Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Sphere of Many Maws

This monstrosity resembles a sphere 5' in diameter, covered with chitinous plates. It has a single large maw and 10 smaller fanged mouths growing at the end of 5' long tentacles. Each mouth can cast a single spell, with a +5 bonus to the spellcheck, as indicated below. Spells are lost on a total spellcheck of 10 or lower, but the Sphere of Many Maws otherwise suffers no ill effects from a failed spellcheck, even on a natural 1.

The Sphere can either bite or cast a spell each round, using each of its maws. The central maw is always able to cast dispel magic, but the tentacled maws have different spells, depending upon the individual encountered (see below). It is possible for two maws to have the same spell, and a tentacled maw can be severed with a Mighty Deed of 4+ (it regrows in 1d7 days). The Sphere never needs to use material components or spellburn, and all of its spells can be cast as an action.

For each tentacle maw, roll 1d20 to determine what spell it casts: (1) animate dead, (2) charm person, (3) color spray, (4) detect invisible, (5) enlarge, (6) flaming hands, (7) forget, (8) gust of wind, (9) lightning bolt, (10) magic missile, (11) paralysis, (12) phantasm, (13) ray of enfeeblement, (14) resist cold or heat, (15) scorching ray, (16) sleep, (17) slow, (18) turn to stone, (19) ward portal, or (20) word of command.

With multiple Action Dice, and multiple spells, these creatures have a distinct advantage in a spellduel. Spheres will usually retain their central maw for this purpose, even if they gain initiative.

Although they have no eyes, Spheres of Many Maws are able to sense their surroundings as though they had 120' infravision. They can hover and fly naturally through no means for this is apparent. Some sages believe that these creatures are merely the feeding orifices of a much larger (and more frightening) extradimensional being.

Sphere of Many Maws: Init +0; Atk central bite +4 melee (1d8) or tentacled bite +6 melee (1d4) or spell; AC 16; HD 4d12; MV fly 40’; Act 11d20; SP infravision 120', spells; SV Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +10; AL C.

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

The Eternally Hungry Caterpillar

Because one of my players demanded it. Garett, I think you have a lot of explaining to do to your fellow party members! 

The Eternally Hungry Caterpillar: Init +2; Atk bite +6 melee (3d6); AC 17; HD 8d12 (starting); hp 96 (starting); MV 40’; Act 1d20; SP consume; SV Fort +12, Ref +2, Will +20; AL C.

Consume: When the Eternally Hungry Caterpillar brings a foe to 0 hp, the Caterpillar can spend 1d3 + victim's HD rounds to utterly consume the body. Each time it does this it grows, gaining 1 HD and 8 hp per full round that it spends eating. If attacked while consuming, the Eternally Hungry Caterpillar will attempt to slay attacking foes before resuming consumption.

AND IT IS STILL HUNGRY!

Friday, 1 April 2022

Announcement

It is with a sad heart that I have to announce that I am leaving the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG creative community. There are a few products outstanding that I have to finish up writing for, and then my involvement with DCC will be finished.

On the other hand, I am excited to announce that I have been tapped as part of a creative team to create a new 6e (you heard it here first!) which I think is going to be a fantastic game. We have been talking about include a ton of new and old old-school style art, which is fantastic, including TSR-era pieces the publisher has the rights to use!

The 6e system we are envisioning builds on everything that has come before. Some highlights include:

  • A return to 3d6, straight down the line.
  • An emphasis on unique monsters and unpredictable magic.
  • Fighters will gain Warrior Feats, which will replace entire feat trees and increase automatically as they level.
  • In fact, the entire idea of feats is being reworked into rewards that characters can earn through adventuring, in addition to the usual gold and magic items. We are calling this "Adventure For It!" and it will be the beating heart of 6e.
  • Clerics can cast their spells all day long, but at a risk of angering their gods.
  • Arcane spellcasters can also cast as long as they make their spell attack rolls. Bad things can happen if they roll a "1" though!
  • The patron system, introduced in the previous edition, will be greatly expanded.
  • A new statistic, Karma, can be used to secure one-time bonuses to PC rolls.

All in all, we are really excited about this. It will be unlike anything else on the market, and is a return to old-school play principles for the band. We hope that you will try 6e as playtest modules become available online. I'll be writing for 6e exclusively from now on.

Some of you may be looking at the date of this post and wondering if it is a joke. I can assure you that it is. But it is a post that I wrote last November after Empire of the Cyclops Con in anticipation of April Fools Day.

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

I Call Bull....The Gorgon!

 

For some reason, when he was writing the White Box set for D&D, Gary Gygax decided to make Gorgons not Medusa and her immortal sisters, but metal-plated bulls with petrifying breath. This has been how gorgons were depicted in every edition of the game thereafter.

This may have been inspired by The Historie of Foure-Footed Beastes, written by Edward Topsell, and published in 1607. Or it might have been influenced by Topsell's book indirectly, as I have seen occasional references to D&D-type gorgons in other works. Although I could not for the life of me tell you what those works were, I am fairly certain that they cribbed from Topsell, who would have long been in the public domain by the time they were written. Topsell's gorgon had poisonous, rather than petrifying, breath from eating poisonous herbs.

Other potential sources for the monster are the Greek Khalkotauroi or the Ethiopian Catoblepas, although that had its own entry in the AD&D Monster Manual. It seems likely (to me) that, regardless of Gygax's source, the gorgon's breath became petrifying because the creature's deadly breath was conflated with the Gorgon Medusa's ability to turn the living to stone.

Here are some statistics for using the bull-type gorgon in a DCC game:

Gorgon: Init +3; Atk gore +5 melee (2d6) or trample +6 melee (1d8) or deadly breath; AC 20; HD 6d8; MV 40’; Act 1d20; SP deadly breath every 1d5 rounds; SV Fort +8, Ref +5, Will +0; AL C.

Deadly Breath: A gorgon has a breath weapon that forms a cloud with a 20' diameter, affecting all creatures within. To determine the effects of any given gorgon's breath weapon, roll 1d12:

(1-5) Petrifying. Victims must succeed in a DC 10 Will save or take 1d8 points of permanent Agility damage. This represents the body of the victim turning slowly to stone, and can be healed only by strong magic or bathing in the blood of the gorgon responsible. If Agility reaches 0 through this damage, the creature is completely petrified.

(6-9) Poisonous. Victims take 1d6 damage and must succeed in a DC 12 Fort save or take 1d4 points of temporary Stamina damage.

(10) Caustic. Victims take 1d6 damage, and must make a DC 10 Fort save or take 1d6 damage each round until the save succeeds.

(11) Memory-Eating. Victims must succeed in a DC 10 Will save or lose 1d6 XP. This can reduce characters' levels, as their memories of past success are eaten away. Anyone reduced to 0 XP takes Intelligence damage instead on a failed save.

(12) Pestilent. Victims must succeed in a DC 15 Fort save or become ill, taking an immediate 1 point of temporary Strength, Stamina, and Agility damage. Each day thereafter, the victim must make a DC 15 Fort save or suffer an additional 1d3 temporary damage to Strength, Stamina, and Agility. This damage does not begin to heal until the character has succeeded in three saves, which ends the pestilence, or the disease is removed by other means. Worse, the victim is contagious, and anyone in their company must make a DC 15 Fort save after each hour or fall victim to the same pestilence.

Have fun!

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

Beware the Doppelgänger

In certain dark corners of the world, unwary travelers may meet normal-seeming folk who are anything but. These creatures are humanoid shape-shifters, able to read the surface thoughts of any creature within 500', and fit their shape to meet the expectations or needs of those they encounter. Doppelgängers seek to join groups, where they can pick off and consume group members one by one, assuming the identities of those they consume to further sow confusion.

Doppelgängers are naturally about human-sized, and can form themselves into the likeness of any humanoid from 4 feet to 8 feet tall. When imitating another creature, their bodies form to appear like the equipment and weapons of the imitated being. Should they lay down a piece of equipment, fire a missile created from itself, or be disarmed, the lost item collapses into a pile of fetid gray goo within 1d3 rounds. The doppelgänger can reabsorb this goo without harm to itself, as much as seven days from when it was shed. Similarly, a slain doppelgänger retains its chosen form for 1d3 rounds before shifting back to its base humanoid form.

A doppelgänger may change its form, and/or create a weapon as part of a move. One of the creature's favorite tricks is to attack a being, imitating them so their companions cannot track which target is friend or foe. Doppelgänger imitation is 90% accurate, which, combined with their ability to read minds, makes them hard to detect. If a doppelgänger engages in melee with a foe it is imitating, attacks against the doppelgänger have a 40% chance of targeting the imitated character. 

Although these creatures are most often solitary, groups of up to 3d4 have been known to cooperate with each other when hunting. When an adventurer goes off on their own, or an adventuring party splits, it is never certain that what returns is the same as what left.

Doppelgänger: Init -1; Atk created weapon +4 melee (1d12); AC 15; HD 4d8; MV 40’; Act 1d20; SP infravision 60', ESP, imitate, shed goo, form weapons, immune to sleep and charm spells and effects; SV Fort +8, Ref +12, Will +7; AL C.

Saturday, 26 February 2022

I Strip the Body and Put on the Soiled Robes

With The Inn in the Forest starting to appear in the mailboxes of Kickstarter backers, here is a little extra. You can use it with the aforementioned adventure, or just about any adventure where the PCs discover a cadaver. What happens when they strip the body and decide to put on what it was wearing?

If you have ever seen clothing left outdoors for any length of time, you will realize that these items are probably not going to be immediately wearable.

Time to roll 1d20 and add your Luck modifier! The results exceed 20 because thieves and halflings may spend Luck to adjust the result.

(0 or less)  You poor unlucky sod. Attempt a DC 20 Will save or the spirit of the cadaver possesses your body. You gain a new save after 1 hour, 1 day, and 1 week. If all of these fail, the possession is permanent.

Whether you or the spirit is in control, your body has a 2d3 penalty to both Agility and Personality. The Agility penalty only lasts while the clothing is worn, until it is properly laundered. The Personality penalty lasts as long as the unlaundered clothing is worn. Even then, 1d3 points of Personality penalty persists until you (or the spirit) can bathe and succeed in a Luck check. Only one attempt is allowed per 24 hour period.

Even if you succeed in your initial save, the spirit tries again so long as you continue wearing the garments (laundered or not): You must make a new DC 20 Will save after an hour, a day, and a week, with the same risk as the initial save. Should you succeed in each of these saves, the spirit departs the garments.  Probably.

(1)  The clothing is extremely foul and stiff, and the decaying odor of the body clings to the garments. You have a 2d3 penalty to both Agility and Personality. Worse, donning these garments requires a DC 15 Will save to avoid being cursed from beyond the grave! In this case, you lose 1 point from each ability score (including Luck) until the curse is removed. Burying the body (with or without the garments) may be sufficient, at the judge's discretion. Maybe more is required.

The Agility penalty only lasts while the clothing is worn, until it is properly laundered. The Personality penalty lasts as long as the unlaundered clothing is worn. Even then, 1d3 points of Personality penalty persists until you can bathe and succeed in a Luck check. Only one attempt is allowed per 24 hour period.

(2-5)  The clothing is excessively foul and stiff, with a lingering stench of death. You have a 2d3 penalty to both Agility and Personality. Worse, donning these garments requires a DC 10 Fortitude save to avoid becoming infected with a rotting disease causing 1d3 Stamina damage each day. Every hour, another save is required until the disease is contracted or the garments removed and you bathe. A cleric's Lay on Hands can remove the disease, but if you continue to wear the garments you might contract it again.

The Agility penalty only lasts while the clothing is worn, until it is properly laundered. The Personality penalty lasts as long as the unlaundered clothing is worn. Even then, 1d3 points of Personality penalty persists until you can bathe.

Laundering the garments may also remove the contagion; roll a Luck check each time you put them on following proper washing. If it succeeds, the disease can no longer be caught by wearing the garments. If it fails, roll a Fort save....

(6-10)  The clothing is both foul and stiff. You have a 2d3 penalty to both Agility and Personality. Worse, it is infested with parasites that now infest you! These parasites cause a 1d3 penalty to Stamina. The Agility penalty only lasts while the clothing is worn, until it is properly laundered. The Personality penalty lasts as long as the unlaundered clothing is worn. Even then, 1d3 points of Personality penalty persists until you can bathe. The parasites are harder to get rid of. Every time you bathe, you are allowed a Luck check to be rid of them. Once the parasites are gone, Stamina penalties go away at the rate of 1 point per day. A cleric may also remove these parasites with a successful Lay on Hands check.

(11-15)  Unfortunately, the clothing is both foul and stiff. You have a 2d3 penalty to both Agility and Personality. The Agility penalty only lasts while the clothing is worn, until it is properly laundered. The Personality penalty lasts as long as the unlaundered clothing is worn. Even then, 1d3 points of Personality penalty persists until you can bathe.

(16-20)  The clothes are somewhat foul and stiff. You have a 1d3 penalty to both Agility and Personality. The Agility penalty only lasts while the clothing is worn, until it is properly laundered. The Personality penalty lasts as long as the unlaundered clothing is worn. Even then, one point of Personality penalty persists until you can bathe.

(21-25)  The clothes are stiff but not as foul as they could be. You have a 1d3 penalty to Agility so long as they are worn, until they have been properly laundered.

(26+)  Lucky you! Against all odds, there are no ill effects.

Saturday, 19 February 2022

Gary Con

 


There are still some seats available in The Arwich Grinder, and one in The Dread God Al-Khazadar. I intend to be there in person!

Thursday, 16 December 2021

Holiday Posts

Looking for something to spice up an adventure this holiday season?  Look no further! Well, okay, you may have to look a bit further...but here's a start.


Last Updated 16 December 2021

Valentine's Day

That Hideous Heart

Father's Day

Grendel's Father

Halloween

Keeper of the Seven Keys (Part I)

Keeper of the Seven Keys (Part II)

The Following Thing

Better Than Raw

Walkabout Thing

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Christmas

Yukon Cornelius, Warrior of the North

Elf Dentist

This Yuletide: Beware the Bumble!

The Great Intelligence Wishes You a Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays from the Laser Snowmen!

Kovacsian Wizard Snowman

Killer Christmas Tree

Scary Holidays!







Yukon Cornelius, Warrior of the North

Yukon Cornelius, Warrior of the North: Init +3; Atk pick axe +2+Deed Die melee (1d6+2+Deed Die) or knife +2+Deed Die melee (1d4+2+Deed Die) or pistol -1+Deed Die ranged (1d6+Deed Die); AC 11; HD 4d12+8; hp 25; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP Deed Die (1d6), crit range 19-20, taste silver and gold, dogs; SV Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +1; AL L; Crit IV/1d20.

Yukon Cornelius is a prospector in the far north, possessed of great courage, daring, and northern lore. 

He has an ability similar to that of a dwarf's ability to smell gold and gems, but it requires him to plant his pick axe and taste it. If there is buried silver or gold within 100 feet, he can taste it in the residue. Tall, with extraordinary strength and resilience, Yukon Cornelius has even taken on a bumble with no help save that of a 1st level elf dentist. (That they were able to push the bumble off a cliff was used as an indication of the size of Yukon Cornelius' Deed Die, and therefore of his level.)

Yukon Cornelius has a pack of unlikely and mismatched miniature dogs. Although none are appropriate to pulling a sled, they are nonetheless able to do so. One is a Saint Bernard, which carries a potion of healing (2 HD) in a small keg. These dogs are AC 14 and have 6 hp each. They have no effective attacks, apart from yapping at foes and cowering behind Yukon Cornelius. These dogs can made a collective attack roll (with a +4 bonus) once per game session. If they succeed, they do no damage, but instead allow Yukon Cornelius to re-roll a failed Deed Die. Regardless of the result of the second roll, Yukon Cornelius must abide by it.