Chimera: The Chimera, which first appeared in OD&D, is still of the standard mythological variety – hind legs of a goat, forelegs of a lion, bat wings, goat’s head, lion’s head, and dragon’s head. It’s such a cool visual, though I imagine the poor old goat suffering from adequacy issues in this combination. I’m not sure what’s going on with the Chimera’s Armor Class here. Whereas before it had an AC of 4, now it is listed as 6/5/2. There’s no explanation in the text of what this means, but I suppose that each AC value corresponds to a certain head. I would give the goat head AC 6, the lion head AC 5, and the dragon head AC 2. The creature’s movement rate on land has also been reduced, from 12” to 9”. And there’s also the ubiquitous reduction to the % in Lair chance. The Chimera still does three dice of damage with its breath weapon, but now it is 3d8 instead of 3d6. In OD&D Chimeras could be Neutral or Chaotic, but now they are Chaotic Evil. Some other small details revealed include the creature’s colouration, and that they speak a limited form of red dragon language.
Cockatrice: It’s a chicken. Its beak can turn you to stone. There is no radder monster than that. It first appeared in OD&D, and has had some minor tweaks to the stats since then. The cockatrice now only deals 1-3 damage instead of 1-6. Their Number Appearing range has been reduced from 1-8 to 1-6, which I’m sure is an effort on Gary’s part to stop these buggers doing TPKs every time they come up as a random encounter. They are also slower, with their land speed going from 9” to 6”. Their physical description also gets a little fleshing out.
Couatl: This monster, based on the feathered serpent of Aztec mythology, first appeared in Supplement III. Their alignment was previously Lawful with Neutral tendencies, but now they are Lawful Good. Their psionic abilities have been tweaked to match up with Gary’s upcoming plans for the Player’s Handbook, leaving behind the power determination based on class. Otherwise, this monster is just as it was presented before (another case of Gary not really tweaking the monster’s created later in OD&D’s history).
Giant Crab: The giant crab first appeared with the aquatic monsters in OD&D. There are a load of minor tweaks here. Their Armor Class has worsened from 2 to 3. Movement rate has dropped from 9” to 6”. Their damage, previously 2-12 per pincer, is now at 2-8. I would say they’ve been nerfed, but they do get a better chance to gain surprise than they had before. A lot of the info presented in Supplement II, mostly dealing with how mermen relate to them, and how they lay their eggs, has also been omitted.
Giant Crayfish: Because no RPG is complete without a few superfluous crustaceans. I’m pretty sure they first appeared in the updated wilderness encounter tables from Supplement III, but they get stats here for the first time. They’re a little tougher than the Giant Crab; more hit dice, higher damage, although with a slightly worse AC and a not-quite-as-good surprise chance.
Crocodile: Crocodiles, and their giant brethren, first appeared in OD&D section on aquatic monsters. Their stats were fleshed out in Supplement II, but like a lot of monsters from that booklet they have been heavily modified here. Pretty much all of the stats have changed, the most significant being that Giant Crocodiles no longer appear in ginormous packs of 12-60 (and thank Christ for that, because I really don’t know how to randomly generate that range). They are also now slower in cold weather, and get a better chance at gaining surprise. Alas, rules for ships ramming Giant Crocodiles aren’t included here.
And with my next post, I begin with the letter D. Dragons. Devils. Demons. Dinosaurs. Yeah, I'm going to be stuck on that letter for a good long while.