Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Monsters, Monsters Everywhere

Just taking a quick break...well, actually I was watching Top Chef, and I am getting ready to go to bed...gotta' get up at 6am again tomorrow. Just wanted folks to know I finished monster #70 tonight. I'm pretty pleased with how its going, though I'm more verbose than I probably should be (hey...these monsters are a bit more complex than your average giant rat), and I'm afraid I'm running long. Right now, the monster chapter is 14.5 pages (that's two collumn, 10 point font) and I set aside 16 total pages for the monster section. Thing is, I'd like to have at least a page worth of art (interspersed), and I've got 9 monsters left that I want to add...five absolutely need to be in (there's a magic item that kind o depends on 'em), but I might be able to abstract 'em down to a single entry...though truth be told, I'm not sure they NEED that much space.

Damn you Monster Manual II! I need to stop looking at you and simplify, simplify!

Case in point: many of the monsters present in my B/X Companion are of the "legendary variety" (oh, I have one or two homebrewed critters, but most are based on mythology and the ponaturi). So, for example I simply HAD to add a phoenix. Why? Um...cause they're kind of big in mythological culture.

The MM2 has an entry for a phoenix. It is seven paragraphs long, not counting the stat block. Most of it is lists and lists of spell-like powers. My phoenix is three paragraphs long with a total word count of 243. I like mine better...hell, maybe I should post it so folks can compare.


Armor Class: -3………….No. Appearing: 0 (1)

Hit Dice: 9+9****………….Save As: Cleric 17

Move: 360’ (120’)………….Morale: 12

Attacks: 2 talons, beak………….Treasure Type: Nil

Damage: 2-5/2-5/2-5 + see below….........Alignment: Lawful

The phoenix is similar in shape and magnificence to a peacock, though they are twice as large (wingspan of 8-9’) and colored a spectacular red, orange, and gold. They give off a palpable heat, and attacks from a phoenix do an additional 2-8 points of damage per hit to anyone not protected against magical fire. The phoenix itself is immune to heat and cold, as well as poison and disease, is immune to mind affecting magic or polymorph, and automatically sees through illusions.

Renowned for their great healing ability, the phoenix will generously share its curing gifts with any individual in need. Their mere touch can cure disease or serious wounds, neutralize poison, or raise dead. A phoenix may also use restoration and rejuvenation, but will only do so for the most Lawful and deserving creatures as doing so greatly drains them; after performing one of these latter spells the phoenix may not use any healing power for 24 hours.

A phoenix lives 1000 years but is truly immortal; at the end of its life cycle it bursts into a white-hot flame from whose ashes the phoenix will be reborn in a fortnight. The same occurs if the beast is slain (they are only harmed by +3 or better weapons). Those standing within 10’ of a burning phoenix suffer 10-80 points of damage, and any weapon used to strike a death blow will be burned to a cinder if less than +5 in value.

But, yeah...even though I like mine better I don't want to stray TOO far from the stuff already in the books (both AD&D and BECMI when such is available). After all, some of this was puzzled out to be consistent with other monsters already in the game, right? Can't be giving a phoenix a claw attack of 3-18 or something when a red dragon only does 1D8, after all. At least that's MY thinking.

Of the last 9 monsters on my list, 5 have absolutely GOT to be in the game. The other four I really like, and of those 3 already have stats in AD&D. Kind of. Well, really only one (the Marid) but the other two are partly based on creatures already in AD&D...and for that reason (and since they're not REALLY mythological/legendary), I might just drop 'em.

Can I fit seven more monsters and still have space for stuff?'s gonna' be tight, though editing and clean-up might help. I'm tempted to stay up, NO! Must sleep!

Okay, going to bed...the beagles are already snoozing.

; )


  1. Hrmf! Completely forgot there was already a phoenix entry in the BECMI master set. Strangely enough, my version is closer to the "lesser phoenix" and the AD&D version is more similar to the "greater phoenix."

    'Course the master rules use 18 pages for less than 60 monsters....

  2. I think you could make that entry half as long without losing anything (and I say, realzing that I write too much in my own monster entries).

  3. @ Matt: I totally hear you on that one...all entries are going to be edited (in addition to being proofread) once I finish.

    I've got 8 or 9 left to do tonight, and then tomorrow I'll start the REAL grind.
    ; )