Monday, March 6, 2017

Metal Monster Manual Monday - Volume 9

Continuing a weekly series of posts wherein I share several album covers (mostly by death metal bands!) as brainfood for encounters in your tabletop RPG. Expect this every Monday!

I actually find this one to be super creepy.
So, we've got this slender, amorphous figures amid this colorful-but-horrid blurred background. I'm gonna say that, in a game, a creature that looks at or near one of these figures experiences blurred tunnel vision, with colors of all but the figure itself hideously accented.
The figures themselves move as if made of solid smoke, rippling and distorting with the growing winds. They move slowly, struggling against gusts. They can be fled, but not forgotten; once seen, they haunt the mind in dreams each night thereafter. (Such sleepers regain one less hit point, or hit die depending on the system, from sleep. Blacking out from drunkenness prevents this, but has other drawbacks.)
They are the stuff of dreams. If you see one in your waking hours, it is because someone somewhere is dreaming them into existence. Soon, you will fall asleep, and dream into existence your own. Perhaps someone else will see it. Perhaps, however, you will not live long enough to dream it.
Their touch causes flesh to part cleanly and painlessly, right down to the bone.
They are supremely difficult to hit, bending and snapping like a flag on a pole whenever weapons are swung at them. If a weapon connects, anything but magical weapons pass straight through as if through dense smoke. (Magical or silver weapons part the figure's body cleanly, separated appendages disintegrating like fumes in a gale.)
Everything is soundless, except the howling of winds.

(Update: I wrote this up as a fully-statted monster! See it here, use it if you wish!)

Once, this land was green. Now, the plants grow twisted. Their sap is red. Do not eat fresh plants.

The dead do not stay dead. They rise, twisted as the plants. They bleed red from every worm-hole, bulging cyst, and site of decay that mars their flushed skin. Do not touch their blood.

Priests and sages debate why the River turned red, shaking their hoary heads in frustration. Much blood had been spilled here, but it should have washed downstream by now. The River merely winds on, sluggish and turbid, red as fresh blood. Perhaps the plants turned red, infected by disease, and their noxious emissions tainted the water.

Even the Sun is red. Perhaps it is the Sun that cursed the plants AND the River. If so, truly this land is doomed, for who can reach the Sun to cleanse it?

Alright, time for the BOSS BATTLE:

I imagine that there are tales about The Colossus. It appears out of the desert near a random town every few years, base hidden by blowing sand and strange fumes. It moves very slowly, so slowly that those staring at it fail to see it move at all. However, within a few days, it is at the town. Anyone who stays longer than this is never heard from again; all that is found later is a patch of glowing, cooling glass, and a tall figure on the horizon toward the desert.

For a PC, this would not be a traditional "boss battle," as in practical terms it cannot be fought. Do you see the town or fortress at the bottom foreground of the image above? Look at the scale!

To be stopped, The Colossus must be climbed.

Those who approach its base find it shrouded by biting sand and billowing smoke. It is difficult to see if it has legs at all, but, groping blindly through the haze toward the low rumble of moving stone, The Colossus itself can be found. From there, it is a matter of a long, harrowing climb on smooth, hard stone.

Its mouth is as if the fires of heaven burned within the pits of hell.

What would be found within its eyes?

How would YOU use any/all of these monsters, encounters, and scenes in your game, Reader?
(Let me know how it goes if you do!)

Previous volumes:
Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3
Volume 4
Volume 5
Volume 6
Volume 7
Volume 8


  1. The red river and surrounding area remind me pleasantly of the game Siren (Forbidden Siren in some places). It might be worth checking out if you're not familiar with it.

    Maybe instead of making the first monster immune to non-magic weapons, it might be better to just keep the whole bit about weapons bending and refusing to hit the monster. Then the battle becomes a sort of puzzle: how do we get our weapons to actually hit and hurt this thing?

    1. Alas, I haven't owned a PlayStation system since my PS2 died almost a decade ago :(

      I guess I was trying to emphasize the etheriality of the monster, that it is born of dreams and is not truly a physical being. However, your suggested approach would also be great - a party would need to use AoE effects (magic and explosions, yes, but also things like nets and collapsing roofs) to actually contact the thing, which would be some fun planning and problem-solving.
      I was actually thinking of writing that monster up today for my Wednesday post - stay tuned!