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

Monday, October 18, 2021

Monstrous Monday: Sennentuntschi

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

Thankfully I now have the movie to help me out. 

Sennentuntschi
Sennentuntschi

Medium Construct (demonic) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 11, 2021

Monstrous Monday: Doppelgänger, Pod

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--

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

Monday, October 4, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Alchemical Zombie

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

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

Zombie
Zombie, Alchemical

Medium Undead* 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--

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

Monday, September 20, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Opinicus

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

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

Opinicus
Opinicus

Large beast (magical)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 13, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Bad Idea Dept. Fiend Folio II

Fiend Folio
I should be working on monsters. I have ones to do for my Basic Bestiary. I have ones to do the Night Companion (ok, those are basically done).  But this is my busy time at the day job so there has not been  a lot of time to work on monsters.

So why not add some more work on top of it all!

I was rereading the Fiend Folio the other day as inspiration for my books and it dawned on me that we never got, despite an abundance of monsters, a Fiend Folio II.

So I was looking over all my magazines and thought there could be enough monsters.  Between White Dwarf #2 and #75 there are about 380 total monsters.  Some of those are already part of the Fiend Folio's 188 monsters.  If I needed more I could even use Imagine Magazine's 50 or so monsters.

What is my awful idea?  

I'd like to put together my own Fiend Folio II.  

This is obviously not for publication or profit. Just so I can have it sitting on my desk. I keep my Lulu-made "orange spine" Fiend Folio on my desk as my "working" copy.  This would be the same.  I already used the cover depicted above for my Lulu pod. So I'd need something different by Jeff Easley.

Again. This would just be for my own benefit, but I would want to re-write it all to make it flow better. Much like Turnbull did with the FFI.  

It sounds like a really fun project.  More to the point it sounds like something fun to have.

I know there is a so-called "Fiend Folio II" to be found online. It just collects the various Fiend Factory articles into a single PDF.  Not really what I want. 

Trouble is, something like this will take some time to do, time that I could be using to get the Basic Bestiary out.  Unless of course doing this gives me better insight into how to do better monsters.

Monday, September 6, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Hamingja

Let's get back to this!  A month off has made me a little rusty in my monster-making skills.  Today's monster comes to me from a few sources.  I spent my summer rereading a lot of my old psych textbooks and I decided to take a break and pick a bit of fluff about a guardian angel.  I had no intention of doing anything with it, just a little a bit of enjoyable fluff.

Also, I am going to be spending a lot of time with some Norse myths and I wanted a creature today that I had not already done or seen a hundred times.  The answer came to me in the form of the Hamingja.

Hamingja
Hamingja

Medium Outsider (Angel)

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Lawful [Chaotic Good]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
  Flying 180' (60') [18"]
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 10d8+40**** (85 hp)
Attacks: 1 weapon (sword +1)
Damage: 1d8+3
Special: Astral projection, etherealness, fly, invisibility, luck, magic resistance 40% 
Save: Fighter 10
Morale: 12 (NA)
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 3,700 (OSE) 3,800 (LL)

Str: 16 (+2) Dex: 16 (+2) Con: 20 (+4) Int: 13 (+1) Wis: 14 (+2) Cha: 20 (+4)

Hamingja are akin to guardian angels. They appear as do valkyries, strong beautiful warrior women.  But where the valkyries guardian the souls of the dead, the Hamingja are guardians of the living.  

Each Hamingja exists to protect one family.  They provide protection against supernatural and mundane attacks that target the family.  They have an innate sense of which attacks are in need of their protection and which ones are not.  So do not defend every attack, only ones that will ensure their charge does not die until their time as decreed by the Norns. 

Unless they are needed the Hamingja will remain invisible. They will remain hidden in this way until they are needed.  They typically act by increasing the ambient luck of their charges.  Typically this translates to general +1 or +5% to any rolls their charges rolls. If their charge is attacked and the Norns have decreed this is when they will die the Hamingja will stay invisible until their charge is dead.  They will then fly their soul to their appropriate place in the afterlife. They will then return to serve another member of the same family.  If the Norns have not so decreed, then they will defend their charge with their swords.  

The name Hamingja name means "happiness" or "joy" and their overall goal is to make the lives of their charges happier. 

Monday, August 9, 2021

#RPGaDAY2021 Day 9 Medium

RPGaDAY2021 Day 9

It's a Monstrous Monday and it is also Medium day for the #RPGaDAY. 

Day 9 Medium

Most of my monsters in the various Basic Bestiary are Medium-sized.  This works out well for a number of reasons, but mostly it is a boon for something I had been wanting to do for a while.

In D&D 5 monsters have different HD die types depending on their size.  It works out like this.

Table: Size Categories
Size Space Hit Die
Tiny 2½ by 2½ ft. d4
Small 5 by 5 ft. d6
Medium 5 by 5 ft. d8
Large 10 by 10 ft. d10
Huge 15 by 15 ft. d12
Gargantuan 20 by 20 ft. or larger d20

So Medium monsters use the common d8 for hit dice and the truly monstrous Gargantuan creature gets a d20.  While AD&D and Basic D&D went more for larger creatures having more HD this works for what I call the giant baby problem.  A gigantic creature can have a lot of hit points, but no combat ability, two things that HD covers. 

I also like this idea for personal reasons.  When I moved from Basic D&D to Advanced D&D I often used a d10 for monster hit points and not the RAW d8.  I figured the monsters had to be more "advanced" so they got more hp.  I also rationalized this with the fact that Basic fighters use d8 for hp, and Advanced fighters used d10.  Of course on average, this is only 1 extra point per HD, but I liked it all the same.

3e and 4e also used different die types for hit dice, but these were different for different types of monsters.  I like the 5e way of using these for size. 

You might have seen these in some of my write-ups.  The Mad Hatter Goblin is a small creature. I list it's standard HD is 2 and it's average hp from a d8 and it's Con mod is 9 +2 or 11.  As a small creature, the same 2 HD and +2 con mod gives the creature an average hp of 7 +2 or 9.   Sure not a lot of difference, but enough over the long run. 

I am presenting both sets for people that want to use my "Advanced" set of size-based hp calculations or the standard RAW ones.   I have been using this for a while now and while there might not be a significant difference in the play of the vast majority of monsters, the ones it does affect really affects them.

I hope people, especially in the OSR crowds, take to the change.


RPGaDAY2021


Monday, July 26, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Shadowcat

Here is another monster that has been rolling around in the back of my head for a bit. I am fairly certain I came up with this one while reading old Dragon magazines back in the day.  It is not 100% original, but then again nothing ever is. My take on it though I think is unique or at least new enough to merit a posting of it today.

I imagine this creature is distantly related to the Displacer Beast, but for OGL reasons I can't claim that. 

Artwork © 2021 Eric Lofgren, used with permission. All rights reserved. Sale #30805661
Artwork © 2021 Eric Lofgren, used with permission.
All rights reserved.
Shadowcat
Large Beast, Magical

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1d4 (1d4)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Neutral]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
  Flying 180' (60') [18"]
Armor Class: 1 [18]
Hit Dice: 7d8+7**** (39 hp)
  Large 7d10**** (46 hp)
Attacks: 2 claws, 1 bite
Damage: 1d6+2 x2, 1d8+2
Special: Fly, etherealness, hide in shadows (90%), magic resistance 30%, senses (night vision, smell), speech, telepathy 
Save: Monster 7
Morale: 10 (12)
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 2,050 (OSE) 2,100 (LL)

Str: 16 (+2) Dex: 18 (+3) Con: 13 (+1) Int: 12 (0) Wis: 12 (0) Cha: 14 (+2)


Shadowcats are, as the name implies, great cats from the plane of shadow.  They manifest in physical form on the mortal planes but can become ethereal at will.   They appear as large cats, usually panthers or lions, with shadow black coats and large bat-like wings. They can walk or fly as they choose. Shadowcats have telepathic abilities they use to communicate amongst themselves and can use it to learn the language of anyone they come in contact with. They can then speak using human languages.  Despite appearances, Shadowcats are not related to Lamassu, though they may be distantly related to sphinxes. 

Shadowcats are experts in stealth. Their superior abilities to sense prey via smell, night vision, and even taste means they can surprise on a roll of 4-6 on a d6.  Likewise, they are only surprised themselves on a 1 on a d6.   Shadowcats come to the mortal realms to hunt prey. They are carnivores and prefer to hunt magical beasts though they have been known to hunt humanoids from time to time.  

They are intelligent creatures but driven by the hunt. They will attack with a claw/claw/bite routine, often stalking their prey on the ground and then using their wings to jump and attack from above.  When fighting they typically keep their wings folded up to prevent them from becoming damaged.

A group of shadowcats is called a "pard" with an alpha female, 1 to 2 breeding males, and the rest younger male and female offspring.  Both males and females will hunt, only the alpha female does not hunt.  A pard will venture to the mortal planes to partake in a hunt that usually lasts 2 to 3 months then they will return.  Younger males are always challenging the older male for breeding rights and if a single shadowcat is encountered it will be an outcast male.  Shadowcats have no need for or interest in treasure.  

Sometimes a shadowcat can be employed by a chaotic wizard or demon lord of sufficient power.  As natives of the plane of shadow any spell that can bind a creature from other planes can be used on a single (usually independent male) shadowcat.  Members of a pard cannot be bound.  These bound shadowcats will typically agree on a length of service if they are also allowed the freedom to hunt as they choose.  Larger specimens can be used as mounts.

Shadowcats and Shedu despise each other.  This has little to do with alignment. The shadowcat's telepathic abilities can be heard by the shedu and vice versa. Heard might be putting it mildly, the abilities of one interfere with the other.  Also, the shedu are often offended at the actions of the shadowcat; choosing prey to hunt.  Shadowcats find the shedu to be pompous and arrogant.  While their fights will rarely become more than grandstanding threats, a large pard has been known to attack a shedu.  Often the shedu's greater magical ability, and their ability to make strong allies, give them the edge. 

Monday, July 19, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Qliphoth, Gamaliel

One of the things I am most looking forward to in my Basic Bestiaries is developing new and different demonic lineages. One of these I have spoken about in the past is the Qliphoth.

The Qliphoth are the discarded husks of primordial beings.  It is natural to think of them like the husks or used exoskeletons of cicadas, or even the skins of snakes. Since these beings were more than mortals currently are and became even more ascended, their husks are more than just leftover skins or skeletons.

Case in point the Gamaliel.  

Gamaliel as a Sensory Homunculus

When the Primordials shed their "husks" or "peels" to be the Luminous Beings, one such husk was their dark sexual desires.  As hyper-intelligent immortal and immoral kindred, their desires were particularly dark. As they shed their evil desires their conscious and subconscious sexual desires and yearnings became the Gamaliel.

Gamaliel based on the Sensory Homunculus
Gamaliel

Medium Fiend, Qliphoth (demon)

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1d6)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Hit Dice: 6d8+6*** (45 hp)
Attacks: 2 hands, 1 tongue + special
Damage: 1d6+1 x2, 1d4+1
Special: Cause delirium, Qliphoth immunities
Save: Monster 6 
Morale: 12 (12)
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 1,250 (OSE) 1,280 (LL)

Str: 14 (+1) Dex: 14 (+1) Con: 18 (+3) Int: 12 (0) Wis: 7 (-1) Cha: 2 (-4)

The Gamaliel, or the Obscene Ones, were among the first of the Qliphoth to be formed.  They appear as medium-sized nearly humanoid-looking creatures.  Their hands, feet, lips, tongue, and sexual organs are enlarged to grotesque sizes in comparison to their otherwise small bodies.  They always appear nude as a mockery of the forms their progenitors eventually took on. They may appear as male or female.

Gamaliel lives for one thing only, sensory stimuli. They want to feel everything, touch, taste, smell and hear everything they can.  Yes, when possible they also try to copulate with anything and everything they can.  They lack the subtlety of the Liliam or Baalseraph or even the guile of Calabim or Shedim.  They are nearly mindless beasts that take no heed of anything but their own twisted desires.

They can attack with their huge hands for 1d6+1 points of damage each.  They may also attack with their tongues at 1d4+1.  Their saliva is such that anyone exposed to it via an attack or touch must save vs Paralysis or become delirious.  This state lasts for 2d6 turns in which case the victim is completely unaware of what is going on around them.  There is a 1 in 6 chance that if they were in a combat situation they will keep on fighting with melee attacks. Targets are chosen at random.

Gamaliel can be easily distracted by auditory and visual illusions. They save at a -2 penalty against such magics and can be effectively distracted long enough to be attacked. 

Like all Qliphoth Gamaliel have the following adjustments to damage types: 
Immune: Mundane/Cold Iron/Silver weapons, Poison
Half Damage (save for none): Acid, Cold, Electricity, Fire (Dragon/Magic/Mundane), Gas
Full Damage: Magic Missile, magic weapons, holy/blessed weapons

Unlike other Qliphoth death (their's or others) is not the goal of the Gamaliel.  A dead foe might have an interesting smell or touch, a live one is more interesting and you can do more with them.  For this reason, the Gamaliel are sometimes considered to be not as evil as other Qliphoth; this is a very erroneous and dangerous assumption. They are every bit as evil.  A quick death is far more merciful than being captured and becoming the plaything of a Gamaliel.

--

The mental image I had of the Gamaliel was immediate. They were life-sized versions of the "Sensory Homunculus" we used to talk about back in cognitive psychology undergrad days.  I always knew I aw going to make a monster out that one day.

They are the Qliphoth counterparts to the succubi with roughly the same HD and some powers.  As I define the Qliphoth more I might increase or decrease various abilities, powers or HD/hp. I might even make them Small sized.  Still working out all the details, but that is where the fun is!

Monday, July 12, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Goblin, Mad Hatter

Goblins are ubiquitous in many game worlds.  In some, they are a constant threat, in others a nuisance. The goblins of Lord of the Rings are pretty far removed from the ones of Labyrinth, or even the fairy tales of Grimm.  But they are always a good foil for low-level parties.  In my games goblins tend to be more Chaotic Neutral. Not evil really, but maybe a little naughty time to time.

No one though will ever confuse the Mad Hatter Goblin for anything than what it is, pure evil.

goblin and victim
Goblin, Mad Hatter
Small Humanoid (Fey)

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic Evil [Chaotic]
Movement: 90' (30') [9"]
Armor Class: 7 [12]
Hit Dice: 2d8+2* (11 hp)
  Small 2d6+2* (9 hp)
Attacks: 1 weapon
Damage: 1d6
Special: Cause Fear
Size: Small
Save: Monster 2 
Morale: 8 (NA)
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 35 (OSE) 47 (LL)

Str: 9 (0) Dex: 17 (+2) Con: 14 (+1) Int: 10 (0) Wis: 8 (-1) Cha: 5 (-2)

The Mad Hatter Goblin gets its name from the gruesome way it displays the remains of its kills,  by stacking the severed heads of its victims on top of its own head.   These goblins appear as do other goblins, save for maybe slightly larger.  They have a look in their eyes that speaks of desperation and maybe no small amount of madness.

Each time a Mad Hatter Goblin makes a kill they remove the head from the body.  The goblin then takes the heads of previous victims and ties them to the top of the new head and then all of these are tied to the goblin's own head.  The oldest, and most decayed, heads are at the top.  The sight of a mad hatter is such that anyone under 4 HD/level must make a saving throw vs. paralysis or be stunned in fear, unable to move or react for 1d4+1 rounds.    The mad hatter will go after these targets first.  Creatures greater than 4 HD/level are immune to this effect.

Mad hatters are both reviled and respected in a goblin community.  The number of heads one has is their level of prestige. When one mad hatter encounters another there is usually a duel of some sort.  The loser gets to contribute their head to the victorious mad hatter's collection.

The only treasure kept by a mad hatter is their collection of heads.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Bonnacon

Bonnacon

Spend any time reading Medieval Bestiaries you will run into all sorts of fantastic animals such as dragons, unicorns, griffins, and the bonnacon.

Ah. The majestic bonnacon. It is a large bull-like creature with inward-turned horns, the mane of a horse, and it attacks by shooting flaming caustic dung at you.

Wait. What?

Yes, the bonnacon (also called bonasus or bonacho) is a great mythic beast that has appeared in numerous bestiaries.  Its horns are useless for defense, it instead will shoot caustic feces out of its anus while it is running away.

It was first described by none other than Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia.  This history is a great source of monsters.

And there are some GREAT pictures of this awful beast.

Bonnacon

Bonnacon

Bonnacon

Bonnacon

Bonnacon

Bonnacon
Large Beast (Magical)

Frequency: Rare
Number Appearing: 1d4 (1d6)
Alignment: Neutral [Unaligned]
Movement: 150' (50') [5"]
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 2d8+2* (11 hp)
  Large 2d10+2* (13 hp)
Attacks: 1 head butt or special
Damage: 1d6
Special: Caustic dung
Size: Large
Save: Monster 2 
Morale: 6 (8)
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 35 (OSE) 47 (LL)

Str: 14 (+1) Dex: 12 (0) Con: 15 (+1) Int: 4 (-2) Wis: 7 (+1) Cha: 5 (-2)

The bonnacon is a large bull-like creature.  It is typically red or brown in color with a long horse-like mane running from its head, down the back of its neck.  They have two large bull-like horns, but they are turned inside and thus provide no effective means of protecting the creature.  The bonnacon is also spectacularly stupid, even judging it compared to other heard animals.

The bonnacon can attack with a head butt but would rather run away. It will use its only special attack at this point. When retreating the bonnacon will eject burning, caustic dung from its anus.  This dung will stick to clothes, skin, and just about everything.  When hit the victim must save vs poison or take 4d6 hit points of damage; save for half.  The dung will continue to burn any skin it touches causing 1d6 hp of damage per round.  A previous save means that no skin was touched.  The only way to remove these caustic feces is to wash them off with at least a quart of water.  A running stream or a decanter of endless water is also good.  Thankfully a bonnacon can only use this attack once per day.

The meat of the bonnacon is vile and rank. Goblins, who can eat anything, will not eat the meat of this animal. It does however eat a lot on its own. So a small herd (1d4) can destroy up to 40 lbs of grain or plants per day each. 

Monday, June 28, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Groundling

 Been playing around with this one for a bit.  They started out as something akin to a mushroom person and changed.  Was out working in the garden with my wife all weekend and they kind of came together for me.

Groundlings
Groundling
Small Elemental (Earth, Fey)

Frequency: Rare
Number Appearing: 1d4 (2d8)
Alignment: Lawful [Neutral Good]
Movement: 90' (30') [9"]
  Burrow: 120' (40') [12"]
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Hit Dice: 1d8* (5 hp)
  Small 1d6* (4 hp)
Attacks: 1 weapon (garden tools)
Damage: 1d4
Special: Camouflage, damage by cold-iron, druid magic, spores, See below
Size: Small
Save: Elf 1
Morale: 8 (10)
Treasure Hoard Class: See below
XP: 13 (OSE) 13 (LL)

Str: 9 (0) Dex: 13 (+1) Con: 11 (0) Int: 12 (0) Wis: 15 (+1) Cha: 16 (+2)

Groundlings are small earth elementals that live on the material plane and parts of the lands of faerie.  They are distantly related to gnomes and other faerie races, in particular brownies.  They appear much as gnomes or brownies do; small with long noses and ears, quick and nimble fingers.  They are small, just under 2 ft in size with some only reaching 1 ft.  Their skin tone range from dark browns, to lighter shades all the way to a pale almost white.  They wear similar shades of light clothing making them 90% undetectable when they are hiding in the underbrush of their preferred forest homes. They wear large mushroom caps for hats. Groundling my travel underground via a natural burrowing ability.

Groundlings are rather peaceful and wish to be left alone to attend their mushroom patches and farms. If attacked they can defend themselves with their only weapons, their garden tools, for 1d4 points of damage. They can be hit by cold-iron to take an additional +1 points of damage.    If four or more groundlings are encountered then 1 will be a druid of the 2nd level and can cast spells.  Eight or more will have a druid of the 4th level.  Any creature or character foolish enough to try to attack a grounding within their own community is subject to a deadly spore attack that the entire community can release.  This attack affects all living animals in a 30-yard radius of the community.  The victim must save vs. poisons or choke to death. Groundlings are loathed to use this attack of last resort as they do not enjoy killing any creature.  

The most notable detail about groundlings is they do not have permanent biological sex or gender.  Groundlings reproduce via spores similar to mushrooms.  During the spring of each year, a grounding can choose to be "male" and release spores that are collected by groundlings who have chosen to be "female."  Within one month new groundlings are born and will maturity in 10 years.   Groundling may also choose either a male or female and maintain this choice for as long as they wish.  It is in this mode they will often try to relate to other species. It is during this time that they can also have offspring with brownies, gnomes, or other faerie creatures of similar size.

Groundlings have a simple society based around a family unit of 3 to 5 adults and up to 15 immature children. Their joys are tending their gardens, keeping small rodents as pets, and participating in a special form of community "theatre" where specialized spores are released to provide vivid hallucinations guided by the elders of their group. 

Groundlings do not keep treasure preferring to live off of the land. There is often enough in the community for the purchase of their garden tools.  They do make a particularly potent wine made from mushrooms that is a favorite among some of the wilder fey species. They do sell it, but often prefer to trade.

Groundlings as Characters:  A grounding may be used as a Player Character background.  They tend to favor classes like druids and witches of the Faerie, Green Witch, or Hedgewitch traditions.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Titania, Queen of Faerie

Yesterday was the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, also known as Mid Summers Day.  So today's Monstrous Monday should celebrate that.  Here is a character that has been in my games a very long time.

The Lords and Ladies of Faerie in my games are at the level of lower-level deities or the demon princes.  At the highest levels are the various Queens and Kings, though there tend to be more Queens.  The two largest courts are the Winter Court, ruled by Queen Mab, and the Summer Court ruled by Queen Titania and King Oberon.  There are smaller courts of varying power, but almost all of the faerie folk pay homage to either the Summer or Winter courts. 

Dorothy Hyson as Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, painting by Ethel Gabain
Dorothy Hyson as Titania byEthel Léontine Gabain
Titania, Queen of Faerie
Faerie Lady

Frequency: Unique
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Neutral [Chaotic Neutral, Good tendencies]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
  Fly: 150' (50') [15"]
Armor Class: 1 [18]
Hit Dice: 14d8+14*** (77 hp)
Attacks: Sword+4 or by spell
Damage: 1d6+4 or by spell
Special: Command any faerie, damaged only by magic weapons, 50% magic resistance, Witch spells (13th level) 
Size: Medium
Save: Witch 14
Morale: 10
Treasure Hoard Class: U (VI) x10
XP: 4,200 (OSE) 4,350 (LL)

Str: 12 (0) Dex: 17 (+) Con: 15 (+1) Int: 16 (+2) Wis: 18 (+3) Cha: 24 (+5)

The Faerie Court of Summer is co-ruled by King Oberon and Queen Titania, though ask anyone who has been to the faerie courts and they will tell you the true ruler is Titania alone.

Titania will seem soft-spoken, demure, and even gentle, but make no mistake she is the iron fist in the velvet glove of the Summer Court.   She helps keep up the pretense that her husband Oberon is the ruler of the Summer Courts. While she has "good tendencies" it is a mistake to assume that the Summer Courts are good where the Winter Courts are evil.  These distinctions are far too simplistic for these courts and this is even more true for their rulers.

Titania prefers to never enter into combat if she can avoid it.  She feels that anyone that goads her into fighting is a failure on her own part to remain the distant and untouchable Queen.  She will have any number of lords, knights, squires even down to the lowest serf in her kingdom ready to take up arms to defend her.  She can, if needed, use her ability to command any faerie to do her bidding.  This will work on any faerie including elves and half-elves.  They must save vs. spells to avoid this compulsion.  Half-elves gain a +1 to their rolls.

If she must fight she has a specially designed rapier that acts as a +4 Sword of Sharpness.  She can also cast spells as if she were a 13th level witch of the Faerie or Green Traditions.

Titania is a notorious adulteress and will attempt to seduce any elf, human, or half-elf with a charisma score of 17 or greater.  She in particular likes the challenge of a pure and virtuous knight or paladin.  She will soon grow tired of her new paramour and discard them for someone new.  Since time moves differently in the land of the Faerie the former lover may find themselves years or even decades removed from their own time.

Titania as a Witch Patron: Faerie witches and some Green Witches may have Titania as their Patron. She doesn't grant them spells as a god does a cleric, but she will, often through intermediaries, instruct the witch on the secrets of faerie magic.


Monday, June 14, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Boo Hag

Back at it!  I was on vacation all last week. I was down visiting my in-laws in South Carolina. It was fun, but the South is not for me.  I am happy to be back home in Chicago.

But while I was down there I looked into any monsters, cryptids, and urban legends they had.  There are a few, like all places, and many are familiar at least to readers of this blog.  There are lizardmen, bigfoot, and the usual variety of ghosts.  One of the creatures, from the Gullah descendants of African slaves, is the Boo Hag.

Boo Hag by Ashere
The Boo Hag by Ashere
Boo Hag

Medium Fey (Aquatic)

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1 or 3 covey)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 90' (30') [9"]
  Swim  150' (50') [15"]
Armor Class: 4 [15]
Hit Dice: 6d8+6*** (33 hp)
THAC0: 12 (+7)
Attacks: 2 claws, 1 bite or special
Damage: 1d6+1 x2, 1d4+1, special
Special: Constitution drain, fear, gaseous form, sleep, witch spells
Save: Witch 6
Morale: 10 (12)
Treasure Hoard Class: U (VI)
XP: 1,250 (OSE) 1,280 (LL)

Str: 15 (+1) Dex: 17 (+2) Con: 13 (+1) Int: 14 (+1) Wis: 17 (+2) Cha: 4 (-2)

Boo hags are semi-amphibious hags without skin of their own. In their natural form, they appear as hunched humanoids with no skin and exposed musculature, stringy white hair, yellow bulging eyes, and grimacing mouths of jagged teeth.  They live in swamps.

The sight of a boo hag without its skin forces a creature to make a save or become frightened. A boo hag lives within a swamp but makes sure there are human or demi-human settlements nearby. At night, they venture from their swamp, find a lonely cabin or farmstead, and take gaseous form to enter the house.

They then pick a strong, male victim and sit on his chest, stealing away their breath and life energy. A hag squatting on a person inflicts one level of Constitution damage per 5 minutes. Every 5 minutes, the victim may attempt a new saving throw to awaken.  Victims killed by a boo hag are skinned. The skin is used as a disguise. While it is inside a person’s skin, the boo hag is affected as per the change self spell.

Boo hags can be distracted for 1d6 x10 minutes by brooms, the straws of which they are compelled to stop and count. If attacked while counting straws, the hags flee with their brooms, that they may count the straws at their leisure in a safe place.   Victims of a boo hag are recommended to keep a broom by their bed.  When the boo hag returns they will count the straws in the broom and not attack.  If morning comes they will flee back to their lairs. 

Boo Hags have a weaker spellcasting ability than most hags, only able to cast as a 4th level witch.

Boo Hags hate swamp hags, maybe more so than other forms of the hag.  Boo hags turn their anger onto the River Hags, who they see as a lesser type of hag. They avoid either kind whenever they can unless they form a covey with them.  A common covey with a swamp and boo hags includes a green or river hag.  A boo hag adds the powers of Gaseous Form to the covey once per day.

There is some relationship between the boo hag and the Soucouyant.  Some believe that the victims of the boo hag will become a soucouyant when they die.  Others believe that that soucouyant is an undead form of the boo hag.  The general consensus is on they are undead versions of the boo hag, but nothing definitive is known. 

--

Looking to expand the entries to all the hags I have. 

Monday, June 7, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: The Bagman

Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft has been a lot of fun.  One of the most talked-about monsters featured in it, the Bagman, doesn't have stats. Now before you freak out about this, it is by design.  

In Chapter 5 the section Creating Unique Nightmares covers how one could make a Bagman. 

For example, perhaps you’ve got an idea for a troll that ambushes adventurers while they rest. Considering its origins and appearance, the troll literally being a troll isn’t important to you; you’re more interested in that general challenge and look for the creature. To make your troll feel notorious, you think of what would scare adventurers—where they’re vulnerable and what they’re sensitive about. You come up with an idea for a creature that can come from anywhere, maybe even within the adventurers’ own gear. With tactics and traits in mind, you think of your troll as an abductor and give it the Grappler trait of a mimic and the Amorphous trait of a black pudding so it can sneak in anywhere. Finally, you don’t think of the troll as a minion, but you give it the Alien Mind trait to reect its tormented psyche. Then you esh out its story and give it a name: the Bagman.

- Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft, p. 225

The Bagman is described as an "Urban Legend," it is what happens when someone crawls into a bag of holding out of fear and dies inside.  Troll + Mimic + Black Pudding = scary monster that you can scale to meet the needs of your party.   Sounds great.  But MY Bagman would be a little different.  Sure Troll is a great place to start, but I want something a little scarier.

bagman
"I was an adventurer once just like yoooooou!"
Bagman

Large Undead (Corporeal)

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 0 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 8d8+8** (44 hp)
 Large: 8d10+8** (52 hp)
THAC0: 8 (+11)
Attacks: 2 claws, fear aura
Damage: 1d8+3 x2
Special: Amorphous, fear aura, grab, magic required to hit, undead
Save: Monster 8
Morale: 12 (12)
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 1,750 (OSE) 1,840 (LL)

Str: 18 (+3) Dex: 16 (+2) Con: 13 (+1) Int: 7 (-1) Wis: 7 (-1) Cha: 6 (-1)

The bagman is an undead creature found hiding inside Bags of Holding.   Legend has it that the first bagman was an adventurer who in a fit of panic crawled inside a bag of holding to hide.  His fellow party members were all killed and the bag was tied up and stuffed into a troll's treasure hoard.  The adventurer died inside that bag and the extra-dimensional properties keep their spirit from moving on.  It also twisted their body into an elongated shape.  Their hair and nails have grown long and their bodies are thin and emaciated from dying of starvation.

The bagman is only encountered in their lair; a bag of holding.  Once the bag is picked up and carried away by an unsuspecting victim the bagman will wait until the bag is motionless again and then it will attack.  They emanate an aura of fear like the spell cause fear.  While the fear is creeping over the potential victims the bagman crawls out of their bag of holding. They will surprise on a 1-3 on a d6.  They move silently and stealthy as an 8th level thief with Dex 16. The bagman never speaks.  They attack with their long claws. 

On a successful critical hit (natural 20), it grabs the victim and pulls it into the Bag of Holding it was using as its lair.  Inside it will attempt to strangle the victim.  The bagman feeds on the dying energies of the victim.  

It is believed that to destroy a bagman one also must destroy the bag of holding they are attached to.

As undead monsters, they are immune to mind-affecting spells.  Magic spells or weapons are needed to hit it. They turn as Spectres.  Any "T" result will send them back inside their bag of holding.

--

I like it. A creepy-ass monster / urban legend.  Something old Grognards tell young adventurers before they head out on their first campaign.  "Watch out for those bags of holding!  The bagman will get yeah when you sleep!"  They laugh and drink their ales, and quietly, and hope no one notices, the slight tremble in their voice or the shake of their hand as they remember a time when the bagman came for them.

The best part about this?  Everyone should create their own bagman stats.  Some are slimy monsters. Others are extra-dimensional aberrations that enter our world via a bag of holding.  Others are stranger still.  Every campaign out there has a different bagman with different powers, attacks, weaknesses.

It might be interesting to see what others do!  

Monday, May 24, 2021

Monstrous Monday: Zinc Dragons

Saw this on social media. Got me thinking.


Yeah.  Where are they?  I mean we have had Orange, Yellow and Purple dragons

So what do we know here?  According to the Monster Manual for AD&D 1st Ed.:

Copper dragons live in warmer rocky regions, live in caves, and have acid or a cloud of gas as their breath weapons. They have 7 to 9 HD, the same as the Green.

Brass dragons live in sandy deserts and have two types of gas as their breath weapon, poison and sleep. They have 6 to 8 HD, the same as the Black.

Bronze dragons live underground near the water. Their breath weapons are lightning and a repulsion gas cloud. They have 8 to 10 HD, the same as the Blue.

There is then some parity then between the Chromatic and Metalic. It follows that if I create some "new" Chromatic dragons (Orange, Purple so far) I should have some new Metalic dragons too.

My Orange dragon has 9 HD (9 to 11), my Purple has 10 HD (10 to 12).  I am not saying I need to duplicate the parity of the 1st ed book, but it is a good place to start.

I know I need to work on my dragons a bit more.  There is not really enough detail in my stat block as it is right now.  

Dragon, Zinc
aka Draco Spodium Ailbum
Huge Dragon, Metalic

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Lawful [Chaotic Good]
Movement: 150' (50') [15"]
  Fly: 210' (70') [21"]
Armor Class: 3 [16]
Hit Dice: 5d8+20** (26 hp) (5HD to 7HD)
  Huge: 5d12+20** (36 hp)
THAC0: 10 (+9)
Attacks: 2 claws, 1 bite, + special
Damage: 1d6+3x2, 2d8+3
Special: Breath weapons (Burning Cloud or Choking Cloud), dragon fear, low-light vision (120’), magic use
Save: Monster 5
Morale: 10 (10)
Treasure Hoard Class: XV (H) 
XP: 575 (OSE) 660 (LL)

Habitat: Populated temperate to tropical zones
Probability Asleep: 35% 
Probability of Speech: 90%
Breath Weapon: Burning Cloud or Choking Cloud, 
Spells: First: 3, Second: 2

Zinc dragons are silver-white dragons that are often confused with smaller silver or white dragons save that they prefer to live in warmer climates in populated areas.  They will often shape change into human or dwarven form to move among humanoids.  In either human or dwarf form, their hair tends to be a very light blond or white and their skin tones range from olive to dark tans, though they can alter this as they see fit. They are fond of humanoids but still remain a bit aloof from them.

Zinc dragons can attack with a claw, claw, bite routine in dragon form.  They also have two breath weapons they are capable of using. The first is a choking cloud of particulates the other is a cloud of burning smoke. Both require a save vs. breath weapon or take damage equal to the dragon's current hit points. Save results in half-damage.  In both cases, the area 50 ft by 50 ft in front of the dragon has reduced vision to all but the dragon. Attacks are at -2 for the next round following the breath weapon attack.  In dragon or human form they may cast spells as a 4th level magic-user; three 1st level and two 2nd level.

Zinc dragons keep their hoards nearby, usually buried under whatever urban-dwelling they live in, or if in the wilderness, in a deep cave. 

--

Certainly one of the weaker dragons.  Maybe adventurers never encounter them because they avoid adventurers and potential dragon-slayers.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Monstrous Monday: Marching to Mars

It's still Sci-Fi month here at the Other Side and I wanted to do a monster today with some solid sci-fi and old-school roots.  I just couldn't get it to jell the way I wanted. 

Essentially I wanted D&D/OSR/Sci-Fi versions of  Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoomian Martians. I was going to give them a few twists, give them a Clark Ashton Smith twist or two, and a dash of Jack Vance. 

Here is what I have so far.

Red Martians

Warlike, intelligent. Most "Human-like" of the Martians.  I am even toying with the idea of making them Matriarchal as my homage to the great Dejah Thoris.

Red Martian
Red Martian, ePic Character Generator

White Martians

Psychic and the only truly evil Martian race.  Rulers are a caste of priests.  Borrowing heavily from Warhammer 40k, UFO myths, and a little bit of DC Comics.

White Martian
White Martian, ePic Character Generator

Green Martians

These guys are essentially my Tharks, but also are a noble race. They are violent and will kill you, but they can be reasoned with.  My goal here is not to make them Space Orcs, Space Dothraki, or Martian Klingons.

Green Martian
Green Martian, ePic Character Generator

There might be others.

All are genetically compatible with each other, more or less.  I'd love to work in "War of the Worlds" into this somehow too. 

For my OSR/D&D-style games, this might be a world within Spelljamming distance or even some sort of Astral Travel.  Adding in bits of Dark Sun might help smooth out some of the rough bits.  It would all work great for an Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea game

For BlackStar I would want the civilization dead and only recently had xeno-archeologists having discovered the ruins of an ancient and vast Martian culture. The horror will come in when they can't figure what it was that killed them all. 

Links to Mars Related 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

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. 

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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!



Monday, March 29, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Monster Collections

So no monster today.  I am getting ready for my big April A to Z of Monsters later this week. 

I was on vacation last week and getting these "new" AD&D 2nd Edition setting books made me think a bit about what I might do with them.  But since monsters are also on my mind I decided it was high time to pull out my old Monstrous Compendiums for AD&D 2nd Ed, and finally get them organized.

AD&D Monstrous Compendiums

I don't recall exactly when, but I misplaced, lost, or sold my original Monstrous Compendiums.  I kinda regret it really, I got them on the days they were released.  I loved the idea of them.  A monster per page full of information.  Even some bits on the ecology of each.  I had ideas of cutting out the various "Ecology of" articles from Dragon and putting them in each one for a full encyclopedic entry of every monster.

While the idea sounds great, in practice the Monstrous Compendiums were a bit of a hassle.  They were large and unwieldy and yes the pages kept getting torn.  The big thing for me was the fact I could note "really" put the monsters in true alphabetical order since they were printed back to back.  I know, gamer problems.

So I pulled everything I had, everything I have managed to round up at actions, used book stores and even a few others, and got both folders finally put together.

Forgotten Realms

Dragonlance

Outer Planes

Ravenloft

In addition to the first two sets (all in the first binder) I got the sets for the Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, the Outer Planes, and my beloved Ravenloft all in the second binder.

I just need to replace my Greyhawk and Mystara ones now. 

I know I have some more in boxes somewhere, so I'll get those added as well.  Since I am not longer a transient college student with all my D&D books in a couple of milk crates they can live nicely on my bookshelves. Here they would likely to get more use and less wear and tear.

Binders of monsters

They live nicely next to my Castles & Crusades Monsters & Treasure Compendium,  Next to them is something I am working on printing out; the contents of the Swords & Wizardry versions of Monstrosities and Tome of Horrors Complete.  It is going to be about 1200 or more pages of monsters.  This time I am not printing them back to back, but a true one page per monster.  Yeah, that means a lot more paper, but also a lot more ease of use and lots of room for me to include notes. IT will also be hard on my printer.

While there is a core of about 400-500 monsters that are shared across all editions of D&D and clones, there are something like 6,000+ monsters that have been stated up in official products.  Once upon a time, I would have wanted all of them.  Today I am a bit more reasonable.  

OR at least that is what I tell myself.