Thursday, December 31, 2020

Fiend Folio Review E-F

Now we're getting to some real juicy stuff. Elemental Princes of Evil. Ettercaps. Flinds. Let the judging begin!

Elemental Princes Of Evil
As it stands I find these lot to be rather lackluster in their personalities and aesthetics. The idea has potential (and Elemental Prince's sounds very cool, though 'of evil' makes it a bit silly). Mostly they feel like missed opportunities to get funky and weird and creative. The entries also lack a lot of information about personality, demeanor, tactics, allies, and the like. I think I'll be making my own Elemental Princelings in the future, just so I can see how much more creative with the subject I can be.

Cryonax - Greyhawk Wiki

The best by far. The design makes no sense at all (a yeti with octopus arms???) but is fun and wacky. Thats about all Crynoax has going for themself however, as the rest of the text is... meh.

A pillar of flame who doesn't like ice and lives in a volcano, yawn. Also why a volcano? Isn't that a bit closer to the element of earth? See you could totally have done something cool there, like made Imix & Ogrémoch be in an alliance (or even be married!) but it's all rather staid and boring instead.

Gets an extra point for being a funky rough humanoid shape whereas everyone else but cryonax is literally just their element. Otherwise not much interesting here. No cool ideas about all the weird tectonics and chemistry stuff that happens in the earth, or any other kind of creative thinking concerning rocks and minerals.

Why is the water one a princess while the rest are prince's (I mean, why are these gendered at all) but seriously, really? Why can't fire be feminine too? Missed oppurtunities here especially given how cool and interesting water and the oceans are. Here's an idea, maybe Olhydra has something going on with the princeling of air, 'cause of y'know, the whole water cycle. Why not do something cool there?

Oh noes. It's an evil gust of wind. Whats really sad about this is that I've seen people actually do cool stuff with winds and give them unique and interesting personalities. This though. This has nothing that makes it compelling.

Drow - Wikipedia

Elf, Drow (dark elf)
Boy, what hasn't been said about the drow at this point. These one's are a bit mediocre at best. Basically just evil underground elves. There's some nuggets of neatness about their strange cities and the strange radiations that affect them. I'll give 'em three stars because some people have been able to turn the drow into pretty cool stuff (honestly the fiend folio drow are pretty boring though).

In addition to the adherer and the nilbog, the Fiend Folio also gave us the  Enveloper. A “mass of malleable fle… | Fantasy role playing, Dungeons and  dragons, Fiend

I rather like this being. A blobby humanoid that absorbs people and thus absorbs their skills and powers. It needs some minor tweaking though. Like people's personality's should totally also get absorbed and fight each other within the creature, same goes for powers and skills (instead of the dumb, eject them until none of the absorbed traits conflict >:/ ) ideally the more the beast absorbs the more crazy and unstable it gets until it literally explodes or somethin' (and when that happens the left over bits should totally reform into new people/beings based on whatever disparate personalities and skills/powers get mashed together in the explosion). If you just add that then the Enveloper easily becomes a full five star awesome tier creature! - Tumbex

Love it. There's just something delightful about the juxtaposition in this hairy mammalian creature that produces silk and cozies up with spiders. Later editions really wreck the poor beastie by making it some generic spider dude. The silk it spins into careful traps and tools like nets and garrotes is just an excellent addition and keeps the beastie from just being a generic goon to fight. I imagine Ettercaps talking to spiders and keeping lil pets. Maybe they even trade their silk tools with humans and others.

The Eye Killer and Similar Death Effects in AD&D — d-Infinity

Eye Killer
It's an f-ing bizarre bat snake thing with laser eyes. I love it. The details of its behavior are excellent, with it reacting differently to different light conditions (though it is a pity it seems to be always hostile) and using the party's own light sources against them (by reflecting them into LAZORS!). Excellent funky little fella. Pretty sure a clever party could weaponize on of these somehow (oh, and what's with the 'once a day thing'? It seems bizarre given that the eye lazors are the creatures whole shtick).

Eye Of Fear And Flame
As much as I love skeletons I've gotta admit this entry's a weird one. It's a weird skeleton man who tells you to do evil stuff and if you don't it shoots fireballs at you??? Very unclear how exactly it would fit into a world or why it exists. A very perplexing creature.

It's a fire dragon :/ The details about its blood are really cool (it essentially just burns on contact with air like liquid white phosphorus) (oh and its 'fire breath' just being a jet of blood is fantastic) and would be a great reason to hunt one down. But I'd just give those details to a normal dragon (and its text literally references normal d&d dragons so I can't just pretend those don't exist). Not a bad creature though, so four out of five.

Let's Read] D&D 3.0 Monsters of Faerun | Page 63 | RPGnet Forums

Hell yeah! What's better than a newt? A firenewt that's what! They live in volcanos and they've got priests who do cool fire magic. They ride other lizards! And they breathe fire and wanna roast you up and eat you! What more is there to be said really? They're great.

It's a snake... a snake that's on fire... ehhhh? Pretty lackluster, though there's a glimmer of a cool idea in the fact that they live in fires, any fires (I personally would have made them like weird, half real worms that look like solid burning oil. Kind of like the worms on the demon boar in Princess Mononoke but if they were orange and hung out in your oil lamp or campfire. And you should totally be able to talk to them).

I'm starting to sense a pattern here. Well, it's a toad, and toads are always great. But otherwise... ehhh.

Flail Snail
So ridiculous you can't help but love it. It's dangerous. It's got defined behaviors. There's a good reason to try and hunt it (its crazy shell). Pretty solid creature all around and perfect for any gonzo setting (or perhaps a medieval marginalia funfest, it certainly feels like a critter a monk would draw).

Okay, I irrationally love the Flind. Theres very little there in the actual text besides the flindbar and it basically serves as a tougher 'boss' gnoll, but gosh darn I can't help but love 'em. I even rewrote them to add some meat to their bones!

Savage Swords of Athanor: Fiend Folio Friday: the Flumph as the face of good

Its a sky jellyfish whose purpose even I the great Cosmic Orrery couldn't divine. 

My first gut reaction to these creatures was 'yikes!' but with further thought put to them I've softened a little and can see a good deal of potential in them. They feel very folkloric in nature, and their ambivalent personalities and complicated (rather traumatic) existence could make them a well for interesting roleplay. Though they feel a good deal more serious when compared to, say, the flailsnail and flumpth they're placed right next to.

💯 {Staff Pick} - [Let's Read] AD&D 1e Fiend Folio | Page 151 | RPGnet  Forums

I actually rather like the Frostman. The name's not the greatest, but there's just something about them that catches my imagination. I've always had a soft spot for ' human people but with an odd quirk' and there's something delightfully folkloric about a big hulking fur wearing fellow who creates a whirlwind of cold when they lift up their eyepatch. Could use a bit more development, culture, desires, etc...

G-H coming sometime whenever.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Fiend Folio Review C-D

Behold! C-D has been judged by the Orrery!

Not really a bad creature, its got some nice things going for it (appears friendly but wants to mess with the party, valuable jewel in its head) the illustration is cute and looks like a creature from a medieval bestiary. But it's a bit plain all things considered (it also has a death wish which could prove amusing if say the players are told to take one to some far off king and it keeps trying to jump of cliffs and stuff).

💯 {Staff Pick} - [Let's Read] AD&D 1e Fiend Folio | Page 35 | RPGnet Forums

Caryatid Column
Firstly, as someone who knows things about architecture this is a bit like naming a monster 'doric capital' or 'ionic capital' as it's a specific architectural feature (an atlas or telamon being the male counterpart), however I like them. They're a neat guardian creature that I've used on several occasions. Beings that are part of a locales architecture are always fun. And I like that it 'will not necessarily enter into combat' since it's a guardian. Good entity all around.

Let's Read of the Fiend Folio (2003) | Page 18 | RPGnet Forums

For reference, here's some actual real life caryatid columns.

Swords & Stitchery - Old Time Sewing & Table Top Rpg Blog: OSR Commentary -  Sound & Fury An Alternative Ecology For The Caterwaul From The Advanced  Dungeons & Dragons First Edition

Great name, fairly boring creature, could probably have been a good creature in the hands of a more evocative writer. It does seem like a bestiary entry. Something a medieval author might write about as wandering the desert stands mournfully wailing. Defiantly has potential.

The fact that its name is an acronym is a bit odd, but the whole 'collective swarm of insects' shtick is cool. I could see myself adapting this creature for use. That said it is a bit empty in hooks. Why are several swarms working together? Whats it want? (If I was going to use the Cifal I would make it a social encounter, lots of meat there).

Belched from the Depths: July 2018

Listen its a hilariously wonky murder bird. Whats not to love? It hits that right level of wacky that it feels like a real bird (which are notoriously wacky). Love it. Would use it. Beautiful creature.

the badass skeletons of the Fiend Folio « Blog of Holding

Coffer Corpse
Okay, I love the coffer corpse solely because of the excellent name, art, and the fact that it mentions funeral barges. I really like barges. And skeletons. It is a bit empty though, being mostly a combat encounter with the gimmick that it looks defeated but then actually isn't. 

Too pulpy for my tastes. Points off for being boring humanoid crabs (and not even fun humanoid crabs). Feels like something that would appear on an old cheap movie poster. A meh (and that's saying something given my love for crabs).

Crypt Thing in Dungeons and Dragons - Old School Role Playing

Crypt Thing
At this point my love of skeletons should be quite obvious. The Crypt Thing is a bit of a gotcha, I would perhaps make it judge characters then teleport them away based on the judgement. The part where it insists teleported characters were disintegrated is fun. Could probably use a bit more reason for existing.

Apes are always a fun. Not much to work off of though. In need of a gimmick of some kind.

5e Monsters: Dragonne and Dark Creeper | www. Newbie DM .com

Dark Creeper
Yesssss. I love these fellas. The art for them with their sausage noises is fantastic. Short light hating people who like to steal magical trinkets and have a careful procedure for how they rob you. Oh and they explode when they die. I like to imagine that they lurk in the darker parts of cities, running underground magical trinket clubs where they all compare what they've pilfered. Excellent entry.

Dark Stalker
A let down after the Dark Creeper. Doesn't add anything to the former and just serves as a tougher 'boss'. Zero stars. 

Death Dog
I feel very neutral about these. Kind of weird that the text implies Cerberus exists. Two headed dogs are kind of neat aesthetically speaking. Not much interesting though. :/

💯 {Staff Pick} - [Let's Read] AD&D 1e Fiend Folio | Page 64 | RPGnet Forums

Death Knight
A great entity. Despite its description mostly being ability lists it still manages to be pretty darn evocative (helped along by the wonderful art of course). I love that it's basically a 'warrior lich' and can easily imagine a Death Knight being a tentpole faction member (or leader) in a game. The bits about being created by a demon prince are good brain fuel too.

Demon, category
Some boring stuff about Demons. Demons' Amulets are neat I guess. 

Top Ten most metal classic RPG characters – Metal Riot

Lolth, demon queen of spiders
Firstly, why give a godling stats? Secondly, none of this tells me anything about the goddess's character, personality, domain, or anything. How do people worship or venerate her? Whats her relationship to other gods (both literally, and in the sense of how her worshippers view it). And for a goddess of spiders, the spider connection isn't very well utilized beyond 'oooh spooky spider aesthetic'. Where is my palace woven of webs? Spider silk tapestries? Jumping spider pulled carriage?? Also also, this is going a bit outside the text, but I feel any spider gods/goddesses should be a bit plump around the middle (and maybe paired with spindlier limbs). It just feels right to do that. Lolth (just going of the Fiend Folio) is pretty much just missed potential. One star because maybe you could make the rough idea cool, (also black widow spiders are boring, howsabout an orb weaver or some kind of jumping spider instead). (also also also I hate the art for her).

7 Lessons D&D Players Can Learn from the 1e Fiend Folio - Nerds on Earth

Cute lil' rock eating amoeba creature. Unsure of how players would interact with it besides its fancy eggs.

Devil, category
Some boring stuff about devils. Really criminal that they made devil's this boring.

Styx Devil
Kind of neat. I like that the devil's chief goal is to imprison people and drag them back to hell. Not much to say about it really. 

Devil Dog
It's just a dog with a unique coloration that makes you scared when it barks. Way cooler name than it deserves.

Dire Corby - 1d4chan

Dire Corby
Very wonky but also somewhat endearing. It feels more like a spirit than anything else (and the art puts me in mind of some Japanese yōkai). Imagine a bunch of weird bird people charging at you crying 'Doom! Doom!' Could use some more hooks/reasons to interact with.

7 Lessons D&D Players Can Learn from the 1e Fiend Folio - Nerds on Earth

A fantastic beastie that'll shake things up for players without being a gotcha. I can totally imagine all the scenarios this creature could be used in. As well it can be incorporated quite creatively into a setting. Maybe they're employed like security dogs at events and locales to sniff out magic items. Maybe they're used to clean up magical debris, fallout, or war zones. Wonderful entry. 

This is a better bat than bat, giant. It's got a sonic yip that can disable people. Still just a big bat :/ (I do like my bats however, and DOOMBAT is fun to say so it gets an extra star).

Siskoid's Blog of Geekery: Fiend Folio: 10 Best and Most Enduring Monsters

Dragons, oriental
Because I'm lazy Im not going to break each of them down but summarize as a whole. Firstly, it all feels unnecessarily taxonimized. I can't make any judgements about the dragon's relations to Asian culture as my knowdlge there is somewhat lacking. Im kind of meh on most of them (the sea dragon is pretty neat). Dragons always have a potential though so two stars.

This is literally just a lion fish but if a lion fish was a sneaky camouflaged flatfish that hides where adventurers can step on them (which I might add, is not how poisonousness or venomous animals usually color themselves in nature (the poison seems defensive not predatory)). Not sure exactly how I would ever end up using this fish. And the name is cooler than it deserves.

Dune Stalker
An interesting concept, and I can think of people who would really have at it with this fella. Doesn't really do much for me. Feels more appropriate for like a post-apoc game as some kind of cannibalistic mutant or something along those lines.

Next up! E-F, featuring elemental princes of evvvvilll, ettercaps, firenewts, and more!

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Fiend Folio Review A-B

I have hopped on the ol' bandwagon, following Tristan's AD&D Monster Manual Review and Marsworms' Fiend Folio Review to do my own Fiend Folio review ('cause that's the book I happen to have and like). Like the others I shall use a five star rating system. With that, let us begin with A-B!

Kinda meh, not really anything that really makes them unique or gameable other than the name and art (both which are good) and feels like your average bird person. 

Delightfully weird and wonky. Looks like something you would describe as 'trundling' I would kill to get someone to animate this thing moving. Totally looks like a Hieronymus Bosch painting character. I defer to Marsworms on all accounts here. Excellent beastie (could maybe use some more legs).

Can't really get behind honestly. Its adhering power is super cool (and I have half the mind to give it to like some martial artist as their special technique) but I can't really see how it fits in a world at all.

Not particularly evocative or creative or even wacky, and does far too much world building (in a bad way) than I would like. Hard pass. It's design doesn't even tell us anything about the deity that sent it. Very bland (though the art could be neat for use as something else).

I really enjoy the idea of a shambling mass of algae in the shape of a human, but the execution is a bit... off for me. The ability to control plants seems at odds with its sci-fi-esq thing it's got going. Psionic makes a bit more sense in the circumstances but it's a pity the whole thing is written so combat orientated. A shambling existential algae hive mind would make for a fantastic social encounter.

Tenkar's Tavern: Why is The AD&D 1e Fiend Folio Such a Rabbit Hole?

Eh, in terms of 'rabbits with other animal's features' I prefer the Jackalope personally. The text doesn't really provide any gameable material for interacting with it other than the fact that it could make 'a useful companion.' Maybe if the horn was valued for magical powers or medicinal properties?

A two star bumped up to three because of Russ Nicholson's excellent art. Disappointingly combat orientated and not really that different from other undead. I do like the bit about it not actually physically attacking but rather the victim feeling its bony claws on their throat. And Im a sucker for skeletons.

Assassin Bug
Good but not quite great. As a giant parasitic fly it has a lot of potential though. Given to someone with a better handle on writing evocative descriptions and this could easily be a four or even five star. Parasitic insects are always good game material. 

Astral Searcher
Incredibly blandly written combat encounter without any neat art to save it. Theres a glimmer of potential in the idea of traumatic experiences ripping holes into reality and attacking people though. Otherwise this would be a zero star.

💯 {Staff Pick} - [Let's Read] AD&D 1e Fiend Folio | Page 12 | RPGnet Forums

Giant, cunning, human flesh loving, marsh living lizards that babble in their own tongue and can speak crudely in other languages. Excellent. Top quality. The art is delightful. Instantly gameable. I can imagine players being hunted by this creature, bribing it with corpses, learning its tongue (the language is described as defying efforts of analysis but bah, it's more fun if some people can talk to it). Love it. 

Bat, giant
It's a bat. It's big. Only gets a star at all because I like bats.

💯 {Staff Pick} - [Let's Read] AD&D 1e Fiend Folio | Page 18 | RPGnet Forums

I find this funky, bizarrely complicated fellow delightful. Sets itself up well as a 'mystery monster' whose actual location must be put together from clues. Its habits are a bit more complicated and longer than is ideal, I'd shorten them down myself. And expanding on what it does out on the astral plane could be really cool (I for one might make it very sophisticated out on the astral plain, being members of important astral cities but returning to the mortal plain to devour people.) Very good ideas all around.

CROSS PLANES: Fiend Folio: Blindheim for D&D 5th Edition

Who doesn't like a weird toad fella with headlights for eyes? Could use a bit more development though. Unclear exactly what the thing does or how players are supposed to interact with it (besides murder). It would be cool to shrink them down a bit and make them tools people use and the players could acquire. Who needs a lantern? Just get a flashlight frog!

Blood Hawk
I like this critter. Birds in general are neat. The actual contents are, somewhat lackluster, basically just hawks that attack people, could use lots of improvement. One odd thing is that they're described as uniformly grey. Like, missed opportunity there, especially when Bearded Vultures exist.

RETRO REVIEW-AD&D Fiend Folio (1981) - Forum - DakkaDakka | Roll the dice  to see if I'm getting drunk.

Bloodworm, giant
As opposed to bloodworm, normal apparently. On one hand, worm, on the other it's basically a less interesting giant leech and is one of the few cases where the art actually detracts (leeches are creepy already, should have just used that).

The name Bonesnapper is wayyyy more evocative than this creature deserves. I do find the detail about them decorating their lairs with collected bones to be fun, adds some life to it. Dislike the dinosaur connection, feels unnecessary. I'd make this critter something else besides a lizard. Maybe a bird? 

I personally dislike these, but they're not really bad and I can see many ways they could be used in game. I just don't vibe with them. Pretty standard 'household trickster spirit' all around.

Savage Swords of Athanor: Fiend Folio Friday

YES. FROG. EXCELLENT. LOVE IT. 10/10. FIVE STARS. Frogs are one of my weaknesses. The actual text just makes them fairly generic evil minions but FROG. The chameleon like camouflage is and interesting addition. Frog and toad folk are always great.

I rather like it, its not immediately hostile but rather is mischievous and playful and might try and tip your boat over, but also will go after small struggling things in the water. 

More to come...

Monday, December 21, 2020

Slushpost Mark .3 - AKA Bleurrghhghhgh Words

Yet another slushpost whilest I work on actual content. Use at your own peril. All ideas are forfeit if I get to them before you do.
  1. There is a shocking lack of mucus in our community. This should be remedied.
  3. Seriously, gimme more floofy, dapper, flightless walking bat civilizations.
  4. So, blood cement is a thing, apparently blood strengthens the concrete (maybe) (good inspiration regardless of factuality).
  5. On the subject of blood, Hemacite is a kind of psuedo-plastic made of blood and sawdust.
  6. Tulip fields upon mesa tops in an otherwise barren land, great windmills draw water from deep within the earth. 
  7. The Bitter Sea.
  8. An Attack-Fort.
  9. Paper-mâché masks of mythical beasts, perhaps some truly capture those creatures essence.
  10. A bear made of rusted bear traps. It slays cruel hunters who have killed bear cubs.
  11. Someone make a Hagfish class (bonus if its crone related!)
  13. "Charms against all Stabs, Strokes, and Shots."
  14. A necromancer turned a village of lepers into immortal ghoul knights who now lovingly and loyally serve the necromancer.
  15. More festivals are required.
  16. More robot wizards are required.
  18. A land of step-wells and scriptoriums.
  19. Lamp is a better word than lantern, fight me.
  20. Crudge (crud+sludge), a word I thought existed for a good chunk of my life, it's a word now. Use it.
  21. Bone-Collectors who travel far abroad retrieving the bones of people from their culture for proper burial back in the homeland.
  22. Prayers embroidered into gambeson, strips of prayer cloth woven in with mail-links.
  23. People put deathbed breastplates on the deceased to prevent organ theft.
  24. An entire fleet of warships that misjumped and were lost, waiting for someone to come along.
  25. The swamp cities worship Obolus, the petty frog god of kilns, bricks, and clay.
  26. The god of wheels whose worshippers consider it sinful to walk. Their entire culture is built on wheeled vehicles and they wear wheeled shoes. Famed for their fierce roller-warriors.
  27. A host of riders with shields, bodies, and horses painted black who attack only at night.
  28. Show cultures singing and dancing more, even if only for flavor.
  29. Margrave is an excellent title that should be utilized more.
  30. As is Wildcount (or Waldgraf) the title of someone whose domain consists solely of forest/wildland.
  31. Button Mushroom Folk dwelling in the dead and decaying kingdoms of man. It was the great Arthropod Potentiates and their Archaic Trilobite Lords along with their insect allies who destroyed the old world.
  32. Grandma Menhir loves all her grandchildren with all her big stone heart.
  33. The acid rains of fair Venus corrode even the strongest alloy's overtime, to combat this the long years of terrible trench warfare have produce all manner of self repairing bio-mechanical marvels slaved to the purposes of destruction.
  34. Barrow Knights
  35. Beach dunes are an underutilized environment for adventures.
  36. Transdimensional Jesuits showing up in Carcosa, the Dreamlands, anywhere really, trying to convert the locals.
  37. A demon made out of broken coat hangers.
  38. What if the typical rpg archetypes of the adventurer and thief, wizard, fighter (and others potentially) existed in universe as stock characters in comedy plays and puppet shows.
  39. The artisan workshops of the Brass City trace their lineages back to particular masters, thus forming workshop clans which are often involved in intense rivalries with each other. 
  40. An old woman casually lights a stick of dynamite with the cigarette she smokes then tosses it over the barricade.
  41. The True Foot for which all other feet are measured out is an actual foot sealed in wax.
  42. Paddlewheel boats propelled by skeletons in big ol' hamster wheels.
  43. A legendary magical fly whisk capable of swatting down the celestial bodies.
  44. Old Mackey Mallows the local wizard. Their tower is made of old RVs and corrugated iron sheets stacked high in a rickety fashion.
  45. A place where salt slurry is brought up from deep in the earth, natural gases seep out too and these are harnessed to burn the water away from the salt.
  46. Old military semi-aristocracy warrior class is being replaced by a new state military, now they join roving street gangs as swords for hire.
  47. Pit city-cisterns, doubling both as a place to collect water and build homes around.
  48. The two cats, Miss Vulgar and Scarlet-Be-Thy-Coat, who stalk the city's rooftops are easily bribable with salted fish and spiced cockatrice. Do not offend them however. For they hold lordship over many of the city's inhabitants and will make your life a living hell.
  49. Muck wizards, actually quite rich, spend their time selling their magics to tanneries and waste management officials.
  50. Lunar moths that migrate between earth and moon on moonbeams, easy ride to get to the moon.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Flind - My Edition

Flinds are relatives of gnolls, sometimes found as leaders of gnoll bands. Most use a club; 25% percent wield a flindbar, a pair of chain-linked iron bars that can attack twice and disarm opponents...


DEX 12, WIL 14, 5hp
- Flindbar (d6, make a Dex save or be disarmed)
  • A well built people with feliform features, known for their keen smell and knowledge of herbs.
  • Always carry a collection of various roots, remedies, teas, and pipestuff about them.
  • Prefer to disarm and frighten assailants and enemies.
Although tending to avoid their own kind and travel alone, Flind are quite gregarious, especially when given a chance to discuss herblore. It is indeed rare to meet a Flind who doesn't at least have a passing knowledge of the subject (though there are certainly those who have other interests).