5E: Converting Monsters from White Dwarf Magazine for Fifth Edition


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Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Right - I renamed the critter "Shadowdancer", which seems to be fine. Went with speed 50 ft as you suggested so the DnDbeyond version looks like the final version above. Was just looking for an image before publishing but we're there otherwise...
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Right - I renamed the critter "Shadowdancer", which seems to be fine. Went with speed 50 ft as you suggested so the DnDbeyond version looks like the final version above. Was just looking for an image before publishing but we're there otherwise...

Yes, I think we're done with the Dancer.

I guess I should rename the Enworld version to Shadowdancer just for the sake of consistency…

…and I'll need to change every "shadow dancer" in the text to "shadowdancer" while I'm at it.

…plus the credit will need a mention of it's original name.

…done!

I'll update the Indexes name to Shadowdancer once we've got a link to the D&D Beyond version.
 
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Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Yes, I think we're done with the Dancer.

I guess I should rename the Enworld version to Shadowdancer just for the sake of consistency…

…and I'll need to change every "shadow dancer" in the text to "shadowdancer" while I'm at it.

…plus the credit will need a mention of it's original name.

…done!

I'll update the Indexes name to Shadowdancer once we've got a link to the D&D Beyond version.
O-kay - now published Here
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
In the flurry of replies I missed your first post on the gu'en deeko. I must say I like this monster as providing something unique to the range of monsters used.

I agree the permanent gain of 1 hp is tricky - maybe it only gains a hp if the critter it eats has more original hp than it? That would cap it pretty quickly....?

The original has its "consumed and given" spells as one-offs (I guess like a spell scroll or something), which is a way of limiting its power. i.e. it doesn't have slots as such, they just mentally evaporate after being cast. Maybe spells come as a "package" from the most recent victim - when it eats a new brain, old "package" of spells is erased by new "package" of spells if new victim is a spellcaster. i.e. can only have one array of spells at a time.

Skills - applicable unless fundamentally incompatible - e.g. can't waterbreathe or fly.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I agree the permanent gain of 1 hp is tricky - maybe it only gains a hp if the critter it eats has more original hp than it? That would cap it pretty quickly....?

That would mean if it brain-ate a fragile but powerful creature like, say, a wizard, it would not gain any hit points. It would seem better to base it off the Challenge or Level of the victim, but cap it at the max hit points it can roll on its HD.

For example, "If a gu'en-deeko eats the brain of a victim of [challenge/level?] # or higher its maximum hit points increase by 1 for every [challenge/level?] above #–1, it cannot gain more hit points than could be rolled on its Hit Dice (6d8+18 has a maximum roll of 66 hp)."

The gu'en-deeko in the adventure, Thraaak, has 5+12 HD listed, so it's eaten twelve levels of victims as it gains 1 hp/level on "devouring a human brain" plus their knowledge and any skills and abilities they had.

The "human brain" presumably means "humanoid brain" in 5E terms, since Thraaak has the abilities of a 2nd level thief and a dwarf as well as Tizun Thane's spells.

He also ate an assassin's brains which caused him to turn against his master, and might have eaten the brains of other enemies of Tizun Thane.

However, he can't have eaten that many of them!

Thraak had two 3rd-level, two 2nd-level and three 1st-level magic-user spells left over from eating Tizun Thane's brain.

He'd need to be at least a 6th-level MU to have those spells.

If we assume that Thaaak's other abilities were from a 2nd-level dwarf thief (since the dwarf wasn't given a class or level) and that the assassin he'd eaten was only 1st level (being a patsy), he'd have three hit points from the 3 levels in those brains, which leaves 9 levels to account for.

That means Tizun must have been between 6th and 9th level. A 1E AD&D magic-user of that level likely only had 15-22 hp if their Constitution and Hit Dice rolls aren't exceptional.

The original has its "consumed and given" spells as one-offs (I guess like a spell scroll or something), which is a way of limiting its power. i.e. it doesn't have slots as such, they just mentally evaporate after being cast.

Yes, I think I mentioned somewhere before the original only gained spells as 1-use.

I'm just not fond of that, if only because it may make sequential encounters push-overs.

Say, a party of adventures fights a gu'en-deeko who chucks a couple of spells at them, prompting the party to retreat. When the adventurers return, prepared to battle a spell-using monster, the gu'en-deeko will be 2 spells less powerful than their first encounter and easier to defeat.

I'd rather the gu'en-deeko keeps its spellcasting abilities like it keeps the abilities of other classes it has brain-eaten.

If the gu'en-deeko had eaten a class with innate spellcasting rather than memorized spellcasting, its spells wouldn't evaporate. Plus I'd like a gu'en-deeko "mage" to pose as long-term a threat as a gu'en-deeko "warrior" who won't permanently lose its offensive abilities upon using them.

Maybe spells come as a "package" from the most recent victim - when it eats a new brain, old "package" of spells is erased by new "package" of spells if new victim is a spellcaster. i.e. can only have one array of spells at a time.

If it worked like that, a gu'en-deeko could eat an archmage and become a 16th-level wizard, but then eat an apprentice and drop to a 1st-level wizard.

I was thinking something like this:
  • A gu'en-deeko gains proficiency in any skills possessed by a humanoid whose brain it eats.
  • A gu'en-deeko gains the memories, knowledge-based racial traits and languages of any humanoid whose brain it eats but does not gain any physiological traits of the humanoid's race. For example, if it ate a dwarf it would gain Dwarven Combat Training, Tool Proficiency, Stonecunning and Languages, but it would not gain a dwarf's Ability Score Increase, Size, Speed, Darkvision or Dwarven Resilience.
  • In addition, a gu'en-deeko gains the class abilities of any humanoids of level # or lower whose brains it eats. These abilities never stack, if it gains multiple abilities only the highest level one applies. For example, if it ate the brains of a 2nd-level cleric, a 3rd-level bard, and a 3rd-level druid a gu'en-deeko gains 3rd-level Spellcasting, not three separate sets of Spellcasting (see below for how Gu'en-Deeko spells function).
     There are some class abilities that cannot be obtained by devouring brains, such as a warlock's Pact abilities: a gu'en-deeko lacks the godlike patron required for Pact Magic, Pact Boon, Otherworldly Patron, Mystic Arcanum and Eldritch Master abilities, although it can gain a warlock's Eldritch Invocations and Ability Score Improvement abilities. Other classes are left to the DM's discretion.
  • If a gu'en-deeko eats the brain of a humanoid of level #+1 or higher, if gains the class abilities of that humanoid until it eats the brain of another humanoid of the same level or higher. If that happens, the gu'en-deeko gains the class abilities of the new brain and the class abilities it gained from the previous high-level brain are reduced to a #-level character of that class.
  • If a gu'en-deeko eats the brain of a humanoid whose level exceeds its [6] Hit Dice, the gu'en-deeko goes insane and believes itself to actually be the individual whose brain it ate, despite any evidence to the contrary.
  • [Stuff about how its spellcasting works. Basically I'm thinking it becomes an X-level sorcerer-style spellcaster (i.e. Cha-based) who can swap in new "spells learned" from brains it eats, and if it eats more spells than it can learn it can cast the excess as 1-use spells, which still expends spell slots.]
Does that sound OK to you?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
 There are some class abilities that cannot be obtained by devouring brains, such as a warlock's Pact abilities: a gu'en-deeko lacks the godlike patron required for Pact Magic, Pact Boon, Otherworldly Patron, Mystic Arcanum and Eldritch Master abilities, although it can gain a warlock's Eldritch Invocations and Ability Score Improvement abilities. Other classes are left to the DM's discretion.

Upon reflection, since the original monster could get any class ability by eating a humanoid brain I'm tempted to include Pact abilities, with caveats:
  • In addition, a gu'en-deeko gains the class abilities of any humanoids of level # or lower whose brains it eats. These abilities never stack, if it gains multiple abilities only the highest level one applies. For example, if it ate the brains of a 2nd-level cleric, a 3rd-level bard, and a 3rd-level druid a gu'en-deeko gains 3rd-level Spellcasting, not three separate sets of Spellcasting (see below for how Gu'en-Deeko spells function). It could, in theory, gain multiple abilities that use spells provided they are different types of magic-use. For example, it could possess the Innate Spellcasting from multiple sources, such as a Drow Elf and a Svirfneblin.
     At the DM's discretion, some class abilities cannot be obtained just by devouring brains. For example, a gu'en-deeko could, in theory, possess both Spellcasting and a warlock's Pact abilities (Pact Magic, Pact Boon, Otherworldly Patron, Mystic Arcanum & Eldritch Master). However, the godlike patron who grants those abilities must agree to strike a warlock's bargain with the gu'en-deeko.
 
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Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Okay - looks interesting (I had to re-read this to digest) - I like this challenge to make it playable logically (thinking about it, I'm not sure that Albie Fiore gave it this much thought before creating it for the adventure, but I see the potential of some really cool monster here - and also I liked iZombie which had a similar premise....)

- I like what you've done to quantify it for 5e and make it playable and think it's the right way to adapt it.

- agree about allowing a pact but is up to discretion of patron how to proceed - which could make for some interesting plot play on part of DM in adventure creating and allow some discretion for customizing challenge of monster to players.

- with the eating of a new brain of a humanoid with a level higher than an older brain, you're saying the older skills "fade" by a level...? Might be a good way to have them slowly disappear...?

- maybe rather than automatically go insane, make it a chance? A DC 10 WIS check per brain of victim 7th level or higher? Or DC 10+1/lvl above
7th? If forgone conlusion, the ape might never eat a strong victim, but if a chance then it might risk it for power....?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
- with the eating of a new brain of a humanoid with a level higher than an older brain, you're saying the older skills "fade" by a level...? Might be a good way to have them slowly disappear...?

No, it'll "fade" to a set lower level not by 1 level. If we have it lose 1 level per week or something it would be a nightmare to keep track.

My basic idea was it can any number of abilities from low-level brains but only one set of abilities from a high-level brain.

Hadn't quite decided on the levels when I wrote it, but I'm thinking 1st to 3rd level for the former, so 4th+ for the higher level brain.

So, if it eats multiple brains from humanoids of 4th+ level it gains all the class abilities of the class with the most levels (with the most recent brain winning ties), but it can only gain class abilities up to 3rd-level from other brains (the gu'en-deeko still gains all the Skill proficiencies that 4th+ brains have regardless of whether they are the highest level or not, which may more Skills than a 3rd-level character would have.)

I chose 4th level as the cut-off point because that's where classes start to grant Ability Score Advancements, and it didn't seem prudent to allow the gu'en-deeko to get that from multiple brains.

It would also make sense it the "increased maximum hit points" ability kicks in at 4th-level too, so it gets a permanent +1 hp for a 4th-level brain, +3 for a 6th-level and so on.

- maybe rather than automatically go insane, make it a chance? A DC 10 WIS check per brain of victim 7th level or higher? Or DC 10+1/lvl above
7th? If forgone conlusion, the ape might never eat a strong victim, but if a chance then it might risk it for power....?

Well maybe gu'en-deekos are so driven to eat brains they don't care if it'll drive them mad?

However, a save is fine by me. Although if we allow a save I'd have it "kick in" at the Gu'en-Deeko's Hit Dice of 6 rather than more than the monster's HD.

I'd make it class-level and mental ability score based.

Maybe set the DC to 10 plus the "brain donor's" proficiency bonus plus its highest mental ability bonus? So a 6th-level Druid requires, say, a DC 14 save (10 + 2 Proficiency +2 Wis), a Captain a DC 15 save (10 + 2 proficiency +3 Cha) and an Archmage a DC 19 save (10 +4 proficiency +5 Int).

I'm tempted to have a risk of personality-overlay from any brain of 4th+ level, but with a lower DC?

We could have it level-based I guess, but 10+level seems a bit too high and I'd like a mental ability in there.

If the DC were, say, 6 plus level plus highest mental ability modifiers that'd make a standard 4th-level Druid DC 12 (6 + 4 + 2) and an Archmage DC 29! (6 + 18 + 5).

It's more usual to have it based on Proficiency Bonus though, especially as many NPC humanoids don't have levels listed, such as the aforementioned Captain, who's 10d8+20 hit points suggest 10th-level, the three attacks per round would require an 11th+ level if a fighter, but the piddling Challenge 4 suggests only 4th level or so.

So perhaps use the standard spell formula of 8 + proficiency + ability bonus for 4th+ level brains, but use 150% the proficiency bonus if the Challenge/Class Level equals or exceeds the Gu'en-Deeko's Challenge/Hit Dice/Highest Class Level?

I'm also thinking it'd be desirable to to stat up a sample of a brain-boosted Gu'en-Deeko and it seems appropriate if it's a "Gu'en-Deeko Mage" who has brain-devoured a 6th-level wizard and a 2nd-level dwarf thief.

Then, purely by coincidence, the creature would approximately match Thaaak's brain-abilities from The Halls of Tizun Thane.
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
I like basing the (variable) DC save on proficiency + Cha is cool.

Reading this is pretty complex - am I waiting for you to reformulate now? Or you waiting for more feedback from me...?
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Also been busy - missed feedback on nadie-bear. I like. and incorporated (but yet to work on howl...)
 

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Cleon

Adventurer
I like basing the (variable) DC save on proficiency + Cha is cool.

Reading this is pretty complex - am I waiting for you to reformulate now? Or you waiting for more feedback from me...?

That's a common problem with these "steal abilities from other creatures" monsters, they tend to end up over-complicated.

I'm inclined to put the Gu'en-Deeko on the back burner to see if some mental simmering will come up with some better ideas for their brain-eating and concentrate on finishing the Nandie-Ape and Nandie-Bear.

The Koddoelo only needs a Description, which shouldn't take long.

EDIT: Ideally we should aim to make the Gu'en-Deeko so it's relatively straightforward to run. For example, if we do a sample Gu'en-Deeko based on Thraaak then the DM won't have to figure out all the brain-eating stats on the fly, they can just use those.

If we have the time and inclination, we could provide another example - maybe a Gu'en-Deeko who's eaten a Bandit Captain for a martial variant who attacks with weapons rather than spells.
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Also been busy - missed feedback on nadie-bear. I like. and incorporated (but yet to work on howl...)

nadiebearupdated-png.148419

Don't care for the two /s in Stealthy Predator, I'd prefer either "rocky hills, forested badlands or jungle" or "rocky hills or jungle" for the habitat.

A nandie-bear fights with its bite and its claws, your update only has claw attacks.

If it had two claws attacks, each of which could rend, it could do 8d6+8 damage, which seems a bit high for the desired Challenge.

Oh, and the claws damage of 2d6 + 4 has an average of 11, not 7.

EDIT: Updated the Nandie-Bear Working Draft on Enworld to account for some of the above changes.
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
but yet to work on howl...

I'm thinking the Nandie-Bear's Haunting Howl should have some limit on frequency of use. Maybe a Recharge number [i.e. Howl (Recharge 5-6)] or a cool-down time (i.e. Howl (1/hour)]?

But the main question is do you want to honor the original's "fail the save and have fear of the howl engraved into your memories?" aspect.

If not, it can simply just cause fright for a minute.

For example, we could modify the terrifying bay of a Yeth Hound Thrall or the Frightful Presence of a Dragon:

Bay (1/Day). The yeth hound can howl, causing all creatures other than fiends that can hear within 300 feet to make a [DC ##] Wisdom saving throw. Those who fail are frightened for 1 minute. A creature frightened by this effect can make another saving throw at the end of each of their turns, ending the effect on a success. A creature that successfully saves is immune to this yeth hound’s bay for 24 hours.​
Frightful Presence. Each creature of the dragon’s choice that is within 120 feet of the dragon and aware of it must succeed on a DC 17 Wisdom saving throw or become frightened for 1 minute. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the dragon’s Frightful Presence for the next 24 hours.​

If we do want to incorporate some lingering effect, the ability gets a lot more complicated.

Maybe something like:

Haunting Howl (Recharge 5-6). A nandie-bear's horrible call is loud and resonant, it can be heard up to one mile distant. Any animal that hears this howl will become skittish, as per the nandie-bear's Unsettling Aura ability.​
 All creatures within 300 feet other than nandie-apes and nandie-bears must succeed at a DC [12] Wisdom saving throw upon hearing the howl or become frightened for 1 minute. A creature who fails this save gains Disadvantage on subsequent saving throws against a nandie-bear's haunting howl. If such a creature succeeds on three successive saving throws against haunting howl, they conquer their fear, and from then on will not gain disadvantage should they fail their initial save against a howl. A frightened creature can make a DC [12] Wisdom saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending its frightened condition on a success.​
 Nandie-apes can be frightened by haunting howl (as above), but unlike the standard frightened condition, the apes may willingly move towards the source of the howl, and their frightened state only gives them disadvantage on ability checks and attack rolls against the nandie-bear.​
 If the nandie-bear rules a nandie-ape colony, its haunting howl also calls the colony's nandie-apes to come to its assistance. Typically, [1d4 nandie-apes will arrive per round for 1d3 + 3 rounds, for a total of between 4 and 24?] nandie-apes. If a nandie-bear is close to its nandie colony, 1d4 nandie-apes (or more) will arrive every round until the colony's entire population has turned up.​
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Yes that works - I like the "recharge on X" mechanic as more random than just "every 3 rounds" or whatever as adding some suspense via randomness.

The bottom haunting howl is good - 4-24 nandie-apes seems a reasonable number - substantial enough to be a problem but not huge.

Why is DC 12 in brackets - you thinking it might be better lower or higher? Maybe DC 10 as if hits all creatures could be a might overpowered?

Had missed bite by accident - added now - the 2d6+4 damage represents both claws as that seems the 5e way of doing things

Regarding its stealth - the folklore and 1e lore has it preferring darkness - so maybe make stealth Advantage on low light situations such as night-time.....?

Trying to rework description as follows:

The nandie-bear is a bulky and powerful ape-like creature that dwells in forested or rocky wilderness. Covered in shaggy black hair, it stands around 8-foot tall, though ambles around on four limbs more often than not. Its face has vaguely human-like features with baleful eyes and large jaws and teeth, hinting at its carnivorous diet.

It has developed a taste for human flesh, and at times may venture to pick off villagers or dwellers of isolated homesteads under the cover of darkness.

A nandie-bear invariably heads a colony of nandie-apes, where it lazes about while its subjects hunt and scavenge for it. It will generally only venture forth from the colony in the dead of night, conducting its forays alone. It may also lave the colony on occasion to answer the summons of its nandie-apes, though is always the last to respond.
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Yes that works - I like the "recharge on X" mechanic as more random than just "every 3 rounds" or whatever as adding some suspense via randomness.

The bottom haunting howl is good - 4-24 nandie-apes seems a reasonable number - substantial enough to be a problem but not huge.

I'm thinking we should modify the nandie-ape's Call to Arms to have similar numbers, how about:

Call to Arms. A nandie-ape can use its bonus action to make a chattering call. This gives it advantage on melee attack rolls against a creature if at least one of the nandie-ape's allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.
 In addition, any members of the nandie-ape's colony within earshot of Call to Arms (about 300 feet) will come to aid the nandie-ape. Typically, 1d4 nandie-apes will arrive per round for 1d4 + 1 rounds, for a total of between 2 and 20 nandie-apes. If a nandie-ape is close to its nandie colony, 1d4 nandie-apes (or more) will arrive every round until the colony's entire population has turned up.
 If more than one nandie-ape uses Call to Arms the number of creatures that arrive does not increase.
 For a colony Call to Arms, the smallest nandie colonies contain 10d4 (10 to 40) to 15d4 (15 to 60) nandie-apes; bigger colonies usually have between 10d4+5d6 (15 to 70) and 5d4+5d6+5d8 (15 to 90) apes; the largest colonies can have from 5d4+10d6+5d8 (20 to 120) up to 5d4+5d6+5d8+5d12 (20 to 150) nandies. Always roll the largest dice first when determining how many nandie-apes respond to a colony Call to Arms. For a 12d4+3d6 colony, 1d6 nandie-apes arrive for 3 rounds (1st to 3rd), followed by 1d4 apes for 12 rounds (4th to 15th).
 Boss nandie-apes who hear the call always arrive last. A nandie-bear, if present, always turns up after every nandie-apes within range has arrived.
 The number of nandie-apes in a colony includes any present when a Call to Arms starts. This may reduce the number of apes who can arrive in response to the call. For example: adventurers stumble upon the lair of a 10d4+10d6 colony and encounter 25 nandie-apes plus a boss nandie-ape. That's roughly equivalent to 8d6 nandies, so 10d4+2d6 apes remain to answer their colony Call to Arms.

Then I can add a "(see Nandie-Ape colony Call to Arms for details)" note to the Kerit's Haunting Howl to cover the colony-summoning howl.

Why is DC 12 in brackets - you thinking it might be better lower or higher? Maybe DC 10 as if hits all creatures could be a might overpowered?

Put the DC in brackets since we might decide to give it an arbitrary adjustment OR tweak the Charisma. I'm fine with DC 12. The original used a save vs. spells, which is one of the tougher saves in 1E.

I'll update Haunting Howl in the Nandie-Bear Working Draft.

Had missed bite by accident - added now - the 2d6+4 damage represents both claws as that seems the 5e way of doing things

Regarding its stealth - the folklore and 1e lore has it preferring darkness - so maybe make stealth Advantage on low light situations such as night-time.....?

Wouldn't bother. Panthers are nocturnal predators and they don't even get Advantage on Stealth! Plus, the Bear's got darkvision, which is reason enough to hunt at night when your victims can't see you coming.

I'm definitely thinking the Kerit should be Challenge 2. It's at least as dangerous as a Griffon.

Trying to rework description as follows:

The nandie-bear is a bulky and powerful ape-like creature that dwells in forested or rocky wilderness. Covered in shaggy black hair, it stands around 8-foot tall, though ambles around on four limbs more often than not. Its face has vaguely human-like features with baleful eyes and large jaws and teeth, hinting at its carnivorous diet.

It has developed a taste for human flesh, and at times may venture to pick off villagers or dwellers of isolated homesteads under the cover of darkness.

A nandie-bear invariably heads a colony of nandie-apes, where it lazes about while its subjects hunt and scavenge for it. It will generally only venture forth from the colony in the dead of night, conducting its forays alone. It may also lave the colony on occasion to answer the summons of its nandie-apes, though is always the last to respond.

The actual folklore doesn't describe them as resembling cavemen.

I'm wondering whether we should mix up the description to include some elements from other descriptions - the sloping backed hyena-like stance, chalicothere-like sickle claws and so on.

Perhaps these monstrosities are rather variable in appearance, each being a different chimera of various horrible beasts? We can use the apeman as the "sample description" but mention alternatives.

Regardless, we should work out the Koddoelo Description at the same time since the two tie together so closely.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Call to Arms. A nandie-ape can use its bonus action to make a chattering call. This gives it advantage on melee attack rolls against a creature if at least one of the nandie-ape's allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.
 In addition, any members of the nandie-ape's colony within earshot of Call to Arms (about 300 feet) will come to aid the nandie-ape. Typically, 1d4 nandie-apes will arrive per round for 1d4 + 1 rounds, for a total of between 2 and 20 nandie-apes. If a nandie-ape is close to its nandie colony, 1d4 nandie-apes (or more) will arrive every round until the colony's entire population has turned up.
 If more than one nandie-ape uses Call to Arms the number of creatures that arrive does not increase.
 For a colony Call to Arms, the smallest nandie colonies contain 10d4 (10 to 40) to 15d4 (15 to 60) nandie-apes; bigger colonies usually have between 10d4+5d6 (15 to 70) and 5d4+5d6+5d8 (15 to 90) apes; the largest colonies can have from 5d4+10d6+5d8 (20 to 120) up to 5d4+5d6+5d8+5d12 (20 to 150) nandies. Always roll the largest dice first when determining how many nandie-apes respond to a colony Call to Arms. For a 12d4+3d6 colony, 1d6 nandie-apes arrive for 3 rounds (1st to 3rd), followed by 1d4 apes for 12 rounds (4th to 15th).
 Boss nandie-apes who hear the call always arrive last. A nandie-bear, if present, always turns up after every nandie-apes within range has arrived.
 The number of nandie-apes in a colony includes any present when a Call to Arms starts. This may reduce the number of apes who can arrive in response to the call. For example: adventurers stumble upon the lair of a 10d4+10d6 colony and encounter 25 nandie-apes plus a boss nandie-ape. That's roughly equivalent to 8d6 nandies, so 10d4+2d6 apes remain to answer their colony Call to Arms.

Hmm, I'm thinking that could be a lot more succinct. Maybe have the info about nandie-ape colony sizes in their Description section rather than the Call to Arms Special Trait?

Will need to think about it…
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
I like the idea of the nandie-bear having different attributes from its folklore - hence one version has reddish hair, and even the picture in WD18 has it on all fours. Maybe make it more demonic/aberrant or mutable? Its appearance changes with varying attributes?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I like the idea of the nandie-bear having different attributes from its folklore - hence one version has reddish hair, and even the picture in WD18 has it on all fours. Maybe make it more demonic/aberrant or mutable? Its appearance changes with varying attributes?

I'll hash something out.

Let's start with the Nandie-Ape, so far we've got:

Chattering Mobs. [Both nandie-apes and nandie-bears speak a primitive language of bestial chattering and gestures that can only convey simple concepts. The nandie beasts have no name for this language, but other creatures call it Kerit after one of the commonest sounds nandie-apes say, together with koddoelo. Kerit is both a spoken language and a sign-language, or both at the same time (nandie-apes prefer the latter, speaking while they gesture).
 Nandie-apes love to chatter and only refrain from talking when stealth is essential. Nandie-bears are silent, they understand spoken Kerit but only communicate in sign-language.
 The meaning of a sound or gesture in Kerit varies with the tone it is spoken in or the posture accompanying the gesture. Depending on this emphasis, "Kerit" literally means "Hungry", "Food" or "Feed Me!"; while "Koddoelo" means something like "Come Over Here!", "Here I Am!" or "Look At That!"
 Can they speak to other monkeys and apes, or is it just koddoleo and kerits they can talk to?
]

(Based on the Nandie in White Dwarf Magazine #18 (Apr/May 1980), from "The Halls of Tizun Thane" by Albie Fiore.)

…upon reflection, that "Chattering Mobs" is way too wordy.

and:

BTW here is revised Nandie-ape with first attempt at description

nandie2-png.148047

The Description in the latter transcribes as follows (with a couple of typos fixed):

Nandie-apes are simian carnivores related to baboons; similar in appearance, they are much larger in size - at around 5 feet tall - and are as bulky as a dwarf or small human. They have brownish pelts and lack tails, and can walk or fight on two legs or scamper on all fours.

Nandie-apes dwell in rocky hill-country or thick forest/jungle, living in colonies that are usually (75%) headed by a mated pair (5d8) or a nandie bear (25%). The colony will have its lair in ruins or a cave complex, where there will be an additional 80% of young. In a secluded corner of the colony will be their "treasure" hoard, which is a vast pile of glittering shards and objects.

Outside the colony, they are encountered in groups of 2 to 12 adults. They are rarely encountered more than a mile from their colony. If unmolested, there is a 40% chance/3 turns that they will ignore anyone encountering them, a 30% chance/3 turns that they will attack, and a 30% chance that they will follow inquisitively. In encountered in their lair, those present will always screech to summon those that are elsewhere.

Nandie-apes make loyal pets if captured and suitably trained by one skilled in animal training. However, tamed ones lose the natural impulse to summon others.

Nandie-apes have their own language which consists of screeches and chatters - they do this almost incessantly. Their screech to summon others is indistinguishable to all save druids and rangers of at least fourth level, even if they have never encountered nandies before.

Hmm… I don't think we need to say they are literally related to baboons.

Also don't care for them being carnivores - a hundred+ man sized carnivores would have difficulty finding enough to eat within an territory that's just a mile radius from their lair. Makes more sense if they're omnivores who prefer the taste of flesh.

Description

A koddoelo, commonly called a nandie-ape, resembles an oversized tailless baboon with mangy black-brown fur. They normally scamper on all fours but can walk and fight on their hind legs, standing around 5 feet tall on average. Male and female koddoelos are equal in size and status. Particularly large nandie-apes are called bosses (see Nandie-Ape Boss) and can exceed 6 feet in height. Nandie-ape colonies are usually led by boss nandies or a loathsome monster called a kerit or nandie-bear (see Nandie-Bear).
 Nandie-apes are simian omnivores who inhabit rocky hills, thick forests and jungles. While they would rather eat meat, most make do with a mostly vegetarian diet supplemented by bugs, lizards, and other small animals.

Chattering Beasts. Nandie-apes are often heard before they're seen. They constantly screech and chatter at one another in a primitive language that humanoids call Kerit after the nandie-bear. Kerit is both a spoken language and a sign-language, but can only convey simple concepts of a few words. Nandie-apes prefer to speak and gesture at the same time, but nandie-bears only use the sign-language form of Kerit.
 The most notable sound in Kerit is the summoning screech of a nandie-ape's Call to Arms, which corresponds to the terrifying cry of a nandie-bear's Haunting Howl. A character proficient in Nature can identify the purpose of this call with a DC 12 Nature check.
 Kerit has numerous dialects, and each colony of nandie-apes has a unique summoning screech. A koddoelo will recognize the Call to Arms of nandie-apes from another colony as being a rival or enemy but can still communicate crude concepts with the simian stranger, such as "go away!"

Chaotic Mobs. A koddoelo is an innately chaotic creature. Groups of nandie-apes are unruly bickering mobs, not a disciplined pack like wolves live in. A powerful or charismatic leader can force some temporary cohesion upon a group, but this requires constant enforcement. Arguments and fights are frequent, often triggered when one ape insults or steal from another. Disputes inside a koddoelo colony are always between individuals, only a pair-bonded partner will help a nandie-ape fight another colony member (see Loyal Pairs).

Screeching Colonies. Despite their chaotic temperament, nandie-apes are highly gregarious creatures with strong social instincts. They live in colonies that range in size from 10 to 150 adults. The colony will have a lair in a cave or abandoned building.
 The size of a colony is measured in dice; the smallest nandie colonies contain 10d4 (10 to 40) to 15d4 (15 to 60) nandie-apes; bigger colonies usually have between 10d4+5d6 (15 to 70) and 5d4+5d6+5d8 (15 to 90) apes; the largest colonies can have from 5d4+10d6+5d8 (20 to 120) up to 5d4+5d6+5d8+5d12 (20 to 150) nandies.
 Each colony will be led by 1 to 5 nandie-ape bosses or 1 nandie-bear; the commonest leadership is a mated pair of boss nandies. Colonies ruled by a nandie-bear never have bosses, since nandie-bears tolerate no challengers to their tyranny.
 Small groups of nandie-apes numbering a few dice (typically 2d6) will be scattered throughout the colony's territory. If encountered, nandie-apes will either ignore or stare at intruders and then continue about their business, or issue a Call to Arms and follow or attack them. The lair will contain a sizeable group of nandie-apes, perhaps a quarter of the dice of the colony, who will always Call to Arms to gather the rest of the nandie-apes.

Loyal Pairs. A koddoelo can form an extremely close bond with one other creature. They are extremely loyal to their pair-bonded partner and may defend them fiercely. The bonded partner is usually the nandie-ape's mate, but a koddoelo can form platonic pair-bonds with a creature they have no reproductive interest in. Even mated pair-bonds are not necessarily sexually exclusive; bonded koddoelos often have harems or affairs with other nandie-apes. Pair-bonds tend to only be broken by death, betrayal or sustained neglect. Showing another creature more attention than the bonded-partner is likely to provoke a jealous outburst though.
 If a nandie-ape is raised from a young age, with proper training they can form a pair-bond with their owner and become an extremely devoted pet and fierce watchape. They will still be mischievous due to their chaotic alignment. Trained nandie-apes will not know Kerit or be able to use Call to Arms, since that requires an upbringing in a koddoelo colony.

(Originally named Nandie; appeared in White Dwarf Magazine #18 (Apr/May 1980) as part of "The Halls of Tizun Thane" by Albie Fiore.)

Hmm, I'm thinking that could be a lot more succinct. Maybe have the info about nandie-ape colony sizes in their Description section rather than the Call to Arms Special Trait?

Will need to think about it…

Here's a trimmed down version accounting for the above Description.

Call to Arms. A nandie-ape can use its bonus action to make screeching calls. This gives it advantage on melee attack rolls against a creature if at least one of the nandie-ape's allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn't incapacitated.
 In addition, any members of the nandie-ape's colony within earshot of Call to Arms (about 300 feet) will come to aid the nandie-ape. Typically, 1d4 nandie-apes will arrive per round for 1d3 + 1 rounds, for a total of between 2 and 16 nandie-apes. (alternatively, use 1d6 per round for 1d4 rounds; 1d8 per round for 1d3 rounds; or 1d12 per round for 1d2 rounds)
 If a nandie-ape is close to its colony, one dice worth of nandie-apes will arrive every round until the colony's entire population is accounted for. The largest available dice arrive first (see Screeching Colonies in Description).
 If more than one nandie-ape makes a Call to Arms, the number of creatures that arrive does not increase.
 Boss nandie-apes who hear a Call to Arms always arrive last. If a nandie-bear is within earshot, it arrives after all available nandie-apes have turned up.
 Should a nandie-ape hear multiple summoning calls it gives priority to a nandie-bear's Haunting Howl, otherwise it responds to the loudest Call to Arms it hears.

Example: A nandie colony contains 10d4 + 10d6 nandie-apes and three nandie-ape bosses. A party of adventurers encounter a foraging patrol of 2d6 nandie-apes and fight them; the patrol makes a Call to Arms and rolls 3, so 3d4 apes answer the call over 3 rounds of combat. This leaves 7d4 + 8d6 unaccounted for.
 The adventurers continue and discover 5d6 nandie-apes plus a mated pair of bosses in the colony's lair, who immediately Call to Arms. This leaves 7d4 + 3d6 nandie-apes and 1 boss unaccounted for. Over eleven rounds of screeching conflict, 1d6 ape reinforcements will arrive each round for three rounds (3d6), followed by 1d4 apes per round for seven rounds (7d4), and finally a single boss ape on the last round.
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
okay that looks good - have used so here (too long to screenshot in one hit...):
 

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