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Free-er by the Dozen: The GGGames Dozen

Monkey Pit Fighting

By Kris Havlak and Rick Heggie
March 8, 2002
GGG logo

The first of Green Goblin Games' new d20 series, the Gamemaster's Library of Love, is Monkey Pit Fighting™, the game of buying and fighting monkeys.  

Design and Bad Art by Kris Havlak

Additional Design Rick Heggie

Requires the use of the Dungeons & Dragons® Player's Handbook, Third Edition, published by Wizards of the Coast®. The entirety of this document is open game content and may be freely distributed as long as it remains complete.


As the cartoon above demonstrates, gamemasters can often run out of ideas. They can often grow tired of EXTREMELY HIGH LEVEL, MUNCHKIN, PLAYER CHARACTERS WHO BLENDERIZE EVERYTHING SENT AT THEM. Or perhaps the classic tale is just gotten a little boring (gasp).

Thus, players give up the live of the adventurer for a more rewarding pastime: throwing monkeys in pits and making them fight. Of course this isn’t really humane, but then again neither was the standard gladiatorial bout in Rome.


Monkeys are created like any ordinary PC, with a handful of obvious and not-so-obvious changes:


Monkeys can be of one of seven primate races. Only the barest details are given, since all they’re doing is fighting anyway. Look up photographs yourself.

Spider Monkey- Imported from the New World, these relatively small monkeys are quite agile and have a fully prehensile tail which can be used to grasp an extra weapon or shield.
Special: This tail functions effectively as a third arm. It does, however, receive the standard offhand penalties if used in conjunction with another attack.
Chimpanzee- This ape is the smartest monkey as well as the most versatile. Can wear some human armor and wield standard weapons.
Gorilla- The largest monkey, this fearsome ape is best known for its exceptional strength.
Special: +4 to Intimidation checks.
Orangoutang- Beaten in funny-lookingness only by the proboscis, this long armed ape is larger than the chimp, although more expensive.
Proboscis- A long nosed monkey of moderate size. Has remarkable proficiency in swimming.
Baboon- A strong plains based monkey which comes in just behind the orangoutang in goofy appearance. If you haven’t heard of a baboon, you are one.
Howler- A New World monkey named for its piercing howls. Very nimble in the trees, but lacks the fully prehensile tail of the spider monkey.
Special: A howler monkey can howl for a round. Opposing monkeys in a 30’ radius must make a saving throw vs. will or become distracted and inactive for one round. This action is allowed once per combat.


Spider M. -4 +6 -2 =2 +2 -4 T 0 100 gp
Chimp +0 +2 0 =3 +2 -4 M +1 150 gp
Gorilla +8 0 +4 =2 +2 -4 L +3 500 gp
Orangoutang +4 +2 +2 =2 +2 -6 M +2 250 gp
Proboscis M. -2 +4 -2 =2 +2 -6 T 0 100 gp
Baboon +2 +4 +2 =2 +2 -6 S +1 250 gp
Howler M. -4 +4 +0 =2 +2 -4 T 0 100 gp

All monkeys have a movement of 30/Climb 30, with the exception of the baboon which has a base move of 40 and the proboscis which can swim at 20.


Monkeys choose from the following classes:


The Barbarian, Druid, Fighter, and Monk classes remain are the standard d20 classes. The others have a few modifications:

Monkey clerics can worship any human deity present in the campaign world for which they meet the requirements. However, most monkey clerics will worship one of the following two monkey gods:
Oo, the guardian of monkeys. Neutral. Domains: Animal, Earth, Plant, Water, Luck
Rru, protector of the apes. Neutral. Domains: Animal, Earth, Plant, Strength

Monkey clerics of the two monkey gods do not have the ability to turn undead, but instead can attempt to turn animals (including monkeys) in the same fashion other clerics would turn undead.

Monkey rangers may choose a favorite enemy of animal under the groupings of apes (gorilla, chimp, orangoutang), New World monkeys (spider, howler), or old-world monkeys (baboon, proboscis). Instead of the tracking feat, the ranger monkey receives a free feat of its choice.

The Rogue monkey exchanges its sneak attack ability for the dirty fighting ability. In lieu of a standard attack, the monkey can opt to make a dirty fighting attack. The monkey and its target make competing attack rolls; if the monkey wins, then the dirty fighting succeeds. The monkey adds an amount of damage to the attack equal to the sneak attack bonus a monkey of that level would receive.


Monkeys can be of any alignment suitable to their class, but are generally neutral.


Many skills are not suitable for fighting monkeys. The following skills can be developed:

Balance (all monkeys receive a +8 racial bonus to this skill, with the exception of gorillas who get a +4)
Intimidate (STR is the relevant attribute)
Move Silently
Pick Pocket
Use Rope
Distract (Class skill for rogues, cross class for others. DEX based. If distract check beats target’s opposing will save target is distracted and flat-footed for 1 round. Can be used on multiple opponents but each opponent receives a bonus to its save equal to the number of targets)

Disallowed skills are those that, while a monkey might be trained to perform them, are not suitable for a pit fighting monkey. The GM may opt to allow certain skills.

Animal Empathy
Decipher Script
Disable Device
Escape artist
Gather Info
Handle Animal
Intuit Direction
Open Lock
Read Lips
Sense Motive
Speak Language
Use Magic Device
Wilderness Lore

I am monkey.


All feats are available to monkeys, with the exception of leadership feats, item creation feats, the whole expertise pathway (due to INT), and spell mastery. In addition, there are five new monkey feats [general]:

Death From Above: You can make dangerous attacks from above.
Prerequisite: Dex 14+, Offensive Panther Leap, Base attack bonus +3 or greater.
Benefit: When beginning your attack at a higher altitude than your opponent, you may leap down on them in conjunction with an attack. The attack receives a +2 damage bonus, and if it hits your opponent is knocked to the ground unless he makes a reflex save (DC=damage dealt). You must make a similar reflex save (DC 15) or fall to the ground as well. The maximum range jumped horizontally is based on your jump skill (which can be used in conjunction). If a large vertical distance is involved you may take damage as per standard rules, but if your opponent is struck they absorb half the damage taken by you.

Offensive Panther Leap: You can make leap attacks with deadly accuracy.
Prerequisite: Dex 14+, Base attack bonus +1 or higher.
Benefit: You may make a leaping attack at your opponent that grants you a +2 bonus to hit as a charge would but does not have to be in a straight line (you don’t change in midair, just jump at the last minute). You receive the -2 AC penalty associated with a charge and defensive weapons set to receive a charge will apply to you.

Weapon in Tail: Lets a spider monkey use a weapon in its tail without penalty.
Prerequisite: Race is spider monkey.
Benefit: This functions like ambidexterity but applies to a spider monkey’s tail. The -2 offhand penalty for the tail is eliminated, but two-weapon fighting penalties still apply unless the two-weapon fighting feat is taken.

Death Cartwheel: The monkey can do a cartwheel of death, attacking multiple opponents.
Prerequisite: Dex 13+, Dodge, Mobility
Benefit: An unarmed monkey can perform a death cartwheel and make an unarmed attack on every opponent adjacent to the monkey’s pathway (a number of squares up to the monkey’s move). However, opponents can make attacks of opportunity against the death cartwheeling monkey if they are armed. They do not get attacks of opportunity against the cartwheeling monkey when the monkey moves out of threat range during the death cartwheel. Cannot be performed in medium or heavy armor.

Defensive Backflip: The monkey can make an evasive backflip, avoiding an enemy’s attack.
Prerequisites: Dex 15+, Dodge, Mobility, Base attack bonus +4 or higher
Benefit: When you are attacked in melee combat you can make a defensive backflip to avoid the attack provided there is an empty square adjacent to you in the opposite direction from you as the attacker. You gain a +4 AC bonus against the attack and move into the empty square when the attack is complete. Cannot be performed in medium or heavy armor.

Kris: Should we add any new weapons?
Rick: Yeah, probably.
Kris: What should we add?
Rick: Poop-flinging!
Kris: Right.
Rick: No, monkeys should fling poop.
Kris: Um, any other ideas?
Rick: Crap throwing?
Kris: And what exactly would be the point?
Rick: It would blind opponents.
Kris: Uh huh, sure. You're some help.
Rick: Put it in!
Kris: Uh, yeah, I'll put it in there (blatant lie).


Monkeys, when purchased, come with no equipment. The owner can, however, equip his monkey with any of the standard equipment.

Special attention must be paid to monkey size, as standard armor does not fit all monkeys. Small and medium monkeys can get armor that functions identically to standard armor, but it costs 50% more than standard armor due to strange proportions. Chimps can buy armor for standard cost. Tiny Monkeys wear armor that costs the same amount as standard armor, but has half the protection (round to the better value) and has 1/10 the weight. Gorilla armor costs 250% normal and weighs twice as much as standard armor.

Natural Attacks
All monkeys have a natural attacks that can be made as attacks with normal weapons (i.e. without attacks of opportunity). These are as follows (add STR bonuses too):

Monkey Primary Secondary (-5 to hit 1/2 STR bonus)
Spider Monkey Bite 1 Claw 1
Chimp Claw 1d2 Bite 1d2
Gorilla Claw 1d6 Bite 1d6
Orangoutang Claw 1d3 Bite 1d3
Proboscis Claw 1d2 Bite 1
Baboon Bite 1d4 Claw 1d4
Howler Bite 1d3-1 Claw 1

Monkeys trained in a PC or NPC class with weapon proficiencies may implement weapons. Standard rules for weapon/creature size should be closely noted. Cost for smaller weapons is at least the cost for standard weapons, range increments and criticals and type are identical as well. The damage values and weights for some size variants of standard weapons are below:

Weapon Size Damage Weight
Mace T 1d4 2 lb.
Club T 1d3 1/2 lb.
Club S 1d4 1 lb.
Morningstar S 1d6 3 lb.
Dart T 1d3 0 lb.
Javelin S 1d4 1/2 lb.
Axe T 1d4 2 lb.
Sword T 1d4 1 lb.
Pick T 1d3 1 lb.
Hammer T 1d3 1/2 lb.
Bow, Small S 1d4 1 lb.
Dagger D 1d3 1/2 lb.

In addition, stick-fighting is a popular monkey fighting style. Sticks are two-handed double weapons ideal for performing special maneuvers. They are martial weapons.

Weapon Cost Damage Critical Range Increment Weight Type Size Special
Stick -- 1d4/1d4 x2 -- 2 lb. B M +1 to disarm, trip
Spike Stick 2 gp 1d4/1d4 x3 20 ft. 3 lb. P M +1 to disarm, trip
Star Stick 10 gp 1d6/1d6 x3 -- 5 lb. B/P M --
Hook Stick 5 gp 1d4/1d4 x2 -- 3 lb. B M +2 to disarm, trip
Steel Stick 5 gp 1d6/1d6 x2 -- 6 lb. B M +1 to disarm, trip
Stick -- 1d3/1d3 x2 -- 1 lb. B S +1 to disarm, trip
Spike Stick 2 gp 1d3/1d3 x3 20 ft. 1 lb. P S +1 to disarm, trip
Star Stick 10 gp 1d4/1d4 x3 -- 2 lb. B/P S --
Hook Stick 5 gp 1d3/1d3 x2 -- 1 lb. B S +2 to disarm, trip
Steel Stick 5 gp 1d4/1d4 x2 -- 2 lb. B S +1 to disarm, trip


When first imported for foreign lands, monkeys are untrained. Their raw value is the base cost for the species listed in the race section. These monkeys do not have a class, and must be trained to the basic level in order to gain skills, feats, and class abilities. Training a monkey requires a successful Handle Animal check (DC 20) by a character of the class the monkey is to become. The process takes 4 months for PC classes and 3 months for NPC classes.
Once a monkey is of a class, levels are gained normally based on experience gained in the combat arena. Buying a monkey requires the purchaser pay the base price based on race plus an additional sum based on level. These prices are just guidelines, which may vary with supply and demand. Multclassing is difficult for monkeys, however, and additional training must be completed for each new class a monkey is to learn (as above).
Equipment and Magical Items will, of course, cost extra.

Monkey Cost by Level (divide by two for NPC classes)
1 +500
2 +1000
3 +2000
4 +4000
5 +7000
6 +11000
7 +16000
8 +22000
9 +29000
10 +37000
11 +46000
12 +56000
13 +67000
14 +79000
15 +92000
16 +106000
17 +121000
18 +137000
19 +154000
20 +172000


Huh? Oh yeah, story. You should have figured out from the premise that there isn't much. What you do:

1. Have your GM design an arena to fight in.

2. Select the type of fight (one on one, melee only, ape only, monkey only, skirmish, etc.)

3. Select opponents (PC monkeys or GM-designed).

4. Bet (optional).

5. Make the monkey(s) fight!

6. Winner collects spoils (bets, items, experience, etc.)

7. Buy new monkeys / gear (especially if your monkey died).

8. Repeat steps 1-8 until normal adventuring once again sounds fun.

Kris: Do we need any flavor text?
Rick: I don't know. It might be cool.
Kris: You want to type some up.
Rick: Hell no.
Kris: I see.

©2002 Green Goblin Games in association with RPGnet

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