Monster Quickie – Beautiful and Deadly

Inspired by a picture of a rather beautiful, if not deadly, sea slug that I saw today.

Giant Sea Slug (Sea Swallow)
Medium Vermin, Neutral, Non-Intelligent; Solitary

Hit Dice: 6
Armor Class: 13 [6]
Attacks: 4 appendages (1d4 + poison), bite (2d4)
Move: 20 [9] (Swim 5 [3])
Saves: Fort 10, Ref 12, Will 12
XP: 600 [Expert]

Giant sea slugs of the sea swallow variety are quite beautiful, but very deadly. They can float upon the surface of the water, upside down, due to gas sacs in their bodies, or crawl on land (though always in damp places … like dungeons, for example). They prey on larger creatures (monstrous jellyfish, giant slugs, pirates) and will prey on one another as well. They store the poison of creatures they eat in their bodies, mixing up powerful toxins that they use to kill their prey.

Giant sea slugs attack with their four appendages. The cerata on their appendages are tipped with toxins that inflict 1d6 points of constitution damage per round until neutralized or until the victim dies. Their mouths are filled with serrated blade-like teeth.

Special Qualities: Blindsight, immune to poison

Deviant Friday – MiaCabrera Edition

Big and bold images today from Eddie Nunez, AKA MiaCabrera. Enjoy!

Oh, and this weekend I’m going to get around to making stats for the slaad replacements for Blood & Treasure – the xaoc. Stay tuned.

I have fond memories of Bubblegum Crisis. Might be fun to do some anime-inspired material for Mystery Men!
And for the finale’, a totally non-cheesecakey illustration of Red Sonja.
Well, maybe a little cheesecakey.

Camilla, Queen of the Secret Empire

Shouldn’t it be empress?

Okay – off to a bad start. Today I’m reviewing Camilla, Queen of the Lost Empire, which I found over at the excellent Comic Book Catacombs.

Knuten and Caredodo – names to conjure with! We have a hunchback living in the sewers (nice sewer entrance, by the way – nothing but class in the lost empire) who’s going to kill Camilla.

Into the salt mines. If you’ve ever checked out some of the ancient salt works that still exist, you’ll find nothing on Earth more like an actual mega-dungeon … you know, except for the monsters and treasure and stuff.

And just like, she has a henchman. If I were statting her up for Blood & Treasure (and I guess I am), I’d probably use the variant bard class in the game – the Aristocrat.

Queen Camilla, 9th level Aristocrat
Str 13, Dex 16, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 14
HP 56, AC 14, MV 30, SAVE Fort 11, Ref 7, Will 9
Special: +1 on reaction checks, legend lore (9), fascinate (4 creatures, 90-ft range), suggestion (one fascinated creature)
Gear: Longsword (+5 attack, 1d8+1), cloak of protection +2

And monkey men! Nice touch.

There’s a bounty of greatness here. First, we see the queen run the monkey man through in one shot – we can guess the monkey men have a single Hit Dice. Love the shot of the dead monkey-man’s feet in the fifth frame – and check out Camilla’s pose. Very cool.

Monkey Man: HD 1; AC 13; ATK 2 slams (1d4); MV 30 (C20); SAVE Fort 13, Ref 15, Will 16; XP 50 (Basic); Special: None.

Then we have some men-at-arms mounted on zebras – always a favorite of mine for some reason. And they have ray guns to boot. Zebra-mounted ray gun troops!

Camilla’s hunchman, I mean henchback, I mean Caredodo ain’t no slouch when it comes to combat. He was hired as an assassin, and the next page features a nice stab in the back. We’ll go assassin for him.

Caredodo, 4th level Assassin
Str 16, Dex 8, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 6
HP 13, AC 10, MV 30, SAVE Fort 13, Ref 12, Will 14
Special: Sneak attack (double damage)
Skills: Climb (12), Decipher Script (10), Escape Bonds (13), Hide (13), Listen at Doors (10), Move Silently (13), Trickery (12)
Gear: Dagger (+4 attack, 1d4+2 damage, double on sneak attack)

The monkey men, I have to admit, seem like half-hearted villains. No ambition – no verve.

Hmmm – the plot thickens. As basic as this story was, I liked it and wouldn’t mind reading the next story. I think when you do introduce plots into role playing games, you might want to focus on keeping them about as simple as these old comic book stories. More complex plots work well in stories, where the old deus ex machine is there to help the investigators, but they can be pretty tricky in tabletop games where the players can’t actually see and hear anything, and only know what they’re told. Something to think about.

Stygian Depths – Moon Pulses, Titanic Towers and Reg

Three more previews of Stygia. I’m writing Dis now and I’m starting to get into the material. Still working on Blood & Treasure, as well, and it’s coming along pretty nicely. I’ll probably do a couple art previews soon. 1800 – American Empires is definitely next on the docket. I might change the focus on that one a bit – make it more of a game in its own right than a simple “trek into the wild” sort of thing. We’ll see – the setting offers lots of opportunity for large scale battles, wilderness adventure, etc. Should be fun.

57.77 Murderous Blade: A gleaming sword of red steel sticks out of the water here, causing the water around it to boil. The sword is known as the King-Slayer (it calls itself Reg, short for Regicide). King-Slayer is a +2 flaming weapon with a powerful Ego that seeks the blood of kings – including infernal kings like Bael. The waters around the sword are rife with giant leeches – 3d6 of them are encountered when one makes a grab for the sword.

64.78 Moon Pulse: A low, hilly island in this hex is crowded with rank trees and noisome undergrowth. Demonic jaguars haunt the trees, waiting for prey to wander their way. Each night, at midnight, a pulse of inchoate energy flows across the island (but not the entire hex) from a blackened silver pillar at the center of the island. Adventurers hit by the pulse must make a saving throw or be transformed, instantly, into a lycanthrope. The exact kind is determined by the character’s highest ability score:

Strength = Werewolf
Constitution = Wereboar
Dexterity = Wereweasel
Intelligence = Wererat
Wisdom = Wereowl
Charisma = Weretiger

The transformation is immediate, but the adventurer can attempt another saving throw to retain their own mind for one minute, needing additional saving throws each minute to avoid become a chaotic, slavering beastman.

65.32 Tower of Titans: There is a tower here formed from the bodies of three petrified titans, standing up to their knees in the waters of the Styx. One titan is a curvaceous woman with hair like molten copper flowing from her head and eyes like prismatic spheres. The second titan is a graceful young man with fulginous skin and deepset eyes of opal. The third titan is an athletic man with pearly white skin and narrow eyes.

The tower is the home of Soazil, a cambion wizard (Mage 11; 32 hp) with crocodilian skin and close-set, steel-blue eyes. Soazil has five apprentices (Mage 5) and commands a company of crocodile-men.

Soazil is a master of teleportation, but has found no way to escape Hell, despite his vast knowledge. He is also skilled at cloning, and seven clones of himself hidden throughout the tower (and maybe others hidden throughout Hell). Half of his soul is possessed by the succubus Arete, in the form of a silver apple hidden in her chambers in the palace of mighty Bael.

Of Fembots and Bikini Machines [Mystery Men!]

During the 1960’s, beach movies by AIP (American International Pictures) briefly ruled the earth. As unfortunately as they might have been (honestly – I like most of them for exactly the reasons movie critics would tell me I should dislike them), their spawn were even stranger.

Enter Doctor Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, a spy movie (kinda sorta) from AIP. Having just watched this movie over the weekend, I can report that is surprisingly high budget (for the time period and the quality of the picture), and even more amazing – not nearly as bad as it should have been. The presence of Vincent Price as Dr. Goldfoot probably has a lot to do with my forming this opinion, because I am an unabashed fan of his work. I also found the female lead, Susan Hart, surprisingly engaging as Diane (i.e. Number 11), the star of this particular blog post.

I’ll freely admit that I’m no expert on the subject of sexy fembots (though writing those words, I now am forced to wonder why not). I think Dr. Goldfoot may be the originator of the swinging, sexy, sixties fembots that plagued Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery. I know – Maria/Futura/Hel/Robotrix in Metropolis – but she didn’t swing like a pendulum do, so I’m not counting her.

In this case, they are gold bikini clad and possibly made from actual body parts filled with robot parts. They are produced by a large computer-ish machine, so maybe the bio-ingredients are rendered down into a paste and sprayed onto the robot chasis. They appear to do their best to avoid going “all the way” (as the kids say), so whether they are physically capable of going all the way is certainly in question. Diane, Number 11, is said by Dr. Goldfoot to be the most perfect of them – though that doesn’t stop him from torturing her with electro-shocks and menial floor scrubbing when she fails in her mission.

Dr. Goldfoot’s plan is simple, and would make a great Mystery Men! adventure. He picks a millionaire out of a magazine, programs his fembot to know what she needs to know to get him, equips the fembots with opera glasses that can jab poison needles into the eyes of their rivals, or lipsticks that shoot laser rays to blow their rivals’ head’s off, and sends them off to get hitched. They then use their feminine wiles to get power of attorney and then hand over the millionaire’s wealth to Dr. Goldfoot. Nice scheme … and it almost works. Or maybe it does. They never actually establish the SIC (Security International Command if my memory serves) completely foils the mad scientist.

Diane (Super Villainess), Adventurer
Number 11, Fembot
STR 7 | DEX 5 | CON 5 | INT 2 | WIL 2 | CHA 7
LVL 6 | HP 50 | DC 11 | ATK+6 | SPD 2| XP 7K

Powers: Charm (with kiss), Invulnerability III, Legend Lore (only very specific subjects that she has been programmed in), Phase (1/day), Super Cha +4, Super Str +4

Gear: Trench coat, fedora, walkie-talkie (implanted in head)

If we’re going to show the creation, we might as well show the creator.

Doctor Goldfoot (Super Villain), Scientist
True name unknown, Mad Scientist and Reanimator
STR 2 | DEX 3 | CON 6 | INT 12 | WIL 9 | CHA 3
LVL 11 | HP 50 | DC 10 | ATK+6 | SPD 2| XP 17.4K

Powers: Science Pool (30,000 XP)

Gear: Gold shoes with bells on the toes, handgun, super science devices

Every Fool Has His Day!

While watching a Stooges marathon on Antenna TV today, I was kissed by the muse (or maybe bonked by the muse, considering the source). Enjoy a class in a class of it own.

The Stooge

Stooges seem to coast through life, blissful in their ignorance and always coming through in the end.

Requirements: Stooges must have a constitution of at least 15. Their intelligence score can be no higher than 7, and their combined intelligence, wisdom and charisma scores can be no higher than 30.

Hit Dice: d8 (+3 per level after 9th)

Armor: Any

Weapons: Any (but see below)

Skills: None

Advance As: Fighter (in whatever system you play)

Class Features

Stooges can’t do much, but they can sure take a punch. A stooge ignores the 1 point of damage every time he or she takes damage. This increases to 2 points at 4th level, 3 points at 8th level and tops out at 4 points at 12th level. Any blow that should kill a stooge often only knocks them for a loop. The stooge may attempt a Fortitude save and, if successul, is only stunned for 1d4 rounds.

As tough as stooges are, you can’t call them brave. Stooges suffer a -2 penalty to save vs. fear. On the other hand, their heads are tough to crack. Spell casters who attempt to read their minds must pass a Will save or be struck with confusion for 1d4 rounds.

A stooge can fascinate people with his antics, whether he is tangling with another stooge or with a stubborn inanimate object, just as a bard of equal level. Stooges do not gain a bard’s suggestion ability.

When the going gets tough, the stooge gets going. Once per day, they can act as though under the effects of the expeditious retreat spell.

Stooges are masters of unorthodox unarmed combat. Their unarmed attacks inflict 1d4 points of damage at 1st level, 1d6 points of damage at 5th level and 1d8 points of damage at 10th level. Once per day per three levels they can attempt a stunning attack (if they hit, the victim must pass a Fortitude save or be stunned for 1d4+1 rounds). If a stooge is facing three adjacent opponents, they can do a triple slap, rolling once to attack and applying that roll to hit all three of them. Unfortunately, whenever up to three stooges are adjacent to an enemy, it gains the ability to make the same unarmed attack against them.