Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Reinventing Classic Monsters

Recently James Maliszewski of Grognardia suggested a cool reinvention of one of the classic monsters of D&D – orcs. Others blogs took idea ahead, my favorite so far been the article of From the Sorcerer’s Skull. Here’s my humble contribution, firmly rooted in my current Pathfinder campaign and unfortunately not even close to Trey’s amazing gestalt:


Titans – The Yazata or Firstborn

In my Chronicles of the Seventh Moon campaign setting, Titans are the firstborn of the Orb (planet) of Elaria. Called originally Yazata, they’re the ancestors of the degenerated immortal races that inhabited the Orb and it’s Seven Moons in the last Epoch: the Asura (positive energy genies), the Efreet, the Dao, the Djinn (inhabitants of the Aether between the Moons), the Shee (forefathers of the fey and, consequently, the elves), the Drin (negative energy-shadow genies based on Tanith Lee's fantasy novels) and the Tindalli (progenitors of humans and yakshas, taken from Green Ronin’s Monsters of the Mind).


Sceadugenga – The Faceless Folk

In my campaign setting, eclipses are not merely an astrological phenomenon but a convergence with the strange Shadow Plane. When the moon of Isaldar pass through the shadow of the fallen Orb of Elaria, the dark awaken and forbidden doors are opened. The mortals call these times simply “The Darkness”. It is said that during the feared eclipses the Darkness leave its Domains Below and takes the moon’s surface. With the Darkness comes its sons and daughters: the Things From Below, the Faceless Folk or the Sceadugenga.

The most feared Sceadugenga is the doppelganger, who can take any shape (or even identity if the monster can lay with his victim). The most seen Sceadugenga caste however are the Eyeless Hordes – called by the dwarves the Grimlock. These insane savages are all that remains of the unfortunate humans, dwarves, goblinoids and yakshas taken below during the Darkness. It is whispered that there other castes, above and below those here described (actually, I'm thinking about using these guys). The realm of the Sceadugenga is the feared Abyss, below even the Underworlds of the Ghouls, Gulgars and Troglodytes – at the heart of the Seventh Moon itself. Items like the dreaded spheres of annihilation are somehow linked to the Abyss.

Lizardmen – The Exiled

I always thought that the lizardfolk were the forgotten race of the 3rd Edition and Pathfinder. To give them some flavor I shameless stole the Old Slann background of Warhammer Fantasy 1st (and from the Temple of the Frog). The lizardmen of the Seventh Moon are the shipwrecked and degenerated survivors of an old Slann spacecraft that hit the planetoid in its distant past.


They’re a psionic race divided in castes with genetic memory embedded in their genes. Most today are just barbaric remnants, but now and then a lizardman is born that grows to prodigious size and uncanny intelligence. Called Lizardmen Kings, these creatures retain some of the genetic memory of the race and usually are able to recover old pieces of technology or develop psionic powers. Their technology, when available, is very “Sword & Planet” in style (if you want a modern example, look at the Mutants of Plun-Darr, from the old Thundercats cartoon).

The Slann spacecraft that hit Isaldar was commanded by the Lizardman Lord Semenuaya, whose giant body remains in crystalloid-cryogenic hibernation somewhere in the east of the continent of Aldar – where most tribes of Lizardmen live, perhaps unconsciously summoned by the psionic beacon constantly generated by Semenuaya.



P.S.: I couldn't end this post without mentioning Paizo's great line of books devoted to bring a new flavor to classic (or just weird) monsters, like the Classic Monsters Revisited and the herculean effort of Misfit Monsters Redeemed.