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Updated: 13 hours 31 min ago

Scylla: Henry Justice Ford Monster Manual

Fri, 07/20/2018 - 08:36


Another contribution for Eric Nieudan's project. This classical creep is to me the best-imagined of all Henry Justice Ford's monsters. He wisely ignores the mildly ridiculous "dogs growing out of waist" description from Hyginus, and focuses on the grasping horror so vividly illustrated here in all stages of crew acquisition. There's no telling how many Victorian and Edwardian children were terrified witless by this "character-building" sight.

Text of this post is released under this license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

SCYLLA

Armour class: as chain
Hit dice: 15 (90 hp); daughters 12
Move: slow crawl, slow swim
Attacks: 6, grab and devour, 2d6 / d6
No. Appearing: 1
Morale: 6
Treasure: 10000, magic; daughters 5000, magic
Alignment: Chaotic

Scylla was a lovely nymph, caught up in the amours of Poseidon and cursed by his jealous wife to bear a monstrous form for all time. She dwells in a cave atop a sea-cliff, commanding the only safe passage through a narrow strait with a whirlpool. It is rumored that she has spawned parthenogenetic daughters, of like form, who have spread out to terrorize wet, dark, and desolate places in the world. 

Scylla's voice is low and harsh, speaking all the tongues of the folk who toil her sea; she barely remembers her sylvan native tongue. She smells like brine and slightly putrid slime, but her movement is sinuous and graceful, almost hypnotic.

The six ponderous heads have brutish women's faces bearded with the legs of the octopus, connected to the barrel-shaped invertebrate body and its vestigial legs by long, snaking necks. Each head attacks to pick up a human-sized foe, ignoring armor, without damage on a hit. The victim thereafter is held fast, breaking free on STR+d20 > 25, and is automatically chewed for 2d6 damage each round in her clutches. Escaping her mouth parts usually means a 10' fall onto the rocky sea below. Two heads can cooperate to pick up a horse-sized meal, if both hit. Enemies that cannot be picked up take d6 damage from her bites instead.

At each 30 points of damage taken she must check morale, and retreats into her cave if this fails. In the cave is treasure that her discerning tentacles have fished over centuries from the wrecks of emptied ships: coins, goods, and the possessions of the slain. She will only listen to parley involving revenge on the sea-god and his spouse, but her daughters may be more amenable to deal-making after a show of strength.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Uninvited Fairy: Henry Justice Ford Monster Manual

Fri, 07/06/2018 - 07:08
Eric Nieudan over G+ has crowdsourced a most excellent project: to stat up monsters from the lively and terrible illustrations of Henry Justice Ford. Here's my contribution, based on what is certainly one of the weirdest designs given the title.



CARCINOS

Armour class: as plate
Hit dice: 4
Move: fast walk, slow swim
Attacks: Two claws, 2-12 each
No. Appearing: 1, possibly unique
Morale: 8
Treasure: 2000, magic
Alignment: Chaotic

Polite elfin society has named this fey pariah, for the aspect it has taken on: a massive crab, shell the color of the deepest purple bruises, that can flex its legs eight feet tall. It smells of deep loam and perpetually trails wisps of fog, clacking as it goes. It can see all spectra of energy and speaks in a buzzing, down-pitched tone.

The Carcinos Fairy haunts and lurks in dark places at the edge of sylvan idylls: the back of the grotto, the mine in the glade, the sinkhole in the swan-marsh.  Profoundly narcissistic, it would never change an iota to fit in, preferring to play aggrieved victim. It haggles with humans to the detriment of the conventional fey, hates elves, and often gathers dark and embittered minions to its cause, impressing them with magic. The Carcinos is shameless in soliciting praise for its beauty (one must be creative to comply) and ruthless in punishing any equivocation on the subject.

The main strength of the Carcinos is its magic. At will it can use: suggestion, invisibility, dancing lights, faerie fire, water breathing, stinking cloud, and fog cloud. Once a day it can use each of: bestow curse, polymorph other, charm monster, wall of ice. It takes half damage from cold and weapons, and resists all magic (even if no save) on a d20 roll higher than the caster's level/HD. Cold iron weapons do double damage to it.

If the Carcinos is killed, it slowly turns into a tall, beautiful faerie warrior clad in crumbling chitinous armour.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs