Monday, February 12, 2018

[D&D] "Lost" Gygax Monsters (Part 1)

In his novels, as well as his post-TSR games, Gary Gygax introduced various new monsters that never received a "proper" AD&D treatment. That feels like a shame to me, so I'm going to attempt to rectify it, starting with the below:


LOSEL

FREQUENCY: Rare
NO. APPEARING: 20-120
ARMOR CLASS: 7
MOVE: 12” @15”
HIT DICE: 1+2
% IN LAIR: 25%
TREASURE TYPE: O,Q (x5),S
NO. OF ATTACKS: 1
DAMAGE/ATTACK: By weapon +1
SPECIAL ATTACKS: See below
SPECIAL DEFENSES: See below
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard
INTELLIGENCE: Low-average
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic evil
SIZE: M
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil/nil
LEVEL/X.P. VALUE:
II/36 + 2/hp

Losels, also known as “lost ones,” are an arboreal cross-breed of orcs and boreamandrills, a vicious and cunning type of thick-furred northern baboon. On the ground they typically run upon all-fours with a loping gait. However, they are most comfortable in the treetops, where they climb and brachiate from limb to limb with remarkable speed and agility, even when carrying gear and weapons.

Losels’ coloration makes them near invisible and 90% undetectable in woodland foliage, which combined with their quiet and stealthy movement means that when they attack from ambush they surprise opponents on 1-4 in 6. They generally fight armed with primitive weapons such as clubs, spears, and stone axes, and add +1 to damage inflicted due to their great strength. Their exceptionally long arms give them a reach greater than that of similarly-sized humanoids, which conveys the advantage of first strike in melee against all man-sized or smaller opponents. If disarmed, they may also attack by biting, and their teeth inflict 1-3 points of damage.

Losels are enemies of forest-dwelling humans and all types of elves, and raid and war against both constantly. They are flesh-eaters, and have a propensity to collect macabre trophies, especially fingers, from their victims. Their society is tribal, and they dwell in woven huts located high in the tree canopy. In these lairs will be found females and young equal to 100% and 50% the number of males, respectively. Female losels fight as 1 hit die monsters and do not have a bonus to damage. Young losels do not fight.  For every 10 losels encountered there will be one sub-chief with 2 hit dice and +2 on damage dice. If 50 or more losels are encountered there will also be a chieftain, with 4 hit dice and +3 damage due to strength. For every 10 losels encountered there is a cumulative 10% chance that a shaman (1-4) or witch doctor (5-6) will be present. Losel shamans may achieve a maximum of 5th level, and witch doctors a maximum 2nd level. Both venerate the cambion demi-god Iuz, who is rumored to be responsible for having originally bred the race.

Losels have infravision with 6” range. They speak their own language (which resembles the chattering and hooting of baboons) as well as orcish and the common tongue, although their simian physiognomy makes them difficult to understand when speaking the latter tongues.

Description: Losels are covered in thick, matted fur that is moss-green in color. Their hunched stance causes their long arms to hang down almost to the ground, even when they are standing upright. They have out-thrust jaws, baboon-like muzzles, and pronounced canine teeth.

[Adapted from Artifact of Evil (Gygax, TSR, 1986) and Castle Zagyg Vol. 2: The Upper Works (Gygax & Talanian, Troll Lord Games, 2008)]

TR’OUL

FREQUENCY: Very rare
NO. APPEARING: 1-8
ARMOR CLASS: 6
MOVE: 12”
HIT DICE: 4+2
% IN LAIR: 15%
TREASURE TYPE: B,Q,R,S
NO. OF ATTACKS: 2 claws
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 2-8/2-8
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Paralyzation
SPECIAL DEFENSES: See below
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Standard
INTELLIGENCE: Low
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic evil
SIZE: L (7’+ tall)
PSIONIC ABILITY: Nil
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil/nil
LEVEL/X.P. VALUE:
IV/245 + 5/hp

The horrid tr’oul (sometimes also known as a thoul) combines the worst aspects of a ghoul and a troll. They are of uncertain origin, with speculation including that they are the result of ghouls paralyzing and devouring a still-living troll, or are created when a troll eats ghoul-flesh, or even that they were deliberately created and bred from by some demon lord or mad archmage. Regardless, they may now be found dwelling in deep dungeon labyrinths, alone or in company with standard ghouls.

Tr’ouls attack fearlessly with their wicked claws, their touch causing paralyzation to all (including elves) who fail their saving throw, with a duration of 21-40 rounds.  Like their trollish relatives, they regenerate from damage (excluding only fire and acid) at a rate of 1 hit point per round. Severed limbs will re-attach if held to the stump, or otherwise regrow in 5-8 turns. However, they are susceptible to direct sunlight and suffer 1 hit point of damage per round of exposure. This damage does not regenerate, but heals normally at a rate of 1 point per day.

Tr’ouls are undead creatures and thus have the typical immunities to sleep, charm, and hold spells, cold, poison, and paralysis. They may be turned by clerics, and are treated as 1 point more difficult than ghasts. However, they suffer no damage from holy water.

Description: Tr’ouls stand seven feet tall, their arms and legs spindly despite their great strength. A mass of gray hair descends from their ugly misshapen heads, fanning out across their broad shoulders and falling down their bony backs. Their tough hide is mottled gray to pale mauve in color. Although they do not bite in combat, their broad mouths are full of razor-sharp teeth.


[Adapted from The Slayer’s Guide to Undead (Gygax & Creffield, Mongoose Publishing, 2002) and undated email correspondence between Gary Gygax and Gene Weigel]

4 comments:

  1. I've always loved the concept of the losel. I included my own version in the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary. :-)

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  2. The PCs were just surrounded by Losels in my Castle Zagyg campaign!

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  3. Trent, so do you think the hobgoblin appearance/association of thouls was an addition by Moldvay for the Basic version?

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    1. Yes, I assume the hobgoblin connection was Moldvay's addition, since nothing about that was ever mentioned in anything Gary wrote about his version. In fact, between that and the substantial difference in stats (lower hit dice and damage, different appearance) it's almost certain that Moldvay developed the monster independently based on the stray reference in the OD&D encounter table and he and Gary never consulted each other on the topic. I like Moldvay's version too - it's more of a "trick" monster since they look like regular hobgoblins at first but turn out once you're in combat with them to have surprise extra abilities. There's nothing that says we can't use both :)

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