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Chuluurkhag

I recently rewatched Horror Express. Here’s the monster from that movie imagined as a recurring villain for Amazing Adventures, published by Troll Lord Games.

Chuluurkhag, a nearly immortal alien being, came to our world hundreds of millions of years ago as part of an exploratory mission. Due to circumstances beyond its control, it was left behind when the mission departed. Chuluurkhag used its psychic powers to survive, transferring its consciousness from one primitive life form to another, gradually taking control of more advanced animals until it assumed control of an early hominid, an event that put the alien onto the path toward a human guise. Chuluurkhag’s painfully slow ascent of the evolutionary ladder came to a halt during the last major ice age when it fell into a glacial crevasse. There it remained, trapped in a frozen, dead body in a cave in Manchuria until discovered by Alexander Saxton, a renowned British anthropologist affiliated with the Royal Geological Society.

Chuluurkhag reanimated the thawing body it had been trapped within for centuries. As its strength returned, it used its psychic powers again, transferring its consciousness into a Russian police inspector named Leo Mirov. After this, Chuluurkhag bided its time aboard the Trans-Siberian Express. Still occupying Mirov’s body, Chuluurkhag vanished shortly after arriving in Moscow. Its current whereabouts are unknown, but members of the Brotherhood of William St. John believe that a recent spate of strange murders by dissection in Whitechapel, London, show signs of an alien and malevolent intelligence. Could the Brotherhood have stumbled upon Chuluurkhag?

Chuluurkhag: # Enc 1; SZ as current form; HD as current form; Move as current form; AC as current form; Atk as current form; Special animate dead, drain memory, psychic transfer; Sanity 1/1d4; SV M; Int High; AL LE; Type aberration; XP as current form with one additional Special II ability and two additional Special III abilities.

Animate Dead: Chuluurkhag can animate the corpses of any creature it recently has killed via psychic transfer. This functions as the spell of the same name, except that Chuluurkhag animates one zombie per round it concentrates on the task. Chuluurkhag’s zombies obey its mental commands.

Drain Memory: Chuluurkhag gains the skills of whatever creatures it kills via psychic transfer, and Chuluurkhag has killed many over the millenia. As such, Chuluurkhag can be assumed to have at least a +2 bonus for pretty much any skill check imaginable. At the GM’s discretion, Chuluurkhag’s bonus may be even higher, maybe even as high as +6, especially when it comes to Knowledge skills.

Psychic Transfer: Chuluurkhag properly exists today only as mental energy. As such, it is both limited to the strengths of its current form and nearly impossible to kill. Regardless of form, Chuluurkhag’s main attack is psychic. Any living creature that meets Chuluurkhag’s gaze can be subjected to this attack should Chuluurkhag will it. A saving throw resists the attack, but a new saving throw must be made each time a victim meets Chuluurkhag’s gaze. Failing this saving throw paralyzes the victim as long as Chuluurkhag maintains contact. Each round, the victim loses 1d6 points of Intelligence and Wisdom. If both Intelligence and Wisdom reach 0, the victim dies and Chuluurkhag gains all of the victim’s skills and memories. If it wishes, Chuluurkhag may transfer its consciousness into the victim’s body, animating and using the body as its own.

If Chuluurkhag is reduced to 0 hit points, it abandons its current form and unleashes its full psychic might against the nearest creature within 120 feet. The victim suffers 3d6 points of Intelligence and Wisdom drain. A successful saving throw halves this damage. If this attack reduces the victim’s Intelligence and Wisdom to 0, Chuluurkhag takes control of a new host.

June 21st, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

Even More Monsters

Today offers three more monsters, one each for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Mutant Future, and Swords & Wizardry, respectively. Enjoy!

Dringwr

Not all halflings are “hard-working, orderly, and peaceful citizens”. A few embrace lives of sloth, disorder, and violence. These aberrations seldom last long in the typically lawful and good villages of their fellow halflings. Exile or even execution for their crimes are the most common consequences. Very rarely, such a wicked halfling returns from the grave as a dringwr, a terrible undead monster that loves nothing except for inflicting pain and causing sorrow. Of course, a dringwr prefers to prey on halflings, but its spiteful nature delights in harming any living creature that it can. A dringwr can summon and control dogs, calling 3-18 such animals to arrive in 2-12 melee rounds. It also moves with great stealth, surprising other creatures 4 times in 6. A dringwr cannot be harmed by normal weapons, and it makes all saving throws as if it had 6 Hit Dice. In combat, it attacks with its talons and fangs.

Of grayish-green complexion, a dringwr tends toward rust-red or black hair coloration. Its eyes are solid white. It dresses in drab trousers and coat, and often uses a hooded cloak to hide its obvious undead appearance. Short, ragged fangs line its gums, and its fingernails and toenails hook like talons. A dringwr speaks whatever languages it knew in life.

Dringwr: Freq very rare; # App. 1-6; AC 5; Move 9″; HD 2; % in Lair 35%; Treasure B; # Atk 3; Dmg/Atk 1-3/1-3/1-4; SA summon/control dogs, surprise others 4 in 6; SD +1 or better weapon to hit, save as 6-HD monster; MR standard; Int Very; AL CE; Size S; Psi nil; Lvl/XP III/52 +2/hp.

Demodex

Eight-legged with a flat tail, growing to the length of a man’s arm, fleshy with a rippled and leathery back, its blunt head featuring antennae and multiple small black eyes, the horrid demodex attacks with its spiked, oval mandibles. This mutant monster feeds on skin and sebum, the oily or waxy matter secreted to lubricate and waterproof the skin and hair of mammals.

Demodexes are aggressive and voracious. They use their remarkable olfactory abilities to detect and track mammals, which are their preferred prey given the demodex’s unusual diet. A demodex’s attacks can cause an allergic infection in mammals. Such a victim has a 2% cumulative chance per point of damage suffered from a demodex to develop such an infection. Treat allergic infection as a disease with the following statistics: save modifier -1; infection duration 1d12 days; affected stats DEX -2, CHA -1 (if visible); damage/day 1d4.

Demodex: # Enc. 2d4; AL N; MV 120′ (40′); AC 6; HD 2; Atks 5 (4 claws, bite); Dmg 1d4/1d4/1d4/1d4/1d6; SV L1; Morale 7; Hoard None; XP 38; Mutations Allergic Infection, Increased Smell.

Skacina

Skacinas are brutish humanoids with a thick, wrinkled hide. A peaked, heavy plate of bone tops a skacina’s heavy skull, which is supported by powerful neck and shoulder muscles. These creatures live in rugged hills and mountains, and make their lairs in natural caves or abandoned structures built by others. Skacinas practice only the crudest of crafts, making simple tools from hide, bone, wood, and stone. While they are not particularly intelligent, skacinas are territorial and prone to violence.

For some reason, skacinas are immune to petrification. Some sages conclude that these monsters have a distant origin on the Elemental Plane of Earth. This theory seems to gain support due to the fact that skacinas often kill captured trespassers by crushing them beneath large rocks or by burying the captives alive.

Skacina: HD 3; AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 head butt (1d4) and weapon (1d6); Move 12; Save 14; AL C; CL/XP 3/60; Special: immune to petrification.

June 15th, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

A Trio of Hair-Raising Horrors

Abami

The malacious abamies lurk in languid rivers, deep lakes, and trackless swamps. Combining features humanoid and reptilian, abamies walk on two legs, swim silently, and their leathery flesh and scales provide natural camouflage due to their coloration and texture. It is mostly likely that abamies are a type of wicked water fairy, but some scholars claim they are either undead or devils (or both). Whatever the truth, abamies revel in cruelty. They use their stealth and magical abilities to lure victims into ambushes, to cause confusion and fear, and to torment travelers.

When an abami attacks, it usually does so by surprise, using its hooked claws and jagged fangs. If both claw attacks hit a target, an abami gets a +2 to-hit bonus on its bite attack. Should all three attacks hit a target, the abami clamps its maw across the victim’s mouth and jaw and tries to steal the victim’s breath. Unless the victim succeeds in a saving throw, the abami steals his breath, which leaves the victim unable to speak, use breath weapons, or cast spells for 1d4 rounds. The victim also takes 1d6 points of damage each round from not being able to breathe. Once per day each, an abami can use the following spells: Obscuring Mist, Protection from Good, and Sticks to Snakes.

Abami: HD 3+3; AC 4 [15]; Atk 2 claws (1d4), 1 bite (1d6); Move 9/15 (swimming); Save 14; AL C; CL/XP 5/240; Special: 4 in 6 chance to surprise prey, spells, steal breath.

Eekanna

An eekanna is an undead monster that in life was a man or woman who embraced violence and deceit before being caught and executed (or lynched). In undeath, the creature burns with a mad passion to terrorize and maim. During the day, an eekanna hides away from the sun, perhaps in a sewer system or in a lightless cavern. When the sun sets, which is something the creature can mystically sense, it scurries from its lair in order hunt, seeking to inflict pain and create strife, for an eekanna is a sort of psychic vampire, feeding on the suffering of living creatures. The younger and more innocent the victim, the sweeter the meal.

An eekana radiates a profane aura that affects Lawful creatures within 20 feet as well as normal animals. The latter are automatically affected as if by a Fear spell (no saving throw). Lawful creatures suffer a -1 penalty to attack rolls and saving throws within the aura, and magical healing in the same area has no more than its minimal effects. This monster attacks with its long claws and horrible fangs. Its bite causes rage unless the victim makes a saving throw. Otherwise, a bite victim attacks the nearest creature other than the eekana with murderous intent, striking with a +2 bonus to-hit (and no longer being affected by the monster’s profane aura until the rage passes in 2d4 rounds). Looking into an eekana’s terrible eyes forces a saving throw to avoid paralysis for 2d10 rounds. In and between areas of darkness, an eekana can use Dimension Door.

Eekanas hate light. Illumination other than candlelight or moonlight pains the monster, causing it to suffer a -2 penalty on to-hit rolls. A Light spell inflicts 1d6 points of damage if cast on or near an eekana, and Continual Light inflicts 3d6 points of damage and forces the monster to retreat from the area. Actual sunlight will kill an eekana in 1d4+1 rounds (reducing its hit points by an appropriate amount each round). Eekanas also hate the smell of apples and apple blossoms, and they retreat from these objects.

Eekanna: HD 5-7; AC 3 [16]; Atk 2 claws (1d6), 1 bite (1d4); Move 15; Save 12, 11, or 9; AL C; CL/XP 5 HD (7/600), 6 HD (8/800), 7 HD (9/1,100); Special: bite causes rage, Dimension Door (in darkness only), gaze causes paralysis, profane aura, undead.

Opolo

Brutish, shaggy, and violent, opolos are gorilla-like humanoids most often found in rugged highlands and forests where they live in caves or ruins. An adult opolo stands at least as tall as a man, and it is powerfully built and covered with tangled, smelly fur, except for its face, hands, feet, and the top of its head. A close observer may notice the deep groove that circles an opolo’s head at the hairline. These monsters do not wear clothes and seldom use tools or weapons. Despite their primitive appearance and habits, opoloes are not unintelligent and exhibit a devious, cold cunning.

An opolo’s keen senses, especially its senses of smell and hearing, make it difficult to surprise. In combat, it attacks with its thick, short claws and its powerful fangs. If both claws hit the same target, an opolo rends its victim, tearing flesh and inflicting an additional 1d8 points of damage. Instead of attacking, an opolo can open the top of its skull (hence the aforementioned deep groove) and scoop out a bit of its brain. The next round, it releases this bit of gray matter at a target within 60 feet (no attack roll necessary). The victim must make a saving throw. Otherwise, the bit of brain soaks through the victim’s flesh. After 1d6 rounds, the hunk of gray matter reaches the victim’s brain, causing feeblemindedness. A Cure Disease stops this process and can also reverse the feeblemindedness.

Opolo: HD 5; AC 6 [13]; Atk 2 claws (1d4), 1 bite (1d8); Move 12; Save 12; AL C; CL/XP 7/600; Special: piece of its mind, rending (1d8), surprised on a 1.

June 3rd, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

Mutant Frogs of the Neverglads

Few explorers brave the Neverglads, that vast expanse of toxic tropical wetlands that has swallowed up the ruins of several ancient cities, several of which boasted impressive biological and chemical industries. As the End of All Things spread havoc across the world, industry safeguards failed and the Neverglads became a mutagenic hellscape covering more than 11,000 square miles (28,500 square kilometers). The natural and mutant hazards found within the Neverglads are legion. The farther one travels into the region’s heart, the wilder the terrain becomes. Poisonous quicksand, mutant pythons, giant alligators, bizarre temporal ripples, dangerous plants, savage tribes, billions of disease-carrying pests, and xenophobic secret societies are only some of the more well-known dangers.

Ojoran

Ojorans are probably the most common amphibian in the Neverglads. They appear as small tree frogs, most growing to no more than three or four inches long. An ojorans most remarkable feature is its bulbous single eye. In general, ojorans are inoffensive creatures. They prey on small insects, not on explorers. Timid, even skittish, ojorans avoid contact with other creatures, usually via their adaptive and variable coloration. Ojorans are prodigious climbers as well, easily able to retreat to the heights of the trees that grow throughout the Neverglads. All of this should be construed as saying that ojorans are harmless. They often congregate in large groups, especially during mating season. While the poison slime that an ojoran’s pores secretes is not especially toxic, more than a few careless explorers have succumbed to the effects of blundering into dozens of ojorans.

No. Enc.: 2d6 (12d6)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 60′ (20′)
Armor Class: 8
Hit Dice: 1d2 hit points
Attacks: 1 (poison slime)
Damage: 1d6
Save: L1
Morale: 6
Hoard Class: None
XP: 8

Mutations: Chameleon Epidermis, Dermal Poison Slime (Class 1), Increased Balance

Ranaserp

Compared to ojorans, ranaserps merit caution, even fear. A ranaserp appears to be a strange hybrid of frog and serpent, but of impressive size as the adult ranaserp reaches lengths of 18 feet. This six-legged amphibious predator has a sinuous, powerful neck and a highly venomous bite. While not particularly quick on the run, it moves with great silence, striking by surprise whenever possible, doing so 4 times out of 6. Ranaserps prey on all manner of creatures, preferring warm-blooded animals (mutant or otherwise).

If two ranaserps are encountered, they are 85% likely to be a mated pair, in which case it is 50% likely that an additional 2d8 immature offspring are nearby. Despite this mutant’s amphibian ancestry, ranaserps are protective of their young. Typically the female stays near the den to guard the young while the male hunts, swallowing poisoned prey whole to regurgitate later the partially digested meal for the immature ranaserps.

No. Enc.: 1d2
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 90′ (30′)
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: 1 (bite)
Damage: 1d6+3 plus 5d6 poison
Save: L3
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: None
XP: 1,320

Mutations: Gigantism, Natural Weapon (fangs), Toxic Weapon (Class 5), Thermal Vision

Ranenferm

In truth, the ranenferm is not a mutant frog. It instead is a mutant fungus that prefers to use a giant amphibian as a growth medium. (Nota Bene: Use standard giant toad stats for “ordinary” giant frogs to duplicate the mutant shown in the picture.) A ranenferm without a host is immobile. It uses possession to bring a potential host close enough for its vegetal parasitism to take effect. After this, the ranenferm need no longer maintain mental domination of the host via possession. Also, the host organism becomes harder to kill as the ranenferm’s hyphae spread into the host’s tissues, muscles, bones, and nervous system.

Ranenferms are highly intelligent and malicious. They communicate with their own kind via a form of telepathy, but their mental processes are so alien that communication with other lifeforms appears impossible. Of course, it could be that ranenferms simply view other creatures as beneath contempt, thus refusing to communicate to such “inferior” specimens. Whatever the truth, ranenferms pose a serious danger to travelers within the Neverglads, and communities both near and within that region often exhibit justifiable alarm about even perceived signs of ranenferm “infection”. Fire is the preferred method of treating those believed to be playing host to a ranenferm.

No. Enc.: 1d4 per host organism
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: As host organism
Armor Class: As host organism + 1 per ranenferm
Hit Dice: As host organism + 1 Hit Die per ranenferm
Attacks: As host organism
Damage: As host organism
Save: Equal to total Hit Dice
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: XX
XP: As host organism modified by additional Hit Dice and mutations

Mutations: As host organism, plus Metaconcert, Possession, Prehensile Tendrils (Simple), Vegetal Parasite

May 26th, 2016  in RPG No Comments »

Three Unusual Magic Weapons

Three new magic weapons for you to put into the hands of enemies to see if your players’ characters can earn them the hard way.

Borya’s Needle

Ornate, light, and nimble, Borya’s Needle is a +1 short sword that weighs as much as a dagger. A hit from Borya’s Needle that inflicts 5-7 points of damage on a living creature causes a slender steel needle to grow from the sword’s quillons. Upon command instead of a melee attack, the wielder may cause one or more of these needles to take flight as Magic Missiles. This remarkable blade cannot produce more than five needles per day.

Borya the Nimble was an Elven Fighter/Magic-User with a reputation for roguish and romantic exploits. Stories claim he owned several remarkable magic items, including a pocket watch that could slow time, a silken handkerchief that could alter its user’s facial features, and, of course, Borya’s Needle, the elegant rapier which bears his name. Borya finally met his match in a battle of love and wits waged against Cassia, the queen of dryads whose beauty is rumored to be so great that even a fleeting glimpse of her leads to longing, then to obsession, and finally to insanity. At Cassia’s request, Borya cast his fabled blade into the Verdant Whirlpool and then attempted to win Cassia’s love by refusing food or drink from one new moon to the next. Consequently, Borya the Nimble wasted away from hunger and thirst. The last word that passed his cracked, parched lips was the name of the dryad queen.

The Hideous Scimitar

Beautiful, inlaid with precious metals, and superbly balanced, this dread weapon was not forged for mortal hands, but instead was crafted in a cursed forge fueled by coals stolen from a hellish plane as a badge of office for a fiendish commander. Each day, for the first 10 combat turns the Hideous Scimitar is wielded in melee, it functions as a +2 scimitar. At the end of the tenth round of melee that day, the blade changes, becoming tarnished and gore-streaked no matter how well it is cleaned. For the next 10 combat turns after this change, any living, mortal creature damaged by the Hideous Scimitar must make a saving throw to avoid contracting a deadly disease (the effects of which are left to the Referee’s discretion). At the end of the twentieth round of melee fought that day with this weapon, the blade becomes even more horrible. It becomes pockmarked and scabrous, and its lesions ooze noxious fluids. For the remainder of the day after this second change, wounds inflicted by the Hideous Scimitar cannot be healed by magical means (a Remove Curse or similar effect can negate this effect).

Mortal creatures are not meant to wield the Hideous Scimitar. Each combat turn during the time the scimitar causes disease that a mortal uses this weapon, the wielder must make a saving throw or suffer 1d4+1 points of damage in the form of spontaneous gashes and bruises. During the time the scimitar causes wounds that cannot be magically healed, the wielder runs the same risk, but the damage suffered increases to 1d6+1 points per combat turn per failed saving throw. Tales claim that a mortal who dies from the baleful effects of wielding the Hideous Scimitar forfeits his soul to the infernal power that first created this weapon.

Stonebreaker

Carved from the heart of a stone brought to the Material Plane from the Plane of Elemental Earth, Stonebreaker weighs 20 pounds and must be wielded with two hands. It functions as a +3 weapon that inflicts 1d8+4 points of damage in melee (including its magical bonus). In the hands of a Dwarf, Stonebreaker‘s full might is revealed. Goblins and orcs cannot look directly at a Dwarf who wields Stonebreaker in battle, which causes those creatures to suffer a -2 penalty to attack rolls against that Dwarf. What’s more, a Dwarfish wielder of Stonebreaker inflicts double damage (2d8+8) against Chaotic giants and all sorts of earth elementals.

The fabled Blind Masons of Kadiphonek carved Stonebreaker for King Bofnar Stonedelver at the start of the War of the Boundless Vaults. Stonedelver led his companions, the dread Ironbreakers, into battle after battle against the orcs, goblins, giants, and elementals that sought to unlock the Boundless Vaults. In Stonedelver’s hands, Stonebreaker turned the tide against the vastly outnumbered Dwarfs time and time again. After days of savage battle, Stonedelver stood victorious, but he succumbed to his injuries before he could be treated. Stonedelver and Stonebreaker were buried in the Catacombs of the Kings. Centuries later, after a succession of weak and quarrelsome kings, Stonedelver’s domain fell to a new threat, and Stonebreaker reportedly fell into the hands of drow priestesses.

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May 17th, 2016  in RPG No Comments »