Using My Monsters

Monday, 24 October 2016

Dread Ram - CR 8 (Large Undead)

Another monster from the 3.0 Ghostwalk sourcebook, Dread Rams are large undead warbeasts, animated by high level necromancers. In my game, they are another of Jantherak's creations, used to smash through troop formations, and to offer cover to infantry as they moved towards enemy positions during the Guild Wars.

Chef's Tip: You do not want to touch the rack that comes from this lamb...

In later ages, they would serve as mounts for necromancers, and indeed, were hired out to those with the coin by certain enterprising groups with access to the rituals needed to create and control them. Dread Rams are a common sight amongst the Thornyr; raised by their shaman to serve as guardians, and large herds of these things are said to wander the Northern Devastation of 2nd Age Upper Malgoroth.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Death Hag - Medium Fey (CR 7)

Firstly, sorry for the break in updates. My fourth child was born on Friday so I've been, you know, kinda' busy (and I am consulting the chirurgeon about having my "orbs of life" decommissioned now, if you know what I mean). However, I do have time to post this little horror, which I believe (though I could be very wrong) originally appeared in the Eberron campaign world.

Death Hags are fey imbued with the essence of death. In my games they tend to stick to their own warped realities, occasionally entering the physical plane to seek components, or to wreak a little havoc. Death Hags are often found in the employ of the Cold Lords of the Order of Ravens however, and from time to time, they have made attempts to carve a tiny empire of death in the realms of the living.

She's skin hurts...

One notable Death Hag, who lived in the early (Pre-Sundering) Third Age, was Bulobora. She became infamous after she teamed up with the "Sisters of the Swollen Tongue" (an order of "nuns" dedicated to Sarrax'Thag'Nestra, the God of Disease, Famine and Plagues), and brought several new sicknesses, brewed in her home realm, into the world. These foul plagues (known later as the "Three Tribulations of Bulobora") swept through the southern cities of Fey, especially the city of Jadasvere, with its infamous "Rotting Fields".

Ultimately, Bulobora fell foul of her mortal sponsors, who had worked to craft a disease that could even infect one such as her. Her death came, according to sources from the time (though studying the infected writings of those pestilential priestesses is a risky business), slowly, with her choking on her own liquefying lungs, and rupturing her own ribs as they too turned to slime, and were torn apart by her coughs.

Anyways, here are the stats.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Wyrd - Medium Undead (CR 6)

Basic D&D had some brilliant monsters, many of which would never make it into the "Advanced" version of the game. In truth, the Wyrd did make the jump, appearing in the Mystara Monstrous Compendium, probably because it is a really cool monster.

"I'm so cool, I give 0 degrees Kelvin frostbite...well, that's what my mum says anyway."
The official descriptions for these monsters say they are the corpses of elves (or aelwyn in my games), that have been reanimated by powerful undead spirits. In the canon, there are two versions, lesser and greater, the lesser not being able to paralyse with their attacks. I did away with this, and combined the two, to give a monster that is, I feel, a little more rounded. Of course, if you wanted to recreate this, you could make a version that only has one attack or the other, those throwing the Erubescent Orbs being the lesser, those throwing the Sickly Orbs, the greater. 

Anyway, have fun!

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Unburied - Large Undead (CR 8)

Diablo III, is an awesome game, that features so many fantastic monsters that I could spend a solid week converting them all for D&D. However, the Unburied are one of my favourites, both because they kick serious ass, and because they remind me a little of the infamous Nightmare Amalgams conjured by my own game world's arch-necromancer, Jantherak "The Shade Binder" - albeit, a much smaller, much, much weaker version.

"Oh, oh, it's 'Gangam Style'. I love this one. Come on, dance with me..."
Click on the link above for the official lore on these things. In my games, they are either the deliberate creations of necromancers (I can see the Order of Ravens, as well as their splinter faction, the Ravensoul Cabal, making great use of these as guardians and tanks), or the produce of accumulating necrotic energy and mass graves. Indeed, I could see these things wandering in small packs in the infamous "Northern Devastation" of Second Age Upper Malgoroth, crushing anyone unlucky or foolish enough to encounter them. 

So, as they appear in the game, they are straight up melee opponents, which is fine, but for me, a bit boring. Hence, I have added the (slightly complex but worth it) Necrotic  Overflow ability, and a few other appropriate bits and pieces. I hope this is all good. 

Right, let's get SSSSSPOOOOOOKKKKKKYYYYYYY.....*ahem*

Friday, 7 October 2016

Carnivorous Web (Duleep) - Medium Monstrosity (CR 2)

"I said 'I want to surf the web', not thiiiiiiiis aaaaaaaaargh!"

It's a long running joke that you should trust nothing in D&D, and let's be honest, with Mimics, House Hunters, Xavers, Trappers, Lurkers, Piercers, Cloakers, Aballin, Lock Lurkers, and so many other beasts that appear to be harmless things just waiting to strike by surprise, its no wonder. The Carnivorous Web is another beastie that belongs to that club; a strange, fibrous thing that lurks in abandoned buildings and caverns, feeding on the local wildlife and / or passing adventurers.

Haunted houses of course always feature plenty of webs, often without spiders being present, and these monsters seem to fit in just right at this spooky time of year.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Vile Ritual - Summon Kastighur

"Magic can be manipulated, bound, shaped and unleashed in an almost infinite number of ways, and one of the most common is through the use of ritual. By their nature, rituals are slow, complex affairs, designed to call and shape potent energies far too wild or overwhelming for simple, rapid casting. Although many rituals are beneficial in nature, for many, they are synonymous with that most dangerous and wretched of arcane castings - the summoning of daemons."

- From Practical Arcane Theory for Students (Fifth Edition); UO Printing

Ok, so, if you click on the link below you will access a description of a vile ritual that allows characters (or enemies) to summon a single Kastighur daemon. It's not a nice ritual, and although on the grand scale of things, it's far from the nastiest thing I have put in my games, it does contain some ideas and imagery that some might find upsetting or triggering. 

D&D is meant to be fun, and it's important that everyone agrees to the tone of the game and its contents. If you think you might find reference to human sacrifice, daemonic summonings or the materials needed for such upsetting or offensive, don't click on the link below...

...However, If Not....

Image From:

Kastighur - Huge Fiend (CR 15)

The 3.5 Monster Manual IV held a couple of new daemons that kinda' flew under the radar really. One of these was the brutish Kastighur; a towering horror of heavy muscle, bearing a flat skulled head clad in thick, daemonic plate. Able to swat foes with its iron clad fists, or gut them with its long, straight horns, it's the perfect brute for a daemonic siege - or, as you will see in the next item - as an instrument of terror for a diabolic cult or similar.

"Ugh man! I trod in one. Sick dude. You can never get the stench off your hooves. Gross!"

These daemons can inflict Vile Damage by the way, though are in no way diminished if you change this to another damage type (maybe more bludgeoning, bane bludgeoning or necrotic?)

Monday, 3 October 2016

Vile Damage (5th Edition)

What follows are my 5e rules for Vile Damage, a type of damage originally outlined in the 3.0 Book of Vile Darkness. I have a post coming soon that will make some use of this, though be warned, it is something a little more "grimdark" that the usual stuff here. 
And so...


Vile damage represents harm so utterly abominable, so purely soaked with undiluted evil, that it simply cannot be healed naturally. In game terms, hit points or ability scores reduced by vile damage do not return over time, cannot be healed by spending hit dice, and can only be healed by magic within the area of an active Hallow spell, or if the healing is cast within 1 round of the target receiving a Lesser Restoration spell.

Desiccator - Small Undead (CR 1)

Time for another horror from Libris Mortis; the Desiccator - the sorrowful soul of a water elemental that has been slain through dehydration.

About the size of a toddler, these things score multiple points on the "Disturb-O-Meter" having no facial features other than their gaping, sucking mouth, being mottled and cracked like a bloating cadaver, and for being rather alien in their focus. 

Personally I like 'em. 

Where could such things be used? A few ideas that pop immediately into my mind include;

* They are servants of an evil Sha'ir who hates all things water and enjoys their pain and torment
* Lost souls wandering the halls of a once mighty Marid stronghold, drawn into a doldrum or other necrotic realm
* An unexpected bonus battle after a golem, supposedly animated by a living elemental is slain
* The familiar for a lich with a penchant for elemental servants

Stat time!

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Brain in a Jar - CR 4 (Tiny Undead)

It's heading towards Halloween, and that means spooooookiness and ghosty things. I've decided to focus over the next month therefore on more horrific material, including I hope, 5e conversions of a bunch of old undead, as well as a few new ones of my own devising. To kick things off, here is a beauty from Libris Mortis, a trope of both horror and sci-fi - a disembodied brain in a jar of strange fluids, that can strike at foes with its uncanny powers.

I'm a huge Lovecraft fan, so automatically find myself thinking about the poor souls in the brain cylinders in The Whisperer in Darkness, though I could also see these things being the failed attempts of an artificer or alchemist to achieve a form of immortality, a victim of an illithid attack that has somehow survived and been forced into their strange existence (likely on the look out for a new body), or even an unconventional phylactery for a defeated Lich, that has not been able to form a new body.