Random is Cool.
It's true. Sometimes, Randomness can build awesome new ideas, or add another dimension to something you planned.
The Random Esoteric Creature Generator was written (or at least released) seven years ago, so I am well behind the curve in recommending this gem for any D&D game. But recommend I shall, because it's a wealth of information and ideas, even if you just mine it for useful stuff instead of rolling randomly. But, in order to show what it can do, I am going to do just that- populate a previously existing hex where I have a mystery in my game.
In my campaign, between the cities of Adamas and Domacco along the river there is a canyon, or river valley, that boats try to navigate as quickly as possible. A pall is over the land for miles- dead trees, darkness, and the feeling that you are being watched.
The locals say that... something... dwells in the forested hills there.
Well, let's find out what that something is!
The monster who lives here is probably as nasty as a Hill Giant or so. I will call it 9 HD.
The first roll is 2d10 to find basic body shape- Quadruped. This creature moves about on four legs.
On this page, there is a super awesome picture of a creature shaped like a d10. I don't know what the hell that thing is- some kind of horrible beholderoper thing- but *I* never want to face it.
The next roll is 2d10, for basic characteristics- I get an 11, which means it's a combination of two creature types. Combo monsters are very common here, as they ought to be.
I roll again- First one, Insect, +1d6 AC bonus. Second one, 13, Mammal, +1d6-1 AC bonus. It isn't really clear to me if these stack, but I don't think they ought to. I'll go with whatever bonus is better, but I roll 5 for insect and 6 (5) for mammal. So this thing's AC is 5.
There is another table to figure out what KIND Of bug and mammal this thing has the traits of. It turns out it's a hideous cross of... *rolls*... dragonfly and squirrel.
Uhhh, huh. Okay.
So Its got a long, shiny body with great gossamer wings. It has a furry belly, long tree-climbing limbs ending in sharp claws. Its head is a mix, with an elongated furry snout, cutting teeth, and mandibles that close from the sides on the long teeth.
There's a thing to roll to see how big the creature is, but I think it's big, and so I am going "huge". I figure the HD I already determined are part of this, so I don't modify it.
The next thing is locomotion methods, but I know the Drurel can fly with his dragonfly wings, and can climb walls and such easily.
On to Attack Methods. The drurel attacks with it's bite, which increase it's damage one die type. Being Huge, the damage was 1d10. It's now 1d12.
Next comes distinctive features. You can roll on this til you're done rolling on it. When does the freaky monster seem done?
Let's start rolling, then... The first thing I get is "stinger." This creature has a big old earwig pincer. Maybe it hangs from rocks and trees to make it's attacks.
But that's not all this thing has, is it? Rolling again, I get unusual color. This critter is red, with white details. Yeeeeep, it's a squirrel all right. Booring.
Neeeext. I roll a 36, multiple eyes. Huh. The Drurel has six hideous, faceted eyes which run along the top of it's head, making it harder to surprise.
Lastly, because I want to, I roll a 51, Rocklike Features. I think the Drurel has the ability to camouflage itself when it's not moving, Dragonheart style. This normally gives an AC bonus, but I like my take on it better. This is probably why none know what the Drurel looks like- it's an ambush predator, and a big one.
We move on to Special Abilities. A creature has a 10% chance per HD of having one, so 90% for the Drurel. For every full 10% under this, it gets one more. I roll 72, so I think that means 2. A roll of 34 gets "Drains 1d6 Charisma, no Save." This comes back at 1 per hour. I guess the Drurel makes you lose part of yourself, causing you to lose your force of personality. The next roll is 63, Immune to Cold.
Two last tables- Combat Strategy (Least Armored) and Motivation (Hunger).
So the Drurel wants to eat, and it eats soft gooey mages first. Makes sense to me!
As it turns out, I got this far and then I realize that I need to roll on the Delivery of Special Attacks for the Charisma damage. I roll a 9- projectile. But I don't like that, so I call it touch. Take that, Random Esoteric Generator!
Impressions: I've had this book a long time, but haven't used it a whole lot. It makes weird shit- just what it says on the tin. It's certainly a spiritual ancestor to Lamentations of the Flame Princess- especially the Summon spell in that game- but the things this generator makes are less gonzo than Summon. I'll definitely use it again for other critters in my campaign, especially daemons, spirits, or other summoned entities.
% In Lair: Never
Wilderness: Solitary (1)
Movement: 120' (40')
Fly: 150' (50')
Hit Dice: 9**
Attacks: 2 (bite, tail) or 1 (tail poison)
The drurel is a hideous crossbreed unleashed by some nameless mage centuries ago. It most resembles a hideous, quadrupedal dragonfly, with vast gossamer wings. However, it's head is almost mammalian, with two rows of faceted eyes a short snout, and mandibles which close over a mouth filled with long cutting teeth. It is, horribly, roughly the size of a very large bear.
The drurel spends most of it's time in the trees and stones around it's river lair. It is an indifferent meat eater, ambushing anything smaller than itself. Unmoving, the drurel is dull and almost stonelike, only shifting to shining dragonfly iridescence when it moves. The drurel causes it's attackers to suffer -1 to their surprise rolls, but gains a +1 to it's own.
The Drurel can spray a contains a powerful neurotoxin which both confuses and demoralizes it's foes, It can spray a gobbet of this at a foe, dealing 1d6 Charisma damage (no saving throw, must hit successfully) This damage recovers at a rate of 1 per hour. If Charisma is reduced to 0, the target will fall into catatonic gibbering until Charisma recovers to 1.
Due to the Drurel's strange biological processes, it is immune to cold, both natural and magical.