Monday, June 26, 2017

taking inspiration where you can get it

Howdy, all!  I'm spending this week on the shore of Lake Namakagon in northern Wisconsin.  Today the family and I went out for lunch to the Bierstube, a little bar and grill attached to Garmisch, a small lakeside resort with a kitschy Bavarian romantic aesthetic not uncommon in parts of the midwest of the U.S.  True fact: the fanciest restaurant I knew about as a kid was a German place in Peoria, Illinois with great sausages and a suit of plate armor on display in the dining room.  

The Bierstube itself was remodeled a decade or two back, to go with a more contemporary hunting lodge look, but it is still kitschy as hell.  Exhibit A:


That's two bear cubs stuffed and displayed hanging from the rafters and holding lanterns.  A little grotesque, perhaps, but also inspirational:

Lantern Bear
AC: 7
HD: 2
Mv: 120', climb 90'
Attacks: 1 claw and 1 bite
Dmg: d4/d4
# App: d6
Save: Elf 2
Morale: 7
Treasure: C
Alignment: Chaos

Lantern Bears appear as three to four foot tall upright ursinoids, but they are actually members of the goblinoid family of beings.  Each Lantern Bear carries a hooded lantern that glows with an unearthly pale light.  At a distance these lights are easily mistaken for will-o-wisps.

No undead will come within 30' of the light of a Lantern Bear.  Because of this effect, Lantern Bears often serve as messengers, couriers, and escorts to other monsters who wish to communicate or travel through dungeon areas infested by undead.  With a favorable reaction roll and an appropriate bribe (fresh meat, high quality liquor, and/or gold), they can be hired by adventurers for up to 12 turns of activity.  If the party is rude or cheapskates, the Lantern Bears may accept the offer of employment but lead the adventurers to their doom.

Although normally fighting with a claw and a bite attack, a desperate or cornered Lantern Bear will smash its lantern against a foe.  If the lantern hits, it does 2d6 burning damage followed by another 2d6 damage the following round.  The victim (or its corpse) will glow with a faerie fire effect in the dark for the next 1-6 days.

Lantern Bears speak their own tongue, a bit of the guttural patois used by nearly all goblinoids (gobbocommon), and, typically, one other tongue such as goblish, bugbear, or common.

When killed, the lanterns of these monsters burn for d6 additional turns--retaining their special properties for that period--after which they lose their magical properties.  After that, they can still be used as normal lanterns.  Note that Lantern Bears do not normally use any oil in their lanterns.  Rather, the light is a function of the monster's inherent magical nature.  Thus, the fuel of multiple lanterns cannot be pooled to extend the magical light of a single burning lantern.