Section 2 - Monsters & Treasure
Like Greyhawk, Blackmoor introduces us to a fair number (43 to be exact) of new monsters. And there is definitely an aquatic theme, as a number of these beasties are waterborne. This goes nicely with the new water rules later in the book.
New Monster Descriptions: Following are some of my favorites from Blackmoor.
- Giant Leech: the original Level Draining Undead! :) Seriously, when they bite you and attach, they drain one live level every round!
- Giant Beaver: they can be persuaded to build shit for you if you give them gold & jewels.
- Giant Wasp: love the stinger description: "a deadly sting, similar to a cast spear dipped in poison." And their poison is so debilitating that any victim who dies from it is 30% likely to be so fucked up he can't be raised. Oh crap.
- Fire Beetle: This 1-1 hd creature bites for 3-24 hp of damage! Nice way to introduce your new 1st level players to OD&D. :)
- Boring Beetles: they cultivate Yellow Mold, vile jellies, slimes, and other dungeon denizens. Weird.
- Minotaur Lizards: these 40' long lizards do a claw/claw/bite for a wicked 8-72 hp of damage per round. And we're told they mature at 10 years old and live to 40. Gee. Thanks for letting us know.
- Plesiosaurus: we're told they are an "endangered species." I though they were extinct. :)
- Sharks: more likely to attack "bite-sized" creatures like Hobbits. Poor Hobbits. Stay out of the water!
- Dolphins: they will come to the aid of any humans being attacked by "denizens of the deep." Cool.
- Sahuagin: digging the MASSIVE writeup of two full pages! I think these were meant to be a very serious and critical foe for seabound humans. Yet I've rarely used them in a game.
- Ixitxachitl: these are described as "Chaotic Clerical Philosophers."
New Magic Items & Treasure: Staying with the aquatic theme, all the new treasure items in Blackmoor are water-based. Some examples include items that ALLOW PC's TO ADVENTURE UNDERWATER! Cool. Like the Ring of Freedom and the Ring of Movement. Also the Manta Ray Cloak and Necklace of Water Breathing. This is cool, because you can't very well have underwater adventures if nobody can breathe. We are also introduced to non-magical Pearls, which are treated as gems. But you'd be one lucky adventurer if you found a Silver Pearl. These are worth 10,000 to 100,000 gold pieces!
Section 3 - Underworld & Wilderness Adventures
This section in Blackmoor is dominated by the Temple of the Frog adventure, which takes up 20 out of 27 pages. I will tackle that in a seperate writeup shortly. For today's post, I will cover the other aspects of this section - including rules for underwater adventures, sages, and disease.
Underwater Adventures: This 2-page section covers some very rudimentary suggestions, rules and encounter charts for setting up underwater adventures. There's an opening paragraph that gives some suggestions for how PCs can breathe underwater - including spells, magic seaweed, helms of water breathing, etc (many such items are included in the new magic items of this Blackmoor supplement). There's a nice note that the undersea is not exempt from "Tricks & Traps." Things such as "false sea floors" and "phantasmal images of sunken ships" are encouraged. :)
This is followed up by combat and movement rules underwater. A PC can only swim wearing up to leather armor, and may only carry 25% of his normal weight allowance. The only usable missile weapons are "specially prepared crossbows (at three to five times the normal price)." Tridents are highly valuable melee weapons because they are the only ones that don't have their damage cut by 50%. We're also warned that a Magic User casting a lighting bolt will electrocute anything in range!
The underwater and sailing encounter charts are chock full of many of the new aquatic monsters introduced in Blackmoor.
Remaining Information: The book concludes with a 2-page writeup on Sages, followed with a 3-pager on Diseases. These sections have some rather weird rules and unnecessary charts. The disease section is probably more detailed than necessary and is reminiscent of AD&D. However, there is a cool paragraph on what happens if you attack or slay a Sage. Any PC so doing will have his alignment changed to Chaotic and will be subject to the Sage "Dying Curse." A curse from a low level sage might cause all the PC's teeth to fall out (thus reducing CHA!), while a more powerful sage might cast a dying curse which causes a PC to fail every saving throw he ever attempts in the future. Grim stuff.
The next (and last) writeup on Blackmoor will cover Temple of the Frog!