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Converting "generic setting" second edition monsters

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BOZ

Creature Cataloguer
This thread continues my idea of “cooperative conversions” started in this thread, converting a series of monsters from similar sources. For this thread, we will be focusing on monsters that first appeared in various AD&D 2nd Edition products.

What I will do is first post the creature’s original stats and flavor text. Then, I will post a basic outline of the things I think it needs, and then I will give you an opportunity to suggest stats and ideas on how powers and abilities should work. Then, I will add more to it and we will continue to discuss it until I feel it’s done and time to move on to the next. As we work on these creatures, they will be posted in this thread, and after 10 conversions are complete they will be added to the Creature Catalog. You may comment on monsters already finished, of course.

For this thread, I will only be concerned with monsters from “generic setting” products: boxed sets, hardcover books, accessories and modules not tied to any specific campaign setting. Monsters from specific settings such as Planescape, Greyhawk, and Forgotten Realms already have, or will have a thread of their own. Monsters from Dungeon and Dragon Magazines likewise have their own threads, as does the Monstrous Compendium series.

The following is a list of monsters from these 2nd Edition products that haven’t yet appeared in official WotC products, the Tome of Horrors, or the Creature Catalog. You may feel free to make suggestions, but ultimately I will pick what to convert and when. If I’m missing any monsters from this list or if any of these have appeared elsewhere already, feel free to inform me.


Legends & Lore – TSR 2108 (1990)
- American Indian Mythology
Big Head
Gahonga
Ohdowa
- Chinese Monsters
Neglected Spirit, Ancestral
Generals of the Animal Spirits
- Japanese Monsters
Tanuki
Hannya

Wizard’s Challenge – TSR 9359 (1992)
Spectral Wizard

Celts – TSR 9376 (1992)
Sidhe
Boobrie
Fachan
Phouka
Water Horse
Water Leaper

The Glory of Rome – TSR 9425 (1993)
Caladrius

Dragon Mountain – TSR 1089 (1993)
Brain Spider
Dwarven Undead
Gnasher
Kobold, Dragon Mountain
Noran
Rautym
Stone Snake
Suwyze

Chronomancer - TSR 9506 (1995)
Chronovoid
Temporal Dog
Temporal Glider
Temporal Stalker
Time Dimensionals
Vortex Spider

Shaman – TSR 9507 (1995)
Ancestors
Bloodspirit
Bogeyman, Greater
Bogeyman, Lesser
Fenette
Fetish Spirit
Ghost Pack
Great Spirit
Guardian Spirit
Hero Spirit
Nemesis Spirit
Rogue Hero
Sith
Spirits, Minor
Strigloi
Totem Spirit

Return to the Tomb of Horrors – TSR 1162 (1998)
Negative Energy Elemental
Negative Fundamental

Axe of the Dwarvish Lords – TSR 11347 (1999)
Aquatic Lernaean Hydra
Dwarf Crusher
Tomb Warden

Return to White Plume Mountain – TSR 11434 (1999)
Burning Golem
Crab Swarm
Elevated Ghoul
Leviathan
Mold Wyrm
Skin Puppet
 
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Knight Otu

First Post
BOZ said:
Wizard’s Challenge – TSR 9359 (1992)
Spectral Wizard
There is a spectral mage template in Magic of Faerûn. Not sure if it is related?

The Illithiad – TSR 9569 (1198)
Neothelid
Psionics Handbook and Expanded Psionics Handbook.

Return to the Tomb of Horrors – TSR 1162 (1998)
Moilian Zombie
Heard that one of the creatures in Libris Mortis is similar. Don't really know.

Return to White Plume Mountain – TSR 11434 (1999)
Leviathan
Different leviathan than the one in MM2?
 

HalWhitewyrm

First Post
BOZ said:
Celts – TSR 9376 (1992)
Fachan
Give me about a week more. I will be releasing Bardic Lore: The Fachan at RPGNow.com. It will include 3.5 stats for the fachan, as well as a fachan paragon class and a fully stated NPC ready to stomp on your PCs.

Here's a teaser of the illustrations for the PDF. Click on it to see a larger pic:


Check out our website for more info: www.HighmoonMedia.com.
 

BOZ

Creature Cataloguer
This creature will be the first one for this thread, as I promised to do it – what, like almost a year ago? Well, it’s long overdue regardless.

OK, first thing’s first, we need to decide on the creature type. Is this thing, as a “semi-undead” really an Undead, or should it be an Aberration?


APODALYPSE

Progeny
CLIMATE/TERRAIN: Any
FREQUENCY: Very Rare
ORGANIZATION: Cluster
ACTIVITY CYCLE: Night, Dark
DIET: Carnivore
INTELLIGENCE: Non- (0)
TREASURE: Nil
ALIGNMENT: Neutral Evil
NO. APPEARING: 1d4
ARMOR CLASS: 6
MOVEMENT: 9, Sw 12
HIT DICE: 3+3
THACO: 17
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1d4+2
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Subsume
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Magical weapons to harm
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Nil
SIZE: S (2' long)
MORALE: Fearless (20)
XP VALUE: 650

Apodalypse
CLIMATE/TERRAIN: Marine
FREQUENCY: Unique
ORGANIZATION: Solitary
ACTIVITY CYCLE: Any
DIET: Carnivore
INTELLIGENCE: Low (5-7)
TREASURE: E, R
ALIGNMENT: Neutral Evil
NO. APPEARING: 1
ARMOR CLASS: 0
MOVEMENT: Sw 9
HIT DICE: 13
THACO: 7
NO. OF ATTACKS: 5
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 4d6/1d8 (x4)
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Swallow
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Magical weapons to harm
MAGIC RESISTANCE: 35%
SIZE: H (30' d.)
MORALE: Fearless (20)
XP VALUE: 5,000

The apodalypse is the fruit of a misguided experiment gone horribly wrong. The combination of necromantically animated shark tissue implanted in still living humans birthed an aquatic monstrosity that requires the flesh of living creatures to retain its form and "life." The progeny are the half-living offspring of the apodalypse.

Progeny normally hang in tight coils of squamous flesh that look like wasp nests formed by a single coiled snake. When unfurled, progeny generally reach 2 feet in length, resembling eyeless serpents with sharklike mouths filled with row after row of sharp teeth.

Combat: Progeny can remain in their dormant, hanging state for years, perhaps even centuries. However, when disturbed by living humanoids, they attack. Progeny prefer to drop onto unsuspecting victims from above, but once active, their coiled lengths can propel them up to 20 feet through the air (they can swim through water) to deliver a vicious bite once per round.

On a successful bite attack, progeny hang on and begin to burrow into the victim toward the spinal column automatically inflicting 1d4+2 hit points per round. If left unmolested, burrowing progeny reach their goal within 1d4+2 rounds, whereupon the insipid creatures automatically paralyze their hosts. This allows a progeny to begin the process of subsumption; it attempts to digest and then replace both the spinal column and lower brain stem of a victim. The process of subsumption requires 6 full rounds and inflicts 2d4+2 hit points per round upon the victim.

Since the progeny are partially undead, they are affected by clerical Turning (as ghasts). During an attack or while burrowing, successful Turning only causes a progeny to freeze up for one round, after which it continues to attack or burrow. Progeny which are successfully Turned while subsuming a victim's spinal column are permanently destroyed. Applying a burning torch (or applying something similarly harmful) to a burrowing progeny inflicts 1d6 hit points per round on both it and its victim, but better a few burns than to allow the progeny to complete its activities.

As semi-undead, progeny are damaged only by +1 or better weapons and are unaffected by sleep, charm, hold or cold-based spells. In addition, they cannot be harmed by poisons or paralyzation attacks.

Ecology: If subsumption is successful, the victim is irrevocably lost, and the progeny takes possession of the still-living husk. If allowed the time to slowly incorporate the recently acquired flesh, it transforms itself (over a month's time) into an apodalypse with minimum hit points.

APODALYPSE
This nightmare creature has a fluid shape consisting of the stolen flesh of the many organisms that go to make up its body. The skin of humanoids with screaming faces and flailing arms contrast with fish scales, octopoidal tentacles, and manta wings. The only constant in the patchwork whole that makes up an apodalypse is its massive sharklike maw. The entire creature measures 30 feet in diameter.

Combat: This creature attacks mainly with its savage bite, delivering an awesome 4d6 hit points of damage. What's worse, if the apodalypse's attack succeeds by 4 or more over the minimum number needed to hit, the victim has been swallowed whole! Those who are swallowed must roll a successful saving throw vs. death magic or be instantly killed. Those who succeed are still trapped inside the creature and must roll this saving throw again the following round, and every thereafter, until they fail a roll or are extracted from the beast. The only way to extract a character swallowed by the apodalypse is to destroy the creature. Dead characters inside the beast have their still-living flesh cannibalized and incorporated into the body of the apodalypse (see ecology).

Every time an apodalypse successfully incorporates a swallowed creature into itself, the remaining hit points of the victim are immediately transferred to that of the apodalypse – up to 150% of the monster's maximum.

The creature has four secondary attacks from the various limbs, claws, fins, and mouths of its stolen mishmash of a body. The creature is large enough to bite one foe and direct its subsidiary attacks against two additional prey.

Apodalypses are Turned as ghasts, but a successful Turning attempt merely paralyzes them for one round. They are damaged only by +1 or better weapons, and they are unaffected by sleep, charm, hold or cold-based spells. In addition, they cannot be harmed by poisons or paralyzation attacks. Finally, they possess an inherent 35% magical resistance.

Ecology: The unholy tome titled The Nekton Fragments bears the formulae and recipes responsible for creating this creature with an undead "core" that is sheathed in a husk of still-living flesh. Because of the dichotomy between life and unlife, the living portions of the creature are constantly disintegrating and falling away; it is necessary for the apodalypse to renew its form on a regular basis. It remains unmoving for days at a time, conserving its stolen flesh for as long as possible before it is forced to acquire additional material to maintain itself. Every creature it swallows is digested in such away that the flesh temporarily remains faintly living, even though incorporated into the body of the beast. In times of plenty, the apodalypse releases a clutch (1d6) of progeny, each of which has the potential to become a full fledged apodalypse.
 

BOZ

Creature Cataloguer
Knight Otu said:
There is a spectral mage template in Magic of Faerûn. Not sure if it is related?
me either. :)

Psionics Handbook and Expanded Psionics Handbook.
right. :) i suspected as much, but was not sure.

Heard that one of the creatures in Libris Mortis is similar. Don't really know.
could someone confirm that for me?

Different leviathan than the one in MM2?
absolutely no idea.
 


Alzrius

The EN World kitten
BOZ said:
could someone confirm that for me?
The Bleakborn entry in Libris Mortis is the Moilian Zombie. It even says in the entry that Bleakborn are also referred to as "Moil zombies".
 
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Alzrius

The EN World kitten
BOZ said:
OK, first thing’s first, we need to decide on the creature type. Is this thing, as a “semi-undead” really an Undead, or should it be an Aberration?
My advice is to treat the apodalypse using the half-undead features from Dragon #313. While the four half-undead presented there were specific templates, I think the sidebar that listed the half-undead traits might be the way to go. Using that, it has a collection of special qualities, but remains essentially living...hence, an Aberration.
 
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Shade

Monster Junkie
I'd recommend going with aberration, and giving it some undead traits as a special quality (similar to how many creatures have ooze traits even though they aren't oozes).
 

BOZ

Creature Cataloguer
Knight Otu said:
Sounds more like an Undead to me. If there were Undead (Living), it would be a perfect fit.
heh, if only… I was also considering Deathless, but I’m not sure if that’s OGC or even appropriate here.

Alzrius said:
The Bleakborn entry in Libris Mortis is the Moilian Zombie. It even says in the entry that Bleakborn are also referred to as "Moil zombies".
good enough for me. Does that also include the Moilian Heart?

Alzrius said:
My advice is to treat the apodalypse using the half-undead features from Dragon #313. While the four half-undead presented there were specific templates, I think the sidebar that listed the half-undead traits might be the way to go. Using that, it has a collection of special qualities, but remains essentially living...hence, an Aberration.
I don’t have that one (or at least not handy); could someone post the pertinent information? :)
 

Filby

First Post
Oh, huzzah! The conversions begin again!!!

I'm for making them aberrations with half-undead traits from Dragon #313. For ease of reference, if that's what you'd like to do...


Call of Undeath (Ex): There is a 3% chance per Hit Die that, upon a half-undead's death, it will rise as a full undead creature of its undead progenitor's kind. (I think this would be left out as they're not created by an undead creature.)
Darkvision (Ex): A half-undead gains darkvision with a range of 60 feet. If the base creature already had darkvision, use the greater range. (Yep, aberration traits already give it darkvision 60 ft.)
Detection (Ex): Half-undead register as undead creatures for the purposes of spells and effects that detect undead (such as detect undead). A half-undead counts as half its HD for the purposes of aura strength.
Fortification (Ex): When a critical hit or sneak attack is scored on the half-undead, there is a 50% chance that the critical hit or sneak attack is negated, and damage is instead rolled normally. If a half-undead wears magic armor with any form of fortification quality, use the better percentage value.
Immunity to Energy Drain (Ex): A half-undead is immune to energy drain attacks.
Necrotic Life (Ex): Even on a failed save, a half-undead suffers only half damage from spells or effects that deal hit point damage due to negative energy, such as inflict spells, and with a successful save, a half-undead suffers no damage.
Slow Aging (Ex): Upon reaching maturity, a half-undead ages at one-fourth of the base creature's normal rate. (We wouldn't need to note this.)
Turn Kind (Ex): A half-undead cleric gains a +2 bonus on checks made to turn, rebuke, command, or bolster undead creatures of its ancestral kind. (Once again, they have no ancestral kind, so there's no need to point this out.)
Vulnerability to Holy Water (Ex): Holy water scalds the flesh of a half-undead, dealing 1d4 points of damage per direct hit with a flask.
Vulnerability to Turning (Ex): Any turning attempt targeting the half-undead that would turn or rebuke an undead of the half-undead's HD imposes a -4 penalty on the half-undead's attacks, saves, skill checks, and ability checks. This effect lasts for 10 rounds or until the creature that turned or rebuked the half-undead attacks the half-undead. A turn attempt that would destroy or command an undead of equivalent Hit Dice instead stuns a half-undead for 2d4 rounds.
Saves: A half-undead creature gains a +2 racial bonus on saves against fear, poison, disease, paralysis, and spells from the necromancy school.
 
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BOZ

Creature Cataloguer
hehe :) i'll keep that in mind, but remind me later all the same. ;)

As posted by filby, I’m keeping these parts as-is (with some slight alterations):
Undead Aura (Ex): An apodalypse registers as an undead creature for the purposes of spells and effects that detect undead (such as detect undead). An apodalypse counts as half its HD for the purposes of aura strength.
Fortification (Ex): When a critical hit or sneak attack is scored on an apodalypse, there is a 50% chance that the critical hit or sneak attack is negated, and damage is instead rolled normally.
Necrotic Life (Ex): Even on a failed save, an apodalypse suffers only half damage from spells or effects that deal hit point damage due to negative energy, such as inflict spells, and with a successful save, a apodalypse suffers no damage.
Vulnerability to Holy Water (Ex): Holy water scalds the flesh of an apodalypse, dealing 1d4 points of damage per direct hit with a flask.

Some things to change:
For the turning, it is listed that both apodalypse and progeny are “paralyzed” or “frozen” for one round when turned. Let’s rework that a bit like this:
Vulnerability to Turning (Ex): Any turning attempt targeting an apodalypse that would turn or rebuke an undead of the apodalypse's HD dazes the apodalypse for 1 round. A turn attempt that would destroy or command an undead of equivalent Hit Dice instead stuns an apodalypse for 2d4 rounds.

The apodalypse is listed as immune to sleep, charm, hold, cold, poison, and paralyzation. I would nix the immunity to energy drain, and replace it with this:
Unliving Immunities (Ex): An apodalypse is immune to mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects), poison, sleep effects, paralysis, disease, and death effects. An apodalypse is not subject to ability drain or energy drain. An apodalypse is immune to damage to its physical ability scores (Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution), as well as to fatigue and exhaustion effects.

I could probably add more on to those immunities, but I figure that is enough for now. :D

and here are a couple stat blocks to start 'er off:

Apodalypse, Progeny
Small Aberration (Aquatic)
Hit Dice: 3d8+X (X hp)
Initiative: +X
Speed: 20 ft (4 squares), swim 30 ft
Armor Class: 14 (+1 size, +X Dex, +X natural), touch X, flat-footed X
Base Attack/Grapple: +2/+X
Attack: Bite +X melee (1d4+X)
Full Attack: Bite +X melee (1d4+X)
Space/Reach: 5 ft/5 ft
Special Attacks: subsume
Special Qualities: damage reduction X/magic?, darkvision 60 ft
Saves: Fort +X Ref +X Will +X
Abilities: Str (14+?), Dex X, Con (12+), Int (0 or 1?), Wis X, Cha X
Skills: X
Feats: X

Environment: Any land and underground
Organization: Cluster (1-4)
Challenge Rating: X
Treasure: None
Alignment: Always neutral evil
Advancement: 4-6 HD (Small)
Level Adjustment: ---


An apodalypse progeny is about 2 feet long and weighs X pounds.

COMBAT


Apodalypse
Huge Aberration (Aquatic)
Hit Dice: 13d8+X (X hp)
Initiative: +X
Speed: Swim 20 ft (4 squares)
Armor Class: 20 (-2 size, +X Dex, +X natural), touch X, flat-footed X
Base Attack/Grapple: +9/+X
Attack: Bite +X melee (4d6+X)
Full Attack: Bite +X melee (4d6+X) and 4 extra limbs +X melee (1d8+X)
Space/Reach: 15 ft/10 ft
Special Attacks: swallow, extra limbs
Special Qualities: damage reduction X/magic?, darkvision 60 ft, spell resistance (18+)
Saves: Fort +X Ref +X Will +X
Abilities: Str X, Dex X, Con X, Int (6?), Wis X, Cha X
Skills: X
Feats: 5

Environment: Any aquatic and underground
Organization: Solitary or clutch (1 apodalypse plus 1-6 progeny)
Challenge Rating: X
Treasure: Double standard?
Alignment: Always neutral evil
Advancement: 14-26 HD (Huge); 27-39 HD (Gargantuan)
Level Adjustment: ---


An apodalypse is about 30 feet in diameter and weighs X pounds.

COMBAT
 

Hashmalum

First Post
BOZ said:
Return to the Tomb of Horrors – TSR 1162 (1998)
Moilian Heart
Moilian Zombie
Negative Energy Elemental
Negative Fundamental
Vestige
The Vestige is also in Libris Mortis.
 


Knight Otu

First Post
I'd guess that Swallow should become Improved Grab, Swallow Whole and a (Energy Drain)-like ability, a la the nightcrawler nightshade.
 

BOZ

Creature Cataloguer
Quite correct. I’d say the damage section should be removed from the swallow whole though, as since this creature does not digest in any normal sort of way. Also, the text states that the only way to get out is to destroy the apodalypse – should we use that or keep the standard “cut through the stomach with a light weapon” routine?

Another thing would be to make it more like the tendriculous’ swallow attack, and keep the energy draining part within the swallow whole.

Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, an apodalypse must hit with its bite attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold and can try to swallow the foe the following round.

Swallow Whole (Ex): An apodalypse can try to swallow a grabbed opponent of Large or smaller size by making a successful grapple check. The swallowed creature (is drained). (A swallowed creature can cut its way out by using a light slashing or piercing weapon to deal X points of damage to the apodalypse’s gut (AC X). Once the creature exits, muscular action closes the hole; another swallowed opponent must cut its own way out.)
An apodalypse’s interior can hold 2 Large, 8 Medium, 32 Small, 128 Tiny, or 512 Diminutive or smaller opponents.


As for the draining effect, we could go with either of these options, depending on what works the best:

Living creatures inside an apodalypse’s interior gain X negative level(s) each round. The DC is X for the Fortitude save to remove a negative level. The save DC is (Charisma)-based. For each such negative level bestowed, the apodalypse gains X temporary hit points.

Once inside the apodalypse’s mass, the opponent must succeed on a DC X Fortitude save or die immediately. A new save is required each round inside the monster. This is a death effect. The save DC is (Charisma?)-based. The apodalypse gains 1 temporary hit point for every hit point the victim had when it died, but it cannot have more hit points than one and a half times its normal maximum.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
BOZ said:
good enough for me. Does that also include the Moilian Heart?
Actually, no. That creature wasn't in the book.

Hashmalum said:
The Vestige is also in Libris Mortis.
Yep. It's under the "Dream Vestige" entry. It even notes that the Vestige from RttToH was the original one.
 
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Shade

Monster Junkie
BOZ said:
Quite correct. I’d say the damage section should be removed from the swallow whole though, as since this creature does not digest in any normal sort of way. Also, the text states that the only way to get out is to destroy the apodalypse – should we use that or keep the standard “cut through the stomach with a light weapon” routine?
There is precedent for "deal enough damage to kill the creature" to escape.

BOZ said:
As for the draining effect, we could go with either of these options, depending on what works the best:

Living creatures inside an apodalypse’s interior gain X negative level(s) each round. The DC is X for the Fortitude save to remove a negative level. The save DC is (Charisma)-based. For each such negative level bestowed, the apodalypse gains X temporary hit points.

Once inside the apodalypse’s mass, the opponent must succeed on a DC X Fortitude save or die immediately. A new save is required each round inside the monster. This is a death effect. The save DC is (Charisma?)-based. The apodalypse gains 1 temporary hit point for every hit point the victim had when it died, but it cannot have more hit points than one and a half times its normal maximum.
I prefer the former.
 

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