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Monster Mayhem: Things of Madness and Desolation (Part 1)

Monster Mayhem: Things of Madness and Desolation (Part 1)

Hieronymus_Bosch_058The face, if face was the correct word, was ashen. This was no earthly creature but a thing from somewhere wrong. And as the waterspout engulfed the ship, the creature before me bowed obsequiously to its tentacled master, now rising from the boiling ocean. ­­­­­­­­­­­

This, then, was merely the slave. I began to sob as I surveyed the bodies of my fallen friends at my feet.

Standard Monster Variations

Many are the bizarre creatures that seem to have their twisted roots somewhere in the footnotes of the Cthulhu Mythos, the alleys of Ambergris, or the hellish visions of Clive Barker. What effect, then, would the blood of madness have on the humble giant, the mighty dragon, or even the lowly kobold?

Any aberration makes a good monster of madness: their unnatural forms and alien goals lend themselves brilliantly to world-shattering plots with cults bent on helping them achieve their mad desires. However, there are plenty of other monsters that can fill these “abomination beyond mortal comprehension” requirements, and adding variation to mundane creatures can breathe new life into old faces. If they have faces, that is.

The One that Dwells in the Cellar

Not only are chaos beasts terrible, formless, and impossible, they make their opponents the same…

The One that Dwells in the Cellar is an advanced 24 HD chaos beast that has taken over the cellars of the Farrus Manse, brought there by the infernal dabbling of Lord William Farrus. Now the chaos beast has been seen abroad in the forest at night, screaming a PC’s name.

The Thing at the Doorstep

I see nothing, but I know something is there…

The Thing at the Doorstep is an advanced choker able to dimension door at will. It can only be slain by a specially prepared weapon fashioned in the very place the choker comes from—the Realm of Crooked Shadows, a plane of impossible angles and perverted geometry.

Those who summon the Thing at the Doorstep, either deliberately or accidentally (in campaigns where monsters of madness appear regularly such mishaps can occur often), face nightly attacks from the terrible assailant, which is only kept at bay by protection from evil spells. Until the victim learns how to kill it, dares to enter the Nightmare Realm of Crooked Shadows, and forges the special weapon required to do so, nights consist of ongoing battles and progressive madness.

Advanced choker

DR 40/special (weapon wrought in the Realm of Crooked Shadows)

Spell-Like Ability (Su) The creature can use dimension door at will (CL 9th).

The Creature in the Library

It has a look of ebony and dust and a scent of old manuscripts and decay. Its fingers are riddled with wormholes, as are the places where its eyes once were. It sniffs the air greedily as worms writhe from its flesh, dancing at the taste of blood upon the air.

The Creature in the Library is a gargoyle with a twist. Use the standard gargoyle, but make it blind and add blindsight 60 ft. and parasitic infestation.

Parasitic Infestation (Ex) The flesh of the creature is infested with horrible black parasitic worms. Each time the creature successfully hits a target, the worms attempt to latch onto the target and bury into its flesh. The target can avoid the attack by making a Reflex save (DC 12). Failing the save, the worms bury into the target’s flesh. Each round thereafter, the target must make a Fortitude save (DC 17). Failing the save, the target takes 2d6 temporary Constitution damage. Reaching 0 Constitution, the worms have burrowed into the target’s brain and it dies, horribly but mercifully quickly. The worms then look for a new host.

During the first 2 rounds of burrowing, the worms can be killed by either burning the wound or cutting open the affected skin. The flame or cutting does 2d6 damage to victim, this can be reduced to half damage with a heal check (DC 15). After the second round only, a remove disease spell kills the worms.

The Madness in the Museum, the Bedlam Mohrg

By the gods! What unspeakable abomination has spawned the thing that slithers before me? Flesh eaten, jaw hanging in a stricken mad grin, and body a writhing mass of tentacles, tasting the very air!

It was sealed within a special imprisoning sarcophagus eons ago and has remained safely trapped, the tales of the creature long forgotten.

Erasmus Quail, curator of the Bedlam Street Museum, purchased the curious metal coffin a year ago in an auction and was fascinated by the strange puzzles upon its surface. In time, he unlocked the casket and inadvertently released the prisoner held therein—an advanced mohrg that once threatened to destroy a city. Erasmus now wanders his dusty museum as a zombie, slowly and mindlessly inspecting his life’s work, whilst the Mohrg heads out each night to seek prey to fill its undead harem—those who resemble the beautiful dark skinned princess that in life was its wife.

The creature is a standard mohrg, but it has six attacks with its tentacle tongues that crowd its ancient ribcage.

The Shadow of Dunsmouth, a unique Kraken

Krakens are born to play parts in campaigns of madness. Their genius cunning, alien mindset, and near impossibility to overpower makes them great arch villains.

The Shadow of Dunsmouth is an advanced kraken with not four but 20 tentacles; the alien elasticity of these tentacles enables them to reach not 60 ft. but 180 ft. The creature regularly enters the shallower waters of the bay near Dunsmouth to feed, ripping and tearing at flesh.

The Dunsmouth locals habitually make sacrifices of stray travelers at the shore every full moon to placate the creature. However, as the tales of disappearing strangers have spread, the number of travelers passing through Dunsmouth has tailed to nothing, and tonight, the locals have no one to give. They can hardly believe their luck when a group of brave adventurers enter the village and begin asking questions.

The Weft of Mad Riddles

This hill of madness is bent by the weight of its own abomination. It is both sphinx and chaos beast—the greater intellect of the sphinx holds together its mad form, where dislocation and impossible biology war. Still, things appear in the flesh of this giant terror: faces erupt from the flanks, mouths scream and are then consumed, great swan necks ending in teeth wretch forth only to be devoured moments later as the sphinx regains control over the madness that threatens at every moment to consume it.

The stories say that the Weft of Mad Riddles has not slept in 1,000 years, that it dare not slumber even for a moment, lest the beast that infects it takes it over and its line is ended. The only solace the creature has is in finding people prepared to try to unravel its riddles and in trying to solve riddles itself.

The Weft of Mad Riddles is a gynosphinx, able to deliver the chaos beast’s corporeal instability special attack.

(Open Game License)

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Gibber before Monster Mayhem! The crazy Brit Richard Pett, the man with cleavers for hands, continues our countdown to Halloween as we enter the next phase… Monster Mayhem! Nightmares keeping you awake? Why not leave us a comment?

12 thoughts on “Monster Mayhem: Things of Madness and Desolation (Part 1)”

  1. How easy to make cool monsters out of old standbys from the MM. This is a great lesson for us all. And the flavor text was awesome too.

  2. Stefen, it seems so obvious once you’ve seen Richard do it, doesn’t it?

    I think it’s a great reminder that we have a lot of great monsters in D&D already.

  3. Thank you very much everyone – I’m very flattered by your kind words. The scything morgh from issue 7, another somewhat sick and twisted varaint of an old monster, has only recently been playing havoc with my own players so let me know how they run won’t you?

    Could I beg a favour however – would you ask Mr Baur if I could have a candle in the cellar he keeps me in, its getting very dark and the rats are begining to nibble.

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