I’m gearing up for the final session of my norse inspired Dungeon World game, and I’d love to hear any hacks or tips…

I’m gearing up for the final session of my norse inspired Dungeon World game, and I’d love to hear any hacks or tips…

I’m gearing up for the final session of my norse inspired Dungeon World game, and I’d love to hear any hacks or tips for building particularly large or impressive monsters. Our heroes have set off to an abandoned dwarven kingdom to slay the insanely huge centipede monster who took over thousands of years ago.

I don’t want to go the Terrasque route and make something with no HP and no damage. Its likely the final fight and my players have built up characters who can do an insane amount of damage. I’d like them to be able to let loose and roll those D10+2d8+6d4 attacks. (Actually I think if they properly apply their buffs it gets even worse than that.)

The obvious trick would be to add a custom monster design question of “is this monster just really, ludicrously big?” and give it an extra 40 HP or something. But I’m wondering if anyone has any other ideas to make big monsters truly frightening.

18 thoughts on “I’m gearing up for the final session of my norse inspired Dungeon World game, and I’d love to hear any hacks or tips…”

  1. HP are great, though upping it because the players have upped it hits the treadmill issue.

    I’d go for moves: Swallow Whole maybe, or Ignore A Wound. Maybe even Devour A Town, which’d be truly terrible.

  2. Don’t spec it out as a single monster. Create a handful of parts of the beast with their own moves and HP, possibly protecting the “heart” of the beast which will allow them to kill it.

    Dirk Detweiler Leichty has a “Chromatic Tentacula” creature which makes a good template.

  3. I agree with William Nichols and Aaron Griffin. If this is the final session though we want it to be great; maybe not a treadmill issue; but it shouldnt be players deal out over 50 dmg and creature dies super fast. I’d go with a combination of nasty side effects and smaller creatures. Centipeded monster right; well what if a series of large worms and larva are falling off of its body. How frienghted would a group be to find out that open wound on the creature released large parasites.

  4. I would handle it like its own Adventure Front. The monster itself would be statless, and there would be a Grim Portent about it making it to the place its going to destroy. Your party would have to get on the beast somehow, then make their way to its head. You could have stats for parts of its body, like:

    Giant Leg: 15 HP, 3 Armor, Huge.

    Body Segment: 25 HP, 5 Armor, Huge

    I would leave out damage since the only damage you’ll be dealing is environmental damage, like them falling off, being crushed between segments, etc. (Usually a d10 if it would be capable of killing someone, though you could tell your players beforehand that something, like the fall, could kill them). You could also have smaller creatures on the body, like parasites. I remember a Godzilla movie I saw where a giant sea louse the size of a german shepherd attacked a guy. So basically you could make the monster its own ecosystem. As far as the Grim Portent goes, you could narrate the monster getting closer to its destination when you advance the GP. Maybe “killing” a few legs sets the GP back a step as they slow it down. Ultimately, if they make it to the head, then you could let them deal damage to that, whether its because they damage its eyes or its so big they crawl in and attack its brain is up to your fiction. But I would definitely not just give something of that scale an increase in hit points. It sounds like a really awesome encounter and if you haven’t already, the 20 HP Dragon article would be great to read beforehand.

  5. Or the centipede’s forked tail segment (1-armor, 12 hp, sting: 1d6+2 dmg) can attack quickly from distance and has a paralytic poison that rapidly takes effect (Defy Danger with Con periodically, clears automatically on a 12+)

  6. Aaron Griffin You know, I didn’t really think about the tail, but I also assumed that if its as big as I think it is then they would probably get skewered or even cut in half by something as big or bigger than a ballista bolt lol

  7. As for size, they haven’t actually seen it yet. All they know is it’s the spawn of a god, it moved in accidentally a few thousand years ago and was too big to leave, and legend has it it’s thrashing about is the reason earthquakes exist.

  8. I just had an epiphany.

    Giant Monster Combat

    When your group takes a course of action against a monster far larger than reason, tell the GM what your party’s plan is. If the GM agrees your plan could work, then you may roll+STAT and describe what you do to make that plan happen. On a 10+, choose 2. On a 7-9, choose 1.

    – You hinder the monster in some way, temporarily disable one of its moves, slow it down, distract it, etc.

    – You set a piece of the plan into motion to bring the creature down, gain 1 hold.

    – You avoid causing any collateral damage.

    – You are not severely injured in your attempt.

    On a 6- lose one hold in addition to whatever the GM says. Hold that you gain is communal. Anytime another player gains hold they are combined together. You can spend spend 1 hold at any time to injure one of its body parts, preventing it from using that body part to perform any of its moves, as well as anything else it would be prevented from doing by the fiction. You can use 3 hold at any time to cause your grand plan to come to a close, bringing about your initial desired outcome.

  9. Scott Selvidge I also have the following move copied from somewhere. Not sure of the source, but it has +Hard, so maybe AW.

    When you fight someone WAY out of your league, roll+Hard.

    On a 10+, choose 2; on a 7-9, choose 1.

    – you buy time for your allies to act

    – you come away with only minor injuries

    – you learn something new about your enemy

  10. Aaron Griffin That one is nice too. I could see that as a good move for a “boss” npc that isn’t a huge monster. Just someone you don’t want to die early, but also someone you don’t want to just make inaccessible to the players. Kind of like the Bane/Batman fight in the Dark Knight Rises. Spoiler alert: Batman rolled a 6-.

  11. I guess take inspiration from Shadow of collussus. Instead of a monster its a dungeon and each of its different body parts is its own front. Could be an awesome encounter if done right.

  12. I really like the idea of treating the monster like it’s own setting/font.  To give a parallel: Star Wars: A New Hope- The Death Star is the big giant monster, the PCs are the snub fighters.  They must accomplish a number of goals to be able to defeat the Death Star (in a certain amount of time) so it is like a Font that has it’s own “Doom Bar”.  But the PCs must accomplish: 1. Getting the larger ships to provide cover for the appoach of the snub fighters. 2. Avoiding the Surface Cannons on the Death Star, 3. Avoid taking too much damage from the Fighters defending the Death Star (probably minor monsters that some will need to fight to give one person the chance to get to the vital spot), 4. Surviving the incomming cannons and trailing fighters to get close enough to the vital spot.  5. Give off the shot in a concentrated missile attack at the vital spot, and 6. Get out before it blows up.

    So, basically, they need to come up with a plan of attack, be able to fight off lesser monsters to get close enough, then get into the right area to be able to do damage.  In the case of your cenitpede, they need the large amounts of damage to get through the tough armor, and maybe some magical assistance due to a regenerating godling, That was only part, the last part.  They need to find, track, get close enough, distract it, then get one person in for the proper type of attack and do enough damage in the proper amount of time to get the job done.  Tall Order and if you think about it a sequence order that has potential of lots of action.

    The lesser creatures can be on the player’s scale, zelot worshipers, creatures that live in/on the centepede, and so on.

    I like it.

  13. Fighting Big Ass Monsters (BAMs) by Delos

    Seek a Weak Point

    When you try to find some way of hurting an unstoppable behemoth roll +WIS or +INT. On a hit you find one. On a 10+ choose 1. On a 7-9 choose 2.

    • The weak point is armored (1-3 armor)

    • The weak point can only be exploited once

    • The weak point is hard to get to

    On a miss you still find a weak point but something horrible will happen when you try to exploit it. The GM will hint at what.

    Use Siege Weapons

    When using catapults, ballista, or some other large siege weapon to stop a giant monster roll with no modifiers. (Since siege weapons do all the work and are meant to be manned by multiple people, ideally the best way to use them is to use teamwork and Aid another.) On a hit roll 1d8 damage. On a 10+ choose 2. On a 7-9 choose 1.

    • The attack bolsters the morale of your party. Everyone gains +1 forward.

    • The attack hits like a lightning bolt, fast and hard. Roll extra +1d 4 damage.

    • The monster is severely hampered by the attack and loses one of its monster moves

    • The monster is injured and unable to use one of its forms of movement (flight, teleportation, walking, etc)

    On a miss, something goes wrong with the siege weapon. Ammo runs out, mechanisms are damaged; the creature retaliates and breaks it. The GM will tell you what terrible fate has befallen the siege weapon and made it temporarily unusable. It’s up the to GM if you can fix it during the remainder of the fight.


    I’m not going to copy the move from the Wizard playbook, but this would be a very appropriate one to use against some sort of demi-god level monster coming to squish a town.

    Climbing on a Monster

    When you try to climb up a moving monster say where you are trying to get to and roll +STR or +DEX. On a hit you make it to where you wanted. On a 10+ pick 1. On a 7-9 you pick 1 and the GM picks 1. On a miss you get all 3.

    • You only make it part of the way there

    • You lose something on the way (GM will tell you what)

    • You draw unwanted attention

  14. Thanks everyone! I’m going to go with the Break The Monster Up Into Smaller Monsters, Stat Wise idea. I’ve also decided the monster itself is effectively immortal (prophecies say it can’t die until the big Ragnarok-esque battle at the end of the world) so the PCs will have to hack off it’s head and lock it away, or turn the whole beast to stone w/ a ritual, or something. I’ll see what they figure out.

    There are a ton of other great ideas here too, I can’t use them all, but hopefully some other people find cool stuff for your games.

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