Posts Tagged ‘ monsters ’

A Ghost-Haunted Ruin Test Drive

I take my rough-draft drop table for a ghost-haunted ruin out for a test drive. The red die’s location determines the creature(s) encountered.

First Drop: A barabashka, which is a type of poltergeist. This ghost is lost in grief when encountered.

Second Drop: Two ghouls out hunting for a meal.

Third Drop: A wight, which is communing with evil.

Fourth Drop: A lunatic, drive mad by voices from beyond, who is motivated by an urge to share some mad insight.

Fifth Drop: Six skeletons and two zombies.

During the test drive, I noticed a typo. Have to fix that. I also want the skeletons and zombies space to be bigger. That should be easy enough with some creative formatting. All in all, I think I like this table.

The next challenge is adapting it for use with Fate Dice. Since Fate Dice yield only -1, 0, or +1, that’s going to take some tweaking, but it should be doable. Then, of course, I need to come up with stats for the monsters for game systems where those stats don’t already exist. That mainly applies to Fate Accelerated Edition.

For other systems, such as Swords & Wizardry, I’d like to come up with some “Referee’s Options” for monsters, such as ghouls that can change shape like doppelgangers, an example of which appears at the end of this post.

Long story short: The next free Buyan-oriented PDF I release requires a bit more work. Busy, busy, but at least I’m staying out of trouble.

Dvyonik

Dvyoniks are pack-hunting undead corpse eaters. They are immune, like most undead, to charms and sleep spells. Perhaps the most dangerous feature of these horrid, cunning creatures is their paralyzing touch. Any hit from a dvyonik requires a saving throw or the victim becomes paralyzed for 3d6 turns.

What’s more, a dvyonik can change its form to resemble the physical appearance (including clothing and gear) of any person. Dvyoniks are considered magic resistant for purposes such as breaking through wizard locks and similar spells. They have a very good saving throw against magic of all kinds.

HD 3; AC 6 [13]; Atk 2 claws (1d6), 1 bite (1d4); Move 9; Save 14 (5 vs. magic); AL C; CL/XP 5/240; Special: immunities, mimics shape, paralyzing touch, undead

July 31st, 2015  in Product Development No Comments »

Koschei the Deathless

In my last post, I introduced Buyan, a magical island found in Slavic and Russian folktales and myths. Today, we meet Koschei the Deathless. If you’d like to read a tale featuring this villain, here’s a link to a PDF of “The Death of Koschei the Deathless” taken from The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang.

So tall he towers over the tallest men, emaciated yet vigorous, unkempt hair and beard grown into ragged and long strands, completely naked. Koschei the Deathless, sorceror and kidnapper, lives in a decaying fortress lost within a rugged highland forest. From this lair, Koschei rides out mounted on his remarkable steed, one of Baba Yaga’s magical horses given to Koschei by that monstrous witch. Koschei abducts women, especially the wives of aristocrats. He locks them up in his fortress’s dungeons, guarded by frost giants and winter wolves, often for no reason other than to enjoy slaughtering those who come to rescue the ladies.

Only Koschei’s deathlessness overshadows his legendary wrath and cruelty. In ages past, Koschei took his soul and hid it within a needle. He put the needle inside an egg. A duck carries this egg in its body, and, in turn, a white-furred hare holds within its body the duck. Koschei locked the hare inside a sturdy chest constructed from iron, crystal, and gold. He buried the chest beneath the roots of an oak tree that grows in Buyan’s forested wilderness. As long as Koschei’s soul remains protected, Koschei cannot die. No force mundane or magical can kill him.

Anyone fortunate enough to locate the oak tree, dig up the chest, and open the container must still contend with the hare, which then races away, seeking to evade capture. If pursuers catch and kill the hare, the duck bursts forth and flies away. Should the duck be caught and killed, the hunter can extract the egg and use it to control Koschei, who sickens and loses his great strength and his sorcerous powers. Cracking the egg open to get the needle breaks this control and restores Koschei’s might, but breaking the needle instantly slays the villain.

Koschei’s steed, which he addresses only with various insults such as “jade” and “nag”, has magical powers. It gallops faster than any mortal horse, and it speaks several languages. It tracks victims for Koschei with its remarkable sense of smell, and no one has ever thrown the horse off their trail. Koschei also possesses at least one amazing magic item, a normal-seeming handkerchief which, when waved three times, transforms into a strong bridge long enough to span any river or chasm. Once Koschei crosses the bridge, it reverts to a handkerchief.

This link takes you to a PDF containing game stats for Koschei the Deathless, making this miscreant usable for Dungeon World, Fate Accelerated Edition, Mini Six Bare Bones Edition, and Swords & Wizardy. Koschei’s stats for Barbarians of Lemuria appear below. Huzzah.

Koschei the Deathless
Attributes: Strength 4, Agility 0, Mind 3, Appeal 0; Brawl 2, Melee 3, Missile 2, Defence 0
Careers: Gaoler 2, Hunter 1, Scholar 1, Sorcerer 3
Lifeblood: 12
Protection: 0 (no armor)
Weapons: Scimitar d6+6
Special: Koschei is deathless as long as his needle is intact. He ignores all damage to Lifeblood.

Koschei’s Horse
Attributes: Strength 3, Agility 1, Mind 2
Offence: Attack with hooves +2; d6 damage
Defence: 2
Protection: d3-1 (tough hide)
Lifeblood: 20
Special: Koschei’s horse speaks several languages. Its swiftness is legendary. It can accurately track a target via scent.

July 26th, 2015  in Product Development, RPG 2 Comments »

The Spiders from Mars

The desolate plains of an alien world named for ancient culture’s war god appear lifeless from a bird’s eye view, but appearances deceive. Strange formations crisscross that alien world’s desolate plains, and entities monstrous and malevolent live within those formations.

Martian spiders, or zlopavouk in their own bizarre language, are intelligent, communal creatures who build elaborate networks of tunnels and tubes out of soil, rock, and adhesive secretions, creating a composite material every bit as strong as granite. Divided into rigid castes, most Martian spiders are workers, who occupy the lowest tier in zlopavouk society. The workers have little in the way of genuine will, but instead live content, controlled by a combination of pheromones and telepathic commands produced by the higher castes, the fierce warriors and the terrifying nobles.

Like a terrestrial spider, a Martian spider’s body consists of two parts: a cephalothorax and an abdomen. It has nine legs, six growing from the cephalothorax, three per side. The other three legs, noticeably larger, grow from the abdomen, spaced more or less equally. A Martian spider scuttles rapidly on all nine legs, but it can also rise up on its rear legs, moving in a semi-rotating gait so that it can bring its forelimbs to bear. These forelimbs end in three-fingered hands. Martian spiders of all castes have three pedipalps near their three fanged mouths. The bite of a Martian spider is highly toxic. They also have three compound eyes spaced to the front and sides of the cephalothorax, giving Martian spiders a field of vision nearly 360 degrees in breadth.

Workers are smallish, being about three to four feet long. They do not have spinnerets like terrestrial spiders, but instead have structures evolved to scoop soil, move rocks, and then shape and fuse them with adhesive secretions. Warriors are larger, reaching seven feet in length. Their three-fingered hands end in hooked claws, and their fangs are exceptionally large. Noble Martian spiders are larger than workers but smaller than warriors. An observers may readily identify a noble Martian spider by the clusters of bright red nodules growing around its eyes. These nodules contain highly specialized psychic organs.

Martian Spider Workers
Agile Fingers & Venomous Fangs
Skilled (+2) at: Following Orders
Bad (-2) at: Thinking Outside the Box
Stress: [] [] [] (6 workers)

Martian Spider Warrior
Aspects: Driven to Conquer, Fierce Member of the Warrior Caste
Skilled (+2) at: Attacking with Speed and Precision, Commanding Workers
Bad (-2) at: Anything Not Related to Fighting and Killing
Stress: [] []

Martian Spider Noble
High Concept: Psychic Ruler of Martian Spider Society
Trouble: “Obey Me!”
Other Aspects: Hyper-Intelligent Alien Overlord, My Intricate Plans Cannot Fail, Your Mind is My Mind

Approaches: Careful Good (+3), Clever Great (+4), Flashy Mediocre (+0), Forceful Mediocre (+0), Quick Fair (+2), Sneaky Fair (+2)

Stunts
Telepathic Powers: Because I have telepathic powers, I gain a +2 to Cleverly create an advantage or overcome an obstacle by directly influencing the mind of another.

Refresh: 3

July 12th, 2015  in RPG No Comments »

The Bakemono of Kaosunoie

Are you familiar with the art of Domenico Neziti? If your answer is “No”, you owe it to yourself to check out his on-line portfolio. If Spes Magna Games had an art budget, I’d love to commission Domenico to do a cover and some interior art.

Domenico’s art has a definite voice that sets it apart. His character studies are evocative and stylized in a way that reminds me of Tony DiTerlizzi‘s Planescape work. Domenico’s monsters are usually scary, but some are adorable. His action pieces are dynamic and vivid.

Domenico has graciously permitted me to feature two of his pieces on site for this post. If you click on either piece, it will embiggen for greater clarity.

And now, some game content for Fate Accelerated Edition.

Sitting adjacent to a narrow, shallow canal that angles its way between barley fields, Kaosunoie appears as little more than a smallish, sturdy stone building. Its single entrance is blocked by nothing more than a silk curtain. Its small round windows hold nothing within their panes, presenting no real obstacle to sun, wind, or rain. The nearby well offers fresh, crisp water, and the dai-dōrō next to the winding path leading up to Kaosunoie hints that the structure is some sort of shrine.

Only the most aged locals remember a time when Kaosunoie was not there, and in the decades following the buildings mysterious appearance after a thickly fogged, windless night, everyone in the nearby farming village has made their peace with the strange structure. At the appointed times, they offer sacrifices of barley, rice, and braided hair, leaving these offerings around the dai-dōrō. In return, the bakemono that live within Kaosunoie avoid destructive mischief and even defend the village against threats.

Kaosunoie’s interior exists within two overlapping realities. In the mundane reality that the village also occupies, the building houses a single room with a dirt floor and unadorned walls. For those who, like the bakemono, can cross over into the spirit realm, Kaosunoie’s interior is a bewildering maze of corridors, ladders, chambers, and courtyards open to a starless, cloudless sky locked in eternal twilight. Dozens, maybe hundreds, of bakemono live in Kaosunoie, and the spaces harder to reach are home to more dangerous creatures, including at least one oni.

Stats for gangs of bakemono:

Bakemono Gang
Shapeshifter
Skilled (+2) at: Ganging up, pranks
Bad (-2) at: Staying focused, maintaining current form
Stress: [] [] [] (6 bakemono)

Stats for a bakemono character:

O-Tomiki
High Concept: Bakemono Shaman of the Void
Trouble: No Such Thing As Too Much Sake
Other Aspects: My Shapeshifting Powers Are Strong, Look! Over There!, I Can Smell Your Weakness

Approaches: Careful Mediocre (+0), Clever Average (+1), Flashy Fair (+2), Forceful Average (+1), Quick Good (+3), Sneaky Fair (+2)

Stunts
Like the Wind: Because my form is fluid, I gain a +2 to Quickly create an advantage or overcome an obstacle by changing my shape.

Refresh: 3

June 19th, 2015  in RPG No Comments »

Vodyanoi & Rusalki

From the waist up, a vodyanoy appears as a naked old man, but its frog-like face, tangled greenish hair, and covering of algae and muck over fish scales surely prevents anyone from mistaking this creature for human. What’s more, it has not hands but instead webbed paws, and in place of its legs extends a powerful fish’s tail. A vodyanoy’s eyes burn like red-hot coals.

When not swimming, it usually rides along its river on a half-sunken log, making loud splashes. When angered, a vodyanoy breaks dams, destroys water mills, and drowns both people and animals alike. Consequently, those who live along the banks of a vodyanoy’s river make sacrifices to appease the monster. Vodyanoi also drag down people to their underwater dwellings to serve as slaves.

For Barbarians of Lemuria

Attributes: Strength 4, Agility 0, Mind 1

Combat Abilities: 2 claws +1, damage d6-1; Defence 1; Protection d3-1 (scales); Lifeblood 10

Special: Vodyanoi breathe water as well as air. Against man-made structures, vodyanoi can exert enormous destructive power, comparable in many ways to the effects of a catapult.

For Dungeon World

Group, Hoarder, Intelligent
Claws (d8+2 damage, forceful)
6 HP
2 Armor
Close
Special Qualities: Amphibious
Instinct: To dominate its territory

* Destroy a man-made structure
* Drag victim to the bottom
* Swim silently and swiftly

For Swords & Wizardry

HD 4+1; AC 5 (14); Atks 2 claws (1d6); SV 13; Special breathe water, destroy man-made structure; MV 6 (Swim 12); AL C; CL/XP 5/240

The rusalka, an unquiet undead monster, was in life a young woman who either committed suicide by drowning due to an unhappy marriage or who was murdered by drowning, especially after becoming pregnant with an unwanted child. A rusalka must suffer its tortured existence in or near the body of water in which it both died and was reborn.

This undead creature is not invariably malevolent, for it may die in peace if its death is avenged. Nevertheless, a rusalka’s main activity is far from benign. It seduces by either by looks or by voice young men, who the monster then leads into the depths of its waterway. Therein, the rusalka entangles its victim with her long red hair and submerges, dragging the would-be lover to his death.

For Barbarians of Lemuria

Attributes: Strength 2, Agility 2, Mind 2

Combat Abilities: grappling hair +2, damage d3; Defence 2; Protection d4-1 (lacks any vulnerable organs); Lifeblood 10

Special: Rusalki appear as beautiful, red-haired maidens to mask their true, more horrific appearance. If engaged in seductive efforts against a male hero, the hero must attempt a Hard Mind action to avoid being charmed by the monster.

For Dungeon World

Devious, Group, Intelligent
Entangling hair (d4 damage)
10 HP
0 Armor
Close, Reach
Special Qualities: Undead
Instinct: To kill young men

* Appear beautiful
* Ensare in its entangling hair
* Inflame the passions

For Swords & Wizardry

HD 8; AC 3 (16); Atks Entangling hair (1d3 then constrict); SV 8; Special appear human, charm male, constrict (1d6), undead; MV 9 (Swim 9); AL C; CL/XP 11/1,700

June 3rd, 2015  in RPG 2 Comments »