Thursday, July 27, 2017

Eberron Changelings for Pathfinder

In the Eberron setting, changelings are a shapeshifting race descended from doppelgangers. They were converted to D&D Fifth Edition in one of the very first columns in the current "Unearthed Arcana" series, which prompted me to try converting them to Pathfinder. Because Pathfinder already has a "changeling" race (descended from hags), I have renamed them half-doppelgangers here.

I have translated the race's traits given in the Eberron Campaign Setting book (for v.3.5) using the Race Builder rules in the Pathfinder RPG Advanced Race Guide. Traits marked with an asterisk (*) are not standard traits from Chapter 4, but have been priced compared to similar abilities.

Half-Doppelgangers
Type: Humanoid (shapechanger): 0 RP
Size: Medium: 0 RP
Base Speed: Normal: 0 RP
Ability Score Modifiers: Human Heritage (+2 to one ability score): 0 RP
Languages: Standard: 0 RP
Racial Traits:
Defense Racial Traits:
Doppelganger Heritage* (+2 bonus to saving throws vs. charm and sleep): 1 RP
Feat and Skill Racial Traits:
Skill Bonus (+2 Bluff): 2 RP
Skill Bonus (+2 Intimidate): 2 RP
Skill Bonus (+2 Sense Motive): 2 RP
Skill Training (Bluff, Linguistics): 1 RP
Magical Racial Traits:
Change Self* (Medium humanoid; as disguise self, but change is physical rather than illusion): 3 RP
Total: 11 RP

My wife Erika has helped me create a sample 1st-level half-doppelganger stat block much like those presented in the Bestiary and Monster Codex.

SUE D'NYM (CR 1/2)
XP 200
Female half-doppelganger rogue (spy) 1 [Advanced Player's Guide 135]
CN Medium humanoid (shapechanger)
Init +6; Senses Perception +5
Defense
AC 15, touch 12, flat-footed 13 (+3 armor, +2 Dex)
hp 9 (1d8+1)
Fort +1, Ref +4, Will +1; +2 vs. charm and sleep
Offense
Speed 30 ft.
Melee dagger -1 (1d4-1/19-20) or sap -1 (1d6-1 nonlethal)
Ranged dagger +2 (1d4-1/19-20)
Special Attacks sneak attack +1d6
Statistics
Str 8, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 17
Base Atk +0; CMB -1CMD 11
Feats Improved Initiative
Skills Bluff +10, Disguise +7 (+17 with change shape), Intimidate +9, Linguistics +4, Perception +5, Performance (comedy) +7, Sense Motive +7, Sleight of Hand +6, Stealth +6; Racial Modifiers +2 Bluff, +2 Intimidate, +2 Sense Motive
Languages Common
SQ change shape (Medium humanoid; as disguise self, but change is physical rather than illusion)
Gear studded leather, dagger (4), sap, backpack, bedroll, belt pouch, disguise kit, flint and steel, entertainer's outfit, explorer's outfit, 44 gp, 9 sp

TBT: A Beginner's Guide to LARP

Back in 2001, when I was still actively involved in the Greater Boston and New England LARP communities, I wrote "A Beginner's Guide to LARP." This was my attempt to explain live-action role-playing to people unfamiliar with that style of play. This document desperately needs to be revised and updated, but that will have to wait until someday when I get back into LARP again. Meanwhile, for those who are curious about this artifact, I've made it available again (with minimal editing, just to fix or remove broken links) at my gaming website, Thastygliax's Vault.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Building the Bestiary #15: For the Birds

Penguins from the Friends theme (left) and Minifigures Series 16 (Penguin Boy, center [with head replaced]; and the Wildlife Photographer's penguin, right).
This week's column looks at birds and bird-like creatures, from small mundane avians to large winged monsters.

Small Birds

The LEGO group has produced a number of small single-piece birds (some of which were touched upon in Tiny Creatures). The picture below includes a falcon, a parrot, two styles of owls, a chicken, a seagull, and crows. Most of these birds have anti-studs in the base, making them easy to mount on bases to use as miniatures. A few need additional work: the falcon/parrot requires a brick to give space for its tail, and the crow has a small pin, sized to insert into a hair or headgear part, instead of an anti-stud. (I've used a helmet and a ladybug as perches for the two crows shown here.)


Many LEGO sets also include small birds built with bricks, such as the ones shown below:


(A cockatrice can be made by replacing the chicken or rooster's tail with a vine or other serpent-like piece.)

Additional birds of this size can be designed easily with just a few small plates, tiles, and SNOT bricks, such as my turkey and penguin below.


Wings

One of the main challenges of larger bird models is the wings. These can be built to be either stationary or poseable; the latter will require hinged parts of some kind. The white bird shown here uses some of the simplest possible wings: single tapered plates attached to hinged plates.  (Note that the tail and feet are attached to the same bar by two different clip plates.)



With a few changes, this basic model can become different species of birds, such as this giant vulture.


Larger birds will require more elaborate wings. Some simple wing models are shown below. Above a certain size, you will probably want to add a second hinge, to get the classic upside-down-W shape associated with birds in flight.


Winged People

In a fantasy game, there will be many races that look more or less humanoid but have wings. The Legends of Chima theme has made building these races much easier by including clip-on wings that can be attached to breastplates. Since then, some Nexo Knights and Superheroes sets have used the same wings, but replaced the bulky breastplate with a small, clear piece that is mostly covered by the minifigure's head and clip-on wings.

Members of the Raven, Phoenix, and Eagle Tribes (Legends of Chima)
Raven Tribe characters without wings make excellent tengu, kenku, or dire corbies. Winged Eagle Tribe characters make good aarakocra (particularly the D&D Fifth Edition version, which have separate wings and arms).

The collectible Minifigures theme has also provided a few bird-winged characters, such as the Flying Warrior (with Chima-style wings; Series 15) and Chicken Suit Guy and Penguin Boy (whose wings are their costumes' arms; Series 9 and 16).

Some sets (like 76076 Captain America Jet Pursuit) include fixed wings that are a single piece that fit over the neck post. They look great for a creature in flight, but the wingspread could make the model awkward to move around on the game map. In a pinch, a patterned cloak can serve as folded wings, as shown in the harpy on the right in the next photo.

Harpies with fixed wings (from 7307 Flying Mummy Attack) and folded wings (cloak).
If you don't have any of these prefab wing parts, or want wings of a larger size or different style, you can attach brick-built wings to a minifigure. It's possible to build a replacement torso that includes clips to attach the wings. The angel below is based on a winged god model that I designed several years ago, before feathered wings of any kind were available. It uses a 1x2 brick (to attach the legs), topped by two 2x2 L-plates (for arms), four 1x1 plates with clips (two to attach the wings, two to serve as hands) and two 1x1 plates (to fill out the shoulders), and a jumper plate (to attach the head). Change the colors of these bricks to suggest armor or other clothing. This build makes the character about two plates taller than a normal minifigure, but it's certainly less awkward looking than the weirdly top-heavy Axl character from Nexo Knights. And that extra height is well-suited to Large winged characters, such as solars.



Larger Birds 

Larger prefabricated LEGO creatures exist for birds such as Fawkes the phoenix (Harry Potter), ostriches (Prince of Persia), and great eagles (Lord of the Rings/Hobbit). A Pathfinder phoenix is much larger (Gargantuan), but Fawkes can be used for other Medium or Large birds. The ostrich can also serve as an axe beak (Bestiary 3), but you may wish to replace the (conveniently removable) head with a brick-built one with a more fearsome-looking beak. The great eagles are just about the perfect size for d20 or Pathfinder giant eagles.

Similarly, some figures are available for hybrid avian monsters such as Buckbeak the hippogriff (Harry Potter) and pegasi (Elves). Buckbeak's wings are perfect for attaching to other winged creatures, and are bigger than most minifigure wings. (See Four-Legged Friends about building your own pegasus.)

The following two models show examples of larger birds built with bricks. Both have stationary wings, but poseable legs and tail. They have been mounted on bases with clear risers in order to show them in flight; this height also makes the wingspan less of a problem when moving the mini around a battle map that holds smaller, land-based creatures.

The first bird, a monochrome eagle, is a fairly simple model that focuses on the outline of the wings and tail. It uses two SNOT bricks (a 1x2 brick and a 1x2 plate, both with two studs on one side) to attach the wings and tail. A hinge is used at the hips to attach the legs, and allows the bird to be posed in either a horizontal or climbing position.



The blue and gray bird below uses large wing/feather pieces (from Legends of Chima) to form the wings; two pieces are used per side to give the wings more bulk in proportion to the rest of the body. A pair of these wing pieces can also be substituted for the shorter style of clip-on wings on a minifigure, if you want bigger wings and don't mind them being fixed in position.



With either model, replace the bird's head with a minifigure or animal head to create a hybrid monster such as a siren, simurgh, or peryton. (Chima characters, with their helmet-like headpieces over standard minifigure heads, are excellent choices here.)

The following LEGO sets (mostly from the Legends of Chima theme) give examples of much larger bird models suitable for Gargantuan or Colossal birds:
  • 31004 Fierce Flyer: The main bald eagle model (shown below) is pretty much perfect as-is for a Gargantuan roc miniature. To make it serve as a mount, replace one or more of the sloped bricks on the back with plates with exposed studs, so that minifigures can be attached.
  • 70000 Razcal's Glider makes a nice Huge raven or vulture.
  • 70003 Eris' Eagle Interceptor is easily Colossal in size. This model is a bird-shaped aircraft, so the cockpit should be replaced with solid bricks to convert it into a creature.
  • 70124 Eagle Legend Beast can be used as a Huge or Gargantuan bird. The wings are more fanciful than realistic, but the head and claws are very nicely detailed, and the model is designed for a rider.
  • 70221 Flinx's Ultimate Phoenix is a very nicely designed model featuring many large flame pieces, but is a bit oversized for a Gargantuan Pathfinder phoenix.

Set 31004 Fierce Flyer

Appendix: Past "Building the Bestiary" Columns

#1: Humanoids
#2: Underwater Races
#3: Giants
#4: Undead
#5: Tiny Creatures
#6: Four-Legged Friends
#7: Oozes
#8: Spell Effects
#9: Elementals
#10: Devils
#11: Aquatic Animals
#12: Vermin
#13: Non-OGL Monsters
#14: Plants
Index

Time of the Tarrasque #11: Where's the Cactus?

Our heroes include:
  • Edel Naergon, high elf bard (magician) 3.
  • Fatou, human wizard (evoker) 2/cleric of Yaziel 1; and Nochaesh, owl familiar.
  • Jubair, human rogue 3.
  • Jumari Boneface, half-orc inquisitor 3 [deity not yet known to most of the PCs].
  • Lucretia Scavola, half-elf monk (zen archer) 3.
  • ZhaZha, half-orc cavalier (order of the dragon) 3; and Zafira, camel mount.
Last time, our heroes had tracked a halfling and a tiny animate cactus to the eastern edge of Spine Hollow, where one of the low spots through the surrounding ring of hills was clogged with cacti and other desert plants. Edel had cast dancing lights to point out their quarry to the others, and the party pursued into the difficult terrain of the cactus patch.

Jumari cast expeditious retreat on herself in order to follow the tracks without being slowed down even further. The party gained on the halfling, and the others could finally see her in the moonlight: a tiny figure in desert robes. When they drew within a bowshot of her, Edel called out for her to stop, claiming the party didn't want to hurt her.

In reply, she stopped long enough to cast stinking cloud on the group, which nauseated all of them except Jumari. The inquisitor warded herself with shield of faith and rushed forward as quickly as the clinging vegetation would let her. The others slowly stumbled out of the cloud, and stumbled in the direction of the halfling as they tried to recover from the spell's effects.

The party closes in on the halfling (white hood), after
weathering her stinking cloud (pencil circle) and
vomit swarm (gray disk) spells.
The small woman vomited out a swarm of spiders, which soon reached Edel, who took damage but continued onward. Fatou was the first to recover from nausea; she cast burning hands on the swarm before it passed over her and into the stinking cloud.

Meanwhile, Jumari had closed with the halfling, who attempted to cast pox pustules on her, but the half-orc resisted the spell. Unable to strike the nimble halfling with her weapons, Jumari switched to her bleeding touch power, with which she easily hit her target.

Fatou and Jubair reached the halfling, hemming her in. Lucretia received from the cloud's effects, and began shooting at their foe, but her first several shots missed. The monk finally hit while the small spellcaster was trying to hit Jumari with vampiric touch; her arrow did more injury than the halfling's spell healed.

Edel trips the surrounded halfling.
Jubair and Edel were the last to overcome their nausea. The rogue struck the enemy a solid blow, and the bard used his whip to trip her. Badly hurt and prone, the halfling surrendered, and ZhaZha (who had finally reached the fight) took away her staff and sat on her to keep her under control.

Jumari used detect evil to confirm her suspicions about the halfling woman, but nobody could see the tiny black cactus anywhere. The inquisitor demanded to know where it was, and was told it was trying to get away, out of the hollow. Jumari and Fatou used the enhanced speed to track the cactus eastward, leaving the others to search and interrogate their prisoner.

Fatou sent her owl Nochaesh ahead to scout, and the owl spotted the fleeing plant. The thing hid in a clump of brush, but Jumari was able to locate its aura, and demanded that it emerge. The tiny creature pleaded not be killed, and asked if they had killed its mistress. The half-orc intimidated it into obeying her, and Fatou told it that its fate would match its master's. Once it showed itself, Fatou recognized it as a rare sentient plant called a petrifern, who some spellcasters could use as familiars.

Meanwhile, ZhaZha searched the woman and removed all the gear hidden about her person, and Edel used detect magic on her and her gear. The prisoner had mage armor active (which is why she had been so hard to hit), and the bard identified a wand of cure light wounds and cloak of resistance +1 among her possessions. The woman had a spell component pouch but no holy symbol, and a pearl in the pouch radiated strong magic unfamiliar to Edel, as did her bracers.

Edel showed the halfling the map, asking what it meant. The woman, Tarifa, cursed softly in her own language, about the idiots who wrote down her name. She explained that the cactus beside her name represented Spine Hollow, and that "Ilgash" was an orc who commanded a secret Ghost Fist Clan hideout there. Tarifa was paid to keep tabs on the hollow, and report to the clan. She claimed to not be a death cultist herself, just in their employ as a spy. Edel suggested she consider not working for them anymore, and the woman swore there was no way she was going back--the Ghost Fists would kill her faster than her present captors would.

In response to further questions, Tarifa explained that the cactus was her familiar, Nafi. Jubair, who by now was somewhat obsessed with acquiring a companion (or two), asked how to get one. Tarifa said, "If you talk to the darkness for long enough, it talks back and teaches you things." This did not exactly help her case with the rest of the party, but Jubair persisted. She pleaded that if they let her and Nafi live, she could see if the rogue could learn how. Jubair tried to convince the others to let her live so that he could get a cactus familiar, but then wondered out loud that maybe if he killed her, he would become its master.

Jumari and Fatou returned just in time to hear Tarifa's desperate shriek of, "It doesn't work that way!" Edel filled them in what the party had learned so far, and then the questions continued.

Tarifa claimed that Ilgash was a leader among the Ghost Fists, and a spellcaster though Tarifa had not seen her use much magic. The hideout usually held at least a half-dozen orcs, sometimes up to twice that many. Tarifa was trying to leave the hollow in order to report on the PCs' arrival. When asked what she had learned of them, she started by stating that an elf working with half-orcs was unusual. Before she could say much more, Jubair interrupted to suggest that she had seen a "handsome human." She latched onto this: "Yes, a handsome human--who likes to touch cactus for no good reason." (This amused the others, and failed to either shame or anger the rogue.)

The halfling confirmed that the Ghost Fists worshiped a death god, who she believed was Asmolon (whose name she would only whisper). The clan's leaders aren't orcs, but an elf and a human. The elf, Ragalash, was much darker-skinned than Edel (a pale-skinned high elf); he was very creepy, as he animated dead things. The human, Yazdanyar, was war leader because he was tougher and scarier than any of the clan's orcs; the spy didn't know if he was a spellcaster. These two live out in the desert with the rest of the clan, not in Ilgash's cave. Tarifa didn't know how large the tribe was. She tried to beg for her release if she told them how to find Ilgash.

Fatou had been inspecting the items taken from the spy, and determined that the bracelets were bracers of armor +1, but she could not divine what the pearl did. She quizzed Tarifa about it, and was told that it helped one regain a spell that had been cast. Fatou asked if the prisoner had a spellbook. She did not--she was a witch, not a wizard.

Jumari proposed that they take her to the druids of the hollow, and tell them that Tarifa was a spy. The others agreed, and the half-orc used an orison to brand the halfling's forehead with the word "spy." The party attracted a great deal of attention as they escorted their prisoners to the center of Spine Hollow. The druid Tailless came to them, and asked for an explanation. Edel started to summarize, but before long, the woman interrupted him: "We need to see Razima. Come with me."

Tailless led them to the rocky shelves where the leaders lived, and asked them to wait while she went inside a building built into the rock face. She soon returned with a petite human woman who, unlike most of the locals, wore only a long tunic instead of full desert robes. She also had sand-colored skin (notably lighter than most Asasorans), long hair that glowed white in the moonlight, and blue spiral tattoos over much of her body. This was Razima, leader of the Circle who ruled Spine Hollow. At Tailless's prompt, Edel reported on what they had learned from Tarifa. As he continued, Razima grew visibly angry, and as she did so, her hair started to move as if blown by wind. This reaction made many of the PCs nervous, and Tarifa positively wilted under her glare. (Edel and Jumari guessed that the druid must be a sylph--someone with mixed human and extraplanar heritage tied to the element of air.) Razima thanked the heroes for their actions, and declared that the Circle would need to question Tarifa further. The druid had not been aware that the Ghost Fists operated so close to her settlement; their territory is up near the Stairs. (As many of the party knew, this is the name of the easiest route up the Shalash Escarpment, a hundred or so miles to the north.)

ZhaZha asked Tarifa how long it would take to get to Ilgash's cave. She was told it took about two days to walk there from Spine Hollow. The wavy lines on the map indicated that a spring could be found there. (That should make the location easy to identify, but not necessarily easy to find.)

Razima sent someone for a cage to hold the petrifern, and then had it and Tarifa escorted to one of the nearby buildings. It was nearing dawn, and the visitors needed sleep after their busy night, so they returned to their campsite. After a good long rest, they plan to check in with the Circle to see what more they had learned--and if they could get some assistance in going after Ilgash.

The witch Tarifa and her petrifern familiar.

Appendix: Previous Sessions

Fight for the Future: Defend net neutrality!


BATTLEFORTHENET,COM

(By the way, there will be no weekly blog post next week, because I will be on vacation and traveling. Instead, I will be posting TWO regular content posts later today: An update on on my "Time of the Tarrasque" campaign and the next installment of "Building the Bestiary.")

Thursday, July 6, 2017

TBT: Misuhiro Yoko, a character for BESM

The following Big Eyes Small Mouth character was based on a minor background character from Revolutionary Girl Utena. She was originally posted to a RPG-related LiveJournal group (that I have since lost the name of) back in 2004.

----------

Possible Utena Character: Misuhiro Yoko


This character was inspired by the shadow-puppet girls in Revolutionary Girl Utena, with the UFO/alien theme being played up in the latest episodes I've seen (I'm up to #29). I don't know how well she would fit into an Utena game, but if I end up playing in the game a friend of mine plans to run, this is the character I'll propose first.

Note: Because I don't own the BESM Utena book, Yoko was built with BESM 2E Revised, using Teen Romance costs for skills.

Misuhiro Yoko, Ohtomi Academy student, Grade 8 (25 CP)


Stats: Body 4, Mind 7, Soul 4 (15 CP)
Derived Values: ACV 5, DCV 3, HP 40, EP 55, SV 8

Attributes: Appearance 1 (1 CP), Art of Distraction 2 (2 CP), Highly Skilled 1 (1 CP), Own a Big Mecha 2 (Flying Saucer, 25 MP) (5 CP), Personal Gear 1 (1 CP), Shape Change 2 (Change gender only) (3 CP).

Defects: Nemesis (Kiryuu Nanami) (1 BP), Skeleton in the Closet (Alien posing as human) (1 BP), Special Requirement (Lay an egg once a month) (1 BP).

Skills: Biological Sciences 1 (Botany) (2 SP), Disguise 1 (Make-up) (2 SP), Linguistics 2 (Alien [native], English, Japanese) (4 SP), Mechanics 1 (Aeronautics) (3 SP), Melee Attack 1 (Sword) (5 SP), Melee Defend 1 (Sword) (5 SP), Performing Arts 1 (Comedy; Dance) (5 SP), Physical Sciences 1 (Astronomy) (2 SP), Piloting 1 (Spacecraft) (2 SP).

OBM: Flying Saucer (25 MP): HP 60.
Attributes: A.I. 1 (Basic Remote Control: Egg) (1 MP), Extra Capacity 1 (1 MP), Flight 4 (16 MP), Heavy Armor 1 (4 MP), Space Flight 1 (2 MP), Summonable 1 (4 MP), Toughness 1 (4 MP).
Defects: Awkward Size 1 (1 MBP), No Arms (2 MBP), Poor Maneuverability 2 (2 MBP), Restricted Ground Movement (None) (2 MBP), Summoning Object (Egg) (1 MBP).

Personal Gear: fencing sword and protective gear; alien "egg" amulet (summons and controls OBM).

Yoko is a human-like alien who came to Earth about a year ago. She has no training at navigation, and her old, hand-me-down saucer is notoriously clumsy, so she soon crash-landed. She decided that enrolling in the school would be the perfect cover while she repaired her spaceship. She has managed to be assigned to a mostly abandoned building, with space to summon and work on her saucer; she has fixed the crash damage, but has not solved the ship's shaky handling, so dares not leave the relative safety of her new home.

Yoko is an excellent student, who has joined the theater and fancing clubs. She is fairly well-liked, in spike of Nanami-san tormenting her for being "weird"--but Nanami has yet to guess just how weird she really is! As an adolescent member of her alien race, Yoko lays a boldly patterned egg once a month; she can usually hide this process (and the resulting day or two of reduced energy) under the cover of "the monthly miracle." In Episode #27: "Nanami's Egg," Yoko may be responsible for the egg Nanami found; she hoped it would mess with her rival's gullible mind. The eggs are not fertile unless Yoko mates with one of her own kind, and she is not aware of any others currently living on Earth. Her saucer's remote is modeled after one of her eggs, but is far less delicate.

Yoko has one other alien power that she rarely uses, and never where she could be seen: Her species is able to switch gender at will (except when laying eggs). Her male form looks like a nearly identical twin, and she will claim to be her brother "Ryo" if seen in that form. (However, no "Misuhiro Ryo" is enrolled at Ohtori Academy, so "he" must vanish quickly if questioned.) She usually carries a boy's uniform in her duffel if she foresees any need to use this ability.

----------

I never did get an opportunity to play Yoko in BESM. However, she did form the starting point for a NPC I created for the long-running Buffy/Angel series that I joined soon after that original post. In that game, she was an international student from Japan, who was shy and awkward but a genius with math and science. Her secret was that she was a half-Byblos demon (a knowledge-seeking race from the Angel RPG) who had been stranded in this dimension and was trying to reestablish contact with her people. At one point, she managed to rope the superscientist player character into helping her traipse all over campus (and beyond), taking readings with some weird sensory apparatus of her own design, but I don't recall her story ever getting much further than that.

Since that game, I've read Neil Gaiman's surreal short story "How to Talk to Girls at Parties" (and more recently, the Dark Horse comic adaptation). If I ever use Yoko in another game, I expect that story to exert some influence on her, too.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Adventures in Arcadayn Revisited


Ruqayyah meets the dragon Thastygliax
In a past blog, I wrote about Adventures in Arcadayn, a homebrew fantasy GURPS campaign that I ran from 1998-2002. Arcadayn was the longest campaign that I had run at that time: three full years of playing 1-2 times a month with the same 3-4 people.

I used to have summaries of all 55 sessions of that campaign online, but that was a couple of site migrations ago. I've been wanting to correct that omission for some time, but no longer had the files in electronic form, only as a binder full of print-outs. I recently found a little over half of those summaries preserved in the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, which saved me enough work that transcribing the rest no longer seemed quite so Herculean a task. I completed that project at the end of June, so the complete history of The Maidens Who Serve the Gods can now be found on my Arcadayn site.

As I read these journals again for the first time in a decade or so, I was pleasantly surprised again and again by how much good stuff I came up with for this campaign! I just wish that more of the GM notes that I had never posted online had survived, so that I could share them now.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Time of the Tarrasque #10: Where Do I Get a Bird Like That?

Our heroes, who have now reached 3rd level, include:
  • Edel Naergon, high elf bard (magician) 3.
  • Fatou, human wizard (evoker) 2/cleric of Yaziel 1; and Nochaesh, owl familiar.
  • Jubair, human rogue 3.
  • Jumari Boneface, half-orc inquisitor 3 [deity not yet known to most of the PCs].
  • Lucretia Scavola, half-elf monk (zen archer) 3.
  • ZhaZha, half-orc cavalier (order of the dragon) 3; and Zafira, camel mount.
The half-orc summoner's possessions included a small, crude map hidden in his spell component pouch. It was labeled with two names, "Tarifa" and "Ilgash," beside what appeared to be pictures of a cactus and a cave, respectively. Jubair believed that the cactus probably stood for Spine Hollow, the village they were now just a few miles away from. If so, then the dashed line must be the road from Zahallan.

Jumari was able to navigate towards Spine Hollow without retracing the route they had taken chasing the summoner and alchemist. Around dawn, the party crested a rise and saw the hollow ahead: a depression ringed by steep, rocky hills, with a vast profusion of cacti and other desert plants filling the low spots between hills. The party decided to retreat back behind the ridge they had come to in order to camp out of sight of the Hollow. They wanted to rest and heal some more before dealing with locals.

Once the sun had gained some height, Edel, who was on first watch, could see the road from Zahallan a short distance to the south. He saw a couple people walking down the road, away from the hollow, and wondered what travelers would start such a journey in the daytime.

Jubair and Jumari had the middle watch, when very little in the desert was active. Jubair noticed a couple of dog-sized scorpions prowling near camp. He stayed still and quiet, hoping they would just move on--he'd had bad experiences with scorpions much smaller than these. No such luck--they came right up to the edge of the camp. He tried to distract one by tossing it some leftover meat from their last meal. It stopped and greedily tore apart the food. The other one moved towards the rogue, who tossed it a piece, too. Unfortunately, when they were finished gobbling their snacks, they came directly at Jubair looking for more food. He tried to hold very still to avoid their notice, but one rushed up and stung him; it failed to inject enough poison to affect the rogue. Jumari hurried to his side, touched the offending scorpion with her hand, and a gout of ichor spouted from its side. Jubair slew it with a hard thrust, shouting, "You will not get in my boots today!" The shout woke up Lucretia and ZhaZha, who promptly emerged from their tents with weapons in hand. The second scorpion clawed Jubair, but he injured it, and ZhaZha finished it with her pick. As the monk and cavalier went back to their tents to sleep again, Jumari and Jubair butchered and roasted the scorpions.

(At the end of the day, Edel discreetly asked Jumari what had happened, so that he could pretend that he had noticed instead of rolling back over in his bedroll.)

Fatou had identified the dead summoner's cloak as a cloak of human guise. Lucretia, a half-elf, expressed interest in this item. When she put it on, she looked like a fully human version of herself. She decided to wear this into Spine Hollow, so that she would not stick out quite so much. (She was, however, still a fair-skinned, if heavily tanned, Thovalan, not a dark-skinned native Asasoran like Fatou and Jubair.)

Around dusk, the party broke camp and headed for the hollow. Fortunately, the moon was full this evening, so the party had plenty of light to find their way. The cacti were thick here, except for a path where the road ended. They followed this path as it twisted through a sort of ravine that led into the hollow. When the path started to widen, they were accosted by a woman mounted on a large flightless bird. Jumari recognized this as an axebeak, a hunting bird known for its speed when attacking. The woman wore full desert robes, with only a small part of her face showing, and held a spear at the ready.

Edel had led the way, in the hopes that diplomacy would get them further than the half-orcs' intimidating glares or the rogue's unguarded mouth would. The bard introduced himself and explained that the party was tracking death cultists. The bird-rider replied that they would find no death cultists in Spine Hollow--the Circle doesn't allow it. Jumari asked who this Circle was, and was told that they are the leaders of the settlement. Edel added that they wished to resupply, and was told that this was permitted. The woman led them into the settlement.

Jubair asked, "Where do I get a bird like that?" The woman replied that he must learn the ways of the Circle and learn to talk to animals. She asked questions about whether he revered nature, or knew how to raise animals, and seemed disappointed by his answers. When he wondered aloud about getting a scorpion companion, she told him that vermin were very difficult to control, and only the Circle's leader had any gift for it. (Jumari and Fatou were certain that the woman was talking about the ways of druids.)

The path opened up further in, allowing them to see scattered homes among the rocks and desert plants: tents, simple shacks, and a few huts built into hollows in rock faces. At the center of the hollow was a rough ring of very tall cacti, with a cluster of tents and buildings inside. The locals appeared to include only humans and halflings (the two most common races in Asasor).

Jumari asked their escort her name. "Taillless," the woman replied, and asked theirs. They provided them, and took the opportunity to study the rider more closely. The skin around her eyes seemed lighter than most Asasorans--more of a bronze than a dark brown. She also had a strange accent, which none of the party could place. (Lucretia wondered if she was descended from the people of the northern continent, like she was.) She had few adornments, apart from a small animal skull hung around her neck; Jumari recognized it as a jackal's.

Tailless led them into the central area, a large space mostly clear of vegetation or large rocks. A number of tents were spread about, some of them open on one side to reveal stacked goods inside. The party could smell cook-fires, and saw a scattering of lamps about the settlement. The bird-rider directed them towards an empty space where they could pitch tents during their stay, then pointed out a nearby well to get water.

Edel asked if there were any rules they needed to follow here. Tailless simply directed them to respect the land. When Jumari asked if there were places they shouldn't go, the woman replied that they should not go into any tents unless invited. She pointed towards a higher place to one side that was the leaders' private space, and also told them not to go into the grove with blue blossoms. She then took her leave, heading towards the leaders' homes.

The party looked around the modest market, and acquired food. They then wandered towards the elevated area, just to see what it was like. This place consisted of a couple large rocky shelves in front of a large outcropping, connected by steps and ramps.  A few stone or adobe buildings, plus some tents, surrounded another well. Jumari spotted Tailless's axebeak outside a tent near the base of the first ramp; it was eating meat from a large open barrel, but there was no sign of its rider.

Edel found a place with a crowd to perform some of his amusing stories. They went over well, especially the new one about the Jubair's fight with the scorpions. (His friends who had seen the real thing could tell most of his tale was made up out of whole cloth, but it was still entertaining.) The bard received much food and drink in thanks.

Lucretia looked around for an alchemist's shop or a bowyer, but could find neither. The settlement was simply too small--she guessed it probably couldn't hold more than a hundred souls.

Tailless returned later to keep an eye on the party. When Jumari confronted her about it, she explained that she was a guardian of this community, so watching strangers was her duty. The half-orc asked what people did out here, and was told that the inhabitants of Spine Hollow sought to live in harmony with nature. They did not wish to live in cities, and could find all they needed here.

Jumari asked if she knew the name "Tarifa." Tailless recalled a halfling with that name who was one of the few here who visited other communities, but didn't know her well. She believed Tarifa had a tent somewhere in the outer part of the hollow. The half-orc also asked more about the Circle. Tailless explained that they were the spiritual leaders of the community. Everyone here followed "our ways," as far as the bird-rider knew.

Jumari decided to find someone else to ask about Tarifa. She was told that Tarifa's tent was the one with the black cactus in front of it. She and Jubair went in search of this plant. The inquisitor had been periodically using her detect evil ability since reaching the market (with no results) and continued to do so. After a few hours of wandering the hollow, Jubair spotted a rather small cactus that, even in the moonlight, was visibly much darker than the rest of the vegetation here. Jumari scanned it and the tent beyond it--and sensed that the cactus was evil! Jubair stayed here to hide and watch the cactus, while Jumari wandered on and made her way back to their friends.

When she found them, Edel was long done performing. Jumari filled them in on her and Jubair's discovery. ZhaZha opined that they'd better go check on him (before he got into trouble again, she clearly implied) and the others agreed. Tailless had stopped watching them some time back, but now a couple of nondescript robed halflings were loitering near them. (Neither detected as evil.)

When the party reached Jubair, they found him staring in some consternation at a shallow hole where the cactus had been. He reported that he had touched the plant, getting some nasty sap on his hand. A moment later, he had fallen asleep, and woken up shortly before their arrival. Edel didn't think druids could cast sleep spells; that was normally an arcane spell. Jumari looked for tracks, and found some tiny marks leading from the hole to Tarifa's tent. On the far side, they were joined by halfling-sized tracks, which headed towards the closest thicket of cacti.

The party followed her to the thicket, which the tracks entered. There were signs of attempts to hide the trail, but not well enough to fool the inquisitor's tracking skills. The halfling had chosen a path that only her(?) small size could easily navigate, which made passage difficult for the party. (However, Jumari was the only one who the failed to avoid the sharp thorns of the close-packed cacti.) On the other side, the tracks headed for one of the clefts leading out of Spine Hollow to the east (on the side opposite the road to Zahallan). As on the west side, spiny desert plants were quite thick in this passage, but the low spot was probably still easier going than climbing the steep rocks around the hollow.

Edel spotted some movement within the cacti ahead. He tried to point it out to Lucretia, but the monk still failed to see anyone. The bard then cast dancing lights to form a line of lights to act as a pointer, which helped the half-elf spot their quarry. The chase was on!

(We had to stop the session there, and will resume with the party trying to engage their mysterious quarry in combat.)

Appendix: Previous Sessions
* Update: I have taken better pictures of the models I made for session #7's graveyard battle, so have edited that session summary to include them.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Some Big Anniversaries as a Game Master

2017 brings three significant anniversaries for me as a Game Master.

First, I have been running RPGs for my kids (now 13 and 11) since sometime in 2012--five years! It's been very on and off again over that time, but now that I'm running some D&D 5E modules for them, it should be a much more regular part of our lives.

Second, the end of July will mark 10 years since I started "The Kynthiad," the solo Greek myth BESM game that I run for my wife Erika. I wrote about this game at some length around its anniversary two years ago, and a few times since.

Image result for gurps cthulhupunkThird, 20 years ago this May, I GMed my first game for Erika and her best friend, Seanna Lea--both of whom still plays in most of my games to this day. That "Cthulhu 2000 AD" campaign was a modern-day Lovecraftian game using GURPS CthulhuPunk, and was my second attempt at running GURPS. I had first tried the system--briefly--in college, and it was the system of choice for the first regular gaming group that I joined after moving to Boston. I decided to use GURPS rather than Call of Cthulhu because I was more familiar with that system, and because I preferred to have more fully developed characters then was possible with CoC's very simple character generation. I made a number of mistakes, mostly in ensuring party cohesion, and in balancing "waking world" vs. Dreamlands adventures, but we all had fun over those 15 months. A couple of years later, I ran a one-shot for Erika and Seanna Lea's characters in order to provide them better closure than I had able to do before the campaign's end. (By then, I had also been running a GURPS fantasy campaign--"Adventures in Arcadayn"--for Erika, Seanna Lea, and another friend for a couple years, but that is, as they say, another story.)

Shortly after that final one-shot, I posted some of my notes on this campaign (and the previous one, which was also a Cthulhu game) to my gaming website. That was on Yahoo! Geocities at the time, and I migrated those notes to Wikispaces when I had to switch hosts some years later. By the time I migrated Thastygliax's Vault to Google Sites in 2014, I had so many different campaign archives to move that the GURPS Cthulhu games were among the lowest in priority, so they did not get moved at that time. While working on that migration, I discovered that many (but not all) of those pages could be found on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine*. That meant that I could still post a link to that content until I got around to posting it on my new site. I did so, but included a caveat about the Wayback Machine's archive not being 100% complete.

Then I didn't think about those pages again for a couple years, expect for the briefest of moments every time I opened the Vault's homepage. Those Cthulhu games are the oldest campaigns that I have listed there, so are at the top of the list of links. This past week, I finally took the time to add My GURPS Cthulhu Campaigns to the Vault, so that I could delete that annoying little caveat. It was while I was preparing those pages for their new home that I realized that I had started my "Cthulhu 2000 AD" campaign 20 years (and a few weeks) ago.

Erika and Seanna Lea are certainly open to me running more Lovecraftian games, evidenced by the fact that they've played in all three of my campaigns set in Green Ronin Publishing's Mythos-tainted Freeport: The City of Adventure. There is a chance, albeit a very slim one, that we may revisit their "Cthulhu 2000 AD" characters someday, for nostalgia's sake. But it would almost certainly be in a different game system, and might not have much continuity with the original campaign. The most obvious choice of system is GURPS Fourth Edition (which I own but have never had a chance to try out) but their characters would work just as well (if not better?) in the Buffy/Angel version of Unisystem.

Happy anniversaries, Erika and Seanna Lea!


* Another old project of mine that I found on the Wayback Machine was GURPS Sluggy Freelance, which I briefly posted about this past weekend after copying it to the Vault.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

GURPS Sluggy Freelance

Back in 2000, I wrote a GURPS adaptation for the webcomic Sluggy Freelance. It was well received by both Pete Abrams and Steve Jackson, even earning a mention in the Daily Illuminator. However, I eventually drifted away from reading Sluggy and playing GURPS, and I never got around to doing more with it.

I've changed website hosts a couple of times since then, and lost the original files somewhere along the way. But thanks to the magic of the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, I was able to recover that content and have now uploaded GURPS Sluggy Freelance to my current gaming site, Thastygliax's Vault.

Due to the time that's passed since I was up-to-date on either the comic or the system, I have no plans to update this project, but I wanted to be able to share this labor of love again.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Sunless Citadel #3: Through the Dragon Door

Our heroes for The Sunless Citadel include:
  • Raven Flare, female tiefling rogue 2 (urchin)
  • Kalitni, female human ranger 2 (hermit)
  • Xuri, female blue dragonborn sorcerer 2 (wild magic; sage)
  • Sir Dain (NPC), male hill dwarf paladin 2 (knight)
  • Erky Timbers (NPC), gnome acolyte rescued by the party

(Warning: Spoilers for The Sunless Citadel follow.) 


Last time, the party recovered the white dragon wyrmling that had been stolen from the kobolds by their goblin neighbors. As a reward, they received a key that they hoped would open a dragon-carved door they had found elsewhere in the dungeon. They also reached 2nd level.

After a long rest to recover from that most recent quest, the party returned to the dragon door. The key fit perfectly, and the door opened easily. From the thick dust everywhere and the stale air, they could tell that the room beyond had not been entered in ages. The chamber contained four alcoves in which stood pedestals topped with small crystal globes.  Three were cracked and dark, but the fourth glowed with a blue light and emitted soft tinkling noises. The heroes were very paranoid after their experiences the day before, so moved slowly into the room, carefully checking for traps. They found none by the time they crossed half the chamber, so Kalitni went closer to the glowing orb to examine it. As she approached, it began to playing brooding music, and Erky was frightened enough to flee towards the exit from the citadel. Xuri followed him to make sure he came to no harm, while Sir Dain decided to try smashing the magic globe. His attacks made the music louder and more discordant, which caused Xuri and Kalitni to panic and run. The paladin struck again, cracking the globe and stopping its noise. Meanwhile, his three frightened friends had reached the front door of the dungeon, and the compulsion ended when they could no longer hear the music. They hurried back to the others, to find Raven Flare pocketing the damaged crystals in case they were worth something.

The door at the far end of the room led to a short hallway, in which the rogue easily detected a pressure plate trap and used her tools to disarm it.

Beyond the hall was a chamber with a 10-foot-tall marble sculpture of a dragon. The party approached it cautiously, but once Raven Flare came close to the statue, it spoke a riddle. The heroes pondered it for a moment, then the answer came to the rogue, who spoke it aloud--and a secret door opened on the far wall!

The next hallway had more alcoves, which this time held marble statues of elves in plate armor. Xuri concluded that these figures represented the original guardians of the dragon cult that once operated here. At the end of the hall was a 10-foot-deep spiked pit, with an archway opening into a room lit by flickering green light. Xuri, ever curious, quickly moved to the ege of the pit to better see the room beyond. That chamber was tiled in purple marble, and a large marble sarcophagus stood at its center. This coffin was carved to resemble a dragon, with a head at one end and wings folded over the lid. The lid was fastened down with several rusty iron latches.

One of the alcoves nearest to the pit was empty of any statue, and proved to have small tracks in it, which led to the edge of the pit. Further examination of the alcove revealed a secret door to a small room. After clearing away some dust, Xuri found a message in Draconic runes about a "dragonpriest" who had been entombed alive for his crimes. Kalitni discovered a secret trapdoor in the floor below the inscription. Beneath this was a narrow crawlspace that led under the room beyond the pit.

Sir Dain led the way through the cramped tunnel, and was attacked by something when he opened the trapdoor at the other end. This turned out to be a quasit who had been invisibly waiting for them to enter the room. Xuri cast a spell at it, and Kalitni used her keen sharpshooting skills to hit the tiny demon despite the awkwardness of the crowded tunnel. That knocked the monster away from the trapdoor, allowing the party to enter the room. As they looked around, the quasit's body slowly dissolved into smoke. [The party got in a couple lucky hits that took it out before it could attack again or flee. Its at-will invisibility power could have made it a real nuisance otherwise!] 

The room beyond was lit by a torch enchanted with a green continual flame, which fascinated Xuri, so she promptly claimed the torch. The party gathered around the sarcophagus to examine it (except for Erky, who decided to keep under cover by the trapdoor). Xuri and Raven Flare were eager to open the coffin to see what was inside, and Kalitni helped them open the rusty latches while Sir Dain stood ready for trouble. Xuri struggled with her latch, opening it only after her two companions had each opened two or more. Raven Flare pushed aside the marble lid--and inside the coffin was the body of a troll, dressed in rotted finery and a few silver baubles. The monster's eyes opened, and it snarled and started to rise out of its tomb.  Raven Flare impaled the troll with her rapier, and Kalitni used hunter's mark to make her bowshots count. The giant mauled Xuri, knocking her unconscious, but Erky promptly came to her side to heal her. The heroes managed to bring down the troll pretty quickly due to its weakened state, but its regenerative powers meant that it didn't stay unconscious for long. The party soon learned to ready attacks against the troll reviving while Xuri tried to hit it with chill touch; her second attempt succeeded and finished off the troll by preventing it from healing on its turn.

Cutting the troll down to size.
[Raven Flare's player was especially lucky in this fight, landing two critical hit sneak attacks thanks to gaining advantage from flanking. Being 2nd level now, she also survived a hard hit from the troll, which took her down to 1 hp. This was a very welcome change from the three or four times she was knocked unconscious while 1st level!] 

The party stripped the body and sarcophagus of valuables, which consisted of some jewelry and coins, a ceremonial dagger, and four spell scrolls. Sir Dain and Erky split the scrolls between them, as they were the only ones who could read them. [As an acolyte, Erky's spells are drawn from the cleric list, so I ruled that he could use these, too.]

This room had no exit, so the party needed to backtrack. They had expended most of their spells in the fight with the troll, but were at full health again after a quick goodberry spell from Kalitni, so decided to push on to explore elsewhere.

The Sunless Citadel: Past Columns

#1: Down into the Ground
#2: Lost Dragon

Errata for D&D 5E and AGE

Tim's Errata Archive now has its first D&D Fifth Edition pages!
The Yawning Portal page is not as thorough a vetting as most of my adventure errata pages are, but as I continue to run the adventures within it, I expect that page to expand with new commentary.

Edited to add: I have also recently finished reading and compiling errata for the new edition of Blue Rose:

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Building the Bestiary: Index

A twelve-headed hydra
My "Building the Bestiary" series now totals 14 installments, so I've decided that it's time to create an index of the monsters that I've covered to date. I intend to keep this page up to date as I continue the series, and will include an "Index" link in the list of previous columns that I've been appending to each installment. (That linked list is also reproduced at the bottom of this page.)

This series focuses primarily on Pathfinder creatures, but does touch on D&D-only monsters from time to time. Members of this latter group are marked with an asterisk (*).

Aarakocra*: #15: For the Birds
Allip: #4: Undead
Amoeba: #7: Oozes
Angel: #15: For the Birds
Ankheg: #12: Vermin
Ant: #5: Tiny Creatures#12: Vermin
Aranea: #12: Vermin
Assassin Vine: #14: Plants
Axe Beak: #15: For the Birds

Basidirond: #14: Plants
Bat: #5: Tiny Creatures
Bear: #6: Four-Legged Friends
Bebelith: #12: Vermin
Bee: #12: Vermin
Beetle: #5: Tiny Creatures#12: Vermin
Beholder*: #13: Non-OGL Monsters
Black Pudding: #7: Oozes
Bugbear: #1: Humanoids

Camel: #6: Four-Legged Friends
Carrion Crawler*: #13: Non-OGL Monsters
Cat: #5: Tiny Creatures
Cecaelia: #2: Underwater Races
Centaur: #6: Four-Legged Friends
Centipede: #12: Vermin
Chicken: #15: For the Birds
Clam: #11: Aquatic Animals
Cockatrice: #15: For the Birds
Crab: #11: Aquatic Animals
Cyclops: [#3: Giants]

Devil: #10: Devils
Devourer: #4: Undead
Dire Corby: #15: For the Birds
Displacer Beast*: #13: Non-OGL Monsters
Dog: [#5: Tiny Creatures]
Dog, Riding: #6: Four-Legged Friends
Dolphin: #11: Aquatic Animals
Dragon: How to Cheat (at Building) a Dragon
Drider: #12: Vermin
Drow: #1: Humanoids
Duck [use raven stats]: #15: For the Birds
Dwarf: #1: Humanoids

Eagle, Giant: #15: For the Birds
Eel: #11: Aquatic Animals
Elemental: #9: Elementals
Elf: #1: Humanoids,
Elf, Aquatic: #2: Underwater Races
Ettercap: #12: Vermin

Familiar: #5: Tiny Creatures
Flytrap, Giant: #14: Plants

Gelatinous Cube: #7: Oozes
Genasi, Water*: #2: Underwater Races
Ghost: #4: Undead
Ghoul: #4: Undead
Giant: #3: Giants
Giraffe: #6: Four-Legged Friends
Girallon: #3: Giants
Githyanki*: #13: Non-OGL Monsters
Githzerai*: #13: Non-OGL Monsters
Gnoll: #1: Humanoids
Gnome: #1: Humanoids
Goblin: #1: Humanoids
Golem, Flesh: [#3: Giants]
Gray Ooze: #7: Oozes
Green Hag: #2: Underwater Races

Half-Elf: #1: Humanoids
Half-Orc: #1: Humanoids
Halfling: #1: Humanoids
Harpy: #15: For the Birds
Hawk: #5: Tiny Creatures#15: For the Birds
Hippogriff: #15: For the Birds
Hobgoblin: #1: Humanoids
Horse: #6: Four-Legged Friends
Human: #1: Humanoids

Jellyfish: #11: Aquatic Animals

Kenku*: #15: For the Birds
Kobold: #1: Humanoids
Kuo-Toa*: #2: Underwater Races#13: Non-OGL Monsters

Leech: #5: Tiny Creatures
Lich: #4: Undead
Lizard: #5: Tiny Creatures
Lizardfolk: #1: Humanoids
Locathah: #2: Underwater Races

Merfolk: #2: Underwater Races
Merrow: #2: Underwater Races
Mind Flayer*: #13: Non-OGL Monsters
Minotaur: [#3: Giants]
Mite: #5: Tiny Creatures
Mohrg: #4: Undead
Mold: #14: Plants
Monkey: #5: Tiny Creatures
Mummy: #4: Undead

Ochre Jelly: #7: Oozes
Octopus: #11: Aquatic Animals
Ogre: #3: Giants
Orc: #1: Humanoids
Ostrich: #15: For the Birds
Owl: #5: Tiny Creatures#15: For the Birds

Parrot: [#5: Tiny Creatures], #15: For the Birds
Pegasus: #6: Four-Legged Friends, [#15: For the Birds]
Penguin: [#5: Tiny Creatures], #15: For the Birds
Peryton: [#15: For the Birds]
Phase Spider: #12: Vermin
Phoenix: #15: For the Birds
Pixie: #5: Tiny Creatures
Pseudodragon: [#5: Tiny Creatures]

Rabbit: #5: Tiny Creatures
Rat: #5: Tiny Creatures
Raven: #5: Tiny Creatures#15: For the Birds
Ray: #11: Aquatic Animals
Retriever: #12: Vermin
Rhinoceros: #6: Four-Legged Friends
Roc: #15: For the Birds

Sahuagin: #2: Underwater Races
Scorpion: #5: Tiny Creatures#12: Vermin
Sea Hag: #2: Underwater Races
Seagull [use raven stats]: #15: For the Birds
Shadow: #4: Undead
Shambling Mound: #14: Plants
Shark: #11: Aquatic Animals
Shoggoth: #7: Oozes
Shrieker: #14: Plants
Simurgh: [#15: For the Birds]
Siren: [#15: For the Birds]
Skeleton: #4: Undead
Slaad*: #13: Non-OGL Monsters
Slithering Tracker: #7: Oozes
Snake: #5: Tiny Creatures
Spectre: #4: Undead
Sphinx: #6: Four-Legged Friends
Spider: #5: Tiny Creatures#12: Vermin
Squid: #11: Aquatic Animals
Squirrel: #5: Tiny Creatures
Stork: #15: For the Birds
Svirfneblin: #1: Humanoids
Swarm: #5: Tiny Creatures

Tengu: #15: For the Birds
Thorny*: #14: Plants
Toad: #5: Tiny Creatures
Treant: #14: Plants
Troglodyte: #1: Humanoids
Troll: #3: Giants
Troll, Scrag: #2: Underwater Races
Turkey#15: For the Birds
Turtle: #5: Tiny Creatures
Twig Blight*: #14: Plants

Umber Hulk*: #13: Non-OGL Monsters
Undine: #2: Underwater Races
Unicorn: #6: Four-Legged Friends

Vampire: #4: Undead
Vegepygmy: #14: Plants
Violet Fungus: #14: Plants
Viper: #5: Tiny Creatures
Vulture, Giant: #15: For the Birds

Wasp, Giant: #12: Vermin
Weasel: #5: Tiny Creatures
Wight: #4: Undead
Wraith: #4: Undead

Yellow Musk Creeper: #14: Plants
Yuan-ti*: #13: Non-OGL Monsters

Zombie: #4: Undead

Appendix: Past "Building the Bestiary" Columns

#1: Humanoids
#2: Underwater Races
#3: Giants
#4: Undead
#5: Tiny Creatures
#6: Four-Legged Friends
#7: Oozes
#8: Spell Effects
#9: Elementals
#10: Devils
#11: Aquatic Animals
#12: Vermin
#13: Non-OGL Monsters
#14: Plants
#15: For the Birds
Index