Showing posts sorted by relevance for query scarecrow. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query scarecrow. Sort by date Show all posts

Friday, October 30, 2009

Scarecrow

"Scarecrow on a wooden cross, blackbird in the barn…" - John Mellencamp, Scarecrow


When I think back to Halloweens of my childhood one image keeps coming back to me. No not vampires or witches, those were more artifacts of my later years. No the image that kept my 4-5 year old self up at night is a Scarecrow. We had the cardboard, jointed Scarecrow that that was common in the 70's. We hung up in our house for a couple of Halloweens. Given the house, I had to have been 4 or 5 at the time. That thing scared the hell out me. I don't feel that fear now, nor even the memory of it, just the memory of the memory, devoid of fear. It's odd really. So this year we wanted to find a Scarecrow for our house, now some 35 years later. I have NEVER seen one though that can match up to the memory I have. So it should be no surprise that I have used Scarecrows in all my games. In fact, Larry Elmore was channeling me (of course!) with this famous cover to Dragon Magazine. I loved the witch on it (and no one can do a witch quite like Mr. Elmore) but that Scarecrow is just plain evil.

For this Halloween here is a collection of Scary Scarecrows to add to your games. Not every game is here, but some of the ones I have used in the past.

Ghosts of Albion/Cinematic Unisystem
Scarecrow

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 it's territory, unless otherwise instructed by their creator.

Name: Scarecrow
Motivation: To follow orders
Creature Type: Magical Construct
Attributes: Strength 4, Dexterity 2, Constitution 6, Intelligence 0, Perception 1, Willpower 0
Ability Scores: Muscle 16, Combat 5, Brains 0
Life Points:
Drama Points: 1
Powers: Fear Gaze (paralyze), Hard to Kill 2, Immune to cold, fear, poisons, sleep, water, and any mind effecting spell, Vulnerability to fire.

Manoeuvres
Name Score Damage Notes
Punch 5 8 Bash
Slam tackle 5 8 Bash
Takedown 6 4
Dodge 6 Defence action
Grapple 7 Resisted by Dodge

A scarecrow can paralyze a victim with its gaze via its fear attack. The victim needs to make a Willpower check (doubled) with at least one success level.
Because of their straw bodies, scarecrows 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.

Construction
A scarecrow can be created easily by a standard ritual. A basic scarecrow is used for the body. It usually takes a couple of hours to construct a scarecrow, not counting the time for the ritual.

Animate Scarecrow
Quick Cast: No
Power Level: 3
Philosophy: Witchcraft
Requirements: The creation of a scarecrows body and an hour long ritual.
Components: Common components.
Effect: The witch must prepare the scarecrows 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 witchs commands.
Spell failure or backfire results in a scarecrow that can never be animated. The witch will need to burn the wood and start over.
Creation: Alteration, minor (+3), Casting Time (-2), Touch (-1), Permanent (+6), Unusual materials (-1), Philosophy ().

Witch Girls Adventures
Scarecrow (Rank 2 Monster)

Body: d8
Mind: d2
Senses: d2
Will: d2
Social: d2
Magic: d2

Life Points: 16
Reflex: 11
Resist Magic: 5
Zap: 10

Skills: Fighting +2, Scare +6

Abilities
Construct: Scarecrows are created and are immune to Mentalism magic. They also feel no pain, never grow tired and do not need to eat or sleep.
Vulnerability to Fire: Scarecrows take x3 damage from fire.
Fear: Scarecrows are surrounded by an aura of fear. (Scare Skill at +6)

Magic
None

Equipment
Whatever they made with. Some witches will equip their Scarecrows with a mowing scythe.

Description: Scarecrows look exactly like normal scarecrows, though those with the ability to see magical auras will notice an aura around the Scarecrow and possibly an evil looking glow in their eyes. Scarecrows can follow very simple orders. "Guard this field from trespassers." "Keep everyone but me and those I am with out of this barn." The words are not as important as the intent of the words. As long as it is simple and the witch can put it in a sentence or two then the Scarecrow will follow her commands.
  • Cryptozoology fact: Scarecrows can be created by any witch with the proper spells, but regardless of the type of witch all Scarecrows "Seem" evil.

  • Cryptozoology fact: Witches cannot turn people into Scarecrows nor bind their spirits to one, that is only rumor.

  • Cryptozoology fact: Scarecrows are known for their fear causing effects and their difficulty to make; a Scarecrow in a field is a good sign that the witch that owns it is powerful.
Create Scarecrow Spell
Conjuration, Rank 3
The witch needs to construct a scarecrow and then use this spell in order to bring it to life. The spell is difficult to learn because it is no longer featured in most spell texts. The cost to make the Scarecrow materials and construct it is worth only 10 allowance points, but can take a couple of hours to fashion properly.

Spellcraft & Swordplay
Scarecrow

#App: 1 (1-2)
AL: N
SZ: M
AC: 3
Move: 40'
HD: 3 (13 hp)
Attacks: Slam (fists)
Special: Immune to sleep, charm, paralysis, compulsion
Treasure: None
XP: 20 + 39 (59)

Vulnerable (Fire)

D&D 3.x / d20
Scarecrow Guardian (From my "Liber Mysterium")
Medium-Sized Construct
Hit Dice: 3d10 (15 hp)
Initiative: -2 (Dex)
Speed: 30 ft.
AC: 10 (-2 Dex, +2 Natural)
Attacks: Slam +2
Damage: Slam 1d6
Face/Reach: 5 ft by 5 ft
Special Attacks: Paralyzing Gaze
Special Qualities: Construct, Fire Vulnerability, damage
reduction 15/+1
Saves: Fort +3, Ref -1, Will +4
Abilities: Str 10, Dex 6, Con --, Int --, Wis 16, Cha 1
______________________________________
Climate/Terrain: Any
Organization: Solitary or gang (2-4)
Challenge Rating: 4
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always Neutral
Advancement: 4-8 HD (Medium) 9-12 HD (Large)

Scarecrow Guardians are basic guardians similar to golems, but not nearly as powerful. Like typical scarecrows, their bodies are made of straw and cloth. The stumble about their assigned area poorly and attack most anything that wanders through it. Some Scarecrow Guardians are bound to a post, and use their paralyzing gaze to imprison any trespassers.

Combat
Scarecrow Guardians 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 it's territory unless otherwise instructed by their creator. Paralyzing Gaze: Target can not move, as per the Hold Person spell as cast by a 10th level cleric, 30 ft., Will Save DC 15

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)

Undead ScarecrowSome Scarecrow Guardians are imbued with a spirit of a person. These scarecrows have all the same traits as a normal Scarecrow Guardian, except their creature type is undead, and have the same hit dice (though the type of die is changed to d12) and skills as their previous incarnations. Undead Scarecrows can still be bound to an area to protect, and still obey the commands of their creator. An Undead Scarecrow has the same CR as when he was living +1. An Undead Scarecrow whose master is killed has a 10% chance of being freed from his control, 25% chance of dying and a 65% chance of continuing to guard his specified area.

ConstructionA Scarecrow Guardian can be created easily by a standard ritual. A basic scarecrow is used for the body. The material components necessary for creating a Scarecrow Guardian costs 2,000 GP and require the Craft Wondrous Item feat. Understanding the ritual necessary for creating the Scarecrow can be done by a caster of at least 10th level. Completing the ritual drains 500 XP from the creator and requires the spell Animate Objects. The material components necessary for creating an Undead Scarecrow cost 10,000 GP and require the Craft Wondrous Item feat. Completing the ritual drains the creator of 1,200 XP and requires the spells Trap the Soul, Animate Objects, and Animate Dead, not to mention a living sacrifice (usually a small animal) which must be killed during the ritual to provide the life force.

AD&D 2nd Ed
Witch's Scarecrow (from my "Complete Netbook of Witches & Warlocks")
CLIMATE/TERRAIN: Fields or Gardens (Sub-arctic to Sub-tropical, always near a witch's lair)
FREQUENCY: Very Rare
ORGANIZATION: Solitary
ACTIVITY CYCLE: Any
DIET: None
INTELLIGENCE: Low (5-7)
TREASURE: Nil
ALIGNMENT: Neutral
NO. APPEARING: 1
ARMOR CLASS: 8
MOVEMENT: 6"
HIT DICE: 2
THAC0: 18
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-4
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Scare, Fear
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Fascination
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Special
SIZE: M (4-6')
MORALE: Fearless (19)
XP VALUE: 200
PSIONICS: Nil, Immune to Psionics

Appearance: Witch's Scarecrows are motley creatures pieced together from a variety of materials. Sticks, twigs, old leaves, straw and similar materials are used to stuff old clothing into a manlike shape. Their heads are often stuffed bags with crude caricatures of a face or hollowed out, carved gourds or pumpkins. These creatures are usually set on a stout staff stuck in he ground, and look completely unremarkable. So unremarkable that only a Detect Magic or True Seeing allows someone to distinguish it from a normal scarecrow when it is not in motion. A moving Scarecrow has an odd grace, joint-less and fluid. It seems on the end of collapse yet continues to walk in defiance of what it ought to do.
Combat: Witch's Scarecrows made for combat, they're only supposed to scare things away. These creatures are surrounded a powerful fascination aura that they can employ whenever they are seen to move. Any intelligent being observing a moving Witch's Scarecrow must save vs. spells or be so overcome that they can do nothing but gape at the moving creature. Once this fascination has a hold of a victim, it lasts until one turn after the scarecrow leaves the area, the scarecrow remains still for a turn, the victim is scared by the scarecrow, or the victim suffers a damaging attack.
The Witch's Scarecrow has two forms of magical fear. It can cause anyone meeting its gaze to flee in utter fear for 1d4+10 rounds, with a chance (adjudicated by the DM) of dropping anything they have in hand while they panic. Only Witches, Priests, and victims with 6 or more hit dice, are allowed a saving throw against this attack. Whenever a Witch's Scarecrow is actually pressed into a fight its fascination aura becomes so intense that it acts as anyone approaching within ten feet becomes stricken by an identical magical fear. Things that have no fear, such as golems or undead, are immune to this effect.
These creatures are immune non-magical missiles of less than siege size, any harmful effects of the weather. They are immune to some spells, including Call Lightning, spells that cause sleep, charm, paralyze, or hold victims, as well as spells that require a biological target like the carious cause wounds spells.. They are resistant to most forms of fire (+2 saves, & half damage). They are vulnerable to the flames hand-wielded, non-magical torches, suffering 1d10 points of damage per strike. Additionally so long as their creator lives or a witch inhabits her nearby dwelling, these scarecrows neither decay nor show any signs of aging. Habitat/Society: Witch's Scarecrows are guardians created, not to force or harm intruders, but to frighten them away. Their nature limits the places they can inhabit, but within those limits they perform well. The ceremonies that allow one of these creatures to be animated fail if not performed in a field, garden, or other cultivated area of land. Thereafter, the creature regards this area as its home. While it will keep watch over it's maker and her dwelling while they are nearby, it will not travel with her if she leaves or wander off on its own.
Witch's Scarecrows are not violent by nature, and only attack if they are struck first. They seldom pursue fleeing opponents, only doing so if their maker has been slain in their sight. Those knowledgeable about such similar creatures find Witch's Scarecrows have a one distinctive behavior. They are themselves fascinated by children. They will neither harm nor attack them regardless of the children's actions. They will entertain children with pantomime and play along with any of their games as best they can. It will try to interpose itself between fighting children, and anything attacking a child in the presence of such a creature will be attacked it turn.
Ecology: Witch's Scarecrows have no need to eat, respire, or even breathe. Unlike most magical constructs, they have some small effect on the local ecology. Simply, they're excellent scarecrows. Most animals, for birds and foraging rodents to deer and even bears, will be quickly chased from any area the Scarecrow guards.
These creatures are created by witches to guard their lairs. The three part process requires a small stone (and any natural stone will do) to be consecrated by a Bless, then covered with layer after layer of certain leafy herbs, soaked in water to make them pliable and bound with twine. When this is the size of a proper heart a body must be built around it, a task which requires no special materials or effort. Finally, the scarecrow must be taken to a field the witch owns for its animation. This must be done on a moonless night sometime between planting and harvest or the ceremony will fail. The Witch must prop the scarecrow up on a staff and cast the following spells: Animate Object, Cloak of Fear, Resist Fire, Spook and Quest. If successful, the witch hears a slow, steady heartbeat for a short time.
Of course, a number of legends surround Witch's Scarecrows. The tales of these creatures becoming fierce avengers of their mistress' murders are certainly from some form of divine intervention rather than any inherent ability of their own. The report of one such creature, who was often used as a target by local archers, hurling arrowheads from its bodies was most likely the result of some singular enchantment. Lastly, legends that such creatures may freely use a the powers of a magical wand concealed within one of their forearms or similar staff that they are propped up with are probably not true.

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, October 20, 2014

The OSR Scarecrow

Here is the only OSR Scarecrow you need.  This is the Scarecrow from The Witch.
(Yeah I am a little late on the snark here, term start and I have a conference to go to this week.)


Scarecrow
AC: 9 [10]
Hit Dice: 3d8* (14 hp)
No. of Attacks: 2 Limbs
Damage: 1d6/1d6
Special: Paralyzing Gaze, Triple Damage from Fire based attacks
Movement: 30’
No. Appearing: 1 (always in lair)
Saves As: Fighter 3
Morale: 12
Treasure: None
Alignment: Neutral
XP: 75

Scarecrows are basic guardians similar to golems, but not nearly as powerful. Like typical scarecrows, their bodies are made of straw and cloth. The stumble about their assigned area poorly and attack most anything that wanders through it. Some Scarecrow Guardians are bound to a post. A Scarecrow can use their paralyzing gaze to imprison any trespassers (save vs. Paralysis, fail means victim remains rooted to the spot).
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.
A scarecrow is immune to mind-influencing effects, poison, disease and similar effects. They are not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, energy drain or death from massive damage.
Fire Vulnerability: Because of their straw bodies, Scarecrows are extremely vulnerable to attacks from fire. They take triple 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)


All content is designated as Open for the Open Gaming License.
Art is from the Public Domain
Section 15 OGL Copyright Notice

The Witch, Copyright ©2012, Timothy S. Brannan
"Scarecrow" Copyright ©2014, Timothy S. Brannan

Monday, June 25, 2018

Monstrous Mondays: Scarecrow for Dark Places & Demogorgons

"Rain on the Scarecrow.  Blood on the plow.
Blood on the scarecrow. Blood on the plow" 

- John Mellencamp, Scarecrow



Is there anything more ubiquitous to the midwest than the cornfield?  How about that lone scarecrow in that field.  Standing silent vigil throughout the summer and into the fall.  Are you sure he is not watching you?

Scarecrow
Scarecrows are basic guardians similar to golems, but not nearly as powerful. Like typical scarecrows, their bodies are made of straw and cloth. The stumble about their assigned area poorly and attack most anything that wanders through it. Some Scarecrows are bound to a post. A Scarecrow can use their paralyzing gaze to imprison any trespassers (save vs. Courage, fail means victim remains rooted to the spot).
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.
A scarecrow is immune to mind-influencing effects, poison, disease, and similar effects. They are not subject to critical hits, subdual damage, ability damage, energy drain or death from massive damage.
Fire Vulnerability: Because of their straw bodies, Scarecrows are extremely vulnerable to attacks from fire. They take triple damage from all fire attacks.

Armor Class: 10
Hit Dice: 3 + 1
Move: 12
Attacks: 1
Attack Damage: Slam 1d4+4 or Slap 1d4+1
Special:  Paralyzing Gaze.  Courage roll required if victim meets the gaze of a Scarecrow. They can't move for one moment.
Bonuses: +1 to hit, +4 to hide in corn or soy fields.
Terror: 8
HDE: 4

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.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Night Videos: Gen Con / Vacation Edition

Welcome back to Friday Night Videos! Vacation / Gen Con edition.

Tonight the songs are less overtly about gaming or my relationship with gaming and more about my vacation in Gen Con.

Summer meant a lot of thing to me over the years.  Going out with friends, picnics, drinking, teaching while in college, working two jobs for college!  But for a shinning moment there for a while in the early 80s before discovering girls, beer, or the crushing responsibility of being an adult(!). Summer was also about vacations and playing some RPGs.

So here is my ode to that time and to Gen Con next week.

The Go-Gos.  Was there ever a band LESS like D&D?  Who cares.  This is a fun song.




While I followed Stevie Nick's solo career with the obsessiveness than only a teenage can manage, I never was that interested in Lindsay Buckingham's.   I did want this album at one point I recall.




Wednesday was my 20th Wedding Anniversary.  We got married in Jamaica and you could not go twn minutes and not hear Shaggy.  This whole album is a ton of summer time vacation fun.  This song NEVER fails to put me into mood.




Let's get to some more D&D/RPG-ish songs.  Going to California by Led Zeppelin is another great one.  Why? Because no one has written a "Going to Indiana" song.




Ok. Let's pay homage to Indiana's favorite son, John Mellencamp.  I know a lot of my audience might not get this, but John "Cougar" Mellencamp is a pretty big deal here in the midwest.  And nothing captured the feel of living in the Midwest in the 80s better than his 1985 album Scarecrow.  Believe it or not but it was a huge influence on my gaming.  I wanted my Chill games to capture the same feeling of hopelessness as "Rain on the Scarecrow" and joy as "Lonely Ol' Night" (yeah, listen to the song it is an ode to summer nights in the midwest where everyone feels like they are on their own).  I may live in the Chicago greater area now, but I did grow up in a small town.



See you all at Gen Con!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Monster Monday Round-up #4

Last Round-up of the Monstrous Mondays!
Next week follow the bloghop links to see all the monsters.


I am sure there are some I have missed. If so, just let me know.


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, 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)



Edited to add: Now available, Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars.
You can get the PDF from DriveThruRPG and both the standard and special edition hardcovers from Elf Lair Games.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monstrous Monday #4: Witch Monsters

For today I want to do something a little different.

The Witch came out over the weekend and I want to talk about the relationship between witches and monsters and why there are monsters in a "class" book.

There are essentially two types of monsters that come up when talking about witches in myth, legend and fairytales.
1. Monsters that are associated with witches.  These would be things like familiars or created monsters.
2. Monsters that are witches.  The hags and crones of myth, but also some vampires and werewolves.

I'll cover these both with some examples from The Witch.

Monsters Associated with Witches
Witches have a number of "monsters" that are often associated with them.  Familiars and created monsters are the most common.  In The Witch I cover familiars quite a bit as a character option, but I also include a lot of special familiars.  The Brownie, or brown man, is known to many gamers. What many people don't know that the mythology of the brownie is tied to old pagan beliefs.  The Cait Sith, or faerie cat is another type of creature that indicates the presence of a witch, or in the case sometimes is a witch.
Other  creatures pose an interesting problem because of how they are portrayed in myth  is sometimes different from how they are portrayed in the rules.  Gnomes are a good example.  In the games (and SRD) they are a player character race, but in many pagan myths gnomes are creatures of earth, something like an elemental, that can aid a witch. To split the difference I made their magic more witch like than other portrayals.  Witches are often found in the company of trolls since both are fairy tale and fantasy staples. These trolls are not the green, rubbery type, but more of the creatures of earth found in Norway.
For created creatures, I have included the Druther, which is a special form of a wood golem that I created in my games years and years ago.  Another original monster is the Batling, a monster created by witchcraft, but has an ecology of it's own.
Plus we should not forget flying monkeys as a more recent example.

Monsters that Are Witches
Witches in fairy tales are often monstrous looking women and not normal human women with a particular career choice.  These monsters are covered well by the Hag monster in the rules, but there are a lot of different types of hags.  There are swamp hags, hags that live in ginger bread houses at the edge of forests, hags that live under the sea, or rivers, cold wastelands or ones that steal into homes to take your souls, breath or children.  I want to cover as many of these as I could and enhance them with rules I have in the book.
There are other creatures too that often blur the lines between creatures.  The Baobhan Sìth blurs the line between witch, faerie, and vampires. The Strigoi is described as a witch and a vampire.  The Boroka is witch  that under a curse and is also a cannibalistic monster.  The Rusalka is an undead witch.

There are many more, and I still have quite a few on my hard drives.  These though I think represent a good cross section of with related monsters.

For your consideration, the monsters from the Witch.


Baobhan Sìth
Banshee
Batlings
Bendith Ý Mamau
Boroka
Brownie
Cait Sídhe
Druther
Earth Troll
Elf, Gypsy (Ranagwithe)
Fen Witch
Green Jack
Hags
 - Annis
 - Cavern
 - Green
 - Ice
 - Moon
 - Sea
 - Storm
 - Swamp
 - Wood (Makva)
Imp
Jack-O’-Lantern
Night Hag
Rusalka
Scarecrow
Strigoi
Winged Cat
Winged Monkey


The Witch is out now at DriveThruRPG in ebook format.  Print copies are on the way.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Having a Wicked time in Oz

File under: You Knew This Was Coming Sooner or Later

Ever since I was little, I mean really little, I have enjoyed "The Wizard of Oz".  I can recall being about 4 or so and being frightened of the flying monkeys, the Winkies and of course the Wicked Witch.  I also remember we had this old copy of the Wizard of Oz book in the house and I remembered how different it was than the movie.

Oz is a fascinating place really, and I was amazed the first time I learned how much of it was there beyond Dorothy and her friends. I learned about names like Mombi and Ozma.
I will admit I have always wanted to put a "pumpkin head" in my games largely in part due to "Journey Back to Oz".  In my WitchCraft games we also used to call witch hunters "Dorothies".

So I was thrilled when I heard of Douglas Wall's Adventures in Oz RPG.
http://fdouglaswall.blogspot.com/  and
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/575175333/adventures-in-oz-beyond-the-deadly-desert
It is, like the literary Oz, a great game for the younger set. The rules are fast, simple to learn and you can be up and playing in no time at all.
They game is also really, really fun. If you never play it, the book offers a good resource to using Oz in your own games.

I think Oz is a bit under rated to be honest.  It's not the drug referenced lands of Alice or even the purely fantasy of Peter Pan, it is, in a way, pragmatically American.  But it is fertile land as well. It gave us "The Wiz" and "Tin Man" and of course, "Wicked".

I never saw Wicked on stage, despite living in Chicago.  I did read the book and enjoyed it.  The world of Wicked is not exactly the same as that of Oz.  The names and places are familiar, but there is some differences.  Most notable is the character of Elphaba.

Elphaba is the Wicked Witch of West.  Though here she is a smart, green skinned young woman with a talent for sorcery and getting into trouble.  In the musical (and in the book) she is friends with Glinda (the good Witch) and learns that the Wizard is nothing more than a fake.

She fights against the Wizard, and for animal rights. Falls in love. Creates the Scarecrow and Tin Woodsman. Plus she is the protector of her younger sister Nessarose, aka the Wicked Witch of the East.

The main feature of the musical (and the book to a lesser extent) is the close friendship that Glinda and Elphaba have.  After all, check out those posters for the musical.

Running a game in a "Wicked" version of Oz is not that difficult. It just takes a bit creativity on the Narrator's part.

Elphaba
Template: Sorcerer

Basic Skills
Athletics: 1
Awareness: 4
Brains: 5
Presence: 3
Sneaking: 2
Wits: 4

Traits: Sorcery, Magical Toolkit, Yookoohoo Magic

Elphaba also possesses the Grimmerie, the most powerful book of magic in all of Oz.  She can cast any known spells and only Glinda is her equal in magic.  She also made a pair of Ruby Slippers for her sister to help her walk (takes the place of the Silver Slippers of the game and novels).

In musical Elphaba is the daughter of the Wizard, so she is both of Oz and Earth. Despite rumor to the contrary she has no particular dislike of water.

Playing in this world the characters could encounter Elphaba since after her supposed murder she found a life outside of Oz.  Maybe even in the desert.

If you want more Oz goodness then check out Doug's Kickstarter for his next Oz book, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/575175333/adventures-in-oz-beyond-the-deadly-desert

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