[Let's Read] AD&D 2e Monstrous Compendium Annual Vol. II

DMH

Master of Mutant Design
Validated User
#21
Funny enough, I own two of those.
So you see most of the templates in those books as setting specific?

As for the automatons, I know they are from the Realms but not much more than that. One way to make them more "interesting" is to use the maug grafts from the 3.0 Fiend Folio. In some ways, I wish there was one automaton and they had listed a score or more of attachments to allow them to do specialized work.
 

Littleredfox

Registered User
Validated User
#22
It has been created by a wizard named Trobriand. I'm entirely sure who that is, but he has made a bunch of other animal-based robots as well.
In case the "entirely" was a misprint for "not entirely", Trobriand the Metal Mage is one of the two surviving apprentices of Hallister who built the giant dungeon Undermountain near Waterdeep. IIRC he got driven out by his creations.

He's basically a Girl Genius Spark.

Undermountain - A Dungeon legendary among my players for being the one that has a Tavern built round the entrance.

City of Splendors: Waterdeep said:
Trobriand the Metal Mage

Trobriand is the most powerful surviving ex-apprentice of Halaster, having long ago made his peace with his former master. Known as "the Metal Mage" for his penchant for creating metal constructs, Trobriand avoids direct combat, preferring to allow his creations to fight for him. The Metal Mage appears as a thin, clean-shaven man with long, steel-gray hair. He is unnaturally tall, but he stoops in his old age, bringing his eyes to about 6 feet from the floor.

Trobriand kept to his heavily guarded laboratories in the depths of Undermountain (UM L7) for centuries until he was driven forth by the events of Halaster's Higharvestide. Of the Seven, he kept the firmest grip on his sanity, but even he succumbed in part to Undermountain-instilled madness. Having finally recognized the danger posed by remaining therein, the Metal Mage now seeks to establish a new stronghold in the Lands of Light, preferably on the site of Halaster's Hold, now occupied by the Yawning Portal tavern.

Trobriand is the true leader of Halaster's Heirs, and he is responsible for training most of the school's newly recruited apprentices. Only his deft touch keeps Muiral from rampaging through the streets of Waterdeep. Trobriand continues to design and build constructs of metal, including helmed horrors, iron golems, and scaladars
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
#23
So you see most of the templates in those books as setting specific?
No, but I flipped through dozens of other D20 books as well.

In case the "entirely" was a misprint for "not entirely", Trobriand the Metal Mage is one of the two surviving apprentices of Hallister who built the giant dungeon Undermountain near Waterdeep. IIRC he got driven out by his creations.
Right you are. I never bothered with the FR NPCs and just kept the geography in mind.
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
#24
Trobriand's Automaton



Next are more of Trobriand's gadgets, also from The Ruins of Undermountain II - The Deep Levels. Or, like the title likes to call him, Triobrand. Wow, talk about bad editorial work. Thought I have to admit I was tempted to write "Triobrand" as well all the time, as "trio" and "brand" are actual words. Anyway, there are three types of sometimes intelligent automatons. All seem to be perpetua mobila, as it's not even indicated that they feed on magic. Neat.

Ferragan
The crab-like ferragan is a worker and mechanic. It can attack with its claws and has a welding apparatus too. One thing I have to say right now: I never really liked that robots always have to resemble either humans or animals, despite that fact that those shapes are unsuited for all kind sort work, especially combat. Wait till someone shoots off one leg of your combat mecha and you'll wish you were sitting in a nice, compact tank instead. The ferragans were banished by Trobriand, by the way, as they weren't smart enough not to take valuable material for scrap metal.

Silversann
This mechanical silverfish is made for finding magical items, using its Detect Magic ability. They are rather smart, but not good in combat (nor designed for to fight). The most interesting aspect of them is that every third silversann is carries a magical item.

Thanatar
This is version 2.0 of the scaladar. And holy cow, are this guy hits hard! It has eleven attack. Why always eleven? The colonial grell also had elven. Why not just ten? Anyway, the thanatar (fitting name) strikes for 1d20/1d20/1d12 points of damage. This guy can kill titans in one round if it rolls well. Or those whimsical gnome gods from Unearthed Arcana in a few rounds. Bad news, I tell you.

Minor Automatons
This entry goes on forever. We are on page four already. Anyway, this section provides guidelines for the creation of minor automations. A hit dice range, body types, weapons and more are suggested. It's pretty insect/vermin-heavy.

Bottom line: The automatons have their place in the adventure they originate from, but altogether, they are a bit boring.
 

DMH

Master of Mutant Design
Validated User
#25
Bottom line: The automatons have their place in the adventure they originate from, but altogether, they are a bit boring.
It all depends on how you use them. They could be dwarven creations, meant to do mining and smelting while the dwarves get to do the forging and crafting. Or they could be aliens ala clockwork horrors and are trying to kill all life on the surface by creating thousands of volcanos that will erupt at the same time. Or they could be living toys of some godling that were lost on the astral plane and found their way through a gate and now do they what they were programmed to do (they were meant for play in the plane of earth or mineral). Or they are actually mechs of sapient insects, thus their shapes. The insects are tired of being stepped on and so are fighting from below, where most people won't detect them until it is too late. Or they are offshoots of the living steel, from the first annual. One wandered into a field of chaos and broke up into "eggs" that hatched into a variety of machine life (more than the automatons).

Or they could have multiple origins and they are just starting to interact and form a new society.
 

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
#30
Sporebat



The sporebat is a large, smart one-eyed bat. It is pretty strong and very stealthy. It's also poikilothermic, so it can't be detected by heat vision. The stat block says it lives in "temperate hills and plains". So, does it just drop to the ground during winter? Anyway, you get a huge surprise roll penalty if encountering a sporebat. Also, it has only eye, which I guess is a downside. At least I think seeing in only two dimensions doesn't make flying easier. On the other hand, the sporebat is so alien, it probably has some other trick up its sleeve.

The sporebat has a poisonous eye-ray, which does a whooping 4d6 damage. There are young dragons which do less damage than the one metre bat, I checked that. It's not really explained what's poisonous about the eye-ray, but Slow Poison and Neutralise Poison add to is recharge time.

The rest of the text described that the sporebat is very alien, with a language nobody can really understand. Trying to contact one with pisonics only sends disturbing images.

Bottom line: The sporebat feels like an aberration, which I like. It's a bit like a mix between a beholder and a small dragon. In fits well into a place like a underground laboratory or and abandoned magical place.
 
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