Tuesday 31 July 2012

When Your Party Teleports

The intrepid Band of Iron ought to be wearing their knees ragged and knocking their foreheads blue, thanking the hell out of Mr. Tony Dowler for his gonzo foresight in designing the Purple Worm Graveyard (spoilers follow).

Another expedition into the great worm roads beneath the earth hit what they were looking for ... the cavernous Graveyard, carpeted with a fortune in purple worm teeth, illuminated by a hole in the ceiling. Fortunately, this came at a time when one worm-guard was distracted picking at a purple worm carcass and two were behind an illusionary wall (I rolled d6 3 times which put them in those locations, possibly the best ones possible for the party's sneaking advance.)

What a worm guard looks like, by Ilvj. Wish I still had the mini.

In the ensuing rumble, the party quickly realized it would not be a good thing at all if the guards were to reach the bronze gong, etched with wormsigns, atop the stepped dais. An unearthly metallic humming, growing louder, emanated from the going, reinforcing their anxieties. This led to some tense tactical moments as various worms, seeing themselves outmatched, made a dash for the gong.

Eventually, the worms were dispatched and the party fell to looting the piles of tusks. But the noise had attracted attention from topside and soon a fully armored knight, riding a great metallic butterfly and wielding one of the Fire Lances of the Ancient Hyperzephyrians, dropped through the hole. This combatant, which by report lived in the towers of the town Parmentell, confirmed the party's suspicion - the Graveyard actually lay right beneath the tight-fisted and evasive settlement itself, rather than somewhere in the hinterlands, as the town elders had wished it to be believed. Running from the fearsome 3d6 blasts of the lance, the party ducked into a spiraling tunnel that led upwards and upwards ... apparently another worm trail.

Going far enough up, they had a confrontation with Parmentell's town guards that went well at first, then poorly, and ran into the "dungeon" area of the Purple Worm Graveyard. Avoiding several dangerous-looking rooms, they found a secret door, and behind it ... a magical window offering a one-way trip to a peaceful meadow in "a far-away kingdom."

This is a perfect example of what I was saying about improvisation. Had I invented that window on the fly or even planned the dungeon that way, it would have stuck out like a candy-assed deus ex machina. But, being the unassailable writ of a published module, the players were overjoyed to see it as the enormous gift of providence that it was. After casting a fortuitous detection spell that gave them confidence that they'd at least heard of the place, without hesitation they leapt through.

In the noble tradition of Castle Greyhawk, I now have to deal with a party getting dropped into a completely unprepared area hundreds of miles from home. Fortunately, for now I have scraped up enough stuff from the internet and my own fervid imagination to tide over the next session. I look forward to sharing some of the process and product on a future occasion.

Teleportation is a common enough device that I'm sure other referees out there have dealt with this situation before. I wonder, though, if anyone else has felt the exhilaration among both game runner and players, of casting aside the tired and entangled old adventure setting and embarking into a new, strange and maybe perilous world ...

Sunday 29 July 2012

Shooting Arrows and Breaking Flasks

And now, some more house rules from my slowly-accumulating 52 Pages. 

The rules for missile combat have evolved since the days of the Assayer's Guild; I'm particularly satisfied with rolling to miss intervening figures and carrying through after a miss.

The grenade-like missile rules link up with the breakage rules to make flaming oil and the like much harder to use than is typically allowed for in the Molotov hobo tradition of Advanced and Basic D&D play. I'm in the Delta camp that way, but even more harsh when it comes to realistic breakage. Will a bottle of wine really shatter when it's thrown against a furry owlbear or unarmored wizard? If the flask you're using is that fragile, it will also need to check for breakage constantly; if you so much as fall down in melee, or bump against a wall. 

The direct-hit burning grenade is a fantasy, even if you allow (as I do) a higher-octane, expensive, volatile alchemical "greek fire" to be bought. Far more likely is that it hits the target, drops to the ground, maybe breaks there, and then gets lit by the wick. Far more foolproof is the use of burning oil actually allowed for in OD&D, to create an instant barrier deterring pursuit. In some ways, too, it's more "old school" to run from fearsome foes than to flambe them. 

Saturday 28 July 2012

By Zagyg's Beard, Let's Do This!

Xounds! As from a sorcerous fogbank I have woken up and realized that school's out for the summer, the other group that was exploring it is terminally moribund, so there is no reason why I should not gather up my fairly detailed notes and map for CELLARS OF THE CASTLE RUINS, pdf it and release it upon an Old School Rumbelow seemingly producing core systems faster than it can produce sprawling gonzo megadungeon levels.
Do these three stairways look familiar?
This is the level that takes the place of that one other level of the impossible-to-get adventure supplement that finally started in on The Big Kahuna's Big Kahuna Dungeon, and that hooks up with the second level of Joe Bloch's megadungeon that finished off the Big Kahuna's unfinished business. After two years and over a dozen incursions from four separate teams of delvers, this 119-room low-level mooncalf may well be ready for prime time.

4 entry ramps
1 mysterious tavern
1 excruciating puzzle room (nearly solved at one point)
1 secret library, with bad-ass librarian
4 competing and radically different kobold tribes
1 philosopher yeti
2 trash disposals
1 massive cave-in
3 wells
2 inscrutable games-within-a-game
6 stairways down
1 stairway up

I've started layout in Publisher, and have decided on a format where each one-or-two page spread of room descriptions contains a map inset of those rooms, next to which is a key to the monster stats as given by AD&D. That's not my preferred system, but it's compatible with Mr. Bloch's opus, and I actually use the stats from Kellri's AD&D monster reference in my own more Basic/Labyrinth Lord-like game, only dialing down some of the multiple attacks (for example, one instead of two claw attacks from most animals).

To respect and not undercut the efforts of others I'll be releasing it as contribution-ware. All proceeds will be farmed directly back into the DIY roleplaying movement.

Friday 27 July 2012

Gonks and Cronks

The De Wolfe production library has supplied royalty-free stock music to such illustrious shoestring auteurs as Terry Gilliam and George A. Romero. De Wolfe's memorable mall-music tune from the 1978 Dawn of the Dead, "The Gonk," had me wondering about the title, and sent me on a trip back to 1965.

Gonks, apparently, were novelty doll-toys of a generally round shape with a fused head-body and assorted limbs. Almost forgotten now, they inspired an early British rock film ...

and, perhaps, one of my favorite monsters from the gonzo SPI mini-universe surrounding the Swords and Sorcery, Citadel of Blood and Deathmaze games: The Cronk.

This counter from Citadel of Blood shows a furry, two-footed, hassock-like creature with middling hit dice (1+1) and a decent attack value (4). (How these armless wonders can field archers, spearmen and cavalry in the Swords and Sorcery wargame is something I don't quite get ...)

The rules also tell you that "Cronks have a stench that may sicken a character." So, the troglodyte niche, but so very much cooler.


HD: 1+1
AC: 7[12]
MV: 60'
Attack: 1d6 bite
Special: stench

Cronks are foul, furry creatures that live in abandoned tunnels, dank swamps, and dark woods. Where prey is small, they exist in groups of two to five, but larger mobs are known to assemble where large creatures can be brought down. They have a malicious intelligence that cannot be put to full use because they lack hands. Nevertheless, their fanged bite is a nasty weapon. Also, they have a stench that may sicken others; any character who comes within a 10' radius of a cronk for the first time that day must save (Poison/ Fortitude/ Body/ CON) or be incapacitated retching for one combat round, and -2 to hit for 3 rounds after that.

This jolly character from Citadel of Blood was "Raman Cronkevitch" ...a demi-cronk. Yeah, why don't you let that one sink in for a while.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

How and Why I Shock

After the somewhat abstract discussion of shock and horror in games and other media, I thought I would give a few examples of how and why I've used elements of sexuality and the abnormal body in play.

1. The Unfortunate Troglodyte. Some players in my Castle of the Mad Archmage cellar level have come across a chained, pathetic troglodyte with a raw wound between its legs. This sight had more power to shock than I thought it would. The players in question were left disturbed by this seemingly senseless castration.

In fact, the surgery was more of a pragmatic move on the part of some kobolds, who wanted to remove its defensive stench glands and at the same time gain a chemical weapon, glands in a bag.

The point I wanted to make: It's a tough, nasty, competitive world; especially when it comes to this one kobold tribe.

The point my players took away: It's a pointlessly violent, sexually threatening world. Was that a success?

2. Grind Your Bones To Make My Bread. As blogged a long while ago, my first recent campaign kicked off with a horrific plot involving a body-grinding millwheel, whose demonic bone fertilizer created bumper crops. The horror involved evidence of a kidnapped lumberjack, and many others, having fallen victim to the wheel, as well as a number of flaccid half-vegetable Lovecraftian things in the cellars below.

The point I wanted to make: Semi-satire on medieval suspicion of technology and conflation with demons and magic.

The point my players took away: They were very wary and cautious with anything they found in that area, scared of things I'd just put in there as dungeon dressing. The idea of contagious, invisible evil established itself. I think that was a success, transporting the players to a demon-haunted world.

3. Feisty Fiona. An NPC in the current campaign, recurrent by grace of the crazy coincidence roll, is getting a reputation. After the appropriate carousing roll was made, she wound up sleeping with a PC, which I handled in a discreet, three-asterisks manner*. Later, she showed up in a different town with a young "bodyguard" in tow, and loud bangings and moanings were heard from the direction of their inn room.

The point I wanted to make: There are lively characters in this world, memorable and controversial.

The point my players took away: At least one of them was more scandalized by Fiona than I expected. I think they get the point, though.

* I must confess I lack the sexual charisma of an Ed Greenwood to be able to pull that kind of scene off any other way ...

To sum up, knowing the group is key to making these elements come off as intended. And even if they don't, that's not always a bad thing.

Sunday 22 July 2012

Today My Universe Killed A Kitten

R.I.P. the white kitten from the goblin room of Tomb of the Iron God. The elf Sivir carried this animal in her backpack for a month and a half of game time, somewhat implausibly - I never rolled a meow check when the party was hiding, ol' softie me.

As the party went exploring the cliffside of their current dungeon, seeking an alternate route to the tunnels below, they improbably came upon a second cave, the first one having been deemed empty. This cave, rolling for random room contents, I determined to contain a monster and treasure. The monster was a swarm of rats and the treasure was a sack with a few gold pieces.

After defeating the rats, Sivir decided to feed some of the dead ones to the kitten. Well, every one knows dungeon rats have a risk of carrying disease. This one did ... the kitten failed a save, and got sick ... the wood elf henchman tried to cure her, but failed ... the kitten failed another save later, and died. A brief service of burial was held outside the town walls.

Death from bad choices, so no regrets. And a memento mori the party scarcely needs, as the pressure slowly ratchets up in the campaign. How can I even begin to recap? High-level maneuvering among three power centers in the Durrin Hills Confederacy has delayed the consequences of the party's complicity in the partial destruction of the town of Goran's Anvil, via purple worm breach caused by a mysterious flute they unwisely granted to a priest of Ygg*.

But now, something's got a camp of Goranic warriors parked on the road south from the town of Parmentell and scouting the country north, which the party has been traversing to get to the dungeon. Lack of lantern oil is the main thing limiting their exploration of a network of spacious tunnels many miles long, revealed by digging through the clogging cast of a purple worm trail. Information from a panicked, hostile gnome miner leads them to believe that the tunnels lead eventually to the Purple Worm Graveyard, and treasure in crysknife-sharp ivory beyond reckoning ... but by the same token, to a rampaging, live purple worm variously described as "singing" and "piping."

Soon the moment of judgment will be at hand. Equilibrium will break, secrets will be revealed, and more than a kitten's life will be at stake!

*Ygg: with Crom, one of the two chief male gods of the North. What kind of stuff would Odin get up to in his quest for wisdom, if the universe contained Great Old Ones and Underdark realms? And what if the rivalry between him and Crom had a little bit of the rivalry between the Slavic gods Perun and Veles? You have a more sinister religion than our friends from the Church's lands perhaps realized. A bas-relief found in the dwarven shrine beyond the petrified purple worm's gullet shows Ygg whispering to a worm on his right and slaying a worm on his right. A vast worm - said to encircle the world - frames the depiction.

Saturday 21 July 2012

How and Why To Shock

We can extend last post's discussion from sex to extreme violence, sadism, body horror ... but keep the focus on how people react and what they think about the author who transgresses taboos in a game or fiction.

When any creator tries for shock value, in whatever kind of narrative - writing, game, TV, film - there are two kinds of how it is done.  One way is to contrast the taboo-breaking to a recognizable version of our normal reality. The other is to have it as a norm in the setting - a whole world gone horribly or gloriously mad. That is, you can either have a world where one family in the peaceful village is secretly cannibalistic demon-worshipers (isolated shock), or where the whole world is (pervasive shock).

A harder job is to figure out why it is done. Perhaps the creator's actual purpose is not so important as the effect it has on the audience. But second-guessing of the creator's motives is always going to go on, and cues in the work may push the audience one way or another. If we just discuss effects, we avoid the tricky problem of the author's intention - is it wish fulfillment? moralization? sheer desire to disturb? - and also confront the possibility that the work might have unintended effects on any given audience.

Effects of isolated shock include:

* Contrast. At the most basic artistic level, the shocking element provides the goal of an investigation or adventure. It gives a dramatic, attention-catching payoff of surprise. In an interactive medium, it can also give clarity to a muddled situation - this thing is clearly an abomination, it needs to go!

* Demonization. A point is taken about things linked to the abomination - sex is bad, drugs are bad, religion is bad. Sometimes, in slippery-slope logic, the greater evil is a stand-in for some lesser form of deviance like homosexuality, race (or racism), unbelief. Sympathies are with the normal community trying to root it out, and if they're oblivious, this just makes a more effective call to arms for the crusade.

* Hypocrisy-bashing. The take-home message here: apparently normal society shares essential traits with the abomination it's so horrified with, maybe to the point of being more monstrous than the monster. This can be done savagely, by making the monster-haters ugly and brutal, or gently, by emphasizing the humanity of the apparent monstrosity. A related theme is to satirize conformist efforts to keep up normal appearances and ignore the monstrous, as in Jaws and many other films.

When shock becomes pervasive, this can convey:

* Existential stress. A "world gone mad" has an artistic effect of unhinging the audience, creating an atmosphere of constant and pervasive threat to one's values and assumptions. Note the difference with contrast. There, the viewer and protagonists have a solid ground and safe space to retreat to, whereas here, both of them are marooned in an existentially hostile world where rules of sex, rules for bodies, rules for eating are profoundly and disturbingly different.

* Dystopia. Endemic wrongness is often taken as the bottom splashdown of the slippery slope, calling out an evil in the world not by isolating it, but by imagining it taken to the farthest extreme. "If you let men marry men, pretty soon, incest and bestiality will not only be acceptable but fashionable!" "The logical consequence of sexism is the owning of women as property!" A fairly standard character in dystopia (as in Brave New World or 1984) is the one character who for some reason is "old-fashioned" and stands in for the audience's sensibilities.

* Relativism. Just as isolated shock has culturally conformist and nonconformist interpretations, so does pervasive shock. The nonconformist version of dystopia leads to a questioning of the very basis of taboos we take for granted, through one of two means. Either the taboo-breakers are portrayed sympathetically ( for example, Donald Kingsbury's SF novel Courtship Rite depicts a harsh, protein-poor planet where cannibalism is normal and institutionalized), or the reader's society is contrasted against the transgressive one in an unflattering light ( for example, Piers Anthony's short story "In The Barn," where an explorer of alternate universes finds one in which humans, lobotomized from birth, are used for meat and milk, and reflects on what an explorer from another universe might think of our own treatment of animals.) 

Finally, there are two reactions which have been presumed in both of these genres of shock.

* Wish-fulfillment. Based on the assumption that each taboo covers a deep dark desire, one presumed intention or effect of portraying shocking things is the vicarious service of such desires, both in the author and the audience. Undoubtedly this is the case for some, but how much we really want to break taboos may be overstated. The possibility of wish-fulfillment, though, does make for some good hypocrisy-bashing and relativism aimed at the audience itself. Nobody who's seen Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds can escape its point that the Nazis cheering the imaginary violence at their film premiere are uncomfortably mirrored by the audience cheering the imaginary violence against the self-same Nazis.

* Desensitization. This is less of a goal for authors, than an unintended side-effect. The Technicolor gore of 1978's Dawn of the Dead now looks laughable and primitive; pornography has ritualized a certain kind of sex so much that the only way to shock people now is to present sexual bodies that are hairy, lumpy and ugly. Desensitization has been a concern of regulators and moralists for a long time, exemplified most tellingly in the strictures of the Comics Code of the mid-20th century, which required not just that evil be punished but that it not be depicted overly graphically. This assumes only thing keeping us away from committing vile sins ourselves is innate revulsion, which can be desensitized by repeated exposure, much as medical students get used to the feel of cadavers.

Well, that's quite a scheme there. I'll let that sit, and pick up again with the ways these categories can be applied to confrontations with the past.

Thursday 19 July 2012

Does Violence Make Sex OK For You?

A couple of things have me thinking recently about shock-value. The main one is my new-found awareness (via a thread on the RPG site that has since derailed into a piggy-pile of hate) of Ed Greenwood's now-infamous description of the sexual proclivities of his NPC, Alustriel. Which in turn fueled a piggy-pile of its own some years ago on ENworld.

So, what's behind the "creepy" and "icky" and "squicky" feelings that not very explicit descriptions of a super-powerful free-love wizard-queen and her perpetual elven hot-tub orgy conjure up in so many people?

Well, some of it surely is principled prudishness - "I don't want to see any kind of sexual depiction, ever." Some of it is a kind of horror-of-the-nerds - "You can have all the sex you want, but don't mix it with my gaming!"

But what if instead of a goodly queen and her consensual pleasure jacuzzi, you had descriptions of a cruel demon empress, genitally tortured male slaves, raped women forced to bear demon babies? Would you see the author of those scenes described as a "dirty old man"? Would he be accused of projecting his own sexual fantasies into the fiction?  Or would this stuff be considered kind of staid, traditional, in a game that started out with a naked chained female sacrifice on a cover? You tell me. 

Writers of that kind of "extreme" scenario may get called out on sexual politics, but they're also taking a more usual step than you might think in fantasy gaming. And it certainly avoids the cardinal sins of being uncool, and hippy-dippy, and happy-smiley. I mean, that Elfquest orgy - so embarrassing!

Again, you tell me. Do you give stuff that mingles sex with violence a free pass because it's edgy, bold, transgressive? Or, actually, because it's strangely traditional in the fantasy and horror genre? Or, also, because the motion-picture rating cliche is more true than you'd like to admit - violence is more OK by an order of magnitude than sex - to the point where violence can actually make sex more acceptable? Perhaps the real revolutionary is the one who cuts sex free from its pulp-fantasy whips and chains and altars.

Consider this. Some creators mix depictions of sex with violence because "that's the way it is, man."  Some, on a kneejerk level, because it's part of the genre. Some, no doubt, do it because that's what sexually excites them. Still others, to force a more existential kind of confrontation. But there have always been those who do it because on some level they think sex is bad, they think violence is bad, and the best way to reinforce the badness of sex is to mix it with violence and gross-outs. Like so:

All of this sets me up to write the next entry: How to shock, and why.

Monday 16 July 2012

The Mediocrity of Improvisation

As much as I've enjoyed improvising content in game sessions, I've come to see some drawbacks to the practice. In short, while improvised content can be wildly fun and creative, it usually also tends toward a middle ground of risk and reward. This can sap a campaign of its sense of danger, challenge and achievement.

Consider the extreme case - a campaign where the DM makes up everything on the spot, under the eyes of the players. Assuming the DM is in possession of a full complement of social skills and mirror neurons, he or she will constantly, unconsciously be self-interrogating about the experience the players are having. Are they having fun? Do they see this as fair? Does the world make sense?

As sole authority, there is a strong pull toward the middle ground - to mitigate challenges, to clip rewards. The lurking spectre in the background is that of the juvenile, "mad god" style of DMing, where party-killing traps and mind-numbing treasures are handed out, "just because." Avoiding this spectre, you veer towards the safe and average. Giving out nasty surprises or extraordinary treasure would just feel wrong.

Another factor: the limitations of your mental co-processor when coming up with stuff in real time. Several times I have looked back on a combat that was improvised and seen how the party's enemies could have made a better go of it. The worms could have started tunneling when coming under arrowshot; the tribesmen could have been smarter about their ambush, doing hit-and-run rather than hit-and-fight. I don't discount the possibility of an unconscious sympathy for the players that makes it hard for monsters to do their worst, unless countered with a devious playbook, either written down or mulled over aforethought.

Committing plans to writing is one way to overcome the mediocrity of improvisation. Extensive thought, too, on the structure of a lair, the plans of villains and monsters, the likely action behind the scenes, often pays off with great results. With time alone, thinking, it's easier to convince yourself that the best-laid plans of that goblin horde necessarily involves putting the players in a near-deathtrap situation. Which in turn led to one of the best, tensest sessions of the campaign, where only ingenuity and tactical sense spelled the difference between a narrow victory and a TPK.

Another way to cope is to submit responsibility to the rule of the dice - also requiring written material, but this time a comprehensive table of encounters, traps, or treasures. It was with such a great sense of relief, several weeks ago, that I finally came up with my own treasure table, a task I'd been resisting partly just out of incredulity that there wasn't one out there I could use. So much more satisfying to leave treasure up to the whims of the dice than to create this little gold-star token world where "oh yes, you're 4th level now, you should be getting a nice little +1 sword..."

In a way, these admissions are uncomfortable. One main justification for using a simple and level-based rule system is to make improvisation easier, right? But maybe the best thing is to see it the same way as improvisation in music - great material for a cadenza or a solo, but ultimately dry and flaky without support the rest of the concerto or the rhythm section's steady groove.

(This just out: Entirely by coincidence, noisms has posted some very nicely complementary thoughts on the inadequacy of a preparation-free environment.)

Sunday 15 July 2012


Once I stopped trying to fit the different monsters of the "Evil" category into terrain types, doing the encounter table became a lot easier. Roll d4 to find the row, or d6 if with a water feature, where 5 or 6 means you look up the appropriate water row.

Again, this is one of six categories that's placed into a higher-level encounter table at different frequencies depending on the nature of the area. Here are a couple of rows of the higher-order table to illustrate. 3 and 18 are special encounters, detailed elsewhere.

And, the new silhouettes, together with an update of the download file on the right.

I can hardly believe that I've done 5 out of 6 of these, although there is still some clean-up work to do on the whole project ... for example, special Natural and Savage tables for arctic and tropical regions, plus the full table system, explanations, notes on some of the civilized encounters and possibly silhouettes rather than the generic "settlement" symbol for those.

Tuesday 10 July 2012

The Decadent Vargouille

Doing a page full of evil monster silhouettes has me dipping into Decadent art. It took me a while to get the Eureka moment for the vargouille, but when it came, it was glorious.

Vargouille, chonchon, penanggal - call it what you will, there's a clear niche for the flying head monster in the box of horrors. Is the vargouille based on the Iroquois flying head monster legend? Probably no more so than the others, but it's clear that the idea is strong enough to resurface among many peoples and times.

The severed head is the seat of human identity, a decisive trophy, proof of death. The expressions and thoughts of the head after death have incited ghoulish folklore in societies with customs of decapitation. So, the unforgettable manga Lone Wolf and Cub has a scene where the samurai hero classifies the expression on a severed head, sent as proof of a disgraced retainer's seppuku. In France, the guillotine inspired researches into the head's ability to see, think and even speak while detached.

Not many people are fans of the implementation in AD&D's Monster Manual 2, with hit point drain as junior-league level drain. But the concept of the monster is strong, even with the beefed-up (if cliched) horror-movie infection power in 3rd edition. It could do anything - or just something completely unexpected - and still be a most unnerving foe.

For this particular silhouette I used Aubrey Beardsley's illustration from Oscar Wilde's Salome, yet another exhibit of the unwholesome fascination with decapitation. Wilde's play was banned in London as blasphemous. Its finale unchains a perverse sensuality as Salome, at great length, kisses and fawns over the severed head of John the Baptist. The whole Biblical story has been through so many layers of decadence by the time it gets to Beardsley's pen that it hardly seems impious to use the image of the head as the basis for the vargouille. With its snaky hair, it's halfway a demon already.

Sunday 8 July 2012

Harry Clarke's Faust

Looking for silhouette material, I came across public-domain work of Harry Clarke, an Irish artist from the early 20th century. Here are some of his illustrations for the witch- and devil-related activities of Goethe's Faust. I can only describe these as "Aubrey Beardsley in Vornheim." 

Four witches, four arms

Reverse maggot nagas?

Bigby's lunch hour

More scary hands

Failed surprise roll

Really failed surprise roll

"Uh ... I disbelieve ..."

Pretty sure this wasn't in Goethe
He also draws a pretty mean fop, if you have need of such things:

Monday 2 July 2012

More Menagerie Monsters

The silhouette menagerie file, in Rules and Tools on the right, has been updated again with these 24 mythical creatures:

And with that, we conclude the fourth of six pages of the ultimate illustrated wilderness encounter table; click, as always, to enlarge:

These are all heavy hitters and the table shouldn't be used as the only source of monsters for an area - unless, of course, the place is truly Olympian in stature!