If you are running a game of Dungeons & Dragons, Call of Cthulhu, Numenera, or basically any other fantasy role-playing game, you probably have to deal with at least one savvy player who knows the monster stats by heart.
“Five Hit Dice, guys! That’s 40 HP max! We got this!”
The phones and tablets are yet another nuisance, these days. Players whip ‘em out immediately to check your monster’s Special Attacks or Magic Resistance. Annoying, right?
Surprise them with new monsters!
Rupert Bottenberg’s book, Fourscore Phantasmagores, offers eighty (that’s right, 80) new creatures for your campaign. Each of these monsters have its own explanatory text and gorgeous illustration, but no stat-block – so it can be “adapted” in virtually any game system you want, including your 100% homebrew campaign world.
See the look on your players’ adorable little faces when you show them this picture, for example:
“What the hell is that?” says the savvy player.
“It is called a Blightseer,” you reply.
Three of them whip out various devices and immediately google “Blightseer”. They come up with what we might call a big fat zip. O joy!
Even if they find the link to Fourscore Phantasmagores and ChiZine Publications, that won’t provide them with any in-game advantage, since the creatures’ stats are your own.
My take on the Blightseer, in classic First Edition AD&D format:
FREQUENCY: Very rare
NO. APPEARING: 1
ARMOR CLASS: 4
HIT DICE: 6+4
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-8 (+2)
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Ray of Enfeeblement
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Cannot be Surprised
MAGIC RESISTANCE: 60%
Note that I didn’t write the text that’s supposed to follow the stat-block here – because it’s written already, and very well written indeed. You open the book, choose a creature, read the text, and then come up with the appropriate stats, depending on which system you’re currently using. Recommended for experienced DMs and gamemasters.
Here’s another monster adapted (again, by me) for Call of Cthulhu.
CON 2d6 +6
SIZ 1d6 +10
POW 4d6 +20
DEX 2d6 +3
Hit Points: 32
Weapon Attk% Damage
Touch 40% 1d6 +1d4
Rending Light 60% 5d6
Armor: None, but normal weapons can not harm a Prismite.
Prismites also regenerate 2 points of damage per round until destroyed.
Here’s the link – your players will hate you so much!