Sunday, June 28, 2015

Monsters I Just Made Up

I just made these up. Do you find me more cool and mysterious!

Small Magical Beast, Neutral (N), Low to Average Intelligence; Pride (2d8)

Hit Dice: 1
Armor Class: 13
Attack: 2 claws (1d2) or bite (1d3)
Move: 50 (Climb 20)
Saves: F14 R12 W15
XP: 50 (CL 1)

Monkey cats dwell in the steamy equatorial jungles. They look like cats with long tails, and overlong arms and legs that end in grasping hands. Most are black, but other color schemes exist. Like both monkeys and cats, they are terribly curious, and have a penchant for theft. They dwell in prides in the tree tops under a Grand Dame, who decorates herself with stolen jewelry. Her attendants are the bullies and protectors of the tribe, while her daughters hunt and practice the ancient rites that honor the creator of the monkey cats, an Aegyptian wizard with more time and money than he knew what to do with. Crude carvings of his face are made in the high tree tops, and are worshipped with yowling songs and ritual hunts of birds and rodents.

Monkey cat characters gain a bonus of +2 to dexterity and suffer a -2 penalty to intelligence. They can hang from their tails, and gain a climb speed of 20. They can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Monkey cats can multi-class as fighter/thieves, sorcerer/thieves and cleric/thieves.

Large Aberration, Chaotic (CE), Low Intelligence; Pod (1d4)

Hit Dice: 7
Armor Class: 14 (18 when skinned)
Attack: 2 slams (2d6 + Poison II) [ooze form]
Move: 30 (Fly 20)
Save: F11 R12 W11
XP: 700 (CL 8)

Globulous looches are buoyant balls of skin and fat with six beady eyes on their underside. They mostly float on air currents, especially in narrow valleys of high mountain ranges, observing the inhabitants and travelers and cursing them silently. When their hatred for other beings gets the better of them, they descend to the ground and split, releasing their ooze form, which then does its best to gobble up as much plant and animal life as possible as it grows a new, thick skin and regains its buoyancy. Globulous looches are especially fond of magic items, which they drain of their magic. The enchantments in the item are retained by the globulous looch for up to 24 hours, and are usable at will. Magic armor simply transfers its magical armor bonus to the looch (as well as any special abilities), and magic weapons transfer their bonus to hit and damage (as well as any special abilities). After 24 hours, a new skin is grown, and the globulous looch, if still alive, floats back into the atmosphere.

Medium Humanoid, Neutral (N), Average Intelligence; Gathering (3d8)

Hit Dice: 1+1
Armor Class: 13 (leather scale, buckler)
Attacks: By weapon (1d8)
Move: 30 (Burrow 10)
Saves: F13 R15 W15
XP: 150 (CL 2)

Traballers are flinty-skinned folk with manes of black hair and perpetual scowls on their faces. They stand as tall as elves, but have overlong arms and legs and pot bellies. Their touch causes sympathetic vibrations in solid items, causing them to shatter (item saving throw permitted). Stone items save at -4. Traballers most work as miners and quarrymen. They are secretive folk, dwelling away from others in simple huts, and hiding their children and wives under heavy scarlet cloaks bound at the ankles and wrists in brass bands. While so hidden, traballer females gain mystic abilities bestowed on the species by their goddess of mysteries, allowing them to cast spells as adepts (level 1 to 4).

Male traballers wear armor of leather scales with steel collars and bands around their arms and legs. In battle, they wield steel battle rings that can be used as shields (two are the equivalent of a buckler), bludgeons and can be thrown (25’ range, 1d3+2 damage).

Traballer characters enjoy a +1 bonus to Constitution, but suffer a -1 penalty to Charisma. Female characters who retain their scarlet coverings also gain a +1 bonus to Wisdom, but suffer an additional -1 penalty to Charisma (total -2) for their unnerving appearance. They can make sundering attack with their bare hands. Males understand how to fight with their battle rings. Shrouded females gain the following spells, provided they have a Wisdom score of 10 or higher, each spell usable once per day: Guidance, mending and sanctuary. Traballer characters cannot multi-class, but they can dual class like humans.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Bring Some Muscle Into the Dungeon [New Class]

1958. Steve Reeves plays Hercules and not only is a legend born, but a new genre of action/adventure – Sword & Sandals: the heroic adventures of oiled bodybuilders strangling things with their bare hands, bending bars and lifting gates.

We have lots of interesting characters running around fantasy roleplaying games, and plenty have 18’s in Strength, but none of them are true musclemen. Until now …

Requirements & Restrictions
Strength 15+, at least 6’ tall

Musclemen wear no armor, only the hides of the animals and monsters that have slain. They can use shields

Musclemen can wield any weapon, but double-handed weapons are preferred

Hit Dice: d12

Skills: Bend Bars/Lift Gates, Climb Sheer Surfaces, Jump, Swimming

Advance As: Fighter

Special Abilities
Musclemen are capable of using their muscles to influence reactions, either through charm and awe, or sheer intimidation. Musclemen can modify reaction checks with their Strength score rather than Charisma score if the TK deems the situation appropriate.

Musclemen add 1.5 their strength bonus to attacks and damage when armed with double-handed weapons.

Musclemen treat creatures as one size category smaller for grapple and bull rush attacks.

Once per day, a muscleman can call on an adrenaline rush and either re roll a failed strength check with a +2 bonus or double their strength bonus on a single melee attack and damage. They can also make sundering attacks with their bare hands.

A muscleman spends a great deal of time in training. Every four levels, beginning with fourth level, they can deduct one point from intelligence, wisdom or charisma and add it to their strength score.

Musclemen gain additional skills as they advance in level if their strength score is high enough.

Burst Chains and Iron Bands (Level 3, Strength 16) – A muscleman can burst chains and iron bands simply by flexing their chest muscles or biceps.

Toss Dwarf (Level 5, Strength 17) – Musclemen can toss gnomes (Str 17), halflings (Str 19) and dwarfs (Str 21) at opponents. Treat this as a ranged attack with a range of 10 feet. If the muscleman misses, the tossed character gets no attack, loses their turn and suffers 1d4 points of damage. If their attack hits, the tossed character makes an attack as though charging, and the mere act of throwing them scores 1d6 points of damage for gnomes, 1d8 for halflings and 1d10 for dwarves, plus the muscleman’s strength bonus.

Hammer Nails (Level 7, Strength 18) – A muscleman’s sinews are iron hard, allowing him to hammer nails with their bare fists. Difficulties include hammering sharp items larger than nails, or hammering into materials harder than wood.

Bite Through Chains (Level 9, Strength 20) – A muscleman’s jaws are such that he can bite through metal. In addition, he can bite characters that he grapples (treat as an additional unarmed attack).

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Another Taste of Ulflandia

I'm about 90% finished writing the Ulflandia hex crawl, which means I'm pretty much on schedule to get the next issue of NOD out this month. I should get Bloody Basic - Sinew & Steel Edition out as well, and maybe Bloody Basic - Weird Fantasy Edition (depending on how much reading I get done between now and the end of the month). Once those are put to bed, I turn my near-sighted eyes to Grit & Vigor, which I would like to publish before the end of summer.

That being said, I thought I'd post a few Ulflandia entries today to give people a taste of it. Enjoy!


Old Grog the hill giant smith dwells here, keeping a forge, three unruly daughters and a motherly wife who could only kill a person with kindness, for she’s otherwise gentle as a lamb. Old Grog remembers the old ways, and he can breathe magic into his creations if he has the mind to – he’ll swap minor magic weapons and armor for tales well told (and a heap of gold). If somebody will promise to wed one of his daughters, he’ll make more powerful magic items. He keeps a giant spider on an unbreakable silver thread in his workshop as a guard animal and companion. The spider is well versed in elven poetry and gnomish limericks, and he has a fine baritone voice (for a spider).

Treasure: 150 pp, a silver hammer (80 gp).


A band of fifteen forest giants and their mates dwells in a massive hall made of timber in this hex. The longhouse is surrounded by a wooden picket and a shallow moat, about 20 feet wide, filled with gooey mud and crossed by a drawbridge.

The forest giants have grey skin, no hair and emerald eyes. They dress in tunics and leggings, usually of green, brown, russet or grey, and wear cloaks. Forest giants are excellent bowmen, and carry large longbows and scimitars.

The forest giants have a love for ale and wine, and will gladly trade their guidance through the woods for intoxicants.

Treasure: 65 pp, 1,750 gp, a silver medallion set with a citrine (500 gp), a sable cloak with a golden clasp set with alexandrite (1,500 gp), a scroll of darkvision, a +1 shield (giant-sized), a potion of hide from undead, and a potion of remove paralysis.


The stronghold of Nobrun of the Glassy Eyes appears to be a cave set in a doughty granite hill topped by long, green grasses with a base surrounded by huckleberry bushes. The cave mouth is shaped like the maw of a demon, and there is the notable scent of sulfur surrounding the place.

If one approaches the cave mouth, a vrock demon is conjured. The vrock, Xerial, is Nobrun’s major domo. He will inquire as to the nature of the visit and peruse his scroll to see if the visitors are expected. If they are, he will permit them to enter the cave, at which point they will see a stone stair leading up to the top of the hill and a simple wooden door painted dull green. The door is wizard locked. Beyond the door, which appears to be attached to nothing, is the invisible tower of Nobrun.

Nobrun is a necromancer. He is inhumanly tall and thin, with long, bony fingers absolutely covered in rings. Some of the rings look valuable, others are made from human hair or meteoric iron and engraved with runes. The necromancer dresses in purple silk and black velvet, in the manner of a Spanish grandee. Nobrun is always heavily perfumed (usually lavender), and he has a long, black beard (he colors it) and strange, glassy eyes. One of his eyes has a permanent x-ray vision spell cast on it, while the other always sees with a faerie fire effect. He normally wears a patch lined with lead over the x-ray eye.

Nobrun lives alone, except for his army of zombies. All of them are shaved smooth and dyed purple, and dressed in black velvet doublets and leggings of silver maille. Nobrun is currently between apprentices.


A well in this hex produces great gouts of steam from the water, which nearly boils with magical energy. The water is about 20 feet below the surface, the well being constructed of grey stones that are slick with green slime that must be cleared before one can safely enter the well.

By bathing in the water for one minute (suffering 1d6 points of Constitution damage in the process), a magic-user or sorcerer gains the knowledge of a single weird spell. The spell remains lodged in a person’s mind for 24 hours. A sorcerer can add the spell to her natural repertoire if she has a spare spell slot, while a magic-user can scribe the spell on a scroll or in his spell book. Of course, they can also just cast the spell and discharge it from their mind permanently.

The second time a magic-user bathes in the well, the Constitution damage becomes Constitution drain. The third time, it becomes 1d6 points of energy drain. A fourth dip is fatal, turning the magician into a rampaging chaos beast.

The random spells learned from the well are:

1 Accursed Archer
2 Blasphemous Shield
3 Golden Torch
4 Hex of Diminution
5 Invocation of Righteous Anger
6 Unknowable Incantation of the Yellow Doors

Level: Magic-User 1
Range: Medium (150 ft.)
Duration: Concentration + 1 round

This spell forces a single opponent within range that is shooting or throwing missiles to automatically target one of his own allies. If he has no allies, the spell simply applies a -1 penalty to his attacks on non-allies.

Level: Magic-User 2
Range: Personal
Duration: 1 minute

This spell conjures a shield (much like the shield spell) before the spellcaster. The shield bears an image blasphemous to a single chosen cleric within sight of the magic-user.

The cleric must pass a Will saving throw each round he or she attempts to do anything but attack the bearer of the shield. The shield bearer enjoys AC 18 against the cleric’s attacks, and a +1 bonus to saving throws against the cleric’s spells. Spell that are saved against have a 25% chance of turning back on the spellcasting cleric.

Level: Magic-User 2 (Lawful (Good))
Range: See below
Duration: 1 hour

A golden torch appears in the magician’s right hand (always the right hand, and there it must stay). It emits a golden glow with double the illumination of a normal torch, and emits positive energy in a 30-foot radius. This positive energy doubles the normal healing rate of living creatures and grants them a +1 bonus to save vs. poison, disease and death effects, forces undead creatures to pass a Will saving throw to enter the positive energy and imposes a -2 penalty to their Fortitude saving throws.

Level: Magic-User 4
Range: Touch
Duration: Instantaneous

This hex slowly shrinks a creature down to tiny size. Each hour, the creature’s size category is reduced by one. The spell is permanent, though it can be reversed with one or several permanent enlarge person spells, dispel magic or wish. The creature’s equipment does not shrink with him or her.

Level: Magic-User 5
Range: Personal
Duration: 1 minute

As the cleric spell righteous might, save that the magic-user is unable to cast spells while enlarged.

Level: Magic-User 6
Range: Personal
Duration: See below

Often used as a last ditch effort to escape certain doom, the unknowable incantation is a dangerous spell. When cast, the magic-user is surrounded by walls of black energy (negative energy, in fact) with four yellow portals placed to the north, south, east and west. The black walls form a circle with a 20-ft diameter, and they rise 20 feet before ending in a ceiling.

Touching the walls causes 1d6 points of energy drain. Each round, the walls and ceiling contract, moving inward by 5 feet (the movement is actually fluid, not all at once). If they close in on a creature, it is killed unless it is immune to energy drain, in which case it left unharmed.

The walls can be avoided by entering one of the yellow portals. Each portal leads to a random plane, elemental or outer. The magic-user has no control over where the doors lead, nor has he any knowledge of where they lead. Once a door is touched, a person is transported to that plane. There is a 5% chance that the door deposits the person before a power of that plane.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Random Royal Thank You

When you've done the king or queen of a small kingdom a favor, it's only natural to expect a thank you. Just roll 3d8 (because how often do three d8's get to work together) and see what you get ...

3. Position as royal cup bearer with a 120 gp a year salary and weekends off

4. A night in the royal wine cellar – no questions asked

5. Right to kiss the queen’s hand

6. Entry into the lists at the next tournament

7. Box seat at the opera (and invitation to the post-opera ball)

8. The hand of a maid-in-waiting’s hand in marriage

9. An acre of land

10. A pension of 10 gp per year for the life of the king or queen

11. A gold medal (100 gp)

12. A place of honor at the next royal feast

13. A firm handshake (slipping you a platinum piece)

14. A garland of roses (and a necklace of silver roses worth 50 gp)

15. An adamantine weapon

16. A mithral shirt

17. An abandoned motte-and-bailey castle (a fixer-upper with no peasants and 1d6 acres of really crappy land)

18. Charter to a royal tin mine for one year (worth 1d12 gp per month, 1 in 6 chance of labor dispute per month)

19. Cloak of elvenkind

20. Suit of rich clothes and a fitting with the royal tailor

21. Invitation to the royal unicorn hunt

22. Dubbed a knight in a very minor and honorary order (with rights to lodge in their house and borrow money at 10% interest)

23. A very fine warhorse or riding horse (or pony)

24. A golden goblet studded with fancy stones (worth 300 gp)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Ur-Thief

Image by Sidney Sime, found HERE
One of the fun things about exploring old D&D is the search for the origins of its many elements. Rangers are Aragorns, rust monsters came in a pack of Japanese dinosaur toys, etc. The thief has often been linked to the Leiber's Grey Mouser and Vance's Cugel, but I would propose a different Ur-Thief ... Thangobrind the Jeweller.

I've been boning up on my Dunsany lately, to help me apply the finishing touches to Bloody Basic - Weird Fantasy Edition, and last night read through the "Distressing Tale of Thangobrind the Jeweller" in his Book of Wonder. I draw your attention to the following passages, which seem very thiefy to me:

"O, but he loved shadows! Once the moon peeping out unexpectedly from a tempest had betrayed an ordinary jeweller; not so did it undo Thangobrind: the watchman only saw a crouching shape that snarled and laughed: "'Tis but a hyena," they said."

"Once in the city of Ag one of the guardians seized him, but Thangobrind was oiled and slipped from his hand; you scarcely heard his bare feet patter away."
"At night they shoot by the sound of the strangers' feet. O, Thangobrind, Thangobrind, was ever a jeweller like you! He dragged two stones behind him by long cords, and at these the archers shot."
"... but Thangobrind discerned the golden cord that climbed the wall from each [of the emeralds] and the weights that would topple upon him if he touched one ..."
"Though when a soft pittering as of velvet feet arose behind him he refused to acknowledge that it might be what he feared ..."
Okay, not at a door, but keen listening nonetheless.

"... - now like a botanist, scrutinising the ground; now like a dancer, leaping from crumbling edges."

"Oh, he was cunning! When the priests stole out of the darkness to lap up the honey they were stretched senseless on the temple floor, for there was a drug in the honey that was offered to Hlo-Hlo."
Which, of course, means the Thief needs to be reintroduced as a class in its own right into the Weird Fantasy edition, sending the vagabond back to the "subclass" category. This thief will likely have a couple different skills to bring to the table, though.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...