This is the blog. Click here to go to the Zenopus Archives website.

Note: Many older posts on this blog are missing images, but can be viewed at the corresponding page in the Internet Archive


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.                    ...

Monday, October 30, 2023

Yggsburgh reprint now shipping

Yggsburgh front cover

Last month, I wrote about the reprint of Yggsburgh, the sandbox setting (256 pages...!) written Gary Gygax in 2005 for his Castle Zagyg project (aka Castle Greyhawk). Troll Lord Games recently announced via their mailing list that shipping of orders of the reprint is now in progress, and buyers are reporting that copies are appearing in their mailboxes; see for example the photos posted here and here.

From the photos, we can see that the reprint appears to be the same as the original, but per reports can be distinguished by the label "Second Printing" and 2023 copyright given inside.

As a reminder, you can order the hardcover from the TLG site for $65, which also includes an immediate download of the PDF, or you can buy the PDF alone from DrivethruRPG for $19.99:

Yggsburgh Print + PDF 

Yggsburgh PDF only

Friday, October 20, 2023

Troodontoid Statue (New Monster)

Image Source

This is a new monster for Holmes Basic, one which is featured in Area 18 oThe Forgotten Smugglers' Cave adventure (which is indexed here).

Troodontoid Statue

Move: nil
Hit Dice: by magic-user level
Armor Class: 0
Treasure Type: nil
Alignment: neutral
Attacks: spell-casting
Damage: by spell

Aeons ago, with their civilization facing an apocalypse, certain powerful wizards of a race of intelligent theropods preserved themselves through powerful magics that transformed them into magical statues, which would endure until conditions were more amenable for their return. 

On discovery, a troodontoid statue appears as a humanoid figure, roughly carved but with an observably non-human pointed face with huge eyes. The type of stone cannot be determined and is impervious to ordinary weapons or tools, only suffering damage from magical weapons. Magic cast or focused upon the statue, including Detect Magic, will be absorbed (as if by a Rod of Absorption) without effect and causing the spell to end if already in effect. The first five spell levels that are so absorbed will serve to incrementally awaken the troodontoid shade that dwells within, and the statue will slowly become of noticeably finer quality; i.e., more life-like in appearance.

Once fully awake, the troodontoid shade within will attempt to communicate telepathically with a spell-caster, although the long-forgotten tongue will be unintelligible unless a Read Languages spell is employed. Through permanent magic, the statue itself will be able to understand the spell-caster. If communication is achieved, the awakened statue will try to bargain for more magic to be cast upon it, for example offering to teach new spells to a magic-user.

The statue will be equivalent to a 11th to 16th level magic-user (roll 1d6 + 10 to determine), and able to absorb a total number of spell levels equal to a caster of that level. For example, a statue equivalent to a 13th level magic-user can absorb up to 78 spell levels total, and will know and be able to cast any standard spell of levels 1-6 using the levels it has absorbed. If attacked, the statue can defend itself using such spells. It can only use absorbed spell energy for casting; it has no further ability to memorize spells. 

If a magic-user studies with the statue daily, it can teach a new spell in an amount of time equal to one week per spell level (add 25% to the magic-users chance to know, and spells previously failed can be tried again); in exchange, the magic-user must cast one spell level on the statue each day.

Detail of "Dinosauroid" by Ely Kish. Source.

The statue will eventually use the absorbed levels to cast strange spells that will allow it grow a new flesh body for the shade to inhabit. The DM can decide whether the reborn troodontoid remains a beneficent mentor or has another, more sinister purpose.