Posts Tagged ‘ monsters ’

Day 6: Red

The red pestilence originates in twisted alchemical laboratories overseen by thralls of Orcus. On the Material Plane, certain of Blood Lord’s most favored servants have the ability to animate a zombie infected with the red pestilence. Such a zombie is no mindless slave to spell’s caster. Instead, demonic intelligence motivates this zombie to spread the red pestilence.

1E Stats

A living creature of the same type as the zombie was in life may contract the red pestilence from the zombie’s bite. The base chance of contracting the red pestilence is 10%, plus a cumulative 2% per hit point of damage inflicted by the zombie’s bite. Other modifiers related to the chance of contracting a disease also apply (see page 13, DMG).

The red pestilence is a magical malady that affects the brain/nervous system. It is always chronic and terminal. Each hour, the victim loses 1 point each of Intelligence and Dexterity (no saving throw). If either score reaches 0, the victim dies, and rises again in 1d4 rounds as a red pestilence zombie. Also each hour, the victim must make a saving throw against spell or become mad for 5d12 minutes (treat as confusion, rolling to determine effect every minute). An infected victim may expose others to the red pestilence, especially during violent fits of madness, as determined by the DM.

A good-aligned cleric may cure a victim of the red pestilence by casting both cure disease and remove curse on the victim prior to the victim’s death. Lost points of Intelligence and Dexterity are not restored by this means. A victim who dies from the red pestilence cannot be restored to life except by extraordinary means since the victim’s soul becomes imprisoned by Orcus in the Abyss.

Frequency: Very rare
No. Appearing: 1-8
Armor Class: 6
Move: 9″
Hit Dice: 4
% in Lair: Nil
Treasure Type: Nil
No. of Attacks: 2
Damage/Attack: 1-6/1-6
Special Attacks: Diseased bite (1-8)
Special Defenses: See below
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Low
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Size: M
Psionic Ability: Nil
Attack/Defens Modes: Nil
Level/XP Value: IV/175 XP + 4 XP/hp

A red pestilence zombie is faster, stronger, and smarter than a normal zombie. It attacks with its clawed hands. If both claw attacks hit the same target, the red pestilence zombie makes a bite attack with a +4 “to-hit” bonus. The bite inflicts 1-8 points of damage and exposes the victim to the red pestilence as described above.

A red pestilence zombie can be turned as if it were a wight. It is immune to poison. Sleep, charm, and hold spells do not affect this monster. It takes half damage from cold, electricity, and fire. Holy water vials score 4-10 hit points of damage for each one which strikes.

5E Stats

A target bit by a red pestilence zombie must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or become infected. Symptoms manifest 1d3 hours after infection. The infected creature becomes irritable and sensitive to sensory stimuli. The infected creature also gains one level of exhaustion that cannot be removed until the disease is cured. Each hour thereafter, the infected creature must make a DC 15 Constitution save to avoid gaining another level of exhaustion that cannot be removed until the disease is cured. A failed saving throw also temporarily deranges the creature for 1d4 minutes (as per confusion). If the infected creature dies from exhaustion, the creature rises again in 1d4 rounds as a red pestilence zombie.

Lesser restoration does not cure the red pestilence, but greater restoration cast by a good-aligned cleric does. A victim who dies from the red pestilence cannot be restored to life except by extraordinary means since the victim’s soul becomes imprisoned by Orcus in the Abyss.

Medium undead, chaotic evil

Armor Class 12 (natural armor)
Hit Points 45 (6d8+18)
Speed 25 ft.
Ability Scores STR 14 (+2), DEX 10 (+0), CON 17 (+3), INT 8 (-1), WIS 10 (+0), CHA 7 (-2)
Saving Throws Wisdom +2
Damage Resistances cold, electricity, fire
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities charmed, exhausted, poisoned, paralyzed
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages Common
Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Diseased Bite: As a bonus action against a target hit by its claws, a red pestilence zombie can make a diseased bite attack. It makes this attack with advantage. A target damaged by the monster’s diseased bite may contract the red pestilence.

Undead Fortitude: If damage reduces the red pestilence zombie to 0 hit points, it must make a Constitution saving throw (DC 5 + the damage taken) unless the damage is radiant or from a critical hit. On a success, the red pestilence zombie drops to 1 hit point instead.

Actions

* Claws: Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8+2) slashing damage.

* Diseased Bite: Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8+2) piercing damage.

December 8th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Day 5: Snow

In the distant south, steaming jungles vanish as rocky highlands become dominant and the climate grows cooler until the world turns in little more than sparse evergreen forests, rocks, ice, and snow. Those few clans that scratch out a life from this inhospitable land call it Arktinis, a word that translates into Common meaning something like “home” or “suffering”.

Legends say that once upon a time Arktinis was a warm land full of wild game, sweet water, and abundant berries and nuts. Whether it was a frost giant shaman’s curse or an ice-devil-haunted portal to some frigid hell, winter came to the land, and it hasn’t left since. Arktinis is truly cursed, and few travel far into its interior and return again to tell the tale. Those rare survivors bring back stories of fearsome monsters, such as trolls that breathe fire and giant furred serpents with venom that turns blood to ice. The interior is difficult to navigate, and sources of food and potable water are scarce.

Foraging & Not Getting Lost: In the interior of Arktinis, Wisdom (Survival) checks to forage and to not get lost are made with disadvantage. Should a party become lost due to a failed Wisdom (Survival) check, it takes 1d12 hours before the party’s navigator can repeat the Wilderness (Survival) check in order to get back on course.

Freezing Cold: The temperatures in Arktinis seldom rise above 0 degrees Fahrenheit for long. Whenever the temperature is at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, a creature exposed to the cursed cold of Arktinis must succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw, made with disadvantage, at the end of each hour to avoid gaining one level of exhaustion. Creatures with resistance or immunity to cold damage automatically succeed on the saving throw, but creatures wearing cold weather gear (thick coats, gloves, and the like) do not. Creatures wearing cold weather gear must still succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw to avoid gaining one level of exhaustion, but they do not suffer disadvantage when doing so.

A creature can be immersed in frigid water for a number of minutes equal to its Constitution score before suffering any ill effects. Each additional minute spent in frigid water requires the creature to succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw, made with disadvantage, or gain one level of exhaustion. Creatures with resistance or immunity to cold damage automatically succeed on the saving throw.

Treacherous Footing: Slippery ice is difficult terrain. When a creature moves onto slippery ice for the first time on a turn, it must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity (Acrobatics) check, made with disadvantage, or fall prone. Thin ice has a weight tolerance of 3d10 x 10 pounds per 20-foot-square area. Whenever the total weight on an area of thin ice exceeds its tolerance, the ice in that area breaks. All creatures on broken ice fall through.

Of course, the monsters native to Arktinis never suffer the negative effects of the region’s curse. Speaking of those monsters, those who die of starvation or exposure in Arktinis may rise again as Evils-That-Devour.

1E Stats
Frequency: Rare
No. Appearing: 1-12
Armor Class: 8
Move: 12″ (see below)
Hit Dice: 1+1
% in Lair: 25%
Treasure Type: B (x1/2), T
No. of Attacks: 3
Damage/Attack: 1-3/1-3/1-6
Special Attacks: Rake for 1-3/1-3, surprise 1-4
Special Defenses: See below
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Low
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Size: S (3′ tall)
Psionic Ability: Nil
Attack/Defens Modes: Nil
Level/XP Value: III/52 XP + 2 XP/hp

The horrid evil-that-devours appears as an emaciated, dessicated humanoid creature the size of a young child or halfling. It moves quickly and silently, surprising targets 4 times in 6. It attacks with its claws and fangs. If both claws hit, it rakes with its back claws for two more attacks for 1-3/1-3 points of damage. The evil-that-devours moves across snow and ice at normal speed. It is immune to cold, poison, charm, and sleep.

5E Stats
Small undead, chaotic evil

Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 22 (5d6+5)
Speed 30 ft.
Ability Scores STR 10 (+0), DEX 15 (+2), CON 13 (+1), INT 6 (-2), WIS 12 (+1), CHA 7 (-2)
Skills Stealth +4
Damage Resistances necrotic
Damage Immunities cold, poison
Condition Immunities charmed, exhausted, poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages Common
Challenge 1 (200 XP)

Iceborn: The evil-that-devours treats ice and snow as normal terrain.

Actions

* Claws: Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6+2) slashing damage.

* Fangs: Melee Weapon Attack: +2 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d8) piercing damage.

* Voracious: The evil-that devours is always starving. If it hits with its bite, it grapples (escape DC 12) its target. Until this grapple ends, the creature is restrained, and the evil-that-devours cannot use its fangs on another target. The evil-that-devours can use its claws, but it makes melee attacks with disadvantage against a target other than the one it is feeding on.

While attached, at the end of each of its turn as a bonus action, the evil-that-devours cause its target to lose 4 (1d8) hit points due to blood and tissue loss (no attack roll necessary). The evil-that-devours can detach itself by spending 5 feet of its movement.

December 5th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

December 2: Cinnamon

Since at least 20 centuries before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, people have used cinnamon. It was a gift fit for a king or even a god. Its sources in places like India were carefully guarded secrets, and cinnamon growers exported this valuable spice via merchants who had no hand in the spice’s growth and harvesting. Wikipedia claims that Herodotus wrote that cinnamon sources were guarded by winged serpents, but Wikipedia errs. It is frankincense that is guarded by winged serpents, as Herodotus makes clear by writing, “For the trees which bear the frankincense are guarded by winged serpents, small in size, and of varied colours, whereof vast numbers hang about every tree.”

Herodotus notes that Arabian merchants cannot say where cinnamon comes from or from what tree the spice originates. “Where the wood grows, and what country produces it, they cannot tell”. Herodotus relates that cinnamon’s origin might be Phrygia. The cinnamon sticks are harvested only after large birds have used those sticks to make their nests. The nests “are fastened with a sort of mud to a sheer face of rock, where no foot of man is able to climb. So the Arabians, to get the cinnamon, use the following artifice. They cut all the oxen and asses and beasts of burden that die in their land into large pieces, which they carry with them into those regions”. The merchants then “withdraw to a distance, and the old birds, swooping down, seize the pieces of meat and fly with them up to their nests; which, not being able to support the weight, break off and fall to the ground. Hereupon the Arabians return and collect the cinnamon, which is afterwards carried from Arabia into other countries.”

So, to sum up, somewhere cinnamon trees grow. The location of those trees is a secret guarded by cinnamon growers. Cinnamon sticks are presumably cut and left to dry during the harvest season. At this time, large birds take the sticks to build nests on sheer cliffs. The middlemen cinnamon merchants lay out fresh meat beneath the cliffs. The large birds swoops down, carry the meat back to their nests, but the nests cannot support the meat’s weight. The nests fall and break, and the merchants collect the cinnamon sticks.

No wonder cinnamon was so valuable!

Pliny the Elder says in The Natural History that cinnamon cost 10 denarii per pound, but that price is controlled by a single monarch who restricts the supply in order to inflate the price, which once caused cinnamon to sell for 1500 denarii per pound, although this extreme inflation may have been the work of barbarians who burned the cinnamon forests or due to “the south winds that prevail in these parts [that] are sometimes so hot as to set the forests on fire.”

Fixing the relative value of ancient units of currency is tricky. During the period of the Roman Republic (approximately 509-27 B.C.), a legionary was paid about 0.3 to 0.6 denarius per day, but he probably had pay for his own food. In other words, using Pliny’s lowball price for cinnamon, one pound of the spice would cost about a legionary’s entire month’s pay. The 1E DMG sets the salary for a heavy footman as 2 gp a month; therefore, a pound of cinnamon costs 2 gp, which is what the 5E PH sets the price at on the Trade Goods table.

Unfortunately, inflation has ruined the cinnamon market in 5E. Maintaining a modest lifestyle costs 2 gp per day, which is twice what an unskilled worker made per month in 1E. According to the 5E PH, soldiers are among those who live modest lifestyles. This means a soldier makes 60 gp per month, which is 30 times what he made in 1E. It only seems fair in keeping with cinnamon’s history that the spice’s price should increase as well. In 1E, a pound of cinnamon costs 2 gp. In 5E, due to edition inflation, that same pound of cinnamon costs 60 gp.

Also, about those birds: Here’s the cinnamologus for you to use.

1E Stats
Frequency: Rare
No. Appearing: 2-12
Armor Class: 7
Move: 6″//24″
Hit Dice: 3
% in Lair: 75%
Treasure Type: Nil
No. of Attacks: 3
Damage/Attack: 1-4/1-4/2-8
Special Attacks: Dive attack
Special Defenses: Eyesight
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Animal
Alignment: Neutral
Size: M (4′ tall, 12′ wingspan)
Psionic Ability: Nil
Attack/Defens Modes: Nil
Level/XP Value: III/65 XP + 3 XP/hp

Cinnamologi build their nests out of cinnanom sticks, adhering these nests to cliff walls with a mixture of mud and grass. Their eyesight is such that they are never surprised unless encountered in their lair or at night. If they attack by diving 50 or more feet, they add +4 to hit probability, do double claw damage (2-8/2-8), but get no beak attack. They can carry up to 1000 gold pieces at half speed.

Cinnamologi are aggressive raptors that prey on a variety of animals smaller than they. These birds also scavenge carrion. If a nest holds young (25%) or eggs (50%), cinnamologi attack any creature that approaches too close. There will be 1-4 young or eggs per nest, and one nest per pair of cinnamologi. The nest of cinnamologus weighs about 500 pounds, and roughly half of that weight is cinnamon sticks.

5E Stats
Medium beast, unaligned

Armor Class 13
Hit Points 55 (10d8+10)
Speed 15 ft., fly 60 ft.
Ability Scores STR 12 (+1), DEX 17 (+3), CON 12 (+1), INT 2 (-4), WIS 14 (+2), CHA 8 (-1)
Skills Perception +4
Senses passive Perception 14
Languages
Challenge 1 (200 XP)

Keen Sight: The cinnamologus has advantage of Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.

Dive: If the cinnamologus moves at least 50 ft. in a straight line toward a target and then hits it with its talons attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 8 (2d6+1) slashing damage. If the target is a creature not larger than the cinnamologus, the target must succeed on a DC 13 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

Actions

* Multiattack: The cinnamologus makes two attacks: one with its talons and one with its beak.

* Talons: Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (2d6+1) slashing damage.

* Beak: Melee Weapon Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d8+1) slashing damage.

December 2nd, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

December 1: Wait

Over in the OSR Google group, Iacopo Maffi suggested folks create an OSR Christmas calendar. He also suggested a specific theme for each day. Here’s my first day, presented in both 1E and 5E flavors.

In the woods not too far from the village? Strange happenings. Animals are more skittish, and no one has heard birdsong for at least a fortnight. Nights seem darker, colder. Animals are more skittish, and no one has heard birdsong for at least a fortnight. On the nights of the full moon, an impossible metal tower rises among the trees. A monstrous women dwells in the tower. What does she look like? Who knows? We know she’s there. Everyone has heard her hellish screams echoing in the tower’s bulbous superstructure. Those brave enough to approach the tower during the night when the moon is full have heard pounding and scratching, trying to break free. What are we doing about it? We’re farmers and herders. What can we but wait?

Rapunzhel is the tormented revenant of a young woman drowned in a water tower due to a cruel prank perpetrated by several of her classmates in the 1960s in a small town in southern Georgia. The water tower became unmoored from any specific reality, and now it shifts from world to world, seemingly at random. The tower always appears near a rural community of modest size. It remains for several months, but only becomes visible and material during the nights of the full moon. Most nights, Rapunzhel remains trapped in the tower, raging against her fate and her captivity. She always manages to escape, however, and, driven by her mad rage, she fills the night with blood and horror. When dawn breaks after her rampage, she and the tower vanish, shifting to another world.

Rapunzhel is a water-bloated corpse, moist and rotting. Her white hair writhes and flails, twisting and stretching and seeking. Her weeping eyes blaze with feral hatred.

1E Stats
Frequency: Very rare (unique?)
No. Appearing: 1
Armor Class: 5
Move: 15″//15″
Hit Dice: 8
% in Lair: 90%
Treasure Type: Nil
No. of Attacks: 2 + special
Damage/Attack: 1-6/1-6 + special
Special Attacks: Entangle
Special Defenses: See below
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Average
Alignment: Neutral evil
Size: M (5-1/2′ tall)
Psionic Ability: Nil
Attack/Defens Modes: Nil
Level/XP Value: VII/1,075 XP + 10 XP/hp

Rapunzhel attacks with her talons and her wildly flailing hair has grown to impossible lengths in her undeath. Her hair attacks up to 1d4 medium-sized targets within 10 feet. A small-sized target counts as 1/2 a target, and a large-sized target counts as two targets, et cetera. Targets struck by her hair must make a saving throw versus paralyzation or become entangled in a mass of squirming, constricting hair. One per round on its turn, an entangled target may attempt to escape the hair by making a successful bend bars/lift gates check; otherwise, the target takes 1d4 points of damage from constriction. A creature not entangled in hair may use an edged weapon to cut the hair, which is AC 5 and takes 8 hit points to cut through; all hit points must be inflicted by same creature.

Rapunzhel cannot be harmed by nonmagical weapons. Once per round, when she is missed by a melee attack, Rapunzhel may immediately teleport without error to another spot she can see that is no farther than 9″ away. Being undead, she is immune to sleep, charm, poison, and effects that require a living target. She swims quickly and easily, and she has no need to breathe. Rapunzhel can be turned as if she were a vampire.

5E Stats
Medium undead, neutral evil

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 127 (15d8+60)
Speed 40 ft., swim 40 ft.
Ability Scores STR 18 (+4), DEX 16 (+3), CON 18 (+4), INT 10 (+0), WIS 15 (+2), CHA 13 (+1)
Saving Throws Dex +6, Wis +5
Damage Immunities necrotic, poison; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, poison
Senses darkvision 90 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages English
Challenge 7 (2,900 XP)

Actions

* Multiattack: Rapunzhel makes three attacks: twice with her claws and once with her hair.

* Claws: Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6+4) slashing damage and 7 (2d6) necrotic damage.

* Hair: Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (2d4+4) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 15). Until this grapple ends, the creature is restrained. Rapunzhel’s hair continues to constrict each grappled target once per round at the end of Rapunzhel’s turn for 1 minute or until the target escapes.

Reactions

* Defensive Teleport: Once per round, when a creature misses Rapunzhel with a melee attack, Rapunzhel may teleport up to 20 ft. as a reaction, doing so at the end of the turn of the creature that triggered this ability.

December 1st, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

The Bunyip

Aggressive and territorial, bunyips hunt wild swamplands. Combining features of a hippo, a crocodile, and a great cat, a bunyip has a bulky body covered by thick flesh and dark fur. A bunyip’s legs are squat, ending in broad paws with webbed toes. Its stubby, wide tail is used as a rudder when it swims. At the end of its powerful neck is a fearsome head with strong jaws full of sharp teeth. The bunyip is most active at night when it uses its tremorsense to detect prey moving through the water.

Roars in the Night. Bunyips are largely solitary and territorial, and a bunyip aggressively defends its territory against other predators. A bunyip’s first line of defense against trespassers is its terrifying roar. Swamps that are home to bunyips often echo from sundown to sunrise with distant roars.

A Sudden Attack. Bunyips are ambush predators. Although not especially nimble or quiet when moving, a bunyip can lurk still and silent, often submerged, for long periods of time until suitable prey is detected. Then, the bunyip surges to attack with its powerful jaws.

Bunyip
Huge beast, unaligned

Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 57 (6d12+18)
Speed 25 ft., swim 50 ft.
Ability Scores STR 23 (+6), DEX 9 (-1), CON 17 (+3), INT 3 (-4), WIS 10 (+0), CHA 7 (-2)
Skills Stealth +2 (in natural habitat when motionless)
Senses tremorsense 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages
Challenge 3 (700 XP)

Ambush Predator: When motionless in its natural habitat, a bunyip is difficult to notice. Wisdom (Perception) checks to notice a hidden bunyip are made with disadvantage. If a bunyip surprises a creature and hits it with an attack during the first round of combat, the target takes an extra 11 (2d10) damage from the attack.

Hold Breath: The bunyip can hold its breath for 30 minutes.

Actions

* Bite: Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (2d10+6) slashing damage.

* Roar (Recharge 5-6): The bunyip emits a terrifying roar. Each creature within 60 feet of the bunyip and able to hear the roar must make a saving throw. Each creature that fails a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw is frightened for 1 minute. A frightened creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

November 27th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »