Thursday, February 25, 2021

AD&D Monster Manual 2 - To The End: W,X,Y & Z

Link back to T, U & V...


This statblock also covers mink, ferrets and stoats, according to the text.

Because the AD&D Weasel has no special abilities, this could just as easily be stats for a Giant Rat. 


This is from 3rd edition, but I like it more than the older illos - probably been drinking too much of The Green Tea.

Feathered winged arachnids that tangle you in strands of webbing and inject you with their eggs, which rapidly hatch - the larvae eat their way out of you.

Though specific to the Webbird, there is the basis for a swarm subsystem here. Their attack is rolled on d6, with a bonus for No. Appearing, and read against a table - only 1-3 is ineffective, and on an 11+ everyone in the area of effect is entangled. Even a bare-handed hit is an instakill on them, though they always give you a dying bite. Carrying a flaming torch means you are safe from attack, because they will avoid you.

Feels like a Gamma World monster. Could also just reskin as undead crows or something.


Lion centaurs. Wargame-y entry. 

Definitely someone's favourite monster or their dream PC kindred.

I think I'd go in a 'lost world' direction with these - 'they know how to use fire'. Or they could only appear in the dream-world, never the waking.

Willow, Black.

An evil tree that eats people after putting them to sleep. 

Says nothing about whether they like to eat hobbits halflings, but that they relish 'elves, gnomes and humans'.


I didn't dislike it, just thought it was a weird and probably a Pun Monster (like the Wight Dwarf, of course). It grew on me over the years due to this immediate weirdness, and I know its pedigree now.

Sometimes regarded as a Stupid Monster.


Reverse werewolf that hates werewolves. 

Not sure if they're specifically a Gotcha! monster, or a logical progression of the Jackalwere, or based on something from folklore (wolves turning into humans as much as humans turning into wolves).

They sing, though this is here mentioned only as an attack form (slow). 



Tenebrous Worm.

The larval form of the Gloomwing.

The largest part of the entry deals with its poisonous bristles, including the % subsystem to work out how exposed you are to them. The poison is old school - save or die (though with an onset grace period of 1-4 rounds - minutes in AD&D).

Tenebrous Worms 'inhabit most of the Plane of Shadows, though they are more common in forested areas' - does this means the forests of the Shadow Plane or forests when they are not encountered on their native plane? I like to think both.

Tunnel Worm.

When it bursts out of the tunnel wall and grasps you in its mandibles, it chews through your armour and inflicts automatic damage. 

Causing 15+ hits with fire or reducing its hp to 40% of total will drive it off - I feel like these kinds of thresholds should feature for more monsters, as complement or alternative to Morale.

Actually the Rock Grub from Fighting Fantasy #6: Deathtrap Dungeon.

Xag-Ya and Xeg-Yi.

Their (near) anagrammatical names aside, the 'silver and fiery' Xag-Ya and the 'black, lifeless' Xeg-Yi are solid alien/ sword-and-sorcery monsters. 

If the two opposites meet, they explosively cancel each other out. They're psionic, too.

Because of being absorbed by Call of Cthulhu at the same time as first reading MM2, I also think of the Xag-Ya/Xeg-Yi as being bubble-organ-units of Yog Sothoth superentity.


A bit of a dud, because it's basically a Xorn - it feels like someone forgot to put the 'eat magic weapons to gain hp' and 'how much metal etc. to satisfy its appetite' in MM1 and making a new monster was the only way they could think to fix that.

Consider making Xorn and Xaren interchangeable, but some might get a kick out of treating them as the Big Endians and Little Endians of the Lilliput and Blefescu of the Earth Elemental Plane.

Yeth Hound.

A local (Devon, UK - where it's the headless-dog ghost of an unbaptised child) name for the 'Black Dog' entity. Because this is AD&D, it gets statted up as a standalone-but-generic dog-monster. 

Their two main special abilities are to suffer damage only from the magical pluses of a weapon (or 1 hit from a silver weapon) and a 'ghastly baying' that causes panic (save or flee, no other details).

Yeth Hounds run with other creatures as part of a hunt, and their baying does not effect those who hunt with them - it is not specified whether this is a function of the Yeth or the companion. Night Hags and Evil humans are mentioned.

They prefer to eat the flesh of 'demihumans' (so dwarves, elves, gnomes and halflings) and Brownies.

Yochlol (Handmaiden of Lolth).

In the first 5e game I played in-  first D&D in about 20 years, a (PC) Tortle Warlock asked to marry me (actually, anyone and everyone) because there was a ceremony that would give us both AC bonuses if we did.

Anyway, if a Yochlol does not take a mate, it has an AC of -10 - this is not elaborated on further, and I now wonder if this is something that was cut. There's nothing to clarify this in the entry in the 2e Planescape Monstrous Compendium 2 - it looks like it was dropped completely.

A stinky gas that can turn into 'an amorphous column' or a Giant Spider or a 'beautiful human or elf'. Has psionics and a d10 Hit Dice (rather than a d8). Slight brush of the Cthulhuvian to them.

Doesn't go into their relationship with Lolth in any depth. It doesn't say it in the entry, but give them basic Drow abilities when they were in elf form - at the least.

Yuan Ti.

"Great Shades of Arthur Machen and Robert E. Howard! It's the Serpent People!"

I know that they're meant to be humans turned into snakes, but I prefer 'Pureblood' to be the most snaky and the 'Abominations' to be the most human, rather than RAW.

Season to taste for your setting - I have them as multi-generational cults, based on the 80s 40K Genestealers (the Great Old Ones or the Snake Demons are their Tyranids).

Their lairs are largely wheelchair accessible. 

Zombie, Juju.

Stronger, tougher, more versatile Zombies. Magic weapons to hit.

They're the result of energy drain (animate dead afterwards is not specified) so maybe they could also be hanging around lairs with Wights, Wraiths, Spectres and Vampires - Strahd made his own zombies, but he's a major character and a spell-caster.

If you were bamboozled by AD&D's profusion of polearms, this entry tells you that both the bardiche and voulge are 'cleaving weapons'.

Zombie, Monster.

Zombies with more hit dice and damage dice - animate dead Bugbears rather than Giants for economy.


With a name like this and its signature special ability, this could easily have been an old school He-Man or She-Ra figure.

Monster bear that can take on the AC and damage bonus of its surroundings and your equipment.


More spunky-cock mushrooms! They even have '"milk"'

While it says the host is only 'occasionally a small humanoid', I take the text to mean that this is the case 'in the wild', and that adventurers are not specially protected by their size.

Sort of going out with a bang, then. FFS.

That's not your lot, yet - I'll try and follow up with some overall thoughts and observations.

And a reminder to check in on some other monster surveys:

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

AD&D Monster Manual 2 - T to V.

Link Back to R & S...


A solid 'lost world' monster - 'crudely sculpted stone idols... they might, in fact, be some kin of mankind'.

Also work as Ogres, Trolls, Yetis and variant Bugbears.



The illustration does not give any sense of its size. 

I like its fear and reflection mechanics, but otherwise didn't then and don't now have much love for the monster itself.

A typo in my copy gives it 1-12/1-2 for its claw attacks, suggesting that one is teeny tiny.


Carnivorous arboreal brachiators. A solid little monster, with relevant notes on habits and tactics as well as the wargame-y distribution of weapons etc. 

They train/ keep as pets giant spiders and giant wasps - they use the wasps as flying mounts.

Why not just call them Tropic or Jungle Goblins? Why not just call them Goblins? Use as Goblins, whatever the climate or terrain.


Termite, Giant Harvester.

The Termite, as much as the Bee, feels like an archetypal colony/ hive monster. Their sprawling/ towering nests are ripe for repurposing as dungeons.

According to the entry, they can spit a blinding fluid 'similar to kerosene' - so similar that it can be set on fire. I don't know where this comes from, because the Fontanellar gun fires glue, closer to pine resin than a petroleum derivative.

Nothing to stop you having Giant Harvester Termites being the kickstart to the Dieselpunk Revolution of your setting.

The last sentence of the entry lets us know that Termites can use broadcast telepathy in a crisis, so maybe they are capable of developing psionics (as individuals or as a colony).


Another monster I would use in place of a Dragon, or place as the level-inappropriate central monster of a larger adventure site (see Froghemoth).

Hydra heads surround a huge mouth, and it has a tail pincer: multiple attacks, poison & acid damage, grasp and bite, spits acid, and that central mouth crunches up your items as well as your character.

Almost all the text is devoted to its killing (you or it). An unapologetic monster.

A quick internet search tells me that Thessal- has nothing to do with Thessalonians, and that there are other monsters sharing this prefix (the Thessal-gorgon, -mera and -trice).

Thri-Kreen (Mantis Warrior).

There must be some haters out there, but that's because the Thri-Kreen have always been cool.

It says they like to hunt elves, make their own signature weapons and can dodge missiles (better than 50% chance). They're not social and there's nothing about what languages they can speak or understand.

They are barely fleshed out here in MM2, but that just gives more space for the imagination.

Thunder Beast.

The Stench Kine of the Abyss.

I'd reskin as even bigger Stench Kattle and let them loose across the Lower Planes, but I'm not in charge of AD&D cosmology.

I like their fog cloud breath building up over 3 rounds, something I'd give to other big monsters - particularly those in colder conditions.


Non-aggressive sand worms that don't really do anything but knock over your tents and panic your animals.

Time Elemental.

The abilities are more interesting than the monster, though the idea of Time being an element like Air, Earth, Fire and Water is quite interesting in itself - BECMI cosmology elaborates on this.

This set of abilities would make an excellent base on which to build pseudocanis Tindalosi.


A faceless humanoid with horny-ridged suckers instead of hands and feet, and can assume a less threatening guise.

Inflicts a form of Nilbogism, that heals it while hurting those who cause it harm.

No notes on origins, habitat, society or ecology. Feels alien or horrific.

Tri-Frond Flower.

A plant with sleep, rot and vampire attacks. Gives me cone-hosts of the Yithians vibes from the start.

Give it a movement rate and set it free. Maybe even combine it with the Vagabond (see below).

Troll, Marine (Scrag).

See Ogre, Aquatic (Merrow).

Twilight Bloom.

Environmental hazard. 

The language of the description (purple, silvery, droop, fine, mossy, attractive perfume and sweet sap, lavender blooms, gently tilt, syrupy poison) feels like a very luxurious way to die, maybe in a Clark Ashton Smith story.

Urchin, Land.

I think I would play up to its 'spine covered covered body ...often mistaken for a bush' and have it look more like a shrub than a spiny sea-creature. A shrub with a saw-tongue, projectile spikes that paralyse, and an escape cloud of dark gas, with green/black pearls tangled in its root-like feet.

Or make it glow pink in the dark, like the urchins in Monsters University, or think of them more as lice or barnacles on something much bigger.


You may know them now as immature Intellect Devourers (as early as 2e), but once they were psionic mushrooms that could mess with your emotions, with that classic Unratable Intelligence/ Neutral (evil) Alignment combo.


'A vagabond is a life force of unknown origin, possibly from a far planet, parallel universe, or undiscovered plane' - they're basically the Great Race of Yith or something from Star Trek.

The description is non-committal on on whether they create their form or if they seize possession of it. They are quite keen to join adventuring parties.


Really horrible flying heads! 

They cause permanent hit point damage - something I'd only seen in Call of Cthulhu at that time, so this made them seem extra scary.

In later editions, they reproduce by your head turning into one of them and flying away - which is brilliant, and should be a viable replacement PC option.


Russet Mould turns you into a Vegepygmy, but Vegepygmies can reproduce by budding. 

Though the entry states that 'they coexist well with other forms of plant life', it doesn't go into the implications of having multiple methods of coming into being, or how mould-born and bud-born regard each other.

Maybe there's an answer in later editions, or maybe I'll just make one up. Consider making them more fungoid and associating them closely with Myconids.


A fish as big as, or bigger, than the Tarrasque.

It swallows on a hit if you're 12' tall or less and dissolves you in 6 rounds even if you can survive the 2-16 hits of digestive acid damage per round. Resistant to edged weapons. Inside of its mouth is sensitive to fire (so's mine; isn't yours?).


No physical description, except that it is of 'stony substance'.

It has 'the uncanny ability to physically merge with earth or stone', which is clearly intended to mean they can pass in and out of the solid substance (they live in hollows in the earth and rock), but they are only 75% undetectable while doing so - what is it that gives them away?

They are described as avaricious and keep their treasures in their hollows - which means they are able to extend their merging ability to objects they carry. It doesn't say if they can drag a living being into the rock with them.

The Vilstrak is illustrated - both with the entry and at the front of the book - and I read it as having a third eye; maybe this is the one that allows it to see out of the rock when it's in there. 


Vultures with vaguely human faces, and not much more than that. Might be in the mix with Harpies and/or Vrock, but otherwise these are a single flying Hit Dice. No connection with Vultures beyond appearance (and possibly implied habits).

BUT - I find that there's so little here that I can't help wondering what they could be.



Giant and Ordinary ones, but not as big as the cage-carrying one from 1981's Clash of the Titans.

Driving them off with blows or the threat of blows is baked in.

Next, finishing off with W, X, Y and Z...

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Other People's Stuff - Survivor Levelling & Hit Dice vs. Damage.

Two things that I encountered this week that I liked/gave me food for thought.

Survivor Levelling.

On Twitter, Claytonian (of the Kill It With Fire! blog) shared the latest version of their A Carcosan Hack this week, and I was taken with this little house-rule gem from the advancement subsystem: 

'To be honest, we just adopted a system where if a PC dies the other PCs level up'

I really like this idea, either as addition/ alternative to XP counting and/or milestone advancement. It makes a narrative sense I find pleasing, as well as encouraging both risky and cautious play.

Claytonian says that the obvious PvP exploit hasn't been a problem in play.

Has anyone else used something similar, or are there published games that took this route?

HD vs. Damage.

Doing a little searching for whale and whaling related gaming material brought me to this post from 2016 (the blog has not been updated since 2018). 

To quote the author: 

for those new to Dungeons and Dragons terminology, “Hit Dice” – often abbreviated HD – are an abstract representation of toughness and fighting skill. when a Player or Monster is injured in Dungeons and Dragons, the attacker rolls an appropriate number of dice for damage – tougher fighters and graver injuries call for more dice or dice of larger size (a 12 sided dice, instead of a 6 sided dice, for example). The defender then rolls their Hit Dice, one at a time, until either they have totaled enough to survive the attack, or they have exhausted their pool of Hit Dice and are unable to fight on. [sic & my emphasis]

This is not a method I have encountered before, though I have been thinking about something not unlike it, on and off - see 'Logical Progression from Abstract hp?' (at the end of the post).

It's one of those things that I could have missed completely during rpg hiatus: was this ever a thing in core D&D (any edition)? Is it a house-rule or a mis-interpretation? Does it come from the assumptions of a different gateway system that D&D?

Saturday, February 20, 2021

AD&D Monster Manual 2 - R & S.

Back to N to Q...


Sheep, but S was too crowded, apparently. 

It's an Animal, Herd.


Ordinary rats seemed a glaring omission from the 1st MM and lack of swarm mechanics is a glaring omission here. 

Vapor Rats can turn gaseous and inhabit the same places as Cloud Giants. Low rather than Animal Intelligence, and release a stinking cloud when killed or as a defence when seriously wounded. 

Can steer on the wind as they float through the air. Reskin as elemental wisps or baby Mihstu.


Raven (Crow).

I like Crows (my family took in abandoned fledglings/ hatchlings when I was growing up - we fed them cat food with tweezers and my mum jumped off things flapping her arms to teach them to fly).

Not much here, but 10% chance of taking an eye out - wear a full helm or buy an eyepatch. Three sizes - Ordinary, Huge and Giant. Can use this entry for Magpies and Jays, too.

Ordinary Crows should be at least Semi- Intelligent.

Retch Plant.

Chiefly included to tell you about one of the things that Banderlogs might throw at you.

Rock Reptile.

Says it's got 'chameleon-like powers' (even has it listed as Special Defence), but that it surprises 1-3 on d6 because its 'initial rush is at twice normal speed'

The description narrates that you can't tell it's anything other than a pile of rocks, lacking mechanics other than the surprise attack.

Hit points and damage bonus dependent on size, which makes sense. Smells like RuneQuest to me.


A great little monster that could be an elemental, poltergeist activity, a spell or Gamma World/ sci fi-style entity - wouldn't be out of place in a retro or contemporary horror scenario.

I picture Sandlings as landscape bursting to life with writhing silicate tentacles, outside of the ecology of living things.


'Merely smaller versions of the giant scorpion'.

Scum Creeper.

Because the AD&D combat round is a minute long, the Scum Creeper's 1 in 20 chance to attach to your face when it attacks (so it could be a critical roll) might be that it crawls up your body to do so. 

It's not in the description that they specifically do so, but my false memory was that these drop from the ceiling.

A 6 or 10 second round brings to mind a slug (it takes damage from salt contact) that behaves like a face-hugger, leaping at your face. Consider making it the larval form of something else.


I'd class these as ambivalent figures of folklore and myth - faerie folk, paramortals, godlings, nature spirits; liminal beings of sea and land, human and animal - rather than 'a sort of sealwere'.

For extra folklore, splice with the Swanmay (transforming item) and/or the Nereid (bound to it's shawl/ removable skin).


It's only sort of a monster, being a template you can apply to a character or monster. Almost every one of its stats is Variable or As original class. Doesn't make you Evil, but does make you not-Good.

Useful information on what constitutes relative levels of illumination - the Shade's abilities are enhanced or penalised depending on these.

Their intrinsic ability to Hide in Shadows is based on their class level (equal to a Thief), and Shade Thieves are only 2%-5% per level better at this - this seems cheese-paring for having bound oneself to the shadowstuff, defying/ forfeiting your mortality.

Shedu, Greater.

I'm going to take 'they typically rule any group of 6 or more normal shedu, doing so most beneficently' as being ambiguous as to consent and desirability, so that this isn't just another Basilisk, Greater situation.

Lawful Good has never meant nice as far as I'm concerned.


I'm guessing that this is based on the Classical Siren - they have a charm song, are all female and are associated with the sea (actually, all water).

With their power to change shape and turn invisible, an intelligence-removing touch (which they can reverse), being able to live out of and under water, and the likelihood of magical armament, they also give off strong faeries vibes.

MM2 doesn't give much detail on their behaviour, though notes they can be of any Alignment, so they are clay to shape to your setting.

Skeleton, Animal.

Weaker Skeletons.


Mechanical effects of a really horrible smell.

One of the monster-book animals cluing you in that D&D's default setting assumptions are North American.

Slime Creature & Slime, Olive.

They have adjacent entries but you can't have one without the other - Olive Slime turns you into a Slime Creature and Slime Creatures infect you with Olive Slime.

Slime Creatures 'can be identified only upon close examination' - but is the context what they are now or who they were then? Could be used straight or reskinned for more John Carpenter's The Thing flavour.

Olive and Green Slime neutralise each other.


Normal-sized Giant Snakes! 'Actual length, color, habitat, etc., are variable'.

d20 table for random determination of poison strength and effect.


This monster thinks it's better than you and takes itself very seriously.


Large, Huge and Giant camel spiders - lack the terrifying features of the more recent urban myth/folklore/internet lies about them.


Not quite a goodie Beholder, summoned as a guardian (from the same plane as the Modrons). Quite friendly and 20% likely to be asleep, but absolutely committed to its task.

It has four eyestalks and one casts create food and water, presumably so it can sustain itself while guarding its charge for up to 101 years. Does it make generally edible/potable stuff, or whatever it is Spectators eat?

Spider, Giant Marine.

'In all respects other than those noted above, giant marine spiders resemble giant water spiders' - well, thanks for that, then.


Either a 3' thief or a 12' bandit. 

Firmly in the faerie fold, very much on the Dwarf/ Troll axis.


Multi-limbed forest monster, getting its name from its ability to mimic distress calls. 

Feels very specific to a setting, a creator, even a particular adventure - I don't know the facts.

Would reskin admirably.

Squirrel & Squirrel, Carnivorous Flying.

Putting these together, as the Black Giant Squirrel and the Carnivorous Flying Squirrel (as minions) would make good Goblin stand-ins.


'It is probable that stegocentipedes developed on some far removed parallel world or were the creation of some insane genetic manipulator'.

Not big enough to be kaiju, but feels like it should be.

Stench Kow.

This made the Stupid Monster category, but I think dismal herds of stinking, ugly cattle stretching across the plains of the Lower Planes (specifically the Nine Hells according to the entry) make for an evocative image - at least for an afterlife, if not a place to go adventuring.

They have stinking cloud breath and immunities allowing them to survive the Hellish environment, but are otherwise just herd animals. 

An alternative to Gorgons, or put the stinking cloud at the other end to make a Bonnacon.

Stone Guardian.

A construct.

Based on both needing a wish, I'd suggest saving up for a Stone Golem instead.


I've used it as the basis for a stone demon, but otherwise it's a Roper (MM) variant. 

Venom gives victims the false appearance of being turned to stone, which - used elsewhere - has possibilities.

Sundew, Giant.

If you've followed me this far, you well know what I think about most of the plant 'monsters' in MM2.

Quite like the Giant Sundew for a reskin as a sweet-smelling tentacular menace.


Their wings-and-bill attacks have a 50% chance of blinding and disorienting opponents so they cannot strike back that round - I'd consider giving this to some other winged monsters. 

Only surprised 1 in 10, with the note that this is the same for geese (but Gygax didn't feel the need to stat them).

If this was #BOSR, they'd get a chance to break your arm, because that's the only thing everyone in the UK knows about swans, aside from the fact that only the Queen is allowed to eat them.


Though I rather like the Swanmay, this is not a monster - it's a magic item for female human Rangers.

As a Swan, +1 magic weapon to hit, 2% Magic Resistance per level (actually per HD - rangers start with 2), and presumably the keen senses and disorienting attack.

I think it might be a false memory, but did one of the D&D magazines (Dragon?) do a Goose version for an April Fool bestiary?


Almost forgot to include this. 

Its 'bony "sword" [is] a fearsome weapon', but mechanically just comes down to damage output.

Next up: T, U & V (contains Tarrasque)...

Thursday, February 18, 2021

AD&D Monster Manual 2 - N, O, P & Q.

Back to M...

MM2's P & Q section contains 13 monster entries (20 monsters total); O has 7; N has 2 - this editorial choice makes me unreasonably angry.


The water nymph of Greek mythology and an archetype of a sort that crosses cultural milieu. The Nereid doesn't have to be female, human-like or beautiful to do the things it does. Reskin as undines, selkies, shellycoats, vodyanoi, rusalkas, mami wata and beyond.

There are no mechanics for the 'ecstasy' produced by their kiss. The water control powers are also appropriate for lots of other monsters associated with water, or even PC/ NPC elementalists and druids.



Not even a charge-and-impale special attack. 

Whales deserve so much more - a whale should be a game in itself, not just some hit points and damage dice.

Obliviax (Memory Moss).

Some might think the Obliviax is a Stupid Monster. The answers are not on the character sheet, and neither are they in keeping a rigid canon when there's so much variety.

That said, I'd splice this with something else or include as a symbiote/ special ability if I wanted a monster - otherwise, it's another plant monster that's really an environmental hazard.

Ogre, Aquatic (Merrow).

Underwater ogres with camouflage - I want to like them, but they could have just been a footnote to the Ogre entry.

Take them out of the water and reskin them in the dungeon/ on dry land as oversized Troglodytes and Ogres of the woods and crags. Could also use as Deep Ones, obvs.


Chiefly interesting because it can split its attacks between 4 M size opponents, 2 L size or 1 Giant size.

Otherwise, I don't like Tolkien enough to get excited about a big hairy elephant.


At first glance, a bog-standard snake person, but their venom will turn you into one of them in 2-5 + 8-16 days - you could read the entry to treat the venom as a disease/ lycanthropy if you wanted.

As written, they seem to be intended as cannon fodder minions - why not use them as the sacred monsters of the snake worshippers, or even protectors of the druid groves?


In heralrdy, the Opinicus is a type of Griffin and is a bit #BOSR. I like that the heraldic creature is described as having the head of a Griffin - how is that different from the head of an Eagle? Apparently, it scavenges the rubbish of London streets and represents the Barber Surgeons.

The MM2 Opinicus is a winged camel with a monkey's face, and seems to be planted somewhere in the 'Mythical Mystical East'. It has sun-sparkles (like the Hollyphant) coming out of its eyes.

If it's drawing on mythology or religious imagery I'm ignorant of, I will re-evaluate it, but this monster seems both powerful and silly (like the Hollyphant).

Could be a Gotcha! Griffin with these powers - not only magical but psionic and Good.

Apparently, their love of teasing and jokes 'detract[s] from their popularity'.


This entry doesn't even give a gp value for its fur, let alone have anything interesting to say.


You could easily improvise an owl without reading this entry that would be the same as this entry, but this is comprehensive and useful.



Ice, Smoke, Magma and Ooze. As interesting or not as any other basic elemental of the D&D cosmology.

Some Magma Para-Elementals have 'magical power' - does this mean they're wizards?  

The Oozes have slime-barons, which conjures up a Planescape-y image combining Jabba the Hutt and The Sopranos.


Elemental/ faerie little guys with group-casting spells. Make friends with them if you need monsters of stone and earth destroyed - they're good at that.

Use as Elemental Gnomes and folkloric Kobolds/Knockers.



The big ball that was dropped here is that they're also known as 'vinegaroons' (only the Giant-sized version has the relevant ability). For whatever reason, the suffix '-im' for monsters long achieved dominance over the '-oon'.

These are giant bug monsters of the Gotcha! variety (though maybe unintentionally) - the bigger ones have more special abilities.


Like the Haunt, this is not specifically said to be or not be undead, but is more like the ghost I/you would expect if there wasn't 40+ years of D&D tradition behind the capitalised Ghost.

It has almost no statistics, and is mechanically more like an environmental hazard or expository dungeon-dressing. 

The fear it causes is specified as being 'because of the superstitious awe they inspire', so maybe sceptics aren't affected.


I once read something in Dragon magazine about how they weren't likely to accept submissions of certain specific things, because the wider audience wouldn't be satisfied until the 'official' version came out.

Reskin this Phoenix as something else or distribute some of its special abilities to other monsters. A weak thumbs-up because it can cast duo-dimension once per day. I'm sorry to be so negative. 

Splice with the Pyrolisk for something a bit less epic - again, this monster gets push back for being gauged for a level of play I don't aspire to.


Yes, it's juvenile - but I can't help thinking of these as spunky-cock mushrooms.

They're an immediate threat (can convert/kill in 5-8 turns), but because they have Unratable Intelligence and Neutral (evil) Alignment maybe change turns for days or weeks and use it for a John Carpenter's The Thing scenario.


This monster thinks it's better than you.


Right from the start, I was so taken with the Pseudo-Undead that it was years until I realised they were Gotcha! monsters. They don't have the vulnerabilities of their undead counterparts, but they don't have the special abilities either (though Pseudoghasts have an effective stench). 

When you start to experiment with the BECMI undead (Drujs and Odics and Death Leeches and so on), Pseudo-Undead is boggling category that doesn't entirely make sense but sparks the imagination.

Pudding, Deadly.

Variant Black Puddings.

Like, but they could have easily been footnotes.


For Monster Typo Top Trumps, this has 43 HD. Otherwise, it's a Gotcha! monster - being almost identical to a Cockatrice (despite the name).

I like this monster, though would likely transfer it's pyrotechnic gaze to another creature (add to a Normal Human for a Fighting Fantasy Red Eye).

It's the mortal enemy of the Phoenix, but could do absolutely nothing to harm it - doesn't even have high enough HD (minus typo) to have any chance of hitting it, either.

Quasi-Elemental Lightning.

Let's drop the Para/ Quasi and just call them Lightning or Storm Elementals.

RAW, they're vulnerable to water attacks, but because of the treatment of elemental lightning in Dragon Warriors - The Powers of Darkness I'd group them with the Water Elementals.


I think they have the highest Move of any AD&D monster: 96.

Their speed is so great that they talk too fast and high to be understood, and die in 12-15 years (very short for faerie folk). 

They only get 3 attacks per round - fewer than the pecking beak of the Eblis - and I would have expected some kind of attack-without-retaliation ability. They aren't even guaranteed to win Initiative.

The illustration is evocative, with the ornate basket of the dagger, the moth-antenna eyebrows and the Vulcan greeting, but I think there should be more (mechanical?) depth to the Quickling - it should be the embodiment of speed, an exemplar of life lived at that speed.

Anyway: Like.

Quickwood (Spy Tree).

Grown from a mandragora root, but whether it means the one in MM2 I don't know.

The Quickwood feels a lot more like a monster than most of the MM2 plant monsters (location/ environmental hazard). If you want to go in a Tolkien kind of direction, they are somewhere between a Treant and a Willow, Black (see later). 

It's got a face, can turn your spell-energy into fear and can possess other trees - this seems to be for information gathering/communication, rather than extending its combat ability.

Give it some druid levels and make it the first higher-level druid a PC has to defeat to advance (AD&D RAW).

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Sort of Thought of Basic 1

Cribbed from Dragonwarriors.
I've just realised that you can use MAGICAL ATTACK as a d20 roll over save or basis for a DC when converting system-to-system. Not perfect, but simple.

Searchers of the Unknown and Lamentations of the Flame Princess are (approximately) the two games I came up with when trying to make D&D-a-like from memory, at the end of my ttrpg hiatus. And then I learned that those two systems already existed (and had for years) when I found out about the OSR.

Basic 1 is a barely-designed Old School adjacent system, nominally based on a version of D&D and a pre-AD&D Gygaxian house-rule

It's also a tool for thinking about this kind of game/system - because I'm a tweaker, and the description applies in both senses. Metaphorically.

The system defaults to vanilla fantasy of the kill-the-monsters-claim-the-treasure type, but adapts as well/badly to other genres and styles as any other system. Wherever there are gaps, it's assumed you will either plug in a pre-existing subsystem or make up your own. It's not meant to be D&D, just made out of some of the bits.

This is also how I came to D&D/rpg in the first place - I had some understanding of systems (mainly from gamebooks and reading White Dwarf) and most of the dice, and then the enthusiasm to create, so I tried to make my own before I'd even opened B for BECMI. Pretend you don't own any other dice and just use d6* - this mini-system is also based on me not having a d20 at the same time as not appreciating that OD&D, B/X, BECMI and AD&D were different things.

Because there's nothing new under the sun, I don't know if this already exists - there is only so much information I can reliably process. Comment and links to fait accompli welcomed.

It gets its name from the Epic 6 (E6) hack for D&D 3e, with the alt from the B in BECMI (though could just as well be B/X). Your characters will never rise above 1st level, but they can spend earned XP to boost their abilities for the next adventure. Your enemies will also mainly be 1 (+/-) HD wonders, with the real monsters having 3 or 6 HD.


Make four characters, one each of Cleric, Fighter, Magic User and Thief. 

Roll on some random tables to equip and give them backgrounds: your non-class abilities are derived from/implied by these results - characters can do what you expect. You can also use random starting cash to equip them.

This is your stable and can never have more than four characters in it. Preferably, only take one on an adventure at a time, giving the others time to heal, train and/or do research.

Stablemates can share cash and equipment, within reason, but remember to pay for their upkeep while the others are on adventures or they'll starve, fall sick, get kidnapped, be imprisoned for debt or otherwise make real-life trouble for themselves. They can even have jobs, hobbies and off-camera intrigues.

Characters can only be replaced when they die or retire, and retire means you have to set them up for life, not just dump them and take their stuff. Once you are bringing in replacement characters, you are no longer restricted to one of each and you can also start adding non-humans and from other editions/systems.

Hit Dice.

As per BECMI: Fighters d8, Clerics d6, Magic Users and Thieves d4. 

In Basic 1, HD are also used for hitting with.

You can have max. hp, if you want. 

Unless damage is overwhelming, 0 hp or less means you are a Casualty rather than dead - even wounds in combat or having a house fall on you doesn't need to cause hp damage and could have other effects (death save spiral unless rescued, for instance).

Ability Scores.

Classic Six - Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma - rolled up using whatever method you can all agree on. 

Ability Score Adjustments and Prime Requisites.

Your available/preferred edition of D&D for adjustments and Prime Requisite XP bonus/penalty, or none at all.

Older editions are less generous; AD&D is more detailed/all over the place, and has Percentile Strength for Fighters.

Doing Stuff with Dice and Numbers.

Make rolls (checks, saves, tests, whatever) against Ability Scores using 3d6 roll under (4d6 or even 5d6, if difficult/unskilled/no tools). You can use standard pre-3e and 3e saves, but I've not included them because they were hidden information when I started out.

Using 2d10 or even d20 isn't forbidden. If you want to use d%, the usual thresholds are stat %, x3 and x5. 

Advantage/disadvantage, more-dice-and-drop-some, doubles/triples and crits can all be applied according to situation and taste. Tunnels & Trolls-style saves also valid. If you like, exploding dice can also be a thing.

Thieves can perform all class skills on 1-2 on d6 - but only need to roll in difficult/high pressure situations. The classic Thief skills are class specialisms, and not exclusive - anyone can give them a go, and (say) a Fighter who was a locksmith might be better at lock-picking than an average thief.

Clerics can Turn Undead on 2d6: 7+ for 1- & 1 HD, 9+ for 1+ HD. Clerics Turn 3 and 6 HD undead only on a double six, and are fatigued by success (this is a gap).

Non-Clerics can Turn on double six, but success fatigues. They have no chance to Turn 3 and 6 HD undead.


This section is the longest, not because the combat system is the most important part of the game, but because of the legacy of mechanical density and system interpenetration.

The base for the combat system is human vs. human, hand-to-hand - magic, missiles and monsters (including most animals) are all specials. 

Fighting is opposed rolls, HD vs. HD - highest roll wins. Everyone gets to attack and everyone gets to defend. You can use attack vs. defence, or opposed rolls counting for both at once (see Shields below).

Surprise gives you +2 attack/damage and them -2 defence/0 damage. Initiative/First Strike is a gap.

Anything other than melee back and forth (special techniques, tricks, gambits etc) can be resolved with checks/saves/tests, if you don't think the HD is appropriate - this would normally be instead of an attack, but defence may still be allowed.

Gang up to add your HD together for better attack or defence (one wound only if successful, but +1 damage for each ally above 1/you) - you can attack or defend as a group, not both. Logical limits on how many can gang together.

Damage is d6 - Fighters get advantage, Magic Users get disadvantage. Strength adjusts attack/damage. Two-handed weapons get +1 damage. But attacks don't have to cause hit point damage.

You negotiate the difference between weapons through properties and techniques (eg. more people can gang up if using spears; daggers give advantage on attack if you don't defend; tridents can disarm opponents on tied rolls - these are not canon). 

If you really need crits, roll d20 or d% alongside your regular HD for that elusive 5%.

Thieves can use Dexterity bonus to adjust attack/damage. Thief backstab/ sneak attack/ snipe is +4 attack/damage.

If a Fighter kills a +/- 1 HD opponent, they can immediately make another attack (but no defence roll) if there is a suitable enemy within reach. You cannot do 'bag of rats'.

If you are unarmed vs. an armed opponent, you attack with disadvantage. If you are unarmed vs. an armoured opponent, you roll damage with disadvantage.


Shields are +1 to your roll, but if you win because of it, you have blocked the attack rather than struck your foe (if it matters, you have still 'won'). Dexterity does the same, though represents dodging and reflexes.

Shields Will Be Splintered applies, but also after each combat roll d4 (cheap/ improvised/ light/ shoddy) or d6 (quality/ heavy shield) - on a 1, the shield is broken and must be replaced. Could also roll vs. 3 HD and 6 HD monster attacks.


Leather/chain/plate (or light/medium/heavy) armour as follows (choose/negotiate):

  • soaks 1/2/3 damage
  • protects completely vs. rolled damage of 1/1-2/1-3
  • cumulative protection vs. 1st/2nd/3rd successful hit per combat

After each combat, roll d6 - on a 1, armour degrades one step until repaired or replaced. Roll d4 if vs. a 3 HD monster. Automatic vs. a 6 HD monster.


Magic Users get 2 spells - randomly determine or select from appropriate list. You can build up a spell-book and make scrolls. You can purchase more castings as you accumulate treasure and XP (see below).

Check this previous post for some guidance/ideas on using spells from other systems and without levels.

Clerics roll 2d6 to see if they get a spell whenever they start a new adventure (except the first), on a 7+ they have 1. Randomise, select or designate appropriate to deity and faithful behaviour. They can purchase more castings in the same way as a Magic User.

Thieves can use a scroll if they roll double six on 2d6. Or they can buy temporary knowledge of casting (max. 1 or Int mod, whichever is higher) with their treasure/ XP.

Multiple damage dice spells can be divided to reflect individuals affected (as a 'normal' target had a d6 or d8 HD), or the dice can be the saving throw rolled against the relevant Ability Score (ie. a basic fireball rolls 5d6 to beat the target stat to kill/casualty).


If it seems reasonable in a combat encounter, missile weapons can be handled in the same way as melee.

Otherwise, use a Dexterity check/save/test to determine success or failure. 

Thrown weapons, slings and drawn bows can be adjusted for Strength and/or Dexterity to hit and/or damage as appropriate. Being able to use/being equipped with a bow or sling implies a specific skill set for your character.

Crossbows and firearms can be adjusted for Dexterity to hit, but always count as two-handed weapons for damage. Anyone can pick up and use these projectile weapons (for the purposes of Basic 1).


Most common monsters will have +/- 1 HD. The exact die used can be based on the edition (d6, d8, 3e+ monster type HD etc). This covers anything with +/- HD or less in D&D adjacent material, and is the default for anything approximately humanoid and adult human-sized.

3 HD monsters are the Bears and Ogres and Trolls; 6 HD are the Dragons and Elephants and Giants.

3-6 HD monsters roll all their HD to attack and defend, representing how hard it is for normal humans to just go toe-to-toe with them. They can also have an attack allowing them to use all their HD as damage dice or split between multiple targets. Your mission is always to find a better way so that you don't have to go dice-to-dice - at the very least, you need to gang up and/or grapple/overbear them. 

Use raw numbers from printed HD to give + to hp and combat rolls where a Basic 1 1 HD monster falls into the grey area (ie. Bugbear can be 1 HD +4 hp & combat rolls). 

Give monsters special abilities to reflect why they have high HD RAW when converting - sometimes the answers will already be in the description. Damage caused is less important than the mechanical/ narrative effects (eg. your equipment being set alight is more important/interesting than what dice is rolled for damage RAW).

Monsters have default Ability Scores of 9 + HD for special cases and saves, adjusted as seems appropriate and/or based on their description. Ability Scores don't mean the same for monsters as they do for characters.

Monsters do not have to stick to the same rules as the players, but not as an excuse for unfunny TPKs.

Experience and Treasure.

Lots of gaps here.

You purchase benefits for the next adventure using XP and/or treasure. I'm being deliberately vague on what benefits are, because you might be able to bring something to the narrative/world-building with it - like you purchase an ally who will turn up when needed, a weather event that suits your plans, even a safe place to rest in the dungeon.

Treasure can be spent on any character in the stable, but XP is specific to the character that earned it.

If you aren't planning to use an existing subsystem, awards and costs could be drawn from a pre-existing, repurposed chart:

Search for 'xp budget' or 'xp threshold' to find more charts - other editions, other games, bloggers etc.
Another good one here.

Want to know how much XP surviving the 5th level of the Deadly Dungeon? It's right there.

Want to buy an ability or a spell tied to a high level? Look it up and start negotiating.

I'd make costs cumulative and maybe apply a hard cap of 5 benefits max. or 1 benefit + 1 per previous adventure for each character, but you don't have to.

Buying an ability outside your class will always be more expensive, but I don't see why you shouldn't do so. If you've got access to the material, you can buy Feats if you can make them run within Basic 1; the same with magic items - though they're only good for the next adventure (give them a usage/refresh die rather than charges, and you can buy the same one next adventure and say it's still the original one).

Ability Score advances would be priced according to the relation to your class and the levels they would normally apply (generally every four levels) - cumulative costs, so three advances would be (using the Easy column above) would be 125+450+1,000=1,575 rather than 375.

An alternative is to use something like Spwack's X System for DIE TRYING, which I first encountered in Sofinho's PARIAH.

*If you've only got d6, Fighter HD becomes d6+1 and everyone else d6. The d4 roll for shields vs. 3 HD monsters can become a d6-1 or d3 roll.


I needed a break from thinking and writing about Monster Manual 2, and this is the result - clearing out some of those crowding background thoughts and giving me something to refer back to.

I'm also getting some emerging combat/encounter system ideas in opposition to the rather one-size-fits-all approach of D&D.

It's probably a broken system, but it's more for thinking with than playing with. 

The primary driver behind pulling this thing together was reading this post at Dreaming Dragonslayer about Rogue Runs in Darkest Dungeon (which I've been enjoying as a play-style) and this post at Wodan Gaming about doing away with spell levels (and the linked Zzarchov Kowlaski post)

Monday, February 15, 2021

AD&D Monster Manual 2 - M.

Link back to H, J, K and L...

Middle of February already? 

Here continues the 1st edition AD&D Monster Manual 2 roller-coaster re-read.


You're going to end up fighting them because they will always try to set you on fire. The description says they're 'not really interested in fighting', but they clearly understand fear and threat as they enjoy the reaction of Primes to being burned - so fuck them.

Anyway, I'd raise their Intelligence to Average and reskin as Elemental Gnomes/Salamanders, or Dwarves/Trolls - I can picture a reclusive scholar, etching their philosophy into asbestos scrolls with boiling acid.


For some reason, I have always had it in my head that the MM2 version was a non-vegetable monster with no connection with the magical root of folklore. But there it is in the first line of the description 'a mandragora is a vegetable creature'.

It's a predatory burrow-dweller that parasitizes on trees when there are no humans to strangle and 'eat' - presumably by absorbing the nutrients as the corpses decompose. They don't have the deadly shriek of folklore, but are stunned if exposed to sunlight and will not venture from their lair until sunset.

A pleasant correction/revelation after all these ignorant years. They're Low to Average Intelligence, too.

Mantis, Giant.

This is approaching 50s monster movie size and for that it gets a free pass. It gets surprise 75% of the time (is this in addition to, instead of, or even compatible with d6 surprise?) and if it stands still (presumably in its natural habitat, not just anywhere) it is 75% undetectable.

As should be expected, it's got a grab-and-bite attack.


Plant. Hazard/trap. Not a monster, but that doesn't mean I hate it.


Canon aside, I can never settle on whether Gargoyles are constructs, demons, elementals or their own species. Otherwise, see Basilisk, Greater.


Their blinding water jet power is worth recycling, but otherwise this is just a Djinn/Efreet coloured in green and blue.

Maybe reskin as King or Queen of one of the elemental/faerie aquatic monsters, or even just say this is what Sea Giants are like - all the genies seem overly culturally specific without being particularly distinctive.

Mastiff, Shadow.

It becomes weaker in bright light, but in shadow it has a 40% of concealing itself so you can't fight back when it attacks.

A pack can bay, causing the classic run-away-and-drop-what-you're-holding response, and the more there are, the more difficult the save.

I like a 'Black Dog' monster, though these seem to be conventional, albeit extra-planar, animals rather than a supernatural force.


Designated as an elemental, there's a whiff of the Cthulhuvian about this - it can form razor-taloned tentacles from its amorphous, misty body.

It can also 'assume a ghostly shape to scare away intruders', which opens up some narrative options.

Would make a decent entity for a Lovecraftian scenario, and I'll probably convert it to BRP at some point.


Basically a Trapper for the wilderness adventure, with paralysing barbs on its back.

It has 10 HD and is Highly Intelligent, giving me Gamma World/ sci-fi vibes, - also a touch of the Cthulhuvian.


Wee little animals that are more aggressive than the normal-sized ones. They're all mammals, but there's no reason you couldn't apply the same treatment to any other mundane animals. 

Apply the same scaling to any monster you think over-mighty for your table RAW.

Also, points for using a table for stats, instead of numerous individual entries.


D&D Cosmology, eh? I liked how Modrons became clockwork/robotic/steampunk in Planescape - it really improves the Hierarch Modrons for me.

The Base Modrons are simple, weird and alien and I like that - touches of At the Mountains of Madness/ The Shadow Out of Time, and a bit of psychedelic music poster/album art. 

But the Hierarches become more 'complex' by becoming more humanoid - a bit of a cop out, and they suffer the same problem as other planar monster types by being hit point sacks with spell-lists. 

Mold, Russet.

As good or bad as any other mould.

It makes Vegepygmies out of you and your retainers.


Decanonised, these are just humanoids with survival skills and the possibility of blowguns.

Use instead of any of the not-particularly distinguishable humanoid monsters, maybe armed and population distributed according to their canon.

Moon Dog.

There's a much more interesting monster (good or evil) -maybe several- hidden in this entry. There are hints of a supernatural Black Dog, the Wulver, benevolent werewolf of the Shetlands, and the big-eyed dogs that help the soldier in The Tinderbox. 

But because it's AD&D, this is an Upper Outer Planes super-hero - I prefer the Grim.

Light conditions affect its AC - the darker, the better - though why not best under a full moon? 

Their whine, bark and lick all have beneficial dispelling or healing properties; even hanging out with one for a while will dispel charm or remove curse.


Little lizardfolk that spit muddy water in your eyes.



Quite a lot of text for a fairly minor monster only found in specific conditions - I'm going to take a guess that they originally appeared in a module.

They hurl mud, and then their whole mass, at their victims (targeting anything that can move quicker and more freely than them) - encumbering them with mud and suffocating them.

Reskin and lean into their shared consciousness - maybe splice with some of the moulds and/or oozes.


Chill mushroom folk, 'desiring only to work and meld in peace' - violence harshes their melding buzz - they're basically why Lawful Neutral is my favourite D&D Alignment.

Revisiting in these later years, I like them even more - though I'd base their HD and available types of spores using d6 rolls, rather than a 1 HD is this, a 2 HD is that. The effects of the Hallucinator spores table could be used for failed SAN rolls in Call of Cthulhu, if you have objections to the insanity system.

If Myconids ever decided to form up in fungus legions to attack the surface dwelling dry ones - if their desire to work and meld in peace was ever seriously threatened - they'd probably be armed with Gas Spores as artillery/mines and accompanied by Ustilagor swarms (fungi in 1e). Green slime, brown and yellow mould projectiles for that extra Mars Attacks! flavour. 

Next in line - N and some others (because there's only Nereid and Narwhal)...

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

AD&D Monster Manual 2 - H, J, K and L.

Link back to G...

Hangman Tree.

Another big, tough plant monster that is more of an environmental hazard or adventure location than a blow-for-blow opponent.

As well as its strangling vine attacks, also has a hallucinatory perfume that fools you into thinking it's a normal tree or a friendly treant - it can back this up with a little bit of language it has picked up over the years. I would definitely expand the hallucinations to be a bit more involved than normal tree/ friendly treant - with nymphs and satyrs placing garlands around your necks, that kind of thing.

Due to a typo, this has a minimum of 61 hp, rising to 9,211 or more. 2e Monstrous Compendium corrects this and gives it a more reasonable 6 HD + 1 hp/year, but also has an optional age/hp guide using hp per HD, so a 2e ancient (151+ years) Hangman Tree has 48-60 hp rather than the average 178 hp RAW.


2e Haunt. Suitably dead looking.

They're obviously undead, but the entry never uses that word - and they can't be Turned 'because they are linked to the site of their death' - implying this condition might also apply to other undead.

It has a Dexterity drain attack (creeping cold and numbness) - another option for swapping out the more lethal energy/level drain - and can possess those who succumb, allowing them to complete the task they left unfulfilled by dying. Hold person has a chance to drive out the Haunt. An exorcism is also effective, but this is not italicised so might be any ritual, rather than a specific spell/ability.

'If the possessed victim has an alignment opposite to that of the haunt (good vs. evil), the haunt will try to strangle the character'. There's a strangling subsystem here (for reuse elsewhere), but the peculiarity is that the Haunt use 'its ghostly hands' to strangle you and needs to make a to-Hit roll - why not use yours, rather than reach out of your possessed body?

It's also something of a Gotcha! monster because they are 'similar in appearance to a groaning spirit, spectre or ghost, for which they are often mistaken'. More like a Ghost as a ghost, rather than Ghost as a monster.



Cute fluffy little flying elephant that trumpets sun-sparkles, but could be reskinned as a mighty being/ spirit of capitalised Good if you don't like that image - they've got powers enough.

Takes away player agency (no save): 'engender[ing] great fondness and desire to cooperate in good characters' - neutral get off lightly with unease; evil with narrative fear and loathing.

Has a banishment spell-like ability with enough detail that it could be modded for character use.

Their fur radiates a globe of invulnerability and their tusks make them immune to disease and poison. The entry specifies that the globe only works while it's alive and that 'the tusks do not function thus for others' - so no point hunting them for these. 

Feels like a Gotcha! monster, but who for?


More Lower Planars. If only they could have been called D-something.

The entry is mainly made up of random tables to determine appearance and abilities, and there are similar tables in the 1e DMG.

A lot of this was lifted wholesale or lightly reskinned as part of d100 Mutations, back in the day.

There was a Dungeon magazine scenario, based around a Bodak with accompanying Hordlings (in a lighthouse?) that I remember liking, but I can't remember title or details off the top of my head.


Described as 'antelope centaurs', but the illo (and I think later treatment in Dragon magazine) establishes them as faerie/ sylvan deer centaurs - that hood/helmet looks like it's part of the face/head.


Put aside the wargame-y orientalism of the distribution of leader types (all sheiks and viziers), and the Strength cap for females, and this is a solid magical humanoid monster. No need to restrict to a particular milieu - there's not that much between faeries and genies, unless you're keeping strict canon. 

It can take a party to the elemental planes (implied by omission that it's the primary four, but no reason it couldn't be any of the others), where it can survive for 48 hours before suffering 1 hit/ hour until it returns to the Prime Material. Characters will have to make their own arrangements.

Typos give Jannee sheiks 84 HD and amirs 95. This is now canon.

Jelly, Mustard.

A jelly with Average Intelligence, which implies something even though all the entry says in relation to this is: 'although not unintelligent, mustard jelly is not known to value treasure of any sort'. Do they have a culture? Do they communicate? What are their opinions on the dungeon politics of the day?

Electricity and magic missiles make it grow (the effect is to increase hp by damage taken). It emits a vapour that can never bring you to a complete standstill (halves movement cumulatively), and it can divide itself to get more attacks.

It can't crawl along the ceiling and it can't squeeze through small spaces, but is otherwise more colour on the jelly/ooze palette - mix them up and swap them around.


Nowhere in the description does it say the Kampfult is a plant, though it says it's a monster plenty. I don't know if the ambiguity is intentional. According to 2e, it's definitely a plant - though of Low Intelligence and that Neutral (evil) Alignment.

Anyway, it's been hunted almost to extinction by humans, which explains why a 2 HD monster is Very Rare with a No. Appearing of 1. 

It's an okay monster with a somewhat evocative illo, so you could use it as low-level stand-in for a Roper. 


'Evil forest fiends'.

The Ecology of... article (Dragon 142) gave them an exclusive critical hit table: '18-20 Throat torn open' d6 hits/round until death or healing - spurty.

They seem to be defined (at least as editions and lore pile up) as something like intelligent predatory apes, but I prefer to think that they have a touch of the Ghoul about them. 



Wee faerie folk with great strength (can throw boulders), animated hair, and a laugh that stuns those who fail to roll higher than their Charisma on d20.

That they are 'rumored to have built the druid stone circles' and sprinkling holy water on their possessions turns the items to gold are nice folklore flavour.

They wouldn't suffer greatly to have their HD reduced and their earth elemental spell-like abilities removed (replace with ability to animate/summon 2d6 Bowlers or animate a big rock like a Galeb Duhr does).

Instantly likeable.


Splice together with an Aboleth and you've got a respectable Cthulhuvian one-off; take away its spells, intelligence and devotion to Evil and you've still got a working Kraken - apply BECMI Gargantua mods and set it loose on that civilisation you wanted sinking.

Lammasu, Greater.

See Basilisk, Greater.

Lamprey, Land.

That each Land Lamprey attached encumbers the character (-1 Dexterity for each Lamprey) is my favourite thing about it - an overbearing mechanic to use elsewhere.

Other than that, it's a blood-sucking worm - which is fine.

Luck Eater.

Weird little cat monster.

If you're not cat-lovers anyway, it takes away player agency (save allowed, though it is made each round). While hosting the Luck Eater, all important rolls are penalised by 10% (-2 on d20) and it needs you to make these rolls so it can eat this penalty - first it forces you to attack the next encounter and will eventually lead to you turning on each other.

Interesting. Reskin as anything other than a cat, including big-eyed lost children.


The Foxwoman is a female elf that can turn into a fox or foxwoman, has levelled male minions and a Comeliness of 21 - which is meaningless if you aren't using it (but is basically a charm ability). Feels like a variation on a classic theme, and I've no real objections - I prefer the BECMI Werefox statblock, though.

You also get Lesser and Greater Seawolves. The Seawolf form is a wolf-headed seal/porpoise, with Greater able to become human and Lesser becoming wolf-headed humanoids. Rather than lycanthropes, I'd make these the male minions of a seal equivalent of the Foxwoman (using BECMI Wereseal statblock).

The Wereshark is pretty much what you'd expect. I houserule that they hunt down and infect anyone they hear saying sharks die if they stop moving. 

I think there's an argument for just using the basic animal statblock and adding the silver-weapon-to-hit ability for the majority of werebeasts, rather than having to come up with individual entries - it's not like they all have distinct abilities that need defining.