Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas, y'all!

It's very unlikely that I'll be posting anything new over the next week to week and a half or so, so enjoy the holiday!


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Fantasy Hack v1.4: Appendix III

Timischburg is a small part of a sample setting in which a game of FANTASY HACK could be played.  The gist of it is that it is a region meant invoke Gothic horror themes and tone into sword & sorcery fantasy gaming.  In other words, if Bram Stoker's Dracula and H.P. Lovecraft's Arkham country were brought into a The Lord of the Rings pastiche and then played as if it were Brendan Frasier’s The Mummy, Timischburg would be the result.  Timischburg isn't just Transylvania and Dracula, however.  Pretty much any kind of Gothic or even many versions of modern horror are welcome here and meant to fit.  Vampires are an important element.  So are ghosts and hauntings, werewolves, Frankenstein-style monsters, and there's even a city that's obviously meant to be Lovecraft's Innsmouth, complete with Deep Ones at the bottom of a vast inland sea.

The history of the nation is forged in conflict; the world's greatest necromancer is from Timischburg, and he ruled it with an iron fist for generations.  Although now defeated many generations ago, the legacy of this brutal occupation by the undead casts an indelible pall over the entire region.  The Black Path, a cult that seeks to restore this rule, while deemed both treasonous and heretical, of course, yet seems to flourish in the underworld.  Various other threats loom over the benighted land and its long-suffering inhabitants, and it is widely rumored that most of the various named noble clans are headed by vampires who drink from the blood of their peasant vassals to sustain themselves.


Haunted Forest - infamous as the redoubt of a group of woses who brook no trespassers.  Very dangerous to pass through; makes an effective barrier to the world beyond to the north.

Eltdown Fens - actually fens, ings and carrs—all a former lake that is gradually disappearing into marsh.  Rumors have it that the Lost Lake still hides somewhere in the fens, and that as it dries, the ruins of a fabulously ancient benighted city will reveal themselves.  Named for the nearby hamlet of Eltdown.

Eltdown - a small, suspicious little hamlet that has been here since before the rise of the modern nation.  Infamous for a number of inscribed pottery shards found nearby that, when partially translated, proved to be terrifying works of darkest occult provenance.

Thursewood - another dense forest, infamous for the ferocious thurses, or beastmen, who inhabit it.  Even more dangerous than the Haunted Forest.

Mittermarkt - in the shadow of a Lone Mountain, Mittermarkt is most famous for its Academy.

Vetala County - the lands that belong to the Vetala clan.  Mittermarkt is located within.

Strix County - rural, agrarian lands that belong to the Strix clan.  They have no major cities, but the land is dotted with many farming villages and hamlets.

Innsburough - on the shore, technically claimed by the Baron of Strix.  This decrepit fishing town is shunned even by the citizens of an already frightening country.

Vyrko County - lands claimed by the Count of House Vyrko.

Ialomita - a prosperous village not terribly far from Baron d’Vyrko's castle.  Was once the site of the Hellvault Prison, which burned to the ground a number of years ago; the ruins are rumored to be haunted.

Nosferatu County - lands of House Nosferatu.

Grozavest - belongs to no county, but is the capital of the entire nation.  Located along the Black River, its most impressive physical features include the fact that it is always night in city and for many miles around it, an astronomically improbable occurrence to say the least, and the large sealed crater in the center of the city where Tarush the charnel pagan god is, according to legend, buried after his fall along with the Primogenitor Vampires.

Bitterwood - a large, forested part of Ubyr County where the nobles and well heeled often hunt.  Rumored to be frequented by werewolves who remain undiluted from the Ancient Days.

Ubyr County - lands of the Ubyr clan.

Rusalka County - lands of the Rusalka clan.

Dracul County - lands of House Dracul.

Orlok County - lands of House Orlok.

Veszok - large coastal city in Orlok County.

Inganok - relatively large city associated with the onyx mining operations in the nearby chain of volcanic hills and mountains.  Has a very high population of Cursed.

Prezov - city that grew around the castle of the Lord of House Dracul, one of the largest in the country and a rival, in many ways, to Grozavest itself.

Dragomiresti - site of a former town which is now abandoned; a terrible massacre during a three-way House War between Dracul, Ubyr and Orlok.  The conflict was resolved in the capital, but the site of the former town sits still abandoned.

Sighing Farms - farmland worked by slaves and serfs who lived in and around Dragomiresti.  For many years, the farms were undermanned due to the House War.  This resulted in widespread shortages and even famines across the country, but the Sighing Farms are gradually being reclaimed and reworked.  Many of them remain overgrown with weeds and wild beasts.

This list of locations that are charted on the map is not, of course, meant to be exhaustive.  Other cities or towns could easily be worked in all over the place, and hamlets and villages are assumed to be ubiquitous, although largely unshown on this map.  Other features such as additional rivers, brooks, streams, creeks, etc., hill lands, cliffs and bluffs, downs, wetlands, woods, are also assumed to exist that are not shown.

This map can also be used in conjunction with the wilderness exploration rules of Appendix I to create a "hexcrawl" type game where players explore the countryside.

Fantasy Hack v1.4: Appendix II

Because of the simplicity of the rules and the consistent structure that they have, it is fairly easy to "hack" or modify them to taste.  While the basic rules are meant to replicate a bit more faithfully "the most famous role-playing game in the world" in terms of their implied setting, I’ve used the rules for settings that are more divergent, and used some different rules as such.  These are now added as examples of the kind of modifications that you can make yourself to use these rules for your own personal settings, or to use as is.  They change very little of how the game itself works, but there are significantly expanded rules for more races and classes in particular.

New Races
Several of these races are listed as monsters.  There isn’t really a philosophical difference between a "monster" and an antagonist, however.  If it fits with your GM’s setting and expectations for the campaign, it might be conceivable that certain "monstrous" non-humans are entirely appropriate for use as PC races as well.  Many of these are not appropriate to the tone of every game, however, which is why they are relegated to the Appendices rather than presented as part of the basic rules.
  • Goblin: Small, often perceived of by others as ugly and untrustworthy, goblins are to orcs much the same as halflings are to humans.  They usually have a greenish or brownish leathery skin, pointed ears and teeth, and average 3-4 feet tall.  They are rangy and wiry most of the time.  +1 DEX and a +2 to the Subterfuge skill.
  • Jann: The jann present themselves as humans with just a touch of ifrit ancestry, which affects their physical appearance, personality and abilities.  The jann have brick-red skin, but pale, wispy yellow-orange hair that dances around their heads like a flame.  They have piercing yellow eyes, and tend to be hot-headed and passionate in their personality.  The jann gain a +1 to any 2 skills, and also have the fire strike ability; they can infuse one attack per day with the power of the ifrit and their weapon will burst into flame doing an additional 2d6 damage for 5 rounds.
  • Kemlings: Like the jann, the kemlings are humans with just a touch of exotic ancestry, in this case daemonic.  This has not allowed the kemlings to be seen as desirable or trustworthy neighbors by others, so in the past, they had powerful Imperial polities in the north.  Those days are past, and the old kemling empire, Baal Hamazi, is now a Balkanized land of warring city-states.  In many, the kemlings no longer hold social and political sway as much as they did in the past, as the formerly oppressed human (and other) underclasses have wrested power from them.  Many kemlings have fled the turmoil in their homeland and now live elsewhere as part of a massive kemling diaspora.  Kemlings have soot dark skin, tiny horns poking up through their hair, and yellow "predator" eyes (think of Nightcrawler and Darth Maul combined).  Kemlings gain +1 to DEX, a racial affinity for Stealth, and the ability to see in the dark with a biological equivalent to night vision goggles.
  • Nephilim: Another "human, but touched with a small bit of exotic ancestry" are the nephilim (both plural and singular).  They claim that their exotic ancestry is angelic, and they do look the part, with beautiful, well proportioned bodies, pale skin, silver-white hair, chrome eyes and clear voices.  However, some point out that if angels left progeny amongst mortals, then they must, by definition, be fallen angels…  They gain a +1 to MND and a +1 to Knowledge and Communication.
  • Wose: The woses were, according to legend, once werewolves, but the power of their lycanthropic "gifts" faded over generations, until they became merely a race of hardy outdoorsmen with a few bestial physical features and abilities.  They fare poorly in civilization for the most part (although ghettos of them serving as muscle for organized crime are not unknown in many cities) but live in small holdings and "packs" in the wilderness.  They are a bit shorter than humans on average, and often walk with a stoop, sometimes putting a hand to the ground as they move.  They are covered in short brownish hair, or even fur, and have yellow wolf-like eyes, as well as pointed ears and teeth.  Their nails are often almost claw-like and they rarely wear shoes or boots.  Woses gain +3 to STR, -1 to MND, +1 to their Survival Skill, and -1 to their Communication skill.
  • More races:  If you need more options, creating a race is an a la carte option endeavor that's relatively easy to do. Use two Racial Template Points (RTP) and add them to your character at creation. The same RTP can be taken, if desired, more than once. One RTP is equal to either:
    • A +1 Stat bonus. This could also include a +1 to AC as natural armor, even though AC isn't normally a "stat" per se. 
    • Two skill points (i.e., +2 to one skill of your choice, or +1 to two skill bonuses of your choice.) 
    • A special trait or ability (usually an affinity, as described above in the Expert class. If a character has the same affinity for both race and class, allow them to reroll twice! They clearly really want to be good in that area, and are spending character generation capital to do so at the expense of something else.) 
    • Another special ability, which can be designed to suit, if desired.  Here are a few samples: 
      • The ability to breath water as well as air. 
      • Retractable claws which allow you to climb vertical surfaces.
      • The ability to see in the dark as if you have biological night vision goggles. 
      • The ability to run twice as fast as a regular humanoid creature (+10 to chase rolls.)
    • Subject to GM approval, some races may give up the equivalent of a negative RTP to gain an effective third RTP, but I wouldn't do much of this (the wose is an example who has a negative stat bonus and a negative skill bonus.) Otherwise, however, players are strongly encouraged to play around with this race system to create the customized version of their character that they want. 
New Classes
Classes can be customized to a great degree.  Three of the basic rules classes have a major and a minor class ability; the Outdoorsman has three minor class abilities.  You can easily mix and match different minor abilities to customize your class, and even (if you wish) give it a different label.  As with the Outdoorsman, instead of using one major and one minor, you can also combine three minor abilities to create a customized class.  All such classes default to allowing light armor and light, medium and ranged weapons.  If you include the +1 to Attack and Damage minor class ability, you also gain the ability to use medium armor.  If you pick the full attack and damage bonus of the Fighter, you gain proficiency with all weapons, armor and shields.

The major class abilities that define each class are as follows:
  • The attack and damage bonus associated with the Fighter (+1 to Attack and Damage; increases to +2 at 4th level, and +3 at 8th level.)
  • The sneak attack associated with the Rogue.
  • The affinities associated with the Expert.
The minor class abilities that can be switched are as follows:
  • A +3 skill bonus to any skill.
  • 1 affinity as per the Expert class, although when used as a minor ability, you only ever get the one.
  • An additional +1 to attack and damage with ONE weapon type (the Outdoorsman comes with this in Ranged weapons.)
  • An animal companion as per the Outdoorsman.
A few examples of customized classes, not meant to be exhaustive:
  • A sorcerer or witch could be made by combining a single affinity (Sorcery) with an animal companion (a familiar!) and +3 to the Knowledge skill to better learn spells.
  • A gunslinger or sniper could be created by using the Fighter’s combat bonus plus the Outdoorsman’s bonus to Ranged Weapons.  On the other hand, if you took another weapon type, you could make him a duelist, gladiator or weapons-master.
  • A ranger could be created by using the Fighter’s combat bonus with an animal companion.  A scout could be a slight variation on the Outdoorsman where instead of +3 to Survival, he has an affinity for Wilderness Survival.
  • The wizard or mage could be created by taking the Expert’s major affinity (but selecting Sorcery every single time) and a familiar.
And there is one other optional class: the Shadow Sword.  This is a rare finding in the setting; representing a character who has learned to manifest a magical weapon out of the Shadow itself; a metaphorical name for the very stuff of magic.  Created by a tyrant-mage in the distant past, knowledge of how to become a Shadow Sword is rare, and closely guarded.  Because the abilities of the Shadow Sword don’t exactly match up with the major and minor abilities listed above, the Shadow Sword is not a customizable class.

The most iconic ability of Shadow Swords is the ability to manifest a weapon of pure Shadow at will.  Despite the name I've used to represent the class, this weapon can actually be any weapon that the character desires (although curved sabers seem to be among the most popular).  This includes missile weapons, even—though not any complicated mechanical weapon, such as a firearm.  Any melee weapon, any thrown weapon, and any missile weapon other than firearms can be manifested as desired by the character, summoned at a moment's notice, and then "banished" again back into the Shadow as desired.  Otherwise swords, tomahawks, bows, and even Captain America-style shields have all been seen in action as the manifestation of the Shadow Sword's "sword."

This weapon is usually a cool, matte black in appearance, and often seems to seep or exude darkness almost like smoke.  Some Shadow Swords, however, cultivate a non-shiny, translucent glass-like look for their mystic weapon.  Nobody but the Shadow Sword himself can use this weapon (i.e., he can't hand it to anyone else, and nobody else can pick it up if it's thrown, for instance—usually if it's thrown, the weapon will immediately disperse after its attack and reappear back into his hand again as soon as it has done its damage.)

Because a Shadow Sword is always armed, even if he appears not to be, those with this ability have naturally gravitated towards "black ops" type professions and assassination, to which this ability is remarkably well suited, but this is a trend not an obligation to those who belong to this class, naturally.

Shadow Blade: Gains combat bonus advantages to attack and damage (as per the Fighter class), but only when using a shadow sword; a weapon of pure shadow substance that can be summoned at a moment's notice. Also, any unarmored character with this ability can add ½ of his character level to AC (rounded down.)  This is in addition to the ½ level added to AC that all character already have.

Shadow Swords also can cloak themselves in Shadow, which makes them difficult to spot.  When doing so, they gain a class bonus of +3 to any Subterfuge + DEX checks.

New Equipment
Sometimes a more "pure" Medievalesque fantasy is desired, but I also really like fantasy based on the frontier times in America or the Golden Age of Piracy.  The biggest difference here, of course, is the presence of flintlock or wheelock type firearms. Firearms are, of course, ranged weapons and meet all of the characterizations of such weapons as described in the basic rules for equipment.  They also have some unique features.  The following are the two abstracted forms of firearms available, if the GM so desires, for use:
  • Pistol - cost is 150 gp. Damage is 2d6, range is 100 ft. Must take an entire turn to reload after firing. 
  • Rifle - cost is 200 gp. Damage is 2d8, range is 300 ft. Must take an entire turn to reload after firing. 

Fantasy Hack v1.4: Appendix I

Successfully running a game of FANTASY HACK (or any other role-playing game) is a challenging yet rewarding endeavor.  Besides; someone has to do it, otherwise there’s no game for anyone!  If you accept the challenge of being the Gamemaster, there are a few things you should know.  This section has a very small bit of advice, based on my own experience, followed by a fair number of tools that can help you.  In no particular order:

You’re a player too.  Although your task, and therefore what makes the experience rewarding and fun for you is perhaps a bit different than for the other players, this is still a game and you should be enjoying yourself too.  GMing is not a chore; it’s not a job, it’s not what the guy who gets the short stick has to do.  If you are not motivated and having a good time, the game will suffer because of it for everyone.  If so, consider giving the reins to someone else.

Be fair and be consistent.  One of the things that the players need most is feeling like they can make decisions for their characters based on reasonable risk assessment.  In other words, they need to feel like they understand the way the world works (and most likely they expect it work like the real world does.)  Although this is one of those “perception is reality” kind of things, especially on a highly rules-light game like m20, the players will rely solely on your judgement about how likely things are to be successful.  If they can’t get a handle on that because your rulings and DCs are inconsistent, or if they are consistent but out of whack with their expectations, either one, it will create the strong impression that the game is arbitrary and therefore unfair, which will dramatically reduce the enjoyment that your players feel.

Be varied and interesting.  There is a wealth of sources in terms of ideas for your adventures.  Don’t ever feel bad about borrowing from any and every source you can imagine; books, TV shows, movies, video games, whatever.  Just don’t borrow the same kinds of elements from the same kinds of sources.  Even Gary Gygax wrote (although this is often forgotten) that the game was not supposed to have been mere dungeon-crawling, and some versions of the game stressed doing other things (not that this was often appropriated by the players.)  Fantasy Hack m20 is flexible enough to be used for all kinds of activities, and it actually is not designed specifically to be a dungeon-crawling game at all.  In addition, if you pay attention to your players, you will before long find it easy to judge when they are engaged and entertained, and when they are more bored or frustrated.  Pay attention to this and give them more of what they like and less of what they don’t.  They may not all be on the same page about what their favorite aspect of the game is (and they may be in different moods to do different things at different times anyway) but some situational awareness is crucial for good GMing.

Be generous and say yes.  Although I personally dislike games that are overly concerned with the acquisition of character wealth and powers, in general, players tend to be happier when they get what they came to the table for, rather than feeling like it’s denied them.  This doesn’t mean give them “stuff” necessarily; but it does mean allowing them to indulge what they want to do as a character.  Fantasy Hack m20 is meant to emulate swashbuckling action stories.  Think of a well-known example like the Star Wars franchise.  Do the characters ever get bogged down looking for equipment that they don’t have access to?  While getting passage to Alderaan is a key plot element of the first movie, it’s easily accomplished.  When Luke needs a lightsaber, he has one.  When the characters have the opportunity to have a speeder bike chase, they’re readily available.  How does Luke even get his X-wing that he flies for most of the movies?  I dunno.  It’s there when he needs it.  This is the kind of story that I intend to emulate.  Hoarding of gear, doing tedious accounting and shopping are not at the heart of this kind of story; they are things that are typically breezed over because they are tedious and boring.  Now; some players actually do enjoy that kind of thing, so I don’t recommend excising it entirely.  But I do recommend a focus more on the action, role-playing and the solving of interesting problems than I do on making things arbitrarily difficult for the characters.  That’s the spirit of swashbuckling adventure stories, after all.

Let the PCs dictate the game.  Don’t overplan, because you will tend to get locked into your plans the more time you spend on them.  This isn’t your novel that the other players get to have a minor role in.  This is their game, and you’re supposed to represent the environment and the setting.  Let them be the stars of the game, not anything that you’ve created.  Let them decide what kinds of characters and what kind of party to create; don’t passive-aggressively punish them for not picking your ideal of a “balanced party” or whatever.  Don’t give them simply one solution to problems and ensure by fiat that anything else fails.  If you are too prone to trying to not let the PCs have their head, as the saying goes, then maybe you should rethink being the GM.  If that’s the only way you can enjoy the game, then you are probably not equipped to be the GM.  Being a successful GM means always remembering that it’s their game.  You’ll have plenty of interesting and fun things to do, and honestly, you’ll probably be a great deal more entertained by seeing what they come up with then you will be trying to ram them into your own ideas of what they should do.

That said, it’s also my experience that few groups have enough initiative, especially at early stages of the game, to know what to do from scratch if you give them total freedom.  Usually they will wander around aimlessly and even with a great deal of frustration “trying to find the game.”  Once they are able to anchor themselves a bit more into the setting and their characters, they are much more capable and willing to take the reins, start making things happen that they initiate, and pursuing character goals that they themselves have set, rather than plot goals that you have created for them.  So ease them into it, but when they’re ready to take control, absolutely let them do so.

Be prepared with things to do if the players seem lost, bored, or just need some kind of motivation.  To quote Raymond Chandler, “when in doubt have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand.”  An ambush by brigands, thieves, highwaymen, cut-throats, or dangerous wild animals is sometimes just the thing to get the game going again when it flags.  Have a list of names appropriate for your setting that you can draw from to give NPCs that you didn’t anticipate the feel of being more than a hastily constructed expedient.  If the PCs ignore threats or certain events, in the back of your mind think about what is happening while they’re not intervening.  Make their decisions (or lack thereof, as the case may be) have consequences that they can see in game.  Maybe they still won’t care, (although you should take that as an indication that you’re probably not presenting them with the kind of game that’s engaging or interesting to them if so.)  More likely, they’ll take the perceived failures personally and be more motivated to keep them from happening again.  Nothing gets players more motivated than a rivalry with an NPC that has gotten the best of them at least once in the past.  in short, make your setting feel like a real world, not just an environment for them to interact with.  This is the big benefit of table-top RPGs over computer ones; you can have flexibility to do all kinds of things that a computer programmer could not anticipate, and you can react to PC actions that they wouldn’t even be able to do in a computer game.  Do not make the mistake of sacrificing this advantage for your own convenience; your game will suffer from being too much like a computer game… but without the nice graphics.

But again, don’t over-prepare. You don’t need gigantic campaign settings the size of a continent.  You don’t need a lot, actually.  A very brief outline of what you think is likely to happen over the next session or two, including a few details about some NPCs, monsters, and locations that the PCs are likely to encounter is usually sufficient.  I rarely type up more than a page of outline, and it usually ends up lasting for several evenings worth of play.  But in order to do this well, you simply have to practice.  Don’t be afraid of not running the best game ever when you’re starting.  You’ll probably do better than you think, and even if you don’t, you’ll get valuable practice and experience and be better at it next time, if you pay enough attention to your group to notice what went well and what did not.
The Secret Roll. As GM, you probably need a few details about your characters—a single line will suffice, but have the character and player names, their stat modifiers, AC, and skill modifiers and level noted at least.  There are always times when as GM you will want to make rolls for the character that the player is not aware of, or at least cannot see the result of, because a failure would give them knowledge that their character could not have.  A great example of this is where another NPC is trying to sneak up on the character, or when the characters are traveling and may get lost but not realize it while traveling through the wilderness.

Traveling.  
Some game’s prefer to use what I call the Raiders of the Lost Ark red-line convention; travel is glossed over.  However, travel in any pseudo-Medieval setting was a big deal, and actually a big part of the fun in any good action/adventure story.  If you put a little effort into it, overland travel can be tons of fun.  There are all kinds of hazards to be overcome when traveling.  It’s handy when the PCs are traveling for you to have a regional map, and it’s also handy to overlay a hex grid over that.  You can use a keyed hex grid to have notes on things that the PCs may find in any given hex, and it also is handy for easily discussing distance.  By convention, hexes are a few miles across, which means that even within a single hex there’s plenty of opportunity for adventure.  The original role-playing game made assumptions about wilderness travel that was, in part, based on the medieval war-gaming background of the designers.  My background is more as a hiker and backpacker and to me that’s a better analogy of the wilderness travel of a small group of adventurers than the march of armies and soldiers.

In the world of long-distance hiking (guys who hike the 2,600+ mile Pacific Crest Trail, for instance) a really “big mileage” day can be up to 35-40 miles.  This is the equivalent of a “forced march”; a very long day of walking (starting before sun-up, most likely, and still going after dark) and represents travel on a well-marked and groomed trail across friendly, easy terrain.  Forty miles a day should therefore be probably seen as an upper limit in most cases (even if riding; Daniel Boone, for instance, did not bring a horse on his travels, because over long distances and over the course of a long day, a horse would actually rarely be able to keep up with him.)  Other factors, including lack of quality road or trail to travel on, the need to bushwhack through rough terrain, obstacles such as rivers, cliffs, etc. that need to be navigated, and more, can drastically reduce the ability of a traveler to make anywhere near that time.  When I backpack through the mountains, for instance, I usually find that 15 miles is a long, hard day.  For most normal people in normal conditions, 20 miles is a reasonable amount to travel in a single day, and distances achieved can vary from there.  If a person is traveling more than that, especially for several consecutive days, then they may start to become fatigued, and may take STR damage.

Getting Lost.  One major challenge for those traveling through the wilderness is being unable to find your destination.  If you’ve been given directions and a rough map telling you that the hamlet of Meadway is directly to your west, then most likely after leaving a hex on your map, your players will tell you that their characters head west.  Make a secret Survival + MND check for the party (have them nominate whose score is to be used.)  The DC can vary depending on various conditions.  It’s much easier to keep your heading when traveling through open hill country where the sky (and sun and stars) are readily visible and landmarks of enough distinction to be useful are easy to be found.  Deep in an old-growth forest, on the other hand, you may be able to see none of these things and keeping a consistent heading is much more difficult.

If the party fails its Survival check, then it may become lost.  Roll a d6 and consult the image above.  This is the direction that they are actually traveling.  Parties could get so turned around that they literally head the opposite direction that they think that they are; conversely, they may “accidentally” go the right way.

This check should be made every time a party leaves a hex.  If they reach something that would alert them to the fact that they’re lost, i.e.; “Hey, isn’t Balalock Hill supposed to be miles to our north?  Why is it visible just through the trees up ahead?” then the players can make another Survival + MND check to reorient themselves.

Food and Water.  One of the biggest challenges to traveling is being sufficiently provisioned for the journey.  Rations are generally not super expensive to buy, but can be challenging to carry.  Water is even more so; you can usually get it for free while at any lake, pond, river or stream, but it is heavy.  A quart of water weighs more than two pounds, and on hot dry days of travel, you can get dehydrated without at least a gallon of water.  Finding water is another MND + Survival check, and the difficulty is usually set by the type of terrain; up to 25 or 30 in really dry deserts, 20-25 in milder deserts, chaparral or steppes, 15 or so in some forests or mountains, but even lower in places that get lots of rain and therefore can have running or standing water ever few miles or so.  If your players can’t find sufficient water, they should be prepared to take STR damage every day that they cannot due to physical suffering from lack of water.  Food is a bit easier; the human body can go a few days without food and not suffer unduly.  While characters without sufficient water need to be prepared to take damage every day, characters without food are only likely to take additional damage every three days—although they will not heal whatever damage that they have already taken until they can get sufficient to eat.  Foraging and hunting for food is another MND + Survival check, and is again based on the environment.  It’s not hard to find edible roots, berries, nuts, etc. in the right environment, and almost every climate has large prey animals—even the desert has Barbary or bighorn sheep, gazelles or pronghorns, etc. although they may well be wary and hard to find except for accomplished hunters.  Setting snares for rabbits or other small animals is another possibility.  Even in the best case scenario, hunting or foraging takes several hours and should reduce your ability to travel by 50% in the day in which you do it.

Don’t get too caught up in modeling this challenge.  It’s meant to add color and interest to wilderness travel, so it’s not just a boring, “you travel for three weeks and then arrive at Penlock Tower” affair.  Use these suggestions as much or as little as is of interest to you and your group.

Encounters. Of course, the real meat and potatoes of wilderness travel is coming across potentially dangerous encounters.  Hex descriptions of some area maps will have some keyed encounters already written in, but the PCs might either avoid the encounter suggested in the hex for various reasons, or may pass through hexes that do not have any encounters.  This, of course, doesn’t mean that traveling is uneventful.  The following random encounter tables can be useful when you feel like, as Raymond Chandler suggested, the game needs “a guy with a gun” to show up and create some tension, interest, or just something for the player characters to do.

Keep in mind that “encounter” does not necessarily mean “combat” and in fact the game will be much more varied and interesting if encounters end up being very different and offer opportunities for all kinds of things from combat to stealth, negotiation, and occasionally just color.

The following charts can be used to generate encounters that you may not have planned.  The charts are keyed based on terrain type.  The best way to use these is to spice up wilderness travel and exploration by making it more tense than simply wandering through the woods (or grassland, or desert, or mountains, etc.)  You can use your dice to generate random encounters, or consult the table and pick an entry that seems appropriate to you, reading the table and determining what is most likely to generate more fun for your players.  Don’t overdo it; players don’t expect to encounter monsters three or four times a day on their commute, but the chance of an encounter is part of what makes wilderness travel exciting (just ask anyone who’s ever backpacked through grizzly country vs a place where grizzlies don’t live!)

Unless you deem otherwise, the chance of an encounter is 1 in 6, i.e., if you are checking randomly for encounters, the players will only have one on a roll of 6.  Once you determine that an encounter does happen, roll a d8 and consult the appropriate table for your terrain type.  For each result, you’ll need to also then roll again on the “derived table” for the category of encounter that you get.

Wilderness Encounter Table

No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8

No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
Grassland
Men
Flying creature
Non-human
Animal
Animal
Unusual
Horror
Swarm

Desert
Men
Flying creature
Non-human
Men
Animal
Horror
Undead
Animal
Forest
Men
Horror
Non-human
Non-human
Swarm
Unusual
Animal
Animal

Settled
Unusual
Flying creature
Non-human
Non-human
Men
Men
Swarm
Animal
River
Men
Non-human
Aquatic
Aquatic
Undead
Swarm
Flying creature
Horror

City
Men
Men
Men
Men
Men
Men
Undead
Non-human
Swamp
Men
Swarm
Non-human
Aquatic
Aquatic
Undead
Undead
Horror

Open Sea
Men
Flying creature
Aquatic
Aquatic
Aquatic
Aquatic
Aquatic
Unusual
Mtn/Hills
Men
Flying creature
Non-human
Non-human
Animal
Unusual
Non-human
Horror

Jungle
Men
Flying creature
Swarm
Swarm
Non-human
Animal
Animal
Horror


Derived Table, Unusual (1d12) Derived Table, Undead (1d12)
No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12

Daemon, Nosoi
Daemon, Servitor (1d4)
Daemon, Servitor
Daemon, Succubus
Daemon, Succubus
Hell Hound (1d4)
Ifrit
Imp
Sasquatch
Elemental (choose type)
Elemental (choose type)
Fell Ghast
No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12

Ghost
Ghost
Ghoul
Golem, Flesh
Lich
Mummy
Mummy
Skeleton (1d6)
Skeleton (1d12)
Vampire
Wight (1d4)
Wight (1d8)

Derived Table, Horror (1d12) Derived Table, Swarm(1d12)
No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12

Byakhee
Byakhee (1d4)
Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath
Fury (1d6)
Gug (1d4)
Gug
Hound of Tindalos (1d4)
Invisible Stalker
Nightgaunt (1d6)
Nightgaunt (1d10)
Shoggoth
Gnophkeh (2d4)
No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12

Bats
Bats (1d4)
Bats (1d6)
Bats (1d8)
Insects
Insects (1d4)
Insects (1d6)
Insects (1d8)
Rats
Rats (1d4)
Rats (1d6)
Rats(1d8)

Derived Table, Aquatic (1d12) Derived Table, Flying Creature (1d12)
No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12

Crocodile
Crocodile (1d4)
Crocodile
Deep One (1d4)
Deep One (2d4)
Elemental, Water
Sea Serpent
Sea Serpent
Shoggoth
Snake, Constrictor
Snake, Constrictor (1d4)
Scylla
No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12

Dragon
Dinosaur, Pterodactyl
Pseudodragon (2d6)
Eagle
Eagle (1d6)
Elemental, Air
Fury (1d4)
Gargoyle (1d2)
Griffon
Hawk (2d4)
Swarm, Bats
Nightgaunt (1d4)

Derived Table, Animal (1d12)

No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
Grassland
Baboon (3d6)
Boar, Wild (1d4)
Rhinoceros
Elephant (1d6)
Raccoon
Horse (3d8)
Lion (2d4)
Rat, Giant (3d6)
Sabertooth (1d4)
Snake, Viper
Hyena (4d4)
Bison (1d4)
Forest
Ape (1d6)
Bear
Cat, Wild
Raccoon
Tiger (use lion)
Rat, Giant (1d6)
Sabertooth (1d4)
Snake, Constrictor
Snake, Viper
Swarm, Insect
Wolf (1d6)
Wolf (3d4)
Mtn/Hills
Bear
Bear (2d4)
Boar, Wild
Boar, Wild (1d4)
Cat, Wild
Horse (2d8)
Lion (2d4)
Rat, Giant (2d8)
Sabertooth (1d4)
Snake, Viper
Wolf (2d4)
Wolf (2d8)
Desert
Baboon (2d8)
Bear
Boar, Wild
Boar, Wild (1d4)
Camel
Camel
Horse (2d8)
Lion (1d4)
Snake, Viper
Snake, Viper (1d4)
Hyena (2d6)
Wolf (1d4)
Settled
Bear
Boar, Wild
Cat, Wild
Raccoon
Raccoon
Horse
Horse (1d6)
Horse (2d6)
Rat, Giant (2d4)
Swarm, Bats
Swarm, Rats
Dog, Wild (1d8)
Jungle
Ape
Ape (2d4)
Boar, Wild
Cat, Wild
Monkey (2d4)
Monkey (4d6)
Elephant
Elephant (1d6)
Lion
Lion (1d6)
Lion (2d6)
Hyena (3d6) 

Derived Table, Humanoid (1d10) (No. appearing is up to the GM, but are often in groups and equipped)

No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Grassland
Cursed
Dwarf
Elf
Goblin
Halfling
Kemling
Orc
Ratman
Wose
Mixed

Desert
Dwarf
Elf
Goblin
Goblin
Kemling
Kemling
Jann
Jann
Orc
Mixed
Forest
Dwarf
Elf
Halfling
Goblin
Kemling
Orc
Ratman
Thurse
Sasquatch
Mixed

Settled
Dwarf
Dwarf
Elf
Halfling
Halfling
Kemling
Kemling
Jann
Wose
Mixed
River
Cursed
Dwarf
Elf
Halfling
Jann
Goblin
Orc
Ratman
Wose
Mixed

City
Dwarf
Elf
Goblin
Halfling
Kemling
Jann
Orc
Wose
Mixed
Mixed
Swamp
Cursed
Goblin
Goblin
Orc
Kemling
Ratman
Ratman
Thurse
Thurse
Mixed

Jungle
Elf
Goblin
Goblin
Kemling
Orc
Orc
Thurse
Thurse
Wose
Mixed
Mtns/Hills
Dwarf
Dwarf
Elf
Goblin
Jann
Orc
Yeti
Wose
Mixed
Mixed













Derived table, Men (1d12) (May appear as classed NPC characters, often appear in groups)

No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12

No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
Grassland
Bandit
Bandit
NPC Adventurer
Merchant
Barbarian
Merchant
Noble
Sorcerer
Mercenary
Bandit
Priest
Nomad

Desert
Dervish
Nomad
Adventurer
Merchant
Nomad
Nomad
Pilgrim
Crusader
Sorcerer
Soldier
Noble
Nomad
Forest
Highwayman
Bandit
NPC Adventurer
Merchant
Hunter
Bandit
Pilgrim
Priest
Sorcerer
Soldier
Bandit
NPCs

Settled
Highwayman
Trader
NPCs
Adventurer
Merchant
Veteran
Bandit
Soldier
Pilgrim
Farmer
Artisan
Noble
River
Pirate
Bandit
NPC Adventurer
Merchant
Buccaneer
Buccaneer
Priest
Sorcerer
Soldier
Merchant
Traveler
NPCs

City
Thief
Trader
NPC
Trader
Veteran
Artisan
Expert
City Watch
Mercenary
Priest
Scholar
Noble
Swamp
Bandit
Bandit
NPCs
Merchant
Pilgrim
Trader
Barbarian
Hunter
Soldier
Sorcerer
NPC Adventurer
Bandit

Jungle
Brigand
Merchant
Adventurer
Pilgrim
Savage
Savage
Trader
Explorer
Soldier
Buccaneer
NPCs
Brigand
Mtns/Hills
Highwayman
Bandit
Adventurers
Merchant
Barbarian
Barbarian
Priest
Sorcerer
Hunter
Soldier
Caveman
Homesteader

Open Sea
Privateer
Pirate
Merchant
Adventurer
Pirate
Merchant
Merchant
Merchant
Pirate
Merchant
Privateer
Sorcerer

Magic Items.
Magic Weapons: Magic weapons are better at hitting and causing damage than standard ones.  Most range from +1 to +3, some +1 weapons have a greater plus versus specific types of monsters. Magic swords sometimes have a special spell-like power or two. A few swords are intelligent and have a number of spell-like powers (some even talk). A few weapons are cursed and reduce one’s chance to hit. 

Magic Armor: Most are plus +1 to AC, with a few +2 or +3. Magic shields exist with similar pluses.  
Scrolls: Most hold one to six spells that can be cast even by characters who don't know them (finding the scroll does not give you access to the spell once it has been cast, however). A few place curses on the reader.  

Potions: Potions  are magic items that mimic the effect of a spell that directly affects the character that drinks it (therefore spells that do not affect the caster or a target directly cannot be placed in a potion).  Some potions are poison, cause disease, cause delusions, etc. 

Rings or amulets, etc.: Create a permanent affect on a player, as described by a particular spell, when they are worn (the effect ends when the amulet or ring is removed.)

Wands or staves, etc.: Usually store a certain number of "pre-cast" spells that can be accessed for their effect to be shown when needed.  Once the total spells are exhausted, the wand or staff, etc. has no magic left and is a mundane item.

All magic items may (at the GM's discretion) cause insanity damage on those using or witnessing them, but the default assumption is that they do not the way casting the spell would.

Fantasy Hack as blog posts

This has moved along more quickly than I expected.  I've actually finished the "main" part of the book now, and have merely the appendices to add.  Check out the new tab I've created; I've gotten rid of my 2016 reading goals, which was only ever meant to be temporary anyway, and which I didn't particularly like.

I didn't recreate the character sheet as a blog post, so the link there is to a pdf of it hosted elsewhere.

Anyway, I'll add the appendices as three separate blog posts, probably today, and then I'll be done.  I'll maintain the tab, and finding the document will be easier than ever.

I did correct a few minor errors and what not in the text as I did it that I found by reading through it.  This means that FANTASY HACK as a document and FANTASY HACK as an online series of blog posts will end up getting just a little bit out of synch.  But these are minor typographical fixes, so I'm not going to worry too much about them.  What will be worse is if I start making major actual changes to the system—but because I've now set this up the way that I have, I'll be discouraged from doing so, and will have strong incentives to keep things the way that they are for a long time to come.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Fantasy Hack v1.4 Part V: Monsters and Other Foes

Monsters are any creatures that serve as opponents to the PCs (although some situations may cast them as allies on occasion.)  Monsters have very limited information provided in terms of game data. The following rules are also necessary to understand how to read the monster entries and use them effectively.  First, all creatures have a bonus to all skills equal to their number of Hit Dice (HD), which is effectively equivalent to their level in most respects.  Stat bonuses are also included for skill checks; but don’t get carried away and try to use the stat bonuses to affect the attack and damage scores.  The attack and damage scores are already set where they need to be without doing that.  Secondly, if you need a tougher version of a monster, for whatever reason, you can add more hit dice.  Each additional HD adds one to their skill and combat bonuses.  Thirdly, you can create your own monsters as needed as well.  Assign HD (d8 for most things, d12 for dragons or undead).  Attack bonus and skill level is equal to the number of hit dice.  Monsters may have several forms of attack, but unless specifically called out, can only use one per round (the exception being if the attack is listed as something like “2 claws”—in which case they can make two claw attacks as one attack.)  Create an AC that is sensible giving the size and toughness (or quickness) of the creature.  Add stat bonuses to suit.

            To read the entries, AC is Armor Class, HD is Hit Dice, AT is attacks, and STR is Strength, DEX is Dexterity, and MND is Mind.  S is the creature's special abilities.  Undead creatures are immune to mind-affecting spells.  All monsters that have the ability to cast spells do so without needing to make a Sanity check, and they never suffer the risk of MND damage.  The effective caster level for spell DCs is equal to the monster’s HD.

Monsters do not have categories.  While it should be obvious from the entries that some monsters are, for example, animals and others are humans or humanoids, there is no mechanical distinction between them.  This occasionally leads to conclusions that are unusual.  For example, if there is no mechanical distinction, can an Outdoorsman’s animal companion be any monster, assuming it’s in the correct HD range?  Can his animal companion be an imp, or a dwarf, or a human bandit?  Ask your GM.  Many will say no; your animal companion must be an animal.  Others may say, “give me an interesting reason for it, and I’ll let you have anything you want that works within the bounds of the rules.”  Personally, I’m a fan of the latter approach, but I can hardly complain about the alternative.

ANGEL: AC: 25 HD: 20d8 (100 hp) AT: 2 weapon + 20 (2d8), STR: +10, DEX: +12, MND: +12, S: Immune to all spells less than 5th level, Cast spells up to 5th level, teleport at will, special powers as granted by patron deity.

APE: AC 14, HD 4d8 (20 hp) AT: 2 paw slams +4 (2d6) STR: +7, DEX: +5, MND: -3, S: Acrobatics affinity

BABOON: AC: 12 HD: 2d6 (8 hp) AT: bite +2 (1d6) STR: +1, DEX: +3, MND: -4, S: Acrobatics affinity

BEAR: AC: 15 HD: 6d8 (30 hp) AT: bite +6 (2d6), claws +6 (2d8), STR: +7, DEX: +0, MND: -4

BOAR, WILD: AC: 12 HD: 3d8 (15 hp) AT: gore +3 (3d4) STR: +5, DEX +0, MND: -4, S: attacks for 2 rounds after death.

BYAKHEE: AC: 15, HD: 4d8 (20 hp) AT: Talons +4 (1d8) or Bite +4 (1d4), STR: +1, DEX: +2, MND: +3, S: Flies, can carry medium-sized creatures, telepathic.

CAMEL: AC: 12 HD: 3d6 (12 hp) AT: bite +3 (1d6) STR: +5, DEX: -2, MND: -4, S: +5 to any Survival skill roll

CAT: AC: 12 HD: 1d6 (4 hp) AT: bite +1 (1d4) STR: -3, DEX: +4, MND: -3, S: +5 to Subterfuge
    NOTE: these same stats can be used to represent other small climbing animals such as a monkey or raccoon.

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: +10 to chase checks

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: -2, S: flies, fiery breath 6d10 fire damage (DEX+Athl to dodge half of the damage DC 14)

COCKATRICE: AC: 14, HD: 5d10 (30 hp) AT: +7 (1d4 + special attack) STR: +0 DEX: +0 MND: -2, S: flies, petrification bite (target turns to stone on failed DC 19 MND + level check.)

CROCODILE: AC: 16 HD: 6d6 (24 hp) AT: bite +12 (3d6) STR: +6, DEX: +2, MND: -4, S: drags underwater on roll 4 higher than needed to hit, underwater creatures take 1d6 automatic damage every turn as the crocodile rolls.  A STR or DEX + Athletics check DC 15 will allow the character to escape, although he will still then be in the water.

CTHULHU: AC: 35 HD 40d8 (200 hp) AT: 2 slams +40 (4d8+20), STR +25, DEX:+10 MND: +15, S: Immune to all spells less than 5th level, Cast all spells (including rituals) instantly, all characters who come face to face with Cthulhu make a MND + Level check (DC: 30).  If they fail they are impacted for 1d4 hours with an effect identical to The Seeping of Kadath on the Mind spell.  If they fail it by more than 15, they die instantly.

CURSED: AC: 12 HD: 1d6+2 (6 hp) AT: weapon +1 (1d6) STR: +0, DEX: +2, MND: +0 S: May have (50%) a first level spell of the GM’s choosing.

CYCLOPS: AC: 15, HD: 8d8 (40 hp) AT: 2 claws +8 (1d6+6) or 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.

DARK YOUNG OF SHUB-NIGGURATH: AC: 12, HD: 8d8 (45 hp) AT: 4 tentacles +8 (2d4) or trample +8 (4d8) STR: +10, DEX: -2, MND -3, S: On successful tentacle attack automatic 1d4 damage every round thereafter until either victim or Dark Young is dead. Victim can escape this tentacle grab with a STR or DEX + Athletics check, DC 16.

DAEMON, BAAL-ROG: AC: 19 HD: 10d8 (60 hp) AT: sword or flaming whip +10 (2d6+10 + 2d6 fire damage) STR: +10, DEX: +5, MND: +10, S: flies, flaming (3d6 damage to all who hit it in melee or whom the baal-rog touches), 75% chance that spells cast at the Baal-Rog have no effect, all attacks with non-silver weapons do -20 damage. Can create a pall of darkness that effectively shields him from view, making all attempts to hit him have a 50% chance of missing outright.

DAEMON, NOSOI: AC: 18 HD: 6d8 (40 hp) AT: 2 claws +7 (2d6+8) bite +7 (1d12) tongue +3 (see below) STR: +7 DEX: +0 MND: +2, S: acid vomit range 20 ft, 6d6 acid damage unless target makes DC 15 DEX + Athletics check to dodge for half damage, can make a tongue attack where the tongue launches out and sticks to opponents.  On a successful opposed STR check, the nosoi pulls the target to his mouth and gets an automatically successful bite attack.

DAEMON, SERVITOR: AC: 17 HD: 3d6 (12 hp) AT: claws +3 (1d6) STR: +3, DEX: +0, MND: +0, S: regenerate 1 HP/minute unless attacked with silver weapons.

DAEMON, SUCCUBUS: AC: 10 HD: 6d6 (24 hp) AT: claws +6 (1d6) or kiss (2d4 STR damage per round) STR: -2, DEX: +2, MND: +5, S: all attacks with non-silver weapons do -5 damage, 70% that spells cast at the succubus have no effect, casts spells as a up to 2nd level.

DAEMON, TYPHON: AC: 20, 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, Typhon can rend his opponent, causing an additional 2d6 points of damage. Typhon is completely immune to any direct magical attack.

DEEP ONE: AC: 14, HD: 2d8 (10 hp) AT: Spear +2 (1d8), STR: +5, DEX: -2, MND: +0, S: Swims, Attacks that miss by 2 or less start a grapple thanks to sticky slime coating, 1 in six chance to act randomly as if under the effects of a Seeping of Kadath on the Mind spell, -1 to attacks in bright light.

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: -4 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 S: because of its great size, if galloping towards target, it cannot easily stop itself and can do trample and gore in the same attack.

DINOSAUR, PTERODACTYL: AC: 14 HD: 4d6 (16 hp) AT: bite +5 (1d6) STR: +3, DEX: -1, MND: -4, S: flies
NOTE: These same stats can stand in for other large flying creatures such as giant eagles

DINOSAUR, RAPTOR: AC: 15 HD: 4d8 (20 hp) AT: bite +4 (2d6), 2 claws +4 (2d8), STR: +5, DEX: +3, MND: -4

DRAGON: AC: 20 HD: 18d12 (130 hp) AT: Bite +18 (2d10+4), 2 claws +18 (d10+3) STR: +12 DEX: +6 MND: +6 S: flies, fiery breath 10d10 fire damage although target can reduce this by half with DEX + Athletics check DC 18.

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.

DWARF: AC: 14 HD: 1d6+2 (6 hp) AT: weapon +2 (1d6+2) STR: +2, DEX: +0, MND: +0

EAGLE: AC: 12 HD: 2d6 (8 hp) AT: bite +2 (1d4), 2 claws +2 (1d4) STR: -3, DEX: +2, MND: -3, S: flies, +8 bonus on any attempt to spot while flying.
       NOTE: these same stats can be used to represent other relatively larger flying animals such as a large owl or even a pseudodragon

ELEMENTAL, AIR: AC: 19 HD: 12d6 (48 hp) AT: slam +12 (2d6) STR: +5, DEX: +3, MND: -1, S: can cause a whirlwind that makes movement impossible and carries away lighter objects, extra damage against foes in the air (1d6)

ELEMENTAL, EARTH: AC: 19 HD: 12d6 (48 hp) AT: slam +12 (2d6) STR: +12, DEX: -3, MND: -2, S: can cause stone to disintegrate into sand at a rapid rate (2 rounds to create a hole large enough to pass through), extra damage against foes standing on the ground (1d6).

ELEMENTAL, FIRE: AC: 19 HD: 12d6 (48 hp) AT: slam +12 (2d6) STR: +5, DEX: +10, MND: +0, S: all characters hit by fire elemental 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 by the elemental at will on contact.

ELEMENTAL, WATER: AC: 19 HD: 12d6 (48 hp) AT: slam +12 (2d6) STR: +7, DEX: +3, MND: -2, S: overturn boats, extra damage against swimming foes (1d6).

ELEPHANT: AC: 17, HD: 8d8 (40 hp) AT: trample +8 (2d6+8), tusk +8 (1d10+8) STR: +10, DEX: +0, MND: -3.

ELF: AC: 11 HD: 1d6 (4 hp) AT: weapon +1 (1d6) STR: +0, DEX: +0, MND: +2

ETTEN: AC: 19 HD: 9d8 (45 hp) AT: club +13 (2d8+8) or thrown rock (range 100 ft.) +8 (2d6+8) STR: +8 DEX: +2 MND: -1

FELL GHAST: AC: 20 HD: 18d12 (130 hp) AT: Bite +18 (2d10+4), 2 claws +18 (d10+3) STR: +12 DEX: +3 MND: -1 S: flies, undead immunities, cast at will Blasphemous Piping of Azathoth DC 19, when the fell ghast reaches 0 hit points or less, it turns into 1d4 bat swarms as per the monster entry.

FURY: AC: 13 HD: 6d8 (30 hp) Attack: Sword +6 (1d6+poison) or Lasso +6, STR: +1, DEX: +1, MND: +2, S: Flies, Knockout poison on sword causes characters to fall immediately unconscious if they fail a STR + level check (DC 13), 30% spells cast at the Fury fail, Furies can see invisible characters or objects at will, can cast up to 2nd level spells.

GARGOYLE: AC: 14 HD: 4d6 (16 hp) AT: claws or bite +4 (1d6), horns +4 (1d6) STR: +6, DEX: -2, MND: -1, S: fly, ignores the first 2 points of damage from all attacks.

GHOST: AC: 16 HD: 4d6 (16 hp) AT: touch +4 (1d6) STR: -4, DEX: +2, MND: +1 S: undead immunities, only hit by magic or silver weapons, arrows do a max 1 HP damage.  Ghosts also have one of the following special attacks.  More powerful versions can be created by giving them two or more:

  • drains 1d3 DEX on touch, creatures reduced to 0 DEX are immobile and helpless for coup de grace attack that kills them automatically
  • as an action, may cast the spell Withering of the Haunter 
  • forces a Sanity check on all characters that can see the ghost
  • under a permanent effect identical to the Blasphemous Piping of Azathoth spell
  • can cast spells up to 3rd level

GHOUL: AC: 13 HD: 2d6 (8 hp) AT: claws or bite +2 (1d6) STR: +2, DEX: +0, MND: -1, S: touch paralyzes for 1d4 rounds, humans wounded by ghouls are cursed if they fail a MND + level check (DC 12) and will slowly turn into ghouls themselves.  This process involves taking 1 point of MND damage every day (which does not heal overnight) until they reach -5, at which point the conversion is complete.  GM may provide antidote/remedy to counter this curse.

GOBLIN: AC: 12 HD: 1d6 (4 hp) AT: weapon +1 (1d6) STR: +0, DEX: +2, MND: -2

GOLEM, FLESH: AC: 16 HD: 4d12 (28 hp) AT: slam +8 (2d6+4) STR: +8, DEX: -2 MND: -3 S: Immune to most forms of magical attack.  Regular weapons do only half damage.  Fire (magical or mundane) does 2x damage.

GRIFFON: AC: 17 HD: 8d8 (40 hp) AT: bite +8 (1d12) STR: +7, DEX: +0, MND: -3 S: flies

GUG: AC: 15, HD: 10d8 (50 hp) AT: 4 claws +10 (2d6) or bite +10 (1d8), STR: +10, DEX: -2, MND: +0.

HALFLING: AC: 11 HD: 1d6 (4 hp) AT: weapon +1 (1d6) STR: +0, DEX: +2, MND: +0

HAWK: AC: 12 HD: 1d6 (8 hp) AT: bite +1 (1d4), 1 claws +2 (1d4) STR: -3, DEX: +3, MND: -4, S: flies, +8 bonus on any attempt to spot while flying.
       NOTE: these same stats can be used to represent other small flying animals such as a raven or owl

HELL HOUND: AC: 15 HD: 5d6 (20 hp) AT: bite +5 (1d6) STR: +3, DEX: -1, MND: -3, S: breathe fire (1d10 HP damage—DEX + Athletics check DC 14 will halve damage.)

HORSE, RIDING: AC: 12 HD: 2d6 (8 hp) AT: bite or kick +2 (1d6) STR: +5, DEX: +2, MND: -3, S: when ridden, grants a +10 to chase checks

HORSE, WAR: AC: 12 HD: 3d6 (12 hp) AT: bite +3 (1d6) or kick +3 (2d6), STR: +5, DEX: +2, MND: -3 S: when ridden, grants a +10 to chase checks

HOUND OF TINDALOS: AC: 15, HD: 4d8 (20 hp) AT: Tongue +4 (special), STR: +4, DEX: +2, MND: +3, S: Teleport through time and space to any sharp angle, tongue attack causes curse that does 1d4 damage to all stats.

HUMAN, BANDIT/SOLDIER: AC: 12 HD: 1d10 (6 hp) AT: weapon +1 (1d6) STR: +2, DEX: +0, MND: +0

HUMAN, COMMON MAN: AC: 11 HD: 1d6 (4 hp) AT: weapon +0 (1d6), STR: +0, DEX: +0, MND: +0

HUMAN, SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: AC: 14 HD: 3d6 (12 hp) AT: weapon +3 (1d6), STR: +2, DEX: +2, MND: +2

HYDRA: AC: 15 HD: 6d8 (39 hp) AT: 5 bites +4 (1d10+3) STR: +6 DEX: +0 MND: -3 S: the hydra recovers 10 points of damage every round, unless the damage was dealt with fire or acid

IFRIT: AC: 16 HD: 10d6 (40 hp) AT: slam +10 (2d6) STR: +8, DEX: +3, MND: +4, S: flies, can turn invisible, immune to any but silver weapons, and can cast any fire-related spell.

IMP: AC: 18, HD: 2d8 (10 hp) (AT: Tail sting +2 (1d4), STR: -2, DEX: +3, MND: +2, S: flies, poison causes paralysis (1d4 rounds) and loss of 1 HP per minute, can assume the form of a specific kind of vermin, can ask 3 questions of demon lords per week and receive correct answer

INVISIBLE STALKER: AC: 16 HD: 8d6 (32 hp) AT: 1 bite +8 (1d6) STR: +1, DEX: +2, MND: -2, S: flies, invisible

JABBERWOCK: 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 jabberwock pulls the target to his mouth and gets an automatically successful bite attack.  Also, any character that sees a jabberwock 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.

JANN: AC: 12 HD: 1d6 (4 hp) AT: weapon +2 (1d6) STR: +1, DEX: +1, MND: +0 S: For one strike per combat, the Jann can make a Fire Strike which does an additional 1d6 fire damage to his opponent.

KEMLING: AC: 12 HD: 1d6 (4 hp) AT: weapon +1 (1d6) STR: +0, DEX: +1, MND: +0 S: Kemlings can see in the dark as if they had the biological equivalent of night-vision goggles.

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 + Athletics 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 wall) they take an additional 4d6 damage as the water pounds them into the hard surface

LICH: AC: 20 HD: 12d6 (48 hp) AT: touch +HD (1d6) STR: +4, DEX: +0, MND: +5, S: undead immunities, touch causes paralysis (no save), cause fear in creatures under 4th level/HD, can cast spells up to 5th level

LION: AC: 13 HD: 4d8 (20 hp) AT: bite +4 (2d6), 2 claws +4 (2d8), STR: +7, DEX: +4, MND: -3

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: amphibious

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

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.

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 MND + level check) if you look Medusa in the eye

MINOTAUR: AC: 15, HD: 8d8 (40 hp) AT: 4 claws +10 (2d6+4) or gore +10 (1d8+4), STR: +10, DEX: -2, MND: -2.

MUMMY: AC: 16 HD: 6d6 (24 hp) AT: touch +6 (1d6) STR: +7, DEX: -2, MND: +2, S: undead immunities, takes only half damage from non-silver weapons, immune to most spells except fire based ones.

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.

NIGHTGAUNT: AC: 15, HD: 4d8 (20 hp) AT: Squeeze +4 (Special), STR: +1, DEX: +1, MND: +1, S: Flies, tail caress while being squeezed renders most creatures helpless to react, can cast Leaden Limbs of the Gnophkeh spell

ORC: AC: 12 HD: 1d6 (4 hp) AT: weapon +3 (1d6+2) STR: +4, DEX: +0, MND: -2

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 + Athletics 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

PLAGUE HORROR: 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 + Athletics). 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.

RAT, GIANT: AC: 12 HD: 1d6 (4 hp) AT: bite +1 (1d3) STR: -3, DEX: +3, MND: -4, S: 25% chance of disease from bite—must succeed on DC 12 STR + level check or take 1d4 DEX damage in 1 day, and 1d4 STR damage in 2 days.

RATMAN: AC: 12 HD: 1d6 (4 hp) AT: weapon +1 (1d6) STR: +0, DEX: +2, MND: +0, S: 25% chance of disease from successful attack—must succeed on DC 12 STR + level check or take 1d4 DEX damage in 1 day, and 1d4 STR damage in 2 days.

RAT BRUTE: AC 15, HD 4d8 (20 hp) AT: 2 claws +4 (2d6) bite +7 (1d8+3) STR: +7, DEX: +5, MND: -3, S: 25% chance of disease from bite or claw attack—must succeed on DC 12 STR+level check or take 1d4 DEX damage in 1 day, and 1d4 STR damage in 2 days.

RHINOCEROS: AC: 18 HD: 6d8 (30 hp) AT: trample +7 (2d6+6) gore +7 (1d10+6) STR: +8, DEX: +0, MND: -4
NOTE: this can also represent other large, charging herbivores like bison or aurochs

SABERTOOTH: AC: 14 HD: 5d8 (15 hp) AT: bite +5 (2d10), claws +5 (2d8), STR: +8, DEX: +3, MND: -3

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 + Athletics check DC 17) that makes opponents completely unable to move for 2d6+3 rounds

SEA SERPENT: AC: 17 HD: 15d6 (75 hp)AT: bite +15 (4d6) STR: +12, DEX: +2, MND: -4, S: swallows whole on roll 4 higher than needed to hit, swallowed creatures take 1d6 automatic damage every turn.  Swallowed characters, if they can deal 30 points of damage with a light weapon before dying, can escape.

SHOGGOTH: AC: 5, HD: 12d8 (60 hp) AT: slam +12 (1d8), STR: +12, DEX: +2, MND: -1, S: Immune to critical hits and poison, regenerate 3 HP/round, only takes half damage from fire, cold, electricity, and bludgeoning attacks, amphibious

SKELETON: AC: 12 HD: 1d6 (4 hp) AT: weapon or strike +1 (1d6) STR: -1, DEX: -1, MND: -4, S: undead immunities, only takes half damage from arrows or bullets.

SNAKE, CONSTRICTOR: AC: 14 HD: 2d6 (8 hp) AT: constriction (1d3) STR: +1, DEX: +1, MND: -4, S: On successful attack, automatic 1d3 damage thereafter until dead or the snake changes its target. Can be escaped with an opposed STR check.

SNAKE, VIPER: AC: 14 HD: 1d6 (4 hp) AT: bite +1 (1hp + poison) STR: -2, DEX: +2, MND: -4, S: Poison bite (DC 14 1d6 STR damage, in one minute another 1d6 STR damage.)

SWARM, BATS: AC: 12, HD: 4d8 (20 hp) AT: 4 bites (1d8), STR: -4, DEX: +4, MND: -4, S: Attacks made against the swarm are made at -2 and have a 50% chance of hitting random adjacent creature, flies

SWARM, INSECTS: AC: 13, HD: 3d8 (15 hp) AT: 3 bite (1d3) (double against no armor), STR: -4, DEX: +4, MND: -4, S: Unaffected by weapons, may or may not fly, may or may not have poison causing paralysis

SWARM, RATS: AC: 12, HD: 4d8 (20 hp) AT: 1 bite +HD (1d8), STR: -4, DEX: +4, MND: -4, S: Attacks made against the swarm are made at -2, bite has 5% chance of causing disease (see RAT, GIANT)

THURSE: AC: 17, HD 3d8 (16 hp) AT: Club +5 (1d8+2) or javelin +3 (1d6+2). STR: +2, DEX: +0, MND: -2
NOTE: These same stats can apply to any bestial humanoid such as a Sasquatch, Ogre or Gnophkeh.

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 + Athletics check DC 20 or take 3d8 damage

VAMPIRE: AC: 17 HD: 9d6 (36 hp) AT: bite +9 (1d6) STR: +4, DEX: +6, MND: +5, S: undead immunities, only takes half damage from non-silver weapons, regenerate 3 hp per round, on a successful hit (MND + level to resist, DC 19) does 1d4 STR damage, gaseous form at will, shape change into bat, can hypnotize (MND + level check, DC 19), avoids garlic and mirrors, immobilized and apparently dead if a stake is driven through its heart, drowns underwater in one round, creatures reduced to -5 STR die and will rise 24 hours later as a vampire under the control of their creator.

WEREWOLF: AC 16 HD: 4d8 (20 hp) AT: claw +3 (2d8) bite +3 (1d10) STR: +3, DEX +3, MND -2, S: Can transform into either a HUMAN, BANDIT/SOLDIER or a WOLF once per combat (or from them if it starts in either of those forms.)  Transforming instantly heals all damage taken so far.  A successful bite or claw attack while in werewolf form will cause the victim to suffer a 25% chance (each attack) of contracting the curse of lycanthropy.  An individual so cursed becomes a werewolf, and can change into a wolf or werewolf of the same HD as his regular character when desired.  However, in combat, a werewolf has a 20% each round of falling prey to an effect identical to the Seeping of Kadath on the Mind spell.  And needless to say, if the local countryfolk hear about it, they’ll come after the party with torches and pitchforks.

WIGHT: AC: 14 HD: 3d6 (12 hp) AT: claw +3 (1d6) STR: +4, DEX: +1, MND: +1, S: undead immunities, takes only half damage from non-magical or non-silver weapons, does 1d3 STR damage per hit (MND + level check to avoid, DC 14), creatures reduced to -5 STR will rise 24 hours later as a wight.

WOLF: AC: 12 HD: 2d6 (8 hp) AT: bite +2 (1d6) STR: +2, DEX: +1, MND: -3
          NOTE: These same stats can apply to any medium sized cursorial hunting animal such as a dog or hyena.

WOSE: AC: 12 HD: 1d6 (4 hp) AT: weapon +3 (1d6+2) STR: +4, DEX: +0, MND: +0 S: +4 on any Survival type roll needed.

WYVERN: 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.
NOTE: Can also represent other large stinging or biting poisonous creatures, such as giant insects, etc. May make bite instead of sting poisonous as desired, and remove flight for things like giant spiders, etc.