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

Monday, October 14, 2019

Monstrous Mondays: Zugarramurdi Brujas for Basic era Games AND Night Shift

A while back I featured a monster I was quite happy with, the Zugarramurdi Bruja, a mix of hag, vampire, and undead witch.  Since then I have read more about these witches and want to use them more.

So here they are, again for Labyrinth Lord, other Basic-era games, and for Night Shift.



Zugarramurdi Brujas

The Zugarramurdi Brujas are undead witches that are believed to have come from the village of Zugarramurdi, Spain.  Zugarramurdi was the scene of a huge witch trail in the 17th century.  It was believed that these witches sold their souls to a devil named Akerbeltz, he gave them magical powers, silver and a toad familiar.  When alive they had power of animals and members of the opposite sex.  It was believed that these witches could also spit poison.  To maintain their power they had to sacrifice children on the night of the Summer Solstice.
Some of the accused died before they saw trail, but many of the witches were tried and executed.  Their remains, which could not be buried in hallowed ground, were tossed into a cave where the witches used to meet; Cuevas de las Brujas ("Cave of the Witches").
It is said they returned from the dead on the next Summer Solstice.

The term now is used to refer to any witch that comes back from the dead due to improper burial.  As an undead creature, they are more powerful than they were in life, though most of their spellcasting ability is diminished.
They attack with a claw/claw/bite routine as their primary form of attack.  On a successful critical hit (natural 20) on any attack, they also drain 1 point of Wisdom and 1 point of Charisma from their victims.  Any victim reduced to 0 in either ability will become a zombie under control of the Zugarramurdi Bruja who killed it.

They also are surprised only on a 1 in 6.
They also cast the following spells as a 10th level witch: Bewitch III, Charm, ESP, Eyebite, Greater Command, Shriek, Withering Touch, and Undead Enslavement.

Zugarramurdi Brujas are vulnerable to silver, magic weapons and holy items.  Holy water does 1d8 hp of damage to them. They can be turned by a good cleric as if they were vampires.  A lawful witch can also turn these creatures as if she were a cleric of the same level, such is their abomination of all things the lawful witch holds sacred.   Like a vampire, these creatures cannot enter into a personal dwelling unless they are granted permission nor can they ever enter hallowed ground, such as a place of lawful worship or a graveyard.  Doing so causes them 1d8 hp damage per round.

Zugarramurdi Brujas
(Labyrinth Lord, Pumpkin Spice Editon)
No. Enc.: 1 (3)
Alignment: Chaotic (evil)
Movement: 30' (90')
Armor Class: 2
Hit Dice: 10+5*** (50 hp)
Attacks: 3 (claw/claw/bite)
Damage: 1d4/1d4/1d6
Special: Wisdom & Charisma drain
Save: Witch 10
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: XVII
XP: 2,600

Zugarramurdi Brujas
(Blueholme Journeymanne Rules)
AC: 2
HD: 10d8+5
Move: 30
Attacks: 2 claw (1d6-1 x2), 1 bite (1d6) + Wisdom & Charisma drain
Alignment: Chaotic
Treasure:
XP: 2,600

Zugarramurdi Brujas
(Old-School Essentials)
A patchwork collection of old clothes, straw and a pumpkin for a head.
AC 2 [17], HD 10 (50hp), Att 2 claw (1d6-1 x2), 1 bite (1d6) + Wisdom & Charisma drain, THAC0 17 [+2], MV 90’ (30’), SV D11 W12 P11 B14 S12 (10), ML 10, AL Chaotic, XP 2,600, NA 1 (1-3), TT None
 Wisdom & Charisma drain: Natural 20 hit drains one-point of each.
 Vulnerability: Vulnerable to silver, magic weapons and holy items.  Holy water does 1d8 hp of damage to them. Cannot enter hallowed ground.
 Undead: Immune to mind-influencing effects, poison, disease, and similar effects. Not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, energy drain, or death from massive damage.

Zugarramurdi Brujas
(Night Shift)
No. Appearing: 1-3
AC: 2
Move: 40ft.
Hit Dice: 10
Special: 3 attacks (2 claw, bite), wisdom drain, witch spells.
Weakness: Vulnerable to silver, magic weapons and holy items.  Holy water does 1d6+1 hp of damage to them. Cannot enter hallowed ground.

Zugarramurdi Brujas exist to the modern-day, their last known encounter was in 2013.



This is my 1st Entry for the RPG Blog Carnival for this month.   Hosted by of Dice and Dragons.
This month features From beyond the grave.  Perfect my blog and October!


Monday, October 7, 2019

Monstrous Mondays: Scarecrows for Basic era Games

There is one Halloween monster that I always look back on in fondness.  The Scarecrow.
Maybe it was because I grew up in the Mid-west.  Or maybe because it was because of the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. But I think it was more due to this cardboard Scarecrow Halloween decoration we had hanging in my bedroom.  The thing scared me at first, but soon it came to mean Halloween for me.  This would have been in the years 1974 to 1976.

Since then scarecrows have been as much as a part of Halloween as witches, black cats, and vampires.

So it is natural in my mind that witches are the ones to animate scarecrows to do their bidding.

Razzle dazzle drazzle drone. 
Time for this one to come home.
Razzle dazzle drazzle die. 
Time for this one to come alive!
- Parchment found near a risen scarecrow

Scarecrows are basic guardians similar to druthers, but not nearly as powerful. Like mundane scarecrows, their bodies are made of straw and cloth. They stumble clumsily about their assigned area and attack most anything that wanders through it. Some scarecrows are bound to a post and use their paralyzing (fear) gaze to imprison any trespassers.

Scarecrows are assigned to protect a particular area. They never leave the area, even when chasing an intruder. They will attack anything humanoid or animal-like in appearance that walks into its territory unless otherwise instructed by their creator.

Paralyzing Gaze: Anyone that meets the gaze of a scarecrow must make a saving throw vs. Paralysis or be paralyzed for 1d4+1 rounds.

Construct: Immune to mind-influencing effects, poison, disease, and similar effects. Not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, energy drain, or death from massive damage.

Fire Vulnerability: Because of their straw bodies, Scarecrow Guardians are extremely vulnerable to attacks from fire. They take double damage from all fire attacks.

In addition, a scarecrow guardian will catch fire easily after any attack that would normally ignite mundane items. A scarecrow on fire receives 2d6 damage each round (do not double this damage).

Scarecrow
(Labyrinth Lord, Pumpkin Spice Editon)
No. Enc.: 1 (1)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 60’ (20’)
Armor Class: 9
Hit Dice: 3d8 (13 hp)
Attacks: 1 (slam) + Paralyzing Gaze
Damage: 1d6
Save: F3
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: None
XP: 65

Scarecrow
(Blueholme Journeymanne Rules)
AC: 9
HD: 3d8
Move: 60
Attacks: 1 slam (1d6) + Paralyzing Gaze
Alignment: N
Treasure: None
XP: 50

Scarecrow
(Old-School Essentials)
A patchwork collection of old clothes, straw and a pumpkin for a head.
AC 9 [10], HD 3 (13hp), Att 1 slam  (1d6)  + Paralyzing Gaze, THAC0 17 [+3], MV 60’ (20’), SV SV D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (3), ML 12, AL Neutral, XP 50, NA 1 (1), TT None
 Paralyzing Gaze: Save
 Fire Vulnerability: Because of their straw bodies, Scarecrow Guardians are extremely vulnerable to attacks from fire. They take double damage from all fire attacks.
 Construct: Immune to mind-influencing effects, poison, disease, and similar effects. Not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, energy drain, or death from massive damage.

Animate Scarecrow (Ritual)
Level: Witch Ritual 3
Ritual Requirements: The witch and an hour-long ritual. Additional witches may be included.
Range: One scarecrow
Duration: One year plus one day per combined witch levels.
The witch must prepare the scarecrow's body out of hay, straw and old clothes. This should take at least an hour or two to gather materials and make the body. Longer times are needed for more complex scarecrows, but never more than three hours. Successful casting means the scarecrow is animated and will respond to the witch's commands.
Material Components: The creation of a scarecrow's body and an hour-long ritual. The witch includes three strands of her own hair to link the scarecrow to her. If more than one witch contributes to the construction of the scarecrow then each has to contribute a strand of hair.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Monstrous Mondays: Piasa Bird for Basic era games

Well.  It is 85 degrees and humid here in Chicago today.  But I don't care. The calendar says October-eve and it's fall.  Time to get to some of my favorite monsters.

Top of that list is Illinois' favorite, The Piasa Bird. My dad introduced this monster to me.


The Piasa Bird
AKA: The Piasa, "The Bird That Devours Men", "The Destroyer"

According to the diary of Louis Joliet, the Piasa Bird "was as large as a calf with horns like a deer, red eyes, a beard like a tiger's, a face like a man, the body covered with green, red and black scales and a tail so long it passed around the body, over the head and between the legs."

Piasa Birds in the game are larger and resemble a manticore or a dragon.
They do not keep treasure. They are only interested in killing for meat and sport.

Story of the Piasa Bird 
The following story appeared in the Alton Telegraph (1836) by John Russel. It is claimed that this is story told to Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet by the native tribes of the valley.

When Marquette and Joliet came down the Mississippi river in 1673 they encountered a bluff on the east side of the river with the painting of a giant monster. When they asked the natives what this monster was, they retold for them the story that had been handed down to them for generations. Marquette named the monster "Piasa," pronounced Pie-a-saw, which means "the Destroyer."

The Legend of the Piasa bird that was related to Marquette and Joliet went something like this. Many years ago a great bird roamed the land. Every morning the people would wake in fear to the shrill screams of the great Bird. The bird awoke hungry and would carry off dozens of boys and girls to its cave to be eaten. Chief Ouatoga [OO-wa-toe-ga] was getting old. He wanted to destroy this terrible monster before he died. He called his braves to a meeting and told them he was going to ask the Great Spirit what to do.

He went up on the highest bluff. He spoke with the Great Spirit. The Great Spirit told the Chief, "Dip your arrows deep into the poison of a copperhead snake and shoot them into the body of the Bird. It  will cause its death." He returned to the camp and told his people what the Great Spirit had told him. He gathered up a small army of the strongest braves and set out to hunt the Bird. Chief Ouatoga told his braves that the plan was for someone to stand on the cliff to lure the Bird down. When the great monster swoops down they were to shoot it with their poison arrows.

The braves all begged their chief to be the one to sacrifice themselves. But the chief told them no, he would be the one since he was older. While the braves practiced with their bows, Chief Ouatoga spoke with the Great Spirit. "Think not of my life," he said, "but the lives of the children."

The next morning the chief stood tall waiting for the great bird to come. Its screams could be heard as flew down the river looking for victims. The bird saw the old chief and swooped down on him with a terrible scream.

Just as the monster was ready to attack the braves shot their arrows and all 100 met their mark. The monster fell into the Mississippi River and died. The braves carried the broken and bruised body of their chief back to the tribe. The medicine man healed him and he awoke the next day surrounded by his grateful people. In remembrance of the act, the returned to the site and painted a life-size picture of the monster. Every time a member of the tribe went down the river after that, he fired an arrow at the bluff.
In alternate versions of the story, the youngest brave stands on the cliff instead of the Chief. When he is healed the next day he becomes the new Chief.

Piasa Bird
(Labyrinth Lord, Pumpkin Spice Editon)
No. Enc.: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Movement: 90’ (30’)
    Fly:  240' (80')
Armor Class: -2 (scales and hide)
Hit Dice: 11d8+6 (55 hp)
Attacks: 4 (claw/claw/bite/tail swipe) + fear
Damage: 1d6+2/1d6+2/2d8/1d6
Save: F11
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: None (The Piasa eats all meat and discards everything else.)
XP: 2,800

The Piasa can cause fear as per the spell once per day.

Piasa Bird
(Blueholme Journeymanne Rules)
AC: -2
HD: 11d8
Move: 90
   Fly: 240
Attacks: 4 (claw/claw/bite/tail swipe) + fear  (1d6+2 x2 2d6+2/1d6)
Alignment: CE
Treasure: None
XP: 2,214

Piasa Bird
(Old-School Essentials)
A large creature with the body of a fish, the wings and claws of a dragon, the antlers of a stag and the face of an evil man.
AC -2 [22], HD 11* (55hp), Att 4 claw  (1d6+2) /claw  (1d6+2) /bite (2d8) /tail swipe (1d6), THAC0 10 [+10], MV 90’ (30’) flying 240' (90'), D6 W7 P8 B8 S10 (11), ML 9, AL Chaotic Evil, XP 2,214, NA 1 (1), TT None
 Attacks with claws, bite and tail sipe
 The Piasa can cause fear as per the spell once per day.

STR: 22 INT: 8 WIS: 8 DEX: 14 CON: 15  CHA: 4

Monday, September 23, 2019

Monstrous Mondays: Corn Goblins for Basic era games

It's that time of year again.  The nights are getting longer and the days are shorter.  The corn and pumpkins are getting ready to harvest in the midwest.

I was walking through my in-law's cornfields back when I was working on Ghosts of Albion and I was thinking there are not really enough local Fae in Illinois.  Ok, there are none really.   But I thought this one would be fun.

Corn Goblins

Corn Goblins are not really goblins at all. They are in fact faeries, but they are so ugly that they are mistaken for goblins.  They have some similar features to the Bendith Ý Mamau of the Welsh but have not (so far) displayed any type of magic. Nor are they unpleasant like their Welsh cousins.

Corn Goblins appear as small ugly faeries with dark yellowish-brown skin, yellow hair and bright blue eyes. They are fond of wearing pale green clothes. 

Corn Goblins though are named for their preferred habitat, the endless fields of corn and other grains. They rarely, if ever interact with humans but have been known to befriend crows and even use them as transports.

Very little is known about them but to date, they have shown to be benign. The earliest recorded mention of a corn goblin-like creature is from the records of a witch trial. One girl described consulting with a “foule imp” that matched the corn goblin description given by occultists.


Corn Goblins
(Labyrinth Lord, Pumpkin Spice Editon)
No. Enc.: 1d6 (3d6)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 90’ (30’)
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 1
Attacks: 1 (dagger)
Damage: 1d4
Save: E1
Morale: 6
Hoard Class: None
XP: 13

Corn Goblins
(Blueholme Journeymanne Rules)
AC: 4
HD: 1d8
Move: 30
Attacks: 1 dagger (1d6)
Alignment: N
Treasure: None
XP: 13

Corn Goblins
(Old-School Essentials)
A small ugly faerie with dark yellowish-brown skin, yellow hair and bright blue eyes. Often encountered with a large crow.
AC 4 [15], HD 1* (4hp), Att 1 × dagger (1d4), THAC0 19 [0], MV 90’ (30’) flying, SV D12 W13 P13 B15 S15 (E1), ML 6, AL Neutral, XP 13, NA 1d6 (3d6), TT None
 Attacks with small daggers.
 Often works with large crows as mounts.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Pumpkin Golem

Often times the witch needs someone or something other than their coven for aid.  In addition to summoning a familiar or an Unseen Servant, the witch will often create a servant or helper from the material she has at hand.  The druther and scarecrow are two such examples. The Pumpkin Golem, or Gourd Golem, is another.


The Pumpkin Golem is usually a bit more powerful than a scarecrow but not as powerful as the golems created by priests or mages.  Typically, like a scarecrow, these creatures are used to guard the witch's home or garden.  If a scarecrow is left in a field to guard there, the pumpkin golem will be closer to the witch's home.  Likewise, the druther will be guarding inside the home.

Pumpkin golems are immune to any spell that affects the weather. Any spell that has water as an attack (ie. "Flood of Tears") will heal the golem of all damage.  Pumpkin golems only take half damage from fire or fire-based attacks.  They take double damage from cold-based attacks.

The ritual to create a pumpkin golem follows.

Golem, Pumpkin
(Blueholme Journeymanne Rules)
AC: 6
HD: 5d8
Move: 30
Attacks: 2 vine whips (1d6x2),  1 fireball (once per day) 3d6
Alignment: N
Treasure: None
XP: 300

Golem, Pumpkin
(Old-School Essentials)
A collection of pumpkins and vines in a vaguely humanoid shape. The pumpkin used for it's head is carved like a Jack-o-lantern and glows with an inner fire.
AC 6 [17], HD 5 (24hp), Att 2 and 1, vine whip and fireball, THAC0 16 [+4], MV 60’ (20’), SV D11 W11 P12 B13 S15, ML 12, AL Neutral, XP 300, NA 1 (1), TT none
 Attacks twice per round with vine whips, 1d6 per attack.
Can cast a fireball once per day for 3d6 hp of damage; save for half
Construct: Not affected by sleep, charm or hold spells.  Silvered or magical weapons required to hit.

Create Pumpkin Golem
Level: Witch 5
Range: One pumpkin patch with at least five ripe pumpkins
Duration: 1 week per witch level or until the Winter Solstice
With this spell, the witch can animate a pumpkin golem.  The raw components of the spell must include a pumpkin patch of no less than five ripe pumpkins, a specially blessed candle, and one pumpkin carved into a face.  The witch casts this spell and over the pumpkin patch. She then selects one of the pumpkins and carves it into a Jack-o-lantern.  The witch burns herbs gathered from her own garden (50gp value) and then she lights the candle. 
Once lit the golem is animated and will obey the witch's commands.
Material Components: The pumpkin patch, jack-o-lantern, blessed candle, herbs.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Schreckengeist

I was doing some research yesterday morning for a couple of different projects I can't wait to share with you all and I came across a couple of really fun things.  First, and I'll talk about her later, might be the first witch NPC I EVER created. The second is today's monster.

I was going through my copy of B1 In Search of the Unknown and found a monster I had forgotten.  The  Schreckengeist, or "fear ghost" is a low-level ghost I used to fill a couple of needs.  I wanted a ghost-like creature to send against low-level aka Basic parties and I wanted an undead creature that "turned" the living.

Here is the Schreckengeist for my two current favorite Basic clones.


Schreckengeist
(Blueholme Journeymanne Rules)
AC: 3
HD: 3d8
Move: 30
Attacks: 1 special, scream of fear.
Alignment: CE
Treasure: None
XP: 175

Schreckengeist
(Old-School Essentials)
The ghost of a former adventurer. Its face is distorted in fear and rage.
AC 3 [17], HD 3 (13hp), Att 1, scream of fear, THAC0 20 [0], MV 60’ (20’), SV D13 W13 P14 B15 S17, ML 10, AL Chaotic, XP 175, NA 1 (1d4), TT none
 Scream causes fear as per the spell.
Infravision: 60’.
Undead: Not effected by sleep, charm or hold spells.  Silvered weapons to hit. Turned as a Ghoul.

The Schreckengeist is the ghost of an adventurer who died mid-adventure and was never raised or their body returned home.   The rumor is that a schreckengeist can only happen to adventurers who die on their first adventure, but they can happen to any adventurer who dies before they reach 4th level.  Not all adventurers who die though become schreckengeists.  The circumstances have to be just right.  The victim needs to have died in fear and/or great pain and their body never recovered. 

Now they are cursed to roam the dungeons they sought to explore.

The schreckengeist is incorporeal and can not be struck by normal weapons, only silvered ones.  Likewise, it can not attack with physical attacks, although in it's rage it will try too.  It's only attack is a scream of fear.  Characters of 3rd level or below must Save vs. Petrification or flee in terror as per the Fear spell.  Normal Humans and creatures below 1 level/HD get no save, characters above 4th level/HD are immune.

Schreckengeist are turned as ghouls.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Organizing my Monsters

It's Labor Day Weekend on a Monday.


So no Monstrous Monday post today, but in monster related news, I am trying to organize my 3-ring binders for Castles & Crusades and for AD&D 2nd Ed.  I am going to end up with extras and duplicates.  Not sure what to do with those yet.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Spider, Unlight

"It was a creature from the Outer Darkness.  Clothed in the shape of a gargantuan spider, but far more fell.  It's exact shape was difficult to make out, save from where darkness gave way to a deeper unlight.  All we could see were it's monstrous eyes. Each one glowed and betrayed great and evil greed or thirst for light and life."
- From the Journals of Larina Nix


The foul and fell creatures known as the Unlight Spiders are not true spiders, but take that form from the deepest fears of mortal kind.  They are in truth shapeless spirits of the voids beyond the blackness of the darkest realms.  Such is their hunger they feed not just on life, but on the light itself.
They crave light as much as they loathe it.

Here they are for Old School Essentials.

Spider, Unlight
10' long spiders of complete pitch-black color.  Hide in dark webs in the deepest, darkest pits they can find. 
AC 4, HD 7** (32hp), Att 1 × bite (3d6 + poison), THAC0 17, MV 90’ (30’) / 180’ (60’) in webs, SV D8 W9 P10 B11 S12 (F8), ML 10, AL Chaos, XP 1210, NA 1 (1d3), TT Ux2
• Growth: Every time the Unlight Spider drains life levels equal to twice their own HD they grow one size category larger. 


HDhpXP
7321,210
14636,600
2812626,600
• Energy drain: A successfully hit target permanently loses one experience levels (or Hit Dice). This incurs a loss of one Hit Dice of hit points, as well as all other benefits due to the drained levels (e.g. spells, saving throws, etc.). A character’s XP is reduced to the lowest amount for the new level. A person drained of all levels dies and cannot be raised.
• Infravision: 180’
• Loathe the Light: -1 to-hit in lighted conditions (Light spell) and -2 full daylight (Continual Light spell) conditions.
• Mundane damage immunity: Can only be harmed by magical attacks.
• Poison: Causes death in 1 turn (save vs poison).
• Webs: Creatures caught in webs become entangled and unable to move. Breaking free depends on Strength.
<10: Impossible to break free
10-13: 6 rounds
14-17: 5 rounds
18-19: 4 rounds
19-22: 3 rounds
23+ : 2 rounds
The webs can be destroyed by fire in three rounds. All creatures in a flaming web suffer 1d6 points of damage.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Goblin Men

“We must not look at goblin men, 
We must not buy their fruits: 
Who knows upon what soil they fed 
Their hungry thirsty roots?”
- Christina Rossetti, 1862

There are two artistic movements that have fueled my imagination for my games more than anything else I can think of; Tolkien and the Pre-Raphaelite movement.
They converge at Goblin Men.

In Rossetti's poem, the Goblin Men are found in the Goblin Market. Honestly, if this poem doesn't fill you with ideas for your games I don't know what will.  In Tolkien's Lord of the Rings Goblin Men are essentially half-orcs. Both types are depicted as evil, or at the very least, desiring mischief to humankind.

The fact we don't have Goblin Men in D&D is a crime.

Since my theme this year is "Back to Basic", here are Goblin Men for my two current favorite Basic-era Games, Blueholme and Old-School Essentials.

In my worlds, goblins are closer to fey-creatures than they are to orcs.  Mostly evil, or at least mischievous creatures.  I might adopt some of what Pathfinder 2 is doing with them as well to make them more of playable race.    Goblin Men are born to human women that wander too close to lands where goblins dwell.  Not through sexual congress, but an intermixing of essences of the magics that surround goblins.  Often the goblin child is taken in the night by goblins and a stillborn changeling is left behind; opposite of what other faeries will do, taking a human child to leave behind a living changeling.

Goblin Men
(Blueholme Journeymanne Rules)
AC: 7 (leather armor)
HD: 1d8
Move: 25
Attacks: 1 weapon Damage: 1d6+2
Alignment: 3N : 1CE
Treasure: 12 (1)
XP: 10

Goblin Men
(Old-School Essentials)
Ugly humanoids with elongated lower tusks and glowing, orange, but intelligent eyes. Dwell in dark forsaken places.
AC 7 [12], HD 1 (5hp), Att 1 × weapon (1d6+2 or by weapon), THAC0 19 [0], MV 60’ (20’), SV D14 W14 P15 B16 S17 (NH), ML 8, AL Chaotic, XP 10, NA 1d4 (2d10), TT R (C)
Infravision: 60’.
Hoard: Only have treasure type C when encountered in the wilderness or in their lair.


Goblin-men appear as larger, fiercer versions of a goblin with an uncanny glint of human intelligence in their eyes,   Some Goblin-men are so akin to humans as to pass for an ugly human (15%).  Most are neutral in temperament with only a few being truly evil.  All though are mischievous creatures not above taking advantage of others when the opportunity presents itself.

Unlike goblins, goblin-men can withstand daylight and take no penalty for fighting in conditions of bright light.

Goblin-Men make a good substitute for the half-orc and provide an air of mystery to the creature.  Who was its mother? Did she stray too close to the Goblin Markets? Eat their fruits?



Monday, August 12, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Brass Golems

I am gearing up for a new release.  I am about two weeks behind schedule but hope to make it up here soon.  In the meantime here is one of the monsters that will appear in my new book,  Children of the Gods: The Classical Witch Tradition.

Here is a creature I think many of us know for the Blueholme Journeymanne Rules.

GOLEM, BRASS

Small Medium Large
AC: 7 5
HD: 2d8 6d8 10d8
Move: 40 30 20
Attacks: 1 bite 1 fist 1 bash
Damage: 2d4 2d6 2d8
XP: 80 460 1,800
Alignment:
Neutral
Treasure:
0 (0)


Golems are magically created automatons of great power. Constructing one involves the employment of mighty magic. As such, they are created by exceptionally powerful witches and magic-users. All golems are unaffected by ordinary weapons. In addition, golems have no true intelligence and are thus unaffected by hold, charm, or sleep spells. Since they are not truly alive, they are unaffected by poison or gases.


Brass Golem: Taught to her witches by Athena herself these intricately detailed golems are made of brass. They can come in a variety of sizes and shapes since brass is an easier metal to work with. 


Small Brass Golems tend to be animals or fantastic creatures.  They act like the animal they are fashioned after.  They are often given as gifts by Athena or other gods.


Medium Brass Golems are fashioned to appear as examples of human physical perfection.  Often modeled after Apollo, Aphrodite, or even Zeus their perfection gives them a sort of spontaneous life. 


Large Brass Golems can appear as large humans, animals or even monsters.


The secrets of making these golems have been lost but it is believed that artisans and artificers such as Pygmalion and Daedalus have recovered and recorded these secrets.  Others were created by the gods themselves.






Monday, July 29, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Demonic Trolls

Gearing up for the big finale of the Order of the Platinum Dragon game this week.  Five-six years, spread out, has now come down to the big confrontation between the forces of Good and the forces of Chaos.  This weekend the Order will face off against Lolth.

I have been planning this one for years.  Knowing full well the history of how Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits was written and produced and knowing while it can be epic in scope, it often falls a little flat.  Well, I have worked that out a bit and even have adapted several other adventures such as Skein of the Death Mother and the original version of Queen of Lies.

But there are still somethings in the Q1 module that needs to be changed.  One, oft mentioned bit, is that the characters get to the Abyss and they are assaulted by trolls and gnolls.  Wait. Trolls? Gnolls?  These creatures seem a little too mundane for the ultra weirdness that is the Abyss.
Now one hand gnolls have evolved since the late 70s, early 80s to become more and more demonically influenced.   So these I can keep, just maybe turn up the evil a bit.  But Trolls?  Like Tom, Bert, and William from the Hobbit?  No that can't be right.

But if I go with Demonic Trolls, now there is something else.



We know two things.  1. Trolls regenerate after they are damaged.  2. The Abyss corrupts the life found in it to adapt to the environment in twisted ways.  That last one is from the 4th Ed version of the Demonomicon.    So what happens when you put these together?  Demon Trolls.  And if they are in the Demonweb?  Demonic Spider Trolls.

Here are Demonic Trolls for the Blueholme Journeymanne Rules, my current "Basic" of choice these days.

TROLL, DEMONIC
AC: 2
HD: 12d8
Move: 45
Attacks: 2 claws, 1 bite or weapon
Damage: 1d6 (claw) x2/ 2d6 (bite) or weapon
Special: Bite save vs. Poison 2d6 (half with save)
XP: 2,300
Alignment: CE
Treasure: None
Abilities: +3 Strength, +2 Dexterity,  -4 Charisma
Climb Surfaces +25%, Hear Noise +15%, Read Languages -10%, Read Scrolls -10%, Use Wand -15%

Regenerates 1d6+6 hp at the start of it's turn.

And for D&D 5e.

Demonic Troll
Large Fiend, chaotic evil

Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points 108 (12d10 + 48)
Speed 45 ft., climb 45 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
22 (+6)     18 (+4)     18 (+4)     8 (-1)     10 (0)     4 (-3)    

Skills Perception +6, Stealth +9
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 15
Languages Abyssal, Undercommon
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)


TRAITS

Keen Smell: The demonic troll has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on smell.

Regeneration: The demoic troll regains 15 Hit Points at the start of its turn. If the demonic troll takes acid or fire damage, this trait doesn't function at the start of the demonic troll's next turn. The demonic troll dies only if it starts its turn with 0 Hit Points and doesn't Regenerate.

Spider Climb. The demonic troll can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.

ACTIONS

Multiattack. The demonic troll makes two attacks, either with it's claws or bite.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 9 (1d6+6) slashing damage.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d6 + 6) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) poison damage.

Trolls may also use a melee or improvised weapon.

Description

Demonic trolls are the result of trolls becoming captured or lost in the Abyss. Their natural regenerative powers combined with the Abyss' computing influences create true monsters.  Their intellect is lowered as they become deranged with blood lust, but their strength and speed become truly monstrous.

They will often adopt demonic features such as horns, wings, a forked tail, or any number of thousands of possible mutations.  Often they pick up traits of whatever abyssal plane they are on.  Trolls in the Demonweb, for example, will have spider-like features.  Trolls in the layers of Juiblex will have ooze like features and seem to melt and reform as the attack.

Regeneration
The regeneration powers of the demonic troll are horrifying.  If the troll looses a limb it can hold the limb to the wound to reattach it.  Or it can pick up any severed limb and that will re-attach as well.  Left over severed limbs will regrow into new trolls, altered by the environment.


Monday, July 15, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Scorpion Men

I first ran into Scorpion Men, not in the pages of an AD&D Monster Manual (which still would not appear till 2nd Edition Monstrous Compendiums, though I do seem to recall them in a module for 1st ed, can't remember right now), but in the pages of the infamous "Simon" Necronomicon from the 80s.  You remember this one.  It was sold in books stores right next to the D&D books near the occult books.   Hell. We treated it AS a D&D book!

We used them a bit back then, often as reskinned Driders, using the Necronomicon name, "Akrabu".

Later they popped up again in 2nd Ed under the name Tlincalli and Manscorpion.   Though I never really used them then since I was deep into Ravenloft and these creatures didn't fit what I was doing at the time.

Much, much later I revisited these guys and used them in my Buffy/Willow&Tara/Unisystem game The Dragon and the Phoenix.   Here I went past the rather thin details in the Simon Necronomicon and included more detail from Babylonian/Sumerian/Akkadian myths.  Here they were called Aqrabuamelu or Girtablilu, names later picked up by later D&D authors and homebrewers.

Whatever the name these creatures all shared a number of traits.  They were huge scorpions with the centaur-like upper bodies of men, covered in red chitin like that of giant scorpions.  Some had human hands, others had the pincers of scorpions.  The first ones were created by Tiamat to avenge the death of her consort Apsu.  They are one of the creatures that were responsible for her name "Mother of Monsters".   Later it is said they guard the gates of Darkness so the Sun God may enter at the end of the day. Their site is terrible to behold and they cause death with a glance.

Additionally, there were the "Tzitzimime" of the Aztecs which were believed to be the spirits of fallen gods (demons?) that took the form of scorpion men.  Hedetet of the Egyptians was a scorpion headed goddess who would later be absorbed by Isis.

Here are the Scorpion Men for the Blueholme Journeymanne Rules, my current "Basic" of choice these days.

SCORPION MEN
AC: 3
HD: 10d8
Move: 45
Attacks: 2 claws, 1 sting, or 1 weapon
Damage: 1d6 (claw) x2/ 1d4 (sting) or 1d8 (weapon)
Special: Sting save vs. Poison 4d8 (half with save)
XP: 1,700  (2,200 xp for Scorpion Women)
Alignment: CE
Treasure: None
Abilities: +2 Strength, -3 Charisma
Climb Surfaces +15%, Hear Noise +5%, Read Languages +5%, Read Scrolls +5%, Use Wand +5%



And for D&D 5e.

Scorpion Man
Large monstrosity, chaotic evil

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 90 (10d10 + 40)
Speed 45 ft., climb 45 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
18 (+4)     16 (+3)     18 (+4)     13 (+1)     14 (+2)     8 (-1)    

Skills Perception +5, Stealth +9
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 15
Languages Draconic, Undercommon
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)


Spider Climb. The scorpion man can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.

Web Walker. The scorpion man ignores movement restrictions caused by webbing.

ACTIONS

Multiattack. The scorpion man makes three attacks, either with its longsword or its longbow. It can replace one of those attacks with a sting attack.

Sting. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 2 (1d4) piercing damage plus 18 (4d8) poison damage.

Longsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) slashing damage, or 8 (1d8 + 3) slashing damage if used with two hands.

Longbow. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 150/600 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 + 3) piercing damage plus 4 (1d8) poison damage.

Description

Scorpion Men (and Women) are horrid creations from the dawn of time.  Believed to have first been created by the Goddess Tiamat, they have since moved on into the service of other gods.  Set is known to employ many of these creatures and ones that are less evil serve Hedetet.
Standing over 7 feet tall and 9 feet long these creatures are large and strong.
They can attack with their claws or weapon as some (50%) have scorpion claws for hand and others (50%) have humanoid hands that can hold weapons.  All possess a stinging tail like that of a scorpion that can sting one attack per round.  The attack does 1d4 points of damage plus poison. The poison of the attack can do 4d8 points of damage or half with a save vs. poison/Constitution.   Those immune to poison attacks take no poison damage.
Scorpion Men are often used as elite guards. They typically armed with a long spear, a khopesh sword or a longbow.

Scorpion Women: These creatures appear as their male counter-parts save for a scorpion's head on top of a female torso. Their lower parts are still that of a scorpion.
Due to their connection to both Tiamat and Hedetet, they make excellent magic-users and witches.
They may cast spells as a 7th level witch or magic-user.   Scorpion women are much rarer than males, being outnumbered 1 to 10.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Calibans

Sorry for falling off the face of the web last week!  Took a little break from everything and it was nice.  But it's Monday and that means back to work and back to Monstrous Mondays!

Today I have a little beastie that has been in the back of my head ever since I reread The Tempest a few years back.  I am doing this one for the Blueholme Journeymanne Rules since allows any monster species to also be played as a character species choice.

CALIBAN
AC: 7
HD: 2d8
Move: 30
Attacks: 2 claws, 1 bite or 1 weapon
Damage: 1d4 (claw) x2/ 1d6 (bite) or 1d6 (weapon)
XP: 25
Alignment: CE
Treasure: None
Abilities: +1 Wisdom, -2 Charisma
Climb Surfaces +5%, Hear Noise +10%, Hide in Shadows +10%, Move Silently +5%, Read Languages -10%, Read Scrolls -15%, Use Wand -10%

Calibans are creatures twisted by dark witchcraft.  No two calibans appear the same, though a full 20% can pass as an ugly human or orc.  They are humanoid, indeed many are born to human mothers or were human before their curse. They are usually covered in dark hair, scales or something that makes them monstrous. They have a resistance to magic, gaining a +1 on all saves vs any type of magical effect (spells, wands, staves) but they themselves have difficulty with magic.
A caliban share much in common with the Cambion, a creature that is the offspring of a human female and a demon. The caliban, while often demonic looking, is not the offspring of demons, but the victims/result of dark magic.
A caliban can take any class, but suffer a -5% XP penalty if they choose to be a witch and a -10% if they choose to become a magic-user/wizard.  Calibans can become clerics with no penalty since they tend to be devout servants of the gods.  Because of their low aptitude for magic wizards have taken to hiring on a caliban as cheap labor. They get a loyal (through fear) servant and one not likely to steal magic from them.

Behind the Monster
Calibans are obviously taken from Shakespeare's The Tempest.  Caliban is the monstrous son of the witch Sycorax. He is various described, but almost always as being half-human, half-monster.

An additional source for Calibans is the movie Clash of the Titans which features the character of Calibos.  He was a human that was cursed to be a monster.  Interesting to me is that his mother, Thetis, was played by Dame Maggie Smith (one of my all-time favorite actresses) who also played the most badass witch Minerva McGonagall. 

The 3rd Edition of Ravenloft from Sword and Sorcery Studios/Arthaus, now Onyx Path, featured a race called Calibans.  These calibans were no more than reskinned Half-Orcs in truth. 

Monday, July 1, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Mystical Companions (5e)

Over the weekend I was thinking about my Magic School game and what I want to add to it.  One thing became instantly obvious to me was I needed to have familiars. Nearly every 5e game I have run the players have wanted pets, animal companions and familiars.   Thankfully for me, I already own the perfect book.


The Troll Lord's Mystical Companions is the update to their fantastic Book of Familiars.   It comes in two flavors, A Castles & Crusades version, and a D&D 5th Edition version.   I have both in digital and PDF formats, but today I am going to focus solely on the 5th Edition version.  Yes, they are in fact different enough that two separate reviews are really needed.

I was always going to use this book in my Magic School games, whether that game used an Old-School ruleset (like Castles & Crusades or BECMI D&D) or (now) D&D 5th Edition.  I think that highly of it.

Mystical Companions for 5th Edition Role Playing
208 pages. Full-color covers and interior art. PDF and Hardcover.
For this review, I am reading primarily from the digital PDF version, but it applies to the hardcover as well.  I purchased both the 5e and C&C versions at Gary Con and received my PDFs via Kickstarter.
Spend any time reading my blog or reviews and one thing is obvious. I love my spellcasters and familiars.  I have often felt the rules for familiars are quite under-developed in many games and familiars, or animal companions of any sort, are often an under-utilized or a forgotten aspect of the game and lives of the characters.
So far every 5th Edition game I have run the players have wanted an animal companion of some sort.  While the rules in the game are fine enough, there is plenty of room for improvement.  Thankfully, the Troll Lords believe the same thing.
I have mentioned that this book is an update and replacement to their Book of Familiars, it is, and it is more than that.

A quick look over the table of contents reveals that we are getting an animal companion for every class.  I feel that this appropriate and looking forward to reading the details.
Now before I go on I do want to point out that unlike some third-party books this one is NOT "plug and play".  You must make plans to add these animal companions from the start.  In one game I tried to tack on these rules in an on-going game and ran into some issues.  In another game, I used this from the start and everything went much more smoothly.  I guess think about it as getting a real-life pet.  You are going to do a little work and thought beforehand.  Once I did this THEN adding these to an ongoing game was much easier.  This is NOT like adding a new spell or magic item to your game, this is a new, but highly compatible sub-system.

Chapter 1: Introduction
Here the purpose of the book is laid out and how the authors made certain decisions on how to incorporate this new material into the game.  There is a section here that bares repeating since I have heard this complaint online.
A WORD OF EXPLANATION: This book requires that you have access to the three core rulebooks for the 5th edition rules, or at very least to the Basic Rules document that is freely available online. Throughout this book, we have used the terms ‘CK,’ and “Castle Keeper” to indicate the game master or person running the game, and ‘player character’ or ‘PC’ to refer to the characters created for the game. In addition, when you see terms like, “Game Master’s Guide” or “5th Edition Monster Tome,” these refer to the Core Rulebooks for the 5th Edition fantasy rules set.
So if you see "CK" or "Castle Keeper" in this book, it's not shoddy editing, but a design choice.  Hey, they like CK better than GM.  And since they can't say DM then CK is just as good as anything else.
There are rules to what an OGL publisher can and can't say, so I can't fault them here.

Here the other sub-systems are described.
Advantages.  Advantages are Feats. They are gained the same way and used, mostly, in the same way.  The difference in wording here (at least for me) helps differentiate the "feats" from this book from all the other feats you can get in the Core rules or other publishers.  In play, this has been a boon since I know immediately that an Advantage on a sheet means something from this book and not another book on my shelf. 
Paths. Time has been kind to Troll Lords here.  When this book first came out in 2017 not a lot of 3P publishers were doing paths yet and there was some confusion about what these were.  Now everyone has a new path (read: sub-class, kit, path, option) for the 12 core classes.   These CAN slot right into a game like anything else from any 3PP.
Tricks. Things your animal companion can do.
Rituals. How you can get your animal companion.  I mean there has to be some magic right?
New Familiars and Animals.  Kinda what it says on the tin to be honest.

Animal Companion vs. Familiar.  While rules in the book cover book and treat them somewhat interchangeably an Animal Companion is more like a loyal pet or friend.  A Familiar is a creature summoned to work with the PC.  Animal Companions are free willed, familiars are not.

Chapter 1 also covers the basics of familiars. A point. A familiar/Animal companion "character" sheet would be GREAT here, but there isn't one.  Ah well, can have everything I guess.

The list of Advantages (again, these are just like Feats) are presented.  There are more here and some might complain about giving up a Feat or Ability advancement for a Familiar, but these are all quite balanced in my experience.  You give up one "power" (feat, advancement) for another.   Quite implicit in 5th Edition's design really.  Not only that it is actually quite elegant once you use it.

The best part about this?  You can take the Summon Familiar Advantage/Feat multiple times (Wizards get it for free at first level) so you can have multiple familiars.  I don't do multiple familiars often, but when I do, I really want to do it.  Though my son runs a game with this book and he describes the group of PCs and their companions as a "traveling zoo".   One girl even has a sheep as an animal companion.  Why? No idea. But this book supports it.

Another great piece of advice from Chapter 1 bears repeating (coping) here.
Give yourself a visual reminder of your familiar’s presence. Write “REMEMBER THE FAMILIAR” to a Post-It note and stick it to the table in front of you. Or make it a point to buy and use a miniature for your familiar.
Good advice. I am a fan of the Wardlings minis from WizKids.


or getting a custom mini with a familiar from Hero Forge.


Chapters 2 through 13 all work in a similar fashion.
Each core class is covered with attention given to special Animal Companions, Familiars or Mounts as appropriate.  Different animals are discussed and a new Path is given that focuses on having an animal companion.

For example, the Barbarian (the last class you might think needs a familiar) has the Nature Fetish Path and the Horseman Path (Dothraki anyone?) The Barbarian chapter is quite good really in that it really shows that animals really do need to be a bigger part of a barbarians' (and all characters) lives.   Reading this chapter has made me want to play a barbarian for the first time EVER since they became an option to me in 1985-1986 or so.  No content just to talk about familiars and paths, the barbarian chapter also covers special mounts.

The other chapters are as equally robust.  There are sections on the Paladin's mount and Ranger's companions but also familiars for rogues and clerics and others that you might not think need animal companions.  I particularly like the Rogue's path, the Shadow Pact.  How's that work?  Well, Rogues can take creatures of shadow as familiars!  Tell me that is not cool.

As expected the familiars of the Sorcerer, Warlock and Wizard are ALL very, very different from each other and really reflect what the classes do now.  Back in the 3e days Wizards and Sorcerer wre 100% interchangeable in terms of role.  The differences were largely fluff.  Since 4e this is less true and now in 5e they are very different sorts of classes.  In 4e Sorcerers and Warlocks filled similar roles.  Again in 5e they are very different. This book reflects the new 5e differences.
Naturally there can be overlap.  The chapter on Wizards talks about how the Wizard rituals can be used by sorcerers for example. 

Appendix A: Familiars and Companions. This covers the familiars and "normal" animals in 5e Stat blocks.
Appendix B: New Monsters. New monsters.
Appendix C: New Spells. New spells, as expected.
Likewise, Appendix D: New Magic Items and Artifacts.

Appendix E though is something different.  This covers Dragon Riders.  While many of the same rules are used here as for familiars this takes them to a new place and should be considered optional.
This is the Appendix/Chapter that my son grabbed this book from me for, BUT he opted not use their Dragon Riders but kept the book anyway for everything else.

A Dragon Rider is a Path that can be added to any class, but some have more use for it than others.  If the idea of PC Dragon Riders concerns you, then keep in mind it is being sold as "optional".  And also Dragon Riders of some form or another have been around since the dawn of the game.  If it is something you want, then there is plenty here for you to use.
If I ever ran a Magic School game with this then Dragon Riders would be included.

We end with a robust index and the OGL section.

A note about art. There is not as much in this book as other Troll Lord books, but what is here is from the fabulous Peter Bradley and Jason Walton, who also gives us the cover art.

Your results may vary, but this book has quickly gone from a neat oddity to one of our must-have books for my 5e games. My son uses it in the games he has run so much that I have not seen the book in months since it is now in with all of his books.

Do you need this book?  I say yes, but only if you are adding animals of any sort to your game, be they pets, familiars, mounts, companions or all the way up to Dragon Riders.
This is one of my 3PP books for 5e. One of the best really.

I should also point out that this book is a stretch goal for the Amazing Adventures 5E RPG Kickstarter.  Pledge at the $55 level and you can get a copy of this book.  Which is fantastic if you ask me.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Halflings are Half What?

I mentioned on Friday I am re-reading the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.  I am also likely to re-read the Silmarillion and even pick up some of Prof. Tolkien's other books.

In my reread I was struck by a line in the Hobbit that is later repeated in the Appendencies in Return of the King.
It is rumored that one of the Took ancestors had taken a fairy wife in the past and that blood left the clan not entirely hobbit-like.
Of course, Tolkien means "Elf" in place of "Fairy" here.  This is the source of the Fallohide (Tallfellows in AD&D) sub-race/sub-type of Hobbit/Halfling.  But what an interesting idea here!

Halfling-half pixies or half-leprechauns or ... anything!

How Little are the "Little People"?
Tolkien refers to Hobbits as "little people" in the Hobbit. This is to contrast it with big, lumbering "big people" aka humans.  But there is also a long history in British and Irish folklore of "little people" also called faeries or fairy.
The basic thought I had here is that the smaller the faerie the less like a hobbit/halfling they are inclined to be.  Since I am still somewhat of an old school focus here (though I play a lot of D&D 5) here are some "faerie" creatures (not counting elves) from some AD&D 1st Ed books.
(Monster Manual if not indicated, FF = Fiend Folio, MM2 = Monster Manual 2)

Creature Size
Atomie (MM2) 1’
Brownie 1½’ 
Boggart (MM2) 2’
Booka (FF) 1½’ 
Buckwan (MM2) 2’
Gnome 3’
Goblin 4’
Grig (MM2) 1’-1½‘
Halfling 3’+ 
Leprechaun 2’
Pech (MM2) 4’
Pixie 2½’ 
Quickling (MM2) 2’
Sprite 2’

The Brownie Family
In the AD&D Monster Manual, there is a line that states "Brownies are distant relatives of halflings, (perhaps half-halfling, half-pixie) but they are smaller and far less common."  I am willing to go with this.

Since Stoors/Stouts are believed to be Hobbits/Halflings with dwarf blood in them, then the Buckwan would be a Brownie/Dwarf hybrid.  It is also likely (to me anyway) that the Buckland and the Brandybucks of Buckland get their name from the Buckwans or the Bwca as their are know in Gaelic.  The Booka then is more a Brownie/Pixie or Brownie/Sprite cross.

Boggarts are listed as the immature form of a Wil-o-wisp, but newer versions of the game have reclassified the Wisp as an undead.  More akin to Ban Si than anything Hobbit or Brownie like.   Boggarts then are Brownies having a bad day, or maybe evil brownies.  Two of the more prominent literary uses of boggart in recent times are the fear causing Boggarts of Harry Potter and the invisible monsters of the Last Apprentice series.

Boggarts (Brownie)
No. Enc.: 3d6 (5d8)
Alignment: Chaotic (evil)
Movement: 90’ (30’)
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: ½ d8 (3 hp)**
Attacks: 1 (weapon)
Damage: 1d3 or weapon
Save: H2
Morale: 7
Treasure: None
XP: 15
Boggarts are relatives of the brownie.  They are often confused for one another, as they appear to be exactly the same. However, boggarts are chaotic and tend to undo all the things that brownies do. They are known to knock over milk pails, pinch sleeping babies and basically be a nuisance. Their antics are rarely harmful, but there are a few who are actually evil-natured and do intend harm.
They can only be removed from a house by a Remove Curse or similar greater magics.
They have a dagger they can attack with, but prefer to use their spell-like abilities.
A boggart can cast Audible Glammer, Cause Fear, Darkness, Faerie Fire, and  Ghostly Sounds at will.  They may also cast Phantasmal Image once per day.

The Leprechaun Family
I once read in Dragon magazine that one could play a leprechaun character in D&D Basic and just use the Halfling advancement.  I never did this, but I always wanted to do it.
Years later I would make my own Leprechaun race as class and race for Basic Era games and for James Spahn's The Hero's Journey.  Though my leprechauns tend to be more like Irish Hobbits than the magical creatures of "Darby O'Gill and the Little People".

The Cluracan (or Cluricaune) is a cousin of the Leprechaun that is inordinately fond of wine, spirits, beer, and ale. They look like leprechauns or small old men that are constantly intoxicated.
They are solitary creatures, although they tend to happily latch themselves onto unsuspecting folk. Once attached to a dwelling, they stay in the wine cellar (or equivalent), where they poach the supply. One benefit is that servants and the like who attempt to take a drink without the owner’s permission will likely be scared off by the little fellow, but it is doubtful that the cost is worth it. Families have been known to move their entire household in the hopes that the Cluracan plaguing them will not follow, but these mischievous little fellows will often stow away in the packed goods and follow the family.
Clurancan usually get along fine with Leprechauns and Fir Darrigs, their closest relatives. Like them, Clurancan are tricksters and their favorite victims are humans.

The Fir Darrig (also Fir Dhearga or Fear Dearg) are diminutive, Halfling/Leprechaun crossbreeds.
They are a bit taller than their leprechaun cousins (2 to  2½ ft on average) and much uglier. They typically wear ared cap and coat, and thus their name, Red Cap or the Red Man. The Fir Darrig are inordinately fond of cruel practical jokes, and they tend to be rude. They often travel alone, although there are occasional incidents where an unlucky victim has run across multiple Fir Darrigs having a little fun. Many Fir Darrigs have taken up the habit of traveling and seeking to warm themselves by others’ fires, and the Fir Darrig so refused is likely to play harmful pranks on anyone that refuses them. The correct response to such a request (and one which will leave the Fir Darrig kindly disposed towards the individual and unlikely to harm him) would be “Na dean fochmoid fainn” (“Do not mock us”). The Fir Darrigs are rumored to be shape-shifters, and they often use this ability to strike fear into those that they wish to annoy.
Fir Darrigs are on reasonably good terms with other fairy races. Their love of home, hearth, and good tobacco puts them at ease with Leprechauns, Cluracan and halflings, although halflings tend to think of them as rude and inconsiderate guests. Fir Darrigs are disliked by dwarves, but not hated. Fir Darrigs think dwarves take themselves too seriously. Fir Darrigs enjoy most of the same things that leprechauns do, gold, a good drink and smoking long pipes.

Goblins
Goblins will breed with anything.   For my money the best work on goblins for Old School games is still Beasties II from Night Owl Workshop.  Here Thomas Denmark covers all sorts of goblin-crossbreeds in this book.  Of interest to us here is the Hoblin, the sterile goblin/halfling crossbreed.

This reminded me of the old White Dwarf monster, the unfortunately named, Blacklings, which are underdark halflings.    A better name for them would really be the Trow.  This is where we get the name Drow, but these creatures are described as small and ugly.

Trow (Halfling)
No. Enc.: 3d6 (5d8)
Alignment: Chaotic (evil)
Movement: 90’ (30’)
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 1 - 1
Attacks: 1 (weapon)
Damage: 1d6 or weapon
Save: H1
Morale: 7
Treasure:
XP: 10
These evil depraved halflings are found in the same locales as the drow elves.  They are rare and prefer to avoid combat unless their numbers are in their favor and they can quickly overwhelm their foes.  They have 120’ infravision, and if abruptly exposed to light are blinded for 2 rounds, half with a save vs. paralyzation. In addition, when in bright light including sunlight they suffer -2 to hit and -2 to DEX. Trow have keen hearing and are surprised only on 1 on 1d8; they always move silently with 95% efficiency.   It is believed they can turn invisible at will but in truth they are so adept at hiding they have an effective 99% hide in shadows in their homelands.
Trow, like Halflings, can attack with short sword and slings.  They organize in small roaming gangs.  Trow typically do not have a single home and roam about the underground.  During moonless nights they will come to the surface to raid small villages.
While other subterranean races worship demons or other foul entities the trow deny the existence of all gods. They believe there are powerful entities, but they are unworthy of veneration or worship.


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It's a little late but this is my entry for the June RPG Blog Carnival hosted by Pitfalls and Pixies.
https://brynvalk.wordpress.com/2019/05/31/the-2019-rpg-blog-carnival-the-third-fey-march/


Monday, June 10, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Keres, Daughters of the Night

Thought I was done with Classical Mythology but I was rereading my notes and found this.  Shifting gears so I can post these horrors closer to their cousins.

Keres
No. Enc.: 1 (1d6)
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Movement: 60’ (20’)
Fly: 240’ (80’)
Armor Class: 4 [16]
Hit Dice: 8d8+16 (52 hp)
Attacks: 3
Damage: 2 claw (1d6+4) + 1 bite (1d6)
Special: Flight, +1 or better weapons to hit, immune to death magic
Save: F8
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: Nil
XP: 2,340

Keres are the daughters of Nox, the personification of Night and are the Sisters of Death.  They are spirits that inhabit battlefields to carry off the newly dead to Tartarus.  They can be attacked, but only with magic items.  Any magic that affects demons also affects Keres.
Keres will attack mortals if they attempt to stop their business of carrying off souls. They are very fond of human blood.

A description of the Keres can be found in the Shield of Heracles (248-57):
The black Dooms gnashing their white teeth, grim-eyed, fierce, bloody, terrifying fought over the men who were dying for they were all longing to drink dark blood. As soon as they caught a man who had fallen or one newly wounded, one of them clasped her great claws around him and his soul went down to Hades, to chilly Tartarus. And when they had satisfied their hearts with human blood, they would throw that one behind them and rush back again into the battle and the tumult.
There is a possible relationship between these demons, the demoness Vanth, and the Erinyes. All appear to be similar creatures; female demon-like monsters with dark feathered wings.  Some scholars even point to their relationship among the Greek/Roman Gods for their similarity.


Monday, June 3, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Gargantua Demons

We had tickets to see the new Godzilla: King of Monsters movie this weekend so we made a day of it. Went out and played Pokémon Go as a family and we all caught a Tyranitar in a raid.  We all renamed them after Kaiju, except for my youngest who in his typical fashion named his "Greg".

We saw the movie. It was great fun and everything you want a Godzilla movie to be; giant monsters beating each other up while leveling a city.  Then we went out to have sushi and another round of Pokémon.

Of course, this got me thinking about my Gargantua Demons of my game world.  I thought I should update them for today.

Orcus with a Gargantua

Gargantua

Gargantuan outsider (demon [Calabim]), chaotic evil

  • Armor Class 26 (Natural Armor)
  • Hit Points 656 (32d20+320)
  • Speed 60 ft.

STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
 30 (+10)   11 (0)   30 (+10)   8 (-1)   8 (-1)   25 (+7) 

  • Vulnerabilities Radiant
  • Damage Immunities fire, poison; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
  • Condition Immunities charmed, frightened, paralyzed, poisoned
  • Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 10
  • Languages Abyssal (understand simple commands)
  • Challenge 30 (155,000 XP)

Special Traits


  • Legendary Resistance (3/Day): If the gargantua fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.
  • Magic Resistance: The gargantua has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
  • Siege Monster: The gargantua deals double damage to objects and structures.
  • Actions


    • Multiattack: The gargantua can use its Frightful Presence. It then makes four attacks: one with its bite, two with its claws, and one with its tail. It can use its Swallow instead of its bite.
    • Bite: Melee Weapon Attack: +19 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 36 (4d12 + 10) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it is grappled (escape DC 20). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained, and the gargantua can’t bite another target.
    • Claw: Melee Weapon Attack: +19 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 28 (4d8 + 10) slashing damage.
    • Tail: Melee Weapon Attack: +19 to hit, reach 20 ft., one target. Hit: 24 (4d6 + 10) bludgeoning damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 20 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
    • Frightful Presence: Each creature of the gargantua’s choice within 120 feet of it and aware of it must succeed on a DC 18 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, with disadvantage if the gargantua is within line of sight, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the gargantua’s Frightful Presence for the next 24 hours.
    • Swallow: The gargantua makes one bite attack against a Large or smaller creature it is grappling. If the attack hits, the target takes the bite’s damage, the target is swallowed, and the grapple ends. While swallowed, the creature is blinded and restrained, it has total cover against attacks and other effects outside the gargantua, and it takes 60 (20d6) acid damage at the start of each of the gargantua’s turns. If the gargantua takes 80 damage or more on a single turn from a creature inside it, the gargantua must succeed on a DC 20 Constitution saving throw at the end of that turn or regurgitate all swallowed creatures, which fall prone in a space within 10 feet of the gargantua. If the gargantua dies, a swallowed creature is no longer restrained by it and can escape from the corpse by using 30 feet of movement, exiting prone.
    • Breath Weapon (Recharge 5–6):  The gargantua exhales fire in a 90-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 25 Dexterity saving throw, taking 82 (15d10) fire and necrotic damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
    • Legendary Actions


      • The gargantuan can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The gargantua regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.
      • Attack: The gargantua makes one claw attack or tail attack. 
      • Move: The gargantua moves up to half its speed.
      • Chomp (Costs 2 Actions): The gargantua makes one bite attack or uses its Swallow.

These horrors are destruction incarnate. These demons stand over 50 feet tall and are horrible to behold.  Each one is unique, but all have characteristics in common.  They are typically humanoid in shape but could be covered in scales, leathery skin, fur, chitin, or any combination of these. Their intellect is below that of animals and like all calabim demons, they exist only to destroy.

Powerful Baalor or even Arch Fiends can control them, but it is difficult to do.  Mostly they are sent somewhere where everything must be destroyed or eaten.  Gargantua will even fight and kill other demons.

All gargantua have massive claw and bite attacks in addition to tail, horn or other weapon attacks.  Occasional on a bite attack a victim can be swallowed whole.  Every gargantuan also has a breath weapon attack. Typically fire, but lighting and wind are also common.

Human wizards and warlock have been known to try to summon these creatures but the destruction they cause usually outweigh any perceived benefits they may offer.  The spells to do so are carefully guarded.

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