Dwarves are a stoic but stern race, ensconced in cities carved from the hearts of mountains and fiercely determined to repel the depredations of savage races like orcs and goblins. More than any other race, dwarves have acquired a reputation as dour and humorless artisans of the earth. It could be said that their history shapes the dark disposition of many dwarves, for they reside in high mountains and dangerous realms below the earth, constantly at war with giants, goblins, and other such horrors.
Dwarves are lovers of history and tradition, and their long lifespan leads to far less in the way of generational shifts in attitudes, styles, fashions, and trends than shorter-lived races exhibit. If a thing is not broken, they do not fix it or change it; and if it is broken, they fix it rather than replace it. Thrifty as a rule, dwarves are loath to discard anything unless it is truly ruined and unable to be fixed. At the same time, dwarves’ meticulous, near-obsessive attention to detail and durability in their craftsmanship makes that a rare occurrence, as the things they make are built to last. As a result, buildings, artwork, tools, housewares, garments, weapons, and virtually everything else made by dwarves still sees regular use at an age when such items would be relegated to museum pieces, dusty antique shelves, or junkyard fodder by other races. Taken together, these traits create the impression that dwarves are a race frozen in time.
Nothing could be further from the truth, however, as dwarves are both thoughtful and imaginative, willing to experiment, if always keen to refine and perfect a new technique or product before moving on to the next one. Dwarves have achieved feats of metallurgy, stonework, and engineering that have consistently outpaced the technological advances of other races, though some non-dwarven races have used magic to supplement and perfect their own creations to achieve the same ends through mystical rather than mundane means. They are also a race typified by stubborn courage and dedication to seeing tasks through to completion, whatever the risks. These traits have led dwarves to explore and settle in extreme environments that would cause other races to quail and retreat. From the darkest depths of the underworld to the highest mountain peaks, from rusting iron citadels along desolate rocky coasts to squat jungle ziggurats, dwarves have established their enclaves and redoubts, holding them against all comers or perishing to the last and leaving only their enduring monuments to stand as their legacy. While it is said that dwarves are not venturesome or inventive, it would be more accurate to say that they maintain a focus on and dedication to each task they undertake and every change they adopt, vetting such changes thoroughly before adopting them wholeheartedly. When faced with new circumstances and new needs, they react by applying tried and true tools and techniques systematically, using existing methods whenever possible rather than trying to invent novel solutions for every situation. If necessity requires, however, they throw themselves with equal vigor into developing the next perfect procedure for demolishing the obstacles that get in their way. Once their desired goal is obtained, they focus on consolidating each new piece of territory or conceptual advance. Dwarves thus rarely overextend themselves, but they also may miss opportunities to seize the initiative and maximize the advantages they create.
Thanks! My work schedule is crazy right now. I ‘ll post something soon, I promise!
Skeletons are the animated bones of the dead, brought to unlife through foul magic. While most skeletons are mindless automatons, they still possess an evil cunning imparted to them by their animating force a cunning that allows them to wield weapons and wear armor.
A tendriculos is a creature brought into being through a corruption of nature, often where foul magic has seeped into the environs for many years, or where the boundaries between the Material Plane and the mysterious realm of the fey have worn thin. Tales and myths speak of arcane manipulation from other planes, while others speak of a tendriculos as being the manifestation of an angered spirit of nature. A voracious carnivore, the tendriculos is an active hunter when it needs to be but it prefers to rely on ambush tactics, choosing well-traveled areas in the forest where it can lie in wait in the undergrowth. The creature is quick to swallow any prey it happens to catch in its vines, relying upon the acid-filled reservoir in its trunk to finish off prey that may still have a bit of fight left in it. This acid not only consumes organic material with shocking ease, but also contains a powerful paralytic enzyme that further reduces a creature’s chance of escape once it’s been gulped down by the plant.
Although incapable of speech itself, the tendriculos generally understands a handful of words in a single language (usually Sylvan). While they tend to see all smaller creatures as nothing more than food, tales exist of certain creatures, particularly fey or druids, having secured a sort of alliance with local tendriculoses. In such cases, the tendriculos is more than willing to serve its ally as a guardian, so long as the ally is diligent at providing the plant with a regular supply of food.
The fact that a tendriculos displays a curious mix of plant, fungal, and even animal traits (in the form of its almost fleshy, toothed maw) has long intrigued sages. That the creature is a plant is firmly established, yet it lays egg-like spheres when the need to reproduce strikes. These “eggs” are in fact massive, puff ball-like fungi filled with spores—when jostled, the cloud of spores that is released can carry for miles, ensuring that a single tendriculos can seed a huge territory.
Of all the terrifying beasts an explorer might encounter underground, only the rust monster targets that which the average adventurer values most: his treasure.
Typically 5 feet long and weighing almost 200 pounds, the lobster-like rust monster would be frightening enough even without the alien feeding process that gives it its name. Rust monsters consume metal objects, preferring iron and ferrous alloys like steel but devouring even mithral, adamantine, and enchanted metals with equal ease. Any metal touched by the rust monster’s delicate antennae or armored hide corrodes and falls to dust within seconds, making the beast a major threat to subterranean adventurers and those dwarven miners who must defend their forges and compete for ore.
Though rust monsters have no innate tendency toward violence, their insatiable hunger leads them to charge anything they come across that bears even trace amounts of metal, and any resistance is met with unthinking savagery. It’s not unheard of for rust monsters in metal-poor areas to track escaped victims for days using their scent metal ability, provided the victims retain intact metal objects. Fortunately, it’s often possible to escape a rust monster’s attentions by throwing it a dense metal object like a shield and running in the opposite direction. Those who frequent areas infested with rust monsters quickly learn to keep a few stone or wooden weapons close at hand.
I’m really excited about my Wilderlands of High Fantasy campaign that I’m running. These two beauties are recent additions(as in yesterday!) to my DM resources.
As a rule of thumb, everything that Goodman Games makes is awesome and quickly looking though the Toolbox I know that I’m going to be using this quite a bit.
Girallons are among the jungle’s most dangerous predators. They are aggressive, carnivorous, highly territorial, and incredibly strong. Worse, their four muscular arms are capable of inflicting incredible damage on anything that falls into their clutches. Their exotic appearance makes them popular creatures in certain cities as attractions in gladiatorial combats, either starved and pitted against each other, or set against gladiators eager to increase their fame and notoriety. One who kills a girallon is all but assured of fame, yet most battles against these ferocious beasts end poorly for those foolish enough to attempt to single-handedly defeat one. An adult girallon is 8 feet tall, broad-chested, and covered in thick, pure white fur. It weighs roughly 800 pounds.
Girallons live in troops led by a dominant male. Solitary girallons are usually young males looking to start their own troop. Girallons are very territorial and tend to attack intruders without warning, including strangers of their own kind. Groups of girallons may attack in a line to drive prey toward a cliff or other hazard, or quietly form a ring around their target and suddenly close in.
While most girallons are little more than beasts, ancient carvings and the oral traditions of some tribes hint that the girallon wasn’t always the stupid creature it is today. According to these legends, the first girallons were men who called upon savage demon gods to gain great strength, yet in so doing abandoned their humanity. With each generation, these first girallons grew more and more savage and feral, and the same legends maintain that these intelligent girallons still dwell in the darkest part of the jungle. In addition to their intellects, these girallons retain a vast appetite for cruelty. Called “high girallons,” these creatures are almost always chaotic evil, and have Intelligence scores of 6 or higher. An intelligent girallon generally speaks whatever language the local humans speak. Often, they become leaders of unusually large troops of their less-intelligent kin, inhabit strange ruined cities in the jungle or mountains, and conduct raids on villages for food and treasure. Some primitive tribes worship these girallons as the agents of evil gods or demons, and a few high girallons have been known to work for or even breed with tribal orcs, inspiring legends of four-armed “white orcs.”
Lizardfolk are proud and powerful reptilian predators that make their communal homes in scattered villages deep within swamps and marshes. Uninterested in colonization of the dry lands and content with the simple weapons and rituals that have served them well for millennia, lizardfolk are viewed by many other races as backwater savages, but within their isolated communities lizardfolk are actually a vibrant people filled with tradition and an oral history stretching back to before humans walked upright.
Most lizardfolk stand 6 to 7 feet tall and weigh 200 to 250 pounds, their powerful muscles covered in scales of gray, green, or brown. Some breeds have short dorsal spikes or brightly colored frills, and all swim well by moving with flicks of their powerful 4-foot-long tails. While completely at home in the water, they breathe air and return to their clustered mound-dwellings to breed and sleep. As their reptilian blood makes them sluggish in the cold, most lizardfolk hunt and work during the day and retreat to their homes at night to curl up with other tribesmen in the shared warmth of large peat fires.
Though generally neutral, lizardfolks’ standoffish demeanor, staunch rejection of civilization’s “gifts,” and legendary ferocity in battle cause them to be viewed negatively by most humanoids. These traits stem from good reasons, however, as their own slow rate of reproduction is no match for warm-blooded humanoids, and those tribes who don’t defend their wetland territories to the last breath quickly find themselves overwhelmed by the mammalian hordes. As for their tendency to consume the bodies of dead friends and enemies alike, the practical lizardfolk are quick to point out that life is hard in the swamp, and nothing should go to waste.
Lizardfolk continue to grow throughout their lives, and once every few generations, a tribe is blessed with a lizard king—an individual who for unknown reasons has a lifespan twice the length of his fellows, as well as the strength of arms to keep it. Due to their vastly superior size and experience, these individuals inevitably become chieftains and warriors of the highest caliber. Lizard kings are usually size Large. Upon his 100th birthday, a lizard king’s status is officially acknowledged, and he is honored with the presentation of a special weapon, the war trident, reserved exclusively for the use of his kind. These large, two-handed tridents are much heavier than normal in order to take advantage of their wielders’ great strength.
The lizardfolk presented here dwell in a swampy environment. Lizardfolk tribes can exist in other environments as well, such as deserts, jungles or mountains.