Wednesday, March 1, 2023

DMR2 Creature Catalog - W, X, Y: Water Weird to Yowler, and that's the lot.

Water Weird. 

Basically the same as the AD&D MM Water Weird. Some slight statistical difference.

As seems fairly common between AD&D and D&D (as the dividing line existed previously), the CC's Water Weird has 2 Intelligence vs. the MM's Very (11-12). 

CC's also lacks the ability to take control of Water Elementals, so maybe that's tied to Intelligence, but the idea of Water Weirds as elemental tape worms is quite appealing. 


I think this is the only monster to have crossed to CC from the 1e Fiend Folio, having first appeared in a pre-Fiend Factory (?) issue of White Dwarf. 

It's a plant that lashes and grabs you with its two fronds, then secretes acid on you until you're dead or escape.

It's not a monster I've given much thought about until looking at them now, and I prefer the FF's overall portrayal: it's a creature that was previously mistaken for a plant (but is affected by Druidic plant-magic, implying not that of Clerics and MUs), and if you sever the fronds/tentacles, the lumpy little body attempts to escape on root-like legs.

Retrospectively, it's a bit like a bit of John Carpenter's The Thing, so two thumbs up for that.


Distantly related to white dragons, this is otherwise your standard fantasy cold-dwelling furred serpent -  which is a monster type I generally like, on top of it being something that could be mistaken for a dragon in a setting without Dragons.

Tim Sell, he illustrated House of Hell.

It's got magical venom that freezes your blood: paralysed and lose d8 hp per round until you die or you're rescued, all the while turning blue. Even if you save, it leaves you numb and cold, with Strength and Dexterity penalties.

Also has improved infravision that can see heat hidden by cold (snow, ice, water, arctic atmosphere). They themselves are 80% undetectable to your infravision.

That the venom is magical suggests that dispel magic should work as well as neutralise poison, but that's not stated in the text, nor acknowledged in 2e.

Winged Warrior.

A Living Crystal Statue with metallic bladed wing-extensions on its arms. Though it is under a permanent fly spell, it apparently needs its wings to fly as it must land to fight.

Apart from the ability to fly it's not mechanically different to the Living Crystal Statue, not even getting better attacks with those razor-wings.

I'm going to guess that they cropped up in a module and were hoovered up into the CC without discrimination. The relative simplicity of upgrading a regular Living Statue to a flying one implies that there could be equivalents for all varieties (except maybe Jade, due to magic resistance).

Wood Imp.

No relation to the AD&D Imp, they're basically faerie/forest goblins, and I have a place for such as these.

Traps, camouflage, ambush/surprise, ride on the backs of (Huge Wood) Spiders, poison arrows (damage and slow). Their two-handed swords score d6, so maybe they could handle a short sword. Shamans up to 4th level (Cleric).

They capture evil humanoids and humans [and] small forest creatures, but it's not made clear if these constitute a larder, sacrifices, slaves or prisoners for ransom.

Tall Tales of the Wee Folk gives more context and makes them playable characters. I imagine they look more like Pathfinder Goblins than D&D.

2e gives us the Bog and Garden varieties. Bog (slightly froggy, make a cry akin to that of a puppy) and Wood Imps are not that different, and not that different from something like the Tasloi in any case. Garden Imps (with flowers growing in their hair) seem closer to something like the Brownie, as they watch over any dwelling attached to its garden.


At first glance, this seems to be the BECMI/Mystaran analogue of the AD&D Will-o-(the)-Wisp, by form and by electrical attack (although it has significantly weaker AC and HD). 

It was meant to be in the Companion set (1984), but the Prime Plane monster list ends with Whales.

However, rather than feeding on life force, it feeds on the electrochemical energy of metal objects. As the process can take hours or even days, it kills you first to get at them, eventually reducing the metal to a fine, chalky dust. Your Fighters and your Clerics will be their primary targets; Thieves and Magic Users can save for no damage, with a +5 bonus due to leather or no armour.

You could read that it doesn't feed on or will be distracted by precious metals, as the text specifies it goes for plate armour, shields and weapons for preference. It seems that size is more important than quantity, so maybe leading it to that golden statue (or Silver Golem) will save your bacon.

One thing that does cross-over from the MM is the (Exceptional) Intelligence: the Wychglow has a score of 15. Which seems quite high for something that does not otherwise suggest or specify an intellectual bent. 

Is this more a Star Trek energy being alien than a haunter of the lonely marches? Probably. There's obvious room for negotiation if you can find a way to communicate with it, especially if you don't cleave too close to Chaotic=bad.


Weird little extra-planar energy beings with a folkloric name. My memory had them as being related to Wychglows (above), but it's just that Wych is a strong word.

They're attracted to, disrupt and immune to magic, but are basically non-aggressive. They might accidentally discharge energy into you (2-5 hp and slow). The text suggests capturing one or more in a net to use when trying to slay spell-casters.


An undead spirit inhabiting the body of an elf - so a bit like the Undead Dragon, these might not actually be the undead version of a particular live thing, and maybe there should be details on that disincarnate entity/

Greater and Normal Wyrds look like creepy, robed, undead Elves, wielding green or red spheres that they can use as both melee and missile weapons. These cause more damage vs. live Elves, and are instantly replenished if expended.

Terry Dykstra for The Bane of Elfwood in Dungeon 21.

Greater Wyrds trigger a fear save vs. attack and damage penalties, as well as causing paralysis via their spheres.

Because of proximity and Wy-, I can't help feeling these should be somehow connected with the previous two monsters - maybe even wielding them as alternatives to their usual spheres? 

2e connects them to the Positive Energy Plane.

They're in a pretty interesting (to read; never got to play) adventure in Dungeon magazine (see illo), which includes a possessed treehouse.


Six-legged, fire-breathing, brightly-coloured dragon-lizards. Preferred companion animals of the Sis'thik.

Extrapolating from their six-leggedness, they could be related to Basilisks via the Elemental Plane of Fire (give them the Pyrolisk gaze attack for consistency). In which case, maybe Black Dragons (or some other type) can produce viable offspring with them, or maybe Xytars are Red Dragon Dracolisks?


Yowlers are Yeth Hounds, with the same stats and abilities, though the Yowler's howl incurs a penalty to the save the more Yowlers are yowling, which is both a good detail and logical.

A decent Black Dog monster, also suitable for inclusion in your Wild Hunt.

Pointlessly brought into 2e instead of just updating the Yeth Hound entry, either with the howl details or just saying 'another name for them is Yowlers'. 


...which makes them something of an anti-climax; there's not even a new type of Zombie to take away the somewhat disappointing taste (Zombie, Lightning in the 2e Mystara supplement).

By an almost-uncontrived coincidence, I'm just about to reach the Yeth Hound episode of Monster Man.

So the end of Monster Manual II, and then the next season delves into the Creature Catalogue (AC9).

Now I'm aware of Monster Man and that it's covered/covering the same ground I have, there's diminishing returns in me looking to the better known old school D&D-ish bestiaries. So I doubt there'll be a Fiend Folio read-through, but there might be ones for White Dwarf Fiend Factory mini-modules and so on. We'll see.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

DMR2 Creature Catalog - T & V: Tabi to Velya.

* The Vampire, Nosferatu isn't in the earlier Creature Catalogue (AC9).


Flying monkeys that can be bound (6th level Wizard spell in 2e) as familiars and spies. They are long-lived (though hardly ancient: 150 years in 2e) and give off a stench of rot that can be smelled at up to 100 feet. 

Claws drip a crystal blue venom that causes you to attack whoever's nearest to the best of your ability, but only with weapons or unarmed attacks. Thief abilities. Like to ambush, then hide while their victims fight it out with each other.

I liked this a lot more as just a statblock in the Master DM's book with limited clues to what it was, but I think lots of people have time for winged monkeys (with or without dear little uniforms).


Because I'm not keen on the standard dragon, I like borderline cases such as the Thunderhead - a dragon-like fantastic animal that lives in the clouds and loves an electrical storm (encounter one during and it doubles its HD).

Pretty cool.

They're black in colour with a lightning bolt breath weapon, and can carry off a war horse in its claws, so this is a dragon as far as most normal folk are concerned. And I'm not going to quibble.


Culturally dubious shrunken undead - smaller (2' tall), tougher and more agile (they can jump) Zombies with slow venom. The process of making them is known only to certain primitive tribes, because head-hunters or voodoo or something.

Caricatures aside, I think they're a sound little monster and a sound little statblock for reskinning. I especially like the inclusion that hitting them with a bludgeoning weapon knocks them over and they lose their next attack.

2e uses tribal, witch doctor and shaman to indicate the certain primitive tribes aspect, and includes the usual greater detail for creating one and how its abilities interact with the expanded AD&D rules. They also get a slight boost in intelligence, making them capable of carrying out orders without close supervision and taking pleasure in killing.


Terrapin/tortoise/turtle people. See also, Snapper. Apparently quite popular nowadays.

Can retreat inside their shells for (in CC) undefined protection. You can use the shells of 25 of their freshly harvested eggs to make lightweight plate mail armor. And they prefer to travel on horse-drawn wagons when not bobbing along in the water.

They travel to traditional, stone-walled compounds near the end of their lives to lay eggs, barricade them in, and then die. Doesn't say if this happens en masse or individually, but I find the whole thing conjures a somewhat bleak image.

2e changes this to females lay eggs only once during their lives and aging males then watch over the eggs, dying once they are safely hatched. Which is also kind of bleak. Though the text would imply that the other Tortles stick around (maybe having a carnival or solemn rites) rather than leave the eggs and the elderly, I think I'd lean into the bleakness on this one.

I like them more than I would expect now I've considered their lifecycle. 


Higher (5 to 7) HD merfolk with level-equivalent spell-casting ability (50/50 Cleric or MU - no fire spells). Sparse cultural/habitat detail - they braid their hair and build cities that are works of art.

Different enough to the MM that you could use both. They could share tridents.

Vampire, Nosferatu.* 

This is a special vampire, in that it's the more traditional blood-drinking rather than level-draining one.

Surprisingly short compared to almost every other Vampire entry in almost every other game.

Guess what? Turned as a Vampire by Clerics.

There's a version in 2e, but it's part of the Ravenloft setting. There are a number of differences, not least that it has mechanics for blood-drinking, rather than merely a d4 bite and dietary preferences.

Vampire Rose.

They flush red from white after they've fed on d8 hp of your blood per round. Save vs. spells or you are hypnotically anaesthetised (so I'm not clear if this is a chemical or a magical effect) and let them do it.

They can uproot themselves and move about, albeit slowly, which is creepy.

2e states that the hypnotic effect is from the plant's fragrance, and adds the wonderful feature that it screams and spurts blood if you can sever a part of it while it feeds. Save vs. fear if this is the first time you've experienced this.

Now one of my favourite plant monsters.


Take a Vampire entry (almost any will do). Swap around what they can turn into (shark, ray, water) and what they're particularly vulnerable to (destroyed by exposure to open air), but they're otherwise much the same (the Velya has a weaker statline).

However, that doesn't mean I don't like the Velya. In fact, I've always thought it was pretty cool. 

Its charm person power is a thematically appropriate song, and they're normally accompanied by 1d6 wights (victims return as Wights, not more Velyas).

There's also a swamp variant of this variant (turns into albino croc, white eel, water; not vulnerable to open air, as long as it's in contact with the swamp).

As featured (with Wight; by Jeff Butler) in X7 War Rafts of Kron.

CC has them as the undead of surface cities that have sunk beneath the waves; 2e suggests an ancient curse. Maybe this could be what happens to you when you badly disrupt a Shark-kin ceremony and prevent the new elder's ascension.

For some reason, both CC and 2e seem to have settled on that Wight rather than the actual Velya for inspiration:

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

DMR2 Creature Catalog - S (Part 2): Snake, Rock Rattler to Surtaki + Stalwart

Part 2 of the S section. For easier consumption.

Snake, Rock Rattler. 

Normal and Giant. Nothing that particularly distinguishes them, nor thematically links them to their mountainous habitat.

The Giant (30' long) Rattler has a rattle that is so unnerving that you flee in terror if you fail your save.


I'm instinctively not keen because of the TMNT baggage they inevitably carry.

Snappers are not-quite palette-swapped Tortles as baddies (Chaotic alignment). They exist in reflection of each other. 

Twice the weight of Tortles at 1000 lbs, but worse AC and HD. Able to swim; Tortles can't. Favour long bows, but also have claw/claw/bite. They're bad tempered and attack at the least provocation. 

But: they have an interesting characteristic. To reproduce, they travel hundreds of miles to the rock-walled, roofless labyrinths that serve as their breeding/egg-laying grounds. Meaning that there are possibilities in the structures when the Snappers are absent and/or when they return to find it squatted by other creatures, and in the periods when irritable archers with baby-making on their mind are swarming en masse along the coast.

It doesn't say whether the Snappers actually build these labyrinths, if they are appropriated, or if they are a natural feature.

2e makes them a Lawful Evil variant of Tortles, with a more conventional weapon selection (net, trident, spear) and no interesting egg-laying habits. A disservice.

You could build an interesting adventure around the unfortunate conjunction of Snapper egg-laying time with Shark-kin leaving the sea to raise up a new elder.

Sollux (Sun Brother).

They're humanoids related to elementals of fire (Helions and Efreet specified), and the stats/text only deal with the warriors - membership of the Brotherhood of the Sun is earned by killing an Efreeti, and killing Efreet is what they're about. 

C'mon - surely that could be more than +1 AC and a light effect.

They get a blazing sun shield (treat as a light spell, anticlimactically) and red-gold armour on joining up. Maybe you could too, if you play your cards right.

Basically, goodie Fire Giants/Efreeti. Which sounds more interesting to me than I find them.

2e doesn't really add much, though I like that they have lassoes in their armoury.

Soul Eater.

Extra-dimensional monster appearing as a cloud of darkness with two ghostly claws (though apparently it can assume any shape desired) that gets summoned by Clerics to slay somebody. And, I guess, EAT. THEIR. SOUL.

Per attack, save vs. death ray or lose a point of Wisdom. 0=irrevocably dead, and I think there was a Dragon article that says the summoning Cleric can turn you into a Mummy now.

Foil the Soul Eater and it goes after its summoner, with doubled HD - the quantification of fury.

It gets a name change in 2e (to Spectral Death) and becomes a native of the Quasi-elemental Plane of Vacuum. Summon it using a variant of the aerial servant spell.

It's okay. It makes sense that Wisdom (the most Cleric-y of Ability Scores) is tied to the soul, either being part of it or serving as the buffer against its loss.

Spider, Giant.

Three types.

Hunting: 2 HD, sometimes trained as watch/hunting dogs by several primitive societies (and Drow, probably). No web, no venom, no special abilities.

They're the size of dogs so maybe they're huge not giant (see below)

Sand: Burrow under the sand near pyramids, large statues, rocky crags and paved roads to surprise you 1-4 on d6 when you pass over them. Paralysing venom (d4+4 hours). No web.

Shroud: Intelligent, evil, magical with faintly glowing eyes (visible to 50' in the dark). Immune to normal weapons. Paralysing venom (2d4 10-min turns).

Has a web that paralyses by touch, and can shoot strands of webbing as a special attack. Being wrapped in the webbing (this is the shroud it gets its name from) keeps you in a state of suspended animation, so it could be repurposed for therapeutic work.

I like this one in particular.

Spider, Huge Wood.

Big green and brown 3' long spider. Surprise 1-4 on d6 in woodlands, with a venom that makes you sluggish.

Wood Imps use them as mounts and are the only ones able to coax them into donating their venom.

A nice little variant. In 2e, they are just a sentence in the Wood Imp entry, where they become Large Spiders.

Squid, Giant.

This is approximately half the strength of the AD&D MM Squid, Giant and about 10% of the CC Kraken.

Nothing unexpected.

Steam Weevil.

Geothermally-adapted subterranean flying insects that glow in the dark due to intense internal heat.

The text assumes that you're mainly going to encounter them after volcanic activity forces them out into the world (they die in d4 hours), rather than in their natural habitat.

I think they have d4 hp each, which seems a lot for something described as tiny and their attack is an area effect. Splash them with water to reduce the damage each swarm does per round (damping down their heat), but otherwise it looks like you have to target them individually.

4-24 in a swarm, and you might encounter up to 6 swarms at once. Because the individuals are so robust, I wonder if they were designed with challenge for higher level PCs in mind, rather than to fit into a fantasy ecology.

Strangle Vine.

This is the Mystaran/BECMI/RC version of the Choke Creeper (MM2) - indeed, Strangle Vine is an alt-name in the AD&D entry.

The Strangle Vine is more passive than the Choke Creeper, and you have a better chance of freeing yourself from it if you have low Strength (base chance 5%, but +5% for every Strength point below 6).


Same-as-but-different to the AD&D version: CC gives it much better AC and HD, and strips it of what intelligence it has in the MM.

A contested dice roll to escape its clutches: 4d6+4 vs. 4d6+4+/-Strength mod. If you score twice as much as the 'weed, you're free; beat it by less, no damage but still stuck; roll lower, and you take the difference in damage. This is also a cumulative penalty to your future rolls, so eventually you'll have no chance of escaping its clutches. You can't be pulled free, but the weed can be attacked (25% you divide damage between captor and captive).

This little subsystem would work for other hazards, like quicksand, and I feel something very similar turned up in one of the Dragon Warriors volumes. You could even do away with the damage completely (which I think I'd prefer) - Strangleweed is aquatic, so you'll drown in the end or get eaten by predators.

It's handy that it's right next to the Strangle Vine, for comparison.


I think I read somewhere that this was meant to be a version of the Giant Minotaur Lizard (really?), but that seems unlikely because it's clearly meant to be stats/mechanics for a Shaggy Beast-type monster.

It's a chimerical beast, made up of bits of other animals, including tortoise feet (though it shows claws in the CC illo, and says hooves in the statblock). Sheds poisonous quills hidden under its thick green fur in melee; they give you a rotting disease if you fail your save.

More tortoise-y, but still not hooves, though.
Arnie Swekel, 2e Mystara monster supplement.

They get the expected biology/ecology update in 2e, and we learn that their freshly laid eggs are a delicacy worth 2-8 gp. This seems a bit low for their rarity (Very Rare) and the risk of obtaining them, and then getting them to market before they turn. Maybe there's a dining-safari business based around them in some settings.

I find the Surtaki rather charming, and I like the 2e illo. It's in that dragon-but-not-a-dragon category that I prefer over actual dragons.

What Was Left Out - Stalwart.

A 9 HD, 7' tall humanoid with Strength and Dexterity of d8+15 each. It thinks that it's better than you and will challenge you to prove it. 

Roll d10 and add your Strength (arm-wrestling, rock-pitching etc) or Dexterity (log-balancing, archery etc) vs. them doing the same. 

If they roll highest, you owe them half your non-magic treasure. Vice versa, it will serve for one month in any way that does not involve danger. 

That's right - better than you!

Because the contest is based on ability scores rather than levels/HD, a low-level party could end up with a powerful follower. Do equally low-level monsters constitute danger to something with 9 HD and a min. Strength bonus of +2? Or would it just insist on challenging them?

Stalwarts have a No. Appearing of 1, and will challenge creatures (I'm presuming humanoid, if not also intelligent) between 5 and 7 feet tall. So it will face off against Ogres and Trolls, though good luck getting them to agree to one-on-one honourable contests.

This has the scent of early White Dwarf/Fiend Factory about it - a monster for a game, rather than a world.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

DMR2 Creature Catalog - S (Part 1): Saberclaw to Slime Worm + Sacrol

Occasional and non-affiliated reminder to check out the Monster Man podcast (and/or support on Patreon), because monsters are great. I started years late so I'm only up to D in Monster Manual II (3rd season), but looking forward to eventually catching up to a look at the CC (whether AC9 or DMR2 edition) and seeing where thoughts con/diverge, and hoping for some segments of surprise.

A typically extensive S section, which I've split it into two for easier digestion.


You are faced with a monster. It has 500 hit points, 20 attacks at 1d12 a go, immune to 1st to 3rd level spells (and saving as a 100th level Fighter, if such a thing could be) as well as poison. Luckily (?), it only attacks as a 5 HD foe, but it does get +4 to hit because of limited telepathic ability.

Oh, and sometimes there might be 5 of them. And they can see invisible, ethereal and hidden creatures and objects with truesight.

Mechanically, that's the Saberclaw (Sabreclaw in AC9). Intelligence of 2. If that was all you had to go with, you'd be thinking maybe something from the first printing of Deities & Demigods.

Doug Watson forgetting to make it hairy for its appearance in CM3 Sabre River. 
It makes more sense knowing it appeared in a Companion level adventure.

Narratively, it's a nasty greasy hairy winged monster (conjured from befouled waters) with a large bone extension that resembles a sword on its right arm - y'know, a scimitar talon, a rapier nail, a katana paw, something like that. 

Number Appearing is d100, and they're sub-divided into wings of 1-20. Each wing shares total hp of (25 x the number of Sabreclaws), with the complication that no individual dies until all those hp have been depleted. They save as Fighters of level x5 the members of the wing.

Anyone faced/used them in a game (CM3 or DIY)? How did that play out?

2e tidies them up for 2e, but that's about it. They can carry you off and drop you, and you roll 2d10 rather than d20 for a wing - so they won't be lonely?


This is a Mimic, with a range of Intelligence (1 to 9) and it might be friendly, it might not, because it's a Mimic. It even has the same eavesdrop-and-gossip characteristic.

Arnie Swekel even references the chest in 2e, for goodness sake.

Apart from the name and the flat 10 HD, the main difference between CC and MM is that the Scamille get 6 attacks per round (only one of which is sticky) for 3-18 hp each.

Surprisingly, the Scamille makes it to 2e as a monster in its own right, and is a relative of the Ochre Jelly with no stated connection to the Mimic despite it being a Mimic, though with Average (8) Intelligence, not a range.

An odd choice to carry over into 2e. 

Scorpion, Normal.

A 1 hp monster with save-for-half-damage venom; a hazard when searching or a trap vs. looters.

You could use this statblock for any other small venomous creature.

Sea Horse.

The favorite steeds of mermen and tritons. Of course.

Their body is not described beyond being 15' in length, but they have the head of the horse and some are coloured after land-dwelling horses.

They have approximately the same stats as the AD&D MM Sea Horse, Giant, but the description sounds more like a Hippocampus.

Sea Serpent.

Basic and functional; snakes/serpents are an absolute foundation monster IMO. 

Can constrict vessels for hull damage. I like the illo, too.

Serpentweed, Giant.

Flesh-eating plant with d6 stalks, each has 9 HD and a 2d6 bite attack. The name says snakes, but description could suggest Little Shop of Horrors. 

Main body/root is underwater (habitat is swamps etc) and has to be burned (somehow) to kill it, or severed stalks will have grown back in 6 months.

Is there a non-giant Serpentweed? I can't find one, and the plant with that name in the real world isn't anything like this.


A hairy little elemental/fairy-folk guardian/spirit of the woods. Wield silver daggers or bite you in combat.

Kill it and the 24 mile hex of woodland it is tied to becomes cursed and infertile for a folkloric seven years (unless a Druid casts remove curse - BECMI/RC Druids being Clerics with a few extra spells and restrictions). Equally, should the Shargugh be forced to leave its home, it will sicken and die in one or two days.

Jez Goodwin, by the looks. #BOSR

Ability to transport via plants in its territory, hide like a Halfling, move silently and pick pockets. Mentions that woodland folk leave it gifts of food and drink to discourage it from robbing them, but I'm not sure if this is elves-and-pixies or charcoal-burners-and-lumberjacks.

No guidance on pronunciation, until 2e (SHAR - guh) plus the italicising of its transport via plants ability to bring it in line with the spell. The usual stuff about family structure and lifecycle.

Shark, Vamora.

Three feet long with 6 HD, they bite and shake you like a terrier does (auto-damage and to Hit penalty).

Is this a fantastic animal or something real statted-up? Quick online search for the name leads me back to gaming material.

It's okay. I'd knock down the HD and use this as a Wolf or olde schoole Call of Cthulhu Ghoul.


They're not quite the Sahuagin analogue I originally took them to be, but these are scaly, fish-tailed undersea tribal humanoids that have an affinity (and empathic link) with sharks.

Normally fully aquatic and Neutral, they pose their biggest threat to landlubbers when their tribal elder (3 HD leader) dies. At this (over weeks), the Shark-kin sprout legs and their gills adapt to breathing out of water, and they then march ashore to a sacred site where they carry out the ritual that creates a new elder. During this time, they are more aggressive, as they don't want anything upsetting their transformative ritual.

Then they go back to the sea and get rid of those legs. 

2e adds that they're possessive of shipwrecks in their tribal territory, which is a decent adventure complication.

Silver Warrior.

The summoned warriors of the Faedornae. They're invisible and remain so while attacking, with all relevant bonuses/penalties. Wear silver plate armour and wield silver swords +1, but these dissolve along with a slain warrior.

One interpretation of the text is that the usual methods of perceiving the invisible only function for Elves with regard to the Silver Warriors. I would go with this, because I also go with Elves being vulnerable to protection from evil.

They could be styled as elemental conjurations or emanations, as they appear to be formed from the substance of a Shining Isle.


For some reason, it's a giant carnivorous fungus masquerading as a giant flower rather than just a giant carnivorous flower. 

Lures using bioluminescence and olfactory mimicry, but this is not a special ability. .

If you enter the plant, it traps you - apparently with no attack roll or saving throw - and you take d4 crushing damage per round and d10 digestive enzyme damage per 10 minute turn. 

Escape by reducing it to 0 hp to represent cutting away all its crushing appendages, which you can even do it trapped (but at penalty, and while losing your own hp). AC as Unarmoured and 5 HD.

Kill it by digging it up and burning the root.

I'm not sure how it's going to threaten player characters unless they make the decision to climb into it, or blunder into it while not taking proper care. The illo seems to hint at some kind of compulsion, but this monster rather feels like a missed opportunity - it's even more of an environmental hazard/trap than many others of its type.

Sis'thik (Desert Scourge).

Lizard folk adapted to extreme desert conditions (eyes and nostrils protected vs. sand storms, heat endurance and low water requirements; they basically get resist fire, too), with a nomadic matriarchal warrior culture. Xytars are their battle mount of choice, and they sometimes join up with Blue Dragons to raid settlements. Shamans (Clerics?) of up to 8th level.

It's specified they want fine wines as part of the tribute they demand of those crossing or hoping to cross their territory. 

2e says they like to eat Copper Dragons.

This is one of the longest entries, if not the longest, in the CC, and the entry for Xytar is supplemental to it. I've read somewhere that they serve as the inspiration/prototype for a later monster or culture; like the Quariks, there's a lot of specific context for a monster that doesn't feature in an adventure or sourcebook.


Primarily for delivering stinky musk (Charisma is 3 until you get rid of the stench), these come in Normal and Giant varieties.

Reskin as Troglodyte variants.

Slime Worm.

A sparse, mainly mechanical description of this giant slimy/sticky worm that can swallow you whole, and surprises you 1-5 on d6 because it's rolled around in a treasure hoard and now looks like a pile of coins, jewels, weapons and armour.

On the one hand, I like this as adaptive behaviour in the dungeon ecology. On the other, maybe the worm has a different natural habitat with a transferable ability. It feels pretty old school.

2e gives it a limit to how many victims of what size it can swallow and keep doing so, as well as a 15% chance of being recognised for what it is before it has a chance to attack. One reading of the text implies that it doesn't necessarily have to be camouflaged with treasure.

What Was Left Out - Sacrol.

All the angry dead of a particular site collected into the undead form of a big skull cloaked in multi-coloured mist - nothing concrete on size/area. Its attacks using misty tentacles: 2 per round for 1 level energy drain, followed by automatic choking damage (hit points not energy drain). Can animate dead of its original type to do its bidding.

With a bit of tinkering, maybe a lower-level Demilich variant?

2e gives it the upgrade of a slay living shriek. Says it's 4' across - whether it means the skull or the mist, I don't know.

One of the monsters I preferred as a simple stat block in the BECMI Master DM's book because there was more room to imagine it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

DMR2 Creature Catalog - P, R: Pachydermion to Roper + Phygorax, Possession, Reflecter.


Elephant people. 

Very strong and can triple wield (two swords and a mace in the trunk). Never forget anything (so don't have/need a written culture). Can have spell-casters up to 12th level.

You're probably expected to give them African or Indian cultural trappings depending on where you place them.

Make them shaggy mammoth/mastodon people with spears and axes, or have them as lone sages of a dying race, each sole repository of vast knowledge that would otherwise be lost. 

Or paint them psychedelic and give them psionics, shift them into the astral/ethereal/limbo planes and make them the new analogue for Gith (yanki/zerai, either or both) - I think this has possibilities.


Winged Elf Centaurs. And that Elf bit is really only for the Fighter/Magic User synergy - these are beefy fellows, though that could be modified if a more delicate image appeals.

As written, they're mercenaries who can be hired by anyone (my emphasis). They need money and respect, and I think that makes them wonderfully, unexpectedly grey for what should so obviously be paragons of goodness - like Gygaxian Cavalier-Paladins.

As they specifically train in BECMI Weapon Mastery they could serve as Chiron-like sponsors/teachers of heroes rather than just spell-casting flying cavalry. Options are longbow, lance, two-handed sword, and mace.

2e eliminates those purely mercenary tendencies by stating that they won't serve evil employers. Making them less interesting.


Within the context of X1 Isle of Dread, I really like them - hang-gliding halfling-monkey-racoons that team up with Dryads and Treants to fight the Aranea.

Taken from that context, I start to get a more Zoog-y vibe from them, and their 1-1 HD tribal humanoid stats can look more like a Goblin than a Halfling, if you know what I mean. They can definitely sit amongst the other ambivalent 'little people' on the edges of human habitation.

They're Lawful in CC, Chaotic Good in 2e, but I've never met an Alignment I wouldn't cheerfully disregard.

Phantom, Lesser.

Another not-undead that's basically some kind of a ghost. This one's possibly an elemental, because it's made of mist. Feeds on the fear generated by leading you into danger, having taken on a harmless/pathetic appearance and/or used its ability to fly/walk on water to have you follow it into quicksand etc.

Can also turn invisible at will, and cast confusion, hallucinatory terrain and phantasmal force 1/day each. Tries to escape once you pull things together to resist it, but can bash you for d4 hp in extremis.

Unrelated to the BECMI Phantom (high-level undead), or the AD&D monster from MM2.

Because it's a ghost, I like it, and would add its stats and abilities to the suite available for haunting spirits.

Piranha Bird.

Lesser and Greater, both types are always hungry for fresh meat. They're brightly coloured, have infravision and do not like bright sunlight (prefer the dimmest woods and underground) - a perfect lair-share monster for Cynidiceans, I think.

For whatever reason, they're no longer really birds when they transfer to 2e and wouldn't look out of place in Dark Sun because of it.

Flock/swarm mechanic for the Lesser Piranha Bird; similar to that of the Raven & Crow (see below).

Change the Flying Move for Swimming and these also serve as Piranhas.


A non-magical polymorph monster that can change into any creature of up to 10 HD, or any object up to 100 cubic feet. Doesn't get special abilities with the new shape and can be spotted with the same likelihood of noticing a secret door.

Gets three attacks for d6 hp each, apparently unrelated to size, shape or number of extremities. We don't learn what it looks like when not transformed. 

Chaotic alignment, so baddies, but nothing on their habits or motives, so presumably 'just monsters'. One of two variations on the classic Mimic in the CC (see Scamille).

2e makes them telepathic and cooperative with each other, all taking shapes to fill out a scene. They reproduce by fission, and digest organic matter they engulf (including adventurers). A Lawful Neutral alignment adds another dimension to them, and makes me think that they form societies - even covertly living amongst humanoids as their furniture and domestic animals.

The Monster Man podcast links the Polymar to the Protein Polymorph (1e Fiend Folio) via Tom Moldvay as originator. Interestingly, there's also suggestion of it being The Thing (based on the short story rather than the at-the-time yet-to-be-released John Carpenter classic), though the Polymar doesn't have the same in-description malignancy as the Protein Polymorph.

Porcupine, Giant.

Not very different to the one in AD&D. 

It can shoot quills, so you could use the statblock as the basis for a Manticore variant or some sort of Cactus People.


The Rakasta, as they were presented in X1 Isle of Dread, are an exception to my general indifference to cat-people (characters and monsters) - sabre-tooth tiger mounts and war claws worn over their natural ones. Might be just because they caught me at the right time.

As presented in X1. Good.

Mystaran Samurai Moon Cats and iterations thereafter might have lots of interesting stuff, but that would mean having to make an effort to overcome my mild aversion.

2e gives some details of their special code of honour.


An evil being of legendary power

It would appear that the Randara is the BECMI/Mystara stand-in for the AD&D Rakshasa. Name changed because it was (almost) already taken by the Rakasta. 

There's no physical description for the Rakshasa in the MM, but that Trampier image of the pipe-smoking tiger-man was just too iconic. And of the Randara, its true appearance is unknown.

The Randara is approximately twice as powerful as the Rakshasa (HD and damage output), with spells as an 11th level Cleric (Rakshasa gets 3 MU levels and 1 Cleric), plus ESP and non-magical polymorph (Rakshasa uses illusion) at will, and charm person 1/day. It's immune to normal weapons and 1st to 3rd level spells; the Rakshasa gets immunity up to 8th level (meaning it is unaffected by any Cleric spells, I've just realised). Both take only half damage from magic weapons.

The 2e Randara casts its spells as an 11th level caster, which doesn't have much effect on charm person and ESP, and loses its Cleric spells. Is this a mistake corrected from CC or introduced in 2e? 

This later iteration also loses its hefty claw/claw/bite of 2-12 (x2)/3-18, causing damage as appropriate to the form it takes.

2e describes them tracking and researching a suitable member of a society for weeks in order to imitate and replace them, suggesting that their likeness is (near) perfect but mannerisms, habits and knowledge must be practiced diligently.

I'm not entirely sure the slight differences justify getting its own entry in 2e rather than it simply being a more powerful Rakshasa, but slight differences have always been enough to do so in D&D. It's a feature/quirk that suits the collecting/listing mindset that isn't rare in ttrpg folks.

In a similar way to the Herex, the Randara allows high-level parties to revisit lower level types of adventure; in this case, rooting out the Doppelganger.  

The Randara is a good template to build on for epic/legendary supernatural entities. With those Cleric spells and a Juggernaut, Wood, you've got a serviceable Baba Yaga equivalent. Bolt on a diet of blood, you've got Dracula etc, etc.

Raven & Crow.

Normal and Large (Giant?) varieties. Not much more to them.

Normal size have a swarm mechanic attack: 3-6 of them attack you for d6 hp, one attack per round per group as a quarter-HD monster with effective hp of 1-2 per bird. Doesn't specify if they keep that d6 attack to the bitter end or if they need a minimum surviving number.

Red Worm.

Immature Fyrsnaca, and an encounter with them indicates that an adult lies dormant in a body of water nearby. According to their illo, they look at lot more like the Purple Worms they're meant to be related to.

Otherwise, you can use them as standard burrowing monster worms. They have a poisonous bite (save or take double damage), and can burst out of the earth/rock to surprise you (50%).

2e gives them the added characteristic of skin that is almost transparent, revealing the veins and organs within.


Normal and Woolly (Prehistoric) varieties. Here if you need them.

Lower HD but higher damage compared to the AD&D equivalents in the Monster Manual.

Rock Man.

Like the Geonid, there's some plausible ambiguity to the text as to whether the Rock Man is wholly mineral or partly organic: a strange creature whose skin has the appearance of granite. Though they crumble to pieces when killed, leaving behind a heart-shaped ruby (d10 x 10 gp value) - and they'll try to kill you if they find out you've got one.

Cone-shaped little fellas, they look like rocks when stood still and so surprise 1-4 on d6 (1-3 if you keep careful watch, 1-2 if you're a Dwarf). They are presumably stiff and slow, having Initiative penalties.

They're a little troll-like in their behaviour, demanding tolls of c. 500gp to pass through their territory.

In 2e, they get an Ent-y attitude to time and language, which is reasonable. They also get a significant damage boost by gaining 18/00 Exceptional Strength, which is also reasonable. Apparently have grey blood that can be used as building mortar, which I think is unnecessary but interesting. They have eyes that shine like gold nuggets - a nice little detail, because of the gruesome implications.


Basically the same as the AD&D version, though with much lower Intelligence (4 compared to Exceptional) and the possibility of pretending to be trees in the wilderness as well as rocks in a cave.

5d6 damage vs. 5d4 in AD&D, too.

Grenadier miniature - the Writhing Crusher.
Off-brand Roper or possibly Zargon from B4 The Lost City.

I quite like the Roper in both iterations, animal intelligence ambush predator or hostile subterranean Cthulhuvian intellectual.

What Was Left Out - Phygorax, Possession, Reflecter.


I am extremely disappointed to find this didn't make it any further than AC9: a beautiful... undead fish with level-draining spines, and you turn into one of them if it kills you (rising again in 1-6 days). It has 14 Intelligence and is Turned as a Vampire.

See - beautiful.

It uses ESP to select a victim, then creates an appropriate illusion, any touchable part of which is a deadly spine - you feel the energy drain, but the illusion adapts/reacts rather being dispelled. 

It's also pretty buff, with 8 HD, immunity to normal weapons, and being unaffected by spells up to 4th level.

I would love to know more - what's the living fish like, for a start? Energy drain, undead status and physical form aside, it's very much like the Rakshasa/Randara.


Also known as sword spirits, these monsters are a pun on the double meaning of 'possession': an object owned, and being inhabited by a spirit.

A Possession is not restricted to swords, and can possess almost any object and animate it. So you get haunted suits of armour, self-activating magic items, and clothes that can attempt to smother and strangle you for d8 hp like something out of M.R. James. They can also attempt to take control of anyone handling the object, using the rules for special magical swords (with a Willpower of up to 27).

For me, this is a logical progression of the magic item/weapon sub-systems (much like the Huptzeen is) into monster form, with the added bonus of being of the realm of the dead and the spirits, and I feel a little cheated I never knew about it until now. I suppose because it is a monsterisation of a sub-system is why it didn't survive longer.

We also learn that the natural AC of a weapon is 2 (+7 for ascending), and wooden objects/normal clothes are AC 7 (+2).


This is a weird one: mobile human statues of perfectly reflective silvery metal... rumoured to be from the far future. If you're able to open one up (implied to be a difficult task, requiring 5-50 additional hp damage post mortem), you find that they're a hard shell filled with brain-like material. 

After gathering up c. 100,000gp of treasure + min. 5 magic items, a group/lair of Reflecters will (folklorically rather than science-fictionally) gather at the next full moon and vanish (along with their loot) at midnight. They will track (50%) the theft of their magical treasures, but can be bought off (80%) with any book, map, or scroll (magical or otherwise) which seems overly exploitable.

Shiny robbing time-bastards.

Naked and unarmed, they zap you with lightning bolts for x4 their HD in otherwise flat damage. Mechanics for dodged/missed bolts to inadvertently hit something else. They can defensively wrestle with a Strength and Dexterity of 18 each, and immunity to stun and damage.

You need a min. +4 weapon to hit them, and only score 1 hp regardless. If you cast spells at them, the Reflecter is unaffected and the spell (if applicable) is reflected (do you see?) back at you. Making a wish will turn the Reflecter(s) vulnerable for 3 turns - though they will simply vanish within that time. This ability (if it is one) isn't detailed further. 

Because they may be time-travellers collecting magic items, you could see them as anti-Oards, and because of the brain-stuff, you could frame them as connected to Mind Flayers. There's definitely a whiff of Spelljammer about them, though that could be purely retrospective on my part.

Neutral alignment and Unknown Intelligence (with a suggested value of 15). Maybe a candidate for the ranks of the Neutral (evil) with Unratable Intelligence?

Looking at their habits and near invulnerability, I wonder if the main intention of the Reflecter was as a method of removing campaign upsetting magic items.

Monday, December 19, 2022

DMR2 Creature Catalog - M, N, O: Magen to Oyster, Giant.


Four types: Caldron, stretchy acidic limbs; Demos, just your basic artificial people; Galvan, discharge bolts of electricity; Hypnos, telepathic charm.

Magen are constructs that resemble perfectly formed humans - so you can decide whether this means idealised or indistinguishable. I think of them as being colourless, hairless clones with the genital blankness of an action figure, but might all look like each other or their creator or their creator's one true love or the true love of the creator's nemesis. Furthermore, they might need to be made-up and bewigged and/or crudely dyed during the creation process to pass as human(ish):

Like this.

Or like this.

The Magen are in the same approximate category as the Living Statue: intelligent constructs, with the implication of personality. They're as expendably loyal as any other construct, as they will follow the commands of their creator to the death. There's no hint that they will subvert orders, but who knows: they've got an Intelligence of 9, approx. human average, so who's to say they don't want to die while being compelled to? 

2e goes into some detail on Magen mentality, but it's still up to you and your interpretation of the stats.

The Magen strike me as being down the sci-fi end of the fantasy spectrum, though with obvious magical trappings - think The Dying Earth and Hellboy (Roger and Abe, really). Possibly also Species. As I've already decided, they look like humans with make-up fails or shonky sci-fi make-up or following a trend that you can't quite get your head around.

Lots more detail, including how to make them and the mishaps that can occur, in 2e. The Hypnos gets suggestion in addition to charm person, and can set up a minion network for its creator. 

We also learn the Magen go on a rampage of senseless destruction if their creator dies. I think I'd prefer it if they suddenly found themselves with free will, but no real motivation. They don't need to eat, sleep, or breath, so might end up hanging around a dungeon being miserable observers for years, or struggling to integrate with other humanoid society.

Possibly some crossover with the Oards (see below), if you like - the seed here being planted by proximity during re-examination.


Normal and Giant, and the Normal ones won't ever fight back.

Some percentages for success when stealing shiny things (can be better than a 7th level Thief) and weight limits to what they can pilfer. 

Not so much a monster, as a thing-that-happens, or as something to charm/train instead of inviting the Thief along.

Man, Isolated.

Some guidance on what makes a Man, Isolated different from a Man, Any Other Kind. Three examples are statted.

Cynidiceans from module B4 The Lost City: masked and drugged-up weirdos in an underground city. Based on a Conan story, I think. 

Look at those Men, Isolated go!

Statwise these are basically Orcs, right down to the penalty for fighting in sunlight. Lots more detail and context in the module, of course. 

I've always liked a decadent mask-wearing culture, being a Granbretanian myself. Multiple thumbs up.

Quariks ride Ice Wolves, are bigger/stronger than Normal Humans, have visible fangs and clawed feet (for gripping the ice of their Isolated domed crystal city within the polar regions).

Ruled over by the Firelords, a group of eight (possibly) cannibalistic/carnivorous Magic Users that masquerade as gods (mighty supernatural beings), the Quariks are utterly loyal to them and ignorant of/resistant to the truth.

There's quite a lot of specific detail for a monster that, as far as I can tell, doesn't appear anywhere except AC9 and DMR2. Did they crop up in a magazine? Were they the focus of an abandoned module? Why are they Men and not just Quariks - they're basically another tribal humanoid?

The Traldar were once the slaves of the Hutaakans, so they're pretty setting specific. Bald humanoids with hairy hands.

Special characters called Vocals can shout really loud, for communication and sonic attacks.

Man, Primitive (Barbarian, Native, Wild Man).

More sub-divisions of the 'Man' type, with not that much to distinguish them from each other: Fighter types, armour/weapon choice, some spell-casters. They are/aren't as useful as any other variation on the tribal humanoid theme. There's quite a lot you can do with these not-so-useful categories, but you're essentially making up a new culture for your game rather than building much on the descriptions/stats.

Barbarians can also be Clerics, Druids or even Thieves, putting me in mind of Fritz Lieber's Ice Barbarians. No mention of Berserkers.

Natives are native to jungles and tropical islands. AC9 says including cannibals; DMR2 doesn't.

Seems familiar...

Wild Men seems to be somewhere between Neanderthals and Barbarians, and are called pagans if they have Cleric characters. I think they might be based on Stone Age/Cro-Magnon humans (I'm pretty sure the illo is of Wild Men rather than Barbarians and is based on an illo of Cro-Magnons -vague memory, rather than concrete sourcing). They also get their name in inverted commas in AC9, for some reason.


From a sparse, unillustrated entry in the 1e MM, the Masher gets a power-up from a coral-eating weird wildlife worm-like fish to a 100' long, 20 HD segmented sea worm with a save or die stinger and a 3d8 bite. Shades of the Purple/Mottled Worm.

Normally just as inoffensive as their AD&D original, during the breeding season they become aggressive and congregate together... to temporarily form huge, fearsome, writhing masses. No clues to numbers, beyond No. Appearing 0 (1), but it's 2-8 in the MM so at least that.

Kna remove their stings and use them as pack animals, mounts and to sink ships.

This is a pretty good upgrade on a pre-existing monster, though I would keep the multiple spines of the AD&D version - the image of getting spiked either in passing or through incautious approach is more powerful when the thing is gigantic.


The Mesmer is the aquatic undead version of the enigmatic and alien AD&D Morkoth/Morlock - a logical progression starting from one of its alternate names, wraith of the deep. It's even described in CC as an undead wraith-like creature.

AD&D-style preferred. I'm happy with this being undead, after the Akraa'Neonor from Lone Wolf 3 Caverns of Kalte.

Statblocks identical and abilities approximately the same - the Mesmer's being slightly more powerful (automatically reflects spells and they gain an AoE even if they didn't have one before). Obviously, the Mesmer also gets the basic undead immunities; Turned as a special.

Leaves out that charmed characters aren't aware the monster is eating them (as in AD&D), which I think is a shame.


I've liked the Nagpa since before I even knew what it was/they were, being drawn into the possibilities sparked by the statblock in the BECMI Master DM's monster jam.

Then I found out they were weird crusty vulture people (trapped?) in a cycle of reincarnation (from a Dragon magazine series, Voyage of the Princess Ark, I think).

Then I found out they were the gamification of the Skeksis from Dark Crystal, which in turn made sense of the Hamakei in Out of the Pit.

See also this conversion to Call of Cthulhu (olde schoole) I did.

2e gives them 9 to 12 wizard levels and staves that function as rings of spell storing. Their origin is a curse on especially selfish mages, twisting their form; denying them the ability to eat, sleep, laugh, reproduce, or take part in any other activity enjoyed by living humans, and making them aware of anyone gossiping/talking about them within 100 miles (their ears - such as they are - burn hotter the closer they get). Interesting development, but I didn't need it.


The BECMI/Mystara version of the MM Nightmare, and fairly close in stats and abilities.

The CC Nightmare can fly and turn invisible at will, as the spells, three times per day - although it has a Flying Move rate already so it's possible the limit refers to invisibility, with the spell reference to fly being for purposes of dispelling and anti-magic effect, maybe?

Being able to turn invisible thrice in a day is a bit of a comedown from being able to become ethereal, and roam the astral plane like in AD&D.

However, the CC Nightmare gets an ability I really like, and is not unlike (though less potent) that of other Mystaran Night-prefixed horrors (-crawler, -walker, and -wing). Its presence kills small animals (1 hp or less) up to 30', and paralyses anything with 3 HD or less that fails a save (roll each round to break free and no longer be affected). Even the places where a nightmare has touched the ground become blighted and barren.

Octopus, Giant.

Almost identical to the MM Octopus, Giant - though lacking the evil intelligence of its AD&D cousin.

Nothing extraordinary here, but I think the Octopus (or Squid) is/was a mechanically important monster for any basic fantasy bestiary  

Owl, Giant.

Almost identical to the one in the 1e MM.

Although owls have a reputation for wisdom and intelligence, they are neither more nor less friendly towards people than most animals - thanks for that.

Oyster, Giant.

They have a Move of 0 and bite for 4d6. I can't quite visualise how combat would look.

Would not use as written - make it more of a hazard/trap than a monster.

What Was Left Out - Oard.

Time-travelling anti-magic cyber-bastards from the same module as the Garl and Hephaeston.

I get why they were left out. I suppose at the time D&D was clearer in its intention as a fantasy game  - despite the sci-fi trappings that persisted and even with Spelljammer in the mix.

Converted to old school Call of Cthulhu here.

Monday, November 28, 2022

DMR2 Creature Catalog - L.


This is the analogue of the Lamia Noble (FF), serpent below the human(oid) waist, male or female. I don't think there's a BECMI/Mystaran equivalent of the non-noble sort (note: it says as much in the Mystara MC supplement).

I can only guess that someone else does her hair, because she's made a right mess of that shirt.

One of the most interesting things about the Lamara is that it cannot speak, although it understands all languages and is intelligent (score of 14). There's no information on how it communicates, even with each other (though No. Appearing is 1).

It can assume an illusory appearance that casts a powerful charm (-2 to save) against anyone of the opposite sex (of the Lamara? of the illusory appearance? what about the wider world of gender and sexuality?). We only get combat context - subjects will defend the Lamara to the death, even against their friends and allies.

It can also create an illusory enemy (apparently it only does this vs. solo adventurers), though the injuries are inflicted by the Lamara itself rather than the illusion. So this illusion is not phantasmal force, and there is no mention of disbelieving or dispelling it. Does the victim believe they are confronted by an invulnerable summoned ally of the Lamara, and can they elect to attack the Lamara in preference? 

Lava Lizard.

This is a piece of D&D fantasy fauna that feels like it should be an elemental or a construct, rather than weird wildlife. Basically, a rock-scaled/shelled giant lizard that inflicts additional heat damage and can melt nonmagical metal weapons that strike it.

That they need to stay close to lava (or other intense heat) to survive, and will freeze into statue-like immobility if they stray too far and get too cool, is interesting. Otherwise, this for me is ripe for mechanic transplant and/or reskinning.


They are among the mightiest of creatures currently living on the Prime Plane at 60 HD and 3d12 bite for the Desert kind, 70 and 4d10 bite for the Marine. On top of their HD and hp, they only take half damage from all weapons and spells (so effectively x2 hp), and are additionally immune to spells that don't cause hp damage. Poison doesn't work either.

The Desert Leviathan in not-that-big shock.

The Desert Leviathan is 'only' 500' long, so significantly shorter than a full-grown Great Annelid (at 1000'), and the Marine a mere 650'. With their stats, I don't think there's any problem making them bigger, especially as the Desert Leviathan is obviously a Sandworm/Shai-Hulud analogue (it's even attracted by vibrations).

Their bite attack is an AoE weapon, allowing a -4 dragon breath save to avoid being swallowed; otherwise, 4d12 hp digestion damage per round. If you survive/aren't dissolved in 1 turn, then it will spit you out. Magical items can't be digested and the Leviathan's innards have a worse AC than the exterior.

Marine Leviathans can swim around and around to create a whirlpool capable of sinking a ship of up to 80+d100 hull points. This appears to be a narrative ability with a mechanical limit.

Because of CoC, I'm always rather taken with fairly simple but destructively awesome monsters. However, the same caveats apply here as with Juggernauts and Earthquake Beetles - I think they absolutely should be more than just a straight fight (is there a one-page dungeon set inside a giant worm?). Of course, these big-hitter monsters are not just part of the fantasy world ecology - they're a necessary (meta)game challenge for Companion and Master level adventurers.

Could a Marine Leviathan swallow the CC Kraken? Which would win in a simple fight of hit-and-damage rolls? Which would deserve to? How many retainers with crossbows would you need to take either down in one round?

They are classed as Worms in 2e, but aren't changed much - the main takeaway is that you only need to score 50 hp to cut your way out after being swallowed. The Marine Leviathan's whirlpool takes it 3 rounds to swirl up - that's 3 minutes in AD&D.

Living Statue.

The Living Statues, as they are presented in older D&D, are a fun little category I've always enjoyed - partly because they're golems that you can get to grips with at lower levels. And who doesn't like shooting/ being shot at by magma from their fingertips?

The other thing I like is that they're somewhat intelligent - score of 7, so the upper end of the Bugbear/Ogre intelligence range. Implying some kind of free-will? Personality? Feelings? I don't think they're mere constructs, and I'm happy for them to be playable characters under the right circumstances.

2e elaborates a little on their intelligence, describing it as modest but allowing them to fight sensibly and effectively - targeting spell-casters, using simple devices/mechanisms, sounding alarms, even lighting burning oil to dump on adventurers.

Not specifically immune to poison in CC.


Jade: Very magic resistant, so much so that magical weapons don't get to apply their plusses. Leave only worthless powder instead of valuable fragments when destroyed. Implied (by the illo) that these would be 'oriental' in design.

Rock/Ooze: magic-resistant rock statues full of Grey Ooze instead of magma to squirt out of their fingertips, with the ability to merge into the surface of a rock wall, floor, or ceiling. I take this to mean 'becoming one with' but could also just mean dungeon camouflage. See MM2's Vilstrak.

In 2e, it splits open when you kill it and you get to fight the Grey Ooze that spills out.

Silver: Much smaller than normal living statues (about one foot high) with 1+1 HD and a 2d4 bite attack. Immune to non-metallic weapons, non-magical weapons and non-magical fire. Half damage only from edged weapons. Leave 50gp of silver behind when destroyed.

Either these are toothy imp statues or shaped like animals. I would definitely consider crossing with the Silver Golem, or at least the growth/shrink ability. 

Probably my favourite of the lot; it gets my imagination going.

2e says they are humanoid, and that they bite because their tiny fists are ineffective. Makes me think of an acting award or sporting trophy come to life.

Steel: Non-magical iron and steel weapons stick to it, and are absorbed on the next round to heal the statue 2-5 hp. An advance on the classic Iron Living Statue.

2e has magical weapons getting stuck but not absorbed. Retrieve them with an open doors roll.

Lizard, Giant Foot-Pad.

Apart from it being specified that they can be trained as mounts and pack animals (you get speed vs. load stats), this is basically a lower damage, lower HD reskin of the Giant Gecko.

I have almost no opinion on them.

Lizard, Rockhome*.

The possible ancestor of the lizard man (which is both grim in its way, and interesting) and taking d6 hits per hour when exposed to sunlight... but these are pretty much '3 HD flightless birds'. 

In-setting, they're the subterranean pack animals of Dwarves and Gnomes, from GAZ6 Dwarves of Rockhome. They're a nice feature of the culture of another 'monster' but not that much in themselves.


Lawful tribal humanoids (they're basically Gnolls as goodies, but with dog heads) that can spot Werewolves even in human form and attack them on sight. Armed with silver swords, and lances and arrows tipped with silver. Ride and fight on Dire Wolves.

Due to a Monty Python sketch I hear the flower rather than the wolf in their name. 

They were one of the factions in my long-lost Neolithic/Proto-Celtic settings, though I think I made them full on wolf-headed rather than dog.

2e puts forward that they could be related to Werewolves, mentioning a Great Division, and gives them only 90% chance of spotting Werewolves in human form (15% for other Lycanthropes). That they are repelled by wolfsbane. That they have human-like hair on their heads. That a white-furred Lupin has special abilities - spell-casting, psionics. That not all Lupins hunt Werewolves.

No mention of any relation to or with the Wolfwere (MM2).

Lycanthrope, Werejaguar*.

Apart from that there are Cleric Werejaguars that are minions of evil Immortals, this is an unremarkable fil-in-the-gaps were-monster. 

What Was Left Out - Leveller (Bodendruker).

Gargantuan green elephant with eight trunks and specially adapted feet for 'levelling' the ground it tramples. Eats Purple Worms, which it pounds the ground to expose. Stomp attack is AoE; save vs. death ray or die and all your gear flattened/destroyed, otherwise d100 hp.

A curiosity. Feels more like a denizen of All The Worlds Monsters, if not for The Book of Imaginary Beings (Borges) being such an influence on D&D monsters.

Doesn't make it to DMR2, let alone 2e. Native to our planet Neptune, according to sources.