Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Savaging the D&D Monster Manual

My local gaming store is gearing up to host its twice-yearly consignment auctions, so I've been combing my collection looking for unused material to sell off. Since I'll be dropping off a load of stuff in the next couple of weeks, my buddy (and fellow RPG Diehard author) Ben pulled together a pile of saleable stuff from his own collection to add to the auction; this lot included the D&D 3.0 Monster Manual.

While organizing our shared auction wares, I happened to flip open the Monster Manual. Now, I must confess that I've never actually perused any of the various beast books for D&D—if you'd asked me last week, I would have told you that their content is utilitarian in nature...stat blocks for critters and little else.

And although I found stats aplenty, I also found myself enthralled by the narrative description of the monsters. In general, I've turned up my nose at the more mythic, oddball monsters in D&D, preferring instead to populate my wilderness with evil humanoids like orcs, hobgoblins and troglodytes. You know, monsters that can think and strategize. But skimming the Monster Manual really fired my imagination in regards to some of the more fantastical creatures in the book, stuff like thoqquas (the segmented, elemental lava-worms that will fit perfectly into a dungeon I'm working on), mohrgs (more interesting than your average undead), hippogriff (until recently, I couldn't say that word with a straight face) and, of course, beholders.

Before I knew it, I'd pulled out a notebook and begun sketching out Savage Worlds stats for a dozen of the more interesting critters. They're on the way to my campaign notebook now—and Ben's Monster Manual, having offered up one last burst of inspiration, is on its way to the auction and, hopefully, someone else's gaming table.


Supah said...

Hope you didn't forget to stat out a gelatinous cube. It's classic.

the Reverend said...

The Monster Manual has always been my favorite among the 3 core books. So many pictures!