Monday, 26 September 2022

Let’s Convert the Fiend Folio: Meazel and Meenlock

The Fiend Folio is one of my favorite monster books of all time, if not my absolute favorite. And today I am presenting conversions of two of the monsters I have enjoyed and used to good effect!

The Meazel is not Gollum, oh, no, My Precious, but in terms of where it lives and how it operates? It was a fantastic Gollum analogue back in the day. Thief abilities in Dungeon Crawl Classics are no joke; when a Meazel sneaks up on you, you are going to feel it. First, there is the Backstab bonus to hit. Second, any hit is an automatic Critical.

I have reduced the Hit Dice of this creature somewhat, because the point was never, as I see it, that they were fierce combatants, and probably should not be able to stand toe-to-toe with a warrior for long.

The Meenlocks are a glorious creation. I have a sense that they reproduce some fictional entity as well, but I haven’t been able to pin this down. If you know what inspired them, please let me know, because I would love to read it!

Here is a monster that uses the players’ own curiosity against their characters. I absolutely love it! I can easily picture the Meenlock’s lair, and their shaggy bodies reflecting their mossy homes. They hate you because they used to be you, but they only come after you because your actions invited them to do so. The nature of the creature ensures that you know what the risk is, and, should you avoid it, you have nonetheless experienced its potential.

The Meenlock is not only a great monster, but it is a great monster for conversion. Here the differences between Dungeon Crawl Classics and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons shine – DCC has mechanics which make reflecting the mental torture created by the Meenlocks both easy and meaningful. I did reduce the Meenlocks’ Hit Dice, but left them with their formidable ability to take opponents out of a combat through fear and paralysis.

If you use my conversion of Meenlocks in your DCC game – or any conversion of Meenlocks – or even Meenlocks as written in the Fiend Folio in any game whatsoever – I would love to hear about it! They are a challenging, horror-based creature, and Halloween is not that far away!

 

 

Meazel

Meazel: Init +0; Atk By weapon +1 melee (by weapon) or claw +2 melee (1d4) or garrote +3 melee (1/3d4); AC 12; HD 2d6; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP Infravision 60’, thief skills; SV Fort +1, Ref +3, Will +0; AL C.

Thief Skills: Backstab +5, Sneak Silently +6, Hide In Shadows +4, Pick Pocket +2, Climb Sheer Surfaces +4, Pick Lock +4, Find Trap +6, Disable Trap +2, Handle Poison +5.

These nasty creatures dwell in marshland or small, dank caverns underground, where they use their abilities to harass and eat any creatures weaker than themselves. They rarely attack openly, preferring to hide, moving quietly and swiftly, to strangle stragglers from behind or to pick pockets in search of the gold they love. Even other humanoids and dungeon dwellers usually attack meazels on sight, knowing full well that a dead meazel is safer than a living one, and to let a meazel you have seen escape merely invites a meazel you have not seen to stab you from behind. Meazels have several thief abilities, and, like thieves, they automatically achieve a critical hit with a successful backstab.

Meazels are slightly shorter than the average human, with irregular angry red patches on their otherwise light grey to dark green skin – this is due to a disease which is neither harmful to the creature beyond its disfiguring effect, nor contagious, but which does give it an almost leprous appearance. Piles of sacks full of bones are often to be found near their lair, and these may contain odd bits of equipment and even gems, as meazels do not recognize the value of precious and semi-precious stones.

 


Meenlock

Meenlock: Init +2; Atk Claw +2 melee (1d4 plus paralysis); AC 13; HD 4d6; MV 20’ or climb 20’; Act 2d20; SP Infravision 90’, fear, paralysis, teleportation 60’, stealthy +10, distant telepathy, transformation, light vulnerability; SV Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +4; AL L.

Meenlocks are two-foot-tall bipedal creatures covered in shaggy black fur. Their heads are white, cut with dark ridges. In total they present a horrid appearance and will cause fear in any character of 2nd level or less; victims drop all held items and fall to the ground, unable to act for 1d4+4 rounds (Will DC 10 for half). Their touch causes paralysis (1d4+4 rounds, DC 12 for half), and they are able to use an Action Die to teleport up to 60’ to an area they know, can see, or can reasonably extrapolate (such as the space just beyond a door). A single meenlock cannot use this power to carry another creature, but three working together can. The meenlock’s two most horrible powers are reserved for those who breech their lairs.

A meenlock lair usually consists of 1d3+2 individuals inhabiting a chamber which can only be reached via a sealed vertical shaft, either far underground or deep in an ancient and gloomy forested region where humans seldom venture. If the seal is removed, the shaft is dark, and lined with thick moss. The bottom cannot be seen, but a palpable sense of evil emanates upward, clearly discernable to all (even without magic), along with the stink of rotting corpses. The shaft twists and turns after around 20’ so that light cannot penetrate to the bottom, which is thickly carpeted in moss so that anything dropped in lands noiselessly. Climbing down these shafts without a rope requires a DC 10 Strength or Climb sheer surfaces check per 20’ section. The shaft itself is 1d6+2 x 10’ deep, leading to a large space like a small cave at the end.

Those foolish enough to unseal a meenlock shaft become the creatures’ lawful prey. Those who descend the shaft will be attacked with an intent to kill. Those who unseal the shaft, but who do not deal with the meenlocks below – either because they didn’t descend, or because they fled back up the shaft – are silently followed by the meenlocks at a discrete distance. One of the group is “marked” – preferably the one who unsealed the lair, but otherwise one chosen by random – and the meenlocks concentrate their subsequent activities on this individual.

Meenlocks are telepathic, but can only use this power meaningfully from a distance of 300’ or more. The meenlocks send their chosen victim disturbing telepathic messages; these vary in specific content but the threat is always the same – that the meenlocks are pursuing the victim relentlessly and intend to make them a meenlock as well. The chosen victim glimpses stealthy movement in the shadows, and hears rustling, scratching noises (induced telepathically) which no one else can hear. Every hour of this mental torture forces the victim to make a DC 10 Will save or be at -1d on the dice chain to all rolls. This penalty affects future saves, and repeated failures stack. These penalties remain in place until the meenlocks are destroyed or otherwise averted, for the nasty little creatures are relentless.

The meenlocks only attack when the party beds down to rest.  They attempt to silence any guards and drag their living victim away, showing no similar mercy to others, but not attacking them unnecessarily either. If they succeed dragging their victim to their shaft, they seal it after entry. If the victim is not rescued in 1d3 hours, after a short but gruesome treatment, the victim is transformed into a meenlock.

Meenlocks dislike bright light, and use considerable ingenuity to extinguish torches, lanterns, and the like. They will not willingly enter an area of bright daylight, where their abilities to create fear, paralyze opponents, teleport, and communicate telepathically cannot function. Meenlocks also take a -2d penalty on the dice chain to all rolls under these circumstances. Consequently, a chosen victim who can escape into a region of bright sunlight severs their connection with the meenlocks, who must return, disappointed, to their lair.

 

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