Sunday 10 October 2021

Them's Monsters!

Them's Monsters! is a collection of monsters written and Illustrated by Joshua LH Burnett. The publisher is JLHB Polytechnic.

Disclosure: I backed the successful Kickstarter for this project.

Dungeon Crawl Classics has a vibrant, creative community and a fantastic zine scene chock full of home-brewed content. DCC monsters don't play by the rules, and there is a lot of encouragement to create your own creatures - but there is also a wealth of shared creature content in the DCC community. Sampling the creative output of others can not only spur your own creativity, but it can give you options that you might not have thought of yourself. Also, of course, sometimes it just prevents you from reinventing the wheel.

While Them's Monsters! is largely a collection of critters, it also contains a two-page Moonblossom and Chance comic (itself containing statistics for Slugboys and Syklopsnik the Monster Boss) and Grist for the Mill, a 0-level funnel adventure which both uses the creature material herein and includes additional monsters for the harried judge. At only two pages (including map), the adventure is sparse on details, so the judge may wish to give this some consideration before using it.

The old abandoned windmill just north of Boggart’s Hollow is rumored to be the haunt of ghosts, witches, and demons. Over the years, dozens of villagers have disappeared after wandering too close to the old mill, but that’s just the way of things. People go missing, monsters eat villagers, and life goes on. But today, things have changed.

Tonight, the village shepherdess, Molly Brubaker, came running into town in a panic. While Molly was out tending to her flock, some great shambling ogre-like beast came stalking from the shadows of the windmill and snatched away Lucibelle the Educated Sheep. Lucibelle is the pride and joy of Boggart’s Hollow–a symbol of luck and fortune. Her theft certainly spells doom

for the entire village. A rescue party of desperate townsfolk has been quickly assembled!

The creature also took her shepherd’s crook after she dropped it and fled. The crook is a family heirloom dating back 5 generations. She will happily reward it to whoever rescues Lucibelle.

The class included herein is the Dungle, a humanoid dung beetle. This is a fully developed class, taking up three pages for the class and one for general description. A 0-level occupation table is provided! This is a viable class, which might also be used in an Umerica or Mutant Crawl Classics game to good effect.

Scholars believe that dungles evolved from the dire dung beetles that haunt the Glowing Desert far to the south of Xöthma-Ghül. In time, they moved into the great necropolis upon which the Crepuscular City would eventually be built. Forming loose tribes within the mighty dungeon, dungles functioned as scavengers and often served as minions of more powerful monsters. When Imperious Perfectus conquered the necropolis and built his city atop it, he offered the dungles an opportunity to live and work within the city.

(From this it is easy to see that the lore in Them's Monsters! ties into Crepuscular #1.)

The creatures herein largely are mid-range to more potent. They include: the Carrion Knight, the Chaos Ooze, the Cleric Lick Monster, the Crovoborge, the Cybersnail, the Eyeless Dead, Humbaba, the Iron Medusa, the Millennium Tortoise, the Muldasynkovi, the Pumpkin Knight, Raw Head, the Sanity Assassin, the Sludge Dwarf, the Sludge Golem, the Terrible Infant, the Void-Belly Giant, and the Weremoose. 

I did not see an OGL page, and there is no indication of Open Content or usage rights, which is the only thing marring this collection. This shouldn't matter for a home game, but remember that you have to ask for permission, or redo stats, description, and lore if you want to publish.

Get It Here!

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