Friday, March 17, 2017

Creature Feature - Prehistoric Animals

Consists of eight prehistoric animals. Not so useful for most straight up D&D games unless you are doing a Lost World type scenario or campaign. If you are playing a prehistoric game, like Wolf Packs and Winter Snows, then these would be an auto include as prey animals and predators. They might even be useful in a regular D&D game as say…the last of their kind, and a one off encounter.

Buluchitherium – A 20ft tall rhino.
Giant Elk – A bigger than big Elk
Grangeri – A rhino-giraffe.
Hyenodon – giant hyena like critter.
Megatherium – Giant ground sloth, a.k.a. Easy Pickin’s
Phorobacos –  Giant bird or Swordbeak.
Titanothere – A blunt horned rhino, as seen in the movie Ice Age.

(the suffixes there and therium, are Latin for - of the big-ass variety. Which is much better than using the lame word Dire, which is just stupid as all get out. I mean really, Dire Halflings, see what I mean. I really like to add some serious science to my D&D games.)

Possible Hooks

The Royal Bromance: Your fighter has been invited to go hunting for the Elk King, a legendary Elk, with the Castellan / Lord from the local keep. Wizards and Clerics can stay in the tent with the rest of the skirts, as usual.

Flock Me!: Get chased around the tall grass prairie by a flock of Phorobacos.

Dine in, or Carry Out: A Carnivorous Megatherium, which sounds stupid at first, but bear with me. As slow as this thing moves it should be stealthy as all get out. It moves around in the trees and drops into the PC’s camp in the middle of the night. Of course they are on guard but they will be looking outward, probably not up. Heck, maybe it even avoids large groups and prays on lone travelers or small groups, as it is not likely to be making a quick getaway. The characters set up camp only to notice that there is a lot of equipment, blankets, pots, pans etc just laying around in the spot they chose to camp. A thorough search reveals that there are no tracks to be found except those made by the victims.

GRUBS Rating: Meh, uninspired, but necessary.

Next up…Annelid, Great

Friday, March 10, 2017

Moldvay Equipment Encumbrance ever even notice there is a whole section in Moldvay Basic about encumbrance, and then they don't actually tell you how much your characters shit weights? Yeah, I didn't think so, but I'm just gonna post this here anyway, because your characters shit weights more than 80 cn's or 8 lbs.


Cost in gp
Enc (cn)
holds 400 coins

Flask of Oil

Hammer (small)

Holy Symbol

Holy Water
1 vial

Iron Spikes

uses oil

hand-sized, steel


  Iron Rations
preserved food for 1 person/1 week

  Standard Rations
unpreserved food for 1 person/1 week

50’ length


holds 200 coins

holds 600 coins

Thieves’ Tools

Tinder Box
flint and steel

Torches (6)

Water/Wine Skin

1 quart

1 bunch

Wooden Pole
10’ length


* weight in coins when empty

Also, for those of you who have trouble figuring out how to covert coin weight  to pounds, I have a magical means to figure it out. Take your opposable digit on your right hand and put it over the digit on the far right of the number in question. Viola! now it's in pounds. If you have an object from real life item that you would like to include in your game, and you know the weight of said object, all you need to covert it to coin weight is add a zero to the end of the number. Viola! more magic.

Creature Feature - Giant Amoeba

Looks like a giant fried egg. Not to mention that the scale is off core is a 2ft blob, but the picture shows it as a third of the size of the Amoeba. Basically it’s a Gelatinous Cube that is amorphous and has a few extra HD and a gray blob in da middle. Sheesh. Maybe it should live near the Amber Lotus Flower, for all the good eats. 

This is the kinda thing that makes balk in disbelief that someone got paid to make this crap.

GRUBS Rating: Brain Damage, Massive

Moldvay Adventure Generator 2.0

Looking through my book the other day it hit me that I had seen almost every section of this book rewritten in some manner or another. Except this section of the book. Of course it could just be that I’ve missed something, which is quite likely, but I thought it would be fun and interesting to try and turn the Dungeon Generator in the Moldvay book into an Adventure Generator. One that could be used to spawn short little adventures that do not necessarily take place in a dungeon, but could have a short dungeon crawl component to them. I decided to incorporate the Wandering Monster tables into as well in order to generate some protagonists in addition to the Scenario and Settings table already provided. The only addition I have made at this point was to expand the Settings table to include two additional results. 7 – Wilderness, 8 – Island. I suppose that both tables could be extensively reworked, and I may do so in the future. For now I will stick to what I have as it seems to produce quick low level adventures fairly well.

Main Protagonist: Roll on the Level 3 Wandering Monster chart (B54). This is the main villain of our little story. The confrontation with this “monster” is not optional and destroying them or their plans is the finale of the story.

Scenario Table: (B51) roll a d10.

Setting Table: (B51) roll a d6, or a d8 with the changes above. This is where your PC’s will find the main protagonist.

Secondary Actors: Roll twice on Wandering Monster Level 1 table (B53), and then roll once on the Wandering Monster Level 2 table. One of these creatures may be an ally to the PC’s. They should all figure into the story in some manner. Maybe they caused the trouble, were pushed out of their territory by the main protagonist, or maybe they work for him. Each should play a role in the adventure whether friend or foe, but they may not always be necessary to complete the adventure, and may only be a diversion. One set of creatures may also use the in lair numbers, instead of just the number from the wandering monster tables.

If you get a roll for a creature that just doesn’t seem to fit the story, ask yourself, would a trap work better?  If so use a trap. If not reroll or just pick what you think works best. Personally, I try to work whatever I get into the story, but sometimes you gotta cut something loose if it just doesn’t work.

Strangeness: Add something unique to you adventure to help make it memorable.

The work here is tying it all together in a way that makes sense, or best makes sense to you.

Adventure 1

Main Protagonist: Mediums (4) (3, 1st level MU and 1, 3rd level MU)
Scenario: Using a magic portal
Setting: Ancient temple
Secondary Actors: Goblins (6), Traders (4), Neanderthals (1 warrior, 24 tribespeople)
Strangeness: Magic Portal, tentacled beast from a far realm.

The mediums and their leader are looking for the sacrifices they need to perform a summoning ritual. They hired the task out to a local trader who secretly works with a band of goblins that kidnap people that he then sells into slavery in the land to the south. The trader and his goblins had a hard time finding the required number of people for the mediums. This was largely due to the fact that the goblins went a little crazy raiding a local thorp and killed most of the peasants. So they ended up running across a tribe of Neanderthals and decided, they were close enough. Three Neanderthal warriors gave pursuit to the slavers and ended up getting, killed, captured, or fleeing into the woods. The remaining Neanderthal is still shadowing the slavers waiting for an opportunity to free his friends.

The mediums were not so happy with the sacrificial victims, apparently they decided that “close” wouldn’t do and so they charmed the goblins and captured the trader and his human companions and plan to sacrifice them instead.

The PC’s should stumble upon the burned thorp, the dead and remaining villagers and get involved in this way, tracking the slavers across the mountains and possibly befriending the lone Neanderthal. Helping to rescue his tribesmen by fighting the goblins at the base of the temple, and rescuing the local peasants by fighting the mediums who are at the top of the temple and in the middle of summoning ritual. If there are too many mediums for the party to handle, the portal is partially open and a tentacle can snatch one of them away into the portal.

Adventure 2

Main Protagonist: Thoul
Scenario: Chaotic Outpost
Setting: Caves
Secondary Actors: Goblins (12), Kobolds (10), Driver Ants (16)
Strangeness: Kobold goo that makes a driver ants blind to their presence.

The Thoul is the sole survivor of a hobgoblin band that was wiped out by adventurers. He stumbled across the goblins and quickly became their leader. Months later they came across the koblods who were living in the driver ant cave. The kobold learned to make and are using a concoction that when applied to the body makes the driver ants “blind” to their presence. The thoul has taken the kobolds lair as his own, relying on the ants to serve as guards the goblins, and kobold to serve as raiders to fatten his belly and his purse.

The kobolds are bullied by the goblins and the thoul and have lost numerous tribal members. They came up with a plan to raid and attack as many humans along the main road in order to attract attention. The last time they attacked merchant caravans on the road, adventurers showed up and they were forced to flee temporarily. They are hoping to attract a band of adventurers to take out the thoul and the goblins. They will avoid any fights unless cornered.

Rumor: Kobolds and some say goblins have been raiding caravans along the western road again.

Adventure 3

Main Protagonist: Tiger Beetles (4)
Scenario: Rescue
Setting: Wilderness
Secondary Actors: Trader (1), Sprites (5), Draco Lizard (1)

PC’s come around the bend in a road to find a massive blood splatter on the road. Whatever was killed lost a lot of blood. Investigation reveals that it looks to have been a horse and rider. There are human tracks that head off to the left of the road, while the horse seems to have been dragged off the road to the right.

A local trader was travelling on the mountain road just a little ahead of the PC’s. He was spotted by a band of Pixies who decided it would be great fun to mess with him. They spooked his horse and he was thrown, he managed to get up and flee off to the left of the road hoping to get away from the faeries but he wasn’t watching where he was going and fell down a steep narrow ravine. He broke his leg in the fall and landed near a tiger beetle lair, but is high enough up on a terrace that the creatures can only approach one at a time up the steep incline that he can push them backwards with a branch, toppling them down the rise. Though each time he manages to push one away it takes a bite or two from his branch. His time and branch grow shorter every time the tiger beetles come at him.

His horse stayed near the edge of the road after his master had been chased into the woods on the left of the road. Unfortunately for the horse, the spot he was grazing is below the entrance of a Draco Lizard lair. The Draco Lizard found the horse to be to irresistible a temptation and flew down and attacked the horse. After killing it he dragged it off the road into the underbrush to dine in peace. He is still dining and will continue to do so unless attacked.

The pixies feel bad about causing injury to the trader and will seek out the help of the PC’s to help rescue him. They will assist in any way possible, that is of course unless the PC’s are rude or mean to them. In which case they will use their powers on the PC’s, promptly forgetting about the trader.

Adventure 4

Main Protagonist: Driver Ants (6)
Scenario: Chaotic Outpost
Setting: Stronghold or Town
Secondary Actors: Gnomes (8/12), Bandits (4), Black Widow Spider (1)
Strangeness: Regenerating Driver Ants.

The driver ants cleaned up their lair after the PC’s killed the goblin and the thoul. Bits of each fed to the queen and there was a strange reaction in the new ants that were hatched. The thouls heritage, being part troll, resulted in the new driver ants gaining regenerative powers.

Weeks or months later a group of bandits came across the lair of the Driver Ants that the PC’s had cleared of the thoul and the goblins. After a bit of searching they found several vents and built bonfires over them in order to smoke them out. It worked and the ants were forced out of their lair along with any kobolds that remained. The bandits and the kobolds got into a bit of a scape and most of the kobolds were killed along with several of the bandits. The bandits quickly fortified their new stronghold with a palisade and a sturdy door.

After a few attempts to get back into their lair the ants moved on to try and find a new lair. The ants came across a small mining operation in another part of the valley. It was ran by two gnome brothers and their employees. The ants managed to split the gnomes into two groups. They drove one group out of the mine, while the other group retreated further into the mine. Normally the driver ants wouldn’t pose a problem for so many able bodied gnome miners, but the brother claims that each time they killed an ant and hacked it to pieces it grew it’s limbs back and got back up. As fate would have it, the brothers were leading both groups of gnomes. The older brother who is on the outside is desperately attempting to recruit people to go back into the mine and help him rescue or find his younger brother.

The black widow spider has lived in the mine for some time. Her lair is high up in crevasse above one of the main chambers. She is a smart and cunning old spider and knows to space her kills out and to only attack when there is a lone gnome. So far the gnomes are unaware of her presence just chalking up the missing miners, to them getting lost in the maze of tunnels. The old spider has caught several ants already and has discovered their ability to regenerate. She has them securely wrapped in webs and feasts upon them regularly, when they regenerate she feasts upon them again. This has the potential to be an endless food supply for her, so she is is actively searching the caves for more ants. She may attack the PC’s by surprise (3 in 6) while they are attacking any ants in the cave as she wishes to take them alive. Though she will quickly retreat if wounded.

The second group of gnomes is deeper in the mine. They are still alive, though they have casualties and are running out of food and water.

Adventure 5

Main Protagonist: Zombies (18)
Scenario: Visit a lost shrine
Setting: Ancient temple
Secondary Actors: Dwarves (5), Acolyte (6), Living Statue (1)
Strangeness: Interference by the Gods and a super living statue.

A group of Acolytes have discovered the location of a lost shrine dedicated to an ancient hero of the land. The wish to travel to the shrine and reclaim it from the wilderness and restore it to its former glory. To accomplish their mission they have hired a band of dwarven mercenaries to guard them on their travels through the wilderness. They went out a week ago but came back after getting lost, they wish to hire the PC’s as guides and extra body guards. All of the Acolytes are 1st level and have no spells but will fight if they must, though they armed only with staffs and clubs.

The dwarves are not actually mercenaries. They are the descendants of a dwarven weapon-smith who forged the hero’s sword. Their great-grandfather literally put his soul into the sword. Working on the blade for weeks on end without stopping, he became obsessed with it the story goes, refusing to leave the forge until it was perfect. Suddenly the ringing from the forge stopped, and the smith was nowhere to be found, but lo and behold the sword was setting on the forge, a masterwork beyond compare. Years later the smith’s son lost the sword while gambling with the hero, and it has always been a sore topic with the family, as he had no right to gamble it away. Now, years later few remember these old stories, so they when the Acolytes announced finding the location of the ancient temple the dwarves heard about it and decided to recover what is, they believe, to be rightly theirs, and anything else of value the might find. They will loot the crypt of the warrior king and take the sword with them unless stopped. The acolytes have no idea about the dwarves and their connection to the hero’s sword.

The temple is built into the wall of a cliff, the entrance is a giant statue of the warrior king carved into the side of the cliff sitting on his throne. His hands resting on the hilt of his sword which is between his legs. The stair lead up to the statues feet and the tip of the sword, the bottom portion of which is a secret door. The zombies are raised by the God of the dead, Stygia, who does not care for adventurers and in this case the dwarves who are out to spoil the tomb and disturb the slumber of the dead. He raises the dead hero’s most loyal knights to stop the greedy dwarves when they enter the temple. If that fails he will breathe life into the living statue to stop the dwarves when they try to leave the temple. The statue is 18’ tall and has 4+12 HD. The acolytes will not be harmed by the minions of stygia, the dwarves will notice this at some point and may attempt to take advantage of this fact and use them as hostages.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Creature Feature - Amber Lotus Flower

It’s a large water lily that looks like a large sunflower. When a character or creature gets near it, 10ft. it opens up and lets out a cloud of pollen that covers a 40x40ft area. Anyone caught in this area of effect must save vs. spells or go to sleep for 4d4 turns (40-160 minutes). The Amber Lotus has a symbiotic relationship with other living plants that like to feed on the corpses of adventurers and animals, such as Vampire Roses and Killer Trees. So by itself it’s not that dangerous but when it works with other living plants it can be dangerous.

First off, if this thing feeds off decomposing corpses, then the area around one of these is going to be littered with bones and rotting corpses. It’s going to smell pretty bad around it, not to mention that if these flowers are really water lilies then the water around it is going to be contaminated with dead corpses. This could be a potential plot hook.

The peasants from village downstream from the Amber Lotus is getting sick but nobody knows why. Turns out to be the Amber Lotus Flower victims are contaminating the water. When the characters approach they spot dozens of dead animals, and Bob, the village idiot who has been missing for months is lying face down near the bank of the stream half decomposed. You can tell it’s Bob by the obnoxious striped sox he always wears.

Now it’s not a very exciting plot hook mind you, but it might not be bad for a low level sandbox adventure.

If it is found in conjunction with Vampire Roses I am going to guess that some of the carcasses in and around the area are going to be completely desiccated. Which, in turn you could use to throw the characters for a loop and make it look like you have a dumping ground for some type of Vampiric creature. This could make a great addition to the old rumor chart. There is a vampire that roams the north woods feeding upon unwary travelers. He always dumps the corpses near giant water lilies to hide the smell of the decomposing corpses. (F)

Also, I nearly forgot. The pollen spray of the Amber Lotus recharges in 3d4 rounds (30-120 seconds). This means that any character that fails his save and goes to sleep 4d4 turns (40-160 minutes) will have to make another save when they wake up (unless you are a kinder, gentler DM than I). Rinse and repeat until they die from dehydration. LOL

Overall, it is kind of a dopey creature and one that I can’t see a lot of people using at all, or if they do use it, it would be a one-time thing.

Official GRUBS rating: Uninspired: meh maybe if I got nothing better, average.