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

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Hmm, D&D Beyond says toll the dead isn't SRD but part of Xanathar's Guide to Everything. Perhaps we should swap it back to produce flame or use poison spray instead, as that's definitely SRD.
I can live with that - maybe poison spray as produce flame seems like something they'd avoid at all costs...

I like adding charm person and ditching faerie fire (1st lvl spell)

ok maybe flaming sphere but is a greenish hellfire and deals necrotic rather than fire damage? (especially to confuse rules boffins :))

looking at circle of lost now....undead wild shape seems a bit pointless. Spells are good though
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
I can live with that - maybe poison spray as produce flame seems like something they'd avoid at all costs...

Works for me.

Updating the Pine Kindred Thane.

I like adding charm person and ditching faerie fire (1st lvl spell)

ok maybe flaming sphere but is a greenish hellfire and deals necrotic rather than fire damage? (especially to confuse rules boffins :))

looking at circle of lost now....undead wild shape seems a bit pointless. Spells are good though

I'm going to be occupied for the rest of the day so the Jarl is going to have to wait.
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Been listening to podcasts bemoaning lack of damage of chonkier monsters...one I'd been meaning to convert for ages (also after seeing Guy Ritchie's King Arthur movie with the demon elephants at the beginning)...so I did this....the Gurgotch from WD12
 

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Cleon

Adventurer
Been listening to podcasts bemoaning lack of damage of chonkier monsters...one I'd been meaning to convert for ages (also after seeing Guy Ritchie's King Arthur movie with the demon elephants at the beginning)...so I did this....the Gurgotch from WD12

You've got "Gurgotch from WD12" in the text while the Demon Elephant is actually from White Dwarf #14. It's credited correctly in the D&DBeyond version, so that hardly matters.

My immediate impression is the Multiattack. wording is a bit confusing. Its two attacks: "can stomp and gore with its tusks, or use its breath weapon?"

One could interpret that as saying it stomps with its tusks and can make two breath weapon attacks (or two stomps/tusks) when employing Multiattack.

Was that the intention, in which case it needs to be expressed more clearly, or is it supposed to be something like "Multiattack. The gurgotch makes two attacks: one with with its stomp and one with its tusks or breath weapon."
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I'm going to be occupied for the rest of the day so the Jarl is going to have to wait.

Before we get too buried into satanic elephants, how about these spells for the Pine Kindred Jarl:
˟ Some pine kindred know spells from outside the druid's spell list (see Dark Druidic Mysteries in Pine Kindred).
 
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Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Yeah - spells are all good - in keeping with dark, wind-y, curse-y, ancient dark druidic shtick. Will update soon (busy IRL RN)

"Demoniac" elephants please! :LOL:
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Yeah - spells are all good - in keeping with dark, wind-y, curse-y, ancient dark druidic shtick. Will update soon (busy IRL RN)

I had to keep on reformatting it because it kept on changing text with asterisks on either side to-and-from italic rather than putting the bleeding * where I wanted them! Ended up using the ˟ symbol instead to stop it doing so.

Did they change how the forum reads asterisks? I had no trouble using * in the Thane's spells!

  • Cantrips (at will): druidcraft, mending, poison spray*
  • 1st level (4 slots): charm person, entangle, fog cloud, inflict wounds*
  • 2nd level (3 slots): enhance ability, misty step*, moonbeam, spike growth
 


Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Haven't got around to watching the movie yet, just trailers & reviews, but expect to see it fairly soon.

Those Elephants are definitely bigger than Huge size though!
I actually enjoyed it rather alot (but have always enjoyed the knockabout characters and plots in Guy Ritchie films so am easy to please).....

Was musing on how big to make these critters - was assuming 1.5x as big as large African Elephant - so 6m tall and 7.5m long.....which (I just figured) places them in Gargantuan category....?
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
I actually enjoyed it rather alot (but have always enjoyed the knockabout characters and plots in Guy Ritchie films so am easy to please).....

I like some Ritchie films, like the Man from Uncle reboot or his two Sherlock flicks. They may not be "serious movies" but they're certainly entertaining.

The King Arthur one looks a bit silly from what I've seen so far and appears to have a rather casual approach to the original story, but considering some of the horrors Hollywood have produced claiming to be Robin Hood I've probably seen worse!

Was musing on how big to make these critters - was assuming 1.5x as big as large African Elephant - so 6m tall and 7.5m long.....which (I just figured) places them in Gargantuan category....?

Hmm, well how big was the original monster? Better pull out WD14 and check…

It doesn't say, just that it's resembles a "large black elephant". The demon beast has 8D8+3 Hit Dice, which is similar to a wild AD&D Oliphant (8+4 HD, so equal to about 9), but less than both an Asiatic (10 HD) and African (11 HD) elephant in 1E.

The damage output is a lot lower. A Gurgotch starts with a 4d10 charge (22 average) and then switches to two 1d10 tusks (11 average).

A Loxodont (African Elephant) has two 2d8 attacks and three 2d6 attacks in the 1977 Monster Manual, for an average of 39 damage! A First Edition elephant can completely pulp opponents in short order!

That suggests something no larger than a big bull African Bush Elephant - maybe 12 feet tall and 10 tons - which is still Huge.

You could always stat up a standard Gurgotch as being Huge and Great Gurgotch of Gargantuan size to perform castle-toppling and army-squashing duties?

Come to think of it, it'll be helpful to have the original stats posted here so any readers who don't own White Dwarf #14 can follow along!
 

Cleon

Adventurer
GURGOTCH
by Roger Musson

No. appearing:1-2
Armour class:1
Movement:12”
Hit Dice:8D8+3
Treasure:F
Attack:
2 tusks (1-10 each), charge (4-40), trunk (special)
and breath weapon (special)
Alignment:Chaotic evil
Intelligence:average
Magic resistance:50%

The Gurgotch, or Demon Elephant, is another of the infernal forces once conjured forth to do war against the forces of Good; the remnants now wander the Earth, seeking the depths from which they originated.
 In form the beast resembles a large black elephant with big saucer-like glowing white eyes and a tail resembling a trident.
 Its usual mode of attack is with its tusks which are set about 6′ apart and with its trunk, with which it lifts its opponent (assuming it has scored a hit) and either drops them off a handy precipice or throws them to the ground with twice the force of a normal fall. Its initial charge against a group of adventurers delivers 4-40 points of damage (by trampling its foes underfoot) to each victim who fails to ‘save against his dexterity’.
 It has one other deadly weapon — its breath. In place of an ordinary tongue, the Gurgotch has a great trumpet-like funnel from which it exhales a noxious gas which acts on the central nervous system of a victim. All caught in the cloud must ‘save against constitution’ or lose all conscious muscular control from the neck downwards (in effect, they are paralysed); they also lose 4 points of dexterity and 2 points each of strength and constitution. Those making their saving roll are not paralysed but still suffer the effects of the loss of characteristic points. In either case the loss of characteristic points is permanent unless a bless and cure disease are cast, in that order and one immediately after the other, on the victim within a week (of course a paralysed victim will have had to have the paralysis removed first).
Comments: More suitable to a wilderness encounter than a dungeon, though in a restricted space its charge will be even more effective. A lot of decisions for the DM to make here — how many in the group of victims would be ‘caught’ in the charge? Can the tusks skewer two different victims at the same time (after all, it’s had plenty of practice)? What range and area of effect has the breath weapon?
 In case the concept of ‘saving against a characteristic’ is not familiar, let me briefly explain (though I think many DMs use this in one form or another). Quite often there arise circumstances in which the character’s ability to avoid a certain action should be related to one of his characteristics (for instance his ability to avoid a charge will be a function of his dexterity, his chance of taking a sensible course of action in confusing circumstances will be related to his intelligence, and so on). In such cases DMs often resolve the problem by asking the character to roll under his characteristic score, his action succeeding if he does so and failing if he doesn’t. Thus if a character with a dexterity of 15 stood a chance of avoiding the charge of a Gurgotch, the DM might ask him to roll 3D6 (2D6 if he wants to make it easier — in this case certain — or 4D6 if the DM thinks the chances are rather small). If the character rolls 5+3+2=10 he has ‘saved’ and has avoided the charge; if he rolls a 17, he gets trampled. This is a useful way of testing any particular ability, and also useful in dealing with non-player-characters if there is any doubt about the actions they would take, the advice they would give and so forth.​

Originally appeared in White Dwarf #14 (“Fiend Factory” edited by Don Turnbull, August/September 1979).
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Seems silly to think of it as actually being smaller than an African elephant! As far as elephants pulping people in short order in 1e...I think that is not far off real life (where they can do a pretty good job of being destructive when they want to be)

You've got "Gurgotch from WD12" in the text while the Demon Elephant is actually from White Dwarf #14. It's credited correctly in the D&DBeyond version, so that hardly matters.

My immediate impression is the Multiattack. wording is a bit confusing. Its two attacks: "can stomp and gore with its tusks, or use its breath weapon?"

One could interpret that as saying it stomps with its tusks and can make two breath weapon attacks (or two stomps/tusks) when employing Multiattack.

Was that the intention, in which case it needs to be expressed more clearly, or is it supposed to be something like "Multiattack. The gurgotch makes two attacks: one with with its stomp and one with its tusks or breath weapon."
Added "An opponent can't be trampled and scooped up and tossed on the same round." to trampling charge. Removed multiattack line as what I meant was it either attacks with gore or breath weapon (not both) in a round. It gets a stomp only on a charge >20 feet.

I do like the idea of a "normal" and "giant" (Guy Ritchie) gurgotch alot - making the latter a real juggernaut. In which case do you think we should nerf the normal one a bit? I have trouble picturing a demonic critter weaker than the normal animal...
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Seems silly to think of it as actually being smaller than an African elephant! As far as elephants pulping people in short order in 1e...I think that is not far off real life (where they can do a pretty good job of being destructive when they want to be)

Well I was suggesting something the same size as a big African elephant, not smaller.

That suggests something no larger than a big bull African Bush Elephant - maybe 12 feet tall and 10 tons - which is still Huge.

10 tons is around the upper limit, they average 5 or so. The record is, what, 11 and a bit tons?

Added "An opponent can't be trampled and scooped up and tossed on the same round." to trampling charge. Removed multiattack line as what I meant was it either attacks with gore or breath weapon (not both) in a round. It gets a stomp only on a charge >20 feet.

We 5E Elephants don't get multiple attacks unlike some earlier editions, which may have five (1E/2E) or three (3E) attacks so giving them a single attack is following current precedent for these Pachyderms.

That said, the original monster could attack twice per round and you were wanting to give it "chonky" damage so I'd consider having a two-attack Multiattack.

Would leave it with a Stomp option as a standard attack, as a normal Elephant or Mammoth has it.

I keep on wanting to do something with that pitchfork tail. What's the point of a tail like a trident if you can't stab things with it!

I do like the idea of a "normal" and "giant" (Guy Ritchie) gurgotch alot - making the latter a real juggernaut. In which case do you think we should nerf the normal one a bit? I have trouble picturing a demonic critter weaker than the normal animal...

Well the Fiend Factory version looks roughly on par with a 1E Vrock, which is a bit nastier than an Elephant in 5E.

These do seem rather low-level demons, since they're only average in brain power and lack magical powers.
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
OKay - have nerfed it to something abut the same size as the elephant in 5e. Nerfed the damage and it gives us a critter of CR 7. Agree about the tail. Maybe zap of electricity? Gives it a electric bolt attack (recharge on 5-6)?

PS: I wanna make a gargantuan gurgotch too....that could be used by giants as howda-riders or something...
 

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Cleon

Adventurer
OKay - have nerfed it to something abut the same size as the elephant in 5e. Nerfed the damage and it gives us a critter of CR 7. Agree about the tail. Maybe zap of electricity? Gives it a electric bolt attack (recharge on 5-6)?

gurgotch-png.151857

That looks a decent foundation. I'll post a blank Working Draft and start critiquing.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Gurgotch
Huge fiend, chaotic evil
Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 126 (12d12 + 48)
Speed 40 ft.

STR​
DEX​
CON​
INT​
WIS​
CHA​
23 (+6)​
13 (+1)​
19 (+4)​
10 (+0)​
12 (+1)​
8 (–1)​

Saving Throws CON +7, WIS +4, CHA +2
Damage Resistances acid, fire, lightning
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities poisoned
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages Understands Abyssal but cannot speak, telepathy with creatures touched by its trunk (reach 10 ft.)
Challenge 8 (3,900 XP) Proficiency Bonus +3

Magic Resistance. The gurgotch has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Trampling Charge. If the gurgotch moves at least 20 feet straight toward a creature and then hits it with a gore attack on the same turn, that target must succeed on a DC 17 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone. If the target is prone, the mammoth can make one stomp attack against it as a bonus action.

Actions

Multiattack. The gurgotch makes 3 attacks with its gore, stomp, trunk or tail, but it can only make 1 attack with each. An opponent attacked by the gurgotch's tail cannot be targeted by gore or trunk attacks. Its tail attack can only be combined with a stomp attack.

Gore. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (2d10 + 6) piercing damage.

Stomp. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature that must be prone or Medium size or smaller. Hit: 17 (2d10 + 6) bludgeoning damage.

Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (1d8 + 6) piercing damage.

Trunk. Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: No damage on hit, but target must make a DC 17 Dexterity or Strength saving throw (target's choice). The target takes 3 (1d6) bludgeoning damage on a successful save, but on a failed save the target suffers the following:
 If the target is Large size or smaller, they are scooped up and hurled a distance of up to 20 ft. (4d6+4), or 10 ft (2d6 + 3) for a Large creature. The gurgotch can hurl the target in any direction and may throw them to land a shorter distance away than the listed maximum range if it desires. When the target hits the ground it takes 7 (2d6) falling (bludgeoning) damage and lands prone. If the gurgotch hurls its victim over a cliff or into a pit that also causes falling damage, the target takes whichever falling damage rolls higher (do not add the trunk's 2d6 falling damage to other falling damage).
 If the target is Huge size or bigger, the trunk sweeps their legs and slams them into the ground, the target takes 7 (2d6) falling (bludgeoning) damage and falls prone.

Breath Weapon (Recharge 6). The gurgotch exhales a 20-foot-radius cloud of a noxious gas centered on a point within 20 feet The cloud spreads around corners. Gurgotches can center the gas cloud on themselves and are immune to its effects. Each creature within the cloud has its Dexterity score reduced by 1d6 and its Strength score reduced by 1d3 and must succeed at a DC 15 Constitution saving throw against poison or fall prone and become tetraplegic (see below) for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending its tetraplegia on a success. If the neurotoxin reduces the target's Strength or Dexterity to 0 it is paralysed as long as their Strength and Dexterity scores are reduced. Finishing a long rest or receiving a greater restoration spell ends the reduction, a short rest or lesser restoration removes 1 point of Strength reduction and 1 point of Dexterity reduction.

New Condition: Tetraplegia. Tetraplegia is a form of paralysis that affects every part of a creature below their neck but leaves them able to talk and move their head. The creature can't take actions or reactions requiring their body or limbs, but may speak and perform actions that only involve their head or neck, such as verbal-only spells and breath weapons. The creature automatically fails Strength and Dexterity saving throws and attack rolls against the creature have advantage.

Description

Commonly known as the demon elephant, a gurgotch is a being from the lower planes. Matte black like coal and ashes, it resembles a huge African elephant with great saucer-like white eyes, glowing and pupilless, and long curved tusks the hue of ebony. Their tail ends in three barbs like a trident.

Trumpeters of Paralysis. A gurgotch has a long tubular tongue whose tip can flare out like a trumpet-shaped flower. Grotesquely, the demon elephant can stick this tongue out of its trunk instead of its mouth and usually prefers to do so. The gurgotch can bellow forth clouds of a mysterious gas from this trumpet; this stinking vapor has the horrible property of numbing or paralyzing the spinal cord (or equivalent nervous system) of creatures who inhale it, often immobilizing the victims below the neck.
 A few sages believe the gurgotch's funnel-trumpet of a tongue is a feeding orifice, claiming the fiend literally inhales nerve energy from its victims' spines to sup on their strength and coordination. There are demonic entities who sustain themselves on far stranger fare than meat and plants.

Unholy Invaders. Gurgotches are often part of Abyssal armies attacking other planes, serving as shock troops, living siege engines, or mounts for giant evil masters. If their demon allies are defeated they are often abandoned to roam the material plane causing mayhem.

(Originally created by Roger Musson; appeared in White Dwarf Magazine #14 (Aug/Sept 1979) as part of "The Fiend Factory", edited by Don Turnbull.)
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Gurgotch
Size type, alignment
Armor Class ## (type)
Hit Points ## (#d# + ##)
Speed ## ft., climb/fly/swim ## ft.

Okay, first question. Are these technically Demons (i.e. tanar'ri in 2E/3E) or some other type of fiend? They're nicknamed "Demon Elephants" but I doubt they're actually elephants so they might not truly be demons too.

So the the type could just be "Huge fiend" rather than "Huge fiend (demon)".

I'd prefer them to have a lower AC and more HP. A 1E Vrock is AC 0, HD 8 and a 5E Vrock is AC 15, HD 11d10+44 (104 hp).

So Armor Class 15 like a 5E Vrock? The original had an AC one point worse than a Type I Demon, but AC 14 feels too low.

Increasing the HP can wait until we discuss the Abilities since it'll depend on the CON score, which feels a tad high to me.

Speed 40 ft. is fine. While faster than the 12" of the White Dwarf stats it's the same as an AD&D Mammoth (which also has Movement 12" in AD&D and 40 ft. in 5E).
 

Casimir Liber

Adventurer
Hmm. Had assumed they were demons from the name and alignment. However not really clarified elsewhere...I suppose it begs the question...what would be the difference if it was just a chaotic evil fiend vs a demon (narrowly-defined)?

I suppose if not a demon, does broaden scope in that other entities from Pandemonium to Acheron may own or use them....

I'll dial the AC downwards to 15.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Okay, first question. Are these technically Demons (i.e. tanar'ri in 2E/3E) or some other type of fiend? They're nicknamed "Demon Elephants" but I doubt they're actually elephants so they might not truly be demons too.

So the the type could just be "Huge fiend" rather than "Huge fiend (demon)".

Further on that, the WD14 description says they are "another of the infernal forces once conjured forth to do war against the forces of Good" who know wander "seeking the depths from which they originated."

Now "infernal forces" could mean they were conjured with a bunch of devils as easily as demons. Devils won't work with Demons in D&D, but will hire other kinds of fiends as mercenaries such as Yugoloths, some of which can be CE.

Still, they could just as well have the demon subtype. Any preferences?

Increasing the HP can wait until we discuss the Abilities since it'll depend on the CON score, which feels a tad high to me.

I'm thinking the Constitution shouldn't be higher than a Mammoth's CON 21.

If we're aiming for Challenge 7 and assuming we're lowering the AC to 15 to match a Vrock the the HP should be slightly better than a Vrock, so maybe Hit Points 115 (10d12 + 50) or 126 (11d12 + 55)?

Alternatively, we could give it CON 19 so the Con bonus is +4 like a Vrock and slap on more HD for, say, Hit Points 126 (12d12 + 48).

Hmm, I think I like the second option: HD 12, CON 19. That's still a lot tougher than a 5E Elephant.
 

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