A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Fun, Uncommon Beasts For Snowy Mountains

    Hey Playground, haven't been here in a while but I figured I'd pop in to ask for some input on this mini-campaign I'm assembling. Long story short is that the party gets challenged to a hunting contest by the chieftan of a Goliath tribe, and whoever bags the most dangerous quarry wins the artifacts that they've been sent to collect from him (assuming they don't just assassinate the guy, naturally).

    With that in mind, I'm putting together a spread of different possible targets, ranked least to most dangerous, for me to sift through and pick from for when they (hopefully) start scouting around. What are you guys' favorite less-used monsters that would make sense either in the mountains, in mountain lakes, in caverns, etc? They don't HAVE to be monsters in the classic sense, I'm throwing in stuff like a cult that's taken over an abandoned dwarven mine, the good ol' fashioned take-over-the-world wizard upstart that seems to pop up from time to time plotting to assemble an army of constructs (in this case he's not very far along but still has a respectable force), etc. etc. But I'm very interested to see any unique monsters that take advantage of the environment we'll be in.

    This is for D&D 5e, roughly level 8, because that's what was requested of me. I'm putting it in general, however, since I'm definitely converting stuff I dig up in the monster manuals of older editions, in sourcebooks like Frostburn, other systems, etc and I want a wide base of answers.
    Last edited by Milodiah; 2021-11-28 at 02:00 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    Do not try a linear campaign, without some discussion with them. Players very often look at your hooks and then try to accomplish it in a different way, not touch it, try to do the complete opposite, or somehow set it on fire.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kymme's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fun, Uncommon Beasts For Snowy Mountains

    This monster is only 'less used' in the sense that I made it up, but the pitch might be helpful!

    The stone-mimic bird is a ptarmigan the size of an ox-cart with feathers that go from fluffy snow white in the winter to mottled brown grey during the summer. Unlike their smaller cousins, their feathers actually gain the hardness and durability of stone when their colors change. In winter they are just big doofy birds, but during the height of summer they are invincible killing machines.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Oct 2016

    Default Re: Fun, Uncommon Beasts For Snowy Mountains

    If you’re in the Snowy Mountains I’d suggest bunyips, yowies, and if you think your party could handle it a drop bear.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Griffon

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    Default Re: Fun, Uncommon Beasts For Snowy Mountains

    Stuff in a magical environment should evolve to prey on things that are not meat or plants. They should still be dangerous (as to defend themselves from carnivores). Flight is a great boon, as is cold resistance or immunity and camouflage in snowy and rocky terrains. I personally enjoy Rocs for mountainous areas, as are wyverns, but the bird is a typical D&D monster. Templating it is uncreative.

    What the area lacks in natural food sources and warmth, it makes up in solitude and rocks. I would love some crystal lizards. Millenia old cave monsters that just come to the surface when either disturbed or to harvest minerals to build up ever-growing and precious gemstones on their backs. If you have a Dwarven mine, maybe they have uncovered a precious gem, only for the lizard to snatch it up, and encase others in crystal.

    It would have a chance to reflect ray-based magic, be able to cast an effect like mirror image in its lair, resistance to cold and acid. It is vulnerable to thunder damage. Give it generous AC (thinking 18, when AC 16 is Barkskin).

    Its breath is made of crystal shards and deals slashing damage, and anyone dropped to zero or failing the dex save by it is encased by crystals (speed halved, disadv. on dex checks).

    The bigger and more dangerous the lizard, the more precious its crystals. The crystals are a valuable alchemy ingredient and used for spell foci too. You can have a smaller and bigger version, and you can combine both if they start to get extremely greedy. I would make it extremely territorial, but it would not give chase to the group if they fled. Def. overtune it, esp. if they plan to use a day's worth of spells and ressources to it. Remember to make the survival to and from the battle an issue too instead of skipping it.
    Last edited by Spore; 2021-12-04 at 09:19 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: Fun, Uncommon Beasts For Snowy Mountains

    I think it was called a Remorraz? Basically, a hot-blooded snow worm.

    I think Yeti's could be fun too.

    Some sort of aggressive Big Horn sheep high in the mountains could be interesting too.
    Last edited by Easy e; 2021-12-07 at 05:56 PM.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Fun, Uncommon Beasts For Snowy Mountains

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly View Post
    If you’re in the Snowy Mountains I’d suggest bunyips, yowies, and if you think your party could handle it a drop bear.
    I see what you did there

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Imbalance's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fun, Uncommon Beasts For Snowy Mountains

    The White Buffalo. Movie's a trip. I'd stat the titular monster as some kind of aberrant construct (since the animatronics are visible in a few scenes) with abilities similar to a phase spider that can also destroy terrain. The party must enter a "dream state" to fight it properly.

    Also, I'd still love to flesh out this idea:
    Quote Originally Posted by Imbalance View Post
    Glacial jelly. Enormous slime that occupies a valley floor and allows ice to build on it for decades. Its only movement is to flex in reaction to a creature attempting to traverse its frozen shell, causing a deep fissure to open beneath the victim. Fail a save and fall dozens of feet to the source of the threat, taking acid damage each turn. The jelly can open multiple cracks, each as its action, or use a 1/day action to close a gap upon a victim, dealing bludgeoning damage and possible incap. High athletics check to escape without assistance. Incapacitated victim can only be rescued after X rounds of fire damage to the shell.
    “Rule is what lies between what is said and what is understood.”

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Fun, Uncommon Beasts For Snowy Mountains

    Quote Originally Posted by Droodicus View Post
    I see what you did there
    If they are high enough level they might even be able to survive a wombat, best described as a hairy boulder with legs and a bad attitude.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Fun, Uncommon Beasts For Snowy Mountains

    Given that we have silly suggestions from Australia, I propose a silly suggestion from here in Scotland; the Wild Haggis, a harmless but edible creature of the hills and mountains.

    A common cartoon depiction of haggis for kids and (jokingly) tourists is that haggis a are small round animals with four legs, with those on one side being shorter than the other so they can run in rings around hills and mountains more easily to avoid being caught by hungry Scotsmen during haggis hunts. Traditionally they would be hunted by having a fast lad chase them down the mountain while some other lads waited at the bottom with a net.

    They come in two subspecies, clockwise and anti-clockwise, describing the direction they can run around mountains in due to which of their right or left legs are shorter. Clockwise and anti-clockwise haggis can theoretically breed, but due to the issue that when the male turns around to mount a female of a diferent species he tips over sideways because his legs aren't balanced anymore there has never been a confirmed crossbreed.

    Most often they get portrayed as, well, a haggis with legs. A big fat sausage like object with eyes, legs and a trumpet like snout where it would be tied in a knot like any other sausage variant.

    They might be handy for a more goofy kind of hunt. Throw yourself down a hill after a wheel of cheese (a tradition in a few villages in England) kind of ludicrous stuff, but it's goliaths running around like buffoons after what is essentially a lopsided badger and treating the whole thing as much more serious than it is.
    Sanity is nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Fun, Uncommon Beasts For Snowy Mountains

    Quote Originally Posted by Grim Portent View Post
    They might be handy for a more goofy kind of hunt. Throw yourself down a hill after a wheel of cheese (a tradition in a few villages in England) kind of ludicrous stuff, but it's goliaths running around like buffoons after what is essentially a lopsided badger and treating the whole thing as much more serious than it is.
    Honestly the idea of goliaths throwing themselves down a mountain after a wheel of yak cheese really does seem like exactly what they'd do. I've seen some of those videos, and I'm always torn between being baffled and concerned, or laughing my ass off.
    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    Do not try a linear campaign, without some discussion with them. Players very often look at your hooks and then try to accomplish it in a different way, not touch it, try to do the complete opposite, or somehow set it on fire.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Fun, Uncommon Beasts For Snowy Mountains

    I'd try to take down the rival parties we are competing with. By definition, they are more dangerous than anything they hunted and killed.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Fun, Uncommon Beasts For Snowy Mountains

    Quote Originally Posted by Grim Portent View Post
    Given that we have silly suggestions from Australia, I propose a silly suggestion from here in Scotland; the Wild Haggis, a harmless but edible creature of the hills and mountains.

    A common cartoon depiction of haggis for kids and (jokingly) tourists is that haggis a are small round animals with four legs, with those on one side being shorter than the other so they can run in rings around hills and mountains more easily to avoid being caught by hungry Scotsmen during haggis hunts. Traditionally they would be hunted by having a fast lad chase them down the mountain while some other lads waited at the bottom with a net.

    They come in two subspecies, clockwise and anti-clockwise, describing the direction they can run around mountains in due to which of their right or left legs are shorter. Clockwise and anti-clockwise haggis can theoretically breed, but due to the issue that when the male turns around to mount a female of a diferent species he tips over sideways because his legs aren't balanced anymore there has never been a confirmed crossbreed.

    Most often they get portrayed as, well, a haggis with legs. A big fat sausage like object with eyes, legs and a trumpet like snout where it would be tied in a knot like any other sausage variant.
    .
    As depicted here, along with the Giant Highland Stalking Spider.
    https://youtu.be/AthqBXzM03o
    Last edited by Pauly; 2021-12-08 at 11:59 PM.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    TeChameleon's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fun, Uncommon Beasts For Snowy Mountains

    If you want to go a bit weird, you could bring in a Discworld Yeti, which are one of the only living species to evolve save points (via time manipulation). Then watch the party lose their minds trying to kill the thing, only to have it pop back into existence totally unaffected, occasionally smacking away a member of the party if they got too impertinent (Discworld Yetis are a subspecies of troll, so they are very, very strong), and generally treating the whole thing like a distraction barely worth acknowledging, or a mildly amusing diversion if the party gets really creative.

    In the end, the only way to kill it would be for the party to find some time manipulation of their own (and even then, the 'death' would only last until the party's time manipulation wore off; Discworld Yetis have technically been extinct three times), or to ask the Yeti politely if it would mind staying dead long enough for them to win the competition- Discworld Yetis are fully sentient, and, barring a mild speech impediment due to having large fangs, perfectly capable of speech, even chatty if approached correctly, and cheerfully willing to 'die' briefly, as it doesn't seem to even mildly inconvenience them.

    ... granted, I wouldn't try this unless your party is willing to think outside the box a little or you are quite confident in your ability to lay out clues as to what's going on and hints as to how to deal with it.
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Phhase's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fun, Uncommon Beasts For Snowy Mountains

    Look up Chraal, Immoth, Bleakborn, or Winterwight for monster inspiration. Immoth in particular could be interesting.
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  15. - Top - End - #15
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    Brother Oni's Avatar

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    Default Re: Fun, Uncommon Beasts For Snowy Mountains

    To throw a potential spanner in the works, you could have a Yuki-onna pop up during the hunt. Setting her up as an enemy to kill and as a trophy to bag is kinda boring and doesn't take full advantage of her intelligence, so set her up as a young, curious Yuki-onna who's simply interested as to what's going on.

    Since she's a not an absolute idiot, she'll approach the PCs under the guise of a normal villager, in order to learn more about them. Depending on how nicely the PCs treat her, she can either be a boon to the hunt (pointing out where the biggest nastiest critter is or local hazards) or just spend her time hanging around the party as they're interesting to be with.
    If they're too nice to her, she'll develop a bit of a crush on the nicest PC, which will potentially complicate things.

    If the PCs try to attack her instead, she'll flee and spend the rest of the hunt making the PCs lives hell.


    Another option is Juhyo or snow monsters (link). You could either have them as a swarm of medium-sized living snow monsters which ambush travellers by waiting until the victims are surrounded, or a single giant one that pretends to be a snow covered tree, hiding in plain sight among all the other snow covered trees.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Orc in the Playground
     
    BardGirl

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    Default Re: Fun, Uncommon Beasts For Snowy Mountains

    Quote Originally Posted by Milodiah View Post
    Honestly the idea of goliaths throwing themselves down a mountain after a wheel of yak cheese really does seem like exactly what they'd do. I've seen some of those videos, and I'm always torn between being baffled and concerned, or laughing my ass off.
    I'm stealing this for when I run Rime of the Frostmaiden.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Fun, Uncommon Beasts For Snowy Mountains

    Woolly mammoths and woolly rhinos. Possibly undead, that is, they fell down a cliff and died a lpng time ago, but now their frozen remains have come to life to take vengeance on hunters who drove them to extinction.

    The white reindeer, mountain goat etc.. That is, an especially beautiful female specimen that has a reputation of luring hunters to their demise, making them fall off cliffs or goring them with its antlers. Is in truth a woman cursed by a local witch. Bonus points for being goliath woman, meaning the animal form is also bigger than usual.

    The Lady or Lord of Frost - human(oid) incarnation of winter. For example, frost giants, in game terms. Not to be killed, but rather woo'ed. The big quest is to melt the heart of a nearly-literal ice queen or king.

    The Anti-Phoenix. (From Veins of Earth.) The avatar of darkness and inevitability of death. Comes out to hunt during blackest nights, otherwise resides deep in the bowels of the mountain. Only speaks in dead languages. Collects relics from dead civilizations and other unique trinkets, mostly to destroy them. Can kill anything deader than dead. Just looking at it makes your eyes bleed. Only one can ever exist in any of your games, if it is ever killed, ritually burn all your notes pertaining to it.

    Meanderthals, carcinogenous bears and cavebear golems, also from Veins of Earths. Relics of bygone eras - the meanderthal is malignant ghost of extinct human sub-species (specifically neanderthals, adapt to your own setting). The carcinogenous bear is a cave bear that has spend way too long in the wrong kind of cave and is covered in black, hard growths, giving it natural armor. The cavebear golem is a spirit summoned by ancient people into the skull of a cavebear, a being of primordial magic capable of creating the bear's form out of clay, snow, etc.

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