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Thorn's Chronicle: Bestiary

by Robert J. Nuttman, Jr.

Here are the stats for the nasties in the fog:

Radiant shadow*
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: varies; 2+2* ? 6+2*
Move: 120’ (40’)
Attacks: 2 claws
Damage: 2d4 + Radiance damage
No. Appearing: 1-10 (4-40)
Save As: F:3-7
Morale: 10 (8)
Treasure Type: G
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 35-650

Radiant shadows are the undead souls of those caught in the periphery of Radiance-based explosions. They appear as brilliantly glowing blue-white reflections of their former selves, mouths open wide in their final screams, hungry for the souls of others to ease the anguish brought on by the Radiance.

Radiant shadows normally travel in packs, roaming the slagged ruins of battlefields and long-abandoned Blackmoor colonies.

Encounters with Radiant shadows always begin when PCs hear their shrieks. This calls for a Saving Throw vs. Paralysis. If they should fail the check, they are rooted in place with fear. Success indicates that they have shaken off the dreadful sound.

Because they are infused with the power of the Radiance, Radiant shadows emit a field of corruption. PCs within 15’ of a Radiant shadow must Save vs. Poison every three rounds or begin to feel the effects of Phase 1 Radiance poisoning.

Radiant shadows attack with their hardened talons. A hit indicates that a PC must make a Save vs. Poison, or succumb to Radiance poisoning effects.

Radiant shadows can only be hit by silver or magical weapons. If a Radiant shadow is hit by a silvered weapon, its morale drops to 8.

The creatures are drawn to gold and gems, and will always attack the PC with the most gold or jewelry first.

Radiant shadows can be turned (as an undead of equivalent Hit Dice) by a cleric.

Radiance Poisoning
The severity of Radiance poisoning depends on the amount of damage dealt:
* Phase 1 (1-10 points of damage) Radiance poisoning manifests as a persistent headache and pain in the joints. All rolls are penalized by ?2 for the next 1d4 days. A Neutralize poison spell cuts the recovery time in half.
* Phase 2 (11+ points of damage) Radiance poisoning brings a more severe headache and stiffness, with rolls being penalized by ?4. Characters are severely fatigued, requiring three times as much time to rest between bouts of anything more strenuous than walking. Characters also require two to three times as much water, and have difficulty keeping down solid foods. A character must make another Saving Throw vs. Poison every 12 hours. A Neutralize poison spell or successful Save brings the character up to Phase 1 poisoning. Failure drops the hero to Phase 3:
* Phase 3 Radiance Poisoning drains 1d4 points of Constitution, and requires the PC to be bedridden. The character is wracked with fever and chills, and any attempt at physical activity is hampered by ?6 and calls for a Saving Throw vs. Paralysis. If the PC fails, he falls unconscious and takes another 1d4 Constitution damage. The PC must make another Save vs. Poison every 4 hours or lose another point of Constitution.

Neutralize poison has no effect at this stage. Cure disease will either halt the Constitution loss, or bring the PC up to Phase 2. A PC falling to 0 Constitution perishes. The body must be cured of both Poison and Disease before any attempt at Raising is possible.

Other nasties the party from Thorn's Chronicle have faced:

"... a handful of raggedly-clad figures clamber[ed] slowly, silently over the rubble along the collapsed side of the chamber.

I shouted a warning, and charged ... bringing my staff down hard across outstretched hands.

The wood shivered in my grip — it felt as though I’d brought it down on columns of ice rather than flesh and bone. The thing wrenched its arm to one side, forcing me to catch my balance, and I glanced up to see those hands stretching towards me now, its mouth opened, a cold, hissing rasp rattling from a long-dead throat.

Jagged rows of ice had grown in where its teeth should have been, and wisps of frost trailed from its jaws like some kind of supernatural spittle. The hands that clutched towards me were caked in ice, the fingers broken apart, barbs and spurs of ice too conveniently shaped or placed at the tips to be natural.

Most frightening though, were the eyes. They burned an unholy icy blue — a cold, dead, hungry light. ..."

I needed something a bit stronger than a zombie, touched by the demonic winter that had settled over Karameikos.

Undead, Frostreaver*
Armor Class: 3 (or 6, see below)
Hit Dice: 3**
Move: 90’ (30’)
Attacks: 2 claws or 1 bite (see below)
Damage: 2-8/2-8 or 1d4 + Strength Drain (see below)
No. Appearing: 2-12
Save As: F:3
Morale: 11 (Fearless)
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 85

Frostreaver undead are the result of animation of frozen corpses, in most cases appearing as solidly-frozen zombies. In place of claws, and teeth, though, these undead attack with hooked barbs of ice that encase their fingers, and their mouths are full of jagged icicles in place of teeth.

If both claw attacks hit, the victim is bitten automatically the next round, unless the victim makes a successful Strength check to escape.

The creature’s freezing bite drains 1 point of Strength, the weakness lasting 2d4 turns.

Once per day, the creature may breathe a cloud of icy mist, which inflicts the Strength drain on any caught within the 10’ diameter cloud. This attack is particularly devastating when a pack of frostreavers use it in concert.

Encased in ice as they are, fire-based attacks deal twice the damage to these creatures, and attacks with torches or flaming weapons attack vs. AC 6.


"...Jaleel flicked her blood-drenched fingers. Droplets of blood hit the flames surrounding the pit, and gave off angry, rattling hisses. Rather than be consumed by the flames, though, the droplets carried through the ring of flames, spattering on the floor before the steps leading to the altar.

The splash of flames didn’t gutter and go out, though. They curled, turning back on themselves, weaving into legs, flickering red-orange torsos, writing, whiplike lashes of flame licking out where arms would have been, had the shapes been humanoid. Two, and then a third took shape, rattling and hissing. Hunched, they stumped forwared on bowed legs, forming into a line. Headless though they were, twisting, gaps opened up in the flame-wrought torsos. The maws opened not to the steps behind them, though, but to darkness as deep and impenetrable as that of the pit in the center of the chamber..."

Fireling, Lesser*
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 4+3*
Move: 90’ (30’)
Attacks: 2 tentacle + bite (see below)
Damage: 3-10 + Energy Drain (see below)
No. Appearing: 2-12
Save As: F:6
Morale: 11 (Fearless)
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 275

Firelings are a chaotic fusing of a demon’s ethereal essence and druidic elemental fire. They usually take a manlike shape, standing anywhere from 4 to 6 feet tall at the shoulder. They have no heads, but sport gaping maws of darkness within the writhing reddish flames of their upper torsos. Rather than arms, firelings sport long, whiplike tentacles, which they lash at opponents, attempting to drag them into its maw for feeding.

?A victim hit by both lash attacks is entagled (see Player’s Companion, page 3, or Rules Cyclopedia, page 64) and dragged into the creature’s mouth, to be bitten the next round. A fireling’s freezing bite drains 1 level from the character.

Firelings can only be harmed by silver or magical weapons.

While the creatures may appear to be beings of flame, they in fact radiate an aura of cold; flammable items do not catch fire if hit by a fireling’s lash attack. Firelings take an additional 1d4 points of damage from fire-based attacks, be they normal or magical in nature.

Another beastie for your perusal, this one bubbling up from my thoughts of just why the gnolls could have posed such a threat to the Traldar. What if gnolls back then were tougher than gnolls of "today's" Mystara? Suppose those that escaped into the mountains and converged on what would become Karameikos were an earlier failed branch of Nithian experimentation.

Brute Gnoll
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 3+2*
Move: 90’ (30’)
Attacks: 2 claws or by weapon
Damage: 1d6+2/1d6+2 or by weapon +2
No. Appearing: 1-6 (3-18)
Save As: Fighter: 4
Morale: 10
Treasure Type: (P) D
Alignment: Chaotic
XP value: 75

Brute Gnolls were the initial failure of the Nithian’s attempt to create a servitor race based on Pflarr’s hutaaka. Several miscalculations resulted in the brute gnoll’s being created with greater strength and savagery than today’s common gnoll, as well as a severely lowered intelligence. Brute gnolls also manifest a low level of magical resistance.

Brute gnolls tower nearly eight feet tall at their hunched, massively broad shoulders. Their great paws dangle nearly to their knees, and are tipped with tough, sharp claws. Brute gnoll coloring ranges from dirty dishwater grays to browns to deep black. In all cases, their eyes have an almost albino-like shade of red, and are perpetually bloodshot.

Most brute gnolls attack with their claws, but occasionally one will be inspired to use something on hand as an improvised weapon (tree branches, furniture, halflings). In these cases, their great strength enables them to deal an additional two points of damage if they should hit.

A group of 12 or more brute gnolls is led by a pack leader, even larger and meaner than its peers. Pack leaders have 5 Hit Dice and deal 2d4 points of damage per claw attack. They are also able to bite for 1d4 points of damage, but only if at least one claw attack hits.

Brute gnolls are immune to 1st and 2nd level spells of clerical or magical nature.

Another new beastie, finally slapped down in some form or another, as I was going over notes for TC2:

The Stone Dryad
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 4***
Move: 90’ (30’)
Flying: 150’ (50’)
Attacks: 2 claws/1 bite + gaze
Damage: 1-3/1-3/1-4 + special (see below)
# Appearing: 1-6 (2-8)
Save As: Fighter: 8
Morale: 11
Treasure Type: Special (see below)
Alignment: Chaotic
XP Value: 150

Stone dryads are a special sub-class of gargoyle, something thought to have originated in the days of Blackmoor. It is unclear whether they are a result of some sort of powerful curse, or experimentation by the Egg of Coot, the Wizard’s Cabal, or perhaps even the Technomages of Blackmoor University.

Like gargoyles, they are magical monsters, and can only be hit with magical weapons. They appear to be fashioned of stone, fanged, clawed, and winged, but unlike gargoyles, their aspect is one of unearthly beauty, with eyes of emerald or sapphire and teeth of ivory. First sight of one of these creatures, either under full lighting conditions or in the light of a full moon requires a Save vs Paralysis or the victim is struck by as if by a cause fear spell: 50% chance of dropping anything held, and fleeing at full speed for 2 turns, or cowering and unable to face the creature if running away is not possible). This only applies to the first time one of these creatures is seen, and succeeding in the Saving Throw or encountering another creature (or the same one) has no further fearful effect.

Those meeting the sapphire or emerald gaze of a stone dryad must Save vs Spells or be stunned. The stone dryad then attacks victims thus affected first, attempting to incapacitate them further.

Victims losing half their hit points or more to the stone dryad’s bite attack may contract the Stone Maiden’s curse: while their wounds may be healed normally, unless they have Remove Curse cast on them, they turn to stone on the first night of the full moon, bursting forth as as either gargoyles (if male) or stone dryads (if female) the second night.

Non-sentient creatures attacked by stone dryads merely turn to stone.

Stone dryads’ treasure can only be gained if they are slain under the light of the full moon. Upon reaching 0 hit points, the creatures crumble to dust, leaving behind an exquisitely cut emerald or sapphire worth 500 gold pieces.

On Thorn’s Mystara, these stones are much more valuable, having a 3 percent chance of actually being a Green or Blue dragonstone.