Saturday, April 21, 2018

Day Thirteen -- Hypnodrakes

Day 13 brings us the first repetition, another draconic form. The first roll is a 7: dragon has elephant-like feet instead of claws and may be able to trample. It might also have hooves. Its unusual ability is a hypnotic theme, either due to a physical feature or vocal component. We haven't had any Lawful monsters yet, so I decided to go ahead and make them Lawful.

# encountered: 1d4
% in Lair: 50%
Alignment: Lawful
Movement: 90' (30')
     Flight: 240' (80')
Armor Class: 2
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: Bite plus kick
Damage: 1d6/2d8
Save: F5
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: XVIII
XP: 200

Hypnodrakes have bodies about the size of large horses, with general dragon-like appearances: wings, prismatic scales, a whip-like tail and long, skinny neck and horned head. Curiously, their legs are those of horses. They are highly intelligent and curious.

Their shimmering scales are hypnotic to observe; anyone who looks at a hypnodrake must make a Save v. Spells to avoid being hypnotized for 1d4+1 rounds, incapable of performing any actions during this time. If the result of the Save is a natural 1 the target is charmed, as per the spell Charm Monster. They attack with a bite and a kick, but typically only do such in self-defense, as hypnodrakes are peaceful creatures and prefer to avoid conflict.

The creatures prefer to dwell in plains or hilly terrain, as likely to gallop on the ground as to fly through the air. Hypnodrakes are good parents, raising their young until they're old enough to survive on their own. 1 in 4 hypnodrakes cast spells as level 5 illusionists, without the need to have spellbooks. Hypnodrakes speak Common, Draconic and 1d4-1 other languages. They are long-lived, collecting information throughout their entire lives. Each hypnodrake specializes in a given subject, as a sage.

Lair Encounter

A family of three hypnodrakes dwells in an abandoned fortress in the Basilisk Hills. Actis and Shukar, a mated couple, and Drotral, their fifteen year-old foal, live in relative solitude, perfect for conducting their research. The two elder hypnodrakes are busy researching the remains of an ancient temple to a long forgotten antelope god, Yahdudrek; Actis specializes in the study of local gods and Shukar in the history of the Basilisk Hills. Drotral is old enough to leave the lair, but has proven useful in assisting her parents and so they have allowed her to stay.

Shukar can cast spells as a 5th level illusionist and knows the following spells: Color Spray, Light, Wall of Vapor, Detect Magic, Invisibility, Misdirection, Nondetection, Suggestion. Actis has 20 hp, Shukar 26 and Drotral 14. They have accumulated the following treasure in their exploration of the temple complex: 5000 cp, 1000 gp, a horn of blasting fashioned from an enormous antelope's horn and bound in silver, a warhammer +1, a staff of striking, two potions of healing and a clerical scroll containing a spell of Resurrection

The three hypnodrakes have been stymied in their research, however, as there are several chambers within the abandoned complex they cannot enter due to their size. They would be interested in hiring willing adventurers to complete their exploration.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Day Twelve -- Thorny Rambler

Day Twelve of 30 Monsters in 30 Days brings us a plant monster. A roll of 69 tells us it's a thorn-bush, the second roll (58) tells us it is Mobile. It's got mobile limb attacks (table 2-74) *and* a physical distance attack from Table 2-62 that causes physical damage. a result of 50 means it pulls itself along with vines. The result of Table 2-62 suggests the physical distance attack is a spray, a line of liquid, ooze or sap. Finally, the plant reduces by producing a tiny, gem-like seeds that birds carry away.

The result for limb attacks on Table 2-74 is a result of piercing limb. That is a good result, because it makes sense in the context of the monster.

Thorny Rambler
# encountered: 1d8
% in Lair: 0%
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 10'
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 1+2
Attacks: Spray or thorn
Damage: 1d4
Save: F1
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: None
XP: 15

Thorny ramblers are semi-nomadic, barely intelligent thornbushes that ambulate slowly through thick woods and jungles, seeking prey to subdue and drain of blood. They move slowly, pulling themselves along on short vines.

It can sense living, warm-blooded creatures within 30', surprising them on a roll of 1-4 on 1d6. The thorny rambler attacks first with a spray of liquid paralytic with a +2 bonus to hit, with a range of 30', that can target a single individual per spurt. The target, if hit, must make a Save v. Poison or become paralyzed instantly for 1d6 hours. Once immobilized, the rambler drags itself towards its target and wraps its vines around it, hitting automatically, sucking 1d4 points of blood damage per round.

Once per year, in the spring, ramblers set a single, ruby-red flower that produces a small gem-like seed. It sprouts eight hours after eaten, driving small vines into the belly of the animal that ate it, killing it and feeding upon the blood of the critter.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Day Eleven -- The Nephropid, mastermind lobstermen

I'm taking the first 30 days of my blog to create a monster per day using Matt Finch's Tome of Adventure Design. Rolling to get the monster type we get Humanoid. The first result in this section tells us to roll on Table 2.2 (Beast types) and make the result bipedal with arms and opposable thumbs. Rolling on Table 2.2 we get  . . . 53, or Lobster. Rolling again, we are told to give it a human upper body (but not head). Moving on to Table 2.36, a result of 86 tells us the new species contains a subspecies larger than norm, and either more or less intelligent than the norm. Our lobstermen are also a mastermind race.

Table 2.37 gives us some ideas for the leaders of the lobster men; they are shapeshifters or lycanthropes, and less like the subtype and more like humans than other members of the race. Table 2.38 tells us that the theme for this mastermind race is brains. Table 2.39 provides details for the origins of the mastermind race, and we get results of:
  1. Bred by another race.
  2. Enslaved or bred by another race.
  3. Consider humans to be nothing more than slaves or food.
Okay, let's throw all of this together.


# encountered: 1d6 (3d6 in lairs)
% in Lair: 15%
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 90' (30')
           Swimming: 60' (20')
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: Weapon
Damage: 1d6+4
Save: F4
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: VII
XP: 80

Bred aeons ago by aboleths to serve as a slave race, the nephropids threw off the yoke of slavery long ago upon developing a native intelligence, and have since built stealthy societies under the waves, always in small numbers. The standard nephropids have a lobster-like body, some eight feet in length, topped by a humanoid torso and arms with opposable thumbs and a the head of a lobster.

Because of their eyes nephropids are surprised only on a roll of 1 in 1d8. They attack using large tridents dealing 1d6+4 points of damage, due to their strength. The creatures can survive for up to an hour out of water, and can occasionally be found scuttling along beaches. They lair in areas where the continental shelf drops off close to the water's edge, burrowing into the face of the shelf and creating elaborate networks of tunnels that can run for miles, and occasionally contain rooms with trapped pockets of air. Captured Men, forced to work as slaves, often inhabit these air-filled rooms.

Nephropids cannot speak; they instead communicate via a complicated language using their eyestalks and body movements. They possess infravision to 120'. Nephropid regenerate 1 hp per round.

Nephropid Master

# encountered: 1
% in Lair: 50%
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 90' (30')
           Swimming: 60' (20')
Armor Class: 1
Hit Dice: 8*
Attacks: Weapon or spell
Damage: 2d8+2d6 electrical damage
Save: F8
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: XIX twice
XP: 1060

Every nephropid lair is led by a master, an enormous creature with a lobster-like body twice the length of their lesser kin and humanoid torsos twice the size of Man. These nephropids attack with enormous tridents that flash with electricity with each stroke. The electricity affects the target plus every creature within a 5' radius of the target. The tridents are sized for creatures of hill giant size or larger, and the electrical discharge only functions when in the hands of the masters.

The nephropid masters are capable of casting spells as 8th level magic-users. They can also shapechange twice per day, as per the spell Polymorph Self. The masters direct their lesser kin to perform inscrutable tasks furthering their nefarious goals; they seek to thwart the ambitions of the aboleths when possible, and yearn to exert their influence over the surface world.

Nephropid masters, when in their natural form, communicate in the same manner as their lesser kin, possess infravision to 120', and regenerate 1 hp per round, regardless of their form. They share the same chance of being surprised as their lesser kin, although lose this when polymorphed. Nephropid masters can use any items usable by magic-users or fighters.


As a race, nephropids prefer to stay in the shadows. They are much more likely to kidnap and enslave single individuals, lone sailors, etc. instead of mounting raids on coastal communities. Most of the treasures they accumulate will be salvaged from wrecks of merchant ships.

Since this was a long entry, I'll put up a lair encounter for the nephropid tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Day Ten -- Ardes, the marshstalkers

Day Ten of 30 Monsters in 30 Days.

I haven't been posting much of the background for the monsters I've been generating, so here's a brief rundown of what the random rolls resulted in and what the monster ended up being: Beast, heron, human head or face, stalking predator,

# encountered: 1d12
% in Lair: 45%
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 90' (30')
           Flying: 120' (40')Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: Beak 
Damage: 1d6
Save: F2
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: XX
XP: 20

Ardes are large, ill-tempered heron-like creatures with the elongated faces of Men that taper to a sharp beak. They stand about eight feet tall, but as birds are relatively light and fragile. They stalk the waters of marshes and swamps, subsisting mostly on fish, eels and small mammals but delighting in the flesh of Man if any are foolish enough to wander into their territories.

They possess the ability to stand stock-still, surprising on a roll of 1-4 in 6, and attack with lightning fast beak attacks, gaining a +1 bonus to all initiative rolls. Ardes have the ability of flight, but are slow, clumsy fliers, and rarely take to the skies unless absolutely necessary. 

They have roughly the intelligence of an average Man, and communicate via a croaking language that can be understood by the frog-folk, whom they often live in close proximity to them. There's a 1 in 20 chance that an ardes will have the spellcasting capabilities of a 1d4+1 level cleric, worshipping an obscure avian swamp god.

They collect shiny trinkets and baubles; any treasure they possess can often be found woven into their massive nests.

Lair Encounter

Deep in a marsh dwells a sedge of 5 ardes, their nests located on a small hillock rising out of the marsh. They keep a close eye on their surrounds, and any intruders are stalked. If the ardes judge them to be too great a threat they will stay hidden amongst the reeds; otherwise the massive birds will attempt to pick off those that look weak or are stragglers.

They possess a relatively large hoard: 11,000 copper coins, 4,000 gold coins, and 6 emeralds, each worth 1,000 gold. All of this treasure can be found in the three nests that comprise their lair. In addition, a moldering corpse half submerged in the marsh on the slopes of the hillock is wearing a suit of chain mail +1 and wearing waterlogged boots of levitation. The body will only be found on a roll of 1-4 in 6, as it is partially buried in the mud, and only if the entire island is searched.

New Patreon post

A new hex is up on my Populated Hexes Patreon, featuring hex 17.23. In it can be found a northern spur of the haunted forest known as the Darkwoods, inhabited by giant black widow spiders, and a remote village of owlfolk that hunt for rare mushrooms that grow only in the hunting grounds of the spiders:

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Day Nine -- Ice Automata

Day Nine of 30 Monsters in 30 Days is the ice automaton. 

Ice Automaton
# encountered: 1d6
% in Lair: 80%
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 4

Hit Dice: 3+2
Attacks: Ice spray
Damage: 2d4
Save: F3
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: None
XP: 65

Shaped like small dragons, ice automatons are constructed entirely of polished riveted steel, with two small sparkling sapphires for eyes. They were originally built Cycles past by the legendary Crocodile Kings to maintain the temperatures in the Meat Vaults; since the fall of the mecistopic empire the secrets of their construction have been lost. Because of the low temperatures at which they operate, a surprising number can be found sealed in forgotten burial vaults or the sunken cities of the Crocodile Kings.

Once per round they can breath a cone of frost twenty feet long and ten feet wide, inflicting 2d4 points of damage to all within the cone's path. Those hit by the cone must make a Save v. breath weapons or be slowed, as per the spell, for 1d6 rounds. They have no treasure, but if they are destroyed there is a 1-3 in 6 chance that their sapphire eyes can be salvaged. Each eye is worth 75 gold each. They are immune to all Charm, Sleep and Hold spells, and any spells that specifically target living organisms. They have no increased vulnerability to fire.

Ice automata possess a rudimentary spark of intelligence and are capable of following simple instructions and commands. Over the centuries of neglect many of them have developed independent personalities and relatively simple goals.

Individually -- or even in a small group -- ice automata are not especially deadly, but they are often encountered other, more dangerous, creations of the Crocodile Kings, and in these instances their ability to slow their opponents make them difficult to deal with.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Day Eight -- Verdant Spectres

Day Eight of 30 Monsters in 30 Days brings us a result of "undead".

Verdant Spectres
# encountered: 1
% in Lair: 100%
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 0

Hit Dice: 8+4**
Attacks: Touch, spells
Damage: 3d6, as spells
Save: F8
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: XVIII
XP: 1820

When a druid rejects her vows and way of life, spurning nature for another goal -- power, prestige, the decadence of civilization -- there exists the chance that, upon her death, she will rise again as a verdant spectre, cursed to undeath for betraying nature itself.

Verdant spectres retain the semblence they possessed in life, but with rotted, decayed bodies covered in greenish lichen and moss. Their very presence is inimicable to to vegetative life; the land surrounding their lair will be devoid of plant or animal life in a radius equal to 2d6x100 yards. Their very touch drains life essence, inflicting 3d6 points of damage per hit, and the spectre retains its ability to cast druidic spells as if they were a druid of levels 6+1d4, although where possible spells are cast in their reversed form: Purify Water becomes Spoil Water, etc.

Verdant spectres are semi-corporeal and require +1 weapons to hit. They retain the intelligence and memories they had in life, but rather than feel remorse for the betrayal of their vows they have grown to hate the living with burning fury.

Lair Encounter

Many years ago the druid Cenroy Hol forsook his vows and his grove, leaving the forest he was sworn to protect for the life of the decadent city. Upon his death from alcohol poisoning he rose from the dead as a verdant spectre, returning to the grove he had rejected in life, his presence slowly killing the surround woods, where he sits and broods, hating all life. The grove is in a remote part of the world, with few if any traveling nearby, and as such he has not had a chance to amass any treasures from his victims. Cenroy has 47 hp and casts spells as a 10th level druid.