Monsters - Wasters
Description: In life, wasters were angry, nihilistic loners who hated the world and everyone in it. They may have been anything from angst-filled teens to redneck militia members to potential serial killers, but they all had the same hatred and rage inside.
Wasters were the first true monsters to appear as a result of the Essex Phenomenon. They were born of road rage, Angry White Male syndrome, and the frantic claustrophobia created by too many people living too close together for too long. Magic gave them the power to make their dreams of hurting and killing real. Slaying without remorse, protected from their victims by magic, they began to feel like gods. As they used more magic and inflicted more pain, they became addicted to both. From that point on, they were doomed.
Appearance: Wasters appear as gaunt, withered figures. They may wear any type of clothing, but seem to prefer trenchcoats, sunglasses, and anything black. Most wasters tend to dress like Goths, though this seems often to be due more to a sense of style than anything else. Wasters generally scorn any form of armor except for armored dusters, which they seek out actively. As with the Goth look, they wear it for dramatic effect, not for its protective value.
Their eyes normally glow a bright red. Some have forked tongues or fangs, but this is not universal. They are usually surrounded by a spellfire aura. This aura is used to impress the "cattle" (the universal term for non-wasters) and may be dropped at any time.
Combat: Wasters may use any weapon they are proficient with, or may make an open-hand attack. Their fingernails have become rending talons that do 1d6 damage.
They make physical attacks and saving throws as a 4 HD creature. Spell effects and saving throws vs. spells (only) are calculated as though they were 12th-level mages.
Their preferred attack is a form of spellfire, unleashing bolts of raw magic at their target. They have a pool of spell energy to draw from (totaling 100 +/- 2d10 spell levels) and may release a total of 12 spell levels per round, each of which does 1d6 damage (save vs. DC 15 for 1/2). Wasters may release fewer than 12 spell levels in an attack, and may choose to divide their attacks between two targets. No more than two targets may be attacked in a round and no more than 12 spell levels may be released. The spell levels do not have to be divided equally but the total released cannot exceed 12.
Wasters also have a "feeding attack", a form of energy drain that converts the target's life energy into magic the waster can use. Feeding leaves the waster totally defenseless as they seem to enter a trance and are oblivious to the outside world. All active spells go down, and the waster may take no action, offensive or defensive. Magic weapons are still required in order to hit them. The feeding attack drains all living things in range of their life force, slaying them instantly. One spell level is regained per round of feeding on plants, while animals and people provide 5 spell levels per hit die or level consumed. A living being entering the range of a feeding attack must save vs. death every round or be instantly slain. Plant life is destroyed at a rate of 2-5 square yards per spell level regained. The area of the feeding attack that affects animal life extends for 25' around the waster at maximum effect. Awakening from the feeding trance takes 2d4 rounds and the waster is unable to act during this time.
Wasters feed only when they feel safe or have other wasters guarding them, since they are aware of how vulnerable they are during this process.
Wasters may cast any defensive spell normally usable by a 12th-level mage. A defensive spell costs its level in spell levels to cast and does count towards the 12 spell levels per round limit, although all 12 spell levels may be used for any number of defensive spells. Each defensive spell costs one spell level per round to maintain. Spells do not take effect until the next round. Wasters may not cast any form of spell other than those which are specifically defensive in nature. All magical attacks take the form of spellfire bolts.
By way of example, let us suppose Sally, a SWAT officer, is attacked by a waster while searching a supermarket for food. She has a riot shotgun and is accompanied by her pet cat, Sekhmet. The waster wins initiative and spends the first round putting up a series of defensive spells. The waster casts protection from arrows (1), fire shield (4), invisibility (2), and stoneskin (4), using all 12 of its available spell levels this round. Sally unloads six rounds and gets five hits. She does 72 (9, 22, 16, 14, 11) points base damage. The waster's damage reduction resists three of the attacks completely, allowing only 8 points of damage through.
delays action in round two. Sally empties her magazine into the waster, hitting all six
times. Unfortunately, the protection from
arrows spell protects the waster from her attack, dropping
all of Sally's attacks by 10 points. The waster can absorb a total of
45 points off of each attack before being damaged.
The waster uses five of its 12 spell levels to maintain its defensive
spells and hits Sekhmet with the remaining seven, sending her to Bast
instantly. The waster allows Sally to reload and
attack again before using its feeding attack to drain her life away.
have the standard undead spell immunities.
Wasters try to cause as much fear as possible in combat, and their horrific appearance is enough to cause creatures of four hit dice or less to make a morale check or flee in panic when one appears. PCs may be immune to this effect at DM option.
Society: Wasters occasionally travel in packs of 3-5, watching over each other during feedings. They are otherwise solitary creatures.
Ecology: Wasters are a form of undead and have no place in the natural world.