Posts Tagged ‘ undead ’

Have No Fear!

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the protector of my life: of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 26:1, Douay-Rheims)

Last Sunday, I wrote about using turn undead as a way of transforming the Cleric into a melee master against affected undead. This seems especially appropriate for Clerics who follow deities devoted to battle, undead smashing, et cetera. Not all Clerics, however, fit that mold, so this Sunday I want to turn my attention to Clerics who seek to encourage their allies in conflict with the soul-rending terrors of the undead. Such a Cleric’s player rolls 2d10 and refers to the table for turning the undead as normal, but the results of success differ as follows:

* If the number on the dice is equal to or greater than the number shown on the table, the Cleric’s allies gain for 3d6 rounds a +1 “to-hit” bonus when fighting affected undead. Those allies also gain a +1 saving throw bonus against special attacks from the affected undead.

* If the table indicates “T”, the Cleric’s allies gain for 3d6 rounds +1 bonuses both “to-hit” and to damage. The saving throw bonus increases to +2. Furthermore, any ally who fails or who has failed a saving throw against a special attack from the affected undead immediately gains a reroll on that saving throw with that +2 bonus.

* If the table indicates “D”, the Cleric’s allies gain for 3d6 rounds a +2 “to-hit” and +2 damage bonus against the affected undead. Furthermore, the allies become immune to the special attacks of the affected undead.

January 22nd, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Smite Those Undead!

…I am glorified in the eyes of the Lord, and my God is made my strength. (Isaiah 49:5)

Certain Lawful Clerics do not “turn” undead monsters. Instead, these Clerics call for divine assistance in direct combat with the undead. Such a Cleric’s player rolls 2d10 and refers to the table for turning the undead as normal, but the results of success differ as follows:

* If the number on the dice is equal to or greater than the number shown on the table, the Cleric gains for 3d6 rounds a +1 “to-hit” bonus and a damage bonus equal to the half Cleric’s level (round up) when fighting affected undead.

* If the table indicates “T”, the Cleric gains for 3d6 rounds a +1 “to hit” bonus and a damage bonus equal to the Cleric’s level when fighting the affected undead. Furthermore, the Cleric makes one attack per level each round against the affected undead.

* If the table indicates “D”, the Cleric gains for 3d6 rounds a +1 “to hit” against the affected undead. Any hit automatically destroys the undead monster, reducing it to dust. Furthermore, the Cleric makes one attack per level each round against the affected undead.

January 15th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Death Shuffles on Two Feet

One of the great things about Swords & Wizardry (and the original fantasy RPGs that inspire it) is the lack of pages and pages of detailed rules about how monsters function and are built. S&W embraces my favorite paradigm, which is that the rules for the players and their characters are not the same rules for Referees and their characters.

This paradigm facilitates introducing new monsters and variations of old monsters to adventures. The players probably know the stats for, say, a zombie. They’re right there in the book and are available on-line. What the players don’t know, however, is that this time the zombies their characters face should be handled with a little bit more care.

The Walking Dead

Zombies are mindless creatures. Their origins are uncertain. Some blame evil magic commanded by necromancers. Others hold a disease responsible. Another theory posits that Hell is full, and the souls of the damned are being released to make room. Whatever the truth, zombies pose a serious threat to any community.

A zombie attacks by grabbing, twisting, and tearing at flesh. If both hands hit a single victim, the zombie grabs hold and attempts to bite, requiring an attack roll with a +2 bonus and inflicting 1d4+1 points of damage if successful. Anyone bit by a zombie must make a saving throw to avoid suffering 2d4 points of damage per round until dead as flesh begins to corrupt, starting at the wound and spreading out from there. One who dies from a zombie’s bite rises as a new zombie 1d6 rounds later.

Zombies are most often unarmored, but they are typically encountered wearing whatever they wore at the moment of death.

Zombie: HD 2; AC 9 [10]; Atk 2 strikes (1d4); Move 6; Save 16; AL N; CL/XP 3/60; Special: deadly bite, grab (open doors check to break grapple), undead.

August 15th, 2015  in RPG No Comments »

The Barabashka

Meet the barabashka, a horrible poltergeist, just one of the monsters you might have the misfortune to meet while exploring a ghost-haunted ruin in the world of Buyan.

Anger, remorse, guilt. Some emotions live on after death, coalescing into an invisible, malevolent entity. It lashes out, hurling objects and creatures with destructive force. Invisible, incorporeal, and vicious, a barabashka seeks to harm those who trespass on its haunt.

For Dungeon World

Solitary, Terrifying
Telekinetic force (d8 damage)
20 HP, 0 Armor; Close, Near, Reach
Special Qualities: Incorporeal, Invisible to Normal Sight

Instinct: To drive away

* Fool the senses
* Throw something
* Unleash a whirlwind of destruction

For Fate Accelerated Edition

High Concept: Incorporeal, Invisible Malevolent Entity of Telekinetic Force
Trouble: Driven by Powerful Emotions
Other Aspects: My Illusions Terrify, No One Trespasses on My Haunt

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

* Boo!: Because I create terrifying illusions, I gain a +2 to Cleverly create advantages related to fear.

* Unleash My Fury: Because I can hurl objects and creatures, I gain a +2 to Forcefully attack by throwing something or someone.

For Mini Six Bare Bones Edition

Scale: 0

Might: 0D
Agility: 3D+2
Wit: 4D
Charm: 2D+2

Skills: Brawling 5D+2, Dodge 4D+1, Illusions 8D, Stealth 5D, Throwing 4D+1
Perks: Illusions (as the spell), Incorporeal (cannot be harmed by normal weapons, uses Wit in place of Might); Invisible to Normal Sight
Static: Block 17, Dodge 13, Soak 12

For Swords & Wizardry

HD 6+6; AC 1 [18]; Atks 0; SV 11; Special incorporeal (immune to non-magic weapons), invisible, telekinesis, undead; MV 15 (flying); AL C; CL/XP 10/1,400

Telekinesis: Once per round, a barabashka can lift and throw up to 360 pounds of objects or creatures with a range of 120 feet. It can hurl a single 360 pound object or creature up to 10 feet. Damage inflicted by such throwing is up to the Referee, but about 1d6 per 10 feet thrown or about 1d6 per 30 pounds seems fair. Saving throws may apply, which could negate or reduce effects.

August 3rd, 2015  in Product Development No Comments »

Days 15-16: My Favorite Undead & Aberration

Today is a two-fer since I didn’t post yesterday. Busy, busy with the beginning of the new school year, making sure all those T’s are dotted and all those I’s are crossed. For my favorite undead, I’m tempted to just link my old post about the death knight and be done with it, but that seems kind of lazy. I’m not going to do that.

My favorite undead is hard to pin down. If I were writing about movies/TV shows, my favorite undead would be zombies, but only when they’re a metaphor (such as in 1978’s Dawn of the Dead) and/or when they serve as a mirror in which the survivors’ humanity becomes reflected (such as in 2011’s State of Emergency, which I found to be surprisingly hopeful). Of course, I’m not supposed to be writing about movies. This is the 30-Day D&D Challenge, and zombies don’t really do it for me in D&D. I’ve used them, of course, and quite a bit, but D&D and survival horror are a tough match.

For D&D, the mummy reigns as my favorite undead.

“But why, Mark?” you ask.

Well, the picture piercing your soul with its glowing stare probably gave it away, but I reply to your question with a simple, “Because Boris Karloff.”

Sure, you can play mummies like lumbering, bandage-wrapped mashers, and the inferior sequels to 1932’s The Mummy veered in that direction, but that’s not the way I feel mummies should be played. The word “mummy” conjures up visions of ancient Egypt. Pyramids and sphinxes and scarabs. Kings, high priests, and powerful ministers got the mummy treatment, which isn’t quite the whole story, but it provides the hook for what a mummy ought to be.

Oh, sure, the boss mummy could have lumbering, bandage-wrapped mummy lackeys to bash interlopers, but the mummy should be more like Ardath Bey, also known as Imhotep. He’s clever, obsessed, powerful, urbane, and menacing. He doesn’t just lunge out of a sarcophagus and start swinging. To get the full-on Imhotep experience, add some divination powers and a vampire-like ability to charm the PC who’s the reincarnation of his forbidden love.

My favorite aberration bears some defining ahead of time. Early D&D didn’t have monster types as introduced by 3E. A monster type is sort of like the monster’s base character class. “An aberration has a bizarre anatomy, strange abilities, an alien mindset, or any combination of the three,” says the SRD. Classic D&D aberrations include monsters such as adherers, blindheims, boggarts, and cloakers.

And, of course, the dreaded aboleth. Evil, intelligent, vaguely fish-like, and tentacled, aboleths fool your senses with illusions and crush you will with charms. Aboleths lair in lightless, flooded caverns or deep under the sea. It’s almost a moral imperative that choirs of aboleths chant obscene litanies to Lovecraftian horrors.

“Ia! Ia! Nyarlathotep Fthagan!”

August 16th, 2013  in RPG No Comments »