March of the Modrons – Part I

4

February 13, 2010 by deadorcs

Greetings!

If the subject matter presented in the title of this post seems familiar, it should. I first tackled this subject in an older post. I was a fresher, younger blogger then, and only had Asmor’s Brave Monster Creator to mess with.

While the tool served me pretty well, I’ve been playing with Wizard’s Adventure Tools® and using their Monster Creator as of late. As my original foray into this subject was incomplete, I’m now better prepared.

Modrons first appeared on the scene during the heady days of the 1st Edition of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. They were tucked in behind the Magmen of the Monster Manual II and presented an entertaining planar alternative to the over used Demons and Devils. I’m not sure what their immediate appeal was. Perhaps it was their regimented organization, or the neat (if not a little uneven) power progression. Personally, I liked the idea of the “rogue” Modron. In fact, I even designed an adventure regarding a rogue Modron (and its subordinates) hunting for an artifact in a dwarven mine.

Yeah, I like me some Modrons.

Well, I’ve cracked open the Adventure Tools and dipped into the energy pool on Nirvana to create some excellent Modrons. Before I dive into those, I thought I’d give you some general information about Modrons and how they’re organized.

Modrons are a highly organized and regimented society on Nirvana, a now nearly forgotten plane on the Astral Sea. Modrons are unaligned, but have been called “lawful” for lack of a better word to describe them. The caste like society of the Modrons works well for them. Each Modron has a specific task and does that task as efficiently as possible. Strangers to the Modron home plane get the feeling that the society is working towards some arcane goal, but even scholars are at a loss to explain that goal.

Modrons follow orders from their superiors without question. Occasionally, though, a Modron will “break down” and “go rogue”. Most of these “rogue units” are quickly found and returned to the energy pool central to Nirvana, but occasionally the smarter ones escape the plane and bring their underlings to pursue strange and often dangerous tasks.

Rogue Modrons make a great foil for adventurers, and the great bureaucracy of Modron society makes for a great role-playing opportunity for adventurers visiting the plane. In this series of blog posts, I’ll be covering my 4th Edition take on the long neglected Modrons. Each post will cover a couple of different types of Modrons.

One additional note. With the introduction of “Minion” type creatures in the 4th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons, I decided to create the lower types of Modrons (the Base Modrons) in two different forms. You’ll see a “Minion” type and a “Standard” type. So without further ado…let’s get on with…

The March of the Modrons.

Monodrones appear as small spherical creatures with spindly legs. The vast legions of Monodrones are the single purpose labors and soldiers within the Greater Modron Hierarchy. A Monodrone Infantry Unit can understand and complete only one action at a time. A Monodrone Infantry Unit will continue to perform its given action unless its superior gives it another action. If for some reason a Monodrone Infantry Unit cannot perform its task, it will stand quietly until circumstances allow it to act.

DM Note: Monodrone Infantry Units are ideal for throwing waves of strange creatures at adventuring groups. They are almost the perfect Minion.


One in twelve Monodrones lack the usual spindly legs and fly using a small set of leathery wings. Such creatures are used as messengers within the Greater Modron Hierarchy. A Monodrone Messenger can understand and relay perfectly a message of up to 48 words. The Monodrone Messenger has a simple bite attack, but will not use it unless defending itself or commanded to do so by a superior Modron. If for some reason a Monodrone Messenger cannot relay its message, it will hover quietly nearby until command to do otherwise.


Appearing as strange walking rectangles (think a domino tile on legs), Duodrones serve a dual purpose as skirmishers and shock troopers within the Greater Modron Hierarchy. A Duodrone Skirmish Unit can often be found serving a Tridrone in a battle group. The Duodrone Skirmish Unit obeys its superior Modron commander without question. If for some reason a Duodrone Skirmish Unit cannot perform its task, it is capable of coming up with at least one alternative task that will help it complete the first task.

DM Note: Duodrone Skirmish Units work in excellent conjunction with Monodrone Infantry Units for coordinated Minion attacks.


Appearing as strange walking rectangles (think a domino tile on legs), Duodrones serve a dual purpose as skirmishers and shock troopers within the Greater Modron Hierarchy. A Duodrone Shock Trooper can command up to 12 Monodrone Infantry Units. The Duodrone Shock Trooper obeys its superior Modron commander without question. If for some reason a Duodrone Shock Trooper cannot perform its task, it is capable of coming up with at least one alternative task that will help it complete the first task.

The march continues in the next installment where I’ll introduce Tridrones and Quadrones.

Until next time…

Game excellently with one another.

 

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4 thoughts on “March of the Modrons – Part I

  1. R.M. Walker says:

    @Ken Marable Thank you, Sir! Yeah, thinking about it, Duodrones would make very effective heavy labors; but I wanted to focus on their combat role. At this level. When I've completed the "parade" I might take on an article about the various Modron "non-combat" roles (some of which is covered in the forthcoming posts on the Hierarch Modrons.

  2. Ken Marable says:

    Nice work! I'm certainly a fan of modrons as well, and love to see them in 4e. In fact, I'm hoping to get a 4e Planescape campaign going on of these days.Looking over yours, I like the dual mace bash with the duodrones, but I wonder if you might want to differentiate the ranks more. When I was working on the Dragon #354 article, one thing I did was dig back at all of the previous versions of the modrons and try and figure out what made each rank unique and not just "one higher than the last". For the duodrones, it appeared all the way back to 1st edition, they were portrayed as very strong. So I envisioned them as sort of the heavy labor. So I focused on them actually having the highest strength of the base modrons.One spot wher eI ran into trouble was the tridrones who didn't have as clear of a role. With some slight hints in the earlier version, I decided to make them into (in 4e terms) skirmishers – highly mobile scouts.Of course, don't take this as criticism since you are free to envision them however you like. Just offering some advice that trying to picture how each rank can be unique from the others can create some exciting encounters.

  3. R.M. Walker says:

    Thanks, Man! There's more to come. I'm covering the Hierarch Modrons as well. You'll see them soon. Stick around for the parade!

  4. greywulf says:

    Great post! I love me some Modrons too, and look forward to seeing more of them!

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