Wandering Monsters: Losel

I wrote this up a long while back after rereading Gary Gygax's Artifact of Evil, a "Gord the Rogue" novel set in Greyhawk. I tried to hue as closely as possible to the description of these "ape-orcs" as possible, although certain amount of interpretation was necessary in order to shoe-horn them into AD&D stats. The following is not an original work, is merely "fan-fiction" based on a monster as described in one of Gary's novels, and I certainly make no claim to copyright on this entry.



FREQUENCY: Very rare (uncommon)
% IN LAIR: 20%
MOVE: 12” @ 12”
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic evil
TREASURE TYPE: Individual: K; Lair: O, P, Q (x5)
LEVEL/XP: II/20+2/hp
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1 or 3
DAMAGE/ATTACK: By weapon type, or 1-2/1-2/1-4
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Surprise 1-3 (d6)
SPECIAL ABILITIES: Infravision 60 feet

Losel, or “lost ones,” are arboreal simian-orc crossbreeds, rather stupid and favoring their simian origins. They are as at home in the tree tops as they are upon the ground. They mainly inhabit the Vesve forest, where they are quite commonly found, and it is said that they are bred by Iuz or one of his minions.

They are usually armed with throwing clubs or hand axes for ranged weapons, or occasionally with light crossbows. In melee, they will fight with scimitars, axes, clubs, daggers, or short swords. They wear leather or hide armor, but they don't use shields. If unarmed, they will scratch with their weak claws, as well as bite with their fangs. Losel are adept at moving quietly and ambushing from the tree tops; whenever attacking from such a position, they surprise opponents 1-3 on a d6.

Losel run at a shambling gait, swinging their long arms much as an ape would do. They are covered in dark, matted fur, and they smell worse than true orcs if that is possible. Losel are quite cowardly, groveling and sniveling whenever they are bullied by a strong master. They speak a broken form of common that is often difficult to understand, as well as their own orcish dialect, both of which are often intermixed with simian-like chatterings and snarls. They have infravision out to a range of 60 feet. Losel crave man flesh, and will gladly accept such as payment in lieu of treasure whenever possible. Losel often hunt using bird whistles or mimicking the sounds of other animals as communication between different hunting bands.

Finders Keepers: Boots of Hindrance

The following text & stats are designated Open Gaming Content as per the OGL:

Boots of Hindrance: These cursed boots will make the wearer feel a sense of potency and confidence, particularly when contemplating battle. However, once the boots are donned they cannot be removed, reduce the movement rate of the wearer to a mere 3”, cause the wearer to be treated as though encumbered, and cause the wearer to always strike last in combat regardless of the initiative roll.

Beneath the Earth

An inauspicious start to what will hopefully be a regular feature, Beneath the Earth will by a weekly article on dungeons, or an encounter area for use in a dungeon, that is inspired by pictures or drawings I've turned up on the internet, books, games, and so on.

This week I'll simply state my love for the dungeon environment in role playing games. While the dungeon is certainly not the only setting or environment in which to explore and adventure in a fantasy role playing campaign (the other major tropes being wilderness and city adventures), it will always be the most iconic and interesting to me. The mystery and wonder of exploring the "mythic underworld" holds an abject fascination for me that, quite frankly, goes beyond mere gaming and into the furthest realms of imagination.

A lot of digital ink has been spilled in the old school community concerning dungeons over the past several years, in particular with regards to the megadungeon concept, and it is my opinion this is because the dungeon offers up the most versatile and fertile area of exploration for fantastic role playing. Rather than being the "confining, worn out, cliched, nonsensical" environment that offers up little more than "hack and slash," as some in the new school claim, the dungeon in my opinion has the greatest potential for long-term game play. The tricks, traps, encounters, "specials," and so on that are found there are only part of the imaginative magic that occurs Beneath the Earth and challenges the players; the concept of the "mythic underworld," in my mind, conjures up images of lost subterranean worlds vis-a-vis Edgar Rice Burroughs or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; ancient civilizations of malign aspect as depicted by H.P. Lovecraft in his stories The Mound and At the Mountains of Madness or by Gygax in his seminal D series of adventures (Descent into the Depths of the Earth, Shrine of the Kuo Toa, and Vault of the Drow); mythological and religious overtones and allusions given the nature of the subject matter (the notions of the underworld and hell are very strong themes); and quite simply the sense of mystery and the unknown in a realm where literally anything is possible, given the other-worldliness of the underworld when compared to the realms above that are illumined by the sun.

In short, the game for me always comes back to the dungeon delve, and when I have the time for gaming or for creating material for a gaming session, it is the dungeon that consumes me, that fires my imagination the most, and offers that touchstone with my gaming youth that spurred a lifetime of interest in the fantastic, the mythological, the horrific, and the episodic adventure.

Enter all ye who dare...

Wizardawn Tabletop Games

What's not to love about a site that can generate an entire dungeon map AND a key for it with just the the click of a few buttons, using excellent dungeon geomorphs that keep the generated maps from getting that "cookie cutter" look?

That's what we have over at Wizardawn Tabletop Games.

Wizardawn Tabletop Games

Back in the day, many of us would have paid for access to tools like these, but they are offered up free of charge!

Be sure to check the sidebars for all kinds of great map generators, encounter generators, tables, and so on.

The Ultimate Dungeon Creator alone is a worth a visit to this site, but there really is so much more available to peruse.

Excellent stuff.

A Long Hiatus

Its been a long while since I've updated this blog. Strangely enough, I've had blog posts saved as drafts ready for publication since the last time I posted (Sept. of 2011). Real life got very busy between work and some other things going on, then the holidays came along, and before I realized it several months had slipped by without any posts.

Whether there will be any interest in a blog that has "gone dark" for so long remains to be seen. However, the gaming bug always bites even after lying dormant for a span of time, so I'll forge ahead and maybe a few folks will find my meanderings interesting enough to check in from time to time.

Sorcerous Scrolls: Ray of Frost

The following text & stats are designated Open Gaming Content as per the OGL:

Ray of Frost

Level: 1
Type: Evocation
Range: 1”
Duration: Instantaneous
AoE: 1 creature
Comp: V, S, M
Speed: 1 segment
Save: Neg.

Explanation/Description: A ray of frost deals 1d4 points of damage, plus 1 point per level of the caster, against a single opponent. A saving throw against breath attacks completely negates the damage.