22 June 2018

II-20 thru 22: I've Been Slimed! Finishing Up The Monster Annotations

Page 20

 

Green Slimes: another cleaning crew member, also drawn from ‘50s Hollywood horror flicks. 

The Cleanup Crew: ochre jelly, black/gray pudding, green slime, gray ooze, yellow mold. Excellent general use monsters due to their nature as scavengers and carrion feeders. These can be troublesome due to common modes of attacks actually working against the attacking party. 

Horses: only war horses melee; so what is a war horse? We originally interpreted this as a matter of training versus type of horse. Later we revised it to apply only medium and heavy horses could be trained as warhorses. 

Mules: the note [o]nly mules are agile enough to be taken in dungeons encouraged the nearly universal presence of a mule or two in adventuring parties. 

Insects or Small Animals: introduces the a hit equals a kill idea into the rules, for those who have no experience with Chainmail.

Large Insects or Animals: besides a brief mention of Barsoomian creatures from Burrough’s works of fiction, we are also introduced to another new concept. If the referee is not personally familiar with the various monsters included in this category, the participants of the campaign can be polled to decide all characteristics. This highlights the do it yourself attitude of the original play style. 

Pages 21-22

I've 

Other Monsters: suggests Titans, Cyclopes, Juggernauts, Living Statues, Salamanders, Gelatinous Cubes, Robots, Golems, Androids; as additions to a campaign. Many of these would be described in Greyhawk, all were listed in one edition or another during the pre-1983 era of the game.

21 June 2018

II-19: Don't Be Efreet, It's Only A Djinn, annotations

Page 19

 

Djinn: no reference to their wish-granting abilities of myth. A powerful ally who can create food and drink, as well as carry heavy loads and fight as a whirlwind. 

Efreet: with regard to OD&D, these are basically Chaotic Djinn. 

Ochre Jellies: basically the 1958 movie monster “The Blob” statted out for OD&D. A fun monster to throw at an adventuring party. This monster also introduces us to the “clean up crew,” a group of underworld scavengers keeping the dungeons free of corpses and offal (and sometimes live adventurers). 

Black (or Gray) Puddings: another blob-like creature, with different vulnerabilities than the Ochre Jelly.

II-18: It's Elemental, annotations

Page 18

 

Griffons: here we are given the most prized of steeds which cannot be brought within 36” (over three football fields) of horses. 

Elementals: repeats the admonition only one of each type can be brought into existence during any “day.” The description then gives us the various Hit Dice for these creatures. Those summoned by spells are the strongest, but woe unto the poor adventure who loses control of this monster!

II-17: Big Flying Things Annotated

Page 17

 

Hippogriff: the descriptions warns us though the name implies a cross between the horse and the Griffon, the Hippogriff is another kind of beast entirely. We then read how the hippogriff is a cross between a griffin and a horse! A griffin is a mythological creature (which also appears on the next page of the rules) with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion; and wings, head, and talons (as front legs) of an eagle. A Hippogriff changes the lion parts with a horse. In other words? A cross between a horse and a griffon. 

Rocs: the rules do not list Giant Eagles, such as those found in Tolkien's tales, but gives us Rocs which make a fine substitute. This stands out to us because the rules take pains to state these Rocs are […] understood to be that for the small variety […].

13 June 2018

II-16: Fey Races; Annotations

Page 16

 

Pixies: innately invisible, with an interesting footnote. They can be seen clearly only when a spell to make them visible is employed, although certain monsters such as Dragons and high-level fighters will be aware of their presence. What is a high level fighter, we must ask ourselves. In light of implied upper levels of or around level 12, when does a player-character qualify as high level? Hero, Superhero, or Lord; these seem reasonable interpretations. 
 
Dryads: these are highly likely to throw an overpowered charm spell and effectively remove a player-character from the campaign. Of course, a clever referee might use such an event as an adventure hook.

Gnomes: Dwarves Lite, all the taste but only half the calories. These like hills instead of mountains. 
 
Dwarves: domesticate bears, wolves, or whatever to guard their defenses. 
 
Elves: the description implies their ability to move unseen is the result of their gray-green cloaks. Which leads us to wonder if their talent for moving quietly is because of their boots? If so, a fantastic world might quickly become overrun with elvish cloaks and boots after a battle with elven-kind.
This description also gives us the elvish ability to split-move and fire but only while on foot. 

Treants: referred to as Ents in the first printing. Treants can shepherd trees, making them men-at … ahem … trees-at-arms and obedient to the Treant’s whims. According to the description Treants are Lawful but are given some rather Neutral traits.

II-15: Is The Purple Worm A Weird Dragon? Annotated

Page 15


Purple Worms: includes rather horrific rules for death by suffocation as a result of being swallowed alive. Also, the question arises whether turn in this case should be more properly round, as in combat round. The first of several monsters listed that never check morale but instead attacks until slain or victorious. The theory has floated around the purple worm was basically a wingless, burrowing dragon.

Sea Monsters: a non-statted, non-described monster for show. We have always wondered what the “if it has stats it can be killed” crowd thought of that, to wit, if it does not have statistics can it therefore not be slain?

Minotaurs: the bull-headed man quip is a fine example of Gygax’s humor. 

Nixies: Neutral in alignment, though the charming and imprisonment of others would seem Chaotic. Perhaps the Chaotic leanings of such an act are balanced by the Lawful action of always releasing their charmed victims after one year.

II-14: Lycanthropes & Missing Balrogs; Annotated

Page 14

 

Adventuring Party Illustration, Middle of Page: this illo replaces the Balrog monster description excised in later printings. 

Lycanthropes: wererats, another iconic D&D monster and one of our favorites, were added in Supplement I: Greyhawk. 
 
This description details lycanthrope young. This gives rise to one of the oldest debates of D&D gaming: is killing Chaotic youngling itself a Chaotic act?