Thursday, March 25, 2010

Worst Dungeons & Dragons Monsters

The Snoutbagger recently compiled a list of the 15 best Dungeons and Dragons monsters that appeared in the original Monster Manual, Monster Manual 2, and Fiend Folio. As promised, he now presents the 15 WORST Dungeons and Dragons monsters from the same era. Strap yourself in and try not to spit up on your monitor, here's TSR Inc.'s greatest misses:

15. Blindheim

The blindheim is not the stupidest creature in D and D, but it is certainly in the discussion. It is a frog that lives underground. It has "eyes that shine like searchlights." If one looks at you, you have to make a saving throw or be blinded. When you are blinded it attacks. There is virtually no description beyond this. The blindheim somehow is chaotic evil, which doesn't make much sense due to the fact that it is basically an animal. Nonetheless, this lame monster is somehow one of the evilest creatures in the D and D universe. It's so boring it is hardly even worth talking about. You just have to wonder the process by which TSR decided on its monsters. If the blindheim is one of the keepers, how lame were the ones left on the cutting-room floor?

14. Enveloper

The enveloper is included here mostly because of how dumb he looks. It is amazing how non-scary the illustrations were in early D and D monster manuals. The contemporary ones do not suffer this way, as even some of the lame monsters look pretty menacing. Look at this depiction of the enveloper, though. What the fuck? Nice face. It looks like a living turd. It has some interesting powers, mostly regarding its ability to fall on top of dead bodies and absorb their abilities. After absorbing you, it can get up and start talking in your voice. Sweet. There are lamer monsters (as we will see!), but the enveloper certainly ranks high on the WTF scale.

13. Cat Lord
The Cat Lord is a unique monster; as you probably guessed, he's the lord of all cats. The dude is actually really powerful (-9 AC, 90% magic resistance, supra-genius intelligence, and assorted cat-like abilities). El Gato Masculino can assume the form of any feline, small or great, and can summon a slew of his furry friends to aid in battle. The amount of creatures he summons depends on the type of cat he wants. He can summon 1000 domestic cats (not sure how intimidating a legion of Mr. Whiskers would be), or a few giant tigers. He's pretty lame, being another example of how TSR really began to reach in their attempts at inventing new and creative monsters. If they went here, I'm not sure why they don't have a Dog Lord. They could publish a manual filled with animal lords. Besides his general silliness, check out his appearance! He looks like the offspring of Dave Navarro and the Night Stalker (Richard Ramirez). Who decided on that look? Not sure if he wants to rape someone or scratch their eyes out. A weird addition, and definitely not one of D and D's best.

12. Galeb Duhr

The galeb duhr is lame for similar reasons that the ascomoid is lame (#8 on this list). It is a giant boulder-like creature with appendages and a face. Its main attack is to bowl over its prey. You don't really have to worry about them unless you are mountain climbing or hiking in a rocky area. If you are, they like to surprise you by rolling down on top of you. It's just an animated boulder. They are decently tough, but nothing special. They're just about as boring as the previous blindheim, and offer nothing in particular to any adventure. I can just see a dungeon master: "OK, as your party makes its way through the serpentine landscape a giant rock falls on top of your halfling thief...what do you do?" Player: "Uh, we move the rock and continue on." DM: "Sorry, the rock has hands and feet. It wants to fight." Player: "I think I've come to the point where I am going to trade in these all-nighter D and D sessions and try getting some pussy for a change. Later."

11. Ogremoch

Ocremoch is a unique creature from the Fiend Folio, and one of the elemental princes of evil. Ogremoch is included here simply because...TAKE A FUCKING LOOK AT HIM! He looks like the bastard child of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. He actually is extremely tough: -7 AC, 110 hit points, 85% magic resistance, psionic abilities, and 2 attacks per round at 5-50 damage each (1 punch = coma time). Forget about that though, his best ability is to make you die of laughter from seeing how stupid he looks. His description is "a rough, apparently unfinished bipedal form." While his form may be unfinished, The Snoutbagger knows what IS finished: the career of whoever created him.

10. Modron

Gary Gygax's daughter must have been playing with alpha blocks when he invented the modron for Monster Manual 2. Modrons come in variations and each type looks like a different abstract shape; some are spheres, some look like 2x4s, some like squares, and some like triangles. Each modron looks is silly as the one shown in the picture (some are even stupider). They are very lame and to top it off, they live under a rigid caste system on the plane of Nirvana under the rule of Primus the One. So, Nirvana is like ancient India I guess. Modron society is hierarchical with laborers at the bottom and judges and viceroys at the top. All of this must be crucial to the D and D universe because the modron description page is six pages long! You'd think with them being so important the D and D dudes could choose a more compelling physical form. They look like clip art. Modrons are totally bizarre, but not weird enough to be cool. Stupid 1, D and D 0.

9. Owlbear

The owlbear is easily one of the dumbest monsters in D and D. Most monsters in the first Monster Manual are pretty good, but this one is a big time loser. Virtually none of the monsters that simply combine facets of multiple animals are ever any good. The result is inevitably uninspired and lame. Just look at the picture! Even the illustration is ridiculous. "It's a bear...and a guess." Owlbears are decently tough opponents for low level characters; defeating just a few of them would be close to impossible for a 1-3rd level party, even though they don't really have any unique abilities. They perform just as you would expect: they peck at you with their beak or scratch you with their claws. Its one "special attack" is to "grasp a victim and squeeze and bite it to death." The description says that owlbears are "probably the result of genetic experimentation by some insane wizard." The Snoutbagger thinks it is probably more accurate that the editor who created it was going through a divorce and living in his car.

8. Ascomoid

Ascomoids look like giant golf balls. They are "puffball-like fungi" that move by rolling. One of its better features is that it can roll for a long time without getting tired (the Monster Manual 2 actually says that!). They attack by rolling over opponents. An ascomoid attack must be like Woody Allen in Sleeper when he tries to crush his attackers with that inflatable rubber suit Diane Keaton tricks him into wearing. Ten bucks says that Yakety Sax starts playing during its fights. It spits gas spores too which can kill you if you inhale them. The description also says that the ascomoid "has no mind by ordinary standards." If that is so, it must be an autobiographical creation.

7. Obliviax (Memory Moss)

Obliviax, or memory moss, is one of the silliest creatures in the Monster Manual 2. One can really see a drop off in originality while perusing the monsters created after Monster Manual 1, and obliviax moss is another example of them really stretching to find something new. Memory moss is an "evil black moss" (scary!) that has the power to steal memories from others. If it is lucky enough to steal a wizard's memories it might be able to cast some spells at you. It can't attack other than that. If your memories are stolen, the only way to retrieve them is to EAT the obvliviax moss. I'm not making this up. A saving throw determines whether you get your memories back or whether you start puking moss. Who knows how one knows their memories are sucked away since they obviously have no memory of them. Obliviax: a swing and a miss.

6. Stench Kow

I can barely write this entry without pissing myself. "Stench kine [sic] are the cattle of the Nine Hells." Stinky cows? In hell? Let's examine them closer: they are immune to cold, fire, and poison. Here's their best attack: if you get close to them you have to make a saving throw vs. poison due to "the odor of their breath and body." If you fail the saving throw you react as if a hobo shoved his underwear in your face. Stench kine (can barely type that without laughing) aren't tough other than that. I can just imagine the brain storming session during TSR's production meeting: Gary Gygax: "Does anyone have anything good for the new Monster Manual?" Assistant Editor: "OK, how about a cow that lives in hell." Gygax: "Um, well, OK. What are its powers?" Assistant Editor: "It smells bad." Gygax: "Alright, let's bump the syphilis swine in favor of the stench kow." So bad!

5. Ixitxachitl

I have an idea, let's just use an animal that already exists in the world and give it a name no one can pronounce. That can be a monster, right? Wrong. The ixitxachitl is the unpronounceable version of...a sting ray. Oh wait, an intelligent sting ray (my bad). What makes the ixitxachitl more than a ray? They attend church! They're clerics! They are total pussies overall (AC 6, 1+1 hit dice), but if you encounter 10 of them at once...get will be able to cast spells at you like it were a second level cleric! A second level cleric basically has 2 first level spells, and first level cleric spells are next to useless. Your GPS is more useful. A $10 hooker with a penis is more useful. This basically means it can cast light, detect good/evil, or create water (which is ironic since it lives in water). Killer cleric stingrays are perhaps the dumbest juxtaposition ever in D and D. Its description says that "discovering an ixitxachitl lair is difficult, for they are hidden by a secret entrance." Finding their lair is probably half as difficult as understanding why TSR created them in the first place.

4. Carbuncle

The carbuncle is "similar to an armadillo with an 'armoured' upper surface of small interlocking 'plates' of tough leathery skin." Interesting how the Fiend Folio uses this description to distinguish the carbuncle from a normal armadillo; what the fuck is the difference? It feeds on leaves and small insects (sounds intimidating). Check this out: it has a ruby set on its head. Wizards can coax one to give up its gem by casting charm monster on it, then the gem can be sold. Captivating. The carbuncle also has telepathic powers. It can talk to your mind! Here's the kicker: "if attacked, it puts up no resistance and is easily can will itself to die." What the fuck it that? Somehow this stupid thing has a neutral alignment with "evil tendencies." Who knows what TSR was thinking here. Seems like they had a think tank filled with monkeys on LSD.

3. Lava Children

Lava children are another ridiculous monster found in the Fiend Folio. they are the "unnatural offspring of a union between spirits of earth and fire," which is so vague it is utterly meaningless. Definitely an unflushed turd here. They are subterranean humanoids which have a "curious child-like appearance" and a "permanent smile on their faces." It actually says that in their description! So, you basically are fighting a troglodyte that looks like Alfred E. Neuman. They are immune to metal, and swords just pass right through them. Lava children are creatures that must have been inspired by a TSR editor who forgot until the last minute that he was responsible for editing the L section of the Folio, passing the assignment along to the interns. Very lame.

2. Flail Snail

This monster is so stupid it is unbelievable. A SNAIL with a bunch of morning star tentacles? Really? What's next, the butt-plug slug? This entry must have been the result of TSR's staff having serious coke habits. I have an idea, how about killer kittens, purgatory puppies, or a chickenlich? If I encountered one of these in an adventure I would accuse the DM of making shit up as he went along. Flail snails are 8 feet tall, and "utter pitiful wailing cries" when they are close to death. It is magic resistant too, which makes no sense because few creatures in D and D are magic resistant (except demons and devils and other powerful creatures), and animals of any kind virtually never are. It's like they had to do something for people to take it seriously. This monster is so silly it is embarrassing.

1. Al-mi'raj

Here we are, at the end. And the award for the lamest D and D monster goes to...the al-mi'raj (the what?). What else is there to describe other than it is a bunny rabbit...with a unicorn horn. It can fight though! It "will stab with its horn, its nimbleness giving the horn damage potential of...a dagger" (1-4 points of damage). A fart could do worse damage. Maybe they included it because of its "acute sense of smell" and "sharp eyesight." If they thought the name would make it appealing they were sorely mistaken. I'm curious as to why they didn't include the terrible toaster, sinistar socks, or smelly snatch as well. Just look at the picture. What more is there to say?