Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Monsters & Treasure Examination Final

Allowing for what I've already said, there really isn't too much more to report on M&T. Some highlights and oddities:
  • Mermen are armed with darts. Excuse me, darts? How does one learn to throw darts while living underwater?
  • The "numbers appearing" are brutal.
  • There are quite a few references to the fantasy section of Chainmail. I mean references to the point that without it you would be clueless. Obviously, with the benefit of almost 40 years of D&D, that isn't the case now. I bet it caused a lot of teeth gnashing back in the day, though.

I very briefly toyed with the notion of varying the damage output of some monsters. I didn't want to go full-on Greyhawk variable damage, but I was starting to think that monsters were getting a little bland. I kept seeing references to "fights as heavy foot" and so forth, and thought that might be a decent yardstick to measure damage output. In the end I decided against it. If the monsters do more damage, then the characters have to, as well. The characters will also need more HP so they can have a chance to live long enough to outlast the monsters. At that moment I glimpsed the genesis of power creep. No, no, resist the urge. Make monsters special through game-play and the occasional special ability. Leave it so that a monster that metes out 2d6 per hit is a mighty foe, the stuff of legend.

& Treasure
There weren't many surprises here. I've already talked about magic swords in my post on OD&D Fighting-Men. There were three things that especially caught my eye.

I had forgotten the premium that was placed on maps as treasure items. 25% of treasure from the treasure-type table will end up being a map of some sort. I guess that makes those treasure map booklets from Judge's Guild very handy.

There are a lot of wishes going around. There's the Ring of Many Wishes (4-24) and a magic sword that comes with 2-8 wishes. There's only a 1% chance for the ring, but 5% for the sword. Not very great chances, to be sure, but when they hit, they hit big.

Scrolls are fucking dangerous. Pardon my language, but this is serious business here. Prospective referees are instructed to try to screw players over with scrolls. To whit:
*The referee must take extreme care in handling all Scrolls with an eye towards duping the players when a Curse Scroll is found. The curse takes effect  immediately upon reading the Scroll; therefore having non-Curse Scrolls  disappear on occasion if not identified will help to force reading of Curse Scrolls. To determine the type of curse use the table below:

Die Roll Curse: (Range 3" diameter)
1 or 2 Any monster of the referee's choice
3 or 4 Disease, fatal in 3 turns unless healed
5 or 6 Polymorph to insect of referee's choice
    7     Transportation 1,000 miles, random direction
    8     Transportation to another planet
Why?!?! It's not scrolls were game-breakers that had to be disseminated with utmost caution. And how about those curses? A 25% chance of a fatal disease because you read the wrong scroll. Nice move, dumbass. Reading's overrated anyway.

So, there you have it, Monsters & Treasures. Next stop, Underworld & Wilderness Adventures.


  1. I think a lot of people have forgotten the interest in treasure maps and the potential created by them. But those scrolls are just nasty!

  2. The maps make a self-replicating plot hook, of sorts. I love the idea of including them in treasure. Just deciphering one written in a lost language can become an adventure in itself. Imagine taking one to an unscrupulous sage who gives the characters a false reading of the map and hires his own team to follow the true directions. The characters find out the truth and the race is on . . .

  3. Oh, absolutely. It's elements like that that give a setting or adventure an even greater shelf life, instead of just mauling more monsters.