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.

Bleep

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.

Three New Monsters

Boy, have I been on a roller coaster ride lately. Work continues on the Blood & Treasure Second Edition Monster book, but has been slow due to some medical issues. Amidst the stress and activity, I’m still editing and working on some one-page dungeons that will be included in the book. Hopefully won’t take too much longer, but you can’t rush these things, and medical issues certainly have to take precedence over make-believe.

In the meantime, I managed to cobble together a few new monsters for your edification and enjoyment over lunch. The artwork is my half-assed sketch of a brazen godling …

Parrot Man

Type: Humanoid
Size: Medium
Hit Dice: 1
Armor Class: 12 + armor
Move: 30′
Attack: Bite (1d3) or by weapon
Save: 16; 20 vs. mental control
Intelligence: Average
Alignment: Varies
No. Appearing: 1d10
XP/CL: 50/1

Parrot men look very much like human beings, except for their parrot’s beak and their brilliantly hued skin, often spotted in place or marked with whorls or jagged stripes, especially on the arms and legs. They are garbed in looks tunics, perhaps to better show off their skins with which they take a terribly amount of pride, and they rarely carry more than staff slings and truncheons to defend themselves. Warriors are almost unknown among them, though some become thieves (up to 9th level) or magic-users (up to 6th level).

Parrot men are noted for a singular lack of original thinking. What they read or hear they believe and repeat until they’ve heard something new. This makes their alignments highly variable (exposure to a new alignment has a 3 in 6 chance of persuading the parrot man to adopt it), yet always lacking in conviction.

Brazen Godling

Type: Outsider
Size: Large
Hit Dice: 9+3
Armor Class: 17
Move: 40′
Attack: 2 slams (2d6)
Save: 12; 9 vs. mental effects; MR 25%
Intelligence: Low
Alignment: Chaotic (CE)
No. Appearing: 1
XP/CL: 4,500/11

SD-Immunity (disease, poison), resistance (electricity, fire)

Brazen godlings are formed from the heroic frustrations of the weak and cowardly, becoming encased with demon stuff on the Astral Plane and then deposited in a sheath of bronzed flesh in the wastelands of the Material Plane. They are universally handsome and mad.

Brazen godlings attack with their fists or, when they have lost them, the black tentacles that lie beneath their flesh, for every brazen godling is really a black, tentacled demon heart encased in a tall, strong humanoid body. Attacks against the brazen godling that deal damage have a chance on a d20 equal to that damage of tearing away a bit of the monster’s outer flesh. Roll on the table below to discover what it has shed.

D12 Body Part
1. Leg, left lower
2. Hand, left
3. Posterior
4. Arm, right lower
5. Leg, right thigh
6. Arm, right, upper
7. Leg, left thigh
8. Arm, left lower
9. Hand, right
10. Leg, right lower
11. Arm, left upper
12. Head (reveals tentacle, giving an extra attack each round)

When head and limbs have been removed, the next attack destroys the torso and permits the demon within to be attacked directly. It has 30 hit points and the same stats presented above, save it can only be damaged by magic weapons of +1 or better. The demon heart has five black tentacles (one hidden in each limb, and one curled up in the head), which continue to ooze the creature’s black tears (see below).

A brazen godling, while it retains its head, cries tears of black ichor that have the same properties as unholy water. In melee, these tears may land on attackers, forcing them to save or fall into a terrible despair (-2 to attack and save) for 24 hours. When the being’s flesh is removed, the demon heart continues to secrete this ichor in battle.

Laserhawk

Type: Monster
Size: Small
Hit Dice: 1
Armor Class: 13
Move: 20′ (Fly 150′)
Attack: Talons and bite (1d4) or laser rays (2d6 fire)
Save: 16
Intelligence: Animal
Alignment: Neutral (N)
No. Appearing: 1d4
XP/CL: 100/2

Laserhawks are large birds of prey with scaled skin and golden feathers. They can emit laser rays from their eyes, both directed at the same target. The rays permit a saving throw, and if that is failed deal 2d6 points of fire damage to their target.

Laserhawk blood can be used to make an unguent that provides complete immunity to fire, but at the cost of one’s eyesight. Both effects last for 24 hours, even if the unguent is washed off.

Monstrous One-Liners

Have you ever had a half-ass idea for a monster – just a description and a few ideas for special abilities, or maybe even just a picture – and wanted to use it without having to come up with all the other stats right then and there?

Today, I was jotting down some ideas for monsters at work and I thought up a way to do simple, one line monster descriptions and only one stat – a monster level – that ties into a random chart that determines the combat stats when you need them.

Monsters have levels that run from 1 to 10. The monster’s level determines the dice you roll for its combat stats.

The combat stats are then rolled on this chart. You could do one roll and use all the stats for that line, or roll for each stat – whatever you want. Treat a roll that is less than zero as zero.

Two notes:

*Damage for first attack; second and third attacks are 1 level lower; third and fourth attacks are 2 levels lower

**Movement is slow (S), normal (N), quick (Q) and rapid (R) – use your best judgment for what these mean in your preferred version of the grand old game

Finally – some monster one-liners (with a quick sketch of the killa-bot).

Killa-Bot, the murderous automaton; 4th level; electro-touch (1d6), resist electricity, maniacal laughter (confusion)

Befouler, the drooling eye orb; 8th level; rust ray, acid ray (1d6), disease ray, rot ray (ruins food and water)

Mindbender, worms out to conquer the world; 3rd level; appear as normal neckware, control mind with their touch, magic resistance 15%

Tar-Bull, bovine made of flaming tar; 5th level; fire body (1d6 damage), foul smoke (save or blinded), charge for x3 damage

Mercury Ape, violet violent primate with force arms; 3rd level; constrict with arms (x2 damage), resist all energies, immune to mind effects

So the adventurers run into two of mercury apes while exploring a dungeon. The DM rolls d6-1 five times and discovers they have 2 HD, AC 13, 2 attacks for 1d6 damage and they are slow. She can now make a note of this for the next battle, or even roll over again the next time mercury apes show up.

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 …

Man-Wort

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.

Goop

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.

The Black Mystics

I was going to offer a no-prize to whoever could identify from whence these fellow come, but then I decided to use the art down below, which should kill any mystery to their origin. These guys are pretty tough, but I also tried to keep them simple.

Black Mystic (Black Master)

Black Mystic

Medium Aberration, Chaotic (NE)

Hit Dice: 6
Armor Class: 18
Attack: Strike (1d8) or by weapon +2
Movement: 60′
Saves: F12 R11 W19
Intelligence: High
No. Appearing: 1d4
XP: 600 (CL 7)

Magic resistance*

Spells—Augury (1), detect thoughts (ESP) (1), hold person (3), phantasmal force (2)

Black Master

Medium Aberration, Chaotic (NE)

Hit Dice: 12
Armor Class: 20
Attack: Strike (2d6) or by weapon +4
Movement: 80′
Saves: F9 R8 W4
Intelligence: Super
No. Appearing: 1 + 1d4 mystics
XP: 1,200 (CL 13)

Magic resistance*

Spells—Augury (3), cause fear (3), contact other plane (1), detect thoughts (ESP), dimension door (1), divination (1), hold monster (3), spectral force (3)

Black mystics are men (always men) who have entered into a dark pact with the nether forces in a bid for earthly power. To become a black mystic, they must have all the goodness in their souls extracted. This goodness, or higher soul, takes the form of a golden sphere, and is kept imprisoned by the black mystics in some form of mystic receptacle or iron-bound box.

Black mystics have amazing reflexes, catching or slapping away normal missiles on a roll of 1-4 on 1d6. They make no sound when they move, and have an 85% chance to hide in shadows. The sight of their twisted bodies forces creatures with 2 HD or fewer to pass a saving throw or be stunned with disbelief for 1d6 rounds.

Black masters rule the black mystics. They have a 95% chance to hide in shadows, and can shapechange twice per day into giant constrictors, giant vultures (use stats for giant eagle) or giant scorpions.

If a black mystic or black master’s higher soul is released from its captivity, it vaults into the celestial heavens and leaves the mystic or master dead. Damage against the soul’s receptacle causes stuns mystics and masters if they fail a saving throw.

* In Blood & Treasure Second Edition, magic resistance is not a percentage. Rather, it requires the spell caster to roll higher than the creature’s HD+10 with 1d20 + the spellcaster’s level. If you want to use a percentage, I’d go with 15% for the mystics and 30% for the masters.

EDIT: Well, it was at the time … now, not so much (Aug 2017)

Metallic Men

Just a little ditty inspired by a metallic mannequin in a robe I saw in a Ral Partha ad (right over there on the right).

I designed them to be an alternate low-level challenge for dungeons, or maybe an interesting planar civilization.

Metallic Man

Medium Elemental (Earth), Neutral (LN)

Hit Dice: 1+2
Armor Class: 16
Attack: Fist (1d4) or by weapon
Move: 30’
Saves: F13 R15 W15
Intelligence: High
No. Appearing: 1d8*
XP: 100 (CL 2)

Immune to electricity and poison, resistance to cold, fire and edged weapons, no discernible anatomy

The metallic men are refined creatures of elemental earth. They look like humanoids composed of gleaming silver. Their skins are not fluid, per se’, but they move the way creatures of flesh and blood move. They have discernible mouths, eyes, and noses, and appear to breath (and can suffocate) and eat, though they do not sleep. Their food is usually iron-rich, and a draft of fresh blood (1 HD worth) can provide 1d4 points of healing in battle.

Metallic men are extremely logical, and masters of advanced mathematics (roll 5d4 for intelligence). They rarely speak, and when they do sound something like a fuzzy, scratchy drive-thru restaurant speaker. This, coupled with their reserved emotional state, leaves them rolling 3d4 for Charisma.

If struck by electricity, they can channel it into a bolt of lightning with a range of 60’ and dealing damage equal to the original source up to a maximum of 3 dice.

Metallic men are capable of forming their hands and upper arms into weapons. For all intents and purposes, a metallic man can form any sort of weapon it wishes. These pseudo-weapons deal damage as their normal counterparts, though they are somewhat clumsy (-1 to hit). They cannot be sundered – a sundering attack would be, in essence, a normal attack against the metallic man. Metallic men cannot form bucklers or shields from their arms/hands. Obviously, weapons so formed cannot be thrown; they can only be used for melee combat.

Metallic men live in colonies of 20-200 on the Elemental Earth plane, or of 10-40 on the material plane (usually in hiding). For each colony there is one golden metallic woman per 20 metallic men. Metallic women have high wisdom scores (roll 2d6+6) and act as conduits to the higher powers of elemental earth (commune once per week, but are stunned for 1d4+4 minutes after). Metallic man warriors carry footman’s maces and pellet bows (fire sling bullets for 1d4+1 damage instead of arrows). Most carry shields (AC +2).

Warriors are commanded by one decarch (HD 2+2) per 10 warriors and one centarch (HD 4+2) per 100. Armies over 100 are commanded by a fighter of level 1d6+3 or a fighter/scientist of level 1d6+2. They are sometimes mounted on battle platforms that look like round discs atop eight metal, spider-like legs. The riding disc is surrounded by a force field (AC +2, lesser globe of invulnerability).

Battle Platform, Large Construct: HD 6, AC 18, ATK 2 stabs (1d6), MV 60’, SV F11 R11 W12, AL -, XP 600 (CL7), Special-Non-sentient, same immunities and resistances as metallic men, force field.

Edit: Added the weapon forming ability (Mar 11), corrected some spelling

NOD 28, Revisions and Goodies

It’s a bad sign when you start all of your blog posts with “I’m sorry I haven’t posted lately …”. Still, I’ve been a busy boy, so I have a good excuse. Here are my current RPG projects and a glimpse at what I would like to do moving forward, as well as a few RPG odds and ends mixed in to make this more than an advertisement.

NOD 28

First and foremost – I’ve put NOD 28 out for sale today as a PDF! It’s going for $4.99 – 78 pages, with part one of the Trollheim Mountains hex crawl (trolls, pseudo-Russians, elemental folk, a crazed demigod, etc.), a Swiss mercenary character class, new rules for handling disease in RPG’s and a campaign idea for a “World of Atlantis” game drawing from Theosophy’s notion of “root races”. Tons of fun for $4.99. GET IT HERE or HERE.

BLOOD & TREASURE 2nd edition

I’m about 80% complete with editing and laying out the new B&T Player’s Tome, and about 35% complete with the Treasure Keeper’s Tome. The 2nd edition will not be a major departure from the first, but I’ve made some adjustments to saving throw values, XP requirements, I’ve tried to give the sorcerer some personality and make the ranger the cool cat I remember from youth, streamline any rules that could use streamlining, etc. The goal is still RULES LITE – OPTIONS HEAVY. Most of the work I’ve done is concerned with improving the layout and incorporating the first edition errata. I’ve also commissioned new covers from David Williams, which are being colored now. Here’s a sneak peek – half of this image will be the Player’s Tome, the other half will be the TK’s Tome.

 

If anybody has an ingenious old school idea they think would improve fantasy gaming, let me know and I’ll see if I can’t incorporate it into the rules.

QUICK MONSTER: GOATMAN

Goatmen live in hidden valleys, deep within forbidding mountains. Half mad, chaos flows through their veins. When the moon is full, they descend into the lowlands, seeking out people to torment or torture.

Goatman, Medium Monstrous Humanoid: HD 1; AC 16; ATK 1 slam (1d6); MV 30; SV F15 R13 W14; XP 250 (CL3); Special-Auras.

Goatmen cause fear (as the spell) to all within 10′ of them. Each time a person succumbs to this fear, the goatman grows larger, gaining 1 hit dice (and all that goes with it). At 6 HD, they become large creatures and their aura changes to one of madness (save or go temporarily mad). Each person that goes mad causes the goatman to gain another HD. At 12 HD, the goatman becomes huge, and the aura becomes one of death. All within 10′ of the beast must save or die. Each creature that dies increases the goatman’s hit dice by 1. At 18 HD, the goatman explodes into shadow and ceases to exist. The land where he explodes becomes permanently blighted and haunted by the souls of those who died.

 

MYSTERY MEN! Revision

I’m further along with the MM! revision than B&T. The book is laid out, the rules tinkered with, and now I just need to give it a thorough editing. This version will still have the sample Shore City setting and the sample adventure, but will also include several write-ups of heroes and villains.

NEW SPELL: UNWITTING ALLY

Magic-User 2
Range 10′ radius
Duration 1 minute

One enemy helps you despite himself. When this spell is cast, one enemy within 10′ chosen at random must pass a Will save or become your unwitting, unwilling ally. Every move the creature makes has the possibility of helping you. For each action, roll 1d6.

1-2. The creature’s action proceeds as normal.
3-5. The creature’s action proceeds as normal, but has a side effect useful to you.
6. The creature’s action is twisted to your purpose entirely.

Help, in this case, is up to the referee, but would include things like the monster making a move, but also accidentally tripping or running into one his allies, the monster making an attack, but accidentally attacking an ally as well, etc.

BLACK DEATH

The latest Quick and Easy RPG is Black Plague, which really just needs some editing and it’s ready to go. This one is set in the era of Europe’s religious wars (mostly the Hundred Years War), and is intended to be grim and gritty – more survive than thrive. This Q&E is a bit heftier than past editions, due to containing a bit more setting info and some rules for disease and damnation.

QUICK MONSTER: LEAF SWARM

A leaf swarm is a swarm of vicious green insects. They descend on a tree, strip it of leaves, and then take their place. When a creature nears the tree, the leaf swarm strikes, surprising on a roll of 1-4 on 1d6. The monster’s stings cause blindness. The first save a creature fails blurs their vision (-2 to hit and damage), the second failed save blinds them for 1 minute, and the third blinds them permanently.

Leaf Swarm, Tiny Vermin: HD 4; AC 13; ATK 1 swarm (1d3 + special); MV Fly 60; SV F14 R13 W14; XP 400 (CL5); Special-Blindness.

THE FUTURE

What I’d like to start doing next is producing more adventure material for the games I’ve written. No more games for me – just fun, supplemental material.

For GRIT & VIGOR I want to do setting books that cover different eras – the historical events that lend themselves towards adventure, the equipment, the personalities. Each book would also have an adventure for that era. These would be trade paperbacks, probably 40 to 60 pages.

For MYSTERY MEN! I’d like to do some short books of heroes and villains, also accompanied by an adventure or two. They might be themed, or they might just be whatever tickles my fancy. These would maybe run 20 to 30 pages, trade paperback.

For BLOOD & TREASURE I’d like to do some adventures, with a few new monsters, new spells, etc. Again, trade paperback, probably 30 to 40 pages.

I also want to start writing supplements called THE LAND OF NOD that would provide hex crawls, mini-adventures and other setting material. These would probably also be trade paperbacks, maybe in a landscape format. Page count here would probably be around 120 pages. The first step would be to collect and revise the old NOD hex crawls.

I still have a revision of Space Princess and Pars Fortuna slated for the second half of this year, and I have more Bloody Basics I would like to make.

So – that’s what’s on my agenda for 2016. We’ll see how far I get. Hopefully, as the revisions and editing slows down I’ll have more time for blogging. I have tons of ideas that need to be fleshed out, and God willing I’ll start that fleshing process as the year wears on.

Cheers!

A Gaggle of Gobblers

To celebrate Thanksgiving, when we give thanks to God by feasting on a slain dinosaur, I present a multitude of monsters based on the humble turkey.

We begin with the original:

Turkey, Wild Forest

Size: Small (30 lb., 4’ tall)
Type: Animal
Hit Dice: 0 (1d4 hp)
Armor Class: 12
Attack: 1 scratch (1d2)
Movement: 30 (Fly 60)
Saves: F14 R12 W19
Alignment: Neutral (N)
Intelligence: Animal
No. Appearing: 1d2
XP: 25 (CL 0)

Wild forest turkeys have excellent daytime vision, and are only surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d8. At night, their vision is far worse, and they are surprised on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6. They dwell in meadows in woodlands.

Turkey, Giant Wild Forest

Size: Medium (60 lb., 8’ tall)
Type: Animal
Hit Dice: 1
Armor Class: 13
Attack: 1 scratch (1d4)
Movement: 30 (Fly 60)
Saves: F13 R12 W18
Alignment: Neutral (N)
Intelligence: Animal
No. Appearing: 1d2
XP: 50 (CL 1)

Giant wild forest turkeys are known to prey on small creatures, like gnomes, when they are particularly hungry. Like their smaller kin, they have excellent daytime vision, and are only surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d8. At night, their vision is far worse, and they are surprised on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6. They dwell in meadows in woodlands.

Turkey-Men

Size: Medium (200 lb., 8’ tall)
Type: Monstrous Humanoid
Hit Dice: 1
Armor Class: 13
Attack: 1 scratch (1d4) or by weapon
Movement: 30
Saves: F13 R15 W16
Alignment: Neutral (N)
Intelligence: Low
No. Appearing: 1 male + 2d6 females
XP: 50 (CL 1)

Turkey-men are somewhat dull-witted woodland humanoids. Males live alone, and are quite territorial. They keep harems of 2d6 females, who make up the fabric of turkey-man society. Males maintain alliances with their brothers, and with them control a larger territory against other brotherhoods.

Turkey-men are tall and gangling, with the heads of turkeys and tufts of feathers around their necks. Their feet resemble those of turkeys, and their fingers are talons as well. They often wear cloaks of wild turkey feathers, and usually carry simple spears or war clubs and hide shields in combat.

Like wild turkeys, they have excellent daytime vision, and are only surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d8. At night, their vision is far worse, and they are surprised on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6. They dwell in hide lodges on woodland meadows.

Draco-Turkey

Size: Medium (300 lb., 8’ tall)
Type: Dragon
Hit Dice: 5
Armor Class: 15
Attack: 2 claws (1d4) and bite (1d6)
Special: Gobble (30’ cone, sonic damage)
Movement: 30 (Fly 60)
Saves: F11 R10 W11
Immune: Sleep and paralysis
Alignment: Chaotic (NE)
Intelligence: Average
No. Appearing: 1
XP: 500 (CL 6)

Listen, the woodlands can get a bit boring. Sometimes a green dragon finds a cask of wine, drinks it, gets a little crazy and, well, draco-turkeys happen. Like their normal turkeys, they have excellent daytime vision, and are only surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d8. At night, their vision is far worse, and they are surprised on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6. They make their lairs in wooded hollows, felling trees into something resembling a crude lodge.

Galliraptor

Size: Medium (330 lb., 8’ tall)
Type: Animal
Hit Dice: 3
Armor Class: 15
Attack: 1 talon (1d6) and bite (1d4)
Movement: 45 (Fly 60)
Saves: F12 R11 W17
Alignment: Neutral (N)
Intelligence: Animal
No. Appearing: 1d4
XP: 150 (CL 3)

These creatures are hybrids of giant wild forest turkeys and deinonychuses. They are leaner than giant turkeys, and faster. Like their smaller kin, they have excellent daytime vision, and are only surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d8. At night, their vision is far worse, and they are surprised on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6. They dwell in meadows in woodlands.

Gruesome Gobbler

Size: Medium (330 lb., 8’ tall)
Type: Magical Beasts
Hit Dice: 4
Armor Class: 15 [+1]
Attack: 1 talon (1d6) and bite (1d4)
Movement: 45 (Fly 60)
Saves: F11 R10 W15
Resistance: Fire, magic 10%
Alignment: Chaotic (CE)
Intelligence: Low
No. Appearing: 1d4
XP: 150 (CL 3)

Gruesome gobblers are galliraptors infused with demonic power. They are sometimes summoned and bound by shamans to keep people away from evil places. Like their smaller kin, they have excellent daytime vision, and are only surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d8. At night, their vision is far worse, and they are surprised on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6. They are +2 to hit and damage Lawful (Good) creatures.

Were-Turkey

Size: Medium (60 lb., 8’ tall)
Type: Monstrous Humanoid
Hit Dice: 2 [Silver]
Armor Class: 15
Attack: 1 scratch (1d4) or bite (1d4) or by weapon
Movement: 30 (Fly 60)
Saves: F15 R12 W12
Alignment: Neutral (N)
Intelligence: Average
No. Appearing: 1
XP: 200 (CL 3)

When the full moon is rising, you can find the were-turkeys scrambling for the woodlands, mostly to avoid the embarrassment of turning into a turkey in front of their friends. “Why”, they ask, “why couldn’t I have been bitten by a werewolf?” They have excellent daytime vision, and are only surprised on a roll of 1 on 1d8. At night, their vision is far worse, and they are surprised on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6. Were-turkeys can communicate with turkeys.

By the way – I put my five latest print titles at Lulu on sale at 25% off – today only. Pick one up if you’ve a mind to.

Beasts of Mild Interest

I was groovin’ around the internet the other day and came across some cool animal pictures. So I made stats for them. Because I’m a geek.

Not all of these animals are dangerous, per se, but in D&D world everything is trying to kill you, so why not these blokes. They could also be used to make giant versions, weird hybrids, lycanthropes or be used as familiars, so enjoy!

Maned Wolf

Image via Wikipedia

Size/Type: Small Animal
Hit Dice: 0
Armor Class: 12
Attack: 1 bite (1d4 + trip)
Movement: 40
Saves: F14 R13 W19
Alignment: Neutral (N)
Intelligence: Animal
No. Appearing: 1
XP: 50 (CL 1)

Maned wolves are the tallest canines in the world. They have a distinct odor, which is why they are also known as “skunk wolves”. They are native to Brazil. They would make cool mounts for pixies.

Gharial

Size/Type: Medium Animal
Hit Dice: 3
Armor Class: 13
Attack: 1 bite (1d6 + constrict) or tail (1d8)
Movement: 30 (Swim 40)
Saves: F12 R12 W17
Alignment: Neutral (N)
Intelligence: Animal
No. Appearing: 1d8
XP: 300 (CL 4)

Gharials are river crocodiles from India. They have very narrow snouts, and tremendous maneuverability when swimming.

Gharial – Large

Image via Wikipedia

Size/Type: Large Animal
Hit Dice: 9
Armor Class: 12
Attack: 1 bite (2d6 + constrict) or tail (2d6)
Movement: 30 (Swim 40)
Saves: F8 R9 W14
Alignment: Neutral (N)
Intelligence: Animal
No. Appearing: 1
XP: 900 (CL 10)

While most gharials adhere to the previous stats, some males grow much larger.

Bekantan (Proboscis Monkey)

Image via Wikipedia

Size/Type: Small Animal
Hit Dice: 0
Armor Class: 12
Attack: 1 bite (1d3)
Movement: 30 (Climb 30)
Saves: F14 R13 W19
Alignment: Neutral (N)
Intelligence: Animal
No. Appearing: 1d10+8
XP: 25 (CL 0)

Proboscis monkeys live in large bands in roughly the same terrain as orangutans. They can swim up to 60 feet underwater.

Okapi

Size/Type: Large Animal
Hit Dice: 5
Armor Class: 12
Attack: 1 slam (1d6)
Movement: 40
Saves: F10 R11 W16
Alignment: Neutral (N)
Intelligence: Animal
No. Appearing: 1
XP: 250 (CL 5)

Okapi are natives of tropical jungles. Rarely seen, they are inoffensive creatures who would look really cool as mounts for elven druids.

Babirusa

Image via Wikipedia

Size/Type: Medium Animal
Hit Dice: 1
Armor Class: 11
Attack: 1 gore (1d4)
Movement: 40
Saves: F13 R13 W18
Alignment: Neutral (N)
Intelligence: Animal
No. Appearing: 1 (male) or 1d4x20 (females and young)
XP: 50 (CL 1)

Babirusa are swine that dwell on tropical islands. Their tusks grow so long that curl around and can even pierce their own heads. They can fight until reaching -6 hit points, and can run at five times their normal movement rate.

Ankole-Watusi

Image via Wikipedia

Size/Type: Large Animal
Hit Dice: 7
Armor Class: 12
Attack: 1 gore (2d6)
Movement: 40
Saves: F9 R10 W15
Alignment: Neutral (N)
Intelligence: Animal
No. Appearing: 5d6
XP: 350 (CL 7)

Ankole-watusi are African cattle with enormous horns. A frightened herd flees as a group in a random direction (but always away from the perceived source of danger). They run over anything of Large size or smaller that gets in their way, dealing 1d12 points of damage for each five cattle in the herd (Reflex saving throw).

Leopard Seal

Image via Wikipedia

Size/Type: Large Animal
Hit Dice: 6
Armor Class: 13
Attack: 1 bite (1d6)
Movement: 20 (Swim 50)
Saves: F9 R9 W15
Alignment: Neutral (N)
Intelligence: Animal
No. Appearing: 1
XP: 300 (CL 6)

Leopard seals are seriously dangerous predators who have been known to attack and kill people … so totally D&D.

Patagonian Mara

Image via Wikipedia

Size/Type: Small Animal
Hit Dice: 0
Armor Class: 12
Attack: 1 bite (1d4)
Movement: 50
Saves: F14 R12 W19
Alignment: Neutral (N)
Intelligence: Animal
No. Appearing: 1d4
XP: 25 (CL 0)

Patagonian maras are great big bunnies with small ears from South America.

Dragon by Dragon – June 1980 (38)

It’s Fall here in Nevada – finally. Summer usually lingers until Halloween (or Nevada Day, if you prefer) and then gets its back broken. But Dragon #38 was published in June of 1980 – summertime!

The guy on the cover is appropriately attired for summer, though somewhat less so for adventuring. It’s worth remembering that the male equivalent of the chainmail bikini was the fur underwear that graced many a barbaric warrior in the 1980’s (and professional wrestlers – it was really the heyday of violent men in their underwear).

So, onto the ten best things about Dragon #38!

We start this post with an advertisement.

The first is S3 – Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, the special Fifth Anniversary Module! Only $8.00 – approximately $23 in today’s dollars. Am I selling my stuff too cheap? Well, I’m not writing classic modules, so probably not.

#1 … In the Weeds with Dragons

I’m not trumpeting this article because it’s a truly great addition to the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Rather, because it takes me back to a day when these sorts of “scholarly” articles about the game were not so unusual.

Lakofka was a master of them (and he perhaps still is). He had a penchant for digging into the elements of the game, thinking deeply about them, and then reworking them for his campaign. Were they better for the attention? I suppose that’s a matter of opinion … but I like that he did it.

In this article, he presents new percentage chances for dragon’s speaking and casting spells. He also comes up with the chances that dragons might cast spells other than magic-user spells. He also presents a three new dragons – Brown, Orange and Yellow. The brown dragon has faerie fire and lightning breath weapons, the orange dragon color spray breath weapon (I dig this) and the yellow dragon has breath weapons that cause disease and blindness.

#2 … Redacted

Merle Rasmussen writes an article about a new game … Top Secret. I never played it, but was always intrigued. I did a quick check, and didn’t see anything about a retro clone of this one – maybe some fan out there can create one. In the meantime, I would suggest checking out Bill Logan’s White Lies. Looks awesome.

#3 … Memories

Speaking of spies and espionage … the Cold War. The advertisement to the right was one of many games about nuclear destruction (or its bizarre aftermath) from the period. I’m never sure if the people writing them didn’t want it happen a little. This one also brought to mind Supremacy. Fun game – I played it often. I remember the f-u move in that game was, when it was obvious you were going to lose, to nuke your own territory and launch a nuclear winter so that nobody won. Tricky, weird, stupid game, but lots of fun with friends. Right up there with RISK and Axis & Allies.

#4 … Gygaxian Sugar Coating

The old man himself speaks on the idea that good characters must be stupid …

“Good does not mean stupid, even if your DM tries to force that concept upon you. Such assertions are themselves asinine, and those who accept such dictates are stupid.”

Which begs the question: Is Raggi the Gygax of his day?

Also:

“Female dwarves are neglected not because of male chauvinism or any slight. Observers failed to mention them because they failed to recognize them when they saw them. How so? Because the bearded female dwarves were mistaken for younger males, obviously!”

I was never big on bearded female dwarves, but I think I’m changing my mind. Time to commission an all-female dwarf party illo for the new Blood & Treasure.

AD BREAK

Always wondered what the heck the deal was with the ducks in that game. Was it Howard the Duck inspired?

#5 … The Seven Magical Planets

Super cool article by Tom Moldvay with great art by Darlene.

The article draws on Agrippa to present the magical correspondences of the different classical planets for use in gaming. For example, here’s the entry for the Sun.

THE SUN

Archetypal Plane: Light (or the Positive Material).

Description of Archetype: A blond, golden-skinned child holding a sceptre. A rooster crowing. A lion roaring. A sleeping gold dragon. The phoenix rising from flames. An individual with a tawny complexion, yellowish eyes, and a short, reasonably hairless, handsome body. A wise, honorable personality, courageous to a fault, but constantly seeking praise.

Planetary Powers: Magic concerned with money. Fortune and destiny in general. Any operation involving peace, harmony, and friendship. Long life and health. Transmutation of the elements. Spells involving light; magic whose prime purpose is goodness.

Color: Gold, or bright yellow.

Metal: Gold.

Stones: Amber, Topaz, Heliotrope (Yellow Jasper), Cat’s Eye

Agate, Citrine, Jacinth.

Plants: Sunflowers, Saffron plants, Ginger, Gentian, Celadine, Dittany, Lotus trees, Laurel trees, Poliginia, Ivy, any vines which climb toward the sun.

Animals: Lions, Roosters, Eagles, Rams, Boars, Shellfish, Worms, most Beetles, the Phoenix, a Cockatrice.

Day: Sunday.

Numbers: 1, 6, 11, 66, 666.

Selected Deities: Sol, Helius, the Titans Theia & Hyperion, Samas, Tai Yang Ti Chun, Tionatuh, Brigit, Apollo, Suya, Vishnu, Asar, Ra.

Angel: Michael.

Angelic Order: The Shinanim.

Devil: Surgat. (possibly also Mephistopheles).

Demon Order: Type III Demons.

Spirits: Dardael, Hurtapel, Nakiel, Vianathabra, Carat, Haludiel, Machasiel, Burchat, Suceratos, Capabile, Och, Sorath, Aquiel.

Tarot Trumps: The Sun, The Wheel of Fortune, The Hanged Man.

This is just one of those really useful articles for generating gaming ideas.

#6 … True Confessions

I freaking love the line drawings for miniatures they used to do in The Dragon. I want to make them all into characters. And, most importantly, I want to learn how to draw something that cool in such a small, compact package.

#7 … Another Damn Ad …

I know, but look at this thing!

#8 … The Civil War

The Electric Eye article by Mark Herro looks at two games – Civil War and Star Trek. Why is this so cool … because when I was a young nerd, my father borrowed a book of programs from an old nerd he worked with and I typed the Civil War program into a computer and played it. So help me God. To kids out there, I might as well be explaining about the day the guy who invented fire showed me how it was done.

#9 … The Flolite

Sometimes it’s the monster’s stats that make you want to use it. Sometimes its the art. For the flolite, it’s the art.

And dig the Dyson-esque hatching on the verges of the lights. So cool.

So what about the stats for Kevin Readman’s little beastie? Here’s the B&T version:

Flolite, Medium Aberration: HD 5+1; AC 15; ATK 1 tentacle (1d4+1); MV Fly 30′; CL/XP 7/1250; Special–Excellent sight and hearing, 30′ radius daylight around creature, when deals max damage with tentacle it drains 1 point of Strength and gains 1d8 hit points, frenzy against flying creatures (+1 to hit, +3 damage).

The monster’s eye, if harvested, protects an adventurer from the level or prime requisite draining abilities of vampires, night hags, wights, etc. What a great adventure hook – the adventurers know they have to take on a vampire in her castle, or follow a night hag into the Astral Plane to retrieve the Christmas dreams of the children of Sombertown, and to avoid the energy drain they must first venture into the desert after some flolite eyes.

#10 … I AM THE GREATEST!

A game by Brian Blume in this issue – Ringside – that simulates boxing. “Match the pros or create your own fighters.”

I admit, I’ve never been into boxing, but this sounds like a fun game for a Saturday afternoon. Invite some friends over, make a championship belt, and have some fights.

The game is pretty simple – Agility, Endurance, Counterpunch and six punches. Combat uses a punching chart. There are basic rules, advanced rules and campaign rules, and stats for 30 of the greats, including Ali, Jack Dempsey and Rocky Marciano.

And that’s it for Dragon #38 – June 1980. Find a copy and enjoy, boys and girls!