Monday, March 19, 2012

Three Terrors

I know some people probably look a stuff like my last post-- me trying to systematically look at the creative aspect of D&D-- with distaste.  And I suppose I could keep that stuff "off screen" and just share what results I come up with.  But I like doing that stuff.  And I'm always hoping it will help others by being tool-like in their own creating.  That being said, here are some monster ideas as a pay off from that dry post.  They didn't exactly result from that last chart but did come from me bouncing my brain off of it.

Thin Woman
You see her at the edge of lantern light, Emaciated woman with a slow and unsteady gait.  She will walk off into the darkness.  Later, you will dream of her squatting over you, mouth close, pulling your life into her pearl by pearl.  She will keep what is yours (all but one hit point, or all but one Con point for one hit point types) unless you find her nest in that same place and recover those pearls.

Every time an adventurer dies it adds to the gloom of the place they fell.  It becomes muffled and harder to notice things there (make surprise more likely by one pip, hear noise less likely).  The pall cast on such a place takes shape as a muzzy old man, growing in size with each tragedy (and hit dice) crouching to fit in the still dark.  If bothered, it's said he'll strike out like a creature of his size.  Best to leave the place a tomb forever.

Cinder Child
Sometimes, sitting at a fire underground you'll notice another sitting with you.  Small, dark, head hung motionless.  If you touch or acknowledge the child-like shape, it will berate you in a low wheezy voice for as long as your failings require, when it crumbles to a pile of cinders.  This is bad, for now each blow you strike will go first towards its woe (damage done by the afflicted player, in any combat, must go through the child's hit points [2HD?], before the player can do damage to any other target).  Some say it speaks in the voice of dead relatives or hired men.  Be virtuous friend, and light no fires, but under the sky.


  1. Cool. What I think makes these interesting is they suggest a story--not in the sense of a plot for characters to follow, but a story that has gone on before that the player's just happen to interesect. I think stuff like this adds depth to the world.

  2. Love these. I think the Cinder child is my favorite I imagine it's curse manifesting as a smog like figure manifesting around whatever the player is targeting looking both sinister and pitiful.

    Your systematic approach is clearly working, and that's all that matters.

  3. The Thin Woman and Pall are instant favourites. Like Trey says, the stories suggest events that happens regardless of the players' actions.

    I'd have the Think Woman use the pearls to fill out a necklace she's carrying (empty at first). Find her, kill her and retrieve her necklace (or steal it from her).

    Or! Find her nest, as you wrote. There she's sitting on tiny white eggs (the pearls), brooding. If the eggs hatch, the player loses the hit points permanently.

  4. Completely and utterly awesome. I agree with Trey; these fit into a sandbox so well. They suggest backstory, but backstory is not necessary unless the characters really want to pursue an investigation. I can already see a place where the Thin Woman will fit in PERFECTLY into my current campaign.

    Not to mention that, done properly, these three will creep the living daylights out of most normal players/characters.

  5. Thanks, all.

    I tried to make it so that they can be a way the players affect the game world too, at least with the pall-- all their deaths literally making a dungeon gloomier. And maybe with the cinder child showing up when players have been going through hirelings like butter. Don't know about the thin woman, just thinking of anorexic women gives me the willys.

    I hope they give your players a scare.

  6. I like these an awful lot, and I may adapt these into my Mage: the Awakening game. I would love to see more posts along these lines!

  7. Goddammit Telcanter, make another monster book already.

  8. I know I already said how I great I think these things are, but I just thought of a great way to use them (and some monsters like them I thought of) in my campaign so I thought I'd stop by again to compliment them.

  9. So what happens if you come across a Thin Woman's nest when she's fed off someone else? Why, you get bonus HP, of course! (And maybe you earn the enmity of the poor sap whose HP she stole when he finds out who killed "his" Thin Woman...)

  10. Than you all very much.

    @Brandes: I'll hit the engineering aspect again and see if I can come up with any interesting concepts.

    @Blair: I'll see what I can do.

    @Syrus, I really appreciate that.

    @RMDC: Or maybe you become the Thin Woman . . . :)

  11. As always, you are consistently excellent. Keep up the good work.

  12. I might add this to the thin woman's description:

    The thin woman is insubstantial and cannot be targeted by attacks. She cannot be tracked or captured, and will always disappear around a corner or fade out of sight into the gloom when followed.

  13. Wow, thank you. And yeah, maybe she is incorporeal unless she hass pearls on her/in her nest.