Showing posts with label Monstrous Mondays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Monstrous Mondays. Show all posts

Monday, April 22, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Killer Rabbits & Blink Bunnies

It's Easter Monday.  Not that this means much to me, but it is an excuse to talk about rabbits and bunnies!  There is the Ostara connections too, but I'll delve into those at some point.

In the meantime, here are some rabbits to add to your Basic Era D&D games.

Killer Rabbits
Armor Class:  8
Hit Dice (HD): 2d8 (9 hp)
No. of Attacks: bite or by weapon type
Damage: 1d4 or 1d6
Special Attacks & Defenses: Surprise
Move: 120’ (40’)
No. Appearing: 1d4 (1d6)
Save As: Fighter 2
Morale: 6
Treasure Type:  Nil
Alignment: Chaotic (Neutral)
Killer rabbits are huge, 7' tall when standing upright, rabbits.  They are intelligent creatures and have none of the timidness associated with the much smaller normal rabbits.  These creatures often wait by roads in out of the way areas where they will surprise a lone traveler.  They will beat the traveler with clubs or maces or sometimes bite.  Despite their name, they do not often kill their victims.  Instead, they will beat them and then rob them.  They don't seem to have use for the gold they steal and often unload it a little more down the road, but they are fond of wine, spirits, and pipeweed.  They enjoy attacking traveling clerics since friars, brothers and other holy men often travel with wine.
Killer rabbits will only attack if they feel the odds are in their favor.



Blink Bunnies
Armor Class:  9
Hit Dice (HD): 1d8 (4 hp)
No. of Attacks: bite
Damage: 1d2
Special Attacks & Defenses: Teleport ability, speech.
Move: 120’ (40’)
No. Appearing: 1d4 (1d6)
Save As: Normal Human
Morale: 4
Treasure Type:  Nil
Alignment: Neutral
Blink Bunnies are small rabbits, most often white, that are used as messengers between Magic-Users.  They are often confused with the magic-user' familiar,  but they are more akin to the messenger birds used by some kingdoms.
The bunny can remember a message of up to 12 words.  If more information is needed then most bunnies should be sent.  They can teleport to any location they have been before with no error.
Otherwise, their ability is exactly like the Magic-user spell teleport.
Blink Bunnies expect to be fed once they arrive to deliver their message.



New Spell

Summon Blink Bunny
Level: Magic-User1, Witch 1
Range: Special
Duration: Special
This spell summons a Blink Bunny, a type of faerie creature that looks like a small white rabbit.  The rabbit can be given a small message, no more than 12 words, and then sent to someone the caster knows.  If the location is well known to the caster then the teleportation is done without error.   If the location is unknown then the caster uses the same table for the magic-user spell teleport.
If the cast has an object belonging to the place to blink bunny is to visit or something from the person the bunny needs to communicate the message too then the teleport is improved by one step.
Material Components: A bit of carrot and some lettuce.


Monday, April 15, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Ghūl and Ghūla

This was inspired by some recent readings and thought it would be fun to try out.  More Basic D&D fun!

Ghoul, Demonic (Ghūl)
Armor Class:  4
Hit Dice (HD): 5d8+7 (29hp)
No. of Attacks: 2 claw, 1 bite, + Paralysis and Ghoul Fever
Damage: 1d4, 1d4, 1d6
Special Attacks & Defenses: Ghoul fever, paralysis (2d6 turns), shapeshift, undead
Move: 90’ (30’)
No. Appearing: 1d2 (1d3)
Save As: Fighter 5
Morale: 10
Treasure Type:  B, C
The demonic ghoul also called a ghūl or ghūla, is a much more dangerous version of the ghoul and ghast. This creature appears to be more monstrous than the common ghoul, though there still plenty of similarities to attest to their relationship. Demonic ghouls are believed to be corpses with a demonic spirit inhabiting their body. Similar in a way to vampires.
The demonic ghoul has the hindquarters of a donkey, sans tail, and sometimes the horns of a goat.  They have the same ability to paralyze others, including elves, and are given away by their stench.
Where ghouls and ghasts feed on corpses, the demonic ghoul is not above providing their own corpses by hunting and killing humanoids.  They are also known to eat living children.
The demonic ghoul can also shapeshift into hyenas and can assume the form of the last person they devoured.
The female demonic ghoul, the ghūla, can also pass as a living human woman. It is said they will lure prey back to her lair to seduce and then feed on them.  Children born to these women are still-born but will grow up to become ghouls on their own. 
Demonic Ghouls are undead and turn as Mummies.
Ghoul Fever is a disease caused by the bite of demonic ghouls.  The victim must make a save vs. Poison or become infected. One full day after this failed save the victim loosed 1d3 Constitution and 1d3 Dexterity points.  At this point, they must make two consecutive saves vs. Death to survive.  A fail on one save adds one more day to the disease and another loss of points. Two fails results in death.
A humanoid who dies of ghoul fever rises as a ghoul at the next midnight. A humanoid who becomes a ghoul in this way retains none of the abilities it possessed in life. It is not under the control of any other ghouls, but it hungers for the flesh of the living and behaves like a normal ghoul in all respects. A humanoid of 4 Hit Dice or more rises as a ghast.
Ghoul fever is also present in 10% of all ghouls and 25% of all ghasts.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Lilith, Queen of Demons

It's April. And I have to admit I am kinda missing the A to Z challenge this year.  Maybe I'll do it next year.  But in any case, I was thinking of past challenges last week and the topics I have done and one topic just kept coming up nearly every time I did it.
Lilith.

For three consecutive challenges, I posted about Lilith on "L" day for Demons, Witches and Vampires.
2013 L is for Lilith and Lilim
2014 A to Z of Witches. L
2015 A to Z of Vampires: Lilith

The story of Lilith has always fascinated me.  The character has always fascinated me.
I suppose then it is no surprise that she lies at the intersection of all my interests.

Also this weekend I finished a nice binge watch of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Part 2. Here the amazing Michelle Gomez plays Lilith the Mother of Demons and the First Witch.

So, I figured it was time to revisit my muse.

Lilith by IsraLlona
Lilith
Queen and Mother of all Lilim (demons)
Hit Dice: 18d8 + 33 (114 hp)
Armor Class: -3 [22]
Attacks: 2 claws (1d4), 1 weapon (1d8)
Saving Throw: 3
Special: +2 magic weapons to hit, magic resistance (65%), immune to fire, magical abilities, summon minions
Move: 12/18 (flying)
Alignment: Chaotic Evil*
Challenge Level/XP: 20/3,400
Lilith appears an inhumanly comely woman standing 5’7” tall and weighing roughly 130 pounds. Her skin is cinnamon colored, and her hair is waist length and blood red. She has a pair of leathery black bat-like wings that she can hide or expose at will.

Lilith never openly attacks.   She considers combat beneath Her and will not partake in it.  Her arena is intrigue, guile, and deception.  Why fight when a cup laced with poison or a dagger in the night is much quicker.
She can use ESP and cast fireball, hold person, charm person or charm monster, suggestion and teleport at will. Three times a day she can cast lightning bolt and wall of fire.  She can see perfectly in darkness of any kind. Lilth can summon 1d4+4 lilitu with a 100% chance.

The First Witch
was the first witch and can cast any witch spell.  She cast spells as a 20th level witch but does not have any occult powers other than her magical abilities listed above.
Lilith was the first human woman. She rebelled against the gods that created her and now controls armies of demons.  The gods won't work against her or strike her down because she knows all their True Names.

Lilith has no true friends because most fear her.  She is known to ally herself with the Goddess Ereshkigal since both have similar portfolios and areas of concern.  Some even claim that Lilith spent some time as Ereshkigal's handmaiden.  Others claim she served Astártē or Ishtar.

Appearance and Emissaries
Lilith always appears as a young very attractive woman.  Most often with long flaming red hair.  It is claimed her true form is that of an ancient hag with long, but sparse wild black hair, talons, fangs and the feet of a predatory bird.  Either or neither could be her true form.

Servants
Lilith is typically honored by the Witches of the Mara Tradition.

Naamah - Known as the Daughter of Lilith Naamah is either a demon, a human or something else.  She is honored in her own right as either the Patroness of Whores or the Patroness of Those Who Hunt the Night (slayers of the undead).  Her title as The Daughter of Lilith, as opposed to just a daughter of Lilith, is significant.  She may be her first true daughter or she may be her first human daughter.

Abyzou - Another daughter of Lilith. She is a powerful Lilitu Demon. She takes pleasure in possessing others and destroying them from the inside out.

Nox - The Petty Goddess of the Dusk is also believed to be a daughter of Lilith.  Possibly the offspring of Lilith and a Sun god.

Camazotz - a Son of Lilith and the bloodthirsty god of Vampires.  Some claim that his father may have been Orcus.

*Lilith's alignment is listed as Chaotic Evil.  The Chaos part should be obvious, she has rebelled against the entire universe.  While many of her actions are evil, she still kills babies, she is also a lot more complicated than that.  Lilith has a high personal morality. She honors and keeps her friends and associates.  You can trust that she will always do what is best for herself, but she also cares for her own "children" so she will protect them.

Holy Texts
As witches, the worshippers of Lilith hold their own Books of Shadows as their holy texts, but a few are are considered to be helpful in understanding Lilith.

The Splendor - The foundation text on which many of the Gods of Light have based their own holy texts.  The Splendor mentions Lilith as one of the first demons of darkness. For this reason, many religions will see Lilith as a threat to their religion.

The Enochian Tablets - More details on the life and rebirth of Lilith. Written in an ancient angelic script that is difficult for many sages to translate. Also discusses her relationship to the divine and the demonic.  It also details the origins of Those Who Hunt the Night.

Other posts about Lilith here
Every Angel is Terrifying: The Secret and True Origins of the Slayer
Pseudo Slayers
Going Up to Hell: Cosmology
Sympathy for the Succubus
- Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Let's Talk About Sex(y)
E is for Eodemon
The Dragon and the Phoenix: Episode 7
Season of the Witch: Episode 2

Monday, April 1, 2019

Monstrous Mondays: Wood Trolls

First Monday after spring break and I have a cold. Yeah, it sucks.  But thankfully I worked a bit on this one.  And it's a fun one.
We spent some time last week at the Morton Arboretum and went on a troll hunt.

Here they are for two similar systems; B/X Essentials and Blueholme Journeymanne Rules.

Wood Trolls
Wood Trolls are intelligent and remarkably passive creatures for the most part.  They stand anywhere from 9' to 16' tall (with some rare cases of 30' tall varieties).  Their skin and hair appear to be made up of wood. Their skin is hard inflexible and their hair looks like twigs and sticks.
Wood Trolls, as their name implies, live in deep woods.  They try to avoid other creatures when possible. Wood Trolls are often thought to be the more malevolent Earth Troll.  These trolls tend to be less evil than other trolls. 50% of these trolls are Chaotic Neutral in alignment, 30% are of the chaotic good variety and the remaining 20% are chaotic evil.
These trolls prefer to eat wild pigs with only the evil ones resorting to eating children.
Like all trolls they can regenerate, likewise they are also vulnerable to fire. Moreso than other trolls; taking double damage from fire.

B/X Essentials
AC 2, HD 8+4* (40hp), Att 2 × talon (1d6), 1 × bite (1d10), THAC0 11, MV 120’ (40’), SV D8 W9 P10 B11 S12 (F8), ML 10 (8 fear of fire), AL Chaotic*, XP 1,750, NA 1d4 (1d6), TT D
  • Regeneration: 3 rounds after being damaged, start regaining 3hp per round. Severed limbs reattach.
  • Return from death: If killed (0hp), will regenerate and fight again in 2d6 rounds.
  • Fire: Cannot regenerate damage from fire. The only way to permanently kill a troll.
  • Fear of fire: Morale 8 when attacked with fire.

AC: 2                                        XP: 1,725
HD: 8d8+4                               Alignment: CN (50%), CG (30%), CE (20%)
Move: 30                                  Treasure: 13 (0)
Attacks: 1 bite + 2 claws / 1 weapon
Damage: 1d6 each / 1d8
Abilities: Strength +1, Dexterity -1


Monday, March 25, 2019

Monstrous Mondays: Lady Midday

One of my favorite games is Leagues of Adventure along with the Leagues of Gothic Horror setting.   It is a Ubiquity power game and it gives me the same feeling I get from Cinematic Unisystem.  So I was quite pleased to see three more books are coming out for it;  Guides to Faeries, Hags, and Walking Dead.

I'll post more about this later in the week, but today I wanted to update a monster I have used in the past, but have not featured here before.  Since I am on a Basic-era kick, let's do stats for Basic D&D (esp. as presented by Blumeholme and B/X Essentials) and Ubiquity.

Poludnitsa, Lady Midday


The Poludnitsa or Poludnica, also known as Lady Miday, is a relative of the more common Hag races. She is a creature of faerie (like all hags).  Unlike the more common hags, Lady Midday is very beautiful, unearthly so, and is only encountered on midday on hot summer days (thus her name). She appears as a very tall, beautiful pale woman with long white hair wearing a long white dress. Though it is said her true form is that a sundried corpse.

She will often appear in the middle of fields of wheat, barley or rye carrying a large set of antique looking shears or a scythe.  She will stop to ask anyone working in the field a question. If they fail to answer to it or answer incorrectly she will cut off their heads with the shears.
She is also known to kidnap girls under the age of 12 to take them back to her lair where she teaches them witchcraft if she doesn't eat them first.
Those she doesn't kill she can curse with madness or the "Heat Sickness".  Those that are not treated will die.

Poludnitsa lives in vast underground complexes, filled with ovens and roaring fires. Her captured slaves fulfill her wishes, roasting sheep and baking bread for her, all day long. Poludnitsa exits her underground lair only during sunlight hours. She usually perches in the immediate vicinity of her lair, waiting for unwary travelers to pass.

She is not commonly encountered, but parents of children commonly warn about her. Any child that wanders off, especially into fields of rye, run the risk of being captured by Poludnitsa. Parents will often warn “Don’t go to the rye, Poludnitsa will eat you!” or “Poludnitsa will burn you up!”

It is unknown if she is a unique creature or if there are many such creatures, but very, very rare.

Poludnica’s Sheep
The sheep Poludnitsa keeps are anything but ordinary. Each is a Large sized monstrosity, with wool the color of fresh blood.

Poludnitsa Basic-era stats
AC: 5
HD: 6d8 + 12hp
Move: 30'
Attacks: 1 weapon + Heat Madness
Damage: 1d8* (beheading on a natural 20) + Special
Alignment: CE
Treasure: none
XP:  1,280
Abilities: Strength +1, Intelligence +1, Charisma +2

Poludnitsa can only appear during the hour before and the hour after midday.  During the Sumer Solstice though she can appear during all hours of daylight. 
She may only attack those that refuse her questions or answer them incorrectly.  Once that has happened she will attack with her shears or scythe.  They are treated as "vorpal" weapons in her hands (treated as normal weapons in anyone else's).

Once per day, usually at the height of noon or moment of greatest temperature, she can curse one humanoid creature with heat madness.  They must make a saving throw vs. Death or be strickened.  A successful save means the creature is dazed and cannot attack for two round.  If the save is failed then the victim suffers the full effect of the heat madness. They are treated as if they had a combination of Slow and Feeblemind spells cast on them. Failing the first save means they will need to make another Death save in one full day or die.  Failing the first save and making the second means the victim is bedridden for four (4) days, minus their Con adjustment.  A Bless, Heal or Remove Curse spell will remove the heat madness.

Poludnitsa is immune to all heat and fire based attacks. She takes double damage from any cold-based attack.

A witch or cleric can "turn" (but not destroy) Poludnitsa as a Vampire if they present a Moonstone.

Poludnitsa Ubiquity Stats
Patron 1
Archetype: Hag
Motivation: Survival
Style: 1
Primary Attributes:
Body 3, Dexterity 3, Strength 3, Charisma 2, Intelligence 2, Willpower 3

Secondary Attributes:
Size 0, Move 6, Perception 4 (8), Initiative 4, Defense 6, Stun 3, Health 8, Horror n/a (human form) or 4 (corpse visage form)

Skills: Athletics 5, Brawl 5 (Grapple 6), Intimidation 8, Stealth 5 (Hiding 6)
Talents: Fearsome 2 (Can temporarily frighten foes)
Resources: None
Powers: Madness, Immune to Fire and Heat based attacks.
Weaknesses: Cold vulnerability (She takes x2 damage from any cold-based attack.)
Flaws: Thirst for Flesh (+1 Style point when its unholy appetite reveals its true nature)
Weapons: Shears 7L


Monday, March 18, 2019

Monstrous Mondays: Monster Book Round Up, 1st Ed style

You can never have too many monster books in my mind.  Even I use one or two per book and my players are surprised or go "what in the hell is that!?" then it is money well spent.   Monsters have taught me so much over the years.  Monsters lead me to Greek Mythology. Monsters helped me learn how to write code to create databases and then later helped land a DBA job while I was still in school.   One day I'll update my old Access95 Monster Database, but that will have to be later.

Until then here are some of the monster books I am enjoying a lot right now.

Blood & Treasure 2nd Edition Monsters
For the Blood & Treasure 2nd edition game, but can be used with any Old-school game.  The system is a mix of Swords & Wizardry and AD&D 1st Ed/OSRIC so reading the stats is really easy.
215 pages, over 600 monsters.  Color cover, black & white interiors.
This one has all the usual suspects from the various SRDs and that is fine for me really.  There are some new descriptions and there are new monsters.
There are things in this book that make it more worthwhile than just monster stat blocks.  There are a number of conditions and definitions ported over from 3.x OGC that are very welcome additions to the "OSR Ruleset".  There are guidelines for Monsters as a Character Race which are quite nice.
Another import from 3.x are Monster Templates.  Now you can a Celestial Gnome or a Draconic Goblin among other things.  Really expands your creature database.
There are even four mini-adventures included.
Not at all bad for just under $10.  Highly recommend!

Blood & Treasure 2nd Edition Monsters II
The second book for the Blood & Treasure 2nd edition game.  This one has 197 pages, over 500 monsters. Color cover with black & white art.  No this is what we buy monster books for! New Monsters!  At 500 some odd monsters there are some here that can be recognized from the records of myth and fairy tales, (lots and lots of dragons!) but there a plenty of more that are completely new to me to edge it out over Monsters I.  There is similar material from the Monsters I book; conditions, attack descriptions and the like.  But the bulk is dedicated to new creatures for your game. This book also has a Chimerical Monster table for making your own chimeras. Tables on mutant dinosaurs and vermin.  Also a combined monster listing of both books.

If you have Blood & Treasure Monsters then you will want this one.  If you just like new monsters then get this one too.

Malevolent and Benign
Malevolent and Benign has long been a staple on my game table.   128 pages with 150 monsters, all in OSRIC format.   The monsters are all new (to me), with some converted from other OGC sources.  The art is quite good and the feel of the book is something like a Monster Manual 3 or a Fiend Folio 2 really. It sits on my shelf right next to my monsters books, or in theory, it does. It is actually out on my game table more often than not. The softcover is very nice to have and the PDF is fully bookmarked.
The book also has a small section on new magic items associated with these monsters.
For $10 it is a good deal.

Malevolent & Benign II
In many ways I actually like M&B2 more than M&B1.  This book is 110 pages with 150+ monsters.  Again we have a color cover (which is fantastic by the way) and black & white interior.  In fact all the art is a step up.
If M&B 1 was akin to a MM3 or FF2 then this one is the next in line, but with no loss of quality. The monsters are new and quite deadly or at least the ones that are not deadly are interesting.
I have not picked up the softcover yet, but the PDF is fantastic.
10 bucks for the pdf or 20 for the pdf + softcover book is a pretty good deal.  Especially for a bunch of new monsters.



Found Folio Volume One
A collection of creatures from various 3.x sources converted back over to "Advanced era" stats. What it lacks in art it makes up for in the number of monsters (typically two per page). Lots of 3.x faves here, ready for your OSR games!
130 monsters in 70 or so pages.



Honorable Mentions. Almost AD&D1 stats.

Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary
If you ever only buy ONE product from BRW and the Adventures Dark & Deep line then make sure it is this one.
Let be honest up front. We have seen most if not all the monsters somewhere else before. Most are in the SRD or from other Open sources. The new ones are great, but they are ideas we have seen.
And none of that matters. This is still a great book. At 457 pages (pdf) it is a beast. Monsters are alphabetically listed by areas you would find them in. So Wilderness and Dungeon is by far the bulk of them, but there are also Waterborne (fitting in with the rules) and "Outsiders" or monsters from the other planes. But I am getting ahead of myself.
The book begins with two monster spellcasters, the Shaman and the Witch Doctor. Shades of similar classes from the BECMI RC to be sure. But they work here great and frankly I know someone will want to use these rules to play a Shaman one day. Heck, I once tried a Wemic Shaman in early 2e days myself. Maybe I'll see if I can do that here. The classes are not detailed and they don't need to be. The do what they need to do.
The Monster descriptions are a bit like those found in OSRIC though there are some interesting additions. Each Monster has a Morale, like that found in Basic and 2nd ed, though it is not a score but an adjustment. Attacks are listed in the stat block, though they are the attack types. This is most similar to "Special Attacks" in other rules. Also wholly new are "Weaknesses" which is an interesting idea and one I think other OSR publishers should adopt. Each monster then gets a couple of paragraphs of text. Many are illustrated thanks to the highly successful Kickstarter for this (more on that later). The illustrations are great too as you can see here and here.
All the monsters have General, Combat and Appearance sections in their write-ups.
Unlike 2e (and 4e) monsters are not confined to one-page entries. Some have paragraphs, others just a few lines. This is good since I think we would have something like 1000+ pages. I think I read there are 1100 monsters in this book. Maybe 900. Anyway, it's a lot. I spot checked a few monsters I thought might not be there, but sure enough, they were. Ok so the ones that are Closed via the OGL are not here, but I was not expecting those. There are some alternates and stand-ins if you really, really need them though.
The book sections are: Wilderness and Dungeon, aka Most of the Monsters Underwater and Waterborne, larger than expected, but not surprised given the material in the core books. Prehistoric Monsters, always nice to have; Dinosaurs and Ice Age mammals. Extra-Planar Monsters, your Outsiders.
Appendix A details creating your own monsters. Appendix B has something I didn't even realize was missing till I started reading the stats; a basic psionic system for psychic strikes. Appendix C covers random creatures from the Lower Planes. This is the first "Gygaxian" touch I have noticed in this book. Reminds me of a really old Dragon magazine article from years ago. Appendix D is the magic resistance table and Appendix E covers the abilities of Gods.
All of this in a PDF for just under $15.
I have mentioned before that Joe gets his work done and gets it done fast. Well, this is not only no exception but it is the new benchmark. Joe ended his Kickstarter and then got printed books out to people 6 months early. Let that sink in for a moment. In a hobby where we tolerate (although not quietly) Kickstarters with delays of 18 months or longer, Joe and BRW are out there, turning out product and getting it to people early. You should buy a copy of this book on that principle alone.
So should you get this book?
If you like monsters then yes. If you need monsters for your old-school game then yes. If you want to support Joe and the Adventures Dark & Deep system then yes. If you want to reward good Kickstarter behavior then absolutely yes.
Lots of good reasons to get in my book. It is also the best book in his line.

Swords and Wizardry Monstrosities
The first of two HUGE monster books for the Swords & Wizardry game.  This one is also my favorite of the two by just a tiny bit.
This has mostly new monsters but some of the monsters we have seen before either in the SRD or other books. That though does not detract from its value as this is a 560+ page book since in addition to that there are some new monsters. The cover is very evocative of the old-school (pre 1980) covers. I love this cover. There is much in common between this book and The Tome of Horrors. Each monster is given a page of stats, description and a plot hook. While ToH used some recycled art, this all seems to be new art. Even Orcus (which we now have 3 listings for) is new. Actually, the art is pretty darn good and I don't mind the occasional repeat of a monster to see some new art. Honestly, there is so much great stuff in this book that even with the occasional repeat monster this is still a top-notch collection. If you play S&W then this is a great monster book to have. I am even going as far as to say it is a must have for any serious S&W GM.



Tome of Horrors Complete - Swords and Wizardry Edition
What can be said about this product? The original Tomes of Horrors were all great products that featured a number of "old school" monsters from previous editions of the game all under the OGL. It even had a brief "tutorial" on how to add these beasties to your own products. Now those very same monsters are back in one huge book "updated" to Swords & Wizardry stats. Nearly 700 monsters, all ready for your game. In addition to art and stat blocks for every monster there is also an adventure hook for each one. The monsters have been "scaled down" to fit the S&W rules better.
Color covers, black & white interior art.  688 pages (that's right!)

Converting these to AD&D1/OSRIC/Advanced Labyrinth Lord should not be an issue.

Eight monster books and somewhere over 3,300 monsters (lots of duplicates sure, but all unique presentations).

Monday, March 11, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Beasties II from Night Owl Workshop

Now I have gone on the record, many, many times, talking about how much I love monster books. My first glimpse into D&D was way back in 1978-79 when I first saw and read the Monster Manual.  Very few books have come close to that feeling of unlimited potential.  So when a new monster book comes out, I have to take a look and usually grab it.

Beasties II from Night Owl Workshop has something of a pedigree in my mind.  The art and text are from none other than Thomas Denmark.  He is responsible for some of my favorite art during the d20 boom, in particular, Citizen Games' "Way of the Witch".   Plus I LOVED Beasties I so grabbing this was a no brainer for me.

Beasties II is a digest-sized book. 90 pages with black & white art. According to the sales text on DriveThru the book contains:
27 Monsters
8 NPC's
40 Drawings
1 Map
Article on Goblinology

The book follows the same format as Beasties I. Like the first Beasties it certainly punches above its weight class in terms of monsters and content.  All the text and art is by Denmark himself. 

The book is designed for "Original Fantasy Rules" but plenty of conversion notes are given for OSRIC and Basic Fantasy.  There are also some conversion notes for Nite Owl Workshop's other games Colonial Troopers, GuardiansWarriors of the Red PlanetRaiders of the Lost Artifacts and Freebooters.

The definition of "monster" is certainly very old-school too, with some traps, "minor monsters", and NPCs included for good measure. 

But the REAL reason to get this book is goblins.  There are several goblin hybrids; Blorc, Bugbearzerker, Gnomblin, Hoblin, Hoblin (Cruel), Koblin, Zoblin and a whole article on Goblinology or the Ecology of the Goblin.  Frankly, the book is worth it for all of this alone. 
Seriously. If you like goblins then grab this now.

There are also some undead and some really fun fiends.  The Drumph gets a full publication so that is now.  A new aquatic humanoid race is introduced, the Shahatha.  I rather like them to be honest and will be porting them over to my 5e game.

The NPCs are also a lot of fun.  One, Isaina Lyd’ar, reminds me of the work he did for Way of the Witch.  So much so I might convert to a White Box Witch.   She looks like she would be fun to play. Maybe she is a Sinderan Witch tradition.



So a lot of great content for $4.  Plus the entire work is released as "Open" under the OGL so that is a nice touch.

Bookmarks in the PDF would have been nice as well as a PDF clickable table of contents, but that is a minor thing really.

If you love monsters get this book.
If you love goblins you REALLY need to get this book.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Snakes. Why did it have to be Snakes?

A little something different today for MM.  I want to talk about snake people.


Snake people, serpent folk, Ophidians, Yuan-ti whatever you want to call them they have been a staple of fiction and D&D since ... well likely forever.

They were common enough in the pages in the Conan that even as a casual reader of the pulps I had heard about them.  They have had a prominent focus in AD&D with the Yuan-ti; so much so that there are one of the very, very few monsters that are IP and Closed to the OGL.
So yeah, they come with some history.

I think it is also that snakes seem so loathsome to humans.  There is just something "evil" about them in our collective subconscious.   That makes them a great old-school threat.

Review: Serpentine - Oldskull Serpent Folk

Serpentine - Oldskull Serpent Folk from Oldskull, aka Kent David Kelly is a nice RPG for adding and using Serpent Folk, known as Serpentine here, in any old-school like game. The book is 41 pages with cover and OGL statement. Everything is 100% open minus the usual trade dress and some names.  The book is full color, but mostly public domain black and white art.
The purpose of this book is to bring together various mythos and stories together to present a cohesive whole narrative of a primordial race of serpent people.  In this respect, it works rather well.
History and Pre-History of the Serpent Folk. Drawing on the works of Dunsany, Lovecraft, Howard, and Smith Kelley weaves a history (or Hisssstory!) that combines the Hyborian Mythos and the Cthulhu Mythos, with other myths of the world added for good measure.  While overtly for the Oldskull world it can be added and modified as any game master needs.  One of the reasons it works so well here is that Kelley draws on some primordial myths and legends.  The same that influenced the authors of the stories being used.   Quotes from those authors are found throughout this book.
Up next we get a Serpent Folk Truename Generator.  A useful tool to help you name all those NPCs (or even PCs) you plan on using.  This is followed by Description or what your serpent folk looks like.  A section on Ability Minimums, Maximums and Modifiers is next. After that are sections on Behavior, XP modifiers, and views on Alignment.
There is a list of serpent folk deities from other myths.  It is a good list, but I have a few issues with some of the gods on it; for example Brigid. But the vast majority I see why they are there.  Mostly Serpent Folk are going to worship Yig and/or Tsathogga, though Set is a close runner up.
We get into a section now on Class Options for Serpent Folk. Most are going to fall into the various fighter classes and thief-related classes.  Also presented here is the new Soul Slaver class, which combines Cleric, Shaman, and Necromancer all in one serpent-related class.  It's a good class and it adds a lot of flavor to the Serpent Folk.  I might tweak it to be less Necromancer and more Shaman myself, but that is only personal bias, not a shortcoming of the class.  Basically, the class draws on the souls of the deceased to perform magical feats. There are spell lists, mostly from the classical B/X and Advanced sources.    They advance as Magic-Users, but have their own spell progression and, in a nice old-school touch, level titles.
There is also a section on Racial Powers serpent folk get and what kinds of snakes they are likely to summon.  This also included specail attacks and special limitations.
There is a nice section on how Serpent folk get along with Dragons (spoiler, they don't) that really sealed the deal for me.  I have been using various serpent-like races (Yuan-ti, Naga) as the ancient ancestral enemies of the Dragonfolk (Dragonborn) for years.
We end with a recomended reading list.
So for just $3 and a little over 40 pages this book packs a lot in.  There are so many cool ideas it is hard to figure out where I want to start with it.  I think that since Kelley tapped into some primal myths here that all gamers have an idea of these creatures, he just put it down in writing for us.

PWWO: Serpentine in Other Old-School Games

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea has been my obsession over the last few weeks. Given the background of both AS&SH and Serpentine, it should really be no surprise then that I see the two of them working quite well together.  With the addition of Serpentine you can really "punch up" the stats for Sanke People in AS&SH. Already an interesting monster, now with this addition Snake People go from "just another monster" in the Bestiary section to potential Big Bad material.  Growing cult activity? Serpent People. More dinosaur sightings? Serpent People.  Increased slave trade? Yup. Serpent People.   Plus AS&SH and Oldskull Serpentine draw from exactly the same sources. They just rearrange things in a different order.  Both books feature Yig and owners of one book should find it to be of positive use when used with the other book.

Serpentine features the often used Clark Ashton Smith god, Tsathoggua.  Here he is considered to be a god of the Serpent People. AS&SH has the god Xathoqqua, which is the same god.  There are some differences in how they are portrayed in each book, but gods are supposed to be mutable.  Of course, the best source for Tsathogga (yet another spelling) is from the Frog Gods themselves in their Tome of Horror Complete.  Here he is presented as a demon, but that is perfect for me really. The same book (and the Tome of Horrors 4) have the Inphidians, which are their versions of the Yuan-ti, save Open for the OGL. Speaking of the Frog Gods, in their Monstrosities book feature Ophidians, a name I have also used in the past, as snake men.

The OSR games Blueholme and Adventurer Conqueror King System both have rules within their systems to allow Serpentine player characters. All you need really is the Serpentine book.


Union of the Snake: The Second Campaign

The heroes of the Second Campaign, my D&D 5e nod to old-school gaming, have already had their first encounter with the Yuan-ti.  They have encountered other snake-like creatures and reptiles worshiping snake gods, but everything is about to go into overdrive when they hit their desert-related adventures.

While the campaign is 5e based there is a lot of old-school influences in it.  I plan to take a bunch of the material above, put it in a blender then bury it in a desert for 3,000 years and see what comes up.
For me a lot of it is leading up to the ultimate confrontation with Demogorgon.
Borrowing from Advanced Labyrinth Lord I am using Demogorgon as the cult leader behind the snakes and snake men.  This fits in with my use of the blood apes as one of the three factions the worship Demogorgon; with human cultists and Ophidians/Snake Men/Serpent Folk being the other two.  The campaign will take a solid desert/Egyptian turn here soon.  I just need to figure out the Set-Apep-Yig-Demogorgon connection.

Of course, there will be creepy ass snake-men and cultists. All part of the alchemy of my past. Yes. My influeces for this are an forgotten Dirk Benedict horror movie and Duran Duran.  My game, my weird ass childhood.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Fiend Folio POD

More Old-School mail call from the weekend.  Two boxes from different printers for some Old School joy.


I will admit it, it's not a popular opinion, but I love the Fiend Folio.  I goes back to the time when I was just getting into AD&D and I equated everything British/English as being better than American. (In many ways I still think that!)

So imagine my delight when I saw that the Fiend Folio on DriveThruRPG was now offering a Print on Demand option.  So, of course, I had to get it.  It was soft cover only, but I thought it would work nicely next to my Games Workshop printing softcover Monster Manual.
I was not wrong.



Other than one is a hardcover and the other is a softcover it is very difficult to tell them apart.


Even the interiors compare well.



Compares well to the mini version out a few years back (I guess a "few" now means 20).

Around the same time I ordered this I found a mock-up of an "orange spine" version of the Fiend Folio made by R Nelson Bailey.

A little bit of Lulu legerdemain and I now have something from a parallel universe.


I didn't get the cover perfect, but that is fine really.




The interior of this one looks pretty good too.

My next project needs to be a Fiend Folio II.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Monstrous Monday: The Shattered Knights

I got a 3D printer for Christmas, but there is something seriously wrong with it.  I have not figured it out yet and might be calling their customer support today.  But until then here are some of the test paladins I have printed and what I am planning to do with them.


The Shattered Knights*

Armor Class: 2
Hit Dice: 9**
Move: 120' (40')
   Phasing: 240' (80')
Attacks: 2 weapon or special
Damage: 1d10 / 1d10  or Wisdom Drain

No. Appearing: 1d4 (1d6)
Save As: Fighter 9
Morale: 11 (12)
Treasure Type: None
Alignment: Chaotic

The Shattered Knights are fearsome undead of unknown origin.  Legends say that they had been a group of virtuous knights who had been sent to apprehend an evil wizard.  But, as legend tells it, the wizard's lair was a trap and the king who sent them knew they would die.  The wizard's tower was destroyed in a huge magical explosion just as the knights learned of their betrayal.
Now they are undead creatures caught between life and death forever.

They are semi-intangible and can only be hit by magic weapons.  Like all undead, the knights are immune to sleep, charm, and hold spells.  They can attack with the weapons they had in life and also a powerful touch attack that drains 1 point of Wisdom per touch (no save).  This must be done with their hand, not a weapon and it is the only attack they can make that round.

The knights are never fully in or out of normal reality so they may opt to make a phase movement instead of an attack.  They move at twice their normal speed and can move through solid objects. When in phase they cannot attack or be attacked by physical means.

The Knights are Turned by Cleric as if they were Spectres.  The knights are always accompanied by 1d4 wights.

If four or more knights are encountered then one will be the Knight Commander.



Knight Commander*

Armor Class: 1
Hit Dice: 10**
Move: 120' (40')
   Phasing: 240' (80')
Attacks: 2 weapon or special
Damage: 1d10+1 / 1d10+!  or Wisdom Drain

No. Appearing: 1 (1)
Save As: Fighter 10
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: None
Alignment: Chaotic

The Knight Commander is the leader of the Shattered Knights.  He has all the same attacks and powers as his knights.  When he is present with a group of knights their Moral increases to 12.

The Knight Commander is Turned by Cleric as if he were a Vampire.

Characters slain by a Shattered Knight or the Knight Commander will become wights under their command.


Sadly I fear more shattered knights may join their ranks before I figure this out.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Bionic Bigfoot

The Kickstarter for the Dark Places & Demogorgons Cryptid Manual is doing well.

Justin Isaac is also a huge fan of DP&D and has been creating some great material for it on his blog Halls of the Nephilim. He just recently gave us another version of Bigfoot to go with the ones found in the Cryptid Manual; the BMX Bigfoot.  It's fun and really works well with DP&D to be honest.

He then challenged me to do my own and suggested I do the Bigfoot from the Six Million Dollar Man.  So I said yes in a heartbeat! I mean how could I not?

I grew up watching the 6M$M fairly religiously. So yeah I had to jump on this.

Bigfoot in the 6M$M was not just a Bigfoot, but he was also bionic! And an alien! And played by none other than Andre the Giant in the first Bigfoot episodes and then Ted "Lurch" Cassidy.  I mean really? Could anything be more 70s than this?

The Bionic Bigfoot would fit in perfectly into any DP&P game.  Bionic, alien, either with his memory intact or still erased he would make for a fun ally or enemy.

Bionic Bigfoot
Armor Class: 14
Hit Dice: 5+4
Move: On Foot - 18 (ignore rough terrain)
Actions: 2
Morale: 9
Terror: 12
HDE: 7

Attack Damage: Fist (d8), Slam (d8), Rock Throw (d6)

Special: Bionic creature, 20 STR, Toughness +4, Immune to Cold, can run x4 Move

Bonuses: +5 to Melee attacks, +5 to Melee damage, +8 to Spot (bionic eye), +6 to Listen, +8 to Stealth, +2 to Initiative, +4 to Track.

Hug Attack: In combat, if he attacks with his fists and both hit, he will deliver a bone-crushing hug attack for an additional 2d6+4 hp damage.  A successful DEX check by the target will grant half-damage.

The Bionic Bigfoot is not a natural creature, but one created by an alien race as their protector.  The creature is unnaturally strong, even more so than other Bigfoot creatures due to it's bionics.  If the creature is discovered in it's normal state it will be intelligent and generally passive,  though it will lead anyone away from the aliens he protects.  If he is discovered in a damaged state (75% of the time) he will think and act like a normal sasquatch.




Monday, January 21, 2019

Monstrous Mondays: From Hell it Came! Tabonga the Tree Monster

Spent the weekend doing a combination of X1 Isle of Dread and I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City.  They finished up the city and then continued down the east coast of the island.


They got to the village Tanaroa where I essentially had them in my version of King Kong.  Save instead of a gargantuan ape I had them fight a gargantuan troll-like monster I alluded was Vaprak the Destroyer (which is just an aspect of Demogorgon in my games, and I have an LJN AD&D Troll toy to use for him) and the Blood Apes.


But the monster that I was most excited for was FINALLY getting to use something I have wanted to use for years; pretty much ever since I had a copy of Isle of Dread.  Tobonga the Tree Monster.

If have talked about Tabonga before. This stupid thing scared me so much as a little kid that to this very day I get gifts of tree monsters from my brothers and sisters on Halloween as gag gifts.

Well, this past weekend my sons' group the Treasure Hunters killed his demonic wooden ass.

Tabonga
The demonic monster known as a Tabonga is the cursed soul of a murder returned from the dead.  The first tabonga was buried within the trunk of a tree, believing that the spirit of the tree would prevent the murderer from coming back. However, the demonic influences on the tree caused it to return as a twisted mockery of both human and tree.  No longer fully human, plant or undead the monster is now demonically driven to commit more murders starting with the ones that condemned it to death.

Tabonga attack with two slam attacks.  It will attack until it's chosen victims are dead.  Usually, nothing but fire will prevent it from pursuing or attacking its victims.

Some tabonga have a unique kill. Some can only be killed by using the same knife, sword or axe that originally condemned them to death. Others may be killed normally via fire or radiant damage.



Tabonga
Basic/Expert Stats
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 11
Move: 45' (15')
Attacks: 2 blows
Damage: 2-12/2-12
No. Appearing: 0 (1)
Save As:  Fighter 11
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Chaotic

Special: Save vs. Paralysis or be affected as per a Cause Fear spell.
When not moving the tabonga is 90% indistinguishable from a tree.

Tabonga

D&D 5e Stats
Huge plant (demon), chaotic evil
  • Armor Class 16 (Natural Armor)
  • Hit Points 142 (13d12+60)
  • Speed 25 ft.
 STR         DEX       CON       INT         WIS         CHA     
23 (+6)     8 (-1)     21 (+5)     12 (+1)    16 (+3)     10 (+0) 
  • Vulnerabilities Fire, Radiant
  • Damage Resistance Bludgeoning, Piercing
  • Senses passive Perception 13
  • Languages Abyssal, Common
  • Challenge 10 (5,900 XP)
  • False Appearance. While the tabonga remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a normal tree.
  • Fear. The tabonga can cause fear as per the spell. The Wisdom save DC is 14.

Actions


  • Multiattack. The tabonga makes two slam attacks.
  • Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: (3d6 + 6) bludgeoning damage.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Melonheads for Dark Places & Demogorgons

One of my favorite games of 2018 is turning into one of my favorite games of 2019.

I have been given the pleasure of an advance copy of the newest book in the Dark Places & Demogorgons catalog, the Cryptid Manual.

It is not out yet, the Kickstarter begins on January 16, but it might be the best looking DP&D ever.

The book is digest sized, 90 pages and full of great illustrations.  The crew at Bloat Games really outdid themselves with this one.  The book reminds of a Chill or Conspiracy X monster book and that is a really good thing.

Expect a full review from me later this week. In fact expect a lot more DP&D goodness this week as I spend some more time with it and my Sunny Valley, OH setting.

Since today is Monster Monday. Let's find a Cryptid worthy of this book and something my Sunny Valley cast could encounter.

One of the features of the original series was the Monster of the Week episode.  This notion came from spirtual ancestor of both the show and this game, the X-Files. So going back to Mulder and Scully is never a bad plan.  For this episode, though I wanted something new, something we have not seen a lot of in the past AND something from Ohio.

Please allow me to introduce you to the Melonheads.
These creatures have been terrorizing people (reportedly) in Ohio, Michigan, and Connecticut since at least the 1960s.  Really they are kind of perfect for this.

Found in the woods in and around Ohio these creatures appear as small emaciated children with giant bulbous heads.

One legend has it that a deranged doctor (Dr. Crowe) and his wife near Kirtland, OH took in some hydrocephalic children to care for. In truth, they did strange experiments on them.  Eventually, the children fought back killing the doctor and his wife and burning down the home.  They escaped into the woods where they still live to this day, terrorizing anyone that comes into their territory.

Melonheads
Armor Class: 10
Hit Dice: 2
Move: 12
Actions: 1
Morale: 4/8
Terror: 13
HDE: 2

Attack Damage: Claw (d4)
Special: Dark Vision, Hunt in Packs
Bonuses: +5 to Spot, +5 to Stealth, +2 to Listen

Pack Tactics: Melonheads are rarely encountered alone. When they are their Morale is 4. In a pack of 6 or more their moral jumps to 8.  They will attack en masse with three being able to attack a single victim at once.  Their attacks are not very effective, but with multiple creatures, they are sure to land a few.

Melonheads are not particularly strong or very bright.  They attack anything and everything that enters their territory.   Melonheads are only active at night.

Using typical 80s monster logic they mostly attack teenagers making out in the woods.

Sunny Valley, OH Episode: It's a Shame About Ray
(*Someone will appreciate that title)

The episode begins with a missing teenager, Ray. He had been out in the woods walking with his girlfriend Shanon last night. Before they got out of the woods though he was attacked by a group of Melonheads.  His girlfriend describes "creepy, dirty children with giant heads".  It is now up to our cast to find them.

The only way to stop them is to close up the mine they have been using as a home and hiding place.

Read more about these weirdos here:

Monday, January 7, 2019

First Game of 2019: The Second Campaign and Monster Monday

Got my first game of 2019 this past week.  Yes, I was still on vacation all last week but it is back to work today (Monday).

The Treasure Hunters are still exploring the Forbidden City and are about to uncover some of its secrets.  They have encountered the Yuan-ti and some degenerate Troglodytes.   They were also nearly taken out by a group of Tasloi hiding in the tree-tops.  If there was any doubt of 5e's deadliness these little Tasloi nearly took out the entire party of seven characters.

They have not run into the Blood Apes yet, so they don't have a full picture of the cult activity going on here yet.  There are also Mongrel Men to consider.




I have set my Forbidden City in the center of the Ilse of Dread.


Yeah, there are some issues with that sure. But both are by David Cook, and Tom Moldvay was involved with both (co-author on X1 and playtester on I1).  For me it is working out great.

Monstrous Monday

Whether I am ready for it or not it is Monday. That means a new monster.

I figure I might as well share another one created by my mom.
My mom?? Yes.  My dad gave me a love for bad movies, but my love for horror, sci-fi and all things weird comes from my mom.   She would tell us these horrific stories about murders, ghosts that killed, screaming monsters and more all when we were little kids. And we loved every minute of it.  We used to all jump into the car and drive as far away as Alton, IL (95 miles) to look for haunted houses or spooky cemeteries.

Here is one from her that fits with the above adventures.

Red Lizards

Living in the deepest parts of the rainforest the Red Lizard and a symbiotic life form of a giant lizard species and a moss-like fungus.  The lizard becomes red in color and the fungus appears as a green growth on the lizard's body.  They are unable to live without each other and the bonding occurs very early in life for the lizard.
The fungus on the lizard is highly voracious and will spread to anything it touches including ground, leaving a long trail of moss-like fungus behind it.  This trail usually dies in a few minutes unless it comes in contact with a living creature.
The lizard will attack any living creature for food which the reptile and fungus life-forms will share.
These creatures are often accompanied by Rust Monsters.  The rust monster is one of the very few creatures immune to the fungus and they will eat the metal left behind by fallen victims.

Special: The creature takes damage from full moonlight (or spells or items that cast moonlight).  Exposed to this light the creature takes 1d10 hit points of damage per round of exposure.

Basic-era Stats

Red Lizard
Armor Class: 2
HD: 6 (22hp)
Attacks: 2 claw (2d4), 1 bite (1d6), + fungus
THAC0: 15
Movement: 180’ (60’)
Save: Fighter 4
No. Appearing: 1d4 (1d4)
Morale: 7
Alignment Neutral
XP Value: 300

Fungus: On a successful bite attack the victim is infected with the red lizard's fungus (save vs. Poison to avoid). They take an additional 2d4 hit points of damage and a 1d4 for each hour after that until a Remove Curse spell is cast.

5th-Era Stats

Red Lizard
Large magical beast, unaligned
Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 33 (6d10)
Speed 40 ft., climb 40 ft.
STR 15 (+2)
DEX 12 (+1)
CON 13 (+1)
INT  2 (−4)
WIS 10 (+0)
CHA 5 (−3)
Senses darkvision 30 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages —
Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Actions

Multiattack. The red lizard makes two claw attacks and one bite attack.

Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 5 (1d6 + 2) piercing damage.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.
Hit: 6 (1d8 + 2) piercing damage.  If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or be affected with the red lizard's fungus.  The creature takes an additional 2d4 hit points of damage and a 1d4 for each hour after that until a Remove Curse spell is cast.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...