Last week’s Imprac talked about my having ended up needing to rangen a monster at the last minute; earlier this week, I talked about how I go about pulling giant monsters out of nowhere. For tonight, let’s look at the monster in question.
Flaming Hakarl, as one of the PCs nicknamed it, was the result of a rather messy fight involving, among other things, the use of Anathema and its ability to unmake Powerful Things. My critters don’t fight to the death, and this one, on realizing it was just hanging on to existence and another bite from the Sword That Argues With Itself would kill it, scarpered. All well and good, chase scene ensues, as does getting some use out of the other in-scene dangerous things… and then the group starts taunting it.
There’s one little problem with taunting something that’s capable of making simulacra of anything it might have absorbed at some point: critters like that don’t have to actually be present in order to fight you. So I had to come up with some sort of large nasty monster that would be sent after the group in its place. At the bottom of the ocean.
The logical thing: Some kind of undead sea monster. So far, so good. The base species I went for ended up being shark: I’ve based things on octopi, anemones, leafy sea dragons, and there was that one shark/narwhal/dragon mashup a while back, but I haven’t done much by way of pure shark—and sharks are pretty cool.
For thematics, I went to my old standby: when in doubt, if it’s in the Underworld, use pyreflame. Green flame that burns even underwater? That should get people’s attention. I’d originally going to make the shark entirely of the stuff, but I wasn’t sure even I could justify it keeping its form, so I gave it an outer shell of obsidian, only flexible enough to let it move like a shark, and let the flame stream out its mouth and gill slits and backlight its eyes and lateral line. (No, I have no idea how I managed to remember all this stuff from fourth grade, except, well, sharks are cool.) For an added bonus, I decided to take advantage of the properties of obsidian and of shark-skin, and gave it little hair-thin blade-growths all over its skin which had the added bonus of doing nifty things to how the flame streamed out behind it.