Gamebook store

Friday, 7 May 2010

Big, green and mean

Okay, I can’t condone the use of Vaals (see "More Precious Than Gold") in a scenario. And it’s pretty hard to imagine the player-character party that wouldn’t just run screaming from such an encounter. But the stats were there in the original Invaders & Ancients book so I guess I shouldn’t hold out on you. We never had any illustration of a Vaal, I’m afraid, but just imagine the Juggernaut (I mean Mr Cain Marko) crossed with Jack Kirby’s Destroyer and then redesigned by Philippe Druillet – who would incidentally have been one of the biggest influences on us when creating the world of Ophis. As you'll see, Vaals were supposed to be very tough indeed - though no match for a 3rd rank elementalist if you allow the "raw power" rules. (Hint: don't!)


Fist (d10+2, 10) or Lightning (SPEED 15, 4d6)
Armor Factor 8
MAGICAL DEFENCE 20 (and see below)
Movement 8m
Health Points 50
Rank-equivalent: 25th

Each of the Houses of Sardonyx has at least one Vaal. These great armored sentinels stand immobile, sometimes for centuries, animating when the mansion is invaded. They do not act to prevent infiltration by spies, thieves or assassins so it seems that only a military assault will awaken them. The truth of this is known only to the Vaals themselves.

Under the massive plates of jade-like armor, the Vaal must be of hulking but humanoid form. All that can be seen of the creature within is a wan, flickering limelight shining behind the mask when the Vaal is active. Any nonmagical weapon that penetrates the Vaal’s armor is exposed to the raw energy within, reducing the weapon’s Armor Bypass Roll by 1 (in the case of edged or thrusting weapons only) until the damage can be repaired by an armorer.

Each round, a damaged Vaal regenerates 1 HP. A Vaal cannot be affected by spells that control the mind, including those that create fear or illusions. It is protected at all times by a 2-point Spell Screen (like the Warlock spell).

The Vaal’s own magical attack is a bolt of pale green lightning that it can project up to 40m. It must be free of melee for one round in order to build up the charge for this bolt, which is then released at the start of the following round. The bolt strikes one target with SPEED 15, and if not evaded causes 4d6 damage less the target’s Armor Factor, if any.

A Vaal’s purpose is to protect the mansion and the family members who live there. It is not under the control of members of the House, but acts to protect them as it thinks best.


  1. Like it! Reminds of the Ebon Automaton (and Russ Nicholson's super cool pic of said automaton) from Bloodsword 5: Walls of Spyte.

    Incidentally (and I'm oversimplifying here), that whole artistic nexus of influences between Druillet (Yragael!), Moebius, Nicholson, Miller, and Blanche is pretty inspiring. Add Ralph Steadman to that and you've got a good arguement for investigating what was being added to the water system back then besides fluoride.

  2. I never thought of it that way, Andrew - but yes, you may have a point!