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The Hydra


Bohemond

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The Sartarite Clan Generator has a question about the clan's ancient Chaos Foe. Most of the options are a group of things (Broos, Ogres, Scorpion Men, False Friends, Dragons. Even the Thing With Many Bodies is a group.) But there is also The Hydra, which seems to be a single specific thing. The only Hydra I've heard about is the Hydra of Hydra Hill in Dragon Pass, which is chaotic but doesn't seem to move around very much and which seems to be of army-level power and a single powerful thing, like Cacodemon or Cwim or so on). As a clan enemy it seems both extremely powerful (if it can fight an army, it can probably destroy a clan) and easy to avoid--just move away from where it lives. And yet it's continued to trouble the clan that has it as an enemy.

So as a recurrent Chaos Foe, it doesn't seem to work well. It's too big to easily fight, and yet this thing has to pose at least a periodic problem. The GM can't just decide that the Hydra is going to show up in the campaign this session because it's sort of like the Crimson Bat or Cwim just showing up one day--it's an existential threat. 

How have people used this in their games? 

Edited by Bohemond
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4 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Hydra doesn't get out much but her spawn are a mobile and persistent but manageable challenge. 

The Greater Hydra, like the one of the Hydra Hills, spawns Lesser Hydra which can get around to plague clans in Dragon Pass.  You can find a description of the Lesser Hydra in Anaxial's Roster.

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The Lesser Hydra have RQ stats in the old RQ3 Glorantha Bestiary. A single one is a fair danger to a clan in some circumstances - 2d6 heads, each of which can bite potentially lethal with both poison and acid, and with frequent chaotic features (though of course it might be vulnerable to a missile barrage etc). A plague of a few would be a real issue. There would have to be some explanation why the lesser hydra turn up. 

You could also make a plot where the hydra goes on the move - a clan would have no hope to defeat it, it is terrifying, twice the SIZ of the Crimson Bat, but a plot could be made around it approaching clan lands, with clan having to move assets and people so they don't get eaten. Or it turning up in a heroquest. Or other chaos foes somehow obtaining the help of a Lesser Hydra. 

 

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4 hours ago, Runeblogger said:

What does The Hydra eat?

Anything it wants to. 

Yeah, the idea of its children turning up occurred to me. I guess I was wondering if people had done anything more with the Hydra. After the old Dragon Pass board game, it seems to have entirely fallen out of Glornathan lore before suddenly showing up in the Clan Generator. 

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4 hours ago, Bohemond said:

 After the old Dragon Pass board game, it seems to have entirely fallen out of Glornathan lore before suddenly showing up in the Clan Generator. 

It never fell away.  It appeared in RQ3 material (Genertela: Cruciible, Elder Secrets) and the only reason why it wasn't prominent was that it was stuck over in Tarsh which itself never received much treatment.

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6 hours ago, Bohemond said:

seems to have entirely fallen out of Glornathan lore before suddenly showing up in the Clan Generator. 

There's a full entry for it in the Guide, so has not vanished.

Hydra Mountains: A fearsome region where hydras have lived and spawned since Time began. The highest peak, Mount Lyran, is over 7,500 feet tall and sacred to Orlanth. The colossal Hydra after which the mountains are named is rarely seen, though it can be enticed out by feeding it huge amounts of live food. It lays up to a half-dozen eggs each year that hatch Lesser Hydras to plague the surrounding lands.

And I think that answers a bit of the question about what it eats.

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3 hours ago, jajagappa said:

There's a full entry for it in the Guide, so has not vanished.

Hydra Mountains: A fearsome region where hydras have lived and spawned since Time began. The highest peak, Mount Lyran, is over 7,500 feet tall and sacred to Orlanth. The colossal Hydra after which the mountains are named is rarely seen, though it can be enticed out by feeding it huge amounts of live food. It lays up to a half-dozen eggs each year that hatch Lesser Hydras to plague the surrounding lands.

And I think that answers a bit of the question about what it eats.

Why would anybody want to lure a monstrosity like that out? 

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I once played a game of Dragon Pass (White Bear Red Moon), where the Tarsh Exiles got control of the Hydra and it ate the Crimson Bat.  It was a bad day, as the Hydra got a 6 on how many units it eats.  The Tarsh Exiles swept the field, annihilating Sartar and the Lunars with it.  Worst. Hydra. Ever.

Edited by Darius West
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4 minutes ago, Darius West said:

I once played a game of Dragon Pass (White Bear Red Moon), where the Tarsh Exiles got control of the Hydra and it ate the Crimson Bat.  It was a bad day, as the Hydra got a 6 on how many units it eats.  The Tarsh Exiles swept the field, annihilating Sartar and the Lunars with it.  Worst. Hydra. Ever.

Doesn't the Hydra roll for its appetite every time it is feeding? Randomness being indicative of its chaotic nature, yadda yadda...

(Also, allying with Chaos would give you a minus 1 on all other rolls in the Corbett-rules-adapted Nomad Gods, and only Lunars can use chaos with impunity there.)

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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12 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Doesn't the Hydra roll for its appetite every time it is feeding? Randomness being indicative of its chaotic nature, yadda yadda...

(Also, allying with Chaos would give you a minus 1 on all other rolls in the Corbett-rules-adapted Nomad Gods, and only Lunars can use chaos with impunity there.)

Sheesh, I can't even remember how old I was at the time.  I am pretty sure it was back in the early 1990s though.  We weren't using the Corbett rules.  I don't know if they were even out at the time, we certainly didn't own them.   I do remember that the Exiles wanted to ally with Sir Ethilrist, but the Lunars beat them to it, so the Exiles went for the Hydra instead, then promptly ate the best part of Ethilrist's forces, including the Hellhound.  We may have misread the rules, but the interpretation was that you roll once, and the Hydra eats that many units each time.  That seemed to be what the rules said.  I was playing Sartar at the time, and was simply amused at what was taking place in the West, until the Hydra kept on coming.  I think the only dragon left on the board was the Green one, which Tarsh had, and all the other Hex destroyers had been used up by then.  

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2 hours ago, Ali the Helering said:

Do the multiple heads have separate stomachs?  If not, I dread to think of the digestive issues of the Hound AND the Bat in there.....

It's a chaotic void in there, with gorp as digestive fluid. Little can go wrong - while the heads are serpentine, they limit the size of the bites a hydra can take, so I doubt that either monster was swallowed whole. They may very well be outside of its prey scheme, and might require pre-digestion by regurgitated gorp stuff.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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This raises an interesting question. Could the Hydra eat the Bat in real life (well, Gloranthan standard real life)? The Bat is technically a god, where the Hydra isn't. But the Hydra is a pre-Time chaotic monstrosity. So who wins that battle? 

Years ago (RQ 3-era), my brother and I were spitballing ways to destroy the Bat. I came up with a Eurmali with a 350 point Swallow spell swallowing it whole. I still love that idea (even if the idea of a Eurmali with a 350 point Swallow spell is pretty terrifying...)

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29 minutes ago, Bohemond said:

Could the Hydra eat the Bat in real life (well, Gloranthan standard real life)?

As you and your brother probably recall with terrifying vividness, the Bat can Swallow about 1/3 its SIZ on a normal bite. Presumably this is when the jaw remains hinged, so this is a decent benchmark for Hydra Swallow as well. Since Hydra is SIZ 450 it can gulp SIZ 150 . . . Bat is 202 so Trickster help would be required in order to get the whole thing down in one bite. (Not convinced Hydra can unhinge the jaws but in that scenario it can gulp SIZ 450 on a critical bite and the Bat is in trouble.)

I would tentatively make both immune to each other's mouth acids, which takes away a lot of the Bat's WMD capacity. Otherwise, if the Bat lands a bite, the bite kills. However the Bat don't bite before SR 10 so Hydra bites first. Each head can mess up a location pretty bad even if you zero out all the acids. Depending on the number of heads, the Bat can get pretty messed up before it even gets that first shot at a bite. Maybe it kills one head. Hydra's turn.

Not sure how big the Hound is but I would be worried about my insatiable hunger tricking me into gulping the thing whole, at which point it has the opportunity to Run from inside my stomach and really mess me up.

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8 hours ago, scott-martin said:

As you and your brother probably recall with terrifying vividness, the Bat can Swallow about 1/3 its SIZ on a normal bite. Presumably this is when the jaw remains hinged, so this is a decent benchmark for Hydra Swallow as well. Since Hydra is SIZ 450 it can gulp SIZ 150 . . . Bat is 202 so Trickster help would be required in order to get the whole thing down in one bite. (Not convinced Hydra can unhinge the jaws but in that scenario it can gulp SIZ 450 on a critical bite and the Bat is in trouble.)

I would tentatively make both immune to each other's mouth acids, which takes away a lot of the Bat's WMD capacity. Otherwise, if the Bat lands a bite, the bite kills. However the Bat don't bite before SR 10 so Hydra bites first. Each head can mess up a location pretty bad even if you zero out all the acids. Depending on the number of heads, the Bat can get pretty messed up before it even gets that first shot at a bite. Maybe it kills one head. Hydra's turn.

So the Illuminated Argrath has an easy solution to the Bat problem. Just get the Hydra into position to kill the Bat...

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On 1/29/2019 at 2:27 PM, Bohemond said:

This raises an interesting question. Could the Hydra eat the Bat in real life (well, Gloranthan standard real life)? The Bat is technically a god, where the Hydra isn't. But the Hydra is a pre-Time chaotic monstrosity. So who wins that battle? 

Simple. they both use Chaotic Magic, in Dragon Pass, so in the Magic Phase, the active one just eats the other one, so yes, but it all depends on who goes first.

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