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Worldbreakers: Sheemish and the Thousand Dream Army

First off, if you’ve not heard of a Worldbreaker, get ye to the At Will Blog and bask in the glow of Quinn Murphy’s zany and genius idea to improve the 4e solo monster.  Worldbreakers and their for-the-moment neglected cousins Lawbreakers incorp0rate a structure that change the pace of the counter and make the monster less boring and kawaii and more One Winged Angelly.

Worldbreaker - Sheemish

This picture has 1000 words of PC pain.

Yeah, that’s a big picture over there.  Stick with me, it’ll be worth it.

Check out At Will for the details, but the basic gist of a Worldbreaker is: at a certain point in the battle, the Worldbreaker effect is triggered.  The battlefield changes, the monster changes, shit has both just gotten real and has laid in a vector for the fan.  Once the Worldbreaker is triggered, only then can the monster use powers with the Worldbreaker keyword.

Sheemish here also uses an opening: a series of effects and conditions that everyone is placed under.  Only the strong and the mighty, like the PCs, can even hope to shrug off a portion of the effects of an opening.

Something to note, something I try to add into the games I run, is an excuse for a small bit of role play in the midst of a swirling battle.  In the Worldbreaker form power, Sheemish is described as simply turning into a large creature (game term) of each character’s nightmare.  Taking a moment to go around the table and having each player say what their character sees there both allows the DM to play Sheemish’s disturbing form correctly per player but also allows each player to delve into their characters a bit.  After all, something very similar worked for Jerry Holkins.

Alright, enough with the set up, here’s some of the fluff for this dreamy dour deva.  Let me know in the comments what you think of this Worldbreaker, and if you want some more feel free to look at some of the others created by Quinn.

The very nature of dreams, their brief phantasmal nature of making falsehoods real, should have warned the denizens of Sirieah that their time was limited.  Dream realms like theirs can connect dreamers of all types, from mischevious pixies to deep slumbering ancient dragons and anything in between.

The realm broke, as it always has and always will.  Worlds are created and destroyed, gods come and go, and sooner or later the nature of dreams change.  The current realm undergoes a cataclysm, leaving the old dreamscape barren and broken, a new one popping into existence instantly.

Almost always, the broken realm is totally replaced by the new.   General Sheemish and his Thousand Dream Army are the exception that proves this rule.

The realm Sheemish and his force were part of one of the more aggressive Dream Realms the cycle had created.  They brokered with denizens of various planes, haunting one’s enemies in their unprotected sleep for a price, selling their swords and their plane for travel for even a higher price.

At the head of this mercenary army was the Deva Sheemish.  Aware of his cycle of rebirth and of his value as a battlefield commander, the Sirieahian leaders would aide in the teaching of Sheemish’s various reincarnations, setting up a library of the general’s journals, notes, and the best tomes of warfare available at the time.

Soldier of the Thousand Dreams Army

When Sirieah fell, so did Sheemish and his army.  Yet, he was born again anew, and  by pure will a legion of his best soldiers were born again as well.  However, the civilization they knew was a broken, barren wasteland.  Sheemish’s library was the only structure that remained, and so he studied.

Adventures looking for legendary books on battlefield tactics, or looking for an unexpected way to a foreign plane may consider attempting to access Sirieah, the broken Dream Realm, for these purposes.  In doing so, they risk encountering the legendary general and his army face to face.


Mike Hasko got the nickname Pez one summer during band camp because his friends discovered he was an avid collector of Pez dispensers. We cannot legally disclose how the Psycho part was appended, let's just say a large hill and the inside of a large bass drum were involved.

3 Responses to “Worldbreakers: Sheemish and the Thousand Dream Army”

  • Disclosure: I’m a proponent of the Boss model (an alternative to the Worldbreaker model), so take this post as you will.

    I can’t decide whether I like the Worldbreaker model or the Bossmodel best.

    The terrain changes commonly tied into the Worldbreaker model add a great deal of flavour and spice to an encounter, but the existence of the worldbreaker keyword unfortunately muddies the clean new stat block that WotC have put together by forcing the DM to again look all over the stat block to find powers they can use.

    The Boss model adopts a similar approach, but keeps the stat block simpler by actually using multiple different stat blocks. But it messes with the bloodied mechanic by splitting solo hit points across 2 or 3 standard stat blocks and allocating a set point at which the solo becomes bloodied.

    Of course, either model is a great deal better than the poor old MM1 solos.

  • Hi Michael, sorry for the lateness on the post!

    I like this! The main things that I would want to include:

    1. The opening belongs outside the stat block. Including it in their muddies up the statblock otherwise.
    2. It’s best to have the powers you can used with the worldbreaker tagged as something beside worldbreaker. It seems silly, but the “Name of the Worldbreaker” Attack | Summons makes it easier to see which power is the worldbreaker and which are the powers used in it.
    3. The new “timing” for the worldbreakers is that it triggers at 3/4 hit points and also at 1/4 hps (still lasts for three rounds). What would happen is that there is either a total overlap on the worldbreakers, or it would trigger once and never again. Playtesting has shown this to be a little better.
    4. Otherwise, looking pretty decent. I’ll of course have an official style guide for WB soon enough, with a lot of the changes that need to be made.

    @colmarr I won’t spend too much time trying to convince you on the WBs, but I am curious: Have you tried out any of the WBs? They’re not perfect –playtest is showing me some mechanical flaws here and there — but overall there are some interesting aspects to it.

  • I’m “only” a player at the moment, so I haven’t had a chance to try either method in a practical setting. It’s all theoretical for me at the moment.

    I’m not terribly fussed about which is better. It’s like the guy with the Datsun 120Y having to choose between a Ferrari and a Lamborghini. They’re both great and a vast improvement on what we already have.