Friday, June 5, 2009

Monsters of Lornn - pt.1

One of my main objectives with Lornn was to provide a campaign setting that was almost completely alien and original, a "new world" for the players to explore. The flora and fauna were to be all-original; horses were replaced with red-and-ochre zebra-like mounts called Equos, Ox and cattle by towering beasts of burden called Loros, even the role of the humble house-cat was filled by several breeds of semi-intelligent, talking lemurs.

Most important to adventure design, of course, was to provide all-new monsters. Ubiquitous fantasy gaming threats like orcs, ogres, and dragons were all thrown out the window. This design element was strongly rooted in my earliest, fondest gaming experiences and a desire to recreate that feeling of never knowing what to expect. When I wanted to run a setting where all the traditional D&D elements and mythologies were in place, Judges Guild's Wilderlands of High Fantasy was there to fill that role to perfection. My original homebrew needed to be something to sate my thirst for new horizons, and to pass that along to the players.

In some cases, I took standard monsters and "re-skinned" them: the carrion crawler was re-clothed in shimmering, prismatic bristles that hypnotized rather than tentacles that paralyzed, Mummies were re-clothed in coin-studded tar rather than filthy bandages, ochre jellies became malicious humanoid-shaped creatures that lulled their victims into psionically-induced dreams as they digested them, etc.

And of course, there are plenty off all-new monsters, nearly 50 of them, some of which I'm even "re-skinning" for my forthcoming Warriors of the Red Planet book. Here's three Monsters of Lornn that saw frequent use at the game table, with more soon to come:

The "lion" of Lornn, this is a cunning, common, and vicious predator. It appears as an ochre-colored mixture of feline and reptile, and emits a buzzing, purring, unnerving growl when trailing its prey. There are two known varieties of Scranth. The most common haunts the hills, plains, and wastelands of Lorrn, and typically travels in groups of 2-5. Another variety, the Desert Scranth, huants arid lands, and is much larger, though this breed typically is a solitary hunter. Rumors persists of a jet-furred jungle scranth, possibly lycanthropic in nature, but no specimens, live or dead, have ever been brought to civilized lands to confirm this.
Scranth, common: HD3; AC4[15]; Atk 2 claws(d4) and bite(d6); Move16; Save14; CL/XP 4/120; Special: none.
Scranth, desert: HD5; Atk 2 claws(d6) and bite(d8); Move12; Save12; CL/XP 5/240; Special: none.

Grey Gulper
This feared predator of the northern forests is a monstrous, house-sized arachnid covered in bands of gray bristles. It has a huge maw, filled with grinding tooth-like barbs that reduce its meals to an easily-digested pulp: flesh, bone, and gear alike. For its size, the Gulper is remarkably quiet, and its coloration makes it hard to see until its literally on top of its victims. Any human-sized or smaller creature that is hit by two of its claw-tipped legs is promptly (and automatically) popped into its maw for 2d8 points of damage a round. Up to four man-sized creatures may be chewed upon at once.
Grey Gulper: HD9; AC4[15]; Atk 4 claws(d4+special); Move12; Save5; CL/XP 10/1400; Special: Maw(2d8/rnd with two successful claw hits); stealthy.

Dread Zilmurth
The zilmurth haunts rocky wastelands and hills. It appears as a 8 to 18-foot-long mixture of badger and crocodile, covered in bands of bristly black-and-white armor plates. The call of the zilmurth is a rumbly basso growl that turns its victims bowels to water in fear, and changes to a deafening brassy screech as it charges. The saliva of a zilmurth is mildly narcotic, and those bitten must save or perceive the world around them as a dreamy haze (-2 to AC, attacks, and saves). It is typically a solitary hunter, but is occasionally found in groups of 2-7 or more. A single dead zilmurth can be harvested for a pint of its narcotic saliva, worth up to 50gp on the black market.
Zilmurth, Dread: HD6+6; AC2[17]; Atk bite 2d6+special; Move12(burrow3); Save11; CL/XP 6/480; Special: poison bite (-2 AC/saves/attacks).


  1. I definitely think you are doing a good job of expanding the zoo upon which Referees/GMs are able to draw for their encounters, and with a clear goal in mind: 'new, unique, fun' -- all pluses in my book. :)



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