Friday, April 8, 2016

G is for Garrote of Glistening Grease

[over the course of the month of April, I shall be posting a topic for each letter of the alphabet, sequentially, for every day of the week except Sunday. Our topic this month? Magical weapons for a B/X campaign. All such weapons are +1 to attack and damage rolls unless, unless specifically noted otherwise. Each of these weapons should be considered unique items]

G is for Garrote of Glistening Grease.

A garrote is a length of knotted cord, used in some cultures as a method of execution (by strangulation). It is useless as a melee weapon in open combat, but for stealthy practitioners of ambush and assassination (i.e. thieves), it can be a lethal weapon. The system for B/X works like this:

Only thieves may use a garrote effectively, and then only when they have achieved surprise on a foe (and would thus be able to backstab). A garrote attack is used in place of a normal backstab attack; the roll is made with the thief's normal +4 to attack, but damage is not doubled. Instead, damage is applied directly to an opponent's constitution score: if constitution is reduced below three, the victim falls unconscious; if reduced to zero, the victim dies.

For obvious reasons, a garrote may only be used against humanoid targets that have necks. Creatures that exceed three hit dice (like ogres) are too large to effectively strangle, and creatures that don't breathe (like the undead) are likewise immune. Once the thief hits with the garrote, damage is inflicted every round with no further attack rolls needed. Strength bonus applies to damage (1D4 if using variable weapon damage). For non-adventurer targets, the DM should randomly determine the creature's constitution by rolling 3D6 plus 1D6 for each hit die over one with any HD "pips" as a bonus to the final result (a gnoll, for example, would have a constitution of 4D6 while a hobgoblin would have a constitution of 3D6+1).

A garroted target may take no action but struggle against her would-be assassin. Every round, she may choose to fight to breathe (a successful save versus poison prevents any constitution damage), OR she may attack the strangler, as an unarmed melee attack (see page X25 of the Cook/Marsh Expert set). Any such attack is made at a -2 penalty to the roll; if the victim can inflict 3 or more points of damage, the strangler's hold is broken. Lost constitution points are recovered after a single round of rest, and physical damage is minimal (one hit point per round of strangulation).

The garrote of glistening grease magically exudes an oily substance on a successful attack, making it especially difficult to grasp by its victim (-4 penalty to saving throws if attempting to prevent strangulation damage).

Probably not used by Lawful types.

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