Monsters, Creatures and Bandits

Monsters in General

Monsters have a bunch of funky powers and descriptors that can get attached to them. The different kinds of Hits and Damage, as well as the various different powers available to monsters, are described in the Monster Powers section below. Note the difference in terminology between small m “monsters” (the creatures the PCs face) and capital M “Monsters” (the people playing those creatures).The stats for monsters will be presented as follows:

Monster Name
Description and notes.
Body + Armour Hits per Location / Fatigue Hits / Psyche Hits / Damage (type) / Powers

Designing Monsters

There's a lot of weirdness out there in the big wide world, so GMs can feel reasonably free to make monsters up as they go along. There are a couple of guidelines people should stick to, and some general conventions people should follow.

First the guidelines. The White City world tries to avoid generic monster types, firstly because the designers were pretentious that way and secondly because it tries to keep the setting reasonably coherent and the problem with orcs and elves is that people tend to associate them with an awful lot of baggage that this setting really doesn't include. Introducing a sentient race into the setting is a major addition, so please give it some thought. Even more importantly, if you wish to use magical creatures please bear in mind the nature of magic in the setting. Magic in the world of the White City usually doesn't produce things like golems or elementals.

A weak monster type will have 1 or 2 hits per location and do Singles or Halves. Monsters with more than 4 hits per location are usually formidable, particularly if this is combined with the ability to deal extra damage. Monsters with damage immunities and the like are particularly dangerous. Spellcasting monsters are often terrifying. A single Ethereal creature of average strength will generally be more than a match for any character who's not a Sorcerer or Priest.

Making Monsters More Dangerous

Having designed your species of monster, you may find that the PCs just wade through them like they aren't there. Here you have a problem, because monsters that are too weak are boring, but monsters that are just arbitrarily beefed up are a bit silly. The best way to make monsters more dangerous is to up their numbers. Sure one bandit is no challenge, but if they start coming in Waves (see below) you're on far safer ground (or less safe, depending on your point of view). It's also relatively easy to justify monsters appearing in force, when it isn't easy to justify them starting to do extra damage. The alternative is to use exceptional individuals. Use this sparingly. Individual monsters with more Dodges, Parries, Hits and Damage than the norm can be hauled out as long as it doesn't go too far. In general it's suggested that you can get away with having one or two monsters with an extra point of damage, or a 50% hit bonus amongst a group. This is a particularly useful tactic if there's one PC who is particularly problematic. The final option is to give monster leaders the equivalent of the Leadership or Tactician skills.

Making Monsters Less Dangerous: This one is actually far easier to do, but harder to get right. The simplest way to do this is to just ask the Monsters to go easy on the PCs. On the other hand if you do this the monsters may come off as being a bit crappy. A better solution will be having the monsters trying to take the PCs alive and striking to subdue. Alternatively have the monsters fight and argue amongst themselves during combat or portray them as extremely gullible or just plain cowardly.

Monster Powers

Monsters have various kinds of strange and unusual capabilities. Since a lot of them are similar, they're all compiled in one place. Special powers are listed in alphabetical order.


Most creatures will have a certain number of Body hits per location. As with PCs, a limb will stop working when it loses all its hits, and the creature will fall unconscious or die when their torso loses all its hits. Most creatures also have set totals of Fatigue Hits and Psyche Hits in the same manner as PCs. There are, however, a couple of variations on this:

Global Hits - Rather than having a certain number of hits per location, the creature has a set number of total Body hits. When all these hits are lost they fall over, but until that point they are unimpaired by any damage they've taken. Creatures with Global Hits are often insubstantial or supernatural, tend to ignore Fatigue Hits and may or may not have Psyche Hits.

Psyche Hits - An ethereal creature or spirit has no physical form and can only be injured in Psychic Combat.


Most creatures inflict standard Singles, Doubles, etc. Some creatures can inflict Psychic damage with their physical attacks, others can only inflict damage in Psychic Combat. Some creatures can inflict Paralysing or Vitrifying damage - see below for details.

Special Powers
  • Dodge (X) - This creature has X Dodges per Encounter.
  • Enchanting Music - This creature plays music which renders listeners incapable of doing anything much else except listening. The music's spell is broken the moment anybody in the vicinity takes violent action.
  • Ethereal - This creature is a spirit with no physical presence. It is immune to physical damage and Fatigue and can initiate Psychic Combat at will. Until it initiates Psychic Combat it may only be attacked by someone with the Exorcist skill or the ability to do Psychic damage with magic or with physical attacks.
  • Flight - This creature can fly. Flying Monsters should constantly call out their height above the ground in feet; they can be attacked with melée weapons while below ten, and can attack back when at eight or below. A flying monster can ascend at around one foot a second, they can however dive considerably faster.
  • Hard to Kill - This creature will not actually die except under specific circumstances. If “killed” it will collapse and stay down for 30 seconds, after which it will get up again with half its starting hits left. If no special circumstances are given, dismemberment often works. Severing a limb requires “killing” the creature and then reducing that limb to minus its starting hits. This creature also ignores all Fatigue damage, but can still be knocked unconscious.
  • Immunity [Type] - This creature is immune to something. Common immunities include edged weaponry, fire, weapons forged by man, weapons not wielded by women (the traditional “no man can defeat me” prophecy) and so on. Damage immunities should never be general, although they can be broad (everything except mistletoe, for example). Most importantly of all “immune to non-magical” is not a viable effect in this system, magical steel/fire/lightning/glass is no different to normal steel/fire/lightning/glass.
  • Insubstantial - Either the creature is actually a swarm of small creatures or the creature has little physical presence. Either way skilful or strong attacks make no difference to this creature, all hits inflicted upon it count as Halves (unless inflicted by Light Magic). These creatures always have Global Hits and ignore Fatigue damage.
  • Magic Resistance [Form] ([X]) - This creature is immune to spells of a particular Form of magic up to and including level [X], e.g. a creature with Magic Resistance Blood (2) would be immune to all first and second level Blood Magic spells.
  • Paralysis - Being hit by this creature on a location which has no armour left causes Paralysis. Over the course of the next few minutes the target will begin to find all movement restricted. The Paralysis will last until cured by alchemy or magic (such as a purification potion, Blood Cure or Purification) or for one hour of game time for each Body hit of paralysing damage taken. Characters with Herbalism may be able to find certain plants that alleviate Paralysis at the GM's discretion.
  • Parry (X) - This creature has X Parries per Encounter.
  • Poltergeist - Allows an Ethereal creature to strike for physical damage, usually by manipulating physical objects with the force of their will. Unless they choose to initiate Psychic Combat only a character with the Exorcist skill or the ability to do Psychic damage with magic or with physical attacks can strike back at them.
  • Shapeshifting - This creature has the ability to assume one or more alternate forms of some sort.
  • Teleporting Dodge - When a creature dodges an attack it may vanish (ie walking with fingers raised) and reappear in a nearby location.
  • Unrelenting - Common for undead. Unrelenting creatures ignore all hits to the Torso, they keep coming with whatever limbs they have remaining until those limbs are rendered inactive. They also ignore Fatigue damage.
  • Vitrify - Being hit by this creature on a location which has no armour left causes Vitrification. Over the course of the next few minutes, hours or days the target will slowly start turning to glass. The process can be cured by alchemy or magic (such as a purification potion, Blood Cure or Purification). There are also creatures which can turn people to glass by other methods, and legends of some rare creatures who can turn people to stone or other substances.
  • Waves - This creature tends to attack in great numbers. When one creature is killed the Monster playing it will run off a short distance and then declare that they are “returning as a new creature” and come back as another one. Usually there will be a finite number of Waves in any encounter. Creatures with Waves in their description are just the ones which most commonly attack in numbers, many other creatures will also attack in Waves under some circumstances.

A note on the distinction between Hard to Kill, Unrelenting and Immunity. Basically the first implies that the monster or character can only be killed under specific circumstances but could (potentially) easily be defeated. Immune characters are pretty much unstoppable if you're relying on things that they're immune to. Unrelenting creatures are midway between the two, they're hard to stop but it tends to be a matter of firepower or effort rather than knowing what to use.


What with one thing and another, an awful lot of bandits show up in games. In an effort to make them into something other than speedbumps on the way to more dangerous encounters, here's a page on the Whys and Wherefores of banditry as it is in the world of the White City.

Why Banditry?

Ultimately, banditry is a lucrative career option. Merchant caravans are constantly travelling from the White City to the South, the West and especially the East. In addition many bandits adopt a raider lifestyle, pillaging defenceless villages, which usually helps to tide them over in the off season. All in all, it's not a bad life, apart from the ever present threat of death at the hands of a bunch of random adventurers.

Types of Bandits

Although it is convenient to lump all bandits together as “bandits”, they do come in distinct flavours.

  • Brigands - These are your standard bandits. They waylay travellers and nick their stuff. They often pose as harmless members of the general public, in order to catch people unawares.
  • Raiders - Raiders are generally less concerned with waylaying travellers than with pillaging farms and villages. They are usually more organised and more numerous than mere brigands, and often have quite substantial encampments.
  • Raider-Villages - Sometimes, a village will be unable or unwilling to support itself through farming or a similar legitimate livelihood, and so will become a base and haven for raiders. Such organised groups of raiders can be a serious problem.
  • Highwaymen - Bandits with style. There is something of a vogue at the moment for “gentleman bandits”, who will rob people in a polite and indeed quite charming way. Some, indeed, will challenge to formal combat anyone from whom they attempt to steal, and may even pay recompense if they are beaten.

Sponsorship of Banditry

One of the major reasons that banditry remains such an occupation of choice for so many is the lucrative sponsorship deals that a canny bandit chief can strike. With so many noble Families and City states squabbling over the trade routes, it becomes very very tempting for factions to start nobbling one another by hiring bandits. So they often do. A remarkable number of bandit groups will be working for one faction or another, and if you know the right signs they will often leave you alone.

Bandits Are People Too

Since people often wind up slaughtering bandits and then searching their camps, it's a good idea to provide a list of random effects that bandits may have on them.

  • Money - Bandits will usually have a couple of Hexa apiece. Their stash at the camp will run to the tens, or rarely the hundreds.
  • Arms & Armour - It is rare for bandits to have better than light armour or more weapons than they are actually using, these will usually be of standard or substandard quality and generally not worth carting about for the resale value.
  • Personal Effects - Most bandits don't have that much tying them down, but many will have little bits of worthless jewellery and trinkets. Some may be in contact with their families elsewhere, but this is a rarity, since most don't want to give away their location.


Bandits are as religious as the next group of people, and since only the Light really proscribes specifically against theft many different faiths are to be found amongst bandit kind. The cult of the Prince of the Trade Wind is of course popular, and there are a fair few cultists of the Rattle Prince. A lot of bandits follow the cult of Blood & Wine, just because it's got a rep as the party religion. The cults of various Burned Lords are also relatively popular, since banditry is dangerous work.

Bandits of Note

The Troglodyte Tribes of the East

A number of tribes of troglodytes have taken to waylaying travellers, this is partially banditry and partially a territorial issue. Troglodyte infighting often reduces this threat considerably.

Sir Thomas Wollesley

Whether he's really a knight is the subject of some speculation, but Sir Tom's men have been sighted on the road to the City of Silk for several years now. Sir Tom is very much the gentleman bandit and has some level of popularity amongst the villagers of the West, who see him as a bit of a folk hero despite the fact that he has never really done them any good. There is a ballad about Sir Tom in the Filk section.

Captain Lessened

An unusual bandit captain who sometimes shows up, usually in the South but occasionally elsewhere. He has been cropping up for at least a decade and never appears to get any older, which has fuelled suspicions that he is either a myth, a Sorceror or a particularly unusual god.

gmmonsters.txt · Last modified: 2011/03/15 23:54 by osj01
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