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Gygaxian Monsters


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Gentlegamer

First Post
Griffith Dragonlake said:
Except that Snorri Sturlasson's description had nothing about Svartalfr having some characteristics of black widow spiders, e.g. females larger and more powerful than males and worshipping a black widow spider-goddess. Or shooting hand crossbows for that matter. In addition, many scholars maintain that Svartalfr were just another name for the Dvergr.
Gygax created the details of the AD&D version, which is pretty unique, but dark elves had their inspirational roots in that source, which, as you note, also served as inspiration for the derro dwarves.
 



GlassEye

First Post
Griffith Dragonlake said:
Except that Snorri Sturlasson's description had nothing about Svartalfr having some characteristics of black widow spiders, e.g. females larger and more powerful than males and worshipping a black widow spider-goddess. Or shooting hand crossbows for that matter. In addition, many scholars maintain that Svartalfr were just another name for the Dvergr.

That's all true. However, Snorri Sturlasson does describe dark elves who live underground and have a nature different than the light elves. So sure, Mr. Gygax created some additional detail but the basic idea was already there.
 

demiurge1138

Inventor of Super-Toast
Gentlegamer said:
Gygax created the details of the AD&D version, which is pretty unique, but dark elves had their inspirational roots in that source, which, as you note, also served as inspiration for the derro dwarves.
Duergar. The derro are part of the "Shaver Mystery" mythos of 1940's serial fiction.

Demiurge out.
 

pawsplay

First Post
Griffith Dragonlake said:

Main Entry: quis·ling
Pronunciation: 'kwiz-li[ng]
Function: noun
Usage: often attributive
Etymology: Vidkun Quisling died 1945 Norwegian politician who collaborated with the Nazis
: TRAITOR 2, : COLLABORATOR
- quis·ling·ism /-li[ng]-"i-z&m/ noun
 

cwhs01

First Post
pawsplay said:
Main Entry: quis·ling
Pronunciation: 'kwiz-li[ng]
Function: noun
Usage: often attributive
Etymology: Vidkun Quisling died 1945 Norwegian politician who collaborated with the Nazis
: TRAITOR 2, : COLLABORATOR
- quis·ling·ism /-li[ng]-"i-z&m/ noun


My guess is that quasit was derived from the prefix quasi (meaning "similar to..." or "to some degree..."). a fire-quasit would be a creature related to the element of fire.
 

Huw

First Post
More suggestions

Griffith Dragonlake said:
Ear Seeker [AD&D MM Gygax]
Earwig from folklore. They were rumoured to crawl into peoples ears and lay eggs.

Griffith Dragonlake said:
Stirge [possibly derived from the Roman owl-like nightbird striga]
Found more info here. The term variously means "owl", "vampire" and "witch", and is all over Eastern Europe.

Griffith Dragonlake said:
Su-Monster [Eldritch Wizardry Gygax & Blume]
I thought they were from mesoamerican mythology? I'm sure I read an account of a creature with a prehenisle tail called "su" which carried its young on its back, and was so fierce that it would eat the young rather than allow them to be captured. If I find the reference I'll get back to you.
 



Raven Crowking

First Post
I think that you can cross the Su-Monster off your list as well, as I believe it was derived from a Patagonian cryptid. Tough to find information on now, but http://www.cryptomundo.com/cryptozoo-news/chupa-1951/ carries a small reference. I've seen woodcuts of the "Su" in a Daniel Cohen book, and they look alot like the 1e rendition.

RC

EDIT: Another reference: http://books.google.com/books?id=oK...Dwje3&sig=Wp10umV71wUu8ezd44CkCZzU6-k#PPP1,M1

And here's a picture on a T-Shirt: http://www.cafepress.com/scryptoart.102552833
 
Last edited:

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
:lol:

All of the monsters in question are unique to AD&D, and as I wrote virtually all of their stats and descriptions they are in fact my creative products, not the IP of WotC. That's a FWIW.

While a few of the critters in questions are purely products of my own imagination--carrion crawler, gelatinous cube, roper for instance--there were many sources of inspiration for the majority of the monsters, and I will name a few:

Drow: A listing in the Funk & Wagnall's Unexpurgated Dictionary, and no other source at all. I wanted a most unusual race as the main power in the Underdark, so used the reference to "dark elves" from the dictionary to create the Drow. (And nary a one has crow's feet).

Troll: "The Three Billygoats Gruff" where the Great Ugly Troll has a nose as long as a poker and Three Hearts & Three Lions most assuredly.

Ogre Magi: General Raiko and the Ogres of O-E-Yama, a beautifully illustrated children's book translated into English from Japanese.

Shambling Mound: Strictly from "The Heap" in Airboy Comics, of which I was a great fan.

Displacer Beast: From A.E. van Voght's Voyage of the Space Beagle.

Kuo-Toa: These were not inspired by any particular literary source but made up out of whole cloth by me.

Bugbear: The name comes from folklore, but the remainder is my creation. When I told the artist that it had "like a pumnpkin" he took it literally rather than as figurative for a large, oval head.

Lich: Right on in regards to Gardner Fox. Gar and his wife Linda were friends of mine.

If anyone reading this thresd has specific questions I'll be happy to answer them.

Cheers,
Gary
 

rossik

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
If anyone reading this thresd has specific questions I'll be happy to answer them.

Cheers,
Gary

oh, me! me! me!

gary, what about the dragons?
i mena, what about the diferent colors (and a "personality" to each color)?
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
rossik said:
oh, me! me! me!

gary, what about the dragons?
i mena, what about the diferent colors (and a "personality" to each color)?
:D

Sure!

One always read about dragons of various hues beside the standare red sort, and the illustrations of European and certainly Oriental dragons showed greemn blue, etc. ones. So to liven up the species I tried to come up with a breath weapon that matched the color. thus blue dragons spat lightning, green ones clouds of chlorine gas, black ones acid, and white drakes icey cold. I didn't do any other colors because those attack forms covered the gamut of what malign dragons would have for such attack I thought. The metallic Oriental ones being benign in most part according to their mythology rated the doiferent sorts of breath weapons I dreamed up for them.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

Zander

Explorer
Col_Pladoh said:
If anyone reading this thresd has specific questions I'll be happy to answer them.
Hello, Gary ;)

Can I please ask you about some other AD&D creatures? I'm particularly curious to know if gnomes in the game were inspired, at least in part, by the character called Hugi from Three Hearts and Three Lions. I know that Anderson calls him a "dwarf" at one point but it seems that in several other ways the character has an uncanny resemblance to the AD&D gnome.

Also, were the AD&D swanmay and nixie inspired by Three Hearts and Three Lions?

Many thanks,

Zander
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Zander said:
Hello, Gary ;)

Can I please ask you about some other AD&D creatures? I'm particularly curious to know if gnomes in the game were inspired, at least in part, by the character called Hugi from Three Hearts and Three Lions. I know that Anderson calls him a "dwarf" at one point but it seems that in several other ways the character has an uncanny resemblance to the AD&D gnome.

Also, were the AD&D swanmay and nixie inspired by Three Hearts and Three Lions?

Many thanks,

Zander
Howdy Zander,

When I was a lad there was a cast iron doorstop in the house. It was a gnome...and it scared the daylights out of me. that's where I got the physical description of the AD&D gnome--enlarged doorstop :uhoh: As i really liked Three Hearts and Three Lions, I might well have been subconsciously influenced by Hugi from that story, but I was not consciously thinking of that character. The fact is that it was tough to make gnomes distinct from dwarves, as the gnomes were supposedly elemental earth creatures found in mines, and I didn't want to make them like Rumpledstiltskin (sp?) even though I was thinking of fairy tale tyoes when I wrote the entry.

The nixies in Three Hearts and Three Lions were indeed a partial inspiration for those in the game, as were kelpies. The same is true for the swanmay--a mix of Anderson's take and the folklore/fairytale swan maidens.

The fact is that I have read so much mythology, folklore, fairytales, and authored fiction with monsters and all manner of strange folk and creatures that it is hard to pin down exactly where a good number of the A/D&D monsters got their inspiration.

I notes some comments regarding the su monster. As a matter of fact I do not recall if that is a critter I devised or another gamer passed along for me to include in the MM. I do know that the sources cited in the post were quite unknown to me.

Cheers,
Gary
 


Col_Pladoh said:
If anyone reading this thresd has specific questions I'll be happy to answer them.
Thanks a lot Gary for dropping in and giving us some insightful answers.

In OD&D there is a monster table listing a "Thoul" with 7 hit dice but no description until the Basic D&D set (Moldavay version IIRC). Was the Thoul a typo? Or a monster that got cut from the original rules?
 

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