[Let's Read] AC9: Creature Catalogue

DMH

Master of Mutant Design
Validated User
The one in the Monster Manual is part brass dragon. Which I think is why the dragonne is a desert dweller.
 

The Fiendish Dr. Samsara

The elegant assassin
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I also keep suspecting that the idea of a kind-of-dragonish creature with a deafening roar might at some point have been inspired by early cannons and firearms, especially from those eras when their makers still liked to stylishly decorate those. I'm pretty sure snake and dragon heads were pretty common motifs for a time, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that there were some "lions" in the mix as well.
I always kind of suspected that the name was a portmanteau of Gygax's invention, combining dragon and gonne (an early modern spelling of "gun"). But I have no evidence of that; it just makes sense to me given his fondness for wordplay and late medieval/early modern warfare.
 

Sleeper

Red-eyed dust bunny
Validated User
I suspect Gygax was at least passingly familiar with some variations on dragon across the Continent, particularly the ones referring to muskets and mounted infantry, so adopting the feminine form of the root word for a new dragon-related monster isn't a big stretch. That it evokes the thunder of an explosion from two different directions is a plus (dragon = blunderbuss, -gonne = gun).
 

Talisman

The Man of Talis
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Dusanu*


That skeleton has a serious lantern jaw.

Our suspect for today is the dusanu, or rot fiend. A dusanu looks like a mold-encrusted skeleton in a tattered cloak; I presume the tattered cloak is standard issue, and is given to all dusanu. A dusanu's eyes shine with a flickering blue light, and the air near one is tinged with mold spores.

A dusanu has 9+2** HD and AC 4. Dusanu attack with two claws for 1-8 damage each; in addition, anyone within 5' of the dusanu must make a Save vs Poison or become infected with spores. Infected victims take 1-8 damage, but otherwise show no harmful effects; however, any cure wounds spells will have no effect (which is going to be a dead giveaway, and also potentially crippling). After 2-4 days, an infected creatures must make a Save vs Death Ray; on a failure, they die as dusanu mold erupts from their entire body. 1-3 days later, a new dusanu rises from the corpse. We're specifically reminded that the dusanu loses all of the original character's memories and abilities, and is an NPC monster. A cure disease spell will kill the spores and save the victim.

Dusanu have soft, spongy bones and so take only half damage from blunt weapons. Other nonmagical weapons do only 1 point of damage to them; good luck trying to stab the mold-skeleton to death. Magical edged weapons do full damage. Dusanu are immune to electricity, just because.

Rot fiends are described as "intelligent and very cunning," with an Int of 10. As an side, I note that Basic considered average human intelligence to be pretty respectable, reserving genius levels for things that actually needed to be utterly brilliant, in contrast to 3e's policy of "super-genius intellect for all sorts of creatures that basically lurk in caves waiting to eat people." It's kind of refreshing.

Anyway, dusanu are also fairly brave at Morale 10, and never encountered alone (No. Appearing 2-4), and only underground. They are, of course, Chaotic.

At 9 HD, dusanu are a nasty trick to throw at players expecting simple 1-HD skeletons, and with an Int of 10 they're more than capable of laying ambushes and setting traps. They have a built-in reason to go after PCs, since that's how they propagate. All in all, I like 'em.
 
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ESkemp

Registered User
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The Temple of Death was notable for a few things, but one of the biggest in my mind was the Tim Truman illustrations. Why yes, dusanu are awesome, and that opinion might entirely be colored by the art.
 

Dagor

Registered User
Validated User
A dusanu looks like a mold-encrusted skeleton in a tattered cloak; I presume the tattered cloak is standard issue, and is given to all dusanu.
Plot hook: The PCs have to take on a mad wizard (of course) who kidnaps random "unimportant" folk and subjects them to dusanu in a "controlled lab setting" precisely in order to puzzle out where those darned cloaks keep coming from.

Is there not a section for undead?
Hm. Are dusanu undead, or are they more some weird magical fungal lifeform? (In particular, can they be turned?)
 

JoeNotCharles

Registered User
Validated User
They are not undead. They're sort of the opposite of undead.

It's not made clear, but my picture of them was that the bones are of a dead creature, and the "rot fiend" is actually the mold that grows on them and absorbed them. It's a living parasite, not undead.
 

BarefootHobbit

psychic dog-walker
Validated User
I feel like that rot-skeleton showed up in a Fighting Fantasy book, but perhaps that's true of all D&D monsters.


But hampered by the demon/daemon problem -- the name is spelled differently from a very similar monster, but no one is quite sure if it's pronounced differently. So you end up getting the same tortured pronunciations of "dragonne" (drag*OWN) that people try for "daemon" (day*MON).
Yes, I really hate names like this. You either have to exagerate the pronunciation and sound ridiculous, or you just say 'dragon.' It fails as a name!
 
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