Showing posts sorted by relevance for query piasa bird. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query piasa bird. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, September 30, 2019

Monstrous Mondays: Piasa Bird for Basic era games

Well.  It is 85 degrees and humid here in Chicago today.  But I don't care. The calendar says October-eve and it's fall.  Time to get to some of my favorite monsters.

Top of that list is Illinois' favorite, The Piasa Bird. My dad introduced this monster to me.


The Piasa Bird
AKA: The Piasa, "The Bird That Devours Men", "The Destroyer"

According to the diary of Louis Joliet, the Piasa Bird "was as large as a calf with horns like a deer, red eyes, a beard like a tiger's, a face like a man, the body covered with green, red and black scales and a tail so long it passed around the body, over the head and between the legs."

Piasa Birds in the game are larger and resemble a manticore or a dragon.
They do not keep treasure. They are only interested in killing for meat and sport.

Story of the Piasa Bird 
The following story appeared in the Alton Telegraph (1836) by John Russel. It is claimed that this is story told to Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet by the native tribes of the valley.

When Marquette and Joliet came down the Mississippi river in 1673 they encountered a bluff on the east side of the river with the painting of a giant monster. When they asked the natives what this monster was, they retold for them the story that had been handed down to them for generations. Marquette named the monster "Piasa," pronounced Pie-a-saw, which means "the Destroyer."

The Legend of the Piasa bird that was related to Marquette and Joliet went something like this. Many years ago a great bird roamed the land. Every morning the people would wake in fear to the shrill screams of the great Bird. The bird awoke hungry and would carry off dozens of boys and girls to its cave to be eaten. Chief Ouatoga [OO-wa-toe-ga] was getting old. He wanted to destroy this terrible monster before he died. He called his braves to a meeting and told them he was going to ask the Great Spirit what to do.

He went up on the highest bluff. He spoke with the Great Spirit. The Great Spirit told the Chief, "Dip your arrows deep into the poison of a copperhead snake and shoot them into the body of the Bird. It  will cause its death." He returned to the camp and told his people what the Great Spirit had told him. He gathered up a small army of the strongest braves and set out to hunt the Bird. Chief Ouatoga told his braves that the plan was for someone to stand on the cliff to lure the Bird down. When the great monster swoops down they were to shoot it with their poison arrows.

The braves all begged their chief to be the one to sacrifice themselves. But the chief told them no, he would be the one since he was older. While the braves practiced with their bows, Chief Ouatoga spoke with the Great Spirit. "Think not of my life," he said, "but the lives of the children."

The next morning the chief stood tall waiting for the great bird to come. Its screams could be heard as flew down the river looking for victims. The bird saw the old chief and swooped down on him with a terrible scream.

Just as the monster was ready to attack the braves shot their arrows and all 100 met their mark. The monster fell into the Mississippi River and died. The braves carried the broken and bruised body of their chief back to the tribe. The medicine man healed him and he awoke the next day surrounded by his grateful people. In remembrance of the act, the returned to the site and painted a life-size picture of the monster. Every time a member of the tribe went down the river after that, he fired an arrow at the bluff.
In alternate versions of the story, the youngest brave stands on the cliff instead of the Chief. When he is healed the next day he becomes the new Chief.

Piasa Bird
(Labyrinth Lord, Pumpkin Spice Editon)
No. Enc.: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Movement: 90’ (30’)
    Fly:  240' (80')
Armor Class: -2 (scales and hide)
Hit Dice: 11d8+6 (55 hp)
Attacks: 4 (claw/claw/bite/tail swipe) + fear
Damage: 1d6+2/1d6+2/2d8/1d6
Save: F11
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: None (The Piasa eats all meat and discards everything else.)
XP: 2,800

The Piasa can cause fear as per the spell once per day.

Piasa Bird
(Blueholme Journeymanne Rules)
AC: -2
HD: 11d8
Move: 90
   Fly: 240
Attacks: 4 (claw/claw/bite/tail swipe) + fear  (1d6+2 x2 2d6+2/1d6)
Alignment: CE
Treasure: None
XP: 2,214

Piasa Bird
(Old-School Essentials)
A large creature with the body of a fish, the wings and claws of a dragon, the antlers of a stag and the face of an evil man.
AC -2 [22], HD 11* (55hp), Att 4 claw  (1d6+2) /claw  (1d6+2) /bite (2d8) /tail swipe (1d6), THAC0 10 [+10], MV 90’ (30’) flying 240' (90'), D6 W7 P8 B8 S10 (11), ML 9, AL Chaotic Evil, XP 2,214, NA 1 (1), TT None
 Attacks with claws, bite and tail sipe
 The Piasa can cause fear as per the spell once per day.

STR: 22 INT: 8 WIS: 8 DEX: 14 CON: 15  CHA: 4

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Piasa Bird


I have always been fascinated with the Piasa bird. I have been to the bluff (what left of it) many times, read a number of stories about it and remember finding it in a school history book from 1921. It is nice to know that some really cool myths and stories don't have to come from faraway lands with strange sounding names, sometimes it can come from your own back yard.


So for my 100th Blog post, I wanted to do something special, a monster from my childhood.




 The Piasa Bird

The Piasa (Bird of Piasa, Piasa Bird) resembles a mythical chimera in many respects. It has the head of a black bear with a man's face, large disproportionate teeth, and the horns of an elk. Its head and neck are covered with a whiskery mane, like the beard of a man. The body resembles a lion's or a bear's save that it is scaly like that of a large fish, and it has a bear's legs ending with an eagle's claws. Its tail is at least fifty feet long, wound three times around the body, and tipped with a spearhead thrust backward through its hind legs. Large bat-like wings extend over its shoulders. Overall its body is black with red horns. It stands over seven feet tall and is twenty feet long.

The Piasa makes its home in caves in the bluffs along the Mississippi river. Its favorite or most active spot comes from the areas North of St. Louis in what is now called Alton.

The Piasa is the only one of its kind, or rather it is the only one that has ever been seen. It is unknown that if this is the same monster that attacked Chief Ouatoga's tribe or an offspring. The Piasa seems to go through periods of activity and inactivity that can last for years. Again it is unknown if it is the same creature or some offspring of the original.

The Piasa lives on fresh meat. Its preferred food is man, in particular children and young adults. When humans can not be found the Piasa will eat any large game animal.

The Piasa attacks its opponents by swooping down on top of them. Its first attack is usually a high-pitched scream that causes fear. Anyone with a fifteen foot radius of the Piasa under must fear check. The Piasa will then rip into its victims with a claw/claw/bite routine using its horns and tail as needed. The Piasa can attack multiple opponents per turn. Due to its size, any bite attack doing more than 50% of a target's Life Points are considered to have swallowed the victim whole. When the Piasa does this it will break off its attack and fly to its lair to digest. The victim does not immediately die; the Piasa prefers fresh meat in its own lair. The victim can attack while inside the Piasa, but will fight at a penalty of -1 to hit. The victim also takes 1 Life Points of damage per turn.

The Piasa Bird lives solely on freshly-killed meat. It produces nothing that is otherwise useful to human-kind. Due to its rarity a captured live Piasa could command a king's ransom from some of the less-respected zoos in the world. Most scientists consider the Piasa a myth, or at best, an extinct creature from eons past. Scholars of a more arcane bent agree that the Piasa bird was once the terror of the Mississippi and Missouri valleys, but even most them believe it is now extinct.

Name: Piasa Bird
Motivation: Eat       
Creature Type: flying monster
Attributes: Str 16, Dex 8, Con 9, Int 1, Per 6, Will 3
Ability Scores: Muscle 38, Combat 20, Brains 9
Life Points: 125
Drama Points: 3
Special Abilities: Additional Actions +2 (3 total), Armour Value 8, Attractiveness –5, Cause Fear, Flight, Increased Life Points
Manoeuvres

Name
Score
Damage
Notes
Bite
+22
48
Slash/stab
Claw x2
+20
34
Slash/stab
Horns
+18
30
Stab
Tail
+18
34
Bash


Story of the Piasa Bird
The following story appeared recently (1836) in the Alton Telegraph by John Russel. It is claimed that this is story told to Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet by the Indian tribes of the valley.

When Marquette and Joliet came down the Mississippi river in 1673 they encountered a bluff on the east side of the river with the painting of a giant monster. When they asked the Indians what this monster was, they retold for them the story that had been handed down to them for generations. Marquette named the monster "Piasa," pronounced Pie-a-saw, which means "the Destroyer."

The Legend of the Piasa bird that was related to Marquette and Joliet went something like this. Many years ago a great bird roamed the land. Every morning the people would wake in fear to the shrill screams of the great Bird. The bird awoke hungry and would carry off dozens of boys and girls to its cave to be eaten. Chief Ouatoga [OO-wa-toe-ga] was getting old. He wanted to destroy this terrible killer before he died. He called his braves to a meeting and told them he was going to ask the Great Spirit what to do.

He went up on the highest bluff. He spoke with the Great Spirit. The Great Spirit told the Chief, "Dip your arrows deep into the poison of a copperhead snake and shoot them into the body of the Bird. They will cause its death." He returned to the camp and told his people what the Great Spirit had told him. He gathered up a small army of the strongest braves and set out to hunt the Bird. Chief Ouatoga told his braves that the plan was for someone to stand on the cliff to lure the Bird down. When the great monster swoops down they were to shoot it with their poison arrows.

The braves all begged their chief to be the one to sacrifice themselves. But the chief told them no, he would be the one, since he was older. While the braves practiced with their bows, Chief Ouatoga spoke with the Great Spirit. "Think not of my life," he said, "but the lives of the children."

The next morning the chief stood tall waiting for the great bird to come. Its screams could be heard as flew down the river looking for victims. The bird saw the old chief and swooped down on him with a terrible scream.

Just as the monster was ready to attack the braves shot their arrows and all 100 met their mark. The monster fell into the Mississippi river and died. The braves carried the broken and bruised body of their chief back to the tribe. The medicine man healed him and he awoke the next day surrounded by his grateful people. In remembrance of the act the returned to the site and painted a life-size picture of the monster. Every time an Indian went down the river after that, he fired an arrow at the bluff. In alternate versions of the story the youngest brave stands on the cliff instead of the chief. When he is healed the next day he becomes the new chief.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Monstrous Mondays: The Piasa Bird

Welcome back to Monstrous Mondays!
Today I want to add a monster from stories of my childhood.  If you grew up in Central or Southern Illinois you heard stories of the Piasa Bird.   I featured this monster in one of my earliest posts here and thought I really need to bring it back.

The following text is considered Open for use under the OGL.


The Piasa Bird
AKA: The Piasa, "The Bird That Devours Men", "The Destroyer"
Frequency: Very Rare
No. Appearing: 1
Size: Large 18'
Armor Class: -2 [22]1
Movement
 Basic: 90' (30') Fly:  240' (80')
 Advanced: 9" Fly: 24"
 3e/5e: 25 ft  Fly: 60
Hit Dice: 11d8+6 (55 hp)
% in Lair: 50%
Treasure Type: None. The Piasa eats all meat an discards everything else.
Attacks: 4 (claw/claw/bite/tail swipe) + fear
Damage: 1d6+2/1d6+2/2d8/1d6
Special Attacks: Cause Fear once per day.
Special Defenses: none
Save As: Fighter 102
Magic Resistance: 0%
Morale: 93
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Level/XP: XXXX4

STR: 22 INT: 8 WIS: 8 DEX: 14 CON: 15  CHA: 4

1 Descending and [Ascending] Armor classes are given.
2 This is used for Basic games, and S&W. Also for monsters that I think need to save a little differently than others.
3 Morale is "Basic" Morale and based on a 1-12 scale. Multiply by 1.6667 for 1-20 scale.
4 Still working out an XP systems that works across all games.

According to the diary of Louis Joliet, the Piasa Bird "was as large as a calf with horns like a deer, red eyes, a beard like a tiger's, a face like a man, the body covered with green, red and black scales and a tail so long it passed around the body, over the head and between the legs."

Piasa Birds in the game are a larger and resemble a manticore or a dragon.
They do not keep treasure. They are only interested in killing for meat and sport.

Story of the Piasa Bird 
The following story appeared in the Alton Telegraph (1836) by John Russel. It is claimed that this is story told to Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet by the Indian tribes of the valley.

When Marquette and Joliet came down the Mississippi river in 1673 they encountered a bluff on the east side of the river with the painting of a giant monster. When they asked the Indians what this monster was, they retold for them the story that had been handed down to them for generations. Marquette named the monster "Piasa," pronounced Pie-a-saw, which means "the Destroyer."

The Legend of the Piasa bird that was related to Marquette and Joliet went something like this. Many years ago a great bird roamed the land. Every morning the people would wake in fear to the shrill screams of the great Bird. The bird awoke hungry and would carry off dozens of boys and girls to its cave to be eaten. Chief Ouatoga [OO-wa-toe-ga] was getting old. He wanted to destroy this terrible monster before he died. He called his braves to a meeting and told them he was going to ask the Great Spirit what to do.

He went up on the highest bluff. He spoke with the Great Spirit. The Great Spirit told the Chief, "Dip your arrows deep into the poison of a copperhead snake and shoot them into the body of the Bird. They will cause its death." He returned to the camp and told his people what the Great Spirit had told him. He gathered up a small army of the strongest braves and set out to hunt the Bird. Chief Ouatoga told his braves that the plan was for someone to stand on the cliff to lure the Bird down. When the great monster swoops down they were to shoot it with their poison arrows.

The braves all begged their chief to be the one to sacrifice themselves. But the chief told them no, he would be the one, since he was older. While the braves practiced with their bows, Chief Ouatoga spoke with the Great Spirit. "Think not of my life," he said, "but the lives of the children."

The next morning the chief stood tall waiting for the great bird to come. Its screams could be heard as flew down the river looking for victims. The bird saw the old chief and swooped down on him with a terrible scream.

Just as the monster was ready to attack the braves shot their arrows and all 100 met their mark. The monster fell into the Mississippi river and died. The braves carried the broken and bruised body of their chief back to the tribe. The medicine man healed him and he awoke the next day surrounded by his grateful people. In remembrance of the act the returned to the site and painted a life-size picture of the monster. Every time an Indian went down the river after that, he fired an arrow at the bluff.
In alternate versions of the story the youngest brave stands on the cliff instead of the Chief. When he is healed the next day he becomes the new Chief.

The rare female Piasa Bird.   
Section 15: "The Piasa Bird". Copyright 2016 Timothy S. Brannan.


Don't forget to include the hashtag #MonsterMonday  on Twitter or #MonsterMonday on Google+ when you post your own monsters!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Monstrous Mondays: The Piasa Bird for 5e

Welcome back to Monstrous Mondays!
Today I want to add a monster from stories of my childhood.  If you grew up in Central or Southern Illinois you heard stories of the Piasa Bird.   I featured this monster in one of my earliest posts here and thought I really need to bring it back.

The following text is considered Open for use under the OGL.


According to the diary of Louis Joliet, the Piasa Bird "was as large as a calf with horns like a deer, red eyes, a beard like a tiger's, a face like a man, the body covered with green, red and black scales and a tail so long it passed around the body, over the head and between the legs."

Piasa Birds in the game are a larger and resemble a manticore or a dragon.
They do not keep treasure. They are only interested in killing for meat and sport.

Story of the Piasa Bird 
The following story appeared in the Alton Telegraph (1836) by John Russel. It is claimed that this is story told to Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet by the Indian tribes of the valley.

When Marquette and Joliet came down the Mississippi river in 1673 they encountered a bluff on the east side of the river with the painting of a giant monster. When they asked the Indians what this monster was, they retold for them the story that had been handed down to them for generations. Marquette named the monster "Piasa," pronounced Pie-a-saw, which means "the Destroyer."

The Legend of the Piasa bird that was related to Marquette and Joliet went something like this. Many years ago a great bird roamed the land. Every morning the people would wake in fear to the shrill screams of the great Bird. The bird awoke hungry and would carry off dozens of boys and girls to its cave to be eaten. Chief Ouatoga [OO-wa-toe-ga] was getting old. He wanted to destroy this terrible monster before he died. He called his braves to a meeting and told them he was going to ask the Great Spirit what to do.

He went up on the highest bluff. He spoke with the Great Spirit. The Great Spirit told the Chief, "Dip your arrows deep into the poison of a copperhead snake and shoot them into the body of the Bird. They will cause its death." He returned to the camp and told his people what the Great Spirit had told him. He gathered up a small army of the strongest braves and set out to hunt the Bird. Chief Ouatoga told his braves that the plan was for someone to stand on the cliff to lure the Bird down. When the great monster swoops down they were to shoot it with their poison arrows.

The braves all begged their chief to be the one to sacrifice themselves. But the chief told them no, he would be the one, since he was older. While the braves practiced with their bows, Chief Ouatoga spoke with the Great Spirit. "Think not of my life," he said, "but the lives of the children."

The next morning the chief stood tall waiting for the great bird to come. Its screams could be heard as flew down the river looking for victims. The bird saw the old chief and swooped down on him with a terrible scream.

Just as the monster was ready to attack the braves shot their arrows and all 100 met their mark. The monster fell into the Mississippi river and died. The braves carried the broken and bruised body of their chief back to the tribe. The medicine man healed him and he awoke the next day surrounded by his grateful people. In remembrance of the act the returned to the site and painted a life-size picture of the monster. Every time an Indian went down the river after that, he fired an arrow at the bluff.
In alternate versions of the story, the youngest brave stands on the cliff instead of the Chief. When he is healed the next day he becomes the new Chief.

The rare female Piasa Bird.   
Section 15: "The Piasa Bird for 5e". Copyright 2016 Timothy S. Brannan.


Don't forget to include the hashtag #MonsterMonday  on Twitter or #MonsterMonday on Google+ when you post your own monsters!

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

New Release Tuesday: Blue Rose Six of Cups

I have been waiting a bit to share this one with you all.  I have an adventure in the newest Blue Rose RPG book, Six of Cups!

Blue Rose: Six of Cups

Yes, that is my name at the bottom. 

I am quite excited about this really. There are a lot of great adventures here from a lot of great authors/designers.  Working with Green Ronin was a joy really. I am honored to have been able to contribute even just a small part to the World of Aldea.

My adventure, appropriately named "Witching Weather" deals with the birth of five children all of who have some sort of magical power and the forces of darkness that are closing in around them.

In addition to the adventure, I was given the privilege to add a bit more detail to the City of Garnet. 

I have seen the world of Blue Rose described as "fantasy Seatle" which may or may not be true, but Garnet as I have written it is "Fantasy Alton, IL."  Alton is a blue-collar riverside town with some great history, some unexpectedly good restaurants, and the shadow of the Piasa Bird everywhere you go.  Vyon Bloodwing, one of the adversaries of the adventure, is my homage to the Piasa Bird.  

So grab this book. It has my adventure in it and a bunch of other great adventures and guides to lesser-traveled places in Aldea.  When you are walking along the "Riverwalk" or "Restaurant Row" in Garnet please don't forget to raise your drink, be it a hearty stout or an equally strong tea, to both the Sovereign and the famous Admiral Celeste Vorcolio. Both the pride and joy of Garnet.  

Monday, February 24, 2020

Monstrous Mondays: Monster of Lake Fagua for OSE

Today I wanted to get into a monster from my recent re-discovery of Daniel Cohen and a bunch of books I read as a kid and critical to my early ideas of what could be part of my D&D games.  One of those books was "Monsters, Giants and Little Green Men from Mars."

And one of those monsters was the Monster of Lake Fagua.

Appearing something like a large manticore, it reminded me a lot of the Piasa Bird.

The monster was said to have been "found in the kingdom of Santa Fe," in Peru, in the province of Chile, "in Lake Fagua, which is in the" lands of Prosper - Voston."  At least as reported in France on several prints sold in Paris in October 1784.

The creature was described as follows:

"Its length is eleven feet; the face is almost that of a man; the mouth is as wide as the face; it is furnished with two-inch teeth length. It has two 24 inch long horns which resemble those of a bull; hair hanging down to the ground; the ears are four inches long and are similar to those of a donkey; it has two wings like those of a bat, the thighs and legs are 25 inches; it has two tails, one very flexible, which it uses to grip the prey; the other, which ends in an arrow, is used to kill him; his whole body is covered with scales.”

It had been described as a relative to the harpy.  So let's keep that.  Potentially a manticore/harpy crossbreed.

Monster of Lake Fagua
(Old-School Essentials)

Armor Class 2 [18]
Hit Dice 8 (36hp)
Attacks [2 × claw (1d6), 1 × bite (2d4)] or 1 × tail spike (1d6+poison) or 2 x horn gore (1d4+1)
THAC0 13 [+7]
Movement Rate 90' (30') / 180' (60) flying / 360' (120')  swimming
Saves D8 W9 P10 B10 S12 (8)
Morale 9
Alignment Chaotic
XP for Defeating 1200
Number Appearing 1d4 (2d10)
Treasure Type None
  • Amphibious Movement. This creature is equally at home on land, water or sky.  The fagua monster can spend up to 12 hours underwater. 
  • Nocturnal. The creature is only active at night and can seel equally well in the dark. 
  • Tail Grab. On a critical success on a tail attack (natural 20) the Fugua Monster can instead grab a victim and squeeze them each round for 1d6 points of damage. A Strength check is needed to escape.
  • Tail Spike. The spike of the Fugua Monster has a paralytic poison. Save vs. Poison or become paralyzed for 1d4+2 rounds.

Nice to see this guy again!

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Mail Call: Blue Rose Six of Cups

Getting a new book in the mail is always a joy. Getting one you helped create is even better!

I got my author's copy of Blue Rose Six of Cups.

Blue Rose Six of Cups

Blue Rose Six of Cups

The PDF has been available for a bit and now the print book can be ordered from Green Ronin's online store.

As I have said in the past I adore Blue Rose. I just love the world, the system, everything about it. It is such a refresher after decades of "grim dark" RPGs.

I am particularly happy with this one. It has a new character I am particularly fond of.  My homage to the Piasa Bird and places I used to frequent. Another distateful member of the less than pleasant Meacham family. But most of all it was a joy and an honor to write something for Aldea. 

The Storm of the Century

The project lead, Joseph D. Carriker, for this book posted in Green Ronin News a little about this book. In particular, he talked about the "Storm of the Century" theme.  This was not something I (or to my knowledge) any of the other authors tried to do. I was pretty much working in my silo just to get this done with my only contact being Joseph. Who, please allow me to add, was great to work with.

Here is what he had to say about the storm.

One of the things I asked of our authors was to send me proposals for their adventures and gazetteers. In short order, it became apparent that (perhaps inspired by the elemental association of Cups with water) no less than three of the stories feature a massive coastal storm. Rather than require some of the authors to change their ideas, I thought I could include them all to highlight one of the interesting ways to use generally unrelated adventures.

Finding a common thread to run between adventures is an awesome way of building a sort of “accidental” campaign. The tumultuous weather plays a role in all three of the stories, and they are not written as being interrelated. An enterprising Narrator might, however, come up with some connecting concepts to help tie them together. Perhaps these are all part of a single, major storm system of some kind, a sort of terrifying storm of the century to strike the southern coast of Aldis? Or, perhaps there is something (or someone…) nefarious at work, hurling storm after storm into the world.

I do love this idea and the thought of a great storm coming to the southern coast of Aldis is too good to pass up. 

Personally, I think this is one of Blue Rose's greatest strengths when compared to D&D.  D&D can do a lot of great things. But it is largely still a game about and centered around combat.  In Blue Rose, you could make an adventure where the central focus was protecting a small coastal town from the coming storm. Not by fighting some demonic force or elemental, but as the Sovereign's Finest playing the role the National Guard does here. Organizing relief efforts, building sandbag walls, and figuring out what to do. Fantastic role-playing opportunity.  

So my darkfiend Dorgogz is not the cause of this massive storm, but rather he is here because of it. 

The adventures are leveled from 1 to 8 (mine for example is level 2-4). A new adventure, say levels 8-10 called "The Storm of the Century" would be this giant coastal storm.  Hmm...I am getting some ideas here.  With this sort of build-up, one could see that there is something connected and nefarious here. 

Can't wait to try out the other adventures in this book. They look great.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The City Built around a Tarrasque!

There is a really interesting thread about a (D&D) city built around a tarrasque.
http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=261519 and
http://waelfwulf.wordpress.com/

For those that don't know, in D&D the tarrasque is an immortal killing machine related to the dragons.  It's immune to magic and all sorts of things that make it so it just can't be killed.  It's a DM's way of ridding the world of unneeded PCs really.

But this concept is so cool that I feel the need to adopt it.  It would make sense to me, since I have never used the tarrasque in any of my games even when it first appeared in the MM2 for 1st Edition.  Though I have used the Piasa bird, a similar creature from my neck of the woods.

The idea behind this city is they have captured and immobilized it. Now they are feeding off of it's meat and blood which regenerates all the time. There is a corrupting power to this, plus the moral corruption of keeping a live beast chained up while you continously hack bits of it off.  Something we saw in the Torchwood episode Meat.

Plus it is the type fantastical, out of this world crazieness that I love to have in my games.  Cities built on the corpses of dead gods; Elven nations of thousands living in the trees and a city built around a Tarrasque.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Arts and Crafts Weekend, Part 1

I am on Spring Break!  So we spent the first part of my vacation working on various arts and crafts.  My wife painted a bunch of minis. I'll share what I did in the next post.


First up is a little Piasa Bird.



She did a Tiefling Necromancer and a gold skinned demoness.


She also worked on my witch Larina!




She looks great with other versions of her!




Larina and her daughter Taryn.






She also did Iggwilv for me!



Art imitates art!

Been a great time.  Love these little witches!

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for Ravenloft: Masque of the Red Death

One of my first exposures to Victorian era gaming was through the Ravenloft: Masque of the Red Death.

Last year I did Ravenloft, and this year given all the Victorian games I am talking about this seems a natural.


Masque of the Red Death was a Ravenloft branded supplement for both AD&D 2nd Ed and for D&D 3.  Both dealt with a familiar; Earth, but one that was darker and magic was real.  It's almost a cliche with me anymore.  What made the first MotRD special was that for the first time you could play "D&D on Earth", in particular Victorian Age Earth that they called "Gothic Earth".

There were a lot of classes (kits too for AD&D 2nd Ed) and I always thought it was some what overkill. Magic was much more limited than your typical D&D game and a lot of the rules (Horror, Fear and Dread) were ported over from the Ravenloft line proper.

I SOOOO wanted to run this game, but it came at a bad time in my gaming career.  I was just about ready to give up on D&D altogether and this was the only thing I was excited about anymore.  Some of my first writing gigs was for the official Ravenloft Netbooks from the Kargatane. A lot of that I have been able to re-use here in fact (Haunted Illinois and the Piasa Bird).

There was such a cool, dark vibe to the game but it did do somethings that irked me.  To many of the bad guys were in fact monsters that looked human; Moriarty was a Rakshasa for example.  Sometimes I like my monsters to be human.  Also there were just too many classes.

I'd love to revisit Gothic Earth.  Maybe under one of the game systems I have reviewed already or even as something for Ghosts of Albion.

Sadly, Masque of the Red Death is long out of print.  You can still find copies though on ebay and at Nobel Knight.





Monday, April 13, 2020

Monstrous Monday: The Jackalope

There are few creatures that say "Americana" than the Jackalope.  Created from the same tall tales that gave up Paul Bunyan, Captain Stormalong, Piasa Bird and the Hodag. Stories I enjoyed as a kid.

The Jackalope, of course, has had the "advantage" of taxidermy where several stuffed Jackalopes can be purchased across the US.  I have lost track of the number of truck stops, gas stations or diners I have stopped in from California to New York that had at least one stuffed Jackalope for sale.  Though I admit I have never had the desire to own one.

Though having a Jackalope in my games?  Yeah, that is doable.

Jackalope
These creatures seem to be a magical crossbreed of a large rabbit and either a deer or antelope.  The jackalope is a large creature, larger than a rabbit, about the size of a large dog.  Its head comes up to about 2-3 feet, with its antlers adding another 12-18 inches.  Some are smaller but rarely larger.
The jackalope is an intelligent creature, capable of speech and is even known to sing.  It is fond of singing in the evening just as the stars are coming out.
When relaxed the jackalope is a cordial creature and good company. It will even share stories of other magical animals it has met in its life.
When hunted, the jackalope is a fierce opponent.  He will run towards hunters to attack with its antlers. The jackalope is also very fast and can outrun most opponents.


Jackalope (Old-School Essentials)
A large jack-rabbit like creature with antlers and intelligent eyes.
Armor Class 2
Hit Dice 3 (13)
Attacks 1 antlers (1d6+2)
THAC0 17 (+2)
Movement Rate 120' (40')
Saves D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (3)
Morale 10
Alignment Neutral
XP for Defeating 50
Number Appearing 1
Treasure Type none (Jackalopes have no need for treasure)
  • Antlers. The jackalope can rush an opponent to attack.  The antlers are sharp and cause piercing damage.
  • Fast. Jackalopes are very fast when escaping they can double their speed once per day.
  • Speaking. Jackalopes can speak and sing.

Jackalope (Rhy-creature) (Blue Rose)

Abilities (Focuses)
1 Accuracy (Antlers)
3 Communication (Performance)
2 Constitution
2 Dexterity (Stealth)
1 Fighting (Antlers)
2 Intelligence
2 Perception (Hearing)
1 Strength (Jumping)
2 Willpower

Speed 16
Health 30
Defense 12
Armor Rating 0

Weapon Attack Roll Damage
Antlers +3 1d6+1

Special Qualities
Favored Stunts: Defensive Stance, Lightning Attack
Arcana: Calm, Illusion, Psychic Contact

Threat: Moderate

Jackalopes could be considered Rhy-Rabbits if there were such a thing, but they are a unique sort of creature. All Jackalopes are Rhydan. In this respect, they are more like unicorns or griffins, though some would contend as more humble and even "rustic".
Jackalope rhydan love nothing more than to hop through the land, sing and tell stories.  All jackalopes are natural storytellers.  Not for epics involving dragons and great queens or kings, but simple tales like the luck of widow's sons, or small clever creatures that most heroes would ignore.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Review: Colonial Gothic

Last night was the Fall Finale of the TV show "Sleepy Hollow".  It is a fun show and has a great premise and lots of great monster. But the joy of the show is Tom Mison's fish-out-of-water Ichabod Crane and Nicole Baharie's no-nonsense cop Lt. Abbie Mills.  It is a great mix of action, horror, humor and cop procedural formulas.  There are also some great supporting roles from Katia Winter as witch Katrina Crane (nee Van Tassel), John Nobel as Harry Parish aka Jeremy Crane and Lyndie Greenwood as Jenny Mills, Abbie's sister.

Watching the show has got me psyched for my "Spirit of '76" game for Chill. It has also sent me back to an old favorite of mine, Colonial Gothic.

I was introduced to Colonial Gothic at Gen Con a few years back by the authors at Rogue Games.  They were easily the friendliest people I talked to that day and their enthusiasm for their game was infectious.  I know every game company loves their own games, but these guys were over the moon with Colonial Gothic.  I can totally understand why too.  It is, too my knowledge, a fairly unique time period to be gaming in.  Maybe I am reading too much into it since I am a fan of the time period, but it was still great to talk to them.

They have great web support for their games and a ton (ok, a little more than a dozen) of pdfs for sale.  Honestly it is a game I wish I played more of.  Which is a shame since +Richard Iorio II actually lives fairly close to me.

Colonial Gothic Rulebook 2nd Edition
The best thing about this book right out of the gate is it compatible with the older, and out of print, Colonial Gothic Rulebook.  So all the books I have from Gen Con are still good.
CG uses the same d12 based (I remember the guys at the Rogue Games booth going on with glee on how they used the often neglected d12!) system that you find in Shadow, Sword & Spell (I am not 100% sure, but both games look like they are completely compatible with each other).
The core book comes in at 282 pages, plus covers. The second thing I noticed that this book is much better looking than the first core book. No slight against that book, but this one is a gem.  The first book had a nice hip "indie" feel about it. This book manages to pull off "indie" and "big time professional" between it's two covers.  I like that.
But what is Colonial Gothic? From the book:
Colonial Gothic is a supernatural historical roleplaying game inspired by the history and setting of the American colonial period, from the founding of Roanoke in 1568 to the end of the War of 1812 at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.
Pretty cool if you ask me.  For me Colonial Gothic continues the story that Mage: The Sorcerer's Crusade began and Ghosts of Albion continued to the industrial age; science and reason over superstition and magic in a world filled with horrors.  But CG is more than just that.  In this game the "Americans" are on new soil, but it is only new to them.  There are horrors native to this land and their are the horrors they brought with them.

The game mechanics are rather simple, which is a good thing, most often it is 2d12 +/- mods vs. a Target Number.  It is called the 12° System. Often the Target Number is your Ability + Skill and rolled under.  In other cases, such as an Ability test, you roll 1d12 and roll under the ability. Opposed Tests include things like combat. There are also Critical Success (double "1"s) and Critical Failures (double "12"s).  Also the degrees of success (or failure) are important.  In combat for example your degree of success is a multiplier to the damage.  So is you need a 15 and roll a modified 10 you have 5 degrees of success.  Simple.
Chapter One covers all the basic rules from Abilities and Skills, to combat, to movement and even common ailments (and uncommon ones) to fear and sanity.
Chapter Two is Character Creation.  You get 45 points to divide out to your abilities (7 is human average).  You can then choose a background ("class" for you class and level types; archetypes for everyone else) and then you get 45 points for your skills.  These point totals can also be shifted up or down depending on the nature of the game.  40 for more grit, 50 for more action-adventure types.
The new aspect is the choice of 5 character hooks.  These provide your character with more detail and background and help explain why your character is an adventurer and not just a common Joe or Jane.
Chapter Three goes into more detail about Skills and Hooks.
Chapter Four covers magic, the magical arts and common spells and Alchemy.  Magic has a price in CG and not everyone is cut out for it.  Witches presented here are mostly evil, but there is some wiggle room.
Chapter Five covers weapons, currency, equipment and trade. This is actually quite an important chapter since goods or the availability of them is not just part of the real Colonial history, but makes a great plot point.
Chapter Six is a guide to the Colonies. It is a nice mix of history, geography and the occult conceits of the game.  If you know some of the history of this time then you have an edge up, but there is a lot of great information here.  Obviously some liberties have been taken, but it is less alt-history than I feared.
Chapter Seven covers enemies and monsters. Both mundane and magical.  At this time even a mundane bear is a threat.
Chapter Eight covers advice for the game master and campaign ideas.

Colonial Gothic: The Player Companion
This is the newest book (as of this writing) to the Colonial Gothic line. Mostly though this is related to the cover.  As the title suggests this is a set of options for players of the Colonial Gothic game.
We get a list of new skills and some additions to old skills.  Normally I prefer it when a game reuses old skills in new ways, esp. point buy games where the budget per skill is not likely to change. After all Character A created with the Core has the same 45 points as Character B created with this book.  In this case though it works both thematically and systematically.
Chapter Two covers Advantages and Disadvantages. Characters are given 4 points to buy advantages and can also take disadvantages.  Works pretty much like other systems in that respect, save there are not pages and pages of them (like for example GURPS).   Most in fact are story related and can be used in conjunction with the character's Background.
Chapter Three covers family and social status.  A must have really for playing in this age.
Chapter Four has a bunch of character templates.  So if you want to play a Native Shaman or emulate your Assassin's Creed character then this is a great place to start.
Chapter Five details more combat options and how to use them.  Think of these as advanced combat skills.
Chapter Six has more magic including Counter-Spelling and more Common and Arcane Spells.
Chapter Seven has more equipment.
All in all worthy, but not really required additions to the game. It is one of the books that if you don't know about it, you won't miss it, but if you do then you will wonder how you got on with out it.
If there is a 3rd Edition of Colonial Gothic then a lot of these rules should be folded into the main core rules.

Colonial Gothic: Gazetteer
This book calls itself a Gazetteer, but "Campaign Sourcebook" might be more appropriate. Written for the 1st Edition of Colonial Gothic it works just fine under 2nd Edition.
Chapter 1 covers the history of the colonies from early English and Dutch colonization right on up to 1775.  Principle wars are discussed and colonial growth covered.
Chapters 2 through 14 cover the original 13 colonies in detail including basic demographics and major towns.  Points of interest are also featured in each chapter as well as anything out of the ordinary.
Chapter 15 is devoted to the Native American people.  An overview of their history and cultures is given, but by necessity it is short.  In truth an entire Colonial Gothic book could be done just on the various Native american tribes and nations.
Te last chapter is a ready to run adventure, "A Surprise for General Gage".
There are two Appendices. First a Glossary and then a Bibliography.  I want to take a moment to point out that all of the Colonial Gothic books always feature a very robust (for a game book) bibliography.   This one is no exception to that rule.  This one includes books, game books and even some online resources.  Certainly worth your time to investigate a few of these.

Colonial Gothic Bestiary
I have said it many times. You can never have too many monsters.  The Colonial Gothic Bestiary satisfies that craving and then some.  At 110 pages it is full of monsters and many are illustrated.  The artwork varies.  Personally I am a fan of the older wood cut images, but I know those are are difficult to find perfect representations of various beasts.  The monsters themselves are a varied lot; some local monsters like the Jersey Devil and some "from back home" like the Gargoyle and Gorgon.
I think this is a good mix, but I am more fond of the local fauna than something I can find in any book.  I do have one nitpick (ok maybe two), first there is no Piasa Bird.  A local legend from here in Illinois that I am surprised didn't make the cut. Supposedly the first mention of it is in 1673 (or the 1920s),  Sure Illinois is way away from the Colonies. Though it was a very nearly a full state (1818) by the end point of the game, The War of 1812.  The other was that the Chupacabra was included. The Chupa, for all it's fun, is squarely a 20th century invention.  But these are only nitpicks, not criticisms.  There are plenty of American Indian monsters too that could have been included. Some like a naaldlooshii would be good too (I know, Navajo and not near the Colonies...). Maybe A Bestiary 2 is in the works.
The indexes in back are quite useful since they also include creatures from the core rule books.
Lots of great creatures here and fully worth the price.

Colonial Gothic: The Grimoire
This is an expanded and updated version of the older Colonial Gothic: Witchcraft book and the Colonial Gothic: Secrets book. Both of which are out of print. It also has plenty of new material as well.
Chapter 1 covers new spells, Common and Arcane. The advantage of adding new spells to this game is one can easily say that the knowledge was just rediscovered.  Some new book sent from overseas, an old book in the collection of a wealthy man or any other contrivance.  There are quite a few new spells here to be honest.
Chapter 2 follows with a discussion on spell books. Their uses and how to get them. A few sample books are also included.
Chapter 3 introduces magical talismans to the game. Sort of Spell storing or keeping magical power. Not a lot here, but plenty of ideas.
Chapter 4 covers the related chapter of relics, items that have magical ability to them due to divine providence or some other happenstance.
Chapter 5 is dedicated to Witchcraft. Like the book it replaces, there are no rules for playing "good" witches.  Fitting with the times all witches are assumed to be evil.  Personally I would like to see a good witch, but I can make due.
Likewise Chapter 6 deals with occult items such as cold iron and holy water.
Finally Chapter 7 deals with new magical creatures.  There is quite a Lovecraftian feel to this one.  Not generic "Lovecraft" but actual monsters from his mythos.
There is an appendix with the Create Talisman and Witchcraft skills.
There is also a combined magical index of spells between this book and the Colonial Gothic core.

Colonial Gothic: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
This is a great little book to be honest.  The first half is the story of Sleepy Hollow and the second half is how to use it in your Colonial Gothic Game. The geography of Sleepy Hollow, the Hudson and the Tapan Zee are discussed as well as Sleepy Hollow's role in history.  It reads like a small campaign guide.
This book is not very big, nor does it cost very much, but it is certainly punching above it's weight class in terms of content.

Colonial Gothic True20 Version
The world of Colonial Gothic using the True20 system instead of it's normal house system. Typically when a product is converted to a "generic" system some of the style and feel is lost. Though I will say that CG survived with much more of it's soul intact. The system is normally a very easy one to learn so the conversion here does not sacrifice complexity. The game is still same, one of a supernatural New World as it becomes a new country, America.
The conversion does highlight many of the pluses of the game including it's atmosphere and style of play. It also allows you know to bring other True20 that might be helpful. In some ways I prefer this to the original, but the original is still very, very fun.

Colonia Gothic is really just a fun, great game. There is just so much potential here that I want to pull it out and just run a few games with it.

If you are into American History, Horror, or even just the thrill of exploring something that is both well known and completely unknown  then this is the game for you.