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

Voadam

Legend
Poor halflings in 1E; they had a pretty terrible time. If it wasn’t the bulette it was the ankheg.
Another who got significant changes.

Even before taking into account campaign specific variants like Kender on Krynn, cannibal elder race on Dark Sun, and dinosaur riders of Eberron, they have changed a bunch over time.

First they were Hobbits who quickly lost their name to infringement claims. They were sometimes tubby, sometimes slim. Sometimes round eared sometimes pointy eared. Their actual height varied significantly across editions. They were often Hobbitish fantasy English farmers but 4th turned them into river nomads more like Romani. Sometimes they are good at hiding and ranged weapons, some editions they are inherently lucky.
 

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GuyBoy

Adventurer
One more early kobold picture from 1e Deities and Demigods

View attachment 140033
"Kurtulmak appears as a giant kobold (5 1/2' tall) with scales of steel and a tail with a poisonous stinger"

Face is a bit more monkey like than dog like, particularly with the tail. Strong scales again in 1e.

The wyvern-like tail is a nice tie in to the later 3e dragon article when he gets associated with evil dragons.
I wonder if the “move” to mini-dragon people, often in service to dragons, came from the Dragon Mountain boxed set?
 

Voadam

Legend
Halflings across the Players Handbooks

5e "Stout," 3' tall, 40-45 pounds.

1625693104874.png


4e PH
"Proportioned like human adults" 4' 75-85 pounds

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3.5 PH
3' tall 30-35 pounds
1625693521712.png

2e PH
"Short, generally plump" 2'8"-4' 53-72 pounds.
1625693994536.png


1e PH
"very much like small humans"
3' tall 60 pounds (DMG)
1625694443995.png

D&D Rules Cyclopedia (Basic)
"A halfling is a short demihuman, and looks much like a human child with slightly pointed ears."
3' tall, 60 pounds

1625695577525.png



Moldvay Basic (B/X)
3' tall, 60 pounds
1625694760917.png


OD&D I could not find a physical description or picture.

Chainmail:

"These little chaps"
 
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I always thought the change to become reptile happened to Kobolds because of one artist/designer looking at an old black and white picture from an earlier edition and misstook the scale armor the Kobold wore on this picture for the Kobold actually having scales
They are described as having scales and laying eggs in the 1e MM
 

Richards

Legend
That is an ophidian.

Yes, I'm well aware that's an ophidian I posted. I was comparing it to the image that Tonguez had linked to in post #119, which he thought looked like a kobold. My argument was the creature in Tonguez's post looked more like an ophidian to me, and so I posted an ophidian picture to back up my claims.

Johnathan
 

Faolyn

Hero
Yes, I'm well aware that's an ophidian I posted. I was comparing it to the image that Tonguez had linked to in post #119, which he thought looked like a kobold. My argument was the creature in Tonguez's post looked more like an ophidian to me, and so I posted an ophidian picture to back up my claims.

Johnathan
Ah. Sorry; my mistake.
 


Echohawk

Shirokinukatsukami fan
the one that really stands out is the lamia, which has already been mentioned.
Apologies for the poor form replying to myself here, but I've finished fixing the lamia article now, including restoring the missing images. That poor creature has been (at least):
  • 1/3 human, 1/3 lion, 1/3 hoofed thing
  • 1/2 human, 1/2 serpent
  • 1/2 human, 1/2 horse
  • 1/2 human, 1/2 beast (goat or deer or lion)
  • 1/2 bones, 1/2 beetle swarm
  • 1/2 bones, 1/2 spider swarm
  • 1/2 human, 1/2 lion
Plus on at least one occasion it was missing front legs.
 

embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
Etymologically speaking, orcs have nothing to do with pigs. At all.

The word is not of Celtic origin. It's derived from Latin - orcus - a demon lord of the underworld not unlike Pluto, as well as a term for Hell itself. It also led to the Italian word orco which means "ogre" or a man-eating giant.

In Old English, it led to the word orcneas which means "monsters", as listed alongside ogres and elves in Beowulf.

In Anglo-Saxon, it is a synonym for goblin. In Old Dutch, it may have led to the word nork meaning "evil person."

Any connection to pigs are a product of D&D. Not Tolkien. Not the Celts. Just fantasy RPGs.
 


the Jester

Legend
Another good one that has changed a lot in ways that are almost invisible to the player is the trilloch. From weird energy being to weird plant thing.
 

Etymologically speaking, orcs have nothing to do with pigs. At all.
That's why I said conflation, not derivation. Like wise, the old Irish Insi Orc has jack squat to do with Orcus. It's a playful use of lingustic false friends, as seen in the passage by Lewis, which predates any frpg.
 





Hussar

Legend
Apologies for the poor form replying to myself here, but I've finished fixing the lamia article now, including restoring the missing images. That poor creature has been (at least):
  • 1/3 human, 1/3 lion, 1/3 hoofed thing
  • 1/2 human, 1/2 serpent
  • 1/2 human, 1/2 horse
  • 1/2 human, 1/2 beast (goat or deer or lion)
  • 1/2 bones, 1/2 beetle swarm
  • 1/2 bones, 1/2 spider swarm
  • 1/2 human, 1/2 lion
Plus on at least one occasion it was missing front legs.
Holy crap. That's one critter that's gotten a LOT of reworking.
 

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