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Friday, October 31, 2014

Fearsome Monsters

Text from some ads for OD&D and Holmes Basic in the mid-1970s

"The Dungeons are filled with fearsome monsters, fabulous treasures and frightful perils" - J. Eric Holmes, from the Introduction to the Holmes Basic rulebook.

For Halloween, a 'new' creature for OD&D and Holmes Basic... 

Fearsome Monster

Hit Dice AC Attacks Damage Move
1 9 1 1d6 60
2 8 1 1d6 60
3 7 1 1d6 60
4 6 1 2d6 90
5 5 1 2d6 90
6 4 1 2d6 90
7 3 1 2d6 90
8 2 1 3d6 120
9 1 1 3d6 120
10 0 1 3d6 120

The forgotten builders of the vast Underworld imbued it with the ability to create its own strange defenders. The earth and stone was imbued with the essence of chaos and attuned to interact with the subconscious mind. Thus, the fearsome monsters are unwittingly shaped by the very delvers who dare to enter the prehistoric corridors. And the deeper the dungeons, the more deadly the created beasts.

For each surface dweller entering the dungeon, one monster will be created at a time. The process takes 1d4 days, and brief periods of leaving the dungeon, such as overnight, will not halt it, and the monster will have hit dice correspond to the lowest dungeon level reached during this time period. The monsters, once finished, will attack any intruders, although they will preferential pursue their own creator. Adventurers may encounter monsters created by earlier trespassers, although these may be in the process of decaying, as the monsters slowly return to their original substance once their creator leaves the dungeon. If a monster is destroyed, another will begin forming after 1d4 days.

The monsters vary in form (roll on the table below), but all generate an unnatural aura of fear. When first encountered, each character must save vs Spells or flee in terror, dropping all items held in hand. The monster's pursuit will be slow but relentless. A character who fails a save must roll again the next time the monster is encountered.

Form (roll 1d10):
1. Tentacled Humanoid
2. Hopping Monopod
3. Flapping Thing
4. Cyclopean Construct
5. Crawling Fungoid
6. Cackling Primate
7. Floating Monolith
8. Oozing Insectoid
9. Mouldering Heap
10. Roll Twice, using the first adjective and second noun.
If the monster is defeated, it will rapidly decay back into to the substance of its creation, leaving a pile dirt, rocks and gems. There will be 1d6 gems per HD of the creature. Roll for value randomly on the Gems table. 

(The idea of the environment creating monsters from the mind is inspired by the mythagos of Mythago Wood by the late Robert Holdstock).