Tuesday 20 March 2012

Random Campaign Setting Major Races

Let's play a game. Take the 2nd edtion AD&D Monstrous Manual (or any bestiary of your choice), and randomly select 2d6 monsters from it using this.

For the Monstous Manual this is between 1 and 1,089 (the number of monsters in the book), or you could do it by page number if that's easier. 

If you get something unintelligent or of animal intelligence, imagine an intelligent version.

These selections are the dominant intelligent races of a campaign world. You now have to figure out how to build a setting around them.

I got 6:

Jackalwere, beaver, sirine, ankheg, wererat, satyr. I'll talk about a campaign world idea based on them tomorrow.


  1. I like it - can't wait to see what you come up with. Could be a really useful exercise for planar travels.

  2. I got:

    Storm giant
    Bee, giant
    Gas Spore
    Brain Mole
    Slithering Tracker
    Death Knight

    Uh... gimme a sec, here.

    1. That's a nice selection. Love what you did with the Gas Spore.

  3. OK, post-apocalyptic, purple mountains, sweeping deserts, airy voids, stone outcroppings, weird forests filled with strange and fantastic flora and fauna.

    These are the predominant species. They husband/hunt the other intelligent races, living semi-nomadically and taking all their food, resources, meat etc from others. They travel on a circuit so as not to overhunt any one area. They have sophisticated art, culture, music, tool-making etc but it's not really appreciable by humans.

    Deformed and stunted descendants of man. They eke out a decent living farming but are subject to the predations of the thri-keen who raid their crops and hunt them for food. They build their homes in burrows for better protection against enemies and the elements. PCs are halflings of one sort or another.

    Wise, sinister, solitary reptilian custodians of knowledge. They watch over the entrances to the ancient cities and guard libraries of collected tomes. They have strange diets and strange obsessions. They will sometimes dispense cryptic knowledge, when the mood takes them, but they are very dangerous. Supplicants must ask all their questions from kowtow to avoid catching a glimpse and being turned to stone/salt/ash/quivering hunks of meat.

    Storm giant
    These are the other end of human evolution. They still possess the ancient technologies that grant them control of lightning (electricity). They never set foot in the valleys and deserts where halflings dwell as they can only survive in the rarefied atmosphere atop high mountain ranges and peaks, where they ponder the imponderables from their gleaming metal towers or occasionally take sojourns to other planets.

    Bee, giant
    The major food source of the thri-keen, who steal their larvae and honey. Giant bees have a weird communal intelligence and communicate through dance or through the humming voice of thousands of vibrating wings. They build vast twisted labyrinth-cities in great towers above the ground that constantly fall into disuse and decay as the hive builds ever further and higher until they eventually abandon their cities when their queen dies and scatter in all directions to go to who knows where, leaving the hulking wrecks behind them.

    1. Gas Spore
      Gas spores you're kidding me. Okay, they're the genetically engineered clones of a now-extinct alien race, originally drones but have achieved intelligence since their masters' downfall, and now they've spread out from their ruined city-ships and drifted across the world all inscrutable and spreading their alien spores, which grow this dense purple weed and all the other fungus monsters from the MM and FF, which are all natural creatures from the gas spores' home ecosystem.

      Brain mole
      Parasitic creatures resembling star-faced moles that ride around on their host's shoulder/neck/spine after using their facial tendrils to bond with their brain and central nervous system. They don't control their hosts like puppets but grant them autonomy and special abilities & psychic powers in exchange for protection and mental energy. This is what clerics are.

      Slithering Tracker
      God damnit. Alright, there are all sorts of jellies and slimes grown from the cast-offs of ancient societies but these are the only ones to gain proper intelligence. The other races think of them like the boogeyman because they slide through invisible cracks and drain all your blood while you're sleeping, leaving no trace, and because they can take on the translucent form of any person or object, and because they lurk in pools and rise up in the form of striking serpents or beautiful transparent women and pour down your throat and dissolve your insides.

      These are energy/gas beings, so... they act pretty must like fairies, I guess, they're sometimes malicious and sometimes helpful. They tend to gather in big groups on the outskirts of villages whenever somebody's dying. They can't interact with normal matter usually, but you can communicate with them if you can get a shuttered lantern and some coloured glass. Sometimes (if they steal a dying person's soul) they can take on corporeal form and pretend to be people, aka “elves”.

      Death Knight
      These guys hang out in the ancient buried cities in their crypts/stasis pods waiting to be awakened by foolish explorers so that they can pass their antediluvian judgement on this miserable latter-day world. They have total command of all the mechanical pit traps, sliding stone blocks, secret doors and other automated defence systems within their domain.

    2. I would absolutely play this game. Actually I think I may steal it for mine.

  4. Let's try:
    Living wall (cities are alive and somewhat mobile, and can reproduce- Maybe they live in a simbyotic relasionship with other beings)
    Scorpion (a race of inteligent giant scorpions that uses their pincers to build tools, weapons and armors. they live in the desert, maybe in living cities)
    Lensman (those bizarre, beholder like monsters are in a permanent war with scorpions, and live too in living cities. They are the big bad boys in the settings)
    Rat (inteligent, hiveminded rats are slaved by lensman, mainly due emotions spells that broke the hive mind. rats have simple oposite digits that allow them to use tools and weapons).
    Marid (the world is a large desert surrounded for a wild ocean, populaded by a overly complex society of marid. They have a cold war with lensmen, and the marids have agents that helps scorpions and rats)
    Crystal Ooze (the underworld is populated by dire and inteligent crystal oozes, that can take serpetine forms. They are a magical race created by an ancient rat-sorcerer, as a secret weapon again the lensmen. But the spell misfires, the crystal oozes extended to all the underworld, the rats fled to the desert surface and where slaved by the lensmen)
    The playable races are rats and scorpion, but marids, lensmen, living walls and crystal oozes are available too with DM's approbal. Scorpions are more fighter/clerics, and rats are more rogue/mage.
    Lensman have a customized class, with biological powers and mutations; marids are always thiefs/wizards, and crystal are figthers with special attacks. The living walls are clerics, and are follower of Hawksmoor, the god of cities.

    1. "Dire and intelligent crystal oozes" - I bet nobody has ever put those 5 words together in a sentence before.

  5. Aboleth
    Mummy, Greater
    Silver Dragon
    Elf, Drow
    Dragon Turtle
    Emerald Dragon

    Oh dear... I think this might be Rifts.

  6. Githyanki
    Lolth, Demon Queen of Spiders
    Shadow Demon

    Hmmm... Githyanki PCs venturing forth from their astral spacecrafts to raid a dark forest world dominated by the xenophobic Needlemen and predatory Caterwauls. Many vertical shafts lead underground from the forest floor, some of which are Meenlock lairs (who come out at night to hunt the Needlemen) while others lead to the great web of pitch-black caves inhabited by the bloated form of Lolth, Demon Queen of Spiders who is engaged in a war across many planes of reality with the sinister and mysterious Shadow Demons.

    Lolth is ruler of an underground Empire inhabited by her slave/vassal subjects, the Grimlocks (not Morlocks, honest). Snyads and Jermlaine (aka Jinxkins if you read the fluff in the FF) are scavengers hiding from the Grimlocks.

    Below Lolth's Empire is the Great Underground Boiling Sea and it's colonies of Thork, 3HD storks made of copper and breathing boiling water (it says here...)

    Both Grimlocks and Caterwauls are the degenerate forms of once-great races, the ruins of their ancient civilizations are to be found (and looted) below the ground and under the forest canopy respectively.

  7. And all illustrated by Russ Nicholson of course!

  8. Just a question: where is a numbered list of these 1.089 monsters ready to use?

  9. I did it with Labyrinth Lord, since that's what I have sitting at my desk currently. I got 5 and they were:

    Bat, Giant

    I'll post what I come up with over at my blog.

  10. games! I used http://www.lomion.de/cmm/_index.php so you know I got winners.
    Quekzorn, Ingundi, Locathah, tynnid , flareater and hephaeston giant.

    Okay so the world is flat disk, covered in a shallow sea, which is gets no deeper than 100 metres, and generally 2-3 metres. Islands poke up out of the clear blue sea that are ruined half fused cities are overgrown with the now wild gardens. Other islands are formed from toppled stone statues, formerly 100 of stories tall. These statutes are riddled with catacombs, tracing what would be the circulatory system. Bridges to nowhere , massive mangroves and ladder citys that reach the now tethered small moon. The flareater are a race of intelligent slime philosophers descended from an ancient war weapon. They make themselves bamboo puppet like shells in order to move around. They desire to build all the way to the sun, so they may devour it's light, allowing the world to finally die and the new one to begin.

    THe sun is a great machine and furnace , maintained by the Hephaeston giants, who have split into various bitterly waring mathematician clans, each proclaiming it only knows how to run the sun machine correctly , and reverse entropy.

    The locathah may of been the builders of the citys long ago, but now, fish formed to better survive, they scratch out a simple existence. SOme rebel against the stagnation and chase the rumors of a world on the other side of the flatworld, that maybe reached through Byzantine vaults and corridors worming down from the cities and statues.
    Others attempt listen to the lies and truths of the Tynnid, who fly beyond the stars. They say that there is many worlds still out there, and the Otherside below and will take a young locathah with them if they can muster up the toll. No-one knows if this is Tynnid trick, for they are marauders and thieves as well as messagers.

    Lastly the giant Quelzorn , who dive into the tunnels below and nudge up sunken land and mountains so this dying world may stagger onward


    2. ah butts.
      I forgot about them. Okay the ingundi are nomads, going from locathah community to locathah , like gypsy, performing plays with their illusions, and telling fortunes, and going into trances to find the sleeping remnants of the gods to plead with them to intervene in matters of the locathah

  11. I used borges 'Book of Imaginary Beings.'

    This is what I got:-

    The Chinese Phoenix
    The Tigers of Annam
    The Norns
    The Lunar Hare

    Post is here

  12. Talk about "my elves are different". This is definitely going on top of the to-campaign pile.

  13. My take (please forgive my English):

    - Ghost (cool)
    - Monkey (oh fuck)
    - Purple worm
    - Troll, sweetwater.
    - Spider, Huge
    - Fungus, Ascomid (ouch!)

    The Wood is a extensive forest in the style of the best euro-fantasy-BD comics: giant threes, bizarre-colored fungus and flowers, weird monsters, etc.
    An ancient, magnificent human (or humanoid) civilization once flourished in the Wood milennia ago, but all that remains are the colossal ruined cities, choked by vegetation, its vaults full of spectres, monsters and treasure.

    - Monkeys: the monkeys were raised as pets and servants by the nobles of the ancient civilization. Since the disappearance of their masters, the monkeys have developed their own culture in the branches of the massive threes. There are several tribes (chimps, macaque, lemurs, etc) living in arboreal villages with Dark Ages-level technology (I picture them like the pecks of Willow... with a bit of Ewoks). The monkeys are the primary PC race: brave warriors, cunning shamans and resourceful explorers.

    - Spiders: the centers of civilization in the Wood are the city-states of the huge, inteligent spiders. The spiders have reclaimed some of the ruined cities and restored them, creating bustling hubs of comerce, learning and intrigue. The spiders have no hands, so they kept city-monkeys as servants to craft fine goods, write their chronicles and fight the frecuent wars between the city-states, (Renaissance-spider-Italy, anyone?)

    - River Trolls: the foe of both the monkey villages and spider cities are the barbaric river trolls. These savage tribes dominate the Great River that cut across the Wood (a Mississippi/Amazonas alike), bursting from the muddy waters to raid the mainland. The river trolls live and kept their eggs in underwater mud fortresses, but often they navigate the Great River in big rafts ("jangadas") as war or trade parties.

    - Ghosts: the ghosts of the ancient civilization un-live in a ciclopean ruined metropolis in the top of a mesa, surrounded by the Wood. Here, the ghosts raise every night to reenact the glory of their former empire, damned for all eternity. The city of ghosts is taboo for all the beings in the woods... and, of course, a primary target for adventures searching for riches and ancient secrets.

    - Purple Worms: the purple worms are the dragons of the Wood. Old, evil and greedy, the worms dig a true labyrinth of tunnels under the soil and roots of the Wood, looking for ancient riches. They sleep in the crypts and vaults of buried cities, coiled around their hoards, waiting for foolish parties of tomb-robbers.

    - Ascomids: the Swamp in the heart of the Wood is the home of the Ascomid, the Most Ancient Ones. These fungal philosophers are practically inmortal owing to their weird reproductive cycles and remember secrets lost in the myst of time. Scholars and adventurers face the dangers of the Swamp to learn at the "feet" of the ascomid masters. The ascomids are not too much interested in the younger races and spend their time hoovering through their gas-bags or rooting themselves to discuss obscure matters with fellow thinkers.

  14. I came up with a weird list. No idea how I'll tie it together. But the idea of chupacabras as a PC race is something I can't turn down:


  15. Using the OpenD6 Fantasy Creatures...

    I rolled 7

    Giang Shi

    This will take me a bit...

  16. Using the Dragon Warriors Bestiary


    Sabre-Tooth Tiger
    Tapestry Wards
    Wild Boar
    Ire Goblin
    Water Leaper

    Tapestry Wards, eh? We'll see about this...