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OSR Superstar Contest – What would have been my New Creature Entry

Had I had one of my magic item submissions selected, here is the new creature I developed. As with my magic items, I wrote it with AD&D in mind. Then when I discovered that S&W does not have the Find Familiar Spell I had to hack at it to make it work. I will first present the AD&D version and below that the S&W version. This is the creature mentioned in my Wizard’s Bookstand item.

AD&D version:

Unfamiliar

If a wizard and his/her familiar encounter this creature, it will feed off the bond between them and if not killed, incapacitated or evaded (out of 50 foot range for ten or more consecutive rounds), in ten rounds it will “consume” the wizard/familiar bond.

If the bond is consumed, the familiar will flee, never to be seen or heard from again and the wizard will be unable to summon another familiar for one year.

The creature appears as a cute and fluffy, big-eyed ball of cuteness like a puppy or kitten. The familiar will be friendly towards it, even if an evil or not generally tame sort. The wizard will be reminded of a childhood pet, or will have false memories of a childhood pet.

If there are multiple wizards and familiars in a group, they will sit in a circle and let the creature jump and play in their laps and lick their faces and wag its behind in excitement.

The wizard and familiar will have a 10% chance per round to notice an odd feeling of doom. The wizard must make a saving throw versus charm person to be able to attack the creature. The wizard can attempt to flee, but casts spells to assist fleeing at a penalty. Save vs. wand/staff/rod to successfully cast a spell such as levitate, fly, dimension door, teleport, etc.

The Unfamiliar will stay close to the wizard and his/her familiar so that other with the wizard will have a disadvantage in trying to attack or hit it without hurting the wizard of the familiar.

For wizards without familiars it will attempt to eat the bond or break the spell of “helper” spells like unseen servant, aerial servant, floating disc, etc. Summoned and charmed creatures such as monsters, elementals, demons, etc. will avoid the creature and will not attack it unless the wizard has overcome his charm and the summoned or charmed creature makes it saving throw. If the bond of the summoned/charmed creature is broken, it will immediately attack the wizard.

If there are no wizards in a group the Unfamiliar will hide and avoid them. If there is a wizard in a group or by himself and the wizard has no familiar or summoned/charmed creatures or helper spells in effect, the Unfamiliar will avoid contact and move silently. It will follow in shadows and move silently as a 6th level thief and if a helper spell is cast or a creature charmed or summoned, it will allow itself to be found. The Unfamiliar can sense if an encountered wizard has the ability at the time of first encounter to cast a helper spell or charm or summon monsters. If there are no such capabilities, the Unfamiliar will avoid as if there was no wizard. NOTE: If the wizard or a member of the party has an item that can charm or summon monsters, whether the party knows they have it or not, the Unfamiliar will follow the person(s) with such a device until they use it.

These rare creatures have been known in ancient lore to wreak havoc in schools of magic and even lone wizards with a single apprentice.

If encountered in its lair, usually a cave or abandoned building, dungeon, or ruin, it will have the treasure of charmed and summoned creatures that defeated the wizard whose controlling spell was consumed. The DM will determine if it has affected multiple wizards or not. 50% chance the creature beat the wizard, roll for treasure if the creature is not interested in the wizard’s belongings. 50% chance the wizard beat the creature. Determine if the environment, i.e. neighboring monsters killed the wizard and if they were interested in his possessions.

Treasure Table
Defeated Monsters:
– Charmed monster determine type of creature by the type of creatures that can be charmed. This would usually be fairly low level wizards.
– Summoned monster. determine what level of monster summoning was used and roll for the monster. This can be wizards of a variety of levels.
– Summoned elementals. Determine the type of elemental 1d4 1= air, 2= water, 3= earth, 4= fire. This would be wizards of at least high enough level to summon an elemental.
– summoned demon or extra planar creature.

Defeated Wizards:
Determine the number and levels of wizards defeated. The treasure would include the wizard’s spell book(s), scrolls, potions, rings, wands, staves, etc. Make the amount of treasure and magic fit your style of campaign to avoid overbalancing the players.
You could roll 1d6, 1d8, 1d10, or 1d20 for a random level of wizard and determine the stuff left behind.
Of course, if a player wizard is defeated, all their stuff would be there if the were alone or their accompanying party fled or was defeated.

These creatures have a strange affinity for the Wizard Lock spell. There is something about this more or less permanent spell that allows the creature to feed and ignore other types of feeding. If a creature encounters anyone with a Wizard Locked item, they will make themselves the best friend of the person with that item and will perch on the item or stay within 50 feet of it. Since a wizard lock requires something that can be locked, like a door, chest, or lock, one cannot just cast Wizard Lock to sate this pernicious beast.

There is a 30% chance that when a Wizard’s Bookstand is encountered there will be an Unfamiliar in or on it, or in close proximity. The Unfamiliar will make friends and cozy up to the wizard who claims a found bookstand. Because the magics of Wizards Locks and Wizard’s Bookstands can sate the Unfamiliar, there is a 30% chance that an unfriendly person or creature can open the wizard Locked item or remove a book from the bookstand as if it were not locked or secured by magic. Casting multiple Wizard Locks on the same item will not alter this chance.

Should one attempt to move an Unfamiliar from the 50 foot radius of the Wizard Lock or Wizard’s Bookstand, it will whimper and cry loudly to the point that any guards, even if sleeping or slept, stunned, held or charmed will come to investigate.

Some theorize that the creature’s affinity for wizard locks indicates it true origins as a wizard going after a rival, and in the absence of wizard locks to sate its appetite, the creature looks for other magical bonds upon which to feed. As this is an ancient magical creature known in the oldest manuscripts, it true origins are lost to the mists of time.
Frequency: RARE
Size: Small.

AC:
HD: 4 HP
ATTACKS: Special – Consume wizard/familiar bond.
ST:
Special: Eats spell books.
Move:
Challenge Level:
XP:

*********************************************************

S&W Version [The name alone shows an entirely different tone and took things in a different direction than I planned.]

Bond Breaker

The creature appears as a cute and fluffy, big-eyed ball of cuteness like a puppy or kitten. A magic user will be reminded of a childhood pet, or will have false memories of a childhood pet.

The Bond Breaker will attempt to eat the bond or break the spell of “helper” spells like unseen servant, aerial servant, floating disc, etc. Summoned and charmed creatures such as monsters, elementals, demons, etc. will avoid the creature and will not attack it unless the wizard and the summoned or charmed creature makes a saving throw. If the bond of the summoned/charmed creature is broken, it will immediately attack the wizard. If the charm or summons expires before the Bond Breaker can consume the bond, it will start shrieking loudly and attract the attention of any creatures within 100 feet, or further in a cave or canyon with an echo. This shrieking will continue as long as the party remains within sight of the creature. Such shrieking prevents spell casters from casting spells from memory.

If there are no wizards in a group the Bond Breaker will hide and avoid the group. If there is a wizard in a group or by himself and the wizard has no summoned/charmed creatures or helper spells in effect, the Bond Breaker will avoid contact. It will follow in shadows and move silently as a 6th level thief and if a helper spell is cast or a creature charmed or summoned, it will allow itself to be found. The Bond Breaker can sense if an encountered wizard has the ability at the time of first encounter to cast a helper spell or charm or summon monsters. If there are no such capabilities, the Bond Breaker will avoid as if there was no wizard. NOTE: If the wizard or a member of the party has an item that can charm or summon monsters, whether the party knows they have it or not, the Bond Breaker will follow the person(s) with such a device until they use it.

These rare creatures have been known in ancient lore to wreak havoc in schools of magic and even in remote towers of lone wizards with a single apprentice.

If encountered in its lair, usually a cave or abandoned building, dungeon, or ruin, it will have the treasure of charmed and summoned creatures that were defeated by the wizard whose controlling spell was consumed, or the treasure of wizards defeated by their charmed or summoned creatures. The GM will determine if it has affected multiple wizards or not. 50% chance the creature beat the wizard, roll for treasure if the creature is not interested in the wizard’s belongings. 50% chance the wizard beat the creature. Determine if the environment, i.e. neighboring monsters killed the wizard and if they were interested in his possessions or not.

Treasure Table
Defeated Monsters: d8
1-2 – Charmed monster determine type of creature by the type of creatures that can be charmed. This would usually be fairly low level wizards.
3-4 – Summoned monster. determine what level of monster summoning was used and roll for the monster. This can be wizards of a variety of levels.
5-6 – Summoned elementals. Determine the type of elemental 1d4 1= air, 2= water, 3= earth, 4= fire. This would be wizards of at least high enough level to summon an elemental.
7-8 – Summoned demon or extra planar creature.

Defeated Wizards:
Determine the number and levels of wizards defeated. The treasure would include the wizard’s spell book(s), scrolls, potions, rings, wands, staves, etc. Make the amount of treasure and magic fit your style of campaign to avoid overbalancing the players.
You could roll 1d6, 1d8, 1d10, or 1d20 for a random level of wizard and determine the stuff left behind.
Of course, if a player wizard is defeated, all their stuff would be there if he or she were alone or their accompanying party fled or was defeated.

These creatures have a strange affinity for the Wizard Lock spell. There is something about this permanent spell that allows the creature to feed and ignore feeding on the bonds of charmed or summoned creatures. If a creature encounters anyone with a Wizard Locked item, they will make themselves the best friend of the person with that item and will perch on the item or stay within 50 feet of it. Since a wizard lock requires something that can be locked, like a door, chest, or lock, one cannot just cast Wizard Lock to sate this pernicious beast.

There is a 30% chance that when a Wizard’s Bookstand is encountered there will be Bond Breaker in or on it, or in close proximity. The creature will make friends and cozy up to the wizard who claims a found bookstand. Because the magics of Wizard Locks and Wizard’s Bookstands can sate the Unfamiliar, there is a 30% chance that an unfriendly person or creature can open the wizard Locked item or remove a book from the bookstand as if it were not locked or secured by magic. Casting multiple Wizard Locks on the same item will not alter this chance.

In addition, there is a 10% chance that a Bond Breaker in the presence of a book stand with a spell book on it, will not have fed recently because it grew careless on the abundance of sustaining magics, and will protest attempts to remove the spell book, unless it is shown that there is another familiar to take its place. This occurs even if there is a Wizard Locked item nearby. Even if there is another book to take the place of the book to be removed, there is a 5% chance that the Bond Breaker will be petulant and refuse to cooperate for 1d8 hours. Attempts to remove the book in spite of the protest of the bond breaker in the absence of a book to take the place of the desired book will result in 1d8 hours of shrieking that prevents re-learning of spells for all types of spell casters, magic users, clerics, druids, shaman, witch doctors, etc. in a 100 foot radius of the creature. The distraught creature will stay within close proximity of the one who removed the familiar during this time to show its displeasure.

Should one attempt to move the Bond Breaker from the 50 foot radius of the Wizard Lock or Wizard’s Bookstand, it will whimper and cry loudly to the point that any guards, even if sleeping or slept, stunned, held or charmed will come to investigate.

Some theorize that the creature’s affinity for wizard locks indicates its true origins as a wizard going after a rival, and in the absence of wizard locks to sate its appetite, the creature looks for other magical bonds upon which to feed. As this is an ancient magical creature known in the oldest manuscripts, its true origins are lost to the mists of time.
Frequency: RARE
Size: Small.

AC:
HD: 4 HP
ATTACKS: Shrieking prevents re-learning and casting of memorized spells and attracts other creatures, and counters sleep, hold person/monster within 100 feet. See Special.
ST:
Special: Consumes bonds of charmed and summoned creatures or helper spells.
Move:
Challenge Level:
XP:

OSR Superstar Contest – Thoughts on Why I Didn’t Win

I think primarily that in a contest of this nature, especially one in which there are so many other entries there are a few keys to getting on one of the judges’ lists.

  • Brevity. Explain your item and what it does in a couple of paragraphs. Walls of text with complex entries are a sure way to turn off the judges to looking at your entries.
  • Uniqueness. Have an entry that is unique and can be described simply and is easy to drop into the rules.
  • Catchy. It needs a catchy name or description. Something that helps explain what it is without needing to read it.
  • Rules. Write it with the designated rules in mind. Writing it for a close but not quite rule set can show and can make it clunky.

I know that two of my entries were walls of text and all of them did not get written with the target rule set from the start. I did read through all of the various S&W rules before I converted to that rule set, but it greatly hampered the effectiveness of my presentation.

The wall of text is an issue I often have in my blog posts. I get to writing and the ideas related to it just keep flowing. I have the blessing/curse of being able to see connections most others don’t, and it takes a lot of text to explain the connections.

The good news is that I cam up with some unique items that I can use in my game. Whether players find them is another thing.

OSR Superstar Initial Results Posted

Instead of the 16 who made the cut to round two, Tenkar has posted the seven who appear on two of the judges’ lists of 16 for each judge. Thirty-four more entries will be listed later. I believe he means tonight.

I did not make the list of seven, but perhaps one of my three entries made it to the other thirty-four.

If I don’t make the list, I will post the three items I submitted, and the creature I designed in anticipation.

I will then focus on wrapping up my A to Z blog posts, and then work on a submission for the One Page Dungeon Contest.