Clockwork Skeletons

This page is part of the Swords of the Red Sun Monsters Project.

Clockwork Skeletons
Armor Class:7[12]*
Hit Dice:2+2
Number of Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d6/weapon
Dexterity:2d6+3(avg 10)
Movement: 40
Number Appearing: 2d6, rarely found in wilderness
Save as: Fighter 1
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: None

The Clockwork, or Bronze, Skeleton is one of the last remaining magics of the Cult of the Machine God. A bronze skeleton powered by wires and gears these automatons are a standard guardian in their temples and caves. They have rudimentary brain matrices limited to knowing a patrol area, responding to alarms, recognizing friend and foe, and standing guard. They will not automatically attack unless what they are guarding is disturbed. Because of the wires and pulleys that make up their mechanics they are vulnerable to edged weapons unlike undead skeletons.

Because they are not true undead they cannot be turned by a cleric. They have a weird vulnerability to electricity that appears to confuse them, often causing them to run away in a random fashion or cease working. If a Clockwork Skeleton is targeted by an electrically based attack it and all skeletons within 40′ of it react as if they were undead skeletons being faced by a cleric. Roll to turn undead at the level of the person wielding electricity. If turned they move about randomly without attacking. If destroyed they are not physically destroyed but merely freeze in place and cease functioning (if using BFRPG or similar games that interpret D as damaged instead of destroyed apply damage as per those rules).

It is said that the cult once had a secret to clothe these machines in artificial flesh and to allow them to speak, although in a stilted manner with little grace (phrases such as “Your clothes, give them to me” are recorded in stories involving them).

* For BFRPG add 1 to the AC, for LotFP use the conversion from DM book.

As per the licensing page the material in this box is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License or the Open Gaming License. Choose the license which best suits your purposes but I prefer the Creative Commons.

Mentzer Dungeon: Special Monsters

With a scenario and a setting for my Mentzer Dungeon the next step is to select special monsters. Mentzer provides even less details for special monsters than he does for setting. He gives a brief example that a ruined tower might be inhabited by a few hobgoblin lairs with their pets and friends. The rest would be filled randomly.

Given our scenario involves kidnapped individuals the kidnappers are the obvious choice for the special monster. In my scenario I called the kidnappers subhumans. At the time I figured I’d use orcs or goblins as generic fantasy subhumans. However, in creating the setting I decided that the location of the adventure, set in some anoymous wastes, was in a location not unlike the forbidden zone of the Planet of the Apes movies. With that in minds, why not make the subhumans gorillas. The idea of raiders lead by a General Ursus (or Urko if you prefer the TV series) is very appealing. Consulting the red dungeon master’s book, however, results in disappointment.

There are no gorillas in it. In fact, there is only one primate, the White Ape and one monkey, the Rock Baboon. Neanderthals, however, do appear.Their entry, however, is not encouraging. While I did intend this to be a red box only project I did look in the Rules Cyclopedia and both creature books produced for the separate D&D line and didn’t find many more options. I could go even further afield, but one of the goals of this project was to produce what I wanted just using the red box. I wanted to see how creative I could be using a limited pallet and formal structures.

So, I have decided to use neanderthals as my special monsters. A small tribe of neanderthals with some white ape pets will give the closest feel to what I want. Rolling 1d4x10 I get 10 neanderthals plus two 6 HD leaders. Rolling for the white ape lair I get 8. Clearly, I’ve rolled up not a lair with family units but a warband with their war apes. However, this goes against the monster entry saying neanderthals are normally peaceful. I’ll leave that as a mystery that might not even be in this dungeon.

Before I finish selecting special monsters there is a brief sentence at the end of the paragraph describing them, The entire ‘dungeon’ could be used for several adventures. This is good given I’ve just included ten level 2 monsters (neanderthals), eight level 4 monsters (white apes), and two level six monsters (the neanderthal leaders). It should take several forays to eliminate these threats and explore the area.

One thing I’ve always loved about superhero comics is re-occuring villians and if we’re going to do several adventures here I’d like to include some. So, I think I’ll add rival adventurers as well. They are discussed extensively in the monster section. I’ll roll up a few characters and pick a party identical to my player’s characters who are also looking to rescue the women. While I won’t have the NPC party be inherently hostile they will be after the same goals.

So, with two groups of special monsters, a neanderthal raiding part that has kidnapped slave women and a rival rescue party, I’m ready to draw a map. The next post in this series will cover the first steps in mapping and ask the question, “Can I turn a local apartment building into a dungeon?”

Other articles in this series: