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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

City Tricksters: Metro Monsters for Urban Encounters

It's been a while since I've posted a monster, so I thought I'd drop one or two today.  There are many times where I wish I could draw/illustrate these beasties, and this is certainly one of those times.  Nothing beats a session or two in a city or town, not just to re-up on rope, rations, and rapiers but because anything can happen in the city!  As a hub of humanity, it also attracts those creatures who feed on humanity both literally and figuratively.

 Street Urchin

Living by the sea has some wonderful advantages.  A port of call often means a thriving trade, as well as access to many unique and wonderful items that larger cities on the interior may not easily have available.  Life near the sea is said to be restorative to one’s health, the salt air a panacea to many of lifes ailments.  Choosing to live by the sea also means that a person's diet usually includes much of the bounty of the sea.  Fishing boats fill their nets with all manner of meaty, delicious fish, crustaceans, and shellfish that find their way to the tables of even the poorest of folk.  The sea sustains life, not only below its dark surface but a wonderful and near-constant harvest allows life on land to flourish too.

Of course there are things beneath the waves that look upon us similarly, and the dangerous and always-hungry Street Urchin is just such a denizen of the depths.  As darkness falls upon the water, the Street Urchin creeps from the breaking waves and makes its way into the towns and cities that lay scattered about the shoreline.  In the darkness, the silhouette of the Street Urchin resembles that of a young child, perhaps aged five or six.  The creature is hungry, and seeks a solitary victim if possible.  A silent killer, the Street Urchin blends in so that it can attack, feed, and retreat back to the sea. It is with this camouflage that the creature lures prey, and once in range it attacks.  The spines are dark,short, and filled with a venom that can paralyze its victim almost instantly. The Street Urchin will begin to shake violently if it senses prey is within range, and as it does this the loose spines shoot out in all directions.

Each attack contains many flying spines, and a hit indicates that 1d10 spines have struck the victim.  It only takes a single spine to inject enough venom to paralyze its prey, and once the Street Urchin senses it has made a successful attack it will begin to move towards the paralyzed victim and reach out as if to hug them, but it will instead insert more spines with which to feed.

This Feed Attack is at +3 to hit and inflicts 3d6 damage.  The Street Urchin will remain attached for 3 rounds before detaching (or sooner if the victim’s total HP is reduced to 0), and will then make it’s way back to the sea.

AD&D 1e

Frequency: rare
No. Appearing: 1
Armor Class: 5
Move: 1”
Hit Dice: 3
% in Lair: N/A
Number of Attacks: 1
Damage/Attack: 1d2/spine
Special Attacks: Feed
Special Defenses: none
Magic Resistance: N/A
Intelligence: Animal
Alignment: Neutral
Size: S
Psionic Ability: nil

Swords & Wizardry

Hit Dice: 3d10
Armor Class: 5 [15]
Attacks: 1
Special: Magic resistance N/A
Move: 1
Saving Throw: 15
Alignment: Neutral

Challenge Level/XP:  3/300

Thief's Hand

The King’s Adjudicator Themonius had a busy life travelling from town to town throughout the four kingdoms dispensing his majesty's justice.  Primarily he concerned himself with petty crimes, and chief among these was thievery.  Rarely did he stop in a town where some ne’er do well hadn’t been caught on the nick, and so it was normal to administer the only punishment for such crimes, the removal of the right hand.

In order to make the process quick and simple, and to ensure that the punished received fair, swift, and reasonable justice, Themonius brought with him on his journeys a special travel-sized guillotine.  Now, what was special about this device wasn’t its small size (which was indeed unusual) but instead its nature.  This guillotine was magical, a device of strange and ancient sorcery that the Adjudicator found expeditious and reasonable, facts pointed out to him by the swarthy eastern fellow who had sold him the small, magical wonder at the market square in Elbion many years before.  Themonius thought the price rather low for such a unique wonder, but haggled nonetheless and paid a pittance for a contraption of such usefulness to one in his line of work.

What Themonius did NOT realize was the dual nature of the guillotine.  Of course it made a single, clean cut at the wrist, removing the hand from its mother-appendage quickly and cleanly, but it did so without blood, healing the wound almost immediately.  Pain was minimal, and in fact the Adjudicator and his punishment were well known among the thieves of the four kingdoms, and often requested.  It was certainly better than the chop often given with rusty axe or sword blade, and if the blood loss didn’t kill you, then the infection often later did.

What the Justice did NOT realize is what would happen just a few short hours after the hand was removed and the sun left the sky.  Sometimes thrown aside, other times buried, the severed hand would rise, imbued with a sorcerous life all its own!   

Thieves Hands never stop stealing, as these sneaky creatures creep about the town or city driven by magic to ‘acquire’ coins, jewelry, and other precious items.  Thieving Hands will usually make their ‘lair’ in a dark dungeon or in the attic of an unsuspecting target, and will rarely make themselves known.  They will, however, attack any creature that attempts to take something from their treasure horde, which they will defend aggressively.

Memory is a strange thing, and these creatures retain much of their previous life in the form of thieves skills. Thief’s Hands have access to a range of Thief skills as per the chart below:

A cunning wizard might coax a Thief’s Hand into a familiar….

AD&D 1e

Frequency: rare
No. Appearing: 1
Armor Class: 2
Move: 10” (100’')
Hit Dice: 1
% in Lair: 10%
Number of Attacks: 2 Claw
Damage/Attack: 1d4 +1/1d4 +1
Special Attacks: Corrosive touch
Special Defenses: +1 or Better Weapon to hit, ½ damage from fire,acid,electric
Magic Resistance: 75%
Intelligence: Average to High
Alignment: Neutral
Size: M
Psionic Ability: nil

Swords & Wizardry

Hit Dice: 1d10
Armor Class: -1 [21]
Attacks: 2 claws (1d4+1)
Special: Magic resistance (75%), +1 or better magic weapon needed to hit, ½ damage from fire,acid,electric
Move: 9
Saving Throw: 8
Alignment: Chaos
Challenge Level/XP:  6/500

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