Sunday, September 18, 2011

SoSA the 15th: Dragons and Giants and Haggis, Oh My! (Avalon Lost)

This is post 15 out of 25 in the Cygnus Series of a September of Short Adventures. It's also the 3rd post in a mini-series about the post-Arthurian Avalon Lost campaign setting.

Maps for Arthurian adventures often are cut off on top, such that Hadrian's Wall, or thereabouts, seems to be the northernmost edge of Great Britain. I think that eliminates much of the potential fun that can be had in traipsing the highlands, battling over whose tartan has been proscribed, and figuring out whether that screeching sound is a banshee or a bagpipe!

So, until TSR releases their new AD&D hardback, Scottish Adventures, I thought I'd focus on two interesting things that could be done with special Fiends from the Firth of Forth....

1. The Loch Ness Dragon

You don't need more than that header and this image, do you?
When PCs arrive in the region, they learn that, yes, there is a terrible dragon who periodically emerges from the black depths of the Loch to terrorize the people. But is that the whole story? I can think of two obvious twists:
  • Actually the Loch Ness Monster is of good alignment, and is a protector of the people. The people need protecting from an even worse villain (a human, naturally) who puts the blame on that hideous beast whenever possible.
  • The PCs could learn the dragon is female, and has just laid some eggs in a region of the Loch that people have been coming into to fish. There's nothing more fierce than a mama dragon protecting her babies!
Anyway, one can find just the right unique concept for the LND by using judicious choices from E. G. Palmer's awesome random dragon generator, or maybe multiple clicks on this other dragon generator. I've always been kind of partial to the Night Dragon variant from Dragon #74. (He's pretty much all "Hide in Shadows" until the breath weapon comes out: blinding white light! Perfect for the murky Loch.) I also credit some recent highbrow literature with reviving the concept of unique dragon design. :-)

2. Random Giant/Ogre Generation

Meeting a dude who's 10, 20, or 30 feet tall should be as unique an experience as meeting a dragon. Especially so in Scotland, where everything seems bigger than life and full of fresh mountain air. In that spirit, I present a random generator for these glandularly excited individuals...

Height in feet: 2d12 + 6  (i.e., a range of 8' to 30')

HD and "Standard" Damage per Attack (with giant-sized melee weapon):
If height is 8'-9', HD = 1d4+3 (4-7); Damage/attack = 1d10.
If height is 10'-11', HD = 1d6+4 (5-10); Damage/attack = 2d8.
If height is 12-'13', HD = 1d6+5 (6-11); Damage/attack = 3d8.
If height is 14'-16', HD = 1d6+6 (7-12); Damage/attack = 4d8.
If height is 17'-19', HD = 1d6+8 (9-14); Damage/attack = 5d8.
If height is 20'-23', HD = 1d6+10 (11-16); Damage/attack = 6d8.
If height is 24' or more, HD = 1d6+14 (15-20); Damage/attack = 7d8.
Armor Class (descending):  1d6 - 1  (i.e., 0 to 5).

Intelligence:  Roll 1d20...
01-06: Low
07-13: Average
14-16: Very
17-18: High
19: Exceptional
20: Genius
Gender:  Roll 1d6....  1-4: male, 5: female, 6: extremely difficult to tell...

Alignment (yoinked from E.G.'s dragon generator):  Roll 1d8...
1. Lawful Good
2. Lawful Evil
3. Neutral Good
4. Neutral
5. Neutral Evil
6. Chaotic Good
7. Chaotic Evil
8. Alignment subject to change. Re-roll per encounter
Chance to find giant in lair: (1d8)x5+10 %.  In other words, roll 1d8, multiply result by 5, and add 10.  Result is a percentage.

Skin Color:  Roll 1d12...
1. Reddish
2. Yellowish
3. Pale Green
4. Light Blue
5. Violet
6. Brownish Green
7. Brown
8. Tan
9. Dull Gray
10. Coal Black
11. Ivory/Bone
12. Chalk White
Hair:  Roll 1d20...
01-06: Similar to local Scots.
08-11: Completely bald and hairless.
12-14: Full-on Sasquatch.
15-16: Long, barbarian-style mane.
17: Dwarf-braided longbeard.
18: Buzz cut.
19: Moe from Three Stooges.
20: Achy-Breaky mullet.
Whacked-out quirks:  Roll 1d20...
01-12. None.
13. Cyclops.
14. Two heads (attacks as an Ettin).
15. Four hands.
16. Tusks as long as swords.  (Two extra bite attacks for 1d10 hp each.)
17. Undead giant. Roll 1d6 for zombie, wight, ghoul, vampire, skeleton, or lich.
18. Lycanthrope giant. Choose your favorite form.
19. Head of an animal: Roll 1d6 for: bull, goat, lion, horse, bear, or ape.
20. Not a giant human, but really a huge... roll 1d6 for: orc, goblin, hobgoblin, bugbear, troll, or kobold!
Special attacks/abilities:  Roll 1d20 (maybe roll twice or thrice on this table)...
1. Throws rocks at targets up to 20 times their height; damage is same as their regular melee damage with a giant-sized weapon.
2. Throws rocks at targets up to 30 times their height; damage is 1.5 times their regular melee damage with a giant-sized weapon.
3. Throws rocks at targets up to 40 times their height; damage is double their regular melee damage with a giant-sized weapon.
4. Can leap distances up to 20 times their height.
5. Hit only by magic weapons.
6. Catches hurled boulders 90% of the time.
7. Casts Call Lightning as a 10th level druid.
8. Casts Earthquake as a 15th level cleric.
9. Casts Summon Insects as a 12th level druid.
10. Casts Control Weather as a 20th level cleric.
11. Can polymorph to a normal human size and appearance once per day.
12. Can become invisible 1d4 times per day (for up to 30 minutes each time).
13. Can charm person 1d10 times per day.
14. Reads minds.
15. Telekinesis of items up to twice their own weight.
16. Breath is noxious; effects and cone area equivalent to green dragon breath.
17. Able to move in rapid bursts for a total of 10 rounds per day. In each of these rounds, the giant can make 3 attacks instead of the usual 1.
18. Invulnerable to a specific type of dragon breath (or similar attack). Roll 1d10 for: black, blue, brass, bronze, copper, gold, green, red, silver, or white.
19. Can summon up a number of elementals equal to giant's HD each day.
20. Can smell the blood of an Eng-lish-mun up to 100 feet away.
The above may come close to being able to reproduce the range of AD&D Monster Manual giants, ogres, ogre magi, ettins, and titans, but I guarantee nothing!  :-)


  1. For all who are brave enough to write or follow this challenge, I did my second part of the september challenge survey here:

    Cheers to ye all!

    @Cygnus: You have amazing creativity!

  2. Thanks Jaap! I'm sorry that I missed your entries so far... it's hard to keep up on the writing AND reading others' blogs this month... :-(

    I'm going back through your posts now. Very cool! I especially like the short narrative dialogues that set the mood at the beginning of each one.