Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Ultimate Sandbox: Supplement II - Blackmoor Part 3

FIRE LIZARD: They look like large grey dragons without wings, and are even known as False Dragons. Not only do they look like dragons, but they share similar habits as well, like keeping treasures hoards and sealing their caves to sleep for ten years at a time. Though they only take 10 years to mature, they live for a century, and can go as long as ten years without eating. Unlike dragons, though, they hate their kids. They can breathe fire, though damage is small, and are immune to fire in return.

What's interesting is that Fire Lizards are believed to be the ancestors of present day dragons. And not only that, but Dragons will avoid fighting them. I see no reason not to make this true, unless I come up with something I like better in the meantime.

Basically, a big lizard with horns and not much else to recommend it.

ELASMOSAURUS: Dinosaurs! These guys are swimmers with long necks, whose 'favourite trick' is to snatch crewmen from passing ships.

MOSASAURUS: Another marine dino that likes to overturn small watercraft.

PLESIOSAURUS: Vicious sea serpents that are an endangered species (because other dinosaurs are so common?).

I love dinosaurs, but most of the time I find them a bit out of place in D&D. The land dinos work when placed in a Lost World type setting, but the aquatic ones are great anywhere - they don't seem quite so out of place when you think about how medieval sailors feared giant sea monsters.

GIANT SHARK: Let me repeat: Giant. Shark. They are pretty much like a regular shark, but bigger - big enough for a Hobbit to be noted as 'bite-sized'. There's an interesting note at the end that they are a hereditary enemy of Mermen. Weird.

WHALE: Of all the animals that haven't yet been statted up, we need a whale? They're generally peaceful, but if attacked they will batter and swallow their enemy. And remember: 'There is a 1% chance per hit point that their immense bellies will hold treasure'. Plus their oil and flesh are valuable, so go hunt these suckers down. I'm pretty sure the entire Japanese whaling industry is predicated on that 1-in-100 chance.

GIANT EELS: They live in tidal areas or rivers, and can give electric shocks, which get more powerful the stronger the eel is.

LAMPREY: Like leeches they drain blood, but get this: they drain it at a rate of one level per hit point. Really? Is a drain of 18 levels a round possible from a friggin' lamprey? And then it says that they drain blood very quickly (2-5 turns). I'm at a loss for what that means - so I need to interpret I guess. I suppose the lamprey sucks blood for 2-5 turns, at the end of which time it is sated. I'm running the level drain as being one level per hit point, but not per round. That will be the total amount drained over the 2-5 rounds. Still, they're going to be deadly little buggers...

SEA HORSES: Harmless creatures that are only here because Mermen ride them.

PORTUGUESE MAN-OF-WAR: Uh, name-change please? I guess these things originate from the area of Greyhawk that corresponds to Portugal, and I also guess they're a type of jellyfish. They possess 10-60 tentacles - does this mean they have 10-60 attacks a round? Looking at the section on Attack and Damage by Monster Type - that says under Attacks they have 1-100 tentacles. Seriously? Man, some of the monsters here are very ill-thought out. Anyway, they have camouflage, are totally silent and have no brainwaves. The tentacles can paralyze, but a single point of damage is enough to sever one. If you're using the hit location rules, only destroying the body kills it.

DOLPHINS: Uh, yeah. Apparently they're really smart, and live in organised communities, and will attack any larger creature that threatens them. And get this - a dolphin's nose is AS DEADLY AS A LONGSWORD. Plus, they can be fitted with a war harness! Sweet.

They'll aid any humans being attacked by evil sea monsters, and will attack sharks on sight if the odds are good. All standard dolphiny stuff until it gets a bit weird - they're telepathic(!), have magic resistance like dwarves(!!), and can detect magic within 50 miles(!!!).

AQUATIC ELVES: The elf expansion begins... They're the elvish equivalent of Mermen. They love dolphins, live in great caverns at the bottom of reefs, blah blah elfy blah. They do have ties to the surface, though, as they trade fishing equipment to the land elves for metal. They're also mortal enemies of sahuagin and giant sharks AND fishermen, who catch them in their nets and kill them thinking they are Sahuagin. I dunno if it's necessarily a mistake - I mean, who likes elves?

PUNGI RAY: They look like a patch of sea weed or grass, but in reality each of the stalks is filled with NERVE POISON. Each part of you that touches this thing takes a potential hit, and if you land on it that could be anywhere from 20 to 30 attacks! If the thing somehow manages to get on top of you, it drains levels like a Giant Leech. There's a good chance it will have gems inside the carcass, but I don't know if the risk is worth the reward.

MANTA RAY: These things are huge - about 75 feet across - with 15-foot mouths that can swallow just about anything in a single bite. It's stinger can paralyze, and it also blends well with the sea floor and attacks with blinding speed. Again, gems in the stomach are a possibility.

GIANT SEA SPIDER: Weird. They live in air bubbles near seaweed beds, and spin webs to catch fish. Their lairs can be entered through a sort of 'air-lock' and they have air inside, which could be handy for drowning adventurers.

WEED EELS: These small eels look like swaying reeds, but when alarmed will disappear into their lairs. Their tunnels expand to 5 foot in diameter, so presumably PCs can fit inside - but they won't want to. Get this - their bite will kill you in 1 turn, and if you aren't then resurrected within 6 turns you're dead forever. Jeezus, first the ridiculous Lamprey and now this. Whoever wrote these entries has a serious Eel fetish.

Tomorrow I finish up with monsters, including the ludicrously detailed Sahuagin entry. Be there!


  1. I wonder if the lamprey thing is a misprint and they were supposed to drain 1 hitpoint per level, instead of 1 level per hitpoint lol.

  2. It's likely, but the whole point of this project is for me to play through as much of D&D's history as I can by the book. So crazy-deadly ninja lampreys are in.