Sunday, September 30, 2018

Waterdeep: Settling In

As Episode Two of the Prelude begins, our Druid, Fighter, and Paladin chased a slaver named Erskine into the sewers to find a curly-haired sculptor for the Lord's Alliance. They had captured the slaver's leader, a woman named Melody who forgot to mention there were traps down there. Threats and a bit of violence got her to tell them how to disarm them, but not before the characters down below heard a knocking sound.

As they find Erskine, he is talking to four very tough looking operatives: a sullen man, a dangerous woman, an angry barbarian, and a watchful tabaxi. The sullen man, the apparent leader, is yelling at Erskine because that isn't the right target and Erskine keeps mentioning a hat.

The tabaxi cautions the characters to stay back and (amazingly) a negotiation takes place. The four toughs, dissapointed that the sculptor isn't the right target only want to leave but promise Erskine there will be recompence for his mistake.

While this going on, the Bard is above them "interrogating" Melody by stabbing her. Melody offers her up to 80 gold to let her and Moby, her henchman go. But no deal is reached.

Soon, all the players are back upstairs and not only do they have the sculptor they are looking for, but four other victims, as well.

It's a this point that Melody reveals herself as a spiderwere and Moby reveals himself as a werebear.

The fight is short, Melody falls, Erskine is knocked out, and Moby simply flees without attacking.

Soon, Alliance "cleaners" Crockett and Abernathy arrive and sort things out.  The Paladin arranges for the sculptor to be handed over to their handler, a female halfling named Chestnut Boykin. The exchange occurs at the Yawning Portal and our Bard pitches woo Chestnut's way and there seems to be interest there.

They find out the sculptor is a man named Floon and he has friends in high places who have promised an extra reward for them.

The players turn over all the information they have including the name of Councilwoman Aria Frond.

Meanwhile, the next day our Bard, after a date with Chestnut, gets some forgery work, a project that needs fast turnaround, papers for a false identity, Saturnine Bacchanal.

A few days later, Chestnut wants another meeting at the Portal.
It's there that the meet Volo, Rennar Neverember, and Floon. They learn that Rennar and Floon were out carousing and a bit drunken, Floon took Rennar's hat. It was then they were jumped and Floon was abducted. Volo is a good friend to both and is very glad to have the Alliance at his back. As a special reward, Volo donates a piece of property he had acquired to ascertain if it is haunted and Rennar takes care of all of their taxes on it.

After a nice dinner, the author, the noble, and the sculptor depart and Chestnut asks if they are up for another assignment. When they agree they are, she tells them that Councilwoman Frond is trying to leave the city with some forged paperwork and she has a tip on where she will be. However, she cautions them that the Alliance is certain the Zhentarim is involved and since they are war with the Xanathars, it could be a very dicey situation.

And that is where we ended for the evening.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Fiend Folio: Spiderwere for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

Ordinary spiders tainted by demonic power, spiderweres hunt dark places like alleys, forests, and caves. They keep their territory free of threats.

A spiderwere has two physical forms that it shifts between. In its true form, it is indistinguishable from a medium-sized spider. It can take human form, often being highly aware and very social. 

medium shapechanger, chaotic evil

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 45 (7d10 + 7) 
Speed 30 ft., climb 30 ft.
   Str                  Dex                Con           
16 (+3)       17 (+3)         13 (+1)  
   Int                  Wis                Cha
13 (+1)         12 (+1)          12 (+1)

Skills Deception +3, Perception +3, Stealth +7
Damage Immunities Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks that aren't Silvered
Senses Blindsight 10 ft., Darkvision 60 ft., passive 
Perception 12
Languages Common (can't speak in spider form)
Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Shapechanger. The spiderwere can use its action to polymorph into a specific Medium human or back into its true form (that of a Medium spider). Other than its size, its statistics are the same in each form. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying isn’t transformed. It reverts to its true form if it dies.

Spider Climb. The spiderwere can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.

Web Sense. While in contact with a web, the spiderwere knows the exact location of any other creature in contact with the same web.

Web Walker. The spiderwere ignores movement restrictions caused by webbing.


Short Sword (Human Form Only). Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d6 + 3) slashing damage.

Bite (Spider Form Only). Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. 
Hit: 12 (2d8 + 3) piercing damage, and the target must make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw, taking 9 (2d8) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. If the poison damage reduces the target to 0 hit points, the target is stable but poisoned for 1 hour, even after regaining hit points, and is paralyzed while poisoned in this way.

Web (Recharge 5–6) (Spider Form Only). Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 30/60 ft., one creature. Hit: The target is restrained by webbing. As an action, the restrained target can make a DC 14 Strength check, bursting the webbing on a success. The webbing can also be attacked and destroyed (AC 10; hp 10; vulnerability to fire damage; immunity to bludgeoning, poison, and psychic damage).

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Savage Worlds: Skullktopus

Nyarlathotep has a wicked sense of humor. Sometimes, after a spectacular failure by a cultist of Cthulhu to raise their dead and dreaming master, the Crawling Chaos will raise of them from the dead and infuse a bit of chthonic essence to them. He does it to leave a message for other cultists: wait until the stars are right to meet your end.


Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d8, 
                   Vigor d8

Skills: Climbing d8, Fighting d8, Perception d6

Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 6

Special Abilities 

• Tentacle Str+d6
• Alertness
• Arcane Resistance 
• Berserk
• Etheral
• Fear -2
• Fearless

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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Waterdeep: Not A Human in the Bunch

Last week, I began the prelude to Waterdeep: Dragon Heist for DnD 5E. It's a prelude because one of our players is out for three weeks, but I really wanted to get the game going.

The Characters are 1st level and are made up of a Loxodon, Minotaur, Triton, and Tiefling.

I decided that Waterdeep would be very cosmopolitian, so it wouldn't be a big deal (for instance, instead of being from Ravnica, Loxodons are from Chult and make their home in Ivorytown in the City of Splendors).

The characters have all been recruited by the Lord's Alliance and meet up, not knowing each other, to follow a scrawny rat-faced human and rescue a human, male sculptor.

Great roleplaying and hi-jinks ensue, of course. An urban druid who seemed dead set on not letting the slavers of the Red Door, who rat-face works for be disturbed was stabbed through the heart, his corpse left in the alley by their HQ, moments before the players raided the place.

Though heavy-handed their plan worked out, but a human got away, escaping through a hatch in the floor that leads into the sewers and presumably the man they are hunting for.

I have bright hopes for this game. I don't know how long the Factions will be at the front, but I'm hoping to get some intrigue going as one player has ties to another Faction besides the Alliance.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Savage Worlds: Vermlings

Vermlings haunt the sewers and underground portions of most urban centers. Theories suggest that they are mutants created by toxic waster, genetically uplifted lab rats, or experimental human/vermin hybrids. The government is aware they are there, but their existence is tolerated because they have always preyed upon undesirables. But how long will that last?


Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d6, Spirit d4, Strength d6, 
                   Vigor d8

Skills: Climbing d8, Fighting d6, Notice d6

Pace: 10; Parry: 5; Toughness: 6

Special Abilities 

• Bite Str+d4
• Alertness
• Fear -1
• Infravision
• Quick

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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Savage Worlds: Bident

Imagine pursing knowledge beyond any rational barrier? Being willing to sacrifice your chances for having a family, for being a spouse, all for your passion. What if that passion were to save your twin? A nearly exact duplicate of you.

Imagine the fear of facing the world without your own reflection? How the fear, like a cancer, gnaws at you.

What length would you go to to save yourself? To save your reflection? What pacts would you make?

Duncan Robert Powell went that far so he could save his brother Dylan Robert Powell. And though Dylan lived, both were irrevocably changed. Damned by Duncan's own hands.
Though Dylan didn't choose the vile hunger that now drives their body, he's is just as helpless to it as Duncan.

Now they hunt for the innocent, their need to devour souls leading them though the night.

Wild Card

Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d10, Spirit d6, Strength d10, 
                   Vigor d12

Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidation d8, Notice d10, Spellcasting d10

Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 9 (2)

Special Abilities 

• Armor +2
• Horns Str+d6
• Arcane Background Magic
• Burrowing
• Fear -1
• Fearless
• Low Light vision
• Wallwalker

Powers (15 Power Points)
• Invisibility Clouds Men's Minds
• Mind Reading I Know Your Secrets
• Swiftness Slow Time
• Dispel Eat Magic

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Creature Crucible: Man-Thing for Labyrinth Lord

Man-Thing for Labyrinth Lord
AL N, MV 30', AC 3, HD 6, #AT 1 [unarmed], THAC0 13, 
DG 1d6, SV 6 fighter, ML 10, XP 30

The Man-Thing is the guardian of the Nexus of All Realities, a swamp where one can travel to any plane of existence. Any sentient creature that sees the Man-Thing must make a saving throw vs Spells, on a failure the creature takes an additional 2d6 damage from any of it's unarmed attacks as fear overcomes them. And anyone who knows fear, burns at the touch of the Man-Thing!

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Friday, September 14, 2018

Savage Worlds: Flukeman

The Truth is Here...

The Flukeman – a form of quasi-vertebrate human – was an example of reproductive and physiological cross-traiting due to radiation, abnormal cell fusion and/or the suppression of natural genetic processes; essentially, the creature was a result of human science rather than nature. Its vestigial features seemed parasitic but it also had primate physiology.

The Flukeman transmitted its larvae, a form of flatworm, through its bite. The being searched for hosts, in order to multiply, and attacked because its victims' bodies provided generative nourishment.

Wild Card

Attributes: Agility d12, Smarts d8, Spirit d4, Strength d6, 
                   Vigor d10

Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d6, Intimidation d10, Notice d6

Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 7

Special Abilities 

• Acrobat
• Aquatic
• Fear -2
• Hardy
• Infection Once infected, the host will become the vessel for a 
   new flukeman. In 1d6+1 days the flukeman will burst from it's 
   host, inflcting 2d8 damage. The flukeman can be removed from 
   the host before it erupts
• Infravision
• Regeneration Slow

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Shadow of the Demon Lord: Thornback

"Sages believe that thornbacks are razorbacks who have been touched by the Demon Lord's shadow."

Thornback          DIFFICULTY 25
Size 2 frightening monster
Perception  12 (+2); Shadowsight
Defense 13; Health 30
Strength 14 (+4) Agility 11 (+1) 
Intellect 7 (-3) Will 11 (+1)
Speed 8; swimmer

Claws (melee) +3 with 1 boon (2d6)
Thornback When a creature hits the thornback with 
   a melee attack, they take 1d3 damage.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Dungeons & Delvers Black Book: Omegalith

Ogremoch, jealous that Cryonax's Cold Ones could turn the Apocalypse too much in his favor, hatched a plan to bolster his own presence on the fields of Armageddon.  The Prince of Elemental Earth enlisted the medusa Stonecaller, Zhwaa Lo'Sel, to use her dark gifts to transform his enemies into faithful agents of Elemental Earth--and the omegalith were wrought.

Level 1 Medium Elemental
XP 20

Speed 25 Feet

Ability Scores
STR +2      DEX +0      WIS -1
CON +3    INT +0        CHA -1

Intimidate +1
Perception +1

AC 13       DR 4
Fort +4    Ref +0      Wil -1
WP 6      VP  2        Total 8

Maul +3 to hit; 1d8+2 bludgeoning damage

Omegalith's bodies have "veins" of precious metal or gems (1d12 x 100 sp)

Monday, September 10, 2018

Savage Worlds: Dralasite

"Dralasites are short, rubbery aliens that have no bones or hard body parts. Their skin is a flexible membrane that is very tough and scratchy. It generally is dull gray and lined with dark veins that meet at the Dralasite's two eyespots. The internal structure of a Dralasite is very different from the other races. The Dralasite's central nerve bundle (brain), numerous small hearts and other internal organs float in a pudding-like mixture of protein and organic fluids. Dralasites breathe by absorbing oxygen directly through their skin, so they have no lungs. They are omnivores, but eat by surrounding their food and absorbing it, so they also have no digestive tract or intestines.

All Dralasites go through male, female and neutral stages during their lives (they may choose to control these phases with pharmaceuticals). Males release spores into the air, which drift until they become attached to a female. A young Dralasite then sprouts from its mother, eventually maturing and dropping off."

Agility d4, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d8, Vigor d8

Fighting d4, Notice d8, Persuasion d6, Shooting d6

Pace 6
Parry 5
Toughness 6(1)

Special Abilities 
• Ambidextrous
• Block
• Rubbery Armor 1
• Flexible Membrane Hardy
• Size -1

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Saturday, September 8, 2018

Creature Crucible: Axehead for Labyrinth Lord

Axehead for Labyrinth Lord
AL C, MV 30', AC 6, HD 2, #AT 1 [bite or headbutt], THAC0 18, 
DG 1d4+1 or 1d6+1, SV 2 fighter, ML 11, When using their headbutt they critically hit on a 19-20, XP 30

Axeheads are undead created by the Warlock King, a necromancer who has gained the favor of Orcus. Axeheads are created from the corpses of half-orcs.

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Friday, September 7, 2018

Shadow of the Demon Lord: The Reddleman

"According to several witnesses of the razing of Pinehold, this thing came with the dawn. It called up the dead from their graves and then it began raining blood."

The Reddleman          DIFFICULTY 100
Size 1 terrifying monster
Perception  11 (+1); Shadowsight
Defense 14; Health 70
Strength 13 (+3) Agility 13 (+3) 
Intellect 17 (+7) Will 15 (+5)
Speed 12

Tentacles (melee) +3 with 2 boons (2d6+2)

Power 5
Spell Recovery 
Improve Spell Recovery
Sense Magic
Necromancy Spectral Grasp (6), 
   Animate Corpse (6),  Grave Grasp (3), 
   Harvest Soul (3), Bone Splinters (2), 
   Shrieking Skull (2), Cannibalize Magic (2), 
   Seal the Underworld's Gate (1), 
  Army of the Dead (1)
Storm Fog (6), Freezing Fog (3), Hailstorm (2), 
   Acid Rain (1)
Water Produce Water (6), Drown (3)

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Thursday, September 6, 2018

OSR: Skill Throws Part 2

After thinking about Skill Throws, a solution built upon the back of Saving Throws. I've decided to go with two of them: Trained and Untrained. Think of them as Class and Non-Class skills.

Assuming the use of Labyrinth Lord here are my initial thoughts:

First, you need to have access to page 56 of Labyrinth Lord:

Cleric, Fighter, and Skill Throws:
Level            Trained          Untrained
1-4                   13                      16
5-8                   11                      15
9-12                   9                      14
13-16                 8                      13
17+                    7                      13

Magic-User Skill Throws:
Level            Trained          Untrained
1-4                   12                     15
5-8                   10                     14
9-12                   9                     13
13-16                 7                     13
17+                    6                     13

Thief Skill Throws:
Level            Trained          Untrained
1-4                   11                     13
5-8                     9                     13
9-12                   7                     13
13-16                 6                     13
17+                    5                     12

Dwarf and Halfling Skill Throws:
Level            Trained          Untrained
1-3                    12                     15
4-6                    10                     14
7-9*                    8                     13
10-12                  6                     13
*Maximum Level for Halflings

Elf Skill Throws:
Level            Trained          Untrained
1-3                    12                     14
4-6                    10                     14
7-9                      8                     13
10                       7                     13

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

OSR: Skill Throws

Obviously, based on my posts, I spend time thinking about skill systems in DnD and it's retroclones.

What about the idea of a Skill Throw? Essentially, the Saving Throw mechanic, but for representing Secondary Skills, Non-Weapon Proficiencies, Thief Abilities, and even Bending Bars and Lifting Gates and Finding Secret Doors.

One of the first questions about this system is if I want a single Skill Throw with bonuses for specific tasks (E.G. Thieves would get a +2 to most of their traditional abilities and a +6 to Climb Walls) or should I separate Skill Throws into Trained and Untrained.

I'll be taking the next day or two to contemplate that. I'm leaning toward a single a Skill Throw, but the completist in me likes the idea of two options for the DM.

Please feel free to weigh in on this idea.

Savage Worlds: Terror Wolf

Sometimes a wolf pup is taken from it's mother by Night herself. It's step-mother's domain is one to be feared, no one should forget that all who dwell within her are mere prey and it is only her charity that spares them.

A terror wolf is raised to stalk its Mistress's domain, it's victims chosen simply as a reminder that Night will fall for all of us.

Agility d8, Smarts d4, Spirit d10, Strength d6, Vigor d10

Fighting d10, Intimidation d10, Notice d8

Pace 12
Parry 6
Toughness 7

Special Abilities 
Bite Str + d6
• Go for the Throat Terror wolves instinctively go for an 
   opponent’s soft spots. With a raise on its attack roll, it hits the 
   target’s most weakly armored location.
• Fear -1
• Fearless
• Fleet-Footed Terror wolves roll d10s instead of d6s when 
• Infravision

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Back This: Eastern Fantasy Adventures for Shadow of the Demon Lord and D&D 5e

Mike Myler (Hypercorp 2099, Book of Exalted Darkness) has launched a Kickstarter for two adventers for his Mists of Akuma setting, a Eastern Fantasy Steampunk setting. Besides being designed for Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, it's also supporting my beloved Shadow of the Demon Lord.

I've already backed it and so should you. Mike was Schwalb Entertainment's first official licensee and Mists of Akuma is a great setting.

You can back it here.

Fiend Folio: Tcho-Tcho for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition

A hairless, degenerate, and cannibalistic race that worship the Old Ones.

small humanoid, chaotic evil

Armor Class 13
Hit Points 16 (3d6 + 6) 
Speed 35 ft.
   Str                  Dex                Con           
16 (+3)       17 (+3)         15 (+2)  
   Int                  Wis                Cha
13 (+1)         14 (+2)          9 (-1)

Skills Intimidation +1, Perception +4, Stealth +5
Senses Darkvision 30 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages Common, deep speech
Challenge 1/2 (200 XP)

Abominable. When a creature that isn’t an aberration starts its turn within 30 feet of six or more tcho-tcho, it must make a DC 10 Wisdom saving throw. On a successful save, the creature is immune to the Abominable of all tcho-tcho for 24 hours. On a failed save, the creature becomes frightened of the tcho-tcho for 1 minute. At the end of each of the frightened creature’s turns, it can repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success.

Cannibal When a tcho-tcho reduces a sentient creature to 0 hit points, it gains advantage on attack rolls and saving throws until the end of it's next turn.


Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. 

Hit: 6 (1d4 + 4) piercing damage.

Spear. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft. or ranged 20/60 ft., one creature. Hit: 7/8 (1d6 + 4 or 1d8 + 4 with two-hands) piercing damage.

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Monday, September 3, 2018

Counter Culture: Are The Stars Now Right?

I've been a fan of the Cthulhu Mythos since The Collect Call of Cthulhu Episode of The Real Ghostbusters cartoon. When I first got into gaming, I had a small amount of knowledge of the Mythos, mostly through Brian Lumley, but no one else in the group shared my interest. Our DM, Todd, talked about hearing about the Sanity mechanic in Chaosium's Call of Cthuhlu RPG and that kept him from getting into it.

Further, as a the Manager of Comic Book World in KY for the last 19 years, CoC has never been a big seller for our stores. Honestly, for many years, I was lucky if I would sell one copy each year. I can't tell what it is about our market, but d100 games (CoC, RuneQuest, etc.) have never sold well.

However, this year that has changed. I'd gladly stocked the 7th Edition of Call of Cthulhu and watched it sit there for months. However, since May, I'm selling at least three copies of the main rulebook each month. It's exciting. I'd like to take credit for it, but I've talked about the Mythos as much this year as I have any other year. I know I have at least three groups actively running it, and I'm glad for that.

While I know that there were more significant changes to 7th Edition, than we've seen in decades, I honestly don't know what is causing the upsurge. I only question it to learn about market. Hopefully, this trend will continue, because at this point, CoC is my tied with Savage Worlds for my second/third best selling RPG line.

And that makes me happy.

Untold Adventures: Mammuth

Mammuth for Untold Adventures
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: Gore
Special: May cast Invisibility 2 x per Day
HDE: 6
Mammuth are spiritual creatures, generally solitary, they guard their territory from outside invaders.

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

Shadow of the Demon Lord: Dero

"Clothed in rags and dirt, hung all over with hand weapons, their hair long and matted, were the strangest, most disgusting creatures I had ever seen in my life. They were dwarfs, some of them white-haired, from the Gods know what hidden hole in Mu's endless warren of caverns."
- Richard Sharpe Shaver, I Remember Lemuria!

Dero          DIFFICULTY 10
Size 1/2 dero
Perception  11 (+1), darksight
Defense 14; Health 20
Strength 13 (+3) Agility 10 (+0) Intellect 11 (+1) Will 9 (-1)
Speed 12
Spell Defense A dero takes half damage from spells
   and makes any challenge roll resist a spell with 1 boon. A 
   creature attacking the dero with a spell makes the attack roll with 
   1 bane.

Sickle (melee) +3 with 1 boon (1d6)

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Saturday, September 1, 2018

Cypher System: Necron Warrior


Motive: Serve the C'tan
Environment: Anywhere
Health: 15
Damage Inflicted: 5
Armor: 3
Movement: Short
Modifications: Initiative action 6, Use Gauss Rifle 6
Combat: Necron warriors are the silent, terrifying infantry of their C'tan masters.

Use: 1d6+2 Necron warriors have phased into the area close to where the characters are staying.  Was this a Tomb World before the 9th World?
Loot: A dead necron warrior has 2 cyphers.

Dungeons & Delvers Black Book: Bone Salamander

Art by FangWangLlin

Bone Salamander
Level 3 Medium Undead
XP 60

Speed 40 Feet

Ability Scores
STR +3      DEX +1      WIS +1
CON +2    INT +0        CHA -2

Perception +4

AC +3       DR 1
Fort +3    Ref +1      Wil +1
WP 15      VP  6        Total 21
Mana 8

Bite +4 to hit; 1d4 poison damage

Claw +4 to hit; 1d6+3 slashing damage

Spit Flame 1d4 drain; DC 10 Reflex saving throw; 2d6 fire damage in a 15-foot cone, or half as much if they succeed on a saving throw.

Bone salamander flame sacs (2d6 x 5 gp)

Creature Crucible: Mirage Adder

Mirage Adder for Labyrinth Lord
AL C, MV 50', AC 7, HD 4, #AT 1 [weapon], THAC0 16, 
DG 1d6, SV 4 fighter, ML 8, Charm Person 3 x per day, XP 10

Mirage Adders are nefarious and surprisingly intelligent man-sized serpents. Their unusual shape combined with their natural ability use charm person, makes them dangerous predators of humanoids.

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