Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Skelerachnid - a Spooky Monster for Old School D&D

I love Halloween, and I always enjoy seeing what new stuff the local stores roll out each year around this time.  This year, Target's gone with a Skeleton theme; in addition to the usual plastic skulls and articulated human skeletons for sale, they've got large rat skeletons, dog skeletons, piranha skeletons (both in solid plastic decor and in a "singing fish" version that belts out "I Will Survive," much to Gina's chagrin when I pressed the button in the store), alligator skulls and most excitingly for me, this bizarre spider skeleton.  Spiders, of course, do not have internal skeletons, so this must be entirely a flight of fancy - and what better than a flight of fancy to turn into a D&D monster? I decided to do two different versions of the Skelerachnid, since I had two ideas of what it could be.  These are statted up for Swords & Wizardry Core Rules, since that's what I've been playing lately, but will work with minimal conversion for any other Old School RPG.

"Is it Turning?"
"Shut up, Manfred, I'm trying to concentrate."
Skelerachnid, Undead: Magic is Magic, but there are universal laws to uphold.  A spider the size of an elephant would not be able to support its own weight, it's exoskeleton would buckle, and it's inefficient respiratory system would collapse under the strain of trying to oxygenate the hemocyanin pumping sluggishly through its body.  As such, Giant Spiders, being creatures of Magic, have developed an internal skeleton to brace and support the exoskeleton and allow them to move and hunt.  When a Giant Spider dies, this internal skeleton often lasts long after the external one has given way to the elements, and occasionally, a necromancer reanimates such remains.  The resultant horror is a giant, skeletal spider, its empty eye-sockets glaring with baleful light, its fangs imbued with the same chilling touch that freezes a ghoul's victims in their tracks.

Skelerachnid, Undead: 8HD, AC 4, Attk 1 (Bite, 1d8+ Save vs. Paralysis, 3d6 Turns), Save 8, Undead Immunities (immune to Sleep, Charm, Hold spells), CL 9, XP 1,100

I don't think we're equipped for this...
Skelerachnid, Construct: Some necromancers are simply not content with raising the dead; no, they feel compelled to tinker, to treat human and animal remains like so many construction toys.  Just as Victor Frankenstein inevitably went above and beyond strictly human remains in the creation of his Monster (what, you think he just found the bones to build a nine-foot tall man? I'm thinking there's some horse femurs in that guy), some necromancers end up constructing new monsters from other creature's bones.  If one has enough dead elephants or dinosaurs laying around, the Skelerachnid is a popular weekend project for the handy necromancer - they make excellent, tireless mounts, can handle more difficult terrain than any undead horse, and the expansive ribcage holds a surprisingly large amount of luggage.

Skelerachnid, Construct: 8 HD, AC 2, Attk 2 (Bite 1d8/Stomp 1d6), Save 8, immune to slashing or piercing damage, immune to cold, CL 10, XP 1,400

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