28 December 2012


Init +6
Melee Atk
 • paper cut +8 (0; poison)
AC 22
HD 1d4
MV 20
Act 1d20
SP poison, paper thin
Fort +0
Ref +4
Will +0

A paper spider is as deadly an assassination tool now as it was 1000 years ago. The means to create one is known to precious few, and closely guarded, it is said, by a single family, who create them for pay without concern for whom they may be used against.

Deceptively simple, they are literally made from paper, much thinner than parchment, and often left between the pages of books. There they can wait, perhaps for centuries, until the page they are resting on is turned to, whereupon they leap at the reader. They move with lightning quickness, almost-unerringly finding exposed skin, and by the tiniest of paper cuts they deliver the poison they were infused with upon their creation.

Most lose their enchantment and are again nothing more than mere paper, after they strike. Most—but not all...

Needless to say, more than one wizard has tried to eliminate his rivals through the use of paper spiders. They have also been left under dinner plates or goblets for nobles, and in rolled messages meant only for the eyes of leaders, from kings to ship captains to captains of the guard.

A few sample poisons that the paper spider is well suited for are:

• Bearbug saliva (Fort Save DC 12; partial paralysis on success, lasting 1d4 minutes; complete paralysis on failure, lasting 4d8 minutes. Partial paralysis can be in the lower extremities only [1-3] or in all extremities [4-5])

• Bearbug musk (Fort Save DC 16; 2d5 Stamina damage)

• Nalvaengur blood (Fort Save DC 18; 1d4 Agility damage for success, otherwise 1d6 Agility and 2d3 Intelligence damage)

• Bhlestic bile (Fort Save DC 13; coma; subsequent save each month or death; reversing the coma requires rare herbal tinctures)

26 December 2012


Init +0
Melee Atk
 • slash +5 (1d6-2; 2d7 gp)
 • claw +3 (grab)
AC 16
HD 1d8 + 1d4 + 2
MV 40
Act 1d20
SP treasure sense
Fort +4
Ref +2
Will +2

The auroc is a bird-like creature with a wing-span of nearly six feet, inhabiting caves, caverns and dungeons, subsisting off of veins of precious metals. The membranes of their wings sparkle in torch light like veils of glitter, greatly contrasting the dull grey of the rest of their bodies. They have powerful necks and backs and their beak features a dense, pick-shaped end, with which they chip away at rock and soil, in search of gold, silver and copper.

They can detect such metals, apparently by smell, through up to 40 feet of rock, and much further over open spaces. Men seeking valuables within ancient tombs may by attacked by aurocs if they are carrying coinage on their person. When an auroc attacks an individual, they do so by slashing quickly as they fly by, targeting the metals carried. Damage inflicted to the bearer is a secondary by-product, and such a strike may inflict no physical damage at all. It may take an initial pass for the auroc to damage whatever receptacle the metals are contained in, before it can actually get coins into it's gullet on subsequent fly-bys. It can swallow anything up to an apple-sized piece of metal, and it's digestive juices act quickly to corrode and breakdown the metal, making any retrieval an urgent and nearly impossible task.

An auroc will also be drawn to such things as silver daggers, or other similarly plated accouterments. It may try to grab at such larger pieces and wrest them from the weilder, flying off to nip pieces from the items to eat them, possibly making them completely useless, even if rescued.

They are skittish things, and if caught will frantically thrash about, attempting to fee themselves. They may well expend their life in the effort to get free.

Many a treasure seeker has been disappointed upon finding a long-lost dungeon, only to discover that aurocs have gotten there before them and have bored holes through all the walls and into all the rooms that formerly contained great treasures. One adventurer famously described an ancient labyrinth as having been "swiss-cheesed". The auroc has no interest in gems and precious stones, so such items may remain after aurocs have laid them bare -- if no one else has claimed them first.

18 December 2012

Where Have All The Monsters Gone...

You're not seeing this never-to-be-released, unfinished drawing...

...long grain pasta...

Oh, hey! I didn't see you there... I was just reflecting on how little I've added to this blog lately. Little, as in 'nothing'.

But that's not to say I haven't been busy. And not to say I didn't take a fall recently and break some ribs.

I'd like to say I didn't take a fall and break some ribs and bruise my right kidney and lose about a week solid to napping and pain medication. But I can't say that.

Where was I? Oh, yeah... nothing. Nothing, and being busy. I have been keeping up with the whole drawing thing, but most of it is stuff that's not here on the blog. But some of it is/will be appearing elsewhere, if you know where to look...

Like this, for instance: http://ravencrowking.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-thing-in-chimney.html. A fine and deadly, holiday-themed adventure for the DCC RPG, if ever there was one. And I don't think there was. One previously, I mean.

I know, I know -- at this point, you're pretty sure I'm still on the pain medication. Or something like it. But I'm not; I talk like this normally. Or else this is how I normally talk. Take your pick. I'm not going to be doing anymore mining for awhile, anyway...

So, yeah, The Thing in the Chimney -- cranked out those drawings Sunday. I'm glad the sugar plum fairy got used three times, because that was the one that worked out the best, I think. And I'd've drawn multiples of them, were there time for it. Multiples would've been good, because the design on that figure has more than a hint of Winsor McCay about it, and having multiple, identically looking figures prancing around illustrationally would've taken things beyond a 'hint' straight into legal-action territory (if not for the fact that McCay's work in question comes from over 100 years ago, that is. So no genuine worries there). Plus, there is -- in my own, non-medicated brain at least -- a hint of Jack Kirby to that fairy as well. Mostly in the torso/tunic... Who the devil would amalgamate McCay and Kirby?

I would.

But listen, I'm banking up monsters for the blog. I had hoped to do a sort of 12 Days of Monsters thing this month -- but my kidney decided to throw itself at a low cabinet instead, and took me with it. And I ask you, what have I ever done to it?

For today at least, the blog continues to feature no new monsters. But you can certainly expect something in your stocking a little later this month... Also, there will be new monsters up before the year is done!

Unless perhaps my spleen or gall bladder decide to take a page from my kidney's game plan...

07 November 2012

In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer

In The Prison Of The Squid Sorcerer is the forthcoming book of OSR encounters you can drop into your ongoing campaigns or use as an inspiration boost for creating new adventures. It features two encounters written by your humble Appendix M author (that's me), and is currently undergoing crowd-funding at Indiegogo.com.

Go check it out and watch yourself get interested in this book of weird pulp sorcery encounters -- the Appendix M monsters will still be here when you get back, I promise...


26 October 2012


Init +4
Melee Atk
 • tendril +7 (1d3+1; Ref DC 18 grabbed)
AC 17
HD 4d7+6
MV n/a
Act 3d20 or 4d20
SP mist maiden, mind mist
Fort +4
Ref +0
Will +4

A false dryad is a rare, carnivorous tree. Their trunks are just tall enough (30 feet, generally) to obscure the fact that they don't reach to the same height as the trees they mimic. They are instead topped with a large maw, which is lined with a dozen or more circular rows of teeth-like thorns.

They have three or four major limbs, which each extrude one sinewy, flexible tendril of 50 to 80 feet in length. With these tendrils, a false dryad grabs prey and raises them high to deposit them inside it's deadly maw. Although the creature is willing to bite off it's own tendril in consuming prey, rather than give that prey a chance to escape, it may take several passes for it to aim writhing prey directly at it's mouth. Each round that it holds a victim ready to consume them, roll a d6; on a three or less its aim is foiled by vigorous escape attempts and it can try again next round. Adjust the number needed up or down depending on circumstances. Once in the maw of a false dryad, a victim suffers 4d6 damage right away, and each round thereafter, from the rhythmically contracting, bright orange esophagus and the many counter-shifting rings of thorns.

A false dryad attracts humankind prey by emitting puffs of thick mist from it's lower trunk. This mist vaguely takes the shape of a human or similar kind (based on former victims). As seen through the obscuring growth of a forest, it may appear quite convincing. When prey gets closer to investigate, the mist has spread and lost it's 'form', but lingers and affects the mind, dulling the senses of those breathing it (Fort DC 13; -1 to all rolls).

Attacking a tendril driectly: use the same AC as the whole creature (tendrils are not as tough, but are mobile), and can take the equivalent of 1/3rd to one-half the creature's HP before being severed. Given their length, once severed they may still be just as dangerous, albeit shorter.

The interior of a false dryad may contain possessions of former victims that were not digestible.

Are they ever known as "celestial man-trap trees"? No, no they are not.

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18 October 2012


Init +5
Ranged Atk
 • harrowing +8 (1d6)
AC 19
HD 4d6+4
MV fly 60
Act 1d20
SP fleeting, limited telepathy
Fort +6
Ref +6
Will +8

A Dryad is the guardian of a forest or grove, an aethereal, feminine embodiment of the life force of the flora. They come into existence when a forest has been used for evil purposes, or when great harm has been done to a forest, spawning in a like way as anti-bodies form in the blood to fight illness. Having no solid physical form, dryads are only visible as fleeting movement in the canopy and branches of a forest.

They move freely under and within the canopy with great speed. They can briefly appear in a semi-corporeal from in front of the trunk of a great tree. However, if two or more observers are positioned around the tree, the dryad will appear to be before the tree for each observer, even if the observers are on opposite sides of the tree.

If men enter a dryad-guarded wood with malice or mischief in their hearts, the dryad can sense this. She will then aim to intercept the intruders and harry them into leaving her woods. Dryads can recall the pain of any who have suffered in their groves, and can call the echo of such pain to harrow intruders. The damage thus inflicted comes with the full intensity of the original pain, and causes hit point damage. This damage is negated as soon as the target leaves the dryad's woods. Thus, the dryad may cause someone to feel the fear and pain of a person abducted into the woods and beaten savagely a year earlier, or the pain of someone trapped in the woods by fire a century ago; the powerful memories so inflicted cause hit point loss, until such time as the target leaves the woods whereupon the memories lessen as memories do, and the hit points are restored. Any being reduced to zero hit points will enter a coma, not awakening until the dryad allows them, or until they have been removed from the woodlands.

Targeting a dryad with arrow, stone or spell is no easy feat. Restless, furtive creatures, each round anyone trying to attack a dryad, or even someone merely attempting to speak to one, will have to make an ability check to find the dryad, either Intelligence-based, Luck-based, or as adjudicated otherwise by the GM to fit the specific situation.

The wood of trees, even fallen trees, from within a dryad's protection can be used for special purposes by those who know how to unlock their unique properties. A dryad may make a bargain with collectors seeking such samples; she may allow the taking of such things, if the collector promises to right a wrong previously inflicted in her grove. Being far from human, the only way the dryad has to help a collector do such a thing is to use her harrowing power to bring the memories to the collector, painful though they will be... And she can only hope that the collector may glean enough clues from such memories to champion the subject of the wrongdoing....

It is not unheard of that a particularly hallowed grove or ancient forest might have multiple dryads guarding it.

15 October 2012


Init +10
Melee Atk
 • none
AC 10
HD none
MV 10 or speed of negligence
Act Special
SP Ghostly traits
Fort n/a
Ref n/a
Will n/a

Some inns are haunted.

Ghostly manifestations are fostered by particularities in architecture. The proportion of height to width to depth in a room, the span of the helical incline of a spiral staircase, the number of rooms on a floor, the slight variations in the width of opposing and adjacent doorways, even the alignment of the grain of the wood used in construction can—in the right combinations—encourage revenants and spirits to manifest.

Most inns will not be sites to harbor hauntings of violent demise -- except perhaps those deaths of the rodential variety...

Trapped rats are phantasms that can appear by the score, or more likely, by the hundreds, in places such as inns, common houses and way stations. Each ghostly rodent drags the clattering, clunking cause of it's death around with it, creating a deafening cacophony when they appear en masse. They will appear only for those who sleep in a room or rooms whose architectural resonance allows their manifestation, although they can pursue anyone fleeing their visitation freely into other chambers or outside. Trapped rats can be invisible or silent at will, both or neither, whatever will increase the anxiety of their victims.

The trapped rats are driven away by the dawn, even if clouded over. They can only be prematurely driven away by disruptive magic or a vigorous showing of faith. Merely swiping through the intangible rodents with even an enchanted sword will not be enough to dispel their presence. An item deeply imbued with chaos magic may repel them, at the GM's discretion. Similarly, otherworldly items may prevent their appearance. Spells may have little effect on trapped rats, unless the spell is heavily rearranging space and time in the area, or otherwise steeped with chaotic effects. Alternately, to save a victim of trapped rats, a magic user could put the victim to sleep via magic for instance, and spare them further damage while the threat is dealt with.

Trapped rats harm their victims, not by inflicting any sort of physical damage, but rather by traumatizing them in various ways. Firstly, they restlessly rattle the traps that killed them. One trapped rat is thus a strange annoyance, an unknown wooden object tumbling on the bedroom floor; hundreds of them create a maddening, engulfing tidal wave of sound for the victim. The victim will likely become convinced they need to shout at the top of their lungs to be heard, for instance, even though those not perceiving the trapped rats will initially be unable to explain why the victim feels the need to shout. The trapped rats may gnaw the ankles of the victim, or at any other body part they can reach. The spectral teeth do no real physical damage, but the biting and wounds certainly feel real until the victim examines them and sees no harm done. Trapped rats can reach and perch in any space large enough for their shape, and can move with the speed of negligence. If a victim sees them clustered on a chandelier, turns away to exclaim to his unaffected friends that the things are on the chandelier, and turns back, they can be gone. Or they can have doubled or tripled in number...

All such unrealistic events suppress the victim's Personality (or Wisdom, if you prefer), steadily reducing the attribute by 1 for each event. When they reach half of their original score, a victim must make a Will Save versus a DC of 10 plus the attribute penalty so far. Failure indicates they have been driven temporarily insane, and they will flee the scene, not to recover for a number of hours equal to the points of suppressed Personality. If they succeed in their Save, each subsequent 'loss' of Personality will also force another Save to be made. Any and all Personality suppressed from trapped rats returns points-lost hours after exposure ends (i.e., if 8 points were suppressed by the trapped rats, 8 hours later the victim snaps out of their mania).

30 September 2012


Init +6
Melee Atk
 • claws +5 (2d6+5)
AC 16
HD 3d6+4
MV 10 (on ice), Fly 40
Act 1d20
SP Cold immunity, dazing sight
Fort +3
Ref +2
Will +1

"Nalvaengur" translates from the language of the North as "needle-wing". These near-arctic dwelling, bird-like creatures roost on frozen lakes and ponds, awaiting unwary prey through the weeks-long nights of the North. They are highly territorial about the frozen waters on which they nest, attacking anything that moves onto the ice, or that simply gets too near.

They swoop down at their targets from above, black creatures charging from out of a black sky, the claws on the front of their bodies held out, ready to flay the meat off the bones of threats to their nest. Their eyes become highly luminescent during attack frenzy, and can dazzle men and fey races alike. The target and those within 10 feet of the target able to see the bird must make a DC 15 Will saving throw to avoid losing AC; failure means the target is momentarily startled and gives up their Agility bonus to AC, as well as an additional 2 points.

Nalvaengur are coated in a slimy hair, that does not freeze; this also has the effect of making them hard to grasp and keep a hold on. When at rest, they fold their legs under themselves, with their long claws held below and pointing to the back. On these they roost, and can even skate, after a fashion, to move about on the ice.

The creatures are resistant to the cold, their natural climate. They can easily handle temperatures well below freezing, and this fortitude means they can reduce any cold damage, even of a magical nature, by 25 points per event.

Locals prize, almost revere, nalvaengur and, on those occasions when they manage to kill one of the things, will make great use of every part; the claws make very durable needles for the sewing together of tough hides, the slimy hair makes unbeatable insulation, the upper part of the beak is used as a ritual drinking vessel, the lower part a fine tool for scraping hides, the tongue is an edible delicacy offered to honored guests, the eyes even after death will glow for a time when shaken, and so on.

12 September 2012


Init +3
Melee Atk
 • shortsword +2 (1d6)
 • or other weapon
AC 12, or as per armor
HD 3d7
MV 30
Act 1d20
SP Sleep Magic
Fort +1
Ref +2
Will +2

Naka are a fanatically law-abiding, nomadic people, traveling in small bands or individually, and expertly versed in the laws of the lands they move through, often even more so than the inhabitants of those lands. They are very gregarious, often heartily calling strangers "friend" even when first sighted at range. However, they are especially reluctant to discuss themselves or their origins, changing the subject quickly if asked about such things.

Mysteriously, they are always found traveling from west to east, however circuitously...

The Naka are of nearly human height and build, with cat-like, over-sized eyes, and dusky skin thickly covered in short, bristly hair.

They are great raconteurs, able to talk for hours, as well as being a great resource for travelers who meet them on the road. They can often describe hazards and challenges in the area sufficiently well to indirectly aid others' passage.

But travelers should be wary of evil Naka -- they have a nefarious influence they can manifest as they speak, causing listeners to fall magically, deeply asleep. Their words drill into the brain, echoing, reverberating, and remove all sense of time and place from waking consciousness. Listeners can escape this effect by making a Will Save vs. DC 13 +1 per minute of oratory.

Evil Naka are friendly with ogres and may put their targets into powerful sleep in order to sell them outright to ogres, or to advance some more complex ogre-involved scheme... Their numbers can include wizards, and such wizards favor toads as their familiars.

Naka wizards will be featured in a later entry of this blog.

27 August 2012


Created and donated to the Appendix M blog by Colin from the Goodman Games forums! Art by yours truly.

Init +2
Atk bite +3 melee (1d6)
- or -
tail volley +5 missile fire (1d6), Range 10/20/30
AC 16
HD 2d8
MV 30'
Act 1d20
Fort +0
Ref +4
Will -1

Human in size, arcoelestis is a predator of striking appearance, an agile, bipedal reptilian with tough green scales and magnificent multi-hued feathers on its forearms and cresting its head. A merciless carnivore, it lures prey by mimicking the sounds of creatures it kills, attacking with a mouthful of ripping teeth and by flicking its tail forward, unleashing a small volley of long, sharp scales from the tip. Lacking in raw power and great speed, it relies on animal cunning, patience, and the weakness of its preferred prey, the weak, the injured, and the sick (lowest HP).

The name, by the way, is a mash-up of the Latin words for "rainbow" which seemed apt given its plumage.

Thank you, Colin!

23 August 2012


Init +0
Melee Atk
 • bite +1 (1d4)
 • fall +1 (1d4 to 2d5 depending on height)
AC 11
HD 1d6+1
MV 10
Act 1d16
SP Mimicry, Free-fall 20', Takes half damage from physical attack
Fort +2
Ref +2
Will +2

The blight known as the bhlestic is not much larger than the average sports ball. It waddles along on two bird-like feet, with it's thick, transparent carapace shifting back and forth like insane clockwork with each step. The thickness of that chitinous carapace means they take half damage from physical attacks. They can mimic voices heard in the past, with nearly pitch perfect accuracy.

Created by some unknown sorcerer of distant ages, the bhlestic is the scourge of all elves. Designed to harry the fey race, bhlestic most often congregate around Elven tombs, slowly increasing their numbers if left alone. Easy to clear away if dealt with regularly, they may appear in the dozens or even in the hundreds if the area of a tomb has gone undisturbed for a generation or more.

They will generally silently roost in high places around a tomb, if possible. They climb slowly, in a manner similar to geckos, but much less gracefully. If they detect potential prey approaching, they will use their mimicry to draw prey closer. They can then drop down on prey from a height of up to 20 feet without taking any damage themselves from the fall. If faced with a party of mixed race, they will swarm over elves first, other demi-humans next, and humans last of all.

For the ease of handling large numbers of bhlestic attacking a single character, determine how many are able to effectively attack and divide by three. Add that number to a single attack roll and damage roll for a 'single' creature (i.e., the statistics above). Woe to any explorer who falls prone in range of a swarm of bhlestic!

20 August 2012


Init +0
Melee Atk
 • hoof +5 (1d6+5)
AC 17
HD 10d4+5
MV 60
Act 3d20
SP Camouflage, Shade form, Charging attack
Fort +6
Ref +2
Will +4

Fewer creatures are less nimble than the khambilaeus, but what it lacks in dexterousness, it makes up for in speed and brute strength. A monstrosity that looks something like a couple of draft horses put together the wrong way (with parts left over), it roams underground passages, looking to satisfy it's insatiable hunger.

It greatly prefers to have all of it's bulky limbs able to reach surfaces all around it, so it will not enter larger chambers or passages than it is adapted to, unless powerfully motivated. All of it's limbs are double-jointed, leaving no defensible angle of approach.

The khambilaeus absorbs traces of its environment through it's hooves, so that it takes on the coloring of it's surroundings, effectively making it nigh-invisible when more than 50 feet away, with a 3-in-6 chance to surprise explorers. Further, it can become shadow-like, whereupon it is nearly invisible in low-light situations, surprising potential prey on a 6-in-7 chance. It cannot attack in this form, and can only be hit by magic or spells.

When charging into melee, it can deal double it's normal number of attacks, if entering with surprise. The khambilaeus described here is large enough to nearly fill a ten-by-ten corridor; others suited to other sizes and shapes of passage have been rumored...

What's In That Name...?

Greetings, Culture Lovers. And thanks for stopping by, especially given the lack of culture that will be on full display in this blog. Well, 'classy' culture anyway. *swallows yogurt* This blog is about pretend monsters that you can use to fight pretend explorers and treasure seekers in pretend worlds along with your real friends. You'll use dice, pencils, paper, wild gesticulations of your hands, and -- if you're doing it right -- a manic gleam in your eye. Yes, just the one. The other should be stone cold placid; creeps 'em out even more that way.

But what the heck is 'Appendix M' when it's at home, eh? The name is a take off on Appendix N. I could explain Appendix N, but odds are, if you're reading this, you don't need that. If you do, well... Read on...

Meanwhile, the blog has a secret mission. But I can tell you -- you look like a trustworthy type... I used to draw not too badly at all. But I lost my mojo, baby. Partly because we had a baby and that is amazing and wonderful and will grow your heart three sizes bigger just like the Grinch, breaking that little x-ray thingy's frame in the process. But it is also a game-changer as well as a diaper-changer. Your time is not your own anymore. Anyway, circumstances have now given me time of my own --

 -- and this blog is my mission to keep myself drawing. And to keep thinking up weird stuff for RPGs. It'll be mostly monsters, I expect, but I may run other ideas up the blogpole and see what sticks. Or who salutes. Or whatever.

The stats will be for the amaztastic Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game, but should be easily adaptable to your own game of choice.

Catch ya around. And watch out for level three; I keep hearing thunderous gurgling noises coming from down there...