Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Hordes & Hoards work continues... haltingly...

I'm beginning to sound like a broken record when I say things like "I don't have internet at home!" "I'm overworked and underpaid!" "I live in third world country conditions!" /whinging.

Its the way of the min/wage world, but before I leave to put in another application for a higher paying job, I just wanted to put two things out there in the 0e/Holmes blogosphere: I really am sorry I did not devote as much time as I wanted to Michael Thomas' Blueholme drafts, and I am positively sure that there were a lot of other volunteers out there who did take up the challenge of proofreading & playtesting. I have a lot of irons in a few different fires, so...

The second thing I wanted to put out here is that work on my own "Hordes & Hoards" (volume II for my own "Levels Beyond Basic" houserules) continues with many stops & starts, bad ideas, and the general cajoling from a dedicated few that work should even continue on this project, or anything else I've been schlumping around on.

I still don't have a unique view of "Hordes & Hoards", although I've thought of a couple angles that require far too much work on my already overloaded schedule. The first of these 'bad ideas' was to arrange H&H like the Monster & Treasure Assortments, but instead of a single or double line entry for each die roll, each entry would be the MM style entry for the monster, plus a good portion of the entry also describing the monster's lair or locale where encountered (if randomly determined -- most likely a hallway or wilderness setting...) and the Treasure Type written out, not just A, B, or C.

The second idea was to break the Hordes section of H&H into leveled sections of monsters. The 1st to 3rd level "Wandering Monster/Random Encounter" tables would dictate which monsters would be described in section 1-3, the 4th to 6th levels dictating which monsters would be in section 4-6, etc..

My overall feelings towards H&H is that I want a go-to Monster Manual for LBB, but I don't want another boring Monster Manual. Even collating the monsters from 0e & Holmes for LBB to create a MM doppelgänger is a formidable task (for me and my time limitations) that requires a lot of motivation and focus. If I'm not focused in the few hours each week that I have available to work on this, I get nothing done. Not one monster collated into the collection.

So when I say that I have a couple of 'unique' ideas for H&H's presentation, they are just ideas, and are in no way easy to implement -- at least until I get all the collating done. So, for now, just the collating will continue.

What, exactly do I mean by "collating"? I find a basic monster entry from 0e, Holmes, C'thulhu, or any other source, and I reformat it into the stat-block I have currently come to use, which is halfway between Holmes and AD&D's monster stat block:

MONSTER NAME
Number Appearing:
Armor Class:
Move in Feet:
Hit Dice:
Dexterity:
Alignment:
Number of Attacks:
Damage per Attack:
% in Lair:
Treasure Type:
Source:

Other special abilities, especially innate powers, psionics, etc., are largely handled in the description that traditionally follows the stat-block, and if a monster is unintelligent & unaligned, the Alignment entry will not even be present.

Collecting all these monsters from several different sources takes up most of my time. Even the eventual arrival of getting the monsters named set up in alphabetical order was (and still is) an enormous task, but that much is largely done. So now, I go through the listings, and 'spruce up' each entry, making sure that all the versions of each monster from multiple sources jive, or at least do not generally contradict each other, and in some cases, I've added my own grey box text, or changed the wording to it just enough so it does make sense, significantly to give the monster a new direction, or just thought the original text was awful enough to discard it all and make it a wholly new creation -- OR it is a wholly new creation of my own!

Many of the other sources for H&H are Lovecraftian in origin, as that would naturally follow for a Holmes-centric set of house rules. Most of these monsters were penned by Holmes, Kuntz, or Ward, but I've tried to maintain the original entries from Dragon #12 as much as possible from the C'thulhu Mythos Expurgated, adding only what was necessary to make the monster as complete as I think it needs to be for LBB.

A few are analogous creations by a few people here 'n there.

For example, I'm adding Zach Howard's (Zenopus, of Zenopus Archives) wonderful "Ancient Builder" monster, (http://zenopusarchives.blogspot.com/2013/01/ancient-builder-new-monster.html) and as of right now, it's the first one alphabetically in Hordes & Hoards.
Here is one of my own (see below), that can easily be partnered with another of my monsters, the Dagonites (analogous to the Deep Ones). I'll post that one next week, if I remember to do so, if/when I get online.


C'THULHIC ELEMENTAL (TENTACULA NEVESTA)
Number Appearing:
2-5
Armor Class:
6
Move in Feet:
90 for 30 to 180 feet
Hit Dice:
3-8
Dexterity:
14
Alignment:
Chaos
Number of Attacks:
1-3 + per round
Damage per Attack:
2-12 if dragged into jaws
% in Lair:
100%
Treasure Type:
D
Source: HH

      It is rumored that these slimy horrors were first summoned from the elemental plane of evil (if such a place exists) by ancient priests of Nyarlathotep, and these conjured horrors destroyed their temple and spread under the world via the temple's underworld gates. 

        Living in holes, crevices, or tight spaces no bigger than 10'x10' in total darkness and alerted to any source of light, anyone approaching will always be surprised as 2-5 30' to 180' long green tentacles lash out and attempt to encircle a target. 

       If it misses, the tentacle will try again next round and be joined by a second tentacle, and the third round by a third tentacle, and so on. 

       If the tentacle makes a successful grab attack, the victim must make a dexterity throw to maintain control of his weapons, otherwise his arms and any weapons held are also wrapped tight to the victim's body and will be unable to make any attacks. 

The tentacles do no damage, but they drag the victim to the hole the round after a successful attack. The next round, the victim is dragged down into gnashing jaws that do 2 – 12 per round.