Archive for Monsters

Tiny Savage Thouls

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2015 by Kullervo

AC: 7
HD: 1**
Move: 120′ (40′)
Attacks: 2 claws
Damage: 1d3/1d3
No. Appearing: 4d6 (hundreds)
Save as: F1
Morale: 8
Treasure Type: C
Intelligence: 4
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 16

A claw attack by a tiny savage thoul will paralyze (as a ghoul) if it does at least three damage. If a tiny savage thoul is killed by any means, it may save vs. death ray to immediately spring to life with 1 hp.

I suppose you could also have them throw rocks.

Someone on Dragonsfoot asked for suggestions of monsters to swarm a party of level 5-6 characters. This is what I came up with.

Megadungeon Level One

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2014 by Kullervo

Unkeyed:

Level 1 Unkeyed

And keyed:

Level 1 Keyed

This is the replacement dungeon level I drew after being dissatisfied with my first attempt. you’ll notice that is it bigger, but that the entrance (D1) and the exits (D8 and D19) are in the same relative places. This is because I’ve already planned out where the different connections between levels are relative to each other; one of the big ideas in this dungeon is that each level connects to many other levels (no level connects to fewer than two other levels, and some connect to as many as six).

In this level, the exits to levels two and three are easy to find–this is another characteristic of the dungeon: it will never be hard to find the pathway to go through the levels sequentially. The dungeon was originally meant to be used, after all. On the other hand, many of the out-of-order level connections or connections to sublevels may be hidden.

Quick rundown of the different areas:

The D areas are just generic dungeon. Not much treasure ebcause they’ve basically been picked clean, but also not much in the way of really challenging monsters. Maybe a scavenger or a wandering monster or two. The big exception is D20-D26, which was once the lair of a tribe of kobolds, before they were driven out by the goblins in the G areas. Not much is left in terms of loot, but the whole area is still booby trapped like crazy. D16 is a large cistern/reservoir, with underwater tunnels leading to the S areas. Watch out for the water rats.

The B areas were originally barracks (you can see the fighting pit in B7). There’s a mess hall (B11), a drill floor (B2), offices and quarters for officers (B3-B6), an armory (B8), a smithy (B9), and a kitchen at B10 with a secret passage into the larders. These areas are mostly inhabited at present by a gang of brigands, with their loot.

The L areas are the larders, which are now completely infested with dog-sized bloodthirsty carnivorous chickens. They are mean, and extremely territorial, and that’s just the hens. The rooster is the size of a horse and pure evil. The whole area is basically buried in chicken shit, and the level’s other inhabitants avoid it. That said, the larders were not only stocked with foodstuffs–the whole area is riddled with secret rooms where there are still valuables left for the taking.

The S areas are full of grates to water tunnels below and weird machinery. They are difficult to get to, and used as the lair of a bunch of really big giant water rats. There’s also some decent treasure in there though, so it’s worth trying to find.

The K areas were once kennels. The hounds are all dead, and the area is haunted by a gray ooze, that can slip through the locked and rusty bars.

The G areas have long been used as the lair of a goblin tribe, led by a self-styled king, with a decent haul of treasure. It’s not clear what the rooms were originally used for.

The X areas are mostly abandoned, because an extremely dangerous predator lairs at X4. The only other inhabitants are a mixed group of human and goblin outcasts, hiding out at X8 and planning revenge.

Dance of the Dead

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2014 by Kullervo

This long room has two exits. Along one wall is a tapestry depicting a dance of the dead. When PCs approach within 30′ of the tapestry (which is necessary to move from either of the exits to the other), an eerie music strikes up, and 13 skeletons emerge from the tapestry, stand in a line and wait for one combat round. If any PCs begin dancing within that combat round, the skeletons will join the PC in a dance for 13 combat rounds, then bow, and return to the tapestry. Any PCs who do not dance will be attacked by the (normal) skeletons.

Balor’s Tomb: The Lair of the Hunting Toads!

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2013 by Kullervo

I’m working on getting at least 3 or 4 levels of Balor’s Tomb detailed for the game that I am running tomorrow (it’s a megadungeon-in-a-hexcrawl setting, and Balor’s Tomb is the tentpole megadungeon–I’ll go into the details in a future post), and for the most part, I am mapping out a level, putting in the important/significant monsters, humanoid factions and set-piece traps and tricks, and then filling in the rest using the random dungeon stocking tables from the Rules Cyclopedia and the AD&D 1e DMG (I am not super consistent about which one I use, and I am okay with that). Then I do my best to sort of smooth it all over and make sense out of it, and a lot of the time that winds up leading to more interesting stuff than what I would have just come up with on my own.

Here’s an example. This is the map of the area I was working with:

Bandits' Lair

Area A came up empty/no treasure. So I decided that it would be overgrown with fungus, because fungus is fun. And then for good measure I tossed in a Shrieker because hey, why not? I decided that the secret door is only secret by virtue of being heavily overgrown with shelf fungus and such. Totally normal, functioning door, just not readily apparent because of the mushroom problem.

Area B has a statue in it (it started out as a rectangular room but I realized the level had too many 20’x30′ rectangular rooms and I was getting bored of them, so I lopped off the corners and put a statue in it). I rolled monsters with no treasure. I don’t remember if I rolled for the monsters on a chart or if I jsut picked them out, but the end result was 1d4 Giant Toads. So, four Giant Toads. Okay, I thought, since they don’t have treasure anyway, I’ll say this is their toady lair, and maybe they eat stuff in the fungus room.

Area C came up with monsters and treasure. I think I rolled Bandits on a chart, and having a Bandits’ lair seemed like a good idea–there’s a Bandit problem on the suface in the hexcrawl anyway, and I was planning on putting Sir Walter’s son, Sir Herevard of Ellesmere, in the dungeon somewhere, so maybe this is a Bandit camp where they took Sir Herevard and are holding him, hoping to sell him to the Cult of Balor or maybe to the Saxons, but in any case he’s secure in the dungeon. I gave them a couple of wolfhounds (Wolves re-skinned, duh) as guards and pets, and filled out the room with rotting tapestries and wooden benches and gave them a stash of treasure in a burlap sack.

But then I realized I had a problem. This layout was stupid. How do the Bandits get past the Giant Toads? Wouldn’t they just, fight them, kill them, and be done with it (or vice versa!). Maybe the Bandits eat roast Toad? Still doesn’t solve the problem of getting past the potentially hostile and man-eating Giant Toads every time the Bandits want to get in or out.

And then it dawned on me. Not wolfhounds as pets and guards. Giant Toads as pets and guards. Giant Toads with metal collars on chains, and these Bandits use them like a pack of hunting animals. Hunting Toads! Hot damn.

So now there’s an obvious cage in area B for the Toads to live in, and I have added “Bandits with pack of Hunting Toads” to the wandering monster chart for the level. These are filthy outcasts from the Bandit gang on the surface, dressed in slimy rags and using Giant Toads as hunting animals and companions. And they have Sir Herevard bound and gagged!

Using Dwellers of the Forbidden City with Labyrinth Lord

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2011 by Kullervo

Anyone know much about what tweaks need to be made to use an AD&D 1st edition with an older edition retro-clone like Labyrinth Lord or Swords and Wizardry? I’ve got a copy of Dwellers of the Forbidden City and I’d love to run it, but I am not sure what the differences would be in terms of monsters. I suppose converting to Swords and Wizardry would be the easiest because there’s that big document of monsters for S&W floating around the internet, so I assume anything in DotFC is written up in there anyway.

But is there any kind of general consensus as to switching around between different retro-clones and other retro games? Just curious.

New D&D Monster: Blight Hulk

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 24, 2011 by Kullervo

Blight Hulk

No. Enc.: 1 (1d3)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 90’ (30’)
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 4+2
Attacks: 2 (slam)
Damage: 1d8/1d8
Save: F4
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: XI
XP: 205

AA looming, 10’ mass of corpses stitched together by black, pustulent vines and roots, a Blight Hulk is a true monstrosity. Apart from its size, a Blight Hulk is immediately distinguishable by its gaping, slack maw lined with teeth of thorns and jagged bone. A Blight Hulk is utterly mindless except for an all-consuming urge to consume and destroy.

Blight Hulks are completely blind and deaf, and can only sense the presence of other creatures within 10’ by the vibrations they create. However, if attached with a missile weapon, a Blight Hulk will charge in the direction of the attack until it finds a target or is attacked from a different direction.

If a Blight Hulk hits a creature smaller than it with both slam attacks, it will shove the target down its gullet, where the target will be jabbed with rows of poisoned spines (automatic 1d6 damage per turn until the target or the Blight Hulk is dead, plus the target must save versus poison or die in 1d4 turns).

Like ordinary Blightlings, Blight Hulks are undead (and thus immune to charm, hold person and sleep) but are generally immune to turning by a cleric, except by clerics that specifically serve deities of nature or nature itself.

Illustration by David Deitrick

D&D: Monster Motivations

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2011 by Kullervo

This was my entry for Fight On!’s fantasy gaming tables contest, spruced up and tweaked a bit since the initial entry.

Roll a d% on this table for a monster or group of monsters to discover what its primary motivation is when it encounters a group of player characters.  Roll a d% on the most appropriate column, depending on if the monster is Chaotic, Neutral or of low (animal) intelligence.

Chaotic

Neutral

Animal Intelligence

Motivation

1-24

1-14

1-13

Evil.  The monster simply enjoys killing and causing pain.  If reasoned with, the monster will look for opportunities to betray the player characters or otherwise gain the upper hand.

25-28

15-23

14-29

Fear.  The monster is as afraid of the player characters as they are of it.  An assurance of good intentions before blood is drawn could turn an enemy into a friend, or lull the unsuspecting brute into a false sense of security.  This monster may (d% 1-40) have a -1 to its usual Morale.

29-37

24-32

30-34

Glory.  The monster is out to defeat worthy opponents and take trophies from them as evidence of its victory.  If the player characters appear to be beneath the monster’s valor, it may hold them in contempt but let them alone, or it may decide to kill them anyway, out of pity.  This monster has a +2 to its usual Morale.

38-50

33-51

Greed.  The monster is keen on the player characters’ treasure and items, and is willing to kill if necessary, but it will also look for easier ways to get the player characters’ valuables.

51-58

52-55

Hatred.  The monster has a deep antipathy for humans (d% 1-30), elves (d% 31-60), dwarves (d% 61-90) or halflings (d% 91-00).  The monster will refuse to parley with the object of its hatred, and is unlikely to be willing to parley with any adventurers who associate with the object of its hatred.  In combat, the monster will attack the object of its hatred and will continue to attack it until it is dead.

58-61

56-59

35-57

Hunger.  The monster is looking for something to eat.  Combat can be avoided if the player characters can somehow provide a more suitable meal.  If the player characters pose a significant threat, the monster may be willing to look elsewhere for an easy meal, but if food is scarce, the monster may be desperate, thus the monster may have -1 (d%1-40) or +1 (d% 91-00) to its usual morale.

62-66

59-63

Machismo. These swaggering monsters want to impress each other.  As long as more than one of them is present, these monsters have +2 to their morale.

67-70

64-67

58-62

Pain. The monster is wounded and lashing out in pain.  The wound may be obvious (d% 1-60) or hidden (d% 61-00).  In either case, the players have a chance to make an ally if they heal the wound instead of causing more wounds.  But pain can cause the monster to act unpredictably, and thus the monster may have -1 (d% 1-30) or +1 (d% 71-100) to its usual Morale.

71-74

68-71

63-71

Rage.  The monster is in a killing frenzy and is unlikely to retreat or bargain unless somehow calmed first.  The monster’s rage may be its natural state (d% 1-60), or a result of disease (d% 61-80) or magic (d% 81-00).

75-78

72-85

72-00

Territory.  The monster is defending what it thinks of as its territory, and sees the players as trespassers or invaders.  Although the monster may be unlikely to be willing to parley first (d% 1-25), it will be satisfied with merely driving the player characters away.

79-91

86-95

Vengeance.  Whether correctly (d% 1-30) or incorrectly (d% 31-00), the monster blames the players for a great wrong that has been done to it, and seeks vengeance.

92-00

96-00

Zealotry.  The player characters are an affront to the monster’s faith, and it is willing to sacrifice itself to scour them from the earth.  This monster has a +3 to its usual Morale.

Megadungeon Progress: Mostly Mapping

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2011 by Kullervo

Yesterday I wrote up some more monsters for my as-yet-unnamed megadungeon, and I started working on a flowchart for the major dungeon levels.

One issue that has come up is how to insulate the big thematic levels from each other. I don’t want just, a door leading from the vampire’s Cathedral of Blood into the yeti’s Frozen Tunnels, so I think I need to fill the dungeon out with some more “mundane” dungeon areas. At the same time, I don’t want the whole thing to be generic-thematic-generic-thematic-etc., so I am working on ways to (1) mix it up a bit, seeing where I can butt thematic areas together and where multiple subtly different generic areas an flow back and forth between each other and provide for meaningful choices between major thematic areas, and (2) make the “generic” areas more flavorful. By the latter, I am thinking about ways that the features or the inhabitants of an area can give flavor and interest to a sublevel that does not necessarily have eye-poppingly unique architecture. I’m sprinkling in a few hidden tombs, a few petty troll kingdoms, a forgotten dwarf battlefield, stuff like that. Ways to pepper up the otherwise banal 20′ rooms.

I’m also leaving a lot of areas intentionally empty, not only to give room for DMs to key it themselves, but also to lend some mystery to the exploration: not every room needs to have a monster, a treasure and a feature, and big dark empty spaces can add that sense of menace and wonder that is essential to a great dungeon.

Finally, I’m trying to sort out the maps themselves. I have been waffling between richly drawn 3/4 view fully-drawn pictures and simple, overhead renderings on a grid. I might actually do both, and have a master map (which I will draw) for each level that’s the basic dungeon grid, and 3/4 drawings of the interesting rooms (which someone else will draw) to go in the keyed sections.

Thoughts on Dungeon Crawl Classics

Posted in Swords & Sorcery with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2011 by Kullervo

The Dungeon Crawl Classics beta playtest rules are out and they’re what everyone is talking about (at least everyone who writes gameblogs I read…), and as I have had a chance to briefly flip through them, I thought I would toss my two cents into the palaver circle.

I’m not incredibly wild about fantasy roleplaying in general. I like D&D, by which I mean Dungeons and Dragons in a motherfucking dungeon, fighting monsters, like a motherfucking dragon. I like dungeon crawl games. They’re fun.

But I don’t really love medieval fantasy for medieval fantasy’s sake. I have no interest in an epic high fantasy adventure story. I have no interest in a Game of Thrones. I like to read a little swords and sorcery, but I don’t even know how bad I would want to play it.

So my interest in fantasy RPGs is relatively limited, and mostly already served by the existing OSR games out there. That said, I do love new and interesting variations, especially ones that I think look fun, or that add the stuff I like and don’t clutter it with the stuff I don’t like. Back on the other hand, i am not thrilled anymore by learning new rules systems or reading RPG manuals for the sake of reading RPG manuals. I would rather play an RPG and read a real book.

So, with all of that on the table, here’s what I think about DCC: If someone else was going to run it, and I thought they would be a good DM (because most DMs are honestly just atrocious; there, I said it), I would be in it in a heartbeat. I think the charts and tables for spells look awesome, and I think the magical patron rules look rad. I usualyl like to play fighters and barbarians, but I would most definitely play a magic user in DCC because it looks, first and foremost like thay have made magic hellafun and flavored with awesome.

I’m not going to run the game though. And I’m probably not going to buy it, unless I do wind up playing it and loving it. My rule for years has been to not buy any RPG product that I don’t think I’m actually going to use, and until I know I’m hot for DCC, I know i’m not going to be using the book or the funky dice.

In summary: the game has some really cool-looking stuff about it, I don’t mind the awkward dice because I think there’s value in weirdness for weirdness’s sake, I would like to give the game a spin, but I’m not going to buy it, read it, or run it until I already know I love it.

Next Illustration!

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2011 by Kullervo

The picture for the Blightling Priest is up now, too. From this point on I am going to wait to put up stats for a monster until I’ve got the illustration for it, so I won’t have to do posts-about-posts anymore.