Saturday, 16 February 2013

The "Mellified Men" - an OSR Monster!

 So, a little last minute, but here's my entry for The Grand Original Map Contest!

These guys will be statted out for OSRIC/Generic OSR D&D.

Centuries ago, there was a race of men, their name lost to the ravages of time, who worshipped nature in all its myriad forms. However, every so often a cult would arise to venerate one particular aspect of nature above all others - the deeps of the sea, fire, or in one case, the humble bee.

Well, the not so humble bee - this particular cult had found a species of bee whose honey held strange properties. It seemed to both radiate and absorb magic, and could "store" spells cast into it. Whether this was a natural mutation, the design of some curious wizard or divine intervention, the cult latched onto this new-found source of power, and began breeding and keeping the bees, collecting their honey, and worshipping them as divine agents.

As their belief swelled, and their breeding became more complex and refined, they finally birthed a Queen of such great size that, even as a larva, it dwarfed all but the biggest men. This Queen was seen as an Aspect of The Great Queen - the Mother-God of all bees, if you will. Around her, men and bees constructed a great hive, a labyrinth of honeycomb that stretched for miles underground.

As part of their strange rituals, this cult would add their lesser dead (slaves, drudge workers) to the Great Hive, allowing them to nourish their charges even after they had passed on.

Their more respected members were submerged in the honey vats after death - the honey acting as a preservative, mummifying the corpse with little other work needed.

Their greatest members, their Mages and Priests, were allowed to choose the date of their death. When this date had passed, they began eating nothing but honey - slowly, they would waste away, but their bodies would radiate strongly with magic, as it suffused every fibre of their being. When the finally passed, they were sealed into their own honey-filled casket, and the surviving members of the clergy would perform arcane rites and blasphemous rituals on them to ensure that they would be spared the worst of the ravages of death, to join the Great Queen and become one with the Hive.

However, for some reason (recent surges of magic, disturbance of their resting place, specific alignment of the stars), a few of these Bee-Priests have risen, and have began production once again - and they'll do anything to keep their practices secret.

In terms of appearance, these "Mellified Men" resemble other preserved corpses - their skin is leathery, with a yellow-brown colouring, and surprisingly little obvious decomposition (barring the wasting of muscles, and some of the thinner sections of skin having bones showing through). Some wear jewellery and ornamentation, clearly as part of their burial attire.

The Hive

Even the walls of this place are laced with the corpses of the cultists. Some sections have retained an odd semblance of life, powered and maintained by the power of the honey even after centuries. 
Sticky, brittle bones reach out at you as you pass, hoping to serve their Queen from beyond the grave.

No. Encountered: 2d8 metres
Armour Class: 5

Hit Dice: 10HP/5ft
Attacks: Special

Damage: 1d6
Special attacks: See above
Special Defences: Spell immunities

Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Non-

The Hive Wall does not act as a creature as such, more like a trap - anyone passing within 5 feet must make a Saving Throw vs Breath Weapon or be grappled, and take 1d6 damage per round they are grappled. Once grappled, the character may make a Strength check/Bend Bars roll once per round to escape The Wall's foul clutches, and may take no other action until free. 

Drone Zombies

These shambling creatures, taught skin a yellowish-brown hue, seem to be the workers and grunts of the operation. They don't seem too bright.

Use the standard OSRIC Zombie stats, with the following changes:

Special Abilities: Hivemind
Int: Non - Special
Hivemind: In groups of at least 20 other Drone Zombies, each Drone Zombie's Intelligence rises to Low, making them capable of using weapons (change damage as appropriate) and basic ambush tactics. They will still fight to the death.

Hive Guardians

These creatures seem to be infused with a strange intelligence and vitality - they seem less decomposed than their fellows, and are capable of some very complex strategies. These zombies can be seen taking charge of Drone Zombies in non-controlled situations, and when controlled may act as "generals".

Use the standard OSRIC JuJu Zombie stats, with the following changes:

Special Abilities: Hivemind Synapse
Hivemind Synapse: Hive Guardians may grant the effects of Hivemind to groups of Drone zombies numbering less than 20,  so long as they remain within 50 feet of the Hive Guardian (line of sight does not affect this ability).


These Undead wear fine robes spun from silk, decorated with complex geometric patterns (mostly hexagons), and are decked out in fine jewels. These spellcasting Undead are frequently found leading large groups of other Mellified Zombies from the back, providing support and heavy firepower.

(Turned as type 10)
No. Encountered: 1d4
Size: Man-sized
Move: 120 ft
AC: 1
Hit Dice: 8+3
Attacks: 2
Damage: by weapon or spell
Special Attacks: See below
Special Defences: See below
Magic Resistance: See below
Lair Probability: 25%
Intelligence: Exceptional
Chaotic evil
Level/xp: 8/3,810 + 12/hp

These creatures share other undead’s immunity to charm, hold, and sleep spells. Electricity and cold
does only half damage, and they are unaffected by normal weapons. They also the ability to cast spells either as a Cleric or Wizard of 10th-level. Most will use the Inflict Wounds spells to heal their troops, along with classic offensive spells.

Similar to the Hive Guardians, these creatures possess the Hivemind Synapse ability, except they can maintain it out to 200 feet.

Most of these creatures will travel with a guard of 8d10 Drone Zombies, and 1d10 Hive Guardians.


  1. Nice work. Now go create your character for DH!

  2. I love this idea. Bees and magic honey have been an attractive idea to me since I ran across them in Moldvay. But, melimummies? magic-absorbing honey? Great stuff.

  3. The idea started out as thaumatovoric undead (you cast a spell, they absorb it, becoming stronger or gaining cool effects from it), and I introduced the idea of the honey, which became these guys... I plan on using a whole Hive as a dungeon soon!

  4. A bit late to the conversation, but this is a really cool idea. Given that the honeycombs "stretched for miles," I could see this making an interesting underground hex crawl. And the shape is perfect for it!