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Old 04-04-2021, 10:24 PM   #11
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Old School Monsters

Just to drag the conversation back to monsters, I really like this book, but some magical monsters left me scratching my head. Executioner's Hood and Caryatid Column are both magical creations, magical critters left behind as traps or guards.

I'm puzzling over how they're created. The Caryatids are pretty tough and should take some considerable magic to make. Maybe the Hood could be a lesser magic item, I don't know, but the columns are beefy.

I'm okay with, "Well, they knew how to do it back then...," I suppose, but I really like that in the Book of Unlife, the Golem comes with instructions for who can make one and how. I don't anticipate my players will run into an extant wizard who can make these beasts, but if they do, I don't feel too confident making up the numbers and requirements to build such magical critters.
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Old 04-05-2021, 05:36 AM   #12
hcobb
 
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Location: Pacheco, California
Default Re: Old School Monsters

Man is not the measure of all magic. Other living critters make magic also, so not everything is an enchantment. But of course there are no Babel fish because there are no gods to make them.

I was amused by all the "this looks like a mummy but isn't" types, as TFT has no mummies!

The non-standard formatting makes it difficult to tell how much armor each beast has, but this isn't an issue because if the PCs aren't using high level staff occult blasts all the time then they won't survive long enough for this to be much of a problem.
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Old 04-05-2021, 07:27 AM   #13
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Old School Monsters

There are mummies in the Book of Unlife.
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Old 04-05-2021, 08:11 AM   #14
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Old School Monsters

Letting a PC research a spell or enchantment that mimics some magical object or effect they've encountered can be a great theme for a campaign. And who knows what will really happen if/when they finally cast their completed spell...
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Old 04-05-2021, 12:32 PM   #15
Turgul
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Default Re: Old School Monsters

Where do we post errata?
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Old 04-07-2021, 12:24 PM   #16
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Old School Monsters

I noticed a minor, inconsequential oddity in the description of the Archer Bush. Roll 2 dice and on a 4 (exactly) it has a flower. I was thinking that the odds must be quite specific in order to require exactly a 4.

But then I realized: the odds of a 4 are the same as the odds of rolling 3 or less. So I couldn't come up with any reason to require a 4 instead of the more usual n or less roll. Both of them are a 1 in 12 probability.

Doesn't matter. I'm just puzzling over an inconsequential choice. Maybe someone can enlighten me or point out my error.

Or ignore this as the trivia that it is.
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Old 04-08-2021, 12:27 PM   #17
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Old School Monsters

Man, I like the Gelatinous Cube example encounter, but I'm thinking of adapting it and I'm starting to think it's not as spooky as it sounds.

A cube takes 12 turns to change shape substantially or, in this case, to emerge from the water. In the encounter, you picture the party trying to flee in terror and suddenly worried by that closed gate, but they have twelve turns in which the cube is not much of a threat. Now, they don't know how long they have, to be sure, but during that time, the cube is only striking 50% of the time with a pseudopod with ST 9. He's practically defenseless.

Still, a cube sitting in a pool of water is brilliant. Adds a lot of suspense and fear.

I want something similar to happen. I want a cube to come from behind the party without any trickery or planning on the unintelligent cube's part (and no other intelligence is behind the plan -- except mine). The trick is that they have to somehow pass by the cube without discovering it, so he can come up between them and the labyrinth exit. (There's an obvious pit trap in front of the party, which they could easily jump over and land on a less obvious cantilevered floor trap. The threat of a cube should encourage that jump without much time for thought.)
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Old 04-08-2021, 01:28 PM   #18
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Old School Monsters

My favorite thing about OSM is are the encounters that go with each entry. They are creative, fun, teach you something about the critter involved. They are something you can just drop into a session for a ready-cooked half hour or so of play.
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Old 04-08-2021, 03:38 PM   #19
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Old School Monsters

Oh, yeah, they give you plenty of ideas. The cube one is creepy if you can get it to work.

I've settled my problem using distraction. Make sure the party has to leave the stairwell to deal with a small, easy attack (a cave fisher or two, say), giving the cube time to enter the area in front of the stairwell and block easy escape. Then sweep them towards the trap.

That's the idea anyway. There are details to work out yet.
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Old 04-08-2021, 04:01 PM   #20
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: Old School Monsters

Still some questions about the Gelatinous Cube.

It says the cube doesn't engage, but is it engaged by two or more figures? I think it isn't. It moves in any direction at 5 MA and doesn't use normal combat options.

That makes the cube a worse monster than I was figuring. You can try to attack it in melee, but it will just move right onto you. You get a 2/DX save roll to back up, but then it continues moving, so that you could make five save rolls in one turn. There's about a 13% chance of auto-failure when you roll 2/DX five times. And then there's that pseudopod hit, which isn't terrible, but adds to the danger.

The cube makes a player think.

Now, could a cube get to the other side of a 4' wide, 15' deep pit? Seems like it could, by flowing into the pit and out the other side, no climbing required (the pit is only 600 cu. ft., figuring it's about ten ft. wide.). Which means I have to make my pit deeper, because it's supposed to be a barrier for the mindless goo.

I notice that it's not using the trampling rules, which is good, because you can't push back or trample anyone who has no escape route (a rule that has always bugged me -- I might houserule that if you have no escape route, you're automatically trampled instead of pushed back) and dead ends are supposed to be deadly, not safe spaces.
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