Fire and Fury
While created to generate quick horrors of the unknown for games like The Cthulhu Hack, there’s nothing stopping you from using From Unformed Realms as a way to kickstart monsters for other games.
Throw a few six-sided dice (different colours help, deciding in advance which come first, second and third – but you could just read them left to right as they fall) or use an online randomizer, and you can set down the skeletal potentials of a new opponent.
As a basic guide, for Hack games, add a Hit Dice for each ability or characteristic generated or – conversely – decide the power level of the horror and roll as many times as it has Hit Dice.
So, I rolled three times, aiming for something 3HD – then rolled another die for form, which I didn’t count for hit dice.
- The entity shimmers and gleams with sweat (+1HD)
- Sharp and dark prickles cluster across its horny hide (+1AV, +1HD)
- Thorns can fire like projectiles
– fluid scalds with an extreme temperature (+1HD)
Out of that I get:
Ss’nda (3HD, +1 AV; when damaged, DEX Save or inflict 1d4 damage)
Commonly mistaken for the salamander in folktale, the Ss’nda admittedly have much in common with the toxic amphibian, but little in common physically. The Ss’nda sleep in forges, furnaces and kitchen fires, where the heart of the flame glows white hot, soaking up the heat with the contented attitude of a spoilt cat. Out of the fire, their skin has a crystalline shimmer, like shards of desert glass, rough with spines and prickles. They appear like a writhing rope of coloured gas, licked by dancing flames and shimmering heat.
When enraged, the hissing internal pressure of the ophidian beast makes it dangerous to strike with any weapon; any wound releases a gout of scalding liquid and gritty shards of sharp glass, that sear and tear exposed flesh.
Lore suggests that only intense cold, not water, can calm a Ss’nda – indeed, water generates the same threat as striking it with a plume of gritty steam.
In certain quarters, rumour suggests the Ss’nda were creations of the Serpent People, kept by alchemists and sorcerers as pets and a ready source of heat with sufficient intensity to boil or burn almost instantly.
From Unformed Realms is available now from RPGNow and DriveThruRPG in PDF.