Gib Nuf

My first collectible card game was Magic: the Gathering, which my mother bought for me when I was a kid. She’d noted my growing obsession with D&D and thought that I’d get a kick out of this new fantasy card game that she’d heard about.

I, of course, was intrigued by the new game, and played it thoroughly…for a few months. My love affair with Magic ended before it really got off the ground, however, when I saw an ad in Dragon magazine saying that, if you sent them your Magic: the Gathering deck, they’d send you a two-deck starter set of their new D&D CCG: Spellfire.

I didn’t even have to think twice. Magic was out, Spellfire was in.

Of course, with the benefit of hindsight it’s easy to see just how flawed a game Spellfire really was. For the most part, this was because its initial run of cards were lacking in special powers, save for a relative few, which made them comparatively worthless against those cards which did have a special effect. Later editions of the game corrected this, but by the time they did it was too late for the game, which had failed to upset Magic’s growing hold on the CCG market it had created.

I didn’t know any of that at the time though, and enjoyed the hell out of the game, both in play and for its presentation of the many different characters, places, and things from D&D. I also, naturally, collected like mad, particularly the limited set of “chase” cards. These were cards that were outside the usual numbered set, and always had powers…usually greater than those of non-chase cards with powers.

Some of the most famous of the original chase cards were the Gib cards. There were three to begin with, those being Gib Ekim (1st chase/4), Gib Evets (1st chase/11), and Gib Htimsen (1st chase/13). Obviously these were “Big Mike,” “Big Steve,” and “Big Nesmith” all spelled backwards, being the names of people who worked on Spellfire. Still, it was a quirky, and endearing, trio of characters; so much so that the Gib cards eventually became de facto representatives of Spellfire itself, and as the booster packs continued, more and more Gib cards would be unleashed.

Of those first three though, Gib Htimsen was the most interesting, and as you can see on the left, it’s not hard to figure out why. In addition to an arresting picture, Gib Htimsen also had an impressive – for when the game first came out – set of immunities. He was pretty well immune to almost anything you threw at him! He was one of Spellfire’s most fearsome champions in the game’s early years.

Fast forward to a few days ago. I found myself thinking about Spellfire, and while mentally comparing over how certain facets of D&D were translated to Spellfire, I came to realize that the reverse wasn’t true – that many of the things original to Spellfire had never been officially brought over to D&D.

In particular, none of the Gib cards.

Well, as a fan of both D&D and Spellfire, I couldn’t let that stand! I immediately set out to convert the Gib cards to D&D and unleash them upon the world. Of course, I play Pathfinder now, so those are my stats of choice for bringing these classic cards into your game world.

Here’s the first, and greatest, of the Gibs: Gib Htimsen. I’m hoping to eventually convert all of the Gib cards, but since there are (with the official online booster packs) fifteen of them altogether (and a few other cards that specifically affect the Gib cards, to boot), it’s anyone’s guess if I’ll manage to convert them all. Of course, a direct conversion isn’t feasible, but I’ll do my best to keep the stat blocks true to the spirit of the original cards.

And besides, it’s the very least that these characters deserve after all the oddly-named fun they gave me over the years.

GIB HTIMSEN

This nether monstrosity is the size of a small forest, complete with dozens of tree-sized serpentine heads!

Gib Htimsen CR 25

XP 1,638,400

NE Gargantuan magical beast (extraplanar)

Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +30

DEFENSE

AC 43, touch 6, flat-footed 43 (+47 natural, –4 size)

hp 562 (25d10+425); regeneration 25 (acid and fire)

Fort +31, Ref +16, Will +10

DR 20/good; Immune magic; Resist acid 30, fire 30

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft., swim 30 ft.

Melee 25 bites +35 (3d6+13/19-20)

Space 20 ft.; Reach 20 ft.

Special Attacks pounce

STATISTICS

Str 37, Dex 10, Con 45, Int 2, Wis 11, Cha 9

Base Atk +25; CMB +42; CMD 52 (can’t be tripped)

Feats Combat Reflexes, Critical Focus, Diehard, Endurance, Improved Critical (bite), Improved Initiative, Improved Natural Attack (bite), Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Staggering Critical, Stunning Critical, Weapon Focus (bite)

Skills Perception +30, Swim +21; Racial Modifiers +2 Perception

SQ hydra traits, regenerate head, relentless

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Hydra Traits (Ex) Gib Htimsen can be killed by severing all of its heads or slaying its body. Any attack that is not an attempt to sever a head affects the body, including area attacks or attacks that cause piercing or bludgeoning damage. To sever a head, an opponent must make a sunder attempt with a slashing weapon targeting a head. A head is considered a separate weapon with hardness 0 and 25 hit points. To sever a head, an opponent must inflict enough damage to reduce the head’s hit points to 0 or less. Severing a head deals 22 points of damage to Gib Htimsen’s body. Gib Htimsen can’t attack with a severed head, but takes no other penalties.

Immunity to Magic (Ex) Gib Htimsen is immune to any spell or spell-like ability that allows spell resistance.

Regenerate Head (Ex) When one of Gib Htimsen’s heads is destroyed, two heads regrow in 1d4 rounds. Gib Htimsen cannot have more than twice its original number of heads at any one time. To prevent new heads from growing, at least 25 points of acid or fire damage must be dealt to the stump (a touch attack to hit) before they appear. Acid or fire damage from area attacks can affect stumps and the body simultaneously. Gib Htimsen doesn’t die from losing its heads until all are cut off and the stumps seared by acid or fire.

Regeneration (Ex) This regeneration applies only to damage inflicted on Gib Htimsen’s body.

Relentless (Ex) Gib Htimsen does not need to breath, eat, or sleep. Additionally, it treats all ability drain as ability damage, and regenerates 1  negative level and 1 point of ability damage to each ability score per round. Gib Htimsen is immune to fatigue and exhaustion.

For one of the deadliest creatures in the cosmos, very few know of Gib Htimsen’s existence. Perhaps that is fortunate, for if the creature was more widely-known, then it would surely be brought forth much more often by those wishing to spread havoc and destruction throughout the multiverse.

Gib Htimsen’s origins are unknown, though its clearly from one of the evil Outer Planes. Some have speculated that, given its hydra-like qualities, it’s perhaps the original hydra from which all others sprang. Others put it as kin to Demogorgon, citing a  vague resemblance to the Prince of Demon’s twisted offspring, Arendagrost. A few hold that it was the prototype of the monstrosity known as Demodragon.

Whatever the creature’s beginnings, Gib Htimsen’s existence is one of unending rage and devastation against all within its reach. Unsleeping, the creature ceaselessly wanders, never failing to destroy anything that falls within its gaze. This eternal rampage seems without cause, for the creature does not even eat what it kills. It simply ravages everything it can find.

Those with the courage to fight this engine of annihilation usually don’t live long enough to regret their error. Most find out too late that Gib Htimsen is immune to virtually all magic, and that it quickly shrugs off even the most egregious of wounds. Those who try to hack its myriad heads from its body usually find themselves ripped to pieces before felling more than a handful.

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2 Responses to “Gib Nuf”

  1. Marc D. Says:

    Interesting column! Some of us love Spellfire and still play variants of the game. Check out http://spellfiretav.blogspot.com/ for mine.

    • alzrius Says:

      Thanks for the link, Marc! I too still enjoy a game of Spellfire every now and then (but, as I prefer to play face-to-face, it’s hard to find another player).

      I hope the full TAV rules come out soon!

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