Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sea Wolf by Darlene

The Monster Cards published by TSR back in '82 seemed to be an idea way ahead of its time. A few minor changes to the format, like making them standard poker sized so they could fit card protector sheets and be organized in 3-ring binders, could have made them a real hit. As it is now they are fairly rare. I have a pretty good set of them, but since there is no numbering system on them it is hard to tell how complete the collection is.

You don't see enough art by Darlene from those days, so here is her Sea Wolf illustration for your viewing enjoyment.

LYCANTHROPE, SEA WOLF
FQ: Very rare
SA: Nil
#E: 3d6
SD: Nil
AC: 6 (7)
MR: Standard
MV: 30"/ /12"
IN: Average
HD: 2+2
AL: Neutral evil
%L: Nil
SZ: M (6'-7')
TT: Nil
PS: Nil
AT: 1 (3)
DM: 2d4 (1-2/ 1-2/1-4)
L/XP: II/50 + 3/hp

These savage lycanthropes have two forms. The first form is a furred mammal, porpoise-like in shape, with a wolf's head. In this form, sea wolf packs hunt the creatures of the sea, surrounding their prey and biting with their canine fangs. The second form is a wolf­ man, a man shape possessing the fur, claws, and teeth of a seawolf. (Statistics for the wolfman form are given in parentheses above.) Seawolves breathe air, and must surface periodically.

Unlike other  lycanthropes, seawolves can be hit by normal weapons. Humans taking 50% or more damage from sea wolves will contract this form of lycan­thropy. If humans are infected while on land, they will travel as fast as possible to the sea. At sea, they will disappear overboard on the next full moon.

If a sea wolf pack encounters a ship, the sea wolves will change to wolfman form and attempt to board it. Their only purpose is to slay all those aboard and sink the ship.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Nightmare Realm of Baba Yaga - Endless Quest

Since the early 80's Endless Quest books have been helping DnD fans get their DnD fix when they've got no one to play with.

Last week I alluded to this book in my post about Interstellar, Baba Yaga, and Tesseracts. This is the first Endless Quest book I read that you actually have to play it like a game with dice and a character. The only reason I got this book was that I enjoyed the adventure as it was described in Dragon #83. But it turns out this book is actually based off the 2nd edition AD&D adventure The Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga.

The character sheet is really pretty clever, it does double duty as a bookmark. The character, Jerrak the bland, is a plain vanilla fighter.

Your companion in the game is Mjolnir. Mjolnir the dwarf? Seriously. I never did get over being annoyed by that name each time I read it. That was one of the few negative marks I'd give the book.

Unlink previous Endless Quest books I've read, you don't just choose your path, you often have to roll to determine results. The system has very little to do with AD&D. I think I would have preferred if it stuck closer to AD&D, rather than some new system that really isn't any more clever or better suited for the genre.

Overall the writing is fine, and the adventure quite enjoyable. It rates on the higher end of the Endless Quest books. Though I'd say it errors on the easy side, I've yet to get killed or even close to 0 HP, and have beaten the adventure each time. The author Roger E. Moore was probably my favorite Dragon magazine editor (or a close tie with Kim Mohan), and I've really enjoyed some of his other stories I've read. Particularly "A stone's throw away" a short story in Dragon magazine featuring Tasslehoff Burrfoot and Demogorgon, which was my introduction to the Dragonlance universe (also reprinted in The Magic of Krynn).


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Fighting Man and a Princess of Mars

Last night I inked this drawing for Warriors of the Red Planet. It is 8.5" x 11" on bristol, inked with a Pentel brush pen. I keep meaning to draw more creatures for the monsters section, but it's just so much fun drawing princesses.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Locust Gods

"My name is swarm for we are innumerable."
Ok, that's a paraphrase of one of the creepiest quotes in the bible, and a fitting description of the locust gods. The original idea was for massive megadungeons, each the size of the great pyramid of Giza, that could fly and land in places they wanted to suck dry of resources. Terrifying citadels of doom. As the concept was developed the question came up of who made these things? This led to the development of evil gods who were locust like in their mentality. I'm not sure, but I don't recall if any deities have been designed before that were actually composite beings made up of multiple intelligences who all formed a singular creature-thing. Here follows a description in OD&D style:
Locust God, God of Swarms
AC: 20
Move: 15/24
Hit Points: 290
Magic Ability: 3rd
Fighter Ability: 18th
Psionic Ability: Class 3
Each locust god appears as a giant humanoid locust. They all share the same mind, though they are not exactly telepathic. It is more that they all make the same decisions. Each locust god is unique, it has its own subtle differences: irregularities, body markings and shapes. It is not known how many locust gods exist.
Each locust god has a flying citadel as it's throne. Each citadel has multiple levels and are populated by malignant creatures of all sorts. The citadels also contain untold riches. Once the locust god that rules a particular citadel is killed that citadel can no longer fly. It eventually decays, only an empty husk may remain, sometimes for centuries.
Clerics of a locust god gain the ability: summon locust swarm, once per day. A locust swarm does not inflict damage, but obscures vision in a 10' radius causing -1 to hit, and limiting the ability to cast spells for 2-5 (1d4+1) rounds.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Catacomb Saint

Catacomb Saints are skeletons of Christian martyrs buried under Rome that were unearthed back in 1578. They were distributed throughout Europe, mostly in Germany and used to replace the relics that had been destroyed during the Protestant Reformation. Yes, Catacomb Saints are a real thing.
There is no shortage of evil aligned undead horrors to be found in DnD, but the good aligned ones are few and far between. Here are the stats of a Catacomb Saint in Swords & Wizardry terms, that could just as easily be converted to any non-4th edition version. In 1st edition or higher they will be of any Good alignment depending on the deity they serve (they will only serve Good-aligned deities).

Catacomb Saint

HD 7; AC 1[18]; Atk 1 smite (1d8); Move 12"; Save 8; CL/XP 11/1600; Special: Magic or silver to hit; magic resistance 51%; Call of Life; Immune to enchantments, sleep, charm; Cure Disease by touch, continual Turn Undead as 11th level cleric.

Catacomb Saints are often sent on missions to aid the cause of their deity. Sometimes this is to protect a group of adventurers, other times this might be to repel an undead horde, or to help a small town in need. They appear as ornately dressed skeletons, jewel encrusted, in rich robes with gems for eyes. They will have between 20-200gp worth of jewels on them. Anyone who attempts to steal the jewels from a Catacomb Saint will incur the wrath of their deity.

Call of Life: once per day a Catacomb Saint can call a deceased person's spirit back to its body, if the person has been deceased for less than 3 days. This person will be shaken and disoriented, but restored to full hit points.
Cure Disease: touching a Catacomb Saint instantly cures any disease the afflicted may have.
Catacomb Saints are immune to enchantments, sleep and charm spells.
Catacomb Saints exist to serve their deity. They are only servants of a Lawful aligned deity. Other Undead will avoid the presence of a Catacomb Saint, treat as continual Turn Undead by an 11th level cleric.