Get Bleeped

Monsters can come from the unlikeliest places, but this one came from a doodle (see below) on a scratchpad while I was on a conference call.


Never had an art lesson – can you believe it? *

Type: Construct
Size: Small
Hit Dice: 3+1
Armor Class: 16 (20 vs. metal)
Move: Fly 60′
Attack: Zap (5′/1d6 electricity) or slam (1d4 + 1d6 electricity)
Save: 15
Intelligence: Average
Alignment: Neutral (LN)
No. Appearing: 1d4
XP/CL: 300/4

SD—Resistance (acid, fire), immunity (electricity, mind effects)

SP—See below

Bleeps are constructs that hail from the Astral Plane. They materialize on other planes to learn about their ecosystems, recording data and testing inhabitants, before returning from whence they came (wherever that may be). Whether they are in control of themselves, or serve another species, is unknown. Bleeps communicate in a stilted, robotic voice. Due to their time on a given plane recording information, they have a 75% chance to speak the language of any creature they encounter.

Bleeps are surrounded by an electromagnetic field, which gives them an AC 20 against metal objects. Against spells that involve metal hurlants, they enjoy a +3 bonus to saving throws. This also allows them to zap creatures up to five feet away with electricity and their touch is also electrifying.

The bleep’s main weapon, though, is its ability to conjure replicas of creatures using pure energy. This acts as the different “summon monster” spells, I through IX. They can use one spell at a time, and while they use that spell, they lose a number of hit points equal to the level of the spell. Thus, a bleep using summon monster IX loses 9 hit points while the spell is active. When the spell is deactivated, the hit points return. If a bleep is destroyed while conjuring a monster, the monster disappears and the bleep, reduced to 0 hit points, does not suddenly pop back to life.

The interior of the construct is something like a geode, being a composition of weird crystals covering the interior of the metal shell. A sphere of ethereal nth metal floats in the center of this metal shell while the monster is functional, held in place by an inner electromagnetic field. When the monster is no longer fuctional, and if it is opened, the nth metal quickly floats upward at a rate of 30 feet per round, probably to never be seen again unless someone has a handy silver net with which to catch it.

* This is a lie – I took an art class in high school. I just suck at drawing.

Freeform Fantasy Races

Before I started writing this blog or publishing, I did a fair amount of writing for myself and the people with whom I gamed. I recently came across some files I’d stashed away, including the “original” NOD RPG, which was really just a mash-up of Swords & Wizardry and Castles & Crusades, with art from Wayne Reynolds, and this little ditty about racial archetypes.

The idea was to swap out the common fantasy races for these archetypes, with options chosen by the players so that they could, in essence, build their own “race” for their character. I used some of these idea later in Space Princess for those races, and a few ideas have probably filtered into Blood & Treasure, but I thought people might enjoy seeing the original, with only a little editing for spelling. Again – assume these were for some unholy mash-up of S&W, C&C and 3rd edition.

These rules are designed to let you model races not found in the Player’s Handbook.

Attribute Modifiers
All of the archetypes in this document except Aliens, Dynamics, and Natives are allowed one attribute modifier from the following list.

• +1 Cha, -1 Wis.
• +1 Dex, -1 Con.
• +1 Int, -1 Str.
• +1 Str, -1 Int and -1 penalty to one ability score of your choice.
• +1 Con, -1 Dex.
• +1 Wis, -1 Cha.

Dynamic Characters
Dynamics are the most common form of adventurer. They rely on training and luck to win the day, not innate powers.

Senses: Normal.

Prime Attributes: Dynamic characters may choose three prime attributes instead of the usual two.

Alien Characters
Aliens are defined by strange physical and mental powers. They are probably the most versatile type of hero, after the dynamic. Virtually any kind of “super powered” hero can be realized with the alien type.

Senses: Normal – but see below.

Powers: Aliens can choose three powers from the following list.

Mental Powers
All mental powers that are derived from Jason Vey’s psionics rules follow those rules normally. The alien should be treated as a 1st level psionicist for the purpose of using the ability. If an alien takes a psionic mental power multiple times, he increases his effective level for using that power by 1. Thus, an alien that took metabolic control three times would use the power as a 3rd level psionicist.

  • Alien Mind: Creatures that try to read or control your mind must make an Intelligence save or be confused for 1 round.
  • Clairaudience: See psionics rules.
  • Clairvoyance: See psionics rules.
  • Dual-Mind: You are capable of engaging in two mental tasks at once, making an attribute check for each at -2. You cannot cast two spells or use to psionic powers simultaneously with this power. In addition, you also get to make two saving throws against mental effects. As long as one mind makes it save, you can ignore the effect, though you suffer a -2 penalty to all actions.
  • Empathy: See psionics rules.
  • Heightened Mentality: Increase one of your mental attributes (Int, Wis, or Cha) by +1. This can be taken more than once, but no attribute can be increased beyond a score of 20.
  • Metabolic Control: See psionics rules.
  • Obfuscation: See psionics rules.
  • Psionically Gifted: You gain a +1 bonus to all psionic power checks.
  • Psychic Defense: See psionics rules.
  • Spell Resistance: You gain spell resistance 1. Each additional time you take this ability you increase your spell resistance by +1.
  • Telepathic Communication (Wisdom): See psionics rules.

Physical Powers

  • Chameleon: This is the ability to change the body’s colors (though not the color of items worn or carried) to match the environment. Generally it should give a bonus of +1 to +5 on hide checks.
  • Energy Resistance: You gain resistance to one energy type (acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic). This can be power can taken more than once, but it applies to a different energy form each time you take it.
  • Extra Arms: When using two-weapon fighting, you may make two off-hand attacks instead of one. Alternatively, you may wield an additional shield in combat.
  • Extra Legs: You are a quadruped – you gain a +4 bonus to avoid being knocked over. In addition, your carrying capacity is increased by 10%.
  • Heightened Physique: Increase one of your physical attributes (Str, Con, or Dex) by +1. This can be taken more than once, but no attribute can be increased beyond a score of 20.
  • Heightened Senses: You gain twilight vision, an enhanced sense of smell, and a +2 bonus to all listen checks.
  • Improved Speed: Your base land movement is increased by +5 ft. This can be taken more than once, and its benefits stack.
  • Natural Armor: You have scales, thick fur, or thick skin of some kind that give you a natural AC 12. Each additional time that you take this power you increase your natural armor by +2.
  • Natural Weapons: You either gain a bite, claw, gore, slam, slap, sting, talon, or tentacle attack that deals 1d4 damage. This attack can be used in addition to weapon attacks at no penalty. Each additional time you take this power you can either gain an additional attack form, or increase the damage of an existing attack form by one dice size.
  • Poison: You are poisonous – either through bite, skin contact, or writhing snakes on your head. Opponents who are stricken must succeed at a Constitution save or suffer 1d6 points of damage.
  • Quills/Spikes: Your outer arms, back, head, legs, etc are covered in quills or spikes. You gain a +1 bonus to AC, and can inflict 1d4 points of bonus damage when grappling or grappled. Opponents that strike you without using weapons suffer this damage automatically.
  • Regeneration: Gains fast healing 1.
  • Spider Climb: You can use spider climb, as the spell, at will.
  • Stretch: You can increase your reach by 5 ft (at the cost of 2 points of strength), and squeeze into small spaces with a dexterity check.
  • Tentacles: Tentacles emerge from some portion of your body – they may replace your arms or legs, or jut out from your chin. They grant you a slam attack that deals 1d4 damage, and grant you a +2 bonus to grappling attacks and climbing.

Sample Alien: Githyanki

The githyanki are descended from human slaves kept by the mind flayers. Ages ago they rebelled and escaped to the Astral Plane, where they now dwell. Githyankis have three mental powers: Alien mind, heightened mentality (+1 Int), and psionically gifted.

Beaste Characters
A concept drawn from folklore, beastes are shape shifting magical animals.

Senses: Twilight vision, enhanced sense of smell.

Alternate Form: Beastes can alternate their form between that of an animal, a humanoid, and a hybrid form. Changing form requires one complete round during which the character can do nothing else. Armor and equipment do not change form along with the beaste. In each form the character’s level and attribute scores are unchanged.

Animal Form: When in animal form the beaste is virtually undetectable from a normal animal. Beastes gain the ability to speak with normal animals when in their animal form. While in animal form, a beaste cannot use any weapons, armor, or equipment, nor can they cast spells. They can understand any language they know, but may not be able to reply.

Humanoid Form: When in humanoid form, beastes looks like a normal humanoid of a type chosen during character creation (i.e. elf, dwarf, human, orc, etc). Whatever their chosen humanoid guise, they always retain some distinctive feature of their beaste form. The choice is up to the player. In humanoid form, the beaste loses its twilight vision and enhanced sense of smell.

Hybrid Form: A beaste in hybrid form appears as a combination of animal and humanoid – their exact appearance is up to the player. In this form, they retain the special attacks and qualities of their animal form, but also have working humanoid hands, and can speak humanoid languages.

Speak To Animals: In all forms, a beaste can speak to animals at will.

Sample Beaste: Kitsune

Kitsune are fox beastes of Japanese folklore. They are capable of taking the form of a human, fox, or human-fox hybrid. They gain a +1 bonus to charisma and a -1 penalty to wisdom.

Elemental Characters
Elementals carry the blood of elementals in their veins. All elementals show this heritage in their physical appearance.

Senses: Twilight vision.

Energy Resistance: All elementals have 50% resistance to one energy type based on their elemental heritage:

Air 50% resistance to electricity
Earth 50% resistance to acid
Fire 50% resistance to fire
Water 50% resistance to cold

Elemental Power: Elementals have special abilities based on their elemental heritage.

Air: Reduce falling damage by 50%, double jump distance.
Earth: +2 AC vs. overbearing attacks, +1 natural AC
Fire: Deal 1 point of fire damage with all melee attacks.
Water: Breathe underwater, gain swim speed equal to land speed.

Sample Elemental: Fire Gnome
The fire gnomes are gnomes that dwell near volcanoes. They have 50% resistance to fire and can deal 1 extra point of damage with their melee attacks. In addition, they have the small subtype, giving them a +2 bonus to dexterity and a -2 penalty to strength. They have a +1 bonus to intelligence and a -1 penalty to strength (making a total -3 penalty to strength).

Macabre Characters
Macabres are either born from the undead (i.e. their parents were made undead while they were in the womb, or they were sired by a vampire, or there was a strange ritual involved), the result of botched resurrections on their pregnant mothers, or maybe they are actually sentient undead. Macabres can choose to be intangibles (like ghosts, shadows, or wraiths) or corporeals (like zombies, ghouls or vampires). They can be small, medium, or large.

Senses: Twilight vision.

Resistance: Macabres are damaged by positive energy and healed by negative energy. Thus cure light wounds will inflict 1d8 points of damage on a macabre, while inflict light wounds will cure 1d8 points of damage.

Stunning Touch: Macabres have a touch attack that stuns living creatures for 1d4 rounds if they fail a constitution saving throw. They can use this once per day.

Intangibles: Intangible macabres can use ethereal jaunt once per day.

Corporeals: Corporeal macabres have a 50% chance to ignore extra damage from sneak attacks, back attacks, and critical hits.

Sample Macabre: True Ghoul
The true ghouls are a race of undead that haunts the deepest reaches of the Underworld. Unlike normal ghouls ,they are intelligent and more-or-less civilized. A true ghoul has the normal resistance to positive and negative energy and stunning touch of a macabre. As corporeal macabres, they have a 50% chance to ignore extra damage from sneak attacks, back attacks, and critical hits. They have a +1 bonus to constitution and a -1 penalty to dexterity.

Magical Characters
Magical characters have magical power flowing through their veins. This is usually due to a fey, planar, or draconic heritage.

Senses: Twilight vision.

Resistance: Magicals can choose to have 25% resistance to any three energy types of their choice, 90% resistance to sleep and charm effects, or a flat magic resistance of 10%.

Spells: Magicals can choose four 0-level spells, two 1st level spells, or one 2nd level spell to cast as spell-like abilities once per day. The magical character has a caster level of 1 with his spell-like abilities.

The list a magical character chooses his spell-like abilities from often corresponds to his heritage: wizard for draconics, illusionist or druid for feys, and cleric for planars.

The spells chosen must be approved by the CK.

Sample Magical: Tiefling
Tieflings have fiendish blood in their veins. They have 25% resistance to cold, fire and poison damage, and can cast darkness once per day. They have a +1 bonus to dexterity and a -1 penalty to constitution.

Native Characters
The native is tied to where he has grown to adulthood, whether he is a barbarian of the forests or a city slicker.

Senses: Normal.

Native Environment: Natives must designate one “environment” as their native environment. A native can choose from the following environments: Aquatic, Arctic, Desert, Forest, Jungle, Hills, Marsh, Mountains, Plains, Underground, and Urban. Man-made dungeons do not count as an urban or underground environment.

All natives receive a +1 bonus to initiative, attribute checks that would benefit from familiarity with an area, and +10 ft to movement when in their native environment.

In addition, natives can choose to get either a +1 bonus to hit three traditional enemies of their people (chosen with CK’s approval), or a +1 bonus to hit with a traditional weapon of their people.

Finally, natives get a +2 bonus to AC when fighting large creatures native to their native environment.

Sample Native: Cimmerian
The Cimmerians of Robert E. Howard’s Hyborian tales are native to a land of steep, rugged hills. In such environments they gain a +1 bonus to initiative and attribute checks, a +10’ to their movement. Their traditional enemies are the Picts, Vanir, and Hyperboreans, against whom they are +1 to hit. Against large creatures native to Cimmeria they have a +2 bonus to AC.

Promethean Characters

Monkbot, from HERE

Note: I think I snagged this from somewhere else – maybe Jason Vey – if anyone knows, let me know

Prometheans are creatures that are manufactured by other creatures. They are sentient, and as capable of emotion as their player wishes them to be. Prometheans can be built from a variety of materials, including wood, metal, stone, clay, porcelain, or even unliving flesh.

Constructed: Prometheans are immune to any effect that requires a constitution save that doesn’t normally affect objects. They do not need to eat, sleep, or breath, although they can benefit from imbibing a magical potion.

Outer Shell: Prometheans gains special abilities based on the composition of their outer shell. Choose one.

Ceramic: +2 to charisma checks
Cloth: +2 to dexterity checks
Metal: Natural AC 12
Wax: Change self once per day, vulnerable to fire
Wood: Natural AC 11, swim speed equal to half their land speed

Innards: Prometheans gain special abilities based on their innards. Choose one.

Clockwork: +2 to grapple attacks and to disarm AC due to the ability to lock their grasp
Cotton: Cold resistance equal to 25%
Hollow: Conceal objects one size category smaller within its body
Sand: Fire resistance equal to 25%
Sawdust: Acid resistance equal to 25%
Solid: 25% chance to negate extra damage from sneak attacks, back attacks, and critical hits

Sample Promethean: Karakuri
In real life, karakuri are primitive Japanese clockwork automatons. In a fantasy game they can be prometheans of ceramic composition and clockwork innards. This gives them a +2 to charisma checks, a +2 bonus to grapple attacks, and a +2 bonus to AC vs. disarming attacks. Since they are constructs, they need not eat, sleep, or breath. They have a +1 bonus to dexterity and a -1 penalty to constitution.

Racial Subtypes
The following subtypes can be added to any racial type.

Aquatic: Aquatic creatures can breath underwater and gain a swim speed equal to their land speed. They must immerse their bodies in water at least once per day or lose 1 point of Constitution to dehydration.

Avian: Avian creatures have working wings; they gain a fly speed equal to their land speed, but suffer a -2 penalty to Constitution due to their hollow bones.

Insectoid: An insectoid’s antenna give it the ability to fight without the benefit of sight. They suffer half the normal penalty when fighting blind.

Subterranean: Subterranean creatures have darkvision to 60 feet, but are -1 to hit in bright light. Alternatively, they can have deepvision to 120 feet, but suffer a -3 penalty to hit in bright light.

Size: A creature’s size is assumed to be Medium, i.e. between 5 and 7 feet in height. Optionally, it can be Tiny, Small, or Large.

  • Tiny (1-2 ft): +4 Dex, -4 Str, 50% reduced carrying capacity
  • Small (3-4 ft): +2 Dex, -2 Str, 25% reduced carrying capacity
  • Large (8-12 ft): +2 Str, -2 Dex, 25% increased carrying capacity

Alia – Mechanical Goddess

Sculpture by John Duncan Fergusson

Saw this sculpture on Wikipedia today, and it inspired me. Looks like an appropriate goddess for the mechanical men who run about in NOD.

Goddess of Sun, Wisdom, Harmony, Dance
Neutral (LN)
Worshiped by Mechanical Men, Sages, Engineers, Royalty
Carries no weapons

Alia is the sun goddess of the mechanical men. The mechanical peoples have a different relation to the Sun than living creatures. They require no warmth, and do not eat, but they do require light and recognize its central place in the scheme of things. To the mechanical men, Alia is a goddess of reason and harmony, and her priests are usually Lawful (LG) or Neutral (LN) as a result. Her role as a slayer of darkness/evil or bringer of new life is underplayed by them, and instead she is conceived as more of a wise woman, holding a combination of a salon and grand ball, in which the other heavenly spheres dance and commune. Her priests, therefore, are skilled at dancing and are more sages than warriors, though they acknowledge the need to combat Chaos (Evil), as it attempts to disrupt and wear down the mechanical universe, of which they are microcosms.


Cleric 4 (Clerics of Alia only)
30 ft. range
1 minute duration

Harmonious action permits all allies within the spell’s range to move and act in perfect harmony while engaged in melee combat. The cleric chooses one enemy target in particular. Each of the cleric’s allies, in addition to making a normal move and melee attack, can make an extra melee attack at a -5 penalty on the cleric’s chosen foe, provided that foe is within their range.

Seasonal Beasties – Leaf Golem

Everyone enjoys jumping in a fresh pile of fallen leaves (okay, actually I don’t know anybody who does that, but just play along, okay), but some piles are better left alone (what a weird phrase to write!)

Leaf golems are constructed by druids in the autumnal months, when leaves have turned yellow, gold and red and fallen from the trees and vines are beginning their retreat before the coming of winter. A vast quantity of this plant material is gathered by the druid and sprinkled with various holy compounds and then left in a clearing under a new moon. When the first hint of moonlight touches the mouldering pile, it stirs and rises as a leaf golem.

Leaf golems look something like shambling mounds – they are vaguely humanoid, stout and thick, and smell of rotting vegetation. Unlike shambling mounds, they are a bit taller than they are wide. They have no faces, but appear to be able to see and hear. They make no sound other than a persistent rustling, even when standing still, but quieted when imitating a leaf pile and ready to attack.

Leaf golems contain dozens of thick, woody tendrils and their interiors are suffused with brown mold. Up to four of these tendrils can be projected from the creature’s body to attack creatures. A creature constricted by a tendril must pass a Fortitude saving throw each round or be dragged 5 feet closer to the monster. When they are right next to the monster, the next dragging pulls them inside the monster. A leaf golem can hold one medium-sized creature at a time, two small creatures or four tiny creatures. Creatures inside the leaf golem begin to suffocate, and are affected per brown mold, suffering 1d6 points of cold damage per round until dead. When dead, they are ejected in a random direction, flying 5 feet and possibly striking another creature for damage (1d3 for tiny creatures, 1d6 for small creatures, 2d6 for medium creatures).

The presence of the brown mold and the dampness of its leafy body give a leaf golem resistance to fire. The monsters are immune to cold and suffer only half damage from piercing weapons like spears and arrows.

Leaf golems are immune to most spells, and those spells that do affect it do so in weird ways (with no save):

– A blight spell drives the golem back 120 feet and deals 3d12 points of damage to it.

– A command plants spell slows a leaf golem for 1d6 rounds and suppresses its magic immunity during that time.

Leaf Golem, Large Construct, Non-Intelligent: HD 9 (45 hp); AC 19; ATK 2 slams (2d8 + constrict) and 4 tendrils (1d4 + constrict); Move 20; F10 R11 W11; AL Neutral; XP 2250; Special – Resistance to fire, magic immunity (see above), suffocate (see above), immune to cold, brown mold, surprise (3 in 6 in leafy areas), weapon resistance (piercing).

Image found at Pixabay


During the discussion there was a request for clockwork horrors. Here’s my version of the, sort of the fantasy version of self-replicating machines that just don’t know when to stop.


Antikytheres are clockwork creations of magic-users designed to retrieve rare earths, metals or gemstones for their alchemical work. They look like scarabs fashioned from precious metals and their dim programming sometimes blossoms into true intelligence, allowing them to reproduce and form hordes. These hordes can descend on a region and strip it bare of mineral resources, all for the purpose of making additional antikytheres. It is not for nothing that dwarves and gnomes attack them on site and then pursue their creator with a rare determination.

Antikytheres are small creatures that look like scarabs with six jointed legs ending in spikes, mandibles capable of chewing through stone and wing flaps that can open to release razor-sharp chakrams. An antikythere holds six of these missiles.

The bronze antikytheres are the basic models. Silver antikytheres are more intelligent than bronze antikytheres and are also immune to acids. Through a nozzle in their mouths they can spit acid once every three rounds. The acid emerges in a 10-ft line and otherwise conforms to the acid arrow spell. Gold antikytheres are the most intelligent form of the construct. They are also immune to fire and, in instead of spitting acid every three rounds can spray a 15-ft. cone of alchemist’s fire once per day.

Although terrifying enough alone, when five antikytheres work together they can set up vibrations that can cause a small earthquake (per the spell). Each round, there is a 5% chance per antikythere involved (remember, there must be at least five) of causing the earthquake effect. Other antikythere in the area of effect have a +3 bonus to save vs. the earthquake due to their knowledge of it coming and their ability to clamp their spiked legs into the ground for stability.

Bronze Antikythere, Small Construct, Neutral, Non-Intelligent: HD 2; AC 17; Atk 1 bite (1d6) or chakram (1d4); MV 30 (Burrow 15); Save F 16, R 15, W 15; XP 200; Special: Immune to electricity, paralyzed by dispel magic, vulnerable to sonic attacks.

Silver Antikythere, Small Construct, Neutral, Animal Intelligence: HD 4; AC 16; Atk 1 bite (1d6) or 2 chakram (1d4); MV 30 (Burrow 15); Save F 15, R 14, W 15; XP 300; Special: Spit acid, immune to acid and electricity, paralyzed by dispel magic, vulnerable to sonic attacks.

Gold Antikythere, Small Construct, Neutral, Low Intelligence: HD 6; AC 15; Atk 1 bite (1d6) or 2 chakram (1d4); MV 30 (Burrow 15); Save F 13, R 12, W 13; XP 300; Special: Spray alchemist’s fire, immune to acid, electricity and fire, paralyzed by dispel magic, vulnerable to sonic attacks.


It Came from the SRD – Part Four

This post is the fourth of four posts converting the unconverted monsters from the SRD to S&W. There is, naturally, a part one, part two and part three. This post is open game content.

Sahuagin Mutant
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 [14]; 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 [15]; Atk 2 claws (1d4), 1 bite (1d8); Move 12 (Swim 18); Save 11; CL/XP 8/800; Special: Regenerate 3 hp/round.

Shadow, Greater
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 [13]; 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 Guardian
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 [19]; 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 [12]; Atk 1 bite (2d6), 2 claws (1d4); Move 9 (Swim 15); Save 16; CL/XP 2/30; Special: None.

Spider Eater
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 [14]; 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 [18]; Atk 1 touch (2d6); Move 12 (Burrow 3); Save 14; CL/XP 4/120; Special: Healed by fire, double damage from cold.

Troll Hunter
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 [18]; 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
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 [15]; 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 [17]; 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 [16]; 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.

Celestial Creature
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 [13]; 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.

Fiendish Creature
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 [14]; 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.

Sample Half-Celestial

  • Half-Celestial Elf: HD 1+1; AC 4 [15]; 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.

Sample Half-Dragon

  • Half-White Dragon Mammoth: HD 12+12; AC 5 [14]; 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.

Sample Half-Fiend

  • Half-Fiend Berserker: HD 1; AC 7 [12]; 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.

Sample Lycanthrope

  • Hill Giant Were-Orca: HD 20+2; AC 2 [17]; 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.

Sample Vampire

  • Vampiric Lizardman: HD 7+1; AC 6 [13]; 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)