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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

RMA: Roc


While running my Barrowmaze campaign a while back, the party stumbled upon a small Roc as a random wilderness encounter. No combat ensued (hooray for non-hostile reaction rolls), but it did mean taking a good look at its stats. I commented on how interesting the beasts were as written and one of my players suggested that an RMA might be in order. So here it is.

Roc, S/M/L (from Cook)

AC: 4/2/0
HD: 6/12/36
Move: 60' (20'), Fly 480' (160')
AL: Lawful
Att: 2 claws/1 bite 
Dmg: 2-5, 2-5, 2-12/1-8, 1-8, 2-20/3-18, 3-18, 8-48
No. App: 0 (1d12)/ 0 (1d8)/ 0 (1)
Morale: 8/9/10

One omission in the Cook Expert entry is the Save As listing (typo). 

This one took a little research because despite the fact that the entry includes three different sizes, the descriptive text is pretty sparse. I cobbled together a mental picture of ol' Beaky between BX, LL, 1st ed. AD&D, and d20 (3e). 

One thing to keep in mind is that these are some truly formidable birds. Even the small one is no picnic considering there might be TWELVE of them flapping about. At 6HD minimum, Sleep spells are useless, too. The AC not great for the smaller ones, but it's not terrible either. Three attacks at middling damage can mean a bad day for someone who looks like bird food. Small Rocs are relatively skittish though, so you might scare them off.

Medium Rocs are significantly tougher (x2 HD than small) but otherwise similar. Their bite is impressive though.

The Large Rocs are crazy! More HD than a Dragon Turtle! AC 0! Attacking with both claws and beak can deal up to eighty-four points of damage per round! Despite their hugeness, rocs' flight speed (all three sizes) is unbeaten and nearly unmatched.

I assume that the sizes are age categories and all rocs eventually become large ones (if they reach full maturity). 

The alignment is worth noting. It is a lawful creature that reacts poorly to neutrals and chaotics. They are not particularly intelligent, though. It makes me wonder how they make distinctions with whom they are dealing.

They have a fair chance of treasure lying about the nest (mostly coins and jewels per the chart), but the real wealth would be to make off with some of the eggs. Such chicks can be trained as mounts, which should entice some PCs to risk tracking down a roc eyrie.  The 1st edition AD&D Monster Manual has a fun note, too:

"Rocs are occasionally tamed and used by giants." 

At first, I thought they meant as hunting birds, but no. According to the Storm Giant entry, they RIDE them! Imagine that encounter! A couple of giants flying at you on the back of a bird that can pick up an elephant! 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Back from Garycon VI

Which was, as usual, a blast.

I got to play chainmail for the first time in maybe ever (I honestly don't recall). It was a lot of fun, and interesting to see how the mechanics are so different today in many games from their roots. The table were a bit confusing at first, and I don't know that I ever fully grasped the turn sequences, but one of the advantages of playing in the game with several people, and having a referee running it, is that there is always someone to ask. In the end, we (the dwarves) won out over the elves. My captain's valiant run to get the simaril away from the pointy-ears allowed Durin's folk could keep the fabulous jewel. This turned out to be critical in securing the necessary victory points for our side.

I ran a session of my Mutant Future module The Gyre, and the players did well, surviving to the end and finding their way home. In retrospect, an adventure with a bit more action might have been preferable. Of course, the mutant cactus got to slap a brain lasher in the face with poison thorns, so I wouldn't say it was completely action-free.

There were many other games, including a fun one I hadn't played before called WEGS Old Skool that I enjoyed enough to pick up the books for. Michael Curtis ran one of his upcoming DCC RPG adventures for us, in which my dwarf feigned drunkenness while pounding on the kidnappers' door as he bellowed for Tito to come out and take his damned money.

So of course they released the dogs on me.

I missed out on Jim Wampler's Mutant Crawl through Stonehell because the chainmail game ran late. I did stop by to see the group of post-apocalyptic mutants start to draw from a Deck of Many Things, though.

During a six hour Castles & Crusades game run by Steve "Iron GM" Chenault, I managed to steal Dale's coffee and received a goblin patch for it.

As tedious as extended campaign stories can be ("If they weren't there, they don't care."), they do serve to remind us of those moments that keep us in this oddball hobby. It's the little moments that make you cringe or cheer or laugh out loud that are remembered: not the scores, or the XP, or what level you were, but the tales we recall around the metaphorical campfire, like old campaigners telling war stories.

This is why Garycon exists, not only to remember Gary, but to celebrate all the lives that are being well played.