Thursday, May 28, 2020

d66/d18 Monsters of the Low Moon Itself.

On the far edge of the Taiga/Tundra, where it meets the Deep Ice, the Moon hangs so low it’s like you could pluck it from the night sky.


Under the right circumstances, if you try this, you will find yourself instantly transported there. This is not the only way.


Not utterly unlike our own moon - craters, mountains, dust, rocks, a dark side – but it’s a dungeon-studded, factional, fantasy wilderness.


D&D adjacent if not system agnostic, and not balanced for probabilities.




Lunar Puddings.

Probably clustered in a crater waiting for the sun to charge them up. Less aggressive and less corrosive (½ damage) than Black Puddings – they won’t automatically try to eat you. They go to the dark side to hunt, radiating their solar charge as a slow effect. Cannot consume lunar metals (mercury, silver, magnesium), stone, crystal or glass.


Gargantuan Shriekers.

Sequoia-trunked mushrooms clustered mainly on the moon’s dark side – your efforts are too small and feeble to activate them, but their collective shrieks could level cities – who knows what predators that would attract?


d666 Ghouls.

Not just Ghouls, but d666 Ghouls, so a minimum of 111. There’s not much flesh to be found on the moon, so they’re going to be ravenous, mad with hunger. Only a few of these undead will have intact/ functioning hearing organs.


d66 Wights.

Fortunately for them, an energy level doesn’t need to be drawn from a fleshy or even living thing. But it has made them strange, and they do still desire mortal life energy.


Pearl Jelly.

Lachrymiform translucent ooze-monster. Slowly drags itself around or squats in one place, wobbling. If you lock eyes with something through it, you transfix and hypnotise each other. As well as leaving you both largely helpless and abnormally suggestible during this time, at some point the jelly will identify you as prey and hurl itself at you in a writhing coil of voracious pseudopods. Unintelligent, but migrate across space on moonbeams.


Cube Warriors.

From 5 to 10’ in each dimension, these metallic cubes are remnants of some long-lost civilisation. When activated they sprout a leg and an arm from each face and take up whatever arms are available. No one has ever tried talking to one, or noticed the subtle features etched into their surfaces.


Lost Goblins.

There shouldn’t be any Goblins on the moon, but they sometimes end up here having got lost while travelling by moonlight. They don’t like being on the moon (because Goblin magic doesn’t work here) and they can’t get back the way they came.


Gargantuan Undead Shrieker (1).

Effectively a Wight, with an energy drain touch. Utterly silent. With the right precautions they are a source of exotic resources and won’t object to being hollowed out/ strip mined.



Maintain a base/staging post/space port on the dark side of the moon. If you’ve made it as far as the moon, they’ll consider you worth talking to (but not as anything like equals). Field generators on the Astral Plane hide it from Ultraterrestrial Mi-Go.


Insect Mummies.

A lot more Mummies than you’d normally encounter and not of a humanoid species. Prefer their airless, dusty cave-cities and the ageless, fathomless darkness than being disturbed by the living (or other undead). Like the sensation of being full of warm blood.


Green Spore (1).

Splice an underwhelming, low intelligence Beholder or Beholderkin with a Gas Spore and an Ascomid. Spore blasts and Violet Fungus tentacles instead of eye rays. Quivering lens of watery jelly instead of a central eye. No bite or mouth, but it looks like it’s very glum.


Mercury Nymphs.

Mercury in the shape of fem. presenting humanoids, elementals that adapt their appearance to the expectations of the observer. Mesmerising colours play across their shining skin. Their touch is poisonous to mortals, but they do not understand this. Rapidly learn any language spoken to them, but will forget it once they cannot practice. Mildly telepathic.


Dust Gnomes.

Pangolin-like humanoids no higher than your knee. Live in clifftop burrows where the Wights can’t get at them. Herd and ride Strider Fungus. Rolled into a ball, they are impervious to most normal attacks, crushing and falls (poison gas works). Very high mineral content (iron, magnesium, starmetal) and mercury for blood means Ghouls won’t eat them. Unfriendly, but will negotiate for trade.


Starmetal Pleiad (1).

Meteor Nymph from deep space, formed of starmetal (whatever you want that to be), and able to extrude protective plates and offensive flanges to become a war-machine. Tough and fair enough to not need to be hostile, but is a galactic peacekeeper you don’t want to get on the wrong side of.


The Wight Queen (1).

She is very beautiful for an ancient hungry undead thing. If Wights as-a-rule are unintelligent and speechless, she is the exception. Has a radiance that extends her energy drain. Commands the Wights of the moon, but this might be due to a magic item. Has no court or castle, save where she settles at the time. Even though she wanders alone, there will be Ghouls and Wights to call on if need be.


Strider Fungus.

Woody mushrooms with three to seven stems each, standing up to 15’ tall. If disturbed, they will stampede like herd animals.


Magnesium Nymphs.

Look like they’re tightly wrapped in metallic bandages. Languages and telepathy like Mercury Nymphs. Only mildly curious about any business but their own, and not hostile. Unharmed by, but if exposed to fire, they instantly blaze with an intense white flame: will blind/ dazzle you for 4d6 hours if you don’t look away or protect your eyes. While blazing, they are berserkers. Show remorse afterwards.


Ultraterrestrial Mi-Go (1-3).

Accompanied by hideous electronic shrieking buzzing darkness that causes the living to spontaneously haemorrhage - they bring their own dimension with them as they cannot survive long in mundane space. Looking at or near them makes you ill. Treat mundane space Mi-Go as Mi-Go treat mortals.


Sunday, May 17, 2020

d66/d36 Monsters of the Taiga and Tundra.

From the Glowering Mossy Moors, we find ourselves tramping through snowy forests of conifers that run right against the treeless expanse that encircles the mysterious and unexplored Deep Ice. Nights and days can be measured in short hours or long weeks, and boiling water can freeze in an instant when taken from the flame. Summers, while short, are wet and fecund.


The Taiga and the Tundra are not unsettled, nor utterly hostile, but this is about the monster part of worldbuilding.


As usual, these are system agnostic but D&D adjacent, and the spread of probabilities has not been balanced.





The Mother of All Bears (1).

Bigger than any bear you’ve seen; wears jewellery; prehensile tail; telepathic; spells & magic items. Judge, benefactor and avenging fury of this place.


Waterwolf (1).

Giant carnivorous otter/seal. Haunts the marshes and rivers, but also at home in the forests and on the deep ice. Feared and venerated.


Furry Hunters.

Shaggy carnivorous humanoids armed with long-barreled muskets; very protective of their young. Nomadic, follow the migrating herds. Believed to come from the deep ice, where they use kite- and sail-powered sleds.



Dual-wield cleavers and/or butchering knives; campfire gatecrashers; can be bought off with wine, but will track you down later. Under-dressed for the weather. Surprisingly graceful dancers.



Blue with cold, long red noses; skirts of hide, fur, skin, decorated with jangling scraps; jagged stone knives & flaming torches that won’t blow out; play a selection of instruments made of bones, toenails, tendons and skin. Complain about the cold but will melt away if they spend too long by the fire.



Naked, so white, with all-black eyes & jagged bright red hands and mouths; you can never see their feet; live in Frost Drake tunnels; raise human children as shaman/sorcerers; vulnerable to iron, but not to holy. Can remain unseen to mere mortals.


Frost Drake (1).

Multiple pairs of legs, scales, pelican jaw, shaggy mane head to tail tip, alicorn; superheated insides; curious, not-unfriendly, intelligent animal; excavates/melts extensive tunnel lairs.


Blood Puddings.

Leathery pods containing a meat-like ooze. Use charm to have you keep it close to your body, keep it warm and protect it. Finds it easier to convince you to let it take small amounts of blood, but prefers you to kill so it can feast. Intelligent, but selfish and unimaginative. They are found in groups initially, but one with a host will have it destroy the others.



Bearded redheads from prehistory (reskinned B/X Elf). Stone Age equipment. Invisible environment-controlled dome cities full of wondrous and mysterious technology, hidden in the ice. Vulnerable to vampirism. Friendly with Hairy Brutes.


Abandoned Creations.

Odds/evens, they’re frozen solid (but can be revived/thawed); undead, flesh golems, clockwork, living statues etc. How long have they been here? Why are there so many?


Wind Walkers.

Gruesome aerial ghouls; levitate and then drift/fly on the winds; burrow under the earth/ice/snow during the day, but can go out just fine in a blizzard. You can never see their feet.


Squid Heads.

Low-rent, off-brand mindflayers; hate Furry Hunters; black-powder spear guns; levitate and fly like Wind Walkers; conquer & move into lairs; hunt Frost Drakes. Skinny, warty and mauve.


Father of Toads (1).

It’s just a name; giant, shaggy toad; can survive freezing solid; can squash itself down to hide in shallow water/long grass; grows as big as food allows; long drawn out roar from throat generates confusing vibrations; swallows whole; carries its young in its pelt.


Winter Dryads.

If more than 1, it’s the mustering of a warband. Human civilization might not be their target. Friendly with Hairy Brutes.


Nomadic Worm (1).

Colossal armoured tank of a thing; two huge feathered mandibles; huge gem-like eye spots all along its body blink with coloured lights; blast furnace gut/jaws; emerge as Ravenous Larvae in the taiga, survivors devour all in its path to the ice to pupate.


Phoenix Moth (1).

Adult form of the Nomadic Worm; vast, fiery and beautiful; fertilisation by eating the males; females then fly to the taiga to lay eggs, then die; extinguish, discolour and liquefy in a matter of hours; residue is highly prized.


Ravenous Larvae.

Lucky for you, they’re just as keen on eating each other; unlucky for you, they’re eating everything anyway. As long as they don’t all start coming after you at once, you should be able to get away.



You can’t really tell the difference between them; friendly, welcoming, generous through the long night; at daybreak, they’ve taken down their tents, put out their fires and left you asleep in a snowdrift. Outdoors, under the moon, they become flesh-eating killers. Can see Elves and smell Goblins.


Hairy Brutes.

Don’t speak your language; they’re definitely subhuman cannibals that need to be wiped out.

A sophisticated, highly cultured society that hasn’t been given a decent break since your kind started competing for space on the savannah.

The Mother of All Bears loves them like her own cubs.


Mounted Wights.

(d6) Palanquin carried by Winter Woses; Sleigh pulled by Skeletal Giant Elk(s); Howdah on a Skeletal Mammoth; Saddled on a Skeletal Sabre-tooth; Cage carried by a Skeletal Giant Bird; Warband on Ghoul Horses.



There’s tension between the locals and the tourists. Tourists have cordial relationships with Squid Heads and share their lairs. Locals don’t like sharing the endless night, nor the disruption to infiltrated prey communities.



Brutal elementals; hairless naked Dwarves of solid ice; strong as giants; vulnerable to fire, but extinguish it; they can just about tolerate Vampires and Winter Dryads, but all other things must bow and perish before the snow. Have never bested the Mother of All Bears.


Boreal Bugbears.

Much shaggier than their subterrene kin; grey to white fur; know where Black Ichor bubbles to the surface and where lie the old Hyperborean temples to Tsathogghua.


Mi Go.

Mining rare elements either from the earth, or the ice itself; searching for something buried in the ice from ancient days, so know where lots of other things are; disguised as Furry Hunters, Hairy Brutes or Boreal Bugbears, they are almost convincing. Uneasy truce with Hyperboreans.


Shaggy Beast (1).

A hill of a thing; a baggy, boneless mound of elephant hide on stumpy legs that come and go. Draped in writhing hair, with an unanchored mouth flap that can extend and twist into a trunk. People say it’s a rogue bear or possibly an extant mastodon, but they’ve never seen it. Horribly strong, barely sentient.


Flickering Eidolon (1).

Reskinned Boggart (1e AD&D MM2). Believed to be spirits of the dead, but who can say if it’s true.


Children of the Pines.

Sap-infused undead children riding white-and-red Elf Hounds (Elves transformed with a special bridle); reskinned B/X halflings that get AC bonus vs. human-sized. They want to drive adults off, rather than kill them – but will: the taiga is their Neverland.


Lonely Shoggoths.

Vaguely humanoid lumps of leathery flesh. Split-off from their main mass, they want to be reunited; miserable in a way individual intelligences can’t understand; enjoy poetry and music; sometimes tag along with Goblins.


Winter Woses.

Much like Wood Woses, but look more like Hairy Brutes. Hate Vampires, especially tourists.


Land Kraken (1).

A dynamic colony of lichens and fungi with inchoate sentience and dim awareness of the universe; animals that eat it regularly may become intelligent, capable of speech, loyal to the colony; intelligent beings can commune with the universe using colony as a conduit; the colony does rather like to be nourished with blood from time to time; can extrude puffy tentacles if needed. Are there several or does one cover thousands of square miles?


Tusked Moles.

Nocturnal/subterranean burrowing mammals; undermine and eat what falls in; killed instantly by sunlight or enough water; not very bright; enjoy moonbathing; at home in earth or deep snow; horrible screeching.


Psychic Eels.

Hefty freshwater eels; good eating; zap you with random psionic abilities as a defence (or enfeeble, paralyse, charm if you’re not using psionics); unintelligent. Squid Heads can’t use their powers while in or against those in eel waters.


Fire Cats.

Roam the taiga, gather at volcanic springs and lightning strikes; alarming blue faces and orange-tipped pale fur; can cough up a sputtering fireball. Actually a species of ape, but felidiform.


Greater Wood Troll (1).

Becoming more like a vast and ancient tree as it survives the centuries. Rarely talks anymore, because it’s so sad. Can pass without trace, despite its size and spread. It is an old friend of the lightning and the wind, and can call on them for aid.


Liver Eaters.

Stride with great padding footsteps, muffled by the carpet of needles or the snow. Sometimes towering, other times small enough to hide in your backpack. Bright-eyed, waxy-skinned, skeletal. Just want to eat the little bit of your liver that means you’ll waste away and die.



Brutal elementals; naked, hairless Dwarves of tree trunk and creeper; strong as giants; despise all non-plant life. Plant trees to extend the forests, watered with blood and fed with crushed bone.


As well as the Moors, one can find their way back to the Great Grim Gloomy Forest which interfaces with the Taiga at various points.