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Let's Read of the Fiend Folio (2003)

Dweller in Darkness

Excelsior
Validated User
Who, in the course of their adventuring career, hasn’t wanted to have a permanent layer of mucus affixed to their flesh, or wished they had rollers instead of stupid legs, or a muzzle with a unicorn horn? Well, dream no more, those things are all within your grasp if you’re willing to accept

Grafts

Honestly, these are something that I’d sort of assumed that the game already had at some point, but apparently not - basically, you find someone willing to attach a graft, pay them money for it, and then go through the long, painful surgical process. There’s usually a side effect or two, but that’s to be expected when you really, really want someone else’s bones surgical attached to your body. They come in various types.

Aboleth Grafts

According to the description, these can only be given to skum, the servitor race of the aboleth, or to those who’ve begun the transformation after being touched by an aboleth’s noodly appendage.

You can get skum eyes, which give you a small bonus on Spot checks underwater, or a tail that gives you a natural swim speed of 60. The two superstars, though, are the aboleth tentacle and the mucus sheath. The tentacles gives you a small bonus to Strength and a natural attack that can transform your victims, just like an aboleth’s. The mucus sheath makes you a better swimmer and reduces your Will saves, the better to control you with. You pay 5000 gp for this, by the way, it ain’t free.

Beholder Grafts

Wait, why would the notably racist and xenophobic beholders allow someone to look more like their puissant physic perfection? Well, they don’t - these grafts come from beholder-worshipping cults and the like.

They’re all really, really powerful. The least valuable one gives you all-around vision, Darkvision out to 60’ and +4 on Search and Spot checks. That’s 60 000. The others give you various beholder-like abilities, like an eye that casts a mind-affecting magic, or another eye that casts a beholder’s ray attack, or another eyer eye that blasts an antimagic field. In addition to eyes, you can also get armour plating.

Fiendish Grafts

These take up just over two pages of text, and vary from demonic wings, to clawed arms, to tentacles, demonic skin, and even ears and eyes. If you have enough wealth, you can basically totally remake yourself. If you’re good-aligned, it’ll gradually drive you insane, and if you’re neutral, it’ll eventually turn you to evil, and having just one implant, even a hidden one, puts you at -6 on all Charisma-based skills, even when you’re interacting with evil creatures, because you’re just unnaturally and disturbingly twisted.

Illithid Grafts

In addition to giving you a -4 on you Will saves, if you take the right illithid grafts - antennae, climbing legs, goring horn, grasping mandibles, hauling back, you’re basically an umber hulk. That’s not healthy. You can also get raking tentacles and weapon grafts. I actually used these in an Underdark, as a way to apply some game mechanics to the illithids twisted and tormented slaves.

Maug Grafts

Really more like upgrades, these are given to maugs, a construct race we covered early. Most are combat-based upgrades, my favourite being the rollers that basically give you a trample attack.


Undead Grafts

Apart from looking more like an undead monster, there are no actual drawbacks to these. They’re in the mid-range of cost at an average of about 40 000, and give you the abilities of your favourite undead, whether it’s level draining, Strength damage, paralysis, eyebite (okay, so that’s a bit of an exception) or just some bonemail grafted into your flesh.

Yuan-ti Grafts

These are pretty straightforward - they make you look more reptillian. There’s a tail grafted onto your butt, a tail that replaces your lower body, poison fangs, scaly skin and a serpentine arm. All on point, all relatively inexpensive.

Overall, I like the concept of grafts, but they’re basically magic items with another name, and there’s no guideline given as to how prices are determined. I mean, a mucus sheath that boosts your Swim speed by 10 feet and makes you more vulnerable, and you pay for the privilege?

Symbionts

These are basically really gross replacements for standard familiars, although they have some exceptions-based psionics-like rules that determine how they actually work. I’ll include the pictures here, but won’t get into details - they’re all fiddly and a bit confusing, and I’ve never heard of them being used much, if at all.

The Ghostly Visage

The Gutworm and the Soul Tick


It’s kind of a shame that they aren’t all that interesting, because those are some very evocative pictures.
 

Crinos

Next to me you're all number two!
Validated User
The grafts remind me of the game Hunter the Vigil from NWOD. One of the Hunter groups of the Cheiron Group, a corrupt corporation which hunts monsters in order to capture them and dissect them for medical science. They also give super powers to their agents by grafting monster organs onto them.

I could see an evil adventuring group which is hunting monsters in order to steal their body parts for themselves. Imagine the denizens of a dungeon approaching the PC's to ask for help to keep from being cut up by these guys.
 

Dweller in Darkness

Excelsior
Validated User
Yep. The issue is that, with the list prices, you kill one beholder and you have 300 000 gp worth of "parts." It would need some rebalancing.
 

Manitou

Emperor of the Americas
Validated User
Who, in the course of their adventuring career, hasn’t wanted to have a permanent layer of mucus affixed to their flesh, or wished they had rollers instead of stupid legs, or a muzzle with a unicorn horn? Well, dream no more, those things are all within your grasp if you’re willing to accept

Grafts

Honestly, these are something that I’d sort of assumed that the game already had at some point, but apparently not - basically, you find someone willing to attach a graft, pay them money for it, and then go through the long, painful surgical process. There’s usually a side effect or two, but that’s to be expected when you really, really want someone else’s bones surgical attached to your body. They come in various types.

Aboleth Grafts

According to the description, these can only be given to skum, the servitor race of the aboleth, or to those who’ve begun the transformation after being touched by an aboleth’s noodly appendage.

You can get skum eyes, which give you a small bonus on Spot checks underwater, or a tail that gives you a natural swim speed of 60. The two superstars, though, are the aboleth tentacle and the mucus sheath. The tentacles gives you a small bonus to Strength and a natural attack that can transform your victims, just like an aboleth’s. The mucus sheath makes you a better swimmer and reduces your Will saves, the better to control you with. You pay 5000 gp for this, by the way, it ain’t free.

Beholder Grafts

Wait, why would the notably racist and xenophobic beholders allow someone to look more like their puissant physic perfection? Well, they don’t - these grafts come from beholder-worshipping cults and the like.

They’re all really, really powerful. The least valuable one gives you all-around vision, Darkvision out to 60’ and +4 on Search and Spot checks. That’s 60 000. The others give you various beholder-like abilities, like an eye that casts a mind-affecting magic, or another eye that casts a beholder’s ray attack, or another eyer eye that blasts an antimagic field. In addition to eyes, you can also get armour plating.

Fiendish Grafts

These take up just over two pages of text, and vary from demonic wings, to clawed arms, to tentacles, demonic skin, and even ears and eyes. If you have enough wealth, you can basically totally remake yourself. If you’re good-aligned, it’ll gradually drive you insane, and if you’re neutral, it’ll eventually turn you to evil, and having just one implant, even a hidden one, puts you at -6 on all Charisma-based skills, even when you’re interacting with evil creatures, because you’re just unnaturally and disturbingly twisted.

Illithid Grafts

In addition to giving you a -4 on you Will saves, if you take the right illithid grafts - antennae, climbing legs, goring horn, grasping mandibles, hauling back, you’re basically an umber hulk. That’s not healthy. You can also get raking tentacles and weapon grafts. I actually used these in an Underdark, as a way to apply some game mechanics to the illithids twisted and tormented slaves.

Maug Grafts

Really more like upgrades, these are given to maugs, a construct race we covered early. Most are combat-based upgrades, my favourite being the rollers that basically give you a trample attack.


Undead Grafts

Apart from looking more like an undead monster, there are no actual drawbacks to these. They’re in the mid-range of cost at an average of about 40 000, and give you the abilities of your favourite undead, whether it’s level draining, Strength damage, paralysis, eyebite (okay, so that’s a bit of an exception) or just some bonemail grafted into your flesh.

Yuan-ti Grafts

These are pretty straightforward - they make you look more reptillian. There’s a tail grafted onto your butt, a tail that replaces your lower body, poison fangs, scaly skin and a serpentine arm. All on point, all relatively inexpensive.

Overall, I like the concept of grafts, but they’re basically magic items with another name, and there’s no guideline given as to how prices are determined. I mean, a mucus sheath that boosts your Swim speed by 10 feet and makes you more vulnerable, and you pay for the privilege?

Symbionts

These are basically really gross replacements for standard familiars, although they have some exceptions-based psionics-like rules that determine how they actually work. I’ll include the pictures here, but won’t get into details - they’re all fiddly and a bit confusing, and I’ve never heard of them being used much, if at all.

The Ghostly Visage


It’s kind of a shame that they aren’t all that interesting, because those are some very evocative pictures.
The Vizage is the one familiar the Dread Necromancer gets(from Heroes of Horror) that I actually like. The rules are fairly simple, it "merges" with you. Then you are immune to mind effecting effects like a fey or undead is.
You can also use your action to try to scare people by having it appear over your face. You can go around without anyone realising you have a familar, but undead sensors thinking you are undead. Don't htink I"ve ever scene someone can detect undead, so that's likely never. Unless the GM decides to make it a thing. I guess?
 

DMH

Master of Mutant Design
Validated User
I found it a little frustrating that there was more grafts in some of the books but no symbionts. And that still seems to be the case for d20 and PF third party supplements.

So I wrote my own. Two Mutant Future files with three very different ways of using symbiosis, one of which was inspired by the symbionts in this book.

The most unusual idea that incorporated grafts is sadly no longer at OBS. Last Stand was a supers game where humans were grafted to the remains of aliens to get their powers. The more monsters they hunted down and killed, the more diverse the suits they had access to. The downsides were the primary suit became part of the body and the corporation that did the biotech technically owned the player characters. It was a very different sort of supers game.
 

CaliberX

Registered User
Validated User
The Vizage is the one familiar the Dread Necromancer gets(from Heroes of Horror) that I actually like. The rules are fairly simple, it "merges" with you. Then you are immune to mind effecting effects like a fey or undead is.
You can also use your action to try to scare people by having it appear over your face. You can go around without anyone realising you have a familar, but undead sensors thinking you are undead. Don't htink I"ve ever scene someone can detect undead, so that's likely never. Unless the GM decides to make it a thing. I guess?
If I was DM to such a character, I'd definitely be looking for an excuse to make that a thing. Just like I always try to start taking hands as soon as the Cleric gets Regeneration. A character facet that goes un-used is boring! :D

I found it a little frustrating that there was more grafts in some of the books but no symbionts. And that still seems to be the case for d20 and PF third party supplements.

So I wrote my own. Two Mutant Future files with three very different ways of using symbiosis, one of which was inspired by the symbionts in this book.

The most unusual idea that incorporated grafts is sadly no longer at OBS. Last Stand was a supers game where humans were grafted to the remains of aliens to get their powers. The more monsters they hunted down and killed, the more diverse the suits they had access to. The downsides were the primary suit became part of the body and the corporation that did the biotech technically owned the player characters. It was a very different sort of supers game.
That sounds very similar to a movie called Guyver (I think?), it was about bio-armor suits made by some Evil Corp that would bonds with their user. The hero got one that was free somehow and was also the strongest, so he had to use it and bring the bad guys down. Great movie from when I was a teen, wonder how it'd stand up if I tracked it down ...
 

DMH

Master of Mutant Design
Validated User
Yeah, but the Guyver never had to go toe to toe with several daikaiju at once. Last Stand supers were way up in the power scale, at least at higher levels.
 

RobertEdwards

Registered User
Validated User
I remember Monte Cook having a thing with Grafts back in this era, first in a Lovecraftian Romaster setting, and later the Chaostech from Poltus. Must have been a streak of body horror in the air back thing.
 

Evil Midnight Lurker

What Lurks at Midnight
Validated User
If I was DM to such a character, I'd definitely be looking for an excuse to make that a thing. Just like I always try to start taking hands as soon as the Cleric gets Regeneration. A character facet that goes un-used is boring! :D



That sounds very similar to a movie called Guyver (I think?), it was about bio-armor suits made by some Evil Corp that would bonds with their user. The hero got one that was free somehow and was also the strongest, so he had to use it and bring the bad guys down. Great movie from when I was a teen, wonder how it'd stand up if I tracked it down ...
Guyver is a very bad couple of live action American movies based on a pretty good long-running manga which has had three anime adaptations of varying quality.
 
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