Being in the Main the Mouth of Olde House Rules

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sleestak for Pits & Perils

Growing up in the 70s, Land of the Lost was a staple of Saturday morning fun.  But unlike other Sid and Marty Croft fare, this show was surprisingly complex, presenting a literal nexus of time and space occupied by dinosaurs and extra-dimensional creatures seeking mastery of this mysterious world.  There's enough material for an entire game here, but to keep things simple, here's the sleestak, presented for use in our own Pits & Perils...  

Sleestak      1(*)     3     50'   C     M     2-12     B/II

SLEESTAKS are an evil, degenerate race of reptilian humanoids, the last remnants of a vanished race.  Their appearance is also somewhat insectoid, having bulging eyes and a vaguely conical head, with pincer-like claws that are nonetheless useful. 

Despite their apparent lack of intelligence and fallen nature, sleestak exhibit a limited telepathy, communicating effectively with their own within 30'.  Their speech otherwise consists of hissing noises that are indecipherable by men.  Furthermore, they are advanced enough to produce small, handheld crossbows and employ nets to ensnare their chosen prey.  

For game purposes, assume that sleestak crossbows have a maximum range of 60'.  Their nets can be thrown 10' and require saving dice to avoid being ensnared.  If cornered, they use their claws to deadly effect, but prefer their weaponry... 

Most sleestak live within ancient, forbidden cities found in forgotten places, the ruins of their ancestral civilization, being now occupied out of memory without knowledge.

Sleestaks are primarily reptilian, but have an insectoid
aspect as well, being surprisingly intelligent 

Sleestak society is governed by a council and a leader, noted for their distinctive pendant that is ceremonial, but without any magic unless the referee decides otherwise.  In times of danger, the sleestak council consults the Library of Skulls, a sacred collection of ancestral bones that appear to hold the disembodied spirits of their ancestors, degenerate, but still wise...

The insectoid aspect of the sleestak is suggested by their reproduction, which requires the rare Altrusan moth to fertilize their eggs, protected in large communal clutches.  Here their captured victims, often human, are left for the hungry hatchlings to devour at their leisure, these being treated as 1st level sleestak without the usual weaponry.

To truly appreciate what the sleestak really are, the referee can reference their ancestors, the Altrusans:

Altrusan      1(*)    (*)    50'   N     M     1-2       --

ALTRUSANS appear much like their degenerate kin, but with grayer flesh and the habit of wearing garments.  These were a highly advanced civilization possessing mastery of time and space by means of special light crystals and mysterious pylon structures that enable extra-dimensional travel.  At the height of their power, the Altrusans visited (and perhaps colonized) many worlds, accounting for the presence of ruins in any given place.

The Altrusans were intelligent and psychically
gifted, but lacked compassion, leading to their downfall 

The Altrusans were psychically gifted, being treated as savants of variable level.  As a race, they aspired to a state of perfect rationality, but their lack of compassion and generally self-serving manner (although expressed as rational self-interest) ultimately lead to their downfall.  Even so, an occasional time traveler might be encountered near their former haunts...   

Note that there will usually be one or more pylons near city environments, and these might draw in creatures from many worlds and times, especially dinosaurs.  Again, the referee may consider placing cities and temples in a lost world setting built by ancient Altrusan technology.  The possibilities are literally endless!


  1. They're new to me but I love 'em!

  2. Hi. I have a quick question and don't know where else to ask. I'm not sure how to interpret the +N to HP at each level of advancement. For instance, a lvl0 Fighter has 10HP. At lvl2 it says +2. At lvl3 it says +4. So, does a lvl3 Fighter have 14HP (10+4) or 16HP (10+2+4)? Thanks.

    1. excuse me, i meant a lvl1 Fighter has 10HP.

    2. Not a problem!

      A 2nd level fighter has 12 HP and a 3rd level one 14, etc. You can always visit our G+ page and post questions at:

      Or our community page at:

      Thanks for your question, and we hope to see you around!

  3. Thanks for your answer. I'm glad I asked because I was pretty confident the answer was 16HP. That's the way it seems to be written. However, I questioned the intent when I compared to monsters only getting 1-3 HP per level. It would seem to be more correct to have +2 beside each level.

    I absolutely refuse to use G+

    1. Glad to be of service! Also...

      Queries can be sent to: