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Wednesday, 28 November 2012


Quasits are among the weaker of the demons. They're small, measuring about a foot long, though still kinda strong, have a poisonous bite and can turn into some potentially dangerous animals. Quasits are the Abyss' equivalent to imps, which are similarly intelligent shapeshifting winged tiny devils. However, unlike an imp, which probably has ambitions of power, a quasit is more likely to cause mayhem and will ally itself with someone that can accomplish that.

A quasit can be bound into the service of evil spellcasters. A valuable tool for any malevolent mage as imps can speak with other members and lords of the Abyss to get some information back.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Phase Spider

The Phase Spider is a creature with a unique hunting style. Eschewing any kind of web-spinning, it has instead evolved a startling ability enabling it to quickly and ferociously ambush foes: as a move action it can "phase" out of material existence, becoming briefly ethereal and intangible to the senses of its prey on the Material Plane. The spider locates its prey in secret, then shifts into the ether, where it can position itself to suddenly shift back into existence (appearing, to the surprise of its prey, to appear out of thin air!) to bite and poison its target, before retreating in ethereal form to wait for the venom to do its work.

The Phase Spider's large size (about as tall as a man, ten or so feet in diameter) makes humans perfect prey.

The "phase" effect I've gone for might seem a little confusing without being animated - it's sort of based on Anti-Mage's blink animation from Dota 2, I imagine the body glowing then "peeling away" into nothing, and reforming the same way. I haven't done an animated entry in a while so if you guys want maybe I'll give it a go sometime!

Sunday, 25 November 2012


The Prismasaurus is one of those creatures that sounds funny at first. It may be a big dinosaur, taller than a man at the shoulder, but it's still a big dumb animal with a rainbow on its back. Then you're blinded, set on fire, driven insane and sent into another dimension. It's less funny after that.

The Prismasaurus is an epic-level creature, which means that it's the kind of thing you need a +5 vorpal sword to hope to penetrate its ridiculous diamond-hard skin. Its back has a crystalline ridge that reflects all light back as a rainbow of the prismatic spray variety. This rainbow is also blinding, helps neutralize spells and surrounds in a confusing swirl of colours and light that make it difficult to take aim. Fortunately, this only affects creatures within a certain range of it, so maybe you should exchange the vorpal sword for a really really strong ballista.

Or dig a hole that it can fall into and starve to death. Bam, level 1 party defeats CR 28 creature with shovels, a lot of time and some camouflaging twigs.

The actual illustration of the Prismasaurus in the Epic Level Handbook is a little bit ehhhh in my opinion. The idea of a rainbow dinosaur is pretty ludicrous to begin with, but the illustration in the book is a bit dull. It's literally a brown iguanodontian dinosaur with a little streak of color going down its back. The miniature of this creature actually looks better than the illustration, though it keeps quite close to the drawing, if only by putting some emphasis on the colour of its back.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Ocean Strider

The Ocean Strider is a sea-bound guardian. They appear as 20-foot tall humanoids with rubbery orca-like skins that walk on the surface of the water. The very sight of this black and white colossus walking towards your boat, wreathed in fog and flanked by dire sharks, whales and giant quid is enough to strike fear into the scurviest of sea dogs.

It's a little unclear whether the protection they give their spot of the ocean is altruistic or fierce territoriality. What are you doing on my property, and all that business. Any creature that doesn't belong is that part of the ocean is quickly seen to. So any boats that have the misfortune of being there can expect some kind of encounter with these guys. Fortunately, the promise to keep fishing to a minimum, avoid dumping, and getting out as soon as possible is all they ask. But if you try to fight them or sail by, you can look forward to terrible weather, attacks by elementals, having your ship sunk and your crew eaten by sea creatures. Also they reeeeally don't like anyone who wants to plunder the ocean depths.

I really like orcas. They're one of the more striking sea-mammals, thanks to their monochromatic markings. I also really like fey, the balance between nature protector and tricky little jerk. So obviously I really like this creature.

However, the stat block is kinda confusing. So they're Huge sized creatures, yes? Then why do they only have 19 STR? I know that Ocean Strider's are fey, which are always more about trickiness than brute strength, but this is a fey that's half killer whale and it likes to sink ships. For reference, an orca as statted out in the books has 27 STR. The description says they normally wear mithril armor, but that's not taken into account in the AC. They wield Gargatuan weapons, but I don't think the numbers are quite right (doesn't a Gargantuan falchion deal 4d6, not 2d8 damage?). And their CR is 18, but they seem a little too weak for that. I guess they get a couple of CR points for the extra damage they can do with their summoning spells and the fact that if they get you in the water, that's probably gonna be it for you. I don't know if I'm just misunderstanding the stat block though. I still like this creature though.

Sunday, 18 November 2012


The Ormyrr are, in many ways, a noble race; they have merely been dealt something of an ignoble genetic hand. Descended from slug-like creatures living in the silt deposits of rivers, they have nonetheless risen to form societies comparable in intelligence with those of humans, although the individuals are giant - averaging around 30 feet long in adulthood.

The chief failing among the Ormyrr is their utter dearth of any magical adeptitude. Whether by chance or intent, the Ormyrr are genetically incapable of producing mages or magic-sensitive offspring. In a colourful world of wizards and magical monsters this has bestowed the Ormyrr with a jealous fascination with all things magical - they hoard enchanted items for use as currency and commonly attack the owners of any they find. Some say the ultimate goal of the Ormyrr is to finally breed a sorcerer.

In an odd counterbalance to their jealousy the Ormyrr are fastidiously law-abiding creatures. Many have escaped death at their hands by appealing to their deep-seated sense of right and wrong.

Saturday, 17 November 2012


The Needlefolk are a race of sentient plants. They're not especially intelligent, but have good problem-solving skills and ambush tactics. However, they do not form societies. They live as individuals, walking around the forest finding sustenance in decaying animals, sunlight and pools of water (lacking a root system, they must drink water through a facial orifice). One of the few times you're likely to see groups of them is when groups of them are growing from their seeds. Since Needlefolk tend to stay in small territories, their seeds are spread in a small area.

The only other time you're likely to see large groups of them is when they're stalking their most hated enemy: elves. No one's entirely sure where this incredible hatred come from, but Needlefolk feel such a passionate loathing that they've even developed the bizarre ability to sense elven blood from 1,500 feet away. Even if it's a large troupe of elves, a single Needlefolk will stalk them, seething, until a big enough number of Needlefolks have been drawn to the elves to warrant an attack. They're smart enough to put aside hatred in the name of strategy and survival.

Needlefolk have no magical abilities, but can shoot the thorns from their body into one target. The thorns sting like the dickens. You'll be quite safe duing winter months though. Since they're decidous plants, Needlefolk shed their leaves in auturm and sleep through the cold.

Sunday, 11 November 2012


Most golems are, by and large, not constructions of great finesse. The materials usually available to the artificer - wood, stone, metal - lend themselves to sturdy, simple designs, which perfectly suit the usual role of constructs as gatekeepers and bodyguards; difficult to damage, and with considerable stopping power. As with all magical engineering, however, there is always somebody willing to take matters a step further.

Thus, we have the Nimblewright. The Nimblewright is unique among constructs in a number of ways. It is humanoid and of medium size, built more for agility than physical presence, and notably capable of impersonating a humanoid creature in appearance with a few add-ons and a spell or two. More than this, the thing that truly distinguishes the Nimblewright is its intelligence: golems are normally nonintelligent machines, capable only of understanding a few simple commands from their controller. The Nimblewright is animated by an elemental spirit of water, imbuing it with human intelligence and a unique personality, allowing for intuitive thinking in any situation. For this reason, Nimblewrights are often used as assassins and spies.

Robot form is sort of inspired by the aesthetics of that robot girl from the more recent Tekken games, she has some great moves where she sort of casually pops her head off. I'd love to revisit this and animate a transformation, I imagine it'd be horrifying in a Ghost-in-the-Shell way to see it happen. Blanca says the robot form looks like Samus. :(

Blanca's been working this weekend, so her post will be up later in the week!

Monday, 5 November 2012


Happy belated Halloween, peeps. Have a mummy.

I'm sure you guys have come across one of these fellas at some point or another, and begun to crumble to dust as a result of their curse. Well, that's all your fault because what were you doing disturbing the dead.

Mummies are interesting, but sadly very varied in design, tending to stick to the Egyptian archetype. A mummy is a dead body that's had some sort of treatment to it to preserve it, so instead of rotting away into goo, it becomes withered and dessicated. The word 'mummy' comes from 'mummia', the combination of ingredients used in the embalming process. This sort of thing usually comes attached to belief that the soul can return to the body, and that it should be kept as nice as possible. Lots of other cultures practices mummification: Incas, the people of the Canary Islands, the Philippines, Buddhists... The Buddhists are the most interesting ones I think, since it's self-mummification.

Some Buddhist monks believed they knew when they were going to die. When they felt their time was coming, they changed their diet to a set of vegetation that they thought would help preserve them post-death. They were then walled alive, where they eventually starved-slash-died of dehydration, trying to do so in the lotus position. The body would be exhumed after a set amount of time, and if it was in good condition, it would become a sacred relic. Some of these mummies were cast in gold (hint: use levitating gold-clad mummies in your game). Self-mummification is now banned.

Mummification is still practiced today, though not as commonly. There's embalming, which is like mummification-lite, a way of keeping the body nice for a long period of time. There's also Summum (which is kinda exclusive). If you look up mummies, they're not hugely impressive for the whole preservation brouhaha; they all look black and shrunken, so what's the big deal. But then you look at Rosalia Rombaldo, which was a little girl who was mummified by her father in 1920, who despite a looking a little waxy and yellow, looks remarkably fresh for someone who's been dead for almost a century.

Saturday, 3 November 2012


The Morhg is a horrifying creature even among the undead. Born from the bodies of mass murderers, Morghs unusually do not keep any semblance of the form they held in life; appearing rather as a hideously long, flesh-coloured, worm-like creature. They then in turn infest dead bodies they encounter as vile puppets of meat.

Happy belated Halloween! For this, the most spooky of holidays, Blanca and I have illustrated some particularly terrifying monsters. The Morhg is one of those monsters that catches your eye with sheer disgust when you first see it - something about this horrible parasitic slug that reminds you of the creatures from Shivers, or those horrible primordial worm monsters in Peter Jackson's King Kong. The inspiration here is partially from the conceptually wonderful Rasklapanje enemies in Resident Evil 6, with a pinch of the long-headed ReDeads from LoZ: Wind Waker. Eurgh!