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

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. 

Races

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)

Catflok

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

Ghost

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

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

Hagling

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

Hobgoblin

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

Revenant

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

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

Shade

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

Vampire

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.

Classes

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.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Monstrous Mondays: The Agathós (and other Angels)

Agathós
Running a bit behind today, so I will share something I am working on.

Much like my reclassification of all the demons and devils in the lower planes I am redoing the various forces of good in the upper planes.  Among these forces are the familiar Angels and Archons, but I am also introducing a new group, with some familiar members, the Agathós.

Much like "demon" can refer to a Chaotic Evil fiend from the Abyss or as a general term for all Evil outsiders, the term Angel can refer to a specific set of Lawful Good outsiders or all Good members of the upper planes.

The word agathós comes from the agathodaemon (agathós daímōn) or 'noble spirit.' These were spirits that aided people.  My thinking here came about while working on my syncretism posts for One Man's God and reading over the original write-up for the various angel-like creatures that would eventually end up in the AD&D 1st Edition Monster Manual II.  The Devas were in issue #63, Planetars and Solars in issue #64.  In these cases the alignment of these angels are all listed as Good. At the time assuming there are varieties that are Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic Good. 

So in my Basic Bestariry Angels are Lawful Good, Archons are Neutral Good (working for the great good), and Agathós are Chaotic Good, working for the greatest good they can do there and then.

Agathós

Agathós are independent spirits of good.  They are often confused with angels, which they do not mind, but they are not part of the hierarchy of the Heavens and try to make their own judgments on what constitutes the most good they can do for others. Their alignments are Chaotic Good.

All agathós are immune to poison and are resistant to acid, cold, and electrical damage. They take only half damage normally and on a save take no damage.  They all have magic resistance of varying levels. They take full damage from acid attacks. All have infravision to 120'. Many are immune to the attacks of undead (level drain, blood drain, paralysis, mummy rot).

Unlike Angels, who they share similarities with, the Agathós do not have a Divine and Profane form. This is something only true Angels have. 

These are the creatures from my Basic Bestiary that are classified as Agathós.

  • Astral Deva
  • Aurora
  • Lunar
  • Monadic Deva
  • Movanic Deva
  • Planetar
  • Solar

These creatures are Archons:

  • Bastion
  • Codex
  • Exscinder
  • Gate
  • Harbinger
  • Hound
  • Lantern
  • Legion
  • Shield
  • Stag
  • Star Archon
  • Trumpet

And these creatures are Angels (capital "A").

  • Archangel
  • Cassisian
  • Chalkydri
  • Cherubim
  • Dapsara
  • Dirae
  • Dominions
  • Elohim
  • Empyreal
  • Empyrean
  • Iophanite
  • Powers
  • Principalities
  • Seraphim
  • Thrones
  • Virtues

I might still move some around. A few of these Angels might work better as Agathós for example. I can see where the Dapsara might make a better Agathós. There are also the Agathions from Pathfinder that are all Neutral Good.  I have not decided if they fit in to my work at all yet, despite the name. I did the same thing with my Qliphoth versus the Pathfinder Qlippoth.

Something to work on in December.

Monday, November 21, 2022

Monstrous Monday: The Magaga Beast

Magaga Beast
A special one today. I was inspired by recent events for this one.

The Magaga Beast

Frequency: Unique
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 60' (20') [6"]
Armor Class: 3 [16]
Hit Dice: 20d8+80***** (170 hp)
  Hit Dice (Gargantuan): 20d20+80***** (310 hp)
To Hit AC0: 4 (+15)
Attacks: Trample, Bite (every other round)
Damage: 4d12+2
Special: Cause confusion (speech), Immune to mind-affecting magics, Regeneration, Summon drumpfs 
Languages: Common*
Size: Gargantuan
Save: Monster 20
Morale: 12 (NA)
Treasure Hoard Class: See below
XP: 7,750 (OSE) 8,000 (LL)

Str: 17 (+2) Dex: 9 (0) Con: 20 (+4) Int: 5 (-2) Wis: 5 (-2) Cha: 3 (-3)

Once every four years, the dreaded Magaga Beast will rise up out of its dismal lair to attack the countryside, eating everything in its path. Standing 45' tall, the bloated Magaga Beast, and thankfully there is only one, lumbers through the countryside eating, babbling on, and worse summoning other horrible creatures to its side. It appears as a behemoth creature, vaguely humanoid in shape, though it lower half is obscured by its massive flesh. Two arms stick out with tiny, useless hands. It has slapped a large bit of yellow straw onto its own head in a close approximation to hair.

It is large and virtually unstoppable, but slow and slow-witted. It babbles on in something resembling common, but any who listens to it becomes confused. Its main attack to just trample over everything in its path. It can reach down with its giant maw and attack to eat. On a critical bite attack, it can swallow a person whole. It can only bite once every other round.

Its worse trait is it attracts a large number (2d20) of drumpf goblins to its side to encourage it on. In the presence of the magaga beast, drumphs have a moral of 12 and are more prone to violent behavior to "protect" what they see as their lord and god. The magaga beast will happily eat any drumph that gets too close to its mouth. Nearly as bad is the trail of offal it leaves behind. This offal trail can cause sickness for any that do not save vs. poison. A fail means they are incapacitated for 2d6 days. Success means they can not breathe unless they move at least 10 ft. away

The magaga beast is immune to any mind-affecting magic. Simply put there is not enough of a mind here to be affected. The magaga beast regenerates 5 hp per round, even if reduced to 0 hp it will regenerate. Though if it is brought down to 0 hp it will hibernate for another four years, stirring as soon as two years if disturbed. 

Various communities have tried different means to defeat or sway the magaga beast. Giving it food only makes it demand even more. Others have sent various warriors for justice at it. But sadly it just keeps coming back. Even when reduced to 0 hp it finds a way to come back.

--

The resemblance to any real person is purely conjecture.

Monday, November 7, 2022

Monstrous Monday: Year of the Monster and Mastodon

I am at a pivot point with my Monstrous Mondays.

I have a bunch of projects I am desperate to get out because I am tired of them languishing on my hard drives and instead need to be on my, and hopefully your, game shelves.

So much so that I am dubbing 2023 "The Year of the Monster." I just have so much I want to do.  I ma hoping to have the first thing in your hands by December 26, 2022, the last Monday of the year. But I really need to get my butt moving on that.

In other news, I have a new place to scream into the void. I set up an account on Mastodon. I don't have much there right at the moment.  Now I have no intention nor no desire to leave Twitter. So you can still find me there.

Ok, let's bring this all together for a post.

One of the coolest things about living in Illinois is the number of mastodon fossils that can be found here. My uncle dug some giant molars from my maternal grandparent's property 60 years ago and we still have them now. I also used to love going to the Illinois State Museum in Springfield to see the Mastodons and other Ice Age fauna on display.  So why not an ode to my new social media account, one of my oldest favorite ice age creatures, and all for the newest iteration of my oldest favorite game.

Mastodon at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL

Mastodon, Undead

For Old-School Essentials

Undead remains of an ancient elephant species. Prized mounts of winter warlocks and sought-after guard animals of frost giants.

AC: 4 [15], HD 12 (45 hp), Att 2 x tusk (2d6) or 1 x trample (4d8), THAC0 10 [+9], MV 120' (60'), SV D8 S9 P10 B10 S12 (8), ML 10, AL Chaos XP 1,900, NA (0) (1d4), TT Tusks

  • Charge: In the first round of combat. Requires a clear run of 60 feet. Tusks inflict double damage.
  • Trample: 3-in-4 chance of trampling each round. +3 to hit medium (human-sized) or smaller creatures.
  • Ivory: Each tusk is worth 2d6 x 100 gp.
  • Undead: Makes no noise until they attack. Immune to effects that affect living creatures (poisons, gases). Immune to mind-affecting magics (charm, hold, sleep).  Turns as a 7-9 HD monster. 

Mastodons are larger than elephants but smaller than Mammoths.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Monstrous Mondays: Pathfinder Bestiary 4

Still working my way through a bunch of different monster books. Been spending the month of September on Pathfinder, but today is something a little different.  Let's get to it!

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 and Box

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 and Box

Today I am going to cover the Pathfinder Bestiary 4 and the Pathfinder Bestiary 4 Box.  We grabbed these back in 2015 or so I believe.  My oldest was running his D&D 5e game and wanted to add more Mythos monsters to it.  We grabbed the Bestiary 4, which has quite a lot of them, and then got the box of monster pawns to go with it.  By then we had also discovered the Cthulhu Wars game at GenCon and bought a bunch of those minis for him to use. So the box has been sorely underused.

Pathfinder Bestiary 4
Pathfinder Bestiary 4

PDF and Hardcover book. 320 pages. Full-color cover and interior art. For this review, I am considering the hardcover I bought in 2014 and the PDF I got from Paizo's webstore.

We grabbed this book for the mythos monsters. There are over 250 monsters in this book, so there were plenty of reasons to grab it.

This Bestiary gives us Kaiju. This book introduces them and there are more in the Pathfinder Mythic Realms books. There are 11 kaiju mentioned and three are detailed here.  They are all mostly Chaotic Neutral, with some suspected at Chaotic Evil. All are CR 26 and higher. 

Among the Mythos creatures, which are known as Elder Mythos here, are the bhole, colour out of space, elder thing, flying polyp, mi-go, nightgaunt, ratling, Spawn of Yog-Sothoth, Star-spawn of Cthulhu, and an whole collection of "Great Old Ones" that include Bokrug, Cthulhu, Hastur, and even Dagon as a Demon prince.

I can finally do my big "Godzilla vs. Cthulhu" idea!

There are even some old favorites here like the Leanan Sidhe, Nosferatu and Swan Maidens. Even really old ones like the Lurker Above and the Trapper (Monster Manual 1 AD&D) favorites get an update here. Spoiler: They are from the same family of creatures, no shock there. 

So yeah, for a "4" in the series, this one still has great monsters to give us.

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 Box

The Pathfinder Bestiary 4 Box is filled with cardboard cut-outs of *most* of the monsters listed in the Pathfinder Bestiary 4 book.  

They are study and work fine in places where you don't have a dedicated mini.  Also, the price of the box is much more economical than getting all of these minis. 

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 Box
Pawns and mini comparison.

Pathfinder Bestiary 4 Box


Pathfinder Bestiary 4 Box

There are no minis for the Kaiju or Great Old Ones. Which is one of the reasons we grabbed it.

Should have checked the back of the box I guess.

Bestiary Box contents

Still, this is great to have to fill out the places where I don't have the right mini.

Demons. Undead. Kaiju and Old Ones? Yeah, no wonder my oldest loves this one.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

In Search of Nocticula

I want to introduce what I hope will be a new semi-regular feature here at the ole' Other Side.  

"In Search of" will delve into odd, esoteric topics from my games in search of their origins and their relationship to myths, legends or even just a good story.  The obvious tribute to the old 70s-80s TV series "In Search of..." featuring Leonard Nimoy.  I am going to go back and retag some posts with this new "In Search of" label since this is not really a new idea for me.  My hope here is this takes the place of "One Man's God" in my rotations of posts.

Nocticula

Let us start my first In Search of looking for a demon who captured my attention back in the 1980s.

Back in the Monster Manual II days, we were treated to a long list of demons that were also powerful members of the abyssal Hordes. These included a few demon lords (L) and oddly enough some that were tagged as being female (F).  It seems odd to call that out now, but this was the 1980s.  

But that is not why I am posting today.  I was cleaning up some minis the other days and noticed one in particular.  Maybe because I have been thinking of various monsters and monster books I decided to go back to an old search.

Who Is Nocticula: Part 1 History

Nocticula

This is the mini and an entry in question.

Originally she was obviously some sort of demon related to the night.  She is not listed as a "Lord" so we assume she must be of higher rank along with Lolth and Zuggtmoy. 

Obviously, the name caught my attention then as it does now.  Though there is almost nothing about her in any products outside of the MMII. 

She does get name-dropped in the 1981 made-for-TV horror movie Midnight Offerings. When I saw it back in 2019 I wondered at the time if Gygax/TSR got the name from the movie. Though now it seems likely the name came from various occult books from the 1970s.

It would not be until the 1990s that I would run across her again.  

My first encounter with her was during the Netbook craze of the Pre-OGL Internet.  While many people were still blissfully unaware of what the Internet could do AD&D players were on LISTSERVs on Bitnet sharing "Netbooks."  These fan mad creations often lacked any sort of editorial control, art, or often even playtesting. But they made up for all of that in pure enthusiasm.  If you were lucky you found one that had been formatted like a "real book" in Microsoft Word 2.0.  One such book was "The Complete Netbook of Demons and their Relatives." This ancient and dusty tome was full of new demons.  It was a great little treasure, to be honest.  It did have an entry for Nocticula and Socothbenoth (I'll get to why that is important later).  Their entries were:

Nocticula(F)-a patron of witches. Could only find one reference on her.
...
Socothbenoth-Another female (harem) like deity turned into a male demon.

Mastering Witchcraft: A Practical Guide for Witches, Warlocks, and Covens
That obviously had my attention. So I was already doing deep dive research into witches at this point for my "Netbook of Witches and Warlocks" so I added her name as one to be on the lookout for.  Now keep in mind that at this time people were very, very wary of being sued by TSR for any copyright violations.  So I had no real plans to use Nocticula in my books, I was just curious about her.

In my reading, I came across "Mastering Witchcraft: A Practical Guide for Witches, Warlocks, and Covens" by Paul Huson, 1970.  Nocticula is mentioned many times. Likely as a "dark aspect" of Hecate or Habondia (or Habundia). That name is not in my "Dictionary of Classical Mythology" by J.E. Zimmerman. Huson adds that Noctiula is "Ruler of the Dead and Warden of the Tower Adamantine" and she walks at night.  He also claims that the title of "Nocticula" meaning "little night" comes from the 12th century.

I do have to admit that the paperback cover of Mastering Witchcraft makes for a good depiction of Nocticula. 

Gerald Gardner, the father of modern Wicca, even mentions her in his "Witchcraft Today" (1954). He also associates her with the figure of Bensozia. I guess that removes the fear of copyright issues, but I was still hesitant to use her preferring to come up with my own.

While all this is going on I got a copy of Dungeon #5 and found the adventure with Shami-Amourae, the demon queen of Succubi. She, along with Nocticula and Malcanthet have all been contenders for the title "Queen of the Succubi."

This bit didn't last long really and with the publication of Green Ronin's Armies of the Abyss and later the Book of Fiends we get a new look on Nocticula. 

Nocticula and Socothbenoth
Part 2: Green Ronin & The d20 Years

Green Ronin brought Nocticula into the new Millennium with the various fiend books. Chris Pramas had worked on a few Planescape and devil-related books for Wizards of the Coast in the waning years of TSR.  So he was in a great position to bring all of that knowledge to Green Ronin during the d20 boom.  Armies of the Abyss (2002) covered demons and introduced us to a new Nocticula. Or rather, gave us Nocticula since so little detail had really been published about her so far.  (Note. I am coming back to the Armies of the Abyss later in this series.)

Here she is demon lady of night yes, but also of women, dark fey, the natural world, psychotropic drugs, and earthly sensuality.  Known as the Princess of Moonlight she revels in all things pleasurable, earthly, and chaotic. She very much is the patroness of "living deliciously."  The description of her followers can only be described as "witches."

She has a twin brother, Socothbenoth, the demon lord of perversion, with whom she has an incestuous relationship with. Socothbenoth is basically the mind of Aleister Crowley in the body of Lord Byron and the sexual appetites of both.

I have used him before as a witch's patron based on the movies Byleth: The Demon of Incest (1972) and Il Sesso Della Strega (1973).

She only gets a mention in Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss, a little more than what she got in the MMII nearly 20 years prior.  She gets the title "The Undeniable" and her concerns are "Night" and she makes her realm on the 72nd layer of the Abyss called Darklight.

Part 3: Pathfinder

Our Queen of the Night fares better in her Pathfinder version where she is a major Demon Lord.  Her history is largely that of what was seen in the Green Ronin books. Indeed all of that is kept to the extent the OGL will allow. However, she is taken further in Pathfinder when she is given the ability to kill other demon lords. This gives her a connection to assassins.  

Here she appeared in a number of Pathfinder products, in particular the Book of the Damned, which covered the demons and devils of the Pathfinder game.

Nocticula for Pathfinder

At some point, she grew tired of killing demon lords and sought out redemption as the Goddess of Artists. I am not sure I completely like this idea, but hey Pathfinder can do what they like really.

Now to be fair, Pathfinder added a ton of material to Nocticula, and a lot of it is good. I could easily use any amount of it, to be honest.  

Part 4: Nocticula in my World

I have a lot of great information and details. But not all of them are great for my games. So. How can I rebuild Nocticula for my games and in particular my War of the Witch Queens campaign?

Part of her background is she was one of the first Succubi. That's fine and all, but I feel there is a tendency to make a female demon a type of succubus. Sure I get it and her background supports it to a degree, but it feels lazy to me. I mean there are SO MANY "first" Succubi. There is MalcanthetShami-AmouraeXinivrae, and Lynkhab. Do we need Nocticula to be a succubus? Not really.

I do like keeping Socothbenoth as her brother/lover. I like keeping them both as being fairly depraved as well. They are demons after all.  I even like the assassin idea from later Pathfinder books. Given her name I would like to get back to her association to the night and things of the night. In some ways the evil counterpart to my Nox.

In this, Nocticula is the demon lord of Night. She is honored by witches, warlocks, prostitutes, and assassins. Anyone committing an evil act at night will say a benediction to Nocticula. She is the daughter of Nox by Camazotz, the demon lord of bats and vampires (or maybe Orcus?). She is the twin sister to and lover of the demon lord Socothbenoth (the demon lord of perversion). 

Given that her first "D&D" appearance was in the Monster Manual II from 1983, I would draw on sources from 1982 and before for my influences on her. 

Obviously, I would need to write her up for AD&D 1st Edition.  I would use some of her Pathfinder details (what is allowed under the OGL) and go back to the earliest ideas about her. 

--

Nocticula
NOCTICULA 

FREQUENCY:  Unique (Very Rare)
NO.  APPEARING:  1 
ARMOR CLASS: -2
MOVE: 18" / 24" (MC: C)
HIT DICE:  13+39 (97 hp)
%  IN  LAIR:  0%
TREASURE  TYPE:  Q (x10), U
NO.  OF  ATTACKS:  2
DAMAGE/ATTACK:  Whip 1d6+1d4 (fire) (x2)
SPECIAL  ATTACKS:  Witch spells
SPECIAL  DEFENSES: +2  or  better weapon to hit
MAGIC  RESISTANCE:  25%
INTELLIGENCE:  Genius
ALIGNMENT:  Chaotic Evil
SIZE:  M  (6')
PSIONIC ABILITY:  See below
LEVEL/X.P. VALUE: IX/8250 +  18/hp (9,996 xp)

Nocticula is the Demon Lady of the Night. Witches, warlocks, assassins, and all those who make illicit trades or bargains under the cover of darkness are her followers. She hears their prayers when none of the gods will. She is also the patron of creatures of the night like vampires, shadow creatures, and even alu-demons and succubi.

She will always appear as a very attractive member of the gender and species the observer prefers. In a mixed company, she will attempt to provide as many attractive qualities as she can.  She can do this via a limited form of telepathic awareness that is not quite ESP.  It is a subtle power, like many of her gifts, and can only be blocked by magic or psionic ability specifically designed to do so. It also gives her the ability to speak any language known.

Nocticula is a lover, but also a capable fighter. She wields a whip of fire that she can attack with twice per round. The whip will do 1d6 points of damage and the fire an additional 1d4.  She can cast spells as a Mara Witch of the 13th level. 

She also has the following spell-like powers.

  • At will: Detect Good (Law), Detect Invisible, Detect Magic, Darkness 10' Radius, Glamour, Telekinesis (250 lbs / 25,000 GP weight), Tongues.
  • 3 times per day: Astral Projection, Charm Monster/Person, Read languages, Read magic, Shape change, Teleport without Error, Trap the Soul.
  • 1 time per day: Gate, Polymorph any object.

Like all demons, she is affected by acid, iron weapons, magic missiles, and poison, (full).  Cold, electricity, fire (dragon, magical), and gas (half). She has 25% magic resistance, but this does not apply 

She has wings, but these can be hidden away. Despite her appearances and appetites, she is not a succubus or any sort of Lilim. She does have many succubi attendants and servants.  Her preferred servants though are humans and some elves and fae. She may gate in 1d6 Succubi or 1d8 alu-demons to aid her. These are from her personal retinue and not easily replaced. She can also summon 2d8 shadow demons to do her bidding. Either of these can be done once per day (1/day). She can compel any vampire she encounters (as a charm-like ability they are not immune to) to do her bidding, but she can't summon vampires.

Rumors of her always appearing nude when summoned were created by clerics and scholars who rarely left their scriptoriums. However, to approach her in her layer in the Abyss one must be completely unclothed. This includes armor and weapons. 

Relationships

Nocticula has the best relationship with her brother and lover Socobenoth, the Demon Lord of Perversion. It is a good relationship as far as two chaotic evil demons can have.  She respects Lilith, the Demon Queen as the two are fine as long as they remain out of each other's business. Her rivalry with, and enmity of, Malcanthet is legendary. Equally so is her distaste of the demon Lord Graz'zt but none remember how this all began. Her relationship with Camazotz is one of pure hatred and each hates the other's claim as the demonic patron of vampires.  A hatred she does not extend to Lilith or even Orcus, whom she refers to as "Grandfather." Whether this is an acknowledgment of paternity or an honorific is unknown.  Orcus also extends this recognition to Nocticula. 

Unknown to most, Nocticula is an assassin of demon lords and even a minor god. She has discovered that when she kills them she can take on their powers. She successfully assassinated Vyriavaxus, the former demon lord of shadows. Now shadow demons begrudgingly show her patronage.  Presently Nocticula sits and carefully plans her next kill.

--

Looking forward to seeing what I can do next in my new In Search Of feature.

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Links

Monday, September 5, 2022

Monstrous Mondays: Pathfinder Bestiary 1

Pathfinder Bestiary
Last week I talked about the last of the D&D 3.x monster books to be published, but that was not the end of the d20 "3rd Ed era" monster books by a long shot.  When Wizards of the Coast moved on to D&D 4th Edition, Paizo (who had been publishing d20 material this whole time) came back with Pathfinder. 

The Pathfinder core combined the Player's and Game Master's material into one place and there was a rumor that the book would also have monsters. That was not to be and that was good in retrospect since it would have given us a 900+ page book.

Pathfinder Bestiary

Print and PDF. 328 pages. Color cover and interior art. For this review, I am considering the hardcover I bought in 2010 and the PDF I got from Paizo's webstore.

At this point, people were calling Paizo's Pathfinder "D&D 3.75."  It was an update, via the OGL, of the D&D 3.5 rules with many of their own rules added on. Not sure if it was a coincidence or choice but both Pathfinder and D&D 4 featured cover art from Wayne Reynolds. This helped what came to be known as the "Dungeon Punk" style and gave us Pathfinder's unique-looking goblins, kobolds, and trolls.  

Wayne Reynolds Monster Books

This bestiary features 309 monsters. Like their godfather, D&D 3.x all the monsters feature robust stat blocks and full-color art.  Like 2nd Ed AD&D before and 4th ed D&D currently, each monster is present on a single page. Again the value add for me is the ability to print the PDFs and place them in the order I like along 3rd party Pathfinder monsters.

The stat block of the Pathfinder monsters is easy enough to read for native D&D 3,x players.  There is some reorganization and added details that greatly improve both the readability and playability of these monsters. 

Nearly all of the "classics" and "usual suspects" monsters are here. What makes this book so much fun is seeing how a familiar creature changes between the D&D 3.x worlds to the Pathfinder ones.

I would argue that anyone playing D&D 3.x can get a lot of value out of the Pathfinder Bestiary books.  The rules are not so dissimilar as to have problems. And unless I am misreading here, it really does appear that ideas in this book would later manifest in D&D 5e.

Monster books

The value of the Pathfinder Bestiaries comes not in so much how they are alike the other "Monster Manuals" or even monster books derived from the SRD, but how they are different. At some level, these differences are cosmetic or even campaign world specific. It will be interesting to read the future ones and see what they have to offer outside of this core set of monsters.


Monday, November 29, 2021

Monstrous Monday: Tiâmat

I have talked about Tiamat since the earliest days of this blog.  No surprise really given my love of mythology and my oldest son's obsession with dragons.  It really is a natural fit for me.  I was working on this post a lot over my Thanksgiving break and I went back and forth on a lot of different ideas.  But circumstances came together and I finally decided, last night, what to post.

My oldest started Descent into Avernus this weekend for his 5e group.  We thought that a nice early Christmas present would be the new Gargantuan Tiamat miniature. 

Tiamat "mini"
The Tiamat "mini." Feiya and Larina for scale.

This thing is, well, gargantuan!

Up till now, we had been using the Aspect of Tiamat, the D&D Icon of the Realms Tiamat, and the Mage Knight Apocalypse Dragon (more on that guy in a bit). The Queen of Dragons enters a lot into our games. 

This also got me thinking about how I handle dragons in my Old-School games.  In particular how I want to handle them in my Basic Bestiary.   Over the years here I have experimented with various ways to present dragons so they are a constant challenge to any party regardless of size or levels.  There have been some really good innovations over the years starting with the dragons in AD&D 2nd Ed and into 21st Century forms of D&D.  I want to capture the best of the best design principles and also allow them to fit into the design I have already been using with my own monster stats.

I am not really 100% there yet.  

But I am at a point where I can present unique dragons like Tiamat (or Tiâmat as I am presenting her).  I still have a few issues to work out, but since I want to get my money's worth out of that figure here she is.

Tiamat
Tiâmat

Gargantuan Dragon (Evil)

Frequency: Unique
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 90' (30') [9"]
  Fly 180' (60') [18"]
  Swim 180' (60') [18"]
Armor Class: 0 [19]
Hit Dice: 30d8+240****** (375 hp)
 Gargantuan: 30d20+240****** (555 hp)
To Hit AC 0: -2 (0) (+21)
Attacks: 5 bites + 1 tail lash or breath weapons or spell + special
Damage: 3d6+7 x5, 1d6+7 or Breath Weapons or spell
Special: 
Save: Monster 30
Morale: 12 (NA)
Treasure Hoard Class: Special
XP: 30,250 (OSE) 30,250 (LL)

Str: 30 (+7) Dex: 10 (+0) Con: 32 (+8) Int: 28 (+7) Wis: 24 (+5) Cha: 22 (+5)

Tiâmat is the mother of all dragons, good and evil.  She was destroyed by her grandson Marduk and was cast out.  Formerly a god she now represents the primordial chaos of the deep sea or even the infinite abyss.  For this reason, she is often seen with the heads of all the major evil dragons, Black (Acid), Blue (Electric), Green (Poison), Red (Fire), and White (Cold). Fittingly, the mother of dragons makes her home in the depths of the Abyss in a layer known as  Têhom, or the "deep".  She is also considered to be the mother, or at least the Grandmother, of all evil and chaotic monsters.

Tiâmat can attack with all five heads per round.  Each head can bite, use their respective breath weapons, or use spells. The bite attacks do 3d6+7 hp of damage each, but the individual heads cannot attack the same Medium-sized or smaller victim at the same time.  A Large or larger-sized target can be attacked by two heads at the same time.  Tiâmat can attack up to five (5) separate targets this way.  Each head can also use their respective breath weapons doing 10d8 (45 hp) up to three times per day.  She will typically attack with her breath weapons first, to overwhelm and awe her opponents and then resort to spells and bite attacks.  Tiâmat believes that opponents need to be dealt with in the quickest, most deadliest, of ways.

Her aura of dragon fear is such that all, even true dragons, have to make a saving throw vs. magic or fall under the effects of a Cause Fear spell. This will affect all creatures regardless of HD/level.  Each head can additionally cast a Magic-user/Wizard spell per round in lieu of a physical attack.  The white head can cast 2 first-level spells and 1 second-level spell.  The black head can cast 2 second-level and 1 third-level. The green head can cast 2 third-level and 1 fourth. The blue head can cast 3 fourth, 2 fifth, and 1 sixth-level. Finally, the red head can cast 3 sixth, 2 seventh, and 1 eighth-level spell.  Tiâmat chooses her spells at the start of her day. She typically opts for spells of control, damage, and ones that can summon support. She does not need somatic or material components for her spells, they come naturally to her. 

Due to her size, Tiâmat cannot make claw attacks while on the ground.  She can attack with her foreclaws when she is flying or swimming.  She is immune to charm, hold, mind-affecting magic, and sleep effects.  She is additionally immune to all sorts of poison. She takes half damage from acid, cold, and fire. She also has 75% magic resistance.

As the Queen and Mother of Dragons Tiâmat she is served by five consorts. These are dragons of largest size and greatest age of their respective dragon types, White, Black, Green, Blue, and Red.  Each one is utterly loyal to Tiâmat, failure to be anything but this will result in their immediate death and their skins put on display.  Tiâmat can summon 2d6+1 evil dragons of any type once per day.

Tiâmat's home plane is known as Têhom, or the "deep." Here there are seven distinct areas that represent the preferred habitat of each of the five evil dragon types. Each one is governed over by her consorts. The sixth area is an ocean, so deep and so dark that no bottom has even been seen.  Tiâmat makes her home here along with sea dragons of all sorts. It is rumored that the great dragon Leviathan also resides here. The seventh and last area is an island that Tiâmat often visits. Here her treasure horde can be found. This land is populated only by undead dragons.

Tiâmat as a Patron
Dragon Tradition Witches and Draconic Pact Warlocks take Tiâmat as their patron.  Chaos mages also look to the Mother of Monsters as their patron, inspiration, and even Goddess.  All dragons, good and evil, regard her as their mother or the first of their kind but only evil dragons and dragon-kin worship her. 

--

Notes

I like this stat block quite a lot.  I can look at it though and tell I still need to define my demons and dragons both a little better. There are ideas I want to express that I am currently not doing.

She is a Gargantuan creature.  So because of that, I am going to be using my alternate HP calculations. A gargantuan creature uses a d20 for HP determination, not the standard d8.  Even with this she is at 30 HD so in standard games she ends up with 375 hp. In my games that is boosted to 555 hp.

A bit on that HD.  Yeah, she has 30 HD.  She is big and bad and is not a monster you find on level 20 of some random dungeon. This flows from the level setting I was doing in One Man's God. Tiamat is not just on the top of the scale, she should be the top.  A former Goddess now cast into the Abyss, that means two things for me. One she is powerful and two she should be a demon of some sort.  She is obviously something more. I have her listed as "Gargantuan Dragon (Evil)" but she would certainly also be an Outsider or even a Fiend possibly. She could even be an Eodemon

Alignment.   I have been playing Tiamat as "Chaotic Evil" since I first started reading Chaos Theory back in the 90s. It always made far more sense to me.  Plus she never really fit into the hierarchy of Hell as far as I was concerned.  I do borrow a page from Paradise Lost and say she was there when the Devils fell.  But that was only one of her lairs in the cosmos. 

What about that Apocalypse Dragon?  Well, I still want to get my money's worth out of him.  So he has been redubbed as Leviathan.  Fitting, given the history my games have had with him.  I will need to revisit my stats for him though. 

Tiâmat and Leviathan
Tiâmat and Leviathan

Links

Links to other Tiamat postings here on the Other Side.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Monstrous Monday: Glory Hound (A Wolfenoot Special)

Once again it is Happy Wolfenoot Everyone!

What, you don't know about Wolfenoot, the holiday to celebrate all that is cool about the wolf and dogs?  Well get yourself over to Wolfenoot.com to find out more then come back here.  Even DriveThruRPG is in on the fun this year with their Wolfenoot sale.

Glory Hound

So the last Wolfenoot I did the lycanthropic Wolf-Witch, this year I am also looking to a book I read for inspiration.  Back in High School, I had to take English from this teacher I was looking forward to having but quickly came to despise.  He was such an arrogant asshole and treated his students like shit. Very much of the type to belittle students for mistakes.  Anyway, the books he has us read were ones that had been on the curriculum for gods know how long. I hated them all and nothing connected with me.  So being a pretty fast reader I would do the assigned reading in the class ad then read something else.  We had this book of short stories and it seemed to me that he would pick the most boring, moronic stories for reading and leave the others alone.  One story I found that I actually rather enjoyed was Emma-Lindsay Squier's "The Soul of Caliban." 

I knew Caliban from Shakespeare's Tempest because of Kalibos in the "Clash of the Titans" movie.  The story focused on an ugly dog, which I imagined looked like Cujo, living somewhere in Canada. He belonged to man who began to treat him poorly after he got married. The story went on from there, but the important part was at the end.  The man came back to his home to see his new baby gone and Caliban limping and covered in blood.  The man reacts and kills Caliban only to discover the dead wolf and the baby pulled away to safety.  The last scene is of Caliban in Heaven being treated by St. Peter (not St. Bernard) saying, (something like) "Mon Dieu Caliban, comme tu es devenu beau !" or "my God Caliban, how beautiful you have grown!"  I thought it was a good story. Certainly written for a Freshman English class to discuss issues like "do dogs have souls?" and so on.

Fast forward to 1989 and the movie "All Dogs Go to Heaven" is out.  I never saw it, but from the title, I thought it might have been the same story.  It wasn't, but that is fine. 

Fast forward again to more recent times and we now get the "All Dogs Go to Sto'Vo'Kor" meme.  Ok, ok I get it.  No need to beat over the head with it anymore.

So for this year's Wolfenoot, I give you the Glory Hounds.  You will excuse me if I also want to slip a little more of The Bard into my games. 

Glory Hounds
Medium Outsider (Angel)

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1d6+1 (2d6+2)
Alignment: Lawful [Lawful Good]
Movement: 180' (60') [18"]
  Fly 180' (60') [18"]
Armor Class: 4 [15]
Hit Dice: 5d8+15*** (38 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 13 (+6)
Attacks: 1 bite + special
Damage: 1d6+1
Special: Bark, cause fear, detect evil, fly
Save: Monster 5
Morale: 12 (12)
Treasure Hoard Class: None 
XP: 750 (OSE) 860 (LL)

Str: 15 (+1) Dex: 16 (+2) Con: 18 (+3) Int: 12 (+0) Wis: 13 (+1) Cha: 16 (+2)

Glory Hounds are the souls of mortal dogs and wolves who died from an ultimate act of bravery and self-sacrifice.  They ascended to the Heavens and were given forms that matched their brave deeds.   All glory hounds appear as majestic, proud versions of their type of canine. Their head is noble and their visage is one of calm serenity.  That is until they sense evil.  They appear to become fierce and frightening, causing fear (as per the spell) to all around them (10' radius).

Glory hounds exist for one purpose, to destroy evil.  They are sent to the mortal planes to hunt down and destroy all evil influences they can, saving a special hatred for demons and those that abuse children.  A glory hound will unerringly seek out evildoers and attempt to destroy them.  The ancient pacts made by Angels do not apply to glory hounds so they are free to roam the mortal realms as they see fit. Because the pacts between creatures of the upper planes and creatures of the lower planes do not apply to glory hounds they also can not be summoned.  Often glory hounds will be in the company of other angels, typically like a hunting party.  Woe to any evil creature hunted by a dirae with a pack of glory hounds at her sides. 

The glory hound attacks with their bite using pack tactics to the best of their abilities.  They also can bark 3 times per day.  This bark is a loud sonic wave of damage that sounds like a thunder crack.  It will do 5d6 points of damage (save vs. petrification for half) to all in a 120' long (60' wide at the end) cone from the glory hound.  They cause fear against all chaotic (evil) creatures at all times, and can once per day increase this power to all creatures.  

Glory hounds can only be hit by magical weapons.  They take half damage from magical fire and no damage from mundane or non-magical fire.  They are immune to charm, hold and sleep magic or other mind-affecting magic.  They take full damage from lightning and cold. A slain glory hound will discorporate and return to the Heavens.  It will be seven years before that particular glory hound will be powerful enough to return to the mortal realms.

Glory hounds are the natural enemies of hell hounds and vargr.  Attacking these creatures on sight.  Unless accompanied by another angel they will abandon their current mission to fight with hell hounds and vargr.  

Glory hounds will not attack Lawful (good) or Neutral creatures unless attacked.  If Chaotic (evil) creatures are not acting in a way that is overtly evil then they will be ignored as well.

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Don't forget to howl at the moon tonight!

Monday, November 15, 2021

Monstrous Mondays: Illinois Hominids

The weekend before last I drove down to my parent's house to see my dad before his 92nd birthday (his doctor told him he'll likely live to a 100) and my sister for her 51st birthday.  Picked up a few books my sister had for me, mostly older occult books.  But driving through the state and back got me thinking about some more local horrors. I mean there HAS to be something interesting hiding in all those corn and soybean fields.  I also thought about how these creatures would work well in all the occult games I was talking about last week.  

Another thing is I love Bigfoot legends.  I don't believe any of them for a moment, but they are so great for games. Bringing these all together really helps capture the feel of the games I wanted to play in the early 80s. So for that D&D-loving kid in Central Illinois back in the 1980s who loved Bigfoot stories, this is for you. And by "you" I mean "me."

Sassy

Illinois Hominids

When one hears about Illinois the first thing that comes to mind are cornfields, Chicago, and spectacularly corrupt politicians.  One doesn't typically think of 10 ft. tall hominids.   But for the residents of Illinois, these creatures are not unheard of.  They have been spotted all over the state from the northernmost points to the far south point, nearly 400 miles. 

In nearly all cases these creatures try to avoid humanity.  Their great size and obvious strength would make them a threat to any group of investigators, but thankfully they have so far shown no particular desire to attack.  

Illinois Hominids like all species of sasquatches are large, nocturnal creatures that walk upright like humans.  It appears to be omnivorous but its preference is for vegetables and fruits found in the wild.

For this posting, I am going with "Illinois Hominids" as opposed to "Bigfoots" or "Sasquatches" since both of those terms are more associated with creatures of the Pacific Northwest.  "Skunk Apes" are more commonly referring to creatures in the Southern United States. 

I am also grouping creatures together that may, or may not, be classified as Sasquatches in other Bigfoot lore. Most of these creatures have only been reported once.

Dogmen of McHenry County

These creatures are 7" tall creatures that appear to be some sort of simian/canine/hominid hybrid.  Their defining feature is their dog-like faces.  Similar creatures have been sighted in adjoining Cook County, and as far south as Christian (nearly 250 miles to the south) and Woodford Counties. They are noted for their howls in the night.  Many scholars classify these as separate sorts of creatures. 

Cole Hollow Road Monster

Found in central Illinois this creature has been sighted near Peoria, IL, and might be related to the similar Farmer City Monster found further to the east.  This creature is grayish in color and stands 7"-8" tall.  It is quite reclusive and can hide in natural environments with 95% effectiveness and can never be surprised.  

Swamp Hominids of Southern Illinois

Several creatures occupy the lands at the far end of the state. Unlike the other hominids featured here these usually range to about 10' tall and tend to live near swamps or other wetlands.  They also have a smell that can be detected for a 100 yards, any closer and investigators suffer a -3 (or roll with disadvantage) on any attacks.  They share this feature with the Skunk Ape of the southern part of the country. 

These creatures include the Tuttle Bottoms Monster of Harrisburg, IL which also has an elongated snout.  Nearby Enfield in White County also has The Enfield Horror, a fast-moving hominid. 

The Abominable Swamp Slob, also known as the A.S.S., are found in Jackson County near the Shawnee National forest. It can emmit an ear-shattering shriek.  The most famous of these is the Murphysboro Mud Monster and "Sassy" the Shannee Sasquatch. 

RPG Stat Blocks

Basic Bestiary
Illinois Hominds
Basic Bestiary

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1d4 (1d6)
Alignment: Neutral [True Neutral]
Movement: 180' (60') [18"]
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 6d8+18* (45 hp)
  Large: 6d10+18* (51 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 8 (+11)
Attacks: 2 fists or rock throw
Damage: 1d6+5 x2 or 2d8+5
Special: Camouflage, Howl (cause fear), Odor
Size: Large
Save: Monster 6
Morale: 8 (10)
Treasure Hoard Class: None 
XP: 650 (OSE) 680 (LL)

Str: 22 (+5) Dex: 18 (+3) Con: 19 (+3) Int: 10 (+0) Wis: 13 (+1) Cha: 8 (-1)

The hominid can attack with two fists or throw boulders, much like a giant.  The hominid can also howl.  This howl causes fear (as per the spell) to all that hear it who fail a saving throw vs. Paralysis.  Those that fail the save are too frightened to attack or move.

Dark Places & Demogorgons
Illinois Hominids
DP&D, We Die Young

Armor Class: 15
Hit Dice: 6+6 (27 hp)
Move: On Foot - 18 (ignore rough terrain)
Actions: 2
Morale: 8
Terror: 12
HDE: 7

Attack Damage: Fist (d8), Slam (d8), 
Special: Large creature, 20 STR, Toughness +4, can run x4 Move, scream or howl can cause fear.

Bonuses: +5 to Melee attacks, +5 to Melee damage, +5 to Spot, +6 to Listen, +8 to Stealth, +2 to Initiative, +4 to Track.

Hug Attack: In combat, if he attacks with his fists and both hit, he will deliver a bone-crushing hug attack for an additional 2d6+4 hp damage.  A successful DEX check by the target will grant half-damage.

NIGHT SHIFT
Illinois Hominids
NIGHT SHIFT

No. Appearing: 1-3
AC: 6
Move: 40ft.
Hit Dice: 6-8
Special: 2 attacks (fist) Strength, Camouflage, Howl (cause fear), Odor
XP VALUE: 240 (6HD) 480 (7HD)  960 (8 HD)

Camouflage: The hominid can hide with 90% effectiveness.

Howl: The howl of the hominids causes a fear reaction to any that hear it. This is treated like the cause fear spell. This happens only when the hominid is first heard, subsequent encounters with the same creature do not have this fear effect.

Odor: Anyone coming within 10 feet of a hominid must succeed at a Constitution saving throw or be at -3 to all actions due to the overpowering stench.


Dark Street & Darker Secrets
Illinois Hominids
Dark Street & Darker Secrets

Dogmen of McHenry County  6HD

Cole Hollow Road Monster, Farmer City Monsters 7HD

Tuttle Bottoms Monster, Enfield Terror, Abominable Swamp Slob 8HD

Special Abilities: Howl causes fear. Stench causes disadvantages to attacks. Very strong, +4 to all attacks. 

Illinois Hominids avoid the cities at all costs.  

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