Sunday, October 10, 2021

Jack-O'-Dungeons Returns! A week of monsters

 Last year, I attempted an Inktober inspired challenge called “Jack-O’-Dungeons” to write a blog post every day in the month of October. Some of the pieces turned out great, but others, well… Not only that, but I didn’t even make it close to finishing the whole month. This year I wanted to try again but with a few changes. Here are the rules I set for myself:

  • Every day, I will design a monster using the Magic Pyramid method

  • Since I very much want to improve my art, every day I will attempt a pen and ink drawing of the monster (my sincere apologies that you all will have to endure the life-draining work of a beginner amature artist) just like traditional Inktober.

  • Rather than flood the blog with posts, I will post once a week with the monsters created during that week.


I hope you all enjoy! Since I’ve been playing the second edition of the advanced game lately, all stats given below are designed for that game; however, converting them to the old school game of your choice shouldn’t be too difficult. 


A bit of a content warning here before we get started—these monsters are pretty much all horror-themed. There is some light nudity (one of the monsters shows off her butt—a bit “cheeky” of me, I know), mentions of addictions, and one of the monsters visits its victims during their sleep. 





The Living Diadem 


Worn by Kings and Queens as a crown, The Living Diadem is a powerfully psionic parasitic crustacean. When placed on a head, it gently inserts two arms equipped with special psychic and biological receptors into the ears of its prospective host. The Living Diadem is a favorite among the leaders of small, usually coastal kingdoms or provinces because of the benefits it provides the host:

  • Hosts can access the memories of all previous hosts, increasing their Charisma by 1 for every fifty years of the Diadem’s life and Wisdom by 1 for every 75 years (Diadems typically live 700-1000 years). Some city-states use the Diadem as a way of effectively extending the life of the host, allowing humans to live far longer than is otherwise possible through the memories carried by the Diadem.

  • The Diadem has precognitive powers and shares them with its host when it feels the host (and, by extension, itself) is in danger.

  • The Diadem grants its hosts heightened senses—especially useful for sussing out assassins.


The Diadem is no symbiont, however; hosts must be cautious or else risk losing control of their sanity or their body. The Diadem saps the strength of its host by 1 for every year it is worn down to a minimum of five so that it can control the host’s body easier. The Diadem will work to kill any who are a threat to its power. 


Removing the Diadem once it has latched is not easy--requiring a successful Medicine proficiency check to perform safely. It’s possible to simply rip the crab off, but it requires a successful open doors check. If the crab is ripped off or the Medicne proficiency check is not successful, both the crab and the host must pass a system shock check or die. If the Diadem is killed while style latched to the host, the host will die as well.


In combat, the Diadem usually relies on its host’s access to guards and servants. In danger, the Diadem generally prefers to flee rather than attack, using its heightened senses to avoid danger. If the Diadem is somehow cornered without a host, it will first attempt to latch itself to a new host, attempting to Switch Personalities in emergency situations.


Encounter Ideas

  • The party encounters a madwoman ranting about the “true king.” She is a former host to the Diadem, but she removed it when she discovered, through the memories of previous hosts, that the kingdom was stolen from its rightful heir, proof of which the King/Queen keeps in a dungeon beneath the castle. Unfortunately, with the Diadem removed her sanity is somewhat shaky.

  • The party encounters a group of hunters searching for a black-winged albatross—the bird pecked at the Diadem, and now the King/Queen is offering an enormous bounty to any who kill it. The hunters are willing to injure anyone whom they feel are competition for the bounty.

  • The party encounters a group of the King/Queen’s guards harassing an obviously pregnant person. This person is the former host’s lover who now carries a baby Diadem. The current host wants the baby Diadem dead as it could pose a threat to their power.


Statistics

No. Appearing: 1

Armor Class: 5

Movement: 9

Hit Dice: 3+3

Thac0: 17

# of Attacks:1

Attacks: Claw d4

Special Attacks: Mindlink--See Above

Special Defenses: Nil

Magic Resistance: Nil

Size: T

 Morale: 5

XP Value: 650


Psionics:

Level: 3  Dis/Sci/Dev:2/2/7 Attack/Defense:-/IF,TW Score:13 PSPs:150


The diadem has: Telekinesis, Control Body, Inertial Barrier, Control Light, Switch Personality, Conceal Thoughts, Awe, Identity Penetration, and Send Thoughts





The Tree of Plenty


The Tree of Plenty resembles a gnarled willow tree with a human face (most often thankfully sleeping). Villages that form near or around a Tree of Plenty are blessed with bountiful harvests, good weather, and wise leadership. The tree does demand a price for this prosperity. Each year, before fall, the tree grows fruitlings—strange malformed little imps. The fruitlings do not speak, but they will choose someone from the village to be anointed at the fall festival. After a week of feasting and orgiastic celebrations, the Tree of Plenty awakens and the anointed one is fed to its open maw. The fruitlings only last 1d4+1 weeks before spoiling, but make good eating before then. In the next year, the fruitlings bear a strange resemblance to the previous year’s anointed one...


In combat, the tree will try to maintain distance from its enemies with its whomping tree branches. Those who are hit with a whomping branch must make a save vs. Breath or be thrown 10’ backwards, prone. It can bite those in melee, but has difficulty protecting its flank and back (since it can’t turn)—it has a -4 to hit and damage those in its flank or rear. It is immune to most projectile weapons short of cannon fire, but quite vulnerable to flaming missiles provided the presence of sufficient accelerant. 


Encounter Ideas

  • Roaming fruitlings try to wordlessly convince one of the party members to return to the village to be anointed.

  • The party encounters a prospective anointed one being chased through the woods by fruitlings and nude revelers from the village.

  • A woodsman and a monk are searching for help destroying the Tree of Plenty, but are facing opposition from village leadership.


Statistics

No. Appearing: 1

Armor Class: 0

Movement:0

Hit Dice: 6

Thac0: 15

# of Attacks: 2

Attacks: Bite d6 or Limb Whomp d10

Special Attacks: Limb Whomp-See Above

Special Defenses: Immune to missiles--see above

Magic Resistance: None

Size: L

 Morale: X (can’t move)

XP Value: 975





Theseus, the Limb Peddler


Theseus was most likely a human in antediluvian days, but his actual origin is unknown. At some point, he was gifted or crafted a knife made of bone with the unusual property that any limbs cut with it are reattached easily, even to a different body. Theseus has kept himself alive by cutting off any limb or organ that malfunctions with a new one. As unknown years passed, no part of Theseus is original. By trade, Theseus wanders from town to town, offering to sell new limbs or organs for those that have failed in exchange for favors, money, or “unneeded” limbs. Any debts are collected by Theseus’s Raven, Melinda. Those who can’t or won’t pay are usually disassembled for parts.


In combat, Theseus has no abilities beyond a standard human. Melinda has access to spells such as Sleep and Hold Person that she uses to incapacitate enemies for long enough for Theseus to disassemble limbs. They do not want to cause direct damage to avoid any damage to limbs that could be sold, but will do so if necessary. Theseus’s knife requires 2 interrupted rounds to sever a limb. Severing the limb does not cause any damage or loss of hit points—the wound magically heals instantly. Reattaching the limb requires one full turn and can be accomplished by simply holding the limb to any desired spot.


Encounter Ideas:

  • The party encounters an obviously nervous highway robber who is much too young. He is desperately trying to raise money before Melinda takes his mother’s limbs.

  • The party encounters Melinda attacking a young child as Theseus watches.

  • Several of the limbs managed to crawl away from Theseus and are now in the same pub as the party getting drunk.


Statistics

Theseus

No. Appearing: 1

Armor Class: 8

Movement: 12

Hit Dice: 4

Thac0:17

# of Attacks: 2

Attacks: Knife d3

Special Attacks: Separate Limbs (see above)

Special Defenses: none

Magic Resistance: None

Size: M

 Morale: 18

XP Value: 175


Melinda

No. Appearing: 1

Armor Class: 7

Movement: 1, Flying 36 (Class B)

Hit Dice: 4

Thac0: 17

# of Attacks: 1

Attacks: Beck 1d2

Special Attacks: Melinda can cast spells as a 4th level wizard

Special Defenses:--

Magic Resistance: Immune to Fear, Sleep

Size: T

 Morale: 18

XP Value: 420





Toadfoot


The toadfoot resembles a hairless human with extremely large legs. Their gray, warty skin exudes a chemical with a horrible smell that wards off any visitors—unfortunately, Toadfeet tend towards sentimentality and love visitors (perhaps a bit too much). Toadfeet live off a specific type of vine that grows in the swamp. Since the vine tends to accumulate heavy metals, the droppings of the Toadfoot are nearly always gold or other precious metals. Adventurers seek out the Toadfoot for its precious droppings. The Toadfoot is more than willing to share its droppings with any adventurers, but, since it loves visitors more than anything else, is usually less willing to let its visitors leave. In its eagerness, it’s not uncommon for the Toadfoot to accidentally kill visitors.


In the words of a Saturday Night Live sketch, “It’s a hundred floors of frights, they ain’t all gonna be winners.”


Encounter Ideas


  • The party catches a little imp running around the swamp trying to gather up the droppings of a Toadfoot.

  • Wandering through the swamp, they meet an old hermit who makes it his business to warn away newcomers. He feels it’s his duty to inform, but he won’t stop any party that “seems determined to make a damned fool of [themselves].”

  • A young couple on the run from the Toadfoot. They have stayed as “guests” of the Toadfoot for over a month. Their clothes are completely tattered, they have no supplies and no way of getting home, but they do have a large bag of gold.


Statistics

No. Appearing: 1

Armor Class: 6

Movement: 12

Hit Dice: 6+3

Thac0: 13

# of Attacks: 2

Attacks: Kick 2d4

Special Attacks: Grapple 

Special Defenses: None

Magic Resistance: None

Size: L

 Morale: 13

XP Value: 1400





Nebuchadnezzar the Puppeteer


Nebuchadnezzar is small, boneless, shapeless, pink creature dredged up from the bottom sea, fell from the sky, or possibly somehow both. Like an oyster, it crafted a shell for itself in a shape that would be familiar to the inhabitants of our strange world— a marionette. As a skilled illusionist, the creature creates an illusory puppetmaster, travelling from town to town to entertain local audiences. Since Nebuchadnezzar does not understand human speech very well, the illusionary puppet master does not speak beyond introducing itself as “Nebuchadnezzar, the puppeteer.”


The creature genuinely loves our world, humanity, and the art of puppetry; however, it requires human pineal glands to survive. When a human with a sufficient pineal gland comes to the puppet show, Nebuchadnezzar will use Hypnotic Pattern to mesmerize the audience and its intended victim. The creature emerges from the marionette for long enough to discreetly extract the pineal gland, and then cast Forget. When the audience awakens from the Hypnotic Pattern and the death of the victim is discovered, Nebuchadnezzar simply dispels the illusory puppetmaster, allowing the audience to think he escaped. 


Nebuchadnezzer does not wish to cause more death than is necessary for it to survive. On the other hand, it has no desire to atone for its actions. It is completely helpless in combat, preferring to use illusions to deceive party members. It has in its possession a number of valuable artifacts.


Encounter Ideas:

  • The party runs into a down-on-their luck theatre troupe. Nicodemus always seems to visit the very same towns they want to go to--but by the time they get there, the town is always suspicious of entertainers. The troupe wants proof that Nicodemus is behind the deaths or at the very least convince him to follow a different route.

  • A pickpocket stole a crystal ball from Nicodemus at one of his shows. The crystal ball shows him visions of Nicodemus’s home, and now the pickpocket has quite lost his sanity. The party encounters the pickpocket attempting (badly) to steal from them.

  • A former baroness has become addicted to the hypnotizing effects of Nicodemus’s show and now follows him around from town to town. The party encounters one of  the baron’s guards—he is attempting to shadow the baroness at the baron’s request, but is now concerned that she might be behind the deaths.


Statistics

No. Appearing: 1

Armor Class: 15

Movement: 1

Hit Dice: 1

Thac0: 20

# of Attacks: 0

Special Attacks: Can cast spells as a 6th level Illusionist

Special Defenses: None

Magic Resistance: None

Size: T

 Morale: 10

XP Value: 1400





One who Walks in Hallways of Glass


Seven days before a visitation by the One who Walks in Hallways of Glass, their servant will visit the home of the prospective victim at night, preferably while the victim sleeps. The servant is a humanoid, impish creature with grey, purulent skin that introduces itself as The One who Gnaws Bitter Air and tells the future victim to prepare for the One who Walks in Hallways of Glass before sulking off into the darkness.


Over the next seven days, the victim will be able to see the One who Walks in Hallways of Glass, a tall, robed figure with the head of an occluded glass orb, from any mirror. Distant at first, but getting closer as the seven days pass. At the end of the seven days, the One who Walks in Hallways of Glass will either present the victim a rare item, wondrously wrought and with great magical power OR it will drain the victim, leaving behind a dessicated corpse. There is no known reason for why it does this, and there seems to be no pattern to the types of people it visits, how frequently it visits, or how it determines the outcome of its visitations.


The creature is intelligent, and if attacked, will attempt to drain its weakest  enemy first—closing in on spellcasters and ranged weapon uses. The One who Walks in Hallways of Glass can be turned as a Wight.


Encounter Ideas:

  • The party encounters a woman who had been given seven league boots as a gift from the One who Walks in Hallways of Glass and now travels from city to city telling people that the figure is an ancient god who only harms those who harbor evil in the heart. She eagerly collections donations, especially from those who have been visited by the One who Gnaws Bitter Air.

  • A woman has been visited by the One who Gnaws Bitter Air, and, since then has desperately sought to discover some kind of pattern. After consulting various texts, she has decided that the only certain way to ensure the One who Walks in Wallways of Glass does not kill her is by offering a human sacrifice. She will offer party members work in her basement killing rats, but it is a trap—with the party ensnared, she will attempt to sacrifice them within view of a floor-length mirror.

  • A Scholar approaches the party looking for protection on the route to the ruined castle of a dead line of nobility. He believes that the entrance to the Hallways of Glass can be found somewhere within the castle.


Statistics

No. Appearing: 1

Armor Class: 5

Movement: 12

Hit Dice: 4+3

Thac0: 15

# of Attacks: 1 

Special Attacks: Energy Drain (d4 and lose one level)

Special Defenses: Hit only by silver or magical weapons

Magic Resistance:

Size: M

 Morale: 14

XP Value: 1400





The Golden Goat


The Golden Goat is born out of an extremely rare genetic mutation to ordinary goat parents. Golden Goats have brilliant, nearly translucent skin and hair that emits a golden light. Both males and female Golden Goats are prone to philosophising and spirituality. The milk of a golden goat is particularly powerful—it can cure diseases and permanently reverse aging. The milk is also highly addictive. As a result, the Golden Goats tend to have whole communities organize around them in a communal lifestyle.


A talented Golden Goat who gives powerful sermons and provides ample milk can attract followers from great distances. The sick especially will travel great distances and make large donations to become a part of the commune. Once accepted into the common, the Goat demands a life of austerity and peace. Those who fail to abide by the goat’s laws are shunned and often die quickly when their illness returns.


In combat, the goat relies heavily on its followers, but is not above kicking or biting if necessary.


Encounter Ideas

  • One of the members secretly sells milk to a minor noble. Now the member is trying to blackmail the noble. The party encounters an assassin looking for the commune, posing as a devotee.

  • The party stops to rest for the night at a local farm. One of the farmer’s does gave birth to a golden goat, and is now getting pestered by members of a commune whose previous goat recently died.

  • A male golden goat with five attendees offers its profound wisdom in exchange for a small donation. The goat will not take no for an answer and the donation is never large enough.


Statistics

No. Appearing: 1

Armor Class: 7

Movement: 12

Hit Dice: 3

Thac0: 17

# of Attacks: 2

Attacks: Bite d2, Kick d6

Special Attacks: none

Special Defenses: Magical Milk

Magic Resistance: Immune to darkness

Size: M

 Morale: 6

XP Value: 1000




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