Friday, October 31, 2014

Mad Wizards and Demented Godlings

Achaierai: "Though the foul motives which caused these loathsome birds to be first summoned from the infernal depths are now lost from memory, remnants of the original achaierai flock still stalk the earth..."

Bulette: "The bulette (or landshark) was thought to be extinct until recently when this horror reappeared. It was the result of a mad wizard's experimental cross breeding of a snapping turtle and armadillo with infusions of demons' ichor."

Catoblepas: "Perhaps its habitat fetid swamps and miasmal marshes caused the bizarre combination of genetic characteristics in this monster, or perhaps it was due to some ghastly tinkering with life by a demented godling."

Death Knight: "The death knight and there are only twelve of these dreadful creatures known to existis a horrifying form of lich created by a demon price (it is thought Demogorgon) from a fallen human paladin."

Derro: "The derro are a degenerate race of dwarf-like stature, possibly a cross between evil humans and dwarves."

Dragonne: "A weird cross between a brass dragon and a giant lion..."

Gnoll (Rules Compendium): "Gnolls are rumored to be the result of a magical combination of a gnome and a troll by an evil magic-user."

Iron Cobra: "The invention of some great magic-user or minor deity, this segmented automaton is made of an unknown metal and shaped in imitation of a snake."

Killer Frog: "They are man-eating, specially bred mutants" created by (per Supplement II: Blackmoor) "a 'religious' order...[which] delved into the forbidden areas of study and determined that animals have more potential to populate the world than man, who was, after all, a biological abomination which would ultimately threaten the existence of all life....Combining the natural animals available with each other through the use of biological mutations and methods discovered in old manuscripts the Brothers began developing the killer frogs of the swamp."

Lava Children: "They are the unnatural offspring of a union between spirits of earth and fire."

Magnesium Spirit:
"It is believed that only three or four of these creatures exist, having been summoned originally to the Prime Material Plane, and stranded there, by an evil magic-user who died as a result of the strain of the summoning."

Minimal: "They were (and possibly are yet) created by means of spells similar to those that were so successful in creating giant reptiles, insects, amphibians and the like." (!)

Monsters of Palladium Fantasy: Even among high fantasy worlds, Palladium is unusually crowded with things born of insane tinkering, reckless summonings, and long forgotten curses. The ass-headed, peacock-tailed adram is probably "the result of some ancient, misbegotten enchantment," and the bearmen of the north of "some magical experiment gone awry." The three-headed beast dragon is thought to have been conjured to fight for one side or the other in the dwarf/elf wars, though "[n]either elf nor dwarf has ever taken credit." We've barely started the alphabet yet.

The harpies, rumor has it, were unleashed by the tantrum of a crabby high priest and his petulant deity. The loogaroo might be accursed witches. The immortal scarecrows were "originally created two hundred years ago by an insane diabolist/alchemist.... Hundreds were created as an army before the madman was slain." 

Also thought to be spawned by the conjury, perverse husbandry, or summoning of wizards, diabolists, alchemists, et alia: black jelly and green mold, the chimera, the pegasus and the peryton, the lizardoid eandroths, the grotesque maxpary, the sundevils, and the fell Worms of Taut.

Mud-Man: "Mud-men are formed in pools of mud where enchanted waters (even mildly enchanted ones, such as a stream eroding a magical structure) collect and evaporate and concentrate the dweomer." Hmmm, concentrated dweomer. Like, if the enchanted pond or whatever dries up could you glean dweomer like salt crystals?

Owlbear: "The horrible owlbear is probably the result of genetic experimentation by some insane wizard."

Peryton: "[L]ikely the result of the same type of experimentation as brought about the owlbear."

Quickling: "These small, slender, extremely fast-moving creatures are said to be a race of brownies who dabbled in magic and mysteries better left alone. Thus, legend relates, the little folk were changed into evil creatures of great maliciousness..."

Quickwood (Spy Tree): "It is said that the quickwood grows only through the magical offices of some great wizard (or possibly druid) who planted a mandragora root after ensorcelling it with mighty spells. Others claim that these weird trees are a natural progression of vegetable life towards a state equivalent to man's."

Retriever: "Retrievers are constructed by Demogorgon in his laboratories in the Abyss..."

Sahuagin: "The exact origin of the sahuagin is unknown. It is suggested that they were created from a nation of particularly evil humans by the most powerful of lawful evil gods in order to preserve them when the deluge came upon the earth. The tritons, however, are purported to have stated that sahuagin are distantly related to the sea elves, claiming that the drow spawned the sahuagin."

Shade: "All knowledgeable authorities agree that shades are, or were, normal humans who through arcane magic or dark sciences have traded their souls or spirits for the essence of shadowstuff....The method of transmuting from living being to unliving shade life has been lost."

Shock Bones (Arduin): "These are the practical joke of the mad techno 'Dirty Harry' and have fooled several very smug clerics."

Skeleton Warrior: "It is said that the skeleton warriors were forced into their lich-like state ages ago by a powerful and evil demi-god who trapped each of their souls in a golden circlet."

Sons of Kyuss: "Kyuss was an evil high priest, creating the first of these creatures under instruction from an evil deity. Since then the 'sons' have increased considerably in numbers."

Spirit Troll: "This odious creature is the product of perverted magical inter-breeding of trolls and invisible stalkers, thought the secret of its creation is lost and only thirty or so of these creatures are known to exist."

Stegocentipede: "It is probable that stegocentipedes developed on some far removed parallel world or were the creation of some insane genetic manipulator."

Teleport-Rose (Arduin): "A magikal creation usually conjured by a magician for a special reason."

Thoul (Rules Compendium): "A thoul is a magical combination of a ghoul, a hobgoblin, and a troll."

Vision: "Misguided research by a high-level illusionist (which led quickly to his death) created the visions summoned beings which appear as shadows."

Wizards of Mystara (Rules Compendium): Upon reaching name level, an independent magic-user "may build or seize a tower....After the magic-user moves into his tower, he may choose to build a dungeon beneath or near it....If, once one or more levels of the dungeon are completed, the wizard leaves an unguarded opening into the dungeon, monsters will be attracted and will build lairs." Perfect.

(All quotations from the AD&D Monster Manual, Fiend Folio, and Monster Manual II, the Arduin Grimoires Volumes 1 and 2, Palladium Fantasy's Monsters & Animals and the Rules Compendium. Achaierai by Russ Nicholson, Iron Cobra by Alan Hunter, both colored by Max the Younger. The Wizard's Shotgun by K.C. Green.)

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Hear This: Wizards! Witch Cults! Spell casters! Always conjuring the wrong sort of wildlife.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Their Own Weird Language

Mysteries of consciousness, sentience, and language.

Algoid: "[A] colony of algae which, assembled in [humanoid] form, has developed...a rudimentary intelligence."

Apsis: "Apsis drones speak their own language and 5% will be able to speak Common. They do not have a written language per se but may communicate by using subtle scents and perfumes."

Talks with its mouth full.
Babbler: "The babbler communicates with a kind of quasi-lingual babbling tongue which defies efforts at analysis and learning by humans. It can understand the common tongue in a rudimentary fashion."

Bat (Mobat): "These monsters have a dim, evil intelligence and a desire for shiny objects."

Bodak: "They speak the tongue of demons and demonic creatures well but remember few words of human speech."

Bonesnapper: "Though non-intelligent, the bonesnapper has inherited a primeval instinct for the collection of human bones, particularly jawbones, which it uses to decorate its subterranean lair. The number of such bones discovered in a lair will give a good indication of its status among its kind."

Boring Beetle: "These creatures are individually not of much greater intelligence than others of their kind, but it is rumored that groups develop a communal intelligence which generates a level of consciousness and reasoning ability approximating that of the human brain."

Blink Dogs: "These brown and yellowish creatures are as intelligent as normal humans and have a fairly complex language consisting of barks, yaps, whines, and growls.

Carnivorous Apes: "The beast has fair intelligence (IQ 70+) and is very cunning." Elsewhere, it is noted that hobgoblins "speak the rudimentary tongue of carnivorous apes."

A riddle, inside an enigma, wrapped in a, well, in a cloak.
Cloaker: "Though they are highly intelligent, their thought processes are alien to most races and usually only magic-users are able to communicate with them."

Dark Creeper: Their "language [is] incomprehensible to linguists."

Dire Corby: "They have rudimentary language (their attack cry can be recognised as 'Doom! Doom!' by those familiar with it)."

Dolphin: No mention of language but it seems assumed. They are Very Intelligent, lawful good, and some live in communities and keep swordfish or narwhals as guard animals and pets.
(Rules Compendium): Dolphins "have their own high-pitched language. They can communicate telepathically with other dolphins within 50 miles..."

Dragonnel: "These creatures have a dim intelligence and have been known to perform evil deeds at times."

Fire Toad: No mention of language or social organization but has Low intelligence (5-7) and will usually only attack if "threatened, molested or in defense of its treasure."

Fungoid Minds: The ascomid, basidirond, phycomid, ustilagor, and zygom are each given an "Unratable" Intelligence in their stat blocks. "Ustilagors have no intelligence or mind as defined by human standards, so mental attacks do not affect them. These monsters do, however, have some form of brain, for they have psionic powers."

Giant Beaver: "Giant beavers sometimes trade, and if coins or other valuables are offered they can sometimes be persuaded to undertake the building of dam-like constructions if there is water near the work site, for they use such water to work in/from."

Giant Eagle: "They have their own language and can also communicate through a limited form of telepathy."

Giant Harvester Termite: "Communications between giant termites are usually accomplished by touching of the antennae. In crisis situations, a broadcast telepathic call is sent out."

Giant Lynx: "Giant lynx speak their own language."

Giant Owl: "Giant owls speak their own language,...are intelligent and will sometimes befriend other creatures."

Gibberlings: "Though they clearly have a primitive means of communicating among themselves, they have no discernable language."

Gorbel: Despite being listed as Non-Intelligent, gorbels have personalities "mischievous, fickle and irritable."

Gray Ooze: "In exceptionally large individuals intelligence of a sort is well developed."

Grig: "[T]hey speak Common as well if they choose to slow their speech and pitch it downwards in scale."
Quickling: "Most can speak many words of Common, although at a high pitch and too quickly to be easily understood."

Hangman Tree: "A [hangman tree] can speak haltingly in Common learned over the years." (Learned from its victims? Like a parrot? *Tree voice* "Creaak! Help! Help! Creak! Chop it down!")

Harpy: "They speak their own language and none other."

Hook Horror: "A hook horror cannot speak but communicates with others of its kind by making clacking noises with the exoskeleton an eerie sound which can alarm the unwary as it echoes around dungeon corridors"

Ibathene (Arduin): "They are so stupid they sometimes fight on even after killed (1-20 turns, roll) because they don't know they're dead!"

Ice Toad: "The ice toads have their own weird language."

Imp: "Imps have average intelligence plus devilish cunning. As familiars they are able to call upon the intelligence of arch-devils."
Quasit: "Although intelligence is low, quasits are sly and cunning, and in certain situations they are able to call upon the thinking power of a demon lord."

Juju Zombie: "A hateful light burns in the monster's eyes, as it realizes its condition and wishes to destroy living things."

Kenku and Killmoulis: On facing pages, it's said of both the kenku and the killmoulis that they "appear to communicate with each other on the telepathic level." That is, kenku appear to have telepathy with other kenku, and killmoulis with other killmoulis, not the two species with each far as is known, I suppose.

Kuo-Toa: "[T]hey speak their own arcane tongue and can communicate with most fish by empathic means."

Manster (Arduin): "They're essentially free-willed flesh golems but must imbibe at least four quarts of human blood each day in order to keep functioning with free will." That right there is pretty messed up. Blood as consciousness? Could that be how vampires keep their freshly turned thralls subservient, by not feeding them enough to regain the free will they had while living?

Mimic: "The killer mimics do not speak, but the other [smaller] breeds have their own language and can usually speak several other tongues such as common, orcish, etc. For consideration they will usually tell a party about what they have seen nearby."

Mind Flayer: "These monsters speak only their own arcane language and several other weird tongues purportedly those of terrible races of things which dwell in regions of the subterranean world far deeper than mankind has ever ventured."

Mite: "So far as can be detected, they have no language as such their vocal twittering does not appear to convey more than very rudimentary information."
Snyad: "They have no language, so far as can be ascertained, yet a group will work co-operatively together, and they and the mites appear to be able to gain speedy mutual understanding in their common task."

Mongrelman: "They speak fragmented Common mixed with various animal cries and nonsense. Their names are almost always the sounds animals make."

Muckdwellers: "These monsters speak their own croaking-hissing tongue and possibly that of lizard men."

Mustard Jelly: Has an Average Intelligence per its stat block, and is described as "not unintelligent, [but] not known to value treasure of any sort." The ascetic philosophers of the jellies and slimes, given to contemplation when not seeping about in dungeons in search of prey?

Otyugh and Neo-Otyugh: "Otyugh speak their own language and are semi-telepathic, thus often able to communicate with other life forms when the otyugh so desire." The neo-otyugh "are slightly better at telepathic communication."

Raven (and Crow): "Ravens and crows have their own, limited language" of "raucous calls and, possibly, movements as well." "Certain ravens, including some huge and most giant specimens, can speak as many as 100 words of the common tongue and can communicate in meaningful phrases. Huge ravens tend toward a malicious disposition and are known to serve evil masters when opportunity permits."

Slime Creature: "The vegetable intelligence of slime creatures is of animal nature, but their cunning enables them to learn from experience. They can also use their cunning to lay traps. Slime creatures have limited telepathic communication with their own kind effective in a radius of up to 20"." What's that again? A vegetable intelligence of animal nature? Slime creatures are the originally humanoid or animal hosts for colonies of olive slime, so perhaps their brains survive, neurons and synapses overgrown with slime tendrils. Or perhaps this is just a case of it being awkward to edit the boss of the company for clarity.

Snow Ape (Rules Compendium): "Although they cannot make intelligible sounds, snow apes communicate with each other using a complex sign language. In addition, snow apes often leave messages for each other using a system of stacked rocks and snowballs."

Sussurus: "Though it has no language as such, a sussurus communicates with others of its kind by slight and subtle variation in the dronesong; however it is only very rarely that two sussuri are close enough together to communicate in this way."

Tasloi: "Tasloi speak their own language and can also speak the languages of monkeys and apes....Often they can be heard at night, speaking in their high and whispery voices."

Trapper and Miner: Each of these ambush hunters is listed as "Highly" Intelligent in its stat block. Maybe they're somehow related to the cloakers.

Vegepygmy: "Although they do not have a spoken language, they are capable of vocalized cries. Their major form of communication is a code of chest slappings and thumpings."

Whale, Narwhal (Rules Compendium): "It is an intelligent magical creature, very independent and secretive."

Worg ("neo-dire wolf"): "These creatures have a language..."
Winter Wolf: "They have their own language and can also converse with worgs."

Xag-Ya and Xeg-Yi: "High (mindless by human standards)"

Xaren: "Xaren speak a bizarre tongue but telepathy or knowledge of tongues can aid one in understanding them."

Yellow Mold: "When formed into great colonies of at least 300 square feet in area this growth will form a collective intelligence about 1 time in 6."

(All quotations from the AD&D Monster Manual, Fiend Folio, and Monster Manual II, the Arduin Grimoires Volumes 1 and 2 and the Rules Compendium. Babbler by Russ Nicholson, Yellow Mold unsigned but looks like David A. Trampier, both colored by Max the Younger; Cloaker by Erol Otus.)

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Hear This: What is language? It's a virus from outer space! It's impossible birds!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Rumor Has It That The Truth is Hidden

Or, Against Certainty

I like it when monster books include rumors and wild speculations about the origins, powers and goals of monsters. There's certainly room for a bit of Greenwoodesque cryptozoological minutia, but with too much explanation I think you end up losing some of the essential weirdness of a world full of monsters. Not everything about a monster needs to be known! Suggestingalongside a monster's statistics, description, detailed summaries of its arms and armor, its alliances and hatreds, its favorite foods, etc.that some of what's believed about it might merely be conjecture or legendry gives a monster life beyond the text itself.

Aboleth: "There are reports of huge underwater cities built by the aboleths and those they enslaved. But these reports, along with the stories of their vast stores of knowledge, have never been proven."

Death Dog: "These vicious hounds...are said to be the descendents of Cerberus; their loud penetrating double bark tends to lend support to this theory." Uhhm...if you say so my dude. I mean, doesn't a double bark just prove they have two heads?

Derro: "[T]hey venture out upon the surface of the earth at night through secret shaft openings to steal and kidnap humans for slaves. Rumor says that some humans are actually eaten as well....The derroes are said to have a major stronghold somewhere deep beneath the ground, and there their savants plot and scheme to devastate the upper world and enslave all mankind." These rumors were conclusively proven by Richard Sharpe Shaver, but he, like the Flat Earthers and Room 237ers after him, has gone sadly unheeded.

Elementals: "On the elemental plane of earth there exists a boss rumored to be of astounding size." "The ruler of all fire elementals is reported to be known as the tyrant." "It is possible that [the water elementals] are ruled by a god-like king." That the air elementals have a queen who is "both powerful and has certain magical abilities" does not, according to the text, seem to be in any doubt.

Eye of Fear and Flame: "It is said that the eyes of fear and flame were either created by the chaotic evil gods for the destruction of lawfuls, or by the lawful/neutral gods for their testing. The truth is hidden. It is rumoured that only about twenty of these creatures exist."

Fire Snake: "It is conjectured that fire snakes are larval salamanders."

Flying Turtles (Palladium Fantasy): "An extremely rare creature that myth says led mankind from barbarism to the beginning of civilization." Seems legit.

Frost Man: "To date, these creatures have only been encountered singly and the location of their lair, its type and their pattern of living are unknown. It is thought that there are villages of frost men, with females and children, buried in deep caves in mountains, mainly in cold regions. None have yet been able to establish the veracity of these rumours."

Guardian Familiar: "Its means of summoning, though they involve the casting of the find familiar spell, are known only to a small group of arcane magicians (and those few who they train in their specialist art) and are believed to involve bargaining with the denizens of the Outer Planes on which the guardian familiars dwell."

Harpy (Palladium Fantasy): "Although no religion admits to it, it's suspected that the harpies were the creation of one of the gods. Legend has it that a high priest, vexed at a petty crime, called down a great curse. The god responded, irritated and vengeful, with a plague of harpies....There is a second part of the legend that says when the high priest is destroyed, the harpies will be banished. However, the unknown cleric would have to be pretty old since harpies have been known for hundreds of years."

Kappa (Palladium Fantasy): "These malicious little creatures were once believed to be water sprites, but it is now known to be a strange, semiaquatic race said to be older than elves." From legend to fact to speculation in one world-building sentence. Only a nominal similarity to the kappa of Japanese folklore, by the way. These are little crab-hand dudes.

Kraken: "It is said that at one time these creatures were smaller, lived in shallow coastal waters, and had human worshippers who served them and brought them sacrifices."

Leprechaun: "Rumor has it leprechauns are a species of halfling with a strong strain of pixie."

Lizard Mage (Palladium Fantasy): "Rumor has it that the lizard mages were among the first rulers of the Palladium World....A separate claim has it that they created the race of elves! Certain cults actually take this nonsense seriously."

Minotaur (Palladium Fantasy): "The minotaurs were probably wandering vegetarians at one point. Large fields of bones in the Baalgor Wasteland testify to some concentrated effort to wipe them out." Driven into mazes and dungeons by range wars and overgrazing?

Pech: "No one knows what the pech actually are, or whether they are from the Prime Material or Earth Planes."

Quaggoth: "Little is known of these great white shaggy bipeds. Some say they once formed a warlike cannibal race their aggressiveness is unquestioned."

Sea Serpent (Palladium Fantasy): "Folklore says that the dark forces that rule the Land of the Damned nurture and breed sea serpents to guard its northern coasts."

Shocker: "It is quite clear that this creature does not have its origin on the Prime Material Plane, though its purpose in visiting that plane has not been divined; some say it is from the Negative Material Plane while others postulate the existence of an Electromagnetic Material Plane coterminous with all three Material Planes and the Elemental Plane."

Spriggan (Palladium Fantasy): "Their apparent mission in life is to erect large slabs of stone in a multitude of circular patterns....Why they build these pillars and stone-henge like circles is a mystery even to the Spriggans, who do what they do 'because!'"

Sussurus: "The sussurus is believed to have a life-span of over 1,000 years."

Triton: "Tritons are rumored to be creatures from the elemental plane of water which have been planted on the material plane for some purpose presently unknown to men."

Whale, Narwhal (Rules Compendium): "It is rumored that their horns vibrate in the presence of evil."

Displacer Beast (Rules Compendium): "It is suspected that displacer beasts and blink dogs both come from some faraway plane of existence, and are at war with one another throughout the dimensions." What.
A multitude of dimensions, entire universes...mere backdrop for an episode of Wild Kingdom.

(All quotations from the AD&D Monster Manual, Fiend Folio, and Monster Manual II, Palladium Fantasy's Monsters & Animals and the Rules Compendium. Derro by Jim Holloway, colored by Max the Younger; Lizard Mage by Kevin Siembieda; Blink Dogs at a kill by David A. Trampier.)

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Hear This: Oh, you heard a rumor disco died? Nah son, disco is eternal.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tasty Delicacies, Rude and Horrid Feasts

Arduin frequently includes a mention of a monster's "favorite food" and I'm honestly so charmed by that. I vow henceforward to add Favorite Food to monster stat blocks whenever possible.

Annis: "These giantesses are particularly fond of human flesh; however, so voracious is their appetite, they will devour even so rank a beast as a stench kow."

Apsis: "Blood is a preferred drink amongst them."

Assassin Bug: "Assassin bug eggs are regarded as great delicacies by trolls, troglodytes and bugbears."

Black Willow: Relishes "elves, gnomes, and humans particularly."

Brownie (Arduin): "They're [sic] favorite food is strawberry tarts."

Bulette: "[T]hey dislike dwarf and will shun elf of any sort. They love halfling and will hungrily dig them from their burrows."

Carnivorous Ape: "It hungers particularly for human flesh."

Cave Fisher: "[A] cave fisher's blood...also contains a lot of alcohol." Making them, perhaps, the prey of dipsomaniacal trolls and ogres?

Crabman: "Crabmen are often subjected to raids by sahuagin who consider them a tasty delicacy."

Crysmal: These creatures "[p]articularly [favor] quartz, beryl, corundum, and carbon crystals" and "will often attack in order to gain these minerals."

Demons of Arduin: Many a demon of the Arduin Cycle has a favorite food. Wind demons crave elf meat, "which they love dearly." Ice demons prefer amazon, and sea demons like mermaid meat. Fire demons love elf hearts; earth demons prefer ent hearts. The hell cats' favorite food is blink dog. The demon locusts "are true omnivores, and will eat anything from flesh to steel!"

Denzelian: "The denzelian is a peaceful rock eater."

Disenchanter: "The creature has the power to detect magical dweomer from magical armour, shields, swords and the like on which it feeds, drawing its sustenance on the powerful enchantments such items carry."

Drider: "Their diet consists mainly of the blood of their victims, as they have acquired a spider's tastes."

Faerie Dragon: "[They] eat fruit, roots, tubers, nuts, honey, and grains and may go to great lengths to get a fresh apple pie."

Forester's Bane (Snapper-saw): "The bushy central plant grows luscious-smelling berries of white, greenish, golden, or bright yellow color. They are large, plump, and delicious, being very nutritious and high in protein."

Giant Strider: "These birds are immune to fire, magical or otherwise, and in fact their bodies have adapted to derive sustenance from warmth."

Gold Dragon: "[They] use jewels and pearls as nourishment."

Great White Owl (Arduin): "Favorite food is Kobold or Goblin meat, but have been known to eat a kobbitt or hobbitt by mistake....They have been known to eat Freeze Bees."

Griffon: "If they come within sighting or smelling distance of horseflesh, the griffons will wing to the hunt."

Khargra: "Khargra consider armour and weaponry a tasty meal indeed and are particularly fond of 'eating' metallic treasure."

Gryfylisks eat hobbitts too
Hobbitt (Arduin): Hobbitts themselves have a "happy, hungry" temperment [sic] and are "always eating." If they aren't careful though, they are often eaten; they're the favorite food of black and white striped dragons, kill kittens, pybras, red fangs, and the Demon Lord Kavring.

Kobbit ("A cross between a kibold [sic] and a hobbit.") (Arduin): "[L]ove scones."

Lizard Man: "They are omnivorous, but lizard men are likely to prefer human flesh to other foods. In this regard they have been known to ambush humans, gather up the corpses and survivors as captives, and take the lot back to their lair for a rude and horrid feast."

Luck Eater: This Borgesian cat-creature causes companions it has charmed with its purr to suffer a -2 penalty on all saving throws, damage, and chances to hit. Via some metagame process, "[t]he luck eater somehow feeds on the luck thus lost," liter(arily) feeding on dice rolls.

Magman: "The molten rock of the Prime Material Plane has a different 'taste' from that on the Plane of Heat, and the magmen like to visit it to absorb its essences."

Ogre: Are "very fond of halfling, dwarf, [and] elf flesh."
Peryton: "Human hearts are the type most sought by perytons," though it isn't certain that they're for eating; the peryton tears out its victim's heart, we are told, because "[t]he organ is necessary to the peryton in order to reproduce."

Rot Grub: "These small creatures will viciously burrow into any living flesh which touches them, for they greatly enjoy such fare to dine upon." Unless killed by fire or spell, "the rot grubs will burrow to the heart and kill their host..."

Shrieker: "Purple worms and shambling mounds greatly prize shrieker as food."

Stink Bug (Arduin): " Meat tastes so bad, even deomons [sic] won't eat! YUCK!"

Symbiotic Jelly: "To obtain sustenance it must drain energy (which it can do remotely in a fashion whose means defy investigation) from a carnivorous creature any monster [native to the Prime Material Plane save the undead] which rends flesh at the same time as the monster is itself eating."

Thri-Kreen (Mantis Warrior): "Thri-kreen warriors hunt many creatures, especially elves."

Thunder Beast: "[T]hey feed many of the other creatures likewise inhabiting the [Abyss]. Their flesh is rank, fibrous, and disgusting to all but demons and their ilkand possibly even to them!"

Xaren and Xorn: "Xorn feed on certain rare minerals which are the subject of their quest on the material plane....The xorn is likely to demand such metals as copper, silver, etc. to snack upon..." The xaren favor "iron, copper, silver, gold and electrum (in that order)" and gain extra hit points by consuming magical metals (magic weapons, armor, etc.). They "crave magic metal and will be eager to obtain it. They are intelligent enough to realize the relationship between magical metal and their health."

Yeth Hound: "They will devour any warm-blooded prey but vastly prefer demi-humans, brownies, and the like." Who doesn't like warm brownies?

(All quotations from the AD&D Monster Manual, Fiend Folio, and Monster Manual II or from The Arduin Grimoires Volumes 1-3. Gryfylisk by Michi Okamura. Rot Grub and Giant Toad by David C. Sutherland III, colored by Max the Younger)

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Hear This: Pancakes? Ice cream? French fries, hamburger? What's your favorite food? You gotta eat if it chokes ya.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Particular Hatreds, Great Enmities, and Friendly Beasts

Adherer: "[T]he adherer will never attack a spider of whatever variety and sometimes it has been known to co-operate with them in trapping prey."

Androsphinx: "They usually shun the company of gynosphinxes, for they resent the females' greater intelligence and neutral alignment."

Annis: "These creatures have...been known to cooperate with such monsters as ogres, trolls, and evil giants for reasons of safety or better provisions..."

Aquatic Elf: "They are mortal enemies of sharks and sahuagin,....friends to dolphins and land elves, and neutral to all others, except for fisherman, who they dislike due to the number of sea elves snared in nets and killed mistakenly as sahuagin by these ignorant humans." (!)

Blink Dog: "There is a great enmity between blink dogs and displacer beasts and the two creatures will always attack each other."

Chasme: "Rutterkin are allied with chasme, although chasme are not fond of rutterkin and use them."

Crysmal: "Crysmals hate xorn as the latter prey upon them."

Dire Corby: "[A]t one time there was open warfare between them and giant bats, but this has now become an uneasy truce."

Drider: "Driders are outcasts from drow communities and thus bear them no great love."

Firefriend (Giant Firefly): "Humans and demihumans of friendly disposition are sought as companions...for firefriends love to converse with them and to hear stories of a fanciful nature."

Flind: In addition to sometimes leading bands of their cousins, the gnolls, "[flinds] are on friendly terms with orcs, hobgoblins, bugbears and ogres. However, they dislike trolls and will not co-operate with them."

Formian: "Each [formian] city continually wars with any other [formian] city nearby."

Giant Harvester Termite: "The worst enemies of giant termites are formians, for formians are bigger and more intelligent, hate termites, and enjoy eating their eggs."

Goblin: "They hate gnomes and dwarves and will attack them in preference to any other creature."

Great White Owl (Arduin): They "are the arch enemies of Vords." I don't know what a vord is; it isn't told in Arduin Vols. I-III that I can find.

Grimlock: "Grimlocks rarely consort with other beings, though there is a small (10%) chance that they will allow medusae to share their lair, and a 2% chance that a wandering group of grimlocks will be accompanied by 1-2 mind flayers. For the latter reason, grimlocks are particularly hated by githyanki."

Grugach (Wild Elf): "They are completely xenophobic, distrusting even other sorts of elves."

Hell Horse (Arduin): "They hate dwarves, always attacking them."

Hybsil: "Bugbears, ogres, and especially gnolls are their mortal enemies."

Imix (Prince of Evil Fire Creatures) and Olhydra (Princess of Evil Water Creatures): "There is great enmity between Imix and Olhydra."

Kobold: "They particularly hate such creatures as brownies, pixies, sprites and gnomes. They war continually with the latter, and will attack them on sight."

Kuo-Toa: "[T]he dark elves provide useful goods and services as slave-traders and merchants, but the drow are both feared and hated by the kuo-toan people, so there are frequent kidnappings and minor skirmishes between the peoples. The illithids are greatly hated by the kuo-toans and they and their allies are attacked on sight."

Meazel: "The meazel is a traditional enemy of orcs and kobolds....Most creatures of the underworld will attack meazels, for they have a nasty reputation even among dungeon denizens."

Movanic Deva: "Plant life of any sort will not (and cannot) harm them. Similarly, normal animals will not willingly attack them. (Reptiles and similar creatures as well as 'monsters' may do so.)" The influence of medieval Christian bestiaries here, I presume, with the spawn of the serpent daring to bite the angel's heel.

Muckdwellers: "Muckdwellers have been known to associate with lizard men on rare occasions. They also have been reported serving kuo-toan masters."

Myconid: "[A]ccord has never been reached between fungoid and humanoid; each views the other as a disgusting threat, and population pressures in the limited underworld inevitably cause conflicts."

Perrinites (Arduin): These elf-dryad hybrids "can see and hear through their friends the birds," are "beloved of Ents," and "hate orcs and endeavor to lead such deep into the forest where they will get lost and be devoured by their friends the bears and other such large carnivores."

Phandelyon ("Phase lions, bright blue with silver claws and teeth.") (Arduin): "[T]hey like dwarves for some weird reason."

Pyrolisk: "Its mortal enemy is the phoenix, as the latter is immune to fire and detests Evil."

Qullan: "Qullans have never been befriended by human or near-human races; without exception, every encounter has seen the qullans attacking, irrespective of the alignment or size of the party."

Spectator: "If properly confronted, the spectator can be quite friendly. It will tell a party exactly what it is guarding early in any conversation so that there will be no argument! If its charge is not threatened it can be quite amiable and even talkative via telepathy."

Spriggan: "They hate only gnomes [their cousins] more than humankind, and they associate only with their own ilk."

Triton: "They have fought fierce wars with the sahuagin and skirmish continually with ixitxachitl, koalinths, and lacedons."

Troglodytes: "They loathe humans, and their aim is to slaughter all they encounter."
Valley Elf: "All other sorts of elves, including the dark elves (drow), shun valley elves. The latter, in turn, dislike association with any races save perhaps gnomekind, whom they tolerate."

Vulchling: "Vulchlings will consort with harpies or even Type I demons at times."

Wolfwere: "It must be noted that a great enmity exists between wolfwere and werewolves."

Xag-Ya and Xeg-Yi: "If a xag-ya and a xeg-yi should ever meet, they will rush together and destroy each other in a huge explosion..."

Elf: Perhaps unsurprisingly, none are so hated as the elves. Hobgoblins bear them a "great hatred" and orcs, who "hate living things in general, ...particularly hate elves and will always attack them in preference to other creatures." The shaggy quaggoths "have a particular hatred of surface-dwelling elves and have been known to become slaves of the drow in order to assist the latter in their warfare against elves," which seems a bit overkill, really. In Arduin, the Fang Wing (also known as "Warg Wings") "hate elves with a passion," and the deodanth just "hate elves so much they always attack them on sight." Likewise, and strangely, needlemen "appear to hate elves and will attack them on sight." Even plants hate elves. And for every player that never plays anything but elves, there's another who loves to mock them. There's probably a Cultural Studies paper to be written, but I'm too busy mining monster books for trivia.

(All quotations from the AD&D Monster Manual, Fiend Folio, and Monster Manual II or from The Arduin Grimoires Volumes 1-3. Illustration David C. Sutherland III, colored by Max the Younger)

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Hear This: Look, I get it, the hatred in your eyes, the way you attack me on sight, your aim to slaughter me...just....Just tell me why?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Wandering Monster Charts of Dubious Utility

Body Snatchers (d12)

1. Astral Searcher
2. Doppelganger
3. Enveloper
4. Ghost
5. Haunt
6. Imorph
7. Intellect Devourer
8. Magic Jarred by evil wizard
9. Magnesium Spirit
10. Vagabond
11. Yellow Musk Creeper
12. Zygom

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry DM (d8)

1. Bookworm
2. Crypt Thing
3. Disenchanter
4. Gremlinb
5. Hound of Ill Omen
6. Little Blue Bolts of Lightning shooting directly at characters' heads
7. Nilbog
8. Rust Monster

Ooze Rainbow (d30)

1. Black Pudding
2. Black Slimea
3. Black Were-Ooze (Fool's Banea)
4. Blue Slimea
5. Brown Mold
6. Brown Pudding
7. Crumblera
8. Crystal Ooze
9. Denzelian
10. Dun Pudding
11. Emerald Oozea
12. Gelatinous Cube
13. Gibbering Mouther
14. Glafta
15. Gold Slimea
16. Gray Ooze
17. Green Slime
18. Lava Oozeb
19. Mustard Jelly
20. Ocher Were-Jellya
21. Ochre Jelly
22. Olive Slime
23. Russet Mold
24. Silver Slimea
25. Slithering Tracker
26. Stunjelly
27. Symbiotic Jelly
28. White Pudding
29. White Slimea
30. Yellow Mold

The Walls Have XP (2d8)

2. Protein Polymorph ("They may imitate anything from a pile of treasure to small-sized room, to a party of half dozen humans or a dozen kobolds.")
3. Cloaker ("Black eyespots cover its back like buttons on a cloak, and when the tail is hidden it is almost impossible to distinguish from a real cloak.")
4. Living Statueb (Amusingly, the Rules Compendium hints, "Not every statue in a campaign should be a living statue. If every statue in a campaign is a living statue, PCs will know that any statue they see can attack them.")
5. Stunjelly
6. Gold Bug
7. Bowler
8. Lurker Above
9. Mimic
10. Trapper
11. Piercer
12. Kampfult ("[A]ppearing to be ropes or a net, the monster surprises the unwary.")
13. Roper ("These monsters can stand upright in order to resemble a pillar or stalagmite or flatten themselves at full length upon the floor so as to look like nothing more than a hump." A hump of ropes...?)
14. Free-roaming animated object (e.g. broom, table, dagger...or rope. Look, you just shouldn't trust ropes is all.)
15. Storoper ("appears to be a small statue of a roper," lol.)
16. Wandering Pit

a: Arduin