Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Gigantes

Foes of the Gods, gigantes (Greek giants) emerge from the earth to wreak havoc. Though spawned by Gaia and Uranus's fallen blood, they often show little other disposition except destruction, whether they serve the will of the Titans or even Typhon or not. What is certain is that they are forces to be reckoned with.

Enemy Divinity/Cult
Unlike other monsters which may serve a particular deity, gigantes are notorious for fighting deities, or at least the followers of the Greek gods. As a result, they will attack those of a particular allegiance first
, though if there is no match, a gigante will happily try to destroy any it encounters who can't escape anyway. Still, followers of the divinity it considers enemy gain a +2 to all rolls made against that gigante, to return the favor. Roll 1d14.

1. Aphrodite   2. Apollo   3. Athena  4. Artemis   5. Ares   6. Demeter   7. Dionysus   
8. Hecate   9. Hephaestus   10. Hera   11. Hermes   12. Pan   13. Poseidon   14. Zeus


Size & Appearance
Gigantes are understandably giant, each being roughly 8 + 1d30' tall and having a HD of 8 + 1 HD per 2' over 8'. They have a base speed of 50' and can typically do 1d6 + their HD damage per hit per round unless better weapons are available. 90% of gigantes encountered will be male; Referees may wish to adjust the motivations and stats of female gigantes (gigantis). Otherwise, all gigantes come in three general varieties (select or roll d3):
1. Giant in hoplite armor (gaining a +9 AC bonus, but also -10' speed)
2. Unkempt, wild giant (no modifiers)
3. Unkempt, wild giant with snake legs: those who first encounter it must save vs. death or suffer a -2 to all rolls due to fear; the legs also confer a -10' speed penalty, but also a +4 bonus to resist being grappled or knocked over


Lineage
Various tribes of gigante exist, granting special powers derived from their leaders and founders. Select or roll d14.
1. Alcyoneancannot be slain while in its home domain (on the ground or above), instantly regenerating 25% of its total hit points instead of dying there. Also has a 25% chance of being winged, allowing it to fly at double its land speed.
2. Alodaean: is double in size and HD, but also takes double damage from any magic of the Gods or their followers.
3. Antaean: cannot be slain while touching the earth, instantly regenerating 25% of its total hit points instead of dying on the ground.
4. Damysean: is quite swift, having +20' speed, but also -2 HD.
5. Enceladean: its footsteps cause tremors, causing all within 120' to save vs. paralysis or fall over.
6. Ephialtean: it regenerates 1d6 hit points per round unless struck at least twice in the same round.
7. Eurymedonean: gains +1 HD for 1d6 turns for every follower of the Gods it slays.
8. Geryonean: has 1d2+1 extra, connected bodies or just heads (equal chance of either), either doubling or tripling its HD and allowing two or three actions per round in the first case, or just allowing extra actions in the second. Having multiple bodies does make it difficult for the gigante to fit into confined areas. Having multiple heads makes it difficult for the gigante to make decisions.

9. Leonean: is leonine, allowing the gigante to make two claw attacks for 1d4+ 1/2 HD each and one bite attack for 1d6 + HD per round, as well as granting it +10' speed, but it also cannot use its claws to hold things.
10. Panoptean: like Argus, is covered in 100 eyes, never being surprised when awake, but also causing it to have an AC penalty of 4 and automatically failing any saves to resist seeing something.
11. Periboean: is semi-aquatic, allowing the gigante to breathe water and swim at its normal land speed. It also must be immersed in water each day or perish. 
12. Polybotean: can only be permanently slain by damage from (unfertile) rock. Can also swim at normal land speed.
13. Porphyrionean: +4 to all rolls when triggered by lust, but also a -8 penalty to AC and saves when so aroused.
14. Procrustean: can ignore the use of one special ability or spell used on it each round, but must also take time to stretch or cut away any victims it catches, so that they fit on its arbitrarily heinous egalitarian bed. 


Special Qualities
Gigantes can have more special powers and weaknesses in addition to their lineage. Roll for each to see what a particular one has.
- Ally of the Gods (5% chance): strangely, the gigante knowingly assists the Gods and thus would be understandably less prone to slaughter their worshippers.
- Better Weapon (25% chance): has more than just its fists to fight with, doing 2d6 + HD damage instead.
Boulder Tosser (75% chance): has boulders that it can hurl for 4d12 damage each.
Grab & Hurl (25% chance): if it grabs a foe who is 10' or more shorter, the foe must save vs. paralysis or be tossed 2d6 x 10' for at least 6d6 damage; gigantes with this ability may hurl such foes up to once every 1d4 rounds.
Fear of Clerics (50% chance): due to bad memories (the giants did lose the gigantomachy), it suffers a -3 to all rolls made against clerics and their subtypes.
- Herculean Slain (50% chance): it cannot be killed by magic alone- a mundane wound (typically an arrow), preferably shot by a hero, is also needed to do the gigante in.
- Unusual Ancestry (10% chance): roll twice for its lineage, combining their modifiers.


Summoning Gigantes
Unless the summoner somehow serves a Titan (detailed in a future post) or Typhon (consider him a combination of Balor from Volume II and Apep from Volume III until he can be described at a later date), a gigante cannot be summoned!
 
 


 
Next week: we shift to a series on Demon Lords, starting with Ghul-Ghul!

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Nymphs




Far from being 'monsters', nymphs are more than human and can certainly be dangerous. What else can one expect from beings that look like breathtakingly beautiful women who are only too happy to pluck the heartstrings of mortal men? Whether fey, nature spirit, or just quasi-divine, nearly all of the Gods and their followers interact with nymphs since they personify the beauty and fertility of Nature, being minor goddesses themselves. They are presented here with plenty of pictures.

Type
Though always appearing as beautiful women, the types of nymph are many. All are immune to harm by natural forces, creatures, or other hazards, allowing them to lounge happily nude wherever they are found. What is more, depending on their type, they will have the ability to meld with their particular type of area, to always know what's occurring at their home area, and to summon beings native to their type of area to their aid. For example, a dryad can meld with trees, knows what's going on at her own home tree, and can summon forest beings to her aid, while a naiad can meld with freshwater, knows what's occurring at her own pond or lake, and can summon freshwater beings to her aid. 


Roll 1d14 or select based on current location.
1. Asteria: star nymphs, they usually follow Hera, Aphrodite, or Hecate.
2. Auraair nymphs, they often honor Hera or Zeus.
3. Dryad: tree nymphs, they generally serve Artemis or Pan.
4. Epimeliadpasture & orchard nymphs, they often follow Ceres or Pan.
5. Lampadunderworld nymphs, they usually serve Hecate or sometimes Hades.
6. Limoniadflower & meadow nymphs, they often follow Aphrodite or Hermes.
7. Melissa: honey nymphs, they usually follow Zeus, Ceres, or Aphrodite.
8. Naiad
freshwater nymphs, they generally serve Aphrodite.
9. Napaevalley & dell nymphs, they often honor Apollo or Aphrodite.
10. Nephele: cloud nymphs, they often follow Artemis, Zeus, or Hera.
11. Nereid
ocean nymphs, they usually serve Poseidon or Aphrodite.
12. Oreadmountain nymphs, they generally follow Artemis, Zeus, or Pan.
13. Thyiadwild nymphs, they usually honor  Dionysus or Apollo.
14. (Unlanded): corrupted nymphs, they often follow Unharmonia or some other demon lord.


Disposition

Nearly always lascivious, their reactions to mortal men can range from helpful to deadly. In addition to influence from their patron deity (determined via their type, above) nymphs can serve as either a (roll d6):
1. Muse: instructive, will help and guide, even providing a +1d6 bonus to certain rolls
2. Friendly Fey: playful, will enjoy and savor
3. Spirit of Place: majestic, will bond in the way of her domain
4. Wild: will follow animalistic, carnal impulses
5. Cruel Fey: harsh, will play twisted games
6. Siren: alluring, may entrap forever, either to remain with her or die in the process, though he may die happy nonetheless


Special Abilities

Along with usually being immune to normal weapons, being able to cast charm on mortal men at will, and their abilities described above, nymphs have a base 15% chance of having the following additional abilities (roll for each one).
- Blinding Beauty: mortal men who first view the nymph nude must save vs. death or go blind.
- Enduring Kiss: not only does she fill the ones she touches her mouth to with erotic joy, but also the ability to survive in the environment she dwells in for as long as she wishes.
- Faerie: may turn invisible and use dimension door up to her  HD level times per day, but she also takes 1d6 damage per round when touching iron and must abide by other faerie restrictions.
- Fairest: can take on the forms that mortal men hold most dear, becoming perfectly beautiful and even impersonating specific mortal woman if she so wishes. Only those of great will or intellect can resist her charms then.
- Hama: cannot leave her natural area, but automatically gains 1d4 additional special abilities on this list.
- Multirolled type: is native to two types of natural places. Roll again on the type table above, so she could be both a naiad and a limoniad, etc.
- Nature Spirit: is ethereal by default, but may take physical form for up to 1 round per HD per hour, and yet cannot enter any structures (except ruins) in any case.
- Oracle: can gain glimpses into the future, either through herself and/or the natural area in which she dwells.
- Priestess: has 1d12 levels, following a divinity that matches her type (see above).
- Slaying Beauty: mortal men who first view the nymph nude must save vs. death or die.
- Sweet Nectar: partaking of the nymph's pleasant secretions is the same as drinking a potion of Cure Disease, Healing, Restoration, or even Sleep- she decides which.


Summoning Nymphs
Clerics (and other spellcasters) of divinities and cults listed above can add the spell Summon Nymph to their spell list. Treat it as Summon Monster, except that only 1d3 nymphs may be summoned at a time, up once per day, their HD (usually 3) determining the appropriate Summon Monster spell's level. It takes 1d6 rounds for the nymph(s) to arrive and then the spell's duration begins- when the cleric can actually give commands. Once the duration ends, the nymph will act according to her disposition (either remaining or leaving the area) unless the cleric successfully casts another Summon Nymph spell to control her once more.  

In any case, providing the nymphs with an offering (or sacrifice) that fits her disposition can increase the spell's duration by 50 to 100% (per Referee), as a promised reward given after the commanded deed is done. Almost always, assisting her natural area will coax her to stay around longer.


Next week: Gigantes!



Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Philosophers, Myrmidons, & Peltasts

Philosophers
Masters of metaphysical debate, treat as clerics, except that they:
- Fight as magic-users, using their HD, 'to-hit' bonus, and inability to wear armor.
- Follow a philosophy which grants them additional advantages (see below).
- May have gods & goddesses as patrons too, namely Zeus, Apollo, Hermes, or Athena, while some foolishly doubt they even exist!
- Make philosophical points rather than cast specific cleric spells. These "philosopher spells" can be cast even when it's not their turn, but are all the same- they can only be used to cancel out other spells, magic items, and powers of supernatural beings. This ability is due to the philosopher using reason (and arguing) to disbelieve magic and supernatural powers, even non-illusory ones. The level of the philosopher's spell will cancel out any other spell, magic item, or supernatural ability of the same level, dweomer, or HD or lower. For example, a 3rd level philosopher can use one his second level spells to counteract a 1st or 2nd level spell, the bonus from a +1 or +2 weapon, or a supernatural ability from a 2 HD being or less
that's used against him. Once cast, the philosopher's spell will make it as if that instance of magic or supernaturalness never happened to the philosopher, and he won't be even aware of it (even if his allies are still affected), believing those who so to be delusional.
- Can attempt to turn magic-users, supernatural beings, and even philosophers who follow different philosophies, just like clerics can attempt to turn other beings that are antithetical to their god or goddess. Philosophers call this 'rebuking' and involves debating with the target until it is repelled, whether out of intense frustration or some more metaphysical reason.
- Cannot be affected by beneficial magic or supernatural ability, though they can still be harmed by such things if they don't have enough philosopher spells left that day to counteract them.

Classical Philosophies
Some examples include:

Socratic: questioning all, philosophers of this type wish to guide others too, allowing any in their presence who are affected by magical or supernatural effects to save vs. death to be able to ignore them as well, along with the philosopher when he uses one of his philosopher spells. Those in their group who fail to save will of course be seen as having delusions.

Platonic: believing in a strict hierarchy for society and metaphysical form, those who are successfully rebuked by these philosophers must save vs. death or cannot use their magic or supernatural powers for the next 1d4 hours too.

Aristotlian: being more empirical and practical, such philosophers can use their philosopher spells to
counteract other spells, dweomers, and supernatural powers that are 1 level higher. Thus they could use one of their 4th level philosopher spells to negate a 5th level spell, a +5 magic weapon bonus, or a power of a 5 HD being or less when used on them.

Stoic: emphasizing virtuous self-control, philosophers of this type also enjoy a constant 1d4 x 5% magic resistance ability that is rerolled each day. This amount reflects how wise, just, courageous, and temperate they are being, though the Referee should feel free to adjust it as needed if the philosopher is actually being more or less virtuous than the die indicates.

Epicurean: espousing measured pleasure, these philosophers can actually benefit from magic and supernatural ability, though they can't use their philosopher abilities for 1d20 turns afterwards if they do.

Skeptic: doubting all, such philosophers suppress all magic and supernatural ability in their presence. All (friend or foe) must save vs. death to be able to even use them in their presence, but once successful, they may do so again without needing to resave. But since skeptics doubt their own abilities too, their philosopher spells only work on spells, dweomers, and supernatural beings that are 1 level lower or less.



Myrmidons
These warriors harken from mighty ants given human form. As such, 
myrmidons are skilled at overcoming enemy warriors. Treat them as fighters who can add 2 to their rolls to hit, damage, or even to improve their AC when faced with a foe who has just used a special ability against them (or attempted to use it). What is more, this bonus increases by 2 for every odd level the myrmidon has thereafter. For example, if a 3rd level myrmidon were fighting a hoplite who was using spear or sword and shield against him (or some other maneuver) for a special bonus (detailed in Volume I), then the myrmidon could respond the following round with a +6 bonus of his own! The hoplite may have to rely just on his normal attacks provided by his fighter level and attribute bonuses (if any) to defeat the myrmidon instead.

In return for being able to use this mighty boon, myrmidons must bear short swords and shields as their primary weapons, wear a certain style Greek armor to easily identify themselves (usually dark) whenever possible, and obey their Achillean superiors to the death. 

Most myrmidons serve Zeus and his clerics, though followers of other Olympians can call upon their aid when facing non-Greek foes, especially Trojans.

 

Peltasts 
Light, skirmishing warriors, peltasts are skilled at hurling their javelins and then escaping counterattacks. As a result, if there is enough room, then they can make a Dexterity check with a +1 bonus per level to avoid a resulting melee attack when fighting in this manner. If successful, then they end up 1d3 x 5' away from the attacker at the end of the attacker's turn. For example, a 3rd level peltast could make a Dexterity check with a +3 bonus to try to run away from a charging hoplite that he just hurled his javelin at. If he does, then he will end up 1d3 x 5' from the hoplite; that is, if there is somewhere to escape to.

To allow for such maneuverability, peltasts cannot wear any armor heavier than leather and can only bear pelta shields. The latter only grants a +1 AC bonus  vs. one foe per round, so it behooves peltasts to get out of the way after attacking their foes!

Peltasts generally worship divinities associated with ranged attacks, such Apollo and Artemis, or rustic deities, such as Pan, Dionysus, and Hermes.



Next week: Nymphs!