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Monster of the Week: Spectator

Spectator

OMG! Look out! It’s a Behol… nope. Just your average floating cyclops orb with four eyestalks and a penchant for philosophical conversation.

Some Backstory…

We’re kicking off this week’s Monster of The Week with the classic TTRPG monster; The Spectator. Despite their gruesome appearance, the Spectator falls under the lawful neutral alignment. They could be trusted better with prized possessions in your inventory than your first roommate in college. I’m still waiting to get those Simpsons DVDs back Dave… Anyway as mentioned, the Spectator is a quirky monster with grand philosophical knowledge. They quite enjoy conversation and can hold elaborate conversions with those who dare to approach them. They are also capable of forming deep friendships with others. I have no clue if they’re capable of committing to romantic relationships but it’s possible. Just imagine the Spectator ships we could all come up with; Spectator x Beholder perhaps? I mean they both have a superiority complex and are both round orbs from qu

We’re back and kicking off this week’s Monster of The Week with the classic TTRPG monster; The Spector.

Despite their gruesome appearance, the Spectator isn’t evil (don’t judge a book… or an eyeball, yo). It’s actually lawful neutral alignment. That’s just one of the things that makes them so attractive as a guardian. Who else could be better trusted with your prized treasures – definitely not your first college roommate (I’m still waiting to get those Simpsons DVDs back Dave).

The Spectator is a quirky monster with great philosophical knowledge (not just Nietzsche, Kopf too). They quite enjoy conversation and may hold extended conversions with those who dare approach them. Unlike the viciously paranoid and solitary Beholder, Spectators are also capable of forming deep friendships with others. Who knows if they’re capable of committing to romantic relationships – but it’s possible. Just imagine the Spectator-ship possibilities; Spectator x Beholder perhaps? I mean they both have a superiority complex and are both round orbs from questionable backgrounds. Well, that’s another question for another day. This is Monster of The Week and NOT Monster Match Maker. (Seriously though, if you all would read Monster Match Maker we’d consider making it. Haha)

As Far As The Monster Itself…

As far as magical abilities go, the Spectator is capable of paralyzing its enemies, wounding them, and causing psychological trauma (confusion and/or fear). Since they’re lawful neutral, they’re not as likely to attack unless provoked. Since they’re sometimes summoned as guardians, provoking may be as simple as coming within eye range (eye-ray-range?). Think you can simply avoid those rays by flinging some spells from afar? Nope! Where the Beholder has a nasty anti-magic cone, our Spectator buddy is able to reflect spells back at the caster OR at someone else in range! Looks like you’ll have to move in close after all.

As big ‘ole orbs without any non-eye-stalky appendages, they primarily use their eye rays in combat. They CAN bite, but… like… why would they when an eye stalk does more damage. Maybe if you took out those eyes stalks? (Finally a real world use for that Three Stooges Eye Poke!) If all eyes of the Spectator are poked/damaged, it will teleport itself to a different plane to escape the battle (unless it’s been summoned as a guardian, in which case it’s likely to fight to the death). This may sound dramatic, but keep in mind the Spectator is literally just one giant eyeball with four other eyes tacked on. Once those eyes are out of commission or proving less than useful, there’s few other options other than flight.

Can you think of any other monsters with inconvenient weaknesses? Let us know so we can consider them as a candidate for a future Monster of the Week!

Read our previous Monster of the Week if you dare!

#BlackLivesMatter

We’ve made many, many statements and posts on Twitter speaking out against police violence and in support of Black Lives Matter. But we dropped the ball on Facebook, LinkedIn and our blog. It’s important for us (all of us) to use our voice wherever we are and make clear our stance against racism, institutionalized injustice, and police brutality. You have our apologies for not making our support plain and upfront on these other platforms sooner.

NeverEnding-BLM-Statement

NeverEnding: Making Your Stories About YOU!

NeverEnding is a small startup. We don’t have a lot of money (understatement). We don’t have a lot of followers (yet). What we have is a big dream to change the face of tabletop roleplaying games by creating the tools that allow players and dungeon masters to see themselves in their games and better share their stories.

Allowing players to see themselves in their games has been one of our goals since the beginning. We’re working hard to make it a reality with our character builder, scene builder and video animator.

We realized early on, that if we want people to be able to create characters that looked like them, the character builder would be a critical first step. Being able to have a character with naturally curly hair and choosing from a variety of skin tones needs to be a given – but there are other aspects that get missed beyond hair and skin tone. Little things like glasses or freckles can make a difference. Having different body types that are maybe more average or curvier than the typical superhero can make the game better for many. Having a variety of ways someone can feel represented helps them enjoy the game more.

So, we’re doing all of that and more. It’s important you feel like you’re reflected in your game – if that’s what you want. But it isn’t just so you can feel represented. A diverse character builder might be a virtual way of exposing more people to others who look different from them. For example, one of the reasons we included prosthetics in our builder as a base feature is to dispel the idea of disabled people as inherently weak or helpless or broken.

We’re also creating hairstyles and clothing options that reflect non-European cultures as well. There’s nothing wrong with the traditional knight in platemail that we’ve come to expect in the typical medieval tropes of many TTRPGs. But those tropes don’t have to preclude us including options based off of the beautiful beaded coats worn by the Baggara warriors from northern Africa in the late 18th century or the spiked armor of an Indian executioner from the same period. There are many, many rich and gorgeous cultures around the globe. We want to explore them with you. One of the places we’re consciously pulling inspiration from right now is the variety of cultures and peoples of Africa. For too long there’s been this idea of Africa and her people being “less than” or a monoculture. Nothing could be further from the truth. We want to work with artists and experts to reveal and display the myriad gems of splendor available from those storied lands.

This is a huge undertaking. Exhausting and sometimes scary. There is a LOT of art to be created in our platform and a lot of programming work still to be done. We have high hopes. We have plans. We won’t get there all at once – and we hope people have patience with us along the journey.


I recognize now that, even though we’re small, we also have opportunities to lift people up as we try to do something amazing. We have a Kickstarter June 12. We’re planning stretch goals. Initially, I was hoping to connect with some bigger name established artists. I realized today that all those artists started off small and became big, because more people saw their art. With that in mind, I am putting out the call for artists of color who’d like to help us develop and fulfill stretch goals for the character builder and the scene builder (both critical components for our animator).  We only have 9 days to plan things out, but we can work together on figuring some specifics as the days go on.

A shortlist of what we’re thinking includes backgrounds and props reflective of different areas and environments around the world, hairstyles and facial hair as well as clothing and armor inspired by West Africa, Thailand, and other places, monsters from other mythologies. The list could go on.

We do have a certain art style. We have always planned on expanding it, and that can be part of the discussion as well. We will put some priority on artists who think they can fit within our style and help us expand our options – but we want to hear from anyone with ideas for how we can make this bigger and better.

Send portfolio links to jvandoren@beneverending.com

Let’s change the face of TTRPGs together.

Sincerely,

Jamie Van Doren
Founder/CEO
NeverEnding, Inc.


PS: No, this will not be the only opportunity for black creatives and others to work with us. The road ahead is long. There’s plenty of room for us to walk together later.

Monster of the Week: Young Kraken

young kraken
The fearsome young kraken

Raw tentacled fury of the sea, the young kraken lives in the nightmares of those who dare to travel through the ocean…

The Mighty Kraken…. Baby?

This Monster of The Week even has Brittany Spears singing (“Oh, baby, baby“). That’s right -we’re going to discuss the Kraken’s adorable equivalent: the Young Kraken. For me, the first mental images that it conjures up are of squishy, slimy little Nemos, unable to defend themselves from a harsh world. If you’re in the same boat (boat, ha), you might’ve forgotten that this segment is titled Monster of The Week.

So why are we focusing on a weaker version of it’s elder counterpart?

If you don’t want to wipe out your lower level (even mid-level) adventuring party, this little guy is more than a cute marketable version of the terrifying ruler of the deep, they’re a potential long-term BBEG who grows in power with them. Where the fully grown Kraken is an extremely intelligent and ancient eldritch nightmare, their young are powerful foes that are not nigh impossible to defeat (and slightly less tremble-worthy) – as well as prone to plotting vengeance.

Is This Where “Whipper Snapper” Comes From?

Even in infancy, it is capable of comprehending information at the average intelligence level of, say, those who enjoy edgy adult cartoons (adult swim, anyone?). While not as large as their mature counterparts, they’re still much larger than the largest Owlbear. Krakens are also known for being extremely evil. The Young Kraken is no different. One might hope that being an independent and highly intelligent creature, it might rebel against its elder brethren and start a movement pushing against the traditionalist evils of Kraken-kind; maybe be intelligent enough to see the importance of a better society with equality for minorities and higher minimum wage?

Unfortunately, the Young Kraken isn’t capable of actual revolutionary alignment change – nor speech (makes holiday meals with old Uncle Kraken, much easier). They are, however, capable of telepathy within a 120ft radius. They even have the ability to breathe in and outside of water (so there’s still the option of opening yet another a big corporate chain store on the corner).

Kraken as deadly adults or inexperienced youth can execute their schemes on both land and water. The adults are more likely to attack directly when their schemes are uncovered, while young Krakens will retreat and nurse their wounds until an opportunity for revenge appears. Remember, they’re long-lived. They may wait years or decades after they’ve been thwarted to come after your adventuring party.  

Who would you like to see on a future Monster of The Week post? Comment below, and if you haven’t done so already check out our other tweets for more information on NeverEnding’s upcoming animation platform!

Check out our last Monster of the Week post here

Monster of the Week: Nightwalker

Don’t let its beautiful baby smooth skin fool you, the Nightwalker takes no prisoners. 

Nightwalker
NeverEnding’s Nightwalker

What is a nightwalker?

This week we’re kicking off Monster Of The Week with a more well-known creature of the night – and the living embodiment of death itself. Nightwalkers appear to be comprised of shadow, but these colossal humanoid-shaped terrors are actually undead. And they’ll stop at nothing to eliminate your players.

Where do nightwalkers come from?

There’s much more to their origin than there is for the typical shambling undead. Nightwalkers are born from a failed ritual created by those who try to inhabit powers of the Negative Energy plane. You can think of the Negative Energy plane as a sort of alternate dimension where almost no living creature can safely travel. Why? Because it contains such high amounts of (living? dead? hungry? all of the above?) darkness. Think of Stephen Hawking’s description of Black Holes, but instead of going through the fun that is spaghettification you’ll just slowly shrivel into cold dusty shadow, as all hope, light, and laughter drains away. The plane of existence where Nightwalkers originate is a sinister plane indeed. Nightwalkers fall under the evil alignment. Allegedly, Nightwalkers consist of the same shadowy darkness as the negative energy plane. Being undead, they have no problem surviving this dread domain.

Did we mention, they’re really, really big? Despite their 20 ft stature, Nightwalkers are capable of hiding from the players’ sight by camouflaging into darker environments such as fallow farm fields, dark forests, and the abandoned backlot of Disney’s Hollywood Studios… *gulp*.

anyway…

Ok, so just like the nightmares I still have about that backlot tour, the Nightwalker is capable of stunning its prey within a 30 ft radius by using their evil gaze. They become literally paralyzed with fear. Fear isn’t their only weapon. Like many evil beings in real life, Nightwalkers are extremely charismatic. Because they have such high charisma, they’re extremely capable of intimidating players without having to flex a muscle. Although a large part of that has to do with the Nightwalker’s physical stature, it’s fear of the unknown that you want to emphasize to keep your players sweating. Or you can just focus on the fear of a gigantic malevolent creature that harnesses the powers of the Negative Energy plane. That works too.

So who’s your candidate for a Monster of The Week?

check out last week’s monster of the week

Monster of the Week: The Singing Tree

The Singing Tree
NeverEnding’s version of The Singing Tree

Is it a monster? Is it a plant? No, The Singing Tree is both!

We’re kicking off our first-ever Monster of The Week post with a fairly unusual choice: The Singing Tree. If you’re thinking “what a silly choice to start with,” then golly, we’ve lulled you into a sense of false expectation – much like this week’s botanical abomination. 

Reminiscent of Randy Newman’s character the Singing Bush seen in the 80s classic The Three Amigos, they call it the singing tree because each one of its leaves emits a high pitched sound. If all leaves play together, they sound like a calming harmonic choir that’ll put even the most frenzied woodland critter to slumber. That is the point after all. But this sleep isn’t restful or kind. The Singing Tree relies on the blood of its victims to replenish itself. Similar to how the roots of a normal tree pull in nutrients and support microbes for decomposition, the Singing Tree just wants to include you in the circle of life by draining you of all your blood and nutrients. It plays calming lullaby to soothe its prey into napping beside it. If, for example, Mr. Squirrel (my OC for this post) were to take a nap by the singing tree, he’d become a raisin in no time as the tree drinks up all his juicy goodness and covers him in leaves. Despite its lack of sentience and inability to feel paranoia, the tree will still slowly coat a body in leaves to hide it from sight. This way future prey are not alerted by the sight of Mr. Squirrel’s untimely demise, preserving this beautiful tree’s friendly facade. Death is natural (even your character’s death), so the Singing Tree is not considered an inherently evil creature; it’s alignment falls under the neutral category. 

The Singing Tree can be domesticated, but because it’s bloodthirsty (literally) the odds of it going feral run high. They tend to live in areas distant from civilization, and primarily thrive off of those hapless enough to stumble close. If kept hungry for extended periods of time, the Tree will stop at nothing to consume the nearest creature. Unfortunately, the Tree doesn’t have much in the way of defending itself if attacked. It dies like any normal tree if treated roughly. 

One more fun anecdote worth mentioning is that Singing Trees cannot live in a pack, since they rely on chance encounters as their primary food source.

I can only imagine how different the film Three Amigos would’ve been if Randy Newman had been a Singing Tree. Perhaps a 2020s gritty reboot could be centered on this new concept!

Is there a monster that you’d like to see discussed in the next Monster Of The Week? Feel free to write us in the comments below!

Results Are In. Kickstarter June 12!

So many character combinations are possible.

We have a very special update to share with all of our friends and fans! 

After polls on Twitter, Facebook, and to our email subscribers, we heard you loud and clear. It seems like nearly everyone wants to try out one of the basic features of the platform/app ASAP. So, we’ve moved our Kickstarter launch date to June 12th. Why? So we can premiere our super awesome character builder right away (like you asked us to do)!

We know that once you test it, you’ll be hooked and want to help us bring you more and better features by backing us on Kickstarter! Our character builder will let you customize facial features, hair, body type, and the outfit – so you can create a unique character portrait. It won’t have ALL the bells and whistles (or options) of the final version – but you get to try it for FREE!

Expect to see it on the site, prior to June 12th. We had an overwhelmingly positive response to this idea, so we hope to see you testing and playing with our character builder as soon as it’s available!

April Giveaway

With our Kickstarter fast approaching, we want to ensure people are actually interested in the platform. One way to gauge interest is how many people join our Pre-Kickstarter Email List.

Because we want THE happiest fans, we’re doing a giveaway! (*shouts* *hoots* *whistles*)

THE GIVEAWAY

For the next 2 weeks, we’ll do a drawing when we hit the following email subscriber milestones:
50, 100, 200, 300, 500, 700, 1000.

What are we giving away? SO MUCH!

  • We have a Reaper mini: Sister Hazel, Plague Doctor
  • The D&D Bestiary Mini Notebooks
  • Multiple miniature boosters: Pathfinder Battles: The Rusty Dragon Inn, Icons of the Realms: Tomb of Annihilation, and Icons of the Realms: Descent into Avernus
  • Plus so many healing potions for your table!


Given the odds (and the cool loot) the faster you sign up, the better! Not to mention the deadline to hit milestones for the giveaway is April 21, 2020.

Additionally, if you share a post on Twitter or Facebook about the giveaway, tag us, and email us a link to your post, you’ll be entered into a separate drawing for a super cool, extra special giveaway.

What is this “super cool, extra special giveaway” you ask? Shhhhhhh. It’s a Secret. We’ll let you know once we hit our second milestone of 100 email subscribers.