Thursday, August 6, 2009

VG Meet DnD: The Smoker from Left 4 Dead

[Below you will find a new 4th Edition Monster converted from the popular game Left 4 Dead]

Chances are if you have an Xbox 360 you've heard the buzz around Valve's latest game Left 4 Dead. In the game you take on the role of 1 of 4 survivors who have to work together to overcome the dangers of an environment wrought with hordes of zombies.

The real charm of this game however comes from the multiplayer game type "Versus" where two teams take turns alternating between survivors and a group of special infected.

These special infected are zombies with unique abilities that allow them to better acquire their lunch, namely a survivor sandwich. Today I'm taking a look at converting one of these menacing foes to the new 4th Edition D&D stats.

I'd like to introduce the smoker. In Left 4 Dead this deadly critter has a lengthy tongue that it uses to ensnare prey and constrict it while its buddies beat on the hapless survivor. It gets its name from the cloud of viscous smoke that seeps from its body, a cloud that remains even after the smoker's death.

The Smoker
Life outside of the bright safety afforded by the towns and cities can be a dangerous affair. Farmers and others who live on their own can expect the occasional attack by roving monsters and bandits.

Some particularly cruel bandits have a habit of locking their victims inside their homes while they take everything of value. Before they ride off they light the houses aflame. The victims of these raids often die due to the roaring flames or the choking smoke.

The former often become Blazing Skeletons (see the Monster Manual) while the latter occasionally rise to become the dreaded Smoker. Smokers exist to share their pain and misery by choking the life from living beings.

A smoker resembles in many ways the humanoid it used to be albeit with scorched clothes and flesh. The most obvious feature of the smoker is a seeping green gas that emanates from within its rotting corpse. Although their faces are often hidden by the smoke, those who view past the concealment can see eyes ablaze with malevolence.

Smoker Tactics
Smokers prefer to hide in the shadows or behind cover until a time to strike presents itself. Although largely unintelligent they are possessed of a feral cunning that allows them to ambush unsuspecting prey.

A smoker usually waits for the majority of a group to engage enemies and then tries to maneuver into range for a tongue snare on a target not engaged in melee. They then follow up with a constrict attack. At the start of their next turn they like to use smokescreen followed by two more constrict attacks.

Smoker Lore
A character knows the following with a successful Religion check.

DC15: Smokers, undead created from the victim of asphyxiation from smoke, are powerful zombies with the ability to ensnare and choke enemies with their powerful tongue.

DC20: Upon the death of a smoker they explode leaving a viscous gas that obscures vision.

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