Thursday, April 28, 2022

Other People's Stuff - Secret Jackalope 2022 & Giallo/Horror BX & Slush Piles & Iconoclastic Flow.

Secret Jackalope 2022 - Doomed and Saved, out on the Ice.

As well as being paired to write a response to a Secret Jackalope prompt, someone else was paired with mine: Mechanics/subsystems for isolation/loneliness, incorporating fantasy/horror/sci-fi inflected Third Man Factor/Syndrome.

This is/was Wyatt over at TBD: Tabletop, Books, and Dinner, who came up with some mechanics for manifesting and being aided by the Third Man - the presence sometimes reported by wanderers in the cold wastes and lofty places. Well worth a look. Thanks, Wyatt.

And below Wyatt's notification to me on the OSR Discord was this gem from the Foreign Planets blog (also a Secret Jackalope response) - Doomed Expeditions to Dread Hyperborea. Those cold wastes and lofty places I mentioned? They're one of my favourite settings, especially when you mix in an (un)healthy dose of fantasy, horror and sci fi.

(Also check out the likely discontinued Black City Project over at Dreams in the Lich House - it's from years back, but it was a more recent discovery for me)

The Erotic Art of Slaughterhouses.

I clicked through in the context of BX, giallo and survival horror, and was pretty happy with what I found. A new to 2022 blog, last updated in March.

I'm recommending this content with full awareness of possible non-neutral reaction to their Cool Shit From Other People - it's up to you to decide how powerful Hitler's jumper is. 


Iconic Clothing & Pocket Contents:

Two d50's worth of stuff for characters in giallo/survival horror games with the clothing and the random junk giving clues to your abilities/identity/situation. I like these like I like the uniform patches in Mothership.

With expansion up to 100 in the comments.

XP for BX/CoC hybrid:

A good alternative to the blood-and-gold method of BX, with no points for killing but some for encountering new monsters and saving people.

There is a legacy of XP=GP in that you'll get the worth of any eldritch artefacts you recover.

Some reference to Lovecraft's stories for illustration.

Improvised Weapons & an Improvised System:

d50 (expanded to 100 in the comments) things you can try and fight back with when trapped in the mansion with the murderous and mysterious. 

Includes 'Sliding Door'. Everything has a 1-4 on d6 chance of breaking when used for violence.

Plus the bare bones of a BX/LotFP hack for amnesiacs trapped in a mansion. Character special abilities boiled down to a bonus on related rolls, based on simple tags eg. Track Star, Camping Enthusiast. 

Personally, I would relate these to the Iconic Clothing and Pocket Contents you roll up at the start and - as you're amnesiacs - you don't have to decide on your tags at chargen. Being the master of unlocking in advance is all very well, only to be faced with nothing but broken-down doors and barricades.

Inspiration and Links.

A slush pile posting at Archons March On. This is the latest in a series and is dense with ideas and inspiration.

There are a number of people out there in the blogosphere doing these. Good. Be generous with your ideas, because maybe you don't have the time to deal with them and someone else might come up with something better than you imagined/exactly what you were dreaming of. The OSR blogosphere is a rich resource and you should tap it often. Cite and thank your sources when and where you can, and don't get too hung up on someone else already having had your ideas.

Also in this vein, check out Seed of Worlds for Slush Piles and TTRPG blog link compilations. They also post the r/osr blogroll every Sunday (within reason), which is always good to check in on.

New Blog - Iconoclastic Flow.

Contributors to a new collaborative blog just peeping out of the interpipes like sapient mercury: Max of Weird and Wonderful Worlds, Semiurge of Archons March On (already linked above), Spwack of Slight Adjustments, Sibylla of Devil Devil Devil, and Sofinho of Alone in the Labyrinth, Jones Smith of Was It Likely? and some more I'm less familiar with.

Nowt to do with me, chum, but I like a lot of their stuff, so it's probably worth keeping an eye on.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Secret Jackalope 2022: Mythical/Dreamlike Islands Generator

Suitably piratical adventures. Shades of Harryhausen.
Fantastical, maybe mythic, probably not very dreamlike.

Secret Jackalope 2022 prompt via the OSR Discord: "A Mythical (dreamlike) island generator" for PaperMagus#9478.

I love an island (or an archipelago) as a setting, so this was right up my street. I've kept things setting and system agnostic.

Roll a mixed handful of d6, d8, d10 and d12, then consult the numbered lists below. 

Some of the outcomes contradict others. Ignore anything that doesn't make enough sense and/or you don't like. Climate and terrain as appropriate to the milieu/mythos. Sorry to leave so much of the work to you, but filling in gaps and making connections can be fun.

If you want, roll those dice onto hex paper and use the spread to map the island or surrounding archipelago (highest roll is the most important location, however you define it). Chuck in some d4s to represent volcanos, mountains and mysterious mounds/pyramids (no tables for them).

The island can be found only:

  1. At the crack of dawn.
  2. When the sun first touches the horizon at dusk.
  3. Under the light of a full moon.
  4. Only when the sun is at its highest and hottest, with no breath of wind and the sea like a pane of glass.
  5. When everyone is asleep (or otherwise unconscious).
  6. When you are at the very end of your supplies.
  7. By those under a curse or enchantment.
  8. By those responding to an omen (good or ill).
  9. By those castaway from their vessel.
  10. If someone onboard is dead or dying.
  11. When your vessel is adrift, at the mercy of the currents and the winds.
  12. Once you have already resorted to drinking piss and sea water, cannibalism or the Bear Grylls hydration-enema (kind of CW/NSFW YT link).

The island lies:

  1. At the heart of a vast float of sargassum/deadly maze of icebergs/expansive gyre of the rubbish of civilisations.
  2. In dense fog, looming up suddenly and unavoidably.
  3. To starboard, glimpsed through the slashing rain, towering waves and dazzling flashes of an uncommon storm
  4. To port, just at the edge of peripheral visibility.
  5. Confoundingly astern, where you were but a short time since.
  6. Dead ahead, unexpected and uncharted.
  7. As 2, but when the fog clears it is revealed to have been cloud and the island is in the sky.
  8. Where the sea plunges over the Edge into endless space. You might see the effects of this long before you spy the island.

The island is full of lights:

  1. Corpse candles illuminating the faces of undead that are invisible by day.
  2. Sheets, sparks, and crackles of electricity/plasma.
  3. A sickly green glow suffuses everything, intense by night but just visible by day. It spreads to objects brought to the island and carried away from the island. 
  4. The lit windows of dwellings where there are none.
  5. Parading jack-o-lanterns, punkies, spunkies and will-o-the-wisps.
  6. Cannibal/Ogre cooking fires.
  7. The lamps of search parties, distress flares and signal fires. A general sense of urgency.
  8. Multitudes of eyes glimmering in the face of the dark.
  9. The ghost of a lighthouse. Does it signal doom or safety? Is its blaze even meant for something of this world?
  10. As if the constellations themselves have stepped down from the sky to roam the earth. May be accompanied by stark dark patches in the heavens.

Any of these lights can also be in the water.

The (super)nature of the island:

  1. Like a pop-up picture book, 2D within a 3D space, and either realistic or in a particular style of art/illustration. Time and distance are redefined as if by flips of a page. Whether those arriving or leaving update to fit the environment they are entering is up to you. Possibly everything is extremely vulnerable to fire.
  2. Under an enchantment/perception filter that hides its true nature. It appears like a paradise when it is a hellhole, or a fortification bristling with cannon and swarming with armoured mechanical warriors when it is in fact the peaceful convent of lycanthropic vampire nuns. And vice versa. It is possible to be able to perceive both aspects under the right conditions.
  3. A dream construct, with dream logic, and sustained by a specific Dreamer. It is real unless/until the Dreamer is awakened. The Dreamer is not always aware of their status, nor necessarily a participant in the dream.
  4. An actual illusion/telepathic-feedback-dependent hard light construct. It is vulnerable to a particular weight of disbelief, from an individual (including only a specific individual) to the whole sapient population. Awareness of the illusion/simulation does not necessarily aid active disbelief. Is there an island under it, or just the swallowing sea?
  5. A nightmare construct, as if produced by the Dragon Warriors Nightmare. You are probably all lying shivering on a beach surrounded by fragments of your wrecked vessel while this is going on.
  6. Everything on the island is alive/awakened, and survival here is dependent on accepting an animist worldview and communing with the genius loci of the place. I recommend PARIAH.
  7. Cinderella/Circe transformation - everything is something polymorphed into something else and vulnerable to counter-spell, disbelief and/or effect expiry. Leaving the island may or may not reverse any unfortunate changes.
  8. The Shores of Death. If the island is not actually the realm of the dead, or contain an entrance to the realm of the dead, it is the last mortal staging post on the journey to said realm. 
  9. Groundhog Day. The island is on repeat, resetting at intervals. The reset can be a regular occurrence, or be based on collective or individual acts. Agency, awareness and memory may persist (for inhabitants and/or outsiders), or the effect may be a trap, turning you into puppets in someone else's play.
  10. Altered Reality, whether by nature of its substance or the power of one (or more) of its inhabitants. This is something like an illusion, but is persistent and real if it is not disbelieved (or if there is no-one there to disbelieve it).
  11. Persistent shared dream-space. The island can be reached by sea, but is better reached by plunging into the collective unconsciousness of those who dream it. If the dream-substance does not resist it, potentially all dreamers/visitors can alter and influence the unreality.
  12. Non-Euclidean. However wholesome or horrible the island is, it defies conventional mortal geometry, making getting around and getting away both difficult and nauseating. 

Going ashore:

  1. Safe, sheltered bay/cove and easy trails to the interior
  2. Narrow tracks and/or crude steps zig-zag vertiginously up cliffs/crags from the sparse spit of land at their base
  3. Seemingly impregnable walls of rock/ice circumscribe the island, broken suddenly by a concealed passage, scraping low overhead your vessel
  4. Treacherous reefs/rocks/sandbars that necessitate a stay while repairs are carried out
  5. The silent quayside of an apparently abruptly and recently abandoned settlement (from trading post to sprawling metropolis, as appropriate)
  6. As you approach the shore, the sea suddenly retreats - impossibly fast and far, leaving you within walking distance of the island but with miles of stinking mud and dying aquatic creatures in all other directions.

The island is full of noises:

  1. Regular muffled thump like a great machine (or enormous heart) underground.
  2. Hummadruz. Not necessarily debilitating.
  3. The sand in the hourglass of your life running inexorably down.
  4. Distant raucous birds and the mournful honking of sea mammals that almost sound like comprehensible language.
  5. Shrill discordant notes and runs that you can't be sure aren't caused by the wind.
  6. As if the entire island was underwater. There may be an accompanying visual effect, or the island is actually underwater.
  7. Regular ticking, like a clock counting down or hot metal cooling.
  8. More and more elaborate and louder and louder fart noises, followed by barely human juvenile tittering.
  9. Wordless songs and sweet plangent notes.
  10. Industry appropriate to the technological level of the adventure.
  11. Muttering and cursing, meeping and gibbering.
  12. The sounds of a contemporary (or any preferred historical period or cultural variation) IRL shopping mall, airport, stock trading floor, space shuttle launch control - anything alien and incongruous to the milieu and the characters.

The islanders are:

  1. Curiously/suspiciously like your home culture.
  2. Dead (whether they are also talking and walking around is up to you)
  3. Diseased, obviously or otherwise.
  4. Echoes of the future/the past. Not quite real, a little alien, uncanny.
  5. The last remnant of a famously long-vanished civilisation
  6. Beastfolk: talking animals, Moreauvian vivisects, werewolves, satyrs, sirens, people wearing animal masks or acting like beasts.
  7. Merfolk, obviously or otherwise.
  8. Immortals. Possibly (weakly) godlike, or maybe vampires or elves.
  9. Easily exploitable; extremely vulnerable.
  10. Living statues (or other sapient elemental substance).
  11. Cannibals, obviously or otherwise.
  12. Completely surprised that there are other living beings beyond the island.

Reaction Roll to determine their general disposition towards outsiders.

The island doesn't need to be heavily populated - it might even work better for atmosphere if it isn't.

Just the one island, but it's pretty fucking cool.

The island's big personality/main character:

  1. Enchanter. Charms and transformations.
  2. Elementalist. Storms and weather magic.
  3. Sorcerer. Usually scholarly, with magical minions. 
  4. Scientician. Conducting private experiments far from interference.
  5. Necromancer. Their own fiefdom of the undead.
  6. Giant Humanoid. Strong enough to threaten shipping.
  7. Prehistoric Colossus. A Lost World survival or recently resurrected.
  8. Monster of Legend. One with the definite article and capitalisation.
  9. Cannibal. Not necessarily a compulsive gourmand, nor a cultural caricature.
  10. Forgotten God. Might want to reverse or preserve this situation.

Reaction Roll to determine their general disposition towards outsiders. There doesn't need to be one of these, but there often is. 

Don't know where the Lizard King (or the Gonchong on their head) fits on the list.

The island's gift, the island's prize:

  1. Sanctuary. No harm may befall those who abide here, as long as the legal and/or magical terms are not violated. 
  2. Healing. Bodily, emotional and/or mental good health arise from the conditions, substance or inhabitants of the island. The effect cannot be transported elsewhere, but there are always those who will try.
  3. Longevity. A condition of the island means that lifespan is extended. Often only as long as you remain there, the years catching up with you in an instant should you leave. Youthfulness and good health not always part of the deal.
  4. Knowledge. Could be magitech, could be psionics, could be the truth you were unwilling to hear. Includes mythical sages and the libraries of lost civilisations.
  5. Wealth. Whether it's lucrative trade links, rare materials or simply treasure vaults bursting with gold, there is always a price and it's usually blood and doom.
  6. Victory. The ally, the weapon, the mentor that you seek is here. There will be unforeseen consequences, even if you believe your motive is righteous.

All these islands have a Doom and will likely suffer it while the PCs are at hand, or even because of them (by accident or design):

  1. The Dreamer awakens and prosaic brute Reality comes rushing back in.
  2. The nemesis musters overpowering forces and invades. Unbridled massacre and pillage.
  3. The Sleeper stirs and the island tumbles from its back. Or it's just an earthquake/tsunami.
  4. The inexorable sea consumes the island, by inches but completely and forever.
  5. The slumbering volcano that raised the island bursts back to destructive life, affecting the climate even on the other side of the world.
  6. The spell that holds back the bitter cosmic cold breaks at last; perpetual winter crushes the island in ever-thickening snow and ice.
  7. Starts to fade away, either to nothing or to another dimension. 
  8. Contagious combustion/disintegration/liquefaction/petrification.

Somewhat zany, but it's got islands and a bit of Graeco-Roman mythological flavour.

Also take a look at:

A Strange Voyage Twitter account.

The section on randomly generating magical islands with a fairytale/mythic flavour in 2e AD&D HR3 Celts Campaign Sourcebook by Graeme Davis

Thursday, March 3, 2022

The Powers of Darkness & The Lands of Legend - Monster Commentary/Conversion to D&D Adjacent

Alan Craddock cover art.

Book 5 and we're introduced to another new adventuring Profession, the Elementalist.

Basically a Sorcerer, the Elementalist has a specialist element and two secondary elements they can cast spells with. DW has five elements (though only four basic Elementals), with Darkness as the element of evil and spookiness.

You can't combine opposed elements (standard drill) and you can only take Darkness as your specialist element. Darkness Elementalists are powerful, but channelling their element corrupts them, in the form of negative geasa (loss of shadow, permanent intangibility, intermittent heliophobia, becoming a wraith etc) - PCs are not meant to pick Darkness.

The power of Darkness also corrupts the Elementalist secondary element spells, generally making them more powerful but obviously tainted.

The 10th level summoning spell for Earth, Air and Fire Elementalists each call up a statted monster. Water gets a natural disaster (tsunami) instead, and Darkness gets to summon Balor (the Prince and/or Power of Darkness) and kill everyone (summoner included and no save) within 20m (don't know how this reconciles with Balor being asleep and imprisoned, as we learn in the adventures).

The Man of Stone.

BAB +19 AC +6 att. fists d8(d14) HD 5.3 Rank (10th Rank spell)

Superhuman Strength: DW STR 19 (+2 damage bonus).

Titanic figure made of rock, conjured from a sufficient quantity of available material.

If not under the control of a summoner, it can only travel in a straight line. Able to break through walls... burrow through cliffs and subterranean tunnels.

The Darkness-tainted version battens on the flesh of living men, delighting in grinding their bones between its stony jaws.


BAB +6 AC +1 att. special HD Rank (10th Rank spell)

Fast: at least x2 Normal Human movement rate. It's not specified but I guess it can fly.
Immune to non-magical weapons.
Implosion Attack: death, no save RAW.
Deafen: everyone within 10m (c. 32') is deafened, except the summoner. If you like, duration is while the Banshee is within range, then 2-12 rounds duration after.

An animate vortex of violent, shrieking wind.

Summoned to relentlessly pursue a single victim to death. Presumably, defeating or dismissing the Banshee is the only way to prevent this.

The Darkness-tainted Banshee will do as bid for the first victim, but then will be freed from control and not leave this plane until it has totalled 100 kills.

The Man of Fire.*

BAB +21 AC +6 att. fists of fire d10(d16) HD 6.2 Rank (10th Rank spell)

Superhuman Strength: DW STR 19 (+2 damage bonus), or it could be a +2 because it's on fire.
Scorching Presence/Touch: it can set wooden objects alight by touch, and gradually melt metal objects. Humans, after a round in its presence, are horribly scorched, but no further details or mechanics are given.

A 3m+ (c. 10') figure entirely composed of elemental fire. Material component: the bones of one who has died by fire.

The Darkness-tainted variant will serve its summoner for 1 hour, but then spends the rest of the day setting fire to everything it can because that's how it feeds/gets its jollies.

*It's called The Holocaust in the text, as in the original burnt-offerings sense of the word, but maybe you'd rather not call it that.

After the Elementalist Profession and the new spells, we get a chapter on Madness for when spells and horror twist the mind. Standard use of recent contemporary language for each disorder, and portrayal of schizophrenia as being a split personality. 

You'd probably do it differently now.

The Prince of Darkness.

This seven part adventure/campaign is set in Glissom, a part of the world lying to the north of The Elven Crystals adventure sites and also contains the Lost City of Nem, where big old bad boss, Balor, is imprisoned. 

Head north to rescue a King (if he isn't already dead - which he is), recover a relic and hopefully put paid to the dastardly plans of the Darkness Elementalists, thereby saving the world from being stared to death by Balor, the Prince of Darkness of the title.

Like with The Elven Crystals, there're hints this was originally written for another system/ system neutral. Tonally, it is more of a romp than my personal core four DW scenarios - though there's more sense of the integral setting than in Crystals.

Geoff Wingate.

Part 1 - The King's Tower.

If you stick to the read-aloud text (something I'm not keen on, generally), the PCs are about to fail to earn the 100 Florins they're each being paid to guard the King during an important festival.

Then evil Hawks swoop down to carry off/kill the King and snatch the sacred Hearth Fire. Even if you uncover the secret plot and villains at this early stage, you still get an offer of 100,000 Florins (silver pieces)* to head north and set things right.

*enough to buy 40 Warhorses or 200 suits of chainmail or 1,000 crossbows or 1 million slingshots.

Hawks of Balor.

BAB +7 AC +3 (+7 vs. missiles) att. claws d6(d8) HD 4.6 Rank 7th

Carry Off: if a Hawk rolls a crit or 5 more than it needs to Hit, it will attempt to grab and carry off the target (save to evade). Carrying an adult human-sized victim, they can rise 6m (c. 20') per round and will release their prey if they lose >50% of their hp.

Giant Hawks in the service of Balor. There might be no more than 6 of them and they might be magical creatures.

Any survivors from the initial attack turn up outside the Lost City of Nem, but they just cast their spooky shadow on you as they fly over: save to resist or you're subjected to madness (or equivalent).

Their AC vs. missiles is because of their speed in flight and semi-camouflage in poor light.

Part 2 - The Inn of Chang.

More of an encounter than an adventure. 

Don't show the players the illustration or you'll give the whole game away. 

Part 3 - The Siren Woods.

Between you and the next destination are Elf-haunted woods with magical traps and an undead warrior-king.

The Elves are Ranked characters (Sorcerer and warriors - presumably Knights) and have invisible elven strands that hold you fast until you roll 2d10 < STR to break free. They also have blow pipes with poison darts: save or die with advantage/bonus if 1-2 darts hit, normal chances 3-4 darts, and at disadvantage/penalty 5-6. 

Also: whether or not the poison gets you, save vs. magically-induced hallucinations (dispel magic or similar to relieve). Roll d6:

  1. Totally devoted to next person of opposite sex you meet.
  2. Next creature you meet is a Basilisk so you keep your eyes averted.
  3. 10% each minute you experience intense vertigo and throw yourself to the floor.
  4. Fall asleep for 2 days (cannot be woken) and forget the past year.
  5. and 6. All your companions are your enemies, so kill or be killed. Spell Expiry Roll or 2d6 rounds.


BAB +15 AC as armour att. weapon +2 HD 6.2 Rank ?

Superhuman Strength: DW STR 19 (+2 damage bonus).
Zone of Mist: fight it as if blind/invisible/in total darkness; outside of melee, you're outside the mist and the sight and sound of the fight is hidden by an illusion (looking lovely and monster free). Normal chances to disbelieve, or you can just step back in range.

A green-faced, humanoid creature with white flowing hair and overlong nails dressed in verdigris-stained armour of an antique fashion.

Dissolves into greenish gas when slain. Undead and corporeal, but the monster isn't the corpse buried here (even though it is, if you know what I mean).

Part 4 - The City of Mimir.

Side trip to a dungeon with monsters, treasure and traps. Haunted by an ancient demon that pretended to be (or was somehow believed to be) a benevolent deity.

Necrophobius (Physical Incarnation of the Demon Shader).

BAB +17 AC +8 att. forelegs d6(d6)  mandibles d8(d20) HD 5.5 Rank ?

Reflexes/DEX: 14.
Strong: DW STR of 16+.
Seize Victim: if hit by both forelegs, roll d20 < (STR-4) or seized for automatic mandible hits each round thereafter.
Suck Out Brains: takes one round and then it will vanish into thin air (teleports to The Sanctum of the God to deposit the cranial goodness).
    Ambiguity in the text means that Necrophobius sawing off the top of your skull might need a roll of some kind, or is abstracted as happening once you're down to 0 hp.
    And you could substitute any brain-extraction mechanics you have knocking about, if you prefer.
Turned by a Relic, or maybe as a Special.

Necrophobius is its name: a giant praying mantis about 5m [c. 16'] long... has long forelegs and razor-sharp mandibles that can cut through bone.

The Demon Shader exists as a Green Devil Face/Blikdak-type thing in The Sanctum of the God (it's just a dungeon room), waiting for Necrophobius to bring it brains to consume. Looking into the eyes of this extrusion/image/manifestation requires a save vs. madness.


BAB +7 AC +1 att. weapons x2 + grapple HD 2.6 Rank ?

Multiple Attacks: makes 2 weapon attacks and 1 grapple attack per round; presumably they could make 4 weapon attacks if they were properly equipped.
Grapple: resolve this attack as d20 < (Succubus STR + Reflexes/DEX) - target STR. Anyone held can be automatically hit with weapon attacks each round, or the Succubus can attempt to drag them away (throwing them into the mouth of possibly another manifestation of the Demon Shader).
    No Strength or Reflexes scores are given for the Succubi in the text.
Regeneration: 1 hp/round from non-magical damage.
Destroyed by the touch of a relic, reducing them to ashes.
Intangibility: they can pass through walls; no more details, and other obstacles not specified.

Naked, pink-skinned creatures, with four long arms and a tail and monkeylike face.

As presented, they're just demonic guardians/servitors, but the name, abilities and appearance are suggestive of a much more interesting monster. 

Superficially, they're not obviously very sexy (except possibly in a Slaaneshi or Silent Hill way) but I suppose - this being Dragon Warriors - maybe it's the coming into the bedroom by walking through the wall and then wrestling with you that gets the stories started.

A cool monster that you could get more out of.

Mud Wyrm.

BAB +5 AC unarmoured att. fangs d8(d12) + shock HD 4.8 Rank ?

Electric Shock: save to resist with advantage/bonus or paralysed by a bite-administered electric shock.
    As written, the attack is magical and you sink into chest-high/ 1m (c. 3') deep mud. Presumably, you drown. 
    Use a Spell Expiry Roll or 2d6 round duration, or a per round 1 on d6 recovery roll (as if KO'd/0 hp in DW), because it doesn't tell you how long the paralysis lasts. Nor how long it takes to drown.

Large brown eel... 6m [c. 20'] long... two pin-sized eyes and huge circular mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth. Characters will only see a disturbance in the mud as it approaches them.

Suggestion that it might be intelligent (treasure-hoarding) and magical, though maybe making its bite a MAGICAL ATTACK was for mechanical convenience.    

Part 5 - The Mountains of Brack.

You need to cross these to get to the Lost City of Nem. There's a convenient and dangerous dungeon that is apparently the only way. No-one's ever returned and a sort-of Roman legion wasn't able to do it. 

If you don't want to run this as written, do a resource-management and random encounter expedition over the mountains instead. 

Shadow Gaunt.

BAB +11 AC +3 (or special) att. talons d8 + special HD special Rank (6th Rank Darkness Elementalist)

Powers of Darkness: has the powers of a 6th Rank Darkness Elementalist, which doesn't easily map to D&Dish. Give it any 6 anti-good, darkness, fear, illusion and/or shadow spells from across available spell lists. 
    The DW spells are, 1st Rank to 6th: Catspaw (move silently, redundant); Darkeyes (see in the dark, dazzled by sudden light, probably redundant); Benight (darkness effect that also triggers save vs. madness); Curtain of Night (wall of darkness that blocks hostile spells; reflects fire/light-based magic at the caster); Javelin of Darkness (single target attack but AoE blindness; javelin has no other special properties but I guess it's basically a 'concealed' magic weapon); Shadowfall (eerie twilight by day; by night, utter darkness, induces panic/phobia; 1 mile radius).
    Strictly speaking, a Darkness Elementalist also gets to use spells from two secondary elements and accumulates geasa, but I don't think that's meant in this case.
Stealth: its STEALTH is 25, one of the highest in DW, and should be reflected in the monster's abilities. See Okeman for suggestions. This monster has no need for Catspaw spells.
Evasive: 25% of evading any attack, successful hit or area of effect, and appearing behind the attacker, immediately getting surprise/rear attack bonus on the next round. 
    Because of this you will have no immediate way of knowing that it is...
Immune to non-magical weapons 
    or that it has a...
Special Vulnerability: no hit points but a single successful hit from a magic weapon will dispel it.
Shadowy Talons: ignore armour (Unarmoured AC only, no parrying, no shields etc). But, if you defeat the Gaunt, all lost hp are restored (unless you're dead).
Death Curse: whoever strikes the killing blow against the Gaunt must save at disadvantage/penalty vs. a suitable curse.

Creatures of shadows brought together by the highest necromancy known in the occult arts. A mage will enter an unconsecrated burial ground and, using a summoning, bring the shades from the graves till they form a dark, almost solid body. This gradually takes a humanoid shape with two small holes where light can pass through, where the creature's eyes should be. Someone seeing a Gaunt flitting down a dark alleyway would take it to be a tall, cloaked figure until they turned and saw the hollowness of the creature's eyes. Sometimes, if there is light behind them, rays of light will pass through these eyeholes, but no light will pass through the creature's inky-black body.

This one's my favourite, less because of how it plays in the adventure (it's just an interesting monster obstacle), than because of the possibilities in other situations.

Its AC+ comes from high DEFENCE, but it also has one of the highest EVASION scores in the game (better than a 12th Rank Assassin) so you could give it more +. Or you could apply that +3 as a bonus to all saves instead. Both options work.

Ice Statue.

BAB +9 AC +6 att. fist d8(d8) HD 7.3 Rank ?

Strong: STR 16+.
Vulnerable to fire: takes double damage.
Regenerates 1 hp/round from all but fire damage, as long as in freezing conditions.

3m (c. 10') tall animated/living statue of ice. Implied to be humanoid, but no other details given. 

Ice Octopus.

A purple, tentacled monster, its body covered with mauve polyps and suckers and with two octopoid heads.

It's the monster component of a trap, attacking with 4 tentacles (BAB +2 HD 1.7). No damage but if you are struck twice, you are dragged into its watery lair which instantly freezes, instantly killing you.

8 hp damage to destroy/sever a tentacle, and I'd rule that any tentacle that's hit a target cannot attack another - you could also use grappling rules for this instead.

Destroy all 4 tentacles and it will disappear forever into the depths of the fountain. Saves as a 10th level Fighter/10 HD monster if you try an alternative to hack-and-slash - but no stats for the body.

Vampire Bats.

Their razor-sharp teeth give them great armour penetration: +3 to Armour Bypass, automatically beating DW padded or hardened leather, and ring mail. Resolve in D&Dish as simple bonus to Hit.

The bite is infected with a strong poison - whether that means disease or not, the save-or-die is at disadvantage/penalty. 

Survivors end up with deathly pale skin and a strong aversion to sunlight (either -3 penalty to Hit and AC, or borrow something from a pre-existing heliophobe). They're not vampires, but maybe Pseudo-Vampires (AD&D 1e Monster Manual 2), and the population of DW is somewhat ignorant of the nuances of monster classification - expect to be blamed for any outbreak of pernicious anaemia wherever you go now.

Ice Spectre.

BAB +8 AC unarmoured att. special HD 2.2 Rank ?

Surprise: 1-4 on d6 when it just appears to be a lump or patch of ice.
Deadly Touch: touch attack ignores non-magical defences; 2d6 hits and instant death on a 12 (save to resist cold and/or magic). 
Life Drain: touch damage added to its hit point total.

Spectral arms burst from the ice, and attempt to drain mortal warmth in the form of hp. The Ice Spectre does not get its instant death ability until it has drained min. 10 hp and is able to manifest fully.

Once manifested it can claw and clutch at your heart with its icy claws, and can potentially absorb limitless amounts of hp as long as there are warm bodies to drain. 

No more details, not even if it's actually undead - a variant of the Spectre in Book 1. Pretty cool, though, pun acknowledged.

I like to imagine it gets bigger and more like a living blizzard the more warmth it devours.

Ice Snake.

BAB +8 AC +9 att. tail d10(d6) HD 10.2 Rank ?

Camouflage: 100% concealment in ice and snow - you don't know it's there until it attacks.
Coil: save to evade (with advantage/bonus if you're not surprised) or trapped in a 10m (c. 30') circle of its body and subjected to breath weapon attack each round. 
Breath Weapon: save to evade or immobilised for 10 rounds (1 minute) as you're covered head to toe in freezing ice. You also need to save vs. death by shock (RAW as written, d20 < current hp).
Superhuman Strength: DW STR of over 19 because gets +3 Armour Bypass RAW.

Also referred to as an Ice Serpent and a Giant Ice Snake, it's a 20m [c. 65'] long crystalline being. It's eyes... [glow] redly in any light. Anyone not caught with its coil and breath is lashed by the giant armoured tail.

It might also have the ability to cast an illusion of a treasure hoard as a lure, but this isn't specified - it's a component of the trap/trick the monster is a part of.

The text baldly states the party don't stand much chance of defeating this monster in a straight combat. No suggestions apart from escape. Whether that applies to D&Dish characters, I don't know.

Rime Wraith.

BAB +14 AC unarmoured att. weapon HD Rank ?

Fear: d8 fright attack, as a regular DW Wraith.
Immune to non-magical weapons.
Immune to indirect attack magic: this is spells like fireballs and magic missiles, if you've forgotten. The text specifies the DW Sword of Damocles spell is the only exception.
Evasive and Insubstantial: 50% chance of evading any successful attack and appearing behind its opponent, for a surprise/rear attack (see Shadow Gaunt).

Bob Harvey.

It's not much like the normal DW Wraith: no death spell and it fights with a physical weapon. It is very definitely the ghost/remnant/revenant of someone once alive - in this case, a warrior named Valhar.

Presumably, other Rime Wraiths would resemble who they were in life. 

Interestingly, Valhar's Wraith is a separate entity from his spirit/soul, as that is hidden in an Amulet of Soul Storing elsewhere and will attempt to possess any mortal who dares to put it on. There are no details as to his personality or goals, living or undead. Described as a warrior, he's classed as a 5th Rank Mystic.

Part 6 - The Hall of the Frost Giants.

Geoff Wingate

Repurposed as a lair by two Frost Giants, this site was originally something to do with Valhar and/or his culture/faith. You don't absolutely have to explore this place, but you might encounter the Frost Giants later if you don't deal with them here.

Frost Giants don't always have to be fought to the death because of their code of honour (see Book 1). However, they do keep an extensive larder that is recognisably human.

One Giant wields a trident. In DW a spear is a 2d4 Armour Bypass and 4 damage weapon. Conversion to D&Dish and the Giant's STR bonus to one side, the trident has d8 Armour Bypass and inflicts 2 damage per prong - roll d3 to see how many hit home, and it's automatically all three if you're helpless. Which I think is an interesting way of mechanically differentiating the two weapons.


BAB +1 AC unarmoured att. bite d12 HD 3.5 Rank ?

Dread Barking: their hollow, sepulchral barking forces a Morale Check. As this doesn't apply to D&Dish PCs, see the Forest Harpy for options.
Throat Rippers: RAW for DW, they have low ATTACK but automatic Armour Bypass to abstract their focus on the throat of their victims. 
    For D&Dish, the d12 bite damage might suffice, or make it 2d6 (slightly higher average damage per round).
Alternatively, give the Mastiffs the special ability of the BX/BECMI Giant Shrew (ferocious attack vs. 3HD or less - save vs. death ray or flee), and double damage on a nat 20 if you don't already use crits.

They're big dogs that fight to the death unless called off. 

Possibly supernatural: unlike ordinary dogs their breath is cold.

Part 7 - The Temple of Balor.

The Lost City of Nem awaits, along with Darkness Cultists (ninjas) and three potential setting-derailing monsters (with Balor being the only explicit one). Okay, maybe Krang isn't but I like to think He could be.

Ice Snakes.

BAB +3 AC +6 att. bite d6(d4) HD 0.6 Rank 2nd

Freezing Bite: save to resist with advantage/bonus or suffer as if subject to the Ice Serpent's breath weapon.

Normal-sized snakes made of frosty, crystalline substance and powered by some ancient sorcery. 

You decide whether they're magical creatures, constructs or elementals. Doesn't say whether they are related to the Giant Ice Snake, though they're clearly similar.

The Grey Hood.

HD 1.7 (8 Health Points)

See also the Executioner's Hood in AD&D 1e Monster Manual 2.

A grey swirling barrier of energy through which it is not possible to see.

As long as you're coated in a certain substance (no more defined in the text than as a pool of dark viscous water - but outside the adventure it could be wine, vinegar, oil, tar, butter, mashed garlic, the Black Ichor etc), you can pass through that barrier - it parts to allow passage. 

If you're not coated, it pulls its substance into a bag/hood over your head (and it can attack multiple/separate targets) and you are subjected to a high-pitched screaming sound as the creature begins to suck away [your] lifeforce. 

Save vs. spells each round or death so instantaneous that observers cannot tell that the Hood has destroyed and replaced the brain with its own substance. The victim is now a puppet of the Hood and will attempt to kill unpossessed characters. Once only puppets remain, they travel to the surface world to capture/lure more potential hosts.

Hosts can be recognised by the grey film over their eyes. Do they retain languages, memories, skills, spells? Is the Hood an intelligent parasite? No details.

The Grey Hood is vulnerable to metal, so can be ripped from the victim's head in 4 person-rounds if the rippers are wearing mail or plate gauntlets. If using a weapon, make a DEX check to not injure the victim underneath. 

This vulnerability implies other possible solutions to passing through the barrier (which is 10m or c. 30' across in the adventure) and possibly indicates that the dark water is full of dissolved/suspended metallic minerals. A full suit of plate might work to pass, but might also just hide the fact the Hood has infiltrated the closed helmet through a chink.

Reminds me of the Krask, in that it seems somewhat out of place in the broader sensibility of the DW setting - an alien and sci-fi inflection that works in isolation. 

Krang, The Flesh Eater.

BAB +19 AC +6 att. pincers d8(d10) HD 10.2 Rank ?

Immortal: you can kill Krang, but Krang won't otherwise die. This isn't specified, but it's what I think.
Superhuman Strength: DW STR of 19.
Relentless Pursuit: once Krang has scented human flesh, Krang will not be deterred. Until He can devour that flesh, He will eat his way through the thickest of walls and any metal to get at his victim. 
    You need a dispel magic or similar to break the connection. 
    Maybe there's a way to temporarily delay/divert Him with some kind of offering?
Spit Acid: at short range - but this is not defined (it's by device/weapon in DW); causes d4 hits or damages armour by 1 point. Also doesn't say if it's instead of or in addition to pincer attacks.
    Magical armour keeps its bonus as long as it retains non-magical AC value in this case.
Magic Resistant: saves vs. magic with advantage/bonus.
Keen Senses: Krang has one of the highest PERCEPTION scores in the game as well as being able to detect and track individual human scents over distance and time, so you might want to give Him some additional abilities based around this.
    At the very least, He cannot be surprised.

A fierce monster with turkeylike wattles of flesh about his neck and an elaborate horned breathing apparatus that connects his nostrils with his mouth. Wide-set eyes and a row of spiky mounds on top of his head, a long lizard-like tail, with an armoured scaly body, complement the horrible picture.

And pincers, number unspecified.

In the adventure, if you fail to close some bronze doors Krang will come shuffling up the stairs after ten rounds (1 minute) and pursue you. The text then goes on to say that walls and metal are no obstacle to Krang once He has the delicious scent of humans in his horned breathing apparatus.

Krang was fettered here by Balor, Prince of Darkness, countless centuries ago but may not be an actual prisoner, as it seems to otherwise be able to come and go from its lair in a frozen grotto deep beneath the Lost City of Nem.

There's about Krang something of the Tarrasque and the exuberant profusion of less well known Great Old Ones and I like Him for it.


BAB +5 AC unarmoured/special att. special x8 HD special Rank ?

Tentacles: anyone hit by a tentacle must roll 2d6 < STR or be pulled into the Ganglion's pit of frothing, roiling liquid. Every additional tentacle hitting the same target adds 1d6 to that roll.
    Each tentacle has 5 hp.
Acid Pool: anyone dragged into that frothing liquid takes d10 acid damage/round; your armour will protect you for a single round before it dissolves.
    Presumably you can climb out. 

A giant octopoid creature with quivering greenish-mauve skin [and] eight long translucent tentacles.

Has 40 Health Points in its body and 40 spread across its tentacles, so it could be a 17.7 HD monster if you want; I'd go with 8.8, counting the body only. If you can inflict 40 hits on the body, it will die, and it will retreat if you destroy its tentacles (not specified, but it hasn't any other attacks).

There is a possibility that the tentacles are missing a DEFENCE and/or Armour Factor score, but it otherwise seems that you auto-damage this monster. The text seems to suggest that being close enough to attack the body is more risky than just being in range of the tentacles - maybe this could be resolved as whether you're pulled into the acid pool at the end of the next round or the end of this one.

It's an obstacle/trap monster, with a similar MO to the Allansian Blood Beast, and I like it.

Balor, Prince of Darkness.

A gigantic being covered with coarse, goatlike hair.

No stats are given for Balor, as no weapons or spells known to man can defeat or injure him in any way.

Balor breathes out every 6 rounds (30 seconds), with a great sigh delivering a blast of poisonous breath down the tunnels to his prison: save to evade to avoid taking a breath, then save to resist or die (I think) and save vs. madness, too.

At the very doors to Balor's prison, every exhalation is accompanied by an aura of shining darkness in the form of his leering face: d20 fright attack (save vs. fear at disadvantage/penalty or die/go mad) if you look directly at it.

If you decide to enter the chamber where his massive head is (taller than a house with his chin resting on the black marbled floor), roll for surprise (or DEX save) to see who accidentally looks directly into Balor's eyes burn[ing] with coal-red fire: save vs. magic at disadvantage/penalty or instantly and irrevocably dead by fiery disintegration.

This close, with every inhalation you risk being sucked into Balor's maw and consumed. This is automatic if subtracting the STR of the breath (12) from your STR results in a negative number. Even if it's positive, you still have to roll under that number to resist.

If the doors are open but you're not yet in the chamber when Balor inhales, you can make a DEX save to grab onto something which gives you +5 to your STR when calculating whether you get sucked in.

Close the doors and go downstairs!

Defeating Balor depends on extinguishing the magic fires and spoiling the pentacles of the ritual intended to release him. If you don't do both (though you can't really do one without the other if I'm reading it right), Balor will wake up fully (within an unspecified time) and ravage the land.

The Lands of Legend.

This book takes a look at a larger slice of Legend - a five-million-square-mile slice, in fact!

Alan Craddock cover art

As well as the gazetteer and other setting background, a new Profession (Warlock) and rules for languages, long-distance travel, seafaring, crime-and-punishment and social class/character background, we also get mentions of Newtlings, Night Elves, Trollbears, Eidolons, Ice Ghouls, and a/the Wendigo - all in passing and detail free. 

We learn a little of the geographical/cultural distribution of some monsters via the encounter tables for waterborne adventures, including a surprise appearance by Orcs! I thought they had dropped out of DW by the end of Book 3, but here they are in the world-guide as a shipborne encounter in Uncharted Waters. 

Maybe all DW Orcs are Sea Orcs or Viking Orcs or something, and just hail from Beyond the Fields We Know. Maybe all DW Orcs are Spelljammer Scro - away-teams and castaways, having their own sci-fi adventures on a threatening alien world dominated by merciless Humans.

The only statted new monster turns up in the adventure 'Mungoda Gold' as a treasure guardian. And we also learn that standard DW healing spells are less effective against tropical diseases, suggesting that the component of knowledge in a spell can be as important as reality-bending magic power.

Guardian Demon.

BAB +19 AC +5 att. claws d12(d18) + strong venom HD 11.5 Rank 16th

A smoky, long-limbed monstrosity... no eyes or any other features until it opens its sharply angled maw to reveal a glowing gulf of blue light.

What Was Left Out.

Giant Spider from Out of the Shadows.

BAB +6 AC +2 att. bite d6+1 + venom HD 2.8 Rank 3rd

Strong: STR 16+, because it gets a damage bonus.
Stronger Web: penalties per round increased by 1.
Venom: as a Giant Spider (Book 1).

Missed this first time round.

A slightly stronger/tougher Giant Spider that turns up in The Sins of the Fathers adventure in Book 4.

Retreats if reduced to 4 hp, which -along with the mythic underworld/otherworld location- suggests it might have intelligence and even personality.


I always knew my D&D had a high level of DW content, but thought it was more about soulless Elves and dark supernatural flavour. Looking back, I notice that I instinctively used adventuring procedures that - though common to many fantasy rpgs - were codified in Book 1. I also think it's fair to say that it's because of DW that I always had crits on Hit Rolls, even in D&D editions that don't have it as a core rule, and why my default survivability measure is rounds=STR. 

I like the profusion of multiple resolution mechanics across the six volumes. This is part of my attraction to Old School stylings/systems; universal mechanics are all very well, but they don't exercise my imagination the same way. Resolution dice are inconsistent - d20, 2d10, 3d6 - and I'd like to know the reasoning behind these choices: combat is trad d20, magic save is 2d10, poison save is 2d6 to 4d6, sometimes an ability check is one roll, then another.

Reconsidering the BAB values, I think there's a strong case for adjusting the significantly higher ones down to HD-generated equivalent levels. Possibly anything with a Rank exceeding its HD gets advantage/bonus to Hit; maybe + = Rank minus whole HD. IDK - I keep them in for illustration.

Are there any/many clones of Dragon Warriors? A very shallow search says no.

The only system I can identify having a clear relationship would be Romance of the Perilous Land (by Scott Malthouse/Trollish Delver), which is rooted in the folk mythology of the British Isles and also uses a variation of the ATTACK/ MAGICAL ATTACK/ SPEED/ STEALTH minus DEFENCE/ MAGICAL ATTACK/ EVASION/ PERCEPTION = Target Number mechanic. 

A less obvious line can be traced from Dragon Warriors through to Lamentations of the Flame Princess. It's baked into both systems that Elves and Magic Users/Sorcerers are unholy, and this crops up in the text and the mechanics rather than being a forefront detail at chargen. Though this might just be a strand of Old School preference/thinking than a deliberate reference.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Out of the Shadows - Monster Commentary & Conversions to D&D Adjacent


Alan Craddock cover art.

Out of the Shadows introduces the Assassin character (Acrobat-Assassin-Monk-Ranger combo) and two new stats, STEALTH and PERCEPTION. High Ranked characters get new special abilities. They're all for some other time (maybe) - this is a monster run-through after all. 

This is a biggie - a bestiary of 'Saturday Night Specials' plus do-overs and power-ups from The Elven Crystals, then a slew of newbies and variants across the three adventures. 

There are monsters that are common across systems, but comparisons with BX/OSE are less useful.

A few poor quality scans to give you an idea of the excellent Bob Harvey illos.

Denizens of Nightmare.

Starts out with an updated holy relics table to take in all those faerie or trollkin additions.


BAB +14 AC +5 att. weapon +1 HD 8.2 Rank 13th

Immune to direct-attack magic charm, death, sleep, hold etc.

Artificial warriors of metal constructed by the sort-of Ancient Greeks using the lore of the sort-of Ancient Egyptians. Ornate, graceful, bejewelled. Presumably magic, but why not technology sufficiently advanced to be indistinguishable from?

Considerable intelligence, but have no free will. Some can speak (in sort-of Ancient Greek), maybe discussing philosophy or reciting poems - even at the same time as fighting you with sword and shield.

STR 16+. Can see in the dark as well as the light.


BAB +9 AC +2 att. d8(d12) + venom HD 4.4 Rank 7th

Automatically surprises you.
Gaze Attack: 80% chance you meet its gaze when surprised, then use Basilisk mechanics for gaze avoidance; save at disadvantage/penalty or Transfixed: stand passively for 2d6 rounds/as many as you fail the save by or until attacked, you also forget the duration and the 2 rounds before it.
Psychic Venom: it's save or die, but vs. spells/psionics rather than poison.
Bark: d12 fright attack (as strong as a Ghost's) renders you feeble and helpless; otherwise, Weakened (-2 to Hit, -1 damage) for 2d6 rounds.
Half damage from non-magical weapons  and/or not of solid silver.

Faerie hound larger than a wolf... fur is black or green-black... cold green glare of its eyes... the grinning jaws of the beast slaver with a luminous spittle.

Whether styled as the vengeful manifestation of the victims of atrocity, a faerie visitor from the otherworld, a hunter of damned souls or an elemental guardian of hidden treasures, this is a Black Dog straight out of the folklore of the British Isles.

If slain, it will let out a horrible howl that banishes the souls of the dead within 20m (c. 65') so that they cannot be raised by normal means. After that, all that's left is a log, a moss-covered stone or a stagnant pool. 

Barudath (Eaves Phantom).

BAB +12 AC +2 att. touch 2d4 HD 8.6 Rank 15th

Fright Attack: d4, the first time you see it - though I suppose this could be enough to kill you RAW.
Trickery: you get an INT save vs. its attempts to fool you.
Gaze Attack: (when fully manifested) save at disadvantage/penalty or Transfixed (see Barghest); either make this a first-time only attack or use Basilisk gaze avoidance mechanics.
Ghastly Touch: (when fully manifested) only magical armour/protection bonuses count against it (allow DEX adjustment, for D&D adjacent).

Believed to arise from the forgotten grave of a suicide (you decide on the in-setting truth or not of this but it's a common trope), the Barudath seeks out an inhabited place to haunt - sometimes down the generations. 

It's a horrible but not very frightening ghost, relatively speaking, but it's persistent and always trying to get itself invited in by making noises, imitating voices, appearing in wretched or tempting forms, or just wearing you down until you give in.

Once invited in (and this is open to interpretation, for dramatic purposes), it manifests as a tall figure with bone-white skin, eyes of gleaming jade and a long mane of flowing green hair. While it can pick up and use a weapon, it's touch is deadly and bypasses mundane armour. Once it's killed everyone available, it can't leave this place and settles down to absorb their psychic residue - topped up by the odd wayfarer.

If you don't have the spells or magic weapons to kill it, you can try to find its hidden burial plot (you need 8th level casters for any divination spell to be effective) and exorcise it, or dig up its remains and confront it with them - upon looking into the empty sockets of its own skull, the Barudath gives vent to an unholy shriek and disappears.

It's one of my favourites from the DW monster selection.

Blue Men.

BAB +12 AC +1 att. weapon +2 HD 4.8 Rank 7th

Immune to 1st to 4th Rank spells: as is, or downgrade to 1st and 2nd level only.
Half damage from missile weapons: but not sure why - I guess it's their dead flesh.

You encounter a dragon-prowed longship (limned with St. Elmo's Fire and visibly neither seaworthy nor from recent history) crewed by 30 of these Viking-esque undead with blue skin and beards tangled with weed. Oof!

They cannot be outrun or out-manoeuvred by mortal sailors, so you eventually have to submit to a contest of rhyme and counter-rhyme. Victory is hazily defined - one side falters or is forced to make an unconvincing or clumsy rejoinder - so you could reduce this bardic skill checks or some such.

If they lose, they depart. If you lose, prepare to repel boarders armed with bronze cutlasses and STR of 16+. 

Beating the Blue Men in combat (25%+ casualties) means they will immediately depart, sinking under the water. The souls of the mortal dead go with them and cannot be raised by normal means.

Taking the fight to the Blue Men's vessel also results in them sinking into the water: DEX save at disadvantage/penalty, or you're sucked down with the ship. The Blue Men also pronounce a curse as they go: every adventurer (so every PC?) has to save vs. spells or the ship is becalmed 3d10 days, and everyone is exposed to d3 random diseases per day (normal chances of infection, unless conditions change).

From the description of their ship as waterlogged and impossibly afloat, I imagine you can't scuttle it or set it ablaze by normal means. Possibly dispel magic could work, but I expect you'd get the curse for that.

They're setting specific (or generic) Blue Men of the Minch, if you didn't already know that.


BAB +1 AC +1 att. weapon HD 2.2 Rank 4th

Automatic surprise vs. up to 3rd level characters (invisibility to mortals).
Surprise 1-4 on d6 vs. 4th level +.
Min. 4th level Magic User: RAW it's a 4th Rank Sorcerer (greater basic spell choice and energy reserves than D&D), so you could go higher.
Alchemy: can brew any potion or magical compound and usually carry three or four, a good way to introduce new and/or cursed potions into your game. 
Hoarfrost spell 1/night: save or seized with deathly cold; 1st round d8 hits, save to endure/resist with disadvantage/penalty or die; 2nd round d6 hits, save to endure/resist or die; 3rd round d4 hits, save to endure/resist with advantage/bonus; 4th round it wears off, if you've survived. 10m (c. 30') range direct-attack magic vs. single target. Or reskin an existing cold spell.
Thorns spell 1/night: 10m (c.30') range vs. single target. Save to evade or wrapped in thorns for 2d6 rounds; you can struggle free in d6+1 rounds but take d4 hits per round. Remain motionless for no damage, if you think it wise.
Witchflame spell 1/night: tendrils of emerald flame, 5m (c. 15') range, single target saves to evade or takes 3d6 hits (reduced by AC +); 25% they catch alight and take d8 hits/round, until they put the fire out (on a 4-6 on d6 at the end of each round RAW).
Mist spell 1/night: the Boggart exhales a cloud of weird mist that appears to obscure a 2.5m (c. 8') radius area. However, it's much bigger on the inside, connects to the otherworld and you can get lost unless you're using practical or folkloric methods to prevent this. At the start of each round, roll d6: 1, you encounter the Boggart (+1 to next roll if you immediately retreat); 2-5, you're still wandering; 6, you step out of the mist, safe(ish). If you're still in the mist when it fades away, save vs. spells or you fade with it - interpret this as you will (go to appropriate otherworld, turn Ethereal, out of phase, as if bitten by BECMI Spectral Hound etc). Duration: Spell Expiry roll, or 2d6 rounds.
Befuddlement spell 1/night: direct-attack magic vs. d6 targets within 20m (c. 65'); basically a confusion spell, though one result is to remove bits of your armour. No duration given, so presumably Spell Expiry Roll intended, thus 2d6 rounds for D&D adjacent.
Phantasmal Claw spell 1/night: huge, luminous talon makes 1 attack up to 20m (c. 65'), at x3 effectiveness of the Boggart's normal attack, for d10(d12) hits. Fades without trace once it's done so.

It's basically a DW Goblin, though it's skin is like smooth ebony, delineated with highlights of greyish-green with wine-dark eyes flecked with gold. Plus, it dresses nicer.

Has various loosely defined mischievous spell-like abilities, plus the summoning and command of Bats (again, not defined). Rumoured abilities are shrinking themselves down to ride Bats, turning into a Bat when unseen by mortals, and dancing (teleporting) along moonbeams.

Will brew potions for you, if you can bribe or threaten them sufficiently. 

Cool new spells. A Boggart turns up in one of the included adventures.


Use the stats for a high (min. 10th) level character, with the addition of 4 HD, Strength 18, AC +1 for dead flesh and immunity to all forms of mind control.

Bob Harvey

These are the mighty dead, heroes of the distant past... elite fighters and warrior-saints. Hundreds, even thousands of years in the tomb, they are undead and undecayed by sheer force of will and the exalted status they held in life

They're basically Knights, but there's no particular reason you couldn't use a different class - even a spell-caster for a Lich.

If you fight one when it's just woken up, it has a -5 to Hit and -5 AC penalty in the first round of combat. This reduces by 1 each round as it gets used to moving around after all this time. Could potentially apply similar diminishing penalties to other abilities if you've given it a different class.

They should have some decent magical equipment (except potions) ready to use. They can't speak, but they're not automatically hostile (something of a departure for DW monsters). It's not immune or resistant to non-magical weapons, which would certainly be the case for comparable D&D adjacent undead - this is a quirk of DW, rather than an oversight.

The text mentions two other powerful undead - Night Stalkers and Eidolons - which aren't statted here or anywhere else.

Compare with the Meortie undead from Dark Sun setting.


BAB +3 AC +4 att. claws d8(d6) + special HD 2.2 Rank 4th

At One with the Dark I: cannot be seen in the dark by 1st to 3rd level characters.
At One with the Dark II: in darkness and low-light conditions, 1st to 3rd level characters fight the Caitshee at -4 to Hit and -4 AC; 4th level and above fight at half this penalty; penalties cancelled by magic giving darkvision and/or see invisible.
Jinx Casting: no range, but implied to be close (stalking or fighting); 50% chance of miscasting Magic User spells, 35% of miscasting Cleric spells. Not mentioned, but I'd rule spell-caster Elves are unaffected.
Magic or solid silver weapon to hit but wounds are not apparent until it is slain (fades like a shadow in sunlight).
Min. damage from spells.
Leap: 5m (c. 16') and attack in same round.
Claw Special I: ignores non-magical armour.
Claw Special II: save or Weakened (-2 to Hit, -1 damage) for 2d6 rounds.
Death Curse: whoever strikes the death blow is cursed, and will feel the effects in 1-6 months. Roll d10:
  1. All personal iron/steel equipment rusts within 1 day.
  2. 20% per combat first hit taken is a crit, first hit made becomes a miss.
  3. Save vs. spells at disadvantage/penalty, sunset to sunrise.
  4. x2 chance of wilderness encounters, and you're the focus of attacks.
  5. Sprained arm (-2 to Hit, can't use shield or two-handed weapons) or sprained leg (can't run, disadvantage/penalty to movement & evasion); even if healed, will recur within a month.
  6. 35% per adventure you break/lose best/most useful weapon/magic item.
  7. No steed will allow you to ride it, except with magical compulsion.
  8. Your eyes cannot bear the light of day and you take penalties as if in total darkness/vs. invisible.
  9. If you see a black cat, suffer a d8 fright attack. You die if you fail.
  10. Your gold treasure becomes silver, silver becomes copper, gems to bits of coloured glass. 

So many mechanics that they forgot to say what it looks like. 

A faerie cat, counterpart to the Barghest. Frequents cemeteries, woods and ruined abbeys, and likes to stalk adventurers to jinx their spell-casters. Gets its AC from very high DEFENCE.


Normal: BAB +1 AC unarmoured att. weapon HD 4.6 Rank 1st

Warrior: BAB +3 AC unarmoured att. weapon or kick d8(d10) HD 4.6 Rank 3rd

OSE: BAB +3 AC +4 att. x2 hoof d6 + weapon HD 4

Centaurs get an Elf-like +2 to Hit with bows and javelins, have chieftains of 4th to 8th level (Fighters, I suppose - DW Barbarian is implied here), and shamans of 1st to 6th level (DW Mystics, so Clerics or Druids). Text states that a Centaur could learn to be a Sorcerer, but it doesn't happen because they have no written culture (DW Sorcery is an academic pursuit).

Skilled hunters, excellent scouts. Hired as mercenaries, trackers and messengers, but unruly and can't be relied on (drunk on Goblin booze in The Elven Crystals).

The Centaurs of The Elven Crystals are steeped more in myth and fairytale, while these are the flesh, blood and steaming manure inhabitants of a world where they are merely legendary because they live so far away from your everyday.


BAB +14 AC +4 att. claw d12(d12) bite d8(d14) butt d12(d10) HD Rank 14th

OSE: BAB +7 AC +5 att. x2 claw d3 gore 2d4 bite 2d4 bite 3d4 or breath 3d6 HD 9

Automatic surprise vs. 6th level + characters: because it's appearance is so astonishing.
Shock Attack vs. 5th level or less characters: this is a special ability of DW Assassins (introduced in this book). Roll d6 for your initial state, then recover 1 stage per round: 
    1 Stunned. Cannot act at all; automatically hit; auto-fail saves to evade, 
    2 Aghast. Only hit on a crit; auto-fail saves to evade; -4 AC, 
    3-4 Astonished. Only hit on a crit; save to evade at disadvantage/penalty; -4 AC
    5-6 Surprised. Only hit on a crit.
If you don't normally use crits, make an exception for this.
Constrict: seize up to two characters in its snaky coils - preferably Stunned or Aghast, otherwise as a DW Python but for d6 crushing hits/round.
Multiple Attacks: it can use its butt or its bite in addition to claws and constriction. Allow it to split its attacks between multiple opponents, if this isn't already a thing at your table.
Weird Breath Weapon 3/day: a flux of refulgent green rays vs. single target within 5m (c. 16'); save at disadvantage/penalty or fighting ability reduced to 1st level and spell-casting to nil for d8 rounds.
Bob Harvey

Forequarters of a lion growing from a powerful serpentine body... strong, curving horns... dragonish wings... eyes of white light blazing from a body that is otherwise uniformly green-grey.

Not much detail on this beyond its abilities and stressing that it's exceptionally bizarre. Rereading the description reminds me of encountering Call of Cthulhu rpg monster entries for the first time - we're going to need more hirelings to soak up the blood and guts so the PCs have a chance to get away.

Nice use of a newly introduced mechanic.


Already done, here.


BAB +17 AC +4 att. bite d10(d12) + strong poison HD 10.2 Rank 16th

Terrible Cry: a high, rasping whine - d10 fright attack if you hear it (within 60m/ c. 200'); fail and you're senseless with fear for 2d6 round; drop what you're holding and run in a random direction (including into the Cloudspider's clutches).
Corrosive Black Mist: all missile attacks vs. the Cloudspider are -3 to Hit; -1 to Hit and -1 AC cumulative per round if in melee with it, until max. blinded/darkness penalty. Recovery within 2d6 rounds after leaving the mist, d6 if you rinse your eyes.
Corrosive Venom: save at disadvantage/penalty or paralysed, then dead in 1 minute (10 rounds), then irrevocably dead as your corpse rapidly decomposes.

A roiling black cloud of mist, within which the rugose body, sparkling eyes and clacking limbs of a giant arachnid are faintly visible.

Minimal information, not even much of a clue to its size, but presumably massive. You can't collect its venom, because it corrodes any container or weapon you dip into it. Roams the deepest levels of the dungeon.



BAB +13 AC unarmoured att. weapon +3 HD 14.2 Rank 10th

OSE: BAB +9 AC +4 att. club 3d10 or rock 3d6 HD 13

AD&D 1e: Cyclopskin AC +7 att. weapon +2 HD 5

-4 to Hit with missiles: lack of binocular vision.

Not much to go on but they're one-eyed giants that have very limited intelligence and are driven by wild urges which include a taste for raw human flesh and an irrational love of gold.

Implied Strength of above 19 (DW scale), because of the +3 damage bonus.


BAB +6 AC +4 att. bite d6(d12) HD 3.5 Rank 2nd

Setting specific Lizard People of the tropics. Train monkeys as scouts and spies. There might be a 1st to 3rd level shaman (Mystic). +1 damage from STR when using a weapon (stone axes, wooden spears).

Bite instead of using a weapon 20% per round, and go into a killing frenzy (+4 to Hit, -4 AC) if subjected to fear/fright attack (or fail a Morale Check, I suppose).

The text does not have a high opinion of their cultural, intellectual and social development.

Fang Warrior.

BAB +13 AC +2 att. claws d6(d12) HD 4.8 Rank 7th

Immune to effects of emotion, fear, morale.

Use detect magic or similar to determine which 9 teeth of a Hydra (see below) can be used to create Fang Warriors.

Throw down a tooth, expend magical energy equal to a 4th level spell and it grows into a Fang Warrior in d8 rounds. DW uses magic points/psychic fatigue checks to measure magical energy, but spell-slots work too - possibly bring down the power equivalence to 2nd level for D&D adjacent.

They remain for 2d4 rounds, have STR 16+ and Reflexes/DEX 18 (adjust AC according to your system), will not fight others from the same Hydra and respond to the creator's thoughts. They will only serve to fight and each tooth works only once.

White and wiry, the superficially human appearance of a Fang Warrior is quickly belied by its sharp claws and teeth and the glare of animal-like hatred in its eyes.

Fungus Man.

Already done, here.

Giant Beetle.

BAB +6 AC +5 att. bite d10(d8) HD 7.7 Rank 6th

Stag beetles the size of a large bull. 

Burrow through earth and soft rock. Glide 6m (c. 20') and bite in the same round. These things mean it surprises 1-3 on d6.

Comparatively simple and unadorned, I feel it's here for a reason I don't know about. No obvious prototype from previous books, and doesn't turn up in any of the adventures I know of.


BAB +13 AC +7 att. weapon +3 or fists d6(d14) HD 11.7 Rank 11th

Immune to mind -control, -detection and -reading.

Made of clay or stone by a Sorcerer, 12th Rank or higher, at the cost of 2 Ranks (D&Dish levels or 50,000 XP, whichever seems appropriate). It takes 221 uninterrupted days' work and needs a casting of Resurrect (choose suitable D&D adjacent analogue).

The creator must also roll 3d20 < INT + WIS (or CHA) + level or make a flawed Golem, which will eventually (days, even years) go kill-crazy or become possessed by an evil demon/spirit. Always tries to kill its creator first, as is tradition. 

You do get a d20 < INT check to realise you've done it wrong. Whether that helps you much, I don't know, because the Golem is up and running already.

+3 damage bonus, so DW STR of greater than 19; Reflexes/DEX of 3, so it almost always acts last in a round (only Zombies can have a lower Reflexes score).

A glyph/rune/symbol on its forehead is its weak point. If you know about it and try to break it, RAW you need to successfully hit, roll under your Reflexes on 7d6 and make your Armour Bypass roll (so this would need to be a crit from most weapons). For D&D adjacent, this would be at least a Called Shot or a confirmed crit (whatever that is) or with disadvantage/penalty- I haven't crunched the numbers.

Otherwise, it's just your average Golem and considerably tougher than the one in The Elven Crystals.

Grave Gaunt.

BAB +5 AC +1 att. weapon or antlers d6(d6) HD Rank 4th

Infected Wounds: antler damage cannot be healed using magic and carries risk of disease (RAW Wasting Disease).
Bob Harvey

Flying ghouls with antlers! Or possibly the thing from the grave in HPL's The Hound

Says their origins are lost in the mist of antiquity, implying they're thousands of years old and from the ancient tombs of past civilisations (analogues of Egypt, Greece and Rome, if not Babylon and Sumer). 

Can range 100 miles in a night. Takes 1 round to unfold their wings when in combat. Prefer spears/javelins as weapons. Can't stand daylight, but doesn't say if it damages or destroys them.

Give them an extra +3 AC when they're airborne (their EVASION doubles).


BAB +10 AC +2 att. bite d8(d14) claws d12(d10) HD 8.4 Rank 8th

OSE: Griffin BAB +6 AC +4 att. x2 claw d4 bite 2d8 HD 7

A Griffin. As interesting as you make it.


BAB +5 AC +3 att. weapon HD 4.2 Rank 6th

Awful Stench: fight her at -1 to Hit.
Frightful Gaze: treat as an active gaze attack; d8 fright attack that strikes you mute for d6 days, unless relived by drinking holy water.
Vengeance by Warts: if you strike her, save or covered in unsightly warts and sores (-2 CHA or -2 to Reaction Rolls) until next new moon. They resist all treatments, except maybe remove curse.
Plague Bearer: wounds from the Hag expose you to the Black Death.
Power of the Moon: On the 3 nights of the full moon, she can cast spells as a 6th level dual-/multi-Magic User/Cleric; gibbous moon nights, 5th level; crescent/half-moon nights, 4th level; 3 nights of the new moon, 3rd level.  Or your own alternative (RAW she's a 4th Rank Sorcerer).
Flying Device: a magical broomstick or cauldron that only works for her, and comes when called (save to evade or it'll knock you down on its way). She always knows where it is. Takes 7 months to construct/enchanct a replacement.
Night Bridle: 1 on d6 a Hag has one of these, made from the noose of a suicide. If she makes a Hit Roll and you fail to dodge it, you're subject to a spell that allows her to use you as a helpless flying mount. You take d10 hits when she lets you land just before dawn, and reduce your STR by 3 for the rest of the day. Presumably, this is what she does to anyone who destroys/steals her flying device.
Vulnerable to iron and steel weapons: takes +1 damage per die (she uses bronze, stone or wooden tools).
Vulnerable to holy symbol: affects her as a DW Vampire.
Vulnerable to salt: if forced or tricked into eating it, she can cast no spells for 4 hours.

A smelly, ugly witch-monster. Non-human.

The sun strikes her dead or turns her to stone, so she prefers to stick to her lair by day and brew potions (including the Potion of Hate, which she can throw at you - save or uncontrollably attack the nearest person for 2d6 rounds or till you are killed/KO'd). Carries 2-8 with her.


BAB +2 AC +7 (+2 vs. magical weapons) att. claws d8(d8) HD 5.3 Rank 3rd

OSE: BAB +2 AC +2 att. x2 claw d4 or weapon HD 3

Stench: save at advantage/bonus, or -1 to Hit and -1 AC when fighting them. They can only surprise 1 on d20/5% because of the stink.
Plague Bearer: filthy claw wounds expose you to 1-3 diseases.
Grapple: 20% they try to carry you off instead of clawing; successful hit, but no damage; they can only ascend 5m (c. 15')/round when so burdened and will drop you if you struggle too much (c.f. Forest Harpy).

No conflation with Sirens here. Their bird-parts are vulture and the description is clear that they don't have arms. They're stronger and tougher than Forest Harpies.

It's only their humanlike parts that are vulnerable to normal weapons (the plumage... turns aside all blows from nonmagical weapons), accounting for their good AC+. Some scope for messing around with mechanics here, if you prefer things less abstract.


d8 fright attack when encountered, but text not entirely clear on whether this applies to all individual Hellions or the group/procession it describes.
Vulnerability: can't come within 2m (c. 6') of a holy relic; can't harm someone holding one; affected by crucifix/ holy symbol as a DW Vampire.

Selection of tables for randomly generating demons. 


BAB +4 AC +2 att. weapon or bite d8(d6) + disease HD 6.6 Rank 3rd

Beefed-up version of the Hellrot that appears in The Elven Crystals, but substantially the same. 

We learn they can be driven back with a crucifix/holy symbol like a DW Vampire. Can't harm someone holding a holy relic, and the touch of a relic is instantly fatal. Also, vulnerable to sunlight (burned and shrivelled), but no mechanical detail.


BAB +9 AC +3 (unarmoured vs. magic weapons) att. bite d8(d6) claws d12(d12) HD 6.6 Rank 8th

OSE: BAB +3 AC +4 att. claw/claw/bite x2 d6/d10 HD 3+1

Track from the Air: 70% effective.
Subdual: during the day, catch it with a special bridle (Hit Roll and DEX check to succeed), then two consecutive STR checks so it will submit to being stabled. 
Then 3 consecutive d100 < STR + DEX + level to tame it (1/day) - each failure results in you getting hurt. Roll d12:
    1-5 d6 hits.
    6-8 d10 hits.
    9-10 sprained shoulder - d4 hits, -2 to Hit & -1 damage for next 3 days.
    11 broken arm/leg - no more training for 4-6 weeks, plus appropriate penalties.
    12 broken neck - death without immediate magical healing; 20% you're paralysed anyway.

A carnivorous horse that turns into a monstrous winged carnivorous horse at night.

By day, they have sharp hoofs and curved fangs (stats as Warhorse with +1 damage roll and save vs. magic based on the stats above). 

At night, they transform - sprouting wings, scales and talons, while their skull turns slightly ophidian. Transformation is at will during the night, but takes 2 rounds in which they can take no other action and seems painful.

If you're using Rangers and/or Animal Handling proficiencies (or similar), apply bonuses to taming attempts (or allow saves to avoid injury) - but it's never an easy or sure thing. The special bridle is enchanted, treasure-valuable, especially cruel or a combo.

An interesting and unique take on an often unremarkable monster, this Hippogriff has really grown on me. Not explicitly a magical beast. Nasty surprise stand-in for rumours of Pegasus.


BAB +8 AC +3 att. bite d8(d6) + weak poison HD 12 Rank 16th

OSE: BAB +4 to +9 AC +4 att. 5 to 12 bites d10 HD 5 to 12

Multiple Attacks: 2d4 bite attacks per round; poison save with advantage/bonus.
Spit Acid: save to evade or 2d6 hits + armour loses 1 point of protection permanently, including magical pluses.
Poison Cloud: 2m (c. 6') radius; if you take a breath, save or die (with advantage/bonus if you cover your mouth and nose with a wet cloth); you can hold your breath for rounds=STR, or half that if you're doing something strenuous (like fighting). If you're saying magic words, you're breathing.
Regeneration: edged weapon damage is added to the Hydra's hit points unless it also suffers significant fire damage (cauterising the stumps, as is traditional). Blunt, piercing and magic damage isn't regenerated.

Starts out with nine heads, so 2-8 bite attacks and the difference in spit attacks each round. As decapitations are abstracted, you choose whether to add the extra head per round of edged damage or per successful wound of edged damage.

Nine of its teeth can be used to make Fang Warriors. Each maw contains enough venom for 2 applications to your weapons (1 round to treat a weapon, first wound is save or die, needs to be used within 10 rounds/1 minute or becomes useless), and can be stored in a suitable airtight container.

More coherent and substantially more powerful than in The Elven Crystals. 


One turns up in Gallows Wood in The Elven Crystals, but I left it out because it had no stats. It doesn't have stats here either, though inviting it to kiss your crucifix scares it off. 

Invisible to everyone below 5th Rank, except Elves or if it wants to be seen. It also has the highest STEALTH and PERCEPTION scores in the bestiary.

You need min. Reflexes/DEX of 16 to have a chance of catching an Imp and attempting to wring a favour/promise out of it.

Ire Goblin (Bugbear).

BAB +4 AC unarmoured (+2 vs. non-magical weapons) att. claws d6(d6) HD Rank 3rd

Swell Up 1/encounter: on the round after taking a wound, for a total of 3 rounds, cumulative +3 hp, +1 to Hit and +1 damage. It then abruptly/rapidly returns to normal.

Gangling creatures... with bulbous heads, large slit eyes, and fiercely grinning mouths full of sharp triangular teeth. Matted hair clumps their shrivelled bodies and long limbs, and stands erect in a stiff comb above the bony ridges of the Ire Goblin's face. 

Only 120cm tall (just under 4'), they don't look much like other DW Goblins, and behave more like wild animals. They run around naked, spitting blood because they've bitten their lips in a frenzy, and use no weapons more sophisticated than a thrown rock. 

Swell up to more than twice their size when wounded, and may be mistaken for berserkers or werebears by terrified survivors. 

Faerie folk - their size-change is a magical ability, they're resistant to normal weapons and (some) holy relics have an effect on them.

Able to go about by day when it's stormy or overcast, but prefer the night. 


BAB +6 AC unarmoured att. special HD 5.3 Rank 6th

Immune to non-magical weapons.
Grave-cold Touch: -1 STR or DEX (recovers 1 per day if Jumbees defeated), or -100 XP (or traditional 1 level energy drain); touch bypasses armour (magic and DEX only), and the first time you are touched you suffer a d10 fright attack - incurably insane if you fail or at least unable to defend themselves, if you prefer.
Your Friends Cannot Help You: anyone other than the victim has a 40% chance of breaking any weapon or miscasting any spell they use against the Jumbees; magic items used have a 10% of being permanently disenchanted.
Damnassi curse: if the victim does not submit willingly and/or their companions try to save them, the Jumbee's lay a curse on the survivors: next fright attack suffered is +d6 intensity (or fear save at disadvantage/penalty).

Excellent - ghostly undead that manifest as three figures: the young man (STR drain), the maiden (DEX) and the withered elder (XP). 

Only the single victim they select is able to see them with any clarity - others only see them as a trio of shadowy outlines. They unintelligibly whisper the manner and time of all your deaths - D&D adjacent, you might have spells that could decipher this.

They won't harm anyone else or lay a curse if their victim submits, fading from the world with the Jumbees as they drain them.

Habitat: thorn-tangled ruins, underworlds, forests, jungles, moors.

By name, I would expect to see this in an 80s/90s Voodoo/Horrors of the Caribbean supplement, rather than quasi-medieval pseudo-Europe. It's a cool and creepy monster, whatever milieu you find it in. 


BAB +1 AC +3 att. weapon HD 2.4 Rank ?

Eerie beings, vaguely manlike but with long, many-jointed limbs. Their bodies are mauve-pink and hard - more easily chipped than cut. Out of salt-water they begin to weaken within a few hours, and their gleaming pearl eyes cannot tolerate bright sunlight.

The Kappa are crustaceous coral people from under the sea, transformed and adapted by the demonic forces they once enslaved. They remember that they were once human and ruled lands now drowned, and this has become a hatred for surface-dwellers hardened over thousands of years.

Seven Kappa are led by a 1st-4th level Cleric, three of these squads by a multi-class 5th level Fighter/5th-8th level Magic User, and Kappa generals are 9th level Magic Users, several heads taller, pale blue in colour, and able to mesmerise as a DW Vampire - but able to completely alter the victim's allegiance.

They have a strange, fluting tongue that Humans cannot speak. But they can clearly speak intelligibly with Humans - it's in RAW for DW Vampire mesmerism, plus how else do they give their Human spies their missions and receive feedback?

May also be accompanied by Sentinel Crabs (below).

Dave Morris also wrote a gamebook (Eye of the Dragon) with a really good Russ Nicholson pic of a Kappa (they're the main antagonists), but I can't find a decent version of it and no longer have a copy to scan it from.


BAB +9 AC +3 att. sting d8(d16) + shock HD 6.2 Rank 8th

Infravision: the only DW monster with it - it sees patterns of heat and therefore cannot be surprised by living creatures in the cold fastnesses of an underworld. Doesn't see inanimate objects (or undead, unless they're extra-cold) very well.
Chromatophore Camouflage: surprises 1-3 on d6, because it can darken, lighten and pattern itself. 
    If it does surprise you, it will rapidly cycle patterns on its underside as it swoops to attack - save or befuddled, you stand motionless as it gets an automatic hit against you.
    The DW mechanic is 2d10 =/< 3d6 - victim's level or befuddled.
Half damage from edged weapons due to tough hide.
Electric Shock: save or KO'd; recover on 1 on d6, roll every minute/10 rounds.

The skin of the Krask is prized for various uses - in particular, for making, gloves, capes and sword-hilts.

Under normal circumstances, I'm not that interested in giant subterranean manta ray monsters, and this is one of them. But I like it - it gets me thinking in ways I didn't expect, about the world that it's part of.

It's an alien beast, fauna of the deepest dungeon levels (my thoughts are deep as in days of travel - Veins of the Earth not The Lost City), but its hide is well known enough to be prized for such prosaic things - even the 100gp value (1,000 DW silver - the price of 10 crossbows or 4 horses or 2 suits of chainmail) seems unlikely.

The Krask feels to me more like something no-one even knows exist, and no one will ever hear of them again once the protagonists have encountered one. We don't need to know their biology, ecology, the why or the how, just that it was there and now it's just a memory, a rumour, a weird tale.

It fits the setting better than the Orc.


Transformation: automatic to wereform by night during the full moon's phase; automatic to human by touch of the sun's rays (stunned d12 rounds); otherwise, to wereform by 2 round concentration/process, but sun or killing an intelligent creature to revert to human. Clothing and equipment do not transform.
Wereform: as the animal, but +2 to Hit, AC, saves and damage (DW STR 19 - superhuman). As an option, x2 hit points (but not HD) - this is the DW RAW but might not work as well for D&D adjacent. Try it and see.
Damage Resistance: half damage from non-magical weapons in wereform, and automatically heals this damage on resuming human shape. Magic and silver do normal damage and these wounds transfer to the human form, possibly killing them on reversion. 

Wolf, Tiger, Bear, Snake, Boar and Ape are given as possible wereforms, so with the potential to be as profuse and exuberant as D&D across the editions, but with only one extra bestiary entry. Tight.

This is more the werebeast of pop-culture than folklore, and the Werewolf in The Elven Crystals would have been sufficient and maybe fits better with the setting. However, I'm not in charge. I like the wound transference from beast to human, which is a folkloric characteristic missing from the earlier iteration. 

My own preferred version would meet somewhere in the middle.

The Malgash.

BAB +21 AC +6 att. whip d12(d24) or weapon +4 HD 13.3 Rank 25th

Strike Terror: RAW, it's a d10 fright attack to encounter the Malgash. If effective, 90% run in fear for d6 rounds or 10% paralysed by fright d4 rounds.
True Seeing: as the spell, and might be able to see into other planes idk.
Immune to non-magical weapons.
Spell Breaker: can dispel magic up to max. 9th level within 5m (c. 16') but cannot attack in same round; max. dispel level depletes in line with spells broken; recovers at 1 level/round.
Heat Exhaustion: at the start of each round, if within 2m (c. 6'), anyone not immune to/protected from fire/heat must make a STR save or -1 STR; at 0 you are helpless (recovery in 1 minute/10 rounds if taken somewhere cool & given water, but -2 to Hit and -1 damage for next hour.
Whip: range 12m (c. 40') and ignores non-magical armour and shields; if struck, can be pulled into the demon's clutches; can be a save to evade attack rather than a Hit Roll if preferred.
Fiery Sword: how much of the damage bonus comes from the strength of the Malgash, the size of the weapon and/or from the flames is not defined.

The Balrog. I mean, it's a demon of fire and darkness, possessed of great power - which is always handy, but feels like a nod to a more generic fantasy milieu than integrated into the setting.

Turns up in one of Dave Morris's Golden Dragon gamebooks - same series with the Kappa, though I don't know they share a setting (with DW and/or each other).


BAB +9 AC +4 att. grapple, weapon or bite d10(d12) HD 6.6 Rank 8th

Mystical: 5%/1 on d20 has abilities of 1st-5th level Cleric.
Grapple: 2 attacks and 2 chances to grapple/escape: 3d6 < average of your STR & DEX to break free; otherwise, it auto-bites you on the next round.
Bite: the text implies the bite is only used if the grapple succeeds and the victim suffers a d8 fright attack (paralysed d4 rounds) from seeing its face open up.
Disease: 75% you catch Swamp Fever if wounded by the Mere-Gaunt.
Nocturnal: sunlight causes them great pain but no mechanical elaboration.
Bob Harvey

The body of a Mere-Gaunt is knobbly and hard, and is often draped with matted reeds in a parody of human clothing. The creature's arms are very long and multiple jointed, ending in four-fingered hands on which all the slender digits are mutually opposable. The face is a chitinous mask of overlapping plates, behind which the eyes are visible as macabrely rolling, slimy yellow orbs.

Its deadly bite: the hard segments of its face open up like a vile blossom revealing the unendurable horror of the true face beneath... its sharp, spine-edged 'tongue' lashes out and impales the helpless.

I immediately like this guy, lurking under the water and being horrible - after it eats you, it carves your bones into obscene artifacts which it scatters around the shores of its domain. 

Gruesome scrimshaw yes, but everyone needs a hobby. That, and the chance of Mystic abilities gives me a little bit more to think with on this monster than (say) the Gryphon or the Wyvern.


BAB +17 AC +1 att. horns d12(d12) or weapon +2 HD 6.2 Rank 12th

OSE: BAB +5 AC +3 att. gore d6 bite ? or weapon +2 HD 6

Charge: 2d6 hits and flung/knocked prone d3 rounds.
Fighting Style: 40% chance per round of using its weapon (at DW STR 19) instead of its horns.
Blood Rage: after 4 rounds of combat, goes into a killing frenzy (Barbarian Blood Rage):
    • 0 level 80% likely to flee; 1st-2nd level 25% likely to immediately retreat
    • gets its ascending AC (total) as + to Hit, but an AC penalty of 9
    • +1 to weapon damage
    • can function at 0 hp (and less, if that's how you figure death vs. KO)
    • d20 < INT to regain control (randomise or check another monster book to determine INT)
Immune to mind-control.

Born to human parents who've (supposedly) done something awful - illicit union between a monk and a nun is one example. The text is somewhat sympathetic.

Then we get into the flesh-eating, torture, heavy drinking and ultra-violence.

Minotaurs have the ability to go into a Blood Rage, like an 8th Rank Barbarian can, and I'd be interested to know whether monster or character class had the ability first.

Mordu (Headless Warrior).

BAB +9 AC +5 att. weapon +1 HD 6.4 Rank 8th

Immune to non-magical weapons, stealth, invisibility, illusions (all or just visual) and direct-attack magic.
Fright Attack: d10 intensity, 10% of heart failure; otherwise, paralysis 2-8 rounds.

The Mordu's entire body seems to glow faintly and occasional flickers of cold white fire dance across its armour - but otherwise a headless undead Knight.

Physical attack with a weapon at DW STR 16+, with DW Armour Factor equal to plate armour, but seems to step out of thin air and has a traditionally spectral appearance. 

Text mentions possibility of properly burying its bones/remains and/or finding its lost head as methods to dispel/placate the Mordu.

This is one of the few types of undead that are not hindered by the light of day. Doesn't say why.


BAB +2 AC unarmoured +1 att. weapon HD 4.8 Rank 6th

Spell-caster: 6th level Cleric and/or Magic User, but only 1 spell of each available level - they use most of their reserves of magical energy to maintain their existence.
Antiquated Technique: their spells are always the last thing to happen in a combat round, or increase casting times if using them.
Implanted with Scorpions: if wounded by an edged weapon, 1-4 live scorpions fall out of the Necrochor and land on the attacker; they each sting once per round (normal Hit Roll for lowest HD monster), save at disadvantage/penalty or die. Use your combat round to brush them off.
Vulnerable to Fire: as a DW Mummy, plus it will kill any implanted scorpions. Necrochors never use fire spells.

A Mummy variant of the setting analogue of the Ancient Egyptians, ritual priests that (possibly) volunteered to be tomb guardians. 

An interesting variation on a theme. The scorpions were particularly the practice with the embalmers of the XIIIth and XIVth dynasties, so not every Necrochor will have them - and leaving room for surprising alternatives in both more ancient and more recent tombs. As written, the spell-casting technique is an elaborate sequence of weaving, ritual motions ('the Arcane Dance'), so may lack verbal and material components altogether.


It only comes when you're all sleeping.

Anything that would detect it or warn against it has only a 60% chance of giving the barest of hints, but most likely you'll be too sleepy/asleep to notice.

If someone's awake, it will use a special sleep spell on them - save at disadvantage/penalty, works regardless of HD/levels. If you make your save, you become aware of the Nightmare's attempt and will be able to wake everyone else -  it was trying to put you under to prevent this.

The Nightmare takes over all your dreams (no save!) and you can't tell that you're dreaming anymore. As far as you're concerned, adventures and life go on - whether it's just the next encounter or the rest of the campaign, it's all a construct of the Nightmare and completely under its control.

Eventually, the Nightmare will want to kill you or drive you mad, as this is how it feeds. Your fate might be literal or symbolic in the dream, but if you roll (d20 > average of WIS and CHA + your level) you wake up rather than succumbing. Otherwise, you die, lose your wits, fall catatonic etc, depending on what happened in the dream. Game over.

(As the text notes, psychically gifted but inexperienced characters are most prone to suffer at the Nightmare's clutches, but DW has Psychic Talent as an Ability Score and this doesn't have an easy analogue in D&Dish systems. I've used average of CHA & WIS, but you could build your own subsystem, taking into account psionics and magical specialism. If you want.)

Everyone else in the shared dream also gets 2d20 < INT check to be shocked back to wakefulness on seeing the horrible fate of a companion. 

The Nightmare can also go after an individual rather than a group, attempting to use them as a sleepwalking puppet (mechanics as if using its sleep spell).

It can also haunt an individual, returning night after night to mess with their head while they sleep (or try to sleep). The victim doesn't appear to get any save, and is tired and drained (-3 STR, -3 CON) until the Nightmare is exorcized (undefined). Even if this occurs, the stats recover but the character's hair turns stark white and he remains nervous and uneasy for the rest of his life (+2 to fright attack intensity RAW, but you can call it save vs. fear at disadvantage/penalty).

Apart from killing it in the dream (it always appears, even if you don't recognise it) and exorcism, there doesn't seem to be any other way of defeating the Nightmare.

This is a cool monster that you should probably only use once, and formed the basis for my Sleep Paralysis Demon.


BAB +16 AC special att. claws d8(d10) HD 17.3 Rank 14th

(Super)Natural Concealment: cannot be detected as anything other than a tree, except by a min. 8th level Elf. As written, the Elf is also a Mystic using the ESP ability. Druids and Rangers might also qualify.
Call of the Woods: summon/send 4-40 Wolves, Stags (Bulls), Snakes (Pythons) and Wild Boars to deal with intruders/despoilers. They do this in preference to revealing themselves, unless the threat is great.
Weapon Resistance: +7 AC vs. spears, sword, arrows (plus firearms and common wooden weapons); +4 vs. axes, flails, maces (plus specialised or massive wooden weapons, whatever they might be). 
Alternatively, AC as you wish but minimum damage from spears, swords, arrows, firearms etc.
Vulnerable to Fire: +1 damage per die from fire attacks, but will only be ignited by especially fierce fire (magical or otherwise - volcano, forest fire, dragon's breath, failed save vs. fireball). 
    Once alight, it takes cumulative 1d6 hits per round. At the end of each round, it can beat out the flames 1-2 on d6 (or jump into water deep enough). 
Retributive Strike: if a burning Okeman cannot extinguish itself in 4 rounds, it calls down a lightning strike which destroys it and strikes 2d4 foes within 15m (c. 50') with lightning bolts. 
    These are equal to DW Deathlight spells (3d6+10 hits), which converts by my method to 6.2 damage dice (6d6+2 or 6d8+2). You decide.
Stealth/Perception: Okemen have some of the highest STEALTH and PERCEPTION scores across the bestiary, so I suggest you give them abilities based on the stealth, detection and surprise abilities of Elves, Halflings, Rangers and/or Thieves.
Alternatively, cannot be surprised by and automatically surprise enemies in their natural environment.

Ent or Treant or Swamp Thing, they are woodland spirits that have taken up permanent residence in trees. You can't tell them from vast and ancient trees until they move to attack (or communicate).

They're less hostile than Gnomes, because they tolerate normal hunters and woodsmen as creatures of the forests just as much as any beast or plant is. They may even be very friendly and helpful to Elves and men of good character (however that it is defined).

As well as general defenders of the woods, they also avenge/protect the sacred groves the druids left - Druids being a historical/underground faith rather than a contemporary presence in DW.

Has superhuman strength (DW STR 19).


BAB +11 AC +4 att. claws d8(d8) + special HD 4.6 Rank 12th

Invisible in daylight, but still casts a shadow - treat as one step less effective than full invisibility for mechanical adjustments. It isn't specified, but I'd rule that this is not cancelled by attacking and is an involuntary condition.
Change Form: appear as a human or animal, but must change back to attack. Only 5%/minute of interaction/observation of being able to see flaw in this: the Knight may have suspiciously long fingernails, the nun a rather hairy face, the cat or dog lacking a tail.
Shock Attack: its true appearance is so horrible that it gets an automatic shock attack vs. characters below 8th level. Details are with the Chimera, above. Everyone eligible is affected, but the Oni can only attack one target in a round.
Breath Weapon: every 5th round, it can blow poison gas into the face of one melee opponent. Save to evade and/or save to resist (latter at disadvantage/penalty because it's DW strong poison) or permanently reduce INT by half if antidote/cure not applied within 5 minutes (50 rounds).
Energy Drain: claws sap life-energy; 500 XP based on DW RAW.
Spell Caster: 6th level Cleric. Using an interpretation of the text, I'd rule that any charm-type spells cast by an Oni are only effective on unlevelled NPCs and monsters.
Flight: Oni have the innate ability to fly; when not up in the air, they glide along eerily as though its feet were barely making contact with the ground.
Bob Harvey

Ogres of the Far East. Impatient, and not particularly bright by human standards. A tall apparition in flowing robes.

Only visible after dark, when they use the ability to change form to get close to their victims. 

Text suggests to play them as slightly more sophisticated Ogres with a battery of magical powers.


BAB +12 AC unarmoured att. beak d10(d8) talons d6(d10) HD 5.7 Rank 7th

Terrible Cry: anyone 1st to 3rd level who hears it is -1 to Hit vs. the Phoenix.
Resistant to Magic: saves at advantage/bonus.
See invisible and all attempts to sneak past it/hide from it are at disadvantage/penalty.
Resurrection: on death, it bursts into flames for 5 rounds then is reborn at full strength (though loses d4 hp permanently for each resurrection after the first). Only a large quantity of human blood or volcanic ash can douse the fire.

Legendary/mythical Phoenix. 

It has an 8m (c. 26') wingspan and an implied DW STR of 16+, so maybe it can carry you off.


BAB +13 AC +6 (+3 vs. magic weapons) att.  hoofs d8(d8) + special HD 7.7 Rank 8th (by day)/ 12th (at night)

Change Form: at night can appear as an animal or human, even a specific individual, but this is purely physical and it cannot supress its evil nature and cruel intent. Cannot cast spells while transformed.
Multiple Attacks: makes 1-3 hoof attacks per round against a single target; if hit, victim must save (once only) or hp immediately reduced to 0 (KO not death in DW).
Spell Caster: spells as a 6th level Magic User, but can only cast up to 9 spell levels. During the day, this cumulatively blocks spell slots; by night, it recovers 1 spell level slot per round!
Half-eaten Zombies: a D&Dish Rakshah couldn't animate dead RAW, but if it could, the Zombies would have only half the normal hp (or HD, your choice): Rakshahs keep a casually strewn larder and graze indiscriminately. 
    As an option, allow MU animate dead as a special additional spell. It still consumes 5 levels of slots.
Catch-Spell-and-Spit-Back: during the night (only), the Rakshah has a 20% chance of catching in its mouth fire and lightning (spells, wands etc) that hits it. It can then spit it back at you next round (as its action): damage is reduced by 1 point per die, and saves are with advantage/bonus.
Cumulative Spell Resistance: once successfully struck by a Magic User spell, the Rakshah is immune to that same spell from that same Magic User until sunrise. This ability only functions at night.
Bob Harvey

For a long time, based on this, and based on the illo in the Usborne Guide to the Supernatural World, I thought the mythical Rakshasa was traditionally portrayed as a lion's face in a wheel of hoofed legs. But that's Buer.

Anyway. The DW Rakshah is an interesting and unusual monster; just look at those special abilities for a start.

Why do you finding them guarding treasure on the deepest dungeon levels? Because that's how they organise their society - a Rakshah always garners treasure for the day when it can seek out others of its kind and 'buy its way' into one of the communal treasure-halls. 

They're reverse-adventurers, monsters adapted to dungeon-logic. I like that. 

I see them as apparently rational, conversational and droll, in the vein of Vancian monsters, with relatively delicate feelings, sulky tendencies and possibly the ability to poke through the fourth wall now and again. 

Either they are excellent or innate time-keepers, or the absence of recognisable day/night in a dungeon can be used against them.

I'd love to know more about them, but maybe not too much - so as not to spoil them.

There's also no mention of an association with DW's sort-of India (if there is/was one).

Sentinel Crab.

BAB +3 AC +5 att. pincer d4(d2) HD 2.6 Rank 2nd

OSE: Giant Crab BAB +2 AC +7 att. x2 pincers 2d6 HD 3

Delicious giant crab. Size of a dog. Trained as guards and fighters by the Kappa.

Shadow Walker.

Dwell normally in a murky dimension from which they can occasionally peer into our world... cloaked in the semblance of another, it joins the party's ranks by stepping out of the very shadow of the character it has copied.

Rather cool Doppelganger variation - at least, I like it. Stats and equipment as the original - magic and all.

Has all the victim's memories and perfectly imitates their mannerisms, so you're only able to (initially) tell them apart if you see it step from their shadow - only 10% chance if they were at the rear (otherwise 80%) and no chance if the party was split.

No spell can penetrate the Shadow Walker's duplication (at least, in the DW spellbook), and it will attempt to convince you that it is the original and the original is an evil Shadow Walker.

Can only change form or return to its home dimension if all who saw it in its current form are dead, which it will try to do itself, if it can't get you to fall out with and turn on each other.

Suggestion that they have no physical reality but are all in your mind.

When slain, any remains and all equipment vanishes. 

Shen Lun (Black Dragon).

BAB +13 AC +7 (+4 vs. magical weapons) att. talons d10(d14) HD 9.5 Rank 15th

Magical Flight: it doesn't have wings and this power is thought to reside in its horny crest. Treat as fly, or add in things like airwalk and/or windwalk. Implication it can be dispelled or the generative organ damaged/purloined.
Lightning Bolt: doesn't say if it's a breath weapon, but a Shen Lun can discharge every 5th round; 20m (c. 65') range vs. 2-8 targets; save or 2d12 hits (DW RAW - converts to 5.3 damage dice).
Spell Casting: 1 on d4, the Shen Lun has 1st to 5th level Cleric abilities (and see below).

A Dragon indigenous to the Orient that may turn to ponder the true Mystic Way, attain Adepthood and become human (leaving behind it's horns, which can be made into a flying device, and a magical pearl that contains its draconic power).

Just giving it Cleric levels doesn't really carry the flavour this monster deserves, so (if you can) give it AD&D Monk or BECMI Mystic abilities along with Cleric spells. Until it hits 5th level, it's a typical monster (with unexpected powers), but once it starts its quest for enlightenment it will become less quick to terrorise and despoil and hoard treasure. Go nuts and splice in later edition Monks of all types.

If it fails in its initial attempt to become an Adept, it may turn monstrous again out of bitterness and regret - this time with higher level powers and a grudge. 


Already done, here.


BAB +13 AC +4 att. claws d12(d14) HD 11.7 Rank spell-casting level +7

Spell Caster: 75% it's a 6th to 11th level Cleric; otherwise, a 5th to 10th level Magic User.
Immune to ESP/mind-reading/telepathy, non-magical weapons, cold/heat.
Drain Oxygen 1/day: 8m (c. 26') radius. Implied this is a sudden effect; DEX check/save to take a last breath; guess you're KO'd if you can't - otherwise you're conscious/holding your breath for rounds=STR (this seems to be the DW standard). Deoxygenation lasts 5 minutes (50 rounds) and doesn't say whether it's eventually fatal, so that's up to you. Normal recovery roll (1 on d6) per round once back in breathable air.

Five times bigger than a full-grown lion. Doesn't have wings in this iteration.

Apart from that drain oxygen ability and its inclination to force you to join some absurd quest it has been following for centuries this is a Sphinx. Apparently generous with rewards if you help it out, but does insist that it is the senior partner.

Oxygen drain ability is a riff on Sphinx approximating "strangler" in Ancient Greek. Also related to "sphincter", if you want to do something with that.


BAB -2 AC +4 att. barbs d10(d4) HD 1.1 Rank 1st

Sting: wounds from Spriggans take x3 as long to heal with natural healing.
Camouflage to Mortals: not quite invisibility, but they can't be found/seen by mortals 1st to 4th level (except Elves) when out of doors.
Stealthy and Subtle: abilities as a 7th level Thief.
Spell Caster: curse (reversed bless) an individual 4/day, dancing lights (or light) 3/day, weaken (reversed strength) 1/day, phantasmal force 1/day (DW - Curse, Moonglow, Weaken, Illusion).

Grotesquely ugly and dangerously spiteful faerie creatures... Gnarled, spiky appearance, their brown-black integument is tough like an acorn husk... little red eyes... inflict stinging scratches with their talons and barbed tails.

They're 30cm (c. 1') tall, but Number Appearing 5-40. Sometimes set as treasure guardians - you can try to get the location from them, by threats or guile, implying that they hide it away as well as protect it.

They get +3 of their AC from having a high DEFENCE relative to their ATTACK.


BAB +16 AC +5 att. weapon +2 HD 14.6 Rank 15th

Strongly resistant to magic: save at advantage/bonus.
Superhuman Strength: DW STR of 19.
Blow Up A Gale: no other action in a round it's blowing; 1st round, just a light breeze; 2nd -1 to Hit; 3rd -3 to Hit, -1 damage; 4th STR check to make an attack, half movement, anything flying within 3m (c. 10') of the Titan is dashed to the ground. I'd also rule that missile attacks take double the penalty, and only firearms have any chance of hitting in the 4th round (still need STR check to aim). 
    Gale continues for 4 rounds after the Titan stops blowing, then dies down. Up to you whether this is abrupt or in reverse order.
Shocking Touch: at the cost of d6 hp, the Titan will give you an electric shock via your weapon when you hit it (doesn't specify metal weapons): save to resist, or dazed for 1-4 rounds (-1 to all rolls, including damage).

Bordering on the psychedelic, Titans are extra-planar giants with an inflexible code of honour and armour carved from the ivory of the Sky Narwhal (their AC +5). They can be summoned and bound to service by magic, but cannot forgive this dishonour - likewise theft of his sword, murder of someone in his protection, and insult to his ancestors.

Stand 4m (c. 13') tall and sometimes cross into our world during electrical storms in the mountains.

Water Leaper.

BAB +8 AC +1 att. bite d6(d10) + poison or swallow HD 11.1 Rank 10th

Gurgling Shriek: if you hear it, save or your bones turn to jelly and you die, instantly and floppily. This is defined as a magical attack, a terrible spell. If you survive, you're immune to it thereafter - not clear if it's this Water Leaper or all Water Leapers.
Poison: presumably save or die; it can also spit it up to 5m (c. 16') and it's save or die if it gets on your bare skin (80% if unarmoured, 60% leather or chain, 50% plate - I suppose you could commission a special protective suit for better %).
Swallow: doesn't use a Hit Roll, so save to evade or it gulps you down; d6 hits/round from digestion (d4 if wearing better than leather) and you'll be unconscious from suffocation in rounds=STR.
    Roll d10 =/< your level or you panic and can't use a small bladed weapon to attack from the inside.
Diseases: 5% Leprosy if wounded; 30% if you survive being swallowed.
Fly: winged, but slow and ponderous (or only short hopping flights).

A huge, leprous-white, limbless toad with a distended belly, leathery wings and a long, tapering tail. Tiny, needle-sharp fangs line its wide maw. 

It's the Llamhigyn Y Dwr of Welsh folklore. I like this iteration.


BAB +10 AC +5 att. bite d8(d8) sting d8(d6) + strong poison HD 13.3 Rank 10th

OSE: BAB +6 AC +6 att. bite 2d8 sting d6 + poison HD 7

Sting: save at disadvantage/penalty or lose d3 hp permanently.

A Wyvern. As interesting as you can make it.

Adventure 1 - The One-Eyed God.

The two adventures in Book 2 and the first two here, for me, form the core mini-campaign that embodies the folkloric, medieval world and spirit of Dragon Warriors. 

This one takes the party into an ancient barrow in pursuit of a fleeing Assassin. It's being squatted by Goblins, led by a Boggart, and is the resting place of an ancient king who is an analogue of both Odin and King Arthur.

Also, a bottomless pit that is almost casually confirmed to lead straight to actual Hell.

The Pendragon's Spirit.

BAB +9 AC unarmoured/ethereal att. touch d10(d10) HD 3.5 Rank 11th

Darkness: just before the spirit manifests, all light sources are snuffed out and cannot be relit; magical illumination is reduced to a murky blood-red glimmer. 
Fright Attack: d12 intensity when it appears; effect undefined, so presumably fatal.
Death Spell: every 3rd round, as a Wraith.
Immune to non-magical weapons.
Immune to direct-attack magic and can only be harmed by conjured/summoned monsters and weapons likewise (eg. shillelagh, Mordenkainen's sword, spiritual hammer, blade barrier, psionic discipline of body weaponry).

No more description that it arises from his corpse in a wreath of red flames... with a terrible shriek. It's a modified DW Spectre/Wraith combo. Reflexes/DEX 16.

The only spells that can inflict damage on it are Phantasm, Vorpal Blade, Sword of Damocles, Battlemaster, Steel Claw. It is immune to direct-attack spells. 

One reading of this suggests it is also immune to indirect-attack spells, but I don't know if this was the intention.

You also can't fight the Pendragon's Spirit with its own +3 sword: it will work for one hit then shatters into a thousand fragments rather wound its ancient master a second time. Fortunately, defeating the spirit and plundering the barrow is not the aim of this adventure.

Adventure 2 - The Sins of the Fathers.

Plunge into an ancient barrow (this never really gets old for me) with the baron's son to rescue/retrieve the corpse of a loyal retainer, with a levitating spear to guide the way.

Described as 'seminal', this adventure has a semi-optional railroad running through it and has at least one hoofed foot planted firmly in the horrific.

This is a dungeon, but it is also an otherworld, a mythic underworld - I suspect it would have no physical presence if not for the events that set the plot of the adventure in motion.


BAB +6 AC +1 att. bite d6(d12) HD 2.6 Rank 3rd (based on XP award in text)

Larger and stronger than normal wolves. Reflexes/DEX 16.

Faerie wolves that may or may not materialise out of the darkness.

There are seven of them in the adventure, and only one of them is vulnerable to damage at a time - the others suffer no harm, no matter the number or strength of attacks. If the vulnerable one is struck, the wound appears on the others and they all take damage. 

The vulnerability then transfers to a different randomly determined Rimwolf. 

The vulnerable one can be detected using the lowest level detection spells, but otherwise appears no different to the others. It's possible a DW Elf might be able to use Sixth Sense or ESP to detect the right one, but it's not specified.

Cool ability, think I'll take it.

Mummified Warriors.

BAB +7 AC +2 att. weapon or antlers d6(d12) HD 5.1 Rank 6th

Embalmed warriors with stags' heads. In this instance, armed with warhammers (d8 hits). Reflexes/DEX 9.

Slightly lower attack strength and hit points than DW Mummies. Can't lay a Doom on their slayers, but are equally as flammable. 


BAB n/a AC n/a att. brambles d8(d6) HD 7.3 Rank 9th

A nature spirit... a tumbling, rolling column of damp soil, twigs and leaves.

If it can catch you (moves at a fast walking pace), it engulfs you. 

The 1-6 automatic hit thorn attacks per round might be a bit much, as D&D lacks the Armour Bypass mechanic, so maybe just d6 or d8 automatic damage per round. The ripping thorns are accompanied by a magical attack: save each round or drained of d4 hp and d12x100 XP - if the draining kills you, either by hp or XP you're irrevocably dead because your soul's been destroyed/devoured.

The victim does, however, get auto hits against the engulfing monster but can only use a dagger. Can't cast spells with somatic components (DW all Sorcerer spells).

Attack the Jack with edged weapons and roll d20 < Reflexes/DEX to avoid hurting your trapped companion while you do. I think there's some ambiguity in the text, but it suggests to me that the Jack is not harmed by blunt or piercing weapons and the engulfed victim takes a beating and a poking.

Tweak the HD to the D&D standard hierarchy and use this as the Earth Elemental.

Winged Snake.

BAB +8 AC +4 att. bite d8(d6) HD 4.6 Rank 9th

Venomous: save at disadvantage/penalty or permanent loss of d3 STR and 1 hp.
Spit Venom: -4 to Hit (-6 vs. full helm), blinds 2-8 rounds.

It's part of a challenge/puzzle/trap. Description reads that it's an otherworldly creature - wings of greenish shadow and there's an item in the dungeon that turns the Snake into a magic item.

Reflexes/DEX 17.


BAB +9 AC +2 att. weapon +1 + disease HD 3.7 Rank 7th

A large, gnarled Goblin-like creature with a rusty cleaver.

DW STR 16+ and Reflexes/DEX 10. Basic save or you get Wasting Disease from any wounds.

It's hidden behind an illusion in the adventure, but there's no indication whether this is a property of the location or the monster. 

It can see in the dark. I don't whether it's Armour Factor comes from natural protection or represents leather armour.

Beast Men.

BAB +3 AC unarmoured att. weapon +1 HD 2.2 Rank 1st

A bunch of drunken animal-headed humanoids - wolves, badgers, hares, stags, boars and eagles. Creatures of the old wood that look upon men as game.

DW STR of 16+ and Reflexes/DEX 8 - maybe this would be higher if they weren't drunk?

Whether because they're drunk or because they eat people or because they're monsters, 1-4 on d6 that if you throw them sufficient cooked flesh or rotting meat they'll drop to the floor to devour it instead of fighting.


BAB +11 AC unarmoured att. bite d6(d8) HD 7.3 Rank 7th

Automatic surprise as it bursts from the earth and for its horrific appearance.
Swallow: on a crit; d3 hits/round.
Dislikes Fire: 20% retreats from significant fire (2nd level spells and up).

It has the glistening body of a slug; its manlike head has a mouth filled with serried fangs and a slug's probing horns in place of eyes.

It's big, because it can swallow you, but otherwise nothing on the dimensions. Reflexes/DEX 6.

Using surprise instead of fear/morale/sanity is a nice touch, but if you (or your character?) voice that you suspect something like it is up ahead after seeing its mucus trail then you're prepared enough for it just to be a normal surprise roll.


BAB +15 AC +5 (heavy armour) att. weapon +2 or tusks d6+1(d12) HD 6.8 Rank 13th

Boar-King, Overseer of the Forest, who have ruled here since ancient times. I am Lord of the Beasts and you who have come from the world of mortal men have no place in my realm.

Has a spear +2 (that can fly around by itself), a silver horn that summons a Boar, Wolf or Stag when blown and a bronze shield +1 that gives a +2 save vs. Elven magic, though he uses none of them when fighting the adventurers (having offered them the chance to leave in peace).

Any Beast Men nearby (undefined range) will come to his aid in 3-12 rounds. DW STR 19 and Reflexes/DEX 16.

He's immortal, unless you kill him. But if you do, from then on all woodland animals will single you out during encounters (and you probably get a big penalty on your Reaction Roll, too) - this extends to everyone who was involved, not just who struck the final blow.

His brother is already slain by mortal hand. 

Adventure 3 - The Greatest Prize.

Join up with Knights to conquer the castle of a Sorcerer, or join the Sorcerer to fight off the Knights, or turn on everyone to take it for yourselves. Don't mistake DW for a low magic/ subtle sorcery setting - this is all happening out in the open, with transformations, summoned elementals and animated skeletons on the battlements.

The monsters below are part of the esoteric initiation quest in a hidden dungeon that need not be a part of the adventure.


BAB +10 AC +5 att. weapon d8+1(d16) HD 5.5 Rank 5th

Illusions: conjure fire-based illusions; these are flashy, noisy and threatening but have no power to do harm.
Scimitar of Flame: or any other weapon, shaped from elemental fire, produced and dispelled at will. It has a +1 magical bonus. Cannot be used by anybody else.
Skin of Molten Bronze: as well as the armour protection, this causes d6 hits to anyone striking the Ifrit. Metal armour protects for d4 blows, but then heats up sufficiently to cause damage.
Gout of Flames: save to evade or take 2d6 damage, range 20m (c. 65').
Blossom of Flame: at the cost of d10 hp, the Ifrit can produce flames affecting everyone within 5m (c. 16') radius if they fail to save to evade: 3d6 hits, reroll 1s.

Fire genie of the Arabian Nights variety - turban, scimitar, baggy silk trousers. Remove stereotypical culture baggage and use as a Fire Elemental.


BAB +14 AC +6 att. first d10(d10) HD 7.7 Rank 12th

The Telamon is an animated stone guardian, shaped like a human (male) figure, named for the architectural feature.

The text describes it as being like a (DW) Gargoyle, so maybe apply some of the details of that monster if you re-use the Telamon, but there's no ambiguity that it's anything other than a construct.

There's magnetic force in the room it inhabits (-1 to Hit, AC & damage if using metal weapons/wearing metal armour, half movement in metal armour), though it's a property of the location not the monster. You could splice the Telamon and the Magnetic Monster from The Elven Crystals for a slightly more interesting Earth Elemental.


BAB +11 AC +2 att. claws d8(d10) HD 6.6 Rank 9th

A permanently invisible monster. It might have hands and becomes visible when it is killed, and rapidly degenerates into a shapeless grey mass of clay.

It's outline is visible for 1 round when it is struck by indirect-attack magic (though the text could be read to mean only electricity/lightning), and being able to see invisible etc. only helps you fight it rather than reveals its appearance.

While the statblock gives it panoptical vision (can see equally well in all darkness/light conditions), the text suggests that fighting it in total darkness will cancel out the advantage of its invisibility. Which I prefer.

Anaxagoras, the name, doesn't give me any clues as to the naming of this monster, or ideas of its appearance. I've always had something canine in mind, possibly the monster dogs from Ghostbusters.

The Challenge of the Unreal.

BAB +16 AC +5 att. d10(d12) HD 8.4 Rank ?

Fear: d12 fright attack each round or run & refuse to return

It's not real, but it's not an illusion.

It inflicts fear and harm based on feedback from your own fears. Adopts a new and terrifying form every round, and adjusts its strength and abilities (always upwards) if you give the GM clues as to how powerful you think it is and as to what you think it is.

You can't disbelieve it like an illusion, but you can block up your ears and cover your eyes. Without access to these senses, it cannot access the others and the feedback loop is broken - it no longer exists for you.

Roll d20 < INT if/after you discover it's unreality and you'll get back half the hit points you lost to it.

Could be used as the mechanical basis for some of the more powerful illusion spells.

Savage Warriors.

BAB +4 AC unarmoured att. weapon HD 3.3 Rank 1st

Savage warriors in blue warpaint. 

Armed with axes, they rise up in pairs, pulling substance from the fog. I don't think they're undead, but I don't know if they're conjurations, summonings, illusions, elementals or plucked out of time.


Of the new monsters in the bestiary, only one (the Boggart - oh, and a hint of off-camera Gryphons) turns up in any of the adventures. While many are genre staples and/or updates of prototypes from The Elven Crystals, they're an overall interesting bunch. 

There are few hints of monster life outside of the encounter - the Rakshah is my favourite exception - and the bestiary presents the monsters as things to kill or be killed by (often made explicit in the adventure text). But this does give space for development, whether as part of setting ecology or making them unique. Some of the monsters could be served up as the last remaining representative of their species.

As well as setting and system, the four adventures I see as being DW's core share common characteristics:

  • each is an episode in the story of Baron Aldred, his fief, and his political life - the PCs are bit-players, not the heroes.
  • each has a clear mission/quest that happens to take them into a/the dungeon.
  • each dungeon has a legendary/powerful monster at the end, but defeating it is not necessary to complete the mission/quest.
  • the dungeons are simple, almost to the point of linear, but I think this reflects the 'reality' of a site's construction rather than logic of the dungeon-for-adventure-gaming.
  • the obstacles and problems during the adventure almost always have their solutions elsewhere in the dungeon, as long as you bring your ingenuity.

'The Greatest Prize' also fits this rough model, with the PCs being bit-players in someone else's drama - though they have the opportunity to seize control of it. It's also the only adventure that feels like walking away is a realistic option - with the others, there's an element of compulsion in the set-up.

Further Note on Crude Conversions.

Armour Bypass, Armour Factor and DEFENCE do not convert well to AC, so the numbers come out low compared to D&Dish. Anything with AC +5 is equivalent to DW plate armour, so can always be raised to the system norm; if you do that, anything above +5 (where it doesn't specify the AC + is from DEFENCE, EVASION, flight etc) can be increased. I'd hesitatingly suggest +6 (stone) getting an additional +2 and +7 (special resistance) getting a +3. Or use the nearest equivalent monster AC from your host system.

Because of the Armour Bypass roll, monsters with a first-listed damage die of less than d6 can only beat DW plate armour on a crit. In these cases, you could give a BAB/to Hit penalty of -2 if it doesn't already have a negative, or a similar penalty to damage rolls.

BAB is the real outlier and should be toned down to better fit the HD - unless you're wanting to run things closer to the epic level. I've mostly kept it as a point of comparison/interest, a legacy of the original conversion method.

Of course, another option is to take the host system's nearest equivalent and plug the special abilities straight into it.