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role playing games

Monster Man Contest Entry – Kafkas

KAFKAS (Giant Cockroaches) 
stats for AD&D 2e, stats for 5e and The Black Hack coming soon

Kafkas3dCLIMATE/TERRAIN:            Any subterranean
FREQUENCY:                       Uncommon
ORGANIZATION:                 Pack
ACTIVITY CYCLE:                 Night
DIET:                                    Omnivore
INTELLIGENCE:                    Low (5-7)
TREASURE:                          Nil
ALIGNMENT:                       Neutral
NO. APPEARING:                6-36
ARMOR CLASS                    4
MOVEMENT:                      18, Fl 12 (E)
HIT DICE:                             1+2
THAC0:                                19
NO. OF ATTACKS:                1
DAMAGE/ATTACK              1-6
SPECIAL ATTACKS:              Surprise and Swarm
SPECIAL DEFENSES:            Senses and Climbing
SIZE:                                     M (4’-6’ long)
MORALE:                             Unsteady (5-7)
XP VALUE:                           35

Kafka are unusually intelligent, giant cockroaches with limited telepathic ability.  Dark, humid caves are their preferred habitat.  Like their common, smaller kin, they have three pair of legs and a pair of wings which allows them to fly, albeit slow and clumsily.  Their sensitive eyes and antennae allow them to see and sense their surrounding up to 120’ in complete darkness.  Hooked appendages at the end of each leg allows them to move swiftly and silently on rough vertical surfaces and ceilings with ease.
Combat: Because of their caution and cunning, Kafka will ambush their prey and impose a -3 on their opponent’s surprise roll.  If they do not obtain surprise, they will often abort their attack and immediately flee, climbing or scurrying out of reach on the ceiling or into narrow crevices as small as 4” tall and 18” wide. 
Kafka can move into and through an opponent’s space and will swarm and focus all of their attacks on one or two individuals.  Up to 6 Kafka can attack a single medium sized creature (3/small and 9/large). 
Against weaker prey, a common strategy for Kafka is to drop from the ceiling or charge from crevices and side tunnels focusing on a single target that is weaker or wounded.  For more dangerous prey, Kafka may stalk silently and then attack when their prey is asleep.  Kafka have also been known to shadow powerful bands of humanoids and drag off slain combatants to feast upon.
Habitat/Society:  The behavior of Kafka in some ways resembles that of a pack of wolves.  However, those who have studied Kafka believe that they are a type of hive organism that has a single shared mind.  Supporting this theory, Kafkas’ actions and activities seem to be perfectly coordinated with no outward sign of communication.  When food is too scarce to support their numbers, Kafka will sacrifice members as diversions to distract and trick more intelligent prey or to enable escape of the pack. 
Individuals with telepathy and sensitive to psychic energy have reported that they can feel or sense when Kafka are near or telepathically speaking with each other but have not been able to comprehend the communications or make meaningful contact with the Kafka.
Ecology:  A transparent hourglass shape on the prothorax, behind the head contains a reddish, gel-like substance.  If ingested, an individual can detect when Kafka are within 120’ and can also telepathically communicate with another humanoid who has ingested the psychic gel of another Kafka. This effect that this gel confers will end within 48 hours of the Kafka’s death.

IMG_0881Kafka are a monster created for James Holloway’s Monster Man Contest where the challenge was to create monsters for their favorite RPG based on cheap toys. 

Kafkas are cunning, giant cockroaches that hunt in packs like wolves.  They were inspired by bag of 20 rubber cockroaches I picked up for $2 at a corner store just before Halloween.  Similar rubber cockroaches can be found at party supply stores, online retailers, and often in discount stores sometimes mixed with other useful rubber bugs.  They look great right out of the bag but if you are like me, they can also be based, primed and painted.  The ones IMG_0834I purchased had an “hourglass” shape behind the head so I painted it red and that is what gave me the idea for their telepathy ability and the edible, psychic gel.  I hope you enjoy this and it inspires you to go make up your own monsters and kill some of your players or scare the crap out of them.












Petty Gods: Revised and Expanded Edition

PGRE-ContributorBannerExpanded Petty Gods is now out due to all the help of the old-school roleplaying community and the herculean effort by Richard LeBlanc of New Big Dragon Games.  If you are not familiar with his stuff, you should definitely check out his website which is full of high quality old-school adventures and supplements.

You can download the Petty Gods pdf for free or get softcover or hardback books via print on demand at Lulu.  See more at this link:

I contributed two illustrations to the project: Berenedril and Gilthigoet.