Category Archives: Monsters

Foelio for Barbaric! and Friends

It’s been one of those weeks but you don’t here to listen to me whine about real life. Instead I offer some thoughts on a new product for one of new favorite games, Barbaric!

I’ve mentioned that Mark over at the Crossplanes Blog has written some pretty cool material for Barbaric! and it’s related games using the Quantum Engine. Now, he’s released his own little monster book, The Foelio. No, that’s not typo. Folio. Foelio. Get it? Actually, it does kind of make sense because from what I can tell that it’s mostly a conversion of the Foe Folio for BX Essentials (now knows as Old School Essentials). Which is not a bad thing. We need more monsters for Quantum Engine.

Like I said, Foilio is a monster book and it’s pretty darned good one. I count 27 monsters in there. And it’s pretty good selection of monsters. Sure there a couple that’s some well known D&D monsters with the serial numbers filed off. I don’t think that’s any sort of detractor. First, many players expect these to show up some time. And second, the whole Barbaric and Quantum Engine community is just getting off the ground, so there’s not that much out there, yet. So it’s nice to have at least one version of that available.

There’s some original monsters too. That I think are cool. I like the Cobriath for a good old sword & sorcery monster. Sure it may just a giant snake but it’s still cool. Umbrals which basically an undead assassin and who can’t use one of those? And the Upir which are just plain weird vampires that can only feed on their own families.

Of course, there’s even some Lovecraftian monsters in there too. The most useful ones like Byahkee, Deep Ones, and Hounds of Tindalos. Once again useful monsters.

Thanks to ease of the Quantum Engine, the stat blocks are easy to read. That’s one of my personal pet peeves. Cluttered stat blocks. They also have something nice that I often don’t read. And that’s the quick little fluff blurb about the monster. These are nice and just inspirational enough that you could squeeze some more lore into your own world. The monsters overall should be pretty challenging and interesting to most parties which makes Foelio a good addition to a referee’s tool kit.

You can grab the Foelio up on DrivthuRPG.

Forgotten Tales of Sword & Sorcery: Monsters

This week I’m going to talk about monsters a little and where I took a couple of twists and turns on them.

First, I want to talk about game mechanics. You already have a lot to handle as a GM so I wanted to make monsters as easy to run as possible. I played a lot of 3.x but vowed never to run it and the main reason was those crazy monster stat blocks.

If you remember back to the early posts, I mentioned that I was taking inspiration from Swords & Wizardry Light and Continual Light. These two games have some of the simplest monster stat blocks around. A monster’s HD not only determines HP but also attack bonus and Saving Throw. And it does it without having to reference a table. It also codifies the common monster special abilities so you don’t have to add an entire explanation to each monster plus you can combine similar effects into one special ability. I like that.

Second, I dropped many of the standard monsters from the core book. So I dropped orcs, goblins, trolls, giants, unicorns and bunch of others. Sure you can add them to your game but I really don’t think you need another set of stats for them. I did focus on monsters I felt had a more Sword & Sorcery vibe. Serpent folk, lizard men, giant snakes, giant spiders, and undead.

Every one knows about the connection between Robert E Howard, HP Lovecraft, and Clark Ashton Smith. So I decided to add some Mythos and Mythos inspired creatures. But they are monsters. Remember, this isn’t a game about cosmic horror or existential dread. This is about brave adventurers hacking their way through an indifferent world. It’s a bit cinematic. So while those monsters are there, they aren’t mind wrenching horrors but they still are things that can rip you limb from limb.

So here’s a Shoggoth.

Armor Class: 4[15]

Hit Dice: 9

Attacks: 2 Pseudopods (2d6)

Move: Slow

Special: Regenerate, Damage Resistance, Engulf, Confusion Aura*

*Confusion Aura: Any character within 10 ft of the Shoggoth must succeed on a Saving Throw or come under the effects of the Confusion Spell.

And in case you are wondering, I am working on “Supplement 1” and that will contain optional rules for Insanity (plus a bunch of other cool stuff).

You can grab up Swords & Wizardry Light on DrivethruRPG and on Frog God Games site for free. You can get Swords & Wizardry Continual Light on DrivethruRPG for dirt cheap.

Looking Back At Some Great Monster Books

With gaming pretty much at a stand still, it’s time to dig back through the archives and find that wild and crazy stuff that I should us more often than I do. I did just mention this on the podcast. Give the DM a module and you entertain the party for evening. Give a book of random tables or monster book, they can make a whole campaign. So for this I want to rant about a couple really cool monsters books that may have feel by the wayside.
I’m not going to a full of both here. I think I did reviews before on the old long gone blog. But these two books have a lot in common. There’s totally new monsters that are just down right weird and bizarre and interesting takes or tweaks on existing monsters. In each case, there’s enough background lore to find just the right place in your campaign or a little inspiration to put in your campaign. You gotta mix things up and to keep it fresh.


Dark Wizard Games puts out really cool old school modules and then there’s Monsters of Mayhem No. 1 (hope there’s going to be a Number 2). Monsters of Mayhem is a little gonzo and has just the right amount of humor without going too far. There’s plenty of fun and different stuff that DM can use to spice things up.


The Teratic Tome is much darker and hits the grim-dark, weird-fantasy vibe much more. So the content is a little more mature and you may have to do some adjustments based on your taste but it’s still solid stuff that gives some out of the box inspiration for game masters. There are some creepy weird monters in here but it still a damned good book if want throw some monsters that are really out of the ordinary. And Rafael Chandler has a Kickstarter going on now, the Metallic Tome. Yes I backed it.

Orcs of a Different Color

Yeah, I know I’ve mentioned before that I dislike how dragons are color coded for the players’ convenience and this goes sort of along those same lines but what the heck.
We’re all used to the grayish green orcs whether they be pig-faced or not. And I’ve mentioned briefly on the podcast and here that’s OK to mix things up a bit. So why not do it with orcs?
Grayish/Green: Poisoned weapons or bite, better saves against Poison.
Blue: Filled with static electricity but doesn’t discharge until killed. Have fun looting those bodies.
Red: Have methane bladders in their guts. While explode when killed. It’s even worse if they are killed with fire.
Black: Magic resistance but can be turned by a cleric. Surprise!
White: Attacks and even touch does extra cold damage.
Metallic: High Armor Class.
Stone: Really high Armor Class.
That’s just some and relatively system neutral ideas.

Kobolds: Let Them Be The Terror of The Dungeon


I dunno. Maybe it’s just me that it seems that Kobolds have become almost a joke. At least not as bad, goblins. Thank you, Pathfinder.
If you’ve been around the D&D block for a while, you’ve probably heard of Tucker’s Kobolds. This is one of those things that’s been kicked around, screamed at, and hand wrung over. For the link weary, it boils down to this. Even a low HD monster with intelligence, tactics, traps, and on their home turf can cause major problems for a higher level party. Some call it mean. Some call it unfair. Oh, well. But then in a harsh dungeon environment, how else are these little guys going to survive?
So yeah. Make them cunning trap builders with a knack for guerilla tactics and big streak mean. And that big streak of mean is where I’m heading in the post. Remember way back when and Kobolds were little evil dog-like creatures. Good. Now have you ever had a little dog? We’ve got one. He’s a little 16 pound bundle of “I ain’t taking shit off anybody”. Now I’m not saying he’s not a nice dog. He’s great and friendly. But he ain’t scarred of anything. Yes, I know that’s can be dangerous. That’s why he’s always on a leash. But I digress. Back to Kobolds. They’re little but they don’t care. Sure they’re little but their also supposed to be smart. So they just might have a bit a Napoleon complex when comes to dungeon intruders. A streak of vicious bravery especially if they get cornered. No cowering.
So in summary. Kobolds. Devious trap makers. Guerilla tactics experts. And what ever you do, don’t corner them.