Friday, November 30, 2012

Murderous Menagerie: The Stranglers From Space!

The Stranglers From Space

For visual inspiration, combine the following:

So the general size and shape of this dude, along with the two little tentacles.
Except with the eye stalks and floating ability of this dude.

But which basically does what this dude does.

  Centuries ago a vast swarm of interstellar pests migrated in a great cloud of globules that darkened the skies of Krül  before dispersing across the planet. Although many were exterminated once their deadly intent was determined, they have proven to be quite hardy and may still be found drifting amongst the clouds or in darkened caverns of the underworld.

The Stranglers From Space

No. Enc.: 1d3
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: -
           Fly: 120' (40') / 90' (30') when carrying prey
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: 2 (tentacles) or 1 (engulf)
Damage: 1d3 (tentacle)
Save: F1
Morale: 8
XP: 35

The Strangler is a patient hunter, silently waiting in a low-hanging cloud or floating in the darkened recesses of a high-ceilinged dungeon chamber (surprise on 1-4). Once humanoid prey has been spotted, the Strangler will swoop down and attempt to engulf their victim in the large, muscular mouth on their underside, requiring a to-hit roll. This mouth is large enough to completely engulf the head and neck of an adult human male with the sides of the monster sitting on the victim's shoulders.

Once the victim is engulfed, they are effectively blind and drowning in the thick, viscous saliva of the Strangler. This is an extremely disorienting and frightening experience, leaving the victim at a -4 to attack and save as well as a +4 to AC. Once the Strangler has a secure grip it will fly off with its prey so as to finish its meal off without further interference.

The Strangler will attempt to gain as much altitude as possible as the creature prefers to eliminate their prey easily by dropping them from a great height. If this is not possible because of cramped conditions the Strangler will drown their victim, a process which can take a much longer period of time. The victim can hold their breath for a number of rounds equal to their CON bonus + level. If still engulfed after this point, the character must save vs death every round after or fall unconscious. Unconscious characters will die in 1d6 rounds.

Each time a Strangler is damaged while it has prey in its grip it must make a Savings Throw or immediately drop the victim and flee. If attacked by its prey, the Strangler will attempt to protect itself with its tentacles, which it uses to pin loose appendages. A successful attack by a tentacle wraps around the wrist, providing an additional -1 to attack. These tentacles can be severed, however, which only requires 2 points of damage.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Murderous Menagerie: Eyebats

Extremely ugly image courtesy of yours truly


 No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: -
           Fly: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 1d4-1 (minimum 1)
Attacks: 1 (razor lashes)
Damage: 2d6 plus special (see below)
Save: As 0-level human
Morale: 9
Man, eye horror freaks me out
Hoard Class: None
XP: 15

  The eyebat is a particularly horrible experiment by Metroom, one of the greatest wizards of the final age before the Annihilation Event. These servitors still haunt the ruins of Krül, leading to rumors that the Sightless Sorcerer lives on.

Eyebats, when encountered, will seek out the nearest humanoid, flying fearlessly into the face of their victim. The eyebat will attach itself by small claws onto the cheek, bringing itself eye to eye with the person. Although disconcerting, the real danger lies in the bat's singular attack. From the mass of black muscle tissue on the back side of the eye emerges a number of razor-thin pseudopods (the "lashes") which easily slice through the eyelid of the victim and expertly sever the nervous tissue connecting the eye to the skull. Then, ever so gently, the pseudopods remove the eye, which merges with the bat. Now twice their previous size, the eyebat will then flutter off. Within 24 hours the larger eyebat will split into two creatures, each possessing the recognizable retina of their former owner.

Players must save vs. poison/death or lose their eye from this attack. Success indicates that the PC only takes 2d6 damage but manages to save themselves from the grisly procedure. Should a PC lose an eye, they will suffer a -1 to attack and AC from that point on.

While the process of losing an eye is a horrifying and disfiguring process, those that survive report strange and sometimes useful side effects. Once per week, the victim may save vs. spells. If successful, they may cast clairvoyance in any place where eyebats dwell, employing one of the nasty little critters as a spy. This effect lasts for 1d4 rounds.

Eyebats have a tendency to roam widely, and any encounter with one of their kind after an eye has been stolen from a PC has a 1 in 6 chance of being the missing "mate" to the cyclopean delver. However, if this roll is failed, there is a 2 in 6 chance that it is only similar to one's own eye.

A few foolhardy delvers will attempt to capture their loosened eye and force it back into their skull. Strangely, this procedure has some chance of success. If one manages to recapture their own eye (and not just a similar-looking specimen), rips off the wings and pops the organ into the blackened hole, save vs. death. If this is successful, the delver regains his vision and may cast clairvoyance once a week as above, but requires no save. However, if the save is failed (or if the delver has picked the wrong eye) the eye takes on a life of its own, darting wildly in the skull, under its own command. The PC cannot see through this "rogue eye" and many will find it extremely unnerving.

Imagine these lashes as razors and you've got the right eye-dea

Murderous Menagerie: Skeletors!

As mentioned previously, I have a childhood love for the Masters of the Universe. In a recent thread over in G+, I've been reimagining some of my childhood toys as monsters for Labyrinth Lord. At the behest of Mike Davison (genius behind the blog Sword+1), here is my version of Skeletor for the Savage World of Krül:

 Okay, so take these photos and combine for effect:

                                                                    Bio-Horror Skeletor

Now with face-melting action!

Skeletors are discolored, faceless corpses which stalk the outskirts of civilization, looking for unwary humans to devour and kidnap. While most assume that the 'Skeletor' is an intelligence unto themselves, they are but a grisly tool for a far more malevolent being.

In truth, the Skeletor is nothing but a servant and mouthpiece of a Flesh Hag, a tiny (6") parasite which animates their former host after death. The Flesh Hag will direct the Skeletor towards its own foul ends while remaining unseen nearby, allowing it relative safety and anonymity.

Flesh Hag

No. Enc: 2d3
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: -
           Fly: 60' (20')
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 1
Attacks: None
Damage: as per spell
Save: F7
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: XVIII
XP: 250

The Flesh Hag resembles a tiny, twisted version of their former host except that, from the waist down, they are nothing but dangling tatters of flesh. Flesh Hags posses a number of magical abilities which they can use once per day as a 5th level M-U: Darkness, Ventriloquism, Cause Fear, Curse.

Flesh Hags are hermaphroditic creatures which, after impregnating themselves, will have their Skeletor servant kidnap a potential host so that the hag may insert its spawn into the helpless victim. At this point the host is released, dazed and frightened. Over the next 2-8 weeks the spawn of the Flesh Hag will gestate inside the victim, whose skin will gradually take on a bluish-purple hue, before entering its 'mature' phase. This is a horrific process, as the flesh of the victim will slowly (1d4+2 rounds) peel back from the skull, revealing the Flesh Hag in all of her glory. The now bare-skulled victim is now a fully-fledged Skeletor at the control of the Flesh Hag.


No. Enc.: 2d3
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: 1 (weapon)
Damage: 1d6 or weapon + 2
Save: F4
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: None
XP: 150

These mindless servants of the Flesh Hag are burly, bluish corpses with fleshless faces and a tendency to laugh maniacally. They are incredibly strong and fearless in combat. Should the skull of a Skeletor be smashed, a pile of ganglia will be found within that matches nothing of the human immune system (this is, in fact, nerve tissue implanted by the immature Flesh Hag which allows for telepathic control). Skeletors are not truly undead and therefore cannot be turned by Clerics.

Bonus Content!

As this is essentially reposted from a G+ thread, here is an additional monster (from a suggestion by Cole Long):

Death Metal Skeletor!

When a Flesh Hag dies and leaves behind a Skeletor, the wayward drone will wander aimlessly for 1-3 weeks, occasionally rampaging across the countryside as it wrestles with a growing self-awareness. These rogue Skeletors slowly undergo a transformation into a larger, hulking green figure with cunning animal intelligence and a relentless hunger. Settling far from civilization, these bestial monsters will attack any who invade their territory, pursuing prey with a sadistic vigor.

De-Man (Rogue Skeletor)

No. Enc.: 1
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 2
Hit Dice: 8
Attacks: 1 (weapon)
Damage: 2d6 or weapon + 4
Save: F6
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: XXI
XP: 650

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Living It Up (Optional Rule for LL)

I've been an active participant in the ConstantCon/FLAILSNAILS experiment for little more than a year now and am having the time of my life. One aspect of D&D that has gone out the window, however, is resource management. In particular, one resource in particular that many players forget about (and I'm as guilty as an of them) is the cost of living. That is something I'd like to try and rectify in the Savage World of Krül, and I think I've found an interesting way to do so.

One week of time passes between each session. During this period the party rests and relaxes according to their means, enjoying their hard earned coin. At the beginning of each session PCs are presented with a bill at the inn where they are staying. The PC may choose one of three options for accommodations:

Accommodations for the budget-minded delver.

Dive: For the adventurer living on the cheap, they may find lodgings in a packed common room, a bed pushed up against the wall of a bar, or as a lodger in a windowless fifth-floor tenement apartment. No matter the specific locale, they can look forward to lumpy mattresses, thin stews, and leaky roofs. There is a small chance of an encounter with ruffians, cutthroats, and parasites. Cost: 1 gp / week

Standard: A private room, either in a modest hotel or a small apartment, this allows for privacy and some creature comforts. Decent food, relative safety, and a place to call home. Cost: 5 gp / week

A quiet place to get away from it all.

Luxury: Suckling pig, the finest wines, full-body massages - you are living the high life. A suite of rooms, five-course meals, a show every night, and a line of suitors knocking at your door. Truly, the only way to live for the well to-do adventurer and man about town. Cost: 25 gp x lvl / week (the cost increases as the PCs become increasingly jaded in their tastes)

Upon departing for their adventure, party members will roll hit points for the session. If they have stayed in a Dive, they roll twice and take the lower result. If they stayed in a Standard room, roll once. Finally, if they lived in the lap of Luxury, they may roll twice and take the higher result.

Clever players may attempt to stay in better accommodations than they can afford. They are certainly welcome to do so, although the innkeeper/landlord will likely have their own thoughts on the matter.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Murderous Menagerie: Headless Howlers

Combine this tentacle head...

Deep within the honeycomb caverns that permeate Krül, creating a vast underworld, bizarre creatures have adapted to the monster-choked underground wilderness. The Headless Howler is one of these specimens, a foul scavenger which 'arranges' its meals by ensuring that predator and prey find each other.

Headless Howlers are strange-looking beasts, possessing a roughly humanoid torso with six muscular arms which it employs for locomotion, scuttling like a crab. Lacking a head, the Howler instead has a muscular tentacle in its place which is used for gripping tools and objects. In the center of the Howler's chest is a large cartilaginous ridged cavity which constricts with every breath. When in its natural state, the flesh of the Howler is a transparent, jelly-like substance, revealing organs and bones beneath. Few, however, see it in this form. Most only become aware of the Howler when they hear its piercing, reverberating cry before all hell breaks loose.

This transparent flesh...

Headless Howler

No. Enc.: 1d3
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 1d4 hit points
Attacks: 1 (head whip)
Damage: 1d6
Save: 0 level human
Morale: 6
Hoard Class: I (XIII)
XP: 10

... And these finger-mouths,
and you've got a pretty good idea what this
thing looks like.

Headless Howlers are natural climbers, capable of moving effortlessly across sheer surfaces as their fingertips (four on each of their six hands) end in tiny mouths filled with serrated, rotating teeth. While useless in combat, these mouths possess an iron grip and can quickly devour carrion. When feeding, a Headless Howler's mouths resemble both blender and vacuum, liquefying corpses and slurping them down with a frightful efficiency.

Possessing a chameleon-like ability to adapt to their natural surroundings, the Headless Howler is nearly impossible to spot (5 in 6 chance to surprise) once they have blended into their surroundings (requiring one turn). They will often wait, motionless, in high-traffic areas of the underworld while in this chameleon state, awaiting victims.

When a creature comes within 60' of the Howler's "hunting ground", the Howler (which detects movement by vibration) will generally approach by crawling across the ceiling. Once in place above the creature, the cartilaginous cavity begins to rapidly vibrate, creating a piercing wail that echoes throughout the dungeon. It will continue to do so for 1-3 rounds (or until struck). Each round the Howler cries automatically triggers a wandering monster roll. Once it has done so, the Howler quickly retreats through a combination of climbing and leaping (covering distances of up to 20' with ease). It does not engage in combat unless cornered. Instead, the Howler will return in approximately one turn to feed upon the dead. 

Adventuring parties who explore Howler habitats will likely find nothing but piles of picked-clean bones when retracing their steps, and those which repeatedly delve in the area may find these creatures constantly dwelling at the edge of their torchlight, happily awaiting their next meal... or ensuring it, if not regularly sated.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Fallarin (A Character Class for LL)

One came alone, from between two curling ribbons of stone that overarched the largest opening. He wore a brief kilt of scarlet leather. A golden girdle clasped his waist, and a king's torque circled his neck. Otherwise he was clad in close dark fur against the cold. His body was small and spare and light. The wings that sprang from his shoulders were dark-leathered and strong, and when he descended to the platform his movement was assured, if not beautiful. But Stark knew why they were called the Chained. The genetic alteration their ancestors had undergone, hoping to give their descendants new life on a dying world, had cheated them cruelly. That inadequate wingspan would never know the freedom of the high air.

"Yes," said the Fallarin, "we are clipped birds, a mockery above and below." He stood before the high seat, looking straight up into Stark's eyes; his own were yellow as a falcon's, but too full of a dark wisdom for even that royal bird. His face was narrow and harsh, too strong for beauty, with a sharp nose and jutting chin. But when he smiled he was handsome, as a sword is handsome.

-- The Hounds of Skaith, by Leigh Brackett 

The Fallarin

Requirements: DEX 12, INT 9, CON < 10
Prime Requisite: DEX
Hit Dice: 1d4
Maximum Level: 12

Experience Level Abilities Breath Attacks Poison or Death Petrify or Paralyze Wands Spells or Spell-like Devices

0 1 Fly 20 ft, 1d6 wind blast, lift 10 lbs, deflect 1 arrow 15 12 13 13 15
2235 2
15 12 13 13 15
4765 3 1d8 wind blast, lift 20 lbs, deflect 2 arrows 15 12 13 13 15
10025 4 Fly 40 ft 13 10 11 11 13
18251 5 Lift 30 lbs, deflect 3 arrows 13 10 11 11 13
45501 6 Whispering wind, 1d10 wind blast 13 10 11 11 13
93001 7 Lift 40 lbs, deflect 4 arrows 9 8 9 9 11
195001 8 Fly 60 ft 9 8 9 9 11
340001 9 1d12 wind blast, lift 50 lbs, deflect 5 arrows 9 8 9 9 11
560001 10
7 6 7 7 9
780001 11 Lift 60 lbs, deflect 6 arrows 7 6 7 7 9
1000001 12 Fly 80 ft, 2d6 wind blast, aerie 7 6 7 7 9

The Fallarin are a failed experiment in genetic modification, winged men standing four to five feet tall and weighing from 60 to 80 pounds. Fragile creatures unable to fly for more than short distances, the Fallarin have survived the harsh wastes of Krül through their incredible psychic abilities which allow them to control the wind itself.

The Fallarin may wear no armor heavier than leather, finding it too restricting, and lack the strength to become capable fighters, employing only small weapons such as a dagger. They do, however, have the following special abilities:

Flight: While slight, the Fallarin are too heavy for anything other than short bursts in the air. As long as they are unburdened, a Fallarin automatically ignores the first 30 ft. of falling damage at 10 feet / round. Moreover, they may fly up to 20 ft. per four levels, although they must land at the end of their turn. Flying is exhausting, however, and if the Fallarin does not take one turn to rest, each additional flight requires a save vs. paralysis or the drained creature will tumble to the ground in the apex of their ascent.

Control Winds: The Fallarin may move objects or creatures up to 10 lbs. / 2 levels (10 lbs at 1st, 20 lbs at 3rd, etc) up to 20'. Creatures are allowed a savings throw versus spells to resist. Fine manipulation is impossible, and any task beyond lifting or pushing objects, blowing out torches, etc. requires a savings throw versus wands.

By directing their powers into a gale force wind, the Fallarin use the wind itself as a weapon. The Fallarin character rolls to attack, as per usual, with a successful attack inflicting 1d6 damage at 1st level, 1d8 at 3rd, 1d10 at 6th, 1d12 at 9th, and 2d6 at 12th. If the Fallarin is possesses at least 3 HD more than the targeted creature, the creature must save vs Breath Weapon or be knocked back 1d6 x 10'.

Fallarin may also use their ability to Control Winds to deflect incoming missiles. If the Fallarin is aware of the attack, they may make a savings throw versus breath weapons to deflect one missile / round per 2 levels.

Commune: While a single Fallarin may be dangerous, larger parties wield considerably more power. By joining their minds together, the Fallarin may accomplish the following:

Sow the Wind: The psychic abilities of the Fallarin can be combined to hurricane-strength force. Bursts of wind count total levels for damage (using the highest-level Fallarin's attack matrix) and they may move objects of their combined weight.

As an example, a 5th level, 3rd level, and 1st level Fallarin could move objects up to 60 lbs. of weight and bursts of wind would inflict 1d12 damage.

Whispering Wind: This ability allows the Fallarin to cast Commune once per day, hearing the secrets of the wind itself. To perform this task at least five Fallarin must be gathered together and the leader must be at least 6th level.

Aerie: At 12th level, a Fallarin may build an Aerie, a stronghold for his people. These are carved from the highest, most inaccessible peaks and require master masons to shape the smooth, curving vertical tunnels where the Fallarin feel at home. Once the character has done so, he will attract 1d6+2 Fallarin to roost, along with nearby savage tribes which will worship them as gods.

Fallarin Attack Matrix



-6 -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 to 3 20 20 20 20 20 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10
4 to 5 20 20 20 20 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9
6 to 8 20 20 20 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8
9 to 10 20 20 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7
11 20 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6
12 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5

Friday, November 23, 2012

Murderous Menagerie: The Hounds of Skaith

I am Flay.

He was big. The ridge of his spine would have reached Stark's shoulder. His withers were high and powerful. The thick neck drooped with the weight of the massive head. Stark saw the eyes, large and unnaturally brilliant, the broad heavy muzzle, and the fangs, two white cruel rows of them sharp as knives.
Flay stretched out a foreleg like a tree-trunk and unsheathed tiger claws. He tore five furrows into the frozen ground and smiled, lolling a red tongue.

I am Flay.

The eye were bright. Bright. Hell-hound eyes.
Swift panic overcame Stark, loosened his muscles, weakened his joints, dropped him helpless on the ground with cold nausea in his belly and a silent scream in his brain.

I am Flay.

-- The Ginger Star, by Leigh Brackett

The Hounds of Skaith

Number Encountered: 2d4
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 150' (50')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 4 + 1
Attacks: 1 (bite or fear)
Damage: 2d4 (bite)
Save: F2
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: None
XP: 300

Large grey pack predators which closely resemble dire wolves, the Northhounds stalk the arctic wastes of the frozen poles. They are capable hunters, tracking prey by scent and employing similar tactics to those of their cousins. What sets these powerful creatures apart from their cousins is their psychic abilities, allowing better coordination amongst the pack and the dreaded ability to strike their prey dumb with fear.

All Northhounds can communicate telepathically up to a range of 30', speaking in a simplified version of the common tongue. This is most often used amongst the pack, although they may also taunt prey before devouring them.

The fear ability of the Northhounds also has a range of 30' and may be used against any creature which may know terror. Victims of this ability must make a savings throw versus paralysis or collapse in absolute horror (75% chance), unable to move, or flee at top speed, dropping everything they are holding (25% chance). Only one victim may be targeted per round, with the fear effect lasting 1d6+2 rounds.

Creatures of less than one hit dice and men-at-arms are even more greatly effected by the fear ability of the Northhounds, requiring a save vs. death or suffer from a fatal heart attack. Success means that they are paralyzed, as above.

Having acclimated to the arctic plain, Northhounds do not adapt well to warmer climes. If a Northhound is forced to stay in subtropical or warmer climes, the creature will suffer from a -1 to attacks and saves, as well as a -2 to morale.

Greatly desired by Beast Masters, Northhound puppies will go for 1000 gp apiece. Some foolish Beast Masters will even attempt to control an entire pack by challenging the alpha male. While this is possible, a Northhound pack not bound to the Beast Master is much less predictable than usual, requiring a Morale roll every time he exposes his team to unnecessary risks, panics in the face of danger, or suffers a humiliating defeat. Should the Morale roll fail, the Beast Master will be challenged by a member of the pack for dominance. The consequence of losing such a contest is death, as the pack will rip their former master to shreds.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Beast Master Art!

Here's a cool illo that my good buddy and concept artist David L. Johnson did for the Beast Master class:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Skills Reconsidered for Labyrinth Lord and the Savage World of Krül

Here is a skill system for Labyrinth Lord and the Savage World of Krül, based on Lamentations of the Flame Princess and Call of Cthulhu:

 Skill List:

Mechanic (INT)
Outdoorsman (WIS)
Stealth (DEX)
Drive (DEX)
Languages (INT)
Decipher Magic (INT)

Every PC has a 1 in 6 chance of success for each of these skills except for Decipher Magic, which is only available to Magic-Users and Psychics (or any other class capable of perceiving the Overworld). High attributes may increase the chance of success, based on the table below:

Attribute Skill Bonus

03 – 12 0
13 – 15 1
16 – 17 2
18 3

Bonus pips from high attributes do not apply to all relevant skills, but rather are assigned on a one-to-one basis. As an example, a Fighting Man has an INT of 16. He may choose to assign one pip to Languages and another to Mechanic (increasing the chances of each to 2 in 1d6) or both to a single skill (increasing the chances to 3 in 1d6).

Skills are improved through regular use. When a character has successfully used a skill three times, at the end of the session the player will roll the skill in question. If this roll is a failure, the skill increases by one pip. If the roll succeeds, the character learns nothing from these experiences but may check again after three more successful uses. Skills may only be improved to a 5 in 6 chance of success except for Languages (see below).

The following is a more in-depth description of what each skill involves. Note that these descriptions are not comprehensive and up to the interpretation of the Labyrinth Lord.

Mechanic: This is the ability to understand and employ the complex machines from before the Annihilation Event (and which are slowly being redeveloped today). Specific uses include:

Jury-Rig: Given the right parts, mechanics can restore broken machines. A machine may be repaired for 1d6+1 damage with a day's work, with a cost of 10 gp/HP.

Charge Battery: Many technological items have a limited number of charges which may be refilled by a mechanic (given a working energy source). One day's work will provide 1d4 charges.

Identify Technological Item: Mechanics may attempt once per level to identify the use of any ancient artifact.

Read Schematics: Once per level a mechanic may attempt to understand schematics left by the ancients. If successful, these schematics may later be used to build artifacts of the past.

Pick Locks

Sabotage: This may be used to disable complex mechanical traps and machines.

When a character has 4 'pips' in the Mechanic skill they may also attempt the following:

Program: A mechanic may reprogram computers and robots to serve him.

Build: If a mechanic has access to a set of schematics (and can comprehend them), they may construct ancient artifacts from scratch. This requires a machine shop of at least 2000 gp in value. Each day spent building the artifact will craft 1d6+1 HP in parts, with a cost of 25 gp/HP. The Mechanic skill is rolled at the end of construction to determine success. Failure indicates some oversight on the part of the Mechanic, and will require 1d3 weeks to determine the fault (along with an additional 100 gp in costs).

Outdoorsman: This is the ability to survive in a wilderness or underground environment. Some uses may include:

* Hunt/Fish
* Identify Edible/Poisonous Plants
* Track
* Find Shelter
* Start Fire
* Find Trail
* Mountaineering

Stealth: This skill is used to sneak past opponents unaware. Monsters with a bonus to surprise will negatively modify this roll, as with characters with a high WIS (with a minus to the skill equal to the character's Savings Throw Bonus).

Drive: When a character first encounters a new type of vehicle (boat, plane, car, etc.) they must make a Drive roll to determine how to operate the vehicle. If successful, they may pilot the craft. If they fail, they either must spend one week being taught by someone skilled in the vehicle or attempt to learn the controls again at their next level.

Once a character has mastered the controls of a vehicle they may drive under normal conditions. However, when under duress they may called upon to make a Drive roll. Failure will require a roll on the Crash Table (to be designed).

Languages: Although the vast majority of the inhabitants speak the same language, there are a few ancient and alien languages on the fringes of civilization. When one of these languages is encountered, this skill is used to interpret the strange tongue. Each new language will determine another skill, with a 3 in 6 success chance indicating mastery of basic conversation (although more esoteric subjects will still require a roll). Unlike most skills, a 6 in 6 chance may be gained - this indicates a complete mastery of the language.

Decipher Magic: Characters capable of perceiving the Overworld (most notably Magic-Users and Psychics) may attempt to detect and interpret projections into that dimension. Specifically, this skill allows M-Us and Psychics to:

* Detect Magic
* Read Magic
* Identify Magic Items: May be attempted once/level, one property is revealed by every pip the character succeeds. For example, if an M-U has a 3 in 6 chance of Decipher Magic and rolls a '3', he may identify one property, with a '2' identifying two properties, etc.

Additional inspiration provided by Gamma World 4th Edition and the Scientist class by Patrick Wetmore.

Special thanks to Evan Elkins and Chris Kutalik for their valuable advice.

Finally, I read a blog recently that inspired the Decipher Magic aspect of this post which suggested having Detect Magic as a class ability for Magic-Users. Unfortunately, I've forgotten where I saw this. If the blogger in question would step forward, I'd like to give credit where it is due.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sub-Human (LL Class)

I'm currently reading Where The Summer Ends, a collection of short stories by Karl Edward Wagner. One tale that caught my fancy was ".220 Swift", which features an albino protagonist whose family history can be traced back to the people beneath the hills. The protagonist, Brandon, is set upon by visions when injured deep underground:

Again and again Brandon's dreams were red with visions of stealthy ambush and lurid slaughter of those who trespassed upon their hidden domain, of those who walked mountain trails upon nights when the stars were swallowed in cloud. He saw children snatched from their blankets, women set upon in lonely places. For the most part, these were nightmares from previous centuries, although there was a recurring dream in a which a vapid-faced girl gave herself over willingly to their obscene lusts, until the coming of men with flashlights and shotguns drove them from her cackling embrace.


By the end of the story, Brandon has embraced his history and joins the degenerate morlocks underground. Now, this is to be expected in a tale like this, but Wagner's genius is that Brandon has not been dragged down in defeat - he quests to restore their lost glory:

Fantastic cities reeled and shattered as the earth tore itself apart, thrusting new mountains toward the blazing heavens, opening vast chasms that swallowed rivers and spat them forth as shrieking steam. Oceans of flame melted continents into leaden seas, wherein charred fragments of a world spun frenziedly upon chaotic tides and whirlpools, riven by enormous bolts of raw energy that coursed like fiery cobwebs from the cyclopean orb that filled the sky.

Deep within the earth, fortress cities were shaken and smashed by the Hell that reigned miles above. From out of the ruins, survivors crept to attempt to salvage some of the wonders of the age that had died and left them exiles in a strange world. Darkness dwellers from even great depths of the earth drove them from their buried cities and upward through caverns that opened onto an alien surface. In the silent halls of vanished greatness, nightmarish shapes crawled like maggots, while the knowledge of that godlike age was a fading memory to the degenerate descendents of those who had fled.

That's right, an albino hero that gathers together the disparate morlock tribes to reclaim a megadungeon claimed by Lovecraftian beasts. If that isn't D&D as shit, I don't know what is.

So, as a replacement of the Dwarf class, here is the half-morlock Sub-Human:

This Could Be You!

Requisites: DEX 9
Prime Requisite: CON
Hit Dice: 1d8
Maximum Level: 12

Sub-Humans appear to be human albinos, but are in fact the product of the unholy union of man and the half-ape creatures that dwell beneath the earth. Although half-morlocks may pass unmolested in the cities of man, their blood calls for the deep places among their kin. Due to their sensitive eyes and pale skin, half-morlocks suffer a -1 penalty to attacks while in direct sunlight.

From generations spent beneath the ground, the sub-human's eyes have adjusted to the darkness, allowing them to see in the dark with infravision up to 60 feet. Their thin frames and malleable bones allow them to slip through spaces far too small for a normal man, and sub-humans may save vs. Petrify or Paralyze to escape bonds or fit through thin passages. In addition to these abilities, sub-humans have adjusted to the high-magic environment of the underworld (which is reflected in their high savings throws). Perhaps the greatest gift of the sub-human, however, is their inherited racial memory. Once per day, a sub-human, when faced with a mystery of the underworld, may enter a dream state lasting 1d4 turns which may (LL's discretion) provide additional clues as to the nature of the mystery.

Reaching 5th Level: When a Sub-Human reaches level 5, he has the option of building an underground stronghold atop the ruins of a fallen morlock city that will attract nearby tribes of the creatures. The wretched morlocks are naturally drawn to sub-human leaders that occasionally emerge, recalling dimly their once-great history. Due to their antipathy towards other races, only morlocks will join the sub-human stronghold.

Sub-Humans use the Dwarf Attack Values, XP Chart, and Savings Throws.

"I still sometimes wonder if it isn't all part of my dreams. There's gold down there - more gold than the conquistadors ever dreamed - and hoards of every precious stone these mountains hold. But there's far greater treasure than any of this. There's a lost civilization buried down below, its ruined guarded by entities that transcend any apocalyptic vision of Hell's demons. It's been ages since any of my people have dared to enter the hidden strongholds -but I've dared to enter there, and I've returned."

-- Brandon, from ".220 Swift"

Also, special thanks to Evan Elkins for the suggesting the name "Sub-Humans".

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Beast Master (LL Class)

I recently finished reading The Beast Master by Andre Norton, which readers of this blog are probably vaguely familiar with from the (very) loose film adaptation. What surprised me is that Norton's novel is not a fantasy piece, but rather a planetary romance heavily inspired by the Western genre. In fact, the only similarity between The Beast Master novel and The Beastmaster film is that the two main characters have an empathic link with their animal companions.

While I found Norton's prose workmanlike, I was struck by how perfectly the novel fit into the Savage World of Krül. The planet Arzor is a hostile wilderness full of high-tech dungeons, hard-living settlers, dinosaurs and tribal aliens on the edge of a galactic empire. As such, I decided to put together a class imitating the abilities of the protagonist.

The Beast Master

Requirements: WIS 15, CHA 12, CON 12
Prime Requisite: STR, WIS, CHA
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: None

This sub-class of the fighter is a low-level psychic capable of forming close emotional bonds with members of the animal kingdom. Forever alienated from their fellow man by their strange talents, beast masters may only own what may be carried and may never gain henchmen. Beast masters have the following special abilities:

Beast masters have a 1 in 1d6 chance of calming animals, increasing by 1 every three levels (2 in 1d6 at 3rd, etc.). The chance is increased by one for domestic animals and decreased by one for predators.

Beast masters may form a permanent bond with an animal which acts as a member of his "team". Team members act independently but generally in the interest of the beast master (acting his foes, etc.).

The beast master may have a number of teammates equal to the number of retainers available, although their combined HD must be equal or less than his level (rounding up). For example, a 2nd level beast master with CHA 15 could have a single war dog or two meerkats on his team.

Members of a beast master's team will follow simple verbal commands such as 'scout', 'attack', 'retreat', etc. More complex commands (such as opening a door) may be taught with 1d6 weeks of training. Attempting a complex command without training will take one full turn of concentration and the beast master must save vs. spells to telepathically impart the information.

Beast masters normally communicate with team members through verbal and physical cues, but may send commands through their empathic link once a day (Range: 1 mile).

When a beast master wants to add a new member to his team, he must first calm the animal (see above). Then, the beast master must spend 1 wk/HD with the potential team member in an attempt to befriend the animal. At the end of this time, the beast master rolls 1d6 + 1/2 his level + reaction adjustment. If this is greater than the HD of the creature, it then joins his team.

Finally, a beast master's ability to lead his team is dependent on his complete self-control and competent decision-making. Should a beast master regularly expose his team to unncessary risks, panic in the face of danger, or suffer a humiliating defeat all members of his team roll Morale (modified by the beast master's CHA). Should they fail, herbivores and solitary predators will leave the team. Pack hunters, however, may (50% chance) challenge the beast master for leadership of the "pack".

The beast master uses the fighter attack matrix and savings throws and the ranger xp chart. The beast master must qualify in all prime requisites to gain an xp bonus.
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