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Yora
2015-02-22, 02:43 AM
Since we're not allowed to post in old threads and I've happened to let the old one go unused for... a while, here's a new one that picks up right we're I left last time.

I am not covering all the creatures from each book, but limit myself to those that I find actually interesting or notable in some way. And all evil apes, ghouls, and demon dogs, because there's an unbelievable amount of those and counting them would make a fun, though lethal, drinking game.
Requests or recommendations for monster books to cover a welcome (I have a lot of those), but for this reason regular D&D monster manuals or something like Lord of the Rings probably won't do it. Their stuff is just too normal. :smallamused:

I already covered the Bestiary of the Hyborian Age for Conan d20 (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?317402-Yora-s-Fantasy-Safari-Hunting-for-exotic-creatures-in-monster-books) and last time started with the AD&D Fiend Folio.


Today, we're getting to a classic. And when it comes to D&D, probably the classic!

Second Tour: Fiend Folio
AD&D 1st Edition - Fiend Folio; 89 pages of monsters.


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The Apparition is a ghost in almost all respects, but unlike most undead, it doesn't actually have to ability to cause any form of bodily harm to other creatures. However, its frightening appearance and telepathic abilities can make its victim think that they are strangled and about to suffocate. This will usually cause the affected creature to flee in panic, but those weak of heart might actually die from the sheer terror.

Astral Searchers are psychic shadows or imprints of strong humanoid emotions experienced on the Astral Plane. Usually the creation of an astral searcher is unnoticed by anyone nearby. After some time, they take a nebulous and somewhat humanoid shape and while they are not really sentient they start searching for a body to take over. They will wander the astral plane until they either come upon a visiting humanoid traveler, which is very unlikely, or find natural connection to another plane through which they can pass. Once there, it will attempt to possess the first available host creature and if it is victorious it will permanently replace its personalty and gain true sentience.
It's a kind of interesting idea that could make for good setups to a mystery adventure, but since the process is irreversible and the astral searcher has no recollection of how it came to be in this particular body, I am not sure what I would do with it.


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The Berbalang is a winged humanoid similar to a gaunt gargoyle, and unless I am mistaken based on a creature from Indonesian myth, so it is kind of a classic creature of fantasy. Berbalangs spend most of their existence in hybernation, sending their spirit to other worlds through an astral projection. During the full moon, however, its spirit will roam the countryside near its hidden lair to feed on human flesh. The spirit is identical to the actual creature in virtually every way. But if the spirit body is destroyed, the real creature could die as well, so it will flee when injured and attempt to return to its body. This is the opportunity to follow it back to its lair and kill its real body.


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On the first glance, the Blindheim looks like one of those classic stupid monsters of old D&D. It's a large, semi-humanoid frog that can project itense beams of light from its eyes. While the appearance is rediculous, the creatures stats are actually quite interesting. It's a subterranean creature that lives in an environment where creatures need very effective eyesight to see anything at all and surface creature will have their eyes adjusted to darkness. By being able to generate very bright light, all creatures but those who are sightless will be blinded and unable to fight effectively. It's a creature with a natural flashbang ability, which I think is pretty cool and an interesting example of fantasy evolution.


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Blood Hawks are a good example of a very basic creature that still can make for very unusual and interesting encounters. They are basically large hawks or small eagles with no special abilities, but unlike regular birds of prey they hunt in swarms. And have a taste for human flesh. A single one can cause quite nasty injuries to humans, but a dozen of them don't have much trouble to actually kill them. Since they look rather unassuming, I think they could make great enemies for a whole short adventure, in which the PCs have to watch the skies all the time and might even end up besieged in abandoned cottages by a whole swarm of them.
I am starting a new campaign in two weeks, and I think I'll be using them on my players. Might be fun to have them show up once every three or four sessions, sometimes attacking, sometimes not. :smallamused:


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Bloodworms are not really that interesting. They are large brown and green worms that hide at the bottom of underground lakes and rivers and stay hidden until they can sneak up on prey. But instead of attacking normally, a hit by a blood worm means that it bites its jaws firmly into its victim and then deals damage automatically each round until they are removed. Trying to get those things off an ally while he is basically eaten alive from the inside, all while fighting waist deep in water could make for very intense and memorable encounters, even if mechanically there isn't anything extraordinary going on.


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The Booka are helpful house spirits that make their homes in the chimneys of houses and only come out when nobody is watching to perform some simple chores like sweeping the stairs. If they are ever observed, they will leave the house and never return. Not a very interesting creature, but they are one of the very few fantasy creatures that seems to be based directly on a German fairy tale, so I want to mention them here.
More interesting, and completely unrelated to the source story, is the fact that they hate evil humanoids and tend to cause mischief around them rather than being helpful. This might make them actually useful to include in a game as a kind of invisible ally to the PCs.


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While the concept is very simple, I couldn't really go through this book without mentioning the Bullywugs. Like kobolds, they seem to have become hugely popular because of their underdog status and dorkiness. Bullywugs are small humanoid frogs who live in small tribes in the swamps and jungles. Since they are pathetically weak, they only pose a threat to adventurers in large groups. Which is how they are usually encountered.


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Bunyips are based on stories from Australien natives about a large predator that haunts the rivers near the coasts and has a terrifying howl that can be heard for many miles. The creature in this book is a very large and ferocious seal with shaggy fur. It will flip over boats and use its roar to scatter any nearby creatures and then attack the smallest of them by biting of a limb and then disappearing again.


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The Carbuncle is just all out weird, but complex enough to have a multitude of uses in adventure. It appears like a small armadillo with a strikingly colored carapace and a large ruby growing on its forhead. When the carbuncle is killed or the ruby forcefully removed, it will crumble to worthless dust, but the carbuncle can chose to give up the gem voluntarily and it will grow back over the following months. They also seem to have a kind of lack of a sense of self preservation and will simply die when captured, making it impossible to force them to give up the ruby. Carbuncles are quite intelligent and can communicate with humanoids, and it can offer its ruby as payment in return for favors.
In addition carbuncles also have the ability to communicate through telepathy, read emotions, and predict the future. However, they are also kind of evil and delight in using their powers to cause strife and violent conflict, that can often lead to deaths.

Yora
2015-02-22, 02:51 AM
So, here we go, picking up where we last left:


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Cifal

The Cifal is a form of "colonial insect-formed artificial life". Yeah, this one pretty certainly is one of the submissions to White Dwarf magazine. It's a swarm of insects that has combined into a single humanoid form. When damaged, the creature will burst apart and transform into a swarm of flying insects which do not attack, but reassemble into a new form after a short time. By hitting it quickly it can immediately be dispersed again, but with every round it regenerates 2 hit points. Repeating that process long enough will eventually kill it, as it can't regenerate indefinitly, but it seems a much better idea to try to kill the swarm with fireballs or something like that.


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Coffer Corpse

The Coffer Corpse looks like a zombie and is always found in some kind of coffin. If the coffin is opened, it will immediately wake up and try to strange the person who opened the lid and will not let go until destroyed. If it takes 6 points of damage in a single round, it collapses as if dead, but will get back up on its feet the next round (which I believe is 1 minute in this game), which causes anyone nearby to make a saving throw or flee in terror. The coffer corpse does not actually regenerate any damage, though.


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Crab People

Crab People, Crab people! Tastes like crab, talk like people!


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Crypt Thing

A Crypt Thing looks like a skeleton dressed in a dark robe with a hood. When someone disturbes it (or, as I assume, it's lair), it casts a spell on the intruders that teleports everyone who doesn't make a saving throw to a random point 1,000 miles away. If questioned, it will claim it has disintegrated the vanished people. Other than that, the only thing it can do is to attack with its claws, which don't do a lot of damage. Who made this creature and for what purpose? It doesn't do anything except splitting the party and sending half of them on a journey of a thousand miles back home while the others wait for them. Why would a GM do that?!

Then we get the Dakon. It's a big intelligent ape that can talk and is pretty much universally peaceful. Let's continue the tradition from the Conan Bestiary and mention every generic smart ape, ghoul, and evil wolf I come across.


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Dark Creeper

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Dark Stalker

The Dark Creeper and Dark Stalker are probably my favorite creatures from this book, and among my favorite fantasy creatures in general. They are two humanoid races who live deep beneath the earth and usually live together even though they appear to be different but somehow related creatures. The majority of the population are the dark creepers, who resemble gnomes or dwarves wrapped in dark cloaks and rags with an uncanny ability to be sneaky. They appear to be led by the dark stalkers, who resemble humans or elves in stature and are more powerful. Both creatures have the ability to extinguish all light sources within an area and surpress any attempts to light flames while it is active. Then they sneak up on you in the dark to steal your stuff. When killed, they spontaneously start to burn to ash.

They both look really cool and their abilities are quite interesting, but unfortunately the book doesn't really tell us what to do with them. They are not evil and other than hating light don't really seem to have any motivation to interact with player characters at all. They have made more appearances in the 3rd edition Fiend Folio and the Pathfinder Bestiaries, but neither of those really had any idea what to do with them either. Which is a shame, because they are still really pretty cool.

The Death Dog is an evil dog. With two heads! Its bites also transmit a disease, which is an actual special ability.


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Death Knight

The Death Knight probably predates this book by a good deal of time, but here it is again. In this version, there is only a total of 12 death knights, who are created from fallen paladins as a creature described similar to a lich, presumedly by the archdemon Demogorgon. Though their armor seems quite light, it provides extremely high protection and they have an incredible Strength score. They can control other undead like clerics, have 75% magic resistance, and an 11% chance to reflect spells cast at them back at the caster. They are also usually riding a nightmare, which is D&Ds horse from hell. And to make things worse they also know a couple of magic spells themselves, including a 20d6 damage fireball. Which in this game is absolutely devastating, as even high level mages have only 40 or so hit points. Which is significantly less than the 60 damage this spell does on average. But it isn't called the Pain Knight or the Minor Inconvenience Knight.

And the Devil Dog: An evil dog that can cause fear with its barking. It also can bite people in the neck, which makes them fall unconscious and requires a healing spell, or the target dies in 2d4 rounds.


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Dire Corby

The Dire Corby is weird. As in, why is such a completely bland thing in this book of really weird monsters? They are humanoids with the heads and feet of birds and live underground. Well, they have one special ability, which is that they never panic. So Zerg Rush, kekeke?


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Disenchanter

Now the Disenchanter is the kind of weird we're expecting from this book. It's a blue camel with an elephants trunk that feeds on magic. They can sense all magic items and their power and will attack adventurers by grasping at the most powerful magic item within easy reach with its long trunk. If it hits, the disenchanter drains all the magic from the items. I would assume that players who never encountered these creatures before or read of them won't have any idea what they are dealing with. If they don't try to kill the disenchanter on sight, it might simply walk up to them, destroy their magic armor and weapons, and walk away with nobody being the wiser until the GM tells them much later their stuff no longer works. It might be a pretty fun creature to fight if the players know in advance what it does. Then I imagine things getting quite funny as they try to hit it with the necessary enchanted weapons while trying anything they can to not get them drained.


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Dune Stalker

The Dune Stalker is a cousin of the Invisible Stalker. It's a humanoid creature that can be summoned by evil mages to hunt people, but only good ones, and it will always find its target. It attacks unusually by causing powerful sonic vibratins directed at a single target which cause 2d6 points of damage. If it gets close enough to touch a creatures body with its mouth, the attack will be instantly lethal unless a saving throw is made. This creature could be either quite spooky, or very goofy.

TheCountAlucard
2015-02-22, 03:03 AM
Let's go back to hunting monstersYou say that like I stopped. :smallamused:

Gavran
2015-02-22, 05:08 AM
Cool, glad to see this pick up again. Don't have a vote right now, but I enjoy reading.

Pick up any new books since the old thread?

Yora
2015-02-22, 06:34 AM
Yes, the Theragraphica for Atlantis. It's been out for only 3 months and I think it's the greatest monster book I've ever seen. I am planning to do that one after the Fiend Folio.

Yora
2015-02-23, 06:51 AM
Fiend Folio, Part 3:


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Enveloper

The Enveloper is some kind of gooey creature that has the ability to absorb people it killed and gain its abilities and knowledge. Which each new victim it simply adds its abilities to those it already has and gets tougher and stronger. It may look like the Michelin Man, but otherwise has more similarities with The Thing. It doesn't seem to be able to change its appearance to that of a person it absorbed, though.


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Ettercap

Ettercaps are primitive humanoids with a poisonous bite and the ability to create webs like spiders. They use the substance as building material for all kinds of traps. Their nature also makes them go along well with spiders. Ettercaps did show up in all following editions of D&D, as far as I am aware, later on becoming quite spider-like themselves, but there isn't anything of that in this original version. The bug eyes started in AD&D 2nd edition and this aspect was build up increasingly ever since.


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Eye of Fear and Flame

The Eye of Fear and Flame is another skeleton wrapped in a robe and stalks the underworld to do evil deeds to lawful characters. No real reason why, but it just does. In it's natural state, the face is hidden inside the hood by supernatural darkness, but if anyone tries to resist its commands, it will remove its hood, revealing its bare skull with two gems as eyes. One red and one black. The red eye can cast a fireball spell every three rounds. And the black eye, you guessed it, casts a fear spell. Trying to cast spells to blind it at the creature will simply reflect them at the person who cast them. It can't really fight in other ways and when it's starting to lose it will try to escape to the ethereal plane, though that takes it two rounds to do so, which can be quite plenty of time to destroy it. At 12 hit dice and armor class 2, it's pretty tough, though. This is another creature that sounds like it was really cool when it was originally used by the person who created it, but without knowing that story, it seems a bit random.


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Firedrake

The Firedrake is a small dragon with a 2d8 damage fire breath. It's blood is also on fire and damages every weapon that injures it. They might attack at the slightest disturbance. Trogdor!!! Trogdor!!! Burnininating the countryside, burninating the peasants. Burninating all the people, in their thatched-roof cottages!!!


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Firenewts

Firenewts are a race of lizardmen who are at home in the desert and like to live near volcanoes, as they have a high resistance to heat and fire. They are cruel marauders who like to kill prisoners by roasting them alive before eating them. A third of all encountered warriors are riding on large bipedal lizards, which are also attacking by themselves. These really sound like they could be very interesting and terrifying enemies. Being hunted by firenewt riders out in the desert really doesn't sound pleasant at all. But seriously, what's with the art? The don't have just one picture in this book, every one as ridiculous as the others. Also, newts are amphibians and not reptiles, which makes them only slightly more capable to survive in hot and dry environments than fish.


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Fire Toad

Same problem with the Firetoad. An amphibian that absolutely hates and can't stand water. As the early stages of the life cycle of toads is fully aquatic, I see some kind of problem here. Firetoads are huge red toads about the size of a very fat sheep and attack by spitting balls of fire. As it gets injured, the amount of damage the fireballs deal goes down the same way. Early D&D had a strange thing with frogs, they are all over the place.


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Flail Snail

And here we are again at the reason why the Fiend Folio has a reputation as being an unbelievably dumb monster book by people who only gave it a first look. The Flail Snail. A huge snail with multiple tentacles on its head that end in morningstars. And it probably only exist for the sole reason that its name rhymes.


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Flumph

Behold! Kneel in reverence before the divine weirdness that is the Flumph! The poster boy ...thing ... whatever for weird ass insane monsters in early D&D. It's basically an intelligent, floating jellyfish that happens to be Lawful Good. Their first attempt to defend themselves is to shot a stinking liquid at attackers like a skunk. Haha! If they keep attacking, it fights back but is very weak. And that's really all there is to the flumph.


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Frost Man

The Frost Man is pretty cool. (Ha!) They look pretty much like humans dressed in furs and wandering alone through the wild. While it doesn't actually say that, it seems to be implied that they are encountered in snowy mountains and hills, where presumably they have their lairs and hidden villages. They radiate an unnatural cold and wear an eyepatch, which they can lift to shot a ray of magic ice from their eye.


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Gibberlings

I love Gibberlings, though mostly from Baldur's Gate, where they are pretty different from the creature described here. They are little humanoids and very weak on their own, but tend to attack in huge numbers and are absolutely fearless. They are somewhat intelligent but don't seem to have any language or any kind of leader. They just try to bury anyone under a huge mass of bodies, slashing with their swords. Which presumably they found somewhere.

And Trogdor comes in the night!!!

Yora
2015-02-24, 11:28 AM
Hm, the last part was indeed a bit boring. Instead of the notworthy creatures of the book, I am going to focus on the really cool ones from now on. Even though the FF has only 98 pages of creatures, at this pace it would still take 5 more segments and I really want to get to the Theragraphica.

Fiend Folio, Part 4


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Githyanki

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Githzerai

Let's start this one with the best creatures in the whole book. The Githyanki and Githzerai. Like the Dark Creeper and Dark Stalker, they are really two variants of the same species, but instead of sharing a single culture, these two are mortal enemies. Gith have always been one of my favorite races in Dungeons & Dragons, though to be more precise, they really became the minor stars that they are in Planescape. One interesting piece of trivia about the Gith is that they were created by Charles Stross, who later got pretty famous as a writer of science-fiction. And he did it when he was 12. Lots of people have created countless of cool monsters when they were 12, but almost all of them are total garbage. This one isn't just good, it's actually great! Thousands of years ago, the Mind Flayers (probably the most iconic creature of D&D next to beholders) enslaved a race of humans and bred them to be perfect slaves and food. This not only changed their bodies but also their minds, and generations of living under telepathic control by the mind flayers caused them to develop a natural talent for psionc powers. Eventually a slave named Gith started a rebellion against the mind flayers and led her follwers to the astral plane, where they became known as the githyanki. To no surprise, githyanki absolutely hate mind flayers and will try to kill them at any possible opportunity. In the astral plane they live in huge castle cities floating in the void, which in the Planescape setting are build on and inside the gargantuan petrified bodies of dead gods. They are evil and warlike and lead by an extremely powerful lich queen. Any githyanki who get too powerful (around 11th level) get killed by the queen to ensure nobody will be able to compete and stand against her. To make things worse, the githyanki also made a pact with red dragons. When githyanki come to the material plane, they use red dragons as mounts that can carry whole war bands. Yeah, a huge red dragon comes into town and as it lands a gang of space pirates with psionic powers jump from it's back. Have fun. The githzerai resemble the githyanki in many ways, but have made their home in Limbo, the plane of pure Chaos. The two races have been at war with each other for a very long time, but as presented here, no reason is given for their hatred. They are not fond of mind flayers, but do not have the same unlimited hatred for them as the githyanki. This was later changed in Planescape, where the one thing that can stop githyanki and githzerai from fighting is the appearance of mind flayers, which they will both attack instantly. And then go back to fighting each other if any survived. Even though they are chaotic neutral, the githzerai have monks instead of death knights, as the githyanki do. I just love these guys. They are very much out of place in more "generic" D&D settings, but in Planescape they are just wonderful. Congratulations, Little Charlie. You did very good.


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Gorbel

Next up is the Gorbel, which is another case of classic D&D weirdness. It's a globe of rubbery material with six eye stalks and two claws. The gorbel uses the claws to grab a persons back and then deals damage each round by digging them deeper in the body. A gorbel can only be removed by killing it, which causes it to explode, dealing 1d4 points of damage. Their armor is quite decent, but becomes extremely low once they got hold of someone. I mostly like the art of this one. The gorbel looks more freaked out than the guy he's attacking.

Now we have the Gorilla Bear. Which is exactly like any other gorilla, but it has claws. Take a shot?


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Grell

The Grell is another floating head with tentacles. Early D&D got a lot of these. The main body looks like a giant brain with no eyes but a beaked mouth like a squid, and it has several tentacles on its underside which it uses as arms. The tentacles do only very little damage but are poisonous and cause creatures to become paralyzed. They are just as smart as humans and like to hide in the shadows under the ceiling to attack from above. I recently learned that these are not in fact a truly original creature of D&D, but a blantant rippoff from a 1934 novel called Legions of Space. Later editions of D&D expanded on the background and behavior of the grell, giving them powerful wizards as leaders.


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Grimlocks

Grimlocks are pretty standard humanoids, but I was quite surprised that these are not actually generic fantasy creatures with a long tradition, but really appeared for the first time in this book. They are savage humans who live underground and are completely blind, and of course heavily inspired by the morlocs from The Time Machine. They are really not that interesting, but I really like what some artists in the 3rd edition of D&D did and instead of showing them as neanderthals who are blind, painted them as humanoids that have literally no eyes. Their foreheads are completely blank, and their faces consisting only of a nose and mouth. That makes them a lot more alien.

Next is a Hoar Fox. Which is exactly like a winter wolf, but smaller. Super creative.


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Hound of Ill Omen

The Hound of Ill Omen might seem like just another demon dog, but this one actually has a lot more to offer. In this incarnation, it's not really a creature. Pretty much every line in the stat block simply say "no". It's a huge dog that is only visible to a single person before it disappears. The person who sees the hound also hears it howl, which causes the person to fall under a curse. The next ten points of damage against the cursed character are multiplied by four. There's no real way around it and casting the remove curse spell only shortens the duration to the next five points of damage. The hound is said to be send by gods who are angry at the character. Basically, it's the GM saying "screw you, you are hit by lightning".


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Jermlaine

Jermlaine are creatures which I normally would most certainly ignore and not even give a second look, if I were not out looking specifically for odd creatures with unusual behaviors. They are little ugly men who live underground with rats. They are extremely weak, but also really quite fast and usually appear in numbers of several dozens. They are mean and evil creatures, and being very small and weak, they mostly attack targets who are badly injured and unable to fight. Then they come out of their holes with little clubs and keep beating people with them until they are knocked out. Then they are tied up, dragged into the dark, and left for some other dangerous creatures to come along and actually kill them. If someone makes camp near a jermlain lair, they will stealthy sneak up on them to damage ropes and belts and poison any food or water. These are some really mean little bastards. As regular monsters they are a joke. But against a group of characters who have been beaten up badly and retreated to a seemingly save spot to recover, a swarm of jermlains could be a really serious and also interesting challenge. Beaten up and tied up to be left in the dark with no supplies and damaged equipment is no fun at all, even for otherwise quite high level character. I probably wouldn't asign them to any specific room in a dungeon to attack when the characters enter, but instead keep them in reserve to come out of little holes in the floor whenever there's a good opportunity to unleash them on the party. These are actually really quite cool once you read the full description and consider how to implement them. Not all old D&D silliness is actually nonsense.


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Lizard King

The Lizard King seems more like an NPC than a type of monster, but it's quite cool nontheless. A lizard king is a really big, tough, and strong lizardmen with above average intelligence, and also utterly evil. He eats two humans per week and if his followers can't supply them, he will just eat four of them instead. Lizardmen are native savages of the swamps and jungles who are not happy about intruders, but this guy is just one really mean bastard. He has a big trident as a weapon which can deal great amounts of damage. If his attack roll exceeds the required number for a hit by 5, he impales his target and deals a minimum of 15 damage. Against a group that expects to fight normal lizardmen, this guy can get really terrifying. And this is a book for AD&D, where even monsters like orcs and goblins where not usually expected to be stronger than the standard version and the regular shamans and chiefs. At 8 hit dice, the lizard king is well above that.


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Meenlock

Meenlocks are some really scary little bastards. They are only about half a meter tall but their faces are pure horror. Normal people and even low level adventurers will simply collapse on the spot because of supernatural fear for several minutes. I assume characters can make a saving throw to avoid it, but the description isn't quite clear about it. Meenlocks have their lairs deep underground and come outside through small and long tunnels which are too deep and winding to discern their total depths from above. Also, the air coming of it smells like rotting corpses. These tunnels are wide enough for humans to climb down, though I image it's going to be a very tight fit. Their claws do not deal a lot of damage, but cause paralysis. And alone at the bottom of a long shaft, that's really not something you want to happen. Meenlocks hunt in the dark, but to make things worse, they can also teleport over small distances, which allows them to bypass almost all barriers. If any person attracts a meenlocks attention, it will follow the creature and keep hunting it. But not secretly, and instead will constantly send telepathic messages that it is coming for him, which makes the target highly distracted and unsettled and results in a penalty to most ability scores and attacks. At night, the meenlock will strike and silently sneak into the camp and drag the victim back to its lair, paralysing any guards if necessary. After a while in the meenlocks lair, the helpless target will be transformed into a meenlock as well. These are one of the scariest critters D&D has to offer. There was a really great adventure for 3rd edition called Escape from Meenlock Prison, in which the player characters get trapped in an old prision that has been mostly taken over be meenlocks, who can easily slip through or teleport between the cell bars and have already made most of the prisoners and guards their own.


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Necrophidus

The Necrophidus is often called a cleric troll monster, and for good reasons. It's a large snake-like creature made from a human skull and spines, called a death worm, has all the immunities of undead, and attacks by paralyzing its target. But it's not undead. Ha ha! It's used either as an assassin or guardian of treasure.


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Phantom Stalker

The Phantom Stalker is a creature from the elemental plane of fire and similar to invisible stalkers and dune stalkers in many way. But I think a much more interesting creature. For one thing, they look pretty freakish and are also two and a half meters tall, and they can change their shape to some extend and fly. They are also commonly summoned not to serve as assassins but as bodyguards for a wizards. However, they despise this service and try to find ways to obey their orders while still causing their master grief and trouble. However, the spell that summons a phantom stalker also forces it to avenge the death of its summoner. When the summoner dies, the phantom stalker instantly vanishes. But a few hours later it begins to hunt the summoners killer through the ethereal plane. They are not actually particularly powerful or deal a lot of damage, but if they are about to lose a fight, they will destroy themselves by exploding as a 6d6 fireball.

There are some really great creatures here that I never really paid any attention to because they just looked so very boring that I never even bothered to read their descriptions. But it's the descriptions where all the real treasures are hidden. I've been thinking for quite some time that a lot of the art in most monster books is made to get you a good look at the creatures apperance, but even though that's important, it's not actually such a good approach. Because cool monsters are never about their looks, it's always about their behavior. So when doing art for a monster book, the monsters should be shown in action Doing what they do in their usual environment. That is so much more interesting. The Fiend Folio actually has a couple of full page imges showing various creatures in action, the grell and crab people being two examples of that. It's so much more evocative than just having the creature posing at rest, and these two are really pretty bland as far as their behaviour goes.

I also want to remind that this is an audience participation event. I'm not just holding a lecture here. Talking about all the critters is very much encouraged and also desired. Showing hliday slides isn't particularly entertaining for me either. So say something about them. :smallbiggrin:

BWR
2015-02-24, 12:31 PM
Ah, the Gith. Along with the illithids they are my favorite creatures in D&D.
There are a lot of other cool ones, but there is just something about them.
I also have a soft spot for the grell.

Yora
2015-02-24, 12:54 PM
Gith just have some special something. And whatever it is, I think drow have it too. Among the thousands of creatures that have been statted for D&D, some just stand out. Mind flayers and beholders also made the jump to immortal game, but yet the aboleths didn't. Yes, they have been around with D&D for a long time and make frequent appearances, but they never got the superstar status of the other ones.

Eldan
2015-02-24, 02:08 PM
Which is a shame, since I far prefer Aboleth to Beholders.

Yora
2015-02-24, 02:14 PM
Yeah, beholders don't really do anything. They are just there like angry magic disco balls and that's about it. Mind flayers and aboleths actually work on some mysterious plans.

Eldan
2015-02-24, 03:44 PM
There's that, though they did give the Beholders Tyrants and Brood Mothers and their own goddess and all that. But I think there's more. The design of the Beholder is "random dangerous things stuck to a ball of flesh", while the design of the Aboleth is a prehistoric fish with some small changes. It's monstrous and alien, but I can look at it and believe that it could be sentient and dangerous. It works.

Edit: Interesting. Go to Google Image Search sometime and look at some different Aboleth concepts. About half of them seem to give the Aboleth a large, sharp-toothed mouth which, I think, really misses the point.

Yora
2015-02-24, 04:29 PM
You know, I might actually do an all aboleth special after the Fiend Folio is done. I've already looked over the remaining entries and I think there's only a single set left.

Fantasy Safari: Psychic Shark Week!!!

Vknight
2015-02-24, 04:53 PM
Yay fun with Yora and hunting monsters returns!!

Mr.Moron
2015-02-24, 05:02 PM
Are these actual quotes from these sources?


The Firedrake is a small dragon with a 2d8 damage fire breath. It's blood is also on fire and damages every weapon that injures it. They might attack at the slightest disturbance

or are you just taking the piss? Either way, this is the best thing I've read all day.

Yora
2015-02-24, 05:04 PM
I tend to get quite snarky when writing these, but generally I try to keep it to describing what is actually there in the description without making up additional ideas of my own.

Now that I am actually reading the descriptions of monsters that have names and pictures too boring to have bothered with them before, I am really starting to wonder what else I might have been missing. Blood hawk, bloodworm, cifal, jermlaine, meenlock, and phantom stalker all seem like monsters that could actually be really terrifying if you use them as described instead of thinking of them as something that stands around in a 10x10 room waiting for something too attack.
Who knows, maybe there are even great monsters in the last quarter of the 3rd edition monster manual? :smallamused:

Coidzor
2015-02-24, 08:33 PM
Yeah, beholders don't really do anything. They are just there like angry magic disco balls and that's about it. Mind flayers and aboleths actually work on some mysterious plans.

Hey, sometimes you just wanna have some fun in a disco inferno. Also, totally having a Beholder Discotheque now. :smallamused:


You know, I might actually do an all aboleth special after the Fiend Folio is done. I've already looked over the remaining entries and I think there's only a single set left.

Fantasy Safari: Psychic Shark Week!!!

YUUUSSSSSS. :smallbiggrin:


I tend to get quite snarky when writing these, but generally I try to keep it to describing what is actually there in the description without making up additional ideas of my own.

It is a draw for these sorts of things. At least, IIRC I think I've read some of your bestiary excursions on GITP back in the day.

Welcome back to them, by the by. :smallbiggrin:


Now that I am actually reading the descriptions of monsters that have names and pictures too boring to have bothered with them before, I am really starting to wonder what else I might have been missing. Blood hawk, bloodworm, cifal, jermlaine, meenlock, and phantom stalker all seem like monsters that could actually be really terrifying if you use them as described instead of thinking of them as something that stands around in a 10x10 room waiting for something too attack.

Yeah, things do tend to go that way once you get out of the 10x10 room with an orcish baker and his pies in it. :smallamused:

I agree with you about the Blood hawk and the Jermalaine(Jermlaine?) being potentially useful and interesting bits to spice things up.

The Phantom Stalker seems especially nice for an encounter with one or a few after beating an evil wizard when the party thinks they're in the clear and then, bam, from hell's heart I stab at thee.


Who knows, maybe there are even great monsters in the last quarter of the 3rd edition monster manual? :smallamused:

Depends on whether you count the section that's just the real-world-equivalent animals(well, with the exception of the chimp-gorilla hybrids known as apes, anyway) and various monstrous vermin, I think?


Edit: Interesting. Go to Google Image Search sometime and look at some different Aboleth concepts. About half of them seem to give the Aboleth a large, sharp-toothed mouth which, I think, really misses the point.

Aren't they supposed to be filter-feeders anyway? :smallconfused:

Though, indeed, an Aboleth that has to do mundane damage by eating something that can still fight back is totally the wrong flavor.

Khedrac
2015-02-25, 07:44 AM
One of the things to remember about the original Fiend Folio is that most of the monsters were ones that the general public had submitted to White Dwarf magazine's monster column. This was before WD became a house-only GW publication (and before Dragon did the same for TSR).

This resulted in a really odd-ball collection of monsters to add to those that had been published in modules etc.

It may also be why a lot of them haven't been reprinted - the ownership of the monsters isn't clear. Even if the authors gave up their rights that doesn't mean that WotC can claim them...

As for the Githyanki/Githzerai - Charles Stross was their creator and he is now an author writing an interesting line of books crossing the Cthulhu Mythos with modern days spy thrillers (The Laundry books - be careful his other works are more variable).

One monster you pretty much dismissed was the Enveloper. It seems pathetic, but it is the most open-ended monster in the game. They get to work their way up, so consider fighting one with the powers of a Fighter 20, a Cleric 20 and a Wizard 20 (or higher) - and pray you can beat it on action economy...

Yora
2015-02-25, 07:47 AM
The ability of the enveloper is quite interesting. But the description and picture would need to be really reworked. This presentation is just simply goofy. It also would have helped a lot to get a few words on how it lives and behaves, but that's something that's generally absent from monster books at that time, and doesn't really show up until 2nd edition.

Yora
2015-02-25, 09:26 AM
Did I say the enveloper is The Thing? That was apparently a mistake on my side. The Protein Polymorph is The Thing! (Even though the most famous adaptation with the best looking monster came out a year after this book.) Itís an extremely effective and versatile shapeshifter than can assume the form of pretty much everything. It can blend completely with its surroundings, but usually takes the form of creatures that might attract prey. Being of human-like intelligence, their disguises can be highly devious. Itís only limitation is that itís very bad at creating facial expressions and canít really mimic voices, so any kind of interaction with a polymorph in humanoid form quickly reveals that something isnít right about it. When it imitates inanimate objects, touching it immediately reveals it being some kind of creature. They are pretty tough beasts and also extremely strong, dealing 6d6 damage with their normal attack.


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Quaggoth

The Quaggoth probably counts as another point on the evil ape counter, but itís actually a kind of humanoid bear. They are an underground dwelling race that is very primitive and aggressive and attack pretty much anything on sight. Some use stone maces and hammers, while most simply attack with their claws. They are immune to all poisons, which is actually very useful for a race of the underworld. For some reason they have a burning hatred of elves and even willingly serve drow for opportunities to fight them. The creature here is not really that exciting, but I quite like how they got a bit more refined in later editions, so I am showing them here anyway. Some adventure even had crossbreeds of quaggoths and orcs, which I thought were really cool.


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Retriever

Retrievers are actually a kind of constructs like golems, but they have been created by the demon lord Demogorgon so they are often seen as demons as well. They are used by their demonic master to be send to other planes and kidnap or slay his enemies. A retriever appears like a huge spider with four legs for running and four arms to attack. Its head has six eyes of which only two are for sight and the other four actually to shot magic lasers. Not only do they deal a lot of damage with their four regular attack each round (3d6), the magic rays are outright terrifying. They can shot two of them in the same round, after which they need to recharge for six round. The damage of the fire, lightning, and cold ray is equal to the retrievers hit points, which is on average 45 when uninjured, but could be as high as 80. The fourth ray just turns people to stone instantly. Unsurprisingly, all characters of 5th level or lower have to make a saving throw or flee in panic at the sight of a retriever. I donít quite now how XP in 1st edition are assigned, but 5,000 is a lot. Oh yeah, and sometimes demons use them to ride into battle.


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Grey Slaadi

It would be a crime to write about the Fiend Folio without at least mentioning the Slaad. In the Planescape setting, there are not only angels and demons, but similar creatures for all nine alignments. The spot for pure chaos was given to the Slaad. These chaotic neutral creatures are not actually evil, but in practice they never really seemed any different to me from demons and devils. They are still pretty cool though, as they all take the form of big humanoid frogs. They are natives of the plane of Limbo, which is such a pure manifestation of chaos that there isnít even any stable ground. And yet, of the infinite number of possible shapes beings of pure chaos could appear in, they all take the form of frogs. I think thatís pretty cool. They have their own language but normally communicate with other creatures by telepathy. In this version, all Slaad have a gem with a unique magic symbol on their forehead, and anyone who can get at such a gem can order the slaadi to perform three services for them. Each such gem is unique and can be recognized by all other slaad. There are several kinds of slaad, with the red ones being the weakest. They are pretty basic brawlers but still quite tough ones, and can attempt to teleport other slaad to their help when in danger (as it is common for most demons and devils in D&D). Above them are the greens, blues, and greys, which each get increasingly stronger with more and unusual special abilities. There are only four death slaad, which are a very big step up from the greys, and there are also two Slaad Lords presented in the book. Slaad are weird, a bit goofy, and from the description here I donít really know what to make of them. With a good idea what to use them for, I think it should not be too difficult to make them interesting enemies.


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Son of Kyuss

Another classic monster that went on to a long career as a B-List creature. The Son of Kyuss. Kyuss was an evil priests who became a minor god ofÖ I actually have no idea. But he has a huge thing for slimy green worms and a number of beasts he created with that theme. The Son of Kyuss is probably the most notable one, being a corpse infested by a swarm of big green worms. It regenerates two hit points per round and even grows back body parts that have been chopped off. Anything that comes within 10 meters of one have to make a saving throw or flee in panic, which seems a very appropriate ability. Being hit by its fists is obviously not healthy and can infect a creature with leprosy, which will be fatal within a couple of months unless magically healed. In addition, once per round one of the worms will try to bite the target of the sons attack and bury into its body. If not killed and removed within a round, the worm will make its path to the brain and within one to four rounds turn him into another son of kyuss as well.


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Symbiotic Jelly

The Symbiotic Jelly seems quite familiar. It has no picture, so I am adding of a brain slug instead. They are basically the same thing anyway. At 70 cm in diameter, itís somewhat larger and the color is described as green, but by now who wouldnít go with an apple sized green blob with a big eye instead? The jelly feeds by controlling a dangerous creature which it uses to kill other people or creature that come near its lair and as the prey is eaten, it gets some kind of energy from it. Itís clearly not symbiotic at all, but straight up parasitic, but maybe someone thought it sounds cooler this way. The jelly actually controls its slave from a distance and hides in the shadows on the ceiling of its lair, but where is the fun in that? Brain Slugs!


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Yellow Musk Creeper

And finally, we got the Yellow Musk Creeper. Itís a kind of vine with yellow flowers which spray a special dust at any creature that gets too close to them. Victims affected by the dust simply walk into the vines to get entangled by them and slowly have its Intelligence drained. When the mind is almost entirely gone, the vines will plant spores into the creature which will cause a new plant to grow from its body, which then takes control over it to protect the original creeper. A usual creeper will have one to two dozen of such living zombies under its control. I really love these ones and have something like them in almost all the campaigns I run.

Next up: The Theragraphica for Atlantis: The Second Age.

JustSomeGuy
2015-02-25, 10:53 AM
Personally, i think the hooded 1 trick skeletons should be linked to (and renamed in association with) the size/layout of the 10x10 dungeon room.

Eldan
2015-02-25, 10:58 AM
To be fair, Kyuss is awesome and one of D&D's better archvillains.

Yora
2015-02-25, 11:33 AM
I think he meant the Eye of Fear and Flame (though that's a two-trick pony). But perhaps the Crypt Thing. I didn't even write about the Huecuva and Revenant. Kids in the 70s knew what is cool!

YossarianLives
2015-02-25, 11:55 AM
I don't really know how this thread works but may I suggest the host of 'Beholder Kin' from 2e AD&D?

It includes a spider-beholder, a tree-beholder, a centipede-beholder, and a humanoid-beholder.

Yora
2015-02-25, 12:33 PM
I am normally not a fan of beholders, but a "beholder special" sounds like it could be fun. Looking at different types and comparing their goofyness. I put it on my list, but there's already a couple of other stuff I want to do first.

Next the Theragraphica, which I expect will take at least as long as the Fiend Folio did; Monsters of FaerŻn; and one full article on aboleths. My usual plan is to take one monster book with lots of interesting creatures and then do the ones that strike me as the most interesting, 10 at a time. Doing an article only ob aboleths from all editions I'll do only because I love that creature so much and there are seven different versions of it. Beholders also work because they have such a ridiculous number of variants, but usually I go by book.
I have most monster books for D&D and Pathfinder and a couple of others, and I am always interested new and original ones, so suggestions for which book to take are always welcome. Only not right now, because I just got a new book and I really love it a lot. So no voting, you'll have to take what I put on the table. :smallbiggrin:
(Not set on Monsters of FaerŻn, though. If there's lots of demand for something else first, I'll push it back for later. It's just my personal favorite right now.)

Beleriphon
2015-02-25, 01:17 PM
Aren't they supposed to be filter-feeders anyway? :smallconfused:

Though, indeed, an Aboleth that has to do mundane damage by eating something that can still fight back is totally the wrong flavor.

Are catfish filter feeders? I though they ate molluscs and such off of the river beds, making them distinctly not filter feeds. If that River Monsters guy is to be believed they can even get big enough to eat a person.

Yora
2015-02-25, 01:23 PM
Well, there have been cases where they attacked children, though with no fatalities, as far as I know. And I believe they eat ducks quite frequently. It's all a matter of how big they can get and how much they can fit into their mouths. And aboleths are huge.

Beleriphon
2015-02-25, 01:29 PM
Well, there have been cases where they attacked children, though with no fatalities, as far as I know. And I believe they eat ducks quite frequently. It's all a matter of how big they can get and how much they can fit into their mouths. And aboleths are huge.

I don't know where you are, but our aboleths only get to be a half dozen kilos and rarely more than a half metre in lengths. :smallbiggrin:

Yora
2015-02-25, 01:37 PM
The catfish in the Rhine can get up to one and a half meters and 300 kg.

Eldan
2015-02-25, 02:24 PM
If you're looking for more monster books to look at, I'm a fan of Planescape Monstrous Appendix I-III. The first one contains a lot of classics that one also finds in the 3.5 monster manual, though with different fluff, but II and especially III are full of total weirdness.

Lord Torath
2015-02-25, 02:27 PM
I rather like the Rakasta as a nomadic hunter-gatherer society. Cat people that ride sabre-toothed tigers. I've got them in competition with hyenadon-riding gnolls in a Lost World setting.

aspekt
2015-02-25, 03:33 PM
Beholders got a significant lore boost in 2ed. In fact in Spelljammer their actual divine purpose is revealed and they have plans to destroy the world with death star like weaponized asteroids.

In any case, cool or not, they are certainly one of the top iconic images related to D&D.

Also as a kid I couldnt help but wonder what that one particular crabman had to smile about...

http://i.imgur.com/JI3p1Cd.jpg (http://imgur.com/JI3p1Cd)

Yora
2015-02-25, 04:21 PM
Third Tour: Thegraphica

As the third book of the Fantasy Safari, my choice has been the Theragraphica for Atlantis: The Second Age. Having been released as pdf only last November, the printed book has just been shipped to backers of the kickstarter campaign. Itís simply an astonishing book and in my opinion even beats the Fiend Folio. It was actually the main reason I did pick up the Fantasy Safari series after such a long break, simply because I want more people to know how amazing this book is. (And the game itís for is really great, too.)

Since this is a very new book by a small publisher, and they havenít put the art for it online, I am not going to copy all the pictures here. But I think for this book this also wonít hurt much, as these creatures are really much more about their strange behaviors and weird abilities, and simply going by physical appearance might even create the false impression that they are rather mundane. But believe me, they are not. Or donít believe and see for yourself what I am going to tell you about them. There are over 170 creatures in this book and I am only going to talk about my personal favorites in detail. Otherwise Iíd never get through all of them.


http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/theragraphica.jpg
Atlantis: The Second Age Ė Theragraphica

Theragraphica for Atlantis: The Second Age by Khepera Publishing, 2014; 131 pages of monsters.

Atlantis is a relatively simple system, compared to D&D and d20 games, so the stat block for each creature is quite short. They have 14 stats plus two lines for damage and armor, and a short list of any special abilities and weaknesses. As a rules-medium game, the explanations for all special abilities are explained once in the back of the book and not elaborated on in each individual creature entry. Which at first was a bit confusing, because the creature descriptions often donít really say what these abilities do either. But in truth, this works all really well and effectively. Aura of Fear always works the same for all creatures (with the specific strength depending on attribute scores) and is really pretty self-explanatory. The creature is scary. Those who see it close up get scared. Poison also always works the same way and a creature that attacks with its teeth obviously has poisonous bite, and one that attacks with a stinger obviously with a poisonous sting. This is information that does not need to be spelled out again every time and every GM can figure out how to describe it with a little bit of imagination. Because of that, the descriptions for each creature are really very short. Often just three or four sentences. But the free space that is left on each page is used well with a big picture of the creature, which are mostly very well done. All this combined, I feel like I am getting a lot more flavor from these monsters than from most other monsters books. My descriptions of each creature Iíll present will most likely be longer than the actual descriptions that are in the book, putting into words and talking about all the thoughts that come to my mind from these very dense entries.

I actually have not read the entire thing myself yet, but just having read a quarter of it in detail and seeing all the pictures has gotten my really exited about this. So, here we go:

Chapter 1: Alba and Iber

Letís start with the Caorthannach, a really quite weird looking beast. Their bodies resemble large and heavily muscled dogs with black skin and big claws. But their face looks likeÖ I really havenít the slightest clue. The closest words I can find is a combination of a human skull and a lobsters head, with big evil glowing eyes. Not something you want to encounter in the dark. Does this get another mark on our demonic wolf counter? I think not, but letís get to the description of it. It really only tells us that they burn down villages and cause mayhem wherever they show up. Heroes often go hunting for them, but a lot of them end up dead themselves. No matter how many are killed, they always come back in large numbers, but nobody knows from where. So far, this really doesnít sound very interesting. Like just another demonic wolf with a weird face. But wait! Did it say they burn down villages? How would an evil dog do that? So letís look at the stats. Intelligence of -2 isnít very bright, just above the smarter kinds of ordinary animals. But holy ****! Strength of +8? That it quite a lot. Actually, flipping ahead through the book, there are not a lot of creatures that even get close to that. This is the range of trolls and hydras. A Constitution of +5 isnít anything to laugh at either. Their Threat Level is 3, which I think in a d20 game is comparable to a Challenge Rating of about 12. And looking at itís abilities, this thing gets even scarier. It has a poisonous bite, can spit venom, and is really fast on the ground. And it also has a breath of fire. Thatís how they burn down villages. If you want to upgrade them, the book suggest to give them Armored Hide, which has a certain chance to shatter weapons that hit it; Sunder, which makes every successful bite not only injure the target but also damage its armor; and Regeneration. Did I say the first impression is a big evil wolf with an ugly face? This thing is just a total nightmare! As I said, the description text is minimal, but you really have to look at every entry in the stat block to see what they are really about. And these go around destroying villages? They are just terrifying!

Next comes the Carraig Fuileachdach, which is a bit of a shame because we just started and I think itís the greatest monster in the whole book and perhaps the best creature Iíve ever seen. People have explained to me that gaelic spelling is not nonsensical at all and that there arenít any pointless letters in Irish words, like the ones that English is so very fond of. But seriously, if you donít know how gaelic spelling works, these names are just completely unpronounceable. But that really isnít a big problem here, since our Craig here is a very rare creature found in only a few places in the world and there are probably few people who know that there are more than just one. The appearance of this creature is very unusual. It really is just a big slab of stone. It may have been cut into a specific shape and may have images or runes carved into it, but it really is just a big slab of stone. On which humans have been sacrificed. For thousands of years and countless generations. And which each sacrifice, a little bit of the essence that was send to the gods got absorbed by the stone on which they were killed. Over time this adds up, until the stone becomes infused with power and gains a sentience of its own. And what do they want? More blood! Being simply a big slab of stone, the creature can not move in any way. But itís Perception and Will are pretty high and their Intelligence, Charisma, and Constitution are each a staggering +10. Armor and Hit Points obviously enormous. They also have a number of special abilities, like an Aura of Fear, a Damaging Aura (in form of a cloud of sharp stones that whirls around it), can Drain Life-Force and Speak Like A Man. How does it talk with no mouth? It does not say, but obviously it would be either a disembodied voice in the wind or from below the ground, or perhaps telepathy. Itís up to the GM. But looking at the description of Drain Life-Force, the creature has to touch the target to drink itís blood or something similar, whatever is appropriate? So does it have a special power to cause a huge geyser of blood shot from a nearby creature like in the Legacy of Kain games? If so, what range would that have? And how would it make an attack roll against what defense? Well, my own view is that this is an ancient altar on which human blood has been spilled, so for this ability to work, a target has to be on the altar in some way. How does the target get there? Has the stone cultists who would bring it sacrifices? Well, there is one last small entry in the special abilities that changes all. ďSpell Ability (Dark Arts)Ē. What does that mean in Atlantis? It means the monster is a sorcerer with access to eight forms of magic with the exception of Influence. (Which is interesting, as that means no mind control of other creatures. All who serve and worship it are doing so willingly.) Atlantis is a rules-medium game, so it doesnít have specific skill ranks for each skill but just an average Ability Level that applies to all skills. And in the case of Craig here, the level is +31. Which is just plain out terrifying. Only the great dragons can beat that. When a mortal sorcerer increases any of his eight magic skills above 15, he gains one horrible mutation for every point, so when you want to get into really powerful magic you quickly turn into a Spwan of Yog-Sothoth and itís only downhill from there. To get the amount of power that this guy has, youíd need to take 120 mutations, that just for reference. It also can cast 32 spells in a row without suffering penalties for getting tired and even then itís massive Ability Level means that it can keep on casting for quite some time without a noticeable dent in spell strength or chance of success. Magic in Atlantis is pretty freeform and there are no predefined spells. Except for mind control, this thing can do pretty much anything that magic might possibly do. Which includes picking you up in the air and crushing your skull to goo on its surface. Or shot fireballs, lightning from the sky, the ground opening beneath you, summon hordes of demons, turn you into any imaginable shape. This is just one big old slab of stone? Yes, but a big old slab of stone of DOOM! I love super-powerful AIs in sci-fi games, and this thing is basically that. Except that it can not be shut down or is limited by the machines it controls in any way. This thing wants it, and it happens. If you have played The Witcher 2, do you remember the start of Chapter 2? This is what I think a Carraig Fuileachdach is like. Only much, much worse. It says they are often worshiped as gods. As far as I can tell, they pretty much are gods. Angry gods, that thirst for blood.

Coidzor
2015-02-25, 04:57 PM
Are catfish filter feeders? I though they ate molluscs and such off of the river beds, making them distinctly not filter feeds. If that River Monsters guy is to be believed they can even get big enough to eat a person.

I guess I've been confused by those holes in their sides that look like they should act like a filtration feeding system the same way sponges have that orifice that filters water through 'em. I wasn't aware they have catfish mouths. Which, while not something you'd want to get bit by when on Aboleth scale, or even Grandpappy Catfish scale, isn't quite a gaping maw of toothsome doom.


If you're looking for more monster books to look at, I'm a fan of Planescape Monstrous Appendix I-III. The first one contains a lot of classics that one also finds in the 3.5 monster manual, though with different fluff, but II and especially III are full of total weirdness.

I'm always down to hear more about planescape weirdness. :smallbiggrin:

BWR
2015-02-25, 05:20 PM
I rather like the Rakasta as a nomadic hunter-gatherer society. Cat people that ride sabre-toothed tigers. I've got them in competition with hyenadon-riding gnolls in a Lost World setting.

I like smilodon-riding samurai cats from the moon.
Or 17th century England cats in eternal rivalry with 17th century French lupins (dog-like humanoids - humans to the gnoll's orc)

Coidzor
2015-02-25, 07:01 PM
Caorthannach are a bit consternating, since an inexhaustible horde of fire-breathing super-strong, damned-tough demon dogs that actively seek out civilization to destroy it and routinely kill off the champions of the civilized races would seem to be the sort of thing that's more of a civilization destroyer than a problem for villages alone. :smallconfused:


I like smilodon-riding samurai cats from the moon.
Or 17th century England cats in eternal rivalry with 17th century French lupins (dog-like humanoids - humans to the gnoll's orc)

Ooo~ And then if you wanna show that things have gotten real you can have them living together.

Eldan
2015-02-26, 04:40 AM
If I'll be honest, those Atlantis monsters don't seem all that exciting to me. The first one is just a hellhound, there's a thousand varieties of that, not few of which also breathe fire and have similar powers. The second could be interesting as a behind the scenes antagonist, I guess, but it's not that unusual either. More or less your standard "place corrupted by evil".

Sure, they are strong for their setting, maybe, but I don't think strength alone makes a monster all that exciting. It's, as you say, behaviour and I dont' see any really interesting behaviour in that hellhound.

Yora
2015-02-26, 06:04 AM
Continuing with the creatures of Alba and Iber:

A Fearbeag is a tall, seemingly humanoid creature wearing a dark and dirty robe with a deep hood which hides it's true form. Below this disguise, the creatures true from is a swarm of little, 15 cm tall men, and it's voice sounds like dozens of children talking at the same time. This is a pretty classic ghost on the road story monster, as the creature merely wants some company, but will try to kill and eat any who reject it. They are not particularly strong creatures with no outstanding abilities, so they don't seem to be intended as combat encounters. If Heroes react friendly towards them, the Faerbeags may share their extensive knowledge of hiffen paths and secret places in the wilderness, which might be quite useful. Giving the players a hint where they might find a guide to a lost ruin or hidden lair, but not telling them it's a Faerbeag might lead to some quite interesting encounters. Especially, since the creature can fully regenerate as long as at least one of the tiny men survives. In case of a fight, it's quite likely the Heroes might leave a very angry enemy behind, that could lead other villains to them out of spite.

Chapter 2: Anostos
The lands of Anostos are located on ancient and mythic Greenland and are the homeland of the evil Formorian giants.

The Blydwueld is a strange plant creature consisting of a large central bulb covered in long spines with several 10 meter long vines growing from it. It's not a particularly powerful creature, but preys on humanoid people in a rather gruesome and horrifying manner. The blydwueld attacks with its vines, which do not cause any damage themselves, and then use them to impale its victim on its spines to kill him. Once the victim is dead, the creature ripps of its head and sticks it on one of the spines on its top. As the brain rotts, the remains drip on the main body of the blydwueld, which allows it to absorb some of its knowledge and memories. Killing the blydwueld and eating it is said to provide a person with lost and secret knowledge. I see how this could make for interesting adventures. The Heroes are chasing an enemy with vital information to Anostos but only find his mutilated body impaled on a blydwueld. Who is the lucky person who would try to kill the plant and eat it? No telling what weird things you might learn from it.

The Brass Horror seems to be a creature closely tied to a specific place in the setting, which I don't really know much about as I only have the rulebook and the monster book for Atlanis. So I don't really know what is going on here, but it's still an interesting creature with enough flavor to build your own story around it for your own setting. A brass horror is a roughly human shaped creature that appears to be made entirely out of molten brass. These creatures regularly emerge from a strange lake and wander the nearby area, attacking anything they encounter on sight until they are destroyed. Which might take a while, as they have the Regeneration ability and are pretty tough and strong to begin with. What intrigues me about them is the one little detail that when slain, the liquid brass hardens, and could probably be salvaged. However breaking open the dead creature causes a demon to come out and attack. But sometimes not, and instead you get a perfectly grown and healthy human child instead. This is one very weird creature. I am sure there is more about them in the setting book, but I am intrigued. There is another type of creature that lives in the same land called the Uln, which is a strange hybrid of Jinn, Naga, Lemurian, and Atlantean (the four ancient races that preceded humans). The Uln hunt and destroy the brass horrors, claiming they are traitors to their lord, Ba'al, one of the two great gods of Evil. What is going on? I wouldn't put it past the game to just not give an answer and simply keep it a mystery. That's oldschool, after all. :smallwink:

A Mythsiger is a very large insect that can wrap itself in its wings, which are covered in strange (and I guess supernatural) patterns, which allow the creature to appear like a cloaked human to people until they get very close. When prey comes near, they discard their Edgar costume and attack with their four mantis-like arms. I guess it's a neat surprise the first time players encounter one, but this entry doesn't really give much indication what the creature would do beside this one trick.

Thrudd
2015-02-26, 10:01 AM
Also as a kid I couldnt help but wonder what that one particular crabman had to smile about...

http://i.imgur.com/JI3p1Cd.jpg (http://imgur.com/JI3p1Cd)

Me too. Lol. Those crabmen all seem exceptionally happy. Maybe that's supposed to be what makes them creepy, they always have weird grins on their face while they dismember people with their claw hands.

Yora
2015-03-03, 06:01 PM
Whoa? Almost a week since the last one? I've been spending a lot time with B/X these days.

Chapter 3: Atlantis

The Apata Ori appear like the heads of giant stone statues but are in fact some kind of spirits. Usually they slumber in places near natural concentrations of magical energy but awaken when someone disturbes these magical fields. Then they fly into the air with the glow of lava coming from their angry eyes and screaming mouths. They shout in voices that sound like grating stones, but their speech is usually intelligible to almost anyone. When an Apata Ori attacks, it surrounds itself with a spinning cloud of sharp shards of bronze, which it can throw at targets up to 50 meters away and shred anything that gets too close to it. They also cast spells like a sorcerer.

A Diomekses is an atlantean horse of the finest breeding and stature, but has been corrupted by the evil god Ba'al. It often stands near roads for wanderers to come by and approach to capture it. Then ir reveals it's maw full of sharp teeth and attempts to swallow the person in one pice. Which is obviously way too big for an ordinary horse to swallow so there has some massive jaw stretching to go on that defies ordinary physics.

The Loving Dead is one of the weirdest ideas for an undead I've come across. And not necessarily in a good way. It's the corpse of a dead person that rises from its grave to seek company among the living. When it finds a target it hypnotizes it with its gaze, takes the person back to its resting place, and then suffocates it with its embrace over several hours.

The Ubuze is a tiny insect that is believed to feed on magic minerals used by the Atlanteans in their magic creations. They produce a soft blue light similar to fireflies and also small amounts of heat. Ubuze are attracked to shiny surfaces like polished metal or gems and have some means to attract more of their kind when they find any such object. Sometimes miners breed swarms of these tiny animals and release them in the night to be lead to any valuable metal deposites in the area. In the wilderness, a swarm of ubuze can be seen from miles away and is usually the sign of some valuables being exposed to the air, which of course does attract a lot of attentions from other people in the area.
A swarm of ubuze might get quite annoying when adventurers try to secretly carry treasures through the wilds and make the job a lot more difficult. There once was a sorcerer who created a magc crystal that could attract any ubuze within a vast area. The swarm it attracted was so massive that their combined heat burned down an entire city before the gem got stolen and safely stored away.

Chapter 4: Elysium
The region of Elysium coveres the Pacific Ocean and its numerous islands.

The Ngurai is an undead shapechanger. At night it comes from its grave and turns into a huge, rotting rat to kill crops, destroy boats, and spread disease. They come for people who have offended the laws of the gods first, but will eventually kill everyone on the island if they are not destroyed first. Sometimes they will even try to reach other islands to continue their foul hauntings.

A Uhinipili is a creature that is half man, half hammerhead shark that feeds on carrion and will dig up corpses to eat. It looks really cool, but unfortunately the description doesn't really give any hint why they would be any more of a nuisance. Someone vandalizing graveyards isn't exactly heroic by itself.

Chapter 5: Eria
Eria covers the lands of North America.

The Manidoon is a single unique undead creature that haunts the lands of Eria. It's a huge collection of corpses that have fused together into a single massive worm three meters wide and fifty meters long. Though the hundreds of mouths all over its body are shouting curses all over each other, there appears to be a single face at the front of the creature. Among all the rotting corpses is the single body of a living and sleeping human child. The strength of this creature is as massive as its size and it's hit points are almost off the charts. However, if somewhere where to kill the child, it would destroy the entire creature. It looks really cool and sounds very fun for a first encounter, but as presented here it's perhaps a bit too enigmatic. What does it do?

Wihmbahgs are undead created by the evil god Ba'al. They are dried and mummified corpses of people and animals, but are in fact completely hollow and filled with stinking fumes and swarms of buzzing insects. They are most interesting when they are upgraded, which makes them surrounded by a cloud of toxic gas and drain the life force of living creatures, presumedly through the insects draining their blood.

Worm Wood is presumed to be an elder god, who manifests in Eria in the form of numrous white and bloated worms. The worms burrow inside living animals or trees and then eat them up from the inside. Then they replace the muscles and organs with a wave of fibrous strands, which they use to control the rotting and hollow shell of a body. If a body is destroyed but the worm allowed to live, it will seek out a new body to take over. Potentially the same person who just destroyed the previous body and assumed it to be a simple zombie. Worm Wood himself always uses a perfectly preserved humanoid body of seemingly excelent health and shape as his own avatar.

Yora
2015-03-05, 04:34 PM
The Theragraphica turns out to be rather front loaded with the creatures in the second half being much less interesting and evocative, so today it's up to the next book. I've been looking at the Planescape Monstrous Compendiums I and II, and while they are indeed very wonderful books, they mostly cover creatures that by known are very well known. Demons, devils, slaad, eladrin, guardinals, angels, githyanki, and so forth. There is plenty of wonderful lore for them that is very much worth reading, but analyzing all of that in detail and putting it into the context of earlier and later edition and the specific roles in the Planescape setting would go very well beyond the scope on which I am writing these. So instead I am going with another really interesting D&D book.
A Let's Read of the Planescape Compediums is something I would definitly read all the way through, just in case anyone...? :smallwink:

Fourth Tour: Creature Catalogue

The Creature Catalogue seems a rather strange monster book for Dungeons & Dragons at the first look. When I first saw it, it seemed even weirder than the Fiend Folio. During the 80s, there were to similar but also different games being published; one being called Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, the other just Dungeons & Dragons. The smaller, and less known line had no Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual, but instead came in five Box Sets named Basic, Expert, Companion, Master, and Immortal, and is now most usually called BECMI for that reason. (There is also an earlier edition called B/X, because it only had the Basic and Expert rules.) AD&D became much more popular and famous, because who would want to play a light version of a game if you can also have the hardcore rules version? Also, AD&D got Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, and later Planescape, Dark Sun, and Ravenloft. The design teams for both product lines were almost completely separated and worked independent from each other, and their games developed in quite different directions. And the split happened very early back in 1978, only four years after the very first, and very bare bones edition of D&D had been released. When D&D 3rd edition came around (which really was the 8th edition of a game called D&D and we're now at the 12th), it was based pretty much entirely on AD&D and went on where the 2nd Edition had left off. (Further reading: It's D&D, Jim, but not as we know it. (http://spriggans-den.com/?p=671))

The monsters that were created for BECMI went almost entirely ignored when there was once again only a single line of D&D books. The aranea made a few appearances, but never got a really big presence. While the nightwalker got a really cool picture in the 3rd ed. Monster Manual, it was just so incredibly powerful that I imagine it saw only very limited use. The atach and belker were put into the MM but to my knowledge never again, and the korpu made it into the MM2 with similar popularity. When you read the Fiend Folio, there are lots of weird monsters, but also a lot of well known and familiar monsters. The Creature Catalogue is a collection of most BECMI monsters that appeared in adventure modules and other supplements up to that date and I think none of them would be recognized by anyone who never played this particular line of D&D.


http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/creature-catalogue-ddmonstruos-variados-L-PrdgEs.jpeg
Creature Catalogue

Creature Catalogue for Dungeons & Dragons (BECMI) by TSR, 1986; 63 pages of monsters.

Remember the Juggernaut from the 3rd ed. MM2? Some kind of massive tank/siege-tower golem on wheels? That one is in this book too. However, old fans of the game have told me that it really only appeared in a single adventure and was never used or mentioned anywhere else. Not sure what is the greater mystery: Why they put it into the CC in the first place, or why they later thought it was one of the best things in the book that needs to go into the MM2?


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Magen

The Magen (majen?) looks like an ordinary human, but is indeed a magical and alchemical creation. As magical constructs they need no sleep, food, water, or even air to survive and they do not age either. While not great thinkers, they are amazingly intelligent for constructs and can function among humans without supervision by their master without any problems. Though they are not particularly powerful creatures, at least compared to golems, this makes them extremely useful and valuable. There are four different types of magen, which each have their own unique powers. The hypnos is using a permanent charm effect which should make them absolutely perfect for spying or kidnapping. All they have to do is ask and most guards and officials will be perfectly fine with doing anything asked of them. The demos is made for combat and can use use all weapons and armor. It usually is encountered in groups up to a dozen. A caldron can stretch its limbs to lengths of 6 meters and uses them to hold victims and kill them with acid that comes from their skin. The galvan is the strongest type and can use weapons and shot three lightning bolts per day. Magen are very expensive and difficult to make, so they are quite rare. When they are killed, the magic that animates them ends and they crumble into ash with a flash of flame, which might be the first indication that the PCs are not dealing with ordinary humans at all. The first idea I got was to use them as guards in some wizards castle that the PCs are supposed to quietly sneak into and then see how far they will have made it into the catacombs before they realize that none of the guards and servants theyíve sneaked past are humans but something entirely else and unnatural. I am sure thereís a lot of other cool things that could be done with them.

Also, remember the Belker? Itís in the 3rd ed. Monster Manual. That evil cloud of smole that attacks with two clawed hands. Another really lame thing that also comes from the Creature Catalogue. Should have stayed there.


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Bhut

The Bhut is a kind of undead creature that looks like a living person but turns into a ghoulish corpse during the night and can not be detected by spells that identify evil and undead creatures. They can also not be turned by a cleric as almost all other undead can. They can only be harmed by magic weapons and are very intelligent, which makes them extremely dangerous when they are hunting for living people to eat. Like ghouls, their bite causes paralysis and can move in total silence. They are quite strong and to make things worse usually appear in groups. I think these creatures can make for quite interesting mystery adventures and be pretty terrifying when finally revealed.


http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/cc_camman-300x268.jpg
Chameleon Man

A Chameleon Man is a tall and thin humanoid with multicolored skin, which probably is the reason for their name. However, it doesnít actually have the ability to change their color, but instead possess the ability to instantly teleport over a distance of 40 meters, suddenly appearing and disappearing without a trace. It cannot attack in the same round it teleports, but usually attacks in groups for that very reason. They are not individually powerful, but could get really frustrating to fight.


http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/cc_cryion-300x263.jpg
Cryion

Usually I go for interesting creatures, but the Cryion is so weird that it needs to be mentioned here. Cryions are a race of large humanoid bats with thick fur that live in the frozen lands in the north. They canít actually fly but instead use their wings as sails as they skate on the frozen sea and rivers with the claws on their feet. They also have large sleds with sails which they use to carry their tends and supplies as they travel the frozen wastelands. Every three years all the clans will come together to form into large hordes of several hundred and journey south to obtain things they need like weapons and tools. Sometimes they trade, at other times they come skating down the frozen rivers to raid and then skate back to their arctic homeland again. The default Basic setting is just weird like that. I am sure weíre going to see a lot more of this kind later on.

TheCountAlucard
2015-03-05, 04:43 PM
The demos is made for combat and can use use all weapons and armor. It usually is encountered in groups up to a dozen... Magen are very expensive and difficult to make, so they are quite rare....except when encountered in groups of up to a dozen, eh? :smalltongue:

Khedrac
2015-03-05, 05:09 PM
Thank-you so much for this thread - I have both versions of the BECMI Creature Compendium but I haven't looked in them for years, it's great to be reminded of these monsters and remember where they came from.

The Magen are a creation of the D'Ambreville family (a very weird bunch) and they were one of the creatures that don't make much sense to find elsewhere as no one else should be able to create them...

The Bhut - these were very nasty in the adventure that introduced them...

The Chameleon Man comes from a very basic adventure - nice critter to use elsewhere.

The Cryion I think was original for D&D. That said, they look to be a direct reference to the Alan Dean Foster Icerigger trilogy of books (which I highly recommend).

Yora
2015-03-05, 05:16 PM
I didn't write it.

And even though each magen requires a scroll of limited wish, what I've seen about the Known World, there are plenty of wizards who write a dozen 7th level scrolls while they wait for their coffee to brew.

Believe me, you'll be dealing with much more important questions later on:
http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/EPIC_Gallery/Gallery5a/44183_C5_umbralblot.jpghttp://www.startrek.com/uploads/assets/db_articles/dfd93493a4424a16681982aafa879dcedffe472b.jpg

BWR
2015-03-05, 05:43 PM
I love this book. One of the first RPG books I bought - it was either this or Thunder Rift.


what I've seen about the Known World, there are plenty of wizards who write a dozen 7th level scrolls while they wait for their coffee to brew.
Yup. Glantri has enough of them. Moving beyond the Known World proper you have Alphatia which is ruled by a council of 1000 36th level wizards (or clerics). And that's not counting all the other high-level casters around.

Eldan
2015-03-05, 06:06 PM
I'd use the Magen for an infiltrator mystery plot. Hm. Let's see.

A group of people arrive at the city gates. They are ragged and poor, saying that they are refugees from a village that was burned down by raiders. Their behaviour is a bit wooden and strange, but is put down to shock and trauma.

Soon, they begin to make themselves useful. Very useful. In fact, whenever the players come by the city, they seem to have moved up further in the hierarchy, befriending the mayor, becoming officers in the city guard... and everyone thinks they are lovely. Sure, no one ever sees them eat or drink or sleep, but they are just a bit private, is all...

TheCountAlucard
2015-03-05, 06:10 PM
Make them operate at night and nine out of ten players will assume vampires. :smallamused:

Yora
2015-03-07, 01:33 PM
http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/cc_gatorman-300x269.jpg
Gator Man

A Gator Man is basically just a beefed up lizard man with the head of an aligator instead of a lzard. In actual combat, they are a lot meaner, though. Gator men stand well over 2 meters tall and at 7 Hit Dice really have a lot of hit points and good chances to hit which are well beyond what you usually get from humanoid monsters. They also swim 50% faster than human characters run, which can make them very mean ambushers. They attack with normal weapons, but these completely pale compared to their bite, which deals a massive 3d6 damage. Groups of them are usually lead by a chief, who is even bigger and meaner and has a bite that deals 4d6 damage. When encountered by low level characters, they probably simply bite their head off!


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Haphaeston

A Hephaeston is a giant for high level adventures. Itís 8 meters tall and has intimidating 25 Hit Dice, which should be well over 100 hit points. The skin of a hephaeston is like iron and gives him a very high armor class and can only be injured by magical weapons. It is completely immune to mind affecting magic, all spells of 1st and 2nd level, and fire. Though I think by the time a group of player characters has any chance to fight this guy, they probably wouldnít attempt to hurt him with nonmagical weapons and low-level spells anyway. The amount of damage it can dish out is staggering. When attacking with a weapon, it deals 4d10 points of damage and it also has the option to attack with a free hand as well, which also deals impressive 3d10 points of damage. If that bitch slap from hell hits with an 18 or higher, the hephaeston grabs the character and smashes him into the ground for another 5d6 damage. This is so funny I wonder if anyone would ever make make a hephaeston fight with a shield. In addition, it also has the ability to levitate iron objects (to throw on people, I assume), make an iron object get red hot, or magically create a wall of solid iron. Fighting one of these guys really doesnít sound fun. Or very fun, depending on how you look at it. Fortunately, hephaestons live alone.


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Hutaakans

The Hutaakans are probably one of the most iconic creatures of the Known World. Which means that most of you have probably never heard of them. Hutaakans are humanoids with jackal-like heads but are otherwise very similar to humans or elves. In the ancient past, they ruled over a small empire but have almost disappeard by now, with only a few groups remaining in remote mountain cities. They are not particulary strong and have no real special abilities other than being able to see in the dark and being quite sneaky. They are highly civilized and ruled by a caste of priests. Overall, they are really very similar to stereotypical elves with dog heads and priests instead of wizards. Itís mostly their place in the Known World setting that makes them popular, but as generic monster for games in other worlds there really isnít anything remarkable about them.


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Kara-kara

The Kara-kara are a race of humanoids who live on the islands in the south of the Known World and are basically chubby polynesian orcs. They donít have any metal weapons or armor, but can prepare themselves for battle with a war dance that makes them tougher and more resistance to spells. Or as the great Mystara scholar Blacky the Blackball called them, "racist as ****". I personally donít quite see the problem since the are orc with a new stylistic design, but perhaps itís a British thing. I donít know what popular racist stereotypes there are still floating around and have not been fully dealt with in Britain.


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Lupin

Lupins are like werewolves but good instead of evil. They hate werwolves a lot and will ally with humans to hunt and destroy them. Which to me very much sounds like some player has been whining to his GM that he wantís to play a werewolf and it totally wonít be disrupting the party, really. On the plus side, they are often riding dire wolves and attacking with lances, which does indeed sound pretty cool.


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Oards

The Oards are typical BECMI weirdness. The module in which they originally appeared in can be summed up as ďA group of cybernetic creatures from the future have traveled back through time to enslave the human raceÖ and youíre here to stop them?Ē Which is a quote from Star Trek 8, which has exactly the same plot. Predating the Borg from Star Trek by four years, I just canít see how the costume designers came up with the alien design independently, without having been aware of the oards. And itís not just the suits. Oards are grown in breeding tanks and then having large parts of their bodies replaced with machinery. (Assimilation was only introduced in Star Trek one season after the first appearance of the Borg and later retconned.) They lack any real individuality and all wear the same dark grey suits. They are immune to all illusions and paralyzation and have very high saving throws. They have all kinds of technological devices that allow them to shot projectiles like magic missiles from their hands or create a forcefield that works like protection from normal missles, resist cold, and resist fire. People can complain all they want about coincidences, cybermen, and terminator, but these are Borg! Four years before Star Trek. And itís not mentioned on either wikipedia or the Star Trek wiki. Plagiarism, I shout. Plagiarism! But the result was cool, so I am okay with that. The oards also have a few special abilities that the Borg donít have, like holographic image projectors that can make them look like normal people and the ability to levitate.

Khedrac
2015-03-07, 02:20 PM
More fun nostalgia :smallsmile:

Kara-kara
Ah yes - the first BECMI orcs to have green skin - which is why the thread "why do orcs have green skin?" makes me laugh - "normal" D&D orcs didn't.


Which to me very much sounds like some player has been whining to his GM that he wantís to play a werewolf and it totally wonít be disrupting the party, really.Good point - but then subsequent to this PC4 - Night Howlers came out - the BECMI rules for playing lycanthropes, of quite a few different varieties.

Oards
I had never noticed the Borg link - nice one!

Again - thank-you for bringing back the fond memories.

Yora
2015-03-07, 02:31 PM
I am not sure if I would have spotted it myself just from reading the creature description either. Without the pointer that the plot of Where Chaos Reigns has been recycled for First Contact from another thread, I might quite likely have missed it. Would have been lots of fun if I did, though. :smallbiggrin:

Eldan
2015-03-07, 05:02 PM
You know, I do have a handful of original Planescape books on paper, so I might actually do a readthrough of some of the monster stuff. (The various planar box sets also have monsters in them).

I think Tony Di'Terlizzi also has a lot of the art online on his site, which should help.

Yora
2015-03-09, 11:54 AM
Small update today, as I had to read through a lot of really boring and repetitive critters to even find anything worth mentioning.


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Phanaton

The Phanaton is described as a creature that looks like a cross between a racoon and a monkey and also a flying squirrel. They are about as big as halflings and only slightly less intelligent than most humanoids. They build their villages in the branches of large trees and as lawful creatures are usually friendly to most adventurers. They are also friends of elves, treants, and dryads. A normal phanaton is pretty weak and have only 3 hit points on average, but a village is usually led by a king with 8 HD and 50 hp who also has a bodyguard of warriors with 6 HD and 30 hp, which can easily be much tougher and stronger than players would expect.


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Rakasta

Rakasta: All I have to say it Khajiit has wares, if you have coin.


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Shark-kin

Shark-kin seem very similar to sahuagin but with a few unusual differences. In their normal form, shark-kin are unable to walk or survive outside of water and their alignment is neutral. However, any time the king of a tribe dies the legs of the shark-kin grow stronger and they become able to breath air and they come to land for a ritual to select a new leader. During those times they are extremely hostile and agressive, seemingly behaving just the same way as sahuagin do.


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Tortle

Tortles are weird, and I am having the clear impression that their entry here falls very much short of whatís the actual deal behind them. They are humanoid turtles who can hold their breath for well over an hour and retreat into their shell for protection. Which for a creature with this large limbs and such a small shell clearly doesnít work and wouldnít be much protection at all, since the opening are so big that pretty much anything that might be of danger to a turtle can reach inside them with claws or weapons, hurting the immobile tortle anyway. They also prefer to fight with light crossbows, for reasons that are not given here. The most interesting part is that they have very high morale, pretty decent intelligence, and are also Lawful, which makes them more likely to be allies than enemies.

I mention Tritons here in brief for the Hall of Shame. Because, as I quote, ďTritons look very much like mermen, having a humanoid torso and fish-like tails. The only differences are cultural and their innate ability to cast spells.Ē So they are merman clerics. Thatís not a new creature.


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Killer Tree

Hey, itís the Killer Tree from Korgoth! Itís arms have a reach of 6 meters and donít deal any damage, but will grab a victim into its mouth, where it takes 3d6 points of damage until either of them is dead.


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Sandworm

The game calls it a Desert Leviathan, but itís a sandworm. If you rip off sandworms, call them sandworms.

The next to chapter of this book are "Monsters" and "Undead", and from a first look seem really quite promising in regard to weird critters.

Lord Torath
2015-03-09, 12:07 PM
A note on Lupins: They are dog/wolf-headed humanoids, and can't actually change shape like werewolves can. No real reason is given for their hatred of werewolves, although I suppose it could just be the bad rap they get when mistaken for a werewolf.

For Rakasta, you forgot to mention that they like riding saber-toothed cats. :smallcool:

For those of you with Rich's Monster for Every Season, he's got a Ninja Tortle with a red headband/mask and a pair of sais. :smallwink:

Yora
2015-03-09, 12:33 PM
Yeah, the rakasta are not only nomadic traders with cat heads who live in tents. They also ride sabre toothed tigers, but I think the joke works better by keeping it as short as possible.

Scoreboard:

Evil Apes: 15 (10, 2, 3, -)
Variant Ghouls: 12 (4, 2, 6, -)
Demon Dogs: 7 (2, 4, 1)
Skeletons with Robes: 7 (1, 5, 1, -)

We didn't even get a single demonic ape, variant ghoul, evil dog, or sekeleton with robes in this book. How very disappointing. But I expect plenty to come in the remaining chapters.

Eldan
2015-03-09, 01:07 PM
One of the Planescape books has a Yeth hound, but actually gives them pretty nice stats. Also Charon, who's a Skeleton in robes.

Yora
2015-03-09, 01:39 PM
Yeth hounds are actually quite interesting because their favorite prey is feys. They are better barghests than the creature called barghest.

I'll probably finish this book with two more sets. Any suggestions for the next one? Otherwise I'll probably pick Monsters of FaerŻn.

Lord Torath
2015-03-09, 01:52 PM
Any suggestions for the next one? Otherwise I'll probably pick Monsters of FaerŻn.How about the Spelljammer monstrous compendiums? :smallbiggrin:

Yora
2015-03-09, 02:54 PM
Okay... :smalleek:

dndclassics has them for 4,50Ä each right now, so it's certainly an option. Havn't really read them before since I am normally not interested in Spelljammer. But with the scarcity of sci-fi monster books this might be a welcome change.
After all, we're here to see strange and unknown creatures, not the safe and familiar.

NowhereMan583
2015-03-09, 05:51 PM
They are natives of the plane of Limbo, which is such a pure manifestation of chaos that there isnít even any stable ground. And yet, of the infinite number of possible shapes beings of pure chaos could appear in, they all take the form of frogs.

I know I'm late to the party on this one, but I remember someone coming up with an answer to this conundrum in an old "Let's Read" of the AD&D Monster Manual. (This one. (http://monstersandmanuals.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/housekeeping.html)) Everything else in Limbo is constantly mutable and utterly chaotic, so why are its natives all giant frogs with a strict hierarchical structure? Because it doesn't make sense. It doesn't fit with the motif, or work with the rest of the plane -- because that would be too orderly. In the crazed internal "logic" of Limbo, the answer to all your questions really is "giant frog".

Yora
2015-03-10, 03:15 AM
Yeah. I believe somewhere there was an explaination that some lord of the slaads made some super powerful artifact that locks all slaads into the form of frogs. But I don't like it. Lolrandom makes much more sense. :smallbiggrin:

Eldan
2015-03-10, 05:25 AM
They were lolrandom. The slaad lords, the four mightiest and oldest of their kind, still are. But then the slaad lords were afraid one might be more ^powerful than them and locked them in frog shape and a caste system.

I'm not saying I like it. It's too lawful.

Anyway, Planescape has actually some nice fluff on them. They are described more as sentient blobs of limbo matter that can look like anything, but occasionally coalesces into frog shape. That chair you are sitting on right now? In Limbo, it might be a slaad about to inejct you with eggs.

Yora
2015-03-12, 04:00 PM
Continuing the exploration of the Creature Catalogue with the chapter on ďMonstersĒ.


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Aranea

The Aranea is a large intelligent spider with humanlike arms to the sides of itís head. Itís a original creature from the Known World and though it had made it into the 3rd edition Monster Manual it didnít see a lot of use outside of the setting to my knowledge. The arenea presented here is quite different from the one in the Monster Manual. It is highly intelligent and can cast spells like a 3rd level magic user, but it does not have any ability to shapechange into either a human or hybrid form. It also does look a lot more like a full spider and has no other humanlike feature except its arms. Interestingly its alignment is also Chaotic, which makes it basically evil in the 3rd edition alignment system.


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Baldandar

A Baldandar is a creature similar to doppelgangers. However, they are not shapechangers but masters of illusion instead. They can create almost any illusion imaginable in a radius of 80 meters and their illusions will remain for 10 minutes after they stop directly controlling them. Their illusions are not simply deceptions of the senses but are partly real. A baldandar can even cast illusions of other spells, but creatures targeted by them can make a saving throw at a -4 penalty to recognize that they are fake and be unaffected. It also can make itself invisible and fly around at will, which makes them very difficult to catch or corner.


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Bargda

The Bargda is a creature related to ogres and trolls and usually found as the leader of a group of these monsters. In addition to their great strength and toughness, they are so horribly hedious that anyone who sees them must make a saving throw or suffer a penalty to attacks and damage. In addition to attacking with a huge club, a bargda can also bite, which transmits a disease that reduces the victims dexterity.


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Earthquake Beetle

The Earthquake Beetle seems like a creature that was regarded as too silly for the Fiend Folio. But too silly for the Fiend Folio does not mean too silly for the Known World. Itís a giant beetle with a dragons head and massive 40 hit dice. It moves by burrowing underground and when it approaches it causes an earthquake identical to the effect of an earthquake spell cast by a 25th level cleric. Having a dragon head, it also has a breath weapon, which it can use once per week. Wow.


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Brain Collector

While the earthquake beetle is stupid, the Brain Collector is just some really weirdass ****. It easily out-weirds beholders, illithids, and flumphs any day. They are big, writhing and bulging creatures with a huge maw full of teeth, lots of tentacles, and way too many eyes. When these creatures from another strange dimension come into this world, they kill humanoids, remove their brains, and add them to their own, which causes all those bulges on its head. With each one it gains the ability to cast more spells.

A Dragonfly is a a half-dragon insect. Yes, nothing is too dumb for the Known World.


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Dusanu

The Dusanu looks like a rotting skeleton dressed in a ragged cloak and covered in mold, but apparently is not undead, given its position in this chapter of the book. Itís also called a rot fiend, but is not a demon either. A dusanu is very intelligent and attacks with its claws, but itís main ability is a cloud of spores that constantly surround it. Anyone who gets too close to it becomes infected with the spores and unable to heal wounds with magic spells and dies after a few days to become one of these creatures himself unless the disease is magically cured. Still, Skeleton with a Robe: +1.

--

Creature Collection Cliche Creature Counter

Demonic Apes: 0
Variant Ghouls: 0
Evil Dogs: 1
Skeletons with Robes: 1

Told you we would be getting there.

Lord Torath
2015-03-12, 04:14 PM
A Death Demon is basically a ghoul with wings, with just the appearance and abilities you would expect from the discription. This is really quite lazy. (Variant Ghoul: +1)Huh. I thought the Death Demon rather closely resembled a Nabassu (lesser Tanar'ri - demon). Although I suppose the paralyzing touch is rather ghoulish. But most ghouls don't get Teleport Without Error.

Yora
2015-03-12, 04:27 PM
Oh, I seem to have missed that in my disappointment. Also the ability to cast darkness. (Being the only sentence that continues onto the next page.)

Yeah, it's more a generic demon and not really just a ghoul.

BWR
2015-03-13, 01:30 AM
Araneas were kind of the local big bads/bogeymen in the Savage Coast/Red Steel area of Mystara, and I'm pretty sure they had shapechangeing abilities then.

Yora
2015-03-13, 02:27 AM
Not in the Creature Catalogue.

Battlebooze
2015-03-13, 02:38 AM
Me too. Lol. Those crabmen all seem exceptionally happy. Maybe that's supposed to be what makes them creepy, they always have weird grins on their face while they dismember people with their claw hands.

They know about Red Lobster. Their time of vengeance has come!


Also,



Earthquake Beetle

The Earthquake Beetle seems like a creature that was regarded as too silly for the Fiend Folio. But too silly for the Fiend Folio does not mean too silly for the Known World. Itís a giant beetle with a dragons head and massive 40 hit dice. It moves by burrowing underground and when it approaches it causes an earthquake identical to the effect of an earthquake spell cast by a 25th level cleric. Having a dragon head, it also has a breath weapon, which it can use once per week. Wow.

Wow is right. That is one freaky beast. You can't laugh at it either, it terrifying!
I have to believe it is from Chinese mythology, they have lots of odd dragon critters in their mythos.

BWR
2015-03-13, 03:41 AM
Not in the Creature Catalogue.

I know. I have the book. My point is that things in it aren't necessarily presented the same way as they are presented in Known World/Mystara products.

Yora
2015-03-13, 03:51 AM
Okay, that might be a fair point.

I found one source that says areneas use illusions to appear like humans or elves, which would work with the different descriptions. Though that would need another spell than those in the Basic Rules.

Khedrac
2015-03-13, 07:33 AM
The Death Demon is the only actual BECMI demon I am aware of that isn't an Immortal...

The Brain Collectors are one of the few monsters to get an upgrade in power when transferring to 3E - it's in the Epic rules, but then, the Immortals book did give the possibility of some that had managed to consume and immortal's head and were using its powers...

As for Aranea, I don't think they gained alternate form abilities until Bruce Heard used them as the bad-guys for that region of Mystara. I am not sure that they ever formally gained the power in BECMI D&D. Their first appearance (like so many others) was in X1 The Isle of Dread.

More fun, more frolics, more reasons to wish I could get my gaming group to go for a BECMI campaign...

Yora
2015-03-13, 07:36 AM
The rules of that game are so simple it's perfect for online games.

BWR
2015-03-13, 07:59 AM
The Death Demon is the only actual BECMI demon I am aware of that isn't an Immortal....

The Gold Box and WotI differ a bit on this. Demons as they were called in the GB were Immortals but with lesser powers and abilities even though they were ascended mortals in the Sphere of Entropy. The lesser fiends as they were called in WotI were not actually Immortal, they are somewhere in between, with some abilities (like being able to spend points to gain 36th level spellcasting) but not all (they aren't immune to mortal magic). They were failed candidates for Immortality (or not even allowed to start the Path) but their (prospective) patron felt they were too useful to cast away outright, so they were changed to a more useful form.

Lord Torath
2015-03-13, 08:17 AM
The Death Demon is the only actual BECMI demon I am aware of that isn't an Immortal...That's probably because they pre-date the BECMI series. The module they first appeared in, X2 - Castle Amber, was released under the Basic/Expert ruleset before Frank Mentzer started the BECMI series. So Immortals hadn't really been conceived of yet.

Yora
2015-03-13, 08:36 AM
I find it quite interesting that BECMI only has the Tanar'ri-Demons, but none of the Baatezu-Devils and the other stuff. Does anyone know how fiends were done in OD&D?

Lord Torath
2015-03-13, 09:56 AM
I find it quite interesting that BECMI only has the Tanar'ri-Demons, but none of the Baatezu-Devils and the other stuff. Does anyone know how fiends were done in OD&D?Are there any demons or devils other than the Death Demon in BECMI? The only other fiend I'm aware of is the Balrog, which was only mentioned (but not statted) in the Blue Holmes Basic rulebook...

Thrudd
2015-03-13, 10:36 AM
I find it quite interesting that BECMI only has the Tanar'ri-Demons, but none of the Baatezu-Devils and the other stuff. Does anyone know how fiends were done in OD&D?

originally from Chainmail you had a Balrog, that was immune to normal attacks and had spell resistance and could do Fire damage if you got too close. In one of the supplements they introduced demons with different numbered types, all with spell resistance, immune to normal weapons, and various magic powers, balrog was the top tier demon.
With the expansion of the alignment system in AD&D, they expanded the setting and invented Devils for LE that were comparable to the demons from od&d. Demons became the CE leaders, where once they were just Chaos.

Yora
2015-03-13, 11:11 AM
Are there any demons or devils other than the Death Demon in BECMI? The only other fiend I'm aware of is the Balrog, which was only mentioned (but not statted) in the Blue Holmes Basic rulebook...

Immortal has the whole show: Screaming Demon (vrock), Croaking Demon (hezrou), Howling Demon (glabrezu), Groaning Demon (nalfeshnee), Hissing Demon (marilith), Roaring Demon (balor), and Whispering Demon (succubus).
Though being in Immortal, they probably saw very little use in official material. Wikipedia says they are from Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry, which makes them OD&D.

Makes sense that there are no devils, yugoloths, and slaads, though. With Evil and Chaos being synonymous.

Eldan
2015-03-13, 12:26 PM
Huh. Why are they all named after noises?

BWR
2015-03-13, 12:48 PM
Huh. Why are they all named after noises?

Because they make those noises?
Because it's better than giving them numbers?
Because plenty of real world animals are named after the noises they make?

Coidzor
2015-03-21, 04:45 PM
Huh. Why are they all named after noises?

Because aside from the whispering blandishments of the succubus, they typically don't actually talk to those they encounter, just make those noises and then it's kill or be killed?

Yora
2015-03-24, 03:53 PM
A longer post this time as this gets to the end of the book.


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Hivebrood

The Hivebrood is a swarm of insects that reproduces by putting larvas into humanoid bodies which then grow to turn the person into one of them. They are all controlled by a hivemother. Maybe back in the early 80s that concept was still original. But probably not. The most interesting ability they have is that the broodmother is able to turn larvas into a more powerful form than normal drones to become hiveminds. Hiveminds have the interesting ability that they can gain any ability from any creature they eat, which includes any spells memorized by spellcasters they consumed. When in danger, a hivemind can release a chemical cloud that spreads through the hive and shares a single ability with all the regular drones for three rounds, after which it is lost. If that ability is something like casting fireball, the result can be utterly devastating for the PCs.

The Ice Wolf is simply a different name for the well known winter wolf and has exactly the same abilities. (Demon Dogs +1)


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Kopru

The Kopru is a classic monsters from X1 The Isle of Dread. Itís fame is mostly tied to that classic adventure. They have three tails which they use to grab enemies and have a special power to control the mind of any creature and have full accees to it. I did some snooping around if the kopru predates aboleths that are surprisingly similar, and it turns out they both appeared in the same year. And in addition, The Isle of Dread and Dwellers of the Forbidden City were both written by Zeb Cook. So yeah, they are basically the same idea slightly modified for B/X and AD&D. This is the same Cook that did the ďCook ExpertĒ set of the ďMoldvay/CookĒ edition and also the Kara-Tur and Planescape settings. Why isnít he more famous? Heís probably the second most influential person to make D&D into what we know now. Aboleths are a lot cooler than kopru, though.


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Nagpa

The Nagpa is from the adventure X4 Master of the Desert Nomads, which is one of my favorite ones. And also made by Zeb Cook. Not as cool as the Bhut but better than the Juggernaut from the same adventure. They are humanoids with vulture heads and various magical powers like making objects within 20 meters to burst into flames or decay, paralyse all lawful characters within 3 meters, and cast darkness and illusions. It took about 30 years until designers realized that just four or five spell abilities are enough for an interesting encounter and you donít need a spellcasting monster to have as many spells as a high level wizard.


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Sabreclaw

Sabreclaws are winged humanoid creatures who are encountered in groups of up to 20. Individually they are in the lower middle range as monster strength goes, but they have the unique ability that all members of the group pool their hit points together and as long as any remain, the entire group will stay alive. Once the group has been dealt sufficient injuries, they all die at once, even individuals that have not been yet at all. They also are immune to spells of 1st to 3rd level and have saving throws like 25th level fighters. They have only 5 Hit Dice and are very dumb, but in large numbers they will extremely difficult to defeat as they can just fly away when they start to get severely injured. Swarms can consists of multiple linked groups and parties might face up to a hundred of them, which probably are a quite serious challenge even for relatively high level characters.


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Tabi

Tabi are small winged apes with venomous claws. Anyone poisoned by them will start to randomly fight anyone nearby and the venom can last for a full hour or two until its effect ends. Wizards can get a tabi as a familiar. I think they are from some American childrens book. (Evil Apes +1)


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Yowler

Yowlers are the yeth hounds from Planescape and D&D 3rd edition. They are large dogs with somewhat human-like faces and pointed ears that look like demonic horns. They are not particularly strong individually, but usually appear in groups and can fly through the air at great speeds. They come out only at night to hunt and prefer elves, dwaves, and halflings as prey. I think Planescape changed that to fey and fey-like angelic creatures, which I really like as it gives the players something to do when in the realms of the fey. Yowlers have a terrifying howl which causes anyone within 30 meters to flee in panic and the difficulty to resist it increases with the number of yowlers howling. They can only be harmed by silver or magical weapons and even then they take only very little damge. (Demon Dogs +1)


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Agarat

An Agarat looks just like a ghoul, but instead of paralyzing a living creture with its touch it has a scream that temporarily makes any nearby creaturs lose one character level. The level returns after about half an hour and each agarat can only scream once in every encounter, but multiple agarats can take down even higher level characters that way. If all levels are lost, creatures fall unconcious for a hour or two and then awaken unless they have been eaten. (Variant Ghouls +1)


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Dark-Hood

The Dark-hood is a ghost that can only be harmed by greatly enchanted weapons and is very difficult to turn by a cleric. It attacks by creating visions of things created by the minds of their victims, so the people with the highest Intelligence scores are affected the worst. They gain some kind of sustenance from chasing people around in panic and each round a character runs from a dark-hood he temporarily loses 1d3 points of Constitution on a failed saving throw until he collapses from exhaustion. Though they can harm with their touch, they usually leave people alone once they have chased them through their lair for a while.


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Elder Ghoul

An Elder Ghoul is a slightly stronger kind of ghoul with only one special ability. When attacked it becomes surrounded by a green glow that increases 5 feet in diameter every round and makes all enemies within it have slightly reduced chances to hit and damage. Meh. (Variant Ghouls +1)


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Grey Philosopher

A Grey Philosopher is created when a chaotic cleric dies while his mind is occupied with a problem of great signficance. In undeath, the ghost will simply sit on a bench and chair and continue its ponderings and nothing can break its concentrations. Over many centuries, some of the grey philosophers evil thoughts take on a mind of their own and constantly swarm around it. These evil thoughts are the only real danger that comes from the ghost and can either be destroyed individualy or vanish when the philosopher is killed. They have pretty high hit rolls and are difficult to hit with weapons or spells but donít do a lot of damage and have only very few hp. As the small ghost can move up to 30 meters away from the philosopher, it might not be immediately obvious where they come from and the main creature might be difficult to find if it sits in a dark corner or small storeroom. Since a grey philosopher does not actually do anything, they probably canít be really used as the centerpiece of an adventure, but I think they probably could make a very interesting addition to larger ruins the PCs are visiting for a completely unconnected reason. They are more an interesting environment feature than a real enemy. I can perfectly imagine one of them sitting in some hidden corner in Dark Souls.


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Mesmer

The Mesmer seems like a rip-off of the morkoth, which seems very weird since this game is also D&D and could just the morkoth as it is. It lives in a labyrinth of tunnels in the ocean floor that has hypnotic confusing effects on any who enter it. In the center sits the creature awaiting its prey. For some reason the mesmer is undead, while the morkoth is not, but that seems to be the only difference. There is no information how the mesmer looks like and how it comes into being. Weird.


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Phygorax

The Phygorax is fascinating, being an undead fish. The spines on its back drain life energy, but it can not use them to attack. Instead it creates illusions that trick other creatures into touching it. Any creature that dies from this energy drain transforms into a phygorax itself. I wonder if the name is actually a Greek word that has a meaning or just some cool sounding letters.


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Topis

Topis are creatures similar to ghouls that are created from human bodies that were shrunk down to tiny size by primitive witch doctors. They are suprisingly fast and can jump longer distances than expected for such small creatures and hits by their claws have an effect like the slow spell. Hitting them with maces and hammers deals only half damage but knocks them to the ground. (Variant Ghouls +1)


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Velya

D&D has aquatic ogres (merrows), aquatic trolls (scrags), aquatic ghouls (lacedons), and aquatic umber hulks (vodyanoi). The Velya is the aquatic vampire. Most velyas were aquatic humanoids in life, such as mermen or aquatic elves and appear like blue skinned humans. They can turn into a shark or manta ray instead of a wolf or a bat, and when defeated they turn into liquid instead of mist and return to their lair. They can summon a swarm of small sharks instead of bats and they magically charm people by singing. Otherwise they are identical to normal vampires.


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Wyrd

A Wyrd is an undead elf from the Known World setting. They appear like elven corpses wearing dark hooded robes. (Why? Just because!) They attack in a rather stange manner as they are always holding two glowing spheres of light in their hands which they either use to hit their enemies or throw them at them. When they do, new spheres immediately appear in their empty hands. Greater wyrds are much more powerful, having the ability to fly and hits by their spheres cause paralysis. I am pretty sure their is a story reason behind the spheres in the original adventure they appeared in, but with no further explanation given in this book it seems rather odd. (Skeletons with Robes +1)

--

Creature Collection Cliche Creature Counter:

Evil Apes: 1
Variant Ghouls: 3
Demon Dogs: 3
Skeletons with Robes: 2

Fantasy Safari Score:

Evil Apes: 16 (10, 2, 3, 1)
Variant Ghouls: 15 (4, 2, 6, 3)
Demon Dogs: 10 (2, 4, 1, 3)
Skeletons with Robes: 9 (1, 5, 1, 2)

Next time I'll do a couple other BECMI creatures that are not in the Creature Catalogue. After that, I havn't decided yet.

Khedrac
2015-03-24, 05:08 PM
Excellent work Yora, and I do like the alternative images...

The Nagpa gained status as a playable race in PC2 Top Ballista and the Kopru followed (I think - not checked) in The underwater Creature Crucible - that was always a puzzling choice for me.

Perhaps of more interest is the Hivebrood - I read somewhere that there was a Dungeon (or Dragon?) adventure that had 3 of them attacking a city - only 3 hives as that was all it needed to put the city in real trouble... Does anyone know where the adventure is?

Wyrds - the only adventure I know to include them is in Gaz 5 The Elves of Alfheim. As much as they are different, I cannot say I disagree with your categorisation as Variant Ghouls... Bother.

Yora
2015-03-24, 05:29 PM
D&D has been immitated so many times and used creatures from obscure sources, it's really easy to find alternative pictures for most creatures. You could probably do entire books with nothing but Final Fantasy screenshots. Often the original images are not really good, so taking something from somewhere else is just a lot more fun. :smallbiggrin:

I know there was at least one adventure in Dungeon that had wyrds. And they are corpses with robes, not ghouls. :smallamused:

A_Man
2015-03-24, 05:53 PM
Huh, there are a lot more evil apes then I'd think there would be, ha ha.

Yora
2015-03-24, 05:58 PM
Well, most of them are from the Conan game. That one already had 10.

I think I should check that one again for giant snakes. Snakes are Howards real signature monster.

Yora
2015-03-25, 07:50 AM
Already another one:

Detour: BECMI/Rules Cyclopedia

Basic Set

Oh, right off to a good start: BECMI can rightfully be considered the Dad Joke edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Some people on the time really had a great fondness for them. The largest of the giant spiders in the Basic Set is the Tarantella. Maybe you are like me and think ďDonít you mean tarantula? Isnít tarantella some kind of dance?Ē And yes, it is. The tarantella is a giant tarantula that has a special poison that does not kill but instead causes the victim to start dancing. Itís a magical poison and everyone who sees a poisoned person dancing must make a saving throw or also start to dance. After about an hour of dancing, they will collapse from exhaustion. *groan*

According to legend, the Thoul was inspired by a typo. The creature that was made from it is a magical crossbreed of a troll, a ghoul, and a hobgoblin. A thoul looks almost exactly like a hobgoblin, but has a paralyzing touch like a ghoul and regenreates 1 hit point every round like a troll. They are not terribly strong, but for 1st and 2nd level characters they might actually be quite mean and a lot more challenging than a regular hobgoblin. Nice boss for a 1st level dungeon crawl, I would say.

Expert Set


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ďOink!Ē

The Devil Swine is a special type of lycanthrope. It can change shape freely during the night, but stays in whichever form it had last taken during the day. It prefers to eat human flesh and at 9 HD is a really mean beast, much more dangerous than even werebears or weretigers. As a special ability, a devil swine can cast charm person three times per day and often is accompanied by a few human minions. Lawrence Schick confirmed to me that the devil swine is indeed based on the swine things from the novel The House on the Borderland which he and Tom Moldvay quite loved. And whose title should also sound quite familiar to long time D&D fans.

Not a new monster, but I think itís interesting that the types of giants in the Expert Set are the same ones as in the 3rd Edition Monster Manual, while the Monstrous Manual of AD&D, on which the 3rd edition is primarily based, has a lot more varieties that never really made much of an appearance in the later editions.The golems in the Expert Set are very different, though. None of the ďclassicĒ types are found here, instead we get two unusual and two unqiue variants. Wood golems and bone golems have shown up in many other places, while the bronze golem is a lesser variant of iron golems. The most unique of the four is the amber golem, which has the shape of a huge lion or tiger and can track any targets and even see invisible creatures. This one really could have been used a lot more.


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Rhagodessa

The Rhagodessa is something Iíve never heard of before now. The description is not very helpful and there is no picture in the Expert Set. However, it made an appearance in the Savage Tide adventure path from the Dungeon magazine, which takes largely place on the Isle of Dread from the Expert adventure module X1 The Isle of Dread, which was included in this version of the Expert Set. Thatís where I got the picture from. The rhagodessa is a huge spider-like monster the size of a horse. They attack with their front legs, which do no damage, but keep the target in place to bite it with its massive jaws. Rhagodessas also only hunt in the dark. Hooray!

Rules Cyclopedia


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Actaeon

The Actaeon is a powerful protector of the forest. It appears like a humanoid giant with the head of an elk and is very strong and tough. Actaeons attack those who cause significant destruction to their forests and have the ability to summon other powerful creatures of the woods like bears, griffons, and treants. They also have a breath weapon that can turn enemies into harmless small forest critters forever. Even if they make their save they are transformed for 24 hours, which makes this ability extremely powerful. They also can make themselves invisible and are respected as leaders of the fey that inhabit their forest. They really remind me a lot of the demigod Cenarius from Warcraft III.

Snow Apes are somewhat intelligent Chaotic apes who eat almost anything, uncluding humans. They are very strong and almost invisible in snowy environment. (Evil Apes +1)


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Blackball

The Blackball is one of the really cool monsters of BECMI, though it hardly even qualifies as a creature. Itís a sphere of completely blackness one and a half meters in diameter, similar to a sphere of annihilation, that slowly drifts around aimlessly, disintegrating anything it comes into contact with. It has no mind or awareness, but when a creature comes within 20 meters, it will slowly start to drift in its direction and following it around until it comes into contact with it, or the creature moves outside that range. Since its relatively slow, it can be easily outrun in most situations, even underground and inside buildings. However, if one is found blocking a passage the players want to cross it can be quite a challenge to carefully draw it away without getting disintegrated. And they might suddenly pop out of a wall or approach unnoticed during a fight with other creatures.

Devilfish are a race of chaotic manta ray clerics. They also exist in AD&D, where they have a name that is both unpronouncable and unspellable, so I am really in favor of calling them devilfish. There also is a vampire devilfish variant. Devilfish leaders can be very powerful as clerics of 16th level. But then, this is the Known World where 30th level NPCs are not exactly rare. I always considered these both odd and also quite cool creatures. From what I now know about the Known World, it really doesnít surprise me at all to find them here, and they probably first appeared in that setting.

A dragon shaped golem is called a Drolem. How creative. Stupid Pun Monsters +1?


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Malfera

This image shows a Malfera. Itís some kind of demon from the Dimension of Nightmares, but other than the description what it looks like weíre only told that it can see invsible creatures and has a poisonous breath. It probably made sense in the adventure it appeared in.

ShikomeKidoMi
2015-03-26, 06:17 AM
Oh, right off to a good start: BECMI can rightfully be considered the Dad Joke edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Some people on the time really had a great fondness for them. The largest of the giant spiders in the Basic Set is the Tarantella. Maybe you are like me and think ďDonít you mean tarantula? Isnít tarantella some kind of dance?Ē And yes, it is. The tarantella is a giant tarantula that has a special poison that does not kill but instead causes the victim to start dancing. Itís a magical poison and everyone who sees a poisoned person dancing must make a saving throw or also start to dance. After about an hour of dancing, they will collapse from exhaustion. *groan*

That's not actually a pun. The dance Tarantella's name is a reference to an old belief that a type of Italian spider could cause fits of uncontrollable dancing with its bite. This spider was commonly called a tarantula. The dance-fits are currently usually referred to as tarantism.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarantism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarantella

The writers clearly wanted to reference this belief but couldn't name their dance spider "tarantula" because that would be confusing with more famous real-world spiders.

Yora
2015-03-26, 06:50 AM
https://skepacabra.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/the-more-you-know.jpg

The more I look for them, the more I realize that big monster books are really a D&D thing. The only thing comparable is Pathfinder, which is the same in green. Plenty of other RPGs have monster books, but there usually is nothing like the huge amount of weird stuff. Most of it is the same old griffons, dragons, giant spiders, bears, and wolves. (And it seems to be generally a trend in fantasy over the last decade or so. Monsters are totally out.)
Currently the only things left on my list are the 3rd edition Monster Manual and Monsters of FaerŻn. I guess I could do the 3rd edition Fiend Folio as well, but I am not feeling particularly excited about it. One option would be to take some of the dozens of other D&D monster books and pick the 10 most interesting looking monsters, but 2nd edition books with their full page descriptions would just take forever if I would try to actually read every creature to see if there's interesting ideas hidden somewhere.

BWR
2015-03-26, 07:03 AM
The more I look for them, the more I realize that big monster books are really a D&D thing. The only thing comparable is Pathfinder, which is the same in green. Plenty of other RPGs have monster books, but there usually is nothing like the huge amount of weird stuff. Most of it is the same old griffons, dragons, giant spiders, bears, and wolves..

Mostly, yeah.
There are some settings that have monster books with weird stuff, like L5R or Engel but I think the big reason is that D&D is pretty much designed around killing weird monsters, and they give tons of stuff that aren't necessarily intended to all exist in the same world at once. It's a grab bag with ideas that the GM can pick and choose from and ignore however much they wish. In a game where players can quickly come to know all the details of the most common monsters, many GMs are tempted to throw something new at them so they don't know exactly what they are facing or how to defeat it, so people keep making new monsters to help with this.

Lord Torath
2015-03-26, 07:56 AM
Shadowrun had a lot of interesting monsters. Lots of "magic dogs" though. In addition to the standard fantasy stuff (dragons, griffons, rocs, and ghouls) they have weird things like the incubus (land-octopus with illusion powers), flocks of nocturnal birds that use ultrasound (messes with bats and ultrasonic sights/detection systems), and a bunch of other stuff. Paranormal Animals of Europe had really weird stuff (although I'm away from book right now, so I can't give examples).

Yora
2015-03-26, 08:02 AM
The L5R enemy book (4th edition?) is great. I read this once, but didn't find the creatures particularly strange or interesting. It's a wonderful book on enemy factions with lots of text but didn't seem suited for this purpose here.

Even though I played Shadowrun, I never actually looked at the monster. That might really be something I need to check out.

BWR
2015-03-26, 08:55 AM
The L5R enemy book (4th edition?) is great. I read this once, but didn't find the creatures particularly strange or interesting. It's a wonderful book on enemy factions with lots of text but didn't seem suited for this purpose here.


Really? Because rename and refluff the oni and you wouldn't be able to tell them apart from tons of D&D big nasties.

Yora
2015-03-26, 09:01 AM
Yes, but from what I remember they were rather generic nasties. Which are good for a game, but not that interesting to write about.

BWR
2015-03-26, 10:07 AM
Yes, but from what I remember they were rather generic nasties. Which are good for a game, but not that interesting to write about.

*shrug*
I rather liked most of them because they had a different feel than most D&D monsters. Add in the setting flavor and they're quite good - Oni Lords, Shokansuru's brood, the Nightmares, etc. all wonderfully flavorful.

Yora
2015-03-26, 12:13 PM
They are good. It's a great book. But I don't remember the creatures as anything I'd have something clever to say about.

BWR
2015-03-26, 12:24 PM
They are good. It's a great book. But I don't remember the creatures as anything I'd have something clever to say about.

There is a distinct lack of devil dogs, flying monkeys and skeletons with robes, I'll grant you.

Khedrac
2015-03-26, 12:37 PM
There's a fair bit of fun stuff in Glorantha. Start with the Avalon Hill 3rd Edition and see if you can find the Deluxe set - most of the monsters are in the Monsters book, but there are some nice oddities in the Glorantha booklet that should amuse you. (I am looking forward to seeing what you make of the Jack-o-bear...)

J-H
2015-03-26, 07:22 PM
I've been enjoying this series of posts. Thanks for putting in all the time to research and post it!

Coidzor
2015-03-27, 02:08 AM
Shadowrun had a lot of interesting monsters. Lots of "magic dogs" though. In addition to the standard fantasy stuff (dragons, griffons, rocs, and ghouls) they have weird things like the incubus (land-octopus with illusion powers), flocks of nocturnal birds that use ultrasound (messes with bats and ultrasonic sights/detection systems), and a bunch of other stuff. Paranormal Animals of Europe had really weird stuff (although I'm away from book right now, so I can't give examples).

So... Incubi are Octo-Dad, basically? :smallconfused:

Eldan
2015-03-27, 05:29 AM
There is a distinct lack of devil dogs, flying monkeys and skeletons with robes, I'll grant you.

I now have the distinct wish to write a homebrew supplement. "The Big Book of Robed Skeletons". Including teh skeleton player race, the "Robed One" character class, twenty different magic hoods and templates that let you sit on a throne for centuries until adventurers disturb you.

Lord Torath
2015-03-27, 08:19 AM
So... Incubi are Octo-Dad, basically? :smallconfused:No, they appear as whatever will get you inside the reach of their tentacles so they can eat you up. They have telepathy to read your innermost desires and then appear as that. So for Thog it would be a basket of puppies next to a giant ice-cream sundae.

Eldan
2015-03-27, 09:35 AM
So in most Shadowrun games, they show up as big, untraceable guns?

TheCountAlucard
2015-03-27, 11:15 AM
If you wanna do some Exalted critters, there's Games of Divinity. It covers a variety of gods, demons, and elementals. :smallsmile:

Since Howard is one of the game's direct inspirations, you will indeed find a monstrous ape creature statted.

Yora
2015-03-28, 08:05 AM
Tour 5: Monster Manual (D&D 3rd ed.)


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Monster Manual

Monster Manual for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition by Wizards of the Coast, 2000/2003; 266 pages of monsters.


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Behir

I am not going to lie, I love the Behir mostly because of the picture. Damn, this thing looks cool. A behir is a huge spiky purple snake with lots of small legs. While they are not particularly bright, they are still of somewhat human-like intelligence and able to talk. But like animals they are of neutral alignment, which means they shouldnít be attacking everyone they encounter on sight, as an intelligent creature killing other intelligent creatures for food is almost always considered evil, no matter what particular interpretation of alignment you follow. Though that leaves the question, how do they interact with player characters? They probably would defend their home against intruders and keep anyone from stealing their treasures, but with a creature like this its hard to imagine why they would even have treasure in the first place. The most likely situation I can imagine for players to fight a behir would be the behir being in service to some other more powerful creature or NPC and guarding the entrances to their stronghold. But even then, given the behirs usual alignment and intelligence, talking might be a real option as well. As a giant worm, a behir has all the common abilities of such creatures in 3rd edition, as wrapping around a smaller creature and crushing it or swallowing it down in one go. It also has a lightning breath, but as it can be used only once per minute, it probably will use it only once in a fight. The behir is actually a pretty old creature that predates the Monster Manual by almost 20 years, but Iíve never really seen it used anywhere through all editions.


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Chaos Beast

Chaos Beast, we meet again. Itís the Foaming Blasphemy from the Bestiary of the Hyborian Age. The Monster Manual actually predates the Bestiary by several years, but since the Bestiary usually only includes creatures from Conan stories, I think itís a strong indication that this is where D&D got the idea from. The Bestiary then just copied the rules for the mechanical implementation that had already been written up for D&D. (Since the Conan d20 RPG is basically the same system; why invent the wheel twice?)


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Choker

The Choker is a small creature of almost humanoid appearance, but its arms and legs are actually flexible tentacles. For creatures of their size and weight, chokers are amazingly strong and can climb like nobodies business. They are also very fast and can dart around and make multiple attacks at the same time, which in the way the game works could be very dangerous particularly at lower levels when player characters donít have much flexibility in tactical combat. Chokers often try to hide above doorways and under the ceiling and are very well hidden for low-level monsters. Unsurprisingly, they use their tentacle arms and legs to grab victims and strangle them, but since they are meant for low level parties they actually deal only very little damage. I believe they are a new creature introduced in 3rd edition.


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Chuul

The Chuul is a creature that used to confuse me, but which I now actually really love quite a lot. Itís a completely new monster created for this book. A chuul is basically a very large intelligent lobster, though the description says it also has elements of insects and snakes, which are not really apparent in the picture. Its main attacks are its two huge claws which are nothing to laugh at, but it also can use them to grab an enemy it hits and keep a hold on it. In following rounds, it just needs to squeeze to deal more damage without having to make a new attack roll. 3rd edition loved itís Improved Grab and Constrict abilities and there are dozens of monsters who have this. And itís a cool idea in principle, but an extension of the horribly written grapple rules that are probably the most hated thing in the d20 system ever. In over a decade of running campaigns with this game, I think I never used this ability once, simply because I never really could get my head around it. Which sucks, because having a party member being held up in the air, flailing around, and trying to stab the monsters with a dagger while the others are trying to help him would be really cool. In addition to its claws, the chuul also has paralyzing tentacles at its mouth. It canít attack with these normally, but use them against an enemy it grabed with a claw to take it out of the fight and go back to fighting the rest. Chuuls are a classic swamp monster, but they are also as intelligent as humans, which is a nice twist that might not be apparent at all during the first encounters. I also love the illustration, especially how you canít really tell for sure where its face is. There are at least four possible positions for its eyes. When I went to make the Underworld monsters for my own Sword & Sorcery setting, I tried to make monsters that are based on insects and worms and also have no regular face. So of course thereís also one type among them which is heavily based on this picture. (Though not much else from this monster.)


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Cloaker

The Cloaker is an old monster, which I think goes back even to AD&D 1st edition. It started as one of those stupid ďeverything is trying to kill youĒ monsters and uses its two hooks near the head to grab on to a wall, which makes it look like a cloak hanging from a rack. Which will then jump you and try to kill you when you get too close. I think I might make a whole article about this particular class of early D&D monsters later on. There is a lot more of them and cloakers are really among the least stupid of these. The cloaker has fascinated me right from the begining, simply because of this really cool picture. I really love almost all of the Todd Lockwood and Sam Wood illustration from the very first 3rd edition books and I have no idea why they stopped getting hired later on. Wayne Reynolds is also cool, but using him so much made D&D look like Warcraft. Which is also a cool fantasy setting, but really not at all what Dungeons & Dragons should be like. But back to the cloaker: Cloakers are subterranean creatures reselmbling aquatic rays that have the ability to fly. They are highly intelligent, like many underdark monsters, but despite their fearsome appearance not actually evil. Which, like with the behir, raises the question how players would be expected to interact with them. Being intelligent, able to talk, and not generally cruel or hostile to other intelligent creatures, how would they react to PCs? Unfortunately, this monster manual never goes into this at all. Itís a book of combat stats, which sadly is very indicative to the whole approach WotC has to Dungeons & Dragons. Murderhobos: The Game. The abilities of the cloaker are quite interesting and unusual, though. They can groan in barely perceptible voices that still have various strange effects on the brains of other creatures, causing either great anxiety, total panic, nausea, or paralysis. Which I think is a really neat new approach to monster abilities. Some time ago it had been discovered that the human brain does indeed start to ďglitchĒ when exposed to certain low-frequency vibrations. There is one particular frequency which very reliably makes people see ghost. And happens to sometimes be produced by aging ventilation fans. Instant haunting by the flick of a switch. Cloaker voices seems to work like that. Cloakers also have some strange relationship with shadows, which they can use to produce certain illusions. Running into cloakers that have not yet revealed themselves could be a really spooky encounter. And even when they do show themselves, youíre face to face with that nightmare shown above!


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Darkmantle

The Darkmantle reminds me of a couple of different monsters from AD&D, but I think this version did not appear before 3rd edition. Itís like a small kind of squid that lives underground and can fly. Of course it can. It uses the sucker on the base of its body to cling to the ceiling and then let is arms hang down to create the appearance of a stalagtite. It actually behaves very similar to chokers, waiting for a target to come nearby and then drop on it from above trying to strangle it. It of course also falls into the ďeverything is trying to kill youĒ category of monsters like the cloaker.


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Delver

The Delver is another one of the really strange monsters from 3rd edition. To my knowledge it doesnít have any tradition in D&D and was created specifically for this book. Itís a huge subterranean creature that digs itself through the ground, wanting nothing more but eat various kinds of minerals, while happening to have a pretty high intelligence above most humans. I always ignored it, having looked at it once and thought it was stupid. However, whoever wrote this thing did appear to have some idea what it would be for. Delvers are usually reclusive and donít really want contact with anyone, but they really love to eat metal and can get quite crazy for it. Which of course sucks when you are mining valuable ore and a delver finds your mine. Sometimes they even attack people to eat their weapons and armor. They are not evil and very intelligent, but just have this huge craving for metal. So thatís clearly one interesting hook how to include them in a game. But unfortunately, it also seems to be the only thing you really can do with them. ďWe got this big fella in our mine who is eating all our iron. Please make him leave!Ē Once you did that adventure one time, the potential uses of the delver seem to be exhausted. The only other use I could think of would be to have dwarves or deep gnomes bribe a delver with metal to use as a siege engine to attack an enemy stronghold. Since its not evil, it could also be working for duergar or drow, but be very willing to switch sides if approached by the PCs. This is actually not a stupid or useless monster, but the book doesnít really make a good job at explaining it. Given its abilities, this creature is much more interesting as something you should not fight. Sadly, this was not the path that D&D would take after 3rd edition was released, so I believe the delver never really saw any use.


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Destrachan

The Destrachan is another underground creature, because thatís where all the really weird critters live. Itís a big bipedial lizard somewhat similar in stature to a small hadrosaurus, but also predatory and completely blind. Being at home miles underground in the dark, destrachans donít even have any eyes and percieve their environment entirely by sound like bats. Of couse they are also intelligent creatures, but these ones are actually plain evil. Yes! Finally some bastards who really need killing. Like the cloaker, a destrachan can use its voice not just for echolocation, but also as a weapon. The pressure waves from a destrachans throat can cause significant damage to muscles or organs, or alternatively paralyze nerves. As a third option, a destrachan can even shatter wood, metal, or stone that way. Naturally its very dificult to damage a destrachans hearing to make it unable to locate other creatures. And again, this Lookwood illustration looks really great. Actually, since this post has already turned into an unashamed soapbox a long time ago, lets talk some more about monster manual art. Leonaru at RPG.net is currently doing his own series on the 5th edition Monster Manual (http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?748101) which also discusses the art. While the art in that book is pretty well done and serviceable and also looks pretty high quality at first, it really leaves a lot of people cold. Part of that is because of the boring poses in which the creatures are show, but what makes them particularly boring looking to me is the lack of colors and textures. Those creatures are usually uniformly brown or uniformly gray. This really cool looking Lockwood illustration, like the cloaker above, have a lot of texture and colors, and they just look amazing! It also helps that the two creatures are not just standing there, but seem to be in the middle of an attack, which makes them more dynamic and gives you an impression how it would be when the PCs are fighting with them. There isnít really much to see, but its so much more interesting than something that looks like a biology textbook illustration.


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Devourer

The Devourer is another older creature, which I believe is actually from Planescape. Itís an undead monster from another dimension and while mostly human shaped, its actually pretty huge, standing almost 3 meters tall. These things are really very dangerous and highly intelligent and have a number of spells like confusion, suggestion, ray of enfeeblement, and true seeing. Like any self-respecting high level undead, devourers can drain the life force of living creatures, but can do so even at a distance. The most distinguishing ability of devourers is to rip out another creatures soul and trap it inside its own ribcage. This soul serves as fuel for the devourers spells and will eventually become consumed. This is a seriously creepy creature. But like many monsters in this book, it suffers from lacking any explanation about what it wants and how it behaves. A high level monster with high intelligence and the ability to cast suggestion is not something that just jumps around the corner trying to eat you. So what does it do? This book doesnít tell.


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Digester

The Digester is a strong contender for the dumbest monster in this book, but much of that might be because of the illustration. Itís basically a deinonychus with a stupid looking head that spirts acid. I think I once saw these things mentioned in an adventure from Dungeon, but Iím not even sure about that. Lack of meaningful description of any kind makes this creature just meh.

Lord Torath
2015-03-28, 09:29 AM
The Behir first appeared (to my knowledge) in S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. They were Neutral Evil at the time.

Question about a classic, eveything-is-out-to-kill-you monster, the Piercer. These things look like long stalactites, and drop on unsuspecting adventurers, piercing them with their bodies. But I've never seen anything explaining how they move, or how they get back to the ceiling after dropping. Did they ever discuss this in any 3rd, 4th, or 5th edition books?

Yora
2015-03-28, 09:43 AM
I don't think piercers ever showed up in any WotC books.

Oh, and an important question: Does anyone still have the full stats for That Damn Crab!? :smallbiggrin:

Illogictree
2015-03-28, 02:55 PM
The Behir first appeared (to my knowledge) in S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. They were Neutral Evil at the time.

Question about a classic, eveything-is-out-to-kill-you monster, the Piercer. These things look like long stalactites, and drop on unsuspecting adventurers, piercing them with their bodies. But I've never seen anything explaining how they move, or how they get back to the ceiling after dropping. Did they ever discuss this in any 3rd, 4th, or 5th edition books?

Not by WotC, but when Paizo Frog God Games updated the Piercer for Pathfinder (as an environmental hazard similar to a trap rather than a proper monster, which fits its role much better) I believe they decided it was a type of snail-like mollusk with a long pointy shell. Which, again, makes sense.

Also: Yora, thanks for doing this, I've found it greatly entertaining! Are you planning on doing any of the Bestiaries from Paizo at some point?

Edit: Whoops, it was Frog God Games, not Paizo, apparently. Tome of Horrors Complete. Another candidate for Yora's safari? :)

Khedrac
2015-03-28, 03:03 PM
The Behir first appeared (to my knowledge) in S4 The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. They were Neutral Evil at the time.
Hmm, not an adventure I ever owned, but it also appeared in EX1: Dungeonland which was Gary Gygax's version of Alice in Wonderland.

Both adventures by EGG and Lost Caverns published first (1982 v 1983) - sounds like the Behir was a EGG invention.

Yora
2015-03-28, 03:15 PM
I hadn't planned to do the Bestiaries as I don't like them very much. The work intensive part is not so much writing about the interesting creatures, but reading the whole description of the unassuming looking ones to discover those with hidden depths. And most of the boring looking ones turn out to be actually boring. Fiend Folio and Creature Catalogue have enough quirkiness to be fun to read, and the Monster Manual now is an exception because I know 80% of it inside out and know exactly which of the creatures are the weird ones.
The Bestiaries never really excited me and how many of the new creatures are designed you need to dig pretty deeply into the statblocks and try to figure out how the special abilities work before you even know what exactly you are looking at. I could flip through them and just pick the ones with interesting pictures, but so far I always had the most fun with trying to figure out how one could possibly use the really pointless looking monsters to actually have fun with. With something like the Bestiaries, that looks a lot more like a chore than fun. 3rd edition Fiend Folio might be worth a shot since everything in that book is weird. :smallamused:
That's also the reason I havn't done any AD&D 2nd edition books yet. I actually would quite like to do the Dark Sun creatures, but the creature descriptions are often more than four times longer than in other edition, which would be a lot of reading. Might still do it once I run out of other stuff, though.

Tome of Horrors I will not do, since that one is almost entirely AD&D 1st edition monsters from what I remember.

Eldan
2015-03-29, 07:29 AM
I do remember the Devourer from Planescape. I'll go dig it out.

Inevitability
2015-03-30, 12:28 PM
I don't think piercers ever showed up in any WotC books.

Oh, and an important question: Does anyone still have the full stats for That Damn Crab!? :smallbiggrin:

Here you go. (http://archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/fw/20040221a) :smallsmile:

Yora
2015-04-03, 10:28 AM
Continuing with the Monster Manual. And what a weird bunch of critters we have.


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Ethereal Filcher

I think the Ethereal Filcher is hands down the weirdest thing to ever appear in any D&D book. This beats brain collectors and pherims by a long shot. As their name indicates, ethereal filchers are creatures from the ethereal plane, a place that is often mentioned in D&D but to my knowledge never really explored in any way. Mostly because itís supposed to be almost entirely empty and featureless, I believe. The filcher is one attempt to add something to that plane, and I think we have to consider it a complete failure. They actually live in very hard to reach caves on the material plane, only moving through the ethereal plane to get in and out of their lairs and to sneak up on their prey. What they do is using their natural ability to sense magic to find people carrying magic items. Then they pop out from seemingly nowhere, grab the item, and return back to the etheral plane. Which really sounds like a terrible monster to use in your game. A group of 3rd level characters should have no ways to track or follow the ethereal filcher in any way and any item it gets a hold on is almost certainly gone forever. This just sucks. And look at that weird stuff that is shown in the picture? No wonder they were never used for anything to my knowledge.


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Ethereal Marauder

The Ethereal Marauder is another creature from the ethereal plane and actually native to that place. It also does not look nearly as insane as the ethereal filcher. It is also not much better as a monster, though, as it uses the same trick of popping out from nowhere, delivering a bite against their prey, and disappearing again until their target is dead. There isnít really anything 3rd level characters could do about it other than readying an action, but as a GM, I would not allow players to say ďI attack the thing when it pops up again in any of the six squares next to meĒ. At the very least youíd have to specific the space you are targeting and in that case the marauder just pops up behind your back.


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Formians

I believe Formians are a race that originates in Planescape, or at the very least had their greatest appearance in that setting. I think they have something to do with the border between the lawful outer planes of Mechanus and Arcadia, but nothing else is said about this in this book. They are still described as agressivelly expansionist, trying to create new colonies everywhere and taking control of every place they come to. There are several different types of formians, ranging from the small and quite weak workers to the very powerful myrmarchs and of course the magnificent queens. All formians within a 50 mile radius of the queen are always in telepathic contact with each other, making it almost impossible to surprise them or infiltrate their lairs. If one of them sees you, all of them know you are there instantly. Formians have various magical abilities depending on their rank. While workers are pretty weak and harmless, groups of them can work together to cast the spells cure serious wounds and make whole unlimited times per day, so any damage adventurers may cause to a colony will be very quickly repaired. Unless a formian is outright slain in battle, it will be back at full strength a few minutes later as long as workers can get to them. Taskmasters not only control formian workers and warriors, they also have the ability to telepathically control almost any kind of living creature and will almost always be accompanied by bodyguards of some other race. Myrmarchs have even more powers than that and the queen of a hive is always a sorcerer of at least 17th level. Even though workers and warriors are not very strong or dangerous by themselves, it is very unlikely that players will just run into a small group of them. Formians will almost always be encountered as a complete hive that at the very least consists of several dozens of warriors and hundreds of workers. And given their extremely effective organization they are also significantly more dangerous than just their individual numbers. If youíre using formians as opponents for your campaign and you are using them as described, it almost certainly should be as a major threat and the centerpiece of the whole adventure, most likely for pretty high level characters of 15th level or above.


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Frost Worm

The Frost Worm is another Conan creature. But a pretty cool and also very bad one. Itís some huge kind of white worm native to arctic environments, but I believe it also has been used in high mountains in the Forgotten Realms. As expected, their bite deals extra cold damage and they have a freezing breath that deals a staggering amount of damage. They also can make a whistling sound that numbs the mind of any creatures within 30 meters, making them effectively stunned. When killed, a frost worm instantly turns into ice and explodes, dealing 20d6 points of damage to everything within 30 meters. The idea is fun, but why 20d6? This is a CR 12 monster and one I would most likely use against 10th or 9th level PCs as a kind of boss monster. And it uses the ability at the very end of the fight, when it most likely already did considerable damage to the characters. 20 to 120 damage against injured 10th level characters is not fun. Thatís 70 damage on average, no 10th level wizard or rogue is going to have that many when at full health. Most likely several characters will be killed after they have already won the fight. Sure, you can defend against it because most of it is cold damage. But that requires knowing in advance that you are going to fight a frost worm and that it has this ability. Which is not how this game is supposed to work.


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Fungus

The Fungus entry is one I practically just skipped over from the very beginning. The shrieker and violet fungus are not really monsters but more like traps. A shrieker is a large subterranean purple fungus that really canít do anything and has no Strength, Dexterity, or Intelligence score and Wisdom and Charisma scores of 2 and 1. They donít have any attacks either and all they do is to make a loud noise when anything comes within a few meters of them, which of course will allert ant creatures in the surrounding area. A violet fungus poses are more direct threat, having long tentacles coated in a strength sapping poison. They can even slowly move around, though I donít see how that will do them any good in a fight. I think both these types of fungus work best, or just work at all, in dungeons that are set up as dynamic environments. The only purpose of shriekers is to allert other creatures and make them come and investigate and a violet fungus is much more likely to severely cripple characters instead if killing them. If you go from room to room to kill the creatures that are waiting there for you, and there is really only one path to take through the dungeon, they are indeed entirely pointless. Which is probably why I never used them or saw them in any published adventures. They are most interesting when players set them off by accident, destroying all their careful plans to sneak into a place unnoticed, or when you know what they are and have to take them out in a stealthy way. Which both is pointless when you will kill every living thing in a straight up fight anyway.


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Girallon

The Girallon is new in D&D but actually almost century old. Itís the great white ape from the novel A Princess of Mars. In most pictures Iíve seen of the great white apes they are shown to be pretty huge, while the girallon isnít particularly big. Itís a gorilla with white hair and four arms, and that is really everything D&D did with it. Pretty disappointing and I donít think it was used much. (Evil Ape +1)


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Gray Render

The Gray Render is really a quite interesting creature. Itís a big beast of very simple intelligence with no real special powers, but with the natural instinct to become close friends with other smaller creatures. It most commonly has neutral alignment but will defend its small friends at absolutely any cost. I think it can be a really interesting addition to a group of kobolds, halflings, or druids, and with a CR of 8 it really is quite the nasty beast. I only saw a gray render outside the monster manual once, which was in an adventure for 15th level characters. Even advanced to more hit dice it really didnít make any difference to the encounter it was part of. For some weird reason the book also tells us that gray renders donít mate but simply produce an infant clone of themselves once in a while. This is an interesting idea once, but I think there is well over a dozen creatures in this book that reproduce this way, which really doesnít make sense for complex creatures. While there are some species of small lizards that have such a way of reproduction, itís an evolutionary dead end and can only work in small isolated areas for as long as the environment does not change. It just doesnít make any sense in a large number of highly complex species, especially when most of them are supposedly ancient and highly advanced.


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Grick

The Grick is a creature I always considered boring, and taking another closer look at it now and examining it for potential uses as an interesting encounter, I have to confirm: Yes, it really is boring. It is CR 3, has only 2 hit dice, an Intelligence score of 3, and is neutral. Damage from nonmagical weapons is reduced by 10, but with only 9 hit points that still doesnít make them really a threat in the 3rd edition encounter system.They got these tentacles in their face, but even those just deal small ammounts of hit dice damage. (Because in the logic of D&D, four tentacles means four attacks per round and we canít have them dealing too much damage.) The illustration doesnít help them either, as even though they are aberrations the creature in the picture looks just like a big snakes with four smaller snakes instead of a head.

The Hell Hound is a dog from hell. It can breath fire and its bite deals fire damage, and it also is somewhat intelligent, though not very bright. (Demon Dog +1)


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Howler

I have always liked the Howler, which again is entirely just because of the illustration. While the picture makes it look like some kind of demonic rat, a howler is actually larger than a horse and weighs about a ton, which I found really exciting when I actually noticed that some years later. They are pretty weak individually though, similar to hellhounds. Howlers are another Planescape monster, where they are native to Pandemonium, and endless system of caverns blasted by permanent winds. It is also notorious for making people quite mad and howlers a fitting right into that place. Anyone who hears the howlers howling in the distance must make a relatively easy saving throw or lose one point of Wisdom per hour. While not that interesting in a fight, I really do like their background and how they fit into the larger environment. But even though this particularly illustration doesnít show it, they really are just another kind of demon dog. (Demon Dog +1)


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Locatha

The Locatha is the most puzzling creature in the Monster Manual. Because it doesnít have any even slightly interesting trai at all. It is an aquatic humanoid with 2 hit dice, completely average stats, and absolutely nothing else. And the picture looks stupid. I think I saw them mentioned once, with the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting mentioning that they are distant descendants of one of the five first races that inhabited the planet a hundred thousand years ago. They never made any appearance, though. This is the lamest creature ever, making even wolves and dire rats exciting by comparison.

--

Monster Manual Cliche Creature Counter:

Evil Apes: 1
Variant Ghouls: 0
Demon Dogs: 2
Skeletons with Robes: 0

Eldan
2015-04-03, 01:35 PM
There's a Planescape Guide to the Ethereal Plane. It's actually a pretty cool place, especially the Deep Ethereal, which is barely ever mentioned in new sources.

It is sort of featureless, but in a special way. Large stretches of it are empty, but they are also, sort of, where Creation happens. Elemental matter from the inner planes comes together there and forms objects that then migrate to the Prime Material. So it's full of half-made objects, aggregations of protomatter, illusionary and semi-corporeal structures, etc. It is also full of wonderfully weird critters.

And that's just the parts nearer the Prime. The deeper in, the farther from shore, you go, the stranger it gets.

As for the filcher specifically, I'd say it makes a lot more sense if one considers that it mostly lives in an environment with no gravity, atmosphere or even a stable surface to move on, so it doesn't really need limbs for walking.

The story of the Formians is a complicated one and deeply involved in Planescape lore, including several adventures. As simply as I can put it:
They came from Arcadia, where they were one of several highly lawful races. Then several things happened in different adventures that lead to them taking over Mechanus.

The Modron race was highly weakened when Orcus the Demon Lord returned, slew Primus and took over the Modron race, sending most of them away from the plane on an expedition to find his scepter which was lost.
At the same time, one of Planescape's factions tried a gambit: they brought evil and chaotic people to prison camps in Arcadia, where they tried to reform them into lawful good citizens. That didn't work. Instead, an entire layer of Arcadia fell into Mechanus when it got too evil for a lawful good plane.
The formians were always very expansionist, so they took the opportunity to declare war on the weakened modrons and try to usurp their place as the main exemplars of law.

Illogictree
2015-04-03, 04:34 PM
The illustration of the Ethereal Filcher is one of my favorite monster designs. I suppose it's a matter of taste. However, I think you're right; this is one of those monsters in the tradition of the rust monster and disenchanter that are there for DMs to take away the PC's toys. I've actually used one once - in a location where the division between the ethereal and material planes was thin, so the party could pursue the filcher into the ethereal easily - exactly as planned. >:)

Curiously enough, I used Formians in the exact same adventure, only I chose to play up their alienness and lawfulness. The party could communicate with them, after a fashion, but they were incredibly focused on their task (patching up a planar rift that was causing the weakening of divisions mentioned above) and didn't understand the concept of negotiation.

Ethereal marauders, though? I think I hinted at their existence in that adventure, but the party never encountered them. Probably good because they sound incredibly annoying to fight.

Also the Grey Render sounds kind of adorable. Pair it with the right monster though and it becomes pretty terrifying, especially if it's something that can buff it or keep it healed. Imagine having one of these as the companion of, say, a druid or cleric...

The grick... yeah, I got no idea how you would use this in an interesting way. Although... it looks sort of like a larva of some kind. Maybe this is what a free Illithid larva looks like before it grows into a Neothelid?

I think the Locathah is supposed to be a sort of Neutral alternative to the LE Sahuagin - they both have the "scary fish person" thing going, but the Locathah might be potential allies rather than simply enemies. It's just too bad they have nothing interesting going for them, because they're the cooler-looking of the two. (They even have 2 RHD, so you can't really use them as PCs... not that I can really imagine anyone wanting to play one, even in an underwater campaign...)

Yora
2015-04-03, 06:16 PM
Both the grick and the locatha are not necessarrily terribly done creatures. But 3rd edition went back to AD&D 1st edition and not giving monsters much background or description and all. And in that case all the flavor you are going to get is their special abilities.

Gricks and locatha could be made very interesting creatures by creating your own background and context for them. But as presented, they just don't have any. There isn't anything to suggest what they could be used for, which in a monster book makes them complete failures. I actually prefer creatures that are mechanically very simple and are made intersting through fluff, rather adding more crunch to spice up EL-appropriate encounters. The gray render doesn't have any abilities either, but that one comes at least with one idea how to work it into the game world. It is a monster that is usually found as a big protective friend of other monsters. It comes with instructions ad an interesting idea. It's not a lot, but it's a start.

I am actually working on a monster concept that will probably be the big scary underworld menace of my setting comparable to mind flayers, which are inspired greatly by various depictions of gricks. It was actually quite a disappointment when I looked at the actual grick entry in the MM today and realized there wasn't really anything there to salvage other than the image.

Thrudd
2015-04-03, 09:38 PM
The Grick's appearance reminds me a bit of a Grell. Maybe they are baby Grell, or Grell larvae.

Yora
2015-04-05, 06:17 AM
More Monsters from the Monster Manual.


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Mohrg

The Mohrg looks both icky and also pretty cool. Itís a human skeleton whose chest is filled with purple worms. It is however not a worm riding a human skeleton, but really a single undead creature that is created from a murderer who died unpunished. And it seems to be implied that it is the evil soul that makes the criminal return to unlife and not the work of a necromancer, which really raises the question where these worms are coming from? Perhaps the artist got unclear instructions what it should look like. A morg attacks both with its hands and its tongue, which in this illustration is also a worm. The tongue causes paralysis in living creatures, while it can also use the Improved Grab ability when it hits with its arms. Since humanoid ceatures never have the Improved Grab ability, I would guess the best way to describe it in combat would be to have the worms that are wrapped around the arm bones wrap around the target and hold it. The players sure would appreciate it. A mohrg is much more powerful than a skeleton and other than in appearance has nothing at all in common with those. When a creature is killed by a mohrg it raises as a simple zombie, but only after one to four days. Which in completely useless in combat, and you would have to add a lot of zombies to make a fight against a CR 8 monster more challenging. Considering all this, the writer who created the mohrg probably had much more in mind for it than just being a stronger skeleton to jump out from behind a corner and be killed in two to three rounds. This creature is really much better suited as the centerpiece of an entire adventure. One to four days is quite some time in which a lot can happen to a corpse. The mohrg might take it back to its lair and wait for it to rise, or it might be left where it fell. Or it might even have been found and already burried in the graveyard or being prepared for burrial. Suddenly, zombies! Zombies everywhere! A great investigation adventure which at the end will come together with a fight against the mohrg itself. Which being a murderer in life, should also have some backstory to go along with. This is exactly the kind of hidden information I am looking for in these books. Monsters that are much more than something to encounter standing in a dungeon room and to be forgotten four rounds later, but are actually made to have adventures created around them. And I must ask, why doesnít this book spell this out?! This book is 15 years old, I had it since it first came out, and I have been using it countless times. And only now, carefully disecting each obscure monster and searching for tiny details that might be used as plot hooks, did I ever notice it? ď1d4 daysĒ is only seven characters, but they make all the difference. Why hide it? Would it have been so hard to add two more sentences to the description? Imagine if they had made that effort for all monsters in this book? D&D would be a completely different game than it is today and not the rules obsessed tactical combat simulation that it became.


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Nightshade

Do I have to say it again? I probably shouldnít, but Iíll do anyway: This Nightshade illustration is ****ing awesome! Like almost all Sam Wood illustrations in this book. The perspective makes it clear that this is a not a human sized guy and when you check the description itís ****ing huge. Not just big, but size category: Huge. A 6 meter tall bastard of pure darkness with blue glowing eyes. Nightshades come in three variants, the nightwing (huge bat), nightwalker (huge man), and nightcrawler (gargantuan worm) and are from the Known World setting of BECMI. Which I think is the reason for its biggest flaw. In BECMI, character levels go all the way up to 36, almost twice as high as the maximum of 20 in the 3rd edition core rules. Unfortunately, when converting the creature this difference was apparently not accounted for making the nightshades pretty high level creatures with a CR of 16 for the nightwalker. Which means I never got any opportunity to use it. Let me get my soap box, I think I need it today. I hate high level play in D&D. My campaigns usually donít go any longer than 3 years and almost all of them start at low levels, because I very often get lots of people to play who never played any RPGs before. And since I donít run dungeon crawling grind-fests, Iíve never seen any PCs of a level higher than 8th, either as GM or as player. And the way D&D is set up, that meant a huge amount of content never could be used at all. Like this cool badass bastard. Today I know better and could just rebuild him as a CR 8 creature and use that, but I used to be a young and stupid GM and that never really occured to me. I am afraid I donít have much to say about the monster itself. There isnít really any description what it is and what it does, and the abilities donít seem interesting either. But damn, it looks cool.


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Phantom Fungus

The Phantom Fungus looks very weird and kinda stupid in this illustration. Which doesnít actually matter because itís completely invisible almost the entire time. The stats for this monster are really very simple. Itís medium size, has animal intelligence, and is only CR 3. Itís natural invisibility is the only ability it has. Actually, you could just ignore the illustration since none of those things on its back or the tentacles coming out of them are doing anything. It is permanently invisible, walks up to you, and bites. Clearly the artist thought that this is totally boring and painted something much more interesting, if stupid looking, instead. The invisibility really is its only thing. I think the best idea is probably to just take this ability and add it to other creatures and make some really interesting monsters.


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Phase Spider

A Phase Spider is an intelligent kind of giant spider with the ability to jump between the material and ethereal planes. Since the picture in the Manual is super dull, I took this much more interesting looking one instead. Regarding their abilities, phase spiders are very simple. Itís just like a giant spider that also can use ethereal jaunt like the ethereal filcher and ethereal marauder. So itís a teleporting spider. I loved and hated them playing Baldurís Gate. A kind of monster I love to hate. But I think the most interesting aspect of them is that they are really very intelligent creatures and not mindless animals. They can not speak in humanoid languages, but with an Intelligence score of 7 they should be able to very effectively communicate with each other. And that makes an annoying teleporting monster in an actually very dangerous teleporting monster. These guys have no reason to just jump out and attack until they eventually run out of hit points. And just running away from their lair also doesnít mean they forget about you. They are not smart in any way, but they are intelligent monsters, not stupid beasts. Playing them intelligent could make for really interesting adventures and more than just a single encounter. Speaking of which, I recommend reading this article (http://theangrygm.com/three-shocking-things-you-wont-believe-about-dd-combat/) by The Angry DM about encounters and combat, which among other things explains why there is no such thing as a ďcombat encounterĒ. The phase spider here is a very good example for why an encounter even with a hostile monster doesnít start and end with initiative.


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Rast

The Rast is a creature from the Elemental Plane of Fire. It certainly looks very weird. But I think the illustration doesnít do justice to the description. ďIts round head is almost all mouth, and its mouth is almost all teeth.Ē Rasts are very slow on the ground and actually move around by flying, with its thin legs being used mostly to attack. Rasts exist to eat. Everything and all the time. They have a paralyzing gaze that can paralyze creatures for a couple of rounds and will then concentrate its attack on those still able to fight. When they hit with a bite, they can keep the target held in place and drain 1 point of Constitution per round. Yeah, it looks freaky, but I really donít have any idea what to do with it.


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Ravid

The Ravid is a creature from the Positive Energy Plane. And probably in this book to remind us that the Positive Energy Plane is a thing. Itís a flying snake of medium intelligence and neutral alignment and has a single arm. Because, why not? It can actually use the claw to make attacks, which really doesnít seem intuitive based on the picture. Its attacks and damage are lousy, but as a positive energy creature it deals pretty good damage against undead. So maybe itís intended as an ally? Can you summon it with a summon monster spell? It doesnít say anything about that here though. The main special ability of the ravid is that it can use the animate object spell and uses it to make things nearby come alive and defend it. The description of the creature says that on the material plane it wanders around aimlessly followed by some animated objects. Which to me very much sounds as if the writer doesnít have any idea what to do with this thing either.

The Shadow Mastiff is a dog with a scary face. Like most demon dogs, it makes people afraid when it howls. It can also perfectly hide in any shadows during night or underground. (Demon Dog +1)


http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/mm_shockerlizard.jpg
Shocker Lizard

I really almost did not include the Shocker Lizard here as itís simply a small lizard that zaps you, which seems totally mundane as monsters go. But I couldnít stop flipping back to it because itís so damn quirky and funny, and that really is much more important here than weird anatomy. Quirky and funny is what the Fantasy Safari is all about! So yea, itís just a small blue lizard that for some reason got an entire full page of content. The stats are exactly what you would expect from an ordinary lizard with no surprises, except for that electricity thing. A shocker lizard can zap a creature within 5 feet to deal 2d8 points of nonlethal damage, which is pretty impressive for a creature that size. Itís a lot more than from its laughable bite, even if the target makes the fairly easy saving throw. However, when two shocker lizards are within 6 meters of each other, they can combine their power to allow one of them to create a blast of electricity that deals 4d8 points of lethal damage to everything within 6 meters around it. And you can link even more of them together for a total of 12d8 points of damage and an increasingly higher saving throw difficulty. It doesnít really say how they create such a charge, but I would assume that it means that any shocker lizard that contributed to anothers lethal shock can not use either the stunning shock or lethal shock ability in that same round. Otherwise you would not just get 12d8 but 72d8 points of damage per round and that very clearly is not EL 7. I am not sure why, but these guys just seem really funny to me. A single one is no threat at all, even for a 2nd level party, as it can only make them unconscious and doesnít normally eat any large creatures. In groups they become a lot more dangerous. But since they donít usually attack unless threatened, I think these could make very interesting puzzle encounters in which the players have to find a way to get past a group without getting fried in the process. I never used shocker lizards or even saw them mentioned anywhere by either people or published adventures, but now I think they are actually one of the best low-level creatures in the book. And the picture always looked funny to me.


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Spider Eater

A Spider Eater is a big insect with all the abilities youíd expect from it. It flies, it stings, has poison, yadda yadda. But itís actually worth a closer look, just as the mohrg. The poison of a spider eater deals no damage, but causes paralysis. Which lasts for 6 to 13 weeks. Which sounds cool but doesnít actually make any sense, since the creature would die after three or four days from dehydration. Assuming the spider eater has some way to give the paralyzed creature water, it takes six weeks for its legs to hatch, after they have been implanted in the creature. Six weeks is actually quite likely for a human to survive without dying from starvation, especially when not doing any kind of activity. Unlike many other D&D monster books, the entry here doesnít say what needs to be done to remove the eggs before they hatch. But given that it takes six weeks, this is an obvious adventure setup. Spider eaters poison people, take them to a hidden nest, and the PCs have to find it and save the people before the eggs hatch and the young spider eaters eat them. They also have the freedom of movement ability, which makes it a lot easier for them to hunt spiders, which are they most common prey. The best thing about spider eaters is that they are freaking big, and large enough to be ridden by goblins or halflings, and they can be trained as mounts.


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Tendriculos

The Tendriculos is a creature I neve used or ever felt like wanting to use, but looking at it more closely I think itís still something that might be salvagable. Itís a huge plant with a big maw and two long tentacles and weighs almost two tons. It obviously has the whole grab with tentacle and stuff into your mouth thing going on, but is even nastier in that the acid inside its stomach also causes paralysis making it a lot harder to cut your way out. Its most interesting ability is its regeneration. Only blunt weapons or acid deal any real damage to a tendriculos and it can regrow any lost body parts within a couple of minutes. It may be almost as dumb as grass, but with almost a hundred hit points, getting this thing dead should be seriously difficult. Especially when its used as the big bad boss beast of the adventure and the PCs are only 5th level.


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Tojanida

The Tojanida has a bit of a reputation as one of the really crappy monsters of the monster manual. A bit, because nobody ever uses it, but Iíve seen it mentioned quite frequently as the worst monster in the book. A tojanida is an intelligent creature from the Elemental Plane of Water that has a shell like a turtle and four fins, two claws, and one head, which it can pull inside the shell and stick out through any hole it wants, reconfiguring itselg to whatever way it needs. Which is simply weird, but not actually bad. However, like most creatures in this book, there isnít really word on what tojanidas do, how they behave, and what they want. And cool monsters are actually never about how they look and only to a small degree about what special abilities they have, but really all about their behavior. The alien from the Alien movies is not cool or scary because it has acid blood and can impale people with its tail. Itís cool entirely because of the way it behaves. A monster book that is all about looks and special abilities, but doesnít explain to you what a creature does is a pretty bad one. Something from which almost all WotC monster books suffer.

Eldan
2015-04-05, 06:26 AM
I really need to get the Planescape books out when I get home, don't I? The Rast and Ravid are two more that are in there and I remember both as at least moderately interesting.

Yora
2015-04-05, 06:33 AM
The 2nd edition monster books are a complete different thing compared to 3rd edition. Almost the total opposite. Very small stat blocks with two thirds of the page nothing but description. I think everything is going to be a lot more interesting that way. :smallbiggrin:

Eldan
2015-04-05, 06:40 AM
Well. I honestly like detailed rules like in third edition. I like knowing the exact skills and intelligent monster has, and pre-calculated attacks with formulae that make sense and all that. (Also, since I only have the monster manuals and a few planar guides, but no core books, the stats in AD&D mean very little to me).
But yeah, the two pages per monster is very nice, with all the ecology.

Vknight
2015-04-05, 12:42 PM
Grapple rules.

Roll attack hit? You are grappled
Next turn make second grapple check to pin target(pinning provides all sorts of benefits)
That is really the grapple rules in a nutshell

And yay more stuff.

Eldan
2015-04-05, 02:06 PM
Yeah. I never thought grapple was all that hard. Grapple is a strength check plus modifiers. Sure, the number of modifiers could be simplified, but it's not all that bad.

Solaris
2015-04-05, 04:34 PM
On the spider eater, it's another monster that originated on Barsoom. There, they were called sith.

I was rather happy to figure that out when I was throwing together my (never started) Barsoom campaign.

Gavran
2015-04-05, 05:14 PM
On the spider eater, it's another monster that originated on Barsoom. There, they were called sith.

I was rather happy to figure that out when I was throwing together my (never started) Barsoom campaign.

To be fair, it's not really that unlikely that it originates from the real life (albeit much smaller) wasps that do just that. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider_wasp)

some guy
2015-04-05, 05:40 PM
I'm loving this thread, Yora!


Question about a classic, eveything-is-out-to-kill-you monster, the Piercer. These things look like long stalactites, and drop on unsuspecting adventurers, piercing them with their bodies. But I've never seen anything explaining how they move, or how they get back to the ceiling after dropping. Did they ever discuss this in any 3rd, 4th, or 5th edition books?

Piercers return in 5e with some adorable goofy illustrations:
http://static1.squarespace.com/static/535adf45e4b0cd207ffc69c5/5418963be4b003eaab461f04/542c44c7e4b0dfd689646faf/1412187350209/Piercer-BrynnMetheney.jpg?format=1000w

The entry for piercer says "[they] have a soft, slug-like upper body that lets the piercer move across cavern walls and ceilings", it's quite slow and a fallen piercer excretes a foul-smelling slime to repel predators.

Solaris
2015-04-05, 06:04 PM
To be fair, it's not really that unlikely that it originates from the real life (albeit much smaller) wasps that do just that. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider_wasp)

I'm aware that spider wasps exist, but those are probably represented by regular giant wasps given WotC's utter disdain for the animal kingdom (Int of 1 or 2, and arthropods are mindless? C'mon). Considering the inclusion of the girallon, someone seemed to be pretty keen on Barsoomian critters.

Eldan
2015-04-05, 06:43 PM
I'm loving this thread, Yora!



Piercers return in 5e with some adorable goofy illustrations:
http://static1.squarespace.com/static/535adf45e4b0cd207ffc69c5/5418963be4b003eaab461f04/542c44c7e4b0dfd689646faf/1412187350209/Piercer-BrynnMetheney.jpg?format=1000w

The entry for piercer says "[they] have a soft, slug-like upper body that lets the piercer move across cavern walls and ceilings", it's quite slow and a fallen piercer excretes a foul-smelling slime to repel predators.
That's adorable! :smallredface:

Yora
2015-04-06, 04:52 AM
On the spider eater, it's another monster that originated on Barsoom. There, they were called sith.

I was rather happy to figure that out when I was throwing together my (never started) Barsoom campaign.

Ha! I think it didn't get to that part yet. There is soo much Barsoom in D&D and Star Wars.

Joe the Rat
2015-04-06, 11:33 AM
I'm loving this thread, Yora!



Piercers return in 5e with some adorable goofy illustrations:
http://static1.squarespace.com/static/535adf45e4b0cd207ffc69c5/5418963be4b003eaab461f04/542c44c7e4b0dfd689646faf/1412187350209/Piercer-BrynnMetheney.jpg?format=1000w

The entry for piercer says "[they] have a soft, slug-like upper body that lets the piercer move across cavern walls and ceilings", it's quite slow and a fallen piercer excretes a foul-smelling slime to repel predators.Is the "Piercers are baby Ropers" thing new to 5e? I hadn't seen that before, and thought it was a clever way to tie a couple of classic what-the-fudge "looks like a rock" monsters together.

On that note, I'm stealing Thrudd's Grick/Grell connection - either as larva, or pets. Or both.

NowhereMan583
2015-04-06, 12:11 PM
Is the "Piercers are baby Ropers" thing new to 5e? I hadn't seen that before, and thought it was a clever way to tie a couple of classic what-the-fudge "looks like a rock" monsters together.

I believe it's new to canon, but the idea's been kicked around on online forums and whatnot for years. I think it's even in the old "Let's Read" thread from my last post.

Yora
2015-04-06, 01:55 PM
Completing the Monster Manual:


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Vargouille

The Vargouille is a creature from before there were different creature types in D&D and eded up as an outsider in 3rd edition, even though it could just as well have been made undead like the bodak. As far as I am aware, they first appeared in the Planescape setting and they are a wonderful example of how the setting is full of things that are simultaneously silly, cool, and somewhat creepy. A vargouille is a humanoid head with a large pair of wings that has a terrifying scream that makes any creatures within 20 meters become paralyzed by fear. Their bite does very little damage, but also has a poison that makes it impossible for the target to heal any kind of injuries. But most terrifyingly, a vargouile can fly up to a paralyzed victim and give it a kiss, which starts a slow process of transformation that first makes the hair fall out, then the ears turn into large bat wings, makes it go insane, and finally causes the head to ripp off the neck and fly away as a new vargouille. Funny. But as always, some more description what youíre supposed to do with it would have been nice.

The Wight really is just a very beefed up ghoul. I like this monster and when you go into the details its background and context makes it a quite different creature. Itís still a starved corpse that sneaks around in the dark. (Variant Ghoul +1)

The Winter Wolf is a huge white wolf with who can breath icy cold and whose bite deals cold damage. Just like a color flipped hellhound. Itís bigger and tougher though, and also of human intelligence and with the ability to talk. They are not exactly masterminds, but are smart and dangerous enough to be villains in their own right who command weaker creratures as their minions. (Demon Dog +1)

And of course the Worg, because Tolkien did it. And everything that Tolkien did has to be in D&D! Its a big wolf that is slighly intelligent and evil. (Demon Dog +1)


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Xill

Xills are creatures that come from the novel Voyage of the Space Beagle, which also got us the displacer beast. Itís a four armed, demonic looking humanoid, but itís actually from the ethereal plane. Unlike most ethereal monsters, it takes a xill significantly longer to move between the ethereal and material world, which makes impossible to quickly blink in and out and avoid any retaliation by its enemies. They are very intelligent and also evil, and as a nice thouch weíre also told that groups are often led into battle by a cleric of a deity of strength and travel. Their four arms help them with wrestling their enemies and when they can get a hold, they use their poisonous bite that can paralyze for several hours. The saving throw to resist it is not too high and thereís a good chance to withstand the poison, but then the xill can just try again the next round until it works. Unlike other monster (foreshadowing!) their ability to grapple is not excessively high and they can not try to bite without grappling an enemy first, which makes the ability not too powerful, but still something that can add a nice touch to a fight. Especially when the xills want to take prisoners, which they do to implant their eggs into them. With a duration of 90 days until the eggs hatch, there is plenty of time to try to rescue those prisoners and get them help. If you make some more backstory and context for them, these could be quite interesting enemies for a campaign.


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Xorn

The Xorn is a very old enemy that goes back at least to AD&D 1st edition. It is also one of my least favorite ones. However, I really have to give it to the person who came up with it that it is an interesting approach to how a creature might look like that is native to a world that is almost entirely solid earth and rock in all direction to infinite, with no Up or Down dictated by gravity. It just has a front, where the huge mouth is located, and a back, where it has its feet. Like the delver, it is intelligent, has neutral alignment, and loves to eat metal. And it doesnít have too much reservations about eating the metal that other people are carrying. Being a creature of the Elemental Plane of Earth, it doesnít have to dig through the ground, but can just move through it as if it was immaterial. Itís actually not that bad, except that you get a bit of a problem when you have it jump at people to steal their valuables and still being neutral, but that is more a fault of alignment than the creature. If you ignore alignment (like everyone should), itís really not bad.


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Yrthak

The Yrthak is one of the monster completely new to this book. It is a huge flying reptile with a wingspan of 12 meters, that may resemble a wyvern or dragon at a first glance, but has a noticable lack of any kind of eyes. Instead they sense their surroundings by echolocation by bats. While this kind of perception detects everything that is mostly solid regardless of light or the presence of illusions, this ability only has a range of 40 meters, which for a flying beast of this size really isnít much, so itís quite easy to just pass by without spotting the players. I would assume it can sense a general outline of the terrain beyond that distance, or it would be extremely dangerous to fly around in the mountains. In addition to its bite and claws, an yrthak can produce very powerful shockwaves from the horn on its head, which it can direct at a single nearby creature to cause considerable damage that completely ignores armor. Alternatively, it can aim the blast at stone walls, large boulders, or rocky ground to make it explode in a burst of stone shards that injure anyone within 3 meters of the impact. Even though yrthaks donít speak, they are still quite intelligent creatures like wyverns or worgs. It seems to me that an yrthak, or multiple ones, probably work best when you prepare a special battlefield specifically for the encounter. Just in the middle of a green field wouldnít be very interesting, you need something with lots of opportunities for the players to hide and things that the yrthak could blast to pieces. Designing such a battlefield would require some real work though, and the book doesnít give any advice in this regard.


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That Damn Crab!

Bonus Monster: That Damn Crab! This creature is not from the Monster Manual but was released on the WotC website many years later together with two other creatures for an aquatic campaign. And it probably is the worst creature published for D&D ever! It is also a good example how the assumption that Challenge Ratings and Encounter Levels in 3rd edition are in any way objective or even reliable measures to determine how strong a creature is and what makes a good fight for a given group of characters. So this giant enemy crab is listed with a CR of 3, which really is where all of the insanity and terribleness of this monster comes from. The Monstrous Crab looks very plain and ordinary at first glance. Large Vermin with 7 hit dice and the Improved Grab and Constrict abilities, which you would expect from any 3rd edition monster with huge claws, tentacles, or even just a snake tail. It also has a Strength score of 22, which doesnít seem too outrageous, but it becomes when you add it all together. It makes attacks with a +10 bonus to attack rolls and deals 1d8+9 points of damage. Thatís quite nasty, but the giant crocodile is CR 4 and does a good deal more damage and the CR 4 polar bear has a significantly better chance to hit. So that seems pretty reasonable so far. But then we get to grappling and things get crazy. Someone thought it would be a good idea to make the Damn Crab! even better at grappling than a normal creature of its size and strength, and created the new Powerful Claws ability, which adds another +4 to grapple and increases the damage bonus from Strength 22 by another 50%. And so this thing has a grapple bonus of +19. Assuming a 3rd level fighter with 16 Strength, he would have a grapple bonus of +6. Most other 3rd level characters would be just +3 or +4. 1d20+19 versus 1d20+4 is no contest. This thing will win almost every grapple check. Unless my statistics are failing me, over 97% of the time against a character with a bonus of +4. Thatís already bad. But here Constrict and Improved Grapple come into play. When the Monstrous Crab hits with an attack (with +10 the chances are good), it automatically also makes a free grapple attempt, which it will of course win. And then it also deals damage again, because of the Constrict ability. Which means if you get hit by a claw, it will crush you for massive damage of 2d8+18 (20-34) points. An unarmed 3rd level fighter might have 34 hit points. But most 3rd level characters would be happy to have even 20. If youíre not dead yet, in the next round the Damn Crab! only has to make another grapple check (which it will win) to deal another 10-17 damage and most characters will be dead by then. With an armor class of 19 and 66 hit points, you need some seriously optimized frontline PCs to take this thing out in the first round. Because if they donít, it will just pick them up in its claw, and to do anything against a monster that grapples you, you need to win a grapple check against it. Which you wonít. Itís not that this thing is completely terribly written. It actually works, just not as a good fight against 3rd level characters. Some people who know the math of D&D better than the people who made the game have calculated that itís strength is more comparable to monsters with a CR of 7 or 8.

Monster Manual Cliche Creature Counter:

Evil Apes: 1
Variant Ghouls: 1
Demon Dogs: 5
Skeletons with Robes: 0

Fantasy Safari Score:

Evil Apes: 18
Variant Ghouls: 16
Demon Dogs: 15
Skeletons with Robes: 9

J-H
2015-04-08, 12:57 PM
Even worse, the Crab has a move speed greater than that of most PCs, so running away isn't an option.

Kalmageddon
2015-04-08, 07:05 PM
Vargouille are actually from african mythology, though I couldn't tell you exactly which one. They weren't invented for D&D.

TheCountAlucard
2015-04-08, 07:53 PM
Vargouille are actually from african mythology, though I couldn't tell you exactly which one. They weren't invented for D&D.Malaysian, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penanggalan) if Wikipedia is to be believed.

Yora
2015-04-09, 02:09 AM
No surprise. I think most monsters with detachable body parts come from that part of the world. :smallamused:

Eldan
2015-04-09, 03:23 AM
Wiki also mentions that it goes back to first edition, before Planescape.

Yora
2015-04-09, 03:30 AM
You are correct. Monster Manual II, the least interesting of the three 1st edition monster books.

That book also has the thri-kreen, which in this version really has only the four arms and desert that have any resemblance to the tharks of A Princess of Mars. That's not a lot of evidence that the thri-kreen was actually an adaptation of them for D&D.
But the Dark Sun fluff for the thri-kreen definitly is. :smallamused:

Kalmageddon
2015-04-09, 05:18 AM
Malaysian, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penanggalan) if Wikipedia is to be believed.

Wikipedia does indeed point to that creature for the source of insipration for the Vargouille, but I distinctly remember seeing the Vargouille in african folklore and not just something that is more or less similar to it, but the exact creature, bat wings and everything.

Yora
2015-04-09, 05:29 AM
The spelling looks very French, so that seems to be a good starting point to narrow down the search. :smallbiggrin:
The only French colony in Southeast Asia would be Vietnam, but they had plenty in Africa.

Kaun
2015-04-09, 05:07 PM
Hey Yora, loving the thread. It has really helps me populate my hex crawler Savage worlds game i'm running at the moment.

As a note, if your looking for more books with weird monsters can i suggest taking a look at Monte's Numenera books, there are some interesting and horrible monsters for that system.

The old deadlands books also had some weirdly wonderful.

Earthdawn from memory also had some cool stuff.

Yora
2015-04-10, 04:08 AM
Are there monster books for those?

Kaun
2015-04-10, 07:09 AM
Are there monster books for those?

Numenera has some monsters in the core book but it has also released a bestiary (the ninth world bestiary)

Deadlands has Rascals, Varmints & Critters version 1 and the follow up #2

Earthdawn i cant remember.

BWR
2015-04-10, 07:24 AM
I suggest "Creatures of the Dreamseed" for Engel (and hopefully you'll find it easier to get hold of, being German and all). There's alot of fun stuff in that one, but the best thing about the book is not the cool monsters but the vast amounts of fluff and the evocative art.

Yora
2015-04-10, 08:49 AM
Yeah, I've been trying to get my hands on Engel for long time, but was never able to find it unfortunately.

But I try to do some more hunting on ebay, maybe I can find one.

Yora
2015-04-11, 07:11 AM
Tour 6: Monsters of FaerŻn (D&D 3rd ed.)

Monsters of FaerŻn was one of the very early books for D&D 3rd edition and the first monster book after the original Monster Manual. The cover of the book matches the Monster Manual and not the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting as all other Forgotten Realms books later would. It is also the only book that has the title ďMonster CompendiumĒ in itís name. I assume it was planned to have it as a distinct product line, but all further monster books were 200+ pages hardcovers, unlike this 100 page paperback.

I started with fantasy stuff in 1999, the year before 3rd edition was released, and that start was Baldurís Gate, the game that made BioWare the giant of Western RPGs that it had been for until recently. (Really not a fan of any of their games since Mass Effect 2, which is the best videogame of all time!) A game that just so happens to be set in the Forgotten Realms, so I had to get this book right when it came out. And even though itís by far the smallest monster book ever released by WotC, and also just the second they made, I think this one really the best one by a far margine. When I went to get the monster pictures from the old art archive from WotCs website (they are still up, but youíll only get there through search engines), there was barely amy that I didnít download. And most of those that I am not going to cover here arenít boring, but they are either beefed up versions of monsters from the Monster Manual (cloaker lord, greater doppelganger) or I already covered them when I did the 1st edition Fiend Folio (bullywug, fire newt, giant strider, gibberling, quaggoth). Truly wonderful book and almost all of the creatures can be imported to other settings without problem. I think a good dozen of them directly inspired monsters for my own Ancient Lands setting. If this book were Star Wars, it would be The Empire Strikes Back.


http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/mof_cover.jpg
Monsters of FaerŻn

Monster Compendium: Monsters of FaerŻn for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition by Wizards of the Coast, 2001; 86 pages of monsters.


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Aballin

The Aballin is a type of ooze whose most distinguishing trait is that it looks just like water. It also can change between two different states, one being a thick slime, the other a water like liquid that is almost impossible to harm. It is one of the many classic creatures of the type ďeverything is trying to kill youĒ, but I think actually one of the less implausible ones. Itís just another slime like all the others, except that it has a clear color. When in its semisolid state, an aballin is quite strong and can slam enemies with considerable force. However its main mode of attack is to engulf its victim and simply drown him.


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Banedead

The Banedead is a variant ghoul created by clerics of the evil god Bane. One of their hands is a large claw, which also happens to be the holy symbol of Bane, and also deals 1 point of Dexterity damage. Which is not as measly as it sounds. Since itís tied to a melee attack, there is no saving throw and thereís a good chance youíre going to encounter them in significant numbers. This can get quite bad over time, especially as banedead are not very strong otherwise and therefore likely to be fought by PCs of low-medium level. Dealing with larger numbers of them over several encounters could make for a very interesting adventure. An interesting detail of the banedead is that they are also created by priests of the Banes son Xvim, which tells us that this book was actually released before the FRCS, as from that point on Xvim is dead and Bane is back! (Variant Ghoul +1)


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Baneguard

The Baneguard is another undead creature created by the clerics of Bane. It looks like an ordinary skeleton, but is both tougher and far more intelligent. In addition they can shot two magic missiles every three round and use the spell blink every 10 minutes, which makes them randomly fade in and out of the ethereal plane, making it very difficult to hit them. This really is a very simple creature as special abilties go, but the result is something completely different from a normal skeleton. A great example of how you donít need a full page of stats and 30 spell-like abilities to make an interesting monster. And I think a skeleton that shots magic missiles is really cool.


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Banelar

A Banelar is a huge snake monster with a humanlike face, similar to naga. They are extremely intelligent in addition to being of massive size with a Strength and Constitution to match, and they are also always at least 6th level clerics and 6th level wizards. Which makes it absolutely mind-boggling that this is supposed to be a CR 5 creature. To get a human character with comparable stats and abilities, he would have to be 12th level. This looks more like CR 8 or 9 to me. The banelar also gets a +3 bonus on saving throws against petrification. Thatís random. The banelar are not demons in the service of the god Bane, but many of them used to be allied with clerics who served him, and now switched their allegiance to followers of Cyric. However, this was while Bane was still dead, and I think they switched back when he returned. They are in some way involved with the internal politics of the Zhentarim, a powerful criminal organization in which the clerics of Bane had a very big influence, and which had a kind of civil war when Bane was killed and his clerics were devided into followers of the new gods Cyric and Xvim. And given that Iíve never seen banelars anywhere else, except as an updated stat block for the D&D 3.5 edition, I suspect very strongly that these are from either a 2nd edition adventure or from a novel. I still think they are quite interesting, being these huge and very smart snakes who are actively involved in the poltics of evil temples and criminal organizations.


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Beasts of Malar

Beasts of Malar are awesome. The illustration alone is enough to make me want to use something like this in my games, and the description and abilities arenít bad either. Malar is the FaerŻnian god of Hunt and Slaughter, and the Beasts of Malar are incarnations of just that. While not terribly big, these things are the ultimate killing machines. Not only arge they extremely strong and tough, they are alost just as intelligent as humans. There is in fact only a single type of beast, but they are shapechangers who can shift between the forms of a big cat, a wolverine, and a bat. They have black fur and always appear to have their faces, paws, and back splattered in blood, and all forms have huge teeth and claws. They can only be hurt by magical weapons, but even then they regenerate almost all wounds very quickly and can only be destroyed with the magic of a priest or druid or blessed weapons. There isnít really much to them, but I think other than being sized up to Large, I wouldnít really change aynthing. These are totally mean looking things of blood rage with huge teeth! What more could you want?


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Chitine & Choldrith

The Chitine is one of my favorite D&D monsters and one of the things that make me see the Forgotten Realms as more than just a ďgeneric fantasy settingĒ, which it really isnít. Itís not even ďgeneric D&DĒ. Chitines are a race of humanoids that are somewhat smaller than humans and have six long arms and insect like eyes and mouths. Other than being trained in using three weapons at once and having an aversion to very bright light, they donít really have any notable special abilities. While they look savage and live in relatively simple villages deep below the ground, they are actually even smarter than most humans. They donít have any wizards for some reason, but are lead by the Choldrith, who look even more like spiders and are priestesses of the evil spider goddess Lolth. The chitines are said to have been originally created by the drow as slaves, but even though the two races serve the same deity, they have a deep hatred and hostility for each other and are mortal enemies. They have been around in D&D for much longer than 3rd edition, but Iíve never actually seen them appear in any sourcebooks or adventures for 2nd edition, while they had plenty, if admitedly minor appearances in 3rd edition. I am not quite sure what I find so compelling about them, but I think part of it is the idea of having a humanoid race of similar size and abilities to human, which at the same time is also highly inhuman.

banthesun
2015-04-12, 07:08 AM
Alright, I've finally caught up on this, and it's a good show as always (I'd lost the safari in the transition)! However, I'm a little sad my favourite monster from the Fiend Folio got skipped over, so if you don't mind, I'll do a little writeup for it. Hope I'm not disrailing your thread or anything! :smallredface:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/4/41/Victim_of_throat_leech.JPG/200px-Victim_of_throat_leech.JPG
I've always found the Throat Leech the strangest creature in this book, and considering the same page has a metal bird that shoots boiling water, a wasp with a human face, a creature with three of everything (including three tentacles which the book admits to having no idea what they do), and a sentient damage buff, that's quite the feat!

The Throat Leech, is, quite simply, a leech that bites people only if they swallow it. While that already paints a rather disgusting picture, it doesn't quite explain what role it has in an adventure. The only way you could possibly swallow it is drinking unfiltered water. It's apparently a whole inch long, so you'd really have to not care for sanitation to actually swallow the thing.

Once someone has actually been stupid enough to swallow the horrid thing, it starts sucking blood and has a 50% chance of choking the victim each round, with three successive rounds of choking being instant death. Removing the thing is more of a problem though, with the book stating that the only way to get rid of it is by sticking a burning wire down the poor victim's throat to kill the leech. What? Did this game of magical healing just ask the players to know some obscure and horrid medical procedure? And even if they do figure that out, I don't remember seeing lengths of metal wire on any standard equipment list. And if you have a fire to heat the metal, WHY ARE YOU DRINKING TAINTED WATER!?

So this monster, that no one in their right mind would ever be exposed to, and which represents slow horrid death for anyone who is somehow manipulated into drinking it, somehow deserves a full entry in this book? Can anyone think of a use for this monster at all, other than straight up killing a random PC?

Inevitability
2015-04-12, 09:04 AM
So this monster, that no one in their right mind would ever be exposed to, and which represents slow horrid death for anyone who is somehow manipulated into drinking it, somehow deserves a full entry in this book? Can anyone think of a use for this monster at all, other than straight up killing a random PC?

http://i.imgur.com/WA9TwtG.png

The PC's are traveling a desert, but their water supply has run out. Fortunately, they come across an oasis. Certainly their hardships are over n... crap, throat leaches.

Groups of throat leaches have managed to form a symbiotic relationship with an ooze and now swim within its acidic body. When the ooze engulfs people, the leaches quickly slither down the victim's throat. In return, they provide the ooze with an additional chance for prey, as the leaches' victim may die even after escaping the ooze.

A mad priest dedicated to the god of vermin has contaminated a lake with those leaches. Not only are thousands of animals getting killed by those creatures, the priest is also animating the corpses of the animals! If the PC's are not quick, all nearby villages will be destroyed by undead animals, their bodies still filled with leaches.

Barrels of expensive ale have been filled with throat leaches by an unknown enemy of an innkeeper. The innkeeper pays the PC's to remove the leaches and then guard the remaining barrels.

Half-red dragon throat leaches. Boiling the water won't work, sticking hot wires down someone's throat won't work, well-aimed Fireballs won't work.

Yora
2015-04-13, 06:05 AM
I was looking at the monster list of the 5th edition Monster Manual, and I can say right out that I'll never be convering that one. 90% of the entiries are bland standard stuff you see in every edition monster manual, every retroclone, and even most other western fantasy RPGs. The other 10% are just terrible:

Azer
Cockatrice
Darkmantle
Flumph
Galeb Duhr
Hook Horror
Intellect Devourer
Jackalwere
Magmin
Nothic
Piercer
Scarecrow
Shield Guardian
Water Weird
Xorn


Why Galeb Duhr, Magmin, and Xorn? Those are the most bland and pointless things in the history of D&D. While are they still around?

The only creatures I think are nonstandard and interesting are grell, myconid, and thri-kreen. Which of course are all over 30 years old.

Joe the Rat
2015-04-13, 09:42 AM
Seinfeld is unfunny, eh? Yeah, there's nothing in the 5e that wasn't in prior editions of the game. The only thing that'd be worth looking at is the few cases where they really rebaked the fluff.

They do seem a little flumph-obsessed this time around.

Yora
2015-04-13, 10:25 AM
The generic creatures get excused for being in the Monster Manual 1, because the whole purpose of the book is to cover all the basic critters people are familiar with for the new rules system.
But when they try to add a bit more unusual stuff, I think their picks are pretty terrible.

However, the list of really bad and forgettable weird monsters seems much shorter than it was in 3rd edition, so that's some slight progress.

Yora
2015-04-16, 05:42 AM
I got both the Earthdawn and Numenera monster books, and they look quite promising. I think there's enough material for weeks to come.

But now, more Forgotten Realms goodness:

The Chosen One is essentially a ghoul who causes temporary Constitution damage instead of paralysis. It doesnít say why it is named that way, and only that chosen ones are made by the Red Wizards of Thay as servants. Very weak entry. (Variant Ghoul +1)


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Crawling Claws

Crawling claws, on the other hand, are awesome. They also are the other hand, as they are created only from left hands taken from dead or even living humanoids. They donít have any special abilities or fancyful backstory. They are just animated hands that crawl around and attack people, which is cool and fun enough by itself. Creating one is only a 3rd level spell and each claw is automatically under the command of its creator. For some reason the spell is also evil, even though nothing about it indicates why. Ah well, alignment! Never made any sense, never will.


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Darkenbeasts

I am not sure where the idea of monsters being the creation of crazy wizards comes from, but it might very well have been Forgotten Realms. Darkenbeasts are somewhat reptilian and bat like monsters created from ordinary small animals by the Red Wizards. As their name hints at, darkenbeasts can not tollerate sunlight and after each ten minutes of exposure there is a 25% chance that the magic will end and the monster return back into an animal. In addition to being winged servants with a high resistance to magic, a wizard can also use a darkenbeast to store a spell for later. When the darkenbeast is near its master, he can retrieve the spell and aim it at whatever target he pleases, which destroyes the darkenbeast in the process. I think these are cooler than winged monkeys.


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Deepspawn

The Deepspawn had the potential to be one of the truly iconic weird monsters of Dungeons & Dragons, but somehow it remained limited to Forgotten Realms and didnít really make any appearance after 2nd edtition. Itís on the cover of Lost Empires of FaerŻn, but I think thatís it. When I first got into D&D with the Forgotten Realms campaign setting box (the 3rd edition FRCS had not been released yet), I thought that this creature was the fourth member of the exclusive group of aboleths, beholders, and illithids. But no itís not, which is a shame. The deepspawn is a monster with a large spherical body over 5 meters in diameter and has six long tentacles. Three of the tentacles are used as arms, while the other three end in large maws full of sharp teeth. Its eyes are all over the body. The deepspawn by itself is not a terribly dangerous fighter and has only little magic abilities that would make any difference in a fight, but is completely immune to any poison and has a high resistance to magic. Its main ability is to spawn copies of any kind of living creature it has eaten, which takes between 1 and 4 day for each spawn. As a result, a deepspawn is never encountered alone but always surrounded and protected by a considerable force of other monsters it created. While the spawning ability is a bit dubious to me, I really do like its appearance and the idea that something like that would be the mastermind of a dungeon that rules over all the lesser monsters. The deepspawn got updated in Lost Empires of FaerŻn, since the stats here are pretty shoddy. Size got increased from Large to Huge (which for a 5 meter sphere with long tentacles seems more correct), Strength got increased from measly 19 to 29 and Charisma bumped up from 4 to 10, which makes much more sense for something with Intelligence and Wisdom of 17. Now that looks a lot meaner, like something of this appearance should.


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Ghour

As demons go, the Ghour doesnít seem particularly exciting or noteworthy. Itís a big creature that looks like an oversized hybrid of a minotaur and an ogre and has all the abilities of regular D&D demons. But itís its description and context that make it shine. Ghours are most commonly found as servants of the demon lord Baphomet, who is mostly worshipped by ogres, giants, minotaurs, and the like. What makes them interesting is that these demons are not presented as monsters to be encountered on journeys into the Abyss, but instead frequently come to the material plane where they gather small armies of worshippers of their master. Fighting a gang of ogres and minotaurs is already a pretty cool setup for a mid-level range adventure, but when it turns out that they are actually led by one of these guys, I think it immediately becomes a few steps cooler. Ghours can be pretty intelligent, much more so than their average minions and even many heroes who fight them. Like most demons and devils, they also have a couple of magic powers, though in the case of a ghour, they are not too impressive. But still, casting blasphemy and teleporting around as many times as they want could really ruin peoples day.


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Deep Dragon

As Dungeons & Dragons is concerned, you can never have enough dragons. In addition to the ten standard variants, there are also several ones native to the Forgotten Realms, five of which are in this book. The Deep Dragon is one of the more interesting ones. I admit, I am very easily impressed by a good picture, and this Todd Lockwood illustration is awesome. Going with Wayne Reynolds as the main artist is one of the main things that makes 3.5e feel so noticably different from early 3rd edition. Deep dragons are cool. As the name implies, these dragons are native to the Underdark. While their wings imply that they were originally from the surface, their bodies are highly adapted to living in caves, being much more slender and thinner than most types of dragons. They are also of relatively small size, similar to black and white dragons. They are also natural shapechanger, which usually is found only in good dragons and not the evil ones. From a very young age they can turn into a snake, which allows them to navigate even very small passages, and a few years later they also develop the ability to take on the shape of any type of humanoid they wish. They are also very intelligent, even for dragons, which makes them very well suited for infiltrating any underground cities. If they make alliances with any of the Underdark races, itís usually with the drow, as the two creatures have the most in common.


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Shadow Dragon

Shadow Dragons are a very unusual type of dragons and have some kind of very strong connection to the Shadow Plane. They are usually found in the Underdark and then commonly in the very most deepest region, far below the depths adventurers from the surface usually get to reach. They have a high degree of control over the darkness, allowing them to completely block all light around them or making themselves virtually invisible. Their breath weapon is particularly nasty and forces any creatures hit by it to make a rather tough saving throw or have several character levels drained. Fighting a an older shadow dragon without a death ward spell on everyone would be extremely difficult.

One of the other forms of dragons in the book is the Song Dragon, which you really could also just call a Harper Dragon. Because thatís what it is. Itís super charismatic, can transform into a beautiful human female, speaks every language, and is virtually impossible to detect as a dragon when in human form. And of course, they are completely devoted to helping people, protecting the land, and fighting evil, while hiding their true dragon nature. Donít use Dragon Sue in your game, there is no way to do it in a way that wonít piss of your players. Fortunately people realized that and I am not aware of song dragons appearing anywhere outside this book.


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Dragonkin

There isnít much description about the Dragonkin, at least in this books, and they donít really have any special ability other than flying. Many of them are allied with the Cult of the Dragon, an organization I believe was pretty important in 2nd edition, but never made any appearance in 3rd, as far as I am aware. The most interesting thing about them is that they very much strike me as proto-dragonborn, which became one of the player character races in 4th edition.


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Dread Warrior

The Dread Warrior is a better kind of zombie, created by the Red Wizards of Thay. (Who else?) They are raised from fallen soldiers and retain some of their mind and abilities, making them more like ghouls. Not terribly creative, but ghouls with weapons and armor and some kind of military organization are pretty cool, I think. (Variant Ghoul +1)

--

Monsters of FaerŻn Cliche Creature Counter:

Evil Apes: 0
Variant Ghouls: 3
Demon Dogs: 0
Skeletons with Robes: 0

hamishspence
2015-04-16, 06:23 AM
Many of them are allied with the Cult of the Dragon, an organization I believe was pretty important in 2nd edition, but never made any appearance in 3rd, as far as I am aware.

They are in the 3.0 FR Campaign Setting book, the Lords of Darkness book, Dragons of Faerun, and quite a few other things. 4e had references to them, and 5e's Tiamat adventure is about them as well as about Tiamat.

Khedrac
2015-04-16, 06:44 AM
I am not sure where the idea of monsters being the creation of crazy wizards comes from, but it might very well have been Forgotten Realms.
Err, actually probably the novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

In D&D history, the oldest I know are those in module X2 Castle Amber (remember the "magen"?)

Actually I am certainly wrong about Mary Shelley. For one thing there is the original tale of the golem (but I don't think that that is much older).
Then, I am sure that some of the tales of 1001 Nights will include monsters created by evil mages.
Etc.

In fact, I suspect that all through history, there have been tales of people creating monsters to plague others...

Yora
2015-04-17, 02:26 AM
Making monsters artifically is old.

Making every monster artificial is a D&D thing, I believe. If it's not from Greek mythology and not some kind of spirit, it's usually hinted to be the work of a wizard in some book.

BWR
2015-04-17, 03:39 AM
Wizards being the origin of many weird monsters is common in Mystara, including pegataurs and gnolls (or was it trolls? Either way it was one half gnome and one half one of the others).

Yora
2015-04-17, 03:57 AM
Thouls. Part troll, part hobgoblin, part ghoul. But I think something weird was going on with the gnolls too.

Yora
2015-04-21, 06:18 AM
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Ghaunadan

The Ghaunadan is a slime creature very much unlike any other in Dungeons & Dragons. In addition to being an ooze, it also is a shapechanger that can take the form of any kind of humanoid. It is also far from mindless like other oozes and instead a highly intelligent creature. Itís slime has a paralysis effect on living creatures and it also can easily disarm enemies by pulling their weapon into its body. A ghaunadan also has a limited form of charming gaze, which gives it a significant boost to all Charisma checks against a creature it has charmed, which makes ghaunadans excelent for infilitrating humanoid cities and palaces. Ghaunadans are associated with the ancient and evil god Ghaunaur, who rules over slimes and all kind of weird Underdark creatures and is sometimes worshiped by drow. Since all his traits are basically the same in every way as those of the demon lord Juiblex, I always consider them to be actually the same being. I donít remember seing any hint of ghaunadans in any works older than this book, so itís quite likely that they were inspired by the Shapechangers from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, who are mostly the same thing but can also take the shape of objects and nonhumanoid creatures.


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Fog Giant

I canít really say anything about the Fog Giant, other than itís a giant without special abilities who ranks in power between a stone giant and a frost giant, but is taller than either. But look at this picture! When this guy hits you, youíre paste!


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Phaerlin Giant

The Phaerlin Giant is a creature native to the Phaerlin region of the Underdark in the Forgotten Realms, which lies under the huge Anauroch desert and was once the location of the mighty wizard empire Netheril, but is under control of the phaerimms (more on those later). Phaerlin giants look like slightly mutated stone giants and live entirely underground, which I think is a neat idea. Reminds me of grimlocks. But their stats in this book are pretty wonkey. They are probably the only creature in D&D that is size category Huge and has a Challenge Rating of 3. Like any self respecting Underdark creature they have magic resistance and being primitive and feral they can sense nearby creatures by scent. Almost 70 hit points is also nothing to laugh at, but their backs are bent so badly that they move only very slowly. And for some unexplained, but nonmagical reason, they are so terrifying that characters who fight them have to make a saving throw or suffer penalties to all their attacks and saves because of fear. This is usually an ability reserved for the most powerful beasts and inhuman abominations. Here it just seems out of place. I like the cave giant from Pathfinder a lot more.


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Golems

Usually I am not a fan of more types of golems, but the Gemstone Golems are a pretty cool idea. As golems go, they are not too terrifyingly powerful. But unlike other golems, the spirits that animate them are not forced to follow any order to the letter, which prevents them from any form of initative of creative planning, making them effectively mindless. Gemstone golems have more freedom, which makes them much more difficult to control, but also enables them to act and fight much more smarter. Unlike other golems, gemstone golems donít have any really nasty trickes up their sleeves and attack simply by punching, but can be extremely difficult to damage. They donít have a lot of hit points, but very high armor class and any weapon that is not heavily enchanted will just bounce off doing nothing. The ruby golem is the easiest to damage, but it also just regenerates almost all damage it takes. Iím not quite sure how players would even scratch these unless they know what needs to be done to damage them and also have the required (and very expensive) weapons at hand. I probably wouldnít use these golems, but the idea of crystal golems that look like this is cool.

The Thayan Golem is a special kind of human sizes clay golem. Itís basically a terracotta archer. Unlike many other creatures in this book, the Challenge Rating for this one isnít set too low, but much too high. This looks more like CR 4, not 8. As constructs it takes magic weapons to damage them, but it can also be done if you just hit them really hard. Their resistance to magic is also pretty low and not a huge problem. As seems tradition with this book, they have one completely random immunity, which is that they can not be harmed by the magic missile spell. Iím sure that will come up a lot in actual play. Obviously, these golems are made by the Red Wizards of Thay.


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Green Warder

The Green Warder is a living plant, though I would probably make it a fey instead. But treants are also plants in D&D, so yeah. Green warders can be found in the great forest Cormanthor, where they used to be used as guardians by the elves of the great ancient city Myth Drannor. They are exceptionally well suited for that task, and given the great magical power of Myth Drannor, I wouldnít be surprised if these creatures were created through magic. A green warder consists of leafy vines that are grown to roughly the shape of a tall elf and are relatively smart, though somewhat simple minded creatures. They are not very strong or tough and their claws do only little damage, but obviously they are extremely good at hiding themselves among plants. They also have some very useful magic abilities. They can use the sleep and confusion spells to neutralize intruders, but any time a creature successfully resists these it becomes increasingly more resistant against them for the rest of the day. So simply spamming these spells over and over until an intruder drops isnít going to work. They also can set up alarm spells which create a loud birdcall whenever an intruder steps into the warded area, allerting the green warders and elven sentinels nearby. Green warders arenít really dangerous, but as support troops for elven or other woodland armies they can be really effective additions.


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Groundlings

Groundlings are another magical creation, but this time not by the Red Wizards of Thay, but by the Zhentarim. While the Zhentarim are controlled by the priests of Bane, who create all those Bane creatures shown earlier, groundlings are created in the main stronghold of a rival faction within the Zhentarim. They are still the same gang, though. A groundling is a badgerlike creature created through magic from a dwarf. And I think the illustration does a good job of showing that relationship. Supposedly Zhentarim wizards create them to hunt down their enemies, but groundlings are not really very dangerous and I donít see how they would be a useful resource for Zhentarim leaders, who have a lot more dangerous minions in their ranks. Still, I quite like the look and think there could be something interesting done with them. They are probably from some kind of adventure, where they have a bit more context.


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Draegloth

The Dreagloth is what The Tygre described as ďthe aftermath of a Black Metal album coverĒ. A draegloth is a specific type of half-demon created from a drow priestess of Lolth and a glabrezu demon (which is a 5 meter tall giant with four arms and a dog face). And it looks exactly as youíd expect it. A two and a half meter giant drow with four arms and a somehwat doglike face. A draegloth is violent and savage, but actually highly intelligent just like its parents, and gains most of the immunities from either side. I think they first appeared in the seventh or eighth Drizzt novel, but I hadnít seen any picture of one until this one. And it absolutely kicks ass. A draegloth is like a blend of Wolverine and Blanka, just as pure and bloodthirsty incarnation of violence. I actually quite liked the War of the Spiderqueen novels and I think the draegloth Jeggred was one of the coolest characters. With the rest of the characters all being archwizards and high priestesses, they often underestimated him and dismissed him as stupid. But draegloths arenít stupid or unaware of the finer details of intrigue that go on around them. They just donít care (which is not the term I used in the post on my website) about anything and exist only for carnage.

--

Since this thread is about monster that could be interesting to use in unusual ways you don't commonly see with generic standard monsters, any thoughts you might have on them would be very appreciated. I'd really live to hear other peoples thought on what about those critters seems interesting and original, and how they could be used in creative ways.

hamishspence
2015-04-21, 06:26 AM
Groundlings are another magical creation, but this time not by the Red Wizards of Thay, but by the Zhentarim. While the Zhentarim are controlled by the priests of Bane, who create all those Bane creatures shown earlier, groundlings are created in the main stronghold of a rival faction within the Zhentarim. They are still the same gang, though. A groundling is a badgerlike creature created through magic from a dwarf. And I think the illustration does a good job of showing that relationship. Supposedly Zhentarim wizards create them to hunt down their enemies, but groundlings are not really very dangerous and I donít see how they would be a useful resource for Zhentarim leaders, who have a lot more dangerous minions in their ranks. Still, I quite like the look and think there could be something interesting done with them. They are probably from some kind of adventure, where they have a bit more context.
I remember them from a short story in Realms of Valor - the protagonist, the young son of a highwayman, rescues his father and Prince Azoun from them - and parleys this into his father's agreement that he not have to carry on the family business.

He then goes on to star in one of the Harpers series of novels - Ring of Winter.

Yora
2015-05-05, 05:26 AM
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Helmed Horror

The Helmed Horror is probably one of my favorite monsters of my favorite monster book. I first saw these guys in Baldurís Gate back in í99, and they were terrifyingly strong. Good times. On first glance, the helmed horror is simply an animated suit of armor. But like many monsters in this book, itís made into something much more interesting by giving it a small handful of magic abilities. Compared to true golems, it is relatively weak. But golems in Dungeons & Dragons are absolute terror beasts, so this guy is still amazingly dangerous. The main ability of a helmed horror is that it can make the blade of any weapon it holds burst into flame, covered in magic ice, or charged with lightining. It really only increases its damage by 1d6 points of damage, but itís still an impressive looking effect that immediately tells everyone they mean business. They can also see any invisible creatures, which makes them great guardians for wizards. In addition to being made of full plate armor and difficult to hit, they are also have all the immunities of constructs and are enchanted to be completely immune to three specific spells. Usually those will be classic attack spells like fireball or lightning bolt, and while casting a spell that affects everything in a large area on a single enemy is not particularly effective, there arenít that many other spells that can really hurt helmed horrors to begin with. As constructs, they are already immune to almost all illusions, enchantments, and necromancy spells. Disabling a helmed horror other than by hacking it to pieces is quite the challenge. Fot added fun, it also has the spells air walk and feather fall, which make it almost impossible to use the terrain against it. Pits and barriers wonít stop it at all, and even though being a heavy suit of armor, a helmed horror is just as fast as any ordinary human. Itís a ****ing Terminator.


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Hybsil

The Hybsil is one of the rare fey creatures in D&D 3rd edition, which for some reason never got much love beond the dryad, nymph, pixie, and satyr. Hybsils look like a small deer with the upper body of a small human or halfling with short antlers on their head. Though individually they are quite weak and vulnerable, they usually live in groups of several dozens and their high speed combined with their reliance on bows and arrows can make them formidable opponents. They also have the magical abilities to move without leaving any tracks and to greatly increase the distance of their jumps, which makes them amazingly well suited for ambushs. For emergencies, they also have a few magical sleep arrows they get from pixies, which can knock out many enemies instantly. They are also lead by druids and have their own rangers and sorcerers, which makes things a lot more complicated for any potential attackers. Picking a fight with any hybsils in their forest homes is much more dangerous than it looks from seeing just one or two of these small creatures.


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Leucrotta

The Leucrotta is a dangerous predator based on sketchy descriptions of hyenas by the Romans. This creature simply runs with it and is exactly what was described. It has the body of an antelope, the tail of a lion, and the head of a badger, It is as large as a horse and has jaws that can even bite through armor. Leucrottas are intelligent creature and completely evil and violent. They simply live for killing. Quite surprisingly to many people, they also can talk and are very capable of immitating the voice of other animals and even people. These guys are some really viscious murder machines and that they are very able at climbing and jumping doesnít make things better for anyone.


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Malaugrym

The Malaugrym are a race of alien shapeshifters from another dimension who travel through the shadow plane to reach the world of Toril. They resemble in some way both beholders and grells, but are almost always encountered in the guise of a human or other humanoid creature. However, if they want to they can take the shape of pretty much anything. Other than that they have no really remarkable abilities, but are often high level wizards or rogues. To be frank, their description here sucks. These are clearly enemies from some novel, who probably have a complex and interesting background, but the creature presented here really is just a shapechanger that can change into anything.


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Nishruu

A Nishruu is a mistlike creature that feeds on magic. While intelligent, they do not talk and can not be mentally controlled in any way. Any spell targeted at them has no effect and simply makes them grow larger and when it is in contact with magic items it drains or temporarily disables them. When they come into contact with a spellcaster, the spellcaster loses prepared spells ever round. The only thing that can really hurt them are fire and cold spells, which it can not absorb. The idea is quite interesting, but fighting them is probably going to get very frustrating for players. Slaying one would likely require a small expedition and trying lots of different methods, but I donít see how they could slay one as a regular wandering monster in a dungeon if they donít already know what can kill it. Still, as the centerpiece of an adventure a nishruu might be a pretty interesting opponent.


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Peryton

The Peryton is one of the truly bizarre creatures in D&D, and it wonít be a surprise to anyone that it originally appeared in the Fiend Folio (though with all the weird stuff in that book, it doesnít really stand out much). I think itís actually a creature from Greek myth, and a hyper-violent intelligent bird monster seems just the kind of critter they would love. Fits right next to harpies, sirens, and erinyes. A peryton is a large eagle with the head of a wolf and the antlers of a stag. It hates everything and only wants to kill and take the heart from its victims. Itís not particularly interesting, but probably can make for a nice addition to any adventure.


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Phaerim

The Phaerimm are the Forgotten Realms reply to the Greyhawk weirdness that is beholders, mind flayers, and aboleths. These huge flying worms not only look bizarre, they are also extremely intelligent and powerful sorcerers. They appeared way back in the book FR13: Anauroch, but only became really relevant in late 2nd edition. They are the ancient enemy that destroyed the wizard empire Netheril by turning its land into the Anauroch desert, forcing the Netherese to flee to all corners of the world. While the Netherese were a pretty big deal, I wouldnít be surprises if many Forgotten Realms fans have never heard of them. Native to the Underdark, they are a race of evil overlords who even enslave mind flayers and beholders within their domain. Fortunately, one of their enemies created a magical barrier that trapped the phaerimm in a large section of the Underdark, which know about matches the area of the Anauroch desert on the surface above.


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Genasi

Like tieflings and aasimar, Genasi are humanoids who are descended from magical creatures from other worlds. Instead of demons or angels, the ancestors of genasi are usually genies or other somewhat humanoid elemental creatures. Genasi first appeared in the Planescape book Planewalkerís Handbook, but to my knowledge the setting never really did much with them. I think probably because it focused much more on the dozens of heavens and hells, while the elemental planes always played a relatively minor role. For reasons completely unknown to me, genasi were picked up a few years later in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting book for 3rd edition, even though they didnít really have any role in this setting before. While they never were huge, genasi really were mostly Forgotten Realms creatures in 3rd edition, but got even more appearances in 4th. There really isnít much to say about them. They have a small bonus to one ability score which is compensated by an equal penalty to another score, and they get a laughable tiny bonus to resist spells of their element and a single spell they can cast one per day. Crunch-wise they completely suck, but I really love the idea of people who have the blood of spirits in their ancestry which comes from the elements instead from angels or demons. And while the illustration in this book is pretty bad, there are plenty of really great ones in other books.


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Tanarruk and Feyíri

The book also has two unique types of tieflings. The Feyíri and the Tanarruk. Both are connected to the fortress Hellgate Keep, which makes me strongly suspect that they are from the same adventure or novel. The Feyíri are the descendants of an ancient elven family that tried to increase the magical strength of their bloodline by interbreeding with succubuses. It worked, and the first generations resulted in half-fiend elves, with their later offspring being feyíri tieflings. Eventually the demonic elves where discovered and mostly destroyed, but a few survived and disappeared for centuries. And now they are back. Feyíri mostly have the abilities of both elves and tieflings, but also can change their shape to appear like normal elves and have a few additional magic powers, which vary by individual. I personally really like these guys. Evil demonic elves! I canít really defend my position here, because every single element seems totally cliched and overdone. But they donít only work as substitute emo-vampires, but also as really cool decadent Sword & Sorcery warlocks.

The tanarruk are creations of the demon rulers of Hellgate Keep, who bred them from lesser demons and orcs. Despite their much more savage look, they are actually smarter than normal orcs and a lot tougher. As a nasty surprise, they have a very high resistance against fire and also some immunity to magic, which makes them really well suited as shock troopers to charge at enemy wizards.

Solaris
2015-05-05, 10:34 PM
Perytons were in the 1st Edition Monster Manual. If Wikipedia is to be believed, they come from Jorge Luis Borges's Book of Imaginary Beings. I thought they came from Greek mythology, too, but evidently not.

Yora
2015-05-07, 06:20 AM
And here is the last one:


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Sharn

The phaerimm were weird, but the Sharn are even weirder. They are large black creatures with three eyeless heads and three arms that each end in three hands with three fingers and an eye in each palm. Like that phaerimm, they are powerful sorcerers but also clerics and they can create three small portals through which they can stick their hands to cast spells at targets behind walls, around corners, or similar situations. To make things worse, sharn are always under the effect of the haste spell, which under the rules version of this book allows them to cast two spells every round. Not surprisingly, these creatures are so alien that they are immune to any magic that manipulates their minds or changes their bodies. A somewhat unusual quirk is that no magic can change the shape of another creature to look like a sharn. Why that is the case seems to be simply an oddity of the universe. While the sharn are both very weird and alien, they are thankfully not really evil and they also hate the phaerimm. In fact it was the sharn who created the magical barrier that trapped the phaerimm under the Anauroch desert. These guys are some really trippy stuff. They first appeared with the phaerimm in the sourcebook Anauroch, which I didnít know was actually written by Ed Greenwood himself. Itís strange that they have such a tiny presence in the Forgotten Realms. I only ever saw them in this monster book and the Return of the Archwizards novels, which are about the return of the Netherese Empire from the Plane of Shadow, which got the phaerimm all rilled up.


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Siv

The Sivs are a race of frog people similar to the classic bullywugs, but also very different. While bullywugs are primitive savages, the sivs are as smart as humans and usually Lawful Evil, and even have training as monks. Iím not sure if thereís a kung-fu toad style. They also have the ability to run on the surface of water, which is very kung-fu indeed. It all looks like a quite intriguing idea, but sadly there isnít really any useful description to how they behave and what they want.


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Tall Mouther

The Tall Mouther is classic old-school D&D weirdness. Itís a big head with a big maw and six arms, covered in blue fur. Otherwise itís a bit like an ogre and especially loves to eat halflings.


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Tomb Tapper

The Tomb Tapper is one of the more mysterious creatures of the Forgotten Realms. They are huge golems that resemble humans, but have no face. Instead their large mouth is in the center of their stomach and they donít have any eyes at all. Tomb Tappers only exist to search for and collect magic items. They are usually found deep underground where they are digging into ancient tombs and subterranean ruins. Not only are they incredibly strong and very smart, they are also almost impossible to hurt with all but the most strongly enchanted weapons and can sense their environment perfectly in total darkness. They were originally created by the wizards of Netheril to fight against the phaerimm and destroying nonhumanoid spellcasters (including mind flayers, aboleths, and so on) is the one thing that has a higher priority for them than collecting magic treasures. Rumor has it that the tomb tapper take all the magic items they find to a single location deep below the Anauroch desert, which very well might be the greatest treasure hord and collection of magic in the whole world.


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Tyrantfog Zombie

Remember all the Bane monsters at the start of this book? Hereís more! The former high priest of Bane and later high priest of Banes son Xvim created the Tyrantfog Zombies as a means to destroy the rival clerics of the new god Cyric, many of which had been priests of Bane before. Once touched by a strange green fog, they would fall ill and die. Then they would rise as zombielike undead that continue to spread the magical fog through the world. Thankfully the fog that flows from their mouths and holes in their rotting bodies does not have the power to create more tyrantfog zombies but only drains the strength from living creatures that get too close to them. When injured by the claws of the tyrantfog zombie, they spread a terrible disease that can permanently cripple anyone who gets infected, even if they survive it.


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Beasts of Xvim

The Beasts of Xvim are another creation of Xvims high priest. They are normal animals that get magically transformed to get bigger, stronger, and utterly evil. They are always black with green glowing eyes and glowing green mist coming from their mouths. Once created, these beasts have to kill living people and devour their souls. (Demon Dog +1)


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Curst

The Cursts are once mortal warriors who had been killed by the forces of the death god Myrkul while inside zones of wild magic douring the Time of Troubles, when the gods of the Forgotten Realms walked the world in physical for and spread lots of chaos and destruction. The curst are undead and somewhat insane, and also almost impossible to destroy. As long as the head remains, the rest of the body can magically grow back. They are not evil, but their insanity still makes them a serious threat.

--

Monsters of FaerŻn Cliche Creature Counter:

Evil Apes: 0
Variant Ghouls: 3
Demon Dogs: 1
Skeletons with Robes: 0

Fantasy Safari Score:

Evil Apes: 18
Variant Ghouls: 19
Demon Dogs: 16
Skeletons with Robes: 9

Yora
2015-05-27, 03:00 PM
Came upon another nice collection of creatures, so I felt like doing another entry:

I reviewed Spears of the Dawn (http://spriggans-den.com/?p=1994) a few weeks ago, and itís a nice little setting I recommend to anyone with interest in non-European influenced fantasy campaigns. I also really love the new classes and magic system based on Basic D&D that work much better for spellcasters in a Sword & Sorcery setting than standard clerics and wizards. But in addition to all that, Spears of the Dawn also has a short and very nice collection of monsters, which made me want to make another Fantasy Safari post.

As part of the funding campaign, all the art from the book was given away freely, which is always very nice when doing this series.


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Spears of the Dawn

Spears of the Dawn by Sine Nomine Publishing, 2013; 11 pages of monsters.


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Eloko

Eloko are a race of tiny people who look just like humans but have grass instead of hair and wear clothes made from leafs. However, there is nothing endearing about these little guys, as they like to eat humans. Lone hunters are a welcome meal for groups of eloko, but they have a particular taste for the flesh of women. Before they reveal themselves to their prey, they make their presence known by the ringing of tiny bells, which have the ability to cloud the thoughts of any human to the point where they will simply stand around motionless while being devoured alive. If someone can resist the mind numbning ringing of their small bells, eloko are still much more dangerous than their small size makes them look and a single one fights about as well as a fully grown crocodile. In groups they can be a real threat to small parties of adventurers.


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Eternal

The Eternal are probably my favorite monster of Spears of the Dawn and the major antagonists of the setting. When their evil kingdom was facing defeat by the five other realms of the Three Lands, they turned to dark magic to make themselves immortal. After their death, a magic ritual made their bodies return to a state of unlife, where they need to neither eat, drink, sleep, or even breath. Nor do they bleed and they are impossibly to truly destroy. Stabbing wounds donít harm them at all and the only way to really harm them is to break their bones or chop off their limbs. While they are able to exist deep in the deserts or underground without any food or water forever and can not be killed by weapons, their unliving nature also makes them unable to heal as they are still corpses. The only way to restore their mangled bodies after suffering the effects of injuries, blasting sand, and the blazing sun is to feed on human flesh. And that already tells you pretty much everything you need to know to understand why they are such a terrifying menace on the Three Lands. They are a lot like vampires in many ways, but also distinctively different creatures. They do not have to feed on humans, but if they do not the ravages of time and the environment quickly take a heavy toll on their dead flesh. They are not harmed by sunlight and in fact nothing can really destroy them. The only way to deal with them permanently is to decapitate them so they are unable to feed and heal their injuries, but even when burned to ash and their bones are ground to dust, their immortal spirits remain, unable to gain a new body or truly die. And like vampires, many eternal sorcerers know the old rituals and can raise the corpses of their enemies to be their slaves forever. Spears of the Dawn is an interesting setting in itself, but the Eternal are what really is selling it to me. They are somewhat similar to an idea I had for my Ancient Lands settings, and I got a whole number of new ideas I want to include from the Eternal.


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Fanged Apes

Old friend, we meet again! The Fanged Ape is Spears of the Dawns version of the Evil Ape. The stats of fanged apes are just like those of any other big apes youíll come across with no special ability whatsoever other than being as smart as people. But Crawford managed to given even these generic brutes a bit of a new interesting twist by describing them as sometimes raiding human villages in the night to steal children in their sleep to eat. Thatís already a lot more sinister. One group lives in the mountains and likes to ambush human hunters and warriors with rockfalls. A great example of how a good monster really isnít about looks or abilities, but itís almost entirely their behavior that makes them interesting and frightening. Remember the apes from Princess Mononoke? These guys could easily be portrayed as just as creepy, without the sympathy for their plight.


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Ghost

Ghosts of the Three Lands are mostly like youíre used to from any other settings. They are the restless souls of the dead who linger on as incorporeal spirits. While they are not exceptionally strong, they are difficult to hit even with magical weapons and their touch drains the life force from the living who dare get too close to them. But there are a few new ideas for them too. Destroying a ghost is relatively easy if you can hit it and avoid its touch, as simply dealing enough damage with magic weapons and spells will force them to depart to their afterlife. Ghost always haunt the place of their death and never move far away from it, but most disappear after sunrise and only returning at nightfall. However, there are many exceptions to that rule and some ghost can fight even in the sunlight, take possession of corpses, or even make their own bodies out of earth or wood to attack any who draw their rage.


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Giant

The Giants of the Three Lands look very much like large humans with perfectly black skin, but are believe to be in fact immortal spirit who were each created by the gods at the dawn of the world. They are all highly cultured and wear rich clothes and jewelry and each one of them is a great warrior and craftsman. Since they are few in number and become fewer with every one that is slain, most giants are solitary, but many have large numbers of human servants and slaves. They are believed to be the first children of the gods and most despise humans for being both so much weaker and still being favored by the gods. The houses of these giants are often dangerous mazes full of traps to kill human intruders, and even if the giant is dead, its home can hold many wonderous treasures that are not found for many generations.

An Ilomba is a spirit that serves the gods of the underworld and has the form of a snake. They seek out witches or priests to become their assistants in leading worshipers of the underworld gods and offer them many magical gifts. When bound together, both the ilomba and its master are invulnerable to normal weapons, but if one of them dies, they both die. The master also gains the magical powers of a low-level sorcerer. In turn, the ilomba gains the ability to perfectly assume the appearance and voice of its master, which allows him to seemingly be in two places at once and decieve any who might spy on him to discover the leader of the cult. While this all sounds pretty nice for the master, I also notice that this doesnít mean that he is really in charge. He has no real power over the ilomba and the snake can just as well impersonate him before his own followers or deliberately leave hints of his involvment with any crimes it wants to blame on him. The bond between master and ilomba can only be severed by the ilomba and if the master would try to kill the snake he would also die himself. Since the ilomba is a devious evil spirit from the underworld itself, I canít really see how anyone making a deal with it wouldnít get screwed over in the end. This creature is less than a quarter of a page and only five sentences of description, yet itís one of the most intriguing monsters Iíve come across in all the many monster books Iíve read.

The Kishi is another malevolent spirit who appears as a very handsome young human man with a rich mane of hair. However, it has two faces and when it attacks it turns its head around to reveal the face of a hyena on the other side and strikes with its long fangs. Looking just at the stats, it doesnít have any special abilities. It either attacks with a weapon when posing as a human, or with its fangs. The only difference is the amount of damage it deals. However, a kishi always tries to disguise its true nature until right before it attacks to eat an unsuspecting human it manages to catch alone. They often appear like lone but charming travelers who seem like pleasant company on the road, or present themselves as young noblemen from distant lands or exotic entertainers. But no matter their disguise, their real goal is always to separate people from a crowd to devour them. Kishi are a lot like werewolves but instead of turning into a beast at night and being regular people at day, they are always on the hunt and actually much more dangerous as they are able to lure their victims into traps. Again, just a quarter of a page of stats and description, but a great setup for an adventure or even a mini campaign. Werewolf stories will be familiar to all players, but when the monster is actually fully in control of itself at all time, things get shaken up quite a lot. People disappearing and bloody remains being found in dark corners could be almost anything and a charming young men who mingles with the rich and beautiful might quite likely the last person the players would suspect.


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Leopard Cultist

Leopard Cultists are shapechangers very similar to werewolves and are humans who can transform into leopards to prey on other people. But unlike werewolves, leopard cultists are not the result of a curse or disease, but actually worshippers of leopards and their strength who love turning into a beast and welcome it. They are almost never alone and can appear in quite large groups and are always on the hunt for human prey as sacrifices for their beast gods. Simple cultists are merely somewhat mad humans who dress as leopards to hunt for other people in the night with claw-like knives, but the true initiates can turn into real leopards. This is an adventure that writes itself. First a village appears to have a growing problem with leopards and ask adventurers for help, who then discover that itís really a mad cult who hunt people in animal disguise and sacrifices. But just when it seems the situation is about to get under control, another big twist reveals that some of them are not just mad but can actually become leopards. This makes the old generic European werewolf look rather bland and boring by comparison.

I thought this would be super short, but actually I think I need to split this up into two parts. For just 11 pages, this is really remarkable. Almost everything that is not a normal animal is worth talking about.

Talakeal
2015-05-27, 03:38 PM
I was looking at the monster list of the 5th edition Monster Manual, and I can say right out that I'll never be convering that one. 90% of the entiries are bland standard stuff you see in every edition monster manual, every retroclone, and even most other western fantasy RPGs. The other 10% are just terrible:

Azer
Cockatrice
Darkmantle
Flumph
Galeb Duhr
Hook Horror
Intellect Devourer
Jackalwere
Magmin
Nothic
Piercer
Scarecrow
Shield Guardian
Water Weird
Xorn


Why Galeb Duhr, Magmin, and Xorn? Those are the most bland and pointless things in the history of D&D. While are they still around?

The only creatures I think are nonstandard and interesting are grell, myconid, and thri-kreen. Which of course are all over 30 years old.

I would say cockatrices are a pretty dang generic monster. Also, I really have a soft spot for xorn, hook horros, and intellect devourers as they all scream D&D to me. As for the other stuff, yah, I have no idea why it would be in the first book. Maybe they needed them to introduce a variety in creature types or abilities?

Yora
2015-05-28, 08:05 AM
The Moatia are a race of short old men with yellow skin who walk with a limping gait. All of them are powerful sorcerers who live alone deep within the forests and warn away any intruders with markposts made from bones. They are often wicked and cruel, but are also very skilled healers who have medicine and powders to cure any ailment in existance. They never provide services for free though, and the prices they demand can be very steep or appaling. Moatia donít use any weapons or attack with their hands, but fight entirely with their magic. They remind me quite a lot of central European witches in their behavior and role.

The Night Men are a race of humans from outside the Three Lands, but all of them are savage and deformed, but almost nothing is known about them other than that they sometimes cross the river at night and raid villages on the southern border. When they attack, they always do so in large hordes, and are usually led by a very powerful sorcerer or shaman. These raiders destroy villages and take large numbers of captives, which they take back to their jungles to be sacrificed in ancient ruined temples. Some people think that they are evil spirits or actually animals that have been transformed into human-like shapes.

The Obia is a spirit in the shape of a large leopard or jackal that serves sorcerers and witches as a guardian or to abduct people and bring them to them. Either to become their wives or for other unspeakable purposes. An obia can grasp a victims in its mouth without hurting them and then run off into the night at very great speed leaving barely any traces. Only the greatest hunters have any chance of tracking them down and find the place where the victims are held. Defeating the sorcerer and his obia guardian is a whole different story altogether.

The Rompo is a large beast that looks like a huge starved rodent and feeds on human corpses. Like ghouls, they often make their lairs in old tombs or cemetaries, feeding on the remains of those burried there and slaying any travelers or explorers that come to store their bodies to be eaten later. When investigating the disappearance of people near an old tomb, there is a good chance of finding the rompos food stores before encountering the beast itself. Rompos are very smart and while they donít speak human languages, they sometimes gather in large groups on graveyeards. The howling of a group of rompo at night has a hypnotic effect on any humans nearby, which makes them especially dangerous.

The Sasabonsam are a race of winged men with red hair who often abduct people by snatching them up into the air and carrying them to their dark temples as sacrifices to their bat gods. Few people have ever seen these lairs of the sasabonsam and returned to tell of them, but often these creatures are led by an evil sorcerer or a moatia. Seems to me like a lot of monsters in the Three Lands like to abduct people and carry them to a hidden lair. I wonder if that is a common theme in West African myth.


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Umthali

Canít really have a desert heroic fantasy setting without snakemen, do you? Umthali fulfill this role in the Three Lands. They are the distant descendants of humans and intelligent snakes from the early days of the world and serve the dark gods of the underworld but were driven out by the gods and their human followers. Normal umthali warriors are not special in any way, having basically the same abilities like humans. They are lead by very powerful shamans, though. Like the yuan-ti from Dungeons & Dragons, umthali have many different shapes with some of them appearing almost human, While the serpentmen of Robert Howard had the ability to change their shape to that of specific humans, these creatures here seem to be straight copies of the Yuan-ti. I would have loved to see some new ideas for them, especially given the strength of many other creatures of the setting.


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Walking Corpse

A Walking Corpse is in many ways like a zombie, but itís merely dead and not a rotting husk of a man. Shamans can create them, but only from bodies that have not been burried yet, as the souls of these have already departed into the afterlife. When a walking corpse is destroyed, its spirit still survives and lingers on, but the book doesnít say what would become of them.

Witches are people with a natural ability of sorcery. They can curse others simply through the force of their will and it might take many years until their powers are revealed even to themselves. Often witches of a given area come together and meet in their dreams, and the leaders of these groups are often very powerful sorcerers. Many witches are not evil, but their powers only allow them bring harm upon others and canít be used to do any good other than hurting those who threaten their villages and families. These magic abilities can be removed by spells that can break powerful curses, but only if the witch truly desires to do be rid of the powers. Otherwise they quickly return.

I am really surprised at how much great stuff is here on so very few pages. Itís almost two great monsters on every single page. Even really great monster books donít come anywhere near to this. The monsters are also all really extremely minimalistic in their mechanics. With the rules being one of the many B/X clones, the stat block consist only of nine numbers and the description is just the appearance of the creature and a brief summary of what it does with almost no word spend on any specific rules as they are so straightforward that they donít really need any more elaboration. Probably one of my favorite monster collections Iíve read so far.

Yora
2015-05-30, 12:44 PM
Anyone want me to copy my other posts here?

Talakeal
2015-05-30, 01:11 PM
I dont quite follow your first sentance in the walking dead entry about them being merely dead rather than the rotting husk of a man. Could you please elaborate?

Other than that great review! I look forward to more in the future.

Kriton
2015-05-31, 06:38 AM
The Phygorax is fascinating, being an undead fish. The spines on its back drain life energy, but it can not use them to attack. Instead it creates illusions that trick other creatures into touching it. Any creature that dies from this energy drain transforms into a phygorax itself. I wonder if the name is actually a Greek word that has a meaning or just some cool sounding letters.


Though I'm sure we could try to jam some meaning in "phygorax", I think it's just a word that sounds Greek.

Yora
2015-05-31, 06:50 AM
I dont quite follow your first sentance in the walking dead entry about them being merely dead rather than the rotting husk of a man. Could you please elaborate?
I think I misread that and mixed it up a bit with the Eternal. They actually are pretty much regular zombies. The only real difference is that the body is inhabited by its original soul and the soul can only die once. Now that it has returned to the world of the living, destroying the body does not get the soul back into the afterlife. Sadly, there is no mention of what happens to the soul after the body is no longer usable. Could be a ghost, but it doesn't say that.

TheCountAlucard
2015-05-31, 07:22 AM
Maybe it persists on in the same fashion as a "destroyed" Eternal.

Talakeal
2015-06-03, 01:44 PM
I think I misread that and mixed it up a bit with the Eternal. They actually are pretty much regular zombies. The only real difference is that the body is inhabited by its original soul and the soul can only die once. Now that it has returned to the world of the living, destroying the body does not get the soul back into the afterlife. Sadly, there is no mention of what happens to the soul after the body is no longer usable. Could be a ghost, but it doesn't say that.

Ok, that clears it up, thanks.

I do have a slightly off topic question though; I have gone back and read your entire blog (good stuff btw, thank you for writing it) and I see you talking about your Ancient Lands setting all the time, but I still don't quite get what it is for.

Maybe I am missing some context or a skipped over an introductory post, but what is the setting for? Is it a campaign setting for your group? Are you planning on publishing it as a generic campaign setting for anyone to use? Or is it going to be the backdrop for a game system / fiction series you are working?

It seems to be a really cool setting, and I am just curious what form it is eventually going to take.

Yora
2015-06-03, 01:51 PM
All of the above.

It's my home campaign setting and I want to do a clean writeup and put it up as a free pdf. And I also a a good number for ideas that don't work as rpg adventures, which I might write as stories instead.

I'm in the middle of overhauling pretty much all of it right now (though keeping probably 90% of the content I already have), so it's a bit chaotic and cluttered.

Yora
2015-06-06, 03:01 AM
Everything is trying to kill you!

And by that I mean everything!!! In D&D, nothing is safe!

Statues? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/caryatid.jpg
Caryatid Column (Fiend Folio, 1981)

Decorative Armor? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/mof_helmedhorror.jpg
Helmed Horror (Monstrous Compendium Annual Vol. 1, 1994)

Mushrooms are trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/mm_fungus.jpg
Violet Fungus (Monster Manual, 1977)

That treasure chest? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/mimic.gif
Mimic (Monster Manual, 1977)

Coins? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/locklurk.gif
Lock Lurker (Monstrous Compendium Annual Vol. 1, 1994)

Your sword? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/xaver.gif
Xaver (Monstrous Compendium Annual Vol. 1, 1994)

Your friends? Those are not your friends! They are trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/doppelga.gif
Doppelganger (Monster Manual, 1977)

Stalagmites are killing you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/roper.jpg
Roper (Monster Manual, 1977)

Stalagtites are killing you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/piercer.gif
Piercer (Monster Manual, 1977)

A rock? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/bowler.jpg
Bowler

That cloak on the wall? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/mm_cloaker.jpg
Cloaker (Monster Manual II, 1983)

The Wall is also trying to kill you.

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Stunjelly.jpg
Stunjelly (Fiend Folio, 1981)

As is the floor.

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/DDTrapper.jpg
Trapper (Monster Manual , 1977)

And the ceiling.

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/lurker.gif
Lurker (Monster Manual, 1977)

The hallway? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/mimigrea.gif
Greater Mimic (Ruins of Undermountain II, 1994)

That bridge? Trying to kill you, too!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/spanner.gif
Spanner (Fiend Folio, 1981)

The water? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/mof_aballin1.jpg
Aballin (Fiend Folio Appendix, 1992)

Snow is also trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/83054-e1433007393385.jpg
Snowflake Ooze (Monster Manual III, 2004)

That lovely oasis in the desert? Trying to Kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/dunetrap.gif
Dune Trapper (Monstrous Compendium Dark Sun Appendix I, 1992)

Your pets? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/mof_beastofxvim.jpg
Beasts of Xvim (Monsters of FaerŻn, 2001)

Bunny on a tree stump? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/DDWolf-in-sheeps-clothing.png
Wolf-in-Sheepís-Clothing (Monster Manual II, 1983)

Tumbleweed? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/plaguebrush.jpg
Plague Brush (Fiend Folio, 2003)

Sea weed? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/kelpangler-e1433007111913.jpg
Kelp Angler (Fiend Folio, 2003)

Flowers too!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/flowers.jpg
Death Blossoms (Monster Manual III, 2004)

And those garden plants want to especially kll you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/83064.jpg
Topiary Guardians (Monster Manual III, 2004)

Trust no one! Trust nothing! Set everything on fire! Kill it! Kill everything before it kills you!
I'd attack that Gazeebo too!

TheCountAlucard
2015-06-06, 10:01 AM
I'd attack that Gazeebo too!Just takes one animate object spell.

Inevitability
2015-06-07, 10:20 AM
Everything is trying to kill you!

And by that I mean everything!!! In D&D, nothing is safe!

Statues? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/caryatid.jpg
Caryatid Column (Fiend Folio, 1981)

Decorative Armor? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/mof_helmedhorror.jpg
Helmed Horror (Monstrous Compendium Annual Vol. 1, 1994)

Mushrooms are trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/mm_fungus.jpg
Violet Fungus (Monster Manual, 1977)

That treasure chest? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/mimic.gif
Mimic (Monster Manual, 1977)

Coins? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/locklurk.gif
Lock Lurker (Monstrous Compendium Annual Vol. 1, 1994)

Your sword? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/xaver.gif
Xaver (Monstrous Compendium Annual Vol. 1, 1994)

Your friends? Those are not your friends! They are trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/doppelga.gif
Doppelganger (Monster Manual, 1977)

Stalagmites are killing you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/roper.jpg
Roper (Monster Manual, 1977)

Stalagtites are killing you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/piercer.gif
Piercer (Monster Manual, 1977)

A rock? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/bowler.jpg
Bowler

That cloak on the wall? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/mm_cloaker.jpg
Cloaker (Monster Manual II, 1983)

The Wall is also trying to kill you.

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Stunjelly.jpg
Stunjelly (Fiend Folio, 1981)

As is the floor.

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/DDTrapper.jpg
Trapper (Monster Manual , 1977)

And the ceiling.

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/lurker.gif
Lurker (Monster Manual, 1977)

The hallway? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/mimigrea.gif
Greater Mimic (Ruins of Undermountain II, 1994)

That bridge? Trying to kill you, too!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/spanner.gif
Spanner (Fiend Folio, 1981)

The water? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/mof_aballin1.jpg
Aballin (Fiend Folio Appendix, 1992)

Snow is also trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/83054-e1433007393385.jpg
Snowflake Ooze (Monster Manual III, 2004)

That lovely oasis in the desert? Trying to Kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/dunetrap.gif
Dune Trapper (Monstrous Compendium Dark Sun Appendix I, 1992)

Your pets? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/mof_beastofxvim.jpg
Beasts of Xvim (Monsters of FaerŻn, 2001)

Bunny on a tree stump? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/DDWolf-in-sheeps-clothing.png
Wolf-in-Sheepís-Clothing (Monster Manual II, 1983)

Tumbleweed? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/plaguebrush.jpg
Plague Brush (Fiend Folio, 2003)

Sea weed? Trying to kill you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/kelpangler-e1433007111913.jpg
Kelp Angler (Fiend Folio, 2003)

Flowers too!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/flowers.jpg
Death Blossoms (Monster Manual III, 2004)

And those garden plants want to especially kll you!

http://spriggans-den.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/83064.jpg
Topiary Guardians (Monster Manual III, 2004)

Trust no one! Trust nothing! Set everything on fire! Kill it! Kill everything before it kills you!
I'd attack that Gazeebo too!

Obligatory link (http://media.oglaf.com/comic/howtheygetyou.jpg). Note that the rest of the comic is NSFW.

Talakeal
2015-06-07, 12:39 PM
Everything is trying to kill you!

This reminds me of this article: http://www.somethingawful.com/dungeons-and-dragons/monstrous-manual-adnd/10/

To quote:


The legendary sea hermit poses a significant danger to the unwary. When first encountered, this creature appears to be nothing more than a lonely, benevolent person living in a huge shell on a deserted beach. It can appear as a human, demi-human, or humanoid, acting the role of a recluse happy to have visitors and offering travelers shelter within its shell-home.


Steve: Oh, just a dude living in a giant shell on a beach. No big deal at all.


Zack: Just to explain this full thing, the Sea Hermit is a giant, super-intelligent hermit crab creature that can turn himself into a human. His giant shell is actually a literal house and his goal is to trick people into going inside so he can imprison them and study them.


Steve: Considering how everything in D&D turns out to be some monster, even floors, ceilings, and doors, you would think a giant creepy shell would be a bad way to trick people.


Zack: Maybe D&D people are just conditioned to expect the reverse. Chests are monsters, floors are monsters, so therefore some weird guy by himself on a beach living in a monster sea shell must been an okay guy.