Tag Archives: monsters

AD&D Monster Manual part 10

Displacer Beast: Displacer Beasts (which first appeared in Supplement I) look like pumas with dirty big spiked tentacles on their shoulders, and they also appear 3 feet away from their actual locations due to their ‘molecular vibrations’. They haven’t changed at all from Supplement I, although the description no longer notes that they have six legs (though the illustrations shows them this way). It’s interesting that a pack is always made…

AD&D Monster Manual part 9

Dinosaurs: This is probably not unusual in these parts, but as a kid I was obsessed with dinosaurs. Funnily enough that obsession was superseded by super-hero comics and D&D, but it was there. And for me, dinosaurs are an integral part of any D&D monster collection. Lost worlds filled with prehistoric creatures are a staple of the pulps that the game was founded on, and the game…

AD&D Monster Manual part 8

Devils: With Demons out of the way, we go straight into their Lawful Evil counterparts, the Devils. Surprisingly, this is the first time that any devils have gotten stats. They’ve been mentioned in a couple of articles as inhabitants of Hell, but that’s it. The main difference between demons and devils is that devils adhere to a strict hierarchy that they don’t want …

AD&D Monster Manual part 7

Demons: We kick off the letter D with a bang, rolling right into the section on Demons. I’ve always been a big fan of these guys, much more so than the Devils. I can’t exactly say why, because Devils are pretty awesome in their own right. But come on, Orcus and Demogorgon? Those guys are the best. Demons first appeared…

AD&D Monster Manual part 6

Chimera: The Chimera, which first appeared in OD&D, is still of the standard mythological variety – hind legs of a goat, forelegs of a lion, bat wings, goat’s head, lion’s head, and dragon’s head. It’s such a cool visual, though I imagine the poor old goat suffering from adequacy issues in this combination. I’m not sure what’s going on with the Chimera’s Armor Class here. Whereas before it …

AD&D Monster Manual part 5

Wild Camel: Like a lot of the normal animals featured in the Monster Manual, wild camels were first seen in the updated Wilderness Encounter Tables from Supplement III. Gary being Gary, he makes sure to distinguish between bactrians and dromedaries, with a special focus on how much treasure you can load them up with. My favourite bit is their spitting attack, that can blind…

AD&D Monster Manual part 4

Beholder: Now we’re getting into some classics. The Beholder first appeared in Supplement I. It’s still the same ill-tempered beastie here, a floating orb with ten eyestalks and one central eye, each with a special power. There are a few minor tweaks in the stats, with Treasure Type changed from I and F to I, S and T. % in Lair is also lessened from 90% to 80%…

Review: Enemies of the Empire

I have a philosophy about RPGs, and that philosophy is, for a game to feel “right,” it needs three things:  a set of core rules, at least one book devoted to antagonists and at least one book devoted to “toys;” additional character options, tools, spells and so on. Enemies of the Empire is the antagonist book for Legend of the Five Rings…

AD&D Monster Manual part 3

Baboons: Believe it or not, baboons originally showed up in the updated Wilderness Encounter tables from Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry. Their stats are given here for the first time, but they are more likely to flee than fight. Despite a general lack of use in most games, I am completely in favour of regular animals getting stats in the Monster Manual. Fantastic …

AD&D Monster Manual part 2

Aerial Servant: This monster first appeared as part of the Aerial Servant cleric spell in Supplement I: Greyhawk. This is simply a restatement of the stats given in that spell as a monster entry – it’s an invisible monster that can carry a lot, has a grip that’s very hard to break, has a surprise bonus, and that will go bonkers and attack the cleric that summoned it if…

AD&D Monster Manual part 1 of many

Man, the Monster Manual is awesome. The first ever product for AD&D, it was a compilation of all the monsters developed for OD&D, with some new stuff added in for good measure. In terms of the physical product it was light years ahead of anything TSR has produced to this point. My 4th edition copy is still a very sturdy hardcover, …

D&D Basic Set part 17

Troll: In OD&D Trolls had an AC of 4, but now it has dropped to 6. They were Chaotic in OD&D, but now they are Chaotic Evil. As has become expected, the damage for the Troll’s claw/claw/bite attack routine has been changed, from 1-4/1-4/1-8 to all three attacks doing 1d6. Unicorns: They were Lawful in OD&D, and now they are Lawful Good. The unicorn’s horn now …

Basic D&D part 16

Owl Bear: Like many other monsters in Holmes, the Owl Bear’s attack routine has been simplified. Instead of two claw attacks that deal 1d6 damage each and a bite that deals 1d12, it now has three attacks that deal 1d8 damage each. I was all set to castigate Holmes for not providing the rules for an Owl Bear’s bear-hug attack, but …

D&D Basic Set part 15

Lizard Man: The lizard man seems to have lost its two claw attacks, now having but a single attack at 1d8 damage. If this is a weapon attack as the description implies, then I guess that Lizard Men are adapting to more civilized warfare, rather than using their bites. Lycanthropes: Holmes has included all five types from OD&D: wereboars, werebears, werewolves, weretigers and wererats. Werebears and weretigers have …

D&D Basic Set part 14

Before I go on, I feel the need to point out that Holmes Basic is the first D&D rule set to have a monster’s stats grouped together with its description. God bless functional design! Gnome: In OD&D, gnomes could be Lawful or Neutral. Here, they are either Neutral or Chaotic Good. There’s a note at the end that Gnomes favour crossbows, which is something that’s never been brought up…

D&D Basic Set part 13

Dwarves: This entry wisely directs the DM to the Dwarf PC class for special abilities. Otherwise things match with OD&D, but with several things omitted. There’s no chance given now for higher-level Dwarves to own magic items. The tendency of Dwarves to use wolves and bears to guard their strongholds didn’t make it in. The only change is that Dwarven leaders now range from …

D&D Basic Set part 12

Chimera: In OD&D they could have an alignment of Neutral or Chaotic, but in Holmes Basic they are now Chaotic Evil. There’s also a small change to their damage dice. In Supplement I, the goat head is said to inflict 1-4 points of damage with a horn. Here it inflicts 2-8, which makes me wonder if in Supplement I you were supposed to roll the 1d4 damage for each horn…

D&D Basic Set part 11

MONSTERS: The monster section opens with some broad advice on using monsters in the campaign. It goes through how the monster entries are laid out, how the DM should stock his dungeon, provides some advice on using powerful monsters against weak PCs, and even gives some guidelines on handing out treasure and experience. I do wonder about Holmes’ estimate that it will take from…