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D&D General Origin of... the quipper?


CR 1/8
Does anyone know any backstory behind the lowly quipper?

For no particular reason, I got to thinking about this a few days ago. I've heard lots of interesting history about other more iconic D&D monsters, but not this one.
I had always assumed it was a real fish, but after a brief bout of internetting, I learned it's actually a fictitious creature introduced in 1e. Aside from that, though I couldn't find anything solid about where it came from, or why. Perhaps it's been addressed in one of the D&D history books, blogs, or youtube channels or something?

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CR 1/8
Fwiw, about the only speculation I've come across is that it might derive from the word "quip", implying it's something of a joke monster.
Also it rhymes with "kipper."
That's a pretty thin history!

Afraid I've never heard much about it myself. Earliest book reference I can find is the 1e Fiend Folio, but that's only because it's referenced on the FR wiki.

My suspicion is that it started off as a semi-serious monster (fantastical piranha), but then someone noticed that it was found in a cold, dark place instead of the jungle. So it couldn't be a piranha, and someone jokingly called them "kippers," which then got formalized as "quippers." One of those "you had to be there" kinds of things that's now enshrined long, long after the inciting incident is lost to time.


CR 1/8
Yeah, that basically jibes with what I've read.
Fwiw, the "quipper" entry in the FF is credited to Albie Fiore, who was an editor of White Dwarf magazine, among other things gamey & puzzle-iferous.
Sadly, he passed in 2009, so we can't ask him what his inspiration was.


I vaguely seem to remember that there was a moderately interesting story about the origin of quippers. I don't remember what it was, but there should be something to discover if you can find it.


CR 1/8
You're probably right, @Whizbang Dustyboots , that's likely all there is to it.
"Hey, this adventure needs swarming carnivorous fish in a cold ocean, but real piranhas are warm-water river fish. We need a new monster, stat!"
At this point, I'm actually more curious about the name "quipper". Was it just to pad out the "Q" section of the bestiary, and it rhymes with kipper? Why not "death guppy" or "assassardine"?

I suppose we'll never know, but just for curiosity's sake, I'll keep poking around... at least until this day's weird mini-obsession wears off. ;)

Casimir Liber

It certainly wasn't in any of the early Fiend Factories in White Dwarfs of the time (several from issues up to 12 made it into the Fiend Folio)

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