Friday, October 11, 2013

The Gray Mouser, One and Two

The Gray Mouser : 1

The city lifts black roof-shields toward the stars
And shuts the jungle out with mortised stones
And seals the scent of flowers in glass jars
And locks Earth’s secrets up in brass-clasped tomes
No satyr may live there, no faun survive
The stench and clangor of each crowded street.
The white-fanged beasts of night cannot contrive
To gnaw an entrance through its black concrete.

Yet ‘mongst the gargoyles on the slated roofs
One gray-masked face peers down with living  grin
That mocks the scurry of the city’s floor.
Two gray-gloved hands tease ope’ the library’s door
And break the ponderous books and scribble in
Footnotes that give the lie to all proud proofs.
                                                                                                                         Fritz Leiber 

The Gray Mouser : 2

Soft-sandaled feet press lightly on the stones
That cobble Lankhmar’s mazy alleyways;
A grayish cloak melts in the river mist
That billowing with many a darting twist
Fumes round the corner from the nighted bays
To chill with sorcery men’s blood and bones;
Only a bat whose sharp ears caught one sound
Knows that the Mouser is on business bound.

A jewel from Quarmall or a girl from Kled,
A caravel said to be docking soon,
A rune that Sheelba magicked from the dead,
Or a dread whisper from beyond the moon
What man can name the thing the Mouser seeks
Or read the smile that links his sallow cheeks?

-                                                                                                                             Fritz Leiber

    Both included in the White Wolf edition of Ill Met in Lankhmar. 

Il    Illustrations by Mike Mignola

            God bless Fritz Leiber. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Flying Pig of Wyrd-Greyhawk.

 The Flying Pig of Wyrd-Greyhawk

Frequency:  Singular
No. Appearing:  1
Armor Class: -9
Move: 8”, (walking), 220”, (flying)
Hit Dice: 4, (32hp)
% in Lair: 0%, (not know to lair)
Treasure Type: Incidental, (may have swallowed something valuable)
No. of Attacks: 1
Damage/Attack: 1-6, (bite)
Special Attacks:  Piercing Squeal
Special Defenses: Continual magical effect equal to a Grease spell
Magic Resistance: 90%
Intelligence: Low
Alignment: Pig
Size: M, (200lbs, or thereabouts)
Psionic Ability: Nil

When pigs fly!”  

In many worlds, this is a phrase employed to express disbelief at the prospect of an occurrence of extreme improbability.
Other worlds, however, are not so steeped in natural currents of eldritch power as is Wyrd-Greyhawk, where vehement exclamations, with sufficient repetition, may become unintended invocations.

If this be the origin of the infamous Flying Pig, Zagig only knows.  What is known is that when it appears, the winged porcine Herald of Chance brings with it all the possibilities of outrageous fortune.

The Flying Pig appears to be exactly that, a young domestic swine with large feathered wings.  The Flying Pig may, and has been, encountered in any location, and without warning. In fact, encounters with the Flying Pig nearly always occur in places one might least expect to find any sort of pig. 

At any time when a roll for a random encounter is called for, if an encounter is then indicated, there is a 1% chance that the Flying Pig will make an appearance.  In a magical alteration zone, or other such place of unusually strong magical energy, the chance increases to 3%.

Any and all who catch sight of the Flying Pig are subject to its inherent magic, that of probability reversal. .  This means that the probability of success or failure as regards the actions of those affected is reversed.  That which is likely, becomes unlikely, while that which is unlikely becomes likely.  As an example, while the magic holds, a character action which would normally have an 80% chance of success instead has a 20% chance of success. And vice versa.   In melee the chance To Hit would be converted to percentiles and then reversed.  

The probability reversal affects all actions which rely upon a roll of the dice for resolution.  This includes: initiative, melee, saving throws, fumbles, spell failure or misfire, etc. 

Any visual recognition of the Flying Pig, at any distance, counts as a Sighting, and triggers the probability reversal effect.  Those who have seen the pig may attempt to save vs. magic to halve the duration of the probability reversal.  Those who fail to save feel the effects of the magic for one round per experience level.

It should be noted that the power of the flying pig makes its presence far more dangerous and disruptive to higher level player characters than to lower level player characters.   Probability reversal will tend to make the actions of low level characters more successful and effective, while making those of higher level, and more powerful characters, erratic and unpredictable. 

Grynthurn the Fashionable was well known for his heroic dragon-slayings and ogre-bashings. But it is for his encounter with the flying pig, in which he somehow managed to behead himself with his own sword, for which he is most strongly remembered.

The flying Pig seems to be a singular creature, no more than one has ever been encountered in a single instance. It may also be a more than physical creature, for it has been claimed to have been killed on a few, rare occasions, though it always reappears elsewhere.  It is said that, years ago, the river dragon, Sivexunh, even devoured the Flying Pig. This was shortly before he renounced all worldly possessions and became a shepherd. 

Aside from the probability reversal, the Flying Pig possesses some other magic of defensive character. A continual magical effect equal to a grease spell makes the pig all but impossible to grasp. If injured or frightened the pig will utter its Piercing Squeal. All within earshot must save vs. magic or be deafened for 1D4 rounds. 

If unmolested, the flying pig will ignore other creatures in favor of engaging in the standard pursuits of pigs. If offered food, it will accept enthusiastically. The approval of the flying pig will in no way alter the effects of its magic in the favor of the player characters. 

No encounter with the flying pig will last longer than 3 turns. If it does not simply fly away, it will inexplicably vanish the moment the party’s attention is diverted from it.  And something will occur to draw the party’s attention. 

This monster was brought to you courtesy of King Missile.  Long live the King. 

And also, 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ye Gods! Look at the size of the hat on that thing!


Frequency:  Very Rare
No. Appearing:  1-2
Armor Class: 4 (may employ magical protections)
Move: 12”, 18”
Hit Dice: 4+4,
% in Lair: 45%
Treasure Type: H, S, T,
No. of Attacks: 3
Damage/Attack: 1-3, 1-3, 1-8
Special Attacks: magic use.
Special Defenses: Nil
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: High
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Size: L
Psionic Ability: Nil

A magicore is a manticore in the main. As do manticores, they prefer dismal lairs, such as caverns and dungeons. They range in all climes, though favoring warmer over colder.  They also favor man as prey.

Magicores, however, have motivations greater than mere gustatory satisfaction. Unlike ordinary manticores, a magicore is a magic-user capable of casting spells. Unfortunately, a magicore cannot learn or memorize spells as human magic-users do. Instead, a magicore may gain spells only by devouring other magic-users. Any spells held in the mind of the monster’s victim at the time he is eaten, are then transferred to the magicore.
The spells remain with the magicore until cast, at which time they are lost. To regain spells, the beast must find and devour another dwoemer holding magic-user.

A magicore may cast spells of up to 4th level. Greater magics are beyond its ability, and are simply lost if contained within the head of a magicore’s , “meal-book”.

In any first encounter, a magicore will have 1-6 spells available to it. These spells may be determined by first rolling a D6 to find the total number of spells, then by rolling a D4 for each to determine its level, one through four. Each spell may then be randomly determined by rolling on the level lists, or simply chosen by the Dungeon Master.

A magicore can and will employ magic items it has gained to best advantage. A magicore will employ its spells judiciously.

A magicore lacks the spine-hurling tail of a manticore. Instead its tail ends in a serpent’s head. The tail-head is not venomous, in most cases. The magicore may use it in a clumsily prehensile manner, to bite and hold small creatures and manipulate objects.

Though they are both monstrous and bestial, magicores exhibit leonine confidence and an excess of personality.
Magicores have a particular weakness for ornate headgear. Any captured creature with skill in hattery will be forced to create fabulous and impressive hats for the monster. Until such time as its appetite overcomes its vanity.