Sunday, April 21, 2019

Monster Manual II: Quicklings

Long, long ago*, in a galaxy not so far away, I received the AD&D (1st edition) Monster Manual II as a Christmas present. I didn't play AD&D; I ran a mix of B/X and BECMI, but I also didn't really understand the differences between any of those games, and those big hardcover books full of stuff I had never seen before just called to me. Some of the different stats and terminology confused me at first, but it didn't take long to sort it out to my satisfaction. Some of the creatures didn't fit my campaign world/play style at all, but there were also many that would have been right at home in B/X with a little modification, quite a few of which I used for exactly those purposes. This post and those to follow are about some of my particular favorites.

* Since I also received Weird Al Yankovic's "Even Worse" album, that would pin it down to 1988.

Quicklings captured my imagination at first sight. I've always loved dark, enchanted forests teeming with potentially malevolent fey-types as an adventure setting, so right away, they fit right in. These little bastards are CRAZY fast, and I can picture them flitting from tree trunk to tree trunk, unnerving adventurers who barely catch sight of them from the corners of their eyes, staying just out of direct view until they have the PCs right where they want them ...

"Live long and suffer!"

Their stats are a bit wonky for B/X play (1-1/2 Hit Dice?) and they have some powers that reference AD&D spells, which for the most part are rather superfluous, so they'll need a little tidying-up. Properly B/X-ified, they might look something like this:

Armor Class: -3
Hit Dice: 1+1**
Move: 900' (300')
Attacks: 3
Damage: 1d4-1 (dagger)
No. Appearing: 2d4 (2d8)
Save As: Cleric:14
Morale: 7
Treasure Type: U+V
Alignment: Chaotic

Quicklings are a small, slender, humanoid race, perhaps distantly related to gnomes or halflings, who dabbled in dangerous magics. They live in dark, enchanted or evil wooded areas. Due to their incredible speed and reflexes, they are never surprised but surprise opponents on a roll of 1-4 and can make three attacks per round with their daggers. Any group of 10 or more quicklings will have a leader with 3 Hit Dice who uses poisoned blades that will cause victims to fall into a drugged sleep for 1d4 turns unless a save vs. poison is made. There is also a 25% chance of a quickling spellcaster who functions as a magic-user of level 1-4.

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