As I mentioned in an early post I played a lot of Runequest way back in the day, and I still have a liking for random creation (even for NPC’s). Because of that I came up with this system for creating random monsters using the various motifs given in GURPS 3rd edition Fantasy Bestiary.
In my world of Domibia there are no “natural” monsters. All monsters are the result of magical energies spilling into the ecosystem and warping it in some way. This is the result of magical fumbles. My magical fumble table for Domibia uses 1d100 so it isn’t pure GURPS (I will probably rewrite it to used 3d at some point).
The different classes of monsters that appear on the chart are used with the monster creation tables. I had originally used the somewhat tongue-in-cheek acronym of CRUNCH (Creating Random Universal Nasty Creatures Heuristically).
Here are the charts and tables:
This one is to determine how many rolls to make on the following motif lists.
This one lists the various motif types that are listed in in the motif table.
Sometimes it seems that the results aren’t very impressive, but don’t discard them without giving some serious thought to how the result could be intelligently played. For example, in the Domibian campaign I ran for some time the characters were given a landholding on the outskirts of the small kingdom they lived in. When they moved in they heard from local farmers that the area was menaced by a black-winged wolf with glowing red eyes and the ability to produce clouds of smoke. The locals would leave offerings of food for the beast which was called the Baleful Hound of the Twin Pines. It was actually a rather plump dog that had near-human intelligence, could speak, and had large owl type wings on its shoulders. It could cast two spells, Charm Person and Darkness (this was a 3rd Edition D&D game…). With these rather unimpressive abilities I was able to have the characters running scared for several game sessions. They were setting traps, posting guards all night and generally fearing this awful beast. Even though they never saw glowing eyes, smoke or anything demonic about the dog they still assumed he was really tough. Of course they could blame that on the farmers, but what farmer is going to say that he was menaced by a fat collie with wings?
In general the more magical energy was used the worse the fumble (obviously), but even a Class 1 monster could theoretically be more powerful than a Class 6 monster, with the right rolls. In general though, the greater the class, the more likely the monster will be some sort of grotesque blimp, laying waste to all in its path.
One thing that I haven’t come up with yet is a way to select what kind of animal (or plant) to have be affected by the magical fumble. The choice of exactly which animal or plant is left to the GM’s discretion, based on what would be most common in that area and using the general pattern of higher classes to larger creatures. The plant or animal involved need not be within sight of the casting place or even closer than several miles (generally no more than 1 mile per class). I am pondering digging up the old Animal Encounters from the original “black book” Traveller from GDW. That would give a class of animal geared to the ecosystem (if I am remembering it correctly…)