Sunday, October 02, 2011

AD&D Monster Manual part 34


Minotaur: Minotaurs, the bull-headed men of classical mythology, debuted in OD&D Vol. 2.  Their Hit Dice has been raised slightly, from 6 to 6+3.  It seems as though they get fewer attacks than they did before.  In Supplement I: Greyhawk, it looked to me as though they could attack with a headbutt, a bite, and a weapon, all in the same round.  In the Monster Manual they get two attacks, once with a weapon and once with either the headbutt or the bite, depending on how big the target is.  They usually use a huge axe or a flail, and get a damage bonus due to strength that they didn’t get before.

Minotaurs are now harder to surprise than they were before.  They’ve also gained the ability to track by scent, which should prove a great aid in their tendency to pursue prey.  I figure that these abilities are linked; the scent not only allows the tracking ability but alerts them to attackers as well.

Minotaurs are now Chaotic Evil (formerly they were either Neutral or Chaotic).  They have their own language as well, and it is said for the first time that they live in labyrinthine places.  These can be underground or in the wilderness, and I kind of like the idea of a maze-like forest of shifting trees that is crawling with minotaurs.

The only real change to incorporate here is the scent ability of the minotaur, and I’m chalking that up to their growing familiarity with adventurers.  They’ve always had the ability, but now they’re better at figuring out what adventurers smell like.

Mold, Brown: As far as I can tell, the brown mold is making its first appearance here.  Brown mold grows underground, and feeds on heat energy.  Any creature that gets too close will suffer 1-8 points of damage for every 10 degrees of body heat over 55 degrees that the creature has.  This is a rule I’ve never spotted before, and I’m really not sure how to adjudicate it.  A human has a core body temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, so if I’m reading this correctly, brown mold deals 4d8 points of damage.  And that’s just to a person, it’s going to be more for red dragons and fire elementals and the like.

The mold grows if open flame is brought near it, so it’s not unlikely that a small patch could expand if a torch-wielding party stumbles by, or happens to cast a fireball near it.  Pretty much the only thing that can kill it is magical cold, specifically a cold wand or white dragon breath.  Ice storms and walls of ice only cause it to go dormant.  So there is literally one by-the-book option available to a party if they want to destroy this stuff.  Harsh.

Any creature that uses cold as an attack (specifically called out here are white dragons, ice toads and winter wolves) is immune to brown mold.  I’m instantly picturing a white dragon lair covered in the stuff.

Mold, Yellow: Yellow mold first appeared in OD&D Vol. 2.  The changes here are negligible.  It still causes damage to flesh on contact (which has been raised from 1-6 to 1-8) and releases lethal spores if broken.  In OD&D, if a character failed the save he was dead.  In AD&D, a character killed by yellow mold spores can be saved within 24 hours with a cure disease and a resurrection spell.  Why this is different from just using resurrection to return them to life, I have no idea.  Unless the cure disease is necessary to remove the spores from the lungs before the character can be revived?  Maybe the spores can’t be killed that way after 24 hours, and your character will just die again instantly if he is raised.  Something to think on.

I’m pleased to see that large colonies of yellow mold retain the chance to be psionic, and can attack with a powerful id insinuation.  The wording here is exactly the same as it was in Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry.

Morkoth: Morkoths made their debut in Supplement II: Blackmoor.  They probably need a bit of explanation, because I’ve never quite sorted them out in my head.  They’re shadowy monsters that live at the bottom of the ocean in a series of spiralling tunnels.  The tunnels have a hypnotic pattern, and anyone passing over an entrance to one will be drawn inside, where the morkoth uses its powers to control its mind and eat it.  Got that?  Because I think that’s the first time that I have.

Morkoths didn’t have a movement rate in OD&D, but now they get a quite fast swim speed of 18.  Their Hit Dice has dropped from 8 to 7.  Their only attack in OD&D was listed as “Special”, but now they get a bite attack that does 1-10 points of damage. Basically, they were useless unless their charm power worked, and Gary has fixed them.

The creature gets a vague physical description for the first time, as “possibly humanoid”.  It’s nice and mysterious.  The only other additions and changes are a lot of things that clarify exactly how their abilities work.  The only thing that has been really messed with is their ability to reflect spells back at the caster.  It’s still there, but a might negate it if cast at the exact same time as another spell.  Also, a reflected spell only affects the caster, unless it has an area of effect.  In OD&D, the caster and everyone within 10 feet were affected, regardless of whether the spell had an area effect or not.  (I’m wondering if anyone has ever used this rule to their advantage?  I’m picturing a cure light wounds being cast at a Morkoth, then reflected back to the caster and the rest of the party.  It’s a loophole that’s now been closed off, anyway.)

Mule: Mules were briefly touched on in the Horse entry in OD&D Vol. 2, but this is the first time they get an entry of their own.  The first thing that leaps out at me is that their Hit Dice has increased from 2+1 to 3.  The old value was nothing to scoff at, but now the average mule could conceivably do in a small party of novice adventurers.  They also get damage ranges for their attacks for the first time ever.  They’re still agile enough to be taken into dungeons, and strange smells can still spook them.  But in direct contradiction to OD&D, they are now not panicked by fire.  The maximum amount of weight they can carry has also increased from 3500 coins to 6000 coins.  It looks like average mules are now being bred much stronger and more well-trained than before.

Mummy: Mummies appeared for the first time in OD&D Vol. 2.  Their range for Number Appearing has decreased, from 1-12 to 2-8.  Their Hit Dice has increased from 5+1 to 6+3.  I usually don’t note down any changes to the % in Lair chance, because almost every monster has a small variation between OD&D and AD&D, but mummies had a whopping increase, from 30% to 80%.  This means that any encounter with mummies is much more likely to yield some treasure.

I’m interested to see that mummies are said to exist in both the Prime Material Plane and the Positive Material Plane.  Pretty much all of the other undead creatures are connected to the Negative Material Plane.  This may very well be a typo, but I think these sorts of anomalies are more interesting than any uniformity.  I’ll need to return to this once I have a better idea of what the Positive and Negative Planes actually are.

The mummy’s rotting touch is nowhere near as crippling as it was in OD&D.  It still causes you to heal at a rate ten times slower than normal, but now it can be cured completely with a cure disease spell; before, that spell stopped you from dying, but still left you with a rate of healing twice as slow as normal.  In OD&D, there was a very slim chance you might recover without magic, but here you will die in 1-6 months, and you now lose 2 Charisma points a month on top of that.  Oh, and the rotting also now negates all cure wounds spells completely.  If someone is killed by a mummy, you will now need to cast a cure disease spell in addition to a raise dead to bring them back, and it has to be done within 6 turns.  I’m guessing here that the mummy rot destroys dead tissue pretty quickly, and past a certain point there’s nothing to bring back to life.

Mummies have gained a new ability, an aura of fear that can paralyse people if they fail a saving throw.  If you’re in a larger party you get a saving throw bonus, and for some reason humans are more resistant to this fear than other races.  Mummies are specifically said to be undead humans, so there’s probably something in that.

Mummies are still hit only by magical weapons, and even those deal half damage (rounded down!).  And they’re still vulnerable to fire.  Some specific attacks, such as torches and flaming oil, are given damage ranges, and magical fire now deals an extra point of damage per die.  On top of that they gain a whole load of immunities that they didn’t specifically have before: sleep, charm, hold person, cold, poison and paralysis.

There’s a nice touch, in that a raise dead spell can be used to bring a mummy back to life.  I don’t recall that being something that can be done to any other undead. It has to tie into the Positive Material Plane thing somehow.

2 comments:

Zenopus Archives said...

Interesting bit about the Mummies & the Positive Material - I never noticed that before. I just searched and found some discussion of it, including a Gygax Q&A thread on EnWorld where he indicated it was a typo. Of course, this is many years after the fact.

Nathan P. Mahney said...

Ah, I knew I had read that somewhere, but I couldn't find it with my Google-fu. Even so, despite Gary's words, I'll probably stick with what is in the book. It's an intriguing anomaly.