Friday, May 15, 2020

d66/d36 Monsters of the Glowering Mossy Moors.

I put up a poll on Twitter to see where to go next from the Great Grim Gloomy Forest, looking for d66 random monsters.


From the Forest, you can see the Taiga and Tundra, Remote & Lonely Mountains, and the Glowering Mossy Moors, and it was the Moors that pipped it.


The moors are a disorienting, hallucinatory place. A vast expanse of wind-swept tussock and bog, plunging valleys and weathered crags, covered by tough grasses, trailing thorns and twisted spinneys. Here and there, tumbledown cottages peer vacantly through the persistent drizzle, then suddenly lit by a clear and open sky, before the very clouds themselves roll across and cling to the landscape. Trails trod for generations weave around the peat diggings, shelters for herders and stretches of dark, reedy water.


System agnostic, but with an older edition D&D bias. Parenthetical numbers indicate unique or solitary monsters (usually significantly more powerful).


Unbalanced probablities; the table was not designed, it’s numbers next to a list.


These are the Pennines of my youth and my imagination, coloured/muddied by handfuls of mushrooms.





Thorny Muggers.

The bushes around this bare patch of earth (scattered with bones and old equipment) unroll their brambles to catch, coil and serrate; can extend predatory, reproductive and sensory runners to considerable distance. No one’s sure if they’re intelligent or not.


Green Knights.

B/X Troglodytes reskinned as hairy, weed-draped elemental/faerie knights; sometimes mounted on Bog Horses; regenerate from death/injury when in bog water. Vulnerable to iron, but not holy.


Hill Giants.

The name given to the tall, sinewy Ogres of this place; not as big as you’re expecting, but not as stupid as you’ve been assured. Make ground-bone bread and blood-and-guts sausage. The Green Hags treat them like unloved but useful sons.


Wolf Elves.

Look like surly peasants/herders until you realise they’re not; stoic, taciturn. Don’t steal their boots without making sure they’re dead.


Birds of Prey.

Charismatic aerial fauna big enough to carry off a child; prefer to drive others away than make own kills; single out the weak.


Harpy Gulls.

Noisy and noisome; vomit and shit on everything; worryingly intelligent, can understand human speech and plans; vomit is caustic, breaks down organic material. Smaller than Birds of Prey but flock in greater numbers.


Smoke Drake (1).

A bit like a Gorgon crossed with a Catoblepas; deadly smoke constantly drifts from its mouth, blighting the land; prefers to find/conquer a nice lair, but can dig one out with its massive head. People believe it gathers a treasure hoard, but maybe they’re mistaking it for a dragon.


Bog Wyrm (1).

Terrifying amphibious toothless giant eel; sheathed in fire-resistant jelly; envelops human-sized targets in its gelatinous spit; can produce a vibration that calms mammals and makes them docile; loves milk above all other foodstuff. Popularly believed to be a cursed maiden/ child of evil, and able to regenerate any wound. Surprisingly stealthy.



Secretive foragers; odds/evens, they’re actually Magic Users. Some are kindly healers, others taciturn cunning folk, still others Assassin’s Guild poisoners.


Herd of Goats & Goatherd(s).

1 on d6, the leader type is a Seductive Satanic Goat (the Goatherd may or may not know about this).


Flock of Sheep & Shepherd(s).

1 on d6, the leader type is a Wolf, Wolf Elf or Werewolf in disguise (it might be the Shepherd).



Odds/evens for either/or; 1-2 on d6 it’s a double-sized mixed group in pitched battle.



There’s a lot here that they’re interested in; might be disguised as Giant Bees, Herbalists, Treasure Hunters or Scienticians; not very convincing, but don’t respect your intelligence.


Fossergrim (1).

Muscular waterfall goblin; wear its silver mail and become a new Fossergrim; waterfall is an extra-dimensional elemental space, connected to all others.


Psychic Moss.

Hypnotic, hallucinogenic colony growth; d6: 1 drain INT and memory, 2 drain CON/Vitality (to death), 3 both, 4-6 not hungry at the moment, but will still have an incidental effect on you. Has been known to colonise living beings and to reanimate corpses.


Gloomy Mushrooms.

Miserable circle of animate, dimly intelligent, vaguely humanoid fungi; only sad things make them laugh and will trade information for this; psychoactive spores cause thundering gloom in mortals. Prefer blood as fertiliser. Haunting, surprisingly pleasant singing voices (which also alleviate thundering gloom). Always know where Psychic Moss and Thorny Muggers are. Vast and resilient mycelium.



Odds/evens for either/or; 1-2 on d6 it’s a double-sized mixed group in pitched battle.



Red-capped, with bones in their beards; use tactile telekinesis to hurl boulders, but otherwise beat you with pikestaffs, cut you with cleavers and knives; eat flesh, hoard treasure, vulnerable to iron and holy, selectively invisible to unlevelled characters; terrified, fawning servants and frequent meals of the Green Hags.


Bog Horses.

Borderline animal/elemental/faerie; compact, shaggy green horse/pony that can hide in any watery body; can get a taste for blood. Can be tamed, but not for long.


Tannic Ghouls.

Look like bog bodies; can eventually swallow you whole, like an acidic leather sack; use wee strangling nooses and stone axes, too. Nocturnal. Too wet to set on fire. Distinctive smell.



Lying under the water, waiting for The Call; glow and croon at night/when heavily overcast; sometimes tell secrets, sometimes pull you under. Blasted by sunlight if they leave the water.



Brilliant carpet of venomous arachnids; could sit comfortably in palm of your hand; build webby tunnels in sprawling mazes of gorse and other thorny growth; sometimes bask on Psychic Moss for double trouble.


Shaggy Toads.

Spit a stream of dark, acidic water to stun/blind; could swallow a small child; beautiful coppery eyes. Will tend to fight you one-at-a-time, and too stupid to flee.


Mosquito Bats.

Winged amphibians with sharp hollow beaks; reskinned Stirges; principal prey of Shaggy Toads. Their fresh, frothing spawn is a delicacy to lizardfolk, and is believed to have rejuvenating properties for mammals.


Moss Giants.

Massive humanoids, overgrown with a strain of Psychic Moss; unknown if they start out this big or if the infestation causes it; telepathic amongst themselves; guard the hidden secrets of the moor. Some can be recognised for who or what they once were.


Green Hags (1-3).

Fem.-presenting carnivorous paramortals; will teach fem.-presenting characters for blood and ill deeds; will mix foul brews and do dire deeds for all with similar payment. Share iron teeth, iron spiked boot and iron ladle/barbed meat hook between them. Vulnerable to holy. Do not recognise human territorial claims or other rights, but do respect a well-made bargain.


Wading Birds.

Big and strong enough to flip over Giant Crabs; immune to Jewelspider venom. Hate Hill Giants and Harpy Gulls.


Giant Crabs.

Look like stepping stones/slabs of rock; sluggish; aggressive; vulnerable if flipped over. Can survive out of water for several weeks; attracted to the scent of Night Trolls.


Night Trolls.

They’re lumps of stone by day, often appearing to be a handy windbreak or impromptu stone circle; child- to giant-sized; reluctantly beholden to Green Hags.


Spirit of the Lonely Moor (1).

Appears to be a lost little girl; leads you into trackless, bottomless bogs; spreads disease; you can hear her weeping in the darkness; makes you think you’ve found shelter while you’re dying of exposure. Well known to people, but something about her diminishes your good sense.


Bloody Bugbears.

Flayed Bugbears; so dripping with blood you can’t see they’ve been defanged and declawed. Inarticulately beg for death, but in a way that is absolutely terrifying and threatening.


Empty Skins.

By coincidence, these are hairy and more than human-sized, with sharp triangular teeth; flap across the moors at dusk. You don’t wear them, they wear you.


Croglin Vampires.

If there’s more than 1, then there’s an abandoned cottage or tomb nearby; otherwise, a slimy burrow with a small treasure hoard. Cross B/X Giant Shrew with Thoul for stats and abilities.


Treasure Hunters.

Band of ne'er-do-wells like in A Field in England; at least one spell-caster, at least one supernatural minion; their leader expects you to aid and obey; firearms and little conscience.


Eccentric Scientician.

Sails very close to the 4th wall; well-equipped, supplied and guarded; gathering data and samples, taking measurements and readings, ruthlessly carrying out perilous experiments. Has the mathematical measure of you and your actions.


Glistening Coppersails.

Beautiful giant butterflies; can scent blood on the wind from miles away; unroll their hollow tongues to suck out the cranial fluids of the dying; utterly unafraid of anything in their pursuit of this, but vulnerable to fire (will still attempt to crawl up you with wings burnt off).


As well as the Forest, from the Moors can be seen Remote & Lonely Mountains, the Taiga & Tundra (and beyond to the Deep Ice), and the Misty River Plain.

No comments:

Post a Comment