Creatures #

This chapter describes many common and uncommon creatures that the characters might meet—and fight—in a Cypher System game and gives their stats. The variety of creatures that populate the possible settings and genres is so great that this chapter only scratches the surface. It does, however, provide examples of kinds of inhabitants—bestial and civilized, living and undead, organic and inorganic—so that you can easily extrapolate and create your own.

Understanding The Listings #

Every creature is presented by name, followed by a standard template that includes the following categories.

Level: Like the difficulty of a task, each creature and NPC has a level attached to it. You use the level to determine the target number a PC must reach to attack or defend against the opponent. In each entry, the difficulty number for the creature or NPC is listed in parentheses after its level. As shown on the following table, the target number is three times the level.

Level Target Number
1 3
2 6
3 9
4 12
5 15
6 18
7 21
8 24
9 27
10 30

Description: Following the name of the creature or NPC is a general description of its appearance, nature, intelligence, or background.

Motive: This entry is a way to help the GM understand what a creature or NPC wants. Every creature or person wants something, even if it’s just to be left alone.

Environment: This entry describes whether the creature tends to be solitary or travel in groups and what kind of terrain it inhabits (such as “They travel in packs through dry wastes and temperate lowlands”).

Health: A creature’s target number is usually also its health, which is the amount of damage it can sustain before it is dead or incapacitated. For easy reference, the entries always list a creature’s health, even when it’s the normal amount for a creature of its level.

Damage Inflicted: Generally, when creatures hit in combat, they inflict their level in damage regardless of the form of attack. Some inflict more or less or have a special modifier to damage. Intelligent NPCs often use weapons, but this is more a flavor issue than a mechanical one. In other words, it doesn’t matter if a level 3 foe uses a sword or claws—it deals the same damage if it hits. The entries always specify the amount of damage inflicted, even if it’s the normal amount for a creature of its level.

Armor: This is the creature’s Armor value. Sometimes the number represents physical armor, and other times it represents natural protection. This entry doesn’t appear in the game stats if a creature has no Armor.

Movement: Movement determines how far the creature can move in a single turn. Creatures have movements of immediate, short, long, or very long, which equate to the ranges of the same name. Most PCs have an effective movement of short, so if they are chasing (or being chased by) a creature with immediate movement, their Speed tasks are eased; if the creature’s movement is long or greater, the PCs’ Speed tasks are hindered.

Modifications: Use these default numbers when a creature’s information says to use a different target number. For example, a level 4 creature might say “defends as level 5,” which means PCs attacking it must roll a target number of 15 (for difficulty 5) instead of 12 (for difficulty 4). In special circumstances, some creatures have other modifications, but these are almost always specific to their level.

Combat: This entry gives advice on using the creature in combat, such as “This creature uses ambushes and hit-and-run tactics.” At the end of the combat listing, you’ll also find any special abilities, such as immunities, poisons, and healing skills. GMs should be logical about a creature’s reaction to a particular action or attack by a PC. For example, a mechanical creation is immune to normal diseases, a character can’t poison a being of energy (at least, not with a conventional poison), and so on.

Interaction: This entry gives advice on using the creature in interactions, such as “These creatures are willing to talk but respond poorly to threats,” or “This creature is an animal and acts like an animal.”

Use: This entry gives the GM suggestions for how to use the creature in a game session. It might provide general notes or specific adventure ideas.

Loot: This entry indicates what the PCs might gain if they take items from their fallen foes (or trade with or trick them). It doesn’t appear in the game stats if the creature has no loot.

GM Intrusion: This optional entry in the stats suggests a way to use GM intrusion in an encounter with the creature. It’s just one possible idea of many, and the GM is encouraged to come up with their own uses of the game mechanic.

Normal Animals #

Unlike many creatures in this chapter, normal animals are simple and understandable enough to be encapsulated by just their level and maybe one or two other stats.

  • Bear, black: level 3, attacks as level 4
  • Bear, grizzly: level 5; health 20; Armor 1
  • Dog: level 2, perception as level 3
  • Dog, guard: level 3, attacks and perception as level 4
  • Hawk: level 2; flies a long distance each round
  • Horse: level 3; moves a long distance each round
  • Rat: level 1
  • Rattlesnake: level 2; bite inflicts 3 points of Speed damage (ignores Armor)

Fantasy Creatures And NPCs By Level #

Level Name
1 Goblin*
1 Shadow
2 Guard*
2 Morlock
2 Orc*
2 Skeleton*
2 Wraith
3 Bard
3 Berserker
3 Crime boss*
3 Deinonychus*
3 Faerie
3 Giant rat*
3 Giant spider*
3 Halfling
3 Harpy
3 Merfolk
3 Sapient tree
3 Thug*
3 Thug*
3 Transitional vampire*
3 Zombie*
4 Deep one*
4 Devil*
4 Druid
4 Dwarf
4 Elemental, air
4 Elemental, fire
4 Elemental, water
4 Elf
4 Ghost*
4 Ghoul*
4 Giant snake*
4 Hollow knight
4 Minotour
4 Ogre*
4 Paladin
4 Shadow elf*
4 Thief
4 Werewolf*
5 Basilisk
5 Cambion
5 Demon
5 Elemental, earth*
5 Fallen angel*
5 Gorgon
5 Mi-go*
5 Necromancer
5 Occultist*
5 Prince(ss) of summer*
5 Satyr
5 Soul Eater
5 Wendigo*
5 Witch*
6 Assassin*
6 Blackguard
4 Elemental, water
4 Elemental, water
4 Elf
4 Ghost*
4 Ghoul*
4 Giant snake*
4 Hollow knight
4 Minotour
4 Ogre*
4 Paladin
4 Shadow elf*
4 Thief
4 Werewolf*
5 Basilisk
5 Cambion
5 Demon
5 Elemental, earth*
5 Fallen angel*
5 Gorgon
5 Mi-go*
5 Necromancer
5 Occultist*
5 Prince(ss) of summer*
5 Satyr
5 Soul Eater
5 Wendigo*
5 Witch*
6 Assassin*
6 Blackguard
6 Chimera*I
6 Elemental, thorn
6 Golem*
6 Hag
6 Jotunn, fire
6 Jotunn, frost
6 Manticore
6 Puppet tree*
6 Troll
6 Vampire*
6 Wyvern
7 Corrupt mage
7 Cyclops
7 Djinni*
7 Dragon*
7 Evil priest
7 Giant*
7 Hydra
7 Noble knight
7 Sphinx
7 Statue, animate*
7 Tyrannosaurus rex*
7 Worm that walks
8 Lich
8 Wizard, mighty*
9 Demigod*
9 Demon Lord
10 Kaiju*

* Creature or NPC found in the Cypher System

Bigger And Tougher #

If you need a larger or tougher version of a creature, such as a dire wolf or a giant crocodile, you can just increase the creature’s level (and all of its modifications) by 1 or 2. If the creature has a damage or health stat that isn’t the default for its level, take that into account at the modified creature’s new level.

A simple rule of thumb is to double a creature’s size (length, width, and height) for every level it increases.

Other Creatures And NPCs For A Fantasy Game #

  • Bat: level 1
  • Black bear: level 3, attacks as level 4
  • Blacksmith: level 2, metalworking as level 4; health 8
  • Cat: level 1, Speed defense as level 3 due to size and quickness
  • Catfolk: level 3, balancing and climbing as level 4; damage inflicted 4 points
  • Centaur: level 4; health 15; moves a long distance each round
  • Crocodile: level 4; Armor 1; swims a short distance each round
  • Dire wolf: level 4, attacks and perception as level 5; Armor 1
  • Dog: level 2, perception as level 3
  • Dog, guard: level 3, attacks and perception as level 4
  • Elephant: level 5; health 20; Armor 1
  • Farmer: level 2, animal handling as level 3; health 8
  • Gargoyle: level 3; Armor 5; damage inflicted 5 points; flies a short distance each round
  • Giant ape: level 3, climbing and attacks as level 4
  • Giant crab: level 6; Armor 4; pincer attack holds prey and automatically inflicts damage each turn until the target succeeds at a Might or Speed defense task
  • Giant frog: level 3
  • Giant octopus: level 5, Might defense and stealth as level 6; health 25; attacks four times as an action
  • Giant scorpion: level 4; Armor 2; damage inflicted 4 points plus 4 points of Speed damage (ignores Armor) on a failed Might defense task
  • Giant snake: level 4; health 18; Armor 2; damage inflicted 4 points plus 3 points of Speed damage (ignores Armor) on a failed Might defense task
  • Gnoll: level 2, Speed defense as level 3 due to shield; health 8; Armor 2
  • Gorilla: level 2, attacks as level 3; damage inflicted 3 points
  • Griffon: level 4, perception as level 5; Armor 1; flies a long distance each round
  • Grizzly bear: level 5; health 20; Armor 1
  • Hawk: level 2; flies a long distance each round
  • Hippogryph: level 3, attacks as level 4; flies a long distance each round.
  • Horse: level 3; moves a long distance each round
  • Leopard: level 4; climbing, jumping, stealth, and attacks as level 5; Armor 1
  • Lion or tiger: level 5, attacks as level 6; Armor 1
  • Lizardfolk: level 3; Armor 1
  • Merchant: level 2, haggling and assessment tasks as level 3
  • Mummy: level 6; ancient history, ancient religion, climbing, and stealth as level 8; health 24; Armor 2; damage inflicted 7 points
  • Nymph: level 3, stealth and positive social interactions as level 6
  • Pegasus: level 3, Speed defense as level 4; moves or flies a long distance each round
  • Pterodactyl: level 3; Armor 1; flies a long distance each round
  • Rat: level 1
  • Roc: level 6; health 25; Armor 2; flies a long distance each round; attacks twice as an action
  • Shark: level 3, attacks as level 4; health 15; Armor 2
  • Undead claw: level 1, attacks as level 3, Speed defense as level 3 due to quickness and size; health 5; Armor 1
  • Unicorn: level 4; Might defense, perception, and attacks as level 5; health 15; Armor 1; makes two attacks as its action; once per hour can teleport up to 1 mile; once per hour can heal a creature for 4 Pool points (or health) and remove poisons up to level 4
  • Villager: level 1
  • Viper: level 2; bite inflicts 3 points of Speed damage (ignores Armor)
  • Warhorse: level 4; moves a long distance each round
  • Werebear: level 5, attacks as level 6; Armor 1; damage inflicted 6 points; regenerates 2
  • health per round (unless recently wounded by silver)
  • Wererat: level 3, Speed defense and stealth as level 4; regenerates 2 health per round (unless recently wounded by silver)
  • Wereshark: level 4, attacks as level 5; health 15; Armor 2; regenerates 2 health per round (unless recently wounded by silver)
  • Weretiger: level 5, attacks as level 6; Armor 1; damage inflicted 6 points; regenerates 2 health per round (unless recently wounded by silver)
  • Wolf: level 3, perception as level 4
  • Yeti: level 3; attacks, perception, and stealth as level 4; Armor 1

Creatures #

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An abomination is a hideous bestial humanoid covered with thickened plates of scarlet flesh. Their eyes shine with the stagnant glow of toxic waste dumps. Standing at least 7 feet (2 m) tall, abominations are drawn to movement. Always famished, they consume living prey in great tearing bites.

Motive: Hungers for flesh

Environment:: Almost anywhere, hunting alone or in pairs

Health: 22

Damage Inflicted: 6 points

Armor: 2

Movement: Short

Modifications: Might defense as level 6; sees through deception as level 3

Combat: Abominations use scavenged weapons to attack prey at range, but probably switch to biting targets within immediate range. Targets damaged by a bite must also succeed on a Might defense task or descend one step on the damage track as the abomination tears off a big piece of flesh and gulps it down. Those who survive an attack must succeed on a Might defense task a day later when they come down with flu-like symptoms. Those who fail begin the process of transforming into a fresh abomination.

Abominations regain 2 points of health per round and have +5 Armor against damage inflicted by energy (radiation, X-rays, gamma rays, and so on).

Interaction: Most abominations can speak and have vague memories of the people they were before transforming. However, those memories, motivations, and hopes are usually submerged in a hunger that can never be sated.

Use: Abominations hunt ravaged wastelands and bombed-out spacecraft hulks, lurk in basements where mad scientists have conducted illicit experiments, and haunt the dreams of children who’ve gotten in over their heads.

GM intrusion: The abomination isn’t dead; it stands up on the following round at full health.

5 (15)

A basilisk is a magical kind of serpent that resembles a cobra, has a series of scales on its head like a crown, and crawls upright instead of slithering on its belly. It feeds on snakes and other creatures smaller than itself, relying on its poisonous aura to weaken and kill its prey. It is known to make an unnerving growl instead of a typical snake hiss. An adult basilisk is 10 to 18 feet (3 to 5.5 m) long.

Motive: Hunger

Environment: Forests and plains

Health: 15

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: Perception and stealth as level 6

Combat: A basilisk bites like a snake, inflicting 5 points of damage and injecting a poison that moves the target one step down the damage track if they fail a Might defense roll.

The basilisk can spit its poison up to short range, inflicting 1 point of damage and moving the target one step down the damage track if they fail a Might defense roll.

The basilisk’s venom affects its breath, and on its turn, anything within immediate range of it must make a Might defense roll or take 1 point of poison damage. Because of this constant invisible cloud of poison, a basilisk’s lair is surrounded by a stinking area of dead vegetation, blasted earth, and etched stone.

Basilisk venom is so potent that even creatures that are immune to poison can still be harmed by it, taking 5 points of Speed damage instead of moving down the damage track. (A creature that is immune to poison and acid is fully immune to the venom.)

Anyone within short range of a basilisk who meets its gaze and fails a Might defense roll turns to stone. In combat, when a character within short distance attacks a basilisk, they must either avert their gaze to attack safely (which hinders their attack by two steps) or make a Might defense roll. On a failed Might defense roll, the character takes 5 points of ambient damage as their flesh partly mineralizes; if the character is killed by this damage, they are turned to stone.

Interaction: Basilisks act like simple animals and respond threateningly if disturbed or provoked. If not hungry, a basilisk avoids conflict and hides in its lair.

Use: A blighted area in a field, briar, or forest suggests that a basilisk has moved into the area. Swarms of snakes enter a village, fleeing an approaching basilisk.

Loot: Basilisk venom is valuable, but it must be stored in a strong, sealed container or the bearer will succumb to the poison. Its blood has alchemical properties relating to transmuting metals.

GM intrusion: Thebasilisk strikes quickly,biting the same creaturetwice on its turn.

6 (18)

Blackguards are evil knights who serve dark entities or their own corrupt agendas. Some were once honorable knights who fell to temptation and have abandoned their original principles, but many were raised under evil circumstances and have never known anything but hatred and conflict.

Motive: Power, domination of others, slaughter

Environment: Almost anywhere, either alone or as part of a cult or evil organization

Health: 30

Damage Inflicted: 7 points

Armor: 2 or 3

Movement: Short; long when mounted

Modifications: Perception and Intellect defense as level 7

Combat: Blackguards use high-quality armor and weapons (usually decorated with symbols depicting death, demons, or evil gods). Many wear heavy armor and prefer weapons that inflict bleeding wounds, but some take a more subtle approach and act more like assassins than knights. A blackguard typically has two or three of the following abilities:

Fiendish Beast: The blackguard has a companion creature such as a dog, horse, or raven with an eerie, unnatural look (in the case of small animals, the creature may also be an exceptionally large specimen of its kind). The creature is actually a semi-intelligent fiend in animal shape (and therefore immune to abilities that affect only normal animals) that can understand the blackguard’s commands, and may even be able to speak. If the beast is a horse or similar creature, the blackguard might ride it as a mount.

Fiendish beast: level 4, stealth as level 5, Might and Intellect defense as level 5

Necromancy: The blackguard uses a ten-minute ritual to animate a human-sized corpse as a zombie under their control. The zombie becomes a corpse again after a day.

Poison: The blackguard coats their weapons with a level 6 poison; a foe who fails a Might defense roll moves one step down the damage track.

Spells: The blackguard knows several spells granted by an evil entity, typically spells that cause a foe to flee in fear for one minute, restore 10 health, create an eerie darkness or fog in long range, or grant +5 Armor against energy and magical attacks for an hour.

Surprise Attack: When the blackguard attacks from a hidden vantage, with surprise, or before their opponent has acted in combat, they get an asset on the attack and inflict +4 points of damage. Unholy

Aura: Defense rolls by foes within immediate distance of the blackguard are hindered.

Unholy Blessing: The blackguard’s defense rolls are eased.

Interaction: Blackguards enjoy killing righteous paragons of good and are often cruel for the sake of cruelty itself.

Use: A blackguard has united various groups of bandits into a small army. An evil wizard sends her blackguard lieutenant to kill the people interfering with her plans.

Loot: Blackguards usually have treasures equivalent to three or four expensive items, a few useful manifest cyphers, and an artifact weapon or armor.

GM intrusions:The blackguard’s weaponflares with unholy power,inflicting an additional6 points of damage(ignores Armor).A slain blackguardrises as an undead or ispossessed by a demonand continues to figh

5 (15)

Fine ebony scales cover a cambion’s perfectly athletic figure. Two reddish horns grow from

its brow, and the tips of fangs emerge from between its dusky lips. Its eyes, absent iris and

pupil, are the color of driven snow. Cambions are cursed creatures, born of mortal and

demonic parentage, and are also sometimes called helborn. Most cambions give in to what

everyone expects of them, and embrace evil.

Motive: Defense, conquest, revenge on a world that’s rejected them

Environment:: Anywhere, often hiding in plain sight

Health: 25

Damage Inflicted: 6 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: Disguise as level 7

Combat: Cambions sometimes wield heavy weapons in combat, especially if they come across an artifact that can enhance their attacks. Some cambions develop their natural and magical abilities to become powerful sorcerers, but most can call up hellish energy merely by willing it at least once per day, as follows.

Finger of Torture: A ruby ray lances out from the cambion’s finger to strike an enemy prone with torturous pain on a failed Might defense task. The target automatically takes 6 points of damage each round until they can escape the effect with an Intellect task.

Soulfire Blast: An explosion of soul-rending black and crimson fire explodes around up to three targets standing next to each other within short range, inflicting 4 points of damage and stunning the targets so that they lose their next action on a failed Speed defense task.

Interaction: Cambions are bleak, depressed, and misunderstood. Most have turned to evil, but a few can be redeemed.

Use: A great fire is seen burning on the horizon. The next day, travelers come across a burned region with a crater that has destroyed a farmhouse. At the center of the crater is an unconscious human with hornlike growths on its head.

Loot: Powerful cambions sometimes wield artifacts as weapons.

GM intrusion: Thecharacter’s cypherexplodes when touchedby cambion demonfire on a failed Speeddefense task.

6 (18)

Chimeras are unsettling hybrids that combine the features of many different animals, often arranged in odd formations. The fusion of animal forms is the only thing that unifies these creatures—otherwise, different chimeras often look very different from each other. They include combinations of goat and lion, lizard and bat, dragon and spider, dinosaur and giant insect. A few even display human features, such as an improbably located face or hands instead of claws. Some chimeras can fly. Others slither across the ground.

A chimera typically has a dominant form to which other animal parts are grafted. The base form must be large enough to support the weight of the extra heads, so lions, bears, and horses are popular as the base form.

Chimeras kill even when not hungry and throw their victims’ remains around a wide area in a wild rage. When not feeding or tormenting prey, a chimera that can fly takes to the air, beating its enormous leather wings to scour the landscape for new prey.

Motive: Hungers for human flesh

Environment:: Anywhere, usually alone

Health: 21

Damage Inflicted: 4 points

Movement: Short while on the ground; long while flying (if it can fly)

Modifications: Speed defense rolls as level 5 due to size

Combat: All chimeras have a number of ways to kill. The exact methods vary, but most can bite, sting, and gore (three attacks) as a single action, either attacking the same opponent or attacking different foes within immediate range of each other. A chimera’s sting carries a powerful toxin, and a stung target must succeed on a Might defense roll or take 4 additional points of damage. Chimeras with spikes can project them at up to three targets within long range as a single action.

Interaction: Chimeras are a lot like wild animals with rabies. They’re confused and violent, and they behave erratically. Savage, ferocious beasts, they hate all other creatures and seize any opportunity to kill.

Use: While exploring an island, the PCs find carcasses that have been torn apart, the pieces scattered in all directions. A chimera lairs nearby, and if the characters draw attention to themselves, it hunts them down, too.

GM Intrusion: The Chimera Grabs A Character It Bites And Flies Off With The Victim

4 (12)

These segmented, 6-foot (2 m) long creatures look partly like larvae that have grown gargantuan and vicious. They appear in places where time moves more slowly or more quickly than normal, where balls and liquids flow upslope, or where a time traveler has visited.

Motive: Hungers for the flesh of those who create, or were created by, time anomalies

Environment: Clutches of four to eight fade into existence within long range of space-time fractures in almost any location.

Health: 18

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short; can phase into the dimension of time (and disappear) as a move. On its next action, it can phase back into the world up to 300 feet (90 m) from where it disappeared (as an action).

Modifications: Perception as level 5

Combat: A chronophage attacks with its crushing mandibles.

A chronophage can phase back and forth between its home dimension, and it uses this ability to great effect when hunting prey. For instance, it can close on prey otherwise protected by barriers or features of the landscape. It can also use the ability to draw a victim’s attention and then launch a surprise attack from behind after it has effectively teleported. However, it is an action for the creature to shift its phase between the dimension of time and normal reality.

Interaction: Chronophages are unswerving in their drive to find prey. Once one marks its target, only killing the creature can sway it from the prey.

Use: When the PCs happen upon a location where the rules of space-time are loose and malleable, or if the PCs trigger a cypher or other device that interferes with time’s regular flow, a clutch of chronophages may soon come calling.

Loot: The skin of a chronophage can be salvaged to create a silvery cloak that reflects its surroundings, but the reflection is one hour behind the present.

GM intrusion: If a chronophage’s prey fails its Speed defense roll, the attack ignores Armor, and the prey must make an Intellect defense roll (difficulty 4) or be phased into the chronophage’s home dimension of time. Victims automatically phase back into reality on their next turn but are displaced by 100 feet (30 m) straight up or to the closest open space. This usually results in a fall that potentially deals 10 points of damage, knocks victims prone, and dazes them, hindering all actions for a round.

Corrupt Mage
7 (21)

Some wizards and sorcerers are tempted by dark magic, inevitably damning their souls and corrupting their flesh as they cut corners and delve into forbidden lore. Their research and experimentation create new kinds of rampaging monsters and turn people into misshapen horrors. They sometimes modify their own bodies in order to gain demonic or draconic powers, or make pacts with such creatures for knowledge and magical ingredients.

Motive: Magical knowledge at all costs

Environment: Almost anywhere, usually with fleshbeast minions

Fleshbeast: level 4, attacks as level 5; health 15; Armor 1

Health: 35

Damage Inflicted: 7 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: All tasks related to knowledge of arcane lore, demons, and altering bodies as level 8

Combat: Corrupt mages blast opponents with beams of energy that blister, slash, and rot flesh, attacking up to three creatures as an action. Many of them have given themselves long claws and teeth that they can use to make up to three melee attacks per action.

A corrupt mage knows many spells, such as the following:

  • Armor: Covers a creature with ugly scales, granting them +3 to Armor for an hour.
  • Madness: Wracks the brain of one creature within short range for one hour, reducing them to a babbling catatonic state in which they can’t recognize friend or foe. If disturbed or harmed, the creature is likely to lash out with lethal force at what it perceives as its tormentors.
  • Organ Request: Extracts a handful of internal organs from an opponent within short range, moving the creature one step down the damage track if it fails a Might defense roll.
  • Polymorph: Transforms one foe within short range into a tiny, helpless creature such as a cockroach, fish, or snail for one hour.
  • Summon Demon: Summons a demon to serve the mage for one hour.
  • Teleport: Moves the mage up to 100 miles (160 km) away, or less far if they bring additional creatures with them.
  • Twist Flesh: Reshapes the flesh of a creature within close range, turning it into a hideous monstrosity for one hour. The transformed creature’s actions are hindered, but its physical attacks inflict +3 points of damage. The mage’s control over the creature is limited to indicating which target it should attack.

A corrupt mage usually has several cyphers useful in combat and perhaps an artifact as well.

Interaction: Corrupt mages generally can’t be trusted and see other creatures as things to experiment on and vivisect. They might negotiate with someone who brings them a rare specimen or spell. Many are mentally disturbed by their research and self-alterations and may fluctuate between calm clarity, obsession, paranoia, and rage.

Use: The strange hybrid monsters emerging from the forest are said to be the creations of a corrupt mage. A corrupt mage in a calm state presents themselves as a neutral or benevolent wizard seeking assistance on a task.

Loot: A corrupt mage has 1d6 cyphers and perhaps a wizardly artifact.

GM intrusions: A desperate or dyingcorrupt mage transformstheir own body intoseveral new fleshbeasts,which retain fragmentsof the mage’s intelligenceand immediately attack.The mage’s attack spellis incredibly painful,stunning the characterfor one round if they faila Might defense roll.

7 (21)

Cyclopes resemble massive humans that stand 50 to 60 feet (15 to 18 m) tall and weigh about 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg). Everything about these giants is exaggerated, from the thick features of their faces to their oversized hands and lumpy, corpulent bodies. They clothe themselves in animal skins, scraps of cloth, or canvas stolen during their travels. A cyclops’s most distinctive feature is the single eye positioned in the center of its forehead. Cyclopes live on the edges of civilized areas or on remote islands. For all their power and stature, they aren’t especially brave, and most have a dim idea that puny humans have an advantage when they have numbers on their side.

Motive: Hungers for flesh

Environment: Almost anywhere

Health: 32

Damage Inflicted: 8 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: Attacks targets within immediate range as level 5 due to poor eyesight; Speed defense as level 5 due to size; Intellect defense as level 4

Combat: A cyclops can always resort to using its fists in melee, pummeling opponents with knuckles the size of large hogs. However, most cyclopes carry a tree trunk and use it to sweep enemies from their path. Due to its massive height, a cyclops can make a melee attack against creatures within short range.

Cyclopes can pry up boulders from the ground and throw them at targets within long range. A thrown boulder inflicts 8 points of damage to all targets in an immediate area.

Killing a cyclops can be dangerous. When killed, it falls away from the attacker that delivered the killing blow. Any creature under it when it falls must make a successful Speed defense roll or be pinned under its corpse and take 7 points of damage. Escaping from under a dead cyclops requires a successful Might roll.

Interaction: Cyclopes know the language of the lands they inhabit, but they are notoriously dim and easily fooled. A cyclops thinks about its belly first and foremost and doesn’t pay much attention to what it stuffs in its mouth.

Use: A cyclops has been rampaging across the countryside, and warriors sent to deal with it have been vanquished. PCs who investigate learn that the cyclops has been robbed and is trying to find the stolen item.

Loot: Most cyclopes carry sacks filled with things they find interesting or plan to eat. Aside from the rubbish, a typical sack contains 1d100 coins of the realm and a couple of cyphers.

GM intrusions: The cyclops hits acharacter so hard thatthey fly a short distanceaway and land prone.

A character struckby the cyclops’s fist isgrabbed and stuffed inthe creature’s sack.

Deep One
4 (12)

Some deep ones dwell in coastal regions on land, usually in isolated villages where they might attempt to pass for human. They are able to breathe both air and water. Most, however, thrive in the ocean depths, in ancient underwater cities like “Cyclopean and many-columned Y’ha-nthlei.” Deep ones sometimes breed with insane humans to produce squamous offspring that eventually develop fully into deep ones well after maturity (or even middle age).

Motive: Hungers for flesh

Environment:: Anywhere near a large body of salt water

Health: 15

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Armor: 2

Movement: Short on land; long in the water

Modifications: Swims as level 6; perception as level 3

Combat: Deep ones attack with tooth and claw most often, although occasionally one might use a weapon. They usually give no quarter, nor ask for it. Their skin is subject to drying, and they take 1 extra point of damage (ignores Armor) from any attack that deals fire or heat damage. Because of this weakness, deep ones sometimes retreat from fire and fire attacks.

Interaction: Deep ones are a strange mix of utter alienness and the vestiges of lost humanity. They are foul and degenerate creatures by human standards, however. Many still retain the ability to speak human languages, but all speak their own slurred, unearthly tongue.

Deep ones spend a great deal of time in the sincere adoration of their gods, Mother Hydra, Father Dagon, and Cthulhu. Their religion demands frequent blood sacrifices.

Use: The PCs wander into a small coastal village where everyone seems standoffish and oddly distant. A few people appear to be sickly and malformed, perhaps from mutation or birth defects. Some of the villagers have squamous skin because they are transforming into deep ones. And, of course, true deep ones hide within the community as well.

Loot: A few deep ones will have a cypher.

GM intrusion: The deep one produces a net and throws it over the character. The only physical action the victim can take is to try to get free, as either a Might-based or a Speed-based action.

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Popularly known as the velociraptor, the dinosaur genus called deinonychus doesn’t care if its prey gets the proper terminology sorted. Meat tastes like meat. The “terrible claw” these carnivores are named after refers to their massive, sickle-shaped claws, which are unsheathed from their hind legs when attacking prey.

Deinonychus are pack hunters, which means they work together as a unit, each taking on different roles to scare, flush, and direct even intelligent prey into the claws of an ambush.

Motive: Hungers for flesh

Environment:: Wherever they can hunt food, in packs of three to seven

Health: 15

Damage Inflicted: 4 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: Perception as level 5; attacks and Speed defense as level 4 due to quickness; overcoming obstacles and figuring out tricks as level 4

Combat: When a deinonychus bites its prey, the victim takes damage and must make a Might defense roll. On a failure, the deinonychus holds the victim in place with its jaws while it slices them to ribbons with its terrible claws, automatically inflicting 6 points of damage each round in which they fail a Might-based task to break free (not attempting to break free counts as a failed attempt). For a human-sized or smaller victim held in the jaws, all other tasks are hindered by two steps.

Interaction: Vicious, cunning, and a little too smart to be classified as simple predators, these creatures are unlikely to negotiate, give quarter, or back off from a fight even if contact could be made.

Use: Some fool decided to build a Cretaceous-themed zoo. The only question is: How long before the dinosaurs get loose and take over the local mall?

GM intrusion: The fleeing deinonychus was actually leading the character over a cliff, into a deadfall trap, or into an ambush with more deinonychus.

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Lesser gods, divine children of gods and mortals, and other beings bequeathed with partly divine power are called demigods. Their capacities so radically exceed those of regular people that they have transcended humanity. Demigods are so physically and mentally powerful that it’s difficult for them to hide their semi-divine appearance to mortal creatures—not that most would make the effort in the first place.

Motive: Ineffable

Environment: Anywhere other divine entities exist (or once existed)

Health: 99

Damage Inflicted: 12 points

Armor: 5

Movement: Short; long when flying

Combat: Demigods can attack foes up to half a mile (1 km) away with bolts of divine energy (usually in the form of lightning). A demigod can dial up the level of destruction if it wishes, so that instead of affecting only one target, a bolt deals 9 points of damage to all targets within short range of the primary target. Targets caught in the conflagration who succeed on a Speed defense roll still suffer 5 points of damage.

Demigods are just as scary in hand-to-hand combat and can attack all targets within immediate range as an action. They can also call on a variety of other abilities that seem like magic to lesser foes and mimic the effect of any cypher of level 5 or lower.

A demigod doesn’t need to alter reality to heal itself, as it automatically regains 2 points of health per round.

Interaction: For all their power, demigods share most human traits and weaknesses. This means it’s possible to negotiate with one, though the consequences for angering a demigod in the process are dire.

Use: A demigod was banned from the higher realm of their birth for unknown reasons. Now they seek to show their worth by undertaking a great quest in the mortal world, and they are looking to assemble a group of mortal comrades (sycophants?) to aid them.

Loot: Demigods might carry an artifact related to some aspect of their domain (such as wind, messages, or death), if they have one, and 1d6 cyphers.

GM intrusion: The divine nature of the demigod allows it to act out of turn, take control of an object (such as an artifact or a cypher) that the PC is about to use against it, and either deactivate the object or turn it against the character.

5 (15)

Demons are formless spirits of the dead tortured in nether realms until all that was good or caring in them was burned away, forging a being of spite and hate.

A demon remembers only fragments of its former life—every good memory is cauterized, and every slight, misfortune, snub, and pain is amplified, motivating the creature to tempt others into the same state.

Having no flesh to call its own, a demon is a shadowed, ephemeral horror able to possess others. A demon can cause great harm in a short time by forcing its host to lie, steal, and harm loved ones.

Motive: Hungers for others’ pain and fear

Environment:: Anywhere

Health: 25

Damage Inflicted: 6 points

Movement: Short; immediate while flying in immaterial form

Modifications: All stealth tasks as level 7 in immaterial form; deception tasks as level 6

Combat: The immaterial touch of a demon either inflicts 5 points of damage from rot, or allows the demon to attempt to possess the target. The target of an attempted possession must make an Intellect defense roll or become possessed, whereupon the demon’s immaterial form disappears into the target.

The first round in which a character is possessed, they can act normally. In the second and all subsequent rounds, the possessing demon can control the actions of the host, but the character can attempt an Intellect defense roll to resist each suggested action. Successful resistance means that the character does nothing for one round. In other rounds, the character can act as they choose. A possessing demon’s actions are limited to attempts to control its host and leaving the host.

A possessed target is allowed an Intellect defense roll to eject the demon once per day, barring any exorcism attempts. The defense roll is hindered by one additional step each day of possession after the first seven days. An ejected or cast-out demon is powerless for one or more days.

A demon not possessing another creature is immaterial and can pass through solid objects whose level is lower than its own. While the demon is immaterial, it takes only 1 point of damage from mundane attacks, but it takes full damage from magical, energy, and psychic attacks. While it possesses another creature, the demon is immune to most attacks (though not so the host; killing the host will eject the demon).

Interaction: A demon allows a possessed host to act normally, as long as it doesn’t reveal the demon’s presence. If its presence is known, the demon might negotiate, but only after a tirade of lies and obscenity, and the demon likely betrays any deal reached.

Use: An ally of the PCs has begun acting differently, and not for the good.

GM intrusion: The character who attempts an exorcism of a possessed target is successful, but the demon moves directly from the former victim into the exorcist. The new host can make an Intellect-based roll to eject the demon, but only after the first round of possession.

Demon Lord
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Demon lords are mighty demons, commanding hundreds of lesser fiends and often ruling an entire hellscape dimension. No mere brutes, they are smart, wield powerful magic, make centuries-long plans of conquest against rival demons, and seek to corrupt and enslave powerful mortals. Some are nearly as powerful as gods and are worshipped as such by cultists or evil creatures, claiming ownership of a concept like murder, rot, undeath, or seduction. A few are known to mate with mortals to produce cambion offspring.

Motive: Power, conquest, souls

Environment: Any hell dimension, sometimes called by mortal magic

Health: 100

Damage Inflicted: 12 points

Armor: 5

Movement: Short; long when flying

Modifications: History and magical knowledge as level 10

Combat: A demon lord attacks with a bolt of evil energy or fire up to a long distance away, inflicting 12 points of damage on one target or 9 points of damage on all targets within short range of the primary target. Targets caught in the area attack who succeed on a Speed defense roll still suffer 5 points of damage. A demon lord can make melee attacks on all targets within immediate range as an action.

They can also call on a variety of other magical abilities that mimic the effect of any cypher of level 5 or lower—usually destructive, painful, and transformative effects.

A demon lord automatically regains 3 points of health per round. They typically have the following abilities:

  • Change Shape: The demon lord can take the form of a human or similar humanoid as its action, or return to its regular shape. When so changed, its disguise is nearly impenetrable without special knowledge. As a human, the demon lord is a level 7 creature.

  • Possession: The demon lord can possess a creature and still use its own abilities.

  • Summon Demon: Summon a demon or devil to serve it for one day.

  • Wish: The demon lord can grant a mortal a wish (up to level 9) in exchange for an appropriate payment or service, but the wish is often twisted or has hidden consequences.

Interaction: Demon lords are willing to bargain with mortals if it leads to the mortal’s corruption or advances the demon’s agenda in some way. They sometimes respond to flattery or bribes of powerful souls or magic items.

Use: A mad cult wants to summon a demon lord in order to end the world. A mysterious stranger offers aid in exchange for a favor to be named later.

Loot: A demon lord often has an artifact relating to some aspect of its nature or interests, such as a weapon, ring, or armor, as well as 1d6 cyphers.

GM intrusions:The demon lord offersthe character somethingso tempting (an artifact,immortality, and soon) that they lose theirnext action and mustmake an Intellectdefense roll to resisttrying to bargain for it.

The demon lord createsa portal and retreatsto its own dimension;the portal remainsopen for one round

4 (12)

Devils are manifest evil. As “native fauna” of various tortuous nether realms, devils come in many forms, though most are iterations on a theme that includes a humanoid shape, large batwings, bestial faces, and twisting horns. Most stink of brimstone and sport tails that end in a fork. Devils fill the ranks of hellish armies, guard evil vaults, and appear at the magical summons of warlocks and sorcerers who are not afraid for the sanctity of their own souls.

Motive: Collect souls

Environment: Anywhere in various nether realms; sometimes called by mortal magic

Health: 12

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Armor: 3

Movement: Short when walking or flying

Modifications: All tasks related to deception as level 7

Combat: When possible, a devil attacks with surprise. If successful, it unfurls two great wings and claws at the ends of its fingers. It leaps into the air, flies up to a short distance toward the nearest foe, and attacks that creature as a single action.

Some devils carry tridents. The weapon inflicts 5 points of damage, and the target must either move to a position within an immediate distance chosen by the devil or take 2 additional points of damage from being impaled (a total of 7 points of damage). Impaled foes automatically take 5 points of damage each round until they use an action to pull themselves free.

Interaction: Evil, cruel, and malevolent, devils are more than happy to talk, especially to those already caught and being readied for torture. Devils serve yet more powerful devils out of fear. If they find someone or something they fear more, they readily betray their master and become obsequious and cringing, though further betrayal is always on the table.

Use: A spate of violent murders grips a city in fear—a devil has escaped into the world of mortals without a leash. It spends nights hunting anyone it spots from its perches atop the city’s holy places.

GM intrusion: A devil anticipates the character’s melee attack and brings its wing down “just so” on the attacker’s weapon. If the character fails a Speed defense roll, the weapon breaks. Either way, the attack fails to hit the devil.

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Djinn inhabit unseen dimensions beyond the visible universe. Just like normal creatures, djinn are individuals, and they can be good, evil, or unconcerned about the fates and doings of others.

Motive: Unpredictable

Environment:: Almost anywhere

Health: 35

Damage Inflicted: 9 points

Movement: Short; long when flying

Modifications: Knowledge of Arabian history as level 8

Combat: With a touch, a djinni can warp a victim’s flesh, inflicting damage. Djinn can also use an action to send out a magitech “EMP burst” that renders all artifacts, machines, and lesser magic devices within short range inoperable for one minute. (If the item is part of a character’s equipment, they can prevent this outcome by succeeding on a Speed defense roll.) Instead of disabling all devices in range, a djinni can instead take control of one item within range for one minute, if applicable.

A djinni can transform into a being of smoke and flame as its action. While in this form, it has +10 to Armor but can’t attack foes. It gains the ability to fly a long distance each round and retains the ability to communicate normally. The first time each day that a djinni returns to physical form after having become smoke, it regains 25 points of health.

Some djinn have the ability to grant wishes, and a few are beholden to do so thanks to an ancient, unexplained agreement with other djinn. Those who grant wishes twist them against the asker, especially if a wish is poorly worded or there are multiple ways to interpret it. The level of the effect granted is no greater than level 7, as determined by the GM, who can modify the effect of the wish accordingly. (The larger the wish, the more likely the GM will limit its effect.)

Interaction: When a djinni interacts with characters, it’s narcissistic, certain in its own immense power, and unlikely to let slights pass. That said, low-tier characters could negotiate with one peacefully because even djinn have needs and desires.

Use: Agents of a foreign power retrieved a magic lamp from an ancient Arabian ruin. The PCs’ job is to determine whether there is reason for alarm.

Loot: Most djinn carry a couple of cyphers, and some have a magic artifact useful in combat.

GM intrusion: When the character is touched by a djinni, instead of taking damage, the character is turned to smoke and fire and sent whirling off in a random direction. They lose their next turn and return to normal almost 300 feet (90 m) from where they started.

7 (21)

Dragons are exceptionally territorial, vain, and greedy. Apex predators, dragons must eat large meals on a regular basis. They prefer virgins, though they will settle for whoever, or whatever—such as horses or wild pigs—is available in a pinch. They love games of all sorts, especially when they get to consume the loser. Drawn to wealth and magic, dragons accumulate hoards of golden treasure. A dragon’s hoard is not only an end in itself, but part of a never-ending contest between dragons of a certain age to see which one can accumulate the largest trove.

Motive: Self-aggrandizement, hungers for flesh, treasure collection

Environment: Dragons thrive where wilderness meets the civilized frontier.

Health: 45

Damage Inflicted: 10 points

Armor: 3

Movement: Short; long while flying

Modifications: Perception and riddles as level 8; Speed defense as level 6 due to size

Combat: A dragon can bite one target or claw two opponents in immediate range as a single action. When bitten, targets are also immobilized until they succeed on a Might defense roll to break free (or the dragon drops them).

Most dragons have one or more additional magical abilities they can bring to bear in combat, including the following.

Captivate: A dragon with this ability can psychically mesmerize a nondragon target in immediate range who fails an Intellect defense roll. A captivated target does the dragon’s verbal bidding for one or more hours. Each time the target is confronted by a third party about its mental condition, the target is allowed another Intellect defense roll to break the effect.

Change Shape: A dragon with this ability can take the form of a human or similar humanoid as its action, or return to its regular shape. When so changed, the dragon’s disguise is nearly impenetrable without special knowledge. As a human, the dragon is a level 5 creature.

Fiery Breath: A dragon can breathe a stream of fire up to long range, doing 7 points of damage to all targets within immediate range of each other. Targets who succeed on a Speed defense roll to avoid the full effect of the fire still take 3 points of damage. This ability cannot be used in consecutive rounds.

Interaction: Like the many hues of dragon scales, dragon personalities run the gamut from beastly thug to refined connoisseur. Some dragons lie with every smoky breath, others consider the least bit of dishonesty a personal failing, and most fall somewhere in between. All of them can be flattered and even charmed by someone with courtly manners and grace.

Use: A dragon confronts the PCs, challenging them to a riddle game. If the characters win, they get a cypher. If the dragon wins, the PCs owe it a favor to be specified later…unless the dragon is hungry now.

Loot: A dragon’s hoard might contain 2d6 cyphers, hard currency equivalent to 1d6 exorbitant items, and possibly a few artifacts (but a hoard is usually well guarded).

GM intrusion: The dragon breathes fire while the character is caught in its mouth, which automatically inflicts maximum fire damage on them.

Fire Elemental
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Searing flame in a vaguely humanoid shape, a fire elemental exists only to burn that which is not already ash. They sometimes spin into being where great conflagrations burn.

Motive: Burn

Environment:: Anywhere fires can burn

Health: 24

Damage Inflicted: 4 to 7 points; see Combat

Movement: Short

Modifications: See Combat for escalating attack level modification.

Combat: A fire elemental attacks with a flaming limb. The more the elemental burns foes, the more powerful it grows. Its power increases according to the number of successful attacks (that dealt fire damage) it made on another creature during the previous minute.

0 successful attacks: deals 4 points of damage; attacks as level 4

1 successful attack: deals 5 points of damage; attacks as level 5

3 successful attacks: deals 6 points of damage; attacks as level 6

4+ successful attacks: deals 7 points of damage; attacks as level 7

If a fire elemental hasn’t burned a foe within the last minute, its combat stats drop back to its level 4 baseline.

A fire elemental is immune to fire attacks but vulnerable to cold; every time it takes 1 point of cold damage, it takes 1 additional point of damage.

Interaction: Fire elementals are barely sapient and usually respond only to those who know spells able to command them. However, there’s a chance (about 10%) that a fire elemental commanded to accomplish a particular task breaks free and instead burns whatever’s around until it exhausts all possible fuel sources.

Use: A rash of fires leads some people to suspect that an arsonist is on the loose, but the truth is worse.

GM intrusion: A character hit by the fire elemental’s attack catches on fire and takes 3 points of damage each round until they use an action patting, rolling, or smothering the flames.

Earth Elemental
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An excavation, a meteor fall, a still-shuddering earthquake—all these events can summon an earth elemental to take shape and expand the destruction further.

Motive: Crumble and break, reduce things to earth

Environment:: Anywhere solid or earthen

Health: 30

Damage Inflicted: 6 points

Armor: 3

Movement: Immediate; short when burrowing

Combat: Earth elementals batter foes with heavy fists. They can also create earthquakes (no more than once every other round) that affect the ground within short range. Creatures standing in the area fall to the ground and take 5 points of damage on a failed Might defense roll.

An earth elemental is vulnerable to water. Any damage it takes while standing in or being doused in water ignores its Armor.

Interaction: Although brooding and slow to respond if encountered as immobile stone, earth elementals are intelligent. The ones that are summoned with a spell have about a 5% chance of breaking the geas and turning on their summoner.

Use: Oddly articulated monoliths were discovered high in the mountains around a shrine containing an ancient treasure. A merchant wants someone to investigate the monoliths in case they represent a trap. In fact, the monoliths are inactive earth elementals.

GM intrusion: A character within range of the earth elemental’s earthquake attack must succeed on a Speed defense roll or be covered in an avalanche from a collapsing structure or cliff face.

4 (12)

Air elementals are capricious pieces of air with simple minds. They spontaneously appear in clouds and high mountains, and often resemble an area of mist or a cloudlike humanoid shape.

Motive: Mischief and destruction

Environment: Anywhere the wind blows

Health: 24

Damage Inflicted: 4 points

Movement: Long when flying

Modifications: Stealth as level 6 Combat: Air elementals slice foes up to a short distance away with blades of fierce wind, or use blasts of air to throw small objects. Once every other round, an air elemental can turn into a tornado-like vortex that inflicts 4 points of damage to all creatures within immediate range. In this form, the elemental gains +1 to Armor and an additional +2 to Armor against physical projectile weapons such as arrows and javelins. The elemental reverts to its normal form at the start of its next turn.

An air elemental can disperse itself over a short area as an action. In this form it is invisible, unable to attack, and can’t be attacked except with area attacks. The elemental can remain in this form indefinitely, but must use an action to return to its normal form.

Air elementals are elusive opponents and hard to destroy. If an air elemental is reduced to 0 health, there is a 50 percent chance that it rejuvenates a few rounds later with 6 health. The elemental then continues to fight or flees to cause trouble elsewhere.

Interaction: Air elementals see and hear many things, but they are flighty and what they remember usually isn’t important or relevant. They can be summoned with magic but don’t like being controlled, and there is a 10 percent chance that they free themselves and strike out on their own.

Use: A safe mountain trail has become hazardous due to unseasonal winds that threaten to push travelers off a cliff. An old tree is surrounded by whispers of conversations that took place recently and has started hurling sticks and fruit at anyone who comes too close.

GM intrusion: Aviolent blast of winddisarms a characterand sends whateverthey were holding up toa long distance away(depending on theobject’s size and weight).

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The grisly sign of an active thorn elemental in areas of heavy woods or jungle is the presence of shriveled bodies dangling from vines, dead of strangulation and poison. Thorn elementals take form in areas dense with woody growth under threat by hatchet, axe, saw, and, sometimes, human-caused climate disruptions.

Motive: Defense of forests

Environment: Anywhere trees grow

Health: 36

Damage Inflicted: 6 points

Armor: 2

Movement: Immediate

Combat: Thorn elementals batter foes with thorny, vine-wrapped fists. Targets who suffer damage must make a successful Might defense roll or take 2 points of Speed damage from a paralytic poison transmitted by a thorn’s prick. Worse, the poison continues to inflict 2 points of Speed damage each round until the victim succeeds at a Might defense roll.

As its action, a thorn elemental can disentangle its form and reassemble a new body anywhere within long range where trees and plants grow. A thorn elemental regains 2 points of health each time it travels in this fashion.

Interaction: Thorn elementals communicate through speech, though they generally disdain talking to creatures of the animal kingdom. Thorn elementals exist within a hierarchy; those that have a greater capacity for communication are also usually more powerful. Summoned thorn elementals have about a 5 percent chance of breaking the geas and turning on their summoner.

Use: Adventuring characters journey through a forest that is under threat of destruction by an encroachment of other humanoids. Thinking the PCs are part of the encroachers, a thorn elemental attacks them. If communication is opened, it might break off hostilities and instead ask the characters to help.

Loot: The bodies of those previously defeated by thorn elementals dangle from the forest or jungle canopy with all their former possessions. One or two might have a cypher and other tools and treasure.

Woody vine: level 4; Armor 1

GM intrusion: A character within short range of a thorn elemental must make a successful Speed defense roll or be hauled into the air by a vine noose around their neck. They can try to cut thew oody vine or attempt a Might task to break free before they strangle. Each round after thefirst in which they fail to break the noose, they move down one step on the damage track.

4 (12)

Water elementals are animate masses of water. When swimming, they are nearly indistinguishable from their surroundings, but when they have to move on dry land, they usually take the form of a curling wave, amorphous blob, or large puddle. They can spontaneously appear in locations with pristine salt or fresh water.

Motive: Flood, drown, and wash away

Environment: Anywhere there is flowing water

Health: 24

Damage Inflicted: 4 points

Movement: Short; long if swimming

Modifications: Swimming and aquatic maneuvers as level 6; stealth as level 6 when in water

Combat: Water elementals bash opponents with heavy limbs of water or spray jets of water out to short range.

Instead of a bashing attack, a water elemental can use its action to attempt to envelop, smother, and crush one opponent, who can resist with a Might defense roll. If the opponent fails, it takes 4 points of damage immediately and every round on the elemental’s turn. Each following turn, the enveloped character must attempt a new Might defense roll every round or move one step down the damage track from drowning as the elemental forces itself into the creature’s lungs. The creature can free itself with a Might defense roll. An elemental with an enveloped opponent can move up to a short distance as its action; a common tactic is to dive deep, release their opponent to drown normally, then return to its previous position to fight other opponents.

Any attack that inflicts 6 or more points of cold damage hinders a water elemental’s actions on its next turn.

Interaction: Water elementals are somewhat intelligent but think very differently from humans, so they often seem distracted and dull. They are generally compliant when summoned with magic, but there is about a 5 percent chance that they break free of the spell and lash out against their summoner.

Use: Offerings left at a sacred pond have gone missing, and the water itself seems threatening. Garbage or dead bodies have polluted a water source, spawning an angry elemental that attacks everyone until the mess is cleaned up.

GM intrusion: The forceof the elemental’s attackknocks over a character,sweeps them a shortdistance away, or both.

6 (18)

Hundreds of thousands of years ago, enthraller ancestors psychically dominated a group of interstellar spacefarers who had the misfortune to land on the enthraller homeworld. Leapfrogging technological prowess by mentally commandeering the know-how of every new species they encountered using their stolen space vessel, the aliens fashioned the Enthraller Dominion, which stretches across vast swaths of space, cemented by the psychic control.

Individual enthrallers are scary, but enthraller overlords are even more powerful thanks to technological aids. These include cranial circlets that give a single enthraller governor the ability to dominate a small city, solar-system-sized ring relays that boost their control across interstellar distances, and more.

Recently, a newly contacted species of aliens developed the technological means to resist the mental influence of the enthrallers. Now war bubbles across the Enthraller Dominion. Sometimes individual enthrallers, stripped of their technological enhancements as a consequence of this war, flee into virgin space, looking for new soldiers to dominate.

Motive: Domination of other creatures

Environment:: Almost anywhere, alone or in groups of three

Health: 18

Damage Inflicted: 4 points; see Combat

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: Speed defense as level 4; perception and ability to detect falsehoods as level 8

Combat: An enthraller usually relies on dominated minions to make physical attacks on its behalf. An enthraller can make a psychic attack on a creature within short range. On a failed Intellect defense roll, the target acts as the enthraller mentally commands on its next action. If the same target is affected by this dominating attack a second time within a minute, the enthraller’s mental control lasts for one minute.

Alternatively, as its action, an enthraller can emit a psychic burst that can target up to three creatures in short range. On a failed Intellect defense roll, a victim suffers 4 points of Intellect damage (ignores Armor) and is unable to take actions on their subsequent turn. If the victim is attacked while so stunned, their defense rolls are hindered by two steps.

The enthraller’s attack is a form of mental feeding. If it moves a PC down the damage track, the creature regains 4 points of health.

Interaction: An enthraller can communicate telepathically with characters within short range. It tries to mentally dominate whoever it runs across and will negotiate only with characters who are strong enough to harm it. Even if an enthraller makes a deal, it eventually reneges if it senses any advantage for doing so because it implicitly believes that other creatures are cattle.

Use: A spacecraft (or perhaps an escape pod) crash lands. Inside, a hurt enthraller lies in suspended animation. Investigators are unlikely to realize the enthraller’s nature beforehand, but they certainly learn if they wake the alien.

Loot: Enthrallers wear light armor suited for their forms. They might have one or two cyphers and, rarely, an artifact that boosts their already-fearsome mental capabilities.

GM intrusion: The enthraller’s intrusion into the character’s mind stirs up forgotten memories. The character must deal with the contents of these memories and perhaps why they were repressed.

Evil Priest
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Evil priests are worshippers of evil gods, demons, devils, strange malevolent forces from beyond known dimensions, or even death itself. They lead cults, corrupt the innocent with lies and twisted ideologies, and enact the will of their patron in the mortal world. The most insidious ones are able to infiltrate good churches and secular organizations in order to tear them down from the inside.

Motive: Domination of others, divine rule

Environment: Almost anywhere that people live

Health: 28

Damage Inflicted: 7 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: Deception, persuasion, and religious lore as level 8

Combat: Evil priests make one or two short-range magical attacks as an action, which are thematically appropriate to the god or entity they serve, such as blasts of hellfire, grasping shadowy tentacles, or disruptive necromantic energy. They often rely on zealous minions to protect them from melee opponents.

Priests usually know several spells, such as how to banish or control creatures from other dimensions, create an area of darkness, see and hear remote locations, speak with the dead, mesmerize or paralyze a person, cause blindness, or create a ward against energy damage. They also have the following magical abilities:

  • Curse: The priest curses a foe within short range, hindering all of the foe’s actions by two steps.
  • Heal: The priest heals a touched creature for 10 health or removes an affliction such as a disease or curse.
  • Necromancy: The priest uses a ten-minute ritual to animate up to four human-sized corpses as skeletons or zombies under their control. The undead revert to corpses after a day.
  • Sacrifice: The priest uses a ten-minute ritual to kill a helpless, restrained, or unconscious creature of level 4 or higher, using its soul to grant one ally an asset on all actions and defenses for one day.
  • Summon: Once per hour the priest can summon a demon or one level 3 or 4 creature (such as a giant snake, giant spider, or swarm of bugs). The summoned creature serves the priest for an hour before vanishing.
  • Swarm of bugs: level 3, An evil priest usually has one or two combat-useful manifest cyphers and often has an artifact appropriate to their religion. Most also wear armor or have an ongoing defensive spell that grants them Armor.

Interaction: Evil priests tend to be knowledgeable, arrogant, and condescending toward heroes and members of rival faiths. They might strike a bargain to save their lives or the life of a valuable minion, or to gain an advantage later on.

Use: An evil priest is converting frightened peasants into followers, and turning those who refuse into zombie slaves. A new religious figure in the city is acting suspiciously, and members of rival faiths have been disappearing or turning up dead.

Loot: Evil priests usually have mundane treasures equivalent to three or four expensive items, a few useful manifest cyphers, and an artifact.

GM intrusions: The dying evil priestutters a curse thatattempts to pull the character’s soul intothe afterlife with them,moving them one stepdown the damagetrack if they fail anIntellect defense roll.

The evil priest ignores, avoids, or immediately recovers from an attack that would have killed orgreatly harmed them.

3 (9)

Faeries are magic creatures of music, mirth, tricks, and taunts. Some might only perform a silly song or follow people for a while, flitting around and asking questions like an annoying young child. Some faeries are crueler and delight in stealing clothing, equipment, or prized objects. And a few are downright malicious and, under the guise of a helpful guide or a pretty light in the distance, lure lost travelers to various dooms.

Motive: Unpredictable

Environment: Alone or in a flutter of three to twelve

Health: 12

Damage Inflicted: 4 points

Movement: Immediate; long when flying

Modifications: Tasks related to performance and deception as level 5; Speed defense as level 5 due to size and quickness

Combat: A faerie can hurl damaging magic dust at any target within short range, but sometimes it wields tiny weapons such as bows, spears, or swords.

If a faerie is touched or struck by a melee weapon, more magic dust puffs away from the faerie and clouds the attacker, who must make a Speed defense roll or take the same amount of damage they just dealt to the faerie.

A faerie can see in the dark, but it can also emit bright light and appear as a glowing humanoid or an illuminated sphere.

Faeries regenerate 1 point of health per round while their health is above 0.

Some faeries can attempt to use a song or light display to charm others within short range. The target must succeed on an Intellect defense roll or fall into a suggestible state for one hour. During this period, the target can be led by the faerie at their regular movement rate. The target can be brought out of the spell early if they take damage or are heartily slapped and shaken for a round or two, causing the glamour to fade. A faerie can use this power once per minute.

Interaction: Faeries are mercurial creatures, but except for the malicious ones, they can be negotiated with, especially if offered sweets, wine, or other gifts. However, faerie attention spans are limited, so even one that means well could end up leaving the PCs in the lurch at just the wrong moment.

Use: The dancing light in the distance, leading curious PCs deeper and deeper into the dark woods, is a faerie. And the destination could be a wicked witch or other unpleasant location.

Loot: The tiny pouches that faeries carry are stuffed with forest bric-a-brac, but some of those pouches are ten times larger on the inside and might hold a handful of shiny coins or a cypher.

GM Intrusion: Another faerie appears, and if the character fails a speed defense roll, it flies off with their weapon or another important possession.

Fallen Angel
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Angels are normally associated with virtue and service to higher moral beings. But just like people, sometimes angels are tempted into impure acts. Those who stray too far over the line may fall from higher realms and be forced to walk the Earth in penance. This experience drives most fallen angels insane.

Fallen angel abilities wax and wane according to the position of the sun. During the day, a fallen angel seems almost sane (and is less dangerous), but at night, it is volatile and threatening to everyone.

Motive: Revenge (but on whom and for what isn’t clear, even to the fallen angel)

Environment: Anywhere, sometimes living alone in the wilderness, other times walking the hard streets of large cities

Health: 25

Damage Inflicted: 6 points by day, 8 points at night

Armor: 2

Movement: Short; long when flying

Modifications: At night, perceptions and attacks as level 7

Combat: At night, a fallen angel can attack other creatures by projecting a long-range beam of burning light. Against foes within immediate range, the fallen angel manifests burning wings. A fallen angel can choose to make its attacks ignore Armor, but for each attack so modified, it loses 4 points of health.

On the rare occasion that a fallen angel is within immediate range of another of its kind, both regain 1 point of health per round.

By day, a fallen angel cannot project long-range attacks and has no visible wings with which to make melee attacks, though it may carry a melee weapon.

Interaction: By day, fallen angels are not automatically hostile, and they can be negotiated and reasoned with. They can seem truly angelic, though they are often confused and forgetful of their origin. But when night descends, fallen angels lose control of their faculties as they swell with rage and power. Unless a character directs a fallen angel toward another creature on which it can vent its wrath, the character becomes the object of the fury.

Use: A star slips down from the sky and lands in the country. The next day, travelers come upon a farm in the area and find everyone dead and burned. A trail of scorched earth leads up into the hills.

Loot: Fallen angels collect cyphers and usually have a few.

GM intrusion: A fallen angel’s successful attack causes the character’s cypher to detonate (if a grenade) or otherwise activate in a less-than-ideal fashion.

Fusion Hound
3 (9)

In radiation-scoured wastelands, either creatures adapt to the deadly energies of their environment, or they die. Fusion hounds are mutant canines able to absorb unbelievable amounts of radiation and thrive on it. They roam in packs, killing and devouring everything they come upon.

A fusion hound’s entire head appears to be a blast of flame, and gouts of dangerous radiation flare from its body.

Motive: Hungers for flesh

Environment: Packs of three to eight can be found almost anywhere.

Health: 10

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Long

Modifications: Speed defense as level 4; stealth and climbing as level 2

Combat: Fusion hounds move very fast and use that speed to their advantage in combat. A hound can move a long distance and still attack as a single action. It can also use its action to run about in random patterns, hindering attacks against it by two steps.

A fusion hound’s head is completely haloed in a seething mass of radioactive energy, so unlike traditional canines, it has no bite attack. Instead, it pounces on prey with its clawed forelimbs, which causes a burst of radiation to flare from its body, burning whatever it touches.

Anyone within close distance of a fusion hound for more than one round suffers 1 point of damage in each round after the first.

Interaction: Fusion hounds are animals. Creatures immune to radiation sometimes train the hounds to become guardians or hunting dogs, but such creatures are rare.

Use: An NPC delivering something the characters need never made it to the rendezvous. If they backtrack to where the NPC should have come from, the PCs are attacked by a pack of fusion hounds on the road. Clearly, the courier was attacked by the pack as well, and the characters must discover if the NPC is dead or merely injured, and where the package now lies.

GM intrusion: The hound flares with energy and the character must succeed on a Might defense task or go blind for ten minutes.

4 (12)

Sounds with no apparent origin, such as the tap of footsteps on the stair, knocking behind the walls, crying from empty rooms, and haunting music, might be signs of a ghost. If the sound is accompanied by a sudden temperature drop and the breath of living creatures begins to steam, it’s a certainty.

Ghosts are the spectral remnants of humans, which persist either as fragments of memory or as full-fledged spirits. Though their appearance varies between individuals, many appear somewhat translucent, washed out, or physically warped from their time spent as a phantom.

Motive: Unpredictable (but often seeking to complete unfinished business)

Environment:: Almost anywhere

Health: 12

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Movement: Short

Modifications: Stealth as level 7; tasks related to frightening others as level 6

Combat: A ghost doesn’t take damage from mundane physical sources, but it takes half damage from spells and attacks that direct energy, and full damage from weapons designed to affect spirits, psychic attacks, and similar attacks.

A ghost’s touch inflicts freezing damage. Some ghosts can kill victims with fear. A ghost with this ability can attack all creatures within short range with a psychic display so horrible that targets who fail an Intellect defense roll take 4 points of Intellect damage (ignores Armor) and become terrified, freezing in place. In each subsequent round, a terrified victim can attempt an Intellect-based task to push away the fright. Each failed attempt moves the victim one step down the damage track. Not attempting to clear one’s mind of fear counts as a failed attempt. Those killed by fear are marked by expressions of horror and hair that has turned white.

A ghost can move through solid objects of up to level 7 at will, although it can choose to pick up and manipulate objects if it focuses on them. Ghosts can also go into a state of apparent non-existence for hours or days at a time.

Interaction: Some ghosts are talkative, some don’t know they’re dead, some want help for a task they failed to accomplish in life, and some only rage against the living and want to bring those who yet breathe into the same colorless existence they endure.

Use: A ghost (that at first appears fully human) wants help in eradicating a guild of ghost hunters that has targeted it and a few others haunting an abandoned structure. The ghost promises to tell secrets of the afterlife to any who accept its strange offer.

Loot: A ghost usually doesn’t carry objects, though some might have a keepsake (like an amulet showing the face of a loved one) or an artifact.

GM intrusion: The character must succeed on an Intellect defense roll or be possessed by the ghost until they succeed on an Intellect-based task to push it out. While possessed, the character acts just like the ghost did when it was alive.

4 (12)

Ghouls spend almost as much time beneath the ground as corpses do, but ghouls are very much alive. Their bodies are hairless and so porcelain-smooth that their faces are sometimes mistaken for masks, albeit gore-smeared masks. Ghouls come to the surface at night to gather humanoid remains or steal those recently interred from their graves, though many prefer to eat from still-living victims.

Most ghouls are orgiastic eaters of human flesh, but a rare few ghoul populations are more refined. These wear clothes, have language and sophisticated customs, live in grand subterranean cities of their own design, and fight with milk-white blades of bone. These civilized ghouls claim to hold dominion over the remains of all humans, according to ancient custom, even if they only sometimes assert that privilege. They eat the dead in order to absorb residual memories left in the corpses.

Motive: Hunger for dead flesh; knowledge (in certain rare cases)

Environment:: Anywhere above ground at night, usually in groups of three or more, or in subterranean lairs

Health: 12

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Movement: Short

Modifications: Two areas of knowledge as level 5

Combat: Ghoul saliva contains a paralytic agent. Ghoul bites (and weapons used by ghouls) inflict damage and, on a failed Might defense roll, render the target paralyzed for one minute. A paralyzed target can attempt a Might-based task each round to regain mobility, but for the next minute, attacks, defenses, and movement tasks are hindered.

Ghouls can see in the dark. They’re blind in full daylight, but civilized ghouls who travel to the surface carry lenses that cover their eyes, allowing them to see without penalty in full sunlight.

Interaction: Common ghouls can’t be negotiated with, though a rare civilized ghoul is an excellent linguist. These latter are willing to deal in return for the body of someone who was knowledgeable or who kept valuable secrets in life.

Use: If a PC needs a piece of information not otherwise obtainable, a trip down into a ghoul city might be worthwhile, for the creatures are rumored to keep lightless libraries below the earth that store knowledge once known by humans.

Loot: If the PCs defeat a group of civilized ghouls, they might find a cypher and a few sets of black goggles that allow the wearer to look directly at the sun and see it as a pale circle.

GM intrusion: The ghoul spits in the character’s eye, directly introducing the paralytic into the victim’s bloodstream. The victim’s Might defense roll to avoid becoming paralyzed is hindered.

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Violent storms, earthquakes, typhoons, and other natural disasters draw giants. Standing 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 m) tall, giants delight in rampaging through the middle of such calamities, creating even more destruction. Some giants grow so powerful that they can trigger natural disasters on their own.

Motive: Destruction

Environment:: Underground, deserts, mountaintops, and similar desolate areas

Health: 40

Damage Inflicted: 9 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: Speed defense as level 5 due to size; breaks and throws objects as level 8; sees through deceptions and tricks as level 3

Combat: Giants smash foes with their fists, possibly catching up to three human-sized targets with the same attack if all the targets are in immediate range of each other.

If a giant attacks a single target, they can choose to do regular damage or to grab hold of the victim, dealing 4 points of damage instead. On their turn, the victim can attempt a Might defense roll to struggle out of the grip, a Speed defense roll to slip out, or an Intellect-based task to distract the giant. If the victim fails, the giant throws the victim as high and as far as they can on their next turn. Damage on impact varies, depending on the environment, but a victim takes an average of 10 points of ambient damage.

A few giants can generate storms, tidal waves, earthquakes, and similar phenomena that can lash an area up to 1,000 feet (300 m) across for up to a minute, inflicting 3 points of damage each round to all creatures and objects not protected by shelter designed to withstand a storm (though few shelters protect against an earthquake).

Interaction: Most giants are not very bright. When a giant is rampaging, someone could attempt to distract them by singing, juggling, or doing some other trick, which some giants will pause to watch for at least one or two rounds.

Use: A giant came down out of the mountains and laid waste to half the nearby village. Survivors will pay someone to venture into the giant’s mountain lair and destroy the creature.

Loot: Individual giants carry little, but giant lairs may contain currency equivalent to 1d6 expensive items, 1d6 cyphers, and a couple of artifacts.

GM intrusion: The giant’s blow sprains one of the character’s limbs, making it useless for ten minutes.

Giant Rat
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Giant rats are as large as big attack dogs, just as vicious, and more wily. Some giant rats are the lone matriarchs of a pack of ordinary level 1 rats, and others are just one of several making up a colony of oversized rodents. Like their smaller cousins, giant rats are known for harboring virulent disease.

Motive: Defense, reproduction

Environment:: Anywhere in ruins or sewers, in groups of one to seven

Health: 18

Damage Inflicted: 4 points

Movement: Short; long when jumping

Modifications: Perception as level 4; tasks related to overcoming obstacles and puzzles as level 5

Combat: Victims damaged by a giant rat’s diseased teeth and claws take 4 points of damage and, on a failed Might defense roll, are infected with a level 5 disease. Within twelve hours, the victim’s lymph glands swell, creating visible buboes. Every twelve hours thereafter, the victim must succeed on a Might defense roll or take 5 points of ambient damage.

Interaction: Giant rats stubbornly pursue prey, but they flee if that prey proves to be too strong.

Use: A contact of the PCs dies of plague before they can deliver an important message. The PCs will have to backtrack the contact’s movements to discover what they wanted to say, which leads to a giant rat colony.

GM intrusion: A swarm of twelve ordinary rats—each level 1, but acting like a level 3 swarm—is summoned by the high-pitched squeaking of a giant rat.

Giant Snake
4 (12)

Those about to stumble into the presence of a giant snake at least 50 feet (15 m) long are warned by the skin it shed and discarded and by the cracked, slippery bones of digested victims.

Motive: Hungers for flesh

Environment:: Anywhere a giant snake can lurk, including jungles, sewers, caves, and spacecraft access tubes

Health: 18

Damage Inflicted: 5 points or more; see Combat

Armor: 2

Movement: Short

Modifications: Perception and stealth as level 6; Speed defense as level 3 due to size

Combat: A giant snake bites foes, preferably from ambush, hindering the target’s Speed defense by two steps. If it succeeds, the snake’s bite deals 8 points of damage for that attack. On a failed Might defense roll, a bite also inflicts 3 points of Speed damage (ignores Armor). A giant snake may coil around a sleeping, stunned, or debilitated victim. Caught victims automatically take 5 points of crushing damage each round until they break free.

Giant snakes lose their perception and stealth modifications in cold climates and when attacked with abilities that reduce the temperature. Thus, the creatures retreat from cold.

Interaction: A giant snake is a predator that regards other creatures as food, though it ignores them when it is already busy digesting a meal.

Use: Characters note something amiss as they glimpse lambent eyes peering from the darkness, glaring as if seeking to pin victims in place with cold terror.

Loot: A giant snake’s droppings or gullet might hold a few cyphers and possibly an artifact that the creature could not digest.

GM intrusion: The snake’s venom affects the character more strongly. Instead of merely inflicting Speed damage, it also paralyzes the character for one minute, though after a couple of rounds, the victim can make another Might defense roll to throw off the effects of the poison early.

Giant Spider
3 (9)

Giant spiders result most commonly from radioactive accidents, magic, or genetic manipulation. Whatever their origin, they’re terrifying hunters large enough to predate people. The creatures range from the size of a large dog to the size of a large horse.

Motive: Hungers for blood

Environment:: Anywhere webs can be spun in the dark

Health: 12

Damage Inflicted: 3 points

Movement: Short; long when traveling on their webs

Modifications: Perception as level 5; Speed defense as level 4 due to quickness

Combat: A giant spider’s envenomed fangs inflict 3 points of damage, plus 3 points of Speed damage (ignores Armor) if a victim fails a Might defense roll. Debilitated victims are not killed but instead cocooned and hung for later dining. Giant spider webs (level 4) can hold victims immobile and unable to take actions until they manage to break free.

Giant spiders lose their perception and Speed defense modifications in bright light and thus often retreat from intense illumination.

Interaction: Most giant spiders are simple predators and react accordingly.

Use: Giant spider webs can infest unlit alleys, dungeon corridors, dark forests, and darkened hallways of decommissioned genetic labs.

Loot: Cocooned corpses of previous victims hanging in a giant spider’s web sometimes contain all manner of valuables, including cyphers.

GM intrusion: Giant spider eggs hatch, and a level 3 swarm of tiny spiders attacks the character.

1 (3)

Goblins are wicked, grasping, and perversely resourceful. Usually no larger than children, they can seem like pesky rabble, but that illusion hides something altogether more cunning. Tribe members work together to accomplish their goals of murder, kidnapping, and theft.

Motive: Greed and theft

Environment:: Tunnels and caves, usually in groups of ten or more

Health: 3

Damage Inflicted: 2 points

Movement: Short

Modifications: Tasks related to perception, stealth, and setting traps as level 5

Combat: Goblins attack from the shadows with ambushes and hit-and-run tactics. When they have surprise, they attack as level 4 creatures and deal 2 additional points of damage, and they attempt to draw larger prey into level 5 traps they’ve previously set. They often flee in the face of real danger.

Interaction: Goblins are lying tricksters but can be cowed into cooperating for short periods.

Use: Thieves and murderers, goblins are foes to all, even rival goblin tribes.

Loot: Aside from weapons, each goblin carries a personal stash, including bones, shiny rocks, sticks, and other bits of worthless trash, plus currency equivalent to an inexpensive item.

GM intrusion: The goblin poisoned its knife. If struck, the character must make a Might defense roll or immediately move one step down the damage track.

6 (18)

Animate creatures of stone created by magic for a specific purpose, golems usually serve as guardians. However, they may also serve as soldiers, couriers, and banner-bearers. Golems that have accomplished their task may spend years without moving, like statuary posed in unexpected places—stained, eroded, and forlorn. But if disturbed, a golem rumbles back to movement and attempts to restart the last task assigned to it by its maker.

Motive: Seeks to fulfill the commands of its creator

Environment:: Anywhere that needs a sturdy magical guardian

Health: 30

Damage Inflicted: 8 points

Armor: 5

Movement: Short

Modifications: Intellect defense as level 2; Speed defense as level 4 due to slowness

Combat: Skilled with large two-handed weapons, golems inflict 2 additional points of damage (total of 8 points) when using them. Golems cannot be stunned or dazed. They are immune to most poisons and disease, and 2 of their 5 points of Armor protect against ambient damage (environmental damage, heat, cold, falling, and so on).

On the other hand, golems are activated by light, even light as dim as a candle. In complete darkness, a golem is blind and suffers penalties to attack and defend normally. A golem subject to complete darkness may choose to freeze in place like a statue. When one does so, its Armor increases to 10 (and Armor against ambient damage increases to 5), but it can take no actions, including purely mental actions. Unless something can damage the golem through its Armor, it remains frozen indefinitely or until light returns.

Even if a golem is completely destroyed, the rubble of its form slowly reassembles over the course of three days, unless that rubble is ground to the finest gravel and spread widely.

Interaction: Most golems can’t speak. Those that can are mournful, and a few have become cruel in their isolation, but at heart, all are lonely. Many are also tired of their stone existence, in which they can move but not really feel, and they wish for some sort of final end.

Use: Powerful sorcerers sometimes create golems and press them into service with yet more spells. These golems prove to be tough bodyguards, but sometimes the futility of such service overcomes a golem and it turns on the sorcerer, breaking free of the binding spells in its rage over being denied the peace of death.

GM intrusion: The character hit by the golem is also grabbed and headbutted for 6 additional points of damage. The victim must break or slip free, or else they remain in the golem’s grip.

5 (15)

Statues littering the grounds outside a ruin are meant to deter savvy robbers and explorers. The statues, ranging in size from birds to warriors astride steeds, all depict creatures in states of fright and pain, the final image of death. These pieces are not the work of a fevered mind, but the fates of those who braved a gorgon’s lair. Gorgons were humans once. After they offended the gods with their vanity, they were transformed into hideous monsters. A gorgon has the upper body of a human of perfect form and physique, but the lower body of a giant serpent, complete with rattling tail. One who dares look at a gorgon’s face can see traces of the old beauty beneath a weary veneer, darkened by hatred. Instead of hair, serpents crown a gorgon’s head, snapping and hissing at anyone who draws near. Yet the most terrible aspect of a gorgon is its gaze, which can turn any creature to stone.

Motive: Isolation, defense

Environment: Alone, sequestered in the isolated ruins of old cities and castles

Health: 12

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Movement: Short

Combat: A gorgon has a long-range bow attack. Since creatures that see the gorgon often turn to stone, it must take down its prey at long range so it can get fresh meat. In close combat, a gorgon lashes out with a long dagger or, rarely, a sword. As part of the action the gorgon uses to attack, the serpents on its head can also attack one target within immediate distance. A target that fails its Speed defense roll takes 2 points of damage from the bite and must immediately make a Might defense roll to resist the poison (which deals 4 additional points of Speed damage that ignores Armor).

Anyone within short range of a gorgon who meets its gaze and fails a Might defense roll turns to stone. In combat, when a character within short distance attacks the gorgon, they must avert their gaze (which hinders the attack by two steps) or make a Might defense roll. On a failure, they take 5 points of ambient damage as their flesh partly mineralizes. If the character is killed by this damage, they are turned to stone.

Some gorgons carry a couple of cyphers and perhaps an artifact that they can use in combat.

Interaction: Bitterness consumes gorgons. They lead lonely lives, cut off from everyone they have loved. Negotiating with one would be something of a feat.

Use: A gorgon’s head retains its power to petrify for several days after being cut from the creature. The PCs might brave the gorgon so they can use its head to defeat an even more powerful foe.

Loot: A gorgon typically has a few cyphers and may have an artifact as well.

GM intrusion: A character glimpsesa gorgon’s eyes, and a sheen of stone covers their body for one minute, during which time they gain +1 to Armor but can’t move farther than an immediate distance in one round.

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Greys are enigmatic creatures born of alien stars (or dimensions) who have learned to move across the vast distances that bridge neighboring star systems. The creatures descend through the atmosphere under the cover of night to abduct specimens for study and return the victims later after a thorough examination. Returned abductees are usually befuddled and confused, and they retain little memory of what happened to them. Victims of the greys’ examination frequently sport strange marks on their flesh, oddly shaped wounds, gaps where teeth used to be, and strange or unknown metal lodged somewhere under the skin.

A grey stands 3 feet (1 m) tall. It has a narrow body with skinny limbs and a large, bulbous head. Two large black eyes, almond shaped, dominate a face that has only a suggestion of a nose and a narrow mouth. Greys wear skintight uniforms, carry numerous instruments to study their environments, and keep a weapon or two for protection.

Motive: Knowledge

Environment: Greys land their spacecraft in remote areas, where they have minimal risk of discovery.

Health: 12

Damage Inflicted: 6 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: All tasks related to knowledge as level 6; Speed defense as level 5 due to size and quickness

Combat: A grey carries a powerful ray emitter that can burn holes through solid steel. The grey can use the emitter to attack targets within long range. Against dangerous opponents, a grey can use an action to activate a personal shield that encapsulates it in a bubble of force. The shield gives it +3 to Armor, but while the shield is active, the grey can’t fire its ray emitter.

Greys are scientists, but cautious ones. Leaving a trail of corpses as evidence of their existence isn’t their preferred mode of operation. For this reason, one grey in every group has a memory eraser. When this grey activates the device, each target other than a grey within short range must succeed on an Intellect defense roll or become stunned for one minute, taking no action (unless attacked, which snaps the victim out of the condition). When the effect wears off naturally, the target has no recollection of encountering little grey creatures.

Interaction: Greys are curious about the places they visit but reluctant to move or act in the open. Secretive and mysterious, they prefer to observe creatures from afar and, on occasion, pick them up for closer inspection. Someone who offers a grey true knowledge might be treated as an equal rather than a lab animal.

Use: The PCs are called to investigate a series of disappearances of animals and people. One by one, the abductees return, usually in odd places, and always bearing physical markings that suggest they were subjected to invasive procedures. To protect others from a similar fate, the PCs must catch the abductors in the act.

Loot: A grey has one or two cyphers and might have a memory eraser that works as described under Combat (depletion roll of 1–2 on a 1d10).

GM intrusion: A grey’s ray emitter suffers a terrible mishap and explodes. The device kills the grey and destroys its body completely. For the next day, creatures that come within a short distance of where the grey died take 4 points of ambient damage from the psychic radiation each round they remain there.

6 (18)

Hags are evil magical creatures distantly related to the fey. They resemble withered ancient humans with obvious inhuman features—dead eyes, green or purple skin, metal teeth, webbed fingers, and seaweed-like hair are common traits. They love corrupting pure and innocent things, and feast on the dreams and flesh of their victims.

Motive: Power, treachery

Environment: Forests, swamps, mountains, and unpleasant natural locations

Health: 25

Damage Inflicted: 6 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: Lying, haggling, magical lore, mimicking voices, and Intellect defense as level 7

Combat: Hags can attack with their iron-hard claws and teeth, but often rely on their magic abilities in combat. Hags can breathe water, and usually have three or more of the following abilities:

  • Arcane blast: Use magical energy to blast one foe within short range and inflict 6 points of damage, or divide this energy (and damage) among several foes as the hag sees fit (each foe makes their own Speed defense roll against this attack).
  • Change shape: Transform into a humanoid or common animal, or return to their own form.
  • Curse: Curse a creature within long range, hindering all physical actions by two steps.
  • Fear: Terrify all creatures within short range who look upon them, causing the creatures to flee for one minute if they fail an Intellect defense roll.
  • Illusion: Create an illusion affecting a small area that includes light, sound, and smell. They can use this to disguise themselves as any humanoid creature (such as a human, dwarf, or elf). Changing or maintaining the illusion is not an action.
  • Invisibility: Turn invisible for ten minutes. When invisible, they are specialized in stealth and Speed defense tasks.
  • Murderous glare: Glare at one opponent, causing bloody wounds that inflict 6 points of damage if the creature is within short range (3 points if within long range).
  • Question: Get an answer to a very simple, general question about a creature or place within 1 mile (1.5 km).
  • Scrying eye: View any familiar location within 1 mile as if they were observing it directly.
  • Sleep: Make a creature fall asleep for one minute. Damage or loud noises will wake the creature.

Three or more allied hags form a coven, which allows them to use each other’s magical abilities, and usually grants the coven (when working together) one or two additional abilities.

Interaction: Hags are evil, greedy, hateful, and cruel. They rarely do things for others unless they benefit in some way, and they like to trick fools into dangerous tasks that end up profiting the hag instead of anyone else. If shown proper respect and bribed or paid, a hag can be a valuable source of lore.

Use: The smell of cakes lures children to a mysterious woodland shack. The hag of the swamp is said to kill anyone who enters their territory without carrying a specific gift.

Loot: In addition to coins and jewels, a hag usually has several scrolls or potions and may have an artifact.

GM intrusion: A creature becomes afraid and reluctant to oppose the hag, hindering all actions against the hag by two steps for one day.

3 (9)

A harpy is a hideous, filthy creature with the body of a large vulture and the neck and head of an ugly human. Their breath reeks of decay, their wings and talons drip with an unpleasant oil, and their eyes shed acrid tears. They love to torment people and lure them to their deaths.

Motive: Hungers for flesh, causing anguish

Environment: Coastline, forest, and mountains

Health: 9

Damage Inflicted: 4 points

Movement: Short; long when flying

Modifications: Perception and Speed defense as level 4

Combat: Harpies are fast and strong, capable of carrying off a light adult human. They attack with their long talons.

Anything a harpy touches becomes fouled with their smelly fluids, and one harpy energetically flapping their wings is enough to contaminate an immediate area. Their fluids are repulsive but not directly harmful, and the smell persists even after a casual washing. Any food touched by harpy filth is inedible to anyone but a harpy. Creatures with a sensitive sense of smell (such as dogs and wolves) are hindered when within a short distance of a harpy. It is common for a group of harpies to attack a campsite or festival, spread their stink over everything, and fly away with whatever food they can carry.

A harpy can sing a weird, entrancing song that hypnotizes whoever hears it. Anyone within long range who hears the song must make an Intellect defense roll or stop whatever they are doing and attempt to approach the harpy. If the creature comes within an immediate distance of a singing harpy, they stand there dumbly even as the harpy attacks them. The creature can make another attempt to break free each round on its turn, and taking damage from anything other than a singing harpy allows them another attempt to break free. Five or more harpies can work together on the same song (treat as a level 5 effect). Harpies are cruel and have been known to lead an entranced creature into a pit, off a cliff, or over the railing of a ship.

Interaction: Other than their singing, harpies do not usually speak with other creatures. They are more likely to jeer and screech at people like an angry bird than try to communicate.

Use: A flock of harpies torments a village during its harvest festival, ruining the celebration and some of the food set aside for the winter. Sailors speak of a lonely island where an old, blind king starves because harpies steal or foul any food set out for him.

Loot: A harpy nest may have one or two cyphers or other valuables, but the items will smell disgusting unless carefully washed.

GM intrusion: A harpy snatches something a character is wearing or carrying on a failed Speed defense roll. The harpy throws away or flees with the stolen item

Hollow Knight
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In haunted castles and among the armies mustered by those with power over life and death, sometimes walk hollow knights. These animated suits of armor move just like living people, and many who encounter these dread revenants mistake them for living foes only to realize in horror that there’s nothing inside except for the memory of the warrior that once donned the suit. Brought into being by binding the spirit of a dead warrior to its panoply, hollow knights behave in much the same way they did in life—disciplined, loyal, and battle ready. Clad head to toe in full plate armor, with battered shields strapped to their arms and rusty swords gripped in lobster gauntlets, the knights stand ready to face any foe, heedless of the danger, driven to serve the necromancer that made them. Hollow knights might ride on the backs of skeletal steeds and wield lances.

Motive: Obedience to its master

Environment: Anywhere

Health: 12

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Armor: 3

Movement: Short; long while mounted on a skeletal steed

Skeletal steed: level 4

Modifications: Resists fear and intimidation as level 10

Combat: A hollow knight usually fights with a sword or mace.

When mounted on a steed, a hollow knight charges its enemies whenever possible. As an action, its steed moves a short distance, and the hollow knight can make a single attack at any point during this movement. When attacking in this way, the knight inflicts 7 points of damage.

A hollow knight is fearless and fights until destroyed or ordered to pull back. The magic animating its armor is slow to fade, so armor components may continue to twitch and jerk even after the knight has fallen. Usually, when defeated, the suit of armor falls apart, and wisps of grey smoke curl up from the remains.

Interaction: Hollow knights cannot speak. They obey any orders given to them by their creators.

Use: The necromancer or other magician that binds the spirit to the armor also imbues the armor with specific commands—tasks the knight must carry out until destroyed. Some knights may stand guard at citadels or mansions, keeping a vigil until their armor finally falls apart. Others are more active and may function as the core of a dark wizard’s army.

GM intrusion: When a hollow knight is destroyed, a gauntlet flies up, grabs a character, and won’t let go. A difficulty 7 Might task is required to pry it loose

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This mythological reptile has five writhing serpent heads, each of which constantly exhales a venomous plume. Well over 20 feet (6 m) long from the tip of its longest head to its thrashing tail, the toxic beast’s most discomfiting feature is its magical ability to sprout new heads when it’s wounded. Some hydras dwell on land, others in water. Most seem to have been set as guardians of important places by higher powers, which is probably why they’re so difficult to kill.

Motive: Hungers for flesh, defend a location

Environment: Swamps, coasts, and forests

Health: 24

Damage Inflicted: 7 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short when walking or swimming

Modifications: Perception as level 8 due to its many heads; Speed defense as level 5 due to size

Combat: Even approaching a hydra is dangerous; the air around it is poisoned by its venomous breath. Each round a creature is within immediate range of a hydra, they must succeed on a Might defense task or take 1 point of Speed damage (ignores Armor).

All five of a hydra’s heads can simultaneously bite foes in immediate range. If three or more heads coordinate their attack, the heads make one attack as a single level 9 creature dealing 9 points of damage. A target bitten by the venomous hydra must also succeed on a Might defense task or take an additional 2 points of Speed damage (ignores Armor).

Whenever the hydra takes 4 or more points of damage from a single attack, a healing pulse surges through the creature a round later. The pulse returns the health just subtracted due to the attack and triggers the immediate growth of two additional heads that sprout from the creature. (The same thing happens if one of the creature’s snakelike heads is decapitated.) The new heads are just as effective as the original ones in a fight. Fire, electrical, and other extreme energy attacks do not trigger the healing pulse and head genesis.

Interaction: A hydra is a cunning predator, but not intelligent. It can’t bargain or negotiate.

Use: The PCs investigate an ancient ruin hoping to find artifacts of the gods. A hydra saw them enter and trails them through the crumbling structure at a considerable distance, waiting for them to take a rest or become otherwise distracted before attacking.

Loot: Hydras sometimes collect cyphers and artifacts in their lair, or failing that, they guard something of value.

GM intrusion: The character reacts poorly to the poison in the air or a bite and goes intonhelpless convulsions for one round if they fail a Might defense task.

Jotunn (Norse Giant)

Jotunns are a type of giant—large, somewhat intelligent, bad-tempered, and cultured in their own way, but generally hostile to humans and other “little folk.” Jotunns range from 9 to 20 feet (3 to 6 m) tall, are strong, have long hair, and wear armor and use weapons like humans do. Some are hideous, some are attractive by human standards, and some have multiple heads. They live in caves, lodges, or large castles. There are two main types of jotunns: fire and frost.

Jotunn, Fire
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Fire jotunns are often called fire giants. Their skin is coal-grey or black; their hair is red or gold and may be metal or actual flames. They prefer hot mountainous climates (particularly volcanoes), wear plate armor, and use greatswords that glow with the natural heat of their bodies.

Motive: Destruction, hungers for flesh, honor

Environment: Hot mountains, volcanic areas, supernatural fires

Health: 30

Damage Inflicted: 6 points plus 3 points from fire

Armor: 3 (immune to fire)

Movement: Short

Modifications: Speed defense as level 5 due to size; breaks and throws objects as level 8

Combat: A fire jotunn uses weapons appropriate to its size (which would be two-handed for a human but can be wielded one-handed by the giant), inflicting 6 points of damage plus another 3 points of ambient fire damage conducted from the jotunn’s body. Jotunns throw boulders up to very long range, inflicting 6 points of damage plus 3 points of fire damage.

A jotunn can inflict 1 point of fire damage with a touch, and anyone touching it without protection against fire takes damage as if the jotunn had touched them. A slain fire jotunn and its equipment are too hot to safely touch for several minutes.

Fire jotunns are immune to fire damage, but take additional damage from cold (equal to the attack’s normal damage, up to a maximum of 5 additional points of cold damage).

Fire jotunn leaders sometimes have magical powers, usually related to earth and fire.

Interaction: Fire jotunns tend to be hostile, but they may agree to a nonlethal challenge to allow visitors to pass through their land or join them for a feast.

Use: A fire jotunn decides to cause trouble for intruders in its territory. A clan of jotunns wages war against a fortified village or town, hurling boulders, starting fires, and stealing livestock.

Loot: Jotunns like fine things, and their homes usually have utensils, plates, weapons, and trophies made of precious metals and decorated with gems. They may have cyphers, and a leader may carry an artifact.

GM intrusion: The jotunn’s attack inflicts a serious burn, making a limb useless for an hour or until healed.

Jotunn, Frost
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Frost jotunns are often called frost giants or ice giants. Their skin is pale white, pink, or blue, and their hair is usually white, pale blond, or actual ice. They prefer cold mountains and tundra, wear chainmail and furs, and use metal axes that channel powerful cold from their bodies.

Motive: Destruction, hungers for flesh, honor

Environment: Cold mountains and plains

Health: 30

Damage Inflicted: 6 points plus 3 points from cold

Armor: 2 (immune to cold)

Movement: Short; long when skiing

Modifications: Speed defense as level 5 due to size; breaks and throws objects as level 8

Combat: A frost jotunn uses weapons appropriate to its size (which would be two-handed for a human but can be wielded one-handed by the giant), inflicting 6 points of damage plus another 3 points of ambient cold damage conducted from the jotunn’s body. Jotunns throw boulders or chunks of ice up to very long range, inflicting 6 points of damage plus 3 points of cold damage.

A jotunn can inflict 1 point of cold damage with a touch, and anyone touching it without protection against cold takes damage as if the jotunn had touched them. A slain frost jotunn and its equipment are too cold to safely touch for several minutes.

Frost jotunns are immune to cold damage, but take additional damage from fire (equal to the attack’s normal damage, up to a maximum of 5 additional points of fire damage).

Frost jotunn leaders sometimes have magical powers, usually related to illusions and weather.

Interaction: Frost jotunns tend to be hostile, but if in a generous mood, they may allow visitors to dine with them or rest in their halls. Once they grant someone hospitality, they are loath to break it unless they are attacked, robbed, or tricked.

Use: A frost jotunn throws a boulder just to be threatening. A clever jotunn offers to share a story in exchange for food and conversation. A clan of jotunns uses the cover of a storm to raid a village.

Loot: Jotunns like fine things, and their homes usually have utensils, plates, weapons, and trophies made of precious materials and decorated with gems. They may have cyphers, and a leader may carry an artifact.

GM intrusion: The jotunn’s attack numbs one of the character’s limbs, hindering all actions with it by two steps until it is healed.

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Kaiju come in a variety of shapes, but all share one difficult-to-ignore quality: mind-blowing size. Appearances of these colossal creatures are rare events that usually don’t last for more than a few days. In that sense, they’re akin to hundred-year storms and at least as destructive. When they emerge, they’re attracted by artificial structures, the more densely situated and elaborate the better, which they set to smashing with a vengeance. It’s hard to judge the size of things so far outside normal scale, but good estimates put most kaiju at over 300 feet (90 m) in height.

Kaiju rely primarily on their strength and mass, but many have some additional trick or ability that sets them apart from their kin, which usually translates into even more devastation.

The other quality all kaiju share is the talent of hiding after a rampage by diving into a nearby sea or burrowing deep into the earth. Sometimes the same kaiju will appear again days, months, years, or decades later, attacking the same location or someplace entirely new.

Motive: Destruction

Environment:: Usually near communities containing many high structures

Health: 140

Damage Inflicted: 18 points

Armor: 5

Movement: Short

Modifications: Speed defense as level 8 due to size

Combat: A kaiju can punch, kick, or deliver a tail or tentacle lash at something within long range. Damage is inflicted on the target and everything within short range of the target, and even those that succeed on a Speed defense roll take 7 points of damage.

Kaiju heal quickly, usually at a rate of 2 points per round.

Kaiju are rare and devastating enough that most are dubbed with a unique identifier by survivors. The entry for each creature below notes only where it varies from the base creature described above.

Rampagion: This kaiju has been estimated to be almost 1,000 feet (300 m) high. Once per day, it can make a charging trample attack, dealing its damage in a line 300 feet (90 m) wide and 2 miles (3 km) long. Rampagion has 10 Armor and deals 20 points of damage with a physical attack (or 8 points if a victim makes a successful Speed defense roll).

Suneko: This kaiju’s body, which resembles a cross between a lion and a lizard, is so hot that its skin glows like red coals, its mane like the sun’s corona, and its eyes like beaming searchlights. Suneko automatically deals 10 points of damage to everyone within immediate range. The creature can emit twin rays of plasma from its eyes in a focused beam that can reach as far as the horizon, which from Suneko’s height above the ground is about 22 miles (35 km). When it makes its eyebeam attack, it stops emitting killing heat in immediate range for about one minute.

Interaction: Most PCs can’t directly interact with a kaiju unless they have some special device or association allowing them to get the attention of one of the massive creatures. Doing so could give the characters a chance to trick or lure the beast, or maybe even persuade one kaiju to fight another.

Use: After seeing the devastation caused by a kaiju, the PCs might decide (or be asked) to find a way to stop a projected future appearance by the same creature.

GM Intrusion: The character gains the direct attention of the kaiju. If the kaiju attacks the character, They are awarded 5 XP, only 1 of which they have to give to a friend.

Killer Clown
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A clown—whether it’s a doll or what seems to be a person wearing clown makeup—could be entirely benign. But if you see one sitting alone in a dark room, lying under your bed, or gazing up at you through the sewer grate in the street, it might be a killer clown. Killer clowns might be evil spirits possessing someone or an insane person living out a homicidal fantasy. Either way, they’re as dangerous as anything you’ll ever likely meet. If you see a clown, run. Because it might be a killer.

Motive: Homicide

Environment:: Almost anywhere

Health: 25

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Movement: Short

Modifications: Detecting falsehoods, deception, and persuasion as level 7

Combat: A killer clown attempts to deceive its victim into believing that the clown is a friend. In fact, the clown is setting up an ambush where the victim can be strangled to death in private. When a killer clown successfully attacks, it inflicts 5 points of damage and locks its hands around the victim’s neck. In each round that the victim does not escape, it suffers 5 points of damage from being strangled.

Some killer clowns know tricks that border on the supernatural. Such a clown may do one of the following as its action during combat.

d6 Clown Trick
1 Reveal a secret that one character is keeping from one or more of their allies.
2 Poke target in the eyes as a level 6 attack, blinding target for one minute.
3 Activate a trapdoor beneath victim that drops them 20 feet (6 m) into a cellar or basement.
4 Disappear into secret door or hatch and reappear somewhere hidden within short range.
5 Jab target in the throat as a level 6 attack; resulting coughing fit causes target to lose next action.
6 Down an elixir or energy drink that heals the killer clown of all damage sustained.

Interaction: A killer clown is all jokes, magic tricks, and juggling, until it decides it’s time to strike.

Use: The creepy circus that just pulled into town is guarded by a killer clown, as late-night investigators soon learn.

Loot: A killer clown might have one or two cyphers in the form of a joy buzzer, cards, and cheap trinkets.

GM intrusion: The clown snatches a weapon, cypher, or other object from the character’s hand as a level 6 attack, and if successful, immediately uses it on the character.

Killing White Light
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A killing white light isn’t a subtle hunter. At a distance, the creature is an eye-watering point of brilliance. When it closes in, it is nothing less than blinding, though its emanation isn’t warm. Despite the blazing intensity, a killing white light is as cold as starlight on a December night, sapping heat and life from living things caught in its radiance.

By day, a killing white light is usually inactive. During this period, the creature hibernates in darkened areas, as if unwilling or unable to compete against the sun.

Motive: Eliminate organic life

Environment:: Almost anywhere dark

Health: 15

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short when flying

Combat: An active (glowing) killing white light can attack one target within immediate range each round with a pulse of its brilliant nimbus. A character who fails a Speed defense roll against the attack takes damage and experiences a cooling numbness. A victim killed by the creature is rendered into so much blowing ash, though their clothing and equipment are unharmed.

As it attacks, a killing white light emits a blinding nimbus of illumination that affects all creatures within short range. Targets in the area must succeed on a Might defense roll each round or be blinded for one round. A character in the area can avert their eyes when fighting a killing white light to avoid being blinded, but attacks and defenses are hindered for those who do so.

A killing white light is vulnerable to strong sources of light other than its own. If exposed to daylight or caught in a high-intensity beam of light (such as a spotlight), the killing white light falters and takes no action for one round, after which it can act normally. However, if the competing light persists for more than three or four rounds, the creature usually retreats to a darkened place of safety.

Interaction: A killing white light is too alien for interaction and may not be intelligent in a way humans can understand.

Use: An inactive killing white light (which looks something like an albino lump of volcanic glass) is sometimes mistaken for a cypher whose properties can’t quite be identified—until the creature becomes active, at which point its true nature is revealed.

GM intrusion: Normally resistant to interaction, a killing white light uses its blazing nimbus to burn an alien glyph of uncertain meaning in the character’s flesh before the creature fades like a light bulb switched off.

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A lich is a powerful wizard or priest who has used their knowledge of necromancy to bind their soul in a magical object called a phylactery, making them immortal and undead unless their soul object is found and destroyed. Having corrupted its own life energy in an obscene ritual, a lich can pursue its other magical goals, usually the acquisition of more wealth, magic, and power. A newly made lich may look like a recent corpse, but maintaining its physical vessel becomes less of a priority as the centuries pass, so over time they tend to look withered or even skeletal. Liches often work with or command other undead, such as wraiths, skeletons, vampires, and zombies.

Motive: Magic, immortality, power

Environment: Wherever they can remain hidden and work undisturbed

Health: 45

Damage Inflicted: 8 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: Intellect defense and magical lore as level 10

Combat: A lich can shoot blasts of necromantic energy that inflict 8 points of damage on a target and 4 points on any creature within immediate range of the target. A lich knows many spells, such as the following:

  • Animate guards: Animate ten corpses as skeletons or zombies, which obey the lich for one hour before turning back into corpses.
  • Armor: Gain +5 Armor for one hour.
  • Death: Inflict 8 points of damage on a creature within short range; if the creature fails a Might defense roll, it also moves two steps down the damage track.
  • Fly: For one hour, move through the air as effortlessly as walking.
  • Paralyze: One target within short range is held motionless for two rounds, unable to take any physical actions.
  • Polymorph: Transform a creature within short range into a harmless creature like a fish or frog for one minute.
  • Scrying eye: View any familiar location within 1 mile (1.5 km) as if the lich was observing it directly.
  • Teleport: Move instantly up to 1 mile. A lich also likely carries several cyphers useful in combat. Liches are undead, and therefore immune to anything that affects only living creatures, such as disease and poison. Unless its well-hidden phylactery is destroyed, a lich that is killed reforms a new body near its phylactery over the next week or so, returning at full health and with all of its abilities and memories.

Interaction: Liches hate being interrupted and have more important things to do than answer questions from mortal weaklings. A lich may be convinced to teach a character a spell, especially if given a spell, cypher, or artifact in trade.

Use: A lich is planning a ritual to raise an army of skeletons or zombies to attack the kingdom. A lich has made a pact with a demon to unleash a plague in exchange for obscure magical knowledge.

Loot: A lich has 1d6 cyphers and usually an artifact.

GM intrusions: The lich casts a spell in addition to taking other actions on its turn. The lich uses a cypher, spell, or other ability to nullify an attack that otherwise would have affected it.

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A manticore is a fearsome predator that resembles a maned red lion with a human head and a scorpion’s tail. The head is bearded and has three rows of teeth in the upper and lower jaws, like a shark. The scorpion tail is covered in multiple barbs, and the creature can flick its tail to hurl these barbs at its prey. Manticores eat all of their prey, including the bones, clothing, and equipment, leaving nothing but a bloodstain as evidence of their hunting.

Motive: Hungers for flesh (especially human flesh)

Environment: Mountains and plains

Health: 22

Damage Inflicted: 8 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Long

Modifications: Ranged attacks as level 5

Combat: Manticores attack with their powerful bite, seeking to incapacitate or kill one opponent quickly so they can eat. Some are content to attack and consume a single target, but a large, hungry manticore prefers to wait until two or three creatures are nearby before attacking. A manticore has powerful legs and can leap up to a short distance in any direction, and often surprises its prey by leaping from concealment.

Instead of biting, a manticore can use its poisonous scorpion-like tail to strike one creature in melee with a cluster of barbs, inflicting 4 points of damage (plus 4 additional points of Speed damage if the target fails a Might defense roll). With a flick of its tail, it can hurl up to four barbs up to a short distance away, striking one or more creatures in an immediate area. Each barb inflicts 1 point of damage, and the target must succeed on a Might defense roll or take 1 additional point of Speed damage.

Interaction: Manticores can make trumpet-like noises that resemble speech, but this seems to be a trick to lure prey. Most of them are not intelligent enough to know how to speak human languages.

Use: Weird musical noises resembling speech are heard from the nearby hills. People have been disappearing in fields and on the road, with only bloodstains on the ground suggesting that they were harmed.

Loot: A manticore’s stomach might contain a piece of treasure or a cypher from a recent meal, and its lair may have one or two small objects it was unable to digest.

GM intrusion: The manticore attacks with its bite, then spins around to lash its opponent with its barbed tail.

Mechanical Soldier
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Clockwork automatons powered by steam, these mechanical men patrol about and guard locations of importance to their makers. Lanky and awkward in their movements, these quasi-humanoid automatons stand almost 8 feet (2 m) tall. In their three-fingered hands, they wield a variety of weapons.

A few people have wondered if a gear-driven soldier could ever truly attain sentience. Most scoff at the suggestion, but is that a gleam in the glass lens of its eye?

Motive: Incomprehensible

Environment:: Anywhere, usually in groups of three to eight

Health: 15

Damage Inflicted: 4 points

Armor: 3

Movement: Short

Modifications: Perception as level 5; leaps, runs, and balances as level 3

Combat: Mechanical soldiers attack in groups using well-organized tactics. Although they can speak, they transmit information to one another silently and instantly within a 100-mile (160 km) range via wireless radio transmissions.

Soldiers armed with advanced weaponry typically carry rifle-like guns that can fire multiple rapid shots without reloading. The soldiers fire at up to three targets (all next to one another) at once. For each target after the first, defense rolls are eased.

In addition, one in four soldiers carries a back-mounted device that hurls bombs at long range with deadly accuracy. They explode in immediate range for 4 points of damage. Each device holds 1d6 such bombs.

A mechanical soldier that has lost its original weaponry scavenges whatever is available.

Certain frequencies of sound confuse these clockwork soldiers, hindering all their actions by two steps, and other frequencies prevent them from acting at all for 1d6 + 1 rounds.

Interaction: On their own, mechanical soldiers act on prior orders. Otherwise, they listen to and obey their creator—and only their creator.

Use: An enterprising bandit has captured and repurposed a number of mechanical soldiers, probably using sound. These soldiers remember nothing of their former duties and work for their new master as high-tech brigands and pirates. The bandit has no idea how to repair them if they are damaged, much less make new soldiers.

Loot: A determined scientist might scavenge the body of one of these automatons to find a cypher.

GM intrusion: The destroyed soldier explodes in a gout of flame, black smoke, and steam, inflicting 6 points of damage to all within immediate range.

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Merfolk are intelligent creatures with humanlike bodies from the waist up and scaly fish bodies from the waist down. They are able to breathe air or water but prefer the sea for its beauty and their better mobility. Merfolk have great underwater cities ruled by a king or queen, but most land-walking species interact only with the common or soldier merfolk who visit the ocean surface and coastlines. Merfolk societies are much like those of surface humans; their inability to use fire limits them in some ways (such as blacksmithing), but they have compensated for this with water magic and other skills.

Merfolk skin ranges from all human colors to green, blue, and grey. Some have small fins on their heads and elbows or webs between their fingers. They dress for comfort and wear jewelry made of shells, coral, pearls, polished gemstones, and metals they can salvage or trade for. Most of them are content to be hunters or cultivators of kelp and other aquatic plants, but some are curious about land-walkers (and their sunken ships) or fiercely territorial about protecting their waters against outsiders.

Motive: Defense, entertainment

Environment:: Oceans, seas, and coasts

Health: 9

Damage Inflicted: 4 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Immediate; short when swimming

Modifications: Perception as level 4 while in water

Combat: Merfolk use spears, tridents, daggers, and other stabbing weapons that are effective underwater. They may create traps using nets to confine or direct foes into an ambush. A few lucky or clever ones have acquired or adapted light crossbows designed to fire underwater up to a short distance away.

About once every ten minutes, a merperson can swim a short distance as their action and still make a melee attack, or swim up to a long distance as their action.

About one in ten merfolk have the magical ability to harden water until it is as strong and durable as wood, taking about an hour to make a spear or similar tool that lasts for several days. Some noble merfolk can create short-range bolts of electricity as an action and make limited alterations to the weather (stilling, increasing, or dispersing wind and clouds in a very long area) by concentrating for several minutes.

Interaction: Merfolk react according to their role in merfolk society—farmer, rancher, guard, explorer, noble, and so on. Some merfolk are more aggressive or hostile and dislike the presence of land-walkers in their territory. Most merfolk are amiable to conversation and trade with people who treat them with fairness and respect.

Use: Merfolk are often seen sunning themselves on a small island off the coast. Merfolk warriors accompanied by trained large fish have been harassing boats and ships that stray too far from the shallows and shores.

Trained large fish: level 2, attacks as level 3; swims a long distance each round

Loot: In addition to several small pieces of jewelry, a group of merfolk might have a manifest cypher. A noble or royal merperson usually has a cypher and might have an artifact.

GM intrusions: The merfolk’s weapon injects poison, inflicting 5 points of Speed damage if the character fails a Might defense task. Another merperson or an allied aquatic creature arrives and joins the fight against the character.

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These extraterrestrial creatures are known as the Fungi from Yuggoth or the Abominable Ones. They are a bizarre amalgam of insect and fungal entity, with many limbs and wings that can carry them aloft. They sometimes enslave humans to work for them in strange factories, mines, or other labor-intensive capacities.

Motive: Knowledge and power

Environment:: Usually cold or temperate hills or mountains

Health: 19

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short; long when flying

Modifications: All knowledge tasks as level 6

Combat: Mi-go defend themselves with pincers and claws but are more likely to use technological devices as weapons. Assume that a mi-go has one of the following abilities from a device:

  • Project a blast of electricity at long range that inflicts 6 points of damage
  • Emit poison gas in a cloud that fills to short range and inflicts 4 points of Intellect damage if the victim fails a Might defense roll (the mi-go is immune)
  • Project a holographic image of itself to one side that hinders attacks aimed at the real mi-go by two steps
  • Project a sonic field that provides +2 to Armor

Mi-go have access to other devices as well, including translators, cylinders that can preserve a human’s brain without its body, sophisticated tools, collars that control the actions of their wearers, and weird vehicles. Mi-go suffer no damage from cold and do not need to breathe.

Interaction: Although very few mi-go speak human languages, peaceful interaction with these creatures is not impossible. It’s just very difficult (level 7), as they see most humans as little more than animals.

Use: The characters are attacked by mi-go intent on capturing and enslaving them. If caught, the PCs are sent to scavenge through primordial ruins for disturbing technological relics.

Loot: Mi-go always have 1d6 cyphers as well as many curious objects that have no obvious human function.

GM intrusion: Fungal spores from the mi-go’s body overcome the character, who must succeed at a Might defense roll or lose their next turn. The character faces this risk each round they are within immediate distance of the creature.

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Minotaurs are aggressive bull-humanoids who enjoy human flesh. Some legends say the first minotaur was the result of a curse from a god, and others suggest it was created by a demon, but the truth is lost to antiquity. Minotaurs care little about history or their origin, preferring to hunt for meat and spar with each other for dominance and trophies. Minotaurs live in small tribes of up to a dozen adults. Solitary minotaurs are exiles, last survivors of their tribe, or younger individuals claiming their own territory.

Motive: Hungers for flesh

Environment: Caves, plains, and labyrinths

Health: 19

Damage Inflicted: 6 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: Hunting and tracking as level 5

Combat: Minotaurs attack with their horns or use large weapons. A minotaur can charge up to a short distance and then make an attack, which inflicts an additional 3 points of damage.

Minotaurs are interested in mazes and mazelike spaces and like to wander within them, memorizing the paths and finding good places to stage ambushes. They leave out piles of equipment and useless treasures from previous victims to lure people into the maze and give the minotaur time to corner their prey. S

ometimes one minotaur in a tribe develops simple magic powers and is able to create illusions of smoke or mist in an area a short distance across, turn invisible for a few moments, or enchant weapons to inflict bleeding wounds.

Interaction: Minotaurs can speak, usually in their own language or another crude humanoid language. However, they typically choose not to speak to weaker creatures (such as humans).

Use: A wandering gang of minotaurs has been stealing livestock from a local village and is ready to start hunting humans. A minotaur gladiator escaped from a secret underground arena and is stalking prey in the city. Something lurks in a corn maze, leaving nothing but bones and bloodstains.

Loot: Minotaurs don’t have much use for coins but keep a few small trophies, such as ivory dice, gems, or simple jewelry. The most powerful minotaur in the tribe may have a cypher or even a mastercraft weapon.

GM intrusions: A minotaur smashes a nearby wall, causing part of the ceiling to collapse on one or more characters, inflicting 6 points of damage and trapping them until they can escape from the rubble. A minotaur grabs a character, who can resist with a Might or Speed defense roll; if they fail, the minotaur takes them up to a short distance away and disappears (behind an obstacle, into a maze, or in some other hiding spot)

3 (9)

Mokuren are usually no larger than a cat, but they possess the ability to swell until they’re the size of a bus (if only briefly). That ability, combined with their flashy pyrokinetic tails, make these creatures a particular favorite with children, at least in stories and picture books. Given that mokuren can “burrow” into paintings and other two-dimensional art, it’s possible that some mokuren images are more than simple representations.

Motive: Play

Environment:: Almost anywhere, usually as static images on walls or in storybooks

Health: 9

Damage Inflicted: 3 points, unless enlarged; see Combat

Movement: Short; long if flying

Modifications: Defends as level 5 due to size, unless enlarged; see Combat

Combat: A mokuren exists in three states: as an image, as a cat-sized creature, and as a bus-sized behemoth.

As an image, a mokuren can’t be harmed. Even if the image is defaced, the mokuren merely “burrows” away and reappears like graffiti on a new flat space within a few miles.

Alternatively, it could emerge from the image and become a physical cat-sized creature as a move. In this form, a mokuren can attack with its claws or bite. It can also direct a stream of fire from its glowing tail at a target within long range. (When a mokuren flies, it’s by using its tail to create a jet that rockets it skyward.)

Finally, it can make an enlarged attack, in which it swells to the size of a bus and swipes at, bites, or lands on a target as part of the same action. When enlarged, the mokuren gains +5 to Armor and makes and defends against all attacks as a level 7 creature. On a hit, the enlarged mokuren deals 7 points of damage. However, a mokuren can remain enlarged for a total of only four rounds during any twenty-four-hour period, so it uses this ability sparingly or only when enraged.

Interaction: To see an active mokuren is considered good luck, unless you manage to get on the wrong side of one. Then an offering of sweets must be made to the offended creature. A mokuren can’t talk, but it can understand the languages where it lives about as well as a trained courser or hound can.

Use: A mokuren can lead characters into unexplored areas, helping them find places they may have overlooked or skipped. It can also lead PCs into danger, but it usually does so only to bring aid (the characters) to someone else in trouble.

GM intrusion: The character hit by the mokuren doesn’t take damage. Instead, they must succeed on a Might defense roll or be pulled into the nearest wall, floor, or book with the creature, becoming a two-dimensional image. In this state, the victim is in stasis until the mokuren pulls them free, another creature “pries” them loose, or a day passes and the effect ends naturally.

2 (6)

Morlocks are degenerate, blind cannibal humanoids that avoid light. They have prominent teeth, piglike eyes, loose skin, and stooped postures. They avoid bright daylight and prefer to hunt and forage when it is dark out (or at least under the twilight-like canopy of a heavy forest). Morlocks eat any sort of meat, even carrion and their own dead. Morlocks build piles of stones to mark their territory. On nights of the new moon, they create unnerving music by playing simple drums made out of skulls and logs. They lack the foresight to store food for lean times, so they range farther from home in winter and times of famine. They are sometimes enslaved by more powerful creatures such as ogres or a vampire.

Motive: Hungers for flesh, defense

Environment: Caves, forests, hills, and underground

Health: 6

Damage Inflicted: 2 points

Movement: Short; short when climbing

Modifications: Stealth and tracking as level 4

Combat: Morlocks fight with their nails and teeth, but sometimes they use simple weapons like clubs, stone knives, spears, and javelins if they have observed other humanoids doing so. Some tribes dig simple pit traps and chase prey into them.

Morlocks dislike strong light but are not harmed by it. Their hearing and sense of smell is strong enough that they can “see” in dim or very dim light as if it were normal light. They can track scents as well as a trained dog.

Interaction: Morlocks have a simple language of hoots, howls, and growls that communicate basic concepts like food, fire, danger, and cold. If enslaved by a more powerful creature, some of them can manage to learn a few words in that creature’s language.

Use: Town elders warn that the drums and near-human howls on dark nights are signs of morlocks who’ll steal away foolish children. Stacked piles of stones are found in the forest, each surrounded by bare humanoid footprints.

Loot: Morlocks don’t value what they can’t eat, but their lair may have a cypher or two from a recent victim.

GM intrusion: An unnoticed morlock drags away an unconscious character or animal to be eaten once they’re out of sight.

5 (15)

The ability to influence, command, and call up the dead is an impressive power, given how many more people are dead than living. Since the only thing separating a living person from a dead one is a well-aimed knife or death spell, the number of dead always rises.

Motive: Magical power, mastery over death

Environment: In places where dead are interred, usually with some number of undead servitors

Health: 15

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: Speed defense as level 6 due to shroud of undead protective spirits

Combat: Necromancers can blast a foe within long range with the cold of the grave or flesh-decaying magic.

A necromancer can cast a death spell on a foe within short range once every minute; the victim must succeed on a Might defense roll or move down one step on the damage track. This ability could be an innate power or come from an artifact.

A necromancer who isn’t already accompanied by undead spirits or shambling, spirit-inhabited corpses under their command can call up a spirit as an action. A necromancer can command up to five spirits (or newly allied undead, as described below) at a time.

A necromancer can attempt to take command of a spirit or undead creature within short range. They automatically succeed against an unaligned undead target of level 4 or less. If a targeted spirit is already allied with or in service to a PC, the PC must succeed on an Intellect defense roll or lose control of the spirit to the necromancer’s will for one minute.

Spirit: level 3; flesh-decaying touch inflicts 3 points of damage

Interaction: Necromancers are feared for their nonchalant attitudes toward life, especially the life of normal people (such as peasants and city folk). They will negotiate but usually don’t have the capacity to care about another person’s well-being; they’re sociopathic.

Use: A character has died, and their allies must find a necromancer to help retrieve their spirit. Of course, the necromancer wants something in return for this aid—perhaps an artifact pilfered from whatever underworld or hell the dead character is imprisoned within.

Loot: Necromancers have one or two expensive items, a cypher, and possibly an artifact.

GM intrusion: A bony hand erupts from the ground at the character’s feet. On a failed Speed defense roll, they are held in place until they can succeed on a Might task to escape. Each round the character fails to escape, the hand squeezes them for 3 points of damage.

Noble Knight
7 (21)

Whether noble or ignoble, some knights achieve an amazing mastery over weapons, combat, and courtly graces, eclipsing lesser warriors and champions. The quests of some noble knights can lead them far across the land into strange new territories where they encounter and defeat various magical creatures.

Motive: Accomplish noble (or ignoble) deeds

Environment: Almost anywhere, often alone, sometimes with followers

Health: 50

Damage Inflicted: 10 points

Armor: 3

Movement: Short

Modifications: All tasks related to heraldic lore and chivalry as level 8; Speed defense as level 8 while holding shield

Combat: Noble knights are armed with massive weapons they can wield in one hand, which means they can also hold a shield. They are skilled with melee weapons (such as a battleaxe, broadsword, or mace) and inflict lethal damage on a hit.

Noble knights can also rely on a magic artifact or two to aid them, and possibly a noble steed (Noble steed: level 5; moves a long distance each round). The artifact might be the very weapon a knight wields in combat and could grant them one or more of the following additional abilities:

  • Legendary Strength. The noble knight can call upon the artifact to grant them great strength or fortitude to accomplish a particular physical task (such as breaking down a door, lifting a boulder, or knocking down pillars holding up a structure), which they attempt as if they were level 10.
  • Regeneration. The noble knight regenerates 2 points of health per round while the weapon is drawn.
  • Resistance. The noble knight is immune to effects that would influence their mind, charm them, or put them to sleep.

Interaction: Flowery language and impeccable manners show a knight’s noble background. Those who negotiate with one in good faith are likely to come away with something of value. However, sometimes a noble knight is corrupt and betrays trusts.

Use: A noble knight has decided that they must guard a bridge against any who would cross it.

Loot: Noble knights carry weapons, heavy armor, and perhaps a cypher or even an artifact.

GM intrusion: The character damaged by a noble knight’s attack must succeed on a Might defense roll or be knocked off a mount, a bridge, or a cliff, or, if nothing suffices, they are knocked to the ground and out of immediate range of the knight.

2 (6)

Nuppeppos are animated lumps of human flesh that walk on vaguely defined limbs. They smell of decay and death. They’re spotted in graveyards, battlefields, coroner’s offices, and other places where the dead are kept or interred. When witnessed in other places, nuppeppos seem to wander streets aimlessly, sometimes alone, sometimes in groups, and sometimes following a living person who’d rather be left alone.

Information about these creatures is scarce. They might be the unintended consequence of a reanimation attempt, one that’s able to catalyze its animation in similarly dead tissue to form more nuppeppos. On the other hand, they could be particularly gruesome spirits of the dead.

A nuppeppo sometimes follows a living individual around like a silent, smelly pet that shows no affection. No one knows why.

If a nuppeppo begins to follow a character, interaction tasks by that character and their allies are hindered. Most other creatures are put off by a lump of animate human flesh hanging around nearby.

Motive: Wander, graze on dead flesh

Environment:: Near places of death at night, alone or in groups of up to eight

Health: 12

Damage Inflicted: 4 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Combat: A nuppeppo can smash a foe with one of its lumpy limbs. If a nuppeppo is touched or struck in melee, the attacker’s weapon (or hand) becomes stuck to the nuppeppo and can be pulled free only with a difficulty 5 Might roll.

A victim of a nuppeppo’s attack (or someone who touches a nuppeppo) begins to decay at a rate of 1 point of Speed damage (ignores Armor) per round, starting in the round following contact. To stop the spread of the decay, the victim can cut off the layer of affected flesh, which deals 4 points of damage (ignores Armor).

Interaction: If approached, a nuppeppo turns to “face” its interlocutor, but it doesn’t respond to questions or orders. However, it may begin to follow its interlocutor from that point forward unless physically prevented—at which point the nuppeppo becomes violent.

Use: The PCs open a grave, a coffin, or a sealed research lab, and several nuppeppos spill out. Unless stopped, the creatures attempt to “adopt” their discoverers.

GM intrusion: The character who allowed the nuppeppo to follow them around like a pet (or who has been unable to prevent it) wakes to find that the creature has settled upon them in the night and is using its touch-decay abilities to feed. In fact, the character might already be incapacitated by the time they wake.

4 (12)

A bestial brute, the ogre is a sadistic, 8-foot (2 m) tall, cannibalistic fiend that preys upon other creatures in the woods, mountains, or other wilderness areas. This often pits them against sylvan beings like elves and fey. Ogres dwelling in more civilized lands are also the enemy of humans, but these ogres usually come no closer to civilization than its very fringes.

Ogres typically dress in ragged, piecemeal clothing or nothing at all.

Motive: Hungers for flesh, sadistic

Environment: Anywhere, usually alone or (rarely) in a band of three or four

Health: 20

Damage Inflicted: 8 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: Feats of raw strength as level 6; Intellect defense and seeing through deception as level 3; Speed defense as level 3 due to size

Combat: Ogres usually use clubs or large, two-handed weapons with great power. Since they are accustomed to fighting smaller creatures, they are adept at using their size and strength to their advantage. If an ogre strikes a foe smaller than itself, either the victim is knocked back up to 5 feet (1.5 m), or it is dazed, which hinders its next action.

Ogres can also swing their huge weapons in wide arcs, attacking all foes within close range. Defending against this attack is hindered and the attack inflicts 5 points of damage.

Ogres rarely flee from a fight, and only a foe of overwhelming power can force them to surrender.

Interaction: Ogres are stupid and cruel. They speak whatever language is most common in the area in which they live, but their vocabulary is extremely limited. They don’t like conversation, even with their own kind. Reasoning with them is difficult at best, but sometimes they can be fooled.

Use: A solitary ogre is an excellent encounter for a group of first-tier characters. A number of ogres, particularly well-equipped and well-trained warriors, make excellent troops or guards in the service of a powerful master. Evil wizards and warlords like to enslave ogres and place them at the forefront of their armies. In these cases, the ogres are typically bribed, ensorcelled, or intimidated by great force.

Loot: Some ogres hoard gold or other valuables in their lairs, but they rarely have use for magic or cyphers.

GM intrusion: The ogre’s mighty blow (whether it strikes a foe or not) hits the ground or the wall, causing major structural damage and a possible collapse, cave-in, or landslide. It might also expose a hidden underground cave or chamber.

2 (6)

Born into squalor and fear, the orc species is composed of miserable, misbegotten humanoids that seem destined to serve as fodder for more powerful evil overlords. When left to their own devices, these loathsome creatures turn on each other, the strongest oppressing the next weakest (and so on down the line) with cruel barbs, gruesome jokes, and physical beatings. When these creatures have no masters to hate, they hate themselves.

No two orcs look exactly alike, but all have a mean, ugly, and shambolic facade. Never clean and often spattered with the remains of recent meals, orcs have a mouthful of sharp, broken teeth that can develop into true fangs. Adults range in height from no larger than a human child to massive specimens larger than a strapping man. Whether big or small, nearly all orcs have stooped backs and crooked legs. The hue of their skin is hard to ascertain, because they are covered by the sediment of years, not to mention the iron armor every orc constantly wears from the moment it’s able to lift a weapon.

Motive: Make others more miserable than itself

Environment:: Anywhere near, on, or under mountains, usually in groups of four to six, or in tribes dozens to hundreds strong

Health: 7

Damage Inflicted: 4 points

Armor: 2

Movement: Short

Modifications: Speed defense as level 3 when carrying a shield; pleasant interactions as level 1

Combat: Most orcs have bows able to target foes within long range. Some carry a shield and wield a medium axe, sword, or mace that inflicts 4 points of damage. Other orcs (usually those that are larger than their fellows) dispense with shields and wield heavy two-handed mauls and hammers that inflict 6 points of damage.

Orcs live short, brutish lives. The few that survive for years do so because of some special advantage; they’re sneakier, stronger, tougher, or meaner than average. These have the following modifications, respectively:

* Stealth tasks as level 5

* Deal 2 additional points of damage with melee weapons

* +10 health

* Tasks related to trickery and deceit as level 5

Interaction: An orc would stab its own mother if it thought doing so would give it another hour of life in a desperate situation. That said, most orcs have been conditioned, through beatings and torture, to fear the evil master they serve (if any). Characters attempting to negotiate with an orc through intimidation find that short-term success is followed by medium-term betrayal.

Use: A band of orcs fires on the PCs from the edge of the forest. However, these orcs are crafty, and characters who rush directly into combat might fall victim to a hidden pit trap or other prepared ambush.

Loot: Orcs carry a lot of garbage. Amid this dross, a band of orcs might have currency equivalent to a moderately priced item among them.

GM intrusion: With a scream of savage glee, five more orcs rush to join the fight.

Prince(ss) of Summer
5 (15)

Fey nobility are as numberless as cottonwood seeds on the June breeze. But that doesn’t mean each isn’t unique, with a quirky personality and a specific role to play in the mysterious Court of Summer. Demonstrating life, vigor, predation, growth, and competition, the princesses and princes of summer are beings of warmth and generosity, usually. But catch them during the change of the season, and they can be deadly adversaries just as easily. Fey nobles dress in costly diaphanous and flowing garments, and often wear some sign of their noble lineage, such as a circlet or diadem.

Motive: Unpredictable; defend fey territory and prerogatives

Environment:: Almost any wilderness region alone or commanding a small group of lesser faerie creatures

Health: 22

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Armor: 2

Movement: Short; short when gliding on the wind

Modifications: Tasks related to deception, disguise, courtly manners, and positive interactions as level 7

Combat: Most fey princesses and princes are armed with an elegant sword and possibly a bow carved of silverwood. Also, each knows one or more faerie spells. Faerie spells include the following.

  • Brilliant Smile: Target must succeed on an Intellect defense task or do the fey creature’s will for up to one minute.
  • Golden Mead: Allies who drink from the fey’s flask gain an asset to all defense tasks for ten hours.
  • Night’s Reward: Target suffers 5 points of Intellect damage (ignores Armor) and must make an Intellect defense roll or fall asleep for up to one minute.
  • Summer Confidence: Selected targets in short range have an asset on tasks related to resisting fear and acting boldly.
  • Thorns: Target suffers 5 points of Speed damage (ignores Armor) and must succeed on a Might defense task or lose their next turn entangled in rapidly grown thorny vines.

Princes and princesses of summer regain 2 points of health per round while their health is above 0 unless they’ve been damaged with a silvered or cold iron weapon.

Interaction: Most fey are willing to talk, and those of the Summer Court are especially eager to make deals. However, people who bargain with fey nobles should take care to avoid being tricked.

Use: The characters find a fey noble wounded and in need of aid.

Loot: In addition to fine clothing, fine equipment, and a considerable sum of currency, a prince or princess of summer might carry a few cyphers and even a faerie artifact.

GM intrusion: The character is blinded for up to one minute by a shaft of brilliant sunlight unless they succeed on a Might defense task.

Puppet Tree
6 (18)

A puppet tree is a 25-foot (8 m) tall, spiky, orange and blue tree surrounded by a large area of red reeds that tremble and wave enticingly even when no wind is present. Humanoid figures are often gathered around it, but these rotted, overgrown corpses are the tree’s victims, dead but serving as fleshy puppets to the tree’s will.

Victims drained of knowledge and life are used as lures to draw in yet more victims, at least until the bodies rot away. When not used as lures, the corpse puppets are sent to scout nearby areas.

(Corpse puppet: level 2; struck targets must also succeed on a Might defense task or be grabbed until they can escape; all tasks attempted by the grabbed target are hindered; free-roaming puppets remain animate for one day)

Motive: Hungers for fresh bodies

Environment:: On hilltops, isolated from other plant life

Health: 33

Damage Inflicted: 8 points

Armor: 3

Movement: None

Modifications: Speed defense as level 5 due to size and immobility; deception and disguise (puppeteering corpses to act in a lifelike manner) as level 7

Combat: Some of the red reeds surrounding a puppet tree end in a hard, sharp crystal spike. When a living creature comes within short range of the tree, the reeds rise behind the target and try to skewer them through the head or neck with the spike. If a target is killed by these attacks, the puppet tree controls the body as a corpse puppet, using it to enact its plans. Over time these humanoids rot and are overgrown by the biology of the plant, losing utility for the tree. Most trees have about five corpse puppets active, which can be simultaneously animated to attack foes.

A puppet tree is vulnerable to fire. All fire attacks against the tree inflict 2 additional points of damage and ignore Armor. The puppet tree will always attempt to stop a fire, or target the source of flame during combat.

A corpse puppet can be detached and sent roaming; however, it retains only about a day’s worth of animation, after which it collapses and molders like a normal corpse. Sometimes, however, a sapling puppet tree blooms from the remains.

Interaction: Puppet trees are highly intelligent, but malevolent. Even if communication can be opened via telepathy or some other means, the tree will always attempt to double-cross the PCs.

Use: The PCs spy a group of “people” having a picnic under a strange-looking tree in the middle of nowhere.

Loot: Possessions of former victims can be found in the red reeds, usually including a moderate amount of currency and various bits of gear. Devices of victims (if any) are collected by the corpse puppets and cobbled together into a strange machine, its purpose inexplicable.

GM intrusion: Two corpse puppets, unseen in the red reeds, rise and seize a character in an attempt to hold them still for a crystal spike attack. The character must make a difficulty 4 Speed or Might task to shake free.

Ravage Bear
4 (12)

A ravage bear is a hideous predator that hunts entirely by sense of smell. It is blind and nearly deaf, but it still tracks and senses prey easily. It is very protective of its young, and if hungry, it is extremely dangerous. Otherwise, it gives most creatures a wide berth.

Motive: Hungers for flesh

Environment: Alone or in pairs (usually with a few cubs) in wooded, rocky, or mountainous areas, typically in cold or temperate climes

Health: 20

Damage Inflicted: 7 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Long

Modifications: Makes Might defense rolls as level 6; runs, climbs, and jumps as level 7

Combat: A ravage bear grabs foes with its powerful arms, holds them fast, and then squeezes and tears at them until they are dead. It can hold only one creature at a time. While a ravage bear is holding a creature, it can attack only the held creature. In each round that a held creature does not escape, it suffers 4 points of damage in addition to damage from attacks made against it.

A ravage bear can move very quickly in short sprints. In combat, it can go into an insane fury and will fight to the death. If it takes 10 or more points of damage, its defenses are hindered, but its attacks are eased.

Ravage bears are immune to visual effects, such as illusions. However, olfactory effects can confuse and “blind” them temporarily.

Interaction: Ravage bears are animals and act like animals.

Use: Ravage bears are likely chance encounters in the wilderness for unlucky travelers.

GM intrusion: In its rage, the ravage bear makes an extra attack that does 2 additional points of damage.

5 (15)

Virtually identical to adult humans, these biosculpted androids are stronger, faster, and potentially smarter. However, because they are manufactured beings with grafted memories, replicants rarely feel true human emotion, be that love, sadness, or empathy, though those who live long enough to lay down their own memories can develop the capacity to do so.

However, few replicants gain the opportunity because they are created for a purpose, which could be to serve as police or guards, as soldiers in a distant war, or as impostors shaped to blend in with people so they can explore on behalf of an alien intelligence or a bootstrapped AI. In most of these cases, these purposes lead to a relatively short span of existence, which usually ends when the replicant chooses to detonate itself rather than be captured.

Motive: Go unnoticed; stamp out (or replace) any who learn of their existence

Environment:: Anywhere

Health: 18

Damage Inflicted: 6 points

Movement: Short

Modifications: Tasks related to pleasant social interaction, understanding human social norms, and deception as level 2

Combat: Replicants blend in and prefer not to enter combat. Since destruction is not usually their principal goal, they avoid confrontation. If, however, something threatens their mission, they defend themselves to the best of their ability. Replicants might use weaponry but are adept in using their limbs to batter foes into submission.

A replicant poses the greatest danger when its physical form begins to fail through violence or natural degradation (many seem to have a natural “life” span of just a few years). When reduced to 0 points of health, the replicant explodes, inflicting 10 points of damage to everything in long range.

Interaction: Replicants are designed to look human and, at least during a casual interaction, pass as human. But extended conversation trips up a replicant more often than not. Eventually, a replicant gets something wrong and says inappropriate things or exhibits strange mannerisms.

Use: A contact of one of the characters is secretly a replicant. It has survived longer than expected, and its connection to whatever created it has weakened enough that it has gained some independence and made strong emotional connections to the PC. It knows its time is running out and may turn to the character for help.

GM intrusion: The character struck by the replicant is smashed into the wall so hard that the surrounding structure begins to collapse on them.

Sapient Tree
3 (9)

Guardians of the wood, sapient trees stand eternally vigilant, often on the outskirts of their grove or forest to keep out those who might seek to do them—or other, ordinary trees— harm. They look like normal trees until they reveal their true nature, with limb-like branches and faces in the bark of their trunk. They don’t always move, but with effort, they can uproot themselves and walk about. However, they usually do so only when no one is looking. The origin and temperament of sapient trees varies; they might be haunted trees possessed by spirits, trees animated by magic spells, or ancient mythical beings. Some are peaceful and noble, but others are downright wicked and cruel.

Motive: Defense

Environment: Found in groves or copses of five to twenty

Health: 16

Damage Inflicted: 4 points

Armor: 3

Movement: Short

Modifications: Initiative as level 4; Speed defense as level 2 due to size

Combat: When a sapient tree attacks, it often does so with surprise because it looks like a normal tree at first. If a character about to be attacked fails an Intellect defense roll, they do not perceive the attack in time, and the tree’s attack is eased.

If a tree strikes in combat with one of its branch-arms, it can choose to grab the foe (rather than inflict damage) and toss them an immediate distance away, inflicting 2 points of ambient damage if they hit the ground or another solid object. If they are tossed at another creature, that second creature must make a successful Speed defense roll or also take this damage.

Sometimes, a sapient tree that bears fruit will hurl its fruit up to short range, inflicting 4 points of damage.

Interaction: Sapient trees are generally unfriendly and indignant toward animal life. They are fearful and assume that any creature not native to their forest is a threat. They are likely to attack first rather than speak, although they can speak eloquently, if sometimes slowly.

Use: These trees populate magic forests. They can be used to surprise characters with an attack from an unexpected direction.

GM intrusion: The tree grabs the character and holds them fast, shaking them. They take 4 points of damage each round and can do nothing but attempt to escape (the task is hindered by two steps because of the shaking).

5 (15)

These muscular humanoids sport long curved horns and furry, hooved legs. They are self-centered, greedy, and sybaritic creatures, dedicated to food, drink, and other pleasures. They rob and steal from others as it pleases them, often relying on tricks and lies, or alluring music they play on pipes.

Motive: Play tricks, gather treasure, fulfill desires

Environment: Woodlands, hills, and plains

Damage Inflicted: 6 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short Modifications: Tasks related to persuasion and deception as level 7; resists mental attacks as level 7

Combat: Satyrs usually carry spears that they can use in melee and against foes within short range. They can also create magical effects by playing their pipes as an action, which can either bolster allies or harm enemies:

Dance of the Leaping Stag: Foes within short range who fail an Intellect defense task lose their next turn to dancing and leaping. Attacks made against affected targets are eased.

Feral Overture: An ally within short range is infused with magic, and one attack it makes on its next turn is eased; if it hits, it inflicts +3 damage. Tune of the Clouded Mind: A foe within short range who fails an Intellect defense task spends its next turn attacking one of its allies.

Interaction: Satyrs are inveterate mercenaries. They gladly work for strong drink and other treasures, and they ally with almost any creature capable of meeting their price. A satyr is always willing to start negotiations, but is prone to lying and exaggeration. Offering excessive libation, food, and other rewards is the only way to ensure that a satyr remains honest, and then for only a short period.

Use: Strange piping music in the forest lures away young people from a nearby community. Community elders say a charismatic cult leader has set up in the woods and clouds the minds of all who come near.

Loot: A satyr is likely to carry one or two cyphers.

GM intrusion: A mental effect makes the character view the satyr as a good friend for up to one minute unless they succeed at an Intellect defense task.

1 (3)

Shadows are semi-intelligent patches of darkness roughly in the shape of a humanoid creature’s silhouette. They creep along walls, floors, and ceilings, blending in with actual shadows, peeling themselves free only when they’re ready to clutch at a victim with their cold claws.

Motive: Hunger for life energy

Environment: Anywhere that shadows can occur

Health: 3

Damage Inflicted: 2 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: Stealth as level 3

Combat: Shadows attack with their claws, which feel like a cold breeze and drain 2 points of Might from their target with each hit. They can barely interact with physical objects, and even something as simple as moving a pebble an immediate distance or knocking over a candle takes intense concentration.

A group of five shadows can act as a swarm, focusing on one target to make one attack as a single level 3 creature, inflicting 4 points of damage. In an area of complete darkness with no illumination at all, shadows are effectively powerless—they cannot attack and all their actions are hindered. If suddenly deprived of light, they slink about menacingly for a few minutes but lose interest if it seems like their prey won’t be bringing back the light.

Shadows are flat rather than insubstantial, but attacks that harm phased, ghostly, or similar creatures are fully effective against them. They can easily pass through narrow spaces such as the gap under a door or between the bars of a cell, but cannot move through solid objects.

Interaction: Shadows never speak, but they can make rustling noises like a gently moving curtain. If controlled or prevented from attacking, they can communicate with simple pantomimes and seem to understand some pieces of language.

Use: The flickering shadows from a campfire bend strangely and begin to creep toward a nearby character. A person appears to have two shadows just before they feel icy coldness slide along their flesh.

GM intrusion: The shadow attaches itself to a character and begins to take over as their shadow, automatically inflicting damage every round until the character uses an action to tear it off of them.

Shadow Elf
4 (12)

Elves who faded from the surface to escape the justice of their fey cousins for crimes uncounted are sometimes called shadow elves, dark elves, or simply trow. It’s widely assumed that shadow elves fled to new realms deep below the ground, and indeed, the routes that lead to their true abodes are mostly subterranean and include many grand underground keeps. However, the heart of the shadow elf kingdom lies in the colorless dimension of Shadow itself, where all things exist as a dim reflection of the real world.

Sometimes shadow elves appear on the surface, spilling from dark tunnels or, in some cases, from the shadows themselves. They raid for plunder, fresh slaves, and sacrifices. The sacrifices are made to their godqueen, a monstrously sized black widow spider that schemes in darkness.

When a shadow elf returns to the world of light, it can choose to appear as a silhouette only: a slender humanoid outline lurking as if at the nadir of a well.

Motive: Tortures for pleasure, serve the shadow elf godqueen

Environment:: Almost anywhere dimly lit, singly or in groups of up to four

Health: 15

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: Stealth and perception as level 6; Speed defense as level 6 due to shadowy nature

Combat: Shadow elves attack with short blades, knives, and crossbow quarrels of steel-hard shadow. They can see in dim light and absolute darkness as if it were daylight.

Some shadow elves can cast spells, including the following. Each spell requires an action to cast.

d6 Shadow Elf Spell
1 Enchant weapon to inflict 3 additional points of damage (8 total)
2 Enchant weapon to inflict 1 additional point of Speed damage (poison, ignores Armor), plus 2 points of Speed damage each additional round until victim succeeds on a Might defense roll
3 Fly a long range each round for ten minutes
4 Gain +2 to Armor (total of 3 Armor) for ten minutes
5 Long-range spell renders subject blind for ten minutes on failed Might defense roll
6 Long-range spell targets up to three creatures next to each other; holds them motionless in a shadow web for one minute on failed Speed defense rolls

If subject to full daylight, a shadow elf loses its modifications to stealth, perception, and Speed defense, and is likely to retreat.

Interaction: Shadow elves may negotiate and even ally with other creatures for a time. But they do so only until the best opportunity for a betrayal presents itself.

Use: Shadow elves have overrun an outlying keep, and even in broad daylight, the castle is shrouded in darkness and webs of shadow. The treasures said to lie in the keep’s coffers may already be in the hands of the dark fey.

Loot: A shadow elf carries currency equivalent to an expensive item, in addition to weapons, light armor, and a cypher or two. Shadow elf leaders may carry an artifact.

GM intrusion: The shadow elf casts a spell that charms a character on a failed Intellect defense roll. The character fights on the side of the shadow elf for up to one minute, though they can make another Intellect defense roll each round to try to break the influence.

2 (6)

Skeletons are animated bones without much sense of self-preservation. They enjoy a crucial advantage over living creatures in one important and often exploited area: skeletons are dead shots with ranged weapons. They have no breath, no heartbeat, and no shaking hands to contend with as they release a shot, which means that skeletons armed with ranged weapons are something to be feared.

Motive: Defense or offense

Environment:: Nearly anywhere, in formations of four to ten

Health: 6

Damage Inflicted: 3 points (claw) or 5 points (ranged weapon)

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: Ranged attacks as level 5; Speed defense against most ranged attacks as level 5; resist trickery as level 1

Combat: Skeletons can attack with a bony claw if they have no other weapon, but most attack with a long-range weapon. If a skeleton can see any portion of its target, the target loses any benefits of cover it might have otherwise enjoyed.

When in formation, a group of four or more skeletons with ranged weapons can focus their attacks on one target and make one attack roll as a single level 7 creature, dealing 7 points of damage.

Skeletons can see in the dark.

Reanimators: Some skeletons were created by a curse, and simply battering them into a pile of bones isn’t enough to end their existence. Two rounds after reanimator skeletons are “killed,” they regain full health in a flash of magical illumination. This regeneration can be prevented if the linchpin of the animating curse is separated from the skeleton after it falls. Such an item is usually obvious and might take the form of a lead spike through the skull, an ebony amulet, a dull sword through the ribs, a crown, and so on.

Interaction: A skeleton usually interacts only by attacking. Unless animated by a sapient spirit able to communicate via magic, skeletons lack the mechanisms for speech. However, they can hear and see the world around them just fine.

Use: Skeletons make ideal units in armies, especially when archery or artillery is required. A formation of four or more skeletons with ranged weapons atop a tower provides a surprisingly robust defense.

Loot: Sometimes the linchpin item required to create a reanimator skeleton is valuable.

GM intrusion: A skeleton destroyed by a melee attack explodes like a grenade. The bone shrapnel inflicts 5 points of damage to every creature in immediate range.

Soul Eater
5 (15)

A soul eater is the animate head of a powerful wizard who shuffled off this mortal coil to become an undead creature without ethics, feelings, or a sense of morality. Also called dread skulls, these creatures maintain their existence by occasionally absorbing the spirit or mind of living victims. An absorbed “soul” is burned away, which is why dread skulls are wreathed in flame; it’s the by-product of the creature’s previous meal.

Motive: Hungers for souls

Environment: Usually at the center of tombs

Health: 15

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Long when flying

Modifications: Resists mental attacks and deception as level 7; Speed defense as level 7 due to size and quickness; knowledge of arcane methodologies and rituals as level 8

Combat: A soul eater has a library of magic abilities it can draw upon, including long-range attacks of fire or cold against all targets within immediate range of each other, the ability to read the mind of a victim within short range on a failed Intellect defense roll, and the ability to cloak itself in the illusion of a normal human for up to an hour at a time.

In addition, a dread skull can draw out a victim’s consciousness and absorb it in a blaze of supernatural fire. To do so, the creature must bite a target, which inflicts 5 points of damage; the target must then succeed on an Intellect defense roll or take an additional 5 points of Intellect damage (ignores Armor).

If a dread skull drains a character’s Intellect Pool to 0 through repeated bites, the character’s soul is sucked into the skull, and the body falls limp. Once absorbed into the skull, a victim’s essence is trapped and slowly consumed over the next twenty-four hours. During this period, the skull regenerates 1 point of health per round.

If a dread skull isn’t destroyed within twenty-four hours of eating a soul, the victim’s essence is fully consumed. If the soul eater is defeated and its skull is shattered before then, all unconsumed souls are returned to their bodies.

Interaction: Dread skulls are slightly insane but hellishly smart, which means that sometimes they will negotiate to get what they want.

Use: Soul eaters remember a little bit of the knowledge of every creature’s essence they consume. The PCs need to learn the command word of an artifact they’ve found, but the only one who knew it was consumed by a dread skull.

Loot: Sometimes dread skulls keep treasures as trophies of past victories, consisting of 1d6 cyphers and maybe an artifact.

GM intrusion: The character who uses a cypher against the dread skull must make an Intellect defense roll. On a failed roll, the cypher begins to burn with flame, dealing the character 5 points of damage and destroying the cypher in the process.

7 (21)

A sphinx is a magical creature with a large lionlike body, feathered wings, and a head that is like that of a human or some kind of animal (typically a hawk or ram). Wise and fierce, sphinxes have a connection to the divine and are often found guarding temples or persons of great interest to the gods (although whether they serve good or evil depends on the individual sphinx). No matter what their head looks like, a sphinx can devour creatures as easily and quickly as a lion.

Motive: Defense, riddles

Environment: Deserts, plains, and mountains

Health: 25

Damage Inflicted: 7 points

Armor: 2

Movement: Short; long when flying

Modifications: Intellect defense and magical lore as level 8

Combat: A sphinx attacks with its lion claws, making two swipes as its action. A sphinx also has the following magical abilities:

  • Curse: Curse a creature within long range, hindering all their physical actions by two steps until some other magic lifts the curse.
  • Heal: Restore 10 health to an NPC, or allow a PC to use their next action to make a recovery roll that does not count toward their normal allotment. Can be used three times per day.
  • Riddle: A creature within long range must make an Intellect defense roll to answer a difficult riddle; failure means the creature stands confused for one minute even if they are attacked.
  • Spellbreaker: End an ongoing magical effect within short range, such as a curse or protective spell. If there are multiple effects, the sphinx chooses which one to end. It can target an immediate area instead of a specific effect (such as an area where it suspects an invisible enemy is hiding).
  • Teleport: Instantaneously move a very long distance. Can be used once per day.

Interaction: Sphinxes are very intelligent and speak several languages (including at least one ancient or obscure language). If their demands are met (such as by answering a riddle or performing a service), they can be quite talkative, if arrogant.

Use: A sphinx guards the main road into the city, killing anyone who fails to answer its riddle. A sphinx approaches, offering secret lore if the characters can direct it to a suitable mate or an abandoned temple it can restore and guard.

Loot: A sphinx usually has one or two cyphers and perhaps a small artifact it can wear and use.

GM intrusion: The sphinx leaps onto its opponent, attacking with all four claws as its action.

Statue, Animate
7 (21)

Towering statues carved from stone or cast in metal are sometimes more than humans rendered in moments of triumph, celebration, or suffering. Sometimes a statue moves, usually in service to some ancient geas or command that animated it in the first place.

Most animate statues are vessels imprisoning the mind of a sentient creature. Such entrapment usually tumbles the spirits into the abyss of insanity, though most rest in a dormant state, their minds lost in whatever memories they retain. Disturbing animate statues can cause them to awaken, usually with disastrous results.

Motive: Release from imprisonment; guard an area

Environment:: In out-of-the-way places, especially ancient ruins

Health: 33

Damage Inflicted: 9 points

Armor: 4

Movement: Short

Modifications: All tasks involving balance as level 2; Might defense as level 8; Speed defense as level 5 due to size

Combat: An animate statue towers over most foes, and it can smash or stomp a target within short range as a melee attack. The statue’s massive size and the material of its body means it can walk through nearly any obstacle, smashing through walls of solid rock, buildings, and trees. When walking, it pays no attention to what it steps on. Anything in its path is likely flattened. A character who is stepped on must make a Speed defense roll to dodge or be knocked down and take 9 points of damage.

Animate statues are strong and hard to hurt, but they are often top-heavy. If one falls or is knocked over, it takes a few rounds to rise and resume whatever it was doing.

Interaction: Statues spend years immobilized and insensate, their minds lost in half-remembered experiences and hallucinations. Rousing a statue has unpredictable results. Some might rampage. Others laugh, cry, or scream streams of nonsense. Regardless, if one has been commanded to guard an area or entrance, it also likely lashes out.

Use: An animate statue holds a treasure trove of knowledge. If the characters can keep it focused or knocked down long enough, they might coax from it the information they seek.

GM intrusion: The animate statue strikes a character so hard that the victim flies a long distance and lands in a heap, possibly dropping gear and weapons along the way.

6 (18)

A troll is a hideous humanoid standing at least 10 feet (3 m) tall that hunts more by smell than by sight. They are dangerous but not particularly intelligent. Always ravenous, trolls eat anything, and rarely take the time to cook a meal. Usually, they distend their mouths and throats and swallow subdued prey whole.

Motive: Hungers for flesh

Environment: Nearly anywhere, hunting alone or in pairs

Health: 30

Damage Inflicted: 7 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Long

Modifications: Speed defense as level 5 due to size; Might defense as level 7; sees through deception as level 4

Combat: The troll attacks with its claws. If it hits, it grabs a foe tightly, then squeezes and bites until the victim is dead or it releases that victim to attack another creature. Each round that a held creature does not escape, they take 10 points of damage.

Trolls regain 3 points of health per round. If a troll suffers a particularly egregious wound (10 or more points of damage in one round), rather than regain health in that round (and instead of taking any other action), the troll divides into two level 4 trolls that are 3 feet (1 m) tall. Spawned trolls that survive the battle and have access to food grow into full-power trolls within a few weeks.

Interaction: Trolls speak their own simple language, but a few know a little bit of a local human language. Most prefer to attack and eat other creatures, but might be bargained with after a successful show of force.

Spawned troll: level 4, Might defense as level 5; health 15; Armor 1; claws inflict 5 points of damage; grabbed victim suffers 5 points of damage each round held by troll

Use: Trolls may be chance encounters in the wilderness for unlucky travelers. Sometimes captured trolls are used by slavers, armies, and powerful wizards as guards and warriors.

GM intrusion: The struck troll divides into two separate trolls that immediately attack the character in the same action.

Tyrannosaurus Rex
7 (21)

The short arms of a tyrannosaurus have been much parodied in Earth social media circles, but the arms aren’t really important when a hunting tyrannosaurus is after you. It’s more the soul-shivering roar, designed to freeze prey in place, and a skull and mouth so enormous that the entire creature is cantilevered by a massive tail that itself can be used as a powerful weapon.

As vicious as tyrannosauruses likely were 66 million years ago, the versions still hunting today could be even more dangerous. That’s because the ones with a taste for humans have learned to adapt to human defenses and to use their roar to terrorize prey as they hunt.

Motive: Hungers for flesh

Environment: Tyrannosauruses hunt solo or in pairs; they’re drawn to loud, unfamiliar noises (like motor engines).

Health: 50

Damage Inflicted: 10 points

Movement: Short

Modifications: Perception as level 5; Speed defense as level 5 due to size

Combat: A tyrannosaurus attacks with its massive bite. Not only does it deal damage, but the target must also make a Might defense roll to pull free or be shaken like a rat in the mouth of a pit bull for 3 additional points of Speed damage (ignores Armor). The shaking recurs each subsequent round in which the target fails a Might-based task to pull free.

A tyrannosaurus can also make a trampling attack if it can charge from just outside of short range. When it does, it moves 50 feet (15 m) in a round, and anything that comes within immediate range is attacked. Even those who make a successful Speed defense roll take 2 points of damage.

Finally, a tyrannosaurus can roar. The first time creatures within short range hear the roar on any given day, they must succeed on a difficulty 2 Intellect defense roll or stand frozen in fear for a round. Attacks against them are eased by two steps in the attacker’s favor and deal 2 additional points of damage.

For all their power, tyrannosauruses are not above self-preservation. They never fight to the death if they are outclassed, and they usually break off if they take more than 30 points of damage in a conflict.

Interaction: Tyrannosauruses are animals, but they’re clever hunters, too. When they hunt in pairs, they work to keep prey penned between them.

Use: Something is killing big game in a forest preserve. Poachers are suspected at first, but when they are also found dead, it’s clear that something else is to blame.

GM intrusion: The tyrannosaurus’s tail swings around and knocks the character tumbling out of short range and possibly into dangerous terrain.

6 (18)

Vampires are undead creatures, risen from the grave to drink blood. Their very nature and essence are evil and anti-life, even as they revel in their own endless existence. Most vampires are vain, arrogant, sadistic, lustful, and domineering. Their powers allow them to manipulate others, and they frequently toy with their prey before feeding. Vampires come out only at night, as the sun’s rays will destroy them.

The bite of a vampire over three nights (in which it exchanges a bit of its own blood) ensures that the victim will rise as a vampire under the thrall of the one that killed it. While vampires are careful not to create too many of their kind (which amount to competition), each thrall conveys a bit more supernatural power to a vampire.

Motive: Thirsts for blood

Environment:: Usually solitary, on the edges of civilization

Health: 24

Damage Inflicted: 7 points

Movement: Long

Modifications: Climb, stealth, and perception as level 8; Speed defense as level 7 due to fast movement

Combat: Vampires are strong and fast. They have impressive fangs, but these are usually used in feeding, not in battle. They typically fight with their fists or hands (which basically become claws) but sometimes use weapons.

A vampire can change into a bat or a wolf. This transformation does not change its stats or abilities except that, as a bat, it can fly. Vampires can also transform into shadow or mist, and in these forms they can’t be harmed by anything (but also can’t affect the physical world).

Vampires possess an unholy charisma and can mesmerize victims within immediate distance so that they stand motionless for one round. In subsequent rounds, the victim will not forcibly resist the vampire, and the vampire can suggest actions to the victim (even actions that will cause the victim to harm themselves or others they care about). Each round, the victim can attempt a new Intellect defense roll to break free.

Vampires are notoriously difficult to hurt. Unless a weapon is very special (blessed by a saint, has specific magical enchantments against vampires, or the like), no physical attack harms a vampire. They simply don’t take the damage. Exceptions include the following:

Fire: Vampires burn, though the damage doesn’t kill them. It only causes pain, and a vampire regains all health lost to fire damage within a day.

Running water: Complete immersion inflicts 10 points of damage per round. If not destroyed, the vampire can use a single action to regain all health lost in this way.

Holy water: This inflicts 4 points of damage and affects a vampire exactly like fire.

Sunlight: Exposure to sunlight inflicts 10 points of damage per round. If not destroyed, the vampire regains all health lost to exposure within a day.

Wooden stake: This weapon inflicts 25 points of damage, effectively destroying the vampire in one blow. However, if the vampire is aware and able to move, this attack is hindered as the vampire does everything it can to evade.

Further, vampires have the following special weaknesses:

  • Garlic: Significant amounts of garlic within immediate distance hinder a vampire’s tasks.
  • Cross, holy symbol, or mirror: Presenting any of these objects forcefully stuns a vampire, causing it to lose its next action. While the object is brandished and the vampire is within immediate range, its tasks are hindered by two steps.

Eventually, a vampire with a multitude under its command becomes the new vampire lord. The vampire lord is the most powerful vampire in the world and is often (but not always) the most ancient of its kind. It has many vampires under its control, and even those that it did not create pay it respect and homage.

Interaction: Most vampires look upon humans as cattle upon which to feed. They rarely have respect for anything but other vampires, and they often hate other supernatural creatures that they cannot enslave.

Use: Strange stories of shadows in the night, people disappearing from their beds, and graves missing their former occupants could portend the arrival of a vampire in the region.

GM intrusion: The character struck by the vampire is caught fast in its powerful grip. If the character doesn’t escape immediately, the vampire bites them automatically.


When humans are “visited upon” (bitten) by a vampire, they might be killed, or they might be left alive to begin a slow transformation into a creature of the night. If victims are bitten three times, they become a vampire forever under the control of the one that bit them. From the time of the first bite until their complete transformation after the third bite, they are transitional vampires. Ways to return transitional vampires to normal include using special ancient rituals or destroying the vampire that bit them in the first place.

Transitional vampires usually serve as guardians, consorts, or spies for their masters.

Motive: Thirsts for blood

Environment:: Anywhere, usually solitary but sometimes in groups of two or three

Health: 12

Damage Inflicted: 4 points

Movement: Short

Modifications: Climb and stealth as level 4

Combat: Transitional vampires can maintain a human existence during the day without any of a vampire’s powers or weaknesses. However, they have a disdain for garlic and the sun. At night they take on all the characteristics of a vampire, and if confronted by any of the traditional vampiric weaknesses (a wooden stake, a cross, and so on), they flee unless their master is present.

Interaction: Transitional vampires are utterly devoted to their master.

Use: Transitional vampires lie in the intersection of foe and victim. A loved one or trusted companion who has been turned into a transitional vampire will try to betray, defeat, and kill the PCs, but the characters are motivated to save them rather than destroy them.

Vat Reject
3 (9)

Vat rejects come into being when clone vats meant to produce clone soldiers or similar mass-produced entities are corrupted. How the carefully controlled process becomes compromised varies, but possibilities include yeast contamination, sunspot activity, nanovirus evolution, or purposeful meddling with control parameters. Unskilled operators experimenting with derelict cloning equipment can also produce a vat of rejects.

Vat rejects fear nothing and welcome death, except that their existential rage requires an outlet other than immediate suicide. Their warped forms mean that most are in constant pain, and they somehow understand that this was artificially stamped into them by their creators. Revenge is their only possible redemption.

Motive: Self-destruction through endless aggression

Environment:: Anywhere in lost and lonely places

Health: 9

Damage Inflicted: 3 points

Movement: Short

Modifications: Speed defense as level 4 due to frenzied alacrity

Combat: Vat rejects charge into battle with berserk speed, hindering defenses against their initial attack. All vat rejects are able to inflict damage directly by cutting, bashing, or biting a victim, depending on their particular morphology. Some also have additional abilities; roll on the table below for each reject.

d6 Ability
1 Reject deals +3 damage in melee (6 points total)
2 Reject has short-range acid spit attack that inflicts 2 points of damage, plus 2 points of damage each additional round until victim succeeds on a Might defense roll
3 Reject can fly a long distance as an action
4 Reject has 2 Armor
5 Reject has long-range destructive eye ray attack that inflicts 6 points of damage
6 When struck by an attack, reject detonates in an immediate radius, inflicting 6 points of damage in a radioactive explosion (and 1 point even on a successful Speed defense roll)

Interaction: Vat rejects are usually always enraged, making interaction nearly impossible. However, some may negotiate if offered a reasonable hope of salvation through extreme surgery or other transformation.

Use: A long-missing derelict ship, famous for carrying a load of planet-buster superweapons, is found. However, salvagers discover it to be overrun by vat rejects. No one knows if the rejects plan to use the superweapons, if they have been released by someone else as a distraction, or if they are part of a mutated ship defense system.

GM intrusion: The vat reject also has a radioactive sting. On a failed Might defense roll, the character struck by the reject descends one step on the damage track.

6 (18)

When star troopers need heavy support, they sometimes bring in wardroids. These fearsome robots, standing about 8 feet (2 m) tall, are ruthless even by trooper standards and are known to kill innocent bystanders as often as they kill foes. It is said that when wardroids are unleashed, wise troopers fall back and take cover.

Motive: Maintain control, crush, kill, destroy

Environment:: Anywhere

Health: 30

Damage Inflicted: 8 points

Armor: 3

Movement: Short; some models can fly a short distance each round

Modifications: Attacks as level 7

Combat: A wardroid’s main weapon is a bank of laser blasters that it can use to attack up to three foes standing next to each other as one action. When damaged, a wardroid regains 1 point of health each round. Furthermore, each wardroid has one additional capability:

d6 Ability
1 Emit poison gas that inflicts 5 points of damage on organic beings in immediate range
2 Project grenades up to long distance that detonate in an immediate radius, inflicting 5 points of damage
3 Fire a beam that stuns an organic being for one round, during which it cannot take actions
4 Emit a field that disrupts machines; technological devices and machine creatures in immediate range cannot function for one round
5 Fire a piercing projectile up to long range that inflicts 6 points of damage that ignores physical armor (but not necessarily other Armor)
6 Spray a corrosive that inflicts 5 points of damage on everything in immediate range

Interaction: Interaction is difficult for those not authorized to communicate with a wardroid.

Use: Wardroids are often deployed in groups of two or three to guard a vault or the entrance to a spacecraft, or to track down intruders aboard a space station.

Loot: The remains of a wardroid can yield one or two cyphers to someone adept at salvage.

GM intrusion: When defeated, the wardroid detonates, inflicting 8 points of damage on all creatures within immediate range.

4 (12)

The curse of lycanthropy begins as nightmares about being chased or, somehow more terrifying, chasing someone else. As the dreams grow more fierce and each night’s sleep provides less rest, victims begin to wonder about the bloodstains on their clothing, the strange claw marks in their homes, and eventually, the mutilated bodies they find buried in their backyards.

When not transformed, many who suffer the curse seem like completely normal people, if emotionally traumatized by the fact that most of their friends and family have been brutally slaughtered over the preceding months. Some few, however, realize the truth of their condition, and depending on their natures, they either kill themselves before their next transformation or learn to revel in the butchery.

Motive: Slaughter when transformed; searching for answers when human

Environment:: Anywhere dark, usually alone but sometimes as part of a small pack of two to five

Health: 24

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Movement: Short; long when in wolf form

Modifications: Attacks as level 6 when half lupine; Speed defense as level 6 when full lupine; perception as level 7 when half or full lupine

Combat: In normal human form, a werewolf has no natural attacks, though it may use a weapon. It also lacks the abilities described below; its only power is to transform into a half-lupine form or full-lupine form, which takes 1d6 agonizing rounds. A handful of werewolves can control their transformation, but most change at night in response to moon-related cues.

  • Half Lupine: A half-lupine werewolf is part humanoid and part wolf, but completely terrifying. It attacks with its claws.
  • Full Lupine: A full-lupine werewolf is a particularly large and vicious-looking wolf. It normally bites foes and deals 2 additional points of damage (7 points total) but can also use its claws.
  • Half and Full Lupine: Half-lupine and full-lupine werewolves both enjoy enhanced senses and regain 2 points of health per round. However, a werewolf that takes damage from a silver weapon or bullet stops regenerating for several minutes.

Interaction: In human form, werewolves have the goals and aspirations of normal people, and they often don’t recall what they did while transformed or even realize that they suffer the curse of lycanthropy. In half- or full-lupine form, there’s no negotiating with one.

Use: When the moon is full, werewolves hunt

GM intrusion: A PC who moves down one step on the damage track due to damage inflicted by a werewolf must succeed on a Might defense roll or be afflicted with the curse of lycanthropy.

5 (15)

They studied the old ways at the dark of the moon. They heard the shuffle of unnamed things through the darkling forest, watched the convection of the bubbles rise in the cauldron, and attended to the mumbled instructions of withered crones and crumbling messages traced on dead leaves. Then one midnight, everything came together. Another witch was born.

When witches lose sight of their humanity and use their powers for personal gain without regard for others, they are warped by the power they channel, both mentally and physically. However, they can hide such transformations beneath layers of illusion.

Motive: Domination of others, knowledge

Environment:: Almost anywhere, usually alone, but sometimes as part of a coven of three to seven witches

Health: 21

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Movement: Short; long when flying (on a broomstick)

Modifications: Deception and disguise as level 7; Speed defense as level 6 due to familiar; knowledge of forests and dark secrets as level 6

Combat: When attacked, a witch relies on the aid of their familiar to improve their Speed defense. The familiar could be a large black cat, an owl, a big snake, or some other creature. Killing a witch’s familiar is so shocking to a witch that their attacks and Speed defense are hindered for a few days. It’s also a way to ensure that the witch never forgives their foe or grants mercy.

Familiar: level 3; health 9; Armor 1

A witch can use their ritual blade to attack a creature in immediate range, but would much rather use curses, including the ones described below. A witch can’t use the same curse more than once every other round.

  • Charm: Victims within short range who fail an Intellect defense roll are enslaved. Victims turn on their allies or take some other action described by their new master. The curse lasts for one minute, or until the victims succeed on an Intellect defense roll; each time they fail a roll, the next roll is hindered by one additional step.
  • Hexbolt: A victim within long range is attacked with fire, cold, or psychic
  • bolts, as the witch chooses. Psychic bolts deal 3 points of Intellect damage (ignores Armor).
  • Shrivel: A victim within long range and up to two creatures next to the victim must succeed on a Might defense roll or take 3 points of Speed damage (ignores Armor). In each subsequent round, a victim who failed the previous roll must make another Might defense roll with the same outcome on failure.
  • Vitality: The witch regains 11 points of health and gains +3 to Armor for one minute. Multiple uses don’t further improve Armor.

Interaction: Most witches are deceptive and conniving, though a few work against the stereotype. All witches are willing to negotiate, though the devious ones usually do so in bad faith.

Use: The PCs need an old book to continue their investigation. Word is that the old woman who lives on the edge of the woods has the only copy.

Loot: A witch usually has an artifact or two on their person, possibly including a flying broom (which has a depletion roll of 1 in 1d10).

GM intrusion: After a character succeeds on a defense roll against one of the witch’s ongoing curse effects, the witch immediately tosses a hexbolt at them. If the character is hit, the ongoing curse effect also continues.

Worm That Walks
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This sodden, leather-wrapped humanoid smells of the sea. It moves effortlessly through the air, levitating above the ground while its damp wrappings writhe and squirm as if infested with thousands of worms—because they are. Each worm that walks is a mass of psionic grubs squirming through a slush of salty ooze. Individually the grubs are harmless vermin, but together they’re a sentient entity, a single psionic mind formed of thousands of tiny, maggot-like pupae. The tightly wound leather straps covering a worm that walks are just as important for hiding its true nature as for adhesion. Despite being fully encased, the worm that walks senses its environment with a hard-to-fool sixth sense.

Motive: Domination of other creatures, hunger

Environment: Almost anywhere

Health: 30

Damage Inflicted: 7 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Immediate; short when flying

Modifications: Perception as level 8; Speed defense as level 5 due to slow nature

Combat: A worm that walks can strike a single target in immediate range with a leather-wrapped “fist” as its action. When it hits and deals damage, several grubs spill out and attach to the victim (getting under most armor unless it’s hermetically sealed or behind a force field), who must make a Might defense roll to shake them loose. On a failure, the grubs begin to feed, and the target takes 5 points of damage (ignores Armor).

If a victim is killed while in immediate range of a worm that walks, the worms automatically engulf the body through a wide opening in their wrappings. The grubs go into a feeding frenzy, reducing the remains to nothing within minutes. During the frenzy, the worm that walks regenerates 2 points of health per round. A victim’s equipment is retained for later study.

A worm that walks can also emit a psychic burst that can target up to three creatures in short range as its action. On a failed Intellect defense roll, a victim suffers 4 points of Intellect damage (ignores Armor) and is unable to take actions on their subsequent turn. If the victim is attacked while so stunned, their defenses are hindered by two steps.

Interaction: A worm that walks can communicate telepathically with characters within short range. It negotiates only with those strong enough to harm it; otherwise, it tries to eat whoever it runs across. Even if the worm that walks makes a deal, it eventually reneges if it senses any advantage for doing so.

Use: A worm that walks has been active in a small rural community for weeks, apparently in preparation for something it calls “the Great Hatching.” If that refers to the hatching of more psychic grubs, it could spell trouble for a much larger region.

Loot: A worm that walks might have one or two cyphers, though during combat it will use any devices that could help it in the fight.

GM intrusion: A character struck by the worm that walks notices that they weren’t able to shake off all the grubs that spilled out. If they fail a Speed defense roll, a grub dives into their flesh and travels through their body, its route visible beneath their skin. The character is distracted (all tasks hindered) until the grub dies one minute later or is otherwise extracted

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When a spirit of a dead creature fails to find its way to the afterworld, escapes the same, or is summoned forth by a necromancer, it may become a wraith: a bodiless spirit of rage and loss. A wraith appears as a shadowy or misty figure that can resemble the humanoid figure it once was, though wraiths tend to swarm together, making it difficult to distinguish them from each other. Wraiths are often mindless, consumed by their condition. But on occasion, a wraith not too far gone still remembers its life and may respond to questions or seek to locate its loved ones or enemies. A wraith may even attempt to finish a task it started in life. But in time, even the strongest-willed spirit’s mind erodes without physical substance to renew it, and it becomes an almost mindless monster of destruction.

Motive: Destruction

Environment: Almost anywhere, singly or in groups of six to ten

Health: 6

Damage Inflicted: 3 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short while flying

Modifications: Stealth as level 5

Combat: A wraith attacks with its touch, which rots flesh and drains life.

A wraith can become fully insubstantial. After it does so, the creature can’t change state again until its next turn. While insubstantial, it can’t affect or be affected by anything (except for weapons and attacks that specifically affect undead or phased creatures), and it can pass through solid matter without hindrance, but even simple magical wards can keep it at bay. While partly insubstantial (its normal state), a wraith can affect and be affected by others normally.

A group of five wraiths can act as a swarm, focusing on one target to make one attack roll as a single level 4 creature dealing 5 points of damage.

Interaction: Most wraiths moan and scream in rage. The rare few that retain reason can speak in a sepulchral voice, and they may even negotiate. Any alliance with a wraith is usually short-lived, since the creature eventually forgets itself and descends fully into rage and the desire to spread destruction.

Use: The PCs are attacked while attending a burial, or they happen to pass close to or camp near a graveyard. Another swarm of wraiths appears in a location where an earlier group was destroyed (indicating a necromancer is summoning them).

GM intrusion: The wraith screams out, summoning 1d6 more wraiths from the afterworld.

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Wyverns are aggressive lesser cousins of dragons. Their bodies are about the size of a heavy horse but their wingspan makes them seem much larger. Lacking a dragon’s fiery breath or other magical abilities, wyverns rely on their strong flight and deadly stinger to catch and kill their prey, typically humanoids or large animals. Wyverns have four limbs— two legs used for clumsy walking and two arm-wings used for flight and balance.

Motive: Hungers for flesh

Environment: Mountains, hills, and plains where large prey is plentiful

Health: 35

Damage Inflicted: 5 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short; long when flying

Modifications: Perception as level 7; Speed defense as level 5 due to size

Combat: Wyverns prefer to attack from the air, moving up to a short distance and making three attacks (bite, venomous stinger, claws) as their action. If a wyvern has to fight on the ground, it can attack only with its bite and stinger on its turn.

The stinger injects poison, dealing an additional 5 points of Speed damage (ignores Armor) if the opponent fails a Might defense roll. Because the wyvern hunts primarily out of hunger, it usually focuses its attacks on one creature, weakening the prey so the wyvern can carry it away and eat in peace.

Interaction: Wyverns lack the intelligence of true dragons. They are relatively smart animals (on par with large reptiles such as crocodiles) but can be distracted by easy prey. Allowing one to catch a pig, pony, or riding horse can give characters enough time to get safely away.

Use: Hungry wyverns are known to swoop in and carry off livestock and travelers near a particular road or field. A gang of crafty bandits has managed to train a couple of wyverns as mounts and use them as flying cavalry for their troops on the ground.

Loot: Wyverns do not collect treasure, but their nest might have a few cyphers from previous victims. If carefully extracted, an intact venom gland from a dead wyvern can be used to poison one weapon (if sold, it is the equivalent of an expensive item).

GM intrusions: As part of its attack, the wyvern grabs hold of the character and flies a short distance away. The character can escape with a Might or Speed defense roll (which probably means they fall to the ground and land prone). The wyvern uses a wing or its tail to slam a character so they are thrown a short distance away and land prone.

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This alien creature exists only to eat and reproduce. In doing so, it also destroys every form of life it encounters. Xenoparasites are not technological but were likely engineered by a species with advanced biological super-science. Xenoparasites don’t travel between star systems on their own; they were presumably spread across an area of space by their creators to serve as a broad-spectrum bioweapon. What has become of the original maker species is unknown, but given the fecundity and ferocity of the xenoparasite, it’s likely they were consumed by their own creation.

Xenoparasites use ovipositors to lay thousands of microscopic eggs in victims. The implanted eggs, like tiny biological labs, detect the particular biology of the new host, adapt accordingly, and use it to fertilize themselves. Within a day or two, victims who haven’t already been consumed by adult xenoparasites (which are human sized) give explosive birth to multiple vicious juveniles (which are the size of cats). These juvenile xenoparasites have an edge in dealing with the particular species of creature they hatched from.

Motive: Eat and reproduce

Environment:: Hunts alone or in small groups

Health: 28

Damage Inflicted: 6 points

Armor: 2

Movement: Short; long when flying

Modifications: All stealth actions as level 8

Combat: A xenoparasite bites with its mandibles and stings one victim with its ovipositor as a single action. The bite inflicts 6 points of damage, and the ovipositor inflicts 3 points of damage and injects thousands of microscopic eggs if the victim fails a Might defense roll.

Once every other round, an adult can fly at least a short distance to build terrifying velocity and then make a flying attack with its mandibles, dealing 12 points of damage. Defenses against this attack are hindered.

An egg host requires the attention of someone skilled in medicine (and a successful difficulty 7 Intellect-based roll) to sterilize all the eggs in the victim’s blood before they hatch twenty or more hours after being deposited, which kills the host and releases 1d6 juvenile xenoparasites. Juveniles are level 2 creatures, but they attack the species of the host they were hatched from as if level 4. After just a few days of feeding, they grow to full adult size.

Xenoparasites can survive at crushing ocean and gas giant pressures, as well as in the vacuum of space. They can encrust abandoned spacecraft and desolate moons for millennia in extended hibernation, only to become active again when vibrations alert them to potential new food sources.

Interaction: These creatures are built to consume, not negotiate.

Use: Xenoparasites are tough aliens. A colony of them would be a challenge even for PCs normally accustomed to stiff opposition. A single xenoparasite introduced into an inhabited area could turn the entire place into an infested hive within a week.

GM (group) intrusion: An NPC shrieks, bursts, and births 1d6 juvenile xenoparasites.

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Humans transformed into aggressive, hard-to-kill serial killers with no memory of their former existence are called zombies. Depending on a zombie’s origin, the reason for its transformation varies. A zombie might arise from an undead curse, a psychic possession, an AI meatware overwrite, a viral infection, a drug overdose, or something else. Regardless of how the transformation happened, the result is much the same: a creature whose humanity has been burned out and replaced with unquenchable hunger.

Zombies aren’t intelligent, but enough of them together sometimes exhibit emergent behavior, just as ants can coordinate activities across a colony. Thus, zombies alone or in small groups aren’t an overwhelming threat for someone who has a baseball bat or can get away. But it’s never wise to laugh off a zombie horde.

Motive: Hunger (for flesh, cerebrospinal fluid, certain human hormones, and so on)

Environment:: Almost anywhere, in groups of five to seven, or in hordes of tens to hundreds

Health: 12

Damage Inflicted: 3 points

Movement: Immediate

Modifications: Speed defense as level 2

Combat: Zombies never turn away from a conflict. They fight on, no matter the odds, usually attacking by biting, but sometimes by tearing with hands made into claws by the erosion of skin over their finger bones.

When zombies attack in groups of five to seven individuals, they can make a single attack roll against one target as one level 5 creature, inflicting 5 points of damage.

Zombies are hard to finish off. If an attack would reduce a zombie’s health to 0, it does so only if the number rolled in the attack was an even number; otherwise, the zombie is reduced to 1 point of health instead. This might result in a dismembered, gruesomely damaged zombie that is still moving. Zombies can see in the dark at short range.

“Fresh” zombies are vulnerable to electricity. The first time a zombie takes 5 or more points of damage from an electrical attack, it falls limp and unmoving. Assuming nothing interferes with the process, the zombie arises minutes or hours later without the vulnerability.

Some zombies are infectious. Their bites spread a level 8 disease that moves a victim down one step on the damage track each day a Might defense roll is failed. Victims killed by the disease later animate as zombies.

Interaction: Zombies groan when they see something that looks tasty. They do not reason, cannot speak, and never stop pursuing something they’ve identified as a potential meal, unless something else edible comes closer.

Use: The characters are asked to clear out a space that once served as an old military depot. The appearance of zombies sealed in the area comes as an unpleasant surprise.

GM intrusion: When the character fails to kill a zombie by rolling an odd number on an attack that otherwise would have been successful, in addition to the normal effect, the zombie’s arm comes free and animates as a separate level 2 zombie.

Supervillians #

People with amazing abilities who use them for evil earn the label of supervillain. This section presents five sample supervillains. These supervillains use the same format as the Creatures chapter.

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The supervillain called Anathema is big, bright red, and stronger than anyone on this planet or any other (or so he claims). Superheroes who go head to head with him learn that he can withstand almost any hit and always gives back twice as hard as he receives. He can bring down buildings with a punch and throw semi trucks across state lines.

Before he was Anathema, he was Sameer Stokes, a bitter and spiteful coder working for a large software company. Having failed in relationships, promotions, and retaining friends, Sameer retreated online and learned that he had power when he bullied people. He delighted in causing emotional distress in others in forums and social media. In effect, he was a troll. When the metamorphosis happened, he was turned into a troll for real. (Sameer doesn’t recall the metamorphosis or the days before and immediately after his change, despite using therapy and drugs in an attempt to recover those memories.)

Assume that Anathema has three power shifts in strength and two in resilience. These shifts are already figured into his modifications and other stats.

Motive: Accumulate wealth, live on the edge

Environment:: Anywhere vast wealth can be stolen

Health: 70

Damage Inflicted: 12 points

Movement: Short; a few miles (5 km) per leap

Modifications: Strength tasks as level 10; Might defense as level 9; Speed defense as level 5 due to size

Combat: Anathema hits foes with bone-shocking force. He can throw cars and large objects at targets within long range, dealing damage to all creatures within immediate range of his target.

Anathema has a healing factor that makes it hard to hurt him in any meaningful sense. He regains 10 points of health per round. In any round in which he regains health, his attacks deal 3 additional points of damage (15 total), and he seems to visibly swell with muscle.

Interaction: When Anathema is riled up during a fight, it’s difficult to reason with him. However, he is willing to negotiate if someone offers him wealth or convinces him they have valuable secrets for breaking mental blocks. Anathema doesn’t know how he became the way he is, and he wants to recover his missing memories.

Use: The rolling earthquake afflicting the city is actually Anathema fighting a group of newbie superheroes who haven’t figured out that engaging the red mountain will likely cause more deaths than leaving him alone. (The first rule of fighting Anathema is to lead or move him somewhere with a low population density.)

Loot: Anathema doesn’t normally carry wealth or other valuables. In his lair, Anathema typically has three to five expensive items, 1d6 cyphers, and possibly an artifact.

GM intrusion: Anathema’s attack sends the character flying a long distance and potentially into dangerous terrain.

Doctor Dread
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Doctor Dread is larger than life thanks to her brilliant mind, her media savvy, and the robotic armor she uses to enhance her otherwise normal abilities. Indeed, Doctor Dread has become the most feared terrorist on the planet. She uses her abilities to extort money, influence, and technology from the rich and powerful, whether her victims are individuals, governments, corporations, or superheroes.

Alicia Coleridge is Doctor Dread’s secret identity. Born into relative obscurity, she received a full scholarship to the Russell Institute of Technology, where she studied the effects of radioactive substances on living tissue. In a freak lab accident, Alicia’s fiancé was slain, and Alicia was disfigured and driven slightly insane, so much so that she built the Doctor Dread armor. She plows the vast wealth she accumulates through terrorism into research into the rejuvenation of dead flesh. She hopes to one day bring back her dead love, whose body she keeps in suspended animation.

Doctor Dread is usually accompanied by a handful of robot minions.
Dread’s robot minion: level 3; Armor 1; long-range laser attack inflicts 4 points of damage.
Assume that Doctor Dread has three power shifts in intelligence and two in resilience. These shifts are already figured into her modifications and other stats.

Motive: Accumulate wealth; reanimate dead flesh

Environment:: Wherever money can be extorted

Health: 40

Damage Inflicted: 7 points

Armor: 4

Movement: Short; long when flying

Modifications: Resists mental attacks and deception as level 8; understands, repairs, and crafts advanced technology as level 10

Combat: Doctor Dread’s armor allows her to exist without outside air (or air pressure), food, or water for up to ten days at a time. She can call on her robotic armor to accomplish a variety of tasks, including the following:

Barricade: Establish an immobile, two-dimensional field of transparent force 10 feet by 10 feet (3 m by 3 m) for ten minutes

Energy Cloak: Create an energy field that gives her +5 to Armor against heat, cold, or magnetism (one at a time, chosen when she uses the power) for ten minutes

Fade: Become invisible for one minute, or until she makes an attack

Plasma Blast: Long-range heat and electricity blast that inflicts 7 points of damage

Interaction: Doctor Dread is slightly mad, but that’s normally disguised by her amazing brilliance. She is an egomaniac but will negotiate in return for a promise of wealth or biomedical lore she doesn’t already know.

Use: The PCs are called to handle a hostage situation at a party in which many of the city’s wealthy elite are being held captive by Doctor Dread. She promises to let them go once sufficient wealth is paid into her offshore accounts.

Loot: Most of Doctor Dread’s considerable wealth is tied up in online accounts, two or three secret fortresses, and cutting-edge biological research equipment.

GM intrusion: Doctor Dread uses a function built into her robotic armor that is the perfect solution for her current predicament: healing herself, teleporting away, disintegrating a barrier, or whatever is needed.

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Not much is known about Magnetar other than its powerful ability to generate and control magnetic fields. Various research groups theorize that Magnetar is an alien, a sentient and self-improving robot, or even some kind of manifestation of a fundamental force. Given Magnetar’s vaguely humanoid shape, a few people even suggest that the villain is actually a man with a mutant ability so powerful that it burned out all memories of his former self.

In truth, Magnetar is the animate, sentient, and self-regulating nucleus of a neutron star that is able to rein in its immense electromagnetic signature. One of two such beings an advanced alien species created from a single magnetar (a type of neutron star with an extremely powerful magnetic field), Magnetar was sent on a mission of exploration. After millennia, it crashed on Earth and was damaged. Having lost most of its memory data, Magnetar knows that something was taken from it (its twin), but it can’t remember what. It has decided to blame the humans.

(Assume that Magnetar has three power shifts in its magnetic power and two in resilience. These shifts are already figured into its modifications and other stats.)

Motive: Revenge; regain memory

Environment:: Almost anywhere, searching for what it has lost

Health: 50

Damage Inflicted: 12 points

Armor: 8

Movement: Short; long when magnetically levitating

Modifications: Speed defense as level 5 due to mass; tasks related to controlling and shaping metal through electromagnetic manipulation as level 11

Combat: Magnetar’s fist packs a wallop, since it can selectively add mass to the punch. However, its most potent ability is its level 11 control over all metal within very long range, which it uses to create anything it can imagine, including walls, attacks, pincers, and more. Magnetar can lift bridges, vehicles, and structures infused with rebar that it can see within its area of influence. When it throws such a large object as part of an attack, the target and everything within short range of the target takes 10 points of damage.

Magnetar’s only weakness is psychic attacks, which is fortunate since reducing it to 0 health through an old-fashioned beating could release an uncontrolled neutron star chunk on the Earth’s surface.

Interaction: Morose and gruff, Magnetar would rather be alone, but every so often, it goes on a rampage, hoping that a display will draw out whoever or whatever made it the way it is. Magnetar constantly feels the drag of emotional loss, but it doesn’t know why (it doesn’t realize that the feeling comes from the loss of its twin).

Use: Doctor Dread has put a bounty on Magnetar’s head because she wants to study the advanced technology woven through its body. The bounty amount is outrageous, but then again, so is Magnetar.

GM intrusion: On a failed Might defense roll, all of the character’s loose metallic items (including weapons) are stripped from them and become stuck to a nearby metallic buttress.

Mister Genocide
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Real name Alfred Webster, Mister Genocide has the unfortunate ability to synthesize deadly poison from his skin. His touch can kill, but if he wishes it, so can his spittle or even his breath.

Anyone who spends too much time in Mister Genocide’s presence becomes ill, even if the villain isn’t actively using his power. Thus, his cronies usually wear gas masks and protective clothing. Mister Genocide has promoted himself to the head of the mob in the city where he resides and is always looking to expand his operations, sometimes at the expense of other criminals.

When victims are killed by Mister Genocide’s poison, their skin and the whites of their eyes take on a bright green hue, which increases the terror that normal people feel regarding him. Even superheroes have been brought down by his toxins.

Mister Genocide sometimes teams up with Anathema, because the red mountain is the only villain who can withstand the poison that Genocide constantly emits.

Assume that Mister Genocide has two power shifts in his poison power, one in intelligence, and two in resilience. These shifts are already figured into his modifications and other stats.

Motive: Accumulate power

Environment:: Anywhere crime lords congregate

Health: 15

Damage Inflicted: 5 points; see Combat

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: Poison breath attack and Might defense as level 7; Intellect defense and evil genius as level 6

Combat: Targets touched by Mister Genocide must make a difficulty 7 Might defense roll or take 5 points of Speed damage (ignores Armor) from the poison transmitted. Worse, the poison continues to inflict 2 points of Speed damage each round until the victim succeeds at a Might defense roll.

Every other round, Mister Genocide can make a level 7 poison attack that can affect up to ten victims within short range as a single action. Those who fail a Might defense roll take 7 points of Speed damage (ignores Armor) and spend a round helpless as they cough and gag. The inhalant poison does not continue to inflict damage each round.

Mister Genocide is immune to most venoms, toxins, and poisons.

Interaction: Certifiably insane, Mister Genocide likes to kill people. He may negotiate for a while, but if there is not enough gain to be had, he might kill everyone with a breath just for the fun of watching them suffocate and turn green.

Use: Gang warfare between two criminal organizations is shooting up downtown, and many innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire end up bullet-ridden or poisoned (with green skin). Someone needs to put a stop to Mister Genocide.

Loot: The supervillain carries currency equivalent to 1d6 expensive items, a cypher or two, and a variety of poisoned knives, needles, and vials.

GM intrusion: A character affected by the poison must make a second Might defense roll or fall unconscious from shock. Unconsciousness lasts for up to a minute, or until the victim is jostled awake.

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The head of an elite group of assassins, Wrath wants to save the world by killing everyone who impedes her vision of perfection—which turns out to be the better part of humanity. In addition to being one of the most accomplished martial artists to walk the earth (thanks to her connection with a mystical entity called the Demon), Wrath is also a criminal mastermind whose assassins are just one layer of the organization she controls.

Born more than two hundred and fifty years ago in China to a name lost to history, Wrath was taken in by a monastery and trained in the ways of fist and sword. Everything changed when raiders attacked and killed everyone in her monastery, leaving her the sole survivor. Vowing revenge against the raiders and the world that allowed animals like them to exist, she acquired a magical amulet that contains the Demon. The Demon in turn bequeathed her extraordinary speed, strength, and longevity.

Wrath is content to let her assassins (and mobsters, lawyers, and politicians) accomplish many of her goals, though she relishes being present when particularly important adversaries are brought down.

Assassin of Wrath: level 4, stealth as level 7
Assume that Wrath has two power shifts in dexterity, two in accuracy, and one in resilience. These shifts are already figured into her modifications and other stats.

Motive: Save the world

Environment: Anywhere wrongs (to Wrath’s way of thinking) must be righted

Health: 36

Damage Inflicted: 8 points

Armor: 1

Movement: Short

Modifications: Stealth, attacks, and Speed defense as level 8

Combat: Wrath prefers a sword, though she is equally adept with a crossbow or, in rare cases, modern weapons. In melee she can attack two foes as a single action every round.

Thanks to the influence of the Demon, Wrath regains 3 points of health each round, even if reduced to 0 health. The only way to permanently kill her is to reduce her to 0 health and keep her that way long enough to burn away the tattoo of the Demon that is engraved across her back.

Interaction: Wrath is arrogant and confident, though not so much that she is easily fooled by flattery. She is usually amenable to negotiating, because she can anticipate the agenda of others and usually gain far more for herself in the end. However, she is not one to betray her word.

Use: Wrath is making a bid to form a group of supervillains—all of whom will answer to her, of course—and it seems that initial talks are going well. The only holdout is Mister Genocide, who feels threatened by Wrath’s larger organization, and this tension has led to ongoing warfare in the streets as assassins battle mobsters.

Loot: In addition to weapons and armor, Wrath likely possesses the equivalent of five exorbitant items, 1d6 cyphers, and possibly one or two artifacts.

GM intrusion: Just as things seem bleakest for her, Wrath summons a group of assassins waiting in the wings to surround the PCs and demand their surrender.