Friday, December 18, 2020

d66/d36 Monsters of the Wild & Melancholy Mountains

John Blanche.
Only just realised that those weren't pectoral muscles.

These mountains were going to be Remote & Lonely back in May, but I've passed through the other stages of lockdown life and we're now at Wild & Melancholy.

Unbalanced probabilities of the table will lead to unbalanced encounters at the table.

Storm Goats were originally going to be Storm Giants, but I couldn't think of anything interesting to say about them.




Sphinx Elves.

Naked & velvety, writhing white hair, blank pearly eyes; telepathic; information traders.



Animal heads. Fish for wayfarers with eagle claws on spider silk. Cobweb and mushroom stalk suspension bridges/ fishing platforms between the most inaccessible crags and cave entrances.



Brutal elementals; naked, hairless Dwarves of rock & lava; despise all non-mineral life. As strong as Giants; throw boulders, cause rock slides, summon lava. Weapons shatter on their stone hide.


Mountain Trolls.

Wild black hair and curling horns; huge heads and hands but otherwise Human-sized. Tap staff against rock face to open a door or conjure a spring. Said to have treasure hoards.


Brocken (Mountain) Spectre (1).

Rainbow-haloed genius loci, appears both enormous and distant. The weather and the mountain fauna & elementals do its bidding. Its telepathic voice sounds like it booms and echoes across the mountains, but is just in the heads it chooses.


Cave Bear (1).

Looks like a dead black shape as it does not reflect any light. Silent wall-crawlers and ceiling-clingers. Howls and suffers in sunlight, and always moves to extinguish light sources. Intelligent animal that knows humans take off their armour to sleep in caves. For stats, Just Use (Black) Bears.


Ropy Muggers.

Look like miserable, stunted trees tangled with dusty, stone-coloured creepers. Strangle and crush, then drink your insides through a modified claw in their root-like foot. Subtle by day; blunder about at night. 


Wolf Elves.

Look like sturdy, surly fur-capped, bare-armed trappers and herders until you realise they’re not. People wanting to become Werewolves seek out Wolf Elves to try and make deals, or just try to steal their stuff.


Giant Shadows.

If a light source is brought into their cave, they can make themselves bigger than human-size, as well as being able to extend themselves to titanic proportions pursuing those who flee outside. However, they are bound to a blood-stained, symbol-carve, cursed rock and can only act outside the cave to the extent of their cast-shadow size


Skeleton Army.

A detachment of armed and armoured Skeletons, at attention and awaiting the Triumph of Death. You can safely pass by/through them if you don’t disturb their formation or equipment.


Brothers of the Pine.

Sap-infused undead; want you to join them in the pines in the pines; only leave treeline after dark. Often return to their communities to whisper and hiss down the chimneys.


Predatory Succulents.

Exact sizes and appearance depends on species, but they generally look like sandy-grey pineapples/ peyote buttons. As part of their lifecycle, units detach and roll off in search of living prey. They kill using psychedelic poison, flesh-dissolving enzymes or bashing and rolling, then settle down to take root and flower in the remains.



Brutal elementals; naked, hairless Dwarves of tree-trunk and creeper; despise all non-plant life. Plant trees to extend the forests, fertilised with ground bones and spilt blood.



Faceless rubbery winged ticklers; they might be dropping off or picking up. Leave them alone and you should be fine.



Mining, patrolling or scouting. Not in disguise. Not happy to see you or be seen. Willing to go the extra mile to maintain their privacy.



Humanoids with a single eye. Poor depth perception, but can also see incredible distances and near microscopic things - possibly clairvoyantly. Neutral mystics. Sworn enemies of Ghouls.


Empty Skins.

At a distance, rags blown towards you on the wind. They’re drying out and looking to resolve this. You’ll be surprised how much of you will fit inside.


Glitter Cats.

Static-charged tatzelwurms. A charming combination of cat and ferret, with the intelligence and dexterity of a monkey. Can understand and imitate human language, but are no great conversationalists. Willing to become companions/ familiars, for a while. Sworn enemies of Ghouls. 



Mountain dryads; hairy goat legs and impressive horns; bows and spears; cast ventriloquism and merge into stone.


Summer Oread (1).

Casts burning eyesElagabalian blossom deluge, summon thunderstorm and call lightning; regenerates in the rain; no mountain creature can/will harm it, save that it fears Old Father Moon. Smells gorgeous. Blinks if surprised.


Grey Man (1).

Enigmatic and lonely, gentle and naked, tall and smelly. Reskinned B/X Troglodyte. Knows how to remove your liver while you are sleeping so that you waste away and die. Has been known to guide wayfarers to safety but also to push them down precipices.


Rock Scorpions. 

Look like piles of rocks until they move; venomous, but not carnivorous. Strong for their size and can cling to steep inclines - Dwarves, Goblins and Trolls use them to pull carts.


Abyssal Drakes.

Slender, glistening salamandrine things that crawl up from some of the blackest pits at the heart-roots of mountains. As intelligent as swine, mewl like kittens; die and disintegrate in direct sunlight. Constantly shed a sooty substance that also exists in higher dimensions, leaving patches of chilly darkness that normal light cannot dispel - clings to objects, to creatures, to the air itself. They are enthusiastic for fresh blood but have no idea how to get it themselves.


Storm Goats.

Sturdy mountains goats with towering horns. Their shaggy coats spark with static and they attract lightning bolts. They spectacularly expel the charge they accumulate, with no harm to themselves. Guess what? Evolution has adapted this ability as an attack/defence mode.


Cloud Elementals (Nephilim).

Intelligent non-corporeal beings of the wind, rain and sky. Psychic feedback means they look like you expect them to, culturally and geographically speaking. Normally invisible, they condense forms using the available dust and water. 


Land Elementals (Anakim).

They are young - mere tens of millions of years old - and impatient to end their Dreaming so they can walk abroad. Each Anakim is a weathered mountainside that has taken on the vague or definite appearance of a living being or product of civilisation. They can fragment and project their consciousness, extending their Dreaming throughout their body - thus, they may be inhabited and also haunt themselves.


Skeleton Wyrm (1).

Giant serpentine mammal with transparent flesh; looks like a long pile of bones until it rears up and starts hissing; wants to be left alone. Scavenger. Prizes gems.


Invisible Vampires. 

Bash you with rocks, branches and blows, then lick up the spilled blood; push you off cliffs for a feast; no-one knows what they really look like, or even if they’re undead. Will ride animals to exhaustion. Can go abroad by day.


Night Rippers.

Lynx-sized pack predators. Mountain lion body, owl's head and claws; distinctive shriek. 


Veiled Oreads (1-3).

Undead mountain dryads (ghost/ banshee). Sing mournful songs and give a deadly shriek. Not automatically hostile. Roll d6 to see which season each channels/ represents: 1-2 autumn, 3-4 spring, 5-6 winter.


Mother of Eagles (1).

Legendary Gryphon. Mines and eats precious metals. Can no longer fly because it is so infused with gold, electrum and silver. Can reflect light to dazzle and burn. Trying crossing a Griffin with an Aurumvorax to get stats.


Dwarven Slavers.

Cigar-chewing, pistol-toting bastards from inside the mountain; odds/evens, they’re on their way out, and well equipped/ on their way back, with slaves in tow.


Old Father Moon (1).

Spindly boneless giant with glowing pumpkin head; hands spread like skinless bat wings; dozens of wormy toes; can squeeze through gaps and stuff itself into tiny hidey-holes. Really wants to eat the Summer Oread. Bugbears revere it, but it doesn’t care. Regenerates from even the tiniest piece if not dealt with in the proper manner.


Old Man of the Mountain (1).

Dual-wields long knives in as many pairs of hands as he needs, pulling both out from beneath his ragged cloak like a beetle unfolding; finds firearms, barometers and clockwork fascinating. Has brokered a treaty between the Oreads and the Brothers of the Pine. Possibly human.


Monastic Vultures.

Wear concealing robes so you can’t tell they’re vultures with prehensile wings; appear to ‘tend’ to the dying and the dead; especially love eyes and guts. Will warn you to watch out for Night Rippers and Nomes (they don’t leave much behind).


Shaggy Horntoads.

Somewhere between toad and lizard; very patient; more than can be fed will gather to take you down, then sort it out between whoever’s left. They're bigger  (could swallow a goblin, halfling or human child) than their lower altitude cousins and resistant to cold and lightning.



  1. Oh yes, Sorcery! pushed the boundaries of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks in more than one way!