Saturday, November 19, 2011

Black City Bestiary

Kicking off new Black City posts with a Bestiary collection.  It's projected to be an 8 level dungeon so there's a need for a lot of monsters.  Taking a cue from the Dismal Depths (and Evan's place) here's a look at the Bestiary so far.  I've got a list below of future creatures (most of those are strictly dungeon level 4 and deeper beneath the City).  Stats are somewhat "LOTFP style" since that's the core rules I'd use.  I still need to edit these entries and adjust the balance between brevity and detail.

Ape Men of the Black City:
AC as Leather, MV 12, HD 1, Atk - Club 1-6, ML 9, AL C.  Matriarchal white haired proto-humans that wield clubs and throw rocks.  Gangs of male apes patrol areas in the city; females display a creepy attraction to human males.

Berserker Stage 1
AC as Leather, MV 12, HD 1+1, Atk - By Weapon, ML Special, AL C.  Humans infected with the rage worm parasite from polluted water.  Enter a blind rage during combat and never check morale, +2 on to hit rolls due to ferocity.

Berserker Stage 2
AC as Chain, MV 9, HD 3+1, Atk - By Weapon +1, ML 9, AL C.  Prolonged rage worm infection mutates the victim into a larger, musclebound, feral human, with oversized jaws and teeth, that craves human flesh.  Very stealthy, they surprise on a 1-3.

Berserker Stage 3
AC as Chain, MV 9, HD 4+1, Atk - By Weapon +2 or 1d10, ML 10, AL C.  The final stage of rage worm infection causes the misshapen victim to grow larger than man-sized (8-10' tall).  Often build cave-like lairs to larder food and suck bone marrow.

Blood Worms
AC as Leather, MV 12, HD 1+2, Atk 1hp, ML 7, AL N.  Swarms of 3' long worms with hag-fish mouths that infest the Warrens; attach on a successful bite and drain 1hp per round blood for 2-4 rounds before dropping off.  Hinder movement.

AC as Unarmored, MV 1, HD 2 per 10x10 area, Atk Paralysis, ML 12, AL N.  Fungal growth in the Warrens of Decay.  The matrix generates a powerful toxin; terrestrial creatures that touch it must save versus paralysis or be helpless for 1-6 turns.  Croach-Matrix encases paralyzed creatures in 1-10 rounds and slowly dissolves the creature while it's still alive, feeding nutrients into the Warrens.  Croach-Matrix burns.

Demon Wind
AC as Leather, MV 15/30, HD 6, Atk 3d6, ML 9, AL C.  Evil winds from the arctic, offspring of the walker in the wastes.  Deals 3d6 damage from scouring icy wind.  Limited vulnerabilities.

AC as Chain, MV 12, HD 1+1, Atk By weapon or spell, ML 8, AL C.  Servants of the Queen of Air and Darkness, these evil elves explore the ruins on her behalf.  Typically carry sleep and charm spells, icy rapiers and cold ray wands that do 1-6 damage per level of the Dokkalvar.  Immune to sleep, charm, and cold attacks.

AC as Leather, MV 6, HD 8, Atk 2-16, ML 12, AL C.  Gjenganer that cannibalize other Gjenganer (see below) can become Draugur, ghouls capable of growing to twice their size and capable of delivering massive slams.  When first encountered, they will appear man-sized and grow during combat.  Draugur devour the slain.  Have standard undead immunities.

AC as Chain, MV 6, HD 1, Atk - By weapon or spell, ML 8, AL C.  Deformed race of evil dwarves from Nidavellir that seek gems and magic.  Many of them can cast spells.  Can become invisible at will.

Frost Gremlins
AC as Leather, MV 6, HD 1-1, Atk - By weapon, ML 7, AL C.  Vicious goblinoids spawned from rodents dunked into the ichor of the severed Joten head.  Cruelty to other creatures is matched only by their desire to capture and dunk more rats.  Resist cold, hampered by daylight (-1 on to-hit rolls).

Furry Snake
AC as Leather, MV 9, HD 2, Atk - bite, 1-4 + poison, ML 7, AL N.  Adapted for life in the city; always attack first.  Hunted by frost goblins (since snakes hunt rats).  Save vs poison or die.

Giant Furry Snake
AC as Chain, MV 12, HD 4, Atk - 2 bites, 1-4/1-4 + Poison, ML 8, AL N.  These 10' long furred sea snakes hunt aquatic mammals on the islands; sometimes enter the ruins.  Save vs Poison or die.

Gjenganer (Hungry Dead)
AC as Leather, MV 12, HD 2, Atk - 2 claws and bite, 1-3/1-3/1-3, ML 9, AL C.  Humans and demi-humans that die within the dungeons must Save vs Death or rise in 1-6 turns as Gjenganer, hungry dead fueled by the energies of the Dark Goddess trapped in the depths of the dungeon.  Intelligent; some newly risen Gjenganer don't realize they're dead.  Driven to cannibalism by the urges of the Dark Goddess.  Have standard undead immunities.  See also Draugur, Hungry Bones, Moaning Shambler.

Glass Spider
AC as Chain & Shield, MV 12, HD 2, Atk - bladed forelegs, 1-4/1-4, ML 11, AL N.  Scuttling automatons that serve the Overmind and maintain the Warrens of Decay.  Insert corpses into the Croach-Matrix to fuel the Warrens.  Front legs have retractable blades.

Headless Servitor
AC as Plate, MV 9, HD 4, Atk 2 claws, 1 bite, 1-6/1-6/2-12 ML 12, AL N.  Victims abducted by the Winged Terrors are taken to the Tower of Pain to have their heads removed; the bodies are fitted with fungal symbiote units.  Surgical alterations include gigantic stomach mouths, armor plated implants, various claws, hooks, and bladed implements attached to their arms.

Hungry Bones
AC as Leather, MV 6, HD 1, Atk - 2 claws and bite, 1-2/1-2/1-3, ML 12, AL C.  Moaning Shamblers that persist long enough lose their flesh and sinews, but not the hunger; they become ghoulish skeletons.  Unintelligent.  Have standard undead immunities.  Take minimal damage from non-blunt weapons.

AC as Unarmored, MV 9, HD 1, Atk By Weapon, ML 10, AL N.  Tall, slender creatures with jackal heads.  Most are spell casters and can cast magic user spells; levels higher than 1 are possible.

AC as 7, MV 9/18, HD 1/2, Atk 1-3, ML 6, AL C.  Flying cousins of the frost gremlins, they use small sized makeshift weapons.  Five or more mites close together create a chaotic aura that reflects spells, critical misses, and fouls mechanical gear.

Moaning Shambler
AC as Unarmored, MV 6, HD 2, Atk - 2 claws and bite, 1-3/1-3/1-3, ML 12, AL C.  Gjenganer that can't maintain a flesh diet undergo rigor mortis, lose their inhuman intelligence, and begin to stiffly shuffle like traditional zombies.  Have standard undead immunities.

Mutates (Beast-Men)
AC as Leather, MV 12, HD 2+1, Atk Varies, ML 9, AL N.  Various animal hybrid humanoids dwelling below the Warrens.  Roll for type:
1-2 Cat People (claws and bite 1-4/1-4/1-4)
3-4 Dog Men (bite 1-8)
5-6 Rat Men (bite 1-4, 1 in 20 chance of disease, stealthy).

AC as Unarmored, MV 12, HD 2, Atk By Weapon, ML 7, AL N.  Primitive cave men living in the Warrens, they survive by following the leadership of She Who Must Be Obeyed.

Plastical Mark I
AC as Leather, MV 12, HD 3, Atk By Weapon, ML 12, AL N.  Plastical, from Plastic-Alien, are rubbery humanoids with bulbous heads and large black eyes.  They're fabricated by the city's machinery as workers.  The Mark I often carries a heavy wrench (treat as club) and can be seen repairing doors and dungeon fixtures.  (Obviously, I love me some Castle Amber with these Plasticals).

Plastical Mark II
AC as Chain, MV 12, HD 4, Atk Squeeze, 1d10 acid, ML 12, AL N.  The Mark II was designed for hard to reach ducts and tunnels; it can stretch 20', envelope a target, and secrete an acid; roll open doors to break it's grip.

Plastical Mark III
AC as Plate, MV 12, HD 5, Atk By Weapon or Lightning, ML 12, AL N.  Mark III's were designed to work on electrical equipment and glow faintly; thrice per day they can fire a 3d6 lightning bolt.

Plastical Mark IV
AC as Leather, MV 12, HD 2, Atk Charm, ML 12, AL N.  The telepathic Mark IV can attempt one charm person per round; in this way the Overmind manipulates the various humanoid factions throughout the dungeons.

AC as Chain, MV 12, HD 4, Atk By Weapon, 2 attacks per round, ML 12, AL C.  Centuries ago, members of the Lost Legion XVIII discovered the Overmind beneath the City.  Some of their consciousnesses were transferred forcibly into human-like plastical bodies and put into stasis.  They've been revived to function as elite guards (Praetorians).

Sub-Humans (Morlocks)
AC as Chain, MV 9, HD 2, Atk By Weapon, ML 10, AL C.  Devolved Neanderthals that live beyond the Warrens, pale skinned and sensitive to bright light. Desirous of humanoid flesh.

AC as Leather, MV 24, HD 1+1, Atk Swoop, 1-6 + Stun, ML 10, AL N.  Bat-like elementals of electrical energy.  When touched, save vs paralysis to avoid being stunned through end of next round.  Harmed only by magic.

Winged Terror
AC as Leather, MV 12/15, HD 3, Atk Special, ML 7, AL C.  Alien creatures, half moth, half crustacean, half fungus.  Abduct humanoids for unearthly experiments.  Attack with otherworldly weaponry - paralysis rays, lightning guns, stun nets - unuseable by humans.  Can drone once per day to create 30' sleep effect.

Regular Monsters:
These are things in the standard bestiaries that still need to be added:

Northman Viking variants (Bandits, Nobles - Hersir with Huskarlar, NPC Party, Traders, Veterans).  "Dire" animals infected with rage worm.  The Warrens are full of giant insects of all stripes, vicious rodents, and fungi monsters.  Traditional necromantic undead are not unknown - wights, wraiths, et al.  Some automatons and golems (besides plasticals) need to be created.


Automatons (Golems)
Caustic Ooze
Dimensional Terror
Dreaming Brain
Radiated Mutants
Insectoid Hive Creatures
Machine Mind (Boss Overmind)
Mordant Vapor
Reconstituted Alien Terror (the Resurrected)
Servitors of the Pool
Thing in the Pool
Vegetal Controller and Pod People
Waking Nightmares


Alien Ghost
Alpha Predators
Avatar of the Dark Goddess
Denizen of the Obelisk
Floaters from Beyond
Space Devil (from the Palladium)
Star Demon
Walking Worms



  1. I'm enjoying your writings on the Black City. It has a very '30s pulp-fantasy vibe that builds on its hard-edged historical base and then mixes in some '70s sci-fi. Keep 'em coming!

  2. That really is a very nice collection of beasties.

  3. Dammit it would have to be one of the local HC players to comment here. There goes shoe-horning in Type 2 and 3 Beserkers into the next session.

    Seriously though great list. The Dismal Depths Bestiary was a big influence on the custom monsters of my own campaign, a few are only lightly reskinned.

  4. The Hydra thing was just the kick I needed to get this moving again.

    I see the Type 2 Berskers a bit like the veiny, bulge-eyed maniacs at the end of The Crazies; Type 3 are even more misshapen - like the comic-version of DC's Bane when he's all pumped up on "venom". It's a simple reskinning of Bugbears and Ogres, but it's amazing how much flavor plays a role in perception.

  5. it's amazing how much flavor plays a role in perception

    Most definitely.

  6. Stats are somewhat "LOTFP style" since that's the core rules I'd use.

    How are you going to handle magic items?

  7. Also: the range worm thing is awesome.

  8. Evan: since the city has a well-described history, it shouldn't be hard to give items a bit of flavor; characters won't find a battle axe +1, they'll find one "engraved with runes by the rune master, skori, son of thorstein, who once served the king of ostwold..." Magic items will be rarer, and have a "story", but I'm not committed yet if every one will be mechanically unique.

  9. Any chance we'll see a Black City G+ game sometime soon?

  10. I second ckutalik's question, and its implied suggestion, a thousand times.

    I will also note that if you're not going to do anything with it, it's right up my alley ;)

  11. Ohh - Google+. It does make to supplement local playing with some g+ play testing when it's a little further along (probably near the winter holidays).

    Taking a few months away was good - 'm revising quite a bit - and I picked up some good sci-fantasy lessons running Matt's Spire of Iron and Glass a few times at GenCon.

  12. I'm totally using the rage worm berserkers.