log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D General D&D monsters that have been changed the most over time

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
The transition for kobolds seems to have been between 2E and 3.0:

In 2E, they have "scaly hides" "smell of damp dogs" "two small horns" "rat-like tail" and a language that sounds like "small dogs yapping": no reference EDIT: to eggs, or being reptilian. Strong elements of dog and rat, but with little horns and hide that could be read either as mammalian or reptilian. The picture in the MM shows pinkish mammalian skin and whiskers (though see Voadam's post immediately above!).

In 3E, they are explicitly "reptilian" with "scaly skin" and oviparous ("egg") and they speak Draconic "with a voice that sounds like that of a yapping dog". The picture shows green lizard-like skin.

EDIT: as pointed out below, eggs predate this. I am wrong.
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Voadam

Legend
The succubus has gone through a lot of lore changes.

From the start through 3.5 they were CE demons of the abyss.

In 4e they were LE devils, to show the 4e starting idea concept that demons were bestial monsters and devils were humanoid corruptors. Later lore additions had a sizeable number accompanying Grazzt the archdevil into the Abyss and staying with him when he turned into a demon lord.

In 5e they are neither demon nor devil, and neither chaotic nor lawful, just their own type of NE fiends.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
The last time I used modrons (3E) I kept the 1E MM2 art and described them as machines made of flesh, not actually mechanical in terms of being made of metal and wood and stuff. Makes them creepier when their cogs are made of bone and their shape is hardened meat.
 

Bolares

Hero
Basically, although from a quick google image search I see that none of cow-firbolgs are depicted with horns. Curious.

I wonder if the CR fan art interpretation will slowly become the official look in the future. I guess there's an audience for "cute" minotaurs.
For what it's worth this look is already official. That's how Firbolgs look in Exandria. Some ancestries have different looks there. Dragonborn as less buff and have long tails for an example.
 

Voadam

Legend
Specters/Spectres got a big surprising rewrite in 5e.

They had used to be the big Nazgul incorporeal undead who drained two levels with a hit, right below the level of a vampire in power and a step up on wraiths.

In 5e they got turned into minor ghost spirits who can be faced by 1st level characters and can be created by wraiths as a power.

The 5e ones are a good mechanical niche to hit (low level spirit) that D&D had generally been missing in the core MMs, but I wish they had named them geists instead, like their variant poltergeists, so that there could be a specter monster that matched the old lore and power level for those who converted stuff like old modules and those who wanted less dissonance in monster lore.
 
Last edited:

The succubus has gone through a lot of lore changes.

From the start through 3.5 they were CE demons of the abyss.

In 4e they were LE devils, to show the 4e starting idea concept that demons were bestial monsters and devils were humanoid corruptors. Later lore additions had a sizeable number accompanying Grazzt the archdevil into the Abyss and staying with him when he turned into a demon lord.

In 5e they are neither demon nor devil, and neither chaotic nor lawful, just their own type of NE fiends.

To add to this, the 4E article about the succubi gave them the origin of angels of love who were corrupted by Asmodeus. It also established Malcanthet as being like Graz'zt in that she was initially a devil who conquered a portion of the Abyss before being corrupted by it.

Lilith was established to be the queen of the succubi of the Hells, and Malcanthet the queen of the succubi of the Abyss. This could easily be adapted into 5E, with neutral evil succubi perhaps being free agents who don't acknowledge either succubus queen.
 

For what it's worth this look is already official. That's how Firbolgs look in Exandria. Some ancestries have different looks there. Dragonborn as less buff and have long tails for an example.
The tailed dragonborn are a specific subrace called the Draconbloods. Dragonborn lore in general is kind of sparse in the world of Critical Role, though. The Draconbloods' floating city of Draconia just so happened to settle in the only other detailed part of the world with a significant (tailless) dragonborn presence, for example.
 

The tailed dragonborn are a specific subrace called the Draconbloods. Dragonborn lore in general is kind of sparse in the world of Critical Role, though. The Draconbloods' floating city of Draconia just so happened to settle in the only other detailed part of the world with a significant (tailless) dragonborn presence, for example.
in 6e they should just have tails.
 

Bolares

Hero
For what its worth, Critical Role doesn't use the default 5E take on gnolls. They still have ties to Yeenoghu, but the Kryn Dynasty of Wildemount has a large number of gnolls living peacefully with goblins, minotaurs, ogres, etc as part of that civilization's effort to divorce its people from the various evil gods and demon lords who used their ancestors as minions.
Eberron also has Gnolls that renounced their fiendish heritage. The Znir Pack is a really big deal in Drooam.
 

see

Pedantic Grognard
I mean, I'd say a lot had changed myself. Prior to 3E there was no clear indication they were even "reptilian", per se.
I've spent two decades now banging my head into the "Yeah, sure, they were indisputably land-dwelling scaly egg-layers, but what indication do you have that they were reptilian before 3E?" wall, so, sure, fine, they weren't "clearly" established as dog-like reptiles (analogous to how dolphins are fish-like mammals) prior to the 3e Monster Manual.

My specific point for this thread was simply that all 3rd did was establish them clearly as reptilian, rather than going on to make them draconic.

(not sure why Mongoose's book would matter - they had no special insight did they? Or did WotC people work on it?).
That was presented entirely as supporting evidence that they still hadn't yet been clearly established as draconic as of 2003.

In 2E, they have "scaly hides" "smell of damp dogs" "two small horns" "rat-like tail" and a language that sounds like "small dogs yapping": no reference to eggs, or being reptilian.
Sure they have references to eggs, in both 1st and 2nd edition. Let me quote:

1st edition Monster Manual (1977), p.57:
"If 200 or more kobolds are encountered in their lair there will be the following additional creatures there: 5-20 guards (as bodyguards above), females equal to 50% of the total number, young equal to 10% of the total number, and 30-300 eggs." [emphasis added]

2nd edition Monstrous Compendium 1 (1989), Kobold page, "Habitat and Society" section:
"If encountered in their lair there will be 5-20 (5d4) bodyguards, females equal to 50% of the males, young equal to 10% of the males and 30-300 (3d10x10) eggs." [emphasis added]

2nd edition Monstrous Manual (1994), p.214, "Habitat/Society" section:
"In a lair there will be 5-20 (5d4) bodyguards, females equal to 50% of the males, young equal to 10% of the males and 30-300 (3d10x10) eggs." [emphasis added]
 

Faolyn

Hero
In 1e, they were pretty impressive and not emaciated. That was a 2e change.
That was Tom Baxa's art. DiTerlizzi had a different image:

1625512914190.png


(I will never be able to spell DiTerlizzi's name right without looking it up first.)
 


SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
Specters/Spectres got a big surprising rewrite in 5e.

They had used to be the big Nazgul incorporeal undead who drained two levels with a hit, right below the level of a vampire in power and a step up on wraiths.

In 5e they got turned into minor ghost spirits who can be faced by 1st level characters and can be created by wraiths as a power.

The 5e ones are a good mechanical niche (low level spirit) to hit that D&D had generally been missing in the core MMs, but I wish they had named them geists instead, like their variant poltergeists, so that there could be a specter monster that matched the old lore and power level for those who converted stuff like old modules and those who wanted less dissonance in monster lore.
Good idea, this has bothered me too, so that when i used spectres, i just termed them as an evilier looking ghost.

I may work on brining back a Spectre.
 


Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Scales and lays eggs could be considered a clear indication. It is a matter of interpretation if their old art is reptilian such as the head ridge and hairlessness of the dog-like B/X kobolds from 1981.

View attachment 139808

"These small, evil dog-like men usually live underground. They have scaly rust-brown skin and no hair."

I considered the old art as indicative of humanoid reptiles with dog like faces.

Theres an old EN World thread where Gygax answered questions iirc he said something like that the kobold was originally envisioned as a Mammalian ratty dog thing but hairless with scaly skin, apparently it was the artist who came back with the scaly skin looking more reptilian than intended
 
Last edited:

I've spent two decades now banging my head into the "Yeah, sure, they were indisputably land-dwelling scaly egg-layers, but what indication do you have that they were reptilian before 3E?" wall, so, sure, fine, they weren't "clearly" established as dog-like reptiles (analogous to how dolphins are fish-like mammals) prior to the 3e Monster Manual.
I was thinking they were more akin to monotremes like duck-billed platypuses, echidnas and so on (especially as kobolds had a weird combination of characteristics, were small, and kind of fail, sorry monotremes). I mean literally if you'd asked me when I was, say 12, about kobolds, I would probably have made that comparison (I was zoology/biology obsessive), but yeah, dolphins is another viable one, and some reptiles don't lay eggs either, they're vivaparous (the common lizard is, for example, in most areas, as are some snakes - both boa constrictors and anacondas among them, rattlesnakes too - a lot of the classic "adventure snakes" are viviparous), so the whole idea that reptile = lays eggs or lays eggs = reptiles was not an assumption I was going on.
 


Scales and lays eggs could be considered a clear indication. It is a matter of interpretation if their old art is reptilian such as the head ridge and hairlessness of the dog-like B/X kobolds from 1981.

View attachment 139808

"These small, evil dog-like men usually live underground. They have scaly rust-brown skin and no hair."

Here is the 1e DMG 1979:

View attachment 139810
And the 1979 1e MM's other picture of kobolds:

View attachment 139811

I considered the old art as indicative of humanoid reptiles with dog like faces.
See as someone into biology/zoology, the external ears and doglike noses were much more "un-reptilian" than laying eggs or having scales was reptilian. There are mammals that lay eggs, and many reptiles that don't, and mammals with scale-like structures, but there are no reptiles with that sort of external ear (or anything even close AFAIK), and no reptiles with mammal-style noses. Nor have there ever been, that we're aware of. At best kobolds were some 50/50 mixture of characteristics.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
See as someone into biology/zoology, the external ears and doglike noses were much more "un-reptilian" than laying eggs or having scales was reptilian. There are mammals that lay eggs, and many reptiles that don't, and mammals with scale-like structures, but there are no reptiles with that sort of external ear (or anything even close AFAIK), and no reptiles with mammal-style noses. Nor have there ever been, that we're aware of. At best kobolds were some 50/50 mixture of characteristics.
Yeah I tended to peg Kobolds as Therapsids, which allows us to take the best aspects of mammals and reptiles and mash them together.

Take a look at the Porosteognathus and tell me that doesnt scream Kobold
(no floppy ears though since only mammals have external ears)

View attachment 38A75F72-A89B-47EF-866D-4C2A07B5CC94.webp
 


An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top