Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Twenty Iconic Monsters - Take 2

Ok, so I totally screwed up the list by forgetting to include any undead. Notre that I scribbled that list down in a couple of minutes without referencing the books - something was bound to slip through the cracks. But rather than edit the previous post to make myself look good, I'm going to have another go.

WHAT'S COMING OUT: The Chimera is out, leaving the Manticore as my sole representative of mythical beasts. I've reluctantly pulled the Wyvern as well - dragons fill that niche already. Black Pudding? Gone, since the Gelatinous Cube is way cooler (and more on him tomorrow). And sorry, Mr. Kuo-Toa - I love ya, but I need at least one demon.

ADDITIONS: The list needs some undead. In the interests of covering low, medium, and high levels, I wanted to put in Ghouls, Wraiths and Liches. I find Ghouls a lot more interesting than Zombies and Skeletons, and I needed Wraiths as the obligatory level-draining monster (with a cooler name than the Spectre). At the top it was a toss-up between Liches and Vampires, but Liches are much more of a D&D thing. But I can only fit two things here, so the Wraith is out.

I also need a Lycanthrope. In the interests of including the most D&D of the bunch, I went with the Wererat. It's not as iconic as the Werewolf, but it's another monster that you really only see in D&D and D&D-style fantasy.

Lastly, my token Demon or Devil. First I narrowed it down to a Demon, because I know them a lot better. Most people I know are also more familiar with them - they all know what a Balor or a Marilith or a Vrock is, but Cornugons, Gelugons, etc. they can't tell apart until you show them a picture. I'm going with the Balor, just for being the ultimate demon. If you want to have a bad guy summon one, it might as well be powerful.

So the updated list:

KOBOLD

ORC

GNOLL

OGRE

FIRE GIANT (Someone wanted to know why I picked this over the Frost Giant - I think that Fire Giants are a lot more versatile in terms of what terrains they can frequent.)

TROLL

DARK ELF

MIND FLAYER

BEHOLDER

PURPLE WORM

DISPLACER BEAST

RUST MONSTER

CARRION CRAWLER

MANTICORE

GELATINOUS CUBE

RED DRAGON

GHOUL

LICH

WERERAT

BALOR (or Type VI Demon if you prefer)

It's certainly a better list than the one I had jotted down previously. But if this experiment has taught me anything, it's that D&D has far too many cool monsters to condense down to a list of twenty.

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