Awesome Monster Builder

At last. It’s alive!

Here is a monster builder that answers 6 basic questions about your monster, then fits it out with talents and flaws. There are 100 monster talents, and 19 monster flaws. That, along with the theme element, Wound generator, armor generator, intelligence level, and natural weapons means you get some pretty unique monsters every time. I am very proud of this.

Monsters

Here are three sample monsters I generated with this method. Your players won’t know anything about them, because I just made them up… Special thanks to Jack Shear and Dyson Logos for inspiration for monster talents.

Deathtower. Wounds: 12. Armor: Light. Weapons: Reach (tendrils).

The deathtower is about 4 meters tall, about 1,200 pounds. It is a wavering pillar of eye-stinging yellow and green runes that smoke and hiss, and it appears to be empty except for a faint shimmer inside. It does not move, or seem responsive to outside stimuli except for the chanted invocation for it to use its powers. Tendrils form out of it, wavering around it almost aimlessly.

  • Multiple Tendrils. Constant. It has 6 tendrils. Half the tendrils will usually use protect actions for the body. Each tendril can take 2 Wounds before being too crippled to fight on; this does not count towards its Wounds.
  • Bargainer. Constant. It can make a trade with a character, reducing Commitment and increasing another attribute. It keeps 1 of every 3 moved. If the target doesn’t have enough Commitment, it can harvest permanent Wounds instead.
  • Deathnode. 3 AP. Focus action. It can raise 2d5 wounds of servitor undead from corpses in its arena.

The local tribe worship this thing as a conduit to their savage gods, and the shamen manipulate it to give their warriors greater strength or cunning as their will drains into the alien monolith. They will defend it with their lives, and bring any they slay to the deathtower to be raised as undead sentinels to guard the village.

Mnor, Invincible Giant. Wounds: 15. Armor: Very Heavy. Weapons: Vary.

Towering at 5 meters and well over a ton, the General’s meat looks like muscle without skin, pulled tight and hardened. Hairless, the giant’s flesh is as tough as stone. Mnor goes nude but for a loincloth and battle harness, so all can see the runes of dark favor the gods scripted on his armored body. Mnor is a genius tactician, even more terrifying at strategy than he is in combat…

  • Lifedrain. 3 AP. When Mnor strikes as a focus action, half the damage he inflicts heals his Wounds.
  • Displacer Field. Constant. Always on unless it is voluntarily off, projecting a weird haze around Mnor so he cannot be seen clearly. Attacks requiring sight are -4 to hit. A 10 on the Face Die allows the attacker to ignore the field, but does not do +1 Wound.
  • Silver Allergy (Flaw). If touched by silver, he dies if he rolls above a 5 on 1d10. He can sense silver in his arena.

The General has gathered a massive army and is marching on the western mountains, seeking out the silver mines there and collapsing them before turning his attention to the cities of the south. A prophecy troubles him, and he is looking for something. He claims to be unkillable, and maybe that’s true, but then again, maybe it isn’t.

Dusk Stroller. Wounds: 13. Armor: Light. Weapons: Light, Reach, V. Heavy.

These reptilian monstrosities took their camouflage too far. Enchanted to infiltrate during sieges, they can assume the form of a pretty streetwalker, but their intellect does not exceed that of a clever predator. They lure targets somewhere isolated. They kiss, if they can, and let the poison do its work. If that fails, then the flesh shreds away and the horrific beast emerges; scythe-like arms on its back whicker out, its poisoned and fanged maw gnashes, and its giant fists come down like wrecking hammers. When it gets dark, don’t talk to pretty women you don’t know, or you might be poisoned and dragged into the depths.

  • Enervating Venom. Constant. Anyone it kisses or bites loses 1d5 Brawn. Targets reduced to -3 go limp for 1d5 hours, but are still aware of pain and surroundings. Nothing can revive them faster (unless there is an antidote).
  • Humanshape. Constant. As a focus action, it can appear to be human. As a free action during the move phase, it sheds its form and looks like a monster again.
  • Popular Components (Flaw). Its poison is highly sought after.
  • Light Allergy (Flaw). If exposed to the equivalent of daylight, it dies if it rolls above a 5 on 1d10. It can see fine in the dark.

Shady types will pay up to 100 gold per vial of the stroller venom; without modification, it is supremely useful as a drug to assure compliance from people who might otherwise make a fuss…

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7 Responses to Awesome Monster Builder

  1. Karlen says:

    The Wizard Gallendor’s Sphyrix

    Wreathed in the spiraling, light blue, runes of an age long before the ancients and sprouting several archaic limbs, the Sphyrix is a living invention of a race unknown. Discovered by the evil Wizard Gallendor as he fled from Paladins in the caves of the Undermountain, the wizard witnessed the 2.5 meters tall Sphyrix systematically killed the paladins with a combination of cunning, savagery, and tactical brilliance. The Sphyrix’s dark skin is not skin at all but a living stone unknown to any blacksmith and can withstand considerable amounts of damage without actually hurting him and its brawny forearms pound heavily into flesh and stone with the same lethal destruction. The spines on its broad back serve as camouflage but when you hear the rattling of bones you had best look out, because that is the sound of the Sphyrix preparing to shoot those very same spines with a twitch of a muscle. When the Sphyrix is using its brawny arms to climb and cling to surfaces it will use the razor sharp talons on its feet to carve even the most sturdy armor to ribbons.

    —————-
    Eye Stinging Runes

    7 Wounds (2.5 Meters Tall)

    3 Appendages
    -Very Heavy (Brawny Arms)
    -Reach (Back Spines)
    -Light (Talon back feet)

    Monster Cunning 20% possible speech

    Heavy Armor

    Talents:
    89. Tear Armor. 1 AP. When it hits, spend 1 AP to reduce the target’s armor by 1level in addition to damage
    76. Ring of Retribution. Constant. Every character that scores a Wound on the creature in melee range
    receives a Wound
    77. Rotbite. Constant. Anyone hit with this attack loses 1d5 Wounds. If taken to 0, the target is
    automatically bleeding out. Gangrene and putrescence sets in the moment the attack hits. Targets
    must rest for at least 6 hours with competent medical care before rotbite wounds heal.

    Flaws:
    12. Popular Components. Its fluids, bones, meat, organs, etc. provide spell components for some
    common and sought after magical effects. (Often extracted by Gallendor to use for powerful magic)
    —————-

  2. Tim D. says:

    Very cool. I bought a ton of old Mage Knight figures, and have just made up random stuff in my head, but these charts will really speed that process up.

    Still think there’s a need for your traditional monster writeup. But put those two together and that should be all anyone needs.

    Again, great job!

  3. fictivite says:

    @Tim: you know, I’ve had this [https://fictivefantasies.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/old-school-hack-monsters-11.pdf] posted for quite a while. It has the name, AC, Wounds, brief description, and talents. Is that the kind of thing you’re looking for? What would be more helpful?

  4. Tim D. says:

    I’ve used this for awhile, great resource. Earlier you mentioned putting together a Monster Manual of sorts. I think the OSH monster list plus your Monster Builder together in a single document should be all anyone would ever need.

  5. fictivite says:

    Thanks! One companion piece to the monster builder is the geomorph stocker project I’ve been working on for many months. One of the sticking points was the deep sigh that came with realizing I was going to need to make a huge bestiary to really realize my vision for how the stocker would work. Then I hit upon this plan–the monster randomizer.

    Now I think that a DM can build a working bestiary with time and continuing adventure in a setting, just as the creators of D&D did. Minions and toughs (guards) are easy, and you can add a single talent if re-skinning isn’t distinctive enough. If you have cool ideas for monsters, write them up! If you want to use the resource of the monster builder (but not randomize) it is a toolbox. And if you get stuck creatively, roll something up and make a home for it in the world. (I’m also going to make a swarm and vermin generator.) Keep what you make, mythologize it, re-use it, riff off it, grow your world.

    Wrenching loose of the idea that I need to do a whole bestiary to finish my stocker has been tremendously helpful to my creative process.

    The middle ground I think I’ll take is to work up a default setting for Fictive Hack and begin that mythologizing and stocking process for that default setting. That can be the center or jumping-off point for a new campaign, or it can serve as inspiration to show how it is done.

    This is the middle ground I offer. It doesn’t require the pure gush of creativity and sensibility for game design that Old School Hack requires. It also avoids the set, published, player-accessible prefabrication of the game world. In this middle space, you’ve got a lot more tools to make your world, but it’s still your world to make.

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