This RPG is pretty gross.

CONTENT WARNING: misogyny, dead children, torture

posted by potatocubed Original SA post

CONTENT WARNING: misogyny, dead children, torture

When Wapole Languray started the grimdark bestiary Lusus Naturae, I thought "Oh, I've still got that pdf of The Teratic Tome lying around that I meant to F&F. Maybe I should look at that again by way of comparison."

So I went and took a look, and lo and behold it's by the same guy! Which makes the comparison angle a lot more interesting, since as far as I can tell from WL's review of Lusus Naturae the author's design ability has gone backwards. The Teratic Tome was released in 2013, two years before LN, and as far as I can tell it's actually got less grimdark wankery and fewer outright 'fuck yous' than LN has, and it's certainly got some actually good content in there.

I mean, it's still grimdark and edgy, it's still full of things which torture their victims for no good reason, it's still got fuck you monsters, and it's positively dripping with misogyny, but this is the OSR we're dealing with so that's pretty much what you signed up for. But only six of its 114 monsters explicitly involve the murder or mutilation of children! So that's... better than it could be?

(Let's just ignore that 'teratic' means 'of or pertaining to "an organism (as a fetus) that is grossly abnormal in structure due to genetic or developmental causes."')


The Teratic Tome, Drivethru Blurb posted:

This enchiridion of entities should only be used by DMs inclined towards malfeasance, sadism, and base wrongdoing.

Well, someone's been brushing up on his Gygaxian English.

Side Note: The monsters in this book aren't even all that sadistic. I mean, loads of them like to torture people, but mechanically even the ones that do ability score damage only do it temporarily. I think there's maybe two things in there which can permanently drain bits of your character? Which already puts it in a better design space than Lusus Naturae, which apparently just loves to permanently vacuum up your stats.

The TT is written for OSRIC rather then LotFP, and rather than borrow LotFP's European setting it has its own implicit setting baked right into the monster descriptions. Since not every monster in this setting is capable of wiping out all life on the planet or universe -- in fact, I don't think any of them are -- it's already got a leg up on LotFP. In fact, one of the things I like best about the TT is that it provides a decent selection of low- and mid-level enemies, including a handful of unique NPC monsters in the 3-5 HD range.

As a small disclaimer, I've never played OSRIC -- but I did cut my teeth on AD&D 2e back in the early 90s, so I have a pretty good idea of what I'm looking at mechanically.

I'm going go through a lot of these monsters at a dead sprint, since there are slightly more than a hundred of them, but I'll spend more time on the interesting ones and the ones which strike a parallel with Lusus Naturae -- because there are already several, and at the time of writing WL is only 11 monsters into LN. I'm also not going to post any images, except maybe in a couple of the more egregious cases. Prepare for WALLS OF TEXT.

Anyway. Shall we crack the cover on this thing?

The acronical is a giant, intelligent, pack-hunting insect thing which can scent adulterers -- can detect them "from miles away" -- murders everyone who was standing near the adulterers while the adultery happened, then kidnaps the two and sets them up in a duel to the death with a promise that they'll let the winner live. Then they kill the winner.

The Teratic Tome posted:

After one has killed the other, the monster will amputate the victor's arms and legs, then sing songs of love while the fornicator bleeds to death.

Their alignment is neutral!

(They also have a poison which drains random stats, but those points are returned when the acronical dies, which doesn't seem like a bad take.)

I'm not that bothered that these things have a supernatural adultery sense -- we're in a universe where beholders exist, so whatever -- but they do run aground on the issue that adultery is socially defined. How do they react to poly relationships? Cultures with different concepts of marriage? Unmarried-but-boning-on-the-regular couples? Couples who bring in a 'guest star' for a threesome? Can you defeat them with the power of free love? Do they recognise emotional affairs or just physical? How physical?

It's actually the old 'good and evil' D&D problem in a different form, really. If Good and Evil are objective facts that can be determined about someone -- from birth, even! -- and are backed by actual angels and devils, then are they really moral categories any more, or just names for sides in some celestial war? Likewise, if adultery is something that can be detected by scent and has world-rules dependent on it, is it still a moral category or is it now part of the physical fabric of the setting?

This is also one of four monsters in this book with a focus on adultery, marriage, and fidelity. Four doesn't sound like too many -- it's only 3.5% of the entries -- but given that most bestiaries would have, at most, one monster for punishing adulterers, and far more likely zero monsters for punishing adulterers, it sticks out as weird to me.

"A demonic female" () who hunts the proud and overconfident by tricking them into undertaking stupid activities which make them loathed by all. Not included in the demon section, for no reason I understand. The one in the art has her tits out.

It's a giant tapeworm which astrally projects its consciousness until it finds someone terribly lonely, then psychically assaults them while pretending to be an emissary of the gods, all with the ultimate end of making them lash out violently at anyone they dislike (and bring them to the akestic to be eaten).

Its intelligence is 'animal'!

Here's the thing: the akestic can project its psychic assault miles away, so I'm not sure how the PCs are supposed to recognise its involvement in events.

It's a giant worm of tentacles and mouths which can possess people by turning to liquid and flowing into the victim's body.

The Teratic Tome posted:

The creature preys upon those who dissolve sacred bonds of marriage. This can include spouses, clerics, priests, nobles, and anyone who participates in the annulment of marriage.

At least this one is specifically supernatural and follows a definition of matrimony set down by its divine creator, rather than 'adultery, whatever that means'. It's also the first of several monsters in this book which are (implicitly or explicitly) anti-theistic -- in this case, as an example of what fanatic priests unleash to reinforce the doctrines of their religion. We'll be seeing more of this.

A sorceress glued the eyes from audiences (a type of monster detailed below, not people at the theatre) onto some giant spiders and turned them into easily-charmable quasi-familiars which can make themselves invisible for 24 hours at a time and scout for you.

These are pretty neat!

Several bunches of halfling wizards glued themselves together into many-eyed sacks of flesh which floated around being evil and accumulating forbidden knowledge. I'm not sure exactly why, but halflings in this setting are super-evil, so.

Anyway, then this sorceress shows up, hunts down every single one of these things and steals their eyes to make her ambulators (see previous). Now the audiences are blind -- except they suffer none of the penalties of blindness because fuck you.

These are high-level not-beholders, and they come in three subtypes although two of them are basically the same thing.

Ten halfling elementalists make this thing, with one mind controlling each of its two arms and eight tentacles. They have fire and cold attacks, are immune to same, and use magic items. They like precious gems (Why? They can't see them.) and boiling and flaying whatever victims they come across. (Again: Why?)

The onlooker is a beholder except it has mouths instead of eyes. It bites a lot, as you'd expect, and casts spells.

The witness is a beholder except it has mouths instead of eyes and looks like it's super-diseased. It casts really powerful summoning spells.

The discerner's kind of interesting, and I like the link with the ambulators, but the other two are just 'what if a beholder but with teeth instead of eyes'. Compare and contrast with the Auricle from LN, which is 'what if a beholder but with ears instead of eyes?'

Next Time:

Monsters: 8
Female Monsters: 1
Female Monsters With Their Tits Out: 1
Anti-Theist Monsters: 1
Worm Monsters: 2


posted by potatocubed Original SA post

Hey hey, it's time for some more relentless misery!

CONTENT WARNING: misogyny, dead children, torture
(The monsters in this post are actually pretty low-key, but I'm keeping the standard CW.)


The Teratic Tome posted:

The Avernal maiden appears as a nude human female with pale green skin.

They also have horns and a bone spike instead of a left hand. At least the art for them is 'nude monster' rather than 'naked woman'. They mostly hang around Avernus, which is some flavour of hell.

The Teratic Tome posted:

When found outside of Avernus, maidens often use polymorph self to appear as damsels in distress; they lure adventurers into traps with tales of abduction, or chain themselves to walls and cry for help.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot this was an OSR product.

Also of note is that this is a 7 HD monster which can cast gate AT WILL. In case you'd forgotten what AD&D gate did, it "opens a gate to another plane to draw through some demon, devil, demi-god, god, or other powerful entity. Something always responds to the gate, and typically remains to take some action, but the action it takes depends on its own desires -- and likely the alignment of the caster and their companions, and the threats they face."

So yeah, hope you like fighting otherwise-unremarkable demon women who can speed-dial pit fiends and evil gods.

A dead elf woman, just like a normal banshee, except instead of an unjustly slain elf ghost or a lovelorn spirit or a woman who keens for her lost children this one was actually a demon-worshipping nasty piece of work in life. So she looks like an elf woman but "her features are deformed; yellowish wings grow from her shoulder blades, and a cluster of cream-colored tentacles dangles from her waist."

Naturally, her tits are perfect.

Otherwise this is a banshee with some extra attacks but it retains the usual banshee problem where its distinctive ability is an AoE save-or-die that can plausibly wipe an entire party.

A unique mega-level monster (24 HD) which "resembles a grotesquely deformed fetus". It haunts old people's dreams until they have a heart attack and die, or sometimes until it gets bored and murders them with medical implements.

I... don't know what you're supposed to do with this thing?

The Teratic Tome kind of has a problem with a lot of its monsters where they'd make great threats for a one-off Call of Cthulhu or Delta Green scenario, but they fall extremely flat when deployed in D&D because D&D handles mystery, helplessness, and horror really badly. Baskra's the first example we've come to, but there are plenty of others.

Oh, also:

The Teratic Tome posted:

In his lair (an ossuary), he is attended by 1d20 ghouls, 1d8 zombies, and 1d4 ghasts.

Any party capable of taking on a 24-HD powerhouse isn't going to be challenged by Baskra's minions. One turn undead from the party cleric and pfft they're all gone.

A greebly purple monster which manifests whatever limbs it needs, hates demihumans, and writes poetry in the blood of its victims. I actually like this one: it's a low-level monster (2+2 HD) which could serve as a neat twist on a serial killer hunt for low-level characters.

It's literally just a mind flayer with the serial numbers filed off.

It's a bulette with fire breath. It's also got some life-cycle details which make it fractionally more interesting than that, but eh.

Next Time: One of the most WTF illustrations in the book, and some other stuff.

Monsters: 14
Female Monsters: 3
Female Monsters With Their Tits Out: 2
Anti-Theist Monsters: 1
Worm Monsters: 2


posted by potatocubed Original SA post

Okay, the last batch of monsters were pretty tame. This should wake you up a bit.

CONTENT WARNING: misogyny, dead children, torture

A unique high-level enemy who bears virtually no resemblance to the chimeras she ostensibly gives birth to. She's got a handful of 1/day 'fuck you' spell-likes as well: maze, power word: blind, meteor swarm, some others. She likes to hunt people.

The Teratic Tome posted:

The Chimaera Queen has the torso of a humanoid female. From between her shoulders juts a cluster of green tentacles ending in three black claws. Her arms are long, and her body is covered with pale green thorns. Between her legs, there's a thick pale blue tentacle from which grow several smaller tentacles. This main tentacle ends in her head, which is topped by thin white tentacles that writhe around her face. The Queen's tongue is long and grey and dry, ending in a wad of tissue tipped with spikes. Her legs are pale blue with dark brown spots, each ending in three spikes.

There's a full-page art piece which faithfully reproduces this description.

Naturally, her tits (and ass) are perfect.

A white man in the recent Black Panther movie-- no, wait, that's a coloniser. Let me start again.

A colonist is a six-legged insect-like creature with a humanoid torso and blades for hands. They establish nests and build monstrous spires for unknown reasons (and by unknown means since they don't have hands).

On the one hand, they're low-level enemies (1+1 HD) and it's always nice to have a bit more variety there. On the other hand the number encountered is 2d4 (reasonable) or 5d20 (what) and since they don't talk to people and attack other life-forms on sight they're really boring low-level enemies.


The Teratic Tome posted:

Built from spare parts by infernal gnomes, contrivances are mechanical golems that guard the passages to the long-forgotten subterranean clockwork kingdom of Mecha Zel.

Devil-gnomes in an underground clockwork kingdom, guarded by junk-golems? Well, I'm sold. I actually really like this concept, and the mechanics make them dangerous physical combatants with a variety of spell immunities.

A six-foot fish-sphere with tentacles. Also they cast a few spells. My main problem with this one is that rather than swimming, the craanoi floats above the water's surface and dangles tentacles down to grab people. But... have you looked at the sea, recently? It's flat. There's nowhere for a six-foot floating fish-sphere to hide! I dunno.

It's an approximately humanoid, four-armed monster which is red and gold and green and blue which makes it a fucking eyesore as well as whatever else it does. Which is 'gather up victims and turn them into paintings'.

The Teratic Tome posted:

The curhadac will select one of its prisoners at random and disassemble him before the others, slowly and painfully. It will then create its instruments. Using the victim's bones and hair, it will create paintbrushes. After flaying the victim, it will stretch the skin over a frame made of bones, creating a canvas. Squeezing various bodily fluids from the victim's glands and organs, it will create paint.

After assembling all of the necessary components, it will paint a portrait of one of its other victims. When finished, it will drag the portrait's subject from captivity and create new paints, brushes, and canvas. It will continue in this fashion until six portraits have been painted. The last victim is set free and given the paintings as a gift.

Just as a side note, I saw the dissection of a human cadaver some years ago and I never realised our insides were so colourful. It's really quite striking.

But, like with Baskra, curhadacs are edgy torture-monsters which would work way better in a different game. And if they weren't every colour under the sun. As it is, D&D is just the wrong game to showcase stuff like this. What makes a curhadac interesting isn't fighting the bastard thing, it's the horror of being one of its victims, or of trying to track it down because it's kidnapped someone you care about. Neither of which D&D lends itself to.

A small (foot-long, which is smaller than a typical cat) animal predator which disguises itself as a gemstone to attract large, well-equipped, gem-seeking prey (?). It sometimes works in symbiosis with larger predators, who use the damsel stone as bait then pounce while the adventurer is waving their arm around shouting "gerroff gerroff".

This is clearly a trap monster designed to fuck over player characters. Bleah.

Next Time: Mostly demons!

Monsters: 20
Female Monsters: 4
Female Monsters With Their Tits Out: 3
Anti-Theist Monsters: 1
Worm Monsters: 2


posted by potatocubed Original SA post

Are you ready for some DEMONS? And DEVILS? And an undead thingy?

CONTENT WARNING: misogyny, dead children, torture


The Teratic Tome posted:

The demimondaine, in the form of a pale green light, descends upon the body of an unavenged female murder victim, typically a prostitute or courtesan. The undead spirit animates the corpse and sends it lurching after the murderer.

Yup, that's the OSR alright.

Anyway, it's an 8-HD undead which kills people "start[ing] with [their] feet", starting with the murderer and moving on to anyone who was ever mean to the victim.

Its alignment is neutral!

The Teratic Tome posted:

A murderous undead entity, the demimondaine appears as the rotting corpse of a woman. Its eyes have been gouged out, and foul black liquid seeps from its mouth and nostrils. The legs have been transformed into huge grey claws.

Naturally, its tits are perfect.

A selection of demons, mostly unique named entities.

Queen of the succubi. She's got that whole 'beautiful woman with monstrous parts' thing going on which is supposed to be a blend of sexy and dangerous and which only ever comes off as puerile. Naturally, she has perfect tits.

A unique locust-demon who loves to play games and gamble. He rolls large and has no self-control, so if you can beat him you can win ridiculous cash, but a) he cheats and b) he's a chaotic evil demon so why would he honour any wins?

Not a bad concept, though.

Now we're cooking. Gusion is theoretically the demon queen of torture, but since everything in this book is all about the torture what she actually is the demon queen of spreadsheets. See, she rotates prisoners between torture devices according to a strict system of charts and lists, 'so that they don't get used to the pain', which is at least blackly hilarious.

Joking aside, 'raid hell, wreck Gusion's Anguish Engine (which eats pain and spits out demons), save some folks, and fight off the demigod demon queen of torture and Excel formulas while you're doing all that' would make a pretty boss endgame for a high-level D&D campaign.

Gusion is also one of about three female monsters in this book not depicted as attractive or sexualised (all by the same artist, incidentally).

A traditional fiery demon lord. He's an asshole who eats people. Kind of ho-hum, really--

The Teratic Tome posted:

He is typically surrounded by 3-18 ghouls (all horribly-scarred children who died from ghoul attacks), 2-12 ghosts (all unborn fetuses aborted while in the womb), and 3-18 greater demons.

Ah, there's that hit of real OSR flavour.

He really has nothing else. It's mutilated children for servants and loving descriptions of how he likes his meals prepared and nothing interesting or actionable.

Procurer Demon
Not a unique demon, these ones find newbie adventurers and offer them whatever they want. No strings attached at first... then eventually it's like 'do evil shit for me or I'm going to pull everything I've given you then haul you off to hell'. Which I think isn't a bad hook for a demon. As an 8-HD monster with powerful weapon immunity the procurer demon is also actually threatening to level 6-or-so heroes, even if it has been helping them out the whole time.

But just in case you were thinking this was a pretty good entry, in the list of sample "heinous deeds" it might ask you to do:

The Teratic Tome posted:

slaughtering pregnant women who may be carrying future saviors

Wouldn't be OSR without that misogyny/child-killing combo! And the rest are pretty much EEEEVIL on the same sort of scale. Escorting a caravan of human sacrifices, that sort of thing.

See, the problem with this shit is that it cranks the EVIL dial to 11 without ever passing through the intermediate options. Any group of players worth gaming with will immediately give the demon the finger and fight it, neatly robbing the whole enterprise of any tension or actual interesting moral questions. A better start would be "Hey, want to keep that fancy magic sword? Take this puppy and drop-kick it across the town square. In public." Something that promotes the agenda of evil in the game world, and that a warped enough PC might actually do if the sword was fancy enough. Then you escalate.

A selection of devils. Two interesting, three really dull.

Big red fiery guy. Entirely uninteresting in every way.

A low-level (3-HD) fiend which looks like a skeleton surrounded by insects. It sets traps in remote areas then dares adventurers to go and get the treasure there, which is at least a neat hook for a tempter-type devil. It enjoys watching people getting hurt by its traps too, so it's always got an excuse to be hanging around when the PCs finally twig to what's going on and turn on it.

Good for low-level adventures!

A powerful non-unique kind of devil which just murders everything all of the time. They eat the teeth of children, because of course they do.

A unique spider-devil who's supposed to be leading the war against the demons but also wants to murder his rival Xolotl, the spreadsheet-loving demon Gusion, and seize the throne of hell from The Most Boring Satan. He's got way too many schemes, way too much going on, and these are great hooks for a party looking for a devil patron or who need the favour of a duke of hell and don't want to murder paladins.

He's very green. He eats puppies. He is the chief advisor to Ahriman and only slightly more interesting.

Next Time: Dragons! Some of the best and worst parts of the book, all in one place.

Monsters: 31
Female Monsters: 5 (I'm deliberately skipping unique female NPCs for this count)
Female Monsters With Their Tits Out: 5 (I'm including unique female NPCs in this one though.)
Anti-Theist Monsters: 1
Worm Monsters: 2


posted by potatocubed Original SA post

Screw it, time for DRAGONS.

CONTENT WARNING: misogyny, dead children, torture

It's taken me a while to get to this point because I keep rewriting it. Basically, the TT dragons are some of the best and worst content in the book. I like them a lot, and I also hate them.

The implicit setting for TT has only ten dragons, each of which is an apocalyptic murder machine presaged by omens and dooms, and they poke their heads out of hiding every so often to bring low a civilisation that's gotten too big for its boots. As a concept, I can totally get behind this. It's an excellent thing for high-level PCs to try and prevent, nice, good. Each dragon is also presented with a selection of omens and dooms it comes with, and those are evocative and interesting.

Every one of those ten dragons is presented here, by the way. No room for invention or coming up with your own. I know some people like that sort of encyclopedic categorisation of stuff, but my opinion is that it's better to present 2-4 as examples then let people make up their own, maybe with guidelines or something. This happens again with one of the other monsters later in the book -- 'There are only twelve of these in the world! Here are all their details.' -- so I think it's a pattern.

My other minor beef is that the dragons exclusively target cities. Their descriptions are all about what happens to the cities they arrive in. So I guess the rural bits of civilisation just keep on trucking? I dunno.

My more serious beef with the dragons is that they are crying out to be represented in a better game than D&D. Their fluff, which is broadly cool, is mechanically rendered as 'this is a sack of hp with high-damage attacks'. For example, Makkas-Nephata has a breath weapon which induces nightmare hallucinations in which people live out the worst experiences of other people caught in the breath weapon cloud. Cool, right?

It does hit point damage.

Like... either write special rules which reflect the fluff you've written, or just cave and move to a natural-language system where 'terrible seizures caused by standing in a dragon's shadow' means something. The best bits of these creatures are utterly wasted.

Anyway, here are some details of the ten mythic dragons.

Red, rotting, breathes gastroenteritis.

Dar-khatep Nah
Lives in a pineapple trench under the sea. Preceded by storms and other omens. Easily avoided by hanging out inland.

Ke-Sectat Hatath
Purple. Lives in a landfill. Breath weapon is a swarm of hungry insects.

A wingless monster preceded by unnatural rainfall. Quite apart from the hallucinatory-but-no-it's-only-hp-damage breath weapon mentioned above, Makkas has the special rule that if his bite kills you, he swallows you -- but if his bite doesn't kill you, he still swallows you, you go on a turbo-ride through his digestive tract, then get shat out the other end. All in one combat round!

Mhego Rui-Sa
This one is very sparkly and constantly writes its true name in the air with its tail. If low-level creatures see it, they're compelled to kill themselves!

It also flattens castles and fortresses by falling onto them from space, which is a pretty cool entrance.

Nahui Ankeru-Zem
Yellow, fat, hangs out in swamps. Is preceded by toxic algal blooms, aquatic predators flinging themselves out of the water into people's boats, dead fish, explosively decompressing deep-sea creatures, and ball lightning.

It also sings, which is too high-pitched to be audible but loud enough to make people's heads explode. Since Nahui is female, this makes it a fat lady who sings before it's all over, and that makes me like it a lot more.

White dragon. Cone of cold breath weapon. Heralded by birth defects.

Sagha Thutmolud
A chameleon dragon! Rains fire and brimstone on and around the city she's chosen to ruin. If she casts her shadow on you, you suffer terrible seizures and may vomit up your putrefied internal organs. This does 1d20 damage.

Setharam Uus-Ezochel
Preceded by some pretty cool omens: green lightning storms, asthma-inducing pollen, plants growing teeth and taking bites out of people.

The Teratic Tome posted:

She breathes out spores, which sear the lungs, burn the skin, and begin to grow into thick lichen inside the bodies of those who are affected

This, like every other breath weapon in this section, does hit point damage.

This dragon hangs out in space with "exiled deities and sentient hatreds", also known as Twitter. Before it arrives there are storms, earthquakes, animals behaving strangely, and mass outbreaks of violence and suicide.

When it arrives, it's an armoured sack of hp that does hit point damage. It also steals memorised spells with its bite, but I doubt any spellcaster is going to survive more than a couple of hits from a 5d10 bite anyway.


I think the most interesting use for these dragons is for mid-level characters to be stuck in the city that they're currently wiping off the map. Low-level characters would be better but most of them have some effect or other which insta-gibs anyone of 3rd or lower level who happens to see them, so.

Monsters: 41
Female Monsters: 5 (I'm deliberately skipping unique female NPCs for this count)
Female Monsters With Their Tits Out: 5 (I'm including unique female NPCs in this one though.)
Anti-Theist Monsters: 1
Worm Monsters: 2


posted by potatocubed Original SA post

CONTENT WARNING: misogyny, dead children, torture

A dragon exiled by other dragons, they're condemned to live out their lives as a warped hybrid of dragon and human with the strengths of neither. They're kind of interesting in that the writeup calls out the various possible reactions dragoniacs might have: bitterness, anger, philosophical, etc. Some apparently go hunting dragons as a form of vengeance, but they're way too low-HD for that to be plausible.

Despite being a tatter-winged spike-fisted dragon-person hybrid, the one in the illustration has perfect tits.

Sort of a cross between an intellect devourer and a sewer ooze. Low-level. Commands vermin. It can absorb the memories of anyone it eats. Pretty decent for a low-level enemy.

An elf queen. (Elves in this setting are all turbo-racists, but that's not unusual for fantasy settings.) The khatun is trained for a hundred years to be an elite assassin in service to the previous queen, then when the previous queen dies the elite assassins all fight to the death to be the new queen. Rinse, repeat.

Another tentacled worm-creature. Despite being animal-intelligence it hunts those who can't let go of their grief, yacks green ichor into their mouth, then scoots off. The victim transforms into a green zombie monster who gets up and wanders the countryside looking for blood, then they fall apart and a new epexiant crawls out. The stats are the epexiant itself, despite the fact that if you get into a fight it'll be with the green zombie. Kind of an oversight there but so far, so old-school.

The Teratic Tome posted:

Many apothecaries claim that an elixir crafted from ground epexiant bone acts as a powerful aphrodesiac

And there's the OSR overlay.

As a side note, this mis-spelling of 'aphrodisiac' is the first language error I've noticed and I'm almost halfway through. So props to the editor!

(Yes, I'm almost halfway through on the letter 'E'. Blame demons, devils, and dragons for front-loading the book.)

Okay. I have opinions about the eremite. (Incidentally, a real-world eremite is a religious recluse or hermit.) These are monsters created by a cannibal priesthood to infiltrate other religions (using magical disguises) and separate out 'the damned' (those who will not convert to the cannibal religion) from the repentant. The repentant get to live with a change of god and a change of diet, while the damned are thrown into Bond villain style deathtraps. This is a concept, I feel, which has legs. It's an adventure waiting to happen! It's even got few enough HD that adventurers likely to face it won't have the illusion-piercing magic to see straight through its disguise.

Then we get to its appearance.

The Teratic Tome posted:

Eremites look like women with pale white skin, long hair, and bright green or blue eyes. In lieu of arms, they have two segmented golden tentacles attached to their shoulders, and instead of legs, two muscular arms that grip the earth. At the crotch, three glistening black serpents hiss and snap.

Naturally, her tits are perfect.

So lets dig in here, shall we? There is no reason for this thing to have any human elements at all. It already looks outlandish enough that it has to polymorph or shapechange to carry out its infiltration mission, so when you're designing its look why keep the human head and torso? More to the point, why keep the 'hot woman' head and torso?

Even more to the point, the cannibal priesthood live in a desert. Why is their woman-torsoed killer lily-white and blue-eyed?

Hint: It's because the OSR has strong currents of misogyny and racism which reach back to OD&D and the Appendix N stories it took as inspiration, and unless creators specifically examine their work for those elements they're likely to reproduce them without realising.

Okay, this one is cool. It starts as a lump of clay-like muck which assumes a humanoid form when approached, but isn't aggressive. If you fight it, it fights back. If you talk to it, it gives you a gemstone. More talking, more gemstones. It'll follow you around, help lift heavy objects, help out in fights... it's pretty handy.

It also gradually adopts the likeness and mannerisms of the person who first spoke to it. Becomes less helpful and more of a dick. Eventually, it's going to snap and come after its template with a heavy blunt object.

A lizard thing with a woman's face in its mouth. It encourages people to commit suicide by tearing their own innards out. Its influence makes its victim stronger, stops them from feeling pain, and also softens their bodies, enabling this self-rending.

What's interesting is that this monster thinks of itself as a liberator and bringer of joy. It keeps souvenirs. It thinks it's doing good work! None of this will matter because the characters will murder the shit out of it the moment it drops invisibility.

Small woman with tentacles for arms and vampire fangs. Naturally, her tits are perfect.

They stalk anyone powerful who is trying to keep a scandal quiet, learn all their secrets, where the bodies are buried... then the faerie murders their family. And anyone who suspects the victim of trying to keep something quiet. And every time it kills it tries to leave clues implicating the victim.

I don't... I don't understand. The blood faerie seems to want the victim to go down for something, but definitely not the thing they actually did. You can't hang a mystery plot on this because the motivation is so weird no-one will ever guess at it.

A mindless slaughter-monster that looks like a random jumble of body parts stuck together. Weak in its early stages, it gets so frighteningly powerful in its later stages that even sworn enemies will ally to put one down.

Mechanically it's a terror in physical combat with no special defence against magic, so I expect it'll last perhaps thirty seconds against a decently potent wizard.

A spiky reptile humanoid. Not really interesting.

Like a gelatinous cube, but a sillier shape.

Like, in-world, gelly cubes are that shape so they can clean walls, floor, and ceiling of a 10-ft-square dungeon corridor all at once. In-game they're that shape so they fill the whole of a 10-ft-square dungeon corridor and can't be dodged. Gelly pyramids make less sense in both cases.

Monsters: 52
Female Monsters: 8 (I'm deliberately skipping unique female NPCs for this count)
Female Monsters With Their Tits Out: 8 (I'm including unique female NPCs in this one though.)
Anti-Theist Monsters: 2
Worm Monsters: 3

Naturally, her tits are perfect.

posted by potatocubed Original SA post

CONTENT WARNING: misogyny, dead children, torture


The Teratic Tome posted:

The ash ghast is a woman with mother-of-pearl skin whose body ripples with dark red flame. Her face is a skull with bright white lights deep in the eye sockets, and her fingers are tipped with short black talons.

Naturally, her tits are perfect.

Ash ghasts like fire and have a bunch of fire-based spell-likes, and if you ditch the misogyny they actually make for quite a thematic undead enemy.

An undead spirit which hunts murderers (including anything humanoid, like orcs and goblins, but specifically excluding intelligent nonhumanoids like centaurs) and appears to them in the form of their victim, shouting threats and accusations that only they can hear. Which is quite a cool haunt, and every adventurer is going to be a target for it.

It has a breath weapon which inflicts a cumulative 1d3 penalty to all saving throws. It has no other attacks which target people's saving throws.

These are halflings which were so evil their soul jumped clean out of their bodies to become ghosts. They inflict permanent ability score drain. They can only be attacked by spells on the ethereal plane, but their touch does double drain there so fuck you spellcasters.

Despite being halflings in a previous life they are now 5 feet tall. Go figure.

This is a low-level undead which is nevertheless pretty cool. They seek out terminal losers who blame others for the state of their lives, then go around murdering everyone the loser blames for their own failures. It tortures its victims to death, because OSR, but I mainly like this creature because it has a strong visual which is followed through into its spell-like abilities and the built-in plot hook is 'some alt-right shitheel gets adopted by an abomination', which is a story with legs.

Weird-looking giants who can see through illusions. Yawn.

Not a giant. Big punchy golem thing with a squishy elf centre. Feeds on magic but has no special resistance to it. Casts fire spells but not fire-resistant despite being made of obsidian.

Not even remotely like a gnoll. These are eel-people. Medium-HD humanoid enemies, which it's nice to have more of, but as aquatic monsters no-one will ever encounter them unless it's a dedicated sea-based campaign.

Like a goblin, but a sexy revolutionary!

Really. It's a female goblin with a handful of spell-like abilities who joins and organises rebellions and resistance movements, then urges them on to full-blown violent uprisings and civil war.

I mean, a goblin infiltrator who incites civil wars so that other goblins can take advantage of the chaos is a neat idea. Making it a sexy goblin woman is entirely unnecessary.

Halflings in this setting are super-evil.

If you map all of halfling civilisation it spells out 'Elizabeth Lack-Heart', which is the name of their super-evil goddess. Who knows what will happen when it's finished! I only mention this because the evil fern in Lusus Naturae seems to be reusing the 'writing a secret sigil across the face of the world' schtick.

It's a hell hound, but big!

Next Time: Were you missing monsters with elaborate and unworkable plans? Because I've got a couple coming right up...

Monsters: 62
Female Monsters: 10 (I'm deliberately skipping unique female NPCs for this count)
Female Monsters With Their Tits Out: 9 (I'm including unique female NPCs in this one though.)
Anti-Theist Monsters: 2
Worm Monsters: 3


posted by potatocubed Original SA post

It was all an elaborate scheme to get you to read the...

CONTENT WARNING: misogyny, dead children, torture

A unique monster which finds criminal organisations, murders the big boss, takes their place, then plunges them into war with other organisations with the intent of destroying the organisation it originally co-opted.

On the scale of 'weird and unworkable plans' this is actually pretty tame, but think of it as a way to ease in. The in-game justification for the Infiltrator is that it was originally created to infiltrate and destroy an organisation, and now it's just doing the same thing over and over where it sees the same pattern. As someone who's accidentally written exponential functions while copying files, I can sympathise.

This would make a pretty good end-boss for a 'crime syndicate' style game -- either as an explanation for the weirdly aggressive guild forcing you on the defensive, or discovering you've been working for this thing all along and now everyone hates you. Can you get out of the city alive? Plenty of story fodder, which is what we're looking for in a bestiary.

Created by the same sorceress who made the eyeball-spider ambulators, ingenues are manic pixie girls who drink the blood of men and men only. They have blue skin and spikes. Naturally, their tits are perfect.

Giant crab-things which have come 'from below' to test themselves against the surface. They challenge their targets to a fair fight -- to the death -- with no trickery, pointing out their huge pile of wealth as a prize for the victor. Naturally this is when the player characters gank the shit out of the thing.

Unfortunately for them the real inimicus is a tiny worm that pilots the giant crab-thing around like a mecha suit. So if the PCs do cheat or fight dishonourably it's highly likely to survive, sneak out of the corpse once they've wandered off, and bring an even stronger body to properly fuck them up later.

I think these would make a decent addition to a random encounter table, but they're a little shallow to hang a whole planned encounter on.

2-HD crab-folk with a mild poison to make fighting them that much more of a chore. Not bad for low-level humanoid enemies but of course they're aquatic so you'll never encounter them.

A spider-centaur thing with no face (only mouth) and swords for hands. They find some washed-up loser with delusions of grandeur, then turn them into cult leaders. Quite why anyone would listen to a faceless, handless, spider-thing I don't know, but this implicit setting also contains people who listen to woman-face-in-mouth reptiles who urge them to literally tear their own body to pieces, so I guess it is at least consistent.

They're kobolds.

Three sisters, servants of the ancient goddess of retribution. Each is a mid-level, unique centauroid monster with the body of an insect (beetle, spider, scorpion) and a female human torso on top of that. Naturally, two of the three have perfect tits.

Araniella has mouths for eyes Corinthian-style, and feeds off discovered treachery. She finds a village or town, disguises herself as a nun or other harmless religious figure, works herself into the confidence of everyone in town, then dispenses advice which turns people against one another until they finally snap and everyone in town breaks out the knives and murders each other. Quite what this has to do with retribution, since the whole goddamn mess is generated by Araniella in the first place, I don't know.

A side note: I'm beginning to notice a general feeling in this book -- and perhaps in the OSR at large? -- that 'regular people' are credulous, easily led, and willing to break out in savage violence with only a little provocation.


I think this would actually make for quite a good plot: adventurers rock into town, turn up a secret or two, investigate further, and find that everyone hates everyone else and the whole place is about to go up like a barrel of gunpowder in a giblet factory. They may even have to use diplomacy and personal skills to undo the damage, since killing Araniella isn't even going to fix the underlying problems.

Eriophora finds an adulterous man, kills his mistress and impersonates her, then once the boning has been performed she stalks and mutilates every other woman in his life. Then she fucks off. I find it interesting that as the only one of the three sisters who canonically fucks, Eriophora is the only one drawn without human breasts. Like, the art direction stuck tits on the serpent-crotched eremite, the always-on-fire-murder-ghost ash ghast, and the thoroughly bizarre chimaera queen -- so why not here?

Remember the kritarch are supposed to serve the goddess of retribution -- so to get revenge on a man who is fucking around, Eriophora takes a knife to every woman he knows. So if you want to gamify violence against women, this is the monster for you I guess.

Thelacantha likes religious figures who pretend to be humble but really crave the adulation of their flock. She possesses them, lets them watch as she ruins their lives, then releases control and lets them deal with the fallout.

Again: This has nothing to do with retribution. Thelacantha just shits all over someone's life because she sees them as possessing some moral failing. I suppose in this case false humility is at least an actual moral failing, rather than 'feeling lonely'.

But the real joy of the kritarch is the art. Open these in order for maximum effect.


Further side note: Each of the sisters is named after a genus of spider, despite having beetle, spider, and scorpion bodies. This annoys me far more than it should.

Monsters: 71
Female Monsters: 11 (I'm deliberately skipping unique female NPCs for this count)
Female Monsters With Their Tits Out: 12 (I'm including unique female NPCs in this one though.)
Anti-Theist Monsters: 4
Worm Monsters: 4


posted by potatocubed Original SA post

CONTENT WARNING: misogyny, dead children, torture

A four-armed serpent-woman. Naturally, she has perfect tits.

Back in the realms of wacky plans with little payoff, she murders clerics and druids, makes bread from their bones, imbues it with healing powers, disguises herself as a harmless little old lady then sells her bread to adventurers.

The only mechanical consequence to eating the bread, by the way, is hit point recovery. No corruption, no taste for human flesh, nothing. I suppose it could promote a(nother) huge fight about whether or not your paladin should fall, and whether it should happen at the moment of eating or the moment of revelation, and are they responsible for being tricked into evil acts----

But if you're playing a paladin in a game which uses monsters from the Teratic Tome you're probably either inured to the bullshit or you're just winding up the GM, so.

As a side note, I get that the horror here is the revelation that the tasty bread you've been eating all this time is made of people, but that shoe may never drop. It's entirely possible for a group to never look too closely at the woman who sells the healing bread and never realise that it's healing powers are derived from ground up priests.

A lizard-woman centaur, with snakes that grow out of her shoulders. (Naturally, she has perfect tits.) The snakes "hiss obscenities" as they bite, which is ridiculous -- you can't speak and bite at the same time because they require the jaw to move in different directions!

Other than that I like the idea of these serpent heads going 'fuck you!' before they inject you with deadly poison. It's hilarious.

The scalptaker is a powerful hunter that doesn't allow any other monster (or adventuring party) to interfere with its prey. It's also, like, the fourth or fifth monster in this book which leaves people notes or poetry written in the blood and organs of its victims.

It's a floating skull like the lost soul enemies from DOOM. Apparently they serve as dungeon-builders for an evil goddess -- I was about to make some crack about them not having hands but they have telekinesis at will, along with a whole bunch of other handy spell-likes. These are pretty cool! Plus I like the idea of a wizard using passwall to get into a fortress only for some janitor-skull to pop up on the other end of the breach and go "NO" before closing it again.

Vaguely humanoid bug-men who are mindless 1 HD enemies suitable for low-level dungeon-crawling. When killed they barf up something so rank that it does temporary Con damage.

Lunamic is a unique, anticapitalist scorpion-man which adores the written word and has a vast library. It wrecks merchant caravans and steals their books and I think there's a lot of potential here that goes untapped. It's presented as a monster but it's not really monstrous -- it's a violent thief, but it's intelligent, with understandable motivations, can be bribed or negotiated with, can act as a story hook in a whole bunch of different ways... it's a cut above most of what this book presents!

Next Time: One of the most eyeroll-inducing creatures in the book, and a bunch of tedious filler.

Monsters: 76
Female Monsters: 13 (I'm deliberately skipping unique female NPCs for this count)
Female Monsters With Their Tits Out: 14 (I'm including unique female NPCs in this one though.)
Anti-Theist Monsters: 5
Worm Monsters: 4

More bullshit

posted by potatocubed Original SA post

CONTENT WARNING: misogyny, dead children, torture, rape, bleeding from the cock


The Teratic Tome posted:

The final creation of the gnomes of Mecha Zel, the Magistrate is a mechanized horror. Its torso is bright blue, covered in copper wires and steel plates. The skin of its arms and hands is pale blue, and its fingers are pale, white, and corpse-like. In the middle of each palm is the nozzle of a weapon that runs up through the arm into the construct's torso.

Dark red tentacles curl from its brow and shoulders, each tipped with a small black claw. Its body is covered in wires of silver and gold, with flashing lights all over its torso that blink randomly as it clanks towards its prey. Its four unblinking eyes are flat and black. From the waist down, the entity's body is mostly a large fleshy pod of blue and purple tissue that squirts greenish urine and solid waste from several vents and exhausts. Its weight is supported by a dozen legs made from a bright green metal.

Naturally, it has perfect tits.

Take a look at this illustration.

Every part of this thing is a greebly mecha-flesh-pod, but the boobs are perfect and unblemished. I mean... come the fuck on.

Other than that it's a 4-HD unique monster which hates thieves and anyone who associates with them. While I do like the way the Teratic Tome provides us with unique monsters at lower HD ratings, this thing is really too low-level for its fictional role. It can apparently cast hold person but that's implied rather than stated -- its game mechanics feel extremely undercooked.

Oh, also, the palm-based weapons in the description don't have stats. Instead it has a stomach-mounted radiation laser.

Malchior is a mega-level unique monster who was a thief so daring he could steal death itself, which he did, which turned him into a lich. Now he roams around stealing stuff. Which is a neat story but hard to hang a plot on: Oh no! Malchior has stolen something important! Again! The guy's a super-genius with all thief skills at 99% and a complete set of lich immunities so good luck catching him.

That said, he might choose to mentor a promising thief -- and that is a plot with legs for a certain kind of PC. So this isn't a complete lost.

It's a minotaur, but bigger and it builds its own mazes.

It's a demon child which hatches from an egg and eats magic. Lots and lots of magic. It's got a few benefits but rapidly becomes a millstone around your neck. You can get rid of it by escorting it to hell where it incubates and learns to be a demon lord. But if you kill it or abandon it then the biggest baddest demon lord immediately knows who you are, where you are, and what you did.

It's a 'fuck you' monster, basically: either lose all your magic and magic items, or journey to hell to create a new demon lord, or murder a child-equivalent and spend the rest of your life fighting demons.

Half-snake, half-person, all fiery. It's a D&D salamander.

Another low-HD aquatic humanoid. Good for more low-HD humanoid variations, bad because it's aquatic, just like the rest.


The Teratic Tome posted:

The nethasq is a humanoid female with a hideously distorted face, massive jaws that reveal several rows of teeth, two slits for a nose, and eyes that are completely black. Its hands end in talon-like fingernails, roughly four inches long.

Where its genitals should be, it sports a glistening mass of foot-long tentacles that end in barbs and hooks.

Naturally, it has perfect tits.

This thing hangs out in places where women have been raped, so you know we're off to a good start. Men who enter its lair start to bleed from mouth, anus, and urethra. Not painfully, but the thing can scent blood so it'll be coming after you. Its crotch-tentacles inject an anticoagulant so it can make you spurt blood from your dick until you die.

The OSR, folks!

Nodules are hovering, sticky flesh-blobs. If you stab them you might lose your sword. Sometimes they vomit on you, causing strength damage. Not interesting.

It's an ooze, replete with a semi-random collection of immunities and resistances and weaknesses that are similar to but not the same as any other oozes. It glows gold. It likes to hide under coins.

I've got a soft spot for oozes, so I'd find a place for this one. But I'll be the first to admit that the sheer variety of them is probably overkill and their changing special qualities make them bastard monsters for players to confront.

Amphibious, swamp-dwelling orcs. They are immune to charm spells and they refuse to eat sentient creatures or engage in torture or slavery (which makes them virtually unique in the OSR). Other than that, they're orcs.

A unique creature from the outer planes which magically disguises itself as a child in order to prey on people who can't have children or whose children have died. It moves in, acts like a regular kid, then goes all Home Alone on the place until its adoptive family are all dead, makes musical instruments and toys out of their corpses, etc. etc.

Honestly, this is phoning it in even for a 'spooky evil child' monster. Like, I can see the author angling for the edginess... but it doesn't really land. Next.

Who doesn't love owlbears!

The Kodiak Hooter and the Tufted Grizzly are just owlbears with some minor changes to maybe make them more like actual bears. I can sort of see what the author's going for, but these are just kind of dull. I think you could do a lot more with owlbear variants.

Pantagruel is a unique, 200-foot-tall giant who wants to kill everybody because he thinks it's better to kill them himself, now, than let them face whatever's coming.

Mainly, though, Pantagruel exists as an illustration of how D&D's combat focus handles 'puzzle bosses' really, really badly. Like... he has combat stats. And special rules for what happens if he hits you with his sword (which is the size of a large building). You could plausibly just stand by this skyscraper-sized being and hack at his foot until all his hp are gone.

I think you're supposed to go all Shadow of the Colossus on him, but again: D&D handles that kind of thing really badly. You either want a set of special rules to handle this kind of situation (e.g. Fellowship's set piece rules) or you want a more narrative game where climbing giant enemies and attacking their weak points can be handled more fluidly.

Next Time: The art for these monsters doesn't show them wearing fedoras, but it should.

Monsters: 91
Female Monsters: 14 (I'm deliberately skipping unique female NPCs for this count)
Female Monsters With Their Tits Out: 16 (I'm including unique female NPCs in this one though.)
Anti-Theist Monsters: 5
Worm Monsters: 4


posted by potatocubed Original SA post

Alright, let's finish the bulk of the...

CONTENT WARNING: misogyny, dead children, torture, rape, bleeding from the cock

A beautiful young woman with gorilla arms and snakes growing from her shoulders. Naturally, her tits are (still) perfect -- although she is fully clothed in the art, which is fine. She has a whole backstory about a sorcerer who cursed her and now she hates sorcerers and is loyal to the kobolds who took her in after she was gorillified; since the man himself is dead PCs might take it upon themselves to find a cure for her condition, which is a pretty decent plot hook. She's only got 3 HD so she's just the right level for characters to quest for a cure rather than just slapping a remove curse on her and calling it a day.

Pontiffs are a range of weird-looking quasi-humanoid creatures who hate female gods and female priests. Male worshippers of male gods are fine, though. Naturally, they have a perfect ability to discern people's religion -- and, apparently, character class and gender, although that's not mentioned in the text.

They don't talk or communicate, which makes them at least 50% less interesting than they could be.

Low-level pontiffs (1 HD). They go peacefully about their business until they see a FEMALE PRIEST or an any-gendered priest of a FEMALE GODDESS. Then they go berserk and try to kill the offender.

Their alignment is Lawful Neutral!

Slightly more potent pontiffs (3 HD). They're basically the same as acolytes except they're much smarter, Lawful Evil in alignment, and have a unique spell-like ability that does a little damage and forces the victim to confess their worst sin aloud, at the top of their lungs. Which is an idea with merit, although characters fighting a 3-HD monster probably won't have clocked too many interesting sins yet.

Like a bigger, badder confessor with a few minor spell-like abilities and the ability to deflect spells to other, nearby targets.

It reproduces by injecting an egg into a FEMALE or someone who worships a FEMALE GODDESS. Then it kills itself and a few days later the new hierophant is born from the victim. So the population of hierophants can only ever go down, which seems like a flaw.

It's a tree which grows out of people's stomachs, then animates the bodies and goes looking for people to kill. I've seen better incarnations of plant-zombies this week.

Querist is a unique pit fiend who has contracted a putrefying disease and is now an immortal melty-flesh thing. He's quite genial and likes to talk ethics, ambitions, achievements, and so on -- although if you lie to him he'll pull your head out of your asshole. He has a giant heap of random schemes on the go at any given time, executed by his networks of low-level minions, so he would make a pretty good patron for a bunch of chaotic low-level PCs.

Powerful evil beings take adventuring parties and smoosh them together into a torso with five handless arms stuck to it. It's egregiously powerful! (Because it has effectively 4-5 turns every round, including two spell attacks, thus giving the PCs a taste of what it's like to be on the receiving end of the action economy.)

Remember this aside, ARB?

Alien Rope Burn posted:

It's good to know there are proper monsters out there to enforce solid Christian values. Whoops, did you take the lord's name in vain? Well, here comes the magic skullblob that burrows its way into your spleen through your ear canal.

Well the ruqoloi is an insect-lobster thing which is summoned to punish blasphemers. Also, anyone who was exposed to the blasphemy. Then it comes back to punish the blasphemer again. A significant chunk of its 3/4-page writeup is dedicated to describing how it mutilates the blasphemer and, you know, anyone who happened to hear them say 'fuck' in church.

Their alignment is neutral!

Low-HD vulture-people. They're pretty cool! They typically lure people towards more powerful predators (or deadly dungeons), wait for them to get fucked up, then grab whatever meat is left over.

It's a giant scorpion with four big eyes and a paralysis gaze attack. The illustration has been done by somebody who has only the vaguest idea what a scorpion looks like. (No claws, four GIANT eyes on stalks, and a single huge pincer on the tail. The description implies it has the usual array of appendages for a scorpion.)

A hunting falcon for goblins. It screams when it finds people.

The Seamstress is a unique sorceress/witch who steals the skins and body parts from children to make a skin-suit she can wear. Her tits are not perfect, which is a refreshing change.

Insect-rhino centaur people. They have giant claws instead of hands, but have at-will telekinesis instead. They're peaceful, artistic, generous, and spiritual. They feel that technology and imperialism will plunge the world into barbarism.

Every 60-80 years they gather together into a swarm thousands strong led by level 10-20 rangers and druids, and lay waste to a city. Buildings thrown down, all inhabitants butchered. Why? Who knows!

Death knights. As with the dragons, there are only 12 and all of them are detailed here. Unlike the dragons, they only get one monster entry.

Some slimes. Like the golden ooze from earlier, they have a wide variety of things they're immune to, things they're resistant to, things they can't dissolve, things they can dissolve, and other quirks. Quite apart from that:

Azure Slime inflates into a giant ball when prey approaches, sucking the air out of the room. If popped it sprays acid everywhere. Crimson Slime is like green slime but it's made of muscle tissue.

PTSD: The Monster!

It haunts veterans and gives them flashbacks and hallucinations until they finally snap and try to murder someone. I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a monster which preys on people with PTSD, or an embodiment of PTSD. I don't think I like either option?

It's a spine-looking worm which attaches itself to humanoid victims and steals control of their bodies by attaching itself to the spinal column. If it gets a hold on you, you have three rounds to get rid of it or its insta-death time. Oh, and anyone attacking it while it's on you will do damage to you in the process. Low-level wizards may well die of hp damage before the thing gets a chance to puppet them around.

I'd stick these in the same category as stirges: kind of glass cannons which are fragile but can do a surprising amount of damage if the dice roll hot for the GM.

A sorceress -- a different one to the one who created the ambulators -- made a bunch of these things by hoiking madness out of people, binding it into physical form, then letting them capture living humanoids which they can dismember and possess.

O...kay? Glossing over the reductive concept of mental illness at the root of this monster, I can't help but think 'madness given form and jammed into assorted corpses' should have stats a bit more evocative than '4-HD tentacle monsters with some interesting movement options'.

Three-eyed humanoids who can use their eyes to shoot spell-like abilities. One does hp damage. One swaps the souls of two people (temporarily), dropping them into each others' bodies with no warning. The third blasts everyone within 20 feet -- including the user -- to a random outer plane, no save. The tuataran can reverse the power a few hours later, but that affects everyone hit by the initial blast and returns them all to the location they came from. You can get some interesting plot hooks out of that last power, so these monsters get a pass.

The tutor is a unique monster that kidnaps lovers and forces them to fight to the death. When the fight is concluded it either kills the victor (if it's the woman) or castrates them (if it's the man).

If this sounds familiar it's because the acronical, the very first monster in the book, does exactly the same thing. The key difference is that the acronicals are natural ('natural') monsters and the Tutor was created by a woman whose man cheated on her and broke her heart.

The ghosts of slain war dogs. They hunt people who hurt animals or animal-like monsters, or who eat meat while nearby. On a critical hit they deal permanent Dex damage. Eh.

A giant blue dude with only a few HD and a colossal pile of at-will spell-like powers including the murderous blindness and suggestion. It vomits up yellow gribblies which flail about and throw themselves at enemies.

Have you missed ridiculous, convoluted plans which can't possibly work and wouldn't achieve the monster's goals even if they could work? Yes? Have a gift.

A vomitorian destroys human communities by disguising itself as a human, infiltrating the community, killing and impersonating one of the leaders of the community, waiting for night, killing all the guards, blocking all the exits, then using its various powers to make people relive their most terrible experiences. These visions are harmless but traumatising, so the vomitorian then convinces the townspeople to riot or hang a person or two. Then... I don't know. No more plan is detailed. It's just 'Step 2: ???, Step 3: Ruination!'

While the vomitorian does have all the necessary spell-like abilities to carry out this plan, it's such a convoluted mess that it can't possibly work. I mean it's 3+3 HD and has decently powerful fists, plus the ability to yak up a limitless supply of yellow blobs -- it could massacre a village way more efficiently with straightforward physical violence than it ever could with manipulation and hallucinations.


The Teratic Tome posted:

A gruesome undead entity, the xarualac appears as a humanoid with long stringy hair and a mouth that takes up its entire face. In place of legs, it has a second pair of arms; all four hands feature long fingers tipped with talons. There's a large orifice in the xarualac's belly, and four bladders full of air float beside it.

This is the spirit of a musician who loved music too much to move on. It kills rich people and makes a self-playing instrument out of their body parts. Because nothing says 'music lover' like becoming a distorted form of undead which dismembers the wealthy?

A tiny domestic animal, now a zombie. A zombie with undead fleas which spread a rotting plague which turns you into a zombie unless you get a relatively high-level curative spell. This is right up with rot grubs as a fuck you monster.

And that's all the monsters!

Next Time: Some commentary from yours truly.

Monsters: 116
Female Monsters: 14 (I'm deliberately skipping unique female NPCs for this count)
Female Monsters With Their Tits Out: 16 (I'm including unique female NPCs in this one though.)
Anti-Theist Monsters: 9
Worm Monsters: 4


posted by potatocubed Original SA post

Alright, time to wrap up

CONTENT WARNING: misogyny, dead children, torture

JcDent posted:

Should have made a counter of monsters with snakes/tentacles instead of arms.

3 with tentacles instead of arms, and another 3 with snakes/tentacles growing from their shoulders.

By comparison there are 2-4 monsters with crotch-tentacles, depending on your definition of 'crotch' and 'tentacles'.

JcDent posted:

Also, post pictures.

I'll add the scorpion ('scorpion') picture here later, when I'm on a computer with the pdf.

JcDent posted:

The Pontifs seem like they were writen while screaming "fuck you, Catholic mom" and/or high on Wiccan "witch-hunts were about suppressing the mother goddess!"

This is one of the recurring oddities of the Teratic Tome -- of the 116 monsters in the book, 9 have a weird 'punish the unbeliever' religious bent to them. It's only 7.75% but whenever religion or spirituality is brought up in this book it always comes with this 'and they really fucking hate people who do religion wrong!' rider, which just makes me feel like the author is grinding some kind of axe here.

Likewise, there's only one monster in their which specifically punishes those who dissolve marriages, and another 3-4 (I forget exactly) who punish the adulterous, and while that's not a high number, it's a lot higher than (what I think is) the average number of adultery-focused monsters in an RPG bestiary.

And talking about adultery is the perfect lead-in to talking about the misogyny pervasive throughout this book. If you take unique female NPCs out of the picture you're left with ~13% of the monsters in this book being female for no good reason. That's about 1 in 8. There are 0 'always male' monsters apart from a handful of uniques.

Why does the ash ghast, an undead pyromaniac, take the form of a woman? Why does the eremite have a woman's body when the rest of it is monstrous? It's not difficult to write a bestiary entry that allows for creatures of both genders: even AD&D posited the existence of male sphinxes to go with the female one that already existed, and I know 3.x had maedar as male equivalents of medusae.

And that's not even counting the pontiffs, which -- as people have pointed out -- are MRA monsters. Or the way the adultery-punishers -- especially Eriophora -- disproportionately target women who were nearby when the adultery happened.

And of course, all those female monsters have their tits out in the art. (Well, all but one, plus all but one of the unique female NPCs.) And those tits are always, always perfect and unblemished, no matter how ruined or twisted the body they're attached to. Even the monsters with deadly crotch-tentacles have perfect tits. It's fucking ridiculous.

The Teratic Tome credits 11 artists. Either the author wrote 'tits out, tits unblemished' in the art brief for every piece, or he failed to rein in the artists who just couldn't help but slap boobs on anything described as specifically female. These are both failures.

Shit like this is why the OSR has a bad reputation! "Hey ladies, we see you primarily as monsters to slay but also we'd prefer it if you were hot."


Anyway, the dragons were p. cool and I like the clay thing which grows into a copy of someone, so dredging through this book wasn't a total loss.

Monsters: 116
Female Monsters: 14 (I'm deliberately skipping unique female NPCs for this count)
Female Monsters With Their Tits Out: 16 (I'm including unique female NPCs in this one though.)
Anti-Theist Monsters: 9
Worm Monsters: 4

I would be really interested in seeing similar stats for other bestiaries, if people have e.g. a Pathfinder bestiary to hand and feel like flipping through it. There might be something interesting in the numbers that come out.