Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Things that go bump in the night still fear the mob

So in many games,  there are horrible monsters that will be largely immune to the assaults of the average man or soldier.  Creatures requiring magic weapons, dark spirits and weird things from beyond space and time.  But why don't they just over run and destroy town like a rampaging Dunwich horror?  Perhaps mankind has a few tools up their sleeve to protect their little hamlets from destruction?

Here are a few suggestions for what keeps the town safe and makes monsters avoid the mob:

    A common one, and a common one used by adventurers so it isn't that great of a secret weapon.  That said, many staple monsters fear the flame.  Maybe it doesn't even hurt, it just causes fear? Still a classic.

Holy Symbols
    I like to make holy symbols count as +0 magic items.  This makes them unsuitable (really) for any but the most desperate of attacks against a monster.  Still, an angry mob full of people holding up wooden crosses might give a monster pause against a frontal assault.

   Not only does their keen hearing and sense of smell allow them to sense the invisible and unnatural (a vital warning system against everything from from Elder Things to Terminators) but the baying of hounds may have supernatural powers which they lend to their human masters.  In OSR terms,  The barking of dogs counts as a turn undead from a cleric with a level equal to the square root of the number of dogs (1,4,9,16 etc).  In NGR I'd count a fair many dogs as having 'Exorcism'.

  If Dogs are mankind's best friend then cats are mankind's temperamental and weird roommate who poops in a box. Still cats are often fond of humans and help protect the home, in addition to their own ability to detect the unnatural cats are guardians of ancient secrets and powerful magic,  attacks from cats count as attack from magic weapons.  If you are some sort of virginity eating lycanthrope, you should invest in some traps as the cats congregate near your home in preparation for an assault.

   While it is true you may need magic weapons to harm some creatures,  you don't need magic items to hold them down, wrap them in chains, throw them in a sack and bury them under a pile of heavy rocks in a cave.  Further more, that might be a truly terrible fate for a creature to have to befall,  best stick to picking off lone villagers rather than risk a frontal assault.

Anything else I should add?


  1. This may be too broad a term, but what about "folklore"?

    Even in (pseudo-)medieval times, people collected and shared knowledge. Even if much of it is superstition, there's bound to be something that works somewhere in there. Hanging a stinky plant over your doors and windows will keep the blood-sucking undead away? Sounds coocoo, but it works.

    1. That's a good point and adds to the fun of running the superstitious local village. Just think how many crazy ideas there are out there for dealing with the creatures of the night. Just go crazy, and see what lengths the players got o to protect themselves.

  2. Perhaps differences in emotions have different supernatural effects. An individual facing a monster would likely experience fear, which might even make the creature more powerful, while a worked-up mob is more full of anger and hate, which may weaken the creature or power the villager's attacks.

    Order. Creatures of the wild and the supernatural thrive in disordered environments and among natural shapes. Things like right angles weaken them, accounting for some of their aversion to things like the cross and buildings with their ordered walls and corners. A well-ordered street grid is itself a mild defense against the gribblies, while a town with curving warrens and haphazard structures may find itself easier prey.

  3. In my setting, the higher-ranking fey creatures have a weakness towards fire and iron. Which is why they have made it so that in the faerie iron turns to rust, and fire turns to feyfire, burning blue.

    So they won't cross over to bother villages in person. Though they may send goblins and other minions to do it in their stead.

  4. Drowning. Not every supernatural creature does need to breathe, though.
    Maybe a random table of things a monster with immunity to normal weapons is vulnerable against, but this could lead to 3.5 comedy, where higher level adventures have the right tool for the job (and an invisible caddy, obviusly).

    But there's potential in this: "I melt! I melt!" cries the gargoyle. ;)