Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Gamer ADD: Fiend Folio Part 8

Wandering Monster Table Level 2

This is a continuation of what I started yesterday. Although I am itching to stock a dungeon with yesterday’s Wandering Monster Table (WMT), I am going to hold off until I complete all three levels of WMTs that would be found in a FF Basic Edition. In his advice for stocking dungeons, Moldvay suggests that there always be at least a couple of encounters that are placed rather than randomly determined. For these encounters, I like to look at and even roll on WMTs a level or two higher than the current dungeon level — a strategy akin to making them “boss” encounters.

Here is the WMT for Level 2 from Moldvay with the specific monsters stripped out. The numbers in the parentheses are HD and an asterisk indicates a special ability such as poison:

  1. insect (2*)
  2. human (1+1*)
  3. mammal (3+2)
  4. demi-human (1+1*)
  5. undead (2*)
  6. humanoid (2)
  7. slime/ooze (3*)
  8. humanoid (1+1)
  9. reptile (4+2)
  10. humanoid (2+1)
  11. humanoid (2)
  12. human (1 to 3)
  13. fey (2)
  14. insect (1*)
  15. mammal (2)
  16. reptile (2*)
  17. insect (3*)
  18. humanoid (2*)
  19. human (1 to 3)
  20. undead (2)

I will continue my strategy with humans — use classes and indicate level using level titles. A number of other challenges arise due to the variety of monsters in the FF. Undead are scarce, thus the Coffer Corpse will make a second appearance on Level 2. For a similar reason, Kenku will also make a second appearance; however, with the extra HD comes spell use. Therefore, they are not quite the same.

This is also true of the Garbug — Level 2 will see a stronger variety of this strange arthropod; however, one thing that I am beginning to notice about the FF is its dearth of insects. Yes, they do exist, but while traditional D&D monster sections have a good variety of insects that populate a number of HD ranges, the FF is spotty at best. One strategy might be to take a lower HD insect and increase the number encountered; however, I like more variety.

Therefore, I decided on placing the Gryph in one of the insect slots because using adventurers as a reproductive host seems to be a popular trope (and quite insect-like). I ran into a similar conundrum with reptiles. There are quite a few in the FF, but they are all higher HD. Thus, I went with one of my favorite FF monsters, the Volt. Here is what I came up with:

  1. Gryph (2*)
  2. Conjurer (3rd level MU)
  3. Hoar Fox (2*)
  4. Kenku (3*)
  5. Huecuva (2*)
  6. Qullan (2)
  7. Enveloper (3*)
  8. Norker (1+2)
  9. Fire Snake (2*)
  10. Ogrillon (2)
  11. Grimlock (2)
  12. Warrior (2nd level fighter)
  13. Dire Corby (2)
  14. Pernicon (.5*)
  15. Rothé (2)
  16. Volt (2+1*)
  17. Garbug (3+1*)
  18. Flind (2+3)
  19. Robber (3rd level thief)
  20. Coffer Corpse (2*)

In a strange way, this table feels a little more familiar than the Level 1 WMT. The humanoids, while still very different from your everyday run-of-the-mill orc, are still somewhat familiar. Norkers are akin to hobgoblins. Flinds are a variety of gnolls. Ogrillons are literally a cross between orcs and ogres. Even the strange looking Qullan remind me of the type of berserker I’d expect to see two levels down in a dungeon.

Of course, this doesn’t stop me from realizing that there is a kind of dangerous Alice in Wonderland kind of feel to this list. Everything may seem familiar, but beneath the familiar facade is a dark twist that contains a deadly surprise if you are not careful. I am particularly interested to see that Ghostbusters moment when a party realizes that the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man really is demonic and wants to absorb you and use your powers against your friends...

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