Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Gray Jester

A gaunt figure clad in gray-hued jester's motley comes capering around the corner. Its feet move silently on the stones, and it grips a scepter with a doll's head atop it in one hand.

Source: Heroes of Horror (Dungeons & Dragons 3.5)

     Otherworldly fey drawn to humanoid emotion. The Gray Jester drains joy from those around it. Appearing as mimes, clowns, or jesters they feast on positive emotions such as laughter, joy, happiness, etc. The Gray Jester has the ability to cause laughter through it's fey magic while at the same time feeding upon those emotions.
     Once all sign of happiness is extinguished their victim become the Bleak Ones. They lose all self will and the capacity to feel positive emotions. The Bleak Ones become followers and soldiers for the Gray Jester.

Combat: The Gray Jester is a challenge rating of 4. It has damage reduction 10/cold iron and spell resistance 18. It has the ability to touch a subject with it's hand or scepter to cause laughter like Tasha's Hideous Laughter spell. If the subject is under the laughter spell or feel joy from another source the Gray Jester can feed upon those emotions. While feeding the victim takes 1d4 points of charisma drain. The Gray Jester can drain up to three victims at a time.
     Once a Gray Jester has drained it's victim or victims it is at it's weakest. It's damage reduction and spell resistance is reduced. Those victims whose charisma is drained to zero become Bleaks Ones. Emotionally devoid followers of the Gray Jester

Inspiration: Who doesn't want a demented clown tormenting the local village? I like the concept of the group entering a relatively abandoned village. A group of children are all that is left of the residents. They have been drained of their emotions and have become Bleak Ones. Their sole purpose is to lure victim to the Gray Jester tea party.
     You could also have the carnival come to town. The travelling freak show sole purpose to lure victims to the Gray Jester so can feast upon their raw emotions,

Lovecraftian Ghoul

This humanoid creature has long, sharp teeth, and canine features. 

Source: Realms of Crawling Chaos (Labyrinth Lord)

Taking a look at a variant of the classic ghoul. The typical Dungeons & Dragons ghoul is an undead creature who craves flesh and bone. They have the ability to paralyze and if the victim is slain they become a ghoul within a short period of time. In comparison the Lovecraftian Ghoul has more of a canine look as opposed to the typical emaciated pale flesh ghoul.

Lovecraftian Ghoul is not undead and it's origins is clouded in mystery. They share a kinship with human and haunt nearby graveyards. Using these sites for nourishment as they feed on corpses. There are speculation that these creature are aliens from outer space. Maybe a crashed spaceship fallen from the sky with a crew of ravenous ghouls. They have slowly began to poach from human society. Spreading their infection one victim at a time...

Combat: The Lovecraftian Ghoul is different from your standard Ghoul in terms of combat qualities. The Lovecraftian Ghoul loses the ability to paralyze. Instead their bites become infectious. Their saliva contains an infectious disease and each hit point of damage increases your odds of infection. For each point of damage you take you have 2% cumulative chance to be infected and turn into a ghoul in 2d4 weeks. After combat has ended you add up the hit point damage and figure out the percentile roll.

If a character has become infected you begin a gradual change. Over the course of days and weeks you develop a hunger for raw flesh. As you get close to the end of the incubation period you are probably eating the goblin you just killed. You also begin to gradually develop canine features. The amusement of seeing the group fighter slowly turning into a ghoul creates a rather interesting dynamic.

Verdict: The Lovecraftian Ghoul is nice variation of the typical ghoul encounter. From a cleric failing to turn the ghoul to the danger of the infection. The role-playing opportunity if a party member becomes infected. The images of crashed spaceships, the slow spreading ghoul plague, wide-spread panic, etc. Adding some spice to your typical horror situation.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Death Dog

death dog
Death Dog
This creature appears to be a two-headed hound with rich black fur and yellow piercing eyes. Each head constantly drips a foul-smelling saliva

Source: Sword & Wizardry Tome of Horror Complete (Originally from the AD&D 1e Fiend Folio).
Also appears in Fiend Folio for 3e and Pathfinder Bestiary 4.

Packs of two headed dogs spreading rotting death throughout the amber deserts. These nocturnal hunters stalk barren wastelands looking for prey. First the pack attacks. Bites then turn into infections. The pack retreats and waits. The victim slowly dying as its flesh begins to rot. After their prey is dead the Death Dogs feast on their corpses.

Combat: The Death Dogs are Challenge Rating of 3 in Sword & Wizardry. They have two bite attacks that can infect it's opponent with rotting death. This disease is quite potent. If you fail a save you lose 1d6 points of constitution each day with -5 saving throw each subsequent save. In Sword & Wizardy with low attributes a couple of failed saving throws is almost sure death.

You can however be healed with powerful curative magic or finally make a saving throw. With complete bed rest you regain one point of constitution each week.

barren wastelandInspiration: Roving bands of vicious dogs can create a certain amount of dread. If the group is traveling through a barren terrain you can have the pack perform hit and run tactics. In the middle of the night a half dozen of these dogs attack. After a round or two they retreat. Maybe one or two PCs come down with rotting death. Each night you hear the howls of the Death Dogs as they wait patiently for it's prey to fall from illness.

You can also have the antidote be a mixtures of the Death Dog blood and some herbs. So now the group must track down the pack to slay one for the cure. Another possibility is the group stumble upon an entrench caravan. Half of the caravan is suffering from Rotting Death. They are in no position to continue unless a cure is found and the pack of Death Dogs are dealt with.

Advanced Bestiary for Pathfinder

I received my Advanced Bestiary for Pathfinder yesterday. I was a backer for the kickstarter and one my favorite things is getting a huge book of monsters in the mail. The Advanced Bestiary is the updated version of the Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 version. This time around the book is in full color with gorgeous artwork that is on the level of Paizo or Wotc. The book is a hefty 310pages.

There are over 100 template. Any template that was used and updated by Paizo for their Bestiary were removed and new ones were slotted in. So if you enjoy tinkering with your run of the mill monsters this book is for you. You can create 100 plus different variants of a goblins. Can't wait to read through this book. Check out some of the pictures.

You can get the book at

Advanced Bestiary on Paizo

Advanced Bestiary on Green Ronin

Sunday, November 16, 2014


This misshapen sphere of pale yellow-green fungus rolls with an unnerving speed, spewing clouds of foul spores as it advances.

Source: Pathfinder Bestiary 3

     The Ascomoid is a large ball of fungus with fearsome mobility. Rolling around in their dark damp caverns the Ascomoid is capable of trampling their prey. Once a victim is crushed to death their bodies become host to a colony of fungi. Over the course of 48 hours the body is covered in brown-green mold. Within a month a new Ascomoid is born.
     The tunnels of Ascomoid is littered with the bones of it's prey. If the cavern has enough moisture it can support the life of a deadly cluster of 2 to 8 of these creatures. Some underdark races lead their enemies to the tunnels systems of the Ascomoid. The slightest vibrations triggers their tremorsense and the corridors quickly become death traps.

Combat; The Ascomoid is a large plant and has a challenge rating of 5. The special attacks of the Ascomoid is the ability to trample an opponent. By using its trample ability it simply needs to roll over a creature who occupies a space. The enemy can take an attack of opportunity or attempt a reflex save for half damage. 
     The Ascomoid can also shoot a jet of deadly spores. The spores fill a 10ft radius spread. Those who fail a fortitude saving throw become nauseated. Also the cloud exposes them to poison that the spores carry. The inhaled poison damages one's strength over time. With one shot of spores it requires the PCs to make two fort saving throws. 

Verdict: I have actually used a Ascomoid before. I was running the Darkmoon Vale modules for 3.5 and created a side dungeon for the group to explore. While underground they had to cross a long bridge over a very deep chasm. As they were halfway across the bridge an Ascomoid came rolling along. The bridge was only 10ft wide. Panic ensued among the group with some PCs hanging from the side of the bridge before the encounter was over. Luckily no one died but it was a very fun encounter. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Brain In A Jar

Something gray and shriveled sloshes within a grimy glass canister. A disembodied brain afloat in alchemical preservatives.

Source: Libris Mortis: The Book of Undead

Cool Factor: A flying undead brain in a glass canister with the ability to control the living and the dead. The Brain in a Jar is great low level undead who can be the mastermind behind numerous crimes that have plagued the town. Various puppets being manipulated by this director. The Brain in a Jar is type of undead created by necromancers. It also not uncommon for those who created it to become it's own slave.

Combat: The Brain in a Jar prefers to control the situation rather then engage in combat. Most of it's abilities revolve around controlling. The Brain in a Jar is CR 4 undead opponent with the ability to fly and speak through telepathy.

-The Brain in a Jar has a few psionic abilities. It can manifest suggestion, telekinesis, and dominate person. It can also use a Mind Thrust ability that deals 2d10 points of damage on a failed will save.

-Madness: Anyone targeting a Brain in a Jar with mental spells or abilities get a backlash of madness causing 1d4 points of Wisdom damage.

-Rebuke Undead: The Brain in a Jar can turn or control undead up to it's HD.

Verdict: Besides having a great visual the Brain in Jar works well as a boss encounter. There are numerous plot hooks that can be based around this creature. A necromancer who attempted to create a Brain in Jar has become it's minion instead. Recently a thieves guild has decided to dig up the cemetery. Eventually all clues lead back to the head of the thieves guild who's strings are being pulled by the Brain in the Jar.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Guardian Scroll

This innocuous-looking scroll abruptly rises in the air, unraveling as it flies. It flits about with serpentine grace, baring its razor-sharp edges.

Source: Pathfinder Adventure Path 79: The Half-Dead City

Cool Factor: Guardian Scrolls are tiny construct that resemble your average scroll. They are used to protect lairs, libraries, temples, and sacred texts. Unsuspecting thieves that enter a room or disturb a bookcase must speak a password or the scroll animates. The Guardian Scroll then flies through the air slicing trespassers apart with it's fine edges or attempting to strangles those who's presence is not warranted. The average treasure hoard just became more dangerous. 

Combat: The Guardian Scroll is a CR 3 Tiny Construct.
-The Scroll has damage resistance to non-magical weapons. Also is immune to bludgeoning, crushing, and falling damage. It also has all the benefits of being a construct with the exception that it can be influence by mind-affecting abilities. 

-The Guardian Scroll's main attack is it's fine edges which deal damage as slashing and causes the opponent to bleed afterwards until cured or healed. 

-The Guardian Scroll can fly through the air and attempt to strangle you. With a successful attack and grab attempt the enemies entire head is covered in a airtight grip. The enemy can't speak, see, and must hold their breath as they are being suffocated. 

magic-A Variant of the Guardian Scroll is the magical version. By increases the challenge rating by 1 the scroll now has the ability to cast low level magic. It can cast two first level spells and one second level spells three times per day. Plus a one third level spell once per day. 

Verdict: The Guardian Scroll can alter an ordinary treasure hoard or library into something more deadly. The average party is not expecting to be attacked by a scroll. Another option would be that a lost treasure map is actually a Guardian Scroll. The group has to walk the line between subduing the scroll without actually destroying it. Once subdued they can use the map on the scroll. 

Has anyone used a Guardian Scroll or an animated scroll in your game? How did it work out? Always interested in hearing good monsters tales.