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

Monday, December 27, 2021

Monstrous Monday: Aamon, Grand Marquis of Hell

Another social media-inspired post today.  My wife was reading something on Geek Girls and she got very excited about the idea of there being border-lands in Hell. Which naturally got us talking about my Demons for Basic Bestariy III.  Not knowing anything about the D&D Blood War, she thought the idea of multiple demonic species in "Hell" a really fun idea.  She was really excited when I mentioned that my Basic Bestarity Demons come in 12 different species, or what I am calling Lineages.

What D&D calls unique devils I refer to as the "Baalseraph" or the Devil Lords.  These are the ones that fell to Hell after losing the War in Heaven.  Each Baalseraph is unique and each one had a previous name from when they were spirits of good.   

Today I want to investigate both of these topics and also show why I also like using OGC monsters.  In this case, I am updating "Amon" from the Tome of Horrors Complete from Necromancer Games and Frog God Games.

Aamon, Grand Marquis of Hell

"Amon, or Aamon, is a great and mighty marques, and commeth abroad in the likeness of a Wolf, having a serpents tail, [vomiting] flames of fire; when he putteth on the shape of a man, he sheweth out dogs teeth, and a great head like to a mighty [night hawk]; he is the strongest prince of all other, and understandeth of all things past and to come, he procureth favor, and reconcileth both friends and foes, and rule forthy legions of devils."

- Johann Wier (1583) Pseudomonarchia Daemonum.

Large Fiend (Diabolic, Baalseraph)

Aamon, Grand Marquis
Frequency:
 Unique
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Lawful Evil]
Movement: 180' (60') [18"]
Armor Class: -2 [21]
Hit Dice: 22d8+44****** (143 hp)
 Large: 22d20+44****** (165 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 6 (+14)
Attacks: 1 weapon or 2 claws, 1 bite
Damage: 2d6+6 (+3 weapon, +3 strength) or 1d6+3 x2, 1d8+3
Special: Baalseraph powers and immunities, magic resistance (75%), regeneration (3 hp/round), spell-like abilities, summoning, teleapthy 100 ft. (see below)
Save: Monster 22
Morale: 12 (NA)
Treasure Hoard Class: XVI, XII (G,K)
XP: 16,250 (OSE) 16,750 (LL)

Str: 19 (+3) Dex: 17 (+2) Con: 16 (+2) Int: 18 (+3) Wis: 16 (+2) Cha: 18 (+3)

Aamon, also called Amon and Nahum, appears as a wolf-headed humanoid standing 9’ tall. His fur is brownish-black and his eyes and teeth are yellow. His great clawed hands are brownish in color and covered in shaggy fur.  He has a long tail like a snake.  

Aamon is a vassal in service to Geryon, commanding no less than 3 legions of bone devils and 40 legions of lesser shedim (devils) on his home plane in Hell. Amon wields a +3 great-mace with two hands. He can also bite in the same round for 1d8+3 hp damage.  If pressed he can attack with his two massive claws instead of his sword. Amon is only harmed by +3 or better weapons. Amon is very strong (STR 19), receiving +3 to hit and damage in melee combat. He regenerates 3 hp per round.

Aamon has the following spell-like abilities, usable at will: animate dead, charm monster, detect invisibility, detect magic, dispel magic, fear (as the spell), fly, geas, know alignment, polymorph self, produce flame, read languages, read magic, suggestion, teleportation, wall of ice, and limited wish (for another being only). In addition, one time per day he may employ a symbol of hopelessness and gate (60% probability of success) 1d4 bone devils. He is able to summon all wolves in a 1-mile radius and control them to do his will.

Like all Baalseraph, Aamon has the following damage modifiers.  He takes no damage from fire (mundane, magical or dragon), normal weapons, or poison (ingested).  He is immune to the effects of mind-affecting magics like charm, ESP, hold, and sleep.  He takes half the damage (and saves for no damage) from cold, electricity, and poisonous gases.  Finally, he takes full damage (or saves for half where applicable) from acid, magic missile attacks (or similar magical energy), blessed, magical, or silvered weapons.   He has magic resistance of 75%. 

Prior to his fall, he had been the spirit known as Nahum, which means "who induces to eagerness."   He was summoned as an impartial judge in disputes between friends.  Now as one of the fallen he creates strife between friends. 

As a Grand Marquis Aamon commands his troops to fend off the hordes of invading Asuras, Calabim, Tarterians.

Seal of Amon

--

Aamon is not just a great example of a Grand Marquis, he is a great example of an OGC monster.   He is used in Pathfinder, Swords & Wizardry, Advanced Labyrinth Lord, and others along with its original use in AD&D.

Section 15 for this monster follows:

Open Game License v 1.0a Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

System Reference Document. Copyright 2000, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, based on material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

Swords & Wizardry Core Rules. Copyright 2008, Matthew J. Finch
Swords & Wizardry Complete Rulebook. Copyright 2010, Matthew J. Finch.

Tome of Horrors Complete, Copyright 2011, Necromancer Games, Inc., published and distributed by Frog God Games.

Amon from the Tome of Horrors Complete, Copyright 2011, Necromancer Games, Inc., published and distributed by Frog God Games; based on original material by Author Scott Greene, based on original material by Gary Gygax.

I am choosing to cleave close to the original material and the OGC material because I feel that anyone using this monster (or later using the Basic Bestiary) to be able to slot him right into an ongoing game without too many "continuity errors."  So I include his "mythological" background (description, legions controlled) and his "D&D" background (allegiance to Geryon).  I also include more details that are solely from my own games (Baalseraph, borderland disputes). 

My Aamon is expanded and changed, but I can see where you can use Amon and Aamon interchangeably. The ability to pick up one of my monsters and use them in any game is one of my main design goals.

Links


Monday, December 20, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: The Confessor

Confessor
This creature began with a picture posted to the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Facebook group, and I thought it might be fun to stat up.  The original posters asked, "in game terms, what is this?"

Here is what I posted in response. 

It is a "Confessor." It appears in areas of profound sadness. It feeds on the professed guilt of those who sit next to it. You have to confess your worst guilt to it. If you do, it leaves. If you don't or lie to it then it attacks as a specter.

It seemed to go over well, so here are some full stats.

What struck me about it was the white "robes" it is wearing, the bench seems to have room for someone else to sit next to it, and it is out in the daylight.

This is an undead creature, but a special one.

CONFESSOR
FREQUENCY: Very Rare
NO. APPEARING: 1
ARMOR CLASS: 3
MOVE:  0" (special)
HIT DICE:  10+10 (55 hp)
% IN  LAIR:  100%
TREASURE  TYPE:  Nil
NO. OF ATTACKS:  1
DAMAGE/ATTACK:  1d10 + Energy Drain
SPECIAL  ATTACKS:  Compell, Energy Drain
SPECIAL  DEFENSES:  +1 or better weapon to hit
MAGIC  RESISTANCE:  25%
INTELLIGENCE:  Average
ALIGNMENT:  Chaotic  Evil (Chaotic Neutral)
SIZE:  M  (6' tall)
PSIONIC ABILITY:  Nil

The confessor is a special undead appearing in places of great sorrow.  They are found sitting alone waiting for someone to sit down next to them.  Humanoids are compelled to do so unless they make a saving throw vs. spells.   If a victim fails the save they sit down next to the confessor. This is all the magic does, what the victim does next is up to them.  If they make the save the confessor still will beckon any living humanoid to come to sit next to it. 

Once someone sits next to the confessor it will then ask them to confess their deepest guilt. The character then has to confess their worst guilt to it. If they do and are honest, it leaves. If they don't or lie to it then it attacks as a 10 HD undead creature.  Its touch does 1d10 hp of damage and drains one energy level as per a specter.  They can and do move about in the daylight and are not harmed by it.  

They can be turned by a cleric as a Lich.  Unless the confessor hears a confession they will return on on the next sunset.  Anyone killed by a confessor will remain as a spirit helplessly haunting the area around the confessor; wordlessly screaming out their warnings to others. 

--

Have to admit, I thought of this.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Monstrous Monday: Children of Darkness

Author and world creator Anne Rice died this past weekend at the age of 80. 

Anne Rice, Queen of Darkness

Rice's writing, whether her books on vampires, witches, mummies, or erotic fairytales, had a huge effect on horror writing, modern media vampires, and not least of all, games. 

I recently watched the 2017 "World of Darkness" documentary where Vampire the Masquerade creator talked about how he tried to avoid everything Anne Rice when he was writing, only to watch all the movies and read the books that influenced her. 

There was certainly something in the air around then.  World of Darkness / Vampire the Masquerade came out in 1991, with development starting in the late 80s (on the way to Gen Con according to the documentary).  Back in 1985-86, I read "The Vampire Lestat."  I actually read it before I read "Interview with A Vampire" so my opinion of Lestat was a bit higher than my friends that read the books in the proper order.  "Lost Boys" came out in 1987.  All of this led to some interesting discussions at the game table on the nature of vampires.  

Once again I am going back to my original "Red Book" and I pulled the stats on an old favorite, the Children of Darkness, updated to my new Basic Bestiary stat block.  Though spoiler alert, you have seen a variation on these with the Children of Twilight.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
Vamire, Children of Darkness
Medium Undead (Corporeal)

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1d4)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Neutral]
Movement: 180' (60') [18"]
  Run 360' (160') [36"]
Armor Class: 2 [17]
Hit Dice: 10d8+20*** (65 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 6 (+13)
Attacks: 2 fists or by weapon
Damage: 1d6+5 x2, or weapon+5
Special: Constitution drain, immune to mind-affecting spells such as sleep, hold, and charm, plus additional powers
Save: Monster 10
Turn As: Type 12 (Lich)
Morale: 11 (12)
Treasure Hoard Class: XX [C]
XP: 3,000 (OSE) 3,100 (LL)

Str: 22 (+5) Dex: 18 (+3) Con: 16 (+2) Int: 16 (+2) Wis: 13 (+1) Cha: 20 (+4)

Few undead creatures are as powerful as the vampire and none are as successful as hunters as the vampire.  The Children of Darkness are among the most powerful of the vampires.  The transformation to the undead causes the Children of Darkness to become the perfect predator. Their physical form becomes perfect; imperfections disappear, they become stronger, can see and hear better, and naturally, can smell blood.  These vampires only prey on humans and as such only humans become Children of Darkness. 

The Children of Darkness share many of the same strengths and weaknesses as the common vampire. They are strong (they have strength scores of 22), undead, immune to mind-affecting spells such as sleep, hold, and charm. They are also immune to having their minds read.  However, unlike other types of vampires, they can enter dwellings, holy ground and are not harmed by holy items like symbols of holy water.   Additionally, they cannot turn into bats, wolves, or mist. They do not need to rest in coffins, but many do since it is a good guarantee that they will lie undisturbed.  Like all vampires, Children of Darkness are damaged by and can be destroyed by sunlight.   They take 2d6 hp of damage per round exposed to sunlight.   These vampires are turned by Clerics as Liches or Type 12 Undead. 

These vampires can attack with their fists causing 1d6+5 points of damage per hit or attack with a weapon with a +5 to damage.  Additionally, these vampires can have a special power.  These powers can include, Charm, Levitation, Pyrotechnics, Telekinesis, or Telepathy.  Typically these vampires gain their first power soon after becoming a vampire and an additional power for every 100 years of age.   Children of Darkness over 1,000 years old are believed to be able to fly or even immunity to sunlight.

Magical weapons can harm them and if they are reduced to below 0 hp they do not die, must retreat where they will heal at the rate of 1 hp per day.  Damage above this 0 hp threshold is regenerated at the rate of 1 hp per round.  Vampires can "heal" hp on an eight-for-one basis for any hp they drain from constitution points (1 con point = 8 hp). 

The deadliest attack is their Constitution Drain.  Once they latch onto a victim they drain them of blood via a bite.  This bite drains the victim of two (2) points of constitution per round, with most humans drained to zero in five rounds. A human drained to below 0 constitution points will die. A drained human will not return as a vampire unless the Child of Darkness also gives them some of their own blood.  They can only do this if the human is at 0 points of constitution, no more, no less.

Children of Darkness will band together in small groups for protection. Many will share the same sire or will even be "orphans", Children whose sire has abandoned them.  They have a complex set of laws they must abide by which includes not turning children into vampires, (though feeding on them seems to be ok) not creating too many of their own kind (which is difficult to start with), and not killing their own sires.  Some even take this as far as not killing others of their kind. 

The Children of Darkness see themselves as superior to all other types of vampires.  They view other vampires as mutations or aberrations.  Their own rules prohibiting them from killing other vampires do not apply to other vampire types. They often refer to all these other types as "Children of the Devil."

Every hundred years or so a Child of Darkness feels the need for a deeper sleep. They will find a secluded location away from the sun where they will sleep for a decade or more.  Sometimes very old vampires will fall into this death-like state and forget to awaken. 

--

About twice as much text as my late 80s version.  For this stat block, there is now a "Turned As" listing.  This is something I'll introduce in Basic Bestiary II: Undead (currently 220 entries, but only 140 are complete).  "Named" undead will get a chance to make a saving throw but I will detail all of that and my alternate rules for Undead Level Drain in the book.

BBII Cleric Turning

Monday, December 6, 2021

Monstrous Monday: Demon Prince Orcus fo AD&D 2nd Edition

Going back a bit to do some more level setting and based on a conversation I had last week with a friend.  He was looking for some stats for Orcus for 2nd Edition AD&D.  I have stats for all versions of AD&D/D&D for him, but none for 2nd Ed.  I had always felt that Orcus was dead throughout all of 2nd Edition (thanks to The Throne of Bloodstone) but the events of Dead Gods brought him back. 

I did have some older AD&D 2nd Ed stats I had created in something I call the "Red Book."  The notes are largely cribbed from 1st Edition sources. 

To rebuild this I am going to also look to other sources like Swords & Wizardry and Pathfinder.  

Orcus for AD&D 2nd Ed

Orcus, Demon Prince of the Undead

Climate/Terrain:  The Abyss
Frequency:  Unique
Organization:  Solitary
Activity Cycle:  Any
Diet:  Carnivore
Intelligence:  Supra-genius (20)
Treasure:  P, S, T, U
Alignment:  Chaotic evil
No. Appearing:  1 (Unique)
Armor Class:  -6
Movement:  18, Fl 36 (B)
Hit Dice:  25 (130 hp)
THAC0:  7
No. of Attacks:  3 (see below)
Damage/Attack:  1d10+3/1d10+3/2d4 + special
Special Attacks:  Fear, spell-like powers, summon and command undead, Wand of Orcus
Special Defenses:  +3 or better weapons to hit
Magic Resistance:  85%
Size:  L (15' tall)
Morale:  Fearless (19-20)
XP Value:  36,000

Orcus is the Prince of the Undead, and it said that he alone created the first undead that walked the worlds.

Orcus is one of the strongest (if not the strongest) and most powerful of all demon lords. He fights a never-ending war against rival demon princes that spans several Abyssal layers. From his great bone palace he commands his troops as they wage war across the smoldering and stinking planes of the Abyss. Orcus spends most of his days in his palace, rarely leaving its confines unless he decides to leads his troops into battle (which has happened on more than one occasion). Most of the time though, he is content to let his generals and commanders lead the battles.

Appearance:  Orcus is a grossly fat demon lord, some 15 feet tall.  His huge grey body is covered with coarse goatish hair.  His head is goat-like, although his horns are similar to those of a ram.  His great legs are also goat-like but his arms are humanoid.  Vast bat wings sprout from his back, but these are usually tucked out of sight when he is not in flight.   His long, snaky tail is tipped his a poisonous head.

Combat: It is probable that this creature is one of the most powerful and strongest of all demons. If he so much as slaps with his open hand the blow causes 1-4 hit points of damage. His terrible fists can deliver blows of 3-13 hit points. If he uses a weapon he strikes with a bonus of +6 to hit and +8 on damage. Additionally, his tail has a virulent poison sting (-4 on all saving throws against its poison), and his tail strikes with a 15 dexterity which does 2-8 hit points each time it hits.

Orcus prefers to fight using his wand. (see below)

Orcus radiates a 60-foot-radius aura of fear (as the spell). A creature in the area must succeed on a saving throw vs. Spell or be affected as though by a fear spell (caster level 30th). A creature that successfully saves cannot be affected again by Orcus’s fear aura for one day. 

Orcus can, at will, use any one of the following powers: 

Orcus can command or banish undead as a 15th-level cleric, controlling up to 150 HD worth of undead at one time. He casts spells as a 15th level cleric and 12th level magic-user, and can use the following magical abilities at will: animate dead, charm monster, darkness, dispel magic, ESP, fear, feeblemind (1/day), lightning bolt (12 die), speak with dead (as 20th level cleric), symbol (any) and wall of fire.

Additionally, he has an 80% chance of gating in any demon of type I-V (but only a 50% chance of gating a type VI or VI and will never call upon another prince). 

Orcus furthermore is able to summon the undead, for he is their prince. If random calling is desired by the referee the following is suggested:

  • 4-48 Skeletons
  • 4-32 Zombies
  • 4-24 Shadows
  • 2-8 Vampires

Habitat/Society: When not warring against rival demon princes, Orcus likes to travel the planes, particularly the Material Plane. Should a foolish spellcaster open a gate and speak his name, he is more than likely going to hear the call and step through to the Material Plane. What happens to the spellcaster that called him usually depends on the reason for the summons and the power of the spellcaster. Extremely powerful spellcasters are usually slain after a while and turned into undead soldiers or generals in his armies.

He has a following of human worshippers as well; warlocks, death masters, necromancers, and evil priests.

Ecology: Orcus controls several levels of the Abyss he claims as his own including the 113th and 333rd layers.  When not at war with the forces of good and life he wars with all the other demon princes for control of all the Abyss.  Orcus' goal is to see all life extinguished and death reigns supreme. 

Wand of Orcus

Wand of Orcus: Mighty Orcus wields a huge black skull-tipped rod that functions as a +3 heavy mace. It slays any living creature it touches if the target fails a saving throw. Orcus can shut this ability off so as to allow his wand to pass into the Material Plane, usually into the hands of one of his servants. Further, the Wand has the following magical powers: 3/day—animate dead, darkness and fear; 2/day—unholy word.

--

Might need to tweak it some for my own uses, but this looks like it works well enough.  These stats are not perfect by any stretch, but they feel pretty close. 

I reject the fan theory that so many have adopted that Orcus was once human.  Though this does fit in with the Mystara/BECMI Immortals Set version of Orcus. Though THAT Orcus also has 39 HD and 620 HP.  

I prefer my own where he is a remnant of a former god. He has memories of God-like power, but nothing else.  After all according to Milton Orcus was in Hell when the Devils first arrived.

In any case, I do see that Orcus became more powerful after the events of Dead Gods. Maybe also explaining why he went from being "immensely fat and covered in grey hair" to the red demon of 21st century D&D. 

Links

Monday, November 29, 2021

Monstrous Monday: Tiâmat

I have talked about Tiamat since the earliest days of this blog.  No surprise really given my love of mythology and my oldest son's obsession with dragons.  It really is a natural fit for me.  I was working on this post a lot over my Thanksgiving break and I went back and forth on a lot of different ideas.  But circumstances came together and I finally decided, last night, what to post.

My oldest started Descent into Avernus this weekend for his 5e group.  We thought that a nice early Christmas present would be the new Gargantuan Tiamat miniature. 

Tiamat "mini"
The Tiamat "mini." Feiya and Larina for scale.

This thing is, well, gargantuan!

Up till now, we had been using the Aspect of Tiamat, the D&D Icon of the Realms Tiamat, and the Mage Knight Apocalypse Dragon (more on that guy in a bit). The Queen of Dragons enters a lot into our games. 

This also got me thinking about how I handle dragons in my Old-School games.  In particular how I want to handle them in my Basic Bestiary.   Over the years here I have experimented with various ways to present dragons so they are a constant challenge to any party regardless of size or levels.  There have been some really good innovations over the years starting with the dragons in AD&D 2nd Ed and into 21st Century forms of D&D.  I want to capture the best of the best design principles and also allow them to fit into the design I have already been using with my own monster stats.

I am not really 100% there yet.  

But I am at a point where I can present unique dragons like Tiamat (or Tiâmat as I am presenting her).  I still have a few issues to work out, but since I want to get my money's worth out of that figure here she is.

Tiamat
Tiâmat

Gargantuan Dragon (Evil)

Frequency: Unique
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 90' (30') [9"]
  Fly 180' (60') [18"]
  Swim 180' (60') [18"]
Armor Class: 0 [19]
Hit Dice: 30d8+240****** (375 hp)
 Gargantuan: 30d20+240****** (555 hp)
To Hit AC 0: -2 (0) (+21)
Attacks: 5 bites + 1 tail lash or breath weapons or spell + special
Damage: 3d6+7 x5, 1d6+7 or Breath Weapons or spell
Special: 
Save: Monster 30
Morale: 12 (NA)
Treasure Hoard Class: Special
XP: 30,250 (OSE) 30,250 (LL)

Str: 30 (+7) Dex: 10 (+0) Con: 32 (+8) Int: 28 (+7) Wis: 24 (+5) Cha: 22 (+5)

Tiâmat is the mother of all dragons, good and evil.  She was destroyed by her grandson Marduk and was cast out.  Formerly a god she now represents the primordial chaos of the deep sea or even the infinite abyss.  For this reason, she is often seen with the heads of all the major evil dragons, Black (Acid), Blue (Electric), Green (Poison), Red (Fire), and White (Cold). Fittingly, the mother of dragons makes her home in the depths of the Abyss in a layer known as  Têhom, or the "deep".  She is also considered to be the mother, or at least the Grandmother, of all evil and chaotic monsters.

Tiâmat can attack with all five heads per round.  Each head can bite, use their respective breath weapons, or use spells. The bite attacks do 3d6+7 hp of damage each, but the individual heads cannot attack the same Medium-sized or smaller victim at the same time.  A Large or larger-sized target can be attacked by two heads at the same time.  Tiâmat can attack up to five (5) separate targets this way.  Each head can also use their respective breath weapons doing 10d8 (45 hp) up to three times per day.  She will typically attack with her breath weapons first, to overwhelm and awe her opponents and then resort to spells and bite attacks.  Tiâmat believes that opponents need to be dealt with in the quickest, most deadliest, of ways.

Her aura of dragon fear is such that all, even true dragons, have to make a saving throw vs. magic or fall under the effects of a Cause Fear spell. This will affect all creatures regardless of HD/level.  Each head can additionally cast a Magic-user/Wizard spell per round in lieu of a physical attack.  The white head can cast 2 first-level spells and 1 second-level spell.  The black head can cast 2 second-level and 1 third-level. The green head can cast 2 third-level and 1 fourth. The blue head can cast 3 fourth, 2 fifth, and 1 sixth-level. Finally, the red head can cast 3 sixth, 2 seventh, and 1 eighth-level spell.  Tiâmat chooses her spells at the start of her day. She typically opts for spells of control, damage, and ones that can summon support. She does not need somatic or material components for her spells, they come naturally to her. 

Due to her size, Tiâmat cannot make claw attacks while on the ground.  She can attack with her foreclaws when she is flying or swimming.  She is immune to charm, hold, mind-affecting magic, and sleep effects.  She is additionally immune to all sorts of poison. She takes half damage from acid, cold, and fire. She also has 75% magic resistance.

As the Queen and Mother of Dragons Tiâmat she is served by five consorts. These are dragons of largest size and greatest age of their respective dragon types, White, Black, Green, Blue, and Red.  Each one is utterly loyal to Tiâmat, failure to be anything but this will result in their immediate death and their skins put on display.  Tiâmat can summon 2d6+1 evil dragons of any type once per day.

Tiâmat's home plane is known as Têhom, or the "deep." Here there are seven distinct areas that represent the preferred habitat of each of the five evil dragon types. Each one is governed over by her consorts. The sixth area is an ocean, so deep and so dark that no bottom has even been seen.  Tiâmat makes her home here along with sea dragons of all sorts. It is rumored that the great dragon Leviathan also resides here. The seventh and last area is an island that Tiâmat often visits. Here her treasure horde can be found. This land is populated only by undead dragons.

Tiâmat as a Patron
Dragon Tradition Witches and Draconic Pact Warlocks take Tiâmat as their patron.  Chaos mages also look to the Mother of Monsters as their patron, inspiration, and even Goddess.  All dragons, good and evil, regard her as their mother or the first of their kind but only evil dragons and dragon-kin worship her. 

--

Notes

I like this stat block quite a lot.  I can look at it though and tell I still need to define my demons and dragons both a little better. There are ideas I want to express that I am currently not doing.

She is a Gargantuan creature.  So because of that, I am going to be using my alternate HP calculations. A gargantuan creature uses a d20 for HP determination, not the standard d8.  Even with this she is at 30 HD so in standard games she ends up with 375 hp. In my games that is boosted to 555 hp.

A bit on that HD.  Yeah, she has 30 HD.  She is big and bad and is not a monster you find on level 20 of some random dungeon. This flows from the level setting I was doing in One Man's God. Tiamat is not just on the top of the scale, she should be the top.  A former Goddess now cast into the Abyss, that means two things for me. One she is powerful and two she should be a demon of some sort.  She is obviously something more. I have her listed as "Gargantuan Dragon (Evil)" but she would certainly also be an Outsider or even a Fiend possibly. She could even be an Eodemon

Alignment.   I have been playing Tiamat as "Chaotic Evil" since I first started reading Chaos Theory back in the 90s. It always made far more sense to me.  Plus she never really fit into the hierarchy of Hell as far as I was concerned.  I do borrow a page from Paradise Lost and say she was there when the Devils fell.  But that was only one of her lairs in the cosmos. 

What about that Apocalypse Dragon?  Well, I still want to get my money's worth out of him.  So he has been redubbed as Leviathan.  Fitting, given the history my games have had with him.  I will need to revisit my stats for him though. 

Tiâmat and Leviathan
Tiâmat and Leviathan

Links

Links to other Tiamat postings here on the Other Side.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Monstrous Monday: Glory Hound (A Wolfenoot Special)

Once again it is Happy Wolfenoot Everyone!

What, you don't know about Wolfenoot, the holiday to celebrate all that is cool about the wolf and dogs?  Well get yourself over to Wolfenoot.com to find out more then come back here.  Even DriveThruRPG is in on the fun this year with their Wolfenoot sale.

Glory Hound

So the last Wolfenoot I did the lycanthropic Wolf-Witch, this year I am also looking to a book I read for inspiration.  Back in High School, I had to take English from this teacher I was looking forward to having but quickly came to despise.  He was such an arrogant asshole and treated his students like shit. Very much of the type to belittle students for mistakes.  Anyway, the books he has us read were ones that had been on the curriculum for gods know how long. I hated them all and nothing connected with me.  So being a pretty fast reader I would do the assigned reading in the class ad then read something else.  We had this book of short stories and it seemed to me that he would pick the most boring, moronic stories for reading and leave the others alone.  One story I found that I actually rather enjoyed was Emma-Lindsay Squier's "The Soul of Caliban." 

I knew Caliban from Shakespeare's Tempest because of Kalibos in the "Clash of the Titans" movie.  The story focused on an ugly dog, which I imagined looked like Cujo, living somewhere in Canada. He belonged to man who began to treat him poorly after he got married. The story went on from there, but the important part was at the end.  The man came back to his home to see his new baby gone and Caliban limping and covered in blood.  The man reacts and kills Caliban only to discover the dead wolf and the baby pulled away to safety.  The last scene is of Caliban in Heaven being treated by St. Peter (not St. Bernard) saying, (something like) "Mon Dieu Caliban, comme tu es devenu beau !" or "my God Caliban, how beautiful you have grown!"  I thought it was a good story. Certainly written for a Freshman English class to discuss issues like "do dogs have souls?" and so on.

Fast forward to 1989 and the movie "All Dogs Go to Heaven" is out.  I never saw it, but from the title, I thought it might have been the same story.  It wasn't, but that is fine. 

Fast forward again to more recent times and we now get the "All Dogs Go to Sto'Vo'Kor" meme.  Ok, ok I get it.  No need to beat over the head with it anymore.

So for this year's Wolfenoot, I give you the Glory Hounds.  You will excuse me if I also want to slip a little more of The Bard into my games. 

Glory Hounds
Medium Outsider (Angel)

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1d6+1 (2d6+2)
Alignment: Lawful [Lawful Good]
Movement: 180' (60') [18"]
  Fly 180' (60') [18"]
Armor Class: 4 [15]
Hit Dice: 5d8+15*** (38 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 13 (+6)
Attacks: 1 bite + special
Damage: 1d6+1
Special: Bark, cause fear, detect evil, fly
Save: Monster 5
Morale: 12 (12)
Treasure Hoard Class: None 
XP: 750 (OSE) 860 (LL)

Str: 15 (+1) Dex: 16 (+2) Con: 18 (+3) Int: 12 (+0) Wis: 13 (+1) Cha: 16 (+2)

Glory Hounds are the souls of mortal dogs and wolves who died from an ultimate act of bravery and self-sacrifice.  They ascended to the Heavens and were given forms that matched their brave deeds.   All glory hounds appear as majestic, proud versions of their type of canine. Their head is noble and their visage is one of calm serenity.  That is until they sense evil.  They appear to become fierce and frightening, causing fear (as per the spell) to all around them (10' radius).

Glory hounds exist for one purpose, to destroy evil.  They are sent to the mortal planes to hunt down and destroy all evil influences they can, saving a special hatred for demons and those that abuse children.  A glory hound will unerringly seek out evildoers and attempt to destroy them.  The ancient pacts made by Angels do not apply to glory hounds so they are free to roam the mortal realms as they see fit. Because the pacts between creatures of the upper planes and creatures of the lower planes do not apply to glory hounds they also can not be summoned.  Often glory hounds will be in the company of other angels, typically like a hunting party.  Woe to any evil creature hunted by a dirae with a pack of glory hounds at her sides. 

The glory hound attacks with their bite using pack tactics to the best of their abilities.  They also can bark 3 times per day.  This bark is a loud sonic wave of damage that sounds like a thunder crack.  It will do 5d6 points of damage (save vs. petrification for half) to all in a 120' long (60' wide at the end) cone from the glory hound.  They cause fear against all chaotic (evil) creatures at all times, and can once per day increase this power to all creatures.  

Glory hounds can only be hit by magical weapons.  They take half damage from magical fire and no damage from mundane or non-magical fire.  They are immune to charm, hold and sleep magic or other mind-affecting magic.  They take full damage from lightning and cold. A slain glory hound will discorporate and return to the Heavens.  It will be seven years before that particular glory hound will be powerful enough to return to the mortal realms.

Glory hounds are the natural enemies of hell hounds and vargr.  Attacking these creatures on sight.  Unless accompanied by another angel they will abandon their current mission to fight with hell hounds and vargr.  

Glory hounds will not attack Lawful (good) or Neutral creatures unless attacked.  If Chaotic (evil) creatures are not acting in a way that is overtly evil then they will be ignored as well.

--

Don't forget to howl at the moon tonight!

Monday, November 15, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Illinois Hominids

The weekend before last I drove down to my parent's house to see my dad before his 92nd birthday (his doctor told him he'll likely live to a 100) and my sister for her 51st birthday.  Picked up a few books my sister had for me, mostly older occult books.  But driving through the state and back got me thinking about some more local horrors. I mean there HAS to be something interesting hiding in all those corn and soybean fields.  I also thought about how these creatures would work well in all the occult games I was talking about last week.  

Another thing is I love Bigfoot legends.  I don't believe any of them for a moment, but they are so great for games. Bringing these all together really helps capture the feel of the games I wanted to play in the early 80s. So for that D&D-loving kid in Central Illinois back in the 1980s who loved Bigfoot stories, this is for you. And by "you" I mean "me."

Sassy

Illinois Hominids

When one hears about Illinois the first thing that comes to mind are cornfields, Chicago, and spectacularly corrupt politicians.  One doesn't typically think of 10 ft. tall hominids.   But for the residents of Illinois, these creatures are not unheard of.  They have been spotted all over the state from the northernmost points to the far south point, nearly 400 miles. 

In nearly all cases these creatures try to avoid humanity.  Their great size and obvious strength would make them a threat to any group of investigators, but thankfully they have so far shown no particular desire to attack.  

Illinois Hominids like all species of sasquatches are large, nocturnal creatures that walk upright like humans.  It appears to be omnivorous but its preference is for vegetables and fruits found in the wild.

For this posting, I am going with "Illinois Hominids" as opposed to "Bigfoots" or "Sasquatches" since both of those terms are more associated with creatures of the Pacific Northwest.  "Skunk Apes" are more commonly referring to creatures in the Southern United States. 

I am also grouping creatures together that may, or may not, be classified as Sasquatches in other Bigfoot lore. Most of these creatures have only been reported once.

Dogmen of McHenry County

These creatures are 7" tall creatures that appear to be some sort of simian/canine/hominid hybrid.  Their defining feature is their dog-like faces.  Similar creatures have been sighted in adjoining Cook County, and as far south as Christian (nearly 250 miles to the south) and Woodford Counties. They are noted for their howls in the night.  Many scholars classify these as separate sorts of creatures. 

Cole Hollow Road Monster

Found in central Illinois this creature has been sighted near Peoria, IL, and might be related to the similar Farmer City Monster found further to the east.  This creature is grayish in color and stands 7"-8" tall.  It is quite reclusive and can hide in natural environments with 95% effectiveness and can never be surprised.  

Swamp Hominids of Southern Illinois

Several creatures occupy the lands at the far end of the state. Unlike the other hominids featured here these usually range to about 10' tall and tend to live near swamps or other wetlands.  They also have a smell that can be detected for a 100 yards, any closer and investigators suffer a -3 (or roll with disadvantage) on any attacks.  They share this feature with the Skunk Ape of the southern part of the country. 

These creatures include the Tuttle Bottoms Monster of Harrisburg, IL which also has an elongated snout.  Nearby Enfield in White County also has The Enfield Horror, a fast-moving hominid. 

The Abominable Swamp Slob, also known as the A.S.S., are found in Jackson County near the Shawnee National forest. It can emmit an ear-shattering shriek.  The most famous of these is the Murphysboro Mud Monster and "Sassy" the Shannee Sasquatch. 

RPG Stat Blocks

Basic Bestiary
Illinois Hominds
Basic Bestiary

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1d4 (1d6)
Alignment: Neutral [True Neutral]
Movement: 180' (60') [18"]
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 6d8+18* (45 hp)
  Large: 6d10+18* (51 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 8 (+11)
Attacks: 2 fists or rock throw
Damage: 1d6+5 x2 or 2d8+5
Special: Camouflage, Howl (cause fear), Odor
Size: Large
Save: Monster 6
Morale: 8 (10)
Treasure Hoard Class: None 
XP: 650 (OSE) 680 (LL)

Str: 22 (+5) Dex: 18 (+3) Con: 19 (+3) Int: 10 (+0) Wis: 13 (+1) Cha: 8 (-1)

The hominid can attack with two fists or throw boulders, much like a giant.  The hominid can also howl.  This howl causes fear (as per the spell) to all that hear it who fail a saving throw vs. Paralysis.  Those that fail the save are too frightened to attack or move.

Dark Places & Demogorgons
Illinois Hominids
DP&D, We Die Young

Armor Class: 15
Hit Dice: 6+6 (27 hp)
Move: On Foot - 18 (ignore rough terrain)
Actions: 2
Morale: 8
Terror: 12
HDE: 7

Attack Damage: Fist (d8), Slam (d8), 
Special: Large creature, 20 STR, Toughness +4, can run x4 Move, scream or howl can cause fear.

Bonuses: +5 to Melee attacks, +5 to Melee damage, +5 to Spot, +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.

NIGHT SHIFT
Illinois Hominids
NIGHT SHIFT

No. Appearing: 1-3
AC: 6
Move: 40ft.
Hit Dice: 6-8
Special: 2 attacks (fist) Strength, Camouflage, Howl (cause fear), Odor
XP VALUE: 240 (6HD) 480 (7HD)  960 (8 HD)

Camouflage: The hominid can hide with 90% effectiveness.

Howl: The howl of the hominids causes a fear reaction to any that hear it. This is treated like the cause fear spell. This happens only when the hominid is first heard, subsequent encounters with the same creature do not have this fear effect.

Odor: Anyone coming within 10 feet of a hominid must succeed at a Constitution saving throw or be at -3 to all actions due to the overpowering stench.


Dark Street & Darker Secrets
Illinois Hominids
Dark Street & Darker Secrets

Dogmen of McHenry County  6HD

Cole Hollow Road Monster, Farmer City Monsters 7HD

Tuttle Bottoms Monster, Enfield Terror, Abominable Swamp Slob 8HD

Special Abilities: Howl causes fear. Stench causes disadvantages to attacks. Very strong, +4 to all attacks. 

Illinois Hominids avoid the cities at all costs.  

Links

Monday, November 8, 2021

Monstrous Monday Review: Adventures Dark & Deep Book of Lost Beasts

Adventures Dark & Deep Book of Lost Beasts
Joseph Bloch at BRW games is really the model of how you should run a Kickstarter.  When I look at a Kickstarter I want to know that the person running it has experience.  The Kickstarter for Book of Lost Lore & Book of Lost Beasts was back in July. We were promised the books in March of 2022.  I believe I got mine in late September or early October. Was there padding? Maybe, but I don't care. Getting books just a couple of months after pledging is still pretty good.  Not to mention this has been true for the other five I have backed from Joseph/BRW.

Plus I also like to see that the person running the knows what to expect. So I look to see how many they have backed.  If it is a low number, or worse, zero, then I stay away. That is not the case with BRW Games.  

That is all great and everything, but does the book hold up to all this excitement?  Let's find out.

Adventures Dark & Deep Book of Lost Beasts

This is one of two books that were part of BRW's Summer 2021 Kickstarter and the one I was looking forward to the most.  The reasons should be obvious to anyone who has read my reviews over the years; I love monster books and consider the 1st Edition Monster Manual to be one of the greatest RPG books ever written.  Sure there are better-written ones, but few that have had the impact of this one. 

For this review, I am considering the Hardcover I received as a Kickstarter backer and the PDF from DriveThruRPG.  BRW does their print fulfillment via DriveThru, so I conveniently have my PDFs where I expect them and I know what sort of product I am getting in terms of Print on Demand.

The book itself is 132 page (about 128 of pure content), full-color cover and black and white interior art.  The layout and art is a tribute to the "2nd covers" of the AD&D 1st Edition line. So it looks nice with your original books and other OSR books designed the same way. 

Old-school cool

Old-school cool

Adventures Dark & Deep Book of Lost Beasts is a collection of 205 monsters for the AD&D 1st Edition RPG.  The book feels familiar (in more than one way) and can easily be added to your AD&D game.  The monsters are alphabetically listed. At the start of the book, there are some details about playing Monster spell casters (Witch-doctors or Shamans) as well as some other minor rule changes/alterations.  These chiefly involve whether a monster has psionics or not, and how an undead creature is turned.

Additionally, there is more detail on the monster's treasure. While a Treasure Type is given it is asl broken down between Treasure Value and Magical Treasure.  Monsters all get a Morale bonus listed to indicate if they will flee combat.

In the Preface, Bloch gives us a bit of history on his Adventures Dark and Deep RPG.  While this book carries that heading, it does not use the Adventures Dark and Deep RPG rules except as noted above. IT uses the tried and true AD&D 1st Ed system.  Also it is noted that many of these monsters presented here already appeared in his Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary, which I reviewed here.   The Bestiary is 450+ pages and has monsters from the SRD plus more in the Adventures Dark and Deep RPG format.  So you could convert them back to AD&D 1st Ed if you wanted.  But this current book, the Book of Lost Beasts, has the new monsters from the Bestiary plus a few more already converted.

The brings up a good question.  Should I buy this book? 
I am going to say yes, but here are some caveats. If you have the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary AND you are comfortable enough converting then maybe you don't need this.  If you play AD&D and want more monsters then you should get this.  If you don't have the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary and like monsters then you should get this.  If you are like me and just love monsters and already have the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary then you should get this.  I hope to make these points a little better below, but do keep in mind that some people have seen these monsters before.

That is just one of the ways this book feels familiar.  The other way really lives up to its name of the Book of Lost Beasts.   This book feels like Bloch took the Monster Manuals I and II (and to a lesser degree the Fiend Folio) and set out with the goal of "What monsters are missing?" and got to it.  For example, the Quasi-Elementals are more filled out.

Another great example of providing us with "what was missing" AND giving us something new are the ranks of nobility of the Dao, Djinn, Effrti, Madrid, and Rakasha. While these creatures are found in the Monster Manuals and expanded on in the ADD Bestiary, they get a longer and more detailed treatment here. 

After the 205 or so monsters there are appendices on Treasure Types and a random Creature for the Lower Planes generator. These were very popular in the pages of Dragon Magazine if you recall

The PDF is currently $9.95 which is a good price for a PDF of a monster book, and $24.95 for the hardcover.

One minor point, the book was not released under the OGL.  Doesn't matter for play or use only if you wanted to reuse a monster in an adventure.  Though given the use I have seen of the OGL over the last 20+ years this is also likely not an issue. 

If you are looking for a new monster book for use in your AD&D 1st Edition games then I can highly recommend this one.  Plus it will look great sitting next to all your other AD&D 1st books.

BRW Games Lost Books

 

Monday, October 25, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Nicnevin, Faerie Queen of Witches

Been spending some time working on my various Lords and Ladies of the land of Faerie. With the new Wild Beyond the Witchlight out, I have been thinking more and more about what I'd like to do with them.

Case in point is an old favorite, Nicnevin the Faerie Queen of Witches from Scottish lore.   I mentioned her all the way back in 2014 as servant/ally of Aradia. She would later appear in the Tome of Beasts from Kobold Press.

My version fits into my vision of the Lands of Faerie and my War of the Witch Queens a bit better.  She is the Witch Queen of the Faerie Tradition and can be a patron for witches or Fey Pact Warlocks.

Nicnevin, Faerie Queen of Witches
Faerie Lady

Nicnevin, Faerie Queen of Witches
Frequency:
Unique
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Neutral [Chaotic Neutral]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
  Fly: 150' (50') [15"]
Armor Class: 0 [19]
Hit Dice: 13d8+39*** (98 hp)
  Large: 13d10+39 (111 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 8 (+11)
Attacks: 1 sickle or by spell
Damage: 1d6+2 or by spell
Special: Fly,  Immune to charm, hold, and sleep spells, Magic Resistance 50% (all magic), Magic Resistance 100% (Witch magic), witch spells and powers
Size: Large
Save: Witch 13
Morale: 12
Treasure Hoard Class: See below 
XP: 4,200 (OSE) 4,350 (LL)

Str: 17 (+2) Dex: 12 (0) Con: 19 (+3) Int: 16 (+2) Wis: 18 (+3) Cha: 20 (+4)

The Witch Queen of the Faerie is also known by the names Nicneven, Nicnevin, Nicnevan or Nic an Neachneohain.  She is the current Witch Queen of the Faerie tradition and the longest-serving.  Previous Faerie Queens of Witches were known as Satia, Bensozie, Zobiana, Abundia, and Herodiana.  She is both a Faerie Lord (Lady) and the Queen of Witches for all witches in the Faerie Traditions.  She is served by faerie witches of all courts.  Her retinue includes elves, nymphs, and hags among many others.  Any faerie creature that becomes a witch or has witch-like powers are hers to command.

The Witch Queen can attack with a special sickle made from pure moonlight.  It can attack creatures as if it were a +3 weapon.  In her hands, the sickle acts as a sword of sharpness +3 and will do double damage to clerics and magic-users (wizards).  In anyone else's hands, it is only a simple harvesting sickle.  She also may cast spells as a 13th level witch of the Faerie Tradition with the appropriate occult powers.  She knows all the spells of the Faerie tradition and does not need to prepare them beforehand.  She employs a magical cloak that reduces her AC to 0 [19] and provides her an additional +3 to all saves. 

Magical attacks against her have a 50% chance of failure. If a witch casts a spell at her the spell is completely negated.  No witch may harm her via magic or mundane means.

The Queen of Witches appears to be a statuesque, 7' tall, Faerie woman of middle age.  She is beautiful in a wild, uncontrolled way like that of a towering waterfall or a dangerous storm.   Her hair is a bright red that seems to shimmer like flames, glowing brighter as her emotions run higher.  Her eyes are a uniform blue that glows when she casts spells.  Her skin is covered in blue woad designs. 

She rides out at night with her retinue of nymphs and hags on great faries steeds like giant elk or stags searching the countryside for girls to add to her coven of witches and for clerics that honor gods of the sun to kill. 

--

Might tweak her a bit. Have a couple books on Scottish folklore I'd like to go over again. Plus I want to work out her relationship with Scáthach.  Likely Nicnevin is a daughter or something similar. 

Nicnevin, Faerie Queen of Witches
https://www.heroforge.com/load_config%3D17900174/

Monday, October 18, 2021

Monstrous Monday: Sennentuntschi

This particular creature has been on my list to do for a bit.  I had read about this creature in connection to the succubus many years ago but never could find anything else about it.  Mostly I think due to my inability to remember how it was spelled. 

Thankfully I now have the movie to help me out. 

Sennentuntschi
Sennentuntschi

Medium Construct (demonic) 

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
Armor Class: 9 [10]
Hit Dice: 3d8+3*** (23 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 14 (+5)
Attacks: 1 fist or by weapon
Damage: 1d6+2 or by weapon+2
Special: Charm, illusion, immune to mind-affecting magic, immune to poison and gas, only harmed by fire
Save: Monster 3
Morale: 12 (12)
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 125 (OSE) 170 (LL)

Str: 16 (+2) Dex: 16 (+2) Con: 18 (+3) Int: 14 (+1) Wis: 14 (+1) Cha: 18 (+3)

Sennentuntschi, which is believed to mean "shepherd's wife" or "herdsmen wife," is a type of construct inhabited by a demonic spirit. The creature is created by making a life-sized doll out of clothes, straw, and whatever is on hand and then animated with the demonic spirit. 

The sennentuntschi, once animated, will act as the "wife" of the shepherds who animated her.  She will cook, clean, and even share their bed at night.  She cannot speak but casts a powerful charm and illusion effect on all around her.  The men who created her automatically fail their saving throws. To them and all others who fail, she will appear as a beautiful young woman.  If the save is made, then she will appear as a grotesque collection of rags and straw in a human shape.  Clerics of pure and good intent (Lawful, Lawful Good) gain a +3 bonus to their saving throw against this charm.

The goal of the sennentuntschi is to kill the men that animated her and return to her native plane with their souls. She can't though just kill them outright. The men must first commit an act of violence against her. This can be as simple as one of the men slapping her, though usually, the violence escalates from there.  Each of the men that animated her, typically three, must commit this act. Once that is complete she will seek to kill them or have them kill each other.  As a construct, she is immune to all mind-affecting magic but is vulnerable to fire. Cold, electricity, gas, or poison has no effect on her.

If anyone attacks the sennentuntschi anyone charmed by her will do anything to protect her including killing others.  If the sennentuntschi is destroyed then the charm is broken. It is rumored that if a sennentuntschi is created and no violence is perpetrated against it for the season then the magic holding it together dies and no souls are damned.  This is a very rare occurrence.

Animating a Sennentuntschi:  A sennentuntschi can be animated by a folk magic ritual (0 level Witch spell) known to the shepherds and herdsmen of the mountains. 

Sennentuntschi
Create Sennentuntschi
Witch Ritual Level: 0
Ritual Casters: Three shepherds
Duration: One Season, typically Summer
Range: One Sennentuntschi poppet

The ritual to animate a sennentuntschi is typically handed down from older shepherd to younger in the form of a story about how the first sennentuntschi was animated.  All that is needed is a life-sized poppet to house the sennentuntschi spirit and the three men to summon it.  

Typically this is an older shepherd, a younger one, and a boy; each representing the stages of life for a man. The ritual is then performed, usually with the imbibing of much alcohol, and the spirit is summoned.

Many occult scholars believe that the demonic spirit inhabiting the poppet is akin to the succubus or other Lilim. 

Monday, October 11, 2021

Monstrous Monday: Doppelgänger, Pod

Again today's monster seems like the logical choice. There was a similar creature in Ravenloft for AD&D 2nd Ed, but I am going to ignore that one in favor of something a little different.  

Dante Gabriel Rossetti - How They Met Themselves
Doppelgänger, Pod
Medium Plant (Shape-shifter) 

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1d6 (2d6)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Hit Dice: 6d8+6*** (33 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 10 (+9)
Attacks: 2 claws or by weapon
Damage: 1d6+3 x2 or by weapon+3
Special: Charm, regeneration, shape-shift, telepathic communication, only harmed by fire
Save: Monster 6
Morale: 8 (10)
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 1,250 (OSE) 1,280 (LL)

Str: 18 (+3) Dex: 18 (+3) Con: 14 (+1) Int: 14 (+1) Wis: 14 (+1) Cha: 5 (-2)

The doppelgänger is known and feared by many veteran adventurers, but it is usually a single creature at a time.  The Pod Doppelgänger, named for the giant pods they grow out of, is a different sort of danger altogether.

While not related to the common Doppelgänger, these creatures share many of the same characteristics.  They use their shape-shifting powers to impersonate others.   The pod doppelgänger will lure unsuspecting creatures to where their seed pods lie.  

They will attack and attempt to subdue, but not kill, humanoid creatures (humans being their preferred targets). Once they have these humans they will place them into a pod where they are absorbed to feed the mother plant.  The pod will reopen 8 hours later and the new doppelgänger will walk out, a perfect copy of the human that was absorbed.  They will have their memories, their knowledge, and even combat skills. Doppelgänger cannot cast spells, they do not have the necessary connections to the magic that other living creatures do.  Likewise, they cannot lay on hands like a paladin nor Turn Undead as a cleric.  

Once someone is copied the pod doppelgänger has all their memories and the original creature will be gone.  

The pod doppelgänger has a limited charm ability effective on humans with a save at a bonus of +1.  Other species such as elves, dwarves, halflings gain a +2.  Goblinoids and orcs and other related creatures gain a +3 to their saves.  Pod doppelgängers have a sort of telepathic communication with all others from the same mother plant.  Pod doppelgängers regenerate 1 hp per round and can even "come back from the dead" of negative hp.

The only effective way to destroy these creatures is by fire.  Damage dealt by fire-based attacks is not regenerated. 

Mother Plant: In the pod doppelgänger's lair lives the mother plant.  She cannot attack, has an AC of 9, and a number of HD equal to the number of pods she has created (determined by the number appearing in lair).  Likewise, only fire can destroy her.  Her "children" will defend her to the very end.  

--

Might need a little more tweaking to make it work a little better.  Plus I should add some horror effect when seeing a pod duplicate a person.  That can't be a pretty sight.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Alchemical Zombie

Ah. Monstrous Mondays in October.  Nothing goes better together. They are peanut butter cups of my regular series postings.  So let's get this first Monday in October started off right with a monster that screams Halloween monsters to me.  Zombies.

After watching the Re-Animator trilogy this one is a, pardon the pun, a no brainer.

Zombie
Zombie, Alchemical

Medium Undead* 

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1d8 (1d12)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 150' (50') [15"]
Armor Class: 7 [12]
Hit Dice: 3d8+12*** (26 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 13 (+6)
Attacks: 2 claws, 1 bite
Damage: 1d6+3 x2, 1d4+3
Special: Fast, immune to turning, special abilities (see below)
Save: Monster 3
Morale: 12 (12)
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 125 (OSE) 170 (LL)

Str: 19 (+3) Dex: 16 (+2) Con: 20 (+4) Int: 3 (-3) Wis: 1 (-4) Cha: 3 (-3)

Alchemical Zombies are created not by dark necromantic powers, but by forbidden sciences and alchemical means.  They look like normal zombies, but the similarities end there.   An alchemical zombie is fast, rolling normally for the initiative.  While they are a form of undead, they are not reanimated by necromancy or evil magic, therefore they can not be turned by a cleric.   

An alchemical zombie is mindless in its attacks.  It will seek out any living creature and attack it with claws and bites.  It will not stop until the living flesh it is attacking is torn to pieces.  Some alchemical zombies will eat the flesh, but they do not need to do it for sustenance, but instead only as a dim reflection of memory of enjoying food.  They do not rot beyond what their decomposed flesh has already done before their conversion and can last indefinitely.  Even hacked-off limbs will continue to seek out warm blood and flesh to tear and rend.  If there are no living creatures around the zombies will go into a passive stupor. They will "awaken" once a living person or creature comes within 60 ft of them.

In the process of making an alchemical zombie, alchemists discovered that by adding certain potions or chemicals can impart special powers on the zombie.  These powers and their sources are detailed below.

Roll d20 Potion/Chemical Effect
 1-3  Contol Undead  Summons 1d4 normal zombie per day
 4-5  ESP  +1 to attacks, saves and AC 
 6-7  Fire Resistance  +2 to saves vs. Fire damage   
 8-9  Giant Strength  +4 to damage per attack
 10-13  Healing / Troll Blood  Regenerates 2 hp per round
 14-15  Heroism  +2 to attacks
 16-17  Invulnerability  +4 bonus to AC 
 18-19  Speed  2 extra claw attacks every other round
 20  Super Heroism  +4 to attacks

In all cases, these powers are reflected in the XP values above.

Only fire can truly destroy these creatures and they must be reduced to ash. 

--

For today's entry I thought it might work if I returned the "To Hit AC 0" line to the stat block.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Opinicus

A little slow on the posts today.  Back from Gen Con and all.  Got to play a lot of great games last week. 

This beastie has been on my mind since playing some Blue Rose. 

Opinicus
Opinicus

Large beast (magical)

Frequency: Rare 
Number Appearing: 1d4 (2d4)
Alignment: Neutral [Lawful Netural]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
  Flying 240' (120') [24"]
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 5d8+10* (33 hp)
  Large 5d10+10* (38 hp)
Attacks: 2 claw, 1 bite
Damage: 1d3+1 x2, 1d8+1
Special: 10% chance of speaking  
Save: Monster 5
Morale: 8 (10)
Treasure Hoard Class: II/Q
XP: 400 (OSE) 460 (LL)

Str: 15 (+1) Dex: 15 (+1) Con: 16 (+2) Int: 9 (0) Wis: 12 (0) Cha: 10 (0)

The opinicus is a cousin of both the griffon and the hippogriffs.  They are smaller than griffons and a bit longer.  Like the griffon, they feature the body of a lion and the wings and head of a large hawk. Unlike the griffon though, the opinicus has all four limbs of a lion.

Unlike the griffon, the opinicus is a vegetarian, its preferred method of feeding is to swoop down into the back alleys of cities to eat the fruits and vegetables tossed out after market days.  Opinicus makes their homes in the tops of tall steeples and towers.  They feature as animal in many coats of arms.

The opinicus has a 10% of talking. They speak the local languages of the urban areas they live in. They have been known to help homeless humans find sources of shelter and food.  The opinicus has little use for treasure, but they do keep gems they find.

The female opincus lays a clutch of 2-8 eggs roughly the size and shape of a coconut.  Juvenile opinici do not have wings, developing them after their first year.  Opinici can live 50 to 60 years. 

NOTE: The Opinicus from Monster Manual II are considered to be Eastern Opinicus.