To start this blog off, I would like to hop on the “10 Monster Setting” idea that Shane Ward started on his blog over at The 3 Toadstools. Some additional guidelines were created after by Chris Hall.
- Pick a semi-intelligent humanoid (could be goblins, ape men, subhumans, etc.).
- Pick an undead.
- Pick a giant/ogre/troll race.
- Pick a type of great wyrm or lizard.
- Pick something aerial.
- Pick something to lurk in the water.
- Pick something from another dimension (demon, gith, illithid).
- Pick an ancient fey race.
- Pick a classic creature from mythology (medusa, satyr, minotaur, etc.).
- Pick some foul crawly thing that infests the underworld.
Pig Orcs!! Who doesn’t love some Pig Orcs? I am not the biggest fan of the classic Lord of the Rings Orcs. Not that those aren’t bad ass themselves. There is a lot you can do with a normal orc and the tropes that usually follow them. But Pig Orcs are fucking awesome. No requirements to really describe them at the table: It’s a 6 foot 3 inch pig that stands and has muscles like Arnold. Love it. I imagine these orcs eat any thing. Anything at all (much like a pig in real life). Their war paint is mud. Oh and their leader is trying to figure out how to turn all other humanoids into pigs. Of course, that requires a secret capsule of blue magic juice hidden in some ancient tomb.
Will-o’-wisps… I love it when players do dumb stuff. Will-o’-wisps entice players to do dumb stuff. And at worst, they tend to make players explore areas they otherwise are uninterested in. After all, what is that light shining out in the swamp? Could it be a Will-o’-wisp? Or possibly a Pig Orc campfire?
Classic. I recently watched the movie Trollhunters, so that is the path I want to go down. Trolls. I will go with the same version of Trolls as the ones from the movie. They come in all shapes and sizes. Also when they are hit by light/sun they either explode or turn to stone (50/50 chance obviously). The older the troll, the more heads it has.
Giant Wyrm or Lizard
This is the first tough one for me. I feel like this decision is the one that can define the setting. Do you go with The Dragon that rules over the entire setting or some lizard monster beast?
How about a baby dragon (recently delivered from a faraway planet). It only just hatched a year or so ago. Getting raised by the local farm boy in some back shed… It’s not Eragon. I promise.
Also, The Wizard will want The Dragon when he hears about this…
There is only one answer for this… Flying apes. They are probably controlled by The Wizard. But they use to be controlled by The Witch. This has obviously created quite the predicament.
Also, the Pig Orcs hate these flying apes. Because the flying apes are better than them.
Lurks In The Water
Another tough one. Do you go with something truly deep and mysterious? Or possibly add in another crazy aquatic society? Why not both? The truly deep and mysterious monster has a legend behind it like the Loch Ness Monster. But it’s really just a giant fucking Kuo-Toa. This giant one isn’t intelligent, but it’s the mother. The mother of all Kuo-Toa. And they treat their mother like their goddess. Also to be born, they are puked out. Hmm… Come to think of it, they probably want to feed The Dragon to their mom. Obviously, this will allow future generations of Kuo-Toa to fly and spit fire. Dope.
The Witch is trying to get the Kuo-Toa on her side. After all, she lost her flying ape-men. If she can get them The Dragon she could have a flying kuo-toa fire breathing army. Or so the Kuo-Toa have her convinced.
Straight up Aliens. In fact, I even have an adventure for you. Psychidelic Fantasies #8. This adventure is great. The aliens have crash landed into the local swamp and they are stuck here. Also, they like to party. Also, they brought the dragon egg. Something on that ship will definitely want it back.
Ancient Fey Race
Continuing with the idea of straight up stealing from adventures, let’s just throw in The Stealer Of Children. I love this adventure. It’s a great starting point. It might bring in 1-2 extra monsters, but screw it. This monster is the Grombel. It’s evil and it’s the Pied Piper. Hide yo’ kids.
The Minotaur. Remember please, this isn’t multiple Minotaur. It’s just one. He plays nice and is thought of by most as a good lawful person. But he’s actually the Pig Orcs leader. He wants everyone to have pig noses, because pigs and The Minotaur share the same nose. He is ashamed of his nose.
I was originally going to just grab something from Veins of the Earth, but decided against it. I use to play a lot of Starcraft. I like Starcraft. I mained Zerg. The Zerg were fun and they really gave a sense of “wtf that would be scary if they actually were real.” Let’s go with an Infestor and steal it’s moves straight up:
- It can’t attack, but it can freeze you in place with it’s vomit-goo.
- It can throw out mind controlled undead from it’s back. I imagine this kind of like an angler fish. But instead of one light, it’s like 30 undead. Maybe they are will-o’-wisps? Who knows…
- It can burrow and move.
The infestors are at the bottom of some dungeons. They are breaking through the cracks of the underworld.
Yeah that isn’t too bad. It’s definitely mish-mashed together and doesn’t really make a lot of sense, but whatever. I went with the whole “The” monster technique for a couple of these. With only 10 (maybe 14) monsters, it’s a great opportunity to run with this style of monster. This method is pushed pretty hard by Dungeon Crawl Classics and it makes monsters way more epic.
Maybe you’ll get an idea from this and just run with it in your own game. Maybe just steal the baby dragon idea, who knows.