Monday, March 4, 2024

Monstrous Mondays: Giants Apes and Progress on Basic Bestiary 1

 Editing continues to Basic Bestiary 1. Right now, I am working under the assumption that is will be one very large book for Vol. 1, currently subtitled: "Monstrous Maleficarum."

How big?

Well. Right now, it is at 340 pages and 138,000 words.  That is not counting art or introductory text.  Or problems like what I have today.

As I am editing and sending stuff out of peer review and editing, I am also seeing more gaps. Not gaps in content per se, but gaps in things I wanted but forgot to add. This next monster is a pretty obvious one to me. 

One of the biggest reasons I wanted to do my own monster book was largely due to a love affair with monsters since I was a child. My mom always had great horror stories to tell us while growing up, and more than a few monsters in BB1 were her ideas. But my dad and I watched all sorts of horror movies together. In particular, we loved what I called "Monster Movies," which featured a monster or creature. Among these were of course a lot of "Dracula movies," Godzilla, and one of the first movies I can ever remember watching with my dad. The 1933 King Kong. I have seen every Kong movie since then and the always remind me of sitting down when I was little and watching them with my dad.

The fact that my first pass of the Basic Bestiary didn't have a Giant Ape in it is criminal. 

Now in my defense I was sure that Giant Ape had already been done in the classic monster books. But it turns out it wasn't. Well, today, I will change that. 

This is also the format I plan to use for the Basic Bestiaries. Some "Advanced" information here is helpful and Descending and Ascending AC. I added a "To Hit AC 0" line and a line for Languages.  Also, each monster will get ability scores. AC, hp, and damage adjustments have all already been added.

Ape, Gargantuan
Gargantuan Beast (Primate), Very Rare

Armor Class: 0 [19]
Hit Dice: 14d8+56 (119)
Move:  360' (120')
Attacks: 2 fist (bash), 1 bite
Damage: 3d6+5 x2, 1d10+5
Special: Gargantuan size
To Hit AC 0: 4
No. Appearing: 1 (1)
Save As: Monster 14
Morale: 10 (NA)
Treasure Type: None
Alignment: Neutral (Unaligned)
XP Value: 2,300

Languages: Own

S: 24 I:W: 8 D: 10 C: 20 Ch:

The gargantuan ape is a rare and awe-inspiring creature to behold. It appears as an ordinary ape, though it makes more use of bipedal movement than a typical low-land gorilla, which also uses its forearms. There is also more than just a hint of intelligence in its eyes. The overall effect is one that this could have been, if not for its great size, some lost link between humanity and apes. Its most distinguishing feature, though, completely rules out this possibility. The gargantuan ape towers over ordinary apes and humans at an astonishing 25' tall. Thankfully, such creatures are rare and often only found in remote parts of the world.

The gargantuan ape's behaviors are similar to that of its smaller cousins. It eats prodigious amounts of plant food and lives in isolated plant-rich areas like rainforests and jungles. This creature is also known to add various animal life to its diet, likely resulting in their slimmer frames, like that of a carnivorous ape, and keener intellect. They are not hunters per se; their massive size prevents sneaking or ambush hunting, and they can typically pick up and eat any smaller animal. They are more opportunistic hunters. Culling herds of their weakest members. They typically eat giant-sized insects, large birds, or the occasional large lizard.  

These creatures are often found in "lost world" locations where explorers have also found great lizards of an ancient and bygone age (dinosaurs). Their battles with dinosaurs are awesome and terrifying to behold. Sometimes, they are even worshiped as gods by local primitive human populations.  

Gargantuan apes have no treasure. They have no concept of it and have no use for it. However, the land they live in is often filled with items collectors find valuable. In addition, and perhaps the most troubling, are their graveyards. Not only does this mean these creatures are intelligent enough to have a concept of death and rituals around them, but also what some of these remains imply. There have been skulls located in these burials that suggest that some of these creatures grew to 150' or more in height. Some of the largest skulls have even been decorated to honor the dead. Others still have damage to them, suggesting an even larger predator with large, sharp teeth.


Currently, I do not have a solid publication date for Basic Bestiary 1 save for sometime this year.


PT Dilloway said...

If your party has a human female in it will the giant ape fixate on that? 138,000 words is a lot; that's like a 550-page novel.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Well, there is some connection between these creatures and humans to be sure.

Nathan Irving said...

Under damage, it should be fist instead of first.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

@Nathan Irving, Thanks for the catch!

AP said...

Well, I'll definitely be acquiring this when it comes out. I collect monster books and this definitely appeals to me since it looks very BECMI friendly!

Timothy S. Brannan said...

While my first love is B/X this is going to be BECMI in all but name.

AP said...

That's a beautiful thing! I'm a complete BECMI junkie. I'm always adapting things from AD&D, B/X, or 2E to it, since they're all next-door compatible, as I refer to them. I can't wait for this book!