Sunday, 28 August 2022

Let’s Convert the Fiend Folio: Hellcat, Hoar Fox, and Hook Horror

Jumping into the letter “H” we have the Hellcat, the Hoar Fox, and the Hook Horror.

The Hellcat is another of those monsters designed to tempt PCs into performing evil acts or making poor decisions. The fact that the Hellcat is likely to betray you when you need it the most is a particularly nice touch. Dungeon Crawl Classics doesn’t do the whole “Nine Hells vs. the Abyss” thing that was a staple of Planescape in particular (with
2nd Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons), so in keeping with the Chaotic devils of DCC, I have made the Hellcat Chaotic.

A note on magic weapons: The Hellcat, like many Dungeons & Dragons creatures, was only hit by magical weapons. In the Hellcat’s particular case, the magical bonus (+2, etc) didn’t add to damage either. In Dungeon Crawl Classics, every magical weapon is a unique entity, but magic weapons are rarer, so I reduced this to half damage from non-magical weapons. This is a change which the astute will notice that I have made frequently with these conversions.

The Hoar Fox was overpowered in the Fiend Folio; although it has a breath weapon, it is still a fox. Having as many hit points as a 2nd level cleric, and doing as much damage as a short sword with its bite, is a bit over the top. I have toned the creature down, hopefully leaving you with a usable creature that fits better into the fantasy milieu.

Finally, we have the Hook Horror – one of the few D&D monsters to have been made into a toy back in the day. Later editions had the Horror using its hooks to scrape moss and lichen from cavern walls as its sustenance. You can go that route if you wish. I decided to leave the monster’s dungeon ecology as open in this case as the original author did.

 

Hellcat

Hellcat: Init +3; Atk Bite +3 melee (1d8+2) or claw +4 melee (1d4+2); AC 14; HD 7d8; MV 40’; Act 2d20; SP Infravision 60’, natural invisibility, ½ damage from non-magical weapons, immunity to mind-effecting, telepathy, bond; SV Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +9; AL C.

These beings are tiger-sized wildcats, native to the Hells, where they are the associates and familiars of various demons and devils. In any sort of lighting whatsoever they are naturally invisible (gaining a +4 to attack rolls, initiative, and AC), but in total darkness they can be seen as faintly glowing wraith-like outlines with blazing crimson eyes. These creatures can communicate telepathically, but only do so to communicate with their master (see below) or to offer their allegiance to a new master.

Hellcats are sent into the Lands We Know to serve and corrupt Chaotic masters. If not already in service to a Chaotic being, a hellcat selects the most powerful intelligent Chaotic being it encounters, and serves that being, favoring clerics over others, and then wizards, and then elves. Once it has selected a master, the hellcat is bonded for a year and a day, serving their master in the performance of evil deeds, defending them, and urging them into ever-greater acts of Chaos and evil.

Hellcats are Chaotic, and may give up their current master for a new, more powerful master if that being accepts the hellcat. Once a hellcat has switched allegiances, it has no compunctions about attacking its former master. It is therefore possible for a character to “steal” a hellcat from one monster only to have it “stolen” from them, in turn, by another. If the new potential master does not accept the treacherous hellcat’s service, the hellcat certainly doesn’t mention the attempted betrayal to its current master!

After dwelling in the Lands We Know for a year and a day, hellcats must return to their home in Hell for a like period of time. They may return again subsequently, but its bond with its former master is not automatically re-established.

The only demand the hellcat makes in return for its service is the payment of one living human victim per week as its meal. The master must supply the victim – if they fail to do so, they will fill that role personally.

 

 

Hoar Fox

Hoar Fox: Init +2; Atk Bite +0 melee (1) or cone of cold +5 ranged (2d12); AC 14; HD 1d3; MV 40’; Act 1d16; SP Cone of cold, immunity to cold, fire vulnerability (x2 damage); SV Fort +0, Ref +3, Will +1; AL N.

The silvery-grey fur of these long-legged northern foxes is valuable enough to fetch 20 gp if intact. They hunt in small packs, or family groups, of 1d6 members, and are usually only aggressive toward the rodents and ptarmigans that dwell in the boreal forests and tundra where hoar foxes are found.

Hoar foxes have the ability to breath a cone of cold 30’ long, but only wide enough to catch a single target (Reflex DC 15 for half damage). It takes time for this breath weapon to recharge, so there is only a 1 in 5 chance that a hoar fox can use it the round after it is discharged. The next round, there is a 1 in 4 chance, then a 1 in 3 chance, and then the breath weapon can automatically be used again.

The hoar fox is immune to cold, but takes double damage from fire (which also renders its pelt valueless). Swords, axes, and similar weapons also reduce the value of the pelt by 1d100%. Serious traders in hoar fox pelts prefer to use arrows, sling stones, or even cudgels if there is no ranged alternative.

 




 

Hook Horror

Hook Horror: Init +0; Atk Hook +3 melee (1d8); AC 17; HD 5d6; MV 25’; Act 2d20; SP Infravision 30’, poor vision, acute hearing; SV Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +2; AL N.

Hook horrors are large bipedal monsters with thick carapaces and vulture-like heads. Instead of hands, they have hooks made of bone and chitin. Hook horrors cannot speak, but communicate with others of their kind by making clacking noises with their exoskeletons – eerie sounds which can alarm the unwary as it echoes around dungeon corridors. They are usually found only deep underground.

Hook horrors have poor eyesight, but their hearing is extremely acute. It is thus far easier to hide from a hook horror (+1d shift on the attempt) but far harder to sneak up on one (-2d shift on the attempt).

 

2 comments:

  1. The hellcat as described here is definitely Chaotic, but not all DCC devils are. The one in Fate's Fell Hand is Lawful! My best guess is that the ones who tempt mortals into Chaotic actions are Chaotic, but the ones put in charge of punishing them for their actions can (or maybe even must) be Lawful.

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    1. Thank you for the extra research! I was thinking of the devil in The 13th Skull...your research is a welcome addition.

      Most of the hellcat description comes from the original Fiend Folio; if you wanted a closer conversion just exchange "Lawful" for "Chaotic" in all instances!

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