Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dungeon of Signs talking Trick Monsters

I'm a big fan of "trick" monsters.

Over at Dungeon of Signs, Gus L did a nice list of special abilities that make a monster more than a straight-up fight:

Towards a Taxonomy of 'Trick' Monsters

Some of the abilities I wouldn't personally cal tricks so much as just special attacks - breath weapons are scary, for example, but don't feel like a sneaky trick to me any more than a bow and arrows is a trick weapon. Same with, say, a bear hug from an owlbear - it's just a jumped up melee follow. But it's a great list of special abilities, whether they are tricks or not.

The list is very D&D-centric, so a lot of the definitions aren't terribly generic (breath weapons as a HP-based attack, say), but even for GURPS it's a solid read and a useful resource.


  1. That's a good list. I like strange attacks and wierd powers for monsters too. That is one reason I like Mental Hit Points, it gives monsters another way to attack. Mind Blasting psionics, ghostly terror and Lovecraftian insanity that reduces mental hit points until the PC is insane.

    1. I wouldn't bother with a seperate stack of MHP, just use the appropriate stat. Int drain, death at 0 is plenty nasty and doesn't scale with level. Try giving something a 1d4 int attack.

  2. Yeah some "tricks" are less impressive then others, but I wanted to make sure that special abilities like a bearhug attack got recognized as tricks as well. Something like an owlbear mauling adds complexity and danger to the monster, and requires the GM to actively pay attention to another variable (who's hugging who), so game wise I'd say its not much different then an immunity or a mimic's suprise bonus. I also left a lot of stuff off or only vaguely hinted at, the old school lecrotta's mimicary of human speech for example is a great "trick" and very fun.

    1. That's kind of what I meant - it's more of a list of Special Abilities, with tricks as a (large) subset of them.

      But it's a good list and I like it when people group abilities in useful sets and discuss them. It's how I learn what I like or dislike about something, and how to deploy it in a game for a specific kind of effect.


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