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Converting First Edition Monsters

Cleon

Adventurer
There's also an original D&D version in the Blackmoor Supplement (1975) and another version in Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar (1996), but I don't have either of those sources immediately to hand.

Still, I might dig them out just to see if there's any useful extra data in them.

I checked the two previous versions and they did add some interesting extra data.

The original Blackmoor version could drain energy levels - it was literally a vampire. I'll edit this post to include the relevant text, but it's on my main computer and I don't want to access it at the moment because of an inconveniently positioned cat.

The Lankhmar version is pretty much the standard AD&D version, but what's interesting about it is that it was listed in an adventure because it's an alternative form of a shapeshifting humanoid race - so we've got yet another creature to add to our Lycanthropes and Shapeshifters thread!
 

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freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Hmmm. To me, these seem like three different monsters.

Anyway, you're right on the size, and I think the ability scores seem reasonable for animal version. I say we just leave them as-is and tweak later if necessary. As for attacks, the original seems to list the spin attacks, but the text makes them sound more passive. I'm thinking about going with the ram that's already there or maybe a weak bite plus a Spiny Defense kind of ability. What do you say?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
The original Blackmoor version could drain energy levels - it was literally a vampire. I'll edit this post to include the relevant text, but it's on my main computer and I don't want to access it at the moment because of an inconveniently positioned cat.


Here's the Blackmoor version. This is the oldest extant version of the monster:


Pungi Ray
MONSTER#OF ATTACKSDAMAGE PER ATTACK
Pungi Ray1 spine per sq. ft.1-4/spec. poison
Monsters & Treasure

#Armor MoveDice%LairTreasure
Pungi Ray1-4666gems
PUNGI RAY: Often mistaken as a piece of low weed or sea grass on the bottom, the Pungi Ray is deadly. Each of the seemingly innocent green stalks is really an iron hard spike full of deadly nerve poison. Their protective coloration is excellent (treat as invisible outside 10’). There is a 50% chance that there will be 1-10 gems inside the carcass. Each square foot of a body that lands on a ray will suffer a separate poison attack. (Ex. — walking on one would be two attacks — one for each foot. Landing on one would be 20-30 attacks.) Treat the spines as poisoned daggers (if saving throw vs. poison is made, still suffer dagger damage.) If the ray is able to cover the victim, treat it like a Giant Leech.

Originally appeared in Supplement II: Blackmoor (1975).


You may be wondering why I said the above indicates this Pungi Ray drains energy levels. The answer's in the last line - "If the ray is able to cover the victim, treat it like a Giant Leech".

In white box D&D, Giant Leeches drained energy levels, not hit points:


GIANT LEECH: Found in swamps and concealed underwater, they will attempt to attach themselves to any warmblooded creature that comes within one move (6"), causing the victim to lose one life level each turn that it remains attached.


The Giant Leech also debuted in Blackmoor, so you can probably blame Dave Arneson for the above.
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Hmmm. To me, these seem like three different monsters.

Well I'm thinking the "Vampire Pungi" could be treated as a variant to the standard Pungi - maybe a Magical Beast with a Con drain special attack?

There's a definite parallel with the Ixitxachitl, which is also a ray with a vampire variant. They also first appeared in Blackmoor too. Perhaps there's some mysterious connection?

The shapeshifting humanoid race referred to earlier are called Simorgyans, and only one of them is described as being able to turn into a Pungi Ray - most of them shift into sharks. Their conversion can wait I think.

Anyway, you're right on the size, and I think the ability scores seem reasonable for animal version. I say we just leave them as-is and tweak later if necessary. As for attacks, the original seems to list the spin attacks, but the text makes them sound more passive. I'm thinking about going with the ram that's already there or maybe a weak bite plus a Spiny Defense kind of ability. What do you say?

Yes, I was thinking that approach makes sense. Most of the differences are down to their special attacks and hiding ability.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
I'm kind of wondering if the "Vampire Pungi" could just be an underbar now, since Con damage/drain doesn't really require magic (see stirges). We could just say that some pungi rays (advanced to 6HD or more) have blood drain instead of poison. What do you think? It would be easier.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I'm kind of wondering if the "Vampire Pungi" could just be an underbar now, since Con damage/drain doesn't really require magic (see stirges). We could just say that some pungi rays (advanced to 6HD or more) have blood drain instead of poison. What do you think? It would be easier.

I'd prefer to make it an underbar, but Constitution drain seems an unusual form of attack damage for a mundane animal. How many creatures have it as an (Ex) power, and how many of those have "non-magical" monster types like Animal or Vermin?
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
A quick search of the Hypertext SRD turned up 5 monsters with Blood Drain as an ability. It's always (Ex) for those 5. The Dire Weasel is our Animal precedent.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
A quick search of the Hypertext SRD turned up 5 monsters with Blood Drain as an ability. It's always (Ex) for those 5. The Dire Weasel is our Animal precedent.

That's not the issue. Those forms of Blood Drain do Constitution Damage.

I'm talking Blood Drain that does Ability Drain, like the SRD Vampire's special attack. That is (Ex) but it's also an unnatural creature.

My main question is how many "mundane" Animals or Vermin have ability drain attacks? If there aren't many then the Vampire Pungi variant may work better as a Magical Beast.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Maybe we could deal with this better by checking what a 3.5e version of the giant leech looks like. That's in the ToH Revised according to Echohawk's index. I can try to remember to look that up tonight.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Maybe we could deal with this better by checking what a 3.5e version of the giant leech looks like. That's in the ToH Revised according to Echohawk's index. I can try to remember to look that up tonight.

The Tome of Horrors [revised] Giant Leech uses the Stirge's Blood Drain with the name swapped.

And I quote:

Blood Drain (Ex): A giant leech drains blood, dealing 1d4 points of Constitution damage in any round when it begins its turn attached to a victim. Once it has dealt 4 points of Constitution damage, it detaches and slithers off to digest the meal. If its victim dies before the giant leech’s appetite has been sated, the giant leech detaches and seeks a new target.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
In that case, I think the pungi in question should also have a stirge-like blood drain, especially since the authors of the ToH were the founders of our own Creature Catalog! ;)
 

Cleon

Adventurer
In that case, I think the pungi in question should also have a stirge-like blood drain, especially since the authors of the ToH were the founders of our own Creature Catalog! ;)

I'm still inclined to make it Con drain for the conversion.

The ToH Giant Leech is explicitly a conversion of the AD&D version - it quotes the 1st edition AD&D Monster Manual as its source. It's slower and does less damage than the original D&D Blackmoor version (Mv 3" vs 6", bite & drain 1-4 vs 2-12).

Also, the AD&D version's blood drain specifically causes hit point damage (just like the AD&D Stirge*), while the OD&D Giant Leech specifically drains "one life level each turn".

There seem to be enough differences between the two to consider the original 1974 version as being a different creature.

*Incidentally, the white-box Stirge drains hit points just like the AD&D Stirge and at the same rate.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
Hmmm, ok, I guess you've sold me on something more potent than Con damage. But "one life level" sounds more like energy drain than Con drain. What if we do that?

Anyway, if we agree it should be a separate critter rather than an underbar, should we finish the standard pungi ray first?
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Hmmm, ok, I guess you've sold me on something more potent than Con damage. But "one life level" sounds more like energy drain than Con drain. What if we do that?

Yes, the OD&D Giant Leech drained levels, but there are monsters that drained levels in earlier editions that do Con drain in 3E, like the Wraith.

As I believe I mentioned before, I was thinking of basing it on the Blood Drain special attack of the SRD Vampire which does Con damage.

Oh, and I guess we might as well go the whole hog and add the lethal disease OD&D leech/pungi ray inflicts when attached.

From Blackmoor
"causing the victim to lose one life level each turn that it remains attached. They can be removed by killing them, but the victim must get a cure disease spell as soon as possible, or die within a month."

Anyway, if we agree it should be a separate critter rather than an underbar, should we finish the standard pungi ray first?

Yes, that seems appropriate. We can call it a "Vampire Pungi Ray" or something.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
I kind of think that, since we're making a whole separate magical monster, I'd like to go whole hog and make it energy drain. But we can decide later. "Vampire Pungi Ray" will work.

Back to the normal one...
 

Cleon

Adventurer
I kind of think that, since we're making a whole separate magical monster, I'd like to go whole hog and make it energy drain. But we can decide later. "Vampire Pungi Ray" will work.

Back to the normal one...

That's fine by me.

Now where were we?

The current Pungi Ray Working Draft is basically just the SRD Manta Ray with some name changes.

Are there any changes we want to make to the basic stats?

Maybe increase the natural armour to +4 so (a) it's AC is 13 to be equivalent to the AD&D version's AC 7, and (b) it natural armour equals that of our Sea Bat conversion [which has +6 NA] if it's reduced to Large size.
 

freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
That would be fine with me. I don't feel a real need to change the basic ability scores any. On to the spines?
 


freyar

Extradimensional Explorer
From the original text, it seems they don't really attack actively --- they always flee when attacked themselves. I'd stick with the spines as a more passive hazard-like thing.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
From the original text, it seems they don't really attack actively --- they always flee when attacked themselves. I'd stick with the spines as a more passive hazard-like thing.

Yes, but it could be that a Pungi Ray could deliberately stab other creatures with their spines, but their instinct is to swim away from threats. It might even be they swim away so their poison spine encrusted backs are towards the threat.

The main reason I was wondering about allowing them a spines attack is there's a shapeshifting Simorgyan NPC in Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar sourcebook (1996) that can turn into a Pungi Ray, and being able to assume that form isn't of much use if she has to persuade her enemies to step on her to be able to injure them.
 

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