Masters of the Dungeon [Monsters]

The Masters of the Universe came a bit late for me when I was young. A good friend of mine got the entire original release of MOTU for Hanukkah, though, and I remember going over to his house and checking them out, though I don’t think we ever actually played with them. We were getting too old for action figures (i.e. dolls for boys) at that point, and I was never into swords and sorcery anyways – I was more into a G.I. Joe (the original figures, you know, back when Snakeyes was a commando and not a stupid ninja) and Star Wars guy. At the time, MOTU figures struck me as really lame, and the cartoon was just horrible … well, except for this …

Now that I’m an adult, though, and have embraced my inner stooge and gonzo gaming, I have to admit a fondness for those old figures. Yeah, they’re goofy, but in all the best ways. They also strike me as things that would be amazing to throw at players in a gonzo dungeon – not as individuals, but as monsters on the order of goblins, orcs, bugbears, etc. With that in mind …

DOUBLE-HEADER (Double-headed Evil Strategists)
Medium monstrous humanoid; high intelligence; chaotic (LE); band (1 + 2d4 humanoids)

HD 4
AC 16 (breastplate and shield)
ATK 2 bites (1d4) or slam (1d6 + constrict)
MV 30
SV F14 R11 W10
XP 400 (CL 5)

Double-headers are two-headed humanoids who often lead humanoid war parties due to their high intelligence and mighty muscles. While some two-headed creatures have trouble with competition between heads, the double-header’s heads work in perfect cooperation. While this makes them especially cunning, it also gives them a +2 bonus to save vs. mind-affecting spells and abilities.

KLAWE (Warriors with a Grip of Evil!)
Medium monstrous humanoid; low intelligence; chaotic (CE); snag (1d4)

HD 1
AC 15
ATK 1 claws (1d6 + constrict), mace (1d6) and bite (1d4)
MV 30
SV F13 R15 W16
XP 50 (CL 1)

Klawes are humanoids covered with orange chitin and armed with maces. Their claws are capable of locking their foes in a grip of evil that deals double damage to lawful (good) victims.

KOZMO (Evil Cosmic Enforcers)
Medium outsider; average intelligence; chaotic (NE); glower (1d4)

HD 3
AC 14 (breastplate)
ATK 1 slam (1d4) or 1 ray gun (1d6 fire)
MV 30
SV F12 R12 W12
XP 300 (CL 4)

Kozmos are humanoids that hail from the outer dimensions. They are used as enforcers by minor evil extraplanar entities. They wear helms with goggles that protect them from gaze attacks and permit them to see into the ethereal and astral planes. Once per day, a kozmo can use the dimension door spell.

LASHER (Evil Tail Thrashing Warriors)
Medium humanoid; low intelligence; chaotic (CE); welt (1d6)

HD 2
AC 14
ATK 1 spear (1d8) and tail lash (1d4 + stun)
MV 30
SV F12 R15 W16
XP 100 (CL 2)

Lashers are cousins of the lizardmen with lashing tails. They have rather ogrish faces with protruding fangs, and pale, glistening green scales.

LOCK-JAW (Evil Warriors Armed for Combat)
Medium humanoid; average intelligence; chaotic (CE); clamp (1d4)

HD 4
AC 14
ATK 1 bite (1d8) and either 1 musket (xxx), 1 hook (1d6) or 1 claw (1d6)
MV 30
SV F11 R14 W14
XP 200 (CL 4)

These cybernetic outlaws know no fear. They are equipped with adamantine jaws that can bite through nearly anything (+2 to sunder attacks; -2 to item saving rolls against them) and mechanical arms with the following possible attachments: Musket, hook (1d6 damage, +2 to disarm attacks) or claw (1d6 damage, +2 to grapple attacks). Lock-jaws can store unused weapons on their belts, and it takes them a full round to exchange one weapon for another.

MAN-BEAST (Savage Henchmen)
Medium humanoid; average intelligence; chaotic (CE); throng (1d8)

HD 1
AC 13
ATK 2 claws (1d3) or 1 whip (10-ft range, 1d4)
MV 30
SV F13 R15 W15
XP 100 (CL 2)

Man-beasts often serve as henchmen to evil lords. Once per day, they can use monster summoning I to summon animals only. Man-beasts can speak the language of animals.

MER-MOK (Ocean Warlords)
Medium humanoids; average intelligence; chaotic (CE); gang (1d6)

HD 1+1
AC 16 (scale breastplate)
ATK 2 claws (1d4) or sword (1d8)
MV 30 (Swim 40)
SV F13 R15 W15
XP 100 (CL 2)

Mer-moks are scaly, green-skinned amphibians that may be distant, telepathic relatives of the sahuagin. They wear breastplates and carry bronze swords. Mer-moks suffer no penalty when fighting with their swords underwater. They can communicate with aquatic animals via telepathy (300-ft. range) and can use this telepathy, once per day, to cast monster summoning II (summons aquatic animals only).

PROWLER (Evil Masters of Escape)
Small humanoid; average intelligence; chaotic (NE); pounce (1d8)

HD 0
AC 14 (breastplate)
ATK 2 claws (1d3) or musket (2d6)
MV 30 (Climb 40)
SV F16 R14 W16
XP 50 (CL 1)

Prowlers are small, halfling-sized humanoids with monstrous, spidery faces, dark blue skin that helps them blend into the shadows (surprise on roll of 1-4 on 1d6). They are capable of moving across walls and ceilings (per the spider climb spell), and use this ability to help them surprise foes when they are forced to engage in melee. They prefer to attack with their slim, accurate muskets, though, striking from the darkness as snipers and then looting the bodies of their victims.

SKULLFACE (Lords of Destruction)
Medium monstrous humanoid; high intelligence; chaotic (LE); solitary

HD 9
AC 18
ATK 2 claws (1d4+2) or sword (2d4+2)
MV 30
SV F11 R9 W8
XP 900 (CL 10)

These lords of destruction are demonic men with skull faces and blue skin. Having the special qualities of demons, they are capable swordsmen and sorcerers. Skullfaces can cast spells as 8th level sorcerers, channeling their magic through their skull-headed staves without needing to speak or gesture. When encountered, there is a 50% chance a skullface will be mounted on a giant black panther and a 50% chance they will be accompanied by their savage henchmen, 1d8 man-beasts.

SPIKAZ (Evil Masters of Untouchable Combat)
Medium monstrous humanoid; average intelligence; chaotic (CE); prick (1d6)

HD 1+1
AC 16
ATK 1 trident (1d6) and morningstar (1d6)
MV 30
SV F15 R13 W13
XP 100 (CL 2)

Spikaz are strange humanoids covered in bony protrusions that jut from their leathery hides. Natural smiths, most amputate their lower left arms and replace them with weapons, often tridents or warhammers. They often wield morningstars in their right hands in combat. Those locked in melee combat with spikaz using their natural weapons or small weapons must pass a Reflex save each round or be struck by their spikes, suffering 1 point of damage. Attacking a spikaz with unarmed attacks or grapples automatically inflicts 1d3 points of damage on the attacker with a successful hit.

TRICLOPS (Evil Warriors That See Everything)
Medium humanoid; average intelligence; chaotic (LE); peep (1d4)

HD 3
AC 14
ATK 1 sword (1d8) or eye ray (30-ft range, 1d6 force)
MV 30
SV F12 R14 W14
XP 300 (CL 4)

Triclops possess three eyes spaced evenly around their heads. These eyes make it impossible to surprise a triclops, and give them the power of true seeing (as the spell), x-ray vision and the ability to rays of force that force victims to pass a Fortitude save or be knocked back 2d4 feet and fall prone if they fail a Reflex saving throw. They are also capable swordsmen.

YELLOW AMAZONS (Evil Warrior Goddesses)
Medium humanoid; average intelligence; chaotic (NE); coven (1d4)

HD 3
AC 15 (leather armor)
ATK 1 staff (1d8)
MV 40
SV F12 R14 W14
XP 300 (CL 4)

These saffron-skinned warrior goddesses go into battle armed with iron staves and leather armor. They can channel magic through their staves as though they were 3rd level sorcerers, though without their staves they have no magical abilities.

6 thoughts on “Masters of the Dungeon [Monsters]

  1. I love finding inspiration in things like toys, old comic books, objects in junk/antique shops, or anywhere unlikely.

    I do have to point out that the ~original~ G.I. Joes were about ten inches tall, had buzz-cuts made of actual fuzz, and had never heard of Snake Eyes nor Cobra. I guess by pointing this out, I'm just showing myself my advanced age. *sobs into breakfast*

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  2. True, true. I was referring to the first release of the little action figures back in the 1980's. Some of the latter-day tall G.I. Joes were kind of crazy – probably good fodder for a Mystery Men article!

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  3. I have been enthralled by the classic MOTU mini-comics. As a kid, I just relied on the cartoon and rejected any other version. But as an adult, I find that there is so much more potential for adventure with the mini-comics, and the cartoon is… Well, see above video! Oddly enough, Skelator was originally presented as a whole race of evil skull-faced wizards! This guy makes some great mini-comics, based on the classic line: http://danbrenus.deviantart.com/gallery/

    I totally agree with the Snake-Eye the Ninija statement. Once he became the Ninja-Commando, the comics became ALL about him, his new team, and how totally awesome he is! The Silent Interlude issue was really cool and all, but after a while, Snake-Eyes Ninja-Superstar got really, really old!

    Thanks for creating the MOTU-styled minions! =D

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