Q Is for Querulous

querulous: (adj.) complaining in a petulant or whining manner

Nota Bene: Again a move away from Swords & Wizardry and Stars Without Number to focus briefly on a genuine Old School game. I’m back with Chaosium today for that esteemed company’s greatest game, Call of Cthulhu, using my 3rd edition hardback from 1986 for the first time in too long. The day after tomorrow I’m going to go way back again to TSR’s Top Secret.

Black-eyed children appear as preadolescents, but their eyes are solid black with no differentiation between sclera, pupil, or iris. Often, Black-eyed children can be seen playing games and singing the nursery songs in or near abandoned areas. Other reports claim these entities show up alone or in a pairs at people’s doors, usually at night. They avoid eye contact, looking down to hide their eyes. Black-eyed children tend to whine and sulk, and they have bad tempers.

Black-eyed children often attempt to talk a victim into allowing them entry into the home to use a telephone or to be safe from some unspecified danger. Other times, they approach strangers, asking for a place to stay or for an escort home. Victims cannot always refuse these requests, for black-eyed children seem to possess the power to compel obedience. When a black-eyed child attacks, it does so with savage ferocity and a strength that belies its size. At this time, the entity’s skin changes, becoming pallid and corpse-like.

Black-Eyed Child (Lesser Independent Race)

“Let us in,” came the whisper through mail slot, and despite the fearful chill down my back, I reached for the door’s lock.

Black-eyed children may attempt to compel nonviolent behavior through the semi-hypnotic power of their voices. A successful POW vs. POW roll resists the child’s words. It costs a child 1d4 magic points to use this ability.

Characteristics (Average)
STR 3d6+10 (20-21)
CON 2d6+6 (13)
SIZ 1d6+6 (9-10)
INT 3d6 (10-11)
POW 3d6+3 (13-14)
DEX 3d6+3 (13-14)
APP 3d6 (10-11)
Hit Pts 11-12
Move 8

Weapon (Attk%, Damage)
Fist/Punch (55%, 1d3+1d4)
Kick (45%, 1d6+1d4)
Weapon (30%, by weapon+1d4)

Armor: None
Spells: To determine spells known by a black-eyed child, roll 1d100. If the roll is higher than the child’s INT, it knows no spells. If the roll is equal to or lower than the child’s INT, it knows that many spells.
Skills: Climb 45%, Dodge DEX+10%, Hide 65%, Jump 45%, Listen 80%, Sneak 65%, Spot Hidden 50%
SAN: Meeting a black-eyed child’s gaze costs 1 SAN, but a successful SAN roll indicates no loss. Seeing a black-eyed child’s skin change costs 1d6 points of SAN, or no loss with a successful SAN roll.

April 19th, 2014  in RPG No Comments »

P Is for Pithikosophobic

pithikosophobic: (adj.) abnormally or persistently afraid of monkeys

Mugatos are large, intimidating animals that can reach a height of six and one-half feet (not counting the cranial horn). Covered by a thick pelt of white fur all over their bodies with the exception of their faces and hands, they are similar to the great apes of Earth in their physical proportions and prehensile hands and feet. All of their teeth are sharp and serrated, and their fangs contained a strong venom that can be fatal within a matter of hours. Mugatos have large, thick horns projecting from the tops of their craniums as well as smaller spikes running down the spine.

Mugatos’ natural habitats cover tropical or subtropical forests covering a wide range of elevations from montane cloud forests (7,200–14,100 feet above sea level) to dense forests and lowland swamps and marshes as low as sea level. These creatures live in groups called troops. Troops tend to be made of one adult male and multiple adult females and their offspring. Mugato lifespan is normally between 35 and 40 years.

Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 8
Attack Bonus: +10
Damage: 1d8 bite
No. Appearing: 1d4
Saving Throw: 11+
Movement: 30 ft.
Morale: 11

Mugato Venom: Toxicity 10, Interval 30 minutes, Virulence 3, Damage 1d6

April 18th, 2014  in RPG No Comments »

O Is for Oppressive

oppressive: (adj.) unjustly inflicting hardship and constraint

Ogres have long been a threat to civilized peoples. Strong, brutish, given to looting and pillaging, gangs of ogres are menaces that cannot be tolerated for long. Ogres revel in the misery of others. When smaller races aren’t available to crush between meaty fists or defile in blood-red lusts of violence, they turn to each other for entertainment. It takes a forceful leader to keep an ogre gang focused.

Within ogre tribes, few leaders prove more forceful than harridans. An ogre harridan rules by fear and violence, using her superior strength, intelligence, and magic powers to keep her underlings in line. Most especially it the harridan’s magic that elicits the most terror, for harridans practice gut magic.

Whenever a harridan succeeds with a bite attack against a living foe, she gains 2 gut-magic points. The harridan cannot have more than twice her Hit Dice in gut-magic points. She uses stored gut-magic points to cast spells from the lists that follow. Gut-magic points fade at a rate of 2 points per minute.

1 Gut-Point Spells: Charm Person, Magic Missile, Shield, Sleep

2 Gut-Point Spells: Darkness 15-Foot Radius, Levitate, Mirror Image, Pyrotechnics

4 Gut-Point Spells: Dispel Magic, Fly, Lightning Bolt, Slow

Hit Dice: 8+2
Armor Class: 3 [16]
Attacks: 1 bite (1d6), 1 weapon (1d10+1)
Special: Gut-magic
Move: 9
Saving Throw: 8
Alignment: Chaos
Number Encountered: Up to 1 harridan per 15 ogres
Challenge Level/XP: 10/1,400

April 17th, 2014  in RPG No Comments »

N Is for Nascent

nascent: (adj.) just coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential

Spacers first encountered nyotagomas during the early decades of interstellar travel as humanity slowly recovered from the Scream’s devastation. The total absence of nyotagomas from surviving pre-Scream records led many to conclude that this species is either a mutation of a previously benign creature, or else nyotagomas entered human-inhabited space as a result of the Scream. Whatever the truth, nyotagomas proved too dangerous to be left alone, and a genocidal program was launched against them. The program seemed successful after several hard-fought years. Attacks on spacers and orbital installations by nyotagomas dwindled to nearly none at all.

Stellae Zaibatsu, an industrial conglomerate focused on planetary mining and metallurgy, took a keen interest in nyotagoma physiology and reproduction. The organism’s ability to survive in the hard vacuum intrigued corporate researchers, who sought better ways for miners to live and work in environments often deadly to humans. As a result, Stellae Zaibatsu xenogengineers made a remarkable discovery.

Nyotagoma reproduce asexually via budding. The adult organism submerges itself in a marine environment and produces several immature organisms, which bud from the parent’s body near the base of its tentacles. After a brief period of growth, these buds separate from the parent, becoming independent marine creatures. If these buds are harvested and subjected to the proper combination of chemicals and genetic manipulation, they cease maturing and enter a symbiotic stage which enables the organism to be grafted onto a human host.

The nyotagoma symbiote, or Nyosym (available in many tech level 4 markets for 10,000 credits), integrates itself with its host’s body and helps regulate the host’s metabolism. A Nyosym host’s gains a +2 bonus to saving throws against toxins and biological hazards. He also gains +1 hit point per Hit Die. These hit points are lost before the host’s own hit points, at a rate of 1 hit point per die of damage inflicted. For example, a host suffering 7 points of damage from 2d6 points of damage would suffer 5 hit points of damage while the Nyosym’s bonus hit points are depleted by 2 points.

Any time a host fails a saving throw versus a toxin or biological host or suffers sufficient damage to deplete the Nyosym’s bonus hit points, the Nyosym has a 25% chance of dying. Should this happen, emergency surgery is necessary to remove the dead organism before infection sets in. Otherwise, a Nyosym with no bonus hit points remaining becomes dormant, recovering 1 hit point per day. The host receives no benefits from a dormant Nyosym.

Adult nyotagomas remain rare in inhabited space, which is a good thing for spacers since adult nyotagomas are highly intelligent and extremely dangerous. In addition to the impressive stats below, a nyotagoma has an effective 16 Intelligence. It can survive in a hard vacuum with ease. It is immune to the hazards of outer space, such as the vacuum, cosmic radiation, et cetera. Extreme conditions, such as flying too close to a star, still prove disastrous. A nyotagoma can fly through outer space as if it were a drive-1 rated starship. These creatures always succeed at Navigation checks. It has extremely acute vision, able to see emissions throughout the entire electromagnetic spectrum. If a nyotagoma forgoes its normal attacks, it can make a single devastating attack 2d12 points of damage that affects inanimate objects like a gunnery weapon.

Armor Class: 2
Hit Dice: 10
Attack Bonus: +18/+18
Damage: 1d12/1d12 hooked tentacle
No. Appearing: 1d4
Saving Throw: 10+
Movement: 40 ft. fly
Morale: 12

April 16th, 2014  in RPG No Comments »

M Is for Mystic

mystic: (adj.) having seemingly supernatural qualities or powers

Today’s post strays a bit away from the general theme of monsters and NPCs, but that’s okay. It’s my theme, and I’ll stray from it if I want. Right? I pulled TSR’s Faiths & Avatars off a shelf in order to convert its mystic priest class into a form more amenable to Swords & Wizardry.


Whereas Clerics are warrior-priests and -priestesses in the service of the gods, the Numinous serve Lawful powers in less martial roles, finding and unlocking the traces of the divine that lay hidden in the natural world. Many Numinous travel the lands, giving aid to the sick and oppressed. Others serve in royal courts as advisors and diviners. Through their mystic insights, the Numinous create elixirs and candles that mimic the effects of magical spells. They may also benefit from flashes of intuitive knowledge and manifestations of blessed charisma.

Prime Attribute: Wisdom 13+ (the character gains a +5% experience bonus if their Prime Attribute is 13 or higher.)
Hit Dice: 1d6/level (A Numinous gains just 1 hp/level after 11th level.)
Armor/Shield Permitted: Numinous may not use armor or shields.
Weapons Permitted: Numinous may use daggers, darts, and staffs only.
Race: Only elves, half-elves, halflings, and humans may become Numinous.
Alignment: Lawful only

Class Abilities

The Basics: Numinous use the same attack matrix as Clerics. They gain a +2 saving throw bonus against charms.

Charm: As Numinous gain levels, they acquire the ability to manifest increasingly powerful instances of blessed charisma. At 1st level, Numinous can use Sleep once per day. At 4th level, they can use Charm Person once per day, and they also gain another daily use of Sleep. At 9th level, Numinous can use Charm Monster once per day, and they gain one additional daily use of lower level charm abilities. Finally, at 16th level, Numinous can use Charm Plants once per day, they gain one additional daily use of lower level abilities.

Intuition: As Numinous gain levels, they benefit from flashes of intuitive knowledge. At 2nd level, Numinous can use Detect Magic once per day. At 5th level, they can use Detect Evil once per day, and they also gain one more daily use of Detect Magic. At 10th level, Numinous can use either Clairaudience or Clairvoyance once per day, and they gain one additional daily use of lower level intuition abilities. Finally, at 17th level, Numinous can use Find the Path once per day, and they gain one more daily use of lower level intuition abilities.

Numen: Starting at 3rd level, Numinous learn how to mix nonmagical ingredients to create elixirs and candles can mimic magical effects. The ingredients needed for an elixir cost 1,000 gold pieces per “level” of the numen for an elixir or twice that for a candle. For example, a sleep elixir’s ingredients cost 1,000 gold pieces. It takes one day to start the process, and during this time the Numinous may not travel or work on more than one elixir or candle. Once the ingredients are mixed and sealed in a proper container, the rest of the process occurs more or less automatically unless the contents are spilled or otherwise fouled. It takes one week for an elixir or two weeks for a candle to reach potency, and no Numinous can keep an eye on more in-process elixirs and potions than one third of his level at a time (drop fractions). The different elixirs and candles Numinous can make at different levels are explained below.

Numinous candles all burn for 90 minutes before being totally consumed. A candle must be burned for at least 10 minutes before its effects can be felt. A partial burning, such as for 4 or 6 minutes, does not activate the candle, but it does count as a usage. The subjects of a candle must remain within 10 feet of the candle throughout the burning to be affected.

Elixirs lose their potency after one week. A candle loses its potency after a two weeks.

* Numen 1 – Sleep Elixir: This can either be an ingested liquid or a concoction that be used on weapons. The former version has four doses, and each dose works like a Sleep spell against a single target who drinks the liquid. The latter version can coat up to six darts, bolts, or arrows, or one bladed weapon. It also works like a Sleep spell against a single target who is injured by the coated weapon.

* Numen 2 – Truth Elixir: When a person ingests a truth elixir, he must make a saving throw or fall into a stupor for 1d4 rounds, during which time he will answer one question per round truthfully. The stupor acts like a Slow spell for the duration of the elixir.

* Numen 3 – Love Elixir & Love Candle: A love elixir causes a person who drinks it to fall madly in love with the first creature he or she perceives after consuming it. If a romantic attraction is possible toward the first person viewed, the drinker falls in love with that person. Otherwise, the drinker’s love is a platonic adoration. The effects of the philter are permanent unless removed by appropriate magic. A love candle has the same effects, but it can target more than one person at a time.

* Numen 4 – Healing Elixir: This elixir has the same effect as a potion of healing.

* Numen 5 – Extra-Healing Elixir & Protection Candle: An extra-healing elixir has the same effect as a potion of extra-healing. A protection candle acts as a double-strength Protection from Evil on affected persons.

* Numen 6 – Healing Candle: This candle heals 1d6 points of damage per turn of burning per affected person. All healing occurs at once at the end of the burning.

* Numen 7 – Telepathy Candle: This candle mentally links the affected persons for 1 hour per 10 minutes of exposure to the candle, divided by the number of affected persons. Communication via telepathy occurs over any distance on the same plane, and it transcends language barriers. Falsehoods and evasions are not possible via telepathy. A person may make a saving throw to resist the effects of this candle.

* Numen 8 – Fortune Candle: For every 10 minutes of exposure, affected persons enjoy good luck for 1 hour, divided by the number of affected persons. These persons enjoy a +1 or +5% bonus on all rolls related saving throws, attack rolls, ability checks, et cetera. Damage rolls are not affected.

* Grand Numen 9 – Purification Candle: This candle can affect only one person, who is chosen from those within range by the one who snuffs out the candle. For each turn the candle is burnt, it has a 10% cumulative chance of blessing the target with Remove Curse, Cure Serious Wounds, and Restoration. The one who snuffs the candle incurs any negative results imposed by these effects.

April 15th, 2014  in RPG 1 Comment »