Biweekly Monster-Ass of the Western Gate (AD&D)

In the garden of Orgagna, where the fey enchantress Falerina dwells, the western gate is guarded by “an ass, armed with scales of gold, and ears of such length and strength, as to be able to seize, and drag to himself by the aid of them, whatever was within his reach; his tail cut like a trenchant sword, and his bray made the forest tremble.” –Orlando Innamorato, translation by William Stewart Rose

Ass of the Western GateDonkey
ARMOR CLASS: 1 (as +5 scale armor)
MOVE: 18″
HIT DICE: 2+2 (18)
% IN LAIR: 100%
TREASURE TYPE: see below
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-4/1-4/1-6/1-6/5-15
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Bray, Ears (see below)
SPECIAL DEFENSES: +3 or better weapon to hit
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil

This unique creature desires nothing but to defend the gate which it has been enchanted to watch over. At first sight, it appears to be only a particularly large donkey, albeit clad in scales of gold. It will first defend the gate with its mighty bray. Those within 500′ who hear it must succeed on a saving throw against Breath Weapon or flee in terror. Those who succeed will suffer a -15 penalty to morale checks until they have left line of sight with the donkey.

If engaged, it attacks with ears, hooves, and its trenchant tail. The ears deal only 1-4 damage on a hit, but on a roll that would successfully hit AC 10, they grab the target with a strength of 18/50 and only a creature of greater strength can break free without severing the ear. There is a 50% chance both arms are trapped, a 25% chance that only one arm is trapped (attack at -3), and a 25% chance neither arm is trapped (attack at -1). If the same creature is grabbed by both ears, attacks against it with either hooves or tail automatically succeed (chosen each round). Each ear has 4 HP and armor equal to the body of the creature.

The donkey’s mighty tail is its most effectual form of attack, hitting with two-handed sword armor modifiers and a +3 to hit. On a modified (+3 only) roll of 20-23, the tail severs an extremity (arm, leg, head, tail, etc.).

If slain, a weapon able to penetrate its armor may be used to harvest the donkey’s skin and tail. It’s hide can be fashioned into +5 scale armor and its tail into a vorpal whip, conforming in all ways to a vorpal sword but having a damage of 5-15 (2d6+3), no armor class adjustments, a length of 8′, space required of 6′, and a speed factor of 10.

One of the difficult things with this monster was matching how intimidatingly it is described and matching the power of its fellow guardians while still allowing for the fact that Orlando kills it in a single blow. With a +5 sword taken from Falerina, a roll of maximum damage, and some strength modifiers, 18 damage is in reach for the brazen paladin.

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1 Response to Biweekly Monster-Ass of the Western Gate (AD&D)

  1. Brazen Paladin? So Orlando was the original “Man of Bronze?”

    Great write-up.

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