Saturday, March 31, 2012

Stabbing You With Their Minds

The last of the three "lost classes" of Blood & Treasure is the soulknife. The soulknife is certainly more gonzo than the classic fantasy archetypes, but they have some cool precedents in sci-fi entertainment, specifically in the form of the ubiquitous light saber and in the redesigned Psylocke (kinda miss the old one, to be honest) and her mind blades. The overall concept is pretty decent, and it was a close one to make it into the final game. I especially liked the idea of illustrating it (or having it illustrated for me, to be precise) as an Indian warrior with glowing katars. So ... the soulknife for Blood & Treasure (which is about a month away from being finished, FYI).

Soulknives are men and women with a natural surplus of psychic energy but no ability to manifest it in the form of psychic powers. Instead, they learn, through rigorous training and meditation, to unlock their chakras and focus their psychic energy into a blade-shaped construct. Soulknives follow a strict warrior code – the Kshatriya Dharma. This states, “Stand straight and never bow down, for this alone is manliness. Rather break at the knots than bend!”

Requirements: Soulknives must have a dexterity and wisdom score of 13 or higher.

Hit Dice: d8 (+3 hit points per level from 10th to 20th).

Armor: Padded, leather, ring mail, studded leather and all shields.

Weapons: Club, crossbows (any), dagger, dart, javelin, mace, morningstar, punching dagger, quarterstaff, rapier, sap, shortbow, short sword, sickle, sling and spear.

Skills: Climb, Find Secret Doors, Hide, Jump, Listen at Doors and Move Silently.


A soulknife can create a semisolid blade composed of psychic energy distilled from his own mind. The blade is identical in all ways (except visually) to a short sword (for medium-sized soulknives), dagger (for small-sized soulknives) or longsword (for large soulknives). The wielder of a mind blade gains the usual modifiers to his attack roll and damage roll from their strength score.

The blade can be broken (it has an AC 15 and 10 hit points); however, a soulknife can simply create another on his next turn. The moment he relinquishes his grip on his blade, it dissipates (unless he intends to throw it; see below). A mind blade is considered a magic weapon for the purpose of hitting monsters only hit by magic weapons.
A soulknife’s mind blade improves as the character gains higher levels.

A soul knife of 2nd level or higher can throw his mind blade as a ranged weapon with a range increment of 30 feet. Whether or not the attack hits, a thrown mind blade then dissipates. A soulknife of 3rd level or higher can make a psychic strike (see below) with a thrown mind blade and can use the blade in conjunction with other special abilities.

A soulknife of 3rd level or higher can spend one round of combat to imbue his mind blade with destructive psychic energy. This effect deals an extra 1d6 points of damage to the next living, non-mindless target he successfully hits with a melee attack (or ranged attack, if he is using the throw mind blade ability). Creatures immune to mind-affecting effects are immune to psychic strike damage.

A mind blade deals this extra damage only once when this ability is called upon, but a soulknife can imbue his mind blade with psychic energy again by taking another round to imbue it with destructive psychic energy.

Once a soulknife has prepared his blade for a psychic strike, it holds the extra energy until it is used. Even if the soulknife drops the mind blade (or it otherwise dissipates, such as when it is thrown and misses), it is still imbued with psychic energy when the soulknife next materializes it.

At every four levels beyond 3rd (7th, 11th, 15th, and 19th), the extra damage from a soulknife’s psychic strike increases by 1d6.

At 5th level, a soulknife gains the ability to change the form of his mind blade. This one full round; he can change his mind blade to replicate a blade one size larger (i.e. dagger to short sword, short sword to longsword or longsword to bastard sword) or smaller. Alternatively, a soulknife can split his mind blade into two identical blades, suitable for fighting with a weapon in each hand.

At 6th level, a soulknife gains the ability to enhance his mind blade. He can add any one of the Class A weapon special abilities on the table below. At 10th level the soulknife can add a Class B ability to his mindblade. At 14th level, the soulknife can add Class C abilities to his mindblade. At 18th level, the soulknife can add two Class B abilities or three Class A abilities to hit mindblade.

Special Abilities
Class A: Defending, keen, lucky, mighty cleaving, psychokinetic, sundering, vicious
Class B: Collision, mindcrusher, psychokinetic burst, suppression, wounding
Class C: Bodyfeeder, soulbreaker

Bodyfeeder: Weapon grants the wielder temporary hit points equal to the damage inflicted on a natural attack roll of ‘20’.

Collision: Weapon increases own mass at end of swing, dealing 5 extra points of damage.

Lucky: Once per day, the wielder can re-roll a missed attack.

Mindcrusher: Spellcasting or spell-using creatures hit by this weapon lose a random ability or spell slot. They must also pass a Will saving throw or lose 1d2 points of wisdom.

Psychokinetic: Weapon deals +1d4 points of ectoplasmic damage to those it hits.

Psychokinetic Burst: As psychokinetic, plus, on a natural attack roll of ‘20’ it deals an additional 1d6 points of damage.

Soulbreaker: On a natural attack roll of ‘20’, the victim loses one level (per a life drain). One day after losing the level, the victim can attempt a Fortitude saving throw to regain the lost level.

Sundering: Weapon provides a +2 bonus to sundering attacks.

Suppression: Creatures hit by this weapon suffer from a targeted dispel magic effect. The wielder makes a dispel check (i.e. Will save with a penalty equal to the level of the spell to be dispelled).

The weapon ability or abilities remain the same every time the soulknife materializes his mind blade (unless he decides to reassign its abilities; see below). The ability or abilities apply to any form the mind blade takes, including the use of the shape mind blade or bladewind class abilities. A soulknife can reassign the ability or abilities he has added to his mind blade. To do so, he must first spend 8 hours in concentration. After that period, the mind blade materializes with the new ability or abilities selected by the soulknife.

Beginning at 13th level, when a soulknife executes a psychic strike, he can choose to substitute intelligence, wisdom or charisma damage for extra dice of damage. For each die of extra damage he gives up, he deals 1 point of damage to the ability score he chooses.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Deviant Friday - Pot-Pori

Today's Deviant Friday post is just a bunch of little items I've favorited over the last couple of months ... no connection other than, for one reason or another, I dig' em. Enjoy and check out all of these folk's portfolios online and let them know if you like them.

Oh, and special bonus points for picking one of these characters and giving them stats in your favorite system in the comments below.

Happy Blog-O-Versary to Me! + FLAILSNAILs comes to NOD

Image is property of Wizards of the Coast, the darlings
Four very simple items today.

First - it's my second blog-o-versary! I've had a ball with this blog and, I think, created something useful to the RPG community at large. My sincerest thanks to those who read the blog (especially to anyone out there that uses this material in their games), to those who follow the blog, to those who put me in their blogrolls and to those who have purchased some of my nonsense and made one of my dreams com true (still waiting on the jetpack).

Second - I have two groups working their way through the Land of Nod right now playtesting my Blood & Treasure rules. One just crawled into a strange, abandoned trireme they found buried under a mountain (clearly their lives are not in danger) and the other just came up from a delve into the catacombs of Ophir, the Wickedest Little City on the Tepid Sea.

Most importantly, I have now officially signed on to the FLAILSNAILs Convention, and hereby open the gates of Nod to anyone who wants to poke around in it and cause trouble. Right now, I just do play-by-post gaming on Google+, because I have a day job, a family and I spend a fair amount of time writing RPG stuff (if you hadn't noticed). If you or a group want to delve into Nod and you're on Google+, just let me know and we'll work something out. You can even choose the system we use, assuming I own the rules and have the inclination to use it.

ALARUM: A couple people have dropped out of the Google+ Nod game, so there are slots open on the 3rd level Team Blood and the 6th level Team Treasure, if anyone wants to play. Team blood lost an elf fighter and Team Treasure a human cleric, but you can play something different. Team Blood is currently above ground and resting, so a Team Blood player could jump right in. Team Treasure is in the wilderness, but they'll be returning to civilization soon to re-supply, so a higher level character might have to wait a bit. 

If you want to join in now, just send me an email (jmstater    AT    yahoo    DOT    com) and we'll make it happen.

Third - Random Things Found Under Foot in the Dungeon (by command of JOESKY)

1) The shed scales of a large reptile (psst - it's behind you, and its invisible)

2) A puddle of halfling blood (you can tell from the sugar content)

3) A patch of green slime cunningly masquerading as brown mold (don't ask me how)

4) Bugbear droppings (where did they find corn 300-ft below ground)

5) A pointy hat, lightly singed

6) A wooden holy symbol, broken in half

7) A tentacle (attached to an angry monster, of course)

8) Footprints in the dust that stop where you're standing

9) The ashes of a lich

10) A flimsy ceramic tile hiding a caltrop

11) A chainmail bikini (with a broken leather strap!)

12) Shards of glass that sparkle like gems (with the reflection of a yellow-pupiled eye staring back at you in each shard)

13) A copper coin (48% chance of being shiny)

14) A puddle of acid with mind-bending effects for those who touch it

15) An anti-shadow cast by an adventurer from the negative zone

16) A silk scarf that smells of sunflowers, the ends tattered and stained with blood

17) The Magna Carta

18) A patch of ice ... evil ice!

19) Tomb dust (hold your breath!)

20) Mummy wrappings (pray the owner doesn't give a tug)

Finally ... Dejah Thoris, 'cause you never need a reason.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thoughts on the City of Dis [Hellcrawl]

Dis presents a unique challenge for the Hellcrawl, as it is a city that dwarfs anything mankind has ever known. Mapping it would be impossible, and producing enough unique encounters to fill its streets would take more time than I can possibly devote to the task.

For that reason, Dis is going to lean more heavily on randomization than the other cities I’ve presented in NOD.

For geography, Dis will rely on a deck of playing cards. As players enter Dis, the Refeee will lay down a card in such a way that everyone can see it. The card’s suit determines the general activity of that “block” of the city, while the number will determine the level of that activity and thus the likelihood of adventurers being caught up in it. The common cards in the deck represent something akin to suburbs, while the “face” cards represent city cores, each governed by a different arch-devil or demon lord of Hell.

Clubs = Magic – illusions, alchemical experiments, magic storms, wizard wars

Diamonds = Commerce – con-men, slavers, thieves, doxies, hucksters, beggars, merchants selling indulgences and buying souls

Hearts = Religious Fervor – unholy preachers, sacrifices, religious processions, gruesome holidays and festivals

Spades = Violence – duelists, gladiators, angry mobs, gang wars, armies fighting street to street or besieging a small castle, etc.

Each hex of Dis is taken up by four cards, placed thus:

Dis is generally three hexes thick, so winning through the other side of Dis will involve, at a minimum, navigating through six cards. Naturally, this isn’t as easy as it sounds.

The streets of Hell are mazelike, so finding one’s way through is difficult. Unlocking each maze depends on the wisdom of the party members. The wisdom totals are added together and divided by two. This is the percentage chance that the party members can navigate through the maze. If they fail, they can remain where they are and try again tomorrow – though that means finding lodging and dealing with the possibility of frightening urban encounters. They can also go back the way they came.

Becoming lost in Dis is not just a matter of physically finding one’s way through the city – it also represents becoming spiritually lost. When a group becomes lost, the member with the current highest wisdom score loses 1d4 points of wisdom. If their wisdom score is reduced to a 9 or lower, they begin to question the value of virtue and become more attracted to vice. If their wisdom is reduced to 3 or lower, they become enmeshed in sin and take on the chaotic alignment. If their wisdom is reduced to 0, they become one of the undead citizens of Dis (those citizens will be given more detail in the actual article) and they cease attempting to escape.

If a group’s wisdom roll is successful, they find 1d3 exits from the current block they are in, allowing them to move in one of three directions to another card.

1 Exit - you can move right or left (50% chance of either)
2 Exits - you can move right or left
3 Exits - you can move right, left or forward

The higher the value of the card, the more difficult it is to find one’s way.

To finally escape Dis, one must win their way to the other side and hire transport to the next circle. In Dante’s Inferno, this transport is provided by Geryon. In Stater’s Inferno, it is provided by any number of contrivances, but whatever the method, one must show a silver key. These keys might rarely be found on random encounters (and there are many counterfeit keys), but they are most often won by providing services to one of the arch-devils or demon lords of the city. The only way to escape Dis is to become involved in the politics of the place – a tricky thing indeed, and sure to wear on one’s soul.

Among the lords of Dis (most are courtiers and bureaucrats) are Medusa, Titivilus, Adramalech, Astaroth, Behemoth, Buer, Leonard, Glasya-Labolas and, of course, Dispater, the grim king and final authority of the city (or so he thinks). Dis also holds the parliament of Hell, Pandaemonium.

The look of Dis will differ from block to block, from heaping ruins to the cobblestone streets of Dickensian London to Hell’s Kitchen to Babylon to the soulless blocks of buildings of Soviet-era Russia. There are streets of embers, canals of magma and more than enough horrors to keep a party of adventurers busy for a session or two.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stygian Depths - Dark Diplomats, a Fierce Tomb and Macrosian of the Long Shadow!

Illustration by Sidney Sime, because you never need a reason to post a Sime piece!
A few more from Stygia! NOD 14 is pretty much on schedule. I'm 95% finished writing the Stygia hellcrawl, and am ready to tackle the city of Dis. I'll post my thoughts on Dis tomorrow.

43.69 Diplomats: There is a vast expanse of mud flats here. The mud is fairly solid, though strange, burrowing worms sometimes push up from the mud, “stare” vacantly at passers-by and then disappear once again. Ten rusty, iron pylons form a gathering in the mud flats, each one a bit tilted. They are, at the moment, occupied by a ten bat monsters, envoys of Bael who are hearing the pleas of a diplomat of Adamantia, one of the Queens of Elemental Earth. The diplomat, if anyone so brusque can be called a diplomat, is an elder xorn called Xaanon. He has been accompanied by six normal xorn, and they are demanding that the soul of a wicked elementalist who did much harm to their people be turned over to Adamantia for proper punishment. Bael is not inclined to agree, though he is willing to make a deal that Queen Diamond will probably find repugnant.

48.31 Macrosian: A tower made of nightmares – surging and writhing like a tower of crimsons, ambers, golds and bilious greens, screaming or weeping faces appearing and then dis-appearing on the surface – stands here, overlooking a dismal landscape of frothy water and black claws that might once have been trees. The tower seems solid enough, despite its moving surface, and it has a wide door composed of black oak embossed with a golden eye.

To enter, one must simply push through the door, saving as they do against a nightmare spell. Inside, they find themselves in a throne room with walls lined with books (most are false, containing only the screaming faces of damned souls that attempt to steal levels per a wraith). In the middle of the room there is a throne of built of metal cubes, shimmering with peacock brilliance. One’s footsteps echo in the chamber and the air is so still it almost strangles a person’s words before they can utter them. Spiral stairs of hepatizon rise from the four corners of the throne room to other chambers and halls.

When a person enters the tower, a shadow version of them emerges from the wall. These shadow clones (the effect is similar to greater shadow conjuration or greater shadow monsters) act very much like their doubles, but one of them, randomly, is possessed by the spirit of Macrosian – He of the Long Shadow – a powerful sorcerer (Mage 17; 44 hp) consigned to Hell. Macrosian seeks to conjure the Typhon from its slumber in the abyssal depths.

The tower is inhabited by hundreds of shadow people, the clones of people who have passed through, and any one of them could be Macrosian. He speaks with a thunderous whisper, and it is through his speech that one can identify him. He can move from body to body at will, and is canny enough to take on the mannerisms of the person he is, at that moment, possessing.

53.80 Athachs: A pair of athachs are clumsily working their way through a village of mostly ruined brick hovels in search of a very special child. The inhabitants of the hovels are twisted, little grey men and women in dirty smocks who seem to make a living raising cabbages. The child was found by them in the swamp. He is a frail lad of about 7 years with opalescent skin that gives off a coiling green mist and completely black eyes that mirror one’s soul.

56.30 Bronze Tomb: On a high, flat mound of earth, surrounded by a picket of bronze spears, there is a tomb of bronze in the shape of a demon with a distended belly. The demon sits in a squatting position and its clawed arms drag the ground at its sides. The demon’s belly is made of glass – in fact, it is actually a sphere of glass about 3 inches thick and mingled with silver dust. This sphere is filled with a pale, grey ichor and floating in it is the preserved corpse of a murderess. The corpse is in a fetal position, clinging to an iron chest, her black hair fanning out in the weird liquid.

A flight of harpies protect the tomb, swooping down on any who would disturb it within 3d6 rounds of their first approaching the tomb. The tomb is also capable of defending itself, for the wicked soul within it can animate the monstrosity, making it arise and flail at tomb robbers with its claws.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tournament Time for Sir Basil of Lyonesse!

Mike Davison has started a FlailSnails Jousting Tournament on Google+ that my brand new knight, Sir Basil of Lyonesse, has entered. The jousting started today and, glory be to God, Sir Basil managed to squeek out a win, despite having his helm knocked off and being unmounted.

Best of all, it's giving me a FlailSnails character (I have a winsome wench named Lucretia who is eligible as well) I can use in future in other games.

I don't know if outsiders can get a ringside seat to the "FlailSnails Jousting Field" or not, but if you can, do so. There's chicanery afoot, some side bets happening, and I must say I'm having a ridiculously good time with it. Google+ might not be the best social media concept in history, but it's doing wonders for the OSR.

Fight On!


Update: Sir Basil goes down in the second round. Alas and alack!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Polyhedroids [New Monster]

Two of the creatures that proved popular in my poll were the modrons and the slaad. Since neither is open content, I've had to create my own versions for inclusion in Blood & Treasure. The polyhedroids fit the role of "agents of absolute law".


The mechanisms that regulate the clockwork movement of the cosmos are unseen, but they do exist. And while sages and theologians may argue and fight over who designed and put them into motion, they rarely worry over who maintains them. More importantly, when the cosmos needs an upgrade such as a new moon, who builds it, puts it in place and sets it off on its merry way? The who in question are the polyhedroids. The polyhedroids are like organic constructs. They are creatures of absolute law and order; every polyhedroid has a place in the scheme of things and every polyhedroid wants nothing more than to perform the task they have been assigned. They oppose chaos because it is an opposing force, not out of any love or comprehension of virtue, and since they see all living and non-living things as mere gears of the cosmos, they have no compunction about using these gears as they see fit to maintain cosmic order.

Spheroids are the least of the polyhedroids. They have a single eye, which can seemingly travel around the surface of their body as they like, and a small mouth that always sits at the bottom of the sphere. Once given a task, a spheroid works at that task until it is complete and then become idle, waiting for a new order from a more complex polyhedroid.

Spheroid, Small Outsider, Lawful, Low Intelligence: HD 1; AC 13; Atk 1 tentacle (1d4); Move 20; Save F 13, R 13, W 14; XP 100 (Basic); Special: Immune to enchantment and illusion, surprised on 1 in 4, resistance to electricity, spells (at will-levitate), telepathy 100 ft.

Tetrahedroids are the engineers of the polyhedroids. They look like triangular pyramids turned on their points. From each of their four vertices, they sprout a tentacle. On three of their four faces, they bear a single large eye. On the fourth face, that which points up, they have a mouth. They are capable of balancing and moving on a single tentacle and attacking with the other three. Tetrahedroids often work alone or in small groups on major tasks or command a work crew of four spheroids.

Tetrahedroid, Medium Outsider, Lawful, Average Intelligence: HD 4; AC 15; Atk 3 tentacles (1d6); Move 30; Save F 11, R 11, W 11; XP 400 (Basic); Special: Immune to enchantment and illusion, resistance to acid and electricity, magic resistance 10%, spells (at will-levitate, mage hand), telepathy 100 ft.

Hexahedroids are employed to command work details of spheroids and tetrahedroids or to fight in polyhedroid armies when chaos threatens the cosmic order. They appear as cubes turned on their points, with eight tentacles sprouting from their vertices. Three of their faces bear great eyes, while the other three bear mouths. Hexahedroids attack with four tentacles and can cast spells as 6th level clerics. They can cast one spell per round, even while attacking. Hexahedroids command crews of six tetrahedroids.

Hexahedroid, Medium Outsider, Lawful, Average Intelligence: HD 6; AC 17; Atk 4 tentacles (1d8 + constrict); Move 40; Save F 10, R 10, W 10; XP 600 (Expert); Special: Immune to enchantment and illusion, resistance to acid, fire and electricity, magic resistance 15%, spells (at will-levitate, mage hand; 1/day-magic missile, shield), telepathy 100 ft.

Octahedroids are governors among the polyhedroids. They appear as octahedrons (or 8-sided dice if you please) lying on their horizontal axis. They have six tentacles sprouting from their vertices. Those that ring their center are used for movement, while the two on the ends are used for attack and manipulation, though technically they could use two of their central tentacles for attack if need be. They have four eyes and four mouths and cast spells as 8th level clerics. They are capable of cast two spells per round, even while attacking. Each octahedroid has a bodyguard of 8 hexahedroids.

Octahedroid, Large Outsider, Lawful, High Intelligence: HD 8; AC 19 [+1]; Atk 2 or 4 tentacles (2d6 + constrict); Move 60 (Fly 180); Save F 9, R 8, W 8; XP 4000 (Master); Special: Immune to enchantment and illusion, resistance to acid, cold, fire and electricity, magic resistance 20%, spells (continuous- detect lies, protection from evil; at will-levitate, mage hand, telekinesis; 3/day-command, detect invisibility, detect magic, magic missile, shield;1/day-interposing hand, wall of force), telepathy 100 ft.

Dodecahedroids are lords among the polyhedroids. They appear as dodecahedrons (or 12-sided dice if you please) sprouting 20 tentacles. They have 6 eyes and 6 mouths spaced around their bodies, and cannot be surprised. They cast spells as 12th level clerics and are capable of casting three spells per round even while attacking. Each dodecahedroid commands a council of 12 octahedroids.

Dodecahedroid, Large Outsider, Lawful, High Intelligence: HD 12; AC 21 [+2]; Atk 10 tentacles (2d6 + constrict); Move 90 (Fly 270); Save F 7, R 4, W 6; XP 6000 (Master); Special: Immune to enchantment and illusion, resistance to acid, cold, electricity, fire and sonics, magic resistance 30%, spells (continuous-detect invisibility, detect lies, protection from evil; at will-command, detect magic, detect thoughts, levitate, mage hand, telekinesis; 3/day- dimension door, magic missile, shield, wall of force;1/day-dispel magic, force cage, forceful hand, interposing hand, teleport), telepathy 1,000 ft.

Icosahedroids are kings among the polyhedroids. They appear as icosahedrons (or 20-sided dice if you please) sprouting 12 tentacles. They have twenty complete faces consisting of an oblong eye and mouth. They cast spells as 20th level clerics and are capable of casting four spells per round even while attacking. Each icosahedroid commands a kingdom of 20 dodecahedroids, 240 octahedroids, thousands of hexahedroids, millions of tetrahedroids and untold numbers of spheroids.

Icosahedroid, Huge Outsider, Lawful, Super Intelligence: HD 20; AC 23 [+3]; Atk 6 tentacles (3d6 + 1d6 electricity + constrict); Move 120 (Fly 360); Save F 3, R 3, W 3; XP 10000 (Epic); Special: Immune to enchantment and illusion, resistance to acid, cold, electricity, fire, negative energy and sonics, magic resistance 50%, spells (continuous-detect invisibility, detect lies, detect thoughts, protection from evil; at will-command, detect magic, dimension door, levitate, mage hand, telekinesis; 3/day- dispel magic, magic missile, planeshift, shield, teleport without error, wall of force;1/day-clenched fist, crushing hand, force cage, forceful hand, grasping hand, interposing hand), telepathy 10,000 ft.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Antikytheres [New Clockwork Monster]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, March 23, 2012

Deviant Friday - Metal Snail Edition

The mysterious artiste known as MetalSnail and/or Vindaloovian draws what Carcosa looks like in my admittedly more whimsical/less Lovecraftian horror mind's eye. Love his stuff - check it out and throw out some possible stats in the comments if you've a mind to.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Stygian Depths - Hellcrawl Preview III

Gustave Dore - Satan talks to his children, Sin and Death
37.41 Ossuary: A muddy little island here is topped by a stone building about 30 feet wide and 100 feet long, with a peaked roof that is also made of stone. The building is sealed by double doors of polished oak that bear four brass medallions, each one depicting a grinning skull. The door opens easily.

The building within is composed of a single large chamber wracked with thunder and lightning. As soon as the doors are opened, the storm spills out from the building, with almost hurricane force winds that make closing the doors very difficult. The winds swirl around the building, forming clouds in the sky overhead. After one minute, the clouds erupt in lightning (per the call lightning spell cast by a 20th level druid). The storm soon covers the entire hex, and an hour later expands into all of the surrounding hexes. If the doors are closed, the storm soon ceases.

Inside the building, there are stored hundreds of skulls engraved with glyphs and runes that emit a phosphorescent glow. Each round, there is a 1 in 6 chance that the skulls, which are blown around the room by the violent winds, swarm around the adventurers and attack.

If a skull is removed from the ossuary, its animation ceases and it gives its bearer the power to cast control weather and call lightning once per day.

SKULL SWARM: HD 12; AC 1 [18]; Atk 3 vicious bites (1d8); Move F15; Save 3; CL/XP 15/2900; Special: +1 or better weapon to hit, immune to electricity, half damage from bludgeoning weapons, 1 point of damage from slashing and piercing weapons.

38.70 Temple of Sin: There is a temple here, standing above the swamp waters on vaulted granite legs. Will-o-the-wisps swarm beneath the temple and around these legs, tracing out glyphs of warding (no magical power) to frighten away travelers.

One enters the massive structure by catching hold of a barbed chain (holding it inflicts 1d4 points of damage per round) and climbing 20 feet up to an alcove in the wall that holds an iron door. There are a dozen such doors, each looking like the monumental brass of a warrior king.

The temple proper is a tall stone building covered with patches of purple moss; it is about 40 feet wide and 200 feet long with a ceiling 30 feet high. The temple holds an idol to Lucifer’s daughter, Sin. From this sanctum, there are six portcullis-barred tunnels (three per side) leading back into the living quarters of the thirty hobgoblin priests of the temple and their mistress, the so-called Woman of Many Faces.

The Woman of Many Faces is just that, a humanoid woman with coppery skin and wearing heavy black robes. She has no face, the front of her head being perfectly smooth and flat. She has five artificial faces that she can hold up to her face, as one holds up a mask, and animate. These are her porcelain face of beauty (cast charm monster and suggestion), emerald face of envy (cast mage’s lucubration and transformation), her ruby face of rage (cast flame strike and rage), her iron face of war (cast ironskin and spiritual weapon) and her wooden face of contemplation (cast augury and divination).

42.38 Bodikar, High Inquisitor: The necromancer Bodikar (Mage 16; 43 hp) occupies a tower of granite faced with sheets of beaten bronze. He serves as the chief inquisitor of Bael, seeking out high-ranking demons who may be disloyal to Bael and putting them through trials and eventual imprisonment and torture. Torturing a demon is, of course, a tricky thing to do.

The offenders have strange metal boxes strapped to their heads. The surfaces of these boxes look into the Empyrean Heaven (per a crystal ball), showing them a world they may never visit again. All the while, lumpy green energy leeches draw their vitality from them, making them as weak as humans. When the leeches grow fat, they are removed from the demons and polymorphed by Bodikar into amber globes that hold the devils’ ichor and a portion of their power.

Bodikar uses these globes to create clones of some of the devils and demons that are loyal to him above all else. Other globes are retained as ingredients for potions or to be used as splash weapons, the ichor acting as flaming oil that causes double damage to lawful creatures.

Explaining Hit Points

How’s this for a draft for how I’m explaining hit points in Blood & Treasure

"Hit points don’t represent anything solid or real or concrete in and of themselves. Rather, they are part of a complex calculation that boils down to this: “What are the chances that the next moment of mortal peril you experience will be your last.” That mortal peril might be a sword fight, a poison needle, a trap door … anything that might kill you. Most often, hit points relate to combat.

It is important to remember that hit points are only part of the combat calculation for how likely you are to die. The complete calculation is in two parts. The first part pits your opponent’s fighting skill against your armor and quickness (i.e. his or her attack roll vs. your Armor Class). The second part pits your opponent’s strength and weapon type against your own fighting skill (i.e. his or her damage roll vs. your hit points). While most of the numbers in these calculations are fairly static, hit points moves quite a bit. The more danger you experience, the more likely your next dangerous act will be your last.

This is why a character can go from 100 to 1 hit points without suffering any particular physical hardships. All of those lost hit points represent narrow misses, lucky breaks and scrapes and scratches. Those last hit points lost, though, represent the sword in the heart, the knife in the back, the quaff of poisoned wine or the plunge off a cliff onto the rocks below. It represents the end of the story. (Though if your friends have enough money and are inclined to spend it, that story might have a new beginning).

The alternate dying system (see below) provides an option for translating 0 hit points into injury rather than sure death, of course, but the baseline assumption is that your hit points are merely an abstract measure of your chances of survival. Treasure them, adventurer, and know when to say when."

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mystery Men! Google+ Play Report ... the Conspiracy Revealed!

Google+ has been something of a renaissance for me in terms of actually playing games. At the moment, I'm running two games and playing in two games (and a third game not on Google+). Good times! I thought I'd give readers a glimpse into the games I currently running and throw in a few thoughts on doing "play-by-post" on Google+.

I started by Mystery Men! Dark Renaissance campaign in July 2011 and, 810 posts later (yeah, I save them) it's drawing to its conclusion. The idea for the game came from a post by Zak at Playing D&D With Porn Stars - in particular, a post of an old map of Dr. Doom's castle. I thought that assaulting the castle could be pretty cool, and pondered just running a game in which people created heroes and then tried to get into the castle and defeat Dr. Doom.

Ultimately, I decided to make the castle the final scene of a larger campaign, one which was designed as the origin story of a new super hero group. Like the origin stories of the Avengers and Justice League, the campaign would start heroes in different cities and then allow them to follow a string of clues to a grand conspiracy. Google+, with its concept of circles, appeared to be a great way to do this - and in the end, I think it was.

Games of Mystery Men! revolve around the plans of the villain. Dark Renaissance is set in the early 1960's. One fine morning, dozens of military targets across the USA (and, it turns out, the USSR) are attacked by American supervillains. Those who are captured turn out to be brain-washed and all have a common thread - they were living in halfway houses run by a The Helping Hands Foundation, a large charity operation founded by an Oklahoma oil man.

Three heroes quickly latch onto these clues: Orca in Seattle (played by Nathan Sorseth) and two Chicago-based heroes, The Green Mask (played by Reynaldo Madrinan) and Firefly (played by Paul Fini). Orca's own naval base is attacked by a villain called Supersize, and with the help of his fellow SEALs he manages to stop him. In Chicago, a train is stolen by three villains - Pinball King, Shatter and Sunburst - a train holding a massive gold shipment (and a mystery metal called Harmonium) and, coincidentally, the Green Mask's girlfriend.

[Quick aside ... I really like that Google+ uses people's real names. It's much easier to get to know them and I feel less ridiculous than I do when referring to people by their "avatar names"]

Meanwhile, heroes in Washington D.C. and New York are following up on seemingly unrelated crimes. The mind-reading super hero Revenant (played by Andrew Byers) runs into Senator Haskel in his civilian guise and is amazed when he doesn't recognize him. Using his powers, he gets the impression that the senator is not who he seems. Following him to his house, he breaks in as Revenant and is stymied and almost captured by the police. Still - this gets him on the trail!

In New York, a bank is overrun by rats and Nightingale (played by Luke DeGraw) intervenes in her civilian guise. Later that night, she and another heroine, Dynamo (daughter of the original Dynamo, and played by my daughter Alyssa) investigate the robbery and discover that the only thing stolen is from a subterranean vault, with the criminals having come up from below and disappeared into mysterious tunnels underneath New York.

The attacks in the USA and USSR drive both nations into high alert, and war seems a distinct possibility.

Ultimately, Revenant, along with new companion the Bronze Statesman (played by Stefan Grambart), discover that Senator Haskel and several other senators have been replaced by clones. The clones are being produced in the Central American nation of Mexidor, where Orca has already followed a lead - a psychiatric convention of Dr. Emily Roberts, the psychiatrist who treated Supersize. Mexidor is in the grips of a power change from a U.S.-backed government to a Soviet-backed government, and while there he comes into conflict with a Soviet super hero called Malatok ("Hammer").

Bronze Statesman and Revenant finally capture two of the clones as another clone is being delivered to the Virginia coast in the dead of night from a mysterious submarine. The submarine is not Soviet, but rather a Nazi vessel commanded by Baron Doom, an old Nazi super villain now associated with the nation of Fascovia, the sole holdout of fascist nations after WW2. They are recruited by the secret service to go down to Mexidor - where the submarine originated - and take out the cloning operation. Ultimately, they and Orca converge on a villa in the hills in time to fight purple zombies and witness the death of Dr. Mengele - but they fail to stop a seemingly invisible and silent Nazi saucer from picking up Mengele's creation, a sort of Frankenstein monster that is, from the outside, physically perfect.

Meanwhile, Dynamo and Nightingale have some adventures underground, discovering a complex constructed by the Green Sorceress and her underground empire using enslaved mole men. The heroes defeat the Green Empire and free the mole men and take a ride in a underground "super subway" that take them all the way to Greenland! Firefly and Green Mask, working with the US Air Force, end up in Greenland as well, following clues of weird lights seen by fishing boats. The four heroes finally hook up in a subterranean hangar for the Nazi flying saucers. This hangar base holds the laboratory of Marto, a deformed scientist who works for the Green Empire and the Nazis and has developed a machine that transfers super powers from one person to another (using harmonium, an alloy of gold and cavorite). The heroes fight some villains who are using the powers of a band of WW2-era European heroes called the Resistance, and ultimately defeat them and free the Resistance members and other captives. Unfortunately, several saucers escape the hangar before it self-destructs. Firefly, Green Mask, Dynamo and Nightingale steal a spare saucer and head back to the US base in Iceland.

At this point, the clone conspiracy has been uncovered, and the US and USSR are ready to team up against the real villains - the Nazis. To that end, a conference is held in London attended by all of our heroes. A plan is hatched. While the Resistance and the Soviet heroes known as Secretariat Seven act as a diversion, the American heroes will make the final assault on castle Graufalke in Fascovia.

[In between the Mexidor stuff and Greenland stuff, the heroes got to level up - which in MM! means either banking your XP and going up a level (or not, depends on how many XP we're talking) or spending new XP on power upgrades and such. Bronze Statesman spent a bunch of his XP on new powers that were embedded in a bronze hand bell and became the Bronze Bellman, if you're wondering about the name discrepancies]

And that brings us to today. The heroes entered the castle and found the research lab and Marto's machine, which looked something like a star fish. In the center, a plastic "coffin" holding the Frankenstein body - which now holds the preserved brain of Adolf Hitler! Connected to it are several pods holding Nazi supervillains. The switch is thrown and the heroes launch into combat with some lesser villains (the Toad, Armbrust and the Rodent). When the machine stops buzzing, Marto roars with victory. The risen fuhrer rises from his coffin, and promptly falls on his face. As the other villains topped from their pods, the final pod opens to reveal the empowered Captain Nazi, who has rewired the machine and now declares himself the Ubermensch and that today marks the birth of the Fourth Reich.

The assembled heroes are now fighting Captain Nazi (well, the Green Mask is actually lost in the castle - hopefully he'll make it to the fight before it is too late) for the fate of the world!


I've found Google+ to be an excellent way to do play-by-post. I have noticed that when a thread gets too long, participants are sometimes not notified of new posts (though I always was), so you'll want to change threads whenever it makes sense (after combats, new scenes, etc.). Like all play-by-post games, busy Referees will appreciate the ability to think moves through, as I certainly have.

I'm currently running two groups through Nod on Google+, and when the Mystery Men! game is finished, and after a little break, I plan to start up a Space Princess game set in the catacombs of Mars. That will probably be followed by a Pars Fortuna game, and then back to Mystery Men! I plan to keep the Nod game running as long as there are players who want to play in the mega-sandbox - so if you'd like to join in, just let me know.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Smilodars [New Monster]

The first response I got when I asked about awesome monsters from the old D&D line (B/X or BECMI or RC) referenced the aranea, which made it into the SRD, and the rakasta. I wanted to slap myself in the forehead. The rakasta were one my old favorites from that line. How could I forget the rakasta?

Thus are born the smilodars of Blood & Treasure. They should be compatible with most old school clones.

Smilodon by Charles Knight

Neutral Medium Humanoid, Average Intelligence; Hunting Band (1d8) or Tribe (80 + 50% + 1d4 x 5 smilodons)

HD 2; AC 12; ATK 1 clawed gauntlet (1d4) and/or spear (1d6) or throwing axe (1d6) or bite (1d4); MV 30 (Leap 15); Save F 12, R 15, W 15; XP 100; Special: Leap into combat.

The smilodar are cat-headed men and women with tawny fur and sabre-teeth. They dwell in steppes and sometimes on the edges of deserts, hunting prey and raiding nearby human and demi-human settlements. While they bear no particular ill will towards most, smilodars have an innate hatred of gnolls and attack them on sight. Smilodars stand about 7 feet tall. They speak their own language and that of large, predatory cats, and might also learn Common, Gnoll and Goblin.

A typical smilodar warrior wears a leather loincloth and carries a clawed metal gauntlet (1d4 damage), spear and a throwing axe or four javelins.

Elite smilodar warriors are mounted on the backs of semi-domesticated smilodons. They fashion leather saddles that allow them to lock their hind-claws into leather flaps and thus ride using only one hand to steady themselves. Smilodars control their mounts with sounds and scents rather than reins.

In combat, smilodars can leap from their mounts, covering up to 15 feet and attacking as though making a charge. Their mounts then fight in concert with their masters, who can attack with spear and clawed gauntlet each round with a -2 penalty to hit with each. If disarmed, they can still bite for 1d4 points of damage.

Smilodars tend to come from primitive backwaters and lost lands. They adjust their starting ability scores as follows: Strength +1, Constitution +1, Intelligence -1. Smilodars retain the leaping ability of their monstrous cousins, essentially using it as a charge attack that does not require them to move at least 30 feet. As with all charges, they suffer the normal penalty to AC when charging. Smilodars can multi-class as barbarian/clerics and barbarian/thieves. They speak Smilodar and the language of large, predatory cats, and might also choose to learn Common, Elf, Gnoll and Goblin.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Wizard's Brain ...

The Dead Wizard’s Brain …

… has unraveled and now looks like a squishy pink snake; it casts what spells it has left as auras and vibration fields such that all spells have an area of effect of 10-ft. per magic-user level

… is kept in a jar of preservative reagents, plotting and cursing and waiting for the day of rebirth

… was merged with his or her pointy hat and now allows the wizard to control those who wear the hat

… is hidden inside a puzzle box and does not want its revery disturbed by the senses

… was turned to crystal and now sends out thought rays that allow it to cast spells through anyone struck by such a beam

… is nestled in the head of a flesh golem (or any other flavor of golem) and is completely insane though no less potent for it

… is a cloud of mystic ash that haunts the corridors of its old tower, attempting to enter people through the nose and mouth

… is a shimmering cascade of energy that runs along the cracks and crevices of walls and which, sometimes, can animate those walls (per mid-range earth elemental with magic-user spells)

… was powdered and stirred into your drink; it will turn your tongue bright purple and give you the ability to cast one spell that was stored in it when he died one time only

… is preserved within the body of a gelatinous cube, casting spells despite the lack of vocal cords or digits

… has become a viscous goo that lurks on ceilings, dropping on the unwary

… floats in astral space, sending out tendrils of quintessence into Astral, Ethereal and Material Planes to search for a new host

… has been imprinted in a glyph etched in gold that covers a vast chamber – people in contact with the gold get an electric shock (per shocking grasp) and become conduits for his spell casting and speech; they must pass a Bend Bars check to pull away from the electrified gold

The Living Wizard’s Brain …

… has become a mirror image of itself, its owner now speaking in reverse, walking in reverse and casting spells in reverse (i.e. they either have the reverse effect, or they are backward in time, the effect occurring before the casting)

… has a 1 in 100 chance per day of collapsing in on itself and becoming a black hole that sucks him and everything else into an alternate dimension

… is in constant contact with the divine via a contact higher plane effect; only he can hear these divine voices, and he is often heard saying “no, I wasn’t talking to you Thor, I was talking to somebody here” – he still doesn’t get the true benefit of the spell more than once per day

… demands chocolate at any price

… is a clockwork device that needs winding once per day – this involves sticking a crank in his ear; on the plus side, he’s immune to all traditional mind-altering spells and effects

… is split into two personalities; one is obvious and in control of the body, the other is subtle and acts via telekinesis

… is convinced that wall wasn’t there before … or was it?

… is slowly crystallizing, losing the ability to cast low level spells, but increasing the number of higher level spells each day (i.e. one day one, the magic-user can no longer cast first level spells, but he gains one additional spell per day of his highest level spells) until he can only cast his highest level spells – at this point, the inside of his head looks like a geode

… wants to be relieved of conscious thought as much as possible; each drink or drag of something alcoholic or narcotic gives him a 1 in 12 chance of going astral (per astral spell) and journeying to a higher plane

… suffers cleric envy

… sends out etheric vibrations that impose any condition it is experiencing on everyone else within 1 mile per the magic-user’s level (save allowed, of course)

… is three seconds ahead or behind everyone else in time- very disorienting

Results of Best. Monster. Ever!

No love for the RC?
The results are in (I'm always amazed at how few people who view these posts actually chime in - I've never known a gamer who didn't have an opinion or couldn't form one at the drop of a hat) and the monsters the readers want to see are the Slaad, the Modrons and the hengeyokai.

Naturally, the slaad and modrons have to be re-cast. The slaad are going to become the xaoc and retain their rubbery toadness, but with a dash of Lovecraft's moon monsters and CAS's Tsathoggau thrown in for good measure.

The modrons are going to become the polyhedroids - something I've already put together and should translate pretty easily. I picture them as skittering around in the space between dimensions, maintaining the mechanics of the universe and sometimes intervening when powerful adventurers insist on screwing with the intricate balance.

I had thought about rebranding them as the Abraham Merritt's metal monsters, but I might just include them as well - they're pretty awesome.

The hengeyokai are legendary and pretty easy to work with, and yeah, I'll make sure there's a blurb on playing them as characters.

By far, the most response was for Fiend Folio monsters, and I'm wondering if that book doesn't form a dividing line in the hobby. Plenty of people hate it, but I'm one of the folks who love it and, frankly, wouldn't play a game without it. I just run those kinds of games, I guess.

There was no response for the old Rules Cyclopedia, i.e. the "basic" Dungeons & Dragons line. Were the only unique, cool monsters in that book the nightshades, who already made it into the SRD? Or maybe I just didn't attract enough fans of the old line to comment on the thread. I don't know, but I'd love to hear some thoughts on the old D&D monsters that made it distinct from the AD&D line.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bionic Warriors and Space Hippies [Space Princess]

It could take up to 6 million quatloos to get a body like this!
Two new classes for the wonderful worlds of Space Princess

Bionic warriors are usually space warriors or astronauts who have been rebuilt due to injuries sustained in the line of duty. They are strong and quick, and come with their own built-in super science. Some hold a grudge against the scientists who built them, while others are glad to use their new-found abilities to help others.

HIT DICE: Bionic warriors roll d10 to determine hit points

REQUIREMENT: STR and DEX of 6 or higher

SKILLS: Bionic warriors can add their SKILL to the following tests: Climb (STR), Leap & Swing (STR) and SWIM (STR)

STARTING GEAR: Bionic warriors start with a hand weapon, ray gun and snazzy jumpsuit

Level Hit Dice Skill Luck
Robo-Man/Woman 3 3 2
Cyber-Man/Woman 5 6 1
Bionic Man/Woman 8 10 0

Bionic warriors have three random bionic implants in their bodies. These implants can be disabled with other super science devices (electro-scramblers, EMPs, etc.).

1. Bionic brain (ie. mento-helmet)
2. Bionic calves (leaps as though had a SKILL of 12)
3. Bionic claws (retractable claws allow an additional claw attack for 1d4 points of damage)
4-6. Bionic ears (can listen at doors as though the bionic warrior had a SKILL of 12)
7-9. Bionic eyes (i.e. night goggles)
10. Bionic feet (i.e. gravity boots)
11. Bionic finger (finger acts as a basic ray gun with 3 shots per day and can be used to disable devices as though the bionic warrior had a SKILL of 10)
12-13. Bionic fists (fists are as potent as laser swords)
14. Bionic jaw (gains additional bite attack that deals 1d4 points of damage)
15. Bionic lungs (immune to toxic, narcotic and poisonous fumes and gases and can hold breath for 10 minutes)
16-17. Bionic nose (i.e. locator)
18. Bionic skeleton (i.e. exoskeleton)
19. Bionic skin (i.e. body armor)
20. Bionic thighs (increases movement from slow to normal, normal to fast or fast to very fast)

Space hippies travel the star-ways, spreading their message of enlightenment. Space hippies are adventurous sorts. Some are rugged individualists, while others are just posers looking for a handout and their next smoke of Venusian red, but all space hippies cast disdain upon the “Herberts” – authority figures who don’t share their beliefs.

HIT DICE: Space hippies roll d6 to determine hit points

REQUIREMENT: MEN of 4 or higher

SKILLS: Space hippies can add their SKILL to the following tests: Identify substance (KNO), calm situation (MEN), hide (DEX), move silently (DEX), charm strangers (MEN), play instrument (MEN)

STARTING GEAR: Space hippies start with a musical instrument the clothes on their backs – they disdain weapons, but will fight to defend themselves from the Herberts (and space monsters) using their feet and fists. Space hippies aren’t looking for trouble, but they can handle what they find.

Level Hit Dice Skill Luck
2 4 3
Star Child 5 8 1
Groovy Guru 7 12 0

Space hippies are capable of evoking emotional states with their music. This requires a play instrument test, with the following difficulties and effects:

PEACE, BROTHER (DC 15): This music calms hostile creatures. All who hear it cease fighting and can only begin fighting again after one round, and even then they must pass a MEN test (DC 15) to begin fighting. A combatant who is attacked can always choose to defend themselves.

THE BLUES (DC 15): All whom the space hippy targets must pass a MEN test or become very, very glum, suffering a -2 penalty to all tests and attacks.

RIGHT ON! (DC 10): All whom the space hippy targets are filled with righteous energy and enjoy a +2 bonus to all tests, but not to attacks.

KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON (DC 10): All who hear this that are under the effect of some mental effect can make a new test at +2 to shake it off.

SPACE TRUCKIN’ (DC 15): Pilots who hear this music enjoy a +1 bonus on all pilot tests.

AQUARIUS RISING (DC 25): All whom the space hippy targets with this masterful song can spend one free luck point on any test or attack they make while the effect lasts. This can only be done once per adventure.

PROTEST (DC 20): This protest song has the ability to counter any sonic ability or attack (including damage-dealing harmonics) used by an opponent.

Animals and simple beasts suffer a -2 penalty to tests against these effects, while militant aliens enjoy a +1 bonus. The effect lasts as long as the space hippy plays their music +1d4 rounds.

Deviant Friday - mc-the-lane Edition

Before the art - if you haven't commented on my post below, please take a look and give me your 2 cents on which monsters who lurk outside the SRD I should include in Blood & Treasure.

Now - to the art ...

mc-the-lane does bold, bright colors and usually big scenes, though I think he does some really nice black and white as well. Enjoy.

My favorite of his pieces - the Dream Catcher - wasn't available for sharing, but here's the link

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Best. Monster. Ever. [A Poll]

Image found at No, seriously.
My work on Blood & Treasure is rapidly coming to a close. Only a couple small sections are left to be written and I'm now embarking on editing the sizable tome. I've managed to include most of the monsters of the SRD, including a few psionic beasts (some rely too heavily on the d20 psionic system to work well without it) and many of the epic level monsters (toned down a bit).

About the only monsters that didn't make the cut were those of the "monster +1" variety - i.e. a monster with additional hit dice or class levels. With all the myriad systems and calculations, statting up monsters like that was useful in d20, but in Blood & Treasure its mostly a waste of space. Even the "alternate iconics" have all made it in as well, from the greymalkin to the evil eye to the phrenic scourge. That being said, there's always room for a few more monsters.

So - my question is this: What is the best monster ever! that wasn't included in the SRD, but does exist in some open content source?

In particular, I want to know what you think is the best monster ever! from each of the following books:

[I'll keep a tally as people comment]

AD&D's Fiend Folio

Beaktapus (as an alternative to the Grell) ... 2 votes
Crypt Thing ... 1 vote
Dark Creepers and Stalkers ... 1/2 vote
Death Knight ... 1 vote
Flail Snail ... 2 votes
Skulk ... 1/2 vote
Slaad ... 3 votes

* I think it's a testament that by far the most response is for Fiend Folio monsters. It's may favorite as well, and I guess I just draw that sort of crowd!

** Looks like the slaad are starting to run away with this one

AD&D's Monster Manual II

Metal Monsters (as an alternative to the modrons) ... 1 vote

D&D's Rules Cyclopedia 

Rakasta ... 1 vote

Any of the myriad d20 sourcebooks

Clockwork Horrors (an alternative version, of course) ... 1 vote
Hengeyokai (an original version, most likely) ... 3 votes
Primordial Ooze (as an alternative to the deepspawn) ... 1 vote

I'd love to hear from the readers ... what is your favorite that you'd like to see in Blood & Treasure?
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