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Gygaxian Monsters

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Quartz said:
With regards to the sahuagin, how are they not the Sea Devils from Dr Who?
That is a question for Steve Marsh, the one that devised those critters as I recall. I know it was not my creation ;)

Cheers,
Gary
 

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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Griffith Dragonlake said:
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?
Happy to oblige :D

The thoul was a troll ghoul, and as I recall not of 7 HD but more in the 4 +3 HD range in my campaign. They attacked with two clawed hands (2-5 damage per) and any hit meant the target subject had to save vs. paralysis or go still and immobile. Any save meant immunity to the effect for the duration of combat. They are likely to appear in the Castle Zagyg dungeons.

They regenerate at 1 HP per round.

They turn as do spectres due to the troll basis.

Considering their potency, they are equal to most 7 HD monsters for sure.

Cheerio,
Gary

P.S. I forgot to mention that I somehow neglected to include their description in the D&D rules, so never made them a regular;y appearing monster save in my own dungeons.
 
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Tewligan

First Post
Hey Gary, do I recall correctly that in (I think) Basic D&D, the gnoll is described as a cross between a gnome and a troll? How the heck did that become the gnoll that we know and love today?!
 

rossik

First Post
Tewligan said:
Hey Gary, do I recall correctly that in (I think) Basic D&D, the gnoll is described as a cross between a gnome and a troll? How the heck did that become the gnoll that we know and love today?!

in Basic set, gnolls still human-like hyenas..maybe its another set :/

oops, sorry, i found it:

GNOLLS: A cross between Gnomes and Trolls (. . . perhaps, Lord Sunsany did
not really make it all that clear) with +2 morale.
 
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rossik said:
oops, sorry, i found it:

GNOLLS: A cross between Gnomes and Trolls (. . . perhaps, Lord Sunsany did
not really make it all that clear) with +2 morale.
"Lord Sunsany" sure looks like a typo of Lord Dunsany, to me. (For those who don't know, the quote is from Volume 2 of the three OD&D booklets, Monsters & Treasure.)
 


T. Foster

First Post
Geek trivia: the "Lord Sunsany" typo in the gnoll monster description was introduced in the 5th printing of D&D (when the books were reset in a different font). If you look in a 4th (and, presumably, though I've never actually seen one, earlier) printing copy, the reference is correctly made to Lord Dunsany.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
I must qualify somethng I wrote earlier:

"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."

I left out the "morally" after "in fact" in the above statement. :egally, the monsters are indeed the IP of WotC.

That clarifies things nicely.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Tewligan said:
Hey Gary, do I recall correctly that in (I think) Basic D&D, the gnoll is described as a cross between a gnome and a troll? How the heck did that become the gnoll that we know and love today?!
:confused:

Ah, well...

The original gnoll was a strange critter in a (rather bad) novel that I wrote and was in part run in Dragon magazine's early numbers. I didn't find that creature a suitable humanoid for the D&D game, so I revised gnoll into a hyena-like humanoid. (I find hyenas most unappealing in all respects, including their stench :mad: )

As another poster noted, "Sunsany" is a typo, and it is Dunsany.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Thurbane said:
The Creature From the Black Lagoon seems to be superficially quite similar to the Sahuagin and Locathah in appearance...

Also, is the name Gnoll derived from Lord Dunsany's Gnole?
As I didn't devise either of those monsters, I had no input on their appearance. Hoiwever, I concur in regards the appearance of each being similar to theCreature from the Black Lagoon. Of course any aquatic humanoid would bear paonts or resemblance to it.

The name inspiration for the gnoll came from the short story in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, "The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles." Blamed if I can now recall the actual author of that piece.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

T. Foster

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
The name inspiration for the gnoll came from the short story in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, "The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles." Blamed if I can now recall the actual author of that piece.
Idris Seabright, which is a pseudonym of Margaret St. Clair. One of many authors I discovered via your famous "Inspirational Reading" list in the AD&D DMG :)
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
T. Foster said:
Idris Seabright, which is a pseudonym of Margaret St. Clair. One of many authors I discovered via your famous "Inspirational Reading" list in the AD&D DMG :)
Funny, in the back of my mind I was thinking MArgaret St. Clair wrote it, but it didn't quite click. So thanks... Clearly she admired Lord Dunsany.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

Contrarian

First Post
Quartz said:
With regards to the sahuagin, how are they not the Sea Devils from Dr Who?
Almost nobody in the United States had seen "Doctor Who" when the sahuagin were first published in 1975. The show was one for a year here in 1972, then disappeared until 1978.

Also, Steve Marsh has gone on record as blaming a Justice League cartoon for inspiring the monster.

(By the way, here's a picture of a Sea Devil for those of you wondering what we're talking about.)
 

grodog

Adventurer
Hi Gary---

Can you shed any light on the inspirations for the Lurker Above and the Trapper vs. MAR Barker's monsters the Mantle and Whelk? Barker's beasts both appeared in the 1975 TSR EPT box set? The monsters are similar in style/niches, so it seems like one may have been based on the other??

Here are the descs for the Mantle and Whelk, in case they don't ring a bell off the top of your head :D

Ngóro “the Whelk”: AC 6, HD 16, Mv 6”

These huge (30 feet in length) creatures lie flat upon the floor of a chamber and appear much like the rough stone flooring of the Underworld, although they may feel a little springy to walk upon. They are intelligent and use their millions of tiny cilia (beneath their bodies) to hold miniature weapons (both edged and “Eyes”). They may also close up on unwary passersby, crushing them in their powerful folds. A saving throw of 14 is needed by any character so trapped to jump free before the Ngóro can close up on him. There is a 50 percent chance that the creature will use its other weapons and a 50 percent chance that it will close upon a party (it can crush 1-20 at once). A person thus trapped suffers two 6-sided dice of damage per round until he is freed by him companions, who must kill the creature in order to rescue him. If subdued (i.e., brought to exactly one or zero remaining hit points), the Ngóro will offer one of its magical weapons in return for its life.
and

Biridlú “the Mantle”: AC 3, HD 4+1, Mv 6”/13” fly

These ancient treasure guardians are cape-like, black, flying creatures which cling to ceilings
and drop down upon the unwary. They then suffocate their victim, gibbering and shrieking in their powerfully muscled folds. They cannot be cut by Chlén-hide weapons but only by
steel. A victim inside has a 40 percent chance of cutting himself free on the first combat round, a 30 percent chance on the second, and a 15 percent chance on the third. Those outside may also try to cut their friend free: this requires a normal hit and is successful only when the beast is slain. A victim takes one 6-sided die of damage on the first round, 2 dice on the second, and 3 dice on the third. The Biridlú fights maniacally until all life is gone from it, and the body must be burned; otherwise it regenerates within 3 combat rounds.
Thanks!
 
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Garnfellow

First Post
This is a great thread -- I love reading these History of the Game origins.

As a slight tangent, I would suggest that the original illustrators of these monsters could almost be considered co-creators. The early text descriptions of monsters were generally so brief and in some cases so nebulous that the illustrations were absolutely crucial to how players imagined these critters.

The late, much lamented Dave Sutherland, for example, was a major influence on such canonical monsters as bugbears, hobgoblins, and gnolls. And in many cases, his illustrations continue to influence the way these monsters are depicted.
 

Valiant

First Post
Gary, I'm curious to know if horror films of the 50-70s (or earlier) influenced you at all in devising certain monsters in the MM. For instance, the old Hammer Films have odd creatures that resemble some of the monsters found in the MM, then there were movies like "Day of the Triphods" and some of the old Sci Fi B-movie thrillers (for instance, I've always wondered if you'd used "Green Slime" the movie for the inspiration of the monster of the same name in the MM)? Certainly as a kid you must have grown up watching some of these old classics?
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
grodog said:
Hi Gary---

Can you shed any light on the inspirations for the Lurker Above and the Trapper vs. MAR Barker's monsters the Mantle and Whelk? Barker's beasts both appeared in the 1975 TSR EPT box set? The monsters are similar in style/niches, so it seems like one may have been based on the other??

...

Thanks!
Hi Alan,

Absolutely! Phil was much inspired by the D&D game when he wrote the EPT one, so I had no qualms about returning the favor. Of course the two for D&D were not merely rehashes of Barker's pair, but rather monsters suitable to the dungeon environment of the D&D game.

The thought of placing a trapper on the floor with a lurker above overhead made me laught a good deal, and of course I did just that in my own dungeon levels.

I have a rather complex creature that is a ceiling dweller in the LA game, the domlithicon. It shoots miniature harpoons and travels by expulsion of internal gas :eek:

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Garnfellow said:
This is a great thread -- I love reading these History of the Game origins.

As a slight tangent, I would suggest that the original illustrators of these monsters could almost be considered co-creators. The early text descriptions of monsters were generally so brief and in some cases so nebulous that the illustrations were absolutely crucial to how players imagined these critters.

The late, much lamented Dave Sutherland, for example, was a major influence on such canonical monsters as bugbears, hobgoblins, and gnolls. And in many cases, his illustrations continue to influence the way these monsters are depicted.
True to a certain extent only.

First, the depiction of a monster is only a part of its game description, a part that can be ignored whuke the stars for it are a muct to make it useful in play. As Plato noted, "Spectacle is the lase element in tragedy."

Also, for most of those illustrations the artist queried me as to appearance and passed the initial sketches by for approval. Sadly, the preliminaries for kobolds slipped past me, as the OAD&D depiction is not correct.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
:lol:
Valiant said:
Gary, I'm curious to know if horror films of the 50-70s (or earlier) influenced you at all in devising certain monsters in the MM. For instance, the old Hammer Films have odd creatures that resemble some of the monsters found in the MM, then there were movies like "Day of the Triphods" and some of the old Sci Fi B-movie thrillers (for instance, I've always wondered if you'd used "Green Slime" the movie for the inspiration of the monster of the same name in the MM)? Certainly as a kid you must have grown up watching some of these old classics?
Actually, as I was a teenager for most of the 1950s, went to the theater a lot, read many comic books, became a rabid fan of F&SF in 1950, it is likely that there was some influence of the sort you mention. Name the specific critters and I will do my best to recall how I came up with it.

Green slime was certainly inspired by The Attack of the Green Slime film.

The werewolf in the game was inspired by Lon Chaney playing Lawrence Talbot, the Wolfman.

The D&D vampire is much influenced by those written about by Bram Stoker, depicted by Bela Lugosi.

The flesh golem is based on Frankenstein's Monster, of course.

Plastic Man from the comic book of that name was the mimic.

The wolf in sheep's clothing was inspired by the weird fish in ther ocean depths that use lures to bring their priy close enough to attack.

(And the twerp that was attempting to make fun of fantasy monsters seems to be quite unaware of facts such as those :p )

:lol:
Gary
 
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