A place for random posts about painting and modelling miniatures for historical, fantasy, and science fiction tabletop games.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Designing A Skyrim Style Campaign – Side Bar – Monsters

We are taking a break from our regularly scheduled programming to talk about an important issue, Kittens.

Kittens are awesome, they are cute and cuddly. You should have a kitten. If you don’t like kittens, then there is something earnestly wrong with you, even Blofeld had a cat.


Just Joking

What I want to talk about is the issue of converting Skyrim animals and monsters into Adventuring Conquer King versions for use in the campaign. This has to be addressed before I can really proceed to the next step in establishing wilderness encounters and monster lairs.

Skyrim uses a kind of ad-hoc classification system to distinguish between the different groups in Skyrim. There are: Enemies, Domesticated Animals, Wild Predators, Wild Prey, Insects, Fish, Chaurus, Daedra, Dragons, Draugar, Dwarven Automatons, Falmer, Frostbite Spiders, Giants, Hagravens, Horses, Shades, Skeletons, Spriggans, Trolls, and Wisps.

Like I said, it seems very ad-hoc as some of these things should fall under a different pre-existing category. In ACK, there is also a classification system that is better set-up. The monster types are animal, beastmen, construct, enchanted creature, fantastic creature, giant humanoid, humanoid, ooze, summoned creature, undead, and vermin.

For my Norðrodor Setting, I wanted to have a bestiary that resembles Skyrim’s but not 100%. On the flipside, not all of the creatures in ACK are appropriate for my setting either. So creatures need to be added, removed, modified and/or reskinned. This leads me to my thoughts on the concept of motifs.

Motif [moh-teef] – noun - a recurring subject, theme, idea, etc., especially in a literary, artistic, or musical work.”

In Skyrim, there is a very strong elemental motif of flame, frost, storm (thunder/lightning). You see in the types of spells, dragon shouts, and types of creatures. In order to capture that same theme in my game I feel it has to have the same motif. So going with the flame, frost, storm (thunder/lightning) theme and looking at the creature lists from both Skyrim and ACK I come up with the following creatures for the Norðrodor Setting. The creature’s names that are in bold are either new creatures for ACK or a variant on an existing ACK Monster.

Bestiary of Norðrodor

Animals (38) – Bat (Normal & Giant), Beraan (Grizzly, Cave, Polar),Dogs (Hunting & War), Horses (Light, Medium & Heavy), Long-Fang Lion (Saber-Tooth), Snow Lion (Saber-Tooth), Timber Wolf (Normal), Snow Wolf (Dire Wolf),  Silt Crab (Giant Grab Variant), Razor Pike (Giant Piranha Variant), Hrossvalr (Walrus), Mammoth (Mastodon), Razorback (Giant Boar Variant), Giant Octopus, Herd Animals (Goats, Deer, Elk), Great Elk (Giant Elk Variant), Hawks (Normal & Giant), Snow Owls (Normal  & Giant), Giant Centipedes, Cave Apes (White Apes), Wholly Rhino (Rhino), Snake (Pit Viper & Sea Snake), Frost Spider (Giant Spider Variant), Giant Squid, Giant Toad, Whales,

Beastmen (7)Hill Troll (Troll), Frost Troll (Troll Variant), Púca (Goblin Variant), Orc (Orc Variant), Gnolls, Hödekin (Kobold Variant), Ogyrn (Ogre Variant)

Constructs (3+) Gargoyles, Skeletons, Zombie Thrall (Zombie Variant), Dwarven Automatons (Several Models)

Enchanted Creatures (6) Fiellhund (Hell Hound Variant), Hellhund (Hell Hound Variant), Werwulf (Werewolf), Ulfwerener (Werebear), Salamanders (Flame & Frost), Vampyr, Vampyr Master, Vampyr Lord (Vampire Variant), Vampyr Thrall (Ghoul Variant)

Fantastic Creature (10) Forstdraca (White Dragon Variant), Fýrdraca (Red Dragon Variant), Hríðdraca (Blue Dragon Variant), Crow-Hag (Harpy Variant), Spriggan (Normal, Matron, Earth Mother) (Dryad Variant), Remorhaz, Sea Serpent, Unicorn

Giant Humanoid (3) – Joten (Hill Giant Variant), Forst Joten (Frost Giant Variant), Hríð Joten (Storm Giant Variant)

Humanoid (9) – Men (NPCS, Brigands, Pirates, Berserkers), Elf (White & Black), Dwarf, Blátmaða (Morlock Variant), Wend (Neanderthals)

Ooze – None

Summoned Creature (7) – Demons (Lesser, Minor, Major, Greater), Elementals (Frost, Flame, Storm)

Undead (5) – Ghost, Draugar (Draugr), Shade (Shadow Variant), Hoarflesh (Variant Zombie), Haugbui (Variant Zombie)

Vermin (6) Giant Varmint (Rat, Shrew, Weasel), Giant Leech, Cavern Locust, Shrieker,

For the List above I have determined that there are 94 different types of enemies and creatures that adventurers can encounter. Of those 40 of them are going to be unique versions or variants that are not in the ACK Core Book. Three of them are coming for the upcoming Lair & Encounter Book. There are going to be a number of things that set this setting apart from the core ACK Setting.



Unlike every version, retro-clone, neo-clone of D&D has it, in this setting Vampire or Vampyr as they are known are NOT Undead. Vampirism is a magical disease like lycanthropy not a form of undeath. The disease weakens them during the daytime but they are still active. They thirst for the blood and flesh of living creatures, preferable humanoid They can pass the disease on to others, and it is curable by either a remove curse or a cure disease. Those infected are initial changed to Vampire Thralls, which seems to be a form of ghoulism where the infected hunger for raw flesh, they retain all of their abilities of their former lives, so a fighter is still a fighter for example. After a while they become full Vampyr and develop several abilities and hindrances. The longer a person is infected the more powerful they become.



The giants of Norðrodor are known as the Joten and vary a bit from their ACK counterparts. Height wise all three sub-species are about the same size, they are a crude primitive people who have a nomadic culture herding mammoths and giant elf. The frost and storm giants are highly resistance to those elements (ice/cold & lighting) and have some elemental abilities.



The dragons of Norðrodor are known as the Draca and vary a bit from their ACK counterparts. They are intelligent, powerful and long lived making them very dangerous. They have their own language and magic. There are three different kinds of dragons but it is next to impossible to tell which one is which until they use their breath weapon. Younger dragons tend to have more brightly color scales or blue, green, orange and red. As they age their scales get darker and darker until they are almost black. A Black Dragon is an ancient and incredible powerful dragon that wields incredible power, thankfully they are rare.

The Descendants of the Próti Fylí (Elves, Orcs, Dwarves)


Here we have a serious deviation from the ACK Core Book due to differences in campaign setting. For the Norðrodor Campaign, during the 2nd Age of the world known as the Age of Legends, there existed a powerful race of being known as the Próti Fylí, The First People. Their civilization stretched over three continents and was technological and magical advanced. Their civilization collapsed due to a terrible cataclysm known as the Day of the Hundred Suns. This ended the first age and plunged the world into a 10,000 year winter known as the Age of Ice or the 3rd Age. The First People were ravaged by chaotic energy and scattered to the far corners of the world or below it. Their descendants would evolve into the three distinct races: The Alfar, Dwefar and Olfar. From the Alfar there would arise the elves of light & dark, from the Dwefar the Dwarves and Hödekin; from the Olfar the Orcs, Púca and Ogyrn.  Some of the First People survived by digging deep into the earth, they would evolve into the Pale Ones or Blátmaða.


This is going to get more attention under a different sidebar