Wednesday 19 October 2022

Let’s Convert the Fiend Folio: Quaggoth, Quipper, and Qullan

There are only three creatures for the letter “Q”, so we will include them all in a single post.

The Quaggoth is a fairly basic creature, but its appearance and behavior is iconic for the genre, and its ability to berserk when reduced to 0 hp is good stuff. I put a little bit of randomness into the ability, and translated it into Dungeon Crawl Classics terms, but otherwise the monster is a very faithful conversion.

The Quipper is a bit different, because it was created for an edition of Dungeons & Dragons that didn’t have great mechanics for dealing with swarms. I rebuilt it off the piranha swarm stats I had created for The Joy of Swarms. In truth, the only difference is that the Fiend Folio includes a method to determine whether or not Quippers attack, so I built something along those lines using the Luck check mechanic. Knowing that a danger could exist, even if it doesn’t manifest, helps to build tension.

The Qullan, though, is where we get into a bit of trouble. Yes, the Fiend Folio was written – and illustrated! – in a different time. Yes, a lot of pulp literature has troubling depictions of racial and cultural stereotypes. Like the Xvart (upcoming), I have some serious issues with the illustration for the Qullan. I do have a (thus unpublished) adventure which makes use of some of the basic ideas of the Qullan – but in that they are completely human, the colors are not painted on, and they are shipwreck survivors who became devotees of the prehuman god Sliggeth (which some of you may remember from The Arwich Grinder). I am including the illustration as a historical artifact, but please realize that I do so with some trepidation.

The Qullan in the Fiend Folio uses a broad sword with two hands (which grants it no bonus). Mine uses a short sword, dropping the two-handed usage. A halfling could dual-wield Qullan short swords, but each would have a 25% chance of blunting each round, so that is fine with me. I lowered the damage die on blunted swords so that there would be some downside to using them (apart from the bonus being temporary). I used d5’s for their Hit Dice because (1) the d5 doesn’t get used enough, and (2) creatures which are so elementally chaotic should use a weird die.



Quaggoth: Init +0; Atk Claw +1 melee (1d4) or weapon +2 melee (by weapon +1); AC 14; HD 2d8; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP immunity to poison, damage resistance 5 to cold, berserking; SV Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +1; AL N.

Little is known of these great white shaggy humanoids, for they are extremely aggressive and attack any fleeing or threatening group they outnumber. Although primitive, and of low intelligence, there is a 30% chance of any group possessing primitive weapons – stone axes, heavy cudgels, spears, and the like. Quaggoths eat flesh, and particularly hate (and therefore relish the flesh of) surface-dwelling elves. There are tales of quaggoth tribes enslaving themselves to the drow just to satisfy this craving.

Quaggoths are immune to poisons and venoms of all types. They reduce the damage from any cold-based attack by 5 points. When they are reduced to 0 hp, quaggoths berserk, attacking with a +1d bonus on the dice chain to both attack rolls and damage, with an extended crit range of 20-24. After 1d4-1 rounds of berserking, a quaggoth drops dead. Any quaggoth struck for additional damage while berserking dies instantly.

For every 12 quaggoths encountered, there will be one leader with 3 Hit Dice and AC 16. Leaders are always armed, even when their tribe is not.

Quaggoths speak a halting, primitive form of the common tongue and can only grasp very simple concepts. Some sages believe they are a warlike, degenerate offshoot of the ith’n ya’roo.




Quipper Swarm: Init +0; Atk Swarming bite +5 melee (1d3 plus frenzy); AC 15; HD 7d8; MV swim 40’; Act special; SP bite all targets within 20’ x 20’ space, half damage from non-area attacks, water protects from fire-based spells, frenzy; SV Fort +4, Ref +4, Will -2; AL N.

Quippers are small, vicious fish, dark green in color, which usually swim in large shoals in temperate and cold fresh-water lakes and streams. They do not always attack; creatures entering quipper-infested waters make a Luck check using 1d16 for each round spent in the water. The swarm only attacks once a Luck check has failed, and only attack those who failed their Luck check in the first round. So long as blood is not drawn, Luck checks may be made the next round (and subsequent rounds) to avoid attacks. If there is blood in the water – due to a successful swarming bite or some other reason – the quipper swarm attacks all potential targets in every subsequent round.

Water protects quipper swarms from fire-based magic and similar effects, granting a +2d shift on the dice chain to saving throws and reducing any damage suffered to one-quarter. The judge may rule that the medium allows electricity-based spells to affect all targets in range (including any potential PCs), and cold-based spells to affect all targets in half normal range, so long as they are at least partly in the water.

When characters are successfully attacked by the swarming bite of quippers, they must succeed in a Luck check, or the quippers attack in a frenzy that round, doing an additional 1d5 damage to all targets that failed their Luck check. For creatures without Luck scores, assume a base score of 10. Particularly cruel judges may have "exploding" frenzy damage. Each time a "5" is rolled, add an additional 1d5 damage. In this way, cattle - and adventurers! - may be stripped to the bone in seconds.

See also The Joy of Swarms.



Qullan: Init +2; Atk Short sword +4 melee (1d6+4); AC 10; HD 2d5; MV 30’; Act 1d20; SP Radiate insanity (Will DC 13 negates), immune to fear, chaotic feedback; SV Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +0; AL C.

Qullans are large humanoid creatures – 8 feet tall or taller – which radiate insanity. They paint their bodies in a wild variety of clashing colors, often emphasizing their battle scars when doing so. Qullans never wear armor, either wandering naked or clad in tiger-skins, but they do use short swords which are honed to an incredible sharpness (see below). They attack all non-qullan they encounter, without exception, and never need to check morale. Qullan are utterly immune to fear.

Any creature within melee range of a qullan must succeed in a DC 13 Will save or roll 1d3 on its action: (1) stand still, taking no action; (2) attack the nearest qullan; or (3) attack the nearest ally. Creatures gain new saves each round, and the effect disappears if they moves outside of melee range. Saving one round offers no protection against these effects the next round. Qullan are immune.

These beings are so totally chaotic, that if a qullan fails a save against any form of charm or control spell, the chaotic feedback is instantly fatal to the creature. The same occurs if it is forced to do anything through other means (magical or otherwise): the qullan perishes immediately.

Qullan Swords

Qullan sword are honed to an incredible sharpness using an unknown technique, granting them a +3 bonus to attack rolls and damage (already included in the qullan statblock). However, these swords blunt easily (any natural attack roll of 1-4 will do so), removing the bonus to attack rolls and damage, and reducing the sword to 1d5 base damage. Qullan still gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls and damage due to strength.

Although no one has ever been able to learn the methods the qullan use to hone their swords, nor induce a qullan to restore the edge once for a non-qullan – anyone could potentially gain the benefits of such weapons while they last.

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