D&D General The core monster lineup across all editions

JEB

Legend
Taking another look at the 49 (what you get if you add the other 0e books to the 32):
  • What makes monsters like beholders, gelatinous cubes, owlbears, and mind flayers such gaming icons? Compared to others on this same list like the carrion crawler, doppelganger, stirge, or umber hulk?
  • What value did bugbears add to the game, when core 0e already had ogres and trolls?
  • Why do flesh and stone golems beat out iron and particularly clay golems? (As noted in the other thread, clay golems are the original source...)
  • Why do wererats stand above all of the other non-werewolf lycanthropes? There's not any mythological background that I'm aware of.
  • Why "dire" wolves instead of "giant" wolves? (Keeping in mind that in 3e, "dire" animals pretty much replaced "giant" animals.)
  • What makes mind flayers more interesting than the other psionic monsters from Eldritch Wizardry?
 

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Parmandur

Book-Friend
What value did bugbears add to the game, when core 0e already had ogres and trolls?
The name: "consistency is the troll of little minds" lacks the same ring.
Why do wererats stand above all of the other non-werewolf lycanthropes? There's not any mythological background that I'm aware of.
It's a blatant and unsubtle lift from Fritz Lieber's Lankhmar stories (though at least TSR eventually paid Liever for all the lifting they did).
Why "dire" wolves instead of "giant" wolves? (Keeping in mind that in 3e, "dire" animals pretty much replaced "giant" animals.)
Same reason they don't call a wooly mammoth a "giant hairy elephant". dire wolves were a real animal in prehistoric California particularly, so there was a direct pipeline from the La Brea tar pits to pulp literature and film:


 




Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
He most definitely did not! It predates him by centuries and you see it in Middle English - it's probably Old English.
To be fair Parmandur did say reinvent, thus indicating that he was aware of it being an old word. Word obsolescence and recoining is a thing. Tolkien certainly recoined Orc and Hob.

However Wight was still in use at the time of Tolkiens birth and thus obsolescence doesnt apply, though it may have been slightly archaic.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Taking another look at the 49 (what you get if you add the other 0e books to the 32):
  • What makes monsters like beholders, gelatinous cubes, owlbears, and mind flayers such gaming icons? Compared to others on this same list like the carrion crawler, doppelganger, stirge, or umber hulk?
  • What value did bugbears add to the game, when core 0e already had ogres and trolls?
  • Why do flesh and stone golems beat out iron and particularly clay golems? (As noted in the other thread, clay golems are the original source...)
  • Why do wererats stand above all of the other non-werewolf lycanthropes? There's not any mythological background that I'm aware of.
  • Why "dire" wolves instead of "giant" wolves? (Keeping in mind that in 3e, "dire" animals pretty much replaced "giant" animals.)
  • What makes mind flayers more interesting than the other psionic monsters from Eldritch Wizardry?
  • Personally I consider carrion crawler, doppelganger, stirge, and umber hulk to be absolutely iconic
  • Imho Bugbears add nothing much - except adding a stronger monster to the goblin warband
  • Clay Golems and Frankenstein golems have legendary status on their side, stone and iron are game artefacts (and clash with living statues)
  • I suspect were-rats are just considered cooler than bears and boars (which is fair since rats add a Stealth-Lurker option to lycanthropes whereas wolf, bear, boar are all primarily Skirmisher-Brutes)
  • Dire is just cooler than boring giant
  • Besides Mindflayers what other intelligent vaguely humanoid creature was featured in Eldritch Wizardy? Iirc we get Su Monsters and ? personally I never got in to Mindflayers much but lots of dnd writers seemed to have made it a thing
 
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Parmandur

Book-Friend
To be fair Parmandur did say reinvent, thus indicating that he was aware of it being an old word. Word obsolescence and recoining is a thing. Tolkien certainly recoined Orc and Hob.

However Wight was still in use at the time of Tolkiens birth and thus obsolescence doesnt apply, though it may have been slightly archaic.
I think I was thinking of Hob.
 


JEB

Legend
It's a blatant and unsubtle lift from Fritz Lieber's Lankhmar stories (though at least TSR eventually paid Liever for all the lifting they did).
Ah, that makes sense!

Same reason they don't call a wooly mammoth a "giant hairy elephant". dire wolves were a real animal in prehistoric California particularly, so there was a direct pipeline from the La Brea tar pits to pulp literature and film:
Right, I know dire wolves were real. I guess I was just wondering why the inconsistency.

I thought Flesh Golems = Frankenstein's monster
True! And they fit in with the other horror-movie monsters in the earlier blocs (werewolves, vampires, zombies, mummies).

  • Clay Golems and Frankenstein golems have legendary status on their side, stone and iron are game artefacts (and clash with living statues)
Clay golems are actually the odd ones out - of the big four golems they're the one that's been core the fewest times.

As for living statues, they seemed to be a deliberate replacement in Basic for the four 0e/AD&D golems. The big four didn't even appear in the Basic Rules expansions, like some other skipped higher-level monsters.

  • Besides Mindflayers what other intelligent vaguely humanoid creature was featured in Eldritch Wizardy? Iirc we get Su Monsters and ?
Su-monsters were the only other psionic humanoids from that book, true, but there were other psionic monsters that coulda taken off. Intellect devourers almost get there...

Iron golem are robots. Bloop blorp.
Nice.
 

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