Monstrous Monday: Night of the Living Redead

This whole “Design Zelda Monsters” thing is proving to be an interesting experience. See, as similar as many video games and tabletop games are, there are still inherent differences in the way we treat tactics and tone within games. In a video game, tone is often established by visuals and sound. At the table, we have a very different view of the world. If we see it at all, it’s usually from a god’s-eye perspective. We invent a lot of what we see in our own minds. Similarly, tactics are often very different in a video game where you’re dealing with active, mobile characters rather than turn-based tactical movement.

Therefore, when designing a monster like the redead from Zelda, I had an interesting task ahead of me. I had to create a monster that functioned mechanically like the redead. But I also had to create something that felt like a redead. I wanted to give the players the creep-factor of simply seeing it standing in a tomb, unmoving. But I also wanted to establish the shock when it screams and freezes you in place, and the slow horror as it approaches. Continue reading “Monstrous Monday: Night of the Living Redead”

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Monstrous Monday: New Zombies

And now we come to the final Monstrous Monday of October. Part of me feels like I’m ending on a whimper, rather than a bang. However, another part of me feels just the opposite.

Why? Because this week, I’m taking on zombies! And, as I said when I posted my very first monster, one of the things I wanted to do with these Monstrous Mondays was explore new and interesting ideas. And while zombies are…let’s face it, a bit played out, I think there’s still a lot of room to mechanically explore the idea.

And that’s why I bring you two new zombies today. I could have gone the easy route and just made zombies out of monsters in the Monster Manual. But I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to bring in a whole new idea of HOW to use zombies in your games. New strategies you can play with to bring some life to what is probably the most standard low-level monster in the game other than the goblin.

Therefore, I present the Tortured Soul and the Necro-Tank… Continue reading “Monstrous Monday: New Zombies”

Monstrous Monday: New Vampire Spawn

I love vampires. I love werewolves more, but I simply adore vampires. The problem is that vampires are a high-level threat. I mean…they don’t have to be, but they totally are.

And that’s what vampire spawn are for, right? Sure, they’re the vampire’s minions and guardians. They act as mooks and fodder as you move toward the ultimate vampire threat. But they’re also perfect low-level vampire threats. For a group of level 4 PCs, a vampire spawn is a big deal. In a horror game, it’s a perfect taste of what’s to come in the second leg of your journey.

That said, vampire spawn have a problem. Continue reading “Monstrous Monday: New Vampire Spawn”

Monstrous Monday: The Mangle

The camp is quiet tonight. All you hear is the crackling of the fire and the sound of Boros sharpening his dagger. Thron feeds another few sticks to the flames and strikes up a conversation with you. After a short while, you notice that Boros has fallen silent. You glance around, but he’s nowhere in camp.

“Boros!” Thron calls out, obvious concern furrowing his forehead. “Boros, you out there?”

His voice echoes back, and then you hear it. The squelching, ripping sound of tearing flesh. You grab a brand from the fire and cast it toward the terrifying noises. There, standing in the firelight is a monstrosity of terrifying proportion. A half dozen arms tear apart Boros’ corpse, not shoveling the meat toward the beast’s many gaping mouths, but attaching the pieces to its form, making it ever more disturbing and grotesque. It cowers from the light, then turns its faces toward you, letting out a terrifying howl.

“MANGLE!” Thron screams before diving for his axe.

Continue reading “Monstrous Monday: The Mangle”

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