torsdag 16 januari 2020

3 Lantern Knights

Here are three lantern knights, supposed to the mini-bosses in my campaign. Like dragon-hauted Cabour the format is inspired by wisdom from a lot of other sources - such as "paragon creatures" - in hope of making solo monsters that can pose a challenge to a group of players. They are not playtested, so whether it works or not I do not know.

Four basic ideas:
- Each lantern knight has a single theme for its special attacks. This should make it possible to anticipate actions, even when the knight is only encountered over a few rounds of combat.
- The special attacks are mainly tied to turn timers. This forewarns of their coming in an obvious way, but also interrupts the back-and-forth of sidewise initiative.
- Special attacks are also set up so that one timer (d8) is tied to ranged and the other (d12) to melee. This should make it possible to interrupt the attacks through positioning, thereby encouraging movement.
- Each lantern knight has more than one HD pool that must be depleted in order. When one is reduced to zero, the circumstances of the encounter changes substantially.

I hope they survive playtest, because the format seems manageable both to write and to run.

Proud and oblivious of his fall, his shielded lantern glows like a sun.

HD 7/7
- Exquisite armour (ar 8, magic 4, flame 4)
- Blackened crossbow (dmg 1d12/magic, range 12)
- Champion sword (dmg 1d12/magic, fast, deathblow)

Radiant: all characters starting their round within 2 squares of Alaster must suffers 1d4 damage (no armour).

Unnatural life: Alaster has two HD pools. When one pool is reduced to zero Alaster is downed. Any surplus damage is lost, and all ongoing effects targeting him ends.

Demonic actions: Alaster has 1 bonus round (move AND attack) per HD pool.

Unshielded radiance (downed): When a HD pool is reduced to 0, the metal cover than shields Alaster's light is is dislodged. When this happens, the damage of radiant and consuming light doubles (to 2d4 and 2d8, respectively).

Turn timers
1d8: Mothlight. If not in melee, Alaster lifts his lantern and lets it burn like a beacon. All characters within line of sight must save or make a full movement directly towards him. In addition, all actions are HARD for affected characters until next turn.
1d12: Consuming light. If in melee, Alaster covers his face with his arm and lets the lantern burn unshielded. All characters within 2 squares must save or suffer 1d8 damage (no armour) as their flesh boils under the horrible light.

A hulking mass of armour and weapons, carrying a faint candle like a captured bird.

HD 5/5/5, Large (+1)
- Layered armour (ar 8/4/2, magic 6), evade +0/+2/+4
- Jagged greataxe (dmg 1d14, reach 1, deathblow, rend: save vs total damage or armour is dented; dent it again and AR is irreparably reduced by one).
- Blunt greatsword (dmg 1d12-1, reach 1, deathblow, knockdown).
- Hand axes (dmg 1d10 each, rend: save vs total tamage or armour is dented).
- Rusted short sword (dmg 1d8-1, fast) and fractured shield (ar 1d8-1)
- Improvised weapon (dmg 1d6-1, close, knockdown).

Unnatural life: Blaine has three HD pools. When one pool is reduced to zero Blaine is downed. Any surplus damage is lost, and all ongoing effects targeting him ends.

Demonic actions: Blaine gains 1 bonus round (move AND attack) per HD pool lost.

Shed (when downed): When a HD pool is reduced to 0, Blaine crawls out of his armour like an insect breaking free from its cocoon. Each time this happens, AR is halved (to 4, then 2), evade increases by +2.

Turn timers
1d8: Hurl weapon. If not in melee, Blaine moves up to full movement and throws his weapon at the most exposed target (as weapon, range 12, knockdown).
1d8: Special attack. If in melee, Blaine performs a special attack (per weapon).

Special attacks
- Destruction (axe): all characters in melee must save or suffer half damage and have their armour dented.
- Stunned (sword): target character must save or become stunned for 1d3 rounds and have their helmet torn off and thrown 1d6+5 squares in random direction.
- Tear (unarmed/other): Blaine grabs the target character and starts tearing: save or armour is ripped/deformed (AR -1).

A skeletal knight long since fallen from honor, sustained by the cold light of his lantern.

HD 4/4/4, Large (+1)
- Chain +1 (ar 5, flame 4)
- Thin spear (dmg 2d6, piercing 3, reach 2, deathblow)

Impaling strike: If any damage dice shows max damage, the spear is stuck in its target. Impaled characters cannot move without suffering 1d6 damage (no armour). Removing the spear is an action, requires a STR check and results in 1d6 damage (no armour).

Fling: Instead of dealing damage, the attack sends the target 2d4 squares away. If target is impaled, no attack roll is needed.

Unnatural life: Gwent has three HD pools. When one pool is reduced to zero Gwent is downed. Any surplus damage is lost, and all ongoing effects targeting him ends.

Demonic actions: Gwent has 1 bonus action (move OR attack) per HD pool.

Lights out (when downed): When a HD pool is reduced to 0, the lantern's light fades. As long as there are no other light sources all character-actions requiring sight are HARD, and Gwent strikes from behind and with surprise each turn, if possible. During this time, no turn timers are rolled. Gwent re-lights his lantern once there is another light source.

Turn timers
1d8: Blow fire. If not in melee, Gwent moves up to 3", lifts his lantern and blows fire (fire dmg 1d10, area 6:2, save or catch fire for 1d4 fire damage per round until put out).
1d12: Burn. If in melee, Gwent uses his lantern to burn the most susceptible opponent (fire dmg 1d4, save or catch fire for 1d4 fire damage per round until put out).

torsdag 21 november 2019

Dragon-haunted Cabour

A ruined city, shrouded in mist from the dragon's nauseating breath. You have come here to find a relic, lost when its bearer fled from the terrible dragon. Years have passed since the ancient creature last was seen, but you know it remains here. Biding time. Waiting.
It knows about you, too.

NOTE: This is meant as a boss encounter, so there are a lot of things going on. Inspirations come from Arnold K's bosses and  dynamic encounter, stages from Whitehack and discussions on the Runehammer forum.
Click for large

A chasm across the board, a hill, several towers and trees. Scatter ruins.

Six hidden entrances to the dragon's lair.

Structures are close enough that you could make a desperate leap from one to another, far enough that it requires a roll, and high enough that falling results in substantial but not fatal damage (2d6, no armour, dex roll for half). All floors are in poor condition, breaks on a 1-in-4 unless the character moves with caution.

The relic
The relic is located by some of the scatter ruins (decide beforehand). It beckons quietly. 

Searching for the relic
A PC can search for the relic as a normal action by rolling WIS. On a hit, the referee says if it is close, near, or far. Searching at the exact correct location instead results in 1d4 effort (1d6 if some device is used) - at 10 effort the relic is found.

The dragon entrances
There are six entrances to the dragon's lair. They start hidden, but an entrance is immediately revealed if a character is adjacent to it. A PC can enter through an entrance as a normal action. If so, they are removed from the board. Next round the player rolls WIS: on a success, they can chose to enter at any known or a random unknown (not yet revealed) entrance. On a miss, they are ambushed by the dragon (Phase 1) or lost for another round (Phase 2+3).

The encounter

The encounter is played in three phases, defined by the dragon's activity: lurking, hunting, flying.

Phase 1: Lurking. Room TN 10
Timer. 1d6 TURNS, TN increases by 1

Dragon is not placed, hides in its lair. Roll 1d6 to decide in which entrance.

- TN increases by +1 per round.
- TN increases by an additional +1 for all PC actions that are not very quiet (roll DEX if in doubt), or +1d4 for all loud actions
When TN reaches 20 the dragon attacks from ambush (fire breath). After that, it retreats to a random non-revealed entrance phase 1 restarts.
If the dragon is found, phase 2 begins.

Finding the dragon
A PC can search for the dragon as a normal action by rolling WIS. On a hit, the referee says if the dragon is close, near or far based on approximate distance to the entrance the dragon is in. If a PC moves close to an entrance it is automatically revealed. If the PCs find the entrance where the dragon is, phase 2 begins.

Phase 2: Hunting. Room TN 15
Timer. 1d6 TURNS. Dragon gets another turn.
Dragon is placed and goes hunting for the PCs.
It targets, in order of preference: 1) as many as possible, 2) a mortal threat if present, 3) fleeing, cowering, hiding characters, 4) anyone else.

Nowhere to hide. Destroy at least one piece of terrain per turn, as a side effect of the dragon's attacks (example: it crashes through a wall to catch someone hiding on the other side).

When the dragon is reduced to 0 HP, phase 3 begins.

Phase 3: Flying. Room TN 15
Timer. 1d6 TURNS. Dragon gets another turn.
Dragon is returned to full HP.
It leaps up in the air and starts flying. PCs standing under it must roll STR or be knocked down from the force of its wings.

When the dragon is reduced to 0HP again, it crashes down (dead?).

The Dragon of Cabour

HD 7, Giant: 3d8, MV 4 (increasing by one per round flying, max double)
Fire breath. Use a template. Automatically hits everyone within for 4d6 fire damage & -1 to a random stat unless they evade. Full cover reduces damage by half. On doubles/triples/quadruples, the fire keeps burning on the area covered by the template for 2/3/4 rounds.
Can only be used when attacking from ambush or if foreshadowed one round in advance (free action).

Bite (1d10) + Claws (1d8) + Tail (1d6, knockdown). All have reach 3. 

Special. If flying, a successful claw attack means the dragon carries the target off to throw it or drop it in a following round.

lördag 16 november 2019

Relaying setting

Note: This is an old draft, slightly reworked. I think it makes some valid points, but I'm doubting the distillation argument a bit. Concretely, it now seems to me that what is actually reducing overhead is presenting lore through things that the referee can relay verbatim to the players, or that the players can read themselves in the book. If this is true, it also includes less-spectacular things like boxed text and actual lore sections. Because of this, I've added a note on how distilling lore into fragments could be useful anyway. 


I've been thinking about a sort of distillation process for presenting lore through in-game objects and locations. This has to do with my fascination with patterns and hidden meaning in rpg products. What I call "patterns" here is essentially what happens when presenting setting through a wandering monster table. Consider this small encounter table

25% giant scorpion
50% gnolls
25% nomads

From this table, you can infer that the region is sparsely populated by humans, dominated by gnolls, and that it is arid - a steppe or even a desert. From the monsters, you can also conclude that the region is rather dangerous. Giant scorpions are 7HD, and gnolls are about 5HD. So as a consequence, the nomads would either be capable fighters themselves, or have some reliable way of hiding. All of these things can be learned from the encounter table. All referee-facing descriptions of the region could therefore focus on other things. But the encounter table will also convey things to the players, by just existing. For example, if the players spend time in this region, they should soon learn that the most common encounter is gnolls, that scorpions and nomads are equally frequent, and what the general threat level of the region is.

This is the idea about a "pattern": to take advantage of aspects of the game that is communicated directly from the designer to the player, to say something about the world. Say for example that in this game, Druids are worse than Clerics: they get worse bonuses and less powerful options, etc. Even if the rules never state this, players will eventually figure it out. Or the online community will. And once people realize this, they won't play Druids unless they are highly committed. And so, via selection you have created a setting where Clerics are common and Druids are very invested, or where an new faith is replacing an old through numbers and resisted through zeal, without writing a single word about it in your game book.

My point here is that there is information about the setting that is hard-coded into the rules and procedures, and therefore external to the referee's rulings, and that can be exploited to create consistency and predictability without increased overhead.

But other aspects of the game can serve this function too. Building on Kyana's analysis of layered lore in Dark Souls, I'd like to contend that a) lore can be presented in fragments instead of info-dumps; b) this can lead to more, rather than less, engagement in the lore; and c) the resultant head-canon can be highly aligned with the "intended" canon, if supported by codified things that convey setting directly to the players.

I imagine a distillation process that goes something like this:
You begin with a raw lore statement, say: giants used to live here. From the implications of that statement - giants lived, have now died - you extract a specific, representative event (1). Say: Queen Yssa, last of the Giants, trading her kingdom for the corpses of her warrior-children.

From this event, you extract the material and mythical remnants (2). The hall where she surrendered her kingdom, the Giant crown she handed over, the great cart that carried the bodies, the broken armor of her daughters, the all-consuming sorrow, the Giants' tomb.

Then, you transform these remnants to game-objects, with uses, names, descriptions and locations (3). So the hall becomes a location on the map, the crown remains a crown, the cart might become a cart-wheel shield, armor is armor, sorrow becomes a spell or magical object, tomb becomes a location.

Finally (4), the game objects are given names and descriptions that alludes to the original event through association rather than explicitly. So the once hall-now location might become "Yssa's Surrender. A ruined palace of giant proportions, ravaged by war. It is considered sacred by those who grieve".

Like the encounter table, this information is transmitted directly from the game to the players, without increasing referee overhead: the players look at the map, note the location Yssa's surrender, and are free to draw their own conclusions how this relates to the giant crown they found last session, aided by their observations that there are no giants here anymore (but they fought skeleton giants), and that there is a spell in the spell list that induces a sadness that is too large for any human heart.

Addendum: Success is probably limited to rather basic setting ideas. However, as a rule of thumb, most good settings can be reduced to a limited set of basic ideas. (A Fascist space-faring empire in decline, venerating a dead feudal lord, locked in eternal war. Settler-colonists fleeing a necromantic war, hunting for treasures in a cursed forest. Etc). So if nothing else, the distillation process might help reinforce a theme and weed out everything unnecessary, making the lore more engaging even if you decide to go with the lore dump anyway.

onsdag 13 november 2019

Five merchants of sorts

1. Peric, a hunter seeking shelter. Has pelts and herbs from the forest to offer and many tales from the woods, but must otherwise be provided for. If befriended, he offers to bring the PCs safely to their next destination.
Has1- Fur coat. AR 1, +1 fatigue, +2 shock save.
2- Leather knee-boots. +1 MV
3- Elk-skin armour. AR 2, encumbering as AR 3. Wearer may reroll initiative for wilderness encounters, the new roll applies only to her.
4- Healing herb (1d6). Chew on it to reroll death save for the following 1d6 rounds.

2. Orla, a wise-woman of the woods.Has
1- Salve of speed. +1d6 MV for 1d6 round.
2- Potion of luck. All tests are done with 1d30 for 1d6 rounds; after that, all tests are made with 1d12 for 1d6 rounds.
3- Talisman of protection. AR +1d6, no encumbrance. On a 1, the talisman breaks. The talisman is imbued with witchery; When donned, the bearer must roll under SPIRIT or have all saves reset to +2 (unless already lower). On a critical failure, they can no longer receive blessings from the saints.
4- Owl harness. A harness made of owl-feathers. AR 2, encumbering as AR 4, +2 Stealth.

3. Cliona, the merchant. A robust woman pulling a small cart with frenzied speed. On the cart is the corpse of her husband Flammen and their child Elan, shaking with fever despite the pelts that cover him. The merchants were attacked by wolves a few nights ago and barely managed to escape, but despite Cliona running their horse until its heart stopped, Flammen has already passed and Elan is dying from infected wounds. Is happy to trade what little they still have for any help.
Has1- Compass. On a WIS roll, characters can travel through the wilderness in any direction without getting lost.
2- A book, containing a clue.
3- Wine (1d6).
4- Merchants' cord. When used to seal a sack, jar or similar, anything in it is kept fresh for twice the time it would normally be. (stolen from the excellent blog the manse)

4. Oglon, a relic hunter. Travelling between battlefields and holy places, he traces the steps of martyrs and heroes seeking things rendered sacred by their presence. Currently on his way to Courant, he is happy to trade for gold, horses and provisions.
1- The Finger of Eghan the Accuser, fourth of the Recreant Knights. Points towards guilt like the needle of a compass when a crime is spoken, but very frail.
2- The Other Finger of Eghan. As above, but points away from guilt.
3- A key. Supposedly to the library in Mersault.
4- Weak Theriac (3 doses). Drinker is cured from poisons.
(all purchases has a 50% chance of being counterfeit, one-use-only items)

5. Brenn and Bredd, deserters from the Witch King's army. Having hid for years and only braving the outside when the sun was at its highest, starvation finally drove them from their burrow. They dread the night for the Witch King is known to walk in dreams, and prefer to sleep underground unless drunk. They speak reluctantly and in whispers, of terrible creatures of bone and bronze from the bogs, of atrocities, and how fellow soldiers would wither and die as if their ghosts had left to never return.
1- Generals' helmet. AR 6. Faint whispers echo inside. When seeing the helm worn, sentient creatures must save or else cannot move into contact with its wearer. Lose 1 SPI on a critical miss.
2- Black lodestone. When thrown to the ground it makes a metallic noise, like the clamour of armour. If allowed to rotate freely, it always points towards Ys.
3- Short bogman sword. 1d10, fast. Ordinary armour is useless against it. Lose 1 SPI on a critical miss.
4- A map, showing the location where the deserters hid a chest of war-gold.

6. Gwawl.

måndag 1 april 2019

The clue probability rule

(I'll return to posting gameable content shortly.)

Most everyone on the internet is familiar with Alexandrian's three clue rule. The stipulation of that rule is that players are likely to miss some of your prepped content, which also includes any given clue. So to give the players a decent chance of progressing through a investigation-adventure, you need more than one clue leading to the conclusion, or to any breakthroughs that eventually lead to the conclusion. True to its name, the rule states that the perfect number of clues for each breakthrough is three.

I like this rule, for two reasons.

First, it means that each breakthrough is overdetermined: there is more than one path leading you there. This, to me, was a central thing in Masks of Nyarlathotep. You had a hunch from the beginning that you were going to Africa, but it felt very distant and hard to justify - what were you going to do there? With each new clue, you became more and more confident that you were actually going to Africa, up until the point where it seemed like the only reasonable thing to do. So basically, each new clue reinforces those you already have. Maybe you were already sure that Mr Vardis was a killer, but confronting him at this point seemed to carry so high costs. And then you learn that he is about to strike again, and suddenly acting becomes more urgent.

Second, and conversely, it also gives the adventure a branching structure. As there are always too many leads to follow up, the players will have to prioritize and consider what-if scenarios. Once the killer is caught they have perhaps seen 75% of your prep, so they still might not know what was the deal with Mr Vardis' prize-winning kennel. This makes the world seem bigger and the mystery more engaging.

In sum, the three-clue rule recasts a linear adventure to a dungeon-structure, where clues lead to new locations and breakthroughs in the investigation much like doors and corridors lead to new rooms.

However, this also shows some problems with the three-clue rule.

If we take the dungeon analogy seriously, we should accept that it isn't just a version of a linear adventure. Most dungeons don't have a straight-line progression to the end. And most dungeons are ok with you not reaching the end. If we were to apply these aspects of dungeon design, there would not always be three clues leading to the next revelation. Often there might just be one, and sometimes it would be hidden. And if the PCs don't find it they'll have to backtrack or even give up. And other times there would be clues that lead more than one step ahead in the investigation. So instead of 3 clues leading to A where 3 new clues lead to B etc, you'd have something more akin to a web.

However, even if we switch up our three clue investigation in this way - making sure that there are not just clues leading from A to B but also clues from B to A and from A to B via X and Y - we run into the problem of direction. Once you've reached C, it makes little sense to return to A because C is closer to the final conclusion than A. This is the same as in a dungeon, where you progress from the point of entry towards the central treasure through deeper and deeper levels.

If you want an even greater level of freedom in your investigation, your clues must be meaningful even in the presence of other clues. This is the rationale behind the guess-who structure and the triangulation (or venn-structure, as Kyana pointed out), described earlier. Here, all clues carry equal weight so as long as you're still uncertain about the solution, you gain from seeking and finding new clues.

For this type of investigation, I'd like to propose another rule for clues: the clue probability rule.

For each conclusion that you want the PCs to make, include a clue that they have a probability of finding whenever they make an effort to find it.

Say that you have a murder weapon: a knife with a easily recognizable look that would lead you to the smith who made it whom in turn could provide a list of clients. The knife must be somewhere. So we decide that it is in the pond, close to the scene of murder. Now if the PCs would look in the pond, they would definitely find it. So the clue probability is 100%. But perhaps they don't, because how would they guess that it is there? Instead, they might investigate the wounds. They can determine it's a knife without problem, but could they also conclude that this type of knife is made by Brambly the smith? I dunno. 1 in 6. Otherwise they just learn that the knife must have curious proportions. So maybe they ask a smith, or an assassin for help. 1 in 3. Or ask witnesses. 50% chance. The scrap-finder kids or pawn shops? 10% per day has passed since the murder. And so on.

The point here is that instead of designing several clues leading to the same conclusion (or in addition to), you design a clue that there's always a chance of finding whenever the characters make an effort to find it.

So now we have a hierarchy of blueprints for investigation adventures

The linear structure. A breadcrumb trail where A leads to B leads to C. Fail-safe if clues are not hidden behind roll to continue. Very little agency, built in story arc.
The three clue structure. A breadcrumb trail where multiple clues lead from A to B and multiple clues from B to C. Almost fail safe, given the plurality of clues to each conclusion. Some agency, allows for story arc.
The dungeon structure. A web of breadcrumb trails leading between A, B and C through multiple clues. Failure is unlikely. Good agency, story is largely emergent.
The open structure. A limited set of clues of equal (or similar) importance, which can be found through many different approaches. Failure is possible. High agency, no story arc.

Map + clues

Here's my campaign map, or the SE quadrant of it.  New things are added as I prep them.

My campaign consists of three layers of adventure, superimposed.

At the bottom layer, there is a square crawl. Given the vast number of possible location, any content existing on this level is very likely to be missed. Because of this, the square crawl basically relies on tables for content. This means that I can have a dozen towers on the map and only have content for six of them, or hundreds of wilderness-squares and only content for twenty. So far, my players have engaged with the square crawl exactly once so this seemingly limited content is actually plenty. If I were to run out, I'd write more. Until then, it's just a waste of prep time - especially since d4 Caltrops got everyone's back.

At the second layer, there is a point crawl of locations connected by roads or trails. This is what my players mostly engage with so this is where I focus most of my prep. At the points of the crawl are adventure locations, set piece encounters, small scenarios or key NPCs. Here I also slot in adventures made by others when I find some that fit my aesthetics and tone well enough. So we've played Curse of the Shrine Goddess in this way, and I've placed a couple more.

The final layer consists of an investigation-mystery that provides the default point of engagement. This is basically a poor-man's CoC, with handouts containing clues for the central investigation into the relics of St Severend/Severinus as well as other mysteries more related to the history of the campaign setting (Why did Severend's holy mission fail? What happened to the Witch King? These kinds of things).

The third layer is the reason for my interest in different clue structures. Previously, I've outlined the elimination or guess-who structure where each clue cuts the remaining possibilities in half. This allows you to eliminate options until you eventually only have one left, which is the correct answer. The method have survived the first contact with playtesting: in Sourn, my players DID figure out the who the murderer was in about two hours without any pointers from me, DID NOT perceive the underlying structure, and were consequently super impressed with their detective skills and their luck. A great success (and a secret they must never know)!

So with the guess-who structure seemingly doing its job, it's time to introduce a second structure: the triangulation. The idea of triangulation is this: if you don't know where you are but can observe some landmarks whose position you are familiar with, you can use their bearings to determine your own position. So if your first clue is "east of X" and your second clue is "south of Y", you basically have the row-column coordinate of the thing you are looking for. You could also use it for social relations: "relative to Mr X" and "co-worker of Ms Y".

Here's a version, using distances instead of directions, which creates two circles with the target at their intersection. (Note that unless you're super skilled at measuring you'll probably end up with circles that intersect twice, so you'll need three distances or some constraining factor). Travel speed is 18 mi per day. 

The Saint's Hand 
No sooner had Severinus died, than many accounts began to come of miracles because those who touched his severed hand regained sight if sightless or speech if speechless, and those who had terrible coughs could again draw breath like young people. After five days at a stake in Mersault, the hand was taken down in secrecy and smuggled to a tomb seven days’ travel by road from there, and Ygdrain was powerless to find it. 

 “A swollen tongue” – Excerpt from traveler’s log 
At one time my tongue became uncomfortably swelled up, so that when I wished to speak it usually made me stutter, which was somewhat unseemly. I went to the tomb of the Saint’s Hand, eighteen miles from Croix-an-Tour as the bird flies, and drew my awkward tongue along the wooden lattice. The swelling went down at once and I became well. It was a serious swelling and filled the cavity where the palate is. Then three days later my lip began to have a painful beating in it. I went again to the tomb to get help and when I had touched my lip to the hanging curtain the pulsation stopped at once.

fredag 29 mars 2019

1d8 horrible wilderness encounters

Things to encounter in the horrible wilderness. Inspired by Goblin Punch, who is always a source of inspiration.

1d8 wilderness encounters

1. A great wolf (4HD, L, claws: 1d6 dmg) with its lower jaw missing, slowly starving to death.
2. A great elk (6HD, H, antlers: 1d6+knockback, trample: +1d6 dmg on charge attacks, mv 8), deformed by bulbous tumours spreading across its body.
3. A sounder of great boars (3HD, L, 2 armour, tusks: 1d6 + knockback, trample: deals +1d6 dmg on charge attacks, mv 9), driven to madness by foot-long leeches gnawing through their pelts (0HD, T, maw: 1 dmg, increasing by +1 per turn).
4. The severed head of a great wolf continues to hunt, moving by force of will (3HD, claws: 1d10 + bad luck: save or all rolls HARD until curse dispelled).
5. A giant bear-like creature (6HD, H, claws: 1d8 dmg + save or 1d6 poison) with a gaping wound in its side. Powerless to stop the gathered crows from eating its exposed flesh, it still lashes out at anyone approaching. Crows (0HD/3hp, S, beaks: 1d4, flurry of feathers: actions are HARD when attacked by the crows). Stuck in the wound is a bronze bog-folk spear: 1d10, long, impaling: prevents the target from using a single ability, for as long as the spear is stuck in their flesh.
6. A decaying unicorn, its white fur falling off in tufts and blood running from its muzzle (6HD, horn: 1d10 + piercing, cursed: a character suffering damage from the unicorn horn has a randomly determined ability deteriorate by -1 each round until successful save or dead, abomination: if killed, all characters gain +1 SPI).
7. A tall woman with raven wings like a trailing cloak of black feathers where her arms should be and skin crawling with parasites. She is capable of short bursts of flight, after which she crashes to the ground in a cascade of black blood and vermin, out of breath. Lady of Decay. 4HD, L, talons: 1d8 + piercing, black vomit: targets 6 squares in straight line, save or 1d6 poison damage, demonic: 2 attacks per round, mv 9. Limited flight: can fly for a single round, then crashes to the ground dealing 1d4 damage + no armour to anyone below and an equal amount to herself, roll 1d8 for scatter to determine her point of impact. Parasites: when the Lady of Decay suffers damage, any adjacent character must evade or be attacked by 1d4 parasites (0HD, T, maw: 1 dmg, increasing by +1 per turn).
8. Lord of Hunger. An albino elk with the face of an old man (8HD, H, antlers: 1d8 + knockdown, trample: +1d6 dmg on charge attacks, breath of flies: 1d6 + save or all actions HARD, range 12/cone, mv 9). It speaks with a tortured voice, offering power in exchange for humanity. If a PC accepts, the Lord drinks a pint of their blood draining their soul of 1d10 SPI. This grants the creature the ability to cast spells and makes it immune to all attacks from the person whose blood it drank until next new moon. If the PC survives, the creature bellows with sudden rage “Now you know!” and sets off to hunt. Until the PCs reach a sanctuary, encounters chances are doubled for wandering monsters.