Gygaxian Monsters

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
 

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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

Hero
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

Explorer
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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