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Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery: The Monster Dilemma

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I've discovered a problem creating a Swords and Sorcery variant of Microlite74: the monster list. Many of the monsters on the standard monster list don't really fit into the average swords and sorcery milieu. Most swords and sorcery stories are very human-centric. Most of the enemies characters face are humans of various types. Monsters tend to be one of a kind (or a small group of that kind who live in a remote area, not an entire species that one encounters all over the place. There usually aren't even the wide variety of humanoid monsters (goblins, hobgoblins, orcs, etc.) and if such humanoids exists there are generally confined to the fringes of the world away from what passes for human civilization.

The more I think about this, the more I'm at a loss of what to with monsters for Microlite74 Swords and Sorcery. What I'm currently thinking of doing is saying what I said in the paragraph above in the Monsters section of the rules, continue to list most of the monsters in standard M74 and allow the GM to select those he wishes to use and ignore those that don't fit his swords and sorcery setting, and finally add a simple random monster generator for quickly creating those one-off monsters Conan was always running across in ancient ruins. However, I'm not sure that this isn't a cop-out. However, the alternative, creating some new monsters with what I see as a S&S flavor would not really work in a "microlite" format as such monsters were need quite a bit of description to be worthwhile.

Comments on my "S&S Monster Dilemma" are welcome.


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6 comments:
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Fenway5 said...
March 3, 2012 at 11:08 AM  

Taking a page from my own game designs, I would suggest two lists of monsters: The wild and the weird. Wild can be filled with all manner of normal beasts, dinosaurs, and giant sized/dire beasts. The weird would be your undead, or other magical monsters.

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Hamel™ said...
March 3, 2012 at 1:40 PM  

Conan fought different apemen and demons, in the books.

Anyway, IMHO you can find inspiration here (it's 3E material but you have monsters listed for any single book):

http://old.enworld.org/Inzeladun/conan.htm

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Andreas Davour said...
March 3, 2012 at 1:59 PM  

In a hyborian game, for example, I'd do giant animals or things like that. Dinosaurs, dire beasts and just monstrous and giant versions of beasts.

To that I'd add some demons and undead, since those feels right in.

Then there are of course some more mythos influenced stuff like the goo and tentacles. Those fit as well, I'd say. And snake men...

But, the best way to handle monsters in S&S is as GM advice about two legged monsters.

My two cents, anyway.

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Khayman said...
March 4, 2012 at 9:38 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
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Randall said...
March 4, 2012 at 9:45 PM  

Good ideas, folks. Considering Nanok (one of the characters in my playtest was almost killed by a lion today (after it had killed 3 men-at-arms), my players have a bit more respect for the "mundane animals".

@Hamel: Special thanks for the link to the 3e Conan stuff. I don't think I'd ever seen that before.

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Khayman said...
March 4, 2012 at 9:46 PM  

I like Fenway5's suggestion to have the two lists monsters. Most of the enemies faced by S&S protagonists are humans or animals, so any monsters should be monstrous indeed.

You might emphasize spirit creatures on the 'weird' list (things like Invisible Stalkers, djinn, lesser demons, possibly incorporeal undead). Your standard skeletons, zombies and ghouls are all good. Things like lizard men, yuan-ti, and doppelgangers could be present as hidden races (like Lovecraft's Valusian serpent men).

The more weird D&D beasts, like rust monsters, eye globes, and coeurl, could be summonings from alien realms or complex bindings --- in other words, using the Monster Summoning spells. That leaves them available as statlines but not running wild (and not an issue for encounter tables). They could be found in a sorcerer's tower but I wouldn't see much place for them running loose in a sword-and-sorcery ecology.

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