Wednesday, October 31, 2012

NOD 17 - Just in Time for Halloween!

It was a struggle today (embedding fonts in Adobe can be more frightening than a teenaged werewolf!) but NOD 17 is finally up for sale as a PDF!

Within it's 50 pages you will find ...

IXUM, City of the Savannah - a fantasy city on the savannah of Pwenet with over 60 locations.

36 MONSTERS OF DISTINCTION - If you've been following the blog this October, you know what to expect here - 36 Halloweeny monsters that are more than just a set of stats

DINOSAURS WITH A DIFFERENCE - A random table of modifications to make dinosaurs more memorable

IT'S THE MONSTER'S TURN - Four monstrous classes for Blood & Treasure - The Demon, the Devil, the Red Dragon and the Vampire. It ain't just humans who like to kill things and take their stuff!

BAR FIGHTS - The bar fight matrix (and an excellent illustration by Jon Kaufman)

A SKELETON FOR EVERY OCCASION - 18 skeletons to challenge characters of any level

QUEENS OF ELEMENTAL AIR - Radiant elemental queens from the Plane of Air

SWORDS, SORCERY AND MYSTERY MEN! - A short guide to running heroic fantasy adventures  using Mystery Men!

MEET THE MACABRES - A "mysterious and spooky" race for fantasy games.

Hope folks enjoy it! The print edition will be out as soon as I get my review copy - probably about 10 to 12 days.

NOD 18 in two months will complete 3 years of this little effort of mine - can't wait!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Action X Firearms Database

For those who have been interested in the gun posts, and my attempt to wrap my head around firearms, I've uploaded my database to Google Drive. It is still a work in progress, with many empty fields to be filled (I maintain a massive commercial real estate database at work, so believe me, empty fields are a hateful thing to me).

The database is not a collection of every firearm that has ever existed - I've mostly focused on firearms from the "great powers" with a few other interesting specimens thrown in for good measure. It also doesn't attempt to categorize every variation on these firearms - I'm using it for a game, so I don't need to be that thorough.

A few explanations:

Nation might refer to the nation or origin or the nation most associated with the weapon - it's a mishmash at the moment

Era is broken down into Pre-Modern (i.e. before the main scope of the game), Victorian (1860-1901), Pulp (1910's to 1950's), Cold War (1960's to 1980's) and Modern (1990's to present).

Type is the general classification of the weapon. At the moment, I'm classifying anti-materiel weapons as sniper rifles.

Caliber is in inches.

Muzzle velocity is in feet/second. When italicized, it is a value I found for the ammunition, not the weapon - beggars can't be choosers.

Bullet weight is in grains; originally, I was using place holders here originally, so some of the values might be off for the type of ammunition indicated. I'll clean this up later.

TKOF is a calculated field - The Knock Out Factor - a useful abstraction for coming up with damage ranges.

Rate of fire is in rounds per minute.

Range is in yards, and (hopefully) represents the weapon's effective range, not maximum, though data sources are not always clear.

Ammo refers to the weapon's ammunition loading mechanism (or whatever the heck you want to call it).

Damage is a calculated field (essentially dividing TKOF by 20). For now, the damage values I'm going to use, based on the Modern SRD and different from previous posts, are as follows:

0 = 2d4
1 = 2d6
2 = 2d8
3 = 2d10
4 = 2d12

5 and beyond, I'm not sure yet, but 0-4 should take in most of the personal firearms, which is what I'm primarily interested in at the moment.

Cost is in dollars at the time the weapon was introduced - and this column is about 99% blank at this point. Ultimately, costs in the game are going to relate to how effective the weapon is - I just wanted a little info here on which to base my later calculations.

Rate of Fire - a calculated field showing rounds per 10-second round.

Ammunition is the type of ammunition used in some of the other fields (bullet weight, etc.). Many of these are blank because I didn't initially keep track of this data, so I'll need to go back through and fill these in.

Notes are just what you would think - notes.

The second Year column was just a convenience for me, so I could organize the weapons either alphabetically or by year introduced.

Since this isn't my only copy of the database, I'm going to open it to the public for editing. Be gentle with it. My one request - if you add or change data, please highlight the cell that you changed, as well as the cell containing the weapon's name, in yellow. It will make it easier for me to track down new information and put it into my other copy of the database. Please only make changes if you have a reliable source of data to work with, and please make a note of that source of data in the Notes field.

You can access the file HERE


Monday, October 29, 2012

What Gave the Magic-User a Headache? [Random]

Magic-users are brain guys, and since they use their brains so much (and use them in such odd ways), they're prone to frequent headaches. It's not that different from swimmer's suffering from swimmer's ear or tennis players suffering from tennis elbow.

In play, whenever a random encounter roll is made and a "3" is rolled, there is a chance of the magic-user coming down with an aching  head. Let the magic-user roll a reverse saving throw (i.e. they need to fail the save to avoid the headache) - since the higher level a magic-user is, the more stress they put on the old grey matter. If a headache is indicated, roll d% on the following Random Magic-User Headache Table and inflict some agony.

01-04. Spell Residue: When a spell is imprinted on a magic-user's brain and then unleashed, it often leaves behind a bit of itself - a spell residue, so to speak. This leads to a throbbing of the temporal lobe. The headache lasts until the magic-user unleashes all of his spells and then goes 24 hours without preparing any new spells OR until the magic-user can pass a once daily saving throw (as above). While suffering the headache, the magic-user suffers a 5% chance of spell failure and -2 penalty to all saving throws or skill throws involving concentration.

05-14. Dehydrated: Absent-minded as they are, magic-users often forget things like basic maintenance. The magic-user has become dehydrated, and this has started a headache. While suffering, the magic-user suffers a -1 penalty to all d20 rolls until he spends a day drinking a double ration of water.

15-16. Cerebral Parasite: The magic-user has picked up a cerebral parasite. The parasite lowers his intelligence score by 1d4 points (roll randomly each day) until removed with a cure disease spell.

17-19. Withdrawal Symptoms: Sometimes, a magic-user develops an addiction to a spell he or she has impressed on their minds. Randomly determine (or choose) a spell that the magic-user has memorized in the past, but which they do not have memorized now. Until the magic-user memorizes that spell and casts it for three days in a row, they suffer from a headache that gives them a 10% spell failure chance. If they go more than two days with this headache, they develop a nauseous stomach. If they go a week without memorizing the spell, they beat the addiction and are fine. If they eliminate the headache by memorizing the spell, they feed the addiction, and thereafter must memorize and cast the spell at least once per week or suffer from the withdrawal symptoms again.

20-35. Slept Funny: The magic-user must have slept funny, giving them a stiff neck and sore head. They suffer a -2 penalty to reflex saves (save vs. dragon breath, traps) and a -1 penalty to will saves (i.e. saves vs magic).

36-40. Tension - Fear: The magic-user has developed a headache from the stress and tension involved in dungeon delving. They must go 24 hours without encountering a monster or trap to remove the headache; otherwise, they suffer a -1 penalty to all will saves (save vs. magic) and a -3 penalty to all saves vs. fear.

41-45. Tension - Greed: The magic-user has developed an obsession with some piece of wealth owned by another character. Until they steal this item, they suffer a -1 penalty to all will saves (save vs. magic) and suffer a 15% spell failure chance any time they cast a spell that would be beneficial to the owner of the object of their desire.

46-50. Tension - Lust: The magic-user has developed an obsession with a fellow party member - one they would normally find attractive. Until they admit their feelings, they suffer from a -2 penalty to all will saves (saves vs. magic).

51-55. Allergies - Creature: The magic-user has developed an allergy to an animal owned by themselves or another party member, to a monster often encountered in the dungeon they are exploring (i.e. one of the monsters on the random encounter chart) or to another member of the party. When they get within 10 feet of this allergen, they suffer a headache that imposes a 5% spell failure chance and a -2 penalty to all will saves (saves vs. magic).

56-60. Allergies - Iron Rations: As above. The magic-user suffers the symptoms for 1d6 hours after consuming iron rations.

61-65. Allergies - Rope: As above. The magic-user suffers the symptoms for 1d6 hours after touching hempen rope.

66-70. Allergies - Magic Item: As above, but the allergy is to a particular magic item the magic-user recently came into possession of. The symptoms are suffered while the item is in his possession.

71-78. Pressure: The headache is caused by being more than 2 "levels" underground. The magic-user must either ascend to a higher level of the dungeon or suffer through the symptoms for 1d4+1 hours. While suffering, the magic-user suffers a 5% spell failure chance per dungeon level below 2 and a penalty to will saves (saves vs. magic) equal to the dungeon level they are on -2.

79-88. Light: Having spent so much time underground, the magic-user's eyes are sensitive to light. They can stand torchlight, but must be at least 10 feet away from the torch. Anything else causes them to suffer a -2 penalty to all d20 rolls. This lasts until they have been exposed to pain-causing light for at least 4 hours.

89-99 Eye Strain: The eye strain caused by reading spell books, scrolls and ancient chaos carvings has caused a headache. The magic-user suffers a -1 penalty to all will saves (saves vs. magic) and a 5% spell failure chance until they rest their eyes for 48 hours.

100. Headache Demons: The magic-user is beset by 1d6 invisible headache demons:

Headache Demon, Tiny Outsider: HD 1; AC 14; ATK 1 implement of torture (1d4 + headache); MV 30 (Fly 40); F16 R13 W12; AL Chaotic (CE); XP 100; Special: Natural invisibility (per improved invisibility spell), yhose hit by the implements of torture must pass a will save or suffer a throbbing headache (-1 to all will saves, 5% spell failure chance; duration 1 hour) - additional spell failures increase the duration by one hour; three failed saves results in 1d4 points of intelligence, wisdom or charisma damage.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

More Guns - Victorian Pistols [Action X]

A week or so ago I wrote about gun in Action X. Here's my first crack at taking the data and making it usable - a collection of "Victorian" revolvers and pistols. What I'm still playing with is the column headed "APR" - or attacks per round. When the machine guns show up, that's going to get tricky. I'll probably look to d20 Modern SRD for inspiration there.

For now, though, check out what I've got ...

Of course, the main goal here, as with Blood & Treasure, is to keep it simple and playable and not get hung up on the intricacies. At the same time, though, you want gun fights to have a special flare, since they'll be a big part of any modern game.

You'll note that at the top, I have "generic revolver". That's for people who don't want to bother with the individual firearms, or maybe for a Referee who wants to keep it simple with the NPCs. The generic version basically averages the data I have for all the weapons from the same time period and type, including weapons that do not appear in the table above.

The feed column: C stands for "Cylinder", as in revolvers. M stands for "magazine" - a very generic term including clips, boxes, drums, etc. I'll also use B for "belt" when the belt-fed machine guns show up. Reloading a magazine or belt should be fairly quick - maybe you can do it in place of an attack or move during a round. Cylinders would take maybe a full round, or one could take a 1/2 round to load 1d4 shots - something like that.

Anyhow - it's a start, and I'm sure there will be many changes before I'm finished writing the game.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Murder, Most Random!

Halloween brings to mind ghost and goblins, yes, but also creepy or imposing Victorian mansions, and thus, MURDER!

The next time you need to generate a random murder for characters to solve, or perhaps explain the origin of the ghost they are busting, these random tables might come in handy …

WHERE? (d30)

1. Attic
2. Ballroom
3. Bathroom
4. Bedroom (upstairs)
5. Billiard Room
6. Buttery
7. Cellar / Undercroft
8. Dining Room / Eating Room
9. Drawing Room / Parlour
10. Dressing Room
11. Fainting Room (nudge nudge)
12. Gentleman’s Room
13. Great Chamber
14. Hall / Great Hall
15. Housekeeper’s Room
16. Kitchen
17. Larder
18. Library
19. Long Gallery
20. Lumber Room
21. Master Bedroom
22. Pantry / Butler’s Pantry
23. Picture Gallery
24. Scullery
25. Servant’s Quarters
26. Smoking Room
27. Solar / Solarium / Sunroom / Conservatory
28. Store Room
29. Study
30. Wine Cellar

WHO? (d30)

Note: This table can be used to generate the victim and the murderer, as well as the wrongly accused

1. Baronet / Lord
2. Lady of the House
3. Blustering Industrialist
4. Arrogant Playboy
5. Bold Explorer
6. Virile Sportsman
7. Member of Parliament
8. Spoiled Son/Daughter
9. Imperious Son/Daughter
10. Dowager Aunt
11. Doddering Uncle
12. Brainy Professor
13. Idiot Nephew
14. Sly Courtesan
15. Impassioned Suffragette
16. Intellectual Son/Daughter
17. Silly Son/Daughter
18. The Butler
19. Kitchen Maid / Scullery Maid
20. Cook
21. Valet
22. Driver / Chauffeur
23. Companion
24. Lady’s Maid
25. Nanny / Governess
26. Tutor
27. Chambermaid
28. Page / Houseman / Footman
29. Gamekeeper / Master of Hounds
30. Master of Horse

WHAT? (d8)

1. Poison (Arsenic, Curare)
2. Shot (revolver)
3. Stabbed or Slashed (knife, dagger, razor blade, something more archaic)
4. Bludgeoned (candlestick, wrench, statuette)
5. Strangled (rope, scarf, bare hands)
6. Electrocuted (where available)
7. Suffocated (or gassed)
8. Drowned

WHY? (d8)

1. Jealousy
2. Envy
3. Greed
4. Boredom
5. Ambition
6. Revenge
7. For the cause!
8. Because of the voices!

So, what is Chief Inspector Macintosh up against this week?

Doddering old Dr. Rolston has been found murdered in the fainting room! Egad! He appears to have been poisoned, and the most likely suspect is the very intellectual daughter of the family, Felicity, who had been conducting a bit of research into poisons. But why?

If Macintosh is smart, he'll discover that the true murderer was the footman, Joseph, who did it out of jealousy - he envied those "hysteria treatments" the doctor had been giving to the scullery maid, Eliza, so he put a little extra kick in the old man's brandy, and when next the two met in fainting room, the good doctor expired!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Six Lovable Lycanthropes

We round out the "6 Monsters" series with six lycanthropes that might be lurking about the next city or dark wood your PCs visit.

Emma Scholt

Emma Scholt is a fierce woman, with a grave countenance and nary a sign of joy or lightness in her. A librarian, she is a pinnacle of order and reason, relied upon by the traveling sages and professors of Hogyth College for their research. Her staff fear more than respect her, for they have had occasion to see the mask slip every so slightly, to see the blood rise to her face and the rage within bubble to the surface even momentarily when something was found out of place or improperly handled. She keeps her office in the sub-level of the old church-come-library at the college, within the confines of the forbidden section, where heretical and valuable texts are locked away behind an iron door. Here, she prowls when the moon is full and she has taken on the aspect of the wolf (after making sure the volumes here are safely locked behind iron bars and away from her more destructive impulses.) It was two summers ago that one of her staff, a dashing fellow from the north, crept into the forbidden section in a bid to woo the librarian, for he had seen her flush with anger and was captivated by the beauty that anger revealed. Of course, he never left the forbidden section, and what remained of him the next day was hidden away to be a nagging worry in the back of Emma's mind that, one day, he will be discovered and she will have to flee.

Emma Scholt: HD 4; HP 10; AC 16 [silver]; ATK 2 claws (1d4) and bite (1d6); MV 30; F14 R11 W11; AL C (NE); XP 400; Special - Lycanthrope.


The docks of Sampthr are a wild place, sitting as they do at "the end of the world", where the northern lights adle the brain and the bitter cold drives men and women to all manner of extremes to survive. The docks will be an even wilder place soon, for a werewolf has been introduced to the mix. Hemix was a sailor from a far away land who was traveling north, to the empty, snowy quarters there that he might quit humanity and live out his curse in relative peace. Alas, an accident aboard the ship that was carrying him left him unconscious and with amnesia. Recovering on the icy streets of Sampthr, he spent a week regaining his strength under the ministrations of a tavern girl named Muirion, who liked the look of him. A strong lad, he soon found work on the docks and has taken up with the girl, blissfully unaware that in just two days, when the moon is full, his true nature will reveal itself.

Hemix: HD 4; HP 11; AC 16 [silver]; ATK 2 claws (1d4) and bite (1d6); MV 30; F14 R11 W11; AL N currently, but normally C (CE); XP 400; Special - Lycanthrope.


Talyn was a soldier of Rurit who was captured during a fierce battle with the Duwoldi Empire. He and his fellows were gathered up, bound in chains, and sold off to Rolla the Slave Trader, who in turn sold Talyn and a few others to work on the villa of Chazadar, a spice merchant who had made a name for himself in Duwoldi politics. A mercenary, his fellow soldiers knew little about him, and they have learned little since. Talyn is a werewolf, and though he was at first loathe to be a slave, he has since found it excellent cover for his disease. Hunting his fellow slaves is like shooting fish in a barrel, and he has set his eyes on Chazadar's wife. At the next full moon, he will creep into his "master's" villa, slaughter the household and bite the beautiful Latzme, infecting her and making her his mate.

Talyn: HD 4; HP 14; AC 16 [silver]; ATK 2 claws (1d4) and bite (1d6); MV 30; F14 R11 W11; AL C (CE); XP 400; Special - Lycanthrope.

Minri is a girl of about 12 years who lives on the rough and tumble streets of Tricardis. One of many street urchins, she makes her way as a beggar and thief, leading (from behind) a large gang of urchins. They dwell in a number of abandoned buildings or beneath bridges or in the sewers, picking pockets during the day and sometimes carrying off more ambitious heists at night. When the moon is full, Minri takes on her rat nature and infects the new members of the gang with lycanthropy. Those who survive become full fledged "street rats", and are brought to the gang's sanctum sanctorum in an abandoned and forgotten dungeon beneath one of the city's old watch towers, where they feast and dance and dream of conquest.

Minri: HD 2; HP 7; AC 16 [silver]; ATK 1 bite (1d6) and 1 dagger (1d4); MV 30; F15 R12 W12; AL C (CE); XP 200; Special - Lycanthrope, pick pockets as 6th level thief.


Samera is a princess, regal and cruel, who rules over a small principality on the shores of a great, inland sea. Her land of rugged hills and tangled woods is known for its horses and its blue-furred tigers. Samera is a strong ruler who has had many consorts, but has not yet been wed. Her family is tight-knit, and the house servants fear them, for they are casually cruel and seem not to have a drop of human kindness in them. When the moon is full, the servants are dismissed from the house and the family perform rituals and sacrifices to the moon goddess to ensure their country remains fertile and strong - or so they say. It is also during these revels that the blue tigers of the hills become exceptionally aggressive, attacking not only livestock, but people (usually hapless travelers) who wander out of doors at night.

Samera: HD 7; HP 34; AC 16 [silver]; ATK 2 claws (1d8) and bite (2d6); MV 30; F11 R10 W10; AL C (LE); XP 700; Special - Lycanthrope.

Yao the Peddler

Yao is a wandering peddler of boar bristle brushes and other odds-and-ends he scavenges on his travels. He travels on foot, visiting the villages and towns between the eastern hills and the tranquil sea, his fat, red face well known in the region. Most folk are suspicious of the man, who never sleeps a night in a civilized village, always preferring to camp a mile or so away. His products are good enough, and he doesn't cheat folks, but he tends to stare with his piggish little eyes, and one gets the feeling he is sizing them up for a meal. He is, of course, a wereboar. An intelligent man, he makes sure to get himself far away from civilization when the moon is nearing full, only rarely allowing himself the luxury of killing a human being, and only then when that person has cheated or offended him in some way. Travelers might encounter him in the wilderness, where they will find him evasive and hostile if they are kind to him, and uncomfortably pleasant if they are unkind.

Yao: HD 4; HP 18; AC 16 [silver]; ATK 1 gore (1d6) or light mace (1d4+1); MV 30; F14 R11 W11; AL N; XP 400; Special - Lycanthrope.

Image found at Brian's Drive-In Theatre

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Six Delightful Demons

Who doesn't like a good demon (well, not good - you know what I mean). Today, I present six delightful demons that have fallen prey to the bindings of earthbound conjurers.


Izaph is a type I demon that once stalked the woodlands around an ancient castle that was inhabited by a coven of diabolists. The villages that bordered the woods were beset for many years by the temptations and depredations of Izalph, and many a knight and maiden were cast into ruin by the demon's actions. Finally, a trio of spellcasters, a cleric, druid and magic-user, joined forces to deal with the infamous 'Demon of the Wood'. The trio found a grove of ancient oak trees and carved runes of power into them. They then drew lots. The cleric lost and served as bait for the demon, fleeing from it and drawing it into an especially large, ancient oak tree. As the demon followed the cleric into the tree, the magic-user and druid completed their spellwork and activated their magic circle, binding the demon into the tree. The cleric, alas, lost his life. Izalph is still trapped in the great oak, brooding and cursing his fate. Seven dryads dwell in the smaller oaks that serve as the anchors of the magic circle, and they delight in tormenting the captive demon.

Izalph: HD 8; HP 28; AC 20 [+1]; ATK 2 claws (2d8) and bite (1d8); Move 30 (Fly 50); F8 R9 W8; AL C (CE); XP 2000; Special: See B&T.


Phimzael is a type II demon that looks like an especially large, warty, frog with bilious green flesh streaked with gold. For many long years, the wizard Yurk researched Phimzael, learning his true name and the symbols required to conjure and hold him. Yurk desired a very ancient spell involving transportation to and from the gem-like worlds that dot the Firmament, and his inquiries convinced him that the Celestial Circle, a band of magic-users known in ancient Irem, had been the last to perfect this spell, and that they had had contact with Phimzael. Yurk also knew that Phimzael was not to be trifled with. He constructed a long shaft, like a well, with a circular room at the bottom. Here, he drew his magic circle and, accompanied by his apprentices, conjured the demon. Phimzael was a cunning opponent, and time and time again he fed Yurk false information about the spell he sought. Eventually, he corrupted Yurk's most promising apprentice and, during an especially long and frustrating audience with the demon, the apprentice stabbed Yurk in the back (literally) and released Phimzael from the magic circle. It was then that Phimzael learned just how canny Yurk was, for the rim of the shaft also formed a magic circle, more powerful than the first and obscured by illusions. Phimzael was again trapped in a magic circle, and this time there was nobody capable of releasing him. In a fit of anger he slew the apprentices and consumed their souls. He still sits at the bottom of the shaft, which is now filled with water, in the ruins of Yurk's manse.

Phimzael: HD 9; HP 35; AC 21 [+1]; ATK 2 claws (1d8) and bite (4d6); Move 30; F8 R9 W8; AL C (CE); XP 2250; Special: See B&T.


Zuron was a type III demon that specialized in providing engineering knowledge to those who conjured and commanded him. It was in this capacity that was conjured by the archimage Thebea to advise the gnomish engineer Walprict in the crafting of an especially large and impressive iron golem. Unfortunately, dealings with demons are never easy, and Zuron proved to be more than Thebea could handle. She arrived in her laboratory one morning to find that Walprict had killed himself in an especially macabre fashion, and that Zuron was free of his magic circle. Thebea had prepared for this, though, and grabbing the only item handy, a bronze cog, pronounced a powerful spell that trapped Zuron within the cog. She hid the cog away and, in the course of many years, was killed on an adventure. Her manse fell into disuse and ruin, and one day became the target of locals, who scavenged the ruins for building materials. It was in this way that a scrounger came across the cog and other mechanical items, and traded them to a clockmaker in a far away city, who used the parts to fashion a wondrous clock tower, in which each day a parade of automatons would act out various acts of knightly valor when the clock struck noon. The demon cog, however, corrupted this machine. If it can spill the blood of three innocents, Thebea's ancient spell can be broken and Zuron released. The demon clock has already claimed one victim, a workman who was cleaning the mechanism when he was struck by the sword of one of the clockwork automatons.

Zuron: HD 10; HP 35; AC 23 [+1]; ATK 2 pincers (2d10), 2 claws (1d6) and bite (1d8); Move 40; F5 R8 W7; AL C (CE); XP 2500; Special: See B&T.


Rahorezs was a rather grandiose and gluttonous pig of a type IV demon who was brought into the fabric of the material plane by the renowned demonologist Praction as a wedding gift for his beloved, Halia Rathsdottir, scion of a family that claimed descent from the rebel angels. The demon was conjured into a tapestry, his depiction fixed there with a magical golden thread. The demon could still communicate from the tapestry, but was otherwise powerless. Still, communication was enough, as Praction and Halia found themselves slowly giving way to gluttony themselves. In time, their inexhaustible appetites drove their subjects to revolt, and the two, despite Praction's power, were destroyed. Rahorezs had hoped a revolt would result in the tapestry being burned or otherwise destroyed, thus releasing him. Unfortunately, it was merely looted and has been handed down through several owners, always bringing upon them the same curse that finally destroyed the demonologist and his bride.

Rahorezs: HD 11; HP 37; AC 23 [+1]; ATK 2 claws (1d8) and bite (2d8); Move 30 (Fly 40); F5 R8 W5; AL C (CE); XP 2750; Special: See B&T.


The demoness Saherael, a type V demon, fought in the epic Battle of Borok's Grave, where 20,000 demons and devils, manipulated by the demodands, destroyed themselves in a quest to claim an artifact that did not exist. Neither side tells of the incident today, of course, but the damage was done. Saherael was not killed in the battle, but she was gravely wounded and weakened, and in this state was captured by a coven of witches loyal to Baalzebul. The witches held and tormented the demon for nine long months before finally tearing her, body and soul, apart. Her body they threw to their devil swine, but her soul they captured in six small rubies, each a piece of a larger gemstone. These rubies they set in the hilts of six magic swords that now thirst to be united so that Saherael can reform in the Underworld and seek vengeance on the souls of those who wronged her.  The Six Swords of Saherael are as follows:

+1 Bastard Sword, makes bearer immune to electricity

+1 Broadsword, bearer can cast project image and detect invisibility 1/day

+1 Greatsword, bearer can summon one marilith 1/day with a 20% chance of success

+1 Longsword, grants bearer a +4 bonus to save vs. spells

+1 Scimitar, bearer can cast project image and telekinesis 1/day

+1 Short Sword, bearer can cast blade barrier and teleport without error 1/day

Each of the swords is intelligent and chaotic (CE), and yearns to be re-united with its siblings. All six will fill the heads of their owners with the notion that all six swords united will grant a single wish (which is actually true, as they will allow Saherael's fondest wish to come true). Assume each sword has an Ego of 6 and can speak and communicate telepathically. They all have 120-ft darkvision.

Currently, the longsword is in the possession of Sir Galt, a formerly shining knight in the process of becoming a chaotic warlord. The scimitar and bastard sword are in the vault of a king, and cry out constantly for their sisters. The other three are scattered about in various dungeons, seeking new pawns to carry them to their ultimate desire.

Saherael: HD 8; HP 25; AC 24 [+1]; ATK 6 swords (2d10) and tail (4d6 + constrict); Move 40; F8 R9 W8; AL C (CE); XP 2000; Special: See B&T.


Dosoharh is a type VI demon that has tired of immortality. He seeks ultimate release from existence, and can only achieve this by being slain in the depths of Hell. Dramatic to the end, he has concocted a grandiose quest involving three (three!) virginal maidens, a silver chalice that holds the preserved eyes of six of the world's greatest diviners, a down-on-its-luck red dragon called Jorvax the Bloody, the comedy stylings of Thobad (a renowned jester of Yex) and a cast of thousands. Powerful adventurers encountering any of these people or things might take up a thread of this plot and follow it into Hell, where Dosaharh awaits his fate impatiently. What those adventurers will not know is that Dosoharh is a manic depressive, and he's just about ready to go from the blackest sadness to joy unrestrained (and joy in a demon is a terrible, terrible thing).

Dosoharh: HD 20; HP 66; AC 26 [+3]; ATK +1 vorpal longsword (1d10+7) and +1 flaming whip (1d6+1 + 1d6 fire); Move 40 (Fly 90); F3 R3 W3; AL C (CE); XP 5000; Special: See B&T.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Six Malevolent Mummies

Mummies are a natural monster for fantasy games due to their lineage in horror movies (good and bad). The traditional mummy is Egyptian (or faux-Egyptian), but that need not be the case ...


Brost was a trader 300 years ago who plied the high mountains, carrying silver ornaments down from the bat-headed people to the towns and villages in the green valleys far below. It so happened one day that Brost made a serious miscalculation with the daughter of a local lord with a well known lack of temper, and he found it necessary to make an unscheduled trip into the mountains. Winter had already come to the valley, and the mountain passes were exceptionally dangerous when he set out, and alas, one misstep was all it took to end Brost's life. He lie in a crevasse that was soon filled with snow and ice, preserving his body while a taste for revenge preserved his spirit (in a fashion). The next year, Brost rose from his icy tomb and closed the pass to traffic, defying the petty priests of the valley and cutting the people of the valley off from civilization. He demands single combat with the lord who chased him out of the valley, and will not rest until he has gotten it.

Unlike most mummies, Brost's touch does not cause disease. Rather, it is an icy grip that drains a person of 1 point of dexterity per round (or 1 point of AC if the victim has no known dexterity score). This dexterity damage cannot be healed normally; healing first requires the curse of the ice man to be removed.

Brost: HD 8; HP 33; AC 19; ATK 1 slam (1d8 + icy grip); MV 20; F11 R11 W10; AL C (NE); XP 800; Special: Fearsome visage, vulnerable to fire, immune to cold.


Adana was a sneak thief who operated in a northern town, using her charm and nimble fingers to relieve visiting merchants and sailors of their worldly goods, and, on occasion, their lives. Finally caught by the duke's soldiers, she was tried and hung, her body thrown into a bog. Thirty years later, the slow process of "bog mummification" was finished, and her tormented spirit, which had long roamed the bog as a will-o-wisp, settled back into its old home. She now haunts the wilderness as an undead robber, casting aside coins in favor of jewelry to adorn her black, leather hide. She currently wears a golden torc (worth 200 gp), several bronze bracelets (worth a total of 30 gp) and a golden anklet (worth 300 gp), plus whatever random jewelry you might roll for her.

Unlike most mummies, Adana's touch does not cause disease Rather, it delivers acid damage that deals 1 point of damage per minute until a remove curse spell is cast to counter it. A delay poison spell halts the acid damage for a time, as does submersion in bog water.

Adana: HD 8; HP 27; AC 19; ATK 1 slam (1d8 + acid touch); MV 20; F11 R11 W10; AL C (CE); XP 800; Special: Fearsome visage, immune to acid, surprise (2 in 6), back attack x2. 


Titena was the slave and close confidant of a high priest of Seth. She served her master loyally for many years, tending his every need, always desirous of one day being freed. It finally passed that an assassin found his mark, and the high priest was killed. His acolytes quickly swept up his servants and animals and slayed them that they might be mummified so that they could serve their master again in the afterlife. So it was that Titena, filled with wrath, was made a mummy and sealed in the crypt of the high priest. Whether the others made the journey to the other world is unknown, for she awoke as a mummy, alone and consumed with hatred. She quickly defiled her master's body and now waits for release from her seemingly eternal prison. She has a single gem of true seeing lodged in her forehead.

Titena: HD 8; HP 29; AC 19; ATK 1 slam (1d8 + mummy rot); MV 20; F11 R11 W10; AL C (CE); XP 800; Special: Fearsome visage, vulnerable to fire. 


Vadun was a monk and mathematician who underwent the process of living mummification (a strict dietary regimen, exercise and poisoning) that he might be preserved for all time. After death, he was sealed into an alcove with bricks, to be unsealed three years later. Unfortunately, between his death and his appointed time of release, the monastery was sacked, its monks killed, its treasures carried away. Vadun now remains a prisoner in the monastery, his staggering intellect bent on taking revenge on the world for his humiliation.

Unlike most mummies, Vadun does not spread disease with his touch. Rather, his touch is poisonous (per poison III). Damage from this poison can only be healed after a remove curse spell has been received by the victim.

Vadun: HD 8; HP 31; AC 19; ATK 1 slam (1d8 + poison touch); MV 20; F11 R11 W10; AL C (LE); XP 2000; Special: Fearsome visage, vulnerable to fire, cast spells as 9th level cleric. 


Zuranthula was a powerful warlord among the Kith-Yin. After death, he was mummified by his followers, that he might continue to lead them on their raids in the Astral Plane. Unfortunately, before he could awake, his people were attacked by their rivals. Zuranthula's sarcophagus was cast out into Astral Space to float for eternity. It would have done just that, but the conjuring of a curious wizard brought it into the Material Plane. Surprised by the contents, the wizard was soon killed, and Zuranthula, now crazed, began haunting the wizard's dungeon complex, still seeking a return to the Astral Plane.

Zuranthula: HD 8; HP 32; AC 19; ATK 1 slam (1d8 + icy grip) or silver sword (1d6+1); MV 20; F11 R11 W10; AL C (NE); XP 800; Special: Fearsome visage, vulnerable to fire, spells as kith-yin. 


Castillos was a very wicked man, though his wickedness was subtle. Most folk considered him a rather dashing figure, fairly honest, and good company. His squire, Manuel, knew better. He had seen him dally with the affections of many women, and when Castillos dared turn his eye upon Manuel's own lady love, Castillos' fate was sealed. On one night, after a drunken revel, Manuel led his master into a dank catacomb, ostensibly in search of a cache of elven wine he had heard tell of. In truth, he clubbed his master over the head and bricked him into a chamber, his body sealed inside a cask of wine. Castillos died there, but the alcohol preserved him, and now he seeks Manuel, who inherited his estate.

Unlike most mummies, Castillos does not spread disease with his touch. Rather, his touch brings on a sort of manic drunkenness (per the hideous laughter) spell.

Castillos: HD 8; HP xxx; AC 19; ATK 1 slam (1d8 + hideous laighter); MV 20; F11 R11 W10; AL C (NE); XP 800; Special: Fearsome visage, vulnerable to fire. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Six Spooky Spectres

Although spectres traditionally seem to be played as actively hostile entities (chaotic, and all), they don't have to be, and in fact can make for pretty excellent ghost encounters. Level drain does a great job of recreating, for the players and thus their characters, of the sheer fright and revulsion of being touched by "that which should not be!". 


Forloth was a great man in life - great in deed in his youth, and great in girth in his dotage. Always a man of monumental hunger and thirst, he spent his later years in his favorite tavern at his favorite table, regaling the customers with stories of great deeds in far away lands, his wine goblet and lap rarely empty and his coin flowing freely. And so it was when he died - a small belch, a rolling of the eyes, and gone. It took four strong men to remove the body, and the whole town attended the funeral - even the Lord Mayor. A couple weeks later, the first dead body was found in the cellar - a serving wench - long in the tooth but no less beautiful for her years of service and always the favorite of Forloth - keeled over on a barrel of wine, her hair turned stark white. When Brena's laughter began being heard echoing in the rafters and the wine began turning sour, the townsfolk soon quit the tavern and the landlord was forced to move his establishment. The tavern still stands empty, but a few brave souls have claimed to peek in the thick windows at midnight and see Forloth at his table, Brena in his lap, a ghostly goblet of spirits in his hands.

Forloth: HD 7; HP 22; AC 15 [silver]; Atk 1 strike (1d8 + energy drain); Move 40 (Fly 80); F12 R12 W9; AL C (NE); XP 1750; Special - Incorporeal, powerless in sunlight.

Brena: HD 5; HP 14; AC 15 [silver]; Atk 1 strike (1d8 + energy drain); Move 40 (Fly 80); F13 R12 W10; AL C (CE); XP 1250; Special - Incorporeal, powerless in sunlight.


Cobhar was born a beggar and thief, and spent his childhood learning how to steal and get away with it. Always an angry man, he hid it well and made a reputation for himself of a leader among the beggars and outlaws of the city - an unofficial ambassador of the underclass whose company was enjoyed by commoners, aristocrats and adventurers alike. Alas, he was a man of ambition, and one of those ambitions was to forge his beggars into a corps equal to the guild of thieves. The master of thieves, Lord Nock, couldn't allow that, and so one night Cobhar took his last drink of rum and had his body unceremoniously dumped in the harbor, wrapped in heavy chains. The very next night, the thieves were surprised in their shadowy citadel by the appearance of a waterlogged man in chains. Few escaped that hideout, Lord Nock among them, and the reign of the thieves was over. Their hideout remains empty, the lair of Cobhar's spectre and, stories say, still flush with the plunder of the guild. What nobody knows, though, are how many of the old thieves now haunt the halls of the guildhouse ...

Cobhar: HD 7; HP 27; AC 15 [silver]; Atk 1 strike (1d8 + energy drain); Move 40 (Fly 80); F12 R12 W9; AL C (CE); XP 1750; Special - Incorporeal, powerless in sunlight.


Maela was a simple woman who lived in a small village by a river. Married to the miller, she was a respected member of her community who wanted, more than anything, to give birth to a child. After many years, she and the miller were blessed with a child, bright of eye and blithe of spirit. All was well for many years, until the coming of the orcs. In a flash, the village was razed, the mill set alight with Maela's husband and child sealed within. The woman rushed into the blaze, but was unable to save them, and in her trauma rose a month later as a spectre. The charred remains of the mill still stand by the river, and the village is still abandoned. Maela has a powerful compulsion to care for people in distress, and a keen desire to embrace children and other small humanoids (gnomes, halflings). She is not hostile unless rebuffed.

Maela: HD 7; HP 20; AC 15 [silver]; Atk 1 strike (1d8 + energy drain); Move 40 (Fly 80); F12 R12 W9; AL N; XP 1750; Special - Incorporeal, powerless in sunlight.


Guilla was the prettiest girl in town - rosy cheeks, auburn curls, brilliant green eyes, etc. - and always popular with the men of the town (young and old). There were stories, of course, that she was perhaps to desirous of their caresses, but she denied everything and her father and mother would not hear of her indiscretions. It was when an adventuring bard entered the picture that things went awry. Handsome and dashing, for the first time in her life, Guilla herself fell in love. In the past, she had always had the upper hand, but now things were different. The bard stayed in town for a couple weeks, and spent nearly every waking moment of that time in her company, until the jealous men of the town had had enough and vowed to end his tenure as Guilla's lover. It so happened that the bard finally acquiesced to Guilla's pleading and vowed he would steal away with her on Midsummer's night. The couple would make their way to the great city over the mountains and there live happily ever after. On his way to window, though, the bard was waylaid by the townsmen and, beaten and bloody, sent down river tied to a raft, never to be heard from again. Guilla waited the night through, and when the next day she heard that the bard had crept away in the night, her heart broke. Two days later, in a daze, she drank from a vial of poison and ended her life. At the next Midsummer night, during the revels of the young, a beautiful woman was seen gliding through the streets. One reveler was surprised by her, especially when he recognized her as Guilla, and when she embraced him, he died. Now, every Midsummer night, the ghost of Guilla glides through the streets of the town, seeking the love and adoration she once had in life, accompanied by the spectres of those she has embraced. There are three such spectres - fawning young men with eyes for none but Guilla. They will defend her to the "death".

Guilla: HD 7; HP 32; AC 15 [silver]; Atk 1 strike (1d8 + energy drain); Move 40 (Fly 80); F12 R12 W9; AL C (CE); XP 1750; Special - Incorporeal, powerless in sunlight, men must pass a Will save upon seeing her face or be stunned for 1 round.

Spectral Lover: HD 3; AC 15 [silver]; Atk 1 strike (1d8 + energy drain); Move 40 (Fly 80); F14 R13 W11; AL C (LE); XP 750; Special - Incorporeal, powerless in sunlight, energy drain steals only one level.


Scenth was a man-at-arms in the employ of Baron Pirpasko, a man with many enemies who was ever fearful of the assassin's blade. It so happened one night that Scenth was stationed outside the baron's room as sentinel. While the baron was fast asleep, the baroness, a raven-haired beauty of questionable morals, crept out of bed and stole away with the sentinel for a midnight dalliance. The couple finished their lovemaking and she returned to her lord's chamber while Scenth returned to his post. The young warrior had barely got to his post, though, when a scream broke the nocturnal silence. Opening the door, he saw the baroness clutching the bloody baron to her chest, a cruel smile on her lips.

"The baron has been murdered," she screamed, her smile turning into a look of horror as other warriors reached the room."An assassin got past that foolish boy and killed his master!"

Despite his protestations and accusations, the lad was found guilty of shirking his duty and was summarily hanged. The next night, though, as the household prepared to retire, they discovered the young man back at his post, his head still crooked and scarred by the noose. The baron's squire challenged the ghostly lad and was nearly killed when his body was run through by Scenth's ghostly sword. The man was left a shaken wreck, and the rest of the guard soon quit the manse, along with the duplicitous baroness, the baron's chest of treasure locked away in the chamber beyond her reach.

Scenth: HD 7; HP 31; AC 15 [silver]; Atk 1 strike (1d8 + energy drain); Move 40 (Fly 80); F12 R12 W9; AL C (LE); XP 1750; Special - Incorporeal, powerless in sunlight.


Paril was a thief, and one of the best in the world in his day. No vault had ever foiled him, and no ancient temple or forbidden boudoir had proved proof against his cunning. So it was that he delved deep beneath the earth in search of a sceptre of wondrous powers - one more challenge to be overcome. He stole past dozens of guards and wards, tricked a cyclops, walked a wire of spider silk and plucked the sceptre from under the nose of the demon Tessasses. Sceptre in hand, challenge overcome, he made his way out of the dungeon and was, quite suddenly, crushed by a bit of ancient masonry. His back broken, he fell prey to giant rats. An ignoble end to a master thief. Now, his spirit haunts the corridor, the sceptre still in his mortal form's skeletal hand, beneath the tumbled masonry.

[The idea here is a spectre appearing on the 1st level of a dungeon in a corridor that leads to deeper levels]

Paril: HD 7; HP 22; AC 15 [silver]; Atk 1 strike (1d8 + energy drain); Move 40 (Fly 80); F12 R12 W9; AL C (NE); XP 1750; Special - Incorporeal, powerless in sunlight, surprise on roll of 1-3 on 1d6.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Guns! Guns! Guns!

Do you feel lucky punk? Well, then roll for initiative ...

I'm not exactly a gun nut. I've fired a gun, once, at a Christmas outing, but other than that I've never had much of a fetish for the things. Yet, now I find myself working on Action X and needing to educate myself about the things.

The Modern SRD, on which I'm loosely basing Action X, has gun stats, of course, but I need a bit more. I plan on including in Action X a variety of "eras" in which to game - Victorian, Pulp, Atomic, etc. That means I need to chart guns from the 1860's or so to the modern game, and therefore need a system, of sorts, to figure out what's what with these things.

One way to go would be to simplify it - pistols, rifles, battle rifles, sub machine guns, light machine guns, medium machine guns, heavy machine guns, with damage following suit: Pistols do 1d6, rifles do 1d8, battle rifles 1d10, etc. I think, though, that many folks who are attracted to modern gaming like the idea of different guns - Bond's Walther PPK, Dirty Harry's S&W Model 29 .44 Magnum, etc. So, again, I need a system.

My solution (at the moment, anyhow) is to base damage on two factors - calibre and muzzle velocity. In other words, how much mass is hitting the target and at what speed. Rate of fire I think I'll handle with an abstract "burst" mechanism - probably handled as a burst multiple that can either count as multiple damage on a single target or can spread among multiple targets, with the traditional penalty to hit multiple targets. So, a gun with a burst factor of "x3" could either be used to score triple damage on a single target, or used to score normal damage on up to 3 targets.

Anyhow - here's my little matrix for gun damage. I'm beginning the damage at d6, and dropping damage by one dice size for balls vs. bullets.

Calibre is rounded off, and muzzle velocity is in feet per second. Using these numbers, Bond's Walther PPK does 1d6+1 points of damage, while Dirty Harry's .44 magnum (Smith & Wesson Model 29) does 1d8+1 points of damage.

Currently, I've been gathering data from Wikipedia on various guns - have a little database of 416 so far, with quite a few more to go and plenty of missing pieces of data - and should be able to put together some decent gun lists for each era of the game. And yes, I'll be putting the database up on Google Docs for folks to download at some point.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Six Vile Vampires

Today, I introduce you to six vile vampires who stalk the streets of Nod, or your own campaign. Note, for Blood & Treasure players and TK's - I'm varying the Hit Dice of these vamps - feel free to do the same in your games.

Typhus the Rat

Typhus is a small man, both in terms of physique and spirit. A peddler of tin items he hammered himself, he was bitten one night as he cut through an alley on the way home, hoping to avoid the city guard. Buried* in a pauper's cemetery in a cheap coffin, he soon arose from his grave and place several of the city's beggars under his control. With their help, he exhumed his coffin and secreted it in a cave just outside the city. Here, he has become something of a pack rat, hoarding baubles that he steals from the luminaries of the city and feasting on drunks who have fallen asleep in alleys, so as not to alert the authorities of his presence.

Typhus the Rat: HD 6; HP 18; AC 15 [silver]; Atk 1 bite (1d6) and slam (1d6 + energy drain); Move 30; F12 R12 W9; AL Chaotic (CE); XP 1,500; Special - See B&T - seriously, vampires are loaded with special abilities and vulnerabilities.

Viliann the Bat

Viliann the Bat was a simple tavern wench in life, a tavern wench subjected to much unwanted attention because of her bonny looks, and subjected to an especially unwanted attack one night in the wine cellar of her tavern by a vampire. Viliann was buried in a simple ceremony in a graveyard just outside town and rose as a vampire in her own right one week later. She now haunts the city as an avenger in a dark, hooded cloak, destroying the undead when she can and preying only on men of an evil disposition. She has only once created a spawn herself, and came to regret it. She keep's that spawn's head in a box in her cramped hiding place (in the sewers of the city) as a reminder of her mistake. Viliann appears as a beautiful woman of about 18 years, with spooky eyes and jet black hair.

Viliann the Bat: HD 11; HP 50; AC 15 [silver]; Atk 1 bite (1d6) and slam (1d6 + energy drain); Move 30; F10 R10 W7; AL Chaotic (LE); XP 2,750; Special - See B&T - seriously, vampires are loaded with special abilities and vulnerabilities.

Alaron the Owl

Alaron was a sage in life, and an easy target for a visiting vampire. Killed one night after he invited a stranger in for a late consultation, the sage's body was hidden in a trunk, which now serves as his coffin. Most folk never noticed when the man stopped leaving his home in the daytime, and he still makes himself available for consultations at night. Alaron is fairly selective about whose blood he consumes, preferring the blood of noble students, but taking just enough to sate his thirst and not rouse suspicions. He has managed to enthrall several of the apprentice mages in the city, and uses them to spy on their masters. He carries a hope that a spell or formula might one day appear that can reverse his curse.

Alaron the Owl: HD 8; HP 29; AC 15 [silver]; Atk 1 bite (1d6) and slam (1d6 + energy drain); Move 30; F11 R11 W8; AL Chaotic (NE); XP 2,000; Special - See B&T - seriously, vampires are loaded with special abilities and vulnerabilities.

Dallach the Cat

Dallach the cat is a wanderer, settling in a city long enough to hunt down the most powerful game and then moving on. He usually finds a lonely place to hide his coffin near a city, and then spends about a week in the city sizing up the possible prey - if adventurers are not present, he usually focuses on the local lord, captain of the guard or parish priest. Dallach appears as a tall, ruggedly handsome man with pale, green eyes and long, platinum blond hair tied in a tail. He dresses well, but not too well, and carries a sword and dagger on his belt.

Dallach the Cat: HD 9; HP 36; AC 15 [silver]; Atk 1 bite (1d6) and slam (1d6 + energy drain); Move 30; F11 R11 W8; AL Chaotic (CE); XP 2,250; Special - See B&T - seriously, vampires are loaded with special abilities and vulnerabilities.

Mithlo the Cricket

Mithlo was an itinerant minstrel in life, roaming a large region and stopping for a week or two at different road houses and taverns to entertain before moving on. A handsome lad, he was always popular with the local females, but was careful not to overstay his welcome with the local men. On one of his nocturnal travels to woo the daughter of a local lord, he was taken by a vampire and left in the woods, his body stuffed in a hollow log in a gully. A few days later, he awoke as a vampire, the log serving as his "coffin". His looks, alas, did not survive his death completely intact, as some rotting had set in. He now continues to roam the same region, using his music (he has the musical and spell casting abilities of a 7th level bard) to serenade women at night and lure them to their death. Mithlo has created several spawn, who sometimes gather for moonlight revels around his coffin. His finest conquest was the Lady Bethony, who serves him willingly in hopes of achieving eternal life.

Mithlo the Cricket: HD 7; HP 26; AC 15 [silver]; Atk 1 bite (1d6) and slam (1d6 + energy drain); Move 30; F12 R12 W9; AL Chaotic (NE); XP 1,750; Special - See B&T - seriously, vampires are loaded with special abilities and vulnerabilities; he also has the spellcasting ability and musical abilities of a 7th level bard.

Lothic the Wolf

Lothic was an adventuring fighter who made the greatest mistake of his life when he delved into a haunted ruin in the mountains and drank from a magical fountain. Killed by the blood red wine of the fountain and turned, his already chaotic nature drove him to hunt down his former companions and establish himself in the ruin as a petty robber baron. Soon, he gathered a small army of outlaws to him, and now he preys on the nearby villages and towns, plundering them and seizing women for his vampire harem. Lothic is known for his wolf-skin cape, crimson plate armor and two-handed axe.

Lothic the Wolf: HD 10; HP 44; AC 18 [silver]; Atk 1 bite (1d6) and slam (1d6 + energy drain) or battleaxe (1d8+3); Move 30; F10 R10 W7; AL Chaotic (CE); XP 2,500; Special - See B&T - seriously, vampires are loaded with special abilities and vulnerabilities.

* This just occurred to me: In games and fiction (especially modern fiction), we often see people bitten and drained and turned into vampires right on the spot. But part of the vampire mythos is that they must return to their coffin in dawn - so wouldn't these insta-vamps be toast the next day (or, at least in game terms, be unable to regenerate/heal) if they had never had a coffin in the first place? I think it would make more sense to allow the person to die, be buried, and then begin appearing as a vampire - maybe give it a few days. This might make for more atmosphere, as the person's friends and family would never be sure unless they cut off the corpse's head or took some other precautions. Just a thought.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Monsters by Email

No, this isn't a project I'm working on - but it is a project I'm supporting. Artist Nicholas Cloister has started a new project to deliver images of original monsters by email to subscribers, monsters that they can use in their publishing ventures provided they follow a few provisos and a couple quid pro quo (to quote a famous genie).

The price is super reasonable, and, as you can see from the following images, the art is top notch. He's looking for more subscribers to make this a going concern, so if you'd like to see a few of these beauties (well, not these beauties, but new beauties) given monster stats in the pages of NOD or other of my publications, and if you have some projects of your own or just want some nice art to use at your table, give it a look HERE. For more samples of his art, click HERE.

Copyright Nicholas Cloister

Copyright Nicholas Cloister

Copyright Nicholas Cloister

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Six Ghastly Ghouls

What follows are six ghastly ghouls (well, actually five ghastly ghouls and a single ghoulish ghast), men and women who circumstances (or not) made into cannibals and death made into ghouls.


Vedorina and her family were part of a large caravan making its way across the mountains in early fall. Winter came early that year, and the band became trapped in a high valley. It didn't take long before the food ran out, and the party was forced to consume their dead. Vedorina's mother and father did their best to hide this from their daughter, but when in desperation her mother turned on her father, she fled the encampment and soon froze to death in the wilderness. Naturally, she arose as a ghoul, and now haunts the mountain passes to this day, a blue-skinned girl in a threadbare tunic, her face still wearing a look of shocked horror.

Vedorina, Ghoul: HD 2; HP 7; AC 14; Atk 2 claws (1d4 + paralysis) and bite (1d6); Move 30; F15 R15 W13; AL C (CE); XP 200; Special - Paralysis.


Scarsdale was one of many who succumbed to a plague that ravaged the towns and villages on the edge of the great desert. One by one, people were falling ill and dying, until bodies littered the streets as a feast for the rats and ravens. When the caravan of merchants came to the town with word of a cure - an efficacious powder - those who retained the strength crawled to them and promised them everything they owned for the cure. The merchants acquiesced, and left the village laden with wealth. What they left behind was a powder ground from the bodies of mummified corpses that had been uncovered during a desert storm. As the villagers continued to die, they rose one by one as ghouls and trod into the desert in search of the merchants. Scarsdale was one of many, and to this day he attacks caravans in the desert along with his feral friends, their faces grotesque, twisted masks of hate and rage, their bodies browned and wrinkled from the sun.

Scarsdale, Ghoul Thief: LVL 4 (Dodger); HP 15; AC 14; Atk 2 claws (1d4 + paralysis) and bite (1d6); Move 30; F14 R15 W13; AL C (CE); XP 400; Special - Paralysis, backstab x2.


Knorra was a great war-dame of the northern lands. Her feast hall was decorated with the skulls of hundreds she had bested at war, and after her glorious battles, when her war maidens gathered at her tables to partake of the spoils of war, Knorra sat enthroned above them, axe in her lap, serving lads carrying on silver trays the cooked entrails of whatever lord or lady she had just vanquished. Had Knorra's warriors not been berserkers, they probably would have quit at the first of these macabre feasts, but they every one believed in the power of consuming one's foes, though the honor was reserved for their lady alone. Eventually, the great Knorra was slain in battle, her corpse left to rot on a stinking field. She rose, not as a mere ghoul, but as a ghast, her flesh pock marked by the beaks of the ravenous crows, her once golden hair caked with mud and blood. She walked back to her feast hall to find it toppled, and now dwells in the ruins, gathering what undead she can find into an army to once again strike fear into the hearts of her enemies and their descendants.

Knorra, Ghast Barbarian: LVL 10 (Barbarian Princess); HP 55; AC 17; Atk 2 claws (1d4 + paralysis) and bite (1d8) or battle axe (1d8) and bite (1d8); Move 40; F8 R12 W11; AL C (CE); XP 1,000; Special - Paralysis, rage 3/day, sixth sense.


Zimbok was, like most of the folk of his tribe, a practicing cannibal. Unlike most of his tribe, he was possessed of a wanderlust, and eventually left his home island to serve on a whaling vessel that plied Mother Ocean for years. In many of its ports-of-call, Zimbok found the urge to consume human flesh more than he could resist, even among the foreigners, and in time his crimes were revealed. He was hung by the neck and cast into a communal grave for criminals and the indigent. Zimbok was too tough a customer, though, and in death he clawed his way out the grave as a ghoul. He now appears as a tall islander with a crooked neck, a necklace of teeth around his neck. He wears leather trousers, no boots, and carries a well-cared for harpoon and a razor-sharp knife with whale tooth inlay.

Zimbok, Ghoul Ranger: LVL 6 (Pathfinder); HP 34; AC 14; Atk 2 claws (1d4 + paralysis) and bite (1d6); Move 30; F10 R10 W13; AL C (CE); XP 200; Special - Paralysis, favored enemy (sea animals), spells (1).


Old Marza was called "Old Marza" even when she was still fairly young. For years, she worked in the "Tavern in the Wood", a roadhouse frequented by adventurers and travelers. More than a few of the less friendly patrons who wound up fall-down drunk found their way into Marza's wine cellar - more specifically in a secret room connected to the wine cellar. Bit-by-bit they would find themselves turned into sausages and meat pies for Marza's own enjoyment. In time, her murderous reign was discovered and she was cornered in the tavern and burned along with it. After death, she became a ghoul who still haunts the woods, looking like a charred, gaunt old woman garbed in the tattered clothes of a harmless old woman, a bottle of wine from her cellar in one hand and a hatchet in the other.

Old Marza, Ghoul: HD 2; HP 7; AC 14; Atk 2 claws (1d4 + paralysis) and bite (1d6); Move 30; F15 R15 W13; XP 200; Special - Paralysis.


Ugolio was a minor aristocrat who found himself on the wrong side of a schism in the royal court. He and his son were cast into a dungeon in an old keep and literally forgotten when the royal city was attacked by a horde of orcs. Ugolio did not survive his captivity, but his son died first, and as a result of Ugolio's hunger, his own death was followed by his undeath as a ghoul. Ugolio still dwells in his dungeon cell underneath what is now the old, ruined keep. Over time, he has managed to claw his way out, and he now hunts on the edges of the royal city by night and returns to his cell by day, dragging his victims behind him.

Ugolio, Ghoul Aristocrat: LVL 8; HP 38; AC 14; Atk 2 claws (1d4 + paralysis) and bite (1d6); Move 30; F12 R9 W9; XP 800; Special - Paralysis, legend lore, commanding voice (fascinate, suggestion).

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Six Wicked Witches!

Starting a new series today for the Spooky Season. Below you will find six wicked witches (no, I'm not saying all practitioners of witchcraft are wicked ... just that these particular ladies are) you might use in your game. Stats for Blood & Treasure are included.



Beleve is a homey little midwife who operates in a burgeoning village. Short and plump, with curly auburn hair and twinkling green eyes, she is a flurry of activity - everywhere doing everything for everyone is Beleve.

Unfortunately, Beleve is also deeply wicked. She harbors a terrible and irrational hatred of men and the women who attract them. Several of the children she has delivered have been replaced with changelings (demons, doppelgangers, whatever is appropriate for your campaign), and her wholesome stews often contain cunning poisons when they are delivered to villagers who she feels have crossed her (they are often unaware of the cross) or in some way hurt her feelings.

Beleve: Human Magic-User: LVL 1 (Adept); HP 3; AC 10; ATK by weapon -1 (1d4-1); MV 30; F14 R15 W12; XP 100; AL Chaotic (CE); Special - Spells (3/2); Str 7 Int 16 Wis 14 Dex 9 Con 8 Cha 12.


Mabel is a morose woman of dark demeanor - she dresses in black, as though in constant mourning, her eyes are downcast, her face slack. She dwells in a small town, where she works with the local thieves' guild, providing what magical assistance she can in exchange for protection and a small piece of the action. She does more than this, though. Mabel is in mourning - for the loss of her fiance many years ago at the hands of the local constabulary. The death came after he got into yet another of his drunken brawls and took a cudgel to the skull. A small guilt offering was made to the grieving bride-to-be, but it only stoked the flame of revenge in her heart. She will have the baron's heart in payment for her beloved's demise, and she is slowly worming her way into the luminaries of the guild as a way of getting it. Despite her grieving face, Mabel remains a beautiful woman, and her tale of woe pulls on the heartstrings. Two thieves have already fallen for her dolorous charms and have sacrificed themselves on foolish forays into the baron's keep. How many more will follow?

Mabel: Human Magic-User: LVL 3 (Invoker); HP 7; AC 11; ATK by weapon +0 (1d4); MV 30; F14 R13 W12; XP 300; AL Chaotic (NE); Special - Spells (4/3/2); Str 8 Int 17 Wis 11 Dex 13 Con 11 Cha 16.


Gwynever is a bubbly woman with cascades of red, curly hair framing her pretty face and ample bosom and blue eyes so deep they almost count as a gaze attack. Most people thought her a pretty little scatterbrain - warm and wonderful and destined to make some lucky man a very expensive wife - and most folk believe that is precisely what happened. At the ripe old age of 16 she did marry, to a timber merchant in a large town. Ten years later, the blush of her youth still radiates from her rosy cheeks and her husband is now a silk and spice merchant, owner of two merchant cogs and proprietor of the estate vacated by old Lord Pasmere (who took ill and died so suddenly, and sadly after his three heirs died in a freak barn fire). Now, Squire Benthick looks forward to the lord mayorship and maybe an elevation into the peerage - no thanks to his silly, expensive, oh so lovely wife.

Gwynever: Human Sorcerer: LVL 5 (Whiz); HP 7; AC 10; ATK by weapon -2 (1d4-2); MV 30; F14 R14 W10; XP 500; AL Chaotic (NE); Special - Spells per day (6/7/5), spells known (6/4/2); Str 5 Int 9 Wis 14 Dex 8 Con 7 Cha 17.


Cadmina is a woman with a severely beautiful face and calm, almost passive demeanor that, when presented with wickedness and vice falls like a stone to reveal a frightening passion for denouncement and finger pointing. Well known in her town for her simple and goodly ways, she dresses simply despite being the wife of a wealthy man, and speaks simply despite coming from a family once known for its stagecraft and rhetoric. Most people know she possesses a talent for magic, and they know too that she has become a veritable bulwark against evil, her denouncements of people powerful and powerless whipping the population of the city-state into a frenzy of witch burning, despite the admonitions of the Lawful church. What people do not know is that Cadmina is the spawn of a succubus, who seduced her father and brought ruin on her family - a ruin that struck behind the scenes and is generally unknown by people at large. She delights in sewing the seeds of suspicion in her city-state, and has no greater aim than the spread of hatred between neighbors.

Cadmina: Fiendish Human Magic-User: LVL 7 (Marvel); HP 20; AC 10; ATK by weapon +0 (1d4-2); MV 30; F13 R13 W10; XP 1,750; AL Chaotic (LE); Special - Spells (4/5/3/2/1), +1 or better weapon to hit, resistance to fire, magic resistance 10%, +2 to hit and damage vs. Lawful (Good) creatures; Str 5 Int 13 Wis 10 Dex 10 Con 9 Cha 12.


Avira is a strange woman who dwells in the rugged hills around Kalok's Bowl - a wooded valley watered by natural springs that is surrounded by granite hills. The hills are haunted by trolls, who avoid their "sister" Avira, the daughter of a green hag by a trader from the valley who disappeared 20 years ago. The people of the valley are farmers who do their best to avoid the notice of neighboring kingdoms. When they've no other choice, they send delegations into the hills with gifts for Avira and any troll they might run into. Avira looks like a gaunt, but attractive woman. She brews potions for sale and looks forward to adding to the collection of maidens she keeps chained in her gloomy cellar.

Avira: Fiendish* Human Magic-User: LVL 9 (Wizard); HP 17; AC 10; ATK by weapon +3 (1d4); MV 30; F12 R12 W9; XP 2,250; AL Chaotic (CE); Special - Spells (4/5/4/3/2/1), +1 or better weapon to hit, resistance to fire, magic resistance 10%, +2 to hit and damage vs. Lawful (Good) creatures; Str 12 Int 13 Wis 10 Dex 11 Con 12 Cha 8.


Saphon is a glorious, radiant queen who took the throne of a small mountain kingdom after her husband, the lake Duke Elleran, was slain by rebellious hill people while on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Walwick. The Duchess quickly took control of the situation and rallied Elleran's knights to her cause, though the beloved court magician Aswill was sadly slain in the peasant uprising that followed the duke's death (an uprising few peasant remember having happened). Since then, many of the duke's heirs have died in the campaign by malefactors that the duchess' constable has been trying to stamp out. One now remains, the duke's daughter Alwisse, from his first marriage. A small body of knights worries over her safety, and might look to foreign adventurers to steal her away from Saphon's reach.

Saphon: Human Magic-User: LVL 11 (Wizard); HP 21; AC 10; ATK by weapon +3 (1d4-1); MV 30; F11 R11 W7; XP 1,100; AL Chaotic (LE); Special - Spells (4/5/4/4/3/2/1); Str 8 Int 14 Wis 13 Dex 9 Con 10 Cha 13.

Next up ... Six Groovy Ghouls

Monday, October 8, 2012

18 Strength! - A Goofy Google Experiment

I'm laid up with a sore foot at the moment and trying to get some work done on NOD 17, which is due out this month (God willing), and needed a break. Checked email, (2 sales today - yippee!) and a few other sites and was still bored. What to do? Google image sort, of course. I started with "most beautiful woman in the world", just wondering what would come up, and then thought - "hey, could be an interesting experiment to see, via Google, what people with 18's in their ability scores would look like. Here's what I found:

STRENGTH 18 - "Strongest woman in the world"

Now, the list below tends to be male dominated - don't blame me, blame the internet community. So, for strength I decided to specifically search for the strongest woman in the world, and found Becca Swanson (no relation to Ron, as far as I know). Why don't we get more women like this in fantasy games? I don't know - but we really should.

INTELLIGENCE 18 - "Smartest person in the world"

The smartest person in the world is an easy search, but a tough choice, as there are many claimants to the throne, some of whom draw a very sharp distinction between "intelligence" and "wisdom" (see below for more on that) - the smartest man in the world who thinks eugenics is a great idea in particular. In the end, I had to go with Hawking.

WISDOM 18 - "Wisest person in the world"

Ah yes, wisdom. A tough stat, originally designed to govern how good one was at being a cleric and later expanded into "that stat kinda like intelligence, only not intelligence".  When I searched for "wisest" on Google, I mostly got "smartest", except for the gentleman pictured above. Apparently, humanity has gone through a real dry spell in terms of wisdom for the last few thousand years.

DEXTERITY 18 - "Greatest archer in the world"

Anybody who has put any thought into the dexterity stat knows that it is highly problematic, as it encompasses quickness of action, aim, how steady one's hands are and how nimble one's fingers are. A search for "most dextrous" yielded nothing (we geeks have larger vocabularies than many of our fellow human beings, thanks to Uncle Gary). Quickest went to Usain Bolt, but of course one's dexterity score has nothing to do with one's movement rate in D&D. "Most agile" got me a monkey. But, since D&D is about killing things and taking their stuff, I decided on "greatest archer in the world", and according to the Denver Post, that's Brady Ellison.

CONSTITUTION 18 - "Toughest person in the world"

If Minnesota Monthly can be believed, this gentleman, Pierre Ostor (last name would make a good D&D name) is the toughest man alive.

CHARISMA 18 - "Most beautiful person in the world"

Gawker asks if this is the most beautiful woman in the world - and I reply "I dunno". Science says she is, but science once thought forced sterilization was a good idea, and that you could determine a person's intelligence by measuring their skulls. Still, she looks pretty good to me.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A World With Multiple Sentient Races?

I was reading an article about primitive humans gettin' busy (yeah, I'm street like that) with Neanderthals. Apparently, we did share the planet with a few other homo sapiens - maybe not as exotic as sharing it with elves, dwarves and halflings (well, maybe halflings), but it makes me think again about the fun of running a game with neanderthals and other "humanoids", especially if you smash it together with an REH-style Atlantean age of fantastic adventures and ancient civilizations. Imagine an ancient, pre-ice age Europe swarming with prehistoric beasts and powerful stone age (maybe even Flintstone-style) civilizations that are antecedents to the known ancient civilizations of Europe. Naturally, we're going to bend reality a bit to make this work.

First, let's look at our players:


You probably know these guys. Just use whatever rules you would normally use for humans in your favorite system.

For our purposes, we'll say the humans are the new kids on the block, moving in from Africa, so they're going to take the roll of nomadic raiders and conquerors, a' la the Huns or Mongols. Maybe they ride swift hill ponies, and use stone-tipped spears and arrows and stone axes in combat. Assume that stone weapons do one dice-type less of damage than metal versions - so spears do 1d6, hand axes 1d4 and short bows/arrows 1d4.

Armor in this setting is simple enough anyhow, but for humans it probably consists of furs (AC +1) or cured hide armor (AC +2). Maybe they use wicker shields as well.

If you use something like "favored classes", maybe these humans favor the barbarian class.


Neanderthals are close kin to human beings. In our setting, they are the high tech stone users, building cities of stone (again, Flintstone-style) and building primordial empires (maybe on the bones of pre-human civilizations like those of the ophidians and elder things). Since we're used to Neanderthals being depicted as the "dumb cousins", I like the idea of them being the most civilized people in the game, with a well-organized chieftain system, armies, organized religion (probably druids, but clerics would be cool as well), etc. Of course, the greatest of the Neanderthal kingdoms should be in the Neander valley - this is their Carolingian Empire - imagine how cool their Roland would be!

(Oh - what about theme-ing the Neanderthal city-states off of different stones - the Sapphire City, the Emerald City (well, maybe not that one), the Obsidian City, etc.)

You can probably use the dwarf racial abilities for your Neanderthals, making them tough guys who are hard to kill and who have expertise when working with stone and delving into cave systems. Neanderthal males stand 5.5 feet tall, females 5 feet tall.

Neanderthals have the same basic weapons as human beings, but also have armor that uses horn and bone in its construction (AC +3).

If you use favored classes, neanderthals probably favor the fighter class.

Homo Erectus

Homo erectus appear to have been slightly more primitive hominids than the early humans and Neanderthals. They are hunter-gatherers who use primitive tools and rely more on brawn than brains, and could therefore be an analog for half-orcs in the game (without the mixed parentage). Since homo erectus is more primitive and "close to nature", you could use the druid as their favored class.

Otherwise, they might make good brigands and pirates, sniping at the edges of Neanderthal civilization without any real ability to conquer it. Heck, maybe the Neanderthal legions use homo erectus and hobbit (see below) auxiliaries as scouts and light infantry in their battles with the orcs and hobgoblins.

Flores Man ('hobbits')

So they weren't discovered in Europe - how do you do cave man fantasy gaming without including the recently discovered 'hobbits'? And I'd call them hobbits too! The hobbits are small humanoids, maybe a bit harrier than the humans and neanderthals, who dwell in thick woodlands in burrows. You can use the traditional halfling racial abilities for the the hobbits. They stood about 3 to 4 feet tall and used stone tools - probably on par with the humans.

The hobbits (well, as near as they can figure - remember, they might not really be a separate species) lived on an island with giant rats, Komodo dragons, elephants (stegodons) and giant lizards - they're totally D&D, and must have been pretty slick little operators to survive. You might want to change their favored class, if you use such things, to ranger.


Indonesia produces all the best hominid fossils! Meganthropus is the opposite of the hobbits - giant humanoids who were probably also related to homo erectus. Since we don't have elves in this setting (unless we do - see below), they might make a good additional race. Meganthropus stood about 8 feet tall and is probably best represented with the half-ogre race (whichever version you prefer). They would be about as advanced as homo erectus and the hobbits, and probably rely on their great strength more than tools. If you use favored classes in your game, fighter or barbarian probably works for meganthropus.

Other Notions

If you really need to have "elves" in your game, I'd suggest replacing them with ophidians, or even just using them as-is - beautiful fey creatures who are shepherding the humanoids on their way to civilization.

Weapons do a bit less damage in this campaign, but there is less Armor to go around, so things should probably even out in that regard. To keep fighters and clerics (and paladins and whatever else you use) the "most armored" classes in the game, maybe restrict the other classes that can use armor to nothing more than furs (AC +1), no shields.

Spellbooks might not make sense, though scrolls consisting of stone tablets or animal hides are fine. In place of spellbooks, you could equip the magic-users with the aforementioned animal hides (one hide per spell, regardless of the spell's level) or they could carve runes into staves and use them for memorization. Really, as long as the possibility of magic-users being without one's source of spells is still present, you're probably okay.

If you're feeling gonzo, insert dinosaurs along with the prehistoric mammals, and of course use all of them as mounts.

Now - evil humanoids. They're still there, of course. Gnolls and their hyaenodons, kobolds worming their way through the earth, goblins hiding in the woods, orcs and hobgoblins giving the early humans a run for their money. Do I even need to mention the lizard men and troglodytes? (And yeah, if your lizard men don't look a lot like Sleestaks, you're just not getting the point!) Heck, maybe you could re-cast all of the "evil humanoids" as having dinosaur features - T-Rex hobgoblins, triceratops orcs, 'raptor goblins, etc.

Most of the mythological creatures are appropriate - after all, many were born from the blood of the "mother of monsters". Dragons are great, bulettes and ankhegs are perfect, and a setting like this just begs for packs of blink dogs and worgs. A few metal-based monsters - rust monsters, iron golems, giant robots - should be avoided unless they are remnants of the ancient ophidians found in the mega-dungeons they have left behind.

Oh, and also this ...

So, find your inner Frazetta and get primitive!
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