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

Monday, November 27, 2023

Monstrous Mondays: D&DGII Ulmenfrau

Ok. Back it! We had some measurable snow here in Chicagoland, and I thought a snow monster might be nice for today. But while working on it, it morphed into something else.  So I might bring those original ideas back later, but for today let do the monster that came out of this process. The Ulmenfrau.


The Ulmenfrau, or "Elm Wives" are what my Roman-Germanic/Norse Pagans call the tree spirits of the Black Forest Mythos. They are related to the Norse Askafroa of the Ash Trees.  They also fold in elements of the Nisse of the Scandinavian countries, the Greek Pteleai (Elm Dryads), and the nymph Chione.  There are some elements of the Norse myth of Ask and Embla here as well.

Ulmenfrau are tree nymphs, so they most like dryads but can move further away from their trees. It is believed that Ulmenfrau are actually tied to a grove of elm trees rather than a specific singular tree.  It is said they are the daughters of the North Wind and can be encountered most frequently after the first snowfall.

They are closely associated with the European White Elm ("Ulmus laevis").

NO. APPEARING: 1 (2-12)
MOVE: 90"
HIT DICE: 5+10 (32 hp)
% IN LAIR: 100%
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1 club or spell
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Immune to charm, hold, sleep, and other mind-affecting spells. Immune to Cold attacks, vulnerable to fire and iron.
ALIGNMENT: Neutral (Good)
SIZE: M (under 5')

The Ulmenfrau, or Elm Woman or Elm Wife, is a type of woodland faerie creature similar to nymphs and dryads. Indeed, she may be a type of dryad and shows many similarities to the Askafroa found in ash tree groves. The Ulmenfrau as the name suggests, is the spirit of the Elm tree, though this fae is not tied to any specific tree, but rather the grove at large. A grove of 100 trees can support a dozen or so ulmenfraus. Larger groves can support more but often no more than a dozen will ever be spotted. When dealing with mortals they typically agree on a single ulmenfrau to interact.

Ulmenfraus are not combative as a rule. They can attack with a club when needed, but they mostly will attack and defend with magical spells, typically that of a 4th-level Druid or Witch. They will avoid using fire-based magic.  If their need is dire then a group or three or more ulmenfrau can cast Control Weather as if they were a druid circle or a coven of witches. They will use this to blanket their grove in deep snow and sub-freezing temperatures. 

All ulmenfraus are immune to mind-affecting and altering magics. They can not be charmed, held, or put to sleep. They are also immune to the effects of cold, either magical or mundane, and thus do not take damage from cold-based magic. Like many fae creatures, they take extra damage (+3 to damage per hit) weapons made of cold iron. Cold iron weapons are those that lack carbon to make them steel. They are hard and heavy weapons that break easily. Also, they take double the damage from any fire-based attacks.

Ulmenfrau are hard to find in summer months, where they are busy making sure their grove is growing, they can be spoted in their humanoid form most often in the winter. Here, they appear as slight (only 5' tall) elven women light grayish brown skin that gets lighter as they age with white hair. Like many dryads their hair changes with the seasons, but green-haired and red-haired ulmenfrau are harder to find. They are thought to venture out in winter to explore and potentially find mates. Though unlike other dryads the ulmenfrau have no magical ability to charm. 

It is believed that the ulmenfrau are the offspring of the North Wind and the Wood Maidens.


Sunday, November 19, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 11, Room 19

 Characters can hear a loud droning sound coming from encounter area 19 long before they see it.

Room 19

The monster is a Mezzalorn (a Wasp Demon).

Mezzalorn Demon (Wasp Demon)

Armor Class -3 [22]
Hit Dice 12* (54 hp)
Attacks 2 claws (1d6), 1 sting (2d6 + poison)
Special Magic resistance (10%), immune to poison
THAC0 11 [+8]
Movement 120’ (40’)
  Fly 120' (40')
Saving Throws D6 W7 P8 B9 S10 (12)
Morale 10
Alignment Chaotic
XP 3,400
Number Appearing 1 (1)
Treasure Type A

A mezzalorn looks like a hellish giant wasp with the head and torso of a man. When reduced to half its hit points it releases a pheromone that gives it and all other mezzalorns a +1 to-hit bonus. The poison injected by a mezzalorn’s stinger is lethal if the victim fails a saving throw.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Monstrous Mondays: D&DGII Doppelsauger

 Trying to wrap-up my entries for my Deities & Demigods II: The Black Forest Mythos this week. Here is a monster I have always wanted to include somewhere. A particularly horrific little monster.



The Doppelsauger, or "double sucker," was a creature I ran into very early in my vampire research. Back when I was known more as "the vampire guy" than "the witch guy."  It appealed to me then because the name is so evocative and descriptive of what it was; a creature that sucks twice. The first time when nursing milk from its mother and then again with blood.

MOVE: 6"
HIT DICE: 4+8 (26 hp)
% IN LAIR: 60%
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1 bite
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1d4 + Blood (Con) Drain
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Vampire traits
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Evil
SIZE: S (under 2')

The Doppelsauger, or "twice sucker" is the vampire revenant of a child that had been weaned, but had gone back to the breast later on. It would have died sometime after this point. Some claim that the death of the child needs to be intentional, such as leaving it out to die of exposure or via disease. In either case, the undead creature returns to feed on the blood of its mother and other close family members. 

The doppelsauger needs to find a way into the home of its victims. This must be their former home, and their victims can only be family members. It won't feed on non-family members.

Like the common vampire, this creature can charm its victims. The charm is similar to the spell of the same name and the vampire ability. Family members save at a penalty of -2 and its own mother at a penalty of -4. The doppelsauger can turn into mist like a common vampire and can summon 2d10 rats. It takes damage from sunlight, holy items, and holy water, as do other vampires. It can't enter another home, but its home is always open to it. It said that it must enter via the same way it left their home. If this entryway is blocked, the doppelsauger cannot enter.  Garlic flowers, wolvesbane, and holy items will keep it at bay. They are turned as Shadows (Type 4).

Their attacks are weak, causing only 1d4 hp per attack, but its greatest attack is its ability to drain 1 point of Constitution via blood loss. The doppelsauger prefers to feed off of their mothers first, then other family members. One of the ways to know a family is being attacked by a doppelsauger is if they all start showing signs of anemia and losing weight. 

To stop (or prevent) a doppelsauger a board with a semi-circle cut-out must be fitted over the neck of the creature and hammered into its coffin. One can also be stopped via a stake in the heart and then removing their head with a sharpened shovel. 


Wednesday, November 8, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 11, Room 8

 The monster in encounter area 8 can be smelled before it is seen.

Room 8

The creature crawling on all fours is a gigantic ghoul. It is about the size of a Frost Giant. Even though there is room, it is still on all fours.

Ghoul, Giant

Armor Class 6 [13]
Hit Dice 11+11* (61 hp)
Attacks 2 × claw (1d12 + paralysis), 1 × bite (1d8 + paralysis)
11 [+8]
Movement 90’ (30’)
Saving Throws D6 W7 P8 B9 S10 (11)
Morale 12
Alignment Chaotic
XP 1100
Number Appearing 1 (1)
Treasure Type Bx2

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 11, Room 7

One of the most prevalent monsters in this maze is found first in Encounter Area 7.

Room 7

This is a demonic Minotaur.  

These minotaurs are related to the demonic lord of minotaurs are are much larger, stronger and deadlier.

Minotaur, Demonic*
Armor Class 3 [16]
Hit Dice 9+9 (50 hp)
Attacks [1 × gore (1d8), 1 × bite] or 1 × weapon (1d8 + 4 or by weapon + 4) or 4d8
THAC0 11 [+8]
Movement 120’ (40’) 
  Stampede 180' (60')
Saving Throws D8 W9 P10 B11 S12 (9)
Morale 12
Alignment Chaotic
XP 904
Number Appearing 1d2 (1d4)
Treasure Type C

These giant creatures often wield giant axes. 1 in 6 has a Flaming Axe that does an extra 1d8 hp of damage.

Demonic Minotaurs can stampede to run victims down. They need at least 10' to get up to speed. They can then run down up to 10 HD/levels of victims. These victims must be in a line up to 30'.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

D&DGII The Black Forest Mythos: Helga, Goddess of Witches, Ghosts and Magic

Helga is likely one of the Goddesses I have thought about the most. She is the goddess of witches, ghosts, and magic. She is the syncretized goddess of Hecate of the Greek/Roman myths and the Norse Hel and Heiðr, and the Germanic Frau Holt/Holda. This also ties her closely to Mother Goose and Grimm fairy tales.  

Additionally, I have been using her as a character in my Wasted Lands games. This has allowed me to build her up from the ground up; Hecate and Hel are just her "backstory."  So, part of this write-up will be based on the myths and legends and all the rules I have for them AND some in-game ideas I have had.


Helga is interesting one for me since her genesis really predates this project during a time I was working on creating new gods and goddesses for my home campaign. Some of that creation continues on in this project. In particular they formed my ideas on Großvater & Großmutter (originally Ouranus and Gaia in my home campaign). Helga though remains largely intact from that time since she was always a mix of Hecate, Hel, and a bit of Ereshkigal. She was a dark Goddess of Magic, Witchcraft, and Ghosts. I have even kept her name intact.

As this project grew I pulled in more details from previous work I had done, namely writings about Frau Holle and other, older myths that fit under the umbrella of "The Crone" archetype.  Helga is very much the Crone, but she can appear at any age.

HELGA (Goddess of Magic, Ghosts, and Witches )
Intermediate Goddess

MOVE: 18" / 24"
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Aura of Darkness

SIZE: M (5' 6")
ALIGNMENT: Neutral (Evil)
WORSHIPER'S ALIGN: Any (those who use magic, witches, undead)
SYMBOL: Image of the Goddess' face
PLANE: Hölle

CLERIC/DRUID: 20th level in each
MAGIC-USER/ILLUSIONIST: 20th level in each
WITCH/WARLOCK: 20th level Witch
S: 10 I: 22 W: 24 D: 18 C: 18 CH: 20

Helga is the Witch Goddess, the Ghost Queen, and the Crone of the Trinity.  She knows all secrets since they are whispered to her by the dead.  Thus she knows all the secrets of magic. She is the guardian of the crossroads and the gates of Hölle, where the dead reside. 

Helga will often appear as an older woman wearing simple robes of black. Her face is often hidden in shadow so that only part of it can be seen; her mouth or eyes. During the winter months, she will be seen wearing a crown of dried branches and leaves. 

As the goddess of magic and witches, she knows every spell since they are whispered to her by the dead. She can cast two spells per round as she chooses. She casts as a 20th-level spellcaster. She can also command undead to do her bidding as if she were a 20th-level cleric. She can speak to the dead at will.

Helga is the mistress of magic, therefore she is immune to the effects of any spell of third-level or lower. This includes any area of effect spells.  For spells of fourth-level and greater, she has a saving-throwing bonus of +3.  She is also surrounded by an aura of darkness that obscures her features and provides protection. When active, she gains a +4 to saving throws and a +4 bonus to AC. This is in addition to her normal saves. 

Animal: Hounds
Rainment: (Head) circlet of dead leaves and branches (Body) Simple garments of black. Robes of black
Color(s): Black
Holy Days: Samhain, Winter Equinox, Beltane
Sacrifices: Animal sacrifice at the Equinoxes. Animals are burned to ash. Milk left out each night.
Place of Worship: Graveyards and Crossroads.

Her faithful hound is Heuler, the Guardian of the Gates of the Dead.


Heuler ("Howler") is the syncretized guardian of the Underworld ("Hölle"). He combines elements of Cerebus, Hell Hounds, and the various wolves of the Norse/Germanic mythology, in particular Garm.

MOVE: 24" 
HIT DICE: 22+88 (187 hp)
% IN LAIR: 100%
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1 bite, 2 claws
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 4d10 + Poison/Disease, 1d8+4, 1d8+4
SPECIAL DEFENSES: +3 or better weapon to hit
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Evil
SIZE: L (18' at shoulder)

Heuler is a monstrous wolf-hound hybrid monster that stands 18' tall. His fur is soot black, his eyes burn with hellfire, and his jaws drip with poison. He is tasked with making sure none enter Hölle that do not belong, and none leave once they are inside.

He attacks with his massive jaws biting with 4-40 hp worth of damage. Each bite carries a rotting disease similar to mummy rot. Victims must save vs. Poison or contract this rotting disease. It is treated the same as Mummy Rot. He can also attack with his massive claws for 5-12 hp worth of damage each.

Three times per day, Heuler may howl to summon the dead to aid him. After he howls he will be joined by 3d12 wights who will fight whoever the beast is fighting. These wights will fight till destroyed.

If Heuler is killed then one of his pups will be elevated to the position of the new Guardian of the Gate. 

A Reminder Note About Translations

I have had a few comments from people saying my translations are "off."  While that is true, it is also on purpose. I am not looking for a perfect translation into modern German here. I am looking for something that common folk might have called these (See Rule #2) AND something I would have written in 1985-6 when my only resource was my High School German textbook and dictionaries (See Rule #3). So yeah, there are proper ways to translate these, but that is not what I want to do here.


RPG Blog Carnival

Monday, September 25, 2023

Monstrous Monday: The Dúlachán

 It is the first Monday of Autumn. I spent my weekend buying Halloween decorations and playing Baldur's Gate 3. My monster today was almost the physical manifestation of Error Code 516, but this might be better.  I wanted a shadowy, liminal undead figure.


Armor Class: 3 [16]
Hit Dice: 7+7** (39 hp)    
Move: 240' (80')
   Fly: 240' (80')
Attacks: 1 chill touch (1d8+1d6 chill, Constitution Drain) or 1 trample (1d6 x2)
Special: Constitution drain, undead, Magic +1 or better weapons to hit.
To Hit AC 0: 12 [+7]
No. Appearing: 1
Save As: Fighter 7
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Chaotic (Chaotic Evil)
XP: 1,250 (OSE), 1,300 (LL), 9/1,110 (S&W), 800 (BF)
Turn As: Spectre

Dullahan, the headless horseman. From Thomas Crofton Croker, Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland (3rd ed., 1834)

The Dúlachán can appear as a ghostly Headless Horseman or as a headless man or woman driving a funeral carriage.  The rider/driver is headless and will carry their own severed head under their arm or in a bag tied to their saddle or belt.  The horses are always of the darkest black, though their eyes burn with baelfire. In both cases, the rider/driver and horse(s) are all part of the same creature and can't be separated. The Dúlachán seeks out the death of one person but will also attack and kill anyone in their way. Behind them follows an army of wailing ghosts. 

These creatures are only found riding in "liminal" or in between times. So sunset or sunrise, the equinoxes and solstices, or on Samhain, the new year. They are most commonly encountered at sunset on the Autumnal Equinox and Samhain (Halloween).

They attack with either a trample (used against victims who are not their direct targets) or a chill touch that does 1d8 hp of damage on hit and an additional 1d6 due to their bone-numbing cold. Their touch drains 1 point of constitution per hit. This is treated the same as other undead draining. Anyone drained to 0 Con dies. If they are the called-out victim, they are whisked away. If they are someone that gets in the dúlachán's way, then they join the army of ghosts that follow along behind it, doomed to wail for eternity.

Their tactic is to ride up just as the sun is setting, call out a victim's name, and then ride the others down to claim their chosen. They will only name one victim per group. There is never more than one dúlachán at a time. 

Dúlachán can be turned as Spectres, but they will return the next night at sundown to make their claim again. They are incorporeal and can only be hit with magic weapons. If they are "killed" they will return on the next change of season. The only way to truly be rid of one is to Turn it or kill it and cast a Remove Curse on the character called out.

If the called-out victim gets into the coach version of the dúlachán, it is instantly killed, but the dúlachán will not attack anyone else and ride off into the nighttime sky.

Game Master's Note: These creatures should never be used as random monster encounters.


Happy Fall!

Thursday, September 21, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 9, Room 21

 Moving on to the next room on the left hand side (to the right of Room 20) is another passageway to a crypt. This one has a guest waiting for the party.

Room 21

In this crypt is a dead dwarf. He is looking at you, but he is dead.  

If the party does not attack right away the dwarf, a bhūta, will ask in a dry and dusty voice to ask the party to hold.  The dwarf will explain that he is only interested in killing the Vampire Queen, or at least get confirmation that she is dead.  If they party lets him pass he will walk by. Give them the same XP as if they had defeated him.

IF they attack, then he will attack back.  Nothing will stop his vengeance on the Vampire Queen.

Bhūta (Dwarf)

Armor Class: 4 [15]
Hit Dice: 7+14** (46 hp)
Attacks: 2 claws (1d6+1 x2)
Special: Death Grip, Undead.
THAC0: 11 [+8]
Movement: 120' (40')
Saving Throws: Monster 7
Morale: 12
Alignment: Neutral evil
XP: 1,250 (OSE) 1,100 [9] (S&W) 1,200 (LL)
Number Appearing: 1
Treasure Type: None

When a person is murdered, the spirit sometimes clings to the Material Plane, refusing to accept its mortal death. This spirit, called a bhūta, possesses its original body and seeks out those responsible for its murder. It will never rest until those responsible are sought out and slain. 

Since the transformation into unlife is almost instant (occurring within 1-2 hours after death), the bhūta appears as it did in life for about 2 weeks, taking on a more decayed appearance thereafter. Close inspection (spot on a roll of 1-2 on 1d6) reveals slight decay, and the body still shows signs of any trauma suffered prior to death (wounds, disease, burns, or the like), but outwardly, the bhūta for the most part appears as a normal creature of its race. In its undead state, the bhūta sustains itself on a diet of flesh, preferring that of humans and elves. A bhūta that scores two successful claw attacks on an opponent in the same round fastens its hands around its opponent’s throat and deals 1d6+1 damage per round until the hold is broken with a successful attack by the victim. 

The bhūta’s main objective is revenge on the person that killed it. So long as the bhuta and its killer are on the same plane of existence, it can find its target unerringly.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 8, Room 24

 Past the secret door is a small flight of stairs going up. There is an open archway that leads into another room.  Inside this room are seven statues of demons.

Room 24

Of the seven statues, four of them are Rock Living Statues.

Behind one of the normal statues is an exit.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 8, Room 23

Going back to Room 19 and taking the last passageway again leads the party up and out of the water.

This room is large and circular, with a high ceiling. The walls are made of rough, black stone. The floor is covered in a thin layer of water.  On the ceiling of this room is a glowing green portal where occasionally a frog will drop down and land in the pool below.

Room 23

There is a 25% chance that a Hydrodæmon will fall per 10 mins of entering this room. 

Like many of the portals here, this one is one-way. Demons come in, but can't get back out. 

One of the lanterns is the trigger for a secret door.

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

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 8, Room 21

 Going back to Room 19 and then to the central passageway takes the party up to a room similar to Room 20.

Room 21

Inside this wet room is what appears to be a gargantuan frog. Its evil eyes though, betray its true origins.

Dæmon, Hydrodæmon

Armor Class: 2 [17]
Hit Dice: 9+36**** (76 hp)
Attacks: 2 fore claws (1d8 x2), 2 hind claws (1d4), 1 bite (1d10)
Special: Spittle, spells, only harmed by silver weapons, immunity to acid and poison, magic resistance (35%), telepathy 100 ft.
THAC0: 11 [+8]
Movement: 30' (10')
  Swim: 240' (80')
Saving Throws: D8 W9 P10 B11 S12 SS 7 (9)
Morale: 10
Alignment: Neutral evil
XP: 3,607 (OSE) 2,300 (S&W) 3,800 (LL)
Number Appearing: 1d3 (1d6)
Treasure Type: I, Y

Hydrodæmon are frog-like daemons that swim the River Styx. They are the only known creatures in existence that can touch the waters of the Styx without suffering any ill effects.

Hydrodæmon are 10 feet tall and weight about 4,000 pounds. Large flaps of skin under their arms allow them to glide when leaping. The flesh of a hydrodæmon is warty and green. Its eyes are a sickly yellow in color.

Up to five times per day a hydrodæmon can expel a 20-foot long line of sputum that causes those hit to save vs. sleep (as the spell) for 6 rounds. Hydrodaemons can, at will, cast cause fear, darkness, detect magic, and dimension door. Once per day, they can summon an 8 HD water elemental.

They can communicate telepathically but have low intelligence. 


This hydrodæmon is awkward on land, and there is not enough room for it to glide.  It has been trapped here since the necromancers controlled this place, and it is pissed off. 

Thursday, August 17, 2023

#Dungeon23 Tomb of the Vampire Queen, Level 8, Room 17

 Beyond the secret door in room 14 takes the party to room 17.  A small passage leads to a large open chamber. A loud droning sound can be heard from all over.

Room 17

Inside this room are two large Fly Demons.

Fly Demon

Armor Class: 1 [18]
Hit Dice: 8+8**** (44 hp)
Attacks: 4 claws (1d4+1x2), 1 bite (1d8) + disease
Special: Diseased bite, demonic abilities, fear, detect invisible, darkness, drone
THAC0: 12 [+7]
Movement: 90' (30')
  Fly: 240' (80')
Saving Throws: D8 W9 P10 B11 S12 SS 8 (8)
Morale: 8
Alignment: Chaotic evil
XP: 2,608 (OSE) 2,000 (S&W) 3,040 (LL)
Number Appearing: 1d3 (1d6)
Treasure Type: B

Fly demons are known by a variety of names, and they may all be different species or sub-species of demons, but they all have similar characteristics if different overall appearances. All fly demons appear to be a horrid combination of humanoid and fly.  Some smaller species are only 4' long, while larger ones are up to 7'. They have large insect-like wings, humanoid heads, and faces, with large multi-faceted eyes. Their bodies are like that of an insect with six limbs. Each limb ends in a horrid-looking claw.

These demons attack with their four forelimbs. Their back limbs are often used as humanoid legs. Each claw can do 1d4+1 hp of damage. Their bite, though, causes 1d8 points of damage and transmits a horrible wasting disease where the wound continues to eat away at the body converting it to dead flesh. A saving throw vs. Paralysis must be made. If successful, the victim takes an additional 1d8 of acid damage. On a fail, the disease progresses and does 1d8 hp of damage per hour until removed by a Cure Disease or Heal spell. When is victim reaches 0 hp, they will be eaten by any fly demon remaining. 

Fly demons also have the following powers, usable once per day. They can cast an aura of fear in a 30' radius, detect invisible, and cast a sphere of darkness 10' radius. Their favorite tactic is to cast their fear aura and, when a victim gets closer, invoke their sphere of darkness.  The fly demon can also cast the Drone spell three times per day.  These demons take only half damage from electricity, cold, fire, and poison gas. Holy water will do 1d8 hp of damage to them.

All fly demons, regardless of their origin, sub-species, or even alignment, are controlled by the devil Beelzebub, the "Lord of the Flies."  They will instantly obey his summons and will carry his orders even unto their own deaths. When Beelzebub is present, their morale is effectively 12. 

Fly demons can speak telepathically but also do so with their insect-like mouths. Their voices drone and buzz like that of an insect. Warlocks of Beelzebub are often visited by flies of all sorts, including fly demons. The demons are instructed not to harm the warlocks in Beelzebub's pact, but they see all humanoids as nothing more than potential meat.

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, 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 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!

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Monster Mash Classes as Old-School Essentials Advanced Classes

 Monster Mash is now out in both PDF and Print on Demand, and I am very, very happy with it.

Work is going on for Monster Mash II: A Green and Pleasant Land now. Classes are built, just need some edits. I also bought a bunch of art from Dean Spencer so his art will fill the book for a single artistic vision.

But one thing people have asked me is, "Can I use Monster Mash" with the OSE-Advanced Rules?

Monster Mash and OSE-Advanced

While my intent was always to stick with OSE-Classic, there is nothing stopping you from using OSE-Advanced rules.  In fact, here are my guidelines.

For this, I am going to use the races and classes from OSE-Advanced. If there is another race or class (say from one of Carcass Crawlers or other sources) you can use the closest analog. 


OSE, for the moment still uses the out-moded "Races." I fully expect that will change but until I am using it as a "rules term" only.  

Note: ANY Game Master can over-rule these level limits as they see fit.

In every case these different races retain any abilities from 1st level on. 

Awakened Golem 

Requirements: 13 or greater in STR and CON, 10 or greater in WIS
Ability Modifiers: +1 to STR and CON, -2 to CHA

Acrobat: NA
Assassin: 10th (must have a DEX score greater than 13
Barbarian: 14th
Bard: NA
Cleric: NA
Druid: NA (and I would add they are so far removed to nature they can never be druids)
Fighter: 14th
Illusionist: NA
Knight: NA
Magic-User: NA* (special cases could arise)
Paladin: NA
Ranger: NA
Thief: 14th
Gothic Witch: NA
Profane Necromancer: 10th (similar special cases)


Requirements: 12 or greater in DEX
Ability Modifiers: +1 to STR and CON, -2 to CHA

Acrobat: 10th
Assassin: 10th
Barbarian: 9th
Bard: 7th
Cleric: 8th
Druid: 9th
Fighter: 10th
Illusionist: 7th
Knight: NA
Magic-User: 7th
Paladin: NA
Ranger: 8th
Thief: 10th
Gothic Witch: 9th
Profane Necromancer: 7th


Requirements: None
Ability Modifiers: STR, DEX, and CON are effectively 0

Ghosts can be anything but are limited to 10th level.


Requirements: 12 or greater in WIS
Ability Modifiers: +1 to WIS

Acrobat: NA
Assassin: NA
Barbarian: 8th
Bard: NA
Cleric: 10th
Druid: 10th
Fighter: 10th
Illusionist: 10th
Knight: NA
Magic-User: 11th
Paladin: NA
Ranger: NA
Thief: 10th
Gothic Witch: 13th
Profane Necromancer: 13th


Requirements: None
Ability Modifiers: +1 to CON

Acrobat: NA
Assassin: 8th
Barbarian: 10th
Bard: NA
Cleric: 5th
Druid: 6th
Fighter: 10th
Illusionist: NA
Knight: NA
Magic-User: NA
Paladin: NA
Ranger: 5th
Thief: 10th
Gothic Witch: 4th
Profane Necromancer: 4th

Lycanthrope, Wererat

Requirements: 11 or greater on DEX and CON
Ability Modifiers: +1 to DEX

Acrobat: 8th
Assassin: 8th
Barbarian: 5th
Bard: 5th
Cleric: 4th
Druid: 4th
Fighter: 6th
Illusionist: NA
Knight: NA
Magic-User: NA
Paladin: NA
Ranger: NA
Thief: 8th
Gothic Witch: NA
Profane Necromancer: NA

Lycanthrope, Werewolf

Requirements: 11 or greater on STR and CON
Ability Modifiers: +1 to STR

Acrobat: NA
Assassin: 8th
Barbarian: 10th
Bard: 5th
Cleric: 4th
Druid: 4th
Fighter: 10th
Illusionist: NA
Knight: NA
Magic-User: NA
Paladin: NA
Ranger: NA
Thief: 8th
Gothic Witch: NA
Profane Necromancer: NA


Requirements: None
Ability Modifiers: +1 to STR, DEX, and CON

Revenants can be anything but are limited to 9th level.


Requirements: 12 or greater on CHA
Ability Modifiers: None

Shades can be anything but are limited to 10th level.

Shadow Elf

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


Requirements: 13 or greater on STR and CHA
Ability Modifiers: +1 to STR

Vampires can be anything, but combined with a class they are limited to 12th level.


Monster Mash also includes two "human" Classes, the Gothic Witch and the Profane Necromancer.  The Gothic witch follows the same format of my other witch classes. The Profane Necromancer is essentially a Necromancer with various evil Cleric abilities added in.

Here are some suggestions.

Gothic Witch

Drow: 10th
Duergar: 7th
Dwarf: NA* (Dwarf witches are known as Xothia and use other witch rules.)
Elf: NA* (Elf witches are known as Kuruni and use other witch rules.)
Gnome: NA* (Gnome witches are known as Good Walkers and use other witch rules.)
Half-Elf: 14th (Half-elves can choose a variety of witches.)
Halfling: NA* (Halfling witches are known as Herb Women and use other witch rules.)
Half-Orc: 10th* (Half-orc witches are also known as Bogglebos.)
Human: 14th
Svirfneblin: NA (Svirfneblin would likely be a type of Xothia.)

Profane Necromancer

Drow: 9th
Duergar: 7th
Dwarf: NA
Elf: 8th
Gnome: NA
Half-Elf: 9th
Halfling: NA
Half-Orc: NA
Human: 13th
Svirfneblin: NA

A note about the Profane Necromancer. 

There are so many Necromancer classes for Basic-era rule and OSR rulesets. Even OSE has its own Necromancer. Mine is an homage to the Death Master of the late Len Lakofka. But use whichever one you like the best, and feel free to use some or all of my spells with it. 

Again, individual GMs can make adjustments as they see fit.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Monstrous Mondays: The Future (???) of my Monster Projects

Wow. The OGL drama has been enough to give you whiplash

open dnd

Where are we today? Have to ask because the situation has changed so much and so rapidly. While I have been following this on all sorts of social media outlets, I have to shout out to Robert Conley over at Bat in the Attic for constantly updating his blog with the details and expert commentary.  I like to be able to read what is going on, follow the links, and not have to wade through a ton of videos.

In fact, to get the latest run-down of what is (or at least was as of Saturday, January 28, 2023) going on, I am not going to repost it, I am just going to have you read his breakdown.  Go there. Come back here.

Back? Good! Let's talk Monsters. Or, more to the point, how these new revelations will affect me and my various monster projects for this year.

Here are my three current projects.

  • Monster Mash. This one was released last week and the reactions have been great. It is getting downloaded at a steady rate and I'll have the hardcover version proof in my hands soon.  I have two others all mapped out with a lot of material ready to go for them. I am slowing down the process for now since the OGL 1.0a seems safe for the time being. 

  • Basic Bestiary. This one was the biggest causality of the OGL change back at the start of the year. Now with the OGL 1.0a a little safer I want to get this one back on.  I have spent way too much time on it to let it languish on my hard drive any longer.

  • Monstrous Maleficarum. Ah. I was so looking forward to this one too. While the newly uploaded 5.1 SRD to Creative Commons means I have even MORE freedom to do this one, my motivation for it is not really there anymore. Maybe I'll come back to this one. But for now a lot of my art for this one will be going to the other two projects.

There are also lots of new opportunities with the other licenses coming out.  There is the Paizo-led Open RPG Content License (ORC), there is Kobold Press and Black Flag, and the Creative Commons is now an option, not to mention whatever Troll Lords does with Castles & Crusades, what will happen with Labyrinth Lord 2, and what Bill Barsh does with his BX RPG (just three on my mind this week).

I will freely admit this latest change has reduced my ire against Hasbro/WotC. I will still play D&D5, but I am less enthusiastic about supporting it with my time and intellectual capital. Plus I have seen what happens when people start to support more 3rd party publishers and independent publishers. I'd like to see that continue.

So this week we have more options than we did last week and even more than last month. Let's use those options to make better games.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Monstrous Monday: Monster Mash

We have all seen the new proposed OGL. Honestly it looks like publishing under the OGL 1.0a  will soon be over, at least how it has been.  So, what am I do to with three separate monster-related projects?

Simple. I combine what I can and try to get something ready to go.

Here are the efforts of that.

Monster Mash

Monster Mash

Here, there be Monsters!

For years brave adventures have been going into dark dungeons and fighting monsters. Now the monsters are fighting back.

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

This book features 13 horror-based classes.

The Awakened Golem, Cat Folk, Ghosts, Haglings, Hobgoblins, Revenants, Shadow Elves, Shades, Werewolves, Wererats, Vampires, Profane Necromancers, and the Gothic Witch.

New spells for Haglings, Profane Necromancers, Shadow Elves, and Gothic Witches.
New occult powers ritual spells for Gothic Witches.

Fully compatible with Old-School Essentials and other Basic-Era games.
Fully compatible with other witch books from The Other Side.

Requires Old-School Essentials Core Rules.


I put in a lot of the art I was going to use for this, Monstrous Maleficarum and the Basic Bestiaries.  I had wanted to get this out for Halloween (naturally) but I had a lot going on.

Now I would LOVE to get a couple more of these out. I have nearly everything I need; I just have to put everything together. 

Will this be my last publication for OSE? I certainly hope not.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Monstrous Monday: Trolls of Hyperborea

It is getting cold here in Chicago, and that makes me want to pull out some Hyperborea. So I am going to be spending some time with the new Hyperborea this week. It is also Monstrous Monday, so let get a monster ready for that.  

My wife and I watched the new Netflix movie "Troll" recently. It was fun. It will not win any awards for originality, but it was fun. Reminded me a bit of the "Troll Hunter" movie from a bit back. We also watched the original "Willow" movie from 1988. It also had some trolls in it, though very different.  She had never seen the movie, and it had been decades since I had. It reminded me once again how much I don't care for the standard AD&D-inspired troll and prefer something closer to myth and legend.

Giant Troll

So. Let's put this all together with something new-ish.  So here is a troll I am reworking and presented in Hyperborea format.

Troll, Jötunn

Jötunn Troll: #E 1 | AL CE | SZ L (30') | MV 40 | DX 9 | AC 2
HD 14 | #A 3/1 (claw/claw/bite) | D 1d6+5/1d6+5/2d6+5
SV 10 | ML 8 | XP 2,300 | TC D | Special: See Below

This immense rock-skinned brute wields a tree branch for a club. Their mouths are filled with jutting teeth and tusks.

Jötunn trolls are gigantic horrors. Prowling in frigid wastes, these rapacious creatures have the same insatiable appetites of common trolls but require much more sustenance because of their excessive size. Jötunn trolls stand 30 feet tall and weigh roughly 25,000 pounds. They can live for up to 1,000 years. Their most curious feature is many will have multiple heads, sometimes even sprouting a new head after several years.  It is generally believed that the older the troll, the more heads it will have.

Jötunn trolls spawn with either their own kind or with other trolls. In the latter case, there is only a 5% chance the offspring will be a jötunn troll. Apart from brief mating periods, jötunn trolls are solitary, although some cull together bands of other giants into devastating war parties that can lay waste to entire regions. Like all trolls, the Jötunn Troll can regenerate. This begins the round after taking damage, and they regenerate at a rate of 4 hp per round in temperatures near freezing.  If the temperatures are warmer, then this slows to 3 hp per round. At temperatures of 100 degrees or more, their regeneration stops altogether. They cannot regenerate from fire or acid-based attacks.

Once every 1d4 rounds as a regular attack action, a jötunn troll can emit a cacophonous roar. All creatures within a 60-foot spread of the troll must make a save vs. paralysis or become confused for 1d4 rounds. This is a mind-affecting effect. 

A jötunn troll with multiple heads has a +4 bonus on all saving throws against mind-affecting effects. In addition, whenever a jötunn troll must make a save vs. these effects, it can roll the saving throw twice and take the better of the two results.

Jötunn Trolls have highly advanced senses. So highly tuned, in fact, they can "smell" the difference between "good" and "evil" alignments, preferring to attack, and hopefully eat, those of good or lawful alignments over evil or chaos. These senses allow them to small prey as far away as 300 ft and "smell alignment" as far away as 30 ft.

Based on the "Jotund Troll" from Pathfinder

Section 15

Troll, Jotund. Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary 3, © 2011, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors Jesse Benner, Jason Bulmahn, Adam Daigle, James Jacobs, Michael Kenway, Rob McCreary, Patrick Renie, Chris Sims, F. Wesley Schneider, James L. Sutter, and Russ Taylor, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.