Showing posts with label A to Z Challenge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label A to Z Challenge. Show all posts

Monday, May 3, 2021

Monstrous Monday: A to Z Recap and Reflections

winner #atozchallenge 2021That's another Blogging A to Z for April for the history books. It was nice to get back into this really. I enjoy the challenge of not just blogging every day (I kinda do that now anyway) but having a prompt for the blogging.

Let's See how I did.

According to my stats my visits were up 20% over other months, except for October (which are usually up 50% to 75%).   I gained followers across social media, with the most coming from Twitter.

That's all well and good really, but for me one of the important things was I found several new blogs to follow from here on out and many more I'll visit on the Blogging A to Z Road Trip.

My goal was to get some monsters done.  I published 26 days with 24 complete monsters, 3 variations, and 1 subtype. I also 2 categories of monsters, Qliphoth with 10 monsters and Vampires with 44 types.

A is for Allip
B is for Barghest
C is for Cat-sìth
D is for Dragon, Purple
E is for Elf, Shadow
F is for Faun
G is for Glaistig
H is for Hag, Chaos
I is for Incubus
J is for Jack O'Lantern
K is for Kelpie
L is for Lilith
M is for Merrow
N is for Nuckelavee
O is for Orc, Desert
P is for Púca
Q is for Qliphoth
R is for Rakshasa
S is for Skeleton, Electric
T is for Troll, Swamp
U is for Undine
V is for Vampire
W is for Wight, Barrow
X is for Xana
Y is for Yeti, Almas
Z is for Zombie, Drowned

For the visual types, here is a Pinterest board with links to each one.

Follow Timothy's board "April 2021 A to Z of Monsters" on Pinterest.

I started the challenge with over 330 monsters in my projects folder with 156 of those 100% complete.  I started with two ideas for monster books; one for normal monsters and another for demons and devils (and more).

Today I have split this all off into three books (maybe four) of normal monsters, undead, and fiends.  The fourth book is so early I am hesitant to even announce it.

I also have new cover art for all my books, even the proposed fourth book.  

By the numbers, Basic Bestiary I has (so far) 240 monsters with 220 at complete status.  Basic Bestiary II: The Undead has 178 monsters with 80 complete.  Basic Bestiary III: The Fiends has 87 entries, with 19 complete and an additional 616 proper names of demons, devils and other fiends that I need to sort through.  Basic Bestiary IV currently has a working list of 100 monsters, none are complete.

So roughly 320 100% complete monsters, more than doubling my pre-April count of 156. 

That was my true goal here.  I did not think I would walk out of this with a complete book in hand.  There is still a lot of editing to do and my target per book is still 300+ monsters.  The demons and devils book will be more; I might snarkily have 666 monsters.  So far I am within reach of that.

Will I do this next year?  At first, I was thinking no, but in truth, I did forget how much fun it was to visit all sorts of blogs outside my normal reading. Plus in terms of my goals, this was a success.  Maybe I'll do this for my Book IV.

Right now I have a lot of monsters to clean up and get ready for BBI.  


A to Z 2021 Reflections
http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/2021/05/atozchallenge-reflections-2021.html

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

#AtoZChallenge2021: X is for Xana

I have another water-spirit/fey today.  Unlike the undine, this one was on my list from day one. These creatures are from the Asturian area of Spain. I will admit, there are not a lot of X monsters out there. 

Lamia, by John William Waterhouse, 1909 ~ Oil on canvas, 91.5 x 57 cm
Xana
Medium Fey (Water)

Frequency: Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (2d6)
Alignment: Neutral [Neutral]
Movement: 90' (30') [9"]
  Swim: 240' (80') [24"]
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Hit Dice: 4d8* (18 hp)
THAC0: 17 (+2)
Attacks: None
Damage: None
Special: Charm potion, invisibility, witch spells
Save: Witch 4
Morale: 6 (6)
Treasure Hoard Class:  X (M)
XP: 125 (OSE) 135 (LL)

Str: 8 (-1) Dex: 13 (+1) Con: 10 (0) Int: 10 (0) Wis: 10 (2) Cha: 20 (+4)

Xana are a type of water faerie that lives in cool rivers, streams, and freshwater ponds. They are described as beautiful with long curly brown or blond hair.   They are similar to other water faeries in that they prefer to spend their time in their watery lairs. 

They are social creatures, with several living in an area.  Their lairs are under the water where they are 100% invisible. 

They will leave their lairs to seek out mates.  They can take their waters and make a weak love potion that will affect one male of her choice. They get a saving throw vs. poison. If they fail they are treated as if they have a charm person spell on them.  A successful save means the potion had no effect.   The children they have from these encounters, xanín, can’t be cared for by the xana.  They will sneak into homes at night and leave their children in place of human babies.

Xanín will grow fast. The girls will seek out their mothers and join them.  The boys will tend to grow up to become sailors.

Xana can cast spells as a 3rd level witch.  They however will not attack physically. They will swim to the deepest part of their watery lairs. 

There is a rumor of a smaller xana that feeds on children.  These creatures are indistinguishable from other xana and are chaotic evil. 

--

There are a lot of water spirits and water fey out there.  How to make them all different from each other will be my goal.  

April 2021 A to Z


Monday, April 26, 2021

#AtoZChallenge2021: V is for Vampire

Image by Rondell Melling from Pixabay
As of this writing, I have 292 monsters written and complete for the Basic Bestiary I.  I have about 10-12 more that are mostly done.  Of the total 355 entries I have, a full 43 of them are Vampires

Yeah. That's a lot.

I have said it before but long before I was known as "the Witch guy" I was known as "the Vampire guy." 

I have talked about my origins of the Basic Bestiary before. My love of Greek, Norse, and Celtic myth, old "monster movies" with my dad, and the day I picked up the AD&D Monster Manual for the first time.  BB is my love letter to the MM.  But it is not my first monster book, it is just the first one I am going to publish.  I have sitting on my hard drives monster books that go all the way back to my earliest days.  Some of these monsters have been revived in my various witch books.  Many have been posted here. Among the files I have here and there there is one that is really old. 

File "necro.txt" contains all the undead monsters I hand-typed from the Monster Manual, Fiend Folio, and Monster Manual II plus all the undead I could get from Dragon magazine and all the ones I made up.  There are over 150 creatures in that file.  Many of them are vampires.

Now the issue I have now is not whether to stat up all these creatures (I already have in some places) but how many to include as full monster entries and which ones are just AKAs.

So instead of posting a monster today (I did Vampires in the 2015 A to Z) I thought I might instead post the list of possible ones and see how I might combine, rearrange or otherwise categorize.

When I talked about the Undine on Saturday I mentioned large categories. Vampires will be a category in BB1.

Vampires

Vampires are among the most fearsome and feared of the undead.  Unlike most undead creatures the vampire can often pass for a living creature. Moreso they charming, both in terms of personality and in magical ability, they are physically strong (19+) and difficult to kill. Vampires exist for a long time so many are also quite intelligent (16+) and have mundane and supernatural protections in place.

As undead, the vampire has all the following features of a corporeal undead creature.  They do not need to check for morale and are immune to fear effects from spells or other creatures.  They are susceptible to the Turning effects of clerics or other holy warriors.  They are immune to the effects of  Charm, Sleep and Hold spells or other mind-affecting magic.

Vampires take 1d6+1 hit points of damage from Holy Water and it is treated as though it were acid. As corporeal undead slashing and piercing damage of weapons are largely ineffective since their damage is done to vital organs or blood loss. Vampires take no damage from mundane weapons.  Silvered piercing or slashing weapons only do 1 hp per hit. Magic weapons calculate damage per normal.  Vampires only take half damage from electrical or cold attacks. They are immune to paralysis, poison or any gas-based weapon. 

Most vampires drain blood to survive. This is done at the rate of 2 Constitution points per attack unless otherwise stated.  Vampires also regenerate 3 hp per round.

Many vampires have alternate shapes they can assume. Most common are animals of the night and gaseous forms. Others may become moonlight or stranger things. All vampires need to rest at some point.  Many are vulnerable to the light of the sun and all have at least some sunlight weakness.  VAmpires also have common items that will repel them, such as garlic, a mirror, or rice, and nearly all will be forced back by holy symbols. 

All vampires have a unique means to kill them these are detailed in each entry. Often this is what sets one type of vampire from the other.

Unless otherwise noted, all Vampires turn as Vampires.

Vampire (Base)
Vampire Lord
Vampire, Alp
Vampire, Anananngel
Vampire, Asanbosam
Vampire, Astral
Vampire, Aswang
Vampire, Berbalang
Vampire, Blautsauger
Vampire, Brukulaco
Vampire, Bruxsa
Vampire, Burcolakas
Vampire, Ch’ing-Shih
Vampire, Children of Twilight
Vampire, Dearg-Due
Vampire, Ekimmu
Vampire, Eretica and here
Vampire, Estrie
Vampire, Farkaskoldus
Vampire, Gierach
Vampire, Hsi-Hsue-Kue
Vampire, Jigarkhwar
Vampire, Kathakano (Catacano)
Vampire, Krvopijac
Vampire, Kyuuketsuki
Vampire, Lobishumen
Vampire, Moroi (Living Vampire)
Vampire, Mulo
Vampire, Neuntöter
Vampire, Nosferatu
Vampire, Ovegua
Vampire, Pĕnanggalan
Vampire, Rolang, Demonic
Vampire, Rolang, Personal

Vampire, Soucouyant
Vampire, Spawn
Vampire, Strigoi
Vampire, Tenatz
Vampire, Upierczi
Vampire, Vrykolakas (Burcolakas)
Vampire, Wurdalak (Vourdalak, Vlkodlak)
Vampire, Xiāng-shī
Vampire, Yara-ma-yha-who
Vampire, Zburător (Zemu, Zmeu)

--

And there you go! Clicking on the links above is like doing archeology into my ever-changing and adapting stat-block.

I did include some AKAs in the list above and those will likely just be a paragraph in the main entry of what makes them different.  AS I work the remaining monster up I am likely to discover more.

This list though makes me wonder if I need yet another Basic Bestiary just for the undead. I know I have enough.  But will it make my first book too light?

Here is where I am at right now.  Aberration (0), Beast (24), Celestial (9), Construct (12), Dragon (5), Elemental (7), Fey (73), Fiend (0), Giant (4), Humanoid (45), Monstrosity (8), Ooze (0), Plant (3), Undead (71), Vermin (0), Total (261).

Removing the 71 undead would make the book stand at 190 monsters right now.  I still have to add all those vampires, so 120+ undead creatures total?  Would make for smaller books, and thus cheaper ones. Fiends are already going into their own book, Basic Bestiary II.

What do you all think?

April 2021 A to Z


Saturday, April 24, 2021

#AtoZChallenge2021: U is for Undine

John William Waterhouse - Undine
Well, I had not planned it this way, but I have another water spirit to go with the Kelpie, Merrow, and Nuckelavee.  This one though in nature is much closer to the Sylph. 

In occult and alchemical studies, especially ones that followed after Paracelsus, there were four elemental creatures that were comprised of the four classic elements.  They were the Sylph (Air), Gnome (Earth), Salamander (Fire), and the Undine (Water).

The Sylph will appear in my Basic Bestiary in a slightly altered form from what originally appeared in the Monster Manual.  Elemental Gnomes I have addressed in the past. Salamanders already have been covered well by others, so they don't need my input.  That just leaves the Undine.

There is undine, the water elemental and there is Undine, the proper name for a character the is more like a mermaid or merrow. There is also a class of water spirits, related to nereids and naiads. They also have a beautiful song similar to the sirens, but undines do not lure people to their deaths.  In fact much of the positive traits of the ancient mermaids have seemed to transfer to undines early on.  Today the myths of mermaids, minus the drowning of sailors, are nearly the same as those of the undine.

All these creatures, mythological speaking, had a lot in common.  To make a monster though I need to tease out the essentials.

Undine
Medium Elemental (Water)

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1d4 (1d8)
Alignment: Neutral [Neutral (Good)]
Movement: 90' (30') [9"]
  Swim: 240' (80') [24"]
Armor Class: 7 [12]
Hit Dice: 3d8*** (14 hp)
THAC0: 17 (+2)
Attacks: 1 Water whip
Damage: 1d4
Special: Song, invisible in water, magic, water shape
Save: Monster 3
Morale: 6 (8)
Treasure Hoard Class:  II x10 (Q x 10)
XP: 80 (OSE) 95 (LL)

Str: 9 (0) Dex: 16 (+2) Con: 10 (0) Int: 10 (0) Wis: 10 (2) Cha: 20 (+4)

Undines appear to be a type of water nymph or other mercreature, but they are in fact elementals from the plane of water. They do have some water fey in their ancestry, but these creatures are elemental spirits in corporeal form.  In their natural state, they appear as watery figures indistinguishable from the waters they swim in. This grants them complete invisibility.  When they take on a human form they always appear as attractive human or elf-like women.  In this form, they may move about on dry land but must return to their stream, pool, sea, or other body of water once per week. 

The undine is curious about land-dwelling folk but less so than their distant cousins the merrow or mermaids.  When confronted they will most often flee to their watery homes. But if attacked they can shape water into a water whip-like tendril and strike target up to 20 feet away.  They may also cast any water-based spell as a 5th level caster of the appropriate type. They most often have druid, magic-user, and witch spells.  

The undine does have a song that acts as a charm person spell.  The effects are not intentional, the undine does not choose to charm when she sings, but she can use her singing and her charm to her advantage if she chooses. An undine not wanting undue attention from amorous land dwellers will make sure that no one is around when she sings.

Undines have to return to their body of water once per week or lose points of Constitution at the rate of 1 per week. At 0 points she will die.  An undine cannot enter holy or hallowed ground.  She is not barred from doing so, it just makes them uncomfortable and it is treated as a failed morale check.  Clerics and priests believe they can turn undines as if they were undead. The undine will leave the area is a cleric present their holy symbol, but there is no compulsion behind this. Undines just do not like clerics.

Like many elemental creatures the undine does not have a soul, but a spirit instead. For this reason resurrection and raise dead spells will not work on them.  If an undine falls in love with a mortal and can get that mortal to profess their undying and true love to the undine then the undine may remain on land as a human woman and will "grow" a soul.  Though it is said that if their lover dies before them or if their lover discovers the truth about them they will return to the sea. 

--

I like this. She ended up being a little more powerful than her sister the sylph is but that is fine really.

I still really need to fix my treasure types. I might adopt the OSRIC model and just list out what everything is and avoid Treasure Types or Horde Classes altogether.  Much more work on my part, but it gives far more control over what I can give each one.

Here is what OSRIC lists for the Sylph:  

Treasure: 10d4 gems (50%), 1 misc. magic and 1 potion (60%)

I mean that is only one line.  I could easily convert what I have now to that.  OSRIC also divides the monsters by type.  So naturally, all the devils, demons, dragons and dinosaurs are all grouped together, as we see in the Monster Manual. But so are sylvan and Faerie creatures, as we would see in the BECMI Creature Catalog.  I like both styles.  I am more likely to go with alphabetical listings with some large groups.  Like the group I am talking about on Monday!

April 2021 A to Z


Friday, April 23, 2021

#AtoZChallenge2021: T is for Troll, Swamp

I enjoy trolls.  I have posted a few here and even did a Troll Week this past summer.  So yeah I am a fan.  For today I am doing a troll I have wanted to publish for a while, but I needed to rewrite it.

Troll
Troll, Swamp

Large Giant (Aquatic)

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1d4 (1d6)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 90' (30') [9"]
Swim: 180' (60') [18"]
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 4d8+8* (26 hp)
 Large: 4d10+8* (30 hp)
THAC0: 12 (+7)
Attacks: 2 claws,  1 bite
Damage: 1d6+3 x2,  1d8+3
Special: Regeneration, amphibious
Save: Monster 4
Morale: 10 (10)
Treasure Hoard Class: XIX (D)
XP: 200 (OSE) 215 (LL)

Str: 18 (+3) Dex: 16 (+2) Con: 16 (+2) Int: 10 (0) Wis: 10 (0) Cha: 6 (-1)

The swamp troll is a semi-amphibious cousin of the troll found in dismal swamps, fetid bogs, and murky fens. They are slightly smaller in build but have larger jaws and claws. 

Swamp trolls are voracious eaters and will eat anything that walks, swims, or flies into their realms.  They attack with their large claws and bite.  Like their land-dwelling cousins, they regenerate (3 hp per round), but only while their body is touching the water.  A damaged swamp troll will retreat under the water of their swamp to heal and attack again. 

These trolls are often in the service of a Swamp Hag.

--

Ok. I like these guys. When I get some art for them I want a troll with a huge mouth full of sharp teeth. 

April 2021 A to Z

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

#AtoZChallenge2021: L is for Lilith

Lilith by Isra Llona
Lilith by Isra Llona
Last verse, same as the first.

This one should not be a surprise really. I have done Lilith many times before in my April A to Z. She was in my A to Z of Demons (2013),  A to Z of Witches (2014), and my A to Z of Vampires (2015).  So naturally, I want to bring her back for my A to Z of Monsters.

Lilith is fantastic. I am a sucker for any story she is in, and if she shows up on a TV show, even better.

In my A to Z of Demons (2013) I talked about how she is the mother of the Lilim Demons and what they all are.  In many, many ways she is not just the mother of demons, she is the mother of Basic Bestiary II: Demons & Devils.  It was because of the Lilim that I wanted my own demon monster book.

While the Lilim have appeared in other books of mine, namely Eldritch Witchery (with Lilith on the cover), The Warlock, and The Daughters of Darkness, I have been tinkering with them for much longer than that.  

In 2014 I talked about her relationship with witches and then expanded on that in Daughters of Darkness.  Here I listed her as "Chaotic Evil."  In Eldritch Witchery she is just "Evil" and in The Warlock she is "Chaotic."  This is all well and good, but it doesn't really fit with her does it?  Lilith certainly has a lot of chaotic attributes, but I see her more as Neutral Evil.  She may not have started out as Evil, but as they say, sometimes you play the hand dealt to you.  I am still going back and forth on NE or CE at the moment.

Lilith by John Collier
Lilith
aka Mother of Demons, Mother of Monsters, the First Woman, Queen of Night
Medium Fiend (Lilim)

Frequency: Unique
Number Appearing: 1
Alignment: Chaotic [Neutral Evil]
Movement: 90' (30') [9"]
 Fly: 180' (60') [18"]
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 19d8+76***** (162 hp)
THAC0: 7 (+12)
Attacks: special (see below)
Damage: See below
Special: See below
Save: Witch 19
Morale: 12 (-)
Treasure Hoard Class: Special
XP: 7,750 (OSE) 8,000 (LL)

Lilith was the first human woman. She rebelled against the gods that created her and now controls armies of demons.  The gods won't work against her or strike her down because she knows all their True Names. This makes her the most dangerous creature in the universe. Long and ancient pacts between Lilith, demons, devils and the gods keep an uneasy balance of power.  If Lilith were to truly seek out the power just within her grasp, the gods themselves would know fear.

Lilith is also the mother of monsters.  She is the mother of demons, having spawned so many, but she is also the mother of vampires and many say, witches. She rejects these titles and her many offspring.  The only ones she is even remotely interested in are the Lilim, the so-called Daughters of Lilith. 

Queen Lilith never openly attacks.   She considers combat beneath Her and will not partake in it.  Her arena is intrigue, guile, and deception.  Why fight when a cup laced with poison or a dagger in the night is much quicker.  If forced into combat she can summon pretty much any demon she likes except for the Baalor and Baalroch demons.  If it comes down to it, Lilith can cast spells as 20th level Witch of the Demonic Tradition, though she has access to every witch spell known.

As the mother of all Lilim, she shares their powers and weaknesses.

Damage types: Acid (Full), Cold (Half), Electricity/Lightning (None),  Fire, magical (Half), Fire, non-magical (None), Gas, poisonous (None), Iron Weapon (Full),  Magic / Arcane Blast (Full), Poison (None), Silvered Weapon (Half).  

Powers (at will): Charm person or Charm monster, Darkvision, ESP, Hold Person, Immune to fear, Night Vision, Shapeshift (human, demonic, spirit), Suggestion, Telepathy, and Teleport.

Three times a day she can cast fireball, lightning bolt, and wall of fire. One a week she can grant a wish. She can see perfectly in darkness of any kind. Lilith can summon 1d4+4 lilitu demons with a 100% chance. 

She always appears as a young, very attractive woman.  Most often with long flaming red hair.  It is claimed her true form is that of an ancient hag with long, but sparse wild black hair, talons, fangs, and the wings and the feet of a predatory bird.  Either or neither could be her true form. She can shapeshift to any form she likes at will. Her telepathy allows her to assume a form the viewer most desires.

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

--

OK! My first major demon.  REALLY gets me into the mood to work more on the demon book.  But I still have the BB1 to finish first.  Plus doing this entry makes me realize how much more groundwork needs to be done on the demons and the regular monsters still. 

Her AKA line includes her titles, whether she likes them or not.

In the Hit Dice line she has 5 stars, which means she has five special abilities that contribute to her combat power and thus raise her XP value.  I am not sure if she is 5 or not.  Once I get done with all my monsters I will survey them and edit them appropriately. 

There are details here, such as her Lilim powers, that will be offloaded from her entry and put into the Lilim entry proper.  I just needed it here for now.

April 2021 A to Z

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

#AtoZChallenge2021: K is for Kelpie

Another "revised" monster today.  This one though is a revision of a monster that appeared back in the AD&D Fiend Folio from 1981.   Now I loved the Fiend Folio. While the Monster Manual was the first D&D book I ever looked at, the Fiend Folio was the first hardcover monster book I ever bought.  I would use it with my Basic and Expert Sets (Moldvay/Cook) and that would be my game.

One creature though I more or less ignored until I began reading Celtic myths was the Kelpie.

Now in the Fiend Folio, the monster Kelpie is a plant-like creature that is only superficially related to the Scottish Kelpie.  In fact, the creature in the FF has more to do with kelp (as in seaweed) than a kelpie.  So I figure I would update the creature a bit.

The Kelpie by Thomas Millie Dow, 1895
Kelpie
aka Water Horse
Medium Fey (Aquatic, Monstrous)

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1d4)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 90' (30') [9"]
   Swim: 120' (40') [12"]
Armor Class: 3 [16]
Hit Dice: 6d8+6* (33 hp)
THAC0: 12 (+7)
Attacks: grab
Damage: NA
Special: Charm, Shapeshift, Water breathing
Save: Monster 6
Morale: 8 (10)
Treasure Hoard Class: XIX (D) 
XP: 650 (OSE) 680 (LL)

The kelpie, also known as a water horse, is a shape-shifting creature of the fey that lures men to their watery lairs to their deaths.  The kelpie can appear as a beautiful woman, a handsome lad, a magnificent horse, or in its true form, a skinless, blood and slime-coated monster that combines the features of both humanoid and horse.   They live in dark and dangerous rivers and fast-moving streams.

The kelpie can only attack with its charming song which attacks like a powerful Charm Person spell. The kelpie will charm the person to approach her, in either her nymph or horse form. Once she gets her victim into the water she wraps herself around them with her strong limbs and drags them to the bottom of her lair where they drown. Victims are allowed a save vs. Spells at a -2 due to the power of the kelpie's song.  Once in the "arms" of the kelpie, the victim will need to make a simple Strength check (roll a d20 to roll under their strength score). They may attempt this in the first round they are underwater. They may recheck each round at a cumulative +2 penalty (added to their roll) each round hereafter. So +2 in round two, +4 in round three.  Once the penalty is greater than the victim's strength they drown.  

A kelpie in humanoid or horse form can move about the land but are recognizable by a few signs. In humanoid form, their hair always seems wet and they will wear a silver chain around their neck. In equine form, their hooves will appear to be backward from that of normal horses. They must return to their watery lair each new moon.  While in their humanoid or equine shape they may be "turned" by a cleric.  This turning treats them as a 6 HD creature, but they are not undead.  On a successful turning check, the Kelpie will revert back to their normal form and must get to her watery lair. All charm effects she has cast at that point end.

The Kelpie appears to be related to the nøkk of colder more northern waters.  They share a certain number of similarities, but the nøkk is not evil. 

Each-uisge. This creature is related to the kelpie and is if anything more monstrous and evil. Where the kelpie lives in rivers and streams, the each-uisge lives in lakes (lochs).  While it is unknown what the kelpie does with the humans she kills, the each-uisge has been known to eat its prey.

--

Updates.  

In the description line, the kelpie gets both an Aquatic and a Monstrous descriptor.

Since the Kelpie has better than average strength (14 in this case) I updated my THAC0 calculations to support Strength bonuses. This will not change most of my monsters since most have average strength.  But it will change others and give monsters in this book an edge over their counterparts in other books.   Of course, the Kelpie doesn't cause HP damage so her strength is not a factor in that.   

This is also one of the first "Variations" I have posted that don't require a full second set of stats, like the Faun and Greater Faun from last Wednesday.  The each-uisge is essentially the same creature, stats-wise, just from a different location and temperament.

Contrast this with the nøkk which is a similar creature but of a completely different temperament and nature.  While I could have used the same stats (and they are similar) they are different enough to make them a completely separate entry.  This means I should do a Nuckelavee too.


April 2021 A to Z


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

#AtoZChallenge2021: F is for Faun

My interest in RPGs and D&D, in particular, came from my love of Greek myths.  I was already a fan of Greek myths when I first picked up a copy of the AD&D Monster Manual all the way back in 1979.   So I could not in good conscious even think about bringing a new monster book to life if it did not somehow honor both my love for those old myths and that original book.   So to that end, here is the Faun, a creature from Greek/Roman myths and related to the satyr of those myths and the Monster Manual.

Faun by Pál Szinyei Merse

Faun
Medium Fey

   Faun  Greater Faun
Frequency:   Very Rare  Very Rare
Number Appearing:   1d4 (1d8)  1d2 (1d6)
Alignment:   Neutral (Chaotic Good)   Neutral (Chaotic Neutral)
Movement:   120' (40') [12"]  180' (60') [18"]
Armor Class:   6 [13]  4 [15]
Hit Dice:   1d8+1* (6 hp)
 4d8+4* (22 hp)
THAC0:   18 (+1)  15 (+4)
Attacks:   1 weapon, song  1 weapon, song
Damage:   1d6  1d6+1
Special:   Song, fey qualities   Song, fey qualities
Save:   Elf 1  Elf 4
Morale:   8 (8)  8 (10)
Treasure Hoard Class:   XVI (G)  XVI (G)
XP:   15 (OSE), 15 (LL)   200 (OSE), 215 (LL)

Fauns are fae people of the forest who love to entertain guests and go on dangerous quests. They can be rash and temperamental, and sometimes are reckless with the powers of their music. They are friendlier to men than most faeries, though are quickly angered by the destruction of woodland.  Fauns, like satyrs, are the male counterparts to nymphs and dryads.  When not playing music or drinking they are usually found chasing after nymphs.  The offspring of a faun and nymph is a satyr if male and a nymph if female.  As a creature of the fey, the faun is vulnerable to iron. They take double damage from any weapon made from cold iron.  Additionally, they are immune to the effects of charm, sleep or hold spells unless they are cast by another fey creature of greater level/HD.

Fauns are the wilder cousins of the satyr.  Like satyrs, they are rarely surprised (1 on a 1d8).  Fauns all play musical instruments like pan pipes, flutes, or drums.  If a faun plays everyone that hears must make a save vs. Spells or be affected by an Irresistible Dance spell. If the faun is with a mixed group of satyrs then their song of charm, fear, or sleep can also be in effect, with separate saves.  

A faun will engage in combat to protect their lands, their fellow fauns, and nymphs or their herds of goats.  Typically a faun is very much the stereotype of a lover and not a fighter.  They can be bribed with wine, the stronger the better.  

A faun appears to be much like a satyr.  They are medium-sized with human-like broad hairy chests and muscular arms.  Their lower half is that of a goat.  Their faces are a combination of elf and goat with elongated faces, goat-like years and horns, and a beard. 

Greater Faun:  Greater Fauns are the larger and wilder varieties of fauns and satyrs.  They are stronger and tougher than normal fauns and will act as leaders.   Greater Fauns will claim descent from some god, typically Pan or some other primal nature diety. 

Each greater faun has a True Name. Anyone that knows the True Name of a greater faun has power over him as per the spell Suggestion

Some greater fauns are shamans and can also cast spells as a 2nd level druid.

--

So a tabled monster block today with two varieties.  These are proper fae creatures so they have the vulnerability to iron. 

Doing this table has pointed out some deficiencies in my approach though.
For starters, my Treasure Type/Horde Class needs some work.  While XVI (G) makes sense to anyone that plays Labyrinth Lord and/or OSE, it is fairly inelegant. One, XVI or G would suffice.  I guess I could just put the treasure types in the back of the book and work it out that way. 

Secondly, and this is related to the same larger issue, my XP values are also a bit of an eyesore.  Yes I am happy with the numbers I am getting.  But while OSE and LL are covered this does nothing for the GM using say Swords &Wizardry or AD&D.  I could just leave it blank, but XP listings are one of the really great things about later books and editions of the game.

Likely there will be a table in the back of the book with all the monsters listed with their XP values for various systems.  That makes the most sense.  But likely I will leave at least one there. 


April 2021 A to Z


Monday, April 5, 2021

#AtoZChallenge2021: D is for Dragon, Purple

I am SO glad I watched Dragonslayer over the weekend because it really puts me in the mood for today's monster.  

Dragons are a huge part of the games we play at home. My oldest son LOVES dragons and has, well, I have no idea how many, scattered all over the place. His games are filled with dragons.  So when I want to add new dragons to my games or books, I first turn to him.  Especially if I want a fresh take.

I remember the Purple, Yellow, and Orange dragons from Dragon Magazine 65 and then updated in Dragon magazine 248.   I included my own take on an Orange dragon in my Pumpkin Spice Witch book.   This dragon was originally conceived for my High Witchcraft book.  This is the dragon that has given us so many draconic bloodline sorcerers.

Dragon Henry Justice Ford
Dragon, Purple

aka Draco Arcanis Occultis, Arcane Dragon
Huge Dragon

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Neutral Evil]
Movement: 180' (60') [18"]
  Fly: 240' (80') [24"]
  Burrow: 90' (30') [9"]
Armor Class: 0 [19]
Hit Dice: 10d8+20* (65 hp)
  Huge: 10d12+20** (85 hp)
THAC0: 11 (+8)
Attacks: 2 claws, 1 bite, + special
Damage: 1d6+3x2, 2d8+3
Special: Breath weapon (magical energy), dragon fear, low-light vision (120’), magic use
Save: Monster 10
Morale: 10 (10)
Treasure Hoard Class: XV (H) 
XP: 2,300 (OSE) 2,400 (LL)

Habitat: Underground or Urban areas
Probability Asleep: 25% 
Probability of Speech: 100%
Breath Weapon: 75’ long, 5' wide beam of magical energy
Spells: First: 3, Second: 3, Third: 3, Fouth: 2, Fifth: 1

Purple dragons are a very rare mutation among prismatic dragons.  They are born mostly to red, blue, or black dragons and rarely among green or white. Even then only 5% of all dragon births can result in a purple dragon.  It is believed they are born most often in areas of high magic.  Since all of the prismatic dragons are very vain, the wyrmling purple is often abandoned. Green dragons usually kill them outright.  The ones that survive learn that their most important weapon is guile, trickery, and deceit. 

Like all dragons, the purple can fight with its claws and bite. Their breath weapon is a 75' long beam of magical energy. They will also fight with spells in any form. 

The purple dragons are among the smartest of all dragon-kind. They will always speak and use magic. They can cast spells as a magic-user/wizard of 9th level. These dragons are fond of casting Polymorph Self  (fourth level) and masquerading as a human.  In this form, they will be found living in cities where they will often study magic and accumulate wealth.  Their lairs will have an underground area where they will keep their treasures and sleep in their dragon form.

These dragons are very solitary in regards to other dragons, but they do keep humanoids nearby. These are often servants, slaves, thralls, and the occasional victim.  They have been known to also become the patrons of Draconic Warlocks and Witches.  Wizards will also seek them out for advanced training in the magical arts.  A purple dragon can speak draconic, common, its alignment language, and up to four more languages.  Typically elven is learned. 

--

This block has the extra details needed for dragons.  Additionally, we see our first Huge creature.  It can use the normal d8 for hp if you wish to stick to the rules of your particular Basic game, or you can use a d12 instead to reflect its larger size. In the case of this 10 HD monster, the difference is 20 hp.

April 2021 A to Z


AND

If you are doing the A to Z Challenge Scavenger Hunt, you just found a Dragon!



Tuesday, March 14, 2017

To A2Z or Not To A2Z

So we are coming up on April.  Insane I know.

This is the time of year I start going into blogging overdrive to get posts together for the annual Blogging from A to Z blogfest.

I have participated every year since 2011.  It is a lot of work and ultimately enjoyable.
But it is a lot of work.

In addition to posting something A to Z I have been part of a team that helps other bloggers do their A to Z, I visit scores of sites every day to post on others blogs and try to squeeze in a post or two above and beyond normal.

This year I am just not feeling it.

I have a lot of projects that need to get done that need my attention.
I have other work I have been doing that also is making demands on my time.

Plus I am not blind to my traffic numbers. I see I get a bump from outside my normal postings, but the engagement isn't there.  I feel like with the A to Z I am ignoring my regular reader in favor of new readers that really don't stay on.  I could be wrong about that, but I am basing it on posting behavior and my Google Analytics data.

My plan this year had been Free (or Cheap) RPGs. Knowing what I know about my audiences I wanted to try to get people that are not gamers into playing with a low barrier to entry.    I like being an ambassador of gaming, but I also know I can get more people to play if I just sat up shop a couple weekends a year at my FLGS and ran demos.

I don't know.
What do you think?

Are you going to miss me doing the A to Z this year?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

I Survived the 2016 A to Z Challenge...

but just barely.



I had known for a while what I wanted to do this year and as far as posting goes I got it.  It was fun to share my thoughts and read others thoughts and remembrances of this old (and some new) adventures.  While I focused on the top 30 Best, I also looked at others.  In the end, they are all adventures I will either run or have run in the past.  I had a great time.

There were also a lot of great blogs in this Challenge, and I didn't get anywhere close to visiting them all.  I didn't even get to visit all the blogs I had really wanted to visit.  Lots of reasons for that, but mostly it was work related.

Next Year

Every year I struggle with the questions "Do I do this again?" and "What should I do?".
I have done "Witches", "Vampires" and "Demons" already. I have considered "Undead" and have many of the creatures already picked out.  That could be fun and I have this old red notebook full of undead creatures I created back in the 80s that have never seen the light of day anywhere else.

One of my own goals for this Challenge is to spread the word of our little hobby here.  I don't have to guess, I can look at my analytics and I know my audience shifts in April.  I get a lot of new people coming in from the Challenge.  This is my time to speak to people outside of our little corner of the internet. I want to evangelize our hobby.

I think doing a month where I focus on different OSR game might be nice, but I had done something like that in 2012.  Are there even enough OSR games/products with all the different letters?  Can't think of "Q" at the moment unless I cheat and do something with "Queen" again. Though I do have X and Z figured out, so that is something.

The point of that sort of posting would be to get someone that is new and put them on the path to a game they could play.  I buy and hand out copies of "Basic Fantasy" all the time, but I can get so many more people here.

I suppose the criteria for me would be these would have to be complete games and OSR ones are preferred.  I guess I could start a list.

What would you all like to see?
You are the reader, what would bring you back each day?




Saturday, April 30, 2016

A to Z of Adventure! Z is for Zanzer's Dungeon

Z is for Zanzer's Dungeon.

Here we are once again at the end of the A to Z challenge.



Z, like some other letters here, does not signify a module code.  In this case there is an obvious choice.  Back in the early 90s the D&D brand was in transition.  There was the Dungeons & Dragons line, with rule-books named Basic, Expert, Companion, Masters, and Immortal (BECMI) and a single book Rules Cyclopedia that combined the first four.  Then there was the completely separate Advanced Dungeons & Dragons line which had rules-books named Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide and Monstrous Manual.  These books were in their 2nd Edition.
Confusing?  Yeah it was to us too.

In 1991 TSR, the then publisher of D&D released their newest, and what would be one of their last, in the "Basic" sets. The set was called "The New Easy-to-Master Dungeons & Dragons Game" but gamers often called it the "Black Box".  The adventure inside was a bit of preview of things to soon come.  Zanzer's Dungeon was laid out like a board game complete with little plastic minis for the characters and paper fold top minis for monsters.  This was compatible with the BECMI flavor of D&D and worked as a replacement for the Basic Set and an introduction to the Rules Cyclopedia.


While the game was highly praised for it ease of use and intuitiveness. I never bothered getting it at the time.  I picked up my copy (pictured here) many years later as a means to teach my kids how to play.  Turns out they learned like I did...just by playing.


The board-game like play area is welcoming to new players.  Now they can see what they are doing.
Persoanlly that annoyed me because for years my rule books would say that you don't need a board, only your imagination!  Though today I use tiles and maps just like this.

In fact Zanzer's Dungeon here is the same scale as the maps used in 3rd and 4th edition D&D (and 5th if you care to), so the minis we have been using will work here too.



This set would later be expanded with the Dragon's Den boxed set, which was also board game "shaped".



One day I'll use these as an intro game for something.  Better than them collecting dust on my shelves!

Friday, April 29, 2016

A to Z of Adventure! Y is for YS

Y is for YS1 The Outpost of the Outer Ones.

There are no classic adventures that have a Y or a Y-related code.
Thankfully there is an adventure that does have a Y code, YS1, and it is set up very much like the classic adventures.  Created for OSRIC it can be played using AD&D 1st Edition.

YS1 The Outpost of the Outer Ones was written by Jeremy Reaban. I have featured some of his products here in the past.

Y in this case might stand for Yuggoth, which is the home-world of the Mi-Go, or at least one of their outposts.  This adventure, designed for characters 6th to 10th level for any old-school game, heavily features the Mi-Go.  While he describes it as a "Science fiction" "dungeon crawl" only a tiny bit of work is needed to make this one horror or a mystery.  Afterall, people are going missing, strangers are showing up in town and there is that whole eerie cave system.

Like most of the old-school adventures, this one is light on plot and heavy on the dungeon crawl atmosphere, and that is by design really.  The adventure is simple enough but there is so much more that can be done with it if you want.  Note: I should point out this is NOT a criticism of  the adventure, quite the opposite really.
So basically the Mi-Go are in town and they are doing what the Mi-Go do, removing brains from bodies and putting them into other bodies or their special cylinders.  The brains stay alive and are even immortal after a fashion.  They are also experimenting on the local fauna.  A couple of things in this adventure jumped out as me as hitting that 70's/80's nostalgia sweet spot. There is a Flumph the Mi-go can't figure out. A bionic Sasquatch! (I mean really, was this written just for me?) I biologic towel, a Valley Girl brain, and this whole "Escape to Witch Moutain" vibe about it.  There is a witch and Swanmay in it as well.

Personally I would take Jeremy's advice and expand the module a bit.  Have the party meet the old witch Gwen in her "old" form, but then encounter her again when she is in one of the brain jars and then again when she is in her new body.  Also, I'd make all the Mi-Go's human form all look roughly the same; perfect, blonde, blue eyes, devoid of any real personality.  Like something out of Village of the Damned.  Liked they learned how to be human by reading it in a book.
I'd also make their plans a little more nefarious. This is a scout group looking to colonize this planet.  Makes that bionic Bigfoot look a little more scary if you ask me!

Obviously, a good companion to this adventure would be Jeremy's own OSR Warlock. Make Gwen a warlock AND the one responsible for bringing the Mi-Go here.  I'd also play it under Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  Give it that "colder and darker" feel that AS&SH can provide.  Plus there are already a number of good Lovecraft Mythos beasties in that game.

My biggest issue with this adventure is where do I use it?  I have so many choices to be honest.  I could easily slot it in as a "Monster of the Week" story, but that would sell it's potential short. I could make it part of a larger campaign, but I would also want the Mi-Go to be more that just a one shot.

In any case I know this will be a fun one.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A to Z of Adventure! X is for Expert.

X is for Expert.

This is not some attempt to grift the Challenge.  The Expert Set adventures were given the code X.
Of course, the most famous of these is X1, The Isle of Dread.

I got this adventure along with my Expert set back in the early 80s.  It is an obvious King Kong homage, but it is a great one.  It is another one of those adventures that people keep coming back to time and time again.
Maybe second only to B2 and B1 in terms of numbers of players, but The Isle of Dread is one of the best Basic-era adventures out there.  In today's frame of mind the adventure is equal parts Pirates of the Caribean, King Kong, and Jurassic Park.  It is a heady cauldron of tropes, ideas and just plain crazy fun.  It was included in the original Expert set and it still had expanded maps and more creatures.  I never understood why the creatures where not just in the main book, but it did make the module special.
What was so nice about X1 over B2 is you had the feel it was more integrated into the Expert rules; it felt like a logical extension.

This is also the first published adventure I ever ran for my son.  Up to this point I had ran ones I had made up for him.  He was young (6 or 7) and adventures like "Cave of the Stinky Goblin" or "Trouble in West Haven" were more appropriate for him.  But X1 had the great big dinosaur on it and he loved dinosaurs.

We had a blast. To me, 20 some odd years later, it felt like a very different adventure.  There is a lot of untapped potential here. Enough for several adventures really.
Later on I bought my son his own copy to run sometime.  It was also the first time that my kids began to recognize Tom Moldvay's name on the covers of adventures.

X2: Castle Amber
Another one of my "holy grail" items. I managed to score a copy when I moved to Chicago.
There is so much to love about this adventure, but I have detailed it all before in these pages.
Again, this is another Tom Moldvay adventure and we all loved it.

The other X modules came out a bit later and were more tied to the newer Frank Mentzer-edited Expert Set, as opposed to the Cook-Marsh-edited set I had owned. (I guess these modules should have really been called "E" for expert then). Of these I only later owned Quagmire.  I got it cheap at a used book store in Carbondale, IL.  I completely gutted the module and only kept the tower and swamp.

X3 Curse of Xanathon
X4 Master of the Desert Nomads
X5 Temple of Death
X6 Quagmire!
X7 The War Rafts of Kron
X8: Drums on Fire Mountain
X9: The Savage Coast
X10 Red Arrow, Black Shield
X11 Saga of the Shadow Lord
X12 Skarda's Mirror

In particular, I would like to get print copies of X4 and X5 for my Second Campaign game.  Saga of the Shadow Lord also sounds like a lot of fun!

This is my problem...too many great games/adventures and so little time.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A to Z of Adventure! W is for World of Greyhawk

W is for World of Greyhawk.

The WG or World of Greyhawk adventures take place, naturally, in the World of Greyhawk.  This was the default setting of most of the 1st Edition AD&D adventures, and explicitly so for T, A, G, D and Q.
The first named adventure was WG4 The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, which I covered briefly on "S" day.  But wait, if it is the first why is it numbered "WG4"?    Well according to the ole' Wikipedia "WG1 was earmarked for The Village of Hommlet (T1), and WG2 was earmarked for The Temple of Elemental Evil (T1-4). WG3 was to be Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (S4), a loosely tied prequel to WG4."  So they do make a series of sorts.

WG5 Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure is an interesting one and might just be one of the last adventures Gary wrote for AD&D1 and TSR.  It is a high-level dungeon crawl featuring a unique demon and lots and lots of hack n' slash action.  It does feel like one of the older modules (though it was out in 1984 so it is "old" as well).   I could fit in with the TAGDQ series somewhere I am sure.  It could even be another one of the alternate worlds in Q1.

I don't know much about WG6 Isle of the Ape, save that is was one of the first adventures for characters above 18th level.

I do know about WG7 Castle Greyhawk.  WG7 was supposed to be another Gygax penned adventure, but it didn't happen like that.  Instead, we got a "joke" module.  The idea was sound, the levels get harder and harder with all sorts of strange monsters.  But is was played a huge joke.  At the time (when I was 15) I thought it was funny, but even running it I knew it was bad.  In the history of D&D Castle Greyhawk was a significant part of Gary's original game. For years we were teased with Castle Greyhawk but never got one. Even today we don't have the real thing.  This makes WG7 all that much worse really.  It's too bad really. The authors of WG7 do read like a who's-who of mid 80s game designers.

Of the others, only WG12 Vale of the Mage interests me these days.  I think it is because I was looking for more information of Greyhawk and the Vale of the Mage (home of the Valley Elves. No, I am serious) was one of those places I wanted more detail on.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A to Z of Adventure! V is for Vampire Adventures

V is for Vampire Adventures.

There is no "V" series of adventures.  Which is too bad really since the obvious choice is "Vampire".
While D&D has had some notable vampires show up over the years, Strahd and Drelzna in particular.  The very, very first D&D adventure ever sold was "Palace of the Vampire Queen".

Palace of the Vampire Queen was written by Pete and Judy Kerestan back in 1976.  I should also note that the very first published adventure was also co-written by woman; so yes women have always been a vital part of this hobby.  Interesting note. The adventure is called a "kit" and not a "module"; a name that would be later used.

This adventure was always something of a holy grail for me.  I knew about it, but had only seen bits and pieces of it online.  I didn't know much more than it was the first published adventure and it was really, really rare.  Sites like the Acaeum helped fill in the blanks in what I knew and I learned more from other blogs. Here is Grognardia's take and a bit from Jeff's Game Blog.

Original copies are still very rare, but I managed to score a couple of official reprints from Pacesetter.  As well as the sequels Crypts of the Living and Castle Blood.

I have run the original PotVQ before and it was great fun.   The adventure is so barebones by even the standards of the early 80s that it is easy to use anywhere.  The next two are more "story" driven.  I have run Castle Blood, but it didn't quite live up to the promise of the Vampire Queen.
Personally I would like to take all three and recraft them into something else.  Keep the Vampire Queen elements of course, but introduce some more background.

Hitting that nostalgia feeling hard is another adventure, The Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen.

This adventure, written by +Mark Taormino might be an homage to the first Palace of the Vampire Queen adventure, but it is more likely an homage to those meat-grinder, total-party kill, fun-house dungeons of the late 70s early 80s.  There is a basic plot here, enough to get you in the door and moving along, but really this adventure is about killing things and avoiding getting killed.  Example, in one of your first encounters you have to run a gauntlet and get past a bunch of fire giants. Eight of them. And their hell hound pets.  This is "room 1".  It is downhill from there.  It has demons and other vampires in the wander monster table. Liches, demons, succubi, greater devils, nearly 50 vampires in total, tons of other monsters and of course the Queen herself, Lady Neeblack.
This is not an adventure to challenge the resolve of hardy role-players. This is an adventure to survive and leave a trail of bodies behind you.  It is old-school, but old-school through the eyes of 40-somethings looking back on their times as teens.
The adventure itself has a great lead in to get you interested, but that is just the carrot on a stick, most people buying and playing this module are going to want to jump right in.  Another example (this is not a spoiler), you are captured by Lady Neeblack and told you have to run through her crypts for her amusement.  The conceit is the characters will feel coerced into doing this, so they slide down a passage to the previously mentioned Fire Giants.  In truth my players wanted to jump in like they were doing a dive at the pool.

Though to claim people will play this for nostalgia reasons is completely unfair.  Mark did a great job of this. The rooms are detailed and what detail!  There are interesting encounters and Lady Neeblack herself should really move up the ranks as one of the more memorable NPCs ever.  In fact I am hoping that she comes back for a sequel sometime soon.  Just like a good Hammer villain she should find ways to come back from the dead.  +Mark Taormino, this needs to happen.
The text of the book is big, easy to read and despite the "old school" claims still has boxed text to read (screw you Grognards! I still like boxed text even when I don't use it.)  Each room is unique and feels like it belongs.  Plus the "Hanging Coffins" themselves are the coolest idea in vampire graves since the Lost Boys.

The proof of any adventure is not in the reading, but in the playing.  So I played it. It rocked.
Now the game is designed for OSRIC, but can played with 1st or 2nd Ed AD&D.   I played it with 5th Edition D&D.  I just replaced the monsters and made a character sheet for Lady Neeblack.   I ran the same group of people that I had taken through the original Palace of the Vampire Queen and we all treated it as an unofficial sequel.  I worked out well enough.  We all had fun, but if this module reads as a deathtrap on paper it's a killer in the playing. So make of that what you like.
Personally I would love to run it again using AD&D1.


I have two perfect succubi from the recent Pathfinder demon sets that are perfect for  "Sin" and "Diabolica".   The Reaper Bones Female Vampire figure makes for a perfect Lady Neeblack.  The mini is listed as "Naomi" for the metal version. So the Vampire Queen must be Lady Naomi Neeblack!  Sure. Why not.

If I ever re-run this I will do it under AD&D1 as it was meant for.  I fear that D&D5 reduces the power levels of the characters a bit at the highest levels.  Though there is great flexibility in D&D 5.
For example in the adventure there are 8 Fire Giants waiting for you when you enter the pits.  They have 93 hp and do 5d6 damage per attack.  Their D&D 5 counterparts have 160 hp (iirc) and do a lot more damage.  Character can heal faster in D&D5 yes, but their starting hp is still not much better than their AD&D1 counterparts.  Rogues get a d8 vs Thieves d6.  So yeah. Meat Grinder.

I will say this.  If you enjoyed Tomb of Horrors then this will be right up your alley.
In any case this is one of those adventures that will have your players talking for a long time.

One I would like to take all these and combine them in a longer campaign, or part of a campaign.



I have also been seriously considering replacing the "vampire world" in Q1 with Hanging Coffins and make it my own Q2.  Queen of the Demonweb meet the Vampire Queen!

Monday, April 25, 2016

A to Z of Adventure! U is for UK Series (or Underwater)

U is for UK Series (or Underwater).

The U series is a fascinating one for me.  First the editor was Don Turnbull, whom I knew from White Dwarf and the Fiend Folio.  I also knew these all came from England, or the United Kingdom rather and to my mind in 80s England was the home of everything awesome. (Point of fact: I am eating English pub style fish and chips as I write this!)

Though originally I thought the U stood for "Underwater".  Then I was told it was for UK.  Turns out I was right the first time!

Regardless of why they were called this these adventures felt different to me. Much like the L series did.  For starters there was more thinking involved.  You could not get by with just hitting things and taking their stuff.  You had to investigate, figure things out.  There is an enemy to be discovered, but it will be mostly through negotiations that the characters will survive.

U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh
U2 Danger at Dunwater
U3 The Final Enemy

For me these are perfect modules/adventures to get people into after they have played a campaign of D&D and now want to try something a little different.  For me, I consider these the first adventures of my so-called "Second Campaign".

Like the other adventures I have mentioned in the Second Campaign I want to run this using the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea rules rather than D&D.  Just something to give the monsters a more alien threat to them.
I might also swap out  Day of Al'Akbar for the Nameless City.

I have these three modules on my shelf. Unplayed. That's a freaking crime.