Three Monsters Mild

I’m kinda sorta working on a little book called Monsters Mild, which will include 12 to 15 monsters that are not so much intended as foes to fight as they are to be things characters might meet and maybe even befriend. They are intended to be fantasy color. The first one showed up on Google+ a little while ago, and has been illustrated by the ever-wondrous Joel Priddy (blessed be his pen). The others will get their own illustrations somewhere along the line …


Medium Plant

Hit Dice: 3
Armor Class: 16
Attacks: Fist (1d6)
Move: 20’
Saves: F12 R14 W14
Intelligence: Average
No. Appearing: 1 usually, but 1d6 in the wilderness
Alignment: Neutral
XP: 300 (CL 4)

Resistance to weapons, immune to poison, ESP 1/day

These monsters look like roughly humanoid-shaped turnips, with bushy green stalks on their head and beady black eyes and thick fingers and toes on their hands and feet. They can summon up herbs of any kind in their hands, three times per day, including poisons, medicinal herbs and cooking ingredients. They are somewhat slow-witted, though not stupid, and often take a liking to children and the elderly. Many appear before the hovels of abandoned elders and become their servants and caretakers. Man-worts do not speak (they have no mouths). They need to root themselves in soil for at least one hour per day to survive, and need as much water as human beings. They will fight when people they love are threatened.

Granny Woman

Medium Fey

Hit Dice: 1
Armor Class: 11
Attacks: Rolling pin (2d6)
Move: 20’
Saves: F15 R13 W12
Intelligence: High
No. Appearing: 1
Alignment: Lawful (CG or NG)
XP: 100 (CL 2)

Magic resistance 25%

A granny woman is a fey creature that appears as a very old – an impossibly old – woman with large, knowing eyes and withered hands that hide a powerful grip. Granny women live in the woods, near enough to settlements to be helpful, but not so near as to be annoyed by all the nonsense and going’s on. They usually live with a familiar in the form of large, furry cat. These cats are ill-tempered to folks who deserve it, but quite charming (if not a little bossy) to the good-at-heart. Acceptance by a granny woman’s cat means acceptance by a granny woman.

Granny women can use the following spells as inborn abilities: At will-animal messenger, calm animals, detect invisibility, detect magic, discern aura, pass without trace, speak with animals, speak with plants; 3/day-goodberry (baked into tarts), magic stone, sleep; 1/day-cause fear, daze monster, geas/quest, mending, smoke image (from her own pipe only), summon nature’s ally IV.

There is a 1 in 12 chance that a granny woman lives with a man-wort (q.v.), and a 1 in 6 chance they live with an orphaned child they are bringing up. If threatened, they have only to scream or whistle and one of the following creatures appears to aid them:

1. Grey Render (who likes its head to be scratched)
2. 1d4+1 brownies (who appreciate good cooking)
3. 1d6 wood elf, gnome or halfling warriors (who need their socks darned)
4. 1d4+2 cooshee (who will hang around for an ear scritch and soup bone)
5. A curtal friar (cleric or druid, 1d4+2 for level, old friend of the granny woman)
6. A ranger and 1d4 outlaws (ranger level 1d4; he and his men look after the old girl when they’re not being chased by the sheriff)

A granny woman will never turn away folk in need unless they are thoroughly wicked, and even then she will help but also place a geas on them with her touch that forces them to perform three acts of pure goodness in a fortnight.


Small Ooze

Hit Dice: 0 (1d4 hp)
Armor Class: 14
Attacks: Slam (1d3 + constrict)
Move: 20’ (Climb 20′)
Saves: F17 R16 W17
Intelligence: Low
No. Appearing: 1d3
XP: 50 (CL 1)

Resistance to weapons, immune to acid, surprise (1-4 on 1d6)

Goops are small oozes with highly variable colors (and sometimes swirls of color). They lurk around corners and creep up on people, crawling onto them when they aren’t looking. Goops are terribly insecure, and desire the warmth of humanoid contact. When they are clinging to people, they give off a telepathic purr that only the person they are touching can hear. The purr is calming (+1 bonus to save vs. emotional manipulation and fear).

Unfortunately, goops are extremely sticky (takes a combined strength of 28 to remove them, and there’s a 50% chance anyone involved gets the goop re-stuck on them), and they can ruin armor, clothing and weapons with the mild acid they secrete when frustrated or afraid (item saving throw at +2 for metal items).

Each goop has one important, inborn piece of knowledge. In any “sticky situation” the adventurers find themselves in, there is a 1% chance that goop has the answer they are looking for, and will release it to the adventurer with which it has bonded.

Of Pixies and Proboscis Monkeys

Because you demanded it (well, two of you), I now proudly present the proboscis monkey (or bekantan) and pixie as playable races for Blood & Treasure. I will expect to see many bekantan and pixie characters popping up in the next few months to reward me for my toil.


Found HERE; modified by yours truly

The life of a bekantan is boring. They dwell in the treetops, grazing on leaves. Because the leaves contain toxins, they only eat young leaves, and they only eat a few leaves from each tree, to avoid too big a build-up of that tree’s particular toxins in their system. Tree to tree, leaf after leaf. Boring.

A rare bekantan is born a little smarter than its kin, and wants a little more out of life. These bekantan become adventurers.

Bekantan have reddish-orange fur and pink-orange faces. They are notable for their large noses (especially on the males) and pot bellies.

Bekantan are not particularly violent, and couple with their small size makes them relatively poor warriors. They usually are not intelligent enough to become magic-users, and few enter the priestly ranks. This makes most bekantans thieves (or Jimmy Durante impersonators, but I haven’t written that class yet, so we’ll let it lie).

Bekantan modify their starting ability scores as follows: Str -1, Dex +2, Int -2, Wis +1, Cha -1

Bekantan have a base movement rate of 30′ per round and a climb speed of 20’ per round. They have a knack for climbing sheer surfaces, jumping and swimming (they have webbed toes). Bekantan enjoy a +2 bonus to save vs. poison. They can make a bite attack for 1d3 damage in place of a weapon attack.

Bekantan can multi-class as fighter/thieves, magic-user/thieves or cleric/thieves if they can meet the requirements.


Pixies are fey kin to halflings, though far less likely to mingle with humanoids than their portly, burrowing cousins. Most live a carefree existence in the woods, doing fey stuff and ignoring the world of men and dwarves (and elves and half-elves and half-orcs and … you get the idea). A few are bold enough to step out of the woods and become adventurers.

Pixies modify their starting ability scores as follows: Str -3, Dex +3, Int +2, Wis +1

Pixies are small creatures with a base movement rate of 20’ per round. They can also fly at a speed of 60’ per round if they do not wear armor heavier than padded or leather and if they are not encumbered.

Pixies have numerous magical abilities. They can become invisible, at will, for up to 1 minute per day per level (per the invisibility spell). They also enjoy a +2 bonus to save vs. magic.

Pixies with a Charisma score of at least 11 can cast the following spells, each once per day: Detect thoughts (ESP), detect evil and dancing lights.

Pixies can multi-class as fighter/sorcerers and sorcerer/thieves if they can meet the requirements.

All pixies suffer a -20% penalty to earned experience, due to their numerous special abilities. Pixies cannot advance beyond 8th level as sorcerers or warlocks (alternate sorcerer class), or 7th level in other classes.

Dragon by Dragon – April 1980 (36)

There will come a day when the April edition of The Dragon will be full of jokes. Based on the cover, I’d say that day was not in April of 1980.

The aforementioned cover is by Dean Morrissey, and it is inspired by that issue’s short story by Gardner Fox, “The Cube from Beyond”, a Niall of the Far Travels story. Mr. Morrissey is still a working artist – you can see some of his pieces HERE.

Let’s check out 10 cool things about issue #36 …


First and foremost, I’m always a sucker for a good sword & sorcery tale by Gardner Fox. Here’s a sample:

“Now Thavas Tomer was a doomed man. He had fled down the halls and corridors, seeking sanctuary—where no sanctuary was to be found. At his heels had come Niall, his great sword Blood-drinker in his hand, seeking to make an end to this magician-king who had slain and raped and robbed all those against whom he had sent his mercenaries.”

If somebody could figure out a way to make a random idea generator that plucked passages from fantasy stories, I bet it would be a great way to come up with adventures or campaigns. Three different passages from the same book might inspire three very different campaigns.


An interesting “Up on a Soap Box” by Larry DiTillio, regarding him running an adventure he normally ran for adults for some adults and teens at a convention. Here’s an excerpt:

“In the same game another incident occurred, again with that same Paladin player. This one involved a mysterious monk smoking a substance from a hookah which he offered to certain party members. My friends accepted somewhat overeagerly, while the Paladin again asked me that question. Was smoking a drug against his alignment? Now, I’m not a junkie, nor do I think drugs are of any benefit to teen-agers (no high is as good as your own natural openness to things at that age), but I have had a good deal of experience with a whole gamut of consciousness-altering substances and would be hard pressed to declare them categorically evil.”

The first incident involved a dungeon room where sex could be purchased. In both cases, the paladin inquires whether these acts are against his alignment. It’s a tricky question, and does get to a problem with alignment – i.e. the interpretation of what it means. No answers here, but an interesting problem, and an interesting article.


In this issue, Gygax chimes in with some stats for Conan. It’s funny, but I was actually searching for this article recently, looking for inspiration for maybe making some revisions to the barbarian class in Blood & Treasure.

In doing so, I found some comments on websites that this article was a mistake, in that the weird rules changes needed to simulate Conan showed the weakness of the D&D system. I disagree – D&D is a game. Conan was a character in stories. No random rolls there, no comparisons of hit rolls and Armor Class. That a game cannot simulate something in a story is not a condemnation of the game (which, in D&D’s case, was not designed specifically to simulate Conan stories in the first place).

So, how does Conan shake out? Well, which Conan. The piece actually presents Conan at different ages – 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70. Neat idea. We also see how his fighter and thief levels change through his ages. His fighter level runs from a low of 4 at age 15 to a high of 24 at age 40 … and then back down to 12 by the time he’s 70.

How does a level drop? Well, there’s really no way to do it in the game, but I thought about using a rule that each year without adventuring might result in a character losing 10% of his earned XP. If you don’t stay in practice, you get rusty and, therefore, lose levels. Just a thought.

So, let’s look at Conan at age 25.

Conan, Human Fighter/Thief: Level 12/8; HP 132; AC 16; ATK attacks 5 times every 2 rounds; Str 18/00, Int 15, Wis 10, Dex 20, Con 18, Cha 15; AL Chaotic Neutral (good tendencies); Psionics–Latent–animal telepathy, detect magic, precognition, mind bar.

Conan gets the following special abilities:

  • When he rolls a total of “21” to hit, he scores double damage.
  • He is 75% undetectable in underbrush and woodlands.
  • He surprises opponents 50% of the time.
  • He is only surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d20.
  • He gets a +4 bonus on all saves.
  • Poison can knock him unconscious, but never kill him.
  • He regains hit points at double the normal rate, and regains hit points at the normal rate even without resting.
  • He has 25% magic resistance if he is aware that magic is being used against him.
  • His psionics are all latent – he does not know he has them, and cannot consciously choose to use them.
  • When wielding an off-hand weapon, he can parry one attack per round with it.
  • He can move at a trot all day without tiring.
  • His trails are 75% undetectable.
  • His vision and hearing are 50% better than normal.
  • When he pummels people, his opponents are treated as slowed; his fists are treated as mailed even when bare.
  • When grappling, his effective height is 7′, and his effective weight is 350 lb.
  • He gets a 15% bonus to overbearing attacks
  • He does unarmed damage as though armed with a club


In “Sage Advice” by Jean Wells …

“Question: Why can’t half-orcs be raised, especially if they are 90% human as the Players Handbook says?

Answer: The Players Handbook does not say that half-orcs are 90% human. It says that 10% of them (from which player characters are drawn) resemble humans enough to pass for one under most circumstances. Genetically, a true half-orc is always 50% human. Half-orcs cannot be raised simply because they do not have souls. I went right to the top for the answer to this one, and according to Gary Gygax himself, ‘Half-orcs cannot be raised-period.'”

It occurs to me that the inability to raise demi-humans was a balancing factor in old D&D for all of their special abilities.


Len Lakofka tries his hand at setting all those deity-killing PC’s right by setting down some truths about the gods. How many DM’s, I wonder, design their pantheon specifically for one day fighting high-level adventurers?

Here are Lakofka’s definitions for deity-hood:

1. Has 180 or more hit points
2. Can cast a spell or has a power at the 20th level of ability
3. Can fight or perform acts as a 20th level Lord or 20th level Thief

Those who cannot do this are not deities. This includes Jubilex, Ki-rins and Yeenoghu. Baal, Orcus, Tiamat and Bahamut, on the other hand, are deities.

He also states that deities get their special abilities from the Outer Planes, while lesser beings get their powers from the inner planes or from deities.

Much more here, including abilities from ability scores of 19 or higher (or 25+ for strength).

It looks like the blueprint used for the later Deities & Demigods / Legends & Lore books.


Now that’s a great illustration for selling a monster book. You can pick up the PDF HERE.


Turns out there was a prank hiding inside this issue after all – technically The Dragon #36 1/2.

We have articles about how to make the most out of your pet dragon, some new monsters (see below), keeping your players poor with the tax man, Bazaar of the Ordinary (web of cob), a random table (d30!) of things to say when you accidentally (or maybe not accidentally) summon Demogorgon, Leomund’s in a Rut (expanding character footwear options), this month’s module – a 10×10 room with nothing in it (map provided), and an add that includes Detailed Advanced D&D, the next step in fantasy gaming.

As for one of those new monsters:

The Keebler, Small Fey: HD 0; AC 13; ATK none; MV 40′; XP 50; AL N (good tendencies); Special-Magic resistance 60%, bake cookies (Will save at -4 or charmed); Spells-3/day-create water, purify food & drink, slow poison, create food & water, neutralize poison, locate object (edible substances) – as though by 7th level cleric.

7) The Mongols

Neat article by Michael Kluever on the history, weapons and tactics of the Mongols. Mongols done the way they were are probably pretty underused in fantasy gaming – they were a pretty fascinating group, and a campaign that includes a rapidly expanding Mongol Empire (wherein PC’s leave town, adventure in a dungeon, and come back to find the town razed or absorbed into the empire) would be pretty cool, especially if that expansion ends up being crucial to the game.

How was the typical Mongol warrior equipped:

Armor ranged from none to leather to scale armor, plus conical helms (leather for light cavalry, steel for heavy cavalry) and small, circular shields made of wicker covered with leather; they also wore silk undershirts that apparently helped to minimize damage from arrows when they had to be removed from wounds

Two composite bows, one for short range, one for long range; they used armor-piercing arrows, whistling arrows to signal and incendiary arrows (tipped with small grenades – apparently the Duke boys didn’t invent the idea); each warrior carried two quivers with 60 arrows in each

Heavy cavalry also carried a scimitar, battle axe OR horseman’s mace, a 12′ long lance with a hook for yanking warriors off their horses and a dagger

Light cavalry carried a lighter sword, two to three javelins and a dagger

8) Giants in the Earth

This edition, by Lawrence Schick and Tom Moldvay, includes:

Rafael Sabatini’s Captain Blood (17th level fighter, 10th level thief, 8th level cleric)

Lovecraft’s Richard Upton Pickman (King of the Ghouls, 9th level fighter)

Thomas Burnett Swann’s Silverbells (forest minotaur 15th level ranger, 13th level paladin)

The last one caught my attention, since I’d never heard of the author. The idea is that the original stock of minotaurs, termed forest minotaurs here, were neutral good defenders of the woodlands and the fey creatures who lived therein. You can find his books for sale at Amazon.

9) A New Way to Track XP

Experience points, like alignment, are a perennial sub-system people are trying to improve. In this version, XP are based on actual damage inflicted (modified by the strength of the opponents), and for deeds actually done. To whit:

For non-magical monsters, you get 5 XP per point of damage done, multiplied by the difference between the monster’s AC and 10

For magical monsters, 10 XP per point of damage done, same modifier.

For spellcasting in combat, 10 XP per level of spell

For spellcasting in a hostile situation, 5 XP per level of spell

Thieves get XP for gold stolen, maybe only if they grab a larger share than the other members of their party

Not a bad idea, really.

10) The Fastest Guns that Never Lived

This is a reprint, collection and expansion of articles I remember covering many reviews ago. Designed for Boot Hill, it’s a pretty fun article for fans of westerns, and a great opportunity for fan debates. If you think it’s bunk, you can blame Allen Hammack, Brian Blume, Gary Gygax and Tim Kask.

So, let’s get to the winners in each stat:

Fastest Gun in the West: (1) Clint Eastwood, (2) Bob Steele, (3) Paladin

Slowest: Pancho

Most Accurate Gun in the West: (1) Clint Eastwood, (2) Will Sonnet and Col. Tim McCoy, (3) Lone Ranger, The Rifleman, Paladin and Lee Van Cleef

Least: Hoss and Little Joe Cartwright

Bravest Gun in the West: Charles Bronson

Most Cowardly: Pancho

Strongest Gun in the West: Hoss Cartwright

Weakest: Will Sonnet

Somebody was in love with Clint Eastwood, huh?


Todd Lockwood (that one?) brings us the monster of the month, a race of warm-blooded flying reptile dudes. Here are the Blood & Treasure stats.

Krolli, Large Monstrous Humanoid: HD 2 to 6; AC 17; ATK 1 bite (1d6+1), rear claw (1d8+1), hand (1d8 or by weapon +4); MV 20′ (fly 40′); AL varies; XP 200 to 600; Special-High dexterity, multiple attacks, acute senses, surprised on 1 on 1d6, 25% magic resistance.

They are encountered in lairs, with 3d20 in lair, 25% females and young, with 2-3 and 1/2 HD each, and 1d8 7+2 HD chieftains. Encountered among men, they are usually mercenaries or slavers, and could be found as body guards or military officers.

They have high natural strength (20) and dexterity (23).

They may be of any class, though 95% are fighters. Of the remainder, 70% are clerics. They cannot wear armor, but often carry shields. They are almost never thieves or assassins.

Side note – I really loved Lockwood’s stuff for 3rd edition D&D – a very worthy artist to carry that torch, I think.

Hope you enjoyed this review … I leave you with Tramp

Nymphomania II – Seven More Nymphs

And so we come to part 2 of my article on variant nymphs. Enjoy (can’t wait to commission art for this one!)

Melissae are the nymphs of honey bees. They appear as 4 to 5 ft. tall women of exceptional beauty, with golden skin and honey-colored hair. On their backs are wings like those of a giant bee, and they have a fly speed of 30 feet.

Once per day, a melissae can summon a swarm of bees (per summon swarm). They do not have the gaze attack of normal nymphs, but their kisses act as a charm person spell. Melissae are immune to poison, and most carry a magical mead that acts as a neutralize poison potion. Melissae cast spells as bards rather than druids. They are usually encountered with 1d6 giant bees.

Naiads are the nymphs of fresh water, dwelling in rivers, lakes, streams and pools. They are among the more pleasant of their kind, enjoying dalliances with mortal men and rarely doing lasting harm to mortals. Naiads are about 5 feet tall and generally resemble elves. They have pale skin and silvery hair.

Naiads are amphibious. They have a swim speed of 50 feet and are resistant to cold damage.

Sea nymphs dwell in salt water, often constructing small palaces for themselves below the waves. Their leader is the famous Thetis, mother of Achilles. They usually have pale skin and golden hair, with deep blue eyes.

Nereides are amphibious. They have a swim speed of 60 feet. Nereides are resistant to cold damage, have 10% magic resistance and can only be harmed by silver weapons. In place of a normal nymph’s gaze attack , nereides can sing a siren song that affects all within 100 feet. At minimum power, this acts as a bard’s fascinate ability, but nereides can also use it to deliver the following spells: Charm person, charm monster, suggestion, command, confusion or fear.

The nymphai hyperboreioi are the nymphs of the taiga. They are hardier and more barbaric than their southerly sisters, and excel at archery. Nymphai hyperboreioi stand about 7 feet tall, have pale skin (often freckled) and flowing red or blond hair. They are always found wearing leather armor (or furs – count them as leather armor either way) and carrying short swords and longbows.

Hyperborean nymphs have 8 Hit Dice and enjoy resistance to cold damage. In their hands, bows and arrows always carry a +1 magical bonus. When making trick shots with their bows, they enjoy a +2 bonus to hit. Hyperborean nymphs do not have the normal nymph’s gaze attack, but they can imbue their arrows with a charm person effect; when an arrow is so imbued, it deals no damage. Rather, it disappears into a cloud of smoke when it strikes a target, and that target must pass a Will saving throw or be charmed.

Oceanids might also be called greater nereides. They are the daughters of Oceanus and Tethys, and thus have titan blood flowing through their veins. Oceanids are exceptionally lovely, with blue-green skin and hair like sea foam. They can appear in the form of mermaids, or as humanoids.

Oceanids have 9 Hit Dice, AC 18 and a swim speed of 90. They can only be harmed by +1 or better weapons, have magic resistance 25% and are immune to cold. They can breathe air or water. Once per day, an oceanid can enlarge herself (as the spell), an artifact of her titan heritage. Oceanids cast spells as 9th level druids. In place of a normal nymph’s gaze attack , oceanids can sing a siren song that affects all within 1 mile. At minimum power, this acts as a bard’s fascinate ability, but oceanids can also use it to deliver the following spells: Charm person, charm monster, suggestion, command, confusion or fear.

Oceanids can control water at will, and they can rebuke water elementals as an evil 9th level cleric can rebuke undead.

Oreads are earth nymphs who dwell in the mountain and rugged hills. They avoid contact with non-fey, and are less apt to seduce a mortal than most of their kin. Oreads have nut-brown skin and auburn hair. Their eyes shine like rubies, sapphires or emeralds.

Oreads are resistant to acid and can use stoneskin (as the spell) at will. They can meld into stone as a dryad can meld into trees, but are not tied to particular stones as dryads are tied to particular trees. Oreads can communicate with burrowing animals as a gnome. They do not have a normal nymph’s gaze attack.

The themeides are the daughters of Zeus and Themis (i.e. they’re true demigods), who serve both as prophets and as keepers of divine artifacts (a certain famous saint’s mace, perhaps). While these warrior nymphs appear at first merely as red-headed nymphs with bronzed skin, when attacked one learns of their true nature.

Themeides are only struck by +1 or better weapons, are immune to lightning and fear and enjoy magic resistance 30%. They have 12 Hit Dice. In combat, they can summon chainmail and spears that appear on their person. Both chainmail and spear crackle with energy; while on the nymph they act as +1 magic items and the spears deal +1d6 electricity damage with each hit. When a themeides dies, her armor and weapon disappear.

Themeides cast spells as clerics rather than druids.

The Creeps (Part 2)

Today I have the second installment of the Creeps. Enjoy!

Medium Fey, Chaotic (LE), Average Intelligence; Pair
HD: 4
AC: 13
ATK: 1 strike (see below)
MV: 30
SV: F 14 R 11 W 11
XP: 500 (CL 5)

Geminettes always appear in pairs, with cold, calculating eyes and graceful forms. In combat, they attempt to maintain contact with either their white or black hands; while in contact, they suffer a -2 penalty to hit and a -2 penalty to AC, but gain 25% resistance to magic and can only be harmed by silver and magical weapons.
When a geminette strikes with its black hand, the effect is per a chilling touch spell. When it strikes with its white hand, the effect is per a shocking grasp spell.

All creatures within 20 feet of a pair of geminettes find themselves becoming conflicted. In any round in which they attempt an action, they must pass a Will save. If they fail the save by 1 to 5 points, they hesitate and do nothing during that round. If they fail the save by 6 or more points, they decide to do the opposite of their desired action (or, if “the opposite” simply does not make sense, then nothing at all). Whenever such a save is failed, the adventurer suffers 1 point of charisma damage and the geminettes gain a +5% bonus to their magic resistance.

Medium Fey, Chaotic (LE), High Intelligence; Solitary or Pair
HD: 8
AC: 17
ATK: 1 slam (1d4) or eye ray
MV: 30
SV: F 11 R 9 W 8
XP: 800 (CL 9)

Awful eyefuls consider themselves the nobility of the creeps. They always dress well (whatever era they are found in), and they have the ability to mask their true appearance with that of a vaguely handsome man.

Awful eyefuls walk among mortals, causing them to feel envy and feeding off their petty (and not so petty) jealousies. All creatures within sight an awful eyeful must pass a Will save anytime they see another person doing something they cannot, or doing at a higher level than they can. If they fail this save, they become intensely jealous, suffering a point of intelligence damage and immediately spending a round attempting to outdo that person.

As awful eyefuls feed, they gain the following special abilities:

0-2: None
3-5: Detect thoughts (ESP) at will and +1 bonus to hit, damage and AC
6-8: Steal the fighting ability or skills of one creature per round within 20 feet; this translates into applying a 3 point penalty to an opponent’s attack bonus or skill bonus and gaining a like bonus themselves
9+: Steal the spellcasting ability of one creature per round within 20 feet; the awful eyeful steals one spell from an opponent and gains the ability to cast it one time.

Small Fey, Chaotic (CE), Average Intelligence; Band (1d8)
HD: 3
AC: 14
ATK: 1 touch (poison III)
MV: 20
SV: F 15 R 12 W 12
XP: 300 (CL 4)

Swamms appear as dancing mushrooms, surrounded by a sparkling cloud of spores in a 10-ft. radius. Folk who breathe in these spores must pass a Fortitude save each round or find themselves becoming sluggish and lazy. This translates into a -1 penalty to hit and to AC, and a -3 penalty to base movement, as well as 1 point of charisma damage. The loss of charisma represents a loss of ambition. Creatures that have lost half their charisma score to a swamm’s spore cloud are affected per a sleep spell. Each time a victim of a swamm suffers a point of charisma damage, the swamm heals 1d3 points of hit point damage.

Medium Fey, Chaotic (CE), Average Intelligence; Solitary
HD: 5
AC: 15
ATK: 1 strike (1d4 + confusion)
MV: 30
SV: F 13 R 11 W 11
XP: 500 (CL 6)

Mad mums feed on love and the desire to protect loved ones. Mad mums never speak, and in fact appear to hate loud noises of any kind. They appear as plastic faced women holding dolls. These dolls are their murderous moppets, dirty-faced, greasy-fingered tots that, when thrown by the mad mum, animate and attack, fighting as well as gnolls.

The touch of a mad mum returns people to an infantile state (per the confusion spell) if the target fails a Will save. Gestures of love or protection made in front of a mad mum force the protector to pass a Will save or become obsessed with the creature they are trying to defend. They suffer 1 point of intelligence damage, and find themselves unable to move more than 3 feet away from the object of their obsession, and they do nothing but fight defensively, lending their bonus to AC to the person they are trying to defend.

Spells: At will—silence

Special: Vulnerable to sonic damage

Medium Fey, Chaotic (CE), Average Intelligence; Buffet (1d6)
HD: 1
AC: 16
ATK: 1 kick (1d6)
MV: 30
SV: F 15 R 13 W 13
XP: 100 (CL 2)

Tucks appear as dancing bits of meat. They appear before hungry people, dancing about, taunting them. All tucks operate under a displacement effect (per the spell), making them difficult to catch or hit.

Their taunting of the hungry causes desperation and frustration, which they feed upon. Each time a person attempts to hit or grapple them and fails, they must pass a Will save or suffer 1 point of wisdom damage. Each time this happened, the tuck gains 5 points of movement and increases its AC by 1 (to a maximum of 60 feet per round and AC 20).

Medium Fey, Chaotic (NE), Average Intelligence; Web (1d6)
HD: 3
AC: 14
ATK: 1 parasol (1d4 + stun for 1 round) or strike (1d3 + poison I)
MV: 40
SV: F 14 R 12 W 12
XP: 300 (CL 3)

Lob-lollies appear as spidery women in webbed outfits. They carry similarly webbed parasols, which they use to deadly effect in combat. With each step they take, they send out a web of psychic energy through the ground, forcing all within 10 feet to pass a Will save or be held (per hold person) for 1d4 rounds.

Lob-lollies can walk on walls and ceilings (per spider climb). They can spin their parasols in combat, causing a hypnotic pattern (per the spell). While holding their parasols and able to move, they enjoy the benefits of the protection from normal missiles spell.

Lob-lollies always laugh gaily as they fight, and their moves are sensuous. Males and some females watching them them must pass a Will save each round or become loathe to attack them (-2 penalty to hit, 1 point of wisdom damage). If a person loses half their wisdom to this effect, they attempt to defend the lob-lolly, trying to win their affection (and impossible task). Each time a person loses a point of wisdom, the lob-lolly regains one lost hit point.

But before we go … one more sort of creep to annoy your players …

Small Fey, Chaotic (CE), Average Intelligence; Band (1d8)
HD: 0
AC: 13
ATK: 1 strike (1d3) or small weapon (1d4)
MV: 50
SV: F 17 R 12 W 13
XP: 50 (CL 1)

Jinks are goblin-like creeps that look like children wearing grotesque masks. They gather in gangs in dark places – they even enter settlements at night – and prey on the fears and superstitions of people. They generally lurk in the shadows (hiding as well as a 6th level thief) and use their spells to unnerve people. Anyone failing a saving throw against one of their spells also suffers a point of wisdom damage (or 1d4 points of wisdom damage if they succumb to the jinks’ cause fear spell) as they become more jittery and prone to fright. A person who has lost half their wisdom to the jinks spells must pass a Will saving throw each round or become frightened for 1 turn. For each point of wisdom damage caused by a jink, it gains a +1 bonus to hit and damage for the remainder of a fight.

Spells: At will—audible glamer; 3/day—mage hand, phantasmal force; 1/day—cause fear

Retro-Engineering: Creature Catalog

Every so often I wander over to the Creature Catalog to see what they’re up to. Besides being the source of the very excellent Tome of Horrors (without which NOD would be much less interesting), the CC has converted hundreds of old school creatures for use in 3rd edition games. Many years after 3rd edition going out of print and the end to the first phase of the d20 revolution, CC is still cranking out these conversions, often of monsters I had never even heard of. Here’s their ten latest conversions retro-engineered into a more old school format.

Tirichiks look like a hybrid of white dragon and centipede, with two tentacles tipped by sharp spikes. Tirichiks are an apex predator of the tundra. They attack from ambush, hiding in snowdrifts or crevasses and then springing out at their prey. They can momentarily detach their skull from their spinal column, allowing them to make quick strikes from 10 ft away. These quick strikes score double damage if they hit, but attempting them lowers the tirichik’s AC by 2. Sensory organs on the beast’s tentacles give it a heightened ability to detect foes, lowering its chances to be surprised to 1 in 1d8. Tentacles can be attacked separately from the body, having an AC of 0 [19] and 2d6 hit points. They are severed when reduced to 0 hp, though severed tentacles are regrown in 2d10+10 days. Tirichiks are immune to cold and can walk on ice with no penalties to movement.

Tirichik: HD 13; AC 1 [18]; Atk 1 bite (3d6), 2 tentacles (1d6); Move 12 (B6); Save 3; CL/XP 14/2600; Special: Elongate neck, ice-walking, immune to cold.

Copyright 1992 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Originally found in FR 14 – The Great Glacier

Shee (Banshee Rider)
Shee look like eyeless fey maidens with long, white hair. They wear highly ornamented plate armor and ride long-maned, eyeless horses. Shee always carry long, insubstantial lances composed of shadow-stuff. Shee are undead creature. Although they appear to be a rider and mount, they are in fact a single creature, inseparable without the use of a sharp axe backed up by mighty thews. Shee can ride over any surface, including water, without penalty. Shee exist to destroy – even attacking other undead when there is nothing else to slay. A turned undead will not flee, but only turn its attention to a different creature. A shee that is struck in combat utters a terrible scream that kills the four nearest creatures unless they pass a saving throw. The scream can only be uttered once every 1d4 rounds and no more than 3 times per day. After screaming, the shee vanishes, moving magically to a distant place. Creatures that are struck by a shee and survive are treated as being blessed, but only against other undead. This effect is permanent, although it can be removed with a wish spell. A shee’s shadow lance ignores non-magical armor and, in addition to normal damage, inflicts 1d3 points of strength damage. If separated from the shee, the lance disappears and reforms in the shee’s hand the next round.

Shee: HD 9; AC -2 [21]; Atk 1 lance (1d10 + Strength drain) or 2 hooves (1d6); Move 24 (F20); Save 6; CL/XP 13/2300; Special: Death wail, shadowlance, vanish.

Copyright 1990 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Originally found in FA1 – Halls of the High King


An opinicus is a griffin with the head and wings of an eagle, the body of a lion and the tail of a camel. They wander alone or in pairs in desert wastelands and are champions of They can use the following psychic powers as a 7th level psychic: Astral projection, id insinuation, mind thrust and telekinesis. They can also cast spells and turn undead as a 7th level cleric. The gaze of an opinicus flames with divine fire; all wicked creatures within 30 feet who meet this gaze suffer 2d6 damage and are blinded for 1 round (save negates blindness). The opinicus can use its gaze once every 1d4+1 rounds.

Opinicus: HD 7; AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d6), beak (1d4); Move 20 (F30); Save 9 (8 vs. mental effects); CL/XP 10/1400; Special: Psychic powers, spells, sun sparkles, turn undead.

Copyright 1983 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Originally found in Monster Manual II

Netherbirds are the black, grotesque carion crows of Hell, serving devils and demons as messengers. They dwell on craggy moors in flocks of 3d10 birds. Their eggs are black and leathery and hatch unattended, being warmed by an inner hellfire. Netherbirds are 3 feet long and have wingspans of 6 to 7 feet. They are intelligent and can speak.

Netherbird: HD 2; AC 7 [12]; Atk 2 claws (1d4), bite (1d3); Move 6 (F24); Save 16; CL/XP 2/30; Special: Immune to fire.

Copyright 1989 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Originally found in FRE1 – Shadowdale

Kupuks look like large dogs (6′ long, 3′ tall at shoulder) with walrus-like hides, grey or yellowish fur and spiked tails.The people of the tundra and taiga use them as pack animals, for they are very loyal companions. Kupuk’s are egg-layers, like the platypus. When defending its eggs or pups, the kupuk gains a +1 bonus to hit and damage. Training a kupuk is fairly easy, taking about six weeks to teach them a trick. Kupuk young are worth 1,000 gp, and professional animal trainers charge 500 gp to train them. Kupuks can carry up to 200 pounds without losing any speed.

Kupuk: HD 5; AC 3 [16]; Atk 2 claws (1d4), bite (1d8), tail (1d12); Move 9 (S18); Save 12; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Frenzy, immune to cold.

Copyright 1992 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Originally found in FR 14 – The Great Glacier

A gorse looks like a 3″ tall elf child with delicate wings. They carry small bows and swords and quivers of tiny arrows. They live under gorse bushes, and although secretive, they are friendly towards folk who bring them fruit, bread or milk. Gorse are fond of magic potions, and usually have 1d3 in their lair. Gorse have several magical abilities they can use once per day: They can create magical distractions (save or look away); magically exterminate small vermin within 20 feet (save or die); cast Mirror Image and cause thorn bushes within a 5-ft square area grow rapidly. These thorn bushes slow people moving through them to one half-speed and cause 1d3 points of damage. Gorse tip their arrows with a poison that causes confusion for 1d4 rounds unless a saving throw is passed. All gorse can cast the spell Mirror Image once per day. Once

Gorse: HD 1d2; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 sword or bow (1 dmg); Move 3 (F12); Save 18 (16 vs. spells); CL/XP 1/15; Special: Poison, sprout, exterminate.

Copyright 1992 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Originally found in Dragon Magazine #180

Brambles resemble tiny (3″ tall) elves with swarthy, wrinkled skin and long nails on its hands and feet. They wear plate armor, the back of which is covered in a brace of spines. They are among the most vicious and aggressive of the fair folk, taking delight in hunting pixies and sprites and other small fey. They can charm small animals into serving as their mounts. Brambles are fierce warriors, and charging bramble scores an additional 3 points of damage with its attacks. A brambles spines inject a poison that causes a sickened condition (-1 to all rolls) for 2d4 rounds (save applies). Once per day, they can target the wings of a small creature with a net of entangling thorns. With a successful ranged attack, the creature’s wings are bound and useless for 6d6 rounds.

Bramble: HD 1d3; AC 3 [16] or 1 2 [17] in plate armor; Atk 1 lance (1 dmg) or spines (1 dmg + poison); Move 3 (F12); Save 18 (16 vs. magic); CL/XP 1/15; Special: Poison, charm mount, spines.

Copyright 1994 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Originally found in Dragon Magazine #206

Behemoth (Giant Hippopotamus)
Behemoths are massive hippos (12′ long, 3 tons), capable of overturning good-sized boats. They are as aggressive and territorial as their smaller cousins.

Behemoth: HD 10; AC 3 [16]; Atk 1 bite (3d6); Move 9 (S15); Save 5; CL/XP 10/1400; Special: None.

Copyright 1983 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Originally found in Monster Manual II

Pseudo-undead (Template)

Pseudo-undead are living humanoids who resemble specific types of undead creatures. You can turn any humanoid into a pseudo-undead by altering its stats as follows:

– A pseudo-undead gains any claw and bite attacks of the undead creature is resembles, dealing 1d4 points of damage with its claws and 1d6 points of damage with its bite.

– Pseudo-undead can see in the dark.

– Pseudo-ghouls have a paralyzing touch (save or paralyzed for 1d3 rounds).

– Pseudo-ghasts have a paralyzing touch (see above) and are surrounded by an overwhelming stench; creatures within 10 feet must pass a saving throw or be sickened (-1 to all rolls) for 1d6+4 rounds.

-Pseudo-wights spread a disease with their touch. This fever deals 1d4 dexterity and constitution damage each day until the afflicted succeeds at a saving throw vs. disease at a -5 penalty.

– Pseudo-wraiths have physical forms, but always wear wispy shrouds or robes to obscure their bodies. They walk so lightly as to leave no trace. Their claw attacks are poisonous, causing 2d4 points of damage on a failed save.

– Pseudo-spectres have physical forms surrounded by a faint luminosity. Their claw attacks are poisonous, the poison weakening (-2 to hit and damage) a person for 1 day.

– Pseudo-vampires are like feral savages clad in the silk finery of civilization. They usually wear armor and fight with weapons. They have claw and bite attacks. Their bites cause persistent bleeding that saps a person of 1 hit point per round until staunched or magically healed. Their claws spread the “red ache”, a disease that robs a person of 1d6 points of strength each day until they succeed at a saving throw vs. disease at a -6 penalty.

Copyright 1983 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.
Originally found in Monster Manual II