Archive for the ‘Everyday D&D’ Category

Wolfin’

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

Off the top of my helmet, I can’t remember an adventure where the party directly battled a werewolf. I know that one of the Drizz’t novels has a bunch of wererats, maybe led by one named Lassiter, who may or may not be the same character in the Tom Selleck movie, Lassiter (1984). But specifically a werewolf, I got nothing.

I could see how it would work, however. The party, probably lower level, could be hired by a local baron or duke or princeling because there is something bestial tearing apart the countryside. All that is left for clues are bloody pawprints, but somehow the creature is smart enough to figure out locks. Duke Frinthrop is at a loss, so he is willing to dig into the treasury to pay a group of hearty adventurers to look into the problem. The party does a little investigating, talks to a peasant or two, learns the secret of a town burgher, and next thing we all know, they are battling a werewolf. Ideally, one of the characters gets munched by the wolf before it dies; this would ensure that a character could have lycanthropy and one of the least-used charts in the DM’s Guide would finally get some airtime.

Werewolves

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

Another Halloween classic, at least Halloween from ago, was the werewolf. I know that for certain cultural reasons, it has mostly been a “wolfman” [as I am listed in my wife’s contacts], but I see no reason why there could not be a wolfwoman or any of the positions on the gender spectrum. There also was, of course, Teen Wolf, and I would like to believe, Pre-Teen Wolf as its never-produced sequel.

Eddie Munster was a wolfboy, which, as the Simpsons pointed out, is unusual since his father was a Frankenstein’s monster and his mother a vampire, but that is TV for you. There are all those Paul Naschy werewolves movies, and the classic Werewolf in the Girls’ Dormitory a.k.a. Lycanthropus. But none of those movies gave rise to this incredible Cramps song:

Skeleton Sabbat

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020

Final day of the skeletons. Not the most exciting of undead, but if there were an army of them, running would be wise. Also, this song has a damned good chorus. I know that this Astral Sabbath doesn’t have anything to do with skeletons on the surface. But that is only on the surface. Once you look into the eye of the universe, the pupil of the abyss, you will see a few skeletons. At least that is what I would guess.

Another acceptable answer: skeleton army in the eye of a wolf that is painted on your panel van.

Bone Throne

Monday, October 12th, 2020

One of the many esoteric questions not yet answered by sages, seers, wizards, or warlocks is when a zombie turns into a skeleton or when a mummy can transform into a zombie. What I mean by this conundrum is let’s say a zombie has been zombified for a long time. I am talking several months here and, although the rules are not necessarily codified on this point, I have read enough adventure novels and played enough modules to know that zombie flesh can continue to rot, especially in the right temperatures. This means, in theory, that the zombie might lose enough flesh to become a skeleton, especially if there is a period in-between re-animations.

Let’s pretend that I am Rely’Lth the Evil and have my usual retinue of undead to protect me as I sleep or commune with Beltar. Every now and then, I need to re-up the re-animation spell that keeps my monstrous posse’ upright. But I also am a busy cleric: Beltar wants caves looted and malice spread and that is on her time frame, not mine. So I get a little behind on my rotation, and, next thing I know, a couple of my zombies have gone to seed, or bone as the case may be, and I am left with re-animated skeleton instead of a re-animated corpse. Half of one, six of the other, say both Beltar and I.

Skeleton Crew

Sunday, October 11th, 2020

Having skeletons be the crew of, rowers of, or passengers on, a ship is fairly commonly used in legend and module alike. It might even show up in a Conan novel or two: I know that a giant centipede was used to row a galley in a Leonard Carpenter tale, so why not a skeleton at the helm?

But the other meaning of “skeleton crew,” as in the fewest on staff needed to make something work for a temporary amount of time, was not I term I was familiar with. That is, until I encountered the Stephen King collection of the same name at the age of 14 or 15. It was probably the first short story collection that I can remember reading as a collection: I mean, I didn’t get until much later that de Camp’s Conan is actually multiple stories. I guess you could say that even then, I was not into close textual analysis.

Anywhoo, Skeleton Crew has a great cover, The Mist, “Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut,” which was perfect for Maine backroads, and a bunch of other scary ones. And it taught me a phrase, so for that, among other things, I thank you, Mr. King.

I know that “Apt Pupil” is from a different collection, but the song also is apt to the theme.