Sunday, August 28, 2011


I remember

The dark woods, masking slopes of sombre hills,
The grey clouds' leaden everlasting arch;
The dusky streams that flowed without a sound,
And the lone winds that whispered down the passes.

Vista on vista marching, hills on hills,
Slope beyond slope, each dark with sullen trees,
Our gaunt land lay. So when a man climbed up
A rugged peak and gazed, his shaded eye
Saw but the endless vista - hill on hill,
Slope beyond slope, each hooded like its brothers.

It was a gloomy land that seemed to hold
All winds and clouds and dreams that shun the sun,
With bare boughs rattling in the lonesome winds,
And the dark woodlands brooding over all,
Not even lightened by the rare dim sun
Which made squat shadows out of men; they called it
Cimmeria, land of Darkness and deep Night.

It was so long ago and far away
I have forgot the very name men called me.
The axe and flint-tipped spear are like dreams,
And hunts and wars are shadows. I recall
Only the stillness of that sombre land;
The clouds that piled forever on the hills,
The dimness of the everlasting woods.
Cimmeria, land of Darkness and the Night.

Oh, soul of mine, born out of shadowed hills,
To clouds and winds and ghosts that shun the sun,
How many deaths shall serve to break at last
This heritage which wraps me in the grey
Apparel of ghosts? I search my heart and find
Cimmeria, land of Darkness and the Night.

Cimmeria, by R.E.Howard, 1932.

Posted without permission, because I really like this poem, and Howard's works in general. And he's dead, and I don't make any profit from this blog, and I want you to see it, and I think its fair use, and IP laws are strangling culture and literature to death and making us all poorer for it. And I have a sense of ennui concerning the new Conan movie. And I haven't made up any new monsters for you lately.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Beware the Killer Blink Frogs!

“I swear! It was sitting on that rock, big as a wolf! It jumped and just vanished, I don’t know where it….ARRRGGHHHH!”

Killer Blink Frog

Frequency: Vanishingly Rare
No. Appearing: 2-12, (2D6)
Armor Class: 7
Move: 6”, (walking), 220”, (blink-leap)
Hit Dice: 3
% in Lair: 80%
Treasure Type: Incidental
No. of Attacks: 3
Damage/Attack: 1-2/1-2/1-6, (claw, claw, bite)
Special Attacks: surprise 3/6, first attack from rear 50% of the time.
Special Defenses: instinctively blink if hit in melee.
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Low
Alignment: Neutral Hungry
Size: S, (3’-5’ body length)
Psionic Ability: Nil

Ferocious Giant Frogs armed with cat-like slashing claws, rows of saurian teeth, and covered in a coat of damp, blackish green hair-like bristles, Killer Blink Frogs display characteristics of both Killer Frogs and Blink Dogs.

How these monstrous aberrations came to be, no one knows, and in fact, no one cares to think about it very much. Better to simply avoid the horrid things if at all possible. Or try to kill them when it is not.

Killer Blink Frogs may be encountered in areas of marsh, swamp, wetland, lagoons, and bayous, along river bends, lakes or any other area of high humidity or perpetual moisture. There have been accounts of cave dwelling Killer Blink Frogs of phosphorescent whiteness seen about underground lakes and streams.

The frogs are voracious predators and attack without warning. Anything which moves is a likely target for their hunger.

If the frog pack is well fed and not hungry, they will sit about their water source/lair and bark to each other to reinforce their standing in the group. There is only a 10% chance of the frogs feeling satiated if encountered randomly.

At any other time the frogs will sit silently waiting for a likely meal to venture within striking distance. In the case of Killer Blink Frogs, this is a greater span than for ordinary giant frogs.

Once a Killer Blink Frog has sighted a possible meal, it attacks by leaping in the targets direction. As soon as the frog’s feet have left the ground, it Blinks, disappearing and then reappearing mid-leap, and only feet away from its victim.

The frog can attack from up to 220” feet away in a single round by this method. If it hits successfully, the victim must Save vs. Crushing Blow or be knocked to the ground by the impact, and also take double damage from the frog’s claw, claw, bite attack for that round.

If the frog misses its first attack, it has failed to judge the position of its intended victim and either fallen short in its blink-leap, or overshot its mark. There is a 50/50 chance of either way.

A killer blink frog will remain in contact with its victim and continue its attack unless wounded. The frog’s instinctive reaction to being hurt is to blink away in a random direction.

Roll D4 to determine direction of the blink, 1-in front of victim, 2-behind victim, 3- to the right of victim, 4- to the left of victim. Also roll D20 to determine the distance the frog travels in feet. 1=1’, 20=20’, etc.

If the frog is not severely wounded, or if it's very hungry, it will return to the attack on its next action.

During periods of heavy precipitation, or very dense fogs, a killer blink frog pack may go prowling across country, searching for prey. The frogs slowly proceed by leap-blinking one at a time until the whole pack is present in the new location, watching for likely victims for a time, and then repeating the process if nothing toothsome presents itself.

If randomly encountered, the frogs are most likely hunting in this manner and certain to attack.

Killer Blink Frogs are hierarchical in the manner of dogs and wolves, there will be an alpha male and female frog, but they do not hunt co-operatively. Instead, if the pack becomes aware of a meal at the same time, the alpha frog attacks first. Other frogs will attack other targets, but not the same targets. Only should a frog be killed or give up its attack will a lesser ranking frog attack that target.

Though they are silent when awaiting prey or actually hunting, Killer Blink Frogs will bark loudly and excitedly when attacking.

The Ruined Tepidarium. (insertable encounter)

Near to the heart of the broken ancient city, the PCs find the remains of the city’s public baths. The building sits on a foundation dais ten feet above street level. Only the tepidarium still holds water as its connection to the aqueducts’ remains in good condition.

The pool is 40’ wide and 120’ long. It is 2’ deep in one end, and 8’ deep in the other. At the deep end, most of the marble columns which supported the roof remain standing, but near to the shallow end, the columns collapsed in the Catastrophe and two have broken and fallen into the pool.

A pack of nine Killer Blink Frogs have made their lair in the tepidarium. Six of them sit at positions between the standing pillars at the deep end of the pool, while three, smaller, (only 1 hit die) frogs hide in the shallow end of the pool amongst the column fragments.

The large frogs, #1- 17 hp, #2-12hp, #3-12hp, #4*-13hp, #5-8hp, #6-14hps. The smaller frogs, #7-2hp, #8-3hp, #9-4hp.

• Frog # 4 recently devoured an unwary wererat which had come to the tepidarium for water. As a result, some inexplicable quirk of the laws of Spontaneous Generation has conferred upon the frog the ability to infect victims of its bite with a unique and especially disturbing form of lycanthropy.
Any PC bitten by frog #4 has a 50% chance, less his Constitution score, of contracting the transformative disease. The PC so infected will become a Blinking Killer Rat-Frog at the next dark of the moon(s).

The building may only be easily entered by climbing the stairs at the shallow end of the pool

Should PCs climb the stairs and enter the remains of the building, the frogs will immediately attack.

The largest frogs will leap-blink from the far end of the pool one at a time to attack each PC as they are noticed. Only one frog per PC will attack at any time. Only if a frog is killed or driven off will a lower ranking frog attack its former victim.

The small frogs in the pool are unlikely to attack unless attacked first, or unless a PC enters the pool, for any reason. This includes falling into the pool during melee.

At the bottom of the pool at the deep end is the remains of a wheel barrow which holds a cracked ceramic jug containing 1500 gps and a four dozen short rods of ivory worth around 450 gps, as well as the skeletal remains of the man who sought to wheel his savings to the docks during the Catastrophe, and who instead drowned in the tepidarium.

These things are hidden beneath a layer of water lilies which cover the surface of the pool.

There are also present, unfortunately, 1d4 Groin Leeches, (always attach themselves to the victim’s groin, as per the HackMaster Hacklopedia of Beasts IV), Groin Leech, AC: 8, HP: 1D4-1, Move: 3” on land, 6” swimming, No. of Attacks: 1, Damage/Attack: 1-3 blood drain, release their bite only with salt or fire

Top pic is clipped from the cover art for DA2- Temple of the Frog (1986). Art by Dennis Beauvais. There's just no finding art of a hairy killer frog online, but I always liked Beauvais' work on the Dragon Magazine covers.

The second pic is just funny, so I included it. I do stuff like that.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Honorable Mention! Dig it!

Here's the winners in the Fight On! Big Book Of Random Tables contest. I got a couple honorable mentions for two of the 100 item random tables I put up here on the Blog.
I had completely forgotten that I'd entered this, until I got an email from the gracious Ignatius Umlaught the day before yesterday.

All these tables will be compiled into a Fight On! book, and it looks like it will be a very entertaining and useful tool for DMs.

The Honorable Mentions.

Planet Exploration Table, Chris Willrich
Magnificent Lagan, Jeff Wilcox
Exotic Intoxicants, Patrick Wetmore
100 Character Backgrounds, Anthony Westenberg
20 Random Alchemical Accidents, Buzz Tilford
Wandering Harlot Table, Adam Thornton
Defective Scroll Effects and
Sewer Features and Hazards, Bill Staeven
Incidents and Events in Town, Joel Sparks
Random Bag of Holding Contents and
Gladiators, Ricardo Signes
Broodings of the Barbarian, Jason Sholtis
30 Close Combat Concentration Breakers, Matthew Schmeer
Battle Scars and Sequelae, Igor Vinicius Sartorato
How to Make a Random Table, Scott W. Roberts
50 Things That Might Be Found In A ‘Dungeon Town’ Curio Shop and
Vile Poisons and
50 Things Found In A Fantasy Villain’s Lair, Richard Rittenhouse
Who Is That Drunkard? and
What the Prostitute Knows, Jim Richmond
Random Bar Encounters, Lawson Reilly
Random Cause of Death, Mr. Reaper
Exploring the Crags, Marc Pavone
100 Random Starting Items for Beginning Characters and
100 Odd, Level-Inappropriate, and Random Treasure Items, Gene Palmer
30 Sprite Curses, Mike Monaco
20 Unexpected Customs and Laws and
20 Reasons for Stuck Doors, Gary McCammon
Random Pirates & Buccaneers, Dyson Logos
Traumatic Adolescent Background Generator, Samuel Kisko
Elves, Kesher
Random City Generator, Nicholas Kariya
Random Secret Door Clues, Adam Flynn
Monster Motivations, Conrad W. Deitrick
Multiversal Table: We Ended Up Where?, Michael David Jr.
The Crate in the Back of the Hold and
Customize Your Mutant and ,
Alchemist’s Ale, David Coleman
Magic Weapon Table, Courtney Campbell
Curious Curative Corollary, BIU_sKrEEm
Falls Down A Pit, Lee Barber
Slum Encounters and
Weird Things In Rooms, Al

Special Honorable Mentions

Rudingoz, Patrice Crespy
Swashbuckling Adventure Generator, Ralph Mazza
The Dungeon is Trying to Eat You! Best Of, Remix!, James A. Smith
What’s in that Hole?, Matthew Schmeer
Drink Me, Eat Me, Mr. Reaper

Elite Honorable Mentions

Ruins, Joe Wetzel
What’s Happened To Those Dead Bodies You Left In The Dungeon Yesterday?, Roger S. G. Sorolla
Character Generation, Alex Schroeder and Adrian Shieh
Magical Research Results, Gavin Norman
Dwarves, Kesher
Exotic Traps, Mr. Reaper

Third Prize

One Page Monster Manual, Paolo Greco

Second Prize

Quick Hex Contents Generator, Al

Grand Prize

Feast, Samuel Kisko

Just how many OSR inspired D&D fan magazines are there now?

I know of Fight On!, Knockspell, Oubliette, I know there are others. Who am I forgetting?