Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Curse of the Metzengerstein

In honor of Edgar Allan Poe's 200th birthday, I am privileged to be able to post a classic comic book adaption of one of his great stories. Every Poe story is great! "The Curse of the Metzengerstein" is from the June 1953 issue of Chilling Tales #16. With much gratitude to Karswell of The Horrors of It All, who selected, scanned, and sent this story. And after reading this adaptation, those interested can find an online version of the original text story HERE and an old time radio dramatization (as "The Tapestry Horse") HERE (right click to save).

Friday, January 9, 2009

Glistening Death - Gaming

Inspired by a pair of stories from the pre-code comic book scans at The Horrors of It All, here are a monster and a spell reasonably compatible with 1st edition AD&D and retro clones.

Glistening Death

Frequency: Very Rare
No. Appearing: 1-2
Armour Class: 8
Move: 12"/12"
Hit Dice: 6
% In Lair: 50
Treasure Type: F
No. Of Attacks: 1
Damage Attacks: 1-6
Special Attacks: See Below.
Special Defences: Nil
Magic Resistance: Nil
Intelligence: Exceptional
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Size: M
Psionic Ability: Nil
Attack/Defence Modes: Nil
Level/X.P. Value:
VI/475 + 6hp

Deadly shape-changers from another plane or world, Glistening Deaths view all other life forms as mere tools or food. Though they are naturally genderless, they often appear as attractive human females to catch unwary males off guard.

In melee they typically attempt to engulf their victims (on a natural 20) at which time the victim some save ( -2 vs paralyzation) or be paralyzed. Paralyzed victims are absorbed by the Glistening Death causing damage of 20 hp per round until death, at which point the victim is fully absorbed. Against creatures they cannot absorb (non-sentient creatures and those greater than size L), Glistening Deaths are limited to their 1d6 bludgeoning attack.

In non-combat situations only, they can cast charm spells at will and because of this they often have at least a couple of "mindless slaves."

Optional 2E information
Climate/Terrain: Any swamp
Activity Cycle: Night
Diet: Carnivore (Sentient beings only)
THAC0: 13
Morale: Average (10)

Source "The Glistening Death" online HERE.


Speak is a spell, or cantrip (DM's choice) that is typically used as a distraction, though other uses are possible. It was inspired by comic book "The Witches Come At Midnight" posted at The Horrors of it All.

Speak - cantrip

Area of Effect: One Animal Casting Time: 1/10 segment

This cantrip allows the caster to cause any single animal within 20' to make the loudest vocal sound of which it is capable. A dog would bark, a sheep would baa, etc.. The caster speaks the magical phrase "kazam" and the animal will vocalize loudly the next round. There is no save.

Speak - level one

Level: 1 Components: V
Range: 1" + 1"/level Casting Time: 1 segment
Duration: 1 turn/level Saving Throw: /none
Area of Effect: 1" radius globe.

Explanation/Description: This spell allows the caster to cause any number of animals within a 1' radius globe to make the loudest vocal sound of which they are capable. Dogs would bark, sheep would baa, etc.. The caster speaks the magical phrase "kazam" and the animals will immediately begin loudly vocalizing . The animals will continue vocalizing for 1 turn/level, but will often get quieter as there voices get tired. There is no save and the animals are not harmed by the vocalizing.

Finally, if anyone wants to create versions of either Speak or Glistening Death, I'd be glad to add them to this post.