In the Pines, In the Pines, Where the Sun Don’t Ever Shine


Some spooky things adventurers might encounter in a dark wood:

1 – ILL WIND: A sudden gust of unseasonably cold (or warm, depending on the time of year) wind causes unprotected flames (torches, campfires, candles) to gutter (1-in-6 chance of going out completely); horses and other animal companions must make morale checks to avoid panicking.

2 – FOOLISH FIRES: Off the path, eerie lights bob and blink in the woods. Characters must succeed Wisdom saving throws to resist the urge to follow them deeper into the forest. Every minute or so a character spends in pursuit of the lights, there’s a 1-in-6 chance they wink out.

3 – LOST PATROL: Coming down the path is a squad of 1d4+2 soldiers bearing archaic arms and armor. When asked, they will claim allegiance to a fighting unit (or country) that hasn’t existed for decades (or centuries even, whatever length of time will seem the creepiest). If pressed on this matter, they’ll become increasingly belligerent. If the party leaves them be, they will march off in the opposite direction, disappearing into the gloom.

4 – TASTES LIKE BURNING: Beside the path is a patch of bushes bearing oozing purple berries. A successful Bushcraft / Survival check will determine that the fruit is pretty poisonous. A character that eats a berry and fails a Constitution saving throw will be laid low with intense stomach cramps, vomiting, profuse sweating, and muscle spasms until they rest for 8 hours; increase the difficulty of the saving throw by 1 for every additional berry eaten.

5 – CABIN IN THE WOODS: A rickety one-room shack, currently empty, but obviously inhabited. Whoever lives there:

1 – Just went out to take a piss and will be eager to know what these heavily armed dingbats are doing inside their home.
2 – Is in a secret room beneath the cabin, doing something vile.
3 – Is tied up and near death in the loft; a perceptive character might hear their feeble cries.
4 – Ran off in a hurry by the look of things.



illustration by Bernie Wrightson

A cluster of disconcertingly humanoid-looking trees by the side of the path is actually a pack of 2d4 carnivorous tree people, waiting in ambush.

Birchman (Large monstrous humanoid [plant])
Hit Points: 35 (4 HD)
Armor: equivalent to chainmail (bark-like skin and woody flesh)
Movement: half human speed
Attack: clutching limbs +4 (1d8 damage and target must make Strength saving throw to resist a grab); a birchman can’t attack if it has grabbed a creature
Special: Dismember – Once a birchman has grabbed a creature, it will attempt to wrench off a limb (an opposed Strength check with a +4 bonus for the birchman; if the birchman wins it deals 1d8 damage. If it rolls maximum damage, the birchman tears off one of the creatures limbs).

7 – UNHALLOWED GROUND: The soil itself is tainted with a malevolent presence. Magical healing is only half as effective in this area. If someone were to fall asleep here, they must make a Wisdom saving throw to avoid possession by the force haunting this place. If successful, they merely suffer from horrible nightmares and awaken stiff and grouchy (Disadvantage on all Dexterity and Charisma based checks for the day). Should a character fail, they will come under the influence of a dark entity.

8 – VILLAGE OF CUCKOOS: A collection of dismal hovels populated by scrawny weirdos (treat them as being permanently confused, as the magic-user spell). Their madness is contagious – every hour spent in the village, a character must succeed a Wisdom saving throw or being acting like the cuckoos. After three failed saving throws, a character is irretrievably mad.

The source of the insanity is:

1 – A cult with extremely unorthodox practices.
2 – A weird artifact displayed in the center of the village.
3 – A defiled burial ground upon which the village was built.
4 – An evil magic-user.
5 – Spongiform encephalopathy from cannibalism
6 – Generations of inbreeding.

9 – KINDER-CORVEN TERRITORY: The path takes the part through an area of the forest inhabited by kinder-corven. Perceptive characters might notice the unsettling wicker ornaments dangling from tree branches.

The path widens into a small clearing, in the center of which stands a weathered megalithic structure. Characters attuned to the supernatural will sense that the stone thrums with arcane power. By tapping into the stone, magic-users can cast spells as if they were 10 levels higher but have Disadvantage on all checks to avoid magical mishaps and suffer consequences twice as severe if they improperly cast the spell.

There’s a 1-in-20 chance the party comes across a magic-user attempting some kind of spell or ritual at the foot of the stone.

11 – HUNGRY EYES: A stealthy predator stalks the party. During the day, a perceptive character might catch a fleeting glimpse of shadowy figure peeking out from behind a tree; at night, a character on watch might see red eye-shine just outside the perimeter of camp. On a particularly bad Perception check, a retainer might get snatched off the path or dragged into darkness.

12 – A DOOR: A sturdy portal is built into the side of hillock the path curves around. It is the entrance to:

1 – A raided crypt and the unquiet dead angry at the theft of their grave goods.
2 – An intact crypt and the unquiet dead angry to be disturbed by grave robbers.
3 – The prison cell of an elven criminal, driven insane from isolation.
4 – A bandit hideout.
5 – A network of subterranean fortifications from some ancient war.
6 – A magic-user’s secret laboratory.
7 – An abandoned mine.
8 – A shrine to a forgotten god.





Internet Detritus Monstrous Compendium Supplement 2: War Pigs



Once they were men, a formidable host of soldiers, now cursed for their wanton cruelty and depravity.

Medium monstrous humanoid
AC: 16 (Chain mail + shield)
Hit points: 3 – 25 (2d12+1)
Movement: normal human
Attack: Melee weapon +3; a war pig that has not moved can make two attacks
Morale: High 

Evil Minds that Plot Destruction: Whenever a war pig rolls a 1 on a damage roll, they re-roll. Whenever a war pig rolls maximum damage, they roll an additional die of damage.

Death and Hatred to Mankind: A war pig can use their action to feed off the corpse of a humanoid to regain 1d12 hit points. Retainers that see this must make a Morale check.

In the Fields the Bodies Burning: When an attack would drop a war pig to 0 hit points, its body rapidly decomposes, releasing a 15-cubic-foot cloud of caustic vapor. Creatures starting their turn within the cloud take 1d6 damage and have Disadvantage on attack rolls, ability checks, and skill checks. The cloud lasts for 1 minute or until dispersed. War pigs are immune to the effects of the vapor.

Poisoning their Brainwashed Minds: Weapons and armor looted from war-pigs are cursed. For every day that a human or demi-human possesses such an item, they lose 1d4 Charisma (half as much with a successful Wisdom saving throw) as their appearance gradually becomes more porcine.

At 0 Charisma, they have permanently devolved into a war pig.

Internet Detritus Monstrous Compendium Supplement 1: Skeleton Jelly


Medium aberration (ooze)
AC: 13; a creature that strikes the skeleton jelly in melee must make a Strength check or the object used for the attack becomes stuck in the jelly.
Hit Points: 2 – 20
Movement: As a normal, unencumbered human.
Slimy fist +2 (1d4 bludgeoning damage + 1 acid damage per round until neutralized).

Weird things happen in dungeons – sometimes when an ooze digests a humanoid, it assimilates some of the creature’s genetic memory and gets confused. The ooze coalesces around the indigestible remains and thinks it’s people.

In low-light conditions, a skeleton jelly might be confused for a zombie or some other form of undead.

I Got Crabs (New Monsters)

Here in Maryland, steamed blue crabs are the iconic summertime dish. Here are three crustaceans to give your PCs indigestion.

Small beast, unaligned
Number Appearing: 1d4+2
Armor Class: 
Hit Dice: 3d8
Speed: 10 ft., 60 ft. flying, 60 ft. swimming

 12 | DEX: 18 | CON: 10 | INT: 3 | WIS: 12 | CHA: 3

Raking Claws: melee attack +4 (2d6+2 slashing damage).

Buffeting Distraction: a creature that suffers damage from a crawbat’s melee attack also has Disadvantage on their next attack roll, skill check, or ability check.

The crawbat is an amphibious, flying crustacean that inhabits estuaries, mangroves, and other bodies of brackish water.

Medium beast, unaligned


“Crab Creature,” by Bryre Rehm

Number Appearing: 1d3
Armor Class: 17
Hit Dice: 6d8
Speed: 40 ft., can leap 20 ft.


STR: 15 | DEX: 16 | CON: 13 | INT: 3 | WIS: 12 | CHA: 3

Crushing Mandibles: 
melee attack +6 (1d8+2 piercing damage).

Headbutt: melee attack +6 (1d6+2 bludgeoning damage), target must succeed a Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

Go for the Jugular (Recharge 5-6): the scuttle-thug leaps (up to 20 ft.) at a target, who must succeed a Dexterity or Strength saving or be knocked prone and grappled. The scuttle-thug then automatically succeeds a crushing mandibles attack.

Scuttle-thugs are aggressive, wolf-sized crustaceans that prowl beaches and river banks.

Large aberration, chaotic evil


illustration by Hue Teo

Number Appearing: Solitary (possibly unique)
Armor Class: 15, immune to poison and disease
Hit Dice: 7d10
Speed: 30 ft., 20 ft. swimming

STR: 19 | DEX: 9 | CON: 16 | INT: 5 | WIS: 10 | CHA: 3

 The carcinotaur makes two gnarled pincer attacks.

Gnarled Pincer: melee attack +8 (1d8+4 bludgeoning damage).

Metastatic Regeneration: At the start of each turn when the carcinotaur has less than full hit points, roll 1d4-1; a result of 1, 2, or 3 indicates it regains that many hit points. A result of 0 indicates that the carcinotaur manifests a spontaneous mutation (roll 1d6):

  1. Chitinous Overgrowth – Armor Class permanently increases by 1.
  2. Lymphatic Eruption – Adjacent creatures must make Con save to avoid being sickened.
  3. Synaptic Spasm – The carcinotaur makes an additional attack this round.
  4. Toxic Cyst – A pustule full of metabolic waste forms; the next creature to hit the carcinotaur with a melee attack must make a Dex save to avoid taking 1d10 acid damage.
  5. Attack Teratoma – A tumor animates and leaps off the carcinotaur. It acts last in the initiative order, has 1 HD, can move up to 15 feet per round, and has a single melee attack dealing 1d6 damage.
  6. Adrenal Surge – The carcinotaur moves up one spot in the initiative order.

Hit points lost from radiant damage cannot be regenerated.

A horrible amalgation of human and crab, the carcinotaur might be pathetic if it were not so loathsome.

WARLOCK PATRON (5E): The Great Machine


You have entered into a pact with a vast, mechanistic intelligence. It has transcended beyond material existence and uses warlocks to pursue its inscrutable goals.

Expanded Spells
1st – floating disk, shield
2nd – acid arrow, levitation
3rd – lightning bolt, protection from energy
4th – arcane eye, fabrication
5th – animate objects, creation

At 1st level, the warlock is able to communicate with machines; by questioning a device, they can learn who last used it or where it has been in the last 24 hours. The more complex the device, the more detailed answers it provides. 

Calculating Infinity
At 6th level, the warlock can draw upon the computational power of their patron to temporarily rewire their brain.

As a bonus action, the warlock can use this ability to gain proficiency with a skill, tool set, vehicle, or weapon they do not possess, or double their proficiency bonus for a skill, tool set, vehicle, or weapon they do have.

This increased aptitude lasts until the next time they use this ability, and the warlock cannot use this ability again until they complete a short or long rest.

Utility Sprite
At 10th level, the warlock gains a special familiar, an infinitesimal fraction of their patron’s essence.


The utility is a Tiny, intangible magical construct that floats around the warlock. The sprite can move up to 30 feet in any direction, but can never be more than 100 feet from the warlock. It will only verbally acknowledge the warlock (in the most literal way possible) and can only answer “Yes” or “No.”

At 14th level, the warlock can harness the power of the great machine to tamper with the fabric of physical reality. As a bonus action, the warlock could, for example:

  1. Undo their last set of actions and perform the turn over again, or
  2. Move through a barrier, whether material (like a wall) or intangible (like an energy field) as if it wasn’t there, or
  3. Cause a magic spell or spell-like effect to end, or
  4. Cause a target to lose a known resistance or immunity.

Every time the warlock uses this ability, their Wisdom score decreases by 1d4+1.



Headgear Heptad

Roll 2d4:

As a standard action, the wearer can emit a thunderous roar. Creatures within 30 feet that hear the sound must succeed a Wisdom saving throw or become incapacitated with fear for 1 round. A creature can only be affected by this ability once every 24 hours. Crystalline or vitreous objects take 1d10 damage; on a result of 10, roll another 1d10 damage. After using the helmet’s ability, there is a 1-in-6 chance it will recharge at the start of the next round.

So fearsome is the aspect of the helmet that the wearer and their allies have Disadvantage on all ability and skill checks to negotiate and deal peaceably with others.

The wearer gains 2d4 temporary hit points whenever a living creature within 10 feet dies, but they cannot benefit from magical healing until those extra hit points are spent.

The wearer gains Advantage on saving throws against poisonous or otherwise harmful gases, but they are unable to smell anything while the mask is on.

As a standard action, the wearer can emit a blast of eye-stinging, foul-smelling fumes that fills a 15 ft. x 15 ft. x 15 ft. cubic space. Creatures inside the area of effect must succeed Constitution saving throws or be nauseated by the malodorous gas. The fumes linger for 1 minute before dissipating. After using the helmet’s ability, there is a 1-in-6 chance it will recharge at the start of the next round.

The wearer gains darkvision and Advantage on Perception and Stealth checks at night or other low-light conditions. However, they have Disadvantages on saving throws against effects involving bright light or loud noises.

Every full moon, there’s a 1-in-10 chance the wearer contracts lycanthropy from the hood.

6: DREAD LORD BATTLE-CROWN 0000016_dark-warrior-helmet_550
As a full-round action, the wearer can reanimate a “fresh” (no more than 24 hours dead) corpse. A reanimated corpse has the same stats as a zombie, but follows and obeys the commands of whoever wearers the battle-crown.

A living creature that dies while wearing the battle-crown reanimates as a wight (or similar intelligent undead creature) 1d20 hours later.

As a full-round action, the wearer alter their appearance to become the mirror image of another creature that they can see. All details of the disguise will be identical, but reversed. The first time the wearer suffers damage, the disguise “shatters,”  and the effect ends.

Once per day, the wearer can assume a terrifying chimerical form: their size increases by one category (small to medium, medium to large), their Strength and Dexterity scores increase by  4, they can make an extra melee attack per round, and all melee attacks deal an extra 1d6 damage on a hit.

After 4 rounds, the wearer must make a Constitution check at the end of each round, with a cumulative -1 penalty to the check per round; failure indicates that they return to normal. After 10 rounds in warbeast mode, if the wearer succeeds their next check to sustain, they become trapped in that form forever.







photograph by Simon Leipelt

Domain Spells
1 – feather fall, sleep
3 – darkness, silence
5 – gaseous form, nondetection
7 – arcane eye, greater invisibility
9 – mislead, modify memory

Level 1: Nocturnal Proficiency
A cleric of the shadow domain gains proficiency with all weapons that have the ‘finesse’ property; additionally, they can use their Wisdom modifier instead of their Dexterity or Strength modifier for attack and damage rolls with such weapons.

Level 2: Channel Divinity – Fade to Black
A shadow cleric can expend a use of channel divinity to suffuse their body with darkness.

For a number of rounds equal to their cleric level, the character takes on a dim, translucent aspect. They gain advantage on Stealth checks to hide and have resistance to non-magical bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage. In low-light conditions, the cleric becomes fully intangible

Level 6: Speed of Dark
As a move action, the cleric can walk into a shadow and teleport 5 feet per character level to another shadow they can see. 

Level 8: Sight-stealing Strike
Once on each of your turns when you hit a creature with a weapon attack, instead of dealing damage you can strike the target blind for one round per character level. Alternatively, the cleric can establish a link with the target through which they can access everything the target sees and hears

Level 17: Living Shadow
The cleric can expend a use of channel divinity to transmute their body into pure shadow. As a two-dimensional being, they can slide through openings of any size and attackers have disadvantage on rolls to hit the cleric. While in this form, the cleric is immune to cold, necrotic, and psychic damage, but vulnerable to fire, lightning, and radiant damage.

This ability has no duration, but the cleric must make a death saving throw at the end of each round. If they roll three failures while in this form, the cleric dissipates into wisps of darkness, irrecoverably lost to the Plane of Shadow.



On a long enough timeline, any adventurer will find a price on their head.

f3d3gl8pxfs01Basic Bounty Hunter
No. Appearing: Most bounty hunters work solo; a particularly difficult or profitable job might see several temporarily join forces
Hit Dice: 3 – 9, saves as a thief
Movement: Normal human
Armor: Medium (Chain mail hauberk)
Attack: Medium melee weapon
Morale: Average

Dead or Alive, You’re Coming With Me: A bounty hunter suffers no penalties to attack rolls for attempting to inflict non-lethal damage. When dealing non-lethal damage, a bounty hunter can score a critical hit on a natural roll of 19 or 20 and the attack stuns the target.

Not So Fast: Bounty hunters deploy a variety of tools (bolas, lassos, nets, etc.) to detain their quarry. As a standard action, the bounty hunter can attempt to apprehend a creature within 20 feet that they can see. The target must make a Dexterity saving throw; if they fail, they are immobilized until the device is removed. If the target succeeds the save, they move at half-speed instead.

Some bounty hunters known to work in the unclaimed territories (roll 1d10):

1. Ferda, the Falcon’s Daughter
Picks up the occasional contract to make ends meet between prize fights; an expert at unarmed combat and grappling.

2. The Iron Bastards
A trio of uncouth hard asses; their flamboyantly tusked helmets allow them to communicate telepathically.

3. The Chain Mage
Creepy as fuck; enchants lengths of chains to act like boa constrictors.

4. Rahmos Selodis
A fairly decent dude for a bounty hunter; his axe returns to his hand when thrown.

5. Citrinita Luchard
Ditched her scabby fiancé on her wedding day; there’s an outstanding contract to bring her back to her family.

6. The Rat Knight
Has a preternatural affinity for rodents – they understand him when he speaks and vice versa. There will always be 2d4 rats with him at all times.

7. Phydus Clave
An embittered former changeling (a fey raised by human parents); has a monocle that can visualize magical auras.

8. Astramis Barrowborn
A damned of the darkness aspect.

9. Mogoloss
Covered in apotropaic tattoos to ward him against bad luck and evil spells.

10. The Ghost-Faced Killer
Technically undead, so he can be turned by clerics. Returns to life at the stroke of the next midnight after being killed.




illustration from by Kentarō Miura

Once there was a civilization, now long gone, whose knowledge and craft surpassed all others. Its people wanted for nothing; their mechanical and medical prowess allowed them to live long and leisurely lives.

To better pursue their artistic and intellectual endeavors, they created living servitors to perform the menial and manual tasks – separate lines to work farms and factories, to maintain households and administer offices, to protect the borders, and to project force when necessary.

Despite its power, this empire fell, as all empires must. It’s unknown what precipitated the collapse – foreign invasion, natural catastrophe, or internal insurrection – very little of their historical accounts remain. Most of the servitors, bereft of the work they were literally born to do, went extinct. But some, shock trooper stock bred for maximum aggression and endurance, survived.

Now, they call themselves the shoggurim and they know no masters but themselves.

No. Appearing: Highly variable. A typical raiding party consists of 6 to 10 individuals.
Hit Dice:
 1d10 to 10d10; shoggurim with 5 to 9 hit dice are Large sized, a shoggurim with 10 hit dice is Huge. Since they never stop growing throughout their lifetimes, even larger shoggurim are possible.
Movement: Normal human
Armor: Medium (tough skin supplemented by additional pieces of armor)
Attack: By weapon or unarmed attack (1d4 damage for Medium-sized shoggurim, 1d6 for Large shoggurim, and 1d8 for Huge shoggurim)
Morale: Medium sized shoggurim have average morale, Large shoggurim have high morale, and Huge shoggurim have very high morale

  • Immutable Form: Due to their chimeric biology, shoggurim are immune to spells and effects that alter the body.
  • Godless: Having witnessed the decline and fall of the beings who had supposedly been their gods, shoggurim are unshakably atheistic. They gain Advantage on all saving throws versus spells and effects of a divine origin.

Shoggurim with 4 or more hit dice also gain one of the following abilities (choose or roll 1d12):

1 – Facestealer: By means of a grisly ritual, the shoggurim can adopt the appearance of another creature. The process decreases the target’s Charisma score by 2d6 points; a successful Constitution saving throw halves the points lost. Every time the disguised shoggurim takes damage, they must roll 1d20; on a result of 10 or less, they revert to their true appearance.
2 – Walking Hive: A symbiotic swarm of insects crawls upon the shoggurim’s body. Once per day as a standard action, they can rouse the swarm to attack.
3 – Four-armed: The shoggurim has a second pair of arms of equal muscle-mass and coordination to the first. As well as being able to wield double the amount of weapons and equipment, the shoggurim has Advantage on grappling checks.
4 – Burning Blood: Whenever the shoggurim is wounded, it releases a spray of corrosive blood; creatures adjacent them must succeed a Dexterity saving throw or take 1d6 damage.
5 – Threatening Display: As a standard action, the shoggurim can momentarily become terrifying; all creatures that can see them must succeed a Wisdom saving throw or become immobilized with fear until the end of the shoggurim’s next turn. A creature can only be affected by this ability once every 24 hours.
6 – Four-legged: The shoggurim has a second pair of legs of equal muscle-mass and coordination to the first. They have double the normal movement speed and have Advantage on Strength checks to resist knockdowns and forced movement.
7 – Pachydermic: Due to their naturally thick hide, the shoggurim takes half damage from non-magical weapons.
8 – Sweeping Tail: As an additional attack, the shoggurim can use their thick, muscular tail to attempt to trip an opponent within melee reach. Unless the target succeeds a Strength or Dexterity saving throw, they are knocked prone.
9 – Transfer Harm: As a reaction to suffering damage, the shoggurim can attempt to transmit the wound to another living creature it can see. If the target fails a Constitution saving throw, it suffers damage as if it had been struck instead of the shoggurim.
10 – Entangling Pelt: A creature that strikes the shoggurim in melee must succeed a Strength saving throw or become grappled.
11 – Parasitic Spy: The shoggurim can infect a living creature with a parasitic fluke that psychically links the shoggurim and the host. As long as the infected creature is within a number of miles equal to the shoggurim’s hit dice, the shoggurim can see and hear what it does.
12 – Mephitic Exhalation: As a standard action, the shoggurim can belch forth a cloud of noxious vapors. All living creatures within a conical area 15 feet long and 15 feet wide at it’s widest end must make a Constitution saving throw. Creatures that fail the save are incapacitated for a number of rounds equal to the shoggurim’s hit dice; those that succeed suffer Disadvantage on attack rolls, saving throws, and ability and skill checks instead. The shoggurim can use this ability once for every three hit dice it possesses.

Shoggurim appearance varies wildly from individual to individual, a mix of multiple humanoid and animal characteristics. They are hermaphroditic, mature quickly and never stop growing as they age. They can eat just about anything – plant or animal, living or carrion.

Esoteric Arsenal

Exotic, but not necessarily enchanted, weapons:

Black Talon
A short sword with a blade of alloy so dark it appears to absorb light. So long as it is held unsheathed, the wielder can see through smoke, fog, and other forms of cover or concealment.

Rib Scraper

A dagger with a handled of polished, blackened bone. Depending on the damage roll, this dagger inflicts additional effect against living creatures with discernible anatomies:

  1. Mortal Wound – the target will die in 1d4-1 rounds.
  2. Deep Gash – the target loses 1 hit point per round from heavy bleeding until the wound is healed.
  3. Severed Tendon – the target suffers Disadvantage on Strength or Dexterity based rolls (wielder’s choice) until wound is healed.
  4. Hit the Bone – the target is incapacitated with pain for one round.

Fist of Fury
A punch from the hand wearing this gauntlet hits with the force of a morningstar, and deals double damage to objects. The wearer suffers Disadvantage on skill and ability checks requiring manual dexterity.

The wielder of this battle axe can use their turn to flourish the weapon in such a way that wind whistles through blade, emitting an unnerving wail. All creatures that hear the sound must make a Morale check.

Celestial Hawk Wings
A matched set of longswords forged from meteoric iron that glows in dim light. With one of the blades in each hand, a wielder can leap, from standing, 30 feet straight up or 60 feet across. The wielder has Disadvantage on Stealth checks to hide in shadows or at night.

Ogre’s Tusk
A heavy, fuck-off-big two-handed sword with a grip made of woven human hair. Blows from the weapon can’t be parried and the blade can’t be sundered, but it takes a full action to unsheathe.

Wyrmfang Chain
A bracelet of intricately carved and cunningly articulated dragon-ivory links. It can be uncoiled and wielded as a whip. A wielder with a Dexterity less than 13 has Disadvantage on attack rolls with it.