Monsters! Monsters! (or, Two Orcs, A Gremlin, And A Ghost walk into a tavern…)

So, inspired by the recent posts by Jeff Rients on his experiences with Monsters! Monsters! I finally snagged the PDF from RPGNow (it’s on sale for half-off the list price as I type this).

Monsters! Monsters! is a game that I’ve been passingly interested in for years, but just never managed to get my hands on before. I won’t bore you with the details of the game other than to say it’s essentially early Tunnels & Trolls but with the twist that the players are monsters who are sick of having their dungeon raided and have decided to take the fight to the humans and such outside the dungeon. It’s a cute conceit, and one that nicely illustrates the boundaries already being pushed in 1976.

Anyway, here I present my very first (and totally random, as is the nature of M!M!) monster party. It’s a fairly tame collection, featuring the two Orcs, one Gremlin, and one Ghost noted in the title of this post. That’s what simulating drawing playing cards at random got me. A second round of drawing yielded a group consisting of a Gorilla (think Grodd), a Mummy, a Shadowjack (think corrupt, shadow-dwelling wizard), and a Vampire (think D&D-style, not sparkly). That’s a much nastier crew indeed! We’ll see if they turn up for your entertainment eventually. For now, though, we’ll stick with the simpler bunch.

I had a few of moments of uncertainty when handling the Ghost. First, do Ghosts get Combat Adds? And if so, do they suffer penalties for having nulls in Strength and Dexterity? And if yes to that, should the penalties be −9 per stat actually being zero? I opted for yes on all counts. I was looking at this as some kind of poltergeisty telekinesis thing, or perhaps some kind of psychic damage. But I can certainly see choosing to go a different route. The second significant concern with the Ghost was that spells (which, barring my TK decision above, are the only way for Ghosts to affect combat) are supposed to cost Strength to cast, but Ghosts have no Strength value. Thirdly, spells have a minimum Dexterity required to learn and Ghosts have no Dexterity value. So I winged it and just figured I’d use Intelligence as the all-purpose stat for Ghosts’ magic use. Basically, in drawing a Ghost I appear to have found what might be the biggest hole in the entire game. Yay me!

And now… without further ado… here are… the Maroon Marauders of Marksdale on the Marshes (And Municipalities More Metropolitan)! Lead by the big honkin’ mace of Luranng and steered by the clever machinations of the sinisterly smart Turunng, the Maroon Marauders are ready to make a name for themselves. Well aware that more than just steel will win the day, the Orcs have rounded out their warband with a couple of magical creatures: Grey Marjorie (the Ghost of the Princess Who Wasn’t Rescued) and Nynchitter Nast, the reasonably charming Gremlin with connections.

Luranng / Orc / 5′ 11″ / 200
Strength 16 Intelligence 7 Luck 14 Combat Adds 5
Constitution 11 Dexterity 8 Charisma ° Speed Normal
Weight Possible 1,300 Weight Carried Minimal Experience Points 0
Weapons: Mace (4+2)
Armor: Chainmail (5) & Viking Spiked Shield (2)
Languages: Orcish

Turunng / Orc / 5′ 1″ / 180
Strength 10 Intelligence 16 Luck 10 Combat Adds 2
Constitution 10 Dexterity 14 Charisma ° Speed Normal
Weight Possible 1,200 Weight Carried Minimal Experience Points 0
Weapons: Scimitar (2)
Armor: Scale Armor (4) & Viking Spiked Shield (2)
Languages: Orcish, Goblin, Common, Hobbit, Gremlin

Grey Marjorie / Ghost / 5′ 3″ / —
Strength — Intelligence 15 Luck 30 Combat Adds 12
Constitution 11 Dexterity — Charisma ! Speed Normal
Weight Possible — Weight Carried — Experience Points 0
Weapons: None
Armor: None
Languages: Common, Orc, Gremlin, Troll
Magic: Knock-knock, Take That, You Foe!, Oh-go-away

Nynchitter Nast / Gremlin / 4′ 3″ / 90
Strength 4 Intelligence 16 Luck 23 Combat Adds 6
Constitution 5 Dexterity 10 Charisma ? Speed Normal
Weight Possible 400 Weight Carried Minimal Experience Points 0
Weapons: Dirk (1d3+1) – Poisoned w/ Dragon Venom for a total of 2d+1
Armor: Steel Cap (1)
Languages: Gremlin, Common, Orc, Dragon, Troll
Magic: Brimstone Blip, Finagle’s Demons, Hidey Hole

Hey, What’s With These Guys’ Weird Charisma Scores?

In case you don’t happen to have a copy of M!M! handy (and you really should – did I mention it was on sale?) you probably don’t know that many monsters don’t get numerical Charisma scores. Instead they get these symbols that indicate the general reaction of humans. A question mark indicates contempt, disgust or disbelief. A degree symbol means “some” fear. And an exclamation point represents outright terror. There’s also a plus sign used to indicate “awe or liking.” But I didn’t wind up with any of those types this go round.

My first reaction, were I actually going to run M!M!, was to give the monsters some kind of Charisma score at least relative to other monsters. But then I thought better of it. If the game is effectively willing to do away with Charisma, why not let the players handle all of that stuff completely freeform? I mean, I absolutely despise the concept of “social mechanics” in games anyway. But that’s a different topic for a different day. And probably a different blog and blogger, too, since I’m not inclined to get into RPG theory 🙂

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