I think I’ve called this encounter “Ambush in the Stacks” since I first came up with it — I mean, it isn’t a funny name, as some of the others are (like “Between a Lock and a Hot Place”), it’s simply descriptive. The enemies in this encounter are designed to resemble the headcrabs of Half-Life, and I had a lot of fun coming up with several variations on the theme.

One of the standard features of all the headcrab creatures (called plague spores, because they’re actually plants, animated by hate … er, and magic) is they’re all tiny and slow (1 square per move action) but have a movement power that allows lets them move a greater distance with some limitations. I also wanted to make use of Stealth, but it proved cumbersome. In the final version, I think they’ll just be invisible.

The three main varieties that crop up in the ambush encounter are the skirmishers, who can “skitter” (shift) up to 6 squares, but grant combat advantage, and deal bonus damage with the skirmish trait, and when they’re hit with a close or melee attack, they can let off a cloud of poisonous spores. There are also the lurkers, which have sneak attack and inflict “toxicity,” which prevents characters from spending healing surges.

Finally, there’s the “mind crawler” which can leap up to 6 squares and attach itself to a target, then dominate the character on the following round by making a successful attack while attached. I only stuck one of those in the encounter, but it had an impact.

*cue evil laughter*