TGR: Monsters

TGR, natually, has a list of monsters. It might be one of the most important lists, actually, because so many TableMaster tables refer to various inimical beasts. And, after all, the whole purpose of the TGR rules is to provide a framework for TableMaster results so you can convert them to your actual game system.

TGR monsters are primarily from Greek/Roman mythology, with bits of Persian, Arabian, Egyptian, and a few others, thrown in. There will probably be a few more added later, too. In addition to the named monsters here, any ordinary creature might appear in natural, giant, or prehistoric forms: lions, giant lizards, and cave bears would be obvious examples.

Again, these are extremely generic monsters. They have no stats. They have few defined powers. They’re something that can be put in a table like “dragons are raiding outlying settlements” or “gives imbiber the special abilities of a werewolf” or the like. What those dragons can do and what the special abilities of a werewolf actually are is entirely up to the user, according to their game system. It’s simply not possible to define one that will work for all of them.

I’ve broken the monsters down into a few rough categories: Humanoids, generally bipeds with some sort of society and both the willingness and ability to communicate. Undead/Incorporeal, monsters suitable for creepy situations. Oceanic, monsters that occur in oceans and seas. (freshwater monsters are generally natural or giant ordinary creatures, such as giant lampreys, schools of piranhas, etc.) And finally the generic Monster, everything else.

Humanoids:

centaur – wise but prone to drunken rage
cyclops – bad depth perception
dryad – spirit of a tree
ettin – 2-headed ogre
fae – brownies, pixies, etc.
faun – little guys with goat legs
giant – varying sizes: big, bigger, etc.
gnome – non-elemental kind
goblin – humanoid greeblie with a touch of the fae
hobgoblin – more fae than goblin
kobold – annoying little underground greeblie
leprechaun – trickster with pot of gold
nymph – lives in springs, pools, rivers
ogre – rather like a bigger, dumber orc
troll – turned to stone by daylight

Undead/Incorporeal

banshee – generally only the voice is heard
crawling hand – can actually be any body part
ghost – apparition, spectre, spook, poltergeist, etc.
ghoul – actually not undead, just eats corpses
lich – self-willed, powerful undead
mummy – straight from horror movies
phantom – image only, can’t actually attack
shadow – living, or at least animated
skeleton – human, animal, anything
vampire – as in Dracula, not Twilight!
wight – something like a ghoul, but far more powerful
wraith – incorporeal rather than undead
zombie – reanimated dead

Oceanic

corsairs – human(oid) pirates; seagoing bandits
deep one – generic aquatic humanoid
devilfish
– giant octopus, eats people rather than ships
kelpie – were-seal
kraken – humongous squid, drags ships under
leviathan – general-purpose enormous sea monster
merfolk – mermaids and mermen
pirates – alternate term for corsairs
sea serpent – enormous snake, can wrap ships
siren – hangs out in rivers or along coasts

Monster

amphisbaena – 2-headed snake
basilisk – turns enemies to stone with breath
bogeyman – evil/mischievous fae
bronze bull – misnamed “gorgon” due to old D&D error
chimera – not just the Homerian lion/goat/snake
cockatrice – turns enemies to stone with touch
demon – creature of outer chaos, innumerable forms
djinn – genie, etc., often found in bottles
doppleganger – duplicates any creature; The Thing
dragon – wings, claws, scales, breathes fire
dragon, Oriental – no wings, snakelike, causes rain
efreet – like djinn, but more fire-oriented
fairy – humanoid insect, bite causes euphoria and apathy
firebird – from Russian legend
gargoyle – possibly a construct
gnome (elemental) – earth elemental
golem – construct, comes in many forms
gorgon (medusa) – woman with snake hair, sight petrifies
gryphon – eagle head/forequarters, lion hindquarters
harpy – woman/bird hybrid
hellhound – 3-headed flaming dog
hippogryph – eagle head/forequarters, horse hindquarters
hydra – multiple heads
ice worm – metabolism a lot like the Antarctic icefish
lamia – female human head/body, snake tail for legs
landshark – there has to be a landshark. Landshark.
manticore – human head, lion body, wings, spiked tail
minotaur – half bull, half human, carnivorous
nightmare – brings bad dreams, carries away the wakeful
ooze – general term for any number of crawling blobs
pegasus – because “winged horse” is too awkward a term
roc – can carry away elephants
salamander (elemental) – fire elemental
slime – general term for any number of crawling blobs
sphynx – comes in several varieties
stymphalian bird – see Homer
sylph (elemental) – air elemental
tunnel worm – an enormous, carnivorous worm
undine (elemental)
– water elemental
unicorn – fierce, not cuddly
werewolf – other weres are possible
will-o-wisp – glowing ball of light
wyrm – like dragon, but long, poisonous, no wings
wyvern – 2-legged dragon-like creature
yeti – also bigfoot, etc.

That provides an adequate supply of generic monsters to use for TableMaster tables. They’re generally what you’d expect from their stereotypes; that’s kind of the point. The TGR monsters do not provide fine distinctions between their various kinds — slightly different flavors of undead, for instance. That’s for the specific GM to do if they need or want it for their game.

A few notes on the monsters:

Due to an error in early D&D literature, bronze bulls got named gorgons, while gorgons were called medusas. Mythologically, Medusa was one of the three gorgon sisters, the only mortal one. The immortal sisters were Stheno and Euryale. The bronze bulls were the ones Jason (he of the Argo) used to plow a field where he sowed dragon’s teeth, then fought the warriors that grew from them. They breathe fire.

Pegasus” is actually a specific winged horse, but since the name has become virtually synonymous with winged horses in general, it was easier just to go with that. Besides, “winged horse” is pretty awkward.

Fairies are the sort that Hoggle is trying to exterminate in the movie Labyrinth. Mine are actually a variety of insect that coincidentally looks rather human-like. They tear off leaves, petals and whole flowers to attach to their bodies, rather like decorator crabs or carrier snails do, so they’re the bane of gardeners. Their bite causes euphoria and apathy: the affected creature just sits around and revels in the beauty of nature, which gives the fairy plenty of time to get away, and in a dangerous place, plenty of time for some hostile creature to eat said victim. I had to put them in here.

Oozes, slimes, and similar gooey monsters are as amorphous as their forms. They’re something gooey, they come in various colors and textures, and they want to eat you.

Tunnel worms are enormous worms, as much as two meters in diameter, with the ability to tunnel through stone. Mostly, they exist to provide tunnels as an alternative or adjunct to caverns and constructed dungeons. They presumably eat adventurers. Your game system probably has something similar; if not, just remove them from encounter tables (or make them totally harmless, like enormous earthworms) and leave the source of their tunnels as unexplained.

The origin of ice worms is actually … ice cream! When I was in high school, a youth group I was with went to a fancy ice cream place called Alaskaland, and one of the things Alaskaland sold was the Alaskan Ice Worm — sort of an extra-long banana split with, I believe, 7 scoops of ice cream, multiple toppings, etc. They gave you a certificate if you ate the whole thing. I was just getting into D&D at the time, back in the days of the little white box when creativity was encouraged, so ice worms made the transition. (oh, and I had a conventional ice cream sundae)