Wednesday, August 17, 2016

More Holmes Era Monsters

I skipped on a few monsters/monster groupings from the Holmes edit of basic last time I did some analysis, now I shall rectify that.

Rip You To Shreds
The following monsters have 3 or more attacks.

MONSTER
HD 
DMG
xATK 
SPECIAL
Ghoul
2
1-3×3
Touch: Save vs Paralyzation/Elves immune
Troglodyte
2
1-4×3
Surprise 1-4; Save vs Poison or –d6 STR/1 per rnd
Horse
2-3
1-6×2, 1-4
Lt:2HD Med:2+1/180 Hv:3/120 Dft/Mule:2+1/120
Harpy
3
1-4×3
Fly 2.5×MV; Save vs Spells or charmed
Hippogriff
3+1
1-6×2, 1-10
Fly 2×MV; Always attack pegasi
Hydra
varies
1-6
1 HD/6 HP/1 AT per head (3 HD=18 HP/3 AT)
Gargoyle
4
1-4×4
Fly 2.5×MV; Magic to hit
Owl Bear
5
1-8×3
Attacks are beak/claw/bear-hug
White Dragon
5-7
1-6×2, 4-24
5-7 HP/1-8 age; breath 80×60ft cone of cold 3×day
Minotaur
6
1-6×3
Always attacks
Manticore
6+1
1-6×3
Fly 1.5×MV; Tail: 24 spikes; Fires 6/rnd; Range 180’
Troll
6+3
1-6×3
Regenerates 3 HP/turn except fire/acid
Black Dragon
6-8
1-6×2, 4-24
6-8 HP/d8 age; Breath 60×5ft line of acid/3×day
Brass Dragon
6-8
1-6×2,4-24
6-8 HP/d8 age; 70×20ft sleep or 80×60 fear/3×day
Griffon
7
1-4×2, 2-16
Fly 2.5×MV, Steeds but will attack horse in 360’
Chimera
9
1-3×2, 2-8 x2,
3-12
+2-8×2 (goat/lion)/3-12 (dragon) or 3-24 fire 3×day
Red Dragon
9-11
1-6×2, 4-24
9-11 HP/1-8 age; breath 90×30ft cone of fire 3×day

It should come as no surprise that Dragons turn up on this table with their claw attacks and mighty bites but do many  really consider how terrible trogolodytes or horses would be against a low level group of adventurers?  Ghouls are a nightmare that contributed to a high ratio of elves among olden day players, with 3 attacks a round a ghoul was probably going to paralyze a character if not rip them to shred so the immunity really helped out. With 3 attacks a round and a few HitDice many of these monsters can easily take on a whole party and still be a menace well after levels 1 to 3.


Heavy Hitters
The following monsters have the ability to dish out  18+ points of damage in a single blow, that’s enough damage to beat all but the luckiest of PCs from level 1 to 3 in a single successful strike.

MONSTER
HD 
DMG
xATK 
Weretiger
5
3-18
White Dragon
5-7
1-6×2,4-24
Werebear
6
3-24
Black Dragon
6-8
1-6×2,4-24
Brass Dragon
6-8
1-6×2,4-24
Stone Giant
9
3-18
Black Pudding
10
3-24
Frost Giant
10+1
4-24
Red Dragon
9-11
1-6×2,4-24
Fire Giant
11+3
5-30
Cloud Giant
12+2
6-36
Storm Giant
15
7-42

Not all of these critters are going to dish out 16 or more points of damage in a single attack every time but they all have a chance and lot of HD to go along with that attack in several cases. Going toe to toe with any of these monsters for a low level party is insane yet it happened back in the day but it required trickery, numbers, and luck. In the main however in the old days these monsters were left alone unless the party was packing a useful wand or two, some ranged weapons, a charmed NPC or two, and a lot of flasks of oil (which might not always work so well).



Good Guys?
Not all the monsters are out to get the PCs.
MONSTER
HD 
AL 
HABITS
Dwarf
1
N/LG
Sturdy fighters
Gnome
1
CG/N
Hill burrows
Pixie
1
N/CG
Elf-friends, invisible
Elf
1+1
CG/N
Magical fighters
Pegasus
2+2
LG
Wild, shy
Blink Dog
4
LG
Intelligent, packs
Unicorn
4
LG
Fierce, elusive
Wereboar
4+1
N/CG
Solitary, ill-temper
Werebear
6
N/CG
Solitary, helpful
Brass Dragon
6-8
N/CG
Selfish, talkative
Storm Giant
15
N/CG
Mountain castles

The monsters above are not all good guys all of the time but they all stand a fair chance of bing on the side of good. Good guys like these should teach players not to kick in doors and attack everything beyond, sometimes talking just might be all it takes to earn the cooperation of a powerful ally. Blink dogs are a curiosity indeed, are characters going to know they shouldn’t always attack the teleporting dogs.? Gaining the help of a Brass Dragon or Storm Giant could prove to be a very wise tactic considering how tough each is. I knew Werebears could be good but am actually surprised Wereboars are sometimes good as well (makes me wonder if it is a typo).  Interestingly enough only 3 of the monsters that might be good are always good and each of them is a Lawful Good beast (Shades of Narnia?).


Need Magic or Silver
Not all of the monsters in the old bluebook basic could be harmed by normal weapons.
MONSTER
HD 
AC 
SPECIAL
Green Slime
2
nil
Can always be hit but only hurt by fire/cold
Yellow Mold
2*
nil
2 HD/10’ sq; If hit: 50% chance of spores/Save vs Poison
Shadow
2+2
7
Hit: -1 STR; Magic to hit; Immune Charm/Sleep
Wererat
3
7
Silver/magic to hit; Summon 10-100 G. Rats; See Werewolf
Wight
3
5
Hit: Drain 1 level; Silver/magic to hit
Gargoyle
4
5
Fly 2.5×MV; Magic to hit
Werewolf
4
5
Silver/magic to hit; Wolfsbane repels; Bite: Lycanthropy
Wraith
4
3
Hit: Drain 1 level; Magic to hit/Silver ½ dmg; Fly 2×MV
Wereboar
4+1
4
Silver/magic to hit; See also Werewolf
Ochre Jelly
5
8
Fire/cold to hit; Weapons make smaller jellies
Weretiger
5
3
Silver/magic to hit; See also Werewolf
Mummy
5+1
5
Fear: Save vs Spells; Hit: Rots; Magic/fire to hit=½ dmg
Spectre
6
2
Touch: Drains 2 LVLs; Magic to hit; Fly 2×MV
Werebear
6
2
Silver/magic to hit; See also Werewolf
Troll
6+3
6
Regenerates 3 HP/turn except fire/acid
Vampire
7-9
2
Hit: Drains 2 LVLs; Magic to hit; Regenerate as troll
Black Pudding
10
6
Fire hurts; Attacks split; dissolves wood/metal not stone

Over 20% of the monsters in the Holmes edit need some sort of special weapon to harm, that’s a pretty tough situation for a low level party. Silver arrows turn up on the normal equipment list so the characters should be aware of their utility but there will still be a number of serious contenders to deal with that require magic to harm. Some of the dungeon cleaning crew turn up here. The rarity of magical weapons and the chance of bumping into one of these creatures filled players with worry and encouraged them to actually snoop about instead of storming through the dungeons like mad berserkers.

In my original D&D campaign gargoyles took on the role of major foe to the PCS for a time and to let that work I had the gargoyles in the book be the tough ones there were smaller ones that could be harmed with normal weapons and had less attacks and HD. (they got one attack per HD , 1 and 2 HD took normal damage, while 3HD took 1/2 damage from non-magical weapons).

Shadows also took on an even more sinister vibe as an invasion force for a ShadowKing from another realm. Giving them shadows a motive and organization makes them seem even more mysterious and troublesome.

Why didn’t I mention theses earlier?

a few monsters have ,managed to slip through my analysis.

MONSTER
HD 
AC 
MV 
AL 
SPECIAL
HABITS
Doppelganger
4
5
90
CE/N
Mimic humanoids; Immune Sleep/Charm; Improved saves
Mutable, deceitful
Owl Bear
5
5
120
N
Attacks are beak/claw/bear-hug
Ugly disposition
Displacer Beast
6
4
150
N(E)
All saves at +2; -2 to be hit due to displacing
Hateful packs
Minotaur
6
6
120
LE
Always attacks
Maze, pursues

For some reason i didn’t classify these monsters in with the other categories. They are all sort of odd-balls.  The doppleganger is easy to misuse and make players totally distrust all friendly or neutral NPCs out of hand. Owl Bears are just big old freaky bears, there is opportunity to make them weirder and stranger as I recall players in the old days thinking they were darned remarkable but besides looking odd they aren’t (and yes they have 3 or more attacks but I wanted to discuss them here). Dispalcer Beast are darned strange as they are a panther with barbed tentacles that only seems to attack with the barbed tentacles in this version of the game. Minotaurs have 2 arms and legs but are traditionally used as lone marauders so I didn’t include them on folk table, most campaigns don’t have communities and tribes of minotaurs.