Thursday, April 23, 2015

AD&D Monster Manual part 61

 WILL-O-(THE)-WISP: Will-o-the-Wisps first appeared in Supplement 1: Greyhawk.  They appear as glowing balls of light that lead victims to their deaths in order to feed on the life-force as it leaves the victim's body.  They haven't changed much from their first appearance.  Whereas before only one wisp would be encountered, now there's a 10% chance to meet 1-3, usually close to their lair.  As in OD&D they can alter their brightness, even extinguishing it entirely and becoming invisible.  In OD&D this invisibility wasn't given a limit, but here it is restricted to a duration of 2-8 melee rounds, and then only if the wisp doesn't attack.  (I can see why, as strictly by-the-book OD&D wisps could remain invisible at all times and still attack.)

Another thing that has changed is the range of weapons that can harm a wisp.  In OD&D, they could only be hurt by metallic weapons, but here any weapon will hurt them.  They get a hell of a compensation, though: they are now immune to every spell except for protection from evil, magic missile and maze.  As before, a wisp will surrender and reveal its treasure if near death; in OD&D it would do so at 3 hit points or lower, and here it does so at 5 hit points.  I wonder if this means that wisps can speak?  They do have Exceptional Intelligence, but no mention is made of how they communicate.

Oh, and in combat they now glow blue, violet, or pale green.  It's a charming touch.  I would also like to point out that wisps have an Armor Class of -8.  As far as I can tell, that's the best AC in the Monster Manual, equalled only by Demogorgon.

Stat Changes:
Number Appearing: Old - 1, New - 1 or 1-3; Damage: Old - 2-12, New - 2-16

WIND WALKER: Wind Walkers first showed up in The Strategic Review #3.  They remain much the same as before: ethereal wind-based creatures that dwell on high mountains or in deep caverns.  The first new thing we learn about them is that they originate from the Elemental Plane of Air.

Two factors are affected by the number of wind walkers that appear: the distance at which they are detected, and the range at which they can detect thoughts (as they are telepathic). Each wind walker present adds 10' to these ranges.  This works the same in AD&D as it did in OD&D, but it's a bit clearer in the Monster Manual.

The way that wind walkers attack is something I'm not clear on.  It's said that they attack by wind force, causing 3-18 points of damage per turn to every creature within 1" that they hit.  This means that they get an attck against every creature in that range, yes?  But once a turn?  Is that correct, or should I interpret that as once per attack round?  It makes a big difference.  Also, the original entry for wind walker had a note that they deafen victims at 20 feet.  That's not present here at all.

As before, wind walkers ca only be fought by other ethereal creatures (djinn, efreet, invisible stalkers and aerial servants are named specifically), but there are a number of spells which can affect them.  These spells are the same in AD&D as in OD&D: control weather will destroy them on a failed save, slow hits them like a fireball, ice storm drives them away for 1-4 rounds, and haste halves their hit points but doubles their damage output.  They are, as before, affected by magical barriers.  They still pursue foes tenaciously as they did in OD&D, but there they did so for at least 10 turns; here they will chase for only 2-5 rounds.

As in OD&D, they are subject to telepathic attack, and can be controlled by storm giants.

Stat Changes:
Armor Class: Old - 8, New - 7; Hit Dice: Old - 6, New - 6+3


Anonymous said...

Wouldn't the wisps' brightness control make lots of sense as a mode of communication? If that's it, they'd probably still have trouble communicating with most folks, but that could probably actually be milked for both some nice images and puzzlish situations.

Nathan P. Mahney said...

That's what I would probably go with, in combination with their ability to change colour.

Glen Sprigg said...

I really like this blog; I read it on before, and the concept is great. I had an interesting alternative campaign idea for it, though. Instead of setting it in Greyhawk, I thought of it as having characters in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world (the apocalypse having happened in a 3e campaign a few thousand years ago), leaving all this stuff behind. An entire continent was essentially nuked, leaving few survivors and lots and lots of ruins to explore. Now, the descendants of those survivors, who lived on another continent or on an island off the coast far enough to avoid the devastation, are now starting to explore what was left behind. The original box would represent what is known to this reborn civilization as the PCs begin exploring, but now they're going to start running into things no one has ever seen before...starting with the mind flayers, then the Greyhawk monsters, etc. As the PCs explore further into the continent, they'll find more and more new stuff.

Nathan P. Mahney said...

Oh man, an reader! That was a looong time ago. Glad to still have you aboard!