Sunday, 18 September 2022

Let’s Convert the Fiend Folio: Kuo-Toa

The Kuo-Toa first appeared in dungeon module D2: Shrine of the Kuo-Toa, which is now available as part of D1-2: Descent into the Depths of the Earth. This is a complex monster, which required a minimum of four statblocks to capture properly. Information was scattered throughout the original Fiend Folio entry – I have tried to put it together in a manner more useful to the Dungeon Crawl Classics judge, which has taken a little bit of time. I have also included some minor information from the 1st Edition Deities & Demigods, as it seemed relevant to judges seeking to convert the original adventures.

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Finally, if you use any of these creatures, I would love to hear about it. If you look to the upper right hand corner of the blog, there is a magnetic post for Locating Monsters in the Blog. Not everything here is usable in a published format, but I open to talking about it. For your home games? Go wild!

This post ends the “K” entries. Next post in the series will start the “L”s. I suppose I have to convert the Lamia from the Monster Manual for the Lamia Noble to make sense…?




Kuo-Toa: Init +0; Atk By weapon +2 melee (by weapon) or bite +0 melee (1d3); AC 16; HD 2d6 or more; MV 30’ or swim 40’; Act 1d20; SP Skin secretions, cannot be surprised, immunities (poison, paralysis, mind-affecting), half (or no) damage from electricity, minimum damage from magic missiles, light vulnerability, fire vulnerability; SV Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +0; AL C.

The ancestors of the kuo-toans once dwelt on surface shores in ancient times, but they were driven underground by the advent of human civilization. It is speculated, and may be true, that these antecedents were the same for the kuo-toans and the deep ones, but that when the kuo-toans retreated to subterranean waterways, the ancestors of the deep ones retreated into the briny fastness of the world’s oceans. Others believe that the kuo-toans retreated in equal parts to the depths of the earth and the depths of the sea, but other terrible things – including the deep ones – exterminated those which had retreated into the sea.

Regardless, the kuo-toans were forgotten by the vast majority of humanity, although the surviving kuo-toa never forgot mankind – and woe to the hapless human who falls into their slimy clutches! Kuo-toans hate sunlight and discipline, and have a tendency towards insanity, preventing them from invading the surface of the earth although their numbers have grown once more. Nonetheless, small groups are sometimes encountered in the upper world at night, seeking human victims to become slaves or sacrifices, and, if one travels deeply enough below the world’s skin, there is always a chance of encountering these creatures. Only far below the earth’s surface will the intrepid explorer find the natural caverns and spaces hewn from living rock over the ages in which the kuo-toa people build their underground communities.

Skin secretions allow kuo-toans slip out of any attempt to grapple, grasp, tie or otherwise bind them (magically or not) with a DC 15 Reflex save. They have excellent independent monocular vision, a very wide degree of field, and they are able to detect movement even though a creature is normally invisible or non-corporeal, making them completely immune to any stealth involving movement. They are immune to poison, paralysis, and mind-affecting spells (including illusions). They take only half damage from electrical attacks (or none if a save is successful), and magic missiles always cause kuo-toans the minimum amount of damage possible (i.e., any dice rolled for damage are always treated as “1”s).

On the other hand, kuo-toans hate bright light, and have a -1d penalty to all rolls if caught within daylight or its equivalent. They take twice normal damage from fire-based attacks.

Kuo-toans usually travel in well-armed bands, and rarely stray more than 1d6 miles from their lair. For every four creatures, there is one with 3 Hit Dice. For every eight 2 Hit Die kuo-toans encountered, there is one with 4 Hit Dice and a +1 bonus to all attack rolls and saves. More powerful kuo-toans, up to 6 Hit Dice with a +2 bonus to attack rolls and saves, may be encountered.

Kuo-toans spawn as do fish, and hatchlings – “fingerlings” as they are usually called – are raised in pools until their amphibian qualities develop about one year after hatching. The young, now about a foot high, are able to breathe air, and they are raised in gens according to their sex and fitness. Especially fit fingerlings are trained for the priesthood, as whips, or as monitors. See below for more details.

Kuo-Toan Priest: Init +0; Atk By weapon +2 melee (by weapon) or bite +0 melee (1d3) or harmful spell or lightning bolt; AC 16; HD 3d6;  MV 30’ or swim 40’; Act 1d20; SP Harmful spell 3/day, lightning bolt, skin secretions, cannot be surprised, immunities (poison, paralysis, mind-affecting), half (or no) damage from electricity, minimum damage from magic missiles, light vulnerability, fire vulnerability; SV Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +0; AL C.

The kuo-toans worship Blibdoolpoolp, the Sea Mother, whose holy symbols are a lobster or a black pearl. She is envisioned as a large nude human female with a lobster's head and clawed forearms. On the most important ceremonial occasions, priests of Blibdoolpoolp sacrifice captured humans to her by drowning them.

When two or more kuo-toan priests join hands and work together, they can use their collective Action Dice to try to generate a narrow stroke of lightning (10% non-cumulative chance per round, per priest beyond the first). The bolt can reach any target within 60’, causing 1d6 damage per kuo-toan priest (2d6 minimum; Reflex DC 15 for half).

When a kuo-toan priest casts a harmful spell, roll 1d5: (1) Claws of Blibdoolpoolp (silver non-corporeal claws appear next to target within 100’, making 2 attacks at +6 each round for 1d6 damage per successful attack; the claws remain for 1d3 rounds before fading away), (2) water for blood (30’ range, 1d5 Stamina damage, Fort DC 10 or 1 point is permanent), (3) bolt of the eel (minor electrical bolt, 60’ range, 1d6 damage, Reflex DC 10 for half), (4) curse of the fish slime sweat (lasts 1d5 rounds, Reflex DC 10 to remain standing each round, Reflex DC 15 to retain anything held in either hand; fishy odor clings for 1d3 weeks; Will DC 12 negates), or (5) lure of the black waves (victim feels the need to breathe water, and rushes to the closest source, taking 1d4 Stamina damage per round attempting to breathe water; drowns at 0 Stamina; temporary damage is negated after 10 minutes of recovery while breathing air; Will DC 12 negates).

More powerful priests are possible, as determined by the judge.


Kuo-Toan Whip: Init +2; Atk By weapon +4 melee (by weapon+2) or bite +2 melee (1d3); AC 15; HD 3d6; MV 30’ or swim 40’; Act 1d20; SP Heightened morale, skin secretions, cannot be surprised, immunities (poison, paralysis, mind-affecting), half (or no) damage from electricity, minimum damage from magic missiles, light vulnerability, fire vulnerability; SV Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +5; AL C.

The “whips” are fanatical devotees of Blibdoolpoolp, the Sea Mother, inspiring their kindred to stand firm and fight without quarter for the glory of their ruler and their deity. They never have to make morale checks, and the power of their example gives a +4 bonus to the morale checks of any kuo-toa which can see a whip.


Kuo-Toan Monitor: Init +0; Atk Pincer staff +3 melee (1d4 plus capture) or by other weapon +3 melee (by weapon) or stunning blow +3 melee (1d4+1 subdual) or bite +0 melee (1d3); AC 17; HD 4d6; MV 30’ or swim 40’; Act 2d20; SP Capture, stunning blow, skin secretions, cannot be surprised, immunities (poison, paralysis, mind-affecting), half (or no) damage from electricity, minimum damage from magic missiles, light vulnerability, fire vulnerability; SV Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +8; AL N.

“Monitors” are especially stable kuo-toans whose role it is to control others in the community who become violent or go insane. To this end, they are often armed with pincer staves (see Kuo-Toan Equipment, below) and are able to strike stunning blows with their bare hands which do subdual damage. Monitors are neutral rather than chaotic, as they are charged with keeping restraints upon the habitual madness affecting their species. Even so, a monitor is unable to aid a surface-dweller – even if doing so is necessary for their community’s survival – without attempting to betray them whenever possible. The koa-toan hatred of those who walk beneath the sun is too deeply ingrained.


Kuo-Toan Equipment

Kuo-toans wear no clothing – only leather harnesses for their weapons and a small amount of personal gear, as any other garments would hinder their swimming. They have three weapons of note: harpoons, pincer staves, and shields.

Harpoon: This wickedly barbed throwing weapon is similar to a javelin with a maximum range of 30’, and inflicting 1d6 damage. Targets must succeed in a DC 13 Reflex save or be snagged by the weapon. The kuo-toa wielding it may then pull a strong cord tied to the weapon with its next action. Roll 1d6: (1-3) the target is jerked off their feet unless they make a DC 10 Strength check, and falling target are stunned for 1d4 rounds unless they succeed in a DC 10 Fort save; (4-5) the harpoon comes free, doing an automatic 1d6 damage to the target; or (6) the target takes 1d4 damage and must succeed in a DC 10 Strength check or be drawn 10’ closer to the kuo-toa wielding it. The harpoon is fastened to its weilder by a stout cord.

Pincer Staff: This is a sort of large mancatcher, able to trap a target’s arms as well as control their movements. The target of a successful attack must make a Reflex save or be captured. The effects are based on the save result: (5 or lower) Both arms are captured and immobilized, (6-10) dominant (weapon) arm is captured and immobilized, (11-13) non-dominant hand is captured and immobilized, (14-15) torso only is captured, or (16 or higher) target is not captured. A captured target cannot make melee attacks against their captor, unless they are using long weapons (such as polearms and spears), and cannot use any arm which is immobilized. A full uninterrupted round to attempt escape (opposed Strength check), and has their movement controlled by the attacker (opposed Strength check, automatic 1d3 damage if the target resists). Normal kuo-toans make these Strength checks at +0, but ones with more Hit Dice gain a bonus equal to their added bonus to saves, whips gain a +1 bonus, and monitors have a +3 bonus.

See The Inn in the Forest for full information on mancatchers.

Shield: The shields employed by the kuo-toans are not used as armor, but rather to remove weapons from opponents. Just before battle, these boiled leather devices are treated with a special, particularly sticky, glue-like substance. An opponent making a frontal attack on a shield-bearing kuo-toan must succeed in a DC 10 Reflex save or the weapon is stuck fast until the wielder is able to pull it free (Strength DC 10, but an Action Die is required for every attempt).

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