Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Let’s Convert the Fiend Folio: Elf (Drow), Enveloper, and Ettercap

Do we need a unique Drow Elf in Dungeon Crawl Classics? Well, you have my answer below. I think that Dungeon Crawl Classics captures the flavor of the Drow well enough, with only a few modifications. Tentacle rods do not come up in the Fiend Folio, and so are not converted below.

The Ettercap is a classic monster, which has been converted from one edition of Dungeons & Dragons to the next. While very simple, it evokes a strong sense of simply belonging in the game. I have used plenty of Drow, and plenty of Ettercaps, in my day.

The Enveloper, though, is the real star of today’s show. The base creature offers the bare bones of a monster that literally has any abilities, Hit Dice, and hit points that the judge desires. When you encounter this thing, you don’t know what it will do. You don’t even know what it can do. Imagine going through caves where you encounter envelopers again and again. At first, they are base creatures, but the deeper you go, the more powerful and intelligent they become. Finally, you encounter the Eldest of the colony – but it is Lawful, reasonably friendly, and more than reasonably powerful. The encounter need not lead to combat…and if it does, the Eldest might gain some new abilities before the PCs are wise enough to flee.



Elf (Drow)

Ages past, when the elvenfolk first came to the Lands We Know, they were torn with discord between those factions which served the King and Queen of Elfland, and those who said that new lands required new patrons. In particular, there were those who were lured into selfishness and cruelty by demonic patrons, the chief among these being the Spider-Goddess Lolth.

Some say these malicious elves simply withdrew from the lands under the skies, seeking safety in the lightless caverns and endless warrens of twisted passages of the underworld. Others say they no longer desired to walk upon the green lands under the sun and stars, being drawn instead to the gloomy fairyland beneath the earth where communion with their infernal patrons was clearer.

Whatever the truth, these elves – now calling themselves the drow – neither forgave nor forgot their surface kin. Even now, above all else, they bear enmity for all beings connected with Elfland, however tangentially. Though they are seldom seen by mortals, the drow still persist, occasionally entering lower dungeon levels and consorting with other creatures in order to work out their schemes and inflict revenge upon those who inhabit the world above.

Drow are treated like normal elves in the core rulebook, with the following exceptions:    

  • Drow infravision extends to 120’.
  • Drow experience light vulnerability, taking a -1d shift on the dice chains to all rolls when within sunlight (or its equivalent).
  • Female drow may learn to cast cleric spells as a normal elf casts wizard spells. When using a cleric spell, on a natural “1”, roll 1d8 modified by Luck: (1-2) Loss, failure, and patron taint, (3-4) Loss, failure, and greater corruption, (5-6) Loss, failure, and major corruption, (7) Loss, failure and minor corruption, or (8) Loss, failure, and generic miscast. Female drow can also cast wizard spells, and automatically gain patron bond, as do normal elves.
  • At 1st level, drow learn a complex language of hand signals which can be used to communicate silently within line of sight.

Special Note Regarding Drow Treasure

Cloaks, armor, and weapons made by the drow have special properties, although they do not radiate magic. The items are made in the strange homeland of the drow: vast underground cities of carven stone and minerals, places of weird and fantastic beauty inundated with unknown radiations which impart the special properties to their items. When these are exposed to direct sunlight, irreversible decay starts and the items will become totally useless in 2d6 days. If protected from sunlight, they will retain their special properties for 1d20+30 days before becoming normal items; and if exposed to the radiations of the drow homeland for a period of 1 week out of every 4 weeks, the items could remain potent indefinitely.

Weapons: Drow weapons have a non-magical bonus to attack rolls and damage of +1d on the dice chain. More powerful drow may have weapons with a +2d shift or even (for the most powerful drow) a +3d shift on the dice chain.

Armor: Drow wear a fine black mesh armor of exquisite workmanship, similar to chainmail made of an alloy of mithral and adamantite. This armor grants an additional bonus to AC, even though non-magical. It lowers check penalties by 1 per +1 value of the armor, and lowers the Fumble Die by -1d on the dice chain per +1 value of the armor. Even the lowliest fighters have in effect +1 chainmail, with higher level drow having +2, +3, +4 or even +5 chainmail.

Sleep Poison: Drow may coat darts or crossbow bolts with a poison which renders the victim unconscious for 3d6 turns (Fort save DC 15 negates). Drow sleep poison decays instantly in sunlight, and loses effectiveness after 60 days in any event after being exposed toair, although unopened packets of the poison will remain potent for up to one year.

Black Cloaks and Boots: Each offer a +3 bonus to stealth-based checks, and these bonuses stack. The material does not cut easily, and any alteration to the cloak has a 75% chance of unraveling the material and making it useless.

Hand Crossbows

Drow manufacture single-handed crossbows that fire darts for 1d4 damage with a range of 10/30/60.



Enveloper: Init +0; Atk Buffet +2 melee (1d6+1); AC 16; HD 3d6; MV 30’; Act 2d20; SP Envelop and devour, steal abilities, grow; SV Fort +4; Ref +1; Will +2; AL Varies.

These strange beings are masses of malleable flesh, which, at rest, form rough cylinders 8 feet tall and 1 foot in diameter. They can form up to five appendages at will by reshaping flesh in the appropriate areas, and when in view of humanoids they adopt approximate human form (the appendages being head, arms and legs).

Although envelopers are no more intelligent than animals in their natural state, and are considered to be neutral in alignment, if an enveloper kills a victim, it can fall upon it, enveloping and totally consuming the body in 1d3 rounds, and being unable to take any other actions during this period. Envelopment leaves equipment behind, but makes recovering the body impossible.

1d3 rounds after a victim is devoured, the enveloper can use any of its victim’s abilities – spellcasting, Mighty Deeds, Luck Dice (using the victim’s final Luck score), etc. An enveloper uses the same modifiers and caster level as the absorbed victim when casting spells. The enveloper also gains the knowledge and intelligence of its absorbed victims, can speak with their voice, and gains something of their outlook, shifting Alignment by one step towards the most recent victim. An enveloper can attack normally while waiting for new abilities to become available.

For each Hit Die or level of an enveloped victim, the enveloper gains 1d4 hit points. These hit points, and abilities gained, are permanent except as follows: An enveloper only gains a higher Deed Die or Luck Die if it obtains these from a victim; in this case, the lower dice are lost. If an enveloper attempts to cast a spell, but fails in the attempt, the ability to cast that spell (including divine intervention, clerical laying on of hands, or turning the unholy) is lost until regained from a new victim.

The enveloper gains Hit Dice as it ages, and there is no theoretical limit to the number of Hit Dice, hit points, or abilities that an old enveloper may possess.

Note: The original text said envelopers have a 3-foot circumference, which would make these monsters just under 1 foot in diameter. The illustration suggests that a 3-foot diameter might have been what was intended. I went with the text, but feel free to adjust as desired!




Ettercap: Init +2; Atk Claw +3 melee (1d4) or bite +0 melee (1d4 plus poison) or by weapon (by weapon); AC 14; HD 5d6; MV 30’; Act 2d20; SP Poison (2d6 damage, DC 10 Fort save for half), snares; SV Fort +3; Ref +5; Will +0 ; AL C.

These humanoids have very long arms, protruding potbellies, short legs and hairy skin. They are cruel, cunning and treacherous. An ettercap has silk glands like those of a spider, which secrete a thin, very tough, silvery cord which the creature uses to make assorted weapons and devices – lariats, nets garottes, tripwires, and so forth. Ettercaps have their own unique style and preferences for weapons and traps, but all prefer to trap and/or ambush prey.

Ettercaps get along with, and speak the language, of spiders.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.