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Category Archives: Monsters

Lizardfolk

The lizard-men I have had rolling around in my head for a few years now are somewhat different then most I’ve seen in books. Though not to any great degree. The initial inspiration was from a character I made for a game that never happened, but the culture I thought up stuck with me and I have been letting it unfold and build in my head since.

Lizardfolk can be found in nearly any environment, but most stories speak of them as swamp dwellers. They have a tribal culture of hunter-gatherers with no static home. Just large areas of territory they move around in. This leads to most other races not considering them very civilised and treating them as mere savage monsters. Only the most knowledgeable scholars suspect that they have a society that extends so far into the past only the elves can match it. All passed on voice to voice down the ages.

The thing that make other races fear and hate them is their use of necromancy. The magic of the dead is considered a horrifying practice in the more settled nations, and mostly for good reason given how the power over death corrupts most mortal races. Lizardfolk explain this as a lack of distinction between two kinds of necromancy. Control of the body and manipulation of the soul. For the lizardfolk the soul belongs to each person, but the body belongs to the tribe. This is true during life as warriors and hunters devote themselves to the greater good of their tribe. But it also extends past death when the soul is no longer in the body. So the shamans of each tribe preside over the funeral rituals to make sure every dead body is preserved for the tribe’s future need.

They consider animating bodies into undead to be the same as using wood cut from a tree. A natural use of resources. The flip side is that manipulation or binding of a soul is the highest blasphemy there is and a tribe will go to any lengths to destroy a necromancer who dares to use those magics.

I’ve always pictured the lizardfolk as skull-adored creatures of stealth and ambush. Yet powerful enough to be dangerous in fair fights. With dozens of preserved bodies on call anywhere a shaman might need to animate them for protection. As well as a few dozen zombies and/or skeletons accompanying the shaman everywhere.

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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Monsters

 

Drakes

Drakes are my troll analog. It also fits into a running sub-theme I use from time to time which is normality being twisted into something monstrous. In another fashion, Drakes are also a replacement for ogres as bigger and crude humans. In this case, it is a bigger and crude drakkar (dragon-person).

Drakes are incredibly dangerous creatures. Built much like the more civilized drakkar, many theories connect them as relations of some type. Some scholars even think that the drakes are somehow corrupted versions of the that race. They have lost the wings of the drakkar and stand several feet taller. Averaging around 8-9 feet at the shoulder. Often looking shorter with a crouched-forward posture. They lack higher intelligence but retain a feral cleverness for traps regardless of their own strength.

Filled with and constantly wreathed in raw elemental forces that make wounds disappear nearly as fast as they can be inflicted. This also means that any place that a drake stays for long stretches of time get soaked in that same raw elemental energy. Poorly made structures and items will crumble and be destroyed, becoming rubbish. Any high quality items may last long enough to capture some of the forces and become powerful, if crude, magic items.

The lair of a drake will be filled with traps and elemental eddies. Spirits and mephits spontaneously conjured by such energy will defend the drake’s lair as their own home. If the Drake is defeated the energies will ebb and disappear, forcing them back into the elemental chaos. So they strike from hiding using the same ambush tactics. Hiding in their elements until they strike, then vanishing again. The traps in a drake’s lair are often very viscous, but not instantly deadly as they have no concern about being wounded.

The greed of dragons is very strong in a drake. Even though they don’t seem to have any reason for wealth or understanding of value they like to gather precious metals and gems. Hoarding them instinctual. This hoard never gets bigger then the drake can carry as they never want to be very far away from what they have collected.

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2012 in Monsters

 

Making elves more interesting

Elves in games, and fantasy in general, are a interesting subject. The basic idea (whichever incarnation you want to consider ‘basic’) is such a fun idea that everyone and their brother likes messing around with it. Then everyone wants to make their version special and the fantasy genre ends up with countless variations that have just one or two details different, or a terrain in front of ‘elf’.

In my game I try to keep elves pretty close to the immortal almost-human template and still make them interesting and different. So I play up the immortal aspect and have been trying to tweak the classic haughty outlook to something a little more fun. See other posts around the blog about what I’ve been doing with elves.

Was reading a blog post about half-elves and I got an idea. A little extra something to make elves more magical and less normal. My idea is still in the formulative stages and I am planning on thinking about it more before putting it into any ‘formal’ format in any of my settings. Basically I was thinking that elves don’t have normal biological reproduction. They have sex and enjoy it, but don’t have kids. Elves have kids via magical ritual. A ritual that has to be done every day for a set amount of time, i.e. pregnancy.

Lots of details to be worked out of course. Does only the mother do the ritual? Both parents? Is there any growing of the kid, or simply a baby popping into life when the final ritual is finished? I think that it is a good way to make the elves less mortal if even the most basic act of reproduction is complicated and elegant and magic.

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2011 in Monsters

 

Skaven

Skaven are found pretty much everywhere. The small rat-men don’t seem to form communities of their own kind very often. Instead living in the cities of other races, though they do tend to form groups together in those places. Their natural lifespan is around 20-30 years and they are very aware of the short time they are alive. Very ambitious and greedy because they know they don’t have the time to mess around. Many going to extreme ends to either prolong their life or build something to be remembered. It’s this general nature of greedy ambition that people remember and distrust.

They end up being pretty good magic-users when given a chance and it is fairly common for many to learn how to channel as a method of life extension. No particular style or source of magic seems to tempt them more then others. A very pragmatic race they seem to have a widespread ‘whatever works’ philosophy about everything and anything. Whichever magic a individual practices mostly due to either personal preference or simply whatever was offered when they were given a chance to learn.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2011 in Monsters

 

Kobolds

These small dragon-like humanoids are found nearly everywhere. They travel in small clans on primative, but very well constructed ships. They are mostly miners who stay in a crystal sphere for months or years mining asteroids or moons or planets before piling into the ship to head off somewhere else. Kobold mythology says that they are descended from dragons and the older clans claim they were part of the huge draconian empire hundreds of years ago. They are hard workers but don’t seem to have any talent for art or beauty.

Kobolds, in apparent contradiction to their claim of dragon heritage, are very anti-magic. They have no spellcasters of any kind and their shamans are expert in counterspells and dispelling enchantments. For all of their small nature and crude (by other race’s standards) culture, they are often sought out for dealing with magical catastrophes.

The clans can be identified by the type of hat each one wears. Everyone in a clan wears the same hat. So you get the Tophat clan, the Beret clan, and so on.

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2011 in Monsters