D&D General Quaint and curious monsters of forgotten core

JEB

Legend
Nightwings - giant flying shadow-bats.
Now I am reminded of Nightwalkers and really need me some of those!
Nightshades (nightwalkers, nightwings, and nightcrawlers) were a package deal in the Rules Cyclopedia and 3E Monster Manuals, but nightwalkers became a solo act in 4E and 5E. Shame.

Tonals - giant sentient soap bubbles of pure arcane energy.
Not quite a core monster, since they only appeared in the Immortals Rules (which didn't make it into the Rules Cyclopedia). But there are a number of really interesting and unusual monsters in there, to be sure...

The Goodman Games B1/B2 update has the Thoul! Just got to use one for the first time in ages last week.
How could I get forget the thoul in my list?? One hopes they'll eventually return in a first-party product.
 
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JEB

Legend
did the doombat from the 1E FF ever appear anywhere after that?
The doombat did not return in any official D&D products, unfortunately. But they did appear in the Tome of Horrors (which got them released under the OGL).

I miss the Dragonspawn, the first batch of which were released in 4e’s Monster Manual. They were neat creatures to throw at players during dragon heavy campaigns.
I think they appeared in 3/3.5e too, just not the original MM. But yes those would be nice to have again.
Yep, they first appeared as the spawn of Tiamat in Monster Manual IV. Would have been a nice inclusion in Fizban's.
 


Iry

Hero
Fomorians, most definitely. I always loved how they would just show up in D&D related video games, in the middle of someone else's plot. At the very least NWN and Icewind Dale II, but I feel like there was at least one more.
 

GuyBoy

Hero
I loved Formorians; iirc they were in Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and I used them regularly after that in higher level 1E games.

At the risk of being roundly shot at with spud guns, I always hated Modrons, never used them and just found them irritating killers of any type of suspension of disbelief.......
 

Iry

Hero
At the risk of being roundly shot at with spud guns, I always hated Modrons, never used them and just found them irritating killers of any type of suspension of disbelief.......
Same. Specifically it's how they behave. It's entirely possible to have frightening intelligent Modrons in your game, but the lower ranks are heavily flanderized and used for comic relief when they appear in media (and even other people's games). At best you get some kind of comedic dystopia like Animal Farm.
 

Hussar

Legend
I loved Formorians; iirc they were in Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and I used them regularly after that in higher level 1E games.

At the risk of being roundly shot at with spud guns, I always hated Modrons, never used them and just found them irritating killers of any type of suspension of disbelief.......
Yeah, the whole "monsters that look like dice" thing was a huge turn off for me. I always just assumed they were a joke monster. Was totally shocked to learn that some people took them seriously.
 

GuyBoy

Hero
Yeah, the whole "monsters that look like dice" thing was a huge turn off for me. I always just assumed they were a joke monster. Was totally shocked to learn that some people took them seriously.
Absolutely. I thought it was a joke too, and a pretty unfunny one at that. I’m just glad I’m not alone in my hatred of Modrons!
 

Yora

Legend
I think modrons work and have a place in Planescape.

Which is another contributing factor for why Planescape should be treated as its own thing and not a generic expansion to conventional D&D settings.
 

Rabulias

the Incomparably Shrewd and Clever
Yeah, the whole "monsters that look like dice" thing was a huge turn off for me. I always just assumed they were a joke monster. Was totally shocked to learn that some people took them seriously.
I liked the concept of geometry and numeric hierarchy applied to the natives of the Lawful Neutral plane, but the implementation of it with modrons did not sit well with me either. :-/
 

Hussar

Legend
My issue with Modrons is pretty much the same as I have with most Planescape material - I just don't know what to do with it. It's a failure of my own imagination, I admit that. I look at, say, formians, and think, "Ok, borg ants that arrive and begin assimilating everyone around them" and I can work with that. I can make all sorts of adventures from that.

But geometric and numerical heirarchy? What do they want? What is their motivation? And I'm just at a complete loss for how to use them in an adventure. It's the same with Slaad. Another monster I don't think I've ever used in D&D. Or 'Loths, for that matter. Mercenaries in the Blood War? Well, I don't use the Blood War, so, the entire purpose of this entire line of monsters suddenly vanishes. They're just another kind of demon, just Neutral instead of Chaotic. Whoopee.

So much of the Planescape stuff just does not inspire me. I just don't know what to do with it.
 

My issue with Modrons is pretty much the same as I have with most Planescape material - I just don't know what to do with it. It's a failure of my own imagination, I admit that. I look at, say, formians, and think, "Ok, borg ants that arrive and begin assimilating everyone around them" and I can work with that. I can make all sorts of adventures from that.

But geometric and numerical heirarchy? What do they want? What is their motivation? And I'm just at a complete loss for how to use them in an adventure. It's the same with Slaad. Another monster I don't think I've ever used in D&D. Or 'Loths, for that matter. Mercenaries in the Blood War? Well, I don't use the Blood War, so, the entire purpose of this entire line of monsters suddenly vanishes. They're just another kind of demon, just Neutral instead of Chaotic. Whoopee.

So much of the Planescape stuff just does not inspire me. I just don't know what to do with it.
if I was to do modern motivation it is to make everything perfectly ordered and static like the lights of order from es oblivion.
slaad are agents of pure chance roll a dice and they do what is days.

loths I got nothing other than just being really horrible out of spite which seems weak to me.
 

Yeah, the whole "monsters that look like dice" thing was a huge turn off for me. I always just assumed they were a joke monster. Was totally shocked to learn that some people took them seriously.
That's just because dice and (some) modrons are coincidentally based on the Platonic solids. And even then, that's only the tridrone and quadrone. There are 13 other types of modron that look nothing like dice.
 


JEB

Legend
More random former core monsters that come to mind:

Achaierai (3.0/3.5 Monster Manual)
I don't know why I like a monster that's basically an evil giant bird head on stilts, but I do. If we get more adventures set in the Lower Planes, I hope it makes at least a cameo.

Fremlin (Monstrous Manual)
Tiny winged gremlin relatives with a side of ugly cute. And also a PC option in 2E! Suppose you could reskin the new Fairy for that purpose in 5E.

Immolith (4E Monster Manual)
What happens when a bunch of demons come back wrong. A nice use of 4E's demon lore, tapping into that elemental origin. I still think it could be easily fit into 5E.

Masher (1E Monster Manual)
Another forgotten aquatic monster. Objectively, nothing too special, but I guess I liked their name more than anything else.

Mudman (MC Vol. 2, Monstrous Manual)
A simple monster concept - magically animated mud creatures - that I'm surprised hasn't returned in some form in 5E.

Nixie (Original boxed set, Basic 1977, D&D Rules Cyclopedia, 1E Monster Manual, Monstrous Manual, 3.0/3.5 Monster Manual)
Not a monster I have a strong personal attachment to, but considering how the nixie was core in nearly every edition, and it's a simple concept (sea fairy), it's surprising they haven't made a comeback.

Nuckalavee (D&D Rules Cyclopedia)
A really bizarre creature that seems like it would be a great fey foe in 5E. (There is an unofficial version in 5E thanks to the Tome of Horrors.)

Yrthak (3.0/3.5 Monster Manual)
One of the more interesting niche-filling monsters from 3E to me, probably because it seems very kaiju.
 

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