Merry Christmas from the Land of Nod!

Quick note to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and all the blessings of the season. More than getting everything you wanted, I hope you all have everything you need (and are wise enough to know it, if you do). My Christmas present to you folks today is a quick preview of some new art I’ve commissioned for the forthcoming NOD Companion – all of it drawn by Jon Kaufman – for the classes collected in the book. Enjoy the art, and I hope you all have a wonderful day, whether you’re celebrating or not.

Puritan by Jon Kaufman

Psychic by Jon Kaufman

She-devil by Jon Kaufman

Traveler by Jon Kaufman.

I’ll be posting a couple new ones soon that will appear in the book – The Vigilante and the Femme Fatale.

Merry Christmas folks! Thanks for making me feel like a success with this little hobby of mine. Like many folks of the geeky persuasion, I’ve never had the best self image in the world, and your support over the last few years has done wonders for me. In the coming year, let’s all remember to be kind to one another.

The Monsters of Henry Justice Ford – Part II

Today, I present three giants to confound (and stomp on) you precious PC’s.

River Giant
Huge Giant; Chaotic (NE); Average Intelligence; Eddy (1d4)

HD 12
AC 17
ATK 1 slam (2d6) or 4 locks (1d4 + constrict)
MV 30 (Swim 40)
SV F4, R9, W9
XP 1200 (CL 13)

River giants are the children of the great rivers. They appear as massive humanoids with long, grey mustaches and beards which seem to flow and ripple with a will of their own. They dwell within rivers, sometimes in simple caves, but more often in submerged strongholds with courts of nixies and river nymphs.

In combat, a river giant can breathe forth, once per day, a fetid mist per the obscuring mist spell. Those trapped within the mist must pass a single Fortitude saving throw or succumb to filth fever. Their mustaches and beards can be used as tendrils to grab and constrict attackers.

Special Qualities: Resistance to cold

Jinnati
Large Giant; Chaotic (NE); Average Intelligence; Blaze (1d6)

HD 4
AC 14
ATK 1 slam (1d10 + 1d6 fire) or by weapon (+1d4 fire)
MV 30
SV F10, R14, W14
XP 400 (CL 5)

The jinnati, or fire-eaters, are a breed of fire-breathing ogres who dwell in volcanic hills in tropical regions. They have ruddy to dull green skin, lustrous black hair and sparkling eyes that suggest clever malevolence. Jinnati rarely wear armor, though when they do it is usually formed of glowing, red scales, and likewise when they arm themselves they do so with metal weapons. They have a profound lust for reddish and orange gemstones, and will almost anything to possess them, even behave honorably.

Jinnati can breathe a 15-ft. long line of fire once per day. This fire deals as many hit points of damage as the jinnati currently possesses (or half that with a successful Reflex saving throw). They can recharge this fire breath by eating fire – that is, inhaling flames from any sort of source larger than a torch.

Creatures grappled by the monsters suffer as though from a heat metal spell, in addition to suffering normal grapple damage.

Special Qualities: Immune to fire, vulnerable to cold

Stalo
Large Giant; Chaotic (CE); Average Intelligence; Roost (1d6)

HD 6
AC 15
ATK 2 claws (1d6) and bite (1d4)
MV 30
SV F9, R12, W12
XP 600 (CL 7)

Stalos are magical ogres that haunt the northern woodlands and steppes. They have dark brown to nearly black skin, leering yellow eyes and pronounced fangs.

A stalo possesses a set of pipes not unlike those of a satyr. When playing those pipes, those within 1 mile must pass a Will saving throw or be charmed (per the charm person spell) and convinced that they must journey to the source of the piping. Subjects within 30 feet of the piping must make an additional Will save or be held (per the hold person spell) for 1d6 rounds, during which time the stalo will kill them for its supper. A stalo can track unerringly on his home territory.

A stalo has one weakness, and that is running water. While they can cross running water, they do so slowly (movement rate of 5) and must pass a Will save each round or be either frozen with fear for one round.

Spells: At will—calm animals, speak with animals; 1/day—summon nature’s ally II

The Monsters of Henry Justice Ford – Part I

Henry Justice Ford, in case you, the reader, haven’t heard the name, is one of the finest illustrators of fantasy and folklore to have ever come around the bend. Recently, Monster Brains did a very long post showcasing a ton of his work – I highly suggest taking a tour of the post and the site (one of my favorites).

Many of the works depict monsters that were new to me, either in the sense that I was unaware of the fairy tale in which they originated, or they were drawn in a way that sparked my imagination. I decided it might be fun to stat a few up for Blood & Treasure, and, if you continue reading, you will find that that is precisely what I’ve done.

By the by – I think the idea of a monster book divided up by great artists (in the public domain, of course) in the manner the old Deities & Demigods book was divided up by mythos, would be pretty cool, in case anyone wants to collaborate.

Three-Headed Draken
Medium Monstrous Humanoid, Chaotic (CE), Average Intelligence; Band (1d10)

HD: 2
AC:  14
ATK: 2 claws (1d6 + rend) and bite (1d4)
MV: 30
SV: F12 R15 W12
XP 200 (CL 3)

The three-headed draken are goblinoids with skin as black and as shiny as coal. They have feet tipped with cruel talons, mouths full of fangs, and generally lurk in ruins planted with fruit trees. They regard this fruit as a dragon regards its treasure, for the trees to which they are bound are the only ones from which they can draw sustenance.

Special Qualities: Regenerate

Black Master of the Beasts
Large Fey, Neutral (N), High Intelligence; Solitary

HD: 9
AC: 16
ATK: 1 club (2d8) or slam (1d6)
MV: 20
SV: F10 R9 W8
XP: 900 (CL 10)

A black master of beasts is a fey guardian of a particular woodland, having the animals of that woodland under his protection. Black masters appear as black-skinned giants with single eyes in their heads and single legs to support them. They wield massive iron clubs and are capable of summoning 30 HD worth of animals, dragons and magical beasts common to their woodland (i.e. they show up on a random encounter chart) to their service once per day. These animals arrive in 1d4 rounds.

Special Qualities – magic resistance, immune to fear

Spells – 3/day—augury, calm animals, hold animal; 1/day—divination, magic fang, quest

Scylla
Huge Aberration, Chaotic (CE), Average Intelligence; Solitary

HD: 16
AC: 18
ATK: 5 heads (1d8 + constrict)
MV: 10 (Swim 30)
SV: F4 R7 W5
XP: 4000 (CL 18)

Scyllas are primordial sea monsters, terrible abominations that haunt narrow straits, lying in wait for prey. They have bodies shaped something like hydras, with scaled skin and five thick necks that end in massive humanoid heads. These heads have beards of tentacles, six tentacles each. Scyllas communicate telepathically, and they can induce fear (as the spell) once per day per head in creatures with 5 or fewer hit dice. If one head of the scylla is casting a spell, the others are still capable of attacking.

Special Qualities – Immune to fear, immune to cold, regeneration, magic resistance 40%, resistance to electricity

Spells – 3/day—control water; 1/day—control weather

Enjoy Some Art While I’m Getting Blitzed [mild NSFW]

Every year, one of the brokers I work with takes all the staff out for a Christmas outing that involves a party bus, lots of drinks and something like a wax museum, go-carts or firing submachine guns. You know, the normal Christmas fare. So, while I’m out tomorrow (I’m writing this yesterday) getting sloshed and doing God-knows-what, you can enjoy some of my recent favorites at Deviant Art. Ta ta!

Oh, and we veer into NSFW territory at the end, so be forewarned – but it is spectacular, so if you have to wait until you get home, see that you do.

One of my favorite cosplays ever!
And with no further ado …
Better than the original, in my opinion.

Monsters by Email

No, this isn’t a project I’m working on – but it is a project I’m supporting. Artist Nicholas Cloister has started a new project to deliver images of original monsters by email to subscribers, monsters that they can use in their publishing ventures provided they follow a few provisos and a couple quid pro quo (to quote a famous genie).

The price is super reasonable, and, as you can see from the following images, the art is top notch. He’s looking for more subscribers to make this a going concern, so if you’d like to see a few of these beauties (well, not these beauties, but new beauties) given monster stats in the pages of NOD or other of my publications, and if you have some projects of your own or just want some nice art to use at your table, give it a look HERE. For more samples of his art, click HERE.

Copyright Nicholas Cloister

Copyright Nicholas Cloister

Copyright Nicholas Cloister

Deviant Friday – Nephyla Edition

Nephyla’s style reminds me of European, especially French, comic book art – creative, whimsical, great lines, great details. It’s still a dream of mine to produce successive editions of a good rules lite retro-clone – say Swords & Wizardry for example – illustrated entirely by different artists. Nephyla would definitely be an artist I’d love to see give her take on old school fantasy gaming. If you like the work, make sure you visit the artist at DeviantArt.

+PORTRAIT+ Saskia by *Nephyla on deviantART

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+PORTRAIT+ Kohaku by *Nephyla on deviantART

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The Ved’ma by *Nephyla on deviantART

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+PORTRAIT+ Melisende by *Nephyla on deviantART

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+PORTRAIT+ Evelyne de Breuil by *Nephyla on deviantART

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+PORTRAIT+ Selene by *Nephyla on deviantART

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+PORTRAIT+ Clea by *Nephyla on deviantART

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+COMMISSION+Tragedy by *Nephyla on deviantART

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+PORTRAIT+ Elis by *Nephyla on deviantART

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+PORTRAIT+Leith by *Nephyla on deviantART

Deviant Friday – Recent Favorites

Here are a few of the illustrations I’ve “favorited” (yeah, favorite is now a verb – get used to it) on DeviantArt recently. Enjoy!

(always one of my favorites – I should be getting the recreation of Morgan Ironwolf in the mail soon!)

(Shame this game wasn’t made – probably would have been fun)

(I so prefer this to the more anime-inspired armor and weapons that show up in many fantasy RPG products these days.)

If you like these, be sure to visit the artists galleries as DeviantArt and their websites – maybe purchase a print.

See you all tomorrow with a Dragon by Dragon!

Deviant Friday – Nebezial

Some awesome work today by Nebezial – visit his gallery at Deviant Art!

Monster of Monsters

Saw a neat illustration today at Super Punch by Kelly Tindal that I had to share …

Naturally, something this grand must have some stats:

PATCHWORK MONSTER

Medium Construct; Chaotic (CE); Average Intelligence; Solitary

HD: 10 (50 hp)
AC: 16
ATK: 2 claws (1d4), bite (1d6 + energy drain) and snakes (1d4 + poison III)
MV: 30
SV: F 10, R 10, W 10
XP: 2,500 (CL 12)

A patchwork monster is perhaps the highest expression of the golem maker’s art, as it is composed not of bits of humans, but of humanoid monsters. More importantly, the maker of a patchwork monster must preserve the special abilities of the creatures he uses. The traditional patchwork monster uses components from a medusa, werewolf and vampire

A patchwork monster’s gaze turns people to stone for 1d6+1 days. A Fortitude saving throw negates this power. If a patchwork monster uses a special grapple attack with its bite, it can sink its fangs into a victim and drain blood, dealing 1d4 points of constitution damage, and gaining 1d6 temporary hit points for itself.

Special Qualities: Weapon resistance (silver weapons), immune to energy damage and drain, ability damage and drain and fatigue

Fraternal and Votive Orders

Not the white lady the order probably had in mind …

While tooling around the internet the other day (I have no idea what I was looking for at the time, now), I ran across the wikipedia page for Emprise de l’Escu vert à la Dame Blanche – AKA “Enterprise of the Green Shield with the White Lady”. I’d never run across this order before, but I loved the name and investigated just a bit.

The order was what was called a “votive order”. Votive orders were formed on a vow, and were really a less serious form of “fraternal order”, which also involved a pledge. Wikipedia lists the following fraternal and votive orders:

Compagnie of the Black Swan, founded by 3 princes and 11 knights in Savoy (1350)

Corps et Ordre du Tiercelet (Corps and Order of Tiercelet), founded by the vicomte de Thouars and 17 barons in Poitou (1377–1385)

Ordre de la Pomme d’Or (Order of the Golden Apple), founded by 14 knights in Auvergne (1394)

Alliance et Compagnie du Levrier (Alliance ad Company of the Greyhound), founded by 44 knights in the Barrois (1416–1422), subsequently converted into the Confraternal order of Saint Hubert

Emprise de l’Escu vert à la Dame Blanche (Enterprise of the green shield with the white lady), founded by Jean Le Maingre dit Boucicaut and 12 knights in 1399 for the duration of 5 years

Emprise du Fer de Prisonnier (Enterprise of the Prisoner’s Iron), founded by Jean de Bourbon and 16 knights in 1415 for the duration of 2 years

Emprise de la gueule de dragon (Enterprise of the Dragon’s Mouth), founded by Jean comte de Foix in 1446 for 1 year.

In all cases, these orders were not centered around a nobleman – just a group of people vowing something to one another, and sometimes for a limited, set amount of time. Sounds a bit like an adventuring party to me. In the past, I have compared adventuring parties to merchant companies, which had a charter (i.e. “The Company of the Red Dragon shall plunder the red dragon’s lair and split the proceeds as follows …), but fraternal and votive orders could fit the bill as well.

To use the Emprise de l’Escu vert a la Dame Blanche as an example – it was founded for the protection of women suffering oppression, especially widows. Any woman so beset could petition the order, and they would send a knight forthwith to fight her oppressor personally.

The Emprise du dragon rouge, for example, could be founded by 6 knights (the adventurers) and their 12 retainers for the period of 1 year with the vow to hunt down and kill the red dragon Aglemire (and plunder his lair, of course).

Even better, an order founded by Lawful (or Good) characters could be a great cornerstone for a campaign. A band of adventurers could, for example, make it known far and wide that their order could be called upon by all honest folk who are being oppressed by foul wizardry, and then sit back and wait for the campaign hooks to roll in. They’d be a little bit like a medieval A-Team.