he dragons work best when they lie low, and let their minions do their bidding. The assorted, garden-variety Dark Creatures generally operate on their own, spreading evil just like breathing. When physical warfare is called for, when the Dragons need a specific task performed or mission done, they call upon a loosely-knit fighting force of physical and spiritual warriors called the Armies of Darkness. The Footsoldiers of this force are the orc and goblins, physical monsters that are a danger to both soul and limb. The Captains in this unholy army are the so-called "undead", false lies that masquerade as living death. And the special agents are a class of monsters known as "Abominations", wretched unnatural troublemakers that create only chaos and destruction. Let's touch on each of these groups:
The Grunts - Orcs and Goblins
hese are the "brute force brigades" in the Dragon's empire. They break kneecaps, they delight in torture. They can be leathal, but they are so stupid that they are unrialiable, often able to forget the details of just why they were sent on a mission, or just what they were supposed to do. Like any in the Armies of Darkness, they are to be slain on sight when possible. In My World, they conform in every way to the descriptions found in the official LightRaider player's manual. If you know the word Orc, then you know how these guys behave. It's no wonder that they head up the OverLord's "Kill on Sight" hit list.
In Charge - The Undead
hese evil false creatures are used to plague and terrify the OnceBorn. The foolish OnceBorn sometimes refer to some of these monsters as "undead", but that is an inaccurate description. Only the OverLord can create life, but the Dragon race, bitter of the OverLord's triumph over the grave, seeks to mock his Glory through animating the bodies of dead DragonSlaves with DragonPower. It amuses the Dark Ones to scare the OnceBorn with these ghastly imitations of life. LightRaiders are sworn to destroy these vile creations wherever they may be found. Zombies and Skeletons are the more commonly known types, though Raiders may (if THEY think of it) do a KN check at DL set by the AM to see if they remember the more powerful types from class. ("I should have NEVER thrown out those notes!")
I was pleasantly surprised that Wulf & Co. included the undead in the game, as this type of monster is a shade darker than many others in fantasy fiction. So, as the authors found fit to include skeletons in the original game, let me add to them some of the "classic" undead to the rosters, ported over faithfully from "you know where". Included after the classic undead is a section on "Abominations", which are a class unto themselves.
Undead monsters with BA of 10 and below are automatons, created by dark magic and following simple commands programmed in by the Dragon controlling them. More powerful undead are often information pipelines to the Dragon that made them. A specter will allow a Dragon to "see" all that the specter sees. A vampire, having physical ears, will also allow a Dragon to hear all the vampire hears. A ghost is powerful enough to manifest both sight and sound to its Dragon master. The AM must determine if one of these high-level monsters is "on automatic" and patrolling on his own, or if the controlling Dragon is under direct link to the monster. Also note that if a Undead is sized as a "Humanoid", it is modeled on any of the Races of Men, so theoretically, you could have dwarf zombies, depending on the AM's twisted whim.
They are the favored low-level guards and attendants in Firedrake lairs.
hese are the
decaying bodies of dead DragonSlaves, hideously animated by the evil Dragons!
They understand only the simplest of commands, given to them by their scaly
masters. The first sight of a zombie scores a Joy attack similar to skeletons.
They may attack the same round with their pointed, dirty nails. Their crumbling
bodies are weak, and while they do more damage and fight better than skeletons,
they can be destroyed more easily. Zombies always strike last due to their
decaying state. This means that a zombie who is destroyed by a LightRaider's
attack cannot strike back (per "standard" simultaneous combat.)
hese truly awful
creatures are similar to zombies...dark creatures or DragonSlaves given
a semblance of Life to mock the OverLord. However, they are so grisly and
fearsome that for each touch they cast a special Fear enchantment. If touched
by a ghoul, the PC's Courage must defend against the DL of the monster's
enchantment. (Add +1 to the CO rating for each PC in the party that outnumbers
the attacking ghouls.) If this Save fails, then the PC is frozen to the
spot in total terror. A successful SF roll may forestall PEace damage.
A successful Battle Prayer of intercession might rouse the PC, or the Fear
may be banished by standard Rescue after the battle ends.
hese wispy, dark creatures were created by the Dragons to sap the vitality of LightRaiders. They are found only underground in forsaken, dark areas. In torchlight or dimmer, they appear to be only shadows on the hallway walls. If the party has a lantern going, a VIS check at DL 5 will reveal the shades as shimmering patches of dark, kind of like "heat mirages" on pavement. If a NightLight WordRune is going, a VIS check at DL 1 will clearly show the shades.
In less than Rune light, the shades always gain surprise, striking in silence. If they score a hit, they latch on behind the Raider's neck and suck -1 STrength point and -1 MU of JOy per round. A successful SF Save will prevent the JO damage (but not the ST damage.) Failure to SF save means that the victim is unaware of an attack, and should only be told by the AM that he/she feels "real tired." (Hand a note that the PC should role-play apathy and gloom.) When a victim's ST falls to 1, the Raider will collapse to the ground, and the shade will move to another Raider...if no other Raiders are available, it will begin eating PV points until all are dead.
If the Raider DOES SF save on the first successful attack, the PC knows
that something is attacking. A feeding shade will begin to appear as a
dark glimmer with a general outline of the Raider's face upon it. If fighting
the insubstantial creature in lantern-light or dimmer, all attacks on a
latched-on shade are done at -3 on the attack, and a swing that misses
means the attacking player must beat an AG check at DL 5 or strike the
Raider being drained. If under Rune light, the shades may be battled normally
once it is known that the party is under attack.
ST points will return to normal after 8 hours of sleep, or may be restored
by standard Rescue that deals with strength and endurance. (2 Thessalonians
3:13 "But you, brothers, must not get tired of doing good!")
creatures are similar to ghouls, and may be mistaken for them in less than
Rune light. They usually dwell in graveyards, crypts, and other areas of
the dead, as they despise the living as their father the Dragon does. Every
touch of their ichorous hands acts as a Terror enchantment of such power
that the PC's Courage must defend against the DL of the enchantment +1.
(No party bonus as with ghouls, for these creatures are so fierce.) If
this Save fails, then the PC freezes to the spot, gibbering in horror.
A successful SF roll will forestall PEace damage. A successful Battle Prayer
of intercession might rouse the PC, or the fear may be banished by standard
Rescue after the battle ends.
almost gaseous creatures present much threat to LightRaiders. Appearing
as dark mists with glowing red eyes, these creatures are a shocking thing
to see! Each successful hit feels like an ice-cold wind blowing from your
grave, opens up a d6 wound in the PC's flesh, and has as a bonus, a Fear
attack against your PEace strength. SF may save from damage. Successful
damage to PE of the character requires a Courage roll against the creature's
BA of 9, or the PC will bolt in fear and attempt to run at top speed in
any direction. Silvered, Holy, or Blessed weapons are needed to hit at
all, and silvered weapons do 1/2 damage.
hese evil creatures are the saddest of the undead...foolish DragonSlaves that sought eternal life through the pagan lies of the Dragons. Hoping to gain immortality by great works and mystical ceremonies, they find only the hopelessness of decay and the dust of the open grave. These sad OnceBorn are now in the Flames of Chaos, but the dried-out husks of their bodies are used by the Dragons to spread fear and despair among the world. This sham is a projection of the Dragons, and in it's un-life, it hates all life with a passion.
The powerful arms of these evil creatures do d8+3 damage per hit, plus special Entropy enchantment attacking Love. Infected PC's begin to see life and living as pointless and useless, and are hateful of people having a good time. If the SF save fails, PC's take the standard d8 MU points of JO damage, but also contract a Decay enchantment. Until a Master's Joy Rune is said, the character will loose d8 PV points per day (each midnight) and natural or Flask healing will not work. (If the party does not have that scroll, they better go find a Celestial Guardian or a high-level Raider SOON!)
Silvered, Holy, or Blessed weapons are needed to hit at all, and sharp
weapons only do 1/2 damage, due to the creatures rough, dry skin (so edged
silver does only 1/4 damage.
his evil monster was created by the Dragons to strike fear into the hearts of rebellious DragonSlaves. First sighting of a banshee requires a Courage check (+1 bonus per other LightRaider present) vs. DL 8 to continue, or flee in terror. The Banshee is only found outdoor in swampy marshlands or hidden deep beneath the ground in dark tombs. While it only does d8 damage per hand attack, once a day it may howl a moan so devastatingly dismal as to cause all humans in hearing distance to fall to the ground in a dead faint if they fail a JOy check against DL 8 enchantment. (The banshee will only moan when it is in complete darkness, however.) Silvered, Holy, or Blessed weapons are needed to hit at all.
The banshee is "tied" to the tomb/burial place of some faithful Dragon
servant, and cannot move more than 200 feet from that spot. If a party
of PC or NPC's pass out within this distance, the creature will arrive
to feed. It will consume 100 PV, then it will return to it's home base.
are the second most powerful of the non-physical undead. A single hand
attack strikes for d8+4 damage, plus a special Hopelessness attack. The
simple touch of it's ghastly hand sends a wave of bone-chilling dread at
the Raider; if the FA attack at d8+2 DL succeeds, the PC rolls into a ball
at the thought of the finality of death that will certainly soon claim
him. If not repelled by the SF, the attack damages the players FA for MU
points equal to twice the initial attack DL. They appear as dark human
shapes, dressed in ancient and dusty funeral garb. Spectres are mere shadows
of DragonPower, created only to cast despair and pain at the races of Men,
and to try and tarnish the OverLord's victory. Silvered, Blessed or Holy
Weapons are required to hit them.
hat can be said about these denizens of the darkness that is not already used to frighten erring children by their OnceBorn parents?
The Dragons' promise power to their most ardent followers (see Cryptic Alliance.) "Dance to our tune, and we will give you all you want and more." Here then, is their retirement plan. After the foolish followers die and are cast into the Flames of Chaos ("Oh, didn't we mention that? Sorry!") the husk of that DragonSlave is animated through DragonPower and sent into the eternal night as a vampire. Like all their creations, the vampire is a walking lie, for it blasphemes the OverLord's destruction of Death. It conforms to the classic human image of a vampire, and exists only to frighten Men and drive them to despair. It may be used as a two-way communications unit for the Dragon controlling it. (Note that this means that the bloodsucker's boss might now know that the Raiders are out there, and it may now target them as troublemakers.)
This most powerful undead is very fragile in some ways. It cannot stand the light of day, for like all of Shaitan's lies, it will not survive in the Light of the OverLord. Above ground, it will rest during the daytime in a light-tight box, greatly resembling a coffin. Below ground it is almost always active, found "in storage" only 10% of the time. The creature does a massive d8+5 per hit of its strong arms, and it's touch casts a 2d8 DL Grave enchantment against Hope with damage to PEace. When the first PC is successfully damaged by the enchantment, he/she will bolt and run into the night. All remaining PC's must make a CO check (+1 bonus per non-charmed member of the party) at DL 6 or beat a terrified retreat.
As a alternative to battle, once during the encounter the vampire may attempt to charm one or more of the party. He will mind-speak to the entire party some horrible lie at DL 6. It may be an offer of power (attack on SC, damage to CO, SF to save MU damage.) Or to charm the PC that the OverLord is a sham (attack on FA, damage to FA, BT to save MU damage.) Or a demand that even the OverLord cannot save them now (attack on HO, damage to PE, SF to save damage.) You get the idea. This exactly matches the Dragon ability of MindSpeech...the player may repel the attack with Scripture-based arguments, which if successful will do two times BT to the creatures PV points. Note that if the Dragon running the show is "online" at the time of the rebuke, Mr. Dark-and-Scaly takes matching damage, and boy, is HE going to be gunning for the party at a later date. As with Dragon MindSpeech, a Raider with WIS of 8 or better may rebuke twice if he can recall two rebukes.
Those who can't rebuke and fail the attack are considered to be charmed and in the power of the vampire. He cannot compel these charmed ones to slay their fellows, but they will willingly hand-fight with fists and try to restrain the free ones. PC's may attempt to break the enchantment in the following round with Rescue (DM roll a bunch of dice and arbitrarily decide if this works.) OnceBorn charmed in this fashion by some pretty lie will willingly allow the creature to suck 2 PV of blood per round until they are dead. (The blood is needed to keep the walking lie operating...as John Parker would say, "it's a very bad design.")
A mirror will hold the vampire at bay, as it reminds the false creature that it is only a pawn and a lie. A simple wooden cross will likewise repel it, and will also do d10 if pressed to the creatures flesh. (AG+d10 roll vs. 14 + d8 Roll.) If reduced to 20 PV or less, the vampire will polymorph into a bat to escape, and may be killed with a silvered, blessed or Holy missile-weapons while in this form. Of course, for purists, a wooden stake driven through the heart will damage the delicate mechanisms that drive the dark lie and blast it to dust and decay.
Upon reaching 0 or under, if in bat form, the creature will re-shift into it's humanoid vampire shape. The vampire regenerates 3 PV a round, so if brought deep enough before the shift, the party may have time for an automatic staking...if not, this requires both a successful "stab" with a sharp stake (successful Hand-to-Hand attack vs. BA 14, doing d10 +3 upon hit) and two successful AG checks vs. DL6 to drive the stake home.) Also acceptable is a successful wooden crossbow bolt hit, rolled with a natural 10 on a d10. Either of these two "stake" attacks will instantly kill the creature.
If a person was lunch at the start of melee, there is a 2 PV of blood loss per round until direct pressure or Heal is applied. A Renewer may close the wound with a standard Heal Rune, and the victim must have further Heals or rest until brought up to full PV.
If a victim is successfully rescued, there will be trouble trying to
return him/her to their loved ones, who will view the person as a potential
vampire. (No one bit by a vampire really becomes a vampire, but if a dead
victim's body was not blessed, the Dragons may animate it as well and attempt
to perpetuate the lie of the vampire. TwiceBorn do not need to be blessed,
their bodies cannot be animated.)
he most powerful and dangerous of the undead is the ghost, for it is especially designed to lead people astray from the OverLord's Rescue. The ghost is a horrible false argument presented to make people believe that an afterlife exists outside of the Eternal Lands or the Flames of Chaos. Beyond this deception, it is terribly dangerous and a direct set of eyes and ears for the Dragon that made it.
Dragons can detect petty humans who seek to tap into the Dragon's power. Open attempts to contact the spirits of those passed on ring bells in Dragon Central, and often a ghost is dispatched to masquerade as the loved one. Whether through "Contact Ceremonies" of human invention, or through the "Fortune Boards" the Dragons gleefully spread into the world, the ghosts will attempt to impersonate the dead OnceBorn. (This is very easy with OnceBorn, as the lost are dancing with Shaitan in the Flames of Chaos at that very moment.) The Dragons will spread all manner of lies about the afterlife and the OverLord in an attempt to drag another living creature down with them to their ultimate doom.
Ghosts are usually tied to some physical place, often a site of great violence, as it is this pain and suffering the Dragons love so well. In a non-material state, the ghosts can roam abroad, existing as eyes and ears for the Dragons and exerting a small amount of physical pressure, sufficient to throw small items. In this diffuse state, the physical presence of a LightRaider will instantly quiet them, and the mere mention of the OverLord and the Great Rescue (see Banish Evil WordRune) may banish them utterly. Raiders are given the power over these creatures by the OverLord Himself. It is most desired to destroy these evil, lying spirits, but a wise Raider picks his own battles. It may be best to banish them to protect civilians rather than risk Raider and OnceBorn alike in a full attack.
In a physical state they resemble a gray mist, like a wraith, but with
a endless black emptiness under the hood of their cloak, and are incredibly
dangerous. Like vampires, the creature requires a darkened environment
If the AM rolls a 6-8 at the start of the round, the ghost will make
a physical attack. A touch of death swings out of the mist for d8+6 PV
with a Void enchantment. If touch contacts, player defends with Hope or
becomes hopeless...his field of vision is drawn into the empty, bottomless
pit of the creatures cowl, and he is totally, utterly alone, cut off from
life and the OverLord, seeing only death and entropy. Hope drops to zero,
Raider becomes glassy-eyed and freezes to the spot. If a SF save fails,
player takes 3d8 JOy damage, ages one year and hair turns pure white. No
words but words of Rescue will reach him in the empty void. (And as the
players initially do not know what kind of enchantment has captured the
empty-eyed Raider, you'll have to evaluate carefully what is "acceptable
Rescue." Rescue stemming from the OverLord's sovereignty would definitely
work.) A Wise One or Guardian will be able to counsel the PC back to the
Light, for they've fought this before, but for each day until the PC is
rescued, a BGP roll must beat DL 6 or the character ages one additional
year. (To the PC, a real year passes in the nothingness.) Valid Rescue
will bring the image of the OverLord's own face, shining and dispelling
the darkness, and that Raider will be as evangelical as HECK for a week
after. The Hope score returns to normal with Rescue.
Special Agents - The Abominations
here are several kinds of creatures called Abominations by the TwiceBorn. They are the simple embodyment of DragonPower, and as such, are always to be slain and never bargained with. Sometimes they are more subtle, skulking in the shadows and corrupting men quietly, like the BrainBurner. But however they move, they are lies, like their father the Great Red Dragon. Some types of creature are clearly from the Dragons, but you will always know when you have destroyed an Abomination...it evaporates into a whisp of smoke like the lies of the Dragons always do!
Brain Burner (Air Squids)
hese invisible creatures are one type of the Abominations that plague the world. Pure DragonPower, they swim abroad in the air like fish do in water. They move quietly from place to place, and seek to infect people with their Memory Loop Enchantment. They are more or less completely invisible to the OnceBorn, but if anyone could see them, they would see what looks like a huge brain, with twelve squid-like tentacles trailing along behind it. They swim silently through the air (HN check at 20.)
A LightRaider might be able to see one, but to sense one requires the player to clearly say they are trying to do so. A Helmet of Salvation check Vs. DL 10 might show one, or DL 7 if the creature is in attack mode, as they become slightly more solid to attack.
Within five miles of the Dragon that made it, the Brain Burner may act as a remote sensing device, relaying back picture and sound to its master. Beyond this range, it is on its own, doing its best to infect and annoy the races of men.
The creature may attack once per round, as if trying to hit the PC with its tendrils. Enchantment passes upon a successful touch. A player who is so attacked must make a SC check Vs DL SS, or suffer damage to Faithfulness and be trapped in a memory loop. Players so affected will find themselves totally consumed with reliving an event. It may be a pleasurable or painful event, or (worst of all!) even the first ten bars of a popular song! (Effect is roughly akin to having a "song stuck in your head" only moreso.) The loop will start out vague, and become more clearly defined as time passes, until the enchanted person does nothing but relive the event. Rescue based upon God's eternal nature and faithfulness to us will break the loop. Note that they prefer to act subtly, infecting one or two party members, and moving on.
Normal weapons cannot hit it, but it may be attacked verbally by players within normal hearing distance as per refuting Dragon MindSpeech. If killed, there is a hiss of escaping air, and the thing becomes visible, deflating back on itself, and turning to a gray ash that falls to the floor and evaporates. If its Dragon Master is within five miles, it will take Pride Point damage equal that inflicted on the Brain Burner.
his hulking, wicked creature is not, per se, undead. It is a specially-created creature found in the same haunts as the undead, and often used by the Dragons as a sentry or guardian. When at rest, It appears to be made of stone, and the similarity is so great that under torchlight it takes a DL 7 VIS check to tell it from actual stonework. It usually appears as a carving from 3 to 8 feet tall, with a fierce leering grin and two muscular arms bearing sharply-taloned claws. 90% of the time, this evil grinning monstrosity is data-linked with the Dragon that made it: what it know, the Dragon knows.
It is a vicious fighter and will fight to the death. It gets three attacks per round, and the bite passes a tainted saliva that passes the Cruelty enchantment. This requires the Raider defend with Love. If the bite successfully passes the enchantment, SF save may prevent the d8 of damage to GEntleness. An infected PC will begin to go out of his way to pick fights, bully those smaller than him, and cause pain to the helpless where possible.
The gargoyle will only be hit by Silvered, Blessed or Holy Weapons, but the creature's tough, rock-like hide means edged-weapons do 1/2 damage (so silvered-edged weapons do 1/4 damage.)
This is all that is known at this time concerning the Armies of Darkness.
you want to see about buying the original Dragonraid game, visit the Official
Dragonraid Site. To go back to the Inn's Homepage, then Return
to the Inn. Click the Library
sign to go to the Library contents page. Go Back
to the Dragons page, or go on ahead to the Next
page, and learn about Armies of Light!
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