Gremlins - ROM, 14/Dec/01

NO.APPEARING: D20: 1-10=1, 11-16=3, 17-19=7, 20=13
MOVE: 6"
HIT DICE: varies (usually 3)
% IN LAIR: 10%
TREASURE TYPE: totally variable
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1D4 trident
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Chaos, and see below
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Chaos, and see below
ALLIGNMENT: Chaotic 5% good, 20% evil
SIZE: S(4')
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil


   1st 13% chance attacks on them malfunction/backfire
   2nd 35%   "       "     "   "       "         "
   3rd 50%   "       "     "   "       "         "
   4th "Gain their wings", fly at 15", see invisible
   5th "Out of sight", invisibility, hear any noise 69%
   6th "Hear no evil", silent movement, see ethereal
   7th "Feel no evil", intangible, sense psionics 9"rad.
   8th "Think no evil", mind blend/block, 100%
   9th "Sense no evil", non-detection, 100%, 
       true sight (at x2 level, ie: 9th=18th), 
       generate illusions and create goods as a djinn

Gremlins are 4' tall and look like green imps, and are armed with tridents. They are the incarnation of chaos and love practical jokes (only evil ones deliberately cause crippling wounds or loss of life). They are not really suitable as a character class, so no requisites or experience requirements are given, but as they age, and become if anything more chaotic, they advance in power. Gremlins are usually depicted as only wearing loose purple ankle-length pants, held up by straps over the shoulders, or on occasion similar grease-stained boiler suits, and with bare feet.

Note that their Chaos ability cannot be turned off and, while it has a chance of protecting them from almost anything, also automatically affects anything they use as weapons which leave the hand, frequently in an amusing way, such as thrown rocks becoming custard pies. Most gremlins are afraid of their weapons being affected, hence their traditional weapon of a trident made in a single piece, with no head to fall off, but even so a thrown trident will often become rubber and bendy. Some of the more engineering oriented gremlins carry an adjustable spanner, for D3 damage, instead of a trident. It is not clear where gremlins get their tridents (or spanners, or pants) from; maybe they just condense from out of chaos?

- Living creatures are almost never transformed by their Chaos, clumsiness or 'finding' a previously unnoticed bump or hole is far more common. The only exception tending to be things which repeatedly attack with natural weapons, or, of course, if the DM thinks it is really appropriate! Still, it will not kill or maim, just alter (some might think aquiring a detachable head after trying to head butt a gremlin quite useful!). Also note that the effect of their Chaos on things is permanent, so if you now have a +5 bendy rubber holy sword you are stuck with it; Wishes may produce _interesting_ results.

- Flight is at will, and they may hover in a stable way as if levitating, and if fall, while they may produce a large hole, do not harm anyone landed on and take no injury themselves, apart from subdual. This does not involve gremlins having wings. Some flying gremlins seem to get infected with the idea of being pilots, and have been known to use WW II RAF slang and lingo.

- Invisibility is at will, and is normally used for sneaking rather than combat, but attacking or being hit forces visibility for at least a segment. Gremlins can get really upset about being seen while invisible, and when they find out really upset ones of at least 7HD have been known to strain, go 'pop', and become absolutely invisible for a few turns.

- Silent movement is usable at will and effects all sounds including equipment but attacking or being hit forces audibility for at least a segment.

- Intangibility is usable at will and allows normal movement through solid non-living objects, and they have no need to hold their breath. While intangible appear as colourless and transparent and may not attack or be attacked except mentally or by interplanar spells; are between the Prime Material and Ethereal planes. Weapons which work against out-of-phase or ethereal are ineffective. There must be at least two segments between becoming tangible and intangible again. While intangible they may not see any colours, and sounds made and heard are deadened.

Solitary gremlins tend if anything to be less hinged than the rest, and may have a number of extra abilities at DM choice:-

- May be allowed to strain and take a willing other: flying, invisible, silent, or intangible; with them, for a short while.

- May have selective invisibility, and even inaudibility and intangibility, so it can choose who can see, hear, or even touch, them.

- May loose it so badly that they forget their name and shape, and absorb a new one from someone's imaginings, or even just thought forms floating in the astral ether. So, a drunk may aquire a real flying pink elephant, a conscience demon on his shoulder, or even a 6' tall humanoid white rabbit called 'Harvey' that only he can see... This only tends to apply to those gremlins at least 7HD.

Note that some of the most powerful (7HD+) solitary gremlins take long-term likings to some people.

The various sensory powers allow the gremlin to figure out what is going on so they know how to make the situation 'more interesting'. DMs might allow a universal translation capability at 5HD, to reduce any possibilities of misunderstandings. The other abilities are about letting the gremlin get places and ensure people don't know it is there; at 9HD gremlins might be getting so unreal that they can just slip between the planes and different worlds.

Note that in addition to the above powers gremlins are completely immune to Snurf Song, and in fact any other organising power of Law.

Gremlins have a pretence of military organisation based on level/hit dice, most are 3rd/3HD, with greater ones being higher rank, but as they become more chaotic their ability to organise and plan disintegrates along with their ability to concentrate and their attention span, so any real organisation is done by the lesser ones.

In terms of the number appearing a single gremlin could be any level, three will typically be 3HD, seven will be a small 'military' unit with a leader, two sub-leaders, two sub-sub-leaders and two privates, and thirteen will be a large 'military' unit, with at least five ranks. If this is an air encounter then all gremlins will be at least 4HD, i.e. capable of flight, and often 5HD, also capable of invisibility.

How gremlins reproduce or even if they have a sex is a bit of a mystery. Some gremlins seem to be male or female, while many seem to have no gender. Some gremlins, particularly the female ones, on occasion mate with non-gremlins and bear children, or even occasionally lay eggs from which new 1HD gremlins hatch; there seems to be no pattern to this. One occasional joke by gremlins on snurfs is to inter-breed to produce a gremlurf, which is almost invariably raised among gremlins, with the male snurf parent. It is said that on occasion a bit cut off a gremlin of at least 3HD will become a 1HD gremlin, and also on occasion that 9HD gremlins have laughed themselves to bits at a particularly fine practical joke, producing nine 1HD gremlins.

Gremlins have no real need to eat or drink, though they often do so just for the fun of it; they do not excrete. While they need to breathe to remain active, drowning or no air reduces them to inactivity until there is air again. They do not obviously age, though the older ones may get less real, spending more and more time intangible, until they apparently fade away (unless they have just gone somewhere else). Gremlins do not obviously catch diseases or take effect from ingested poisons, though they may swell up, get purple spots, or do anything else the DM thinks amusing.

There are few things that gremlins enjoy more than machinery, and tinker gnome workshops in particular suffer from them. A gremlin will take a particular interest in anything described as 'unbreakable', 'completely reliable', and 'foolproof'. Exactly what the gremlin can do to machinery is up to the DM, it is unlikely to be something as uninteresting as just breaking it, but see the Technological Rules below, for use with the D&D 'Technologist' character class and devices.

It should be noted that gremlins have particularly fine singing voices, and one of the few things they will cooperate on is singing in harmony, which can bring tears to the eyes of the greatest of bards. There is known to be at least one Gremlin Song, which describes some of the things the gremlins enjoy doing. Gremlins often sing when flying into battle...

From: News from Bree 19, Martin Easterbrook ((heavily modified)).

Technological Rules:

1) Can Understand Machine and Repair/Modify Machine as a Technologist of two levels greater.

2) Automatically Understand Machine on any device they see working.

(c) Rory O. McLean, Dec. 2001
    Permission granted to use for non-profit making purposes