The Children of the Horned Rat

Though physically weaker than most adult humans, the Children of the Horned Rat, or skaven as they are more commonly called, are naturally faster, more agile, and they are natural miners as well. Mystery shrouds the origins of the skaven. These creatures do not have a history. Their past as a race holds no interest for the skaven. They concern themselves only with two periods of time: the present, during which time they do not rule all, and the future, during which time they shall rule all.

Various other races have compiled histories of the skaven, but except for those related to military conflicts, there seems to be little agreement. Some histories claim the skaven are degenerate humans (or elves or dwarves or halflings). Others claim the skaven originated on another plane of existence, or that they were specifically created by the Horned Rat from common rodents. Whatever the truth, this much is certain: The skaven are a blight upon the world. They worship disease, poison, death, and conquest. All other races are their enemies, including those with which the skaven may enter in alliance with.

The most commonly encountered skaven are slave rats and clanrats and their military superiors, the stormvermin and warlords. Each clan typically includes several dozen clanrats, a few dozen stormvermin, and, at most, two or three warlords. The slave rat population flucuates due to pogroms, desertions, murders, et cetera, but most clans have many dozen slave rats scurrying about, many of which live lives similar to feral dogs.

Slave Rats
Armor Class: 8 [11]
Hit Dice: 1/2
Attacks: Weapon (1d6-1)
Special: None
Move: 6
Save: 19
HDE/XP: < 1/10

Slave rats are the lowest members of skaven society. They are treated little better than stray dogs at best. Slave rats are the weakest, smallest skaven, usually set aside at birth as being the runts of their litters. Slave rats seem to be invariably stupid, cowardly, treacherous, and greedy. Skaven of other classes may kill slave rats with impunity, although those slave rats owned by a master may object to the loss of property.

Clanrats
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 1-1
Attacks: Weapon
Special: None
Move: 9
Save: 19
HDE/XP: < 1/10

Clanrats are the most numerous type of skaven, superior in rank only the slave rats. As their name implies, clanrats belong to specific clans, and they serve those clans in all but the most menial capacities. In times of war, clanrats make up the bulk of common troops sent into battle in order to soften up the enemy for more elite soldiers such as the stormvermin.

Stormvermin
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 1+1
Attacks: Weapon
Special: None
Move: 9
Save: 19
HDE/XP: 1/18

Stormvermin are the elite warriors of skaven society. They make up the rank-and-file of the military caste. Stormvermin are nearly as tall as humans, and they can be fearsome opponents on the field of battle as compared to many common soldiers.

Skaven Warlord
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 3+1
Attacks: Weapon
Special: +2 to attack rolls, inspire skaven
Move: 9
Save: 19
HDE/XP: 4/120

Skaven warlords are the largest, strongest, and most vicious of the military castes. Their presence on the field of battle inspires lesser skaven to frenzied acts of violence (+1 to attack and damage rolls to skaven within 60 feet who can see and/or hear the warlord). A skaven warlord typically commands a couple dozen stormvermin, several dozen clanrats, and however many slave rats can be rounded up and driven toward the enemy.

March 8th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Savage Rulers of Savage Lands

In distant, savage jungle lands, the mighty slanns sit upon their floating thrones, deeply meditating upon schemes to reconquer lands that centuries ago suffered under the crushing fists of their forebears. A slann resembles a bloated combination of frog and humanoid of prodigious size and weight. Sluggish and clumsy, slanns possess formidable magical powers. While strong enough to inflict punishing wounds with a strike, a slann prefers to project out to 60 feet destructive blasts of energy (lightning, fire, or cold) or else attack with spells. Every slann is a mage-priest that casts spells as both a 6th-level Cleric and a 6th-level Magic-User. The slanns are the absolute rulers of the lizardmen.

Slann
Armor Class: 2 [17]
Hit Dice: 12
Attacks: Strike (1d6+1) or blast (2d6)
Special: Magical blasts, spells
Move: 6/18 (when flying)
Save: 7
HDE/XP: 14/2,600

Lizardmen, or saurus as they call themselves, are reptilian humanoids who live in savage jungle lands, slavishly serving their slann masters. The saurus have a rigid caste society, with the mighty slann at the top, followed by priests, warriors, and then hunters. Much servile labor is performed by captured slaves of various warm-blooded races, for the cruel gods of the lizardmen prefer for their altars to be drenched with gore from “soft-skins”. The stats below represent a common lizardman of the hunter caste.

Lizardman
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 2+1
Attacks: Claw or weapon
Move: 6/12 (when swimming)
Save: 17
HDE/XP: 2/30

The warrior of lizardmen, fierce in battle and arrogantly cruel, these monsters stand taller and broader than their social lessers. They act largely as temple guards, protecting the priests and keeping lesser beings away from their slann ruler. In times of war, the temple guards surround the slann’s flying throne, seeking to slaughter all in their path who oppose their master’s will.

Temple Guard
Armor Class: 4 [15]
Hit Dice: 4+1
Attacks: Claw or weapon (1d6+1)
Move: 9/12 (when swimming)
Save: 15
HDE/XP: 4/120

Lizardmen priests ruthlessly enforce the will of the slann master. Their chief duty is to fill the air with screams and drench the altars with the blood of “soft-skins”. Priests cast spells as 3rd-level Clerics and 3rd-level Magic-Users. They often ride cold ones, horse-sized lizards with a taste for warm blood.

Priest
Armor Class: 3 [16]
Hit Dice: 6+1
Attacks: Claw or weapon
Special:: Spells
Move: 6/12 (when swimming)
Save: 13
HDE/XP: 7/600

Cold One
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: Bite
Move: 12/12 (when swimming)
Save: 16
HDE/XP: 3/60

There are two types of lizardmen that occupy the lowest rungs of the caste, but still provide vital services to their slann master. These are the skinks and the kroxigors. Skinks are slend, smooth-skinned reptilians of small size and great stealth. They serve the slann as scouts and spies.

Skink
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 1+1
Attacks: Claw or weapon
Special:: Camoflauge, surprise others on 1-4
Move: 12/9 (when climbing)
Save: 18
HDE/XP: 2/30

The kroxigors are giant, primitive lizardmen. Dimly intelligent and extraordinarily savage, kroxigors act as shock troops, often herded into position by skink units before being unleashed upon a slann’s enemies.

Kroxigor
Armor Class: 4 [15]
Hit Dice: 8+1
Attacks: Claw or weapon (2d6)
Move: 12/6 (when swimming)
Save: 11
HDE/XP: 8/800

March 5th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

The Normal Kid

While I put the finishing touches on The Four Color Hack, which consists of adding three dozen to the end of the rulesbook, I’m also working on The Grimm’s Fairy Hack. (By the way, you can meet one of those villains by clicking this link.) I’ve already written a little about The Grimm’s Fairy Hack here, and I’ve posted a few times about it over on G+.

There are seven classes in The Grimm’s Fairy Hack, each based on a stereotypical sort of child whose age ranges from about 8 to 13. At the G+ link above, you can find a rough-draft version of the Bully. Below is the rough-draft version of the Normal. The other five classes are the Dreamer, the Jock, the Nerd, the Outcast, and the Popular. Each class has its advantages, its Imagination-based features, and its special vulnerability.

Normal
Starting HP: 1d4+4
HP Per Level/Resting: 1d4
Weapons & Armor: None
Attack Damage: 1d4 Weapon / 1d3 Improvising / 1 Unarmed
Starting Imagination: d6

Special Features

Normal’s Advantage: The player chooses at 1st level any two Stats with which the Normal rolls with Advantage.

Jack of All: Roll Imagination, and pick one of these class special features: Taunt, Happy Thoughts, Adrenaline Rush, Flash of Inspiration, Fight Dirty, or Cheerleading. If the Normal’s Imagination before rolling was at least equal to starting Imagination of the class from which the feature is chosen, then the Normal gets to use the feature as normal.

Unusual Heritage: The Normal isn’t really all that normal. Choose a special heritage at 1st level from this list: Descended from Kings, Fairy Kin, Forest Friend, Knight, Monster Within, or Prince/Princess. Roll Imagination. For that number of Minutes, the Normal benefits from his special heritage in ways appropriate to the heritage and the situation as adjudicated by the Referee.

Target: The monsters and threats of the fantasy world seem to instinctively realize the Normal is really something special. Whenever the Referee should pick a character at random to suffer some negative effect or attention, the Referee picks the Normal rather than rolling to see who the unlucky character is.

March 4th, 2017  in Product Development No Comments »

The Giant Claw Vulture

Giant claw vultures dwell only in regions where carrion is both large and plentiful, such as the primeval wildernesses where megafauna roam. They also flock to regions torn by war to feast on the dead. Giant claw vultures rarely wait for wounded creatures to finish dying before they feed, for these monstrous birds are much braver than most wild animals. Giant claw vultures have been seen swooping down on a heavily armored column of soldiers just to snatch up a few wounded stragglers from the end of the line. Due to their filthy eating habits and constant exposure to decaying flesh, giant claw vultures are harbingers of disease. Giant claw vultures are resistant to both disease and poison. These horrid monsters stand more than 13 feet tall, have a wingspan of over 30 feet, and weigh 500 to 600 pounds.

Giant Claw Vulture
Armor Class: 2 [17]
Hit Dice: 9
Attacks: Bite (2d6)
Special: Disease (10%)
Move: 6/15 (when flying)
Save: 10 (6 versus disease and poison)
HDE/XP: 11/1,700

March 3rd, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

The Salt Sucker

Tropical jungle wildernesses, especially those close to coastal regions, conceal many threats, among them the dreaded salt sucker. Intelligent and manipulative, a salt sucker’s natural appearance is monstrous, with dark eyes, a lamprey-like mouth, downy fur, and powerful arms that end in three-fingered hands. These fingers are quite long and the gripping surfaces are covered with strong, sucker-shaped muscles.

A salt sucker is seldom seen in its natural appearance. These creatures possess telempathic abilities that enable them to instantly appear as any humanoid drawn from the emotional memories of its victims. Under cover of this illusory appearance, the salt sucker then causes paralysis with its gaze. At this time, its victim is helpless. The salt sucker uses its fingers to suck all of the salt from the victim, an act which kills the victim in 1d4 rounds. If forced to defend itself in melee, a salt sucker uses its powerful strike.

Salt Sucker
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: Strike (1d6+1)
Special: Gaze causes paralysis, suck salt, telempathic illusion
Move: 12
Save: 13
HDE/XP: 9/1,100

March 2nd, 2017  in RPG No Comments »