April Fool’s Monster: The Jester Ball

by mshrm

There comes a time when you’ve got to ask yourself, where are all these traps coming from?  Sure, the original builders of the dungeon set up some tricks around sensitive locations, and goblins and the like set traps around their lairs, and it’s not unknown for an adventurer to set a trap to ward off other adventurers from a “claim”… but that doesn’t explain them all.

Every once in a while, adventurers will find a trap that just doesn’t make any sense. One where the only possible explanation is a dedicated will to inflict harm and humiliation. A bucket full of green slime propped over a door with ten feet of undisturbed dust in all directions around it. A banana peel inexplicably left on a handhold halfway up a subterranean cliff. A complex, Rube Goldberg device that obviously took hours of work to prepare, set to defend an empty closet.

One explanation is the Jester Ball.

(Yeah, as far as I’m concerned, you can never have two many “floating sphere” monsters.)

* * *

The Elder Things that humans know as Jester Balls appear as tri-colored floating spheres, covered in fine fur, with three thick tentacles sprouting from their tops. The tentacles each have a knot of muscle towards their ends, containing an organ which constantly emits a high-pitched chiming. Sometimes, they also give voice to a screeching wail. Jester Balls have no apparent eyes, and are unhampered by darkness.

A Jester Ball seems to have no desires beyond inflicting practical jokes on others. They aren’t very intelligent, but they do possess a vile cleverness when it comes to setting traps, and they are very patient. A Jester Ball will conceal itself in an area and contemplate for some time before beginning construction of a trap. With a base skill of 10, +1 for their Higher Purpose, +3 for being Single-Minded, they have an effective skill of 14, and they will often take extra time to improve their roll from there (see GURPS Basic Set: Campaigns, pg 346).

An inexperienced Jester Ball will set up tricks and traps that don’t require much, if anything, in the way of equipment. They’ll do things like moving torches around so that someone walking down a flight of stairs will be dazzled and miss their step, or digging out and concealing pit traps. More experienced Jesters can pick up Scrounging, which expands their possibilities.

Jester Balls are practical jokers, not Tricksters or stand-up monsters:  they don’t mind a weaker victim, and they’ll flee a fight if they can. They don’t even really care if their jokes are lethal or not… though they often are. If it inflicts pain and leaves the victim looking like a fool, they’ll enjoy it.

We blew the whole special-effects budget on this shot, so enjoy it!

A jester ball menaces a fiery-eyed hellhound!

Elder Thing
ST 15 HP 15 Spd 6
DX 12 Will 8 Mv 8 (levitation)
IQ 8 Per 8
HT 12 FP 12 SM +0
Dodge 9 Parry 10 (unarmed) DR 0
  • Punch (14): 1d+1 cr at Reach C, 1-2
  • Grab (14): effective ST 17 due to Wrestling bonus; +2 to grapple or break free and +3 to pin or resist a pin when using all three arms
Traits 360° Vision; Dark Vision; Doesn’t Breath; Doesn’t Eat or Drink; Doesn’t Sleep; Extra Arms (3 total, all Extra-flexible and Long +3); Flight; Fragile (Unnatural); High Pain Threshold; Higher Purpose (Commit practical jokes); Immunity to Metabolic Hazards; Indomitable; Injury Tolerance (No eyes, no head, no neck, no vitals); No Legs (Aerial); Noisy 1; Odious Racial Habit (practical joker) 3; Single-Minded; Unfazeable
Skills Brawling (DX+2) 14; Traps (IQ+2) 10; Wrestling (DX+2) 14
Features Unwilling to negotiate. Truly evil.