Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Underrated & Underground Killer - The Ankheg For Old School Campaigns

One of the most underrated killers from the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons is the ankheg 10 foot long and weighs in  800 lb monstrous arthropod & magical killer beast! Its one of the most underrated wilderness and rural countryside beasts. A perfect horror to send up against smaller parties of adventurers and a mostly forgotten horror from the early edition era of Dungeons and Dragons.
"The ahnkheg was created by artist Erol Otus and first appeared in Dragon magazine in 1977. " "Erol Otus originally named the creature the "anhkheg" and submitted the first artwork and writeup of it prior to joining TSR.[3] This first version appeared in the "Creature Features" column in Dragon #5 (March 1977)."
They remain one of my all time favorite monsters to spring on parties of adventurers inside civilized areas where players think that no monsters will ever bother the local farmers and peasants.

They're description in the AD&D first edition Monster Manual gives the dungeon master everything they need to seed a nest of these insectile horrors into a mini adventure encounter;"An ankheg is described as having six legs and a many-segmented body, all covered in a brown (some closer to yellow) chitinous exoskeleton. The head has black compound eyes, mandibles capable of snapping small trees, and antennae. Usually, ankhegs do not create tunnels, and simply burrow down into the ground. However, they are able to make tunnels if they dig slowly. When seriously pressed, it can spit acid. Spitting acid is usually a last resort, as it cannot digest food for several hours afterwards. Ankhegs are around 10 feet long and weigh 800 lb"
These things click all of the right buttons for me as a dungeon master they're close to the 50's and 60's B science fiction monster movie menaces, they're great mid tier horrors and they're perfect for highlighting the fact that a wizard may have been playing with the local ecology in the remote past of the campaign world. They also make excellent cross over monsters for post apocalyptic game adventures and can cause a group of adventurers some real hurt.

A swarm of  ankheg make excellent low level sword and sorcery menaces and can make a good alien menace that up points the weirdness of a planet or setting. If you don't believe me think about the fact that these things have appeared in every edition of D&D and many of the classic video games;" Ankhegs can be found in the role-playing video games Pool of RadianceBaldur's Gate, and Gateway to the Savage Frontier"

Twelve Reasons When and Where To Use  The Ankheg

Ankheg, Monster Cards Set #1, 1982
  1.   A nest of these bastards are a perfect way to guard a minor treasure or magic item found on a farm or other rural location. That golden torc that belonged to king so and so centuries back whose magic has been leaking into the ground. 
  2. As a minor terror monster for a game of Lamentations of the Flame Princess when you need to orient players from AD&D into a more terror & horror oriented mind set. 
  3. The Ankheg is the perfect minor monster that a wizard can have as a nearby horror for taking out parties of adventurers in a more temperate climate. 
  4. They make excellent monsters to throw into a Dark Sun, Barsoom, or wasteland encounter especially around old death lands and the like. 
  5. As a really deadly menace against gnomes, hobbits, and smaller demi human races especially in dungeons where you need to take out these low down thieves. 
  6. Ankhegs are also nice monsters to throw into OD&D or Holmes D&D when you need that extra menace to play merry havoc in a wilderness encounter. 
  7. Aquatic versions of these creatures make excellent island hopping or pulpy adventure encounters 
  8. The Ankheg is also a perfect scavenger for giant monster menaces and radioactive giant kaiju.
  9.   Ankhegs  are perfect for taking out fighters ankles and snipping off limbs of adventurers. This makes them highly valuable around military bases and other target buildings. 
  10. The Ankheg is mostly forgotten these days by even experienced players and they make excellent encounters for the sheer menace factor of these bug like horrors.
  11. These giant bug bastards are perfect to add into a low level Sword & Planet game. 
  12. The Ankheg is a perfect monster for a Castles & Crusades or Adventurer,Conqueror, King rpg beginning adventure. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.