Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Converting Warhammer Monsters into m20 Part II: Grand Alliance of Order

Well, I'm relatively happy with how it turned out with my last post.  After I made the post, I actually realized that I'd left out minotaurs.  Instead of updating the post, however, I've updated my FANTASY HACK m20 document and added all of these critters to it (although I renamed a few so that they're not some Games Workshop I/P.)  I made a few minor updates once I saw them "in context" with my other creatures, but all in all, I don't think that it was enough to justify bumping my FANTASY HACK document up from 1.3 to 1.3, so I called it 1.3.1.  I also don't know how long it'll take me to finish doing the rest of the monsters that I intend to do, so as I do another "Grand Alliance"—which, when worked on around my regular responsibilities seems to take the better part of all day to do anyway—I'll bump it to 1.3.2, 1.3.3, etc.

There are four grand alliances in total: Chaos, which I already did (and which by an odd quirk of design features an awful lot of "classical" mythological creatures: demons, minotaurs, chimerae, cockatrice, manticore, etc.  We also have Destruction, which is orcs and ogres and their monstrous allies, Death, which is undead of various stripes, and Order, which is "the good guys."

Of course, monsters are monsters, and it's up to each individual GM to decide if they are going to presented as potential friends or foes or either, depending on the actions of the PCs.  I'm even a fan of a more traditional, Poul Anderson if you will approach to elfs and fairies than the Tolkien approach where they are automatically assumed to be not only good, but also friendly and helpful.  The world of non-humanity is hostile to humanity and even the beautiful elfs are fey and wild and dangerous.  While the rules for FANTASY HACK allow for the playing of elfin characters (as well as dwarf characters or halfling characters, etc.) the way D&D itself does, as with Gary Gygax himself, I'm not quite sure that I understand why you would want to.  Well, that's going too far.  I do understand it, I just no longer think I would ever return to a paradigm where playing the beautiful elf that everybody must love because he's beautiful and an elf could ever appeal to me again.  In fact, I find it painfully awkward and slightly embarrassing.  The only way I've ever been able to successfully play an elf in recent years was by mercilessly mocking the concept as I did so by making it an over-the-top caricature of gayness and ridiculousness.  And that can be fun for a few sessions, but for an ongoing, long-lived campaign, I don't see it as a viable concept anymore.  In a more deadly campaign, where the characters are somewhat disposable, on the other hand, over-the-top ridiculous caricaturish characters is loads of fun.

But that's getting a bit off-topic: today we're talking about the monsters of "Order."  Curiously, in the new Warhammer Grand Alliance, this does include a fair number of monsters that are pretty dang monstrous; lizardmen, dinosaurs, various dragons, extremely fey treemen and dryads and whatnot.  So, let's get into it, shall we?  As with the Grand Alliance of Chaos, this blog post is the first draft of these creatures, and I'll eventually (I probably won't have time to do it today, even assuming that I finish this post in a day) add them to the FANTASY HACK rules, but not necessarily without some edits first.

From Grand Alliance of Order

  • Alarielle the Everqueen is actually a goddess, and therefore probably not fit for statting up, since I don't really have those kind of critters in FANTASY HACK as statted "monsters."  I'm not really in that exact loop, and making her more of a Galadriel-like character, or even a Mab or Titania-like figure (in the Dresden Files approach to those characters) is still probably not what I'm wanting to do at this point.  She also rides on a weird gigantic beetle monster.  I'm thinking of giving this whole miniature a pass, although I may at a later date decide that more giant insects are wanted.  They are kinda a classic thanks to the original Clash of the Titans at least, if nothing else.
  • Drycha Hamadreth is an interesting take on the dryad.  If dryads are tree spirits, what if they are actually beautiful, alien women who live within trees; i.e., if they are like treemen or ents with an alien woman "riding" the tree body, so to speak?  In practical terms, that means that we're talking something like an ent combined with a banshee.  I like it.  I'll leave the banshee scream for the smaller dryads (see below) but to recreate this character, take my treeman stats as they are and add that attack.

    TREEMAN: AC: 19 HD: 10d8 (50 hp) AT: 2 slams +12 (2d6+9) STR: +10 DEX: -2 MND: +0 S: takes double damage from fire attacks, can trample an opponent which prompts a DEX+Athl check DC 20 or take 3d8 damage
  • Kurnoth Hunters are a type of dryad, which in the Warhammer World means roughly human-sized ents.  While the Kurnoth Hunters are the most powerful of these, there are several others listed in the "Sylvaneth Host" army list, and I'll only make one entry.  This means that the Branchwych, treelords, branchwraiths, tree-revenants, etc.  The differences between them are slight; they all are very fey tree-creatures that are a combination of banshee and ent of various size and power levels.

    DRYAD: AC: 17 HD: 5d8 (25 hp) AT: 2 slams +6 (1d8+3) STR: +6 DEXL -2 MND: +0 S: takes double damage from fire attacks, can wail with the wild rage of the forest; all characters who hear this wail must make a Level +MND check DC 14 or be subject to the effects of The Seeping of Kadath on the Mind for 3 rounds.
  • There are a few dragons of various types listed here: stardrakes, magmadroths, etc.  I've already got a dragon and I've never actually been a big fan of the dragon diversity inherent to D&D.  Dragons are dragons, and really should be more singular rather than "populations" of various types.  On the other hand, dracoths—wingless, reptilian monsters that are not dragons in any sense; more like four-legged dinosaurian predators, aren't a bad idea.  Then again, I've got dinosaurs coming as I get to the lizardmen, and I don't think four vs two legs is sufficient grounds to set up a separate stat-block.  Hold tight, these are coming.  The dwarf monster magmadroths are perhaps a little different; burrowing, wingless reptilian monsters, but imbued with a fiery, dragon-like heat and breath weapon.  It's not hard to take the dragon's breath weapon and add it to a dinosaur if you really need one.
  • And... we're here!  The stegadon is a "greatest hits" of mean dinosaurian herbivores, with a wicked notched beak, a frill and horns like a Triceratops that grew extra horns, a Stegasaurus like tail, and a big howday on it's back.  Let's just do all of the "dinosaurs" that we need all in one go.  I've genericized the dinosaurs some-what; one really big carnivore, one small fast carnivore, an armored dinosaur, an aggressive horned dinosaur, a pterodactyl of some kind, etc.  There doesn't seem much point in doing as D&D has done and having separate stats for more than half a dozen large predators, for instance.  They can be further modified to taste by giving them (as Warhammer's troglodon or Jurassic Park's Dilophosaurus) a poisonous spit or something, but I'm not going to do it as a matter of course.

    DINOSAUR, ARMORED: AC: 23, HD: 7d8 (35 hp) AT: trample +7 (2d6+7), club tail +7 (1d10+7) STR: +10, DEX: +3, MND: -4.

    DINOSAUR, CARNOSAUR: AC: 17, HD: 10d8 (50 hp) AT: trample +10 (2d6+10), bite +10 (1d10+10) STR: +10, DEX: +0, MND: -3 S: swallows whole on bite attack roll 4 higher than needed to hit, swallowed creatures take 1d6 automatic damage every turn.  Swallowed characters, if they can deal 20 points of damage with a light weapon before dying, can escape.

    DINOSAUR, HORNED: AC: 19, HD: 8d8 (40 hp) AT: trample +8 (2d6+8), gore +8 (1d10+8) STR: +10, DEX: -2, MND: -4.

    DINOSAUR, PTERODACTYL: AC: 14 HD: 4d6 (16 hp) AT: bite +5 (1d6) STR: +3, DEX: -1, MND: -4, S: flies

    DINOSAUR, RAPTOR: AC: 15 HD: 4d8 (20 hp) AT: bite +4 (2d6), 2 claws +4 (2d8), STR: +5, DEX: +3, MND: -4
  • Mixed in with all of this, we have lots of lords and heroes and whatnot of dwarves, elves, and eternals.  The eternals are an interesting case.  I've already got stats for an angel, which is what the most powerful would be like.  The rest are like... weak angels, maybe?  I do have a race of Nephilim, which I just noticed is not included in my monster list as it should be (just an oversight) so I'll include them here, and they'll take the same campaign role, if you will.  Or close enough to it.

    NEPHILIM: AC: 12 HD: 1d6 (4 hp) AT: weapon +1 (1d6) STR: +0, DEX: +1, MND: +1 S: +1 to any Knowledge or Communication checks.
  • I also don't have lizardmen, and I probably should.  In D&D there are at least two varieties of lizardmen; small fast ones, and big bruisers.  Warhammer makes this even three; it adds an ogre-sized fella to the list.  I think two is sufficient, although something like a Kroxigor wouldn't be hard to whip up by taking the rat brute and giving him a higher AC in lieu of the disease-spreading special ability.

    LIZARDMAN, BRUTE: AC: 17, HD 3d8 (16 hp) AT: Club +5 (1d8+4) or javelin +3 (1d6+4). STR: +4, DEX: +0, MND: -2 S: are amphibious and can operate equally well on land or in the water

    LIZARDMAN, SCOUT: AC: 13, HD 2d8 (10 hp) AT: Club +2 (1d8+2) or javelin +3 (1d6+1). STR: +0, DEX: +3, MND: +0 S: are amphibious and can operate equally well on land or in the water
  • Curiously, the dark elves from Warhammer, which were traditionally always pretty evil, are aligned with "Order" here.  This means that I get a few unusual new critters; the bloodwrack medusa reminds me that I don't have any medusa on my list at all.

    MEDUSA: AC: 15, HD 3d8 (16 hp) AT: bow +3 (1d6) or dagger +3 1d6+1) STR: +1, DEX: +1, MND: +0 S: Turn to Stone on failed DC 14 STR+Phys check) if you look Medusa in the eye.
  • The dark elves also give us the hydra; another classic from Greek mythology that I haven't yet integrated.

    HYDRA: AC: 15 HD: 6d8 (39 hp) AT: 5 bites +4 (1d10+3) STR: +6 DEX: +0 MND: -3 S: the hydra can only be slain by severing all of its heads, and heads grow back rapidly once severed. To represent this (admittedly somewhat abstractedly) the hydra recovers 10 points of damage every round, unless the damage was dealt with fire or acid, which deals normal damage.
  • And the Kharibdyss, which is of course the Greek monster Charybdis spelled a little bit differently.  They've made it mobile here; the same size as a hydra and based on the same model with alternate heads.  The "real" Charybdis was a true monster, so large it could swallow ships whole and is interpreted as a whirlpool.  The model for Kharibdyss actually looks more like the mythological Scylla (Charybdis's monstrous counterpart) but since Warhammer already has a monster/character named Scyla they probably just swapped the names.  I actually quite like this model and think that there's space for it (as Scylla, though—not Charybdis) and maybe a truly monstrous sea creature like Charybdis or Ketos has a place as well.)  In fact, I'll make it somewhat similar to the kraken of Clash of the Titans fame—a huge calamity like an aquatic tarrasque.

    SCYLLA: AC: 19 HD: 11d8 (55 hp) AT: 4 maws +11 (2d6+5) bite +12 (2d10+5 and paralytic poison) STR: +8 DEX: +1 MND: -3 S: fully amphibious, successful bite attack administers paralytic poison (STR+Athl check DC 17) that makes opponents completely unable to move for 2d6+3 rounds.

    KRAKEN: AC:30 HD: 30d8 (150 hp) AT: 4 slams +30 (3d8+10) STR: +18 DEX: +2 MND: +0 S: fully amphibious, immune to 1st-3rd level spells, kraken can vomit a flood of sea water that flows from his mouth like a flood.  Creatures in it's path must make a STR+Athl check to avoid being washed away, but still take 2d6 damage from the force of the water. Targets that fail the check are washed away and knocked down.  If they smash into a solid surface (such as a building or cliff) they take an addition 4d6 damage as the water pounds them into the hard surface.
  • Gigantic hawks (the Skywarden) that are not unlike the eagles of The Hobbit are part of the high elven army. I have regular eagles already, but these huge creatures are almost more like a roc than any real bird.  Rather, I think the pterodactyl stats I came up with earlier can double for them (just as the eagle stats double for big owls or even pseudodragons.) 
  • I don't have a phoenix, another classic mythological beast (I'm surprised at how much classic mythology I missed in my first pass at the monster list, come to think of it!)  Warhammer has both a flaming, standard phoenix as well as a frost/cold version, but if you really want a cold phoenix, you can just change the damage type from fire to cold.  For most characters, it doesn't matter anyway.

    PHOENIX: AC: 19 HD: 12d6 (48 hp) AT: bite +12 (2d6) STR: +5, DEX: +5, MND: +0, S: all characters hit by the phoenix must make a DEX + Athl check (DC 15) or be set on fire, which deals an additional 1d6 damage each round.  Flammable materials can be set alight at will on contact.
  • Demigryphs are horse-sized, wingless griffons, and as such, there's no reason to reinvent the wheel.  All kinds of dangerous steeds can be replicated by just using the war horse stats and giving them an additional attack or two to suit—in this case a bite attack and two claw attacks instead of the kick attack.  The "mystical steeds" of the wild riders or sisters of the thorn, and cold one or dark steed mounts of the dark elves, etc. can all be done this way.  There are also many griffons and hippogriffs, but I've already got griffon stats and they can sub for any additional griffons or hippogriffs or other such creatures.
  • I think the slann are probably too unique to Warhammer to be something that I'd want to convert.  As a combination of powerful wizard and Jabba the Hutt, they can be recreated easily enough if desired by making simply powerful sorcerers who can cast spells without penalty but who are physically weak and move around on floating palanquins.
  • All of the various troop types, which make up the majority of the next miniatures as I go through Games Workshop's list, as well as war machines and chariots, etc. don't need to be statted.  I'm looking for anything at all that looks like it should be converted, and finding very little here.  Troop types can simply be treated as either characters if they're more powerful than simple versions of humanoids already on the monster list.

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