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The Forgotten Smugglers' Cave: Index of Posts

An index of posts describing the Forgotten Smugglers' Cave, an adventure for Holmes Basic characters levels 2-4.                    ...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

One Hit Point Monsters

The Hoop Snake, image from Monstropedia

Here are some new monsters designed for use with single characters (one-on-one play), small parties (perhaps without clerics), or younger players. Many contain a whimsical or fairy tale element for upping the fantastical during the game. Each monster has but a single hit point, meaning that any successful hit takes one out, so there is no need to track hit points, just the number of monsters. Each monster also attacks as a normal human using the Holmes Basic rules (THAC0 20), and does but a single point of damage on a successful hit.

All of the monsters have the same stats unless otherwise indicated on the table below:
HD 1/8 (1 hit point, attacks as Normal Human with THAC0 20), 1 attack that does 1 point of damage (DMG 1 x 1), AC 7, Combat Move of 20' per round of 10 sec, and an average Dex of 10. Each monster is worth 1 XP, or 2 if it has a special attack/defense. The number appearing is 1d8 times the dungeon level or wilderness zone difficulty level. Treasure is present 50% of the time, and is equal to 1d20 times the total XP value of the monsters, and can be in the form of coins, gems, jewelry or other valuables.

For larger parties or higher level characters, 10 times the number of 1HP monsters can be used, perhaps with an optional Swarm rule: roll for damage normally, but the result equals the number of 1 hp monsters destroyed in a single attack. If desired, each of these monsters can also be easily increased to 1/4, 1/2 or 1 HD, and do 1-6 hp of damage per attack.

Update: Apparently the table, cut and pasted from Word, was not showing up on some computers, and was messing up the formatting of this blog. I've reformatted the table as a 1-page pdf that can be downloaded via the Holmes Reference Sheets page on the ZA site. I've put a screenshot of this pdf below.

A "friendly talking magpie" is mentioned by Gygax in the module B2. Vampire Bats are mentioned by Holmes as having AC3 in the combat section of the Basic rulebook but not otherwise described. The particular version of the Jack-in-the-Green is inspired by the fantasy novel Mythago Wood by the late Robert Holdstock. The other monsters are inspired by folklore, natural history or wordplay.

Screenshot of the 1-page sheet (pdf): 


  1. Very cool post. I might have to use a few of these. The Magpie will fit right into my faery world games.

  2. These are absolutely wonderful! I especially love the Corpse Lights. After all the torch-bearers that my players have lost, my dungeon will be full of these.

    I'm planning to begin a campaign for my daughter as soon as my Delving Deeper boxed set arrives, and these will make perfect introductory monsters. Thanks for sharing them.

  3. 1 and 2 are my favourites - very amusing!

  4. I will definitely be using some of these, thanks Z.

  5. excellent post, will make perfect 'monsters' for the soon to be run Kids D&D game starting in the Easter holidays

    many thanks

  6. In the same vein as the lost torch bearers, I once had my adventurers harassed by a train of undead pack mules. The zombie mules were seeking vengeance for being abandoned in the dungeon. Repeatedly!

  7. Excellent - the aggroach made me laugh out loud.

  8. These are brilliant! I'm totally putting some in my next game.

  9. Oh yes. I remember Gygax's Talking Magpie well. These are fine encounters.

  10. Thanks for all of the positive comments!

    For anyone who is interested, I've just turned the table into a one-page pdf that can be downloaded. See the link above.

  11. Hello I've used a number of these excellent monsters on a post in my blog.
    I beefed them up to 1-3 hit point monsters, so there is some need for damage rolls.
    If you want me to pull them please let me know.