Thursday, October 29, 2009

Evil Part 2: Humanity & Religion

In response to my post on Evil, Rob Conley made this comment about his own creative process for putting together his campaign:

My whole system came about because I wanted true evil, rejection of creation, but I wanted shades of gray in religion. In my reading I know that "evil" religion don't exist in reality.

This discussion deserves an entire post, because Rob's comment raises a couple of very important questions: Where does evil come from? Can a religion be evil? And a not so important question: How is it possible to create a cosmology for a RPG world that has shades of gray with resorting to some kind of paganism/polytheism?

Let me start with the source of evil:

And the Lord God commanded the man, "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die." — Genesis 2:16-17

When looking at these verses, we must remember the definition of good and evil — God is good; evil is the absence of good/God. Thus, by eating of the fruit, Adam and Eve reject God because to know evil is to know a world without God. They tried to become like God without God.

Creation was brought forth by God from nothing:

I beseech thee, my son, look upon the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, and consider that God made them of things that were not; and so was mankind made likewise — 2 Macabees 7:28

Thus, when Adam and Eve chose to turn away from God and know a world without God, they chose nothingness — their choice introduced death into creation. As priests and caretakers of God's creation, they dragged all of creation with them towards the nothingness that everything came from. Sans God, it is to nothing that we shall all return. The word adam means humanity. So, the source of sin and evil in the world is us.

The tragic flaw of the pagan world-view is that it abdicates human responsibility for virtually every aspect of life. War doesn't exist because Ares invented it. War is our creation. We are responsible for it. We are the source of evil through our separation from God.

Insofar as a religion encourages or requires behavior that separates humanity from God, it can be evil (any way you slice it, human sacrifice isn't good). However, every religion can have shades of truth — it can correctly understand an aspect of God, but fail to accept the fullness of who God is. The problem is, there are very real consequences that come with these failures.

In order to get shades of grey into the religion of an RPG world, one really doesn't have to look much further than a dogmatic history of Christianity. For purposes of illustration and inspiration, let me walk through some heresies from people who understood themselves to be Christian, and the consequences of their belief:

  • Gnosticism: There are several variations on a theme, but Gnosticism basically boils down to a rejection of matter as the creation of an evil demi-urge (i.e. the OT God). Salvation comes through the knowledge of the true God, which is the light/soul trapped inside a fleshly prison. As a consequence, things like murder, hedonism, extreme asceticism, and abuse are all acceptable because all matter and flesh are evil. What we do with it has no bearing on our salvation; only knowledge does. In terms of D&D, Gnosticism is nicely expressed in the explanation of Chaotic Neutral offered by the 1st ed DM's Guide.
  • Arianism: Arius and his adherents insisted that Christ was a creature — he was part of creation and did not share in the Father's essence. This reduces Christian eschatology (the experience of the Kingdom of Heaven) and ontology (the nature of being) to a moral/ethical system (and one that is impossible to live up to). With no eschatological or ontological justification, this moral/ethical code is doomed to fail, since everyone sins. As such, the only way to justify and enforce this moral/ethical code is through coercion.
  • Nestorianism: Nestorius and his ilk held that the human and divine natures of Christ were separate persons conjoined in the man Jesus of Nazareth. Such a reality justifies a compartmentalization of human activity. Our religious lives can be separate from our daily lives. Thus, a man can justify being a pious and loving husband and father at home at the same time he is a torturer and killer at work without any conflict between these two aspects of his life.
  • Monophysitism: This heresy held that the human nature of Jesus was absorbed into the divine nature of Christ, leaving Him with one nature. Overemphasizing the divine nature of Christ devalues human nature, and thus humanity. When humanity gets devalued, it becomes easy to justify things like slavery, racism, genocide, etc. because the definition of what it means to be human can be narrowed to fit whatever category you need. Thus, Group A is human and Group B is not because they don't have what Group A does. Enslaving, discriminating against, and even killing Group B is justifiable because they are less than human.

Thus, without ever having to resort to a pagan cosmology, there are plenty of ways we humans have figured out to impose shades of grey onto Christianity by rejecting certain aspects of God.

I have been accused by players of being the most frightening Referee they've ever played with. The reason being that I apply my understanding of evil to my worlds. I insist on a clear dichotomy between Law and Chaos, which lends itself very well to the illusion that everything is black and white. In reality, evil corrupts everything and the most terrifying monsters in D&D are human. Yes, my monsters are physical manifestations of sin, but the true evil in my worlds originates with people, not monsters. As such, dealing with the folks back home can sometimes be more dangerous than delving in a dungeon. Survival rests upon my players' ability to recognize sin for what it is. Monsters, as personifications of sin, help us to do exactly that.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Let love be genuine; abhor what is evil, hold fast to what is good — Romans 12:9

The other day, James reflected on Bram Stoker's Dracula. He observed:

I can't help but feel disappointment at the way the archetype of the vampire has been so watered-down and indeed neutered of the power it packed in Stoker's day. I think there's still a lot of punch left in vampires but most of that punch comes from contemplating their status as thralls of Hell (whether literally or metaphorically) rather than as forever-young demigods.

In the discussion that followed, I made this particular comment:

Rather than a symbol of our own alienation, our recent love affair with vampires, serial killers and even zombies is a symptom of our own inability to distinguish good from evil.

Based on the comments that followed, I think it useful to actually look at what the word evil means, especially from a scriptural point of view.

There are a couple of ways to go about defining evil. The first is to look at the words in Scripture that mean "evil." In Greek they are poniros and kakos. Poniros derives from the Greek word for "pain" and has been used as a title for the devil — "the Evil One." In fact, this is the word used in the last line of the Lord's Prayer and can be and has been translated as both "evil" and "the Evil One." Kakos simply means "bad" and is less significant to the Scriptural understanding of evil than the words adikia (wrong-doing, injustice) and amartia (sin).

Note that both adikia and amartia have the prefix of "a," indicating an absence of something — adikia meaning an absence of righteousness or justice and amartia meaning missing the mark. This suggests that an apophatic approach — looking at what evil is not — might actually be more useful than looking at poniros and kakos themselves.

  • Good and upright is the Lord — Psalm 25:8
  • O taste and see tat the Lord is good — Psalm 34:8
  • Give thanks to Him; praise His name; for the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting — Psalm 100:4-5
  • Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For his mercy endures forever — Psalm 106:1; 107:1; 118:1, 29; 136:1
  • Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good — 135:3

I quote all these statements in context of the name of God revealed to Moses from the burning bush (Exodus 3:14). In English, the name of God is often rendered I AM. In Greek it is the One Who Is. In other words, the very name of God is a sentence begging for a predicate. Throughout Scripture, the titles of God are those predicates: Truth, Righteousness, Longsuffering, Love, Life, Good, etc.

Thus, God is Good. As such,

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth — James 1:17-18

All that is good in the world comes from God because God is Good.

Evil, then, when understood apophatically as an absence of good, is actually the absence of God. Sin is that which separates us from God — we miss the mark, who is God. Further, God made us in His image and likeness. When we sin against another human being, it is a failure to see and acknowledge the image and likeness of God within that other person. Murder, for example, is the attempt to eradicate the image and likeness.

Our secular society has done its best to remove God from all aspects of life. In the absence of all that is good — God — how can we expect to be able to determine what is good or evil? Yet, human beings are wired for God and we yearn for Him and for His eternity. Without Him, this yearning produces watered-down bloodsucking eternally young demi-gods that we fail to see as monsters. For another take on this, see Fr. Barron's commentrary on vampires.

In terms of role playing, this is why I prefer understanding monsters as physical manifestations of sin and the dungeon as part of the mythical underworld. Metaphorically, it mirrors the monastic's struggle against demons in the wilderness. XP for gold spent represents characters improving themselves for their next battle against demons and sins. Conquering land in the wilderness to build a stronghold represents the process of sanctifying part of the fallen world, of winning it back from the devil and his angels. Failure to recognize a monster as a monster becomes a failure to recognize sin. A failure to recognize sin is a failure to recognize not only how far off the mark we are, but a failure to recognize the image and likeness of God within ourselves.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Children of the Watchers

Recently, while doing some research, I ran across a reference to the "Children of the Watchers." It is a phrase that pops up in some of the Apocrypha found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The origin of the phrase lies in the word "Nephilim" in Genesis and and the word "Watcher" in Daniel.

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days — and also afterward — when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown. — Genesis 6:4

This is a difficult passage to translate and to understand. Are the Nephilim the children of the sons of God — angels — and women, or are they something else altogether? In context, the author is giving a litany of examples of how sinful creation has become prior to God's decision to tell Noah that He's going to flood the earth. To boot, Nephilim is not easily translated (as it is simply transliterated in the English); however, we do get a glimpse of what it might mean from the Jews of Alexandria some 300 years before Christ. The translation of the OT into Greek that they produced (called the Septuagint or LXX) translates the word Nephilim as "giants." We see a reference to giants again in the Wisdom of Solomon:

For even in the beginning, when arrogant giants were perishing, the hope of the world took refuge on a raft, and guided by your hand left to the world the seed of a new generation. — Wisdom of Solomon 14:6

Thus, this author has interpreted Genesis 6:4 to indicate that the Nephilim were monsters. In Baruch, we see giants again:

O Israel, how great is the house of God, how vast the territory that he possesses! It is great and has no bounds; it is high and immeasurable. The giants were born there, who were famous of old, great in stature, expert in war. — Baruch 3:24-26

This time the author understands giants to be the heroes of old, born of the sons of God and women.

Take all three together, and the Nephilim of Genesis 6:4 are the monstrous offspring of some angels and women.

The term "Watcher" is used in the OT exclusively in Daniel:

The sentence is rendered by decree of the watchers, the decision is given by order of the holy ones, in order that all who live may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of mortals; he gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of human beings.' — Daniel 4:17

This comes from a dream of Nebuchadnezzer that Daniel is asked to interpret. The "watchers" are an order of angels. From this particular passage, it seems that their task was to judge sin. The term "watcher" also is found in such Apocryphal works as the Book of Jubilees and the Book of Enoch. There seems to be an understanding that watchers are fallen angels. With the use of the term "Children of the Watchers" the Nephilim of Genesis 6:4 are interpreted to be the offspring of an order of fallen angels called the Watchers when they "went in to the daughters of humans."

This got my creative juices flowing, and evokes in me the image of some kind of secret society that acts as a group of depraved vigilantes meeting out their twisted version of justice through assassination. They are all descendants of Nephilim and get their name from their demonic progenitors. Since the Children of the Watchers are monsters, they can be any intelligent creature. Their ancestry and their vision of justice is what unites them. In addition to whatever powers and abilities they ordinarily have, Children of the Watchers gain all of the following abilities:

1) They surprise on a 1-4 and can only be surprised on a 1.
2) Any successful attack either from surprise or from the rear does an additional 1d6 damage for every 2HD the creature has.
3) They leave no tracks.

Regardless of their form, Children of the Watchers are all marked with the seal of their order:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Another Monster and a New Stat Block

I always find it interesting how important actual play is to understanding a game, and how to judge its design, and how its presentation. For example, as much as I love 3.5 on paper, I don't enjoy playing it.

In this light, I have decided to change the stat block I use when creating monsters. In play, the guys that I sit at the table with like to explore the wilderness, hunt down lairs and loot them. As such, I have been highly dependent upon random encounters and have found the follow items from a monster stat block to be essential:

  • Number Appearing — This gives me a baseline for determining the number of creatures encountered (and how many to expect inside a lair).
  • % in Lair — this helps determine whether or not the party has stumbled upon the monsters in or out of their home.
  • Morale — since this comes into play so much, especially with larger encounters in the wilderness, I need this stat at my finger tips.
  • Hoard Class — When that lair is actually found, I need to know what kind of treasure is in it.
  • XP — If I know exactly how much XP each monster is worth, I can easily keep a running tally.

I have also found that the following items unnecessarily clutter up the stat block:

  • AAC — though I have a group of guys that discovered our hobby through 3.5, they have adjusted very smoothly to AC and using THAC0.
  • Challenge Level — Frankly, I've never used this. The players know quite well that I don't dumb down or weaken the monsters in places they have no business being. Characters have been killed for not running away when they should have. The game is about choices. When I present to them a monster, it is what it is. The characters are then free to try their luck and skill or to run away and then face the consequences of their choice.

Keeping these things in mind for my home-brew monsters, I present the Flacara:


[Those] Who said, "Let us inherit the holy place of God for ourselves."
O my God, turn them like a wheel,
Like straw before the face of the wind,
Like fire that burns through a thicket,
Like a flame that sets mountains on fire;
Thus You shall pursue them with Your storm,
And You shall trouble them in your wrath.

—Psalm 83:13-16

Number Appearing: 2d4
% in Lair: 25%
Alignment: Chaotic
Armor Class: 3
Move: 9
Hit Dice: 2+1
Attacks: 1 weapon (1d6+1) + Flame Damage (1d6)
Special: Flame Damage
Save: F3
Morale: 9
Hoard Class: XIV
XP: 59

These vile creatures are about the size and stature of a Dwarf. Their flesh is cracked, blackened, and emaciated. As though burning from within, flames burst through the cracks and orifices all over their bodies. A Flacara's face is a mask of pain, something they take delight in inflicting on others. Every round spent in melee with a Flacara, a character must make a save vs. breath or take 1d6 fire damage. When a Flacara is using metal weapons or is fighting unarmed, any successful hit will generate an additional 1d6 flame damage unless a save v. breath is successful. They are immune to fire and cold attacks will actually add hit points. Flacara value gems over all other treasure.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Druids as Monsters

In an interesting piece of news most likely to be ignored by much of the American media, His Eminence Bartholomew, Patriarch of Constantinople is arriving today in New Orleans to be the key note speaker at the Religion, Science and the Environment Symposium held there through October 25. Bartholomew is known as the Green Patriarch and has been a champion for environmentalism for many years. I bring this up, because his environmentalism is not born of a political point of view, but rather from solid Christian theology.

In the 8th and 9th centuries, the Eastern Church went through the trauma of Iconoclasm — which literally means the breaking of the icons. At issue was the place of icons — the depiction of Christ and His saints — in worship and in the Church. The Iconoclasts equated their use with idolatry. The Seventh Ecumencial Council convened in the year 787 at Nicea specifically to defend icons and their use from a theological point of view. This view eventually won the day and icons are used by Orthodox Christians in worship to this day; however, underlying the whole controversy was humanity's relationship with nature and the place of nature in the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Iconoclasts had a difficult time with the depiction of Christ and His saints because they saw the act of making an icon to be an insult — that to use mere matter to depict our Saviour and the Holy people of God was to denigrate them. This argument finally runs counter to and calls into question the Incarnation of Christ — God Himself took on our humanity (became "mere" matter) for our salvation. It also fails to understand our place in creation and our relationship to creation. During the Seventh Ecumenical Council, St. Leontios of Cyprus states:

Through heaven and earth and sea, through wood and stone, through all creation visible and invisible, I offer veneration to the Creator and Master and Maker of all things. For the creation does not venerate the Maker directly and by itself, but it is through me that the heavens declare the glory of God, through me the moon worships God, through me the stars glorify Him, through me the waters and showers of rain, the dews and all creation, venerate God and give Him glory.

This sacramental view of our relationship can be seen in 1Peter 2:9:

You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of the darkness into His marvelous light.

In other words, our stewardship of nature — and the proper orientation of environmentalism — is centered on God. Through us — our prayers, our sacramental life and our "reduction of our carbon footprint" — nature is lifted up to God and participates in the eternity of the Kingdom of Heaven. In a very real sense, the proper platform from which to understand environmentalism is Christianity.

Thus, from this perspective, I believe that the LBBs got it right when they listed the Druid as a monster. As a defender of nature, the Druid fails to unite humanity with nature. Instead, they choose nature over and against civilization. They have no qualms about murdering thousands if it means saving a fish.

In my own understanding of the Lawful/Neutral/Chaotic alignment rules, I like the illustration of the city being attacked by hoards of cthuloid monsters and their minions. If you are on the wall defending the city, you are Lawful. If you are trying to break down the gate, you are Chaotic. If you don't care either way, you are neutral. Using this illustration, Druids actually fall closer to Chaotic than they do Neutral. Civilization is the major threat to nature and must be opposed. In this sense, Rangers, as the class that learns the ways of the wilderness in order to protect civilization from the wilderness, are the natural foes of Druids, not their comrades in arms, as they are in later editions of D&D.

Ultimately, the Druid's defense of nature makes the same mistake the Iconoclasts did in reverse — nature and humanity are incompatible. The result is destructive — the Iconoclasts destroyed thousands of invaluable religious artifacts and killed those who defended them, and Druids are willing to murder and destroy in the name of nature. In contrast, the relationship of humanity to nature in Christian theology is creative. We are called to not only protect our environment, but to live with it and to transform it — lift it into the Kingdom of Heaven to the glory of God.

In contrast, Druids are frightening. In my own version of the Temple of Elemental Evil, Druids run the show. They are rightly called monsters, and in my own worlds and campaigns they remain so.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lost Colonies Session 5

With the rescue of Fr. Taggert and the discovery of the mask and the albino tattooed raiders, the party sent correspondence to contacts in the city. Thus far, not much information has been garnered save for a rumor that there is an alchemist in Redwraith that might be able to help Hamlin regain his lost strength. As a result of this bit of information, the party headed north to that town, rumored to have an ongoing undead problem. The focus of our session, however, had little to do with Redwraith because a wandering monster encounter hijacked most of the session.

As the party trudged north, they spotted what looked like a dragon carrying a cow flying northwest. With unexpected bravado, they decided that they would follow it in hopes of finding the dragon's lair. What they found was a valley dotted with caves crawling with goblins all wearing dragon-themed heraldry.

The party set up a pair of ambushes to capture a prisoner to interrogate for information. They found out that the goblins had thrown in their lot with the dragon, who they saw as their champion and protector. They also found out in which cave the dragon laired.

They decided to try to disguise one of the party as a goblin to sneak into the valley and then use a potion of diminution to sneak into the dragon's lair to steal some treasure. This was all enthusiastically received until they realized that the only party member that could speak goblin was Vonz the elf, played by our youngest and least experienced player.

Knowing that this plan would likely result in Vonz's death, the rest of the party left it up to Vonz as to whether or not he would go. Embracing his doom, he agreed. The party then detailed an excellent plan, taking advantage of Vonz's abilities and his Charm Person spell. They even gave him the strange metallic potion they found last session in case he needed it for negotiation. In the hands of a more experienced player, I would have given the party a decent chance of getting away with some treasure. Unfortunately, once Vonz was on his own, the carefully laid out plan completely fell apart.

What resulted was a very entertaining evening at Vonz's expense — to the delight of everyone, even Vonz's player (though he did not quite appreciate it as much as the rest of us). In what ammounted to a comedy of errors, Vonz bumbled into the dragon's lair and proceeded to get eaten.

The party then abandoned their quarry, and continued toward Redwraith. On the way, they stumbled upon a small Dwarven colony that specialized in working bronze. When it became clear that the party was headed to Redwraith, they were not welcome.

Finally, the party arrived at Redwraith to find that its undead problem is a result of being ruled by a cadre of necromancers. The offered cure for Hamlin's lost strength was an alchemal creature called a Thanaty Worm — a symbiot that helps heal the host. The cost of this relationship, however, is that once the worm's host dies, the Thanaty Worm transforms the corpse into walking dead in service of Redwraith's necromancers. Hamlin was unwilling to pay this price and the session ended with a quick return to Headwater, but not before picking up another adventurer — Deacon Swibish of Redwraith, who, unlike Hamlin, was quite willing to take on a Thanaty Worm. We shall see how that plays out.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Our Deracinated Hobby

One of the great things about reading Grognardia is the wonderful vocabulary that James pulls out every now and then. One such wonderful word is derancinated. I was as shocked as James when this etymological gem from Middle French garnered the reaction it did. It got me to thinking about a guy named Marcion.

In the second century, about A.D. 140, this guy named Marcion showed up at the church in Rome with a hand full of cash. By 144, however, Marcion's theological system was revealed. His money was returned and he was excommunicated.

Marcion believed that the Hebrew God of the Old Testament was not the same God that Jesus came to reveal. He could not reconcile the jealousy, wrath and legalism of the OT God with the love of the NT God. Thus, he insisted on the very first canon of Scripture in the Christian era: the Gospel according to Luke (the only Gentile of the Evangelists) and ten of the Epistles attributed to St. Paul. He tried to strip Christianity of its Hebrew roots in order to understand it.

The Church insisted on retaining the OT with all its warts, all its inconsistencies, and all its historical inaccuracies knowing that its primary purpose was revelation. All those warts, inconsistencies and historical inaccuracies had to be reconciled if one was to be able to answer the question, "Who is God?" and more specifically that most important question, "Who is Jesus Christ?"

Despite the problems that arise from all these books, written by different people, edited and redacted by others from different times, in different places, in different languages and in a variety of genres, the Church knows more about God and more about Christ from the OT than it does from the NT. Without its roots — Hebrew Scripture and Judaism — Christianity is rendered meaningless.

Let me be clear: I am not trying to place OD&D on some kind of biblical plane without which D&D's later editions are rendered meaningless nor am I trying to declare that anyone who prefers to play later editions of the game are heretics. I am trying to say that the endeavor to understand the roots and history of this hobby is not only something that we in the OSR enjoy doing, but it is good for the hobby as a whole.
Christianity left behind many liturgical practices and traditions from its Judaic past; however, it also holds onto some practices that modern Judaism no longer uses. Knowing the whys and the wherefores not only makes the Christian liturgical life richer, it makes all of life more meaningful.

It is certainly possible to play 4th Edition and have a blast doing so without ever knowing anything about 0e-3.5e. I would argue, though, that someone who does know the history, archeology and mechanics of our hobby is not only going to be a better player, but will be better equipped to get the most fun out of whichever edition they choose to play.

Take, for example, my own experience with this game we love. I have seen the game morph the Cleric from being "humans who have dedicated themselves to one or more of the gods" (leaving room for either a monotheistic or polytheistic world-view) to being necessarily polytheistic and pagan. On their own, every edition of D&D starting with 2e is incompatible with my world-view. I am forced to choose between what I believe and the rules of the game — not my idea of a good time. However, in going back to the LBBs and the history of the game, I have discovered not only that making up rules and doing things on your own where expected elements of the game, but Clerics have their origin in Christianity. Thus, I am free to play whatever edition I choose with a monotheistic world-view knowing that I am standing squarely in the traditions of the game. That is my idea of a good time.

Random Dungeon

Recently I've been ill and mostly bedridden, during which I usually seek solace in B-movies and/or reading "bad" sci-fi and fantasy novels. For various reasons, I did not have access to either of these comforts and as such had to seek an alternative way to while away my time. I pulled out a book that has been collecting dust on my shelf for many years — Central Casting: Dungeons penned by Robert Sassone and published by Task Force Games in 1991. Claiming to be "The Ultimate Dungeon Construction Guide," it offers up a random dungeon generator to create dungeons that "make sense" (as if dungeons, outside of a metaphor for the underworld, ever make sense). Fascinated as I am with random tables, I couldn't resist picking this up when I ran across it years ago, but I have never really used it. So, I decided to use my sick bed time to create a random dungeon.

There are three things that I really liked about this book. First and foremost, it emphasizes that this whole random table thing is a guide. If you don't like something, you are encouraged to change or alter it — further proof that those of us who like random tables are not slaves to the dice. Second, it determines the function of the dungeon after it is complete based on what is actually there. Thus, the dungeon does actually "make sense." Third, they have a table to determine why the dungeon was abandoned and how that affects various things in the dungeon, giving the whole thing a sense of history. I actually enjoyed this process quite a bit.

Based on my rolls, this particular dungeon was used to house soldiers, but was well hidden and had a pair of throne rooms and a bedroom suite. Thus, I decided that it was the hideout of a Bandit King who enjoyed displaying the trappings of power. The dungeon was abandoned because it was attacked and occupied by a huge monster. The tables suggested a dragon, but I wanted to have a monster that was more likely to attract followers. In the description of Hobgoblins in the MM are these two tantalizing lines:

If the lair is underground, there is a 60% chance that there will be from 2-12 carnivorous apes as guards.
Most hobgoblins speak goblin, orcish and the rudimentary tongue of carnivorous apes...

Since I have never actually taken advantage of this, I decided that the huge monster would be a giant winged ape that then attracted to it hobgoblins and carnivorous apes.

1) Guardroom. A+A
2) Granary. A+A
3) Chapel. +A
4) Blacksmith.
5) Servant's Quarters. B
6) Arena. AA+AA
7) Dining Room. A+A
8) Kitchen.
9) Storeroom.
10) Construction + Trap.
11) Library. +A
12) Guardroom. A+A
12.1) Barracks. A+AB
12.2) Barracks. A+A
12.3) Barracks. A+A
13) Smithy. +A
14) Empty.
15) Guardroom. A+A
15.1) Barracks (Commander's Room). A+A
16) Servant's Quarters. A+A
17) Lavatory. No Water
18) Sculptor's Room.
19) Empty.
20) Torture Room (Whipping). A+A
21) Guardroom. A
22) Execution Room (poison). A
23) Armory.
24) Construction.
25) Guardroom. A
26) Empty.
27) Exhibition Room. A+A
28) Spellcaster's Lab. B+B
28.1) Secret Storage Room.
29) Antechamber.
29.1) Antechamber. B (Ghast)
29.2) Burial Chamber. B+B (Mummy)
30) Empty.
31) Great Hall. AA+AA
32) Arena. C+C (4-armed Ape)
33) Ampitheatre. B+B (Ghast in the crawl space beneath the stage)
34) Master Bedroom. C+AABC (Sons of Cyn)
34.1) Guardroom. A
34.2) Waiting Room. A+A
34.3) Private Dining Room.
34.4) Art Room. A
34.5) Sitting Room.
34.6) Library. B
34.7) Private Bath.
35) Weapon Training Room.
36) Fortification.
37) Great Hall. D+D (Winged Ape)
38) Well Room. Magic Fountain
39) Guardroom. A+A

The codes refer to the type of encounter and type of treasure. The letters before the '+' are encounter type and those after are treasure type. The letter 'A' refers to an encounter easily dealt with by the party (such as a group of Hobgoblins) and a small treasure. The letter 'D' refers to something very challenging to the party and a major treasure. In parenthesis placed creatures I would include in the more challenging encounter areas.

Winged Ape

Armor Class: 2 [17]
Hit Dice: 8
Attacks: 1-10/1-10 (+2d6)
Saving Throw: 8
Special: Rending, Immune to Fear, Never Surprised
Move: 9/18 (when flying)
Morale: 10
Challenge Level/XP: 10/1400

These giants, resembling grey apes with red skin, eyes and leathery wings, attack with powerful clawed hands. If both hands hit a single opponent, the winged ape will do an additional 2d6 damage by rending.