Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Makeshift Minis

In one of the RPG-related Facebook groups I follow, a member recently asked for advice about how to represent characters and creatures on a map. Between buying a new game and the approaching holidays, he could not afford miniatures, so needed suggestions for alternatives. My answer to his post was necessarily short and sweet, but I've decided to elaborate on the subject here. 

Using What You Already Have

Cheapass Games got their start (and name) by publishing games "packaged in very cheap black-and-white envelopes, without generic components like dice and paper money, which could be scavenged from games [their] customers already owned." You can do the same to acquire miniatures: raid your boardgame collection for pawns, counters, poker chips, chess pieces, etc. 

If the RPG you're playing doesn't use every type of polyhedral dice in your collection, those extra dice can be used as counters. (Your novelty dice might actually see more use as minis than as dice!)

Most gamers keep at least a few of their childhood toys well into adulthood, and many never stop buying "kids' stuff." Check your toys--and your knickknack shelves--for small items that can be used as tokens. Some of us also have children, whose toy collections might yield a few useful makeshift minis that you can ask to borrow. 

Buttons, beads, thimbles, coins, and other small objects can also make useful counters. The more variety you have, the easier it will be to give each creature type or character a distinctive token.

Acquiring Miniatures on the Cheap

Acquiring a collection of traditional miniatures requires a substantial investment, but you can find cheap alternatives with a little searching. 

Some RPG publishers produce paper miniatures to cut out and fold into small stand-up tents. One of the oldest examples is Steve Jackson Games' Cardboard Heroes, which are still available in PDF form, but these may still be too expensive for gamers who are strapped for cash (especially if you print them in color). 

Can you spot the bulette?
Check dollar stores for inexpensive bags of plastic animals, soldiers, knights, monsters, etc. It was exactly this kind of toy that inspired many early D&D monsters, so using cheap plastic creatures has a surprisingly long and distinguished history in the hobby.

Thrift stores and garage sales are two more places to look for old games, small toys, LEGO bricks, knickknacks, and tchotchkes suitable for use as miniatures. 

Most craft stores and party supply stores are pricier than dollar stores or thrift stores, but can be good sources for some of the items mentioned above. For example, a store specializing in clothing supplies might have a bin of random loose buttons for sale at bulk rates.

Making Your Own

If you own any LEGO bricks or minifigures, or similar building toys, they make excellent miniatures. If you only have a few, use them to distinguish the PCs from the rest of the random minis you've scrounged. For more about building LEGO miniatures, go look through the numerous LEGO-related posts here at Studded Plate.

"A Monster For Every Season" paper minis, by Rich Burlew
(author and artist of The Order of the Stick)
You can also make your own stand-up paper miniatures. For a human-sized creature, cut a 3/4"-1" wide strip of paper into 4"-5" lengths, then fold it in the middle and about 3/4"-1" from each end. Overlap the tabs at the ends to form the base; fasten them together with tape or a paperclip, or cut slots to slide into each other. (For larger creatures, make the strips wider and the side and base panels taller.) Cardstock or index cards work best, and a penny can be taped to the bottom to provide some weight to keep the mini from falling over or blowing away. Depending on your artistic ability, you can draw the monster on both of the upright panels (either as stick figures, a la The Order of the Stick, or more realistic renderings) or just write the character or creature's name on the paper. You might also want to try a quick web search for black and white stock art, and either paste those pictures onto your stand-ups, or create a file with the images arranged to print onto strips to cut out. 

An even simpler method is creating your own cardboard counters. Find some thick, heavy cardboard and cut it into squares or circles of appropriate size (1" for humans in most RPGs). As with the stand-ups, you can write, draw, or paste a name and/or image onto the counter. Alternately, you could attach labels to checkers, poker chips, dominoes, or similarly small, flat objects.

Having Your Game and Eating It, Too

Finally, you can use small candies and other treats as tokens. Use M&M's for small creatures, gummi bears and wrapped peppermint or chocolates for human-sized monsters, and cookies or candy bars for larger beasts. This method has the added benefit of giving the players instant gratification when they defeat a monster--they get to eat its token!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Building the Bestiary #16: Serpentine Creatures

This week's column will look at how to build snakes, worms, and other creatures with a generally serpentine form. After I cover smaller monsters, I'll discuss models for creatures larger than I usually address in this series (like the purple worm above). Snake-like creatures are relatively easy to scale up, so I'll show how to build a few base models, then tweak them to make different monsters of the same general size and shape.

Premade Snakes

For snakes of Small or smaller size, it's easiest to just use prefabricated snake figures. Besides the classic rattlesnake used in Castle, Adventurers, and many other themes, recent years have also given us new snakes in the Ninjago theme, and a cobra in the Minifigures theme (Series 13's Snake Charmer). These snakes also work just fine for other creatures of the same size and shape, such as iron cobras, flame snakes, or eels.

While I normally just use animal figures to mark each square of a swarm (see Tiny Creatures), some of the Ninjago Spinjutsu spinners had toppers of just the right size (about 2" across) to use as snake swarms.

Back (L-R): 2 classic rattlesnakes, 2 Ninjago snakes, 2 Ninjago spinner accessory snakes, Minifigures Snake Charmer's cobra; Front: 2 Ninjago spinner accessory snake "swarms"

The Basilisk from set 4730 The Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter theme; below) is a lovely large snake model, but it is less than ideal for use as a D&D or Pathfinder miniature because it does not easily fit into a square space. Building a large snake from scratch will allow you to better match it to the size and shape of the space it occupies on a battle map.

Building Larger Snakes

A simple snake of Medium or larger size can be built by building 1xN plates into a zigzag shape, optionally with interesting-shaped pieces attached for the head. The blue snake pictured here gives a very simple example, while the two gricks use bow slopes, cones, and starfish to define that aberration's shape.

TECHNIC pieces can also be useful for building snakes. Angled connectors can be linked together with short axles to suggest the curves of a snake in motion. TECHNIC parts are also excellent for serpentine constructs, because they make the model look more mechanical.

Alternatively, hinges can be used to build a poseable snake, in much the same way that I built shapeable walls for my Spell Effects column. Such snakes don't necessarily need bases for support, but if determining what map squares the model occupies is confusing at all, you may want to place them on appropriately sized bases (see Giants).

One kind of hinge that I didn't use for Spell Effects is a cylinder with click-hinge "fingers" at one or both ends. The tight turns that a series of these can make is perfect for twisty snakes. To build a model that is able to raise its head, you'll need a pair of cylinders that connect via an axle, so that you can turn the plane of motion 90 degrees. Some of these cylinders end in a TECHNIC pin, which can be inserted into the bottom of a 1x1 brick to give some variety to head shapes--or into a minifigure head, to create a naga.

I used these hinged cylinders to create the snaky necks of the hydra pictured below (and on the the Index page). This model uses a variety of hinges and pin connections to attach all 12 heads to the body at different angles. Due to the number and narrowness of the necks, I kept the heads fairly minimalist. The body is a blocky quadruped form designed to support the bricks and plates attached to the necks; I kept it simple in order to keep attention on the heads.

Hybrid Snake Monsters

Some creatures, such as the salamander, have a (more or less) humanoid body from the waist up, but a snake-like tail below. A number of Ningajo Serpentine characters, as well as the Minifigures Medusa (Series 10), have a snake-like lower body that is perfect for these snaky hybrids, but this base takes up a 2" space on the map. This is not a problem for Large lillends, mariliths, or lamia matriachs (Bestiary 2; these last could use the Medusa as-is, or with non-snaky hair), but non-noble salamanders are Medium.

As with mermaids' tails (see Underwater Races), building a serpentine lower body that fits on a 1" (3-stud) base can be tricky. The salamanders in the photo below show a variety of ways to tackle the problem, but a couple of them are, strictly speaking, still too big for a Medium base.

The six-armed marilith demon requires special mention here. In the past, I have built minifigures with more than two arms by inserting a neck post into the bottom of an older-style torso that lacks the "X"-like structure in the center. (See my girallon photo in the Giants column for an example.) However, while attempting to build a marilith for this article, I cracked a torso when I inserted the neck post, because I hadn't realized that the post forced the torso to bow out just a little in the center. Some torsos will be resilient enough to take this abuse (as my now-disassembled girallon's did) but many of these "X-less" torsos are old enough that the plastic will be too brittle (as happened with my most recent attempt). I therefore cannot recommend this method unless you can find a torso with no protrusions inside whatsoever.

Fortunately, the popularity of the Ninjago theme--and its archvillain, Lord Garmadon--has made available a variety of parts specially designed to make space for another pair of arms. The LEGO Ninjago Movie Minifigures series includes not one but three versions of Garmadon; two lack shoulder armor, so can easily have another extender placed on top of them. The marilith in the photo above uses two of these parts. The downward tab on Flashback Garmadon's extra torso (the orange one) is located in the back, which allowed me to give her six arms without having one pair bending the wrong way. (And standard Garmadon's tab nicely covers the other's silly tie.) Finally, I placed her on a 6-stud base for stability, because she is top- and front-heavy with all those arms and weapons.

Building in Larger Segments

The techniques used to build snakes from hinges can be expanded to larger models. For example, this couatl is simply a series of hinged plates, with a 2-stud wide segment to attach the wings. Note the base used to show its Large space (in D&D Third Edition or Pathfinder). The D&D Fifth Edition Monster Manual changes couatls to Medium size, which will require a smaller model. Minifigure-scale wings, like those of Chima's Eagle and Raven Tribes, would better fit that scale.

The small back-and-socket joints from the Mixels theme can be used to make highly flexible large snakes. Build several small, identical segments, plus a few that gradually taper to smaller dimensions for the tail. The body of the giant cobra seen here is very easy to build, as shown in the third photo, and uses different kinds of hinges as the tail gets smaller. The hood is optional, and was built in two pieces to match the contour of the bent neck. The head is a bit more complicated, and makes use of more hinges and a couple small SNOT bricks. When coiled as shown in the first photo, the snake takes up a Huge space (3" square), without the need for a base.

I built the purple worm shown here (and at the beginning of this column) a few years ago when I acquired a large number of purple bricks (still a new color at that time) and posed myself a challenge to use them. The detail photos shown how each body segment is built. The connections between segments are staggered in height so that the body rises in the air as it attacks, and the 2x2 turntable plates allow it to so so in a coil. Two of the body segments have their smooth "boat plates" replaced with normal 2x2 round plates so that they can be attached to the clear bricks that support the model. The worm gets a 10x10 stud octagonal base to show that it is Gargantuan; a few extra bricks have been added to suggest that the worm has just burst out of the ground.

For a neothelid (also Gargantuan) you need only replace the purple worm's head with one sporting tentacles and tongues. This new head is built on an octagonal plate like those used for some of the insect and arachnid models in my Vermin column.

Adding Legs

My Vermin column also presented some methods for creating creatures with a multitude of legs, like centipedes. The necrophidius (Bestiary 2) here uses the same technique to build its skeletal spine and ribs.

Larger serpentine creatures with legs can be built using jointed segments to make the model more dynamic. The body of the Huge behir shown below is built from very simple repeated sections. The legs are made from robot arms and faucets; a wand stuck through the holes in the bottom plate of the body segment helps reinforce the hip joints so that the legs won't pop off as easily if they get bumped. (This model could be mounted on a baseplate, but the spacing of the legs doesn't line up with a plate's studs quite as conveniently as I'd like. Further experimentation could solve that issue.)

As with the purple worm, the behir can be modified to create other creatures of a similar size and body shape. To make an imperial dragon (Bestiary 3; called "oriental dragons" in past editions of D&D), start by reducing the number of legs (and maybe changing their style) then add new details to distinguish the specific dragon species. A linnorm has a similar body shape, but scaled up to Gargantuan or Colossal, and only one pair of legs.

To convert the behir into a remorhaz, I've substituted a more insectoid head, added red and orange spines to its back, and added some SNOT bricks to attach the jagged frill just behind its head. To get a very large centipede, simply omit the remorhaz's frill, and possibly the spines.

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

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Character Creation in Fantasy AGE

Wildfire, halfling mage
I've been spending a lot more time with Green Ronin's Fantasy AGE recently. It's a fun, rules-light system that is easy to prepare adventures and new content for once you have a little experience with the system. It's also one of the games that Green Ronin is most invested in promoting right now, so improving my system mastery will give me more opportunities to work with one of the my favorite companies again.

Over the next few months, I'll be sharing some of my thoughts about the games and its rules. To start off with this week, I'll review the process of character creation.

First, ask your GM for some basic information about the world they will be using, and with that in mind, create a character concept. Keep this concept simple for now--you're only a 1st-level character, so you have yet to acquire any fame or fortune. Also, unless you're using some of the optional rules (in italics below), character generation involves a great deal of random chance, which might result in you deciding to modify your original idea.

Next, determine your nine abilities: Accuracy, Communication, Constitution, Dexterity, Fighting, Intelligence, Perception, Strength, and Willpower. You roll 3d6 for each ability--in order--and consult a table to get your starting ability, which can range from -2 (if you rolled a 3) to 4 (on an 18) , with 1 (9-11) being average.

You may then swap two abilities if you wish. It can be very useful at this point to skip ahead a few steps to see which of the three classes has primary abilities (the four most important to that class) that best match what you rolled. That way, you'll have a better idea which scores could be most useful to swap. For example, the Warrior's primary abilities are Constitution, Dexterity, Fighting, and Strength. If you have good scores in three of those, but a mediocre one in the fourth, you might want to swap that low one for a better score that you rolled for one of your five secondary abilities. (This randomness in character generation makes Fantasy AGE something of a throwback to early editions of D&D, in which you also rolled your six ability scores in order, then had to choose your race and class based on those results.) Thinking about your class at this point can also inform some of your choices in the next two steps, race and background.

Each ability has a number of ability focuses that indicate a special knowledge of one aspect of that ability. If you have a focus that applies to an ability test you make, then your ability is treated as 2 higher for that roll. At character creation, you will get access to a few ability focuses through your race and background (the next two steps). You will gain additional focuses as you advance in level.

Optional rule #1: With GM permission, you can roll your nine scores, then arrange them as you wish among the nine abilities. 

Optional rule #2: This second method gives you even more control over your starting abilities. All abilities start at 0, and you get 12 advancements to spend on increasing them (on a 1-for-1 basis). You can't increase an ability above 3, but modifiers for race (see next step) are applied after buying abilities. Unlike many RPGs with point-buy systems, you can't lower an ability below 0 to get more advancements to spend on other scores.

[In my own games, I started with the default method just to see how it worked out in play. I found that using random rolls to determine abilities tends to end up with approximately the same overall total as buying them, but characters will be less optimized for their class. On the other hand, the random methods have the potential (however small) for higher--and lower--results than you can buy, and the quirky results can inspire some fun roleplaying.]

Choose your race: dwarf, elf, gnome, halfling, human, or orc. Each race will give you a +1 bonus to one specific ability, give you a choice of one of two ability focuses, and will determine your starting languages, base Speed, and whether you have Dark Sight (the ability to see in darkness). In addition, you roll 2d6 twice on the race's benefits table; possible results vary by race, but are typically +1 to an another ability, an ability focus, or training with a Weapon Group.

Xerkanta, elf/gnome warrior
Optional rule: If your setting includes characters of mixed racial heritage, you can create one by choosing which race of the two races is dominant. You gain all the traits of that race, except that you only roll once on its benefits table. Instead, roll once on the other race's table.

Determine your social class and background by rolling 1d6 twice. The first roll's result will determine your social class, which determines which table you roll the second die on for background. Each background gives the choice of one of two ability focuses.

Optional rule: If you use the option for buying abilities, you can use similar rules for race and background. Instead of rolling on those tables, you get 4 advancements to spend on the options available to your chosen race and background. An ability increase costs 2 points, while any other benefit costs 1 point. 

Choose your class: Mage, Rogue, or Warrior. Your class determines your starting Health and the Weapon Groups in which you are trained (with Warrior knowing the most groups and Mage the least). You also gain the class's Level 1 powers, which include at least one talent and some other abilities.

Talents represent special aptitude or training, and include things like armor training, weapon styles, animal-related skills, and special advantages when using specific ability focuses. Each talent has three degrees (Novice, Journeyman, and Master) that add new capabilities as you gain more experience with them. All talents gained at 1st level are, naturally, at the Novice degree.

Warriors' starting talents include Armor Training (which eliminates the armor penalty to Dexterity) and two weapon styles (which give special benefits when fighting with the related weapon group, or with a shield).

Rogues start with a choice of three talents (Contacts, Scouting, or Thievery), plus the class-specific powers of Precise Strike (which adds bonus damage if your Dexterity exceeds your target's) and Rogue's Armor (which lets you ignore all penalties associated with leather armor).

Mages start with a choice of three talents (Chirurgy [medicine], Linguistics, or Lore) and two magic talents (which grant the knowledge of two spells each). They also gain Magic Points which are spent to cast spells, and a ranged attack with an arcane blast (which requires no Magic Points).

Hanamor, elf rogue
Basic starting equipment--such as how many weapons you start play with, and whether you gain armor or a shield--is largely determined by class. Each character also gets some starting money to spend as they wish, with the amount depending on their social class and a random roll.

Calculate Defense, which is 10 + Dexterity + shield bonus (if any). Only warriors with the Weapon and Shield Style talent can gain more than a +1 bonus from using a shield. Armor does not add to Defense, but instead penalizes Dexterity if you lack Armor Training. The benefit of armor is that it reduces damage from each attack.

Choose a name, some personal goals, and ties to some of the other characters, and you're ready to start play!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Dreamlands Pathfinder Bestiary: A Few More Exotic Beasts

This will my last set of conversions in this series for now. I'll move on to a new subject next week, but I haven't determined what that will be yet. I plan to write some blog posts about the Fantasy AGE RPG, which I have mentioned a few times here in the past, and am finally devoting more of my time to learning. I am also overdue for crafting my next installment of "Building the Bestiary," which will probably cover serpentine creatures.


The Dreamlands is home to many fantastic creatures, some magical, some merely exotic. This week, I present a few more short examples: the gentle buopoth, the beautiful magah bird, the fleet sloblubikik, the deadly winged snake, and the gigantic sea elephant. The first four creatures have been converted from The Complete Dreamlands, a supplement for the Call of Cthulhu RPG. The sea elephant appeared in the adventure The Dreaming Stone. 


This creature is a little larger then a horse, but resembles an elephant in general outline. It has short fur mottled mauve and light green, and two rows of protuberances along its back. It has large, liquid eyes, ears that are more human-shaped than elephantine, and a long proboscis that ends in a mouth.

Buopoth, from the Mythos CCG
XP 600
N Large animal
Init -2; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +13
AC 10, touch 7, flat-footed 10 (-2 Dex, +3 natural, -1 size)
hp 45 (6d8+18)
Fort +8, Ref +3, Will +2
Speed 30 ft.
Melee slam +10 (1d6+9)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks trample (1d6+9, DC 19)
Str 22, Dex 7, Con 16, Int 2, Wis 13, Cha 16
Base Atk +4; CMB +11; CMD 19 (23 vs. trip)
Feats Endurance, Run, Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills Perception +13
Environment any forest
Organization solitary or herd (2-12)
Treasure none

Buopoths are gentle and skittish, preferring to flee rather than fight. If cornered, a buopoth will roll up its tender proboscis under its head and attempt to knock down and trample opponents. 

Magah Bird

This small bird has long, lustrous, and many-colored feathers.

XP 135
N Tiny magical beast
Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-vision; Perception +4
AC 16, touch 16, flat-footed 12 (+4 Dex, +2 size)
hp 3 (1d10-2)
Fort +0, Ref +6, Will +0
Speed 10 ft., fly 40 ft. (good)
Melee bite +7 (1d3-4)
Space 2-1/2 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks captivating song
Str 2, Dex 19, Con 6, Int 2, Wis 11, Cha 12
Base Atk +1; CMB -5; CMD 9
Feats Weapon Finesse
Skills Perception +4
Environment any warm forest or jungle
Organization solitary
Treasure none
Special Abilities
Captivating Song (Su) At will, a magah bird can use its display and song to create a hypnotic pattern effect, as the spell (caster level 4th; Will DC 11). The save DC is Charisma-based.

Magah birds are native to the slopes of Mount Ngranek on Oriab Island. Their feathers are prized for their rich colors.

The magah bird uses its beautiful song and dazzling feathers to hypnotize its prey, then cautiously approaches fascinated creates to attack. The bird usually avoids attacking anything larger than itself, because it cannot kill larger creatures quickly.

A spellcaster of 3rd level or higher with the Improved Familiar feat may choose a magah bird as a familiar.


This creature looks like a small deer, about two feet tall at the shoulder, with small sharp antlers.

XP 200
N Small magical beast
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +5
AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 11 (+2 Dex, +2 dodge, +1 size)
hp 11 (2d10)
Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +0
Defensive Abilities invisibility
Speed 40 ft.
Melee gore +1 (1d4-2) or kick +1 (1d3-2)
Str 7, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 2, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk +2; CMB -1; CMD 11
Feats Dodge, Run[B]
Skills Acrobatics +7 (+11 jumping), Perception +5
SQ invisibility
Environment warm forest or jungle
Organization solitary, pair, or herd (3-8)
Treasure none
Special Abilities
Invisibility (Su) At will, a sloblubikik can activate invisibility (self only; CL 10th; concentration +10) as a free action. Unlike the spell, the effect requires concentration, but the sloblubikik can move (including running, jumping, and dodging) without having to make a concentration check.

A sloblubikik flees combat unless it is cornered. It uses its invisibility ability to throw off pursuers.

Winged Snake

This large viper has feathered wings sprouting from its body.

XP 600
N Medium magical beast
Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +7
AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (+2 Dex, +4 natural)
hp 26 (4d10+4)
Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +1
Speed 25 ft., fly 50 ft. (average)
Melee bite +6 (1d6 plus poison)
Str 10, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 4, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk +4; CMB +4; CMD 16
Feats Improved Initiative, Weapon Finesse
Skills Perception +7
Environment warm jungles
Organization solitary or pair
Treasure none
Special Abilities
Poison (Ex) Bite--injury; save Fort DC 13; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d3 Con; cure 1 save.

Winged snakes are intelligent and can be trained to obey simple commands (at the usual -4 penalty to Handle Animal for training a magical beast), but have no language of their own.

Sea Elephant

This creature has a fish-like body and tail, covered in scaly hide, and two large clawed and finned forelegs. Its head is that of an elephant, including a trunk, tusks, and large ears, but it is even larger than that animal. Twin blowholes blast jests of spray as it surfaces, then the trunk trumpets an ear-pounding challenge.

XP 2,400
N Huge magical beast (aquatic)
Init -2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, scent; Perception +16
AC 18, touch 6, flat-footed 18 (-2 Dex, +12 natural, -2 size)
hp 125 (10d10+70)
Fort +14, Ref +5, Will +5
Speed swim 40 ft.
Melee gore +20 (2d6+10), trunk +15 (1d8+5 plus grab), 2 claws +15 (1d8+5)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Str 30, Dex 7, Con 25, Int 3, Wis 10, Cha 10
Base Atk +4; CMB +11; CMD 19 (23 vs. trip)
Feats Cleave, Improved Sunder, Iron Will, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills Perception +16, Swim +18
SQ hold breath
Environment any aquatic
Organization solitary or pair
Treasure none
Special Abilities
Hold Breath (Ex) A sea elephant can hold its breath for a number of rounds equal to 6 times its Constitution score before it risks drowning (150 rounds, or 15 minutes, for a typical specimen).

A sea elephant is a monster rarely seen more then once in a lifetime, and even then it can be mistaken for a whale at a distance. It has gill-slits covered by its large, fan-like "ears".

If a sea elephant feels threatened by another creature or a ship--which may mean simply approaching too closely--it will attack. Against a ship, it will rear up in the water to try to claw or grapple prey from the deck. It flees beneath the waves once it has obtained a sizable morsel, or it it takes more then its hit points in damage.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Dreamlands Pathfinder Bestiary: A Couple of Constructs

The following two monsters appear in the Call of Cthulhu adventure The Dreaming Stone, and have been converted here for use in Pathfinder games.

Lunar Knight

This seven-foot-tall humanoid is dressed in black full plate armor covered with baroque curliques, curves, and spikes. Its gauntlets are spiked, and it carries a long polearm wiht a crescent-shaped blade at the base of the spearhead (a ranseur). Two pale flames burn behind its visor in place of eyes.

XP 800
N Medium construct
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +5
AC 17, touch 9, flat-footed 17 (+8 armor, -1 Dex)
hp 42 (4d10+20)
Fort +1, Ref +0, Will +2
Defensive Abilities hardness 10; Immune construct traits
Speed 30 ft.
Melee masterwork ranseur +10 (2d4+7/x3) or masterwork spiked armor +10 (1d6+5) or masterwork spiked gauntlet +10 (1d4+5)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (10 with ranseur)
Str 20, Dex 8, Con --, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 12
Base Atk +4; CMB +9; CMD 18
Feats Improved Initiative, Power Attack
Skills Intimidate +5, Perception +5, Stealth -2
Languages Common (can't speak)
Environment any (The Mansion on the Moon)
Organization solitary or cadre (2-8)
Treasure incidental (masterwork ranseur)

Lunar knights are hollow suits of armor animated by Vredni Vorastor, the Man in the Moon, as guards for his mansion and person. They move surprisingly quietly for walking suits of animated armor.

A lunar knight's armor and weapons are masterwork items. The knight prefers to use its ranseur, but if it cannot maintain the minimum distance, it lashes out with its spiked armor or gauntlets. If the knight is destroyed, it collapses into a pile of metal shards and black sludge, its armor and gauntlets ruined beyond repair, but its ranseur remains.

The Whisperer in the Windmill

This creature is a hairless, gray, spider-like thing about the size of a large dog. It has a spongy mass for a head, with a vertical slit for a mouth, and no eyes.

XP 600
NE Small construct
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +4
AC 15, touch 12, flat-footed 13 (+2 Dex, +2 natural, +1 size)
hp 21 (2d10+10)
Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +2
Immune construct traits
Speed 40 ft., climb 20 ft.
Melee bite +4 (1d3+1 plus poison)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 18th; concentration +20)
Constant--detect thoughts (DC 13)
Str 12, Dex 14, Con --, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 14
Base Atk +2; CMB +2; CMD 14
Feats Persuasive
Skills Bluff +4 (+8 mimicry), Climb +9, Diplomacy +4, Intimidate +6, Perception +4, Stealth +8; Racial Modifiers +4 Bluff to disguise voice using mimicrry
Languages Common
SQ mimicry
Environment any (Ulthar)
Organization solitary
Treasure none
Special Abilities
Detect Thoughts (Sp) The Whsiperer can continually use detect thoughts as the spell. It can suppress or resume this ability as a free action. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Mimicry (Su) The Whisperer may mimic any voice that it has heard. It may also mimic the voice of any creature that the target of its detect thoughts ability was thinking about at the time of the scan.
Poison (Ex) Injury--bite; Fort DC 12; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1d2 Charisma; cure 2 consecutive saves.

The Whisperer in the Windmill is a unique construct created by Vredni Vorastor, the Man in the Moon, in order to torment the people of Ulthar. It is blind, but can read minds, and uses those thoughts to psychologically torture its victims.