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Most adventure stories involve at least one monster. Yes, the butler is guilty—but why does he secretly keep a box with air holes in the attic?

The simple and intuitive rules for Nine Powers make inventing monsters easy!

Depending upon your setting a "monster" could be a dangerous animal, fantasy creature, alien, time traveller, person changed by a curse, or any other creature exempt from certain game rules. Monster often move, attack, resist harm, and create problems in ways that PCs cannot.

An experienced GM will describe when and how monsters do these interesting things. Be creative with improvising what monsters can do, and when they do those things!

However, a a young or new GM might not want to rely on improvisation to know how often a dragon breathes fire or a triceratops tramples. Therefore, as an optional mechanic, the descriptions of example monsters use the symbols when a monster's four-sided die rolls a 1 when a monster's six-sided die rolls a 1 when a monster's eight-sided die rolls a 1 to suggest that during a skill contest, when a 1 is rolled on the four-sided, six-sided, or eight-sided die, not only does the normal benefit happen (damage bypassing armor) but also consider having the monster use a corresponding ability.

Spyragia has nine categories of monsters.

Even if the example monsters below are not useful in your stories, they are designed to provide a GM and Player with numerous ideas and details that can be used in other creative ways.

All monsters of Spyragia might be intelligent. The monster brain symbol marks the paragraphs describing intelligence for a category of monster.

All monsters of Spyragia cannot have children like a normal animal, but have other ways to reproduce. The monster baby symbol marks the paragraphs describing reproduction for a category of monster.

For the sake of efficient notation only skill ratings of 3 or 4 are included in the example monster tables on this page, and talent ratings are written as superscripts above the corresponding skill ratings.

Monsters described as having venom will penalize foes to whom they cause stamina damage: each venomous injury causes an extra point of damage at the end of each target's turn.

Many monsters deal extra damage with their attacks. This extra damage applies to any of that monster's attacks that hit, and always applies to the target's armor before the target's stamina.

Some monsters have a buffer of extra armor that replenishes at the start of each combat round. This is shown by a number in parenthesis. For example, a monster with a base armor value of 1+(2) has 1 point of armor that is used up normally, but also 2 points that are replenished at the start of each round.

Round down when monsters suffer half damage from certain sources.


Bigbeast (by Ellwood Zwovic)

Bigbeasts are monsters that combine the features of one or more animals (but never people) and exaggerate the innate abilities of those animals.

When a type of bigbeast is encountered more than once, that type is often given a name: a gryphon, hippogriff, pegasus, chimera, peryton, peluda, seps, simurgh, etc. The Sagacious look for patterns about when and where these bigbeasts appear, and compile records about successful hunting tactics for each type.

Some bigbeasts are unsociable and live alone. Others live in families or packs.

Bigbeasts are much bigger and tougher than a normal animal of their kind. As examples of size, a bigbeast rat is as large as a normal wolf, a bigbeast wolf is as large as a normal pony, and a bigbeast bear is as large as a normal elephant.

monster brain A bigbeast is slightly smarter than the normal animal(s) it resembles. As examples, bigbeast insects are as clever as normal rats, bigbeast squirrels plan tricks to deceive, and bigbeast boars can read road signs. A bigbeast's intelligence increases greatly after it establishes a lair, then continues to increase proportional to the size of its territory.

monster baby One per month a bigbeast lair magically creates a single egg that will hatch into the type of bigbeast that created that lair. Often this means that ridding a region of a troublesomely aggressive bigbeast is a two-step process: defeating the bigbeast and wrecking its lair.


Bigbeasts have an innate desire to explore until they claim an isolated but distinctly describable location: a butte, signal tower, signpost at a crossroads, remote shrine, memorial, etc. When exploring and first claiming such a site and establishing a lair they do not disturb the local wildlife and are only dangerous if provoked.

However, bigbeasts who have finished their lair become aggressive and strive to expanad their territory. They roam farther and farther from their lair, ignoring small animals but hunting large predators and intelligent creatures and people.


If unopposed, a bigbeast will expanded its territory so much that it becomes intelligent enough to participate in conversation. This grants it the very dangerous ability to change into a humanoid form. But these humanoid forms have a some feature that marks them as different from other people, such as scales or fur, a strangely shaped head or limbs, too many limbs, or fins and gills. Some bigbeasts use their humanoid form regularly, while others ignore this new ability and always remain in their normal form.

Bigbeasts gain exaggerations of their innate animal abilities. As examples, bigbeast snakes are peternaturally able to detect heat and hypnotize, bigbeast crows have a shriek that causes pain and panic, and bigbeast centipedes have nearly impervious chitin and can dig with incredible speed.

Similarly, bigbeasts have their personalities exaggerated from those of a normal animal of their kind. A bigbeast jay is an especially vicious bird. A bigbeast maltese is dangerous in its doggy desire for attention.

Bigbeasts that are a hybrid of several animals may have strange powers that extend beyond exaggerations of their innate animal abilities. These commonly include an incredibly tough rocky hide, additional horns, or bony protrusions.

Bigbeasts are usually at least as alert as a normal animal of their kind. Most have high Perception skill, although those at the top of their local food chain may have become fat, spoiled, and unperceptive.

Bigbeasts are sensitive and vulnerable to an enemy with potential. A person attacking it can display one or two unspent advancement tokens to gain a small or big bonus to their dice pool. This does not use up the advancement tokens.

Flavorful Treasure

The hides or scales of bigbeasts are often prized by armorers.

The tongues of bigbeasts are useful for alchemy. The appropriate extract of bigbeast tongue removes the normal penalty from improvising a particular alchemical crafting effect.

Nothing about a bigbeast hints at which alchemical effect the creature's tongue could help improvise. However, examining the tongue using the alchemy talent can reveal this.

Example Bigbeasts

Shoot/Throw Acrobatics/Climb Melee/Press Wrestle/Disarm Perception/Escape Stealth/Track Identify/Lore Bargain/Wonder Disguise/Etiquette Extra Damage Stamina Base Armor
Chimera 22 44 33 32 2 6 3 venom, multiple attacks, stench cloud
Crocodile 4 4 3 33 1 8 5 only suffer half damage from bludgeoning weapons
Griffin 3 4 42 1 6 2 flying, attunes with air
Hydra 3# 2 8 4+(2) regrowth, Melee talent rating is number of heads (max. 4)
Manticore 32 33 22 33 3 6 2 flying, special venom, tail spike +5 extra damage
Mist Spider 43 2 3 44 4 1 venom, mist form, mist travel, webs and climbing
Stenchbird 42 3 3 4 5 2 flying, venom, noxious fumes, uses Wonder with screech
Tyrannosaurus 4 4 44 3 3 10 6 triple attack: bite, energy fist, frosty breath
Worg 3 4 31 32 22 6 2 knockdown


A chimera has trouble thinking straight, but can still be dangerous. As a monster it resembles a giant lion with a goat head growing oddly from its back and its tail replaced by a fanged serpent. During combat it does at least three things on each turn: bite with the lion head and claw with both forepaws.

Chimeras prefer to live and hunt in pairs. They like to roam ruins, often in a humanoid form that looks like a large lion-headed man or woman with goat horns and a snake's tongue shrouded by a heavy leather cloak.

when a monster's four-sided die rolls a 1 The goat mouth breathes a cloud of stench. Opponents within the cloud suffer a big penalty. All close opponents must use heroism or be in the cloud their next turn.

when a monster's six-sided die rolls a 1 The chimera also bites with its venemous serpent tail. Using heroism can force this Melee attack to miss.

when a monster's eight-sided die rolls a 1 The chimera has leapt and pinned an opponent to the ground beneath one of its huge claws, unless that opponent uses heroism.


Bigbeast crocodiles sometimes infiltrate a town or city's sewers. Lazy and hungry, they use their humanoid form to demand drink and food from people they meet: often sewer workers and thieves. They usually appear in groups, and most will sleep while one remains in its humanoid form, awake and alert but nearly unmoving with reptillian patience. If they hear anyone approach without first calling out their password, they submerge in their monstrous form and wait in ambush.

Their thick hide can deflect many blows. They only suffer half damage from bludgeoning weapons.

when a monster's four-sided die rolls a 1 A close opponent either uses heroism or is gripped by the powerful jaws. This attack causes +2 damage. The crocodile gains a big bonus to future Melee attacks on that opponent until they use Escape to get out.

when a monster's six-sided die rolls a 1 Any opponent already gripped in its jaws takes +5 damage as the crocodile performs a death roll.

when a monster's eight-sided die rolls a 1 Everyone the crocodile has already bitten either uses heroism or suffers 1 extra point of damage as they bleed.


A griffin have the body, tail, and back legs of a lion, with the head and wings of an eagle. Some griffins have leonine forelegs and paws, whereas others have large eagle's legs as forelegs.

Many hunters try to bring home a griffin egg, for stories say that the monster will be tame if raised by a kind person, and can then be useful as a mount and squire. But only wild griffins learn to attune with the air to summon whirlwinds and lightning.

when a monster's four-sided die rolls a 1 A close opponent must use heroism or be carried up into the air.

when a monster's six-sided die rolls a 1 The griffin attunes to the air. All opponents who do not use heroism are blown over by a whirlwind.

when a monster's eight-sided die rolls a 1 The griffin attunes to the air. All opponents who do not use heroism are struck by lightning.


A hydra is a strange bigbeast, some odd combination of dinosaur and snake.

It knows that its heads multiply when a neck is severed, and so will try to weave its heads through the air to intercept incoming attacks with its necks. All attacks that only cause 1 stamina damage hit a neck, and every two such blows severs a neck. Each time a neck is severed the hydra regenerates all lost stamina and armor, and gains another head.

when a monster's four-sided die rolls a 1 The hydra finds a good position. Instead of attacking once, all of its heads can bite a target.

when a monster's six-sided die rolls a 1 The hydra breathes a spreay of venemous slime. All close opponents must use heroism or be poisoned for 2 turns.

when a monster's eight-sided die rolls a 1 The hydra screeches. All opponents that can hear it are paralyzed with fear during their next turn unless they use heroism or succeed in a tough Wonder avoidance check.


A pack of manticores considers itself the aristocracy of its territory's sky. The pack will chase away all other large or carniverous flying creatures. They love to toy with the creatures who live below them.

Manticores normally approach first in their humanoid forms: nobles with shaggy hair who are nicely dressed and elegant of speech, with their overly toothy mouths hidden behind masks, scarves, or gaiters. They might scold their prey for intruding on private property, discuss survival of the fittest in abstract ways, or explain that the concept of "hero" is a fiction created to give hope to the masses.

In ther monstrous form they look like a shaggy lion whose fur has matted into spikey bits, with large bat-like wings and a long tail that is lined with bony spikes on both sides and tipped with an extremely large and deadly spike.

In both forms they have inner and outer jaws. The outer jaw has two rows of teeth like a shark. The inner jaw has more spikey teeth.

when a monster's four-sided die rolls a 1 Unless the opponent uses heroism, the wound caused by this attack is filled with a deadly but slow venom. Every hour all Brawn skill ratings are reduced by 1, until the victim is cured with magical healing or collapses (a single Brawn skill rating reaches zero) and dies (all Brawn skill ratings reach zero).

when a monster's six-sided die rolls a 1 The manticore flies to a better position. A close opponent must use heroism or be carried along.

when a monster's eight-sided die rolls a 1 The manticore's tail lunges forwards, appearing as a blur of speed if in its humanoid form. A close opponent must use heroism or take 4 extra damage directly to stamina.

Mist Spiders

A nest of blue spiders the size of large dogs would be frightening enough, but mist spiders are especially deadly predators.

Like all bigbeast spiders they are venemous, can move unhindered on their webs, and automatically succeed in Perception skill use within their webs.

At the end of each combat round, every mist spider that has not suffered damage that round turns into blue mist. It becomes solid again as it makes its next attack: the mist streaming unnaturally through the air to manifest as a spider immediately behind its prey.

when a monster's four-sided die rolls a 1 The mist spider turns into an invisible mist. It's next attack will deal extra damage due to its Stealth talent. A target that uses heroism or has some means of seeing invisible creatures can avoid that extra damage.

when a monster's six-sided die rolls a 1 The mist spider entangles an opponent in webbing. The opponent cannot use both arms until it succeeds in a medium Escape skill check.

when a monster's eight-sided die rolls a 1 The mist spider entraps an opponent in webbing. The opponent cannot do anything until it succeeds in a tough Escape skill check.


The stenchbird is a bigbeast vulture. It is surrounded by a cloud of noxious fumes that cause a big penalty to nearby opponents.

when a monster's four-sided die rolls a 1 The cloud of fumes around the stenchbird muddles the minds of all nearby opponents who do not use heroism. On their next turn they have a 50% chance to attack themselves or an ally, instead of their intended target.

when a monster's six-sided die rolls a 1 The cloud of fumes around the stenchbird drains life energy. All nearby opponents who do not use heroism suffer 2 extra damage. The stenchbird recovers as much stamina as the total damage.

when a monster's eight-sided die rolls a 1 The fumes condense on nearby opponents, who are stunned until they use heroism or succeed in an easy Wonder skill check.


No bigbeast tyrannosaurus has ever been successfully hunted. Not only is it even larger than before, but it can breathe fire and the claw on ts right forearm is replaced by a huge, glowing green ball of energy vaugely shaped like a fist.

Those bigbeast tyrannosaurus with a humanoid form only use it while eating in their den. This form is round-faced and bald, dressed in hides, and notable for its scaley green skin, spikey teeth, a glowing right hand.

During combat it does at least two things on each turn: bite and breathe fire. Its fiery breath causes creatures to suffer damage according to its Shoot/Throw skill use, doubling the damage on each target whose Acrobatics skill rating is less than the tyrannosaurus's Shoot/Throw skill rating.

when a monster's four-sided die rolls a 1 Its charges while opening its cavernous mouth, and the relevant attack for this four-sided die (bit or fiery breath) can affect 2 additional nearby creatures.

when a monster's six-sided die rolls a 1 It also shoots a copy of its energy "fist" at one opponent. This automatically hits unless the opponenent uses heroism.

when a monster's eight-sided die rolls a 1 It leaps into the air, attempting to land on as many opponents as possible. To avoid being flattened, its targets can rush out of the way with heroism or an easy Acrobatics avoidance check.


A worg is a bigbeast wolf that hunts in packs. Their humanoid forms resemble bipedal werewolves with greasy, matted fur, often wearing leather clothing and iron chains.

Any worg that successfully causes a damage to a target's stamina while another worg flanks that target will knock the target prone. Worgs deal +2 damage to prone targets.

A worg pack is led by an alpha, who has +2 to stamina, armor, and damage. Once this alpha is slain, roll a ten-sided die at the start of each worg's turn. If the number rolled is greater than the number of remaining worgs, the worg whose turn it is attempts to flee.

when a monster's four-sided die rolls a 1 The worg pack cuts off any escape routes, unless their opponents use heroism.

when a monster's six-sided die rolls a 1 This worg frenzies and will no longer attempt to flee.

when a monster's eight-sided die rolls a 1 The opponent is knocked prone unless it uses heroism.

Fantasy literature is full of fights between heroes and dangerous animals.

Many times the favorite fantasy animal of a GM or Player can be included in the setting as either a non-monstrous animal or a bigbeast. Does the fantasy world contain rocs and unicorns as "normal" animals, or are these bigbeast eagles and horses?

Squirrels really are deceptive, using false caches of food to minimize thefts from rivals. Pigs really do have a talent for understanding print: they have been taugh to differentiate known scribbles from new scribbles they have not seen before.

The bigbeast tyrannosaurus breathes fire and shoots its fist because I had a Shogun Warrior Godzilla toy during my childhood.


Witches look like women but are ephemeral creatures able to create magical effects to help them fulfill a mission.

There are no bald witches. All witches have hair at least long enough to reach their shoulders.

Many witches live or travel alone. Others live in groups that most often have three members: a maiden, matron, and crone.

monster brain Witches are as intelligent and clever as people. But most are recently created and lack life experience. They try to hide their ignorance, especially if their mission involves blending into society or infiltrating a party of adventurers. Many witches are easy to distract, befuddle, or dupe.

monster baby There are no reliable accounts of witches being able to make more witches. Some rumors claim this is possible, but involves the witch first questing for specific eldritch implements (such as a wand, ring, cauldron, hat, or box).


A witch's mission is usually to initiate a story. Everyone has heard of famous examples: a witch who kidnapped an oppressed princess to introduce her to valiant suitors, a witch disguised as a traveling apothecary charlatan whose lotions and balms had amazing effects, a witch who drew magical hopscotch courts that changed the children who used that pattern, etc.

Many of these legends tie the witch to a magical building, such as a house made of candy, a wooden hut with legs, or a pet store that only appears at midnight and sells impossible monsters.

Some witch stories are about infiltrating a social club or adventuring party. The witch will appear to be in need of help or useful as a potential ally. She will initially be genuinely helpful to whomever she meets. However, as time goes on she will become more and more demanding. As soon as any demand is not met, the witch becomes hostile. She tries to take back any sources of aid that she has lent to her former companions, fairly offering trades if appropriate but willing to fight if resisted. Then the witch flees and disappears forever.


Witches can elongate and shrink their hair, and also use it as a dextrous, prehensile limb to reach up to four meters away. Even physically weak witches can do feats of immense strength with their hair.

Witches can do fearsome magic. Many tales tell of witches turning a person into a frog, turning vegetables into vehicles, or instantly creating a house made out of cupcakes.

Most people believe a witch can do anything with her magic. Yet a witch can only use magic to advance her assigned story, and cannot use magic on herself or other witches.

Flavorful Treasure

When a witch is killed or fulfills her mission she turns into a puff of scintillating smoke. After several seconds, the smoke coalesces into a green pearl. Touching one of these pearls to a treasure map adds a new location to the map and causes the pearl to vanish.

Example Witches

Shoot/Throw Acrobatics/Climb Melee/Press Wrestle/Disarm Perception/Escape Stealth/Track Identify/Lore Bargain/Wonder Disguise/Etiquette Extra Damage Stamina Base Armor
Coven Witches 4 3 21 4 3 4 6 0 hair, three ages correspond to three kinds of magic
Dryads 33 4 22 4 4 42 1 6 4 hair, illusionary terrain, animate plants, charm
Night Mice 33 3 4 4 0 hair, mouse form, haunt sleepers, ethereal form
Sea Hags 3 32 3 4 3 4 6 2 hair, illusionary disguise, swims, chill/frighten/suffocate

Coven Witches

A set of coven witches always appear as a maiden, matron, and crone.

The young-looking maidens are enchantresses whose magic must affect the mind. Examples include granting boldness and luck, forcing people to speak the truth, granting intelligence to animals, or helping couples fall in love.

The middle-aged-looking matrons are conjurers whose magic must create items or terrain effects. Examples include summoning a flying carpet, creating fog banks, aiding heroes by creating disguises or armor, blocking passages with walls of fire, or trapping foes in suddenly appearing pits.

Elderly-looking crones are transmogrifiers whose magic alters objects or bodies. Examples include turning people in animals, making animals intelligent and talkative, granting objects flight, making people huge, shrinking objects to toy-sized, or cursing foes with muteness or blindness.

when a monster's four-sided die rolls a 1 The witches do something to limit the effectiveness of their opponents who do not use heroism (the maiden clouds minds, the matron summons grasping vines, the crone shrinks people, etc.) Until victims succeed with an appropriate skill (often Escape or Wonder) only easy die rolls may be attempted.

when a monster's six-sided die rolls a 1 The witches do something that forces their opponents to move (the maiden creates hallucinations, the matron summons poisonous clouds, the matron makes furniture chase people, etc.). Opponents suffer a big penalty during turns in which they do not move far enough.

when a monster's eight-sided die rolls a 1 The witches do something that forces their opponents to stiffen (the maiden stuns minds, the matron creates glue in armor joints, the matron turns people or clothing to stone, etc.). Opponents who do not use heroism lose one or more turns.


Many forests are protected by dryads who use illusionary terrain to prevent people from finding and entering the deeper parts of their forest. Dryads look like people, but can be identified because the relection of the sun in their eyes will be shaped like a crescent moon instead of a circle.

When forced into combat dryads use bows and knives. Their skin is tough and bark-like.

when a monster's four-sided die rolls a 1 The dryad also causes plants to grow and move, entangling intruders and blocking paths. Targets can avoid the grasping plants with heroism or a medium Wilderness avoidance check.

when a monster's six-sided die rolls a 1 The dryad creates illusions on the ground that complicate movement. For the next three rounds, any opponent who moves must succeed with a medium Acrobatics avoidance check or fall down instead of moving.

when a monster's eight-sided die rolls a 1 The dryad also tries to magically charm a target. Resist by using heroism or succeeding with a medium Wonder avoidance check.

Night Mouse

The witches called night mice are hideously ugly but usually are only seen disguised as mice. They draw nourishment by sitting on the chest of a sleeping person and "drinking" in the sleeper's exhalations.

They avoid combat, but if forced to fight will extend their hair to great length in either mouse and humanoid form.

when a monster's four-sided die rolls a 1 The night mouse becomes insubstantial. This allows it to float in the air. While insubstantial only takes damage from heat, cold, poison gas, etc. It flees if retreat is possible.

when a monster's six-sided die rolls a 1 The night mouse also grapples with her hair. Until victims spend heroism or succeed with a tough Escape skill check, only easy die rolls may be attempted.

when a monster's eight-sided die rolls a 1 If the night mouse is grappling anyone, it drinks the breath to recover any stamina loss.

Sea Hag

Witches that embody the perils of questing for sunken treasure are named sea hags. Their true forms are unnerving and slightly aquatic.

They appear in groups of three or more, wearing an illusionary disguise that make them appear fair of face (and sometimes male). When they decide to attack they shed their illusionary disguises and try to gang up on one target at a time.

when a monster's four-sided die rolls a 1 The sea hag chills the touched opponent with a curse, unless that opponent uses heroism. For the rest of the combat that creature can only act every other round.

when a monster's six-sided die rolls a 1 The sea hags cackle. Chilled opponents are frightened. For the rest of the combat they will never voluntarily move closer to any sea hag.

when a monster's eight-sided die rolls a 1 The curse of sea hag's touch nears completion. Chilled and frightened opponents begin suffocating. For the rest of the combat suffer 2 damage at the start of their turns.

Why do witches fly through the air on or in household items? Because they cannot grant themselves the ability to fly!

Prehensile hair is a trope linked to RPG witches by Pathfinder and the film The Forbidden Kingdom.

The rumor about a witch's eyes is a reference to the song Witchy Woman by the Eagles.

Green pearls are a tribute to Jack Vance's novel The Green Pearl, the second part of the Lyonesse Trilogy.


Bugaboos are monsters created when the scary things children imagine become real. Most bugaboos feed on fear, and attack using hallucination and grabbing.

Because children are so creative, bugaboos have tremendous variety in appearance and behavior.


Bugaboos are invigorated when people near them are frightened. Most bugaboos are not very smart, and have few motivations other than creating fear. (To a bugabo, nearby fright provides a small or big bonus during skill checks. For bugaboos it is as helpful a condition as flanking a foe or pouncing from higher ground.)

Although nearly every bugaboo is violent, not all children have nightmares about aggressive monsters. For example, one famous tale describes a bugaboo that strode brazenly into a tavern and for two days told amazingly creepy and frightening stories augmented with subtle, harmless hallucinations.


Most bugaboos attack by grabbing their prey and strangling or squeezing. When a bugaboo succeeds with the Wrestle skill, it may choose to cause damage instead of causing a wrestling effect.

Bugaboos believe in imaginary friends. When a bugaboo is visible, the person hunting it can pretend to receive help from a vividly described imaginary friend. The bugaboo will believe the imaginary friend is real and act accordingly. (For example, a hero may gain a small bonus from flanking by describing the position of an imaginary friend.) The imaginary friend cannot touch the bugaboo.

Bugaboos are afraid of magical weapons, which they mistakenly believe were all created specifically to hunt them. Magical weapons are more effecive than usual against bugaboos: a person wielding a magic weapon is always considered to have a big bonus to skill checks.

Flavorful Treasure

When a bugaboo is defeated it explodes into a small shower of treats: mostly candy and coins, but sometimes strange gadgets, magical tools, or in rare occasions a shiny token that grants the owner an advancement token.

Example Bugaboos

Shoot/Throw Acrobatics/Climb Melee/Press Wrestle/Disarm Perception/Escape Stealth/Track Identify/Lore Bargain/Wonder Disguise/Etiquette Extra Damage Stamina Base Armor
Basher-Puller-Popper 2 3 4 3 4 3+(2) fearful Wrestle, consecutive attacks worse
Coffee Treant 4 2 5 fearful Wrestle, Wonder use causes AoE sleep
Compost Shambler 2 4 8 0+(3) fearful Wrestle, Wrestle can engulf
Dead Kitten 3 3 3 0* fearful Wrestle, rotting touch, only hurt mid-leap
Flesh-a-Blob 4 3 4 1+(3) fearful Wrestle, shoots beam from yellow eye
Garb-Grabber 3 6 9+(1) fearful Wrestle, causes hallucionations
Hinkypunk 4 2 4 4 0+(2)* fearful Wrestle, flying, armor buffer only outdoors
"Look at Me!" Lady 2 2 3 2 4 8 fearful Wrestle, meeting gaze petrifies, disguised
Mister Broccoli 4 3 3 6 1 fearful Wrestle, extra damage vs. one opponent
Riding Hood 1* 4 44 6 fearful Wrestle, flying, mind control
Shadow Squid 4 3 3 5 0+(3) fearful Wrestle, fast, touch causes weakness
Skin Man 3 3 3 6 0* fearful Wrestle, only hurt when tied with rope
Soot Thrower 4 3 1 6 4+(4) fearful Wrestle, leaves harmful trail

The basher-puller-popper looks like a horse-sized morel mushroom with six tentacles that it uses as arms and legs. It whispers hungry thoughts into your mind. It is hard to get past its regrowing tentacles to hurt it. Once it grabs you it bashes you against the ground or a wall, pulls you close to squeeze you, and then pops your head off. (Each consecutive successful Wrestle attack against a target causes an extra damage.)

The coffee treant stands guard for other monsters. It is made of hard wood. It starts yelling, "Wake up, everybody! Time to get going!" Its beans give people energy because the tree drains energy so people fall down. (Its Wonder damage causes sleep in an area unless targets are wearing ear pugs, have recently drunk coffee, or get equal or greater successes with Escape.)

The compost shambler is what happens if too many bones are put in the compost. It looks like a compost pile. But then it swallows you whole.

The dead kitten wants to get back in the house. It comes from its grave at night. It wants more food and petting. It does not realize it is dead. Do not touch it or your skin will rot. It can only be hurt in mid-leap.

Flesh-a-Blob (by Wesley Banse) The flesh-a-blob is a quivering mass of orange flesh with a dangerous yellow eye that shoots a beam. You don't want to attack it because it is spongy and full of acid instead of blood, which would make your weapons dissolve. So run away! But it tries to chase you, awkwardly leaping and sticking to the walls and ceiling. Squelch! Stick! Zap! Squoosh! Stick! Zap!

The garb-grabber rises from a pile of clothes. Maybe more than one if the pile has more sets of clothes that go together. It looks like someone invisible is wearing the clothes. But no one is, the clothes are the monster that tries to grab you. It takes too long to kill. Run away, but do not fall as it causes you to see things that are not there.

Hinkypunks are flying lights. They appear in groups. They want to guard a grave or tomb. If one has no grave or tomb to guard, it lures you to a lonely place and kills you with sparks so you fall into a ditch. Outside they can flit about very fast

The bad Mister Broccoli is tall and green. He hunts people who eat his vegetable cousins. He reaches out his long arms. When he hugs you the leaves on his sides go down your throat and choke you. Run away or rush close so he won't throw sharp leaves at you.

The "Look at me!" lady is at least twice as tall as you, and screams, "Look at me while I am talking to you!" But if you look at her you turn to stone. She seems to be a normal lady until she wants something and does not get it.

Do not get surprised by the riding hood. It looks like any normal cloak, cape, or hood. But if you put it on it can control you. (Against a person wearing it, it always rolls all six dice for Wrestle skill checks.) It can fly, and likes to pounce from the shadows and wrap around you. Once it is wrapped around your friend, your blows will hurt that friend too. (When riding on a creature, half the damage to the riding hood is instead applied to the ridden creature.)

It is hard to hurt a shadow squid because most of it is only shadow. Kill it quick! It is fast and hard to run from. When it touches you, you feel weak. (A successful Wrestle attack causes the prey, for the next two rounds, to roll each die twice and use the least favorable result.)

The skin man is empty and only made of skin. He has no teeth. His tongue is icky. He drags himself across the floor with a noise like the wind rustling leaves. He can only be hurt when tied up with rope.

Soot Thrower (by Wesley Banse) The soot thrower is a bone covered with soot that throws soot. When it scampers across the floor it sounds like many bones rattling even though it is only one bone, and it leaves a trail of dangerous soot that does strange things if you touch or breathe it.

The word bugaboo is a variant of bugbear, which is similar to bogeyman. Historically, the word bugbear emphasized being obsessed with the fear, whereas bogeyman emphasized that the childhood fear was purposefully implanted by the child's parents.

Yes, defeating a bugaboo is like smashing a piñata.

The "garb-grabber" and "skin man" were inspired by illustrations in the Libris Mortis.


Oozes are rubbery and nearly transparent creatures (slimes, puddings, jellies, molds, cubes, and lurkers) that gain shapes and intelligence as they consume animals and people.

Oozes can slowly undulate across the ground or creep along a wall or roof.

The smallest oozes are useful and easily capturable. Full-size oozes are very dangerous monsters.

Compost size oozes are the smallest. They can only dissolve cellulose (plant material) and are not dangerous to people. These are often purposefully put in compost piles.

Outhouse size oozes are medium-sized. They can also dissolve proteins, which means they can harm people. But they can be safely kept in a smooth-walled metal container.

Dangerous size oozes are the largest. These can also dissolve fats, making it a threat to animals.

Rumors say the biggest oozes can even dissolve rock.


Oozes perceive the world around them using the five normal senses and two special senses: they can sense heat and detect magical energy. They can sense trails of heat and magic, to follow where a warm creature or a magic item has recently gone. (In a setting without magic, oozes can instead detect electricity, force fields, Bluetooth receivers, etc.)

The least intelligent oozes act like slow-moving hamsters: curiously exploring, tenatively probing their environment, searching for food, movement, and magic.

Oozes feel pleasure when they surround magic things. Unintelligent oozes usually move towards magical items. Intelligent oozes might attack anyone carrying a magical item. Oozes keep their magical items in a special vesicle, safe from digestion.


The rubbery bodies of oozes do not negate damage like armor. But their texture and lack of internal organs can protect them. The "base armor" for an ooze is instead the chance (out of 6) that any successful attack against the ooze does no damage.

The five traditional ways to attack oozes are by cutting, bludgeoning, burning, electrifying, or splashing with salt water. Depending upon the type of ooze, these might cause damage, do nothing, or cause the creature to split into two smaller oozes.

Oozes attack by bludgeoning with a pseudopod, or by stretching their entire body around prey. Once they succeed in causing harm with a Wrestle attack they begin constricting. Until the prey breaks free, the ooze will cause extra damage to that creature each turn, whether or not its subsequent attacks hit. An ooze that succeeds in two Wrestle attacks against the same prey has grabbed and pinned that creature's arms or forelimbs, and the prey cannot use those limbs until freed.

Many oozes die in a dramatic and dangerous fashion: splattering, exploding, or expeling spores. Adventurers who attack a ooze should try to kill it from a distance.

Flavorful Treasure

Small oozes are useful for sanitation, and some people collect them as a profession. Big oozes usually carry multiple magical items inside them.

Example Oozes

Shoot/Throw Acrobatics/Climb Melee/Press Wrestle/Disarm Perception/Escape Stealth/Track Extra Damage Stamina Armor Chance
Amber Slime 4 6 3 / 6 immunities and splitting, flammable goo, acidic death throe
Invisible Mold 3 4 4 6 1 / 6 immunities and splitting, mimicry, venom
Phosphorescent Jelly 4 3 4 3 6 2 / 6 immunities and splitting, blinding death throe, spits napalm
Squelchy Pudding 3 4 5 3 / 6 immunities and splitting, electric death throe, noise stuns
Sucking Lurker 3 3 3 3 5 / 6 immunities and splitting, flammable death throe, asphyxiates

Amber slimes are the most acidic oozes. When killed they splatter acid. They are hurt by bludgeoning and cold, immune to fire and salinity, and split in two if cut. Amber slimes spit flammable goo at torches or other fires they sense.

A pool of invisible mold is truly bizzare. It is naturally nearly transparent and very difficult to see if not moving. It can change shape and coloration to mimic that of any creature it has digested, and has practiced moving as that creature normally does. In a creature's shape it remains rubbery and able to move along walls in addition to any mimicked movement. Its attacks are poisonous, independent of their shape. Some stories claim an intelligent invisible mold can mimic any object. Most invisible molds are hurt by cutting and fire, immune to bludgeoning and cold, and divide if doused with salt water.

Phosphorescent jellies are oozes that radiate heat. A bright light shines from them when they are killed, which can cause temporary blindness. They are hurt by bludgeoning and cuts by sharp objects, immune to cold and salinity, and split in two if burnt with fire. They are one of the few oozes that does not normally grapple, prefering to spit blobs of fiery jelly at prey.

Squelchy puddings are annoying oozes that can make an obnoxious sucking noise that causes erratic nerve impulses in the brain. (Targets who fail an Escape skill check lose their next turn.) They are hurt by fire and salt water, immune to cold and bludgeoning, and split in two if cut with a sharp object. When killed they emit bolts of electricity.

Sucking lurkers are very slow moving oozes. They seldom ensnare moving creatures, preferring to first attack by sucking in a tremendous amount of air to extinguish fires and asphyxiate. When killed, they blow out spores that turn into toxic smoke if burned. Sucking lurkers are hurt by fire and cold, immune to being bludgeoned or cut, and are split in two when splashed with salt water.

The first published version of Dungeons and Dragons had several creatures on the "clean up crew": black pudding, gray ooze, green slime, ochre jelly, and yellow mold. That is 5 out of 51 monsters—about ten percent of that old game's opponents were ooze creatures!

Sean K. Reynolds has written a great rant about D&D infravision.


Miscreations are normal animals changed to have magical mutations and cleverness.

Some miscreations are barely more intelligent than their original animal. Their language is only vicious hisses, bickering grunts, or maddening babbling. Their tool use is primitive. They attack any people they see, and cannot be reasoned with.

Some miscreations are fully intelligent. This makes them more dangerous.

Many bands of miscreations will have one leader who is much larger and more intelligent.


Miscreations organize themselves as bands of raiders. They attack travelers and small settlements to steal food and shiny valuables.

All the miscreations in a band will have the same mutation. Adventurers trying to save people from miscreations should learn about the mutation they will be facing before rushing into combat.


Here is an example table of random mutations. The GM and Player can also invent their own.

The use of color and appearance is intended to reward the Players for learning about miscreations during a series of adventures. It is not intended to be a resource that enables PCs to easily know in advance what mutation they face because of library research or a farmer mentioning that the monsters that ate his livestock had (for example) yellow tongues. The GM should change or shuffle the appearances when the Players begin a new series of adventures.

Appearance Drawback Benefit How to Counteract
1 Yellow tongue Speak in a gurgle An uninterrupted roar heals the character Interrupt the roar
2 Lemon spikes Difficulties with clothing and armor Successful wrestle always causes at least 1 damage Attack ranged
3 Lime teeth/claws Teeth and nails falling out Causing a wound also causes an explosion Stay apart
4 Chartreuse mouth Lips, nose, ears wither Spit arcane globs pull hit characters together Stay apart
5 Pea green eyes Hair falling out Gaze causes disadvantage on Brawn skills Avoid the gaze
6 Green skin Skin blisters and molts Your aura weakens foes, a stacking −1 to mental skill use Attack ranged
7 Emerald arms Knobs grow on arms Causing damage also grants temporary armor Timing—don't waste attacks
8 Cyan chest Chest glows Can explode chest energy, then reabsorb it Stay apart, attack ranged
9 Turquoise aura Unwanted teleportation Get stronger when ally with this mutation defeated Timing—be simultaneous
10 Blue neck Breathing clean air is painful Defeat causes curse that is worse with more distance Stay close
11 Ultramarine pool Aquatic features Heal when cause damage within pool around feet Dodge, attack ranged
12 Violet eye Eyes merge like cyclops Gaze causes paralysis Avoid the gaze
13 Purple tentacles Have tentacles Can reposition foes Positioning
14 Magenta tendrils Move slow, but can climb walls/ceilings Magic cast on ally with this mutation affects me too Runeblock choice
5 Red motes Eerie noises around you Buffer of 1 extra temporary armor each round Positioning
16 Maroon abdomen Mouth on abdomen Explode when defeated, creating small enemies Stay apart, attack ranged
17 Orange hands Extremely farsighted Tossed arcane balls wound characters if distant Stay close
18 Ochre eyes Vision limited to 10 meters Lifesense 10 meters Attack ranged
19 Tangerine hands No opposable grip Throwable arcane blades appear in hands Use cover
20 roll twice more, using both results, ignoring this result on subsequent rolls

Flavorful Treasure

The leader of a band of miscreations carries a runeblock.

Many miscreations have other treasure, appropriate for their intelligence, equipment, and past success in raiding.

Example Miscreations

Shoot/Throw Acrobatics/Climb Melee/Press Wrestle/Disarm Perception/Escape Stealth/Track Identify/Lore Bargain/Wonder Disguise/Etiquette Extra Damage Stamina Base Armor
Argle 2 2 3 2 2 2 3 1+(2) mutation(s), perhaps must be defeated with one blow
Giant Argle 3 3 4 4 3 3 1 7 4+(2) mutation(s)
Ratling 2 42 2 2 41 5 1 mutation(s), their attacks never bypass armor
Ratling Bomber 4 42 2 32 3 42 3 3 6 2 mutation(s), alchemy bombs
Moggie 4 3 3 4 6 1 mutation(s)
Gibbering Moggie 42 4 7 3 mutation(s), blinding spit, gibbering
Mutt 3 3 42 31 3 31 3 6 2 mutation(s), can cause mutation
Alpha Mutt 43 42 4 32 8 3 mutation(s), can cause mutation, can cause rampage
Penguin of Doom 32 32 3 3 3 4 8+(2) mutation(s), flies, copies damage to nearby opponents

The basic argle is a mutant stone age lizard-person. It may have adaptations to fit is biome: long fingers and a prehensile tail for forests, gills for lakes or rivers, immunity to cold for tundra, etc. Many small argles regenerate: their wounds heal almost instantly; these argles must be defeated with one blow, or a combination of attacks carefully timed to impact simultaneously. A few argles are giant in size, at least three meters tall.

Most ratlings are less than a meter tall, wear scraps of leather as armor, and wield makeshift knives and spears. They are cowardly sneaks who are sometimes overwhelmed by violent urges, especially when hungry or in large groups. Their small size helps them avoid being hit, but also means their attacks never bypass an opponent's armor. There are also big ratlings called bombers, who know enough alchemy to make fiery bombs.

Ratling Bomb (1 use, Impact 3 = 0 possibility + 1 area + 1 convenience + 1 victory)

Use the Shoot/Throw skill to target a location. A gas fills a 5 meter radius centered at impact. At the start of your next turn, the gas explodes, igniting all flammable inanimate objects not being worn or carried. The explosion extends around corners. Creatures in the explosion suffer damage according to your Shoot/Throw skill use, doubled if they fail their choice of an Acrobatics or Escape avoidance check.

A pack of moggies screeches and wails like the angry cats they once were. Some are nearly mindless, others are extremely clever. The former eventually turn into gibbering moggies who avoid melee combat and instead spit a glob of mucus that blinds the target for one round while babbling magically in a way that causes anyone failing a Wonder avoidance check to either flee for a turn (50% chance) or attack the nearest ally (50% chance). When a gibbering moggie defeats a foe it absorbs that foe's energy, which fully heals the monster's stamina.

Dog-like mutts are at least as tall and clever as people. They are feral, resisting even their warlords' efforts to direct their productivity towards crafting or self-governing. They use their own blood to make a poison they put on their arrowheads and the blades of their swords and spears. A hit with these poisoned weapons that causes two or more damage also causes the target to mutate (roll randomly on the table above). When the alpha mutt that leads the pack causes two or more damage with one hit then all nearby muts may "rampage" and immediately attempt an extra melee attack.

Penguin Miscreation (by Wesley Banse) Fear the penguins of doom! Not only do they have webbed feet and flipper arms, but their two wings magically make them nimble fliers. Their fierce beaks are on their chests, their eyes are on stalks, and two large spikes growing from their back hint at how their skin is rock hard. Any damage they suffer is magically copied onto their nearby opponents, so keep your distance!

The word Argle is old British for argue or dispute. It also sounds like a blend of Runequest's "Slarge" and Elder Scroll's "Argonian".

Rat-people are common as a fantasy trope. In Warhammer and Dungeons of Drakkenheim they are called Ratlings. In Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder they are called Ratfolk.

The word Moggie is an old British word for an unrespectable cat without a pedigree.

Animated Objects

As needed for the setting, animated objects could be magically enchanted items, robots or other advanced technology, a type of fantasy creature that merely looks similar to an object (the way gargoyles resemble statues), an alien race with a mineral-based biology, or all of those in different places in the story.

With so much variety, we will not talk about goals for animated objects.


Two features make a monster an animated object.

First, most animated objects are indistinguishable from normal objects until they move. They seem to be a normal statue, stalagmite, weapon, rug, rope, chain, suit of armor, or other item or construction. Yet the animated objects can move (some can fly) and attack.

Second, when a PC hits an animated object with a weapon this feels like hitting a thing instead of a creature. Damaging an animated object, whether a sturdy living boulder or a giant plant's entangling vines, is an attempt to crack, break, or sever it rather than the way a normal creature slowly accumulates damge.

Therefore animated objects do not have an armor rating. Instead, a number counts the minimum amount of damage from consecutive attacks that happen before subsequent damage is applied to the monster's stamina.

In other words, the first few attacks in a row that hit an animated object probably cause no damage. Then more attacks in a row that also hit will cause lasting stamina damage. However, any attack that misses will reset this "how many hits in a row?" counter because the monster's magic, nanites, or alien biology has had a moment to pull itself together and reform. (This does not normally heal stamina damage the monster has suffered.)

Often whatever animates these monsters also renews their abilities. An animated lamp or chandelier might toss its flame, then reignite. An animated crossbow or living ordnance might shoot, then have more ammunition appear from nowhere.

Animated jars, barrels, crates, and other containers can have unpleasant or dangerous contents: rotten eggs, sticky tar, boiling oil, poisonous gas, etc.

If an animated object has wrapped itself around a victim (often attempted by animated ropes, chains, rugs, tapestries, cloaks, etc.) redirect up to half the damage aimed at these animated objects to the victim they are wrapped around.

A few stories tell of animated objects that reform after being destroyed unless they are burned to ash, submerged in water, etc.

Flavorful Treasure

Most animated objects have no treasure. But some guard treasure. And a few are themselves treasure, such as a flying sword that will serve whomever defeats it.

Example Animated Objects

Shoot/Throw Acrobatics/Climb Melee/Press Wrestle/Disarm Perception/Escape Stealth/Track Identify/Lore Bargain/Wonder Extra Damage Stamina # Damage in a Row
Before Damaged
Animated Chemistry Set 4 3 12 1 attacks might cause wrestling effects
Flying Sword 4 4 4 2 4 magical flight, tracking, does not weaken
Gargoyle 4 3 4 * 6 2 maybe flying, body parts hit separately, breaks
Self-Constructing Toolbox 3 3 3 3 6 2 the main problem is all the stuff it has built!

The numerous clamps, grips, pincers, and stands of an animated chemistry set are hinged and flexible, allowing the monster to throw all manner of esoteric alchemical supplies at targets. The chemistry set is not intelligent, and always attacks using a Throw skill check with medium difficulty. When an attack hits, roll a twelve-sided die. If that die rolls equal or less than the monster's current stamina than instead of causing 2 damage it causes a wrestling effect that lasts 2 rounds. (Allow the Players to describe what happens as their PC is briefly nauseated by gas, slimed with goo, knocked back by an explosion, frozen in a block of instant ice, etc.) The first time the monster is hit, part of that impact merely smashes through racks and glassware, not penetrating to the sturdy workbench beneath. When an attack misses, the monster has time to reform its layer of protective outer apparatus. Adventurers who defeat this monster can loot alchemical ingredients as treasure.

The flying sword is created as a guardian monster, with the ability to magically track the first living creature it sees. Its steel is simple and sturdy: the first four consecutive points of damage it suffers merely stresses its metal, and only the fifth and subsequent points of consecutive damage cause lasting cracks and breaks. A flying sword starts with only 2 stamina, but is dice pools are not limited to its current stamina so it still can use its skills rated 4 with full effect. (With small adjustments this monster could be an animated rope, a terrible tapestry, etc.)

A gargoyle is a winged bipedal statue-monster. Some are big, and others are small. Some look wicked and others look angelic. When a gargoyle is damaged, roll a six-sided die to determine whether a left or right wing, left or right arm, or left or right leg was injured. Each of these six locations represents one of the gargoyle's points of stamina. Some gargoyles can fly or glide until one of its wings is broken. A gargoyle can make two attacks each round until one of its arms is broken. A gargoyle does one extra point of damage until one of its legs is broken. (When a broken location would be hit, shift to the next location in the list. The attacker can aim carefully in exchange for a penalty to its dice pool: a small penalty on the attack allows shifting the rolled location by 1, a big penalty allows shifting by 2.)

Be very careful what you say near a self-constructing toolbox. It yearns to be helpful! When it hears muttering such as "It would be nice to have better tools!" it starts building those. When it hears complaints about "If only my workshop was bigger!" it crafts machines to knock down and rebuild walls. The bards sing several stories about a town or city thought to be suffering from a maniacal mad scientist, but in truth the source of the lightning turrets, darkness bombs, and giant war robots was a self-constructing toolbox doing what it thought was making people happier.


Collectors are monsters that become smarter, stronger, quicker, and more dangerous as their hoard increases.


Different collectors try to hoard different types of items. Dragons prefer treasure. Swamp-muck monsters prefer bones and magical items. Strange huts with chicken legs prefer household items.

But there are some typical patterns.

Usually, a collector that owns at least one book is intelligent and can talk. Additional books in a collector's hoard might increase its intelligence.

Usually, a collector that owns at least musical instrument can sing. Additional music intruments in a collector's hoard can increase its musical ability, and perhaps even allow its music to be especially charming or enchanting.

Usually, a collector that owns at least one coin can fly. This flight is clearly magical because the collector can fly and hover whether or not it has wings or is large. Additional coins in a collector's hoard can increase the speed of its flight.

Usually, a collector that owns at least one piece of jewelry has a breath weapon. This breath weapon might be fire, steam, lightning, frost, gas, or an intoxicating floral scent. Additional jewelry in a collector's hoard can increase the potency of its breath weapon. (The Impact of the wealth in jewels and jewelry it owns determines both how many targets the breath weapon can simultaneously hit and the collector's minimum Shoot/Throw skill while using the breath weapon.)

Usually, a collector that owns at least one magic item move more quickly. A collector can do as many actions each turn as the overall Impact of its magic items. Up to three of these actions can be Melee/Protect (such as attacks with two claws and a bite). The other actions must each use distinct other skills—usually Acrobatics, Shoot, Perception, Identify, Wonder, or Intuition.


Collectors radiate an aura of imposing presence. This aura causes all nearby creatures to suffer weakness unless their Wonder skill rating equals or exceeds the Impact of the collector's total treasure.

When a collector is awake it is intuitively aware of the contents of its hoard and the location of each item. However, an item stolen is no longer owned by the collector, who immediately loses the knowledge of its nature and location. Therefore an alert collector can notice much about what looters at its hoard are doing, but a sleeping collector is only able to realize upon waking that items are missing. (If the missing items were especially valued, the waking collector would quickly deduce which they are.)

Some legends describe collectors who can change their shape to disguise themselves as people. The Sagacious do not believe these stories.

Flavorful Treasure

Collector prioritize collecting panoply items. Most large hoards contain both incomplete and completed panoplies, as well as more mundane treasure.

Example Collectors

Because collectors gain size and abilities as they hoard they cannot be generalized like other monsters.

If you want some ideas, read about Maw Lute's dragons.


The undead are corpses of animals, people, or monsters animated by the curse of necromobility as resilient predators that drain energy from the living.

An undead is a vivified dead body, not a revived living individual. It retains no memories, skills, habits, or spiritual connection from before its prior life.


The curse of necromobility grants irresitable cravings at each stage of undeath. For example, zombies want to eat a brain, allowing them to change into a ghoul or skeleton. Those more advanced undead have their own cravings, as described below.


Undead do not age or breathe. The curse that animates them mimics metabolism by preventing natural decay and healing wounds.

The touch of an undead drains the target's energy. Depending upon the undead, this could cause weakness, fear, paralysis, rot, or blindness.

Undead can sense nearby living creatures and feel an estimate of each creature's intelligence. This ability even works through walls. The Sagacious debate whether undead can sense plants: do undead truly have "life sense" or are they actually sensing brains? An undead with healthy sensory organs might have exceptionally keen senses, especially smell. Many undead can see in the dark.

Only magical weapons and injuries hurt undead, because they are animated and held together by a resilient curse. When suffering stamina damage their skills are not reduced. Their curse heals them rapidly: it is not noticeable during combat, but after being defeated they must be beheaded or they will rise again in a few moments.

Undead also have vulnerabilities. Sunlight interferes with their life sense and metabolism, and penalizes their skill use. Sunlight also negates their immunity to non-magical damage. Many undead cannot cross certain borders unless invited: into someone else's home, across running water, or between countries.

Undead are also limited by an inability to cooperate. Zombies are mindless. Vampires are regional: their unity with their land means cooperating with beings from another territory bothers and hinders them. Liches can control monsters, including other undead, so all undead will shun liches to avoid becoming subservient thralls.

Flavorful Treasure

Perhaps the most powerful weapons are the intelligent necrotic weapons created when an undead carries a weapon for a long time.

Example Undead

Undead that happened to grow extra wings or limbs when first becoming zombies might have quite different skill ratings.

Undead that wear armor should add that armor's base rating to their inherent base armor rating.

Shoot/Throw Acrobatics/Climb Melee/Press Wrestle/Disarm Perception/Escape Stealth/Track Identify/Lore Extra Damage Stamina Base Armor
Zombie 3 3 3 6 0 life sense, touch causes nausea, suffers only half damage (round up)
Zombie Hulk 43 31 6 6 life sense, touch causes nausea, suffers only half damage (round down)
Ghoul 3 3 3 3 6 0 life sense, touch causes fear
Ghoul Elite 31 4 43 31 4 4 3 6 1 life sense, touch causes fear
Wight 32 4 3 4 3 6 3 life sense, touch causes paralysis
Vampire the struggle is getting to the vampire itself life sense, touch charms, animal and weather unity
Skeleton 3 3 4 2 6 life sense, touch causes weakness
Wraith 3 4 4 4 3 10% life sense, touch causes weakness and blindness, insubstantial
Lich the struggle is getting to the lich itself life sense, touch causes weakness and rot, monster and object unity
Banshquirrel 4 2 4 3 3 0 life sense, touch causes paralysis, screech prevents healing
Basilisk 3 3 3 5 6 3 life sense, deadly gaze, venomous bite,
touch charms, animal and weather unity
Lindworm 4 44 6 12 life sense, touch cause nausea and panic,
suffers only half damage (round up)
Wyvern 3 4 44 3 6 12 life sense, touch cause nausea and panic, flying,
suffers only half damage (round up)

Newly created undead are mindless zombies. While becoming a zombie the creature (especially an animal or monster) might grow extra wings or limbs. A creature touched by a zombie feels nauseous and suffers a small penalty on its next few skill rolls (roll a four-sided die to determine how many). The curse of necromobility makes zombies difficult to put down: they suffer only half damage. Bigger zomies are nicknamed hulks.

If a zombie eats a brain it changes. It begins changing, evolving along one of two paths. The creature begins merging with either the land or a bane.

The first stage of merging with the land turns the zombie into a ghoul. Its body begins healing but it still looks like a rotting corpse. Ghouls behave like clever, feral animals and often gather in packs. A creature touched by a ghoul becomes frightened and spends its next turn using the Acrobatics/Climb or Escape skills to move as far away as possible. The oldest ghouls are elite: they stand more upright and have learned to use ranged weapons.

The second stage of merging with the land is called a wight because it looks like a person except for its teeth, and is fiercely intelligent. A creature touched by a wight is paralyzed and can do nothing its next turn. However, many wights begin to shun melee combat and instead use ranged weapons.

The final stage of merging with the land is becoming a vampires. Truly one with their lands, vampires gain the ability to control and empower the lands' animals, and see through the animals' eyes. They learn to manipulate its weather. They eventually can transform themselves into animals, or clouds of mist. Perhaps most dangerous is how vampires can charm people in their land by implanting suggestions—including forgetting about meeting the vampire and having been charmed in other ways. The slow process of becoming one with the land makes vampires feel less like a person, and they drink people's blood to regain some of their personhood.

In contrast, the first stage of merging with a bane causes the zombie's body to rapidly decompose until it turns into a skeleton, alert but still barely intelligent. A creature touched by a skeleton is weakened and cannot run quickly until it rests. A more severe weakness happens when a skeleton causes a wound: the damage is more permanent than normal, and instead of being recovered after combat are converted into advancement tokens that cannot be spent until the character earns a new advancement token.

The second stage of merging with a bane is called a wraith because its skeletal form is almost insubstantial (instead of having Base Armor, damage that does not bypass armor has only a 10% chance to harm the wraith's stamina). A creature touched by a wraith is not only weakened (as by a skeleton) but also blinded for two turns, making many types of skill use more difficult or impossible.

The final stage of merging with a bane is becoming a lich. Truly one with that curse or cause of distress, a lich works to make the affected location dangerous and unpleasant. It gains the ability to control and empower the location's monsters, and see through the monsters' eyes. Liches learn to animate and manipulate some objects. They eventually can transform themselves into clouds of poison. Perhaps most dangerous is how liches can stupify people in that location or implant a curse of attunement—anytime the lich would suffer harm its attuned people protect it by instead suffering half the harm. A lich might eventually learn how to create a phylactery: unless that item is destroyed the lich and its curse will always reform. A creature touched by a lich is not only weakened (as by a skeleton) but also is contaminated with a rotting disease that will require an herbal cure.

Some undead creatures that are not humanoid are called by other names.

The tiny but dangerous banshquirrel is a squirrel wight whose shrill screech makes any person who hears it unable to heal until the next sunrise.

A basilisk was a bigbeast adder before it become a vampire. As a bigbeast its hypnotizing gaze was enhanced to become deadly and its venom became so prolific that it drooled from its mouth. As a zombie it grew several sets of legs. The most famous basilisk was given the nickname "Little King" because of a crown-shaped white spot on the top of its head. For a dozen years adventurers tried to kill it but failed—then a roaming bigbeast weasel killed the Little King in the darkness of its underground burrow.

Lindworms are large zombie constrictor snakes that grew one pair of legs when becoming undead. These legs look absurd and are nearly useless because of the beast's long, heavy body. However, large constrictor snakes are normally very dangerous, and an undead version is nearly unstoppable. Its touch is worse from most zombies, and besides nausea also causes people to try to hide behind their nearest ally.

A wyvern is a lindworm that also grew wings when becoming undead. A few unreliable stories claim wyverns who live near pools or lakes will so favor eating hairy animals (goats and sheep, not cows or fish) that a person who removes his or her clothing is no longer appetizing to the wyvern.

The undead are classic fantasy monsters.

A basilisk, lindworm, and wyvern are not traditionally undead creatures. That change adds an ironic twist to the King of Serpents, and is no odder than imagining a cockrel hatching a snake's egg. (Note that the choice of "adder" is arbitrary: no snakes actually hynotize their prey.) Lindworms have such varied descriptions that the change is comparatively minor!


Outsiders have traveled to the "normal" world from alternate planets, planes, or dimensions.


Generally speaking, there are two types of outsiders.

The first kind of outsiders arrive in some sort of vehicle or device. They are often looters, or the advance scouts of a population looking for worlds to conquer. These type of outsiders can be defeated and killed.

The second kind of outsiders arrive through a portal. Sometimes only they can see this portal and use it to return home. They cannot take objects from Spyragia back to their home world, so their goal is usually exploration or finding knowledge. These type of outsiders cannot be killed, but when defeated return to their home world.

Outsiders provide an excuse for the GM and Player to have any type of opponents. Other fantasy settings have elementals from primal planes, trooping seelie fairies from a fey land, adventuring parties invading from an afterlife dimension, angels and devils from alignment-themed realms, or lost expeditions to the Barrier Peaks. What if the story involved defending Arlinac Town from the Stormtroopers of Star Wars, the Borg of Star Trek, or the Daleks of Dr. Who?

Outsiders can work well as a rival adventuring party. An aggressive pair of huge cat-like warriors with strangely sharp swords are also trying to learn the secrets of the ancient ruin. Mysterious flame cultists have claimed the abandoned volcanic lair of a dragon and are trying to summon their unearthly Lord of Fire. Two teenagers need rescuing after their plan to research the music of actual fantasy worlds goes humorously awry.

Outsiders can work as a ruthless humanoid tribe that views the inhabitants of Spyragia as "not real" and thus undeserving of kindness or mercy. Classic fantasy monsters such as orcs, harpies, and gnolls can all be outsiders.


Combat can be boring for human-like outsiders. In almost every situation, their optimal intention would simply be to try to attack a PC using Shoot/Throw or Melee. For combats to be interesting we need to give these outsiders something else they can do for free each turn in addition to their normal attack.

Roll an twenty-sided die and consult the table below. The table also specifies which skill is the signature skill for the outsider. This skill's rating should be at least the average of each PC's maximum skill rating.

1 — use Acrobatics to try to interrupt what a PC is doing (Acrobatics/Climb)

2 — fill map squares with dangerous terrain (exhaling poison gas, spitting acid or fire, etc.): 1 square the first turn, 2 squares the second turn, 3 the third turn, etc. (Acrobatics/Climb)

3 — heal 1 stamina per PC with regeneration (Acrobatics/Climb)

4 — recover 1 stamina per PC (Acrobatics/Climb)

5 — a sense like sonar allows "seeing" around corners (Melee/Protect)

6 — a 10% chance per PC to either call for a reinforcement or create a copy of itself (Wrestle/Disarm)

7 — grow bigger if it did not suffer any damage since its last turn, increasing its Melee skill rating by 1 (Wrestle/Disarm)

8 — grow bigger if it did not suffer any damage since its last turn, increasing its Melee talent rating by 1 (Wrestle/Disarm)

9 — use a limb (or tendril, tentacle, or tongue) to reposition one PC (Wrestle/Disarm)

10 — use Wrestle to try to reduce a PC's mobility by grabbing, ingesting, etc. (Wrestle/Disarm)

11 — use Wrestle to try to make a PC easier to hit (Wrestle/Disarm)

12 — use Wrestle to try to make a PC take extra damage from subsequent attacks (Wrestle/Disarm)

13 — fill map squares with magical darkness that only the outsider(s) can see through: 1 square the first turn, 2 squares the second turn, 3 the third turn, etc. (Perception/Escape)

14 — crawl along walls and ceilings like a spider (Perception/Escape)

15 — a 20% chance per PC to create an illusionary copy of itself (Stealth/Track)

16 — screech or shout, attacking one PC with Wonder (Bargain/Wonder)

17 — screech or shout, attacking all PCs with Wonder (Bargain/Wonder)

18 — sing or chat to begin putting the PCs to sleep (Bargain/Wonder)

19 — use a trick or telepathic command to reposition one PC (Bargain/Wonder)

20 — levitate at walking speed, but it falls if it suffers any damage (Bargain/Wonder)

Flavorful Treasure

Outsiders often have interesting other-worldly equipment that is flavorful treasure for the people of the "normal" world.

Example Outsiders

Shoot/Throw Acrobatics/Climb Melee/Press Wrestle/Disarm Perception/Escape Stealth/Track Identify/Lore Extra Damage Stamina Base Armor
Handzard ? 4 3 3 3 ? 6 6 replaces hands, might have ranged attack or extra damage
Yellow Candy 3 4 3 31 6 6 radiates hunger

Handzard (by Wesley Banse) A handzard is an orange humanoid from another world, who can replace its hands with a big hand, hook, drill, pair of spikes, or other options. (Some of these allow its attacks to do extra damage, or shoot distant enemies.) Their two great joys are racing fast vehicles and breaking things. When they arrive in our world they find a town and wreck all of its ships, boats, carts, wagons, chariots, and other vehicles.

Yellow Candy (by Wesley Banse) The yellow candy creatures come from a world where the candy eats the people! They move like a seven-legged spider and have a single eye. Any people near them feel such extreme hunger that skill use suffers a big penalty unless the person is eating. They are small and sneaky, and people often feel their aura of hunger before noticing the creatures themselves.

More Example Outsiders: NPCs from D&D 5e

This chart translates NPCs from Appendix B of the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual. Perhaps it will help you borrow ideas from your favorite D&D 5e adventures to use in your Nine Powers stories.

The next section of these rules describes the runeblocks that can be used instead of fifth edition spellcasting while retaining the flavor of these NPCs.

A few of these NPCs have special abilities that resemble the wondrous feats of Spyragia, with links provided.

Shoot/Throw Acrobatics/Climb Melee/Press Wrestle/Disarm Perception/Escape Stealth/Track Identify/Lore Bargain/Wonder Disguise/Etiquette Animals/Wilderness Intuition/Hearthwork Alchemy Machinery Musing Runeblockery
Acolyte 3 3 3 3 runeblocks include Silence,
Floating Lantern, Misfortune,
Aura of Doom
Apothecary 3 4 3 3 44 3 carries healing herbs and potions
Assassin 4 3 4 32 3 44 3 3 an elite killer who uses poisons
Bandit/Cultist/Guard 3 3 3 might know Fortunosity or Raging
Cavalier 3 42 4 3 3 4 3 uses good armor, rides griffon or warhorse
Cult Fanatic 3 3 3 4 3 4 runeblocks include Feral Fighting,
Spy Eyeball, Spy Tether
Gladiator/Veteran 42 32 43 42 4 3 runeblocks include Mystic Armor,
Block Immunity, Protective Sphere
Knight/Noble/Thug 3 42 31 3 3 knows Touristry (Dauntless)
Mage 32 3 4 3 4 4 runeblocks include Useful Hand,
Invisibility, types of direct damage
Priest/Chaplain 3 4 3 3 4 3 runeblocks include Detection,
Mystic Armor, types of hindering
Scout 42 43 3 4 4 3 4 might know Touristry
Spy 31 32 3 32 4 42 3 3 42 4 might know Rewinding
Scoundrel 3 4 32 3 3 3 3 reduces damage for Wrestling effect,
might know Emptiness (Empty Palm)
Urban Ranger 3 42 4 3 4 42 3 3 3 4 might know Touristry and/or Forensics,
can sense chaos with Intuition