06 April 2011

E is Everyman and Executioner's Hood

Everyman. A few months ago an OSR blogger touched on this concept and its importance to "old school" gameplay. It might have been over on B/X Blackrazor or it might have Matt Finch in his Quick Primer for Old School Gaming. I'm not exactly sure. Regardless, the idea is a sound one.

Basically one of the flaws with 3.0/3.5 was the idea of "commoner classes." Now, 2E had every bartender as a retired 4th level fighter with a halberd +2 under the bar, and 1E had NPC classes (like the Scribe) published in Dragon, but, by and large, those were aberrations. The whole point of adventurers is that they are HEROES. They are the ones who go to save the village from the kobold raiders.

Everyone laughs at kobolds, the sneaky little bastards. Oh, of course, they can occasionally be deadly with poison and traps and surprise on an ambush but in a stand-up fight? C'mon! Except...kobolds are 1/2 HD, yes? And goblins are 1-1 HD? The Average Man (or "Everyman" to stay with our E theme) is listed in the AD&D Monster Manual as 1-6 hp each and Basic puts them at 1-4 depending on their occupation (i.e., frail granny vs. village blacksmith). That puts the average man somewhere between kobolds and goblins in the hierarchy of things. Not a good place to be.

The heroes are the ones who stand in the breach and hold back the hordes of Chaos. They protect the world of the Free Peoples from falling to the Darkness. They are special and larger than life. Not an AD&D designer (although he did do some work for Judges Guild back in the day), Kevin Siembieda frequently says that he doesn't understand how players don't get the fact that they are HEROES, not merely Peasant #4 on the road to Camelot. They're ~supposed~ to have special powers and be more than human.

So, the point is, maybe the Everymen in the game really do fawn over the heroes and appreciate them because they are the ones who protect them from the monsters. To borrow a quote from the play "The Lion in Winter":

Since Louis died, while Philip grew, I've had no France to fight. In that lull I've found how good it is to write a law or make a tax more fair or sit in judgement to decide which peasant gets a cow. I tell you, there is nothing so important in the world.

And that's sort of the point. I think sometimes players lose track of what is important. But maybe that's just me and my sentimentality working overtime. As usual.

Moving right along, a quick note. It seems that the monster write-ups I've been doing have a connection to the "Outer Dark" and "things men were not meant to know" (not counting Dalgard's minotaurs from yesterday). That is wholly unintentional on my part. I've just be choosing things that don't exist in S&W and the ones I've chosen seem to fit a particular mold. Well, here we go for today.

Executioner's Hood

AC: 6 [13]                                                   Special: Strangulation, immune to sleep
HD: 2+2, 4+4, 6+6                                       Move: 6
Attacks: Enveloping                                     HDE/XP: 3/360, 5/600, 7/840

Called in some sources "the creeping thing," the executioner's hood is obviously not a thing of this world. Ranging anywhere from 1' to 3' in diameter and averaging about 1" in thickness, it can mold itself to fit through cracks and can crawl along walls and ceilings. It loves to hide itself in nooks and crannies and then waits to drop down upon unsuspecting adventurers. On a successful hit, it envelops the target's head for 1d4 damage and immediately attaches fibrous tendrils to the victim's nervous system. This makes the executioner's hood extremely difficult to kill because the target will now take the same amount of damage that the hood takes. On each subsequent round the target will take an additional 1d4 damage until the target dies. Its only weakness is brandy; if someone spends a combat round pouring at least 1 quart of brandy on it, it will become tipsy and pass out, freeing the victim.

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