Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Creatures of the Basic set pt.2

More thoughts on the bestiary from the Moldvay Basic set:

Comes in two flavours:
Normal- regular bats who fly around characters and cause confusion, they are very likely to flee unless they are summoned or controlled.
Giant- they do 1-4 dmg and only have 2 HD so they aren't too giant really but i guess alot bigger than a regular bat. There is a chance they are Giant Vampire bats and thus suck blood and can cause vampirism, a neat little touch.

I'm going to try to use normal bats more often. Even if they can't actually attack I think they work really well as a "dressing", it makes alot of sense for them to be in a dungeon anyway.

The bears in the basic set are on par with the weakest dragons, I think that says alot right there. All bears have a "hug" ability that causes 2d8 extra damage if both paw attacks hit the same target, it is this ability that really makes bears lethal.

Black- the regular bear, not too threatening but a good companion for a druid. Also perfect for being a campsite invader, punish the players for not storing their food properly.

Grizzly- Now we are talking, these guys are scary. Although I might use the polar bear stats for a papa or mama grizzly.

Polar- The main reason characters should avoid cold regions.

Cave- These 15ft tall killing machines are coming for your blood- really- "If hungry, they will follow a track of blood until they have eaten." so you better not walk around with unbandaged wounds in bear country.

Although I think fire beetles are lame, oil beetles and especially tiger beetles are pretty cool. I think they are an interesting alternative to some of the more conventional fantasy dungeon monsters.

I never really liked these dudes until quite recently, they have a really cool description in the 5th ed playtest that changed the way I think of them.  So barbaric Germanic tribesmen they are! Picts and such. Great for populating the wilderness as "wildlings" and giving PC barbarians a place to come from.

Another useful if not terribly exciting addition. Great for hunting and eating at feasts. You can use these same stats for a deer buck if you want.

I hate the name, I hate the concept. My goblins aren't hairy so they sure as hell won't have giant hairy cousins. In a game where an Owl Bear is a owl-bear hybrid animal bugbears just cause confusion. I don't use bugbears, they don't exist in my gameworld.

Carrion Crawler:
A really cool concept. I would leave as is. I love creatures like the crawler and gelatinous cube because of their role as waste disposal in the dungeon environment.

-More to come. Cheers! 


  1. Yes, Cave Bears aren't a thing to sneeze at. I tried explaining to one of my players that "Speak to Animals" doesn't guarantee friendship, and sadly the cave bear he tried it with eviscerated him after giving him fair warning.

  2. I like bugbears as spooky boogie men. In my game(s) they can hide and sneak amazingly well popping up almost anywhere something could hide. A big hairy goblin under the bed is rather surprising.