“Imagine a dog that’s ALL bite. I mean seriously, look at the jaws on that thing. Funny looking, right? But if that weird little super-pug bites you it doesn’t just break the skin…it breaks down your reality, your potential. The more it takes, the stronger it gets. Eventually all your potential is chewed up, leaving what’s left of you as kibble for dogs.
“What I’m saying is, don’t be an idiot. Whatever that guy did to get the attention of the Nullmen and their hounds is all him; don’t throw your life away. C’mon, let’s go. Yeah, I know the screams suck. Cover your ears.”
The first wave of minions serving the Conquering Dreamer, Nullmen use Alpha Dogs to track and pursue their foes. Alpha Dogs feed on the same forces that cause alpha mutations, gaining strength and powers when it. Their attacks deplete targets both physically and psychically, leaving a comatose shell behind.
Appearance: Alpha Dogs don’t look frightening. Pugs with mottled furred and grossly oversized heads, it’s amazing that they can move at all. The dogs betray their appearance with frightening agility and speed.
Alpha Dog Level 5 Elite Skirmisher
Small XP 400
HP 102; Bloodied 51
AC 19; Fortitude 17; Reflex 18; Will 17
Resist 10 Radiation
Saving Throws +2
Low-Light Vision 10
Any target suffering from the Alpha Dog’s effects cannot hide from it; the Alpha Dog always knows where the creature is. The Alpha Dog suffers no penalties for concealment or invisibility against such a creature.
O Fluxeater Aura • Aura 5
Any time a creature in the aura experiences alpha flux, the Alpha Dog gains a +1 damage bonus to his basic melee attacks until the end of the encounter.
m Reality Bite • At-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +8 vs. Fortitude
Hit: 1d8 + 6 radiation damage and the target takes a -2 penalty to all defenses (save ends).
First Failed Saving Throw: The target undergoes alpha flux, and instead takes a -3 penalty to all defenses (save ends).
Second Failed Saving Throw: The target undergoes alpha flux and takes 1d8+6 radiation damage and is slowed until the end of its next turn. The penalty on defense effect ends.
Big Dog Rush • At-Will
Trigger: An ally within 10 squares hits an enemy.
Effect (Immediate Reaction): the Alpha Dog moves its speed toward the enemy who was hit.
Elite Action • Encounter
Effect: Use only during the Alpha Dog’s turn. The Alpha Dog takes an extra standard action.
Str 12 (+3) Dex 18 (+6) Wis 12 (+3)
Con 12 (+3) Int 12 (+3) Cha 12 (+3)
Using Alpha Dogs
Alpha Dogs look funny, but smiles quickly turn to screams once the powers of the Alpha Dogs take shape. Running into a few strays, or as scouts for the Nullmen (see next week’s entry) can turn players on their heels.
When running the Alpha Dogs, emphasize the effect of “Reality Bite.” Represent the ongoing effect as the player going through a rapid set of micro changes. All possible versions of the affected player start switching around, and each bite from the Alpha Dog grabs actually devours one of those versions. As players take more damage, describe the effect as their potential starting to diminish. From a bitten character’s perspective, the world becomes more gray and progressively more stagnant.
You can make alpha dogs random threats, but you can increase their scariness by giving them an owner. Let the characters find a collar with an “if lost” address engraved on it. Have that owner take an active interest in finding his lost pets.
Of course you can follow up an attack of Alpha Dogs with pursuit by the Nullmen…
Editor’s Note: we welcome Gamefiend from the At-Will blog for this recurring series of Gamma World threats, designed to bring a bit darker edge to Gamma Terra through new monsters, encounters, and threats. If you’re interested by this kind of content and want to see more in this series about the Un-Kingdom (or would even potentially be interested in seeing a compilation of such threats later), leave a comment letting us know what you think.