Tag Archives: save or die

AD&D Monster Manual part 13

Dragonne: Hey, a new monster! These guys are a cross between a brass dragon and a lion. Their origins aren’t explained here, but I suppose a wizard did it. It’s a shame the dragon involved here isn’t the Bronze variety, because we’ve already established that they transform into other animals for a lark. Perhaps brass dragons do the same sometimes, …

AD&D Monster Manual part 12

Bronze Dragon: Also known as Draco Gerus Bronzo. We know from their first appearance in Supplement I that they live near the sea and can polymorph into animals. This book adds that they are beneficent, and take animal form to observe humans. They still get the same breath weapons: a lightning bolt and a cloud of repulsion gas that forces …

AD&D Monster Manual part 11

Dragons: I have to be honest here: I’ve been dreading this entry. It’s big. Part of what makes writing this blog so easy is that I can tackle it in fairly manageable chunks, but this entry is a daunting sucker. I’m going to try and get it out of the way in one go, but don’t be surprised if I bomb out halfway through. …

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 Funnily enough that obsession was superseded by super-hero comics and D&D, but it was there.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…

15 Games in 15 Minutes

I’m a sucker for a good meme.

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%…

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, …

The Dragon #11

The Dragon Rumbles editorial this month sees Tim Kask getting excited about the inclusion of stories from Fritz Lieber, Gardner Fox, and L. Sprague de Camp, as well as talking up the popularity of the Snit Smashing game included last issue. View from the Telescope Wondering Which End is Which sees Gary in fine form, taking pot-shots at anyone and everyone who wants to profit from D&D without the…

The Dragon #10 part 2

Let There be a Method to Your Madness by Richard Gilbert: This article gives advice to DMs on how to design a dungeon, and I have to say that this is great stuff. The central idea that the author puts forward is that you should work out what the dungeon was before it became a dungeon. Figure out a short …

The Dragon #10 part 1

There’s a lot of stuff to get through with this issue of The Dragon, so I’ll be brief when it comes to the stuff that does not pertain to D&D. The Dragon Rumbles editorial is mostly concerned with the aftermath of Gencon X, as well as the reorganisation of the magazine and the clear marking of rules variants. Snit Smashing is the first board-…

D&D Basic Set part 19

Dungeon Mastering as a Fine Art: This section is a very short primer on what the DM needs to prepare to run the game. There’s not much to discuss here, but I thought I’d bring attention to it just because I love that sub-heading. I’m a firm believer in equality among all the arts, with no distinction between low and …

D&D Basic Set part 18

Treasure: This section begins with a cursory explanation of the treasure tables, and also provides the exchange rates for the different types of coins. Electrum is given a concrete value for the first time here, being worth half a gold piece. Previously in OD&D it could be worth either half or double the value of gold, depending on the DM. The…

On Alignment Changes From OD&D to Holmes Basic

Alignment undergoes a big shift from OD&D into the Holmes Basic Set and AD&D. Originally it was a simple three-way system of Law-Neutrality-Chaos, but by Holmes the concepts of Good and Evil have entered into the mix, creating a system with five alignments (Lawful Good, Lawful Evil, Neutral, Chaotic Good and Chaotic Evil). I’ve tracked these changes below: Chaotic to Lawful …