Thursday, 11 August 2022

Let’s Convert the Fiend Folio: Firedrake, Firenewt, Fire Snake, and Firetoad

Chilly down with the fire gang

Think small with the fire gang (It's the only way)

Bad hep with the fire gang (a smile a day keeps the doctor away)

When your thing gets wild

Chilly down

When we get started on “F”, the first thing we discover is four “fire something” monsters. If that doesn’t make you think of the Fireys/Fire Gang from Jim Henson’s The Labyrinth, it should. In fact, a number of creatures, individuals, areas, and items from that movie would offer fertile ground were someone to translate them into Dungeon Crawl Classics statistics. In fact, David Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King would make an awesome patron.

Firenewts are linked closely to Giant Striders, but I haven’t started on the “G”s yet, so you will have to either wait or convert them on your own. There isn’t any “One True Conversion” at any rate; you can take these as examples of how I do it and nothing more. 

Using different takes on different creatures is, after all, part of Making Monsters Mysterious!

Here is a niggling thing that bothers me, though: In the Fiend Folio, these monsters appear in the same order that they do in this blog post. However, because of the break in “Fire Snake”, it should actually appear first following the normal rules of alphabetical order.




Firedrake: Init +0; Atk Bite +2 melee (2d5) or breath weapon; AC 15; HD 4d8; MV 20’ or fly 90’; Act 1d20; SP Breath weapon (a cone of fire 60' long by 10' base, 2d8 damage, Reflex DC 12 for half), flaming blood, immunity to fire; SV Fort +5; Ref +3; Will +2; AL N.

Found only in rocky areas, these 4-foot-long dragonets are prone to aggression. If approached even peacefully, they are 50% likely to attack. In addition to their bites, they can breathe a cone of fire three times each day. Their breath weapon takes the form of a 60’ long cone with a 10’ base, which does 2d8 damage (Reflex DC 12 for half).

Worse, firedrake blood is combustible in air, so that any melee attack drawing blood requires the attacker to make a DC 10 Reflex save or be burned for 1d6 damage. If a “6” is rolled for damage, the attacker must succeed in another DC 10 Reflex save or catch fire.

Firedrake blood can be stored in a container under water, and in this state it is inert. Collecting 1d8+2 doses of blood is tricky, requiring a Handle Poison check with a -1d shift on the dice chain; failure causes a fireball causing 3d6 damage to all within 10’ (Reflex DC 15 for half), and uses up 1d6 of the potential doses that could otherwise be collected. Likewise, carrying this blood is dangerous, for if exposed to air due to (for example) a vial breaking with a fall, each dose causes 1d6 damage and requires a DC 10 Reflex save to avoid catching fire.

Apart from being useful (though treacherous) missile weapons, each dose of firedrake blood can be used to coat a single weapon, which immediately is covered in flame. Such weapons burn for 1d4+2 rounds, causing an additional 1d6 damage per round, and force targets to make a DC 10 Reflex save or catch fire. At the end of this period, wooden weapons (or those with wooden shafts) are destroyed. Even metal weapons are destroyed if the wielder fails a Luck check.



Firenewt: Init +1; Atk By weapon +0 melee or ranged (by weapon); AC 15; HD 2d6+2; MV 20’; Act 1d20; SP Fire breath, immunity to fire, cold vulnerability (x2 damage); SV Fort +4; Ref +0; Will +1; AL C.

Elite Firenewt: Init +3; Atk Battleaxe +1 melee (1d10); AC 17; HD 3d6+3; MV 20’; Act 1d20; SP Fire breath, immunity to fire, cold vulnerability (x2 damage); SV Fort +5; Ref +0; Will +2; AL C.

Firenewt Priest: Init +0; Atk Mace +0 melee (1d6) or harmful spell; AC 15; HD 3d6+3; MV 20’; Act 1d20; SP Fire breath, harmful spell, immunity to fire, cold vulnerability (x2 damage); SV Fort +4; Ref +1; Will +3; AL C.

Overlord Firenewt: Init +5; Atk Battleaxe +3 melee; AC 15; HD 4d6+4; MV 20’; Act 1d20; SP Fire breath, immunity to fire, cold vulnerability (x2 damage); SV Fort +5; Ref +2; Will +4; AL C.

These reptilian humanoids live in sun-baked rocky hills, volcanic regions, and similar locales which are hot, dry and sometimes sulphurous, whether above or below ground. They are normally arrayed in chainmail, and carry normal weapons (roll 1d20: 1-9 indicates polearm and short sword, 10-14 indicates short sword, 15-18 indicates polearm and hand axe, and 19-20 indicates battleaxe). Firenewt polearms are typically halberds.

Firenewts can breathe fire on a foe immediately in front of them and within a 5' range for 1d6 points of damage (Reflex DC 10 for half). This ability does not cost an Action Die, but there is only a 1 in 7 chance each round of a firenewt being able to make this extra attack.

Firenewts are cruel marauders. They are usually encountered in hunting parties which delight in torturing and roasting victims alive before feasting on them. For every ten normal firenewts encountered there will be one elite firenewt carrying a battleaxe. For ever 30, there is a firenewt priest armed with a black iron mace. Roughly 1 in 3 firenewts in a raiding party is mounted on a giant strider. 90% of elite firenewts and all firenewt priests will likewise be mounted.

Firenewt priests can cast harmful spells three times each day, to a range of 60’. When a firenewt priest casts a harmful spell, roll 1d5 to determine the result: (1) a line of fire streaks from the priest’s pointed finger, 2d8 damage, Reflex DC 10 for half; (2) internal combustion causes the target to take 1d6 damage per round for 1d3 rounds unless a DC 10 Fort save succeeds, (3) Reflex DC 10 or the target catches fire, causing 1d6 damage per round until extinguished; (4) the target becomes parched and sere, taking 1d5 damage (no save, but half damage rounded up can be healed by consuming a gallon of water), or (5) the target becomes dazed with heat and light, unable to take any action apart from moving at half speed for 1d4 rounds, unless a DC 10 Will save is successful.

In a firenewt lair there will be an additional females and young, usually equal to about 75% and 150% of the male population in numbers. As well, there is a secret, closely-guarded hatching ground containing eggs equal to twice the male population The hatching ground is always under the firenewt priests' control and carefully trained monsters (often 1d3 firedrakes; see above).

While the females and young are noncombatants, each lair is ruled by an overlord firenewt and his close retinue of four elite firenewts with maximum hit points.

These creatures are sometimes known as salamen.



Fire Snake

Fire Snake: Init +5; Atk Bite +0 melee (1 plus venom); AC 14; HD 2d3; MV 15’; Act 1d20; SP Venom (1d6, Fort DC 10 or also paralyzed 2d4 turns), camouflage +6, immunity to fire; SV Fort +0; Ref +7; Will +0; AL N.

These strange beings are only found in fires, and some sages speculate that they are the larval form of salamanders. Not every fire contains a fire snake, but any fire may do so. Some large permanent fires will contain 1d6 fire snakes, while smaller fires (such as fire pits or bowls of flaming oil) contain only one. Since their coloration matches the flickering flames they dwell in so well, they often gain surprise.

Their bite contains venom which feels like searing flames within the bloodstream, and which can paralyze victims failing a DC 10 Fort save for 2d8 turns.

Fire snakes are not particularly intelligent – not more so than ordinary snakes – but they do tend to show up more often in fires containing gems that can withstand the heat. At least one wizard has speculated that these gems were placed for the very purpose of summoning fire snakes to act as guardians. It may also be that fire snakes are more likely to appear in places where the boundary between the Elemental Plane of Fire and the Lands We Know is exceptionally thin.

In such a location, a party may unwittingly (and perhaps harmlessly) spontaneously summon fire snakes within their torches and lanterns. Unless someone is sharp-eyed, or they have reason to attack, the carriers may never know. 

Or perhaps, when the group at last confronts some fiery elemental being, they will be attacked by surprise from within their own light sources!




Firetoad: Init +0; Atk Bite +1 melee (1d6) or fireball +3 ranged (special); AC 10; HD 4d8+4; MV 20’; Act 1d20; SP Fireballs, immunity to fire, water sensitivity, extra attack on retreat; SV Fort +2; Ref +2; Will +0 ; AL C.

A large red toad about 4 feet high and covered with warty purple excrescences, the firetoad can beathe fireballs at will (30’ range, 5’ blast radius, damage equal to firetoad’s current hit points, Reflexes DC 12 for half).

Firetoads shun water and inhabit dry regions above and below ground. Throwing liquid – even ordinary water – at it will cause it to retreat, though in doing so it will concentrate two fireball attacks, in the single melee round of its retreat, on the person performing this act.

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