News Archive | 6/29/2010
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Podcast Surprises
June News and Reviews
Bart Carroll

Tuesday, June 28th

It's no surprise that Dan Milano knows how to roll a d20—he featured in our Robot Chicken video podcast series and even wrote up his character for the Player's Strategy Guide.

Now Dan's taught his latest the creation—Warren the Ape—something about the game. Although not entirely safe for work language, the clip can be seen over at gtheb.com—plus, the production notes run through the secrets of that session (including pointing out Robot Chicken figures lurking furtively in the background).

Speaking of podcasts, our friends at Penny Arcade explores the wonders, mysteries, and potential game-changing effects of the Deck of Many Things. Plus, Gabe takes his D&D game to new territories atop a homemade Moteswarm. Which is just freakin' cool.


What Monster Is It?

Monday, June 14th

Liquid fire erupts in a massive column, washing the area with punishing heat. After a moment, a huge humanoid armed with a blazing blade steps from the flames. Who is he?

Arcana DC 33: In raging wildfires that spread across the wilderness and in brutal murders enacted in the heat of passion, one can find the Fire Lord’s touch. Imix embodies fire’s most destructive attributes, promoting rash action, wanton violence, and arson. The Fire Lord’s followers hear their master’s whispers in the crackle of flames, in the ragged exhalations of burned victims, and in the crunch of char beneath their feet.

This Fire Lord rules from deep within an active volcano in the Elemental Chaos. Its fissures vent noxious plumes, and lava spills down the fractured slopes to mingle with molten lakes that extend for miles. Roiling black clouds spew cinders, while ash rains down on the desolate landscape.

Adventurers who crest the volcano’s caldera can catch sight of his palace. A black inverted pyramid hovers over the magma, its tip tracing a jagged spiral, the symbol of the Elder Elemental Eye, into the rock. Although he is not bound within the volcano, he lives like a prisoner: He fled at the end of the Dawn War and has remained safe within his volcanic stronghold.



Friday, June 11th

What monsters believe that if they absorb enough divine power and knowledge, they can finally achieve godhood?

History DC 31: During the war between the gods and the primordials, the dispersed power of dead gods eventually found a home in the earliest humanoid tribes. This divine might filled these primitive creatures, sharpening their intellect and strengthening their bodies. However, these boons carried a high cost. Although the dead gods had no lingering consciousness and no control over their unlikely descendants, these humanoids gained the memory of what it was to be immortal.

This echo of the gods’ consciousness overwhelmed those it possessed, becoming a source of torment. These humanoids ritually removed their eyes and bound the sockets in bandages. They loathed to look upon the mortal realm, for it was a constant reminder of the immortality that they had been denied.



Thursday, June 10th

Today's monster comes in all shapes and sizes, but most bear a semblance of humanoid features. A nightmarish semblance, as you can see from its silhouette.

Dungeoneering DC 33: Before his disappearance, the warlock Thulzar posed a question to the scholars and philosophers of the world. “Why do some stars hate the world?” he asked. None could answer the question, because the stars and their spawn have remained quiescent about what motivates their loathing.

With the aid of powerful looking-glasses, a few warlocks have dared to search the deepest parts of the sky for the answer to Thulzar’s question. Those who have retained their sanity—who have seen the place where the Far Realm meets the oblivion of space—have seen dark, sinister creatures stirring. Forgotten by the gods and the primordials, these malevolent creatures wait for something. They watch as Allabar, Opener of the Way, glides patiently across the sky, inciting the stars to war.



Wednesday, June 9th

Who doesn’t love a tentacle-draped horror? Well, anyone that runs afoul of the following monster (just ask Drizzt).

The many forays the dwarves had made against the mind flayers could not have prepared them for what they faced in the end. The legends of this monster were true, but the worst of those legends could not convey the intellect and terrible cunning of this aberrant horror. Lurking at the heart of the illithids’ vast city, this monster shared a psychic connection with the creatures that served it. By the time the dwarves arrived at the monster's lair, it had called up an army to repel the team’s assault.

Within their dismal cities in the Underdark, these aberrant monstrosities watch as their thralls dutifully erect monuments glorifying them and the dark creatures they revere. They communicate their foul plans to each other without words, plotting raids against the subterranean cities of the drow and dwarves or undertaking dark experiments filled with madness and death.



Tuesday, June 8th

Today's MM3 monster has one very important question: are you fit to serve or better fit to eat?

Arcana DC 28: These demons are the corpulent scions of Tantagaras, a demon lord killed during Tharizdun’s uprising against the gods. Before Tantagaras died in single battle against Kord, the demon lord sired thousands of demons that embodied his hunger and his sloth.

The Waddling Legions, as they came to be known, were crestfallen over their father’s demise. They brought his corpse back to the Woeful Escarand and showed honor to him by feasting upon the body. After devouring the rubbery flesh, the demons evolved from simple-minded servants into cunning and wicked fiends, each with a fragment of their maker’s consciousness.



Monday, June 7th

This time, we look mischievous little havoc-wreckers… creatures you should never feed after the final extended rest of the day.

Arcana DC 19: The fomorian king Thrumbolg created the first of these creatures in the aftermath of his assault on Mag Tureah. On his orders, captured goblin slaves were transformed and corrupted by powerful rituals. The creatures that resulted were the tools by which Thrumbolg sowed unease and dissent within the cities of the eladrin. Using them, he broke up powerful fey alliances that were joined against him.

However, Thrumbolg overestimated his ability to control these creatures, and they wreaked havoc within the fomorian king’s own court before being driven out. Now scattered across the Feydark, the Feywild, and the mortal realm, these creatures wreak havoc wherever they can.



Friday, June 4th

Have you been following the Dark Sun podcasts? The folks at Penny Arcade have posted their latest episode of Penny Arcade TV—covering the behind-the-scenes of the podcast series ("tastefully straddling the line between documentary and guilty-pleasure voyeurism"). Jerry Holkins, Mike Krahulik, Scott Kurtz, and Kris Straub look back at their start with the game as well as their recent Dark Sun adventures!

Plus, we've met a cave fisher and a devil. This time, let's look at a figure with a larger, more imposing carriage appearing in the Monster Manual 3.

Nature DC 21: Like all of giantkind, these giants were created by the primordials as warriors in their battles against the gods. While fire giants and frost giants cling to shreds of their former purpose and a hatred of mortal humanoids, these giants have long since accepted life in the natural world. Their giant clans even engage in trade and long-term relations with brutish humanoid tribes.

Though most giants are brutish and coarse, these giants are particularly unrefined and unpredictable. The race’s minimal social skills inhibit the creation of any of their giant societies. Most of their giant groups consist of a single family. On the rare occasions when such giants band together under the leadership of a powerful chief, their lairs (known as steadings) resound with near-constant quarreling and infighting. In many cases, boisterous giants all but ignore the sound of attackers within their own homes.



Thursday, June 3rd

If you're looking for a few more silhouettes to guess (this time without the answers provided… yet), WotC_Trevor has a few more monsters on the D&D Group page. Two we've featured in past excerpts, one more we've discussed in D&D Alumni, and one more hasn't been mentioned yet at all.

While the Demonimicon comes out in July, there are still demons and devils aplenty to be found in the MM3. Let's take a look at one now, if you can guess the following:

Arcana DC 21: The Nine Hells has a society of sorts. The powerful rule. The foolish are fodder. Cultists and lesser devils serve their masters, even when it comes to procreation. These monsters are born from a union between a mortal and a devil. Such creatures mature quickly and are used as pawns to further the goals of powerful devils.

Fierna and her father, Belial, are often accompanied by such monsters in their service. Others dedicate themselves to Levistus to act as guardians or torturers. Most, however, are dedicated to Asmodeus and pursue their own goals as they reap sorrow and destruction.





Wednesday, June 2nd

First, a couple of adventure retrospectives today (tangentially connected to the Tomb of Horrors). Over at Grognardia, the grognard himself takes a look back C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan—another trap-filled dungeon with a killer reputation. And at Tor.com, David Williams—who recently reexamined none other than Gamma World—explored another module in the S-series, S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.

Let's start with an easy one (considering we just talked about this insectile fellow in D&D Alumni):

Perched in a shadowy niche high up in a limestone cavern, this monster waits and watches. More than one explorer has been stricken when he or she gazed up to see an insectlike creature staring back, pincers ready. A long, noselike appendage juts from its body. From this protuberance, this monster can release a strangling line or shoot lengths of filament to capture prey for its young.

Although these monsters are dangerous predators, a number of Underdark dwellers have turned them into useful pets and guardians. They are driven by instinct and hunger; a passing group of orcs that tosses fresh meat to one can appease it while the band passes unmolested.

Humanoid tribes use this baiting method to lure these monsters into key locations and make them natural guardians. They create a defensive perimeter that foils wandering monsters and careless adventurers.


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