[CONAN] The Veep!

Here's something I'm doing as I work up an adventure for my current Conan campaign. I don't like using standard D&D creatures, so sometimes I'll take a standard D&D type, use it as a base, then change it a bit so that it is uncrecognizable. Many times, the creature's stats remains the same or close to the same, but I'll change the description of the beastie. And/or, I might add a different attack style or special ability.

In my current game, the PCs will go on a hike from their home village to a burned-out homestead in search of an anvil. Anvils don't grow on trees in Cimmeria, and the PC's clan is in a blood feud with another Cimmerian clan. All signs point to all-out war between the clans soon.

The PC village has only only one forge and one anvil, but three smiths share the equipment: The smith, his brother, and the smith's son, who is a PC and has just become a smith in his own right. There are too many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak. But, obtaining a new anvil is no small matter.

At the recent Moon Council, where the villages spoke of the escalating tensions with the other clan, it was brought up the thought of a long forgotten anvil that was used by the Blind Bards of Cimmeria--these are a dying band of older Cimmerians who have given up any clan affiliation, allowed themselves to be permanently blinded, and are charged with carrying on the oral history of the Cimmerians.

A homestead of the Blind Bards used to be located several days travel north from the PC's village. It was destroyed two decades ago, but it is known that the homestead included a smith.

The PCs are sent north to scout out the abandoned homestead and determine if the anvil is still there--and can it be salvaged and brought back to the clanholme.

Well, along the way, I just an inspiration for an encounter. I pictured valley that the PCs must move through that is steep and usually catches mountain run-off, making the spine of the valley a bit marshy and swampy, though this is a mountain location. I pictured all these greenery--vegetation that grows up about chest height. Then, I pictured kobolds, much shorter than the grass and vegetation, swarming in on the Cimmerians.

But, I needed to change the kobolds and make them less D&D (not intelligent creatures) and more fitting for the Hyborian Age. For some reason, in my imagination, I kept seeing a scene from the PC's point of view, as they slog through this marshy, muddy, wet part of their journey, that they hear a bit of a strange noise...




The PCs can see the grasses part. There's definitely something out there. What is it? What's moving and splashing in the grass?


Then, ubruptly, this small thing, about the size of a small dog, leaps out of the grass, flies thorugh the air, and lands on one of the PCs, clawing and moving like a cornered house cat.

It looks like a lizard that has grown kangaroo-like legs, with small arms that end in paws that resemble hands, each with needle like nails. I'd use the Kobold stats--as a base and maybe tweak them a bit--but also add in the legs and the ability to start an attack from 30 feet away. It will be a special type of charge. The thing will leap and have to make a grapple check. If successful, the thing will land on its target and start attacking the following round doing damage as it scrambles over its enemy. If the grapple check is not successful, then the thing hits and bounces off its target, doing no damage (but scaring the hell out of the target!), flopping on the ground, and running off back into the thick foilage as soon as possible.

The reason I bring up this up here in this thread is because of the name I've given these things. See, I don't expect the Cimmerians to know what they are. They're not common animals (conjured in by the evil sorcery from the invading Hyperboreans--which the PCs don't know about, yet). So, we'll just call them the "Veep".

That's the sound they make when they are about to attack. Veep!

They swarm their prey, communicating with each other. Veep! Then leap to smack into their targets with the goal of clawing them to the ground.

The Veep.

Absolutley, when I introduce these things, I'll make a strange sound during the first encounter, making it as mysterious and interesting for my players as I can.

Veep! Veep!