Sunday, November 29, 2015

Goonthas and Grinnas

Most people who encounter the goonthas for the first time assume that the clothed, chattering creatures riding the wagons are the people in charge, and the buffalo-things are just beasts of burden.  They would be mistaken.

by deskridge

Feathered buffalo with mildy-deformed faces.  They are travelling merchants, and they pull their own wagons: shiny, black domes on mirror-like wheels.  Their prices are fair, but they are never cheap.  The goonthas do not deal in cheap products or services.

Their caravans sometimes carry travellers, who have hired the goonthas.  But the caravans are primarily staffed by apelike creatures called grinnas.

Those who purchase many of their wares discover that goonthas are kindly, benevolent creatures that talk freely of their lives and their experiences in the surrounding areas.  They will not speak of where they came from, or their origins.  They will look kindly on the party if the party offers to pull their wagons for a while (this is one of the rumors you may hear in town).

But woe to those who do not purchase anything from the goonthas.  Those unlucky souls will be attacked by grinnas, while the goontha watches on, sadly.  (These are not the goonthas' grinnas--these are different grinnas from somewhere else, somehow.)

The PCs can murder as many grinnas as they want.  The goonthas will always get more, somehow.  But if the goonthas or their cargo are threatened, they will attack like bison that cast spells like level 6 wizards.  If you don't have bison stats, you can borrow mine (but I want them back when you're done).

HD AC leather Gore 2d6 Trample 1d10 (Dex negates, 60' line)
Move 15 Int 14 Morale 6
Possible Spells grounding, telekinetic shove, scorching ray, heat metal, sleep, dream eater


Black haired chimpanzees, except their heads resemble bleached bird skulls.  They wear clothing compulsively and communicate with each other with a complicated series of noises that sounds like language.  Despite the clothing and the language, they are completely unintelligent.  The complex noises communicate through tone, nothing more.  They carry weapons (usually rapiers) but attack by biting.

They ape civilization, but they are animals at heart.  The goonthas use them to load cargo.

HD 2 AC unarmored Bite 1d6
Move 12 Int 2 Morale 9
* Grabby - Whenever a grinna hits a creature, it has a 50% chance (i.e. if the damage die is odd-numbered) of attempting a grapple as a free action.  (Still requires a successful opposed Str check.)  They have Str 12.

from temple run
New Spells

Level 3 Wizard Spell
All flight, levitation, hovering within 200' of the caster is cancelled, dispelled, and made impossible.  Creatures that fall from the sky cannot reduce fall damage through any means.  (No feather fall, tumbling, etc.)  Lasts 1 minute per caster level.

Telekinetic Shove
Level 3 Wizard Spell
An object or creature within 50' is shoved/hurled as if by a stone giant.  Creatures get a save to negate.  This is enough to throw a human-sized creature (1d4 * 10 feet, plus 10 feet for every two caster levels), and deals 1d6 damage for every 10' travelled.  A creature thrown at another creature requires an attack roll to hit, but does equal damage to the target if it does.

Dream Eater
Level 1 Wizard Spell
A sleeping creature within 50' takes 1d6 damage for every caster level (max 5d6).  The caster heals for the same amount.  No save.

Bestow Phobia
Level 4 Wizard Spell
A creature must save or gain a phobia of the caster's choice.  Phobia cannot be too specific (no person-specific phobias).  Limit possible phobias to the ones in your game's insanity list, if you have one.  Treat phobia like a permanent curse.

Goontha Inventory

Each Goontha caravan carries 1d6-2 passengers (min 0) and 1d6+1 of the following items.

1. Stolen Memories.  Stored in a snuff box.  If inhaled, the sniffer gains 1000xp.  Then they must save or gain a permanent insanity from the cognitive dissonance between two sets of memories.  Costs 1500gp.

2. Saddle of Horses.  Anything that wears this saddle turns into a horse for as long as they wear the saddle.  (Horses are unable to remove their own saddles.)  Costs 3000gp.

3. Potion of Amnesia.  Drinker forgets the last 3 minutes, no save.  Also works to reverse the effects of xp drain.  Costs 1000gp.

4. Bottle of Flesh-Eating Beetles.  (Treat as a HD 2 swarm.)  Costs 900gp.

5. Stone Sarcophagus of the Invisible King.  Any undead that is closed inside the sarcophagus will obey the first person to speak to it, after it emerges from the sarcophagus.  Only capable of dominating one undead at a time.  Costs 5000gp.

6. Spider Throne.  You sit in the chair and it walks around on metal spider legs.  It has no attacks, but treat it like an HD 8 creature with plate armor.  It moves as fast as a horse, but cannot gallop.  Costs 3000gp.

7. A Bag of Black Sugar.  Anyone who eats more than a pinch of black sugar must obey all one-word commands that are given to them for the rest of the day.  Treat any direct command as if it were a command spell.  No save.  One bag contains 20 doses.  Costs 2000gp.

8. Bottled Lightning.  Fires a 5d6 lightning bolt when opened.  Costs 1000gp.

9. Bottled Explosion Elemental.  Looks like an inch-long dolphin in a jar that glows like a lightbulb filament.  Talks like a pirate king, demands respect and the opportunity to explode artistically.  Explodes into a 5d6 fireball when broken (usually by throwing).  If the party was impolite to the explosion elemental, it will not explode immediately, and instead fly over to the players and detonate on top of them.  If the players are polite to the explosion elemental and offer it something it wants (the chance to impress royalty and/or sexy ladies by exploding in front of them) it might be persuaded into doing some specific favor for them, as long as that favor doesn't take more than a minute and involves exploding at the end.

10. Scroll of Bestow Phobia (see above).  Currently contains the fear of the dark.  Costs 900gp.

11. Human Egg.  Looks like a dragon egg, only slightly smaller.  Hatches into a baby that will grow into in a perfectly normal adult in 18 days.  Costs 1500gp.

12. Dragon Egg.  Hatches into a perfectly normal baby red dragon.  Costs 4000gp.


  1. Are the grinnas bred/hired/bought by the goonthas or are they an unwanted presence, like some sort of racial curse or parasite?

    (also, i think the explosion elemental paragraph is missing a clause or two at the end)

    1. It's not something I've decided yet, but if I was DMing them today and had to come up with something definite, I'd say: grinnas are the unfertilized eggs of the goonthas, born from their foreheads, Athena-style, accompanied by a terrible headache and horrible shame.

  2. I like all of it except for the part where not buying anything gets you attacked; I may steal any and all of it aside from that part. (If someone's players think that's cute and enjoy it, of course, more power to them.) I'm going to second Mr. Bigelow in noting that we're not told what would happen "If the players are polite to the explosion elemental...."

    1. Fixed it, thanks. My mistake.

      The reason that they attack you is that I want all encounters in the Darklands to be combat encounters--they're from the wandering monster table, not the wandering NPC table. (Because everything in the Darklands is hostile; there are no good guys.)

  3. Just used them in yesterday section. Pg were just out the deep carbon observatory, full of munna. The party was glad to purchase almost every item the Goonthas had.

  4. Just used them in yesterday section. Pg were just out the deep carbon observatory, full of munna. The party was glad to purchase almost every item the Goonthas had.