16 hours ago
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
My Favorite 10 Monsters
Alright, I'll bite. This has been going around and I think that I'd like to add my two cents.
10. Vampires: One of the most versatile monsters in the game, and therefore one of the most worthy foes, if played properly. I loved vampire movies as a kid, I guess that's carried over, along with a few other things eh? ;-)
9. Wererats: I'm going to have to agree with Amityville Mike on this one. Another monster that's got so much neat potential. I just love sneaks, thugs, cowardly attacks from the dark, and things of that ken, add in a dash of shape shifting and minor resistances and what's not to like?
*Also like Mike, one of my very favorite authors is Fritz Leiber.
8. Lizardmen: There's a bit of history behind this one. As a young teen I used to play Napoleonics and did a lot of painting for the group. (I wasn't all that good but I was willing.) Well the guy who ran the group knew I loved Tolkien, so he sent me this figurine that went to a game called Chainmail, and yeah you guessed it, it was a lizardman. I'd never seen anything like it and was immediately intrigued. The rest is history. That and the monster lives in one of the most difficult terrain types for characters to operate in. Love it.
7. Trolls: A giant, regenerating, eating machine that can rend a person limb from limb. They're so ferociously confident and ravenous that they never stop coming. Death wont stop these creatures...I remember the first time we put one of these things down and were walking away. Hint: Never turn your back on a troll, unless it's in a flaming heap.
6. The Venerable Red Dragon: Something about a reptilian, fire-breathing, intelligent, ancient, covetous creature that can snuff an entire town out in a fly-by just screams COOL! to me. I suppose it was Smaug that started it all, but the game was named after one of these creatures after all. Staid? Sure...but still awfully awe-inspiring.
5. The Evil Giant Tripartite: Hill, Frost and Fire. Against the Giants was a series of modules that I will never forget. I cut my teeth on these, and the giants therein were so vividly portrayed that I will forever think of Nosnra, the Frost Giant Jarl and of course King Snurre Iron Belly when running giants. Maybe it was Tramp's art...but it was certainly the magic that Gygax infused into his descriptions. If an evil human can be spooky, imagine a giant one!
4. Clay Golem: There's just something inherently creepy about this slick, deep-earth stinking, murderous automaton. A creature that can, all of the sudden, just go ape-shit and start delivering an up-tempo beat-down. And the fact that the wounds can't be healed by normal methods? That send chills down most adventurers spines...I know it certainly does mine.
3. Ghoul / Ghast: Tell me that eating the flesh of the dead just does not make your skin crawl. These are the penultimate threat at lower levels. The idea that they're never sated; the more they eat the more they hunger, just simply strikes a chord of fear deep inside me. That they're so accursed the charnel smell simply follows them wherever they go.
2. Effreti: For some reason when I think of an otherworldly, demonic creature, I think of these. Sure the fact that it was on the DMG might carry some weight with me, but overall these guys have power in spades at their beck and call, and the fact that they live in a City of Brass? Aw man...just too cool for school.
1. The Lich: I have a thing for the undead, maybe it's all those horror movies as a kid. But you add that with the fact that this creature is probably the baddest boy on the block, a serious power-lover's wet dream, you get something that's at the top of the food chain and at the bottom of all the vile deeds ever perpetrated.
I look over this list and I realize that it's pretty pedestrian, especially when you compare it to some of the others that are currently floating about, but you know what? I have a history with these guys listed above, and it's that they strike a chord of fear in me as well as a sense of history. These monsters might cause a few of the jaded folks to yawn and roll their eyes, but if they're smart, most of those same folks have a little alarm bell go off deep inside when they run across any of these...