Monday 18 February 2013

More Scary Vanilla Monsters

By popular demand, more vanilla D&D monsters get the scary treatment.

Ogres join the ranks of "things that want to eat you", but are much more sophisticated. They have elaborate methods for slaughtering their prey, often leaving them alive for the first few courses. They refuse to waste a scrap of meat or bone and practically everything they own is made from a part of some unfortunate victim.

Hobgoblins are invaders from a distant continent. Next to their colossal empire the known world is a minor continent. Their technology is always slightly ahead of humans. When we had bows, they had crossbows. When we had muskets they had Gatling guns. Their ships are ironclad and their military strategies incredibly cunning.

Owlbears are the Jason Voorhees of the animal kingdom. They stalk the woods at night, killing anyone that disturbs their peace. They're far tougher than they seem, but will play dead or flee when a fight is going against them. If this happens they will obsessively track their opponents and attack when their quarry is weakest. With extremely acute scent and vision it's near impossible to lose an Owlbear that's following you.

Gelatinous Cubes are already terrifying in life. In death their structure collapses to flood their surroundings with a mix of paralysing toxin and burning acid. Anyone that succumbs to both of these fluids will lie very still while they slowly melt.

Friday 15 February 2013

Make Vanilla Monsters Scary

That first level dungeon needn't be a complete borefest.

Giant Spiders are apex predators, hiding in dark cracks until they pounce on you. They come with a Save or Die bite as standard.

Trolls regenerate from any amount of damage. Limbs can drag themselves back to torsos and reassemble. The reason they're so ugly is that you're not the first person to try burning them.

Orcs aren't much different from humans, physiologically. The scary part is that they're complete bastards and there are hundreds of them. The room with four orcs is a trap. The rest of the gang is waiting behind the door with firebombs and a complete lack of morals.

Goblins are innately magical and just want to screw with you. They'll turn your water into piss, wake up the sleeping dragon and pack your firewood full of exploding fairydust. If you chop one in half you'll spawn two smaller, squeakier goblins. If you set one on fire he'll turn into a mini-elemental. When they hide under a rock you'll lift it to find nothing but a stinkbomb. Just hope you never run into one of these creatures.

Giant Rats are completely filthy. Even if you don't get bitten you're not getting out of a giant rat nest without something. Ticks, fleas, general itchiness. Your digestive system won't be quite right for days afterwards. Oh, and remember how Orcs are never alone? If you see a lone Giant Rat prepare for company.

Gnolls will eat you. This is Plan A and they don't have much of a backup. Once they get your scent they'll gang up on the weakest in the herd and try to pin him down so they can start dinner. If the rest of the party puts up a fight they'll make sure their meal gets dragged with them while they retreat.

When your players tire of dying and running away perhaps they'll think of a better way to get the treasure.