Medieval Bestiary – Part Six

European folklore holds a candle to none in the breadth and depth of its imagination. Europeans populated not only their own countries with all manner of strange beasts and monsters, but extended their imaginations over the entire globe. While a good many of these creatures have been given game statistics, several have not. Some of these creatures are, to be sure, simple variations on existing monsters – ogres, giants, fairies, spirits, etc. Others are just not threatening or interesting enough to demand statistics. Those monsters of the folklore of France, Germany and the Low Countries, and those of medieval bestiaries and heraldry, that I thought both unique and challenging are presented below.

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five

This post is declared Open Game Content.

Pegasus, Ethiopian
Medieval bestiaries told of a breed of pegasus from Ethiopia that had two horns. These creatures can be treated as normal pegasi with the addition of a gore attack that deals 1d6 points of damage.

Revenant
The revenant is an animated corpse that has returned from the grave to terrorize the living. The name comes from the French and means “returning”. Revenants are always wicked in life. Creatures struck by a revenant in combat must make a saving throw or be infected with a disease that resembles mummy rot. Revenants regenerate damage in the manner of a troll at the rate of 1 hit point per round. A revenant can only be destroyed completely by cutting off the head, removing the heart, and burning them and the body separately.

Revenant: HD 4; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 slam (1d6); Move 9; Save 13; CL/XP 6/400; Special: Regeneration, disease.

Snakes
The writers of medieval bestiaries imagined many interesting serpents, many that were probably based on fourth-hand accounts of real animals. The hydros was a viper whose poison caused a person to swell up. In game terms, his poison causes the person to have their movement and dexterity scores cut in half. The hydros’ poison could only be cured with the application of ox dung. There’s a fun quest! The hydrus, on the other hand, was a water serpent of the Nile River. It would swim into the mouth of a crocodile and then down its throat. Once in the stomached, it would eat the poor beast from the inside out. In game terms, it is probably immune, or at least resistant, to acid. The hypnalis was an asp that killed its victims in their sleep. In game terms, perhaps it can cast a sleep spell one or several time per day. The scytale was a snake with such brilliant markings that those gazing on the creature are hypnotized and lulled into inaction. The scytale’s body is so hot that those touching it or touched by it suffer 1d4 points of burning damage. The seps, on the other hand, has venom so acidic that it liquefied its prey; assume normal viper poison plus an additional 2d6 points of acid damage.

Waldgeist (Woodwose)
The German “woodland spirit” is the custodian of the forest. It dwells in woodlands and protects it as well as lawful creatures within the woodland. Waldgeists resemble gnarled old dwarfs with skin like the bark of a tree and hair like a tangle of leaves and twigs. They dwell in the branches of trees and, though mischievous, are not by any means evil. Waldgeists can use the spells bless and bestow curse. They blend in with the foliage, and thus surprise foes on a roll of 1-4 on 1d6. Despite their small size, they are exceptionally strong and dangerous to provoke.

Waldgeist: HD 5; AC 2 [17]; Atk 1 slam (2d4); Move 15; Save 12; CL/XP 6/400; Special: Bless, curse, surprise.

White Ladies (Wise Ladies)
The white ladies of the woods are elven amazons of the ancient and powerful blood. They are tall and beautiful, with white skin and hair like gleaming platinum. They dress in white cloaks and gleaming armor and wield spears tipped with silver and bows with silver-tipped arrows. White women are capable of casting spells as 3rd level clerics, druids or magic-users. They are capable of using the spell Light at will and always radiate an aura of Protection from Evil in a 10 ft radius. They usually appear in bands of 5 to 10 individuals and might be encountered in the company of unicorns. White women have the same immunities as normal elves. They are skilled in herb craft and healing, and under their care a person’s natural healing rate is doubled and he enjoys a +2 bonus to save vs. poison or disease.

White Woman: HD 3; AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 spear (1d8) or 2 arrows (1d6); Move 15; Save 14; CL/XP 4/120; Special: Spells, immunities.

White Worm
The white worm, or Indus worm, was a giant, pale worm that dwelled in the Indus River. It was carnivorous and capable of swallowing a man whole when it scores a natural ‘20’ on a bite attack.

White Worm: HD 7; AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 bite (2d6); Move 9 (Swim 12); Save 9; CL/XP 8/800; Special: Swallow whole.

Wild Man
Wild men are hairy humanoids that dwell in deep woodlands. They are called wilder mann by the Germans and homme sauvage by the French and wodewose by the English. They are associated with gods and goddesses of the wild such as Silvanus and Fauna and with the death god Orcus. In fact, they are known as orkes or lorkes in some parts of Italy.

Wild men run in bands of 20 to 30 individuals. Their entire bodies are covered in a tangled coat of brown hair and the men wear long, unkempt beards. They behave as though mad and fight as savagely as berserkers, gaining a +2 bonus to hit and damage. Despite their savage appearance, wild men are strict vegetarians, eating nuts, berries, roots and leaves.

Wild Man: HD 1+1; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 weapon or fists (1d4); Move 12; Save 17; CL/XP 1/15; Special: Berserk.

Wraiths
The erlking, or “alder king”, was a pale, gaunt humanoid who rode a black horse and preyed on women. In game terms, it can be treated as a wraith. In truth, the name “erlking” was a mistranslation from the Danish for “elf-king”.

Yale (Centicore, Eale)
The yale is a black, horse-sized goat with the feet of an elephant and the tusks of a boar. It has large horns that it can swivel in any direction, thus allowing it two attack two different targets each round. Yales are immune to paralyzation and poison, thus making them a natural enemy of the catoblepas and basilisk.

Yale: HD 5; AC 6 [13]; Atk 2 gores (1d6); Move 15; Save 12; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Immunities.

Medieval Bestiary – Part Five

European folklore holds a candle to none in the breadth and depth of its imagination. Europeans populated not only their own countries with all manner of strange beasts and monsters, but extended their imaginations over the entire globe. While a good many of these creatures have been given game statistics, several have not. Some of these creatures are, to be sure, simple variations on existing monsters – ogres, giants, fairies, spirits, etc. Others are just not threatening or interesting enough to demand statistics. Those monsters of the folklore of France, Germany and the Low Countries, and those of medieval bestiaries and heraldry, that I thought both unique and challenging are presented below.

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four

This post is declared Open Game Content.

Melusine
Melusines appear to be exceptionally beautiful young women that, in place of legs, possess two mermaid-like tails. Melusines live in rivers and lakes. They crave the companionship of men, but are easily insulted if not given proper respect. The offspring of unions between humans and melusine are always melusines if female, or future magic-users if male. Melusines are fierce protectors of their children. Melusines can polymorph themselves at will into human females or small bronze dragons. One day per week they must assume their natural form and must submerge themselves in water.

Melusine: HD 2; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d4); Move 6 (Swim 12); Save 16; CL/XP 4/120; Special: Polymorph.

Monocerus
The monoceros is an animal of the savanna often mistaken for a unicorn. It has the face of a sheep, the body of a stag, the rear feet of a goose, the tail of a dog and a long horn growing from its head. They are expert at spearing fish from rivers with their long horns. Although a monoceros horn has no efficacy against poison, it is worth approximately 20 gp on the open market.

Monoceros: HD 3; AC 5 [14]; Atk 1 gore (1d10); Move 15; Save 14; CL/XP 3/60; Special: None.

Monopod (Sciapod)
The monopodes are dwarves with one leg and a massive foot. They live in sunny highlands and use their foot as an umbrella when they take their afternoon naps. Monopodes are extremely strong (+2 to hit and damage) and they can control animals (as charm monster, but up to 6 animals). Monopods are as skilled at blacksmithing as other dwarves. They wear chainmail hauberks in combat and wield heavy maces and spears. Monopod tribes are led by 3 HD chieftains wearing platemail. The chieftain’s bride is always a druid. The chieftain will be guarded by four 3 HD bodyguards.

Monopod: HD 1; AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 kick (1d8) or 1 weapon (1d6); Move 9; Save 17; CL/XP 1/15; Special: None.

Muscaliet
This odd creature from medieval bestiaries has the body of a hair, the tail of a squirrel and a boar’s tusks. The muscaliet is about the size of a large dog. It’s body gives off a blistering heat that eventually kills the tree in which it builds its nest. Muscaliets are not terribly aggressive, but they do respond violently to threats and attacks. The muscaliet is surrounded by a 10 ft radius of intense heat. Creatures within the heat aura of a muscaliet suffer 1d3 points of damage each round. People in metal armor or wielding metal weapons suffer an additional point of damage each round.

Muscaliet: HD 1; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 gore (1d4); Move 15; Save 17; CL/XP 2/30; Special: Heat.

Musimon (Tytron)
The musimon is a cross between a goat and sheep, having the feet and body of a goat and the head and wool of a ram. The creature has four horns on its head, two curved like a ram and two straight like a goat. Musimons are incredibly strong and will quickly charge creatures that approach their herd. Their gaze acts as a hold person spell on a single creature or a cause fear spell on up to 10 creatures. In any case, a saving throw is allowed to avoid the effect.

Musimon: HD 4; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 butt/gore (2d6); Move 12; Save 13; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Gaze attack.

Myrmecoleon
The myrmecoleon has the body of a giant ant and the head of a lion. Because the lion head is only attracted to eating meat and the ant body is designed for digesting grain, the creature is usually in a foul mood. Like giant ants, they inject a poison with their bite attack. The poison does 2d6 points of damage if a saving throw is failed, 1d4 points of damage if the saving throw succeeds.

Myrmecoleon: HD 5; AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 bite (1d8 + poison); Move 18; Save 12; CL/XP 6/400; Special: Poison.

Panthera (Pantere, Love Cervere)
Pantheras are intelligent, supernatural felines with iridescent coats and sweet-smelling breath. Pantheras are roughly the size and shape of a leopard. They spend most of their time sleeping in their caves, but emerge once or twice a week to hunt. Pantheras are lawful creatures that will not attack non-chaotic creatures unless seriously provoked. Panthera females are capable of breeding only once, so the breed is quite rare.

Pantheras have a breath weapon that can be used three times each day. The panthera’s breath is a cloud of perfume that fills a 20 ft radius centered on the panthera. Any creature except dragons that breathes this perfume must make a saving throw or be affected as by a charm monster spell. Dragon, on the other hand, are affected as though by a fear spell. Spells like stinking cloud or a troglodytes maliferous odor are neutralized in a 30 foot radius around a panthera. A panthera’s hide, if reasonably intact, retains this property and thus is quite vauable. If a panthera successfully bites a victim, it gains two additional attacks with its rear claws.

Panthera: HD 7; AC 3 [16]; Atk 2 claw (1d4) and 1 bite (1d6); Move 12; Save 9; CL/XP 8/800; Special: Breath weapon, rear claws.

Parandrus
The parandrus resembled a shaggy ox with cloven hooves and a large rack of antlers. Although unintelligent, the parandrus is capable of changing its color and shape. A parandrus will change its color as a means of camouflage, surprising on a roll of 1-4 on 1d6. In general, a parandrus that surprises will choose to flee, rather than attack. If forced to fight, the creature is capable of changing itself into any natural and supernatural beast. The parandrus can change shape each round and still attack.

Parandrus: HD 4; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 gore (1d6); Move 12; Save 13; CL/XP 6/400; Special: Change shape.

Peluda
A peluda is a river beast that resembled a giant, green porcupine. Its body is covered by stinger-tipped tentacles that can be made erect like quills. It also has the neck, head and tail of a serpent and the legs and feet of a tortoise. The peluda is capable of attacking with its poisonous stingers. Any creature in melee combat with the beast is subject to 1d3 stinger attacks each round. Each stinger inflicts 1d4 points of damage, or half that if the victim succeeds on a saving throw. The creature can also fire off one stinger each round as a missile attack with a range of 60 feet. A peluda has one of three possible breath weapons. The first is poisonous gas, like that of a green dragon. The second is a fiery breath, like that of a red dragon. The third is a gout of acid, like a black dragon. Each peluda will have one of these breath weapons, which it can use three times per day, inflicting 6d6 points of damage.

Peluda: HD 8; AC 2 [17]; Atk 1 bite (2d6), tentacles (see above); Move 9 (Swim 15); Save 8; CL/XP 11/1700; Special: Breath weapon, poison tentacles, only harmed by magic weapons, magic resistance 15%.

Medieval Bestiary – Part Four

European folklore holds a candle to none in the breadth and depth of its imagination. Europeans populated not only their own countries with all manner of strange beasts and monsters, but extended their imaginations over the entire globe. While a good many of these creatures have been given game statistics, several have not. Some of these creatures are, to be sure, simple variations on existing monsters – ogres, giants, fairies, spirits, etc. Others are just not threatening or interesting enough to demand statistics. Those monsters of the folklore of France, Germany and the Low Countries, and those of medieval bestiaries and heraldry, that I thought both unique and challenging are presented below.

Part One, Part Two, Part Three

This post is declared Open Game Content.

Ghouls
The nachzehrer, or “afterwords devourer”, is a foul undead creature from German folklore. Usually the risen corpse of a victim of suicide or disease, the nachzehrer consumes dead bodies in the manner of a ghoul. The creature assumes the shape of a large pig after leaving its grave, and initially targets its own family for consumption.

Gnolls
Through one means or another, the gnoll of modern fantasy games has come to be represented as a humanoid with the head of a hyena. In medieval bestiaries, two creatures can be used as variant gnolls. The first is the chromandi, a hairy, savage humanoid with the teeth of dogs. The second is the cynocephalus, Latin for “dog-head”. These dog-headed creatures were long claimed to have hailed from the mountains India. The dog-heads were hunters who communicated with barking and wore animal skins. Although of ancient Greek origin, they persisted into the Middle Ages. Saint Christoper was often depicted as being a cynocephalus, for he was a member of the tribe of Marmaritae, who were believed to be large and to have the heads of dogs. In game terms, Christopher would be a very rare high level lawful gnoll cleric! In the late Middle Ages, there were stories of such people living in Central Asia. King Arthur had a band in his retinue, inhabitants of the mountains of Eidyn, or Edinburgh. The Chinese admiral Hui-Sheng described an island of dog-heads, a “dog kingdom”, to the east of Fusang. Clearly, the gnolls got around in the days when giants still walked the earth.

Gorgad
Gorgades are hairy demi-humans believed to inhabit islands off the Atlantic coast of Africa. First described by Pliny the Elder, they feature in many medieval bestiaries. In Pliny’s description, it seems likely that what he was really describing was an encounter with apes. There is no reason, of course, that the gorgad cannot be portrayed in a fantasy game as a new race of hairy, primitive humanoids. After all, one can only encounter orcs and hobgoblins so many times before they yearn for something new.

Gorgades are primitive humanoids that are covered in shaggy fur. They dwell in large, extended families of 20 to 50 individuals and are usually led by one or several powerful males (2-5 Hit Dice each). Gorgades use primitive weapons, usually clubs and stones. They are known to be fleet of foot.

Gorgad: HD 1+1; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d8+1); Move 15; Save 17; CL/XP 1/15; Special: None.

Gulon (Jerff, Vielfras)
The gulon appears to be a large, brown, shaggy wolf with the head of a wild cat and the tail of a fox. The gulon kills quickly and then gorges itself on its prey, eating rapidly and until swollen. A frenzied gulon can devour most of a man-sized corpse in three rounds. Once gorged, its movement is reduced to 6, it suffers a -2 penalty to hit, and its Armor Class is reduced by 2 points. A creature devoured by a gulon cannot be raised from the dead or resurrected, but can be brought back to life with a wish.

Gulon: HD 3; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 bite (2d4); Move 15; Save 14; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Devour corpse.

Humans & Demi-Humans
Pliny the Elder described many strange humanoids who can statistically be represented as bandits or men-at-arms. The hippopodes, or “horse-feet”, were a tribe of humans with equine feet that lived on an island with two other strange tribes. The panotti were humans with ears so large and long that they could cover the creature’s entire body. The other tribe was the oeonae, humans who only ate oats and marsh bird eggs (but not the eggs of the barnacle goose, for that creature does not lay eggs!) The struthopodes are a tribe of humans in which the male has very large feet and the female very tiny feet. The machlyes are a race of hermaphroditic humanoids that look generally like human beings with male and female halves.

Ichneumon (Echinomon)
The ichneumon was believed to be the enemy of dragons. When the creature spotted a dragon, it would cover itself with mud and close its nostrils with its tail in order to surprise the dragon and pounce upon it and swiftly kill it. The name was later used to designate the mongoose, legendary enemy of poisonous snakes. For our purposes, we’ll consider the ichneumon to be a giant mongoose that is incredibly swift (per the haste spell) and immune to dragon breath and poison. Against dragons and other reptiles, the ichneumon enjoys a +2 bonus to hit and damage.

Ichneumon: HD 6; AC 3 [16]; Atk 2 bites (2d4); Move 18; Save 11; CL/XP 8/800; Special: Haste, immune to dragon breath and poison.

Klabautermann
Klabautermann are aquatic gnomes of a kindly disposition who aid fishermen and sailors at sea. These gnomes are expert sailors and musicians. They appear to be small, gnomish sailors in yellow clothes, woollen caps and gripping a sailor’s pipe in its mouth. Unfortunately, a klabautermann is naturally invisible, and will only appear to sailors if their ship is doomed to sink. A klabautermann is skilled at the hornpipe, and can play a tune that grants the sailors of a ship a +2 bonus to hit, damage and on all saving throws.

Klabautermann: HD 1d6; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 weapon (1d4); Move 9; Save 18; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Invisibility, rousing music, only harmed by silver or magic weapons.

Mandragora
A mandragora is a little doll or figurine in the shape of a beardless man. They are given to magic-users by the nether powers to act as familiars. In terms of game statistics, the mandragora can be considered a homunculus. Its possession allows a magic-user to Contact Other Plane once per week. The mandragora must be fed the blood of an innocent to keep it alive. They are immune to fire, and can actually travel back to their hellish plane of origin by entering a fire.

Matagot (Mandagot)
The matagot is an evil spirit that takes the form of a black cat, rat or fox. Matagots can bring wealth to a person, but in turn condemn their soul to torment after death. If the owner of a matagot gives it the first bite of food and drink at every meal, it is rewarded the next morning with a single gold coin. Each gold coin the person collects condemns his soul to torment for 1 year, thus making it impossible to resurrect or raise that person from the dead until his soul is freed. Moreover, the owner of a matagot suffers a -1 penalty to Armor Class and 1 extra point of damage per damage dice in combat – all the better to hasten his soul’s arrival in Hell.

Matagot: HD 1; AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 bite (1d3); Move 15; Save 17; CL/XP 2/30; Special: Only harmed by silver or magic weapons, misfortune.

Medieval Bestiary – Part Three

European folklore holds a candle to none in the breadth and depth of its imagination. Europeans populated not only their own countries with all manner of strange beasts and monsters, but extended their imaginations over the entire globe. While a good many of these creatures have been given game statistics, several have not. Some of these creatures are, to be sure, simple variations on existing monsters – ogres, giants, fairies, spirits, etc. Others are just not threatening or interesting enough to demand statistics. Those monsters of the folklore of France, Germany and the Low Countries, and those of medieval bestiaries and heraldry, that I thought both unique and challenging are presented below.

Part One, Part Two

This post is declared Open Game Content.

Caleygreyhound
This odd beast of medieval heraldry had the body of an antelope, the head of a wild cat with the antlers of a deer, the forelegs of an eagle and the hind legs and tail of either a lion or ox. The caleygreyhound is a predator with amazing speed; in effect, it is always under the effects of the haste spell. A similar creature is the enfield, with the head of a fox, chest of a greyhound, body of a lion, hindquarters and tail of a wolf and forelegs of an eagle.

Caleygreyhound: HD 3; AC 1 [18]; Atk 2 bite (1d4) and 4 claws (1d3); Move 18; Save 14; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Haste.

Carcolh
The carcolh is one of the folkloric beasts that makes you half-wonder if our medieval ancestors did play fantasy roleplaying games, because it is simply made for them! The carcolh is a giant serpent with a mollusk shell on its back. It is covered in sticky slime. Around its gaping mouth, the creature has dozens of long tentacles – some as long as a mile. The beast dwells in a cave and unfurls its tentacles, extending them well into the countryside. When something approaches too close to a tentacle, it is grabbed and squeezed and pulled back to the creature’s waiting mouth. In game terms, these tentacles might be found anywhere in a dungeon, and in fact 90% of random carcolh encounters are actually with a tentacle. The tentacles surprise creatures on a roll of 1-4 on 1d6. If a tentacle successfully attacks, it wraps around its victim quickly, squeezing for 1d4 points of damage each round and dragging it back 10 feet per round to the creature’s mouth. The tentacles have an Armor Class of 6 [13] and can be severed by inflicting 8 points of damage on them. The bite of the carcolh is +5 to hit a grappled creature, and if the bite attack beats the victim’s Armor Class by more than 4 points, the creature is swallowed whole.

Carcolh: HD 9; AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 or more tentacles (1d4 + grappled) or 1 bite (2d6); Move 9; Save 6; CL/XP 11/1700; Special: Tentacles, swallow whole.

Chichevache
This odd creature began as an unkind joke of Geoffrey Chaucer. The creature is said to resemble an emaciated cow with a human face. Its diet consists entirely of obedient and faithful wives, and the scarcity of such women, according to Chaucer, explains why it is so thin. The word may be a play on the French chichifache (“thin face”). In game terms, the creature can be turned into a fairly disturbing creature. Imagine an emaciated grey cow with a human face (a good start, in terms of being disturbing). Now imagine that this creature is an undead spirit, roaming the countryside looking for lawful females that it might devour their souls. In essence, it becomes a wraith wrapped in a new form.

Chichevache: HD 4; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 touch (1d6 + level drain); Move 12; Save 13; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Drain 1 level with hit.

Dipsa
The dipsa is a tiny serpent or worm, covered in a mucus membrane and so poisonous that its victims die before they are aware that they were bitten. The dipsa is a perfect creature to have lurking in swamps or dank dungeons, often buried in the soft mud or living in a puddle of water. It gets a single attack that forces its victim to save or die. The creature is so small that it can be killed with a single hit.

Dipsa: HD 1 hp; AC 9 [10]; Atk 1 bite (poison); Move 3; Save 18; CL/XP B/10; Special: Deadly poison.

Dragons
Dragons feature prominently in French folklore. Gargouille was a river dragon that spouted water. It was tamed by Saint Romain and then slaughtered and burned. Gargouille’s head and neck, however, would not burn, and were instead affixed to the cathedral, thus beginning the use of carved gargoyles as water spouts. The Tarasque was a legendary dragon from Provence. It was a dragon with six short legs, like those of a bear, an ox-like body covered by a turtle’s shell, a lion’s head and a tail that ended in a scorpion’s sting. The Tarasque was the offspring of the Biblical Leviathan and the Onachus, a scaly, bison-like beast from Galatia that burned everything it touched. The beast was impervious to the armies thrown against it, but was finally charmed by Saint Martha and led back to a city where it was killed by the people, offering them no resistance. The city was then renamed Tarascon. La Fertre’-Bernard, France, was terrorized by a dragon called Peluda, or “Shaggy Beast”. Peluda is unique enough to deserve its own entry below.

Note: Some fantasy games include rules for subduing dragons. Using these legends as a guide, a Referee might allow lawful or good clerics in his campaign the ability to charm dragons as though attempting to turn undead. If successful, treat the dragon as though it has been subdued.

Drude
The drude is a strange spirit from German folklore. It appears as a hag, and is in fact the evil portion of a virginal or holy woman’s soul. Sometimes, these women voluntarily undergo the Drudenfluch, or drude‘s curse to split their soul in two, and other times it is forced upon them by a demon or witch. The drude is very heavy and is as powerful as an ogre. It has a foot print that looks like a pentacle, and this symbol, called the Drudenfuss, can ward them away as a protection from evil spell. Drudes are capable of assuming gaseous form and seeping into a house through the tiniest cracks. Once inside, they attempt to suffocate their victim by sitting on its chest; in essence, this is handled as a fist attack. If successful, the victim must succeed at a saving throw or be grappled and suffer 1d3 points of constitution damage each round. When the victim is reduced to 0 consitution, the drude possesses them, bringing them back to full health and gaining complete control over them until forced out, which can be done by a cleric’s turn undead attack or with other spells.

Drude: HD 4; AC 5 [14]; Atk 1 fist (1d6); Move 12; Save 13; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Grapple, possession, only harmed by silver or magic weapons.

Forest Cattle
Pliny the Elder placed these cattle in Ethiopia. Forest cattle are twice the size of normal cattle and bright red in color. They are capable of turning their horns in any direction, thus allowing them to make two separate horn attacks each round. Bulls inflict 1d6 points of damage with each horn, while cows inflict only 1d4 points of damage. The forest cattle may be related to the yale of English folklore.

Forest Cattle: HD 6; AC 5 [14]; Atk 2 gores (1d6); Move 18; Save 11; CL/XP 6/400; Special: Can gore two different creatures in the same round.

Ged
Ged was the original word used for the pike. It is derived from the Old Norse gaddr, or “spike”. For our purposes, the ged is a giant pike that lurks in lakes and rivers. Ged are quite sneaky, and surprise on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6.

Ged: HD 4; AC 5 [14]; Atk 1 bite (3d6); Move 0 (Swim 24); Save 13; CL/XP 4/120; Special: Surprise.

Medieval Bestiary – Part Two

European folklore holds a candle to none in the breadth and depth of its imagination. Europeans populated not only their own countries with all manner of strange beasts and monsters, but extended their imaginations over the entire globe. While a good many of these creatures have been given game statistics, several have not. Some of these creatures are, to be sure, simple variations on existing monsters – ogres, giants, fairies, spirits, etc. Others are just not threatening or interesting enough to demand statistics. Those monsters of the folklore of France, Germany and the Low Countries, and those of medieval bestiaries and heraldry, that I thought both unique and challenging are presented below.

Part One

This post is declared Open Game Content.

Barbegazi
A creature from the folklore of the Swiss, the barbegazi resembles a dwarf covered in white fur and sporting a long beard and two enormous feet. They dwell in large, extended families in the highest mountains, traveling through the snow cover using their feet as skis or snowshoes. In the summer months, they doze away in caves and tunnels, not awakening until the first snowfall. The barbegazi are generally kind, warning people of impending avalanches and helping shepherds find lost sheep. They are usually encountered in bands of 6 to 10 individuals traveling from one community to another. These parties are armed with clubs and darts made of ice. They are not slowed by the snow, and can reach high speeds when skiing down hill.

Barbegazi: HD 1; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d4+1); Move 9; Save 17; CL/XP 1/15; Special: Immune to cold, weapons cause +1 point of cold damage.

Birds
Several strange species of birds are described in medieval bestiaries. Most of them are not fit for a combat encounter, but they make for interesting non-combat encounters, or the goal of quests for magical ingredients.

The avalerion was a bird without a beak and with stumpy, feathered legs. After two avalerion mate and lay a pair of eggs, they drown themselves.

The barnacle goose is another interesting creature of European folklore. It was a small marsh goose that was believed to be born from a piece of driftwood, in much the same way that it was believed that flies were born out of rotting flesh and mice out of grain.

The hercinia was a bird of the Hercynian Forest. Its feathers glowed brightly, illuminating the forest at night.

Bishop Fish
The bishop fish, or sea bishop, is a bipedal fish with a human face and a pointed head that resembles a bishop’s mitre. A couple specimens were said to have been captured in the 16th century. One, while being studied by a group of bishops, plead to be released through gesturing. When the bishops acquiesced, the bishop fish made the sign of the cross before disappearing into the waves.

In game terms, the bishop fish can be treated as a more lawful version of the locathah. Bishop fish communities are led by low- to mid-level clerics of lawful deities. The bishop of a community is served by a bodyguard of 3 to 6 monk-fish. Monk-fish have maximum hit points for a bishop fish and can cast spells as 2nd level clerics. Bishop fish cannot speak out of water, but are capable of making themselves understood to humanoids with hand gestures.

Blemmye (Acephali)
Blemmyes are a race of headless men and women who have their faces in their chests. Pliny the Elder, the champion monster creator of his day, placed them as inhabitants of Nubia, Kush or Ethiopia. Others placed them in India. Sir Walter Raleigh wrote about a tribe of the creatures living in the Caribbean.

The blemmyes are humanoids without heads. They have eyes, mouths and noses in their chests, but are without ears and thus deaf. They live in small bands of 20 to 40 individuals, living by hunting and gathering. They are known to eat sentient humanoids, so one must take care when interacting with them.

Blemmye: HD 1+1; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d6) or 1 bite (1d4); Move 12; Save 17; CL/XP 1/15; Special: Surprised on 1-2 on 1d6, immune to affects that work through sound.

Bonnacon (Bonasus)
The bonnacon was believed to be a species of bison native to the steppes of Asia. The bonnacon had curled horns and a most unpleasant form of self-defense. When attacked, the creature flees and sprays behind it a cone of acidic dung. Pliny describes the creature as a bull with the mane of a horse and horns curled back in such a manner as to be useless for fighting. The bonnacon’s “cone of dung” is 120 feet long and 50 feet wide at the base. Creatures caught in the shower suffer 1d6 points of damage (or half with a successful saving throw). Creatures hit by the dung suffer an additional point of damage each round thereafter, as it adheres to the skin and can only be removed completely by washing with some form of liquid.

Bonnacon: HD 3; AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 bite (1d3) or 1 kick (1d4); Move 15; Save 14; CL/XP 4/120; Special: Cone of dung.

Bugul Noz
The Bugul Noz, or “Night Shepherd”, is a fairy of Brittany. The last of its kind, it lives a solitary life due to its incredible hideousness. Any creature that views the face of Bugul Noz must pass a saving throw or be affected by its frightening visage. Creatures who fail their saving throw by 10 or more are killed on the spot. Those who fail the saving throw by at least 5 points faint dead away, and remain unconscious for at least an hour. Upon waking, they will discover that their hair has turned snowy white and that their sanity has been ever so shaken. Those who fail the saving throw by less than 5 are merely panicked and flee at top speed in a random direction until they collapse from exhaustion. Should one manage to control themselves, they will discover that the Bugul Noz is a kind and generous creature, and very knowledgeable about its home forest. Attacking so pitiable a creature may draw the ire of the seelie (i.e. holy) fairy court.

Caladrius (Dhalion)
The caladrius was represented in medieval bestiaries as a white bird that would take sickness upon itself, thus curing the sick. The bird would then fly away, dispersing the sickness to others. In game terms, the caladrius seeks out strong individuals and attempts to divest it of whatever disease it is carrying by pecking at them, in the hopes that they are strong enough to withstand the disease that a weaker person could not. The bird will appear in the sky, dive at the humanoid with the highest constitution, and attack until making a hit. At that point, the victim must make a saving throw against the effects of a cause disease spell (the reverse of cure disease). Whether the victim saves or not, the caladrius will flee, looking for another victim. The caladrius’s high Armor Class is due to its speed and savvy.

Caladrius: HD 1d4; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 beak (1 + disease); Move 9 (Fly 24); Save 18; CL/XP B/10; Special: Cause disease.

Medieval Bestiary – Part One

European folklore holds a candle to none in the breadth and depth of its imagination. Europeans populated not only their own countries with all manner of strange beasts and monsters, but extended their imaginations over the entire globe. While a good many of these creatures have been given game statistics, several have not. Some of these creatures are, to be sure, simple variations on existing monsters – ogres, giants, fairies, spirits, etc. Others are just not threatening or interesting enough to demand statistics. Those monsters of the folklore of France, Germany and the Low Countries, and those of medieval bestiaries and heraldry, that I thought both unique and challenging are presented below.

This post is declared Open Game Content! Enjoy.

Abarimon
First described by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, the abarimon lived in a country, also called Abarimon, in a great valley of Mount Imaus (i.e. the Himalayas). Despite their feet being turned backwards, or perhaps because of it, they were incredibly swift runners. The abarimon were terribly savage, and lived alongside wild animals. The air in the valley of Abarimon is so pure, that once one has become accustomed to it, they cannot leave the valley again without dying.

In game terms, the abarimon are humanoids who have backwards pointing feet. They dwell in mountain valleys and live the life of hunter-gatherers. They are swift runners, and as cunning as any animal. The abarimon speak a simple dialect of grunts and gestures, and place no value on treasure other than weapons.

Abarimon: HD 1; AC 7 [12]; Atk 1 weapon (1d6) or 1 unarmed (1d3); Move 18; Save 17; CL/XP 1/15; Special: None.

Alce (Keythong)
The alce is a wingless griffon, the offspring of a true griffon and a lion. Although lacking the ability to fly, it makes up for this with a coat of spikes, not unlike that of a hedgehog. Because of these spikes and the beast’s vicious disposition, creatures engaged in melee combat with an alce must make a saving throw each round to avoid suffering 1d4 points of damage from the spikes. Alces usually live in highlands bordering mountains inhabited by griffons.

Alce: HD 6; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d4), 1 bite (2d6); Move 12; Save 9; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Spikes.

Allocamelus
The allocamelus is the offspring of an ass and a camel. The allocamelus has the head of an ass and the body of a camel. The creature is used as a pack animal throughout Venatia and the Golden Coast. It is not as tolerant of the desert heat as the camel, but can in most respects be treated as that creature.

Alp (Schrat, Walrider)
In German folklore, the alp is a creature that resembles the incubus (the male version of a succubus) and the vampire. The word “alp” is related to the word “elf”.

The alp is a minor demon that appears as a demonic satyr wearing a hat in a style common to the region. The female version is called a “mara”. In either case, the creature attacks sleeping people, controlling their dreams and trapping them in terrible nightmares. While the victim is unable to rouse himself, the alp sits upon his chest, making it difficult to draw breath. The alp might also attempt to suckle on its victim, male or female, drawing blood if no breast milk is forthcoming. Alps can change themselves into the form of a boar, cat, viper, wolf or a small, white butterfly, and it is in this last guise that it often infiltrates a home. The alp’s hat, or tarnkappe, acts as a cloak of invisibility, though the hat itself always remains visible. Besides being able to use the nightmare spell at will (but only at night), the alp’s gaze can either cause disease or bestow a curse. In either case, a saving throw is allowed to negate the effect.

Alp: HD 5; AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 horn (1d4) and 1 bite (1d3); Move 12; Save 12; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Nightmare, gaze attack, change shape, cap of invisibility, only harmed by silver or magic weapons.

Alphyn
The alphyn’s name means “chaser”. A heraldic creature, it resembles a large wolf with the forelegs of an eagle and the hind legs of a lion. It has a long tail that is invariably knotted in the middle, and a long, flicking tongue like that of a snake. The alphyn is a powerful predator of the forest and highlands. As large as a tiger, it has multiple, vicious attacks and the tracking abilities of a wolf. In combat, an alphyn that hits the same target with both foreclaws gets two additional attacks on that target with its rear claws. Alphyns often run in small packs of 2 to 5 monsters. Their baying can be heard for miles. Up close, it causes fear (saving throw to negate), but even from afar is makes ones hair stand on end. Some hold that the alphyn is the executioner of the fairy court.

Alphyn: HD 6; AC 6 [13]; Atk 2 claws (1d4), 1 bite (1d6); Move 15; Save 11; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Rear claws, immune to fear, can track creatures on a roll of 1-5 on 1d6.

Amphiptere
The amphiptere is a small, legless wyvern. The creature is faster and more flexible than the wyvern and it is also more clever. An amphipteres is capable of folding its wings close to body and hiding in small (for a large creature) spaces and then springing out. This gives it the ability to surprise on a roll of 1-2 on 1d6. The amphiptere retains the wyvern’s stinging tail.

Amphiptere: HD 6; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 bite (2d6), 1 sting (1d6); Move 9 (Fly 24); Save 11; CL/XP 8/800; Special: Poison sting, flight.

Apes
The callitrix, or cericopithecus, was a monkey with a long beard and wide tail that always gave birth to twins, loving one and hating the other. While this does make it something of a jerk, it doesn’t make for an interesting encounter. If the need arises, use the gorilla’s statistics for a callitrix.

Aspidochelone (Fastitocalon, Jasconius, Pristis)
The aspidochelone, or “asp-turtle” is either a whale or sea turtle or an amalgam of the two, that has grown to such a massive size as to be, in essence, a living island. In game terms, the creature is a massive sea turtle with a craggy shell that can easily be mistaken for a small island. The shell is caked with soil from which grows trees and flow small streams. The aspidochelone is among the largest creatures in creation, its shell having a diameter of approximately 300 feet. Unfortunately, the aspidochelone is a cruel beast. It surfaces and allows desperate sailors to land on its back. After they have tied their ships down and made camp, it suddenly submerges again, plunging them into the ocean and then gobbling them up as they flail about helplessly. A victim of the creature’s bite attack must pass a saving throw or be swallowed whole. Creatures inside the aspidochelon’s stomach suffer 1d6 points of damage each round from the stomach acids and poisonous vapors. From the inside, the creature has an Armor Class of 6 [13]. Escaping into the esophagus requires an open doors roll.

Aspidochelone: HD 20; AC 1 [18]; Atk 1 bite (3d6); Move 3; Save 3; CL/XP 21/4700; Special: Swallow whole.