Posts Tagged ‘ monsters ’

From Unformed Realms? Excellent!

I recently acquired several Paul Baldowski’s The Cthulhu Hack products-in-print via All Rolled Up. One of these products is From Unformed Realms. According to the introduction, this 20-page booklet is a “system-free supplement for a Gamemaster running games involving creatures of alien horror for role-playing games of all genres, fantastical or horrific”. The author suggests rolling 3d6 six times “to generate a customized aggressive horror”.

Each set of 3d6 determines a category, subcategory, and specific trait. There are six categories, such as Extremities or Fluids. Each category included at least three subcategories, and each subcategory includes six specific traits. That’s quite a lot of variety, and it looks like fun, so let’s play. I get 3d6, one black, one purple, and one red, and I roll them six times each, recording the results in the color order already mentioned. I get these results:

3, 4, 4: Skeleton, Bone Mutations, Blades
5, 6, 6: Appearance, That Looks Like, Ooze
1, 4, 2: Extremities, Weapons, Pincers
5, 3, 5: Appearance, Protuberances, Digestion
2, 6, 4: Senses, Vision, Compound
1, 2, 4: Extremities, Limbs, Spines

In other words, something like this:

Before our horrified eyes, the blasphemous thing lurched forward, glistening wetly in the moonlight. Shadows of bones rolled within its amorphous bulk, translucent and fetid, and some of those skeletal remnants slid from within, hooked and sharp and some clacking like monstrous pincers. Globular compound eyes bobbed within its body, pressing toward air. Even in the dim lunar glow, we could see half-digested remains: a dog, several rats, and — God help us! — a man’s arm!

Turning to The Cthulhu Hack core rules, I put together some quick monster stats:

Hit Dice: 5
Nota Bene: The gelatinous horror moves stealthily (roll with Disadvantage to hear it before it’s too late), and its fluid form is difficult to grapple (also roll with Disadvantage). It is impervious to flame or heat. Its compound eyes see in nearly all directions at once. It attacks 1d4 times per Moment, and each attack inflicts 1d4 points of damage.

After From Unformed Realms describes the various traits by category and subcategory, there is a single page “Summary of Traits” followed by two pages of “The Obligatory Appendix”. The latter provides tables that answer questions such as “The Hook?”, “Location?”, and “Horror’s Motivation?”, and with a few more dice rolls I determine the gist of an investigation into madness and death. Bolded parts of the following sentence indicate the results of dice rolls.

A chance visitation leads to a boot camp that has been a cover for anarchists for nearly two years for the purpose of medical research. The boot camp has become the target of the horror because the camp is built on the monster’s food source.

And there you go. In a fraction of the time than it took me to type, format, and edit this blogpost, I’ve got the framework for an investigation that pits the players’ characters against secretive, Mengele-like anarchists unaware that a Horror from Beyond lurks at their doorstep.


July 14th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

The Teeth in the Darkness

First, some news: I’ve released the playtest version of The Grimm’s Fairy Hack via DriveThruRPG. It’s listed as Pay What You Want with a suggested price of $2. Of course, as a purchaser (even if you choose to purchase the game for free), you’ll automatically receive updates to TGFH, to include the final, for-sale version. In TGFH, a based on The Black Hack roleplaying game, the players take on the roles of children from our real world who find themselves lost in a dangerous, magical realm. These playtest rules include all the information you need to get started exploring your own versions of grim tales.

And now a monster inspired by an entertaining film starring Finn and half of Firestorm.

Teeth in the Darkness
Frequency: Very rare
No. Appearing: 5-30
Armor Class: 6
Move: 12″
Hit Dice: 2-5
% in Lair: 35%
Treasure Type: O, P, R
No. of Attacks: 3
Damage/Attack: 1-4/1-4/1-6
Special Attacks: Add 1/2 HD to damage rolls
Special Defenses: See below
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Low to Average
Alignment: Neutral evil
Size: S to M (2′ to 5′ at the shoulder)
Psionic Ability: Nil
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil
Level/X.P. Value: 60+2/hp (2 HD); 110+3/hp (3 HD); 185+4/hp (4 HD); 290+5/hp (5 HD)

Found in caverns and ancient forests, the teeth in the darkness are intelligent predators that run in packs, hunting much like wolves. These creatures lope about most of the time on all fours, and they are skilled climbers but do not swim well. Their forelegs are longer than their rear legs, giving them an appearance somewhat like an gorilla. The teeth in the darkness have no eyes (and are consequently immune to attacks and illusions that affect the sense of sight). They have highly developed olfactory senses as well a form of echolocation that uses clicks, grunts, snarls, and surprisingly human-like screams; some of the teeth in the darkness’s vocalizations cannot be detected by normal hearing. The teeth in the darkness use these same sounds to communicate with each other. Due to their unusual senses, the teeth in the darkness are surprised only a on 1 (in 6), and they track prey by scent like a bloodhound.

In the dimly lit and shadowy conditions, these monsters are almost impossible to see as long as they keep their mouths closed to conceal their bioluminescent fangs. They move silently with cunning. In the dark when they cannot be seen, they surprise foes 5 in 6 times. Even in lighted conditions, they still surprise foes 3 in 6 times due to their stealth. The size of these monsters (and HD) varies with age and sex. Males are generally larger when fully grown. Regardless of size, they are quite strong. Add one-half the monster’s HD (round up) to damage rolls with its bear-like claws and glowing fangs. Their fur is blacker than black, and it does not reflect light. This makes it difficult to accurately judge their position at distances farther than 15 feet, especially when they are moving; this trait imposes a -4 penalty on “to-hit” rolls with ranged attacks.

July 4th, 2017  in RPG, Spes Magna News No Comments »

Mutant Cacti

If you’ve never checked out The Public Domain Review, you should. It’s nifty. Keen, even. The two illustrations that accompany this post come from Iconographie descriptive des cactées, ou, Essais systématiques et raisonnés sur l’histoire naturelle, la classification et la culture des plantes de cette famille by French botanist Charles Lemaire (for more information, check this out).

Many dangers exist in the radioactive deserts of the mutant future.

Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 30′ (10′)
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d4 (plus 3d6 poison)
Save: L2
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: None
XP: 245

Mutations: Projectile Thorns (Class 3 Poison), Unique Sense (“Smell” Water [60 feet])

An erinaceus is a roundish, predatory cactus with a thick, tough exterior. It rolls slowly by shifting water stored in its tissues toward the direction of travel. This plant senses water, to include the natural moisture stored in most creatures’ bodies, via an olfactory sense analogous to the sense of smell. An erinaceus brings down prey by means of its projectile thorns. These thorns have the same ranges as a thrown dagger, and each packs a powerful toxic punch (save for half damage permitted). Once its prey is down, an erinaceus rolls to it and uses its roots to extract the prey’s blood.

Alignment: Neutral
Movement: None
Armor Class: 8
Hit Dice: 6
Save: L6
Morale: 7
Hoard Class: None
XP: 1,070

Mutations: Fragrance Development (Plants), Neural Telepathy, Teleport

A hexadres is an intelligent, telepathic cactus. Inoffensive and contemplative, a hexadres prefers to simply teleport away if molested. Of course, a hexadres is often protected by various creatures that have fallen victim to the plant’s enticing scent. A hexadres communicates via telepathy.

July 3rd, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Evil Trees & Temptations

Now that I’ve finally finished The Four Color Hack, it’s time to finish The Grimm’s Fairy Hack, my second spin-off from The Black Hack. I’ve got one more section of essential rules related to the dark fairy-tale setting, and then the playtest rules are ready for upload to DriveThruRPG. This final section includes some special rules applicable to the fairy-tale world of TGFH along with some sample creatures, such as the Evil Tree below. After the Evil Tree comes rules for Temptations.

Evil Tree

The wild, wooded places between walled villages threaten travelers in a variety of ways. Even the trees themselves may seek to grab, tear, and crush.

Hit Dice: 7
Damage: 2d8
Special: An Evil Tree appears very much like a normal tree when it wants to (roll with Disadvantage to spot). It doesn’t move quickly, but its branches and roots have an extensive reach (attack anyone Nearby). An Evil Tree fears fire and axes (roll with Advantage when applicable). Some Evil Trees possess magical powers, such as the ability to animate normal trees or swallow a creature whole.


Temptations abound in the fairy-tale world. Temptations exist to lure the unwary and thoughtless into danger. Temptations take a variety of forms, anything from delicious apples to piles of gold to beautiful ball gowns. No matter it’s form, a Temptation has four parts:

* A HD Equivalent: Temptations do not have HP, but they do impose a penalty on Stat checks to resist them.
* A Preferred Target: Temptations are often targeted against a specific type of character.
* A Preferred Stat: Temptations target a specific Stat that is used to resist the Temptation.
* An Effect: What happens if a character fails to resist the Temptation. This effect can range from something as simple as “The character opens the door” to powerful magical effects like “The character turns into a talking frog.”

For example, while traveling along the road, the characters sees stylish sunglasses resting on a fence post. The sunglasses are a Temptation.

Sunglasses (3 HD; Popular; Upbringing): The character takes the sunglasses and wears them all the time. The sunglasses allow the Goblin King to know the character’s whereabouts.

There is often a way to undo the effect of a Temptation. The method for undoing the Temptation may be simple or complex, easy or hard. In the case of the sunglasses, another character may take them away and break them, for example. On the other hand, perhaps a character transformed into a talking frog may regain his original shape only by receiving a willing kiss from a princess who holds a lilypad retrieved from the Marsh of Lost Heroes.

July 1st, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

The Great and Terrible Wilderness

Thy heart be lifted up, and thou remember not the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage: And was thy leader in the great and terrible wilderness, wherein there was the serpent burning with his breath, and the scorpion and the dipsas, and no waters at all: who brought forth streams out of the hardest rock, And fed thee in the wilderness with manna which thy fathers knew not. And after he had afflicted and proved thee, at the last he had mercy on thee, Lest thou shouldst say in thy heart: My own might, and the strength of my own hand have achieved all these things for me. (Deuteronomy 8:14-16)

Fire Serpent
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: Bite
Special: Breath weapon, immune to fire, poison
Move: 12
Save: 15
HDE/XP: 6/400

Fire serpents, magical beasts that hunt during the heat of the day in certain deserts, appear much like normal snakes except for their brilliant scarlet coloration and the heat shimmer that surrounds them. An adult fire serpent may reach lengths between 12 and 16 feet. A fire serpent is uncomfortably hot to the touch, but not hot enough to cause immediate damage. When startled or threatened, this creature curls into striking position and exhales a gout of flame in a line 5 feet wide and 30 feet long. The blazing heat of this breath weapon inflcits 4d6 points of damage (a successful saving throw indicates half damage). A fire serpent’s bite packs a deadly poison. Those that succumb to this toxin burn from the inside.

Armor Class: 7 [12]
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: Bite (1d6-1)
Special: Induce thirst, surprise foes
Move: 9/6 (burrowing)
Save: 17
HDE/XP: 3/60

Another rarer sort of magical snake found in certain deserts is the dipsas, also known as the thirst snake. These snakes lurk near oases, waiting buried in the sand or within the spaces between rocks. A dispas surprises its prey 4 in 6 times. Its bite forces a saving throw to avoid magically induced thirst. This thirst is so powerful that the victim will ignore even attacks for 1d6 rounds in order to slake the maddening hunger for water. Dipsas prefer to attack prey gripped by overwhelming thirst.

June 19th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »