Thursday, October 7, 2010


By popular demand of Roger the GS, I present the fearsome gorbel!

This bizarre creature is a small orb with reddish skin. Atop its round body are six eyestalks, each ending in a sapphire-colored eye. Dangling beneath its body are two stubby legs that end in claws.

The gorbel is a strange creature that may be distantly related to beholders, but its general lack of magical abilities lends little weight to this belief. A gorbel is approximately 3 feet in diameter. Its reddish skin is a thin but tough and rubbery membrane. The spherical body of a gorbel is highly elastic and filled to near bursting with a lighter-than air flammable gas that smells of rotten eggs (sulfur). A gorbel eats, breathes, and excretes through an aperture best described as a mouth. This mouth is lined with a ring of sharp teeth that face inward to help it force food into its gullet.

Gorbels primarily attack with their claws, only resorting to biting after they have latched onto their prey. They attack as a 2 HD creature. A gorbel will attack and try to eat whatever it thinks is edible — generally including anything that moves that is smaller than the gorbel. Its strange metabolic processes instill it with an almost insatiable hunger.

If a gorbel hits a single target with both claws, it will grab and hold onto the target. Each round thereafter, it will automatically hit with its bite for 1d6 damage. Once a gorbel grabs a target it will not let go. Creatures with a gorbel hanging upon them recieve no AC bonus for dexterity. Two or more attached gorbels may interfere with the use of weapons or shield. Spellcasting is impossible when a gorbel is attached.

Blunt weapons do no damage to gorbel, but slashing or piercing weapons will cause it to instantly burst and explode, killing the gorbel and dealing 1d6 damage to everyone within 5' (save for half).

Gorbel Special (see above)

HD 2 (see above) AC 3[16] Atk 2 claws (1d4 each) or 1 bite (1d6) Move 12
Save 16 MOR 7 CL/XP 4/120 Horde Class:
Special: never surprised; grab attack; explodes
Gorbel reproduce through the use of spores. When a gorbel explodes, it sends thousands of spores into the area. These spores will settle in nooks and crannies in the dungeon walls. The slightest amount of moisture (even damp air) will cause them to germinate and grow. In 1d6 weeks, small baseball-sized gorbel will emerge to prey on insects and vermin. Within a month, they will grow to full size. Gorbel are sometimes cultivated and herded by clever humanoids like kobolds and goblins who use them as a trap/warning device.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Ankhegs are huge insects, 10 to 20ft long, resembling grasshoppers with vicious mandibles. They burrow through the ground, often in farmlands as well as in caverns. Once per day, an ankheg can squirt digestive acids for 5d6 points of damage (save for half), but this is a defense not used in normal hunting.
Damage Tracks:
HD 4 00MAM
HD 5 000MA M
HD 6 0000M AM
HD 7 00000 MAM
HD 8 00000 0MAM
giant insect
A = Spit Acid - 5d6 damage (save for half) 1/day
M = Check Morale at -2 penalty
HD 3 to 8 AC 2[17] underside 4[15] Atk 1 bite (3d6) Move 12 (burrow 6)

HD 3 Save 14
HD 4 Save 13
HD 5 Save 12
HD 6 Save 11
HD 7 Save 9
HD 8 Save 8
HD 3 4/120XP
HD 4 5/240XP
HD 5 6/400XP
HD 6 7/600XP
HD 7 8/800XP
HD 8 9/1100XP
Hoard Class:
Special: Spits acid 5d6 (1/day, save for half)
If an ankheg nest is found, there is a 50% chance that a female will be present in the nest (one HD less than the male; 3 HD minimum). If a female is present, there is a variable chance, by season, that a clutch of eggs (or babies) will be present. If the young are threatened, both the male and female ankhegs will fight ferociously. They will attack twice per round with their terrible bite at +2 to hit. They will never check morale when defending their young. Ankheg eggs and babies are of some interest to wizards and alchemists. They will typically pay 50 to 300 gp each if in viable condition.
Fall 0% eggs 10% 1d3 babies (1 HD, 1d6 bite, no acid)
Winter 0% eggs 5% 1d3 babies (1 HD, 1d6 bite, no acid)
Spring 50% 2d4 eggs 0% babies
Summer (eggs or babies only; never both at the same time; roll for babies first) 30% 2d4 eggs 30% 1d6 babies (1 HD, 1d6 bite, no acid)

ABCD Monster rules

Instead of tracking the hit points of monsters, I prefer tracking "hits".  I usually draw one zero or circle for every HD of the creature.  I might add a few if the creature is particularly tough or I might subtract one or two if the creature is particularly weak.  I call this a "damage track".

Consider the humble Ankheg -- 3 to 8 HD.

I would draw, perhaps "0000" for a 3 HD beast and maybe "00000 0000" for an 8 HD monster.  I envision Ankhegs as being a bit tougher than your average bear.

So, what's a "hit"?  Well, that depends.

If you use d6 for monster HD, then I'd call every 5 points of damage "a hit".  1 point of damage is nothing and anything between 2 and 4 is "half a hit".

If you use d8 for monster HD, then I'd call every 7 points of damage "a hit".  1 point of damage is nothing and anything between 2 and 5 is "half a hit".

If you use d10 for monster HD, then I'd call every 9 points of damage "a hit".  1 point of damage is nothing and anything between 2 and 8 is "half a hit".

If you were to just "add up" all hit points alloted within the "hits", these are some tough monsters.  It all tends to work out in practice though, because some of the monsters "hits" will be depleted by two "half hits" that are pretty low.

When a monster takes a "hit", you put an X through the circle.  "Half hits" mark the circle with a slash.  Two slashes make a full hit, or an X.  Easy peasy.

Now here's where things get a bit more interesting.

What if you could build some "tactics" or "actions" into the "damage track"?

The Ankheg has the ability to spit acid.  It doesn't like to do it unless it has to.  I think it would probably only do it if it was seriously harmed.

Let's change one of the zeroes to an "A" for Acid.  Now, when the creature takes a "hit" or "half hit" on the letter "A" that reminds us to utilize that ability later in the battle.

I believe that the Ankheg isn't a mindless killing machine.  I think it would rather get away than fight to the death.  I decide to put an "M" in for Morale in place of one of the zeroes.  That reminds me to take a morale check (perhaps at a penalty) when the monster gets to be about half dead.

The damage tracks are now "0MAM" for a 3 HD beast and maybe "00000 0MAM" for an 8 HD.

The opportunities are endless.