Author Archives: Goblin's Henchman

Yfelcorn | a fell Unicorn

:: Yfelcorn :: 


YfelcornFrequency:                 Very Rare
No. Appearing:          2-5
Armor Class:              2
Move:                          24’’
Hit Dice:                      4+4
% in Lair:                    5%
Treasure Type:          X
No. of Attacks:           3
Damage/Attack:        1-6/1-6/1-12
Special Attacks:        See below
Special Defenses:     See below
Magic Resistance:    See below
Intelligence:              Average
Alignment:                Neutral Evil
Size:                            L
Psionic Ability:          Nil
Level/XP Value:        500 + 6/hp

Also known as lacharmata, hippomal, rhinocorn, and Chevalier’s Bane. Yfelcorns are the malign sterile progeny of Unicorns (MM, pp 98) with Nightmares (MM, pp 74).

Yfelcorns are sly ambush predators using their appearance to deceive prey. Yfelcorns resemble unicorns, except they have:

  • a small additional horn
  • hot hooves which will eventually scorch the ground
  • an odd garlic-mint smell that unsettles the stomach;
    Elves find this smell especially repugnant (-2 to hit and damage); but oddly, Halflings find the smell quite pleasing

Lower plane denizens prize Yfelcorns as mounts (though treacherous); impressing minions/peers, and deceiving goodly creatures alike.

Yfelcorns share the primary statistics and abilities of a unicorn (i.e. +2 to hit with horn; charging double damage; poison immunity; sense enemies within 24’’; surprise 1-5; teleport 36’’once per day; 11th level magic-user save; death spell immune).

Nightmare lineage
Horn does double damage to good creatures. Paladins are polluted by a horn wound, and need a wish/quest to restore their powers. Stallions have the Nightmare’s smoking hot cloud ability once per day (i.e. failing save gives a -2 to hit and damage); albeit garlic-mint reeking stench. Immune to fire magic. Triple damage from cold and holy based damage.

Yfelcorn horns are deadly to unicorns; which later rise as undead unicorns. Zombiecorns start as shambling heaps of horse flesh, progressing to have the abilities (and stats) of a ghast (MM, pp 43; although cannot turn humans into ghouls). Later, a Yfelcorn foal erupts from the zombiecorn destroying it. This is how they breed.

Yfelcorn parts
Horn – crumbles into chalky ash upon death, makes hard to detect poison coveted by assassins.
Hide – makes a fire-resistant covering; but retains unpleasant garlic-mint smell.
Hooves – can store heat, releasing it again slowly. Can absorb 6D6 HPs of heat damage from fireballs, but have the same % chance of being destroyed.

– – –

c AntMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony.


Tuesday Toot!! | Troll Jawbone Axe

Tuesday TootG+ is closing. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

The Master’s Hoard is a compilation of quirk some magic items which I posted on my G+ page over a period of weeks. The compilation of magic items can be downloaded for free here: Link

:: Troll Jawbone Axe ::
troll jawbone axeSummary
Grisly weapon, dripping with corrosive bile

This grisly weapon is wielded and acts like an axe (e.g. D8 damage), but is in fact half the jawbone of a troll. The jaw has D8+4 teeth, forming a nasty serrated cutting edge.

A filthy smelling, bile-like fluid is exuded from the base of the teeth whenever the jawbone cuts living flesh. The corrosive bile deals 2 damage.

Combat Quirks
• Natural 20 – a tooth shatters spraying bile into the wound, causing an extra D8 damage.

• Natural 1 – a tooth dislodges from the jaw. This frees some living troll pulp (previously trapped under the tooth). The dislodged tooth regenerates into a fully grown troll in 2 to 24 hours, unless the tooth is destroyed in the appropriate manner: acid, fire etc.

Toothless Jawbone
When all teeth have been shattered or knocked out, then a weird stasis ends, allowing a troll to regenerate from the toothless jawbone in 2 to 24 hours, unless the jawbone is destroyed in the appropriate manner: acid, fire etc.

– – –

c AntMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony.

James V West Gexit
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more”
Fight on dear Gexit
(drawing by James V West

A Spin on Abnormally Large Spiders

Abnormally large spiders are always good foes to throw at PCs; so here are 5 new spiders re-skinned from page 90 of the Monster Manual (i.e. their stats are the same but their abilities and descriptions are different).

Spider table clip

With the exception of the Phase‑Snatching Spider, they have all been inspired by unusual spiders found here on Earth.

Spiders - Assassin1. Assassin Spider is a giant version of the normally sized ‘assassin spider‘. The Assassin Spider is a voracious ground hunter. It has an unusually long neck, which extends upwards about 6 feet and has two massive six foot long mandibles.

On a successful hit, it grabs and lifts its prey 6 feet into the air, holding them at bay. In this predicament, the victim’s AC is reduced by 4 (or by one class criteria, e.g. plate to chain, etc.). Generally, the victim is also unable to hit with hand weapons. The %chance to break from is twice the character’s ‘Bend Bars/Lift Gates’ (BB/LG) score.

The next round, the great mandibles begin their deadly work, pinching together like a pneumatic press. Each time a successful to hit roll is made the victim’s effective AC is reduced by another 4 units (or by one further armour class type), and one extra damage die is added, e.g. 2D4 (1st hit), 4D4 (2nd hit), 6D4 (3rd hit), etc. The next hit after the victim is at 0 HPs, results in the victim being pinched in half (the Assassin Spider’s goal), the mandibles meeting like a pair of giant chitinous secateurs.

Spiders - Casting2. Casting Spider is a huge version of a normal ‘net-casting spider‘. This spider weaves a man‑sized ‘net’ between its elongated front limbs and will try to ‘net’ any appropriately sized prey. It can jump 18’’, but prefers to descend stealthily above its prey on a line of web.

It surprises its victims 1-5 on a D6, gaining +3 to ‘net’ the victim. A netted victim is enveloped head to toe and cannot readily move their arms or legs. Typically, it will wait until its prey is off guard or distracted (e.g. sleeping or perhaps when they are in combat with another foe). On a miss, it will skulk off to weave a new net.

The %chance to break from the net is twice the character’s ‘Bend Bars/Lift Gates’ (BB/LG) score. However, each failure lowers the chance by 5%, as such wriggling tightens the net.

The spider comes feeds when the wriggling has stopped, when the prey is fully incapacitated.

Spiders - Gobbing3. Gobbing Spider is a large version of a normal ‘spitting spider’ and is nearly transparent. It has an unusually large head and when in range it blasts its prey with a mass of webs that are coated in strong poisonous and digestive juices.

The web is not very robust and halves the mobility of creatures with 9 or less strength.

Until the web is cleaned off, the digestive juices burn like acid, doing 1HP of damage per round per coating. A slow acting poison takes effect after 5 rounds of contact – save vs poison or fall unconscious for d6 turns.

These spiders generate enough web for three attacks and regenerate this in 24 hrs. After spraying their victims, these spiders jump on and bite their prey, latching on and draining 1HP per round while they are attached.

Spiders - Phase Snatching4. Phase-Snatching Spider is a relative of the Phase‑Spider (MM, page 90). Usually, the only visible part of this spider is their foot long fangs. The rest of the spider is normally in the ethereal plane. The spider will position its fangs to snare a victim (e.g. spanning a dark tunnel or placed in a position to attract the curious.

When a victim is in range, the spider will try to grasp them. A successful hit (+4 if the victim is unsuspecting) results in the victim being dragged into the ethereal plane, where the spider is then fully visible. The spider cannot attack for 1 round while it ensures its body parts are back in full harmony with the ethereal plane.

Unlike the Phase-Spider, this spider is only mildly poisonous (failed save makes PC hard to understand; e.g. player must talk with tongue between teeth). The spider has two glands, a big one that produces a fluid that acts like oil of etherealness and a smaller one that produces a fluid that counters this. If desperate, it will spray this second fluid (+4 to hit the unsuspecting) that will return the ‘victim’ back to the prime material plane.

5. Web Bolas Spider is a huge semi-intelligent version of a normal ‘bolas spider’. This spider normally hurls up to 4 sticky blobs of web at its prey before attacking. The spider needs a turn to make new web projectiles.

The hit location (D100):

  • 1-10 – head (temporary blinding; -6 to hit; +6 to being hit)
  • 11‑20 – primary arm (can’t use weapon arm; +2 to being hit)
  • 21-30  – secondary arm (can’t use that arm; also +2 to being hit)
  • 31-40 – right leg (+3 to being hit; movement is halved)
  • 41-50 – left leg (+3 to being hit; movement is halved)
  • 51-100 – chest (+1 to being hit; only 50% chance to draw a weapon; and only 25% chance to take an item out of a pack/pouch/pocket etc.)

While semi-intelligent, their natural instincts are to attack the prey hit by its bolas.

It also has a poisonous bite that induces hallucinations in most humanoids (a failed save vs poison results in -2 to hit in combat; and +2 to being hit). Goblinoid races, and by extension half-orcs, are not affected by the poison. Goblins have been known to have these semi-intelligent creatures as companion animals.

– – –

c AntMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony.

Tuesday Toot!! | Augur Dwarf

Tuesday TootG+ is closing. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

:: Augur Dwarf ::

augur dwarf (npc class)Summary
A venerated niche-class of dwarf. They have enhance underground skills especially (precious) metal detection.

Plot Hook
Raid into the Augurary

Augurs shave their beards. This visually sets them apart from normal dwarven society.

Augur Apprentices are permitted to shave their top lips, whereas Augur Masters are completely clean shaven. There are serveral tiers between Apprentice and Master, each tier having a beard type which reflects their status.

Augurs tend to be less muscular than normal dwarves, as they do not handle metal and do little manual labour.

Society – clanless
Augurs are little known outside dwarven society. Indeed, they are somewhat of a secret, and when seen by outsiders, they are often mistaken for gnomes.

Augurs are revered in dwarven society, but are outside of the usual clan structures. Beard shaving emblematic of their separation.

In youth, when their special skills are first spotted, Augurs must forgo their clan and travel to secret locations (Augurary) to train as an Augur. As they progress in skill, they travel to ever more secret centres to continue their training.

Partly this is done to isolate Augurs from metals, which can interfere with their metal-sense. The other part being that Augurs guard their secrets well and their wealth better.

The initial testing involves asking a youth to locate a gold coin hidden under one of 5 cups, usually the test is repeated 5 times. If they can meet the task (a very rare occurrence), they can keep the coin. Within the next year a summons to the clan chief sees them on their way to the first of the Augur Schools.

Those that have a weak talent or fail to progress in skill, usually enter into the armed Augur Guard, or become servants. Augurs like lucky dwarves, and so those that fluked the test are usually trained as recruiters.

Augur Guardsman are rarely released from service, but being unable to return to their clans, often become adventures. They progress like fighters but with some basic metal detecting skills (bit like a Locate Object spell, but for concentrations of metals). However, to make use of this skill they must have armour and weapons that are free of metal, e.g. bone or stone axes and leather armour.

IMG_8490The Augurs earn a good living by getting commissions from detecting seams of precious metals. Masters Augurs can earn huge commission when discovering such seams. The more valuable the metal, the more the commission they get. Most often Augurs are called in by Dwavish clans to locate new metal seams, particularly when a mine has apparently run dry. Master Augurs are few, and in great demand by dwarven leaders. Lower ranking Augurs charge less commission but have less skill.

Augur accept non-metallic payment only, e.g. gems, pearls, art, silk, ivory or other precious materials. Metal-less magic items are highly prized.

Most Augurs have skills in detecting bulk ‘base’ metals, like iron, tin, copper (even as ores). The most esteemed, and highest advancing are Augurs that can detect the ‘noblest’ metals like gold, platinum, and mithral.

Master Augurs also have high sensitivity. For example, a Master Augur could detect a thread-sized seam of mithral buried 30 feet within stone. An adept could detect a thicker seem of gold much closer to the surface e.g. 6 feet.

To make use of their talent, especially when looking for sparse and deeply buried metals, the Augur must be free of all metal distractions. Such metals interfere with their metal-senses, giving a ‘false signal’. It’s like trying to listen out for a faint sound while a lute is playing in your ear.

Augurs therefore wear clothes and carry gear free of any metal, e.g. with bone/wooden buttons/buckles etc.

The Augur Guardsman, for the reasons given above, also wear only leather armour and carry stone, wood, bone, antler or ivory weapons. To the uninitiated, they might look like primitives.

Sometimes, an Augur will need to venture into a mine alone (without distractions) to find a precious metal seam. In the wild places this can be dangerous. Augurs therefore also train in some of the thief skills (Hide in Shadows, Move Silently, Hear Noise, Climb Walls), and progress as a thief sub-class (the above skills at two levels higher than their actual level).

Companion Beasts
Augurs also keep two unusual beasts, and pay high prices for both.

denzelianSometimes, if potential rewards are high, Augurs ‘scour’ the rocks of a mine with Denzelians (Fiend Folio; page 25). Denzelians eat away at the outer surface of the rocks, free metals dropping to the floor. Next the mine is swept (precious metals of course bring collected and removed). Next hungry Rust Monsters (Monster Manual I; Page 83) are sent into the mine to scavenge and feed off any leftover metal traces. Augur(s) can then scan the ‘scoured’ mine for new metal seams with less surface interference.

200px-rust_monsterRarely, Augurs act for non-dwarves, usually monarch commissions. The non-dwarves who witness their activities are deliberately left with the impression that the Denzelians are the true metal sleuths, and the beardless dwarves merely their (poor) minders/handlers. Outsiders are often too scared of Rust Monsters to ask too many questions about their use. Rust Monsters also make useful Augur ‘guard-dogs’ (always alert for metal bearing intruders).

Testing Chamber
Augurs have a special testing chamber called The Cube. There are in fact several Cubes. These comprise a platform in a cube shaped room. On the platform a cube of dense stone blocks are built up. Within the cube, blocks with seams of precious metals are inserted. Blocks joining up to form a seam of metal in the cube. The testee can walk under, over, and around the cube of stone and indeed climb its sides.  After such a scan, the testee must sketch out how the metal seam is distributed in the blocks. Finer metal seams and more dense rocks can be used to increase the challenge, to examine more advanced testees. Decoy metal seams e.g. copper seams can be added to the cube in an attempt to confuse the true metal signal being looked for. Testees only get a few chances to prove themselves.

An Augur Master must be able to detect a single thread of a noble metal (gold, or higher value metal) within a 60 foot test cube.

A novice may be tested where the metal-seam is 6 inches thick in a 10 foot test cube.

– – –

c AntMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony.

James V West Gexit
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more”
Fight on dear Gexit
(drawing by James V West)

Hex Power Flower – All at Sea!

This is not a map!

MadKingChristopher on G+ came up with this nice Ocean Mapper Hex Power Flower (HPF), which is a nice idea. It seems the ‘MadKing’ earned his crown once more, and got there before me!!! The island in the middle of the flower is a nice touch.

19 hex power flower Ocean terain.png

If the roll takes you to L1 (the top most hex), then proceed to the center, or (S)pecial location of Goblins Henchman’s Hex mapper. 

I’ve taken the liberty of reproducing (one of the versions of) my Hex Terrain mapper engines below:

NotForeverPlains update simple no arrows

If you’ve got no idea what this post is about, the below links give some context:

imagined journeyHere’s a link to the original posting about using the 19 Hex Power Flower as a Hex Crawl Engine:
HPF – What the Hex’s Next?


8hfThis is a link to more kinds of 19 Hex Power Flowers (with some being quite silly/fun):
Hex Power Flower (HPF)


3hfThis is a link to the ‘theory’ (or at least rational) behind this idea:
2D6 + 19-Hex Power Flower



– – –

c AntMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony.

The fate of half-baked ideas …

wolf moonI had this half-baked idea inspired by (or at least building on) someone’s half-baked idea. I wanted to post my thoughts on G+, and see what other people thought, and to see where the idea might end up. If anywhere.

Most of the most interesting ideas I’ve seen (and had) have come about this way on G+. I’ve shared silly ideas that I nearly didn’t post, only to see them evolve into really interesting things. At least in my opinion. There have been duds too of course.

But, it seems G+ has now shut off notifications, and so has in essence killed off the engine that facilitates active discussion.

Post it here? I just can’t see any value in making a blog post about the seed of a seed of an idea; and the rate of any discourse is going to be glacial at best.

MeWe it? I’ve found MeWe to be like a busy nightclub. You can try to have a discussion, but it never seems to work. The proprietor seems to want to encourage certain behaviours, but lengthy inter-customer discussion does not appear to be one of them. The nested comments just seem to (and perhaps are intended to) strangle off any meaningful discussion.

Reddit it? The life span of any discussion is so short (posts even close – Why, What?). And all this voting up and down doesn’t seem to be helpful if you have a niche idea … The ideas I like most are often not the most popular ideas circulating in the OSRZeitgeist . I can only imagine Twitter is even more temporal than Reddit.

Faceb … I can’t even finish it

So what now …

I suppose this post is merely a howl at the moon …. Aruuuuuuugha

Tuesday Toot!! | Ford’s Faeries now in Print

Tuesday TootG+ is closing. When it was alive things happened. Things unexpected. Great things. Whilst my creative output is only modest, I thought I’d hold something up into the living light, something that came about purely because G+ existed … This is a toot to G+.

5E49E4BB-02BB-45C4-832F-36F3D6E06AD0:: Ford’s Faeries: A Bestiary Inspired by Henry Justice Ford ::

This is an example of when G+ really shone. This is a collaborative work by many G+’ers (including me).

Of all the things I’ve done as a result of G+, this is one of my favourites!

As well as the free PDF, Ford’s Faeries is now available in print (POD) from DriveThruRPG : Link

DriveThruRPG bio page: 

“A bestiary inspired by the masterful work of Henry Justice Ford.

Meet the Moon-Headed Giant, the Leechlich, and the Fencer Familiar, and more than 50 other weird creatures fit for campaigns of every level. The full-page illustrations, often taken from fairytale books, have led our 15 authors to create original monsters that will give a quirky twist to your game. They all come with enough material to become the centerpiece of the session.

Contributors: Dan D., Daniel Lofton, Dat Epic Fish, Emmy Allen, Eric Diaz, Eric Nieudan, Goblin’s Henchman, Guillaume Jentey , HD Atkinson, James V. West, Jean-Marc “Tolkraft” Choserot, Ktrey Parker, Magimax, Roger SG Sorolla, Sébastien d’Abrigeon, and Vance Atkins.”

– – –

c AntMe on DriveThruDriveThru; at the moment I’m mainly pimping my procedural adventure ‘Carapace‘ about a giant ant colony.

James V West Gexit
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more”
Fight on dear Gexit
(drawing by James V West)