Dragon by Dragon – May 1980 (37)

To be completely honest, The Dragon was not the biggest thing that happened in May 1980.

 

That being said, it may have been the biggest thing that happened in RPG’s that month, and that’s good enough for me. Let us delve into the top ten things about The Dragon #37.

#1. NEUTRAL DRAGONS

Arthur W. Collins fills in the alignment gap of dragons in this article, and introduces the gemstone dragons we have all come to know and love (well, some of us). These are dandy creatures, especially if you’re into psionics. What follows are some quick stat blocks in Blood & Treasure style for the gemstone dragons (all adults, max. hit dice):

Crystal Dragon, Large Dragon: HD 6; AC 18; ATK 2 claws (1d4) and bite (2d6); MV 20′ (Fly 50′); SV F9 R9 W9; AL Neutral (N); Special: Breath weapon (2/day dazzling cloud that cause blindness, 10′ cone), entrance (10% cumulative per minute of talking), implant suggestion (35%), telepathic, 50% chance of psionics, 50% chance of speaking, 30% chance of magic-use, druid spells (1/1/1/1), magic-user spells (1/1/1), save aura (+4 to save against), blink 6/day

Topaz Dragon, Large Dragon: HD 7; AC 19; ATK 2 claws (1d4+1) and bite (2d8); MV 20′ (Fly 50′); SV F9 R9 W9; AL Neutral (N); Special: Breath weapon (2/day dehydration gets rid of 3 cubic feet of liquid per dragon hp and deals 1d6+6 Str damage to creatures, 10′ cone), entrance (10% cumulative per minute of talking), implant suggestion (40%), telepathic, 50% chance of psionics, 60% chance of speaking, 35% chance of magic-use, druid spells (2/2/2/1), magic-user spells (2/2/2), save aura (+4 to save against), blink 6/day

Emerald Dragon, Huge Dragon: HD 8; AC 20; ATK 2 claws (1d6) and bite (3d6); MV 20′ (Fly 60′); SV F6 R8 W8; AL Neutral (N); Special: Breath weapon (2/day; sonic vibration knocks people unconscious for 1d6 x 10 minutes or deafens them for same if they save), entrance (10% cumulative per minute of talking), implant suggestion (50%), telepathic, 50% chance of psionics, 70% chance of speaking, 40% chance of magic-use, druid spells (2/2/2/1), magic-user spells (2/2/2/1), save aura (+4 to save against), blink 6/day

Sapphire Dragon, Huge Dragon: HD 9; AC 21; ATK 2 claws (1d6) and bite (5d4); MV 20′ (Fly 60′); SV F6 R8 W6; AL Neutral (N); Special: Breath weapon (2/day, sonic vibration disintegrates a number of hit points equal to the dragon’s hit points), entrance (10% cumulative per minute of talking), implant suggestion (55%), telepathic, 50% chance of psionics, 80% chance of speaking, 45% chance of magic-use, druid spells (2/2/2/2), magic-user spells (2/2/2/2), save aura (+4 to save against), blink 6/day

Amethyst Dragon, Huge Dragon: HD 10; AC 22; ATK 2 claws (1d8) and bite (5d6); MV 30′ (Fly 80′); SV F5 R7 W5; AL Neutral (N); Special: Breath weapon (2/day shriek like a banshee), entrance (10% cumulative per minute of talking), implant suggestion (65%), telepathic, 50% chance of psionics, 90% chance of speaking, 50% chance of magic-use, druid spells (2/2/1/2/2/1), magic-user spells (2/1/2/2/2), save aura (+4 to save against), blink 6/day

Sardior the Ruby Dragon, Huge Dragon: HD 11; AC 23; ATK 2 claws (1d10) and bite (5d8); MV 30′ (Fly 80′); SV F5 R7 W5; AL Neutral (N); Special: Breath weapon (2/day shriek like amethyst dragon or dazzling cloud like crystal dragon), entrance (10% cumulative per minute of talking), implant suggestion (75%), telepathic, 50% chance of psionics, 100% chance of speaking, 100% chance of magic-use, druid spells (3/3/3/3/3/3/3/3), magic-user spells (3/3/3/3/3/3/3/3), save aura (+4 to save against), blink 6/day

Inflict one on your players today!

Side Trek #1 – Fiends!

“On other fronts, it seems likely now that TSR and Games Workshop have reached a final agreement regarding the publication of the Fiend Folio …”

Love the Fiend Folio. Love it.

Side Trek #2 – Calling Mr. Hall

“Question: My character is a 9th-level Druid changed to a Magic-User (he is now 10th level as a M-U). I want to be able to put my previously owned Apparatus of Kwalish inside my newly acquired Mighty Servant of Leuk-O. Then I would have the ultimate weapon …”

#2. Happenstance

So I’m knee-deep in writing Black Death, which is set, vaguely, during the Thirty Years War and the Wars of Religion. What article do I happen to come across, but “Armies of the Renaissance by Nick Nascati Part VI – Landsknect and Reiters”.

Apparently, the Landsknecht army (and my game) should include:

Infantry – pike-armed, in the style of the Swiss pikemen they were trying to counter

Light Cavalry – dressed as landsknechts, armed with arquebus or crossbow – trained as skirmishers and scouts

Ritters – armored lancers with full plate, battle lances and longswords, and plate barding for the horse

Reiters – black-armored pistoliers, they took two form – light reiters wore a shirt of mail and heavy reiters wore half-plate; both carried three wheellock or matchlock pistols and an estoc

The landsknechts were true mercenaries – a good war to them was one with lots of prisoners they could ransom!

#3. Magic-Users are Experience

T. I. Jones presents a very long article about magic research for magic-users and clerics. I think it’s one of those interesting pieces that tried to deal with all that treasure that was floating around in AD&D. The idea, which I generally ascribe to, is to keep the players needing money, and that keeps them delving into dungeons. The DMG had training costs, which we never used when I was a kid and which I now understand were kind of important to the game. There was also the expense of one day setting up a stronghold. This article gives another – magic research. For example:

“Research in one’s own library will require that such a library have been acquired and built up over the course of several levels of experience. It should be not only difficult but expensive to acquire such a library—a minimum expenditure of 10,000 gold pieces per level of the spell to be researched is recommended. That is, if a Magic-User is to research a second-level spell, he should have spent at least 20,000 gold pieces on his library.”

#4. Libraries

Speaking of libraries, the next article, by Colleen A. Bishop, is a random book generator. Let’s build a library shelf by rolling some percentile dice:

Our shelf contains 250 scrolls (holy cow! – I’m not rolling up all of those) and five books. There’s a 4% chance of a scroll being magic, so there should be 10 magic scrolls on the shelf. The books are two histories of particular castles, a book about the inferiority of kobolds to human beings, and another about how humans are better than dwarves and an alchemist’s notebook in which the writing is too difficult to read.

This would be an excellent random table to automate, to produce large libraries quickly.

#5. Giant in the Earth

Lawrence Schick and Tom Moldvay present another batch of literary heroes for D&D. This time, the article does not include any character stats. Rather, it describes the rationale used by the authors for creating their stats. The article includes a great passage about doing stats for Tolkien’s creations …

“As far as writing up the characters from Tolkien’s Ring Trilogy, we would love to try our hand at them. Unfortunately, the Tolkien estate is known to be fanatically paranoid about the slightest possible infringement of rights (whether real or imagined). We were also unwilling to attempt them because 90% of the Tolkien fans would be unhappy with the results, regardless of what they were. In the end, we decided it was simply too much hassle to write up Tolkien characters.”

Yeah, this would be post-lawsuit.

The article has a nice table comparing AD&D to D&D levels, which I reproduce:

AD&D 21+ = D&D 40+ / equivalent to demigods, for characters with magically extended lives or who are in close contact with the gods

AD&D 17-20 = D&D 30-30 / the max. an exceptional character would obtain in a single lifetime

AD&D 13-16 = D&D 20-29 / average for heroic characters

AD&D 9-12 = D&D 10-19 / normal minimum for any hero

AD&D 5-8 = D&D 5-9 / this line was actually missing from the article

AD&D 1-4 = D&D 1-4 / low-level cannon-fodder

#6. Urban Encounters

Here’s a nice table folks should find some use for …

#7. Nothing New Under the Sun

From the letters to the editor …

“Unfortunately, I do not feel so good about Mr. Fawcett’s article, “Angels in Dungeons and Dragons.” Yes, I did read the article’s opening statement about the source material being both religious and fictional in nature. As a DM, I will admit that the concept of having angels for the deities of a mythos is intriguing. However, it is the source material that bothers me. Let us remember that much of the article was derived from the Holy Bible, and as far as I’m concerned that is not a book to be taken lightly! Games are games, but the Word of God is not something to be used in such a manner.

I happen to believe in the Bible. However, I also happen to believe in the Constitution, and I respect your right to print what you wish. But I think that “Angels in Dungeons and Dragons” was in extremely poor taste.”

#8. Magic Items

Some goodies in the Bazaar of the Bizarre this month. Here’s an inventory:

Mirror of Speed
Mirror of Confusion
Mirror of Memory
Mirror of All-Seeing
Yefar’s Great Mirror (all by Gerald Strathmann)
Rod of Singing by Robert Plamondon (cursed  item)
The Discus Shield by Roger E. Moore

#9. Vulturehounds

A cool monster by Chris Chalmers and Dan Pollak. Quick stat block

Vulturehound. Small Magical Beast: HD 2; AC 15; ATK 2 claws (1d3) and bite (1d6); MV 50′ (fly 30′); SV F13 R11 W18; AL Neutral (N); Special-None.

They run around in groups of 4d6, and have voracious appetites. I think they’d be a great encounter in dry hills.

Side Trek #3 – I love McLean!

Always loved the art style, and the humor

#10. The Pit of the Oracle

A module by Stephen Sullivan, with a nice cover image by Jeff Dee in which a fighter is either doing a bad-ass, casual back strike against a troglodyte, or in which a fighter is about to get his ass kicked by a couple troglodytes.

The module contains a dungeon and a town (and a Temple of Apathy), as well as some other nice art pieces by Dee, Roslof, Otus and Sutherland. You can tell the elements of D&D’s most classic phase are all coming together.

The map has all sorts of notations on it, which makes me think the adventure is a bit complex … but it also looks really cool. Hey, maybe that’s just the art talking.

And that’s Dragon #37 – happy Sunday folks and have a groovy week ahead.

Monster Tome II – The Worm Harmonious

I don’t know if the Monster Tome II will ever be a physical (or electronic) product, or if it will just be a series of blog posts. Either way, here’s an entry for you …

WORM HARMONIOUS

Size/Type: Huge Magical Beast
Hit Dice: 8
Armor Class: 17
Attack: 1 slam (1d12)
Movement: 30 (Burrow 10)
Saves: F R W
Immune: Sonic attacks, mind-effects
Alignment: NeutralIntelligence: Low
No. Appearing: 1d2
XP: 800 (CL 9)

The worm harmonious looks like a long, thick, wriggling vermin with pale pink flesh (sometimes marked with saffron streaks or speckled with deep aubergine spots) and odd markings on its “face” that approximate a mime or geisha. Extending from its head, down the sides of its body for about 10 feet are a number of long “hairs”, which it can vibrate to create or negate sound. Its entire body is actually covered by these hairs, though most are much smaller and are nearly invisible.

As alluded to above, the worm harmonious can negate sound, and thus create an area of silence (as the spell) in a 100′ radius by using its hairs to absorb the sound. While absorbing sound, the monster cannot move, and its attacks suffer a -3 penalty to hit. After three rounds, the monster can release this absorbed sound as a sonic blast, dealing 1d8 points of sonic damage to all creatures within 30′. Alternatively, it can give off a low, disorienting hum for 3 rounds that forces all within 30′ to pass a Will save or suffer one of the following effects:

Roll d6
1-3. Dazed (-1 penalty to hit and AC)
4-5. Confused (as the spell)
6. Stunned (no actions, only reactions)

It can also use its hairs to create a horrible, piercing screeching noise approximating some of the less successful attempts at Jimmy Hendrix-style guitar riffs. While doing this, the monster attacks normally, but its foes suffer a penalty to Armor Class and attacks, combined, equal to -3. They can choose, for example, a -2 penalty to AC and a -1 penalty to hit, or no penalty to AC and a -3 penalty to hit, etc. As long as the penalties add up to -3.

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 …

1) NIALL OF THE FAR TRAVELS

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.

2) ALIGNMENT STRUGGLES

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.

3) CONAN!

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

4) PITY THE HALF-ORC

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.

5) IS THAT ULTRA-POWERFUL MONSTER A DEITY?

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.

AD BREAK

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

6) APRIL FOOLS!!!

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?

11) BONUS COOL – THE KROLLI

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

New Spell – New Monster – New Class

Just a few things that popped into my head lately …

NEW SPELL

Alter Voice
Level: Magic-user 0
Range: Personal
Duration: 1 hour

This spell permits you to alter your voice, mimicking another voice you have heard perfectly. It does not enable you to speak another language, of course. The spell also alters your inner voice, permitting you to fool creatures through the medium of telepathy.

(I’ve watch lots of old movies and TV shows, in which characters have an uncanny ability to duplicate other character’s voices, especially over the phone)

NEW MONSTER

Zoophytic Mangler

Size/Type: Medium Elemental
Hit Dice: 6
Armor Class: 17 [+1]
Attack: 2 slams (1d8)
Movement: 20
Saves: F10 R12 W12
Alignment: Neutral (N)
Intelligence: Non-
No. Appearing: 1
XP: 600 (CL 18)

A zoophytic mangler is an quasi-elemental creature raised from the sea floor by aquatic mages who have learned the spell. The creature is composed of a core of dead coral. Its exterior is covered with hundreds of beautiful, flower-like living corals. These corals exude a poisonous mist that surrounds the monster to a radius of 20′. Any creature breathing this mist must pass a Fortitude save at -2 or be affected as per Poison III. Those who do save are still sickened, and remain sickened for 1 hour after they leave the monster’s presence. This mist works in the open air and underwater.

(Just read a story about a venomous coral that has sickened quite a few folks)

NEW CLASS

Knight of Flowers

I drew this!

Knights of flowers are a variation on the paladin class. It is only open to halflings, gnomes and other small fey folk. A knight of flowers differs from the paladin as follows:

They must be good in alignment, but can be lawful good (the Rose Order), neutral good (the Lily Order) or chaotic good (the Daffodil Order).

They are skilled in nature lore and flower arranging, rather than riding

Can detect poison at will, instead of evil

Learns to turn plant creatures and evil fey, instead of undead

Instead of a gaining a special warhorse, they gain the ability to draw special abilities from wreaths of different flowers. The wreath must be woven by a maiden, dryad or nymph, and the magical potency of the flowers lasts for one adventure. The knight of flowers can only wear one wreath at a time:

+1 to hit Evil — chestnut

+1 to Charisma tasks — dahlia, daisy, dandelion, plum blossom

+1 to Fortitude saves — ivy

+1 to Intelligence tasks — cherry blossom, lilac, pansy

+1 to Strength tasks — laurel

+1 to Will saves — gladiolus

+1 to melee damage — fennel, oak leaf

+2 to save vs. disease and poison — lily

1 re-roll (d20) per day — gardenia

Animal Friendship (1/day) — magnolia

Bane (1/day) — lobelia

Calm Emotions (1/day) — bullrush, olive

Charm Monster (1/day) — orchid

Charm Person (1/day) — amaranth, carnation, jasmine, chrysanthemum, coriander, honeysuckle, tulip

Color Spray (1/day) — iris

Command (1/day) — heliotrope, thistle

Crushing Despair (1/day) — yellow rose, rue

Cure Light Wounds (1/day) — Eglantine rose, lotus

Daze (1/day) — wormwood

Detect Magic (1/day) — witch-hazel

Disrupt Undead (1/day) — cypress

Fool’s Gold (1/day) — buttercup

Good Hope (1/day) — delphinium, peony

Hold Person (1/day — mistletoe

Inflict Light Wounds (1/day) — marigold

Light (1/day) — sunflower

Magic Weapon (1/day) — red rose

Protection from Evil (1/day) — baby’s breath

Protection from Normal Missiles (1/day) — heather

Ray of Frost (1/day) — hydrangea

Silence (1/day) — white rose

Sleep (1/day) — poppy

Speak with Dead (1/day) — asphodel

Surprised on d8 — begonia

Tongues (1/day) — balm

Can neutralize poison instead of curing disease

Casts spells from the druid spell list, instead of the paladin list

Otherwise, they have the paladin’s special abilities

New Monster and New Games!

A couple things today – first, a new monster:

DEAD EYES

Size/Type: Medium Undead
Hit Dice: 5
Armor Class: 16 [Silver]
Attack: 2 claws (1d4)
Movement: 30
Saves: F13 R13 W11
Resistance: Magic 10%
Alignment: Chaotic (CE)Intelligence: Average
No. Appearing: 1
XP: 1,250 (CL 7)

A dead eyes is an undead monster. It looks like a beautiful man or woman with frightening, dead eyes, black as night and absent of the spark of life. The monster lurks in caves or ruins, startling people first from the surprise appearance of a beautiful stranger in the wilderness, and then by the attack that follows.

A dead eyes hates beauty and happiness, and does what it can to destroy it. The monster can attack physically, even though it is semi-insubstantial, but its more potent attack is its gaze. The gaze of a dead eyes causes first physical numbness in the extremities, and then spiritual numbness.

The physical numbness takes the form of halving the character’s movement rate and a cumulative -1 penalty to hit and damage and AC each round, to a maximum of a -3 penalty. The spiritual numbness takes the form of first the crushing despair spell, and the next round the hold monster spell and the third round the loss of 1 level to energy drain per round.

SECOND – TWO NEW GAMES FROM JMS!

 

Swords & Sandals is a quick and easy role playing game based on old-fashioned gladiator and Hercules movies. Set in a fantasy Greco-Roman world, players take on the role of centurions, gladiators and sibyls, striving for gold and glory by fighting monsters and conquering cities. All you need to play is pencil, paper, a few ordinary dice, these rules, a few friends and a free afternoon. 37 pages. PDF … $3.19

 

Manbot Warriors: Remember the great sci-fi cartoons of the 1970’s and 1980’s? Well, Manbot Warriors isn’t one of them … but it could have been. Manbot Warriors is a quick and easy roleplaying game set in a sci-fi universe where heroic manbot warriors defend the peaceful citizens of the galaxy from the evil of the Galactic Core. Easy to learn and easy to play, it requires only a pencil, paper, a few ordinary dice and these rules. 19 pages. PDF … $2.99

I’ll have the print books up for sale soon – just need to get the review copies.

CHECK THEM OUT, LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!

They Sup on Your Dreams

Hummingbird Men

Type: Tiny monstrous humanoid
Hit Dice: 0 (1d4 hp)
Armor Class: 13 [Silver]
Attacks: None
Move: 10 (Fly 100)
Saves: F19 R10 W14; +2 save vs. mind-affecting effects
Resistance: Magic 35%
Alignment: Neutral (N)
Intelligence: Low
No. Appearing: 1
XP: 50 (CL 1)

They are tiny, with long, beak-like snouts and beady eyes that sometimes strike you as cruel or callous, other times as curious. They have hummingbird wings where a man’s arms would be, and lithe bodies in pleasant, subdued colors – dusky rose, marmalade, the blue-grey of a threatening storm.

They appear at night, and settle down on a person to sup on the nectar of their fitful dreams. Dreams of isolation or rejection please them most; night terrors sate them quickly, but leave them unsatisfied. They hover and stare, and touch their snouts to the person’s temples or forehead, remaining for a few minutes. The dreamer has the best rest of his life; if he was nursing a psychic wound (such as damage to a mental ability score), he heals at twice the normal rate for the hummingbird man’s presence.

If the hummingbird man is threatened by one who knows not what it is or by one who cherishes his dreams, fair or foul, the beast flits back and disgorges nightmares from its snout. These nightmares are illusions, but hard to disbelieve (-2 to save). They usually take one of the following forms:

1 Black tentacles (solidifying from black mists)
2 Phantasmal killer (often a wild-eyed version of one’s close relatives/lovers/self)
3 Shapechange (into something one would not want to be)
4 Flesh to stone (usually a slow transitions, from feet to head)
5 Insect plague (but not always insects)

The victim has a chance to disbelieve each round, but only if the player says they disbelieve. The saving throw begins at -2, but the penalty increases by -1 each round as they are drawn further into the nightmare. The nightmare, thankfully, ends after 6 rounds, by which time the hummingbird man has fled to dine on blacker psyches.

The Blowhard

What happens when you mix one of these …

With one of these …

THE PIPER
Large Aberration; Chaotic (CE); Super Intelligence; Solitary

Hit Dice: 9
Armor Class: 18
Attacks: Bite (2d6) and one blow tube (see below)
Movement: Fly 30
Saves: F10 R11 W6
XP: 900 (CL 10)

Pipers look like great bloated sacks of flesh, bristling with eight blow tubes and possessed of three sinister eyes circling a gaping maw filled with sharp teeth. The monster is little more than a stomach and brain (and an evil brain at that). It haunts deep caverns and shadowy dimensions, preying on adventurers and other monsters. Pipers levitate naturally, and move by flight. They can speak (some might detect a Scottish brogue), and can communicate telepathically with other aberrations within 1 mile.

The piper has eight blow tubes sticking from its body that it uses to emit sounds. Some of these sounds are shrill and piercing, others are deep and resounding. All of them have magical effects when they are used, as follows:

1) Sound Burst – As the spell. Sounds like the blaring of a fog horn.

2) Sonic Ray – As the energy ray spell, using sonic energy. Sounds like a high pitched shriek.

3) Dancing – As irresistible dance spell. Sounds like an Irish jig.

4) Shatter – As the spell, except that it affects a 30′ radius area around the monster. Sounds like an opera singer hitting a super high note.

5) Silence – As the spell, except it affects a 30′ radius area around the monster. Sounds like … silence.

6) Confusion – As the spell, except it affects a 10′ radius area around the monster. Sounds like the screaming of a madman.

7) Blasphemy – As the spell. Sounds like the cackle of demons.

8) Discord – As the spell song of discord. Sounds like a cacophony of voices and instruments.

9) Hold – As the spell hold monster. Sounds like a quick blast of trumpets, followed by the trill of flutes while the affected creature remains held.

Special Qualities: Magic resistance 5%, immune to poison

Of course, you could also present the monster as something like this handsome fellow:

Dragon by Dragon – June 1979 (26)

Two years ago, I was writing a series of weekly blog posts on the old issues of Dragon magazine – something like reviews with a bit of crunch mixed in. And then I stopped. And I don’t remember why.

Well, now I’m starting again. So … journey back in time with me to June of 1979, when the Bee Gees were dominating the charts with Love You Inside Out

Oh – that’s Wanda Nevada. Brooke Shields. Groovy.

Anyhow – into this golden age of entertainment comes Dragon Magazine, Volume III, No. 12 with a kickin’ cover depicting some Napoleonic war game action, and of course much more. Let’s dive right in.

The first thing we’re greeted with is a great full-page Ral Partha advert, noting that “The Little Things Make a Noticeable Difference”. If you’re in my generation of gamers, Ral Partha is just branded into your brain. They were so prevalent in the pages of magazines, and had some great adverts. Honestly, I never messed with miniatures back in the day. I got into the Citadel stuff in late high school and through college, and bought a few Ral Partha minis then, but I really missed the companies hey day. Alas.

On the contents page, we are made aware that this issue marks the beginning of Gay Jaquet’s reign as assistant editor, assisting T. J. Kask, that is. I note this only to point out that TSR appears to be growing.

Another ad now, for the Origins! 79 convention in Chester, Pennsylvania. Do you think the geeks that now trod those halls know the gaming history of the place? Probably not.

https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m0!3m2!1sen!2sus!4v1436714251332!6m8!1m7!1scz6zKvyptBHn3Dg5DGMjQA!2m2!1d39.860951!2d-75.353605!3f295!4f0!5f0.7820865974627469

Looks like a cool college – love the brick work. I’m from Las Vegas – we live in a world of stucco and sandstone, so the brick stuff always impresses me. What can I say – I’m a cheap date.

Next, we have a status update on Gencon XII, and a notice that they’re looking for judges and events for the con. We also get a full con schedule, some prices on back issues of The Dragon (back issues are $2.10 a pop, or $6.88 in today’s dollars. Not a bad price).

Oh yeah – and a McLean cartoon involving the confusion between rocs and rocks. I love watching his art style grow in these early issues. There was some solid young talent in gaming back in the day. I wonder what they paid him per cartoon?

Now we reach the first article – “System 7 Napoleonics: Miniatures Meet Boards”, by Kask. I’m not going to delve too deeply into the article itself, which reviews the game System 7 Napoleonics by GDW, which uses cardboard counters in place of miniatures, and is thus cheap compared to using the lead, but I will point this out:

“The problem with establishing a campaign in a college club, whether it be D&D; TRAVELER, or a Napoleonics, is one of continuity. Each semester, some of the stalwarts say goodbye and depart for “the real world.” This can be especially traumatic if one of those departing owns the French Army, or what passed for it in terms of collective club figures.”

Funny to think how wrapped up the game used to be with issues like this. I suppose it still goes on to this day – maybe some college kids could chime in in the comments below and let us know if they still deal with this. Personally, I’m an old fart, and I do my gaming on G+ these days.

This article is followed up by another article on System 7, by Rich Banner (the designer), called “Necessity is the Mother of Innovation”. If you were into this new game, this was your lucky month, because this article is followed up by a Q&A with Banner.

Speaking of GDW (or Game Designers’ Workshop), we are now treated to a full page ad for their new expansion for Traveler, Imperium – Empires in Conflict: Worlds in the Balance. Great title.

From the Dungeon Hobby Shop in Lake Geneva (no longer there, I’m afraid), we have an ad for 4th Dimension, the Game of Time & Space, produced by TSR (sort of – click here for more). Apparently, you play a Time-Lord (does the hyphen grant immunity from BBC law suits?) commanding an army of Guardians, Rangers and Warriors in some sort of board game battle.

Next we get back into some D&D goodness, with “Giants in the Earth”. Great series of articles, giving game stats to literary characters (why don’t I do that in NOD?). This is a particular goody, because we get Jack Vance’s Cugel the Clever (14th level thief, Str 15, Int 18 (56%), Wis 13, Dex 18 (93%), Con 15, Cha 16 – sounds like Vance was cheating on his dice rolls when he rolled up Cugel, and what’s with the percentiles – I thought they only did that with Strength scores in AD&D?), Karl Edward Wagner’s Kane (30th level fighter, 20th level magic-user, 14th level assassin – how many XP would that take?) and Talbot Mundy’s Tros of Samothrace (15th level paladin). I love Cugel, I’ve heard of Kane (but never read him), but Tros was new to me.

Ah – this is included:

Note: For the game purposes of these heroes: Dexterity 18 (00) gives +4 on Reaction/Attacking, -5 Defensive adjustment and three attacks per round for high level fighters. Constitution 18 (00) gives fighters +4.5 per hit die bonus

Oh, and Judge’s Guild (hallowed be their name) was hawking the Treasury of Archaic Names by Bill Owen. Struggle no longer for heroic character names!

Up next, “What of the Skinnies?” by James W. S. Marvin, a Starship Troopers variant. Not going to lie – caught a bit of the movie, never read the book, have never laid eyes on the game they’re referencing here. This might be the greatest article on the topic ever, and I’ll never know it. Moving on.

Edward C. Cooper gives some tips on “The Placement of Castles” in Lord and Wizard. Article aside, L&W sounds like a pretty cool game: “Mighty, magical holocausts, awe-inspiring Dragons, weird and terrible monsters, military battles on a grand scale. Which of the combatants, Order or Chaos, shall win? And can the forces of Neutrality maintain the precarious balance of power . . . An exciting, fast moving game of movement and combat in a fantastic world, where skill and strategy will decide the winner.” Another board game – the RPG’s are still in their infancy, after all, and at this point most RPG’ers have probably come to the game from board games and miniature war gaming. Makes sense.

Joe Curreri writes “35th Anniversary of D-Day Remembered”. There were lots more veterans of that day alive at the time, and their kids were the ones playing all these silly games. The page also has an ad for Lyle’s Hobby & Craft Center in Westmont, Illinois. Sadly, also no longer there.

In the Design Forum, James McMillan writes about “The Solo Berserker for William the Conqueror-1066. This article presents solitaire rules for the aforementioned game, with a little history on the berserkers. He includes the note that Eystein Orre, one of Harald Hadrada’s men, was called “the Gorcock”. If you’re reading this and play a barbarian or berserker in some game, please consider renaming your character “the Gorcock”. For me. For Eystein. For America.

Next up, David Sweet presents game stats for “Chinese Undead”. We have stats for Lower Souls, Lost Souls, Vampire-Spectres, Sea Bonze, Celestial Stags and Goat Demons. Boy, stats were simple in those days:

Also this:

Look out!

Fantasy 15s has a full page ad for 15mm miniatures allowing you to “re-create the mass battles of Middle Earth – at prices you can afford!” I wonder if there’s a source for cheap men-at-arms so fighter lords can do the same thing. The reproduction ain’t great, but the art in the ad is pretty cool …

The next article includes Boot Hill additions, revisions, and triva (!) by Michael Crane. The have a great “Fast Exact Hit Location Chart” that could be useful for duels, but also just combat in general (especially missile combat):

And, because it wouldn’t be a real D&D mag from the old days … “Another View of the Nine-Point Alignment Scheme” by Carl Parlagreco. This article tries to lay out what you can and cannot do with each alignment. Helping people is something Good characters do, apparently, while trusting in organizations is something for Lawfuls. Here are a couple samples:

Chaotic Good … will keep their word to other of good alignment, will not attack an unarmed foe, will not use poison, will help those in need, prefers to work alone, responds poorly to higher authority, and is distrustful of organizations

Neutral Evil … will not necessarily keep their word, would attack an unarmed foe, will use poison, will not help those in need, may work with others, is indifferent to higher authority, and is indifferent to organizations.

I think this is actually a much more useful way to look at alignment that getting philosophical with it, especially for people new to the game. Of course, you need a reward/penalty mechanism with alignment to make these strictures matter.

Next is Kevin Hendryx’s “Deck of Fate”, with illustrations by Grey Newberry. This is a great magical tarot card deck. Characters draw cards, and get magic results based on what they draw. For example:

II – Junon – The Goddess: No effect for non-clerics. For clerics, permanently boosts their Wisdom score to 18 and gains use of one spell of the next higher level.

In other words – it’s a pretty powerful magic item – an artifact really. You could probably make one heck of a quest into a band of adventurers having to retrieve all of these magic cards.

Rick Krebs now provides “D&D Meets the Electronic Age”. Boy, they had no idea. Dig it:

Over the years access to photocopiers and mimeograph machines have aided many Dungeon Masters in copying maps, charts and even publishing their own zines, all to the expansion of their campaign. But, the recent electronics explosion has now brought another tool to those DMs fortunate to have access to them: the micro-computer. We were one of those fortunate groups to gain the use of a 4K (4,000 bit) memory, BASIC speaking microcomputer.

Charles Sagui now writes “Hirelings Have Feelings Too”. It’s a short article that provides some guidelines for paying hirelings to keep them around. According to Charles, hirelings should be payed two years salary in advance, plus a share of the spoils – either an equal share, or a percentage. Non-humans, he says, will not hire on for salary alone – except orcs – but will also demand to be supplied with equipment and weapons to go into the dungeon. Elves, he says, don’t like to go into dungeons as hirelings – they like fresh air and trees too much. They don’t care much for gold, but they will demand a fine cut gem or magic item + 15% of treasure. Dwarves can be greedy at times – they want four years salary and 15% of treasure. And if you try to give a +3 returning warhammer to somebody else, there’s a 65% chance the dwarf will try to steal it. Orcs will go in for one year salary and 2-5% of treasure, and will only work for chaotics. They are prone to run away when confronted with a difficult fight and have a bad habit of killing their employer in his sleep and stealing all his stuff. I guess turn-about it fair play in a dungeon.

Charles also says that hireling NPCs will only go into the dungeon once – after that, they retire to blow their hard-earned gold on “strong drink and their favorite vice.” Once their money is gone, they might go back in with the PC’s – and if the PC’s paid well last time, they’ll be more loyal. Loyalty ratings for hirelings aren’t used much these days, but they were an important system in a time when hirelings and henchmen were the norm for D&D.

Michael Crane also contributes “Notes from a Very Successful D&D Moderator”. This is a chance, he says, for the moderators (i.e. game masters) to share their tips and tricks after many players have shared ideas for beating dungeons. The article is pretty much about one-upmanship between the DM and the players. A nice historical piece, from when the game was (and was supposed to be) a competition between the DM and the players.

Gary Gygax now chimes in with his “From the Sorcerer’s Scroll” with “D&D, AD&D and Gaming”. The article discusses the origins of role-playing games, of fantasy war gaming, and of role-playing within fantasy war gaming. It’s a nice retrospective, and Dave Arneson’s innovation of giving players individual roles to play is mentioned. Gygax also takes pains to explain that AD&D is a different game than D&D – not an expansion or revision. As Gygax explains:

“Where D&D is a very loose, open framework around which highly imaginative Dungeon Masters can construct what amounts to a set of rules and game of their own choosing, AD&D is a much tighter and more structured game system.”

Which also explains why I like D&D better than AD&D. I like my games loose and imaginative. The article lays out the future of AD&D. And then this towards the end:

“For those of you who wondered why I took certain amateur publishing efforts to task, it was because they were highly insulting to TSR, D&D, this magazine, and myself.”

Nerd fights. They never end.

Kevin Hendryx now presents a variant game for D&D in the modern era called “Mugger!”. Welcome to the 1970’s. Technically, it is Mugger! The Game of Tactical Inter-City Combat, 1979. Each player plays a mugger, gaining experience for each successful mugging and gathering loot. The goal is to “… amass as large a horde of experience points as possible while carrying out one’s crimes and eventually gain a seat in the U.S. Congress …” The times, they ain’t a changin’ all that much, are they?

Random encounters include 1d2 cops on their beat, 1d3 roving squad cars, 1d6 tougher muggers, 1d8 street gangs, 1d20 Hare Krishna fanatics and 4d6 stray dogs.

Oh, and you pick up 1,000 XP for stealing 10 kg of plutonium.

Here’s the level chart:

It’s actually a pretty long article, and though tongue-in-cheek would probably be fun to play one night with some friends. It strikes me that the old city map from Marvel Super-Heroes would come in handy on this one.

Lots of articles in this issue. Next is “Birth Tables and Social Status” for Empire of the Petal Throne, by G. Arthur Rahman. EPT was still a major component in gaming in this period, and its generally featured in every issue of The Dragon. It provides a very long table for generating birth and social status, and this translates into skills, spells and the like for the character. Looks good to me.

Apparently, Grenadier was pushing their new line of licensed Gamma World miniatures with a full page ad. You can see some unpainted models HERE and some painted ones HERE.

Len Lakofka’s “Bazaar of the Bizarre” is “Blueprint for a Lich” in this issue. This is an in-depth article on how high level magic-users and clerics become liches, including a recipe that involves 2 pinches of pure arsenic and 1 measure of fresh wyvern venom (under 60 days old). Don’t mix this one up at home, kiddies.

The would-be lich then drinks the concoction and rolls the D%

1-10: No effect whatsoever, other than all body hair falling out
11-40: Come for 2-7 days – the potion works!
41-70: Feebleminded until dispelled by dispel magic. Each attempt to remove the feeblemind has a 10% chance to kill the drinker if it fails. The potion works!
71-90: Paralyzed for 4-14 days. 30% chance of permanent loss of 1d6 dexterity points. The potion works!
91-96: Permanently deaf, dumb or blind. Only a full wish can regain the sense. The potion works!
97-00: DEAD – star over … if you can be resurrected.

First – I can actually use this in the online game I’m running.

Second – awesome random table for generating liches – they’re either a bit paralyzed, could be blind or deaf, or maybe are completely normal. Side-effects are a good idea for major potions.

Gary Gygax now provides tables for “Putting Together a Party on the Spur of the Moment”. This generates a PC party quickly, with tables and rules for generating quick ability scores, level, armor, weapons and magic items. I think this made it into the DM’s Guide. Which DMG you ask – come on, there’s really only one.

Thomas Holsinger provides a “Strength Comparison Table”. He provides a strength table from 0 to 18/00, with monster equivalents, hit bonuses and damage bonuses. It’s inspired by Dave Hargrave’s Arduin Grimoire II. FYI – Leprechauns are stronger than Brownies, and Pixies are stronger than Leprechauns, just in case you were going to run an all-fey remake of Over the Top. (Google it!)

Jeff Neufeld now provides a review of a play-by-mail game called Tribes of Crane (which is mis-written as Tribes of Tome in the first sentence). We also have reviews of Ice War. (Soviet/US confrontation), Mercenary (a Traveller book), The Battle of Monmouth and Grenadier Figure Packs and a very long review of Battle Sphere with lots of cool illustrations.

The Dragon’s Bestiary (formerly Featured Creature) presents the barghest, so you now know which decade to blame for those little bastards.

Next comes “The Adventures of Fineous Fingers, Fred & Charly”.

Who says old school fantasy is all about scantily clad females?

Great article title by Rod Stephens – “The Thief: A Deadly Annoyance”. Amen to that. He laments the misuse of thieves in dungeons, because they’re really meant for urban environments, where they can steal from high-level NPC’s and other players – because PC’s have more money than just about anybody in the game. He isn’t wrong.

We finish up with some full page ads for GenCon XII, TSR’s new game Divine Right (notes that T.M. Reg. has been applied for – so don’t try anything funny) and Space Gamer (subscribe to get a free game – Ogre, Chitin I, Melee, WarpWar or Rivets).

A packed issue, and a reminder that The Dragon was a full-bodied gaming magazine at the time, and not just TSR’s house organ.

Hope you enjoyed the review – have a happy Sunday and a great week ahead.

Monsters I Just Made Up

I just made these up. Do you find me more cool and mysterious!

MONKEY CAT
Small Magical Beast, Neutral (N), Low to Average Intelligence; Pride (2d8)

Hit Dice: 1
Armor Class: 13
Attack: 2 claws (1d2) or bite (1d3)
Move: 50 (Climb 20)
Saves: F14 R12 W15
XP: 50 (CL 1)

Monkey cats dwell in the steamy equatorial jungles. They look like cats with long tails, and overlong arms and legs that end in grasping hands. Most are black, but other color schemes exist. Like both monkeys and cats, they are terribly curious, and have a penchant for theft. They dwell in prides in the tree tops under a Grand Dame, who decorates herself with stolen jewelry. Her attendants are the bullies and protectors of the tribe, while her daughters hunt and practice the ancient rites that honor the creator of the monkey cats, an Aegyptian wizard with more time and money than he knew what to do with. Crude carvings of his face are made in the high tree tops, and are worshipped with yowling songs and ritual hunts of birds and rodents.

Monkey cat characters gain a bonus of +2 to dexterity and suffer a -2 penalty to intelligence. They can hang from their tails, and gain a climb speed of 20. They can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Monkey cats can multi-class as fighter/thieves, sorcerer/thieves and cleric/thieves.

GLOBULOUS LOOCH
Large Aberration, Chaotic (CE), Low Intelligence; Pod (1d4)

Hit Dice: 7
Armor Class: 14 (18 when skinned)
Attack: 2 slams (2d6 + Poison II) [ooze form]
Move: 30 (Fly 20)
Save: F11 R12 W11
XP: 700 (CL 8)

Globulous looches are buoyant balls of skin and fat with six beady eyes on their underside. They mostly float on air currents, especially in narrow valleys of high mountain ranges, observing the inhabitants and travelers and cursing them silently. When their hatred for other beings gets the better of them, they descend to the ground and split, releasing their ooze form, which then does its best to gobble up as much plant and animal life as possible as it grows a new, thick skin and regains its buoyancy. Globulous looches are especially fond of magic items, which they drain of their magic. The enchantments in the item are retained by the globulous looch for up to 24 hours, and are usable at will. Magic armor simply transfers its magical armor bonus to the looch (as well as any special abilities), and magic weapons transfer their bonus to hit and damage (as well as any special abilities). After 24 hours, a new skin is grown, and the globulous looch, if still alive, floats back into the atmosphere.

TRABALLER
Medium Humanoid, Neutral (N), Average Intelligence; Gathering (3d8)

Hit Dice: 1+1
Armor Class: 13 (leather scale, buckler)
Attacks: By weapon (1d8)
Move: 30 (Burrow 10)
Saves: F13 R15 W15
XP: 150 (CL 2)

Traballers are flinty-skinned folk with manes of black hair and perpetual scowls on their faces. They stand as tall as elves, but have overlong arms and legs and pot bellies. Their touch causes sympathetic vibrations in solid items, causing them to shatter (item saving throw permitted). Stone items save at -4. Traballers most work as miners and quarrymen. They are secretive folk, dwelling away from others in simple huts, and hiding their children and wives under heavy scarlet cloaks bound at the ankles and wrists in brass bands. While so hidden, traballer females gain mystic abilities bestowed on the species by their goddess of mysteries, allowing them to cast spells as adepts (level 1 to 4).

Male traballers wear armor of leather scales with steel collars and bands around their arms and legs. In battle, they wield steel battle rings that can be used as shields (two are the equivalent of a buckler), bludgeons and can be thrown (25’ range, 1d3+2 damage).

Traballer characters enjoy a +1 bonus to Constitution, but suffer a -1 penalty to Charisma. Female characters who retain their scarlet coverings also gain a +1 bonus to Wisdom, but suffer an additional -1 penalty to Charisma (total -2) for their unnerving appearance. They can make sundering attack with their bare hands. Males understand how to fight with their battle rings. Shrouded females gain the following spells, provided they have a Wisdom score of 10 or higher, each spell usable once per day: Guidance, mending and sanctuary. Traballer characters cannot multi-class, but they can dual class like humans.

The Eyes Have It [Monsters]

The Floating Eye of Death via HERE

Ah, yes – eye monsters. Monsters composed of a giant eye with a toothy maw and the ability to use magical rays. I think another game called them beholders, but since me calling them beholders might get me in trouble, I call them eye monsters here, the “evil eye” in Blood & Treasure (voted number one RPG in the world by the owner of this blog), and I’ve heard many other euphemisms in other portions of the open content RPG world. Whatever you call them, they’re a modern classic and below you will find a few variations that might be fun for your game.

DESCRYER
Large Aberration, Chaotic (CE), High Intelligence; Cluster (1d6)

Hit Dice: 9
Armor Class: 21
Attacks: 2 lashes (1d6)
Move: 5 (Fly 30)
Saving Throws: F10 R11 W8
Experience Point Value: 800 (CL 9)

Descryers are evil eyes of an especially brilliant hue. Like their kin, they can communicate with any sentient creature within 100 feet, with their thoughts entering a person’s mind like a tongue entering one’s ear – a very creepy, unwelcome feeling to be sure.

The descryers are the sages and oracles of their species, capable of perceiving past, present and future, and seeing beyond the material world. They are less dangerous in combat than their kin, but very useful to their people. Most are treated as oracles, and are housed in temples under the guard of their zealous cultists the akshi.

Descryers sees magical emanations naturally. It is constantly treated as though under the effects of detect magic. They are also treated as though under constant true seeing and detect good effects.

Unlike their kin, the descryer does not possess gaze attacks. Rather, they are capable of casting powerful divination effects. When they do so, they emit brilliant light, with a different color of light connected to each of their abilities. Creatures within 30 feet of this light must pass a Fortitude saving throw or be struck blind for 1d6 minutes. Creatures so affected must also pass a Will saving throw or have their emotional state altered for 1d6 hours (see descriptions below for effects).

Each divination power can be used by a descryer once per day, but no more than once every 1d4 rounds. Their powers are as follows:

CONTACT OTHER PLANE: As the magic-user spell. Accompanied by a moody blue light that causes crushing despair (as the bard spell).

DISCERN LOCATION: As the magic-user spell. Accompanied by an intense red light that causes rage (as the spell) .

FORESIGHT: As the magic-user spell. Accompanied by a pale yellow light that causes fatigue.

LEGEND LORE: As the magic-user spell. Accompanied by a scathing green light that affects people per the cause fear spell.

PROBE THOUGHTS: As the magic-user spell. Accompanied by a piercing white light that causes an effect similar to the calm emotions spell.

VISION: As the magic-user spell. Accompanied by a deep purple light that causes weakness (as the ray of enfeeblement spell).

Special Qualities: Resistance to acid, cold, electricity, fire and sonic, magic resistance 35%

EXAMINER
Medium Aberration, Chaotic (CE), High Intelligence; Cluster (1d6)

Hit Dice: 7
Armor Class: 19
Attacks: 2 lashes (1d4+1)
Move: 5 (Fly 40)
Saving Throws: F12 R12 W9
Experience Point Value: 700 (CL 8)

Examiners are the crafty spies of their species. Smaller than their more powerful kin, they are capable of getting into somewhat tighter spaces. Examiners see magical emanations naturally, and are always under the effect of a detect invisibility effect. They are also capable of turning invisible three times per day, and using the blink spell once per day. Examiners are albinos, with pale flesh and pink irises. They communicate telepathically in a high-pitched drone that makes the eyes water.

The examiner possesses gaze attacks, but can only use one per round. It cannot maintain any specific gaze attack for more than one round, and must wait 1d4 rounds before activating that particular gaze attack again. The examiner’s gaze attacks have a range of 90 feet (assuming line of sight).
BURN: Subjects must succeed on a Fortitude save or be affected as though by burning hands.

CHARM: Subjects must succeed on a Will save or be affected as though by charm monster.

CONFUSE: Subjects must succeed on a Will save or be affected as though by confusion.

HYPNOTIZE: Subjects must succeed on a Will save or be affected as though by hypnotism.
PARALYZE: Subjects must succeed on a Will save or be affected as though by hold monster.
PROBE: Subjects must succeed on a Will save or be affected as though by detect thoughts (ESP).
SLEEP: Subjects must succeed on a Will save or be affected as though by sleep.

WEAKEN: Subjects must succeed on a Will save or see visions as per a ray of enfeeblement.

Special Qualities: Resistance to acid, cold, electricity, fire and sonic, magic resistance 15%

NECROPSIS
Large Aberration, Chaotic (CE), High Intelligence; Cluster (1d6)

Hit Dice: 11
Armor Class: 23 [Silver]
Attacks: 2 lashes (1d6)
Move: 5 (Fly 30)
Saving Throws: F 9, R 10, W 7
Experience Point Value: 1,100 (CL 12)

The necropsis is an eye monster that has dabbled in the necromantic arts. Steeped in negative energy, they have taken on necromantic powers. The necropsis is incorporeal. It has black flesh and a grey eyeball with a maroon iris. They communicate telepathically within 100 feet, with a ghostly moan.

The necropsis sees magical emanations naturally. It is constantly treated as though under the effects of detect magic. Additionally, the necropsis is also treated as though under a constant detect invisibility affect, and enjoys a constant invisibility to undead effect.
The necropsis possesses a vast repertoire of gaze attacks, but can only use one per round. It cannot maintain any specific gaze attack for more than one round, and must wait 1d4 rounds before activating that particular gaze attack again. The necropsis’ gaze attacks have a range of 150 feet (assuming line of sight).

BITE: Subjects must succeed on a Will save or be affected as though by eyebite.

CHILL: Subjects must succeed on a Fortitude save or be affected as though by chill touch.

CURSE: Subjects must succeed on a Will save or be affected as though by bestow curse.
DEATH: Subjects must succeed on a Will save or be affected as though by inflict critical wounds (4d6+4 damage; save for half damage).
ENERVATE: Subjects must succeed on a Fortitude save or be affected as though by enervation.

PAIN: Subjects must succeed on a Will save or be affected as though by symbol of pain.
RE-ANIMATE: Dead bodies within the monster’s gaze are affected per the animate dead spell.
SLAY: Subjects must succeed on a Fortitude save or be affected as though by slay living.

Special Qualities: Resistance to acid, cold, electricity, fire and sonic, magic resistance 25%

AKSHI
Medium Aberration, Chaotic (CE), High Intelligence; Cluster (1d6)

Hit Dice: 9
Armor Class: 18
Attacks: 4 lashes (1d6 + grapple) and weapon
Move: 30
Saving Throws: F11 R11 W8
Experience Point Value: 900 (CL 10)

The akshi are the insane crossbreeds of the eye monsters and the mind eaters. Bitter exiles from both communities, they sometimes form cults dedicated to the descryers or become underworld warlords, dominating lesser creatures and waging war on both the mind eaters and eye monsters.

Akshi look like humanoids with greenish skin, long arms with three fingers and a thumb, and a head composed almost entirely of a massive eye. Four long lashes are set around the eye. The akshi has no mouth – it drains life energy from creatures with its drain gaze attack, using its lashes to hold creatures in front of it, and its humanoid arms to force their eyes open. Akshi communicate telepathically with a domineering, imperious voice that has an unmistakably bitter edge to it.

Akshi see magical emanations naturally, per the detect magic spell.
The akshi possesses a repertoire of psionic and gaze attacks, but can only use one per round. It cannot maintain any specific attack for more than one round, and must wait 1d4 rounds before activating that particular attack again. The akshi’s attacks have a range of 60 feet (assuming line of sight for gaze attacks).

BLAST (PSIONIC): As the mind eater mental blast ability.

CHARM (GAZE): Subjects must succeed on a Will save or be affected as though by charm monster.

DAZE (GAZE): Subjects must succeed on a Will save or be affected as though by daze.

DRAIN (GAZE): Subjects must succeed on a Fortitude save or be affected as though by vampiric touch.

HARM (GAZE): Subjects must succeed on a Will save or be affected as though by inflict light wounds.

BURN (GAZE): Subjects must succeed on a Fortitude save or be affected as though by burning hands.
PARALYZE (GAZE): Subjects must succeed on a Will save or be affected as though by hold person.

SLEEP (GAZE): Subjects must succeed on a Will save or be affected as though by sleep.
WEAKEN (GAZE): Subjects must succeed on a Fortitude save or be affected as though by a ray of enfeeblement.

Special Qualities: Resistance to acid, cold, electricity, fire and sonic, magic resistance 55%

Spells: 1/day–astral projection, detect thoughts (ESP), levitate, suggestion