Thursday, April 09, 2015

AD&D Monster Manual part 59

GIANT WASP: Giant wasps first appeared in Supplement II: Blackmoor.  As I've mentioned before, monsters from that supplement were often heavily rewritten by Gary.  Giant wasps have remained the same conceptually (how could they not, they're based on the real-world) but they work very differently terms of the rules.  The biggest change is with their sting attack.  In OD&D most giant wasps could sting only once, and 20% of them could sting twice.  Giant wasps from AD&D can sting as many times as they want.  This has been offset by a drop in the deadliness of the wasps' poison.  In OD&D it would kill the victim after 24 hours, with no saving throw; the only way to cure it was with a neutralize poison spell.  Said victim would be paralyzed within an hour, and any movement other than teleportation would kill him outright.  In AD&D, the victim now gets a saving throw.  If he fails he is paralyzed permanently, with death occurring after 2-5 days (either from the paralysis, or from being eaten by the wasp's larva).  Neutralize poison still works as a cure, as does a nebulously defined "antidote".

A small amount of ecological info is given.  Giant wasps hunt continuously, both for food and for victims to paralyze and feed to their larva.  Some wasps build nests out of mud, and some out of paper.  A paper nest will contain from 21-40 adult wasps within.

The entry ends with the rather charming note that the wings of giant wasps are vulnerable to fire, and will immediately be burned off by a fireball or any other hot flame.  It's a small touch, and the sort of thing I would probably forget during a game, but I like it.

Stat Changes:
Number Appearing: Old - 3-30, New - 1-20; Armor Class: Old - 5, New 4; Movement: Old - 6"/24", New - 6"/21"; Hit Dice: Old - 3, New 4; Damage: Old - 1 sting for 1-8, New - 1 sting for 2-8 and 1 bite for 1-4

WATER WEIRD: Water weirds make their debut here.  They are said to originate from the Elemental Plane of Water, and to feed on the essences of living things.  How they do the feeding is unknown, but they attack by forming into the shape of a watery serpent and lashing out, striking as a 6 Hit Die creature (they only have 3+3 Hit Dice, so this is a decent leap).  Any creature they hit will be dragged underwater unless he makes a save vs. paralyzation.

From what I gather here, water weirds are almost unkillable.  They take full damage from blunt weapons, but only 1 point from any bladed weapon.  If their hit points drop to zero they don't die; instead they are disrupted, and must wait 2 rounds to reform.  They are slowed by cold spells, and take half damage from fire spells (or none on a successful save).  It seems to me that the only method that will work is a purify water spell, and who's going to have one of those memorized?

This creature has another one of those charming little abilities that will rarely come into play, but would be awesome if they ever did: they have a 50% chance to take over and control any water elemental.  It's a bit odd that a creature so much weaker than an elemental can do this, but they are quite a bit more intelligent (a rank of Very, as compared to a rank of Low).

GIANT WEASEL: Giant weasels first appeared in the random encounter tables in OD&D, but this is the first time they get an entry of their very own.  They did get a damage listed for their bite attack in Supplement I: Greyhawk (1-8 plus blood drain), but here that has been amended to 2-12.  The blood drain has been kept: when a giant weasel attacks it doesn't let go.  Instead it holds on, draining blood at a rate that deals 2-12 damage per round to its victim.  Nothing is said about when the weasel lets go, or how to get it off short of killing it.

If they're taken young enough, giant weasels have a 25% chance that they can be trained to guard or hunt.  And ooh, we haven't seen this in a while: Gary has given a monetary value to the body part of another dead monster!  In this case it's the weasel's pelt, which sells for 1,000 to 6,000 gold pieces.  (Really?  That seems super generous.)

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