Wednesday, March 25, 2020

2020 - The Year of Blackmoor - 50th Anniversary - Day Eighty-Five

Celebrating 2020 - The Year of Blackmoor - 50th Anniversary of Blackmoor and of Role-Playing!

Today is Part 30 of my series of looks at OD&D starting with Monsters & Treasure Volume 2.

**For those coming in, in the middle of this series I am giving you my take on OD&D during my first exposure starting in Sept of 1975. For this first part it is just the first three books of the original woodgrain box set and prior to obtaining the Greyhawk, Blackmoor and later Supplements.**

So on with the monsters:
HOBGOBLINS: These monsters are large and fearless Goblins, having +1 morale. The Hobgoblin king will fight as an Ogre, as will his bodyguard of from 2–4 in number.
As I noted anywhere from 10-20% of all monsters will have greater than normal hit dice and in general I run monsters with variable hit dice and they are not cookie cutter creatures. They have personalities and their own agendas. Most monsters will not blindly fight to the death, unless there is a really good reason to do so. 

In the game reputation matters. What goes around, comes around. And remember monsters are mostly neutral or chaotic and some are lawful. They are not all evil all the time. They are like humans in that regard, some good and some evil, regardless of alignment. That is part of the reason that I do not give XP for killing most things IMC. 
GNOLLS: A cross between Gnomes and Trolls (. . . perhaps, Lord Dunsany did not really make it all that clear) with +2 morale. Otherwise they are similar to Hobgoblins, although the Gnoll king and his bodyguard of from 1–4 will fight as Trolls but lack regenerative power.
Interestingly in the 5th print "Lord Dunsany" is changed to "Lord Sunsany" and that error is retained even in the 2013 Edition. Likely this is because no one involved in the 2013 reprint ever heard of Lord Dunsany. 

My Gnolls are not dog/hyena faced as back in 1975 there was nothing to give me that impression. So I have never changed them. I also back in the day gave them regeneration but slower than trolls.
OGRES: These large and fearsome monsters range from 7 to 10 feet in height, and due to their size will score 1 die +2 (3–8) points of hits when they hit. When encountered outside their lair they will carry from 100 to 600 Gold Pieces each.
My ogres were very muscular and extremely strong. They typically used clubs as their weapon of choice. These clubs were the length of a two-handed sword and much heavier. If they rolled a natural 20 on an attack, they rolled again. Like most monsters they go the same thing that humans did a second natural 20 was a kill. Also on a 17-19 on the second roll they did double damage.
TROLLS: Thin and rubbery, loathsome Trolls are able to regenerate, so that beginning the third melee round after one is hit it will begin to repair itself. Regeneration is at the rate of 3 hit points per turn. Even totally sundered Trolls will regenerate eventually, so that unless they are burned or immersed in acid they will resume combat when they have regenerated to 6 or more hit points. In strength they are about equal to an Ogre, but as they use only their talons and fangs for weapons, only one die of damage is scored when they hit an opponent.
My trolls were thin if they were starving, if they were well fed they were muscular, not like ogres, but muscular. I changed the regeneration to 1 hit point per melee round starting the round after they first took damage. So 10 hit points per turn instead of 3 hit points per turn. If you cut a troll into 10 pieces, those pieces will regenerate into 10 trolls. The smallest pieces do not regenerate, but no one is sure how small is too small, so it is best to completely destroy every bit of a troll you can find when the fight is over. Trolls get a minimum of three attacks per round, claw, claw and bite. Trolls are very strong, very fast and very quick.

Trolls come in many, many varieties, mountain trolls had fur that blended right into the rocks and boulders. We started with the green and purple trolls and then as time went by, their color matched where they lived. Oh and my trolls were mindless eating machines, always starving and no alignment. If two giants grabbed a troll and stretched it, a troll could be pulled like taffy.

I have always run trolls from then until now as getting bigger the older they get, as they are immortal unless destroyed. That is they do not age, but constantly regenerate.
GIANTS: As stated in CHAINMAIL, Giants act as mobile light catapults with a 20’ range. Due to their huge weapons all Giants will score two dice of damage when hitting an opponent. Wandering Giants will carry from 1,000 to 6,000 Gold Pieces with them in their usual copious shoulder sack. 
The gold that Giants have with them is gold they obtained during a raid on someone or something else.
Note that there can be many types of Giants including the following:

As you can see from the table the larger giants throw as a heavy catapult. And the damage goes up per giant type. Giants also use clubs and spears and sometimes monstrous swords. Sometimes they may have armor and even shields. The intelligence of giants varies much as it does among men. Giants are largely neutral, but sometimes you may encounter a Lawful or Chaotic Giant.

Boulders are rocks that are 10 inches in Diameter or larger. Sandstone weighs about 150 pounds per cubic foot and Limestone or Granite weighs about 175 pounds per cubic foot. Giants will typically select boulders ranging from 150 pounds to 200 pounds depending on the type of Giant.
Hill Giants are the most common (60%) while the others are seldom encountered (10% each type, total 40%). Those Giants who abide in castles sometimes have additional guards. There is a 50% chance that some other monster will be there: die 1–4 = a Hydra of from 5–10 heads; die 5 or 6 is either from 6–36 wolves or from 3–18 bears.
I changed this to: There will also be 6-10 ogres plus there is a 75% chance that some other monster will be there: die 1-2 = 4-24 Cave Lions, die 3-4 = 6-36 Dire Wolves and die 5-6 = 3-18 Cave Bears.

And tomorrow we will continue on with our look at the original set of monsters in OD&D.

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