Saturday, May 28, 2016

Hell Hounds !

The Hell Hound is a scourge from beyond that serve fire giants and stalk the underworlds of Hell seeking to satiate the hunger that eternally torments them or following the bidding of dark masters dragging hapless souls to their doom.

First let's have an outline of statistics over the years/versions of the game to see just what a Hell hound has meant statistically.

1st Basic Set:
Move: 120 feet/round, HD: 3-7, AC: 4
Alignment: Lawful Evil, Attacks: Bite, Damage: 1-6
Special: Breath Fire,5’ ranged attack for 1d6 per HD.

Expert Set:
#:3-7 AC:4 HD: 3-7, Attacks: Bite 1-6 or breath fire
AL: Chaotic, Morale:9, Move:120(40)
Special: fire breath vs one foe for 1d6 per HD, save for half.
75%  chance to detect invisible person or object within 60’

OD&D Greyhawk supplement:
#:2-8, AC:4,MV:12, HD: 3-7
Special: Breathe fire 1d6 per HD. Great stealth, detect hidden and invisible 75%. Fairly Intelligent.

#:2-8, AC:4, Mv:12”, HD 4-7,attacks:1 dmg: 1d10
Alignment: Lawful Evil Int: Low
Special: Breath fire for 1 hp per HD, save for half.
Stealthy surprising opponents 4in6, only surprised 1in6. Detect hidden or invisible 50%

Swords & Wizardy Core Rules
HD: 4-7, AC:4[15], Attack: bite 1d6 Mv:12 Al; Chaos
Special: Firebreath 2hper HD, 10’ range save for half.

Basic Fantasy RPG
#:2-8, AC: 14 to 18, HD: 3 to 7, Attacks: bite 1d6 or breath 1d6/HD
Mov:40’, Morale: 9
Special: breaths fire 1/3rd of attacks, save for 1/2 damage.

Labyrinth Lord
#:2-8, HD: 3-7, Mv:120’, Ar: bite 1d6 or breath 1d6/HD.
Special: breath fire 30% of attacks, save for 1/2 damage.
Detect Invisibility 60’ with 75% success.

Hell hounds over the years in classical games have shifted about a bit in their capabilities. In the 1st Holmes edit of Basic D&D they are an unholy horror if no save is allowed (which is implied by the hell hound needing a hit roll damage a foe). The damage ratings given to the fire breath are curiously low in AD&D.
Their Hit Dice is variable starting at 3 or 4 depending on the version of the game.  The Hell Hound’s detection powers and keen sense vary from version to version as do their associated intellect. BFRPG gives them variable AC tied to HD which is a nice touch that beefs up the toughness with HD. While faster than you’ll find encumbered dungeon adventurers they can be outrun by a horse in many versions of the game.

Hell hounds are often but not consistently noted as being from beyond the prime material plane, with Hell being an awfully obvious point of origin. Fire giants seem to find them to be useful companion beasts but this association raises some questions into the true nature of fire giants themselves (are they agents of hell or is hell working to corrupt them). While it may be possible to encounter small packs of Hell Hound wandering in search of victims the possibility far more dangerous masters are not to far away increases the risk of tangling with these evil hounds.

I’ve always enjoyed the Hell Hound as dungeon beastie and possible denizen of the nether realms. The variable nature as expressed by Hit Dice just encourages me to increase the randomness.

I recommend rolling 1d6 per column for an entire pack (or for all the Hell Hounds on a dungeon level/ plane). The Extra column and appearance based bonus need not always be rolled and would raise the effective challenge and level of a hell hound.
Breath Damage
5’ 1hp/HD save for 1/2
once an encounter
See Invisible 50%
Howl causes fear in all with less HD
10’ 2hp/HD save for 1/2
30% of attacks
See Invisible or hidden 50%.
Surprise foes 4in6, only surprised 1in6
Many Headed! Hellhound has one head per HD. Can only be slain if each head is destroyed.
10' 1d6/HD save for 1/2
2 in 6 attacks
See Invisible or hidden 75%
Painful bite: Save or be paralyzed by pain. (unless HD twice hound)
5' 1d6/HD on hit roll save allowed
2 in 6 attacks
See Invisible or hidden 75%.
Surprise foes 4in6, only surprised 1in6
Turn Invisible twice per day. Appear when attacking.
20’ cone 2hp/HD save for half.
# of HD per day. May use vs foes it is biting.
See Invisible or hidden 75%.
Avoid Surprise 90%
Teleport up to 60’ 3 times a day.
5' 1d6/HD on hit roll, no save
At Will, may use vs foes it is biting.
See Invisible 100%.
Surprise foes 4in6, only surprised 1in6
Turn invisible 3 times a day. Appear when harmed not while attacking.

Hellhound Appearance (choose or roll, Bonus! goes with appearance if desired)

Rusty Red Hounds with glowing Eyes.
Tracks as ranger of same level
Shadow Dog, Living shadow
Phase Door, in shadows 2 times a day
Gaunt Hound, looks like starving dog with glowing red eyes.
Devour Soul and All, after the hell hound slays a foe it will stand and consume the remains and soul of the slain in 3 rounds.
Blazing Skeleton, a hounds skeleton wreathed in ever burning flames  (fumes if not fire breathing)
Thrusting weapons causes minimal damage. Hafted weapons must save vs damage.
Broken Dog, rear legs appear crushed by wagon wheel.
Lockjaw, any attack that hits on a die roll of 19-20 means the helhounds jaws have locked on auto-hitting and weighing down foe.
Iron Talbot, great hunting dog seemingly forged from iron.
Normal weapons must save vs damage or break after a successful strike.
Junkyard Dog, Dog is a composite mass of garbage and refuse.
Miasma, a cloud of filth surrounds the hound all who approach within 10’ who must save or be unable to act except for escaping the 10’ distance.
Rotting Hound, The hound is clearly rotting with oozing pus, crawling with maggots
Filth Fever, victim must save after being bitten or be unable to be healed  (mundane or magical) until the Disease is removed.

When next your doughty band of adventurers, mad murder hobos, or crusading champions heAr tell there are hell hounds about , it may be best for them to be a heed the warnings to find out what they are really  getting themselves into when fighting these unpredictable diabolic monsters from the underworld.

1 comment:

  1. if i did a monster book it would by broad types with lots of mods - the mutant epoch every monster has a varient table

    repetitive types can get predictable

    more one off weird monsters would be good

    this is a great monster history - varrient post