It’s Monster Monday again, and for this morning, in honor of the allergies that are making my life a tetch more difficult than I’d like to imagine, I’m offering up a few of the various fungus-like creatures from Dragon Heresy.

These are less “monsters” then they are hazards. They are not sentient and they’re just aware enough to cause adventurers trouble – but they make great obstacles and barriers to overcome, and will naturally come to populate, and even dominate, the dark, dank, and magically-enhanced places of the world.

Fungi

Natural fungi play the role of nature’s decomposers, and are quite different than the usual plants. They play a vital role in any natural ecosystem, and when such a system is naturally enhanced by, and perfused with, magical energy, odd things can happen.

Shrieker

The shrieker might be a naturally-evolving organism, or it may have been purposefully created by a druid as a warning mechanism. They can be used as an alarm system in any dark place that can support their growth, and will react to any unnatural or mobile light source, or the presence of any moving creature. Their cry is piercing and loud, but not hazardous to those with normal hearing. Those with particulary sensitive ears (such as cats and dogs) might face a turn of stun if caught in such a blast of sound (make a DC 15 Constitution save to avoid this effect).

The shrieker can’t be grappled effectively—it can be plucked or destroyed, but grabbing the giant mushroom won’t change its behavior. Continue reading “Monster Monday: Fungi”

It’s once again Monster Monday, and today we’ve got some monsters of the human variety for you. Between other parties of adventurers, as well as bandits and other riff-raff, early encounters in Tanalor may well be fellow humans; certainly in situations focusing on the internal politics of Torengar or the Neveri wars, they will be.

Duellist

The duelist will fight for money as an enforcer or even a gladiator, but is most often found as a paid judicial champion, or the Torengarian equivalent of a lawsuit artist, pressing false injury claims and proving himself the injured party by defeating his opponent in a judicial duel (the berjast).

Medium humanoid (any race), any alignment

Speed 30 ft.

STR

DEX   CON INT WIS CHA
18 15 16 10 12 15
 +4  +2  +3 0  +1

 +2

Defenses Wound Thresholds
Threat DC 16* Morale Injury KO Death
Hit DC 27 0-5 6-10 11-20 21+
DR 2* Control Thresholds
Vigor 112 Grab Grapple Restr. Incap.
Vigor Dice 15d8+45 0-5 6-10 11-20 21+

*studded leather, medium shield

Proficiency +3

Saving Throws. Str +7, Dex +5, Con +6

Skills. Athletics +10, Intimidation +5

Senses. passive Perception 11

Languages. any one language (usually Common)

Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)

Brave. The duellist has advantage on saving throws against being frightened.

Brute. A melee weapon deals one extra die of its damage when the duellist hits with it (included in the attack).

Actions

Multiattack. The duellist makes three melee attacks or two ranged attacks.

Spear. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft. and range 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: 2d6+4 piercing damage, or 2d8+4 piercing damage if used with two hands to make a melee attack.

Shield Bash. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 2d4+4 bludgeoning damage. If the target is a Medium or smaller creature, it must succeed on a DC 15 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

Grapple. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1d10+4 control damage.

Reactions

Parry. The duellist adds 3 to its Threat DC against one melee attack that would hit it. To do so, the duellist must see the attacker and be wielding a melee weapon.

Shield Defense. The duellist takes a blow or deflects a missile weapon with his shield. The shield has DR5, and can absorb three “hits” before it is broken. Shields have resistance to piercing damage from ammunition or light thrown weapons. The shield takes 1 hit if the damage (after resistance) is 6-10 points, 2 hits if it is 11-15 points, and is instantly destroyed if it takes 16+. Continue reading “Monster Monday: Human Opposition Sampler Pack”

It’s Monster Monday again, and today I give you trolls.

They’re a classic part of norse mythology and legend, and have been tweaked a bit to fit with the Dragon Heresy cosmology. Four sub-types are presented, based on both the SRD and my team’s reading of the legends themselves. There’s a troll here for every occasion!

Troll

Trolls are large and physically powerful fae, strong and hard to hurt. They have a stocky, muscular build, large powerful thick-fingered hands with rough claws, and short legs. Their appearance varies considerably, but they usually have pointed ears, a large nose, thick callused skin, sharp fangs or tusks, horns on their heads, shaggy hair, or animal-like tails.

Common in the mountains and deep forests, trolls often make the entrance to their faerie homes among rock outcrops, standing stones, inside caves, or under bridges.

Trolls are dangerous, with a proclivity for kidnapping and eating people, thieving, and raiding homesteads. They shun sunlight, and mostly come out when it is twilight or overcast. Alfar or Winterfae often use them as guards or warriors, but trolls are more solitary and independent than goblins: they are willful and hard to control.

Mountain Troll. These trolls are magical beings and accomplished shapeshifters. The least hostile of the trolls, they may talk rather than fight if the mood suits them. Some adventurous souls have even joined them for dinner without becoming dinner themselves! They are still perilous, prone to violence and exhibiting disturbing anthropophagous tendencies, and their potent magics and cunning only increase the hazard.

Thurs. These are dull-witted brutes. Although very violent, they can often be tricked by the quick thinking. They dress in rude furs and usually carry large clubs. Many will happily serve powerful masters in exchange for regular food, a comfortable place to sleep, and better equipment.

Stothtroll. A breed of fae that has been twisted into something horrible by the strange magics of the great rifts of Tanalor. Their minds were broken into ravenous, unreasoning monsters yet still possessed of near-human cunning. Meanwhile their bodies were fortified and given unnatural endurance, to the point that their wounds twist and heal even as you watch.

Grendelkin. None too bright, these monstrous trolls are remarkably resistant to weapons. They can be found stalking misty marshes and dark fens, skulking among the dark pools and venturing out at night to inflict carnage on nearby peaceful people. Continue reading “Monster Monday: Troll”

It’s Monster Monday, where I highlight a creature from the upcoming Dragon Heresy RPG. Today we have a devilishly good time, and I’ll throw down a monster you’ve seen before – on the cover fo Dungeon Grappling! The Marilith demon. Demons are of the “burn it all down” school of evil, and while some of them are mighty and powerful, in the cosmology of Etera, they reside on the middle planes of Asgard, called The Realms of the Field.

Marilith (demon)

One of the most feared combatants in stories filled with fierce fighters, the marilith is known by many descriptive names: deathsnake, lady of blades, and the elvish Cuisin Ar, this six-limbed demon is one of the most deadly sword-weilders ever encountered.

The marilith has the lower torso of a serpent, and can use the serpentine tail for both mobility and on the attack. The upper body is inevitably a beautiful female form, often appearing elvish or human, but with slightly off-color skin (reports always differ as to precisely what color it is) and six arms. Each arm carries a longsword (oversized for medium creatures), and each longsword is invariably magical.

The marilith is quite intelligent, and for a creature bent on the destruction and wonton torture of all life, engages in a remarkable amount of long-term thinking. Almost alone of demon-kind, she will ally with others to bring larger plans to fruition, and there is much subtlety in their conception. Mariliths are not shapechangers or spellcasters, however, so they must work through proxies and cultists if they wish to influence Etera without giving themselves away.

In combat they are direct and deadly, wielding their blades with blinding speed and deadly accuracy. The first attack is nearly always with her nearly prehensile tail, seeking to grapple and restrain a foe. This can vastly increase the effectiveness of the six blade attacks that follow. If hard pressed, the marilith will teleport out of danger, regain her bearings, and then teleport back into the fray. The marilith will often sport a contoured magical breastplate for protection.

Tentacled Marilith. Some rare marilith demons were formed with one or two pairs of their human-like arms replaced with a pair of (very) long tentacles. Such creatures still have six attacks, but may use their tentacles for either grappling or bludgeoning. Continue reading “Monster Monday: Marilith Demon”

Monster Monday is a feature that will occur every other week. It will feature an excerpt creature from the working draft of the Dragon Heresy RPG.

A wight is the restless corpse of a warrior, animated by bloodlust and hatred. The wight is created when a warrior is so fond of killing, maiming, and fighting without a good cause that upon its death, the Valkyries not only reject the spirit, but deny its passage to Dauthaheim. Clinging to its lust for violence, it rises each night to claim more victims.

They are typically withered husks of fallen warriors, but with plenty of flesh still remaining. They do not rot naturally, but nor do they heal. The wounds taken in life (and in undeath) lie gaping upon them. They are grey-colored, with tattered, wispy hair. If they wear armor (and many do), it will typically be a hodge-podge of pieces—treat the DR of any more interesting armor as half it’s usual value.

Not all wights are human, and it is not uncommon to encounter lizardfolk and human wights alike at the location of long-forgotten battles during the wars that plagued Tanalor and Torengar alike over the last few thousand years.

These restless dead dwell in ancient burial mounds during the day. They have an instinctive feeling for how from from their barrow-home they may roam until they cannot return before the sun rises.

Continue reading “Monster Monday: Vaettr (Wight)”