A Different Kind Of Encounter

A Different Kind Of Encounter

Holymen, Weird Holymen, and Unholymen by ‘Mad’ Roy Cram

Once in a while the GM needs to get away from the Kill-The-Monster-Take-The-Loot kind of adventure encounter, and throw something different into the mix. One of my favorites is the encounter with those curious creatures found in strange places who do out of the ordinary things and don’t require combat.

Holymen, weird Holymen, and Unholymen can be found in nearly any kind of adventure setting: the woods, swamps, or any underground complex. They are, however, almost never met in towns or cities. Some are mendicant wanderers, but most will be found in some kind of humble hut or dwelling, or in a room in the ruins or the tunnel complex the heroes are exploring. They may be naked, but usually wear some kind of ragged loincloth or old robe. A few are bald, but most have long unkempt hair and beards (except the rare one who is a woman). Often they bear the marks or scars of self mutilation. They are seldom a pretty sight.

Party members who make a level one saving roll on Intelligence will have some knowledge of these beings and what they are capable of, but there is no way to tell which kind of Holyman they are unless you try to interact with them. If I am in a capricious mood I use a die roll to decide: d6:1-3 gives a Holyman; 4-5 gives a Weird Holyman, and 6 gives us an Unholyman. But my most frequent use of these people is as a sort of Game Master ex machina. Badly hurt or damaged parties can be rescued or succored by a Holyman. Cocky or unruly groups are more likely to draw the attention of the others. Delvers should never meet more than one of any of these creatures at a time.


Holymen are the pious devotees of the god Omvar, a benevolent deity, who gives them special powers for their dedication to him. If they are attacked they simply teleport away.

If approached with respect, and given some money or food as offering, there is a d6:1-5 chance they will bless each person who makes such an offering as follows;

  • If the character is injured or wounded, they will heal his wounds.
  • If the character is sick or diseased, they will cure him of his illness.
  • If the character is cursed, they will remove the curse.
  • If a character has more than one of the above, the Holyman will fix the worst one – the most likely to cause the character difficulty.

If a character is not hurt, sick, or cursed, roll 1d6 and the following tables can be used to determine what they do for them.

  1. add 1d6 to Con all additions are permanent
  2. add 1d6 to one Prime Attribute
  3. add 1d6 to Luck
  4. casts a Zaparmor spell on the character
  5. doubles all combat adds for 24 hours
  6. roll again on table below
  1. increase Strength by 1-3 points (1/2 d6)
  2. increase Con by 1-3 points
  3. increase Intelligence by 1-3 points
  4. increase Speed by 1-3 points
  5. increase Dexterity by 1-3 points
  6. increase Charisma by 1-3 points

Only one blessing per character is allowed. Any attempt to bother or offend the Holyman will simply cause him to teleport away.

Weird Holyman (WHM)

Crazed Holyman by J FreelsNo one is sure what deity the WHM serves or what they did to gain their odd powers and crazy actions, but once approached the party must play the encounter out. There is no way to hurt a WHM; all attacks of any kind simply rebound on the attacker. When these guys are approached or offered food or money, they jump up, start to babble, sing, dance, or do other weird things. They will do something to each party member before they run away cackling hysterically and disappear.

Roll 1d6 and use the following tables to determine what happens.

  1. WHM dances with the character who must then continue dancing til the Former disappears
  2. bless the character – Use the Holyman table
  3. make the character sing til the WHM disappears
  4. hug the character (steals his purse or some item when doing so)
  5. doubles or halves (50/50 chance) the character’s Wiz
  6. Do something weird – roll again on the table below
  1. french kiss the character, and give him toxic breath. Anyone he exhales strongly at suffers 1d6 poison damage
  2. cause 2 foot long horns to grow from the characters head (worth 2 dice in combat)
  3. turn character
    1. Red – half damage from heat or fire
    2. Yellow – makes character very timid
    3. Green – character sprouts leaves
    4. Blue – character has half damage from cold
    5. Black – character gains natural 1d6 armor protection from his skin, but suffers same loss from his speed.
    6. White – character can see in dark, but can’t tolerate direct sunlight
  4. Gives character a gem – use gem table in rule book.
  5. Turns character into a:
    1. Rat
    2. Wolf
    3. Fairy
    4. Frog
    5. Raven
    6. Troll
  6. all characters grow 6 inch long fur or all hair falls out (50/50 chance)

Characters can be changed back into their original form with appropriate magic.


These awful creatures serve the dark gods and demon lords from whom they derive their malicious abilities. When they are approached, they will curse the person or being that disturbs them, and then vanish.

Roll 1d6 and use the following table to determine which curse they put on the victim.

  1. Rash – character loses ½ his combat adds til curse removed
  2. Bad luck – all saving rolls made one level higher than normal
  3. Clumsey – Dexterity halved
  4. Dummy – Intelligence halved
  5. Slug – Speed halved
  6. Roll again on table below
  1. Character blind
  2. Character deaf
  3. Character mute – unable to speak
  4. Character ugly – Charisma reduced to 3
  5. All characters clothes and equipment disappear
  6. Character turned to stone

Most of these can be fixed with a Remove Curse spell or appropriate magic.

Game masters are free to add to the lists or use their own special appropriate blessings or banes as desired. Those who think up a good one can trollmail me on Trollgod’s Trollhalla and I will consider adding more lists if I get some good ones.

Happy gaming. Hope you get some fun out of this one!

Yorrdamma Vrash

Copyright 2011, Roy Cram


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