I am sketching out 25 adventures for our next set of 50 adventures in 50 weeks and I keep coming back to the undead. I don’t want to write same ol’ same ol’ stuff, but the undead are just such good villains. They are uncomplicated, everyone knows who the bad guys are and what needs to be done.
The one class of monster goes from low level challenge with skeletons and zombies right up to wraiths and liches.
I am going to write at least one undead themed entry this time, but the emphasis is more on doing interesting things with them rather than just lining them up for you to knock down.
One of the things I have done this time is flip though Creatures and Treasures and look for under used, at least by me, monsters, with the intention of giving them an outing an moment in the spotlight.
This has been a real eye opener, there are some really fearsome monsters in C&T. I seem to have forgotten a lot of them over the years. I think many settings suggest a much reduced monster ecology. Middle Earth is very much like that. It is just not teeming with fantastical creatures, unlike ancient greece, where you couldn’t move without rubbing shoulders with harpies, hydras, skeletons, at least one cyclops, a minotaur and a sorceress or two for good measure.
Last year, I wrote a lot of stuff with demons of all levels and all the incorporeal undead. I think I have over done those a bit.
This year, I want to make it the year of the weird and the wonderful.
Do you have any favourite RM monsters?
5 thoughts on “Undeath like you mean it”
A Roc worked quite nicely for variety. I guess a giant eagle or similar would do the same. Did need to make it a hungry momma but it kept the party pinned down quite nicely. To simulate the speed and the aerial nature of the battle, fixed point troops needed an orientation roll to spot the attack direction in time. Missiles became the order of the day with the tanks desperately trying to provide some sort of cover. Anyway that is my first change from the standard “it’s an orc/troll/wraith/warg” that I’ve really enjoyed playing tactically. The giant versions of underground creatures I used in the Joruvella adventure were interesting too but didn’t really challenge the tactics of the party (except the cavern wings).
The Undead are my favorites as well. Clear, straightforward, and perpetually dangerous. (Even at low levels, stat drain is still a very real possibility.)
My favorite I wrote for Priest-King:
Ur-Quarnak: A terrifying foe, Ur-Quarnak are undead versions of the dread reptiles used as guardians in the tombs of Kinn warlords. Gray mottled dry hide and black pooled eyes are often the only indicators that they are animated corpses and not living creatures. Ur-Quarnaks do not bleed, ignore pain and can only be dispatched through brute force or sorcerous power.
Basically an undead raptor–undead are cool and dinosaurs are cool so this is a great combination! We typically think of undead as human/humanoid, but making any cool monster or creature into an undead version a great spin.
Totally, undead dinosaurs are on a whole new level.
Late to the party. My favorite RM monsters are the shards that TKA created for Kulthea. Insanely fast, and dual poisoned light crossbow attacks make them a unique challenge to fight. And I love the lore that goes with them. “He killed with a smile. And in the last I should be taken quite literally.” lol.
Of undead specifically my favorite are the spirit elementals from C&T3. Elementals are barely living things, they don’t have blood or organs, yet can become undead? How does a pile of rocks move and then how do you make that an incorporeal spirit? I love the idea.