Friday, February 22, 2019

Black Dogs

Recently I started brainstorming some ideas for a new LotFP campaign. I asked my players if they'd rather start in 17th Colonial America or England and they chose the later. Which means, I need new monsters for my random encounter tables. Time to dive back into old world folklore starting with the Black Dogs of the British Isles.

The lore of Black Dogs goes back centuries, making them a perfect monster for the default 17th century LotFP setting. I did some research on Black Dogs and here's what I got. The lore claims Black dogs tend to be either spirits or demonic in nature. They roam the vast moors of England chasing down those unfortunate enough to travel at night. A few stories even tell of  benevolent hounds haunting cemeteries(perhaps guarding some treasure or the dead?)and churches. The lore even suggests the beasts sometimes guide lost travellers back to the road. We'll factor those in when we make our table but I want our dogs to fall more on the malevolent side, this is Lamentations after all. As for visual descriptions of the dogs, eye witness accounts say the beasts have thick black fur and deep glowing red eyes. One story (the Yeth Hound) describes the dog as headless and mimicking the sounds of a crying child. Creepy stuff. We want our Black Dogs to be a little weird too so we'll be adding our own visuals to the lore. As for other abilities Black Dogs possess they are supposed shapeshifters and use this ability to lure victims to their doom. Additionally since the black dogs of legend tend to be spectral we'll steal the ghostly ability to turn invisible. The size of these creature varies but according to the folktales Black Dogs can be as big as a large dog, all the way to the size of a horse. We'll use the creature's size to determine how many Hit Dice it gets.


I want my Black Dogs to be encountered only at the following places: Cemeteries, Wilderness crossroads, and Plains. Night only.

Whenever our player's characters are traveling through or resting at one of those places,

Roll a d6. On a result of 1, a Black Dog lurks there.

*If any magic-users are present a black dog is encountered on a 1 or 2 roll. This signifies the chaos magic draws to those who tamper with forces best left alone.*

Alright, time to summon the hounds!

Introducing the "OH GOD, WHAT IS THAT?!" Table.

-Roll the stated dice to create a unique Black Dog.-

The Beast stepped forth from the fog. The flickering light from your torch hesitantly crept towards the creature slowly revealing its hideous vestige.

It was the size of...(roll a d6)

1-2, A Dog, (4 HD) and

3-4, A Man, (6 HD) and

5-6, A horse, (8 HD) and

walked on four legs like a hound of hell. Sulfur and rot filled your nostrils as it's coarse black fur shivered at the sight of its prey. It took a slow, creaking step towards you. Oh God! Surely your eyes betray you! It had...(roll a d10)
  1. No Head!
  2. An old grinning woman's face with dull glowing yellow eyes!
  3. A rapid dog's head that drools maggots. Its eyes glow with pulsing white light.
  4. A pale woman's face with a lapping snake tongue. It's eyes are glazed over with glaucoma.
  5. A dog's head with glowing red eyes. Its maw hangs open and you can see a sickly blue light in the back of it's throat.
  6. A skeletal head of a boar. Where it's eyes should be are two huge wriggling bot fly larvae.
  7. A dog's head with a single red eye glowing eye at the center of its face, cyclops-like.
  8. A fat balding man's head with black coat buttons for eyes. A sword slowly emerges from its gagging mouth before stopping at the hilt.
  9. Two heads; one a goat the other a raven.
  10. A single large squid eye that seems to steal glances at everything before settling on you.

[Motivation] What does it want?! (d12+d8)

2--A new head! Yours will do...

3--To Feast on your heart!

4--Eyes are tasty...especially Magic-Users'...

5--A Catholic Tongue.

6-7--To drag you to hell!

8-12--//Your violent death!

13-14--Chase you until you get lost.

15--Gold Coins, or Gems. No silver!

16--A story.

17--Help Finding a lost soul.

18--Guard a local cemetery.

19--Help you if your lost.

20--Lead you to a hidden treasure.

As for its stats...

-Black Dog
Armor 14, Move 120′, 6 Hit Dice, 27hp, Claw 1d6 & Bite 1d8, Morale 10. The creature may take on the form of a black hound or person it has seen before. The illusion ends when it attacks. The creature may become invisible outside of combat. The invisibility ends when it attacks.

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