Monday, December 18, 2006

Look out! Lava Monsters!

Howdy, folks! I'm back from my absence. My daughter has recovered from the chicken pox and returned to school this morning.

I use a lot of prepainted plastic figures in my D&D games, thanks to the D&D collectible miniatures game, Heroscape, and MageKnight. But sometimes I like to make my own flat counters. Google image search and even a novice level understanding of a simple paint program can produce some really fun results. Behold:
'Its grip is like a molten oven' --Superman
At full size those are Huge lava monsters. The counters were made by swiping someone else's screencap of the Challenge of the Superfriends episode "Monolith of Evil" and adding my own text with MS Paint. "Monolith of Evil" is one of my favorite Superfriends episodes. It's one of the shows where the Legion of Doom go on an adventure of their own, which I always love. And this time they journey to the molten center of the earth to steal the ultimate source of evil energy. Also, there's a sequence where Braniac shrinks the UN building and steals it. Awesome. By the way, the text on the first counter is pretty much a direct quote from Cheetah when the lava creature pops up.

The stats for the creature were kludged together by taking the Lead Golem from Tome of Horrors and adding the Fire Elemental template from Mike Mearls' Monster's Handbook. I've mentioned it before but it's worth repeating: I highly recommend Monster's Handbook to newbie DMs who need to get a handle on creating their own creatures. My confidence in running 3.x went up a big ol' notch after using Monster's Handbook a couple of times. And Tome of Horrors has a great mixture of new baddies and old critters updated to the new D&D. I chose the Lead Golem as the basis for this particularly baddie pretty much solely on the grounds that their leaden fists use multiple d12s for damage. I love d12s. The Fire Elemental template I used isn't really supposed to stack with constructs but here's a DMing trade secret: sometimes the DM can and should cheat on stuff like that.

I was pleased with the resulting Lava Monsters. The players had a chuckle at the throwaway text, the monsters bothered them for a few rounds, I got to roll some d12s. The one downer was that they were totally upstaged by the two Lavawights also in that encounter. Who decided that epic monsters should permanently and irrevocably drain stats? My players found that idea to be the polar opposite of fun.