud’s random knowledge from another dimension.

Being inside the Cloud of Chaos:
  • Each round when a sentient living being is engulfed by the Cloud of Chaos, it must Save vs. Paralyze (Wisdom save).
  • If the save fails, roll 1d100 on the effects chart.
  • If the save is successful, roll 4d20+20 on the effects chart.
  • Prior interaction with the Cloud through the spells described above can grant a bonus on the saving throw (Referee’s discretion). If the characters do something very smart to exploit the Cloud as a source of information, the Referee can grant something cool to them.
  • Spells like Mind Blank protect against all effects of the Cloud.

As the effect of a Mind Switch spell. See above.
The information overload instantly kills the character. The cloud grows one size category.
The character becomes part of the hivemind. They start acting in accordance with the Cloud’s masterplan. Whatever that may be.
Spellcaster characters lose their magic abilities. Non-spellcasters lose their ability to speak.
The surge of otherworldly information corrupts the character’s mind forever. The character develops delusions based on a random piece of alien pop culture (“Random Media” over at TV Tropes).
The character’s personality and memories are overwritten by the contents of a random Facebook user profile.
The character’s memory is pumped full of junk information. Whenever they need to remember anything, they must pass an Intelligence check.
The character is convinced that their name is now something else, generate it randomly.
Whenever the character closes their eyes, they see an endless scroll with depictions of felines in funny situations.
The character develops a tic: they insert random words into their speech.
Useless trivia floods the character’s mind. They now know all the information contained in a single “Random article” from Wikipedia.
The character learns a language, alien to the campaign world.
Gain 2d6 x 100 experience points.
The character notices a pattern in the Cloud of Chaos. Next time they roll on the effects chart, they may roll twice and chose from the two options.
The character’s mental faculties improve significantly. They gain +1 Intelligence, and read, study, do research two times faster.
The character is able to commune with an interdimensional alien hivemind. Due to bandwidth limitations, only one question is answered per day.
The floorplans of a high-security military installation are revealed to the character. Coincidentally, they are almost identical to the map of the home base of a warlord / king / rich merchant of your campaign world.
A randomly determined spell is embedded in the character’s mind. It is always memorized (above the usual limits). It can be cast once per day, without any restrictions.
The character now knows an exotic martial art. A natural 19 becomes like a natural 20 on attack rolls with one chosen weapon or attack type.
The character’s mind connects to a neural network for machine learning (yeah, that’s right! it is now modeling a computer which is modeling a human brain! sort of…). The character always gains +20% experience points, but makes up strange new words when talking. They sort of sound like real expressions, but really aren’t?
The character gains knowledge that can lead to a major technological breakthrough, previously impossible in the campaign world. May not be able to create it alone, but the theory is in their brains.
The character becomes omniscient – but all their knowledge is about another dimension!! So perhaps they should find a way to travel there?

...accessing the Cloud...

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