Creative Pursuits Games

The Bestomper: A Bizarre Monster that Looks Like a Foot

Legend tells of the profane experiments of the wizard Siahac, he who dwells in a black pyramid somewhere in the western peaks. Among his many inscrutable acts, one of the most amazing is the creation of the bestomper. He unleashed it upon an army of gnolls that approached his home. Bards in the taverns of St. Orlan still sing of how the creature that looked like a gigantic foot blasted the gnolls with various beams from its five eyes and stomped the rest into unidentifiable gore. When the battle finished, Siahac let the monster loose in the caverns under his black pyramid. Perhaps it torments the dwarves and goblins in their dim passages still.

The vital statics of the bestomper are as follows.

  • Armor Class: 20
  • Hit Dice: 11
  • Number of Attacks: one of the following each round
    • A stomp that does 3d6 points of damage
    • A bite that does 2d6 points of damage and has a 5% chance of decapitating on a successful hit
    • A blast of energy of one of its five eyes
  • Movement: magical levitation in all directions at 20′ per 10-second round
  • Resists magic as an 11th level mage
  • Approximately 8′ long by 4′ wide
  • Fanatical attitude, losing morale less than 3% of the time (11 on the 2-12 scale)

The bestomper reminds one of a giant foot, except that each toe bears an unblinking eye, and on the ball of the foot a slobbering mouth gapes to reveal jagged teeth. While the bestomper is agitated, a wail emits from its mouth in a 90 degree arc. All creatures with 40′ must save versus magic or fall prone for 1d6 rounds.

The bestomper hovers over the ground by magical levitation. Suddenly, it leaps 20′ in any direction to bring down the full force of its heel on an unlucky victim. Alternatively, it may tilt forward to apply its mouth to a victim, usually targeting the head of humanoids. 5% of the time when it bites down, it decapitates the victim (rolls a natural 20). Any successful bite attack heals the bestomper by 1d6 points of damage.

The hide of the bestomper is a tough leather that resists blows and slashes, but its eyes are more delicate. The toes wriggle about, making them 20% harder to hit (AC 24), but doing 10 points of damage incapacitates the eye, leaving it unable to use its unique energy beam. Eye blasts automatically hit so long as there is line of sight. The victim can only hope to resist the magical effect with a saving throw. Use the following table to randomly determine the type of energy beam for each toe.

  1. Paralyzation — the victim is held in place
  2. Weaken — the victim is enfeebled
  3. Confusion — a 10′ wide by 20′ long beam clouds the minds of targets
  4. Fire — a column of fire does 3d6 points of damage
  5. Dispell Magic — a wave of anti-magic envelopes the victim, disabling any magic effects and enchantments on items
  6. Freeze — a blast of ice does 2d6 points of damage and stuns the victim for one round
  7. Blindness — the eyes of the victim fill with energy and burst, producing permanent blindness
  8. Disintegrate — the victim and all items held are turned into pure energy that dissipates into thin air
  9. Death — the target’s eyes close, limbs slump and the lifeless body tumbles
  10. Slow — the victim find the world passing by at twice the speed, allowing only half the number of usual actions

Each toe has a single type of energy beam, different from the others. It is assumed the bestomper changes which 5 types it has available on the daily basis.

Whispered rumors, likely only speculation, say that Siahac created more than one bestomper, that he has improved upon his original design to create a bestomper with a brain in each toe that allows for simultaneous attacks. Facing five energy attacks every round would make such a beast nearly unbeatable.

I offer this monster description under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Creative Pursuits D&D News

Terror in Tosasth

Like the mummified corpse of a king long forgotten, lying dreamless in a tomb hidden by innumerable layers of sand, mysterious treasures lure the imagination of true adventurers. Men have not long settled here on the edge of wilderness, and few are those who recall the tales of their grandmothers. Yet, the other folk remember a time when elves and dwarves built kingdoms that rose up, clashed and tumbled down again. Offer a dwarf a mug of ale or flatter an elf and you may coax a tale of Tosasth (TOH-sosth).

Despite the benefit of longer lives, only vague details may be conjured from elven memory about the once-great city that now is little more than a graveyard teeming with the undead. “Stay away from that cursed valley,” they will advise. Perhaps the stories told by their fathers were parables only, myths meant to illustrate the folly of hubris, for among the various horrors professed to dwell in Tosasth, a curious mind will discover a singular theme. Long ago, elves and dwarves who grew from parallel limbs of the tree of life, made war that ended in terrible catastrophe.

The series of adventures in this tome offer thrilling danger, spectacular loot and the answer to the mystery of Tosasth.

Terror in Tosasth is a collection of adventures I wrote for my ongoing Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game campaign. I took my notes from the campaign and put them into the style used by the BFRPG community. There are 18 different adventures and procedures for running a city filled with undead.

Aside from all the writing, I felt the need to draw many images to fill in gaps in the pages. I thought I’d get away with recycling image from all the session reports. Nope. I had to draw at least 20 more images.

This material is all free under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. (Updated January 24, 2023)

Links above to releases update as I make them.


The Game Master’s Oath

Referee. Judge. Administrator. Dungeon Master. Game Master. Should you take up this mantle by any name, make first this oath before your fellow players to prove you take serious the having of games-playing fun. And by ancient tradition, apply your will and best judgement in altering this creed to suit those players whom you serve. Only make and keep your oath if you wish eternal and unlimited adventure.

I solemnly swear to fulfill this covenant to the best of my ability and judgment.

I will respect the wisdom accumulated over time by those game masters in whose footsteps I travel, and gladly will I share such knowledge with my comrades and any who follow.

I identify as my greatest resource imagination, my own and that of the other players, which implies the freedom to try anything. Never will I force action on a player character. Always will I fulfill my duty to imagine an exciting world and describe reactions as the players enjoy their free will.

I will judge circumstances impartially with prudence and a sense of proportion. Neither will I fall to nihilistic randomness, nor will I rule by secret fiat out of misplaced allegiance to a narrative. By my hand will fate weigh in the balance ever in service to the ultimate goal, an enjoyable game.

I will honor game mastery as a craft, part art and part science, remembering that rules may bend to inspire a sense of wonder, but rules make triumph possible. As such, I will allow the ingenuity of players to supersede abstract contests decided by dice.

Yet when intuition offers no obvious ruling, I will admit “I do not know”. In such circumstances I will rely on the chaos of casting dice to stand in for unknown variables. Remaining true to the game, I will accept the outcome even if it spells doom.

I will set the scene, offer choices and answer questions to the greatest extent possible, always taking care to maintain a sense of verisimilitude. I will adhere to the precedents of campaign history, employing precise tracking of deeds and resources.

So long as I honor this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling, and may I long experience the joy of playing with those who seek my mastery.

OPDC: Molok’s Mummies

Molok’s Mummies is my entry into the 2021 One Page Dungeon Contest.

A hexagonal tablet, 25 feet across has risen from the soft earth. The grinning face of Molok adorns a trap door in the center. The old folk tell of mummified priests guarding vast treasures. Not even your DM knows how deep nor how dangerous this crypt will be. Will you escape with untold wealth, or will your living soul be consumed to sustain the undeath of Molok’s Mummies?

I built this considering the constraints of the contest, not just that it must fit on one page but also that it should be system-neutral. I minimized space given to art and the map because it’s hard to get the information density as high as can be done with text. I like to be surprised at the table along with the players. I could drop this into my Basic Fantasy RPG game without much preparation beyond copying monster stats into doc for reference.

  • Black Pudding AC 14, HD 10* (+9), #At 1 pseudopod, Dam 3d8, Mv 20′, Sv F10, Ml 12, XP 1390
  • Blood Shroud AC 12, HD 4, #At 1 whip or 1 blood spray, Dam 1d4 or special, Mv Fly 60’, Sv F4, Ml 9, XP 320
  • Bone Chimera AC 17, HD 2, #At 1 bites/2 claws/2 tails, Dam 2d6 bite/1d6 claw/1d10 tail, Mv 60′, Sv F5, Ml 12, XP 240
  • Bone Golem AC 19 ‡, HD 8, #At 4 weapons, Dam 1d6/1d6/1d6/1d6 or by weapon, Mv 40′ (10′), Sv F4, Ml 12, XP 945
  • Clay Golem AC 22, HD 11 (+9), #At 1 fist, Dam 3d10, Mv 20′, Sv F6, Ml 12, XP 1,765
  • Diabolus AC 14, HD 15, #At 1 bite, Dam 2d6+4 + ghoul paralysis, Mv 60’ Fly 20’, Sv F15, Ml 12, XP 3100
  • Flesh Golem AC 20 ‡, HD 9 (+8), #At 2 fists, Dam 2d8/2d8, Mv 30′, Sv F5, Ml 12, XP 1225
  • Gellybone AC 14, HD 2, #At 1 slap, Dam 1d6, Mv 40′, Sv F2, Ml 12, XP 75
  • Ghast AC 15, HD 2, #At 2 claws/1 bite, Dam 1d4/1d4/1d4 + paralysis + stench, Mv 30′, Sv F2, Ml 9, XP 125
  • Ghostcap Bloom AC 12, HD 4, #At 1, Dam 1d4 + special, Mv 0′, Sv F4, Ml 12, XP 240
  • Ghoul AC 14, HD 2, #At 2 claws/1 bite, Dam 1d4/1d4/1d4, all plus paralysis, Mv 30′, Sv F2, Ml 9, XP 100
  • Green Slime AC can always be hit, HD 2, #At 1, Dam special, Mv 1′, Sv F2, Ml 12, XP 125
  • Mummy AC 17 ‡, HD 5, #At 1 touch + disease, Dam 1d12 + disease, Mv 20′, Sv F5, Ml 12, XP 450
  • Shadow AC 13 ‡, HD 2*, #At 1 touch, Dam 1d4 + 1 point Strength loss, Mv 30′, Sv F2, Ml 12, XP 100
  • Skeletal Flayer AC 15, HD 1, #At 1 whip/1 claw, Dam 1d6 + 1d6, Mv 40′, Sv F1, Ml 12, XP 37
  • Skeleton AC 13, HD 1, #At 1, Dam 1d6, Mv 40′, Sv F1, Ml 12, XP 25
  • Spectre AC 17 ‡, HD 6, #At 1 touch, Dam Energy drain 2 levels/touch, Mv Fly 100′, Sv F6, Ml 11, XP 610
  • Vampire AC 18 ‡, HD 7, #At 1 weapon or special, Dam 1d8 or by weapon or special, Mv 40′ Fly 60′, Sv F7, Ml 11, XP 800
  • Wraith AC 15 ‡, HD 4, #At 1 touch, Dam 1d6 + energy drain (1 level), Mv Fly 80′, Sv F4, Ml 12, XP 320
  • Zombie AC 12, HD 2, #At 1, Dam 1d8, Mv 20′, Sv F2, Ml 12, XP 75

I should build this out for my One Dice Six plugin and put it up on the Empty Z generators.


D&D Monster Reaction Charts Compared

The following monster reaction chart from the Mentzer red box edition of D&D shows up frequently on blogs and twitter. Every time I see it, I wonder about the chances of each end result. So, I worked out the chances by doing the multiplication.

Monster Reactions Chart from Basic D&D Red Box page 22

For example, roll a 3 for a possible attack. Then roll a 9, uncertain. Finally, roll a 5 for an attack. That’s a 25% chance of rolling 3-5. A second roll of 9-12 happens 28% of the time. A third roll of 5 also has a chance of 28%. That works out to 0.15%. However, there are many rows that end up as attack that must be added together. The following table reproduces the original with d100.

00‑02Immediate Attack3%
99‑00Immediately Friendly3%
Red Box converted to Percentile

A roll of a 2 on 2d6 is really 2.78%. The leave result should really be 14.95%, but I donated remainders to the first and last results to keep it to increments of 1%.

Other Basic Editions

Of course, this got me wondering about other editions. The chart from the third volume of the little brown books looks like the following.

OD&D The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures page 13 – Random Actions by Monsters

With such a high chance of an uncertain result, maybe it’s trying to tell the DM to figure it out himself. But said DM might say to himself, “uncertain, eh? I wonder which way they are leaning.” And then he’ll roll again. Maybe that’s how we got the nested Mentzer table.

Next, I looked at what’s in the Holmes book, which breaks up the negative and positive reactions into less likely immediate reactions. Nearly half the time, though, you’re rolling again.

2Attacks immediately!2.7%
3‑5Hostile reaction25.0%
6‑8Uncertain, make another offer, roll again44.4%
9‑11Accepts offer, friendly25.0%
12Enthusiastic, volunteers help2.7%
Holmes Basic Reaction Rolls page 11

Presumably only a roll of 6-8 requires a re-roll. I’d probably interpret a 6 as being vaguely hostile. Now consider the Rules Cyclopedia.

D&D Rules Cyclopedia page 93

This table has a bias for monsters being hostile or at least not helpful. That probably makes more sense for monsters in a dungeon into which a party of adventurers just showed up, busting down doors. I appreciate how this table has a memory for previous results. Imagine first getting a 6. The monsters growl in response. The players have a chance to do something. If they keep talking, though, the best they can do is push the monsters to a cautious state.

2‑3Monster Attacks8.33%
4‑6Monster is aggressive33.33%
7‑9Monster is cautious41.67%
10‑11Monster is neutral13.89%
12Monster is friendly2.78%
D&D Rules Cyclopedia percentages

The rules for using this table go into more detail. Don’t apply any charisma bonus on the first roll, but do afterwards. Adjust based on what the characters are doing. A cowardly or outmatched monster should run rather than attack. Lastly, never roll more than three times. After that, the monsters attack or retreat.

Newer Editions

Following is the chart provided in the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide.

AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide page 63

Interestingly, Gygax provides a percentile chart in AD&D. Though not explicitly stated, I assume an uncertain result should cause a second roll with a bonus or penalty of 55%. That seems to mean that a roll of 45 prevents getting back to a neutral state unless some other bonuses are in effect. In the chart below, you can see how the AD&D table is symmetric, not biased towards hostility from monsters.

01‑05Violently hostile, immediate attack or check morale5%
06‑25Hostile, immediate action or check morale20%
26‑45Uncertain but prone towards negative20%
46‑55Neutral, uninterested or uncertain10%
56‑75Uncertain but prone towards positive20%
76‑95Friendly, immediate action20%
96‑00Enthusiastically friendly5%
AD&D reaction percentages

Since my game runs on Basic Fantasy, I also computed percentages for the reaction table from that game. The table is presented as being for monsters.

Basic Fantasy Reaction Roll Table page 43

The results are only slightly biased towards hostility. It’s closest to OD&D.

2Immediate Attack2.78%
12Very Favorable2.78%
Basic Fantasy reaction percentages

The AD&D 2E rules use 2d10 and a cross reference against player stance (friendly, indifferent, threatening hostile) to produce the monster stance, which produces the same four stances plus flight. It looks like rolling for monster reactions went away in 3E. I don’t see it in 5E, either.

Comparing these methods, I’m inclined to adapt the Rules Cyclopedia ideas for my campaign. I like the idea of the dice pushing me in a direction when it’s not obvious how the foes should react. I also like the idea of the exchange playing out over three rolls.

Leon’s Reaction Table

Here’s what I plan go with in my game.

2‑3The time for talk is over. Check morale. Failure means flight or surrender. Otherwise, attack immediately.
4‑6Someone will get their head bashed in. Attitude is aggressive and negative. Apply -4 to the next check if there’s room for negotiation. Otherwise, it’s fight or flight.
7‑9Clear and present danger. Cautious and aware of possible trouble. Disengage without violence if possible, or provide a final warning.
10‑11Trust and verify. Neutral and open to a fair exchange. Apply +4 to the next check. Any final offers are take-it-or-leave-it.
12This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Relaxed presumption of courtesy.
Leon’s Monster Reaction Table

Move the interaction through three phases, generally divided by exchanges of dialog but not necessarily only one round long.

  1. Determine initial attitude without the benefit or penalty of charisma. Apply ±4 for any non-verbal biases, such displaying the symbols of an enemy tribe or being a filthy barbarian among perfumed concubines.
  2. Roll again, applying relevant charisma bonuses. Ignore the biases from first impressions, but include any new information. Friendly gestures or bribes promote a friendly reaction. Rude or aggressive behavior promotes negative reactions. Consider the actions of participants.
  3. Make one, final roll. Conclude the encounter with role-playing or combat.