The Wise Red Fellow

AC: 0
HD: 12****
Move: 90’ (30’)*
Attacks: Gaze / 2 claws + 1 bite
Damage: Special / 2d6 each + Special/
No Appearing: 1
Save As: F12
Morale: 12
Alignment: Chaotic

The Wise Red Fellow stands well over 9 feet tall, even though his body appears to be that of a frail and stooped old man. His body is hunched over to support his enormous triangular head.

The head of this creature appears to always face the person observing it, even if directly behind it. Any individual caught in the Wise Red Fellow’s gaze must save vs. paralysis or be transfixed. If the victim succeeds on their saving throw, they must again make a saving throw against spells at -4 or be affected as per the spell Fear. Dwarves need not make the first saving throw and suffer no penalty on the second. Elves need not make either saving throw.

The Wise Red Fellow will move towards a paralyzed target, taking two rounds to reach them regardless of distance. Upon reaching the victim, the Wise Red Fellow will swallow them whole. Characters killed in this manner cannot be restored outside of a Wish spell.

If forced to fight, the Wise Red Fellow will attack with its two long-clawed hands. If both claw attacks hit, the Wise Red Fellow does no damage but will attempt a bite attack; if the bit attack succeeds, it does no damage, but the Wise Red Fellow will swallow its victim whole.

The Wise Red Fellow is immune to spells cast by Elves. Damage dealt to the Wise Red Fellow by magical weapons is halved.

The Wise Red Fellow is thought to be either a demon or a creature of fey, perhaps even a forgotten god. Legend holds that its head is filled and weighted with polished stones and its heart is an uncut ruby that oozes blood on the solstices. Supposedly, it possesses the knowledge of all beings it has consumed; some witches claim it can be summoned and petitioned for aid on an equinox by pouring sacrificial blood onto uncut rubies.

Building a Better Zombie

One of the problems that D&D has, I feel, is that low level undead just aren’t all that scary.  Ghouls are frightening because they have paralysis and aetherial undead are terrifying because of their level drain, but Zombies and Skeletons tend to be kind of boring mooks who are usually less threatening than encountering a group of 1st level human bandits.  Besides, they can be turned!  The only real ‘scary’ part is that they don’t have to make morale checks, so you have to kill all of them.  As such, the only way that skeletons or zombies are a real threat is if you throw a ton of them at the party.

Thief: the Dark Project is one of the few places where small numbers of undead are truly scary – they’re very different from how your living (even monstrous living) opponents behave.  While Ghosts are creepy and hard to kill, and Hammer Haunts cut you to pieces in seconds once they find you (and they WILL find you), I think that how Thief treats Zombies is particularly special.  They’re always in the way, they’re always groaning loudly, and, unless you’ve got things planned just so, you can’t kill them.  One zombie can be an annoyance, but two zombies can be downright deadly.  Once you have 4 or more zombies on you, it’s time to hit the quickload button.

So here’s a reimagining of the B/X zombie based on those found in Thief: The Dark Project.

Zombies

AC: 8
HD 2 + 3* (15HP)
Move: 90’(30’)
Attacks: 1 weapon
Damage: 1-8 or weapon
No. Appearing: 2-8 (4-24)
Save As: F1
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Chaotic

Zombies are undead humans or demi-humans animated by powerful curses and evil magics that stone and steel alone cannot unmake. As all undead, they may be “Turned” by a cleric but are not affected by sleep or charm spells or any form of mind reading. They typically resemble normal rotting and bloated corpses, and when still may be indistinguishable from a normal corpse.  If approached by a living creature foolish enough to linger about (3 rounds), the Zombie will rise and attack.  Treat prone Zombies as having 3 HP; upon rising, a Zombie will have its full 15 HP.  After receiving 12 HP of damage, a risen Zombie will fall prone and remain so until a living creature remains nearby for 3 rounds, at which time the Zombie will rise with full health.  Zombies will always attack last regardless of initiative.

Zombies can only be killed with fire or Holy Water.  Holy Water will do 3d6 damage to Zombies.  Zombies that are turned do not run away but will fall prone.

I’ll probably be stating out some more monsters from Thief over the next few days, including Burricks, Hammer Haunts, Insect Beasts, Fire Spirits, Crab Men and  Crab Beasts, and Monkey Men.  I’ll be working on a few base assumptions, including d6 hit dice and Garrett as a d4 thief of around 4th level; I may even stat him.

Wishing Wells

A Wishing Well is a highly evolved subspecies of Mimic that is drawn to sparsely populated areas. It’s lifecycle includes three stages.

Guillaume-Seignac-xx-By-the-Well

1st Stage
HD: 1
AC: 3
Move 40′
Int: Animal
Align: N
Attack: N/A
Treasure Type: None

Wishing Wells reproduces by shedding one of the ‘stones’ from its rim; at night, this stone will roll to a secluded place until it reaches the second phase of its life-cycle. A Wishing Well is most vulnerable in the first stage of its life-cycle.

It is immune all piercing and slashing damage, but can be destroyed by bludgeoning damage. It cannot attack and will always attempt to flee by rolling away and hiding among other similar looking rocks.

2nd Stage
HD: 6
AC: 0
Move 40′
Int: Animal
Align: N
Attack: charge 1d6
Treasure Type: None

After 48 hours, the single ‘stone’ will have grown to a circle of ‘stones’ about 5 feet in diameter and three feet in height. The Wishing Well will then travel, scurrying about quickly on hundreds of tiny crab-like legs, in search of a place to make its home. During its second life stage, the Wishing Well’s primary objective is to quietly and discretely find a place to plant itself; as such it will avoid confrontation, staying still if any humanoids are around. When still, it appears as a circle of stones about an undug pit. If it is discovered, it will run, knocking over anyone in its path.

It is immune all piercing and slashing damage, but can be destroyed by bludgeoning damage.

3rd Stage
HD: NA
AC: NA
Move 0′
Int: Animal
Align: N
Attack: Special/See Below
Treasure Type: Special/See Below

The Wishing Well becomes ‘mature’ when plants itself in the ground. The legs will burrows until it reaches an aquifer, expanding its gullet downward as it does so.

Mature Wishing Wells feed on children, who seem wont to fall down wells, and anyone who is lured by the prospect of the treasure to be found at its bottom. The Well’s gullet is incredibly slippery and cannot be scaled; even if a person has a rope, they will not be able to pull themselves out of the Wishing Well unless they have strength sufficient to lift their entire body without the aid of footholds (16+) or someone above assisting by pulling the rope. Anything larger than a normal bucket touching the side-walls of the Wishing Well’s gullet will alert the creature to its prey. The Wishing Well will rapidly (1 round) fill its lower gullet with water by opening and closing a sphincter-like organ and attempt to drown a person who reaches its bottom. The person must save vs paralysis or be instantly drowned. Successfully saving allows the tresspasser an attempt to lift himself from the well. If they are unable to lift themselves out of the well, they will eventually tire and drown. At night, the Wishing Well secretes digestive enzymes that dissolve the body, of which there will be no trace by morning. After consuming 5 victims, the Wishing Well will shed a stone; this part of the well does not regrow.

Filling in its gullet is the only way to kill a mature Wishing Well.  It should be noted, however, that this generally prevents any recovery of the treasure at the bottom of the Well.

Wishing Wells are immune to sleep and charm magic, are not hurt by elemental damage spells.
A Shatter spell will kill any Wishing Well in its 1st or 2nd life stage.
Casting Shatter on a Mature Wishing Well will only destroy the above-ground portion of the creature, however this will render it unable to reproduce.
Transmute Stone to Flesh will give a + 4 AC penalty to the Wishing Well in its 1st and 2nd Life Stages. This removes the Wishing Well’s immunity to piercing, slashing, and spell damage.
Contrary to popular belief, Wishing Wells do not grant Wish, however Wish can be used to safely extricate any treasure the Wishing Well might possess.

The amount of treasure at the bottom of a Wishing Well is determined by the population density of the area the well inhabits and how long it has been there.
Sparesely populated – # of years in location x 1d6 gp worth of various coins
Moderately populated – # of years x 2d6 gp worth of various coins
Urban population – # of years x 3d6 gp worth of various coins and gems + 1 magic item (ring or necklace variety)

 

“Our ________ are different”: Shadow People

MV: 240’ (80’) AC 0 HD2** AT: 1 , By Object Thrown, Touch (energy drain)

Shadow people are like ghosts in many ways, however their form is only manifest in humanoid shadow shapes.  The distinction is a subject of some debate, and while some shadow people have been associated with specific dead souls, many others cannot be and may never have been human to begin with. 

Unlike ghosts, Shadow People are always malevolent.  Their aetherial quality makes them very difficult to spot and to hit.

Shadow People will not immediately attack intruders, but will resort to locking doors and extinguishing lights, attempting to frighten others away.  Shadow People attack by throwing objects of various sizes or by touching an individual.  A Shadow Person’s touch does no damage, but does 5,000 XP Energy Drain.

Shadow People are immune to non-magical weapons and are unaffected by Wizard/Elf spells except for Dispel Magic, which causes 2d8 damage to a Shadow Person.

 

Note that in the system I’m working on, Energy Drain is by fixed XP damage rather than level.  Part of this is implemented as a balancing factor for magic characters late game, who are amassing XP for enchanting Items.  I still don’t know if I’ve priced the XP for item creation too high, but creating a +2 item is the XP equivalent of moving from level 4 to level 5.