Monster Basics

The Dark Dungeons world is full of a variety of creatures, from the harmless to the terrifying.

Collectively these creatures are referred to as Monsters, even though some of them are mundane animals or even people. Similarly, just because a creature is referred to as a Monster, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the creature will be hostile to the player characters. Monsters can also be allies or friends, or merely neutral or disinterested parties which may be negotiated with.

Within this chapter, monsters are described in alphabetical order, described in a standard format.

Monster Format

Each monster description contains a Stat Block containing some or all of the following entries:

Type:
Habitat:
Wandering Group:
Lair Group:
Move:
Armour Class:
Hit Dice:
Attack Bonus:
Attacks:
Weapon Expertise:
Power Reserve:
vs Death/Poion:
vs Wand:
vs Paralyse/Petrify:
vs Dragon Breath:
vs Rod/Staff/Spell:
Alignment:
Intelligence:
XP Value:

Type

This contains one or more keywords that describe the monster’s basic type; such as “Animal”, “Undead” and so forth. |

Some of these keywords are merely descriptive, but many of them are relevant when it comes to the way certain spells or items work. For example, a Protection From Evil spell keeps out any creatures with the Enchanted keyword.

Habitat

This contains one or more habitats where the monster can be found, along with the monster’s rarity in each of those habitats.

Wandering Group

This contains a number range which shows how many monsters of this type are typically encountered when wandering away from their lair or home. This number range is followed by a letter in parentheses, which indicates the type of treasure (see Chapter 19: Treasure) that each individual is likely to be carrying with them.

Lair Group

This contains a number range which shows how many monsters of this type typically live together in a shared lair or home. In the case of civilized creatures, this indicates the size of a typical village or camp, not the size of a whole city. This number range is followed by a letter in parentheses, which indicates the type of treasure (see Chapter 19: Treasure) that the group has in total in their lair, in addition to any treasure that might be carried by individuals.

Move

This shows the movement per round of the monster. If the monster has unusual forms of movement, such as being able to fly or swim, these will also be listed.

Armour Class

This shows the armour class of the monster. If there is an asterisk next to the armour class value then the monster has immunities to some attacks. See the monster description for details of such immunities.

Hit Dice

This shows the number of dice to roll in order to calculate the monster’s hit points. It may include a modifier, which should be added to the hit point total. For example “3+1” indicates that the monster has 3d8+1 hit dice. This value is followed by a second number in parentheses which indicates the average hit points that a monster of this type will have. The hit dice total may be followed by one or more asterisks. Each asterisk indicates that the monster has a special ability that makes it tougher than a normal monster with the same number of hit dice. Monsters with asterisks are worth more experience points than normal.

If you are inventing your own monsters or modifying monsters then you will need to judge which special abilities of the monster are worth asterisks. Generally only special abilities that give the monster an offensive bonus in combat are worth asterisks, with a rough guideline to power being that each two spell levels that a creature can cast or each two levels of weapon expertise that it has is worth an asterisk and each special ability such as Energy Drain or Paralysis is also worth an asterisk.

Attack Bonus

This shows the attack bonus that the monster uses for its attacks. This may be followed by a modifier, which is the normal to-hit modifier that the monster gets on attacks. For example “+3+2” indicates that the monster attacks using attack bonus +3 and has a +2 bonus on its to-hit rolls.

The attack bonus of a monster is based on its hit dice. It has already been calculated for all the listed monsters, but if you are inventing a new monster or modifying a monster then look up the monster’s hit dice on table 18-1 in order to find out its attack bonus.

Attacks

This shows the number and type of attacks that the monster gets each round. Unless a monster description says otherwise, all attacks are resolved on the monster’s initiative, and multiple attacks may be split between valid targets. Each attack will be followed by a number range in parentheses. This number range indicates the damage done by that attack.

Weapon Expertise

Some monsters use weapons, and they can have levels of expertise in those weapons, just like player characters who have bought Weapon Feats. The bonuses that a monster gets for its weapon expertise are listed {in brackets} as part of its normal listing. These bonuses are based on the monster using its listed weapon against armed opponents.

If you wish to use a monster with weapon expertise but change the type of weapon it is using, then you can swap the bonuses for the equivalent bonuses for having the same level of weapon expertise but with the new weapon.

If you are inventing your own monsters or modifying monsters then weapon using monsters should be given a maximum level of expertise based on their hit dice,:

Up to 2+HD Basic
3 to 5+HD Skilled
6 to 8+HD Expert
9 to 10+HD Master
11HD and up Grandmaster

Power Reserve

Some very powerful monsters have a Power Reserve like Immortals do. (See Chapter 17: Immortals for details about Power Reserve and Power Points).

Monsters can only spend their Power Points on the things listed in their description. Unless listed, they can not spend their Power Points on Immortal level spells.

Saving Throws

These show the monster’s chances to make saving throws of each of the five different types.

The monsters listed here have their saving throw chances pre-calculated. When inventing your own monsters or modifying monsters, the saving throw chances of intelligent humanoid monsters should normally be the same as those of a character of the most suitable class to match the monster’s abilities and of a level equal to the number of hit dice the monster has. Other monsters should usually have saving throw chances that are the same as those of a fighter with a level equal to half the monster’s hit dice.

Some very powerful monsters have the same four types of saving throw as Immortals, rather than the normal five types. (See Chapter 17: The Immortals for details about Immortal defences.)

Just like Immortals, these monsters are immune to poison, disease, energy drain, aging, and magic cast by mortals, and can make saving throws vs Physical Attacks to take half damage from physical attacks. However, unlike Immortals they do not take minimum damage from mortal level physical attacks and are not immune to physical attacks from mortals using less than +5 weapons unless their description specifically says that they do.

Alignment

This indicates the most common alignment of this type of monster. Although this is the most common alignment for monsters of this type, individuals may have different alignments.

Only sapient creatures have an alignment. Non-sapient creatures that have no free will and behave purely based on instinct (or based on the command of another) have an alignment listed as “None”.

Intelligence

This shows the average intelligence of this type of monster. In the case of sapient monsters, the intelligence of individuals will vary from this average; but in the case of non-sapient monsters this is a fixed score.

Non-sapient monsters can have an intelligence score of up to 5 if they are particularly good at problem solving—although this doesn’t mean that they are the intellectual equals of sapient creatures with a similar score.

Table 18-1: Base Monster Abilities

Hit Dice Attack Bonus Base Experience Experience per *
<1+151
1+1103
1++2154
2+3205
2++32510
3+33515
3++45025
4+47550
4++512575
5+5175125
5++6225175
6+6275225
6++7350300
7+7450400
7++8550475
8+8650550
8++9775625
9+9900700
9+ to 10+101,000750
10+ to 11+101,100800
11+ to 12+111,250875
12+ to 13+111,350950
13+ to 14+121,5001,000
14+ to 15+121,6501,050
15+ to 16+131,8501,100
16+ to 17+132,0001,150
17+ to 18+142,1251,350
18+ to 19+142,2501,550
19+ to 20+152,3751,800
20+ to 21+152,5002,000
21+ to 22+162,7502,250
22+ to 23+163,0002,500
23+ to 24+173,2502,750
24+ to 25+173,5003,000
25+ to 26+183,7503,250
26+ to 27+183,5003,500
27+ to 28+193,7503,750
28+ to 29+194,5004,000
29+ to 30 +204,7504,250
30+ to 31+205,0004,500
31+ to 32+215,2504,750
32+ to 33+215,5005,000
33+ to 34+225,7505,250
34+ to 35+226,0005,500
35+ to 36+236,2505,750
36+ to 37+246,5006,000
37+ to 38+256,7506,250
38+ to 39+267,0006,500
39+ to 40+277,2506,750
40+ to 41+287,5007,000
41+ to 42+297,7507,250
42+ to 43+308,0007,500
43+ to 44+318,2507,750
44+ to 45+328,5008,000
45+ to 46+338,7508,250
46+ to 47+349,0008,500
47+ to 48+359,2508,750
48+ to 49+369,5009,000
49+ to 50+379,7509,250
50+ to 51+3810,0009,500
51+ to 52+3810,2509,750
52+ to 53+3910,50010,000
53+ to 54+3910,75010,250
54+ to 55+4011,00010,500
55+ to 56+4011,25010,750
56+ to 57+4111,50011,000
57+ to 58+4111,75011,250
58+ to 59+4212,00011,500
59+ to 60+4212,25011,750
60+ to 61+4312,50012,000
61+ to 62+4312,75012,250
62+ to 63+4313,00012,500
63+ to 64+4313,25012,750
64+ to 65+4313,50013,000
65+ to 66+4413,75013,250
66+ to 67+4414,00013,500
67+ to 68+4414,25013,750
68+ to 69+4414,50014,000
69+ to 70+4414,75014,250
70+ to 71+4515,00014,500
71+ to 72+4515,25014,750
72+ to 73+4515,50015,000
73+ to 74+4515,75015,250
74+ to 75+4516,00015,500
75+ to 76+4616,25015,750
76+ to 77+4616,50016,000
77+ to 78+4616,75016,250
78+ to 79+4617,00016,500
79+ to 80+4617,25016,750
80+ to 81+4717,50017,000
80+ to 82+4717,75017,250
82+ to 83+4718,00017,500
83+ to 84+4718,25017,750
84+ to 85+4718,50018,000
85+ to 86+4718,75018,250
86+ to 87+4719,00018,500
87+ to 88+4719,25018,750
88+ to 89+4719,50019,000
89+ to 90+4719,75019,250
90+ to 91+4820,00019,500
91+ to 92+4820,25019,750
92+ to 93+4820,50020,000
93+ to 94+4820,75020,250
94+ to 95+4821,00020,500
95+ to 96+4821,25020,750
96+ to 97+4821,50021,000
97+ to 98+4821,75021,250
98+ to 99+4822,00021,500
99+ to 100+4822,25021,750
100+ to 101+4922,50022,000
101+ to 102+4922,75022,250
102+ to 103+4923,00022,500
103+ to 104+4923,25022,750
104+ to 105+4923,50023,000
105+ to 106+4923,75023,250
106+ to 107+4924,00023,500
107+ to 108+4924,25023,750
108+ to 109+4924,50024,000
109+ to 110+4924,75024,250
>110+4925,00024,500

XP Value

This shows the amount of experience points that a party should get shared between them for defeating a monster of this type. Note that defeating does not necessarily mean that the monster must be killed. See Chapter 11: Getting Better for more details about gaining experience from defeating monsters.

The monsters listed in this chapter already have experience values precalculated. If you are inventing your own monsters or modifying monsters then look up the monster’s hit dice on table 18-1 in order to find out its experience value.

For each hit dice over 110, simply add 250 XP plus another 250 XP per * to the monster’s experience value.

Special Abilities

Some monsters have special or unusual abilities that need more detailed description than that which is provided in their individual monster text. Further details of these abilities are described in this section:

Anti-Magic

Some creatures have an Anti-Magic ability listed, either as a personal ability or occasionally as an area effect ability.

Anti-magic is usually listed with a percentage (e.g. “50% Anti-Magic”). In cases where it is not, assume that it is 100%.

In an anti-magic area, all existing magic has a chance of not working. Each magical effect that is brought into the area has a percentage chance equal to the anti-magic percentage of being temporarily suppressed while in the area and ceasing to work. Existing magic with a duration still has its duration counted while in the area, even if it is not working. Existing magic brought into an anti-magic area will resume functionality (assuming its duration has not run out) once it leaves the area.

Example: Oeric, using a +2 Sword of Flaming and under the influence of a Potion of Flying, is attacking a floating horror. The horror turns its anti-magic ray in his direction. Since the anti-magic ray of a floating horror is not given a percentage, it is assumed to be 100% effective. Oeric’s +3 Sword of Flaming goes out, and is now a normal sword. Similarly, Oeric falls to the ground as his Potion of Flying is suppressed.

Two rounds later, the floating horror looks away. Oeric’s sword immediately bursts into flame again and regains its +2 bonus, and Oeric can now fly again. The two rounds that he spent unable to fly still count towards the duration of his potion.

Additionally, while in an anti-magic area, any spell cast or any magical ability used has a percentage chance of failing to work. In this case, the spell or ability will not suddenly kick in after the area is left, and the spell or ability does count as having been used for purposes of charges or uses-per-day.

If the anti-magic is a personal ability rather than an area effect, it is simpler. The creature with the ability simply has that percentage chance of being unaffected by the magic. The magic will still function normally other than not affecting the creature.

Example: Aloysius casts a Fireball spell from an artefact that he owns at a marilith and the trolls that are accompanying her. Because the fireball is from an artefact, it gets past the marilith’s immunity to mortal level magic. However, her anti-magic still applies.

The marilith has a 25% anti-magic against immortal level magic, so the Game Master rolls for the fireball and gets a 12.

The fireball goes off as normal, hurting all the trolls. However, the marilith stands in the middle of it totally unaffected by the magic and totally undamaged.

Energy Drain

Some creatures, mostly undead, have the Energy Drain ability.

Anyone hit by an energy drain immediately loses one level or hit die.

In the case of characters, the character’s experience total is lowered to the mid-point of the previous level (e.g. a 7th level character is lowered to an experience total mid way between level 6 and level 7).

For all purposes, the creature is considered to now have the lower level or hit dice.

The character or monster’s attack bonus and saving throws are reduced to those of the lower level, as are the number of spells that the character can prepare. If the character has now more prepared spells than they should have, the excess are lost.

However, it is not necessary to reduce the hit points, skills, or weapon feats that a character has. Characters do not “forget” these abilities.

When a character regains lost experience levels, they only regain the things that were lost. They do not gain extra hit points, skills or weapon feats.

Exalted

Immortals normally only take minimum damage from mortal level physical attacks and are immune to magic cast by mortals.

Exalted monsters (monsters with the Exalted keyword) are not Immortal themselves, but may affect Immortals with spells and with magic as if they are Immortal.

However, Immortals may still use their anti-magic against spells cast by exalted monsters, and may still save vs Physical Attacks to take half damage from their physical attacks.

Spell Immunity

Some monsters are immune to low level spells. For example, a lich is immune to spells of level 3 or lower.

Such spell immunity not only covers the listed spells when cast by a spell caster, but also similar abilities from items or monsters that mimic those spells.

A creature with spell immunity can voluntarily lower it in order to allow beneficial spells to affect them, but it is an all-or-nothing lowering of the immunity and while it is lowered, any spell or spell like effect that it normally covers is allowed through.

Undead Lieges

With the exception of mindless skeletons and zombies, undead creatures can control lesser undead creatures.

An undead with three or more hit dice can try to take control of lesser undead in the same way that clerics can try to turn undead.

Normally, an undead creature can only try to take control of a lesser undead if it has at least twice as many hit dice (or levels in the case of a lich) as the lesser undead. Table 18-2 gives the chance of controlling the lesser undead based on the hit dice of the liege. Roll 2d6, and if you roll equal to or greater than the listed number then the liege has successfully taken control of the lesser undead.

Undead lieges that can cast spells add +2 to their rolls, and if the lesser undead is already the minion of a different undead liege, then the liege will immediately recognise this and will get a –4 penalty to the roll.

If table 18-2 shows a ‘C’ rather than a number, then taking control is automatically successful.

There are two exceptions to this rule.

Firstly, any undead that creates creatures similar to itself by draining the life from victims (e.g. a spectre or a vampire) can automatically take control of those new undead as soon as they rise, even though they have more than half the number of hit dice that the liege has.

Secondly, if an undead creature has the power to summon other undead, the summoned undead are automatically controlled by the liege, even if they have more than half its hit dice.

In any of these situations, an undead liege may only control lesser undead with a total number of hit dice less than or equal to double its own hit dice or level. However, an undead liege can release previously controlled minions in order to make room for the new ones.

Table 18-2: Controlling Undead by Liege

Hit Dice Skeleton Zombie Ghoul Wight Wraith Mummy Spectre Vampire Phantom Haunt Spirit
3-47911--------
5-657911-------
7-8357911------
9-10C 357911-----
11-13C C 357911----
14-16C C C 357911---
17-19C C C C 3579---
20-23C C C C C 35711--
24-27C C C C C C 35911-
28-32C C C C C C C 37911
33+C C C C C C C C 579

Undead that are the minions of a liege can themselves be lieges with minions of their own. For example, a lich could be a liege with a spectre minion, and the spectre itself could be the liege of a number of skeleton minions.

An undead liege has a telepathic link to all of its minions and can talk to them at will. It can also see and hear through any of its minions’ senses by concentrating. If the liege desires, it can totally control the actions of its minions (no saving throw is allowed) to the extent of forcing them to kill themselves.

This link and control only extends as far as the direct minions of a liege. In the example above with the lich and the spectre, the lich could see through the eyes of the spectre and control it, but cannot see through the eyes of the skeletons or control them. The closest it can manage is to command the spectre to relay commands to the skeletons.

Monster Leaders

Many humanoid monsters live in tribes or clans, and are led by their strongest members.

These particularly powerful chieftains (and their bodyguards and enforcers) should be given one to three more hit dice than the listed value for the monster type.

Remember that when giving monsters extra hit dice in this way, this will change their Attack Bonus and may change the level of proficiency that they have with their chosen weapons.

Shamans & Sorcerers

Some monsters are capable of spell casting by becoming either shamans or sorcerers. In these cases, the individual monster descriptions will say what level of spell casting such monsters can achieve.

The levels given are the maximum levels that the monster type can achieve, and not all sorcerers or shamans will be that level.

Shamans and sorcerers are tougher than their normal counterparts. For each level of shaman or sorcerer casting ability, the monster gains two additional hit points. These extra hit points can take the monster over the normal maximum for its hit dice.

The extra hit dice do not increase the Attack Bonus of the monster, nor do they give it extra proficiency with their chosen weapons.

See Chapter 7—Spells & Spell Casting for details of shaman and sorcerer spells and how they acquire and cast them.