For a variety of reasons I’ve moved my little blog over to blogspot — http://awritingrogue.blogspot.com/

Some kind souls still link to me, and they inevitably link here, so . . .


So, I opened my mailbox this weekend to find package awaiting me . . . Kobold Quarterly 12. So BAM! – already a warm, happy feeling. However, I then look towards the upper right hand corner of my envelope and there, scribbled in blue ink, is the following handwriting: Thanks for renewing your subscription.

First of all, I am a huge proponent of Wolfgang Baur and his stuff . . . I am currently enjoying my first go-round with Open Design, and I have all the issues of the magazine except for the first and the sixth. Did he, or whomever, need to write this little message in the upper corner? Would I have noticed its absence? No on both counts . . . but its inclusion was much appreciated. That little touch goes a long way; it sends a message that the company cares about its patrons.

Am I sounding a bit cheesy right now? Probably.

But, I think the overall strength of customer service in the RPG industry goes along way towards affirming my unshakeable belief that D&D is best defined by the passion its truest fans have for it. During the so-called “Edition Wars” (is this still going on?), I never bought into the darkest of the doomsaying simply because regardless of what WotC does with their IP, the game is too ingrained with its fans and other designers to leave us high and dry. Someone, or more likely someones, will always carry the banner in some shape or form.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I think a lot of companies can take a cue from the way many RPG industries handles themselves.

Kobold Quarterly/Open Design – Aside from the above instance, every single interaction I’ve had with Wolfgang Baur and crew have been great. They gave me my first break into published RPG material (KQ 7), when they’ve rejected articles, they’ve done so with kind words and an explanation of what may be lacking, when they’ve accepted ideas (for the website, or Open Design pitches) they’ve done so with an enthusiasm that is rewarding and contagious, and any other interactions I’ve had with them have been friendly and open. Often times it feels like just talking to a guy in your gaming group; example being, I recently pitched some stuff regarding the Courts of the Shadow Fey, I mentioned how I was most excited about how Courts was really pushing the boundaries of what the gaming community thinks 4e is fit for, his response felt less like publisher responding to someone’s query and more like one gaming geek responding to another.

Paizo – I may, perhaps, be beating a dead horse here, as Paizo is fairly legendary regarding customer service and possessing a rabid fanbase, but it bears repeating. Paizo’s key I think is primarily based on being exceptionally available. They frequent their forums, they’ve embraced public playtests of their material, offer fan ‘contests’,  and their work is usually high-grade and shows a real love of the game.

But there customer service goes even beyond this openness. The first time I ever ordered a product from Paizo, I found a deck of their GameMastery Item cards in with my order. Apparently I am of good alignment because I reported the ‘error’ to them . . . no, error, they replied, just a thank you for ordering. One small example of many . . .

Wizards of the Coast – Likely the most maligned RPG company, WotC has since the inception of 4e becoming increasingly more fan-friendly. Some of this is very overt. As a company, I wonder if they’ve ever been more accessible. Their designers are blogging, on the forums, twittering, and making the podcast rounds fairly frequently. The company has been actively seeking ways to engage more fans, be it pushing Living Forgotten Realms and other community events, or enlisting the aid of Penny Arcade, PvP, Wheaton, or their recent collaboration with Robot Chicken.

However, more subtly has been the availability of their products. A DDI subscription is cheap and eliminates the need for books, boxed sets, a return of fan-favorite settings . . .

Hmm. I am running out of steam here, and I am sure I am shortchanging a lot of RPG designers/companies by not mentioning them 1. . . but that is my point. If you’ve read this blog post to here,  the RPG industry is one you have some form of connection too; and, as the generally high-level of customer service indicates, it is an industry that regardless of the economy seems to possess no shortage of passion.

1 I would be totally remiss if I didn’t add RPGNow’s fundraising for Haiti. I’ve heard estimates that show they, along with the RPG customers who bought in, have raised roughly $175,000 for relief efforts. Wow. That’s impressive!


Got in the first session of my new Curse of the Crimson Throne (Pathfinder) game last night; overall, I give it a 3/5 stars . . . not the game, but the sessions itself.

The main issue was building characters. In retrospect I wish I would have just dedicated one night to it; however, our anticipation got the best of us and we rushed, somewhat chaotically, through the process of building characters. We were rusty with PF rules, and making characters should never be rushed, regardless. While I think we have some interesting choices, and some nice opportunities for roleplaying, I do feel as if those things were not fully realized during this first session. On the bright side the players seem to enjoy their players.

Beebop Gnome Summoner

This little guy is shaking an addiction to the hallucinogenic drug shiver. He is a bit of a prankster, but also seriously devoted to the art of summoning. His eidolon his essentially the Fantastic 4’s Thing, a big rocky mound of hit points and armor.

Pint Hornswaggle Halfling Rogue

So far all business and supremely pragmatic, this vengeful halfling has carried a grudge regarding his missing friend for some time. Despite this dark streak, he is curious and inquisitive and in his free time has begun studying illusion magic out of a book he stole from the Acadamae.

Smog Human Ranger

A quiet, somber archer whose aim is pure and body agile. More urban ranger and mercenary than anything else. Smog has just returned to Korvosa in an attempt to face down the demons of his past. Smog grew up on these streets as a waif pickpocket for Gaedren Lamm, and he has not forgotten the rough life he lived here.

Imelio Human Cleric (Cayden Cailean)

Imelio likes drink. A lot. Rarely enjoying sobriety, Imelio chases woman and adventure with equal zeal. In many ways the charming, roguish priest is a true acolyte of his god.

Hilarious Harrow Reading

Curse of the Crimson Throne opens with a fortune teller, Zellara, asking for the group’s help and giving them a harrowing (see also: Tarot). I won’t spend too much rehashing the awkwardness of Zellara’s harrow reading, but it is suffice to say that my only deck of cards had nudie girls on them. Try telling the Cleric that he just drew the Rabbit Prince when he sees the drawing of two women . . . um, never mind.

Anyways, the reading went ok, and the group really bought into Zellara’s plea for vengeance. Curse of the Crimson Throne, the AP I am running, has a nice built in vengeance hook. All of the characters wanted a piece of their old foe, Gaedren Lamm. They did not even question how Zellara had managed to track them down. They opted to make quick work of the mission and left immediately.

The Rusty Halfling

The group arrived at the old fishery, Lamm’s base, in the middle of the night. Everyone inside was asleep, except for an alchemist/record keeper named Yargin. He was burning the midnight oil. His pet dog lay beside him.

Pint snuck in through a front window with ease. His stealth was spectacular, and the sleeping dog in the nearby room had no chance to hear him. Until . . . he just randomly started opening doors. He opened the door to Yargin’s office, rousing the dog, and causing Yargin to start shouting for reinforcements.

Of Critical Fumbles and Children

I rolled a d4, ultimately signaling 4 rounds for the enemies in the sleeping room to rouse. In the meantime a few rounds passed in a Mexican standoff. The players did not want to open the door. Behind it they heard the dog growling like mad. Eventually, the summoner’s Eidolon opened it and all hell broke loose.

The dog lunged and Yargin fired a bow, both with readied actions. The dog managed to keep the cleric, the eidolon, and the rogue at bay while Yargin escaped to join his reinforcements.

The PCs did manage to put down the dog, but not before it bit the eidolon viciously . . . and not before a pull from the critical fumble deck caused Smog to launch an arrow into the eidolon’s back effectively killing it.

At this point, after a blown stealthy entrance, a little PvP action, and a general clusterfuck of a feeling, party tension was rising.

The Critical Hit and Fumble decks (sold at Paizo) are fucking awesome. They really lend some random flavor to the critical hit, without too much imbalance. Also, a product I originally panned, the Map Folio, proved to rock as well. With so many enemies alerted at once, the Map Folio allowed me to keep track of them off-screen very easily.

The PCs rushed forward with the ranger and the cleric leading the way. Smog was able to draw fire from Yargin (tossed acid flasks) without taking damage and capable of damaging a dangerous foe, a half-orc fighter. At this point I should mention that this Old Fishery is the home of a thieves’ den essentially. It consist of old man Gaedren Lamm (the one they want vengeance on), his crocodile pet, and his 3 associates (a gnome rogue, half-orc fighter, and human alchemist), and finally, Lamm’s Lambs, a bunch of young street urchins. The cleric used diplomacy to convince the kids to turn against their captors but it was not that productive.

Things were actually starting to look grim for the PCs. The gnome and alchemist enemies had snuck up behind the PCs by fleeing through the building, and the half-orc was rushing forward to deliver a wallop with his morning star to the cornered cleric. But, CRITICAL FUMBLE! Giggles, the half-orc’s name, essentially slams his morning star into a roof beam during his overhand chop confusing him for a round. This bought the party time and the ranger took advantage by placing an arrow through the bandit’s throat.

The gnome and the alchemist were taken down with the help of the kids, and a well-timed command spell.

The PCs questioned the kids on how to get down to Gaedren Lamm . . .

Fight with Gaedren Lamm

And it started off poorly. Both the ranger and the cleric fell into the water when they tried to, literally, get the drop on Lamm. They smashed through the floor and jumped down, right into a pit of water . . . a pit of water housing a big, ol’ crocodile. One hit and death roll later the cleric was ripped from sight and the crocodile sunk beneath the waves to enjoy its meal.

Meanwhile the old codger, Gaedren Lamm landed a critical hit on his first roll . . . which led to an infected bolt burying itself deep in Pint’s shoulder. Still despite the old man’s cover and insults, the full onslaught of the group proved too much. When the old man tried to make a dashing escape, Bebop’s summoned Celestial Riding Dog ripped out his throat.

As the PCs began to loot the place they discussed the possibility of the raising their cleric friend’s life . . . after all, they did find a piece of his finger . . . but the discussion was cut short when they opened the hatbox on Gaedren’s stinking dresser drawer to discover long rotted, decapitated head of Zellara, the woman that hired them.

They let out a collective WTF?

We jotted down treasure and ended here.  We play again next week . . .


***Warning*** This is a slight rehash of an ‘article’ that had been on here earlier.

————-

Tonight marks the beginning of my new Pathfinder RPG game; I am running Curse of the Crimson Throne. Running an AP is very new to me. I’ve always reveled in the creation of dungeons, baddies, story arcs, etc, and though I never looked down on APs, I never used them either – I always wanted to the work to be mine.

Well, as I grow busier and busier with no end in sight, I decided I’d tackle an AP. I’d long been a fan of Paizo’s work, and it made sense. And so far it is living up to the expectations; CotCT is a great, intriguing campaign arc. However, above and beyond the fact that most of the work’s been done for me (I am converting to PFRPG), I’ve found another benefit that cannot be overstated – The act of making a published adventure your own is just as thrilling as, and fills that same niche, as crafting a campaign whole cloth.

With CotCT I’m given a solid story, compelling NPCs, and exciting encounter locales.  .  . along with a lot of fluff. I could run the AP as is, no sweat. However, reading through the modules, my mind is kicked into creative overdrive, and in turn this is manifesting in a variety of ways. Here are a few examples:

1) Without having to craft the NPCs, and with the NPCs being given a lot of detail, I am finding it easier to get into character. I’ve already started creating character cards . . . little notecards I can pull out when I am playing as the NPC. These cards are organized with info on the NPCs sayings, movements, and overall attitude. Without having to craft the NPC, I find myself using that time to realize the NPC.

2) I am exploring minor details. Early on in CotCT, the PCs likely run into a nasty cur of an alchemist named Yargin Balgo. In his stat block we discover he has a light crossbow. Yet, in his combat tactics it is never mentioned that he uses it, as he instead prefers his wand and some acid flasks. Well, as I read more about the character, looked at his office layout, I realized that the crossbow would be perfect if it was attached to the underside of his desk with just one bolt (poisoned?) loaded there. Essentially, this allows him the drop on any angry business partner or unexpected guest, and hopefully gives the coward a chance to run.

3) Playing to my players. The one ‘weakness’ with any published adventure is the fact that it cannot fully predict what your group’s preferences/choices will be. You, as the DM, can (to some extent). In the same set of encounters that deal with Yargin above, the PCs eventually gain an old crown as part of a treasure hoard. One of my player’s favorite PCs had an old 2e character who became a dwarven king . . . that crown now has that dwarf’s name etched in it.

I don’t think I am breaking any new ground here, but I thought it was worth discussing. If your only reason for avoiding a published adventure is because you feel it may rob you of your creativity, you might want to reconsider. Even within the boundaries of another’s’ work, room abounds for mischief.


Famish

04Feb10

Ok, a bit of  a site redesign as I begin my new focus . . . I posted this a bit ago, but decided to clean it up a tad. Again, if anyone spots any problems with the ‘math’ let me know.

It is a painful and harsh way to die.  Starvation.  Occasionally the powerful hunger breaches even the realm of the dead.  When those who waste away slowly, painfully, losing all thought and rational emotion except for the driving need for food there is a chance their stubborn, hungry spirit stays.  These corpses reanimate as famishes.

Famishes are not particularly intelligent.  They are incapable of ambushes, speech, or skilled tactics.  These withered husks are driven only by the desire to eat, and nothing satiates them like the flesh of other sentient beings.  There typical battle strategy involves latching on to the nearest living being and overbearing it, followed by the gruesome display of it feasting upon its prey.

Famishes typically occur in the areas they have fallen.  Places such as prisons, battlefields, and the slums of the cities are more likely to breed this type of undead than any other


It seems to me that the utility, convenience, and thoroughness of DDI’s D&D Compendium and Character Builder work against the success of 3rd party publishers.

While I’ve no scientific evidence to back up this claim, it does seem on some accepted level a good number of 4e players & DMs use the compendium and certainly the Character Builder (for it doth rock!).  These are very useful tools that give you everything published by WotC in a ready to use computer application. So thorough and useful are they, they even limit my desire to buy WotC books.

Doesn’t the prevalence, convenience, and restricted nature (WotC material only) of these tools put a bit of a crunch on 3rd party publishers? For example, Adamant Entertainment’s Warlock Pacts are awesome. But unless I manually update my Character Builder with the needed information (and in this sense the builder is still a bit of a chore), my players would rather capitalize on the flash and functionality of the abundant material already presented.

Other player options fall under this umbrella as well. While it is all fine and well if a 3rd party publisher produces a book of magic items, there still seems to exist a tendency to rely on those readily described, easily inserted items that are constantly updated on the character builder. Same goes with new powers, rituals, etc . . .

DMs face no less temptation. The D&D compendium is chock full of more monsters than you could use in 50 campaigns. They are fully developed, printable, copy-ready, and easily accessible. In addition, there is a certain fun and fancy free draw to creating your own enemies in 4th edition. This temptation is buffed by myriad tools to assist in that endeavor. Monster books are great, and still have a draw, but it seems their utility may be lessened.

Now, admittedly I am being bleak on some levels here. You can still enter in houseruled (i.e. 3rd party supplement material) into the character builder. You can easily use monsters from another publisher, and even enter their stats into certain tools to produce a viable, copy-ready statblock.

The difference exists in 4th Edition’s emphasis on the use of their digital tools. Before you had to manually enter a lot of things regardless, unless you were using some webtool to create characters . . . often a restricted or dicey proposition in and of its self. Now the publisher of the game offers a great, easy-to-use, and comprehensive builder, so a small chore becomes evident when dealing with publications that fall outside the realm of WotC.

Me? I still use 3rd party material because I am a D&D geek. However,  I think where 4th edition is practically begging for 3rd party support is not in class functions, more monsters, or treasure, but in story/campaign elements and adventures. Books that can speak directly to the game, or provide a rich campaign or ideas for the DM, and adventures that give DMs with little prep time what they need to play . . .

I don’t know. I am done rambling. What do you think?


Dark Sun – Ladies and young children look away . . . Dark Sun grabbed us by the short hairs and blew our fucking minds. We loved it like fat kids love brunch and lupper. We sank into it like the Titanic into the chilly Atlantic. We. Loved. Dark. Sun.

Aside from some awesome adventures and gladiatorial mayhem that we wrought upon Athas, it is also the genesis of one of our favorite in-character lines – my good friend Miller having his ½ Giant defend his intellect – “I am not stupid.” But, alas, the big giant surely was.

Of course, the best aspect of Dark Sun was that it crossed D&D fantasy and post-apocalyptic grit in an entertaining manner. Throw in a heaping helping of Sorak, muls, and the Prism Pentad and you are destined for fun gaming.

Athas is also where I got the chance to be a bit of a player as well, with my eccentric preserver Vernors Valiant. Vernors was too nice for his own good and too honorable as well. He met his end as hordes of gith crested a dune intent on ravaging a caravan I’d hired on to protect. The rest of the PCs had run away (not uncommon in Dark Sun), but I stayed.

I think I got one of them with a magic missile.

I cannot wait for this bad boy to come back out in 4e.

3.5 – I ran some fun campaigns in 3.5, but nothing that really stretched into the realm of super amazing. I did the PCs versus the slaver thing, PCs versus the drow, PCs versus dragons (they happened to be the slavers mentioned before) . . . However, I did get the chance to play my favorite character of all-time in 3.5, Patch, a human rogue with, you guessed it, an eye-patch.

The campaign was the wickedly combat-heavy Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. In truth, some of the hard details of the game are a bit fuzzy to me because as opposed to a beer and pretzel style game, this was more of a beer, beer, and whiskey kind of game.  Some highlights:

* Patch knocking off a fire-hurling Baddie from her platform using Ring of the Ram.

* Patch using a Potion of Gaseous Form to enter into a chest to get said Ring of the Ram

* Patch being enthralled by a powerful charm spell from the wizard in the group. This happened because the wizard wanted to lead people to slaughter so as to benefit from some dark ritual/well that essentially operated on the following formula – Sacrifice here = 50,000 gp magic item. Patch eventually breaking free of enchantment, poisoning a pair of gloves with powerful contact poison and presenting them to the wizard as a gift. The wizard putting them on, Patch watching him die with an evil grin . . .

Man, there is a lot of infighting in my stories.

Others - We played 3.5 to death and so eventually began experimenting with other drugs . . . er . . . games. Shadowrun was awesome because it had magic AND grenades (both of which the PCs used in an epic raid on a corrupt police station), Vampire was awesome (Jim, thank you for being a kickass storyteller) because you got to be fucking VAMPIRES (one day I may run down all our White Wolf hijinx, but not today . . . you may thank me in vitae), and Marvel Universe RPG was a chance to roleplay with limited seriousness in mind.

Then there was WOW (no stories worth telling)

And finally there was D&D once more . . .


Now to bore you with personal information! In this case, a rundown of my gaming life and profile posted for your reading pleasure. Don’t thank me, I’ve been inspired by the 100th episode of The Tome Show.

Beginnings – I started gaming about 1994. I was in junior high and my new stepdad had a huge bookshelf of fantasy novels and gaming material from old-school D&D to 2nd edition.

phb_2nd_add

It was the fantasy novels that caught my attention first. I became completely absorbed within the isle of Moonshae as depicted by Douglas Niles in his aptly titled Moonshae Trilogy. From there it was on to the Avatar Trilogy, Dark Elf Trilogy & Icewind Dale, the Dragonlance Chronicles and complete and utter addiction to all things D&D-flavored.

Of course the next natural step was to master the game itself. I pored over the tomes of 2nd Edition D&D and ran my first game with a few friends. I was apparently prescient and intelligent enough to understand that Kobolds should be fought first AND from that point on I had a gaming group that was utterly hooked.

That First True Campaign -

Cast

  • Miller
    • Halamath Greenleaf (Elven Wizard) Left us about 6-7th level but became a demi-god . . . in thrall to another PC.
    • Thorn Orccleaver (Dwarven Fighter) Garnered the Regalia of Might. Became the hero of the campaign.
  • Kevin
    • Jack – an overweight, curmudgeonly priest of Kelemvor who eventually became the God of Chaos and Undeath thanks to finding a scrap of Myrkul’s robes. Ascended to godhood after wiping out a Waterhadvian temple to Umberlee at about 6-7th level. Took Halamath with him.
    • Odifia Sangazeratti – A wood giant monk. Yup.
  • Scott
    • “Cannot Remember Name” – an Elven ranger who refused to go into towns and cities. He eventually gained a follower. This follower was killed while on watch by members of the BBEG’s crew. He was hung up and left to bleed to death. Since no one cut him down or gave him a proper burial, he came back as a revenant to seek vengeance on his master for allowing him to die in such disgrace. He exacted that vengeance; the ranger got held in a bonfire and died.
    • “Cannot Remember Name II” – a shifter from a net book. Like Morph from the X-men. Was a stalwart companion until he got into a tilt with the cleric of Lathander. Their fight ultimately ended with the shifter being held, then turned impotent by repeated blows to the groin from the cleric’s mace. (Remember we were all young teens). Due to this, II began to think the group was against him and became a ripe target for the manipulations of Assyrian, an undead Knight, who turned him into a dracolich.
  • Aaron
    • Cleric of Lathander – The longest lived of the original characters, this slightly offbeat character is best remembered for the aforementioned “crotch-bludgeoning.” This character then turned into a tree, in order to hide from the enraged shifter who’d assumed dragonform at this point. He was seen and killed.
    • Saurial Paladin – The above tiff took place on an isle populated by Saurials. Aaron immediately rolled another character, a young sauron who wanted to free his isle of the ‘dragon’ it had just seen. He charged the dragon (actually Scott’s shifter) with his first action. The dragon/shifter killed him within two rounds.
    • Wemic Fighter – Just because we had one session left in the campaign.
  • Me, the DM
    • Isaac – the Villain. An escaped prisoner who wanted to unleash a flight of dragons and be their master. He was nothing more than a petty thief who had stolen a pair of bracers that gave him . . . remember I was young and inexperienced . . . 10 attacks per round. His goal was to find Orbs of Dragonkind.
    • Derek – the lackey. Derek was found as low-level guard in multiple situations working for multiple victims. After constantly seeing him escape (he often surrendered and ran) they finally killed him.
    • Yi – A ninja. He kicked the party’s ass multiple times before realizing they meant to do well.
    • Assyrian – Ultimately the victor. He wanted to be a BBEG himself and wanted Isaac removed. He had his way by tricking Scott into becoming a Dracolich
  • CLIMAX
    • The group is fairly decimated by the time they reach Isaac. The wemic is new. Odifia has been pummeled to death. Shifter is a dracolich flying towards the final battle to kill everything. It is only Thornn and Isaac. Isaac is much too quick for the dwarf, so the dwarf throws a rope on him and grapples him. While they are embraced such, the dracolich swoops down and breathes on all of them . . . the end.

Crazy. Fun. We were hooked.


The exciting conclusion to TOP 10 MONSTERS! (or not!)

3) CARYATID COLUMN – Oh, yeah, two ladies at the same time. Every adventurer’s dream . . . unless that adventurer is a dwarf, in which case we know they only dream of beer. Sweet, sweet beer.

These constructs are based off ancient Greek carvings of women.  The one big catch with these guys, er, gals, is that you can use them once in the way they were orginally described.  That is to say, your PCs will check every entrance that his bordered by two sword-wielding statues depicting pretty women.

2. GAMBADO – Another Fiend Folio classic! Here’s a brief description: They have trunk-like bodies supported by a single foot, which they hop about on, they have two humanoid arms, and are often found wearing another creature’s skull upon thier head. All of this supports my longstanding theory that Heather Mills-McCartney is a gambado.

Whats truly sad is that this is a faux gambado . . .

What's truly sad is that this is a faux gambado . . .

Drum roll please.

1. DISPLACER BEAST – No jokes or nothing. Displacer Beasts are just badass. In every edition they’ve had solid artwork and a deserved place as durable foes for PCs. Here is a quick history lesson regarding my beloved Displacer Beast.

  • Displacer beasts were inspired by an alien cat-like race found in science fiction author A.E. van Vogt’s 1939 short story “Black Destroyer.” Named the Couerl, this predatory monster looks exactly like a displacer beast, right down to the tentacles.
  • They entered the world that would be D&D in 1975 via the Greyhawk supplement. That means that Displacer Beast’s have been apart of the game as long as thieves and paladins!
  • In 1977, it appeared in the AD&D 1st Edition Monster Manual.
  • Check out Dragon #109 (1986) for the ecology article.
  • Displacer Beast Packlord is introduced in 2003’s Monster Manual 3.5
  • The Displacer Beast stymies adventurers by not being where it seems to be. It then kills them (near future).
This is not actually the displacer beast; it is actually 3 feet to the left.

This is not the displacer beast; it is actually 3 feet to the left.


Time to pick some pockets! Stealing from a variety of places today, but namely tenletter, Monsters and Manuals, and the Ghost Tower of Dustiness.

Anyways the above blogs have got me thinking and  I have decided to post up my favorite 10 monsters from the annals of D&D history.

A quick definition of favorite – these are monsters that have made an impression on me through playing or DMing.  While there are some sweet monsters out there, I hesitate to include them unless I’ve played them .  . .

Without further ado:

10. DROW – A classic, I know. But a race of evil beings that dwell beneath the earth, living in a self-imposed Machiavellian nightmare where you can trust no one and the language is officially “Lies” is just too fun to ignore. Wow, I just realized how similar The House of Representatives and the Drow are!

Your Congresswoman from the state of . . .

Your Congresswoman from the state of . . .

9. MIND FLAYERS – I know, I am boring . . . keeping with the classics, but, seriously, c’mon . . . THEY’RE MIND FLAYERS!!! These things are guaranteed to make your player shit their pants, regardless of level. Also they are Cthulhu-inspired, and a well known fact is Cthulhu is actually gamer for “we love it regardless of X”. So who cares if they stole zombies schtick (mmm . brains), they are Cthulhu-inspired!

8. BULLYWUG - When I was young and foolish (as opposed to me now when I am youngish and foolish), my friends and I use to trudge through the swamp and collect frogs/toads. Slowly we would meander through mud and muck until the birch trees parted and a street bridge came into view, crossing over the swamp. We would then hurl our amphibious treasures with great glee at passing cars that zipped by overhead. I am not proud of this, it was the foolishness of youthful boyishness. However, I think that whomever designed bullywugs did similar things as a lad — bullywugs are 1st level characters wet dreams. They are dumber than kobolds and less vicious than goblins. In short, frogs are stupid.

7.  CAVE FISHER – I have some odd, sick obsession with cave fishers. I’ve even statted one up to place into my 4e game. Like many obsessions, I was in denial for a long time; it took the bold words of one of my players to alert me to the fact that I “always” used cave fishers in subterranean settings. Naturally, moments later a sticky line of death snatched him from the rear of the party and ended his miserable, whiny, smart-ass life. I opted to roleplay the entire scene.

6. WRAITH – These were always the scariest monsters for PCs to face. They use to drain levels, you know. Players would rather die a thousand deaths than lose a level. Seriously, they are frightening; I don’t even have a lame joke for these baddies.

Level Stealingh SOBs

Level Stealing SOBs

5. MORKOTH – Here’s their thing: they lair at the bottom of the ocean in a big chamber that has 6 winding, spiralling tunnels leading to the chamber. The tunnels are so, um, spirally they are hypnotic; so as you traverse the tunnels (again, at the BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN) you become entranced and sit complacently as the beast eats you.

Now tell me that’s not a monster with traction and myriad applications!

Why does nobody ever visit?

Why does nobody ever visit?

4. OTYUGH – Ok, another confession. I have a small obsession with placing Otyughs at the bottom of dungeon latrines. I KNOW I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE! And besides, I’ve only done it twice . . .ah, the look on the player’s face . . .

The Oscar the Grouch of the D&D world.

The Oscar the Grouch of the D&D world.

I’ve opted to hold on to the top 3, as they require a bit more thought; I will post them soon.




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.