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

Monday, September 18, 2023

Monstrous Mondays: A Basic Bestiary Update - Of Sorts

 This is the first Monday in more than a month I can sit down and write something about monsters. As it turns out.  I got nuthin. 

Well...that is not entirely true. It could be said I have too much but lack a clear direction.

Here is my issue as it stands right now.

I have a lot of monsters done. Not as many as I want, but a lot. Enough to easily fill a book. But I also have all this other material here that can go with it. Spells. Gods. NPCs. 

Since I am supposed to be developing a SWOT analysis rubric for an MBA course I am developing now, I may try that out here with my current problem. My feeling is it is going to tell me things I already know. That is why these work best with teams. 

Basic Bestiary SWOT
Click for Mural SWOT board

I could add more, but this is enough to keep me going.

This does justify my desire to keep moving on this project, but not the direction I should be taking.

Maybe I am biting off more than I chew here.

One of the directions I took early on was to split my Basic Bestiary idea up into three groups of monsters. Maybe I should go a step further and break it down into smaller units and combine it with my Monstrous Maleficarum; smaller sized publications that would allow me to buy more art for future ones.

I could do all Basic-era monsters, then re-combine them all at the end for an "Advanced-era" hard-cover.  That way people who like Basic-era could just get those, and the people who like Advanced monsters (and hardcovers) could just get that.

With these I am going to go with "Basic-Era" and "Advanced-era" compatibility and not stick too close to any single retro-clone in particular. There are a lot of clones out there now, and to be honest, the differences are mostly trivial.  

The limiting factor, of course, is art. But this at least addresses many of the issues I have above. 

So I guess I need to see what art I have now, a figure out how many monsters per publication would be worthwhile.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Monstrous Monday: The Demon Prince Akelarre

 Akelarre is a demon that has kinda always been with me in one form or another. He has had a variety of names over the years, but in all cases, he has been a large goat-headed demon whose main reason for being is to corrupt witches.  He is based on the various Demon-Goat creatures, mostly featured in the witch sabbat paintings of Francisco Goya.



Akelarre is the Basque word (where Goya is from) for a Witches' Sabbath.  The name of both of these paintings from Goya is "Akelarre."

I wanted a new demon lord, one associated with evil witches. The role in my games in the past has largely been filled by Graz'zt and others. But I wanted someone I had more creative control over. I also wanted someone that was also like Éliphas Lévi's Baphomet.  He will serve as the witches' "Dark Man" as mentioned in many witchcraft trials. In Europe that was always considered to be the Devil or a at the very least a high-level demon.  

Demon Lord Akelarre
My print of Alelarre with Larina for scale

Akelarre, Demon Prince
Huge Demon (Evil, demon)

Frequency: Unique
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
  Fly 120' (40') [12"]
Armor Class: -2 [21]
Hit Dice: 20d8+80******** (170 hp)
 Huge: 20d12+80******** (210 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 6 (+13)
Attacks: 1 bite (1d6+3), 2 claws (1d6+3 x2), or by weapon or breath weapon or by spell
Special: Breath weapons, capsize, digestive acid, swallow whole, dominate and summon water-borne creatures,+3 or better weapon to hit, immunity to fire, electricity, and poison, magic resistance (100%), telepathy 100 ft.
Saves:  D2 W2 P2 B3 S4 SS3 (20)
Morale: 12 (NA)
Treasure Hoard Class: W, Y, Z
XP: 16,003 (OSE) 11,450 (LL) 6,800 (S&W)

Str: 18 (+3) Dex: 16 (+2) Con:  22 (+4) Int: 20 (+4) Wis: 15 (+1) Cha: 20 (+4)

Akelarre appears as a large goat-headed humanoid. On his brow is a burning crown. His heavily muscled form is covered in dark gray fur. His hands end in vicious-looking claws, and his feet are cloven hooves made of gold. He smells of animals and brimstone. His voice is high but melodious and comforting.

This demon avoids interactions with other demons and instead focuses on growing his cult on the Material Plane. He is known as the Demon of the Witches' Sabbat and he eitehr attends himself or via proxy when he can. Here, once per year, he gathers his witches for revels of feasting, sacrifices, and all sorts of debaucheries. He flies to these via magic once the sun has set. It is claimed that it is impossible to know if it is genuinely Akelarre at a sabbat, a high priest, or even a goat he has possessed for the night, save for when the sun rises. The true Akelarre will flee before the sun, a possessed man or goat will revert in the morning light. 

Akelarre can fight, though he prefers not to do so. He can attack with bite and claw or a weapon. Most often, he prefers to cast spells. He can cast any Magic-User spell and has the casting ability of an 18th-level caster. He can also breathe fire 3 times per night, doing 6d8 hp of damage, save vs. Breath Weapons for half.  He has a Charm gaze that can Charm Person at will, save vs. spells to negate. He can also use this power to charm animals with no save granted. Magic is needed to hit Akelarre, whether by spell or by weapons. A +2 weapon is needed. Like many demons, he is immune to mundane fire and mind-affecting magic. He takes half damage from magic or dragon fire, cold, electricity, or gas-based attacks. 

As the Demon Prince of Witches, Akelarre teaches witches of the demonic traditions of their craft. He sends out demon familiars in the form of normal but evil and lascivious in nature.  Offspring of these familiars and normal animals tend to be more wild and prone to attacking humans. His court comprises satyrs of the more feral natures, succubi, warlocks, and witches. He has no dealings with the undead.

Akelarre is a highly charismatic demon, and his honeyed words sound like the voice of a friend or lover promising you everything you desire and more.  There is a great rivalry between the demon Akelarre and the devil Abraxas.  Each seeks to find more magical tomes than the other, and they instruct their respective warlocks to do the same.  

Akelarre as a Patron: Akelarre believes that the pleasures of the world are the best reward and the pleasures of the flesh most of all. He typically grants his witches and warlocks the ability to summon demonic spirits for their pleasures, the ability to conjure up feasts as needed, and of course, grants them gold on signing their pact. Witches and Warlocks of Akelarre gain a Charm Person and Glamour-like powers they can use once per day. 

The Demon Prince Akelarre

Monday, August 14, 2023

Monstrous Monday: Leviathan, updated

I thought today's post would be an excellent follow-up to this morning's RPGaDay post and last week's Gargantua post. 

Leviathan, ready to consume a world.

I have been thinking a lot about demons and how I want to use them in my various old-school games, which at the moment are OSE-B/X and NIGHT SHIFT.  So naturally, I was going to get to one of my biggest big bads, Leviathan, since he has a history in my D&D games and my modern supernatural horror games. 

It began really around 1986-1987 when my high school DM and I were gearing up for our world ending campaign we were calling "The War of Dragons" and sometimes just "The Dragon Wars."  For this I did a lot of research, or what I could do in the various books on mythology at our local library, on the end of the world myths. So I read a lot about Ragnarök, Revelations, and other myths. Many had a common theme or thread of a great monster coming to Earth to destroy it only to be stopped by the forces of good. I also thought this was a good thing to do with our game. Tiamat was the obvious choice, so in my youthful hubris, I rejected that. 

Later on, as things in the real world changed (most obviously, I could still get some games in over college breaks), we expanded some ideas.  My "big bad" became more demonic/hellish as I began to "incorporate" (aka steal) ideas from the Hellraiser movies. This is where Leviathan enters into the picture. While up to this point, the big bad was only known as "the Beast of the Apocalypse," Leviathan gave me a name.

Years later, I would revisit the Dragon Wars and make it a bit of history for my WitchCraft/Buffy RPG epic "The Dragon and the Phoenix."  One of my AD&D characters, Raven Ebonflame (named for Raven Swordmistress of Chaos, whose books I had not read yet.) Raven (my Raven) was, for practical purposes, a Vampire Slayer. I would make here one in name for my Buffy RPG and have her final battle with Yoln (the Hand of Leviathan) and Leviathan, the catalyst for this new game. 

It worked wonderfully

While I was more than happy to let Raven and Yoln rest. Leviathan kept coming back to me. Demanding something be done.  I re-introduced him as an Eodemon and later put up some stats for him that I was never 100% happy with.  Today is my day to revisit these.

Gargantuan Dragon (Evil, Eodemon)

Frequency: Unique
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 90' (30') [9"]
  Fly 240' (80') [24"]
  Swim 300' (100') [30"]
Armor Class: -6 [25]
Hit Dice: 25d8+125********* (238 hp)
 Gargantuan: 30d20+125********* (388 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 5 (+14)
Attacks: 5 bites or breath weapons
Damage: 3d8+7 x5 or Breath Weapon
Special: Breath weapons, capsize, digestive acid, swallow whole, dominate and summon water-borne creatures,+3 or better weapon to hit, immunity to fire, electricity, and poison, magic resistance (100%), telepathy 100 ft.
Save: Monster 25
Morale: 12 (NA)
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 31,503 (OSE) 30,500 (LL) 8,600 (S&W, CL 34) 11385 (BF)

Str: 23 (+5) Dex: 18 (+3) Con:  23 (+5) Int: 20 (+4) Wis: 18 (+4) Cha: 18 (+3)

Tiâmat and Leviathan
Tiâmat and Leviathan

This demonic monster appears to have the worst features of hydras, dragons, and sea monsters, all with demonic qualities mixed in. Leviathan often appears to have the body of a giant sea creature with webbed limbs ending in wicked-looking claws. A long tail is used for swimming, and anywhere between five and seven heads (accounts differ). Each head has a mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth and appears to be some combination of dragons but no particular dragon (i.e. there is not a "red dragon" head). 

This monster is believed to be the oldest of all the Eodemons.  Leviathan is so ancient that even other demons seem in awe of “his” age and power.  It is assumed that it is a "he," though there is no evidence to suggest either way. Leviathan exists only for one purpose; to feed.  Leviathan is drawn to worlds with strong magic and powerful magic users. Here he spends his time in the deepest parts of the oceans of these worlds, where he begins to feed. After devouring 800,000 levels/hd of magical life, Leviathan will be strong enough to destroy the entire world.  From there, he moves to a new world where he rests before starting the cycle anew.

In physical form, which many believe is only a material projection of Leviathan's true form in the Astral plane, attacks with its five heads. The heads vary in color and shape from encounter to encounter due to the chaos this monster is birthed from.  The heads have the following powers. Charm: The first head's breath weapon is one of charm and domination. All creatures within a 120' long cone (60' wide at the end of the range) are Dominated. Creatures below 6 HD/Level have no save. Creatures from 6 HD/levels to 9 HD /Levels save at -2. A failed save means the affected creatures follow Levithan even to their deaths. Only a Wish or similar magic can reverse this.  Plague: This head belches forth a gout of flying insects that consume as per the Creeping Doom spell.  The cloud is 50' in radius. Leviathan is immune to these attacks. Famine: This cone-shaped breath weapon causes hunger and thirst among any who fail their save. Victims permanently lose 2d8 hp and 2 points of Constitution. Only a Wish can reverse these effects. War: This head belches forth a gout of burning blood that sticks to skin and burns. It does 6d8 hp of damage (save for half) to everyone in the affected area, a line 120' long and 5' wide. Death: The last head always appears to be a rotting, corpse-like head of a dragon. The head's breath weapon is a cloud 60' in radius where victims have to save vs. Death or die.   Two other heads are rumored to appear when Leviathan is at his greatest power, but their powers are unknown, save they can speak in melodious voices.  Regardless of function, each head can bite for 3d8 hp of damage.

Additionally, Leviathan has the following powers. Capsize: Due to his large size, he can capsize any water-based craft on a successful roll to hit. Swallow whole: Any critical hit roll of a natural 20 by a head will result in a swallow whole.  Digestive acid: The acid in Leviath's many stomachs is so strong that once swallowed whole, the victim will take 4d8 hp of damage per round. Dominate and summon water-borne creatures: While in an ocean or sea, Leviathan can summon and control any water-based creature. Intelligent humanoid creatures like sea elves or tritons are allowed a saving throw. Leviathan's hide is so thick that +3 or better weapon to hit. He also has immunity to fire, electricity, and poison, magic resistance (100%), and telepathy 100 ft.  He speaks the languages of demons, devils, and of the primordial gods.  

Leviathan is an Eodemon, the oldest of all demonic beings. Some occult scholars claim he is the first consort to Tiamat but has since left her due to how envious he was of her power.  Despite his appearance, he is not worshiped or honored by dragons. 

Leviathan as a Patron: Powerful Warlocks that share Leviathan's desire for the destruction of magic and the world can become his Exarchs. The Hand of Leviathan and the Voice of Leviathan are his heralds. The Hand appears first to destroy and sacrifice powerful spell casters. The Voice proclaims the return of their lord and opens the gate to allow Leviathan to swallow the world whole. Killing these heralds does not stop the coming of Leviathan, but it does slow him down. When Leviathan destroys a world, these exarchs and his warlocks are destroyed with it.


I am pretty happy with this. I might need to tweak the bite damage a bit. 


Monday, August 7, 2023

Monstrous Monday: Gargantua Demons, Basic-era

 We live in an unprecedented time of access to media. For example, when I was a kid if I wanted to watch a Godzilla movie I had to wait for the various "creature feature" shows that would be on my local Channel 8, 11, or 12 on the weekends and then hope that one of them would be showing Godzilla.  As I got older my options progressively grew to cable channels, VHS, DVD, and then BluRay. Now I have streaming choices. Tubi was (and is) always good for horror, but now Pluto has stepped into the ring with their 24-hour Godzilla channel and Godzilla movies on demand. Subtitled, not dubbed, for the most part.

As expected, I have been watching it all the time. I am reminded there are some really, really bad ones here (Son of Godzilla comes to mind) but also some I really enjoy.  One of those was 1995's Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. Yeah, I have it on DVD, but catching it one night was a nice treat.

It also made me want to come back to my idea of giant, Kaiju-like demons for my games.

A group of D&D Demons
A collection of DIY Demons

Destroyah is about the same size as the official D&D (4th Edition) Orcus, though Destroyah was only about 10 bucks. Given the 1" = 5' scale, a 6½" Destroyah comes out to about 32.5'.  With horn, 35'.

It makes for a very scary demon to be honest.

DIY D&D demons
D&D Demons with your humble 5'9" blogger to scale.

I have done these Gargantua demons before for both Spellcraft & Swordplay and D&D 5.  I should also do them for my hybrid Basic/Advanced "Basic Bestiary" stat block.

Gargantuan Fiend (Demon, Calabim)

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1-4)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 240' (80') [24"]
   Fly: 300' (100') [30']
   Swim: 300' (100') [30']

Armor Class: -7 [26]
Hit Dice: 30d8+180******** (315 hp)
 Gargantuan: 22d20+44******** (495 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 4 (+15)
Attacks: 2 claws, 1 bite, 1 tail, 1 breath weapon (typical)
Damage: 4d8 x2, 4d12, 2d12, as per dragons
Special: Alternate forms, breath weapon, fear aura 120', immune to mind-affecting magics, magic resistance 75%, vulnerable to holy weapons.
Save: Monster 30
Morale: 12 (12)
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 38,750 (OSE) 38,750 (LL)

Str: 25 (+6) Dex: 10 (+0) Con: 25 (+6) Int: 6 (-1) Wis: 7 (-1) Cha: 2 (-4)

These horrors are destruction incarnate. These demons stand 40 to 50 feet tall.  Each one is unique, but all have characteristics in common.  They are typically humanoid in shape but could be covered in scales, leathery skin, fur, chitin, or any combination of these. Some gargantuas even have alternate forms they can transform into. This includes the sprouting of wings or even juvenile or ultimate forms. In one recorded case, a gargantua was able to divide into dozens of smaller forms of 1 HD each and then reform later as the larger, composite creature. 

Their intellect is far below that of animals, and they exist only to destroy.  Powerful Balor or even Arch Fiends can control them, but it is challenging for them to do.  Mostly they are sent somewhere where everything must be destroyed or eaten.  Gargantua will even fight and kill other demons.  

All gargantua have massive claw and bite attacks.  Any critical hit roll on a bite indicates the victim has been swallowed whole.  Every gargantuan also has a breath weapon attack like that of a dragon. Typically fire, but lighting and wind are also typical. They do damage equal to the number of hp they have remaining, save vs. Breath Weapon for half.

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

Some scholars theorize these creatures are the remains of the ancient Titans like the Jötunar or even Die Hüne. But most believe these creatures began as normal animals infused with the evil essences of demons and their homes in the vast Abyss. 

Monday, July 31, 2023

Monstrous Monday: What is Monster Mash II A Midsummer Night's Dream?

 What is Monster Mash II: A Midsummer Night's Dream?

Monster Mash II: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Monster Mash II in print

Much like my first Monster Mash, this one has classes that people typically think of as "monsters" for the D&D game, but uses the special "race-as-class" feature of older, Basic-era, versions of D&D like Moldvay Basic/Cook & Marsh Expert and BECMI.

This book features 12 faerie and sylvan-based classes. Bugbears, Centaurs, Hamadryads, Leprechauns, Nymphs, Pixies, Púcas, Satyrs, Werebears, Werefoxes, and Woodwoses.

Each can be played as a Basic-era "Race-as-Class," with each gaining special abilities as they level up, or as an Advanced "Race" with recommendations for classes. 

Also included is the Faerie Witch, because, well, it is one of my books. 

There are also new spells for Clerics, Druids, Illusionists, Magic-users, and Witches. 

And new occult powers and ritual spells for Faerie Witches. 

This book can be combined with my first Monster Mash for even more combinations.

Monster Mash I & II

Grab yours now!

Monster Mash

Monster Mash II: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Monday, July 17, 2023

Monstrous Monday: Monster Mash II A Midsummer Night's Dream!

New Release Monster Mash II: A Midsummer Night's Dream!

Monster Mash II: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Monster Mash II in print

Now available in PDF and Print on Demand.

Monster Mash II: A Midsummer Night's Dream

More Monster Classes for Basic-era Games

For years brave adventures have been going into the dangerous wilderness and fighting monsters.  

Now the monsters are fighting back.

Monster Mash II is an Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy compatible game that allows you to take on the role not of a stalwart hero but as one of the monsters.

This book features 12 faerie and sylvan-based classes.

Bugbears, Centaurs, Hamadryads, Leprechauns, Nymphs, Pixies, Púcas, Satyrs, Werebears, Werefoxes, Woodwoses, and the Faerie Witch.

New spells for Clerics, Druids, Illusionists, and Magic-users. 

New spells, occult powers, and ritual spells for Faerie Witches. 

All are completely compatible with Basic-era OSR games and my previous witch books.

Includes an Advanced Classes Appendix for using this book with "Advanced" versions of your favorite Old-School games.

All art by Dean Spencer

Monster Mash II in print

Monster Mash II in print

Monster Mash II in print with Dean Spencer art

Monster Mash II in print with Dean Spencer art

Monster Mash II in print with Dean Spencer art

Monster Mash II in print with Dean Spencer art

Monster Mash II in print with Dean Spencer art

Monster Mash II in print with Dean Spencer art

Monday, July 3, 2023

Monstrous Mondays: Fire Nymph for Old School Essentials

 It's a warm one out today (and I am posting remotely after visiting with my mom on her birthday) so let's get a conversion in shall we?

Here is a Fire Nymph from the Tome of Horrors now for Old School Essentials.  An update to my 5e version.

Fire Nymph
Nymph, Fire

Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 2* (9hp)
Attacks: 1 x magic (charm) or burning hands (1d6 damage)
THAC0: 18 [+1]
Movement: 120’ (40’)
Saving Throws: D10 W11 P12 B13 S14 (4)
Morale: 6
Alignment: Neutral
XP: 25
Number Appearing: 1d4 (1d6)
Treasure Type: D

This creature appears as a very attractive and beautiful female with long, flowing fiery-red hair. Her eyes are pale blue and her skin is lightly colored with a cinnamon hint to it.

A fire nymph is a very beautiful creature that dwells on the Plane of Fire. It is akin to the nymph and dryad, though its origins obviously lie elsewhere. Fire nymphs rarely visit the Material Plane, though mages are known to request their company on occasion. A fire nymph is most easily summoned on Midsummer's Eve where they can walk about and interact with mortals and other fey. A fire nymph usually wears translucent robes of white or ash.

Fire nymphs can charm like a their terrestrial cousins, but they can also cast a burning hands spell three times per day. Additionally, they have immunity to fire and take double damage from cold.

Summoning a fire nymph is relatively easy but not without dangers.  The nymph's passionate nature causes her to move from one emotional extreme to the next very quickly. When a fire nymph is angry, her hair will burst into flames.

Also, due to their passionate nature, there are many gifted pyromancers that claim to be the offspring of a wizard and a fire nymph.

Fire Nyphs are also known as Pyroeads in some arcane circles.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Monstrous Mondays: Shayṭān and Ifrit

 Been spending a lot of time with Gods and monsters over the last few weeks. Today I wanted to continue that idea with some of the creatures in between. Also, I want to talk more about using monsters like these in the WASTED LANDS and NIGHT SHIFT RPGs.

Shayṭān and Ifrit
Your humble author surrounded by Shayṭān and Ifrit

Shayṭān and Ifrit

The wonderful thing about O.G.R.E.S. as presented in the WASTED LANDS and NIGHT SHIFT rules is how flexible it can be. Many monsters are simplified down to basic concepts.  A demon for example is give some basic power levels and then a number of powers that can be added or swapped out for nearly infinite variety. Even the name "demon" is flexible.

Here I think old-school players (and Game Masters) will recognize the foundations of many monsters and fans of modern horror RPGs will recognize the flexibility baked into the system.

While this means there is no great need for multiple Bestiaries, there is still utility in spelling some details out for players that need something quick.

Enter the Shayṭān.

I have been spending a lot of time going over the myths and legends of the world. They are all quite fascinating really, and while my love for the original AD&D Monster Manual knows no equal, one thing is clear, that the monsters depicted within pale in comparison to the monsters of myth. This is not really a slight. Space in the MM was limited, and there had to be a game focus.

Take the Effriti from the Monster Manual and to a lesser degree, the one from the D&D Expert Set. I mention the Expert set specifically because it's entry for Effriti was similar, but different enough, from the Monster Manual to make look into the creature more. The tantalizing and (in my mind) poorly explained "Lesser" also sent me out to explore more. 

These creatures are interesting, something of a cross between a devil and a fire elemental. Interesting enough to be featured as the cover of the AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide. ut the Ifrit of myth are more interesting still.  

There is also no way I can do them justice here, but I would love to take a start at it.


The Shayṭān are a class of spirits corrupted by the Deeper Dark. They are, or were, predominantly elemental spirits like the Ifrit, Jinn, and Marid, but some are lesser spirits like the Qareen, and others still are greater spirits like Iblis.

In their corruption, they have become similar to demons, and many scholars will conflate the two. Indeed their methods and their purposes are also very similar.

Like the wind, Shayṭān will most often be invisible and intangible but can appear as various mundane creatures. The greatest power of the Shayṭān is to form bodies out of the base elements (fire, air, earth, water) to interact with humans, whom they tempt away from goodness.  For example, the Ifrit are the Shayṭān of fire. 

The typical Ifrit is a "Rank III demon," according to scholars. It has the following differences, it can only gate in lesser Shayṭān, not other demons. They are harmed by celestials, supernatural attacks, and Chosen Ones (NIGHT SHIFT). 


Iblis appears as an Ifrit of the largest size, but he can also appear as an angel/celestial or as a normal human. He is the ruler of all Shayṭān. 

No. Appearing: Unique
DV: 0
Move: 30ft. Fly: 60ft.
Vitality Dice: 22 (180 Vitality Points)
Special: 4 attacks (2 claws, bite, 1 great sword), Shayṭān abilities, Summon Rank I shayṭān 100%, Summon Rank II shayṭān 85%, Summon Rank III shayṭān 75%, Summon Rank IV shayṭān 60%, Fear gaze, spells, +3 or better weapon to hit, regeneration (4 vitality/round), see in darkness, telepathy 200 ft.

Iblis, sometimes referred to as the Great Duke, the Enemy, or even just The Shayṭān, is the ruler of all shayṭān. His preferred form is that of a normal man, sometimes in the guise of a priest, pilgrim or other holy man. He can also appear as an 18' ifrit surrounded by flames. He has a third form, that of an angelic being that some claim is his original form before he was corrupted. 

Ilis enjoys corrupting other mortals as he himself had been. He shares no love for the other denizens of the Deeper Dark and sees other shayṭān as his to control. He claims no kinship to any other group and maintains that he alone is the source of evil in the world (a dubious claim at best).

Iblis is very knowledgeable about magic and there is no spell that he does not know or have access to. Sorcerers often seek him out to learn secret lore, but the summoning of Iblis is a secret itself and to do so incorrectly invites his wrath.

Use in the Wasted Lands

In this game, Iblis and the Shayṭān are new to the world and are seeking out ways to control the minds, and souls, of the humans left here after the Old Ones have departed. 


Is this the same Iblis as the one from The Dreaming Age? Iblis himself seems to think so but plenty of scholars and occult philosophers point out that we know when he began to appear in myth and texts and say it is unlikely, save that this Iblis occupies the same concept as the Iblis before. Or they are indeed one and the same 

Use in Old-School Games (OSR, Dungeons & Dragons)

Iblis is on par with the powerful Arch-Dukes of Hell. In fact he is their rival in many things. Iblis considers the Arch Dukes to be "lesser copies" of himself and the Lords of Hell feel Iblis should be brought to heel as a renegade member of their ranks. Their multitude of similarities only heighten the minor differences they have.


Please don't forget to sign up for the WASTED LANDS Kickstarter beginning tomorrow!

Monday, June 19, 2023

Monstrous Monday: Cave Trolls

They say necessity is the mother of invention. Well, I had needs today. I went to the Swords & Wizardry SRD today to grab some stats for a monster, only to discover that the site is now gone! 

I am sure it has a lot to do with the new licenses with Swords & Wizardry. While that is cool, it means to link out the stats I want I need to make them myself. No big. I can deal with that.

Cave Troll

Troll, Cave

Large Giant (Fey)
Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1d2)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 240' (80') [24"]
  Spider Climb: 180' (60') [18"]
Armor Class: 0 [19]
Hit Dice: 11d8**** (83 hp)
 Large: 11d10**** (94 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 7 (+12)
Attacks: 2 claws, 1 bite, rend
Damage: 1d6+4 x2, 1d6+4, 2d6
Special: Rend, regenerate 2 hp/round, haste, spider climb, camouflage
Save: Monster 11
Morale: 8 (10)
Treasure Hoard Class: II (Q)
XP: 4,300 (OSE) 4,400 (LL)

Str: 20 (+4) Dex: 22 (+5) Con: 18 (+3) Int: 8 (-1) Wis: 11 (0) Cha: 6 (-1)

This ugly humanoid appears to be about 8 feet tall. Its leathery skin is blackish-gray, and its eyes are yellow. It has long, upright ears, almost elven in nature. Its arms and legs are long and slender and end in wicked-looking claws.

Cave trolls are cousins of the regular troll and are found in all subterranean realms. They are as deadly, or more so, than their more common brethren. Cave trolls have the same voracious appetite as normal trolls and sustain themselves on whatever they can find in their underground realms. Cave trolls have blackish-gray hides and yellow eyes.

Cave trolls stand 8 feet tall and weigh 600 pounds. They do not walk with the same hunched gait of their larger relatives. They stand upright and move with blinding speed. They speak "Trollspeak," the language of trolls. Cave trolls rarely venture to the surface world, preferring the security and tranquility of the darkness they inhabit. If extremely hungry or if food is scarce, a cave troll ventures to the surface and attacks whatever it finds near its lair. 

Cave trolls often use deception when they first encounter prey, especially intelligent prey. Their natural skin coloring camouflage them in a subterranean environment, providing them with a 95% ability to hide in shadows (like a thief) and surprise on a roll of 1-3 on a d6. Their troll heritage often leads to the misconception that they are slow in combat, which they gladly allow their opponents to believe — until the cave troll strikes or moves. Only then is the ruse negated and the true nature of the troll revealed. Cave trolls attack by grabbing and rending an opponent. If a cave troll hits with both claw attacks, it latches onto the opponent’s body and tears the flesh. This attack automatically deals an additional 2d6 points of damage.

A cave troll is affected by permanent haste and spider climb effects. The haste ability can be dispelled, but the spider climb cannot.

Fire and acid deal normal damage to a cave troll. If a cave troll loses a limb or body part, the lost portion grows back in 3d6 minutes. The creature can reattach the severed member instantly by holding it to the stump.

SRD links

Monday, June 12, 2023

Monstrous Mondays: Shadow Elves for Old-School Essentials

I have a couple of things going on this month. First off I am still doing the #Dungeon23 challenge. The level for June is the dead city of the Shadow Elves. Also,  I am waiting for the print proof of Monster Mash II to arrive. So I figure I can do a little for both today and detail the Shadow Elf from Monster Mash I as an OSE Monster listing. 

Old School Essentials Monster Mash

I have done Shadow Elves before, but not as a proper Old-School Essentials monster. 

shadow elf
Shadow Elf

Tall, thin elves with pale gray to dark gray skin. They have jet-black hair and long, pointed ears. Also known as Umbral Elves. They live in dark cave systems and places where shadows are the strongest.

Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 1* (4hp)
Attacks: 1 × weapon (1d6 or by weapon)
THAC0: 18 [+1]
Movement: 120’ (40’)
Saving Throws: D12 W13 P13 B15 S15 (Elf 1)
Morale: 8 (10 with leader)
Alignment: Neutral (Chaotic Neutral)
XP: 19
Number Appearing: 1d4 (2d12)
Treasure Type: C

  • Infravision 90'
  • Immune to the touch of Ghouls and Ghasts
  • Necromancer spells. A Shadow Elf can cast one 1st level Necromancer spell.
  • Leader: Groups of 15+ are led by an elf of level 1d6 + 1. The leader may have magical items: 5% chance per level for each magic item table.

Shadow Elves are often confused with Dark Elves. 

Most Shadow Elves follow the Faerie Lord Scáthaithe, The Umbral Lord.  Others have fallen under the sway of Darlessa the Vampire Queen.

Shadow Elves as an OSE-Advanced Race

Shadow elves have the following requirements and can take the following classes.

Requirements: 15 or greater on DEX
Ability Modifiers: +1 to DEX

  • Acrobat: 10th
  • Assassin: 10th
  • Barbarian: NA
  • Bard: 10th
  • Cleric: 5th
  • Druid: 5th
  • Fighter: 10th
  • Illusionist: 9th
  • Knight: 10th
  • Magic-User: 8th
  • Paladin: NA
  • Ranger: NA
  • Thief: 10th
  • Gothic Witch: 10th
  • Profane Necromancer: 10th

I need to update my twins, Runu and Urnu, to these rules. With Runu as a Profane Necromancer and Urnu as a Gothic Witch. 

Monday, June 5, 2023

Monstrous Mondays: Monster Mash II

 No new monster today because I am working on the final bits of my new Monster Mash II: A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Monster Mash II: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Monster Mash II: A Midsummer Night's Dream

More Monster Classes for Basic-era Games

For years brave adventures have been going into the dangerous wilderness and fighting monsters.  

Now the monsters are fighting back.

Monster Mash II is an Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy compatible game that allows you to take on the role, not of a stalwart hero, but as one of the monsters.

This book features 12 faerie and sylvan-based classes.

Bugbears, Centaurs, Hamadryads, Leprechauns, Nymphs, Pixies, Púcas, Satyrs, Werebears, Werefoxes, Woodwoses, and the Faerie Witch.

New spells for Clerics, Druids, Illusionists, and Magic-users. 

New spells, occult powers, and ritual spells for Faerie Witches. 

All are completely compatible with Basic-era OSR games and my previous witch books.

Coming this Midsummer!

Monday, May 15, 2023

Monstrous Monday: Saurians and Other Reptile Humanoids

Another sci-fi staple today and one that also fits in well with Doctor Who, Star Trek, and yes D&D.  Today I want to discuss the Saurians. 

Now these guys go by a variety of names, saurians, saurials, reptoids, reptilians, and more. But for the sake of argument I am making a distinction between these guys and the Ophidians of last week. While I typically cast the ophidians as typically all evil and descended from human snake cultists, the saurians (just to use one name) are mostly neutral, cold and calculating, and largely descended from the same era that gave us dinosaurs.

I do admit that I took a lot of notes from Professor Dale A. Russell's idea of a "Dinosauriod" creature.  IT hit me at a very fertile time in my imagination; my growing love of all things science, my curiosity about UFOs and alien abduction theories, and of course, my love for D&D which was at an all-time high then. Throw in healthy amounts of Doctor Who (Silurians, Sea Devils, Draconians), Land of the Lost (Sleestaks), and Star Trek (Gorn, Saurians), and it makes a heady brew.  I also discuss them, or their near-kin, in my various posts last year on Conspiracy Theories (Ancient AliensCryptoterrestrial HypothesisExtraterrestrials on Earth).

D&D already had Lizard Men and, to a degree, other reptilians. They would later move Kobolds over to be more reptile-like (something I have worked around) and introduce more reptilian races that are even closer to this idea (Saurian, Saurial).  We also get one of the "Big Bads" of the BECMI D&D line, the Carnifex, who works with this idea.

I used these guys for years but mostly just used Lizard Man stats. Over time I adapted them and changed them to what I mostly use today.


Saurians are a reptilian race that came about around the time dinosaurs walked the world. They appear to be humanoid, but this is a case of convergent evolution; they have no biological relationship to the other humanoid species found in the world. 

Saurians are divided into castes based on their roles in society. These castes are purely functional in nature, and while each caste feels they contribute more to their society than the others, all are required to make their society function.

  • Workers - These are the vast bulk of the Saurian society. They perform the labor and all the tasks needed. They average 5' to 5½' in height and weigh 80lbs to 100lbs.
  • Warrior - These Saurians are dedicated to battle and defending the Saurian tribes. They are prone to battle frenzy and blood lust. They average 7' to 8' in height and 250lbs to 325lbs.
  • Noble - The ruling class of Saurians. Stand around 6' high and weigh 150lbs.
  • Scientist - nearly indistinguishable from the Noble caste. Noted for the high intelligence.
  • Psionicists - on the surface, they look like a Worker or Noble but are characterized by advanced psionic powers.

All saurians are reptilian with large forward-facing eyes. They have three fingers and a thumb on each hand. They also have broad, three-toed feet. Their skin tones can vary from green to pale to even near-pink. There is no color combination between castes; any color saurian can be born to any caste. 

Females are slightly larger than males. There are no mammalian sexual characteristics, Saurians do not nurse their young, and males do tend to be more brightly colored. In the vision range of the Saurian eye these color differences are far more pronounced. Creatures with infravision can see these differences.

While many perceive the Saurians as evil, they are, in truth just very amoral when it comes to other life. They see all mammals as potential enemies and/or food.

Saurians are ancient enemies of the Ophidians and the Dragonborn. 

Saurian Minds

Saurian reptilian brains work differently from that of mammals. This has a few effects when in regards to other creatures. 

This makes giving them an alignment trickier. Slaughtering a group of humanoids, including the very young and very old, would be seen as an evil act by most creatures, but for the Saurians, it would be a necessary part of remaining alive and providing for their own tribe; an act they would view as good, even lawful.  Many humanoids would chafe under their rigid caste system, but to a Saurian, it ensures that individuals are living up to their greatest potential. No Saurian would want a Scientist as a Warrior or a Noble as a Worker since they would all be very ill-suited for the jobs. 

The other effect is one of magic.  All saurians, regardless of caste, have a +2 bonus to saving throws on all mind-affecting magics. This includes Charm, Hold, Illusions, and Sleep spells. It also means they have a +1 on all saves on other magic except for those that deal direct damage. Even a healing spell cast on a Saurian must first be subject to a saving throw. If they make the save they are not healed.

Consequently, Saurians are not able to take levels in any magic using classes like Cleric, Magic-user, or Witch.

Saurian (Worker, Scientist, Noble)

Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 2+2 (11 hp), 3+3 (17 hp), 4+4 (22 hp)
Move: 120 (40)
Attacks: 1 by weapon
Damage: 1d6
No. Appearing: 2d10, 1d8, 1d6
Morale: 8, 10, 10
Treasure Type: None
Alignment: Neutral (True Neutral/Unaligned) 

Saurians are a reptilian race of humanoids. They are born into a rigid caste system based on their biology. Each caste feels they contribute the most to their society, so inter-caste conflict is much rarer than intra-caste conflict. 

The Worker, Scientist, and Noble castes are largely indistinguishable from each other to outsiders. The worker caste is the most numerous, and the nobles are a little taller. 

Workers: These laborers handle all the labor in a Saurian tribe. This includes everyone from the ones that build homes to healers to those that care for eggs and hatchlings.

Scientists: Generalized by their higher intelligence and pursuit of ways to improve the Saurian people.

Nobles: The ruling caste of Saurians.

Since all saurian eggs are kept in hatcheries, there are no parent-child bonds but hatchmate bonds. So in this manner, a worker can claim kinship to a noble and visa-versa. These bonds are just as strong as any mammalian parent or sibling bond.

Saurian, Warrior

Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 8+2 (56 hp)
Move: 120 (40)
Attacks: 2 by weapon
Damage: 1d8+3 x2
No. Appearing: 1d8 (3d6)
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: None
Alignment: Neutral (True Neutral/Unaligned) 

Saurian warriors are a caste unto themselves. The largest and healthiest hatchlings are trained from birth to be warriors whose only purpose in life is to defend the Saurian tribes. Warriors will fight among themselves to establish dominance and access to resources, but they will never attack anyone of the other castes. They find such ideas repugnant.  

However, a Saurian warrior will have no qualms attacking a group of humanoids; young or old, as they only see mammals as potential food. 

Hatchmate bonding is the strongest among the Warrior caste, with warrior Saurians dedicating their lives to protect their hatchmates.

Saurian, Psionist

Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 4 (18 hp)
Move: 120 (40)
Attacks: 1 by psychic attack
Damage: see below
Special: Psychic powers
No. Appearing: 1 (1d4)
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: None
Alignment: Neutral (True Neutral/Unaligned) 

Psionic Saurians are the rarest and sit somewhat outside the Saurian caste system. They look like Noble or Scientist Saurians, if somewhat smaller. They are identified early, taken from their hatcheries, and raised only with other Psionic Saurians. Thus they have the weakest hatchmate bonds of all Saurians, and intra-caste violence between psionics is the highest of all castes. 

Saurian Psionists have the following powers. These are not magic powers but instead are psychic in nature.  

There are stronger psionists with more powers.

Note: The powers are not magical and cannot be detected or countered by magical means.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Monstrous Monday: Union of the Snake

One area where classic Swords & Sorcery fantasy intersects with sci-fi and modern cryptid tales is that of  Snakefolk and Lizardfolk.  My desire to use these creatures as foes date back to Doctor Who's Silurians, Sea Devils, and Draconians, but also before that with the Sleestaks of Land of the Lost.  They are great foes and can be quite literally cold-blooded.  

Against threats like these, even an orc has more in common with humans.

In my games, both fantasy and sci-fi, the Snakefolk and the Lizardfolk have an alliance in their ultimate goal of killing most of the mammals except what they need for food and slave labor.  Of the two, the Snakefolk are more cunning and often (very often) more evil.

I have talked about both of these groups before, and I'll place the links below. Today I wanted to get some stats up for the Snakefolk.  

Snakefolk aka Ophidans

Snakefolk, snakemen, serpent people, or ophidians have a long-established history in fantasy, sci-fi and horror. They are a good fit for what I want to do. There are even a lot of snake cults if I wanted to tie in some witchcraft ideas.  Not to mention all the monsters associated with snakes like the gorgons, basilisk, hydra, and even the Great Serpent himself (I could go on here, but you get the point). 

Ophidians in D&D

Snake folk are such a huge feature in many of the works of the various "Appendix N" authors that one would expect to have seen more with them. Granted there are lots of adventures, especially later one, that feature the Yuan-ti.  Maybe it is because they are always featured as a species in decline. This also works for me. 

Trouble is Yuan-ti are set as Product Identity and therefore not part of the various OGL SRDs out there. But there are alternates.

Swords & Wizardry featured Ophidians in their Monstrosities book.  Pathfinder has their own Ophiduans as well. Both pull from similar sources, namely Lion's Den Press: The Iconic Bestiary -- Classics of Fantasy.   These are "updated" to 5e and are found in Frog God's Tome of Horrors for 5e. There is also the related Inphidians for Pathfinder

I do want to point out that both the Ophidian and the Yuan-ti both premiered in the AD&D 1st Ed Monster Manual II.  They don't even look that different from each other, and their descriptions are also very similar.



One became popular (Yuan-ti), and the other was forgotten (Ophidian) when the SRD was released. Did we merge these into one creature back then? I can't recall, but that sounds like something I would do.

Here is what I have in B/X format.


Ophidians are ancient people dating back to a time when humans were little more than savages living in caves. They claim descent from the time when giant reptiles roamed the land and only reptile life was to be seen. This is not entirely true since ophidians are, in truth, the descendants of an ancient group of human snake cultists. Through dark and twisted magics long forgotten, they have become more and more snake-like. The mage-priests of this cult were wiped out by the noble caste who knew of their history and now only the emissary caste remains and they are closely watched by the nobles. 

All ophidians appear as snake-like humanoids. The noble and lesser castes have human upper torsos and the lower bodies of giant snakes. The nobles have human-like heads, while the lesser have snake-like ones.  The Emissary caste (the descendants of the ancient mage-priests) look nearly human save for some snake-like features.  On the opposite ends of the spectrum are the monstrous abominations and the nearly human-looking progenitors. All ophidians are denizens of hot climates, deserts, and jungles, often found in forgotten cities or temples from when their race held greater sway in the world.  Ophidians can speak with snakes at will, as per the speak with animals spell.

All ophidians are immune to the bite of other ophidians and other snake-like creatures.   Ophidian emissaries also have a potent charm ability. Anytime they use charm magic, they confer a -1 penalty to whomever they are trying to charm. Conversely, all ophidians are subject to the same charm magic saving at -1 on any charm attempt by a foe.  This includes other ophidians (for a -2 total). 

Breeding and childbirth is tightly controlled by the nobles. All eggs produced and fertilized are kept in hatcheries controlled by the nobles and specially trained emissaries.  Criminals, human slaves, the old, and the infirm are tossed into these pits to become food for the next generation of ophidians. 

Regardless of how the ophidians see each other castes, they always view humanoid mammals, especially humans, as inferior. Squabbling noble houses will put aside all differences if they are attacked by humans or other humanoids.  For example, the Ophidian wars with the Derro are numerous and go back for a thousand years. 

Although largely humanoid in form, the ophidians still have the mentality of reptiles. Concepts such as mercy and compromise are unknown to them. They are utterly ruthless and have little concept of honor. Survival and victory are their only goals, though they can employ subtle or deceptive methods to obtain them. 

Ophidian, Lesser*

Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 3+1 (20)
Move: 120 (40)
  Swimming: 120 (40)
Attacks: 2 weapons or bite
Damage: By weapon (1d6) or 1d6 + poison
Special: Poison Bite
No. Appearing: 1d10 (2d100)
Morale: 8
Treasure Type: None
Alignment: Chaotic (Chaotic Evil) 
XP: 75

The Lesser Ophidian are the rank and file of Ophidian society. Lesser only reflects its status in the ophidian hierarchy and caste. They are the workers, warriors, and slaves of the Ohidian nobles. 

Lesser ophidians appear as large snakes with the muscular upper torso of a human. There are no human secondary sex characteristics among these creatures since they are reptiles. A male lesser ophidian typically has a thicker tail than a female. The males are sterile, and their only function in Ophidian society is to labor and fight. Of the females, at least 50% of these creatures are also born sterile. They are given the same roles as the males. The 50% capable of reproduction are often used as harem slaves or given tasks by the noble caste. Regardless of their caste or station, even the lowest ophidian considers themselves above all humanoids, especially humans, whom they despise. 

These ophians can attack with weapons in either or both of their human-like hands. They prefer long curved blades like scimitars and serrated or jagged edges that inflict vicious wounds. Unless directed otherwise, lesser ophidians fight to kill and then eat their prey.  They also have fangs in their snake-like heads that have a deadly poison. A bite will cause 1d6 points of damage, and the victim must save vs. poison or dies within 1d4+2 rounds. Neutralize poison magic (spell or potion) will prevent this if given right away. They are immune to the bite of other snakes and snake-like creatures.

Lesser ophidians do not collect treasure in the strictest sense, but they will keep a trophy from a fallen foe. All other spoils by ophidian law belong to the noble caste.

Ophidian, Noble***

Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 9+3 (68 hp)
Move: 120 (40)
  Swimming: 120 (40)
Attacks: 1 weapon or bite
Damage: By weapon (1d6) or 1d6 + poison
Special: Poison Bite
No. Appearing: 1d4 (2d20)
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: H
Alignment: Chaotic (Chaotic Evil) 
XP: 3,000

Ophidian nobles are the ruling caste of the Ophidians, and they do so with an iron fist. They appear as do the lesser ophidians, with humanoid upper bodies with the lower body of a large snake. Their heads, though are more humanoid in appearance. Though their heads are covered in fine scales, and their eyes are slitted like a snake, so they are never mistaken for humans. Similar to the lesser ophidians, only 10% of these creatures are fertile, either male or female, with the fertile ones standing above the infertile. Births among nobles then are rare.

These creatures can also fight with a weapon and prefer the same sorts as their lesser brethren. They typically only fight with one weapon when they have too, but mostly they have 2d8 bodyguards of lesser ophidians to do their fighting for them.

Like all ophidians, they are immune to the venom of other snakes and snake-like creatures. These nobles are also immune to the petrification attacks of medusae and basilisks. 

Ophidians delight in cruelty, and none more so than the nobles. The only art they create, if it can even be called that, are ways to torture and kill their enemies.

Ophidian, Emissary**

Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 6+2 (39 hp)
Move: 120 (40)
  Swimming: 120 (40)
Attacks: 1 weapon or spell
Damage: By weapon (1d6) or spell
Special: Spells (Illusionist magic)
No. Appearing: 1d6 (1d10)
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: O
Alignment: Chaotic (Chaotic Evil) 
XP: 950

Ophidian Emissaries are the most human-like of all the known ophidians but never say that to their faces. They appear as normal, if quite thin, humans with some snake-like features. Their tongues are slightly forked, their skin is covered in very fine scales, and their eyes are slits like a snake.  They even go as far as displaying secondary sex characteristics of humans, though they are not mammals and do not nurse or even care for their young.  Ophidian emissaries, as the name suggests, are often the means which ophidians interact with the world of mammals and humans.  They are, however, entirely subjugated by the noble class.

Ophidian emissaries can attack with weapons, but they rarely do. They all have a natural ability for illusion magic and can cast spells as a 5th-level illusionist (magic-user). Their charm ability is superior, and any Charm spell used by an emissary is at a -1 penalty for saving throws. 

Unlike their brethren the lesser ophidian class, emissaries chafe under their domination by the noble caste. However, the nobles control every aspect of their lives right down to their breeding. Nearly 90% of all emissaries are fertile, but they are only allowed to breed with nobles, never other emissaries. Emissaries discovered in unsanctioned breeding and reproduction will have their eggs or young destroyed (often eaten).  The worst offenders will even be subjected to the horrible eldritch right of Abomination, where they are transformed into a mindless ophidian abomination. 

Ophidian, Abomination**

Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 10+2 (65 hp)
Move: 120 (40)
Attacks: 2 slams, bite + poison
Damage: 1d6+3 x2, 1d6+3 + poison
Special: Poison Bite
No. Appearing: 1d4 (1d8)
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: None
Alignment: Chaotic (Chaotic Evil) 
XP: 2,300

The ophidian abomination is a monster in the truest sense of the word. Large muscular torso springs from a snake-like lower body that can be one, two, or more snake-like tails. some have arms ending in viscous claws, and others have long snakes for arms, complete with snake heads and mouths filled with fangs.  No two abominations are alike.  Abomination only knows anger and hate for all living things. Their fear and hatred of the noble caste is all that keeps them in check.

Amboniations attack with their claws or fists (slashing or slamming, respectively). Those with human hands can use weapons, but all prefer to attack bare-handed. Their bite is poisonous, save vs. poison or die in 1d4+1 rounds. Abominations with more than one tail, or snakes for arms can also constrict like a large python. These creatures attack without provocation and save their greatest hate for humans. Once engaged they will keep attacking until all foes are dead or they are.  For this reason, the nobles use them as front-line troops and shock troops. They are ill-suited for bodyguard work. 

Abominations come about in two distinct ways. The first, and the most common, is via birth. The offspring of a noble ophidian and a lesser ophidian has a 1 in 10 (10%) chance of being an abomination. The offspring of a noble with a noble has a 1 in 5 (20%) chance, and between a noble and an emissary a 1  in 20 (5%) chance.  The chances of an abomination being born between two emissaries are only 1 in 100 (1%).  This is one of the main reasons the nobles control the breed of their people so heavily.  The other means is via a dark ritual known to the emissaries from the mage-priests of old.  This ritual can change any type of ophidian into an abomination. They consider this to be worse than death. 

Ophidian, Progenitor***

Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 9 (50 hp)
Move: 90 (30)
Attacks: 1 weapon or spell
Damage: By weapon (1d6) or spell
Special: Cleric and wizard magic
No. Appearing: 1 (1)
Morale: 8
Treasure Type: Q, S
Alignment: Chaotic (Lawful Evil)
XP: 3,000

The ophidian progenitor is an extremely rare Ophidian outside the caste system.  They have no recognition within Ophidian society, but it is believed that they are the original Ophidian race and the one from which all the others come.  Unlike all the other ophidians, these creatures appear to be completely human.  The truth is, quite literally, only skin deep. They wear a skin they have created over a body covered in soft, snake-like scales.

The progenitor will rarely attack as they are far more concerned with extending their lives. It is believed that each progenitor is hundreds of years old, and some were even alive when the Ophidian nobles seized control from the mage-priests. The progenitors are all that is left of that caste.

Each Ophidian progenitor can cast spells as a 5th-level magic-user/wizard and as a 4th-level cleric.  They are even believed to know the secrets to turn a converted abomination back into their original caste.

Members of the noble caste will kill a progenitor on sight if they can or have them killed. They fear them too much. It is speculated that some emissaries know the locations of a few progenitors. But to conceal the location of a progenitor will also result in death. 


I'll likely have more of these guys. I have a lot of notes and other ideas.