Dungeons & Dragons Online

The Pierrot, or I Blame Stephen King (Again)

I return with what is probably the wackiest of the bunch, the 10th so far in my 13-part horror miniseries of monsters. It's been a pleasure working on these, and I will continue to do so! Man, we had a good time coming up with this one in the subreddit discord. Many an idea was thrown around, and I have some excellent out of context screenshots. Thanks to Dickleyjones, Tiger, Dorocche, SauceMemer, DannyPopadoo, Bimgus and HairBearHero, as well as my irl friends for playtesting this honk-nosed horror. It is now… time for clown.

As usual, you are free to use this and tweak it in any way, as long as you tell me how it goes!

Google Drive


Introduction

Entertainment! Even amongst the hardships of feudal life, everyone is entitled to the smile on their face. There are as many pastimes as there are folks to have them, ranging from athletics to intellectual pursuits to simple artistic creation. Of course, after a long day one might not have the energy to perform such tasks, as enjoyable as they may be. Thankfully, there are a number of people who have taken it upon themselves to entertain others for their living. Bards who strum strings and sing songs, painters and sculptors who put their works on display for the public to see, jesters that crack jokes and perform acrobatic feats before the royal courts themselves. The latter is an interesting case, often considered far less artistic than the other pursuits, due largely to the act of playing the fool itself. Still, a good jester is in high demand, and it takes skill. Jesters with drums, bells and pointy shoes; Mimes with striped shirts and silent mockery. And of course, there is the clown.

In carnivals or celebrations, there are actors that arrive without ever being invited. Some are obnoxious artists, others are just confused, and others still perhaps mistakenly received an invitation. However, should you spy a guest with a pale face and red nose that you are certain is not on the list, flee as best you can. For you have encountered a Pierrot.

The Pierrot’s appearance aligns with that of what is supposed to be an innocent entertainer, made macabre by the uncanny behaviour and rows of glistening teeth behind the painted-on smile. It bears a rotund belly that deflects impacts, and a wide variety of toys and tricks that have been turned lethal. Thrown pies with scuttling appendages that latch onto faces, handkerchief chains that suddenly turn into knotted intestines, a flowery lapel that spews skin-melting acid, and a wicked knife hidden up a sleeve can all be found in its arsenal. However, the true danger lies in the clown’s performance. Whenever subjected to injury or failure the monster makes a mockery of itself, cursing others with uncontrollable bouts of laughter at its plight that bring them to their knees. No matter how terrified they may be, they cannot escape the grim laughter of the clown. Similarly, the Pierrot makes a habit of taunting its prey, amusing itself and goading them into recklessness. It takes supreme delight in doing so, and even regains energy from mocking a victim’s peril.

However, possibly the deepest threat of the Pierrot is in its bite. Comparative studies of lycanthropy and vampiric curses have been made, and there certainly are similarities to the hex known as Grimaldi’s Smile. If a clown’s bite is not treated immediately and the wound purified, a transformation begins. First, insomnia as the facial skin pales and teeth elongate, often causing others to mistake the curse for that of the vampire. However, soon enough the laughter begins and the nose becomes round and blood-red alongside the lips and hair. The poor soul begins to lose their mind and their humanity, no longer able to feel pain and mistaking the agonized shrieks of others for the most joyous laughter. Though they never become a true Pierrot, they often take up a similar mission. If they can make others laugh so wonderfully, then why not do so? Why not entertain them all? But why, oh why, do they struggle so when you use your handy knife to apply the facepaint?


How and When to use it

First off, it’s a murderclown. You already know how to set up the scares and such, and if you don't, the fact that it’s a clown will do some of the heavy lifting for you. Play into the uncanny, whimsical, violent nature of the thing. Make it giggle and crack jokes while peeling someone like an apple. Describe how its laughter gets more and more distorted as it goes on for a far longer time than normal lungs should be capable of. Set things up beforehand by making use of False Appearance, or even misleading the players into thinking they’re fighting a vampire with the early stages of Grimaldi’s Smile in an NPC. Then, the instant you start talking in a goofy clown voice right after describing the shadowy nighttime alley where the thing is lurking, the tonal whiplash and juxtaposition is gonna creep out your players something fierce. When you actually describe the Pierrot itself in full clown garb stepping out of the shadows, you’re gonna trigger some form of nervous laughter. Which is just what the monster wants.

As for combat, the Pierrot has a lot of toys to play with. It’s a jack-of-all-trades monster that can respond to just about anything, and keeps the party on their toes by constantly changing up what it's throwing at them. Its multiattack helps with this, as it requires it to use two different attacks, thereby offering a nice variety while also ensuring that it doesn’t dole out the more potent debuffs at an unfair rate. It also has a bunch of abilities that aren’t attacks, such as its Slapstick and Taunt, which can be used to make the battle even more unpredictable. Chain together different abilities to see what works, and leap at an opportunity to trigger something. Throw a pie-facehugger, then taunt so the victim has to try and attack and therefore can’t get the thing off of them, but they miss because they’re blinded so the Pierrot honks its nose and heals. That’s just one example of how all these things can chain together, and I encourage you to find your own! Keep the players guessing, and whenever they do get the feel of what an ability does it’ll feel all the more gratifying for them to start to form an orderly strategy against the chaotic clown-shaped mess.

Finally, there’s Grimaldi’s Smile. It’s very much akin to the bite of a were-creature or the curse of vampirism in that it can cause a drastic negative change in a player character, so use it wisely if at all. It’s intended more for use in the setup and horror, rather than directly on the players. Have an NPC or two suffer the effects, use it to unnerve the players. Pretty much the only thing that could make a monster clown worse is that if it bites you, you become one. If a player does suffer from it, then the story will likely get sidetracked for a while as they seek out a cure. At 7th level it’s quite possible that someone will already have the means to remove the curse, but if they don’t then prepare a quick adventure to find someone who can. Alternatively, if the player(s) choose not to cure it, feel free to give them guiding information as to what changes occur and let them roleplay how they deal with the curse.

In short, the Pierrot is a scary murderclown that has many a lethal surprise in store. Experiment with its abilities and find out what you like. After all, the more fun the monster is having, the scarier it is.


Pierrot

Medium Humanoid, Chaotic Neutral CR: 7

AC: 16 (Natural Armor) 110/110 HP Prof. Bonus: +3

Speed: 35 ft

Languages: Common, Undercommon, Sylvan

STR: 16(+3) DEX: 14(+2) CON: 15(+2) INT: 11(0) WIS: 12(+1) CHA: 19(+4)

Saving Throws: STR +6, CHA +7

Skills: Acrobatics +5, Performance +7, Sleight Of Hand +5, Deception +7

Senses: Darkvision 60 ft, Perception 11

Damage Resistances: Bludgeoning, unsilvered piercing and slashing, acid

Condition Immunities: Frightened, Charmed

Slapstick: The Pierrot takes half damage from falling or other environmental damage. It also takes no additional damage from critical hits.

In addition, if the Pierrot takes damage from any of the above sources or rolls a critical failure, all creatures observing the event must pass a DC 13 CHA save or start uncontrollably laughing, falling prone and becoming unable to speak or cast spells with verbal components until the end of their next turn. A creature with an Intelligence score of 4 or less isn’t affected, and neither are creatures immune to being charmed.

Squeaky Shoes: The Pierrot has disadvantage on Stealth rolls.

Clown Car: The Pierrot can squeeze through spaces 1 foot across or larger.

False Appearance: Until the Pierrot makes an attack roll or forces a creature to make a saving throw, it is indistinguishable from a regular clown.

Taunt: At the beginning of each round, the Pierrot selects one target that can either see or hear it. That target must pass a DC 15 WIS save, or on their turn be forced to use their action to attempt to attack or otherwise damage the Pierrot. If any attack caused by this ability misses or if the target is unable to deal damage on their turn, they take 1D10 psychic damage.

Actions:

Multiattack: The Pierrot makes two different attacks.

Knife: Melee weapon attack, +6 to hit, single target, reach 5 ft. 2D8+3 slashing damage.

Bite: Melee weapon attack, +6 to hit, single target, reach 5 ft. 2D6+3 piercing damage. On hit, if the target is a humanoid they must pass a DC 11 CON save or be cursed with Grimaldi’s Smile. If they pass the save, they become immune to this effect for the next 24 hours.

Creatures afflicted with Grimaldi’s Smile undergo a degradation over the course of around a month. If a specific duration is needed, use the creature’s CON and WIS mods added together as the number of weeks (with a minimum of 3). The curse can be removed with the spell Remove Curse. The effects of the curse (in order of development) include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Pale-white facial skin
  • Elongation of teeth into fangs
  • Uncontrollable bouts of laughter
  • Nose becoming red and swollen
  • Lips and hair becoming vibrantly colored
  • Loss of ability to feel pain
  • Loss of ability to recognize pain in others
  • General psychopathy

Pie: Ranged weapon attack, +5 to hit, range 30 ft, single target. 2D6+2 bludgeoning damage, on hit the pie latches onto the target’s face until an action is used to remove it. While afflicted by the pie, they are Blinded, cannot speak or cast spells with verbal components, and begin to suffocate. In addition, at the start of each of their turns the pie deals 1D4 piercing damage to them.

Spray-Flower: (Recharge 4-6) All targets in a 15 ft cone in front of the Pierrot must pass a DC 15 DEX save or take 6D6+4 acid damage, taking half as much on a successful save.

Bloodcurdling Laughter: (1/Day) All creatures that can hear the Pierrot must pass a DC 15 WIS save or take 2D10 psychic damage and become Frightened of it. Creatures may repeat this save at the start of their turn to end their fear.

Reactions:

Honk Honk: Whenever a creature that can hear the Pierrot misses an attack or fails a save or check, the Pierrot may use its reaction to deal 1 psychic damage to them and heal back 10 HP.

Juggle: When targeted by a projectile-based attack, the Pierrot may roll a Sleight Of Hand check. If the result is higher than the incoming attack roll, the Pierrot catches the projectile and begins juggling it. The next time it makes a ranged attack, it may add all juggled projectiles to the attack for 1D4 damage of the appropriate type each. Up to 3 projectiles may be juggled at a time.

If the Pierrot is hit while juggling, it must pass a DC 14 CON save or drop one juggled item.

Source

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