Showing posts with label monster. Show all posts
Showing posts with label monster. Show all posts

Monday, December 2, 2019

Monstrous Mondays: Pyewacket for Basic era games

Working on some content for various projects.  One of which is the Craft of the Wise The Pagan Witch Tradition for Basic Era Games and designed for Old-School Essentials.

Pyewacket


Pyewacket is a familiar spirit, similar in many ways to the witch's normal familiar but more powerful.  They usually take the shape of a larger cat, often of some rare breed.  A couple of things set it apart from normal cat kind.  A pyewacket usually has some odd features about it.  Odd colored fur like green or purple, mismatched eyes,  or even small horns. Most often the observer can't tell you why the cat looks odd, just that it does. The paws of a pyewacket are particularly dexterous, allowing them to pick up small objects with ease.  Also, all pyewackets can speak.  They typically know 3-4 languages including the language of cats and that of woodland creatures (Sylvan).  Additionally, they are all arrogant and convinced of their own superiority over most creatures.
Some occult scholars claim they are fae in nature, others claim they are more akin to the nether planes of the hells.  Whatever the case the pyewackets will not say, claiming only they have been part of this world for thousands of years and remember a time when they were worshipped like gods.
A pyewacket can also cast spells as 2nd level witch.

Pyewacket
(Old-School Essentials)
A large strange cat with odd features. It speaks to you in an intelligent but bored, condescending voice.
AC 7 [12], HD 2* (6 hp), Att 2 × claw (1d4) + spells, THAC0 19 [0], MV 90’ (30’) , SV D12 W13 P13 B15 S15 (E1), ML 7, AL Neutral, XP 35, NA 1d2 (1d6), TT None
 Attacks with clawa
 Cast spells as a Witch 2nd level
 Serves as a familiar to special witches.



Monday, November 18, 2019

Monstrous Monday Review: Fiend Folio

Last week I reviewed the penultimate monster tome ever created, the AD&D Monster Manual. this week I look at the second-ever produced AD&D monster book, and maybe one of the most loved OR most hated books, depending on who you ask; I mean of course 1981's Fiend Folio.

I will admit upfront, I enjoyed the hell out of this book.  There was something so different, so strange and so British about it.  I loved listening to Pink Floyd, The Who, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin while watching Monte Python, the Young Ones, Doctor Who and more I was a died in the wool Anglophile.  In the 80s if it was British it was good was my thinking.  The Fiend Folio was all that to me.

Yes. I am 100% in the "I Loved It!" camp.

Now, that doesn't mean I was immune to the problems it had.  But I'll get into that in detail in a bit.

Fiend Folio Tome

First available as a hardcover in 1981.  Available as PDF ($9.99) and PoD ($11.99 or $13.99 combined) via DriveThruRPG.  128 pages, color covers, black & white interior art.
The Fiend Folio is something of the lost forgotten middle child of AD&D.  Don Turnbull, then editor of White Dwarf magazine had been collecting monsters for his magazine since 1976.   In 1979 He wanted to publish a book of these monsters through Games Workshop as a new monster tome companion to the then released Monster Manual.  Through various legal wranglings which included TSR wanting to buy GW and then starting TSR UK, the book came to be published by TSR in 1981.

The hardcover was the fifth hardcover overall, the second "in a series of AD&D roleplaying aids", the last to use the classic cover art style and dress, and the only AD&D hardcover never updated to a new Jeff Easley cover.    To cement the perception that this book was the "middle child" every book after it had the new Jeff Easley covers and about as many were published before it as after it.

When released the book caused a bit of a stir.  In Dragon Magazine #55 we had no less of a personage than Ed Greenwood blasting the book with his Flat Taste Didn't Go Away.  Ouch. That is a bit harsh Ed and the article doesn't get much lighter. I am sure there were plenty of old-school AD&D fans who were at the time saying "Who the hell is this Ed Greenwood guy and why do I care about his opinion?"  Sy though, Ed is no fan of this book and calls many of the monsters incomplete, inadequate and many are redundant.  AND to be 100% fair he is making some very good points here. The editing is all over the place, many of the monsters are useless or way overpowered in some respects.
Alan Zumwalt follows this with Observations of a Semi-Satisfied Customer.  An endorsement, but not the ringing endorsement one might want.
Not to be forgotten Don Turnbull,  Managing Director of TSR UK, Ltd. and Editor of the FIEND FOLIO Tome ends with his Apologies - and Arguments; his defense of the Fiend Folio.
All three articles make good points and overreach in others. In the end, I still love the Fiend Folio, not despite its weirdness, but because of it.  I have decided though that when I run a pure Forgotten Realms game that I will not include any of the monsters that Ed found objectionable.  I was going to say not include any from this book, but that includes Drow and we know that isn't going to happen!

There are some "translation" errors here too.  In particular when the monster was written for OD&D and then later updated to AD&D.  Others the art didn't seem to fit the description.  I still find it hard to see how the T-Rex looking Babbler is supposed to be a mutation of the Lizard Man.


That is all great and a wonderful bit of historical context, but none of that had any effect on the way I played and how I used the book.

Everyone will talk about how that is the book that gave us the Adherer, the Flumph, Flail Snail, Lava Children,  and my least favorite, the CIFAL.    But it is also the book that gave us the Death Knight, Skeleton Warriors, Revenant, the Slaadi, Son of Kyuss and more.

The D&D cartoon featured the Shadow Demon and Hooked Horrors.  The D&D toy line used the Bullywugs.  And creatures like the Aarakocra, Kenku, Githyanki and Githzerai would go on to greater fame and use in future editions of D&D.  Some even first appeared in other D&D modules that got their first-ever hardcover representations here; like the Daemons, Kuo-Toa, and the Drow.

Many monsters came from the pages of White Dwarf's Fiend Factory.  Even these monsters were a mixed bag, but there were so many.  So many in fact that there could have been a Fiend Folio II.

Flipping through this book I am struck with one thing.  For a tome called the "Fiend Folio" there are not really a lot of fiends in it.  Lolth, the Styx Devil, Mezzodaemon, Nycadaemon and maybe the Guardian Daemon.

While this book does not fill me with the deep nostalgia of the discover of D&D like the Monster Manual does, it fills me with another type of nostalgia.  The nostalgia of long night playing and coming up with new and exciting adventures and using monsters that my players have never seen before.



For the record, here are some of my favorites:  Apparition, Berbalang, Booka, Coffer Corpse, Crypt Thing, Dark Creeper, Dark Stalker (Labyrinth anyone?), Death Dog, Death Knight, Lolth, the new Dragons, the Elemental Princes of Evil, Drow, Errercap, Eye of Fear and Flame, Firedrake, Forlarren, Githyanki, Githzerai, Gorilla Bear (yes! I loved these guys), Grell, Grimlocks, Guardian Familiar, Hellcat, Hook Horrors (though I felt I had to use them), Hounds of Ill Omen, Huecuva, Kelpie, Kuo-toa, Lamia Noble, Lizard King (Jim Morrison jokes for D&D at last!), Meazel, Mephit, Mezzodaemon, Necrophidius, Neeleman (well...I didn't like the monster, I liked the SNL skit he reminded me of), Nilbogs (ok, no I didn't like these guys unless I was running the adventure), Norker, Nycadaemon, Ogrillon, Penanggalan (yes! loved these, but they should have been closer to the vampire as described in the MM), Poltergiest, Revenant, Scarecrow, Shadow Demon, Skeleton Warrior, Slaad, Son of Kyuss, Sussurus, Svirfneblin, the new trolls, Yellow Musk Creeper and Yellow Mush Zombie (Clark Ashton Smith for the win!).

The remainder of the book is given over to expanded tables.

The Future of the Folio

When I have talked about the Fiend Folio in the past most of the time I get a lot of positive remarks, so maybe the ages have been kind to the odd little middle child of D&D.

Since it's publication the Fiend Folio has seen a little more love.
The 14th (!) Monstrous Compendium Appendix for AD&D 2nd Edition was based on the Fiend Folio, though it would be almost 10 years after the hardcover version.   MC14 Monstrous Compendium Fiend Folio Appendix is available in PDF.

The 3rd Edition years gave us TWO different versions of the Fiend Folio.  The 3e Fiend Folio from WotC features many of the original Fiend Folio monsters, but also a lot more fiends; so living up to it's name a bit more.  Not to be outdone, Necromancer Games gave us the first of the Tome of Horrors books which feature many more of the original Fiend Folio monsters for OGL/d20.



Back in Print

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



Other than one is a hardcover and the other is a softcover it is very difficult to tell the two prints apart.  Even the interiors compare well.

So maybe time has been kinder to the Fiend Folio. I still enjoy using it.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Monstrous Monday Review: Monster Manual

For today's Monstrous Monday I want to do another review. For this one, it still follows my 'Back to Basic' theme I have been doing all year even though it is not a Basic-era D&D book.  It is though one of my Basic era books.  The book is the Monster Manual and it was just about 40 years ago that I first held this book in my hand.

This is the book. This is the book that got me into D&D and RPGs.

But how does one review such a genre-defining classic?

My son had made himself a triple cheeseburger covered in bacon, onions, and mushrooms.  I asked him how he was going to fit that into his mouth. He said, "with determination".

How does one review such a genre-defining classic?  With determination.

My History
The Monster Manual was the book for me.  The one that got me hooked.  The one, sitting in "silent reading" back in 1979 at Washington Elementary School in Jacksonville, IL that I became the über-geek you all know today. How über? I used the freaking umlauts, that's my street cred right there.

Back in '79 I was reading a lot of Greek Myths, I loved reading about all the gods, goddesses and monsters.  So I saw my friend's Monster Manual and saw all those cool monsters and I knew I had to have a copy. Though getting one in my tiny near-bible-belt town was not easy.  Not hard mind you, by the early 1980s the local book store stocked them, but I was not there yet.  So I borrowed his and read.  And read.  And read.  I think I had the damn thing memorized long before I ever got my own game going.

Since that time I judge a gamebook on the "Monster Manual" scale.  How close of a feeling do I get from a book or game compared to the scale limit of holding the Monster Manual for the first time?  Some games have come close and others have hit the mark as well.  C.J. Carella's WitchCraft gave me the same feeling.

Also, I like to go to the monster section of any book or get their monster books.  Sure I guess sometimes there are diminishing returns, Monster Manual V for 3.5 anyone?  But even then sometimes you get a Fiend Folio (which I liked thankyouverymuch).

This book captured my imagination like no other gamebook.  Even the 1st DMG, which is a work of art, had to wait till I was older to appreciate it.  The Monster Manual grabbed me and took me for a ride.

The Book (and PDF)
The PDF of the Monster Manual has been available since July of 2015.  The book itself has seen three different covers.


Regardless of what cover you have the insides are all the same.  The book is 112 pages, black and white art from some of the biggest names that ever graced the pages of an RPG book.
This book was the first of so many things we now take for granted in this industry.   The first hardcover, the first dedicated monster tome, the first AD&D book.
The book contains 350 plus monsters of various difficulties for all character levels.  Some of the most iconic monsters in D&D began right here.  Mostly culled from the pages of OD&D, even some of the art is similar, and the pages of The Dragon, this was and is the definitive book on monsters.

Eldritch Wizardry gave us the demons, but the Monster Manual gave us those and all the new devils.  The Monster Manual introduced us to the devils and the Nine Hells.  Additionally, we got the new metallic dragons, more powerful and more diverse undead and many more monsters.  We also got many sub-races of the "big 3". Elves get wood, aquatic, half and drow.  Dwarves get hill and mountain varieties. Halflings get the Tallfellows and Stouts.   So not just more monsters, but more details on the monsters we already knew.

While designed for AD&D I used it with the Holmes Basic book.  The two products had a similar style and to me seemed to work great together.  It was 1979 and honestly, we did all sorts of things with our games back then.  The games worked very well together.



Flipping through one of my physical copies, or paging through the PDF, now I get the same sense of wonder I did 40 years ago.

Thankfully, you can get the PDF of the Monster Manual for just a little more than the hardcover cost 40 years ago.





Monday, November 4, 2019

Monstrous Monday Review: D&D Creature Catalogs

Something a little different today as I wind down from that crazy October.
One of the things I wanted to do with my "Back to Basic" year was also to get some more reviews in for some the basic era products I enjoyed the most and for the products that also contributed to my love of the game.  These would both be products by TSR and third party products of the time and of more recent years.

Since today is my day to post about monsters I wanted to hit two products that really enjoyed back in the day.

Now I have gone on and on (and on and on) about how pivotable the AD&D 1st Ed Monster Manual was to my life in RPGs.  So much so that I would later pick up any monster book that came out.   I loved AD&D and played it all throughout my High School days and beyond.   But it was Basic D&D, in particular, the B/X flavor of D&D that was my favorite.  I wanted a Monster Manual for that game.  Eventually, TSR granted my wish.

AC9 The Creature Catalog (1986)
The Creature Catalog (AC9), came out in 1986 and was produced in conjunction with TSR UK and it would be one of the last books to do so.  It shared a name with a series in Dragon Magazine (Issues #89 and #94), which led to some confusion on my part, but that was soon displaced.  A bit of a background story.  My then AD&D DM had grabbed this and let me borrow it. He knew I was a fan of D&D (Basic) and a fan of undead monsters, of which this had a lot of.  I immediately started pouring over the book and loved all the new creatures in it and new versions of some that I considered "classic" by then.   For example, the Umber Hulk (MM1) and the Hook Horror (FF) now shared an entry under "Hook Beast" and the Umber Hulk was now called a "Hulker".  Given the time I just decided it was obviously the same beast and just called that in my version of Mystara and my DM kept Umber Hulk for his version of Greyhawk.  Simple.
Grabbing the PDF a while back I was hit by all these memories of flipping through the book and that sense of wonder came back.  Monsters that I had used in games and have since forgotten about came rushing back to me.
The PDF is a scan of the original book, so the quality is not 100%, more like 80% really.  BUT that is not a reason not to get it. The text is still clear and the pictures, while not high-res are still legible.  If nothing else the "imperfections" of the scan match my imperfect memory of the book.  So point 1 for nostalgia purchase.  The book itself is 96 black & white pages with color covers.
There are about 150 monsters here (151 by my quick count). Some should be familiar to anyone that has been playing for a while, but there are also plenty of new ones that reflect the differences in design tone between D&D and AD&D.
This book is separated by (and bookmarked by in the pdf) sections.  The sections are Animals, Conjurations (magically created creatures), Humanoids, Lowlife, Monsters, and Undead.
There are a lot of fun monsters here, many have made it into later editions of D&D, in particular, the Mystara Monstrous Compendium.
The index is very nice since it also covers all the monsters in the various BEMCI books for a complete picture of the monsterography of the mid-80s D&D.
If you are playing old-school D&D or a retro-clone of the same then this is a great little treat really. The book also has guidelines on where to put monsters and how to make alterations to the monster listing for a different creature.  In fact a lot of what I have seen on some blogs and forums over the last couple years about how to "play monsters" has been better stated here. Yet more evidence that there is really nothing new out there. That and people don't read the classics anymore!

DMR2 Creature Catalog (1993)
The next Creature Catalog (DMR2) came out in 1993 for the D&D Rules Cyclopedia. Most of the same monsters that appear in the Creature Catalog AC9 are here. In fact, a lot of the exact same art is used.  The net difference is this book has 158 monsters.
This book is the more customary 128 black & white pages with two, color covers.  The monsters in this version are all listed alphabetically.  This is also a much better scan and a print option is also available.
This book was designed for the Rules Cyclopedia and not BECMI the rules are 99% the same and thus both this and AC9 can be used interchangeably.  DRM2 Creature Catalog came out at the same time as the AD&D 2nd edition Monstrous Compendiums so the layout and style reflects that.  The color trim here is red instead of blue.
This PDF does bookmark every monster entry and since all monsters are listed together it is easier to find what you want here.  Missing though is some of the advice in the earlier AC9 version.
But like the AC9 version, this is a fantastic book to use with your classic games or retro-clones of them.
In both books you won't find demons or devils since they were not part of the D&D world of Mystara, but that is not a big deal.   For me, the loss is nothing compared the amount of undead both books have.  Some of my favorite undead monsters to use to this very day made their appearances in these books.  Elder Ghouls, Death Leaches, Dark Hoods, Grey Philosophers and Velyas still rank among my favorites.

If you are only able to get one then opt for the DMR2 version for the better scan quality.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Monstrous Mondays: Pumpkin Headed Demon

Working on getting The Pumpkin Spice Witch Tradition book out to you all very soon and also working on NIGHT SHIFT.   So here is a creature that works well for both.  A demonic spirit summoned into a body of golem or lifeless corpse.  The Pumpkin headed demon.

Pumpkin Headed Demon

A Pumpkin Headed Demon, or Pumpkin Head for short, is a demon that is either summoned by dark forces or finds it way to inhabit a Pumpkin Golem, Scarecrow, or other such construct.  The material the golem was made from  is replaced by a crude flesh but the general shape remains the same.
The Pumpkin Head exists only to kill.  It is not mindless, even if it’s killing spree seems to be.  It is surrounded by an aura of fear that acts as the Cause Fear spell to a 60’ radius.  It attacks with its claws which appear to be made of steel.  Once per day is can breathe fire for 6d6 damage (save vs. Breath Weapon for half).



Pumpkin Headed Demon
(Labyrinth Lord, Pumpkin Spice Editon)
No. End.: 1 (1d4)
Alignment: Chaotic (evil)
Movement: 90’ (30')
Armor Class:  5
Hit Dice: 8d8+8* (44 hp)
Attacks: 2 (claws)
Damage:  1d4/1d4 + fire breath (6d6), fear
Special: Fear aura
Saves As: Fighter 8
Morale: 10
Treasure: None
XP: 2,200
A Pumpkin Head can be turned as “Special”.

Pumpkin Headed Demon
(Blueholme Journeymanne Rules)
AC: 5
HD: 8d8+8
Move: 30
Attacks: 2 claw (1d6-1 x2) + Fire Breath (1/day 6d6)
Alignment: Chaotic
Treasure: None
XP: 1,130

Pumpkin Headed Demon
(Old-School Essentials)
AC 5 [14], HD 8+8 (44hp), Att 2 claw (1d6-1 x2) + Fire Breath (6d6), THAC0 17 [+2], MV 90’ (30’), SV D8 W9 P10 B10 S12 (8), ML 10, AL Chaotic, XP 1,130, NA 1 (1-3), TT None
 Breath fire: 1/day, 6d6 damage, save for half.
 Demon-possessed 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.

Pumpkin Headed Demon
(Night Shift)
No. Appearing: 1
AC: 5
Move: 40ft.
Hit Dice: 8
Special: 2 attacks (2 claw) + Breath Weapon (Fire)


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)
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 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, 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 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.


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Castles & Crusades Monstrous Compendium

Busy day.  I have been running kids around all day to get them registered for classes, for volunteer work and oh and I have three courses I need to write before Gen Con!

But I am not going to let that stop me from sharing my latest mail call from Troll Lord Games and Castles & Crusades.

If I have said it once, I have said it a 1000 times. I love monster books.  The more monsters the better in my mind!  I have also said, though only slightly less, I love Castles & Crusades.  I wish I played more of it to be honest.

So imagine my pleasure when I got THIS in the mail last night.


What? A three-ring binder full of monsters?  Yes!


It is the combined Monster book from Troll Lords for Castles & Crusades.





The new binder and book are the same, each with about 380 pages worth of monsters and treasure.  And just tons and tons of monsters.

Personally I thought it was appropriate for Troll Lords to have this out 30 years to the month (maybe even the week) that the AD&D 2nd Ed Monstrous Compendium came out.



I will also fully take credit for this idea! ;)

I was organizing my C&C monster printouts into a single binder and bugged the Trolls online about getting a product like this. I posted pictures, hit them up and next thing I knew there was a Kickstarter for it!




I hope to have some reviews up soon.  They sent me a lot of stuff!


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, 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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