Sunday 29 January 2023

Let’s Convert the Fiend Folio: Xill and Xvart

The Fiend Folio loves creatures which can lay their eggs in you, and here is yet another. The Xill really does seem like a Sword & Sorcery creature, though, and its ability to snatch a victim and escape makes it extremely dangerous. The original entry doesn’t talk about what the creatures eat, so I made them a sort of perpetual motion machine. They are, after all, Lawful Evil in the original text, and this means that they fight the forces of entropy while doing harm to those they encounter.

I know. I know. I know. Even back in the day we knew that the illustration for the Xvart was (shall we say) problematic, and it hasn’t become any less so. Honestly, I feel that the Make Monsters Mysterious tables for Variety in Humanoids would have fully covered the Xvart in any case. This is another example of how, in early gaming, each slightly different version of a monster required its own individual write-up. Nonetheless, there are some good adventures which use Xvarts, so this modest conversion may help the harried judge in converting them. 

We can talk about whether or not this hobby is inherently racist. I know that this claim has been made, but I don't believe it is true. Just, Crom on his mountain, that picture! Product of its time or not, I think I am just going to omit it in this case. Like I said, we knew it was problematic when it came out.

And this is so close to the end I can taste it. One post (Yellow Musk Creeper and Yellow Musk Zombie) remains, and the Fiend Folio is done. I really hope you find some way to use this material in your home campaign, and if you feel like tipping, here is a way to do so.



Xill: Init +6; Atk By weapon +3 melee (by weapon) or claw +1 melee (1d4 non-lethal plus grab) or or bite +0 melee (1 plus paralysis) or by weapon +5 ranged (by weapon); AC 20; HD 5d6; MV 40’; Act 4d20; SP Aetherial travel, grab, paralysis, inject eggs; SV Fort +4, Ref +8, Will +5; AL L.

These strange creatures hail from the near Aether, close to the Lands We Know. Xill are four-armed humanoids, with short, powerful flame-red bodies, and the extraordinary dexterity to wield four weapons at once. Although humanoid, xill do not form societies. They seem to exist only to reproduce, and all xill are able to produce eggs asexually. Unfortunately, these eggs are only viable if deposited in the abdomen of a living humanoid host, so that xill seek to capture potential hosts alive. No adult Xill has ever been seen consuming food, and some sages speculate that consuming their host upon hatching is the only sustenance the creatures ever partake in. It can bite, and its jaws carry a paralyzing toxin (Fort DC 12 or paralyzed 1d5 turns).

A xill can transfer from the near-Aether (where they are effectively invisible and intangible) to the Lands We Know at will, using only one of their Action Dice. When hunting in this way, those able to see invisible creatures can do half damage with magical weapons or spells only. When a xill appears, it is most often with surprise (+10 vs. opposed Luck). It seeks to use two claws to grab a victim, and may make an additional attack to cover its escape. Grabbed victims may break free with an opposed Strength check vs. +2 per claw holding them (thus up to +8 if the xill uses all four claws for this purpose).

Returning to the near-Aether, with or without a victim, takes the creature 1d3 rounds, during which it can take no other action. If it succeeds in bringing a victim into the Aether, it disappears completely, even from those who can see the invisible, taking the victim to its extra-planar lair to inject eggs.

Injecting eggs requires a full turn, so a xill will attempt to paralyze or subdue its victim before doing so. Once the eggs are injected, victims are paralyzed until the young emerge or the eggs are neutralize. The eggs hatch in 1d4 days, and the larvae inflict 2d10 damage each day for 2d4 days thereafter as they grow. Once this period ends, 2d8 young emerge, killing the victim instantly. Within 1d4 hours, these young become full-sized adults, and seek hosts for their own eggs. While the eggs or larvae are gestating, they may be removed as a disease, either by a cleric laying on hands or by a neutralize poison or disease spell.



Xvart: Init +0; Atk By weapon -1 melee (by weapon -1); AC 13; HD 1d4; MV 20’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +0, Ref +1, Will -4; AL C.

These small humanoids are roughly the size of a halfling, with bright blue skin and orange eyes. They usually wear loose cloth doublets. They make use of whatever weapons they can get, delighting in nets so that they can capture victims to torture. Xvarts fear humans, and only attack them if the humans are outnumbered by at least 3 to 1.

About 1% of xvarts are leaders, with an extra Hit Die. 5% are tribal shamans, who are able to cast spells as a level 1d3-1 (minimum 1) wizard or cleric. They get along well with giant rats, and frequently use them as guardians and hunting beasts.


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