About one in two hundred sahuagin has four arms. Such creatures can make four claw attacks or use extra weapons, in addition to the claw and bite attacks. A Referee in possession of a game that utilizes random mutations may want to add other mutations to the sahuagin mutant (laser eyes, a winning personality, etc).
- Sahuagin Mutant: HD 2+1; AC 5 ; Atk 4 claws (1d4) or 2 weapons (1d8); Move 12 (Swim 18); Save 16; CL/XP 3/60; Special: None.
Scrag (Sea Troll)
These cousins of the troll dwell in any body of water in any climate. They regenerate only if mostly immersed in water.
- Scrag: HD 6+3; AC 4 ; Atk 2 claws (1d4), 1 bite (1d8); Move 12 (Swim 18); Save 11; CL/XP 8/800; Special: Regenerate 3 hp/round.
Although no more intelligent than an average shadow, a greater shadow is more loathesome and dangerous because it can spawn. Creatures drained of all their strength by a greater shadow become shadows under the control of their killer.
- Greater Shadow: HD 9+3; AC 6 ; Atk 1 touch (1d6 + strength drain); Move 12; Save 6; CL/XP 10/1400; Special: Drain 1d4 points of strength with hit, hit only by magic weapons.
Shield guardians are magical constructs created to protect whoever wears a certain amulet. They obey verbal commands, but are fairly stupid. All attacks against the amulet wearer in the presence of a shield guardian suffer a –2 penalty to hit. A shield guardian can store one spell of level 4 or lower that is cast into it by another creature. It “casts” this spell when commanded to do so. If a shield guardian’s amulet is destroyed, the guardian ceases to function until a new one is created. If the wearer dies but the amulet is intact, the shield guardian carries out the last command it was given.
- Shield Guardian: HD 15; AC 0 ; Atk 2 slam (2d6); Move 12; Save 3; CL/XP 16/3200; Special: Shield other, spell storing.
Skum are humanoid algae that serve aboleths and other aquatic dark lords. They are amphibious and have raking claws.
- Skum: HD 2; AC 7 ; Atk 1 bite (2d6), 2 claws (1d4); Move 9 (Swim 15); Save 16; CL/XP 2/30; Special: None.
A spider eater is 10 feet long and 4 feet high, and has a wingspan of about 20 feet. A spider eater attacks with its venomous sting and powerful mandibles. Female spider eaters lay their eggs inside large, paralyzed creatures. The young emerge about six weeks later, literally devouring the host from inside. Creatures stung by a spider eater must pass a saving throw or be paralyzed for 1d8+5 weeks. Spider eaters have a continuous freedom of movement ability as the spell. They can be trained as mounts.
- Spider Eater: HD 4+1; AC 5 ; Atk 1 sting (2d4) and 1 bite (1d8); Move 12 (Fly 24); Save 13; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Implant eggs, poison.
The thoqqua is a 5’ long, reddish-silver worm-like creature that radiates intense heat. When it burrows through rock it leaves a 3-ft diameter tunnel glowing red with heat; anyone touching this tunnel within 1 minute of it being made will suffer 2d6 points of damage. It can charge 120’ in one round, dealing 5d6 damage to whomever it hits. Creatures struck must make a saving throw or lose a prominent item worn to the creature’s intense heat. A thoqqua is healed by fire damage. It suffers double damage from cold.
- Thoqqua: HD 3; AC 1 ; Atk 1 touch (2d6); Move 12 (Burrow 3); Save 14; CL/XP 4/120; Special: Healed by fire, double damage from cold.
Some trolls, more cunning than most, are not satisfied with merely eating civilized beings but train to hunt them relentlessly. These troll hunters are fearsome creatures who focus on slaying and devouring humanoid prey.
- Troll Hunter: HD 12+6; AC 1 ; Atk 2 claws (1d4), 1 bite (1d8) or battle axe (2d6) or javelin (1d8); Move 12; Save 3; CL/XP 15/2900; Special: Regenerate 3 hp/round, +2 bonus to hit humans and elfs, speak with animals at will, cast resist fire once per day.
Vampire spawn are undead creatures that come into being when vampires slay mortals. Like their creators, spawn remain bound to their coffins and to the soil of their graves. Vampire spawn appear much as they did in life, although their features are often hardened, with a predatory look. Like vampires, vampire spawn have a variety of special abilities. They can only be harmed by magic or silver weapons, regenerate 1 hp per round, can turn into gaseous form at will and can drain one level with their bite. Looking into a vampire spawn’s eyes forces one to make a saving throw or be charmed (as the charm person spell). Vampire spawn have the same weaknesses and vulnerabilities as true vampires.
- Vampire Spawn: HD 4; AC 4 ; Atk 1 bite (1d6 + level drain); Move 12; Save 13; CL/XP 7/600; Special: See description.
Xill are four-armed, red-skinned hooligans. Xill are asexual. They reproduce by laying eggs in the stomachs of living humanoids. They can shift from the ethereal to the material plane instantly, or the reverse in 2 rounds during which it loses its magic resistance. Despite their magic resistance, xill can be warded with protection from evil. The xill’s claws can inject a paralyzing venom into grappled opponents (a saving throw applies). Once a victim is secured and subdued, the xill will take its victim to the ethereal plane for egg laying. If attacked in its lair, the xill will first save its eggs and any egg-bound victims. Xill eggs hatch in 1d4 days; over the next 2d4 days they will inflict 3d6 damage per day as they mature. Once they emerge they kill the victim instantly. The eggs will produce 2d8 small xill that mature to adulthood in only 1d4 hours.
- Xill: HD 5; AC 2 ; Atk 4 claws (1d4) weapons (1d8); Move 15; Save 12; CL/XP 12/2000; Special: Attack as 8 HD creatures, only harmed by magic weapons, magic resistance 70%, ethereal shift.
A yrthak is a large, blind avian. It senses sound and movement by means of a special organ on its long tongue. It emits powerfully focused beams of sound from the protrusion on its head. The creature is a yellowish-green color, with the wings and fin being more yellow and the head and body more green. The teeth are yellow. A yrthak is about 20 feet long, with a wingspan of 40 feet. Despite their intelligence, yrthaks do not speak. They can focus sonic energy into a ray every 2 rounds. The ray inflicts 6d6 damage. It can also focus the ray on stone, causing an explosion that deals 2d6 damage to all within 10 feet of the impact.
- Yrthak: HD 12; AC 3 ; Atk 2 claws (1d6), 1 bite (2d8); Move 9 (Fly 24); Save 3; CL/XP 13/2300; Special: Sonic attacks.
Templates are, in my opinion, a sound idea. Why have separate stats for skeletons and monster skeletons and dragon skeletons, when you can instead apply a simple template to any monster and turn it into a skeleton. Nice and simple. Unfortunately, here is where the idea runs smack-dab into one of my least favorite parts of the d20 experience – monster stats. When I used to run a d20 game, I would dutifully go about the business of template-ing a monster to throw a twist to my players. I would go down the list, make the changes, do the calculations, and in the end come up with a slightly new monster that would probably still bite the dust in the course of three or four rounds of combat. For me, not enough bang for the buck. Enter the Swords & Wizardry Core Rules and the sheer joy that is monsters with only SEVEN stats. Compare that to the 23 to 25 statistics for a d20 monster that is going to last just about as long and do just about the same things in combat. Of course, templates often are used to create fairly bizarre, tongue-in-cheek creatures, but I have room for a little comedy in my games. So, here is an attempt at converting some d20 templates into an old school format.
The celestial creature template can be applied to any kind of creature.
- Celestial creatures are subject to spells that repulse conjured creatures.
- Once per day a celestial creature can “smite evil”, dealing bonus damage equal to its own hit dice on a successful attack against a evil creature.
- Celestial creatures take half damage from acid, cold and lightning and have 10% magic resistance. A celestial creature with four or more hit dice can only be harmed by magic weapons.
- Celestial creaures have challenge levels 3 or 4 points higher than normal creatures of the same type.
Sample Celestial Creature
- Celestial Polar Bear: HD 7; AC 6 ; Atk 2 claws (1d6+1), 1 bite (1d10+1); Move 12; Save 9; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Hug, smite evil, half damage from acid, cold and lightning, magic resistance 10%, only harmed by magic weapons.
The fiendish creature template can be applied to any kind of creature.
- Fiendish creatures are subject to spells that repulse conjured creatures.
- Once per day a fiendish creature can “smite good”, dealing bonus damage equal to its own hit dice on a successful attack against a good creature.
- Fiendish creatures take half damage from cold and fire and have 10% magic resistance. A fiendish creature with four or more hit dice can only be harmed by magic weapons.
- Fiendish creaures have challenge levels 3 or 4 points higher than normal creatures of the same type.
Sample Fiendish Creature
- Fiendish Giant Viper: HD 4; AC 5 ; Atk 1 bite (1d3 + poison); Move 12; Save 13; CL/XP 6/400; Special: Lethal poison, only harmed by magic weapons, half damage from fire and cold, magic resistance 10%, smite good.
The haf-celestial template can be applied to any humanoid creature. No matter the form, half-celestials are always comely and delightful to the senses, having golden skin, sparkling eyes, angelic wings, or some other sign of their higher nature.
- Half-celestials have feathered wings, giving them a fly speed equal to twice their land speed.
- A half-celestial’s armor class improves by one.
- Once per day a half-celestial can “smite evil”, dealing bonus damage equal to its own hit dice on a successful attack against an evil creature.
- Half-celestials can use the spell light at will, and can always counter magical darkness.
- Half-celestials can cast cleric spells. They can cast one spell of each cleric spell level, with the maximum level of cleric spells equal to their hit dice.
- Half-celestials are immune to disease, suffer only half damage from acid, cold and lightning, are only harmed by magic weapons, have 25% magic resistance and are +2 to save vs. poison.
- A half-celestial’s challenge level is 5 points higher than a normal creature of its type.
- Half-Celestial Elf: HD 1+1; AC 4 ; Atk 1 sword (1d8) or 2 arrows (1d6); Move 12 (Fly 24); Save 17 (15 vs. poison); CL/XP 6/400; Special: Smite evil (+1 damage), bless once per day, light at will, immune to disease, half damage from acid, cold and lightning, only harmed by magic weapons, magic resistance 25%.
The haf-dragon template can be applied to any living creature. Half-dragon creatures are always more formidable than others of their kind that do not have dragon blood, and their appearance betrays their nature; scales, elongated features, reptilian eyes, and exaggerated teeth and claws. Sometimes half-dragons have wings.
- Half-dragons have +1 hit point per hit dice.
- A half-dragon that is larger than man-size gains leathery wings and a fly speed equal to twice its land speed.
- A half-dragon’s armor class improves by two.
- Half-dragons have one bite attack for 1d6 damage and two claw attacks for 1d4 damage. Damage can be increased for creatures larger than man-sized, or decreased for smaller creatures.
- Half-dragons gain one breath weapon of the breed of their dragon parent (i.e. frost if a half-white dragon, fire if a half-red dragon). A half-dragon’s breath weapon deals 5d6 points of damage and is usable once per day.
- Half-dragons are immune to sleep and paralysis.
- A half-dragon’s challenge level is 2 or 3 points higher than a normal creature of its type, depending on whether or not it can fly.
- Half-White Dragon Mammoth: HD 12+12; AC 5 ; Atk 1 trunk (1d10), 2 gore (1d10+4), 2 trample (2d6+4) or 2 claw (1d8), 1 bite (1d10); Move 12 (Fly 24); Save 3; CL/XP 16/3200; Special: Breath cone of frost (5d6 damage) once per day, immune to sleep and paralysis.
The haf-fiend template can be applied to any humanoid creature. No matter its form, a half-fiend is always hideous to behold, having dark scales, horns, glowing red eyes, bat wings, a fetid odor, or some other obvious sign that it is tainted with evil.
- Half-fiends have bat-like wings, giving them a fly speed equal to their land speed.
- A half-fiend’s armor class improves by one.
- Half-fiends have one bite attack for 1d6 damage and two claw attacks for 1d4 damage. Damage can be increased for creatures larger than man-sized, or decreased for smaller creatures.
- Once per day a half-fiend can “smite good”, dealing bonus damage equal to its own hit dice on a successful attack against a good creature.
- Half-fiends can cast the reverse versions of cleric spells. They can cast one spell of each cleric spell level, with the maximum level of cleric spells equal to their hit dice.
- Half-fiends are immune to poison, suffer only half damage from acid, cold, fire and lightning, are only harmed by magic weapons, and have 25% magic resistance.
- A half-fiend’s challenge level is 5 points higher than a normal creature of its type.
- Half-Fiend Berserker: HD 1; AC 7 ; Atk 1 weapon (1d8) or 2 claws (1d4), 1 bite (1d6); Move 12 (Fly 12); Save 17; CL/XP 7/600; Special: +2 to hit in berserk state, smite good (+1 damage), cast inflict light wound once per day, immune to poison, half damage from acid, cold, fire and lightning, only harmed by magic weapons, magic resistance 25%.
The lycanthrope creature template can combine any humanoid creature with any beast.
- A lycanthrope’s hit dice are equal to the hit dice of his humanoid form plus the hit dice of his animal form.
- Lycanthropes can shift between their humanoid form, their animal form, and a hybrid form.
- A lycanthrope’s armor class improves by two.
- Lycanthropes gain special movement types of their animal form while in hybrid form.
- A lycanthrope in hybrid form gains two claw attacks that deal 1d4 damage and one bite attack that deals 1d6 damage. Damage can be increased or decreased as the Referee deems appropriate.
- A lycanthrope spreads its curse to other creatures through its bite attack. Creatures bitten by the lycanthrope must pass a saving throw to avoid the curse.
- Lycanthropes can only be harmed by silver or magic weapons.
- Lycanthropes can communicate with animals of their kind in any form.
- Hill Giant Were-Orca: HD 20+2; AC 2 ; Atk 1 weapon (2d6) or 2 claws (1d6), 1 bite (1d8); Move 12 (Swim 24); Save 3; CL/XP 9/1100; Special: Throw boulders, only harmed by silver or magic weapons, communicate with orcas, curse of lycanthropy.
The vampire template can be applied to any humanoid creature.
- If the creature has fewer than seven hit dice, increase their hit dice to seven.
- Improve the creatures armor class by two.
- The creature gains a bite attack that deals 1d10 points of damage and drains one level.
- As a vampire, the creature gains the following special abilities: Can only be hit by magic weapons, regenerate 3 hp each round, turn into gaseous form or giant bat at will, summon a swarm of bats or 3d6 wolves from the night, eyes that charm (as the charm person spell, save at -2 to negate), and the ability to turn humanoids into vampires by killing them.
- As a vampire, the creature gains the following vulnerabilities: They can be killed by immersion in running water (unless they are natural swimmers), exposure to sunlight, or having a stake driven through their hearts (which, to be honest, kills non-vampires as well); they retreat from the smell of garlic, the sight of a mirror and the sight of “good” holy symbols.
- Vampiric creatures have challenge levels 3 points higher than normal creatures of the same type, plus any additions due to extra hit dice.
- Vampiric Lizardman: HD 7+1; AC 6 ; Atk 2 claws (1d3), 1 bite (1d10 + level drain); Move 6 (Swim 12); Save 9; CL/XP 10/1400; Special: See description above.
Art by Theodor Kittelsen – Sjøtrollet 1887 (The Sea Troll)