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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    I suspect the Flesh Golem is on the low end of CR 5 and only avoids CR4 due to its long list of immunities and Magic Resistance.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    Maybe he knew, but just didn't care that much, thinking "gorgon" sounded better than "catoblepas" - so using that as the name (and making it more overtly bull-like).
    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    If you know you're using a word "incorrectly", but do it anyway for Reasons, is that not a form of failing your Knowledge check? Alternative gorgons!
    Quote Originally Posted by Regitnui View Post
    I really can't think of a reason for the misnaming, beyond "medusa sounds cooler so what's a gorgon?"
    Apparently, Gygax DID have a Knowledge fail, in the sense that he and his buddies went up to look for monsters in a book, and the book they looked on was full of inacuracies.

    Same reason why DnD Lamias are centaure-like half-lions.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Same reason why DnD Lamias are centaure-like half-lions.
    Except in 4e, where a lamia was a shapeshifting swarm of black scarab beetles.

    Because.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    I think what happened is that Gygax made an error, which is excusable given he was working pre-internet, when you basically just had to go with the sources you had in front of you. And by the time third edition rolled around, the inaccuracies had calcified into part of the D&D tradition so that even with the means to fix them (internet) it would have been heretical to do so.

    That's how you get things like entire suits of "Splint" armour, "Ring mail", general misuse of the term "mail". Cloth armour being useless, and its replacement with "leather" and worse "studded leather" in most works of fantasy.
    Last edited by War_lord; 2017-04-11 at 09:34 AM.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by War_lord View Post
    I think what happened is that Gygax made an error, which is excusable given he was working pre-internet, when you basically just had to go with the sources you had in front of you. And by the time third edition rolled around, the inaccuracies had calcified into part of the D&D tradition so that even with the means to fix them (internet) it would have been heretical to do so.

    That's how you get things like entire suits of "Splint" armour, "Ring mail", general misuse of the term "mail". Cloth armour being useless, and its replacement with "leather" and worse "studded leather" in most works of fantasy.
    And a shield being not all that good instead of one of the most critical items - et cetera.

    Entire empires (Roman, Zulu) have been built around the idea of "big shield + stabbing weapon".
    This ... is my signature finishing move!

    "It's never good when you make a fiend cringe" - MadGrady

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by War_lord View Post
    That's how you get things like entire suits of "Splint" armour, "Ring mail", general misuse of the term "mail". Cloth armour being useless, and its replacement with "leather" and worse "studded leather" in most works of fantasy.
    Hey now, they are real things. Splint is at any rate, although it seems to be largely restricted to protecting the long bones like in vambraces, rerebraces, greaves, and cuisses. Ring seems to be an misinterpretation of Bayeux Tapestry depictions of regular chain. Leather armour probably was a real thing, if only because it could actually work, but there's no way it was soft leather like a heavy biker jacket.

    At any rate D&D is full of Victorian anachronisms since at the time that was the academic consensus on a bunch of Medieval technology, and divergent view points (which are now the consensus) would have just started to get published in academic journals at the time. Gygax and company wouldn't have had access to those when they could have just gone to the public library which which undoubtedly would have had books which would be considered laughably out of date now.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    And "Studded Leather" is a misunderstanding of the nature of Brigandine, which is actually a Gambeson or Leather backing with steel plates riveted onto it. Boiled Leather was probably used to some degree, but that's very different to the fantasy "leather" that D&D started the myth of. The lack of Gambesons (or rather the level one obsolescence of "Padded") is actually the thing that really bugs me.

    Don't get me wrong, I know that it's matter of out of date scholarship, and that GG and Co didn't have access to modern research on the subject. I just brought it up to remark on how a lot of what started as errors and misunderstandings has now passed into tradition. It's rare now to see a fantasy game that doesn't have Rogues running around in Studded Leather.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    And a shield being not all that good instead of one of the most critical items - et cetera.

    Entire empires (Roman, Zulu) have been built around the idea of "big shield + stabbing weapon".
    And guys just walzing around in full plate with a Greatsword all day every day without any fatigue or hygiene issues. And the existence of the "Flail" weapon. We could basically go on for ever.
    Last edited by War_lord; 2017-04-11 at 01:40 PM.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by War_lord View Post
    And "Studded Leather" is a misunderstanding of the nature of Brigandine, which is actually a Gambeson or Leather backing with steel plates riveted onto it. Boiled Leather was probably used to some degree, but that's very different to the fantasy "leather" that D&D started the myth of. The lack of Gambesons (or rather the level one obsolescence of "Padded") is actually the thing that really bugs me.

    Don't get me wrong, I know that it's matter of out of date scholarship, and that GG and Co didn't have access to modern research on the subject. I just brought it up to remark on how a lot of what started as errors and misunderstandings has now passed into tradition. It's rare now to see a fantasy game that doesn't have Rogues running around in Studded Leather.



    And guys just walzing around in full plate with a Greatsword all day every day without any fatigue or hygiene issues. And the existence of the "Flail" weapon. We could basically go on for ever.
    Oddly, Tunnels and Trolls got some of this stuff right - they did have padded cloth, they said leather was boiled, the said plate was not full plate which was only usable by knights, et cetera. Not that many years later, but a lot of stuff was corrected. Or maybe Ken St. Andre just had better books.
    This ... is my signature finishing move!

    "It's never good when you make a fiend cringe" - MadGrady

    According to some online quiz, I'm a 6th level TN Wizard. They didn't give me full XP for all the monsters I've defeated while daydreaming.
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  9. - Top - End - #249
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    my copy of the AD&D 2nd ed PHB has leather armour being made from leather boiled in oil to harden it and notes that ring mail may or may not have existed. and also has padded armour listed alongside (and as being equally effective as) leather armour.

    i dunno about the original stuff, since that's the first D&D book i ever owned, but D&D corrected a lot of the stuff you guys are complaining about too if it was inaccurate in the original books.

    (it does still have shields being pretty crappy though. sort of. i mean, they're actually quite significant if you already have good armour class from other sources, in that they can cut the number of times you are hit in half if you have enough AC. but they should probably be a lot more effective when you aren't already super hard to hit anyways).

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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    And a shield being not all that good instead of one of the most critical items - et cetera.

    Entire empires (Roman, Zulu) have been built around the idea of "big shield + stabbing weapon".
    Luckily shields are much better in this edition. The lack of power spears have is what annoys me though. The longsword is the weapon of the gentry. What if my adventurer is a bit lower down on the pecking order?
    "The chance of him being trampled by my vampire horses is 90%"

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by War_lord View Post
    And "Studded Leather" is a misunderstanding of the nature of Brigandine, which is actually a Gambeson
    Brigandines aren't tied to gambesons.


    Quote Originally Posted by Spellbreaker26 View Post
    Luckily shields are much better in this edition. The lack of power spears have is what annoys me though. The longsword is the weapon of the gentry. What if my adventurer is a bit lower down on the pecking order?
    The longsword is the weapon of anyone who has access to it. As for the spear, well, there is a reason why you see Polearm Master shows up often in optimization threads.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    D&D has a late Medieval tech level. By that point if you could afford a Sword you could have one.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    The longsword is the weapon of anyone who has access to it. As for the spear, well, there is a reason why you see Polearm Master shows up often in optimization threads.
    Longswords are significantly more difficult and expensive to make than spears. They were the weapon of the gentry far more often than ordinary soldiers. Polearm Master is good for the Chinese style of spear wielding but I also like the Hoplite style and it's really hard to make that.
    "The chance of him being trampled by my vampire horses is 90%"

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Spellbreaker26 View Post
    Longswords are significantly more difficult and expensive to make than spears. They were the weapon of the gentry far more often than ordinary soldiers.
    That's why I said " of anyone who has access to it". Though I suppose a historical longsword (not what DnD calls a longsword) would still be uncommon. People would use arming swords (what DnD calls longsword). Or a messer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spellbreaker26 View Post
    Polearm Master is good for the Chinese style of spear wielding but I also like the Hoplite style and it's really hard to make that.
    I don't really see what's hard to about that, could you explain?

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Hoplite was spear and shield, I think.
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    polearm master doesn't work with spears. you have to get rid of that pesky pointy bit on the end, or turn it into a blade or axe head. (honestly, i have no idea why spear doesn't work... it really should... mechanically speaking it's pretty much just a pointy staff, and staff works just fine, so why not spear?).

    oh, and also, you can technically use polearm master with a staff one-handed. so in the event that you're houseruling that it even works with spears, i recommend you keep the one-handed bit (but simply explain it as a quick thrust with less power behind it, and make it do piercing damage). it's certainly far less silly than what officially does work, so why not?

    alternately, you could also make spear + shield work with shield expert instead.
    Last edited by SharkForce; 2017-04-12 at 10:50 AM.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    We are wandering pretty far away from Gorgons.
    This ... is my signature finishing move!

    "It's never good when you make a fiend cringe" - MadGrady

    According to some online quiz, I'm a 6th level TN Wizard. They didn't give me full XP for all the monsters I've defeated while daydreaming.
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    We are wandering pretty far away from Gorgons.
    As should do most people who aren't high-level adventurers.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    As should do most people who aren't high-level adventurers.
    As should most people whose challenge rating is under 1.
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Grick
    Introduction
    First appearing in the 3rd edition monster manual, it's the Gricks! They live in the Underdark. They eat passerby. They look like stony snakes crossed with very lethal daisies. One of the more aberrant aberrations.

    Art
    It definitely gets the "Hey this thing is weird and dangerous" vibe going. As usual, no sense of scale. I sort-of feel the beak ought to be divided into 4 pieces rather than 2, for symmetry with the tentacles. That's probably my inner engineer getting in the way of my fantasy gaming, though.

    Fluff
    Another mindless predator for you to fight. Not much in the way of personality or tactics. They do travel in groups, but don't cooperate in the hunt. There's also the grick alpha , which is pretty much just a larger grick.

    Purpose and tactics
    Ambush predator, will ambush you. These guys blend into stone, live in a place naturally full of twisty little passages, and can climb. Imagine these 8' long beasties attacking from the ceiling in a place with a 10' ceiling, then dragging victims up into crevices. With a STR of 14 that might not work on a goliath, but they ought to be able to pull it off with elves and lighter folk.

    Hooks
    People have been disappearing in the side passages of the Mines of Gricklair. Can the party find out why?

    The underground lair of the Drow wizard Spellicus has only one obvious approach. What lurks in the shadows?

    The eccentric noble Moremoneythanbrains wants a grick alpha for his zoo. Can the party take one alive?

    Verdict
    Good monsters to keep people on their toes while traveling underground. Almost completely useless as plot hooks. They aren't smart and don't come out from underground to places where humans live. A useful monster for a dungeon ambush, though, and that's something.
    This ... is my signature finishing move!

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    grell. not grick. grick is a type of sprite, i think? or maybe pixie? (edit: nope, i'm thinking of grigs. saw he mentioned tentacles and a beak, and figured it was supposed to be grell he was putting in...)

    anyways, their first appearance was definitely before third edition. i have them in my 2e AD&D spelljammer monstrous compendium :)

    according to said entry, they are the "colonial" variant of an underground creature from oerth (in this case, "colonial" means they form colonies like ants, not that they form colonies like the british empire), so i presume they're from before that even, and originate in the greyhawk monstrous compendium (because my spelljammer one refers me to the greyhawk one if i want to know how their grappling attack works).

    in spelljammer, the grell are known for making ships that can transform into a humanoid shape, and for having lightning lances. they come in three castes, a semi-intelligent soldier/worker caste, a philosopher caste (basically middle management, some are spellcasters), and patriarchs, who basically build the ship around their body. their MC entry is missing a number of details though... like the range on their lightning lances, for example.

    their perspective on basically every other species is "they're not us, therefore they are food". they're known for basically eating everything in an area, and then moving onwards, and they definitely have a very technological feel to them in their equipment (spikes that suction onto the ends of their tentacles, lightning guns, transforming mecha-ships that can also shoot lightning, basically using the phlogiston as a source of rocket fuel, using a phasing warp drive more or less instead of a spelljamming helm in wildspace...)
    Last edited by SharkForce; 2017-04-12 at 02:33 PM.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    twisty little passages
    Nice shout out.

    Yeah, gricks are boring as creatures. They're obstacles, part of the environment, not really monsters with a deep fluff or personality.
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    It seems you jumped over the Grell so I suppose I will take care of that aberration.

    Introduction
    Originally introduced to the first edition of the game in the April/May issue of White Dwarf in 1979 and included in the original Fiend Folio, the Grell is a classic in the same vein as many other aberrations. It is a bit too weird for most to use but has entrenched itself in the tradition as a staple, being present in every edition since. It also shares a name with a certain cross-dressing, red-loving anime grim reaper which is oddly befitting.

    Art
    The way the Grell is depicted from a slightly upward perspective nicely enhances the fact that this is a flying predator meant to swoop in and drag the prey away. The way the tentacles hang in two neat lines is a bit too tidy for my taste, although it does portray them as this thing's appendages rather than just a tangled mess. There is some sense of movement in the way they hang to the side but it seems at odds with the way the Grell is facing. The integration of the beak to its brainy body is quite artfully done despite the concept bordering on silly. It would be more menacing but less unique as a brain with tentacles which melts and absorbs its prey.

    Fluff
    Unlike the Grick, the Grell is not mindless. It only has slightly above average intelligence, however. This appears to be because the standard Grell is but a measly worker in the service of the philosophers and the patriarch of a colony. They have always been described as solitary but used to have more developed colonies in at least some past editions. Plus, it seems that despite its appearance, this material is not actual brain matter but rather, a leathery membrane under which the Grell's sensory organs, digestive system, lungs, and actual alien brain all reside.

    Besides this, the Grell are described as having their psychology be defined by their place in the food chain. This includes their relations to things outside the food chain, defined as 'inedibles'. Whatever it can eat are 'edibles' and whatever can eat it are 'Great Eaters'. Since the Grell's blindsight does not distinguish much detail such as identities of individual humanoids, they can probably be assumed to mostly base their evaluations on creatures' sizes and general bodily features (and any observed behaviour - I wonder how they would describe herbivores too large to devour but identified as non-eaters of Grell - inedibles, perhaps, making the like stones to the Grell).

    Purpose and tactics
    Surprise - it is an ambush predator. However, it is specifically a trap-like ambush predator that cannot be sneaked past. Its blindsight has a limited range beyond which the Grell is oblivious. Thus, if they patrol an area, the party can outmanoeuvre at least a limited number of them. It can also fly, making it able to pick on the squishies in the back row who should be particularly susceptible to its paralysing venom.

    The Grell does not know Common or any other more widespread languages but can technically be parlayed with. This could be useful if someone in the party has, say, Comprehend Languages or Tongues - or just speaks Grell for whatever reason. Gaining the favour of an alien monster who just wants meat and can locate all living creatures in an area could be useful.

    Hooks

    People and cattle have been going missing near the entrance to a cave believed to connect to the Underdark. One survivor tells how one moment, their friend was walking behind them in the forest but in the one moment they lost focus, their friend disappeared with nothing but some rustling of the leaves overhead. What man-eating horror could have made its way out the cave?

    A Grell has been enlisted as a guard by Mind Flayers, acting as an omniaware sentry near the only entrance. However, the illithids do not understand how not all brain aberrations live off measly brains. Some need MEAT. Fresh, squishy meat. Can the Grell be distracted with the promise of animal prey or be convinced to let the party in if they give it food?

    One night, a meteor fell from the skies. Ever since then, no one has been able to approach the crater and return to tell the tale. Rumours speak of unsightly monstrosities which arrived with the meteor (in reality, a grell spelljammer) and which "abduct" anyone who trespasses. Is there truth to these rumours and can the menace be stopped before it spreads its tentacles?

    Verdict
    I am not that big of a fan of the vanilla fluff and look but this is a good foundation for interesting variations. Floating brain with paralysing tentacles is a fairly usable trope, after all. However, there are interesting things it can do both as a combat challenge and as a non-combat challenge if you can get past the inherent weird silliness of the monster.
    Last edited by VariSami; 2017-04-12 at 02:14 PM.
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    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Looks like I made one grell of a mistake.
    This ... is my signature finishing move!

    "It's never good when you make a fiend cringe" - MadGrady

    According to some online quiz, I'm a 6th level TN Wizard. They didn't give me full XP for all the monsters I've defeated while daydreaming.
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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    I had a fun thought: What if Intellect Devourers are baby Grell?

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    Lightbulb Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Okay, so I just caught up on the last three entries to the thread and I have some (brilliant) ideas.

    1: A grell is a brain with a bird-beak right? ... it is literally a bird brain (mind=blown)

    2:If you had an encounter with a gorgon and an iron golem shaped like a bull you wouldn't be able to tell which is which! they even both have dangerous breath! (I'm such a genius)

    Sorry for wasting your time, I just couldn't keep these thoughts within.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    One of the more aberrant aberrations.
    So much so that it is in fact a monstrosity.

    I don't know the reason for this classification. Is it because aberrations are now expected to have an alien mind and the grick is just predatory instinct?

    Also, seeing the grell and the grick next to each other in the MM, I still can't believe there is no connection between the two creatures.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by Shining Wrath View Post
    I sort-of feel the beak ought to be divided into 4 pieces rather than 2, for symmetry with the tentacles. That's probably my inner engineer getting in the way of my fantasy gaming, though.
    Eh, by that logic an octopus should have an 8 part beak.

    Quote Originally Posted by Millstone85 View Post
    So much so that it is in fact a monstrosity.I don't know the reason for this classification. Is it because aberrations are now expected to have an alien mind and the grick is just predatory instinct?
    I think it's that and that there's nothing inherently magical about them. Grick are weird, but in the same way deep sea life is, one could almost picture them as living in some forgotten corner of the real world.
    Last edited by ShikomeKidoMi; 2017-04-12 at 07:32 PM.

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Quote Originally Posted by ShikomeKidoMi View Post
    I think it's that and that there's nothing inherently magical about them. Grick are weird, but in the same way deep sea life is, one could almost picture them as living in some forgotten corner of the real world.
    That would explain the grick not being regarded as an aberration in this edition. Like, the Underdark has long been colonised by many alien things, but the grick is in fact a native species of these fantasy caverns.

    But then, I feel the grick should fall under the beast category. Monstrosities are supposed to be "not truly natural" and often "the results of magical experimentation gone awry" or "the product of terrible curses".

    Okay, monstrosities are also "a catch-all category for creatures that don't fit into any other type". But I see two potential fits here. Maybe the idea is to let us choose?

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    Default Re: Let's Read The Monster Manual II: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Fight Them

    Griffon
    Introduction
    Head, forelegs, and wings of a huge eagle, body of a lion, this amalgamation of two noble top-level predators has been with us since the beginning of D&D. The historical antecedents go back to the beginnings of Western Civilization, more or less, and are associated with royalty and gold.

    Art
    I don't like it. It appears as though the griffon is looking at the artist, holding a pose while asking "Is this good"? This is a creature that ought to be in motion, dynamic and fearless.

    Fluff
    They eat horses. A lot. And they can be trained as mounts, so long as you feed them enough they don't eat your neighbor's horses, or you. They aren't smart enough to have much in the way of personality or culture.

    Purpose and tactics
    Excellent harassers of parties traveling through the wilderness. With advantage on sight checks and a fly speed of 80, they can spot the party from afar, and swoop in upon the tasty mounts. They don't have flyby attack, though; it is arguable whether or not they must land to attack. Low AC makes them something of a glass cannon. A party leading horses up a narrow mountain path would hate to run into a few of these guys.

    Hooks
    The classic hook is, of course, the party that wants griffon mounts and will take the risk of raiding their nests for eggs.

    Amos Wellbranded, rancher, has been losing stock from his horse herd, and wants it stopped.

    The Pegasus Mail provides swift communication between cities for those who don't trust magical means. But travel through the Windswept Mountains is being interfered with by griffons treating the Pegasi as delivery pizza arriving fresh at their doorstep. The Mail must go through, so the griffons must be driven away.

    Verdict
    It's OK, I guess. It's really just a bundle of HP and attacks with some flight added. It can be useful for a DM in wilderness situations, and to players as a very cool mount (probably only behind a dragon, unless your DM is crazy enough to allow a roc). I feel like it deserves something more, though.
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