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Gygaxian Monsters

The Green Adam

First Post
Arcturion said:
Shi shi lion dogs, to be exact. They're all over the place here on Okinawa, and almost always encountered in pairs (one male, one female). A peculiar combination of lion, dragon, and dog, which is strange considering that lions are not native to Japan nor Okinawa. Definitely an influence of Chinese and Korean mythologies mixing with Japanese as Okinawa/Ryukyu Island(s) was an independent sovereign up until fairly recently, and served as a focal point of trade between all three countries and more besides (Thailand, etc.).

I actually haven't thought of shi shi as being dragonne before but now that I think more about it, it does make some sense (minus the wings and adding in a more dog-like tail). For some reason the desert climates favored by dragonne brought to mind some sort of Arabian or ancient Babylonian/Mesopotamian/Sumerian vibe to me. Must be a subconscious thing as I selected a dragonne as a cohort/mount for a DMPC, heh.

An old friend of mine from junior high school and a professional comic book artist and inker is originally from Burma and identified the Dragonne image right away as a creature from the folklore of Burma/Indochina and similar to the Shi Shi/Foo lions. He said there was once a winged Shi Shi Lion statue on top of a temple in his country until it was vandalized or stolen at one point in that nation's history. Two 'traditional' creatures sat outside the front entrance to that same temple and remain there today as far as I know.

My friend once played a Human Paladin PC who gained the ability to transform into a Dragonne. The character was given a Holy Avenger that was +3 (instead of +5) by his mentor before said elder died. The elder transformed into a Dragonne upon his death, revealing his true form, and bestowing the transformation power upon his former student.

Neat huh?

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Scylla

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
That figurine was so silly I just had to use it as a monster that would bring fear to many a PC; and so, Ladies & Gentlemen, enter Rust Monster stage right :lol:

Cheers,
Gary

An excellent creative decision, Mr. Gygax. And my players hate you for it... ;)
 

Huw

First Post
I have a question, assuming Gary's not get sick of them.

Wings on the chimera and manticore. Did you make them flying, or was there some other source?

Thanks.
 

Contrarian

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
That figurine was so silly I just had to use it as a monster that would bring fear to many a PC; and so, Ladies & Gentlemen, enter Rust Monster stage right

Gary, I have a question about how playing with miniatures did (or didn't) affect the choice of monsters in the early D&D games.

We all know by now that you found the rust monster in a bag of toy dinosaurs. I'm wondering, were you using the toy dinosaurs in your game? It that why there are so many different dinosaurs in the original Monster Manual?

What about giant insects and animals? Can we blame any of those on conveniently-available toys? (My understanding is that there weren't a lot of fantasy monsters available in lead during the early D&D years, so you must have improvised a lot, right?)
 
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Thurbane

First Post
I'm guessing giant animals/insects/arachnids would have been inspired by movies such as Them, Monster From Green Hell, The Giant Gila Monster, The Black Scorpion, The Deadly Mantis & Tarantula...not to mention various literary sources - Robert E Howard used giant critters as adversaries for Conan in more than one story.
 
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The Green Adam

First Post
In one of my earliest campaigns my players encountered a Lurker Above and then later on a few adventures later a Trapper. Not knowing what the latter was called they identified it a Lurker Below. They still call it that to this day. :p

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kenobi65

First Post
The Green Adam said:
In one of my earliest campaigns my players encountered a Lurker Above and then later on a few adventures later a Trapper. Not knowing what the latter was called they identified it a Lurker Below. They still call it that to this day. :p

Funny. :)

Though, for some reason, it made me decide that there would need to be a dungeon in which there's some other monster that tends the Trappers (and probably the Lurkers Above, too)...you know, mucking out their rooms, throwing in a kobold or two when there hasn't been adventurers in the dungeon for a while. You'd have to call him a Trapper Keeper, of course. :D
 

Arcturion

First Post
The Green Adam said:
An old friend of mine from junior high school and a professional comic book artist and inker is originally from Burma and identified the Dragonne image right away as a creature from the folklore of Burma/Indochina and similar to the Shi Shi/Foo lions. He said there was once a winged Shi Shi Lion statue on top of a temple in his country until it was vandalized or stolen at one point in that nation's history. Two 'traditional' creatures sat outside the front entrance to that same temple and remain there today as far as I know.

My friend once played a Human Paladin PC who gained the ability to transform into a Dragonne. The character was given a Holy Avenger that was +3 (instead of +5) by his mentor before said elder died. The elder transformed into a Dragonne upon his death, revealing his true form, and bestowing the transformation power upon his former student.

Neat huh?

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That's an interesting tidbit. Ever get the official Burmese name/term for the creature? Dragonne by itself sounds rather, well, plain to my ears (presumably by mixing dragon and lion/leonne together) and it's somewhat troublesome mixing up dragonne with dragon (in the more conventional sense of the word). I'm always interested in the origins of words and terms as far as language and history go.

On a somewhat related but side note, I got a chance to handle a real Burmese dha once; very interesting sword. My experience in ancient weaponry lies mostly with Japanese-style swords, but have seen some Chinese- (daos and jians) and Korean-inspired pieces (used for gumdo). Always neat to see how various neighboring cultures influenced one another, not just in language, but also customs, clothing, food, and things like warfare.

On a completely unrelated note, noticed that you're from NYC (what part of the city, by the way?). I'm from Brooklyn, born and raised, before I joined the military. Small world.
 


The Green Adam

First Post
Arcturion said:
That's an interesting tidbit. Ever get the official Burmese name/term for the creature? Dragonne by itself sounds rather, well, plain to my ears (presumably by mixing dragon and lion/leonne together) and it's somewhat troublesome mixing up dragonne with dragon (in the more conventional sense of the word). I'm always interested in the origins of words and terms as far as language and history go.

On a somewhat related but side note, I got a chance to handle a real Burmese dha once; very interesting sword. My experience in ancient weaponry lies mostly with Japanese-style swords, but have seen some Chinese- (daos and jians) and Korean-inspired pieces (used for gumdo). Always neat to see how various neighboring cultures influenced one another, not just in language, but also customs, clothing, food, and things like warfare.

On a completely unrelated note, noticed that you're from NYC (what part of the city, by the way?). I'm from Brooklyn, born and raised, before I joined the military. Small world.

I don't recall the exact name but I'll drop my friend an email and see if he remembers.

I too am originally from Brooklyn, the Kensington Area near Prospect Park (End of Ocean Parkway). I live in Manhattan now and have for the last 20 years or so.

Your quite right about cross cultural pollination as it were. Very cool to see those items like look out of place but are in fact native thanks to exposure to other peoples. An interesting bit of color to add to one or more neighboring peoples in a campaign.

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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Huw said:
I have a question, assuming Gary's not get sick of them.

Wings on the chimera and manticore. Did you make them flying, or was there some other source?

Thanks.
I confess it was my decision to give them wings. It was to make them more mobile and thus more dangerous.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Contrarian said:
Gary, I have a question about how playing with miniatures did (or didn't) affect the choice of monsters in the early D&D games.

We all know by now that you found the rust monster in a bag of toy dinosaurs. I'm wondering, were you using the toy dinosaurs in your game? It that why there are so many different dinosaurs in the original Monster Manual?

What about giant insects and animals? Can we blame any of those on conveniently-available toys? (My understanding is that there weren't a lot of fantasy monsters available in lead during the early D&D years, so you must have improvised a lot, right?)
there were virtually no fantasy figurines being produced when Chainmail Fantasy Supplement tabletop battles were being played, and so that is where the conversion of dime store toys into monsters began. I made a 90mm Elastolin Viking figire into a blue giant with a club, a stegosaurus into a winged red dragon, 60 mm plastic Indians into ogres, etc. Jack Scruby began casting orc, so we had real miniatures for them--the Orcs of the Vile Rune whose symbol was a fist with a raised digit. We had a giant ant, but that's about it.

When play switched over to D&D adventures, we seldom used any figurines at all, not even those for PCs, as dice sufficed to show all the relative positions of antagonists in a battle.

Ths dinosaurs were added bacvause I wanted to ba a paleontologist from the time I was about age 5 on. My cousin, Dr. Charlotte Otten game me a volume of the University of Knowledge books, and it had a few creatures form the Age of Reptiles as well as dinosaurs in it. That hooked me. The Epic of Aerth world setting has all sorts of prehistoric animals, from reptiles to mammals in the hollow center of it :lol:

Holler if that doesn't answer fully your questions.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Thurbane said:
I'm guessing giant animals/insects/arachnids would have been inspired by movies such as Them, Monster From Green Hell, The Giant Gila Monster, The Black Scorpion, The Deadly Mantis & Tarantula...not to mention various literary sources - Robert E Howard used giant critters as adversaries for Conan in more than one story.
Close :D

I really liked Them when it came out, and there was a SF story in a pulp zine about huge formarians as well. Of course I read all the Conan books before the D&D game was created. Giant ants were sufficient to stimulate my imagination so as to expand such giganticism to other creatures.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
The Green Adam said:
In one of my earliest campaigns my players encountered a Lurker Above and then later on a few adventures later a Trapper. Not knowing what the latter was called they identified it a Lurker Below. They still call it that to this day. :p

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:lol:

Why not? I used to call beholders "eye tyrants" because those bloody things were so intimidating.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
rossik said:
gary, i dont get what you mean... :(
Ah sure...

Kobolds were not meant to look like canines, nor have some reptillian features. they were patterened after the Teutonic kobolds, forest goblins.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

JeffB

Legend
Col_Pladoh said:
Ah sure...

Kobolds were not meant to look like canines, nor have some reptillian features. they were patterened after the Teutonic kobolds, forest goblins.

Cheerio,
Gary

Something along the lines of this, Gary?

 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
JeffB said:
Something along the lines of this, Gary?

:lol:

Those are great illustrations of goblinesque little fairy folk. Had I had that picture on hand when kobolds were put into the MM, that's is what I'd have passed along to DCSIII.

Thanks,
Gary
 

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