Thursday, June 18, 2009

Monster Examples: Apes, Toads, Orbs, and Golems

I've gotten a lot of great examples from posters regarding my RFM (Request For Monsters). I figure in response, I'll post a few rough draft examples of what I've worked up so far. These are working drafts, and probably will get some kind of re-edit, but should give readers an idea of what a typical monster entry will look like.

As for stat explanations: Monsters have just six out of the eighteen standard Tankards and Broadswors skills - Three combat, three non-combat. Attack and Defense are the usual, with Attack broken down between Melee (M) and Ranged (R) depending on what the creature is capable of, and Reflexes has to do with who goes first in a combat round. Athletics covers things like climbing, chasing, breaking down barriers, and also factors in if the creature uses a Charge Attack. Detection is how aware and capable its senses are, and Stealth is how sneaky it is. Avoid, Endure, and Resist are "Peril Checks" (read: Saves). Health is how many hits the creature has (by comparison, the "average joe" has 6, most NPC bad guys have 12, and PCs have 24), Armor soaks damage, and Damage is the modifier added to the 1d damage roll in addition to how much the attack roll succeeds by. Note that all skill and Peril modifiers are between +0 and +6, but can go higher (or lower) under the right circumstances.

And with that, here's the monsters...

Ape, Blood

Attack: +4M/+2R
Defense: +3
Reflexes: +2

Athletics: +6
Detection: +2
Stealth: +2

Avoid: +2
Endure: +6
Resist: +0

Health: 24
Armor: 2
Damage: +2M/+1R


Blood Apes appear to be similar in size and proportion to a gorilla, standing about five feet tall, with broad shoulders and immensely strong arms and hands. The thick, shaggy fur of a Blood ape is a deep crimson, giving them their name as it appears as if the beast's fur has been coated in dried blood.


There is a cruel and bloodthirsty intelligence that drives Blood Apes to aggressively patrol their territory and kill any creatures they find, especially humans or other sentient species. Some theorize that Blood Apes are actually quite intelligent, and their actions are only seen as especially "violent" because they are considered animals, not sentient creatures defending their home territory.

Others believe Blood Apes are actually influenced, if not controlled, by some malign intelligence or force that lurks in the deepest and darkest of jungles, where the Blood Apes sometimes drag off humans and perhaps sacrifice them to some ancient primordial jungle beast-god. Ruins, idols, and other artefacts found in proximity to where Blood Apes have been found seem to lend credibility to these rumors, although no one has entered their territory and lived to prove these theories one way or another.


Any creature that gets discovered within the Blood Ape's territory will be immediately attacked as long as the Blood Apes have enough numbers to take on the intruders (Blood Apes typically won't attack unless there's at least parity of numbers in their favor). Not subtle creatures, Blood Apes attack with a roar and a leap (use the Charge Attack combat maneuver if desired), smashing their targets to the ground and beating them to a pulp with their enormous fists or, occasionally, a crude stone or wooden club. Some Blood Apes have been seen throwing skull-sized rocks with surprising accuracy, often as a tactic to knock their targets out of tree branches or other locations the Blood Apes cannot get to due to their bulk.

On rare occasions (1d/6+), Blood Apes will attack to subdue, rather than kill, an opponent. This victim, once knocked senseless, will be dragged back to the Blood Ape's lair deep in the jungle, where they will be killed in what would seem to be some form of ritualized manner - either torn to pieces by a number of Apes, or beaten to death, or simply crushed in the creature's enormously strong grip.

Batrachian (aka "Toad-Man")

Attack: +5M/+3R
Defense: +3
Reflexes: +0

Athletics: +3 (+5 in Water)
Detection: +2 (+4 in Water)
Stealth: +2 (+4 in Water)

Avoid: +2 (+4 in Water)
Endure: +4
Resist: +0

Health: 12
Armor: 2/8
Damage: +2M/+1R (Poison)


Batrachians appear as large humanoid amphibians, standing roughly seven feet tall when fully upright, with long, powerful limbs covered in a thick, warty green hide. Their eyes are wide-set and bulging, their mouths immense and filled with narrow, needle-sharp teeth. Their hands and feet are both webbed, but each finger or toe is tipped with a sharp claw.

Batrachians are very strong, and what they lack in grace on land, they more than make up for in their natural habitat. Their simple and robust amphibian physiology allows them to suffer great physical abuse, but their savage, degenerate state means their minds are simple and easy to manipulate, either through subterfuge or through sorcery.


Batrachians (also known as "Toad-Men") are the degenerate remnants of a long-vanished humanoid-amphibian race that fell from civilization long ages ago. While the reasons for their fall are unclear, it is rumored that most of their cities existed close to bodies of water, and because of some ages-past cataclysm, their cities were flooded and most of their ancient knowledge was lost.

The Batrachians have since lurked in the depths of their swamps, still inhabiting the crumbling, half-submerged remains of their ancestor's glory. From time to time, the Batrachians will slip raiding perties down rivers and streams to catch and carry off hapless humans, who are taken deep into the swamps, never to be seen again (rumor has it they are sacrificed to the Batrachain's ancestral spirits).


While they are somewhat awkward and clumsy on dry land, within the watery realm of their swamps or any inhabitable body of water, the Batrachians are extraordinarily deadly opponents, employing ambushes and surprise attacks to great effect. It is almost impossible to penetrate into their territory to any degree without being noticed, and soon after an ambush party will be positioned with great cunning to strike the intruders with a volley of poisoned spears, slashing swords, and leaping bodies.

Batrachians typically fight with strange artefact weapons made from an unusual bronze-like alloy. They weild heavy two-handed swords and hurl spears as their only missile weapons (their anatomy is unsuited for archery). Their size and strength (about half again that of a strong man) makes them brutal foes in battle, and they care little for defense (their Defense of +3 is more due to their ferocity than any sense of self-preservation). Batrachians also harvest deadly poisons from all manner of swamp plants and cretures, typically smearing the poison on their spear points. Anyone wounded by a Batrachain spear must make a BP 10 Endure check or suffer 1d points of Poison damage (plus the Negative Balance of the roll).

Batrachians have a tough, leathery hide that serves as a natural Light armor, but if encountered in their own half-sunken cities, elite Batrachian guards may be found wearing Heavy armor made from the same bronze-like alloy as their weapons (note that their natural armor combines its rating with the Heavy armor in this case).

Guardian Orb

Attack: +4R
Defense: +4
Reflexes: +4

Athletics: +0
Detection: +4
Stealth: +0

Avoid: +4
Endure: +4
Resist: +4

Health: 12
Armor: 6
Damage: +2R (See Below)


Guardian Orbs are silvery-gray metallic spheres approximately 2 feet in diameter. They have a small dark indentation at the base of the sphere and a thin dark band around its equator, and a number of small studs and bumps cover its surface along with a thin tracery of wire-like patterning. The Orb hovers approximately three feet off the ground, and moves silently up or down, and side to side in any direction necessary. The Orb emits a constant low humming sound, but otherwise makes no noise.


Believed to be a remnant from a long-dead advanced civilization, Guardian Orbs can be found floating around ancient ruins and remote locations. Occasionally one will be discovered wandering aimlessly, but more often than not they remain in one place or move in a constant pattern, as if patrolling a set route or defined area.

There is no known way to communicate with a Guardian Orb. Anyone who approaches an Orb is immediately attacked without question. It is rumored that there might exist an artifact from their creator civilization that may allow one to control or be protected against the Orbs, but this has never been solidly proven. All that's known is that anyone who comes near an Orb is attacked as long as they remain in an area considered protected by the Orb. However, although the Orbs will ignore anyone or anything outside of their "patrol zone", if they are attacked, the Orbs will defend themselves, pursuing targets if necessary until the threat has either been eliminated or driven away.


Guardian Orbs have three modes of attack. The first, and longest ranged, is a bolt of destructive energy that is fired at targets up to 20 meters away. The Orb fires 1d bolts a combat round - one attack roll is made against all targets (the bolts are treated as normal Heavy missile weapon attacks), and the bolts are distributed evenly amongst targets, starting with the closest target and working downrange.

The second ranged attack form is a cone-shaped blast of electrical energy, reaching out 10 meters and affecting an area up to 5 meters wide at its furthest point. Anyone within the cone's area of effect must make an Avoid check with a BP equal to the Orb's ranged attack roll. Failure means taking 2d + the Negative Balance in Electrical damage.

The third ranged attack form is a wave of neural disruptive energy that pulses out from the Orb to a distance of 5 meters. Anyone within this range must make an Endure check equal to the Orb's ranged attack roll. Failure means suffering an action penalty equal to the Negative Balance for 1d combat rounds.

Soul Golem

Attack: +3M
Defense: +0
Reflexes: +0

Athletics: +3
Detection: +3
Stealth: +0

Avoid: +0
Endure: +6
Resist: +6

Health: 24 (See Below)
Armor: 0 (See Below)
Damage: +0


Soul Golems appear as eerily-glowing versions of the creatures they once were. They are opaque, although the radiance they give off seems to come from within their flesh, not from the surface of their skin. Soul Golems do not appear to carry weapons, and while they may have clothes or armor, this material serves no protective function as it is made of the same pseudo-flesh the rest of the golem is formed from.


Created through blasphemous alien science, Soul Golems are automatons comprised of a kind of pseudo-flesh that is infued with energy derived from the harvested souls of living creatures. When the pseudo-flesh is moulded into the shape of the golem, it takes on the appearance of whatever creature the soul energy came from, at the time of death.

Soul Golems are usually created and fielded en masse as armies of implacably advancing automatons. They have no will of their own aside from the need to kill, and while still dangerous if uncontrolled they are much more dangerous if controlled as a single cohesive unit. Soul Golems are especially useful if created using the souls of those who were formerly friends and allies of those they are sent against, as often their opponents may hesitate to strike against a creature that bears the appearance, no matter how unnatural, of a former friend or comerade.


Soul Golems are dangerous for three main reasons. First, while they are not especially skillful, they are utterly without fear, and can do battle without growing tired or worn down. Second, while they can be hacked and chopped and stabbed and clubbed, a Soul Golem continues to fight in some fashion until it is chopped apart to the point where it is physically incapable of doing harm. Third, and most horribly, once they have been hacked to pieces, given enough time (2d Rounds) even the most badly dismembered Soul Golem will put itself back together into some semblence of form and ocntinue with the attack, even if the parts and pieces combined together belong to different Golems. Individual pieces will seek out other pieces and form back together again unless something prevents them from attaching to other pieces.

The only way to permanently destroy a Soul Golem is to either disrupt the soul energy that keeps them functioning, or to physically destroy the golem using fire, acid, or some other force that will break down the Golem's pseudo-flesh. Note that non-magical fire, acid, or other energy-type attacks will only inflict half their normal damage - the best defense against a Soul Golem is usually magical disruption or dissolution of some kind.

There we have 'em. Comments, questions, thoughts? Extra Tankard Points for anyone who can spot where the Batrachians and Soul Golems come from - hint: they're both out of the same source material.

1 comment:

Tacoma said...

They're both from Killer Klowns from Outer Space.