Posts Tagged ‘ monsters ’

More Minotaurs

First, I must show off my exquisitely barbaric miniature for Tupke the Red, my character in my son Christopher’s new D&D campaign. Tupke rocks, and too does Rob of Pennyfew Painting. Click on the pic for the embiggening. The miniature itself comes from Reaper, specifically this model here. Rob brought it to life. I would normally never spend $50 on something that doesn’t contain single malt, but every rule has its exceptions. I couldn’t be more pleased with Rob’s work, and I’m pretty sure that such an awesome miniature is worth at least 50 bonus XP per game session.

Right, Christopher?

Next, I expand on my minotaur variants, adding some additional types to go along with the standard minotaur and the last post’s minotaur shaman. If you want versions of the minotaurs in this post for AD&D, please click here.

The minotaur blood prophet is the largest and most savage of minotaurs. It eschews the use of manufactured weapons, preferring to rend foes to bloody pieces with its claws, fangs, and horns. When it tastes blood drawn by its fangs, the minotaur blood prophet gains limited precognitive abilities regarding the creature it bit.

Minotaur Blood Prophet
Huge monstrosity, chaotic evil

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 138 (12d12+60)
Speed 45 ft.
Ability Scores STR 22 (+6), DEX 8 (-1), CON 20 (+5), INT 6 (-2), WIS 16 (+3), CHA 9 (-1)

Skills Perception +6
Senses darkvision 90 ft., passive Perception 16
Languages Abyssal
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)

Blood Prophecy (Recharge after Short or Long Rest). When the minotaur blood prophet damages a living creature with its bite, the minotaur blood prophet gains limited precognitive abilities related to that creature. Roll 1d20 twice and record the rolls. So long as the minotaur blood prophet can see the creature it damaged with its bite, the minotaur blood prophet can substitute one of the recorded d20 rolls for any d20 roll made by the creature it damaged with its bite, doing so as a bonus action. When the minotaur blood prophet takes a short rest or a long rest, it loses any unused d20 rolls and the precognitive link with the bitten creature vanishes.

Charge. If the minotaur shaman moves at least 10 feet straight toward a target and then hits it with a gore attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 13 (2d12) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 17 Strength saving throw or be pushed up to 10 feet away and knocked prone.

Labyrinthine Recall. The minotaur blood prophet can perfectly recall any path it has traveled.

Reckless. At the start of its turn, the minotaur blood prophet can gain advantage on all melee attack rolls it makes during that turn, but attack rolls against it have advantage until the start of its next turn.

Actions

Multiattack. The minotaur blood prophet makes three attacks: two with its claws and one with its gore or one with its bite.

Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d6+6) slashing damage.

Gore. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 18 (2d12+6) piercing damage.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (2d4+6) piercing damage.

The spirit minotaur, rare and seldom seen in its natural form, furthers the aims of the Lord of Mazes by sowing the seeds of chaos and fear. It does so through the use of magical powers, which include telepathy and shapeshifting as well as illusions and potent attacks.

Spirit Minotaur
Large monstrosity (shapechanger), chaotic evil

Armor Class 14 (natural armor)
Hit Points 85 (10d10+30)
Speed 40 ft., fly 40 ft. (hover)
Ability Scores STR 18 (+4), DEX 11 (+0), CON 16 (+3), INT 15 (+2), WIS 16 (+3), CHA 12 (+1)

Skills Deception +3, Perception +5
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 15
Languages Abyssal, two other languages, telepathy 60 ft.
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)

Charge. If the spirit minotaur moves at least 10 feet straight toward a target and then hits it with a gore attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 9 (2d8) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 14 Strength saving throw or be pushed up to 10 feet away and knocked prone.

Innate Spellcasting. The spirit minotaur’s spellcasting ability is Intelligence (spell save DC 12, +4 to hit with spell attacks). The spirit minotaur can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:

At will: detect thoughts, minor illusion, prestidigitation
3/day each: silent image, thunderwave
2/day each: invisibility, ray of enfeeblement
1/day each: lightning bolt, major image

Labyrinthine Recall. The spirit minotaur can perfectly recall any path it has traveled.

Reckless. At the start of its turn, the spirit minotaur can gain advantage on all melee attack rolls it makes during that turn, but attack rolls against it have advantage until the start of its next turn.

Regeneration. The spirit minotaur regains 5 hit points at the start of its turn if it has at least 30 hit points.

Shapechanger. The spirit minotaur can use its action to polymorph into a Medium humanoid or Small or Medium beast it has seen, or back into its true form. Its statistics, other than its size, are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn’t transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies.

Actions

Multiattack. The spirit minotaur makes two attacks: one with its greatsword and one with its gore.

Greatsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (3d6+4) slashing damage.

Gore. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8+4) piercing damage.

Beastman
Medium monstrosity, chaotic evil

The beastman is a goat-headed monstrosity. It represents the lowest rung on the ladder of those who serve the Lord of Mazes. The beastman lives in fear of its more powerful kind. Minotaurs barely tolerate the beastman, and during lean times a beastman’s flesh chews just as easily as a human’s. The beastman’s cowardice does not extend to creatures it believes it can bully or hurt.

Armor Class 13
Hit Points 22 (4d8+4)
Speed 35 ft.
Ability Scores STR 14 (+2), DEX 16 (+3), CON 12 (+1), INT 8 (-1), WIS 13 (+1), CHA 8 (-1)

Skills Perception +3
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 13
Languages Abyssal
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)

Charge. If the beastman moves at least 10 feet straight toward a target and then hits it with a gore attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 4 (1d8) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 12 Strength saving throw or be pushed up to 10 feet away and knocked prone.

Reckless. At the start of its turn, the beastman can gain advantage on all melee weapon attack rolls it makes during that turn, but attack rolls against it have advantage until the start of its next turn.

Actions

Battle Axe. Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8+2) slashing damage.

Gore. Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8+3) piercing damage.

January 23rd, 2018  in RPG No Comments »

Minotaur Shaman

Over in a 5E Facebook group, a fellow named Kalon Ohmstede asked about “some additional minotaur stat blocks”. Most of the responses he got weren’t at all helpful, basically boiling to irrelevancies. I like the idea of minotaurs getting an expanded treatment in a fantasy game. See this older post, for example.

Many minotaurs pay homage to Oevrumines, the brutal Lord of Mazes. The most devout of those minotaurs serve Oevrumines as shamans.

Minotaur Shaman
Large monstrosity, chaotic evil

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 102 (12d10+36)
Speed 40 ft.
Ability Scores STR 18 (+4), DEX 12 (+1), CON 16 (+3), INT 8 (-1), WIS 18 (+4), CHA 11 (+0)

Saving Throws Constitution +5, Wisdom +6
Skills Perception +6
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 16
Languages Abyssal
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)

Battleborn (3/day). The minotaur shaman receives a touch of divine ferocity from Oevrumines. When it uses the Attack action, it can make one melee attack as a bonus action.

Charge. If the minotaur shaman moves at least 10 feet straight toward a target and then hits it with a gore attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 11 (2d10) piercing damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 14 Strength saving throw or be pushed up to 10 feet away and knocked prone.

Labyrinthine Recall. The minotaur shaman can perfectly recall any path it has traveled.

Spellcasting. The minotaur shaman is a 3rd-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 14, +6 to hit with spell attacks).

Cantrips (at will): sacred flame, thaumaturgy
1st Level (4 slots): bane, guiding bolt, inflict wounds, shield of faith
2nd Level (2 slots): augury, prayer of healing, spiritual weapon

Actions

Multiattack. The minotaur shaman makes two attacks: one with its greatclub and one with its gore.

Greatclub. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8+4) slashing damage.

Gore. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d10+4) piercing damage.

Reckless Inspiration (Recharge 5-6). One creature the minotaur shaman can see within 30 feet of it can use its reaction to make a melee attack with advantage as a reaction if it can hear the minotaur shaman and it has the Reckless trait.

And in the Spes Magna Games arena of new:

Over at Patreon, I’m going to start releasing collections of Dangerous Monsters for my patrons. Each release, and there should be one a month, will include 4-5 new monsters for D&D 5E with the possibility of mapped lairs, versions of the monsters for other game systems, et cetera, as time permits and fancy strikes me. The first release goes out around the end of January or beginning of February, and the first time is free. After that, each release costs $1.

My two most recent releases are Chance Encounters II, which expands your campaign using the fifth edition of the World’s Greatest Roleplaying Game, and World War Weird Classes, which presents unusual 10 character classes for WWII: Operation WhiteBox.

January 21st, 2018  in RPG, Spes Magna News No Comments »

Kongemorder

Over in a 5E Facebook group, a fellow named Danny Krowman asked about what sort of item could be unknowingly handed to noble that would result in that noble’s death. My suggestion was an animated object. Here’s a fuller version of my suggestion.

Kongemorder
Tiny construct, unaligned

Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points 21 (6d4+6)
Speed 0 ft., fly 60 ft. (hover)
Ability Scores STR 14 (+2), DEX 17 (+3), CON 13 (+1), INT 3 (-4), WIS 7 (-2), CHA 3 (-4)

Saving Throws Dex +5, Con +3
Damage Immunities poison, psychic
Condition Immunities blinded, charmed, deafened, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned
Senses blindsight 90 ft. (blind beyond this radius), passive Perception 8
Languages
Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Antimagic Susceptibility. The kongemorder is incapacitated while in the area of an antimagic field. If targeted by dispel magic, the sword must succeed on a Constitution saving throw against the caster’s spell save DC or fall unconscious for 1 minute.

False Appearance. While the kongemorder remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from a normal sword.

Flyby. The kongemorder doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks when it flies out of an enemy’s reach.

Magic Resistance. The kongemorder has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Sense Nobility. The kongemorder automatically detects all creatures of noble birth within 90 feet. This sense is blocked by 3 feet of wood, 1 foot of earth or stone, an inch of metal, or a thin sheet of lead.

Trap Nobility. Any creature of noble birth reduced to 0 hit points by the kongemorder does not die. Instead, the creature, along with anything it is wearing or carrying, become trapped in one of the kongemorder’s twelve extradimensional cells. An extradimensional cell is an infinite expanse filled with thick fog that reduces visibility to 10 feet. Creatures trapped in the kongemorder’s cells don’t age, and they don’t need to eat, drink, or sleep. A creature trapped within a cell can escape using magic that permits planar travel. Otherwise, the creature is confined to the cell until freed.

Actions

Multiattack. The kongemorder makes two attacks.

Dagger. Melee Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d4+3) piercing damage plus 7 (2d6) psychic damage against a creature of noble birth.

January 17th, 2018  in RPG No Comments »

Lair of the Zorboes

Did you know that Matt Jackson is creating Old School maps that you too can support and own and cherish via Patreon? Well, he is, and you can. The map to to the right is a sample of Matt’s work. If you click the map, it embiggens. If you click this link right here, you can download a short 5E adventure using the map. It is written for 3-5 characters with an average level of three. The adventure features an oldie-but-goodie from 1983’s Monster Manual II, which I’ve posted below after some self-serving promotional stuff.

Did you know that I’ve released two new for-sale PDFs so far this year? Amazing, huh? If only I could be this productive every month.

Chance Encounters II expands your campaign using the fifth edition of the World’s Greatest Roleplaying Game. Revel at College of Cheer and Good Tidings. Gain a blessing from mulled wine. Be more alert in the glow of a guiding light. Fight side-by-side with a champion toy against an abominable snowman in cursed Arktinis. With five new character options, two new spells, seven new monsters, three new magic items, two new places, and an essay about cinnamon, Chance Encounters II offers something for almost everyone.

The war against the Axis Powers just got weird. World War Weird Classes presents 10 character classes from Demi-God to Gremlin to Zombie. Augment a team of commandos with something supernatural, or put together a Nazi-fighting monster squad. A huge thanks to Pete Spahn not only for WWII: Operation WhiteBox but also for being a class act and offering me numerous suggestions and corrections.

And now for that new monster!

“This carnivorous beast likes human and demihuman flesh. A zorbo has poor armor class and attack damage when first encountered, but it can absorb the natural armor class of its surroundings….” (Monster Manual II, p. 131)

Zorbo
Small monstrosity, unaligned

Armor Class 10
Hit Points 22 (4d6+8)
Speed 40 ft., climb 30 ft.
Ability Scores STR 13 (+1), DEX 10 (+0), CON 15 (+2), INT 3 (-4), WIS 13 (+1), CHA 8 (-1)

Skills Athletics +3
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages
Challenge 1 (200 XP)

Item Absorption. When the zorbo hits a creature with its claws, the zorbo absorbs the Armor Class (including magical bonus) or magical quality of a random protective item worn or carried by the creature hit, even if the net result reduces the zorbo’s Armor Class. The creature can resist this effect with a Wisdom save against DC 13. If the protective item is magical, it loses its magical functions for 1 minute. The zorbo acquires an Armor Class equal to what it would have if it were using the protective item.

Magic Resistance. The zorbo has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Actions

Claws. Melee Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 3 (1d4+1) slashing damage.

Nature Absorption (Recharge 6). The zorbo can absorb the natural armor class of whatever natural material it touches. This grants the zorbo an improved Armor Class, depending on the material: Armor Class 20 for stone, Armor Class 17 for metal, Armor Class 15 for wood, or Armor Class 13 for earth. The zorbo also gains a bonus on melee attack damage rolls: +5 damage for stone, +3 damage for metal, +2 damage for wood, or +1 damage for earth. The new Armor Class and damage bonus lasts for 1 minute.

January 16th, 2018  in Spes Magna News No Comments »

More Beary-ations (on a Theme)

I used to have several issues of Dungeon from the late 80s to early 90s. I don’t have all of them now, but I do still have the issue the cover of which you see to the right. In it, one finds a fun little adventure by Jon Bailey titled “The Moor-Tombs Map”. It’s written for AD&D, specifically for 4-6 characters of 2nd to 4th level. Let’s take the middle road through those two ranges and assume 5 characters, all of which are 3rd level.

Now let’s shift gears as I think out loud (so to speak). In 5E D&D, the DM creates a combat encounter by first determining the adventuring party’s “XP Threshold” (DMG 82). Our party of five 3rd-level characters would look like this:

Easy 375 XP, Medium 750 XP, Hard 1,125 XP, Deadly 2,000 XP

Back to “The Moor-Tombs Map”. Not to give too much about it away, but the first combat encounter encountered on the road away from Moorwall is with a wolfwere and six wolves. A quick-and-dirty estimate of the wolfwere’s CR in 5E? It’s AC 3 (or 17 in 5E), has 5 Hit Dice, can attack twice per round for 2-12 plus weapon, has a magical song that causes slow, cannot be harmed by weapons unless they are magic or cold iron, and has magic resistance. A 5-HD monster had a THAC0 of 15, which is roughly equivalent to a +5 attack bonus.

For 5E, that’s a great AC, but pretty low hit points. It’s got good damage, however. Assume a d8 for weapon damage, and that’s 7 plus 4, or 11 on average. AD&D didn’t have save DCs, so fixing the save DC for its slow is a matter of taste. As an estimate, if I were building a 5E wolfwere using these stats, I’d aim for CR 3 (700 XP). Six wolves come in at 300 XP total. An encounter with seven monsters has an encounter multiplier of 2.5. The XP threshold total for the wolfwere and its wolves comes in at 2,500 XP. That’s a potentially deadly encounter for our adventurers.

Later on, the adventurers encounter 10 giant vultures (threshold 4,500 XP), 6 lizard men (threshold 1,200 XP), as well as a few other encounters, and this is all before reaching the actual moor-tomb.

Obviously, the differences between AD&D and 5E D&D make running an AD&D adventure as-is tricky. It’d be a real bummer if less than half way to the actual adventure one or more of the adventurers died in combat against what is pretty much a random encounter. 1E and 5E are not the same game. They have different assumptions, different maths, et cetera.

Let’s consider in more detail those half-dozen lizard men. As DM, I don’t really want to subject my players’ characters to a hard encounter that is at best tangetial to the main story. I could just remove the encounter, but that takes away from some of the “local color” of the adventure. The players could evade the lizard men or convince them to not attack, but if things go sideways the resulting fight could go badly for the adventurers. I could reduce the number of lizard men, of course. Halving the number drops the threshold XP to 600, making it a much more manageable threat, but I also like fights that involve larger numbers of enemies. That was a feature of AD&D that I miss.

What to do?

Well, instead of using bears (see previous post), I could use kobolds. I take the standard kobold, change its size to Medium, its Hit Points to 7 (2d8-2), and add a swim speed as per lizardfolk. Voila! My newer, weaker lizard men are now a threshold 300 XP encounter. That ought to be a cake walk for the adventurers. It also establishes in my game world that there are levels of lizard men. Sure, today you bumped into a group of lowly hunter-gatherers, but tomorrow you might run afoul of young warriors (goblins as lizard men) supervised by a more experienced fighter (a standard lizardfolk).

Just using bears is an idea with wide-ranging utility that can help a DM come up with new monsters or variations of old monsters almost on-the-fly.

“Inhabiting out of the way places, the hated and feared wolfwere is the bane of humans and demihumans alike, for it is able to take the form of a human male or female of considerable charisma. In either its true shape or that of a man, the wolfwere slyly hunts, slays, and devours its favored prey — men, halflings, elves, etc. … It must be noted that a great enmity exists between wolfwere and werewolves.” (Monster Manual II, p. 127)

Wolfwere
Medium fey (shapechanger), chaotic evil

Armor Class 17 (natural armor)
Hit Points 27 (5d8+5)
Speed 40 ft.
Ability Scores STR 16 (+3), DEX 18 (+4), CON 13 (+1), INT 14 (+2), WIS 14 (+2), CHA 17 (+3)

Skills Deception +5, Perception +4
Tools musical instrument
Damage Immunities bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks not made with iron weapons
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 14
Languages Common,Sylvan, Worg
Challenge 3 (700 XP)

Keen Hearing and Smell. The wolfwere has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on hearing or smell.

Magic Resistance. The wolfwere has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Shapechanger. The wolfwere can use its action to polymorph into a human or back into its true form of a human-wolf hybrid. Its statistics are the same for either form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn’t transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies.

Wolvesbane Sensitivity. If the wolfwere starts its turn within 15 feet of wolvesbane, it is poisoned and thus has disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks.

Actions

Multiattack. The wolfwere makes two attacks in its hybrid form: one with its bite, the other with a weapon. In human form, the wolfwere makes one attack with its weapon.

Bite. Melee Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6+4) piercing damage.

Sword. Melee Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6+4) piercing damage.

Call of the Wild (1/Day). When outdoors, the wolfwere magically calls 2d6 wolves or 1d6 worgs. The called creatures arrive in 1d4 rounds, acting as allies of the wolfwere and obeying its spoken commands. The beasts remain for 1 hour, until the wolfwere dies, or until the wolfwere dismisses them as a bonus action.

Lullaby (1/Day). The wolfwere has a magical song that causes listeners to fall into slumber. A total of 22 (5d8) hit points of humanoid creatures within 90 feet of the wolfwere are affected. Creatures are affected in ascending order of their current hit points (ignoring unconscious creatures), and a Wisdom saving throw against DC 13 negates this power’s effect. Starting with the creature that has the lowest current hit points, each creature affected by this power falls unconscious for 1d4+4 minutes. A sleeping creature remains unconscious until the sleeper takes damage, or until someone uses an action to shake or slap the sleeper awake. Subtract each creature’s hit points from the total before moving on to the creature with the next lowest hit points. A creature’s hit points must be equal to or less than the remaining total for that creature to be affected. Undead and creatures immune to being charmed aren’t affected by this power.

January 14th, 2018  in RPG No Comments »