Saturday, October 9, 2010

Creature Feature 9: The Redshifter

A Redshifter is an extraplanar entity that warps gravity and time. Time slows the closer you get to one. The creature itself is almost pure red, and the area surrounding it and anything or one approaching it become increasingly red, while the rest of the world gets bluer as you approach it. This effect is caused by light slowing down as it nears it, and speeding as it escapes.

This means that the entity has already done anything you see it doing. From nearby, you see those further away doing things they haven’t done yet. The being itself seems able to warp this effect at will. Additionally, the creature can create a gravitational focus in front of it to pull objects towards it or to “slingshot” them away by letting them orbit the point, then releasing them. It cannot select what is pulled and what isn’t, other than itself. Finally, sound completely vanishes within 30 feet of the creature.

Redshifters are best described as “alien.” Their actions are unpredictable and impossible to comprehend. They are equally as likely to attack as ignore entirely, but on the few occasions more than one has been recorded, all have sought to slay one another.

Art by Steph Cherrywell
 A Redshifter affects time. Mechanically, this means a few things. Initiative is rolled, but is severely warped - every five feet of distance from the creature subtracts 1 from the roll. If the creature is not yet 30 feet from its last place of cover, players likely aren’t even aware of it yet and if they are, they are under blind-fighting rules until time catches up. Only those within 15 feet see it where it currently is. All others remain under blind-fighting rules, missing if they specifically target where they see it. If further than 15 feet away and ACTUALLY blinded, they simply stand no chance of striking it, as they can’t infer its “next” move based on where it last was, and it makes no sound.

Once a a round, the creature can force one attack or other action involving it to be rerolled. The first roll never happened - this is merely a reflection of how confusing navigating time around the creature is.

The Redshifter can use its gravitational focus to hurl small stones or other objects at deadly speeds. It can also reflect ranged attacks back at the attacker. This is harder to do accurately the longer the range (and therefore higher the speed) of the missile. Even rays and some other magic attacks can be thus deflected, but they require the most effort.

The other use for the focus is to disarm or even bodily drag foes forward. When created, all creatures and objects within 45 are dragged forward 10 feet. The Redshifter can’t maintain a single focus longer without risking being struck from behind.

Since this gravitational focus is not selective, it usually leaves a tight ball of debris in its wake, which falls to the earth afterwards. It is possible to fire a missile of some type at the Redshifter while its creating a focus to deflect or drag something else, and strike the Redshifter unerringly.

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