Part 6: Nasties

Caverns & Chameleons Copyright © 1980, 1983, 1997 Mark Rose & Chris Adams. All rights reserved.
Updated 1999.04.10

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Nasties List

The following list of nasties is by no means complete. It is provided merely as a guide to what kind of thing caverns are populated with. You are quite free to think up any unique anti-character juggernauts on your own, or plagiarize from your favorite fantasy novel.



Fearsome and milkthirsty, the terrible applejack is seldom surprised and seldom alone. It can smell breakfast coming 130' away. Applejacks are fortified with ten essential vitamins, and therefore have a high armor level. They will attack only if their bowl is threatened, or if another brand name confronts them. They are armed with a coating of saccharine, which, if digested, could cause cancer within 4 to 8 decades. Round, hard, and about 6' in height, the applejack is known for absorbing milk until soggy. If caught when saturated, the applejack cannot move and has an armor level comparable to that of a rotting grapefruit. Applejacks are intelligent, and keep treasures of Kellogg's coupons.



Literally wretched, the menacing barfer ensnares its victims in a spew of vomit directly from its mouth. It then gobbles up the victim, barf and all, in order to make more barf to ensnare more victims, and so on. Hopes to get its own TV series. Barfers are from 7 to 128' in height and are unfriendly to Salvation Army people. They keep treasure not worth their own vomit. If a stray pile of barfer barf is chanced upon, it is not advisable to touch it, for the toucher becomes wrapped in cellophane shrink wrap for 1 to 3 turns unless opened.



Boggies are creatures about 3' in height, humanoid, and disgustingly obese. They enjoy eating, drinking, eating, shooting craps, eating, throwing up, eating, strangling small furry animals, eating, sleeping, eating, and eating. They are prone to overeat. They dress in bright black and merry olive drab, and enjoy a good lynching. They hardly ever eat each other. There are two basic races of boggie: Fatfellows and Stools. Fatfellows tend to hate Stools and Stools tend to hate Fatfellows. Boggies are known to eat often enough so that entire herds of often have been wiped out in days by starved boggies. They are very formidable enemies if you are under 4" tall and they out-number you 50-to-1. Their treasure is food. Boggies are rarely met during cavern adventures, but no one's complaining. They like to eat a lot.



This inhabitant of the underworld often clowns around. Bozoes are known to do slapstick comedy constantly in the hopes that they will catch a victim off-guard, so it will laugh, and they can hit it with a heavy seal. Their lair is a huge tent with three gigantic iron hoops lying on the inside. They are partially bald and have wild red hair, white face, and a large round red nose that honks if touched. They dress in colorful bags with pompons sewed on them, and worship the god Ronald. They keep magic greasepaint in horde, which if worn turns the wearer into a bozo until removed. They are armed with .38 caliber pistols and are considered extremely dangerous.




There are seven basic varieties of chameleon dealt with in the chart below:

Chameleon TypeBreath Weapon UsedRange & ShapeHit Number
WhiteSpearmint8" X 3" cone5-7
ZincVitamin Tablets1" x 1" pills6-8
UmberVomit8" X 4" spew7-9
RedTongue3" X 1/2" tongue8-10
RainbowSaliva1/2" X 1/2" spit9-11
Polka-dotPolka-dots3" X 3" dots10-12

Breath Weapons: Chameleons are able to use their breath as often as they wish, and sometimes they will bite. To determine which it will do, have the MC roll four six-sided dice, six four-sided dice, eleven seventeen-sided dice, and thirty-four five-hundred-and-forty-nine sided dice. If anything other than a total multiple root of the cube of results, it doesn't. Otherwise, you don't unless it can't be notwithstanding.

Hit Number: Hit number is an indication of where a particular chameleon's song is on the Top Forty charts. No chameleon has ever gotten higher on the charts than #5, but in special cases this could be overlooked.


Maturity :

Die Roll to DetermineDescription/Age
1.Toddler/1-2 yrs.
2.Kid/3-12 yrs
3.Teenager/13-19 yrs.
4.Adult/20-45 yrs.
5.Middle-Aged/46-64 yrs.
6.Senior Chameleon/65+ yrs.*

* - 75% chance of being retired.


Social Characteristics:

White Chameleons: White chameleons constantly chew spearmint gum, building up such a breath of it that they are able to freshen victims to death. They will only be found near gum dispensers or five-and-dimes. They hoard gum wrappers, both paper and foil, and worship the god Beechnut. They are both small and silly and are Weirdly Nice in alignment.


Zinc Chameleons: Being health food enthusiasts, Zinc chameleons stress the need to take vitamins, one-a-day. Their diet consists mainly of tofu, carrot sticks, celery juice, and granola. They'll eat anything healthy except the kitchen zink. (Alright, you come up with something funny about zinc.) Because many avoid eating meat, characters can often avoid being eaten by them. It is difficult for a 14-inch-long lizard to eat a character in any case, unless the critter is absolutely famished and on the Protein Diet. This gives it a fighting chance. The treasure of a zinc chameleon are vitamin tablets, which it can also spit out to healthy effect. They are Weird Apathy in alignment.


Umber Chameleons: These clever chameleons enjoy burying themselves in great heaps of dung and offal. They smell to high heaven (about 5 million miles from ground level) and are amazingly slow and dull. Their vomit is second only to a barfer's in potency. They dislike restrooms because they do not know what they are for. They will eat anything umber that does not move faster than one foot per squabble round. They are Weird Naughty in alignment, and guard treasures of used toilet paper, used kotex, and horse manure having a market value not exceeding worthless. (Roll on a 0% die to determine.)


Red Chameleons: Red chameleons are difficult to distinguish from other things that look like red chameleons. They attack using their powerful 3" whip of a tongue, which if contacted with results in some spittle being wiped from the tongue and onto the contacted surface. The spittle is harmless, and the tongue is too, really, so most adventurers slice the little buggers apart upon realizing they have no defence beyond their blunt teeth or dentures. They hoard no less than an entire copper each. They are Straight Naughty in alignment.


Rainbow Chameleons: These kinds only appear after a heavy rainstorm. They are colored magnificently in every hue and shade of gray imaginable. In attacking, they spit in the face of their foe, who attempts to remove the uncomfortably sticky saliva while the chameleon hotfoots it to safety. They are Straight Nice in alignment, and guard only the most precious of magical items such as programmable calculators and VCRs. They speak only Piglatin.


Polka-Dot Chameleons: Polka-dot chameleons have green dots on blue and use polka-dots in attacking, much to the confusion of the attacked party, who begin to see spots before their eyes. At such point the chameleon plays optician, and forces the victims to pay for corrective contact lenses. Once inserted, they cannot be removed except by a remove contacts spell, or an eye amputation. Once worn, the contacts do nothing except prevent any chameleon from polka-dotting the wearer ever again. They are becoming extinct. Their treasure is in pop-tops of the 1960s.


Uranium Chameleons: Appearing as a normal chameleon of any other sort, the deadly Uranium chameleon lives up to its radioactive name. (See breath weapon in the chart above.) They lair in waste dumps and keep only those treasures with the longest half-lives. They are Weird Naughty, and are not environmentally minded. Note that if more than five Uranium chameleons are put within two feet of each other, they will explode something fierce.

The above special characteristics apply to and only to the color of the chameleon designated. All traits as stated above are held strictly to coloration.

Chameleons may change color at will.


Subduing Chameleons: A chameleon is wily and difficult to subdue. When it realizes an attack is imminent, it will do one of the following things (roll on 6-sided die):

  1. - Run Away
  2. - Play 'Possum
  3. - Surrender
  4. - Kneel and Pray
  5. - Faint
  6. - Die of Shock
Not more than 250 characters may attempt to subdue any one chameleon.

Value of Subdued Chameleons: Subdued chameleons may be sold on the open market for from 500 to 1000 copper pieces per solid gold hit it has released. Of course, the character(s) that subdued the chameleon may choose to keep it and train it to go on the paper as well as do a limited number of tricks. Boggie subduers may use chameleons for food.

Length of Subdual: A subdued chameleon will remain in that state until such a time as an opportunity presents itself to kill its master. It always fails the opportunity, and there is a 90% chance that its master will kill it as a reward, thus ending subdual.


Sleeping Chameleons: There is a 60% chance that a chameleon will be asleep if encountered in its lair, 45 chance if encountered in a corridor, and a 99% chance if encountered in bed (excepting motels, whorehouses, etc.) If asleep, the chameleon can be killed with small difficulty. If awakened by a loud noise (i.e. alarm clock, character with high clumsiness level, dragon coughing nearby, etc.), it will fall asleep again. Sleeping chameleons rarely put up a struggle.


Miscellaneous Chameleon Treasure: Chameleons in general can keep these kinds of treasure: license plates (except Hawaii), wooden nickels, bent or scratched gold pieces, back copies of Lizard Lust magazine, spare magic sword parts, charm bracelets, and blank checks.

Chameleons will attack pebbles on sight, even formidable ones.



Cubic Gelatin

This unintelligent nasty is not only a scavenger, it is so geometrically symmetrical that it defies even suspension of disbelief that it is biologically possible to exist. Nevertheless, it can kill off characters whether they believe in it or not. They are wet, slimy, and do not use anti-perspirant. They have no treasure except for what they carry in their wallets. The only effective way of destroying a cubic gelatin is by eating it. They come in all flavors except orange, because that is a race unto itself, the intelligent orange gello (q.v.).



This people of C&C-land are short, stout, humpbacked, and bearded, even the women. They enjoy mining coal because the dark hides their disgusting habit of nose-picking. One can always tell a dwarf by the coal up his nose. They sing heigh-ho songs, and the males are said to search for the "virgin white snow" during their journeys, though it is not knownwhat they mean by this. Their king lives on the faraway isle of Fantasy Island, and rules his folk with a stubby hand.

Dwarves wield picks and shovels, and love to beat the fat off of boggies. They have their own secret tongue, which outsiders believe they cut out of Mrs. Murphy's cow so it wouldn't squeal about the fire. When alarmed, they retreat with the ferocity of a sharp-taloned chicken. Knowing no bravery, they quail at the sight of an earthworm oozing in mud. They have a high psychotic ability, maiming elves whenever they can catch them in a hidden pit trap.

They live in caves, jails, and suburban condominium complexes, hoarding silver step ladders and jewel-laden platform shoes. They eat stale bread and gingersnaps, the crumbs of which fall into their facial hair providing snacks for later in the day.

Dwarves do not bathe, but can speak Hullabaloo.



Elves are of near ordinary height, have high, singing voices, and run hair styling salons in their forest dwellings. Hanging around and sleeping with birds, elves are often dressed in white with black speckles. They hold fine feasts of nuts, berries, bark, and silt.

They can imitate the finest of human fighters, except in combat. Being crack shots with bow and arrows, elves cannot miss any target up to 500 millimeters away (no saving throw). Keen sight at their command, they sally forth now and again to smack eye doctors in the face wherever they lurk. (See Polka-dot Chameleons).

Their treehouses are fully two feet off the ground, elves disliking heights and the dark. They use nightlights and wear jewelry, and these can always be found in their treasuries along with pink lace underwear and chocolate-covered bunnies.

Elves will, on occasion, use dwarves as anvils in their smithies.


Fingers, Giant

Giant fingerses are disembodied hands 20 to 50 feet in height that walk about caverns on their index and middle digits. They control the less intelligent yellowpages (q.v.) by walking through them, and by ruling them with an iron hand. Giant fingerses attack in several ways: snapping, flicking, slapping, pinching, pounding, or crushing its foe under its pinky. If two giant fingerses are present, they might applaud, smashing a victim in their great claps. They keep great vats of hand care products in their lairs, which are usually huge sheepskin gloves.



Giants act as mobile anti-aircraft units and radio towers. Due to the size of their weapons, any opponent hit by a giant not only takes 700 dice of damage, but is also crushed a foot into the ground. Wandering giants are probably lost, and if directions are given them, they will reward the helpful character with a pounding of their gold-stuffed pack. There are many types of giants, including the following:

Giant TypeLair IsSizeHit DiceUnusual Characteristics
Small GiantDolIhouse4"NoneNot a giant at all, but a midget
Clod GiantHovel10'2Incredibly stupid, bumbling (Goliath was one)
Bean GiantCloud Castle25'10Climbs stalks easily, but often falls; keeps geese that somehow lay golden eggs
Corporate GiantOffice Building30'2500Owns millions of shares of stock; dresses in 3-piece suits
Green GiantValley50'500,000Always jolly, laughs at little people; can process foods; vegetarian

Also, giants, if used properly, make great conversation pieces.



Gnome is a city in Alaska and has nothing to do with CAVERNS & CHAMELEONS adventures.



The wily gygax captures its victims by coaxing them to play fantasy simulation games. If the victim agrees, he soon finds himself swept up in a game so confusing, complex, and unsubstantiated, that he will take the game as being worthy, and obey the gygax's every rule. The only way to ruin a gygax is by altering its rules, or especially by not buying its game accessories, the profits of which make up the larger portion of its treasure. The rest is of miniature figures and polyhedral dice.



A genetic mutation where the right side of the character is elvish and the left half is something else. Can be trouble if one half is male, the other female.



An orc that has been sliced in half. Rarely found alive.



There are five different types of humans in the world of BASIC CAVERNS & CHAMELEONS. These are as follows:

Antarctic Explorers: This extremely hardy subspecies can bear up to almost any condition, saving heat over -5' F., humidity, and the absence of penguins. Therefore he is next to useless on any C&C expedition, unless purchasing the new Glaciers & Glowworms module.

Boob Tubers: Characterized by their red, bloodshot eyes, this subspecies is rare below ground because TV signals do not reach there. One, however, may wander the depths after seeing too many late-night horror flicks with titles like: The Beast With A Million Eyes and IT! The Terror From Beyond Space. If he does so, he should be kept with the party for a maximum period of six weeks while he entertains the troops. It is inadvisable to keep him longer, for he will revert to his "boob-tube viewing state" or, as psychologists put it, "he wants to watch TV a lot". This could cause him to persuade other partymembers into accompanying him on a quest for I Love Lucy reruns.

Fantasy Wargamers: This strange subspecies spends most of its time in the deeps of the caverns playing their national game. This is a bizarre contraption consisting of monsters, magic-users, clerics, dungeons, dragons, polyhedral dice, and other worthless items designed to steal moneyfrom the hands of innocent people. A fantasy wargamer is best not kept in the party, as he is without faculties and will only sit there trying to think of new ways to outwit the game he is addicted to.

Psychologists: Never found far from their favorite weapon, the black leatherette couch (see Weapons Chart for mental damage), these individuals inhabit towns or roam the underground labyrinths in search of disturbed adventurers. The dispensing of drugs being outlawed by their god Jungfreud, psychologists resort to fiendish tactics, such as fear and insecurity, to obtain the character's trust. Once this is gained, a painful reexamination of the character's life and childhood will commence, generally ending with the complete nervous breakdown of the character. They also tend to ask infuriatingly embarrassing questions about your mother.

Spies: Spies come in two sub-classes, 1.) the ugly, poorly-dressed, sloppy, sadistic male or female enemy agent, and 2.) the strikingly beautiful, well-dressed, glamorous and efficient male or female friendly agent. Depending upon which point of view is taken, both classes are interchangeable. They all wear trenchcoats, and can be found furtively sneaking about, practicing saying their last name first, then their full name "Carver. John Carver.") They are fond of double-crosses, triple-crosses, reverse crosses, reverse double-crosses, triple-back crosses, crosswords, acrostics, hot cross buns, and Bing Crosby. Another distinguishing characteristic is their penchant for exotic and strange weapons: fake swords which when swung produce a small flame at the sword tip, crossbows disguised as meat tenderizers, and large siege machines which fold up and can be placed in the hip pocket. Spies will be fully detailed and given their own game system in our soon-to-be-released product, Dark Alleys and Double Agents.


Invisible Hen

True to their name, invisible hens are chickens that cannot be seen. They run about caverns screeching wildly, which can spook a character but good. They are not intelligent, and some smaller invisible hens even think the sky is falling. When they see or smell danger approaching, they hide behind invisible rocks, which would make little sense were they not invisible to begin with. They eat invisible seed and guard invisible treasure that varies between treasure that is transparent and treasure that simply isn't there. Their lairs are invisible nests made of invisible straw. They can be made visible only by a 17+ level wizard with a can of spray paint. They lay invisible eggs, which if found, make great Spanish omelettes.


Moronic Dragon

Unlike common dragons, moronic dragons have the unique advantage of being completely moronic 95% of the time. Determine on table below with 100% dice:

Moronic Curve Chart
01-95Complete idiocy
96-98General foolishness, some wisdom
99Half-witted, but sober
00Near normal tendencies

A character meeting with a moronic dragon will be immediately beset by muttering, shrieking, howling, and muscular spasms. Upon seeing the moronic dragon do these things, the character will probably throw up, or at least feel like doing so. The moronic dragon is not harmful in itself, but its loud ravings draw truly dangerous nasties like flies.


Orange Gello

A unique strain of cubic gelatin, orange gello is intelligent, selecting victims only after comparison shopping. Otherwise they are similar to ordinary cubic gelatin (q.v.), except that if eaten, the eater becomes an orange gello in 4-6 rounds, unless he makes his saving throw against artificial flavoring.



Orcs are a race designed to be killed in numbers. Whenever a party listens to them through a closed door, they will grunt and mutter. Orcs call these sounds a language, but don't really understand it themselves, speaking it only to sound tough and hard to beat in battle. Normally they will speak plain English, until some character barges in and they have to put on their "tough" routine. When they do speak so that a character can understand, it's usually something like, "We're gonna kill you and pound you into tuna fish salad," or some such poorly written drivel.

If a character finds orcs in huge numbers, they will kill him and pound him into tuna fish salad. They brandish nightsticks and tomahawks, because they like being unique when it comes to weaponry. They keep entire chests full of nothing, adding nothing to their treasure every time they plunder an enemy tribe's hoard. Their armor is steel wool and used Brillo pads.



Pixies are small, bewinged humanoids, who, of course, can make themselves unseen until they spring out of the alley to knife a character. They dress in spritely black leather jackets, dive bombing boggies and dwarves whenever they feel like it, or whenever profitable. They take fairy jokes very well, only murdering the jokester 25% of the time. The other 75% encompasses assault and battery, assault with a deadly weapon, and attempted murder. They wield tire chains and switchblades. The largest tribe of pixies is "Hell's Pixies". Pixies ride magic two-wheeled chariots, and drag race every Saturday. If found in their lair, (usually a fortress, shack, or clubhouse), they will be accompanied by at least one pixie-moll per male pixie. Pixies keep only hard cash.


Peanut, Giant

Not often found far away from applejacks, giant peanuts enjoy cracking characters' shells for a change. They are only semi-intelligent, but are smart enough to shun Peter Pan whenever they see him searching for a few of them. They worship the god Planter, whom they believe dresses in top hat, cane, and monocle, and goes about spreading peanut power wherever he walks. They guard no treasure and are invincible.


Purple Applesauce

Purple applesauce is a lumpy gel that has its normal habitat in cheap diners and school cafeterias. But when they're found in caverns, they have grown to fill an area the size of one half one building of the World Trade Center. If found in hall, room, or corridor, flee.


Rock Whore

These female beings are excellently curved and are highly active nymphomaniacs. They wear no clothes, and enjoy jiggling before an eager audience. They carry their treasure with them at all times. Rock whores have smooth, lilting voices; firm, lithe, rounded buttocks; and gloriously huge breasts with great pink or brown nipples.

Anything touching a rock whore immediately turns to stone.



This creature of the cavern wanders halls, sneaking up behind characters and going, "BOO!" It immediately runs away, giggling.



Tanks are unemotional beings that move slowly and laboriously about in packs known as armor divisions. A powerful example of anachronism, tanks cannot be harmed by most magic weapons, not even elven nail files and dwarvish Q-tips. Anti-tank spells must be cast against them, and then only by a 10+ level Bazookaist. Tanks are covered with a green metal that defends them very nicely. They use attack modes for cannon and machine gun, both being usable at will. A tank can flatten organic matter with its great treads, but luckily can be heard treading miles away, and only the most distinguished of stupid characters has ever walked right up in front of one. Their treasure is of oil and rustproofing elements.



The unliving are those spirits which have died, but still show up 'cause life's where the action is. The following is a chart of the unliving from weakest to most powerful:

Unliving Chart
UnlivingAttack ModeSpecial Characteristics
CorpseNoneDoesn't move, decays instead
CasperSpooksHappiest ghost in Cartoonland
WaifKicking & ScreamingA childish spectre
Blood-Sucking UmpireRefereeing Squabble RoundNeeds glasses
Beast 666You Name ItSon of Satan

The unliving are referred to by some as "the undead", which is asinine, considering that you are un-dead.



These terrible things are to be found in almost every room and corridor of a cavern. Walls do not move, but have extremely strong armor, being made out of stone. Walls will not attack, but they defend themselves by utilizing their motionlessness. Walls often conceal rooms. Walls cannot be killed, but they can be taken apart, their pieces unable to regenerate. They have no special abilities and speak no languages. Walls are non-intelligent, and do not feed upon characters. They guard no treasure, but if attacked, will instantly do nothing. They are Pure Apathy in alignment.



Whatchamacallits do things, sometimes, but occasionally won't. They are about so high, and weigh about that much. They look like something or other, and brandish thingamajigs in battle. If a certain number of whatchamacallits are found up to something, they will be. Otherwise they probably won't or can't. They treasure whozewhatzits and thingamabobs, and are very similar to things that look like them, maybe.


Whatchamacallit, Giant

Giant whatchamacallits are exactly like common ones, only different.



This phonetic menace captures its victims by introducing itself. The victim will then struggle with the pronunciation, leaving himself wide open for a xyzilzyntchophkapri attack. The only thing worse than having to pronounce "xyzilzyntchophkapri" is having to spell or write it out several times, especially in a descriptive paragraph about them. They are agnostic, but Irish Catholic Holy Joes have been overheard to say, "May ye never meet up with a xyzilzyntchophkapri, me son."


Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

These small birds are defenseless and easy to kill. On a good day, a character can slaughter off three flocks of them, if for no other reason than the thrill of the hunt. They are extremely common, but not for long.



Long, thin, and pale yellow in color, yellowpages are always found after encountering the harmless whitepages, and are usually being walked through by 2 to 4 giant fingerses (q.v.). Yellowpages are always found in colonies called directories. They have average intelligence, and can usually direct a character to wherever he's going, or at least give him the number. Be wary though, for they may attack. If they give a number starting in "555", have an eye toward them! They are agnostic, but Confucius has written: "You be very very careful if you meet up with any directories." Also, it is obvious that we have run out of jokes on this subject, so we'll move on to something else, like Magic Treasure...


[Part 7: Magic Treasure]

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