Wednesday 17 August 2011

Forge Some Monsters. You. Do it Now.

I've blogged about The Forge before. No, not that Forge. This is one which randomly generates fantasy personal, beast, spell and land names. The names it generates are resolutely High Fantasy, and can bring to mind the worst excesses of the DnD 4e bestiary writers (Phase Acid Slaughter Orc, etc.), but they can also be pretty evocative. Viz: Dusk Butterfly, Pebble Monster, Scream Crab, and Grin Monkey, which are the names I've just generated.

So, here's a blogging game that anyone can play. Go to The Forge. Click "BeastForge". Four beast names will be generated. If they're crap, do it again until you find some more to your liking. Names can also be changed slightly (e.g. Scream Crab = Screaming Crab; Grin Monkey = Grinning Monkey). Then stat the resulting monsters up in the DnD edition of your choice.

Here are mine:

Dusk Butterfly

Dusk Butterflies are, as the name suggests, butterflies which appear in the evenings in meadowy areas, just as the sun is dipping towards the horizon and before twilight descends. They come in various colours, pale blues and pinks and yellows, and flock in eerie silence in their hundreds. Dusk Butterflies are harmless but feed off magic; for every turn that a magic-user is surrounded by Dusk Butterflies there is a 10% chance per turn that he will forget a random memorised spell, a 5% chance that a random scroll will become useless or a wand lose all its charges, and a 1% change that a magical weapon will lose a +1. They can sense the presence of magic and will fly in its general direction.

Frequency: Rare
AC: 6
Hit Dice : 1 hp*
Move: 150' (50')
Attacks: None
No. App: 5d20
Save As: F1
Morale: N/A
Treasure: None
Intelligence: 0
Alignment: Neutral
XP: 6

Pebble Monster

On shingle beaches lurk nameless malicious spirits who embody a number of pebbles and form them into vaguely humanoid or quadrapedic shapes. They typically wait unseen in the shingle to ambush the unwary and appear to outsiders to have no discernable motiviation other than the thrill of murder. In fact, they worship the ocean as a God and attempt to "feed" it with the bodies of the dead.

Pebble monsters do not have a uniform appearance. Sometimes they appear small and dwarf-like in shape; at others they manifest themselves as resembling giant beasts; at others they are formless vorteces of whirling stone. They attack by thrashing themselves against their opponents in a haphazard fashion. Being comprised entirely of animated pebbles, they are immune to damage from non-blunt weapons.

Frequency: Very rare
AC: 4
HD: 4*
Move: 120' (40')
Attacks: Typically 2 "fists"
Damage: 1d8/1d8
No. App: 2d6
Save As: F2
Morale: 9
Treasure: M
Intelligence: 9
Alignment: Chaotic
XP: 125

Screaming Crab

Screaming crabs are ordinary-looking purple-coloured crabs which roam beaches in loose colonies of several dozen. They spend their lives picking over dead fish and seabirds washed up on the shore, along with general flotsam and jetsam.

If they are approached by anything they deem to be dangerous - adventurers being an obvious choice - they will emit an extremely powerful high-pitched whine in its direction. This whining sound is so powerful it can temporarily deafen those hearing it; those who are exposed must Save vs. Death or be deafened for d3 days. A successful save means that deafening only lasts for d3 hours. Deafening can be healed by a cure serious wounds spell. (This ability requires at least 6 Screaming Crabs to be present, otherwise the scream is irritating but ineffectual.)

Frequency: Rare
AC: 7
HD: 1hp*
Move: 120' (40')
Attacks : none
No. App: 4d6
Save As: F1
Morale: 6
Treasure: None
Intelligence: 1
Alignment: Neutral
XP: 6

Grinning Monkey

This is a breed of simian which inhabits snowy bamboo forests high in the Mountains of the Moon. Their fur is white and their faces are red, and their usual facial expression is, as you might expect, a rictus grin. Their teeth are sharp and they have a taste for flesh; typically they hunt and kill other monkeys and small deer, but they are not averse to feeding on carrion of all kinds.

Grinning Monkeys are small and will not attack groups of armed humans in good health. But they can scent blood and will opportunistically attack weakened prey. If at least one member of an adventuring group in such forests has lost 50% or more of his/her hit points, they are 10% likely to attract a group of Grinning Monkeys per hour. The Monkeys usually attack from on high, pelting their prey large nuts (1d3 damage). They will only descend from the trees if they make a kill. They are easily scared off, but will return each hour to attack again until they lose 25% of their number.

Frequency: Rare
AC: 6
HD: 1+1
Move: 120' (40')
Climb: 120' (40')
Attacks: 1 bite/1 throw
Damage: 1d4/1d3
No. App: 2d12
Save As: F1
Morale: 6
Treasure: None
Intelligence: 6
Alignment: Neutral
XP: 15


  1. will work on:

    wall link zombie

    silver basilsk blossom

    scarlet device


    Snow Wallow Nightmare

    if I get a minute.

  2. just received Queen Lobster, Wall Horse, Frozen Giant, and Sharp Boar from the BeastForge thingy. We'll write them up tonight or tomorrow. Fun stuff--thanks for reminding us about this Forge.

  3. I like "Scarlet Device" (intriguingly nebulous) and "Queen Lobster" the best.

  4. blood hand bear
    hook giant
    white wield monster
    savage stag

    Love the names for #2 and #3 now have to figure out what they are.

    #4 is a great justification for a man eating deer.

    Have to write them up when I get the chance.

  5. The dusk butterflies are very awesome. They both make combat much more challenging and are very scenic in an Oriental sort of way.

    I can actually see in mind's eye a dusk scene, enemies near, butterflies appear as out of nowhere... beautiful!

    Will definitely use them in my next campaign.

    Uri K.

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  7. (Edited. Also, this took too long to write, but was a lot of fun.)

    1 - Echo Viper.
    An enormous, blind white rattlesnake that lives deep underground and hunts by sonar like a bat. Its warning rattle echoes back from the cavern walls, and the echoes themselves are serpents, writhing shadows that strike and then vanish in a hiss of air. It is old as all Creation - not the tempting serpent of Eden, but borne of the same divine word.

    2 - Spawn Wyvern.
    Like a wyvern, but an amphibian instead of a reptile. Its skin is slick and brightly patterned, and when sorely pressed it can detach its tail which will continue to fight (and sting, and kill) while the beast flies away. Most distinctively, their young hatch from eggs embedded in the mother's backs (for where could an egg be safer than in the back of a flying, regenerating, poisonous monster?). More than one adventurer has dispatched a spawn wyvern only to be slain by its ravenous newborn brood.

    3 - Salt Heart Salmon.
    High in the mountains there is a lake, some say, formed by the tears of a god. The only creature known to thrive in the lake (for its waters are many times as saline as the ocean's) is a peculiar species of fish known as the Salt Heart Salmon. The salmon's blood somehow strains and concentrates the misery in the god's tears. Alchemists use oil from the fish's liver as an antidote to love potions, while assassins turn it into an untraceable poison that inspires suicide.

    4 - Jade Flaw Brine.
    I have no idea what to do with this, so I'll riff on your dusk butterflies instead.

    Dusk butterflies are the opposite of moths. Where moths are attracted to flame and light, dusk butterflies are drawn to spiritual darkness. Their wings bare the sickly colors of an oil slick, and they flock in silent multitudes to murder sites, torture chambers, and unholy temples. Lawmen breed them to point out criminals, while tyrants wear their wings as badges of pride.

  8. done...

  9. I generated some Forge monsters for the PBP game I was running a while ago. This is the only one whose stats I can find. They almost resulted in a TPK.

    Blood Raven
    Appearing: 10d10 HP: 1 AC:5 THAC0 15 Dmg: 1
    These carnivorous birds are found only in the deserted, magic-blasted wastes known as the Hills of Amorach. They are distinguished from normal Ravens by the coppery color of their beaks and claws, which are hard as iron and can tear through solid armor. They will fearlessly attack anything moving, swarming their prey with sheer numbers.

    "Oh God, that's not a cloud. Do you hear the squawking? They're calling for our blood!"

  10. Jason: Yeah, hook giant is cool. Reminds me of hook horrors.

    Urikson: Yeah, I like spicing combat up with that sort of thing. One day I'll make a d100 table of "stuff that happens during a combat to make it more interesting".

    eotbeholder: Yeah, "Jade Flaw Brine" doesn't make any sense. Love the echo viper.

    Zak: Nice. The spell names actually usually end up being better and easier to use. I love "Untouchable Merchant", "Whisper Panic", and "Nassim's Skull Ocean".

    Billy: 1hp but THAC0 15? No wonder it was almost a TPK! ;)

  11. came up with the text for the monsters last night. need to write up their stats when i get the chance.

  12. Seconded on the Echo Viper - that's a superb creation!

    Here's my attempts:

    1.Blossom Drake
    This non-sentient relative of the dragon hoards flowers instead of treasure. These colourful lairs, often constructed in isolated forest clearings are used to attract mates. Sadly the sheer beauty of the grotto often draws in human or elfin lovers looking for a secluded place together. If the drake returns the young couple are doomed. The drake is colourful enough to hide amongst the piles of blossoms or to lie low in wildflower meadows. Its musk smells of stale blooms.

    2.Tongue Fly.
    This magical parasite lays its egg in a sentient creatures tongue while the host sleeps. Once hatched the grub will slowly consume the tongue and takes its place – but the host remains unaware of this. The host can still talk, but will also begin to speak without realising it. These unconscious utterances will always have the goal of causing fear and paranoia in the populace. For example: “it is dangerous to be separated, we should all bed down in the great hall tonight”. Once a grub metamorphoses into an adult it kills the host in the process. Claims that Tongue Flies can be transmitted via kissing have never been confirmed.

    3.Hook Stag
    This stag has extremely sharp, curving antlers which give it its name. The Hook stag likes to sharpen its antlers against a variety of trees, several of which have poisonous bark that is transferred onto the hooks. Effects vary from paralysis to convulsions to euphoria.
    Dominant males have incredibly strong neck and shoulder muscles, giving them a hunched appearance. They attempt to impale any intruding creatures in their territory and allow the bodies to remain dangling from their antlers as a warning. Sometimes it can take a victim hours or even days to expire.

    4.Wraith Rose
    This is a species of rose thorn which, if left unchecked, grows into huge briar patches. The blooms are huge and dark red and strangely obscene. The danger though lies in their scent, which is a soporific and hallucinogenic. A victim begins to hear or even see the object of their hearts desire calling out to them from within the briars. Overcome with lust they will eventually push their way in, eviscerating themselves on the huge thorns as the plants tighten around them the deeper they go.
    Some time later a wraith of this victim will rise and, accompanied by the scent of the roses, go in search of a new lover to lead back to their place of rest.

  13. Don't have time to do all four, but here's a couple:

    Deaf Head Minotaur

    The term "Deaf Head Minotaur" is actually a pejorative used by the oyster dredgers unable to ply their trade near the Minotaurs' jealously guarded tidelands. It is true enough, however, that the Deaf Heads have no auditory sense. Their territory is coextensive with the natural habitat of the screaming crab, with which the Deaf Heads live in a symbiotic relationship. The crabs keep most creatures away and allow the Minotaurs to tend their shellfish farms unmolested; in return the crabs are allowed to feast on the Minotaurs' midden heaps.

    Deaf Heads possess an advanced tremorsense, permitting them to unerringly detect the presence of crustaceans in mudflats. They communicate through a complex system of signs and hoof stamps. Deaf Heads are surprised only on a roll of 1 on a d12.

    Frequency: Rare
    AC: 4 (Screaming crab armor)
    Hit Dice : 2+1
    Move: 60'
    Attacks: 1
    Damage: Gore 1d6, staff 1d6+2, or sling 1d4.
    No. App: 1d4+1
    Save As: F2
    Morale: 10
    Intelligence: Average (9-11)
    Alignment: Neutral
    XP: 30

    Night Sweat Hornet

    It is unclear whether Night Sweat Hornets are entirely the product of late-night musings in thieves' guilds, or whether they actually exist. If such things are present in this world, then they are a carefully guarded secret in the possession of the vilest sort of torturer.

    A Night Sweat Hornet is a loathsomely bulbous version of its more common cousin. Its vestigial wings buzz sporadically and ineffectually. It must be affirmatively placed on a restrained victim's skin, and its grasping pincers coaxed into taking hold as its useless legs squirm.

    An individual bitten by a Night Sweat Hornet must save vs. poison. Failure results in 1d6 days wracked with night terrors. During this time, the victim is treated as if under the effect of a True Speak spell, though it can be difficult to sift out the reality in the creature's ravings. The venom of a Night Sweat Hornet becomes inert 2d10 turns after being extracted from the beast. As a result of the ordeal, the victim loses 3d4 points of wisdom.

    Some sages theorize that a Night Sweat Hornet hive must exist. Though what individual would maintain such a monstrosity does not bear contemplation.

    Frequency: Very rare
    AC: 10
    Hit Dice : 1 hp
    Move: N/A
    Attacks: Special
    Save As: F1
    Morale: N/A
    Treasure: None
    Intelligence: 0
    Alignment: Neutral (Evil)
    XP: 50

    The others I got were actually pretty good too... Angel Foot Panther and Rend Boar

  14. Okay,

    I've got
    Face Vein Fungus. Pretty obviously it enters through the skin and causes the fungus to slowly transform the brain into another Face Vein Fungus. The victim becomes less and less active until the next sleep period when his head simply explodes due to steam pressure spraying spores everywhere. The final stages just before head explosion the veins on the face rapidly distend and darken marking the victim's face thus the name.

    A Kin Kelp, this seemingly innocuous seaweed is found around the mouths of small streams or rivers that flow into the ocean. The kelp lies in bunches along the sea strand and waits for a person to come in direct contact with the weed. Once this happens the kelp begins forming a simulacrum (called a Kelpkin) of the person's nearest and dearest kin. The simulacrum grows during the night and is fully formed on the next full moon when it begins following the person's trail until it catches up. To the person the Kin Kelp is attracted to it appears as their family member in good health and very happy to find their kin. To others it appears as a slouching pale green travesty of a person with stringy green vegetation for hair and clothing smelling like mudflats at low tide in summer. Once the Kin Kelp catches the the person it begins the process of gaining trust. The Kin Kelp uses the victim's own senses against him or her by priming the brain through pheromones causing hallucinations. These hallucinations include conversations with the otherwise mute Kelpkin and the desire to follow the Kelp simulacrum to a river or stream. If the victim follows the kelpkin to the water. The Kelpkin then releases more powerful hallucinogenic pheromones causing the victim to attempt to have sex with the Kelpkin (even survivors are permanently emotionally scarred). If the Kelpkin is successful anaphylactic shock kills the victim causing the Kelpkin to die as well. The decomposing bodies release Kin Kelp spores into the creek or river to start the cycle over again.
    Part 1

  15. This is my part II

    The Onyx Zombie is not a zombie or animated corpse at all. They can be found anywhere there are the remains of unquiet dead children. An Onyx Zombie is the soul of an aborted fetus or murdered child. It appears as a naked adult version of the dead child. It is given away by its onyx coloring from head to toe. The OZ wants only to experience the warmth of its mother and love. It has a strange way of showing it however, it will try to fasten on the bosoms of sleeping women to feed. If the OZ is successful it will drain the life force from its victim leaving an black icy corpse. If there is another woman in the party or near the victim it will follow that victim the next night.

    It will ignore men and children unless they come between the OZ and their chosen female. The OZ can be temporarily dispelled/turned by a Paladin or Cleric or kept at bay by holy symbols but can only be destroyed by finding the child's remains and interring them with a holy blessing. A necromancer can control a OZ but it will constantly seek to feed being harder to control the longer it goes without 'love'. Normally the OZ is intangible however, they must solidify to feed or interact with the material plane. They can be dispelled/driven away by certain spells, holy weapons or by taking sanctuary in holy ground. If the chosen victim can keep the OZ from feeding for three nights the OZ will seek another victim.

    The OZ moves with the jerky motions of a common zombie and has the dead gaze and grasping outstretched arms of a common undead thus they resemble the common zombie.

    The Diamond Lash Cactus stores liquid in its barrel shaped fruit mimicking a species of barrel cactus. The liquid stored in the DLC is nearly pure alcohol with a soup of narcotic toxins that cause hallucinations and unconsciousness in those that drink it to excess. Just below the surface, long tendrils grow from the cactus in a radial pattern. These whip like tendrils can snap up to defend the cactus from larger animals or to catch smaller animals. The tendrils are lined with razor edged crystals like faceted diamonds. They are narcotic if they enter the bloodstream and toxic in large doses.

    If a large animal is incapacitated by the DLC the cactus will attack with a number of tendrils and drain the body of liquid distilling it into alcohol. The victim will sit passively in the throws of hallucinations while the cactus burrows in through the nearest orifice.

    Ok those are mine.


  16. Dan: Those are very cool. They have more of a dark fairy tale vibe about them which I really like.

    Ivan: Love both of these. Especially the Deaf Head Minotaur. Nice riff on the screaming crabs.

    Anonymous/Don: You're clearly crazy. But in a good way. The Onyx Zombie is inspired.

  17. Noisms,

    Thanks, It has been years since I played D&D but creating critters has always been near and dear to my heart.

    Beholder, That Echo Viper is simply inspired. I will definitely swipe that one if I ever do play D&D again. The salt heart salmon almost belongs in the post about the frustrated novelist. In a good way. It is so well written one could make it the main element in a fairytale.

    Dan, the Tongue Fly is wonderful but my favorite is the Hook Stag. I watch elk thrash my trees and bushes to scraps and splinters every year and I am sure those vacant eyes are hiding some serious malevolence!

    P.S. Anyone know anyone in Forks Washington who plays table top games? Be warned if you mention 'Twilight' I will find you! LOL

  18. Reaper Hare - When Hefyn was banished, in his grief he cursed the grass of his home valley, and since then we have chased the reaper hare.

    It's fur has the sheen of the moon on water, and it cannot be caught.

    It is faster than man, horse or hawk, and yet a madness has overcome all who see it. It dashes into the bushes, the undergrowth, another mans field, and whatever is there will be torn down in the chase. The land is becoming barren, our harvest will be weak, and with less to block our view, I fear more and more of us will lose our strength chasing it.

    Bark Demon - Forest maidens they were once called, but don't let that fool you, the people who once lived here made foul deals with them to keep them sweet and beautiful, offerings of blood and sap.

    To us they are crumbled bitter things, their beauty lost and only the slightest remnant of human form, all dry bark and dead wood.

    You hear their approach as a creaking of impossibly old trees. If young saplings are creaking like their grandfathers, then run from the forest, or if you don't, watch your back:

    They will move from tree to tree and creap slowly behind you and thrust their splintery hands into your heart.

    Ghost Paw Reed - A white gray flax, that will grow only in marsh or bed who's waters are stained by unjust death. Parting them or touching them causes a cold to spread over your body, as they drain your warmth.

    Jade Millipede - Named for their glassy green sheen, and their slight internal translucency. The size of an emaciated forarm, they are prised as familiars for their unstoppable ability to burrow.

    When magically directed, they can push and chew their way through any natural material, be it wood, soil or stone, leaving a thin tunnel behind. Their fame began after a mage who had been burried deep underground was able to survive because his millipede familiar climbed his face and dug a tunnel from his mouth to the surface, leaving him with a tiny breathing tube until his companions could find him.

  19. Josh W: I like those a lot. Quite in keeping with the vibe of the Forge. Nice work.

  20. Cheers!

    In a game, I'd probably specify that the millipede takes 12 seconds to travel it's length, burrowing or otherwise, meaning if a player character attunes to one and commands it to burrow through a foes armour (and some player naturally will) providing it could get a grip, it would only get halfway in in a single turn.

    It could be pulled out when dead, and damage wise it would be equivalent to a serious spear wound or giant's arrow, given that it would be pushing it's way through the flesh as it does with soil.

    But naturally it would be non-aggressive and rare, given that it would spend most of it's time burrowing through the soil of mountainous or rocky forests.

    It would also take about 2 minutes to travel 10 foot, and feed off whatever plant matter it found on route, meaning it would need breaks going through rock but not through soil.

    I imagine my GM would still be concerned about letting me get hold of such a creature though, given the potential for poison gas, shared touch spells, or even training it to sharpen rocks!

  21. Josh W,

    That is a wonderful write up for all of them. The Hare was particularly great. This is better than many published materials.

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  23. Blogger ate the original notice we posted, butyou can find links to our four monsters HERE. This was a fun challenge, and The Forge is a great random generator to work with--we've been meaning to try it out but have held off for one reason or another, but now that we've taken the plunge, we expect to be using it again fairly soon. Thanks for setting this into motion!

  24. a semi-sentient liquid that escaped into Creation through a gap in the sky, Jade Flaw Brine finds and attacks any small defect in the products of Heaven. It is said that the brine is the reason the Immortal Emperors die - it attacks their essences ethereally, picking them apart from the inside. The same brine will slowly erode any of the heavenly magic items - the jade crown, ring and scepter of command, the Green Destiny sword, the Jade Dragon and the psychopomp Barque of Heaven that carries the dying emperors back to their maker, among others. It is highly sought after by the red-hairs and other malefactors, because it provides the only known means for escaping the Celestial Prison. The brine is not itself evil, however: it exists to test the gods and their resolve, to prevent the final triumph of their law.