Tactics and Tips10/05/2006

Know Your Enemy (Part 5)

Lore for Mummies, Nightmares, Ogre Mages, and Otyughs

If you've been reading the recent supplements for the D&D game, you've probably noticed that a new bit of formatting has become the norm when new monsters are provided: the Lore sidebar. This handy item takes the

The dreaded mummy is a staple guardian of long-forgotten tombs and abandoned temples. Already strong in combat, mummies have a few abilities that make them even more formidable to face. Additional mummy lore may reveal the specifics about the funeral rites that create these terrible undead.

guesswork out of what a character (as opposed to the player) knows about a given creature and rewards those characters with ranks in the appropriate Knowledge skill. Over the course of the next few installments, we'll provide Knowledge check results for a variety of monsters, starting with some of the most iconic that lack this sidebar in the Monster Manual.

This week, we look at the dreaded mummy, horrific nightmare, remarkably powerful ogre mage, and disgusting otyugh.

Mummy Lore

A Peek Behind the Rules Curtain

So how do designers determine the Difficulty Class for Knowledge checks about creatures? The following is excerpted from Monster Manual IV:

The description of the Knowledge skill indicates that in general, the baseline DC of checks to identify monsters and remember one bit of useful information about their special powers or vulnerabilities is equal to 10 + the monster's HD. Every 5 points by which the check result exceeds the DC yields another useful piece of information (PH 78).

As a general rule of thumb, a DC 15 check or higher will reveal all of the base creature's type and subtype traits as defined in the glossary. This often includes information about energy resistance or various immunities. For instance, a DC 15 Knowledge (arcana) check reveals that dragons have high hit points (12-sided HD), all good saves, and have darkvision out to 60 feet and low-light vision. They eat, sleep, and breathe.

Information specific to the creature, such as its type of damage resistance, spell-like abilities, or immunities come with the high DC check results.

Knowledge (Religion)

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (religion) can learn more mummies. When a character makes a successful skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.

DC Result

18 This withered and desiccated corpse, which is wrapped in funerary bandages, is a mummy. This result reveals all undead traits.

23 Mummies are used as guardians for great tombs or temple complexes, hunting down and destroying grave robbers. They never retreat.

28 The mere sight of a mummy invokes tremendous despair, which can paralyze its victims. Mummies have DR 5/--, but they are vulnerable to fire damage.

33 The touch of a mummy inflicts a horrible disease known as mummy rot. This incredibly fast-acting disease is not natural and is cured only by casting break enchantment or remove curse. This disease is highly resistant, though not immune, to healing spells. Sometimes, powerful individuals are preserved as greater mummies, retaining some of their skills and abilities that they had in life.

Nightmare Lore

Neither demon nor devil, nightmares still fulfill the role of powerful, terrifying outsiders bent on destruction and mayhem. Although difficult enough to fight on their own, nightmares commonly ally themselves with powerful, evil beings to serve as companions or steeds.

Knowledge (the Planes)

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (the planes) can learn more about nightmares. When a character makes a successful skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.

DC Result

15 This ebon-skinned, flame-covered steed is a nightmare. This result reveals all outsider traits.

20 The powerful hooves of a nightmare are sheathed in flame and a blow from them sets combustible objects alight.

25 Nightmares can fly and often serve as companions and steeds for powerful, evil individuals. Nightmares produce a thick, black smoke when enraged, granting it concealment, as well as blinding and choking opponents.

30 Nightmares, at will, can use astral projection and etherealness, as the spells.

Ogre Mage Lore

Ogre mages present an interesting and dangerous foe for adventurers -- a powerful ogre that's not only smart, but also possesses several potent abilities. Ogre mages typically serve as masterminds or arch-villains for adventuring groups at a certain level, or they can be competent and capable henchmen for more powerful creatures.

Knowledge (Nature) or Knowledge (Dungeoneering)

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (nature) or Knowledge (dungeoneering) can learn more about ogre mages. When a character makes a successful skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.

DC Result

15 This is an ogre mage, which is a more intelligent, powerful, and dangerous variety of ogre. This result reveals all giant traits.

20 Ogre mages dominate regular ogres and dwell in fortified structures or underground lairs. Fire and acid damage deal normal damage to an ogre mage.

25 Ogre mages can fly and can regenerate severed limbs or body parts.

30 Ogre mages can use the following as spell-like abilities: change shape, charm person, cone of cold, darkness, gaseous form, invisibility, and sleep.

Otyugh Lore

Filthy and utterly disgusting in the extreme, otyughs can be an adventurers' worst nightmare. Although fighting one is bad enough, characters that make their Knowledge checks may come to realize that they are likely to fight them in the nastiest of terrain possible -- cesspools, garbage pits, and charnel houses.

Knowledge (Dungeoneering)

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (dungeoneering) can learn more about otyughs. When a character makes a successful skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.

DC Result

15 This disgusting creature is an otyugh. This result reveals all aberration traits.

20 Otyughs live in heaps of refuse, scavenging almost anything for food. They have powerful tentacles to grasp prey. The bite of an otyugh is filled with the filth fever disease.

25 Intelligent subterranean creatures sometimes coexist with otyughs, using them as living garbage disposals.

Game Resources: To use the material in this article to its fullest, check out the following resources: Dungeon Master's Guide, Monster Manual, and Player's Handbook.

About the Author

Eric Cagle cut his teeth at Wizards of the Coast, but now lives the extravagant freelancer lifestyle. Look for his name on D&D, d20 Modern, and Star Wars books. Recent credits include d20 Apocalypse, Races of Destiny, and Monster Manual III. He is also a contributor to the Game Mechanics, Green Ronin Publishing, Dragon Magazine, and this lovely website. Eric lives in Seattle where the coffee is dark and bitter like his goddesses.

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