Saturday, 29 February 2020

Jellies...! Part 4

And still more jelly! This one includes stats for Old School Essentials

ICE JELLY
  

FREQUENCY: Very rare
 

NO. APPEARING: 1
 

ARMOR CLASS: 8

MOVE: 6"

HIT DICE: 5

% IN LAIR: Nil

TREASURE TYPE: Nil

NO. OF ATTACKS: See below

DAMAGE/ATTACK: 2-12

SPECIAL ATTACKS: See below

SPECIAL DEFENSES: See below

MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard

INTELLIGENCE: Non-

ALIGNMENT: Neutral

SIZE: M (4 feet wide)

PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil

       Attack/Defense Modes: Nil
 

At first glance, ice jellies appear to be nothing more than an uneven patch of frozen water on a floor, wall or other surface. They prefer cold, damp places and thus might be found in dungeons and similar locations. Like some other jellies, they can squeeze through narrow spaces, under doors, etc.

When attacking, the jelly will rapidly grow a mass of solid icy spikes. Each turn, it can fire up to 3 of these to a distance of  80 feet, each inflicting 2-12 points of damage. It may also choose to make a magical attack, casting Cone of Cold as a 5th level magic-user every 3 turns.

Cold-based attacks will prove fruitless, and provide the jelly with an extra spike attack in the following turn. However, fire and heat-based attacks have twice their normal effect against these creatures, whilst lightning bolts have their normal effect. 

STATS FOR OSE

AC 8 [11], HD 5** (25hp), Att 3 × ice spike
(2d6) or magical attack THAC0 15 [+4], MV 40’ (10’), 

SV D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (3), ML 12, 
AL Neutral, XP 400, NA 1 (0), TT None

Ice spikes: 80' range, 3 per round
Magical attack: acts as if using a Wand of Cold, attacking every 3 rounds.
Seep: Can squeeze through small holes and cracks.
Immunity: Unharmed by cold-based attacks - provides an extra spike attack in the following round.

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Jellies...! Part 3

Time for some more jelly! This one includes stats for Old School Essentials, to which I've become a recent convert:

FIRE JELLY
  

FREQUENCY: Very rare
 

NO. APPEARING: 1
 

ARMOR CLASS: 8

MOVE: 4"

HIT DICE: 4-6

% IN LAIR: Nil

TREASURE TYPE: Nil

NO. OF ATTACKS: See below

DAMAGE/ATTACK: 2-16

SPECIAL ATTACKS: Blinding, Engulf (see below)

SPECIAL DEFENSES: See below

MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard

INTELLIGENCE: Non-

ALIGNMENT: Neutral

SIZE: M (4-6 feet wide)

PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil

       Attack/Defense Modes: Nil
 

Although Fire Jellies can squeeze through narrow spaces and along ceilings, walls, and floors, on first glance they appear to be a mass of blackish grey stone dotted with numerous pits. They might even be mistaken for a large area of metal slag until they move. Fire Jellies are usually found in deep caves far underground, favouring areas where magma and other volcanic activity is present. Occasionally found in dungeons, they sometimes also seek out areas where metalworking and similar activity is present and thus are quite well known to dwarves and gnomes as a dangerous pest. They are attracted to sources of heat, and so parties using torches and similar open flames run the risk of being ambushed.

When attacking, the jelly rapidly becomes a large burning mass covered with black patches. In this form they are particularly dangerous to any beings that possess Infravision, as they risk being temporarily blinded (for 1-6 turns) unless a Saving Throw is made. The jelly will attempt to strike with two burning pseudopods, each inflicting 2-16 points of damage. It will also try to engulf any fallen opponent, inflicing 3-30 points of damage per turn from intense heat and burning.
Fire-based attacks will prove fruitless, and provide the jelly with an extra attack in the following turn. However, cold attacks have twice their normal effect against these creatures, whilst lightning bolts have their normal effect.
STATS FOR OSE

AC 8 [11], HD 5** (25hp), Att 2 × pseudopod
(2d8) or Engulf (3d10) THAC0 15 [+4], MV 30’ (10’), 

SV D12 W13 P14 B15 S16 (3), ML 12, 
AL Neutral, XP 400, NA 1 (0), TT None

▶ Immunity: Unharmed by fire-based attacks - provides an extra pseudopod attack in the following round.
▶ Blinding: blinds any persons possessing infravision (save vs paralysis)
▶ Engulf: fallen prey engulfed and receive 3d10 damage per round
▶ Seep: Can squeeze through small holes and cracks.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Jellies...! Part 2

Working onwards from last week's post, I was wondering whether, if jellies are partially the result of magical experiments, what would happen if they had some magical abilities? With that in mind, here's another jelly design. It's statted for 1E AD&D and, as always, includes an illustrative doodle:

LIGHTNING JELLY

  
FREQUENCY: Rare
 

NO. APPEARING: 1
 

ARMOR CLASS: 8

MOVE: 3"

HIT DICE: 4-6

% IN LAIR: Nil

TREASURE TYPE: Nil

NO. OF ATTACKS: See below

DAMAGE/ATTACK: See below

SPECIAL ATTACKS: See below

SPECIAL DEFENSES: See below

MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard

INTELLIGENCE: Non-

ALIGNMENT: Neutral

SIZE: M (6 feet wide, 2-3 feet high in spherical form)

PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil

       Attack/Defense Modes: Nil
 

Lightning jellies are found in dungeons and other subterranean places, usually taking on the appearance of a pool of water or of moisture running along a surface. Like the ochre jelly, it can squeeze through narrow spaces and can move along ceilings, walls, and floors.

It is only when attacking that the jelly takes on another form, gathering itself to become a spherical mass that has a slight blueish glow. It will then loose a charge of electricity, attacking as a 3rd level Magic User casting Lightning Bolt and inflicting 3-18 points of damage. It can usually only make one attack per turn, although striking the creature with lightning bolts only serves to give the jelly an extra attack in the following round. The jelly will absorb the organic part of any fallen prey.

Lightning jellies are immune to cold attacks but fire-based attacks have a normal effect.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Jellies...!


Time to get back in the ol' blog saddle and get back to designing some monsters.

I have a general propensity to think that many of the monsters in 1E AD&D are... well.. weird. I thought that when first introduced to the RPG and I still think it now. One of the stranger species in the Monster Manual is the Ochre Jelly. If I remember correctly, Gary Gygax said that jellies were the result of life springing up from drains, down which various exotic ingredients had been discarded after magical experiments.
 
Anyway, a few years ago I ran a homebrew 1E AD&D dungeon crawl and designed a new type of jelly (and subsequent posts will feature some others):

STAR JELLY

  
FREQUENCY: Uncommon
 

NO. APPEARING: 1-2
 

ARMOR CLASS: 8

MOVE: 6"

HIT DICE: 4-6

% IN LAIR: Nil

TREASURE TYPE: Nil

NO. OF ATTACKS: 2

DAMAGE/ATTACK: 4-8

SPECIAL ATTACKS: None

SPECIAL DEFENSES: See below

MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard

INTELLIGENCE: Non-

ALIGNMENT: Neutral

SIZE: L (10 – 15 feet wide, 3-4 feet high)

PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil

       Attack/Defense Modes: Nil
 

Star jellies resemble a huge starfish and exist in a wide variety of colours. This gelatinous mass is usually found in cold, dark, damp places such as caves but will venture into dungeons in search of food. Unlike the ochre jelly, star jellies lack the ability to flow through small spaces and cannot move along ceilings. However, they are a much faster opponent, propelling themselves along with a multitude of feelers beneath each limb.

These creatures are particularly attracted to metals of all kinds, seeking out mineral veins in caves but preferring the refined steels, irons, and precious metals common to adventuring parties. They will attempt to engulf any target and use powerful acids to consume metal and flesh alike (4-8 hit points per round of exposure).

Should any jelly lose 50% of it’s hit points, one or more of it’s afflicted limbs will dissolve into an acidic gas and the jelly will attempt to escape. Anyone within 10 feet of the creature must make a Saving Throw or receive 1-6 points of damage. Wounded jellies can regrow a single limb in 1-4 days. Similarly, upon death the jelly will dissolve into a larger cloud and anyone within 10 feet must make a Saving Throw or receive 1-8 points of damage. Any form of metal exposed to this gas will tarnish and become discolored.

Star jellies are immune to cold attacks but fire-based attacks have a normal effect. Striking the creature with lightning bolts causes it to split into seperate limbs, each with 2 hit dice but with all movement, attacks and defenses remaining the same as a complete jelly.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

'Hic sunt dracones...', part 3

After a bit of a hiatus, and further to my previous posts about sea dragons (here and here), it's time for... another sea dragon. For this post, I've gone for a bit of a 'weird' design, and will include details of it's crew. As always, there are sketches to give you some idea of what things look like...

SEA HORROR (Greater Sea Dragon)


FREQUENCY: Rare
NO. APPEARING: 1 
ARMOR CLASS: 0
MOVE: 24" 
HIT DICE: 9-11
% IN LAIR: 0%
TREASURE TYPE:  See below
NO. OF ATTACKS: 2
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 6-36 beak, 4-40 bite
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Some magic use
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Nil
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard
INTELLIGENCE: Very
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Evil
SIZE: L (100' long) 
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil 
      Attack/Defense Modes: Nil

It's not known if the Sea Horror owes its existence to magic or some quirk of adaption to the sea. The spines and scales common to other dragons have become odd masses resembling the various details of a sea-going vessel. The dragon also has a symbiotic relationship with creatures that live on it, the Kereb (see below). Both creatures roam the sea, attacking any ships they find by ramming and boarding.

Propelled by its powerful tail, the Sea Horror attacks by moving at high speed and ramming its target. Its long prow-like nose can easily pierce the side of most ships and it will also use its massive teeth to chew away below the waterline. During this time, the Kereb will seek to board the stricken vessel. The Sea Horror will also employ the spell Chaos as part of its attack, casting as a 5th Level Illusionist.

The dragon is very keen on acquiring treasure in any form. This will be stashed 'on-board', being made up of a great variety of booty acquired by the Kereb.


Description: the greater part of the dragon will always be below the water. That seen above will resemble brownish tarred wood and will appear to be a ship from all but close range. Bony plates extend up from it's back to form the sides, and a long spine will have all the appearance of a mast. Behind the creature's head and upper sides is a flattish area where the Kereb live and keep their treasure. The Kereb will often festoon the body of the dragon with various objects in order to make it more resemble a ship - including sails, anchors, rigging, ropes, etc.

KEREB


FREQUENCY: Rare
NO. APPEARING: 8-64
ARMOR CLASS: 4
MOVE: 9"/6" (in water)
HIT DICE: 3
% IN LAIR: 100%
TREASURE TYPE:  F
NO. OF ATTACKS: 5
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-12, 3-18
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Paralysis
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Nil
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard
INTELLIGENCE: Low to average
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Evil
SIZE: M (6' tall) 
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil 
      Attack/Defense Modes: Nil

The Kereb are a race of aquatic creatures that are usually found in the company and as the 'crew' of a Sea Horror. They may also be encountered in subterranean places, as long as they are connected to the sea.

They will attack using their long sharp claw, inflicting 1-12 hit points of damage, or with their club-like arm, inflicting 3-18 hit points of damage. They can also sting with three of their feelers during any attack, which will paralyze opponents (save versus paralyzation or it takes effect).

Individual creatures do not carry treasure, but will they collectively have a hoard of Type F objects and coins.

Description: the Kereb have hard shell-like bodies, usually with pale undersides covered with darker mottles in various shades of blue, green, purple and red. These colours vary in predominance from one individual creature to another.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

'Hic sunt dracones', part 2...

Following on from my previous blog post, here's another sea-based dragon for 1E D&D and similar systems:

SEA SPEAR (Greater Sea Dragon)


FREQUENCY: Rare
NO. APPEARING: 1 
ARMOR CLASS: 1
MOVE: 24" 
HIT DICE: 9-11
% IN LAIR: 10%
TREASURE TYPE:  See below
NO. OF ATTACKS: 3
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 2-12 wings, 3-18 tail, 6-36 beak
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Magic use
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Nil
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard
INTELLIGENCE: Very
ALIGNMENT: Lawful Evil
SIZE: L (60' long) 
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil 
      Attack/Defense Modes: Nil

The Sea Spear is a rare but terrible threat to any vessel traversing the oceans. These dragons despise sentient creatures and always seek to clear them from the sea, a domain which they claim is theirs only.

The Sea Spear attacks by gliding at high speed just above the surface of the water, hoping to avoid the notice of any lookouts. It's long beak will act like a spear point and will be driven into the side of the vessel under attack. It will then pull itself free using its wings and by lashing its great tail. If the dragon instead suspects that treasure is aboard, it will fly at the sails and cut them to ribbons using the sharp edges of its wings. It will then wrap itself around the mainmast and attack using the spell Lightning Bolt, which it can cast as a 6th level magic-user, as well as striking out with its wings and beak. Once the crew has been disposed of, the dragon will devour any treasure it finds and regurgitate it later when it returns to its lair. Sea Spear lairs are caves cut into cliff faces, usually on some remote shoreline. Any treasure found here will vary greatly - some Sea Spears covet jewels, others gold and precious metals.

Although primarily an air-breathing creature, the Sea Spear can spend prolonged periods underwater, propelled by its sinous body and powerful tail.

Description: the upper part of its body is a mottling of dark and pale blues, which allow it to blend very effectively with the surface of the sea. Its beak and wings have streaks of ivory-like hues. When fully spread, the tail has patches of bright crimson and magenta.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

'Hic sunt dracones'...

The gist of my approach to dragons is to try and design new versions that are perhaps not your usual dragon fare (i.e. flying reptiles). Partly because it's always good to try and catch your D&D players out and mess with their presumptions, and mostly because I think it's interesting to go that extra mile with monsters just to add some colour and variety to your world. And, at the end of the day, just because something is a dragon that doesn't necessarily mean that it has to follow the default setting (i.e. flying reptiles).

Having previously delved into the world of dragons with my series on chitinous varieties, I thought I'd now have a try at designing a few that reside in the depths of the oceans. This is mostly inspired by the sorts of creatures one can see on reproductions of various old maps, following on from a prevous blog post of mine a few years ago. So, here's the first in a short series on such beasties for 1E D&D which, as usual, is accompanied by a sketch to give you an idea of what it looks like:

'SHIP EATER' (Greater Sea Dragon)


FREQUENCY: Very rare
NO. APPEARING: 1 
ARMOR CLASS: 2
MOVE: 14" 
HIT DICE: 160 hit points
% IN LAIR: 10%
TREASURE TYPE:  See below
NO. OF ATTACKS: 3
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 2-12 claws, 2-12 horns, 6-36 bite
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Blinding
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Nil
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard
INTELLIGENCE: Very
ALIGNMENT: Lawful Evil
SIZE: L (150' long) 
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil 
      Attack/Defense Modes: Nil

This dragon haunts the darkest depths of the ocean and only rises close to the surface at the approach of twilight. The name 'Ship Eater' is a loose translation of a title given to it by sea elves and is noted with fear in several age-old stories and legends. The creature's lair is rumoured to be a cave somewhere on the ocean floor containing the vast treasure it has hoarded from dragging many ships to their doom. It is also said that the lair is guarded by numourous evil sea-dwelling creatures who worship the dragon as a god. It is not known if there is more than one of these creatures in existence.

The dragon will usually appear to sea-farers in a variety of ways. It will sometimes raise it's huge spiny back back from the sea and remain stationary in this guise, having all the appearance of a small rocky island. It will also use a spell equivalent to a 10th level Hallucinatory Terrain in order to complete this illusion, which will also effect anyone looking into the water around this 'island'. Should any ship or boat moor there for a time, the dragon will rise up and attempt to devour any crew who may have attempted to explore it. The dragon will sometimes capture one or more vessels in this way and attempt to lure more by using them as bait. 

If the dragon suspects that a vessel carries gold and other precious items, it may attack it using its huge bite and gulp down anything that falls into its maw. It will regurgitate all of this treasure upon returning to its lair. Otherwise it may lure the crew of the treasure ship in the manner described above, and then later drag this ship beneath the waves and back to its lair.

During storms, fogs and other similarly dangerous weather the dragon will raise its head above the water if it senses the approach of any ship. Ordinarily, it's eyes are flat, dark and dead like those of  shark but if it so chooses it can cause one of them to glow, appearing at a distance to be a shore-based light. If a ship is lured towards it in such a way, it will then attack. 

At night it can use both eyes cause a blinding light during its attack, if it so wishes. Anyone within 50' of this light must save (as against wands) or be blinded for 6-36 turns. Anyone with infravision within this range must save at -3.

Description: the spine and upper back of the dragon's body appears to be rock-like ridge that may offer some shelter. The rest of its body in covered in numerous streaks and patches of various blue-black hues.