Sunday, December 30, 2012

One Book to Rule Them All!

Despite the title of this entry, I don't believe in one specific set or edition of rules to define an entire game or genre. Hell, even Chess went through iterations before settling into the game we all know and love today.

The D&D game has gone through so many permutations and editions that I have stopped trying to keep up. In fact, I now insist upon B/X, 1E AD&D, or Pathfinder. I think I'm mostly done with the rest...time will, as always, tell. A lot of gamers complain about the rules-heavy later editions of D&D - basically anything after AD&D or 2nd Edition AD&D. They complain as if having so many rules and options is a personal affront. As if they are forced to use any of it - usually because it is the "currently supported edition and everyone wants to play it to the exclusion of all else."

Funny. I have always managed to find players willing to use ANY edition of the D&D rules, as long as the adventure is good. Maybe I'm spoiled - or picky. In the end, it often comes down to the amount of rules given.

To borrow from my own example, D&D is not (for example) Chess. There are no set moves and counter-moves. In fact, D&D is not even wargaming...though later editions try to pretend it is. That is far more like Chess. One hallmark of the D&D game has always been the idea of using what rules work for you and adjusting or trashing the rest. Admittedly, in later editions, this becomes nigh impossible, as every rule is intimately connected to every other rule in the overall system. It is difficult to adjust without breakage. Still, many gamers (especially DMs) seem to feel that their favorite edition is "the one."

It all seems to come down to one question: Do you want a game that leaves you free to imagine and adjudicate as you go, or do you want one that tells you what to do so you don't have to do so much pesky thinking? My poor wording aside, that is how I see it. That is how I have seen it in countless debates and outright arguments. I favor something in-between...I'm just that kind of guy. I love the editions I mentioned above. They all suit my ideal in one way or another.

I essentially jumped from B/X D&D to AD&D 1E - then to D20 3.0...and, reluctantly, 3.5...and then, to Pathfinder. Why? Because each successive edition I mentioned seemed to take my own house rules and incorporate them into an official edition - thus saving me a lot of work and headache. Few players wanted to join my game when they discovered I had a binder full of house rules, the page count of which rivaled the Player's Handbook itself.

You may note that I didn't even go from B/X to BECMI. I didn't really like the later sets. Maybe I'll blog about that in the future. The whole Immortals thing turned me off, I think.

For me, BECMI was too much rules - and yet, not enough. It is difficult to put my finger on exactly how this could be the case. I think it might lie somewhere in just WHAT rules were detailed and which were not. Possibly, I didn't like the way the previous rules were presented in such a way as to try to balance it all. I feel that D20 did it better.

I've been told that earlier editions of D&D aren't meant to be balanced. That is their particular flavor. I guess I prefer some kind of internal balance and at least a feeling of sense. No, I really don't like that demihumans have arbitrary level limits, simply because they would outshine humans. In a world where these demihumans have far more inborn advantages and enjoy such extended lifespans over humanity, they SHOULD dominate civilization. If we're going to pretend that all elves can only achieve half of what a human could, then you've lost me. You made elves greater from the start - don't pretend that they aren't, just because it doesn't suit the game. I am creating entire worlds here, and I need more than that. My world needs to make more sense.

And that's where D&D struggles with itself. Is it a cooperative storytelling experience? Is it a glorified wargame? Is it a detailed fantasy simulation? Something more? Something less? It is whatever you want it to be, and some rulesets seem to support one ideal over others. Still, it all comes down to the players. Most every player seems to have a personal preference when it comes to gaming style. With so many generations, types, and competencies of player, is it possible for a single edition to satisfy them all?


I say no, because players are about options. Some want it all. They want skills and feats and powers to cover every possible whim or situation. Others want the flexibility to imagine the best way to handle a given challenge, without having to rely upon countless tables and unreliable die rolls. There is no such edition.


I say yes, because the DM has the ability to control the game. Note, I say, "has the ability." This is important. Yes, the later editions of D&D strive to balance the levels of influence enjoyed by DM and player. They definitely feel more "player-friendly" to me. Of course, this also puts more responsibility onto the player - a responsibility many of them do not want, or cannot handle. If the game is more balanced in favor of the player, the player must invest more in the progress of the game. The player cannot rely upon the DM for every nuance of the adventure when the DM is no longer in complete control of every nuance - according to the rules. Because, in later editions, the idea swings heavily toward balance. Characters can affect their surroundings more directly. Characters are harder to kill - theoretically. It isn't so much a matter of escalation (though there is that), what we have now is an effort to ameliorate the situation for the players.

I find many "old-school" DMs prefer pre-D20 editions of D&D. Sometimes, I count myself among them...but not always. I like options, too. I like having everyone on a level playing field - or, at least to present the illusion of such. The D20 rules say I am supposed to tailor every encounter to the levels and abilities of the PCs. They can forget that. No matter what edition of the game, I am an "old-school" DM. I tell my players this up front. They know this. They are aware that they may need to occasionally practice the better part of valor if they want to survive. They are adventurers in my world - not the other way around. Is the campaign still essentially about the heroes? Yes, it is. But, not by the book. I am not running a book - and neither should you.

The rules are a foundation - a means whereby everyone can operate on common ground. I like balance. I like verisimilitude. It frees me to run my game the way I want. It frees me to present three-dimensional challenges for my players. It frees me to give them an interactive milieu in which to play. It frees me to relinquish a little of my control so that we can all have a hand in shaping the future of this world I've presented.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

NPC Adventurers

I don't know about everyone else, but I love using NPC adventuring parties in my campaigns. The idea of other heroes (or even "antiheroes") running around in possible competition with our PC adventuring group just invites new twists and flavors of drama.

I've had PC adventurers stumble into battles-in-progress between foes they could not otherwise defeat and a party of NPC adventurers that have worn the enemy down a bit. I've had pseudo-friendly competition between PCs and NPCs over the same prize. I've had PCs stumble across the remains of NPC adventurers that they know were higher level, just to throw a bit of a scare into them as they explored the same dungeon that claimed the lives of these "greater heroes."

NPCs in my games are often used as a way for the DM to have a direct hand in the adventure, when needed. Otherwise, they tend to assume the roles of indirect opposition. Yes, there are NPC villains - but I refer to them as villains. It is fun for me to present uncertain antagonists during the course of an adventure. I like to challenge the players and present the occasional moral dilemma.

True heroes cannot simply slay fellow adventurers out of hand - but they also cannot let these interlopers run off with their XP and treasure. What to do? How to salvage their reputations when a rival party succeeds where they have failed? Partner up, or waste valuable resources in senseless conflict? Another dimension is added to the game.

What follows is an NPC adventuring party I intend to use as the default example group in my own campaign-specific B/X rulebook. Some backgrounds should be recognizable from one or more "classic" tropes. Others...hopefully, not so much.

The Flamebearers

·         Adventuring group sponsored by the Circle of the Silver Flame - a cabal dedicated to knowledge and the advancement of magic.

·         Madis of the Silver Flame: Journeyman magic user in service to the Circle. Her father was a member of the Circle, before he was lost during a mission. Madis adventures in the hope of learning his fate, and someday joining the Circle.

·         Brother Brown is a cleric in plain brown robes with a deep cowl and brown leather mask covering his entire face. His eyes are brown and one is always bloodshot. Nearly killed by wights during an early adventure, Brother Brown has spent the better part of a year in meditation and recovery. Which deity he serves is unknown.

·         Cestus Bulwark is a massive human fighter with a shaven head and red goatee. He often wears a pair of cesti which he uses like bucklers in combat. He is a brutal man, fond of singing, and loyal to his friends. In his youth, he trained to be a singer, but a number of growth spurts in his adolescence and teens left him more suited for battle. He retains a fine singing voice.

·         Dagger Norane was a mugger and low-rent assassin who found himself in and out of a few thieves' guilds. When trying to mug a man in an alley, he found himself vastly outmatched. Brutally beaten, horribly tortured, and finally slain - he was surprised to awaken nearly a week later in his own ratty cot in a fleabag hostel. The last thing he recalls is the man's hand, with a gold-and-silver ring set with a large fire opal and a golden phoenix within, slitting his throat with a knife. Shaken to his core, Dagger seeks honor and redemption as a professional adventurer - hoping to become a hero someday. His given name is Daglan.

·         Brevan Stout chose his adventuring name from the side of a keg in a faraway pub. What his given name and his past may be are none of your damn business.

·         Arlenn Winterbrand is an elf maid who favors sword and shield over wand and scroll. Long white hair and ice-blue eyes. Very pale skin. Her mother supposedly died in childbirth, but was said to have been some kind of winter faerie that left the newborn infant with her father, then departed for parts unknown. Wields a frost blade in battle, supposedly left to her by her lost mother.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Creature catalysts - the rest

For the sake of completion, here are the rest of my personal notes for certain monsters in my own setting.

Nightshade: These will be unique creatures of great power, forming a kind of Umbral pantheon of dread demigods.
Nightcrawler: Resembles a hooded serpent and is called Erebus.
Nightrunner: Resembles a great hound and is called Tolfand.
Nightstalker: Resembles a tall, but not giant, hooded and cloaked human and is called Malvikar. Beneath the cloak is the swarm of beetles that is Khefra.
Nightswarm: Disguised as the nightstalker, Khefra manifests as a swarm of black scarab beetles that normally shapes itself into a humanoid form. Khefra represents an entire lost pantheon of gods, of which the other nightshades are revived examples - but Khefra may re-absorb any of them at will. May act as a cohesive figure, a disparate swarm, or some of both.
Nightwalker: Resembles a bearded titan and is called Chernobog.
Nightwing: Resembles an enormous bat and is called Camazotz.

Ogre: Often ruled by oni (ogre magi) or by hags. Ogres are also known for hurling live giant beetles in combat. Ogre with horned helm that gains gore attack as minotaur.
Ogre, Rime: Slightly more massive ogre with frost giant blood.
Ogre, Salt: Not actually an ogre at all, but a kind of cursed elemental of water and mineral trapped in a form about the size and shape of an ogre. Inflicts Constitution damage by absorbing moisture from living creatures.

Ooze: Sometimes used as siege missiles.

Otyugh: When slain, this foul monster deliquesces into some form of ooze - possibly chosen at random.

Owl, Bandit: An otherwise ordinary bird with dark raccoon-like markings across the face and a penchant for filching small valuables. Known to work in pairs or small groups.

Pegasus: Give the creature an air elemental quality and the ability to assume Gaseous Form (with a rider).

Red Putty: A type of ooze that resembles red clay. Drains blood on a successful hit.

Rust Monster: Have some kind of primitive race or society wearing armor made from the hides of rust monsters that affect metal items striking the armor as a living rust monster. The primitives have no metal items themselves.

Salamander, Storm: Violet and silver, with a serpentine body and four legs. Flies. Crackles with electricity. Very fast when striking, Immune to damage from electrical attacks.

Snake, Singing: An otherwise ordinary reptile that can imitate most forms of singing, from birds to people. Uses this ability to attract prey - typically birds.
Snake, Snapping: This large serpent has scales similar to the shell of a turtle and powerful jaws that deliver a crushing bite. It is very aggressive and also poisonous.

Sphinx: Respected keepers of knowledge and ancient wisdom, sphinxes were once coveted by great rulers as viziers and advisors. Monsters categorized as sphinxes include: Lamia (fallen sphinx - without wings), Lammasu (greater sphinx), Manticore (degenerate), and Shedu (high sphinx).

Spider, Tarantella: Venom may be collected and used as poison.

Thoul: Posing as a hobgoblin king and rises as a ghoul lord if slain. Possibly a personal guard of slightly weaker thouls posing as hobgoblins.

Toad, Javelin: This giant toad has a piercing bone spike at the end of its long tongue that it uses to impale prey.

Treant, Baobab: Ancient and enormous specimens possessed of incredible strength and near-infinite patience.
Treant, Tainted: A treant that has absorbed some sort of poison through its roots and become almost diseased in the process. This creature is twisted and evil, seeking to pass the taint on to any living creature it encounters.

Troglodyte, Primordial: A gigantic, barely intelligent specimen of troglodyte intended as a singular monster to be found in a "lost world" area in much the same role as King Kong.

Troll, Black: Bred by a black dragon for use as minions, this type of troll is shorter and broader than the standard troll and is immune to acid. AC: 3, HD: 5, Dam: 1d4/1d4/1d8, Save: F5. Regenerate 2 HP/round after 2 rounds. Excellent swimmers.

Unicorn: Unique specimen or group that are vampire hunters and slayers - impaling their victims with their horns.
Unithorn: Plant-based unicorn-like creature.

Voraile: Like a giant wasp built on the same lines as a cheetah, this fast and agile creature possesses powerful jaws and a long tail tipped with a vicious stinger. The spotted carapace is hairless and small insect wings allow incredible leaps, but not true flight. The creature's six legs are each tipped with vicious retractable claws.

Wasp, Ordinary: Certain kinds of humanoids will hurl or drop wasp nests in combat.

Weredead: Undead lycanthropes, including ghoul wererats and wight werewolves.

Wereogre: An ogre lycanthrope with a cave bear wereform.

Wraith, Marsh: Has poisonous marsh vapors in its makeup. Often accompanied by a will o' wisp.

Wyrwurm: A giant draconic snake with wings - and no legs. Venomous bite and spitting breath weapon where the poison is also imbued with the properties of the breath weapon. Less intelligent than dragons and no spellcasting. 

Yellow Mold: Can be found on mindless undead or constructs - offering a double threat. Sometimes growing on the back of a stuck door or the inside of a chest lid. Also on the walls and floor of a pit. Some creatures even cover missiles with yellow mold to fire at enemies. Will often ignore disturbance from non-living creatures and is encouraged to grow within crypts and tombs for this reason. Any site with "Golden" in the name might actually refer to a profusion of yellow mold. "The walls, floor, and ceiling of the great central chamber are completely covered in gold!" *snicker*

Zombie: Excellent means of carrying growths of yellow mold, green slime, or other hazard. Some necromancers create their zombies specifically for this purpose.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Shattered Sky - Creature catalysts

One thing I always loved about the D&D game back in the days of my misspent youth was how so many of the monsters were just so obviously designed around specific encounters and dungeon environments. From perfectly 10'x10' gelatinous cubes to lurkers above and trappers that blended perfectly with dungeon floors and ceilings to snare the unwary adventurers. I am also a big fan of puns and other wordplay. Tarantella, anyone?

Dance, you rube!


It isn't long before I start compiling setting-specific notes on existing monsters, coming up with variants, and crafting my own more-or-less original critters. By way of example, I leave you with these rough notes (A-M).

Basilisk, Noble: Large dark green (almost black) reptile with a silvery or golden crest and a venomous bite.
Basilisk, Slow: Necromantic construct fashioned from an animated basilisk skeleton with the preserved eyes of the creature. Its gaze slows a target, otherwise it is an undead skeleton. A few actually paralyze like a ghoul by gaze. They are utterly silent and never make any sound.

Barrow-Worm: Large, pale worm with a human-like face, a lamprey mouth, and two small arms, Has a hairless human form with vampiric qualities. Drains blood and 2 levels per strike. Attempt to paralyze by gaze. Regenerates damage and may reattach severed parts. If reduced to 0 hit points, it falls apart into a wriggling mass of pale worms. Slain victims rise as ghouls.

Bat, Barrow: Essentially an undead bat with the properties of a wight - except that a creature slain by the barrow bat does not later rise as a wight. Larger than a normal bat and sickly pale, with green glowing eyes.
Bat, Thunder: The cry of this huge bat creates a clap of thunder.

Beetle, Giant (general): Some primitive humanoids use giant beetle mandibles in making weapons.
Beetle, Fire: Some humanoids smear fire beetle glands on their weapons to make them glow as a light source, or to impress the gullible. Some also use the glowing paste on themselves as a kind of luminous war paint.
Beetle, Oil: In addition to being caustic, the oil is highly flammable. Some humanoids use the oil in attacks or traps.
Beetle, Razorwing: This giant beetle has a carapace over its wings with sharp edges that slice like blades. The monster will closely resemble another, more common, giant beetle type so as to disguise its blade attack for maximum surprise.
Beetle, Tomb: Fond of carrion and undead flesh, this aggressive giant beetle type has acquired the undead
properties of the ghoul, including paralysis on a successful attack.

Boar, Scimitar: This massive beast has long, curving tusks that pierce and cut like blades.

Bog Biter: Giant hopping frog-like creature with alligator-like jaws and powerful tail.

Carrion Crawler: The paralyzing venom is sometimes used by primitive humanoids as a weapon.

Cave Locust: Some primitive humanoids use cave locust spit as a weapon.

Centaur: A variety of fae with the lower body of a tiny deer and the upper body of a pixie. Fast, quiet, and shy. Prodigious leaps and painful kicks. Camouflaged.

Centipede, Giant: The venom is often used by primitive humanoids as a weapon. It can also be found in civilized lands as a poison.

Dragon, Firebog: Maroon and black. Lairs in tarry swamps, often with sulfurous hot springs. Breath weapon of acidic Greek fire - a kind of burning sticky acid.
Dragon, Indigo: Cold fire breath weapon. Acts exactly as fire, but with cold damage. Lairs in seaside caves in cold climates.
Dragon, Violet: Inhabits desert mountains and canyons. Heat lightning breath weapon that does electrical damage and ignites combustibles.
Dragon, Winterstorm: Pale blue with white highlights. Lives in cold deserts. Breath weapon of a freezing cloud crackling with electricity.

Dragon, Dungeon: Dragons in Shattered Sky may adapt quickly and totally to just about any environment and the "dungeon dragon" has made subterranean passages and chambers its home. Some explorers balk at encountering an ancient red dragon lounging upon a pile of treasure in a 20'x20' room. These adventurers have never dealt with a dungeon dragon - but they're about to.

Sinuous and flexible, the dungeon dragon rarely has the sheer bulk of the standard dragon types, but it does often know more magic. These dragons have four legs, no wings, and are shaped much like the dragons of Asian art and legend. All dungeon dragons can see in darkness, even the magical kind. They climb sheer surfaces and squeeze through openings suited to smaller creatures. Their front claws are as manipulative as human hands.

The six types of dungeon dragon are: Crypt Dragon, Fissure Dragon, Grotto Dragon, Maze Dragon, Pit Dragon, and Vault Dragon.

Crypt: Entirely black, even to the eyes and teeth. Noxious weakening gas breath weapon. Chaotic.
Fissure: Maroon in color. Hot ash cloud breath weapon. Neutral.
Grotto: Indigo colored. Freezing fog breath weapon. Neutral.
Maze: Pale yellow. Heat lightning breath weapon. Neutral.
Pit: Slate gray. Caustic web breath weapon. Chaotic.
Vault: Gray-green. Crystallizing sleet breath weapon. Lawful.

Dryad: Enchant wooden objects by touch. Can also try to control wooden magic items by touch, as well as plant creatures or wooden constructs of at least their own size category by entering the bodies of such targets. What appears to be a graveyard of ancient wooden statuary is actually a dryad wrecking yard.
Dryad, Tainted: Inhabiting a tree that has been afflicted with some (possibly magical) blight or other ailment, the dryad has become a twisted and bitter creature. Some of these dryads inhabit tainted treants (see below).

Elemental, Water (variant): Sewage elemental that is like a foul water elemental with stench and disease.

Fish, Giant: Coastal towns or settlements thrive upon fishing giant specimens of fish and shellfish.

Flutterpotamus: A tiny bluish hippo with undersized butterfly wings that it really doesn't need to fly. Good-aligned but typically grumpy. Will have a squeaky roar that affects each creature in range randomly, according to a d6 roll. Possible effects include Hold, Silence, Sleep, Levitate, and other non-lethal spells. They can speak but rarely do so.

Gargoyle: Defender of holy (or unholy) places and sanctums. Appearance varies according to religious edict and tenet.
Gargoyle, Obsidian: Sleek and fast, with fiery breath weapon.

Gelatinous Cube, Necrojelly: This insidious ooze dissolves the flesh from a victim, leaving behind the intact skeleton - which it then animates. The skeletons are coated with a thin layer of jelly that they transmit upon a successful hit. These skeletons cannot travel far from their host cube and tend to fall apart easily.

Ghoul Lord: A particularly ancient ghoul that has developed the ability to control other ghouls in much the same way a cleric turns undead. As a 5th level cleric against 3HD undead. 2d6 ghouls controlled. Cannot control more than 12 ghouls at any time. AC: 4, HD: 5, Dam: 1-3/1-3/1-6, Save: F5. Paralysis affects even elves.

Giant (Jotun): Like a Norse version of a Titan (Immortals Rules or Monster Manual), these ancient and powerful giants are often worshipped by other giants and three of the most powerful form a secret ruling council over all evil giants. These individuals resemble particularly large and savage frost giants - which they pretend to be.
Giant, Cloud: Prefer to dwell "above it all" in cloud castles or the highest mountain peaks - often serving as liaisons or traders with air elementals and djinn. The clouds that support a cloud giant's castle are not of a single consistency - being solid as ground hear the structures being supported, but semisolid (like quicksand) further out, and often entirely ephemeral nearer the edges.    
Giant, Frost: Particularly ancient individuals, or those of great lineage, will have cold- and weather-related abilities and rival storm giants in power..
Giant, Storm: Possibly nothing more than particularly ancient frost giants and true jotuns. Add some frost giant traits. Exceedingly rare and isolated, possibly true jotuns that have distanced themselves from lesser giantkind and their affairs

Golem, Basilisk: Animated stone basilisk that has been petrified by its own gaze.
Golem, Door: Usually a wood-and-metal construct serving as an interactive door, most likely into an important room or area.
Golem, Threshold: A paired duo of golems that serve to hold a pair of doors or to guard an open doorway.

Golem, Ooze
Golem, Black: Like a clay golem made from black pudding. A strong, humanoid black pudding.
Golem, Gray: Like a clay golem made from gray ooze. A strong, humanoid gray ooze.
Golem, Green: Like a clay golem made from green slime. A strong, humanoid green slime.

Griffon: Variant that is half lion and half phoenix. A golden and red griffon that can burst into flames at will.

Hexie: a kind of malicious pixie witch that bestows nasty curses.

Hippogriff: Variant that is half eagle and half nightmare.

Hobgoblin Khan: Near-divine hobgoblin warlord from an ancient bloodline. Powered by family honor, ancestral spirits, personal renown, and the adoration of his troops. Probably a thoul.

Kobold: Employ group tactics and two may occupy a single square without penalty.
Kobold Fungimancer: A large underground warren may contain a "fungimancer" who functions much like a
fungus-based druid-alchemist-necromancer. The fungimancer crafts poisons and items of natural magic, employs fungus monsters as allies (such as green slime, shriekers, violet fungi, and yellow mold) as well as reanimating the remains of the dead by means of fungal alchemy.
White Kobold: A savage throwback with white fur, red eyes, and oversized jaws with strong, sharp teeth, this breed of kobold possesses a significant bite attack. Many are cannibalistic and will devour any living creature that falls prey to their teeth and claws.
Campaign Hook: While there are kobold ranks above chieftain, these individuals are rare in the extreme. Still, an upstart kobold lord (actually a runty gnoll outcast from his own tribe) tries to unite a number of warrens under his banner of conquest in a bid to forge himself a true kingdom.
Campaign Hook: Possibly associated with the previous hook, a kobold (or possibly a goblin) uses a lucky find of magic items to rule a small dungeon area. Possibly a Ring of Animal Control and Ring of Fire Resistance or Invisibility. Also the possibility of Gauntlets of Ogre Power and maybe even a Wand of Paralyzation that he's figured out how to use.

Laufyr: Lycanthropic werebat taking the form of a gaunt human or a giant bat. Similar powers to a Devil Swine - often mistaken for a vampire.

Lizard Man: Some will possess a camouflage ability like that of a chameleon. Others may display traits found with other giant lizards. Tribe that worships a black dragon skeleton.
Lizard Man, Lycanthrope: Some rare forms of lycanthropy affect lizard men and werecrocodiles or wereserpents are most common.
Lizard Man, Variant: Slightly larger and more dangerous variant known as a Gator Man. Lizard Man with alligator traits: tail slap and a bite attack.
Lizard Man, Witch: Found in the Crowfen, this female witch is named Soshali and is a frequent ally of the black hag, Ivara, and she seeks to become a hag herself. Rumors tell of Soshali, the Witch of Crowfen, but do not mention her species. She has shambling mounds as allies and seems to have some control over will o' wisps in the swamp.

Lupogriff: Body of a wolf, with the head, forelegs, and wings of an eagle.

Lycanthrope, Werebull: Often hulking and placid in human form, these weres are easily provoked into savage attacks. In their man-like transitional form, werebulls are often mistaken for minotaurs.
Lycanthrope, Wererat (Plague Lord): Ancient and powerful wererat that transmits a disease much like that of giant rats, instead of lycanthropy. Also has a disease-laden gaseous breath weapon that can be used 3x/day. Stench like a troglodyte. Able to control rats, giant rats, and wererats.

Men, Bandit: Group of bandits that wear hoods made from beast or monster pelts to make them look like monstrous humanoids.
Men, Organ Grinder: A colorful NPC with one or more trained monkeys that steal from onlookers on behalf of the organ grinder. The organ grinder is essentially a skilled animal trainer with thieving tendencies.
Men, Tinker: Traveling tinker offer to repair equipment or identify/appraise items.  

Minotaur: Sometimes inhabit natural outdoor labyrinths of chasms and fissures.

Mustard Jelly: A poisonous ochre jelly.