Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Converting Warhammer monsters into m20 part I: Grand Alliance of Chaos

I'm a big fan of the Warhammer World as a setting, as I've mentioned many times here in the past.  It's a very "classic" fantasy setting in many ways, with everything you'd expect from classic fantasy; heroes, villains, dark lords, magic, and monsters that are most especially drawn from the cultural traditions of the Greco-Roman classical mythology and the native mythology of northern Europe: Germanic and some Celtic influences.  In spite of the fact that it feels very "classic" it also has a few twists, of course—specifically the focus on a Holy Roman Empire like polity rather than a Merry Olde England polity as the default.  And the fact that, as someone I know once said of the RPG set in Warhammer—it's a game where you start out thinking that you're playing D&D, and it looks and feels like it from the get-go.  But before you long, you realize that you're actually playing Call of Cthulhu.  This kind of veneer of classic fantasy over a chassis that in reality is very much a dark fantasy or even fantasy horror is, of course, right up my alley.  In spite of that, it's also very much a pulpish, swashbuckling action setting.  It is diverse enough in its way to support more than one kind of story with more than one tone, but the "default" tone is exactly my cup of tea, and manages to straddle that elusive line between horror and swashbuckling action and somehow do them both successfully.  The classic monster elements; dragons, giants, orcs, vampires, etc. is neatly garnished with what is essentially Lovecraftian horror in the way that daemons are presented, although there's some good old fashioned classical Christian demonology to it at times as well, and the Bloodthirster is quite obviously analogous to Tolkien's balrog.  And the skaven are in most respects analogous and yet better than the serpent people of Yig.  It's quite nice.

Of course, I'm only ever somewhat interested in playing in someone else's playground, and as much as I like many aspects of the Warhammer World setting (old version; I don't actually know much about Age of Sigmar) I have to do my own thing  That said, I really like some of the monsters of Warhammer, and I'd be very interested in "porting" them as options into m20 to be used with my FANTASY HACK game, or as desired, with any other m20 game.  Many of them are classic monsters, and therefore already have pretty good analogs in my monster list, of course.  In some cases, I can use existing stats with a relabel, while in other cases I'm going to want to whip up some new stats.

Now, keep in mind; I don't play Warhammer Fantasy Battles, and I'm not super familiar with the statlines that that game uses or exactly what it means either one.  This isn't meant to be an exact conversion from one system into another.  It's meant to be a way to use the visuals and even miniatures (if you're so inclined) from one game in another.  I may well relabel many of the monsters; for example, "cygors" will almost certainly be simply cyclopses, because the latter already exist in the tradition of Western civilization, and the cygors are clearly derivative of the latter.

Anyway, it's a fairly big task, so I'm not going to try and do it all at once.  I'll list potential candidates by "Grand Alliance" (the best way to find a visual representation of them on the Games Workshop site) and integrate stats right into the entry.  We'll start today with the Grand Alliance of Chaos.

I'm not going to stat up literally everything that I potentially could; for one thing, many of them are too specific to meet my needs for FANTASY HACK, for another, there'll be too many to do in a single post, and for a third, many that I could potentially stat up I can already use some existing stats from my own monster list as a surrogate.  And fourth, I may just not feel like doing all of them in one go—I can always come back to whatever I've skipped if I feel like it's necessary.  Honestly, most of these you can do yourself; find a good surrogate in some m20 list, tweak it a bit to taste, borrow a special ability from a good d20 list of special abilities if necessary, and then you're off to the races on your own.

From Grand Alliance of Chaos

  • Dorghar, Archaeon's monstrous mount can be an advanced chimera.  See below.
  • Bloodthirster (the baal-rog is already also based on the same archetype, so I'm not going to worry about how the interpretation differs)
  • Glottkin (really three characters, but there's a certain "Wilbur Whateley and his monstrous brother" kind of theme to them.  I'll certainly at least do "Ghurk" the big, monstrous figure here, even if I decide that the other two brothers are best represented as advanced characters rather than monsters.)

    GHURK: AC: 15, HD 10d8 (50 hp) AT: Tentacle +10 (2d6+6) maw hand +10 (2d6+6) STR: +10, DEX: -2, MND: -2, S: A hit with tentacle may grapple its foe on a check vs. DC 20 (STR or DEX + Phys). A grappled opponent automatically takes 1d8+3 damage each round and cannot do anything until he escapes.  A hit with the maw hand will infect the target with a disease unless it succeeds on a STR + level check DC 20.  The disease causes almost instantaneous flesh rotting, which causes 1d4 point of STR damage the round after the attack, and an additional 1d4 STR damage when the combat is over, assuming the character survived, and will continue to do so once a week until the character dies or the disease is somehow cured.
  • Juggernauts (the mounts of the mighty skullcrushers, and some other Khornate characters.)

    JUGGERNAUT: AC: 21 HD: 6d8 (30 hp) AT: trample +7 (2d6+6) gore +7 (1d10+6) bite +6 (2d6+6) STR: +8, DEX: +0, MND: -3  (As an aside, if you reduce the AC to about 18 and remove the bite attack, this can also represent a rhinoceros.)
  • Varanguard are best represented as characters, but the daemonic steeds might be worth pondering.  They can also represent other daemonic mounts as needed, like Steeds of Slaanesh, etc.  Take the existing stats for a warhorse and give them the bite and breath weapon of a hell hound.
  • Bloodcrushers and other chaos power "foot soldier" daemons—servitor daemons (or even succubi) already do these guys quite well, but I could add "options" to the servitor daemons to make them work for all kinds of Warhammer chaos versions lesser daemons.  This also applies to daemonettes, bloodletters, hellstriders, pink horrors, plague bearers, etc. For Khornate daemons, increase AC, and AT stats by +2 and increase the damage dice by one (i.e. from d6 to d8), for Nurgle, all successful attacks cause sickness (which stacks); -2 to attack, damage and check rolls to the target), for Slaanesh, add a fascinate attack; unless passing a MND+Subt check, they can take no action except to stare in fascination at the daemon for three rounds or until they take at least 10 points of damage, and for Tzeentch, they split into two smaller servitor daemons when slain that have only 5 hit points each and only a +1 to their attacks.
  • Verminlord.  This has been one of my favorite daemons, unique to the skaven, for quite some time.  The most recent iterations has split the old singular vermin lords up into several varieties, but they are really just very powerful daemons and can all be represented fairly enough with a single stat-line. The greater daemons really probably warrant their own post; I'll add more than just the baal-rog to my list.  This may include analogs to the Keeper of Secrets, Lord of Change, Great Unclean One, and various daemon princes, etc.
  • Mutalith Vortex beast.  I think the chaos vortex on its back looks bizarre, but this otherwise is a pretty cool Lovecraftian monster.  I'm not really sure that I need anything beyond my shoggoth stats to represent them though.
  • Slaughterbrutes are slightly less overtly Lovecraftian, although only by a small amount, as they are more straightforward practitioners of terrible violence.  Although physically they don't necessarily resemble each other very well, the Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath would work very well as already existing stats for Slaughterbrutes; just convert the tentacles to claws that grasp.
  • Bload Rotspawned is a bizarre critter, best served by some very strange, unique character option, but his mount, the pox maggoth, is a weird and interesting daemon.  Some other characters also come with slightly different pox maggoths, but there's no need for unique stats for all of them.

    POX MAGGOTH: AC: 18 HD: 12d8 (60 hp) AT: 2 claws +8 (2d6+8) bite +8 (1d12) STR: +8 DEX: +0 MND: -2, S: acid vomit range 20 ft, 6d6 acid damage, can make a tongue attack where the tongue launches out and sticks to opponents.  On a successful opposed STR check, the pox maggoth pulls the target to his mouth and gets an automatically successful bite attack. 
  • Jabberslythe.  I'll treat it as a modified (and somewhat weakened) Dark Young and a much weaker version of Cthulhu's insanity effect.

    JABBERSLYTHE: AC: 12 HD: 7d8 (35 hp) AT: 2 claws +8 (1d8+4) bite +8 (2d6+5) STR: +8 DEX: -2 MND: -2 S: flies, can make a tongue attack where the tongue launches out and sticks to opponents.  On a successful opposed STR check, the jabberslythe pulls the target to his mouth and gets an automatically successful bite attack.  Also, any character that sees a jabberslythe must succeed on a Level +MND check, DC15 or be subject to an effect identical to The Seeping of Kadath on the Mind for 4 rounds.
  • I'm a little on the fence about soul grinders; the torso, head and arms of daemons with mechanical spider-legs and claws replacing at least one of their hands.  I'm not 100% sure that they fit, but I'm making a note of them here just in case I decide to keep at them.
  • Rot flies—gigantic disease carrying insects; who doesn't have room for that?

    ROT FLIES: AC: 15 HD: 7d8 (35 hp) AT: bite +6 (1d6+4) or sting +3 (1d6+2 plus poison) STR: +6, DEX: +1, MND: -4, S: flies, successful stinger attacks deliver poison.  Target must succeed on STR+Level check DC 14 or take 1d4 STR damage.  One minute later, a second check must be passed or character takes 1d4 DEX damage.
  • Centigors are just "bad centaurs."  I don't have them in FANTASY HACK today, but maybe I should?  I'm also just a bit on the fence about dragon ogres (or dragon ogors as they're now called) as they seem really unique to Warhammer, but they can just be really strong centaurs with a high AC.

    CENTAUR: AC 12 HD 4d8 (20 hp) AT: kick +4 (2d6) weapon +4 (damage as per weapon used) STR: +4 DEX: +2 MND: -1, S: runs as fast as a horse
  • The "vile monsters" that carry the Chaos Warshrine seem to be mutated ogres, from the look of them.  I think that they can be pretty well represented by the gugs.
  • The Hell Pit Abomination is a very specifically skaven thing, but again, the shoggoth stats can do a fairly good job of approximating it with only minor changes.
  • Manticore.  No reason to be different than D&Dish manticores, so I'll probably borrow from existing m20 sources somewhere.  Chaos armies also have, in this same neo-classical vein, chimeras and cockatrices.  I do already have furies, however.

    MANTICORE: AC: 17, HD: 6d10 (36 hp) AT: 2 claws +8 (2d4+5) bite +6 (1d8+2), spiked tail +8 (1d8+2) STR: +5, DEX: +2, MND: -1, S: flies, spikes from tail can be thrown up to 100 ft.

    CHIMERA: AC 19, HD: 9d10 (54 hp) AT: 2 bite +10 (2d6+4), gore +10 (1d8+4), 2 claws +8 (1d6+2) STR: +4 DEX: +0 MND: -1, S: flies, fiery breath 6d10 fire damage

    COCKATRICE: AC: 14, HD: 5d10 (30 hp) AT: +7 (1d4 and Turn to Stone on failed DC 14 STR+Phys check) STR: +0 DEX: +0 MND: +0, S: flies, petrification bite
  • Cygors are cyclopses, as I said.  The model also makes the ghorgon, which is just an extra tall four-armed minotaur.  I just realized I don't have minotaurs in my monster list, so I should add them.  But then, modified minotaurs, like the ghorgon or the doombull, don't really rate a separate statline; they can be modified on the fly by increasing hit points and attack by 10-20% or whatever to represent the larger, "champion" versions.

    CYCLOPS: AC: 15, HD: 8d8 (40 hp) AT: 2 claws +8 (1d6+6) bite +3 (1d8+3) thrown rock (range 100 ft.) +8 (2d6+8) STR: +8 DEX: +2 MND: +0, S: when both claw attacks hit in the same round, the cyclops can rend his opponent, causing an additional 2d6 points of damage.
  • Scyla Anfingrimm is an interesting special character; while otherwise not unlike a really terrifyingly violent large creature, his resistance to magic and a few other details might make him worth statting up as a different monster.  The resemblance of his name to the Greek mythological Scylla is not meant to be taken too literally.

    SCYLA ANFINGRIMM: AC: 15, HD: 8d8 (40 hp) AT: 2 claws +8 (1d6+6) bite +3 (1d8+3) STR: +8 DEX: +2 MND: +0, S: when both claw attacks hit in the same round, the cyclops can rend his opponent, causing an additional 2d6 points of damage. Scyla is completely immune to any direct magical attack.
  • Flesh Hounds of Khorne aren't unique enough that I need to do anything other than merely let lions or saber-tooths stand in their place stat-wise.
  • Most of the various "gors" or beastmen already are specifically represented in FANTASY HACK by the thurses.  Modify with extra HD or class levels as desired to create stronger versions.
  • Chaos spawn—there are a lot of critters that really represent little more than semi-mindless violent beasts.  I'm not 100% sure what to approximate these with, but I doubt that they truly require unique stats.
  • Rat ogres are great.  I really want some.  For most other skaven, I already have ratmen.  The differences between various types of skaven don't need new statlines; stormvermin are just advanced fighter skaven, for example, and grey seers would be sorcerer skaven; so give them a few class levels and you're good to go.  Treat rat ogres the same as an ape, but with the special disease caused by giant rats.
  • Tuskgors and razorboars can be approximated pretty well by my existing wild boar stats, although I might want to beef them up sometimes to make a more monstrous version of them.
  • I'm not 100% sure how I want to represent something like the unique "dark lords" that are champions of chaos of various types, like the harbinger of decay or slaughterpriests or some others.  In general, there are a lot of "chaos characters" of various types that are somewhat more like monsters in m20 than characters.  Still, I doubt I'll stat up most of them not only because they're too unique to Warhammer to warrant it, but because they can be characters that you as GM come up with and stat up and give a few monstrous abilities to.  This also applies to some degree to "improved" versions of many monsters or daemons, like the various heralds, etc.  
  • Screamers of Tzeentch can be byakhees.

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