2012-07-23, 09:00 AM
Re: Lands of the Barbarian Kings
There is a certain chance of getting repetitive about this, since I think I did this step already two or three times, but I really love refining the creature list for the setting, since together with classes and equipment, it is one of the major factors of how players experience the world in a different way than description text of what they see.
As it so happens, there's also a new D&D 5th Edition article that describes http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/20120723]their current modell of creating monster stats.
It sound really quite simple:
- Decide at what level adventurers would usually encounter a common individual of the monster and if it would be alone, a pair, or a small group, to determine how strong the overall result should be.
- Set Ability Scores as fit, with everything above 18 being really exceptional. So I guess no level 5 earth elementals with STR 25 or level 7 succubusses with CHA 26.
- Hit Dice do not provide a Base Attack Bonus or Base Save Bonuses. If you want to increase these, give the creature a special trait like "+2 to Horn attacks" or "+3 to Constitution-saves".
- Hit Dice mostly set number of hp. No sure what else they do. Constitution-modifiers are added to the total of hit points, not added for every hit dice seperately.
- Decide on an AC for the creature and give it fitting armor or set a natural armor bonus. Even though it's not realistic, creatures always only get the better of the two when wearing both, it's not added together. But for a game that's just fine and makes things simpler.
- Customize with special abilities like "Bonus to attacks with claws", "bonus to Dexterity saves", "bonus to Tracking skill", "half damage from fire" or special attacks like "Sneak Attack", or "Berserker Rage", or any new ability you can think of.
Apparently you're then given a set of guidelines to determine a good XP value for the final result.
I think this sounds really really fast once you've made a couple of fighter, rogue, and wizard characters to see what ACs they can hit at given levels, what Wisdom-saves they are able to make successfully, how good their chances are to not being hit by a creature with a certain attack bonus, and how much damage they can take without dying. Once you figured that out, making a monster could be as quick as 5 minutes.
So far, I kept my monster creations rather generic to make it easy to convert them to different rule systems. But with 5th Edition monster creation as it is know, it really sounds like there's only filling in the numbers that's left.
So now, here is the current creature list for LotBK, which I think is pretty much final. Maybe a few additional animals for interesting wildlife, but I don't think there will be any significant additions or removals of creatures that in some way take active roles in the events of the world.
Names in italics are placeholders.
- Dark Elf: Dark grey skinned elves from the southern lands. Living in underground homes during the day, they are out in the jungles during evening and night. Unlike wood elves, they have Darkvision instead of Low-light vision, but are more sensitive to bright sunlight than most people. Like wood elves, they are resistant to enchantments.
- Fish People: These humanoids live mostly in the deep seas but also in flooded caves that are connected to the oceans and in shallow costal waters. They can breath in water and air, but dry out when out of water for more than a few hours and become ill with no access to salt water. They are not very smart and often servants to aboleths and krakens.
- Gnome: Gnomes are about 1,20m tall and often build their homes and castles partly or entirely burried in the ground or carved into mountains. They have darkvision and are resistant to magic and poison.
- Goblin: Goblins are small humanoids with green-grey skin. They live mostly underground and are one of the very few races that often travels between the mortal world and the underworld, often being hired as guides who know the deepest parts of the world.
- Harpy: Harpies are 1,50m tall humanoids with feathers instead of hair and wings in place of arms and to finger claws at the joints, that make for reasonably good hands. Their feet are like those of hawks.
- Hill Giant: Hill giants are tall humanoids that stand over 3 meters tall. Even though many look rather thin, they are as strong as trolls.
- Kaas: Kaas are 2 meters tall humanoids with short brown fur, dark brown manes, and sharp teeth. At home in the northern mountains, they are very good climbers and are also resistant to fear.
- Merfolk: Merfolk have the upper bodies of humans and the lower bodies of dolphins, but are fully amphibious and can breath in sea water as well as air.
- Mountain Giant: Mountain giants are 4 meters tall humanoids that quite closely resemble oversized humans. They live mostly in mountains and in smaller groups than hill giants.
- Nezumi: A race of short humanoids who appear similar to humanoid weasels, dogs, and rats. They live in forests and often make their homes in the trees and are very good and fast climbers. They are sometimes seen in the cities of other races and using their tools or weapons, but their own villages are more primitive than those of other humanoid races.
- Spiritfolk: (Genasi) These people are descendants of mortals and spirits, usually shie but sometimes nymphs and demigods. They often show clear association with one of the elements, making them tall and strong when descended from an earth spirit or agile and able to breath under water when descended from a water spirit. There are a few clans that have spirit ancestors which can still be seen in the oldest families, but many of them are single individuals.
- Tiefling: These are mortal humanoids from bloodlines strong with demonic influence. Many are descended from mortals who have lived in demonic realms in the void. Tieflings have Darkvision and are resistant to fire, ice, and lightning.
- Troll: Trolls are big humanoids with powerful bodies and thick grey skin. While they are very strong and tough, they are not very smart, but also not nearly as dumb as many people think.
- Wood Elf: Wood elves have light brown skin and hair ranging from dark brown to red and dark blond in some southern clans. They have low-light vision are are resistance to enchantments.
- Giant Beetles
- Giant Centipedes
- Giant Mosquito: (Lvl 3, groups of 5) These insects grow up to the size of a hawk or a cat and they hunt by killing their prey with their poisonous bite before draining their blood.
- Giant Snakes
- Giant Spiders
- Giant Ant Lions: (Lvl 2) These large burrowing insects can be found in many of the warmer and temperate parts of the barbarian lands, often in places where there is no thick forest.
- Pack Lizard: (Lvl 1) These large reptiles are strong and relatively slow, standing not very high but having a wide body. They make perfect animals to carry loads or pull heavy carts.
- Riding Lizard: (Lvl 2)These reptiles run on two legs and have a long neck. Even though they are predators, they can be domesticated and trained as mounts for cavalry by lizardfolk and dark elves.
- Cliffrunner Lizard: These large reptiles are relatively slim with long and suprisingly strong legs, that allow them to climb on almost vertical surface (and even overhangs, if they can find cracks to hook their claws into). They do so at amazing speed rivaling mountain goats, which they use to great effect to ambush their prey, which can be as large as, and also including humans.
- Bull Hyena: (Lvl 6)These giant predators resemble huge sand colored hyenas with shaggy fur that are larger than the biggest tigers. They are at home in the great plains to the east, but are sometimes encountered in the Border Hills and the river valley that connects the Barbarian Lands to the Eastern Lands.
- Wolf Hyena: (Lvl 2) These animals look like a cross between a hyena and a grey wolf, but happen to be much smarter than either.
- Giant Sloth: (Lvl 8) Only somewhat related to the other species of sloths found in the southern jungles, these animals are huge predators with giant claws.
- Dragonhawk: (Lvl 4)Dragonhawks blends both features of birds and flying reptiles, being covered in red, yellow, and green feathers and having sharp and strong beaks and claws. They make very fast flying mounts for light riders, but can not carry great weights with them.
- Shriek: (Lvl 1, groups of 4) These small monkey-like creatures look a bit like starved baboons or mandrills with very flat faces and long manes, but no tails. Their fur is usually a bluish grey, but can sometimes range from almost black to light grey, with the mane usually significantly darker than the rest. They can be extremely agressive when any large creature comes anywere near their nests or lairs, often to the point that many of them are killed before they flee from a fight. Onlike true monkeys, they can be found almost anywhere on the mainland of the Barbarian Lands, up to the edges of the Witchfens.
- Swamp Spider: (Lvl 6) These giant grabs have extremely long legs, making them stand up to 6 meters tall. Their pincers are relatively small and only suitable to carry killed prey to its lair, but the front legs end in very sharp and hard spikes, which it uses to impale prey and attackers. They can easily navigate swamps and other wetlands with their long legs and often stand motionless between birches, which can make them almost invisible when the main body is hidden by the canopy.
- Swamp Squid: (Lvl 5) These animals seem to be related to giant squids, but have relatively smaller bodies compared to their tentacles. They are a greenish grey in color to better hide in swamps and marshes and can move through quite shallow waters no more than a meter deep.
- Black Dragon
- Bronze Dragon
- Green Dragon
- Red Dragon
- Silver Dragon
- Giant Weasel Hound: (Lvl 5) These beasts are huge, combining the body of a weasel or otter with the legs of a dog. They have very strong sense of smell and sound, which allows them to hunt in conditions of very poor visibility and to get close to their prey without being seen.
- Shadow Mantis: (Lvl 4) These large creatures have bodies very similar to a praying mantis, but also have the natural ability to be almost invisible. Their rippling outlines can be seen in bright sunlight, but in shadowy places there is almost no way to see them with normal vision or darkvision. Being a perfect predator, these creatures are quite smart and can slay almost anything from ambush.
- Blighted Creature: Blighted Creatures resemble skeletons of zombies but instead of being made from humanoids or animals, they are made from the remains of plants.
- Ghoul: Unlike most undead creatures, ghouls have never actually died. Instead they are mortal humanoids who have been corrupted by taint and turned into bloodthirsty savages.
- Ghost: A ghost is the spirit of a mortal creature that does not dissolve and remerge with the life energies of nature after the body has died. There are a number of reasons for this, but willpower alone is not sufficient, usually powerful magic of some kind is involved. Ghosts are the only undead not directly connected to taint, but more often than not the conditions that created a ghost are also a source of taint. Usually a ghost will die like any other soul once finally destroyed, but in some cases they become full spirits instead. (Such ghost lose the undead subtype and gain the spirit subtype instead, and they lose most of their special abilities like possessing the bodies of other humanoids or causing panic with their mere presence.)
- Shadow: Even though they are not particularly rare as undead go, shadows are barely understood and the most mysterious type of undead. Some speculate that a shadow is what remains of a tainted creature when the bodie reverts to the elements and the life energy of the spirit remerges with the life force of nature, leaving the tainted life energy behind. Though none of them have any idea why the tainted life energy would remain in a coherent form.
- Specter: Specters are like ghost, but it is not their own motives and desires that cause their souls to haunt the world of the living but an outside force. They are often found in larger groups that haunt a greater area, often the places of great disasters or catastrophes, or are the victims of a much more powerful presence that is the source for the curse. Specters have only a few traces of memory of their former live and few own motivations, and usually are not very intelligent, simply attacking any living intruders to the places they haunt.
- Skeleton: Skeletons are created by infusing the bones of dead mortal creatures with tainted life energy, creating a primitive form of a spirit that animates and controls it. They have no real minds of their own and are controlled by the will of their masters, but can act without direct control within the commands imprinted to them.
- Wight: A weight is a mortal humanoid who has been entirely overcome by the currupting effects of taint. While a sudden exposure to a great amount of taint usually kills the person and may turn it into a zombie or ghoul, wights are created from a constant exposure to taint for many years or even decades. Most wights are warlocks or other demonic servants who were eventually consumed by the Void energies they controlled.
- Wraith: A wraith is a tainted spirit of a mortal being that has been stripped of its material body. Though the have some resemblance to ghost and spectres, their nature is actually closer to that of wights. If a shadow is the taint that remains when the spirit has died, a wraith is a spirit that has been entirely corrupted and completely tainted.
- Zombie: Zombies are merely the bodies of dead humanoids and animals filled with enough tainted energy to cause it to move again. But since there is no spirit inside of them, they have no minds and simply react or obbey magical commands without thinking. Zombies can be made on purpose by warlocks, but also can arise purely on accident when a corpse is exposed to a great amount of tainted energy, either by having been killed with tainted magic, or lying in a highly tainted place.
- Wood Golem (Lvl 6)
- Ice Golem (Lvl 7)
- Clay Golem (Lvl 8)
- Stone Golem (Lvl 9)
- Obsidian Golem (Lvl 10)
- Air Elemental
- Earth Elemental
- Fire Elemental
- Shadow Mastiff
- Water Elemental
- Winter Wolf
- Yeth Hound
- Forest Imp: (Lvl 1) These tiny creatures appear like hairless monkeys with large black eyes and long pointed ears. They dress in simple closes made from plant fibers and sometimes use small knives and spears made from stone chips. They are easily started and almost never fight, but tend to know a lot of what is going on in their part of the spiritworld and can be valuable sources of information. However, getting them to share their knowledge is often a highly difficult and frustrating endavour.
- Forest People: (Lvl 3) These spirits appear like tall slender humans or elves, but can only be mistaken for them at a distance, as their skin tends to be in shades of green or blue and their hair is perfectly black. Their faces are almost emotionless and they are not fond of any visitors, both mortals and other spirits. While not out for mischieve or destruction, they can be quite difficult to deal with since they will hide or chase away intruders without listening to their pleas.
- Greenghost: (Lvl 4) This spirit appears like a floating ball of vines and leaves that appears to have light shinnig through small gaps from its center. Most of the time, they are invisible, lurking on the border between the Spiritworld and the Shadow World. They are enigmatic even to other spirits and can be quite dangerous when they chose to attack other creatures, which makes them only partly visible and it requires magic to see their true form.
- Kitsune: (Lvl 6) Kitsune are shapeshifting fox spirits that can change between the forms of foxes, humans, and a foxlike humanoid. They have a very great talent for magic and most of them are witches, with many of the most powerful witches in the worlds of both mortals and spirits being kirsune. Most kitsune seem to be female, but it's not clear if male kitsune are rare, or if they can change between them as well.
- Naga: Naga are snake spirits that can vary quite considerably between groups and individuals. Most are large green snakes with human-like arms and slightly human looking faces, but there are many variances between coloration, size, and the form of their heads. Greater naga resemble snakes even more, differing in appearance from ordinary giant snakes only by their heads. They are not only larger than common naga, but also have much greater magical powers, with the greatest of them being true demigods.
- Raptor (Lvl 5) These spirits resemble humanoid birds with two wings, two arms, two legs, and the heads of hawks. Their feathers are usually clored on patterns of red, grey, brown, and black. Possessing very accurate eyesight, they are great archers and can shot their bows even in flight. Despite their majestic appearance, they among the more cruel and violent of the spirits and have very little regard for other creatures. Thankfully, they are usually solitary and almost never hunt in groups.
- Root Dwarf: (Lvl 3) These forest spirits are about as tall as gnomes, but much heavier without being fat. They make their homes under the roots of great trees and are both the protectors and servants of their spirits. They are not great talkers to the point of appearing rude, but usually are not overly hostile to strangers unless their tree appears to be threatened.
- Shie: (Lvl 2) The shie have a great resemblance to mortal humanoids, appearing similar to elves that stand almost 2 meters tall. However, there are numerous differences about them, like hair and skin colors, body shape, and other more magical attributes. The most common strands among their kind are Earth, Fire, Forest, River, and Wind, which are quite easy to spot for people who are used to the differences. But there are other less common strands as well. Along with the naga, the shie have created the greatest civilizations of spirits and their ruins can be found in many places of the mortal world.
- Spirit Beast: Spirit beasts are animal spirits that often are aspects of the local spirit of the land. They appear like large and powerful animals with the ability to speak and intelligence above humans, and often have distinct markings on their bodies, which clearly set them apart from other animals. They are often accompanies by lesser animal spirits, which may be able to talk or not.
- Spriggan: (Lvl 5) These forest spirits appear as tall and slender androgynous humanoids that on closer expectation appear to have a skin made from wood and hair made of leaves. Somewhat related to treants, they can merge with the forest itself and are not much interested in talking, which makes them appear more malicious than they actually are. Hoever, they are not fond of any intruders into their forests which appear to cause trouble and have more than ample means to deal with them as they see fit, possessing the ability to call wild animals and animate roots and branches to trip or strangle their enemies.
- Thorn Beast: (Lvl 7) These spirits have bodies roughly similar to very large and powerful lions made from plants, but no faces except for a maw of sharp teeth. Often in the service of demigods and more powerful spirits of the land, they are usually seen when they are send to deal with more capable intruders.
- Titan (Lvl 14) Titans are probably the most powerful spirits of nature short of the demigods, though many of them are devine as well. Rarely seen, they usually appear like gargantuan humanoids made from stone, both powerful and graceful and rough and elegant, standing between 8 and 12 meters tall. They are never found outside the spiritworld and often live in groups of about 10 individuals, making them the undisputed lords for all the lands as far as the eye can see.
- Wisp (Lvl 1) Wisps are small and simple minded spirits that appear like no more than a small globe of light, often which a slight green or blue hue. Usually simply minding their own business in places strong with magical energies, they are often used by more powerful spirits as sentries and scouts.
- Wolf-People: (Lvl 1) These creatures are animals spirits inhabiting humanoid bodies. While they appear like half-elves of various types of stature, they have the ability to change their shape into that of an animal and a hybrid form, which is almost always the same animal for all the members of a group. While it is not uncommon for such creatures to be born as children to others, they can also be made by allowing an animal spirit to permamently merge with a humanoid being. They become a single inseperable mind and over a couple of month the humanoid body changes so it becomes mostly impossible to tell whether it was originally an elf, human, or gnome. (Stats will probably be identical to lycanthropes, just without transmission by bite.)
Ancients and demons follow later.
Last edited by Yora; 2012-07-23 at 11:54 AM.