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Friday, June 14, 2013

Tell Us About Your Favorite Monster and You May Win a PDF Copy of "Monsters & Magic"


Thanks to the generosity of Mindjammer Press I have a PDF copy of Monsters & Magic to give away.

All you need to do it comment below about your favorite monster and why it rates that way. See, pretty simple.

For me, its the Flumpf, because it's the first thing I think of when I think of D&D monsters. The Fiend Folio was my first monster book, even before the Monster Manual, and the flumph sticks out as the most useless creature one could ever dream up. For some stupid reason, I still love it ;)

So, comment below before 10 PM NYC time on June 16, 2013 (that's this coming Sunday) for your chance to win a PDF copy of Monsters & Magic. One random commenter will get the loot.

50 comments:

  1. Damn you already took the Flumpf.

    The Great Grell - the reason: My cousin had a huge collection of the old AD&D toys. He even had the Fortress of Fangs and a ton of the monsters (back then the Hook Horror was my fave). We played the heck out of those toys and used to play "Bards Tale" with them as that was the RPG rules we knew best.

    The thing is that all of the packages showed this Great Grell thing. The problem was no one ever had it. No toy stores in 4 hours had them. Even going all the way up to Toronto to the Siver Snail we couldn't find it. The Grell became legendary.

    My cousin and I eventually decided that it was a fake. It didn't exist. It was like being able to mail away and get a Cobra Commander with his helmet off. It was an urban legend.

    When I finally got into D&D the rpg, the first monster I had to look up in my awesome new white Binder with a Beholder on the cover was The Grell. OMG it was a real monster!

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  2. Rust Monster.

    Imagine the scene. A proud army of 2000 knights camp at the tunnel entrace, in the morning, they wake up, all their shiny expensive armour gone, time to march back home in their underwear :)

    Its amazing how such a (relatively) weak creature inspires such fear in almost all enemies, had an entire party spend 2 weeks finding an alternative route through the underdark to reach their destination because their route took them very close to a few rust monster, despite them been quite a few levels higher than it.

    Not much funnier than watching your proud dwarven warrior running down a tunnel with a rust monster in pursuit!

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  3. For me it was the People of Gith - the Githyanki and Githzerai, forever locked in battle in the astral sea. Not quite alive, yet not really undead, they struggle forever, never ageing or needing to eat (Astral Plane, and all that), forever trapped in a waking dream.

    Plus they looked great on the Fiend Folio cover.

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  4. I have to go with the owlbear. For multiple reasons:

    some of the coolest art I have seen over the years has been renditions of this creature,

    I grew quite fond of the WoW version of them when I played (going Moonkin style druid for some time),

    the thing is pretty nasty to throw up against lower level characters,

    and perhaps best of all: the origin story, that Gygax based it off of a toy from China, is just classic. I think a number of the strange hybrid creatures that were born early in D&D came from toys Gygax got from China.

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  5. Without doubt, the demilich. No contest.

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  6. The dragon! Real world myth and (effectively) the symbol of D&D. They can be a plot point, a mentor, the culmination of a great quest, the guardian of a treasure, the only source of a rare spell, and oracle of a prophecy - you name it. As a matter of fact, they are the symbol of roleplaying games because they reflect the richness and complexity they offer.

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  7. The Invisible Stalker - Mostly because the 2nd Edition Monster Manual had the bollocks to show it in its purest form, utterly unseen. None of this wispy outline BS in later editions (What? I can totally see the shape of those stalker in that art, definitely not invisible.)

    My initial impression: Aside from being the most obvious funny gag in the book, it's also the most economical use of art budget - ever.

    Second impression, after I've had some time to think about how truly creepy that critter really is: The Invisible Stalker is as pristine white as the paper it was printed on because you could never tell the difference, there is not background, there is no foreground, there is no subject, just the stalker standing there, invisible. In fact, it could pop out of the page and kill you and you would never know it.

    It's horrifying because it's unknown and unknowable, you have no shape to work on, no idea it's there, waiting. Sure it's not some traditional tentacled Cthulhoid monstrosity, but it's a tough, highly intelligent, 8-feet tall, magic resistant, ambusher that lives its life innately invisible. It doesn't give a damn about the visible spectrum. That's alien enough.

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  8. Githyanki. Nothing else ever made as much of an impression on me as that Fiend Folio cover, when I first saw it at age 10. I wanted it so badly I got that book before the Monster Manual.

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  9. That is some feeeyine cover art!

    The lowly goblin be my favorite monster. A goblin can be dim-witted, grotesque, clever, terrifying, funny, challenging. Players can roll through them, hacking off heads willy-nilly, or find themselves at the mercy of the gobbos, who may eat them or torture them or feed them to their worgs. Basically, they're whatever I need them to be at a moment's notice. Definition of a perfect monster.

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  10. If I may, I'll nominate the drow.

    Not only is the concept of the evil shadow-side of the graceful elves executed even more gracefully than Tolkien did with his orcs, but the drow are ready-made as foes for PCs in a campaign that emphasizes role-playing over combat.

    Not only are the drow matriarchal, which flies in the face of almost every other intelligent race presented in the game, but drow society is riven by factions. Feuding noble houses, the followers of Lolth and the followers of other deities and demons, female and male fighter societies, the outcast half-drow in the slums and warrens of the drow cities, and even factions within the noble houses themselves. It's a role-player's dream to be able to play all those different factions against each other to achieve one's own goals.

    The drow also come built-in with rivals. The svirfneblin, the mind flayers, the kuo toans, each have a specific relationship with the drow at large that presents a new aspect of politics that can be exploited by clever role-playing.

    Set aside the insipid example of the inner-conflicted good drow outcast with two scimitars. The drow as originally presented aren't just a monster. They're a campaign setting with stat blocks.

    And in closing, I give you this iconic image of the drow from Dragon Magazine #60: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_DSs2bX13hVc/SjuScEHSl9I/AAAAAAAABGU/EnBIH3_8g5E/s400/drowhead.jpg

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  11. Without a doubt, the Beholder.

    Large, menacing, multiple threats with their many spells, capacity to control magic by shutting it down. Plus add a personality that deems others as lesser creatures, and seeks to either subvert or control or just plain devour any lesser creatures.

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  12. I'd say my absolute favorite D&D monster would have to be the Rust Monster. There is no other monster in the history of the game that can upset a parties tactics and make the players think on their feet, no other monster that is otherwise so utterly inoffensive, no other monster (than the bullett) that can be bought for 5cents at the local grocery store. The Rust Monster should have all the terror factor of termites, and yet due to the singular need for iron they become fearsome foes not to be trifled with. Its not even that its necessary to dispatch the rust monster for all the damage it could do, its that if you don't think of something you could end up unarmed and unarmored lambs to the slaughter for the next foe.

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  13. Surprisingly for me it is the rat (and spiders) They are always about, can be modified in size/disease/ferocity/weirdness to fit. Rats and spiders are a staple, before you get onto the thinking things which really stuff you up.

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  14. The carrion crawler.

    The illustration in the AD&D Monster Manual captivated me as a kid. The version in 2e was acceptable. Since 3e, the illustrations have been absolutely terrible.

    Beyond the art, the idea of an insectile mind constantly splaying its paralytic tentacles ahead of it, feeling, searching, almost heedless of any movement or struggle it encounters. I wrote a short story in high school that included an encounter with a carrion crawler in a cramped catacomb that included the paralyzed victim's torch falling to the floor and slowly burning out as he helplessly, motionlessly experienced the pain-into-numbness of the carrion crawler's paralytic tentacles and its sharp, quick mandibles cutting quarter-sized discs of flesh one by one from his arm.

    Also, I totally killed an entire party in one of my first turns behind the screen with a single carrion crawler ambush from above.

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  15. The Sons of Kyuss from the 1st ed. Fiend Folio. It is dead and rotting and walking and has worms in its eyes, and the worms jump out at you to get in your eyes.

    As the OP, the Fiend Folio was my very first D&D book as a wee lad and the things in there lit me up with fear so much that I couldn't even look at the page for very long without turning it in sheer dread. n In real life, not as a character. I played Kayen Telva almost exclusively at that age, because... I don't know why. But even he feared the Sons of Kyuss

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  16. The skeleton! I use to love painting skeleton minis as a kid (I don't have the patients anymore) and they are great to throw against characters of any level.

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  17. For me, it always has been the Succubus.
    I don't know for sure why, but it just caught my eyes from the first moment. Maybe it's because it was the only, by and large, Jewish monster in the book; but maybe it's just because it was one of the only female monsters in the Monster Manual at the time, not to mention a female ruler...

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    Replies
    1. and nothing to do with the fact she was almost naked and we were teenage boys :)

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  18. The Ettin. Can be pretty fearsome, but also comical, especially if the party are clever enough to get it arguing with itself. And they're great fun to roleplay as a DM!

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  19. I am going to go for ogre: it's a good foil for low level parties but group a bunch together and they can keep a party engaged for a few levels more. Plus I liver to play them add hill-billy brutes and that can be fun to play.

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  20. Trolls! Always hungry, just intelligent enough to be nasty evil, and totally different than the trolls from myths... long noses, warty green skin, claws and bites. I love them.

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  21. I, too, am a fan of Flumphs, especially the monastic flumphs from 2nd Edition. I love the idea of goofy little alien jellyfish floating around, trying to help people with clerical magic from their bizarre otherworldly gods.

    I like Flumphs so much I named my blog after them: bernietheflumph.blogspot.com

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  22. For sheer imagery it has to be skeletons!! You say "two animated skeletons are advancing towards you with swords and shields" and everyone at the table immediately gets the same picture of Harryhausenian awesomeness in their head!!! :)

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  23. I love the dragon of Athas. Crazy back-story, psionic and sorcerous mastery, and a mind so labyrinthine he literally spends all day wandering it.

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  24. I love the Froghemoth! It's a fine example of fantasy weirdness that always keeps the characters wondering about where the hell that creature came from and how they should approach it...Plus, I'm a big fan of frog monsters and aberrations in general!

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  25. Someone already mentioned the Gith (githyanki and githzerai). I created a third variant of them called the githxani. (Hey, I was 17) When the war on the illithids began, they did not side with the githyanki or the dissenting githzerai. They immediately retreated to the phologiston. Since then, they travel from sphere to sphere and work to reunite the githyanki and githzerai.

    My favorite, next to them were gelatinous cubes. It does not think, it does not retreat. It slowly comes at you and absorbs anything throw at it. The slow moving dungeon cleaner was really fun at lower level games.

    You notice the walls and floor appear cleaned. There is a slight acrid smell in the air...

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  26. Favorite monster? Just one? That's tough. The reference to the flumph of course made me think of the Fiend Folio, so I'll stick with that book, in which case the choice for me is easy. The death knight.

    Here's me blogging about the death knight:

    http://spesmagna.com/archives/738

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  27. Hands down the myconid. The very cover of A4 "In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords" with those alien mushroom beings in the silhouette in the distance gave my 12 year old mind an uneasy feeling. I still get goosebumps from that original cover image. Now follow that up with the creepy moot image and the alchemist by Erol Otus and you start to get that sinking pit in your gut. You can only hope it's the worms that gnaw on your corpse because who knows what transpires by moldering away as a feast for fungus?

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  28. I love me the osquip. Shovel jaw, huge hog with six drumsticks--I mean, I love sausage, pork, bacon, and so on. This huge critter runs in packs, so I can use them to feed massive underground predators as well as adventuring parties. Yum!

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  29. Umber Hulk, nothing like bursting through walls to ruin a parties day, and whats with those eyes? Read:
    http://forgottenrunes.blogspot.com/2010/04/dragon-armies-17-rats-in-walls.html
    for the epic battle between my players and the little blue goblin who brought an umber hulk to play.

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  30. Displacer Beast

    part puma, part alien, part octopus - it was composed of 3 of my favorite things!

    It wasn't until many years later that I learned it was based on a creature from a classic SF short story: Black Destroyer by A.E. van Vogt.

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  31. Displacer beast: For its wacky body morphology, and displacement capability, although they have been overharvested for the production of displacer cloaks - someone need to establish some regulations and quotas to help the population recover and keep a sustainable harvest!

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  32. My favorite is the Slaad. Partly because I like the idea of a bunch of demonic amphibians trying to rid the world of usurping mammals, reptiles, etc. but mostly because they are criminally under-utilized.

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  33. Wow, hard to pick a favorite, but probably boring old orcs for me. They are nearly human, and possibly misunderstood or unwilling pawns, but also inhuman in lacking sympathy and mercy, and while not so dangerous on their own can be organized by wizards, antiheroes, etc. into a ravening horde. Whether they are pig-faced, green, or Tolkien style, they are great foes and very vesatile.

    When I first got into D&D it was trolls, owlbears, and liches, for reasons that are self-evident :) And when FF came along I liked the crypt thing -- terrifying in that they looked like liches and claim to disintegrate you, but kind of impotent because all they really do is teleport you away and claw ineffectually with their boney fingers. Something aobut them strikes a chord as great "underdog" monster.

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  34. Juggernaut, from pg 21 of Monsters and Treasures (volume 2 of the LBB) No stats were provided, just "Huge stone statues on wheels which crush anything in their path. They are motived by some unearthly force." When I first started playing, I wasn't sure how to go about stating them, but they have always been in the back of my mind. I just finished an eight week mini-scenario of Jade Claw which featured one, but the players managed to keep it from ever animating, so I'm still waiting to see one in action.

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  35. Beholders. Almost impossible to beat unless you live in a 1980s cartoon. And cute, if one uses the original Supplement 1 Beholder illo. I fancy running Bob the Beholder against any group of players. And I might put Elvis Costello glasses on him.

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    1. Perhaps I should have added that when I pick up any OSR game, I first look to see how they substituted the Beholder and what alternate name they gave it.
      Bah!
      It needs no alteration. Heck, I use it in Tunnels and Trolls and don't even bother with stats.

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  36. My favourite is the Owlbear. Simple premise, good presentation (in almost every edition) and some flavourful variations: Rafael Chandler's Kodiak Hooter and Tufted Grizzly both made me laugh and cringe. The Owlbear seems like a beast that requires no "Dire" form. It's dire enough on its own.
    It also has inspired me to write up dozens of my own mash-up animal beasties.

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  37. I'd have to say that I'm particularly fond of Kobolds, particularly in their more modern dragon-hobbit itinerations. Actually, reptile-men of all sorts, really, with vague implications of draconic connections a bonus.

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  38. Wuh? No Gibbering Mouther? Well I claim the Gibbering Mouther then. I have very fond memories of running the Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan for my English cousins when they visited. I must have been ten or twelve, totally wtf? Either way they --- and their Chaos Beast cousins --- find their way into every game I run.

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  39. My favorite monster? Why it's the next one to surprise me and be a clever challenge. For instance, I just cracked open Monstrosities and there is the Lithonnite. Never heard of it. But I'll be watching what rocks I step on crossing the next wet dungeon floor.

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  40. I loved the Bullette.. AKA the 'Land Shark'.. It was a very cool creature and this was also around the time when SNL was doing the Land Shark skits.. So of course we had to have fun with that scenario..

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  41. Rats.
    I will always love starting in a jail/dungeon/sewer and having to fend off rats. Where did most guilds send you for your first mission? Rat extermination. Easy stuff.

    Until they infect you.

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  42. Love gelatinous cubes... keeping dungeons clean since 1972! Using them lets me taunt my players with stray coins and other objects at random places in corridors; the beasts surprise 50% of the time, and they paralyze the characters they score hits on. Not really that dangerous, but good to put fear into low level characters.

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  43. I'd have to say the Quasit, because it's such an odd looking little monster, it's adorably tiny, and it's the only familiar I would ever want to have.

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  44. The mind flayer. It wants to eat your character's brain and there a chance your character will go along with that plan. Its Cthulhuesque appearance, association with things deep and dark underground, and psionic abilities are creepy and rightfully to be feared -- especially by those who've had bad experiences with calarami.

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  45. Nilbog... AD&D Fiend Folio...pg. 67...yup...that's my pick.

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  46. We created the Halfmoon in for the Thunderspire Labyrinth module. Made a building sign for the Dwarven Forge Inn terrain. And even created a bar game called, "Duck, Dodge and Perry." So much fun.

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  47. The Monster of my choosing must be the orc. A pig faced variant with a wooden shield and and spear. On second place the common goblin. It is something human in their unhuman ways :)

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  48. I think I'd have to say the Biridlu from EPT. Their bodies consist of a thick muscular cape. They hide on the ceiling in dark corners of the dungeon, ready to drop on prey. They engulf their victim and smother them.

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