April 1st, 2012


Confessions of a DM - Stupid Monsters I Have Used

There's an awesome article by Jared von Hindman on the D&D website today, poking fun at many of the stupid monsters that have appeared in D&D over the years. He's dug up some obscure creatures, many of which I haven't seen before, as well as some I have laughed at over and over again, such as this line up of beholder variants:

I particlularly love the headless human torso with the beholder face!

Also, this is probably the most ridiculous demon ever conceived, the sibriex:

Have a read of the article, then come back here – I have a confession to make. I've used a lot of these stupid monsters. In fact, last night, I used the forsaken shell of a firbolg against the Juma Gang. This was actually the second time I've used this monster - back in the days of the 3.x Freeport Campaign, I used both the forsaken shell and the bhut in the same adventure. I'm going to blame Dungeon magazine for this – they appeared in a cool adventure I ran set in the a monastery called the Winding Way and which featured a number of unusual undead, many from Libris Mortis.

I've also used the petal (annoying faeries), book swarms that inflicted deadly paper cuts on the Luminous Heroes of the Ironcrags, dabus (Jared is absolutely right about their language - luckily kb98 was never cruel enough to me to ask them that many questions when we were playing Planescape) and the ridiculous pseudo-undead from the 1e MM2. I must also confess to using the DM grudge-monster, the nilbog, at least once but in my defense (a) I was probably about 15 and (b) it was in White Dwarf's Top 10 Fiend Factory monsters.

I've never used a flail snail or a flumph though ;)

What's the stupidest monster you've used?
St George

The Ongoing Adventures of the Juma Gang, Session #36: The Ivy Heart

Here’s what happened in last night’s game. Each PC gets 1,760 xp, bringing you within around 500 xp from 12th level.

19th Quintilis (contd.)

Exploring the room to the south, the PCs find two secret trapdoors, leading down into tunnels beneath the buildings on the ridge. Rest. During the night, Gil has a strange vision, imagining for a moment that he has travelled to a bleak and depressing plane. Is it perhaps the realm of Mormekar, god of death?

20th Quintilis

Juma Ji’ad pulls the lever the PCs found in the room with the odd-looking walls where they were attacked by the duplicate Juma Gang. A distant click is heard. Returning to the tapestry room, the party find a secret door has opened to the south. Heading into the corridor and opening the door at the end, the PCs enter a large semicircular room with a raised dais and four cairns. To the west is another room, open to the sky and partly covered in ivy.

When Hrothgar steps on to the dais, the forsaken shell of a firbolg and three dread zombies rise up and attack. Then, once the PCs are in combat, the Ivy Heart, a great shambling mound of vegetation with a strange-looking crystal embedded in its head appears, catching the party in a burst of brambles which tear and immobilise them. Hrothgar destroys the firbolg shell, but the zombies are tough to kill, rising again from the dead when they’ve been taken down for the first time. The Ivy Heart is a dangerous opponent, grabbing Juma and Sora with its vines and flinging them around the room to keep them away from its body. The plant monster unleashes a second burst of brambles and attempts to drain Sora’s soul before it is finally destroyed by two criticals from Hrothgar (the first a commander’s strike from Ulthar).

After the battle, Sora attempts to open the double doors to the south with the key found in the water serpent’s pool but gets blasted with lightning. Juma and Hrothgar also try to open the doors and get blasted too, before Sora touches the key to the tapestry depicting the doors which the PCs found earlier. This works and the doors open.

Beyond is a large chamber which is clearly the heart of the eldritch runes that have been written on the walls throughout the complex. An intricate contraption of iron rods, wooden shafts, runes and gemstones stands in the centre of the room, pulsing with arcane energy. Gil casts thunderwave at the construction – there’s a sudden, intense flash of energy from the emerald topping the machine, then it collapses. From an unimaginable distance, the PCs hear what sounds like a shriek of frustrated rage, cut off in mid-breath.

After retrieving the gems and the magical orb that were parts of the device, the PCs explore the tunnels beneath the hill. Realising these don’t lead anywhere new, the party rests in the map room. This time, Sora’s watch is troubled with a vision, perhaps of the Shadowfell.

21st Quintilis

Believing their job at the Garden of Graves to be done, but unsure who or what had defiled the sacred site in the first place, the PCs head back through the fey crossing to report to Gil’s father, Paelias, in Forathin. Except they actually emerge at night from the Moon Door, at the town of Moonstair to the northwest of Parsantium. Stuck on a small rocky island, Ulthar uses his cloak of shadowform to fly to the town and borrow a boat. He rows back to the others and ferries them to the shore.

Heading for the Cloudwatch Inn, the PCs order fish broth and beers, and sort out rooms for the night. The chatty halfling proprietor Cham tells the party that the town is under imminent threat of attack from the trolls of the Trollhaunt to the east. The band of adventurers led by Etheran Therund who set off to deal with the trolls and their king Skalmad has been all but wiped out – the only survivor is someone called Bax who is also staying in the inn. Cham thinks the mayor, Kelana Dhoram, will want to see the PCs first thing in the morning and ask them to help against King Skalmad. The halfling also mentions an eladrin from the Feywild called Rualiss who lives on an island just offshore.